October 2006 News Archives
News from October 31, 2006
- Borland to Red Bull? UPDATE: A shakeup is looming for the Roger Penske operation, with Toyota’s Red Bull team reportedly making a run at crew chief Matt Borland to take the helm of Brian Vickers’ team next season. Borland is #12-Ryan Newman’s crew chief at Penske’s.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2006)
UPDATE: Penske Performance president Tim Cindric would not rule out the possibility of crew chief changes during the offseason, but said rumors that Matt Borland would leave Ryan Newman’s #12 Dodge program for Team Red Bull’s new operation were “just speculation.” “When you don’t have a season you expect to have … there’s always speculation,” Cindric said. “I think we’re going to look at how we are this season and what’s best move going forward to ensure we have better season next year.”(St Petersburg Times)(10-31-2006)
- Sad News: M. Verne Joy, 91, passed away peacefully Oct. 30, at home in Athol, Mass. Joy is the father of Fox broadcaster Mike Joy. A 1938 graduate of Parks Air College of St. Louis University, Mr. Joy was an aeronatutical engineer at Lockheed in Burbank, Calif. where he helped design the famed P-38 Lightning, and the Hudson bomber. In 1942, Verne oversaw restoration to flying condition of the first Japanese Zero fighter downed by allied forces. Test flying the Zero to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses was of great help to the air war in the Pacific. He later was materials control manager for production of the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk. In March 1952, Verne joined the Fuller Brush Company’s home office in Hartford, CT, named chief engineer in 1954, and national industrial sales manager in 1960. He was named vice president in 1969, and elected to the company’s board of directors. Mr. Joy retired in 1975 to Petersham, Mass., where he enjoyed mechanical restoration projects, served on the town finance committee, and was elected tothe Board of Selectman.
Verne is survived by his wife Jean (Peters) Joy of Whitinsville, MA; sons Michael Kinsey Joy of Mooresville, NC and David Sullivan Joy of S.Windsor, CT; daughters Susan Jean Winters of Athol, Caroline Anne McKenney of Whitinsville, 14 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, his younger brothers Stephen and Oliver, and a daughter, Marian, from his first marriage. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations the Gardner Visiting Nurse Hospice Program, 34 Pearly Ln, Gardner, MA 01440.(10-31-2006)
- Chipganassiracing.Com Expands To Include Spanish Version of Website: Largely due to the addition of Juan Pablo Montoya to Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ (CGRFS) Nextel Cup Series lineup for 2007, the team announced its official website www.chipganassiracing.com would expand its online arsenal to include a fully-functioning microsite in Spanish, located at espanol.chipganassiracing.com. Montoya’s vast international fan base, in addition to NASCAR’s growing fan base worldwide, now has the ability to stay informed on his historic move from Formula One to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series as the pilot of the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger next season. Anchored by the CGRFS homepage, which also includes the recently launched online store (store.chipganassiracing.com, future plans for the Spanish site include rolling out additional team content and audio clips specifically catering to the Spanish speaking market.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-31-2006)
- myAutoLoan.com to be an assoc sponsor on the #34 at Texas: myAutloan.com will be an associate sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry driven by Chad Chaffin at Texas Motor Speedway, for the Dickies 500. “I look forward to driving the myAutoloan.com car at Texas,” commented driver Chad Chaffin. “The guys have been working real hard to get the cars ready each week. I’m confident we will put together a strong showing this weekend.” myAutoloan.com is a subsidiary of Horizon Digital Finance, L.L.C., and a nationally-licensed direct-to-customer, Internet-based auto financing marketplace utilizing Preferred Placement technology and processes. They are located in Irving, Texas. More information, visit myAutoloan.com.(FRM PR), Chaffin switches to the #34 this week, while Kevin Lepage will drive the #61 FRM Dodge at Texas.(10-31-2006)
- Petty to deliever food in Wisconsin and Texas: Today, Kyle Petty starts his morning by loading a Schwan’s Home Service truck. After that, he’ll help drive the route, delivering the goods. Petty, who drives the #45 Schwan’s car, will be here because customer service managers at the Schwan’s sales and distribution center in Ashwaubenon won a regional sales contest. After his work day is finished, Petty will meet fans, sign autographs and display his show car from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Simon Bay Park Square mall in Ashwaubenon. Schwan’s also will have a truckload sale of frozen foods during the event, with a portion of the proceeds going to Holiday House, which helps people with disabilities in Manitowoc County, and Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp in North Carolina. It’ll be good practice for Petty, who’ll do it all over again the next day [Nov 1st] with a Schwan’s driver in Beaumont, Texas.(Green Bay Gazette)(10-31-2006)
- Montoya to run remaining 2006 Busch races UPDATE 2: Juan Pablo Montoya most likely will run the remaining three Busch Series races this year, team owner Chip Ganassi confirmed Sunday morning. Ganassi was pleased with Montoya’s debut, an 11th-place finish at Memphis Motorsports Park. Whether Montoya, who will run a full season in the #42 Texaco Dodge for Ganassi next year, will make his Cup debut this season remains to be seen, Ganassi said.(SceneDaily.com)(10-29-2006)
UPDATE: NASCAR’s John Darby, who watched Montoya in the Memphis race with keen interest, said that Montoya could run in the Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead, too, if Ganassi and Montoya both feel comfortable with that.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-30-2006)
UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today Juan Pablo Montoya and the #42 Texaco/Havoline NASCAR Busch Series team is scheduled to compete in the final three races of the 2006 Busch Series season, including Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. This upcoming weekend’s Busch event at Texas Motor Speedway will be the fourth stock car competition for the Colombian native since he joined the CGRFS organization in late September. The 31-year old driver also participated in his first official NASCAR sanctioned test at Homestead-Miami Speedway last week.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-31-2006)
- Edwards to deliver school supplies to Katrina Affected School: On Wednesday, November 1st, #99-Carl Edwards and Office Depot are delivering more than $65,000 in classroom supplies, including 30 new Toshiba computers, to Earl Travillion Attendance Center (ETAC) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, an elementary school that was hit by Hurricane Katrina just over one year ago. ETAC was selected out of more than two million entries nationwide as the winner of Office Depot’s “Great Tools For Your School Sweeps” and will be receiving prizes including classroom supplies from Office Depot as well as Toshiba laptop computers, Sanford writing and erasing products, 3M products including overhead and LCD projectors, new Sauder desks for teachers and computer mouse products from Microsoft. Teachers will be receiving $99 Office Depot Gift Cards, the school is receiving a $9,999 scholarship and each student will receive a backpack with school supplies. Edwards will drive up in his racecar, followed by a hauler filled with the supplies and products. This will be followed by a school assembly where Edwards will present the supplies and answer students’ questions.(Office Depot/Edelman PR)(10-31-2006)
News from October 30, 2006
- Atlanta overnight TV ratings UP: NBC earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.2 and an 8 market share for Sunday’s broadcast of the Bass Pro Shops 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 7.7% higher than the 3.9 NBC earned overnight for the 2005 race.(SceneDaily.com), the final ratings in 2005 were 4.7 rating and a 10 share, see my TV Ratings page for the 2006 chart and past news.(10-30-2006)
- ESPN Deportes Radio Becomes the Spanish Language home of NASCAR Racing: In a continued effort to better serve the Latino sports fans in the U.S., ESPN Deportes Radio and MRN Radio, the primary source for NASCAR stock car racing and related radio programming, announced today a five-year agreement that makes ESPN Deportes Radio the exclusive Spanish-language radio home of NASCAR racing’s premier events, it was announced today by Traug Keller, senior vice president, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio and David Hyatt, President of MRN Radio. Under the terms of the agreement, ESPN Deportes Radio will provide up-to-the minute NASCAR news and information, highlighted with coverage of NASCAR’s three largest racing series – the NEXTEL Cup, the Busch Series and the Craftsman Truck Series. The agreement will provide ESPN Deportes Radio exclusive access to a vast amount of content that will fuel ESPN Deportes Radio’s NASCAR coverage beginning with the 2007 season. ESPN Deportes is the brand under which ESPN Inc. has been serving U.S. Hispanic sports fans since 2000. In addition to ESPN Deportes Radio, the only around-the-clock national Spanish-language radio network in the U.S., the roster of branded initiatives now includes ESPN Deportes TV; ESPNdeportes.com, the leading Spanish-language sports site in the U.S.; ESPN Deportes La Revista, the only general sports Spanish-language magazine in the U.S.; and ESPN Deportes Wireless, which offers mobile phone subscribers images of their favorite Latino sports stars.(MRN Radio PR)(10-30-2006)
- Johnson re-ups with Levi Strauss: Jeans, Johnson a Perfect Fit: For Levi Strauss Signature jeans, Jimmie Johnson is the perfect fit. After three years of a successful partnership, the mass retail brand recently extended its sponsorship with the NASCAR driver and Hendrick Motorsports through the 2009 calendar year. As part of the three-year agreement, the Levi Strauss Signature brand will continue to be the official apparel sponsor of Johnson, as well as the official jeans of the #48 Hendrick Motorsports team. The Levi Strauss Signature brand will continue to feature the El Cajon, Calif., native in its national marketing and public relations programs.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(10-30-2006)
- Bass Pro Shops 500 Race and Commercial Breakdown of 10-29-06:
Total number of commercials: 154
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 83
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 31
Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:50pm/et
End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:38pm/et
Total minutes: 228
Minutes of race broadcast: 154
Minutes of commercials: 74
See full report at cawsnjaws.com.(10-30-2006)
- Elliott honored before race: Before Dawsonville, Ga., native Bill Elliott started his 57th Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, he was honored in a special presentation and proclamation at driver introductions by Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue. “He’s been our hometown favorite for 30 years,” Perdue said during the announcement. “He’s our own Bill Elliott.” Elliott’s 57th career start at Atlanta Motor Speedway didn’t end the way he was hoping for. Elliott’s car was battling engine problems and had to retire from the Bass Pro Shops 500 after completing only 146 laps. “It just got worse and worse, and we ended up having to quit,” said Elliott. “We were hoping for a caution to get it straightened out, but it never worked out.”(AMS Pit Notes)(10-30-2006)
- Wells hopes to secure #32 sponsor soon: Cal Wells hopes to secure sponsorship for his #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy shortly, saying there are still just a few details to be ironed out. One of them is the identity of the driver, as Travis Kvapil is exploring other options while waiting to see if Wells gets a deal locked down. “I’m talking to anybody who’s willing to talk right now. Just kind of exploring options and seeing what’s out there,” Kvapil said Oct. 29. “If I go back to the [Craftsman] Truck Series, it’s going to be a move for the long term, not just for a year or two. … I’m going to have to do something pretty quick here, because it would be nice to know where we’re going to land.” Wells hopes to spend this week working out the final details of a sponsorship that could allow him to keep Kvapil. “There are details still to pull together that, if it all comes together, are going to be pretty profound,” Wells said. “We would like to keep Travis, but he’s got some other opportunities, so we’ll see how that goes.” Wells had hoped to announce his deal earlier this month, but said the presentation is important. “From an agreement perspective, we’re there, done,” he said. “But there’s just some details that are going to be very positively impactful to the whole program and we’re just not at the point of being able to do [the announcement].”(SceneDaily.com), current sponsor, Tide, is rumored to be leaving the sport.(10-30-2006)
News from October 29, 2006
- Dodge Mum on Model Change UPDATE: And Dodge’s Mike Accavitti, the new racing boss, continues to say no-comment on reports his company will follow GM’s lead and badge its own car of tomorrow under the new Avenger logo.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2006)
UPDATE: Mike Accavitti, Dodge’s head of racing, declined to confirm his company’s plans to follow GM and use NASCAR to market its revived Avenger. Accavitti said that the Avenger is still just “a concept car debuted in Paris,” despite a NASCAR tech bulletin listing the Avenger as 2007-ready for Cup racing.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-29-2006)
- Stewart wins at Atlanta: #20-Tony Stewart won the Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his 4th win of the 2006 season and 28th of his career [tied for 17th overall with Rex White]. Stewart led the most laps with 146. #48-Johnson finished 2nd to close the points lead to 26 over #17-Kenseth who finished 4th after fighting with #8-Earnhardt Jr. for 3rd. #16-Biffle got he 5th spot with the rest of the top-10 being #24-Gordon, #99-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #01-Nemechek and #7-Robby Gordon. Some Chasers had rough days with #9-Kahne wrecking and finished 38th and #6-Martin got caught up in a big wreck towards the end of the race and finished 36th. #31-Burton had some tire problems finished 13th. #29-Harvick just didn’t have a good car, finishing 4 laps down in 31st. #5-Kyle Busch lost it early in the race, damaged the front of the car and was never a factor, finishing 27th, 4 laps down. Looks like a 5 driver race for The Chase. There were 9 cautions for 39 laps and 7 drivers lead the race with 24 lead changes.
Race Results on my Atlanta Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Atlanta page
Race Rundown: see my Atlanta Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-29-2006)
- Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Atlanta [33 of 36 races]:
#17-Matt Kenseth 6008
#48-Jimmie Johnson 5982 -26
#11-Denny Hamlin 5943 -65
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5924 -84
#31-Jeff Burton 5924 -84
#29-Kevin Harvick 5887 -121
#24-Jeff Gordon 5862 -146
#6-Mark Martin 5807 -201
#9-Kasey Kahne 5798 -210
#5-Kyle Busch 5759 -249
and fighting for 11th
#20-Tony Stewart in 11th 4298 points
#99-Carl Edwards -285 out of 11th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-29-2006)
- Unofficial “Classic” Points Standings
…the old way, not the Chase after Atlanta:
1) #17-Matt Kenseth 4743
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4665 -78
3) #29-Kevin Harvick 4328 -415
4) #20-Tony Stewart 4298 -445
5) #11-Denny Hamlin 4261 -482
6) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4237 -506
7) #31-Jeff Burton 4231 -512
8) #24-Jeff Gordon 4231 -512
9) #5-Kyle Busch 4148 -595
10) #6-Mark Martin 4123 -620
11) #9-Kasey Kahne 4112 -631
12) #99-Carl Edwards 4013 -730
13) #16-Greg Biffle 3771 -972
14) #42-Casey Mears 3616 -1127
15) #25-Brian Vickers 3589 -1154
- Rumblings – Atlanta: Dale Earnhardt Jr stayed out….Tony Stewart came in and got four fresh ones, and it was pretty much over. Tony Stewart got by Little E with 11 to go tonight and went on to win the Bass Pro Shops 500 (I’d say he liked that trophy just a little, too!) at Atlanta Motor Speedway over Jimmie Johnson for his 4th win of the season and second in Hampton. Win #28 for Tony in his career moves him into a tie for 20th on the all-time win list with another Cup Champion….Rex White. This was the 53rd victory for Joe Gibbs Racing and it was worth $373,286 from the slightly over $6M in posted awards.
Robby Gordon (10th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Watkins Glen in August…..and let the roll-bar padding wars begin!
David Gilliland (15th) tied his career-best finish today. He was also 15th at Talladega last month.
STREAKIN….Carl Edwards has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator…UP: The Operator of the Week is Joe Nemechek (+32), followed by Kyle Petty (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-30), followed by Kevin Harvick (-29) and Mark Martin (-29). The bottom end of the “Shaft” is populated by nothin’ but Chasers this week.(Stock Car Fans)(10-29-2006)
- Atlanta Race Notes:
• Tony Stewart won the Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring his 28th career Nextel Cup victory in his 281st career start.
• Stewart moved into a tie for 20th on NASCAR’s All-Time win list, with Rex White.
• It is Stewart’s fourth victory in 2006. He also won races at Martinsville, the second Daytona race and Kansas.
• Stewart became the only driver to post multiple victories in the first seven races of the Chase.
• Stewart scored his second victory in 16 races at Atlanta. It is his third straight top-10 finish at Atlanta. Stewart last won here in March 2002.
• Stewart scored his 18th top-10 finish in 2006.
• Stewart’s victory today was the 21st Chevrolet victory in 33 races in 2006.
• Stewart won the race from the 11th-place starting position, marking the first race in the last six at Atlanta that a driver has won from outside the top 10.
• Stewart remained 11th in the Championship standings. He has a 285-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards, who finished seventh.
• Stewart led seven times for 146 of the 325 laps raced, leading the most laps for the fifth time in 2006, but the first time since the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.
• This is team owner Joe Gibbs’ 53rd Nextel Cup victory and sixth in 2006: Stewart (four) and Denny Hamlin (two). This was Gibbs’ eighth Nextel Cup victory at Atlanta.
• Race No. 33 at Atlanta is the seventh of the 10 races in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup.
• Five of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10.
• Seven of the 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Atlanta.
• There have been six changes in the second-place points position in the seven Chase races.
• Jimmie Johnson has been second in points after Atlanta in all three years of the Chase.
• Four of the Chase drivers led at Atlanta: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (95), Jeff Gordon (44), Kevin Harvick (nine) and Jeff Burton (one).
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton are tied with 5,924 points with three races remaining. Earnhardt Jr. claims the fifth-place points position by the tie-breaker system which is based on finishes. Both have one victory and one secondplace finish. Earnhardt has three third-place finishes as compared to Burton with one.
• The top five in points are separated by just 84 points.
• Four of the seven races in the Chase have been won by Chase drivers.
• Matt Kenseth has scored six top-15 finishes in the seven races in The Chase, the only driver to do so.
• Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin and Jeff Gordon are the only Chase drivers to score four top-10 finishes in the seven races in the Chase.
• Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have each led in five of the seven races in the Chase.
• Jimmie Johnson is the only Chase driver to post six top-10 starts in the seven races in the Chase.
• Johnson has scored 21 top-10 finishes in 2006 and seven top-10 finishes in 11 races at Atlanta.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006 and his ninth top-10 finish in 15 races at Atlanta.
• Matt Kenseth (fourth) scored his 20th top-10 finish in 2006 and his seventh top-10 finish in 14 races at Atlanta.
• Greg Biffle (fifth) scored his 14th top-10 finish in 2006 and his fifth top-10 finish in eight races at Atlanta.
• Denny Hamlin (eighth) was the highest finishing rookie for the 16th time in 2006.
• At least one of the 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 33 races this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-29-2006)
- Race not to be seen in St Louis area: Due to the St. Louis Cardinals [congrats] winning the World Series and conducting its Victory Parade Sunday afternoon, the local NBC affiliate [Channel 5/KSDK] will cut into the race around 1:30pm/ct and returning to the race at approx. 4:30pm/ct. So parts of the race will not be seen. Complaints to ksdk.com or nbcsports.com. The race will also re-air on SPEED, Thursday, Nov 2nd at 2:30pm/et.(10-29-2006)
- Lester’s plans up in the air: Bill Lester said his racing plans for 2007 likely won’t be set before this season ends at Homestead, Fla., next month. “It’s just like last year,” Lester said. “I didn’t do a deal until Homestead, and I don’t expect anything to be different.” Lester, who drives the #22 Toyota for Bill Davis Racing, said he would like to return to the truck series and run some Nextel Cup events. He ran two Cup races this year, at Atlanta in March and at Michigan in June.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), Bill Davis Racing announced it’s 3-driver Truck Series team at Atlanta and Lester was not part of that announcement.(10-29-2006)
- Results of #66 Crewman MRI Reveals Torn Knee Ligaments: Phillip Gee, jackman for the #66 Best Buy Haas CNC Racing Chevy, suffered ligament damage to his left knee last Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Gee, who injured the knee following a pit stop during the Nextel Cup Series race at Martinsville, underwent an MRI on Wednesday morning, October 25. Joe Custer, general manager of the Haas CNC team, said the MRI revealed tears in both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) of Gee’s knee, which will likely require surgery. Doctors estimate Gee will be sidelined from performing pit crew duties for a period of six months to a year. Mike Casto, who serves as jackman for Haas CNC Racing’s #00 Busch Series entry, will fill in for Gee this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Haas CNC Racing management will then decide on a race by race basis who will handle jackman duties for the #66 team.(Best Buy Racing PR)(10-29-2006)
- Chevy to decrease Truck Series support: Although General Motors announced only a modest loss in the quarter just past, the knife has come to marketing and NASCAR. Chevrolet officials revealed that the company would end its direct sponsorship of teams in the Craftsman Truck series, where it had backed two teams this year — Morgan-Dollar’s #85 [Dennis Setzer] and #46 [many drivers] and the Xpress #16 [with Saturday’s winner Mike Bliss]. Chevrolet will continue to support its Truck teams, under the Silverado name, with technical and parts support, so the brand will remain established in the series, which has become largely a works series.(SpeedTV.com)(10-29-2006)
News from October 28, 2006
- Sad News – #55 Jackman passes: Bill Davis Racing statement on the passing ofr Steve Spahr, #55 NAPA Team Jackman: “Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with Steve’s family,” said Bill Davis, owner of Bill Davis Racing. “Steve was an important part of the Bill Davis Racing family for many, many years. He was a quiet mentor to his peers and was both respected and well-liked by everyone on our race team and many others within the Nextel Cup garage. He will be missed and remembered fondly by everyone associated with our team.” Spahr, 48, worked both at the shop and at the track performing a wide range of tasks from engine tuning to suspension work in the shop and in the past had served as the jackman for the #22 team. Most recently, Spahr was the jackman for the #55 NAPA Racing team. A long-time employee of Bill Davis Racing, Spahr had recently been hospitalized with a tear of the aorta and had undergone surgery in the Greensboro, N.C. area. Spahr was recovering at home with his family when he passed away suddenly Friday evening.(BDR PR)(10-28-2006)
- Hornish to race in Nov. Phoenix Busch race? UPDATE 3 yep: Reports that IRL champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. will make his stock car debut next month at Phoenix in a NASCAR Busch Series car are premature, a Team Penske spokesman said Friday night. A recent story cited unidentified sources as saying the Penske team will enter Hornish in the Busch races at Phoenix and Homestead in November, as well as running him in selected Busch and ARCA events next season before launching a full-time Nextel Cup career in 2008. “Roger Penske has said publicly that we are considering a plan that would allow Sam to race in some Busch and ARCA races next year, for sure, along with his IRL schedule,” Chris Schwartz, director of marketing and communications for the Penske team, told The Associated Press. “That’s all in motion and it’s a goal of ours to get him into a Busch race this year,” Schwartz added. “But he hasn’t even tested a (stock) car, yet. We hope to get that accomplished soon and we hope to get him in the Phoenix (Busch) race and maybe the Homestead (Busch) race, too. But nothing is done yet.”(Associated Press)(10-14-2006)
UPDATE: Hornish could run the Busch Series race at Phoenix next month if he feels he is ready, Penske Racing officials confirmed. Hornish has tested a stock car at North Carolina (Rockingham) Speedway and plans to test at Iowa Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway before deciding whether to run at Phoenix, Penske Raacing South President Don Miller said Saturday. “We’re going to let him get the feel of the car,” Miller said. “If he decides that he’s ready, we could theoretically do that [Phoenix race].” Matt Gimbel, the crew chief for the #39 Penske Racing South Busch Series team, will direct the effort. Hornish is committed to run in the IRL for 2007. “That is his primary deal,” Miller said. “We don’t want to interfere with the primary program because that wouldn’t be good for the team overall.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-14-2006)
UPDATE 2: been told that Hornish will run the Phoenix and Homestead Busch races with in the #39 Mobil 1 Dodge, offiicial announcement to come later this morning.
