November 2005 News Archives
News from November 30, 2005
- Petty’s opt out of NSL UPDATE: National Sprintcar League officials learned Tuesday (November 22nd) that the Richard Petty Driving Experience, and Richard and Kyle Petty would no longer be a part of the NSL. Citing overwhelming demands in getting a start-up series off the ground, the Petty’s informed the NSL of their decision. Despite the loss, the National Sprintcar League is moving forward with plans to race 410 winged sprintcars in 2006.(more at Motorsport.com)(11-29-2005)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Driving Experience announced that it has withdrawn its support of the National SprintCar League effective immediately. “We formed this series with the intention of rebuilding and growing winged sprint car racing,” said Kyle Petty. “We had a clear vision about how to undertake this. Unfortunately, our vision for the future of sprint car racing was not shared by all of the key stakeholders in the sport. We believe that a prolonged battle over control of the sport is not in the best interest of anyone involved. Hopefully, by stepping aside at this point, there is time for a common vision to emerge. We still believe that sprint car racing can thrive in the United States and we hope that the tracks, drivers, teams and sanctioning bodies will put their individual interests aside and work towards some common ground to unify this great motor sports platform. We appreciate everyone who supported us in this endeavor.”(Richard Petty Driving Experience /Williams Company PR)(11-30-2005)
- Motorcycle champ thinks about moving to NASCAR: Ricky Carmichael, a six-time AMA 250 motocross champion and the winningest rider with 129 victories, has already tested with one NASCAR team and is making inroads with others. His contract with Suzuki expires in 2007, and Carmichael plans to honor that commitment. “Definitely, I’m interested in NASCAR,” Carmichael said in a telephone interview earlier this week. “I’ve had a good opportunity to talk to some folks and it’s something I’d like to try.” Carmichael has never sat behind the wheel for an auto race. He did, however, test a Late Model, a stock car often used as a steppingstone to NASCAR’s top circuits, for Ray Evernham in August.(USA Today)(11-30-2005)
- Cope to run full season in 2006 for McGlynn Racing: McGlynn Racing and Derrike Cope to run full NEXTEL Cup schedule in 2006. McGlynn Racing and Derrike Cope have announced they will run a full NEXTEL Cup schedule in 2006. Former Daytona 500 winner, a veteran of over 400 Cup [actually has 399] series starts, will run the #00 for the team. New sponsorship for the team is nearing completion and will be announced in the coming weeks.(McGlynn Racing PR)(11-30-2005)
- Champion’s Week Day Two Review: As NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Tony Stewart (#20 The Home Depot Chevrolet) continued his busy slate of media interviews, appearances and social functions in New York, the rest of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 drivers arrived in the city and joined Stewart in Tuesday’s activities. A highlight of Tuesday’s “NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion’s Week presented by Sprint” schedule was a visit to the FDNY New York Fire Academy in Manhattan. Stewart met the probationary officers, who are still undergoing training and affectionately dubbed “probys” by their fellow firefighters. Stewart also participated in a few training exercises, led by FDNY Fitness Instructor, Lieutenant Mike Cacciola.
Earlier, Stewart, Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet), Carl Edwards (#99 Office Depot Ford), Kurt Busch (#97 Sharpie/IRWIN Ford) and Brian Vickers (#25 GMAC Financial Services/ditech.com Chevrolet) attended a fundraising event for the Staten Island University Hospital’s Pediatric Burn Center. Witnessing the intensive training exercises at the fire academy and spending time with the burn center’s youngest patients provided a day of reflection for NASCAR’s biggest stars.
“It’s unbelievable, I have to pinch myself everyday,” said Edwards. “To be able to do what we’re doing and to be in New York City, taking the helicopter over Manhattan, it’s just unreal. I got to see the Statue of Liberty for the first time. This whole thing is just unreal to me. I’m glad to be here.” For Busch, who was the center of attention as the 2004 champion, Tuesday’s trip brought back fond memories of his own Champion’s Week experience. “I’m able to enjoy things a bit better this year,” said Busch. “It gives me a vision and a memory of what it meant last year to win the championship. These great people in Staten Island, and just to make the hospital visit, that’s something I didn’t get the chance to do last year. Every time I get the chance to come to New York as a top 10 driver, I’ll enjoy it.”(PR)(11-30-2005)
- Checkers/Rally’s to present new car to deserving father: Checkers/Rally’s will give away a new Chevy Cobalt to Alfredo Ruiz, a hardworking father from Newark, NJ, as part of its community outreach efforts as the Official Burger of NASCAR. The event will take place outside Madison Square Garden this Thursday as part of NASCAR Champions Week activities. Checkers is partnering with NASCAR and the local Newark United Way charity The Leaguers, Inc. to present Mr. Ruiz with the new car. Richard Turer, Vice President of Marketing at Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., will present the keys to the new car. This is the sixth charitable car giveaway this year from Checkers/Rally’s. With the support of The Leaguers, Mr. Ruiz has come back from homelessness to work full-time as a Coordinator in The Leaguers, Father’s Program. He helps guide fathers through the process of being better parents and shows them how to be the first teacher and role model for their children.(PR)(11-30-2005)
News from November 29, 2005
- Dare To Dream: The Alan Kulwicki Story on DVD: The 2005 independent film detailing the life and career of the People’s Champ is now out on DVD just in time for Christmas. Shot on location at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Infineon Raceway, Slinger Super Speedway, Alan Kulwicki Racing, Inc. and many of the places where Alan’s story took place. Go back in time and see how a young driver without a car, without a crew and without any money can begin a career in NASCAR with only his desire, determination and belief in himself. Relive his magical rookie season when he drove almost the entire season with only one car in his garage…and became the Rookie of the Year. Relive his first win at Phoenix. His battle with Earnhardt at Poco# Watch the incredible 1992 season culminate in the closest points race in the history of NASCAR. Special Features on the DVD set include Kyle Petty accepting Alan’s Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame award. Interviews with friends/family/crew. Kulwicki/Wallace Zerex commercial bloopers. More at stores.ebay.com/DDI-Films[is more of an eBay auction BUT at the end of the list of Auctions it can be bought for a set price] and daretodreammovie.com.(11-29-2005)
- Champion’s Week Day One Peview: A post-season trip to New York City has turned into a tradition for Tony Stewart (#20 Home Depot Chevrolet). The 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion returned to the city for the seventh consecutive season as part of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10. Stewart, and the rest of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitors will be honored Friday night at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Stewart has finished in the top 10 in every season he has competed in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. This is the second time he will be honored as series champion; he also took the title in 2002. “I think when I got to New York, it finally hit me, the full spectrum of what we accomplished,” Stewart said of his championship season. “Being here for championship week, this is when it is going to hit us the most.”
Stewart was welcomed Sunday night with a private dinner with NASCAR and Sprint Nextel executives. A special meal was cooked by Waldorf-Astoria head chef John Doherty, who has overseen the hotel’s kitchen since NASCAR first held the awards ceremony in New York in 1981. “It was a very neat setting being able to watch the chefs do what they do best. It made for a fun atmosphere and was a great way to start the week off,” Stewart said.
On Monday, Stewart’s first full day in the city, the champion was treated to a tour of New York area landmarks which ended with a carriage ride through Central Park. The tour began with a trip to the “TOP OF THE ROCK” – the observation deck atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The deck originally opened in 1933, but had been closed for the last 20 years. It re-opened on Nov. 1. “Its fun to be able to go places that you’ve never been to,” Stewart said afterwards. “To be up that high and see a perspective of the city that people haven’t seen from that building for over 20 years is pretty cool.” Although his first day was relatively light, Stewart has a full week’s worth of activities planned for him, and he’s ready to celebrate his second championship. “We’ll have a lot of fun. Obviously, being able to spend time with our team later in the week and to be able to go to some of the parties that the team gets to go to, that’s probably going to be the most gratifying part of the week – being able to celebrate as one team again.”(PR)(11-29-2005)
News from November 28, 2005
- #55 Scheme: added #55 NAPA Autro Parts Dodge scheme to the 2006 Paint Scheme links.(11-28-2005)
- More Changes at DEI: Dale Earnhardt Inc. [#1,#8,#15] is expanding and reorganizing its current campus to 160,000 square feet. DEI will house the #8 team with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. in the same building with rookie Martin Truex and crew chief Kevin Manion. The #15 Cup team will be combined with the Busch program and used for research and development with Paul Menard driving. Earnhardt and Truex will split Busch Daytona driving duties, Earnhardt driving the season opener, Truex the July race.(Sporting News)(11-28-2005)
- Ganassi Changes: Since Ganassi Racing announced it would expand to four teams, it has been adding personnel–including former Roush car chief Jeff Vandermoss to become crew chief for David Stremme in the #40 Dodge. Now with just three teams, that leaves current [#40] crew chief Steve Boyer as the odd man out. But with his talent, he could end up as the lead engineer for Ganassi’s Cup programs.(Sporting News)(11-28-2005)
- Dale Jr. to buy track with Schrader? UPDATE Official: A Kenny Schrader/Dale Earnhardt Junior owned Paducah Raceway would certainly focus a lot of attention on the area racing scene. Not only for PIR, but for Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway as well. Both run dirt track races and would be in direct competition. Eddie Jarvis, Tony Stewart’s manager, says Kenny Schrader approached Stewart to purchase the Raceway. Stewart declined and Dale Earnhardt Jr. expressed interest. “Dale Jr went out this morning before he left town. Hopefully he’ll own something around here and that he’ll have a chance to come back to Paducah quite a bit,” Jarvis said.(News Channel 6)(10-7-2005)
UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Ken Schrader along with well known Midwestern promoter Bob Sargent are now the proud owners of Paducah International Raceway. The trio recently finalized their purchase of the popular McCracken County, KY, venue that boasts a 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval, 1/5-mile race track and a Motocross/TT run with grandstands that accommodate 5,000 spectators. In addition to PIR, Schrader is the co-owner of another dirt track – I-55 Raceway in Pevely, MO. Located off of I-24 in Paducah, the track hosts the most popular touring sanctions from the AMA motorcycles to various 700+ horsepower super late model series. Paducah International Raceway will also host prominent special events including the Tri-Track Challenge, U.M.P. Summernationals and the track’s annual banner event – “The Wayne Coakley/Bob Memmer Memorial ‘World 50′”. Racing action will take place at PIR every Friday night during a seven-month season from March through September and will feature U.M.P. Super Late Models, U.M.P. Modifieds, Crate Late Models and Pure Street Stocks. Additional divisions including quads, 4-cylinder hornets and mini-sprints will also compete on a limited schedule.(Paducah International Raceway site)(11-28-2005)
- Penske to consolidate team headquarters UPDATE: Penske Racing is moving its headquarters next year, leaving Reading, Pa., after the 2006 Indy Racing League season concludes, relocating to the company’s new NASCAR facility in Mooresville, N.C. The move will allow the organization to consolidate its stock-car, Indy-car and sports-car teams in the 424,000-square-foot facility Roger Penske opened last year in the Charlotte suburb. “There is certainly a lot of crossover capabilities,” said Tim Cindric, the president of the team’s Indy-car program. “Definitely one of the motives is to put everything under one roof.” Penske set his team’s roots in Reading in 1973 after it spent its first seven seasons in Newtown Square, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. Penske’s Indy-car team has about 90 employees, most of whom are Pennsylvania natives. Cindric doesn’t know how many people will follow the team.(Indianapolis Star)(11-1-2005)
UPDATE: Penske Performance is moving its NASCAR, Indy Racing League and American LeMans Series programs under one roof in North Carolina, and Roger Penske has announced that Tim Cindric will oversee the entire operation. Since 1999, Cindric, 37, has been responsible for Penske Racing’s IRL effort, Penske Cars Ltd., Racing Experience Inc., Penske Technology Group and Penske Motorsports Inc. Cindric led Team Penske to two IRL titles and 25 victories, including three consecutive Indy 500 wins. Penske Racing South president Don Miller will retain his role; Penske Racing South general manager John Erickson will become G.M. of Penske Motorsports’ ALMS Porsche program.(Sporting News)(11-28-2005)
- NASCAR closes in on CASCAR: No big announcement but NASCAR is getting closer to taking the checkered flag with its purchase of CASCAR. “I would like to be optimistic about that,” CASCAR founder and president Tony Novotny said on the eve of the national Super Series and regional Sportsman Series awards banquet at the Hilton Hotel in London [Canada]. One source said there could be an official announcement in two weeks. “It’s just guessing, like everyone else is, and that’s including myself,” said Novotny, who founded the Canadian Association for Stock Car Auto Racing in 1981. “I’m not the guy behind doing the deal and whatever is holding this thing up. They (NASCAR) have an option and that option certainly doesn’t play out yet and everybody is optimistic it will happen sooner. We went into an agreement with NASCAR and they have been working with us with the idea of eventually taking the operation over.” Negotiations began almost two years ago and Richard Buck, NASCAR’s director of racing development in Canada, confirmed in September that he recommended his board of directors on Aug. 22 that NASCAR buy CASCAR. “Basically the process is moving along,” Buck said during the Super Series race at Delaware. NASCAR’s takeover of CASCAR could see a Busch Series or Craftsman Truck race in this country next summer. CASCAR, which has maintained its office in Komoka, is the largest stock car sanctioning body in Canada, although the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series came into the country two years ago at three tracks, including Delaware.(London Free Press)(11-28-2005)
News from November 27, 2005
- Sad News: Ray Nichels, one of the preeminent race car mechanics and car builders of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, passed away on Friday, November 25, 2005.
Raymond “Ray” Nichels, age 83, of Merrillville, IN, passed away on Friday, November 25, 2005. He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Eleanor (nee Govert); two children: Terry (Kathy) Nichels of Highland and Vickie (Bill) Masters of GA; 10 beloved grandchildren and 12 beloved great-grandchildren; brother, Albert (Maxine) Nichels of Griffith; brother-in-law, Vince Sell of Merrillville and numerous nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by his brother, Roy Nichels and sister, Grace Sell. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2005 at 9 am at Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church, 8303 Taft St., Merrillville with Rev. Joseph Vamos, officiating. At rest Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens, Schererville. Friends may visit with the family on Monday from 2 to 8 pm at the Lincoln Ridge Funeral Home, 7607 W. Lincoln Highway, Schererville. (US Route 30 east of Cline Avenue) and also at Our Lady of Consolation Church on Tuesday from 8:30 am until the time of service. Wake prayer service Monday evening at 5 pm.
Ray was the founder and owner of Nichels Engineering and Nichels Automotive Products. He was the former co-owner of G&N Aircraft. He was involved in Indianapolis Motor Speedway Auto Racing since 1949 as car owner and builder, as well as the USAC and NASCAR Stockcar divisions. He was a member of Our Lady of Consolation Church, a veteran of WWII U.S. Coast Guard, American Legion Griffith Post. Ray also belonged to many other racing groups and associations. Memorials may be given to the St. Jude House of Crown Point or Our Lady of Consolation Church.(Raynichels.com)(11-27-2005)
- First Trees Planted in Dale Earnhardt Forest: The first 50 of 77,000 trees that will honor the memory of NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt were planted recently by the national nonprofit American Forests and The Dale Earnhardt Foundation. The trees were planted in Sloan Park outside Mooresville, NC home of The Dale Earnhardt Foundation and Dale Earnhardt Incorporated. A total of 77,000 trees are planned for the 15-county region surrounding Charlotte. The goal of the Dale Earnhardt Forest is to restore trees to the city of Charlotte and to restore wildlife habitat, expand greenways, and return trees to riparian areas. The project was announced last year with the planting of seven trees-symbolizing Earnhardt’s seven NASCAR Championships -at Dale Earnhardt Day, which coincides with Arbor Day and the late racing legend’s birthday. The former Mooresville resident and NASCAR legend was an avid outdoorsman and conservationist who championed environmental causes and environmental education. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is also supporting American Forests’ efforts to bring high tech environmental education program to 120 middle and high school classes in 2006. The program combines computer technology and math, science and geography with tree care and hands-on activities to teach students to value trees in their local areas. The saucer magnolias, willow oaks, and red maples in the Dale Earnhardt Grove at Sloan Park will be part of the Park’s Historic Tree Trail. The Historic Tree Trail consists of numerous trees propagated from trees found at various national landmarks, historic sites, and locations related to significant historical figures. Those wishing to find out more about the Dale Earnhardt Forest or contribute to planting trees can do so by visiting www.americanforests.org and clicking on campaigns or by visiting the Dale Earnhardt Foundation at www.thedaleearnhardtfoundation.org.(DEI PR)(11-27-2005)
News from November 26, 2005
- Parade for Stewart UPDATE 2 Postponed: Tony Stewart’s hometown will hold a parade next month to honor him for winning the NASCAR series championship. The parade is planned for Dec. 17, starting at 2:20pm from the Hamilton Center Ice Arena and ending at Columbus [IN] North High School. It would be the second parade in Columbus for Stewart in four months. On Aug. 15, he was recognized for his win in the Allstate 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Judy Jackson, the city’s community development director, said Monday that Dec. 17 was the earliest date Stewart was available for the parade.(Fort Wayne Sentinel/AP)(11-22-2005)
POSTPONED: Columbus, IN: Mayor Fred L. Armstrong says that due to Tony Stewart’s busy scheduled, a celebration will NOT be held on December 16 and 17. City officials are currently working with Stewart representatives to find a date and time that will accommodate Tony’s busy schedule. As soon as plans are finalized, complete information will be released to the media.(columbus.in.gov)(11-24-2005)
UPDATE 2: A parade to honor NASCAR champion Tony Stewart in his hometown has been called off because a conflict with his schedule, and city leaders are now planning for a two-day celebration sometime in January. The parade was scheduled for Dec. 17. The dates for the new celebration has not yet been set. The January celebration might include fireworks and a hog roast, said Lynn Lucas, director of the Columbus Visitors Center. “The economic impact of all this will be tremendous,” she said. “This is an opportunity, and we want to take advantage of it. She said they hope to attract thousands of Stewart fans to the event, including some from out of town. “We’re talking about 6,000,” she said. “Some of them could be coming in for two nights, and that means they’ll need a hotel.” Stewart won his second NASCAR championship in four years Sunday, beating Greg Biffle by 35 points in the Nextel Cup standings. Columbus held a parade for Stewart in August to celebrate his victory in the Allstate 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. An estimated crowd of 5,000 lined downtown streets in the city about 40 miles south of Indianapolis. “Tony is from the city of Columbus, and that should be celebrated,” Mayor Fred Armstrong said. “We need to recognize our citizens.”(Indianapolis Star/AP)(11-26-2005)
- Arnold to team up with Yates? UPDATE: hearing that Arnold Motorsports will team up with Robert Yates Racing to form a third team of sorts for Yates.(11-1-2005)
UPDATE: There was talk early in November that Yates might form a third satellite team, perhaps merging assets from Arnold Motorsports or Cal Wells III’s PPI Racing. Instead, Yates says he’s committed to making his existing teams better before adding to his stable.(Ford Racing)(11-26-2005)
- Starr and #75 part ways UPDATE Cup races?: David Starr and his #75 Spears Chevy team will go their separate ways in 2006. David Starr, concluding his fourth season with Spears, finished 7th in the 2005 NCTS Championship points standings, has 3 wins in 140 career starts to his credit. The #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy owned by West coast racers Wayne and Connie Spears. “I can’t thank everyone enough at Spears for giving me four awesome years in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series,” said Starr “Wayne and Connie Spears gave me my first competitive full-time ride in NASCAR. We got some wins and I am grateful for the opportunity to drive for such a dedicated race team.” Starr continued, “We had four great years; we talked and agreed to look at other options. I have several opportunities to race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series next year,” commented Starr “I’m looking forward to running for the 2006 Championship.”(Truckseries.com)(11-22-2005)
UPDATE: David Starr will not return next season as the driver of the #75 Spears Manufacturing Chevy in the Truck Series, but he probably will drive for another team in 2006. Starr and team owner Wayne Spears agreed to part ways after the season finale last weekend at Homestead. Two Toyota teams and one Ford team have approached Starr about driving for them next season. Starr said those talks are ongoing, and he didn’t want to name the teams. Starr also said he probably would compete in 10 to 12 Nextel Cup races in 2006 with a team that’s forming a new partnership.(Dallas Morning News)(11-26-2005)
News from November 25, 2005
- Wimmer expects to run Busch/Cup in 2006: Scott Wimmer, who lost his Nextel Cup ride with Bill Davis Racing [#22] after two seasons, expects to race in both the Busch Series and Nextel Cup next year even though most of the best seats are full. “I used to be at the top of the line, but now I’m behind everybody,” conceded Wimmer, whose prospects depend on the decisions of other drivers. “If I’ve got to take a ride with a team that’s not right up there. . . and can just stick it out, maybe one of these guys that’s getting into these Cup cars next year won’t do so well and I’ll have a shot.”(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-25-2005)
Leffler wins Turkey Night at Irwindale: Jason Leffler, who was releasd from his Nextel Cup ride from the Joe Gibbs #11 Fed-Ex car after this year’s Brickyard 400, sparkled en route to winning Thursday night’s 65th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix (TNGP) for Midget cars before approximately 7,000 at Irwindale Speedway. Leffler raced in 15 Busch Series races, finishing 30th in the points in the #32 Braun Racing Chevy. “It’s hard to say it was a bad year, but racing-wise, it was a bad deal,” the 30-year-old said. “I won this!” Leffler, who won the TNGP in 1999, the first time it had been held at Irwindale, had a loose spring coil and the left front of his car was dragging along the ground, drawing sparks. He said it made it tougher to drive later in the race. His Busch owner, Todd Braun, watched Leffler win the race Thursday. He also helped Leffler secure the ride; they built the car together. “I called around for a ride and everyone said I wasn’t good enough,” he said. “So I built my own car. It’s not like when you just show up, suit up and drive. There’s a lot to worry about. I grew up watching this race as a kid. This is the biggest race.” Among those watching his victory were NASCAR Nextel Cup champion and USAC Midget car owner champion Tony Stewart, the 2000 Turkey Night champion, who was watching his driver, Josh Wise of Riverside, IRL veteran Bryan Herta and numerous former Turkey Night champions, including Parnelli Jones.(SGVtribune.com)(11-25-2005)
- Motorsports HOF to move: The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is planning to leave its Novi, MI home and the board of directors is expected to announce the new location on Dec. 15. The choice appears to be between Jackson and a spot in the Detroit area. The hall, which features race cars, motorcycles, antiques and memorabilia, plans to leave its 11-year location in the Novi Expo Center. Hall president Ron Watson said several short-term and permanent locations are still in the running. Jackson officials say they hope to boost the hall’s fortunes with ties to Michigan International Speedway in nearby Brooklyn.(Detroit News)(11-25-2005)
- Twinkie Diva’s: Interstate Bakeries Corp., the bankrupt maker of Hostess Twinkies and Wonder Bread, signed sponsorships with IRL driver Dana Patrick and two other female race drivers, stock-car racer Leilani Munter and drag racer Melanie Troxelits. It is Interstate Bakeries first deals with athletes in more than 20 years. The three will be Hostess “Race Divas,” promoting Twinkies and other snacks. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Interstate said its target market is mothers and that its research found a third of all racing fans are women.(Detorit News)(11-25-2005)
- Nextel Cup Banquet Info and Stewart Appearance Schedule in NYC:
Monday, Nov. 28 … Tony Stewart begins his week with two memorable photo shoots, beginning at 11:30am He’ll visit two famous New York City locations, the Top of the Rock observation deck on the 70th floor of Rockefeller Center and the distinctive Flatiron Building on Fifth Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets… Fox News Channel “Dayside” interview at 1:00pm/et.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 … Satellite media tour from 10:15am – 12:15pm/et. … Visit to Staten Island Hospital Pediatric Burn Unit at 1pm/et. … Visit to FDNY Fire Academy at 3pm/et. … Appearance on MRN Radio’s “NASCAR Live” talk show at 7pm/et.
Wednesday, Nov. 30 … NBC Today Show appearance at 8:30am to kick off NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Victory Lap presented by Sprint … Victory Lap departs from NBC Today Show Plaza at 9am The procession will wind across town and arrive at 375 Park Avenue, the site of NASCAR’s New York office.
Thursday, Dec. 1 … New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) opening at 8:45am, attended by the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top-10 drivers, Sprint Nextel Chairman Tim Donahue and NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne … NASCAR Press Conference and luncheon at Cipriani, beginning at 11am … NASCAR Champions’ photo, featuring Stewart and all of the other 2005 NASCAR series champions, 1:30pm/et. at Cipriani … Times Square photo shoot at 3pm/et. … Visit to Ronald McDonald House at 4:30pm/et. … Stewart will also pay a visit to the NASCAR champion’s dinner to honor the regional touring series and NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series champions, at The Waldorf-Astoria hotel at 7:15pm/et.
Friday, Dec. 2 … National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) / Myers Brothers Breakfast presented by Sunoco, in The Waldorf-Astoria hotel at 8:45am … Photo shoot on Park Avenue at 3:45pm/et. … NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony doors open and “Yellow Carpet” festivities begin at 6pm/et. … Champion’s “Red Carpet” arrival at 6:40pm/et. … NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony in The Waldorf-Astoria Grand Ballroom at 7pm/et.
Tune in … NASCAR Radio on XM Satellite Radio will broadcast live from The Waldorf-Astoria, next Monday-Friday at 4pm/et. (ET). Host Claire B. Lang will report on each day’s events and feature exclusive interviews with the Top-10 drivers and other personalities. … MRN Radio will also broadcast live from New York, including an interview with Stewart on Tuesday and live coverage of the awards ceremony on Friday. … SPEED Channel will air a special “NASCAR Takes Manhattan” show live, beginning at 7pm/et. on Friday. Marketing blitz … The awards ceremony is the culmination of the season for NASCAR’s top drivers, as well as an annual gathering for the sport’s marketers and media personalities. Sprint Nextel plans a massive marketing campaign throughout the city, including its interactive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pit Stop Tour, show car displays and other fan events. There will be a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series display each day at the NBC Experience Store at Rockefeller Plaza, along with a driver autograph session there Wednesday afternoon. The annual Street & Smith’s Motorsports Marketing Forum will be held Wednesday at the New York Marriott East Side, featuring several NASCAR executives and top drivers in a panel discussion on marketing trends and other industry issues.
France to be honored at March of Dimes luncheon … NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France will attend the 22nd annual Greater New York March of Dimes luncheon at The Waldorf-Astoria hotel on Wednesday, where he’ll be recognized with the organization’s Sports Leadership Award. Other honorees include Barry Frank Sr., Corporate Vice President, IMG and Vice Chairman, TWI, who will receive the Corporate Leadership Award; U.S. Women’s Soccer stars Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain, Kristine Lilly and Joy Fawcett, who will be recognized as Sportswomen of the Year; and Willie Randolph, manager of the New York Mets, as Sportsman of the Year.
What: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony Where: Grand Ballroom, The Waldorf-Astoria hotel New York City. When: 7-10:30pm/et, Friday, Dec. 2.
TV: TNT, 9pm/et/pt
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10: 1. Tony Stewart 6,533. 2. Greg Biffle 6,498. 3. Carl Edwards 6,498. 4. Mark Martin 6,428. 5. Jimmie Johnson 6,406. 6. Ryan Newman 6,359. 7. Matt Kenseth 6,352. 8. Rusty Wallace 6,140. 9. Jeremy Mayfield 6,073. 10. Kurt Busch 5,974.
11th-place driver: Jeff Gordon
Raybestos Rookie of the Year: Kyle Busch
Special Guest: Comedian Jay Mohr
Musical Entertainment: Singers Toni Braxton and Gavin DeGraw; Jazz pianist Eric Lewis.(NASCAR PR)(11-25-2005)
News from November 24, 2005
- Standing ‘O’ for Rusty at drivers meeting, except….UPDATE: Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, invited Rusty Wallace to the microphone within the first five minutes of the weekly prerace drivers meeting at Homestead on Sunday. Wallace, who went on to finish 13th on Sunday evening, drew a standing ovation from the drivers in the room. Everyone stood, with the exception of Penske Racing South teammate Ryan Newman, who has been at constant odds with the 1989 Cup champion.”It’s been a great ride,” Wallace told his fellow drivers. “I can remember when I came in, it was [Cale] Yarborough, [David] Pearson, [Richard] Petty and [Dale] Earnhardt. Now those guys are all gone and you guys are all here. I’m looking forward to life after racing. And if I’ve roughed anybody up along the way, I’m sorry. I didn’t really mean it, unless it paid more.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-21-2005)
UPDATE: Contrary to published reports, Ryan Newman, as well as his crew chief, Matt Borland, joined their fellow NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competitors in a standing ovation in honor of their Penske Racing South teammate Rusty Wallace during the driver’s meeting for last Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “I respect Rusty Wallace as a race car driver,” Newman said. “And I put effort forward in recognizing that on Sunday.”(Penske Racing PR)(11-24-2005)
News from November 23, 2005
- Chase Races Record High Ratings, Homestead down from 2004: NASCAR on NBC & TNT averaged a 4.7 rating and 10 share for its coverage of Nextel Cup racing, its best season-to-date rating for NASCAR since beginning their partnership to broadcast the second half of the NASCAR schedule in 2001, and a 74% increase from the 2.7/8 for the 2000 season, the last season before the current network television deal. NBC & TNT’s ratings for the ten races of the “Chase for the Nextel Cup” averaged a 4.7, up 2% from the inaugural “Chase” last year (4.6).
NBC’s coverage of the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship finale, the Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway, rated a 5.9/11, the second-highest rating in the history of the event, below only last year’s 6.2/13, and drew an estimated 19 million viewers. The rating peaked at a 7.2 between 7-7:30pm/et as Greg Biffle outdueled Mark Martin to take the checkered flag and Tony Stewart clinched the NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship.
