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November 2006 News Archives


News from November 30, 2006

  • Villeneuve Closer to NASCAR Deal: According to RDS, the former Formula One champion has reached an agreement with Roush Racing to help facilitate his move into NASCAR next spring. Team president Geoff Smith tells XM Satellite radio that Villeneuve would begin his career in the Craftsman Truck Series before graduating to the Busch Series. Smith adds that there’s a 50-percent chance Villeneuve could be in Montreal next August for the inaugural Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Villeneuve reportedly needs to find between $16-million and $18-million in sponsorship before the deal can be finalized.(TSN.ca)(11-30-2006)
  • Sirius to Provide Unprecedented NASCAR Driver-To-Pit Crew Race Coverage In 2007: SIRIUS Satellite Radio announced that it will present unprecedented live radio coverage of NASCAR races starting in 2007, making listeners feel like they are on top of their favorite team’s pit box on race day. In addition to the live race broadcast, SIRIUS will take fans into the cars and pits by devoting up to 10 additional “Team Talk” channels that will carry the driver-to-crew communications of up to 10 different race teams during Nextel Cup Series races. SIRIUS will combine the race broadcast with the driver-to-crew chatter on these channels, allowing fans to follow the overall race call and the in-car audio of a driver on a single channel throughout the race. The channels will feature top drivers based on the Nextel Cup Series standings. The lineup of drivers and their channel assignments will be available at www.sirius.com/nascar prior to each race.
    Listeners will hear drivers and crew chiefs schedule pit stops and discuss strategy over audio of the overall race broadcast. When the team members are not on the radio the audio of the live race broadcast will come up allowing listeners to follow the entire race uninterrupted.
    As the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR starting in 2007, SIRIUS will broadcast every Nextel Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, carrying the live broadcasts of Motor Racing Network (MRN), Performance Racing Network (PRN) and the IMS Radio Network’s broadcast from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    In addition to live race coverage, SIRIUS will launch SIRIUS NASCAR Radio / channel 128 in January. The channel will air 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will include live races, plus daily and weekly talk programs, including Tony Stewart Live, a two-hour show hosted by the two-time Nextel Cup Series champion and veteran pit road reporter Matt Yocum. A detailed schedule of programs and hosts on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio will be announced prior to launch. Click on www.sirius.com to listen to SIRIUS live, or to purchase a SIRIUS radio and subscription.(Sirius Radio PR)(11-30-2006)
  • Wells Fargo and Marathon Oil looks like back as sponsors of #45: got two diescat images of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge for 2007 [among many others], one schemes is for Wells Fargo and the other is for Marathon Spirit Oil. Both were part of a many sponsorship package for Petty in 2006. Supposedly Schwan’s will not return, but have heard nothing official. See the images on my #45 Team Schemes page.(11-30-2006)
  • Craven still looking to race..part time: Ricky Craven isn’t ready to retire from auto racing, but said he doesn’t foresee driving a full-time schedule next season. “In looking toward 2007, I expect to race. Perhaps on a part-time basis. And I could enjoy that. I want to help a team and have a positive influence on that team,” said Craven, who last ran a full season in 2005 for Roush Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series. “I certainly enjoyed that year in the truck series but I don’t see myself running in it again full time other than if I owned my own truck team,” said the 40-year-old Craven. Craven admitted that he had discussions with a Nextel Cup owner earlier this month about returning to race full time for one year. But he wouldn’t confirm if it was Cal Wells III, for whom he drove for 3½ years and registered his two victories. They were the only single-car team to win a race in the decade. “That opportunity isn’t going to happen now,” said Craven, who raced twice last year. He spent the majority of his time off “reflecting on my career and catching up with my family. “I made the right decision,” said Craven, who thoroughly enjoyed his year away from the sport. However, he also said “I missed competing and interacting with the fans and I was a little uncomfortable being stagnant.” He said if he accepts a part-time ride in the Nextel Cup, Busch or Craftsman Truck series, “it will really have to be a concentrated effort. We would have to decide on the races we were going to run so we have time to prepare for them. We would have to be focused on just those events in order to maximize our performance.” He purposely stayed away from the racetrack this past season so he could spend time with wife K.K. and children Riley, Everett and Lydia. He said he knew that hurt his chances of landing a ride for 2007 but has no regrets about doing so. “I know it made it more difficult for me to be part of the discussion leading into 2007. However, taking any other approach other than the one I did would have been a contradiction to my reasoning [for taking the year off],” said Craven, who has a home in Greenville in addition to Concord, N.C. Craven, who owns a commercial leasing [land] firm in Kannapolis, N.C., said running the two Cup races at New Hampshire International Speedway are “at the top of my list. “That would be personal,” said Craven, who has won poles but hasn’t won a Nextel Cup race at Loudon, N.H. He is confident he can be a productive driver again after shaking off the rust. He also said he may explore other opportunities in the sport such as radio or television work.(Bangor Daily News)(11-30-2006)
  • Goodyear Strike hits NYC Awards Celebration: Striking Goodyear tire workers and their supporters are demonstrating against the company in New York City, in conjunction with NASCAR’s Champions Week celebration. The action started on Wednesday and is scheduled to continue through Friday, when the awards ceremony is held at the Waldorf-Astoria, according to a press release. The release asks: “Will defective tires make their way into Goodyear stores or on NASCAR tracks in 2007?” Goodyear workers went on strike on Oct. 5, though the stoppage did not affect any of NASCAR’s series this season. The strike by members of the United Steelworkers union has sparked rumors that NASCAR was considering rival manufacturer Hoosier as a tire supplier for next season. Officials from both NASCAR and Goodyear have said that isn’t the case.(SceneDaily.com)(11-30-2006)
  • RCR and McCreadie reach deal? According to sources, both at RCR and locally, the Watertown, NY native Tim McCreadie has reached a deal with Richard Childress Racing to drive in the Winston West West Series in 2007. “Tim will be competing in the Winston West Series next year, for RCR’s Driver Development Program,” a source at RCR’s PR Dept. has stated.”The plan right now is for Tim to participate in all 14 West Series events for next season. If all goes well and we have no reason to think it won’t, Tim will move up to either the Busch or Craftsman Truck Series in 2008. Tim is a very talented driver and we at RCR are very excited about him coming on board and helping RCR get back to the top.” The deal will allow “T Mac” to drive in select WoO Late Model and Modified Series events on the DIRT circuit.(localtrax.com)(11-30-2006)
  • Sad News – Al Grinnan: Arnold Perry “Al” Grinnan Jr., a Fredericksburg native and long-time Richmond resident who was a well-known race car driver, died Friday at the age of 76. Grinnan was a driver at many race tracks in Virginia, as well as others from Florida to Maine . He began racing after leaving the Army following a decorated tour in Korea where, for a short period of time, he was a prisoner of war. One of the original breed of stock-car racers on the precursor to NASCAR known as the Grand National circuit, Mr. Grinnan estimated last year in an interview with The Times-Dispatch that he won more than 500 races from the early 1950s until he retired from racing in 1979. He raced at Strawberry Hill – now Richmond International Raceway – with legends such as Runt Harris, Ted Hairfield, Sonny Hutchins, Eddie Crouse and many others. In 1968, Mr. Grinnan was voted the most popular Modified Sportsman driver on the circuit. Grinnan is survived by his Wife, Carolyn O’Neal Grinnan, a daughter and three sons, three grandchildren and three sisters. Visitation will be today from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Mechanicsville Chapel of Bennett funeral Home, 8014 Lee Davis Road, with a service immediately following. Burial will be tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Sunset Memorial Park in Fredericksburg.(Richmond Times Dispatch), Grinnan ran one Nextel Cup race [then know as Grand National Series] in 1971 at Richmond, starting 33rd and finishing 13th.(11-30-2006)
  • Stewart Sirius Radio Show preview in NYC: Sirius Satellite Radio is doing a Tony Stewart Live preview show on Thursday night, November 30th, of Champions Week from 6:00 to 8:00pm/et, live from Sirius headquarters in NYC on SIRIUS channel 128.
    MORE: Special preview broadcast of Tony Stewart Live, hosted by two-time Nextel Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart and veteran pit road reporter Matt Yocum. The weekly, live two-hour radio show debuts in January exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128, the 24/7/365 radio channel launching in January. Stewart and Yocum will take calls from listeners, talk with prominent guests and cover the spectrum of motorsports – from NASCAR to open-wheel racing and beyond.
    WHEN: Thursday, November 30 (6 to 8pm/et) the broadcast will air exclusively on SIRIUS, channel 128 from the SIRIUS Satellite Radio Studios, 1221 Ave of the Americas (@ 49th street), New York, NY
    Guests scheduled to call in to the program include:
    * Multi Platinum recording artist Kid Rock
    * NASCAR Busch Series Champion Kevin Harvick
    * Fitness guru Richard Simmons, who will talk to Tony about Tony’s new fitness regimen.(Sirius Radio PR)(11-30-2006)
  • Johnson named spokesperson: Elizabeth Arden announced that Jimmie Johnson, 2006 winner of the Nextel Cup Series and reigning champion of its premiere race, the Daytona 500, has signed on with the company as national spokesperson for the Daytona 500 Fragrance for Men.(Yahoo Biz)(11-30-2006)

    News from November 29, 2006

  • Buckshot back racing/Wallace to run Snowball Derby: former Cup and Busch Series driver, Roy ‘Buckshot’ Jones has entered a #00 in the 39th annual Snow Ball Derby for Mid-South Motorsports owned by Skoot Rice.(Buckshot Jones Group MSN), other drivers with NASCAR connections include Dave Mader, III, Stanley Smith, Butch Miller, Steve Wallace and Travis Kittleson. The 39th Snowball Derby runs from Wednesday, November 29 through Sunday, December 3.(11-8-2006)
    AND Steve Wallace, winner of the 2004 Snowball Derby, is bringing a part of the past to this year’s race. The son of retired NASCAR legend Rusty Wallace will drive for Ritchie Wauters and have a special sponsor – Southland Fire & Equipment Company. The Baton Rouge, La-company sponsored Rusty during 1980s when he raced in the Snowball Derby. This year’s start will mark Wallace’s fourth derby start. Last year, he finished second to Pensacola’s Eddie Mercer.(RWI PR)
    And see official coverage of the event at speed51.com.(11-29-2006)
  • Carmichael testing at New Smyrna UPDATE images: hearing that former motorcycler Ricky Carmichael, who recently signed with Ginn Racing [formerly MB2 Motorsports] is testing today for Ginn Racing at New Smyrna Speedway in FL. Supposedly, some of the team members welded motorcycle handles on the steering wheel so Carmichael could feel more comfortable.(11-28-2006)
    UPDATE and IMAGES: Carmichael tested the #66 Coca Cola Ford of Matt Martin at New Smyrna Speedway, why a Ford when Ginn Racing runs Chevy’s? because Matt Martin is signed with Ford, Mark Martin, Matt’s father, will drive for Ginn Racing in 2007 in the #01 U.S. Army Chevy.
    UPDATE 2: Carmichael turned about 80 test laps over the half-mile oval at New Smyrna Speedway in a Late Model owned by Nextel Cup Series veteran Mark Martin. Martin supervised the morning practice session before flying to New York City for NASCAR’s Champion’s Week festivities. He was not available for comment. Members of Martin’s local race team combined with some of Ginn Racing’s crew from Mooresville, N.C., to support Carmichael’s practice session. Jay Frye, Ginn Racing’s CEO and managing partner, confirmed the test session and said Carmichael’s lap times were comparable to qualifying speeds posted in New Smyrna’s recent Governor’s Cup event. “Ricky ran quite a few laps, fast laps,” Frye said. “My guys down there reported it was a very successful test. This was Ricky’s third or fourth time in a race car but his first real test in a car with that kind of horsepower. Frye said Carmichael will be back in several weeks for another test in Martin’s Late Model racer.(in part from the Daytona Beach News Journal)
    See some images of the test on the Paint Scheme Galley Page.(11-29-2006)
  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week – Day 4:
    On the eve of the Nextel Cup Series Awards Ceremony in New York, over $1 million in special awards were presented at the NASCAR/National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers luncheon. Headlining the list of award winners was Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#8 Budweiser Chevy), who won the Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award for the fourth consecutive year, and 2006 Raybestos Rookie of the Year Denny Hamlin (#11 FedEx Chevy), who finished third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup and received $50,000 as the series’ top rookie racer. Chevy received the Nextel Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship for the 30th time. Chevy teams won 23 races in 2006, while seven of the 10 Chase for the Nextel Cup drivers drove Chevys. During the presentation, Chevy made a surprise presentation of its own – giving a 2007 Chevy Corvette convertible to Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson’s wife, Chani.
    Other special award winners included:
    NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter, who was honored with the Buddy Shuman Award, in recognition of his longtime role and impact in the NASCAR community.
    Benny Parsons, the 1973 Nextel Cup Series champion and NBC television commentator, who was honored with the Myers Brothers Award, for his contributions to the growth of Nextel Cup racing.
    The #48 Lowe’s Chevy team takes top honors on Friday evening, but also received several awards on Thursday. Johnson won the $105,000 Checker’s/Rally’s Double-Drive Thru Pit Award, the Goodyear Award – including a scale replica of his #48 Lowe’s Chevy made from gold – and the $75,000 Sunoco Diamond Performance Award; the Hendrick Motorsports engine department won the $107,000 Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award; and crew chief Chad Knaus was recognized with the Nextel Cup Series Championship Crew Chief Award.
    Tony Stewart (#20 The Home Depot Chevy) received three different awards for his on-track performance – the $135,000 Bank of America Card Services Mid-Race Leader Award; the $100,000 USG Improving the Finish Award and the $75,000 WIX Lap Leader Award.
    Kasey Kahne (#9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) received $100,000 for winning the Budweiser Pole Award and $101,000 for winning the Commit Lozenges Commit to Win Award. Kahne won six pole positions in 2006.
    Mike Ford, crew chief for Denny Hamlin, won the $102,400 DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Year Award.
    Matt Kenseth (#17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford) won the $75,000 Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award.
    The #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy team of Jeff Burton received the $75,000 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award.
    Kevin Harvick (#29 GM Goodwrench Chevy) received the $100,000 Mobil 1 Command Performance Award.
    Allstate, the Official Insurance Partner of NASCAR, was presented with the Marketing Achievement Award.
    Champions gather at Rockefeller Plaza … An annual Champions Week tradition is the gathering of champions from all of NASCAR’s national, regional and local racing series, for a commemorative photo opportunity. It is the only time during the year that all of NASCAR’s champions from 12 different racing series are together in one location. Since 2002, this exclusive gathering has been held in New York as part of Champions Week.
    On Thursday, the group – including Johnson, NASCAR Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Todd Bodine, NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series champion Eric Holmes, NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series champion Mike Olsen, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Mike Stefanik, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour champion Junior Miller, NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Midwest Series champion Tim Schendel, NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Northwest Series champion Gary Lewis, NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series champion J.R. Norris, NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series champion Rip Michels and NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series champion Philip Morris – assembled at Rockefeller Plaza, near the city’s famous Christmas Tree, for their photo.
    One day and counting … Champions Week concludes Friday with a final day of activities for Jimmie Johnson, the rest of the Nextel Cup Top 10 drivers and 11th-place driver Tony Stewart. Johnson and his team will pose for photos along Park Avenue in Manhattan, before attending several pre-Awards Ceremony receptions. The Awards Ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. At 6pm/et, SPEED will air a special one hour pre-show: “NASCAR Takes Manhattan.” TNT will televise the Awards Ceremony beginning at 9pm/et, featuring musical entertainment by singer/songwriter Jewel and comedy performances by Jay Mohr.(NASCAR PR) any news, schedule for the week and appearances will be posted on my 2006 Cup Awards Page.(11-29-2006)
  • Robby could run Indy 500 in 2007: #7-Robby Gordon could attempt to race in the Indianapolis 500 again next year after skipping the race in 2006. Gordon has raced in the showpiece event and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day in the past, and his interest has been renewed by the level playing field in the IndyCar Series at present. “I have been offered a lot of rides for Indy,” said Gordon. “Next year the race could be the most competitive it’s ever been and that would be fun. Looking at the package for the Indy 500, every team will have the same tools to work with one engine manufacturer and one tyre supplier.” Gordon has raced at Indianapolis and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte on the same day in the past, but he insists that he would only attempt the double if his Nextel Cup program is going well. “I would rather wait until the first six Cup races next year so we can say ‘are we sitting 15th in points? Have we the improvements we think we are going to make with our program? It’s better to wait rather than just say we are going to do it now.”(Autosport.com)(11-29-2006)
  • Homestead Final TV ratings fall 20.3%: NBC’s broadcast of the Nov. 19 Ford 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7 and a 9 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 20.3% lower than the 5.9/11 NBC earned in 2005 and 24.2% lower than the 6.2/13 the network earned in 2004, the first year of the Chase For The Nextel Cup format.(SceneDaily.com), see rating for the whole season and news..on the 2006 TV Ratings Page.(11-29-2006)
  • New Watches for the Top 10 in NYC: Swiss watch brand Tissot, the Official Timekeeper and Watch for the sport of NASCAR, will bring its sponsorship of NASCAR’s Victory Lap to life on Wednesday, November 29th, centered in New York City’s Times Square by rewarding the top 10 Nextel Cup Series drivers each with a new T-Touch NASCAR Special Edition watch. Jimmie Johnson, the Nextel Cup Series champion, will also receive a limited edition Tissot Heritage 150th Anniversary watch. The presentation will be held at ESPN Zone as one of the highlights of the morning. Tens of thousands of fans are expected to attend the event location in the heart of midtown Manhattan.(PR Newswire)(11-29-2006)

    News from November 28, 2006

  • Martin talked to Dale Jr about Busch ride: Mark Martin told Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) Monday that he spoke to Dale Earnhardt, Jr., about a possible, part-time Busch Series ride with Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports in 2007. Martin, who has already inked deals to drive the Ginn Racing/US Army Nextel Cup Chevrolet next season, as well as a Craftsman Truck for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, said sponsor conflicts prevented the deal with Earnhardt from coming to fruition. “I talked to Dale Junior about sharing a Busch car with him and a couple of other guys next season,” said Martin. “We both wanted to do it, but we couldn’t get the details figured out. The Army and the Navy (sponsors of Earnhardt’s #88 Busch car) were kinda like oil and water, and we couldn’t figure out a way to make it work.” Martin said he could run for as many as four different teams next season on the Cup, Busch and Truck Series.(MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio)(11-28-2006)
  • Ford Not leaving NASCAR: Ford Racing Technology’s Greg Specht said this week that the automaker is not panicking in the face of defections by Mark Martin, Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler to rival manufacturers, and has absolutely no plans to leave NASCAR. Specht said he has been assured by corporate management that Ford will remain a viable part of NASCAR, and that adequate funding will be allocated to keep the automaker competitive with Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota. Ford CEO Edsel Ford made similar comments on MRN Radio two weeks ago at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Motorsports Soapbox)(11-28-2006)
  • Labonte, Cheerios raise 126,893 Books for Kids in Need through “Race for Books”: Bobby Labonte, driver of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, ended the 2006 racing season by starting a whole new chapter on reading for kids across the country. That’s because for every lap Labonte completed in the last 10 races, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories and nonprofit partner First Book are donating 43 books to disadvantaged children in a “Race for Books.” Labonte and the team’s performance in the last 10 races raised a grand total of 126,893 books that will be donated to kids, and helped call attention to the importance of reading and getting books to children. The “Race for Books” kicked off September 17th at the New Hampshire International Speedway and wrapped up at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. In that time Labonte earned four top-10 finishes.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(11-28-2006)
  • 2007 Budweiser Shootout Driver Lineup Finalized: The field for the 29th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway is set. There will be at least 21 drivers that will be eligible for the 2007 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night, Feb. 10. The field for the non-points Nextel Cup Series All-Star race features the previous season’s pole winners and past Budweiser Shootout champions. Drivers that have won pole positions during the 2006 season and qualified for 2007 Budweiser Shootout are three-time Daytona 500 champion Jeff Gordon, 2006 Daytona 500 winner and 2006 Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, 2006 Budweiser Shootout champion Denny Hamlin, Brian Vickers, rookie driver David Gilliland, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Elliott Sadler, Scott Riggs, Ryan Newman and Boris Said. Past Budweiser Shootout champions eligible for the 2007 event are three-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Jarrett, 2004 Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr., two-time Pepsi 400 winner Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Ken Schrader and Bill Elliott. With only prize money and the prestige of winning at “The World Center of Racing,” the Budweiser Shootout turns into a no-holds barred race with an electric atmosphere. Jarrett and Vickers will be behind the wheel of Toyotas in the manufacturer’s first Nextel Cup Series event while Hamlin will be gunning for two straight Budweiser Shootout victories. Hamlin became the first rookie to win the Budweiser Shootout when he led 16 of the final 21 laps and held off restrictor-plate titans Earnhardt Jr. and Stewart in a green-white-checkered finish.
    Speedweeks 2007 kicks off with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 27-28. Also on tap for the three-week festival of speed are the Budweiser Shootout (Feb. 10), the Gatorade Duel (Feb. 15), the Chevy Silverado HD 250 Craftsman Truck Series race and IROC (Feb. 16), the Daytona 300 Busch Series race (Feb. 17) and the 49th annual Daytona 500 (Feb. 18). Tickets to all exciting events at Daytona International Speedway are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR), see my 2007 Budweiser Shootout page for more.(11-28-2006)
  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week – Day 3:
    It seemed like a normal race morning in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. The drivers awoke early, attended a meeting with NASCAR President Mike Helton, donned their uniforms, signed autographs, participated in live television interviews, climbed into their race cars and drove off to the cheers of their fans. But this was no normal race morning. The setting was Times Square in New York City. The drivers took to the streets of New York for the NASCAR “Victory Lap,” which began with a live national television appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America. A procession of the Top 10 drivers and cars departed from Good Morning America’s Times Square Studios and ended at the ESPN Zone restaurant, where the drivers met with sponsors and media.
    Where past champions have gone before … NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevrolet), posed for photos in Times Square after the Victory Lap was completed. During the shoot, a feature of NASCAR’s Champion’s Week in New York for many years, was especially poignant for Johnson – a moment he now shares with dozens of other series champions who came before him. With the Victory Lap completed, the countdown continues toward the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Friday evening. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has been joined in New York by the rest of the Top 10 drivers, along with 11th-place finisher Tony Stewart (#20 The Home Depot Chevrolet).
    Next up for this exclusive group is the NASCAR / National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers luncheon on Thursday. This prestigious event, at Cipriani on 42nd Street, includes presentations to the special award winners of 2006. In addition, the champions from all of NASCAR’s other series will be recognized. After Thursday’s luncheon, all of the champions will gather for their annual champions’ photo shoot, at Rockefeller Plaza. On Thursday evening, the group of champions will be treated to an exclusive Champions’ Dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria.
    Friday: Johnson and his team will pose for formal photos on New York’s Park Avenue before attending several pre-awards ceremony receptions. Then, Johnson officially will be crowned NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion; the Awards Ceremony begins at 7:00pm/et in the Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. SPEED will broadcast a live Awards Ceremony pre-show, “NASCAR Takes Manhattan,” beginning at 7:00pm/et, while TNT will air the ceremony at 9:00pm/et.
    Pit Stop Tour … For any local race fans that missed the Victory Lap, several slower-moving cars will be visible throughout Champion’s Week. In fact, several race cars will be parked on display at many popular New York locations every day this week.
    From 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., today through Friday, six city locations will host the Champion’s Week Pit Stop Tour, where fans can view NASCAR stock cars up close. The locations are: Times Square/Military Island (Broadway between 43rd and 44th Streets); Bryant Park (6th Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets); by the News Corp. Building (6th Avenue between 48th and 49th Streets); Madison Square Garden (7th Avenue between 31st and 32nd Streets); at the Tissot Retail Gallery/Tourneau Atrium (57th & Madison Avenue); and the Sprint retail store located at 175 5th Avenue, between 22nd and 23rd Streets.(NASCAR PR) any news, schedule for the week and appearances will be posted on my 2006 Cup Awards Page.(11-28-2006)


    News from November 27, 2006

  • Borland staying at Penske: Matt Borland, Ryan Newman’s longtime crew chief, is staying at Penske Racing South for the 2007 season, team president Don Miller said Monday, although no title or job description has been finalized. One of Borland’s first jobs will likely be helping to determine who will replace him as crew chief for Newman and the #12 Dodge team. Miller said Monday that Borland met with owner Roger Penske following the season finale. “He told Roger that under no circumstances does he want to leave, because Roger gave him the option,” Miller said.(Scenedaily.com)(11-27-2006)
  • BAC and NASCAR sign 5-year deal: Bank of America Corp. has signed a five-year deal as the official bank of NASCAR. The bank shared details of the agreement with The Associated Press before the public announcement Monday. The multiyear deal greatly expands Bank of America’s sponsorship of stock car racing, while also marking a change in how NASCAR lines up sponsors. NASCAR has begun to reduce its sponsor base by consolidating deals and seeking opportunities to cover entire industries in one deal. Bank of America already has an “official bank” deal in place with baseball, long known as the national pastime. Now, the nation’s No. 2 bank adds a similar deal with a sport widely viewed as the nation’s fastest-growing. A person familiar with the agreement put the overall value of the five-year deal between $15 million and $20 million. Under the deal, Bank of America will be NASCAR’s exclusive sponsor for banking and related financial services, including checking and savings accounts, credit and debit cards, mutual funds and securities brokerage services. The company gets the right to use the NASCAR logo and name in marketing and advertising promotions through 2011.(Associated Press)(11-27-2006)
  • NASCAR looking to expand: NASCAR is seeking to expand in China and western Europe by marrying its licensing, sponsorship and media expertise with local partners. “We’re sizing it up,” Brian France, NASCAR’s chairman and chief executive, said in an interview with the Financial Times. “We have a couple of people who are looking at that carefully.” NASCAR compares opportunities in China to those in the US in the late 1940s when stock-car racing began to take hold. The Formula One group has staged an annual Grand Prix in Shanghai since 2004. But NASCAR believes that Chinese consumers are likely to identify with racing cars that look more like passenger vehicles. “NASCAR appeals to the mass market,” said Robbie Weiss, NASCAR’s international director. “Our fan is the football fan.” See full articles at MSNBC and the Financial Times.(11-27-2006)
  • Johnson to run ROC in Paris: The organizers of the 2006 Race of Champions – Nations Cup, a unique and spectacular competition that opposes motor sport champions and superstars from across the world, are delighted to confirm the return of NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson and multiple X-Games Champ Travis Pastrana to spearhead the USA’s bid to win the coveted Nations Cup. Johnson, currently 2nd in Nascar’s title Chase and winner of both this year’s Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400, was a member of Team USA in 2002 that claimed America’s first Nations Cup title in the Canary Islands with teammates Jeff Gordon and Colin Edwards. The 31-year old Californian will participate in his third ROC event (2002 and 2004) and return to the Stade de France in Paris on December 16. Other drivers that have committed to participate in the 2006 ROC event include Formula 1 stars Jenson Button, David Coulthard, Rally World Champions Sebastien Loeb, Marcus Gronholm and Colin McRae, Dakar Champion Stephane Peterhansel, World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, DTM Champion Bernd Schneider, 7-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen, Champ Car Champion Sebastien Bourdais, etc. For more information on Race of Champions please visit www.raceofchampions.com.(11-27-2006)(ROC PR)
  • Ganassi Racing Development Driver Nominated for Award: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) development driver and USAC National Sprint and Midget Car Series star Bryan Clauson was recently nominated for RACER Magazine’s Rookie of the Year Award which will be presented during this year’s SPEED Performance Awards. Clauson’s nomination pits him against the best young talent motor racing has to offer worldwide, as evidenced by the selections of Marco Andretti (Indy Racing League), Colin Braun (Grand American), Dan Clarke (Champ Car), Denny Hamlin (NASCAR) and Robert Kubica (Formula One). At just 16 years of age, Clauson (now 17) became the youngest driver in USAC history to win both a National Sprint Car Series and National feature Midget race- topping a list of USAC’s all-time greats including Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart. After an injury in September in Wheatland, Mo. sidelined him for the remainder of 2006, Clauson still finished in the Top 10 in both Sprint and Midget points. He also won selected USAC Regional Midget Car Series events in 2006. The RACER Rookie of the Year winner will be featured in the April edition of the magazine. Beginning this week, SPEED will present nominees for the fan-vote categories, allowing viewers to vote for their favorites at SPEEDtv.com. The winners will be announced as part of a 60-minute special in February.
    Also, CGRFS recently signed 16-year-old open wheel standout Brady Bacon to the team’s driver development program. Bacon has been the feature driver at Keith Kunz Motorsports, filling in for Clauson as he continues to recover from his aforementioned accident. Bacon is the 2006 Southern Midget Racing Series champion, and recently finished third in the USAC National Sprint Car race in his first outing at Eldora Speedway in Ohio.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-27-2006)
  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week – Day 1:
    The whirlwind officially began for 2006 Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevy) on Monday, as he kicked off one of the busiest and most exciting five days of his career. The reason? NASCAR is celebrating its 26th annual Champions Week in New York City this week, marking the beginning of Johnson’s year-long reign and the recognition of all the sport’s 2006 champions. Included in this week’s very busy and wide-reaching itinerary are national media appearances, activities with the other Nextel Cup Top 10 drivers and the crowning moment – Friday night’s awards ceremony. Johnson, who clinched his title in the series’ season finale last week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, arrived in New York on Sunday evening, where he enjoyed a welcome dinner with NASCAR and Sprint Nextel executives at the sport’s longtime Champions Week headquarters – the historic Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
    “It’s been a great journey for us,” said Johnson. “We feel like we were in contention last year and the year before to win the championship but came up a little short. In racing there’s only one winner; one champion. To be a champion is so difficult to do.”
    Johnson’s Monday began with his appearance on ESPN’s Cold Pizza, followed by guest stints on radio shows and an early-afternoon appearance on FOX News Live. He also was scheduled for afternoon interviews with Forbes.com, XM Satellite Radio and Associated Press interactive. Johnson, who won his first Nextel Cup title in only his fifth season, hopes this week’s activities won’t be his last as a series champion. “I really feel we are coming into our prime as a team,” he said. “I am hopeful that as time goes on we can stay in that championship mindset and win a couple more.”
    Champions Week, Part II … Jimmie Johnson’s Champions Week gets busier as the hours tick by. Here’s a quick glance at some of what the 2006 Nextel Cup champion will experience on Tuesday [11-28-2006]:Tuesday: More national and New York media interviews, visits and a prime photo shoot at one of the Big Apple’s Art Deco landmarks – Rockefeller Center’s observation deck, or, “the Top of the Rock.” Later that night, Johnson appears on the nationally-syndicated “NASCAR Live” radio show on the Motor Racing Network (MRN), any news, schedule for the week and appearances will be posted on my 2006 Cup Awards Page.(11-27-2006)

