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November 2007 News Archives


  • News from November 30, 2007

  • Latest on Stewart contract: Joe Gibbs Racing wants to sign #20-Tony Stewart to a new contract, even though his current contract runs through 2009. But Stewart said Thursday he doesn’t plan to negotiate during the offseason. “It’s flattering they already want to do this and get it done and out of the way, but I’m taking this offseason off. I need it desperately.”(Tampa Tribune)(11-30-2007)
  • Penske Racing to form test team: #2-Kurt Busch said Penske Racing has plans to form a designated test team to prepare for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season when all 36 races will feature the car of tomorrow. “We need more laps, more time with the new car to be more competitive,” said Busch, who finished seventh in points this year, following the NMPA Myers Bothers Awards Luncheon at Cipriani’s. With the addition of new teammate Sam Hornish Jr. in the #77 Dodge, the fourth team is expected to focus solely on testing. Busch said teammate Ryan Newman, Hornish, himself or an “outside driver” could all be involved in the tests. Busch, who has already tested at Atlanta, said the remainder of his offseason schedule includes scheduled stops at Daytona International Speedway, Lakeland, California and Las Vegas. Nashville is also a possibility if the weather cooperates, he said. With the Cup series already running twice in the COT at Bristol this year, Busch is comfortable heading into the first handful of races in ’08. “We feel like we’re prepared really well for the first five or six, then we hit tracks like Texas [and Charlotte], and that’s where the teams that are ready to go will prevail,” he said, adding, “I hope not to be in a Cup car until January. I might end up doing a shakedown test for the Rolex 24. Penske’s putting together a team. It might be double top secret until now. But we’re having some fun with that.”(SceneDaily.com)(11-30-2007)
  • #48 Team wins 4th Qtr and year-end most vaulable Pit Crew Award: The #48 Lowe’s Team can add another important honor to their long list of accomplishments for the 2007 season – the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew of the Year Award. The #48 Lowe’s Team also won the year-end award in 2004, making them the first-ever repeat winner of the award. The #48 Team follows the #24 Dupont Team (2nd Quarter) as the second team from Hendrick Motorsports to win a Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew quarterly award in 2007. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award is given quarterly throughout the Nextel Cup Season. At the end of each quarter, the winning pit crew is determined by a vote of each team’s crew chief. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award and a check for $100,000 awarded at the 2007 NASCAR National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon in New York City on November 29, 2007.(Mechanix Wear/Clear!Blue PR)(11-30-2007)
  • Long has sponsor, looking for team: Millstar, an industry leader in producing die and mold profile tooling and solid carbide tools, has announced their continued sponsorship support of Carl Long and his 2008 racing endeavors. Millstar has been an active part of Carl Long Racing since 2006. In addition, Delcam, one of the world’s leading suppliers of advanced CADCAM software product development solutions for the manufacturing industry, has announced their commitment to sponsor Carl Long in 2008. The Birmingham, United Kingdom company has had a history in motorsports, with most recent involvement in Formula One racing. Carl Long and Delcam will kick off their new partnership at the 2007 Performance Racing Industry Trade Show next month. Carl Long will be on-hand at the Delcam booth during the 2007 Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, Florida from December 6th through the 8th. Carl Long welcomes all race team representatives to stop on by and chat. [Note: this event is not open to the public, you must be a member of a racing industry company to attend] “With Millstar and Delcam aboard, all we need now is the right race team to step up to the plate to make a successful combination”, Carl Long states. “Being ready to run the 2008 [Daytona] 500 is definitely a realistic possibility at this point.” Also in 2008, Carl has plans to run selected NASCAR Nationwide Series races with his own team, as well as USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series races with Long Brothers Racing.(Carl Long Racing PR)(11-30-2007)
  • British driver headed to stock cars: British driver Ed Tilley is set to launch his bid to join the NASCAR grid after securing the chance to take part in the 2008 ARCA series. Tilley, team principal of aspiring touring car entrants Encke Sport, will take part in his debut test at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on December 7th at the wheel of a Chevy Monte Carlo in preparation for the 2008 season. “All my life I’ve had one interest, racing cars and winning,” he said. “To be given a chance to prove myself in the ARCA series is a very special opportunity that I could not turn down.” Tilley will be mentored initially by former NASCAR driver Randy Baker who said he was looking to help the Briton made an impact in his American move. “We are very excited about working with Ed,” he said. “His career has been on hold over the past year as Ed took some time out due to a family bereavement, but we are looking forward to working with him and his sponsors to help him reach his goals in motorsport. We have a great team around us here to point him in the right direction and achieve great things.”(crash.net)(11-30-2007)
  • Miller named recipient of NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award: The Home Depot and NASCAR announced that Don Miller of Mooresville, N.C., was selected as the recipient of the inaugural NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award for his work with the Stocks-for-Tots program. The award is the first of its kind open to any member of the NASCAR community who has shown extraordinary dedication to serving others and improving communities through meaningful service efforts. Miller is an executive for Penske Racing. As the NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian of the Year, Miller received a specially designed crystal award and a $100,000 donation made by The Home Depot to his charity of choice, Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN), an organization whose mission is to continue to help and provide education, counseling and intervention programs for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. Miller will also receive a playground in the city of his choice built by volunteers from NASCAR, The Home Depot and KaBOOM!, the Company’s national nonprofit partner which envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Miller developed Stock-for-Tots as a holiday event and fundraiser for SCAN. Miller continues to be intimately involved in the event which brings together stock car [and Drag along with other forms of] racing and its fans to collect toys and raise funds for SCAN. Since 1989, the event has raised more than $400,000 and distributed nearly 40,000 toys to children in North Carolina and is now the largest fundraiser for SCAN. The other finalists for the award were Spencer Lueders, project creator, director and team member of 24 Hours of Booty; and Kyle Petty, driver for Petty Enterprises and co-founder of Victory Junction Gang Camp. They received a $25,000 donation each to their designated non-profit charities.(Manning Selvage & Lee/Home Depot/NASCAR PR)(11-30-2007)
  • Stewart and Sirius announce winners of “The Stewies”: Winners of the inaugural ‘Stewie Awards’ were announced tonight by two-time Nextel Cup Series Champion and SIRIUS Radio host Tony Stewart at the SIRIUS Satellite Radio Studios in New York City. The 2007 ‘Stewie Award’ winners were decided by fans around the country who logged on to www.SIRIUS.com to vote for the best, boldest and funniest moments of the 2007 NASCAR season. The ‘Stewies’ were awarded during a special broadcast of Tony Stewart Live, the weekly talk show hosted by Stewart and Matt Yocum on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio channel 128, in the midst of the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Champions Week. Winners in 12 categories including “Best Duet,” honoring outstanding teamwork by a driver and crew chief, “Best Original Drama,” honoring the year’s most exciting race moment, “Best Driver2Crew Chatter Exchange,” “Best Stunt Sequence” and others were honored. Among the evening’s highlights was the presentation of the “Stewie Lifetime Achievement Award” to two legends of NASCAR – former NASCAR Chairman and CEO Bill France, Jr. and Hall of Fame driver/broadcaster Benny Parsons, both of whom passed away in 2007. The winners of the 2007 ‘Stewie Awards’ can be found on the Awards page.(or see more at Sirius.com)(11-30-2007)
  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week – Day 4: NASCAR’s 2007 champions gathered today for the 12th annual photo shoot traditionally taken at a New York City landmark. This year, the photo was shot at New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park. NASCAR’s national series, developmental series, and weekly series champions joined in smiling for the cameras with the 124-year-old landmark bridge as the backdrop. The photo session was one of the major highlights of the day which included an appearance at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon at Cipriani 42nd Street (see next page for a list of award winners), and a private dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue, where the drivers each sign mats that will be used in framing their champion’s “class picture.” Their evening was to be capped by attending the invitation-only Sprint Party at New York’s Marquee night club. The day’s events were the biggest so far for NASCAR’s six 2007 regional and developmental series champions, who joined their national series peers for the Cipriani luncheon and the Brooklyn Bridge photo session. Andrew Ranger of Quebec, champion of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, best known as a Champ Car driver prior to 2007, and is meeting his fellow NASCAR champions for the first time. Joey Logano, 17, of Middletown, Conn., is NASCAR’s Grand National Division, Busch East Series champion. A developmental driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, he’s already well known to NASCAR national series drivers, but he’s never seen how national series drivers receive their honors. Of all the NASCAR champions in attendance, Steve Carlson of West Salem, Wisc., is the veteran of the experience. Carlson is the 2007 NASCAR Whelen All American Series national champion. He’s been to the New York celebration twice before as a champion of NASCAR’s former Elite Division, the same title he won when the champion’s photo shoot was held at past locations including Atlanta, Ga. and Homestead, Fla.
    Other NASCAR touring champions introduced at Thursday’s luncheon include NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series champion Mike David of Modesto, Calif., NASCAR Whelen Modified Series champion Donnie Lia of Jericho, N.Y., and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Series champion L.W. Miller of Mooresville, N.C. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr., and NASCAR Busch Series champion Carl Edwards. NASCAR Champions Week reaches a crescendo Friday, with the Nextel Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf=Astoria Grand Ballroom. Earlier in the day, all the champions will appear at Fanfest at Hard Rock Café in Times Square. Friday, Johnson and his team will pose for formal photos on New York City’s Park Avenue before attending several pre-awards ceremony receptions. That night, Johnson officially will be crowned the 2007 Nextel Cup Series champion; the awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m. in the Waldorf=Astoria’s venerable Grand Ballroom. ESPN Classic will air the ceremony at 9:00pm/et.(NASCAR PR)(11-30-2007)
  • NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon Award Winners
    Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award: Juan Pablo Montoya (#42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
    Manufacturers Championship Award: Chevy
    Marketing Achievement Award: ESPN Marketing
    Chex Cereals Most Popular Driver Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (#8 Budweiser Chevy)
    Buddy Shuman Award: Robert Yates (owner, Robert Yates Racing)
    Home Depot Humanitarian Award: Don Miller
    Budweiser Pole Award: Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevy)
    Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge Award: Jeff Gordon
    Commit Lozenges Commit to Win Award: Jeff Gordon
    Goodyear Gatorback Fastest Lap Award: Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s Chevy)
    WIX Filters Lap Leader Award: Jeff Gordon
    Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: #48 Lowe’s Chevy
    Mobil 1 Command Performance: Kurt Busch (#2 Miller Lite Dodge)
    USG Improving the Finish Award: Matt Kenseth (#17 DEWALT Ford)
    DirecTV Crew Chief of the Year Award: Mike Ford (#11 FedEx Chevy)
    Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Earl Wheeler (Engine builder for Hendrick Engines)
    Dow Automotive Strategic Call of the Race Award: Jimmie Johnson
    Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Jimmie Johnson
    Goodyear Award: Jimmie Johnson
    Champion Sponsor Award: Robert Niblock (CEO, Lowe’s)
    Champion Crew Chief Award: Chad Knaus (#48 Lowe’s Chevy)
    Myers Brothers Award: Bill France Jr., accepted by Betty Jane France.(NASCAR PR)(11-30-2007)
  • Stewart and Sirius announce winners of “The Stewies”: Winners of the inaugural ‘Stewie Awards’ were announced tonight by two-time Nextel Cup Series Champion and SIRIUS Radio host Tony Stewart at the SIRIUS Satellite Radio Studios in New York City. The 2007 ‘Stewie Award’ winners were decided by fans around the country who logged on to www.SIRIUS.com to vote for the best, boldest and funniest moments of the 2007 NASCAR season. The ‘Stewies’ were awarded during a special broadcast of Tony Stewart Live, the weekly talk show hosted by Stewart and Matt Yocum on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio channel 128, in the midst of the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Champions Week. Winners in 12 categories including “Best Duet,” honoring outstanding teamwork by a driver and crew chief, “Best Original Drama,” honoring the year’s most exciting race moment, “Best Driver2Crew Chatter Exchange,” “Best Stunt Sequence” and others were honored. Among the evening’s highlights was the presentation of the “Stewie Lifetime Achievement Award” to two legends of NASCAR – former NASCAR Chairman and CEO Bill France, Jr. and Hall of Fame driver/broadcaster Benny Parsons, both of whom passed away in 2007. The winners of the 2007 ‘Stewie Awards’ are:
    Stewie Lifetime Achievement Award
    * Bill France, Jr., former Chairman and CEO of NASCAR
    * Benny Parsons, Hall of Fame driver/broadcaster
    Golden Stewie Award – Honoring a legendary driver from the Golden Era of racing (1960-85)
    * A.J. Foyt
    Best Duet – For outstanding teamwork by a driver and crew chief
    * Clint Bowyer & Gil Martin: Martin keeps Bowyer calm and team performs only one adjustment all day to get Bowyer’s first career Nextel Cup win in Sylvania 300 (Sept. 16)
    Best Original Drama – For year’s most exciting race moment
    * Kevin Harvick edges Mark Martin to win his first Daytona 500 (Feb. 18) New Kid on the Track Award – For year’s most outstanding performance by a rookie
    * Juan Pablo Montoya: Wins first Nextel Cup race in Toyota Save Mart 350 (June 24)
    Best Stunt Sequence (Hal Needham Award) – For year’s most spectacular crash
    * Clint Bowyer: Crosses finish line at Daytona 500 on his roof (Feb. 18)
    Best Original Comedy – For year’s most entertaining on track “incident” or occurrence
    * Robby Gordon performs “victory celebration” burnout despite losing Busch Series race at Circuit Gilles Villaneuve in Canada (Aug. 4)
    Best Vocal Performance – For year’s most memorable quote or sound bite
    * Actor Kevin James: Provides memorable “Start Your Engines” command before Pepsi 400 (July 7)
    Best Engineering and Special Effects (Smokey Yunick Award) – For year’s most creative – and ultimately illegal – modifications to a race car
    * Crew Chief David Hyder & MWR VP of Competition Bobby Kennedy: Illegal fuel in #55 car at Daytona 500 (Feb. 18)
    Dazed and Confused Award – For year’s the most baffling move
    * Teresa Earnhardt and DEI allow Dale Earnhardt Jr. to leave for Hendrick Motorsports
    ‘I Got Dumped’ Award – For year’s most memorable on-track bumping
    * Kyle Busch: Wrecked by brother Kurt in Nextel All-Star Challenge (May 19)
    Best Driver2Crew Chatter Exchange – For year’s most memorable driver-to-pit crew communication
    * Denny Hamlin/#11 team: Discuss “plan of attack” against Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #8 car during Subway 500 (Oct. 21)
    (see more at Sirius.com)(11-30-2007)


    News from November 29, 2007

  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Wins Fifth Consecutive NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award: The final race has been run, and the checkered flag has fallen on the NASCAR racing season; but before it was all over, race fans answered the call to vote for their favorite driver. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was voted the 2007 NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver for the fifth consecutive year and was presented with the award today at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon in New York City. “I’m extremely honored to win this award again, because it puts me with a very select group of drivers who I have a lot of respect for,” Earnhardt, Jr. commented. “When I became a Cup driver in 1999, I never would’ve imagined that we’d be talking about five consecutive Most Popular Driver awards. I have a special place at JR Motorsports where I put the MPD trophies, so I’m honored to add another one to the collection. I don’t want it to sound like a cliché, but this award really does mean a lot to me after all we have been through this year,” continued Earnhardt, Jr.. “This year has marked a significant transition in my life and career, and I knew the fans could go either way in supporting my decision or not. It was tough, and I don’t underestimate the fans’ support. It’s been overwhelming, and I really appreciate it.” Throughout the race season, race fans could log on to www.mostpopulardriver.com once a day and vote for their favorite driver. Voting ended on November 19 at 11:59pm/ct. A total of 3.8 million votes were cast this year, with Earnhardt, Jr. receiving 1.4 million votes.
    “General Mills is very proud to once again present Dale Earnhardt, Jr. with the NASCAR NMPA Chex® Most Popular Driver award,” said Becky O’Grady, Vice President of Marketing for Chex cereal. “Earnhardt, Jr. has a dedicated fan base that has supported him throughout his racing career, and each year it shows in the number of votes he receives as the most popular driver. We are honored to present this prestigious award to Dale Jr., thanks to his loyal fans.”
    After receiving the award this year, Earnhardt, Jr. has joined Richard Petty and Bill Elliott as the only drivers to win five straight awards. Petty won from 1974 – 1978 and Elliott won from 1984 – 1988. Other drivers who finished in this year’s top 10 include Jeff Gordon, who finished second in the voting, followed by Michael Waltrip, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett. More than 50 Nextel Cup Series drivers were eligible in 2007 for the esteemed NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award, which is administered by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). It has been awarded annually since 1956 and is one of the oldest awards in racing.(Elevation Group of Companies PR)(11-29-2007)
  • NASCAR enters the Space Age: If NASA’s promotional plan pays off, millions of NASCAR fans will have their eyes glued to the skies next month when space shuttle Atlantis blasts off into orbit — carrying three Daytona 500 race flags in its cargo bay. The green starter flags are being launched into space to celebrate the 50th running of the Daytona 500 in February, as well as NASA’s own upcoming 50th anniversary. “It’s great,” NASA spokesman Allard Beutel said. “It will hopefully bring space to a whole new audience.” NASA, working hard to wind down the shuttle program in 2010 and start its next phase of space exploration that will bring humans back to the moon, is trying to drum up public enthusiasm for an invigorated space program. And the Daytona racetrack was looking for an out-of-this-world way to celebrate its own milestone, said David Talley, spokesman for Daytona International Speedway. NASA came up with the idea to link the two anniversaries earlier this year. Both sides are trying to arrange astronaut-driver promotional events, including a possible joint NASCAR driver-shuttle crew press event during Atlantis’ 11-day mission next month. The agency sets aside a small amount of space on every shuttle mission for commemorative items. Last month, Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber flew aboard Discovery to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Star Wars film franchise. In 2000, a small piece of fabric from Orville and Wilbur Wright’s airplane flew on a shuttle mission. The flags had to be measured and weighed carefully to meet NASA’s requirements for onboard items and will be stowed throughout the mission. Upon their return to Earth, one flag will be awarded to the winner of the 50th Daytona 500 on Feb. 17; one will go to the Daytona 500 Experience attraction at the racetrack; and the third will stay with NASA. NASA officials will announce Atlantis’ launch date Friday. It is expected to be Dec. 6.(Orlando Sentinel)(11-29-2007)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will drop the green flag for shuttle Atlantis as it lifts off the launch pad at 3:31 p.m. Dec. 6. Inside the orbiter’s payload are three flags being sent to space to celebrate the 50th running of the Daytona 500. The flags will travel more than a million miles at 17,500 mph during the 12-day mission to deliver Columbus, a science research module — a far cry from the 200 mph the cars will go during the February race.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-29-2007)
  • Smith tests at Kentucky: Rookie-of-the-Year hopeful Regan Smith laid the groundwork for his first full Sprint Cup Series season by testing his new Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI), machine at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday [and is scheduled to test Thursday also]. Smith will compete in the #01 Chevy in 2008 and is part of a new five-driver DEI Sprint Cup line-up that also will include Paul Menard in the #15 and Martin Truex, Jr., in the #1. Newcomer Aric Almirola and Mark Martin will split time in the team’s #8 entry. Smith also was joined on the track by his teammate Menard and USAC star Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who turned laps in a Roush Fenway ARCA RE/MAX Series car with guidance from 2003 Craftsman Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-29-2007)
  • Myers Brothers Award will go posthumously to Bill France Jr.: The 50th Myers Brothers Award will be presented posthumously Thursday to Bill France Jr., who served as president of NASCAR for more than three decades. France, who took over NASCAR’s top post from his father in 1972 and served as president until 2003, also won the award in voting from members of the National Motorsports Press Association in 1989. The Myers Brothers award is the centerpiece of an annual luncheon scheduled for Thursday during Champion’s Week activities in New York City. The award goes to the individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to stock car racing. Benny Parsons won the award in 2006. Many of the annual contingency awards will also be presented Thursday [highlights on ESPN Classic, Friday night at 8:30pm/et, before the banquet coverage]. This is the second year the Myers Brothers luncheon has served as the setting for these presentations as part of an effort to streamline Friday night’s Nextel Cup awards ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom.(ThatsRacin)(11-29-2007)
  • Pettys considering another camp for for seriously ill kids in Kansas UPDATE confirmed: #45-Kyle Petty said Tuesday afternoon that he and his wife, Pattie, are determined to build a camp that would help seriously ill children in the Midwest and that the Kansas City area is the preferred site for the facility. “We told some people that it’s not if we build, it’s a matter of when we build here,” Petty said. In 2004, the Pettys founded the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C. The intent was to build a facility that would bring happiness into the lives of chronically ill children by providing them, free of charge, with a camp that features everything from horseback riding to bowling. The Pettys’ impetus for founding the race-themed camp was the death of their son, Adam, during a NASCAR test session [at New Hampshire in 2000]. Richard Petty handed 75 acres of wooded land to Kyle and Pattie, and private donors stepped up with financial help. The camp, which features 42 modern wheelchair accessible buildings and a seven-acre lake, plays host to up to 125 children in each of its weeklong summer sessions. It also is host to family weekends. Pattie Petty said that the North Carolina camp is now operating at capacity. She said that prompted a look into a second camp. Petty was scheduled to meet with civic and corporate representatives Tuesday night for another presentation on the project. He said that before anything becomes definite, all involved must be confident of the “long-term sustainability” of the project. Petty said if details are worked out, the camp could open in 2009 or 2010.(Kansas City Star), Kyle and Pattie were also recently named WebMD Health Heroes.(11-28-2007)
    UPDATE: Ryan Cooper, the Lake Mary [FL] firefighter who ran into two burning homes last July after a plane belonging to NASCAR crashed into a Sanford neighborhood. Cooper helped to rescue several victims including a 10 year old boy. He also provided first aid to victims until the first fire units arrived. It was a tragedy that changed his life forever. Now that tragedy will help Cooper change the lives of thousands of deserving children every year. Cooper has been asked by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty to head a new branch of the Victory Junction Gang Camp set to open near Kansas City by 2010.(MyFoxOrlando)(11-29-2007)
  • Sad News – “Cal” Johnson: Thomas Calvin Johnson, whose prominent career in the area racing circuit spanned four decades, died Tuesday. He was 86. Born Aug. 31, 1921, “Cal” Johnson broke onto the scene in the fall of 1949, when he was offered $25 to race in a five-car exhibition. Mr. Johnson won that race, and his career took off. Joe Kelly, a former racer and an authority on area racing, recalled meeting Mr. Johnson on March 18, 1950 at the Hank Stanley Memorial Race at Strawberry Hill (current site of Richmond International Raceway). Mr. Johnson drove a modified 1939 Ford Coupe. By 1953, Mr. Johnson was the champion at Royal Speedway (now Southside Speedway). Mr. Johnson won 106 Modified races, Kelly said, and his knowledge of a race car’s setup played no small role in his success. Mr. Johnson’s racing interest also included go-karts, and he went on to become a three-time world champion in the 1960s. In 1972, Mr. Johnson won the track championship at what is now Virginia Motor Speedway. “You run what you brung,” Kelly said of the track’s automobile specifications at the time. Mr. Johnson’s know-how was instrumental in him besting more tricked-up cars in his modified’32 Plymouth. Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Jane, and sons Tommy (wife Charlotte), Ricky, Fred (wife Patty) and Eddie (wife Penny) and a daughter, Cathy Johnson Forsythe (husband Robbie), and stepson Mike Sharp. Eddie Johnson is a former track champion at Southside, Old Dominion and Langley speedways [Cal also made two Cup race starts in 1951]. Mr. Johnson also had a combined 15 grandchildren and great grandchildren. Two grandchildren also are prominent in racing: Christopher Johnson was this year’s Modified Division rookie of the year at Southside, and Lee Johnson was the Virginia State Go-Kart champion. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Nelson Funeral Home at 412 S. Washington Highway in Ashland. Visitation is Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral is Saturday at 2 p.m. with burial to follow at Woodland Cemetery in Ashland. Memorial donations may be made to: Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, N.C., 27317.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-29-2007)
  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week – Day 3: The usual cacophony of New York City traffic noise – the blare of the horns and screeching of brakes – was interrupted Wednesday morning as 10 of the world’s best drivers fired up their Nextel Cup Series cars for a Victory Lap through the city’s streets. With 2007 Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet leading the way, the drivers drove in a 1.5-mile loop through the heart of the Big Apple. The parade started in front of Good Morning America’s Times Square studios and finished up on 43rd Street and 7th Avenue in front of The Hard Rock Café. “It’s really an honor for us to drive through the streets of New York City and see everybody,” Johnson said. A crowd estimated at 150,000 lined the parade route. ABC-TV carried live coverage of the event.
    The Victory Lap included the top 10 drivers in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series final standings: Johnson, Jeff Gordon (#24 DuPont Chevrolet), Clint Bowyer (#07 Jack Daniel’s Chevrolet), Matt Kenseth (#17 DEWALT Ford), Kyle Busch (#5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet), Tony Stewart (#20 Home Depot Chevrolet), Kurt Busch (#2 Miller Lite Dodge), Jeff Burton (#31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet), Carl Edwards (#99 Office Depot Ford), and Kevin Harvick (#29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet).
    The day was kicked off with the drivers appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America. Following the parade, the drivers posed for a photo atop The Hard Rock Café marquee before attending the Sunoco Checkered Flag Breakfast, which included interviews with New York and national media. The event was broadcast live on SIRIUS Satellite Radio. “This is what’s going to make me go into next year and work even harder to make sure I’m part of this again,” said Bowyer, who was making his first trip to New York City as a top-10 finisher. “That’s not your typical crowd – when you see all these people in suits watching you drive by. That was definitely a neat thing to see all the fans lining the street and seeing all the work and detail that goes into that.”
    Also at The Hard Rock Café, New York City Sports Commissioner Kenneth J. Podziba presented a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the City of New York to NASCAR President Mike Helton declaring Nov. 26-30 as Nextel Cup Series Champions Week. This is the fourth year the Champions Week has included a Victory Lap, which has become the must-see event of the week for fans. Even those drivers who have participated in prior years were amazed at Wednesday’s show. “It’s neat to be able to drive a race car through downtown New York – that’s pretty crazy,” said Edwards, who was part of the Victory Lap in 2005. “It’s cool to see all the people amazed at what’s going on.” Johnson’s championship week activities continued Wednesday afternoon with the champion’s luncheon at the 21 Club with New York and northeast media.
    Thursday, the NASCAR/National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Myers Brothers Luncheon at Cipriani on 42nd Street will honor the Nextel Cup Series’ 12 Chase drivers, champions from all of NASCAR’s racing series and all Nextel Cup drivers who won seasonal awards. Afterward, all 2007 series champions will gather for the traditional champions’ photo shoot at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Johnson will also be part of a private dinner for all of NASCAR’s champions at the Waldorf=Astoria.
    Friday, Johnson and his team will pose for formal photos on New York City’s Park Avenue before attending several pre-awards ceremony receptions. That night, Johnson officially will be crowned the 2007 Nextel Cup Series champion; the awards ceremony begins at 7:00pm/et in the Waldorf=Astoria’s venerable Grand Ballroom. ESPN Classic will air the ceremony at 9:00pm/et.(NASCAR PR)(11-29-2007)