The top ten rated markets for the second half of the 2005 season are: 1) Greensboro, NC: 12.4; 2) Greenville, SC: 12.0; 3) Knoxville, TN: 11.4; 4) Charlotte, NC: 11.1; 5) Indianapolis, IN: 9.4; 6) Louisville, KY: 8.4; 7) Atlanta, GA: 8.3; t8) Birmingham, AL: 8.2; t8) Jacksonville, FL: 8.2; 10) Dayton, OH: 8.0.(NBC PR)(11-23-2005)
- Testing at Kentucky confirms driver changes? Dave Blaney is scheduled to test the #22 Caterpillar Dodge for Bill Davis Racing at Kentucky Speedway on Wed November 30th and Jeff Green is scheduled to test the #0 NetZero Chevy for Haas CNC Racing on Dec 7-8, 2005. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(11-23-2005)
- Kyle Petty Nominated SI Sportsman Of Year: Kyle Petty has become the first stock car driver nominated for one of the most prestigious honors in athletics. The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver is up for Sports Illustrated’s “Sportsman Of The Year” honor, which the national magazine has awarded since miler Roger Bannister won the first in 1955. Others such as the Boston Red Sox, Tiger Woods, Arthur Ashe, Jack Nicklaus, Muhammad Ali and Pete Rozelle have won it. Others nominated this year include cyclist Lance Armstrong, NBA star Reggie Miller, and World Series star Scott Posednik, among others. Writer Lars Anderson, in making his argument in nominating Petty, noted mostly his and wife Pattie’s leadership of the Victory Junction Gang Camp. “Put simply,” Anderson wrote, “he’s got the biggest heart in American sports today. “Kyle Petty as Sportsman of the Year? Take a look at those beaming kids and tell me he’s not.” The winner will be announced next month.(Williams Company PR)(11-23-2005)
- Special Bike for Rusty: Award-winning custom bike designer Jim Wubben and his son, Shaun, owners of PB Choppers, to unveil a unique, one-of-a-kind motorcycle to honor Rusty Wallace. The bike will feature characteristics of the winning #2 Miller Lite car driven by Wallace over the course of his career – including its vivid blue coloring and sponsor logos. Wallace will work with Wubben to hand-pick the design of the wheels, gas tank and other custom bike features. Designs will be made public in the coming weeks and the Rusty Wallace Tribute Bike will make its debut in February, 2006.(PR)(11-23-2005)
- Edwards, Green, Bodine Claim WIX Filters Lap Leader Awards: Drivers Carl Edwards, David Green and Todd Bodine won the WIX Filters Lap Leader Awards during the Nov. 19-20, 2005 NASCAR racing weekend. Edwards’ WIX Filters Lap Leader Award win in racing at Homestead-Miami Speedway was his sixth award of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. The win propelled Edwards to second overall in the WIX Filters Lap Leader standings, five points behind 2005 NEXTEL Cup Series champion Tony Stewart. The WIX Filters Lap Leader Award is presented to the driver who leads the most laps during each race in NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck racing series. The award includes a cash prize presented to the winning driver during a ceremony before the next race and an end-of-year payout and trophy for the driver who earns the most WIX Filters Lap Leader awards over the course of the entire season. Cash awards for the end-of-year honor are: $75,000 for the NEXTEL Cup Series; $20,000 for the Busch Series; and, $10,000 for the Craftsman Truck Series. More info on WIX Filters’ at wixfilters.com.(11-23-2005)
News from November 22, 2005
- Sad News: Sonny Hutchins, one of the best stock-car drivers in Richmond history and a member of the famed “Strawberry Hill Mod Squad,” died this morning. He was 76. Hutchins raced for more than 30 years, competing in Late Models, Modifieds and NASCAR’s premier Winston Cup series. Often driving for the city’s two greatest car owners, Junie Donlavey and Emanual Zervakis, Mr. Hutchins won hundreds of races and several track championships. He won Southside Late Model titles in 1968 and’80 and made 38 starts in Cup, placing a career-best second twice in 1969.(Richmond Times Dispatch and see an obit and service info at the Richmond Times Disptach)(11-22-2005)
- Sad News: John Reiser, father of #17 crew chief Robbie Reiser and Matt Kenseth’s long-time Busch Series car owner, has passed away. John had been battling cancer for the past few months. Sympathies are with his wife, Alice, and Robbie, and the rest of the family this weekend. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held from 4-7:00 PM, Tuesday, November 22, 2005 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Denver, NC. The family will greet friends on Friday, November 25, 2005 from 3-7:00 PM, followed by a prayer service at Phillips Funeral Home in West Bend, WI. Funeral services will be conducted at 10:00 AM, Saturday, November 26, 2005 at Resurrection Catholic Church in Allenton, WI, followed by the burial at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Allenton, WI. More info on services at the Matt Kenseth site an the obit at the Charlotte Observer.(11-19/22-2005)
- Craven may start Truck team, looking for Cup ride: Ricky Craven said Monday he doesn’t expect to race full time next year. “I’m not going to pursue full-time Busch or Truck Series opportunities and it’s late in the game for Nextel Cup,” said the 39-year-old Craven, who has run 278 Nextel Cup races in his career. “I’m not saying it won’t happen [in Nextel Cup], but I don’t expect it this late.” He reiterated he doesn’t want to drive for a single-car Cup team or a team that doesn’t have the resources to be competitive. “I’m not interested in just racing. I don’t want to be a field-filler. That’s not how I want to race,” said Craven. “I’ve established my criteria for that. I am interested in racing in the Truck Series part time. It’s a wonderful series. I may even pursue that with my own team. If I did that, I would still have an opportunity to race Nextel Cup.” He indicated he would be interested in a part-time ride for a good, established Nextel Cup team, also. There are rumors circulating that Bobby Hamilton Jr., who replaced Craven in the Tide #32 Nextel Cup Chevy 16 months ago, won’t return to drive for PPI Motorsports and team owner Cal Wells III next season. Would Craven return to the team with which he won two Nextel Cup races, the only single-car team to do so over the last five years, and posted 10 top-fives and 24 top-10s in their 3 1/2-year relationship? “I certainly have an interest in helping Cal. We’re friends. We’ll see. But it needs to be a different situation,” said Craven, referring primarily to Wells’ ability to land a second team and sponsor.(Bangor Daily News)(11-22-2005)
- Driver Change at PPI? UPDATE: hearing Bobby Hamilton Jr. will probably not return as the driver of the #32 Tide Chevy for PPI Motorsports in 2006. Dave Blaney has been rumored for the #32 ride as well as the #22 Caterpillar Dodge ride, IF the #77 shuts down, Travis Kvapil could head to either the #22 or #32 teams.(11-17-2005)
UPDATE: #32 Car owner Cal Wells still isn’t revealing his plans for 2006, but he said that tentative plans to do some deal next season with Doug and Robert Yates didn’t get off the planning board. There has been considerable speculation about Wells, a longtime Chevy man, and the Yateses, with Fords, doing a team together. But Wells said he’ll remain with Chevrolet. “I’ve heard everything, and things are going on that will be exciting – but I’m not part of that,” Wells said. “There was a door that opened and closed a couple of weeks ago. Doug and I are good personal friends, and I would do whatever he might want. I have immense respect for Doug. And we kicked around some ideas, that probably got talked about around the garage. But all of that was incredibly premature.” So what will Wells have for 2006? “We’re all racing for our jobs, Bobby Hamilton Jr. included,” Wells said. “But Bobby is my driver today, and we’ll see where it goes.”(Winston Salem Journal)(11-22-2005)
- Ward Named 2005 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: Ward Burton has been honored by the Virginia Piedmont Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals as the 2005 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser. With his family present, the award was given to him on National Philanthropy Day (NPD) at Boonsboro Country Club. Having received the award, he joins some of Virginia’s most distinguished citizens who have given the honor in the past. NPD has been observed since 1986 to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy has made to the lives, communities, the nation as a whole and the world. “I have been very fortunate with the opportunities that I have been given. I believe in giving back and helping others whenever possible,” stated Ward Burton. Awards are given to acknowledge outstanding individual across the entire spectrum of services provided by the nonprofit sector and recognized the profound impact that philanthropy has on the fabric of society. NPD is observed in November each year. It is a time to honor exemplary philanthropist, volunteer fundraisers, corporations, foundations, media outlets, children, young adults and professional fundraisers for their outstanding work and contributions to the community. Ward Burton is the founder and President of the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation. Established in 1996, the WBWF is a non-profit 501 (c) 3 whose mission is to conserve America’s land and wildlife through wise stewardship while educating children and adults about the natural resources that will shape America’s future. For more information about the WBWF please visit www.twbwf.org.(11-22-2005)
News from November 21, 2005
- Nice Gesture: #45-Kyle Petty’s wife Pattie gave Stewart a lucky charm from her late son Adam with the inscription John 3:16 on Sunday morning. Stewart had it in his pocket all day.(Yahoo Sports)(11-21-2005)
- Slugger to #88; Baldwin to #38? Look for some organizational changes at Robert Yates Racing. Slugger Labbe will take over as crew chief of the #88, which is driven by Dale Jarrett, and Tommy Baldwin will lead the #38 crew and Elliott Sadler. Yates ended rumors that he will start a third team; he says he first wants to make the 88 and 38 teams stronger. But there still are plans for additional buildings on Yates’ property in Mooresville, N.C.(Sporting News)(11-21-2005)
- Blaney to the #22 car? UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing is expected to announce soon it has signed Dave Blaney to replace Scott Wimmer for next season [in the #22 Caterpillar Dodge]. Mike Brown, general manager at Bill Davis Racing, said the team has made its selection and expects to make an announcement in about 10 days. Brown wouldn’t confirm Blaney as the choice, but acknowledged Blaney would make a good fit for the High Point-based team. “It would be a welcome sight for the guys at the shop,” Brown said of Blaney returning. Blaney drove for the team from 1999-2001. He also drove six Cup races for Davis in 2004 before joining Richard Childress Racing for this season.(Roanoke Times)(11-19-2005)
UPDATE: Dave Blaney will drive the #22 for Bill Davis Racing next season, replacing Scott Wimmer. Blaney says a decision has not been made on a crew chief, but he’s content to have Derrick Finley remain in that position.(Sporting News)(11-21-2005)
- Roush Crew Chiefs all back in 2006: Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Sunday that the team has re-signed all of five of its crew chiefs for 2006, although it has some unfilled crew vacancies remaining. Roush is one of the few teams that had no midseason crew chief turnover and return of its five team leaders should help the organization get off to a strong start next season.(Speed Channel)(11-21-2005)
- Rudd Honored…by Fatback and Drivers: When NASCAR failed to recognize the career accomplishments of Ricky Rudd during what might have been his final drivers meeting, his crew chief, Michael McSwain, came to the rescue. During a season dominated by recognition for the retiring Rusty Wallace, there has been little for the veteran Rudd. But at the conclusion of Sunday’s drivers meeting, McSwain unexpectedly stood up and offered a tearful farewell to NASCAR’s “Ironman.” “My buddy is leaving me, and I don’t think there will ever be another one like him,” said McSwain, so overcome with emotion that he struggled to finish each sentence. “He’s done a lot for this sport, and I know nobody will ever touch his record for consecutive starts.” Rudd, who made his Nextel Cup-record 788th straight start on Sunday and has announced he won’t return to drive the #21 Ford next season, seemed taken aback by McSwain’s impromptu salute. He stood up and acknowledged his longtime crew chief, before addressing the drivers. “[I] thank everybody for allowing me to compete with you all,” said Rudd, who wound up 37th in the season finale, five laps behind the leaders. “I’ll come out and check on you on the weekends when I can sit up in the stands, drink beer and watch everybody.” An hour later, as he strolled with his wife, Linda, to driver introductions, Rudd said he was caught off guard in the drivers meeting. “I didn’t expect it,” the 49-year-old Rudd said. “I was getting through this weekend, then I got a little choked up. I was awful proud. NASCAR sort of ignored me and [McSwain] got up and said a few words for me. I can’t put into words what it meant.” NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter defended the sanctioning body’s decision not to honor Rudd before the Ford 400. “Ricky hasn’t retired,” Hunter said. “Rusty said he’s retiring. Ricky said, ‘I’m going to step back. I may drive if the right thing comes along.’ As far as we know, Ricky hasn’t retired. If he had said he was retiring, I’m sure we would have recognized him.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), no word if Newman stood up for Rudd.(11-21-2005)
- Helicopter Crash at Homestead UPDATE Close Call for Sorenson: Two helicopters collided at the Homestead-Miami Speedway after the NASCAR championship Sunday, killing one pilot, authorities said. One helicopter was taking off from the speedway’s helipad shortly before 9 p.m. while another was attempting to land, said Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Richard Martin. “They had either a mid-air collision or a near-midair collision. One of them did a hard landing right on the helipad. No one on that craft was injured,” Martin said. The other pilot died after being airlifted to a Miami hospital, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade Police Department said. The pilot’s identification was being withheld pending family notification. Todd Shook, 46, of Sarasota, said he saw the blades of one helicopter clip the body of the second helicopter as he was walking to his RV parked outside the speedway. One helicopter landed lopsided on the speedway’s helipad, and the other crashed into an RV parked nearby, he said. “It just hit real hard, and then I saw the windshield all broken out,” Shook said. It was not immediately clear if the RV was occupied at the time of the crash.(ESPN.com/AP)(11-20-2005)
UPDATE: A pilot was killed after two helicopters crashed en route to pick up participants following Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. One helicopter was taking off from the speedway’s helipad shortly before 9 p.m. while another was attempting to land, Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue battalion chief Richard Martin told The Associated Press. The pilot died after being airlifted to a Miami hospital, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade Police Department said. The pilot’s identity was being withheld pending family notification. Reed Sorenson, who finished 28th in the 400, was waiting to board one of the helicopters just prior to the crash. “I was the next one in line to go,” Sorenson said. “I saw them hit. One went straight down and the other tried to land in the grass nearby. It took off part of his landing gear. I took off running because I thought parts were going everywhere. After seeing that, I don’t think I’ll ever fly a helicopter again.” Speedway officials said only that the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-21-2005)
- #10 Tire Changer OK: Richard Boyle, the rear tire changer on Scott Riggs’ #10 Chevy of MB2 Motorsports , escaped serious injury when he was struck by Ricky Rudd’s #21 Ford during a pit stop on Lap 18. Boyle, who was hit when Rudd’s car was bumped by the #66 Ford of Kevin Lepage, was treated and released from the track’s care center. The wreck also spoiled Rudd’s hope of a fine finish in his last ride in the Wood Brothers’ #21 Ford. The damage to his car doomed him to a 37th place finish.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-21-2005)
- Chase Drivers get separate point system? BUT: NASCAR may consider a separate point system for the 10 drivers in the Chase for the Championship. The sanctioning body wants to reduce the penalty for a bad finish to promote more racing by the leaders. In the first two years of the Chase, the winners have combined to win only one race during the playoffs.(Augusta Chronicle)
BUT NASCAR chairman Brian France said the Chase format is working and NASCAR doesn’t plan any major changes in the off-season. “We will look at it when the season ends,” France told Speed Channel on Sunday. “But my sense is anything we do would be a small adjustment.” France didn’t say what that adjustment might be, but he did clarify one point. The Chase won’t change to a separate points system for the 10 drivers in the playoff, as some of the Chase contenders have suggested.(Dallas Morning News)(11-21-2005)
- Brown Team probably not until 2007: Former NFL star Tim Brown still is trying to put together a Nextel Cup team for 2006, but the team probably will not be full-time until 2007. Still to be determined is how NASCAR will treat Brown’s partnership with Roush Racing in light of its four-car team cap that will be enacted next year.(Speed Channel)(11-21-2005)
- The 2005 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and More
• Tony Stewart became the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion. He finished the 2005 season 35 points ahead of second-place Greg Biffle.
• Five drivers in the Chase changed point positions at Homestead Miami Speedway.
• Four of the 10 Chase drivers led at Homestead earning lap leader bonus points. (Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Mark Martin and Ryan Newman).
• Seven of the 10 drivers who made it into the 2005 Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup did so for the second straight year: Greg Biffle, Rusty Wallace, and Carl Edwards were new to the Chase in 2005.
• Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards were the only drivers who finished with two victories in the Chase. Johnson won at Dover and Charlotte while Edwards won at Atlanta and Texas.
• Nine of the 10 drivers competing in the 2005 Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup scored at least one victory in the 2005 season. Five of the 10 drivers scored multiple victories led by Greg Biffle with six. Rusty Wallace was the only Chase driver that remained winless in 2005.
• Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle each earned 50 lap leader bonus points in the Chase, leading all drivers
• Carl Edwards scored eight top-10 finishes in the 2005 Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the most of all drivers.
• Jeff Gordon remained 11th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He finished 44 points over 12th-place Jamie McMurray.
• Rusty Wallace (13th) ended his career with a 49-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol in August 2004.
• The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader bonus was worth $80,000 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Because it was not won it will be distributed among the top-10 drivers at the 2005 awards banquet.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-21-2005)
- A Championship Outlook – champ usually wins in first 6 races: Only six times in the modern era (1972-present) has the eventual champion not won in the first six races. The winners in the first 6 races of 2005: #24-Jeff Gordon, #16-Greg Biffle, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #99-Carl Edwards and #29-Kevin Harvick.
When did a driver win the Championship and not win a race in the first six? 1973-Benny Parsons; 1984 and 1996-Terry Labonte; 1985-Darrell Waltrip; 1999-Dale Jarrett; 2005-Tony Stewart.(11-21-2005)
- Busch wins 2005 ROTY: Kyle Busch in the #5 Kelloggs Chevy clinched the 2005 Raybesto Rookie of Year at Homestead, beating out #77-Travis Kvapil, who was the only other full-time rookie driver. Busch racked up two wins, one pole, nine top-fives and 13 top 10 finishes this season. He claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race 23 times in 36 races and was the only Raybestos Rookie to post a top-five finish this season. Busch joins Jeff Gordon (1993) as the only Hendrick Motorsports drivers to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year. He is the first Raybestos Rookie to post two or more wins since Jimmie Johnson won three races in 2002. Busch became the youngest pole winner in NASCAR’s premier series (19 yrs., 9 mos. and 24 days) when he grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot for the February 27 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. He is also the most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole and is the only first-year driver to win a pole in 2005. Where the Raybestos Rookies finished at Homestead: T. Kvapil 32nd; K. Busch 41st.(Raybestos/Camp and Assoc PR), also, Busch became the youngest race winner in NASCAR’s premier series when he won at California in Sept. beating out Donald Thomas who was 20 yrs, 4 months, 6 days old when he won at Lakeland in 1952, Busch was 20 yr, 4 months, 2 days old.(11-21-2005)
- Cingular name to AT&T, RCR signed thru 2007: SBC, which closed its merger with AT&T on Friday [Nov 18th], plans to sell Cingular Wireless under the fabled AT&T name, Ed Whitacre, the chairman and CEO of the combined company, has confirmed to USA TODAY. Cingular, the USA’s No. 1 wireless company, is 60% owned by the new AT&T; BellSouth controls 40%. SBC recently said it would adopt AT&T’s name, putting to rest questions about what would happen to the famous name. But speculation had also swirled about what would happen to the Cingular brand name once the AT&T deal closed. In an interview with USA TODAY on Friday, Whitacre left no doubt about his plans. Asked if the company planned to drop the Cingular name in favor of the AT&T brand, Whitacre said, “Yes, we do.”(See full article at USA Today), how will this effect the #31 Richard Childress Racing team and Cingular’s sponsorshjip? No word if they At&T will take over BUT Cingular is signed with RCR thru 2007.(11-21-2005)
- Overnight TV numbers for Homestead down: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Ford 400 Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway earned a 4.8 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 9 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The Daily says the rating is 14.3% lower than the 5.6 overnight rating in 2004 but reports that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market was not reportable because of Hurricane Wilma.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-21-2005)
- 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion: Tony Stewart:
• Tony Stewart won the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship in the 57th season of NASCAR’s premier series.
• This is Stewart’s second title in the seven seasons that he has competed in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Stewart was also the Series champion in 2002.
• Stewart has ranked in the top 10 every season since his 1999 rookie year and has never ranked lower than seventh in the final point standings.
• Stewart posted three Bud Poles, five victories, 17 top-fives and 25 top-10 finishes this season.
• This is Joe Gibbs’ third championship as a car owner. Bobby Labonte won for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2000 and Stewart in 2002. Gibbs has fielded at least one full-time team since 1992.
• This is also the second championship for crew chief Greg Zipadelli, both with Stewart. Zipadelli has been a NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Crew Chief for seven seasons, all with Stewart and Gibbs.
• There have been 27 different champions Stewart is the 14th different driver to win multiple championships.
• Stewart was the 1999 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year. He became the eighth Rookie-of-the-Year to subsequently win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship.
• Stewart started the season at Daytona in sixth place after leading the most laps en route to a seventh-place finish. He struggled for the next 13 races, finishing in the top 10 only five times but also finishing 24th or worse five times. He then finished second in the June Michigan race, beginning a 13-race streak of consecutive top 10 finishes that ran through Loudon in September. During the 13 races, he scored five victories and 10 top fives. His Brickyard 400 victory propelled him to first place in the point standings for the first time in 2005. He held the top position following all but one of the final 15 races.
• His biggest point lead was 213 points following second Bristol. His smallest lead was when he was tied with Jimmie Johnson in points scored after the second Charlotte race.
• Stewart started the Chase in first place by five points over Greg Biffle, 15 ahead of Johnson. Stewart led the standings after nine of the 10 Chase races (all but Dover when he fell to fifth after an 18th place finish).
• This is the 22nd time in 57 seasons a Chevrolet driver has won the championship; the first since 2001.
• Stewart’s other championships:
2001 World of Outlaws (Car Owner)
1997 Indy Racing League (IRL)
1995 USAC Midget; USAC Sprint Cars; USAC Silver Crown
1994 USAC Midget
1987 World Karting Association National Title
1983 International Karting Foundation Grand National
Stewart is 34 years old (5/20/71); Zipadelli is 38 years old (4/21/67); Gibbs is 64 years old (11/25/40).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-21-2005)
News from November 20, 2005
- Biffle wins the Battle, Stewart wins the War: #16-Greg Biffle took the lead late, with 8 laps to go and won the FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway by mere inches over #6-Mark Martin for his 6th win of the season and 9th of his career. Points leader #20-Tony Stewart finished 15th and won the 2005 Nextel Cup Championship over Biffle and #99-Carl Edwards by 35 points. Biffle gets the 2nd spot as he has 6 wins to Edwards 4. It is Stewarts 2nd Nextel Cup Championship, he won in 2002, becoming the 14th driver to win mulitple championships. Stewart’s take for 1st place is $5,849,800. #17-Matt Kenseth was 3rd, followed by #99-Carl Edwards [Rosuh got the 1st four spots] and #41-Casey Mears, who was 3 seconds in the lead with 15 laps to go when a caution came of for debris when a spring rubber fell out of someone car and was in the groove. 2nd in points going into the race, #48-Jimmie Johnson had a right rear tire going down, stayed out too long and it popped and sent Johnson into the wall and out of the race and The Chase, dropping him to 5th in the points. There were 21 lead changes among 12 drivers with #99-Edwards leading the most laps with 94 and Mears with 75. Biffle on lead 9 laps, including the final 8. There were 8 cautions for 37 laps which allowed for a new race record speed of 131.431mph. #7-Robby Gordon jumped in the #7 without any track time all weekend and finished 14th. #5-Kyle Busch had trouble early and finished 41st with a DNF, but easily won the 2005 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award.
For my race rundown, laps led, DNF’s, caution info, Lucky Dogs and some notes, see my Homestead Race Info/Rundown Page.
For race results and awards, and other site links, see my Jayski’s Homestead Race Results/Awards page.(11-20-2005)
- Driver Points Standing after Homestead race 10 of 10 in the Chase:
#20-Tony Stewart, 6533
#16-Greg Biffle, 6498, -35 [gets 2nd 6 wins to 4]
#99-Carl Edwards, 6498, -35
#6-Mark Martin, 6428, -105
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 6406, -127
#12-Ryan Newman, 6359, -174
#17-Matt Kenseth, 6352, -181
#2-Rusty Wallace, 6140, -393
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 6073, -460
#97-Kurt Busch, 5974, -559 [suspended rest of 2005, 34 races]
and the fight for 11th and the $1 million payoff for 11th
#24-Jeff Gordon, 4174
#42-Jamie McMurray, -44
For drivers/owners points, classic points top 15, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Homestead page.(11-20-2005)
- “Classic” Points Standings – Top 15…the old way, not the Chase after Homestead, race 36 of 36:
1) #20-Tony Stewart, 5199
2) #16-Greg Biffle, 4984, -215
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4771, -428
4) #6-Mark Martin, 4676, -523
5) #99-Carl Edwards, 4597, -602
6) #2-Rusty Wallace, 4512, -687
7) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4451, -748
8) #12-Ryan Newman, 4409, -790
9) #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 4281, -918
10) #97-Kurt Busch, 4248, -951
11) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4174, -1025
12) #42-Jamie McMurray, 4130, -1069
13) #38-Elliott Sadler, 4084, -1115
14) #29-Kevin Harvick, 4072, -1127
15) #88-Dale Jarrett, 3960, -1239
- Four Tracks Jeff Gordon has never won at: There are four current race tracks the Nextel Cup Series runs on that #24-Jeff Gordon has not won at, Texas 0 for 10 with a best of 2nd in 2002, Phoenix International Raceway 0 for 14 with a best of 3rd in 2002 and 2004; Chicago 0 for 5 with a 2nd in 2003 being his best; Homestead 0 for 7 with a best finish of 3rd 2004. Gordon has won at 20 [18 active] of 24 tracks he has raced on including two not on the circuit any longer, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham.(11-20-2005)
- Baldwin leaving Evernham? to Yates? UPDATEs MANY: hearing that #9 crew chief, Tommy Baldwin could be leaving Evernham Motorsports and driver Kasey Kahne.(9-18-2005)
UPDATE: hearing Baldwin could end up at the #38 M&M’s/Robert Yates Racing team as Elliott Sadler’s crew chief.(9-19-2005)
more updates: see the #9 Team News and Links page for all the past rumors since Sept…getting kinda long.
UPDATE 2 – Baldwin teaming up with Yates? hearing that Tommy Baldwin, former #9 Crew Chief for Kasey Kahne, will go to Robert Yates Racing in some fashion, crew chief/part owner. Also has been rumored that a current one car operation, such as #50 Arnold Motorsports or #66 Peak Performance could partner up with RYR, which could include ownership by Baldwin, something that was mentioned in the Evernham Motorsports release on Tuesday [see below or the #9 Team News and Links page for more on that]. Cabela’s is the sponsor on the #66 car this week and have heard it could become a full-time sponsor in 2006. Expect some sort of announcement this weekend at Homestead.(11-17-2005)
MORE the Yates-Baldwin press conference planned for Saturday morning has been canceled, what does it mean? no idea.(11-18-2005)
MORE II: Tommy Baldwin’s future plans apparently include a cooperative effort with Robert Yates Racing. It was announced earlier this week that Baldwin, who has been Kasey Kahne’s crew chief at Evernham Motorsports, was leaving that team. And his desire to own a team is well-known.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-19-2005)
UPDATE 100: on Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning, Bob Dilner said Baldwins plans to start his own Cup team, but not until the 2007 season…not sure what his 2006 plans may be, but still hearing it’ll be with Yates.(11-20-2005)
- Latest on Paul Tracy to NASCAR: Canada’s Paul Tracy still has hopes that he will run in at least five NASCAR events in 2006, he told The Toronto Sun yesterday. Casually dressed and relaxed, Tracy was making the rounds of the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage [at Homestead] talking to teams about his chances for jumping to stock car racing next season. “I want to do a handful of races next year,” Tracy said. “I had a nice meeting with (NASCAR boss) Brian France and talked to him about what’s going on in Canada.” Tracy has repeatedly said that he wants to be part of any race that NASCAR holds in his home country. “I am absolutely convinced that NASCAR will have one of its top races in Canada in 2007,” Tracy said.(Toronto Sun)(11-20-2005)
- Penske Talks about Kurt Busch: In an exclusive interview with Sporting News’ Lee Spencer, Roger Penske expressed his feelings on the recent Kurt Busch incident in Phoenix and the future of the No. 2 car.
TSN: Can you address the situation with Kurt Busch last weekend and how you expect to move forward?
PENSKE: I hired Kurt Busch because I thought he was a great racecar driver. The situation that took place at Phoenix is unfortunate for him and certainly unfortunate for us. We stood by him 300 percent. Our sponsors stood by him. I think a lot of his peers stood by him. From my perspective, I think it’s a lot better for something like this to happen now than if we have to deal with it in the future. I think the other thing is for every bad thing that happens, usually a good thing comes out. I think it’s a wake up call for all of us in the sport. We’re all under a tremendous magnifying glass here, and because of that we’re going to have to watch the things we do. For Kurt, it’s one of those things in life — I have four sons and I could say there were defining moments as they grew up and now they’re great guys. It’s my personal goal to have the best race team and Kurt’s going to be part of that. More at the Sporting News.(11-20-2005)
- Kyle Busch admits mistake: #5-Kyle Busch attempted to mend fences with the media on Saturday, six days after abruptly walking out of the post-race winner’s news conference at Phoenix. Last Sunday when a reporter challenged Busch’s comment that the media had spread misinformation surrounding his brother Kurt Busch’s reckless driving charge, the #5 Chevrolet driver stormed out of the question-and-answer session, only to return 25 minutes later. “I made a mistake, and I realize that,” Kyle Busch said on Saturday. “Everything that was said was [during] a high emotion time. All the speculation and everything else, it was just a bad time for me.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-20-2005)
- Homestead Race Notes:
• Greg Biffle won the FORD 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway, scoring his ninth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 114th career start.
• His last victory came at Michigan in June, 21 races ago.
• Biffle’s 0.017 margin of victory over Mark Martin was the sixth closest finish since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993.
• It was Biffle’s second victory in four Homestead races – both in the past two races.
• Biffle became the second repeat race winner at Homestead joining Tony Stewart (1999 and 2000).
• Biffle scored his sixth victory in 2005, the most of all drivers.
• Biffle scored 21 top-10 finishes in 36 races in 2005.
• Biffle climbed from fourth to second in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He had the same points as third-place Carl Edwards but secured the final second-place points position because he had more victories (six) than Edwards (four).
• Biffle led twice for nine laps including the final eight.
• Biffle scored the third victory for car owner Jack Roush at Homestead. It was Roush’s 89th victory as a car owner and 15th in 36 races this season.
• Carl Edwards led 94 laps, leading the most laps for the first time this season.
• This is the 16th victory by a Ford in 2005. Chevrolet has 17 and Dodge has three.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-20-2005)
- Rumblings / Race Notes Homestead:
We crowned a Champion, and had an exciting race to boot! Greg Biffle beat Mark Martin to the line by mere inches (actually, it was all of 0.017 seconds!) to take the Ford 400 today at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After passing Dave Blaney on lap 260 coming out of the final caution, Biffle was all-out to hold off Martin in a sweep of the top four spots for Roush Racing.
This was Biffle’s 6th win of 2005 (he tops that category) and second in a row at Homestead. His 9th career win (he’s tied for 52nd on the all-time win list with Paul Goldsmith, Cotton Owens, and Bob Welborn) was the 89th for Roush Racing (15th this season) and was worth $308,675 from the over $5.1M in posted awards.
Tony Stewart struggled most of the day but came home in 15th place to capture his second Championship (he won it all in 2002) and Biffle’s win left him in a tie (which he wins on the first tie-breaker) with teammate Carl Edwards for second in the “Chase”. Jimmie Johnson was eliminated early when he lost a right rear and crashed in turn 3 on lap 124.
Dave Blaney (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Darlington in March of 2003!
Kevin Harvick (8th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Pocono in July.
Jeremy Mayfield (10th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Dover in September.
Scott Wimmer (11th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Pocono in July of 2004!
Mike Bliss (12th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Bristol in August.
Todd Bodine (20th) had his best finish since he was 11th here in November of 2003.
Reed Sorenson (28th) had his career-best finish today. He was 41st in his only previous start at Atlanta last month.
Jimmy Spencer (31st) had his best finish since he was 28th at Bristol in August (only 6 races).
STREAKIN….Carl Edwards has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races.
Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
The Rookie Report: Travis Kvapil (32nd) captures the award this week over Kyle Busch (41st). For the season, Busch was the top-finishing rookie 24 times, Kvapil 11 times, and Mike Garvey once.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Robby Gordon (+25), followed by Rusty Wallace (+24), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kyle Busch (-37), followed by Brian Vickers (-25), and David Stremme (-20). The Op of the Season goes to Little E with 5, while we had a tie between Ryan Newman and Elliott Sadler for most BDs on the year.
Jimmy Spencer led a lap tonight for the first time since he led one lap at Talladega in October of 2004. He’s the 51st driver to have led a lap this season, besting last year’s number of 50.
In the final “Classic” Points, Dave Blaney was the only multiple position advancer today (29th to 26th). On the minus side, Jeff Green (27th to 29th) was the only driver to fall more than one spot.
On the “Chase” side of things, Biffle’s six wins make him second over Carl Edwards four (since they had identical totals of 6498 points).(Stock Car Fans)(11-20-2005)
- Where did the Chasers start/finish at Homestead?
#20-Tony Stewart, starts 20th, finished 15th, NEW CHAMP
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 32nd, 40th
#99-Carl Edwards, 1st, 4th
#16-Greg Biffle, 7th, 1st
#6-Mark Martin, 5th, 2nd
#12-Ryan Newman, 2nd, 7th
#17-Matt Kenseth, 17th, 3rd
#2-Rusty Wallace, 37th, 13th
Kurt Busch, not racing, suspended rest of 2005
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 19th, 10th.(11-20-2005)
- Menard to help Robby out at Homestead: This coming weekend, #7-Robby Gordon will run the Baja 1000 in Mexico, a race he’s won twice. He’ll have Busch Series regular (and DEI driver) Paul Menard practice and qualify his #7 Chevy on Saturday for Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Homestead with Gordon racing in the race in on Sunday. Gordon now is running DEI engines.(Yahoo Sports)(11-15-2005)
Updates about Robby at Baja on the Robbygordon.com site, Friday and Saturday. Supposedly Gordon will be back to run the car, but during Speed Channel’s practice coverage, it was mentioned that if Menard practices and qualifies well, Gordon may let Menard race the car on Sunday.