 

News from November 26, 2006

  • Johnson Finishes Season With Top Driver Rating: Not only did #48-Jimmie Johnson out-duel Matt Kenseth to win his first career Nextel Cup championship, he also finished the season with the highest Driver Rating. Driver Rating, part of NASCAR’s Loop Data statistics, uses a formula to rate a driver based on a number of factors including: wins, top-15 finishes, Average Running Position, Average Green-Flag Speed, Most Laps Led and Lead-Lap Finishes. The close championship battle was not only evident in the point standings, but also in Driver Rating. Johnson finished the season with a Driver Rating of 101.9, only a fraction of a point better than second-place Matt Kenseth who finished with a rating of 101.7. Johnson’s slim points lead over Kenseth is also illustrated in five other Loop Data categories. He leads Kenseth in Average Starting Position with 10.8 to Kenseth’s 14.6 and in Average Finish, 9.7 to Kenseth’s 9.8. Johnson’s Average Running Position of 10.8 was also better than Kenseth’s 11.5. Johnson also completed the Fastest Lap nearly 100 more times than Johnson this season. Johnson (1,952) also completed over 100 more Quality Passes than Kenseth (1,820).(NASCAR PR)(11-26-2006)
  • Wypall Wipers Crowns Crew Chief Champions: Wypall Wipers announced Robbie Reiser, Trip Bruce and Rick Ren as the winners of its 2006 Crew Chief Challenge. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge has been a season-long contest to determine the best crew chiefs in the garage. At the conclusion of each event in racing’s top-three series, a panel of judges, including Tony Eury Sr., Director of Competition at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., a member of the local media and a Wypall Wipers representative, decided which crew chief did an outstanding job. It wasn’t necessarily the crew chief that went to victory lane, but it was always the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team. The crew chief in each series with the most weekly wins won top honors as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge spotlights the crew chief’s efforts to get his team in Victory Lane.
    Robbie Reiser, crew chief of the Nextel Cup Series #17 Roush Racing DeWalt Ford, earned Crew Chief of the Race accolades at five events this season, narrowly edging Kenny Francis, crew chief of the #9 Dodge Dealers Dodge, who won the award four times. Reiser received $20,000 as the Crew Chief of the Year.
    Trip Bruce, crew chief of the Busch Series #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge Charger, won the Crew Chief of the Race award five times this season, beating out Shane Wilson, crew chief of the #21 Coast Guard Chevrolet, who picked up four wins. Bruce won $10,000 for his achievement.
    Rick Ren, crew chief of the Craftsman Truck Series #23 Bill Davis Racing Toyota, won a close competition over Mike Hillman Jr., crew chief of the #30 Lumber Liquidators Toyota, for Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year honors. Ren won the Crew Chief of the Race award five times throughout 2006, earning a $10,000 grand prize as the champion.
    Wypall Wipers will return in 2007 with its Crew Chief Challenge and continue to spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto Wypall.com.(11-26-2006)
  • Mike Hampton Wins Chase Tracker Game: Mike Hampton was on the stage at Homestead-Miami Speedway celebrating Jimmie Johnson’s Nextel Cup Series championship when he got news of his own victory. Hampton correctly identified the final position of four drivers in the Chase for the Nextel Cup – including Johnson – to win the 2006 Nextel Chase Tracker game. Hampton, a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, entered the season finale in fifth place out of 20 Chase Tracker celebrities, but accumulated 55 points to pass former Green Bay Packer Aaron Taylor for the win, 138-136. Former Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee finished third with 127 points. San Diego Padres pitcher Jake Peavy was leading the standings heading into Homestead, but only picked two drivers’ final positions in the standings and finished fifth with 121 points. Taylor, who was in third before Homestead, held a three point lead over Hampton and both athletes correctly identified four drivers final position in the standings, including Johnson. Hampton secured his Chase Tracker championship by predicting Greg Biffle’s victory in the Ford 400. Hampton was one of six different athletes to lead the Chase Tracker game. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady led the first two weeks, followed by former Chicago Bulls superstar Scottie Pippen, Carolina Panthers WR Steve Smith, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Peavy. Each contestant filled out the Chase Tracker grid with their Chase predictions prior to the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Each grid contains the predicted order of the Chase drivers after each race as well as a predicted race winner. Points are awarded for each correct pick following each event. One point is awarded for each correct pick in week one, two for each correct pick in week two and so on through the final race on Nov. 19. Each correct pick of the race winner earns the contestant five bonus points. Correctly predicting the 2006 Nextel Cup Series champion is worth 20 points.(NASCAR PR)(11-26-2006)

    News from November 25, 2006

  • More on Sauter to the #88, or will it be Rudd?: The stars appear to have lined up perfectly for Johnny Sauter to drive Robert Yates Racing’s #88 Ford Fusion in the Nextel Cup Series next season. Sauter has the inside track to the only car without a driver in the top 35 in the Nextel Cup owner points, guaranteeing a position in the Daytona 500 and the next four races in 2007. Yates is also talking to Ricky Rudd, who doesn’t want to compete full time. Unless Yates can induce the 50-year-old Rudd into changing his mind — and it seems unlikely — the #88 belongs to Sauter. They’re the only two drivers under consideration.(CNNSI)(11-25-2006)
  • Mears and National Guard in Turkey race: while not yet confirmed, it was reported a while back that the National Guard sponsorship would move from the #16 Greg Biffle Ford to the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Casey Mears will drive in 2007. It has been reported that Mears drove a sprint car at Irwindale Speedway in the Turkey Night Grand Prix and was sponsored by the National Guard and he was wearing a National Guard/GMAC Hendrick firesuit. It was recently announced that the National Guard would not return to the #16 [Ameriquest and 3M will sponsor Biffle in 2007](11-25-2006)
  • BAM Racing to return in 2007, Bliss to drive? Although the Beth-Ann Morgenthau/BAM Racing owned operation haven’t confirmed their driver for the #49 whatsonline.com Dodge for 2007, team manager Eddie Jones and current crew chief David Hyder, as well as the primary sponsor, have all been confirmed for the 2007 season. With Mike Wallace, Chris Cook, Kevin Lepage and Mike Bliss all spending time behind the wheel of the #49 Dodge during the course of the year following Brent Sherman’s departure, consistency was a major problem for the team in 2006 and it was no surprise to see the team finish 40th in the final team standings having failed to qualify for eleven of the 36 races.(in part from Crash.net)(11-25-2006)
  • Tragic News: A Kansas woman and her teenage son have died in a wreck on Interstate 85 in South Carolina. Daniel John Becker, 19, of Mooresville, N.C., was driving south at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, when a northbound tractor-trailer crossed the median, went through the barrier cables, and hit his car nearly head-on, troopers said [Becker worked in Concord NC at the Fast Track Driving/Racing School]. Pamela Becker, of Milford, Kan., was taken to the hospital, where she died Thursday from head injuries. The tractor-trailer also hit two other vehicles, but no one else was seriously injured, authorities said.(Topeka Capital-Journal)(11-25-2006)

    News from November 24, 2006

  • Stewart makes surprise appearance: Two-time Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart made a surprise appearance in the 66th running of the Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale Speedway on Thursday night. Stewart spent the afternoon putting down test laps, but made no indication he was racing until he took his car out for qualifying. It turns out Stewart was trying to make his first USAC race of the year. Not that he has much time for USAC racing with his NASCAR schedule. But he owns a Midget team and apparently decided a week ago to race his own car in the traditional USAC event that is run on Thanksgiving. After beating a slew of NASCAR stars in qualifying, Kody Swanson of Kingsburg ended up battling his Western Speed Racing teammate Billy Wease {Penske Dev. driver] in the Midget race. Wease led the final 20 laps to win after he and Swanson ran into lapped traffic late in the race. Wease was able to maneuver his way through the lapped cars better than Swanson and won by 0.189seconds. Swanson, who crashed and rolled his car during the USAC Sprint car race, started from the pole in the 100-lap Midget race that included a NASCAR-filled field with Stewart, Mears, Jason Leffler and Truck Series driver Bobby East. Wease, who started fifth, caught Swanson on lap 80 and took the lead on the next lap. But on lap 90, Stewart crashed with Brady Bacon [Ganassi Dev. Driver] and set up a five-lap shootout between Wease and Swanson. Casey Mears was the highest finisher among the NASCAR drivers entered in the race, taking 16th. Stewart was 24th, Leffler was 30th and East finished last, in 34th place. Swanson, from Kingsburg, Calif., was the top qualifier of the 59 cars that came out for the Midget race. He beat out Stewart, Mears, Leffler and a host of USAC stars to win the pole in 16.988 seconds around the half-mile paved oval. Mears, Stewart and East, a driver on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, were in the same Midget B-main race to qualify for the feature. East won the B-main with Stewart in second and Mears in fourth. Tony Hunt led all 30 laps of the USAC Sprint car race and capped his championship season with a win in the Turkey Night GP. Mike Murgoitio was second and Tracy Hines was third. Mears, who started the Sprint car race in eighth, finished 16th, more than 10 seconds behind the race winner.(Los Angeles Daily News)(11-24-2006)
  • Ince gets married and starting own team: Retired and former Nextel Cup Crew chief James Ince was married today at the Elvis Presley Chapel in Las Vegas Nevada. Mr. Ince wed Jennifer Kendelhard, 33 of Charlotte, NC. The couple reside in downtown Charlotte, NC and own Graceful Properties, a real estate investing firm in Charlotte together. James Ince Motorsports is planning on running a limited ABC [ARCA, Busch, Cup] race program in the second half of the 2007 race season, with a young developmental driver from the state of Missouri. Further information will follow as sponsors are put into place.(11-24-2006)
  • #32 Team closed after Homestead? UPDATE: hearing that PPI Motorsports will close up shop after the 2006 season, that the pit crew has been hired by Michael Waltrip Racing and most of the team/crew at the shop has been laid off. Driver Travis Kvapil, as announced, will drive a Roush Racing Truck in 2007. Sponsor Tide is leaving after this season and word is that they will not be back in NASCAR as a sponsor.(11-18-2006)
    UPDATE: Sunday’s “Ford 400” at Homestead-Miami Speedway was likely the final ride for Cal Wells and his PPI Racing Team. Longtime sponsor Tide announced a few weeks ago that it will leave the team (and the sport) at the end of the season, and Wells has been unsuccessful in securing a new backer for his struggling Nextel Cup team. Sources close to the situation say Wells informed his employees that he will close the doors later this week, after a hoped-for sponsorship deal fell through.(Motorsports Soapbox)(11-24-2006)
  • SPEED is looking for four serious NASCAR fans: The Charlotte-based network will conduct open auditions Dec. 9 at Michael Waltrip’s new race shop in Cornelius, N.C. for SPEED Road Tour Challenge, a new reality show scheduled to debut Feb. 22 at 8:00pm/et. SPEED is in search of four NASCAR fans willing to travel to 13 races from Daytona through Charlotte, competing with each other along the way for a prize package that will include an offer to join the SPEED Road Tour crew for the remainder of the NASCAR season. Once four participants are selected, they will travel together by motor coach — one equipped with cameras and microphones to record every turn and every pit stop along the way — all hours of the day, seven days a week. Beginning at Daytona, the four will compete in weekly challenges, all recorded for a prime time television show scheduled to debut on SPEED in February with a one-hour tryout special. Interested fans should visit SPEEDtv.com for more information and a SPEED Road Tour Challenge application.(SpeedTV.com)(11-24-2006)

    News from November 23, 2006

  • Earnhardt’s Driver Suit stolen from TMS: The Fort Worth [Texas] Police Department is investigating the theft of a vintage racing suit once worn by Dale Earnhardt Sr., according to a department news release. Earnhardt’s racing suit, along with a helmet, racing gloves and a pair of racing shoes turned up missing from a locked storage closet earlier this month at the Texas Motor Speedway, the release read. The racing suit was part of a promotional display that was taken down on Nov. 5, according to the release, and the items were then boxed up and placed in storage. A week later, staffers discovered that the items, which are valued at up to $100,000, were missing, the release read. The suit was housed at the TMS because it was donated to its president, Eddie Gossage. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible.(nbc5i.com)(11-23-2006)
  • Johnson’s Pit Crew Claims Season Title: The pit crew for newly-crowned Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson claimed the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition. Though Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s crew was tied with Tony Stewart’s crew with five wins each, the tiebreaker went to Johnson’s crew for having the highest finish in the driver point standings. For winning the season pit crew championship, Johnson’s team will collect a $105,000 bonus from Checkers/Rally’s. The presentation will be made Nov. 30 in New York City at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon. By winning the Checkers/Rally’s weekly competition five times and earning $10,500 for each victory, the total prize money earned in 2006 by Johnson’s pit crew was $157,500. Johnson’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man). The team’s pit crew coach is Matt Clark and the crew chief is Chad Knaus.
    “I’d like to congratulate Jimmie Johnson’s crew for winning the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge championship as well as the Nextel Cup championship,” said Rich Turer, Vice President of Marketing, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. “It was a competitive season among the pit crews with 15 different teams winning the weekly competition. Checkers/Rally’s is excited to bring the spotlight to the crew members, who play an integral role in the success of each team.”
    Joe Nemechek’s U.S. Army pit crew took top honors in Sunday’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was the second Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win for the #01 team. Nemechek’s over-the-wall crew, which spent 298.990 seconds on pit road, includes: Scott King (jackman), John Boyd (front-tire carrier), Charlie Brock (front-tire changer), Dwayne Moore (rear-tire carrier), Dave Woodhead (rear-tire changer), Danny Harrington (gasman), Mark Bieberich (catch can) and J.D. Hilton (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Ryan Pemberton and the pit crew coach is Lance Munksgard.
    Checkers/Rally’s paid out $483,000 in prize money during the 2006 Nextel Cup season. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series.(DMF Communications PR), see race by race results, season ending totals and more on my 2006 Pit Crew News page.(11-23-2006)


    News from November 22, 2006

  • Schwan’s not sponsoring a team in 2007? hearing that Schwan’s Home Service, who sponsored #45-Kyle Petty in five 2006 races, will not sponsor any Nextel Cup team in 2007.(11-22-2006)
  • Hoosier back in NASCAR if Goodyear strike continues? UPDATE 2 denied: An Oct. 5 system-wide strike by some 15,000 United Steelworkers union members at 16 Goodyear Tire and Rubber manufacturing plants might have provided Lakeville, Indiana-based Hoosier Tire and Rubber a chance to get rolling again in NASCAR’s three top racing divisions, sources close to the situation said. A meeting between Hoosier and NASCAR occurred last week at the latter’s Daytona Beach headquarters to establish a contingency plan that likely will kick into action by the end of November so that NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series will have race tires on which to compete after the sanctioning body’s first event of the 2007 season at Daytona International Speedway. Presently, non-striking Goodyear workers — most of whom normally perform white-collar duties — are at full-tilt-boogie in producing enough tires to satisfy demand for Daytona Beach’s Speed Weeks at NASCAR’s 2.5-mile “home” track. But it’s Goodyear’s inability to meet demand for the rest of the 2007 race schedule that has caused concern at NASCAR. For 2007 Goodyear currently sees itself as producing tires only for Nextel Cups three biggest races held at Daytona, Charlotte and Indianapolis. With roughly a three-month lead time needed for manufacturing lines to ramp-up and complete tire production, such leaves Goodyear needing to settle the dispute with its workers no later than about the end of next week so that tires can be made ready for the February 25, 2007, California Speedway race. “From everything I’ve heard,” said one well-placed Wall Street insider consulted for this story, “Goodyear is looking to outsource the manufacture of its product in the long haul.” See full story at Motorsport.com.(11-16-2006)
    UPDATE: Goodyear officials have indicated NASCAR race tire production has not been affected by the strike. 2007 race production is on schedule.(11-17-2006)
    UPDATE 2: While there has been little progress made between tire manufacturer Goodyear and United Steelworkers union members, rumors that NASCAR is looking to Hoosier for tires in 2007 aren’t true, officials with both Goodyear and NASCAR said. Approximately 15,000 USW members went on strike at 16 Goodyear plants in the U.S. and Canada, sparking rumors that Goodyear would not be able to provide race tires for NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series next season. Talk that Hoosier officials were having meetings with NASCAR officials at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., as well as NASCAR’s Daytona Beach headquarters did little to quell the rumors. “We talk to someone from Hoosier probably every week,” Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications, said Nov. 17. “Hoosier supplies tires for a number of NASCAR’s regional series. They supply tires for Grand Am, for ARCA as well.” But, he said, such talks have not dealt with Hoosier providing tires for either Cup, Busch or Craftsman truck series teams.(SceneDaily.com)(11-22-2006)
  • Parsons to Receive NCMA Award: The North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) will honor the outstanding achievement of individuals and organizations that have a significant impact on the North Carolina motorsports industry at the new Concord Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at the Inaugural NCMA Awards Banquet. Companies are nominated for nine awards in seven distinct categories including education, diversity, marketing, economic development, safety innovations, event facilities and manufactures & suppliers. Nominees do not have to be Association members. The event will culminate with the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award. This year’s recipient of this prestigious lifetime achievement award will be International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Benny Parsons. Parsons, 1973 NASCAR Cup Series champion, NBC and TNT television commentator and radio talk-show host, has devoted his life to motorsports as a competitor, analyst and — most importantly — as a friend to many in the industry. Parsons also recently battled lung cancer while remaining active and involved in the sport that truly is his passion. The Tribute Award is a continuation of the concept to honor the biggest contributors to Motorsports which began with the Bill France Tribute Dinner in 2004. Members of NASCAR will be on hand to “pass the baton” to Benny.
    Award nominations are underway and will be evaluated by the NCMA Awards Nomination Committee, which is made up of Motorsports professionals and industry experts. Three finalists for each award are chosen by the Nominations Committee. Then NCMA member votes will determine the winners. The NCMA, led by executive director Andy Papathanassiou, is the voice of the motorsports industry in North Carolina, representing businesses that support more than 26,000 jobs in North Carolina. During 2004, the NCMA commissioned a study which revealed that the industry is responsible for that level of employment and has a total economic impact of $5.9 billion annually within the state. The economic impact study played an important role in Charlotte’s successful bid for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Richard Petty is chairman and Rick Hendrick the vice-chairman of the NCMA Board of Trustees. Steve Earwood, president of Rockingham Dragway is the Board of Directors chairman.(Performance PR Plus)(11-22-2006)
  • Kenny Lee Wallace to carry JEGS Banner into NASCAR arena: JEGS Automotive, Inc is taking a big step into the NASCAR arena by signing colorful driver and television personality Kenny Wallace as a company spokesman. Wallace will carry the familiar yellow and black JEGS logo onto Speed TV’s highly-rated NASCAR Raceday prerace and NASCAR Victory Lane shows, the JEGS colors will also be on the #78 Furniture Row Nextel Cup car and will brand his Late Model and Modified Stock Cars with prominent JEGS signage. Wallace will add a JEGS logo to all the items in his on-air wardrobe and will campaign a JEGS Mail Order Late Model Stock Car at approximately 30 races on the United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) tour. He will also promote JEGS with prominent signage on his St. Louis Cardinals-themed UMP Modified Stock Car racer.(JEGS PR)(11-22-2006)

    News from November 21, 2006

  • MB2 Motorsports Changes Name to Ginn Racing: MB2 Motorsports has changed its name to Ginn Racing, effective immediately. The name change is a result of the team’s new owner Bobby Ginn, who purchased majority interest in the racing organization in July. Regarding the pronunciation of Ginn — it is GHIN as in the second syllable of begin. The company’s web site address is: www.ginnracing.com. MB2 Motorsports began operations in July 1996. Ginn Racing will field three full-time Nextel Cup teams in 2007 with drivers Mark Martin/Regan Smith sharing the #01 U.S. Army Chevy ride, Joe Nemechek in the #13 Chevy and Sterling Marlin in the #14 Chevy. The organization will also field a full-time Busch Series team with Smith and Kraig Kinser co-driving a Ginn Racing Chevy. The team’s development program includes drivers Jesus Hernandez and Ricky Carmichael. Ginn Racing is based in Mooresville, N.C.(Ginn Racing PR)(11-21-2006)
  • Homestead overnight TV ratings drop 10.4%: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Ford 400 Nextel Cup season finale earned a 4.3 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 7 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating represents a 10.4% drop from the 4.8/9 the race earned overnight in 2005 and a 23.2% drop from 2004, when the format of the Chase For The Nextel Cup was used for the first time.(SceneDaily.com)(11-21-2006)
  • Haas CNC Racing Opens New Shop; will run 2nd full time Cup team in 2007: Haas Racing #66 Best Buy Chevy / Jeff Green] held a grand opening of its new facility at Kannapolis Gateway Business Park on Monday to a crowd of local leaders, race fans and Haas employees. Gene Haas, owner of Haas CNC Machinery, was on hand to cut the ribbon and open the 144,000-square-foot facility. “This was a big undertaking,” Haas said. “We broke ground a year ago and here we are. It was very quick.” Kannapolis Mayor Bob Misenheimer said this was a major investment in Kannapolis. Total cost for the new building is $16 million. Joe Custer, head of Haas Racing, said this new facility will be the new headquarters for two racing teams – the Best Buy Racing Team, with the #66 car, driven by Jeff Green, and the race team for the #70 Cup car [could be Johnny Sauter as driver]. That team sponsor has not been officially announced, Custer said. “We will have two (Nextel) Cup teams operating here,” Custer said. On the main floor, visitors mingled among race cars, with finger food and drinks in hand. Kids ran around, their eyes excited at being up close to a real race car. Drive Jeff Green was on hand to give an interview to a racing network. Haas Racing moved from Harrisburg and is planning a state-of-the-art rolling road wind tunnel facility on Ivey Cline Road in Concord, NC. The wind tunnel will employ a belt system for the car to ride on while in the wind tunnel and will create maximum sustained winds of 180 mph.(Kannapolis Independent Tribune)(11-21-2006)
  • Ragan not cleared yet by NASCAR: David Ragan has not raced in a Nextel Cup event since NASCAR held him out of the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway last month, but he still could race in the season-opening Daytona 500 next year. Ragan is set to replace Mark Martin in the #6 AAA Ford Roush Racing entry next year. The rookie has failed to qualify for Nextel Cup races at Texas and Homestead since his rough outing at Martinsville that led to NASCAR keeping him out of the car for a week. A decision from NASCAR on whether it would hold Ragan out of the 2007 season opener could come this week, but that scenario seems unlikely.(SceneDaily.com)(11-21-2006)

    News from November 20, 2006

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Ford 400:
    Total number of commercials: 151
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 76
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 25
    Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:50pm/et
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:31pm/et
    Total minutes: 221
    Minutes of race broadcast: 147
    Minutes of commercials: 74
    See full report at www.cawsnjaws.com.(11-20-2006)
  • Still a chance for Villeneuve in Cup..with his own team? UPDATE: There remains an outside chance that former Formula 1 World Champion and Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve could end up behind the wheel of a Nextel Cup car in 2007. That’s the word from Roush Racing President Geoff Smith, who said Roush would help Villeneuve put together a team, if his handlers can bring the money to make it happen. “We’re open to it, we’re willing to work with them, but, really the ball is in their court right now,” Smith said Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “His (Villeneuve’s) manager, Craig Pollock, he’s the man behind the marketing of that, and … I’ve heard in the garage that certain sponsors are being pitched by him, so there is some activity going on.” If a deal were to happen, it would not be in a Roush car, since that would exceed NASCAR’s team-size limit. Instead it would be a squad the Canadian driver and his minions would assemble, with Roush providing the technical muscle. “There’s two kinds of chances, and they’re both related to whether or not his marketing organization, which supports him, can close on financial support,” Smith said. “If they’re able to close on full-time Cup support in the next few minutes, few days, then we can support that team with cars, engines, gears, all the hardware stuff — enough to get it up and running. If they’re not able to do that shortly, but they’re able to get a support for commitment next year that’s partial, then we’ll have a little more time to be able to put an infrastructure around helping them,” Smith said.(Speed Channel)(11-19-2006)
    UPDATE: The US$100 million Canada’s Jacques Villeneuve banked during his five years with Formula One’s BAR-Honda team may end up being the stake for his entry into the Nextel Cup series. After lengthy negotiations with Roush Racing failed to produce more than just promises, Villeneuve and his manager Craig Pollock appear headed toward buying their own Cup team. Roush general manager Geoff Smith told Speed TV that the organization will help Villeneuve and Pollock put together their own team if they come up with the money. That help would be in the form of Roush-built chassis and engines from the Roush-Yates Ford motor program. The 35-year-old Villeneuve, meanwhile, became a father this week for the first time after his wife Johanna gave birth to a baby boy, named Jules, on Tuesday.(Toronto Sun)(11-20-2006)
  • Almirola could make Cup debut in 2007: Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs said Tampa product Aric Almirola is likely to make his Nextel Cup debut next season as part of a plan to enter him in up to 20 Busch Series races and test a research and development car for the team’s three current Cup programs. NASCAR holds seven open test sessions for all Cup teams and a driver must try to qualify for a race after attending the first two. They must then try to qualify for a race for every subsequent test. “For our future, it’s our best option to concentrate on Busch stuff with him,” Gibbs said. “It’s only five races (less than) a full truck season so he’ll probably benefit more from working with our guys.” Almirola will race in both JGR’s #18 and #20 Busch Chevrolet entry, Gibbs said.(St Petersburg Times)(11-20-2006)
  • Ford Mgr May Retire: Greg Specht, a veteran NASCAR field manager and the director of racing operations for Ford, is indicating he will be turning the reins over to someone else for 2007 and possibly retiring after 30 years in the business. But it’s unclear who might replace Specht, who has been the right-hand man for Ford racing boss Dan Davis.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-20-2006)
  • Newman called to the Hauler about Montoya wreck: #12-Ryan Newman’s final night of the 2006 season lasted a little longer than he had planned when he was called to the NASCAR hauler after #30-Juan Pablo Montoya spun into the wall and his car burst into flames. “That’s just one of those things,” Montoya said. “He came up to me and if that’s what he wanted to do, I don’t care. I’m not racing for points or anything here.” Newman spun into the grass with 21 laps to go and said that was his fault with no help from Montoya, who was beside him when it happened. When Newman was behind Montoya when his car went into a tailspin, NASCAR officials wanted to talk to Newman to find out if it was a payback move. “We were basically going for the same piece of real estate,” Newman said when he came out of the hauler. “His bumper went across my nose and it spun him out. This was nobody but racing’s fault, in my opinion. I felt bad for the situation because obviously it looked like I was retaliating and that wasn’t the case, and that’s what we talked about in there.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-20-2006)
  • Borland to meet with Penske: Matt Borland [former? #12 crew chief] is scheduled to meet with Penske Racing South owner Roger Penske on Monday, a day after missing his second consecutive Nextel Cup event. If no decisions are reached regarding Borland’s future in that meeting, nothing might be decided until he meets with Don Miller, the team’s president, and others the week after Thanksgiving. Borland has served as Ryan Newman’s crew chief since Newman made the move to stock cars, but he received permission to skip the year’s final two events. Newman said at Phoenix that he’d have a new crew chief in 2007, as Borland focused on spending more time with his family. A source, though, indicated Borland could still remain crew chief if he had a change of heart. Reached by phone on Saturday, Borland said he wasn’t sure where things stood, adding that he didn’t want to say anything more until after meeting with Penske. While rumors persisted at Homestead that Borland is looking for opportunities elsewhere, Miller expects Borland remain with the team, though it could be in an engineering role.(SceneDaily.com), one recent rumor had Borland going to Red Bull Racing as Brian Vickers crew chief in 2007.
    AND Matt Borland’s run as Ryan Newman’s crew chief appears to be over. Borland, who asked for a leave of absence as Ryan Newman’s crew chief for the final two races, is expected to become the director of competition at Penske Racing South next season. Team officials said an official announcement should come within the next couple of weeks.(NASCAR.com), one recent rumor had Borland going to Red Bull Racing as Brian Vickers crew chief in 2007.(11-20-2006)
  • Stewart wins lap leader award: #20-Tony Stewart clinched the $75,000 cash prize as the WIX Filters Lap Leader of the 2006 season. This is the second consecutive season Stewart has captured the overall prize.(Camp & Assoc PR)(11-20-2006)
  • Daytona 500 and Championship in same year: only eight times by five drivers has the Daytona 500 and the Nextel Cup Championship been won in the same season:
    1959: Lee Petty
    1964, 1971, 1974, 1779: Richard Petty
    1977: Cale Yarborough
    1997: Jeff Gordon
    2006: Jimmie Johnson.(11-20-2006)