    News from November 28, 2007

  • Some Final Chase Notes: There may be many years without seeing another run in The Chase like #48-Jimmie Johnson. After adjusting for the 5 extra points per win this year, Johnson beat Kurt Busch’s 2004 Chase point total by 157 points! Johnson outpointed Jeff Gordon 911-766 over the final five-race stretch. Gordon’s 1606 points, after adjusting for 10 extra win points, is the second best Chase performance in its four year history, 110 points better than Busch in 2004. Kevin Harvick fell three spots at Homestead, but still finished 35 pionts ahead of Martin Truex for 10th place and the final spot on the stage at the Waldorf. Truex and Denny Hamlin finished out of the money in the first 12-driver Chase. See the final chase stats on the Chase Stats after Homestead page.(11-28-2007)
  • #44 crew chief heads to #24 as car chief: Jason Burdett has left Michael Waltrip Racing, where he served as crew chief for driver #44-Dale Jarrett, to become the car chief for Hendrick Motorsports’ #24-Jeff Gordon, a Hendrick spokesman confirmed Wednesday. Burdett worked on the Gordon and Jimmie Johnson teams at Hendrick from 2000-2002 before joining Robert Yates Racing as the car chief for Jarrett. He joined MWR in May 2007 to replace Matt Borland as Jarrett’s crew chief for the first-year Nextel Cup team. Burdett replaces Jeff Meendering, who has taken over as crew chief for Petty Enterprises’ #43-Bobby Labonte. A replacement for Burdett at MWR has not been named.(SceneDaily.com)(11-28-2007)
  • Crew Chief change at the #12? Miller retires? UPDATE 2 Confirmed: hearing Roy McCauley take over as the crew chief for the #12 alltel Penske Racing team for driver Ryan Newman. McCauley started the 2007 season as Kurt Busch’s crew chief in the #2 Dodge. Supposedly current #12 crew chief, Mike Nelson, will move over to a management position at Penske Racing. The crew chief job for the #77 team and driver Sam Hornish Jr. is supposedly open.(11-17-2007)
    UPDATE: been told that Mike Nelson will be in the front office overseeing the Cup side of the business and Roy McCaulley will be Ryan Newman’s crew chief, and Matt Gimbel will be the interim crew chief for #77 Sam Horish Jr. until a permanent crew chief is chosen, then he will be the race engineer for #77 team. Also, been told that Penske Racing’s Don Miller will retire.(11-27-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Don Miller, who has served as President of Penske Racing South, Inc. since its inception in 1990, is retiring from his position after nearly two successful decades at the highest levels of stock car racing. Penske Racing also announced that Mike Nelson, who just completed his first season as crew chief of the #12 Alltel Dodge driven by Ryan Newman, has been promoted to Vice President of Operations. In his new role, Nelson will oversee Penske’s entries in the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series programs, reporting to Tim Cindric, President of Penske Performance, Inc. In addition, Roy McCauley has been named crew chief for the #12 Alltel team.(Penske Racing PR)(11-28-2007)
  • Charger back in 2008? no Avenger UPDATE: been told the Dodge NASCAR car will be known as the Charger in 2008 NOT the Avenger. The COT body style will stay the same, just the headlight and taillight decals will changed along with the Charger name on the nose.(11-27-2007)
    UPDATE: Dodge today confirmed that it will race the Dodge Charger in the Sprint Cup Series in 2008 and beyond, continuing to add to its rich NASCAR tradition. Dodge, which has a storied heritage in auto racing with the Charger, has elected to continue the winning tradition that legends David Pearson, Bobby Isaac and Richard Petty established in the 1970s by designating the Charger as the nameplate Dodge teams will use in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next year. “Racing is the core of Dodge’s DNA,” said Michael Accavitti, Director – Dodge Brand and SRT Global Marketing. “Dodge has a racing heritage that spans many different nameplates and models, and the Charger is the cornerstone of that heritage. When NASCAR originally announced the phase-in plan for the “car of tomorrow”, it made sense for Dodge to race the Charger and Avenger. When the decision was made to race only one car next year, we talked with our partners, the more than 2,500 Dodge Dealers across the country, and they expressed overwhelming support for Dodge to continue its motorsports heritage with the Charger nameplate. NASCAR rules permit Dodge to use either nameplate in 2008. “Since 2001 when Dodge returned to NASCAR, the goal has been to win races and ultimately the championship. Those goals have been accomplished with the Charger previously and we are committed to make it happen again.” The 2008 Dodge Charger lineup will feature five teams with 12 drivers that are a mixture of seasoned veterans, experienced young talent and champions from other racing series that are newcomers to NASCAR. The Dodge Charger has recorded 136 wins in NASCAR’s premier series with 124 coming during an 11-year span, 1966-1977. Three drivers – Pearson, Isaac and Petty (3) — combined for five championships during that period driving a Charger. After an absence of almost 30 years, Dodge returned to NASCAR competition in 2001 with the Charger returning to the track in 2005.(Dodge Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(11-28-2007)
  • ESPN Classic, ESPN360.com Airing Live Coverage of NASCAR Awards: With the Big Apple as the backdrop, NASCAR will honor the top drivers in Nextel Cup racing at the series’ annual awards banquet Friday night, live from the Waldorf-Astoria at 9:00pm/et on ESPN Classic and ESPN360.com. The event will be re-aired at midnight on ESPN2. In addition, ESPN Classic will air highlights from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon at 8:30pm/et Friday prior to the start of the banquet coverage. Held on the day before the banquet, the luncheon highlights NASCAR awards such as rookie of the year and ends with the presentation of the Myers Brothers Award by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) to the individual or group making the greatest contribution to NASCAR racing in the past year.
    Jimmie Johnson and members of the Hendrick Motorsports organization will be toasted as the Nextel Cup championship team for the second consecutive year during Friday night’s awards banquet. The rest of the drivers who finished in the top 10 of the series point standings also will receive awards onstage. Comedian/actor David Spade will be the featured performer at the banquet. Spade is a long-time fan of NASCAR, having served as Grand Marshal in 2006 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and as the Honorary Mayor at Darlington Raceway in 2003. Multi-platinum, Grammy-winning recording artist Kelly Clarkson also will perform during the banquet. Clarkson, whose collaboration with NASCAR this year included a live performance before the Daytona 500 and a television spot for the “NASCAR, How bad have you got it?” campaign, will perform her songs “One Minute” and “Since U Been Gone.” Dr. Jerry Punch, the lead announcer for NASCAR coverage on ESPN, will serve as the onstage master of ceremonies for the banquet.
    ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature live sports broadband network, is delivering more than 2,500 live, global sports events over the next 12 months (more than ESPN and ESPN2 combined). The service is available at no additional charge to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider.(ESPN PR)(11-28-2007)
  • Spade To Be Featured Performer: Comedian/actor David Spade will be the featured performer for Friday night’s awards ceremony, which will air on ESPN Classic at 9:00pm/et. Spade, a longtime fan of NASCAR, served as Grand Marshal for the March 19, 2006, race at Atlanta. He is currently starring in the CBS comedy Rules of Engagement, and was nominated for an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award and an American Comedy Award in 1999 for his role on the series Just Shoot Me.(NASCAR PR)(11-28-2007)

  • No Petty/GEM merger: For the time being, Petty Enterprises will go it alone in the increasingly costly world of NASCAR. Kyle Petty said Tuesday that Richard Petty has decided not to merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Not at this time, at least. Petty Enterprises and Gillett Evernham were said to be discussing a merger or partnership that would have allowed Petty to maintain its identity.(Kansas City Star)(11-28-2007)
  • Inaugural Humanitarian Award Finalists announced: The Home Depot and NASCAR announced the finalists for the first-ever NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award. The award is the first of its kind open to any member of the NASCAR community who has shown extraordinary dedication to serving others and improving communities through meaningful service efforts. The three finalists are: Spencer Lueders, project creator, director and team member of 24 Hours of Booty; Don Miller, project creator and director of Stocks-for-Tots Charity Event; and Kyle Petty, driver for Petty Enterprises and co-founder of Victory Junction Gang Camp. The recipient of the NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award will be announced at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards luncheon in New York City on Nov. 29, 2007 [to be televised in part on ESPN Classic at 8:30pm/et Friday]. The award recipient will receive a specially designed crystal award, a $100,000 donation made by The Home Depot to the recipient’s charity of choice and a playground in the city of their choice built by volunteers from NASCAR, The Home Depot and KaBOOM!, the company’s national nonprofit partner which envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. The other two finalists will receive a $25,000 donation each to their non-profit charity.(NASCAR PR)(11-28-2007)

  • Tissot to reward Top 10 Nextel Cup drivers Timepieces: Swiss watch brand Tissot, the Official Timekeeper and Official Watch for NASCAR, continues to show its strong affiliation to the world of motorsports and is once again participating in NASCAR’s Victory Lap on Wednesday, November 28th, when NASCAR’s top 10 drivers drive their stock cars through New York City’s Times Square. Following Victory Lap, Tissot will take part in the watch presentation at the Hard Rock Café and will award the top 10 Nextel Cup Series drivers each with an engraved PRS516 NASCAR 2007 Limited Edition watch. Jimmie Johnson won ten races in 2007 and is the Nextel Cup Series champion for the second year in a row. A new tradition has started as he will once again be bestowed with a unique timepiece from Tissot. This year he will be presented with the Bridgeport which is steeped in the finest of Swiss watch making traditions and features an 18K Gold bezel, chronograph, and decorated rotor. The latest technological features and stylish design from Tissot is embodied in the PRS516 NASCAR Limited 2007 Limited Edition. Retail price is $1,295. As part of Tissot’s involvement with Champion’s Week, branded Tissot timekeeping scoring clocks will be placed at strategic high-traffic pit stop points around midtown Manhattan. In addition, Tissot will also be part of the Aflac Pit-Stop Tour which showcases some of the most popular race cars in NASCAR throughout the city, and will be at the Tourneau Atrium in midtown Manhattan at 56th/Madison Avenue from November 26th – November 30th.(Tissot PR)(11-28-2007)

  • Castroneves wins “Dancing With the Stars”: Race car [Penske Racing’s IRL] driver Helio Castroneves is the winner of “Dancing With the Stars.” Spice Girl Melanie Brown and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, were the highest-scoring couple throughout the hit show’s fifth season. But on Tuesday night, viewers snubbed Brown and gave the mirrorball trophy to Castroneves. The fourth consecutive man to win the contest, Castroneves’ personality, enthusiasm and flashing smile – combined with an effortless quickstep on his final performance – clearly resonated more with voters. “It’s not only about dancing, you know? It’s about popularity,” Castroneves said after the show. “That’s what I’m actually very happy about.”(Associated Press)(11-28-2007)
  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week – Day 2: One of the ‘must haves’ from a trip to New York City is pictures of the Big Apple’s world-famous landmarks. For Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, the pictures are even more meaningful because they’ll serve as a lasting reminder of their championship celebration. The highlight of day two of the Nextel Cup Series 27th annual Champions Week for the championship driver and crew chief featured a trip around town to pose for pictures in front of the city’s most recognizable landscapes. The first stop was the corner of East 48th St. and 2nd Ave. – one block up from the photos taken of Johnson and Co. last year following his first championship. Johnson won four of the final five races of the 2007 season to become the first Nextel Cup repeat champion since teammate Jeff Gordon accomplished the feat in 1997-98. “This is one of the highlights,” said Johnson while standing on the street corner. “To get to do it again is fantastic.” The trip also included a stop in front of the United Nations and in front of the historic Flatiron Building. There will be more photo opportunities Wednesday, when Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will lead the top 10 Nextel Cup Series drivers in a 1.5-mile, stock car Victory Lap through the streets of New York, starting on 44th Street and Broadway in front of Good Morning America’s Times Square studios and finishing up on 43rd Street and 7th Avenue in front of The Hard Rock Café. ABC will begin its live coverage of the Victory Lap shortly after 8am/et. “Having a place here allows me to have a better appreciation,” said Johnson of being part of the iconic images. “The photo opportunity in Times Square – I can’t believe we’re there.” Tuesday, Johnson’s day began with appearances on the CW Morning Show, FOX Business Network and the Rachel Ray Show. His schedule also included a satellite media tour and interview on MRN’s NASCAR LIVE. “There is so much going on this week,” said Johnson, who added the second time around is a little less hectic. “Last year, I spent a lot of time worrying about the smallest details. This year, everything is in place and I’m enjoying the moment.” Said Knaus: “This time it’s a lot more relaxing. Last year, there was a lot of nervous energy. We didn’t know what to expect. This year, we have a better idea of what’s going on and we’re getting to enjoy it fully. Obviously winning the championship again was phenomenal. To experience this two years in a row is great.” Johnson will be joined in this week’s celebration by the Nextel Cup Series top 10 drivers, as well as the champions of NASCAR’s national and regional series. A busy week of national media appearances and activities will culminate with Johnson’s official coronation during Friday night’s awards ceremony at New York City’s Waldorf=Astoria Hotel.(NASCAR PR)(11-28-2007)


    News from November 27, 2007

  • Sirius announces broadcast broadcast schedule for NASCAR Champions week: SIRIUS Satellite Radio, the Official Satellite Radio Partner of NASCAR, will provide NASCAR fans with the most comprehensive coverage available of 2007 Nextel Cup Series Champions Week in New York City on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128, the only radio channel that offers fans 24 hours of NASCAR programming 365 days a year. As NASCAR comes to New York City to cap another exciting season and crown the 2007 NASCAR Series Champions, SIRIUS will provide listeners with access to the week’s events, press conferences and parties, including the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York.
    On Friday, November 30, SIRIUS will present a special live broadcast from the Hard Rock Café hosted by 2007 Nextel Cup Series Rookie of the Year Juan Pablo Montoya, Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and SIRIUS host and Associated Press writer Jenna Fryer (11:00am/et). Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti, the 2007 IndyCar Series champion who will compete in the Sprint Cup Series in 2008, will be a guest on the program. Montoya, Ganassi and Fryer will take calls from SIRIUS listeners around the country as they discuss Montoya’s successful rookie campaign and look ahead to Franchitti’s first full season in stock car racing. On Friday night, SIRIUS’ coverage will include Motor Racing Network’s (MRN) live broadcast of the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Awards Ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York (7:00pm/et), where 2007 champion Jimmie Johnson will be feted among the sport’s elite drivers. Throughout the week, SIRIUS NASCAR Radio’s intrepid reporter, Steve Post, will provide SIRIUS listeners with up-to-the minute reports and interviews from the week’s events, parties and press conferences. More info and schedules at sirius.com. SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, channel 128, continues to offer NASCAR coverage 365 days a year with a daily lineup of exclusive talk shows providing up-to-the-minute news, analysis and interviews.(11-27-2007)
  • Final TV Ratings down for Homestead: ABC’s telecast of the Ford 400 Nextel Cup race from Homestead-Miami Speedway received a 4.2 rating, according to Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily. That was down 10.6% from NBC’s broadcast of the race a year ago. NBC’s final telecast of a NASCAR race received a 4.7 national rating, according to Nielson Media Research figures. The lower ratings for the Homestead race reflected a trend in Chase For The Nextel Cup events, as all 10 Chase races in 2007 received lower ratings compared to 2006. Some races were not comparable, however, because a race may have been on network TV last year and cable in ’07. According to SportsBusiness Daily, the top-rated sports program for the Nov. 17-18 weekend was the Dallas Cowboys-Washingtomn Redskins NFL game, which received a 15.0 rating.(SceneDaily.com), for each race TV Ratings [if found] and more news on Ratings, see the 2007 TV Ratings page.(11-27-2007)
  • #15 DEI team testing: The #15 DEI team is scheduled to be testing at Kentucky Speedway this Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for next year’s intermediate track events. Paul Menard will be on hand for the test and to assist in the preparation for the 2008 Sprint Cup season.(Co-Pilott Motorsports Marketing PR)(11-27-2007)
  • Testing in Nashville: Team Red Bull had the track reserved for Tuesday, November 27 and Wednesday, November 28; however that didn’t stop some other NASCAR teams to tag along for the day. Four cars including the Jeff Burton’s # 31, Kevin Harvick’s #29, Michael Waltrip’s #55, and Dale Jarrett’s #44 spent the day testing together on the 1.33 mile “D” shaped concrete Nashville Superspeedway. Jeff Burton tested his #31 and Scott Wimmer tested Kevin Harvick’s #29. Team Red Bull will have the track on Wednesday.(Nashville Superspeedway)(11-27-2007)
  • Maloney car-art exhibition now on display in NYC: As NASCAR celebrates Champions Week in New York, the art of driving is cropping up in new and intriguing forms. California artist Steve Maloney will be exhibiting selections from “This Is Where The Rubber Meets The Road,” his vibrant series of mixed-media works created from crashed sheet metal from actual NASCAR racecars, at the CODA Gallery in the Soho district of Manhattan. The exhibition is scheduled to run at CODA through Dec. 4.(NASCAR.com)(11-27-2007)
  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week – Day 1 Jimmie Johnson knows what to expect this week. After all, the driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy got to experience the glitz and the glamour of the Big Apple last year when he won his first Nextel Cup Series championship. This year, he’s back for more. Johnson is returning to the New York City spotlight – and the main stage of the national media – following his successful 2007 defense of his championship and will be the focal point as NASCAR celebrates its 27th annual Champions Week. “Coming down the steps (of the Waldorf=Astoria) started bringing back some memories of last year,” said Johnson, who became the first Nextel Cup Series repeat champion since Jeff Gordon won back to back championships in 1997-98. “The thing I really want to do this year is savor every moment, because before I knew it last year, it was all gone and we were on our way back to North Carolina and the banquet was over. And, I wanted to enjoy those moments a little bit longer.” Johnson will be joined in this week’s celebration by the Nextel Cup Series top 10 drivers, as well as the champions of NASCAR’s national and regional series. A busy week of national media appearances and activities will culminate with Johnson’s official coronation during Friday night’s awards ceremony. Johnson, who clinched his second straight title in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, arrived in New York Sunday evening. He enjoyed a welcome dinner with NASCAR and Sprint Nextel executives at the sport’s longtime Champions Week headquarters – the historic Waldorf=Astoria Hotel. His media blitz kicked off Monday with the airing of his appearance on LIVE with Regis & Kelly, followed by appearances on the FOX News Channel’s “Live Desk” and the Sports Net NY “Daily News Live.” Later in the day, Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus helped ring the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange.
    Tuesday, November 27 – Johnson will be appearing on the CW Morning Show, FOX Business Network and the Rachel Ray Show. Johnson has photo opportunities scheduled in the afternoon at 48th and 2nd Streets, the historic Flatiron Building and Radio City Music Hall, followed by a satellite media tour and interview on MRN’s NASCAR LIVE.(NASCAR PR)(11-27-2007)


    News from November 26, 2007

  • New crew chief for Labonte in 2008? UPDATE 2: Hearing that #24-Jeff Gordon’s car chief [not crew chief], Jeff Meendering, will be Bobby Labonte’s new crew chief of the #43 Cheerios/Petty Enterprises Dodge in 2008, replacing current #43 crew chief, Doug Randolph, will leave after the season and head to the #15 DEI team of Paul Menard.(11-9-2007)
    UPDATE: The car chief for Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevy says he will wait until after the season to decide whether he will leave Hendrick Motorsports to pursue opportunities as a crew chief. Jeff Meendering, who joined Hendrick in 1994 and has been part of the #24 team since 2000, said several teams are interested in acquiring his services, but he said he hasn’t decided whether he will accept one of those positions. One of those teams is Petty Enterprises and its #43 car, which has an opening after crew chief Doug Randolph was hired by Dale Earnhardt Inc. An Internet rumor said Meendering had already decided to join Petty as a crew chief next season. “I’ve talked to them,” Meendering said Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. “That’s one of the options that’s out there. I’m just trying to get through the season. I’m not committing to anything yet. I’m just looking at my options. I’m not saying I’m going to be doing anything different than [working at Hendrick] this year.”(SceneDaily.com)(11-9-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Petty Enterprises announced Jeff Meendering as the new crew chief of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger driven by Bobby Labonte. Meendering, 30, will take over crew chief duties of the #43 team immediately and will see his first on track action with Labonte during a Goodyear tire test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, December 11-12. He joins Petty Enterprises after a 13-year stint with Hendrick Motorsports where for the past 2 ½ seasons he held the position of car chief on the #24 team of Jeff Gordon. In addition, Meendering assumed the role of interim crew chief of the #24 car for six races during the 2007 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Under his guidance the team scored top-10 finishes in each of the six races, with a high finish of second at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July. Meendering will step into an organization that is showing a commitment to winning. Petty Enterprises recently announced that they will move into the Mooresville, N.C. shop the previously housed Robert Yates Racing. The hiring of Meendering will provide a talented leader to ease in the transition period.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(11-26-2007)
  • TNT revises ‘Wide Open Coverage’ for Daytona in July: Turner Sports and TNT have greenlit a reprise of this past NASCAR season’s July 7 Wide Open Coverage race, a television first that featured no commercial interruptions but used branded content for 10 advertisers that appeared sporadically via a small on-screen window. Trish Frohman, executive vp of Turner Sports sales, said Sprint will definitely return for next year’s July 5 telecast, while talks are underway with the other marketers including Auto Zone, DirecTV, Ford, Goodyear, Miller Brewing Co., Principal Financial Group, Subway and Toyota. Coca-Cola has replaced Pepsi as the on-track sponsor of next year’s race, which will be known as the Coke 400. Turner is also talking with Coke about becoming TV sponsor of the race and buying branded spots in the telecast. All the branded spots, as in this year’s telecast, will be produced by Turner Sports Creative Sports Services, in partnership with the clients. Each will run between 30 seconds and two minutes apiece. The Wide Open Coverage concept was a hit with viewers because without national commercial breaks, racing fans got to see more than an hour of additional live coverage during the three-hour telecast. This year’s Pepsi 400 was not only ad-supported cable’s highest-rated program of that week among adults 18-49 and 25-54, but also the top-rated show on July 7 in those demos in all of television, including broadcast. The telecast drew 3 million adults 18-49 and 6.1 million viewers overall. Frohman said the number of advertisers will remain at 10, with the format basically remaining the same.(Mediaweek)(11-26-2007)

News from November 24, 2007

  • Changes at the #7 team? hearing that #7 Crew Chief Peter Sospenzo as well as car chief Bill Henderson have parted ways with #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports.(11-24-2007)

  • Dillner to Announce, Compete and Coach at Snowball Derby: In his more than 30 years involved in the sport of auto racing, Bob Dillner has done just about everything he has wanted to do. He has worked his way up through the ranks to become a noted NASCAR broadcaster on the popular SPEED channel. He has been to victory lane at tracks around the country behind the wheel of various different types of racecars. He has even taken the love of short track racing to another level by giving young drivers a chance to succeed on the track themselves in cars that Dillner owns and his BDI Racing team prepares. But never before has Dillner been able to do everything all in the same place during the same weekend. That will all change during the 40th Annual Snowball Derby Weekend, November 29th through December 2nd at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. Dillner will be a special guest track announcer for the 300-lap Snowball Derby Super Late Model event on Sunday, December 2nd for the second straight year at Five Flags. The night before the SLM race, Dillner will be atop the pit box coaching his 15-year-old BDI Racing Development Driver Zach Stroupe in the Snowflake 100 Pro Late Model feature. Dillner’s weekend will kick off though with a chance to compete on the historic Five Flags Speedway half-mile behind the wheel of the Speed51.com Bomber Stock car. Tickets and RV Parking spots for the 40th Annual Snowball Derby weekend are still available, but they are going fast. Four-day advance Reserved seats are only $70. For more information on tickets and RV passes, contact Five Flags Speedway at 850-944-8400 or order tickets online at www.snowballderby.com.(Speed51.com)(11-24-2007)

  • Kahne finishes 2nd at Turkey Night: #9-Kasey Kahne placed second in the USAC Midget Turkey Night Grand Prix on Thursday at Irwindale Speedway. Kahne, driving a car he owned, finished 2.27 seconds behind race winner Dave Darland. Finishing third was Brewco Motorsports driver Bobby East. Several other drivers with NASCAR ties competed in the event, including Chip Ganassi Racing development driver Bryan Clauson (sixth), Braun Racing driver Jason Leffler (seventh), Penske Racing development driver Billy Wease (ninth), Bill Davis Racing development driver Bobby Santos (22nd), Roush Racing development driver Ricky Stenhouse (29th) and Ford Racing development driver Stephanie Mockler (31st). Santos won the 40-lap USAC Sprint race. Kahne finished 13th in that race.(SceneDaily.com)(11-24-2007)


    News from November 23, 2007

  • Congrats John Kosner: Luke Emmanuel Kosner was born at 6:37AM this morning at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. He weighs 7 pounds and 14 oz and is 21 inches long. His arrival made this the most joyous Thanksgiving ever for Diane and ESPN’s John Kosner and their families.(11-23-2007)

  • Sad News – Mabel Kimmel: The world of racing lost a true friend on Tuesday morning with the passing of Mabel Kimmel. Mabel, the mother of nine-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel, was a familiar figure at race tracks all across the country for many years [also has raced in seven Cup races]. Her husband, Bill Kimmel Sr., who survives, was a longtime competitor in ARCA and many other racing divisions. Bill Kimmel Jr., whose son Will Kimmel won the 2007 late model championship at Salem Speedway, serves as crew chief on Frank’s ARCA team. Another grandson, Frank Kimmel II, captured Rookie of the Year honors in the street stock division this past season at Salem. Visitation is at Scott Funeral Home in Jeffersonville, Indiana, on Friday, November 23 from 12 noon until 8 p.m., with a memorial service on Saturday, November 23 at 10 a.m. Scott Funeral Home is located at 2515 Veterans Parkway, Jeffersonville, IN, 47130 (p 812-283-8161). In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Focus Motorsports Ministries. Prayers and condolences go out to the Kimmel family.(11-23-2007)


    News from November 22, 2007

  • RCC Announces Richard Petty Education Center: Randolph Community College’s Board of Trustees announced that the new 20,000-square-foot building that will house RCC’s Autobody Repair and Automotive Systems programs will be named the “Richard Petty Education Center.” President Robert S. Shackleford Jr. stated, “We want to honor Richard Petty’s legacy. This tribute symbolizes the positive and winning attitude that Mr. Petty, a native son of Randolph County, brings to his work. That’s the same attitude demonstrated by our students and our faculty. We look forward to a long-term relationship with Mr. Petty and appreciate very much his interest in and support for the college.” Opening in the fall of 2008, the modified U-shape building consists of almost 15,000 square feet of new space, providing 10 work stations in addition to a state-of-the-art paint booth and additional work space. The front of the building, one of the “legs” of the U, comprises over 5,000 square feet of renovated classroom, office and computer lab space. Petty Enterprises has agreed to donate Petty memorabilia to be placed in the lobby area to enhance the building and to honor Mr. Petty. More info at randolph.edu.(MCG Sports PR)(11-22-2007)


    News from November 21, 2007

  • “COT” to make first appearance at LVMS: NASCAR’s “Car of Tomorrow” will make take its first laps around the high-banked Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Dec. 11 as five drivers will conduct a tire test on behalf of Goodyear. #20-Tony Stewart, #17-Matt Kenseth, #31-Jeff Burton, #9-Kasey Kahne and #28-Travis Kvapil will take part in the two-day test. It will be a significant test for both the race teams and the speedway. This past year’s Nextel Cup and Busch events were the first for each series since the speedway’s banking was increased from 12 to 20 degrees. The five drivers will help Goodyear select a tire for the UAW-Dodge 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event on March 2, 2008. The test is not open to the public. Tickets for both the UAW-Dodge 400 and Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide (formerly Busch) Series event are on sale now by calling the speedway’s box office at 1-800-644-4444 or online at www.lvms.com. Neon Garage, Lucky 7 parking and Driver Introduction passes also are available.(LVMS PR)(11-21-2007)

  • Jeff Gordon’s Team Claims 2007 Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge Season Championship: Jeff Gordon’s #24 over-the-wall crew beat Mark Martin’s #01 crew in a tiebreaker to capture the 2007 Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge season championship. Gordon’s and Martin’s pit crews ended the season tied for first with four wins a piece, but the tiebreaker went to Gordon’s team for having the highest finish in the Nextel Cup driver point standings. Checkers/Rally’s will present Gordon’s crew a $111,150 bonus check for winning the season-long competition during Champions Week in New York City. Combined with its $11,000 winnings for each weekly each pit crew victory, the total prize money earned by Gordon’s crew in 2007 is $155,150. The #24 crew consists of: Jeff Cook (jackman), Mike “Tiny” Houston (front-tire carrier), Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear-tire changer), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Andy Kruep (eighth-man). The pit crew coach is Matt Clark. David Ragan’s #6 over-the-wall crew won the weekly Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru challenge during Sunday’s (Nov. 18) Nextel Cup event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It was the first win of the season for the Roush Fenway Racing crew. Ragan’s team consists of: Dennis Killian (jackman), Shelton McCall (front-tire carrier), Adam Emmert (front-tire changer), TJ Hamilton (rear-tire carrier), Dwayne Ogles (rear-tire changer), John Goodman (gasman), Shane Wood (catch can) and Justin Hines (eighth man). Jimmy Fennig is the crew chief. Checkers/Rally’s paid out $507,150 in prize money during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(11-21-2007)