UPDATE 13th Robby Gordon finished 13th in the Trophy Truck division crossing the finish line at 5:06 a.m. Bob Shepard led the trucks to the line while Larry Roeseler won the overall in a class one car. Gordon averaged 34.944 mph for the 708 mile race. The team suffered two broken shocks. Gordon was out on course for 20h:17m. The winning Trophy Truck time was 15h:48m. Gordon will be at Homestead and will run the #7 Jim Beam Chevy in the race.(11-18/20-2005)
- Last DAY to Vote for Most Popular Driver UPDATE one day to go: With just days remaining for nationwide fan voting, Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to lead the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award – but fans and fan clubs for other drivers appear to have picked up their support. Fan clubs and web sites for several drivers have urged their fans to vote regularly at www.mostpopulardriver.com, as votes have tightened to determine which drivers will finish in the top 10 of the final tally. Jeff Gordon is second in the voting, followed by Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson. The most coveted NASCAR award behind only the national driving championship itself, the Most Popular Driver is determined by an online vote by fans at www.mostpopulardriver.com. The winner will be announced during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Awards Banquet weekend, Dec. 2, in New York City. A record 4 million votes have been cast, and Earnhardt Jr. has led since voting began in February. The driver standings may change this final week, however, as fans hope to move their favorite drivers into the top spot before the balloting ends at 11:59am/ct [12:59pm/et], Monday, Nov. 21, the day after the final race of the season at Homestead, Fla. Bill Elliott’s 16 most popular wins tops all drivers. He is followed by Richard Petty, who has won nine times. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win last year made him the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win the award in consecutive seasons, while his win in 2003 made him and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, the only father-son combination to have won. Other past winners have included such notables as Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.(Williams Company)(11-14-2005)
UPDATE one day left to VOTE: been told some drivers can move up in the resutls if enough votes come in…..supposedly drivers with best chance of moving up in the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver voting if their fans jump on it before voting ends Monday are:
Rusty Wallace from fifth to fourth
Kevin Harvick from sixth to fifth (outside shot at fourth)
Michael Waltrip from seventh to sixth (outside shot at fifth)
Dale Jarrett from ninth to eighth
Jimmie Johnson from 10th to ninth
Elliott Sadler from 14th to 13th
Ken Schrader from 16th to 15th
Jeff Burton from 19th to 18th
John Andretti from 24th to 23th and 22nd.(11-20-2005)
News from November 19, 2005
- Marlin’s sponsor to be announced today UPDATE 2: MB2 Motorsports is scheduled to announce their sponsor at Homestead for Sterling Marlin, who will drive the #14 Chevy for the team in 2006. Hearing the sponsor will be Waste Management, who has sponsored Matt Kenseth in some 2005 Busch Series races and Bill Lester in a few Truck Series series.
UPDATE: …Waste Management, a Houston-based company that specializes in environment-friendly waste disposal, will be introduced this morning as one of Marlin’s new sponsors. Waste Management will be aboard for the season-opening Daytona 500 and approximately one-third of the season. Two other corporate sponsors will be announced later. Marlin also said he won’t be able to drive a partial Busch Series schedule for FitzBradshaw Motorsports next year as he had planned. “FitzBradshaw fields Dodges in the Busch Series and since I’ll be driving a Chevy in the Cup Series I won’t be able to run the Busch car,” he said. The development also squelched the plans of Marlin’s son, Steadman, to share the Busch ride. Marlin said his son is exploring some options “and hopefully something will turn up.”(Tennessean)(11-19-2005)
UPDATE 2: Waste Management and MB2 Motorsports announced the companies have formed a racing platform that will commence with the 2006 NASCAR season. The agreement calls for Waste Management to be a primary sponsor for 12 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races and a major associate sponsor for 24 other points races on MB2’s #14 Chevrolet, which will be driven by Sterling Marlin. Waste Management’s first primary sponsorship race will be the season-opening Daytona 500, Feb. 19. Waste Management is also an associate sponsor on MB2’s #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet, driven by Joe Nemechek. Jay Frye, MB2’s chief executive officer and general manager is continuing to work out details with additional partners to join Waste Management as a primary/associate sponsor with the #14 team. Along with the MB2 partnership, Waste Management will continue as an Official Sponsor of NASCAR. The Company will work with NASCAR on its diversity initiative to make the sport “on and off the racetrack” look more like America. More info on Waste Management at wm.com.(MB2 Motorsports PR), see an image of the car on my #14 Team Schemes page.(11-19-2005)
- Andrews son tests for Petty: hearing that Tim Andrews, son of #45 crew chief Paul Andrews, participated in a driver development test for Petty Enterprises this week at Kentucky Speedway.(11-19-2005)
- Kurt Busch to attend Nextel Cup banquet? UPDATE: Car owner Jack Roush said Friday that he wasn’t sure whether fired Roush driver Kurt Busch would represent the team at the NASCAR Annual Awards Banquet Dec. 2 in New York [he will finish 10th]. Asked about the upcoming awards banquet, Roush added, “I’m not sure. I haven’t really contemplated that. I don’t know about the banquet. I don’t know what convention requires or what (series sponsor) Nextel will require there.”(Speed Channel)
AND Q) Will Kurt Busch Represent Roush Racing at the NASCAR Banquet in New York?
A) “I haven’t got a clue. I’m not sure. I hadn’t contemplated that. They said that the manager of the race track came and told me the 97 flag was going to be taken down from the flag stand on Sunday here and Kurt will not be involved in that procedure. Jimmy Fennig and I will go up and take the flag, but I don’t know about the banquet. I’m not sure what convention requires or what Nextel will require there. I’m just not sure.”(Ford Racing)
UPDATE: hearing that Kurt Busch is planning on being at the Nextel Cup Banquet.(11-19-2005)
- NASCAR overhauling its impound rules: The procedures were implemented for Nextel Cup races this season as a cost-cutting move and were used at more than half of the events. An impound weekend typically featured Friday practice, Saturday qualifying and a Sunday race. Following qualifying, cars were impounded and could not be altered until the race without penalty. Teams that opted to work on their cars before the race were forced to start at the back of the field. At non-impound races, cars could be worked on after qualifying and before the race.
“This all boiled down to the balance between the show — the garage area — and the racetracks,” NASCAR president Mike Helton said Friday, two days before the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “It just didn’t fit right for right now.” The offseason change relieved teams from the need to have race and qualifying setups on cars. NASCAR officials had announced plans to use the current impound procedures for most of the 2006 Cup schedule. But the sudden impound changes are likely related to the ongoing negotiations between NASCAR and its television partners. NASCAR’s current TV contracts expire at the end of the 2006 season, and it has been in negotiations with several networks on a new deal. The networks in negotiations have indicated a desire for increased on-track activity that could be broadcast. “In the overall scheme of things, it didn’t fit the way we thought it would right now,” Helton said. “We just wanted to back off that and take a look at it from a different angle. We just haven’t found the right balance yet.”(ESPN.com/AP)(11-19-2005)
- Edwards wins pole at Homestead: #99-Carl Edwards, 3rd in The Chase, won the Budweiser Pole for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, for his 2nd pole of the season and his career. #12-Ryan Newman will start 2nd, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #5-Kyle Busch and #6-Mark Martin. Points leader by 52 points, #20-Tony Stewart will start 20th and 2nd in points, #48-Jimmie Johnson starts way back in 32nd. #09-Reed Sorenson was the highest non top-35 team and will start 15th. #15-Michael Waltrip and #11-Denny Hamlin both wrecked on their qualifying laps and have to go to backup cars. Five drivers failed to make the race: #92-Chad Chaffin, #00-Derrike Cope, #51-Mike Garvey, #89-Morgan Shepherd, #80-Carl Long. Long wrecked on his first lap and Shepherd spun before taking the green flag, was on the 5-minute clock, but couldn’t get tires before the clock ran out.
For starting lineup, qualifying results, links, practice speeds, qualifying order, pole prgression and more, see my Jayski’s Homestead Ford 400 Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(11-19-2005)
- Homestead Qualifying Notes:
• Carl Edwards won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Ford 400, lapping Homestead-Miami Speedway in 30.673 seconds at 176.051 mph. Jamie McMurray holds the track-qualifying record of 29.816 seconds, 181.111 mph, set Nov. 11, 2003.
• This is Edwards’ second career Bud Pole in 49 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
• This is his second Bud Pole and 11th top-10 start in 2005.
• This is Edwards’s first Bud Pole and first top-10 start in two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
• Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 30.675 seconds, 176.039mph – and will join Edwards on the front row for the Ford 400. He has started fourth or better in three of his four races at Homestead. Newman posted his seriesleading 29th top-10 start of the season. This is his 14th front-row start this year.
• This is the ninth Bud Pole for Ford in 2005. Chevrolet has 14 Bud Poles and Dodge has 11. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June and Watkins Glen.
• Kasey Kahne (third) has posted sixteen top-10 starts in 2005. He started fourth and finished 38th in his only NASCAR NEXTEL Cup appearance at Homestead (2004).
• Kyle Busch (fourth) has posted 11 top-10 starts this season. This will be his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start at Homestead.
• Mark Martin (fifth) has posted just one other top-10 start in his seven races at Homestead: ninth in the inaugural race in 1999. This is his 11th top-10 start this season.
• Four of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Edwards, Newman, Martin and Greg Biffle (seventh).
• Todd Bodine (24th) qualified for his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race since Darlington in November 2004. Bodine, who won the NASCAR Craftman Truck Series race earlier today will also compete in the NASCAR Busch Series race later today.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-19-2005)
- Ramblings/Qualifying Notes – Homestead
It’s only fitting that on Championship Weekend we’ve got a Ford on the pole for the Ford 400. #99-Carl Edwards captured his second Bud Pole of the season (and of his career) today, edging out Ryan Newman by .002 of a second. He’ll lead ’em to the green on Sunday with a qualifying speed of 176.051 mph. His only other pole came at California in September.
#9-Kasey Kahne (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Dover in September.
#5-Kyle Busch (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Dover in that same September race.
#41-Casey Mears (6th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd at Chicagoland in July.
#42-Jamie McMurray (8th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Pocono in July.
#09-Reed Sorenson (15th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. He lined up 22nd at Atlanta in his only other NEXTEL Cup start.
#31-Jeff Burton (16th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 14th at Loudon in July.
#39-David Stremme (22nd) has his career-best starting spot this week as well. His previous best was 31st at Chicagoland in July.
Welcome Back a Red Hot #4-Todd Bodine (24th). This is his best starting spot since he lined up 24th at Atlanta in October of 2004…..and he’s won three Truck races in a row.
#7-Paul Menard (39th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend also (if he stays in the car….it’s Robby Gordon’s ride). His previous best was 40th at Watkins Glen in August.
STREAKIN….#12-Ryan Newman has 5 Top-5 starts in the last 6 races.
The final Trouble Train of the year looks the same as it’s been most of the season. Chad Chaffin, Mike Garvey, Derrike Cope, Carl Long, and Morgan Shepherd are the dnq’s this weekend, and for the #92 (attempted this weekend by Chaffin) that’s 23 times this season they’ve failed to make the field. Gotta be some kinda award for perserverance.
Hopefully (weather permitting) we’ll crown a Champion tomorrow, and you can expect a ton of “If the race were to end now” scenarios all day long from the TV gang. Gonna be tough to surpass last year, tho….. (Stock Car Fans)(11-19-2005)
- Goodyear’s 2006 NASCAR Tire Lease Program to Deploy RFID Technology: Goodyear will start the 2006 racing season with a new tire leasing program for NASCAR’s top three series and racing’s first deployment of Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID) in the form of an imbedded computer chip in the tires to help manage the leased inventory. The RFID technology will assist in the implementation of NASCAR’s new controlled testing procedures which were developed by the sanctioning body to reduce private team testing next year in an effort to level the playing field for all teams. The new tire lease program will get its own test run this weekend at Homestead -Miami Speedway with the Craftsman Truck Series race. The RFID scanning equipment will quickly read the pertinent information imbedded in the sidewall of the tire. Dedicated Goodyear specialists will be on site at all races with a specially equipped transporter to run the program. Goodyear began exploring RFID technology in 1984 and in 1993 began the first field trial with more than 3,000 tires. The Goodyear Racing Division chose to launch that technology to help manage race tire inventories for the 2006 NASCAR season. Some Q&A about Goodyear’s NASCAR Tire Lease Program and RFID Technology about Tire leasing:
Q: How will the leasing program impact race teams for tire supply and cost?
A: The teams should save money under this tire leasing program, because there will be reduced tire usage-the teams will use fewer test tires. Tire supplies at race events will remain the same.
Q: Does a team get reimbursed for tires they leased but didn’t use during a race event?
A: Yes. Goodyear will issue a partial credit for unused, but Previously Mounted Tires that teams leased for the race. Used tires will be scrapped with no credit given.
Q: What happens to the dismounted, unused tires?
A: The previously mounted tires will be cleaned, identified as PMTs and then made available to NASCAR teams to lease at a discount for either race or test events.
Q: How was it decided to implement tire leasing in 2006?
A: Goodyear initially was asked by NASCAR to implement tire leasing for the 2007 race season. However, in mid 2005 NASCAR asked if we could move it up, and Goodyear was able to commit to the earlier date.(Goodyear PR)(11-19-2005)
- Levi Strauss Signature Fit Pit tour makes final stop at Homestead: The Levi Strauss Signature Fit Pit makes its last NASCAR tour stop this weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway – November 18 through 20. Race goers will find one stop holiday shopping for the whole family without the hassle of dressing rooms or checkout lines. In just 10 seconds the Fit Pit Intellifit scanner produces individualized body measurements, helping shoppers find the perfect size and style of Levi Strauss Signature jeans. For more family fun, the Fit Pit features other elements to create the best jeans shopping experience. Additional activities include:
* A digital photography station where consumers are virtually “transported” to a variety of environments and can then print and send pictures from www.levistrausssignature.com.
* The EA Sports NASCAR Thunder game featuring top ranked NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Jimmie Johnson
* Online kiosks where fans can purchase their Levi Strauss Signature jeans at Wal-Mart.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(11-19-2005)
- Fan on verge of winning $1million: As most NASCAR fans wait to see who will be crowned the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion on Sunday, November 20, Jeffery Rhoten of Bristol, TN will have his eyes on the finish line waiting to see if Jimmie Johnson made him an instant millionaire, as the winner of the Gillette Young Guns “Million Dollar Race to the Finish.” Rhoten, who made his selection on Saturday, November 19 in Miami, has been tasked to select which of the Gillette Young Guns – Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will earn the checkered flag at Homestead-Miami Speedway. For more information you can visit www.gilletteyoungguns.com.(Alan Taylor Communications)(11-19-2005)
- Chaffin hopes to stay in #92 in 2006: Chad Chaffin will attempt to make his third Nextel Cup race in four qualifying attempts today. “We’ve done a lot better than anybody expected,” said Chaffin, who was released from two rides in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season. The Cup team Chaffin drives for is #92-Front Row Motorsports, a low-budget operation in Denver, NC. “They don’t have a lot of resources but they really put a lot of effort into it,” Chaffin said. “Just to qualify for a Cup race these days is a big deal, and we’ve made three of four so far.” Chaffin said there is a chance he could drive for the team full-time next year. He also plans to run a limited Busch Series schedule for #16 Wayne Day Racing.(Tennessean)(11-19-2005)
- Checkers Fields Two Cars this Sunday at Homestead: Checkers will field two cars at the NEXTEL Cup race this Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, creating a unique “race within a race” that will give sports fans one more opportunity to gear up for the intra-Florida rivalry on the football field set for the following week Scott Riggs will drive the #10 Checkers Florida State University Seminole Chevrolet, racing head-to-head with Kyle Petty, who will drive the #45 Checkers University of Florida Gator Dodge. Checkers will donate $5,000 to the “race within a race” winner’s charity of choice. 1:24 scale Gator and Seminole die cast cars are being sold as part of this program with a portion of the proceeds of the sale to benefit the scholarship programs at both universities. The cars will be available for purchase this Saturday and Sunday at all AmeriCrown merchandise trailers at the track, and can also be purchased online atgatorsnolesracing.com(PR). See images of the cars on my #10 Teams Schemes page and #45 Teams Schemes page.(11-19-2005)
- Did ya Know? No #1 champ..ever UPDATE: No driver has won a NASCAR national touring series championship [Cup, Busch, Trucks] with a car or truck carrying the number one [#1].(NASCAR Truck Series Pre-Race)(6-21-2005)
UPDATE: streak broken, #1-Ted Musgrave won the 2005 Truck Series Championship.(11-19-2005)
News from November 18, 2005
- Richert and Manion Win Crew Chief of the Year Award: After a season of fierce competition, the 2005 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge has crowned its champions. Doug Richert, of the #16 National Guard Ford, and Kevin “Bono” Manion, of the #8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, were each awarded Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year honors. At the conclusion of each Nextel Cup event this season, a panel of judges including a member of the local media, a Wypall Wipers representative, as well as Tony Eury Sr. and Robbie Reiser, selected the Crew Chief of the Race. The decision was based on who did the most outstanding job. It wasn’t necessarily the winner of each race, but was certainly the leader who made the biggest difference for his team. Each Crew Chief of the Race was presented with a check for $1,000.
Richert won the award five times throughout the 2005 season to clinch Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year honors among the Nextel Cup garage. “Its an awesome feeling, but I’m not in this position without everyone on this race team,” Richert said, “The team has definitely come full circle, we have all the ingredients; we got the driver, we got the crew, we got the parts and pieces to work with, and the Roush/Yates engine program is second to none.” He managed to hold off Bob Osborne of the #99 Ford, who finished the year strong, amounting four Crew Chief of the Race wins. Richert took home a grand prize of $20,000, courtesy of Wypall Wipers, for his efforts.
Beginning at Daytona in July, Wypall extended the Crew Chief Challenge to the Busch Series garage. At each companion event, Reiser and Eury Sr. selected the most impressive crew chief of the day’s race. Kevin Manion, Newt Moore, and Brad Parrott were each selected twice by the expert panel. A tie breaker was determined based on the point standings, which earned Manion the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year award for the NASCAR Busch Series. Manion was given a $5,000 grand prize. Wypall will return next year to continue the award, running both a full time Nextel Cup and Busch Series schedule. For more information about Wypall or the Crew Chief of the Year award go to wypall.com.(SMC 500)(11-18-2005)
- Lots Happening with the Wood Brothers UPDATE 3 Little Debbie, Schader to the #21: hearing Ken Schrader, driver of the #49 Schwan’s Home Service, could replace Rudd in the #21, ‘if’ Rudd does retire, and possibly may bring the sponsor along with him. BAM Racing and Schrader have said in the past that they expected to be together in 2006 and Schrader said it was his last full-time season in 2006.(10-11-2005)
UPDATE: Wood Brothers Racing is in an expansion mode. The move to a new 129,000-square-foot shop began this week and will be completed by December 1, owner Eddie Wood says. Crew chief Fatback McSwain has been instrumental in hiring the additional crew members needed to operate two truck teams, two Busch teams and the #21 Cup ride. Drivers Bob East and Marcus Ambrose will be part of Ford Racing’s developmental program in the Craftsman Truck Series. Jon Wood and Stacy Compton will drive the Busch cars. An announcement will come this weekend that Ken Schrader will drive the Cup car.(Sporting News)(11-14-2005)
UPDATE 2: the announcement will come Friday morning at Homestead-Miami Speedway…supposedly the sponsors will be some of the sponsors currently on the #21 Ford and a sponsor brand new to the sport….no idea who…yet.(11-15-2005)
UPDATE 3: hearing Little Debbie will sponsor the #21 and Kenny Schrader in 2006, not sure in what capacity, but supposedly as a primary in a number of races.(11-18-2005)
UPDATE 4: Ken Schrader has joined the Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Team. He’ll drive the famed #21 Ford Fusion during the 2006 Nextel Cup season. The car will be sponsored by the newest face in NASCAR ? Little Debbie, America’s #1 snack cake. “I look forward to establishing a winning tradition with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing and Little Debbie Snacks,” says Schrader. “Some of the most victorious drivers in NASCAR history have driven the Number 21 car. I intend to continue that winning tradition in 2006. Three years ago, I thought that 2005 could be my last season. However, when the opportunity to drive for the Wood Brothers and Little Debbie presented itself, it made my decision to continue driving in the Nextel Cup Series very easy,” says Schrader. “There is always excitement when a new company realizes the marketing potential of NASCAR for increasing its business and then decides to enter the sport. This is going to be fun!” Little Debbie will be the primary sponsor of the #21 car for 19 races in 2006. Motorcraft Quality Parts and the U.S. Air Force will rotate their sponsorship of the Ford Fusion for the remaining races during the 2006 season. Collegedale, Tennessee-based McKee Foods, a privately held, family-run company, has manufactured more than 150 billion Little Debbie snacks since 1960 — that’s enough to circle the 1.5-mile oval track at Homestead-Miami Speedway more than 1.3 million times. Little Debbie snacks have even orbited the Earth on the space shuttle, traveling more than 17,500 miles an hour. The #21 Little Debbie-sponsored car was unveiled following a news conference today at the Homestead Miami Speedway. A $21,000 check was presented to the Florida Hurricane Relief Fund to offer immediate assistance to victims of Hurricane Wilma in southern Florida.(McKee Foods/Little Debbie), see images of the car on my 2006 #21 Team Schemes page.(11-18-2005)
- Busch Police Report: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio released the police report of the Nov. 11 incident with Kurt Busch Thursday, along with a statement of how the “antagonistic” Busch was stopped for reckless driving and even refused a deputy’s request to submit to a field sobriety test. But although the lengthy report details the belligerent manner in which Busch dealt with the officers involve- at one time, according to the report, saying, “You have no idea what you’re doing. You have no idea who I am. You have to be the dumbest cops I’ve ever met” – it also says he later passed both a preliminary breath test and an eye test.
An unnamed female passenger in the rented Ford Expedition told police that Busch was driving because she had had too much to drink. Busch told police he had consumed one margarita at a Mexican restaurant. According to the report, Busch’s blood-alcohol level was .017 percent, well below the .08 intoxication limit in Arizona. Arresting deputy Glenn Powe had attempted to test Busch earlier on another breathalyzer machine, but it was found to be out of tolerance, police said. Busch was handcuffed, told he was being arrested for DUI, and brought to a command post, where he agreed to the other tests. There, “I did not see any obvious signs or symptoms of alcohol impairment,” wrote one of the three deputies involved in the incident.
But the Roush organization said it suspended Busch for his hostility toward the deputies involved. According to the report, Powe tried to stop Busch after he noticed the Explorer following another vehicle too closely, and swerving across a solid yellow line to avoid an accident after the first vehicle slowed to make a right turn. According to Powe’s narrative, Busch handed the deputy his NASCAR credential in addition to his driver’s license and rental car agreement. Powe wrote that he asked Busch if he worked for NASCAR, and received “a long-winded dissertation about his celebrity status, listing his accomplishments as if he were reading me his resume.”
After asking Busch to exit the vehicle, Powe wrote that the driver responded, “This is bull—-.” Later, according to Powe, Busch said, “You guys are a joke. Punks. Aren’t you supposed to be directing traffic somewhere?” Powe wrote that Busch refused to finish the field sobriety test, saying, “I’m not doing this gay (expletive) test.” Powe wrote that as he powered up the breathalyzer machine later found to be out of tolerance, Busch said, “You’re only doing this because you’re a Jeff Gordon fan.”(Charleston Post and Courier and links to copis of the report at the Arizona Republic)(11-18-2005)
- NASCAR.com’s Munter gets a ride: Konica Minolta and race car driver Leilani Münter have joined forces for the 2006 NASCAR Elite Division Southeast Series Championship. Münter will also be running for the 2006 Rookie of the Year honors. “I am honored to be a part of the Konica Minolta family,” said Münter, “They are a first class company and they make top quality products. I am proud to carry their colors as I race for the NASCAR Southeast Series Championship. 2006 is going to be an exciting year for me and I will be documenting my adventures with my Konica Minolta digital camera.”(11-18-2005)
- Newman to run 04 Dodge, Rusty/Kvapil the Charger: Don Miller, President of Penske Racing South told Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio that: “We wanted to run ( an 04 Dodge) one earlier in the season and Dodge asked us to hold off until we did some further testing but now we fully intend to run it here and if it works out like we think it will, we will probably run it again next season on certain race tracks. We had trouble with the 2005 being so pitch sensitive on smooth high speed one and a half mile race tracks. Everyplace else the other car is just fine. Definately the #12 is going to run an 04 this weekend.” Miller says the 2 and the 77 will run the 2005 Dodge Charger this weekend at Homestead.(Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(11-18-2005)
- Return of the Intrepid? UPDATE 2: It was reported during NBC’s coverage of the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway that some Dodge teams would roll out a Dodge Intrepid in place of the Dodge Charger for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(11-14-2005)
UPDATE: hearing a Penske Team and a Ganassi team are two of the team that may use an Intrepid at Homestead.(11-15-2005)
UPDATE 2: Ray Evernham of Evernham Motorsports told Claire B. Lang of XM Satellite NASCAR Radio that he’s going to run a 2004 dodge as a test this weekend in an effort to find why the Dodges have been struggling: “The car shows great numbers in the wind tunnel, it qualifies great but it seems to struggle in traffic. This week going to Miami, we’re going to run a 2004 Dodge as a test….Just a comparison you know we’ll basically have two cars with identical chassis set ups prepared by basically the same people just different bodies so hopefully we’ll be able to get some feedback on how each car handles in traffic……Car number 9 with Kasey Kahne will run the older model and Jeremy Mayfield will run the 2005 Charger.”(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(11-18-2005)
- Phoenix TV ratings slip: NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.0 and a 10 share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 2% lower than the 5.1 NBC drew for last year’s ninth race in the Chase For The Nextel Cup, the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-18-2005)
- #77 Team….to be dissolved? UPDATE 2 Good News NOT TRUE: hearing Penske Racing South with dissolve the #77 Kodak team at the end of the 2005 season as Kodak is leaving as sponsor. No word on where Kodak will go or where Travis Kvapil will drive. Supposedly Penske will not be a two car [#2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman] team for long they are going to develop another young driver in the same ABC [ARCA, Busch, Cup] format that was successful with Newman.(11-16-2005)
UPDATE: been told this is NOT true..and that Penske Racing worked things out to keep Kodak and that Travis Kvapil will drive the #77 Kodak Dodge in 2006.(11-17-2005)
UPDATE 2: Kodak has reached an agreement to extend its sponsorship of the Penske-Jasper Racing Nextel Cup team, and Travis Kvapil, a Janesville native, will return as the driver, a team representative said Thursday. A rumor had surfaced one day earlier speculating that the team could be disbanded.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-18-2005)
- Ducks at Homestead: The Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports, Inc. is pleased to announce that its First Annual Derby Duck Race is scheduled for Friday, November 18 at 8:00am/et. Nearly 9,500 rubber ducks will be dumped into the infield lake at Homestead-Miami Speedway and raced to the finish. Ten lucky winners will be decided as the first ten ducks enter the duck trap. Prizes include an all-expense paid trip to the 2006 Daytona 500, race tickets to select tracks and an opportunity to attend a race of choice as guests of the Women’s Auxiliary of Motorsports, Inc. Stay tuned to the WAM website at www.waminc.org for updates and information regarding their Second Annual Derby Duck Race set to kick off during Daytona Speedweeks in February of 2006.(11-18-2005)
News from November 17, 2005
- Congrats: to NASCAR.com’s Marty Smith and wife Lainie on the birth of their son, Cambron Reed Smith, born on Nov 11th, weighing 6lbs 13oz …as heard on Speed’s Backseat Driver show and the NASCAR Scene.(11-17-2005)
- Driver Change at PPI? hearing Bobby Hamilton Jr. will probably not return as the driver of the #32 Tide Chevy for PPI Motorsports in 2006. Dave Blaney has been rumored for the #32 ride as well as the #22 Caterpillar Dodge ride, IF the #77 shuts down, Travis Kvapil could head to either the #22 or #32 teams.(11-17-2005)
- Triple Duty Weekend at Homestead: two drivers will attempt to make all 3 races at Homestead:
Driver, Cup ride, Busch, Truck
Todd Bodine, #4 Chevy, #34 Chevy, #30 Toyota
Mark Martin, #6-Ford, #9-Ford, #33-Ford.(11-17-2005)
- Cabela’s to sponsor #66 at Homestead IMAGES: Peak Performance Motorsports announced that its #66 entry will be sponsored by Cabela’s (Cabelas.com) in the season-ending race at Homestead this weekend. Kevin Lepage will be backed by the nation’s largest direct marketer and leading specialty retailer of hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise for the Ford 400. “We are wrapping up the season on a high note with this announcement from Cabela’s,” said team owner Jeff Stec. “It’s been an exciting year and we are pleased to welcome such a fine company on board for our final race of the season. We are hopeful of having a strong weekend and that we can carry our year-end momentum into 2006.”(PSE-3 PR)(11-16-2005)
See images of the schemes on my #66 Team Schemes page.(11-17-2005)
- Kirby out of the #51 UPDATE: hearing Stuart Kirby and the #51 Competitive Edge Motorsports team have parted ways and the Phoenix Entry List now shows Bryan Reffner driving the car.(11-10-2005)
UPDATE: Competitive Edge places Mike Garvey in the Marathon #51 car this weekend for the Ford 400 in Miami. This is not the first time Mike joined forces with Competitive Edge, as he drove for them in the Busch Series 2 years ago. “I am excited to get back with Competitive Edge and the Auers. It is a pleasure to work with such a professional group,” said Garvey. “It’s great to get Mike back in the car with Walter [Giles],” said team owner Joe Auer.(CEM PR)(11-16-2005)
UPDATE 2: As the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Season draws to a close, many teams, including the Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Chevy, are adjusting their programs to improve performance in 2006. A recent evaluation of the racing effort has resulted in a mutual decision for Competitive Edge Motorsports and driver Stuart Kirby to go their separate ways. “We know that Stuart is popular with Marathon employees and racing fans, which made this a tough decision for both parties, but it needed to be made now to improve to the next level of performance,” said team owner Joe Auer III. “NASCAR Nextel Cup racing demands that the team continually improve.” A decision on a replacement for Stuart will be made during the off-season.(Competitive Edge Motorsports/CEM Site)(11-17-2005)
- Stremme to attempt Homestead: David Stremme will attempt to qualify for his fourth NEXTEL Cup Series start this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the #39 Commit Dodge from the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates stable. It will be the second race this season for Stremme in the Commit car after its Charlotte debut. Previously in Cup competition this season, the South Bend, Ind. native drove the #39 Navy Dodge for CGRFS at Chicagoland Speedway and Richmond International Raceway (September race), and most recently piloted the #39 Commit car at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Lee McCall will serve as Stremme’s crew chief this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. McCall joined Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates at the beginning of the 2001 season to lead the #40 team. McCall has amassed five wins as a crew chief at CGRFS, four with Sterling Marlin and one with Jamie McMurray.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-17-2005)
- The Chase Scenarios: The Championship Scenarios at Homestead:
If Tony Stewart wins the race he wins the title.