News from November 19, 2006

  • 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion – Jimmie Johnson
    • Jimmie Johnson – 31 years old from El Cajon, Calif. – won the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship. He became the 28th driver to win the championship on NASCAR’s premier series, winning the championship by 56 points over Matt Kenseth.
    • Johnson is the seventh different NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion in the last eight years. Only Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) has repeated as series champion since 1998.
    • His championship comes in his fifth full season of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition. Johnson’s previous best season finish of second occurred in 2003 and 2004. He has finished in the top five in points in all five of his full-time seasons.
    • Johnson won five races in 2006 (Daytona, Las Vegas, Talladega, Indianapolis and second Martinsville). He has 23 career victories in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
    • Johnson also recorded one Bud Pole, 13 top-five finishes, 24 top-10 finishes this season.
    • Johnson led the standings a four times for a total of 25 races in 2006, including the final three. Johnson took the lead following Race No. 1 (Daytona) and held the lead for the first four races. He then dropped to third for one race, retaking the point lead after Race 6 (Martinsville) for two races. He was second after Race No. 8 (Phoenix) but came back to take the lead for 16 races the next event. He dropped out of the lead following Race No. 25 (California) but retook the lead following Race no. 34 (Texas).
    • Johnson’s worst points position prior to the Chase was third following Race No. 5 (Bristol). He began the Chase in the second position and dropped to ninth following a 39th-place finish in the first Chase race (New Hampshire). Ranked eighth entering Charlotte, he posted three second-places finishes and one third to move back into the points lead following Race No. 34 (Texas). Another second-place finish at Phoenix and a ninth at Homestead secured his championship.
    • Johnson’s point lead of 124 points over Matt Kenseth following Race No. 22 (Watkins Glen) was the largest by any driver this season.
    • Johnson has ranked in the top-10 in the championship point standings for 105 races, the sixth-longest streak in the top-10 since the point system modification in 1975.
    • Johnson won the season opening Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. The winner of the Daytona 500 has won the championship that season eight times. The winner of the Brickyard 400 has won the championship that season six times, including four consecutive years (1998 through 2001) and the past two seasons.
    • This is Jeff Gordon’s first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship in his fifth season as an owner. Gordon co-owns the Lowe’s Chevrolet with Rick Hendrick, making this the sixth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup owner championship for Hendrick Motorsports.
    • This is the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title for Chad Knaus in his fifth full season as a crew chief, all with Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports. Knaus is 35 years old and from Rockford, Ill.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(11-19-2006)
  • Biffle wins at Homestead: #16-Greg Biffle won the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his 3rd straight win at Homestead, 2nd of 2006 and 11th of his career in a green-white-checkered finish [1 extra lap]. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 9th and won the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship, his first ever in his 5th season. #9-Kasey Kahne led the most laps with 90 of 268. #1-Martin Truex Jr finished his career best 2nd, followed by #11-Hamlin, #9-Kahne, #29-Harvick, #17-Kenseth, #10-Riggs, #99-Edwards, #48-Johnson and #07-Bowyer. There were 11 cautions for 43 laps [and a 9 minute red flag during the 10th caution for Montoya’s fire] and 10 drivers lead the race with 15 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Homestead Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Homestead page
    Race Rundown: see my Homestead Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(11-19-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Homestead [36 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 6475
    #17-Matt Kenseth 6419 -56
    #11-Denny Hamlin 6407 -68
    #29-Kevin Harvick 6397 -78
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6328 -147
    #24-Jeff Gordon 6256 -219
    #31-Jeff Burton 6228 -247
    #9-Kasey Kahne 6183 -292
    #6-Mark Martin 6168 -307
    #5-Kyle Busch 6027 -448
    and fighting for 11th
    #20-Tony Stewart in 11th 4727 points [clinched]
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(11-19-2006)
  • Unofficial 2006 “Classic” Points Standings
    …the old way, not the Chase after Homestead:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5158
    2) #17-Matt Kenseth, 5154, -4
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 4838, -320
    4) #20-Tony Stewart, 4727, -431
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin, 4725, -433
    6) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 4641, -517
    7) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4567, -591
    8) #31-Jeff Burton, 4535, -623
    9) #9-Kasey Kahne, 4497, -661
    10) #6-Mark Martin, 4484, -674
    11) #99-Carl Edwards, 4428, -730
    12) #5-Kyle Busch, 4416, -742
    13) #16-Greg Biffle, 4075, -1083
    (11-19-2006)
  • The Top 35 Owners Points set for the first 5 races of 2007 season:
    #14-Marlin is out and Petty is in for 2007
    34) #19-Sadler/Evernham 129 points ahead of 36th
    35) #45-Petty/Petty +74
    these drivers/teams are out of the Top 35 and would need to get in the races via speed only
    36) #14-Marlin/Bobby Ginn 74 points behind 35th
    37) #32-Kvapil/Cal Wells -280 [and the team may not be back in 2007]
    Current owners [NOT drivers points] points are used to determine the top-35 and the other drivers who need to make the race on speed, the points and positions will fluctuate each week and settle as the season progresses.
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(11-19-2006)
  • #88 has a 2007 sponsor, could be a Mars brand UPDATE 2 BUT Haas plans to run 2nd team with Sauter: Robert Yates said Friday morning that he’s secured sponsorship for his #88 team and that Robert Yates Racing will again field two full-time Nextel Cup Series teams in 2007. A driver for the team has yet to be secured, and the sponsorship agreement hasn’t been signed, but Yates said everything is in order. Several sources indicate Mars, which sponsors the #38 via its M&Ms brand, will also sponsor the #88, possibly with another of its brands. David Gilliland will drive the #38 Cup car next year, with Stephen Leicht running the #90 RYR entry full time in the Busch Series. While Doug Yates is listed as the team’s co-owner, Yates made it clear there wouldn’t be any additional owners outside of the family.(SceneDaily.com)(11-17-2006)
    UPDATE: hearing Johnny Sauter [currently #00 Busch car] could be the driver for the #88 car.(11-18-2006)
    UPDATE 2 BUT: Haas CNC Racing team manager Bill Ingle said Sunday that the team would expand to field two full-time Nextel Cup Series cas next season. Hass currently fields the #66 Chevy with Jeff Green. Next year, the team will field the #70 as well, with Johnny Sauter expected to be the driver. Sauter is rumored to be the first choice of Robert Yates Racing for its #88 car, but Ingle said all his conversations with Sauter lead him to believe the driver is staying. Either way, he said adding a second team is imperative. The plan is for Harold Holly to remain as Green’s crew chief, with Robert “Bootie” Barker remaining with Sauter.(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2006)
  • Associate sponsors for Yates: freecreditreport.com and McDonald’s, Team Rensi’s Busch sponsors, will be on Robert Yates Racing’s Nextel Cup #38 and #88 cars as associates sponsors in 2007.(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2006)
  • Negotiations progressing between Roush and Red Sox owner: The negotiations in the sale of a portion of Roush Racing to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group are progressing well, Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Saturday. Many of the major points have been agreed upon since the negotiations began in earnest in September. “The big principal points, that’s all buttoned up,” Smith said. “I think by the first of the year, we’ll [know]. We’re going along pretty fast. By Daytona for sure.” One of those pieces involves what percentage of the racing organization the Fenway Sports Group will own. Jack Roush will not relinquish control of the team. “We have been open to being all the way up to equal [partners], but not more than equal [for them],”(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2006)
  • Rumblings Homestead:
    Greg Biffle pulled off the three-peat and Jimmie Johnson was crowned the Nextel Cup Champion for 2006 at Homestead-Miami Speedway today in the Ford 402. Biffle held off Martin Truex Jr (enduring a green/white/checker in the process) for his second win of the season (he won at Darlington in May) and 11th of his Cup career. He’s now solo in 50th on the all-time win list. Win #95 for Roush Racing was worth $323,800 from the over $5.2M in posted awards. In the Championship department, this was #6 for Hendrick Motorsports and the first for Jimmie Johnson. A $6M+ payday is pretty smooth, too.
    Martin Truex Jr (2nd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 5th at Talladega in October.
    Scott Riggs (7th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August.
    David Stremme (11th) tied his career-best finish today. He was also 11th at Loudon in July.
    Scott Wimmer (12th) had his best finish since he was 11th here last year.
    Paul Menard (17th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Lowe’s in May (only 5 races).
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10’s in a row. Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Denny Hamlin (+30), followed by Carl Edwards (+23), Greg Biffle (+21), and Tony Raines (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kyle Busch (-35), followed by Elliott Sadler (-32), David Gilliland (-24), J. J. Yeley (-22), and Mike Bliss (-22).
    How much excitement do you think we’d have had at the end of the race today if we didn’t have this contrived “Chase” format? In Classic Points, Johnson would have held on to claim the Championship by only 4 points!!! And they thought 2004 was exciting…..
    In that all-important race for 35th (and the final exempt spot) in Owners Points, Kyle Petty held off Sterling Marlin…..and the 45 bunch’ll sleep a lot better all winter knowing they’re in the 500 next February.Stock Car Fans.(11-19-2006)
  • Homestead Race Notes:
    • Greg Biffle won the 2006 FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, scoring his 11th career Nextel Cup victory in his 150th career start.
    • Biffle moved into sole possession of 50th on NASCAR’s All-Time win list.
    • This is Biffle’s second victory in 2006. He also won at Darlington in May.
    • Biffle scored his third straight victory at Homestead.
    • Biffle scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006.
    • Biffle’s victory today was the sixth for Ford in 2006.
    • Biffle won the race from the 22nd-place starting position, the lowest starting position of a race winner in eight races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    • Kasey Kahne led five times for 90 of the 268 laps raced, leading the most laps for the fourth time in 2006.
    • Race winner Biffle led twice for 47 laps including the final 12 laps in the 2006 FORD 400 at Homestead.
    • This was team owner Jack Roush’s 95th Nextel Cup victory. It was Roush’s fourth Nextel Cup victory at Homestead. • Jack Roush Racing has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Jimmie Johnson (ninth) was eighth in points after the first four races in the Chase (after Talladega), then 156 points behind then point leader Jeff Burton. Six races later, Johnson claimed his first Nextel Cup championship. Johnson gained 212 points during the final six races, the result of five straight finishes of first or second and his ninth–place finish tonight.
    • Five of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10 at Homestead.
    • Four of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Homestead.
    • There were seven changes in the second-place points position in the 10 races during the Chase began at New Hampshire. Five different drivers ranked second during the Chase: Johnson, Hamlin, Gordon, Kenseth and Harvick. Kenseth held the second-place position in the final three races.
    • Four of the Chase drivers led at Homestead earning valuable lap leader bonus points.
    • Five of the 10 races in the Chase were won by Chase drivers
    • Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne each scored two Bud Poles during the Chase, the most among all Chase drivers.
    • Kevin Harvick was the only Chase driver to score two victories during the Chase.
    • Matt Kenseth scored nine top-15 finishes in the 10 races in The Chase, the only driver to do so.
    • Jimmie Johnson scored five top-five finishes in the 10 Chase races, the most among the Chase drivers and scored top-10 finishes in the final six races in the Chase.
    • Denny Hamlin was the only Chase driver to score seven top-10 finishes in the 10 races in the Chase.
    • Jimmie Johnson was the only driver to lead in eight of the 10 races in the Chase.
    • Jimmie Johnson scored 50 lap leader/bonus points in 10 races in the Chase, the most among all drivers.
    • Johnson was the only Chase driver to post seven top-10 starts in the 10 races in the Chase
    • Tony Stewart finished 11th in the Championship standings and missed the Chase by 16 points.. He ended the 2006 season with a 299-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards. This is the first year that Stewart did not finish among the top-10 since 1999.
    • Denny Hamlin (third) scored his 20th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in two races at Homestead.
    • Truex Jr was the highest finishing rookie for the 3rd time in 2006.
    • At least one of the 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders scored a top-15 finish in all 36 races this season.
    • Kasey Kahne (fourth) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in three races at Homestead.
    • Kevin Harvick (fifth) scored his 20th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fifth top-10 finish in six races at Homestead.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(11-19-2006)
  • IMHofF announced class of 2007: The Board of Directors of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame announced their Class of 2007 in the Hall of Fame next to Talladega Superspeedway. The six member class, comprised of visionaries, is one that no other class has equaled. First, while there is a distinct NASCAR flavor to this class, only one of them has ever won a Nextel Cup race, and that was as a car owner. There are plenty of championships, however, with five in the NASCAR Busch Series, six in NHRA Pro Stocks and five in two separate motorcycle circuits. The Class of 2007 is as follows: Car Owner Junie Donlavey; modified/late model driver Ray Hendrick; Busch Series Pioneer Jack Ingram; NHRA Legend Warren Johnson; Motorcycle lengend Wayne Rainey; and Race Track mogle Bruton Smith. These six men will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday night, April 26th, 2007, in a ceremony at the Hall of Fame’s Speed Dome. Reservations for tickets may be made now by calling the Hall of Fame office at 256/362-5002. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.(International Motorsports Hall of Fame PR)(11-19-2006)

    News from November 18, 2006

  • #32 Team closed after Homestead? hearing that PPI Motorsports will close up shop after the 2006 season, that the pit crew has been hired by Michael Waltrip Racing and most of the team/crew at the shop has been laid off. Driver Travis Kvapil, as announced, will drive a Roush Racing Truck in 2007. Sponsor Tide is leaving after this season and word is that they will not be back in NASCAR as a sponsor.(11-18-2006)
  • IROC Needs a Sponsor: The International Race of Champions will need a sponsor for 2007 for the series to continue, Crown Royal is not returning and IROC President Jay Signore said Friday he was seeking a new sponsor for the series to embark on its 31st season in 2007. “We need a sponsor to support all of those great drivers,” Signore said while in the garage of Homestead-Miami Speedway. “We’re on a sponsor search. We’re working hard at it. Hopefully we’ll get something done by February.” The IROC Series invites drivers from various forms of racing in equally prepared cars for four events throughout the year. Tony Stewart won the 2006 IROC title. Signore said he hopes the series will return to Daytona, Texas and Atlanta next year but his tentative schedule does not include the Daytona road course. He would like to have another road course, but the 10 p.m. Thursday slot during the summer race weekend at Daytona was not a good fit. “That Thursday night at 10 o’clock was tough on everybody,” Signore said. “We’re going to try to get a road course in. We have to look at it. We wanted to keep a spot open for the sponsor that it would like to help support the series.”(SceneDaily.com), more on the series at irocracing.com.(11-18-2006)
  • Dodge’s 2007 Plans: With Chevrolet celebrating its 26th manufacturer’s championship in the past 35 years, Dodge Motorsports decided to make dramatic changes for 2007. The Dodge Charger will come back with a new front nose that’s supposed to give it more downforce in traffic. The car company also will move to the Dodge Avenger for all of the Car of Tomorrow races. The new car will be phased into the sport starting next year. It’s taller and wider to enhance competition and safety. Chevrolet decided to use the Monte Carlo at non-Car of Tomorrow races and the Impala at the rest, and Dodge will make a similar switch.(Augusta Chronicle)(11-18-2006)
  • Roush buys out Martin’s share of #17 team: Jack Roush has bought Mark Martin’s share of the #17 Nextel Cup team that Matt Kenseth drives. Martin is listed as the owner of the car, though it was Roush that sat at the head table with driver Matt Kenseth when the team won the 2003 championship, and it is the Roush Racing umbrella under which the team competes. Martin is leaving Roush after this season as he stops competing full time in NASCAR, at least for next season. Martin plans to share the Bobby Ginn-owned MB2 Motorsports #01 with rookie Regan Smith next season, with Martin driving in 22 races.(SceneDaily.com)(11-18-2006)
  • Final Phoenix ratings drop 6%: NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway drew a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7 and a 9 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 6% lower than the 5.0/10 the race drew last year. Overnight ratings for the race from the nation’s largest markets had been up 2.5%.(SceneDaily.com), see more on my 2006 TV Ratings page.(11-18-2006)
  • Robby, Menards, Energizer and the Baja Race UPDATES wins!: Menards and Energizer will team up as the primary sponsor of Robby Gordon and his #7 Chevy for the Nextel Cup Series’ season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Harrah’s, Jim Beam and CarLoan.com will serve as associates. Known as one of motorsports’ true journeyman, Robby Gordon will spend the week leading into NASCAR’s final event of the 2006 season putting that moniker to the test. Crossing over and reaching back to his roots in off-road racing, Gordon will participate in the upcoming 39th running of the legendary Baja 1000, the sixth and final race of the 2006 SCORE Desert Series season. A former two-time winner of the event, Gordon will once again attempt to reclaim one of racing’s most coveted titles. Driving his #83 Red Bull/Toyo Tires-sponsored Chevy CK1500 Trophy Truck, Gordon will make the trek through the Baja peninsula for the majority of the race before turning over the helm to 19-year old phenom, Andy McMillin. The race runs November 15-18, 2006.(RGM PR)
    More: Robby Gordon and Andy McMillin turned in a virtually perfect performance over a nearly 19-and-a-half-hour time span in dominating the 39th Baja 1000 in their Red Bull Chevrolet CK1500.(RGM PR)
    and keep up with Robby and his team in the Baja race at RobbyGordon.com.(11-16/17-2006)
    TV: A one-hour race recap will be shown on NBC Sports Dec. 10 at 2:30pm/et.(11-18-2006)
  • Championship Scenarios: Any driver within 156 points is still mathematically eligible for the Nextel Cup Series championship. So, going into the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the following drivers can still win the title:
    Jimmie Johnson 6332 points
    Matt Kenseth -63
    Kevin Harvick -90
    Denny Hamlin -90
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. -115
    Jimmie Johnson is assured of winning the championship if any of the following occur:
    Finish of 12th or better and leading no laps
    Finish of 13th or better and leading at least one lap
    Finish of 15th or better and leading the most laps
    If Kenseth wins the Ford 400 and both Johnson and Kenseth tie in the point standings, they would also tie at the first tiebreaker with five wins each. The next tiebreaker is second place finishes. The advantage would go to Johnson, who currently has six runner-up finishes, better than the three runner-up finishes by Kenseth.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-13-2006)
    AND
    #48-Jimmie Johnson wins if any of the following occur:
  • Finish of 12th or better and leading no laps
  • Finish of 13th or better and leading at least one lap
  • Finish of 15th or better and leading the most laps
    #17-Matt Kenseth wins if all of the following occur:
  • He wins the race and leads the most laps.
  • Jimmie Johnson finishes 13th or worse without leading a lap.
    #29-Kevin Harvick wins if all of the following occur:
  • He wins the race and leads the most laps.
  • Jimmie Johnson finishes 22nd or worse and doesn’t lead a lap.
  • Matt Kenseth finishes 4th or worse and doesn’t lead a lap.
    #11-Denny Hamlin wins if all of the following occur:
  • He wins the race and leads the most laps.
  • Jimmie Johnson finishes 22nd or worse and doesn’t lead a lap.
  • Matt Kenseth finishes 4th or worse and doesn’t lead a lap.
    #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wins if all of the following occur:
  • He wins the race and leads the most laps.
  • Jimmie Johnson finishes 30th or worse and doesn’t lead a lap.
  • Matt Kenseth finishes 10th or worse and doesn’t lead a lap.
  • Both Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin both finish fourth or worse and don’t lead a lap. (FoxSports)(11-17/18-2006)
  • Only Twice has Leader lost points lead in final race: Only two drivers leading the points race have lost the championship in the final race since NASCAR modernized its point system in 1975. Darrell Waltrip lost a two-point lead in the season-finale in 1979 to Richard Petty; Davey Allison lost a 30-point lead to Alan Kulwicki in 1992.(Augusta Chronicle)

    News from November 17, 2006

  • Three Race Tracks Jeff Gordon has never won at: There are three current race tracks the Nextel Cup Series runs on that #24-Jeff Gordon has not won at [a Nextel Cup race]:
    Texas 0 for 12 with a best of 2nd in 2002
    Phoenix 0 for 16 with a best of 3rd in 2002 and 2004
    Homestead 0 for 8 with a best finish of 3rd 2004
    Gordon has won at 21 [19 active] of 24 tracks he has raced on including two not on the circuit any longer, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham.(11-19-2006)
  • #66 “Wraps Up” Season with Special Paint Design at Homestead: As NASCAR wraps up its 2006 Nextel Cup Series season, the Best Buy Racing team will “Wrap Up the Wow” at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jeff Green’s #66 Best Buy Chevy is sporting a special paint design for this weekend’s event, featuring a special holiday theme. The car features “snowflakes,” along with the tag line, “Wrap Up the Wow.” In the center of each “snowflake” is a wrapped gift, with the iconic yellow Best Buy tag attached. Branching out from each snowflake center are artist’s renderings of everything from MP3 players to headphones, cameras, TV’s, computers and video game controllers, representing just a few of the thousands of great holiday gift ideas Best Buy offers.(Best Buy Racing/GMR Live Marketing PR), see images of the car, go to my Paint Schemes Gallery.(11-17-2006)
  • Hoosier back in NASCAR if Goodyear strike continues? UPDATE: An Oct. 5 system-wide strike by some 15,000 United Steelworkers union members at 16 Goodyear Tire and Rubber manufacturing plants might have provided Lakeville, Indiana-based Hoosier Tire and Rubber a chance to get rolling again in NASCAR’s three top racing divisions, sources close to the situation said. [see past news about the strike on my NASCAR Sponsors page]. A meeting between Hoosier and NASCAR occurred last week at the latter’s Daytona Beach headquarters to establish a contingency plan that likely will kick into action by the end of November so that NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series will have race tires on which to compete after the sanctioning body’s first event of the 2007 season at Daytona International Speedway. Presently, non-striking Goodyear workers — most of whom normally perform white-collar duties — are at full-tilt-boogie in producing enough tires to satisfy demand for Daytona Beach’s Speed Weeks at NASCAR’s 2.5-mile “home” track. But it’s Goodyear’s inability to meet demand for the rest of the 2007 race schedule that has caused concern at NASCAR. For 2007 Goodyear currently sees itself as producing tires only for Nextel Cups three biggest races held at Daytona, Charlotte and Indianapolis. With roughly a three-month lead time needed for manufacturing lines to ramp-up and complete tire production, such leaves Goodyear needing to settle the dispute with its workers no later than about the end of next week so that tires can be made ready for the February 25, 2007, California Speedway race. “From everything I’ve heard,” said one well-placed Wall Street insider consulted for this story, “Goodyear is looking to outsource the manufacture of its product in the long haul.” See full story at Motorsport.com.(11-16-2006)
    UPDATE: Goodyear officials have indicated NASCAR race tire production has not been affected by the strike. 2007 race production is on schedule.(11-17-2006)
  • Ramblings – Homestead: Kasey Kahne took the Bud Pole today at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday’s Ford 400, his sixth top-spot of the season and 12th of his career. Kahne’s time of 30.293 (178.259 mph) was less than 1/100th of a second quicker than Scott Riggs who’ll start on the outside pole. Kahne finishes the season tied with Kurt Busch for most poles, but Kahne had two outside poles this year while Busch had just one.
    Kyle Busch (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Phoenix in April
    Mike Bliss (17th) has his best starting spot since he quailified 6th at Texas in October of 2005.
    Welcome Juan Pablo Montoya (let the hoopla begin!). He’ll make his first Nextel Cup start in 29th place.
    STREAKIN….Brian Vickers has 3 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Our main combatants in the Chase are back a little ways in the field, but as we’ve seen on numerous occasion, that matters little. Jimmie Johnson will start 15th while Matt Kenseth is two rows back in 19th. Kevin Harvick (7th), Denny Hamlin (33rd), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (14th) are the only other drivers with a chance (tho slim for some) at the Championship. Jeff Gordon will be eliminated when they take the green.(Stock Car Fans)(11-17-2006)
  • Homestead Qualifying Notes:
    • Kasey Kahne won the Bud Pole for the Ford 400, lapping Homestead-Miami Speedway in 30.293 seconds at 178.259 mph. Jamie McMurray holds the track-qualifying record of 29.816 seconds, 181.111 mph – set Nov. 14, 2003.
    • This is Kahne’s 12th career Bud Pole in 108 Nextel Cup Series races.
    • This is his sixth Bud Pole and 20th top-10 start in 2006. He tied Kurt Busch for the most Bud Poles this season. Kahne will win the yearly Bud Pole Award based on the tie-breaker of two second-place starts as to Busch’s one.
    • This is Kahne’s first Bud Pole and third top-10 start in three races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His starts have all been third or better.
    • Kahne became the seventh different Bud Pole winner in eight races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    • Scott Riggs posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 30.300 seconds, 178.218 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the Ford 400. He posted his first start better than 25th in three Homestead races.
    • This is the 16th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has 13 Bud Poles and Ford has five. Qualifying was canceled for the first race at Bristol and the second at Atlanta.
    • Kyle Busch (third) has started fourth in his only other appearance at Homestead (2005). This is his best start since he won the Bud Pole at Phoenix in April.
    • Elliott Sadler (fourth) has posted his first start better than 15th in eight Homestead races.
    • Jeff Burton (fifth) has started from the top 10 just one other time in his eight races at Homestead.
    • Four of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Kahne, Busch, Burton and Kevin Harvick (seventh). Jeff Gordon (12th), Dale Earnhardt (14th), Jimmie Johnson (15th), Matt Kenseth (19th), Mark Martin (26th) and Denny Hamlin (33rd) are the Chase drivers starting outside the top 10.
    • Juan Pablo Montoya (29th) qualified for his career-first Nextel Cup race.
    • Bill Elliott used a past champion’s provisional to make the field.
    • The 56 drivers that entered the Ford 400 is the largest entry number of drivers to attempt to make a race since Daytona in February (58). Morgan Shepherd withdrew prior to qualifying.(NASCAR Statisitcal Services)(11-17-2006)
  • Goody’s out, Tylenol in..with NASCAR: Goody’s Headache Powders, a staple in NASCAR since 1977, will be replaced by Tylenol next season as the sport’s official pain reliever. It’s yet another break the stock car racing series is making from its longtime, but regional, partners. Goody’s plans to stay involved with Petty Enterprises and continue its relationship with Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where Goody’s sponsored a Busch Series race this season. The agreement also provides promotional opportunities around all the NASCAR tracks and gives Tylenol exclusive-rights deals with the International Speedway Corporation and Dover International Speedway.(Associated Press)(11-17-2006)
  • ESPN adds more auto racing to their coverage: ESPN has further bolstered its motorsports lineup with the announcement of a new, multi-year agreement that will mark the return of the Champ Car World Series in 2007. At least 11 events of the international open-wheel racing series will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC in 2007, with the networks exclusively airing the series in 2008. With the addition of Champ Car to its motorsports lineup, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC will televise races in 2007 featuring the four major North American auto racing sanctioning bodies: NASCAR, NHRA, Champ Car and IndyCar. ESPN2 will have more than 500 hours of motorsports programming in 2007. The new arrangement also provides for coverage of races of Champ Car’s feeder series, the Champ Car Atlantic Series, which will be aired primarily on ESPN2.(ESPN PR)(11-17-2006)
  • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 35 races, two drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart and #31-Burton. #14-Marlin, #88-Jarrett, #01-Nemechek is the leader with 10 lucky dog passes used. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from a Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #6-Martin [3rd at Kansas], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte], #43-Labonte [3rd at Martinsville], #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond and 5th at Dover in Sept] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(11-17-2006)
  • McClure to run most 2007 Busch races & two Cup races planned: Eric McClure announced that he has secured sponsorship from the Hefty brand to compete in a majority of Busch Series events, as well as a pair of Nextel Cup events, during the 2007 season. The Hefty brand, which joined McClure for a limited Busch and Nextel Cup Series schedule in 2006, will serve as primary sponsor for for 32 Busch Series events in the #0 Johnny Davis Motorsports Chevy. Additionally, The Hefty brand will support McClure in a pair of Nextel Cup series events, including the season-opening Daytona 500. The effort is tentatively scheduled to be in partnership with Morgan-McClure Motorsports, and the second event will be determined at a later date. Additional sponsorship activities and details will be made available at a later date.(Team McClure PR)(11-17-2006)
  • Homestead Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes this weekend, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle” and the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . .this is the only track at which teams will run this specific combination of left- and right-side tires in 2006 . . . however, major NASCAR teams have run this left-side code (D-4008) at California, Kansas and Texas; and this right-side code (D-4064) at Chicagoland earlier this season. . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Homestead . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) For the full notes, pressures, codes, see the Homestead Race Info / Rundown Page.(11-17-2006)
  • Shepherd to attempt Homestead: #89-Morgan Shepherd and the Faith Motorsports team pulled out and headed south Thursday afternoon, just in time to pull through the gates at the Homestead-Miami Speedway at daybreak Friday morning. The team’s efforts will be supported by minor sponsorships from Gulf Coast Filters of Gulfport, MS, RaceZingMania of Crested Butte, CO, and Amtek Signs of Indiana. Shepherd said an additional $6,000 to $10,000 needs to be raised just to cover expenses for the weekend trip. (Morgan Shepherd site)(11-17-2006)
  • Special Edition of Wind Tunnel Sunday morning: SPEED will air a special edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday at 10:00am/et. The special “State of NASCAR” program will discuss the direction of the sport, covering everything from the Car of Tomorrow to caps on team ownership to the future of manufacturer involvement. Joining Despain will be an expert panel including drivers Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Joe Gibbs Racing team president J.D. Gibbs, DEI Vice President Richie Gilmore, NASCAR journalists Dick Berggren and Godwin Kelly and others. In addition, Wind Tunnel will air its season finale in its regular time slot Sunday night at 9:00am/et with guests Bob Varsha, Mike Joy and Robin Miller.(SpeedTV.com)(11-17-2006)