UPDATE 3: Penske Racing officials announced Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway that three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. will attempt to qualify for two NASCAR Busch Series races this season. Hornish will pilot the #39 Mobil 1 Dodge at the Nov. 11 Phoenix and Nov. 18 Homestead events. Penske Racing will expand its Busch Series effort in 2007, splitting duties between Hornish and fellow Penske drivers #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch. Hornish has tested the Busch car twice already, at Kentucky and Iowa.(AMS Pit Notes)(10-28-2006)
- Truex Jr. wins IROC race at Atlanta; Stewart wins IROC championship: #8-Martin Truex Jr. won the Crown Royal IROC race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. #17-Kenseth ended up 2nd and #20-Stewart was third, clinching 2006 Crown Royal IROC Championship and the $1 million. #12-Newman was 4th, followed by #1-Musgrave, #6-Martin, #46-Kimmel, #16-Papis, #11-Kinser, #06-Hornish, #10-Taylor and #08-Sharp. More at IROCRacing.com and my 2006 IROC page.(10-28-2006)
- Roush’s #06 team limited to one more race in 2006: Roush Racing can only enter the #06 in one more Nextel Cup race this year because of the team limitations imposed by NASCAR, team president Geoff Smith confirmed Saturday. Roush already has its fifth full-time team grandfathered in on the four-team NASCAR Cup limit. Teams are also allowed to enter an extra team for a rookie to get ready for next season. Smith said Roush Racing interpreted that limitation to mean seven races with any rookie, but NASCAR informed the team at Martinsville last week that it could run only one more race – the eighth Nextel Cup attempt overall for the #06 car this year. The #06 has attempted to run six events (including one where the team failed to qualify) with Todd Kluever and two with David Ragan. That final race for the #06 will be Phoenix with Kluever at the wheel. Smith said it is the team’s plan to run Ragan in whatever races he is eligible for the rest of the year in the #60 No Fear Racing car, which has an affiliation with Roush. Ragan originally was supposed to drive the #06 car at Atlanta this weekend. When Roush Racing found out last week it could only run that car one more time this year, it withdrew the car and planned to have No Fear enter Ragan in the #60. Before it could get the new entry filed, NASCAR ruled that Ragan was not approved to run the 1.5-mile Atlanta track in the Cup race because of struggles at Martinsville Speedway last Sunday. Smith said the team is fine with the limitation imposed.(SceneDaily.com)(10-28-2006)
- Graves to Toyota: Toyota yesterday signed Andy Graves to be the company’s NASCAR field manager for its 2007 Nextel Cup debut season. Graves spent the past five years managing Chip Ganassi’s Dodge teams.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2006)
- Borland to Red Bull? A shakeup is looming for the Roger Penske operation, with Toyota’s Red Bull team reportedly making a run at crew chief Matt Borland to take the helm of Brian Vickers’ team next season. Borland is #12-Ryan Newman’s crew chief at Penske’s.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2006)
- Nicorette Increases 2007 Program with Jeff Gordon: Nicorette nicotine gum will expand its Nextel Cup program next season, expanding its involvement with #24-Jeff Gordon to four races, officials announced Friday at Atlanta. They also commended the 173 NASCAR officials and crew members who quit smoking with their product this season. Gordon will run a special Nicorette paint scheme for four races next season: Las Vegas (March 11), Chicago (July 15), Richmond (Sept. 8) and Atlanta (Oct. 28).(AMS Pit Notes)(10-28-2006)
- Mayfield to run the #09 car at Phoenix & Homestead: Jeremy Mayfield, who will run the #36 360 OTC Toyota in the Nextel Cup Seires for Bill Davis Racing in 2007, will run the #09 Miccosukee Gaming Dodge for Phoenix Racing/owner James Finch at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mayfield is running the #15 Chevy truck this weekend in the Truck Series race at Atlanta.(NASCAR.com)(10-28-2006)
- Seaberg win Pilot Truck Driver Challenge: Evernham Motorsports hauler driver Jeff Seaberg, who steers the #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge to the track each week, was named the 2006 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge winner Friday at AMS. Seaberg claimed his $50,000 check and large trophy in front of a room full of his peers and a smattering of media members. Seaberg claimed the title by acing a comprehensive test of driving ability, alertness and dedication to his profession. The competition included safety checks, spot quizzes and navigating through driving courses. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Peter Jellen finished second and picked up $5,000, and Penske Racing’s Bill Lewis was third, earning $2,500. Pilot Travel Centers also announced plans for increased purse money for next season’s challenge, upping second- and third-place prizes to $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.(AMS Pit Notes)(10-28-2006)
- Martinsville final TV ratings down: NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Subway 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.1 and a 9 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 13.6% lower than the 4.7 NBC earned for the race last year.(SceneDaily.com), see more news and the season TV Ratings chart on the 2006 TV Ratings page.(10-28-2006)
- Atlanta Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . teams in both the Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series will run the same tire codes this weekend, though the Nextel Cup tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle” and the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the only track on which NASCAR teams will run these tire codes in 2006 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Atlanta . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 60-64 laps.(Goodyear PR), see full report, tires codes on my Atlanta Race Info Page.(10-28-2006)
News from October 27, 2006
- New ESPN2 NASCAR Show UPDATE: Clint Bowyer, J.J. Yeley and Jeremy Mayfield, will be featured during this weekend’s premiere of “NASCAR Driver’s Non-Stop.” The reality-based show accompanied Bowyer recently on his vacation to Myrtle Beach, S.C. and to the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. The program also highlights Bowyer’s go-kart exploits at Muddy Creek International Speedway, located near his North Carolina home. “NASCAR Driver’s Non-Stop” premieres Sunday, November 5 [NOT October 29] at 10:00pm/et on ESPN2 with re-air on November 12 at 10:00pm/et; two more shows, also at 10:00pm/et will have Casey Mears, David Stremme and David Gilliland featured on Nov. 19 and 26.(10-27-2006)
- Dodge and Chevy to change models in 2007? UPDATE Impala for Chevy in 2007 COT races: Beginning in 2007, Dodge and Chevrolet will campaign new models in Nextel Cup competition, Yahoo! Sports has learned. Dodge will run the Avenger, while Chevrolet will run the Impala SS, according to sources with some of NASCAR’s manufacturers. The change also was indicated in a technical bulletin distributed to all teams last week. Both Dodge and Chevy soon will announce that they have been given approval by NASCAR to change to the new models, with Chevy’s announcement possibly coming as soon as this week. According to the sources, the stock car version has been approved for use by Dodge teams for both the current Nextel Cup car as well as the Car of Tomorrow version, starting next season. The switch from Monte Carlo to Impala could signal the end of the Monte Carlo name from the Chevrolet lineup, as its rear-drive design [NOTE: the Monte Carlo is front wheel driven – verified at the chevrolet.com site] is used on its model alone and at the present time, no replacement is on the drawing boards at GM. However, unlike its Dodge counterpart, the Impala SS will only be used by Chevrolet teams for their Car of Tomorrow, according to sources. Manufacturers and NASCAR also are continuing to move forward with plans to change all of the models used in the Busch Series, perhaps as soon as the 2010 season. That change would put smaller, sportier models into competition, like the retro-designed Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger – as well as the Toyota Solara.(Yahoo Sports)(10-24-2006)
UPDATE: After a decades-long hiatus from stock car racing, Chevy’s legendary Impala nameplate – enhanced with the SS performance designation – will once again compete in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) in select races of the 2007 NASCAR season. Chevy’s Car of Tomorrow entry, slated to make its first run at Bristol in March of 2007, will be an Impala SS and will share the NNCS schedule next season with the current Monte Carlo SS. The Car of Tomorrow will share both the 2007 and 2008 racing seasons with the current race car design until its first full season in 2009. The new car is scheduled to race at sixteen events in 2007, consisting of those at tracks less than a mile and a half in length, the road courses and the second Talladega race. In 2008, all races at tracks two miles or more in length are expected to feature the new design. Chevrolet introduced the Impala in 1957 as a 1958 model (50 years ago next year) and drivers immediately took to the big car, racing it first on the beach at Daytona, then at Daytona International Speedway in 1959. Redesigned that year, Bob Welborn scored a victory with the new model for the qualifying race of the 1959 Daytona 500 – the first 500 at the Speedway. Success continued for Impala with consecutive NASCAR championship titles in 1960 (Rex White) and again in 1961 (Ned Jarrett). In 1963, stock-car legend Junior Johnson ran 32 races of the 55-race schedule in the famous white No. 3 Impala owned by Ray Fox and collected seven wins, 12 top-fives, 13 top-tens and nine poles.(GM Racing PR), images of the 2007 #48 Lowe’s Chevy Impala on the 2007 #48 Team Schemes page.(10-27-2006)
- Ragan finds a way to talk to Stewart: With last week’s on-track run-in with Tony Stewart still fresh in his mind, David Ragan came to Atlanta with reconciliation on his mind. Knowing that it might be hard to get Stewart alone, Ragan bid $5,750 at Thursday night’s Speedway Children’s Charities auction to buy the pre-race ride around the track with Stewart. “I’ve never spoken to Tony before; I’m kind of happy he knows my name actually, but not for these reasons,” Ragan said. “This will give us a chance to talk a little bit.” Ragan, the son of former NASCAR driver Ken Ragan, triggered a three-car wreck last weekend in Martinsville, taking out Ken Schrader and Tony Stewart, angering both veterans. Stewart had a few choice words for the young driver after the accident, and Ragan knows that he can’t start his career in Nextel Cup making enemies. “Tony, he criticized me a lot after last week, and when a champion does that, it’s good to go talk to him,” Ragan said. “I think I’ll ask him his thoughts, what I should have done different, just introduce myself so that if I step out of line in the future he’ll come and talk to me about it.” Ragan was expected to attempt to qualify for both Saturday’s Craftsman Truck race and Sunday’s Nextel Cup race, but NASCAR did not approve him to compete in the upper level event. He is still hopeful that he will be approved before next weekend’s race in Texas. “I was disappointed, but at least I’ll be running the truck race here,” Ragan said. “I’m happy; I’m just 20 years old, and I’m here in the truck series.”(AMS Pit Notes)(10-27-2006)
- Tracy Committed to Champ Car; will not run NASCAR in 2007: Paul Tracy has decided to remain loyal to Champ Car and abandon plans to participate in NASCAR in 2007. Tracy participated in six NASCAR Busch Series races in 2006 and showed signs of potentially having a successful career in stock cars.(Player Management International PR)(10-27-2006)
- Bodine back in the #4 at Atlanta; Ward at Texas UPDATE: SPEED’s Bob Dilner reported on the SPEED Report that Todd Bodine is scheduled to be back in the #4 Morgan McClure Sports Chevy at next weeks Atlanta race and Ward Burton could be back in the car at Texas on the first weekend in November.(10-23-2006)
UPDATE: Ward Burton will return to drive the #4 Chevrolet at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 5. Morgan-mcclure.com will provide performance & media updates throughout the weekend. Ward Burton #4 t-shirts will be available for sale through www.morgan-mcclure.com in the coming days. Any individual or company who would like to support Ward Burton and Morgan-McClure, see www.morgan-mcclure.com.(Morgan McClure Motorsports)(10-27-2006)
- Maurice Petty, Barney Hall to enter NMPA hall of fame: Another member of stock car racing’s “royal” family and the sport’s longtime radio voice make up the National Motorsports Press Association’s hall of fame class for 2007. Maurice Petty was head engine builder for more than 30 years at Petty Enterprises and helped guide his brother, Richard, to 198 of his NASCAR-record 200 career wins, while Barney Hall has been working on radio broadcasts for nearly five decades. Maurice Petty, 67, helped his brother win seven poles, seven Daytona 500s and 120 poles. He also made 26 starts as a driver at the Cup level, with seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes between 1960 and 1964. He stepped away from full-time involvement in 1985, but helped Dodge work with its motors when it returned to NASCAR’s top series. Petty was diagnosed with polio as a child and now needs a walker and a scooter to get around. Hall, now 74, was working for a radio station in his hometown of Elkin when he got a job as the public address announcer at the track in Bristol, Tenn. Within a couple of years, he was working for what would become Motor Racing Network, where he still works today. The NMPA’s hall of fame is part of the Stock Car Racing Museum at Darlington Raceway. Induction ceremonies will be held in Charlotte during the NMPA’s annual convention in January.(Thatsracin)(10-27-2006)
- Fans can help soldiers at AMS: Fans shopping at the souvenir trailer at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend will have a chance to assist severely wounded and disabled soldiers. The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes has partnered with the track to sell “hero” wristbands at 45 souvenir rigs.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-27-2006)
- Steve Smith keeps points lead in Chase Tracker game: Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers scored six points in the Nextel Chase Tracker game to extend his lead over former Green Bay Packer Aaron Taylor to seven points (42-35). Smith correctly identified the position of Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet) in the standings; Taylor did not earn any points this week. Derek Lowe of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Jerry Stackhouse of the Dallas Mavericks each identified two drivers’ positions to move into a tie for third-place with 34 points. Smith, a Pro Bowl WR for the Carolina Panthers, is the third different athlete to lead the Chase field for two consecutive weeks. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady led the first two weeks and former Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen led the next two. Other notable performances this week came from Floyd Mayweather Jr. and William Henderson. Each contestant filled out the Chase Tracker grid with their Chase predictions prior to the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.(NASCAR Media)(10-27-2006)
- Newman wins open wheel race in GA: #12-Ryan Newman returned to his open-wheel roots Wednesday night and emerged victorious in the South Georgia Motorsports Park 100. The event, part of the Premier Racing Association’s Silver Crown series, featured Silver Crown “Big Cars” and NASCAR drivers Ken Schrader, Dave Blaney and Newman. Newman, driving the No. 192 car, qualified second earlier in the day with a time of 17.169 seconds, just behind series point leader Chet Fillip. However, the PRA’s Silver Crown series mixes things up a bit by inverting the top six. The qualifiers must draw for their spot after qualifying and after the selection, Newman moved back one spot to third, while Fillip was relegated to sixth. Marc Jessup began up front. After a brief autograph session with all of the drivers, the 100-lap race began with Newman quickly moving into second in the race’s opening laps.(Penske Racing PR)(10-27-2006)
- Final 2006 race for Jim Beam: This weekend’s event will mark the final appearance of the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season for Jim Beam as the primary sponsor of Robby Gordon’s #7 Chevy. Dedicated to socially responsible drinking, Jim Beam launched its awareness program, drink smart, in 1995 as an educational program that communicates the importance of responsible consumption by adults of legal purchase age that choose to drink. drink smart means: If you’re of legal age and you choose to drink, do so responsibly; Do not drink if you’re under 21; Don’t drive drunk; If you can’t drink smart – don’t drink at all. Harrah’s, Menards and CarLoan.com will serve as associates.(RGM PR)(10-27-2006)
- Rookie News and Notes Atlanta:
#11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Oct. 22 Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Hamlin finished second, .544 seconds behind race winner Jimmie Johnson. He claimed his sixth top-five and 16th top-10 finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 15th time this season. Hamlin is fourth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 47 points behind leader Matt Kenseth. He leads fifth-place Jeff Burton by one point and sixth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 47. Hamlin leads Clint Bowyer by 54 points (277-223) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 29 Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 32 races this season. Reed Sorenson was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March race at Atlanta (race No. 4) earlier this season, scoring a 10th-place finish. Kyle Busch was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2005 Bass Pro Shops 500, posting a 12th-place finish. Busch also led the race once for four laps. Since 1975, the late Kenny Irwin is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole at the fall race in Atlanta. Irwin grabbed the top spot for the 1998 Bass Pro Shops 500. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the fall race at Atlanta (since 1975) is second by Dale Earnhardt in 1979. Earnhardt finished one-half car length behind winner Neil Bonnett.(Raybestos PR), see rookie standings, history, facts on the 2006 Rookies Page.(10-27-2006)
- Martin plans to run some Truck races in 2007..for Ford: Mark Martin said Thursday that he probably will drive in five to 10 races in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2007 in a Ford. He said he also probably will run five to 10 races in the Busch Series, driving a Chevrolet. Martin is driving the #01 Chevrolet for MB2 Motorsports [Ginn Racing] in 20 Nextel Cup races next season. Martin has raced in the truck series 11 times this season, winning five of them.(Dallas Morning News)(10-27-2006)
- IROC series season concludes at Atlanta: Crown Royal IROC XXX will conclude the 2006 season on Saturday, October 28, 2006 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The $1 million Race Four finale will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel at 3:00pm/et. The Crown Royal IROC Series returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the third consecutive year to award $1 million to the series’ champion. 2006 will mark IROC’s fifth appearance at AMS, having staged final events in 1979 and 1980. The 2006 championship will be decided among the top four in the current points standings: Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Max Papis and Ryan Newman; all others are mathematically eliminated. The rest of the field are: Martin Truex Jr., Sam Hornish Jr., Frank Kimmel, Mark Martin, Scott Sharp, Wayne Taylor/Max Angelelli [Tatlor will run at Atlanta], Steve Kinser and Ted Musgrave. By calculation there are nearly 50-million different possible orders of finish. It will come down to bonus points and the final running order before the championship is decided. If Kenseth wins and maximizes the bonus points, as he did in the opener at Daytona, Stewart will need to finish third or better to clinch the title. Stewart was the IROC Series runner-up in 2001. A Crown Royal IROC title in 2006 would give Stewart six different series title to his collection of national championships. His five national titles include: USAC National Midget champion (1994 & ’95), USAC Sprint Car (’95), USAC Silver Crown (’95), IRL IndyCar Series (’97) and NASCAR Nextel Cup (2002 & ’05). Race bonus points in addition to winning the race in Atlanta could make Kenseth the first two-time $1 million Crown Royal IROC champion: He won the inaugural $1 million Crown Royal IROC championship in 2004. Papis and Newman are tied at 39-points. Mathematically, Papis, or Newman, could win the championship if Stewart finishes 11th or worse, Kenseth places out of the top-five, and either driver would have to win the race and collect the maximum bonus points (8). More at IROCRacing.com and my 2006 IROC page.(10-27-2006)
- #83 now the #84 for Atlanta: A.J. Allmendinger will run the #84, not the #83, on the Red Bull Dodge at Atlanta. The team had planned to run #30 with Bill Elliott and run a special scheme to honor Elliott’s 30 years in Cup racing [Elliott will be in the #37 Dodge]. But Red Bull signed Allmendinger as their 2nd team driver this past week to run the full 2007 season in the #84 Toyota. Allmendinger was to run the #83 [which will be run by Brian Vickers in 2007] and the entry list changed Wednesday to #84. Allmendinger may not even get a chance to run the car this week if qualifying at Atlanta is cancelled as rain is forecast all day Friday and Friday night [100%]. Qualifying is scheduled for 7:10pm/et and be televised on SPEED.(10-27-2006)
- Kurt Busch interview on Sirius Friday: #2 Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be the featured guest on Friday’s SIRIUS Speedway show, a highlight of the programming on SIRIUS Satellite Radio’s NASCAR Radio Channel 128. Non-subscribers to SIRIUS can log on to www.sirius.com on Thursday and Friday and receive a free trial to access the media player and some 75 channels of commercial-free music, exclusive sports, talk and entertainment channels. It’s quick and easy – and there’s absolutely no commitment. Busch’s interview is set to air at 3:15pm/et on Friday.(PR)(10-27-2006)
News from October 26, 2006
- Schumacher to run Cup road courses? Rumors that Michael Schumacher has signed a $10 million deal to drive the two NASCAR road races at Sears Point (Infineon) and Watkins Glen in 2007 could not be substantiated at [autoextremist.com] launch time.(autoextremist.com)(10-26-2006)
- McDonald’s scheme for #9 at Atlanta: Kasey Kahne will drive the #9 McDonald’s/Dodge Dealers Dodge at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Kahne also ran a McDonald’s scheme at Chicago and this will be the same but the decklid will feature vitaminwater.(Clear!Blue PR), see a couple images of the scheme on the #9 Team Schemes Page.(10-26-2006)
- Allmendinger dropped from Champ Car ride for final race: SPEED has learned that 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice has been tabbed by Gerry Forsythe to replace A.J. Allmendinger in the Champ Car season finale Nov. 12 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Allmendinger announced earlier this week he was leaving Champ Car for NASCAR next year and Forsythe decided to look for the future. “We’ve got to think about ’07 and this will be a good audition for Buddy,” said Forsythe, who called Allmendinger on Thursday morning to inform the five-time winner his services were no longer required. Besides giving Rice a long-awaited chance, this also means Champ Car will have an American in the starting lineup since Allmendinger was the lone Yank this season.(Speed Channel)(10-26-2006)
- Best Buy on #66 rest of season; Jackman injury update: Best Buy, which has served as the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing in a number of races this season, will have its logo displayed on the hood of the #66 entry in each of the season’s final four Nextel Cup Series events. Phillip Gee, jack man for the #66 Haas CNC Racing entry driven by Jeff Green, underwent an MRI examination of his injured left knee on Wednesday morning, October 25. No results of that examination have not been released. Gee, who injured the knee following a pit stop during Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, is expected to be out for the remainder of the season, according to team officials. Gee said doctors did not detect any broken bones in their initial examination, but scheduled the MRI to determine if there is any ligament or cartilage damage to the knee. Mike Casto, who serves as jack man for Haas CNC Racing’s #00 Busch Series entry, will fill that role on the #66 entry during Gee’s recuperation.(Best Buy Racing PR)(10-26-2006)
- COT Testing at Iowa UPDATE: Three NASCAR Nextel Cup Teams – among the top teams in auto racing – will conduct the first Cup Series tests in Iowa racing history this week at Iowa Speedway. Tests begin Tuesday and run through Friday with the public viewing area open each day from 9:00-5:00. Teams from Joe Gibbs Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, and Penske Racing will test the Car of Tomorrow beginning at 9:00am Tuesday and continue through 5:00pm Wednesday, weather permitting. The Penske Racing Busch Series Team is scheduled to test Thursday and Friday, 9:00-5:00. Penske Racing drivers #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman are among the drivers scheduled to test drive the “Car of Tomorrow” at Iowa Speedway.(Iowa Speedway PR/Site)(10-24-2006)
UPDATE: Two Nextel Cup Teams – Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates – and Penske Racing – successfully tested the “Car of Tomorrow” this week at Iowa Speedway. Penske Team drivers, Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch, along with Ganassi Team driver, Kevin Hamlin, tested different models of the “Car of Tomorrow” Tuesday and Wednesday in Iowa. The tests were the first Cup Series tests ever conducted on the new 7/8 mile asphalt oval track designed by former Nextel Cup Champion, Rusty Wallace.(Iowa Speedway site and images of the cars on their Gallery)(10-26-2006)
News from October 25, 2006
- PRN back at Atlanta: The Performance Racing Network [PRN] is ready to tackle all of the action during the October 27-29, 2006 NASCAR Weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Bass Pro Shops 500 is race number seven in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and the competition for the title has never been tighter with the top 8 teams separated by only 99 points. PRN will broadcast Friday’s qualifying for the Bass Pro Shops 500, Saturday’s Crown royal IROC race event and Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup event. Immediately following the Nextel Cup race, Rice and Garrow will also host the Crown Royal Post-Race Show. Fans can call in at 1-800-771-TALK (8255) to discuss the weekend’s event. PRN’s broadcast crew consists of anchors Doug Rice and Mark Garrow; pit reporters Brett McMillan, Pat Patterson, Brad Gillie and Sean Pragano and turn announcers Chuck Carland and Rob Albright.
PRN’s broadcast will be heard on more than 465 stations nationwide, XM Satellite Radio Channel 144 and on NASCAR.com. The events can be heard locally on WYAY 106.7 FM – the Eagle.
PRN broadcast schedule for Atlanta Motor Speedway:
Friday, October 27: 7:00 p.m. – Qualifying for the Bass Pro Shops 500
Saturday, October 28: 3:00 pm – Crown Royal IROC Race Event
Sunday, October 29: 2:00 p.m. – Bass Pro Shops 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race
Immediately following NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Race – Crown Royal Post-Race Show.(Performance Racing Network), PRN will also cover the race at Texas next week.(10-25-2006)
- Labonte Racing Cascadian Farms Dodge at Atlanta: This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cascadian Farms Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Bass Pro Shops 500. Labonte will be racing the Cascadian Farms Dodge for the first time this season. In 1998, with the addition of Muir Glen tomatoes, Cascadian Farm became part of Small Planet Foods. In 2000, Small Planet Foods was purchased by General Mills, giving Cascadian Farm the opportunity to bring quality products to even more people around the country. Cascadian Farm has become a leading grower, manufacturer and distributor of a wide range of delicious organic products, from frozen fruit to breakfast cereal.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing), more info on Cascadian Farms at cascadianfarm.com, see images on my #43 Team Schemes page.(10-25-2006)
- #55 Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR announced today that Tommy Baldwin Jr., crew chief for Michael Waltrip’s #55 Dodge Nextel Cup Series team, has been fined $5,000 for rule violations during last Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway. The fine resulted from violations of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used in the event that do not conform to NASCAR rules); 20-17B(3) (entering the car servicing area without a fire-resistant uniform); and 20-17.1A(3) (entering the car servicing area without a helmet) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book.(NASCAR PR)(10-25-2006)
- Red Bull testing at Kentucky: Team Red Bull is scheduled to test a Nextel Cup car at Kentucky Speedway today [Oct 25th], no word on the driver. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(10-25-2006)
- Green’s #66 Team Becomes 15th Checkers/Rally’s Pit Crew Winner at Martinsville: Jeff Green’s #66 over-the-wall crew became the 15th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup team to earn a win in the weekly Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition by claiming the honor in Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway. The Best Buy crew, which spent the least amount of time on Martinsville’s pit road (285.023 seconds), helped lift the team to an eighth-place finish. The #66 over-the-wall crew, which earned $10,500 for the win, consists of: Phillip Gee (jackman), Michael “Shrek” Morneau (front-tire carrier), Kelly Kellis (front-tire changer), Zach McGowan (rear-tire carrier), Daniel Smith (rear-tire changer), Robby Maschhaupt (gasman) and Derick Jennings (catch can). The pit crew coach is Wayne Holden. With four races remaining on the NEXTEL Cup circuit, the pit crews of Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart are tied for first place in the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings. The crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule will be presented with a $100,500 bonus. Checkers/Rally’s will present the crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule with a $100,500 bonus. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $336,000 in Nextel Cup Series prize money during this season. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(10-25-2006)
News from October 24, 2006
- Official…Allmendinger to drive 2nd Red Bull car in 2007, #84: 2006 Team Red Bull formally announces a multi-year agreement with American open-wheel race car driver AJ Allmendinger to race the #84 Red Bull Toyota Camry for the 2007 Nextel Cup season. AJ completes the 2007 driver line-up for Team Red Bull that already includes 23- year-old Brian Vickers, who’ll pilot the #83 Red Bull Toyota Camry. Rick Viers, the veteran crew chief who guided the 24-year-old Californian through two successful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races for Bill Davis Racing earlier this year, also joins Team Red Bull in the same role for 2007. A former Toyota Atlantic champion and Champ Car rookie of the year, AJ currently stands second in the 2006 Champ Car World Series standings with five race wins. To speed up his acclimation to stock car racing, Bill Elliott has graciously agreed to step aside and let AJ take on driver duties in the Team Red Bull entry for the upcoming 2006 Nextel Cup races at Atlanta and Texas. More info on the Red Bull teams at redbullusa.com.(Red Bull Racing PR), see quotes from Allmendiner on the #84 Team News and Links page.(10-24-2006)
- #06 Withdrawn from Atlanta after Ragan not approved: Roush Racing has withdrawn its #06 Ford from the entry list for this weekend’s Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after driver David Ragan wasn’t approved to compete on 1.5-mile tracks at the Nextel Cup level. The team announced last week that Ragan would run both the Craftsman Truck Series race and the Cup race at Atlanta as he prepares to take over for Mark Martin in the team’s #6 entry next season. First, though, Ragan needed approval from NASCAR to step up to that level. Currently, he’s only cleared to race on tracks 1 mile or less in length in Cup. The 20-year-old has made just two Cup starts thus far, at Dover and this past Sunday at Martinsville. Ragan was involved in two accidents at Dover, where he finished 42nd after completing just 46 laps. He finished all 500 laps at Martinsville on Sunday, but angered a number of his fellow competitors in the process after making contact with Dale Jarrett and Ken Schrader, among others. “Currently he’s approved to participate at NASCAR tracks 1 mile in length or less,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Tuesday of Ragan’s Cup eligibility. “There is an approval process in place and his status will continue to be reviewed on a weekly basis. “We take a lot of things into consideration: Experience, qualifications, that type of thing. There’s a NASCAR committee that convenes on this each week and they’ll continue to review any application that he makes regarding the rest of the series.” While Ragan is cleared to race the truck series event at Atlanta, he was not on the entry list as of Tuesday afternoon. That, though, could still change by the time practice begins on Friday.(SceneDaily.com)(10-24-2006)
- Martinsville overnight TV ratings down: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Subway 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Martinsville Speedway earned a 3.5 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating and a 7 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The 3.5 represents a 7.9% drop below the 3.8 NBC earned overnight for the 2005 race.(SceneDaily.com)(10-24-2006)
- #9 Dodge “Nitro” scheme to run at Texas: At the upcoming Nextel Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway, Evernham Motorsports’ driver Kasey Kahne will race a special kind of “hot” rod – a Dodge Charger sporting a special paint scheme promoting the all-new 2007 Dodge Nitro. Kahne won the spring race at the speedway, one of his series-leading six wins this season. The Dodge Nitro is a mid-size SUV with bold styling and masculine swagger. The R/T model comes standard with a 4.0 liter SOHC V-6 engine, performance suspension and 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels with performance tires. Optional features include entertainment and communication technologies, including MP3, CD, DVD, USB, VES (video entertainment system) and the new MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System. MyGIG allows consumers to use touch screen or voice commands to control all of Nitro’s entertainment and communication technologies, and includes a 20-gigabyte hard drive for storing music and photos. Kahne’s #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge “Nitro” will carry electrifying red and yellow lightening bolts across the hood and doors, along with an image of the unique Dodge Nitro on the nose. The rear quarter panels and trunk will continue the lightening bolt theme, capped by a bright yellow spoiler. For more information on the all-new 2007 Dodge Nitro, visit www.Dodge.com.(Clear!Blue PR)(10-24-2006)
- Charlotte Final TV ratings drop 17.3% UPDATE – correction 7.8%: NBC’s broadcast of last Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.2 and an 8 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 17.3% lower than the fall Charlotte race earned in 2005.(SceneDaily.com)(10-20-2006)
Oops – CORRECTION: NBC’s broadcast of the Oct. 14 Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7, not 4.2 as reported last week, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports, down 7.8%.(SceneDaily.com)(10-24-2006)
- Said set to run at least 7 races in 2007: Frankie Stoddard, at Martinsville as #06-David Ragan’s crew chief, told [Yahoo Sports Bob Margolis] that he and partners Boris Said and Mark Simo have a deal to run seven Nextel Cup races next season with the #60 Ford Fusion.(Yahoo Sports)(10-24-2006)
- #32 Tide Team jackman racing for ISCARS Championship: Nextel Cup Series PPI Racing #32 Tide [Travis Kvapil] team jackman. ISCARS driver Eric Wilson, is on the verge of clinching the 2006 ISCARS Dash Touring Championship this Saturday, October 28. Wilson picked up his first career win in April at Hickory Motor Speedway and motored to a point lead he has yet to relinquish all season long. The driver of the #4 Huntington House/John Boy & Billy Pontiac Sunfire has won four races this season and is returning to the track where he picked up his most recent win in September. Danny Bagwell is Wilson’s closest challenger, fifty points back. Bagwell has momentum on his side after beating Wilson to the checkers two weeks ago at Hickory Motor Speedway in the Firecracker 150 and at Shenandoah Speedway in July.(ISCARS PR)(10-24-2006)
News from October 23, 2006
- Mario Andretti to be honored Monday: Legendary Race Car Driver Mario Andretti to Receive Title of Commendatore from the Republic of Italy Italy Celebrates Extraordinary Career of Native Son on Monday, October 23, 2006 at the Columbus Citizens Foundation, 8 E. 69 St., New York City, NY. Andretti, 66-years old, will be awarded the title of Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana from Antonio Bandini, Consul General of Italy to New York in recognition of Mario’s remarkable career and good character, which have reinforced a positive image of Italians throughout the world. In a career that spanned an unprecedented five decades, Mario Andretti has achieved prominence in almost every category of motor racing. He has been Formula One World Champion, Indy 500 winner, Daytona 500 winner, four-time Indy Car National Champion, USAC National Dirt Track Champion and three-time winner of 12 Hours of Sebring, among others. He has been named Driver of the Year in three different decades, Driver of the Quarter Century, and Driver of the Century by the Associated Press and RACER Magazine. Present at the ceremony will be members of the Andretti racing dynasty, including his son Michael, a retired Indy car champion and owner of Andretti Green Racing, and his 19-year old grandson, Marco, who in 2006 was named Rookie of the Year by the Indy Racing League.(PR)(10-23-2006)
- Commercial Breakdown for the Subway 500: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown from the race on Sunday afternoon. There was one restart missed completely; and one in which when they returned from commercial the green flag was waving (too close to call it).