1. If Stewart finishes 9th or better, he wins title
2. If Stewart leads a lap and finishes 10th or better, he wins title-6,554
If Jimmie Johnson wins the race (180 points + 5 points for leading a lap = 185 pts)-6,548 1. If Stewart finishes 12th or worse, Johnson wins title
2. If Stewart does not lead a lap and finishes 11th or worse, Johnson wins title
If J. Johnson wins the race and leads the most laps (180 +10 bonus pts = 190)-6,553
1. If Stewart finishes 11th or worse, Johnson wins title
2. If Stewart does not lead a lap and finishes 10th or worse, Johnson wins title
If Carl Edwards wins the race (180 points + 5 points for leading a lap = 185 pts)-6,513
1. If Stewart finishes 25th or worse AND
If Jimmie Johnson finishes 9th or worse, Edwards wins title
2. If Stewart does not lead a lap and finishes 22nd or worse AND
If Jimmie Johnson does not lead a lap and finishes 6th or worse, Edwards wins title
If C. Edwards wins the race and leads the most laps (180 + 10 bonus pts = 190)-6,518
1. If Stewart finishes 22nd or worse AND
If Johnson 6th or worse, Edwards wins title
2. If Stewart does not lead a lap and finishes 21st or worse AND
If Johnson does not lead a lap and finishes 5th or worse, Edwards wins title
If Greg Biffle wins the race (180 points + 5 points for leading a lap = 185 pts)-6,498
1. If Stewart finishes 30th or worse AND
If Jimmie Johnson finishes 13th or worse AND
If Edwards finishes 4th or worse, Biffle wins title
2. If Stewart does not lead a lap and finishes 27th AND
If Johnson does not lead a lap and finishes 10th or worse AND
If Edwards does not lead a lap and finishes 2nd or worse, Biffle wins title If G. Biffle wins the race and leads the most laps (180 + 10 bonus pts = 190)-6,503
1. If Stewart finishes 27th or worse AND
If Johnson finishes 10th or worse AND
If Edwards finishes 2nd or worse, Biffle wins title
2. If Stewart does not lead a lap and finishes 25th or worse AND
If Johnson does not lead a lap and finishes 9th or worse AND
If Edwards does not lead a lap and finishes 2nd or worse, Biffle wins title.(ESPN.com)(11-17-2005)
- 65 Cams at Homestead: The “Chase for the Nextel Cup” races to the finish line at the Ford 400, Sunday, 3:00pm/et from Homestead-Miami Speedway, live in high definition on NBC. Coverage begins with a special one-hour “Bank of America Countdown to Green” pre-race show, followed by green flag racing at 4:00pm/et. NBC’s production arsenal for the Ford 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup finale will include 65 cameras, including eight cars with in-car cameras and three isolation cameras focused on the top three drivers in the championship “Chase.” The “Tony-Cam,” “Jimmie-Cam” and “Carl-Cam” will be isolated on points leader Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson (-52) and Carl Edwards (-87) respectively. NBC also will have a “Crew-Cam” mounted on the helmet of Stewart’s rear tire carrier, Jody Forston, that will show the speed and pressure from his point of view during Stewart’s pit stops.(NBC PR)(11-17-2005)
News from November 16, 2005
- #97 to #28? UPDATE 2 to #26: Lee Spencer reports on Fox Sports Net’s Around the Track that the #97 Roush Tea, with new driver Jamie McMurray is expected to switch to the #28 in 2006. Around the Track runs on Fox Sports South [TV] at 10:30pm/et on Sunday’s.(10-30-2005)
UPDATE: hearing the new number could be #26, which Roush Racing used years ago with Johnny Benson and the Cheerios car.(11-12-2005)
UPDATE 2: Roush Racing has decided to bring back the #26, replacing the #97, when Jamie McMurray steps into the car next season starting at Daytona. The sponsors of Kurt Busch’s old ride – Sharpie, IRWIN and Crown Royal – will transfer over to the new number along with new paint schemes [an owners points]. Although Busch won the championship with the #97 in 2004, the move is a smart one from a marketing point of view. With the recent troubles for Busch, the rebranding will help build a new base for McMurray and the sponsors. The last time Roush ran the #26 was during the 1998-1999 seasons with driver Johnny Benson. Benson, who ran the Cheerios sponsored car at the time, posted 12 top-10 finishes in 48 races behind the wheel of the car. The #26 has seen multiple drivers and owners over the years, most recently with Todd Bodine and Haas-Carter Motorsports in 2002.(RacingOne image there)(11-16-2005)
- Harvick joins “The Kelly’s”: #29-Kevin Harvick will appear on the 2005 series finale of The Kellys, the first animated series depicting the experiences of a stock car racing team. The final episode, “Harvick Dusts Team Kelly” will be available exclusively on www.nascar.com beginning Friday, November 18th leading into the season finale of the Nextel Cup Chase and the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “I’m thrilled to be the first Nextel Cup driver featured on The Kellys,” Harvick said. “I am a big fan of the show. I always wanted to be a cartoon when I grew up.”
The Kellys is an animated series, optimized for broadband viewing, about a dedicated racing family who are the most popular underdogs on the racing circuit. Harvick, appearing as himself, was chosen by NASCAR fans as one of the five most popular drivers in 2004 and a winner of the prestigious Brickyard 400, among his career accomplishments. The Kellys features other highly regarded voice-actors such as Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons; Rugrats; Kim Possible), Rob Paulsen (Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain; Land Before Time), Jess Harnell (Alf; Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Kath Souci (Rugrats; Winnie the Pooh) and Corey Burton (101 Dalmations; Toy Story 2).(NASCAR)(11-16-2005)
- Wimmer knows what Busch is going thru: #22-Scott Wimmer, who was convicted last year in North Carolina of driving under the influence of alcohol knows what Kurt Busch is going through. Even though Busch, who was pulled over and charged with reckless driving, was not hit with a DUI over the weekend in Arizona. A Sheriffs Deputy suspected the presence of alcohol. “I feel for him” said Wimmer. “It’s a tough thing you have to go through in life. He’s strong. He’s a champion. He’ll get through it. He’ll be back and he’ll be back strong.” Scott has some advice for Kurt.”Stand up and admit he (Busch) made a mistake and move on. Everybody deserves a second chance and everybody makes mistakes and unfortunately you’ve got to go through life with something you don’t care to.” Wimmer said he worked through his situation with the help of his family and friends. “I know Kurt has a great family and a lot of great friends in the garage area and I’ll be there to support him. It’s something you hate to see people go through and you really need a lot of support through it and he’ll find out he’ll have a lot of support from everybody.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-16-2005)
- Stewart clinches Gatorback Championship The race season isn’t over quite yet, but #20-Tony Stewart has already clinched one championship. Stewart has put enough distance between himself and the remainder of the field to capture the Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Championship prior to this weekend’s season-ending race at Homestead, Fla. The Gatorback award, sponsored by Goodyear Engineered Products, goes each week to a driver posting the fastest lap while leading a Nextel Cup race. At the end of the season, the driver compiling the most fastest laps is declared the Gatorback champion for the season. Stewart, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, will receive the 2005 Gatorback Fastest Lap solid crystal trophy, along with check for $75,000, at the season-ending NASCAR banquet at New York in December. Stewart has dominated the Nextel Cup field by posting eight fastest laps this season. His closest challenge came from rival #16-Greg Biffle, who has recorded five fastest laps. With one race to go, Stewart is out of reach of the competition. Gatorback Poly-V belts were introduced at the 2002 Daytona 500 on rookie Cup driver Jimmie Johnson’s pole-sitting racecar. Today, every Nextel Cup car uses the same straight-off-the-shelf belts that race fans can purchase from auto parts stores and installers. Goodyear has supplied belts to NASCAR for 24-years and is the exclusive NASCAR Performance licensee of automotive aftermarket belts and hose. For more information, visit goodyearbeltsandhose.com.(Goodyear PR)(11-16-2005)
- A Yeley Story: Now you know the rest of the story. It was announced last at Phoenix that Chris Yeley will take over the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy next season. Chris Yeley? Yes, that’s J.J. Yeley’s given first name. J.J. stands for Jimmy Jack, a combination of his uncle’s name Jimmy and his father’s name Jack. Yeley says “The two of them went in when I was born and took turns being with my mom. It was a lengthy labor unfortunately so they took the initials of the two. I actually got “Chris” as my given name about a week later. I like J.J., it’s a good racing name.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-16-2005)
- Ameriquest as a sponsor? hearing Ameriquest will sponsor either Roush Racing in some capacity or the #21 Wood Brosthers team as a co-primary.(11-16-2005)
UPDATE: been told Ameriquest will be the sponsor of the #16 Roush Racing Ford in the Busch series with a few of the Roush Cup drivers piloting the car.(11-16-2006)
- Sherman to the #49? UPDATE 2 OFFICIAL: hearing Busch Series driver Brent Sherman could be headed to the #49 BAM Racing Dodge with Serta as the sponsor.(11-4-2005)
UPDATE: Brent Sherman is expected to take over as driver of BAM Racing’s #49 with Schwann’s and Serta sharing sponsorship. Sherman, 31, currently drives the #10 Ford for ppc Racing in the Busch Series and has 25 career Busch starts. His best finish was ninth in the spring at Talladega.(Sporting News)(11-7-2005)
UPDATE 2: Brent Sherman, the talented rookie driver from the Chicago metro area, will drive the #49 Dodge for BAM Racing beginning with the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season. Car owner Beth Ann Morgenthau made the announcement today. Runnerup only to the legendary Frank Kimmel for the 2004 ARCA championship, Sherman exhibited the consistency necessary for success in the major leagues of stock car racing. That came after his first full season in ARCA, when Sherman finished fourth in the final national standings. This past season, he has competed in 25 NASCAR Busch Series events with a pair of different teams. The 31-year-old Sherman is a native of North Barrington, Ill., on the northwest side of Chicago. Unlike many of those who will be running for Rookie of the Year in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series next season, Sherman has never started a race in the series. BAM Racing, completing just its fourth year of operation, is owned by the Morgenthaus, investors from Coral Gables, Fla. Ms. Morgenthau, whose initials make up the name of the team – BAM Racing – is the only female car owner in motorsports to become involved without prior family connections. General manager Eddie Jones is a veteran of the NASCAR Nextel Cup wars, enjoying a championship career as a crew chief, mechanic and team leader. Crew chief David Hyder has over 20 years of racing experience both driving and as a chief mechanic. Car chief Ron Otto is a former crew chief with years of successful experience in major league stock car racing.(Williams Company)(11-16-2005)
- Cingular Wireless gives fan a chance at over a $1mil: Cingular Wireless is finishing the 2005 racing season with a bang by giving Race Talk Million winner Jessica Gilbert of Chamois, Mo., a chance to win $1,000,031 before the NASCAR Cup race in Homestead. Gilbert will attempt to start the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet driven by Jeff Burton from one of 18 keys. If the car starts, Gilbert will take home a check for $1,000,031. In addition, Cingular is also giving local fans the chance to register to play alongside her. If Gilbert starts the No. 31 car, one registered fan on-site will win $50,000. Customers and fans can register on-site from 12 – 5 p.m., with the drawing scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 17 at the Cingular Wireless store located at 5043 Sheridan Ave, Hollywood, Fla. For additional information, please visit www.cingular31.com.(11-16-2005)
- Garvey in the #51 at Homestead: Competitive Edge places Mike Garvey in the Marathon #51 car this weekend for the Ford 400 in Miami. This is not the first time Mike joined forces with Competitive Edge, as he drove for them in the Busch Series 2 years ago. “I am excited to get back with Competitive Edge and the Auers. It is a pleasure to work with such a professional group,” said Garvey. “It’s great to get Mike back in the car with Walter [Giles],” said team owner Joe Auer.(CEM Site)(11-16-2005)
- Daytona Gets More Time for HOF bid: An unexpected move by NASCAR has given Daytona Beach more time to line up public money to attract the coveted stock-car-racing hall of fame. NASCAR executives announced during the weekend that they would hold off on selecting a site for the hall until early next year. That gives lawmakers time to revive a plan during a special session next month to sell a NASCAR-themed license plate and use the proceeds to help finance Daytona’s bid for the attraction. Daytona — which is competing with Charlotte, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; Kansas City, Kan.; and Atlanta for the hall of fame — has proposed spending at least $70 million to overhaul Daytona USA and merge it with a new museum.(Orlando Sentinel)(11-16-2005)
News from November 15, 2005
- Speed Channel at Homestead: SPEED Channel will elevate its coverage of the final event in the NASCAR Chase for the NEXTEL Cup with a week’s worth of at-track and off-site programming from South Florida, culminating with a four-hour live pre-race package Nov. 20 beginning at 11:00am/et. In addition to multiple live programs from the track, Speed Channel also will bring several of its studio shows to Miami, embracing the city’s personality and style.
Backseat Drivers (Wed, Nov. 16, 7pm/et) with NASCAR.com’s Marty Smith and Shannon Spake will be shot on-location at a Miami-area sports bar, The Chase is On (Nov. 17, 8pm/et) with Ralph Sheheen and 1999 Cup champion Dale Jarrett will set up shop poolside at the Sheraton Bal Harbour and the crew from NASCAR Nation will soak up the star-studded nightlife of South Beach with NASCAR Nation On Location on Nov. 19 at 9pm/et. Monday’s popular Inside NEXTEL Cup with Dave Despain, Michael Waltrip, Ken Schrader and Brian Vickers also will be shot on location at Homestead.
On-track coverage will be highlighted by live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season finale Nov. 18 at 8pm/et. Speed plans 20 hours of programming from South Florida, up from 14 hours a year ago.(Speed Channel)(11-15-2005)
- Baldwin gone from Evernham? UPDATE New Team Structure at Evernham: hearing #9 crew chief, Tommy Baldwin Jr. has left Evernham Motorsports, no word on where he is headed.
MORE hearing this is true and that there could be some crew swapping between the #9 and #19. UPDATE 8: As the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup season winds down, planning for 2006 is already well underway at Evernham Motorsports. For President and CEO Ray Evernham, it is anything but business as usual. Evernham is developing a new architecture for team success, one designed to foster better collective thinking, decision making and intellectual innovation. In 2006, Evernham will do away with the crew chief position on all of his race teams, instead installing a leadership team similar to many corporate structures. Each of the Evernham Motorsports Nextel Cup teams will have a Team Director, a Car Director and an Engineer. Evernham designed the new team structure with an eye toward the future and the continued evolution of the sport.
#19: For 2006, the leadership and team members of Evernham Motorsports will shift their alignment to better share the knowledge and thought-processes throughout the organization. The team that comprises the #91 Evernham Dodge Charger today will move to the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger, driven by Jeremy Mayfield. It will be led by Chris Andrews as Team Director. Kirk Almquist will be the Car Director and Tim Malinovsky will be the Engineer.
#9: The #19 team will shift to the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger, which Kasey Kahne will continue to drive. Kenny Francis will be the Team Director for the #9 team, Mike Shiplett will be the Car Director and Keith Rodden will be the Engineer.
#10: The #9 team will support the new No. 10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Charger and driver Scott Riggs. Rodney Childers is the acting Team Director, and the leadership team will be announced at a later date.
The new team structure will be in effect for the final race of the 2005 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2005. Tommy Baldwin, Team Director of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger, will serve as a team consultant at Miami before moving on to pursue his dreams of running his own team. “Tommy will be leaving Evernham Motorsports to hopefully start his own operation,” added Evernham. “He’s very interested in being a team owner, and I want to help him get started just like Rick Hendrick helped me get started. I’ve known Tommy since he was 10 or 11 years old, and wish him the very best in the future.”
“I appreciate the opportunity to work with Ray for several years,” said Baldwin. “I’ve learned an awful lot from him. I also appreciate him letting me move on and helping me accomplish what I want to accomplish in the future. I came to Ray some time ago and told him this is what I’ve wanted to do. He didn’t have any problems with that. He was in the same position with Rick (Hendrick) when he wanted to move on. Ray has helped me through all this and helped my decision making. I’m thankful for his friendship. Kasey and I have talked about this,” he added. “He’s going to win plenty of races with me or without me. He just has a God-given talent. I’m not worried about that. I’m glad I’ve become really good friends with him, and hopefully we can carry that into the future.”
The remaining positions within the new team structure at Evernham Motorsports are expected to be named in the next few weeks.(Clear!Blue/Evernham Motorsports PR). See past rumors on Baldwin leaving on the #9 Team News and Links page.(11-15-2005)
- Todd Bodine in the #4 at Homestead: Morgan-McClure President and Team Manager Larry McClure announced that Todd Bodine will be driving the #4 Lucas Oil Chevy at the final race of the 2005 season in Homestead, FL. “Todd is coming off two wins in a row in the Craftsman Truck Series and has the momentum we feel will help our Lucas Oil team be competitive at Homestead. We appreciate Todd stepping in to be a part of our effort this weekend.”
“I’m looking forward to it [driving the Lucas Oil Chevy]. Morgan-McClure has been a part of this sport for a long, long time. I have known Chris [Carrier, crew chief] for years and years and I’m very proud to help out this weekend at Homestead,” said Bodine of his invitation to drive the #4 Lucas Oil Chevy. Bodine will have a busy schedule this weekend as he plans to compete in all three series events driving the #30 Germain Toyota in the Truck Series Ford 200 on Friday, the #34 Dollar General Chevy in the Busch Series Ford 300 on Saturday and the #4 Lucas Oil Chevrolet in the Nextel Cup Series Ford 400 on Sunday. Bodine has won six races in the Craftsman Truck Series to date, four of which have been in the 2005 season and has 15 career wins in the Busch Series. His best finish at Homestead in the Nextel Cup series was 11th in 2003.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(11-15-2005)
- #9 and #19 get newe 2006 paint schemes: When the green flag falls at the 2006 Daytona 500 next February, the Dodge Chargers of Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne will be sporting bold new paint schemes reflective of the bold design of the popular Dodge Charger production vehicle. The new 2006 Dodge Dealers paint scheme provides Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield distinctive yet familiar team identities. The new scheme maintains the Dodge trademark red color and provides greater on-track visibility for Dodge Dealers. The #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger of Jeremy Mayfield will still feature the bright red hood with the signature Dodge Ram’s head and branding for the Dodge Dealers. But, the Dodge Charger will carry black doors and fenders with red numbers on the side and white numbers on the roof. Mayfield drove a black car in several races in 2005, and made a special request for a cool black Dodge Charger for 2006.
Kasey Kahne’s #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger also will have a new look for 2006. His Charger will carry the same bright red hood and Dodge Ram logo as the #19, but will have white doors and fenders. The numbers on the side of the car will be black and the top of the car will be white. Diecast models of the new #9 and #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Chargers will be available through Action Performance beginning February. To purchase online, visit evernhammotorsports.com.(Clear!Blue PR), see images of the schmes on my #9 Teams Schemes page and #19 Team Schemes page.(11-15-2005)
- Kluever to debut at Homestead? UPDATE…no…Wallace back in: many reports have Roush Racing’s Truck Series driver, Todd Kluever running the #97 Ford at Homestead-Miami Speedway, making his Nextel Cup debut.(11-14-2005)
UPDATE: from the Kenny Wallace site: Kenny was called by Jack Roush Monday afternoon and asked to race in the #97 Ford at the Homestead race with the thanks of the Roush Family of teams. “We’ve asked Kenny to return for an encore performance. He did a really nice job in a car that was not set up for him and he didn’t have any practice in the car.” Geoff Smith confirmed on Monday, “”We think Kenny deserves a chance with a car that is set up for him and with an entire weekend of work with the team.” Also note this means that Kenny and hopefully Mike will race together with brother Rusty in his final Nextel Cup race.(Kenny Wallace site)(11-15-2005)
- Busch was tested and below blood-alcohol content limit: An alcohol test taken by defending Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch showed the 27-year-old fell far short of the legal level for intoxication last Friday night near Phoenix International Raceway, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department said late Monday. Busch was charged with reckless driving near the raceway on Friday evening after he was clocked at 60-mph in a 45-mph zone by a Maricopa County deputy. Busch began fleeing from the deputy by running a stop sign and making erratic lane changes. Busch was pulled over less than three miles from the Phoenix track moments later after a second officer assisted in the pursuit. “Mr. Busch was administered a preliminary breath test at the command post which registered .017,” Maricopa Sheriff’s Lt. Paul Chagolla said. In Arizona, a person can be charged with driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol level at .08 or higher. A 170-pound male who consumes two drinks in two hours will have a blood-alcohol content of .01, according to estimates from the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Web site. Chagolla said the decision to have Busch take a second breath alcohol test — this time on an Intoxilyzer 8000 machine — was at the sole discretion of the deputy. “It’s all up to the investigating officer,” Chagolla said. “He could have made that decision, but this is an experienced deputy sheriff who does many DUI arrests. You have to trust his decisions.” Chagolla said Saturday that Busch had performed a preliminary breath alcohol test during Friday evening’s roadside stop. Chagolla admitted Monday night, however, the chronology of events he originally reported was erroneous, and the initial breath alcohol test was conducted at the county’s command post at the speedway. “The odor of alcohol, combined with dangerous driving, gave the officer the right to transport Mr. Busch,” Chagolla said. Media reports from Chagolla on Saturday said the Intoxilyzer 8000 had failed.
When asked why the .017 reading wasn’t made available to the public on Saturday, Chagolla said he was still on a fact-finding mission. “Whatever information I had at the time is what I was going to release,” Chagolla said. “And it’s important to note that never at any point did the sheriff’s office say he was impaired.”
Busch was suspended Sunday for the season’s final two Cup events. Roush Racing president Geoff Smith defended the decision, saying Busch’s actions violated contractual obligations with sponsor Crown Royal, whose parent company is Diageo. “Regardless of whatever level of [alcohol] presence was there while driving, we have some very strict sponsorship rules in place,,” Smith told reporters. “We feel very strongly that those rules have been significantly breached.” Busch and Roush Racing representatives could not be reached for comment Monday evening.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-15-2005)
- Mike Wallace looking for a ride: Just a few months ago it was announced that Morgan McClure Motorsports decided to quit playing the “pull the driver out for this race” game with Mike Wallace, and had told him he would be their driver for the rest of 2005. But, as they did earlier in the season, they apparently changed their mind. Today Morgan McClure Motorsports announced Todd Bodine as their driver of the #4 Lucas Oil Chevy for the season finale NASCAR Cup Series race at Homestead, FL. This announcement comes one day after Mike’s brother Kenny Wallace was announced as the fill-in driver for the #97 Roush Racing Ford, which could have put the two in the final regular season NASCAR Nextel Cup race with their older brother Rusty, who is retiring from behind the wheel after Homestead.
Motorsports Lounge talked with “Team ML” driver Mike Wallace this evening about the situation at Morgan McClure Motorsports as well as other issues surrounding this weekend. “They have to do what they feel they need to do,” said Mike Wallace to Jason Stix Buckley. “They apparently feel the driver change will help them run better at Homestead, so that is that.” With older brother Rusty retiring after this race, Mike was really hoping to race against him. “Kenny and I started this season racing against Rusty at Daytona, and it would be really cool if we could end it also in the same race. It would mean a lot to our family. Kenny is now in the #97 for the race, so now I need to find a ride. If a team out there wants a driver for the Homestead NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race, give me a call!” Even if Mike doesn’t get that call for this memorable occasion, he will still be racing in Homestead. “This weekend I will be driving Rusty’s Miller High Life car in the Busch Series race,” Mike said. “Rusty’s team has great equipment, so we are going down there to have some fun and win the race.” But, that isn’t all the fun for Mike this weekend. “We are going to go down and hang out with country singer Chris Cagle. We are going to watch him perform and just have a great time!”
What does next season hold for Mike Wallace? “We will deal with next season after this weekend,” said Mike. “Right now we are looking forward to seeing Chris Cagle, racing Rusty’s car and hopefully getting a ride for the Nextel Cup race. Also, my daughter Chrissy will be racing her Pro Challenge car at Friendship Motor Speedway Saturday, so hopefully we both can bring home trophies this weekend!”(Motorsports Lounge PR)(11-15-2005)
- Olsen and Vidovich win Toyota All-Star Showdown Features REVISED: Auggie Vidovich, of Lakeside, Calif. captured the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division feature while Mike Olsen, of North Haverhill, N.H. was the NASCAR Grand National Division winner in Saturday night’s third annual NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway. Vidovich, who started eighth, dominated the final 50-lap segment of the 125-lap AutoZone Elite Division main event after taking advantage of the double file restart at lap 76 to pass Rip Michels for the lead.
The victory by former Busch North Series champion Olsen in the 150-lap Grand National Division race came after a race of dramatic changes of fortune that produced 14 lead changes among five drivers. David Gilliland of the West Series was second, .828 seconds behind, followed by Busch North drivers Matt Kobyluck, Ryan Moore and Sean Caisse.(more at NASCAR.com, Racingwest.com or irwindalespeedway.com)(11-13-2005)
REVISED: NASCAR announced that the unofficial results of Saturday’s Toyota All-Star Showdown Grand National Division race at Irwindale Speedway have been revised, resulting in original runner-up David Gilliland being declared the winner. The car driven by Mike Olsen, originally listed as the winner in the unofficial results, failed post-race inspection. Olsen’s crew chief, Harry Norcross, was determined to be in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components, and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR rule book. Olsen’s car had unapproved right-side wheels which exceeded the maximum width of 9 ½ inches and were less than the 27-pound minimum weight. The violations dropped Olsen to 31st in the official race finish. Gilliland and all others in the event moved up one position as a result.(NASCAR)(11-15-2005)
- Richert Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Phoenix: Doug Richert and the #16 National Guard/Post-it Ford were able to turn it around after a dismal week at Texas Motor Speedway to finish second at the Checker Auto Parts 500. Biffle led 189 laps, the most in the race, which is the 4th time this season he has done so. For his preparation getting the #16 Ford ready for Phoenix, Doug Richert was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. Biffle fought hard in the Arizona sun, dominating most of the race. “Greg had to battle all day so we didn’t gamble as far as tires go,” said Richert. “We had a really good car; you don’t get that too often, so we were hoping to capitalize. Overall, we were pleased with the 2nd place finish,” continued Richert. The #16 Ford’s turnaround from a lackluster performance could also be attributed to fast pit stops. “The guys have been great all year long; they know every second counts and they performed well today. We had problems in Texas, but we bounced back and put together some great pit stops for Greg.” The panel of voters, including local NBC Sportscasters, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser, unanimously voted for Richert as the crew chief that did the best job.
With his win, Doug Richert clinches the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year, racking up six wins overall. He will receive a check for $20,000 this weekend in Homestead. Bob Osborne is alone at second. Alan Gustafson and Greg Zipadelli are tied for third-place with three wins. Jimmy Fennig, Robbie Reiser, Chad Knaus, Steve Addington and Robbie Loomis are tied for fourth-place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Greg Erwin, Slugger Labbe, Pat Tryson and Pete Rondeau are tied for fifth-place, each with one win. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(11-15-2005)
- Miller Lite Comments: Kurt Busch will be with the Miller Brewing Company when he takes over the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2006. Asked if Penske Racing South was still confident that Busch was the right pairing for that sponsorship, the team president, Don Miller, said: “Absolutely. I see some qualities that he has that are excellent. But I’ve also seen some areas we need to work on.” Although he is not yet with Penske, Busch was contacted by officials at Miller yesterday. “We’ve spoken with Kurt and we’re confident he truly understands the significance of his behavior, particularly regarding the fact we cannot and will not tolerate any behavior that demonstrates a lack of responsibility in the consumption of alcohol,” the company said in a prepared statement. “We’re going to stand by Kurt, but we made it clear to him that we expect him to also stand by us by demonstrating behavior befitting a true champion.”(New York Times)(11-15-2005)
- Busch not to participate in Homestead events: A day after Roush Racing suspended Kurt Busch for the remainder of the season, officials at Homestead-Miami Speedway announced that the defending Nextel Cup champion will not participate in events leading up to Sunday’s Ford 400. The unveiling of the 2004 Nextel championship banner at 1:00pm/et Tuesday has been canceled, speedway spokesman Phil de Montmollin said. The banner currently is on display, but Homestead had scheduled to formally honor Busch, who last year won the first Nextel Cup under the current chase format. Entering this Sunday’s race he ranks ninth, 441 points behind leader Tony Stewart. “It’s not a real big deal for us, because the championship banner will be up,” speedway president Curtis Gray said. Greg Biffle, fourth in the chase, will replace Busch at a question-and-answer session during the “All-Star Welcome to Ford Championship Week,” with Marlins’ outfielder Jeff Conine. During the event from 6 to 9 p.m. at Conine’s Clubhouse Grille in Hollywood, fans can view the Nextel Cup and win two tickets to the Ford 400.(Mercury News)(11-15-2005)
- Red Baron’s back on the #49: Kenny Schrader will drive a #49 BAM Racing Dodge emblazoned with the Red Baron frozen pizza colors this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Red Baron frozen pizza products are distributed under the Schwan’s Consumer Brands North America banner, which also markets other leading frozen-food retail brands that include Tony’s and Freschetta frozen pizzas, Pagoda Asian specialties, and Larry’s potato side-dishes. Schwan’s Consumer Brands is a division of The Schwan Food Company, whose Schwan’s Home Service business unit sponsors Schrader and the #49 BAM Dodge throughout the remainder of the season. “We’ve got Red Baron back on the car this week and I know I’ve told this story before, but it means a lot to me. Red Baron was one of my first sponsors ever in the Cup series and we’ve always had a great relationship. Since the day of my first go around with Red Baron back in 1986, they have always kept my Mom’s freezer stocked with two Red Baron Frozen Pizzas… always! That’s really all you need to know about how I feel and what Red Baron has meant to me during my career”, said Schrader.(Williams Company), see image of the car on my #49 Team Schemes page.(11-15-2005)
- Aaron’s to sponsor Long at Homestead in the #80: Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership has agreed to sponsor the Carl Long and Hover Motorsports endeavor this weekend at Homestead. Aaron’s will be the primary sponsor featured on Stan Hover’s #80 Dodge driven by Carl Long in the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Carl Long site)(11-15-2005)
- Chex Mix on the #43 at Homestead: This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday’s Homestead-Miami 400. Green will be driving a #43 Chex Party Mix Dodge for this season-ending event.(Williams Company)(11-15-2005)
- Menard to help Robby out at Homestead: This coming weekend, #7-Robby Gordon will run the Baja 1000 in Mexico, a race he’s won twice. He’ll have Busch Series regular (and DEI driver) Paul Menard practice and qualify his #7 Chevy on Saturday for Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Homestead with Gordon racing in the race in on Sunday. Gordon now is running DEI engines.(Yahoo Sports)(11-15-2005)
- #18 Team wins Checkers Double Drive-Thru Challenge: The #18 Interstate Batteries/Madagascar Team with driver Bobby Labonte won the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge at the on November 13th at the Phoenix International Raceway with a pit-road-service time of 272.609 seconds. As the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, Checkers/Rally’s recognizes the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team with the best pit road performance each week with a $10,000 prize. At the end of the season, Checkers/Rally’s will award the $100,000 grand prize to the team that garners the most Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge wins throughout the race season. Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge takes place at all 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point races. To win, teams must finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time in pit lane. For details on the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, visit checkers.com/nascar.(MARC PR)(11-15-2005)
News from November 14, 2005
- Overnight Phoenix TV Ratings down: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway earned an overnight rating of 4.0 from Nielsen Media Research and a 7 share in the nation’s largest television markets, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The overnight rating is 13% lower than the 4.6 NBC drew overnight for last year’s 35th Nextel Cup race, which was the Mountain Dew Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway. The Nov. 7, 2004, race at Phoenix, which was last year’s 34th race, drew a 4.3 overnight rating.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-14-2005)
- Last Week to Vote for Most Popular Driver: With just days remaining for nationwide fan voting, Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to lead the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award – but fans and fan clubs for other drivers appear to have picked up their support. Fan clubs and web sites for several drivers have urged their fans to vote regularly at www.mostpopulardriver.com, as votes have tightened to determine which drivers will finish in the top 10 of the final tally. Jeff Gordon is second in the voting, followed by Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson. The most coveted NASCAR award behind only the national driving championship itself, the Most Popular Driver is determined by an online vote by fans at www.mostpopulardriver.com. The winner will be announced during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Awards Banquet weekend, Dec. 2, in New York City. A record 4 million votes have been cast, and Earnhardt Jr. has led since voting began in February. The driver standings may change this final week, however, as fans hope to move their favorite drivers into the top spot before the balloting ends at 11:59pm/ct, Monday, Nov. 21, the day after the final race of the season at Homestead, Fla. Bill Elliott’s 16 most popular wins tops all drivers. He is followed by Richard Petty, who has won nine times. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win last year made him the fifth driver in NASCAR history to win the award in consecutive seasons, while his win in 2003 made him and his father, the late Dale Earnhardt, the only father-son combination to have won. Other past winners have included such notables as Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.(Williams Company)(11-14-2005)
- Brothers Sweep, first since 1976: Kyle Busch won Sunday’s race at PIR, while brother Kurt took the spring race here. That makes them the first brothers to sweep both Cup races at one track in a single season since Donnie and Bobby Allison turned the trick in 1978 at Atlanta.(Speed Channel)(11-14-2005)
- Kyle Busch walks out on press conference: There were two post-race press conferences for the winner at Phoenix. #5-Kyle Busch ended the first one abruptly when he found questions about dealing with his older brother’s problems tiresome. After a lapse of about a half hour, the race winner returned and clarified his position. “The only thing out there for us to do is acknowledge the contents of the police report and whatever Kurt Busch will say or release at a later time,” he said.(Gaston Gazette)
AND In the PIR infield media center for the traditional winner’s interview, Kyle was queried about his emotions on the day when his brother was suspended following an encounter with local police Friday night. “The only thing I’m going to say is I’m behind my brother 100 percent and usually things in the media are false and that’s what it comes down to sometimes,” Kyle said. Soon after, USA Today reporter Chris Jenkins asked, “Kyle, what specifically has the media written this weekend that’s been false about your brother?”