  • ESPN2 Airing Nextel Cup, Busch Series Season Reviews: The just-completed 2007 seasons of the Nextel Cup Series and Busch Series will be reviewed in a pair of programs airing Sunday, Nov. 25, on ESPN2. A half-hour look back at the Nextel Cup Series season airs at 1:30pm/et, followed at 2:00pm/et by a review of the Busch Series season. Both series concluded their years at Homestead-Miami Speedway the weekend of Nov. 17-18.(ESPN PR, not found on their site)(11-21-2007)
  • Montoya wins Raybestos Rookies of the Year Award:
    · #42-Juan Pablo Montoya finished his Raybestos Rookie season with one win, three top-five and six top-10 finishes. He was Raybestos Rookie of the Race 16 times in 36 races.
    · Montoya scored a 15th-place finish in tonight’s race [at Homestead].
    · This is the second Raybestos Rookie of the Year title for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Jamie McMurray claimed top rookie honors in 2003.
    · This is the Fourth Raybestos Rookie of the Year title for Montoya’s primary sponsor, Texaco/Havoline. He joins Davey Allison (1987), Kenny Irwin, Jr. (1998) and Jamie McMurray (2003).
    · David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in tonight’s Ford 400. Ragan scored a 10th-place finish, his third top-10 effort this season.
    · Ragan led once for one lap and was the only freshman driver to lead tonight’s race.
    (Raybestos PR)(11-18-2007)
    MORE Juan Pablo Montoya is the 2007 Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the Nextel Cup Series. Montoya finished his Raybestos Rookie season with one win, three top-five and six top-10 finishes. Montoya was Raybestos Rookie of the Race 16 times in 36 races. His final margin of victory over David Ragan in the Raybestos Rookie standings was 24 points (276-252). Montoya will earn a record $106,500 from Raybestos brand Brakes for his efforts in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series this season. In addition to the payout for winning Raybestos Rookie of the Year ($65,000) and for being the top rookie finisher in 16 races ($24,000), he also captured bonus money as part of the Magnificent Seven program. The Raybestos Rookie of the Race normally pays $1,500 but that increased to $5,000 at seven designated races throughout the 2007 season.(Raybestos PR)(11-21-2007)


    News from November 20, 2007

  • AT&T #31 Driver Jeff Burton honored as 2007 Person of the Year: Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 AT&T Chevrolet and winner of the Busch race in Miami on Saturday, is well-known for his skill and tenacity on the track, but he is also a noted philanthropist off of it. Today, Burton was named the 2007 Person of the Year by NASCAR Illustrated for his efforts both on and off the track. As part of this honor, Old Spice has agreed to donate $5,000 to Duke Children’s Hospital in his name. To congratulate Burton for the award, AT&T has matched the donation with a $5,000 contribution of their own to the hospital. “AT&T wants to congratulate Jeff for this wonderful honor,” said Tim McGhee, director of national sponsorships for AT&T’s wireless unit. “We have always known that Jeff is not just a great driver, but a great person. We’re proud that others will be aware now, too.” In addition to being one of the top drivers in the sport, Burton has been an advocate for improved driver safety as well as a top supporter of the Duke Children’s Hospital. Burton and his wife Kim have raised well over a million dollars for the hospital and devoted countless hours of personal time to brightening the lives of seriously ill children. The Person of the Year award is an annual honor decided on by NASCAR Illustrated staffers. This is the first time Burton has won the award, and he appears on the cover of the December issues.(AT&T PR)(11-20-2007)

  • Little Debbie Renews with Wood Brothers: Wood Brothers Racing and JTG Racing announced that McKee Foods Little Debbie Snack Cakes brand will be returning as a primary sponsor [of the #21 Ford] in a newly-signed two-year deal. This agreement extends and builds upon a previous two-year relationship with the Collegedale, Tennessee Company. Little Debbie will serve as the primary sponsor for 18 Sprint Cup events in the 2008 season and again in the 2009 season. Up-and-coming Busch Series superstar Marcos Ambrose will take over as the face of the company’s NASCAR efforts in twelve of the eighteen races, beginning in Sonoma, CA in June, 2008. Additional driver lineups for the remaining six Little Debbie events will be announced at a later date—as will other sponsor/driver combinations for the new year. Ambrose will serve as a pitchman for all of the company’s snack cake brands, appearing in all point of sale (POS) materials and related items.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)(11-20-2007)

  • Fastenal to sponsor Ganassi Racing/Sorenson/Franchitti? UPDATE: hearing that Fastenal Company [which formerly sponsored the #18 Bobby Hamliton Racing CTS team] has signed a deal to sponsor Dario Franchitti and the #40 Dodge in the 2008 Nationwide [was Busch] Series. Fastenal will also sponsor Reed Sorenson in a few select Sprint Cup racess in 2008.(11-20-2007)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced that Fastenal Company, a leading global industrial and construction supply distributor, has signed a multi-year deal with the team to sponsor driver Dario Franchitti and the #40 Dodge Charger in the 2008 Nationwide Series. The program will feature Franchitti as the car’s primary driver and also include select races with his CGRFS Sprint Cup Series teammate Reed Sorenson behind the wheel.(CGRFS PR)(11-20-2007)

  • Mike Ford wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year: WypAll Wipers announced that Mike Ford, crew chief for the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team, as the 2007 WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. The WypAll Wipers Crew Chief Challenge has been a season-long contest set out to determine the best crew chiefs in the garage. At the conclusion of each NASCAR race, a panel of judges decided which crew chief did an outstanding job throughout the course of the weekend based on their strategic planning and race day calls. While, it wasn’t necessarily the crew chief that made it into victory lane, it was always the crew chief that made the biggest difference to his team. The crew chief with the most weekly wins received top honors as the WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. The challenge spotlights the crew chief’s performance and efforts to get his team into victory lane. Mike Ford earned Crew Chief of the Race accolades at five races this season, narrowly edging out Bob Osborne, crew chief of the #99 Office Depot team and Chad Knaus, crew chief of the #48 Lowe’s team, each with four wins. The 2006 Crew Chief of the Year champion and WypAll Wipers spokesmen, Robbie Reiser, recognized the efforts of Ford and all crew chiefs in the Nextel Cup garage. On winning the 2007 WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Year, Ford was presented with a check for $20,000. “There is no doubt that Mike Ford is responsible for much of the success with the #11 FedEx Chevy,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “From the first time he and Denny Hamlin worked together they clicked. Mike is an important part of our team at Joe Gibbs Racing and more than that, a first class person.” For more information on Wypall Wipers or the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge, visit www.Wypall.com.(WypAll Wipers PR)(11-20-2007)

  • A sponsor for the #49 named: BAM Racing announced today the addition of VOISYS (www.voisys.com) as an Official Diamond Sponsor of its #49 Sprint Cup Team for the entire 2008 season. “We’re excited to welcome VOISYS as a sponsor of our team in 2008”, commented team owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. “In NEXTEL Cup Racing, it is the support from sponsors that makes it possible to compete every week. And we’re very appreciative of VOISYS joining us in a sponsorship role.” Voisys is an 800 and Internet based lead generation system serving the automotive non-prime, prime, and lease markets. In just the past 12 months the company has generated millions of Sub-Prime leads with its VOISYS Loan By Phone, Direct Mail and Internet programs. For more information contact Michael Snider at 800-438-8642 X 102 or visit www.voisys.com.(PRWEB)(11-20-2007)


    News from November 19, 2007

  • Fan Voting at SPEED: SPEED will open the first three categories of the Second Annual SPEED Performance Awards on Nov. 19, as fans will choose from a selection of video clips posted on SPEEDtv.com for RACER Magazine Rookie of the Year, “Biggest Hit” and the “Oops Award.” Among the nominees for RACER Magazine Rookie of the Year are Lewis Hamilton (Formula One), Robert Doornbos (Champ Car) and Juan Pablo Montoya (NASCAR Nextel Cup Series). The second series of categories – “Temper, Temper,” “Biggest Upset” and “Heartbreak” will open to fan voting beginning Nov. 26 and the final three categories – “Best Rivalry,” “Best Finish” and “Tell it Like it Is” will be open to fan voting beginning Dec. 3. In addition to the fan-selected SPEED Performance Awards, SPEED will once again present the Mario Andretti Trophy to the SPEED Performer of the Year. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson earned the inaugural award last season. All of the awards will be part of a one-hour SPEED Performance Awards special to air in February.(SPEEDtv.com)(11-19-2007)

  • Overnight Homestead TV ratings lower than 2006: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Ford 400 Nextel Cup season finale earned a 3.8 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The figure is 11.6% lower than the 4.3 NBC earned overnight for the race in 2006.(SceneDaily.com), see past TV Ratings news on the 2007 TV Ratings page.(11-19-2007)

  • Yates to bring back #28 in 2008: Yates Racing will resurrect the #28 next season with driver Travis Kvapil. The number, which has been driven by 10 of the 40 winningest drivers in NASCAR history for 76 victories, hasn’t been used since Ricky Rudd was behind the wheel at RYR in 2002. “Hopefully, we can do the things we used to do with it,” said Doug Yates, the co-owner of RYR. Among those that have driven the 28 are Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Davey Allison, Dale Jarrett and Ernie Irvan. Davey Allison won 19 races with the number between 1987 and his tragic helicopter death in 1993. Rudd last drove the number from 2000 to 2002, collecting three wins and 53 top 10s. He was fifth in points in his first season, fourth in 2001 and 10th in 2002. Yates is making the switch because it gave the #88 to Dale Earnhardt Jr. to use at Hendrick Motorsports next season. “We hope it brings back the good times we had before,” he said. “It’s always been a number we’ve been fond of.”(ESPN.com)(11-19-2007)

  • France’s to switch jobs? UPDATE: from a Robin Miller article on SPEEDtv.com – Jim France moving into the Big Chair [CEO of NASCAR?] and nephew Brian [France] going to Grand-Am?(SPEEDtv.com)(10-20-2007)
    UPDATE: NASCAR chairman Brian France said Sunday he is in the sport for the long haul. Recent reports also indicated Brian might step down and have his uncle, Jim France, take over as chairman. Jim is the vice chairman and executive vice president of NASCAR. He also is the CEO of International Speedway Corp., a public company that owns 12 tracks where NASCAR races. “I’m committed to my job for the foreseeable future,” Brian France said. “That’s years, not months. And my family is absolutely committed. We are not interested in selling NASCAR or International Speedway Corporation.” Jim is the brother of Bill France Jr., the former NASCAR chairman who died earlier this year. Lesa France Kennedy, Brian’s sister, is the president of ISC and a member of NASCAR’s board of directors. “Our management team, from [president] Mike Helton on down, is the best in sports,” France said. “My sister, my uncle and myself, we’re all committed. The fact that we lost our father this year may be where some of this [speculation] comes from.”(ESPN.com)(11-19-2007)

  • Evernham plans to scale back track time in 2008: Although Ray Evernham will be overseeing how the race cars will be built at Gillett Evernham Motorsports next year, he doesn’t expect to be at the race track all the time to do it. “You’ll probably see less of me as the thing goes on a little bit,” Evernham said Nov. 16. “I’m going to try to get a little bit rested up and concentrate on what we’ve got to do to get better and see what the next things are.” Evernham sold majority interest of his team to George Gillett and family in August. The former crew chief for Jeff Gordon has remained with the team as chief executive officer. “The Gilletts have done a great job and they’re doing exactly what they said they would do and it’s maybe letting me stand back a little bit and say, ‘OK, what have we really got to do with this organization?’ ” Evernham said. “I’m looking forward to maybe being more of a consultant to my own company and helping more rather than trying. For me to be in the shop worrying about where the bodies are put and how the cars are being built? No, I need to be out identifying the people and getting that long-term vision back again and it’s going to allow me to do that, so you’re probably going to see a little bit less of me.”(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2007)

  • NASCAR NOT for sale MORE: NASCAR says speculation that its family-owned company is for sale to the same European private equity firm that owns the Formula One group is “unequivocally false.” A recent report in the racing business newsletter The Business of Motorsport, suggested that CVC Capital Partners, which manages funds internationally totaling more than $23.7 billion, was the “most-likely buyer” of NASCAR, Inc. from the France family. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston, quoting a conversation he had on the matter with chairman Brian France, said France’s reaction was an emphatic no. “[France said] It’s a dead end story that has nothing remotely accurate,” Poston said. “I spoke with Brian. NASCAR is not for sale.” CVC representatives, reached in the company’s New York office Friday, chose not to comment on the matter. CVC Capital Partners opened its first US office in Manhattan in March “to expand its American business,” and already has purchased the luggage company Samsonite for $1.7 billion. CVC also recently bought the GP2 racing series for $300 million, and the report states that speculation has surfaced that they’re also contemplating purchasing the sanctioning body that owns the Dakar Rally and Tour de France cycle race.(Marty Smith/ESPN.com)(11-18-2007)
    MORE: NASCAR chairman Brian France said Sunday that NASCAR is not for sale. A recent report stated that a European investment firm was interested in buying NASCAR from the France family. France was asked if NASCAR had received inquiries about selling the company. “All the time,” he said. “But we don’t take the inquiries and don’t have meetings with private equity firms. I can’t be any clearer than that, but I’ll say as directly as I can that NASCAR is not for sale.”(ESPN.com)(11-19-2007)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Ford 400
    Total number of commercials: 132 (in 2006: 151)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 75 (in 2006: 76)
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 28 (in 2006: 25)
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 11/18/07: 3:45 PM (in 2006: 2:50 PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 11/18/07: 7:06 PM (in 2006: 6:31 PM)
    Total minutes: 201 (in 2006: 221)
    Minutes of race broadcast: 143 (in 2006: 147)
    Minutes of commercials: 58 (in 2006: 74)
    Number of missed restarts: 0 (in 2006: 0)
    Total race brdcst time: 143 Total comm. brdcst time: 58
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(11-19-2007)

News from November 18, 2007

  • 2007 Championship Facts:
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Championship, scoring his second series championship in six full-time Nextel Cup seasons.
    .. Johnson is 32 years old and is from El Cajon, Calif.
    .. Johnson finished the season with 10 victories and 24 top-10 finishes, including four victories and eight top-10s in the 10-Chase for the Nextel Cup.
    .. Johnson finished the season with four victories in the final five races and came from 68 points behind then leader Jeff Gordon following the event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to claim the title by 77 points.
    .. Johnson became the 15th driver to post multiple championships in NASCAR’s premier series.
    .. This is the 14th time in the history of the Nextel Cup Series that a driver has posted back-toback championships, including the only three consecutive championships by Cale Yarborough (1976-78).
    .. Johnson has finished in the top 10 of the final standings in each of his six full-time seasons in Nextel Cup Series, including back-to-back runner-up positions in 2003 and 2004. He finished fifth in his other two full-time seasons.
    .. Rick Hendrick won his seventh Nextel Cup Series championship, second only to Petty Enterprises (nine). Petty Enterprises had one season (1954) where Lee Petty won the driver championship but the owner champion ship went to Herb Thomas.
    .. Hendrick is in his 24th full season as a Nextel Cup car owner.
    .. Hendrick has won championships with three different drivers: Jeff Gordon (1995, ’97, ’98 and 2001), Jimmie Johnson (2006 and 2007) and Terry Labonte (1996).
    .. Hendrick has posted 11 titles in NASCAR’s top three series: Nextel Cup Series (seven), Busch Series (one),Craftsman Truck Series (three). He is joined by Jack Roush and Richard Childress as the only owners to have won championships in all three series.
    .. Chad Knaus won his second Nextel Cup Series championship.
    .. Knaus is 36 years old and hails from Rockford, Ill.
    .. He has participated in six full-time seasons as a crew chief – all with Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick [Knaus served as crew chief for a few teams fior a few races in 2000-2001 but none for the full season].
    .. He became the 15th crew chief in Nextel Cup history to claim multiple series titles.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-18-2007)
  • Kenseth wins at Homestead; Johnson the champ: #17-Matt Kenseth won the FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his 2nd win of the season and 16th of his career. #2-Busch finished 2nd, followed by #11-Hamlin, #24-Gordon [record setting 30th top 10 in 36 races], #99-Edwards, #1-Truex Jr., #48-Johnson, #31-Burton, #01-Martin and #6-Ragan. #48-Johnson clinced and won the 2007 Nextel Cup Championship by 77 points over #24-Jeff Gordon. Johnson is the first driver to win back-to-back championships since Gordon in 1997-1998. Other Chasers finished: #29-Harvick 19th, #5-Busch 20th, #20-Stewart 30th and #07-Bowyer 39th. #8-Earnhardt Jr. wrecked and finished 36th. There were 7 cautions for 32 laps and 11 drivers led the race with 25 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 notes, lucky dogs and more.(11-18-2007)
  • The Chase Standings [after Homestead, race 36]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6723
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon 66646, -77
    3) #07-Clint Bowyer 6377, -346
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth 6298, -425
    5) #5-Kyle Busch 6293, -430
    6) #20-Tony Stewart 6242, -481
    7) #2-Kurt Busch 6231, -492 [2 wins]
    8) #31-Jeff Burton 6231, -492 [1 win]
    9) #99-Carl Edwards 6222, -501
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 6199, -524
    only top-10 go to NYC and the banquet
    11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 6164, -559
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin 6143, -580
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(11-11-2007)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after Homestead [36 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 5455
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5102, -353
    3) #20-Tony Stewart 4749
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth 4718
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin 4623
    6) #5-Kyle Busch 4585
    7) #99-Carl Edwards 4574
    8) #07-Clint Bowyer 4556
    9) #31-Jeff Burton 4549
    10) #2-Kurt Busch 4371
    11) #29-Kevin Harvick 4344
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 4314
    13) #12-Ryan Newman 4046
    14) #16-Greg Biffle 3991
    15) #25-Casey Mears 3949
    16) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3929
    (11-18-2007)
  • Rumblings – Homestead race Notes: Matt Kenseth pretty much had it his own way all day and went on to win the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway….leading 214 of the 267 laps in the process. This was the second win of the season for Matt (he took California back in February) and 16th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now solo in 43rd on the all-time win list). This was the 7th win of the season for Roush-Fenway and their 102nd overall. It was worth $359,941 from the over $5.3m in posted awards.
    Kurt Busch (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Michigan in August.
    Denny Hamlin (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Watkins Glen in August.
    David Ragan (10th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Richmond in September.
    Dale Jarrett (17th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Atlanta in October of 2006!
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10’s in a row. Matt Kenseth has 5 Top-5’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Denny Hamlin (+27), followed by Greg Biffle (+24). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-25), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (-23), Johnny Benson (-23), Kasey Kahne (-21), David Gilliland (-20), and Clint Bowyer (-20). Matt Kenseth led the season with five Ops, while Kasey Kahne had the most BD’s with four.
    Jeff Gordon can take solce in knowing he won the “Classic” standings, tho there’s no trophy, no money, and (for all practical purposes) no mention either. His final margin over Jimmie Johnson was a whopping 353 points. Mark Martin (30th to 27th) made the best advance today, while Clint Bowyer (5th to 8th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(11-18-2007)
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway – Fast Facts
    .. Matt Kenseth won the Ford 400, his 16th victory in 292 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship by a margin of 77 points over Jeff Gordon.
    .. This is Kenseth’s second victory and 22nd top-10 finish in 2007.
    .. This is his Kenseth’s first victory and third top-10 finish in eight races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    .. Kurt Busch (second) posted his third top-10 finish in seven races at Homestead.
    .. Denny Hamlin (third) posted his second top-10 finish in three races at Homestead.
    .. David Ragan (10th) was the highest finishing rookie. Juan Pablo Montoya won the 2007 Nextel Cup Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Award.
    .. Seven of the Chase drivers posted top-10 finishes.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-18-2007)
  • Gordon breaks top-10 record: #24-Jeff Gordon finished the 2007 Nextel Cup season with 30 top-10 finishes this season – which breaks Dale Jarrett modern season record of 29 top-10 finishes during his 1999 championship run.[Since the schedule was reduced by NASCAR in 1972 – called the modern era](11-18-2007)
  • NC drivers shut out of a win for the first time ever: Since none of the five North Carolina born drivers, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #44-Dale Jarrett, #83-Brian Vickers, #45-Kyle Petty or Scott Riggs [no current ride] won the final race in 2007 at Homestead, FL, it was the first year since the NASCAR Cup Series started that a driver born in North Carolinia did not win at least one race in a season. Lee Petty won at least one race every year from 1949 thru 1961, then Richard Petty did it from 1961 thru 1977, Benny Parsons won in 1978, Dale Earnhardt in 1979-1980, Richard won in 1981, the Dale Earnhardt won at least a race a year from 1982 thru 1996, Dale Jarrett 1993 thru 2003 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2000-2006. Of course many other North Carolina born drivers won in those years.(11-18-2007)
  • Sad News – Bill Hagan: Billy Hagan, whose team won the Nextel Cup championship with driver Terry Labonte in 1984, died Friday. He was 75.(Thatsracin)(11-18-2007)
    MORE: According to an obituary in the Charlotte Observer, in lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Cold Water Lutheran Church at 1725 Gold Hill Road, Concord, NC 28025, or to the Boys and Girls Club of Acadiana at P.O. Box 62166, Lafayette, LA 70596.(Thatsracin)(11-19-2007)
  • PE donating the ‘old’ cars to schools: Sunday’s Ford 400 marks the final time Nextel Cup Series teams will run the standard-model racecar, so theoretically those machines become obsolete the moment the checkered flag falls. Again, theoretically. While most teams plan to sell those cars to ARCA teams for 20 cents on the dollar, or reallocate them to Busch East or NASCAR West driver development programs, Petty Enterprises will take a unique reinvestment approach focused on grooming future racing engineers. “We’re going to take some of the old cars and donate them to universities [that have] good engineering programs, and hopefully we can get some return back on from the engineering side,” said Robbie Loomis, Petty Enterprises GM. The idea was hatched on a flight home from a race. Loomis was discussing with Richard and Kyle Petty how they’d discard all of those old cars, and the thought of donation was broached. “There’s just not a big outlet to sell them to ARCA teams and things like that,” Loomis said. “We’ll sell some to those teams, but we feel like the biggest benefit would be for the whole community, for the racing world, is to tie into some colleges and universities with great engineering programs.” Among those schools, Loomis said, is Virginia Tech, with which he said Dodge Motorsports has already forged a partnership. Loomis said Dodge’s technical team is setting up a test facility at Virginia International Raceway that will include an 8-post shock dynamometer for suspension simulation work. “It’s right there at the racetrack,” he said. “So we’re trying to grow it, and for now it worked out because of the school and the location. “Virginia Tech has a great engineering program. You see what they’re doing with Dodge — there’s a lot of things to gain there in the future. In this sport we need an area where we can groom and shape engineers to really fit the racing model. There always seems to be a disconnect between the book engineer and the actual applicable engineer at the racetrack. So hopefully we can bring that together for the future.” The biggest gain should be in chassis engineering, as it would give students a real-world, hands-on look at NASCAR chassis engineering. While body work on the old cars doesn’t truly transfer to the COT, Loomis said chassis engineering does. “There’s a couple of schools in North Carolina we’ll give to that have great engineering programs, and Virginia Tech, again, because of the ties with Dodge,” he said. “And I’m sure there will be a few others calling now.”(ESPN.com)(11-18-2007)
  • To Clinch: for #48-Jimmie Johnson to clinch the 2007 Nextel Cup Championship:
    Finishes 18th or better in the FORD 400 at Homestead
    Leads one lap and finishes at least 19th
    Leads the most laps and finishes 21st or better
    and no matter what #24-Gordon does [wins the race], Johnson would win the title
    For 35th, #22-Dave Blaney needs to finish 34th or better [35th and lead a lap] and nothing #21-Elliott can do to jump into the top 35 in owner points and guaranteed a starting spot in the first five races next season.(11-18-2007)
  • Sad News – Stan Shoff: Condolences to the family and many dear friends of Stan Shoff, who died Monday at the age of 78. His obituary mentioned he was a national champion sprint car owner, but that was a major understatement. In his 23-year career as a car owner, Shoff and his drivers won many national championships, including four with his last driver, Frankie Kerr. That relationship spanned Shoff’s final 11 years as a car owner and produced 54 feature wins. Seven years ago, when they ended their partnership and closed down the team, Shoff called his years with Kerr some of the best times of his life. Shoff got into sprint-car racing by sponsoring a car driven by Jerry Blundy in 1977. He took over ownership of Blundy’s car the next year. In 1987, his driver was a 16-year-old from Indiana who Shoff later fired. His name? Jeff Gordon. Shoff decided to close the race team in the summer of 2000 to spend more time with his family and do some traveling. Fittingly, he and Kerr won their last race together in June of that year at Fremont, Ohio.(Peoria Journal Star)(11-18-2007)
  • NASCAR, ISC and Kentucky Speedway hearing Monday: NASCAR, International Speedway Corp. and Kentucky Speedway head to court Monday afternoon for a hearing on whether the race track’s antitrust lawsuit should go to trial. Each side will get 45 minutes to present their case in front of U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman in Covington, Ky., during the summary judgment hearing. The summary judgment motion, which asks the judge to rule in favor of NASCAR and ISC before the case goes to trial, already has been filed under seal. It is typical for defendants in such litigation to file summary judgment requests. The judge is not expected to rule Monday. Kentucky Speedway claims that NASCAR and ISC illegally conspire to keep non-ISC tracks from getting Nextel Cup races. NASCAR is a privately owned sanctioning body owned by the France family while ISC is a publicly traded track operator whose majority of voting stock is owned by the France family. ISC and NASCAR deny the claims. Kentucky Speedway is asking for the France family to sell its interest in either NASCAR or ISC, for ISC to sell eight of its tracks and for NASCAR to create objective factors for the awarding of Cup dates. The trial is scheduled to begin March 4.(SceneDaily.com)(11-18-2007)