Total number of commercials: 143
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 72
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 30
Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 1
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 12:43pm/et
End time to record race/commercial periods: 4:44pm/et
Total minutes: 241
Minutes of race broadcast: 173
Minutes of commercials: 68
see full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-23-2006)
- Bodine back in the #4 at Atlanta; Ward at Texas? SPEED’s Bob Dilner reported on the SPEED Report that Todd Bodine is scheduled to be back in the #4 Morgan McClure Sports Chevy at next weeks Atlanta race and Ward Burton could be back in the car at Texas on the first weekend in November.(10-23-2006)
- Tide gone from PPI? UPDATE 3: hearing Tide will NOT being going to RYR as a sponsor and will NOT be back as a full primary sponsor in 2007 on any Nextel Cup team, currently Tide sponsors the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy that Travis Kvapil drives.(7-9-2006)
UPDATE: After struggling for several seasons against the three- and four-car teams that have become the norm in Nextel Cup, single-car team owner Cal Wells still is in search of an alliance with another team that would help take his program to the next level. However, Wells is losing primary sponsor Tide at the conclusion of the 2006 season, and driver Travis Kvapil also been courted by other teams. Sources within the garage indicate that Wells has been talking to several teams – including Yates – about a possible alliance for next year, which also makes Wells a potential Ford team next year should a deal with Yates be made. Wells currently campaigns Chevrolets. As of now, Wells also has no manufacturer commitment for 2007.(Yahoo Sports)(9-23-2006)
UPDATE 2: Tide officials have yet to inform Cal Wells of their 2007 plans, but the owner of PPI Motorsports is working as if he needs a new primary sponsor for his #32 Chevy. “I’m not working as though they’re coming back. I’m working as if they’re potentially an associate – only because I don’t know,” Wells said Saturday at Dover International Speedway. “In the past, we’ve always [re-signed] with them early, but this year they’ve got a lot of [internal things to deal with].” Wells sited new executives within the company as well as increased distribution costs as factors that will come into play as the sponsor decides its next step. Wells is working to secure primary sponsorship for Travis Kvapil’s team, and needs it in place before making a formal offer to Kvapil. The driver said that he has a feeling Tide won’t be a full-time sponsor with any organization next year. Kvapil said he hasn’t heard from Michael Waltrip of late and he doesn’t see Michael Waltrip Racing as an option. Wells said Tide isn’t talking with other teams, and that he’s given the company numerous proposals to study. “I think Tide may now have an idea of what their plans are, but they haven’t shared them with me yet,” Wells said. “We have been talking about [the fact] we have another deal cooking and when would we announce that versus when would they make their plans known. Are they gonna stay with us on this other deal? Are they going to do their own car? What are they going to do?”(SceneDaily.com)(9-24-2006)
UPDATE 3: been told that not only is Tide not returning to the #32 PPI Motorsports team as thier sponsor in 2007, but that Tide will not sponsor any teams/cars in any of the three NASCAR National Series [Cup, Busch, Trucks].(10-23-2006)
- Crew Chief Changes Planned at Roush Racing: Jack Roush confirmed Sunday that a multi-team, crew chief shakeup is in the works in his five-team Nextel Cup operation [#’s6,16,17,26,99], but he said he hasn’t decided which crew chiefs to pair with which drivers, though veteran Jimmy Fennig “might be a good choice” for David Ragan [in the #6] next season. Will Wally Brown be back as Carl Edwards’ crew chief? “That’s one of our dream-team packages,” Roush said. “Wally Brown is one of my heroes; he’s done a great job. But his dad, in Pennsylvania, isn’t doing well, and Wally is missing his dad, and we’ve been talking, and Wally may have a change in venue, and in his career. If we lose Wally, it would be a huge loss.”(Winston Salem Journal)(10-23-2006)
- Petty Enterprises Notes: #43-Bobby Labonte finished third Sunday at Marrtinsville to score his fourth top 10 finish in the last five races.
– Labonte has scored two consecutive top five finishes- the first time since Fontanta (Race 10) and Richmond (Race 11) of 2004
– The Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team has a total of 8 top 10 finishes this season. Kyle Petty has two top-10 finishes this season.
– Petty Enterprises has a total of 10 top 10 finishes so far in 2006. That total is the most for the organization since 1999 when they had 19 with John Andretti and Kyle Petty
– Sunday’s Subway 500 was the first time both PE cars finished in the Top-10 since Phoenix of 1999 (Race 32). Kyle Petty finished 7th and John Andretti 8th in that race.
– Labonte’s finish on Sunday was the best for PE since Bristol (Race Six) of 2001 when Andretti finished second.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(10-23-2006)
- Revelocity Racing partners with PPI Motorosports: Revelocity Racing, in preparation for a NASCAR racing debut, has signed a letter of intent to partner with [#32-Travis Kvapil/Tide Chevy] PPI Motorsports. “After meeting with Cal [Wells, the owner] and his team, we realized PPI Motorsports has the experience and talent we’re looking for to help our team become successful,” Jason Hager, CEO of Revelocity Racing, said. “Our intent is for Revelocity Racing and PPI Motorsports to work together, functioning as a multi-car organization and allowing us to be more competitive as a team.” PPI, a North Carolina based team, was established in 1979 by Calvin (Cal) Wells III. The company has experience NASCAR Winston Cup, Off-Road, CART, Busch and Toyota Atlantic racing programs, and currently is home to the #32-Tide Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team. PPI Motorsports has earned wins in nearly every division in which it has competed, and celebrated their 25th year of racing in 2005. PPI Motorsports currently occupies an 80,000 square foot facility in Hickory, NC, which has been the home of their NASCAR Nextel Cup efforts since 1999.(Revelocity Racing PR)(10-23-2006)
News from October 22, 2006
- #88 RYR team close to a sponsor deal: Doug Yates, the co-owner of Robert Yates Racing, said he’s “really close” to a sponsorship deal for the #88 next season. There have been reports that RYR might field only one car in 2007, but Yates said the plan is to remain a two-car team.(NASCAR.com)(10-22-22006)
- Ward’s plans UPDATE 2: Ward Burton told Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) Monday that there is still an outside chance that he might team-up with Robert Yates Racing in the future, but he now believes the team is looking elsewhere for a driver. “Teams need economic support to race,” he said. “If Robert Yates Racing aligned itself with someone like me — an older driver — they could lose an opportunity elsewhere that they don’t know about yet. It takes a concerted effort by the driver, the team and its marketing department to make a sponsorship deal happen, and I guess I don’t feel like that concerted effort has been made. Nothing against Robert and Doug Yates. They’re in a situation that they haven’t been in before, and it’s foreign to them.” Burton said there is a possibility that this weekend’s one-off ride with Morgan-McClure Racing could turn into something more long-term, but stressed that talks are still at a very early stage.(Sirius Speedway)(10-17-2006)
UPDATE: Ward Burton, a five-time Nextel Cup winner who hasn’t raced since the fall of 2004 at Phoenix, will return this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Burton will drive the #4 Chevy for Morgan-McClure Motorsports through the end of the season and is a candidate to drive the car full-time next year.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-20-2006)
UPDATE 2 – Ward NOT signed to run more races with #4, but could be; #4 has sponsor for 2007: Ward Burton hasn’t been offered a deal for next season to drive the #4 Chevrolet that he will drive in Sunday’s race, but he is the front-runner. “We’re looking awfully hard at him,” said car owner Larry McClure. “From the looks of the tremendous popularity of Ward here, it’s hard to discount what he’s worth.” McClure said he’s agreed to a sponsorship deal for the #4 next season and is trying to get a deal to start a second team.(NASCAR.com)(10-22-2006)
- Kenny Wallace plans to run full-time in Cup and Busch in 2007 UPDATE 2: From kennywallace.com: Note to Fans – “Howdy all, I would just like to let you all know that everything with Kenny Wallace is still great. I will drive the #78 car next year full time in Cup, the #22 next year full time in Busch and still do my normal SpeedTV duties. I will say the phone has been very busy today with offers of full time BGN [Busch] and Cup ride offers, but I am more then happy with my current teams and am glad I will be running a full season with each. Everything is good people! And thanks for everything, you are the best fans in racin. See you at the track!” AND “Andy O’Hara from PPC called me last night to inform me that AutoZone [Wallace’s Busch Series sponsor] will not be returning next year on any race car full time. AutoZone felt that it was best if their advertising budget was best spent on commercial spots instead of on a race car.”(kennywallace.com)(8-16-2006)
UPDATE: Wallace and crew chief Joe Garone announced on SPEED’s NASCAR Live that Wallace has signed with the #78 Furniture Row team for two years to run full-time in Nextel Cup starting in 2007.(10-21-2006)
UPDATE 2: Furniture Row Racing announced that NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace will be driving for Furniture Row Racing’s Nextel Cup program for two consecutive seasons commencing in 2007. Wallace will fulfill his Busch series commitment with ppc Racing at the conclusion of the 2006 season. He will shift his focus to the Furniture Row Cup program to assist with growth and development for the next two years.( businesswire.com)(10-22-2006)
- Toyota All-Star Showdown this weekend UPDATE 2: For the fourth consecutive year, the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown returns to Irwindale Speedway. The top 15 drivers from the Busch East Series and the AutoZone West Series will compete head-to-head. Tickets for all Irwindale Speedway events including the October 20-21 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown are available for purchase at the Speedway ticket office, by calling (626) 358-1100 and online at www.irwindalespeedway.com. Speed will air qualifying and the races, see my TV Listings page [or the listings on the right side of this page] for air times of qualifying and the race.(10-20-2006)
UPDATE: Eddy McKean and Ryan Lawler captured NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division qualifying races Friday on opening night of the $500,000 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, while Brian Ickler and Andrew Myers were victorious in the NASCAR Grand National Division qualifying events. The four Friday night winners will make up the front rows of Saturday night’s feature races. Saturday’s Toyota All-Star Showdown main event begins with the 125-lap AutoZone Elite Division race, followed by the 150-lap Grand National Division feature. The entire program will be telecast live by SPEED, starting at 7:00pm/pt (10:00pm/et)(NASCAR PR).(10-21-2006)
UPDATE 2: Matt Kobyluck shed the bridesmaid tag in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown Saturday night, scoring a hard-fought victory in the NASCAR Grand National Division feature event while Tim Schendel scored the win in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division event of the $500,000 “super bowl of short track racing” at Irwindale Speedway. More info and results at nascarregionalracing.com and racingwest.com.(10-22-2006)
- Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 5th win of the 2006 season and 23rd of his career [tied for 21st overall with Ricky Rudd]. Johnson led the most laps with 245. #11-Denny Hamlin finished 2nd, followed by #43-Bobby Labonte, #20-Tony Stewart and #24-Jeff Gordon. Rounding out the top-10 were #42-Mears, #9-Kahne, #66-Green, #29-Harvick and #45-Petty. Points leader coming in to the race, #31-Jeff Burton, lost an engine and finished 42nd, falling to 5th in points. #17-Matt Kenseth finished 11th [the highest finishing Ford driver] and takes over the points lead, 36 points over #29-Harvick. The top-8 drivers in the points standings are separated by 99 points. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a late race run-in with #9-Kasey Kahne spun and finished 22nd, Earnhardt Jr. took blame for the spin. There were 18 cautions for 107 laps and 5 drivers lead the race with 16 lead changes.
Race Results on my Martinsville Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Martinsville page
Race Rundown: see my Martinsville Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-22-2006)
- Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Martinsville [32 of 36 races]:
#17-Matt Kenseth 5848
#29-Kevin Harvick 5812 -36
#48-Jimmie Johnson 5807 -41
#11-Denny Hamlin 5801 -47
#31-Jeff Burton 5800 -48
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5754 -94
#6-Mark Martin 5752 -96
#9-Kasey Kahne 5749 -99
#24-Jeff Gordon 5707 -141
#5-Kyle Busch 5677 -171
and fighting for 11th
#20-Tony Stewart in 11th 4108 points
#99-Carl Edwards -246 out of 11th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-22-2006)
- Unofficial “Classic” Points Standings
…the old way, not the Chase after Martinsville:
1) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4583
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4490, 93
3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 4253, 330
4) #11-Denny Hamlin, 4119, 464
5) #20-Tony Stewart, 4108, 475
6) #31-Jeff Burton, 4107, 476
7) #6-Mark Martin, 4068, 515
8) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 4067, 516
9) #5-Kyle Busch, 4066, 517
10) #9-Kasey Kahne, 4063, 520
11) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4018, 565
12) #99-Carl Edwards, 3862, 721
- Rumblings – Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson survived a six lap shootout (and a rear-bumper tatooing from Denny Hamlin) today to take the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 5th win of 2006. Career victory #23 moves Johnson into a tie with Ricky Rudd for 25th on the all-time win list. This was JJ’s second victory at Martinsville (we all remember the first just two years ago), and was worth $191,886 from the over $4.8M in posted awards. This was also win #149 for Hendrick Motorsports.
#11-Denny Hamlin (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Pocono in July.
#43-Bobby Labonte (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at New Hampshire in July of 2005. This was the best finish for the #43 car since John Andretti was runner-up at Bristol in March of 2001!
#45-Kyle Petty (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Atlanta in March. This was the first time since Bristol in April of 1999 that both Petty Enterprise cars scored a Top-10 in the same race!
#4-Ward Burton (26th) had his best finish since he was 19th at Lowe’s in October of 2004 (only four races).
#78-Kenny Wallace (29th) had his best finish since he was 25th at Richmond in May.
STREAKIN….Bobby Labonte has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Bobby Labonte (+27), followed by Kasey Kahne (+25) and Dale Jarrett (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ken Schrader (-31), followed by Dave Blaney (-27) and Kurt Busch (-26).
In “Classic” Points today Denny Hamlin (9th to 4th) was the big gainer today, while six drivers in the Top-25 fell two spots. In “Chase” Points it can’t get much tighter. Jeff Burton’s troubles brought hope to a handful of drivers. Matt Kenseth is the new leader by 36 over Kevin Harvick while the Top-8 are separated by just 99 markers. Jimmie Johnson moved from 7th to 3rd while Burton fell all the way to 5th.(Stockcarfans.com)(10-22-2006)
- Qualifying Notes – Martinsville:
• Jimmie Johnson won the 2006 SUBWAY 500 at Martinsville Speedway, scoring his 23rd career Nextel Cup victory in his 179th career start. Johnson climbed from seventh to third in the Championship standings, 41 points behind first-place Matt Kenseth
• Johnson moved into a tie for 25th on NASCAR’s All-Time win list, tying Ricky Rudd who also won 23 races.
• This was Johnson’s fifth victory in 2006. He also won races at Daytona, Las Vegas, Talladega and Indianapolis.
• Johnson became the fourth Chase driver to post a victory in the first six races of the Chase.
• Johnson scored his second victory in 10 races at Martinsville. Johnson last won at Martinsville in October 2004.
• Johnson scored his 20th top-10 finish in 2006, the most among all drivers this season. It marked his ninth straight top-10 finish at Martinsville. Johnson finished 35th in his first race at Martinsville, his only DNF and only finish outside the top-10.
• Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 101 consecutive races.
• Johnson’s victory today was the 20th Chevrolet victory in 32 races in 2006.
• Johnson won the race from the ninth-place starting position. Both races at Martinsville in 2006 were won from a top 10 starting position.
• Johnson led the most laps for the second time in 2006 and first time since Kansas, three races ago. Johnson led seven times for 245 of the 500 laps raced.
• Race winner Johnson led the final 56 laps in the 2006 SUBWAY 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
• This was team owner Rick Hendrick’s 149th Nextel Cup victory. Hendrick has scored nine victories
in 2006. Those victories were scored by Jimmie Johnson (five), Jeff Gordon (two), Kyle Busch (one) and Brian Vickers (one).
• It is Hendrick’s 14th victory at Martinsville, ranking second among all car owners.
• Jeff Burton (42nd) dropped from first to fifth in the point standings marking the first time that the point lead changed in the second-half of the Chase since the program’s inception in 2004.
• Five of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10.
• Nine of the 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Martinsville.
• There have been five changes in the second-place points position in the six races in the Chase.
• The top five in points are separated by just 48 points.
• Four of the six races in the Chase have been won by Chase drivers
• Matt Kenseth is the only driver to score five top-15 finishes in the six Chase races.
• Jeff Burton is the only Chase driver to score four top-10 finishes in the six races in the Chase.
• Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have each led in four of the six races in the Chase.
• Jimmie Johnson is the only Chase driver to post five top-10 starts in the six races in the Chase.
• Denny Hamlin (second) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his second top-10 finish in three races at Martinsville. He was the highest finishing rookie for the 15th time in 2006.
• Bobby Labonte (third) scored his fourth top-10 finish in the last five races and his eighth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 13th top-10 finish in 28 races at Martinsville. Labonte and teammate Kyle Petty (10th) posted the first top-10s in the same race for Petty Enterprises since Phoenix November 1999: Kyle Petty (seventh) and John Andretti (eighth). Labonte scored
• Tony Stewart (fourth) scored his 17th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his ninth top-10 finish in 16 races at Martinsville. He remained 11th in the point standings. He has a 246-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards.
• Jeff Gordon (fifth) scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his eighth straight top-10 finish at Martinsville.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(10-22-2006)
News from October 21, 2006
- Congrats: Richmond International Raceway is proud to announce its latest addition to the family. Gavin David Green, son of Keith Green, Director of Public Relations and wife Donna, joined the Richmond International Raceway family Thursday, October 19, 2006 at 8:27 p.m. Gavin weighed in at 7 lbs. 15 oz. and was 21 inches long. Mom, dad and baby are all doing well. Well-wishes can be sent to Richmond International Raceway at 600 E. Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, VA 23222.(RIR PR)(10-21-2006)
- Nextel Cup going to unleaded fuel in 2007: NASCAR will make the transition to unleaded fuel one year earlier than previously announced as it plans to have all three series run almost the entire 2007 season on unleaded fuel. The lone exception, involving the Nextel Cup Series, will be the season-opening Daytona 500. Crew chiefs said Friday at Martinsville Speedway they were informed of the decision this week, and a NASCAR official confirmed the move.(SceneDaily.com)(10-21-2006)
- COT to debut at Bud Shootout? UPDATE: NASCAR has quietly asked teams if they’d be interested in running the Car of Tomorrow in an exhibition race at Daytona next February – possibly the Budweiser Shootout – as a warmup for its October [restrictor plate] debut at Talladega Superspeedway. The COT will be phased in next season, starting with the March race in Bristol. The car was tested at Talladega earlier this week, and NASCAR wouldn’t mind another on-track session with restrictor plates before running it in a race that counts. Many crew chiefs support the idea. Although the idea makes sense, many car owners are against it because of the additional costs it would require to prepare two regular plate cars for use in the Daytona 500, and another two COT models for an exhibition race. And, NASCAR isn’t convinced it will be ready to run the entire inspection process on the COT by February. Series officials have also ruled out running the COT in Talladega’s spring race. That means its first plate race will be during the Chase for the championship – a questionable time for a debut considering at least 10 drivers will be running for a title then. But NASCAR official Brett Bodine shrugged off concerns about the timing of the debut. “Talladega is a no-brainer,” he said. “All you do is show up there and run wide-open. Handling isn’t even an issue.”(FoxSports/AP)(10-15-2006)
UPDATE: NASCAR says it won’t run the car of tomorrow at Talladega next spring. Some teams had wanted it becuase they will have to build a special car for the track with its new surface. Teams figured might as well make it the car of tomorrow since that car will be used at Talladega in the fall. NASCAR said no. Series officials say they told teams they would run 16 COT races, not 17 and they’re keeping to that.(Virginian Pilot)(10-21-2006)
- Martinsville Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same tire combination that Goodyear brought to Martinsville for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series races in April and the Busch Series race in July . . . teams in both series will run the same tire codes again this weekend, though the Nextel Cup tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle” and the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . .this is the only track on which NASCAR teams will run this combination of left- and right-side tires this season . . . however, this right-side code (D-4044) is run on all four tire positions on NASCAR road courses in 2006 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals less than one mile in length, teams will not run liners in their tires at Martinsville. Estimated Pit Window every 145-155 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes Martinville Race Info Page.(10-21-2006)
- Martinsville Rookie Notes: #40-David Stremme was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 14 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Stremme finished 15th and took top rookie honors for the first time this season. #11-Denny Hamlin scored a 28th-place finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hamlin is sixth in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings, 137 points behind leader Jeff Burton. He is 31 behind fifth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and leads seventh-place Jimmie Johnson by nine points. Hamlin leads #07-Clint Bowyer by 44 points (266-222) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 22 Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 31 races this season. See full notes, standings, history on my Rookies Page.(10-21-2006)
News from October 20, 2006
- Elliott switches teams for Atlanta; Allmendinger in Red Bull ride: Bill Elliott’s plans to run in the Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway next week with a special paint scheme commemorating his 30 years of racing at his home track have been scrapped, but he’ll race in front of the home folks anyway. Elliott said the Red Bull team that was set to field his car asked him to step aside so rookie A.J. Allmendinger could drive. Elliott agreed, then struck a deal to drive the #37 Dodge R&J Racing. “But the key is that I’ll be racing, and that I don’t let down the fans who have already bought tickets,” Elliott said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-20-2006)
- New Jarrett/UPS Car Number to be announced UPDATE 2 will be #44, see images: What number will Dale Jarrett’s UPS Toyota Camry carry during the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season? That question will be answered Friday, October 20th at 10:00am/et, on the UPS Racing web site, www.racing.ups.com. The UPS Racing program will have a new home, new manufacturer and new look for the 2007 season. It was announced in July that UPS will join driver Dale Jarrett at Michael Waltrip Racing, adorning the hood of a Nextel Cup Series Toyota Camry beginning at Daytona International Speedway in February. The number of that car, along with the paint scheme, will be unveiled at www.racing.ups.com this Friday.(PR), rumored car numbers are #44 and #50.(10-19-2006)
UPDATE: the number will be #44 and some images have filtered out. To see images of the scheme, see my 2007 Cup Schemes page.(10-20-2006)
UPDATE 2: A new team, a new manufacturer and a new car number equate to a fresh new look for UPS Racing in 2007. The upcoming season of competition in the Nextel Cup Series will be the start of a new chapter in the book of UPS Racing and driver Dale Jarrett. The #44 UPS Toyota Camry will debut in the Budweiser Shootout in February. The car will break out with a splash with a new paint scheme designed for the 2007 season and UPS’s maiden voyage with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). The most obvious change is the new number – #44 – adorning Dale Jarrett’s UPS ride. In most cases, a new team means a new number. In this case, the management of MWR wished to create symmetry with its three cars, as Jarrett’s teammates will compete with double digit numbers as well. Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 NAPA Camry and Nextel Cup Series rookie contender David Reutimann will drive the #00 car sponsored by Domino’s and Burger King. Present on the UPS Camry are the everlasting colors of brown, white and gold as well as the now familiar red and orange that have come to be a part of the UPS paint schemes during the course of the last couple NASCAR seasons. The design features lightning bolts that start at the nose of the car, jolt along the passenger and driver sides of the car and continue to the rear quarter panels. The lightning bolts stretch from the inside corner of each headlight sticker and continue beyond the wheel well on both sides of the car. A total of four lightning bolts hug the sides of the UPS Camry – each a different color of gold, red, brown and orange. The #44 is planted at the forefront of the lightning bolts in the same UPS orange color used in the orange lightning bolt. The result is an eye-catching transition of color that creates the illusion of speed. And speed on the track is just what Dale Jarrett hopes to generate in his #44 UPS Toyota Camry in 2007.(UPS Site), to see images of the scheme, see my 2007 Cup Schemes page.(10-20-2006)
- To the Back: #10-Scott Riggs [was to start 17th] lost and engine just as the first Saturday practice started for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway, then just into Happy Hour/Final practice, #78-Kenny Wallace [was to start 40th] lost an engine and the practice was halted to check and clean the track. Both will change engines and have to fall to the rear of the field on Sunday before the start of the race.(10-21-2006)
- Kurt Busch wins pole at Martinsville: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Pole for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway with a speed of 97.568mph for his 6th pole of 2006 and 9th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #24-Jeff Gordon followed by #11-Denny Hamlin, #12-Ryan Newman, #20-Tony Stewart, #22-Dave Blaney, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #66-Jeff Green, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #21-Ken Schrader. #4-Ward Burton qualified for his first race since 2004 and will start 35th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #45-Petty, #32-Kvapil, #55-Waltrip, #4-Burton, #78-Wallace, #06-Ragan, #34-Lepage and #72-Skinner. Missing the race were: , #49-Bliss, #00-Sadler, #61-Chaffin, #89-Shepherd, #27-Christopher, #74-Cope and #30-Barrett. See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression on the Martinsville Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(10-20-2006)
- Where do the 10 Chasers Start at Martinsville [by current points standings]:
#31-Jeff Burton starts 28th
#17-Matt Kenseth 20th
#29-Kevin Harvick 12th
#6-Mark Martin 25th
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 7th
#11-Denny Hamlin 3rd
#48-Jimmie Johnson 9th
#9-Kasey Kahne 32nd
#5-Kyle Busch 15th
#24-Jeff Gordon 2nd
- Qualifying Martinsville – Ramblings: Kurt Busch edged out Jeff Gordon for the pole today at Martinsville Speedway and he’ll lead ’em to the green for Sunday’s Subway 500….the sixth race of the “Chase” and the only short-track in the mix. Busch toured the half-mile in 19.408 sec (97.568 ) for his sixth Bud Pole of the season and 9th of his Nextel Cup career. He now tops Kasey Kahne in poles this season by one. Maybe he can make his crew chief a loan….
Dave Blaney (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Atlanta last October.
Jeff Green (8th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 4th at Texas in April.
Tony Raines (11th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at Rockingham (where?) in November of 2003!
And, Welcome Back Ward Burton (35th). This is his first start since Phoenix in November of 2004 when he qualified 39th and finished 40th.
STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
We may not have the “big one” here, but there are a few of the “Chasers” who have no love for a shorty like this one. After this week, it’s cookie-cutter time…..and you can bet they’re looking forward to that.(StockCarFans.com)(10-20-2006)
- Martinsville Qualifying Notes:
• Kurt Busch won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Subway 500, lapping Martinsville Speedway in 19.408 seconds at 97.568 mph. Tony Stewart holds the track-qualifying record of 19.306 seconds/98.083 mph, set Oct. 21, 2005.
• This is Busch’s ninth career Bud Pole in 216 Nextel Cup Series races.
• This is his sixth Bud Pole and 22nd top-10 start in 2006 – both Series highs.
• This is Busch’s first Bud Pole and fifth top-10 start in 13 Nextel Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. He is the 53rd different Bud Pole winner at Martinsville.
• Busch became the sixth different Bud Pole winner in the last six races at Martinsville Speedway.
• Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 19.446 seconds/97.377 mph – and will join Busch on the front row for the Subway 500. Gordon has 19 top-10 starts in 28 races at Martinsville.
• This is the 15th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has five. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• Denny Hamlin (third) started fifth at Martinsville for this race in 2005 and 41st this past April, his only races here. • Ryan Newman (fourth) has started in the top-10 in all 10 of his races at Martinsville.
• Tony Stewart (fifth) has nine top-10 starts in 16 Martinsville races.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(10-20-2006)
- Charlotte Final TV ratings drop 17.3% NBC’s broadcast of last Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.2 and an 8 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 17.3% lower than the fall Charlotte race earned in 2005.(SceneDaily.com), see past TV Ratings news and the chart for the season on the TV Ratings Page.(10-20-2006)
- Brewco to attempt Homestead with Atwood: Brewco Motorsports, in cooperation with Stanton Barrett Motorsports, will attempt to field a #95 Ford for Casey Atwood in the Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway next month. “Every year we’ve said we’re going to run 10 races,” Brewco Motorsports President Todd Wilkerson said Thursday. “With all these Cup drivers getting the extra practice, we felt it was a good time [to enter].” Wilkerson said the team is working on putting together a sponsorship package for 10 races next season and has had very preliminary discussions with Barrett about trying to team up to field a car throughout the entire 2007 season. The team, which will enter a Ford, will have sponsorship from one of Kleenex’s brands for the Homestead race. Atwood, who replaced David Green in the #27 Busch Series Ford last month, will drive the remainder of the Busch races this season and the Cup race at Homestead, Wilkerson said. “We haven’t made a 100% decision on next year,” Wilkerson said. “We don’t have to decide right now, so we’re not going to.” Atwood tested at Homestead earlier this week and ran well. Shawn Parker will oversee the program, but Busch Series crew chiefs Newt Moore and Stewart Cooper also will play pivotal roles in the setup and on race day, Wilkerson said.(SceneDaily.com)(10-20-2006)
- SPEED reporter suspended; apologizes for remarks: SPEED officials have confirmed that reporter Ray Dunlap has been suspended one race for inappropriate on-air remarks. Dunlap has been a pit reporter for Craftsman Truck Series races at the network since 2004. Dunlap will not appear on during Saturday’s broadcast of the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. The remarks were made during a taping of the network’s show “Trading Paint.” It was reported that Dunlap made disparaging remarks toward Hispanics when he and Cup driver Michael Waltrip were talking about minority interest in the sport during the show, which was taped. “As a guest on ‘Trading Paint,’ you try to be edgy, controversial and entertaining,” Dunlap said in an e-mail statement. “In a failed attempt at humor, I obviously crossed the line between funny and insensitive. For that, I am deeply sorry. “I am a huge supporter of NASCAR’s diversity initiative and am very proud to work in today’s more progressive garage area. I look forward to seeing the fans at the race in Atlanta.” SPEED did not comment on the nature or content of Dunlap’s remarks in an e-mail statement from SPEED spokesman Erik Arneson. “Ray Dunlap has been suspended for one race (Martinsville) for making comments on-air that the company found inappropriate,” the statement read.(SceneDaily.com)(10-20-2006)
News from October 19, 2006
- Homestead-Miami Speedway Testing Day 3: 23 cars took to the track in the afternoon session and 16 in the evening sessions of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, no more COT’s and onlu one 2007 Toyota [#50-Reutimann – could be Jarrett’s new car# in 2007?]. In the first session, #33-Scott Wimmer [RCR car] was fastest at 172.364mph. in the evening session the fastest was #66-Green at 174.639mph. See speeds on my Homestead Testing Page.(10-19-2006)
- Career Start #700 for Schrader: #21-Ken Schrader is expected to make his 700th Nextel Cup start at Martinsville Speedway – 12th alltime.Richard Petty leads all drivers with 1,185 starts.[See list on my MISC Stats page](10-19-2006)
- #2 Team Penalized for shock infraction, suspension, $ and points UPDATE: NASCAR announced today that penalties have been issued to the Nextel Cup Series #2 Dodge team as a result of rule violations last week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Crew chief Roy McCauley has been fined $25,000 and suspended from all NASCAR events until Nov. 1, 2006. McCauley has also been placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006. Driver Kurt Busch was penalized with the loss of 50 driver championship points and car owner Roger Penske was penalized 50 owner championship points. The penalties resulted from violations of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.3M (right rear shock absorber would not compress) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book. The infraction was discovered during post-qualifying inspection on Oct. 12.(NASCAR PR)(10-18-2006)
UPDATE – no appeal: Penske Racing South officials say that Matt Gimbel will fill in as interim crew chief this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Penske Performance Inc. President Tim Cindric released a statement that said the team will not appeal. “While we respect the fact that the shock in question did not move the required amount after Kurt’s qualifying run, under the rules we are unable to open the shock to determine the reason until the appeal period ends,” Cindric said in the statement. “After discussing the situation with our team, I’m convinced that the problem we had with our shock was not an intentional attempt by any member of our team to circumvent NASCAR’s rules. We do not plan to appeal the decision, but we look forward to opening the shock with NASCAR to determine what caused us to fail post-qualifying inspection.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-19-2006)
- President Bush visits Victory Junction Gang Camp: President Bush paid a very special visit to the Victory Junction Gang Camp today. The President’s visit was prompted by his interest in the great humanitarian work that takes place at Victory Junction. Upon the Presidents’ arrival he was greeted by Victory Junction co-founders, Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie, as well as Richard “The King” Petty. “This visit enabled the President to see how the camp provides a life changing experience to the children and their families free of charge. I can’t thank the President enough for taking the time to come visit Victory Junction. I hope this makes every child and parent that has visited the camp very proud,” said Pattie Petty, CEO of the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Presidential visit consisted of a tour of Victory Junction and participated in some of the camps program areas. Fishing took place at the Bass Pro Shop, Catch Kiss & Release Marina where the President was met by Victory Junction campers Maddie Lee, and Hank Grissom. “Pattie and I are honored to have President Bush come visit the camp.This is exciting for all of us and we are truly humbled. So many NASCAR drivers, officials and fans have poured their hearts and souls into helping the camp grow,” said Kyle Petty. “President Bush visiting the camp is a great reward for everyone’s dedication and an incredible opportunity for him to bring awareness to the plight of a chronically ill child.” The second stop was Adams Race Shop, a 9,000 square foot building that looks like a race car. Inside Adams Race Shop President Bush was greeted by Victory Junction campers Paul Rader, Will “Cheese” Kwapil, Morgan Sagerman as well as NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip, and Jimmie Johnson. The campers challenged the President to test his skills on one of the NASCAR simulators. The final stop was at the Fuel Stop (dining hall) where the President greeted and took a photo with the entire staff and also took a photo with the staff. For more information, visit www.victoryjunction.org.(10-19-2006)
- Tragic News: In the wake of the death of Lake County Sheriff Chris Daniels, this weekend’s slate of racing at New Smyrna Speedway has been canceled. “We are doing this in honor of his memory and out of respect for the family,” speedway general manager Terry Roberts said Wednesday afternoon. He said the decision was made Monday. Daniels died Saturday night during the 5th annual Battle of the Badges charity race at the speedway. His bus was clipped by another bus driven by Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger, causing it to spin, investigators said. A preliminary accident report from the Florida Highway Patrol said the spin threw Daniels from his bus, which then ran over him. He was also hit by Eslinger’s bus. In a press release announcing the cancellation, track officials said they were “saddened” and their hearts go out to the Daniels family. Racing will continue Oct. 28.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(10-19-2006)
- Nemechek visits Guantanamo Bay Troops: With the Bank of America 500 race finishing near midnight at the Concord, N.C. track, Nemechek caught a few hours of sleep before embarking early Sunday morning (Oct. 15) on a one-day, 2,100-mile round-trip journey to visit troops at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Joining Nemechek was his mother — Martha Nemechek (decked in Army fatigues) and Ashton Lewis Jr., driver of the Team Marines entry in the Busch series. The trip was arranged by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. “Not too many people get to land their airplanes in Cuba . this is very cool,” said Nemechek as he deplaned from his private jet at the GTMO airport. Though the weather was anything but cool — a welcoming sign posted the temperature at 99 degrees — Nemechek found the trip to be both rewarding and educational. Located in the southeastern end of Cuba, Guantanamo Bay is the only U.S. base in operation in a communist led country. “The facts and history of Guantanamo Bay are very interesting,” offered Nemechek. “It was pretty neat to stand next to the fence that separates Guantanamo from the communist territory of Cuba.” Nemechek added, “We were very well received by the military branches stationed in Guantanamo. There are plenty of NASCAR fans on the base. They wanted to discuss the race in Charlotte the night before. I’m glad that I had a pretty good run to talk about.” The six-hour tour included autograph and photo sessions at different points of the base, including one for non-military personnel in the downtown area. “Every time I visit our troops it’s a special feeling,. added Nemechek. .These people are making a sacrifice to protect our freedom and the freedom for future generations. It’s difficult not to get overwhelmed by what you see and what you hear. It was an honor to make the visit.”(MB2Motorsports PR)(10-19-2006)
- NASCAR’s Official Members Club News: Stoneacre, Inc., the operator of the Official NASCAR Members Club and NASCAR RacePoints sm under exclusive license from NASCAR (http://www.nascar.com), announced new online social networking capabilities for the Official NASCAR Members Club that will enhance the Club’s current offline VIP benefits. The new service provides an exclusive place for NASCAR fans to network, socialize and share their passion for NASCAR. This new capability, which is currently available to fans through the Official NASCAR Members Club, enables fans to publish individual blogs, customize the NASCAR news they want to receive, and communicate with like-minded NASCAR fans who share similar interests, in addition to receiving exclusive VIP benefits. The new social networking tools will accelerate the viral growth of NASCAR’s Official Club. The tools enable NASCAR fans to easily publish individual blogs, and create a personal profile to search and connect with other fans in the community. Through RSS technology already available on the ONMC home page, fans can also customize the NASCAR news alerts they wish to receive at their desktop, and instantly learn about exclusive ONMC VIP benefits such as advanced sales of exclusive race ticket packages, opportunities to attend NASCAR Driver events, and invitations to local NASCAR activities organized by Local Chapters of the Club. For more information on joining the ONMC, go to www.nascar.com, and click on the “Members Club” tab at the top right of the screen.(PR)(10-19-2006)
News from October 18, 2006
- TNT looking at no commercial breaks in 2007? Sports Business Journal reports that TNT is floating a package to potential advertisers that would allow advertising during the race broadcast and eliminate commercial breaks. The advertising would take place on the screen during the broadcast and allow continuous race coverage. TNT will broadcast six Nextel Cup races next summer. The story reports that officials from Turner and NASCAR would not comment. The story also reported that TNT’s Cup ratings are down 8.3% from last season.(Roanoke Times)(10-18-2006)
- Ragan to run four more races in #06 this season: Roush Racing announced that they will field David Ragan in four of the final five Nextel Cup Series races in 2006. Ragan will pilot the #06 Ford Fusion in an effort to get a head start on the 2007 season, when he will become the driver of the #6 AAA Ford Fusion. Ragan is entered for this weekend’s Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. In addition, Ragan will also be behind the wheel of the #06 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 29, Texas Motor Speedway on November 5, and the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17. “I’m looking forward to making the most of this opportunity to race in the Nextel Cup Series this year,” said Ragan. “This will be a great chance for me to gain some additional seat time and experience before coming over here full-time in 2007. We had a great test in Homestead earlier this week, and I think any additional time I can get behind the wheel of these cars is just going to be that much more of a help to me. It’s going to take some time to get familiar with the feel of these cars, and getting the opportunity to do it now is going to be a big benefit for next year.” Ragan made his Nextel Cup debut in September at Dover International Speedway, finishing 42nd after being involved in an accident. Ragan will perform double duty for the balance of 2006, as he will continue to compete in the Craftsman Truck series. To date, Ragan has made 15 truck starts in the 2006 season. He has scored one top-five and six top-10 finishes, and one pole at O’Reilly Raceway Park. Ragan has also made three starts for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series this season, recording finishes of 41st at California Speedway, 23rd at Dover and 36th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Roush Racing PR), no sponsor mnetioned, Todd Kluever was supposed to run at Texas and Phoenix, looks like Texas is out with Ragan in the car, no work on Phoenix.(10-18-2006)
- Kyle Busch and #5 team featured in Dub: Kyle Busch and his #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet team are featured in the October 2006 issue of DUB magazine, on newsstands now. DUB is a leading automotive lifestyle publication.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(10-18-2006)
- Dale Jr. and 60 minutes video: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now featured on the new Yahoo News/60 Minutes site. You can see more than 15 video segments from Junior’s interviews with the legendary Mike Wallace, including some new footage not included in the original segment. You can see a series of new photos and vote on “Why is Junior So Popular?” The original story ran in September 2004, with the interviews taking place in Daytona and Mooresville, NC. The Mooresville segments were taped soon after Junior’s fiery Corvette crash and immediately before he went to Bristol for a weekend clean sweep, winning the Busch and Cup races on successive nights.(fingerspintonline.com)(10-18-2006)
- GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program Concludes: The GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program concluded on Tuesday, Oct.11, 2006 at Nashville Superspeedway (NSS). Chevrolet NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS), Busch Series (NBS) and Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) teams observed the invited drivers go through the paces on the1.333-mile concrete track at the two-day final stage of the three-stage program. The drivers invited to showcase their talent in the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) prepared NBS cars at NSS were Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Logano, Tim McCreadie and Jason Sarvis. The GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program was designed to provide opportunities for both the drivers and the teams to connect if an opening exists in someone’s driver roster. A total of 16 drivers were invited to stages one and two. The first was September 12-13, 2006 at Caraway Speedway, Asheboro NC and showcased the drivers in RCR NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) cars. Stage two was held September 19-20, at Dale McDowell Dirt School located at North Georgia Speedway, Chatsworth, GA in three different dirt track late model cars. Offering this unique opportunity to Chevy NASCAR teams is critical to the continued growth and success of the Chevrolet nameplate on the track.(GM Racing PR)(10-18-2006)
- Homestead-Miami Speedway Testing Day 2: 75 cars took to the track in the afternoon session and 59 in the evening sessions of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, still with quite a mix of cars, most were 2006 cars, with a few Car-of-Tomorrow’s [#99-Edwards, #22-Blaney, #72-Benson, #1-Truex, #26-McMurray] and 2007 Toyota’s [#83-Skinner, #23-Mayfield, #50-Reutimann – could be Jarrett’s new car# in 2007?]. In the first session, #5-Busch was fastest at 175.382mph. in the evening session the fastest was #24-Gordon at 175.553mph. The fastest COT was #99-Edwards in the first session at 167.773 which was 68th of 75 cars, see speeds on my Homestead Testing Page.(10-18-2006)
- Kenseth to help unviel Homestead Pace Vehicles for Ford Champ weekend UPDATE: #17-Matt Kenseth will join Ford and Homestead Miami Speedway officials in hosting the official unveiling of the 2006 Ford Championship Weekend pace vehicles on Tuesday, Oct 17th. This year’s pace car fleet includes a 2007 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500, a 2007 Ford Edge and a 2007 Ford F-150 FX2 Sport.(Ford PR)(10-17-2006)
UPDATE: Earlier Tuesday, Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford cars that will pace NASCAR’s season-ending races at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Matt Kenseth helped Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, and Curtis Gray, president of the Homestead-Miami Speedway, unveil the new pace vehicles, a 2007 Ford Edge, a 2007 Ford Shelby GT500, and a 2007 Ford F-150 FX2 Sport.(Ford Racing PR)(10-18-2006)
News from October 17, 2006
- Ward to run the #4 at Martinsville UPDATE 2: Ward Burton will return to the Nextel Cup Series for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway, attempting to make his first series start in almost two years. He will be driving the #4 Lucas Oil Chevy for Morgan McClure Racing out of Abingdon, VA. “He’s expressed a lot of interest in driving,” said Chris Carrier, crew chief for the Morgan-McClure team. “He’s a Virginia driver and we’re a Virginia team. That makes for a great combination at Martinsville.” One of Burton’s seven NEXTEL Cup poles came at Martinsville (1997) as did one of his four Busch Series victories (1993). Burton and the team hope to test at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford this week to help prepare for the SUBWAY 500. Ticket prices for the SUBWAY 500 range from $42 to $77. Tickets for the Kroger 200 are $35 in advance and $40 the day of the event. Kroger 200 tickets for children ages 6 to 12 are $5.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(10-15-2006)
UPDATE: Virginia is the name of the game at Morgan-McClure Motorsports as the announcement of Ward Burton as the driver for Martinsville this weekend was made official at noon today. Burton last competed at the Nextel Cup level at Phoenix in 2004 in the NetZero car fielded by Gene Haas. In his 356 race Cup career, Burton has accumulated five wins, 24 top fives, 82 top tens and seven poles with an average start of 20th and average finish of 21.8. Morgan-McClure President and Team Manager Larry McClure is excited to have the Virginia native in the car at one of the three tracks the Virginia-based team calls “home”. “We have been talking with Ward (Burton) about driving for us and it just so happened that we got everything worked out for him to drive at Martinsville. We are searching for options for the 2007 season and Ward is certainly a consideration. We plan to test with him this week and then head to Martinsville. His seat was completed this weekend and we have been installing it today with his help. I’ve known Ward for a long time and we are happy to have him in our car for some of the remaining races.”
Burton too is excited about returning to the sport, “I’ve been gone long enough and now I’m ready to get back behind the wheel and race. I know there have been some changes since I last drove with the tires used and different set-ups but that just means I have to step up and get used to those changes faster and be ready to race this weekend. I’m anxious to get back in the car and be on track again and get back out there with our fans. I appreciate the opportunity from Larry and Morgan-McClure to get back in the car and I’m looking forward to having a good time with them at Martinsville. ” Morgan-McClure Motorsports sits 39th in Nextel Cup owner’s points so Burton will be required to qualify on time at Martinsville.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(10-17-2006)
- Montoya to Make Busch Debut at Memphis: Juan Pablo Montoya will make his NASCAR debut on October 28 in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park. Montoya will pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in his third stock car race since joining the organization. Montoya tested a Nextel Cup car at the Memphis track last week, and is currently participating in his first official NASCAR sanctioned test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(CGRFS PR)(10-17-2006)
- Harvick to skip Memphis Busch Race? There may be a slim chance newly crowned Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick will skip the October 28th race at Memphis. Harvick and the US Coast Guard Chevy team locked up the title this past weekend at Charlotte. “I haven’t even looked at the schedule yet” said Harvick during a break at the Homestead-Miami Speedway test. “I don’t foresee that happening. We didn’t plan to do anything but racing there at the beginning of the year anyway. We’ll sit down and look at it for sure after Martinsville and go from there.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-17-2006)
- President Bush to visit Victory Junction: The Victory Junction Gang Camp is proud to announce that President Bush will be coming to the camp on Wednesday October 18th for a tour of the facilities and to meet some of the VJGC campers. “Pattie and I are honored to have President Bush come visit the camp. This is exciting for all of us and we are truly humbled. So many NASCAR drivers, officials and fans have poured their hearts and souls into helping the camp grow,” said Kyle Petty, Co-founder of Victory Junction Gang Camp. “President Bush visiting the camp is a great reward for everyone’s dedication and an incredible opportunity for him to bring awareness to the plight of a chronically ill child. This visit will enable the President to see how the camp provides a life changing experience to the children and their families free of charge. I can’t thank the President enough for taking time to come. I hope this makes every kid and parent that has visited the camp very proud.” The Victory Junction Gang Camp is a member of the Association of Hole in the Wall Gang Camps and is free to children and their families. The camp operates solely on the generous donations of individuals, corporations and foundation. For more information, visit www.victoryjunction.org. Also many of Jayski’s readers/friends/family have helped raise most of the $75,000 goal for the computer lab. Thanks.(10-17-2006)
- Kyle Petty To Be Honored: Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge and Co-Founder of the Victory Junction Gang Camp will be one of three sports professionals honored during the 17th annual CATCH Night of Champions dinner Wednesday night, October 18 in Dearborn, Michigan. CATCH is a children’s charity that was founded in 1987 by then Detroit Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson. CATCH raises funds to provide a current and future source of revenue to help improve the quality of life for sick, injured and at-risk pediatric patients who receive care from Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Henry Ford Hospital. Included is the CATCH Pediatric Mobile Health Programs that provide basic health services for Detroit children who experience barriers to accessing health care. Petty, along with Detroit Red Wing Chris Chelios and former Detroit Lion and businessman Robert Porcher will be recognized for their achievements in their respective sports, but more importantly for their success in helping needy children. “This is an honor to be a part of this night,” said Petty. “CATCH is a great organization that helps children in need. Sparky (Anderson, founder of CATCH) has the heart of a champion. We may come from all different sports backgrounds, but we all share the same goal. I feel blessed to be a part of this event.” Petty is an eight-time winner in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and in 2004 opened the doors to the Victory Junction Gang Camp for chronically and terminal-ill children.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(10-17-2006)
- Marlin’s Team Tallies Pit Crew Win at Charlotte: Sterling Marlin’s #14 over-the-wall crew picked up its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge by spending the least amount of time on pit road during Saturday night’s (Oct. 14) Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “The guys on this #14 MB2 Motorsports team have been solid in the pits all year,” said Marlin. “They don’t always get the recognition they deserve because we haven’t been in position to capitalize on the great job they do. It’s nice that Checkers/Rally’s is putting a spotlight on them for a job well done.” Marlin’s Ginn Clubs & Resorts pit crew, which spent 443.597 seconds on pit lane, will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize by Checkers/Rally’s. The #14 over-the-wall crew consists of: Ike Sneed (jackman), Aaron Schields (front-tire carrier), Adam Davis (front-tire changer), Kevin McDowell (rear-tire carrier), Mick Grove (rear-tire changer), Les Huntley (gasman), Steve Gleason (catch can) and Doug Morgan (windshield). The pit crew coach is Lance Munksgard. With five races remaining on the NEXTEL Cup Schedule, the pit crews of Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart lead the standings with four wins each. Checkers/Rally’s will present the crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule with a $100,500 bonus. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $325,500 in NEXTEL Cup Series prize money during this season. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(10-17-2006)
- Drive for Diversity Gets on Track at South Boston: Nineteen aspiring NASCAR drivers put their best foot forward Monday [Oct 16, 2006] at South Boston Speedway, as the Drive for Diversity testing and evaluation combine got underway. Drivers were evaluated during an all-day test session at the famous short track, in hopes of securing an opportunity to race with the ethnic and gender minority driver development program in 2007. The drivers each spent 30 minutes on the track, in NASCAR Grand National Division cars prepared by veteran driver and team owner Jeff Spraker. The program, now entering its fourth year, will pair eight drivers with car owners and sponsors in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and the NASCAR Grand National Division next season. The future for many of these drivers began Monday at South Boston. Each driver received coaching during their on-track session from Spraker and his crew members, along with inaugural Drive for Diversity participant Morty Buckles and former South Boston Speedway track champion Frank Deiny Jr. Paul Harraka, of Fairlawn, N.J., and Mike Gallegos, of Wheat Ridge, Colo., posted two of the day’s fastest lap times. Harraka circled the 4/10-mile oval in 15.868 seconds (90.74 mph) while Gallegos’ fastest lap of the day was 16.005 seconds (89.97 mph). To put these speeds in perspective, the South Boston Speedway track qualifying record for NASCAR Busch Series cars, which are similar to the NASCAR Grand National Division cars used Monday, is 15.245 seconds (94.457 mph) set by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1998.
Other drivers included: Brianne Cronrath, of Pennsylvania, Jesus Hernandez, of California, Tracey Chambers, of Timberlake, N.C, Ashley Parlett, of Maryland, Chris Bristol, of Columbus, Ohio, Michael Cherry, of Valrico, Fla., Bryan Driver, of Pennington, N.J., Katie Hagar, of Nobleboro, Maine, Destiney Hays, of View Lane, Calif., Jessica Helberg, of Petaluma, Calif., Peter Hernandez, of Blue Island, Ill., Lloyd Mack, of Los Angeles, Calif., Danny Martin Jr., of Sarasota, Fla., Candace Muzny, of Oklahoma City, Okla., Alison Quick, of Redding, Iowa, Molly Rhoads, of Hastings, Minn. and Jonathan Smith, of Beacon Falls, Conn. Weather permitting, the drivers will return to South Boston Speedway for another round of tests on Tuesday. More info at drivefordiversity.com.(NASCAR PR)(10-17-2006)
- Homestead-Miami Speedway Testing Day 1: Fifty-Eight cars took to the track in each session of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with quite a mix of cars, most were 2006 cars, with a few Car-of-Tomorrow’s [#83-Skinner, #72-Benson, #1-Truex, #26-McMurray, #99-Edwards] and some Toyota’s listed [#23-Mayfield, #72-Benson(COT), #83-Skinner, #22-Blaney]. The fastest in the first session [afternoon] was #41-Sorenson at 171.652mph. In the second [evening] session, #42-Mears was the fastest. The fastest Toyota was #23-Mayfield at 172.232, 9th fastest and the fastest COT was #99-Edwards at 169.662mph which was 48th fastest.
AND I: There was one minor mishap Monday involving Greg Biffle during the early session of testing at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. “Right before lunch we got in a hurry and it was go-go-go” said Biffle. “The front skirt (on the National Guard Ford) was way too long and I went down into turn one and the thing went straight cause it drug the ground…tires weren’t even touching the ground so… scraped the right side of it up. Car number two is really good and that was my fastest car. We’re not doing too bad.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)
AND II: A three-day test began Monday afternoon featuring 40 teams with 63 cars. Additional teams are expected to join the test on Tuesday. Under NASCAR rules, teams can only test for two of the three days. The session also mixes in cars competing in the 2006 Nextel Cup Series, along with several 2007 cars and at least five examples of the Car of Tomorrow. Toyota is represented by at least five teams, including two Cars of Tomorrow. Con-Way has one COT, driven by Johnny Benson, while Bill Davis Racing has a #22 COT for Dave Blaney and Jeremy Mayfield. Also testing a Toyota is Red Bull Racing, with Mike Skinner. Blaney and Mayfield are also sharing time in the #55 NAPA Dodge fielded by Michael Waltrip Racing, giving both drivers time in a current car, the 2007 Camry plus the Camry Car of Tomorrow. Additional Cars of Tomorrow are a pair from Roush Racing, the #26 and #99, and the #1 from Dale Earnhardt Inc., driven by Martin Truex Jr. and Kerry Earnhardt. Each day is divided into two sessions, in the afternoon from 1-5 p.m. and under the lights from 6-9 p.m. Spectators are invited to view the activities free of charge from the Speedway Club on the fourth floor of the main office building.(HMS Site), see speeds on my Homestead Testing Page.(10-17-2006)
- Morris Crowned 2006 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Champ: Philip Morris, of Ruckersville, Va., won the 2006 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship by recording his 13th win of the season at Caraway Speedway, a track where he hadn’t raced at all before. Morris spent most of the 2006 season at the track he’s called home for several years, Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. At Motor Mile, Morris recorded nine wins and 14 top-five finishes to claim the 2006 Late Model track championship – his seventh – along with the $25,000 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division I title. Morris needed one more victory to have a mathematical chance of winning the national title over veteran Dirt Late Model driver Joe Kosiski, of Omaha, Neb., who held the national points lead before Morris’ final, fateful race at Caraway. With his dramatic last-chance victory, Morris reached a NASCAR point total of 1,112, based on his best 16 finishes of the season. Morris edged Kosiski, who won the NDWS Division II championship, by just two points (1,114-1,112) for the national championship. Morris will receive an additional $50,000 bonus for winning the national championship and he’ll be honored at the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet, Nov. 11 in Las Vegas. Morris is the third Virginia driver to win the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship in the past four years. Mark McFarland, of Winchester, Va., brought the national title to the Commonwealth for the first time in 2003. Peyton Sellers, of Danville, Va., won it in 2005 and Morris keeps it on Virginia soil for the second consecutive year. The 2006 national championship is the second major NASCAR title for Morris, who won the NDWS Blue Ridge Regional championship in 2001. In addition to his seven track titles at Motor Mile, Morris was the 2003 track champion at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. Morris has also raced in the NASCAR Busch Series, making 12 starts during the 1998-2001 seasons. He recorded a career-best finish of fifth place at Rockingham, N.C. in 1998.(NASCAR PR)(10-17-2006)
News from October 16, 2006
Charlotte Overnight TV ratings drop 14.6% NBC’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.1 and a 7 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is down 14.6% from the 4.8/8 that NBC drew overnight for the race last year.(SceneDaily.com), see past TV Ratings News and chart on the 2006 TV Ratings page.(10-16-2006)
- Bootie out at the #66? to help Sauter move to Cup? UPDATE swap jobs: hearing Robert ‘Bootie’ Barker has been replaced as crew chief of the #66 Haas CNC Chevy that Jeff Green drives with Harold Holly. Supposedly Barker will work with Johnny Sauter to ready him and the 2nd Haas CNC team for Nextel Cup in 2007.(10-15/16-2006)
UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing has announced changes in crew chief roles for the #66 Best Buy Chevy driven by Jeff Green in the Nextel Cup Series and the #00 Yellow Transportation Chevy driven by Johnny Sauter in the Busch Series. Harold Holly, who previously served as crew chief for Sauter, takes over duties as crew chief for Green effective immediately. Robert “Bootie” Barker, who previously served as crew chief for Green, in turn takes over crew chief duties for Sauter.