“I’m not going there, bud,” Kyle replied. “That was a really, really inappropriate question.” He then got up and stormed out of the media center, only to return some 15 minutes later.(Speed Channel)(11-14-2005)
- Why no burnout at Phoenix? #5-Kyle Busch wasn’t pleased with the second victory celebration of his Nextel Cup career. “I just want to apologize to all the fans for not doing my normal smoky burnouts,” he told an estimated crowd of 105,000 from victory lane. “NASCAR wanted me to come directly to victory lane.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-14-2005)
- Penske Behind Busch: Roger Pensek said before the race on NBC that the citation and Roush Racing Suspension of Kurt Busch will NOT change a thing and Busch will drive the #2 Miller Lite Dodge for Penske Racing in 2006. On Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel, Penske said he has already called the Sheriff and talked about doing somethign with the community and working things out.(11-14-2005)
News from November 13, 2005
- Kyle Busch wins at Phoenix: #5-Kyle Busch won the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway for his 2nd win of 2005 and his career. Busch is the 4th ‘Lucky Dog’ driver to win a race, he was a lap doen when he had a tire go down early in the race and got the Lucky Dog pass on the next caution. So even with Kurt Busch suspendced and not in the race, he Busch brothers swept the races at Phoenix in 2005, Kurt winning the spring event. #16-Greg Biffle dominated early in the race and led 189 of the 312 laps but came up short and finished 2nd. #24-Jeff Gordon finished 3rd and is still winless at Phoenix. #20-Tony Stewart finished 4th and increased his points lead to 52 over #48-Jimmie Johnson, who finished 7th. #18-Bobby Labonte rounded out the top-5. #7-Robby Gordon put his DEI to good use and finished 8th for his 2nd top-10 of the season and #77-Travis Kvapil finished 10th for his 2nd top 10. #97-Kenny Wallace [that looks weird] subbed for suspended Kurt Busch and finished 16th. #11-Denny Hamlin, the pole sitter, led 23 laps and finished 13th. Four drivers are still eligible for the 2005 Nextel Cup Champion [as long as Stewart runs the race]: #20-Stewart (leader), #48-Johnson (-52), #99-Edwards (-87), #16-Biffle (-102). If Stewart finished 9th of better, nothing any other driver can do to stop Stewart from winning it at Homestead. There were only 9 cautions for 44 laps and 5 drivers led laps with 10 lead changes.
For my race rundown, laps led, DNF’s, caution info, Lucky Dogs and some notes, see my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page.
For race results and awards, and other site links, see my
- Jayski’s Phoenix Race Results/Awards page.(11-13-2005)
- Busch out of the #97…NOW – Kenny Wallace IN, Busch suspended: been told by sources at the track that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Roush Racing Ford may not be driving the car at Phoenix today…no word on who would drive the car, if this is true….see the news about Busch’s ‘traffic citation’ below or on my #97 Team News page.
Kenny Wallace will drive the #97 Irwin Tools Ford at Phoenix, as he reported himself on Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning. Roush Racing and NASCAR will be making an announcement soon.
UPDATE: Roush Racing’s Geoff Smith said on Speed Channel’s NASCAR This Morning that Busch has been suspended from Roush Racing for the final two races at Phoenix and Homestead, Kenny Wallace is in the car at Phoenix, no word on who will drive the car at Homestead.(11-13-2005)
ROUSH RACING statement: Roush Racing announced that effective immediately it has suspended Kurt Busch for the remainder of the season. “This suspension is made after full review of all the circumstances surrounding Kurt’s Friday night altercation with the Arizona police, and after consultation with our primary sponsors, Newell Rubbermaid and Diageo,” said Jack Roush, team owner. “All parties are in complete support that the action being taken today is necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.
“We give our profound apology and support to the arresting officer and the entire Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and thank all of the officers for the great job they do with helping the Phoenix International Raceway bring our event to so many wonderful Arizona race fans,” Jack Roush continued.(Roush Racing)
NASCAR Statement: NASCAR fully supports Jack Roush’s decision to replace Kurt Busch as the driver of the #97 Ford for the remainder of the season. Based on the facts that are known today, no actions by NASCAR are necessary.(NASCAR)(11-13-2005)
- Kurt Busch Statement: regard his reckless driving citation:
“I regret the incident that occurred near the Phoenix International Raceway Friday evening where I received a traffic citation. It is important to understand that this citation is not alcohol related. I want to apologize to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s department for my actions.”(Kurt Busch Inc)(11-13-2005)
- Kurt Busch charged with reckless driving: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch was detained on suspicion of drunken driving and cited for reckless driving after a confrontation with police near the track where the NASCAR champion is to race Sunday. Busch was stopped Friday night after trying to avoid another car and running a stop sign about 2 miles from Phoenix International Raceway, said Lt. Paul Chagolla “As a result of the roadside investigation the deputy did take Mr. Busch into custody for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol,” said Lt. Chagolla. Chagolla said the deputy smelled alcohol on Busch, but the driver refused to perform standard field sobriety tests. Busch did submit to a field breath alcohol test, and the device showed the presence of alcohol. The deputy drove Busch to the raceway, where a sheriff’s facility is located, to administer another breath test but the machine there failed. The deputy then decided to cite Busch for reckless driving and he was released, Chagolla said. Busch was spotted driving about 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, Chagolla said. A deputy tried to pull Busch over but there was some delay, Chagolla said. When he did stop, Busch was argumentative and uncooperative, Chagolla said. The deputy then called for a supervisor.
Busch, the reigning Nextel Cup champion, is in Phoenix to race in Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500. Busch, eighth in points for the season, qualified 17th for the race. His team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said: “It’s a traffic ticket as far as we know.”(ESPN.com/AP)
AND Defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champ Kurt Busch was issued a criminal traffic citation for reckless driving Friday night by a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputy. The stop occurred at 8:20 p.m. near El Mirage and Broadway roads, about three miles from Phoenix International Raceway. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said a motorcycle deputy saw Busch nearly rear-end another vehicle, speed around it to avoid a crash and blast through a stop sign. He was clocked at 60 mph in a 45 zone. The deputy said he tried to stop him, but Busch kept driving. The deputy called for backup and another deputy helped pull Busch over. Arpaio said Busch insulted the deputy by asking what law enforcement agency he was from and saying, “you ought to be directing traffic.” Busch reportedly pulled out his driver’s license and NASCAR identification and said, “Don’t you know who I am?”
“He can speed on the racetrack but he’s not going to speed on the streets of Maricopa County,” Arpaio said. MCSO spokesman Lt. Paul Chagolla said the deputy “smelled alcohol” and tried to administer a standard field sobriety test. Busch started the tests but stopped before completing each one. He was then taken into custody under suspicion of driving under the influence and transported to a mobile command post at PIR for a breath-alcohol test, but the machine malfunctioned. Busch, who will drive in the Checker Auto Parts 500, was issued a criminal citation for reckless driving and ordered to appear in Tolleson Justice Court on Dec. 22. “I don’t plan to take any action myself,” said Jack Roush, Busch’s team owner. “I’m not looking down the road with Kurt, based on the fact that he has his release and he will be doing something else. He’ll be under new management, and new oversight next year, and I’ll just stand aside and watch and see how that works out for him.” Busch will drive for Penske Racing South next season.(Arizona Republic)(11-12-2005)
UPDATE: NASCAR president Mike Helton was seen escorting Busch to a NASCAR hauler for a private meeting [at Phoenix]. Hunter also attended but refused to reveal any details of the meeting.(Roanoke Times)
AND Saturday morning, after he qualified 17th but before the content of the citation was known, Busch told The Miami Herald: “This is nothing more than a speeding ticket. And so things get blown out of proportion. . . . Just a meaningless speeding ticket. I’m not that stupid on race weekend.”(11-13-2005)
- The 2005 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup-Week No. 9
• Tony Stewart finished fourth at Phoenix International Raceway and remained the leader in the 2005 Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Stewart is 52 points ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson, 87 ahead of Carl Edwards and 102 ahead of Greg Biffle. One year ago the difference from first to second was 18 points entering the final race at Homestead (Busch over Johnson). The 10 drivers will race one final race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway to determine the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion who is expected to win in excess of $5 million.
• Four of the 10 Chase drivers can still mathematically overtake Stewart at Homestead. The maximum points that can be gained or lost in a race assuming all drivers start is 156 points. Johnson, Edwards, and Biffle are all within the 156-point window and could mathematically overtake Stewart at Homestead. The top-four drivers are separated by 102 points.
• If Tony Stewart finishes ninth or better, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he will become the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion regardless of the performance of any other driver.
• Four drivers in the Chase changed point’s positions at Phoenix International Raceway.
• Six of the nine Chase races thus far in 2005 have been won by Chase drivers. Jimmie Johnson (Dover and Charlotte) and Carl Edwards (Atlanta and Texas) are the only drivers with two victories in the Chase.
• Only one of the 10 Chase drivers led at Phoenix, earning lap leader bonus points: Greg Biffle.
• Tony Stewart has earned 50 lap leader bonus points in the Chase, five more than Greg Biffle.
• Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards have each have scored seven top-10 finishes in the first nine races in the 2005 Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
• Jeff Gordon (third) climbed from 12th to 11th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He holds the 11th position by 10 points over 12th-place Jamie McMurray.
• Nine of the 10 drivers competing in the 2005 Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup have scored at least one victory in the 2005 season. Five of the 10 drivers have scored multiple victories led by Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle each with five. Rusty Wallace is the only Chase driver that is winless in 2005.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-13-2005)
- Driver Points Standing after Phoenix race 9 of 10 in the Chase:
#20-Tony Stewart, 6415
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 6363, -52
#99-Carl Edwards, 6328, -87
#16-Greg Biffle, 6313, -102
#6-Mark Martin, 6253, -162
#12-Ryan Newman, 6208, -207
#17-Matt Kenseth, 6187, -228
#2-Rusty Wallace, 6016, -399
Kurt Busch, 5974, -441 [suspended rest of 2005, 34 races]
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 5939, -476
and the fight for 11th and the $1 million
#42-Jamie McMurray, 4031
#24-Jeff Gordon, -10
#38-Elliott Sadler, -41
#29-Kevin Harvick -106
For drivers/owners points, classic points top 15, see my
- Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page.(11-13-2005)
- “Classic” Points Standings – Top 15…the old way, not the Chase after Phoenix, race 35 of 36:
1) #20-Tony Stewart, 5081 [would have clinched weeks ago]
2) #16-Greg Biffle, 4799, -282
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4728, -353
4) #6-Mark Martin, 4501, -580
5) #2-Rusty Wallace, 4388, -693
6) #99-Carl Edwards, 4327, -754
7) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4286, -795
8) #12-Ryan Newman, 4258, -823
9) Kurt Busch, 4248, -833
10) #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 4147, -934
11) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4031, -1050
12) #42-Jamie McMurray, 4021, -1060
13) #38-Elliott Sadler, 3990, -1091
14) #29-Kevin Harvick, 3925, -1156
15) #01-Joe Nemechek, 3857, -1224
- Where did the Chasers start/finish at Phoenix?
#20-Tony Stewart, started 9th, finished 4th
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 2nd, 7th
#99-Carl Edwards, 3rd, 6th
#16-Greg Biffle, 4th, 2nd
#6-Mark Martin, 29th, 14th
#17-Matt Kenseth, 16th, 32nd
#12-Ryan Newman, 11th, 12th
#97-Kurt Busch is OUT of the car, Kenny Wallace is IN, scheduled 17th, finished 16th
#2-Rusty Wallace, 26th, 29th
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 39th, 24th.(11-13-2005)
- Race Notes – Phoenix:
• Kyle Busch won the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by TECHRON at Phoenix International Raceway, scoring his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 41st career start.
• His career-first victory came at California, 10 races ago.
• Busch became the 16th different race winner in 19 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
• It was Busch’s first Phoenix victory in two races there. He finished eighth in April.
• Busch has scored 13 top-10 finishes in 35 races in 2005.
• Busch climbed from 20th to 19th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. • Busch led three times for 63 laps including the final 28 laps.
• Busch scored the second victory for car owner Rick Hendrick at Phoenix International Raceway. This was Hendrick’s 140th victory as a car owner and 10th in 35 races this season (Johnson-4, Gordon-4 and Kyle Busch-2).
• This is the 17th victory by a Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has 16 and Dodge has three.
• Greg Biffle led 189 laps, leading the most laps in a race for the fourth time this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-13-2005)
- Rumblings – Phoenix
This time is was Kyle Busch, getting by Greg Biffle and leading the final 38 laps today at Phoenix International Raceway to capture the Checker Auto Parts 500 for his second win of the season/career. Win #140 for Hendrick Motorsports (and the 10th of 2005) moves Busch into a tie for 92nd on the all-time win list and was worth $199,225 from the over $4.8M in posted awards.
Robby Gordon (8th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Watkins Glen in August.
Travis Kvapil (10th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Bristol in April.
Kenny Wallace (16th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Martinsville in October of 2003 (only 13 races).
Mike Skinner (37th) had his best finish since he was 29th at the Brickyard in August (only 4 races).
STREAKIN….Carl Edwards has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races.
Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Travis Kvapil (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Bobby Hamilton Jr (-28 ), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (-21) and Brian Vickers (-20).
As we head to the final round of the “Chase” we’ve got some interesting scenarios at hand. Tony Stewart lengthened his margin over Jimmie Johnson to 52 markers today, and his “Magic Number” is 9th. If Tony finishes in that position (and Jimmie Johnson won and led the most laps….maxed out on points at 190) then they’d be in a flat-footed tie. They’d both have 5 wins, and Tony would get the Championship with the second tie-breaker….he’s have six runner-up finishes compared to two for Jimmie. The “Magic Number” is similar with Greg Biffle….if it were 25th and Biffle maxed out then Biffle would win the tie-breaker by virtue of a 6-5 margin in wins. Hence, the “Magic Number” is 24. Mark Martin will be eliminated when Tony throws the switch.
In “Classic” Points, no driver in the Top-40 advanced more than one spot. On the negative side, Kurt Busch (7th to 9th) and Dale Earnhardt Jr (18th to 20th) were the only multi-position movers.(Stock Car Fans)(11-13-2005)
News from November 12, 2005
- Yeley to the #18 UPDATE It’s OFFICIAL: been told that Joe Gibbs Racing’s Busch Driver, J.J. Yeley will be named the driver of the #18 Chevy at a press conference in Phoenix.(11-9-2005)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that JJ Yeley will drive the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet in 2006. He will continue to run in the Busch Series in 2006 with JGR; the amount of races in the Busch Series will be between 22 to the full season. Attending today’s press conference was JD Gibbs (President), Jimmy Makar (President of Racing Operations) and JJ Yeley (Driver).
JD GIBBS: “We’re excited. We obviously had a great relationship with Bobby Labonte for many years. We like doing things for a long, long time. That worked out. Obviously Bobby made his announcement for, as well as I could imagine, with a hard situation. For us to have JJ sitting here ready to go was obviously a big reason why we were able to make that decision with Bobby. JJ can go forward and win races and challenge for championships. We’re excited about that. Jimmy is the technical one and he’s been to a lot more testing than I have.”
JIMMY MAKAR: “Yeah, I’ll tell you, we’re really excited about JJ. We’ve got a lot going on at JGR right now and from a technical standpoint, it’s been a pleasure to work with JJ and see him and his ability to work with the car and understand the car and converse with the crew chiefs and the guys that work on the car. I think that’s a big plus for him-to be able to understand that and to be able to converse with his crew chief and let’s everybody know what the car needs. His driving talents are excellent and those abilities are something that’s going to make him stand out for others as well. We’re really excited to move forward and long relationship with him. Like JD said, win some races and challenge for a championship.”
JJ YELEY: “I’m very excited to get the opportunity to drive the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet out there. I’ve got some big shoes to fill out there with Bobby Labonte, past champion and a guy that’s won 20 races. I’m just very proud to be a part of JGR. JD and Mr. Makar have given me an opportunity and obviously the equipment is there, Tony leading the points and Denny Hamlin doing very well here lately. So, I’m just very excited for the opportunity they’ve given me and proud that they have the confidence in me. I want to thank a lot of people-Vigaro and Home Depot have been with me in the Busch Series to get me to this point. My parents have obviously sacrificed a lot to get me to this point. There’s a lot of people that have helped me get to this point and hopefully I can go out there for them and make them very proud.”(More at the Joe Gibbs Racing site)(11-12-2005)
- Press Conference with Brian France and Mike Helton about Team Limits..rules a few highlights and a link to the entire tramscript:
MIKE HELTON: What is first certain, what we announced is that beginning in ’06, there’s a cap, understanding that that cap, if we institute it cleanly in ’06, would put a couple of teams in a bad position, and we don’t want to do that. So we’re going to grandfather Roush in, and then Hendricks. For example, he had a two year deal with Terry Labonte in the 44 car. We know going into ’06 that Rick Hendricks is going to have five cars on the racetrack at least ten times next year. Once we get through all of the details of working that out with those two organizations for ’06, then it’s a matter of reaching that cap of four in a reasonable period of time in the future.
Once we reach that cap, and as it applies to everybody else beginning in ’06, there will still be a feature that will allow a four car team to run a fifth car in a program that is getting a rookie ready for the following season with limited number of races attached to it. So it would be possible for someone to have five teams at one time, but that would be under a limitation as to who the driver could be, and the number of races you could put that car out there.
HELTON on Tire Leasing: tire leasing is nothing new to motorsports. But what will happen in ’06 in our national series is Goodyear will show up at the racetrack with all of the race tires that will be used at the event. And when the event is over, Goodyear will leave with every tire that was used at the racetrack for the event. If it coincides with our new test program, Goodyear will be at tests to provide tires for testing, but no team will leave with those tires after the test is over with, and that’s how the leasing program will work.
See the full transcript on my Brian France/Mike Helton 11-11-05 Transcript page.
and from ThatsRacin.com: Q&A: NASCAR’s four-team ownership limit in Nextel Cup by David Poole.(11-12-2005)
- #43 Crew Chief? As for a crew chief for #43-Bobby Labonte next year, Robbie Loomis said the team is looking at a number of people, adding, “God willing, it won’t be me.”(Speed Channel)(11-12-2005)
- #97 to #28? UPDATE #26?: Lee Spencer reports on Fox Sports Net’s Around the Track that the #97 Roush Tea, with new driver Jamie McMurray is expected to switch to the #28 in 2006. Around the Track runs on Fox Sports South [TV] at 10:30pm/et on Sunday’s.(10-30-2005)
UPDATE: hearing the new number could be #26, which Roush Racing used years ago with Johnny Benson and the Cheerios car.(11-12-2005)
- Baldwin leaving Evernham? UPDATE 6: hearing that #9 crew chief, Tommy Baldwin could be leaving Evernham Motorsports and driver Kasey Kahne.
UPDATE: hearing Baldwin could end up at the #38 M&M’s/Robert Yates Racing team as Elliott Sadler’s crew chief.(9-19-2005)
UPDATE 2: Baldwin recently signed a contract with Evernham Motorsports that runs thru 2010. “The only way I would leave, I guess is if Ray [Evernham] threw me out,” say Baldwin. “We’re not talking with him,” Yates Team Manager Eddie D’Hondt said. “He’s got a pretty strong contract where he is and he’s happy where he is.” [Evernham and #9 Kahne](NASCAR Scene Magazine)(10-1-2005)
UPDATE 3 – it’s back… hearing once again that #9 Crew Chief, Tommy Baldwin will be parting ways with Evernham Motorsports, could be after Atlanta or at the end of the season, no word this time, where he would end up.(10-29-2005)
UPDATE 4: There were rumors Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for Mayfield’s teammate #9-Kasey Kahne, wanted out [of Evernham Motorsports]. Baldwin said he’s not going anywhere.(Sporting News)(10-31-2005)
UPDATE 5: #9-Kasey Kahne could have a new crew chief next season, with Chris Andrews taking over for Tommy Baldwin, according to team sources. Where Baldwin might wind up is unclear. At the moment Andrews said he expects to be working with Scott Riggs, the newest addition to Ray Evernham’s lineup.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-11-2005)
UPDATE 6: #9 Crew chief Tommy Baldwin was noncommittal yesterday about his future plans, despite increasing speculation he wouldn’t be back with car owner Ray Evernham as head of Kasey Kahne’s team. Evernham released crew chief Richard ‘Slugger’ Labbe three weeks ago.(Winston Salem Journal), rumors have Badwin going to wither Robert Yates Racing team or Petty Enterprises.(11-12-2005)
- Newman Comments on New teammate: #12-Ryan Newman is thrilled he’s getting a new teammate next year in Kurt Busch. Much of that has to do with the fact he doesn’t get along with his current teammate, #2-Rusty Wallace. “I think any change is definitely a good change, and I think Kurt is a better change than that,” Newman said. “I’ve always heard good things about him as far as being a teammate.” Newman and Wallace have barely spoken since they argued last year at Martinsville, and throughout the year they’ve taken subtle shots at each other through the media. Wallace has been the most outspoken on the subject. Busch will be taking over for Wallace, who is retiring after next week’s finale at Homestead. Penske Racing South also fields the #77 Dodge, driven by Travis Kvapil. “We’ve operated for four years now as a one-car team and supported a lot of things the other two teams were doing and got nothing in return,” Newman said. “It’ll be nice to see the tables turned as far as some of the help coming back our way.”(Tampa Tribune)(11-12-2005)
- All Five Cities still in the race for the HOF: NASCAR Chairman Brian France scuttled rumors yesterday that the Hall of Fame search had entered a cutdown period and said a decision probably won’t be made this year. France said negotiations to choose a winning city probably would begin “after the holidays,” ruling out the possibility the selection would be announced during the season-ending awards ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria on Dec. 2.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-12-2005)
- Chef on CBS Sunday: a profile of Super Chef Mario Batali will air this Sunday on CBS News Sunday Morning. Batali has cooked for drivers at Dover and Pocono Raceway and CBS tagged along when he attended the Aug. race at Bristol. NASCAR will release Mario Batali’s official NASCAR tailgating cookbook in 2006.(11-12-2005)
- RCR Signs Driver for NASCAR West Ride with BMR: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has signed 2005 NASCAR Weekly Series (NDWS) National Champion Peyton Sellers to a multi-year contract and next season will have him driving the #16 Chevrolet for Bill McAnally Racing (BMR) in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. Sellers, a 22-year-old native of Danville, Va., claimed this year’s NDWS Division I championship racing primarily at South Boston Speedway, where he also earned the track championship. BMR’s #16 team finished second in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series point standings this season with driver Steve Portenga. In 12 starts, the team earned three victories, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.(RCR PR), no word on plans for Sarah Fisher [West Series] or Allison Duncan [Late Models at Stockton Speedway, CA] both who run for RCR in 2005.(11-12-2005)
- 4th Qtr Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award Nominations Announced With the checkered flag ready to wave on the 2005 racing season Speed Channel’s Driver of the Year Award Award presented by Gillette M3 Power Nitro fourth quarter nominations were announced. While some champions were crowned before their season ending events the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship battle is turning intense. As a result four stock car drivers dominate in the fan vote. Tony Stewart, whose white-hot third quarter performance earned him the earned him the coveted SCDOTY award and put him on top of the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings, was still leading with two races remaining. Close on his heels were Jimmie Johnson and mister back flip, Carl Edwards. Mark Martin refusing to give up on his title hopes also clinched the IROC series title in this quarter proving his versatility.
Nominated drivers also include Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), Tony Schumacher (NHRA) and Dan Wheldon (IRL). In its 39th year, the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award award for this quarter will be determined by an independent vote of the 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on the cumulative tally of fans’ voting at www.speedtv.com. The voting process is unique in the world of auto racing and provides fans a method of sharing their opinion in awarding the honor. At the end of the year a special, separate, vote will be held for the SPEED Channel 2005 Driver of the Year Award presented by Gillette M3 Power Nitro. The panelists will have their quarterly vote in the next two weeks and the fan vote will close at that time.(DOTY PR)(11-12-2005)
- Hamlin wins pole at Phoenix: #11-Denny Hamlin won the pole for the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, for his first career pole in his 6th race. The pole puts Hamilin in the Budweiser Shjootout and he is the 17th pole winner of 2005. 2nd in points, #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 2nd, followed by #99-Carl Edwards, #16-Greg Biffle and #18-Bobby Labonte. Points leader #20-Tony Stewart starts 9th and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 19th. Fastest in Happy Hour, #12-Ryan Newman, who was wrecked late in that practrice session, qualified 11th. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. is the highest non top-35 team, starting 7th. #78-Jerry Robertson makes his first Nextel Cup race. Seven drivers failed to make the race: #4-Mike Wallace, #51-Brian Reffner, #00-Derrike Cope, #92-PJ Jones, #66-Kevin Lepage, #02-Brandon Ash and #89-Morgan Shepherd.
For qualifying speeds, starting lineup, lineup links, practice speeds, qualifying order and more, see my Jayski’s Phoenix Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(11-12-2005)
- Ramblings – Phoenix:
A year ago, he didn’t have a regular ride in any of the top-three divisions of NASCAR. Six weeks ago, he’d never been in a Cup car. Now, he’s had three Top-10 finishes to his credit and today Denny Hamlin captured his first Bud Pole at Phoenix International Raceway for tomorrow’s Checker Auto Parts 500. To say he’s a quick learner would probably be the understatement of the year! Denny becomes the 17th different Pole Winner this season….last year we only had 12 different drivers to wear that Bud cap.
Jimmie Johnson (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August….but qualifying was rained out that day and we lined up on points for that road course race. This is his best starting spot on time since he had the pole at Chicagoland in July.
Greg Biffle (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Richmond in September.
Brian Vickers (6th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 5th at the Brickyard in August.
Bobby Hamilton Jr (7th) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the outside pole at Atlanta in March.
Kevin Harvick (8th) has his best starting spot since he claimed the pole at Richmond in September.
Robby Gordon (12th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 12th at Chicagoland in July.
Jimmy Spencer (23rd) has his best qualifying effort since he lined up 17th at Lowe’s in May.
Chad Chaffin (35th) makes his first Cup start since Martinsville in October of 2004. He started 37th and finished 39th that day…..course we said all this at Atlanta a couple weeks ago and he relinquished his spot to Bobby Hamilton Jr that day.
Jerry Robertson (43rd) makes his first ever NEXTEL Cup start tomorrow.
STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.(Stock Car Fans)(11-12-2005)
- Qualifying Notes – Phoenix:
• Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Techron, lapping Phoenix International Raceway in 26.831 seconds at 134.173 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 26.499 seconds, 135.854 mph, set Nov. 5, 2004.
• Hamlin posted his first career Bud Pole and his fourth top-10 start in just six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. He tied Loy Allen Jr., for the third quickest career-first Bud Pole in the modern era. Mark Martin, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne all posted their first Bud Pole in their third race while Johnny Benson and Jimmie Johnson each posted theirs in their fourth race. Hamlin and Newman (2001) both posted their career-first Bud Pole prior to their official rookie season.
• Hamlin qualified second for the NASCAR Busch Series race later today.
• Jimmie Johnson posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 26.965 seconds, 133.506 mph – and will join Hamlin on the front row for the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Techron. He posted his 21st top-10 start this season and his second top-10 start in five races at Phoenix.
• This is the 14th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. Dodge has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has eight. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June and Watkins Glen.
• Carl Edwards (third) posted his first top-10 start in three races at Phoenix. This is his 10th top-10 start of 2005.
• Greg Biffle (fourth) posted his 21st top-10 start in 2005. He has posted top-10 starts in two of his four Phoenix races.
• Bobby Labonte (fifth) posted his ninth top-10 start in 2005 and his sixth in 14 races at Phoenix.
• Bobby Hamilton Jr. (seventh), posted just his fourth top-10 start of 2005 and his best since he started second at Atlanta in March. It is his first start better than 19th in four Phoenix races.
• Ryan Newman, who has clinched the annual Bud Pole Award for the fourth straight year and started the season with 13 consecutive top-10 starts, will start outside the top-10 for just the seventh time in 2005.
• Only four of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Johnson, Edwards, Biffle and Tony Stewart (9th).
• Jerry Robertson (43rd) became the 11th driver to qualify for his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race in 2005.
(NASCAR Statisical Services)(11-12-2005)
News from November 11, 2005
- Bobby Labonte to the #43? UPDATE 3 It’s Official: Bobby Labonte to the #43 Petty Enterprises ride Jeff Green would vacate [for the #0 Chevy].(Sporting News)(10-17-2005)
UPDATE 1 Announedment Sched: Petty Enterprises is scheduled to make an announcement on Friday, Nov. 11th at Phoenix International Raceway……….Bobby Labonte driver?(11-10-2005)
UPDATE 2: On Friday, November 10th at Phoenix International Raceway, Petty Enterprises will announce that Nextel Cup champion, Bobby Labonte, will drive the #43 Cheerios / Betty Crocker Dodge in 2006. Labonte won the NEXTEL Cup championship in 2000 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, has 21 career NEXTEL Cup victories and claimed the NASCAR Busch Series Championship in 1991. Labonte started racing quarter midgets at the age of five in his hometown of Corpus Christi, TX. His brother is NASCAR champion Terry Labonte.(11-10-2005)
OFFICIAL: Bobby Labonte, 2000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion, will drive the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge beginning with the 2006 season, it was announced this morning by Robbie Loomis, Executive Vice President of Operations, Petty Enterprises. Labonte, 41, joins Petty Enterprises from Joe Gibbs Racing where he won 21 Cup races and the 2000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship during his 10-year stretch with the team. He will be a teammate to Kyle Petty, and will also work first-hand with Loomis, who is rejoining the organization after a successful championship-winning stint at Hendrick Motorsports.
“Winning in our sport is a learned process,” said Loomis. “The heritage of Petty Enterprises, coupled with a talented, successful driver like Bobby Labonte, will lead to some great things. There’s a lot of work to be done, but we have some tremendous tools here and we’re excited about the future.”
“We’re bringing some serious firepower to the #43 Cheerios Dodge next year and I am excited about having Bobby Labonte as a teammate,” Kyle Petty said. “Bobby knows how to win races and how to win championships, as does Robbie Loomis.”
“I’m really pleased to be part of Petty Enterprises,” Labonte said. “When I first came into this sport, my heroes were Terry Labonte and Richard Petty. To have the opportunity to drive Richard Petty’s #43 car is something I could not have imagined growing up. The #43 knows its way to victory lane, and we’ll get it back there. I am looking forward to working with Robbie, Kyle, The King and the entire Petty team. And, I’m excited about working with households names like Cheerios and Betty Crocker, along with the entire General Mills team. I had a great run at Joe Gibbs Racing, and have the utmost respect for that organization and appreciate all they did for me. I am fortunate to be going to another high quality organization in Petty Enterprises,” Labonte said.
“Just like Cheerios and Betty Crocker, Bobby Labonte is committed to winning, to family and to community,” added General Mills Vice President Laurie Greeno. “We at General Mills are thrilled to have Bobby join the #43 team.”(Williams Company)(11-11-2005)
- Sorenson in the #09 at Homestead: Reed Sorenson is going to get a badly needed Nextel Cup start next week at Homestead thanks to an old friend who has helped his career in the past. Sorenson will drive the #09 Dodge for James Finch, the same car owner who provided the Busch car that Sorenson drove in his second start in that series last year, at Memphis, and recorded his first top-10 finish. Sorenson is set to move to the Cup circuit next year, but unlike most rookies who run the NASCAR maximum of seven races the year before, he has just one start, at Atlanta. Finch said he’s glad to help Sorenson advance his career by offering the car to drive at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-11-2005)
- Get Well: Bart Creasman, spotter for #40 Sterling Marlin at Chip Ganassi Racing, was injured on Tuesday near his Ashville, NC home in a motorcycle accident. Creasman is in good condition and resting at home. Mike Calinoff will substitute this weekend in Phoenix. Calinoff was #17-Matt Kenseth’s spooter until recently when Califnoff went to Ganassi where he will spot for David Stremme in 2006, Stremme takes over the #40 car then.(11-11-2005)
- Derrike Cope takes over the #00 for McGlynn Racing: McGlynn Racing has signed former Daytona 500 winner, Derrike Cope, as primary driver for the 2006 season. The driver change will take place beginning with this week’s race in Phoenix. Cope will remain behind the wheel for the final race at Homestead as well. McGlynn Racing has reluctantly parted ways with veteran driver Carl Long. The move was a business decision and was deemed necessary for the team to continue growing. Long has been with the team for over a year and is a big reason for the team’s success in breaking into the very competitive NEXTEL Cup Series. Derrike Cope will run a full schedule in 2006 for McGlynn Racing. Sponsorship for the #00 team will be announced soon.(McGlynn MotorSports PR)(11-11-2005)
- NASCAR Announces some 2006 Rules; Multi-car teams, testing addressed: NASCAR announced today it is taking several steps to ensure the continued growth and popularity of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, including a program that will cap the number of cars under one ownership group; institute a new testing policy; and adopt a new tire leasing program [not included in the PR].
Car Ownership: The four-car ownership cap program starts in 2006 and NASCAR will work with groups that control more than four cars to establish a reasonable timeline for compliance. The four-car limit will extend to owners and any affiliate group, which includes situations where one or more of the car owners is entitled to receive, or actually receives, any financial consideration based upon the performance of the cars entered by the other car owners, or has any revenue sharing or ownership stake in the team.