    News from November 17, 2007

  • Kahne under investigation after incident with security guard: #9-Nextel Cup driver Kasey Kahne is under investigation by the Homestead Police Department for pushing a track security guard to the ground Friday before the Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A conflict ensued between Kahne and the security guard after Kahne could not provide the proper credential for his brother, Kale Kahne, in order to enter the drivers’ motorhome lot inside the speedway, according to Police Capt. Tom Foglia. After the incident, Foglia said, the security guard complained his blood pressure had escalated. An emergency vehicle was called and the security guard was taken to the infield care center. Foglia did not have the name of the security guard or his condition as of early Saturday afternoon. “We are looking into the matter; the detective is handling it,” Foglia added. After Cup practice on Saturday, Kahne said, “It was all a misunderstanding.” NASCAR officials are aware of the incident and said the sanctioning body will not take action until the local police conclude their investigation. “We can’t comment on that right now,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said.(NASCAR.com)(11-17-2007)
  • Andretti back with BAM in 2008 UPDATE: BAM Racing co-owner Tony Morgenthau says driver John Andretti will return for the full Sprint Cup season in 2008. Andretti qualified the team’s #49 Dodge for 10 of 11 races before missing the show at both Texas and Phoenix. “John’s no slouch,” said Morgenthau, who co-owns the team with his wife, Beth Ann. “He’s going to be with us next year.” The #49 car was sponsored by the Paralyzed Veterans of America this season, but the PVA announced it will join Petty Enterprises in 2008. Morgenthau said BAM left the company on the hood of the car for several more races than originally planned. “We could have run a blank car, but might as well keep a good charity on the hood,” he said. “I hope we helped the vets.” Morgenthau said he is a partner in a computer company that has patented what he calls a revolutionary process of sponsoring race cars. Next season, BAM plans to have 5,000 associate sponsors who each pay approximately $5,000 to be on the car for the full season. The logos will be small, but Morgenthau said the companies “will get more from being an associate on the BAM car than they would from being an associate on any other car in the garage. It’s an incredible package.” The package is aimed at companies that do approximately $10 million to $25 million in sales. A more traditional primary sponsor may also be on the car, he said.(SceneDaily.com)(11-12-2007)
    UPDATE: Cup car owner Beth Ann Morgenthau, of Coral Gables [FL], said John Andretti will continue as driver of the #49 Dodge next season, and added the team is more stable than in recent years. She indicated a second team might be added if a sponsor is secured. “‘I would give anything for it to happen,” Morgenthau said. Andretti, 48th in the standings, did not qualify on speed for the Ford 400.(Miami Herald)(11-17-2007)
  • Lifetime deal in the works for Johnson? No surprise, if it’s up to Rick Hendrick, Jimmie Johnson will drive a Hendrick Motorsports racecar for the remainder of his career. Hendrick said he is fully prepared to do whatever it takes to retain Johnson’s services for as long as he drives professionally in the Nextel Cup Series. Money. Assets. Car dealerships. And most importantly, championship-caliber racecars. “My goal with him is real simple — to keep him with me for as long as he races,” Hendrick said. “It’s a flattering comment, and I think I kind of knew that,” Johnson said. “But it’s something we’ve never talked about or put on the table.” Back in 1999, Hendrick made a landmark decision to sign Jeff Gordon to a lifetime driving contract. With that came equity partnership in the company, and eventually partial ownership of the #48 car Johnson drives. Hendrick co-owns Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet in San Diego, and the two have commercial real estate partnerships together, as well. Like Gordon, Johnson presents the unique package that includes both elite driving talent and premiere marketability. He signed a long-term contract extension in 2006 that runs through 2010, but in a sport in which premiums are placed on the aforementioned attributes owners are often required to renegotiate contract extensions long before their current deals are set to expire. Hence, a lifetime deal is a possibility.(in part from ESPN.com)(11-17-2007)
  • Wrigley and Texaco to be co-primary sponsors of the #42: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced that the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company and its iconic Wrigley’s Brands- Big Red, Juicy Fruit, Winterfresh, Doublemint and Spearmint – will join with 21-year NASCAR sponsor Texaco/Havoline as co-primary sponsors of Juan Pablo Montoya’s #42 Dodge Avenger for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. Together, the two companies will combine to be on the car every time Montoya takes to the track in the #42 Dodge in 2008. For every race that Texaco/Havoline is the primary sponsor, Wrigley’s will be the associate sponsor on the car and vice versa when Wrigley’s is the primary sponsor. The global brands will each hold the primary role in 18 races next season. In addition, Texaco/Havoline and Wrigley’s will look to combine forces wherever possible in order to better promote their associations with Montoya, the #42 team and CGRFS.(CGRFS PR)(11-17-2007)
  • MLB team owner Hicks to join RCR? Nextel Cup team owner Richard Childress hasn’t joined the trend of adding an individual partner to his organization. Not yet, anyway. Childress paused and had a big smile on his face when asked if Texas Rangers team owner Tom Hicks might become a future partner of Richard Childress Racing. “Tom’s a friend of mine,” Childress said with a grin. “We talk a lot about different things.” Hicks, who also owns the Dallas Stars NHL team, attended the Cup race at California Speedway on Labor Day weekend as Childress’ guest. Hicks also is a business partner with George Gillett, who bought majority ownership in Ray Evernham’s Cup team earlier this year. Gillett, who owns the Montreal Canadiens NHL team, partnered with Hicks to buy the Liverpool, England, soccer team earlier this year for $430 million. Childress said he has been approached this year by several corporations wanting to invest in RCR, but he already has a relationship with the New York firm of Chartwell Investments. “I brought Chartwell in here in 2002,” he said. “They’re still involved in a small percentage of the company. At this time, we still want to go in the direction we’ve been going.”(ESPN.com)(11-17-2007)
  • Seven 2006 pole sitters, no poles in 2007 there are seven drivers who scored a Budweiser Pole in 2006 that didn’t do so in 2007: #83-Brian Vickers [who had at least one pole for 3 stright seasons 2004-2006], #5-Kyle Busch [2], #19-Elliott Sadler [2], Scott Riggs [2], #29-Kevin Harvick [1], #31-Jeff Burton [1] and #60-Boris Said [1].(11-17-2007)
  • Crew Chief change at the #12? #77 needs one? hearing Roy McCauley take over as the crew chief for the #12 alltel Penske Racing team for driver Ryan Newman. McCauley started the 2007 season as Kurt Busch’s crew chief in the #2 Dodge. Supposedly current #12 crew chief, Mike Nelson, will move over to a management position at Penske Racing. The crew chief job for the #77 team and driver Sam Hornish Jr. is supposedly open.(11-17-2007)
  • Jim Beam renews sponsorship with Robby Gordon: Jim Beam announced that it will continue its partnership with Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) as a primary sponsor of the #7 Ford Fusion driven by team owner and veteran driver Robby Gordon during the 2008 Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series season. Jim Beam will sponsor 13 Sprint Cup Series and two Nationwide Series races in 2008, the fourth year of the company’s partnership with RGM and the second for Gordon in equipment provided by Ford Motor Company. With one race to go this season, the #7 team sits in its highest position in the Nextel Cup Series owner points standings since forming prior to the 2005 season. Jim Beam will utilize its sponsorship of Gordon and the #7 Ford Fusion to reach racing fans both on and off the track through a variety of racing related promotions to be announced prior to the end of 2007. The sponsorship also will support the Beam Global Spirits & Wine drink smart initiative. Jim Beam and Beam Global Spirits & Wine will execute programs throughout 2008 utilizing Gordon’s profile as a successful driver to focus attention on preventing underage drinking and drunk driving. For more information on Beam Global Spirits & Wine, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit www.beamglobal.com and www.drinksmart.com.(Ketchum Sports Network PR), see an image of the 2008 scheme on the 2008 #7 Team Schemes page.(11-17-2007)


    News from November 16, 2007

  • Homestead Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Homestead this weekend, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the first time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to Homestead, though teams in these three series ran this right-side (D-4064) with a different left-side here in 2006 . . . in addition to Homestead, this specific tire combination has been run at Texas and Chicagoland this year . . . this left-side code (D-4078) has also been run with a slightly different right-side code by major NASCAR teams at California, Dover, Michigan, Kansas and Kentucky 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. The estimated pit window for the Cup cars are every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage. Goodyear’s “Spirit of Innovation” Blimp, based out of Pompano Beach, Fla., will be covering the NASCAR races at Homestead this weekend. (Goodyear PR), see full report with codes and pressures on the Homestead Race Info page.(11-16-2007)
  • Johnson wins pole at Homestead: #48-Jimme Johnson won the Budweiser Pole for the FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a speed of 176..788mph for his 4th pole of 2007 and the 13th of his career. #12-Newman qualified second with the rest of the top-10 being: #9-Kahne, #17-Kenseth, #2-Busch, #01-Martin, #6-Ragan, #29-Harvick, #31-Burton and #99-Edwards. 2nd in drivers points, #24-Gordon, qualified 11th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #09-Marlin, #83-Vickers, #36-Benson, #44-Jarrett, #10-Carpentier, #06-Hornish, #00-Reutimann and #21-Elliott [using a past champions provisional].
    For qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression, see the Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(11-16-2007)
  • Six do not qualify [DNQ] for the FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway: #84-Allmendinger [35 team attempts/43rd in OWNERS pts], #49-Andretti [35/47]; #78-Nemechek [35/42]; #55-Waltrip [35/40]; #4-TBodine [38/46]; #08-Lamar [5/55].(11-16-2007)
  • Ramblings – Homestead Qualifying Notes: Jimmie Johnson kicked off Coronation Weekend today at Homestead-Miami Speedway by taking the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Ford 400 in a time of 30.545 sec (176.788 mph). This is his 4th top-spot of the season and 13th of his Nextel Cup career. And you just know if he’s got the lead at the end of lap one on Sunday, you’ll see those freshly adjusted point standings…. Ryan Newman will join Johnson on the front row.
    Mark Martin (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Chicagoland in July.
    David Ragan (7th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at Bristol in August.
    Jeff Burton (9th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 4th at Watkins Glen in August.
    David Gilliland (12th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talldega in April.
    Sterling Marlin (16th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Talladega in April.
    Johnny Benson (20th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 19th at Atlanta in October of 2005 (only three starts).
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 15 Top-10 starts in the last 16 races. Kasey Kahne has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
    A few numbers to remember….if Jeff Gordon wins the race and leads the most laps, Johnson’s Magic Number is 18th. But, if JJ leads a lap early (and having the pole makes that a pretty good possibility) that Magic Number changes to 19th.(Stock Car Fans)(11-16-2007)
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway – Qualifying Fast Facts
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the Bud Pole for the Ford 400 with a lap of 30.545 seconds, 176.788 mph.
    .. This is his 13th Bud Pole in 219 career Nextel Cup races.
    .. This is his fourth Bud Pole and 26th top-10 start in 2007, including nine of the 10 Chase races.
    .. This is Johnson’s first Bud Pole and second top-10 start in seven races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    .. The Bud Pole winner has led at least one lap in 34 of the 35 races this year. The only pole winner who has not led a lap in the given race was JJ Yeley at the second Michigan race.
    .. The pole winner has led the most laps seven times this season. If Jimmie Johnson does lead one lap, he needs only to finish 19th or better to guarantee the Nextel Cup Series championship
    .. Ryan Newman posted the second-fastest qualifying time. It is his 16th top-10 start of the season and his fourth in six races at Homestead.
    .. Kasey Kahne (third) posted his 20th top-10 start of 2007.
    .. Sterling Marlin (16th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
    .. David Ragan (seventh) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    .. Seven of the 12 Chase drivers qualified in the top-10: Johnson, Matt Kenseth (fourth), Kurt Busch (fifth), Kevin Harvick (eighth), Jeff Burton (ninth) and Carl Edwards (10th).(NASCAR Statistics)(11-16-2007)
  • Roush Fenway Racing announces new GM – Robbie Reiser; Bolin new crew chief? UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing announced Thursday that championship crew chief, Robbie Reiser, has been appointed General Manager of Roush Fenway Racing’s Nextel Cup team operations. “This is a great opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to the next phase of my racing career,” Reiser said. “If it’s anywhere near as fun, competitive, and successful as the previous phase, then we’re going to be in good shape. It wasn’t an easy decision to stop being the crew chief of the #17 team, but now I get to work with all of our Cup teams and help improve our performance as a whole. I’m looking forward to the new challenge.” Reiser replaces Max Jones and steps into the GM role with well over 20 years of racing experience under his belt. Roush Fenway Racing is expected to name other crew changes to the #17 Ford team in the upcoming weeks.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), hearing that Chip Bolin, the team engineer will be the new crew chief for Kenseth and the #17.(11-15-2007)
    UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing didn’t have to look far to find a new crew chief for Matt Kenseth. Chip Bolin, the team engineer since 1999, will replace Robbie Reiser after Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(ESPN)(11-16-2007)
  • Camping World scheme for #7 at Homestead: Camping World will be the primary sponsor of the #7 Ford that Robby Gordon drives, for the fourth time in the Nextel Cup Series this year. Jim Beam, Menards, Mapei and Motorola all will serve as associates. Camping World Inc., is America’s largest direct marketer and specialty retailer of RV and outdoor camping accessories and services. Over 8,000 quality products are available through nationwide SuperCenters, a well-established catalog call center and an award-winning Web site. The company has grown from a single store in Bowling Green, KY to more than 75 SuperCenters with more than 500 service bays, in 25 states and plans to reach the 100 mark by 2008.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR), see images of the scheme on the #7 Team Schemes page.(11-16-2007)
  • Robby finishes 5th overall in Baja 1000: Robby Gordon and his #71 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck finished a respectable third in his class and fifth overall for the 40th annual Baja 1000. Gordon and his Nextel Cup crew will return back to the United States on Thursday and head straight to the season finale in Homestead, Miami. Gordon started a new tradition by taking the majority of his Cup crew on the Baja adventure. Gordon’s reason – to give his team an up close look at what his off-road racing is all about.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR), Legendary driver Rod Hall of Reno, Nev., set another record Thursday by winning his 19th class title in the world’s most famous desert race, the 40th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. Hall, who turns 70 years old on Nov. 22, drove his factory Hummer to the Stock Mini production class win to continue his remarkable record on the peninsula of Baja California. Hall is one of only two racers to have competed in all forty Baja 1000 events and he now has won in nearly half of the grueling contests. Motorcyclist Ron Bishop of Escondido, Calif., is the other racer with 40 Baja 1000 starts. Bishop, 64, finished 17th in Class 22 (motorcycles 250cc or larger) this year.(SCORE Desert Series PR)(11-16-2007)
  • Pearson, Marcis, Gant back racing in 2008? Racing legends David Pearson, Dave Marcis, Harry Gant, James Hylton, Geoff Bodine and more have signed up to race in The Old School Racing Champions Tour (OSRCT) in 2008. Scheduled to run ten races in 2008, starting on May 18, 2008. Driver safety is priority number one with the OSRCT. All tracks on the schedule are ¾ a mile or less and include such venues as two-time Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway, the Music City Motorplex, Southside Speedway, Hickory Motor Speedway, South Boston Speedway, Flat Rock Speedway and the Springport Speedway. (OSRCT) is a new racing series debuting in 2008 that will have retired and semi-retired champion drivers competing in a 10 race regular season schedule followed by a “Last Chance Race” and a “Championship Race”.(OSRCT)(11-16-2007)
  • NASCAR Specialty License Plate Now Available To Florida Residents: The NASCAR Foundation, in partnership with the Florida Sports Foundation (FSF), has announced a new NASCAR-themed, official Florida license plate that will be available to fans for purchase at this weekend’s Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Net proceeds from the sale of the specialty plate will benefit The NASCAR Foundation and the Florida Sports Foundation. The FSF will distribute proceeds to support the marketing of motorsports-related tourism in the state and 50% to support The NASCAR Foundation’s charitable organizations. Last year alone, The NASCAR Foundation donated $250,000 to Speediatrics, a racing-themed pediatrics unit in Daytona Beach and Homestead, Fla. This weekend, Florida residents traveling to Homestead-Miami Speedway can pick up their plate at a mobile FLOW (Florida Licensing On Wheels) unit stationed at the track. The units are equipped with the technology and ability to bring valuable DHSMV services right to the customers, including the ability to issue specialty plates on the spot. The units will be parked near Gate 11 at Homestead-Miami Speedway from Friday, Nov. 16 through Sunday, Nov. 18. To purchase a NASCAR specialty plate, fans must prove that they have a vehicle registered in the state of Florida, a valid Florida driver’s license and proof of insurance. The annual specialty license plate is $27. Residents not traveling to the track this weekend may still purchase a NASCAR specialty plate at their local Department of Motor Vehicles. For more information, please visit www.hsmv.state.fl.us.(NASCAR PR)(11-16-2007)


    News from November 15, 2007

  • Chase stats going into Homestead: Certainly after nine races, we are seeing the greatest Chase run in the four-year history of the playoff format by #48-Jimmie Johnson and the #48 team. How dominant? Here’s where Johnson would stack up against other Chase champions after deducting the extra 5 points per win awarded this year: 2006 vs. himself +220, 2005 vs. Stewart +137, 2005 vs. Kurt Busch +206. After adjusting for the extra win points, Jeff Gordon’s 6476 points at present are the second most in Chase history by 61 over Tony Stewart iin 2005! The push for the podium [Top 10] Martin Truex pulled within 47 points of 10th place Kurt Busch with his 7th at Phoenix. Denny Hamlin will need Busch and Truex to slip badly at Homestead to make the podium at the Waldorf. See more stats on the Chase Stats after Phoenix page.(11-15-2007)
  • NASCAR considering separate qualifying sessions in 2008: Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Nov. 9 that the sanctioning body is still studying the possibility of having teams outside the top 35 in owner points qualify as a group, but that a final decision has not been made. Teams outside the top 35 must qualify each week based on their qualifying speed, while teams inside the top 35 are locked into the field. Because qualifying sessions often last more than two hours, track conditions can change dramatically during a single session. Some team owners have said that having drivers not guaranteed a starting spot make their qualifying attempts at about the same time – rather than based on their qualifying draw – would make the session more fair. “Right now, it’s something that we’ve looked at and continue to look at,” Darby said. “But any time you make a change, you have to look at how it affects everything. It’s not as simple as just saying, ‘Yeah, that would be better. It may make sense for one group, but it might not for another. You’ve got to take into consideration when you would have those teams make their qualifying attempts – are they the first ones on the track, or the last? There are a lot of things that would be affected by a move like that.” Owner points for the first five races of each season are based on the final owner points of the previous year, meaning those teams are guaranteed starting spots for the first five races. Beginning with the sixth race, the current owner points are used.(SceneDaily.com)(11-15-2007)
  • Doug Yates and Max Jones join forces: Yates Racing announced Thursday that Max Jones, long-time general manager for Roush Fenway Racing and former road-racing driver has joined Yates Racing as a co-owner and will also assume the role of General Manager . Jones, a native of Long Beach, Calif., joins Yates Racing after serving as general manager for Roush Fenway Racing’s Cup program in 2007. “We’re thrilled to have someone as respected as Max join Yates Racing,” said Yates Racing owner, Doug Yates. “With his experience in the sport and working with such a large and successful organization as Roush Fenway Racing for so many years, he will immediately step in and improve our race operations. As we continue to improve and restructure in preparation for a successful 2008 season, having someone with Max’s experience and credibility only accelerates the process of getting Yates Racing back to where it needs to be and that’s competing for wins and championships on a weekly basis.” Jones will add his experience to one of the most successful operations in motorsports. Since venturing into NASCAR’s Cup series in 1989, Yates Racing has recorded 57 wins, 269 top fives, and 427 top-10 finishes, including the Cup series championship in 1999.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(11-15-2007)
  • Johnson tests for Rolex 24: On his way to Homestead-Miami Speedway to potentially claim his second consecutive Nextel Cup championship, #48-Jimmie Johnson stopped by Daytona International Speedway to spend the afternoon testing the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley. Johnson climbed behind the wheel of the Daytona Prototype early Wednesday afternoon and ran two full stints in the 2007 Rolex Series Championship-winning machine, turning laps just off the pace of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. Gurney and Fogarty, of course, are coming off of a championship season in which they captured seven victories on the 14-race calendar. “This is the best thing I can do to get my mind off the championship,” Johnson said. “I came down to have some fun in one of these DP cars. I really, really enjoy the Rolex Series. I’ve been at three (Rolex 24 At Daytona) events, and hopefully I will come back and run in it in 2008. I just want to get some seat time, get used to the car, and Bob Stallings and the GAINSCO group were nice enough to let me come down, work with them, get some seat time and get a feel for things. So I’m having a great time.” The NASCAR champion has prior experience in a Daytona Prototype, running the #91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports machine at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway this past season. Johnson also claimed a runner-up finish in the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona. “My last experience in a DP was coming from a Crawford to a Riley,” Johnson explained. “They’re much different cars. This year, going from one Riley to another, it’s not a huge gap in how they drive. Some of the small changes they’ve made around the track, I found it was more me trying to remember the reference points, and finding new ones with the small, subtle changes that have gone on with the surface of the track.”(Grandprix.com)(11-15-2007)
  • JGR 2007 Flag Football Champs: Joe Gibbs Racing successfully defended its 2006 championship in Bob Hubner’s Totally Racin’ Flag Football League presented by Race City Resumes & Marketing. It wasn’t easy for JGR as the team had some tough competition to repeat what it did last season. This year’s format was a single elimination tournament, and JGR first had to get by last year’s main rival, the team fielded by Lowe’s Motor Speedway, to advance. And JGR beat LMS by only one point to reach round two. The Gibbs team then beat Team Red Bull to advance to the championship game against Roush-Fenway Racing. JGR and Roush-Fenway tied during their regular season game so the Gibbs players knew Roush would put up a good fight. The title game was in fact tied 13-13 at halftime. Then, with one minute left, Roush-Fenway scored a touchdown but missed the extra point to edge ahead 25-19. Gibbs Racing then got the ball with 53 seconds left, needing to get down the field and score a touchdown and extra point for the win. JGR got the touchdown as quarterback JD Gibbs passed to his center, Ross Port, in a surprise play with only 3 seconds left, bringing a 25-25 tie. For the extra point, JD Gibbs tossed the ball to Dave Alpern at the goal line, and Alpern caught the pass and reached over the goal line to give Joe Gibbs Racing another championship, 26-25. For League info visit racecityresumes.com/football.(11-15-2007)
  • Goodyear going to slightly softer tire for some 2008 races: While some drivers have said that Goodyear needs to change the tires to help teams with the Car of Tomorrow, a Goodyear official says changes for next season will be slight. Rich Heinrich, product manager for Goodyear, says that tires will be slightly softer to provide more grip at intermediate tracks. The Car of Tomorrow, which ran in 16 races this season, did not run on such tracks this season. Heinrich said that the tire company is likely to keep the same tires that were used at COT races this year for next season.(Roanoke Times)(11-15-2007)
  • Rookie News and Notes Homestead: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the November 11 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Montoya scored a 17th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the 16th time this season. He has been the top rookie in three of the last four races. Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by 21 points (236-215) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the November 18 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 11 YEARS (1996-2006). Entering the Ford 400, no Raybestos Rookie has won a pole in 2007. Tony Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a Nextel Cup Series race at Homestead. 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 most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in eight previous races at Homestead is 52 by Casey Atwood in 2001. The only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in eighth Nextel Cup races at Homestead is Jamie McMurray. McMurray won his first-career pole at the 2003 Ford 400 on his way to claiming Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. McMurray finished ninth in the race, his 13th top-10 finish of the 2003 season.(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see full rookie report, history and standings on the 2007 Rookies page.(11-15-2007)
  • Martin’s last race in the #01, 26 races in #8 in 2008: Mark Martin will run double duty again this weekend at Homestead. In addition to his duties in the #01 DEI Chevy on Sunday, he will make his third and final start of the season in the #5 Hendrick Chevy Busch entry. In two previous starts in the #5, Martin finished second at Darlington and 14th at Michigan. It will be Martin’s fifth Busch start in 2007 (he started two races in the #06 Roush entry). Martin has two top-five finishes in four Busch starts this season. Martin has six top-five finishes in seven previous Busch starts at Homestead. Martin plans on running a similar Nextel Cup schedule in 2008 as he did in ’07, making starts in approximately 26 races in the #8 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet, including the season-opening Daytona 500.(DEI PR)(11-15-2007)
  • Rudd to Make Final Nextel Cup Career Start at Homestead: The Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway will mark the final start for #88-Ricky Rudd in the Nextel Cup Series and Sunday’s Ford 400 will be Rudd’s 906th career start in the series. NASCAR’s “Iron Man,” who holds the record for the most consecutive number of starts with 788, will start the final Cup series race of his career Sunday. Rudd holds numerous accolades on his resume including: 1992 IROC Champion, 1997 Brickyard 400 Winner, 2006 Virginian of the Year, and was named one of NASCAR’s “50 All-Time Great” drivers to name a few. Rudd has an average starting position of 12.9, and an average finish of 23.4 at Homestead, completed 1,770 of 1,873 laps at Homestead (94.5%) and has led 49 laps, his best starting position at Homestead is from second which he accomplished in 2000 and best finish was the sixth in the same race.(Rickyrudd.com)(11-15-2007)
  • Commercial breakdown Checker Auto Parts 500
    Total number of commercials: 117 (in 2006: 149)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 67 (in 2006: 78)
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 25(in 2006: 32)
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 11/11/07: 3:35 PM (in 2006: 3:20PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 11/11/07: 6:54 PM (in 2006: 7:01PM)
    Total minutes: 199 (in 2006: 221)
    Minutes of race broadcast: 148 (in 2006: 150)
    Minutes of commercials: 51 (in 2006: 71)
    Number of debris cautions where no debris is shown: 1
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Total race brdcst time: 148 Total comm. brdcst time: 51
    see full report at CawsnJaws.com.(11-15-2007)


    News from November 14, 2007

  • Google Acquiring Sprint? Recent news that Sprint is not going to work with Clearwire to build out a WiMAX network only added to the rumors I (Rich Tehrani) have been hearing about Google acquiring Sprint Nextel. On the surface it seems like this would be a bad move for Google but in reality the world’s leading search engine has become so much more than just a website to go to when you want to find a trinket of information. Of course one problem with a Sprint Nextel purchase is that the company’s network isn’t GSM-based meaning devices will have to have multiple radios to be used around the world.(tmcnet.com and at EWeek.com)(11-14-2007)
  • Speediatrics to Unveil Homestead Location: Betty Jane France, chairwoman of the NASCAR Foundation, will unveil a new Speediatrics unit at Homestead Hospital on Friday, November 16. Homestead will join Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach as the only two locations with the racing-themed children’s emergency room. France will be joined by Darrell Waltrip and Francisco Medina, M.D., medical director of children’s emergency services at Homestead Hospital, for Friday’s unveiling. The eight-bed Children’s Emergency Room at Homestead Hospital is decorated with checkered flags, race cars and cartoon characters to help ease the hospital experience for thousands of children. More than 13,000 patients are treated in the emergency room each year.(NASCAR PR)(11-14-2007)
  • Overall TV Ratings down: NASCAR ends its season Sunday with ratings down again this year. And while it has fan interest beyond its Southern base, it’s still an also-ran in big cities outside the South. This season’s NASCAR Nextel Cup races — airing on Fox, TNT, ESPN and ABC — are averaging 4.2% of U.S. TV households — down 9% from last year’s average and off 21% from 2005. ABC’s Checker Auto Parts 500 on Sunday — when Jimmie Johnson virtually nailed down the season points title — showed interest still is largely regional. The race drew 10.5% of households in Greenville, S.C., 9.1% in Knoxville, Tenn. and 7.8% in Birmingham, Ala. But it drew just 1.3% in New York, 1.9% in Los Angeles and 2.4% in Chicago. Dick Glover, NASCAR vice president/broadcasting, notes the average NASCAR race ratings in New York (1.9%), Los Angeles (2.1%) and Chicago (2.9%) — which together constitute about 15% of TV households in the USA — are up slightly or even with last year. He concedes there’s no silver bullet to win over more major-market eyeballs: “All you can do is expose your product and see if people like it.” But Glenn Enoch, ESPN vice president/research, suggests NASCAR’s viewer drop-off has an asterisk. Ratings this season among males age 18-34 — whom advertisers covet because they haven’t always formed brand loyalties and are seen as more susceptible to advertising — are “virtually flat.” The big losses came among viewers older than 55. Since NASCAR’s biggest stars all appear in a single weekend race, its ratings are more indicative of overall viewer interest than ratings for sports such as football, basketball and baseball, where audiences get splintered across lots of time slots. And NASCAR’s stand-alone race ratings make the sport’s TV appeal seem pretty big — until you compare them to the cumulative appeal of other sports. Consider that weekend college football games just on Disney’s ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 can produce total ratings about five times bigger than NASCAR’s 4.2% race average. And NFL games each week typically produce total ratings well over 10 times bigger than the NASCAR race average.(USA Today)(11-14-2007)
  • Special AAA Scheme at Homestead: #6-David Ragan will carry extra colors on his car during the Nextel Cup Series season finale at Homestead. Ragan, driver of the #6 AAA Ford Fusion, commemorates AAA’s longstanding partnership with The Hertz Corporation with a special addition to his car. Hertz will be featured on the rear deck lid and back of the #6 Ford at Homestead. The logo placement highlights an additional AAA member benefit that is in effect this November: AAA members can receive a free tank of gas when they rent a Fun, Green or Prestige Collection vehicle from Hertz for a 3-day weekend or minimum 5-day week. It marks the first time Hertz has participated in a Nextel Cup Series event. Hertz is AAA’s preferred car rental company. For more information on AAA member benefits with Hertz, visit AAA.com/Hertz.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(11-14-2007)
  • Reiser moving up to be Roush Fenway GM: One of the longest tenured crew chief-driver relationships in Nextel Cup will end after Sunday’s finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Robbie Reiser, who has been #17-Matt Kenseth’s crew chief since they entered NASCAR’s premier series in 2000 and long before that in the Busch Series, will become the general manager at Roush Fenway Racing. He will replace Max Jones, who will move into the GM role at Robert Yates Racing [will just be Yates Racing in 2008]. RYR and Roush recently formed an alliance that basically will allow them to work as a seven-car operation without violating NASCAR’s four-car cap. Reiser will follow in the footsteps of his father, who was the general manager of Roush”s Busch Series and Truck Series teams. The elder Reiser lost a battle with cancer prior to the Homestead race two years ago, which prompted his son to consider a move that would allow him more time with his family. “You look at things that you do in the long term,” he said late last season. “Family becomes more important. … My dad spent a lot of time with my kids. When he isn’t around anymore somebody has to fill that void.” Reiser hoped to get the Roush GM job last season that ultimately went to Jones. “I’ve done this for [13] years for Matt,” he said at the time. “Not that I’m sick and tired of it or don’t enjoy it or any of that, but somewhere along the line you’ve got to move to the next challenge. And the next challenge probably would be to oversee an operation in the garage. That’s something I want to do down the road.”(ESPN.com), no word on who will be Kenseth’s new crew chief in 2008.(11-14-2007)
  • BDR not moving: Mike Brown, general manager for Bill Davis Racing [#22, #27, #36], says the team is not looking to move to the Charlotte [NC] area. The team, based in High Point, N.C., is one of the few Cup teams based outside the Charlotte area. Petty Enterprises announced last week it would move from Level Cross to Mooresville, N.C., after this season, in part to be able to be closer to the Charlotte area in hopes of attracting more crew members. “I understand what the Pettys are doing and if that’s right for them, that’s good,” Brown said. “Right now, we don’t see that as something that we’re entertaining.” Brown estimates that 25% of the team’s 300 employees are based in the Charlotte area. “We’re really happy with where we’re at,” Brown said.(Roanoke Times)(11-14-2007)
  • Bobby Labonte forms marketing agency: #43-Bobby Labonte has announced the formation of a full-service marketing agency, Breaking Limits, LLC. Labonte will serve as president of the company. Breaking Limits mission is to go above and beyond expectations for every partner with business professionals that have the integrity, morals and values that Labonte encompasses. Breaking Limits will offer sales, marketing and public and media relations capabilities to assist partners in exceeding their goals and objectives. Breaking Limits has commenced business effective immediately and will operate out of Huntersville, N.C. Three key employees of Breaking Limits have been announced; Mark Hughes, Chief Financial Officer, Julie Busha, Director of Marketing and Jeff Dennison, Director of Public and Media Relations. This is not Labonte’s first business venture. He currently owns and operates Bobby Labonte Enterprises and Bobby Labonte Racing both headquartered in Archdale, NC.(Breaking Limits PR)(11-14-2007)
  • New win record for Chevy: With a win by Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Impala SS, at Phoenix last weekend, Team Chevy surpassed its season win record of 25 victories set in 1958. Now, with one race left in the season, Chevy is gunning for 27 wins in one season which would give the bow-tie brand the impressive statistic of having won exactly 75 percent of all points-paying races in 2007. The win was also the 13th victory in 16 appearances for the Impala SS race car, which made its debut this season. Equally as noteworthy is the win statistic for the Monte Carlo SS, which has 13 wins in its final season of competition (out of 19 races). The Monte Carlo SS will run its last race in this weekend’s Nextel Cup event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(GM Racing PR)(11-14-2007)
  • Goodbye to the #’25: The #25 Chevrolet will make its final start for Hendrick Motorsports Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Hendrick Motorsports first entered the #25 Chevy in the 1986 Daytona 500 with Tim Richmond behind the wheel. The #25 has had 11 different drivers, including car owner Rick Hendrick, in 656 starts. Six drivers have visited victory lane with the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, with Casey Mears adding win No. 17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(11-14-2007)
  • Chevy Monte Carlo ends era: The final Nextel Cup Series race of the 2007 season will mark the end of an era for the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS – the winningest nameplate for the bow-tie brand in NASCAR competition. Since its NASCAR introduction in May 1971, the legendary Monte Carlo/Monte Carlo SS contributed to 24 of the 31 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturers’ championship won by Chevrolet. Of the 23 NASCAR Cup driver’s championships won by Chevrolet drivers, 16 of the champions powered their way to the top prize with the help of the Monte Carlo collecting 396 wins in the process. Chevy’s key partners in NASCAR Cup competition are quick to recognize the contribution of the Monte Carlo/Monte Carlo SS to the success their organizations have enjoyed through the years. Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion, has been an exclusive Chevrolet driver throughout his remarkable career. With 81 wins, 233 top-five and 316 top-10 finishes on his Chevrolet Cup career resume, Gordon leads the distinguished list of drivers who have enjoyed success in the Monte Carlo/Monte Carlo SS. The Monte Carlo SS will be gone from NASCAR Sprint Cup series competition, replaced full-time in 2008 by another legend in the Chevrolet lineup, the Impala SS. However, the strong, winning tradition of Monte Carlo SS will continue in the NASCAR Nationwide Series starting at Daytona 2008.(GM Racing PR)(11-14-2007)
  • Some NASCAR related help to victims of Calif wild fires: Truck drivers Gary Alred and Howard Austin are accustomed to being on the road – traveling as members of the UAW-Dodge NASCAR Motorsports Exhibit, but a different opportunity presented itself a few weeks ago – one that the UAW-Dodge members felt honored to accomplish. Gary Alred and Howard Austin with a dozen others from Chrysler LLC and Chrysler Financial took part in the California relief mission for residents who were victimized by the devastating wild fires. Alred and Austin were en route to Detroit from a Dodge NASCAR Motorsports dealership event in Atlanta, when Alred received a call asking if they would like to join in with the effort. They arrived in the San Diego area on October 29 – meeting up with other volunteers from Chrysler and Chrysler Financial. They immediately put their truck to good use, hauling two loads of food and water to a restaurant near Barrett Lake that had been converted to a temporary Red Cross Shelter. Besides providing their rig, Alred and Austin pitched in with other Chrysler volunteers to unload each trailer, while also helping distribute relief supplies delivered in Dodge vans to local neighborhoods and fire departments affected by the fires. The donation included food, water, juice, toiletries and cleaning supplies to tents, sleeping bags, flashlights and dog food. They even loaded hay for horses and other livestock displaced by the blazes. The Chrysler Foundation and Chrysler Financial joined forces with the California-based Rescue Task Force to donate $200,000 to aid fire victims, affected communities and rural fire departments that have been affected by the recent blazes. Among the beneficiaries was an elementary school that had burned during the fires – a $25,000 check was presented to help with the rebuilding effort. The UAW-Dodge traveling NASCAR Motorsports Exhibit has been a fun destination for fans on the NASCAR circuit for the past four years, which included 12 NASCAR race weekends in 2007 – one being the UAW-Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March.(PR)(11-13-2007)
    AND Motorsports Authentics has teamed up with California Speedway and UPS to make a major apparel donation to benefit the victims of last month’s deadly firestorms in Southern California. Motorsports Authentics, known by most motorsports fans for its Action Racing Collectables die-cast and Chase Authentics line of apparel, has donated roughly 65,000 items of apparel to the victims of last month’s wildfires in Southern California. UPS, the official express delivery company of NASCAR and California Speedway, has donated their services and is transporting the items from MA’s headquarters in Concord, N.C., to the Human Services Warehouse in San Bernardino, Calif., and the Navy & Marine Corps Relief Society in San Diego.(PR)(11-14-2007)
  • Announcements on SPEED: SPEED will interrupt its telecast of the Busch Series race replay Thursday afternoon (Nov. 15) at 1:00pm/et to present a LIVE NASCAR press conference from Homestead. At its conclusion, SPEED will join the Busch replay in progress. And Jack Roush will be the guest on NCTS Setup on Friday at 7:30pm/et to announce 2008 driver and sponsor plans for the #6 entry in the Craftsman Truck Series.(SPEED PR)(11-14-2007)