    News from November 16, 2006

  • Kahne wins pole at Homestead: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a speed of 178.259mph for his 6th pole of 2006 and 12th of his career. The rest of the top-10 are #29-Harvick, #25-Vickers, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #01-Nemechek, #16-Biffle, #12-Newman, #2-Busch, #5-Busch and #17-Kenseth. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #49-Bliss, #14-Marlin, #33-Wimmer, #15-Menard, #30-Montoya, #09-Mayfield, #32-Kvapil and #37-Elliott [using a past champions provisional]. #7-Gordon blew an engine on his 2nd lap and will have to go to the rear of the field after qualifying 35th. See the qualifying results/starting lineup. pole progression on the Homestead Starting Grid/Qualifying Page .(11-17-2006)
  • 13 Do not qualify for Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Ford 400: #4-Burton, #72-Whitt, #95-Atwood, #78-KWallace, #06-Kluever, #60-Ragan, #55-Waltrip, #27-Skinner, #74-Cope, #61-Lepage, #46-Long, #34-Chaffin and #89-Shepherd [withdrew].(11-17-2006)
  • Where do the Chasers start at Homestead:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson starts 15th
    #17-Matt Kenseth 19th
    #29-Kevin Harvick 7th
    #11-Denny Hamlin 33rd
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 14th
    below are eliminated from the championship
    #24-Jeff Gordon 12th
    #31-Jeff Burton 5th
    #6-Mark Martin 26th
    #9-Kasey Kahne 1st
    #5-Kyle Busch 3rd
  • Elliott to run Xbox/Burger King scheme at Homestead UPDATE: On Sunday, Nov. 19 at Homestead the #00-Burger King Dodge [entry list has the car listed as a Chevy] will hit the track with an all-new car design featuring the BK Xbox Games.(Bill Elliott site), see a small image at the #00 Team Schemes page(11-15-2006)
    UPDATE: The #00 Burger King car will have a royal look at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. For the first time in the company’s history, the King will be part of a special paint scheme to kick-off the holiday season at Burger King restaurants. The promotion starts on race day, November 19 and features three exclusive Xbox/Xbox 360 video games; “Pocketbike Racer”, “Big Bumpin” and “Sneak King.”
    “The special paint scheme for the Burger King Xbox promotion is fit for royalty,” commented team owner Michael Waltrip. “It is the first time that Burger King has put a graphic of the King on the race car and the team is proud to be running it at Homestead. Race day is the first day that the Xbox games will be available at restaurants so we hope to have a good run in the #00 Burger King car.” The games will be available for a limited time only while supplies last at Burger King restaurants for a recommended price of $3.99 per game with the purchase of a Value Meal. Price and participation may vary.(MWR PR)(11-16-2006)
  • Montoya’s Cup debut at Homestead? UPDATE 5…yes…but?: Speculation is rampant that Juan Pablo Montoya [who will drive the #42 Dodge in Cup for Ganassi in 2007] may announce today that he’ll make his Nextel Cup debut in next Sunday’s NASCAR tour finale at Homestead, Fla., down the road from Montoya’s Miami home.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-12-2006)
    UPDATE: from a Clear!Blue PR asking Ganassi: – WILL MONTOYA ATTEMPT TO QUALIFY FOR NEXT WEEK’S CUP RACE? “We’ll see. We’re making the decision this week. We’ll have our post-race review from this weekend and go from there. If we so decide there is a car entered there.”(Clear!Blue PR)(11-12-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Car owner Chip Ganassi has entered a Nextel Cup car for Juan Pablo Montoya in next week’s season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but remains undecided as to whether or not Montoya will actually race. Ganassi said Sunday he likes what he’s seen so far of the Colombian in his first venture into NASCAR’s Busch Series.(SpeedTV.com)(11-13-2006)
    UPDATE 3: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will enter Juan Pablo Montoya in the Ford 400 qualifying field in the #30 Texaco/Havoline Dodge. It will be his first attempt at making a Nextel Cup starting grid. Montoya will attempt to make his Nextel Cup Series debut by qualifying on Friday for the Ford 400, scheduled for Sunday. Last July,Montoya announced his plans to switch to NASCAR where he will pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger in 2007 while running for the Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year title, along with an assortment of NASCAR Busch Series races. In doing so, Montoya will become the first Formula 1 regular to ever join the Nextel Cup ranks full time.(HMS PR)(11-14-2006)
    UPDATE 4: Chip Ganassi Racing has moved Juan Montoya to the #42 Texaco Dodge for the Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. Montoya, who will be making his Cup debut, is now guaranteed a spot in the field based on owner points. Casey Mears will try to qualify Ganassi’s #30 Dodge. Mears is leaving the team after the race to join Hendrick Motorsports as driver of the #25 Chevrolet.(NASCAR.com)
    HOWEVER: PR folks at Ganassi sent out a Mears #42 Pre-Homestead press release and when asked, confirmed Mears would be in the #42 at Homestead and NOT the #30.(11-15-2006)
    UPDATE 5: Juan Pablo Montoya will make his Nextel Cup debut in the #30 Texaco/Havoline Dodge this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Montoya, a Miami resident, will compete in both the Busch Series and Nextel Cup races this weekend. Steve Boyer will crew chief the #30 Dodge Charger for Montoya in the Cup Series, while Brad Parrott will continue his role as his Busch Series crew chief. RaceWatch is the fan’s resource for the latest news on what’s going on within NASCAR. Distributed free to all fans upon entering each and every Nextel Cup Series event, RaceWatch provides added value to their race-day experience. In its commemorative season-ending issue at Homestead-Miami Speedway, included in RaceWatch will be a miniature #42 Texaco / Havoline Montoya hero card. There will be 42 lucky readers who will find their hero card signed by Montoya. Montoya and his wife Connie will be participating in the NASCAR Foundation Track Walk on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway at 8:30am/et.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-16-2006)
  • Nemechek to Pull Triple Duty for First Time in Career: For the first time in his racing career Joe Nemechek will compete in NASCAR’s three professional divisions in the same weekend at the same track. The triple-header weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway kicks off Friday evening for Nemechek, who will pilot the #46 Chevy for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series. It will be his third race of the season in the #46 entry. The second part of the weekend schedule for Nemechek will be his return to the Busch Series where he has claimed 16 career victories. His only other Busch race of the season was the February opener at Daytona International Speedway. Nemechek, who must qualify on time for Saturday night’s Busch event, will drive his #87 NEMCO Motorsports Chevy with sponsorship from Ginn Clubs & Resorts. The weekend culminates Sunday for Nemechek, who will drive the #01 U.S. Army Chevy in the final Nextel Cup race of the season – the Ford 400.(MB2Motorsports PR)(11-16-2006)
  • Spencer to the #73 team? NASCAR.com’s Ryan Smithson reports “am hearing that Jimmy Spencer is back part-time in the Nextel Cup Series next year with a new team called Revelocity Racing. It was formed by a group of four businessmen from West Virginia, and they plan on running all the Car of Tomorrow races in 2007.” Smithson also heard the team also talked to Ward Burton, but eventually went with Spencer.(NASCAR.com), more info on the Revelocity Racing team on my #73 Team News and Links page, they supposedly are teaming up with PPI Motorsports.(11-16-2006)
  • Martin Voted Busch Series’ Greatest Driver: Mark Martin has been ranked #1 among the “25 Greatest NASCAR Busch Series Drivers” in internet polls on NASCAR.COM and NASCARMedia.com in conjunction with the season-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the NASCAR Busch Series and its association with series sponsor Anheuser-Busch. Martin, the all-time series leader in wins (47) and Busch Poles (30) despite never having run a full season throughout his 220 starts, received the most votes in both polls, which allowed fans and media to rank their top 25 selections from a list of 41 nominees. The series’ first two-time champion, Sam Ard, finished second in the NASCARMedia.com poll; followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in third, another multiple champion; Jack Ingram, the first series champion in 1982 (he won again in ’85) in fourth and Dale Earnhardt, who won the first NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona in 1982, in fifth.(NASCAR PR)(11-16-2006)
  • Homestead Rookie Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the November 12 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Hamlin finished third, his seventh top-five and 19th top-10 finish of the 2006 season. He took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 17th time in 35 races. Hamlin is fourth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 90 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. He is 27 behind second-place Matt Kenseth and leads fifth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 25. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 35 races this season. Hamlin and Jeff Gordon are the only Chase drivers to score six top-10 finishes in the nine races in the Chase. Hamlin leads Clint Bowyer by 60 points (294-234) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Nov. 19 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Tony Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a Nextel Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He won the inaugural Ford 400 in 1999 by 5.289 seconds over Bobby Labonte. Stewart led the race four times for 44 laps. The only other Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in six previous races at Homestead is Casey Atwood, who finished third in 2001 and led the most laps (52). The only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in six Nextel Cup races at Homestead is Jamie McMurray in 2003. Tony Stewart owns the best points finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the sport’s modern era (post 1971), placing fourth in the championship standings in 1999. James Hylton holds the best points finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the sport’s history, a second-place effort in 1966.(Raybestos PR), for the full notes, history, standings and more, see the 2006 Rookies Page.(11-16-2006)
  • Find the Perfect Jeans at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Imagine finding the perfect jeans faster than a NASCAR pit stop! Now you can with the Levi Strauss Signature “Fit Pit” Tour as it makes its final stop at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the NASCAR Championship race weekend. The Fit Pit features Intellifit technology that in 10 seconds scans a fully-clothed person and produces a print out recommendation of sizes and styles of Levi Strauss Signature jeans which can be purchased at Target and Wal-Mart locations.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(11-16-2006)
  • Hendrick Honored: Rick Hendrick, chairman and CEO of Hendrick Motorsports, has been named as the winner of the 2006 Jeffrey Mark Harris Achievement Award by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). This exemplary individual demonstrated his commitment and support to the NMDP’s mission by establishing the Hendrick Marrow Program to heighten awareness of the NMDP and it’s partner, The Marrow Foundation. Over nearly a decade, the work of the Program has resulted in more than 75,000 new potential donors joining the NMDP Registry and the generation of millions of dollars for donor awareness, recruitment and retention, patient assistance and research.(PR)(11-16-2006)

    News from November 15, 2006

  • SPEED adds Homestead programming: SPEED will open its coverage of the Nextel Cup Series finale Nov. 16 at 2:00pm/et with live coverage of the Chase for the Nextel Cup championship press conference from the famed Doral Golf Resort in Miami. The show will kick off nearly 30 hours of coverage from the Homestead-Miami area as titles are decided in the Craftsman Truck Series and the Nextel Cup Series. The Chase is On, with Steve Byrnes and NASCAR driver Carl Edwards will report beachside Nov. 16 at 9:00pm/et, to introduce the weekend’s top stories Highlighting the four-day coverage will be live coverage of the Craftsman Truck Series finale Nov. 17 at 7:30pm/et. Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip will join Rick Allen and former driver Phil Parsons in the booth, while Ray Dunlap, Krista Voda and NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler report from the pits. Special editions of The SPEED Report (Nov. 17, 10:30pm/et; Nov. 18, 10:00pm/et and Nov. 19, 8:00pm/et) will wrap up the seasons for all three major NASCAR series, with Dave Despain taking his Wind Tunnel team to Homestead to discuss the state of the sport for a Sunday morning special (10:00am/et).
    On Nov. 19, SPEED will open the day with a special Breakfast at Homestead program at 9:00am/et with Byrnes, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler. The NASCAR RaceDay team of John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer, Kenny Wallace, Wendy Venturini, Bob Dillner and Rutledge Wood will take over at 11:00am.et and deliver a three-hour pre-race show, returning after the race for NASCAR Victory Lane.(SpeedTV.com)(11-15-2006)
  • Final start in the #88 for Jarrett; then surgery next week: Dale Jarrett will be making his final start for Robert Yates Racing in the #88 UPS Ford this Sunday at Homestead. Jarrett’s best finish at Homestead is a fifth-place finish – scored during his championship winning season of 1999. Only seven Nextel Cup Series events have been run at Homestead and Jarrett has been running at the conclusion of all seven races. He has completed 1,856 of the 1,873 laps run at Homestead for a lap completion rate of 99%. Following the season finale in Homestead, Jarrett will travel to Baltimore, Md., where he is scheduled to have surgery on his left hand on Tuesday, November 21. Jarrett suffered a slight fracture in his left hand as a result of the accident he was in at Infineon Raceway in June. His hand has never healed correctly and he will be having corrective surgery next week.(RYR PR)(11-15-2006)
  • Sad News: J.J. Weaver, born on August 13, 2005, went to heaven to be with Jesus on Saturday, November 11, 2006. J.J. died in peace in his daddy’s arms after a difficult and courageous battle with cancer. Funeral services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Wednesday November 15, 2006 at the First Baptist Church of Huntersville with Rev. Doug Danner officiating. Burial will follow in the Church cemetery. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Survivors are his parents, John [of Ganassi Racing] and Teri Weaver; paternal grandfather, John M. Weaver of Flushing, MI; maternal grandparents, Frank J. Miller of Herminie, PA, and Judith and Clifford Bateson of Greensburg, PA; and several aunts, uncles and cousins. J.J. was preceded in death by his paternal grandmother, Marilyn F. Weaver. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The JJ Weaver Fund, P. O. Box 652, Cornelius, N.C. 28031. Arrangements by Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville, NC.(Charlotte Observer)(11-15-2006)
  • Atwood to run #95 at Homestead: Casy Atwood will attempt to make the Ford 400 Nextel Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the #95 Scott Shop Towels Ford for Brewco Motorsports in cooperation with Stanton Barrett Jr. This weekend’s Ford 400 marks the first time Kimberly-Clark will sponsor a NASCAR Nextel Cup entry. The company, which has been a sponsor in the Busch Series for 13 years, features all of its brands on the NBS #27 Brewco Motorsports Kleenex Ford. In three Cup starts at Homestead, Atwood has two top-10 finishes. Over those three races, his average starting position is sixth place. Atwood has 75 starts in Nextel Cup competition. The Associate Sponsor on the #95 Ford is Sam’s Club, the nation’s largest warehouse club with more than 49 million members nationwide. Atwood’s top finish at Homestead came in only his second Nextel Cup start at the speedway in the 2001 race, where he started second and finished third, leading 52 laps along the way. “I’m also excited to be the first person to drive a Cup car for Kimberly-Clark. They’ve been such a great sponsor in the Busch Series for so long. We appreciate their support there and now here in the Cup race, so we’ll do everything we can to get the #95 Scott Shop Towels Ford in victory lane this Sunday.”(Brewco Motorsports PR)(11-15-2006)
  • #43 to sport Chex Most Popular Driver colors at Homestead: #43-Bobby Labonte will be behind the seat of the Chex Most Popular Driver Dodge for this weekend’s event at Homestead-Miami Speedway to promote the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver of 2006 Award. Fans can vote at mostpopulardriver.com. ends at 11:59am/ct on November 20, 2006. Voting limited to one vote per person per email address per day. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won the award the last three years.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(11-15-2006)
  • DEI not purchasing RYR: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Vice President Richie Gilmore disputed reports that his company could be buying all or part of Robert Yates Racing. During the race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, DEI Technical Director Steve Hmiel confirmed that the company was in discussions concerning a purchase of at least part of RYR. He said the company could purchase RYR’s shop and equipment, but that it could also acquire the #88 team and its owner points. The owner points could be transferred to the third DEI team of Paul Menard. On Tuesday, though, Gilmore said that the story had grown out of proportion. “Stories definitely grow in the sport and maybe it’s a slow time of the year with the Chase not being quite as tight as it should be,” Gilmore said. “It’s one of them stories that grew. I told [DEI team owner] Teresa [Earnhardt], maybe if Teresa was going to go get a cup of coffee at 8 o’clock in the morning, by noontime around here she’s going to buy a Starbucks. So I think the story kind of grew that way. It grew legs for sure. When asked if there was anything to the reports that DEI could be considering purchasing all or part of the team, Gilmore’s answer was succinct. “No,” he said. At Phoenix, when asked about the situation, team owner Robert Yates didn’t deny he was in talks with DEI and said he planned to tell the #88 team its fate before this weekend’s race at Homestead. The #88 has no driver and no sponsor for 2007 since Dale Jarrett and UPS are moving over to the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota team.(SceneDaily.com)(11-15-2006)
  • Nashville Ballet’s Nutcracker features Darrell Waltrip as “Mother Ginger”: Darrell Waltrip is racing to Nashville Ballet’s holiday favorite this year as “Mother Ginger” in Nutcracker. This scene-stealing role accelerates quickly and will leave folks begging for more! Darrell will don a LARGER-than-LIFE dress and prepare to maneuver across the stage at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Friday December 15, 2006 at 7:00 pm. Once onstage, eight children magically appear from his voluminous skirts, dancing for joy and “Mother Ginger” will move with speed of light to capture these children in less than 10 laps! Nashville Ballet invites you to enjoy the thrill of victory in this win-win production of ballet & driver. Nashville Ballet’s 22 company dancers and apprentices will perform four series during the 21st Season. Still remaining are: Nutcracker, Dec. 15-17 and Dec. 22-23, 2006; Bluebird Café at the Ballet 2, Feb. 16 – 18, 2007; and Swan Lake, April 27 – 29, 2007. See more at FoxSports.com.(11-15-2006)
  • SPEED to get inside look at Ganassi Racing: SPEED will deliver an inside look into the business of racing with a pair of one-hour Racing Incorporated specials focusing on the motor sports operations of multi-team owner Chip Ganassi. Given unprecedented access to race shops and meetings for about three weeks in August, the specials will air Nov. 15 and 16 at 8:00pm/et/pt.(SpeedTV PR)(11-4/15-2006)
  • Pit Crew Win Gives Harvick’s Team Double Victory in Phoenix: Kevin Harvick’s over-the-wall crew picked up the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway. The winning effort by the #29 pit crew helped Harvick capture the victory at the one-mile oval. It was the third pit crew win of the season for Harvick’s crew. The team’s other pit crew victories were at the May race in Richmond, Va. and the July race in Joliet, Ill. Harvick’s over-the-wall crew, which will receive $10,500 for the win from Checkers/Rally’s, consists of: Nick Terry (jackman), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Jason Pulver (front-tire changer), Matt Krueter (rear-tire carrier), Clint Pittman (rear-tire changer), Brian Englehart (gasman), Scott Naset (catch can), Rick Tulbert (2nd gas can) and John Goodwin (eighth-man). The team is led by crew chief Todd Berrier. Heading into Sunday’s (Nov. 19) final Nextel Cup event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the over-the-wall crews for Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart are tied for first in the season-long competition with five wins each. If the competition is still tied after Sunday’s Cup finale, the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge championship and the $105,000 bonus will be awarded to Johnson’s No. 48 crew since the tie-breaker is decided on driver point standings. Johnson, who leads in the Chase standings, cannot be passed by any team still in contention for the pit crew title. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $367,500 in NEXTEL Cup Series prize money during this season. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series.(DMF Communications PR)(11-15-2006)
  • Whitt to drive the #72 at Homestead: Brandon Whitt will make his second Nextel Cup appearance this weekend in Miami for #72 CJM Racing. “We are very pleased with Brandon’s efforts this past weekend in Phoenix,” states co-owner Bryan Mullet. “Brandon showed great poise the entire weekend; unfortunately we ran into some mechanical problems on Sunday which cut his Cup debut short. Brandon has shown this team that he has what it takes to compete at this level. We are looking forward to putting together a very solid weekend heading into this off-season.” CJM Racing will announce 2007 plans in the upcoming weeks.(CJM Racing PR)(11-15-2006)
  • Florida Governor Jeb Bush proclaims Nextel Cup Championship Week: With the silver Nextel Cup Series trophy to his left and a signed proclamation before him, Florida Governor Jeb Bush officially declared Nov. 14-20, “NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Week in the State of Florida,” on Tuesday. The proclamation, which precedes Sunday’s season-finale event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, was issued during the governor’s weekly Cabinet Meeting at the state capitol. In attendance were Lesa Kennedy, President, International Speedway Corporation; Steve O’Donnell, Vice President of Racing Operations, NASCAR; Robin Braig, President of Daytona International Speedway, Rusty Wallace, the 1989 Nextel Cup champion, and Kasey Kahne (#9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), one of the 10 drivers in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup and the series leader with six victories this season.(NASCAR PR)(11-15-2006)
  • NASCAR is going to be holding an official Ford 400 Viewing Party in N.Y. The Viewing Party is being held on Sunday, November 19 at the ESPN Zone at 2 p.m. The ESPN Zone is located at 1472 Broadway on the corner of 42nd and Broadway in Times Square. The party will be hosted by Q104.3 FM, ESPN Zone and NASCAR. Promotions for the viewing party include a Lap Leader Ballot and Trivia Contests. The Lap Leader Ballot will be distributed to guests prior to the start of the race. Viewers will guess the correct lap leader after laps 100, 150, 200 and 267 (race winner) to be entered to win VIP passes to the Champions Week activities at the ESPN Zone during Victory Lap. A total of 4 pairs of VIP tickets will be given away. Winners of the trivia contests will receive Nextel Cup Series t-shirts, NASCAR hats, and Anheuser Busch/Dale Jr. Premiums.

    News from November 14, 2006

  • Kvapil back to the Truck Series? UPDATE 2: on Speed Channel’s SPEED Report, Ray Dunlap reported that 2003 Truck Series Champ could be headed back to the Craftsman Truck Series full time in 2007, possibly driving the #6 for Roush Racing. No word if Kvapil would still drive full time in Nextel Cup and stay with Cal Wells and the #32 Chevy.(11-6-2006)
    UPDATE: Travis Kvapil will announce later this week that he will return to the Craftsman Truck Series next season, driving the #6 Ford for Roush Racing. Kvapil has two races remaining on his one-year contract with PPI Motorsports, but team owner Cal Wells has been unable to land a sponsor to replace longtime backer Tide, prompting Kvapil to explore his options elsewhere. Appearing at a charity event last night in his native Winsconsin, Kvapil said, “Something should be happening within a couple days. All I can say right now is that this is the opportunity I’ve been hoping for my whole career. It’s a chance to drive for a team that has a solid foundation.” In addition to steering the #6 Ford Truck, Kvapil may also drive a limited schedule of events in Nextel Cup and/or Busch Series action next season.(Motorsports Soapbox)
    UPDATE 2: With the departure of Mark Martin, Roush Racing was presented with the question of who would fill his shoes in the #6 Roush Racing Ford in the Craftsman Truck Series. That question was answered this week when Roush signed former Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil to pilot the Ford that Martin drove to five victories in 13 attempts this season. “It’s a great opportunity to join an organization that constantly demonstrates its ability to compete successfully in all areas of competition,” said Kvapil. “I’m looking forward to reestablishing a record of excellent competitive results in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and hope that I can continue competing successfully for a long time with Roush Racing.” At this point the #6 Roush Racing Ford is without a sponsor but Roush Racing president Geoff Smith believes that now that a driver has been chosen for the truck, a sponsor announcement will likely follow.(Roush Racing PR)(11-14-2006)
  • Skinner to qualify the #27 at Homestead: Mike Skinner will be driving the #27 Chevy for Kirk Shelmerdine Racing for Homestead, doesn’t say if he will drive the #27 in the race.(KSR Site)(11-14-2006)
  • Special AAA scheme for Martin at Homestead: The #6 AAA Ford Fusion will run a special paint scheme this weekend to commemorate the final run of Martin behind the wheel of the car he has driven since 1988. The AAA car will be colored in a predominately black scheme when it takes to the track this Friday for what will be Martin’s last Nextel Cup weekend in the car.(Roush Racing PR)(11-14-2006)
  • Kluever entered at Homestead..up to 55: Todd Kluever will be attempting his fifth Nextel Cup start this weekend at Homestead. He will be driving the #06 3M/Sharp AQUOS Ford Fusion for Roush Racing. Kluever will be competing in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races at Homestead this weekend. “This race was not originally on my schedule of races to run this season, but since we missed Phoenix we wanted to run another one for 3M,” said Kluever.(Roush Racing PR), the Homestead Entry List is now up to 55 teams/cars.(11-14-2006)
  • Petty scheme at Homestead UPDATE: #45-Kyle Petty will run a petty blue Dodge with many of his 2006 sponsors featured
    UPDATE: In appreciation of all primary sponsorships partners on the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge this season the car will feature primary sponsorship logos of Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil, Wells Fargo, Tire Kingdom and Schwan’s at Homestead.(Petty Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(11-14-2006)
  • Double-Duty For Dale Jr.: The Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead will mark Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 255th career start – and his 255th points race with Budweiser sponsorship. The day prior, however, will be Junior’s first start with Budweiser colors in the Busch Series. Dale Jr., a two-time champion with 22 career victories in only 90 Busch Series starts, will race the familiar red #8 Budweiser paint scheme for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the Ford 300 race. Dale Jr. has two victories this season in four Busch Series starts for DEI.(fingerprintinc/Bud PR)(11-14-2006)
  • Villeneuve interested in #88 ride: Sources tell [MRN] Sirius Speedway that Jacques Villeneuve’s representatives have also been burning up the telephone lines to Robert Yates Racing, which has yet to name a driver for its #88 Ford next season. However, speculation in the Nextel Cup garage says Yates may actually be negotiating to sell the #88 half of his operation to Dale Earnhardt, Inc.(Motorsports Soapbox)(11-14-2006)
  • Mikey to run Truck race at Homestead: Darrell Waltrip Motorsports organization plans to field a second truck with Michael Waltrip and the #12 Jani-King Toyota Tundra at Homestead. ALSO Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc. has announced that Josh Wise, who was crowned the 2006 USAC National Sprint Car Series champion on Saturday night, will drive in a variety of series for the organization in 2007. Josh will run in a variety of venues for Michael Waltrip Racing including the Craftsman Truck Series and ARCA as well as the short track racing.(MWR PR)(11-14-2006)
  • New Chevy single season win record: #29-Kevin Harvick’s convincing victory at Phoenix gave Chevy 23 wins thus far in 2006 and set a new Modern Era single-season win record for the Bowtie brand. It is 596th all-time NNCS win for Chevrolet and the 472nd in the Modern Era.(GM Racing), Chevy’s all-time NASCAR Cup record is 25 wins in 1958, Buick holds the modern era record with 25 in 1982 and the alltime record is held by Ford with 48 in 1965.(11-14-2006)
  • PTG Studios to sponsor #34 at Homestead: PTG Studios will be the primary sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports Chevy driven by Chad Chaffin at Homestead-Miami Motorsports Complex on Sunday November 19th, for the Ford 400. PTG Studios, founded in 1997, is an independent media production company that specializes in educational programming for national and international markets. It is headquartered in Deerfield Beach, FL. For more information about PTG Studios, please visit www.ptgstudios.com.(FRM PR)(11-14-2006)
  • Harvick Victory at Phoenix Awards 29 Lucky Race Fans an All-New 2007 Chevy Avalanche: #29-GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick powered to victory in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway to complete the #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge and award 29 lucky Expertise Challenge grand prize winners with an all-new 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche. With the win at Phoenix and a victory at Richmond International Raceway in September, Harvick and the GM Goodwrench team successfully completed the #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge, a unique promotion designed by GM Service and Parts Operations (GMSPO) to award a total of 29 lucky fans with an all-new 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche, a $1,000 GM vehicle maintenance certificate from Goodwrench and a trunk full of Reese’s products, if Harvick won 2 of 12 selected Nextel Cup races. As part of the Expertise Challenge promotion, GM Goodwrench also will establish a $200,000 scholarship fund to provide tuition assistance to AYES high school students who choose to continue their automotive technical education by attending GM ASEP colleges. Beginning in May, the Expertise Challenge promotion offered GM customers and race fans the chance to win a variety of prizes, including an all-new 2007 Avalanche, by visiting a Chevrolet dealership or a Chevy display at select NASCAR events to obtain a ticket with an official promotion code. They also could visit goodwrench.com/expert to obtain a promotion code and complete the registration process.(GMSPO PR)(11-14-2006)