Testing: Also new for 2006 is a track testing policy that sets a schedule for when and where NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tests are to be conducted. The scheduled tests will be the only opportunities teams will have to test at Nextel Cup tracks. Teams will be able to schedule tests at facilities that do not host NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events [such as Kentucky, Nashville, Greenville-Pickens, Rockingham, etc]. There will be six test locations that include Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Testing in Daytona will be conducted January 9-11 (even-numbered cars) and January 16-18 (odd-numbered cars). The Las Vegas tests will be January 30-February 1. All other dates will be announced at a later time.(NASCAR PR, see quotes from some owners on my NASCAR News Page)(11-10-2005)
ANd what happens to Roush Racing? Roush officials were told in a recent private meeting with NASCAR that a “grandfather clause” would be included to allow them to keep their five teams at least through the 2009 season. All of their current contracts with sponsors and drivers at least run through then, but what happens when those deals expire remains somewhat murky.(ESPN.com/AP)(11-11-2005)
- Robby gets DEI engines? UPDATE: hearing #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports will be using DEI motors for the remainder of the 2005 season [2 races]. No word on 2006 engine plans. Gordon had been using Menard engines all season. Menard also is a primary sponsor for the team in about 25% of the races.(11-8-2005)
UPDATE: Robby Gordon, after failing to qualify at Texas, Atlanta and Kansas City, and blowing engines at Dover, Charlotte and Martinsville, is rethinking his whole operation. He’s bringing in a new engineer to help crew chief Greg Erwin and a new team manager to help John Story. And Gordon will have new engines here and at Homestead, from the Dale Earnhardt Inc. shop. “John Menard (who currently provides Gordon’s engines) decided it would be better this way,” Gordon said. “And we’ll sit down at the end of the season and evaluate.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-11-2005)
- Schrader wins #15 at Phoenix: NASCAR veteran #49-Ken Schrader, the all-time, all-division leader in victories at Phoenix International Raceway, won the Southwest Series Arizona Lottery 125 Thursday night for his 15th checkered flag at the track. Said Schrader: “I’d trade them all for one Cup win. . . . Nah, I wouldn’t.”(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-11-2005)
- Auto Racing All-America Team Selected: A 17-member Auto Racing All-America Team, the largest ever selected, has been chosen by voting members of the motorsports press. The champions of NASCAR Nextel Cup, IndyCar, Champ Car, NHRA Top Fuel and the World of Outlaws were among the top vote-getters. One of them will be announced as the winner of the Jerry Titus Award — an auto racing equivalent of the Heisman Trophy — at the annual banquet of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association [AARWBA] Dec. 3 in Indianapolis. The voters elect two drivers to the First Team in each of seven categories — Open Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Short Track, Touring Series and At Large. Last year AARWBA decided that endurance racing co-drivers with virtually identical records would be on the ballot as one, and three such pairs were elected this year to create the 17-driver team. Drivers placing third and fourth in the vote comprise the Second Team, while all others receiving at least a 5 percent vote earn Honorable Mention.
From NASCAR, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson lead the Stock Car category with Carl Edwards and Mark Martin making the 2nd team; Martin Truex Jr. led the Touring Series section with Clint Bowyer and Ted Musgrave on the second team. NASCAR drivers earning Honorable Mentions were Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Dennis Setzer. For the full-list of drivers see my Awards Page.(AARWBA PR)(11-11-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun at Texas Motor Speedway, a $1,000 donation was made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Matt Kenseth. This is the eighth time this year that a donation in Kenseth’s name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Communications)(11-11-2005)
- Ellen rides along the Petty Driving Experience: Talk Show Host Ellen DeGeneres took to the speedway in southern California to quell her need for speed and to see what NASCAR is all about. DeGeneres, host of the popular daytime TV talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, was a recent guest of Richard Petty Driving Experience at California Speedway and had the opportunity to ride in and drive an actual NASCAR style stock car. “It was thrilling! I haven’t been on a roller-coaster or anything like this for years,” said DeGeneres. “So with this kind of excitement, I was like a kid in there. I think we have the traffic problem in Los Angeles solved, though. I had clear sailing all day and only saw one other car out there the whole time.” Her visit to the speedway came as a surprise to the other guests there on Friday. Other participants were told of an impending guest but voted to have it kept a secret until the last second. “We were really excited to see her come through the door,” said Brent Swain, a first-timer from Coronado, CA. “She had us cracking up the whole time and made the day truly memorable. It’s not everyday you get to live out your own dream and do it alongside a celebrity like Ellen.”
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is nationally syndicated throughout the country and the episode featuring Ellen at Richard Petty Driving Experience will air on Monday, November 14, 2006. Check local listings for exact times or visit www.ellentv.com for additional tune-in information.
Richard Petty Driving Experience, headquartered Concord, N.C., will operate more than 1,200 track days at 25 locations nationwide in 2005, including permanent locations at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Walt Disney World Speedway?, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Gateway International Raceway. For more information, call 1-800-BE-PETTY or visit their website at www.1800bepetty.com.(Williams Company PR)(11-11-2005)
News from November 10, 2005
- Blaney hopes to sign 2006 deal soon: Dave Blaney is still in search of a full-time ride. He’s been rumored to be a leading candidate with more than one team, including former associate Bill Davis Racing. Blaney confirmed Tuesday that he expects to seal a deal for a full-time ride perhaps as soon as next week. He’s in negotiations with more than one team. Once a contract is completed, the owner could have an announcement shortly thereafter. “Hopefully, we have a contract done enough where they can announce it when they want,” Blaney said. “All I can say is that I think we’re close.”Tribune Chronicle)(11-10-2005)
- Sad News – Services: Dick Hutcherson, who won 14 races in 103 starts in NASCAR’s top series in the 1960s, died Sunday at age 73. Hutcherson was traveling back to North Carolina from Florida when he suffered a fatal heart attack near Columbia. Funeral arrangements have still not been announced. Hutcherson was born in Keokuk, Iowa, and raced late models in the Midwest for nearly a decade before coming to NASCAR in 1964. He finished second in his second career start, at Occoneechee Speedway, and the next season joined the powerhouse Holman-Moody team that was based in Charlotte. He ran 52 races in 1965, winning for the first time at Greenville-Pickens Speedway and adding eight more victories that year on his way to a second-place finish in the points standings. He won three more races for Holman-Moody the next year and two more in cars owned by Bondy Long in 1967. Hutcherson served as crew chief for David Pearson in Pearson’s championship seasons in 1968 and 1969, then became general manager for Holman-Moody. In late 1971, he and Eddie Pagan formed Hutcherson-Pagan and started building race cars used by such drivers as Darrell Waltrip and A.J. Foyt. Hutcherson-Pagan still supplies parts to race teams with a truck that serves as a rolling warehouse at the track each weekend.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2005)
UPDATE: Dick Hutcherson Memorial Services: There will be open visitation all day Wednesday, November 9, at Raymer Funeral Home located at 16901 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, NC. The family will be receiving friends from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 10, also at Raymer Funeral Home. A graveside burial will be held at 2:00 pm Sunday, November 13, in Elk Creek Virginia. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Comers Rock Cemetery, Elk Creek Virginia. Hutcherson-Pagan will be closed Thursday, November 10 and will reopen Friday, November 11.(11-9-2005)
see a full obit with a guest book at the Charlotte Observer.(11-10-2005)
- Centrix on the #01 at Phoenix: Joe Nemechek will be driving the #01 Centrix Financial Chevy this weekend with the U.S. Army as an associate sponsor.(MB2 Motorsports)(11-10-2005)
- Get Well: Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser was resting and expected to make a full recovery after doctors in Colorado removed a tumor from his liver Wednesday. Unser also made 5 NASCAR Cup starts in 1968, 1969, 1986, with a best finish of 4th. The surgery was performed at University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. Unser was hospitalized in his hometown of Albuquerque last month for treatment of pancreatitis and gallstones, but the liver operation became necessary after a biopsy disclosed the tumor. Unser has a genetic condition called hemochromatosis, his wife said, causing him to retain excess iron. It apparently caused the 2-centimeter tumor to develop. Doctors removed half of Unser’s liver as well as his gall bladder during the Colorado procedure. Gall bladder surgery initially had been scheduled for last month in New Mexico. The 66-year-old Unser is expected to remain hospitalized for about two weeks.(ESPN.com/AP)(11-10-2005)
- Hamilton Jr. tests at Gateway: #32 PPI Motorsports and driver Bobby Hamilton Jr., tested the #32 Tide Chevy at Gateway International Raceway on Tuesday, November 8 in preparations for this weekend’s event at PIR.(PPI Motorsports)(11-10-2005)
- Kirby out, Reffner in the #51: hearing Stuart Kirby and the #51 Competitive Edge Motorsports team have parted ways and the Phoenix Entry List now shows Bryan Reffner driving the car.(11-10-2005)
- Southern Sports Awards Nominates NASCAR tracks/teams/drivers…what? no lugnut [LMS Mascot]?: The Daytona 500 and August night race at Bristol Motor Speedway have been nominated in the “Best Sports Experience” category in the inaugural Southern Sports Awards which recognizes and honors the athletes, fans and the traditions that “set the South above the rest in the sports world.”(DIS PR)
Talladega The Talladega Superspeedway Infield is among select nominees for the first ever Southern Sports Awards (SSA), a two-hour special awards show that will recognize and honor the athletes, fans and traditions that “set the South above the rest in the sports world.” Talladega Superspeedway’s nomination is to the “Best Place To Tailgate” category.(TSS PR)
Roush Racing: Roush Racing [#’s 6,16,17,97,99] have been nominated for Best Management.
Dale Jr. vs Jeff? Dale Earnhardt Jr. vs. Jeff Gordon have been nominated for the Biggest Rivalry category.
Coach of the Year: among the nomiee’s are Chad Knaus, #48 Crew Chief for Jimmie Johnson and Greg Zippadelli,(#20 Crew Chief for Tony Stewart.
Fan Favorite nominee’s include Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #11, #18, #20 team owner Joe Gibbs, not for racing but for being the headcoach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins.
Newcomer of the Year: surprise! Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Ford [4 wins] is nominated along with #5-Kyle Busch, winner at California as a rookie.
AND finally for the The “Style” Award…nominated from NASCAR are Kyle Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Fans can vote to determine the winner by logging on to www.southernsportsawards.com until Nov 23rd and completing the 13-category ballot. The awards will be presented Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2005 at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA.(11-10-2005)
- Pepsi reups with Hendrick: Pepsi and Hendrick Motorsports have extended one of NASCAR’s most enduring relationships, today announcing an agreement that secures the New York-based beverage maker as a major associate sponsor and “Official Soft Drink” of Jeff Gordon’s #24 DuPont Chevrolets through the 2010 NEXTEL Cup Series season. As part of the pact, Gordon in 2006 will drive Pepsi-branded race cars April 30 at Talladega, Ala., and July 1 in the company’s signature event, the Pepsi 400, at Daytona Beach. NASCAR’s 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001 Cup Series champion, Gordon has been associated with Pepsi since 1997 and remains its most longstanding spokesperson.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(11-10-2005)
- Some road course fun for the #01 team: hearing that Joe Nemechek and the #01 Army team are coming out to Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving Racing on Thursday for a little friendly competition with each other before heading out to Phoenix International for this weekends race. They will be using the Bondurant C5 Corvette on the autocross then moving to the Briggs and Straton Karting complex for a Pro Kart Grand Prix.(11-10-2005)
News from November 9, 2005
- Labonte to run Madagascar scheme at Phoenix: #18-Bobby Labonte will run the Interstate Batteries/Madagascar scheme on the #18 Chevy at Phoenix International Raceway’s Cup race on Sunday.(Joe Gibbs Racing), Labonte was to drive this scheme the Coca-Cola 600 in May right after the movie premiered, but when the #11 FedEx car failed to make the race, FedEx moved to the #18 and the Madagascar scheme then ran in the June Pocono race. The movie is now being released on DVD, hence the promotional scheme, see an image of the scheme on my #18 Team Schemes page.(11-9-2005)
- Craven may sit out 2006 season: Ricky Craven said he is prepared to sit out next season if he doesn’t get the opportunity he desires. He currently is finishing up his year with Roush Racing [#99] in the Truck Series. “I’ve had some opportunities in the Busch and Truck series but I’ve made it clear I want to get back to the Nextel Cup Series next year and I want it to be a quality opportunity,” said the 39-year-old Craven on Tuesday. He won’t be a noncompetitive field filler in Nextel Cup, he insisted. “My odds have diminished in the last few weeks because the opportunities are starting to fill up. We live in a world of statistics and numbers don’t lie. The youth movement has gained so much momentum,” said Craven. “[Twenty-four-year-old] Denny Hamlin is going to drive the 11 car next year [for Joe Gibbs Racing]. He clearly has talent and deserves the opportunity. He has done a very good job. That type of opportunity simply didn’t exist when I was a rookie in 1995,” Craven added. “You had to race a minimum number of years in Busch to get considered for a Cup ride. Drivers under 30 years of age who got top 10 Cup rides were few and far between. Young drivers short on experience are getting those rides now. That’s how the sport has changed,” said Craven, the 1995 Cup Rookie of the Year. There are two races left in the truck series and Craven, currently 11th in points, said he hopes to make a decision on his future in the Nextel Cup Series within the next two weeks. Retirement isn’t an option, he said. Nor is seeking another job within the NASCAR garage (i.e. crew chief). If he doesn’t land a Nextel Cup ride, he said he will “re-evaluate” his future. He said he may eventually decide to seek a ride in the truck or Busch series but only if the team can challenge for the points championship.(Bangor Daily News)(11-9-2005)
- Texas Final TV Ratings: NBC’s coverage of the inaugural fall NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday earned a 5.1 national rating/10 share, a 4% increase from the comparable race last year (4.9/10 in Phoenix). With only two races left in the “Chase for the Nextel Cup,” the eight “Chase” races are averaging a 4.5 rating on NBC & TNT, up 5% from 2004 (4.3) and up 10% for the comparable eight races in 2003 (4.1). Season to date, NASCAR on NBC & TNT is rating a 4.7, up 8% from 2004 (4.4).(NBC PR)(11-9-2005)
- Daytona Hall and License Plates: Two of Florida’s most-powerful lawmakers support creating a NASCAR license tag during a special legislative session in December, potentially boosting Daytona Beach’s bid for a stock-car hall of fame. House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City, and House Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, back a plan to sell specialty tags to help finance the hall of fame. Daytona Beach is trying to outbid four other cities for the project, which economic-development officials say would be a boon to tourism. But it remained unclear whether Senate leaders also would back the idea. Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said he will consider adding the issue to the special session, but said hall-of-fame supporters should have met legally mandated criteria to get the tag approved. Those criteria include paying a $60,000 fee and doing a survey to ensure enough motorists would buy the tag. Volusia County lawmakers tried to create the license tag during this spring’s regular session, but it died along with other proposals to help finance sports facilities. The idea resurfaced, however, as it became apparent that lawmakers would hold a special session.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-9-2005)
- Jeff Gordon to Compete in France: #24-Jeff Gordon, and five-time X-Games gold medalist and rally driver, Travis Pastrana, will represent Team USA in the 18th Race of Champions – Nations Cup, Dec. 3 at the 70,000 seat Stade de France in Paris. Three years ago, Team USA – Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Colin Edwards – won the event. Approximately 10 countries with drivers from many racing disciplines, including NASCAR, Formula One and World Rally Championship, will take part in the prestigious international competition.(GM Racing PR)(11-9-2005)
News from November 8, 2005
- Robby gets DEI engines? hearing #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports will be using DEI motors for the remainder of the 2005 season [2 races]. No word on 2006 engine plans. Gordon had been using Menard engines all season. Menard also is a primary sponsor for the team in about 25% of the races.(11-8-2005)
- Martin to run final throw-back scheme of 2005 at Phoenix: Mark Martin will run a Retro-1981 paint scheme this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The Retro ‘81 scheme is the fourth and final retro-scheme that Martin will run during the 2005 “Salute To You” season. The Retro ‘81 design is the scheme that Martin ran on his first Winston Cup race car in 1981. “It’s really been a long time since I’ve seen that car,” said Martin. “I know just like the other cars it will bring back a lot of memories of those early days. It was a really cool looking car back then, so I think everyone will enjoy seeing it again this weekend. It’s been really neat running all of the retro schemes this season. These cars really span the majority of my career and they bring back a whole lot of memories,” added Martin. “We’ve had a lot of success and been through a lot of battles over the years and it has been a lot of fun to revisit that with these paint schemes this year. We were able to get the win in the Retro ’93 car in the All-Star at Charlotte and we had a really good run in the Retro ’90 car at Indy, so hopefully we can keep that going and close it out strong with this car at Phoenix.” Martin ran the Retro ’81 scheme in his Winston Cup debut at North Wilkesboro Speedway on April 5, 1981 where he stared fifth and finished 27th. The car went on to win two poles and earn Martin’s first career top 10 and top-five finishes in Cup racing. The car will still be sponsored by Viagra*, but will feature the Retro ‘81 scheme.
Races – 5; Highlights – Martin’s first ever Winston Cup paint scheme…Won the poles (Martin’s career first) at both Nashville (6/11/81) and Richmond (9/13/81)…Scored Martin’s first career top-10 with a seventh-place finish at Richmond on Sept. 13, 1981 and his first top-five with a third-place run at Martinsville on Sept. 7, 1981.(Roush Racing), seee an image of the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page.(11-8-2005)
- Ricky Rudd ‘taking a break’: from the Rickyrudd.com site:
“With the announcement yesterday that Kurt Busch will be driving the #2 Penske Dodge next year, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify my plans for the future. First, let me say that discussions between me and the Penske organization about driving the #2 car next year came up very recently and after I already had decided to take a break from racing for a time. As I have told many of you before, I have not taken a vacation or sick day in nearly 30 years of racing, and with my contract with the Wood Brothers expiring at the end of this race season, it seemed like the perfect time to step back and take a break, but I did not want my plans to become a distraction to the Team. We have been running very well. The Wood Brothers and the Team deserved an opportunity to maximize the results for the remainder of the season. Eddie Wood and I talked some time ago, and he was comfortable with this approach.
“As I said, the opportunity to possibly drive the #2 car in 2006 came up only recently. I had previously turned down several other opportunities to drive for teams and owners I respect, but the Penske opportunity was unique, and maybe the only offer that would have made me consider changing my plans to step back for a time. The thing that made the offer unique was not often does the opportunity come along to step into a Championship contending car with just a one year driving obligation. In my view, however, the way this has worked out is to everyone’s benefit. I get to take the break I was planning to take and the #2 team gets to do what is best for them and their sponsors long term. I am happy that I was able to provide them with a good alternative in case Kurt was not able to drive the #2 car next year, but quite frankly – for me and my family – the way it has turned out is a much better result.
“I really enjoy racing for the Wood Brothers — they are great people. Since Michael McSwain has come on board as crew chief our cars have been extremely competitive — we have not always had very good racing luck, but the cars are very capable of winning races and with a little bit of racing luck, I really think we could have been solidly in the top 10 this year. I still have the desire and ability to win races, but a little burn out is beginning to set in. I may drive a few races next year if someone needs a substitute driver, but its time to “freshen up” and do some things with my family that I have put off for a lot of years. I still have the ability to drive a race car and be competitive—I think we can win a race before this year ends. However, if I were to decide never to drive again, I have had a great career.
“….most of all, I want to thank my family, whose support and patience carried me when things were not quite as comfortable as they are today. I am especially grateful to my father, who passed away a few months ago, for his unconditional support and encouragement not only early on, but, throughout my career. His passing has been a very sad event in our lives, and I think it has contributed to my desire to take a little time off. Finally, I want to thank Linda, my wife, and Landon, my son. I am looking forward to a little private time with both of them. I hope this clarifies things. I am not going far. I will be around.” See Rudd’s full statement at Rickrudd.com site.
OF NOTE: no where does Rudd say he is RETIRING as some other reports have indicated.(11-8-2005)
- TV Crew Changes? hearing Speed Channel pit reporter Wendy Venturini will move from the Truck Series coverage to Speeds ARCA coverage in 2006 with Krista Voda doing pit reporting for Speed in the Truck Series.(11-8-2005)
- Diageo to be Primary sponsor of McMurray in 2006: Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks business, announced that it will take over primary sponsorship of Jamie McMurray’s Roush Racing Ford beginning in the 2006 season. The company’s Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE brands will own the primary paint scheme on the Roush Racing Ford for 21 races next season, with Newell-Rubbermaid retaining the remaining 15 races. In 2004, Crown Royal became the first spirits brand to enter the sport after NASCAR announced that spirits companies would be allowed to participate as team sponsors. “I am excited about the opportunity to start a new era in my career with Crown Royal and Roush Racing,” McMurray said. “I know that with this new partnership comes greater responsibility, as I will be counted on to help Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE reach millions of fans with messages related to the importance of responsible drinking.” The sponsorship will be built around Diageo’s existing relationship with Roush Racing, which began in 2003 with a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 car for Diageo’s flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE. That sponsorship continued for part of 2004, before switching to the #97 car late in the season. Throughout the 2005 season, Diageo has utilized its association with NASCAR to promote responsible drinking to millions of NASCAR’s adult fans as the #97 drove in the Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE colors during 10 Cup races. On September 10, 2005 at Richmond International Speedway, Crown Royal became the first-ever spirit brand to win a NEXTEL Cup race when the #97 drove to victory during the Chevy Rock and Roll 400. Crown Royal’s integrated motorsports marketing plan will include primary sponsorship at 18 races during the 2006 season, including the Daytona 500. Smirnoff ICE will have primary sponsorship for three races. Crown Royal will continue to capitalize on its sponsorship on several additional levels throughout the season, including consumer promotions and retail events, dedicated print and broadcast advertising to promote responsible drinking, licensing, online consumer promotions, public relations and hospitality.
Crown Royal also continues to engage race fans across the country with its title sponsorship of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) series. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com. For more information on Smirnoff ICE, visit www.smirnoffice.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR), look for a car number change announcement in the near future.(11-8-2005)
- Irwin/Sharpie to sponsor McMurray for 15 races in 2006: Jamie McMurray announced that he will drive the IRWIN Industrial Tools/Sharpie Ford for Roush Racing in 2006. The announcement ends the speculation of when one of the most coveted driver’s seats in racing would be filled. “The addition of Jamie McMurray as driver of the IRWIN/Sharpie Ford is a development that’s exciting to our employees, customers and fans,” said Eric Pinkham, director of motorsports for Newell Rubbermaid. “There’s no question that Jamie now has the right tools to achieve even greater NASCAR success and make a permanent mark on racing history.” IRWIN and Sharpie racing will compete in 15 races throughout the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series next year, including special Sharpie paint schemes at each event at Bristol Motor Speedway. The brands’ sponsorship will feature interactive marketing at tracks, retail appearances, advertising and consumer and customer promotions.(Sharpie/Sanford PR)(11-8-2005)
- Texas Overnight TV Ratings: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.4 and an 8 share in the nation’s largest markets, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The Texas race is new to the schedule, but the rating is 2.3% higher than the 4.3 overnight rating NBC drew for last year’s 34th Nextel Cup race, the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-8-2005)
- Long/McGlynn Part Ways, Long looking for a ride: It was announced Monday that Carl Long and #00-McGlynn Racing have parted ways, effective immediately. The part was on good terms, and was done for the better of both parties involved. Carl Long would like to thank McGlynn Racing for allowing him to drive for their team throughout the 2005 season. “The McGlynn’s were like a second family to me,” Long stated. “I know Ray [McGlynn] had to do what was in the best interest for him and his team, and I can respect that he had to make changes to fit; we’re still good buds.” Due to the last-minute nature of this departure, Carl Long is looking for a NEXTEL Cup team to drive for at Phoenix this weekend. With just two races remaining on the schedule, Long hopes to keep himself in the top 50 of the 2005 NEXTEL Cup Series driver points. This would allow Carl Long to compete in the 2006 NEXTEL Open. Long made the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Phoenix race held in the Spring of this year. Teams interested in having Carl Long drive for them this weekend are asked to call Carl directly or e-mail his website manager. For the season finale race held at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20th, Carl Long will be piloting the #80 Dodge for Stan Hover, owner of Hover Motorsports.(Carl Long site)(11-8-2005)
- Cope in the #00: Derrike Cope will be driving for McGlynn Motorsports once again, this time driving the #00 Dodge in Phoenix this weekend and again the following week at Homestead. The sponsor will be Buyers Choice/Royal Administration with Joey Arrington engines.(Derrike Cope site)(11-8-2005)
- Childers goes to Evernham; Randolph back as #10 crew chief UPDATE 2: hearing that current #10 MB2 Motorsports team crew chief for Scott Riggs, Rodney Childers, will leave after the race at Texas so start working at Evernham, gettting ready of the new #10 Valvoline Dodge that Riggs will drive in 2006. Hearing former #10 MB2 crew chief, Doug Randolph will finish out the season with Riggs and supposedly will be Sterling Marlin’s crew chief on the #14 MB2 team in 2006.(11-4-2005)
UPDATE: Sterling Marlin will have Doug Randolph as crew chief next season in the #14 at MB2 Motorsports. The team’s current crew chief, Rodney Childers, will join Scott Riggs at Evernham Motorsports.(Sporting News)(11-7-2005)
UPDATE 2: MB2 Motorsports announced that Doug Randolph will be the crew chief for the team’s #14 Chevrolet, which will be driven by Sterling Marlin in 2006. MB2 also announced that Randolph will replace Rodney Childers as crew chief of Scott Riggs’ #10 Valvoline team for the remaining two races of 2005. MB2’s #10 will change to #14 next season. Randolph joined MB2 following the 2003 season as crew chief for Riggs’ Chevrolet. He held that post until June of this year when he was named race coordinator and driver development manager. As MB2’s driver development manager, Randolph worked closely with 20-year-old Kraig Kinser and directed the sprint car racer to a pair of strong performances in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(11-8-2005)
- Ruling says Atlanta NASCAR HOF bid can’t be secret: A Fulton County [GA] Superior Court judge has ruled that Atlanta’s bids for the NASCAR hall of fame and 2009 Super Bowl must be open to the public. Judge Michael Johnson’s ruling was a setback for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Central Atlanta Progress. The two leading Atlanta business groups argued in court that they are private organizations, and that releasing the bids would hamper the metro area’s ability to win big-ticket spectacles like Super Bowls and Final Fours — prizes that mean millions to the local economy. At an all-day hearing Thursday, court testimony revealed that Fulton County and Georgia’s Department of Economic Development, among other public bodies, helped pay to compile the NASCAR hall of fame bid. The bid cost $500,000 to prepare, with $300,000 coming from public sources, the business groups’ witnesses testified. A witness also described meetings where NASCAR bid documents were handed out and then confiscated to keep the information out of public hands. Monday’s decision was the latest round in a months-long dispute between The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the business groups over the Super Bowl and NASCAR hall of fame bids. Atlanta lost its bid for the 2009 Super Bowl, but the city is still competing with four other communities — Richmond, Charlotte, Kansas City, Kan., and Daytona Beach, Fla. — for NASCAR’s hall of fame. NASCAR officials are expected to pick a hall of fame site by the end of the year.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), more info on all the NASCAR HOF bids, links and sites, see my NASCAR HOF Page.(11-8-2005)
- Final Atlanta TV Ratings up: NBC’s broadcast of the Oct. 30 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned a final rating of 4.7 from Nielsen Media Research and a 10 share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 2.2% higher than the 4.6 rating NBC drew for the race in 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-8-2005)
News from November 7, 2005
- OFFICIAL – Busch to Join Penske Racing in 2006: Penske Racing South announced today that Kurt Busch will drive the Miller Lite Dodge commencing with the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Busch, the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, has reached an agreement with Roush Racing to be released from his driver responsibilities for the 2006 season. Busch will join Penske Racing South at the conclusion of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. “We are pleased that Kurt and Roush Racing were able to reach an agreement on Kurt’s release and appreciate the professionalism that it has taken to arrive at this result,” said Roger Penske, chairman. “Kurt’s joining us for 2006 will provide a smooth transition for the team and our sponsors.” Busch had recently signed a multi-year agreement with Penske Racing South that was to take effect in 2007.(Penske Racing)(11-7-2005)
- OFFICIAL – Busch released from Roush Racing Contract, McMurray in: Roush Racing has announced that Kurt Busch has been released from his Roush Racing contract obligations effective at the end of the 2005 year and that Jamie McMurray has signed to drive for Roush Racing commencing in the 2006 season. Newell-Rubbermaid and Diageo [Crown Royal/Smirnoff] will continue as primary sponsors of the McMurray driven entry in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series.(Roush Racing)(11-7-2005)
- Mears to the #42; McMurray released; Ganassi staying at three cars UPDATE 4 OFFICIAL: now hearing that Ganassi is going to remain at three teams with one of the four Cup sponsors they have may change their sponosrship around and appear on more of the Ganassi cars [#40,#41,#42 and #30?]. WIth…McMurray moving to Roush Racing and Kurt Busch to Penske Racing.(11-6-2005)
UPDATE: hearing Mears to the #42, with Texaco staying as the primary sponsor and Home 123 as a major assocciate and being hte primary in a few races as they were this year on the #42. Expect an announcement early this week and could be as soon as Monday.(11-6-2005)
UPDATE 2: There is speculation that if Ganassi can’t get a top-name driver for the McMurray-Texaco ride, he is willing to promote Casey Mears.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-7-2005)
UPDATE 3: been told the deal is done, Ganassi stays a 3-car team, #40-David Stremme, #41-Reed Sorenson and #42-Casey Mears with Texaco.(11-7-2005)
UPDATE 4: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) and its sponsor Chevron Products Company announced today that they have selected Casey Mears to pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge starting in 2006. In addition, CGRFS has agreed to release Jamie McMurray from his contract to drive for the organization through the ’06 NEXTEL Cup Series season. “We’ve been working hard to find a driver solution for Texaco/Havoline and we are fortunate that we could offer them Casey,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “Some recent positive developments have allowed us to make this move and we couldn’t be happier with how things are shaping up for the 2006 season. Casey is a driver and a person that we think a lot of and have a lot of faith in.”
Mears has been with CGRFS since being selected by the organization to drive its #41 NEXTEL Cup Series entry in 2003. He has competed in 106 races and recorded two poles, three top-five finishes and 17 top-10 finishes.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to drive the Texaco/Havoline Dodge next season,” said Mears. “Texaco/Havoline has been a sponsor in this sport for a long time and they’ve had an impressive list of drivers compete and win in their cars. I look forward to joining that group and taking them and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates back to Victory Lane.” In 2006, Texaco/Havoline will embark on its 19th season as a NASCAR sponsor.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-7-2005)
- Bobby Labonte to the #43? UPDATE 3 Labonte parts ways with JGR: Bobby Labonte to the #43 Petty Enterprises ride Jeff Green would vacate [for the #0 Chevy].(Sporting News)(10-17-2005)
UPDATE: Speed Channel’s Bob Dillner reported on Saturday’s Speed News that he is hearing Bobby Labonte will go to Petty Enterprises and drive the famed #43 Dodge….while I WAS hearing he would go to Ganassi Racing in the #42, it seems that deal broke down and ALSO hearing Labonte could end up in the #22 Caterpillar Dodge….looks like the Dodge part is a lock.(11-6-2005)
UPDATE 2 – Yeley to the #18? #18-Bobby Labonte has refused for several months to talk about his future plans, and he has become increasingly testy when pressed on the issue. Labonte is being actively wooed by both Bill Davis and Kyle Petty for 2006, and Joe Gibbs, Labonte’s current car owner, has been told that Labonte won’t be back, according to sources. Gibbs has tentatively set a press conference for next week at Phoenix to announce J. J. Yeley as Labonte’s replacement, regardless of which direction Labonte takes.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-7-2005)
UPDATE 3: Bobby Labonte and Joe Gibbs Racing will conclude an 11-year relationship at the end of the 2005 NEXTEL Cup Series season, Labonte and officials from JGR announced Nov. 7. Labonte’s future plans, as well as a replacement driver for the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, will be announced at a later date. “I regret to say that this is the final year that I will be at Joe Gibbs Racing,” Labonte said. “One of the things that made this decision so difficult was thinking of all the fans that have supported me at JGR throughout the past 11 years. This relationship has lasted a long time, and I hate that it has to end. Joe Gibbs and his family gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, and I want to thank them, and all the employees at JGR, for 11 years of hard work. I will always cherish the times at JGR, and the only thing that I regret is that we didn’t win more races and or championships. I wish everyone at JGR continued success in the future and I want to thank J.D. (Gibbs, president of JGR) for giving me the chance to be released from my contract early and letting me pursue other opportunities.”(Joe Gibbs Racing)(11-7-2005)
- ESPN: In NASCAR, attention to detail is a must. Details like analyzing every aspect of a pit stop. And washing every inch of the hauler. As the 2005 season rolls to an end, E-ticket spent a week with Tony Stewart’s Home Dept team, unveiling the 20/20 foresight it takes to bring home the Nextel Cup, see more at ESPN.com – 20/20 : The End is the Beginning
- Sherman to the #49? UPDATE: hearing Busch Series driver Brent Sherman could be headed to the #49 BAM Racing Dodge with Serta as the sponsor.(11-4-2005)
UPDATE: Brent Sherman is expected to take over as driver of BAM Racing’s #49 with Schwann’s and Serta sharing sponsorship. Sherman, 31, currently drives the #10 Ford for ppc Racing in the Busch Series and has 25 career Busch starts. His best finish was ninth in the spring at Talladega.(Sporting News)(11-7-2005)
- Andretti to the Busch Series? UPDATE: hearing John Andretti could run a full Busch Series schedule for ppc Racing in the #10 Ford.(11-5-2005)
UPDATE: John Andretti will replace Brent Sherman in the #10 Ford for ppc Racing in the Busch Series. Freedom Roads RV will be the sponsor.(Sporting News)(11-7-2005)
- Ganassi/Home 123 part ways: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today that CGRFS and Home123 have mutually chosen to terminate their sponsorship relationship. “We have enjoyed working with Home123,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “This was a good decision for us both and our separation was amicable. We wish them well in their future endeavors.”