“Haas CNC Racing is grounded in technology, but we realize our most valuable resource is our people,” said Joe Custer, General Manager of Haas CNC Racing. “In looking at our situation, we have a driver and a crew chief in Jeff and Harold who have won a championship together and we feel there are opportunities to capitalize based on their history. In like, Bootie has had tremendous success with young drivers and we feel he’ll be a valuable resource for Johnny and our Busch Series team during the stretch run. Our goal is to have a multi-car NASCAR Nextel Cup effort and we feel that by instituting these changes we’ll improve our program for the future. Both series are more competitive than ever and you have to continue to evolve if you want to contend for championships. e’re very excited about what lies ahead for Haas CNC Racing and look to both Bootie and Harold to carry our team into the future.”
Barker will take advantage of the NASCAR Busch Series’ week off to align himself with his team’s effort while Holly will head up this week’s Nextel Cup test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(10-16-2006)
- Hornish testing at Kentucky: Penske IRL driver Sam Hornish is on Kentucky Speedway’s test schedule for today, testing a Penske Racing R&D Car. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary. Tickets are on sale for all 2007 events at kentuckyspeedway.com.(Kentucky Speedway site)(10-16-2006)
- Newman tested a Toyota? UPDATE: Toyota’s 2007 Cup lineup so far: two Davis teams, three Waltrip teams, and two Red Bull teams, and two part-time teams. “I won’t deny we’ve had conversations with existing teams, from every manufacturer,” White said, leaving the answers up in the air. “It’s not something we’re actively pursuing. Teams have approached us; we have not approached them.” One of those teams, sources say, could be Roger Penske’s two-car Dodge operation. According to one source, Penske’s Ryan Newman has just tested a Camry.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2006)
UPDATE: being told Penske tested Toyota at Rockingham…sources told me they did it because supposedly “they wanted to see what the other guys had”.(10-16-2006)
- Wallace wins ARCA race at Iowa; Montoya 24th; Steve Wallace recovered from an early race close call and withstood late race pressure from Kraig Kinser to win the inaugural Prairie Meadows 250 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Iowa Speedway Sunday afternoon. In all, the 19-year-old driver led 177 of 250 laps in his #61 Hantz Group-TransAmerica Idex Mutual Funds Dodge en route to his third victory of 2006 and fourth overall. Bloomington, Indiana’s Kinser, making his first ARCA RE/MAX Series appearance since 2005, crossed the checkers .208 seconds behind to settle for second. Wallace, whose father Rusty designed the newly designed 7/8-mile speedway, escaped a very close call during the opening laps of the race when he was battling for position with #4-Juan Pablo Montoya. Wallace took the high line and made contact with Montoya, who glided up the track from the low groove in the #4 Texaco-Havoline Dodge, causing the two to make contact. Montoya went for a spin but was able to return to the track to post a 24th place finish, 42 laps down. Frank Kimmel brought his #46 Pork The Other White Meat Ford into the garage area on lap 122 with motor problems, relegating him to a 32nd place finish. On Saturday, the veteran driver clinched the 2006 national points championship, marking his seventh consecutive championship and eighth overall. In addition to the win, Wallace earned the Pork Pole award on Saturday, allowing him to clinch the ARCA RE/MAX Series Pork Pole Award title for 2006 for earning the most poles for the season. More at the Iowa Speedway site.(10-16-2006)
News from October 15, 2006
- COT to debut at Bud Shootout? NASCAR has quietly asked teams if they’d be interested in running the Car of Tomorrow in an exhibition race at Daytona next February – possibly the Budweiser Shootout – as a warmup for its October [restrictor plate] debut at Talladega Superspeedway. The COT will be phased in next season, starting with the March race in Bristol. The car was tested at Talladega earlier this week, and NASCAR wouldn’t mind another on-track session with restrictor plates before running it in a race that counts. Many crew chiefs support the idea. Although the idea makes sense, many car owners are against it because of the additional costs it would require to prepare two regular plate cars for use in the Daytona 500, and another two COT models for an exhibition race. And, NASCAR isn’t convinced it will be ready to run the entire inspection process on the COT by February. Series officials have also ruled out running the COT in Talladega’s spring race. That means its first plate race will be during the Chase for the championship – a questionable time for a debut considering at least 10 drivers will be running for a title then. But NASCAR official Brett Bodine shrugged off concerns about the timing of the debut. “Talladega is a no-brainer,” he said. “All you do is show up there and run wide-open. Handling isn’t even an issue.”(FoxSports/AP)(10-15-2006)
- Commercial Breakdown of the Bank of America 500:
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:04pm/et
End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:09pm/et
Total minutes: 245
Minutes of race broadcast: 174
Minutes of commercials: 71
(8.7 minutes per 30 total minutes)
Total number of commercials: 142
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 22
Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 1
NBC missed coming back to a restart once, after several races of getting back in time. On the other hand, twice NBC broke into a commercial to take viewers back to the race (once to see one of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s advantageous pit stops, and once when Jeff Gordon’s engine blew up). See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-15-2006)
- Small Fuel Cells done at LMS; 17 gallons in 2007?: NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter said after the Bank of America 500 [at Lowe’s Motor Speedway] that NASCAR will no longer mandate the 14-gallon fuel cells used in the last two races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in place of the normal 22-gallon cells. The smaller cells are designed to force teams to pit every 35 to 40 laps, which in turn reduces the possibility of right-front tire failure.(SpeedTV.com), supposedly a 17 gallon fuel cell will be used at all races in 2007.(10-15-2006)
- Stremme rookie of the race at LMS: #40-David Stremme finished15th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season. A rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 31 races this season. #11-Denny Hamlin UNOFFICIALLY scored a 28th-place finish tonight at Lowe ’s Motor Speedway and is sixth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 137 points behind leader Jeff Burton. #07-Clint Bowyer led tonight’s race twice for three laps and was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the race, finishing 23rd.(Raybestos PR)(10-15-2006)
- Terry Labonte inducted in LMS’s Walk of Fame: Two-time Nextel Cup Champion and soon-to-be-retired driver Terry Labonte was inducted into the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Court of Legends located at the main entrance to the speedway in front of Smith Tower on Friday night. Labonte put his right footprint into a cement square, then placed his handprints and followed with his autograph. H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, introduced Labonte to a large audience of race fans who turned out for the induction ceremony. “It’s pretty interesting when you came up here from Texas back in 1978 to see how you have come,” said Wheeler. “All of the wonderful achievements you have had. You have already become a legend.”
“I appreciate that very much,” said Labonte. “I feel pretty honored to be one of the group. It’s been a great career. It’s something you don’t think about. To come out here and see some of the other guys that are inducted here is really pretty special. Some of these competitors and guys I have known. I see Cale Yarborough’s prints over there and I just admired him so. It’s really neat to be part of this group. It is a special group. It’s always been a lot of fun to come down here to the Lowe’s Motor Speedway and race. It’s where I got my very first Busch Series win also. I have got a lot of great memories down here at the speedway. I won the all-star race a couple of times. That was pretty exciting. I just always enjoyed coming down here. Any athlete, I guess, no matter what sport you are in, there comes a day when it’s time to say ‘so long’ and move on. So, I have got one more race after tomorrow night. It will be out in Texas in a couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to that.” Wheeler also selected three young boys from the crowd to witness the signing. They were Carson Fritzinger from Hillsboro, N.J., and brothers Jeremy and Robert Swanhaus from Newport News, Va.(LMS Pit Notes)(10-15-2006)
- HANS Performance Products Wins Award for Great Office Environment: HANS Performance Products, renowned leader in head and neck restraint technologies, recently won an Eagle Innovation Award from the GBS Eagles program of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. The program identifies and honors exceptional private companies in the Southeast. HANS Performance Products has been awarded their 2006 Office Environment Award. HANS Performance Products was inducted into the GBS Eagles program in 2005 after being recognized as one of the Southeast’s fastest growing private companies. The Eagle Innovation Awards are to recognize Eagle companies for innovative and creative accomplishments over the past year. The office environment award rewards company’s who have created ways to keep employees more productive. Details and information about HANS Performance Products can be seen at www.hansdevice.com.(PR)(10-15-2006)
- Rusty’s son on the pole at Iowa track he designed: ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Steve Wallace earned his fourth career Pork Pole award Saturday afternoon at Iowa Speedway in the #61 Hantz Group-TransAmerica Idex Mutual Funds Dodge. Wallace nudged out Joey Miller and Juan Pablo Montoya [starts 3rd] for the top spot; as a result, Wallace will sit on the pole for Sunday’s Prairie Meadows 250 ARCA RE/MAX Series race. More at ARCARacing.com, the race will be aired live on SPEED at 2:30pm/et.(10-15-2006)
News from October 14, 2006
- Kahne wins at Charlotte: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for his 6th win of the 2006 season and 7th or his career, leading 134 of 334 laps and getting himself back into The Chase. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd, followed by #31-Jeff Burton, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #43-Bobby Labonte [for his top-5 of the season]. Rounding out the top-10 was #5-Busch, #96-Raines, #99-Edwards, #01-Nemechek and #25-Vickers. Raines and Nemechek scored their first top-10’s of the season. Points leader #31-Jeff Burton increased his points lead from 6 points to 45 over Matt Kenseth. #24-Gordon lost an engine late in the race, finished 24th and is now 216 points back with 5 races to go. #6-Martin was involved in a wreck and hit the wall head on, but is ok, finished 30th and fell to 4th in points [-102pts] from 2nd [-6 pts]. #11-Denny Hamlin was involved in a lap 2 wreck, the crew fixed the car allowing Hamlin to gain 13 spots [41st to 28th] in the race with the 14 DNF’s. There were 10 cautions for 52 laps and 13 drivers lead the race with 34 lead changes.
Race Results on my Charlotte Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Charlotte page
Race Rundown: see my Charlotte Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-14-2006)
- Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Charlotte [31 of 36 races]:
#31-Jeff Burton 5763
#17-Matt Kenseth 5718 -45
#29-Kevin Harvick 5674 -89
#6-Mark Martin 5661 -102
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5657 -106
#11-Denny Hamlin 5626 -137
#48-Jimmie Johnson 5617 -146
#9-Kasey Kahne 5603 -160
#5-Kyle Busch 5568 -195
#24-Jeff Gordon 5547 -216
and fighting for 11th
#20-Tony Stewart in 11th 3948 points
#99-Carl Edwards -213 out of 11th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-14-2006)
- see the ‘Classic’ [Old Way] Drivers/Owners Points page
- Charlotte Penalty Report, a list of all penalties handed out during the race
- Rumblings – Charlotte Notes: After an ignominious beginning (we had a 14 car job at the end of lap 1) we settled down tonight to an entertaining event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. When the checkers fell, we had a familiar face in Victory Lane as Kasey Kahne completed the Charlotte sweep tonight by taking the Bank of America 500 in convincing fashion over Jimmie Johnson. This was the 6th win of the season for Kahne, the 7th of his NEXTEL Cup career (he’s tied for 58th on the all-time win list), and the 13th for Ray Evernham. It was worth $305,889 from the almost $5.1M in posted awards. After that botched re-start on lap 10 or so with at least three safety vehicles still on the backstretch, it begs the question: Who was running this race? Huey, Dewey, or Louie? Talk about a recipe for a major disaster! Hey, ya notice how they ain’t talkin’ about the race for that vaunted 11th spot this year?
Jimmie Johnson (2nd) had his best finish since he won the Brickyard 400 in August.
Bobby Labonte (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Bristol in March.
Tony Raines (7th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Rockingham in Novemberof 2003!
Joe Nemechek (9th) had his best finish since he was 4th in this race last year.
Raines & Nemechek’s Top-10’s give us 38 drivers at that level this season…last year’s number was 43.
Sterling Marlin (11th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Richmond in May.
David Stremme (15th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Loudon in July.
Todd Bodine (19th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Homestead in November of 2003!
Terry Labonte (21st) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Infineon in June (only six races).
Kyle Petty (22nd) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Infineon in June.
STREAKIN….Carl Edwards has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
Jeff Burton has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
Brian Vickers has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Tony Raines (+32), followed by Terry Labonte (+22), Joe Nemechek (+21), and Carl Edwards (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-31), followed by Reed Sorenson (-27), Mark Maring (-23), and Ken Schrader (-23). This is Raines’ first OP of the season.
Tony Raines led a lap today for the first time since he led once for two laps at Michigan in August of 2005. He’s the 47th driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 51 leaders.(Stockcarfans.com)(10-14-2006)
- More on Robby to Ford UPDATE 2 Official, 2nd team #77: hearing there will be an announcement by Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) at Lowe’s Motor Speedway/Charlotte, NC [hearing Saturday, Oct 14th afternoon] when NASCAR races there Oct 12-14th, that the #7 RGM team will be switching from Chevy’s to Ford’s for the 2007 season.(10-1/10-2006)
UPDATE: Nothing’s official and won’t be until Saturday afternoon, but it’s almost a virtual certainty that Robby Gordon and his self-owned Nextel Cup team will switch to Ford Fusions after this season. He created Robby Gordon Motorsports with Chevrolets this season [actually in 2005], but without much success. All told, his #7 has 30 starts this year, no poles, no victories, one top-five and two top-10s. Only the most attentive NASCAR fans will remember that Gordon ran his first two stock car races (in February of 1991 at Daytona Beach and Richmond) in #90 Ford cars owned by long-time Ford loyalist Junie Donlavey. Also, Gordon was the first driver in the #28 Texaco Havoline Ford from Robert Yates Racing (at Talladega) after the July, 1993 death of Davey Allison. Gordon also did one 1994 Ford race for Michael Kranefuss before moving exclusively to Chevys when he returned to NASCAR in 1996 [Plus he had his own #13 Ford team back in 2000]. He’s driven Chevys for the late Dale Earnhardt, Felix Sabates, Buz McCall, John Menard, Larry McClure, Richard Childress, Jim Smith and now himself. His career Cup stats: 229 starts, 1 pole (for Sabates), three victories (for Childress), 13 top-fives and 31 top-10s.(Ford Racing)(10-13-2006)
UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon and Ford Motor Company will be reunited in 2007 with the signing of a manufacturer agreement between Ford Racing and Gordon’s company Robby Gordon Motorsports. “I had a lot of success with Ford early in my career, and I owe a lot to Ford,” Gordon said. “I think our Nextel Cup program is at the point now where we’re ready to take it to the next level, and Ford has pledged its complete support of helping me realize my dream of winning a NASCAR championship as an owner/driver. I believe my best days as a Nextel Cup driver are still in front of me and I also believe we have laid the groundwork for the expansion of our program.” Like all Ford Racing supported programs, RGM will get its horsepower from the Roush/Yates Engine Company. RGM, in its second season of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition, will field the #7 Ford Fusions from a brand new facility in Charlotte that will cover more than 125,000 square feet. Site work for the new shop began Monday. “Robby is a racer in the true sense of the word and I couldn’t be happier to see him back behind the wheel of a Ford,” Davis said. “He’s enjoyed success wherever he’s raced, from off-road trucks to sports cars to open-wheel cars, and he’s been competitive in Nextel Cup despite being a one-car team. “The Ford Fusion is a championship-caliber race car and with the technical support we’ll provide, I believe we can build Robby Gordon Motorsports into a championship-level team.” In addition to RGM’s current car—the #7—it will at a minimum run a limited Busch Series schedule in 2007 with hopes of campaigning a car for the Busch Series championship, and will continue efforts to field the #77 Nextel Cup car in 2007. “Ford has a long history of success in Cup racing,” Gordon said. “Obviously they have been very successful recently with both Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing, and Dan and everyone at Ford are committed to helping their teams compete for championships year-in-and-year-out and we hope we’ll be able to give them another program that they’ll be able to count on for that.”(Ford Racing and see a Transcript)(10-14-2006)
- Biffle to RYR? There’s talk that Roush Racing and Robert Yates Racing might create a new team for Greg Biffle. The team would be Robert Yates’ third and would reduce to four the number of full-schedule Cup teams owned by Jack Roush.(Ford Racing)(10-14-2006)
- Martin still may race Ford truck in 2007? UPDATE: Even though he is leaving Roush Racing and Ford after 19 years to drive an MB2 Motorsports [Ginn Racing] Chevy part-time next season in the Nextel Cup Series, Mark Martin has asked Ford if he can continue his plans to drive Roush’s #6 Ford F-150 in some Craftsman Truck Series races next year. Martin planned to drive that truck in 2007, at least until the MB2 Chevy deal came up. Ford’s racing boss, Dan Davis, said no decision has been made from Ford’s end so far. “I didn’t give him (Martin) an answer yet and we haven’t actually decided what to do yet,” Davis said Friday. “Maybe we need to get over the initial hurt of this whole thing and try to look at it in hard, cold business terms and that’s what I would really like to do and be unemotional about it. Hopefully, as a team at Ford we’ll sit down and try to figure out what to do.”(SpeedTV.com)(10-14-2006)
UPDATE: Davis said a slim chance exists that Martin could still drive Roush’s NCTS entry in 2007. “He asked me that and I said, ‘Mark, man, wow. You’ve sort of…my life at Ford headquarters is not real good right now because of your little deal here, so you’re asking me something that’s real hard,'” Davis said. “I didn’t give him an answer yet and we haven’t actually decided what to do yet. Maybe we need to get over the initial hurt of this whole thing and try to look at it in hard, cold business terms and that’s what I would really like to do and be unemotional about it. Hopefully as a team at Ford, we’ll sit down and try to figure out what to do.”(Ford Racing)(10-14-2006)
- Good News for Benny: Benny Parsons, who has battled lung cancer this summer, got some great news Wednesday. Doctors say they are confident that recent chest scans show no sign of a tumor. Benny will undergo a follow-up scan in the coming months, however recent chemotherapy and radiation treatments apprently have eradicated the malignant mass.(PRN’s Garage Pass radio show)(10-12-2006)
Benny Parsons named the honorary millionth member of the Team Lowe’s Racing Fan Club
UPDATE: Lowe’s named legendary race car driver and NBC broadcaster Benny Parsons the honorary millionth member of the Team Lowe’s Racing Fan Club on Friday. With almost a million members, the fan club is one of the largest, if not the largest racing fan club in the world. “Benny symbolizes what is good about the sport of NASCAR and why we think our customers have joined the fan club and made it one of the biggest racing fans clubs around,” said Bob Gfeller, senior vice-president at Lowe’s. “It’s a natural fit to select someone who has given so much to NASCAR as our honorary millionth member.” Lowe’s Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick joined Parsons at the Team Lowe’s Racing Fan Experience on Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway where Johnson presented Parsons with a framed cover of a special issue of Track Record – the quarterly fan club magazine. Lowe’s also made a $10,000 donation in Parsons’ name to the Blumenthal Cancer Center which serves western North Carolina as well as the southeastern United States. The Blumenthal Center has played a key role in helping Parsons in his fight with lung cancer. Parson’s Oncologist Steven A. Limentani attended Friday’s ceremony and accepted the check on behalf of the Blumenthal Cancer Center. “This is an honor for me,” said the 65-year-old Parsons who owns 21 Nextel Cup victories over his 21-year career. “It’s hard to believe a fan club in NASCAR could generate a million members and to be the honorary millionth member is gratifying. I certainly appreciate the support racers like Jimmie, fans, and sponsors have shown me over my career and especially in the last few months. Lowe’s donation is certainly appreciated and I hope it will do a lot of good for people fighting cancer.”
Parsons said Limentani gave him “the best news ever” this week. “Three months ago my family doctor called me into his office and told me I had lung cancer. So Rick Hendrick told me if I was going to fight cancer you have to get Steve Limentani. He helped Rick through his leukemia ten years ago. So we did. The last three months we have been battling the disease. Then Wednesday I had a scan and he called me Wednesday afternoon with the best news…..the cancer is gone…see ya.” To watch a portion of Parsons announcement go to video.google.com.(GMR Marketing/Team Lowe’s PR)(10-14-2006)
- Brand New Ford Cup Team in 2007?Beyond adding Robby Gordon [to be announced today at LMS 3:30pm/et] to the fold, there’s a good chance that there may be another new Ford team in the Nextel Cup Series next season, sources said Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Details remain sketchy, but sources said that the team would be an all-new outfit [Riley-D’Hondt?], not an existing team switching manufacturers as Gordon is.(Speed Channel)(10-14-2006)
- Ford to help out RYR: Ford director of racing technology Dan Davis said Friday that his company will do everything possible to help Robert Yates Racing regain its competitive footing after two woeful seasons that included the defections of drivers Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett. That help will include, he said, finding a sponsor to assure that the #88 Ford will return even though Jarrett took the powerful UPS account with him to Michael Waltrip Racing. “I’ve told Robert, ‘I will do anything in my power to develop whatever you need,’ ” he said. “It’s a struggle for him at the moment.” Davis said there was nothing Ford could do about some defections, such as Mark Martin, when owners such as Bobby Ginn are willing to pay an enormous salary for a part-time driver. Martin will contest 20 points races for MB2 Motorsports next year. “It’s all about compensation,” Davis said. “I’m saying maybe that’s happened to one of my friends. Eventually everyone looks at this and says, ‘Damn, this is really quite an offer. And you know what? I really have a lot of loyalty and I have a lot of this and I have a lot of friends and I owe my career to somebody and I’m torn on this because of that, but damn. Damn.’ And I think we get to that point when you have new manufacturers in the mix. You have new owners in the mix, you have new sponsors in the mix that are willing to upset the norm in terms of compensation.” Davis confirmed driver/owner Robby Gordon will switch from Chevrolet to Ford for next season. “He’s excited about coming in because he knows the motor program is really good,” Davis said. “The chassis are really good, the bodies are really good. He can concentrate on race craft and getting the team working well.”(St Petersburg Times)(10-14-2006)
- Elliott still undecided on 2007 plans: Bill Elliott, who failed to qualify in Team Red Bull’s Nextel Cup debut Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, will run two more events for the team that will be part of Toyota’s debut in 2007. Elliott is considered one of the candidates for that job. “Right now, we’re just doing three races and we’re going to figure out where it is going to go from there,” Elliott said Thursday following his qualifying attempt but before learning he had missed the race.” A full-time schedule for Elliott, who last ran all of the Cup races in 2003, is still an option, he said. “We’ll wait and see,” Elliott said. “It depends on my options.” Elliott has driven four races for Michael Waltrip Racing and has two left with Team Red Bull as well as one with MWR. “Pretty much the same program with different guys,” Elliott said about comparing Team Red Bull with MWR. “These guys are probably a little bit greener than Michael’s guys because of [crew chief] Larry Carter. All it is is a learning curve.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-14-2006)
- Racing Electronics Welcomes Back “Bean”: Racing Electronics [long time Jayski sponsor] is pleased to announce the return of a long time employee to the staff. Richard “Bean” Hankins has rejoined the Racing Electronics staff in the Concord, NC headquarters and has resumed his duties as General Manager. Bean was on an extended medical leave since April of 2004 for a back ailment and after having successful surgery and recuperation he has recently relocated to Concord. “It’s wonderful to have Bean return to the company and we are delighted that the surgery resolved his back problem. He is one of the original employees of our company and we are proud to make this announcement”, said Bruce Silver, President of Racing Electronics.(PR)(10-14-2006)
- Charlotte Race Notes:
• Kasey Kahne won the 2006 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, scoring his seventh career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 103rd career start.
• This is Kahne’s sixth victory in 2006, the most of all drivers.
• Kahne scored his second victory in six races at Lowe’s. He swept both races here this season.
• This is the third straight year that a driver has swept both races at Lowe’s. Jimmie Johnson swept both races here in 2004 and 2005.
• Kahne’s victory today was the seventh Dodge victory in 31 races in 2006.
• Kahne won the race from the second-place starting position. The last seven races at Lowe’s have been won from a top-10 starting position.
• Kahne climbed from ninth to eighth in the Championship standings, now 160 points behind first-place Jeff Burton.
• Kahne led 134 of the 334 laps, including the final 26 – leading the most laps for the third time in 2006 and first time since second California.
• This is team owner Ray Evernham’s 13th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory and second at Lowe’s.
• Jimmie Johnson (second) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006, tied with Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth for the most this season. It is his 10th straight top-10 finish at Lowe’s. He has finished first or second in six of the last seven races here. Johnson climbed from eighth to seventh in the point standings.
• Jeff Burton (third) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his 12th top-10 finish in 26 races at Lowe’s. Burton added 39 points to his lead, which is now 45 points over of second-place Matt Kenseth. Burton has scored five top-10 finishes in the last six races since Richmond in September.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) scored his 14th top-10 finish in 2006 and his seventh top-10 finish in 15 races at Lowe’s.
• Bobby Labonte (fifth) tied his season-best finish and scored his third top-10 finish in the last four races. It is his 17th top-10 finish in 28 races at Lowe’s.
• Tony Raines (seventh) scored his second career top-10 finish and his first in 2006.
• Joe Nemechek (ninth) scored his first top-10 finish in 2006 and first since he finished fourth in this race one year ago.
• Tony Stewart (13th) remained 11th in the point standings. He has a 213-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards who finished eighth.
• David Stremme (15th) was the highest finishing rookie for the first time in 2006.
• Mark Martin (30th) ended a 37-race streak of running at the finish that began at Kansas City one year ago.
• Five of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10.
• Eight of the 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Lowe’s.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-14-2006)
- Hornish to run Busch and ARCA Races? UPDATEs Phoenix Busch Race?: Roger Penske said Saturday that he was working on a plan that would allow his IRL driver Sam Hornish Jr. to race in some NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Series races next season. That would be in addition to a full IRL schedule for Hornish, who won the Indianapolis 500 this year. “Sam has talked about running some Busch or ARCA races, and we’re looking at a potential program,’’ Penske said before the Sharpie 500. “We haven’t put all the pieces together.” Although Penske used an ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup program to develop the driver Ryan Newman before promoting him to the Cup series full-time, Penske said it was too early to say if Hornish would move up to compete in the Cup series by 2008.(New York Times)(8-28-2006)
UPDATES since posted on #77 Team News and Links page.