    News from November 13, 2007

  • Blaney, Harvick and Bodine to pull triple duty at Homestead: Dave Blaney will attempt to qualify a fourth entry for Bill Davis Racing in the Ford 200 at Homestead Miami Speedway. Blaney will be driving the #22 Toyota and will carry the familiar yellow-and-black colors of Caterpillar this weekend. Caterpillar also sponsors Blaney’s #22 Nextel Cup Series Camry. Not only will Blaney attempt to qualify a fourth BDR truck this weekend, he will also continue his quest to stay locked into the top 35 in the Nextel Cup Series owners’ points standings and compete in the Busch Series as well [in the #10 Braun Racing Toyota](Bill Davis Racing PR)
    AND Kevin Harvick will also run all three races at Homestead, in the #29 Shell Chevy in Cup, #21 Chevy in the Busch Series and the #2 Truck in the Craftsman Truck Series race; and Todd Bodine will run all three races: #4 Chevy in Cup, #03-Toyota in Busch and #30-Toyota in Trucks.(11-13-2007)
  • Sad News – “Red” Collins: Stanley “Red” Collins, 72, of 3938 Johnson Drive, died Sunday, November 11, 2007, at his home. Born June 17, 1935, in Spartanburg, SC, he was the son of the late Lyphus Collins and Nannie Million Collins Ridings and the step-son of the late Clarence Ridings. He was the former owner of M&R Wrecker Service and a member of the Hejaz Shriners and Roebuck Masonic Lodge #357. Survivors include his wife, Jackie Collins; a son, Barry Collins [driver of the NASCAR Communications Hauler] and his wife Debra of Roebuck; a daughter, Karen C. Wright of Spartanburg; a grandson, Evans Wright of Spartanburg; two sisters, Evelyn Jones and her husband Sam of Chesnee, and Mary Ann Hughey and her husband Jerry Wayne of Spartanburg; a brother, Harold Collins and his wife Rita of Spartanburg; a half-sister, Margaret Head of Six Mile; two half-brothers, Floyd Collins of Michigan, and Arthur Collins of San Antonio, TX; and a devoted friend and pet, Bisquick. He was predeceased by two half-brothers, Fred and Paul Collins. Visitation will be 6:30-9:00 PM, with Masonic rites at 6:00 PM, on Tuesday, November 13, 2007, at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM, Wednesday, November 14, 2007, at Floyd’s Greenlawn Chapel conducted by the Rev. Tommy Sparks. Burial will be in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. Honorary Escort will be members of the Spartanburg Hejaz Shrine Club. The funeral procession will be escorted by area wrecker services. Memorials may be made to Hospice Care of South Carolina, 110 Dillon Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29307; or to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children, 950 West Faris Road, Greenville, SC 29605.(11-13-207)
  • NASCAR and alternative fuels? soon? NASCAR’s Brian France, meeting here with General Motors’ Brent Dewar, that company’s top racing exec, may be cranking up the wick on an E-85 ethanol-gasoline fuel program. Dewar has been pushing NASCAR to go green, and switch Trucks, for example, to some ethanol-gasoline mix, which he said would be a good public-relations move for the sport. France said that NASCAR has begun a test-car program to see just what it would take to switch over. Ethanol is caustic to normal fuel lines, so different lines, probably Teflon-lined, would be needed, although the cost would be minimal. The problem would come with Sunoco, the sport’s official fuel supplier, which would obviously have to get on board with any E-85 options. Engine builders said that NASCAR officials have asked them for some information on how such a fuel would burn in a racing engine.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-13-2007)
  • Finalists for the inaugural NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award announced: Home Depot and NASCAR announced the finalists for the first-ever NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award. The award is the first of its kind open to any member of the NASCAR community who has shown extraordinary dedication to serving others and improving communities through meaningful service efforts. The three finalists are:
    Spencer Lueders, project creator, director and team member of 24 Hours of Booty;
    Don Miller, project creator and director of Stocks-for-Tots Charity Event; and
    Kyle Petty, driver for Petty Enterprises and co-founder of Victory Junction Gang Camp.
    The recipient of the NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award will be announced at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards luncheon in New York City on Nov. 29, 2007. The award recipient will receive a specially designed crystal award, a $100,000 donation made by The Home Depot to the recipient’s charity of choice and a playground in the city of their choice built by volunteers from NASCAR, The Home Depot and KaBOOM!, the company’s national nonprofit partner which envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. The other two finalists will receive a $25,000 donation each to their non-profit charity. All active employees within the NASCAR industry – drivers, owners, team and track employees, licensees, media partners, sponsors, and motorsports media – were eligible to receive the NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award. Nominees were assessed based on their community commitment and dedication; impact on the community; and charitable giving of their time and talents. A blue-ribbon committee comprised of representatives from NASCAR, The Home Depot and motorsports media selected the three finalists.(NASCAR PR)(11-13-2007)
  • On Friday, Nov. 16 in Victory Lane at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, Greg Biffle will officiate the first-ever Oreo Double Stuf Race “lick-off” where five finalists from across the country will see who can twist, lick and dunk their Oreo Double Stuf cookie and glass of milk the fastest for the grand prize of $10,000. As the “Official Cookie of NASCAR,” Oreo teamed up with Biffle on the Oreo Double Stuf Race campaign to encourage friends and families to enjoy some friendly competition, and find a few lucky lickers to compete in Miami:
    * DeAnn Bennett of Niles, Ohio
    * Justin Channen of Lakewood, Calif.
    * William Reed Hair of Eliot, ME
    * Kristie Sullivan of Kansas City, KS
    on Friday, Nov. 16, 2007, 7:30am/et at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. For more information on the contest, visit www.oreo.com.(11-13-2007)


    News from November 12, 2007

  • Drivers in NASCAR’s top series who have won FOUR or more consecutive races in a season:
    1964 Billy Wade(4): Old Bridge, Bridgehampton, Islip, Watkins Glen
    1966 David Pearson(X)(4): Hickory, Columbia, Greenville, Winston-Salem
    1967 Richard Petty(X)(10): Winston-Salem, Columbia, Savannah, Darlington, Hickory, Richmond, Beltsville, Hillsboro, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro
    1968 David Pearson(X)(4): Weaverville, Darlington, Beltsville, Hampton
    1971 Bobby Allison(5): Charlotte, Dover, Michigan, Riverside, Houston
    1971 Richard Petty(X)(5): Malta, Islip, Trenton, Nashville, Atlanta
    since the modern era began in 1972
    1976 Cale Yarborough(X)(4): Richmond, Dover, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro
    1981 Darrell Waltrip(X)(4): Martinsville, North Wilkesboro, Charlotte, Rockingham
    1987 Dale Earnhardt(X)(4): Darlington, North Wilkesboro, Bristol, Martinsville
    1991 Harry Gant(4): Darlington, Richmond, Dover, Martinsville
    1992 Bill Elliott(4): Rockingham, Richmond, Atlanta, Darlington
    1993 Mark Martin(4): Watkins Glen, Brooklyn, Bristol, Darlington
    1998 Jeff Gordon(X)(4): Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, Michigan
    2007-Jimmie Johnson(4): Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix – current streak
    (X = won the Cup Championship)
    The last time a driver win five races in a row, was Richard Petty in 1971, the record is 10 by Petty in 1967.(11-11/12-2007)
  • Ward out, Bodine in #4 at Homestead: Tim Morgan, President of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc. (MMM), and Larry McClure, Team Manager announced that Todd Bodine will drive the #4 State Water Heaters/Lucas Oil Chevy for Morgan McClure Motorsports in the final race of the season this weekend at Miami-Homestead Speedway. Morgan stated, “Ward has worked hard for us this year, he is a good driver and a friend. Todd has been helpful to us in the past and has agreed to step in and help us benchmark our efforts as we get ready for the 2008 season.” Both Ward Burton and the MMM team have agreed that his change is the best way to fully evaluate the performance of the team. Morgan continued, “We are proud to have State Water Heaters back as a sponsor for our team next year. We are currently in the process of negotiating additional sponsorship and selecting a driver for the upcoming 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season.”(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR/site)(11-12-2007)
  • Penske undecided on points switch UPDATE: Team owner Roger Penske said Saturday he hasn’t decided if he’ll move #2-Kurt Busch’s points to Sam Hornish Jr. to guarantee the driver a spot in the first five races of next season. Hornish is leaving the IndyCar Series for a full NASCAR schedule next season, but his #77 Mobil 1 Dodge won’t be one of the 35 cars locked into the first five races of the year. As a former series champion, Busch has a provisional that he could fall back on should he fail to qualify on speed. “We have a number of options and we’re looking at all of them … we’ll see,” Penske said at Phoenix International Raceway. “This isn’t all about the first five races. This is about a long career for a great race car driver and someone who has delivered for us for a long time at Penske Racing.”(ESPN.com/AP)(11-11-2007)
    UPDATE: While deeming it unlikely next year, when Sam Hornish Jr. will be learning the ropes in NASCAR, neither the driver nor team owner Roger Penske is ruling out an eventual return to the Indianapolis 500 for the 2006 winner. Penske also said it’s almost certain he will shift #2-Kurt Busch’s points to Hornish to ensure the rookie starts the first five races next season but needs to clear it with Busch’s team and sponsors first.(Indianapolis Star)(11-12-2007)
  • Phoenix overnight TV ratings down from 2006: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Checker Auto Parts 500 Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway earned a 3.4 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The figure is 17.1% lower than the 4.1 NBC earned overnight for the same race last year.(SceneDaily.com), see more about TV Ratings on the 2007 TV Ratings page.(11-12-2007)
  • Andretti back with BAM in 2008: BAM Racing co-owner Tony Morgenthau says driver John Andretti will return for the full Sprint Cup season in 2008. Andretti qualified the team’s #49 Dodge for 10 of 11 races before missing the show at both Texas and Phoenix. “John’s no slouch,” said Morgenthau, who co-owns the team with his wife, Beth Ann. “He’s going to be with us next year.” The #49 car was sponsored by the Paralyzed Veterans of America this season, but the PVA announced it will join Petty Enterprises in 2008. Morgenthau said BAM left the company on the hood of the car for several more races than originally planned. “We could have run a blank car, but might as well keep a good charity on the hood,” he said. “I hope we helped the vets.” Morgenthau said he is a partner in a computer company that has patented what he calls a revolutionary process of sponsoring race cars. Next season, BAM plans to have 5,000 associate sponsors who each pay approximately $5,000 to be on the car for the full season. The logos will be small, but Morgenthau said the companies “will get more from being an associate on the BAM car than they would from being an associate on any other car in the garage. It’s an incredible package.” The package is aimed at companies that do approximately $10 million to $25 million in sales. A more traditional primary sponsor may also be on the car, he said.(SceneDaily.com)(11-12-2007)
  • Partnership in Petty’s hands: The ball is in the court of Richard Petty as to whether there is a merger/partnership between Petty Enterprises and Gillett Evernham Motorsports. George Gillett, the majority owner of GEM, said he hoped to at least maintain a commercial relationship with the Pettys regarding their exchange of engines and chassis. “Whether it goes further, that’s up to Richard,” Gillett said. Petty announced this past week that he is moving Petty Enterprises from Level Cross, N.C., into the Robert Yates Racing shop in Mooresville, N.C. He said the move is being made independent of talks with any organization wishing to partner with his. Gillett has expressed an interest in combining the two companies in a manner that would allow Petty Enterprises to maintain an identity. He would not say whether talks were ongoing, but did acknowledge a recent trip to the Victory Junction Gang Camp that the Pettys run for chronically ill children. “I don’t know if I’ve cried as an adult as much as I did there,” Gillett said.(ESPN.com)(11-12-2007)
  • Roush to build all Yates cars: Roush Fenway Racing will be building all of Yates Racing’s Sprint Cup next season, and team co-owner Jack Roush said he’s looking forward to helping the Yates group return to its performance levels of old. Starting with the 2008 season, Roush Fenway Racing will manufacture all of Yates Racing’s cars, with Yates moving to Concord, N.C., next to Roush Fenway’s shops. Yates, meanwhile, will lease its current shop in Mooresville, N.C., to Petty Enterprises. “We’re making preparations to enter into a service agreement with them that will avail them of the technology and of the vehicles with the engineering essence and the vehicles that are coming out of our construction activities,” said Roush Saturday morning at Phoenix International Raceway. “We want to try to breath some blue sky and some viability back into the program.” One of the benefits of Roush Fenway Racing building cars for both teams is that in the long run, it will result in cost savings, because the cost for R&D, tooling, etc., will be spread over a larger number of cars, Roush said. “We’ve got some opportunities of scale, in terms of understanding what we need to do and then the more volume you generate off that for the same amount of engineering work, design work, tooling, all those things you do, it’s an extraordinarily expensive proposition to go do all the testing that’s necessary to build and support one Cup car in today’s world,” said Roush. “If, taken to the other extreme, an IROC scenario where all the cars were completely identical coming out of the factory, then the cost to the teams and the value to the sponsors would be maximized. This is something in between.”(Ford Racing)(11-12-2007)
  • Marlin settles with Ginn; plans 10 races in 2008: Veteran Nextel Cup driver Sterling Marlin said he has settled his legal issues with his former team owner, Bobby Ginn. Marlin and former Ginn teammate, Joe Nemechek, along with two crew chiefs, sued Ginn for breach of contract after they were cut from the team in July. “He did what he said he was going to do,” Marlin said Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway. “We got it straightened out this week. We’re square.” Marlin would not offer specifics but said he was satisfied with the result. He said he has not spoken to Ginn since July. “I let the lawyers handle it and it all got taken care of,” Marlin said. As for next year, Marlin said he expects to run about 10 races with James Finch. He will run the Daytona 500 and the races at Talladega Superspeedway. “But from there on out, I don’t know,” Marlin said.(ESPN.com)(11-12-2007)
  • New win record for Chevy: #48-Jimmie Johnson’s win was a historic one for Chevrolet in NNCS competition, marking the 26th trip to victory lane for a Bowtie driver this season. Team Chevy’s previous mark was 25 race-wins in the 1958 season. In addition, the win was the 13th victory in 16 appearances for the Impala SS race car.(GM Racing PR)(11-12-2007)
  • Tire Test at Calif UPDATE: there will be a Goodyear Tire test at California Speedway on Monday, Nov 12th, no word on the drivers testing. The tests are usually closed to the public.(11-11-2007)
    UPDATE: Goodyear said that it wasn’t happy with the tire problems at Atlanta so it will be testing Atlanta again with the car of tomorrow. And car-of-tomorrow tire tests are scheduled for California Speedway this week, probably with David Green in a Rick Hendrick car, and for Las Vegas Motor Speedway in two weeks. Goodyear is trying to organize the tire logistics for next season too, because it needs several thousand tires for each Cup-Busch-Truck weekend, and it would like not to have to bring so many different types of tires. So, Goodyear will be testing the car of tomorrow and Trucks together, to try to find a common tire that works.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-12-2007)

News from November 11, 2007

  • Gordon ties top-10 record: #24-Jeff Gordon goes into the Homestead race with 29 top-10 finishes this season – which breaks his career best of 28 (1998). Since the schedule was reduced by NASCAR in 1972 [called the modern era], Dale Jarrett holds the season record with 29 top-10 finishes during his 1999 championship run.(AP)(11-11-2007)
  • No Drivers: all races at Phoenix: Only three drivers HAD started all 22 Nextel Cup races at Phoenix International Raceway until this weekend, when Ken Schrader and Mark Martin were not entered and #44-Dale Jarrett failed to qualify for the race.(11-11-2007)
  • Johnson wins at Phoenix: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Checker Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway for his 4th race win in a row [last time a driver won four in a row, was Jeff Gordon in 1998], 10th win of the season, and 33rd of his career [which ties Fireball Roberts for 16th all time]. #16-Biffle finished 2nd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #20-Stewart, #12-Newman, #29-Harvick, #1-Truex Jr., #5-Busch, #31-Burton and #24-Gordon. Other Chasers finished: #07-Bowyer 11th, #2-Busch 12th, #11-Hamlin 16th and #99-Edwards led 87 laps, then developed engine problems and finished 42nd. The three former Indy 500 drivers finished as follows: #42-Montoya 17th; #06-Hornish 30th and #27-Villeneuve crashed and finsihed 41st. #8-Earnhardt Jr. wrecked hard and finished 43rd. There were 10 cautions for 41 laps and 6 drivers led the race with 10 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 notes, lucky dogs and more.(11-11-2007)
  • The Chase Standings [after Phoenix, race 35]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6572
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon 6486, -86
    these drivers are eliminated from the chase
    3) #07-Clint Bowyer 6331, -241
    4) #5-Kyle Busch 6185, -387
    5) #20-Tony Stewart 6169, -403
    6) #17-Matt Kenseth 6103, -469
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 6093, -479
    8) #31-Jeff Burton 6089, -483
    9) #99-Carl Edwards 6067, -505
    10) #2-Kurt Busch 6056, -516
    fighting for the 10th spot to go to NYC
    11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 6009, -563
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin 5973, -599
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(11-11-2007)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after Phoenix [35 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 5295
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4951, -344
    3) #20-Tony Stewart 4676, -619
    4) #17-Matt Kenseth 4523, -772
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer 4510, -785
    6) #5-Kyle Busch 4477, -818
    7) #11-Denny Hamlin 4453, -842
    8) #99-Carl Edwards 4419, -876
    9) #31-Jeff Burton 4407, -888
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 4238, -1057
    11) #2-Kurt Busch 4196, -1099
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 4159, -1136
    13) #12-Ryan Newman 3932, -1363
    14) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3874, -1421
    15) #16-Greg Biffle 3867, -1428
    16) #25-Casey Mears 3829, -1466
    (11-11-2007)
  • Rumblings – Phoenix: Jimmie Johnson won his 4th in a row today at Phoenix International Raceway in the Checker Auto Parts 500 for his 10th win of the season….and he’s got a stranglehold on the Championship to boot! JJ’s win was the 33rd of his Nextel Cup career….and he’s now tied for 18th on the all-time win list with the immortal Fireball Roberts. This was the 18th win of the season for Hendrick Motorsports (their 6th in a row), and 167th in NASCAR’s top division. It was worth $245,011 from the almost $5M in posted awards. We’ll get that Magic Number out there early this week….it’s 18. If Johnson finishes 18th or better next week, he’ll have his second Nextel Cup Championship. The margin is 86 points.
    Tony Stewart (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at New Hampshire in September.
    Aric Almirola (26th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 30th at Talladega in October.
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 7 Top-10’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-5’s in the last 7 races. Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-5’s in a row. Kyle Busch has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races. Jeff Burton has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Kyle Busch (+30), followed by Kevin Harvick (+28 ). DOWN: The Big Dropper (and only one off the all-time record) was Carl Edwards (-41), followed by Kasey Kahne (-30), and Tony Raines (-29).
    In “Classic” Points, three drivers (Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and David Gilliland) advanced two spots each, while Carl Edwards and Mark Martin fell three spots each.(Stock Car Fans)(11-11-2007)
  • Phoenix International Raceway Fast Facts:
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil, his 33rd victory in 218 Nextel Cup Series races.
    .. This is his 10th victory and 23rd top-10 finish in 2007. The last driver to win 10 races in a season was Jeff Gordon – who won 13 in 1998.
    .. Johnson has won four consecutive races, beginning at Martinsville. The most recent driver to win four in a row was Jeff Gordon from Pocono through Michigan in 1998. The last driver to win five in a row was Richard Petty in 1971.
    .. This is his first victory and seventh top-10 finish in nine races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    .. Greg Biffle (second) posted his second top-10 finish in eight races at Phoenix.
    .. Matt Kenseth (third) posted his sixth top-10 finish in 11 races at Phoenix.
    .. Juan Pablo Montoya (17th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Johnson now leads the Chase for the Nextel Cup by a margin of 86 points over Jeff Gordon. Johnson can clinch the championship with a 18th-place finish at Homestead – regardless of the performance of any other driver or laps led. If he leads that drops to 19th or better; if he leads the most laps his clinch will be 21st or better.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-11-2007)
  • Kyle Busch going for history: Kyle Busch followed his Friday night Truck Series win with a victory Saturday in the Busch Series, giving him a chance Sunday in the Nextel Cup event to become the first driver to sweep all three of NASCAR’s national series at the same track on the same weekend.(ESPN/AP)(11-11-2007)
  • What It Takes To Win The Chase: In 2006, Jimmie Johnson took over the Chase lead with two races left in the season en route to winning his first career Cup title. This year, he takes a larger points lead to Phoenix and only five other drivers are still in contention for the Nextel Cup championship. Jeff Gordon is the closest competitor to Johnson but will be challenged in his attempt to retake the lead considering how well Johnson has raced lately. Gordon could win at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami (the final two races) and still not win the title. Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart are mathematically still alive. However, they need a monumental collapse by Johnson in addition to gaining the maximum points in the last two events to have a chance to win the Chase. The following scenarios show how each driver could finish ahead of Johnson in the final two races (each scenario holds true regardless of Johnson leading a lap in each race unless otherwise specified):
    Chase Chances
    1) Jimmie Johnson Chase leader
    2) Jeff Gordon (-30 points) If he finishes nine places better than Johnson in each of the next two races, or if he wins out and leads the most laps in each event
    3) Clint Bowyer (-181) If he wins out and leads the most laps in each event, and needs for Johnson to average a 22nd-place finish or worse
    4) Kyle Busch (-339) If he wins out and leads the most laps in each event, and needs for Johnson to not start one race and finish 40th or worse in the other race
    5) Carl Edwards (-357) If he wins out and leads the most laps in each event, and needs for Johnson to not start the final two races
    6) Tony Stewart (-373) If he wins out and leads the most laps in each event, and needs for Johnson to not start the final two races
    Drivers 7-12 Eliminated from championship contention.(ESPN.com’s Terry Blount)(11-6-2007)
    AND: Johnson would clinch if he gains 131 points on Gordon at Phoenix, assuming Johnson starts the last race. If Gordon blows an engine and finishes last at Phoenix, Johnson would have to finish fourth or better (if he led a lap) to win the championship. If Johnson wins the race and leads the most laps, he would clinch if Gordon finishes 35th or worse and doesn’t lead a lap.(ESPN.com’s Terry Blount)(11-7/11-2007)
  • Frye at Phoenix: Former MB2 Motorsports and Ginn Racing General Manager Jay Frye, one of many casualties of the fire sale of Ginn to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. earlier this season, was back in the garage at Phoenix International Raceway Saturday, ending a hiatus of several races. Frye said he has had numerous inquiries from other teams about his availability and expects to be gainfully employed again soon. “I’m looking at what’s available,” said Frye. “There are a lot of good opportunities out there.”(SPEEDtv.com), been told one oppurtunity was with Red Bull Racing, but no offer was extended.(11-11-2007)
  • Robby heading to Baja: Robby Gordon returns to Ensenada, Mexico with one thing on his mind – looking to repeat the performance from last year’s Baja 1000. 2006 marked Gordon’s third Baja 1000 victory of his prestigious off road career. Gordon once again will dismiss the logistical challenges of racing multiple races in various locations. After the completion of the Nextel Cup race in Phoenix on Sunday and before heading to Homestead, Miami for NASCAR’s season finale, Gordon and crew will head to Ensenada for Tuesday’s running of the 40th Baja 1000, a 1296 mile event through the rugged terrain of Mexico. On Tuesday morning, Robby Gordon and co-driver Gregg Till will start from fourth place in the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Trophy Truck in Ensenada. As the course progresses through the Mexico, Gordon will turn the truck over to Dale Ebberts in Catavina – about 400 miles into the race. Ebberts will race his way to San Ignatio, which is about 695 miles into the race. At this point, Gordon will return the helm of the Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck and continue to the finish line in Cabo San Lucas. Every year the competition in Baja gets tougher and teams look for every advantage they can get. This year Gordon’s Nextel Cup team is kicking in with almost the entire road team attending. The over the wall crew will be adding a new activity to their resumes – changing tires on the trophy truck at various locations on the course. The almost 1300 mile race will take the better part of 20 hours to complete. This year Jim Beam has teamed up with Robby Gordon Off-Road to provide live updates via Twitter. Twitter is a mobile micro blogging service that will allow the team to text message updates from satellite phone. Fans can sign up and have the updates sent directly to their mobile phones for free (please note that standard service plan charges still apply).(RGM PR), see the Tracker page at robbygordon.com.(11-11-2007)