    News from November 13, 2006

  • Phoenix Overnight TV Ratings up: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.1 and an 8 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 2.5% higher than the 4.0 NBC earned overnight for the 2005 Phoenix race.(SceneDaily.com), see past TV Ratings News and Chart on my 2006 TV Ratings Page.(11-13-2006)
  • Commercial breakdown for the Checkers 500:
    Total number of commercials: 149
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 32
    Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:20pm/et
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 7:01pm/et
    Total minutes: 221
    Minutes of race broadcast: 150
    Minutes of commercials: 71
    See full report at www.cawsnjaws.com.(11-13-2006)
  • Latest on Red Sox owner buying into Roush: Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing, said that the proposed merger with Red Sox owner John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group is proceeding nicely, and if the deal is completed it should be by early February. Jack Roush and Smith are negotiating a sale of as much as 50% of Roush Racing to Henry and his company. “It’s still progressing, and progressing positively toward closing,” Smith said of the negotiations. “It’s pretty straightforward on how it’s proceeding. Lawyers are looking at documents, accountants are working on plans for operational adjustments that need to take place. All those practical things are in motion. People are out in the garage verifying how certain things work. I would expect by the time we show up in February at Daytona there will either be a deal in place or there won’t be a deal at all.”(Winston Salem Journal)(11-13-2006)

  • News from November 12, 2006

  • Harvick wins at Phoenix: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Checkers Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway to sweep both Cup races there in 2006, his 5th win of 2006 and 10th of his career. Harvick led the most laps with 252 of 312. #48-Johnson finished 2nd [for the 3rd race in a row] to increase his points lead over #17-Kenseth to by 63 points. If Johnson finishes 12th or better at Homestead-Miami he will win the 2006 Nextel Cup Championship. The rest of the top-10 were #11-Hamlin, #24-Gordon, #99-Edwards, #6-Martin, #9-Kahne, #2-Busch, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #31-Burton. Only two Chasers out of the top-10: #17-Kenseth 13th and #5-Busch 38th after getting involved in a late race crash. There were 10 cautions for 58 laps [a ~9 minute red flag during the last caution] and 7 drivers lead the race with 12 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Phoenix Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page
    Race Rundown: see my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(11-12-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Phoenix [35 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 6332 – 12th or better at Homestead to win championship
    #17-Matt Kenseth 6269 -63
    #29-Kevin Harvick 6242 -90
    #11-Denny Hamlin 6242 -90
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6217 -115
    below are eliminated from the championship
    #24-Jeff Gordon 6165 -167
    #31-Jeff Burton 6107 -225
    #6-Mark Martin 6059 -273
    #9-Kasey Kahne 6013 -319
    #5-Kyle Busch 5973 -359
    and fighting for 11th
    #20-Tony Stewart in 11th 4488 points [clinched]
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(11-12-2006)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Points Standings…the old way, not the Chase after Phoenix:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5015
    2) #17-Matt Kenseth, 5004, 11
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 4683, 332
    4) #20-Tony Stewart, 4609, 406
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin, 4560, 455
    6) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 4530, 485
    7) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4476, 539
    8) #31-Jeff Burton, 4414, 601
    9) #6-Mark Martin, 4375, 640
    10) #5-Kyle Busch, 4362, 653
    11) #9-Kasey Kahne, 4327, 688
    12) #99-Carl Edwards, 4286, 729
    13) #16-Greg Biffle, 3890, 1125
    (11-12-2006)
  • Yates decsion by Homestead; team with DEI? UPDATE: Robert Yates said Saturday that the fate of his #88 team will be known prior to heading to Homestead, Fla., next week for the Nextel Cup season finale. While Yates would provide no specifics, Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s Steve Hmiel said there have been negotiations between the two entities. The negotiations have centered on DEI’s purchasing the team’s shop and equipment, as DEI has long been looking for a way to expand its capacity. The team will begin fielding a third full-time Nextel Cup Series team when Paul Menard moves to Cup next season. Hmiel said the negotiations have not involved simply buying the rights to the #88, which would bring with it the owner points earned by Dale Jarrett this season. If, however, DEI bought the shop and equipment, with Yates fielding only the #38 on his own, DEI could acquire the #88’s owner points as part of a larger purchase. “If we can have more capacity, the number would be a bonus,” Hmiel said at Phoenix International Raceway. “We’ve heard Team Red Bull has made an offer to buy the number, but we’re not looking to buy just the number.” A number of obstacles remain, as RYR fields Fords and DEI runs Chevrolets, so it would have to be determined whether the shop was split into two separate entities; or whether RYR ran on its own or struck a deal with another Ford operation, perhaps Wood Brothers Racing. That would leave Robert Yates Racing with just the #38 team next season. RYR has fielded two teams on a full-time basis since 1996, but is losing both driver Dale Jarrett and sponsor UPS from its #88 after the season. Yates systematically danced around the issue on Saturday, saying only that he had four options to consider. Talk in the garage is that a decision by Yates must come by Tuesday. Yates said fielding just one car is an option, especially after crew chief Todd Parrott reminded Yates that he once fielded his two cars out of separate shops. And whether or not a deal is struck with DEI, Yates said he’ll still be in the sport next year with the #38 team and driver David Gilliland.(SceneDaily.com)(11-12-2006)
    UPDATE: Car owner Robert Yates has offered more details concerning the make-up of RYR in 2007 and it’s appears it will still be a two-car operation. Reports Saturday indicated several teams were interested in purchasing the #88 operation and its owner points. However, just prior to Sunday’s green flag at Phoenix Yates said “I actually have looked at that but what’s on the horizon, and is here now, I don’t think that’s gonna be the deal. It’s gonna be more expanding instead of getting rid of anything. I need to know and everybody will know as soon as we can get it all figured out but it looks pretty good right now.” While a decision could be reached this coming Tuesday, Yates said “Everybody needs to know where they’re headed when they come home from Homestead. That’s out agenda and I think we can meet that timeline. The facts are we’re gonna run a really good positive 38 team. We also have an opportunity to run a very good 88 team, and we’re still looking at opportunities of maybe growing it on into the bigger full scope of four teams.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-12-2006)
  • Sponsor changes at the #25 and #16? UPDATE 5 Ameriquest to #16: hearing National Guard could end up being the sponsor, either whole or in part, of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Casey Mears will drive in 2007. No word if current #25 primary sponsor, GMAC, stays as a co-sponsor or would leave the team. National Guard currently sponsors the #16 Roush Racing Ford of Greg Biffle, supposedly Subway could step up full time or be co-sponsors with Ameriquest [sponsors a slew of Roush Racing Busch cars] or 3M.(7-30-2006)
    UPDATE: been told that Ameriquest has signed a multi-year deal with Roush Racing to sponsor the #16 Ford and Greg Biffle. As for the #25, GMAC will back in some form in 2006.(8-10-006)
    UPDATE 2: been told the National Guard will move to the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and will team up to co-sponsor the team with GMAC.(8-19-2006)
    UPDATE 3 – Roush still waiting on National Guard: Roush Racing is still awaiting word on whether the National Guard will return as primary sponsor on the #16 Ford driven by Greg Biffle next year. “We don’t have an indication on what they are going to do for next year,” Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Saturday. “That is being more closely maintained by them. Sometimes it’s typically later in the year when they have all of their options decided.” Even if the team loses that sponsorship, there are other sponsors to fill in the gaps. That car has had several sponsors, such as Subway, which have been the primary sponsor for select races in the past couple of years. “We’re covered,” Smith said. “It’s only a question of how the car is going to be allocated among those sponsors.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-28-2008)
    UPDATE 4: Roush Racing will announce Sunday that Ameriquest Mortgage, currently a sponsor for Roush in the NASCAR Busch Series, will step up and take over as the primary sponsor of the #16 Nextel Cup Ford driven by Greg Biffle. Biffle’s sponsor, the U.S. Army National Guard, will leave the organization.(Sporting News)
    OFFICIAL: Ameriquest Mortgage Company, a national mortgage lender, announced today a partnership with Roush Racing to serve as the primary sponsor of the #16 race car driven by Greg Biffle for the 2007 Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) season. Biffle, the 2005 series runner-up, will sport the black and gold Ameriquest Racing colors on the #16 Ford Fusion for nearly the entire 36-race schedule. Throughout the 2006 season, Ameriquest sponsored four of Roush’s NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) teams, which includes drivers Biffle, Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards. The Ameriquest Dream Team won five races in 2006. Ameriquest plans to activate its 2007 primary sponsorship with Roush Racing with a comprehensive marketing communications program, including on-line consumer promotions and sweepstakes, dedicated NASCAR broadcast advertising, at-track / off-track mobile marketing, customer hospitality and on-going public relations. In addition, Ameriquest, proud sponsor of the American dream, will continue to be the official mortgage company of Roush Racing in 2007. For more information about Ameriquest Mortgage Company, visit www.ameriquest.com and Racing at ameriquestracing.com.(Alan Taylor PR), 3M will be the primary sponsor for 7 races on the #16 in 2007.(11-12-2006)
  • Wrigley to sponsor Montoya for 3 races in 2007? UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing will announce that the William Wrigley Jr. Co., through its Wrigley gum brand, will be a primary sponsor for three races on the #42 Nextel Cup Dodge [main sponsor Texaco] driven by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2007 and 25 races as an associate sponsor for the #41 Busch Series car driven by Reed Sorenson.(Sporting News)(11-12-2006)
    UPDATE: The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company will make its NASCAR debut with a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) that features Wrigley’s Spearmint, Doublemint, Big Red, Juicy Fruit and Winterfresh brands. Wrigley will sponsor rising stars Reed Sorenson and David Stremme, who will drive the #41 Dodge in the first 25 Busch Series races in 2007, and former Indianapolis 500 champion and Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who will drive the #42 Big Red Dodge in three Nextel Cup races for the 2007 NASCAR season. Sorenson and Stremme will alternate as the driver of the #41 car on the first 25 races of the Busch Series. Their car will feature a rotating paint scheme of Wrigley’s Spearmint, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit, and Winterfresh brands. Wrigley will be an associate sponsor of the car for the remaining 10 races. When Montoya grabs the wheel of the #42 Big Red Dodge for three Nextel Cup races, his car and uniform will feature a bold black-and-red Big Red color scheme. Wrigley, through its Big Red brand, will also be an associate sponsor of the car for the remaining 33 races.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-12-2006)
  • Long wins Late Model Race: #46-Carl Long, piloting the #1 Romeo Guest Construction Ford for Long Brothers Racing, was victorious in Saturday night’s [11/11] championship late model race at Orange County Speedway [NC]. Long, a former track champion who started his racing career at Orange County, showed he stills knows how to get around the legendary 3/8th-mile oval.(Carl Long Site)(11-12-2006)
  • Roush finalizing plans with Villeneuve: UPDATE no plans: Roush Racing appears to be finalizing plans to put former Indy 500 champion and F-1 star Jacques Villeneuve in a Ford for several Busch Series races next year. Although the schedule isn’t set, it’ll almost certainly include the Saturday afternoon, Aug. 4 road race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his hometown of Montreal.(Ford Racing)(10-13-2006)
    UPDATE:Any hopes that Canada’s Jacques Villeneuve might be part of NASCAR’s Roush Racing team next season appear to be over. Villeneuve had been in talks with the elite team about driving in 2007 as part of their Busch Series squad as a prelude to jumping to the Nextel Cup side. But yesterday Roush Racing general manager Geoff Smith said there is now only a remote chance of Canada’s only Formula One champion joining the team next season. “We’re nowhere in that regards for ’07,” he said yesterday. “There are just general discussions that are going on, but I don’t see us being able to make an arrangement to pull together a program where we are today. It’s possible that we do something. It’s an outside shot given the timing of the year.”(Calgary Sun)(11-12-2006)
  • Latest on Goodyear Strike: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the striking United Steelworkers of America are heading back to negotiations. The company and the union on Thursday announced they will meet, possibly as early as next week. Goodyear first announced Thursday morning it was sending its negotiators to Cincinnati, where talks had been taking place up until 15,000 Steelworkers went on strike Oct. 5, and hoped the union would join them. In the afternoon, the USW said it was willing to talk as well. Goodyear has placed its latest contract proposal to the Steelworkers on its negotiations Web site, www.goodyearnegotiations.com. As part of the company’s release of its third-quarter earnings report Thursday morning, Goodyear Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Keegan told financial analysts that the company now preferred to directly address its 15,000 striking Steelworker employees. The previous three-year contract expired July 22, but was extended on a day-by-day basis until early October when negotiations broke down. Goodyear is losing $30 million to $35 million a week in operating income because of the strike, Keegan said.(more at Ohio.com) and past news on this abd how it effects NASCAR on my Sponsors News page.(11-12-2006)
  • Phoenix Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
    #72 TE Speeding exiting pit road L74
    #72 PT Speeding entering pit road L98
    #55 TE Pitting before pit road is open L187
    #45 TE Speeding exiting pit road Ll89
    #7 TE Pitting before pit road is open L226
    #16 OL Running the stop and go sign L276
    #07 TE Pitting before pit road is open L306
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-12-2006)
  • Rumblings – Phoenix: Kevin Harvick’s had quite a year…. From about lap 139 to the end today it was pretty obvious the only two drivers with a chance to win would be Harvick or Jimmie Johnson…and it was formful to the end. Kevin Harvick led 252 of the 312 circuits today and captured the Checker Auto Parts “500” presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway by a quarter of a second today over Johnson. This was the fifth win of the season for Harvick (which when you couple it with nine in the NASCAR Busch Series…oh, and a Championship there too….makes for more than a little hardware to display) and the 10th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He’s now tied for 50th on the all-time win list with Donnie Allison, Sterling Marlin, and Greg Biffle. Kevin’s sweeper at Phoenix was worth $216,825 from the almost $5M in posted awards….this was win #83 for RCR Enterprises.
    Elliott Sadler (17th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Dover in September.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-2’s in a row. Denny Hamlin has 4 Top-10’s in a row. Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Jimmie Johnson (+27), followed by Tony Raines (+20) and Scott Riggs (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kyle Busch (-29), followed by Greg Biffle (-28 ), Jamie McMurray (-26), and Michael Waltrip (-23). Hendrick Motorsports had both ends of the “Shaft” bracketed this week. David Gilliland led a lap today for the first time in his Cup career. He’s the 48th different driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 51 different leaders.
    Some interesting point observations: We’d have a much closer race in “Classic” points than we have in the “Chase”. Johnson’s margin over on the original side would be only 11 markers. It’s also interesting that the top three are exactly the same in both scenarios…and they were also the three drivers at the top when we started the Chase in Loudon.(Stock Car Fans)(11-12-2006)
  • Race Notes – Phoenix:
    • Kevin Harvick won the 2006 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, scoring his 10th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 213th career start.
    • Harvick moved into a tie for 50th on NASCAR’s All-Time win list, tied with Donnie Allison, Greg Biffle and Sterling Marlin.
    • This is Harvick’s fifth victory in 2006. He also won races at Phoenix in April, Watkins Glen, second Richmond and second New Hampshire.
    • Harvick is the third driver in 2006 to sweep both races at a track this season. He joined Denny Hamlin (Pocono) and Kasey Kahne (Charlotte).
    • Harvick is the only Chase driver to score two victories in the 2006 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
    • Harvick won five races in the first five seasons in his career (between 2001-2005). Harvick has five victories this season.
    • Harvick scored his second victory in eight races at Phoenix. Harvick has scored three top-10 finishes at Phoenix, all top fives.
    • Harvick is the fourth different driver to post back-to-back victories at Phoenix.
    • Harvick scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006.
    • Harvick’s victory today was the 23rd Chevrolet victory in 35 races in 2006.
    • Harvick led four times for 252 laps, leading the most laps for the third time in 2006.
    • Race winner Harvick led the final 30 laps in the 2006 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix.
    • This was team owner Richard Chidress’ 83rd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Childress has scored six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories in 2006.
    The Championship
    • Five drivers All drivers are in the 156-point window which is the maximum points that can be gained or lost during a single race and remain mathematically eligible to win the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship in the final race at Homestead.
    • If Johnson finishes 12th or better or leads a lap and finishes 13th or better or leads the most laps and finishes 15th or better at Homestead, he will clinch the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship, regardless of any other drivers performance. Johnson has five victories in 2006 and would also win in case of a tie because of his six second-place finishes.
    • Jeff Gordon (-167) is mathematically eliminated from winning the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship as soon as Johnson starts the race at Homestead.
    • Jeff Burton, Mark Martin, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch are more than 190 points behind point leader Johnson and have been mathematically eliminated from winning the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship. Notebook Items
    • Denny Hamlin (third) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in three races at Phoenix. Hamlin was the highest finishing rookie for the 17th time in 2006.
    • Jeff Gordon (fourth) scored his 18th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 13th top-10 finish in 16 races at Phoenix.
    • Carl Edwards (fifth) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fourth top-10 finish in five races at Phoenix. The Chase
    • Jimmie Johnson (second) was eighth in points after the first four races in the Chase (after Talladega), then 156 points behind then point leader Jeff Burton. Johnson has gained 219 points in the last five races, the result of five straight finishes of first or second and is first in the point standings for the second straight race.
    • Stewart remained 11th in the Championship standings. He has a 323-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards who finished fifth. Stewart is mathematically assured the 11th-place points position and the $1 million payout.
    • Eight of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10 at Phoenix.
    • Five of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Phoenix.
    • Five of the Chase drivers led at Phoenix earning valuable lap leader bonus points.
    • First and second are separated by 63 points with one race remaining. The top five in points are separated by 115 points which makes them all mathematically eligible to win the 2006 Championship.
    • Five of the nine races in the Chase have been won by Chase drivers
    • Matt Kenseth has scored eight top-15 finishes in the nine races in The Chase, the only driver to do so.
    • Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are the only Chase drivers to score nine top-25 finishes in all nine Chase races.
    • Jimmie Johnson has scored five top-five finishes in the nine Chase races, the most among the Chase drivers. Johnson has finished first or second in the last five races in the Chase.
    • Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon are the only Chase drivers to score six top-10 finishes in the nine races in the Chase.
    • Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to lead in seven of the nine races in the Chase.
    • Jimmie Johnson has scored 45 lap leader/bonus points in nine races in the Chase, the most among all drivers.
    • Jimmie Johnson is the only Chase driver to post seven top-10 starts in the nine races in the Chase.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(11-12-2006)
  • Jeff Gordon make appearance in ESPN’s MNF Booth in Charlotte: #24-Jeff Gordon will make a special guest appearance in ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet the Carolina Panthers Monday in Charlotte. Gordon, the winningest active drive and the current all-time money leader, will join ESPN’s Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser in the second quarter to discuss racing, football and other topics. The ESPN telecast will also feature taped highlights of Theismann and sideline reporter Suzy Kolber at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. The popular MNF personalities are expected to get behind the wheel for a thrilling ride of their own Saturday night at nearby Lowe’s Motor Speedway as part of their visit to Carolina. Fans who attend the Monday Night game will also have the opportunity to see a specially-wrapped ESPN stock car that was created as part of NASCAR’s return to ESPN and ABC in 2007. The vehicle will be parked alongside ESPN The Truck in an open lot at the intersection of S. Mint and Quincy Streets in Charlotte, just a few blocks from Bank of America Stadium.(ESPN PR)


    News from November 11, 2006

  • Ward close to being named #4 driver in 2007: After a long hiatus, Ward Burton is slated to be the full-time driver of the #4 next year. “We haven’t completely signed the deal, but we’ve agreed on one,” team owner Larry McClure said. “So it looks like he’ll have a good shot at being back in the car next year.” Burton’s last gig as a full-time driver ended here at Phoenix back in 2004 when he broke a rear end about two-thirds of the way through the event and finished a disappointing 40th in Gene Haas’ #0 [now #66] Chevy. To the consternation of his fans, Burton fell off the NASCAR landscape for a time after that. Offers came Burton’s way for rides that would have been less than competitive, and he has admitted in the past that perhaps he was a little too picky when he turned them down. When McClure and driver Scott Wimmer agreed to part ways this fall, an outcry from Burton’s fans was answered. McClure put the Virginia native behind the wheel of the #4 Chevy for a one-off race at Burton’s hometown track in Martinsville in October. Burton started 35th in the Subway 500 and ran respectably all afternoon. Simply staying on the lead lap is an accomplishment on the half-mile Virginia bullring, and Burton kept the Chevy on the same circuit as the leaders to go the full 500-lap distance and finish 26th. Todd Bodine already was slated to start in the #4 car at Atlanta the following week, so Burton’s rabid fans had to wait a little while longer to see if he would return. He did just that at Texas Motor Speedway, qualifying in the back of the pack in 37th and finishing one lap off the pace in 25th. Burton’s fan base is a big part of the reason why the team is about to put him behind the wheel for the 2007 season.(Yahoo Sports)(11-11-2006)
  • 2007 #26 Crown Royal scheme to debut at Homestead: Although the 2006 season is coming to a close in less than 10 days, Roush Racing driver Jamie McMurray is already looking forward to the 2007 season and with the strong support from Crown Royal, the #26 team will get a great head start. In the 2006 season finale at Homestead/Miami Speedway, McMurray will be showcasing the new 2007 Crown Royal paint scheme on his #26 Ford Fusion. “It’s really neat that Crown Royal is running the ’07 paint scheme down in Miami,” McMurray said. “Everyone wonders what new paint schemes will look like when they hit the track in Daytona next February. I think it’s great that Crown Royal is giving the fans a chance to check out next year’s car a little early.” The #26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion will have a completely different look in 2007. With the help of renowned NASCAR illustrator Sam Bass, the Crown Royal car has received a makeover during the last five months. Bass, who is well known throughout the NASCAR industry, played a major role in creating the new look for Crown Royal.(Roush Racing PR)(11-11-2006)
  • Sadler to test COT at the Rock: #19-Ellliott Sadler plans to test the Car of Tomorrow (COT) at North Carloina Speedway in Rockingham, NC on Wednesday, Nov. 15th.(11-11-2006)
  • Biffle and Tryson To Team Up For 2007 Season; Fennig to the #6 UPDATE 2 McMurray?: Veteran crew chief Pat Tryson will be paired with Greg Biffle, driver of the Roush Racing #16 Nextel Cup Ford Fusion [no sponsor mentions, so far 3M has been announced] for the 2007 season. Tryson has been the crew chief for veteran driver Mark Martin for the past three seasons. Tryson is one of only three crew chiefs to lead his team to a position in the Chase for the Nextel Cup every year since its inception in 2004 and looks to continue that record with Biffle. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with Greg in 2007,” said Tryson. “Obviously our top priority for next season is getting Greg back in the Chase. He’s a great driver and I hope to continue my personal streak of making the Chase with him.”
    “I’m looking forward to the 2007 season and working with Pat Tryson,” said Biffle. “I haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time with Pat but he’s had a good record with Mark in making the Chase three years in a row, so hopefully we won’t stop his streak next year.”(Roush Racing PR), no word on who will replace Tryson on the #6 Ford that rookie David Ragan will drive, other sponsors of the #16 car or plans for current #16 crew chief Doug Richert.(11-10-2006)
    UPDATE: In a series of moves at Roush Racing, Jimmy Fennig will serve as rookie #6-David Ragan’s Nextel Cup Series crew chief next season, with Pat Tryson moving over to lead #16-Greg Biffle’s team. Doug Richert, Biffle’s current crew chief, said Friday that he’s not yet sure what he’ll be doing next season. Richert offered no specifics about his future. “Not real sure,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff going on, but nothing certain.”(SceneDaily.com)(11-10-2006)
    UPDATE 2: That leaves only Jamie McMurray without an assigned crew chief for 2007 yet. One tantalizing option for that ride could be Matt Borland, who’s sitting out the final two races of 2007 and might be leaving Penske Racing South. “I heard a rumor that he packed up his stuff and left,” Roush said of Borland. “If he were on the street, I’d be very interested in talking to him. If he’s under contract, I have no interest in him.”(SpeedTV.com)(11-11-2006)
  • Brian France in accident….is OK UPDATE investigation/911 call: According to a Daytona Beach police report, Brian France crashed his Lexus four-door sedan into a tree just outside his condominium on Marina Point Drive. Police said Magnolia Avenue resident Shirley Hill saw France enter the parking lot of the Chart House restaurant just after 9pm/et. Monday and plow into a tree on the property. At that point, the 44-year-old France backed up his car and slid into the underground parking garage of the nearby Marina Point condominium, where he has a unit, the report shows. Hill called police and reported the wreck. Police Chief Mike Chitwood said officers called France downstairs that night to ask what had happened. France did not return a telephone call to The Daytona Beach News-Journal on Wednesday, but the report shows he told police he was drinking a soda and driving when he “bumped something” and the drink spilled in his car. Officers inspected the interior of the car and found the remains of the soda on the dashboard and front seat, the report shows. They also spotted debris from a palm tree on France’s passenger door, but no damaged tree in the Chart House parking lot, the report states. It is not clear why Hill was driving behind France on Beach Street and what France actually struck. Hill could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Chitwood said officers at the scene did not ask France to perform a field sobriety test because, “He did not smell of alcohol or anything like that.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-9-2006)
    UPDATE: A witness told police NASCAR boss Brian France was driving recklessly and hit more than a tree as he sped home to his riverfront condominium earlier this week. Now, Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood, after speaking to witness Shirley Hill, has launched an internal affairs investigation to determine whether officers who responded to France’s condo on Marina Pointe Drive on Monday night handled the incident correctly. “If I find out that someone gave him (France) a break because of his last name, someone is going to have to look for a new job,” Chitwood said Thursday afternoon. More at the Daytona Beach News Journal and listen to the 911 call there.(11-10-2006)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR issued a brief statement on the matter late Friday afternoon, which read, ““Brian France cooperated fully with the Daytona Beach Police Department on Monday night at the time of the incident and remains available for any follow up questions they might have. France accidentally brushed against a tree or roadside stump on the narrow road leading to his apartment. No one was injured. The car he was driving had some minor damage. He went on to his condo and cooperated fully with police officers who had been called to the scene by a 911 operator. France said a coke he was holding spilled into his lap as he was driving into his condo complex, momentarily diverting his attention from the road.”(Speed Channel)
    Also see a report at the Associated Press site.(11-11-2006)
  • Dodge/BDR Settle: A settlement has been reached in the 2003 lawsuit by Dodge against car owner Bill Davis. In February, Dodge won a $6.5 million settlement against Davis, who campaigned Dodges in the Cup series when he began developing Toyota’s Tundra NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entry. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Davis has dropped his appeal of the judgment and all parties involved apparently agreed to settle and put the issue behind them.(SpeedTV.com)(11-11-2006)
  • Borland to Red Bull? UPDATE 5 Borland on leave..personal reasons: A shakeup is looming for the Roger Penske operation, with Toyota’s Red Bull team reportedly making a run at crew chief Matt Borland to take the helm of Brian Vickers’ team next season. Borland is #12-Ryan Newman’s crew chief at Penske’s.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2006)
    UPDATE: Penske Performance president Tim Cindric would not rule out the possibility of crew chief changes during the offseason, but said rumors that Matt Borland would leave Ryan Newman’s #12 Dodge program for Team Red Bull’s new operation were “just speculation.” “When you don’t have a season you expect to have … there’s always speculation,” Cindric said. “I think we’re going to look at how we are this season and what’s best move going forward to ensure we have better season next year.”(St Petersburg Times)(10-31-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Penske Racing South president Don Miller said Sunday that he expects to have crew chiefs Matt Borland (#12-Ryan Newman) and Roy McCauley (#2-Kurt Busch) back next year leading their respective cars. Borland had been rumored to move to a Toyota [Red Bull Racing] team. Miller also said he expects the new nose Dodge teams will get next year should prove to be a big benefit for the team.(Speed Channel)(11-6-2006)
    UPDATE 3: however, been told that Borland will not be with the #12 team at Phoenix, supposedly team engineer Mike Nelson will be Newman’s crew chief for the last two races.(11-7-2006)
    UPDATE 4: Matt Borland, crew chief for Ryan Newman, will miss the final two races of the 2006 Nextel Cup season. Borland is taking “some personal time off,” and team engineer Mike Nelson will lead Newman’s efforts this weekend at Phoenix and next weekend at Homestead, a Penske Racing South spokesperson said Wednesday.(SceneDaily.com)(11-9-2006)
    UPDATE 5: Ryan Newman said Matt Borland, his crew chief his entire Nextel Cup career and the best man at his wedding, “won’t be back next year” in the same capacity. He could return in another role, Newman speculated. Borland was allowed to miss the final two races of the season to attend to personal matters and was replaced on an interim basis by engineer Mike Nelson. “He’s in a position with his two children and wife that they need him to spend more time at home, and that’s way more important than what we do at the racetrack,” Newman said.(St Petersburg Times)(11-11-2006)
  • Dodge Presents Viper SRT10 to Kahne: Dodge Motorsports presented #9-Kasey Kahne with a new Dodge Viper SRT10 sports car at Phoenix International Raceway Friday morning to mark his circuit-leading six victories and spot in the Nextel Chase for the Championship. The Dodge Viper SRT10 Roadster and Coupe, with “Race Inspired, Street Legal” styling and performance, are the ultimate American sports cars and icons of the Dodge brand. The Dodge Viper SRT10 Roadster and Coupe offer an 8.3-liter 510-horsepower V-10 engine with acceleration of 0-60 mph in less than 4 seconds, 0-100-0 mph in the low 12-second range. The distinctive styling features Dodge’s signature crosshair grille design, deep-cut side scallops, swept-back fenders and lowered hood lines.(Clear!Blue PR)(11-11-2006)