UPDATE – Hornish to race in Nov. Phoenix Busch race? Reports that IRL champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. will make his stock car debut next month at Phoenix in a NASCAR Busch Series car are premature, a Team Penske spokesman said Friday night. A recent story cited unidentified sources as saying the Penske team will enter Hornish in the Busch races at Phoenix and Homestead in November, as well as running him in selected Busch and ARCA events next season before launching a full-time Nextel Cup career in 2008. “Roger Penske has said publicly that we are considering a plan that would allow Sam to race in some Busch and ARCA races next year, for sure, along with his IRL schedule,” Chris Schwartz, director of marketing and communications for the Penske team, told The Associated Press. “That’s all in motion and it’s a goal of ours to get him into a Busch race this year,” Schwartz added. “But he hasn’t even tested a (stock) car, yet. We hope to get that accomplished soon and we hope to get him in the Phoenix (Busch) race and maybe the Homestead (Busch) race, too. But nothing is done yet.”(Associated Press)(10-14-2006)
UPDATE 2: Hornish could run the Busch Series race at Phoenix next month if he feels he is ready, Penske Racing officials confirmed. Hornish has tested a stock car at North Carolina (Rockingham) Speedway and plans to test at Iowa Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway before deciding whether to run at Phoenix, Penske Raacing South President Don Miller said Saturday. “We’re going to let him get the feel of the car,” Miller said. “If he decides that he’s ready, we could theoretically do that [Phoenix race].” Matt Gimbel, the crew chief for the #39 Penske Racing South Busch Series team, will direct the effort. Hornish is committed to run in the IRL for 2007. “That is his primary deal,” Miller said. “We don’t want to interfere with the primary program because that wouldn’t be good for the team overall.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-14-2006)
- Toyota says they are not overspending: Lee White, senior vice president of Toyota Racing Development, made an appearance at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that served the purpose of quieting the notion that the Japanese manufacturer intends to smother the opposition with money next year. “We’ve done extensive research, and I don’t believe the level of expenditure is any higher than the existing manufacturer,” said White. White dismissed widespread rumors by saying: “This is a convenient way for a lot of existing teams to manipulate their own manufacturers and attempt to increase their own level of funding. “We provide technology. We don’t own these teams. We don’t fund these teams,” he said. “What we are trying to do is use our expertise with what I call ‘tribal knowledge,’ or the traditional method of producing racing engines.” White also said that Toyota would not further boost its expenditures or increase its teams in the Craftsman Truck Series, where Tundras have won 10 of the season’s 20 races to date. “There’s no question that the Truck Series needs focus,” he said. “I just attended a meeting along with the other manufacturers on the subject of what NASCAR, Speed Channel and MRN (Motor Racing Network) are trying to do to draw more attention to the Truck Series.”(Gaston Gazette)(10-14-2006)
- Charlotte Rookie Notes: #1-Martin Truex Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 8 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Truex Jr. finished fifth, his best finish in 39 Nextel Cup Series races and the best by a Raybestos Rookie on a restrictor plate track this season. Truex Jr. scored the fifth top-10 finish of his career at Talladega and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time in 2006. #11-Denny Hamlin scored a 21st-place finish at Talladega. He is fifth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 51 points behind leader #31-Jeff Burton. Hamlin is 18 behind fourth-place #29-Kevin Harvick and leads sixth-place #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 55. Hamlin led once for one lap. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 30 races this season. Hamlin leads #07-Clint Bowyer by 45 points (265-220) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 14 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (race No. 12), grabbing a ninth-place finish. He was also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the race (three times for 25 laps). Travis Kvapil was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2005 Bank of America 500, posting a 17th-place finish. Kasey Kahne holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte (since 1975). Kahne led the 2004 race four times for 207 of the 334 laps. Since 1975, only two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions for the fall race at Charlotte: Jeff Gordon (1993) and Ward Burton (1994). Since 1975, only two Raybestos Rookies have scored a top-five finish in the fall race at Charlotte: Ron Bouchard (fifth in 1981) and Jeff Gordon (fifth in 1993).(Raybestos PR), see more notes, standings, history, records and more on the 2006 Rookie Page and past notes on the 2006 Past Rookie Notes.(10-14-2006)
News from October 13, 2006
- Elliott to run Commemorative paint scheme at Atlanta: When Bill Elliott takes the green flag for the October 29 Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he will reach a milestone and further etch his name in the AMS record books. Elliott will make his 58th career start at AMS, a stretch that started 30 years ago. In recognition of the accomplishment, Team Red Bull has designed a retro paint scheme for Elliott to run in the Bass Pro Shops 500, complete with the #30 [will NOT be their 2nd team car # in 2007] to mark his three-decade career at AMS. The paint scheme is designed after the Dahlonega Ford Sales sponsored car Elliott drove in his first start at AMS in 1976. That very #9 powder blue Ford Torino Elliott drove in his inaugural start will return to the high-banks of AMS when it makes a circuit during the parade lap before the start of the Bass Pro Shops 500. To catch Bill Elliott race at his home track, fans can contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com or an authorized Ticketmaster retail outlet for more information on the Bass Pro Shops 500 NEXTEL Cup race weekend.(AMS PR), see an image of the car on my #83/#30 Team Schemes page.(10-13-2006)
- Final Talladega TV Rating down; France not worried: NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s UAW-Ford 500 from Talladega Superspeedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.8 and a 10 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 9.4% lower than than the 5.3/11 NBC earned for last year’s fall Talladega race.(SceneDaily.com)
AND NASCAR Chairman Brian France said he doesn’t envision California Speedway losing a race and isn’t too concerned over dips in attendance and TV ratings throughout the Nextel Cup circuit. California Speedway has not sold out both Nextel Cup events in a year since it has added a second race there in 2004. Television ratings are down for virtually all events this year, which France blamed mostly on a lack of promotion from NBC, which is in its last year of its contract. “That’s kind of par for the course when you change TV partners and you have a final year in the situation that we’re in … but we’ll bounce back with a tremendous partner in ESPN/ABC and TNT in the mid summer of ’07, so we’re not too concerned about it and frankly expected it,” France said.(SceneDaily.com)(10-13-2006)
- Roush finalizing plans with Villeneuve: Roush Racing appears to be finalizing plans to put former Indy 500 champion and F-1 star Jacques Villeneuve in a Ford for several Busch Series races next year. Although the schedule isn’t set, it’ll almost certainly include the Saturday afternoon, Aug. 4 road race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his hometown of Montreal.(Ford Racing)(10-13-2006)
- Team Red Bull Close to naming a 2nd driver: Team Red Bull General Manager Marty Gaunt told Sirius Speedway Thursday that there are three drivers remaining on his wish list, and that he hopes to announce a teammate for Brian Vickers within the next few weeks. “There are three guys that we have our eye on,” said Gaunt. “We’re looking for the best, pure driver we can find. This is not about who brings the most sponsorship to the program. We want a driver.” Gaunt admitted that Champ Car World Series star AJ Allmendinger is on that list, saying, “We are obviously interested in AJ Allmendinger. He is a proven winner, and he has been very impressive in his two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races.” Gaunt said he initially considered the possibilitty of splitting a ride between a veteran driver like Bill Elliott, and a young, up-and-coming driver. “We talked about it, and ultimately ruled it out,” he said. “After giving it some thought, we decided that we want to have the same driver in the car, 100% of the time.”(10-13-2006)
- Charlotte Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . while this right-side code (D-4022) was run at Charlotte in May, this left-side code (D-4074) is brand new . . . this tire set-up was tested recently at Charlotte with Kurt Busch and Joe Nemechek . . . both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run on the same tire codes this weekend . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Charlotte . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 36-39 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) See full notes, codes, pressures on the Charlotte Race Info / Rundown Page.(10-13-2006)
- Soap Box Derby Racing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Children can have their own racing experiences at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with the Levi Strauss Signature Fit Pit during the NASCAR race weekend – October 12-14. Boys and girls, ages 7 to 14, have the opportunity to race Soap Box Derby cars on a racetrack outside of the Fit Pit. As the title sponsor of the All-American Soap Box Derby, the Levi Strauss Signature brand has incorporated the ultimate family activity into its nationwide Fit Pit tour. The All-American Soap Box Derby is a youth initiative of NASCAR. The Fit Pit also features technology for families to find their perfect jeans fit. In 14-seconds, Intellifit’s award-winning body scanner sizes a fully-clothed person and then produces a personalized recommendation for the perfect pair of Levi Strauss Signature jeans. NASCAR fans can finish their shopping at the provided online kiosks by visiting Target.com and Walmart.com. The Levi Strauss Signature Fit Pit is located in the Fan Zone.(Alan Taylor PR)(10-13-2006)
- Terry Labonte to be inducted in LMS’s Walk of Fame Today: #44-Terry Labonte will be inducted into the Lowe’s Motor Speedway Walk of Fame on Friday afternoon. The ceremony will take place at 12:30pm/et at the Avenue of Flags in front of the Smith Tower. Following Saturday night’s race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Labonte will have one event remaining in his storied career. The two-time NEXTEL Cup champion will officially retire following the Nov. 5 event at Texas Motor Speedway. At Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Labonte’s #44 GMAC Chevy will carry a red, white and blue paint scheme inspired by the #44 Piedmont Airlines car he drove to the 1984 Cup Series championship.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(10-13-2006)
News from October 12, 2006
- ESPN announces NASCAR broadcast crews/plans: NASCAR will return to ESPN and ABC in 2007 led by host Brent Musburger, an accomplished and prominent sports commentator; Rusty Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR champion who made his debut as an analyst in 2006; and play-by-play announcer Jerry Punch, a veteran of ESPN’s previous NASCAR coverage. Television newcomer Andy Petree, a former team owner and the 1993-94 championship-winning crew chief for the late Dale Earnhardt, will join Punch and Wallace as an analyst for a booth with nearly 90 years experience in motorsports. The trio will team with veteran pit reporters with a combined 45 additional years of motorsports experience – Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro. ESPN also is planning for a comprehensive, up-to-the-minute NASCAR Countdown show to immediately precede all Nextel Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Musburger will serve as NASCAR Countdown host for all races airing on ABC, including the Chase for the Nextel Cup and select ESPN races including Daytona and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. NASCAR Countdown will be telecast from a new, state-of-the-art mobile pit studio that also will be an integral part of race telecasts. All telecasts will be in high-definition. ESPN also announced that 1999 NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett will join Punch and Petree in the booth for select NASCAR Busch Series races on ESPN2 and ABC. And to get fans prepared for the new season, NASCAR Now will debut on ESPN2 on Feb. 5, 2007, marking the network’s first-ever daily program solely dedicated to NASCAR. NASCAR Now will deliver the most up-to-date news and information each Monday through Friday evening.
ESPN’s comprehensive coverage also will extend to its new media platforms, with extensive coverage on ESPN.com – the leading online sports destination that reaches as many as 20 million fans per month. Among the many features will be a weekly Monday Rundown, Wallace’s weekly Rusty Nails It column and regularly updated Nextel Cup Power Rankings. In addition, ESPN.com will continue to collaborate with the popular Jayski’s Silly Season Site that features news, rumors and commentary on the happenings in NASCAR. Additionally, ESPN Motion, ESPN360 and the ESPN PodCenter will deliver comprehensive multimedia race coverage including select live video, on-demand online video and podcasts.(ESPN PR), for the full PR, plans, other shows and commnets, along with Talent/Production Briefs, see my TV/Media News Page.(10-12-2006)
- ESPN broadcast crew announced UPDATE 3 Daugherty, Petree, Rusty: hearing that the 2007 ESPN/ABC broadcast crew will be announced this week, supposedly Dr. Jerry Punch, former Cup champ Rusty Wallace and former Truck Series owner/NBA Basketball player Brad Daugherty will be in the booth.
UPDATE: been told the announcement will come Thursday, Oct 12th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the lineup I hear above is NOT correct….(10-9-2006)
UPDATE 2: For years, Brad Daugherty has worked with NASCAR behind the scenes on diversity issues, trying to increase minority interest and representation in what remains a very white sport. Now the Asheville [NC] resident will be front and center as an African-American voice on stock car racing, hosting a television show on ESPN. NASCAR officials have scheduled a press conference today in Charlotte to announce the television crew for ESPN’s 2007 coverage, a group that will include the Black Mountain native and former NBA star on the NASCAR Pit Studio Show. Daugherty has owned race teams in the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series and has served on NASCAR’s ultra-secret Rules and Competition Committee that doles out fines and punishments to drivers, but said he believes he can be a more visible minority voice on television. The Pit Studio Show will provide pre- and post-race coverage and will include segments during races. Daugherty said another racer with WNC ties will be involved with ESPN’s NASCAR coverage. Andy Petree, who operated the APR team out of Flat Rock [NC] that once fielded two Nextel Cup cars, will serve as a race analyst.(Asheville Citizen Times)(10-12-2006)
OFFICIAL: NASCAR will return to ESPN and ABC in 2007 with a powerful and experienced team of television and NASCAR championship veterans, led by host Brent Musburger, an accomplished and prominent sports commentator; Rusty Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR champion who made his debut as an analyst in 2006; and play-by-play announcer Jerry Punch, a veteran of ESPN’s previous NASCAR coverage. Television newcomer Andy Petree, a former team owner and the 1993-94 championship-winning crew chief for the late Dale Earnhardt, will join Punch and Wallace as an analyst for a booth with nearly 90 years experience in motorsports. The trio will team with veteran pit reporters with a combined 45 additional years of motorsports experience – Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro.
ESPN also is planning for a comprehensive, up-to-the-minute NASCAR Countdown show to immediately precede all Nextel Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Musburger will serve as NASCAR Countdown host for all races airing on ABC, including the Chase for the Nextel Cup and select ESPN races including Daytona and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. NASCAR Countdown will be telecast from a new, state-of-the-art mobile pit studio that also will be an integral part of race telecasts.
All telecasts will be in high-definition under the leadership of ESPN Executive Vice President, Studio and Remote Production Norby Williamson, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Jed Drake, Senior Coordinating Producer Rich Feinberg, who led ESPN’s NASCAR efforts in the 1990s, and Senior Motorsports Producer Neil Goldberg, who returns to ESPN after producing FOX’s NASCAR races the past six years. Feinberg and Goldberg have won numerous Sports Emmy Awards and were part of the team behind ESPN’s motorsports series Speedworld, which won 17 Sports Emmys in the 1990s. Richie Basile, who has served as FOX’s NASCAR technical director, will direct.
At a news conference at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Thursday, ESPN also announced that 1999 NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett will join Punch and Petree in the booth for select NASCAR Busch Series races on ESPN2 and ABC.
“When NASCAR returns ‘home’ to ABC and ESPN, fans will instantly recognize the passion and expertise that distinguished our coverage for 30 years, but now applied with an unprecedented, multimedia commitment,” said ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer. “The extent of our coverage and our talent and production team will set a new standard for service to NASCAR fans.” ESPN’s return to NASCAR kicks off with coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 17, 2007 on ESPN2.
“We are proud to once again call ABC/ESPN our partner,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “The team has already shown a remarkable enthusiasm for NASCAR in its preparation for its entry in 2007. Sports fans will be the big winners as ESPN will provide terrific NASCAR content on its television broadcasts and beyond including each of its media platforms.” Drake added, “As we reunite NASCAR with ESPN, we have assembled a deep and knowledgeable commentator team with varied motorsports backgrounds. Our group will bring the excitement of NASCAR to the audience with the same enthusiasm that NASCAR fans have for their sport.”
And to get fans prepared for the new season, NASCAR Now will debut on ESPN2 on Feb. 5, 2007, marking the network’s first-ever daily program solely dedicated to NASCAR. NASCAR Now will deliver the most up-to-date news and information each Monday through Friday evening and will feature NASCAR reporters and analysts including five-time NBA All-Star and former winning NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty, former NASCAR crew chief Frank Stoddard, a 14-race winner with Jeff Burton, and veteran racing TV reporter Shannon Spake among others to be named. Musburger, Daugherty, Stoddard and others will work from the pit studio during the NASCAR Countdown shows and during the race telecasts.
ESPN2 is planning special editions of NASCAR Now to air on the day of all Nextel Cup races, starting with the Daytona 500. A race preview show will air at 11am/et on race day, with a post-race edition to run on ESPN2 in the evening following the event. NASCAR Now and NASCAR Countdown will be produced under the leadership of ESPN Senior Vice President/Managing Editor of Studio Production Mark Gross, Vice President of Studio Production Mike McQuade and Senior Coordinating Producer Jack Obringer.
ESPN’s comprehensive coverage also will extend to its new media platforms, with extensive coverage on ESPN.com – the leading online sports destination that reaches as many as 20 million fans per month. Among the many features will be a weekly Monday Rundown, Wallace’s weekly Rusty Nails It column and regularly updated Nextel Cup Power Rankings. In addition, ESPN.com will continue to collaborate with the popular Jayski’s Silly Season Site that features news, rumors and commentary on the happenings in NASCAR. Additionally, ESPN Motion, ESPN360 and the ESPN PodCenter will deliver comprehensive multimedia race coverage including select live video, on-demand online video and podcasts.
Also in 2007, ESPN Deportes will become the Spanish-language home of NASCAR, highlighted by a special onsite presentation of the NASCAR Busch Series race from Mexico City in March. ESPN Deportes’ NASCAR commentator team will feature Andrés Agulla (play-by-play) and Alex Pombo (analysis). ESPN and ABC will have comprehensive, multi-platform coverage featuring telecasts of the final 17 Nextel Cup races including the 10-race “Chase for the Nextel Cup” championship on ABC. Additionally, ESPN2 will be the home of the NASCAR Busch Series all season. ESPN aired 262 NASCAR Cup Races over a 20-year period starting in 1981. The network’s award-winning, live flag-to-flag coverage on ESPN was honored with 17 Sports Emmy Awards, as well as many industry honors. It is widely credited for helping to popularize the sport nationwide. ESPN2 is seen in 91.7 million homes, virtually equal to ESPN’s 92.3. NASCAR races have appeared on ABC for decades, beginning with broadcasts on the award-winning Wide World of Sports program in the 1960s.(ESPN PR), see Talent/Production Briefs on my TV/Media News Page.(10-12-2006)
- Busch’s time disallowed: Kurt Busch qualified third [at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500], but his #2 Dodge was later disqualified because his right rear shock did not meet NASCAR specifications. He will now start 42nd.(Associated Press)(10-12-2006)
UPDATE: A NASCAR spokesperson confirmed Friday that the sanctioning body has taken possession of the right rear shock from the #2 Dodge driven by Kurt Busch on Thursday night. Busch qualified in the second spot, but NASCAR’s post-qualifying inspection found that the right rear shock would not bounce back. Because of that, NASCAR officials ruled that the car did not meet specifications, disqualified the time and forced the team to take a provisional. Busch will start 42nd Saturday. Roy McCauley, crew chief for the No. 2, said Friday that he believes the problem was a simple mechanical breakdown. “NASCAR is right, there was a problem with it,” McCauley said. “Right now, I believe it was an equipment malfunction or failure. We got loose in qualifying and we were expecting to be tight, so I think that at some point during the run the shock must have failed. I don’t fault NASCAR one bit (for taking the shock). It wasn’t right, but obviously we wouldn’t put it on the car like that. We’ve just got to move past it and move on.” NASCAR officials remained skeptical, however, and a spokesperson indicated that penalties could be forthcoming.(Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)(10-14-2006)
- Riggs wins pole at Charlotte: #10-Scott Riggs won the Budweiser Pole for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a speed of 191.469mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 3rd of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #9-Kahne, followed by #42-Mears, #19-Sadler, #29-Harvick, #31-Burton, #6-Martin, #07-Bowyer, #41-Sorenson and #48-Johnson. #24-Gordon had a bad night qualifying and was just slow, will start 41st. #8-Earnhardt Jr. qualified 16th. #2-Kurt Busch’s time was disallowed after post-qualifying inspection, he has qualified 3rd [189.713mph]
The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #4-Bodine, #49-Bliss, #55-Waltrip, #72-Skinner, #45-Petty, #06-Kluever, #32-Kvapil and #44-Terry Labonte [using a past champions provisional]. Missing the race were: #83-Bill Elliott [couldn’t use past champions provisional as Labonte used it and wasn’t fast enough], #34-Lepage, #74-Cope, #61-Chaffin, #00-Sadler, #27-Shelmerdine, #89-Shepherd [didn’t take a lap], #78-Wallace [wrecked on 1st lap] and #46-Long [wrecked on 1st lap]. See starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression on the Charlotte Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(10-12-2006)
- Where do the Chasers start at Charlotte [order of current points standings]:
#31-Burton starts 6th
#8-Earnhardt Jr. 16th
- Ramblings – Charlotte Qualifying Notes: Scott Riggs took the Bud Pole tonight at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for Saturday’s Bank of America 500….and it’s a sweeper for the driver of the #10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge. His other pole this season came here in May, and this is the third top-spot of his NEXTEL Cup career. Teammate Kasey Kahne will join him on the front row.
Casey Mears (4th – 3rd after Busch’s DQ) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd at Richmond in May.
Welcome Back Todd Bodine (14th). This is his first start of the season and his best starting spot since he timed in 7th at Atlanta in October of 2003.
The Trouble Train included Bill Elliott) Kevin Lepage, Derrike Cope, Chad Chaffin, Hermie Sadler, Kirk Shelmerdine, Carl Long (crashed), Kenny Wallace (crashed), and Morgan Shepherd (dns).
With a tight “Chase”, we’ve got four Chasers in the Top-6 and six in the Top-12. If last week can be a guage, NBC should rename their “Through the Field” to “Through the Chase”….the one time they tried all they covered were the Chasers. Ah, those other guys just get in the way anyway!(Stock Car Fans)(10-12-2006)
- Charlotte Qualifying Notes:
• Scott Riggs won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Bank of America 500, lapping Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 28.203 seconds at 191.469 mph. Elliott Sadler holds the track-qualifying record of 27.948 seconds, 193.216 mph – set Oct. 13, 2005.
• This is Riggs’ third career Bud Pole in 101 Nextel Cup Series races.
• This is his second Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in 2006. He became the seventh repeat Bud Pole winner in 2006. Kurt Busch (five), Kasey Kahne (five), Jeff Burton (four), Denny Hamlin (three), Greg Biffle (two) and Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
• This is Riggs’ first Bud Pole and third top-10 start in six Nextel Cup Series races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, including both Bud Poles this season. He also won the pole for the NEXTEL Open here in May.
• Riggs became the first drive to sweep both Bud Poles in a season at Lowe’s Motor Speedway since Ryan Newman (2003).
• Kasey Kahne posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 28.392 seconds, 190.194 mph – and will join Riggs on the front row for the Bank of America 500 and joined Riggs in an all-Evernham Motorsports front row. Kahne has started from the top-10 in four of his six races at Charlotte.
• This is the 14th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has five. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• Casey Mears (third) has started from the top-10 in three of his eight races at Lowe’s.
• Elliott Sadler (fourth) has nine top-10 starts in his 17 races at Lowe’s, including eight of the past 10 races.
• Kevin Harvick (third) has started from the top-10 in three of his eight races at Lowe’s.
• Five of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Kahne, Harvick (fifth), Jeff Burton (sixth), Mark Martin (seventh) and Jimmie Johnson (10th). Matt Kenseth (11th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (16th), Kyle Busch (18th), Denny Hamlin (22nd) and Jeff Gordon (41st) are the other Chase drivers. This is Gordon’s career-worst starting position.
• Todd Bodine (14th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
• Mike Skinner (29th) qualified for his third Nextel Cup race this season – all for a different owner. He put the #72 in the race for the owner Bryan Mullet’s second Nextel Cup race. David Gilliland finished 32nd in the car at Sonoma. Skinner has also raced for Brad Jenkins in the #34 (Michigan) and for John Carter (Indianapolis) in the #37 this season.
• Kurt Busch’s time was disallowed after post-qualifying inspection. Busch will start 42nd in the Bank of America 500.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(10-12-2006)
- Fuel Cells at LMS smaller: Nextel Cup teams again will use the 13.8-gallon fuel cell this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The cells, which hold about eight gallons less than normal fuel cells, were used there in May because of tire concerns with the repaved track. A smaller fuel cell means fewer laps between pit stops and more chances to change tires.(Roanoke Times)(10-12-2006)
- M&M’s teams up with Sam’s Club on the #38 at LMS: The M&M’S #38 Ford Fusion will sport a special paint scheme this weekend promoting its partnership with Sam’s Club, one of the nation’s largest warehouse chains, in Saturday’s Bank of America 400. Joining Sam’s Club in its Nextel Cup Series debut is M&M’S driver David Gilliland, who will make his first career start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Saturday’s race marks our first involvement in NASCAR and we are very proud to be partnered with the M&M’S Team,” said Mark Goodman, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Membership and E-commerce for Sam’s Club. “We all look forward to watching the M&M’S/Sam’s Club Ford under the lights in Charlotte as well as having David visit our Kannapolis, N.C. Club to meet our members as we get ready for a great weekend of racing.”(Elevation Group PR)(10-12-2006)
- MB2 Signs Motocross Champion Carmichael: Ricky Carmichael, considered the greatest motocross racer of all time, is moving to NASCAR. He will join the Bobby Ginn-owned MB2 Motorsports operation, which fields [#01,#13, #14] Nextel Cup teams for Joe Nemechek and Sterling Marlin. Carmichael, a 15-time American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) national champion and holder of a record 144 career wins in Supercross and motocross, agreed to a multi-year contract with MB2, starting with the 2007 season. Jay Frye, CEO and general manager of MB2, said that Carmichael will compete in a developmental program next year that will include a combination of approximately 15 events in late model stock cars, ARCA and possibly the Craftsman Truck Series. Frye added that Carmichael’s MB2 program will be accelerated in 2008. “There were other teams showing interest in Ricky and we are thrilled that he decided to join MB2,” said Ginn, who purchased majority interest in MB2 in July. “He brings to MB2 many intangible qualities which have made him one of the great champions in all of motorsports.” “What’s even more remarkable is that he achieved a legendary record and is still in the prime of his racing career,” Ginn added. “He has both the physical and mental skills to make a successful transition from two wheels to four wheels.” Carmichael, 26, is also planning to run an abbreviated Supercross and motocross schedule next year with Team Makita Suzuki Racing. “To race in NASCAR has always been a dream of mine,” said Carmichael. “This is a new challenge and I have no illusions that the transition will be easy. I truly understand the difficulties that are ahead. But I am committed to do whatever it takes to eventually make it to the Cup series.” Carmichael, who was born in Clearwater, Fla. and currently resides in Tallahassee, Fla., announced earlier in the year that 2006 would be his final full-time season competing in Supercross and motocross. “I am excited about joining MB2,” Carmichael added. “After talking to Bobby (Ginn) it was evident to me that this is an organization with a strong commitment to compete at an elite level. It’s a good fit and I can’t wait to get started.” Since joining the AMA Motocross circuit full time in 1997, Carmichael has never lost an outdoor championship. He won three straight 125cc championships followed by seven consecutive 250cc titles. His record also includes five indoor AMA Supercross championships. The 2006 season was the fifth time that Carmichael captured the double — winning both the AMA Supercross and Motocross championships in the same year. Next closest to Carmichael’s 144 career victories is Jeremy McGrath’s 89 overall wins. Regarding his exit from full-time AMA competition, Carmichael said, “I plan to always ride some events in Supercross and motocross. The sport has been very good to me over the years.” Carmichael is competing in this weekend’s Supercross event in Las Vegas – the Rock Star Energy Drink U.S. Open.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(10-12-2006)
- Spencer and ‘the Shy One’ return to SPEED in 2007: NASCAR veterans Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace will continue sharing their wit and wisdom with SPEED viewers, signing new multi-year deals to continue their roles on the popular NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane. “It’s great to be able to keep the team together,” said Chris Long, SPEED VP of Studio Production. “With the signing of John (Roberts) and Wendy (Venturini) earlier this summer, we’ve taken measures to ensure our viewers will continue to be the most well-informed NASCAR fans in the country. These guys have a lot of fun together and their chemistry is magical — something every network hopes to capture.” The new pre- and post-race formats continue to be a hit with fans, as NASCAR RaceDay ratings are up 17 percent from last year, and NASCAR Victory Lane ratings are up six percent.