    News from November 10, 2007

  • Official – Hornish to Cup Series in 2008: ExxonMobil announced that it is expanding its longstanding relationship with Penske Racing by sponsoring three-time IndyCar Series Champion Sam Hornish Jr. when he moves to the Sprint Cup Series in 2008. After an incredibly successful eight-year stint in the IndyCar Series that saw Hornish Jr. become the driver with the most wins in the Series’ history (19 wins), garner three series championships (2001, 2002 and 2006) and win the 2006 running of the Indianapolis 500, he will make the move to stock car racing full time and pilot the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge in 2008. Hornish Jr. is the latest open-wheel driver to transition to NASCAR. “I truly view this move to NASCAR and the Sprint Cup Series as the next great challenge for me in racing,” said Hornish Jr. “My learning curve has been sharp, but Roger, everyone at Penske Racing and the team at Mobil 1 have been incredibly supportive throughout the process. The track time this season is all part of the transition to Cup racing and I am committed to making 2008 a successful season for the Mobil 1 Racing team.” Hornish Jr. participated in NASCAR Busch Series races both in the 2006 and 2007 season, posting a best finish of 15th at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 2007. He also attempted to qualify for NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races on seven occasions in 2007. “Sam Hornish Jr. is one of the most versatile and skilled drivers in all of motor sports,” said Jerry Kohlenberger, president, ExxonMobil Lubricants & Specialties Company. “Everyone at ExxonMobil is looking forward to Sam building his impressive racing resume as he successfully crosses over to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. We also are delighted to expand our 17-year relationship with Penske Racing and present Mobil 1 as the title sponsor of the #77 Dodge. Our association with Penske Racing and NASCAR reinforces the engine protection and performance that Mobil 1 delivers for both NASCAR drivers on the track and race fans traveling to the track.” Hornish Jr. will be the third full-time member of Penske Racing’s Sprint Cup Series team, which also includes veteran drivers Ryan Newman in the #12 Alltel Dodge and Kurt Busch in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge. “Sam had a great run with us in the IndyCar Series, and as he continues to adjust to the type of racing he’ll encounter in the Sprint Cup Series, we expect him to excel there as well,” said Roger Penske, owner and chairman of Penske Racing. “In Sam, we have a driver with the desire to be the best and win wherever and whenever he races. We can teach him about stock car racing, but we don’t need to teach him how to be a racer.”(Penske Racing PR)(11-10-2007)
  • Three Indy 500 Champs in field – NOT the first time,,,not the 2nd time: With #06-Sam Hornish (36th), #42-Juan Pablo Montoya (14th) and Jacques Villeneuve (27th) making the field of the Checker Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix, it’s the first time three Indianapolis 500 winners will start a NASCAR race.(Indianapolis Star and many sources reported this fact)
    UPDATE: there have been at least two other NASCAR Cup races where 3 or 4 former Indy 500 winners made the same race:
    On October 10, 1976, three Indy 500 winners started the National 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway [now Lowe’s Motor Speedway]
    Johnny Rutherford (Indy 500 winner in 1974 and 1976) finished 31st.
    A.J. Foyt (1961, 1964, 1967) finished 38th.
    Gordon Johncock (1973) finished 39th.
    And on January 19, 1964, in the Motor Trend 500 at Riverside [road course], there were four Indy 500 winners in the field:
    Troy Ruttman (1952) finished 10th.
    A.J. Foyt (1961) finished 21st.
    Parnelli Jones (1963) finished 32nd.
    Rodger Ward (1962) finished 38th.
    (researched at racing-reference.info).(11-10-2007)
  • France: no changes planned for Chase: NASCAR Chairman Brian France said he doesn’t anticipate any big tweaks for the Chase For The Nextel Cup format for next season as a pair of Hendrick Motorsports drivers have broken away from the 12-driver pack compete for the title. France, speaking after being a panelist Friday at a business summit at Phoenix International Raceway, said he was happy with the format, which seeded drivers for the Chase based on wins and also added five more points for a win week to week. He was especially pleased with Jimmie Johnson going for the win last week at Texas, where he earned five more points than he would have a year ago. “It’s worked,” France said when asked about the bonus points. “We may do a little more of it. What Jimmie Johnson did – I actually called him on the phone and told him, by going after that win – because he knew how close it was – he knew those bonus points may be necessary to win it all. In the old days, a couple years ago, somebody might have settled for second. He took a lot of chances. I hope it was because the rewards were such that it counts.”
    France seemed unworried about TV ratings, which are down this season. “Television ratings for almost everything are down – prime time, daytime, sports, whatever else,” France said. “We’re probably a victim of that to some level. You have to remember we’re still posting big audiences, and our TV partners are very satisfied. We’d love to be growing at better rates, but we’re not contracting at all. We’re pretty satisfied that story lines in the future and things go on that we’ll be fine.”
    As far as New Hampshire and the recent purchase by Speedway Motorsports, France said it does make some realignment opportunities possible for SMI owner Bruton Smith and President H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler. “Two events that are working as well as those two events were, you’d like to think they would work bests there vs. taking one somewhere else,” France said. “But Bruton and Humpy and those guys have to get in there and determine some of that on their own.”(SceneDaily.com)(11-10-2007)
  • Texas TV ratings down 14% from 2006: ABC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Dickies 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 3.7, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 14% lower than the 4.3 NBC earned for the race in 2006.(SceneDaily.com)(11-10-2007)
  • Johnson, Gordon to Appear on ESPN’s Monday Night Football: With the final race of the Nextel Cup season in their windshields, drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon will appear during halftime of ESPN’s Monday Night Football game between the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. The game airs Monday, Nov. 12, at 8:30pm/et. ESPN’s Stuart Scott will interview Johnson and Gordon via satellite. Johnson is the defending NASCAR champion while Gordon is attempting to win his fifth title.(ESPN PR)(11-10-2007)


    News from November 9, 2007

  • New crew chief for Labonte in 2008? UPDATE: Hearing that #24-Jeff Gordon’s car chief [not crew chief], Jeff Meendering, will be Bobby Labonte’s new crew chief of the #43 Cheerios/Petty Enterprises Dodge in 2008, replacing current #43 crew chief, Doug Randolph, will leave after the season and head to the #15 DEI team of Paul Menard.(11-9-2007)
    UPDATE: The car chief for Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevy says he will wait until after the season to decide whether he will leave Hendrick Motorsports to pursue opportunities as a crew chief. Jeff Meendering, who joined Hendrick in 1994 and has been part of the #24 team since 2000, said several teams are interested in acquiring his services, but he said he hasn’t decided whether he will accept one of those positions. One of those teams is Petty Enterprises and its #43 car, which has an opening after crew chief Doug Randolph was hired by Dale Earnhardt Inc. An Internet rumor said Meendering had already decided to join Petty as a crew chief next season. “I’ve talked to them,” Meendering said Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. “That’s one of the options that’s out there. I’m just trying to get through the season. I’m not committing to anything yet. I’m just looking at my options. I’m not saying I’m going to be doing anything different than [working at Hendrick] this year.”(SceneDaily.com)(11-9-2007)
  • Best Buy moving? UPDATE 6 to the #19: hearing that Best Buy will not return to Haas CNC Racing in 2008, but supposedly will stay in the sport with an unknown team, possibly a Dodge team, the #19 GEM Dodge of Elliott Sadler is one rumored possibility.(10-22-2007)
    UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing has settled on its drivers for its two-car Sprint Cup team in 2008, but its sponsorship situation is unsettled. Best Buy, which backs the team’s # 66 – driven for the first time this weekend by Jeremy Mayfield – has not decided its future, a spokesman for the company said this week. And Wednesday, a statement released by Yellow Transportation said that company is evaluating its future in the sport. Yellow entered Nextel Cup this season as sponsor of Johnny Sauter’s #70. Sauter will be replaced next season by Scott Riggs. Haas CNC Racing General Manager Joe Custer said this week the team is negotiating with both companies to return next season.(SceneDaily.com)(10-25-2007)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Best Buy sponsorship is a done deal to Gillett Evernham Mototsports #19 team and driver Elliott Sadler, who supposedly made a commercial for Best Buy already.(11-1-2007)
    UPDATE 3: As far as sponsorship goes for the #19 next season, team sources said it will be a combination deal, with Best Buy, Valvoline and Stanley all rotating as primary sponsors next season.(SPEEDtv.com)(11-3-2007)
    UPDATE 4: Best Buy Racing will hold a press conference at Phoenix International Raceway Friday, November 9, to announce its sponsorship of a new driver and team, and unveil its 2008 car design.(11-8-2007)
    OR And Best Buy is expected to be announcing a sponsorship move today, possible to the Jack Roush-Doug Yates operation, possibly with driver #38-David Gilliland.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-9-2007)
    UPDATE 6: Best Buy, Inc., announced it has entered a new affiliation with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. The nation’s leading electronics retailer will serve as the primary sponsor of driver Elliott Sadler and the #19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge Avenger in 15 Sprint Cup Series events in 2008, including the 50th running of the “Great American Race,” the Daytona 500. “At Best Buy, we’re all about bringing consumers the complete product and service experiences, and that’s what we feel we’ve found with Gillett Evernham Motorsports,” said Barry Judge, senior vice president, Marketing, Best Buy. “With Gillett Evernham Motorsports, not only do we have the focus on performance, but we also have a charismatic fan favorite and proven winner in our driver, Elliott Sadler. We’re confident this new relationship will generate excitement and enthusiasm among our employees, as well as our customers.” To announce the partnership, Best Buy and Gillett Evernham Motorsports held a press conference on Friday morning, Nov. 9, at Phoenix International Raceway, which featured a unique twist on the traditional sponsorship announcement. Instead of representatives just speaking about the new partnership, the relationship was announced through a special video piece that aired on flat-screen TV’s placed in front of the media center stage. Produced by Best Buy’s internal Yellow Tag production team and filmed last week at the Mooresville, N.C., Best Buy store, the humorous clip features Sadler, Evernham and local Best Buy employees, known as “Blue Shirts.” In 2008, Best Buy will enter its fourth season as a sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In 2005, Best Buy partnered with NetZero as co-primary sponsors of the #0 entry, fielded by Haas CNC Racing. For the past two years, Best Buy has served as the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing car. Fans can view the video by visiting www.racing.bestbuy.com.(Evernham Motorsports PR), see images of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery.(11-9-2007)
  • Sponsor announcement for Petty’s at Phoenix UPDATE PVA.org: Richard and Kyle Petty will be making a 2008 sponsorship announcement at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday morning, November 9th.(11-8-2007)

    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises announced that the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) will serve as a primary sponsor on the #45 Dodge Avenger for two races during the 2008 Sprint Cup season. The events will be the May race at the Richmond International Raceway and the June race at the Pocono Raceway. The organization will be an associate sponsor on the #45 Dodge for the remaining 34 races of the season. Richard and Kyle Petty, along with PVA members Dianne Brunswick and Benjamin Garcia, were on hand at the Phoenix International Raceway to make the announcement. The PVA chose to make the announcement at Phoenix because it is Veteran’s Day weekend. They feel that aligning themselves with an organization like Petty Enterprises would be a great way to honor the more than 19,000 men and women that comprise the membership of the PVA. For more information visit www.pva.org/petty.(Petty Racing/Moore Consulting Group PR)(11-9-2007)

  • Hall of Fame Racing to Partner with Toyota Hall of Fame Racing (HoFR) officials announced today at Phoenix International Raceway that the team will partner with Toyota and Toyota Racing Development (TRD) in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. J.J. Yeley will drive the #96 DLP HDTV Toyota Camry in 2008 for HoFR, and the team will continue their strategic alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) – leasing engines and receiving manufacturing support from JGR. “I’ve had the good fortune of working with Toyota in the past. Toyota is an industry leading company and an exceptional partner who is committed to winning,” said Tom Garfinkel, owner of HoFR. “We’re also thrilled to continue our relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing – a first-class organization who has been supportive of us from day one.” Yeley’s first appearance in a Toyota in Sprint Cup competition will come in the Feb. 9 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. Yeley earned his way into the non-points paying event via his first career Cup pole on June 15, 2007 at Michigan International Speedway.(Hall of Fame Racing PR)(11-9-2007)
  • Chase stats after Texas: If Jeff Gordon makes up at least 13 points and no more than 48 on Jimmie Johnson at Phoenix, we will have the closest gap from 1-2 going to Homestead. In 2004, Kurt Busch carried an 18-point lead over Johnson into the final race, and held on for the win. Unless Clint Bowyer finishes well ahead of both, we’ll only have those two as contenders for the crown. The push for the podium: Matt Kenseth moved a big step closer to teleprompter practice with a second place at Texas. He now leads Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex by 70. See more on the Chase stats after Texas page.(11-9-2007)
  • Phoenix Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Phoenix this weekend, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the same specific combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for Nextel Cup and Busch teams to run at Phoenix this past April . . . in addition to Phoenix, teams in all three of NASCAR’s major series ran this tire set-up at Richmond and New Hampshire in 2007 . . .Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams also ran this set-up at Milwaukee, Gateway, Indianapolis Raceway Park and Memphis (Busch only) this season . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix. The estimated pit window: Every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage (Nextel Cup).(Goodyear PR), see the full report, pressures, codes on the Phoenix Race Info page.(11-9-2007)
  • UTI/Star Motorsports Launch Scholorship Program at NTI: In an effort to promote diversity and multi-cultural inclusion throughout the motor sports industry, Universal Technical Institute (UTI) Foundation and STAR Motorsports LLC are launching Star Track Scholarship Program to provide scholarships throughout 2008 for students attending UTI’s NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech) in Mooresville, NC. Star Motorsports LLC is a worldwide comprehensive motor sports, entertainment and lifestyle company. Through its Educational and Developmental Division, Star Track, Star Motorsports is offering five scholarships to qualifying students starting in January 2008 at NASCAR Tech and five more throughout the year. NASCAR Tech, a division of Universal Technical Institute, Inc., has an exclusive educational alliance with NASCAR. NASCAR Tech is the only school of its kind that combines UTI’s automotive training and a NASCAR-approved technologies curriculum into one program. After completing the core curriculum, students can go on to learn the basics of engine construction, chassis fabrication, NASCAR racing theory principles, rules and regulations and Pit Crew. Applications will be available online at the UTI Foundation web site, www.utifoundation.net. Selections will be made by the UTI Scholarship committee.(PR)(11-9-2007)
  • Edwards wins pole at Phoenix: #99-Carl Edwards won the Budweiser Pole for the Checker Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway with a speed of 132.773mph for his first pole of 2007, first since Homestead in 2005 and the 3rd of his career. #1-Truex Jr. qualified second with the rest of the top-10: #24-Gordon, #18-Yeley, #70-Sauter, #48-Johnson, #16-Biffle, #96-Raines, #2-Busch and #9-Kahne. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #83-Vickers, #10-Carpentier, #06-Hornish, Jr.(first career start), #27-Villeneuve, #09-Marlin, #36-Benson, #78-Nemechek and #21-Bill Elliott had to use a past champions provisional to make the race, the 4th of 6, so he has two to use with one race to go in the season.
    For qualifying results, pole progression, starting luineup, see the Phoenix Starting Lineup, Qualifying Results/Order Page.(11-9-2007)
  • Six do not qualify [DNQ] for the Checker Auto Parts 500(k) at Phoenix International Raceway: #55-Waltrip [34 team attempts/40th in OWNERS pts]; #44-Jarrett [34/41], #49-Andretti [34/47], #84-Allmendinger [34/44]; #4-Burton [33/45]; #00-Reutiman [34/39] who lost an engine on his qualifying lap.(11-9-2007)
  • Ramblings – Phoenix Qualifying: Carl Edwards toured the Phoenix International Raceway in 27.114 seconds today (132.773 mph) and took his first Bud Pole of the season in the process. This is the third top-spot of Edwards’ career (and first since Homestead in November of 2005) and he becomes the 18th different pole winner on the season. Martin Truex Jr will start alongside on Sunday.
    J. J. Yeley (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Michigan in June.
    Johnny Sauter (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at New Hampshire in July.
    Tony Raines (8th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at Rockingham (new home for ARCA next May) in November of 2003!
    Jeff Burton (12th) had his best starting spot since he qualified 11th at Richmond in September.
    Patrick Carpentier (24th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. In his only other previous Nextel Cup start he lined up 40th at Watkins Glen in August.
    Sam Hornish Jr (26th) makes his first ever Cup start this weekend.
    Welcome Back Sterling Marlin (29th). This is his first start since Chicagoland in July.
    And, Welcome Back Johnny Benson (30th). This is his first start since Richmond in May.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 14 Top-10 starts in the last 15 races. Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10 starts in a row. Kasey Kahne has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    (Stock Car Fans)(11-9-2007)
  • Phoenix Qualifying Fast Facts:
    .. Carl Edwards won the Bud Pole for the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil with a lap of 27.114 seconds, 132.773 mph
    .. This is his third Bud Pole in 120 career Nextel Cup races
    .. This is his first Bud Pole and 10th top-10 start in 2007
    .. This is Edwards’s first Bud Pole at Phoenix International Raceway
    .. Martin Truex Jr. posted the second-fastest qualifying time, his third front-row start in the past four races
    .. Jeff Gordon (third) posted his 22nd top-10 start of 2007 and his 11th top-10 start in 18 races at Phoenix
    .. Sam Hornish Jr. (26th) qualified for his career-first Nextel Cup race in his seventh attempt to make a Nextel Cup race
    .. Patrick Carpentier (24th) and Jacques Villeneuve (27th) both qualified for their second Nextel Cup race
    .. Brian Vickers (22nd) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time
    .. Juan Pablo Montoya (14th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-9-2007)
  • Healthlife.com to sponsor #49 BAM Racing at Phoenix: BAM Racing welcomes HealthLife.com as primary sponsor of the #49 Dodge this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. HealthLife.com, a property of ARMER Holding LLC, offers Internet users valuable information and advice on a variety of today’s health-related topics. HealthLife.com, “Where Health, Life and People Meet,” is a unique information and forum website that offers expansive content from nationally and internationally known experts in an array of health-related fields. HealthLife.com is also an online meeting place for folks of like mind with regards to health, fitness, weight loss, longevity, and general wellbeing. HealthLife.com may return to the #49 team on a limited basis for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series.(BAM Racing PR)(11-9-2007)


    News from November 8, 2007

  • McSwain looking for crew chief gig? hearing that Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain, who recently stepped down as the crew chief of the #21 Wood Brothers Ford, is looking for a crew chief job in the Cup, Busch or Truck Series for the 2008 season after a business opportunity he had in place for next year fell apart in the eleventh hour.(11-8-2007)
  • Carpentier 2008 sponsor? Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway reported Wednesday that Komatsu Equipment [construction equipment] is expected to be the new sponsor of Patrick Carpentier’s #10 Dodge at Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2008.(11-8-2007)
  • Some changes at DEI? New crew chief for Menard? UPDATE confirmed: hearing that Dave Charpentier, current Paul Menard’s crew chief on the #15 Menards/Dale Earnhardt Inc Chevy, will become DEI’s Technical Director, overseeing the engineering support of the four Cup Teams [#01,#1,#8,#15] and development of DEI’s race cars going forward. Also, hearing that Doug Randolph, current crew chief of Petty Enterprises #43 Dodge team that Bobby Labonte drives for, will become Paul Menard’s crew chief of the #15 in 2008.(11-6-2007)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. continued to strengthen its motorsports operation with the promotion of several key industry experts and the addition of a veteran crew chief to its roster. Dave Charpentier, current crew chief of the #15 Menards Chevy, has been promoted to technical director, and Doug Randolph, current crew chief of the #43 Petty Enterprises car driven by Bobby Labonte, will take over as crew chief for Paul Menard and the #15. Charpentier, a long-time Dale Earnhardt Inc. employee, will oversee all aspects of engineering for the four-car Nextel Cup Series operation. He was trained as a nuclear engineer during a seven-year career in the United States Navy, and since 1989 has served in an engineering capacity with multiple NASCAR teams. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in nuclear science. Randolph is a University of Tennessee graduate and served as a crew chief at MB2 Motorsports/Ginn Racing for the previous four seasons. He will join the team on November 26. Walter Giles, current race engineer on the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, was named Director of Race Engineering and Jason Anderson was named Director of Design and Project Engineering. Giles and Anderson will report to Charpentier. In addition, Rex Garrett has been promoted to Director of Motorsports Operations. The nine-year Dale Earnhardt Inc. veteran will oversee the day-to-day activities of the race shop.(DEI PR)(11-8-2007)
  • More Fan Stuff for Nextel Cup Champ Week in NYC: “Aflac Fan Fest” at Hard Rock Cafe Among Nextel Cup Champions Week Highlights in New York City Events for Both Children and Adults Bring the World of NASCAR Into the Heart of Times Square. High energy, two day indoor event featuring NASCAR driver and crew appearances, radio station remotes, event emcee, NASCAR trivia and prize giveaways and much more. View the Trophy display with the Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and raftsman Truck Series trophies and pose for photographs to commemorate your Aflac Fan Fest experience. The event is free and open to the public. Thursday, November 29th and Friday, November 30th from 11:00am to 8:00pm/et at the Hard Rock Café New York in Times Square at 43rd Street and Broadway (1501 Broadway)(NASCAR PR)(11-8-2007)
  • Hornish could be announced at Phoenix UPDATE: If Sam Hornish stays true to form, trusting team owner Roger Penske to all but make career decisions for him, the three-time Indy Racing League champion will be announced on Saturday night in Phoenix as the new third driver for Penske’s Nextel Cup team. Though Penske said Sunday a final decision would be made in next few days, he smiled, adding, “My inclination would be to go with him.” Penske said if Hornish goes to NASCAR, former IRL driver Ryan Briscoe, who has tested Indy cars for Penske, would move from the organization’s American Le Mans Series unit to team with Helio Castroneves. “Our goal from the beginning was to see if Sam wanted to run in this type of series,” Penske said. “Number two was to be able to conclude a project with a major sponsor.” With both conditions apparently answered to his satisfaction, Penske said it was not of concern that Hornish had failed to qualify in six attempts at his first Cup race and has an average finish of 31.6 in nine Busch series starts. Hornish will attempt both series, Penske said, in the final two weekends at Phoenix and Homestead. Penske could guarantee Hornish entry into the first six races of the 2008 season by applying teammate Kurt Busch’s 2007 owner points to his car. Busch would be assured entry into races with a past champion’s provisional if he failed to qualify on speed.(St Petersburg Times)(11-5-2007)
    UPDATE: Sam Hornish Jr. is leaving the IndyCar Series for a full-time ride in NASCAR, joining the mass exodus of open-wheel stars fleeing to America’s most popular racing series. The three-time IndyCar champion told The Associated Press he will drive the #77 Dodge next season for Penske Racing with Mobil 1 as the sponsor. “I feel like this is something that is a new and unique challenge for me,” Hornish said Thursday. “It may or may not be the right way to look at it, but I feel like I accomplished just about everything in Indy cars. I got to do more than I ever thought I would.” Penske will officially introduce Hornish as the third driver for his NASCAR team on Saturday night at the Penske Racing Museum in Phoenix. He’ll join a team that already fields cars for #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman. NASCAR rules currently guarantee a starting spot to the top 35 teams in owner points. It leaves just eight spots in the field each week for everyone else, and this season has been a horrendous struggle for many top-name drivers. Penske could ensure Hornish a spot in the field for the first five races of next season by moving the points currently owned by Busch. The 2004 series champion has a provisional that would lock him into the field should he fail to qualify on speed. Hornish said he wasn’t sure what Penske will do with the points, and a spokesman for the car owner said he was not available for comment Thursday. Hornish will again try to make his Cup debut this weekend. He’s entered in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series races at Phoenix International Raceway, where he has two wins and three top-five finishes in Indy cars.(Associated Press)(11-8-2007)
  • Stremme to Nationwide Series with RWI? UPDATE 3, looking for Cup gig: Hearing David Stremme will drive a part time Nationwide Series schedule for Rusty Wallace Inc in 2008, splitting time with rookie Chase Austin.(10-25-2007)
    UPDATE: Expect an announcement Sunday in Atlanta that David Stremme will run a 20-race schedule of Nationwide Series races next season for Rusty Wallace, Inc. Sources close to the team tell Sirius Speedway that Stremme will split the schedule with youngster Chase Austin, running all the companion events with the Sprint Cup Series. Stremme is still rumored to be in the running for the handful of rides still open on the Cup side for 2008, as well.(Motorsports Soapbox)(10-26-2007)
    UPDATE 2: David Stremme says that signing with Rusty Wallace Racing to drive in the Nationwide Series in 2008 has no impact on his hunt for a job in the Nextel Cup Series. Stremme is parting ways with the #40 Chip Ganassi Racing team at the end of the season. He announced Sunday morning that he’ll be driving for Wallace in 17 Nationwide Series races next season. Although that team will be a Chevy organization, Stremme does not think that will have an impact on any ongoing negotiations. As to a Cup ride, he says that he’s been discussing various opportunities with his agent.(SceneDaily.com)(10-29-2007)
    UPDATE 3: David Stremme continues to search for a Cup ride for next season, but his agent said that Stremme won’t take any ride. Stremme is set to drive in 20 Busch races for Rusty Wallace’s team next season — all companion events with the Cup series. Stremme will be replaced by Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti at Chip Ganassi Racing next season. One possibility, agent Jeff Dickerson said, is that Stremme could drive a fourth car for Ganassi in 2008 if a sponsor is found.(Roanoke Times)(11-8-2007)
  • Benson takes over the #36 at Phoenix: Craftsman Truck Series veteran [and Nextel Cup race winner] Johnny Benson will take over the reigns of the #36 Toyota this weekend and will finish the season in the machine. Trip Bruce, who leads Benson’s NCTS effort, will call the shots this weekend for the Cup car as well.(BDR PR)(11-8-2007)
  • Villeneuve to attempt Phoenix: Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make his second career Nextel Cup Series start behind the wheel of the #27 Toyota at Phoenix International Raceway. Richard “Slugger” Labbe will once again serve as crew chief.(BDR PR)(11-8-2007)
  • Special scheme for Kahne the rest of season: The #9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne features the Lifetime Powertrain Warranty promotional paint scheme again this weekend at Phoenix. It will also be on the #9 at Homestead. Chrysler is the first and only OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to offer a ‘best-in-industry’ Lifetime Powertrain Warranty – providing worry-free ownership. The Chrysler Lifetime Powertrain Warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair covered powertrain components – engine, transmission and drive system.(Evernham Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on my 2007 Paint Scheme Gallery.(11-8-2007)
  • NANO back with Kenseth: For the third time in 2007, Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford Fusion will be painted black with the DEWALT NANO Technology paint scheme. Kenseth will also run the scheme at Homestead in the season finale.(Roush Racing PR), see images of the scheme on the #17 Team Schemes page.(11-8-2007)
  • Juicy Fruit debut at Phoenix: Juicy Fruit will make its debut in the Nextel Cup Series at Phoenix this weekend when #40-David Stremme will take to the track rocking a new paint scheme in the signature yellow Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Dodge. Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit has been on board this season for nearly 20 NBS races with the #41 Dodge.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-8-2007)
  • #96 tests at Caraway: Tony Raines and the #96 Hall of Fame Racing team tested a COT Wednesday at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, NC on Wednesday.(HOF Racing)(11-8-2007)
  • Phoenix Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the November 4 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Montoya scored a 25th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the 15th time this season. Montoya leads David Ragan by 20 points (234-214) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the November 11 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 11 years (1996-2006). Entering Sunday’s race at Phoenix, no Raybestos Rookie has won a pole in 2007. Paul Menard was the top Raybestos Rookie in the April 21 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix, scoring a 25th-place finish. Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart are the only Raybestos Rookies to win at Phoenix in 22 Nextel Cup races. Stewart won from the pole in 1999, beating Mark Martin to the checkered flag by 2.081 seconds. Busch captured the 2005 event by .609 seconds over Greg Biffle. Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in a race at Phoenix. He led the 1999 race three times for 150 laps. Ryan Newman holds the all-time Raybestos Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22).(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), See full report, rookies standings, history and more on the 2007 Rookies page.(11-8-2007)
  • Newman’s Team Takes Pit Crew Honors in Texas: Ryan Newman’s over-the-wall crew took top honors in Sunday’s Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. The #12 Penske Racing crew visited pit road for a total of 306.591 seconds during Sunday’s Nextel Cup event. “The guys did a great job in the pits today, as they’ve done for the entire season,” said Newman. “We took a few risks by taking two tires only in order to gain track position and (crew chief) Mike Nelson did a great job making those calls. It helped us lead a few laps and get a fifth-place finish at Texas. Our last stop helped us gain five spots and we were able to hold on against teams that took four tires.” Checkers/Rally’s will present Newman’s team with an $11,000 check for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be awarded to the over-the-wall crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. Newman’s team consists of: Bryan White (jackman), Scott Reiniger (front-tire carrier), Ben Brown (front-tire changer), Trent Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Joe Piette Jr. (rear-tire changer), George Whitley (gasman), Britt Goodrich (catch can) and Michael Warren (eighth-man). Cherry and Bob Pressley are the pit crew coaches. With two races remaining, the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge season championship is still up for grabs. Mark Martin’s #01 crew and Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew are currently tied for the lead with four wins each; however, six other teams are still mathematically in contention. If there’s a tie after the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 18), the team which finishes highest in the driver point standings will be awarded the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru season championship. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(11-8-2007)