    News from November 10, 2006

  • MB2 Motorsports Announces 2007 Lineup: MB2 Motorsports announced that its 2007 lineup will include a roster of seven drivers, entries in all three of NASCAR’s national series and a driver development program. MB2’s expansion started to take shape following an ownership change in July when real estate developer Bobby Ginn purchased majority interest in the 10-year-old racing organization. “Bobby has given us an opportunity to take this team to the next level and there’s nothing more exciting than that,” said Jay Frye, MB2’s CEO and general manager. “Our foundation is strong with a team mixture of experience and youth. Every piece we put together for 2007 was carefully thought out with the future in mind. We want to be a team to contend with over the next decade.”
    MB2’s 2007 lineup of drivers/crew chiefs will be as follows:
    Nextel Cup Series: * MB2 will field three Nextel Cup teams. MB2 newcomers Mark Martin (47-years-old) and rookie Regan Smith (23) will co-drive the #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. Martin will drive in 20 point races plus the Bud Shootout and Nextel All Star Challenge. Smith will drive in the remaining 16 point races. Ryan Pemberton will continue to serve as crew chief on the #01 car.
    * Sterling Marlin (49) will continue to drive MB2’s #14 Chevrolet with Richard “Slugger” Labbe handling the crew chief duties.
    * Joe Nemechek (43) will switch from the 01 Chevy to the new #13 team. Nemechek will be reunited with crew chief Peter Sospenzo, who was recently hired by MB2. Sospenzo was Nemechek’s crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports in 2002 and 2003. The twosome combined to score a victory at the 2003 spring race in Richmond, Va. Team sponsors for the #13 and #14 will be announced at a later date.(MB2 Motorosports PR), Busch and others team info on the #01 Team News and Links page.(11-10-2006)
  • Headbanger Rachtman to get head shaved on NASCAR Raceday: In February, at the Daytona 500, TV and Radio personality, Riki Rachtman, was on stage at the Chevy fanfest in front of thousands of fans. As a fan of Nextel Cup driver #31-Jeff Burton, Riki told the audience that when the driver of the # 31 Cingular Wireless Chevy won a race he would shave his head bald. After a winless streak of 5 years, Jeff Burton scored a victory at Dover. That was Sept 24th. Live on “NASCAR Raceday” (Speed TV) host and NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace challenged Riki to come to the Phoenix NASCAR race and have his head shaved live on the show. “NASCAR Raceday” is the definitive pre-race program that gets fans pumped and ready for the adrenaline rush of each race. After taunts from the other hosts Jimmy Spencer and John Roberts, Riki reluctantly agreed. “You gotta respect a man of his word,” said Chris Long, Speed VP of Production. “NASCAR Raceday” is the ultimate fan show and we love that Riki is going to honor his promise to Jeff Burton on our show and in front of the NASCAR fans.”
    “I have always been a fan of the program “NASCAR Raceday,” said Riki Rachtman. “At first I thought, how cool. I get to be a guest on the show. Then when it sunk in why I was going to be on the show, I got a little nervous.” Riki also claims he dug up some dirt on Kenny Wallace and he will reveal it on the program.
    Who is Riki Rachtman ? The answer depends on who you ask. Many remember Riki as the host of the highly rated MTV show, “Headbangers Ball” [a huge Jayski Fave]. Today he is a regular on the music channel, VH1. Yes, many people still know Riki from the world of rock n’ roll. Riki has a passion for NASCAR as much as he has for music. In the spring of 2003, “Racing Rocks! with Riki Rachtman,” debuted. In October of 2006 United Stations EVP/Programming Andy Denemark, made the announcement from the network’s New York City Headquarters that “Racing Rocks with Riki Rachtman” had secured its 100th affiliate. “Racing Rocks with Riki Rachtman” is a two-hour weekly long-form program that provides rock fans coast-to-coast with news, exclusive insights, interviews and dedicated coverage from the world of NASCAR, primarily the Nextel Cup racing series. The show is driven by the star power of its host and NASCAR’S massive fan base.(PR)(11-10-2006)
  • Ramblings – Phoenix: Jeff Gordon won practice then won the Bud Pole today at Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts “500” presented by Pennzoil with a time of 26.773 (134.464 mph) for his second top-spot of the season (he captured the point at Dover in September) and the 56th of his Nextel Cup career. Wonder how many times they’ll start a question with “Since this is one of the tracks you’ve never won at”…. Kevin Harvick will join Gordon on the front row.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Dover in September of 2005!.
    Joe Nemechek (5th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 5th at Dover in September.
    Michael Waltrip (19th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 19th at Daytona in July.
    Ward Burton (24th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Martinsville in October of 2004 (only five races).
    Welcome to Brandon Whitt (37th). He’ll make his first ever Nextel Cup start in the #72 Dutch Quality Stone Chevy. He has a Craftsman Truck Series win on his resume….at Memphis in July of 2005.
    STREAKIN….Dale Earnhardt Jr has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans)(11-10-2006)
  • Phoenix Qualifying Notes:
    • Jeff Gordon won the Bud Pole for the Checker Auto Parts “500” presented by Pennzoil, lapping Phoenix International Raceway in 26.773 seconds at 134.464 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 26.499 seconds, 135.854 mph – set Nov. 5, 2004.
    • This is Gordon’s 56th career Bud Pole in 472 Nextel Cup Series races. He moved into sole possession of sixth on the all-time Bud Pole winners list, breaking a tie with Bill Elliott.
    • This is his second Bud Pole and 17th top-10 start in 2006. He became the eighth repeat Bud Pole winner this season.
    • This is Gordon’s second Bud Pole and ninth top-10 start in 16 Nextel Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
    • Kevin Harvick posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 26.871 seconds, 133.973 mph – and will join Gordon on the front row for the Checker Auto Parts “500”. Harvick posted his fourth top-10 start in eight races at Phoenix and his 14th top-10 start in 2006.
    • This is the 13th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has 15 Bud Poles and Ford has six. Qualifying was canceled at the first Bristol and second Atlanta races.
    • Brian Vickers (third) has posted five top-10 starts in six races at Phoenix and has not started worse than 14th here.
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) has posted just two top-10 starts in his nine Phoenix races. This is his 150th race without a Bud Pole.
    • Joe Nemechek (fifth) has posted just four top-10 starts in 15 races at Phoenix.
    • Michael Waltrip (19th) was the fastest of the drivers required to qualify on time.
    • Brandon Whitt (37th) qualified for his career-first Nextel Cup race and will be the 77th different driver to compete in at least one Nextel Cup race this season.
    • Bill Elliott used a past champion’s provisional to make the field – the second consecutive week that the past champion provisional had been employed. Terry Labonte used it in Texas.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(11-10-2006)
  • Kurt Busch Becomes Honorary Deputy in Arizona: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and NASCAR driver #2-Kurt Busch are on better terms than they were a year ago, when Busch was involved in a highly publicized confrontation with Arpaio’s deputies But it might be a stretch to call Arpaio and Busch friends. When Busch and his handlers showed up at Arpaio’s office for a photo opportunity Thursday afternoon, Arpaio greeted him as “Kyle,” the name of Busch’s brother, who also races. “I’m not a racetrack guy,” Arpaio said later. “I don’t get involved in racing.” Nevertheless, Arpaio was happy to declare Kurt Busch an honorary deputy one year after he was pulled over by deputies before the 2005 Checker Auto Parts 500. Busch is back in town for Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500. Last fall, officers pulled Busch over about two miles from Phoenix International Raceway after catching him driving recklessly. He became combative when they tried to determine if Busch were intoxicated. The report said Busch eventually submitted to a preliminary sobriety test, registering a 0.017 blood-alcohol level. That fell far below Arizona’s impairment limit of 0.08. Busch’s Roush Racing employers kicked him out of his car for the final two races of the season. Busch was issued a misdemeanor citation for reckless driving. He plea-bargained the charges to a speeding ticket, paid a $580 fine and agreed to perform 50 hours of community service, including filming a safe-driving public service announcement. Thursday’s appearance brought a brace of television cameras to Arpaio’s office. “I wouldn’t do this with everybody, quite frankly,” Arpaio said, “Because everybody isn’t as famous as he is. But because he’s famous, he can get the message out. His word means something.” Asked what he planned to do with the badge, Busch said, “I plan to put it up in the trophy room. It’s something that’s very special to me. It’s a perfect memento to what’s gone on the past year here in Phoenix.”(in part from the Associated Press)(11-10-2006)
  • Chip Ganassi Racing signs Brady Bacon: Open-wheel standout Brady Bacon has signed on to become a part of the Chip Ganassi Racing driver development program. For the remainder of 2006, Bacon will be the feature driver at Keith Kunz Motorsports, filling in for injured teammate and fellow Ganassi prospect Bryan Clauson. The 2006 Southern Midget Racing Series champion, Bacon finished third this past weekend in the USAC National Sprint Car race in what was his first outing at the prestigious Eldora Speedway in Ohio.(Brady Bacon site)(11-10-2006)
  • Busy Weekend for Hermie Sadler: Although not racing this weekend in Phoenix, Hermie Sadler will still be busy. Sadler will once again join the SPEED Crew as a pit reporter for Friday night’s Truck Series in Phoenix. After the race, Sadler will catch a flight to Boston, MA to appear at the New England Auto Show at the Bayside Expo Center in Boston along with TNA Wrestling Stars AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels prior to a TNA Wrestling event Saturday night in East Hartford, CT. For more information on the appearance, visit www.uwfusa.com.(11-10-2006)
  • NASCAR sponsorships set off liquor industry spat: Pernod Ricard has said it will pull out of an industry-funded responsible-drinking organization in a dispute over the group’s support of liquor sponsorships in auto racing. In a letter sent to the Century Council and obtained by MarketWatch, the France-based spirits maker resigned its membership, although its departure won’t be effective until November. While that could give them time to work out some kind of compromise, the missive from Alain Barbet, the company’s U.S. president, put the issue in fairly stark relief: “We at Pernod Ricard firmly believe that is inappropriate for the distilled spirits industry to engage in sponsorship of motor sports,” he wrote. “We also believe strongly that any involvement of the Century Council in these sponsorship activities runs the risk of damaging [its] well-earned credibility . . . and undermining its message of responsibility.”(full story at MarketWatch.com)(11-10-2006)
  • Driver change at the #72 UPDATE: have seen nothing official but Brandon Whitt, former Truck Series driver [and winner] is now listed on the Entry List as the driver of the #72 CJM Racing Chevy at Phoenix. Mike Skinner had driven the car at the last few races.(11-9-2006)
    UPDATE: Brandon Whitt, former Truck Series veteran and race winner will pilot the #72 Dutch Quality Stone Chevy for CJM Racing in an attempt to qualify for this weekend’s Checker Auto Parts 500 on November 12 at Phoenix International Raceway. “To say I’m thrilled to have a shot at my first NEXTEL Cup race is an understatement,” says Whitt. After two seasons in Craftsman Trucks, Whitt is excited for a chance to be a player on NASCAR’s biggest stage – the penultimate event in the hotly-contested Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. But simply making the race will not be enough for the competitive young driver. “PIR is a track where I’ve always had great results,” Whitt continues, “and (CJM Racing crew chief) Doug George has a lot of good notes for the track as well. I think we could end up surprising a lot of people.”(Brandon Whitt site)
    AND Whitt recently announced that he and his Brandon Whitt Racing team will attempt to make their second ARCA RE/MAX Series start on February 10, 2007 in the Daytona ARCA 200 in the #51 Brandon Whitt Racing Toyota. Brandon Whitt Racing’s (BWR) first ARCA appearance came this past season at Chicagoland Speedway.(11-10-2006)
  • Phoenix Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes this weekend, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle” and the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . .this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought to Phoenix for Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams earlier this season . . . this is also the same tire set-up that teams in all three major NASCAR series ran at New Hampshire and Richmond in 2006 . . . in addition, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams have also run these codes at Gateway, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Mansfield (trucks only), Memphis and Milwaukee this year . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one-mile or less than one mile in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix. Estimated Pit Window is every 90-95 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full report, codes, air pressures on the Phoenix Race Info / Rundown Page.(11-10-2006)
  • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 33 races, two drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart and #31-Burton. #14-Marlin, #88-Jarrett, #01-Nemechek is the leader with 10 lucky dog passes used. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #6-Martin [3rd at Kansas], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte], #43-Labonte [3rd at Martinsville], #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond and 5th at Dover in Sept] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(11-10-2006)
  • Ash to attempt Phoenix with a new look: #02-Brandon Ash will attempt to make the Checkers Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway. PIR was the team’s first start of the 2006 season and the Checker Auto Parts 500 will mark the last start this year. In April at the Subway Fresh 500, Ash qualified in the 40th spot to finish in 43rd after transmission problems [also ran at Infineon Raceway and finished 38th]. The #02 Sprinter Trucking Dodge Intrepid will sport a new paint scheme in this weeks event. The team felt their last race of the season deserved a fierce and fast look. The bold and aggressive flames echo the teams feelings going into this race and the 2007 season. Brandon and Tiffany welcomed a baby girl, Aleah Ash, into the world on October 29th. Ash on Phoenix…”This will be the all around best effort of our career as a team. The support from our sponsor Sprinter Trucking has once again allowed us to purchase superior and more of the equipment we need to make a better showing each time we hit the track. This weekend we’ll have the whole package. As a team we’re leaps and bounds above where we were at the beginning of the year. Now that we have the equipment we need, we’ve begun to focus on what it will take to make the car faster.”(Ash Racing Team PR), see an image of the car on my #02 Team Schemes page.(11-10-2006)

    News from November 9, 2006

  • Congrats: to Adam Alexander and wife Audra welcome baby boy Kade Ashton, who came in to the world at 2:26pm/et. eight pounds, two ounces, 20 and 3/4 inches long.(11-9-2006)
  • Osbourne reunites with Edwards starting at Phoenix; Brown to the #26 then JGR: Roush Racing crew chief Bob Osbourne will return to the #99 Office Depot Ford and reunite with driver Carl Edwards, effective immediately, Roush Racing president Geoff Smith confirmed for ESPN.com Wednesday. “That’s true. We’re making the move in preparation for [2007],” Smith said. Osbourne began the 2006 season as crew chief of the #99, but in April team owner Jack Roush made the decision to shake up his Nextel Cup Series crew chief lineup, sending Osbourne to direct Jamie McMurray’s struggling #26 team. In doing so, he tabbed Roush’s director of engineering Wally Brown to lead Edwards’ #99 program. Neither team saw marked improvement. Neither has won a race in 2006. Smith said Brown will assume the crew chief role on McMurray’s team for the final two races of the 2006 season in Phoenix and Homestead, but would not crew chief in 2007. Smith said it is his understanding that Brown is headed to Joe Gibbs Racing in an engineering role. It is uncertain at this time, Smith said, who will serve as McMurray’s crew chief in 2007.(ESPN.com/Marty Smith)(11-9-2006)
  • Holiday Inn/RCR Cup debut Nov 19th UPDATE: no real details, but on the Holidayinn.com site, it shows [bottom right corner] a #29 Holiday Inn Chevy [which has been raced by Jeff Burton for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in the Busch Series] but it has a driver ‘greened’ out and says “November 19: The Last Race, A Cup Debut, A New Teammate”, the teammate could be Scott Wimmer, who has been testing for RCR lately and has been rumored to be running a partial Busch/Cup scheduled for RCR in 2007, possibly in the #33 4th RCR Chevy.(11-8-2006)
    UPDATE: Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts will expand its winning Busch Series program with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in 2007 to a full season of competition with co-drivers Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer. The program is the next step of this season’s 10-race program with Burton behind the wheel of the #29 Holiday Inn Chevy. In those ten starts, Burton earned one victory (June 3 at Dover International Speedway in Delaware), five top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Wimmer is also scheduled to drive RCR’s #33 Chevy with sponsorship from Holiday Inn, in this season’s Nextel Cup Series season finale, Nov. 19 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. “It’s an honor to be able to continue and grow our relationship with an American icon like Holiday Inn,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “Jeff Burton, Pat Smith (crew chief) and the entire team have done a solid job on the competition side and the folks at Holiday Inn have done a great job in promoting their program to their customers. We’ve had pretty good success the past couple of years running a two-driver program and we think that will only continue with the Holiday Inn team in 2007.” Burton and Wimmer will split the 35-race season down the middle, though which driver runs an 18th race is yet to be determined. Plans for 2007 also call for Wimmer to compete in two still-to-be-determined Nextel Cup Series events in RCR’s #33 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS with primary sponsorship from Holiday Inn. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to drive for Richard Childress and his Busch Series program,” said Wimmer. “Being teamed up with Jeff Burton, and having Kevin and Clint (Bowyer) to draw from, is one of the big reasons why I decided to drive for RCR. I’ve raced in NASCAR for almost six years and have never had a teammate. It’s something I’ve always been missing in my career so I’m really looking forward to it, especially with someone the caliber of Jeff Burton. Growing up in the Midwest, I think I had every birthday party from the time I can remember until I was 14 or so at a Holiday Inn Holidome so it’s great to be driving for them. We had a lot of fun in those Holidomes and I’m looking forward to having just as much fun in their race cars.” Call 1-800-HOLIDAY or log onto www.holidayinn.com for more information or to book a reservation.(Richard Childress Racing PR)(11-9-2006)
  • Geoff Bodine to attempt Daytona 500: Geoffrey Bodine, 57, will attempt to qualify for February’s Daytona 500 despite having been out of the Nextel Cup Series for more than two years. Bodine said he has lined up a sponsor for the race but has revealed no details.(Tennessean)(11-8-2006)
    UPDATE: At 57, Geoff Bodine has found an elixir that he says has revitalized his arthritic body. Now, he hopes to attempt to qualify for February’s Daytona 500 with the company behind that nutritional drink as his sponsor. Bodine started taking the nutritional, fruit-based drink MonaVie in April and says he’s never felt better. The company approached Bodine with the idea of running a car at Daytona. Bodine, who hasn’t driven a Nextel Cup car in more than two years, said he’s up for the challenge. “I wasn’t looking to get back into racing, believe me, but this opportunity came along and it’s a good opportunity,” Bodine said Wednesday. He said most of his family has tried the MonaVie juice, which is sold only through a network of individuals and costs more than $30. “It’s got rid of the majority of my arthritic pains,” he said. “I’ve felt the benefits of it and now I’m trying to get the brand name out and show the world this product.” With his sponsor in tow, the 1986 Daytona 500 winner is looking for a team he hopes can help him have the kind of run he had at Daytona in 2002, when he finished third in the Daytona 500 with a small, independent team. “We know it’s going to be tough and that’s why we are looking for a good team that runs well on super speedways,” Bodine said. “I’ve got a good sponsor and they understand the financial obligation that it’s going to take to get an established team involved. If we don’t get a good car we won’t go. I’m confident we’re going to find a good car and team and we’ll do this.” Bodine’s last time in a stock car was 2005, when he made a few Busch Series efforts. “I wasn’t looking for this, but I’m happy they want to do this with me and it might go farther,” Bodine said. “I’ve been very happy with the time that I’ve had off from racing.” During that time, Bodine stepped up his involvement in helping to raise money for the U.S. Olympic Bobsled team, which uses BoDyn sleds that he helped develop. Bodine will host the second annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge at Lake Placid from Jan. 4-7. He’s also working on a project to retrofit a bobsled for paraplegics, with those sleds now being tested at the Salt Lake City Olympic bobsled run. One of his other business ventures, Geoff Bodine’s World of Cars near Jacksonville, Fla., recently closed, Bodine said. Earlier this year he launched a virtual museum at the Web site www.geoffbodinemuseum.com.(Elmira Star Gazette)(11-9-2006)
  • New scheme for Kahne rest of 2006: #9-Kasey Kahne will carry Chrysler Financial on-board the #9 Dodge for the remainder of the season.(Clear!Blue/Evernham Motorsports PR)(11-9-2006)
  • Cookies Scheme for Harvick at Phoenix: Kevin Harvick will get behind the wheel of the #29 Reese’s Milk Chocolate Layered Cookies Chevy. Reese’s Milk Chocolate Layered Cookies have the candy taste you love with a big cookie crunch.(RCR PR)(11-9-2006)
  • AAA Insurance for Martin at Phoenix: Mark Martin will run the special “Insurance” Paint scheme on the #6 AAA Ford for the final time this season at Phoenix this weekend.(Roush Racing PR)(11-9-2006)
  • Grand-Am test for Gordon in Dec: Jeff Gordon will test a Grand-Am Pontiac at Homestead-Miami Speedway on December 5-6 in preparation for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January. Gordon will team up with Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor in the #10 Pontiac Riley in the endurance race. Angelelli and Taylor tested at Daytona on November 6-7. Angelelli’s lap time of 123.544 mph in Monday afternoon’s session was the fastest of the two-day test.(gordononlinew.com)(11-9-2006)
  • Richard Petty Named Grand Marshal For 2007 Rolex 24: Richard Petty, international motorsports icon and NASCAR’s all-time wins leader with 200 victories, has been named Grand Marshal for the 45th anniversary of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 27-28. As Grand Marshal, Petty will give the starting command, “Drivers start your engines,” to kick off the legendary twice-around-the-clock sports car endurance race. Petty earned his 200th and final NASCAR victory in the 1984 Pepsi 400 with President Ronald Reagan in attendance. The Rolex 24 At Daytona is the kick off event to the international motorsports calendar as well as the season-opening race for the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. A star-studded field of champion drivers, including four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, will compete on Daytona’s historic 3.56-mile road course in the ultimate test of man and machine. Tickets for the 45th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(Petty Racing PR)(11-9-2006)
  • Phoenix Raybestos Rookie Notes: #07-Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the November 5 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Bowyer finished fifth, his fourth top-five and 10th top-10 of the 2006 season. He scored his first top-five finish since he placed third at California (race No. 25). Bowyer collected Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the eighth time this season. #11-Denny Hamlin finished 10th at Texas, his 18th top-10 finish of the 2006 season. Hamlin is fourth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 80 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson and two behind third-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hamlin leads fifth-place Kevin Harvick by 25 points. Hamlin leads Clint Bowyer by 51 points (284-233) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Nov. 12 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 34 races this season. Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in April’s race at Phoenix, scoring a fifth-place finish. Only four Raybestos Rookies have scored top-five finishes in 20 races at Phoenix: 1999: Tony Stewart, FIRST 2004: Kasey Kahne, fifth 2005: Kyle Busch, FIRST 2006: Clint Bowyer, fifth. Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps at Phoenix, leading three times for 150 laps. Three Rookies have won pole positions at Phoenix: Stewart, Casey Atwood (2001) and Ryan Newman (2002).(Raybestos PR). See the full report, standings, history and more on my 2006 Rookie Page.(11-9-2006)