“This show has really been adapted to fit the fans,” Spencer said. “We really try hard to cut through all of the stories that come out in press releases and tell the fans the real stories behind what’s going on in NASCAR. I’m happy to be staying with SPEED and I’m excited about being a part of the growth of this show … it doesn’t get better than working with John, Kenny, Wendy and Bobby Dillner.”
“I’ve had so much fun doing NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane that I could not pass up the opportunity given to me by SPEED,” Wallace said. “SPEED has become a part of who I am and what I am known for over the last three years. I am very thankful for the opportunity that has been given to me and I hope that the fans continue to have fun and support all of the wonderful SPEED shows.” This week’s NASCAR RaceDay from Charlotte will feature a “Real Deal” interview with NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick.(Speedtv.com)(10-12-2006)
- Happy 100th: Kitty Allison, mother of former NASCAR drivers Bobby and Donnie Allison and grandmother of former late Cup driver Davey Allison, turns 100 years old today.(10-12-2006)
- Nextel’s Donahue to retire: Sprint Nextel announced that executive chairman Tim Donahue will retire at the end of the year. Donahue played a key role in Nextel becoming the series sponsor.(Roanoke Times)(10-12-2006)
- Nadeau to Instruct at Charlotte Endurance Karting Event: On Nov. 10, former NASCAR Cup Series driver Jerry Nadeau will instruct in Endurance Kartings Race School at Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord. Nadeau made 177 starts in NASCARs premier series, capturing one win, nine top-five finishes and 19 top-10 finishes. He drove for some of NASCAR’s top teams including Petty Enterprises and Hendrick Motorsports. Before his NASCAR Cup Series career began in 1997, Nadeau excelled in other racing series. The Danbury, Conn., driver began racing go-karts at age four and finished second in a kart race on ice at St. Petersburg, Russia in 1992. He was the World Karting Association Gold Cup Champion for three years (1988 to 1990), and he captured the WKA Grand National title in 1991. Nadeaus other accolades include Skip Barber Eastern Series Rookie of the Year (1991) and the highest-finishing American (sixth) in the 1996 Formula Opel European Series circuit. “We are thrilled to have Jerry instruct for us at Charlotte,” said Endurance Karting President Johan Schwartz. “He had a wealth of racing experience, so learning from someone with his talent will be a great experience for our students, and something they wont forget. Registration for the Race School begins at 7:30 a.m., Nov. 10. Nadeau and the other talented Endurance Karting instructors will teach students both in the classroom and on the track in an exciting learning environment. Only a few openings remain in the Race School, so interested drivers should register as soon as possible. To register for or learn more about the events in Charlotte or West Palm, call Endurance Karting toll-free at 1-866-RACE-NOW or visit www.EnduranceKarting.com.(PR)(10-12-2006)
- Montoya Scheduled to Test Nextel Cup Car in Homestead: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today it plans to have Juan Pablo Montoya test one of the team’s Nextel Cup Series Dodge Chargers at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) on Oct. 17-18. The HMS test is the final session of the NASCAR-determined testing schedule for 2006. Montoya’s CGRFS teammates #42-Casey Mears (Oct. 16-17), #41-Reed Sorenson (Oct. 16-17) and #40-David Stremme (Oct. 17-18) will also be testing at the 1.5-mile speedway in preparation for the NEXTEL Cup Series season finale on Nov. 19. “I’m excited to get some more laps in the NEXTEL Cup car,” said Montoya. “All of my testing so far has been extremely beneficial, but obviously this will be one of the most important as we prepare to compete full time in the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in 2007. This will be my first test with all my teammates present and I look forward to their assistance and feedback.”(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-12-2006)
- Different colors for Nemechek at LMS; heads to Guantanamo Bay on Sunday: Unlike his racing buddies, Joe Nemechek’s weekend duties will not end with Saturday night’s Nextel Cup event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte. While Nemechek will be decked out in different colors for the Bank of America 500, driving the #01 CENTRIX Financial Chevy for MB2 Motorsports, it won’t take him long to return to military mode as the driver of the U.S Army NASCAR entry. Early Sunday morning, Nemechek and a small entourage — including his mother Martha Nemechek — will jet to Guantanamo Bay to visit troops on behalf of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(10-12-2006)
- #66 Best Buy “HD Done Right” Chevy at LMS: The #66 entry is displaying a different paint design this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Best Buy, which has been the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet in a number of events this season, is promoting its expertise in the area of high-definition (HD) televisions and home theaters with the pledge, “HD Done Right.” The pledge, along with the yellow Best Buy tag logo, will appear on the hood of the #66 entry this weekend.(GMR Marketing PR), see am image of the scheme on the #66 Team Schemes page.(10-12-2006)
- Lepage to finish season with Frontrow Motorsports: Kevin Lepage will be finishing the 2006 Nextel Cup season in the #34 Chevy for Front Row Motorsports. Lepage joined Front Row Motorsports last week and is looking forward to driving the rest of the season with his new team.(Integrated Marketing Solutions PR)(10-12-2006)
News from October 11, 2006
- PRN Radio Coverage Returns at LMS: The Performance Racing Network [PRN] is gearing up their coverage of the Chase for the Nextel Cup by adding additional on-air talent to cover the upcoming Nextel Cup events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. “Race fans rely on PRN for the ultimate in racing action,” said PRN president Doug Rice. “We don’t want them to miss a minute of the on-track excitement, so we are adding a fourth pit reporter at all of the Chase races PRN broadcasts to make sure race fans hear the complete story. The addition of a fourth pit reporter will allow PRN to dedicate one person to cover the garage area and infield medical center while keeping our full complement of reporters on pit road. The story of who’s out of the race is often times the biggest story of the moment and sometimes the entire race.” Joining the PRN crew on select events will be John Roberts of SpeedTV, Sean Pragano of FSN and Brad Gillie of Texas Motor Speedway Total Access.
The next PRN broadcasts will originate from Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500 weekend:
Thursday October 12: Nextel Cup Qualifying at 7:00pm/et
Friday October 13: Dollar General 300 NBS at 7:15pm/et
Saturday October 14: Bank of America 500 at 6:00pm/et
Describing all the action from Lowe’s Motor Speedway will be co-anchors Doug Rice and Mark Garrow, pit reporters, Steve Richards, Brad Gillie, Brett McMillan, and Pat Patterson plus turn announcers Chuck Carland and Rob Albright. The broadcast director is Alicia Lingerfeldt and the technical director is Harrill Hamrick. The flagship station in Charlotte for all the action from Lowe’s Motor Speedway is WSOC-FM 103.7. PRN Nextel Cup broadcasts are heard on over 465 stations nationwide, XM Satellite Radio and NASCAR.com.(Performance Racing Network), PRN will also cover races at Atlanta and Texas.(10-11-2006)
- Ragan named to drive the #6 AAA Ford in 2007: Roush Racing today announced that David Ragan will be the full-time driver of the team’s flagship #6 AAA Ford Fusion in 2007. The #6 has been the foundation of the Roush Racing stable, dating back to Jack Roush’s beginning into NASCAR’s premier series in 1988. “We are very pleased to have David Ragan going into the #6 AAA Ford Fusion next season,” said Jack Roush. “David is a driver with outstanding talent and as a result of his actions he is the young man I selected to fill the seat. The #6 is obviously a special car to me personally and this organization and we are confident in David’s ability to step up and get the job done.” Ragan currently shares the #6 Scotts Ford with Mark Martin [in the Truck Series] and also pilots the #50 Roush Racing Ford [in the Truck Series]. Ragan started his first career Nextel Cup race at Dover three weeks ago. He is set to make four more starts in the Nextel Cup Series in 2006 and will make his first start in the #6 AAA Ford in next season’s famed Daytona 500. “This is a tremendous opportunity and I look forward to racing on behalf of AAA’s millions of loyal members in 2007. Obviously, I’ve got big shoes to fill and quite a legacy to follow, but I look forward to the challenge and the next chapter of the #6 race team,” said Ragan. “AAA has great confidence in Jack Roush and his entire organization, including their selection of David Ragan as the promising new driver of the #6 AAA car,” said Kristin Warfield, director AAA Motorsports. We look forward to cheering David on as he competes in Nextel Cup racing for the first time, and to introducing him to our members and other race fans at tracks and special appearances throughout the coming year.” Ragan has one pole and six top-10 finishes in 15 starts in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2006. He will make his next Cup start at Martinsville Speedway on October 22nd.(Roush Racing PR)(10-11-2006)
- #31 Pit Crew to be honored: The #31 Team Cingular pit crew will be awarded Mechanix Wear’s third quarter ‘Most Valuable Pit Crew Award’ during the Bank of America 500 pre-race ceremonies. The award was voted on by the NASCAR Cup Series crew chiefs. An outstanding pit crew is selected each quarter of the season and one of the quarterly winners will be chosen as the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew at season end and awarded $75,000.(RCR PR)(10-11-2006)
- RCR Cars to carry special sticker: Each of the three RCR Cup Series entries [#07, #29, #31] will carry a Down Syndrome Awareness Month decal this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals born with this genetic condition. The Down syndrome community has been celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month each October since 1981.(RCR PR)(10-11-2006)
- DW and Wilson to be honored tonight: Three-time Cup Champion, Darrell Waltrip and engine-builder and crew chief Waddell Wilson [Golden Wrench Award] will be honored by the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Charles Mack Center in Mooresville, NC on Wednesday, October 11th.(10-11-2006)
- Vickers’ Team Earns Pit Crew Win at Talladega: It was a double victory for Brian Vickers’ #25 team Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Not only did the Hendrick Motorsports driver capture his first career Nextel Cup victory, the #25 over-the-wall crew also claimed its second win of the season in the weekly Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge. Vickers’ GMAC Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road (247.112 seconds) to take top honors during the 188-lap, 500-mile race. “Having good pit stops at superspeedways are important because you always try to maintain contact with those cars you pit with in order to have a drafting partner when you leave,” said crew chief Lance McGrew. “I’m really proud of the guys on the GMAC Racing team for their efforts on Sunday. Over the past several weeks, they’ve turned it up a notch which has helped us get some good finishes.” The #25 pit crew will be awarded with the weekly $10,500 prize. In addition, Checkers/Rally’s will also present the crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule with a $100,500 bonus.
Vickers’ over-the-wall crew is made up of: Mike Moore (jackman), Jake Brzozowski (front-tire carrier), Tony Hamm (front-tire changer), Matt Myers (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Fabian (rear-tire changer), Chris Fasulka (gasman), Chris Hamilton (catch can) and Jim Jenkins (windshield). The pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin. With six races remaining on the Nextel Cup Schedule, the pit crews of Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart lead the standings with four wins each. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $315,000 in Nextel Cup Series prize money during this season. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(10-11-2006)
- Bugles and Books for the #43 at LMS: This weekend, Bobby Labonte, will be running the #43 Bugles Dodge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Labonte has not finished worse than 17th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway since 1999. Labonte continues the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories “Race for Books!” this weekend. Labonte has earned over 45,000 books so far this season. For every lap that Labonte completes the rest of the season, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories will donate 43 books to children in need through nonprofit partner First Book. You can log onto www.firstbook.org to see the Bookometer updated weekly.(Petty Racing PR)(10-11-2006)
- #41 to carry Lysol decals at LMS: The Lysol logo will adorn the upper-rear quarter panels of the red and white #41 Target Dodge that Reed Sorenson this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Lysol Brand surface and air sanitizer products are manufactured and distributed by Reckitt Benckiser, No. 1 in household cleaning.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-11-2006)
- Kahne to run blue scheme at LMS: Kasey Kahne will be running a special paint scheme this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on his #9 Dodge Charger which will be painted with Blue Camouflage and Mopar’s signature “M” on the hood.(Clear!Blue PR), see an image on the #9 Team Schemes page.(10-11-2006)
- Carhartt colors for the #17 at LMS: Matt Kenseth and the #17 team will be flying the Carhartt colors this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the third and final time in 2006.(Roush Racing PR), see an image on the #17 Team Schemes page.(10-11-2006)
- Dale Jr. and Gordon featured in Wind Tunnel: SPEED expects the phones to light up on Sunday, Oct.22 as four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon co-hosts Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm/et. Despain and Gordon’s featured interview will be with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.(10-11-2006)
- MWR announcement Tuesday? UPDATE Reutimann named #00 Driver: hearing that David Reutimann will be announced on Tuesday as the driver of the #00 Burger King/Dominos Pizza Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota for the 2007 season.(10-9-2006)
UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced today that current Truck Series driver [#17] David Reutimann completes the 2007 Nextel Cup Series lineup for the organization. Reutimann will become the full-time driver of the #00 Toyota Camry co-sponsored by Burger King Corporation and Domino’s Pizza in 2007. “David’s competitive spirit, proven on track performance and verve for racing made David our top choice for the #00 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Toyota,” said car owner Michael Waltrip. “Dale Jarrett and I both feel strongly that David is the ideal candidate to cap off our driver line up. Like my and Dale’s backgrounds, David appreciates coming from a deep-rooted and well respected racing heritage. It is my privilege to welcome him into the top NASCAR series. I know everyone at Domino’s and Burger King Corporation will be pleased with what David can do on and off the race track.” To become a Nextel Cup Series competitor always has been a dream of the Zephyrhills-Fla., native, whose family has a deep-rooted racing history and ironically has a last name synonymous with the “00” number. “In my wildest dreams I couldn’t come up with a scenario that would have put me driving a ‘00’ car especially with great sponsors like Burger King Corporation and Domino’s in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series,” Reutimann said. “I always thought how cool it would be to drive a car with my family number in the top series in the world, but what are the chances that would happen. It’s right here in front of me. My grandfather, my father, my uncle and my cousins have all raced a car with the ‘00’ number. It’s our family number and if you’re a Reutimann that’s the number you race. I can’t describe it. It’s just such a great feeling. It’s surreal and a thrill not only for me, but for my entire family.”
Reutimann and Domino’s Pizza will kick off the 2007 season at Daytona International Speedway. Following the Daytona 500, Domino’s will continue as the primary sponsor of the #00 Toyota Camry through the May race at Darlington Raceway. A Domino’s paint scheme will also be carried on the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing entry in the August Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Domino’s will deliver its final five races during the Chase for the Nextel Cup Series championship. Domino’s welcomes Reutimann as he competes for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. “We’re thrilled to welcome David into the Domino’s family and to be a part of the team that is bringing him into the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,” said David Brandon, CEO of Domino’s Pizza. “His unbridled passion, strong work ethic, and dedication to delivering his best performance each and every week reflects the core values of Domino’s franchisees and our team members. We’re looking forward to our mutual success in 2007.”
Reutimann and the #00 Burger King Toyota Camry will take to the track Memorial Day weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, and cap off the regular season under the lights at Richmond International Raceway. Five Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, including the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will feature the Burger King paint scheme. Burger King Corporation is looking forward to having the rookie don their colors in Victory Lane. In addition to running full-time in the Nextel Cup Series, Reutimann will also pilot the #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the Busch Series and race the entire schedule.(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(10-10-2006)
- Final stage of the GM Racing Development at Nashville: The final stage of the three-stage GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, October 10-11, 2006 at Nashville Superspeedway (NSS). The 10 drivers invited to participate will be driving Richard Childress Racing (RCR) NASCAR Busch Series cars. The GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation program was designed to provide opportunities for both the drivers and the teams to connect if an opening exists in someone’s driver roster. All Chevrolet teams have been invited to attend and observe the drivers throughout the three stages. GM Racing engineers along with Pratt-Miller staff members have been charged with accurately gathering data for review by Chevy team representatives. Of the 16 original drivers invited to Stages I and II, Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Lagano, Tim McCreadie and Jason Sarvis will be showcasing their talent before representatives of Chevy NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series teams.(GM Racing PR)(10-11-2006)
News from October 10, 2006
- Overnight Talladega TV ratings fall 6.5%: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday’s UAW-Ford 500 Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway drew an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.3 and a 9 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating was 6.5% lower than the 4.6/9 NBC earned overnight last year, when the Talladega race was run a week earlier, prior to the Kansas race.(SceneDaily.com), see past TV Ratings and news on my 2006 TV Ratings Page.(10-10-2006)
- Why did Dale Jr. and Johnson finish where they did at Talladega? The field is frozen so the drivers won’t race back to the flag. If you’re involved in an accident and cannot maintain the speed of the field, then you will be passed, lapped and lose positions. You’ve got to be able to maintain speed. You can be involved in the wreck, but as long as you’re maintaining pace-lap speed, you can hold your place. Earnhardt and Johnson could not maintain that speed. Even if they had picked up their speed after getting spun out, the cars that passed them would have been scored ahead of them.(Jeff Hammond/FoxSports)
AND Although Earnhardt was still the leader when the caution flew, NASCAR made the right call and the finishing order stands, Kerry Tharpe, NASCAR’s director of communications for competition, said Monday after conferring with NASCAR officials in Daytona. Tharp was at Talladega Monday for a testing session for NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow. Tharp said the caution flag flew “instantaneously” when the wreck began and the field was frozen at that point, but NASCAR rules require drivers to complete the lap to be credited with the lap. Earnhardt did that, he explained, but NASCAR rules also say that the driver must complete the lap “at a reasonable speed” and NASCAR officials had made a judgment call that Earnhardt had not done that.(Alabama Live)(10-10-2006)
- Thomas named new crew chief for Hall of Fame Racing: Brandon Thomas will serve as crew chief of the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy driven by Tony Raines beginning with the Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials from Hall of Fame Racing announced today. Philippe Lopez, who has served as crew chief for the first 30 races of the season, will now concentrate full-time on his duties as competition director for Hall of Fame Racing. “We’ve had this plan in place since the beginning of the season,” said Bill Saunders, managing partner of Hall of Fame Racing. “At some point in the near future we want to expand to two cars, move into a bigger shop and continue to put together an elite Nextel Cup team. Philippe was doing a fantastic job, not only serving as crew chief, but also as competition director. We’re excited to bring Brandon in so that he can concentrate fully on being a crew chief and Philippe can concentrate solely on being competition director to further Hall of Fame Racing’s growth.” Thomas comes to Hall of Fame Racing from Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) where he’s been employed since 2003. JGR supplies cars, engines and technical support to Hall of Fame Racing, which is owned by Hall of Fame NFL quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, as well as Saunders. Raines and Thomas will work together for the final six races of the 2006 season before gearing up for the 2007 season.(Hall of Fame Racing/True Speed Communication PR)(10-10-2006)
- Rudd to run 16 races for Wyler in 2007? UPDATE: Ricky Rudd is on the verge of running a part-time schedule next season. David Wyler, president of Wyler Racing, told me [Dustin Long] Saturday at Talladega that provided the team can find sponsorship — which he is confident they will — Rudd will drive in 16 races for the Toyota team. Efforts to reach Rudd on Saturday were unsuccessful. Those 16 races would be events with NASCAR’s car of tomorrow, a boxier car that is supposed to provide more driver safety and balance the competition by making the cars similar (think IROC). The car will race at such tracks as Richmond, Martinsville, Dover, Watkins Glen and Infineon — places Rudd has won often in his career. Rudd is scheduled to drive for the team in a car of tomorrow test Monday at Talladega and also drive the car in a test at Homestead Oct. 16-18. Wyler says Rudd is ready to return based on a few visits to the team’s race shop.(HamptonRoads.com/Roanoke Times)(10-8-2006)
UPDATE: Ricky Rudd might have had enough time out of a race car that he could get back into it for a partial schedule in 2007. Rudd tested a “car of tomorrow” Monday for [#46] Wyler Racing at Talladega Superspeedway. He could run the 16-race COT schedule for the team next season. “David [Wyler] wants to run a lot of the car-of-tomorrow events next year, and I guess Toyota is supporting them pretty good on the engineering side,” Rudd said before the test session. “It sounds like something I would be interested in. I’ve got a lot of things that I’m thinking of and don’t really know what I’m going to do next year. He’s going to go racing if he can make it happen. “I said, ‘Get everything put together and run it by me when you get the financial support to do it, and we’ll go from there.'” Until he gets that, the 50-year-old Rudd says he isn’t committed to the ride. He said he would like to have things done in the next few weeks. The car of tomorrow intrigues Rudd, as does the possibility of working with veteran crew chief Tony Furr. Rudd said working with the new car, Toyota and limited schedule is what makes the Wyler offer attractive. As far as other offers go, Rudd said he doesn’t want to do a full schedule. He said he has not talked with his former employer, Robert Yates Racing, about driving the #88 car next season. “They’ve called me. I’ve called them back, and we missed each other,” Rudd said. “[It was] about 30 days ago. We actually have never had a conversation. … It’s really confusing. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do really. The longer I’ve been away from it …, I’m sort of detoxing a little bit.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-10-2006)
- Dale Earnhardt inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame: Black ties, gowns and some of the biggest names in the automotive business recently gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Detroit for a very special reason. Seven people were inducted into this year’s Automotive Hall of Fame; and Dale Earnhardt was one of them. Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR Cup champion, was honored for his contributions to the automotive business on and off the race track. With 76 Cup victories to his credit, Earnhardt was also recognized for the work he did for Chevrolet and Ford. In addition to garnering wins and notoriety behind the wheel of the #3 Chevrolet, he also contributed to the automotive business by owning a Chevrolet dealership in Newton, NC. Also honored were Bill France, Jr., NASCAR, Wayne Huizenga, founder of AutoNation; Nuccio Bertone, Italian designer; Shojiro Ishibashi, founder of Bridgestone Corporation; Arjay Miller, Ford Motor Co. and Bruno Sacco, Mercedes-Benz designer. Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., accepted the award on Dale’s behalf. “Dale didn’t just race cars, he loved everything about cars – from their raw steel cage, to their performance,” Ms Earnhardt said. “His need for speed, and championship drive, was a winning combination with American manufacturers Chevrolet and Ford. He was so very proud to wear the Chevy Bowtie emblem for all seven of his NASCAR Cup championships. He was also proud of the relationships he built with many of the people in the automotive business. Dale’s legendary achievements continue to inspire the sport’s new competitors and fans alike. Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the company we founded, continues his championship drive.” In 2002, Ms. Earnhardt announced the Dale Earnhardt Foundation to continue the ideals and beliefs Dale carried with him during his lifetime.(DEI PR)(10-10-2006)
- Bruton Smith Assigns Extra Security to Assist Brian Vickers during Bank of America 500 Week: In the aftermath of the controversial finish Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway Chairman Bruton Smith has assigned extra security for driver Brian Vickers during this week’s Bank of America 500 activities at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Monday, the speedway ticket office was inundated with calls from race fans [idiots?] angry about the finish in which Vickers initiated a wreck that took out race leader Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and second-place Jimmie Johnson on the final lap. “We want to make sure Brian has an uninterrupted weekend here and that he is able focus on his driving duties,” Smith said. “We will offer security escorts in and out of the speedway and anywhere he feels he needs our assistance. We’ve done this in the past as well, I think the last time was for Rusty (Wallace) when he knocked Darrell (Waltrip) out of the way to win the all-star race back in 1989. We added security at his house and track the week of the Coca-Cola 600.” Tickets are still available for all events and can be purchased by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(10-10-2006)
- Talladega COT test UPDATE 2, IMAGES: October 9th at Talladega Superspeedway, so far scheduled drivers are #10-Riggs, #66-Green, Ricky Rudd for Wyler Racing, #16-Biffle, #99-Edwards, #01-Nemechek, #42-Juan Montoya, #07-Bowyer, #48-Johnson, Mike Skinner for Red Bull Racing, Kerry Earnhardt for DEI and NASCAR’s Brett Bodine. Supposedly 12/14 teams/drivers will test the COT [Car of Tomorrow].(10-4/6-2006)
UPDATE: NASCAR plans to bring eight sets of restrictor plates, and some could have holes as big as 1-inch in diameter (the current holes are 57/64-inch in diameter), when teams test the “car of tomorrow” Monday [Oct 9th] at Talladega Superspeedway. By instituting a gear rule for restrictor-plate engines (there is no current gear rule) and utilizing the car of tomorrow’s increased drag, NASCAR could allow more air to flow through the engines. The first restrictor-plate car of tomorrow race is scheduled for October 2007 at Talladega. “Because it is different than our downforce tests which we’ve done, we’re going to go [and ask teams] to put this plate on with this gear,” NASCAR Director of Cost Research Brett Bodine said. “We’re going to be able to zero in pretty quick on the package.” Ten teams plan on attending the test at Talladega: Richard Childress Racing (Clint Bowyer), Roush Racing (Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray), Hendrick Motorsports (Jimmie Johnson), Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs), MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek), Haas CNC Racing (Jeff Green), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (Kerry Earnhardt), Team Red Bull (Mike Skinner), Wyler Racing (Ricky Rudd) and Chip Ganassi Racing (Juan Pablo Montoya). Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing South, Robert Yates Racing and Petty Enterprises are among the teams planning on skipping the test.(SceneDaily.com)(10-7-2006)
UPDATE: Impressions of the COT:
Greg Biffle: “I thought it would drive different or feel different. It looks different. It looks like you could still get in and out of the car with the window net up. It has a big opening that kind of messes with you a little bit. There are not frills about it. It’s really the same as yesterday, or really feels like it. It started out really slow. They’ve obviously put a bigger and bigger restrictor plate on it. They’ve done a few things to make a little bit of speed. But that’s about it, especially by ourselves. We might learn a little bit more when we get out there with a group, what they drive like around each other. I have driven the trucks and I am sure it is just going to be a lot like that.”