    News from November 7, 2007

  • Nextel Cup Series Champions Week “Victory Lap” Top-10 Drivers to Celebrate 2007 Nextel Cup Series Season in Traditional “Victory Lap” Procession Through Streets of New York City. A 1.5 Mile, 10-Stock Car Victory Lap procession beginning and ending in New York City’s Times Square The Top-10 drivers in the final 2007 Nextel Cup Series point standings: including Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and others. Start Line: 44th Street and Broadway in front of Good Morning America’s Times Square Studios. Finish Line: 43rd Street and 7th Avenue in front of The Hard Rock Café on Wednesday, Nov. 28 from 8:30 to to 9:30am/et. All times are approximate.
    2007 Victory Lap Route (Distance 1.5 miles)
    * Start: 44th Street and Broadway
    * Left on Broadway
    * South on Broadway towards 42nd Street
    * Left (heading east) on 42nd Street
    * Left (heading north) on Madison Avenue
    * Left (heading west) on 53rd Street
    * Left (heading south) on Broadway
    * Veer right on 7th Avenue
    * Concludes on 7th Avenue and 43rd Street in front of the Hard Rock Café
    Double Decker Bus Fan Zone Locations
    * Madison Avenue and 43rd Street
    * 53rd Street and 5th Avenue
    * Broadway and 47th Street
    * Broadway and 44th Street
    (NASCAR PR)(11-7-2007)
  • New home for Petty’s Cup teams to be announced UPDATE: on Wednesday Petty Enterprises will announce a new location for its Nextel Cup operation in 2008.(PE PR), past rumor has the new shop being Robert Yates Racing [Mooresville, NC], who will move to Concord near Roush Racing.(11-7-2007)
    UPDATE: The winningest organization in NASCAR announces its first move since its inception in 1949. Richard and Kyle Petty, in efforts to garner continued wins and championships, have agreed to move Petty Enterprises closer to the center of NASCAR activities in the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area. They have reached a multi-year lease agreement for shop space located in the city of Mooresville. The space was formerly occupied by Robert Yates Racing and its two-car Nextel Cup operation. Petty Enterprises, founded by Richard’s father, Lee, in 1949 as Lee Petty Engineering, is currently headquartered in Level Cross, North Carolina. At that location, the 60,000-square foot sprawling facility has become one of the most successful in motorsports’ history. The organization has 268 Nextel Cup wins, 10 Nextel Cup titles and nine Daytona 500 trophies have been won from inside the hallowed ground. “Level Cross will always be the home of the wins and championships that the Petty family built,” said team owner Richard Petty. “It is where Petty Enterprises was founded and where the team has won and built a legacy in NASCAR. Petty Enterprises and Level Cross are the same as Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers, Yankee Stadium and the New York Yankees and Boston Garden and the Boston Celtics.” The move, to begin in December and completed by end of the year, includes the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driven by Bobby Labonte and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil/Wells Fargo/Tire Kingdom Dodge driven by Kyle Petty. It’s another move in the forward direction since 2006 when Robbie Loomis was named Vice President of Race Operations and 2000 Nextel Cup champion Bobby Labonte was announced as driver of the famed 43 Dodge. It has not yet been determined how the current location of Petty Enterprises will be used in 2008.(Petty Enterprises PR)(11-7-2007)
  • Testing at Nashville: Joe Gibbs Racing was testing their Chevrolets Tuesday and Wednesday at the Nashville Superspeedway. Driver Joey Logano, Busch East Champion, was in the driver’s seat both days.(Nashville Superspeedway)(11-7-2007)
  • Pedigree colors for Rudd at Phoenix: #88-Ricky Rudd will be running the bright yellow Pedigree Brand Food for Dogs Ford Fusion this weekend at Phoenix in the Checker Auto Parts 500 instead of his traditional Snickers paint scheme.(RYR PR), see images of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(11-7-2007)
  • Chevy Ties Its All-Time NASCAR Cup Win Record Set in 1958: When #48-Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flat at Texas Motor Speedway to score his ninth victory this season he also achieved a major milestone for Chevrolet – helping the brand tie its all-time win record in the NASCAR Cup Series. Team Chevy drivers have scored 25 victories in 34 races [74%] this season – 13 with the Monte Carlo SS and 12 with the new generation Impala SS race car – which ties the bowtie brand’s win record set in 1958.(GM Racing PR), it also ties Buick for the all time wins in the moderna era [1972 to present], Ford holds the record for most wins in a season with 48 in 1965, that season there were 55 races [87%] run.(11-7-2007)
  • Wind tunnel coming to Salisbury, NC: Rowan County [NC] leaders got confirmation late Tuesday that a company will locate a wind tunnel here [Salisbury, NC]. Wind Tunnel eXtreme, an automotive research and development firm expected to locate in Salisbury, NC, will receive a $30,000 state grant. Gov. Mike Easley issued a press release Tuesday announcing the One North Carolina Fund grant, which is tied to the creation of 29 jobs and an investment of $60 million over the next three years. Easley’s office announced the facility will open in Salisbury before the company had made a firm announcement. On Sept. 4, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners approved an incentive package that will rebate 80% of the company’s taxes for a period of eight years, an amount that could exceed $1.8 million. Late Tuesday, an official with the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission said the company has confirmed that it will locate in the Toyota business park. Stuart Hair, acting director of the Economic Development Commission, said the confirmation came from the company’s site consultant. Wind Tunnel eXtreme officials have said they are negotiating with Toyota Racing Development for a site in Competition Park off Peach Orchard Road. Work began last week on clearing parts of the heavily wooded tract near the intersection of Peach Orchard and Old Concord roads. Wind Tunnel eXtreme is a research and development group that will test and design aerodynamic features for automobiles. The company will also provide aerodynamic testing and validation services. The average weekly wage of the new jobs will be $1,515 plus benefits, which is more than the Rowan County average weekly wage of $611, not including benefits. “Wind Tunnel eXtreme, LLC chose North Carolina for the site of its operations because of its proximity to the center of automobile racing,” said Don Babb, Wind Tunnel eXtreme’s chief executive officer. “The Charlotte area has all of the elements we were looking for: A home base for NASCAR, a major international airport and the availability of a highly qualified workforce.”(Salisbury Post)(11-7-2007)
  • Kurt Busch honored: #2-Kurt Busch received Official Certificates of Commendation from the offices of State of Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons and Second District of Nevada U.S. Congressman Dean Heller for his outstanding humanitarian contributions, both personally and on behalf of the Kurt Busch Foundation at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The final “Ride with Kurt for the Kids” fundraiser for 2007 was held Tuesday.(Tom Roberts PR)(11-7-2007)
  • NCMA announces 2008 award nominees: The North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) announced the nominees for the second annual NCMA Awards Banquet which will be held at the Embassy Suites and Convention Center here [Concord, NC] on Jan. 30, 2008. In addition to Richard Petty, who will receive the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award for his lifetime of accomplishments, dedication and commitment to the industry and in the state of North Carolina, 10 organizations will be awarded in distinct categories. Three nominees were chosen in each category through anonymous NCMA member voting. The categories and nominees are: Two-Year or Trade School Education Program: Pit Instructional and Training, Catawba Valley Community College and Central Carolina Community College. Four-Year Education Program: Belmont Abbey College, University of North Carolina, Charlotte and Winston Salem State University. Motorsports Workforce Diversity: Imagine This! Creative Concepts, NC A&T University and Urban Youth Racing School. Regional Marketing Campaigns: JHE Production Group, Race World USA and National Auto Sport Association (NASA). National Marketing Campaigns: DIRT Motorsports, Champ Boat Grand Prix Series and DuPont Motorsports. Economic Development: Richmond County, Cabarrus County and International Speedway Corporation. Safety Innovation: NASCAR, Safety Solutions and Hendrick Motorsports. Event Facilities: Southern National Speedway, Bowman Gray Stadium, Hickory Motor Speedway. Small Company: Endurance Karting, Extremeion, Koolmat Insulation. Large Company: Stock Car Steel & Aluminum, Richard Petty Driving Experience, Fountain Boats. The NCMA 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. Proceeds from this event go toward NCMA initiatives such as the Motorsports Workforce Development Initiative IE2 – “Introduce, Educate, Intern, Employ.”(NCMA PR)(11-7-2007)


    News from November 6, 2007

  • Four court cases against Ginn dismissed, settled? Former Ginn Racing drivers Joe Nemechek and Sterling Marlin as well as former crew chiefs Peter Sospenzo and Richard “Slugger” Labbe apparently have reached settlements with former team owner Bobby Ginn. All four cases – filed in North Carolina Superior Court in Concord, N.C. – have been dismissed, indicating that settlements have been reached. The drivers and crew chiefs were asking for the fulfillment of their contracts. The case files do not indicate how much they were paid, only that the drivers and crew chiefs have dismissed their claims. Ginn Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in July, leaving Nemechek, Marlin, Sospenzo and Labbe as well as several other crew members without jobs. There are still two lawsuits involving other crew members pending against Ginn.(SceneDaily.com)(11-6-2007)
  • New Tire Changer for Hamlin: This weekend, C.J. Fambrough will pit in his very first Nextel Cup Race. Fambrough learned Monday morning that he will be the front tire changer for Denny Hamlin’s #11 FedEx car for the last two cup races in Phoenix and Homestead. KLTV 7 Sports [Texas] caught up with C.J. Monday afternoon by phone. “It is really neat,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity and I’m fortunate to have it. I’m excited I’m a little bit nervous but I know what to expect and I know what I’ve got to do.” C.J. says there will be a few differences between pitting on the Busch series and for the Nextel Cup. “Timing,” he said, “and I will be working with a whole new crew I’ve never worked with and there’s a lot more pit stops. In a Busch race you get three to four pit stops at the most. In Phoenix, at the Cup race, we could possibly do nine, ten, eleven pit stops just depends on cautions and how everything is going.”(KLTV site), Cory Quick, the regular trie changer for Hamlin, is out due to an elbow injury that will require surgery and will be back for the 2008 season. For teams pit crews, see the 2007 Cup Pit Crew Chart page.(11-6-2007)
  • Haas sentenced to two years: Gene Haas [owner of Haas CNC Racing #66, #70 teams] was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison today for conspiring to cheat the government out of millions of dollars in taxes owed by his company. At the request of Haas’ lawyers, the judge recommended the owner of Oxnard-based Haas Automation Inc. undergo treatment for drugs and alcohol. At a sentencing hearing Monday, a judge ordered him to report to federal court Jan. 14, when he will be transported to prison. Haas pleaded guilty in August. In his plea agreement, Haas, 54, took responsibility for one of 11 federal charges brought against him, agreeing to spend two years in prison. As part of the deal, he has paid more than $70 million in restitution and fines. The conviction is a stunning setback for Haas, who had been regarded as an extraordinary success. He founded and built his company into the country’s largest machine tool builder. Haas Automation remains one of Ventura County’s larger employers, with about 1,100 workers at a manufacturing complex at 2800 Sturgis Road. Haas has also been one of Ventura County’s most generous philanthropists. Haas’ plea followed a six-year investigation that snared five of his business associates, who all have pleaded guilty in connection with the tax fraud scheme.(Ventura County Star)
    AND He is required to serve 85% of the sentence before being considered for release, so he will have to serve at least 20 months and 12 days in prison. Officials with the race team, which has hired Jeremy Mayfield and Scott Riggs as its drivers for next season, have indicated that it does not expect an impact from Haas’ pending imprisonment. The team is owned by Haas Automation. When the plea bargain was agreed to in August, Haas’ attorneys released a statement indicating that Haas relied on the wrong people for financial and accounting advice and made a mistake in filing the erroneous returns.(SceneDaily.com)(11-6-2007)


    News from November 5, 2007

  • Texas overnight TV ratings down from 2006: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dickies 500 Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway earned a 3.6 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The figure is 10% lower than the 4.0 NBC earned overnight for the race in 2006.(SceneDaily), see past ratings and news on my 2007 TV Ratings page.(11-5-2007)
  • Looks like HOF Racing going to Toyota UPDATE: Expect an announcement from Hall of Fame Racing in the next seven to 10 days that it is switching to Toyota for 2008, sources said. HOF is a satellite outfit to Joe Gibbs Racing, which already has confirmed that it will move next year. The team will add a second full-time Spring Cup car in 2009 for 19-year-old phenom Brad Coleman. J.J. Yeley will drive for HOF next season, with Coleman doing as many as seven Cup races in 2008.(Ford Racing)(11-3-2007)
    UPDATE: Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel, the new majority owners of Hall of Fame Racing, said they’ll make a decision within a few weeks on an engine manufacturer. Hall of Fame has always used Chevy engines, but it has also maintained a working agreement with Joe Gibbs Racing, which will switch to Toyota next season. “If we continue the Gibbs alliance, certainly it would be Toyota,” Garfinkel said. “That would be our preference. But we’re investigating all opportunities.” Moorad and Garfinkel, who are members of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ ownership group, took over Hall of Fame in September from the original group headed by former Cowboys star quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.(Dallas Morning News)(11-5-2007)
  • Hornish could be announced at Phoenix: If Sam Hornish stays true to form, trusting team owner Roger Penske to all but make career decisions for him, the three-time Indy Racing League champion will be announced on Saturday night in Phoenix as the new third driver for Penske’s Nextel Cup team. Though Penske said Sunday a final decision would be made in next few days, he smiled, adding, “My inclination would be to go with him.” Penske said if Hornish goes to NASCAR, former IRL driver Ryan Briscoe, who has tested Indy cars for Penske, would move from the organization’s American Le Mans Series unit to team with Helio Castroneves. “Our goal from the beginning was to see if Sam wanted to run in this type of series,” Penske said. “Number two was to be able to conclude a project with a major sponsor.” With both conditions apparently answered to his satisfaction, Penske said it was not of concern that Hornish had failed to qualify in six attempts at his first Cup race and has an average finish of 31.6 in nine Busch series starts. Hornish will attempt both series, Penske said, in the final two weekends at Phoenix and Homestead. Penske could guarantee Hornish entry into the first six races of the 2008 season by applying teammate Kurt Busch’s 2007 owner points to his car. Busch would be assured entry into races with a past champion’s provisional if he failed to qualify on speed.(St Petersburg Times)(11-5-2007)
  • Loop Data: 55 Green Flag Passes for the Lead at Texas: Though there were 27 lead changes registered at the start/finish line during Sunday’s Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, a total of 55 Green Flag Passes for the Lead took place around the track. The 55 passes for the lead is the highest number at Texas Motor Speedway since the inception of Loop Data in 2005. NASCAR began using scoring loops embedded in the track for statistical purposes in 2005. Since 2005, the previous high for Green Flag Passes for the Lead at Texas Motor Speedway was 33 on April 9, 2006. A prime contributor to that number: The side-by-side duel between Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth in the closing laps of the 334-lap race. The two swapped the lead twice on laps 328 and 329, swapped it three times on lap 332 and twice again on 333. Additionally, there were 2,865 Green Flag Passes during Sunday’s race. That too was a high since 2005 – the previous high was 2,018 set on Nov. 6, 2005.(NASCAR PR)(11-5-2007)
  • DEI’s Gilmore back in hospital: Richie Gilmore, vice president of competition for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., is back in the hospital, four weeks after suffering a brain aneurysm, said DEI’s Vice President of Motorsports Operations, John Story. According to Story, Gilmore was scheduled to return to work at DEI on Monday, but after a medical examination was checked into a hospital in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area on Saturday. Sunday morning at Texas Motor Speedway, Story said he had no update on Gilmore’s condition or prognosis for when he might return to work. Gilmore suffered the aneurysm four weeks ago, prior to the Talladega race weekend. He was hospitalized briefly in Birmingham and then returned to his home in North Carolina.(SPEEDtv.com)(11-5-2007)
  • Cars Dyno’d at Texas: NASCAR officials put the cars of several Nextel Cup teams on the sanctioning body’s chassis dyno machine after the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway Sunday. The Chevrolets of race winner Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports), Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s Martin Truex Jr., Hendrick’s Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Tony Stewart, Richard Childress Racing’s Jeff Burton and JGR’s J.J. Yeley, the Fords of Roush Fenway Racing’s Matt Kenseth and Robert Yates Racing’s Ricky Rudd, the Dodges of Penske Racing’s Ryan Newman and Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne and the Toyotas of Team Red Bull’s Brian Vickers and Bill Davis Racing’s Dave Blaney took turns on the machine following the race.(SceneDaily.com)(11-5-2007)
  • Commercial breakdown, driver focus, and links related to the Dickies 500: Total number of commercials: 152 (in 2006: 159)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 74 (in 2006: 85)
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 19 (in 2006: 23)
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 11/04/07: 3:36 PM (in 2006: 2:41 PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 11/04/07: 7:26 PM (in 2006: 7:30 PM)
    Total minutes: 230 (in 2006: 289)
    Minutes of race broadcast: 169 (in 2006: 214)
    Minutes of commercials: 61 (in 2006: 75)
    Number of movie star sightings: 1 (Vince Vaughn)
    Number of missed restarts: 1
    See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(11-5-2007)

  • News from November 4, 2007

  • Drivers in NASCAR’s top series who have won three or
    more consecutive races in a season since the modern era began in 1972:

    1972 Bobby Allison: Bristol, Trenton, Atlanta
    1973 David Pearson: Darlington, Martinsville, Talladega
    1974 Richard Petty(X): Atlanta, Pocono, Talladega
    1975 Richard Petty(X): Bristol, Atlanta, North Wilkesboro
    1976 Cale Yarborough(X)(4): Richmond, Dover, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro
    1976 David Pearson: Charlotte, Riverside, Michigan
    1981 Darrell Waltrip(X)(4): Martinsville, North Wilkesboro, Charlotte, Rockingham
    1983 Bobby Allison(X): Darlington, Richmond, Dover
    1987 Dale Earnhardt(X): Bristol, Darlington, Richmond
    1987 Dale Earnhardt(X)(4): Darlington, North Wilkesboro, Bristol, Martinsville
    1988 Rusty Wallace: Charlotte, North Wilkesboro, Rockingham
    1991 Harry Gant(4): Darlington, Richmond, Dover, Martinsville
    1992 Bill Elliott(4): Rockingham, Richmond, Atlanta, Darlington
    1993 Mark Martin(4): Watkins Glen, Brooklyn, Bristol, Darlington
    1993 Rusty Wallace: Bristol, North Wilkesboro, Martinsville
    1994 Rusty Wallace: Dover, Pocono, Michigan
    1996 Jeff Gordon: Dover, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro
    1998 Jeff Gordon(X)(4): Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, Michigan
    1998-1999 Jeff Gordon: Rockingham, Atlanta, Daytona (1999)
    2004-Jimmie Johnson*: Charlotte, Martinsville, Atlanta
    2007-Jimmie Johnson: Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas
    (*odd note: Ryan Newman won the pole for all three races Johnson won)
    (X = won the Cup Championship)(11-4-2007)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 42 consecutive races, the longest current streak, next up is #07-Bowyer at 35 consecutive races. In the 2007 season after 34 races, two drivers have finished all the races: #07-Bowyer and #29-Harvick. #12-Newman has the most DNF’s [Did Not Finish] with nine (8).(11-4-2007)
  • Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon leads all drivers after 34 races in 2007 with 28 Top-10 finishes and 20 Top-5 finishes. Next with most top-5’s is #48-Johnson at 19; the next most top-10’s is #20-Stewart and #48-Johnson at 22. All full-time drivers who have run all 34 races in 2007 have scored a Top-10 finish. Three drivers do not have a Top-5 [ran all races]: #43-Labonte, #19-Sadler and #40-Stremme.(11-4-2007)
  • Johnson wins at Texas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his 3rd race in a row, 9th win of the season, 1st ever at Texas and 32nd of his career. #17-Kenseth led late and lost the lead with 3 laps to go and finished 2nd, followed by #1-Truex Jr., #5-Busch [led most laps], #12-Newman, #31-Burton, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch, #26-McMurray and #29-Harvick. Other Chasers finished #20-Stewart 11th, #07-Bowyer had a late vibration and pitstops and finished 19th, #99-Edwards finished 26th after having a sway bar chain problem and #11-Hamlin was 29th after racing for the lead with Kenseth and smacking the wall. There were 12 cautions [ties a record] for 52 laps and 12 drivers led the race with 25 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 notes, lucky dogs and more.(11-4-2007)
  • The Chase Standings [after Texas, race 34]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6382
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon 6352, -30
    3) #07-Clint Bowyer 6201, -181
    4) #5-Kyle Busch 6043, -339
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 6025, -357
    6) #20-Tony Stewart 6009, -373
    these drivers are eliminated from the chase
    7) #31-Jeff Burton 5951, -431
    8) #29-Kevin Harvick 5943, -439
    9) #2-Kurt Busch 5929, -453
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth 5928, -454
    fighting for the 10th spot to go to NYC
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin 5858, -524
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 5858, -524
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(11-4-2007)
  • Rumblings – Texas Race Facts: In what was otherwise a rather forgettable race today at Texas Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson surged to the front late (looked just like last week) and won the Dickies 500 over Matt Kenseth….taking over the points lead in the process. Johnson nabbed his third in a row and 9th this season by .944 seconds over Kenseth. Victory #32 for his Nextel Cup career moves him into a 19th place tie with Dale Jarrett and Tony Stewart on the all-time list. This was win #166 for Hendrick Motorsports (and a whopping 17 on the season), and was worth $486,211 from the healthy $7.2M+ in posted awards.
    Matt Kenseth (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Chicagoland in July.
    Martin Truex Jr (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Michigan in August.
    Mike Skinner (24th) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Daytona in February of 2004 (only 15 races).
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-5’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Ricky Rudd (+24), followed by Jeff Burton (+21), J. J. Yeley (+21), and Tony Raines (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was A J Allmendinger (-34), followed by Mark Martin (-24), Juan Pablo Montoya (-22), Denny Hamlin (-22), and Casey Mears (-22). Nice to get Ricky a “Shaft” appearance this season….
    Jimmie Johnson’s win catapulted him into a 30 point lead over teammate Jeff Gordon. We whacked everybody from 7th on down out of the competition this week….and we’ll lose at least three more next week. In Classic Points, Jeff Gordon maintains a smooth 400 point margin….that’s gotta really salve the wounds of a 7th place finish today, huh? Ryan Newman (16th to 14th) and Tony Raines (30th to 28th) made the best advances today and the only driver to fall more than one spot was the absent Jeff Green (28th to 31st).(Stock Car Fans)(11-4-2007)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after Texas [34 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 5161
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4761, -400
    3) #20-Tony Stewart 4516, -645
    4) #07-Clint Bowyer 4380, -781
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 4377, -784
    6) #17-Matt Kenseth 4348, -851
    7) #11-Denny Hamlin 4338, -813
    8) #5-Kyle Busch 4335, -826
    9) #31-Jeff Burton 4269, -892
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 4088, -1073
    11) #2-Kurt Busch 4069, -1092
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 4008, -1153
    13) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3840, -1321
    14) #12-Ryan Newman 3772, -1389
    15) #25-Casey Mears 3705, -1456
    16) #16-Greg Biffle 3697, -1464
    (11-4-2007)
  • Texas Motor Speedway – Fast Facts:
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the Dickies 500, his 32nd victory in 217 Nextel Cup Series races.
    .. This is his ninth victory and 22nd top-10 finish in 2007.
    .. This is his first victory and seventh top-10 finish in nine races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    .. Johnson posted his third consecutive victory – the second time in his career he has won three straight races. He also won at Lowe’s, Martinsville and Atlanta in the inaugural Chase for the Nextel Cup in 2004.
    .. Matt Kenseth (second) posted his 20th top-10 finish in 2007 and his sixth top-10 finish in 11 races at Texas.
    .. Martin Truex Jr. (third) posted his third top-10 finish in five races at Texas.
    .. Juan Pablo Montoya (25th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Johnson now leads the Chase for the Nextel Cup by a margin of 30 points over Jeff Gordon. He took the lead in the point standings following this race in 2006 en route to THE Nextel Cup championship.
    .. Six of the 12 Chase drivers mathematically remain eligible for the 2007 Nextel Cup championship.(NASCAR Statisitics)(11-4-2007)
  • Tom Hicks Jr. expected to attend today’s race: Tom Hicks Jr. said last week that he plans to attend today’s Dickies 500 with a few friends. Hicks Jr. said that he and his father, Stars and Rangers owner Tom Hicks, are still exploring the NASCAR business about possible sponsorship options. Hicks owns the Liverpool Football Club with George Gillett, who partnered with Ray Evernham’s team this season.(Dallas Morning News)(11-4-2007)
  • Jeff Burton Racing to Win Ultimate Souvenir for Local Texas Resident: Nikki Kelly, winner of the Dickies Race For The Riches promotion, announced her driver selection Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. Jeff Burton will not only be trying for the “Texas two-step” during the Dickies 500 on Sunday, but he will be trying to win the ultimate souvenir for Nikki and her family – half a million dollars. Kelly not only has a chance to take home $500,000 if Burton takes the checkered flag, but she and her sister, Lori, will also receive an “all-access” VIP weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. In the third consecutive year of this successful promotion, Dickies, the leading global workwear brand, has teamed up exclusively with Richard Childress Racing bringing together a legend in work with a legend in NASCAR. Nikki was announced as the Dickies Race For The Riches grand prize winner during the Texas Motor Speedway “Cut To The Chase” Brunch in September. Her NASCAR experience will be complete with pit and garage tours, the opportunity to meet Richard Childress and his drivers, exclusive seating and participation in pre- and post-race ceremonies. The Dickies Race For The Riches promotion call for entries kicked off on May 1, 2007 with participants visiting www.dickies500.com to enter for a chance to win. The winner was chosen on September 5, 2007.(Edelman PR)(11-3-2007)
  • Gordon going for top-10 record: #24-Jeff Gordon goes into the Texas race with 27 top-10 finishes this season – one shy of his career best in 1998. Since the schedule was reduced by NASCAR in 1972, Dale Jarrett holds the season record with 29 top-10 finishes during his 1999 championship run.(AP)(11-4-2007)