“While we have enjoyed working with the Ganassi organization and have seen benefit in the team sponsorship, we will be refocusing our 2006 dollars in other areas,” said Pat Flanagan, Chief Executive Officer of Home123 Corporation. “We are committed to having marketing programs that strategically position the Home123 brand among our target audiences. We will continue to support the racing sport as the official mortgage company of NASCAR. In addition, we continue to be excited about announcing the winner of the Home123 “Pay Off Your Mortgage Sweepstakes.”(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(11-7-2005)
- Osborne Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Texas: Bob Osborne, crew chief of the #99 Office Depot Ford, and Carl Edwards teamed up to capture their second win in a row this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Much like his win in Atlanta, Edwards only got stronger as the race went on. He led five times for 82 laps, most importantly, the final two. For bringing Edwards his fourth win of the season, Osborne was voted the WypallWipers Crew Chief of the Race. Edwards had the car to beat in the final stages of the Dickies 500, but an untimely caution with 15 laps left in the event forced him to work twice as hard for the victory. Osborne called Edwards into the pits under the yellow for a two-tire stop, which moved the #99 Taurus from first-place to sixth. With only 11 green flag laps in the event, Edwards gunned down the five drivers ahead of him and captured his first-ever win at Texas Motor Speedway.
The panel of voters, including Dave Wellham of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a WypallWipers representative and Tony Eury Sr., all voted for Osborne as the crew chief that did the best job. Doug Richert leads the WypallWipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. This weekend marked Osborne’s fourth win, which moved him to second-place. Alan Gustafson and Greg Zipadelli are tied for third-place with three wins. Jimmy Fennig, Robbie Reiser, Chad Knaus, Steve Addington and Robbie Loomis are tied for foruth-place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Greg Erwin, Slugger Labbe, Pat Tryson and Pete Rondeau are tied for fifth-place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at wypall.com.(SMC 500)(11-7-2005)
- Jim Beam Rebate? RacingOne is hearing that sponsor Jim Beam is asking #7-Robby Gordon for a “rebate,” after 13 DNF’s this season.(RacingOne)(11-7-2005)
- NBC back in the TV picture? or MORE TNT? hearing that NBC/TNT may be back in the bidding for the Nextel Cup TV Package which was expected to go to ABC/ESPN TNT wants a 8-9 race package, but ESPN doesn’t want to give up four or five races from their half and still pay the amount NASCAR wants, so rumor is NASCAR has gone back to NBC to reopen talks.(11-5-2005)
UPDATE: NBC might be interested in selling the final year of its NASCAR Nextel Cup contract (2006) to TV partner Turner (TNT), according to television sources. That could be seen as a blow to the sport. NBC’s new National Football League contract kicks off next season, and NBC wants its Sunday night coverage to start a 7 p.m., which conflicts with some of NASCAR’s weekend time-window desires. However, according to other reports, Brian France could be prepared to announce a new TV contract for 2007 through 2112 for as much as $4 billion. France said in late September he would probably make a TV announcement within four to six weeks. Turner officials say they want “as many (Cup) races as we can get.” Turner currently splits the second half of the NASCAR season with NBC, though NBC carries the year’s final eight events.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-7-2005)
- Engine Dyno’s at Texas: NASCAR’s engine-chassis dyno was busy last night after the race [at Texas], with officials checking the rear-wheel horsepower of the cars of winner #99-Carl Edwards, #41-Casey Mears (fourth), #48-Jimmie Johnson (fifth), #38-Elliott Sadler (ninth), #2-Rusty Wallace (22nd) and #20-Tony Stewart (sixth). And #29-Kevin Harvick (16th) volunteered to have his engine checked.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-7-2005)
- Tin Brown Team Update: Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown said Sunday morning that he should know soon whether the NASCAR program he’s starting with help from Jack Roush will make it to the track next year or in 2007. Brown said he could run a Nextel Cup team next year, Cup and Busch series cars next year, or, if delayed until ’07, he could campaign a Craftsman Truck entry in addition to the Cup and Busch cars. “We think we’ll be there (in 2006), but when you’re talking this kind of (sponsorship) money, you never know what’s going to happen. But hopefully the next couple of weeks one way or another whether we’ll be on track or not.” Brown said he and the Roush organization are talking with sponsors “who are looking at doing both” the Cup and Busch cars next year. “I understand we’re running out of time, and everybody has to make a decision here.” The former football star added that he initially planned the team for ’07, but “we just got a little greedy and little aggressive and decided to try to make something happen for ’06. We’re close. We think we can still get it done.”(Speed Channel)(11-7-2005)
- Latest on Busch-McMurray deal UPDATE: Expect to see #97-Kurt Busch and #42-Jamie McMurray be released from their respective contracts with Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi in short order. That’s the word from Roush, who said Friday he figures the deal to send McMurray to Roush’s #97 and Busch to Roger Penske’s #2 Dodge to be completed very soon. “I think that if Jamie and Kurt are going to be mutually released — and I would put it in that order — then I think it’s very close to the time that’s going to happen,” Roush said. None of the remaining Silly Season dominos, most notably who will replace McMurray in Ganassi’s #42 Dodge next season, were resolved on Friday, but could be before the weekend is out.(Speed Channel)
AND Jack Roush said yesterday afternoon that an agreement still hadn’t been reached in the three-way negotiations to move Jamie McMurray to Roush Racing and Kurt Busch to Penske in 2006. The deal, which also would send an unnamed driver to Chip Ganassi Racing to replace McMurray, has been in the works for weeks and was reported done by ESPN on Monday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
AND II Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray still don’t know if they will be driving for new teams next year. The anticipated swap of drivers involving three teams isn’t done. If a deal is done, the changes are these: Busch will leave Roush Racing and drive the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge next season, replacing Rusty Wallace. McMurray will replace Busch for Jack Roush. And someone – possibly Bobby Labonte or Ricky Rudd – will replace McMurray in the #42 Havoline Dodge. “Ultimately it’s Jack’s decision if we want to separate and move on,” Busch said. “If we can work out all the details, great.” Jack Roush said he isn’t sure everything will get resolved. “I don’t have a drop-dead date,” he said. “Geoff Smith [team president] is handling those negotiations, and he said it needs to be done quickly.” Roush was asked if he and Busch had spoken recently. “I haven’t had a conversation with Kurt of any consequence since he told me he wanted to be released from his contract for 2006. I’m immune to frustration when it comes to Kurt Busch.”(Dallas Morning News)….yikes!(11-5-2005)
UPDATE: On Wind Tunnel (Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on SPEED), host Dave Despain and SPEED’s NASCAR reporter Bob Dillner Kurt Busch’s impounding release from Roush Racing:
Dave Despain: Kurt Busch tells me there will be a news release (Monday). Do you know what it’s going to say? Is he going to be released to go to the 2?
Bob Dillner: He is going to be released to go to the 2 car. He’ll replace Rusty Wallace over there at Penske Racing. There were a lot of meetings (Sunday) in Texas. And what I was told from my inside sources (is) that about 10 out of the 12 things that need to happen for Jamie McMurray to go over to the Roush side next year are complete. But those last two, which I’m sure involve a lot of money in Chip Ganassi’s pocket, have to be completed yet. But I think what we’re going to see is — by the end of this week — I’m pretty sure that all these pieces of the puzzle are actually going to happen. We’re going to see Kurt Busch go over there to the 2 car. We’re going to see Jamie McMurray finally get what he wants — out of the 42 car and over there into the 97.
Dave Despain: So who goes in the 42? I’m reading in the paper that (Ricky) Rudd said very clearly on Friday he will not drive that car. Are you hearing something different?
Bob Dillner: You know, I’ve heard that they want him really bad in that car for next year. And the problem is the whole hang-up on this situation Dave seems to be who to put in that car because there’s not a lot of veteran quality drivers to really go around right now. But Rudd’s got a decision to make. He’s either going to go in that 42 car, or he’s going to retire.(FoxSports.com)(11-7-2005)
News from November 6, 2005
- Hamlin to be named to #11 for 2006? UPDATE 3 OFFICIAL: hearing that Denny Hamlin will be named to drive the #11 FedEx Chevy for Joe Gibbs Racing full time in 2006 and run for rookie of the year, expect an announcement soon.(10-29-2005)
UPDATE: Denny Hamlin will be named as the driver for the #11 Fedex Chevrolet for Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin, who is fifth in Busch Series points, has been auditioning for the ride in the last four races.(Sporting News)(10-31-2005)
UPDATE 2: Denny Hamlin will have a full schedule of 70 races next year. Hamlin’s move to the Nextel Cup Series [#11 FedEx car] next year is expected to be announced tomorrow [Sunday, Nov 6th], and Joe Gibbs Racing revealed yesterday the 24-year-old’s 2006 plans will include a full season in the Busch Series.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-5-2005)
UPDATE 3: The #11 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series team fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has named Denny Hamlin as the driver for the remainder of the 2005 season and all of 2006. After a successful four-race tryout in the #11 FedEx Chevrolet where Hamlin scored two top-10 finishes and two top-10 qualifying efforts, the 24-year-old from Chesterfield, Va., has essentially been promoted from within the Gibbs organization. Hamlin is the regular driver for JGR’s #20 NASCAR Busch Series team, where he is currently fifth in the championship point standings. Jimmy Makar, a veteran crew chief who now serves as JGR’s senior vice-president of racing, concurs. “Denny is ready for Nextel Cup. Each step he’s taken to get to this point, he’s excelled. Last year we put him in a few Craftsman Truck Series races and he always seemed to qualify and finish in or near the top-10. In his Busch debut, it was more of the same. He’s run very well this year in his first full season of Busch, and if it weren’t for some bad luck here and there, he’d probably have a win or two. We’d be holding Denny back if we didn’t give him this opportunity.” Hamlin will run for Rookie of the Year honors in 2006, as his Nextel Cup rookie status will be preserved this year by running only seven races. Hamlin will continue to drive the #20 car in the Busch Series full-time in 2006, getting as much seat time as possible at Nextel Cup venues where the Busch Series runs companion races. For the handful of race weekends where the Nextel Cup Series and the Busch Series race at different venues, Hamlin will follow a schedule similar to the one used this year by Carl Edwards, who is campaigning a full Nextel Cup and Busch Series schedule for Roush Racing.(True Speed Communication PR), see an image of the car on my 2006 #11 Team Schemes page.(11-6-2005)
- Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper to Sponsor Riggs in 2 races: Valvoline Evernham Racing, LLC has announced a partnership with Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper, one of the largest auto parts distribution and marketing organizations in the world, as primary sponsor of driver Scott Riggs during select 2006 NASCAR events. Riggs will pilot the #10 Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper/Valvoline Dodge Charger in the Nextel Cup Series July race at New Hampshire and the September race at Richmond, where Riggs’ Evernham Motorsports teammates have won two of the last three Nextel Cup events. Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper will continue as an associate sponsor of Evernham Motorsports’ #9 and #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Chargers for all Nextel Cup races in 2006 and will receive branding on Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield’s uniforms, team transporters and pit equipment. Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper will also serve as primary sponsor for Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Dodge Charger in the Busch Series during the 2006 spring race at California and the fall race at Bristol.(Clear Blue PR)(11-6-2005)
- Tony gets a bridge at TMS: Texas Motor Speedway christened a new pedestrian bridge over its south infield tunnel as “Tony Stewart Bridge.” The 2002 champion had been lobbying TMS President Eddie Gossage for the upgrade since nearly missing a drivers’ meeting in 2004 when the Budweiser Clydsedales blocked the tunnel. Stewart owns Eldora Speedway in Ohio and has promised to return the favor by renaming his track’s infield tunnel after Gossage.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-6-2005)
- Rudd to Penske or Retire? no to Ganassi MORE: Ricky Rudd said yesterday he has agreed to take the [#2] ride with Roger Penske, replacing Rusty Wallace next season, if Penske can’t wrangle Kurt Busch from Jack Roush. “Roger and I have talked, but I really don’t know how it will all work out,” Rudd said. “We’re all waiting to see. I’d really planned to leave the sport at the end of the season,” Rudd said, revealing his plans after months of speculation. “And I told Eddie Wood (his car owner) that over the summer. But we were running so well that we didn’t want to say anything. But then the phone started ringing. However there is only one man I’d answer the phone for.” Penske, “If Roger needs me, I’ll take the ride,” Rudd said. Penske has signed Busch to drive in 2007 and wants Busch for 2006. But Roush won’t release Busch unless car owner Chip Ganassi releases Jamie McMurray to take Busch’s ride with Roush. And Ganassi won’t release McMurray unless he can land another top driver: the top two names mentioned are Labonte and Rudd. But Rudd said yesterday he wasn’t interested in taking the ride with Ganassi. So unless Ganassi can persuade Labonte to sign, it appears Penske is left with Wallace’s seat still to fill. Rudd said he’ll take that seat for one final season if Penske says he needs him.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-5-2005)
UPDATE – Penske and Sports Cars? Ricky Rudd said Saturday that he could end up driving for Roger Penske, possibly in the American Le Mans Series, instead of in NASCAR. Rudd, an expert road racer, said he will drive Penske’s #2 Dodge Nextel Cup car in 2006 if Kurt Busch isn’t released from his contract with Roush Racing. But regardless of how that works out — and he put the odds at about 50-50 — Rudd said he’d like to have a shot at driving one of Penske’s new Porsches in the ALMS. “I’m pretty much just standing by for the No. 2 (Penske Nextel Cup) car,” Rudd said. “There have been other ones that have come to me, but what I like about the No. 2 car is that everything that is needed, from financials to personnel, sponsorship — everything there is in place. It’s not a building or rebuilding situation, and that’s what’s appealing to me right now. Rudd said if he doesn’t go Cup racing in 2006, that he had “a house to build and a house to knock down, and that’s the most immediate thing on my list. Once we get that going and under control, and June or July rolls around, I might do a few road races if the right opportunity exists if I’m not in the No. 2 car.”
As for the future of crew chief Michael “Fatback” McSwain, Rudd said he expects him to stay with the Wood Brothers #21 Ford next year, when Ken Schrader will take over behind the wheel. “I think that’s all done,” Rudd said. “He had a lot of great offers, but I believe he’s all squared away, and that’s great for the Wood Brothers.” And Rudd said he’s turned down a number of inquiries from other Cup teams. “There are options out there, but I’ve basically declined the other options,” he said.(Speed Channel)(11-6-2005)
- Biffle upset at Johnson’s testing: Whether it’s his version of Chase for the Nextel Cup gamesmanship or genuine outrage, Greg Biffle believes Hendrick Motorsports violated at least the spirit of NASCAR testing rules by having Jimmie Johnson in a #25 car in Phoenix. “Johnson was driving the 25 car,” Biffle said. “Does he race the 25 car? Why was he driving the 25 car?” Brian Vickers drives the #25 Chevrolets for the Hendrick team. Johnson drives the #48 Chevys. “Vickers wasn’t even there,” Biffle said. “And this isn’t the first time. Everybody knows that they do it. … I watched Chad Knaus (Johnson’s crew chief) on TV brag about they saved all their tests for the Chase. It’s not his test.” NASCAR limits the number of one- and two-day tests each Cup team can do at tracks on the schedule. Many teams with championship aspirations save their sessions for late in the year so they can go to tracks in the Chase and prepare for races in the 10-race “playoff” to determine the title. “I was there filling in for the #25 team,” Johnson said. “You can go back and look at other examples of driving filling in for teams. The #20 car (Stewart’s) was there with a #80 on the side of it, with the 20 hauler, 20 team and 20 everything. But Denny Hamlin was driving it. “We go to NASCAR, we ask what we can do. We ask how we can help our teammates out and fill in. They tell us if it’s right or wrong. So we’re doing all that we can and we went down there and tested.”(ThatsRacin.com)(11-6-2005)
- Edwards wins at Texas: #99-Carl Edwards won the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his 4th win of 2005 and his career. Edwards moves up to 3rd in points, only 77 behind leader #20-Tony Stewart who finished 6th, now has a 38 points lead over #48-Johnson. Just think, if it was the ‘old system’, Stewart would have a 302 point lead, how exciting would that be with 2 races to go? #6-Mark Martin lost the lead with 2 laps to go and held on to 2nd, followed by #17-Matt Kenseth, #41-Casey Mears and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Edwards is the 10th different driver to win at Texas in 10 races and is the 5th different Roush Racing driver to win at Texas [Martin, Burton, Kenseth, Biffle]. Edwards did his trademark backflip and did a perfect landing, always fun to see. Looks like a three driver race for the Chase: #20-Stewart, #48-Johnson and #99-Edwards. There were only 6 cautions for 27 laps and 11 drivers led laps with 20 lead changes. The race speed was 151.055mph, a new record.
For my race rundown, laps led, DNF’s, caution info, Lucky Dogs and some notes, see my Texas Race Info/Rundown Page.
For race results and awards, and other site links, see my
- Jayski’s Texas Race Results/Awards page.(11-6-2005)
- Driver Points Standing after Texas race 8 of 10 in the Chase:
#20-Tony Stewart, 6255
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 6217, -38
#99-Carl Edwards, 6178, -77
#16-Greg Biffle, 6133, -122
#6-Mark Martin, 6132, -123
#17-Matt Kenseth, 6120, -135
#12-Ryan Newman, 6081, -174
#97-Kurt Busch, 5974, -281
#2-Rusty Wallace, 5940, -315
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 5848, -407
and the fight for 11th and the $1 million
#42-Jamie McMurray, 3912
#24-Jeff Gordon, -51
#38-Elliott Sadler, -52
#29-Kevin Harvick -81
#01-Joe Nemechek -167
For drivers/owners points, classic points top 15, see my
- Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Texas page.(11-6-2005)
- “Classic” Points Standings – Top 15…the old way, not the Chase after Texas, race 34 of 36:
1) #20-Tony Stewart, 4921. 1st in the Chase
2) #16-Greg Biffle, 4619, -302, 4th
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4582, -339, 2nd
4) #6-Mark Martin, 4380, -541, 5th
5) #2-Rusty Wallace, 4312, -609, 9th
6) #99-Carl Edwards, 4277, -644, 3rd
7) #97-Kurt Busch, 4248, -673, 8th
8) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4219, -702, 6th
9) #12-Ryan Newman, 4131, -790, 7th
10) #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 4056, -865, 10th
11) #42-Jamie McMurray, 3912, -1009
12) #24-Jeff Gordon, 3861, -1060
13) #38-Elliott Sadler, 3860, -1061
14) #29-Kevin Harvick, 3831, -1090
15) #01-Joe Nemechek, 3745, -1176
- The Chasers…where do they start/finish at Texas:
#20-Tony Stewart, started 16th, finished 6th
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 11th, 5th
#16-Greg Biffle, 7th, 20th
#99-Carl Edwards, 30th, 1st
#12-Ryan Newman, 1st [had to go to back], 25th
#6-Mark Martin, 8th, 2nd
#97-Kurt Busch, 18th, 10th
#2-Rusty Wallace, 26th, 22nd
#17-Matt Kenseth, 3rd, 3rd
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 5th, 35th.(11-6-2005)
- Texas Race Notes:
• Carl Edwards won the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, scoring his fourth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 47th career start.
• All four of his victories came in 2005. His last victory came at Atlanta, one race ago.
• Edwards joined Jimmie Johnson as the only drivers with two Chase victories. Johnson won at Dover and Charlotte.
• Edwards became the 10th different race winner in 10 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
• It was Edwards’ first victory in two races at Texas. He finished 19th here in April.
• Edwards has scored 16 top-10 finishes in 34 races in 2005.
• Edwards has climbed from sixth to third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings in the last three races, now 77 points behind point leader Tony Stewart. Edwards ranked ninth in the point standings after the first race at New Hampshire.
• Edwards led five times for 82 laps including the final two laps.
• Edwards scored the fifth victory in 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Texas Motor Speedway for car owner Jack Roush – all by different drivers. This was Roush’s 88th victory as a car owner and 14th in 34 races this season.
• This is the 15th victory by a Ford in 2005. Chevrolet has 16 and Dodge has three.
• Matt Kenseth led three times for 149 laps, the most laps for the third time in a race this season.
• Casey Mears finished a career-best fourth for the third time. Mears also finished fourth at Watkins Glen in 2004 and here at Texas in April.
• Rusty Wallace (22nd) extended a 47-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol in August 2004. Wallace has scored 24 top-15 finishes in 34 races in 2005.
• The six cautions periods were the fewest in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Texas. The 151.055 mph average speed was the fastest NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-6-2005)
- Rumblings – Texas:
We had a Roush parade a couple races back at Kansas….today was the sequel. I said last week that Carl Edwards was backflipping himself into our hearts….today he’s moved on down to the spleen! Carl Edwards led a Roush sweep today/tonight at Texas Motor Speedway and won the Dickes 500 by daylight (er…darkness) over teammate Mark Martin with Matt Kenseth finishing third. He’s now gone back to back (he won last week in Atlanta) and captured his 4th win of the season and career. He’s also the 10th different winner in 10 races at Bruton’s “Palace on the Prairie”. Edwards moves up to 68th on the all-time win list (talk about a rapid rise, huh?), this was win #88 for Roush Racing, and it was worth a sizeable $440,550 from the over $6.8M in posted awards. Hard to fault the strategy of pitting late and zooming by ’em on the restart with 11 to go. With the way Edwards was passing cars late tonight, it looked like a done deal.
Casey Mears (4th) tied his career-best finish today. He was 4th when we were here in April as well as at Watkins Glen in August of 2004.
Denny Hamlin (7th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 8th at Lowe’s & Martinsville last month.
Martin Truex Jr (15th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Lowe’s in May (only 4 races).
STREAKIN….Carl Edwards has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
Mark Martin has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races.
Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Casey Mears (+31), followed by Carl Edwards (+29), Jamie McMurray (+29), and Jeff Green (+24). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Joe Nemechek (-33), followed by Jeremy Mayfield (-30), Kasey Kahne (-27), Ryan Newman (-24), and Bill Elliott (-23). All three Evernham Dodges at the bottom of the “Shaft” today.
Jimmie Johnson shaved five points off Tony Stewart’s lead in the “Chase” this week. The margin is now 38. Jeremy Mayfield is mathematically eliminated and all Tony has to do is start one of the final races (I think he’ll probably show up) and Rusty Wallace is out as well. Realistically, we’re still only a three man race, with Carl Edwards replacing Greg Biffle as the third wheel. In “Classic” Points, no driver advanced (or fell) more than one spot in the Top-30.(Stock Car Fans)(11-6-2005)
- ‘Iron Man’ Car at Texas: At Texas, Terry Labonte will be driving a #44 Kellogg’s Chevrolet with a retro paint scheme identical to the 1996 “Iron Man” car that commemorated his then-record-breaking string of consecutive Cup Series races. He bested Richard Petty’s all-time record of 513 straight events and eventually ran the streak to 655. Labonte’s historic run ended in 2000 and was later surpassed by Ricky Rudd.(HMS PR), see image on my #44 Team Schemes page.(11-6-2005)
News from November 5, 2005
- Changes at the #17, Kenseth not happy…and Get Well Roush Racing’s Matt Kenseth, who recently lost his spotter (Mike Califnoff) and car chief (Jeff Vandermoss left to take a crew chief gig at Ganassi #40 team) NOT his crew chief (Robbie Reiser), said poaching of race-team employees is worse this year then he’s ever seen before. “I think we’ll probably lose some people at the end of this year, probably more than we have before as a group at Roush Racing,” said Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champion. “That happens. Roush has been really successful over the last three years, winning a couple championships and having all five cars in the Chase. When that happens, you always have other teams come in and offer them a bunch more money than they would offer them if we were running 15th every week. This year, I’ve seen a lot more teams come in and try to raid us than in years past and they seem to be more successful than they have in years past.”(Speed Channel)
Get Well Robbie Reiser, the Nextel Cup crew chief for #17-Matt Kenseth, wasn’t in Texas on Friday. He was in Wisconsin with his ailing father.(ESPN.com/AP)(11-5-2005)
AND: Kenseth was without his crew chief, as Robbie Reiser was home with his ill father. “It’s a lot different without Robbie being here,” Matt Kenseth said. “I think it was hard for him to be away [Friday]. It’s a little different group over there but Robbie’s laid a great foundation, done a great job of organizing everybody, so even if you miss a person or two, everything keeps on right along.”(NASCAR.com)(11-5-2005)
- Elliott’s 2006 plans still unclear: Bill Elliott says he hasn’t finalized his plans for next season but wants to drive in selected races for Evernham Motorsports. Elliott has run a partial schedule with car owner Ray Evernham’s team since last season. He did five Cup races a year ago. This is his ninth Cup start.(Roanoke Times)(11-5-2005)
- NetZero goes with Bliss: Mike Bliss will leave the #0 CNC-Haas NEXTEL Cup ride and return to the Craftsman Truck Series full-time in 2006. The former series champion will bring current Cup sponsor NetZero with him to the #16 truck ride for XPress Motorsports.(RacingOne)(11-5-2005)
- Rusty on Dateline Sunday: #2-Rusty Wallace will be featured in a segment on Sunday’s edition of ‘Dateline NBC,’ the signature broadcast for NBC News in primetime. In Sunday’s show, noted co-anchor Stone Phillips interviews racing legend Wallace about his career and upcoming retirement. Sunday’s program airs at 7:00pm/et on NBC-TV.(11-5-2005)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a $1,000 donation was made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Dale Earnhardt Jr. This is the third time this year that a donation in Earnhardt Jr.’s name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Comm)(11-5-2005)
News from November 4, 2005
- Designer Foose unveils a custom stock car for Jeff Gordon: The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show set the stage for an unprecedented union of automotive star power and horsepower as car designer Chip Foose, DuPont Automotive Finishes, Hendrick Motorsports and Action Performance Companies Inc. debuted a special edition #24 DuPont Chevy with a Foose-designed DuPont Hot Hues paint scheme. Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, who was on hand for the car’s SEMA premiere, will pilot the “hot” machine during the 500-mile NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at California Speedway in February 2006. Visit the company Web site at www.foosedesign.com for more information.(Action Performance PR) see an image of the scheme on my 2006 #24 Team Scehemes page.(11-4-2005)
- Record Falls In Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Fan voting: NASCAR fans have broken their own mark, voting in record numbers for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver award. A total of 3,900,523 votes have been cast so far this season (as of end of the day Thursday, Nov. 3), topping the previous mark of 3,852,309 votes cast in 2004. Race fans have been voting at www.mostpopulardriver.com, the official voting site, since February 1. Since General Mills began sponsoring the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award at the beginning of the 2002 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season, nearly 14 million votes have been cast by fans throughout the world. Fans vote at www.mostpopulardriver.com for the only fan-based official award in motorsports. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continues to lead in the voting but is some 200,000 votes behind his pace of last season, when he won for the second straight year. Behind him in the current voting are Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Rusty Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett and Jimmie Johnson. Voting for the more than 40 drivers eligible for the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award continues through 11:59am.ct, Monday, Nov. 21. Fans may vote once each day at the site.(Williams Company PR)(11-4-2005)
- No Cowboy’s/NASCAR Clash in Nov. at Texas: Texas Motor Speedway won’t have to battle the Cowboys for fans this fall. The Cowboys have an open date Nov. 6, the date of TMS’ long-awaited second Nextel Cup race, the Dickies 500. Cowboys officials said the scheduling is a coincidence. Regardless of the reason, TMS officials were overjoyed after the NFL schedule was released Wednesday. The absence of a Cowboys game probably ensures at least a near-capacity crowd.(Dallas Morning News)(4-14/11-4-2005)
- Goodyear Tire Notes:. This is the second consecutive NASCAR Nextel Cup race weekend at Texas to which Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires . . . all three series in action — Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck — will run the same tire codes this weekend, though the Cup and Busch tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is one of only two NASCAR tracks at which this tire combination will be run in 2005, with Homestead being the other . . . this left-side code (D-6852) is also run with different right-side codes at California, Charlotte, Chicagoland, Dover, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Texas . . . the air pressure in the inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), for more notes, pressures and codes, see my Texas Race Info/Rundown Page.(11-4-2005)
- Newman wins pole at Texas…but wrecks: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with a speed of 192.947mph for his 8th pole of 2005 and 35th of his career [tied for 18th all time]. BUT…Newman crashed on his 2nd lap in turn 4 after his right front tire blew and smacked the outside wall, came down the track and glanced off the inside wall. Newman will go to a backup car and have to fall to the rear of the field before the drop of the green flag, but he still gets the #1 pick of the pit stall. Starting 2nd is #24-Jeff Gordon, followed by #17-Matt Kenseth [will move up to the pole position], #01-Joe Nemechek and #19-Jeremy Mayfield. Fastest in Friday’s practice, #0-Mike Bliss qualified 6th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 10th, points leader #20-Tony Stewartwill start 16th. #91-Bill Elliott was the highest non top-35 team, starting 9th. Five drivers failed to make the race: #39-Reed Sorenson, #7-Robby Gordon, #09-Johnny Sauter, #51-Stuart Kirby and #92-PJ Jones. #00-Carl Long withdrew after wrecking in practice. The starting 43 were also the 43 fastest cars.
For the Qualifying results, starting lineup, practice speeds and qualifying order, see my Jayski’s Texas Practice/Qualifying/Lineup Page.(11-4-2005)
- Qualifying Notes – Texas:
• Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Dickies 500, lapping Texas Motor Speedway in 27.987 seconds at 192.947 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 27.803 seconds, 194.224 mph, set April 5, 2002.
• This is Newman’s 35th career Bud Pole in 150 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. He moved into a tie with Ned Jarrett and Fireball Roberts for 18th on the all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole list.
• It is Newman’s eighth Bud Pole and 28th top-10 start this season. He clinched the Bud Pole Award for the fourth consecutive year with his seventh Bud Pole of the season last week at Atlanta.
• It is also Newman’s third top-10 start in five races at Texas Motor Speedway, including a sweep of both Bud Poles this season. He also won both Bud Poles at Atlanta and is the only driver to sweep both Bud Poles at a track this season.
• Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 28.067 seconds, 192.397 mph – and will join Newman on the front row for the Dickies 500. Only Newman and Gordon broke the 192-mph mark. Gordon posted his 17th top-10 start of 2005. It is his seventh top-10 start in 10 races at Texas Motor Speedway and his best qualifying effort here. He also started second in 1997 when qualifying was canceled.
• This is the 11th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2005. Chevrolet has 13 Bud Poles and Ford has eight. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June and Watkins Glen.
• There have been 16 different Bud Pole Winners this season, the most since there were 18 in 2001. That season tied 1997 for the most in the modern era.
• Matt Kenseth (third) posted his ninth top-10 start this season. It is his first start better than 13th in seven races at Texas Motor Speedway.
• Joe Nemechek (fourth) posted his 10th top-10 start this season and his fifth top-10 start in nine races at Texas.