    News from November 8, 2006

  • Congrats: Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, married Ingrid Vandebosch in a small, private ceremony in Mexico on November 7. Congrats to the bride & groom.(gordononlinew.com and see story at usmagazine.com)(11-8-2006)
  • ESPN debuts a “This is SportsCenter” commercial today [Wednesday] with Jimmie Johnson.(Roanoke Times)(11-8-2006)
  • Boxing Decklid on the #8 at Phoenix: Budweiser is sponsoring the HBO Pay-Per-View battle royale Saturday night, November 18, and to promote the fight, the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet will carry a special decklid this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Bud team fight for their own title in the Chase for the Nextel Cup.(fingerprintonline.com)(11-8-2006)
  • Dale Jr. Opts out of Young Guns Program; Kahne In?: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won’t renew his membership in the Gillette Young Guns program next year as he seeks to refine his endorsement strategy, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The razor company is in the process of formulating plans for 2007 and is not expected to make an announcement on changes until February at Daytona International Speedway, staff writer Michael Smith reports. The Young Gun program this year included Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray and Carl Edwards.(SceneDaily.com), hearing Kasey Kahne is in line to replace Earnhardt Jr.(11-8-2006)
  • Dale Jr. tapes PSA: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has taped a public service announcement about Internet safety for children. It will be aired on NBC. He becomes just the third sports figure to appear in one of the PSA ads, joining Pat Riley and John Madden.(Tennessean)(11-8-2006)
  • Buckshot back racing: former Cup and Busch Series driver, Buckshot Jones has entered a #00 in the 39th annual Snow Ball Derby for Mid-South Motorsports owned by Skoot Rice.(Buckshot Jones Group MSN), other drivers with NASCAR connections include Dave Mader, III, Stanley Smith, Butch Miller, Steve Wallace and Travis Kittleson.(11-8-2006)
  • Spoonfuls of Stories Paint Scheme for the #43 at Phoenix: This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Dodge team head to the flat one-mile Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500. Labonte will be showcasing the Spoonfuls of Stories logos this weekend on the famous #43 Dodge. Labonte and the team are currently involved in Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories “Race for BOOKS!” Throughout the final 10 races of the season for every lap Labonte completes Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories will donate 43 books to kinds in need across the country through nonprofit partner First BookR. Through the first eight races Labonte has earned over 100,000 books heading into this weekend’s event. The total number of books earned has been a direct result of the team’s strong performance of late. Labonte has scored over 1,000 points in the last eight races. He has finished in the top 10 in four of those races and twice in the top five. Labonte was wrecked out of the first ‘Chase’ race in Loudon and since then has finished no worse than 17th.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(11-8-2006)
  • Sirius Hires Producers of NASCAR Programming: SIRIUS Satellite Radio announced that Daniel Norwood and Paul Pabst have joined the company as Executive Producers of SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, launching in 2007. They report to Steve Cohen, SIRIUS’ Vice President of Sports Programming. Norwood, formerly of WFNZ Radio in Charlotte, N.C., and Pabst, formerly of ESPN, will be responsible for creating and overseeing the day to day operation of SIRIUS’ NASCAR channel, which launches in January. The channel will air 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will include live races, plus daily and weekly talk programs, including Tony Stewart Live, a two-hour radio show hosted by the two-time and reigning Nextel Cup Series champion. Starting in 2007, SIRIUS will be the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, broadcasting all Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series races live. Click on www.sirius.com to listen to SIRIUS live, or to purchase a SIRIUS radio and subscription.(Sirius Satellite Radio PR)(11-8-2006)
  • Leffler and Braun Racing Make Return to the Nextel Cup at Phoenix IMAGE: Jason Leffler and Braun Racing are approaching what will be their busiest and most challenging weekend of the 2006 season as they prepare to pull double duty at Phoenix International Raceway. Leffler, a Long Beach, CA native, will compete in Saturday’s Busch Series event, piloting the #38 Great Clips Chevy, and the Nextel Cup Series race in the #71 Fort McDowell “Yavapai Pride” Chevy, both entries fielded by Braun Racing. Leffler, who currently sits 13th in the Busch Series driver point standings, has competed on and off in the Nextel Cup Series for five seasons for a total of 62 career starts. He made his Nextel Cup debut in 2001 with Chip Ganassi Racing and in his rookie season, captured his first pole at Kansas Speedway and finished the season fourth in the Rookie-of-the-Year battle. Over the next several seasons, Leffler competed part-time in the series, often pulling double duty while running full-time in the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series. Leffler’s most recent Nextel Cup start was in the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Following that event, Leffler joined Braun Racing to compete full-time in the Busch Series. To date this season Leffler has three top-five, seven top-10 finishes and two poles. Additionally, this weekend will mark Braun Racing’s first attempt of the season to compete in a Nextel Cup event. Last year, Braun Racing fielded a car in two Cup events including Atlanta and Bristol [#08 Chevy with Shane Hmiel]. For additional information about Fort McDowell, visit www.fortmcdowelldestination.com.(Braun Racing PR/site)(11-7-2006)
    IMAGE: see an image of the #71 Scheme on my #71 Team Schemes page.(11-8-2006)
  • Texas Pit Crew Win Moves Stewart’s Team into First-Place Tie in Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge : Tony Stewart’s over-the-wall crew moved into a tie for first-place in the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge by taking top honors Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. It was a double win for the #20 crew, which helped boost its driver to a winning performance in the Dickies 500 race at the 1.5-mile oval. With two Nextel Cup races remaining, Stewart’s and Jimmie Johnson’s pit crews are tied for first with five victories each. Kyle Busch’s crew is in third with four wins. If there’s a tie after the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19), the team that finishes highest in the driver point standings will be awarded the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru season championship with the $105,000 bonus. Stewart’s over-the-wall crew, which earned $10,500 for being the top crew in Texas, consists of: Jason Lee (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Jody Fortson (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff Patterson (gasman), Brian Larson (catch can) and Scott Geerts (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $357,000 in NEXTEL Cup Series prize money during this season. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(11-8-2006)
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame moving forward: A few financing points aside, NASCAR says it’s ready to move forward with the construction of a 19-story office tower to occupy one corner of its planned NASCAR Hall of Fame property. The tower plans now surpass what the sport had pitched earlier this year, with 400,000 rentable square feet instead of 300,000 in a glass-and-concrete tower at Stonewall and Caldwell streets. The building also would hold a new, 40,000-square-foot ballroom for the adjacent Charlotte Convention Center. But NASCAR, which secured an option to build the tower on city land this spring, asked for its third extension of the option, which originally was supposed to expire in September. NASCAR and city officials said they need another 15 to 30 days to settle unresolved issues:
    • Deciding how much NASCAR’s tower developer, Lauth Property Group of Charlotte, will pay to help construct an 830- to 840-space parking deck and truck dock.
    • The amount of contingency funds for construction.
    • How much the city would realize from any future sale or refinancing of the tower.
    • What the city’s responsibility would be to Lauth “in the very unlikely event,” as a city document put it Monday, that the hall of fame is not built.
    “We’re close” to an agreement on the lease option, Kimble said, “but we’re not there yet.” The City Council voted Monday to extend the option to Dec. 12, although Kimble said NASCAR probably will exercise the option Nov. 28. NASCAR is committed to seeing the tower portion through, said Mark Dyer, NASCAR’s vice president of licensing. Dyer apologized to council members for the delays and said he has already spoken to several potential tower tenants. “The impact, I think, will be significant,” he said. The hall is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009.(Charlotte Observer also see an article at SceneDaily.com)(11-8-2006)
  • Bowyer and crew chief to fly in F-16s: On Wednesday, November 8, Bowyer, along with his crew chief Gil Martin, are scheduled to fly the friendly skies in F-16s courtesy of the 56th Fighter Wing based out of Luke Air Force Base in Goodyear, Ariz. Luke Air Force Base is the largest and only active-duty F-16 training base in the world with more than 200 F-16s assigned. The host command at Luke is the 56th Fighter Wing, under Air Education and Training Command’s 19th Air Force. More than 470 pilots graduate from Luke annually and proceed to combat assignments throughout the world. The 56th Fighter Wing also trains more than 700 maintenance technicians each year. The unique opportunity presented itself back in April when Bowyer visited Luke on behalf of PIR’s “Salute to Military Families” program.(RCR PR)(11-8-2006)

    News from November 7, 2006

  • #10 crew member/Harvick scuffle UPDATE 3: reported on Speed Channel’s SPEED Report by Bob Dillner, per FoxSports.com: Emotions definitely flowed over to the postrace activities as the guys walked to the garage area. After the Dickies 500, the #10 and the #29 teams were coming down the entrance way to the garage area where all of the teams bring their pit boxes. There was an altercation between the #10 team and Kevin and DeLana Harvick. Apparently, Kevin and DeLana both got knocked down. NASCAR’s Jim Hunter told me they are investigating the situation wholeheartedly and expects that there will be fined and penalties either Tuesday or Wednesday. “After the fact, right out of the moment, everybody’s pretty hot-headed (and) got to running their mouth a little bit,” Richard Childress Racing Director Mike Dillion said. “That’s about all it was. Somebody got shoved, and they’re sorting it out now. But they shoved Kevin and his wife down in front of the pit box is what was bad. Everybody out here has done it in their racing career at some point in time. It’s just unfortunate. The guys need to let the drivers handle it. One of the NASCAR officials got hurt trying to stop the box,” Dillion continued. “That’s pretty bad, too. Hurt his ankle so they took him to the infield care center.” A lot of people were called to the NASCAR trailer after this race, including Rodney Childers, the crew chief for Scott Riggs and the #10 team. He’s responsible for the actions of everybody. DeLana and Kevin Harvick were both brought in as well. Several eyewitnesses were brought in. In fact, Roger Penske was up there talking to NASCAR President Mike Helton and Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby and everybody that was looking at the incident.(11-5-2006)
    UPDATE: been told the #10 Crew Member has been suspended for the rest of the season.(11-7-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that NASCAR will announce later today that it has indefinitely suspended Craig “C.C.” Curione, the front tire carrier for Scott Riggs’ #10 Dodge, for his role in a postrace altercation Sunday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Curione was identified as the member of Riggs’ Evernham Motorsports crew who shoved Kevin Harvick from behind while he and his wife, DeLana, were walking to the infield media center following the Dickies 500. The Harvicks and NASCAR official John Sacco all fell, landing in the path of the #10 team’s war wagon, which hit Sacco and left him with a sprained ankle. The Harvicks were not hurt. Spokesman Kerry Tharp said earlier today, “NASCAR has been looking into this postrace incident since it occurred. It’s something we take very seriously. An announcement regarding a course of action could come as early as Tuesday.” A spokeswoman for Evernham Motorsports said the team has cooperated with NASCAR’s investigation, and will have no comment until a final determination has been made.(Motorsports Soapbox)(11-7-2006)
    OFFICIAL Penalty: NASCAR announced today that Craig Curione, a crew member for the #10 Dodge team, has been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR and fined $10,000 for a rule violation he committed following last Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. The action resulted from violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; involved in an altercation with another Competitor) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule book.(NASCAR PR)(11-7-2006)
    MORE: Statement from James Rocco – Valvoline Evernham Racing, Designated Team Owner: “After a comprehensive internal review of the post-race incident between Kevin Harvick and a member of the #10 team, Valvoline Evernham Racing supports NASCAR’s decision to indefinitely suspend the involved crew member. We apologize to Kevin and DeLana Harvick, NASCAR, our partners and our fans for this incident. The behavior demonstrated by the involved crew member was in violation of the Valvoline Evernham Racing Employee Code of Conduct and will not be tolerated. We concur with NASCAR’s ruling and will not appeal the suspension or fine.”(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(11-7-2006)
  • Discount Tire scheme for Stremme at Phoenix: This week the #40 Dodge will be sporting the red, black and white colors of Discount Tire Company. The company, a longtime partner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS), is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. One of the #40 transport drivers, Tim Beaver, made it to the semifinal round of the Freightliner Run Smart Hauler Challenge. This is the inaugural year for the event that has hauler drivers maneuvering though an obstacle course to test their skills such as parallel parking and backing up around curves. Last week’s run at Texas Motor Speedway was the final run of five made throughout the season. Beaver, a Mooresville, N.C. native, finished third overall to win the $5,000 prize.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-7-2006)
  • Kluever to run Phoenix in #06: Todd Kluever will be attempting his fifth Nextel Cup start this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. He will be driving the #06 3M/Sharp AQUOS Ford for Roush Racing. Kluever will be competing in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series races at Phoenix this weekend.(Roush Racing PR)(11-7-2006)
  • Shepherd gets a sponsor for Phoenix: RaceZingMania, a manufacturer and marketer of racing related merchandise will sponsor the #89 Racing With Jesus Dodge at Phoenix next weekend, Faith Motorsports announced November 2. Team co-owner and driver Morgan Shepherd said the team is making final preparations to the car and plan to leave for the Checker Auto Parts 500 on November 7. “We appreciate very much RaceZingMania and the support they have shown us,” Shepherd said. “Without them stepping up we would not have been able to go to Phoenix.” RaceZingMania is based out of Crested Butte, CO, and markets its merchandise directly to sponsors through internet sales. Its products include die casts, apparel and other items related to racing and other sports.(racewithfaith.com)(11-7-2006)
  • Long to drive 2nd McGlynn entry at Homestead: Veteran Carl Long is slated to drive a second McGlynn Racing entry at Homestead-Miami. Carl will drive the #46 MILLSTAR Tools Dodge in the finale of the 2006 NEXTEL Cup season. Select sponsorship opportunities remain for this final race. Also for Phoenix, Vialafil.com & Sundance Vacations to be co-primary sponsors of the #74 McGlynn Racing Dodge for the Checker Auto Parts 500 November 12th at Phoenix International Raceway.(McGlynn Racing site)(11-7-2006)
  • Chevy ties win record: Tony Stewart’s win brings the total 2006 NNCS Chevy victories to 22, tying the most wins in a season by the Bowtie brand in the Modern Era [1972 to present]. Chevrolet drivers took the checkered flag 22 times in 1980 and again in 2004.(GM Racing), Chevy’s all-time NASCAR Cup record is 25 wins in 1958, Buick holds the modern era record with 25 in 1982 and the alltime record is held by Ford with 48 in 1965.(11-7-2006)

    News from November 6, 2006

  • Barcardi to be Nemechek’s sponsor? hearing that Barcardi will sponsor the new MB2 Motorsports [to be Ginn Racing] #13 Chevy that Joe Nemechek will drive in 2007. Nemechek current drives the #01 US Army Chevy for MB2, but Mark Martin/Regan Smith will run the car in 2007.(11-6-2006)
  • Kvapil back to the Truck Series? on Speed Channel’s SPEED Report, Ray Dunlap reported that 2003 Truck Series Champ could be headed back to the Craftsman Truck Series full time in 2007, possibly driving the #6 for Roush Racing. No word if Kvapil would still drive full time in Nextel Cup and stay with Cal Wells and the #32 Chevy.(11-6-2006)
  • Chase Changes Coming? UPDATE: A highly placed source within NASCAR said that changes to the format for the 2007 running of the Chase for the Nextel Cup will not be announced until January, probably during the annual Lowe’s Motor Speedway Media Tour. Although the official did not disclose specific changes, there is widespread sentiment among teams and drivers that race winners ought to receive a higher bonus than the 10-point margin a winner now receives compared to second-place finishers. Another, though considerably more controversial, option would be to score the drivers in The Chase separately than the other 33 cars in each race. Thus, the highest-finishing Chaser would get 10 points, while the driver who finishes last would receive just 1 point.(Ford Racing)(11-4-2006)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will not adopt a separate points system for the drivers in the Chase for the Nextel Cup next year, according to Chairman Brian France, who was on hand Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway for the running of the Dickies 500. What is likely to change, France said, is the 400-point threshold for drivers outside The Chase being eligible for it. And he said NASCAR is on its timetable to re-evaluate The Chase after the completion of its third running. “Listen, if you look at history in sports, playoff formats are adjusted quite a bit over many years,” France said. Teams are added, conferences are changed around, teams are moved in and out. It all affects who makes the playoffs. Baseball went to another round of playoffs. Lots of changes happen. It should not be looked at as unexpected [in NASCAR]. Right now, we have a good [points] battle. That’s why we never said we were going to do a big change. We just said we were going to look after three years—it was enough time to look at how three years had unfolded and see if there were any adjustments we could make to the format.”(Ford Racing)(11-6-2006)
    UPDATE 2: “We’re going to do something to make the win more important,” France said. “That’s something very important. There will be some other adjustments that we consider and they’ll be small, by definition, modest changes. It won’t be a revelation.” France stated a winner might benefit in ways other than more points.”It may not just be that,” France said. “There’s lots of ways to make a win more important.” What about a separate points system for the title contenders? Some drivers have suggested NASCAR adapt that. “I don’t think you’re going to see races within a race and all that other stuff,” France said. Another area of debate is the Chase field. The top 10 drivers and anyone within 400 points makes the Chase. So, what about expanding the field? “No, it’s not on the table,” France said. “We like the 10. Ten races, 10 drivers.”(Roanoke Times)(11-6-2006)
  • Texas Overnight TV Ratings down: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dickies 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway earned a 4.0 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating a 7 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The results are down 9.1% from the 4.4/8 the race earned overnight last year.(SceneDaily.com) see past TV Ratings News and chart for year on my TV Ratings page.(11-6-2006)
  • Principal Financial Group to be primary sponsors of #01 & #14 at Phoenix: The Principal Financial Group, the nation’s 401(k) leader and premiere benefits provider, will be the primary sponsor on #14-Sterling Marlin’s and #01-Joe Nemechek’s MB2 Motorsports’ Chevys in this weekend’s Nextel Cup race — the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. MB2’s Principal Financial Group Chevys – Marlin’s #14 and Nemechek’ s #01 – will make their first appearance on the Phoenix one-mile track during Friday’s practice, which begins at 1:35pm/et. “We’re excited about the Principal Financial Group joining our team,” said Jay Frye, CEO and general manager of MB2. “The company has been involved in the past as a NASCAR sponsor and we’re elated about MB2 being selected for its first venture as a primary sponsor. The U.S. Army, Nemechek’s main sponsor at 34 Cup races, will have an associate status on the #01 car in Phoenix. Marlin’s associate sponsors will be Waste Management and Ginn Clubs & Resorts. The Principal, based in Des Moines, Iowa, is the on-air sponsor of Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500. The race will be televised on NBC, beginning at 3pm/et. For more information about The Principal Financial Group, visit www.principal.com.(MB2 Motorsports PR/site), see images of the cars on the #01 Team Schemes page and #14 Team Schemes page.(11-6-2006)
  • Commercial breakdown for the Dickies 500:
    Total number of commercials: 159
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 85
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 23
    Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0 (one restart came at the very second the network returned from commercial-too close to call)
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:41pm/et
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 7:30pm/et
    Total minutes: 289
    Minutes of race broadcast: 214
    Minutes of commercials: 75
    Item of interest this week: NBC gave us the last 52 minutes of the race uninterrupted from commercials. Undoubtedly this was due to the ‘NFL Football Night in America’ show (immediately to be followed by the Colts vs. Patriots game) that was scheduled to begin at 7:00pm/et. See the full report at cawsnjaws.com.(11-6-2006)
  • Dyno Testing at Texas: NASCAR had the cars of #49-Mike Bliss, #4-Ward Burton, #22-Dave Blaney, #32-Travis Kvapil and #78-Kenny Wallace [2 Dodge’s, 3 Chevy’s, no Ford’s] tested on the chassis dyno after the race. The device measures horsepower to the rear wheels.(Roanoke Times)(11-6-2006)
  • New Nextel Cup GM for Roush: Max Jones, who has led the Craftsman Truck and Busch series programs at Roush Racing the past two years, was named general manager of the Nextel Cup program yesterday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-6-2006)
  • Yates doing better: Robert Yates was back in the Nextel Cup garage at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, a weekend after health concerns kept him home from the Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta. Instead of being at the track, Yates made a pair of hospital visits back in North Carolina, being treated for stress. “I don’t think I stress, but other people think I do,” Yates said Saturday. “Some medication fixed me up, I just needed some help last week. I had a little similar deal about a year-and-a-half ago. Really the same thing and the same [medication] cured it. Maybe I learned and won’t let it get back in that situation. I feel good now, but I had a couple of rough days.” After his first trip to the hospital, Yates doesn’t even remember leaving to return home. That experience really caught his attention. “I went back as soon as I woke up – I didn’t want to die at home, so I went back,” Yates said. “I drove to the hospital twice and they kept sending me home. But then when I got back the second time, I had a hard time getting out. I had to go find the doctors [via phone] at the soccer field somewhere to get out of there on Saturday. But I feel good now. I was planning on going to Atlanta; I wanted to go because I felt like our cars were going to run good, and they did. But I had to take care of my system and I think I’ve got that straightened out.”(SceneDaily.com)(11-6-2006)

News from November 5, 2006

  • Latest on the #88 Sponsor situation: As for the Robert Yates Racing’s #88 Ford Fusion, [team owner Robert] Yates insists it will race next year, with a sponsor announcement likely by the season-ending race in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The car owner hinted strongly that he’s looking at a novel approach to multiple primary sponsors for the #88: One primary for the first half of the season, another for the second half. “I’ve finally got some choices to where we’ll be able to run the car and run it well and run it with good sponsorship,” Yates said. “We’ve got a couple of different scenarios and I’ve got to make a decision pretty quick.” Regarding the driver for the #88, Yates said he has several good ones to choose from. The only hold up now is getting the sponsor(s) inked on the dotted line.(Ford Racing)(11-5-2006)
  • Red Bull Finished for 2006, gearing up for Daytona: Word in the garage is that there were many very unhappy faces in the Red Bull camp on Friday after A.J. Allmendinger failed to qualify for Sunday’s Dickies 500. Sources within the team say Allmendinger’s qualifying speed, which was an embarrassingly slow 10 mph off the pole speed, raised some questions about the Dodge cars and engines the team has been using. The team now is finished for the 2006 season. Their original plan was to run only three races this season in preparation for their official debut with Toyota Camrys next year, but they failed to qualify (once due to rain) each time. The team will focus on a rigorous testing schedule for Allmendinger, who now is scheduled to make his Cup debut in the Daytona 500 in February 2007.(Yahoo Sports)(11-5-2006)
  • Franchitti visits Texas: During Saturday’s Nextel Cup Happy Hour practice session at Texas Motor Speedway, open wheel veteran Dario Franchitti was an observer on top of Jeff Burton’s hauler. His visit was purely business. Franchitti shares a business relationship with one of Burton’s team sponsors and the Scotsman was invited to attend and speak at a dinner in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Yahoo’s Bob Margolis had a chance to chat with Franchitti, and the conversation turned to Franchitti’s future. There had been some speculation during the summer that Franchitti perhaps was interested in a NASCAR ride. Obviously the interest was in passing – or maybe a way to leverage a better deal from his current team – as Franchitti acknowledged that he would be back in his Indy Racing League ride with Andretti Green Racing for the entire 2007 season. He also expects to race the entire season in the American Le Mans Series with AGR teammate Bryan Herta in AGR’s recently announced Acura/Courage program. Might there be a NASCAR ride somewhere down the road for Franchitti? “Not in the immediate future,” Franchitti said.(Yahoo Sports)(11-5-2006)
  • Stewart wins at Texas: #20-Tony Stewart won the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his 2nd straight win [won at Atlanta last week], 5th win of the 2006 season, 29th of his career and becomes the 12th different winner at Texas in 12 races. Stewart led the most laps with 278. #48-Johnson finished 2nd [for the 2nd race in a row] to take over the points lead over #17-Kenseth by 17 points. The rest of the top-10 were #29-Harvick, #5-Busch, #07-Bowyer, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #42-Mears, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch and #11-Hamlin. Other Chasers: #17-Kenseth 12th; #6-Martin 22nd; #9-Kahne [lost an engine with 10 laps to go while running 2nd] and #31-Burton [lost a tire on lap 91 and wrecked] finished 38th. There were 12 cautions for 51 laps and 13 drivers lead the race with 23 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Texas Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Texas page
    Race Rundown: see my Texas Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(11-5-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Texas [34 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 6157
    #17-Matt Kenseth 6140 -17
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6079 -78
    #11-Denny Hamlin 6077 -80
    #29-Kevin Harvick 6052 -105
    #24-Jeff Gordon 6000 -157
    #31-Jeff Burton 5973 -184
    #5-Kyle Busch 5924 -233
    #6-Mark Martin 5904 -253
    #9-Kasey Kahne 5867 -290
    and fighting for 11th
    #20-Tony Stewart in 11th 4488 points
    #99-Carl Edwards -357 out of 11th
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(11-5-2006)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Points Standings
    …the old way, not the Chase after Texas:
    1) #17-Matt Kenseth 4875
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4840, -35
    3) #29-Kevin Harvick 4493, -382
    4) #20-Tony Stewart 4488, -387
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin 4395, -480
    6) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4392, -483
    7) #5-Kyle Busch 4313, -562
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon 4311, -564
    9) #31-Jeff Burton 4280, -595
    10) #6-Mark Martin 4220, -655
    11) #9-Kasey Kahne 4181, -694
    12) #99-Carl Edwards 4131, -744
    13) #16-Greg Biffle 3829, -1046
    (11-5-2006)
  • Rumblings – Texas: Tony Stewart had ’em covered again today (for the second week in a row) and even with a couple of late cautions, a green/white/checker, and a late charge by Jimmie Johnson…..Stewart won today’s Dickies 508.5 at Texas Motor Speedway for his 5th win of the season, becoming the 12th different winner in the 12 races at this venue. Career win #29 for Tony puts him in 20th solo on the all-time list, and was worth a staggering $521,361 from the over $7.1M in posted awards. This was the 7th win on the season for Joe Gibbs Racing (they won 10 in 2000) and their 54th all-time. The last two weeks we’ve run 664 laps…..Tony’s only led 414 of ’em.
    Clint Bowyer (5th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at California in September.
    Mike Bliss (23rd) had his best finish since he was 12th at Homestead last November (only 4 races).
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-5’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a tie between Kyle Petty (+24) and Matt Kenseth (+24), followed by Tony Raines (+22) and Martin Truex Jr (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-35), followed by Robby Gordon (-30), Kasey Kahne (-29), Brian Vickers (-26), and Ken Schrader (-24).
    One big happening today…..Kyle Petty moves ahead of Sterling Marlin in 35th on the Owner Points list. That means he’s exempt into next week’s race and Sterling will have to qualify on time. As we head into 2007 with so many new teams you don’t want to have to sweat it out thru the Duals to make the Daytona 500, so we’ll keep an eye on this one for the next two weeks.
    Every spot changed in the Chase today, and our new leader is Jimmie Johnson with a 17 point margin over Matt Kenseth. Just five races ago Johnson was 165 points in arrears in 8th place. Realistically, it’s down to a five man “Chase” with just two races to go, and the drivers in 3rd, 4th, and 5th are gonna need some help.(Stock Car Fans)(11-6-2006)
  • Race Notes – Texas:
    • Tony Stewart won the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, scoring his 29th career Nextel Cup victory in his 282nd career start.
    • Stewart moved into sole possession of 20th on NASCAR’s All-Time win list.
    • This was Stewart’s fifth victory in 2006 and third in the last six races. He also won races at Martinsville, second Daytona, Kansas and second Atlanta.
    • Stewart’s three victories in the Chase are the most by a non-Chase driver since the program began in 2004.
    • Stewart scored his first victory in 10 races at Texas. Stewart has scored seven top-10 finishes at Texas. It is his third straight top-10 finish at Texas.
    • Stewart scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006.
    • Stewart won the race from the eighth-place starting position.
    • Stewart led the most laps for the sixth time in 2006, the most among all drivers.
    • Stewart led eight times for 278 of the 339 laps raced. This is the most laps led in a race by any driver at Texas. The previous record was 219 laps held by Greg Biffle set in April 2005.
    • Race winner Stewart led the final 16 laps in the 2006 Dickies 500 at Texas.
    • The 12 caution periods tied the record for the most in a Nextel Cup race at Texas set in April 2000.
    • This was team owner Joe Gibbs’ 54th Nextel Cup victory and his first Nextel Cup victory at Texas.
    • Joe Gibbs Racing has won at least one race each season 1993-2006, 14 consecutive years.
    • Stewart’s victory today was the 22nd Chevrolet victory in 34 races in 2006.
    Notebook Items
    • Jimmie Johnson (second) was eighth in points after the first four races in the Chase (after Talladega), then 156 points behind, then point leader Jeff Burton. Four races later, Johnson has climbed from eighth to first in the point standings, gaining 173 points in the last four races.
    • Six of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10. All 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Texas.
    • Five of the Chase drivers led at Texas.
    • First and second are separated by just 17 points. The top five in points are separated by 105 points.
    • Four of the eight races in the Chase have been won by Chase drivers
    • Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon are the only Chase drivers to score five top-10 finishes in the eight Chase races.
    • Jimmie Johnson has scored four top-five finishes in the eight Chase races, the most among the Chase drivers.
    • Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to lead in six of the eight races in the Chase. He has scored 40 lap leader/bonus points, the most among all drivers.
    • Tony Stewart is the only driver to post multiple victories in the first eight races of the Chase. Stewart has scored five top-five finishes during the Chase, more than any other driver.
    • Kevin Harvick (third) scored his 18th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his third top-10 finish in eight races at Texas.
    • Kyle Busch (fourth) scored his 18th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in four races at Texas.
    • Clint Bowyer (fifth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in two races at Texas. Bowyer was the highest finishing rookie for the eighth time in 2006.
    • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 34 races this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-5-2006)
  • A fan could win $500,000 today at Texas: One of five fans could win $500,000 today. One will win at least $50,000. For Dickies’ second annual Race For The Riches promotion, five previously selected fans drew numbers from 1 to 43 that corresponded to drivers’ starting position. If a fan’s selected driver wins, the fan will win $500,000. If no one’s driver wins, the fan with the highest finisher will win $50,000. Ray Ross of Texarkana drew #88-Dale Jarrett. Linda Gurkin of Willis, Texas drew #29-Kevin Harvick. Diana Siegmund of St. Louis drew pole-sitter #25-Brian Vickers. Troy Nishikawa of Redmond, Wash., drew #22-Dave Blaney. Matthew Writt of Essex, Md., drew defending Dickies champion #99-Carl Edwards.(Dallas Morning News)(11-5-2006)
  • Bowyer NOT heading to the back at Texas: I had it listed below that #07-Clint Bowyer was going to the rear/back of the field before the drop of the green flag of the DIckies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway due to an engine change, been informed that is NOT the case as the car had a miss in the engine at the end of Friday’s practice, which proved to be a spark plug, but the problem was remedied without having to change the motor. Two drivers will have to start at the rear, #40-Stremme who wrecked in the first practice Saturday and has to go to a backup car [was to start 17th] and #6-Martin who was in a late Happy Hour practice wreck and has to go to a backup car [was to start 28th](11-5-2006)
  • Terry Labonte to make final career start Sunday: “Texas” Terry Labonte will make the 848th and final start of his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series career in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, and the two-time Cup champion will receive quite a send-off. The pre-race activities will be centered around Labonte, and there will be plenty of opportunity for his home state fans to say farewell to the 49-year-old Corpus Christi native. In addition to a special video tribute and gift presentations to Labonte, Texas Motor Speedway and NASCAR worked jointly in providing a special pre-race tribute for him. Labonte will be the final driver introduced, regardless of his qualifying position, and he and his wife, Kim, will be given a parade lap around the track in a Chevrolet Corvette at the front of the field of driver parade vehicles.
    Following the command for “Gentleman, Start Your Engines,” Labonte will lead the field on the parade lap before falling back to his qualifying position for the pace laps. Justin Labonte will be alongside his father as the two will pace the 43-car Nextel Cup Series field prior to the green flag. Justin will be driving the 1978 Stratagraph Chevrolet Monte Carlo that his father drove to his first Cup win at Darlington Raceway in 1980. Terry will be in the special paint scheme Chevy Monte Carlo featuring some of the top wins in his career, including his 1999 win at Texas, which is portrayed on the hood. Race fans also will have the opportunity to pen their best wishes to Labonte on a giant eight-foot tall postcard located in the “10 Years Strong Experience” outside Gate 4 on the frontstretch. Labonte will also run a special tribute paint scheme on the #44 Chevy, see images on the #44 Team Schemes page.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(11-3/5-2006)
  • Outside the Lines ESPN: #31-Team Cingular driver Jeff Burton is scheduled to be a guest on ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’ Sunday, November 5 from Texas Motor Speedway. The Emmy Award winning series will air live at 9:30am/et.(11-2/4-2006)
    MORE In a garage in High Point, N.C., Toyota is preparing for its debut on the NASCAR scene. Its entry marks the first time a Japanese manufacturer will be allowed to compete in NASCAR and some are criticizing Toyota’s lavish spending and technological onslaught. Toyota insists it has earned its way here and that, with 10 U.S. manufacturing plants, Toyota has become a part of the American automotive landscape. “Outside the Lines,” (Sunday 9:30am/et – ESPN) takes a look at Toyota’s arrival in stock-car racing. For more, click here. The show is scheduled to re-air at 12:00noon/et Sunday, Nov 5th on ESPNEWS and at 3:30am/et on Nov. 6th on ESPN2.(11-5-2006)
  • Sports Car Driver looking for NASCAR gig: Visiting both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series garages at Texas Motor Speedway was 18-year-old sports car phenom Colin Braun. Braun, who hails from nearby Ovalo, Texas, already has made a name for himself in sports cars as the youngest driver ever to win a professional sports car event. Now he has set his sights on a career in NASCAR. “This is where I want to be,” Braun said. “This [has] the best drivers that there are and that’s who I want to race against.” Braun was one of 16 who took part in last month’s GM Driver Evaluation program, which tested drivers from across the country on three different types of tracks. Word is that Braun did very well in his first time in a stock car. Although he is set to once again drive for Grand American Series champion Krohn Racing in 2007, he’d like to get his NASCAR career started by running the Busch Series road course events at Mexico City, Montreal and Watkins Glen. Braun hopes that a good showing in one of those races would spark interest in a team giving him a full-time Busch ride.(Yahoo Sports)(11-5-2006)