    News from November 3, 2007

  • Furniture Row Racing signs Nemechek to 3yr deal: Furniture Row Racing announced that the Denver (CO)-based Nextel Cup Series organization signed a three-year contract with NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek. Nemechek, who has collected four Nextel Cup Series wins, nine pole awards and numerous front row starting spots since 1997, will drive for Furniture Row Racing’s #78 Nextel Cup Series team and will work with owners in efforts to build a second team in 2008. “We are thrilled to have Joe on board,” said Furniture Row Racing Team Manager Joe Garone. “We’re geared up to win in 2008 and planning for growth as we enter our third Nextel Cup season. After an extensive search and evaluation, we concluded that Joe is the man to get us where we need to be in 2008 and beyond. He is the best qualifier and best average finisher of available drivers. He’s also a great guy and a proven leader. When we put it all together, the choice was easy.” Furniture Row Racing announced plans last July to seek additional sponsorship for car #78 and to ultimately direct Furniture Row Racing sponsorship to formation of a second team. Implementation of the plan will become a priority in 2008, with guidance and support from Nemechek both on and off the track.(Business Wire)(11-3-2007)
  • Best Buy moving? UPDATE 3: hearing that Best Buy will not return to Haas CNC Racing in 2008, but supposedly will stay in the sport with an unknown team, possibly a Dodge team, the #19 GEM Dodge of Elliott Sadler is one rumored possibility.(10-22-2007)
    UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing has settled on its drivers for its two-car Sprint Cup team in 2008, but its sponsorship situation is unsettled. Best Buy, which backs the team’s # 66 – driven for the first time this weekend by Jeremy Mayfield – has not decided its future, a spokesman for the company said this week. And Wednesday, a statement released by Yellow Transportation said that company is evaluating its future in the sport. Yellow entered Nextel Cup this season as sponsor of Johnny Sauter’s #70. Sauter will be replaced next season by Scott Riggs. Haas CNC Racing General Manager Joe Custer said this week the team is negotiating with both companies to return next season.(SceneDaily.com)(10-25-2007)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Best Buy sponsorship is a done deal to Gillett Evernham Mototsports #19 team and driver Elliott Sadler, who supposedly made a commercial for Best Buy already.(11-1-2007)
    UPDATE 3: As far as sponsorship goes for the #19 next season, team sources said it will be a combination deal, with Best Buy, Valvoline and Stanley all rotating as primary sponsors next season.(SPEEDtv.com)(11-3-2007)
  • More changes at GEM? UPDATE 2: hearing a few more engineers have parted ways with Gillett Evernham Mototsports, including former #19 crew chief Josh Browne.(11-1-2007)
    UPDATE: during ESPN2’s Nextel Cup practice coverage at Texas on Friday, it was mentioned that #10 GEM Dodge Team Director [crew chief] Rodney Childers is heading up the team for #19 Elliott Sadler and Scott McDougall is heading up the #10 team of Scott Riggs. This will be Riggs last race in the #10 with Patrick Carpentier taking over at Phoenix.(11-2-2007)
    UPDATE: Gillett Evernham Motorsports is shuffling its lineup in anticipation of 2008. Rodney Childers, who was the team director of the #10 Dodge of Scott Riggs, has moved over to Elliott Sadler and the #19, replacing Josh Browne. Scott McDougall is team director of the #10 this week, while Ray Evernham himself might take over those responsibilities next week in Phoenix, when Patrick Carpentier will replace Riggs, who is in his last weekend with the team.(SPEEDtv.com)(11-3-2007)
  • Penske may consider points swap for Hornish UPDATE: With Sam Hornish having trouble qualifying for Cup races – he has missed all six he has attempted this year – Penske Racing may consider making a points swap to get Hornish into races in 2008. With Kurt Busch having won the 2004 Nextel Cup championship, Penske could transfer the points earned by Busch’s #2 team to Hornish, which would lock him into the top 35 for the first five races of next season. Busch would get into those races as the most recent past champion if he failed to qualify on speed. NASCAR officials confirmed that a move would be allowed. Penske said he is committed to fielding three Sprint Cup cars next year for Busch, Hornish and Ryan Newman. Penske said he has not talked to other drivers for the third team.(SceneDaily.com)(10-30-2007)
    UPDATE: NASCAR officials said Penske Racing can transfer the points earned by Kurt Busch this year to guarantee a starting spot for Sam Hornish Jr. in the first five races of next season. If Busch failed to qualify for one of those races, he likely would get to race by virtue of being a former series champion. . . . Signs point to Hornish’s car being No. 77 if, as expected, he makes the jump to NASCAR next season.(Indianapolis Star)(11-3-2007)
  • Bill Davis Again Denies Sale Rumors UPDATE: Interviewed on Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway Tuesday, Davis once again denied reports that Jacques Villeneuve or his agent, Craig Pollack, have purchased the team, saying that he and his wife maintain 100% ownership.(Sirius Speedway)(10-31-2007)
    UPDATE – Villeneuve rules out BDR purchase: Jacques Villeneuve has categorically stated that he has no interest in buying into NASCAR team Bill Davis Racing. The 1997 Formula One world champion has been linked to a purchase of the team he is racing for since his manager Craig Pollock expressed an interest in buying a NASCAR team, but Villeneuve claims that he will not be involved in any takeover bid. Villeneuve said: “Over the last few weeks there has been persistent speculation that I am considering some form of purchase of the Bill Davis Racing organisation. “In spite of my consistent denial of these claims, the questions and speculation continue, so I want to set the record straight, one time only. I am not interested in buying the BDR business, or any other NASCAR team. I have not been considering such a purchase, and I will not be changing that position.” Villeneuve added that he wants to remain totally focused on his racing in NASCAR, where he is currently preparing for his rookie season in the Sprint Cup in 2008.(Autosport.com)(11-3-2007)
  • What It Takes To Win The Chase: With three races left in the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup, all 12 drivers still are alive, although the status of each ranges from thriving to critical. #24-Jeff Gordon has a nine-point lead over his teammate and defending Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson. Johnson could win this year’s championship without even winning one of the final three races. The following scenarios take into account how each driver could overtake Gordon in the final three races and include those drivers winning each race and leading the most laps, unless otherwise specified.(ESPN.com’s Terry Blount)
    Chase Chances
    1) Jeff Gordon Chase leader
    2) Jimmie Johnson (-9 points) Could take lead by finishing as few as two spots ahead of Gordon or by winning race
    3) Clint Bowyer (-111) Needs Gordon to average a sixth-place finish or worse
    4) Carl Edwards (-261) Needs Gordon to average a 20th-place finish or worse
    5) Tony Stewart (-322) Needs Gordon to average a 27th-place finish or worse
    6) Kyle Busch (-328) Needs Gordon to average a 28th-place finish or worse
    7) Kevin Harvick (-392) Needs Gordon to average a 35th-place finish or worse
    8) Jeff Burton (-400) Needs Gordon to average a 36th-place finish or worse
    9) Kurt Busch (-419) Needs Gordon to average a 38th-place finish or worse
    10) Denny Hamlin (-424) Needs Gordon to average a 39th-place finish or worse
    11) Matt Kenseth (-448) Needs Gordon to average a 41st-place finish or worse
    12) Martin Truex Jr. (-513) Needs Gordon to not start a race and finish 43rd without leading a lap in the other two races
    (ESPN.com’s Terry Blount)(11-3-2007)
  • Richert in Texas looking for a gig: Long-time NASCAR crew chief Doug Richert, who recently left Red Bull Racing, was in the garage Friday at Texas Motor Speedway and plans to be at the remaining three races of the season until he finds a new job. Richert flew from North Carolina to Texas on Jack Roush’s airplane. Richert, of course, formerly worked as a crew chief for Roush Fenway Racing.(Ford Racing)(11-3-2007)


    News from November 2, 2007

  • Coleman Signs with Hall of Fame Racing: Rookie driver Brad Coleman, only a few short weeks after signing for a full-time ride with Brewco Motorsports in the Busch Series, has turned around and signed another contract to go Sprint Cup racing in 2008 with Hall of Fame Racing. The 19-year-old Texas native has agreed to become a full-time test driver for the team and run at least seven Cup races at the end of the 2008 season; meaning Hall of Fame will add a second car along side the #96 piloted by J.J. Yeley. Following proper development, Coleman will pilot the Cup ride at Hall of Fame Racing full time in 2009, although a sponsor and number for the entry has yet to be determined.(NASCAR.com)(11-2-2007)
  • Aflac to sponsor Edwards in 2008 UPDATE: Aflac is close to announcing a 2008 NASCAR limited sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing. Aflac will sponsor a #99 Ford driven by Carl Edwards. An Aflac executive would not confirm the deal with Edwards on Tuesday, but the company did not deny it either when asked about Edwards. “We are still working through the details,” said Al Johnson, a second vice president responsible for sponsorships. “We like Carl and what he has done this year — and what we expect him to do next year. We’re very excited.” The final terms of the deal could be announced in the next two weeks. The deal with Edwards is expected to be for eight races and could possibly include an associate sponsorship that would put the Aflac duck logo somewhere on the car for the entire season, said a source familiar with the deal. Edwards’ primary sponsor is Office Depot. The eight races that Aflac will be the primary sponsor with the corporate logo on the hood have not been determined. Terms of the deal are not available. It is believed Aflac spent between $2 million and $3 million for the 2007 deal. Aflac broke into NASCAR racing this summer with an eight-race deal with Roush Fenway. That deal included four Nextel Cup races in California, New Hampshire, Chicago and Kansas City and four Busch Series races. #16-Greg Biffle drove the Aflac car on the Nextel Cup circuit, winning the race in Kansas City. Roush Fenway drivers Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray split the Busch races. Biffle, Edwards’ Roush Fenway teammate, will be sponsored by 3M next year. In July, Aflac announced a deal with NASCAR to serve as the sport’s exclusive supplemental insurance sponsor and provider through the 2010 season. It is not known what Aflac paid for that designation.(Ledger-Enquirer)(10-24-2007)
    UPDATE: Aflac Incorporated and Office Depot announced a new business relationship within the sport of NASCAR that will help both companies reach new customers, engage the loyal NASCAR fan base and leverage opportunities to grow their businesses. Building on its successful entry into NASCAR in 2007, Aflac will serve as the primary sponsor of Carl Edwards and the #99 Ford Fusion for eight races. In addition, Aflac will be onboard the Office Depot #99 Ford Fusion as an associate sponsor for all other races during the 2008 Sprint Cup season. At the core of the affiliation are Edwards and the #99 Ford Fusion from Roush Fenway Racing. Aflac will be Edwards’ primary sponsor for the following 2008 Sprint Cup Series races: Atlanta [March]. Texas [April], Phoenix [April], Pocono [June]. Daytona [July], Indy [July], California [Aug] and Charlotte [Oct]. More information can be found at www.aflacracing.com.(Roush Racing PR)(11-2-2007)
  • Future Changes at Sprint-Nextel? A private-equity buyout group that features some prominent ex-Nextel executives considered a takeover of Sprint-Nextel last year, through the Carlyle Group. That particular deal never got anywhere, in part because of the amount of money involved, around $100 billion to buy the whole operation. But there is still a lot of curious talk about Sprint Nextel, following the recent ouster of boss Gary Forsee. What it all might mean for NASCAR’s Nextel Cup soon-to-be-titled Sprint Cup series is unclear: The Carlyle Cup? Well, the Nextel Sprint merger has been rocky, to say the least. First, all the Nextel guys who put together the NASCAR deal abruptly left the company. Then just a few weeks ago Forsee got the boot, too, amid questions about the company’s direction. These are big-money stakes. Still, a deal of some sort could get footing. Particularly in light of Sprint Nextel’s precipitous third-quarter net-income decline, announced yesterday. And the company issues a warning about the fourth quarter too. Sprint Nextel, which is the nation’s third-biggest wireless operator, reported net income of $64 million for the quarter, compared to $279 million last year. Revenues also dropped slightly to $10 billion. And noteworthy with regard to the Carlyle angle: James Hance Jr., who is Sprint Nextel’s interim chairman, is a senior adviser to the Carlyle Group. Carlyle men Daniel Akerson, Bill Conway and Bill Kennard also have had ties with Nextel.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-2-2007)
  • New look for the #40 at Texas: This weekend as David Stremme and the #40 team take to Texas Motor Speedway, he will be piloting a fresh new HomeLife Communities paint scheme. HomeLife Communities is a third-generation, family-run business based in Atlanta, Georgia and is the leader in value housing. New-home designs are available in Atlanta, Georgia, Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, Phoenix, Arizona, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-2-2007)
  • New Hood, Same Sponsor for Robby Gordon: The #7 Menards / Mapei Ford Fusion will feature a new hood this weekend in Texas to promote Mapei’s newest product, Opticolor stain-free grout. Optiocolor stain-free grout is an innovative new grout that is easy for the installer to apply and easy for the homeowner or property owner to maintain. Opticolor stain-free grout also comes in 14 new colors, giving a total of 36 colors that provide the optimum in good looks for tile installations. Opticolor adds a new dimension to MAPEI’s repertoire of optimum-performance products. Jim Beam and Motorola will serve as associates.(RGM PR)(11-2-2007)
  • Truex Jr. wins pole at Texas: #1-Martin Truex Jr. won the Budweiser Pole for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with a speed of 193.105mph for his first pole of his career. Truex is the 17th Budweiser Pole winner in 2007 and there are now 22 drivers eligible for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout. #24-Gordon qualified second and just missed taking the pole from Truex, the rest of the top-10 are: #42-Montoya, #29-Harvick, #84-Allmendinger [tied speed with Harvick who is higher in owners pts and gets the 4th spot], #2-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #48-Johnson, #25-Mears and #01-Martin. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #84-Allmendinger, #36-Skinner, #10-Riggs, #83-Vickers, #44-Jarrett, #21-Elliott, #78-Nemechek and #00-Reutiman. For qualifying results, pole progression, starting lineup, see the Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(11-2-2007)
  • Five did not qualify [DNQ] for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway: #4-Burton [32 team attempts/45th in OWNERS pts]; #55-Waltrip [33/40], #49-Andretti [33/46], #08-Lamar [4/53] and #34-Lepage [7/55].(11-2-2007)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Ford: #17-Kenseth, 191.191, starts 18th
    Dodge: #42-Montoya 192.417, starts 3rd
    Toyota: #84-Allmendinger 192.239, starts 5th
    Chevy: #1-Truex Jr. 193.105, starts 1st
  • Texas Motor Speedway – Qualifying Fast Facts
    .. Martin Truex Jr., won the Bud Pole for the Dickies 500 with a lap of 27.964 seconds, 193.105 mph
    .. This is his first Bud Pole in 79 career Nextel Cup races
    .. This is his 14th top-10 start in 2007. He had previously started second three times: Loudon, Martinsville and Chicago
    .. Truex became the 17th different Bud Pole winner this season – one shy of the modern era record set in 1997 and 2001
    .. This is Truex’s first start better than ninth – and just his second top-10 start in five races at Texas Motor Speedway
    .. Jeff Gordon posted the second-fastest qualifying time, posting his 12th front-row start this season
    .. Juan Pablo Montoya (third) posted his eighth top-10 start of 2007 and was the fastest qualifying rookie
    .. AJ Allmendinger (fifth) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time. Allmendinger posted the best starting position of his 17-race Nextel Cup career
    .. Six of the 12 Chase drivers qualified in the top-10: Truex, Gordon, Kevin Harvick (fourth), Kurt Busch (sixth), Denny Hamlin (seventh) and Jimmie Johnson (eighth). Clint Bowyer (29th) was the highest qualifying Chase driver.(NASCAR Statistics)(11-2-2007)
  • Ramblings – Texas Qualifying: Martin Truex Jr took his first-ever Bud Pole today at Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Dickies 500 with a time of 27.964 sec (193.105 mph) to become the 17th different pole winner of the season (we’re gonna have one full field for that Shootout next February!). Martin’s previous best starting spot was the outside pole….at Chicagoland in July, at NHIS (still the old name) in September, and at Martinsville last month. Jeff Gordon (who was quickest in practice) will start from the outside pole.
    A. J. Allmendinger (5th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 11th at Dover in September.
    Mark Martin (10th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 10th at Michigan in August.
    Welcome Back Mike Skinner (14th). This is his first Nextel Cup start since Martinsville last October, and best starting spot since he qualified 7th at Daytona in February of 2005.
    Paul Menard (16th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 16th at Chicagoland in July.
    Bill Elliott (30th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 26th at California in September.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 13 Top-10 starts in the last 14 races. Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans)(11-2-2007)
  • Sorenson helps raise over $75k for charity: Coming off of his career best Nextel Cup Series finish with a third-place effort at his hometown track Atlanta Motor Speedway, Reed Sorenson has something else to be proud of as well. During the course of the week, he helped generate over $75,000 dollars to be donated to Speedway Children’s Charities, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Project Pink House. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, Sorenson hosted his Inaugural Reed Sorenson Charity Golf Classic at White Water Creek Country Club in Fayetteville, Ga. The proceeds from the golf outing, that also included a silent and live auction, benefited the Speedway Children’s Charities. Additionally, Sorenson drove a pink car in Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway to help raise breast cancer awareness. Prior to the race he developed a donation pledge that his primary sponsor Target agreed to match. Sorenson also auctioned off his signed pink helmet and firesuit from the Atlanta race, with proceeds from the pledge and auction benefiting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Project Pink House.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-2-2007)
  • Local Children’s Hospital Patient Designed Hamlin’s Texas Helmet: Before running in the Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, driver Denny Hamlin will visit Children’s Medical Center in Dallas to meet with patients and deliver a $25,000 donation to the hospital on behalf of FedEx. Hamlin also will receive a special helmet designed by nine year-old Children’s Medical Center patient, John Garcia. The helmet presented to Hamlin this week is the eighth of eleven helmets designed by children’s hospital patients and children granted wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation program as part of the 2007 FedEx “Wear Your Heart on Your Helmet” program. All eleven race-worn helmets will be auctioned off at the end of the season to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(JGR PR)(11-2-2007)
  • Texas Goodyear tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Texas this weekend, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the same specific combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for Cup and Busch teams to run at Texas this past April . . . Craftsman Truck teams ran this right-side tire code (D-4064) with a different left-side code in their early-season appearance at Texas . . . in addition to Texas, this specific tire combination has been run at Chicagoland and will be run at Homestead on the 2007 schedule . . . this left-side code (D-4078) has been run with a slightly different right-side code by major NASCAR teams at California, Dover, Michigan, Kansas and Kentucky 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 Texas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage (Nextel Cup).(Goodyear PR). See full tire notes, codes, pressures on the Texas Race Info page.(11-2-2007)
  • Texas Rookie Notes: #84-AJ Allmendinger was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Allmendinger finished 16th and took top rookie honors for the second time in the last three races. He also led the race once for one lap, the first time he has led in 16 Nextel Cup Series starts. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by 19 points (232-213) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the November 4 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Montoya is 20th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 34 points behind 19th-place Jamie McMurray. Montoya was the top Raybestos Rookie in the April 15 Samsung 500 at Texas, scoring an eighth-place finish. Only once in 13 previous races at Texas has a Raybestos Rookie won the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his first career Nextel Cup Series win by 5.920 seconds over Jeff Burton in the 2000 spring race. Earnhardt Jr. also led the most laps in the race (six times for 106 laps). The best start by a Raybestos Rookie in 13 previous races at Texas is third by Kasey Kahne in the 2004 spring race. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie in two previous fall races at Texas is sixth by Denny Hamlin in 2006. Ryan Newman holds the all-time Raybestos Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22). (Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see rookie standings, history, notes on the 2007 Rookies page.(11-2-2007)
  • Chase stats after Atlanta: #48-Jimmie Johnson’s second straight win pulled him within 9 points of leader #24-Jeff Gordon, marking the closest margin between 1-2 at this point in The Chase’s four-year history. The previous best was last year, when Matt Kenseth led Johnson by 26. Jimmie Johnson has been second with three to go in each of the four Chases. The push for the Podium – #11-Denny Hamlin slipped back to the bubble spot, and is now 24 points ahead of #17-Matt Kenseth and #1-Martin Truex by 89. See full chase stats on the Chase Stats after Atlanta page.(11-2-2007)
  • Congrats: Kevin and Diane Grubb had their 2nd daugther, Taylor Madison, on October 22, 2007. She weighed 6lbs 13.5oz and was 19 inches long. She was welcomed home by her big sister, Courtney. Kevin works for Joe Gibbs Racing and Diane works for Greg Biffle, Inc.(11-2-2007)
  • Latest on the water in the fuel deal at Atlanta: NASCAR officials said Friday morning that water contamination that plagued several cars in last week’s Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway has been traced to a portable fuel dispenser. The cars of #11-Denny Hamlin, #22-Dave Blaney and #16-Greg Biffle were among those to suffer contamination from water in the fuel. Hamlin’s car stalled on a late-race restart that resulted in Martin Truex, Jr., who led the most laps in the race, crashing into Hamlin and out of contention. “Last week’s issue with water in fuel during the Nextel Cup race has been investigated and pinpointed by NASCAR and Sunoco,” said NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp. “Our investigation confirms that the fuel was on spec and that the dispensers at Sunoco’s Atlanta track fueling station functioned correctly and was not the source of the contamination. “A failure did occur in a piece of portable dispensing equipment that is sometimes used to supplement the permanent pumps on busy race days. This failure allowed a small amount of water to be dispensed. Portable equipment has been used for many years without problem, and, in fact, this equipment functioned properly during the Craftsman race at Atlanta right before the Nextel Cup race.” According to Tharp, the offending device has been fixed. “Equipment modifications have been made to ensure that this will not happen in the future,” he said. “The portable equipment is not required for the fueling operation at Texas International Speedway this weekend and will not be used.”(SPEEDtv.com)(11-2-2007)


    News from November 1, 2007

  • Carpentier to test at Memphis Monday: Canadian Patrick Carpentier is scheduled to test the #10 Nextel Cup Series car for Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) on Monday, Nov. 5, at Memphis Motorsports Park. Carpentier will take over the driving duties of the #10 Dodge for the final two Cup races of the season (in Phoenix and Homestead) and full time in 2008. Fans can watch testing sessions at the NASCAR oval from Grandstand G at no charge. The garage and infield are not open to the public. Schedule subject to change. Test times vary. NASCAR returns to Memphis Motorsports Park in June 2008 with the Craftsman Truck Series, and October 2008 with the Nationwide Series. Season tickets are on sale now at MemphisMotorsportsPark.com and by phone toll-free at 1-866-40-SPEED.(Memphis Motorsports Park PR)(11-1-2007)
  • Hill adds two artists: Motorsports artist Garry Hill announced that his company, Garry Hill Automotive Fine Art, Incorporated is now representing artists Stephen Bonesteel and Lawrence Braun. Bonesteel is an accomplished stained glass artist and Braun is a noted sculptor. Bonesteel’s work combines his passion for motorsports and fine art into a unique art form, stained glass racing windows. He has created over 40 specialty racing windows that can be displayed hanging or used as an actual window. Kyle Petty purchased a window of the famous ‘”Winged” number 43 SuperBird for Richard Petty’s 50th birthday. Working in cast bronze, stainless steel and resin, sculptor Lawrence Braun has focused most of his artwork over the past three decades on subjects from the world of auto sports. In his sculpture he blends his enthusiasm for fast, beautiful, significant automobiles with the human element. His work is inprivate and corporate collections internationally. Bonesteel and Braun accept commission work to create custom designed investment quality art. To learn more about their artwork please call Garry Hill Automotive Fine Art, Inc. at 800-847-0043 or visit the company web site at www.garryhill.com.(11-1-2007)
  • Kurt Busch races for troops at Texas: #2-Kurt Busch will be racing for a $100,000 bonus contribution to “Operation Homefront” if he can pull off the win in Sunday’s Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. It’s all part of an engaging statewide promotional campaign that sponsor Miller Lite launched several weeks back. The campaign recognizes, celebrates, honors and rewards military veterans, both past and present, for their commitment to serving our country. Miller Lite is teaming with Operation Homefront (see operationhomefront.net/texas) to support Texas troops and their families. Miller Lite is donating financial support to the cause and consumers have the opportunity to visit the special web site and vote how to apply Miller Lite’s contribution. Consumers can also make donations on their own through the site. For additional information, we invite you to visit www.MillerThanksVets.com and log in. Miller Lite and Penske have also created a commemorative Kurt Busch Race Helmet that will be autographed and raffled for charity.(Tom Roberts PR)(11-1-2007)
  • USG colors for Kenseth: For the third and final time in 2007, Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford will don the USG Sheetrock paint scheme at Texas this weekend. In the previous two outings, it finished 10th at Martinsville in April and second at Chicago in July.(Roush Racing PR), see images of the scheme on the #17 Team Schemes page.(11-1-2007)
  • Gordon gets new ride: #24-Jeff Gordon has a new ride, and it was made right in Oregon. Gordon ordered a luxury RV from Marathon Coach in Coburg, which is near Eugene. The $2 million dollar vehicle was custom designed for Gordon and his family. The bus is headed for Florida, where the family’s driver will learn the ins and outs of the rig. You can expect to see the RV on the infield of races starting next season.(katu.com)(11-1-2007)
  • Franchitti tests at Kentucky: Two months after turning a surprise, inverted, aerial IndyCar Series trick at Kentucky Speedway, Dario Franchitti returned to the track on Halloween to treat himself to a stock car test with his new Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team. “I had talked about doing some stock car stuff last year quite a bit. I wasn’t sure it would happen, but the timing was just right, having been able to win the 500 and the championship. It was time to do something different and Chip’s phone call was perfectly timed,” Franchitti said. Wednesday’s test provided him an understandably different feel at a facility where he registered three top-10 IndyCar finishes in five career starts, but proved helpful to increasing his stock-car comfort level. “I feel fairly comfortable today in this car, I think it’s an ARCA car. I think the COT is going to take a bit longer to get comfortable in because it’s so different. With the big, high center of gravity there’s just no grip with the thing so I was kind of thrown off the deep end in Atlanta having never driven a Cup car of any kind. It showed me how far I’ve got to go. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Busch Series Program Manager Brian Pattie presided over Wednesday’s test and has been Franchitti’s point person during his transition. Pattie said the primary goal of today’s test was to provide Franchitti with different experiences in the car.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(11-1-2007)
  • Sorenson’s Team Collects Pit Crew Win at Atlanta: Reed Sorenson’s over-the-wall crew collected the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge during Sunday’s Nextel Cup event at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was the second pit crew win of the season for Sorenson’s team. The #41 crew, out of the Chip Ganassi Racing stable, spent 359.594 seconds on pit road during the 328-lap event, the least of any participating crew. Sorenson’s over-the-wall crew is made up of: Chuck White (jackman), Marty Forcier (front-tire carrier), Bobby Burrell (front-tire changer), Adam Moser (rear-tire carrier), Jason Sheets (rear-tire changer), Randy Hildreth (gasman), Eric “Pee Wee” Hoyle (catch can), and Shane Bourgeois (eighth-man). The team’s pit crew coach is Lance Munksgard. Checkers/Rally’s will present Sorenson’s crew with an $11,000 check for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be awarded to the over-the-wall team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. With three races remaining, the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge season championship can still be won by 12 different teams. Mark Martin’s #01 crew and Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew are currently tied for the lead with four wins each; however, 10 other teams have two or more victories. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $363,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews If there’s a tie after the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 18), the team that finishes highest in the driver point standings will be awarded the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru season championship. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(11-1-2007)
  • Johnson on Mike and Mike Friday: Friday morning’s edition of ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning (Nov. 2 from 6-10 a.m.) will originate from Texas Motor Speedway, the site of Sunday’s NASCAR race (coverage beginning at 3 p.m. on ABC). Special on-set guests will include NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson and former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson.(11-1-2007)
  • All-American 400 honors Adam Petty: Motorplex Season Finale Pays Tribute to NASCAR’s First Family The All-American 400 has always been a great race. Now it’s a great race for a great cause. Music City Motorplex president Joe Mattioli has designated the 25th annual race, Nov. 2-4, the Adam Petty Memorial All-American 400. The event will pay tribute to Adam, who lost his life in May of 2000 at age 19 in a crash at New Hampshire Speedway. The race also will promote the Victory Junction Gang Camp which Adam’s family established in his memory. The camp is free and available to youngsters who are battling life-threatening ailments. “We are honored that the Motorplex is doing this for Adam,” said Patti Petty, Adam’s mother. “He loved to race at Nashville and we loved to watch him race there. He grew up watching both his dad and granddad race there. The Petty family has a lot of cherished memories of Nashville.” Lee Petty, Adam’s great-grandfather, raced at the historical Fairgrounds track during its early years, and was followed by fan favorite Richard. Adam’s dad, Kyle, also logged laps around the famed five-eights-mile oval. Adam had been in Nashville for a Busch race at the Superspeedway in Gladeville, TN a month before his fatal crash. Talented, bright and charismatic, Adam was being groomed to carry on the legacy of NASCAR’s First Family when tragedy severed the racing lineage. Since his loss, the racing community has rallied around the Victory Junction Gang Camp, with NASCAR and many of its top drivers making contributions. The Adam Petty Memorial All-American 400 promises to provide a dramatic finish to what has been a successful 49th season at the Motorplex. Started in 1981 by the late Bob Harmon, the race quickly gained a national reputation as the “Super Bowl of Short-Track Racing.” For race information or tickets call (615) 726-1818 or visit MusicCityMotorplex.com.(PR)(11-1-2007)