• Jeremy Mayfield (fifth) posted his 14th top-10 start this season. It is his fourth top-10 start in 10 races at Texas, including both races this season.
• Five of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Newman, Kenseth, Mayfield, Greg Biffle (seventh) and Mark Martin (eighth).
• Bill Elliott (ninth), appearing in his ninth race of the season, posted his second top- 10 start in 2005. He has started from the top 10 in five of his 10 races at Texas.
• Terry Labonte (34th) qualified for his 14th race this season.qualifying.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-4-2005)
- Ramblings – Texas:
Ryan Newman grabbed the Bud Pole today at Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Dickies 500 with a speed of 192.947 mph (27.987 sec)….but he’ll start from the rear after he had a tire go down on lap two. Since he’ll be forced to a backup car, he’ll start 43rd and Matt Kenseth will inherit the top-spot. This is pole #8 for Newman on the season, his second in a row, and the 35th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He musta been real shook up by his wreck cause about an hour later he captured the pole for the Busch race, too.
Jeff Gordon (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Loudon in September.
Joe Nemechek (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Michigan in August.
Jeremy Mayfield (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at the Brickyard in August.
Mike Bliss (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Michigan in August.
Bill Elliott (9th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd at California in September of 2004.
STREAKIN….Ryan Newman has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
(Stock Car Fans)(11-4-2005)
News from November 3, 2005
- OFFICIAL…..HOF Racing, #96, Terry Labonte and Raines UPDATEs: keep hearing that 1984 and 1996 Cup Champ, Terry Labonte will run the #96 Hall of Fame Racing / Texas Instruments Chevy for the first five races of 2006 to take advantage of the past champions provisional, with Tony Raines running the car in all the remaining races exceot the road course, where a road course specialist will likely be hired. Expect the announcement to be initially made next Thursday [Nov 3rd] at Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX.(10-26-2005)
UPDATE 2: Terry Labonte cleverly avoided the question when asked Tuesday at TMS if he might drive a few races next season for the new Hall of Fame Racing team of Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. “I’m not going to run a full schedule,” Labonte said. “And I have a 10-race deal with Hendrick Motorsports. And I’m definitely not driving at Talladega.” That still leaves some options. Labonte could drive for Hall of Fame Racing in the Daytona 500 and a few other events at the start of the season, to ensure the team would qualify. Labonte has a past champion’s provisional. The team would build up enough owners’ points early in the season to ensure qualifying at the other events with a full-time driver, who is expected to be Tony Raines. The team is announcing its driver choices Thursday at TMS.(Dallas Morning News)(10-28-2005)
UPDATE 3 OFFICIAL: In a press conference today at Texas Motor Speedway, Hall of Fame Racing announced that Terry Labonte and Tony Raines will co-drive the #96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2006. Labonte, a two-time Cup Series champion and 22-time Nextel Cup race winner, will campaign the #96 DLP HDTV car in seven races, while Raines, the 1996 champion of the American Speed Association (ASA) and 1999 NASCAR Busch Series Rookie of the Year, will drive the #96 DLP HDTV machine in 29 races. Labonte will compete in the season-opening Daytona 500 and the four following races at Fontana (Calif.), Las Vegas, Atlanta and Bristol (Tenn.), as well as the two road course races at Sonoma (Calif.) and Watkins Glen (N.Y.). Raines will be the driver at all of the remaining Nextel Cup point races, including the non-point Nextel Open at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. See the full PR and lots of quotes on my #96 Team News and Links page….see an image of the car on my 2006 #96 Team Schemes page.(11-3-2005)
- Victory Junction Honored: The Victory Junction Gang received the award for “Best Sports Philanthropic Partnership” at the 5th annual Horizon Awards for Sports Business Wednesday night in Atlanta. The Horizon Awards, created by the Atlanta Sports Council, honors the thought-leaders and innovators in sports business industry. The “Best Sports Philanthropic Partnership” award recognizes the company and charity that had the most effective integrated partnership. Nominees and winners were selected for 11 categories by the Horizon Awards Voting Academy, a national body representing every sector of the sports business industry. The voting process was certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti and Wayne LLP, official business advisors to the Horizon Awards.(VJGC PR) more info on Victory Junction at victoryjunction.org and to help out fund the Jayski Computer Lab there, see my Racing Charities page.(11-3-2005)
- Slugger to leave the #19? to #38? UPDATE 3 to RYR as consultant: hearing #19 crew chief, Slugger Labbe could leave Evernham Motorsports at the end of the season, possibly going back to Robert Yates Racing, as the crew chief for #38-Elliott Sadler?(10-26-2005)
UPDATE: Statement from Ray Evernham on the Leadership for the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger: “We have decided to make a change on the leadership team for the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger driven by Jeremy Mayfield. The team, led by Team Director Kenny Francis for the past three years, has shown great promise and potential. We’ve qualified for the Chase for the Championship for the second year in a row. But, we have high expectations for this team, both for the remainder of the 2005 season and for next year. We still have four races to run this season, all of which are on tracks where we’ve been successful. We’re confident that we can re-energize this team to bring home solid finishes in these last four races and move up in the Chase for the Championship. We are already planning for next year, and we recognize that we need to make several changes to regain the momentum this team had earlier in the year and to ensure we have the right people in the right places to win races and a championship.
As part of this change, Richard “Slugger” Labbe will no longer serve as crew chief for the team. Kenny Francis will continue to lead the team as he has the last three years, and Mike Shiplett, currently the car chief for the team, will share Labbe’s duties with Francis. Slugger Labbe made good contributions to this team this year, and we wish him well as he pursues other opportunities.”(ClearBlue/Evernham Motorsports PR)(10-27-2005)
UPDATE 2: Richard “Slugger” Labbe said a lack of chemistry with Jeremy Mayfield was behind his departure from Evernham Motorsports this week. Mayfield has one top-20 finish since making the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second consecutive year. “I just didn’t fit in,” said Labbe, who declined another position at Evernham. “We got in the Chase, and we’ve just been mediocre. I want to win and be in the top five every week.” Labbe expects to join another team by next week’s race at Texas.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-29-2005)
UPDATE 3: Beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Richard “Slugger” Labbe will serve as a consultant for all three Robert Yates Racing Teams (#88 UPS, #38 M&M’S®, #90 CitiFinancial-Busch). Labbe, who previously worked with the #19 Team, returns to RYR where he served as crew chief for the #28 Ford in 1998.(Elevation Group/RYR PR)(11-3-2005)
- Earnhardt, Gant, Guthrie, Roush and Wheeler to be inducted in IMHOF: While most everyone expected Dale Earnhardt to be among the five individuals that will be honored next April with induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, very few would have anticipated the overall strength of the Class of 2006 being what it is. “This is one heck of a class for 2006,” declared IMHOF Executive Director Jim Freeman. “We are pleased to announce that we will induct Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, Janet Guthrie, Jack Roush and Humpy Wheeler next April 27th.”
Earnhardt, of course, is the seven-time Winston Cup champion and Gant is one of the all-time greats in both Cup and Busch racing. Guthrie is the first female to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. Roush’s race teams have won titles in drag racing, sports cars, Craftsman trucks, Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series. Wheeler is the long-time innovative promoter at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. While the quintet has a definite NASCAR flavor, three of the future inductees also have made names for themselves outside of the stock car world. Guthrie, and Wheeler have been involved in sports cars and Indy cars during their careers, while Roush has been successful in several different racing series.
Tickets will go on sale on November 7th for the 16th annual induction ceremony that will take place on the Thursday evening of the first race weekend of 2006 at Talladega. The induction will be held in the Speed Channel Dome at the Hall of Fame. In addition to the five inductees, the 2005 Driver of the Year will also be honored that evening.(IMHOF PR)(11-3-2005)
- Special Crew Member for Busch and Crown Royal scheme: Kurt Busch is hoping to regain last year’s championship fortunes by adding one of Texas’ favorite sons, Dallas Cowboys legend Tony Dorsett, to his Crown Royal #97 Ford team for Sunday’s Dickies 500. Dorsett will join the Crown Royal team as an honorary pit crew member during the race at Texas Motor Speedway. Dorsett will meet with fans earlier in the day at the Crown Royal Experience Tent at the track. Crown Royal is the Official Whisky of Texas Motor Speedway.
AND The #97 Ford will be coated in Crown Royal purple and gold for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday. This will be the seventh and last 2005 regular-season race that the #97 racecar will exhibit the Crown Royal colors. Previously, Kurt Busch drove the Crown Royal car to a 23rd place finish at Dover on September 25.(Alan Taylor Comm. PR), see image of the scheme on my #97 Team Schemes page.(11-3-2005)
- Centrix to sponsor #10 at Texas: Scott Riggs will visit Texas Motor Speedway this weekend where he will pilot the #10 Centrix Financial/Valvoline Chevrolet in Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series Dickies 500. The primary sponsorship on Riggs’ car in Texas will be the blue, white and gold colors of Centril Financial. Valvoline, Riggsâ€™ major sponsor for the majority of the 36 point races, will take on an associate role during this weekend’s race.(MB2 Motorsports)(11-3-2005)
- Haas CNC closes on property for new shop: #0-Haas CNC Racing will begin construction early in 2006 on a new 140,000 square foot facility in Kannapolis, NC after agreeing to a contract with the city to purchase nearly 23 acres in the Kannapolis Gateway Business Park. The deal will bring the 85-employee firm, which expects to add up to 70 jobs over the course of the next few years, to the city. As part of the contract, Kannapolis will provide a Level 1 incentive grant worth $212,243.85 over five years. “We’re excited about the deal with Haas CNC Racing,” said Patrick Pierce, partner, MarkPiercePoole Inc. “They are well-financed and provide a valuable presence in the Park. Their interest also validates the City’s strategy to create a first class business park to help drive economic development ” Haas CNC Racing fields the #0 car driven [currently] by Mike Bliss in the NASCAR NEXTEL Series and the #44 car driven [currently] by Justin Labonte in the NASCAR Busch Series. The company intends to add one or more race teams over time to the site. Haas CNC Racing also operates a large automated CNC tool manufacturing company based in California. “We currently operate out of a 40,000 square foot facility and needed more space,” said Joe Custer, general manager, Haas CNC Racing. “The Gateway Business Park’s proximity to Concord Regional Airport, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and I-85 was a good fit for our firm.” For more information about Haas CNC Racing, please visit www.haascncracing.com. For more information about the City of Kannapolis, please visit www.cityofkannapolis.com.(Businesswire.com)(11-3-2005)
- Goodyear to test at Lowe’s UPDATE: Goodyear has a tire test scheduled Wednesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., with a team from Evernham Motorsports. Goodyear officials want to do a test to collect data before work is done on the track to understand why so many teams had tire problems there a couple of weeks ago.(Roanoke Times)(10-29-2005)
UPDATE: Goodyear booked track time Wednesday evening at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to gather data on its tires following what took place in the UAW-GM 500 at the track on Oct. 15. In that race, blown tires led to numerous crashes and caution flags. In the aftermath, track president H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler has defended the track’s surface that was smoothed using a diamond-grinding machine. Scott Riggs drove an Evernham Motorsports-owned Dodge in the test, which ran from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Riggs will drive for Evernham’s team next season. Goodyear officials were hoping to better understand what happened last month and also to collect data that could be used in comparisons after the track is repaved next year. It was testing three tire compounds, including the one used in both races at LMS this year.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-3-2005)
- Dale Jr wins Wix Award: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his first award of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. The WIX Filters Lap Leader Award is presented to the driver who leads the most laps during each race in NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck racing series. The award includes a cash prize presented to the winning driver during a ceremony before the next race and an end-of-year payout and trophy for the driver who earns the most WIX Filters Lap Leader awards over the course of the entire season. Cash awards for the end-of-year honor are: $75,000 for the NEXTEL Cup Series; $20,000 for the Busch Series; and, $10,000 for the Craftsman Truck Series. In order to be eligible for the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award for a single event, drivers and teams in each series must run the WIX Filters decal on the front fender and use WIX oil or air filters in their vehicles. Additionally, for any year-end payout, teams must run the decal on the front fender for every race they participate in, with an allowance for one race, and they must always use WIX oil or air filters. Fans can sign up for the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award contest, make picks and try to beat Speed’s John Roberts by visiting www.wixlapleader.com. WIX Filters’ Internet address is www.wixfilters.com.(11-3-2005)
- #51 adds sponsorship: In addition to Marathon Oil, the #51 CEM team with driver Stuart Kirby announces two additional companies coming onboard for the weekend race at Texas. The first is New Holland, a brand of CNH, a global leader in agriculture, construction equipment and financial services, which will have a decal located in front of the rear tire. The second is American Eurocopter, a company specializing in the manufacturing of helicopters with a plant in the Dallas area, which will have a decal on the lower rear quarter panel.(CEM site)(11-3-2005)
- Long to drive Dream Machine at Texas: Carl Long will be driving the #00 RoadLoans.com / Aarons Dream Machine for McGlynn Racing this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Fresh off his career-best qualifying effort in Atlanta, Long looks to top that performance this weekend in Texas. McGlynn Racing welcomes RoadLoans.com to the team and look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Chris Goodman (Sr. VP, RoadLoans.com) and his team now and in the future. Driver Carl Long on driving the Aarons Dream Machine: “DW (Darrel Waltrip) has been wanting to drive the Dream Machine for a long time and since he owes me a favor for loaning my car to him a few years back, Michael (Waltrip) is letting me beat his brother to the punch and drive the Aarons Dream Machine this weekend. Maybe DW can bring the Dream Machine Jr. down to my place and cut my grass sometime.”
Team Owner Ray McGlynn on new sponsors: “I want to thank our primary sponsor, Royal Administration, for allowing us the flexibility to move them all over the car and occasionally off the car to bring on new sponsors. The team is more consistent than ever and sponsors are beginning to realize they can join a small team like us while we are still growing and capitalize on NASCAR’s enormous popularity at a level they can handle.” This weekend’s race also marks the arrival of the team’s newest charitable organization, the Young Racers of America (YRA). As spokesman for the YRA, Carl Long wants to create further awareness for young racers and build a support system for youth drivers everywhere.(McGlynn Racing PR)(11-3-2005)
News from November 2, 2005
- 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Yearbook available to order: NASCAR fans can forever preserve all the great moments of the 2005 campaign by ordering the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series 2005 Yearbook. The handsome, leather-bound coffee-table publication is the crown jewel of the NASCAR Library Collection. The book includes full-color action photography and chronicles each race from Daytona through the crowning of another NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion at Homestead-Miami. The yearbook can be ordered by calling 800-747-9287 or online at www.UMIbooks.com . Orders will be shipped in December, in plenty of time for the holidays.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series 2005 Yearbook includes season-ending statistics, a special preface outlining this year’s Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, and an in-depth look at the final 10 races of the season that determine this year’s champion. This is the same yearbook that is presented each year at the annual NASCAR Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City, and through a special arrangement with NASCAR, is made available to the public as long as quantities last.
“NASCAR fans are so passionate about their sport and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Yearbook gives them that keepsake to draw upon year after year,” said Mark Dyer, NASCAR vice president of licensing. “It’s the best way for a fan to reflect upon the year and relive all the thrilling competition and drama that goes into a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season.”
With more than 250 pages of race coverage, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Yearbook has been the only official book documenting the NASCAR season since 1988. For more info or to order, go to the UMI Site.(11-2-2005)
- RCR Shuffles Cup Series Crew Chief Lineup: Two of Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) NASCAR Cup Series teams will swap crew chiefs next week in preparation for the 2006 season. Scott Miller, current crew chief on the #07 Jack Daniel’s team, will assume the crew chief position on the #31 Cingular Wireless team with driver Jeff Burton for the final two races this season and next year. Kevin Hamlin, current crew chief on the #31 Cingular Wireless team, will move to the #07 Jack Daniel’s team for the rest of this season with driver Dave Blaney. He will be assisted by Gil Martin who, it was announced in October, will be the crew chief for the team next year with new driver Clint Bowyer. Hamlin has been offered another position within the RCR organization at the conclusion of this season. “We’re making these moves next week to get a head start on 2006,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “We had already announced that Gil was going to be the Jack Daniel’s team crew chief for 2006 so it made sense to get him running as quickly as possible. We have put Scott Miller and Jeff Burton together on the Cingular Wireless team in an effort to take the success the team has had this season to the next level. Kevin Hamlin has been a valuable part of RCR for many years and we look forward to him continuing to contribute to our success in the future.” Martin will remain as the crew chief for Bowyer and the #2 ACDelco team in their quest for the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series championship. Jeremy Bullins, the team’s engineer who will also move to the #07 Jack Daniel’s team next season, will assist Hamlin and Martin for the balance of the season. “This in no way will take away from the effort Clint, Gil and the ACDelco team will give toward winning the Busch championship,” said Childress. “They’ve still got a good shot at it and Gil has great guys working for him on both teams so we won’t let him get overloaded from either direction.”(RCR PR)(11-2-2005)
- #55 for Mikey? UPDATE 2 Skinner NOT to the #22? BDR still looking: hearing Michael Waltrip will run the #55 in the NAPA Bill Davis Racing Dodge. DEI chose to keep the #15.(10-28-2005)
UPDATE – Skinner to the #22? Forget those Ward Burton returns stories for Bill Davis Racing next season. Mike Skinner will drive the Caterpillar Dodge #22 in 2006, teaming with Michael Waltrip in the NAPA #55.(RacingOne)(11-1-2005)
UPDATE 2: Bill Davis Racing reiterated and confirmed today, contrary to recent rumors, a new driver has not been signed to pilot the #22 Caterpillar Dodge in 2006. “We are still finalizing the details around the CAT Racing program for next year,” said Bill Davis, team owner and president. “Of course, we have our eye on what the ideal fit would be and are hoping everything works out that way.” Recent rumors have developed around Davis’ Toyota Racing driver, Mike Skinner, as being the next one to fill the seat of the #22, but Davis stated that is not part of the game plan. “I don’t know how stuff like this gets started, but none of that is true,” Davis said. “Skinner is a great driver and is doing a great job for us and Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. We’re all happy with that entire program and how it is progressing. We’re hoping it will be even more successful in 2006. I cannot stress this enough, but we are not going to do anything to distract from that. Skinner is the fulltime driver of the #5 Toyota Tundra and there are no plans, nor were there ever, to put him in the #22 car.” Davis is asking for everyone’s patience in this matter and wants to remind everyone that until BDR officially announces its plans, everything else is hearsay and pure speculation. “People don’t realize when they concoct stuff like this, how it can truly be detrimental to the business side of this sport,” Davis said. “I am working hard to get everything nailed down for next year and as soon as that is done I will be very eager to let everyone else know about it. Hopefully, we will be able to announce the future plans for the #22 team in the near future.”(Bill Davis Racing)(11-2-2005)
- Wind Tunnel Q & A: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. one of the quotes from Sunday’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel. Sunday Wind Tunnel guest was Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt talked bout DEI crew shuffles, his desire to be a car owner and the possibility of teaming with Richard Childress in the future.
Despain: Is there ever a time that RCR could get you to drive the #3 car?
Earnhardt: Richard Childress is a great friend of mine. How he has treated me since my father passed away has amazed me. How that whole company looks at me and my family amazes me. It would be an honor for me to drive for Richard. I look at that way into the future. That is something that is an opportunity for us and I think it would be fun for me and Richard to do something like that in the future. We haven’t sat down and decided that is what we will do, but maybe the last one or two years in my career, that’s a possibility. I look forward to it. That is something we just leave laying out there it out there and joke about it, but if it is something that we want to do, we will do it.(see more quotes at Speedtv.com)(11-2-2005)
- Dickies to sponsor #66 at Texas IMAGES: Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co. and Peak Performance Motorsports announced a one-race primary sponsorship package for the Dickies 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway. The Fort Worth-based maker of the DICKIES brand of work wear is in its first season as the title sponsor for the fall Nextel Cup event, and has signed with the #66 Ford and driver Kevin Lepage to be the primary sponsor of the car for the weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.(PSE-3 PR)(11-1-2005)
IMAGES see images of the car on my #66 Team Schemes page.(11-2-2005)
- Interstate Batteries Rewards Local Dealer: When Bobby Labonte competes at the Dickies 500 NEXTEL Cup Series event Nov. 6 at Texas Motor Speedway, the hood of his #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy will look a little bit different than most fans are used to seeing. Following a nationwide contest that Interstate conducted earlier this year, the car will carry the name of Main Street Getty, an Interstate Batteries dealer located in Tewksbury, Mass., a city of about 28,000 people, located about 20 miles north of Boston. In addition, IBS of Massachusetts, the Interstate Batteries distributorship that services Main Street Getty, will also adorn part of Labonte’s hood. Both were winners of Interstate’s ‘500 Miles of Fame II’ promotion, a program designed to increase its dealers’ focus on batteries and give them and Interstate’s distributors a chance to be seen by millions of consumers both in person and on television in a location normally reserved for multi-million dollar corporate names. Winners not only receive an all-expense paid trip to the race, but will also get the opportunity to meet Labonte prior to the event. Interstate is one of the longest-running major sponsors in NEXTEL Cup racing having been associated with Joe Gibbs Racing since 1991.(Camp and Associates/JGR)(11-1-2005)
IMAGE: see image of the hood on my #18 Team Schemes page.(11-2-2005)
- Geek Squad on the #0 at Texas UPDATE – image: on geeksquad.com it is being reported that the #0 Haas CNC Racing Chevy and driver Mike Bliss will run a Geek Squad paint scheme at Texas Motor Speedway. Geek Squad works with Best Buy, a sponsor of the #0 team.(11-1-2005)
UPDATE: Cup driver Mike Bliss for the first time this season will find himself behind the wheel of Best Buy’s Geek Squad #0 Chevrolet Monte Carlo as the Haas CNC Racing team heads to Texas Motor Speedway for this Sunday’s NASCAR Dickie’s 500. In addition to the new black and orange paint scheme on the car, uniformed Geek Squad agents will be dispatched to rescue media and NASCAR teams from unforeseen tech malfunctions (PR), see images of the car on my #0 Team Schemes page.(11-2-2005)
- Ford sues NC firm over racing device:Ford Motor Co. sued a North Carolina equipment supplier Tuesday, accusing the company of stealing trade secrets, breach of contract and trademark infringement. The case centers on the Ford Racing Kinematics Rig – a device Ford says it developed to collect, process and display data from the chassis systems of NASCAR race cars. According to a complaint filed in federal court in Detroit Tuesday, Ford’s racing division contracted with L&H Technologies of Charlotte, N.C., last year to produce the device for Ford’s exclusive use. As part of that contract, Ford says it provided L&H with technical details for the device and worked with the supplier to develop the device. Ford also says it provided L&H with components for the rigs and loaned the supplier Ford Racing cars to test the equipment. In its lawsuit, Ford says L&H produced the units for Ford as requested, but then began offering the same device to other NASCAR teams, using Ford’s logo in its marketing materials.(Detroit News)(11-2-2005)
- Robby gets Dakar sponsor: Hummer Division and Robby Gordon Motorsports have joined together to take on the Dakar Rally, widely considered to be the most grueling off-road race in the world due to its brutal terrain and extreme environmental conditions. Gordon will lead his Team Dakar USA from behind the wheel of a HUMMER H3 race truck. His relationship with Hummer will also include driving an H3 in the 2006 Baja 1000 and Baja 500 desert races. “Team Dakar USA’s main objective will be to prove to the world that American innovation and determination can compete on the world stage,” said Gordon. “We started planning for this just after my first Dakar Rally, where we won two stages, and I know we are prepared and ready to take on the world.” Gordon’s H3 will consist of an H3 body paired with a specially developed chassis featuring a suspension designed by him and his Off-Road team. The H3 will be a tube-chassis vehicle similar to Trophy Trucks races in the famed Baja 1000, except that it will have a fully enclosed air-conditioned cockpit, including windshield and side windows. It will be powered by a production-based General Motors V8 engine.
The 16-stage Dakar race covers more than 6,000 miles (nearly 10,000 km) in just over two weeks. The 2006 Dakar begins on December 31 in Lisbon, Portugal and runs through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, and Guinea before finishing in the capital city of Dakar, in Senegal. More information on the Dakar race is available at teamdakarusa.com. Information on HUMMER products is available at www.hummer.com. Robby Gordon was named by Off-Road retailer magazine in 2004 as one of the five most influential people in the off-road industry. He has successfully owned and operated teams in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series, CART, IRL and SCORE.(Robby Gordon PR)(11-2-2005)
- #32 Tests at Kentucky: #32 PPI Motorsports and driver Bobby Hamilton Jr., will be testing at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, November 2 in preparations for this weekend’s event at Texas Motor Speedway. Chassis No. 67 will be utilized.(PPI Motorsports)(11-2-2005)
- #92 Gets Sponsor for Texas: Front Row Motorsports announced that FOX Collision Center will sponsor the #92 Chevrolet driven by P.J. Jones at Texas Motor Speedway, for the Dickies 500. “I’m looking forward to driving the FOX Collision Center Chevrolet at Texas,” commented driver PJ Jones. “The #92 FOX Collision Center car qualified well at Kansas and we fully expect another good run this weekend.” FOX Collision Center, Inc., with 9 full service body shops is owned and operated by Kansas native Todd Fox, an industry veteran with over 20 years experience in collision repair. He began his collision repair business in Wichita and operated four facilities before moving onto Tulsa, Oklahoma in spring of 2001. After just a few short months, FOX quickly became Tulsa’s premier Collision Center. There are currently 4 FOX Collision Center’s in Wichita. Their ninth center opened October 4th in Kansas at I-35 and Antioch.(Front Row Motorsports)(11-2-2005)
- Ward selected to Board: Ward Burton was selected Tuesday to sit on the Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries. Gov. Mark R. Warner, who announced the selection, called Burton “a strong addition” to the board that oversees the troubled Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Burton is the president and founder of the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, which provides conservation education programs and manages a wildlife refuge system of protected land. He has served as spokesman for the Virginia State Parks in public service announcements since 2003. Burton succeeds C. Wilson McNeely IV, who resigned last week after six years of service.(USA Today.AP)(11-2-2005)
News from November 1, 2005
- Sad News: After a long and courageous fight, John Paul – DeLana Harvick”s father – has lost his battle with cancer. He passed away on Tuesday, November 1, 2005. In lieu of flowers or gifts, they are asking that donations be made to Victory Junction Gang Camp in memory of John Paul Linville. Donations should be sent to: Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(Kevinharvick.com)(11-1-2005)
- Labonte to the #42? UPDATE 4: Hearing Bobby Labonte, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy, is the top candidate to replace Jamie McMurray in the #42 Texaco-Havoline Dodge at Chip Ganassi Racing, which would allow #97-Kurt Busch to drive the #2 in 2006 and McMurray to head to Roush Racing and drive the #97. Both McMurray and Busch signed deals to go to those teams in 2007 and both are trying to get out of their contract to run with their new teams in 2006.(10-21-2005)
see UPDATE 2 and some notes on my #18 Team News page.
UPDATE 3: hearing that Bobby Labonte has signed with Ganassi Racing for next season. Supposedly they are only waiting for the lawyers to finish up with the paperwork. There was no mention as to whether or not Interstate Batteries would be going with him.(11-1-2005)
UPDATE 4: Perhaps the final piece to the puzzle is Ganassi securing a new driver for McMurray. Bobby Labonte has been in the rumor mill however Labonte, who is attending the 2005 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, told PRN’s Garagepass “I figure if you don’t run good you might as well start some stuff. Until something happens there’s nothing to say about it because there’s only two people that hold the key to the situation and a lot of people can talk about it but they don’t know what they’re talking about.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)…clear as mud?(11-1-2005)
- More on the Busch McMurray ‘swap’: You get the feeling a formal announcement could come at any time, however Roush Racing President Geoff Smith denies reports a deal has been cut between car owners Jack Roush, Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi involving the early release of Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray. Smith said “The fiction is the deal is done and the fact is the deal is not done. All the parties are working to try to have a solution that’s acceptable to everyone and we’re still a few pieces short although everyone is working in good faith trying to make it happen. My feeling is that we are at a 70-75% probability that it’s going to be done, but there are about twelve moving pieces and every single piece is conditioned on another. They all have to close or the whole thing unwinds.” (PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-1-2005)
- Dominos Should Fall this week – Busch-McMurray released? UPDATE 2 McMurray release DENIED:: This will be the crucial week for a decision, Roush Racing president Geoff Smith says, in the long-running driver-swap negotiations involving Jack Roush’s Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi’s Jamie McMurray, and Roger Penske. If it does happen, McMurray would join Roush [#97], and Busch would join Penske [#2]. “In order for it to work, there has to be a driver for Chip,” Smith said. “Ten days ago it wasn’t working for Chip, but now it can work, so I presume he’s got somebody.” That could be Ricky Rudd, who isn’t saying what his 2006 plans are, but who is reportedly very close to a decision simply to retire at the end of the season. Or it could be Bobby Labonte. Or Labonte could be headed to Bill Davis, according to sources. If Labonte leaves Chevrolet’s Joe Gibbs to join the soon-to-be-Toyota Davis team as Michael Waltrip’s teammate, that would be a major pick up by Toyota, expected to join the Nextel Cup tour for the 2007 season. If Davis doesn’t get Labonte, he will likely get Dave Blaney, according to sources. Blaney once drove for Davis. Penske officials, saying that Rudd isn’t one of their options, agree that this is the week that will tell the tale, and they agree with Smith that the complicated deal will in fact be completed.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-31-2005)
UPDATE: ESPN’s Mike Massaro is reporting that Roush Racing has released 2004 Nextel Cup Champ #97 Kurt Busch from his 2006 contract obligations, allowing Busch to go to the #2 Miller Lite Dodge that Rusty Wallace will be retiring from at the end of 2005. ALSO Massaro is reporting that Jamie McMurray has been released from his 2006 Ganassi Racing contract to drive the #42 Texaco Dodge, allowing him to go to Roush Racing, taking over for Busch in the #97/#28 car or whatever number they will use with Crown Royal as the primary sponsor.(ESPN.com) So……who goes to the #42 Texaco Havoline Dodge? I am still hearing it’ll be Bobby Labonte, and other reports have Ricky Rudd taking the #42 ride over.(10-31-2005)
UPDATE 2: Jamie McMurray has not been released from his 2006 contract commitments at this time.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-1-2005)
- BAM Uncertain of 2006 driver: #49 BAM Racing co-owners Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau are uncertain who will drive the #49 Dodge next season after several major teams’ negotiations intensified. BAM Racing co-owners Beth Ann and Tony Morgenthau are unwittingly in a high-stakes game of musical Nextel Cup drivers. The couple isn’t sure if veteran Ken Schrader still will be sitting in the cockpit of their #49 Dodge, as he has for three seasons, or if he will be taking over Ricky Rudd’s #21 Ford ride for the legendary Wood Brothers. “We’re going to let the Wood Brothers say it,” Beth Ann Morgenthau said Monday. “We’re not going to say anything. [Schrader] popped it on us.” The Morgenthaus are two seasons into a three-year deal with primary sponsor Schwan’s. The 50-year-old Schrader said in February he planned to end his Cup career when that deal ended in 2007. The team publicists were considering a farewell tour called: “Schrader’s Schwan Song.”(Miami Herald)(11-1-2005)
- Penske to consolidate team headquarters: Penske Racing is moving its headquarters next year, leaving Reading, Pa., after the 2006 Indy Racing League season concludes, relocating to the company’s new NASCAR facility in Mooresville, N.C. The move will allow the organization to consolidate its stock-car, Indy-car and sports-car teams in the 424,000-square-foot facility Roger Penske opened last year in the Charlotte suburb. “There is certainly a lot of crossover capabilities,” said Tim Cindric, the president of the team’s Indy-car program. “Definitely one of the motives is to put everything under one roof.” Penske set his team’s roots in Reading in 1973 after it spent its first seven seasons in Newtown Square, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia. Only A.J. Foyt Racing, which is now based in the Houston suburb of Waller, Texas, has stayed in one area longer. Foyt’s team was founded in 1965 in Houston. Penske’s Indy-car team has about 90 employees, most of whom are Pennsylvania natives. Cindric doesn’t know how many people will follow the team.(Indianapolis Star)(11-1-2005)
- Honda and NASCAR: Although Honda has not made formal inquiries with NASCAR, certain engineers in the garage have been approached about a program that would begin in 2010.(Sporting News) and with Penske switching to Honda in the IRL…….(11-1-2005)
- Arnold to team up with Yates? hearing that Arnold Motorsports will team up with Robert Yates Racing to form a third team of sorts for Yates.(11-1-2005)