    News from November 4, 2006

  • Burton and Childress to announce new partnership UPDATE 2: on Friday, November 3rd at Texas Motor Speedway, #31 team owner, Richard Childress and driver Jeff Burton, along with a New Sponsor Representative will be announcing a new partnership for the 2007 NASCAR season.(RCR PR)(11-3-2006)
    UPDATE: on Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live, Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Chevy for RCR, said LENOX Industrial Tools will be a major associate sponsor for the team in 2007 and be the primary sponsor at Richmond in May and New Hampshire in July.(Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live)(11-3-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Lenox Industrial Tools has partnered with Richard Childress Racing and driver Jeff Burton in a multi-year sponsorship agreement beginning with the 2007 Cup season. LENOX will be an associate sponsor throughout the season on Burton’s #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy. The LENOX logo will appear on the rear quarter panels of the car just behind the rear wheels. In addition, LENOX will serve as the primary sponsor of the #31 in two races during the 2007 season – May 5 at Richmond International Raceway and July 1 at New Hampshire International Speedway (located less than 150 miles from LENOX’s home headquarters). This season’s July New Hampshire event was known as the LENOX Industrial Tools 300. LENOX, which will utilize the partnership through marketing and advertising initiatives, has an extensive product line including the LENOX Gold bi-metal reciprocating saw blades; LENOX Gold bi-metal utility blades and knives; LENOX ARMOR Rx+ bi-metal coated band saw blades for cutting structurals and tubing; and the LENOX all-in-one screwdriver, just to mention a few. For more information see www.LENOXsaw.com.(RCR PR)(11-4-2006)
  • Looks like Martin to run for Wood Brothers in Truck Series: #6-Mark Martin still doesn’t know what his limited Craftsman Truck Series schedule will look like next year, but he said Friday that Wood Brothers/JTG Racing is working to secure the sponsorship. “We’re waiting on the Woods to come up with a sponsor,” Martin said. “… I can’t give you answers [yet], but I don’t expect things not to work out. They’re looking to secure the sponsorship and we’re looking at Daytona to be the first one.” The team currently runs two full-time truck teams with #21-Bobby East and #20-Marcos Ambrose. It has committed to run a truck for Stacy Compton next year, with the driver or drivers for the other truck still being determined. It is expected that rookie Kelly Bires will compete at least part-time in the second truck.(SceneDaily.com)(11-4-2006)
  • Home Depot gift cards to benefit KaBOOM: The Home Depot announced it will donate 5% of sales of three newly designed gift cards to the Company’s nonprofit partners:, KaBOOM!, The Home Depot Foundation and Hands On Network. Consumers may choose from these uniquely themed gift cards and purchase amounts in any denomination at The Home Depot stores nationwide through November 6.(11-4-2006)
  • SPEED to get inside look at Ganassi Racing: SPEED will deliver an inside look into the business of racing with a pair of one-hour Racing Incorporated specials focusing on the motor sports operations of multi-team owner Chip Ganassi. Given unprecedented access to race shops and meetings for about three weeks in August, the specials will air Nov. 15 and 16 at 8:00pm/et/pt.(SpeedTV PR)(11-4-2006)
  • No Plates planned at Texas: Despite Brian Vickers blistering Texas Motor Speedway with a pole-winning speed in excess of 196mph, NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter said restrictor plates will not be used in Sunday’s Dickies 500 to slow the speeds of the cars down. Probably not, anyway. At Talladega last month, NASCAR said it wouldn’t slow the cars down either, but reversed themselves on race morning, when they issued smaller restrictor plates. “That was Talladega and this was Texas,” Hunter said. “But if you’re asking me, ‘Is this in concrete?’ No it isn’t.” Hunter said the qualifying speeds were unusually high because of the extremely cool weather late in the day, when the sun had set. During Saturday’s practice, speeds should drop into the low- to mid-190 mph range.(Speed Channel)(11-4-2006)
  • Special scheme for Jarrett at Texas: As Dale Jarrett races around the 1.5-mile oval of Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) this Sunday, he’ll take pride that his newly designed ride is going to benefit children all around the country, starting in Texas. Dale’s #88 The UPS Store/Toys for Tots Ford will sport a specially designed paint scheme, created by 12-year old California native, Annabelle Huffman, during the UPS Store’s annual “Design Dale’s Ride” coloring contest. The appearance of the specialty paint scheme at TMS will officially kick off The UPS Store’s Toys for Tots donation drive this holiday season. Fans are asked to bring one new, wrapped toy to the speedway and deliver it to one of several on-site drop off points. Annabelle Huffman will look like a hero to 30 of her closest friends while cheering along the UPS Store/Toys for Tots Ford from her home in Napa Valley, CA, and you can be a hero in your community by contributing this year to the Toys for Tots toy drive.(PR), see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(11-4-2006)
  • RGM Donates $20,000 to the University of Houston: Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) announced on Friday a $20,000 donation to the University of Houston to fund The Century Council’s Alcohol 101 Plus program and related alcohol education initiatives. Robby Gordon, team owner and driver of the #7 Jim Beam Chevy car, presented the donation to school officials at Texas Motor Speedway. The University of Houston grant is part of a larger donation given to RGM by Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. and its Jim Beam bourbon brand in support of the Beam Global’s drink smart responsibility platform, aimed to educate consumers on how to make responsible decisions about alcohol. The grant funds will supplement other investments in an environmental management framework to change attitudes and behaviors regarding alcohol among all of University of Houston students. 2006 marks the fourth year that Beam Global Spirits & Wine has brought attention to responsible drinking through Jim Beam and its motorsports platform. For more information on Jim Beam and drink smart, visit www.jimbeam.com and www.drinksmart.com.(Business Wire)(11-4-2006)


    News from November 3, 2006

  • Tums to be assoc sponsor for Ganassi in 2007/2008: After providing Americans with fast heartburn relief for more than 75 years, TUMS is speeding into Nextel Cup racing as an associate sponsor with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS). The brand has signed a two-year deal that begins with the 2007 season. As part of the deal, the TUMS logo will appear on the rear decklid of the #41 Dodge, driven by Reed Sorenson, throughout the season. In addition, the car will feature a TUMS paint scheme during the April race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. David Stremme’s #40 Dodge will carry the TUMS logo on its B post throughout the season and also will feature a full TUMS paint scheme at Chicagoland Speedway in July. TUMS branding also will be visible on driver and crew uniforms and on team equipment. TUMS is already a familiar friend to NASCAR fans. During the past two seasons TUMS has reached out to them with sampling programs at several tracks featuring a fleet of golf carts. Samplers on the golf carts traveled around the track and into the campgrounds, meeting fans where heartburn strikes.(Tums PR), see images of each car on the #40 Tums Schemes page#41 Tums Schemes page(11-3-2006)
  • Where is Marty? [Waldo?] been asked by many readers: where is Marty Smith? looks like he is formerly of nascar.com as his columns and videos are no longer there, have not heard anything for sure and emails go un-answered, but hearing Smith has signed with ESPN/ESPN.com/ABC to do TV and other duties, but have heard nothing official. Smith has been doing some NASCAR reporting on ESPNews Monday nights most of the season.(11-3-2006)
  • 3M to sponsor Biffle and Kluever in 2007: 3M Company and Roush Racing announced today that 3M will sponsor the #16 3M Ford Fusion in seven Nextel Cup races and the full Busch Series in 2007. Greg Biffle will represent 3M in the Nextel Cup Series and will share driving responsibilities with Todd Kluever in the #16 3M Ford Fusion for the 2007 Busch Series. Biffle is scheduled to drive 19 Busch races for 3M in the 2007 season. Kluever will drive the remainder of the schedule, beginning with the season-opening race February 17th at Daytona International Speedway. Biffle drove the #16 3M Post-it Ford in nine Nextel Cup races in 2005, winning at California and Texas on his way to finishing second in the Nextel Cup Championship. In 2007, 3M will again activate its sponsorship through a comprehensive marketing communications programs on several levels throughout the year, including customer hospitality, product promotions and at-track marketing.(Roush Racing PR), so much for the rumors of Biffle going to the #88 RYR Ford in 2007.(11-3-2006)
  • Aerosmith team up with ESPN/ABC NASCAR Coverage in 2007: The rock bansd Aerosmith is collaborating with ESPN/ABC on its coverage of NASCAR for 2007.  While full details of the Aerosmith alliance with ESPN/ABC will be revealed later, the band is recording a special live version of its immortal “Back In The Saddle” that will be an integral part of the network’s NASCAR telecasts in 2007. The taping will take place Saturday, Nov. 4 at the band’s concert at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. “Other than being an astronaut, there are two things I can think of that can give you the same rush as sitting on a rocket: driving down the straightaway at Talladega at 200 miles an hour, and being the lead singer in Aerosmith,” said Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. The members of Aerosmith – Tyler, Joe Perry, Brad Whitford, Tom Hamilton and Joey Kramer — are all NASCAR enthusiasts, and their relationship with the sport was highlighted in 1999 when driver Kenny Wallace drove the Aerosmith-sponsored #55 Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series event at Phoenix. ESPN and ABC will have live coverage of the final 17 races of the 2007 Nextel Cup Series, including the entire 10-race “Chase for the Nextel Cup” on ABC. In addition, ESPN2 will be the home of the Busch Series, starting with the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 17.(ESPN PR)(11-3-2006)
  • New Racing Programming at ESPN: ESPN is complementing its extensive coverage of NASCAR, IndyCar and NHRA racing in 2007 with ESPN2 Garage, a new block of programming dedicated to the automotive and motorsports world. Debuting Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007 the block will satisfy automotive, motorcycle and motorsports enthusiasts with 19 different shows that feature nearly every facet of the industry – from car auctions to custom-car programs to an animated series and reality shows. The programming will be aired on ESPN2 from 5:00 to 6:30om/et on weekdays, from 10:00am to 12noon/et on Saturdays and from 10-11an/et on Sundays. ESPN2 Garage programming will cover topics ranging from car preparation (Matching Numbers, Garage Wars), automotive auctions (The Bidding Wars, RM Classic Car Auctions), how-to help (Import Racers, GearZ), racing programs (Race Wizard with Ray Evernham, Michael Waltrip Racing: A New Era), automotive entertainment/reality (P.I.P.E.S., King of the Street) and even an animated series about a family of motorsports fans entitled The Pits. The first group of shows in ESPN2 Garage will debut in the first quarter of 2007, beginning January 6, with other groups to run in the second, third and fourth quarters of the year. ESPN2 is seen in 91.7 million homes.(ESPN PR)(11-3-2006)
  • Vickers wins pole at Texas with new track record: #25-Brian Vickers won the Budweiser Pole for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with a new track record speed of 196.235mph for his 1st pole of 2006 and 4th career pole. Four drivers ran faster then the old track record of 194.224 that was run in April 2004 by Bill Elliott [who failed to qualify today]. Starting on the outside pole is #19-Sadler, #2-Busch, #9-Kahne and #48-Johnson are the top-5, rounding out the top-10 are #11-Hamlin, #38-Gilliland, #20-Stewart, #7-Gordon and #8-Earnhardt Jr. Points leader #17-Matt Kenseth starts 36th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #49-Bliss, #15-Menard, #78-Wallace, #45-Petty, #4-Ward Burton, #55-Waltrip, #32-Kvapil and #44-Terry Labonte [had to use a past champions provisional]. Missing the race were: #34-Chaffin, #37-Elliott, #61-Lepage, #72-Skinner, #60-Ragan, #74-Cope and #84-Allmendinger. See the qualifying results/starting lineup on my Texas Qualifying/Grid Page.(11-3-2006)
  • Where do the Chasers starts at Texas: (by points position)
    #17-Matt Kenseth starts 36th
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 5th
    #11-Denny Hamlin 6th
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 10th
    #31-Jeff Burton 29th
    #29-Kevin Harvick 21st
    #24-Jeff Gordon 23rd
    #6-Mark Martin 28th
    #9-Kasey Kahne 4th
    #5-Kyle Busch 11th.(11-3-2006)
  • This week on “Wally’s World: star of NBC’s “Friday Night Lights, Minka Kelly puts down her pom-poms and hits the track for a high-speed ride around TMS with NBC & TNT analyst Wally Dallenbach. Kelly portrays Lyla Garrity, Panthers cheerleader and girlfriend of star quarterback Jason Street, in the NBC television drama.(NBC PR)(11-3-2006)
  • PRN Heads to Texas: The Performance Racing Network heads to the Lone Star State this weekend for the Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race Sunday November 5th. PRN’s race coverage begins with pole qualifying Friday, November 3rd starting at 4:30pm/et. Anchors Doug Rice and Mark Garrow will be joined by PRN reporters Pat Patterson, Chuck Carland, Brett McMillan, Steve Richards, and Rob Albright. Saturday November 4th, it’s the O’Reilly Challenge Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway beginning at 1:30pm/et. Sunday, PRN broadcasts the Dickies 500, the first of three final stops in the Nextel Chase for the Championship. Airtime is 1:30pm/et. The race broadcast is immediately followed by the PRN Post Race Show presented by Crown Royal during which listeners are invited to call 1-800-771-TALK to discuss the race or the 2006 Nextel Cup season.(PRN PR)(11-3-2006)
  • Ramblings – Qualifying Notes: Not only is everything bigger in Texas, it’s faster too! Brian Vickers shattered the track record today and captured the Bud Pole at Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Dickies 500 with a time of 27.518 sec (196.235 mph). It’s his first pole of the season (his last came at Loudon in July of 2005) and 4th of his NEXTEL Cup career and gives him entry into next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona…..meaning we’ll have our first Toyota sighting of 2007. We’ve got 15 qualifiers (plus former Shootout winners) with only two more chances left. The top four qualifiers all broke the old qualifying mark set by Bill Elliott in April of 2002.
    Elliott Sadler (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Michigan in August.
    Robby Gordon (9th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 9th at Loudon in September….but after last week’s post-race TV interview he may wanna consider a career in politics!
    Bobby Labonte (13th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Bristol in August.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans)(11-3-2006)
  • Qualifying Notes Texas:
    • Brian Vickers won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Dickies 500, lapping Texas Motor Speedway in 27.518 seconds at 196.235 mph. He broke Bill Elliott’s track-qualifying record of 27.803 seconds, 194.224 mph – set April 5, 2002. The top eight drivers bettered Elliott’s time.
    • This is the fastest qualifying lap since Geoffrey Bodine posted a lap of 197.478 mph at Atlanta in November 1997.
    • This is Vickers’ fourth career Bud Pole in 111 Nextel Cup Series races.
    • This is his first Bud Pole and 11th top-10 start in 2006. He became the 15th different Bud Pole winner this season.
    • This is Vickers’ first Bud Pole and first top-10 start in five Nextel Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. His previous best start here was 13th in 2004.
    • Vickers became the ninth different Bud Pole winner in 12 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    • Elliott Sadler posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 27.637 seconds, 195.390 mph – and will join Vickers on the front row for the Dickies 500. Sadler posted his fourth top-10 start in 10 races at Texas. It is his third second-place start here.
    • This is the 12th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has 15 Bud Poles and Ford has five. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol and the second Atlanta race.
    • Kurt Busch (third) has posted just two top-10 starts in eight races at Texas – both this season.
    • Kasey Kahne (fourth) has posted his fourth top-10 start in five Texas races – all fourth or better.
    • Jimmie Johnson (fifth) has posted three top-10 starts in his seven races at Texas.
    • David Gillliand (seventh) posted his second top-10 start in his 13 Nextel Cup races. This is his first race at Texas in any of NASCAR’s top-three series.
    • Terry Labonte used a past champion’s provisional to make the field for what is slated to be his final Nextel Cup race.(NASCAR Statiscal Services)(11-3-2006)
  • Final Atlanta TV ratings up 2.1% NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.8 and a 10 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 2.1% higher than the 4.7 the race earned in 2005.(SceneDaily.com), see my TV Ratings page for the 2006 chart and past news.(11-3-2006)
  • Dale Jr. under the weather at Texas: #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is under the weather going into day one [Friday] at the Texas Motor Speedway. He’s got a bad sore throat, but said it was better than it was yesterday. When asked if he had gone to the infield medical center to gain some relief Dale Jr. replied, “No, I just took some Tylenol.” [sponsor plug](PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(11-3-2006)
  • Combo’s for Gilliland: #38-David Gilliland will have the Combo’s paint scheme on the #38 Ford at Texas Motor Speedway, the scheme has run a couple other races this season, see images of the scheme on my #38 Team Schemes page.(11-3-2006)
  • Agency honored on Vickers car at Texas: GMAC Insurance has declared Al Boenker Insurance of Fort Worth, Texas, as the winner of the GMAC Insurance Agency Pole Position promotion. As part of the grand prize, the agency will be honored with its name on the television panel of the #25 GMAC Chevy that Brian Vickers will drive in Sunday afternoon’s Nextel Cup event at Texas Motor Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(11-3-2006)
  • Texas Tire Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought to Texas for teams in all three major NASCAR series earlier this season . . teams in all three series will run the same tire codes this weekend, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle” and the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the only track on which Nextel Cup teams will run this exact combination of tires this season, though this left-side code (D-4008) will be run with a different right-side code at California, Kansas and Homestead . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Texas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, pressures, codes on the Texas Race Info / Rundown Page.(11-3-2006)


    News from November 2, 2006

  • Trust fund set up for #55 jackman’s family: A trust fund has been established for the children of the late Steve Spahr, a longtime Bill Davis Racing employee, who died last Friday. Spahr has been working as a jackman on the #55 Waltrip-Jasper Racing team that has an affiliation with BDR this season. Fans can contribute to the Trust Fund for Jenna and Hailey Spahr, BB&T, 2835 Randleman Road, Greensboro, N.C., 27406. Spahr, 48, had recently undergone surgery for a tear of the aorta and was recovering at home when he died.(SceneDaily.com)(11-2-2006)
  • Dallas Cowboy colors for the #96 at Texas: The importance of the race will be highlighted by a special paint scheme on Raines’ #96 DLP HDTV Chevy. The regular blue, black and green paint scheme will be replaced by dark blue and silver as a tribute to Aikman and Staubach’s incredible football careers in Dallas. A small number 8 (Aikman) will appear on the left C-post of the car and a small 12 (Staubach) will appear on the right C-Post. Each of their signatures will appear beneath their respective numbers. On Wed., Nov. 1, eleven members of Hall of Fame Racing’s pit crew and shop team were scheduled to go skydiving with the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights. The jump occurred at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.(HOF Racing PR), see images of the car on my #96 Team Schemes page.(11-2-2006)
  • Robby Gordon fined and docked points for roll bar padding incident UPDATE Gordon to appeal: NASCAR announced Wednesday that Robby Gordon has been fined and issued two point-standing penalties, for rule infractions during this past Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series event at Atlanta. Gordon, the driver and owner of the #7 Chevy, has been fined $15,000; he also has been penalized with the loss of 50 driver championship points and 50 car owner championship points. Gordon also has been placed on probation by NASCAR until Dec. 31. Gordon violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-N (intentionally causing a caution condition during the race) – of the NASCAR Rule Book. In addition, Gordon’s crew chief Greg Erwin has been fined $10,000 due to violations of Sections 12-A and 12-4-N – and 9-4-A (crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of his/her driver, car owner and team members). Erwin also has been placed on probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR PR), see full history of the reason for the penalty on my #7 Team News and Links page.(11-1-2006)
  • UPDATE: Gordon Plans to Appeal Penalty

    Robby Gordon Motorpsorts released a statement Wednesday night that did not address whether Gordon was innocent but indicated it would appeal the penalty. “We strongly believe the penalty imposed on the team, crew chief and driver, Robby Gordon, are excessive and fall well outside of any reasonable precedence set by NASCAR in dealing with many similar incidents in the past,” Gordon’s team said in a statement. “We do intend to appeal the severity of this penalty.”(SceneDaily.com)(11-2-2006)

  • Graves to Toyota UPDATE: Toyota yesterday signed Andy Graves to be the company’s NASCAR field manager for its 2007 Nextel Cup debut season. Graves spent the past five years managing Chip Ganassi’s Dodge teams.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2006)
    UPDATE: Andy Graves will be formally introduced Friday at Texas Motor Speedway as the director of Toyota’s Nextel Cup efforts for 2007. Graves, who spent the better part of a decade at Hendrick Motorsports before becoming team manager at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, has experience with Toyota, having worked with the Japanese automaker in 2000, when he worked with Ganassi’s CART open-wheel program. In addition to Graves talking about his new gig, Toyota is also expected to introduce its NASCAR Busch Series lineup for 2007.(SpeedTV.com)(11-2-2006)
  • ‘Cars’ featured on the #10 of Riggs at Texas: There is a different paint scheme this weekend on the #10 Valvoline Dodge that Scott Riggs drivers as they are promoting the release of Disney’s ‘Cars’ movie on DVD.(Clear!Blue PR)(11-2-2006)
  • Red Bulls Major League Soccer team featured on the #84 at Texas: Heading into this weekend’s Dickies 500 Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, Team Red Bull is partnering with the New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer team to roll out a soccer-themed paint scheme for the #84 race car. With his keen eyes, New York Red Bulls goalkeeper and avid NASCAR fan Jon Conway gets to indulge in tin-top racing from his perch on top the Team Red Bull pit box. Driven by now-former, American open-wheel sensation AJ Allmendinger, the blue #84 Dodge features the New York Red Bulls logo on the hood and side panels and the dynamic bull and soccer ball on the rear quarter panel. The car also features a logo decal of the The MLS Cup, which is the league’s championship finale slated for the following Sunday, November 12 at Pizza Hut Park in nearby Frisco, Texas. Then on Saturday and Sunday, the Red Bull Air Force skydiving team joins the party as they drop in from the skies above Texas Motor Speedway prior to the start of the Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series races.(Red Bull Racing PR)(11-2-2006)
  • Stremme tests at Kentucky: #40-David Stremme tested at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, Nov 1st, in preparation for the races at Texas and Homestead.(Kentucky Speedway site)(11-2-2006)
  • Johnson’s Crew Takes Lead in Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge: Jimmie Johnson’s over-the-wall crew took over sole possession of first place in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition by taking top honors in Sunday’s NEXTEL Cup event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was the fifth pit crew win of the season for Johnson’s team and it broke a three-way tie with Tony Stewart’s and Kyle Busch’s crews. Johnson’s crew, which spent 316.721 seconds on pit road, will earn $10,500 for the weekly honor and is one step closer to the $105,000 bonus Checkers/Rally’s will present to the crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Johnson’s No. 46 over-the-wall crew, which spent only 109.657 seconds on Atlanta’s pit road includes: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man). The crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule will be presented with a $100,500 bonus. Checkers/Rally’s will present the crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule with a $100,500 bonus. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $346,500 in Nextel Cup Series prize money during this season. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(11-2-2006)
  • GM Looking to tie win record: Team Chevy heads to Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) for race 34 of the 36-race NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) season and the seventh race of the 10-race Chase to the Nextel Cup (Chase). A win for the Bowtie brand at TMS will tie the Modern Era all-time season win record at 22 trips to victory lane. Tony Stewart’s win last Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway scored the 21st win of the 2006 season for Chevy. It was the 594th all-time victory for Chevrolet in NNCS competition (470 Modern Era wins).(GM Racing PR)(11-2-2006)
  • Hamlin to wear special helmet at Texas: For the fifth race this season, #11-Denny Hamlin will wear a helmet designed especially for him by a patient from a local Children’s hospital. Alexis Hakalmazian, a 15-year old Keller student and patient at the Cook Children’s Medical Facility, designed the helmet named “Healing Hands Coming Together in Search of a Cure,” for Hamlin to wear for all Nextel Cup activity this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. “The opportunity to wear helmets designed by patients like Alexis means a lot to me and I know this whole team takes a lot of pride in racing out there for them,” said Hamlin. “A lot of these kids can’t make it to a race so we try to give them the next best thing and represent them at the track. Hopefully they feel like part of our team. Plus, these helmets always seem to bring me luck in races so I owe them a big thank you.”(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(11-2-2006)
  • Robby Gordon gets ready for Dakar: With the world’s most grueling off-road race 10 weeks away, Robby Gordon lead the 19-member Team Dakar USA team through its final test session leading up to the Dakar Rally which begins Jan. 6 in Lisbon, Portugal. The three-day test earlier this week in the desert of the Southwestern United States in Gordon’s purpose-built Toyo Tires/HUMMER-sponsored H3, included navigator Andy Grider and provided all members, including those new to the program this year, what the Dakar experience may entail. Battling similar terrain the team will encounter in the early stages of the 16-stage event through Portugal, Spain and Morocco, as well as the latter stages of Mauritania, Mali and Senegal, Gordon is confident in the team’s ability and their chances of capturing the overall title. Gordon and crew will encounter some of the most difficult terrain and environmental conditions known to man on the more than 6,000-mile 17-day journey from Lisbon to Dakar. From torrential rain to blinding sandstorms, Dakar is a test of man as well as machine. Over the last 29 years, competitors from across the globe have made survival the No. 1 priority in the punishing race. With testing complete and Team Dakar USA set to take on the challenges that the Southern European and African continents have to offer, Gordon’s participation in his third consecutive Dakar will bring the race to the forefront in the United States and Canada.(RGM PR)(11-2-2006)


    News from November 1, 2006

  • Triple duty at Texas: a few drivers will attempt to do triple-duty at Texas Motor Speedway, running in the Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Truck Series races:
    Clint Bowyer will run the #07-Jack Daniel’s Chevy in the Nextel Cup race; #2-Timberland Pro Chevy in the Busch Series race and the #46-Jack Daniel’s Chevy in the Truck Series.
    Kyle Busch will run the #5-Carquest Chevy in Cup, #5-Lowe’s Chevy in Busch and #15-Chevy in the Truck race.
    Mile Skinner will run the #72-Chevy in Cup, #12-Chevy in Busch and #5-Toyota in the Truck race.(11-1-2006)
  • Ragan in the #60 at Texas UPDATE: In addition to racing in the Truck Series race this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, David Ragan will also attempt to make his third start in the Nextel Cup Series, driving the #60 Pennzoil Ford in the Dickies 500.(Roush Racing PR)(10-31-2006)

    UPDATE: David Ragan has received NASCAR’s approval to run at Nextel Cup tracks 1.5-miles and less and will attempt to qualify the #60 No Fear Racing Ford [sponsored by Pennzoil] Friday for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Roush Racing had sought to get Ragan approved to attempt his third Cup start last week at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but that approval was denied. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Tuesday afternoon that Ragan had been approved for Texas and would be under observation, standard procedure for drivers approved to advance to the next level.(SceneDaily.com)(11-1-2006)

  • Kraft on the #41 at Texas: The Kraft Foods logo will adorn the upper-rear quarter panels of the red and white #41 Target Dodge that Reed Sorenson this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-31-2006)
  • #07 to carry Texas themed paint scheme: Clint Bowyer’s Jack Daniel’s #07-Chevy will carry a special Texas-themed paint scheme. Texas residents, 21 or older, voted online for one of three designs from April 1-June 4 and over 50% of those who voted chose the winning scheme. Die casts of this weekend’s car will be available for sale trackside at the Jack Daniel’s souvenir trailer.(RCR PR), see the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes Page.(11-1-2006)
  • #32 Jackman wins Driver Championship: Eric Wilson, jackman for PPI Motorsports and the #32-Tide/Downy race team with driver Travis Kvapil won the ISCARS Championship after finishing eighth in the ISCARS Championship 150 at Florence Motor Speedway on Saturday night. The final margin of victory was 22 points. Finishing second in the championship standings was Danny Bagwell and winning the race was Johnny Chapman.(PPI Motorsports)(11-1-2006)