Jamie McMurray: “The racetrack with the repaving job has so much grip, I don’t know that we had to put tires on. Today these cars would drive better even if the racetrack was slick because they have such bigger fenders and with the splitter on the front, they are going to have more downforce. I am like Greg, they are pretty slow. My first lap out on the track today was five seconds a lap slower than what we ran yesterday. They have had to give us bigger plates and it is getting better but they are still pretty slow. So hopefully they’ll give us some more speed where it is a little more fun to drive.”(TSS PR)
AND Thirteen teams worked on “cars of tomorrow” Monday morning as they began a test session at Talladega Superspeedway. Using restrictor plates with holes of 15/16ths of an inch in diameter (1/16th bigger than what was used in the Nextel Cup race Sunday at Talladega), drivers took to the track for their first restrictor-plate test of the new cars since Daytona in January. Those testing were Jimme Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports), Ricky Rudd (#46-Wyler Racing), Dave Blaney/Michael Waltrip (Michael Waltrip Racing), Jeff Green (Haas CNC Racing), Mike Skinner (Team Red Bull), Joe Nemechek (MB2 Motorsports), Juan Pablo Montoya (Chip Ganassi Racing), Scott Riggs (Evernham Motorsports), Kerry Earnhardt (Dale Earnhardt Inc.), Clint Bowyer (Richard Childress Racing), Carl Edwards (Roush Racing), Greg Biffle (Roush) and Jamie McMurray (Roush).(SceneDaily.com)(10-9-2006)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR searched for the right combination of restrictor plates and gear ratios during the one-day “car of tomorrow” (COT) test Monday at Talladega Superspeedway as they went from a plate with holes of 15/16ths of an inch in diameter to 1-inch versions. Teams raced with a seventh-eighths inch plate Sunday at Talladega. Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said the engines are much more like an engine used at Lowe’s Motor Speedway rather than a highly specialized restrictor-plate engine currently used at a restrictor-plate track such as Talladega. There had been no gear rule for restrictor-plate engines, but there will be one with the car of tomorrow. Darby confirmed the rear wings will be made by Crawford Composites and distributed by NASCAR. The front splitter, an adjustable shelf that sits underneath the front of the car, had been made of wood during earlier tests, but NASCAR has settled on a durable composite fiber that won’t splinter as much as wood or carbon fiber if it drags the ground. Thirteen cars took to the track for the test, which included single-car runs in the morning and early afternoons before heading into a drafting session. Teams also worked with bump stops, a rubber bumper on the shocks, which was outlawed years ago. McMurray said it will be cheaper and easier for teams to use different bump stops than the various expensive coil-binding spring packages used to manage handling.(SceneDaily.com)
IMAGES: see some images of the COT on my COT Image Page and mire images at RacingOne.(10-10-2006)
News from October 9, 2006
- Red Bull to debut at LMS UPDATE: Team Red Bull will make its racing debut next weekend with Bill Elliott at the wheel and its research and development manager Randy Cox serving as crew chief at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Cox, who most recently was a crew chief at ppc Racing and has previously worked with Chip Ganassi Racing, will serve as crew chief for the three races that Elliott will drive this year, said TRB General Manager Marty Gaunt while at Talladega Superspeedway. The car will be a Dodge as the team begins a three-race schedule to get ready for its Toyota debut in 2007. Brian Vickers will drive the #83 car next year with his teammate still to be announced. Gaunt said he hopes to have the second driver named within 30 days. “Everybody right now is in the candidate pool,” Gaunt said. “We haven’t found a second driver. We are still looking at everybody who is available out there who we can put in it. We haven’t ruled anybody out as of yet.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-7-2006)
UPDATE: There’s a new car on the track and NASCAR legend Bill Elliott is behind the wheel. Elliott will be driving the Victory Junction Gang #83 Dodge at the Bank of America 500 at Lowes Motor Speedway from October 12-14. Running the #83 entry is Team Red Bull, which is entering its first of three 2006 Nextel Cup races in preparation for the 2007 season. In addition to Elliott’s on-track driving duties, he’ll serve as the Grand Marshall at this year’s Ride to Victory IV, which takes place on Sunday, October 15. “There’s no better way to raise awareness and funds for the Victory Junction Gang than through two of my passions – racing and riding,” said Elliott, who will be make his 754th start. Team Red Bull, together with Elliott, plans to donate the team’s Charlotte race winnings and the #83 car and Elliott’s driver suit for auction. The auction will take place in November and Information can be found at www.nascar.com/foundation. On Sunday, October 15, the day following the Charlotte night race, Elliott leads the fourth annual Ride to Victory charity motorcycle ride that also benefits the Victory Junction Gang. The ride originates in Gastonia, NC, makes a pit stop in Mooresville for a tour of Team Red Bull race shop, then crosses the finish line at Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, NC. The ride will cover just over 100 miles and the event is $85 per person. All proceeds will benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp. Fans that will be coming in for the weekend are invited and encouraged to bring their bikes and join the Ride to Victory IV. Registration for the ride can be done online at www.kylepettycharityride.com(VJGC PR)(10-9-2006)
- MB2 to Ford? Martin part owner? UPDATE denied The LTN Radio Network reported today [Oct 8th] that Mark Martin’s long-term plans with MB2 Motorsports will include at least part ownership of the team. This ownership, combined with Martin’s long-term relationship with Ford, means the 3-car team will change to the “blue-oval” before Daytona 2007. The team will also include 2 Busch cars and 2 late models for a driver development program.(LTN Radio Network)(10-8-2006)
UPDATE: Bobby Ginn, Principal Owner of MB2 Motorsports talked with the media:
ON THE JAYSKI RUMOR ABOUT MOVING TO FORD:[um, wasn’t a Jayski rumor..but]
“No, I don’t think so. I have this theory that if you haven’t heard a good rumor by noon, just start one. And around here, it’s pretty easy to do something. Somebody says something and somebody gets it started and it’s pretty easy to spread. But we’re a Chevrolet team.”
DO YOU HAVE A SPONSOR FOR YOUR THIRD CAR OR IS THAT GOING TO BE YOUR COMPANY?
“If we don’t have a full sponsors, it’ll be the company.”
HAVE YOU DECIDED ON A TEAM NAME YET? “It’s going to be Ginn Racing next year. When we did it, NASCAR asked us not to change the name in mid-season, and that was fine. We’re going to market it under the brand we market our real estate and hospitality operations under.”
WHAT’S THE STATUS OF THE #14 NEXT YEAR?
“I think Waste Management is back. And we’ve got a couple of others that are close.”
IS THERE ANY TRUTH TO THE REPORT THAT YOU GUYS ARE LOOKING AT, OR HAVE ALREADY SIGNED A DEAL TO GO TO FORD NEXT YEAR AND THAT MARK MARTIN IS BUYING INTO PART OF THIS TEAM? “No.”
IS MARK MARTIN GOING TO HAVE ANY OWNERSHIP IN THE COMPANY?”#Mark wants to drive race cars. You go talk to him and he’ll tell you. He doesn’t want to worry about sponsors or endorsements or merchandise. He wants to drive race cars and help us build a race car team. That was the way we were able to accommodate him. He’s going to be a very important part of it – along with Sterling and Joe. We’ve got veteran drivers that have won a lot of races and have been around the track for a long time. We’re going to use those guys to help us build the organization.”(GM Racing PR)(10-9-2006)
- Commercial breakdown for the UAW-Ford 500: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown from the race on Sunday afternoon:
Total number of commercials: 151
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 75
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 17
Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:20 P.M.
End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:55 P.M.
Total minutes: 215
Minutes of race broadcast: 150
Minutes of commercials: 65
see full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-9-2006)
- Reiser on the move at Roush? Robbie Reiser, who has been #17-Matt Kenseth’s crew chief since his debut in 1999, laughed over talk that he could become a general manager at Roush Racing. Not that he wouldn’t want the job, but he knows that decision belongs to Jack Roush. “That’s Matt Kenseth-Greg Biffle talking in the media program,” Reiser said Oct. 8. “I’ve been hired to be a crew chief and that’s what I do. That’s a question you need to ask Jack. I can’t answer that.” Reiser won the Cup title in 2003 with Kenseth.(SceneDaily.com)
AND Robbie Reiser could have a new role at Roush Racing in 2007, according to several drivers within the organization. It has been discussed that Reiser, who has been the crew chief for 2003 Nextel Cup champion Matt Kenseth since 1998, take on general manager position over all the teams. Reiser said that was a question for team owner Jack Roush, but admitted he is interested in such a position. Roush declined to comment.(NASCAR.com)(10-9-2006)
News from October 8, 2006
- WOW! Wild Day at Talladega; Vickers Wins: #25-Brian Vickers won the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on the final lap after pulling out with ‘teammate’ #48-Jimmie Johnson to pass #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the final lap, got into Johnson, who was along side with Earnhardt Jr, Johnson turned when he got tapped, going into Earnhardt Jr. sending both spinning, with Vickers taking the lead as the caution was thrown and the field frozen. After some time NASCAR released the results with Vickers winning his first ever Nextel Cup race after 107 starts [he won the non-points Nextel Open in the past], #9-Kahne finished 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #17-Kenseth, #1-Truex Jr., #29-Harvick, #66-Green [1st top 10 of 2006], #6-Martin, #99-Edwards and #43-Labonte. #8-Earnhardt Jr. finished 23rd and #48-Johnson 24th a lap down and with an DNF. Points leader #31-Jeff Burton was running in the top 10 when he lost a right rear tire with 11 laps left, finishing 27th down a lap. Burton maintains the points lead, but only 6 over Kenseth and 10 over Martin. There were 63 lead changes by 23 drivers, and 6 cautions for 22 laps including a semi-big one with 10 cars that took out #24-Jeff Gordon, who finished 36th. For the most part it was a clean race with a ton of lead changes, but still had 13 cars not finishing the race.
Race Results on my Talladega Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega page
Race Rundown: see my Talladega Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-8-2006)
- Driver dies in auto wreck: Up-and-coming Chelsea race car driver Charlie Bradberry died after a Saturday morning automobile accident. Alabama State Trooper spokesman Sgt. Tim Sartain said Bradberry, 24, was driving a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup that went off Shelby County 11 and overturned inside the Chelsea city limits at 7:05am Saturday. Bradberry was transported to UAB Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:30am. The driver of the bright red #78 car in the Super Late Model racing series had a career in high gear since first climbing behind the wheel of a go-cart in 1994 at the age of 12. Bradberry had six wins in 24 races this year, mostly on the Super Late Model circuit. After visiting with friends at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday morning, Bradberry spent the rest of the day tooling with his race car at his Chelsea garage, trying to get it dialed in for upcoming races. He was on his way home Saturday morning when the accident occurred a couple of miles from his garage. Bradberry, the younger brother of former NASCAR Winston Cup driver Gary Bradberry, hoped to earn himself a spot in NASCAR’s Busch Series next year, Richard Walton of Walton Motorsports Marketing said. “His career was really taking off. The season was going phenomenally well,” Walton said. Bradberry spent early 2004 racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series before shifting to Super Late Models and, at times, the NASCAR Southeast Series and Hooters Pro Cup Series. His wife, Brandi, is expecting the couple’s first child this February.(Birmingham News)(10-8-2006)
- Montoya to Compete in ARCA Event at Iowa Speedway: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today Juan Pablo Montoya will continue his stock car education next weekend in the ARCA RE/MAX Series event at the Rusty Wallace designed and owned Iowa Speedway. Montoya will pilot the #4 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for his second start in a stock car. “Iowa Speedway is a tough track and will be a real test for me,” said Montoya. “The hardest thing for me during the test session last week was the braking. I got up to speed pretty quick, but I wasn’t racing with anyone else. I’m looking forward to the short track experience, especially at such a great facility. Rusty (Wallace) built a great race track.” Montoya made his stock car debut on Friday in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway. He started on the outside pole before taking the checkered flag in the third position. Montoya and the Texaco/Havoline team also tested at Iowa Speedway last week as part of his preparation to take over the driving duties of the #42 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2007. The Prairie Meadows 250 is scheduled to begin at 2:30pm/et on Sunday, October 15 and will air live on Speed Channel.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-8-2006)
- Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Talladega [30 of 36 races]:
#31-Jeff Burton 5598
#17-Matt Kenseth 5592 -6
#6-Mark Martin 5588 -10
#29-Kevin Harvick 5565 -33
#11-Denny Hamlin 5547 -51
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5492 -106
#24-Jeff Gordon 5451 -147
#48-Jimmie Johnson 5442 -156
#9-Kasey Kahne 5413 -185
#5-Kyle Busch 5413 -185
and fighting for 11th
#20-Tony Stewart in 11th
#99-Carl Edwards -236 out of 11th
#16-Greg Biffle -327
#2-Kurt Busch -472
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-8-2006)
- Unofficial “Classic” Points Standings
…the old way, not the Chase after Talladega:
1) #17-Matt Kenseth 4327
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4125 -202
3) #29-Kevin Harvick 4006 -321
4) #31-Jeff Burton 3905 -422
5) #6-Mark Martin 3904 -423
6) #11-Denny Hamlin 3865 -462
7) #20-Tony Stewart 3824 -503
8) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3805 -522
9) #5-Kyle Busch 3802 -525
10) #24-Jeff Gordon 3762 -565
11) #9-Kasey Kahne 3727 -600
12) #99-Carl Edwards 3588 -739
13) #16-Greg Biffle 3497 -830
- Talladega Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
10 PT Too fast entering pits 31
49 SG Removing equipment from assigned pit area 64
22 TE Pitting before pit road is open 72
21 TE Pitting before pit road is open 131
18 TE Too many crew members in contact with pit service area 131
99 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
1 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
19 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
29 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
11 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
07 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
26 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
42 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
16 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
24 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
45 TE Pitting before pit road is open 139
96 TE Removing equipment from assigned pit area 139
21 TE Pitting before pit road is open 143
11 TE Pitting before pit road is open 149
45 TE Pitting before pit road is open 149
11 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
20 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
40 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
15 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
18 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
21 TE Pitting before pit road is open 175
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-8-2006)
- Rumblings – Talladega:
When you have 63 lead changes amongst 23 drivers, an unbelievable finish with a first-time winner emerging, and the “Big One” on lap 139 (this one had 13 cars involved) we can only be at one place….Talladega Superspeedway. Today was everything we love and everything we hate about plate racing, and when the smoke cleared (and I’m not being figurative here) Brian Vickers was declared the winner of the UAW-Ford 500 today. You just knew when we set up for a 10 lap shootout at the end, somebody wasn’t gonna make it….you just didn’t think it was gonna be teammates (if they still are as of this writing). Brian Vickers hooked Jimmie Johnson as he was trying to pass Dale Earnhardt Jr going into three for the final time, and only Vickers came out. You can pick the story of your choice (we’ll have many floated, I’m sure), but you can bet if Mr. Vickers thought he was “persona-non-grata” at Hendrick Motorsports already, he ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!
His first career win ties him for 115th on the all-time list, he becomes the 171st driver to win a Cup race (tho not a popular one to say the least, at least judging from the reception he got in Victory Lane from the crowd), and the 148th win for Hendrick Motorsports (but I bet if you look up thedefinition of the term “mixed emotions” in the dictionary you’ll see a picture of Rick Hendrick). Oh, it was worth $228,850 from the over $5.2M in posted awards, tho.
Kurt Busch (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Pocono in July.
Martin Truex Jr (5th) had his career-best finish today…his previous best was 6th at Dover last month. He’s the 29th driver to score a Top-5 this season….last year we had 30 drivers at that level.
Jeff Green (7th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Martinsville in October of 2004! He’s the 36th driver at the Top-10 mark this season…last year that number was 43.
Michael Waltrip (14th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Atlanta last October.
David Gilliland (15th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 22nd last week at Kansas.
Mike Wallace (17th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Richmond in September of 2005.
Joe Nemechek (18th) had his best finish since he was 17th at Pocono in July.
Tony Raines (20th) had his best finish since he was 11th at the Brickyard in August.
STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 7 Top-10s in the last 8 races.B This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Jeff Green (+30), followed by Bobby Labonte (+29), Kurt Busch (+26), Kasey Kahne (+23), Mark Martin (+22), Scott Riggs (+22), Robby Gordon (+20),and Tony Raines (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Greg Biffle (-36), followed by Sterling Marlin (-33), Jeff Gordon (-32), Jamie McMurray (-29), J. J. Yeley (-22), Jimmie Johnson (-21), and Kyle Petty (-20).
Paul Menard led a lap today for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup career. He’s the 46th driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 51 leaders.
In “Classic” Points, Brian Vickers (18th to 16th) and Martin Truex Jr (21st to 19th) made the only multiple position moves forward, while Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and Jamie McMurray all fell two spots.(Stock Car Fans)(10-8-2006)
- Talladega Race Notes:
• Brian Vickers won the 2006 UAW-FORD 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, scoring his first career Nextel Cup victory in his 107th career start.
• Vickers became the second first-time winner in 2006 joining Denny Hamlin, who swept both races at Pocono.
• Vickers has scored three top-10 finishes in six races at Talladega
• Vickers’ victory today was the 19th Chevrolet victory in 30 races in 2006.
• Vickers won the race from the ninth-place starting position.
• Vickers led the final lap in the 2006 UAW-FORD 500 at Talladega. Vickers led five times for 17 laps.
• This is team owner Rick Hendrick’s 148th Nextel Cup victory. Hendrick has scored eight victories in 2006. It is Hendrick’s eighth victory at Talladega.
• Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season (1986-2006), 21 consecutive years.
• The 63 lead changes today were the most since there were 68 at Talladega in July 1984. The 63 lead changes ranks sixth all-time for the most in NASCAR history.
• The 63 lead changes and 23 different lap leaders is the most in a race in 2006.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr., led seven times for 32 laps, leading the most laps for the second time in 2006 and first time since Daytona in February.
• Kasey Kahne (second) scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006 and his first top-10 finish in six races at Talladega.
• Kurt Busch (third) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2006. It marked his ninth top-10 finish in 12 races at Talladega.
• Matt Kenseth (fourth) scored his 14th top-five finish in 2006 and first in the last six races since he finished first at Bristol in August. It marked his sixth top-10 finish in 14 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
• Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) scored his career-best finish. It was his first career top-five finish and fourth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in four races at Talladega Superspeedway.
• Mark Martin (eighth) has been running at the finish in the last 37 races, the longest current streak. Martin’s streak began at Kansas City one year ago.
• Martin Truex Jr, was the highest finishing rookie for the second time in 2006 – all in the last three races.
• At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 30 races this season.
• Denny Hamlin (21st) ended a streak of 20 straight top-20 finishes that began at Richmond in May. His previous finish outside the top-20 came at Talladega in May where he finished 22nd.
• Jimmie Johnson (24th today) has been ranked among the top 10 for 99 consecutive races. Johnson has gone six straight races without scoring a top-10 finish, the longest streak of his career. Johnson remained eighth in the point standings.
• Tony Stewart (22nd) remained 11th in the point standings. He has a 236-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards who finished ninth. This is the first year that Stewart will not finish among the top-10 since 1999, ending a sevenyear streak. Stewart missed The Chase by 16 points. Stewart is chasing the $1 million bonus for finishing 11th in the final point standings. Jeff Gordon finished 11th in 2005 and Jamie McMurray finished 11th in 2004, the inaugural year of the Chase.
• Jeff Burton (27th) ended a streak of four straight top-10 finishes that began at Richmond in September.
• Race No. 30 at Talladega marked the fourth of the 10 races in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup.
• Four of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10.
• Seven of the 10 The Chase drivers changed point positions at Talladega.
• Jeff Burton remained first in the point standings by just six points over second-place Matt Kenseth and just 10 points ahead of third-place Mark Martin.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-8-2006)
- Sad News: Race driver Mark Porter died today after he suffered massive injuries in a crash at Mount Panorama on Friday while preparing for the Bathurst 1000. Porter died at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney today after suffering serious head and chest injuries in a 180kph crash with David Clark during a second tier V8 race at the Bathurst 1000 meeting. The Gold Coast based New Zealander leaves behind his wife Adrienne and one-year-old son Flynn. He was 31. V8 Supercars Australia said they would launch a thorough investigation into the crash.(Herald Sun)(10-8-2006)
- NASCAR issues smaller Restrictor Plates at Talladega MORE: NASCAR will issue restrictor plates with smaller holes for the rest of the UAW-Ford 500 weekend as teams scrambled Saturday morning to get their cars ready for qualifying. The new restrictor plates will have four holes of seven-eighths of an inch in diameter, one-64th of an inch smaller than the ones used in practice Friday when #24-Jeff Gordon reached a speed of 198.689 mph in the opening session at Talladega Superspeedway. The change should slow the speeds by 2-5 mph, according to crew chiefs,. Teams were informed of the change Saturday morning. There are no practice sessions left on the schedule and the cars will be impounded after qualifying. NASCAR officials are expected to address the media concerning the change later this morning. The speeds are higher than they have been at Talladega because of the repaved surface, which is much smoother than the old surface.(SceneDaily.com)(10-7-2006)
MORE: NASCAR called a 6:30 a.m. crew chief meeting on Saturday to hand out smaller restrictor plates to push the speeds back down before Sunday’s race on the freshly paved Talladega oval. The new plates knocked the speeds from Jeff Gordon’s top mark of 198.689 mph in practice to David Gilliland’s pole-winning mark of 191.712. “We tried to downplay it and we didn’t want to make a knee-jerk reaction,” NASCAR competition director Robin Pemberton said in explaining the delay in changing the plates. “We were hoping that the speeds would go the other way.” When they didn’t after Friday’s second practice session, NASCAR officials decided to err on the side of caution by slowing the cars. Despite the change, NASCAR did not work a practice session into the schedule so teams could adjust their cars with the new plates.(Associated Press)(10-8-2006)
- Stewart’s 2nd’s at Talladega tie a record: #20-Tony Stewart’s six second-place finishes without a victory matches the record for current tracks. Bobby Allison never won at Martinsville but finished runner-up six times, and Mark Martin has the same distinction at Pocono.(Gaston Gazette)(10-8-2006)
- Mike Wallace running all three Talladega events: Hoping that multi-tasking will give him an advantage on the brand new racing surface at Talladega Superspeedway, veteran driver Mike Wallace will run all three races this Oct. 6-8 weekend. Wallace finished sixth in the ARCA RE/MAX Food World 250 and finished 26th in the #15 Chevy for Billy Ballew Motorsports in the inaugural John Deere 250 Craftsman Truck Series race [he finished ]. On Sunday, he’ll be behind the wheel of the #09 Ford Taurus for team owner James Finch and starts 28th. Wallace is the only driver participating in all three races. “I’m the only one who seems to be doing it. I was here, and (team owner) James (Finch) called and said, ‘How about driving it?’ And I went, ‘OK, deal,’” Wallace said.(Speed Channel)
News from October 7, 2006
- Sponsor change on the #29? UPDATE 4 Shell/Pennzoil to be sponsor: hearing that GM Goodwrench will not return as the primary sponsor of Kevin Harvick’s #29 RCR Chevy in 2007, supposedly Reese’s/Hershey’s will return as a co-sponsor and a gasoline and lubricant supplier would be the other co-primary.(9-16-2006)
UPDATE: During the PRN’s “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons” radio show Monday night car owner Richard Childress commented briefly on rumors that GM Goodwrench would not be back to sponsor Kevin Harvick’s Chevy in 2007. “There’s always rumors out there swinging around. We’re talking about ’em right now…we’re looking at what we’re going to do next year and right now our plans are Goodwrench and Hershey for next year but who knows what can happen in the sport…things change.”(PRN’s “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons” radio show)(9-19-2006)
UPDATE 2: hearing the new co-primary sponsor for the #29 RCR Chevy will be Shell Oil, no idea how many races. Hershey’s/Reese’s will return in 2007, supposedly in a simliar number of races as 2006.(10-5-2006)
UPDATE 3: RCR is scheduled to make some sort of annoucement at Talladega regarding some 2007 plans, not sure if the Shell announcement will be made. Also the Shell site has a link to a shell announcement webcast.(10-6-2006)
UPDATE 4: it was announced on Saturday, Oct 7th at Talladega Superspeedway that Shell/Pennzoil will sponsor the #29 RCR Chevy in 2007 for a unspecified number of races, Hershey’s will still sponsor some races and GM Goodwrench will be aboard as a sponsor for a couple of races. The 2007 car was unveiled using the Car of Tomorrow painted in Shell/Pennzoil colors, mostly yellow with a white roof, the word Pennzoil and the Shell logo on the hood, Shell and the Shell logo on the quarter panels.
PRESS RELEASE: Shell Oil Company announced the brand’s return to NASCAR today through a multi-year primary sponsorship of Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Through the sponsorship both Shell and Pennzoil brands will be featured on the #29 Chevy to be driven by Kevin Harvick in the 2007 Nextel Cup series. Shell will also be the associate sponsor on other RCR cars including the #31 Cup car driven by Jeff Burton and the #07 Cup car driven by Clint Bowyer. “We’re proud to have Shell come on-board as the primary sponsor of RCR’s #29 team with Kevin Harvick,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “Shell has a long history in motorsports throughout the world and we look forward to adding to that winning tradition. We’re fortunate to once again have a sponsor for the #29 team that is committed to supporting its racing program in a lot of exciting ways. We’re also proud to be continuing our relationship with GM Goodwrench and the winning tradition we’ve had together for more than two decades.”
The company’s technological leadership and its innovative products have helped position Shell as the “preferred partner” both on and off the track for some of the auto industry’s top companies including General Motors (GM), Ferrari and Audi. The new alliance with Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick bring together the market share leader in fuels and lubricants with a #1 team, which makes a formidable combination. “Our plan with RCR and Kevin Harvick is pretty simple; have fun with our employees, wholesalers, retailers, distributors and customers through a sport we all love,” said John Hofmeister, president, Shell Oil Company. “It’s also about aligning the leading fuels and lubricants brands with a winner on the track so we can create innovative marketing platforms and products that drive business. NASCAR fans and Shell customers are one in the same, and rejoining Shell with the NASCAR family is the next logical step in our global motorsports platform.”
Shell lubricant brands, Pennzoil, Quaker State and ROTELLA T, have all been collectively active in NASCAR for several decades. Additionally, Pennzoil has maintained a variety of sponsorships and technical partnerships with DEI and Roush Racing, while Quaker State has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 1995. This season, ROTELLA T and Morgan Dollar Racing with Dennis Setzer are partners in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. GM Goodwrench, currently the primary sponsor of Harvick’s #29 car, will also continue to support RCR racing and Kevin Harvick as an associate sponsor. “We’re pleased that GM Goodwrench will continue to have a presence on the car,” added Hofmeister. “To be associated with a sponsor with a strong history in motorsports is really the icing on the cake. This new relationship on the track will complement the many programs we have with General Motors off the track. We’re working together to make hydrogen available to consumers through a local Shell station in Washington, D.C; in Chicago we have a joint test pilot to gauge consumer interest in E85, and we provide supply for some of GM’s lubricants needs.” While no immediate plans were shared with regard to the company’s marketing efforts in NASCAR, Shell officials said more news will be forthcoming on activations plans surrounding Richard Childress Racing and the #29 Shell car. For more information about Shell, visit www.shell.com.(RCR PR)
IMAGES: see a couple images of the scheme on my 2007 #29 Team Schemes page.(10-7-2006)
- Congrats: Derek and Kristi Jones welcome Lauren Nicole Jones, born Sept. 25th at 7:01 p.m. Kristi is the Licensing/Marketing Director for Robert Yates Racing and Derek is the Team Engineer for the #38 M&M’S team driven by David Gilliland.(10-7-2006)
- More Villeneuve Rumors…Roush discussions, Yates? Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Jacques Villeneuve, a former F1 champion is ready to give stock cars a try. The Villeneuve story heated up with news that the Canadian driver has been in contact with Roush Racing. Asked if the 35-year-old Villeneuve could be in a Roush entry in 2007, team owner Jack Roush said, “That’s a possibility. I know we’re in discussions. He came to see us in Detroit and he’s been in Charlotte and had discussions around our program and what he can do and the rate of which he could get up to speed, if he’s got the stomach for it, and if we can find the sponsorship for it, that’s certainly a possibility.” Efforts to reach Villeneuve and his agent, Craig Pollock, for comment were not successful. The Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport reported earlier this week that Villeneuve already has signed a deal with Roush Racing and will move back to Canada from his current base in Europe. When contacted by ESPN, Roush Racing said the story is not true and that Villeneuve has not signed with them. There were reports Friday that Villeneuve has also been in contact with Robert Yates Racing about the opening in the #88 Ford. Dale Jarrett will leave Yates at the end of the season for a ride with Michael Waltrip’s new Toyota team. But Yates officials were not available for comment.(ESPN.com/AP), see the initial rumors and more on the Drivers Looking/Rumored page.(10-7-2006)
- Goodyear workers on strike; UPDATE 2 won’t effect racing: United Steelworkers of America, which represents about 13,000 hourly Goodyear employees, says that because it sees no progress in the talks [negotiating on a new labor contract] taking place in Cincinnati, it will end a day-to-day contract extension as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Meanwhile, the Akron tire maker and the union say they will continue talking. Sticking points include Goodyear wanting the ability to close what it calls costly, less productive U.S. plants, while the USW has been insisting that union plants remain open and that the company protect pensions and retiree health care.(see more at Ohio.com)(10-4-2006)
UPDATE: The United Steelworkers of America went on strike at 1:00pm [Thursday] against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., saying the company is not offering a fair and equitable contract. The union, which represents about 13,000 hourly workers at 12 Goodyear plants in the U.S., last went on strike against the Akron tire maker for 19 days in 1997. The union also staged a four-hour walkout in 1994. Also affected are an estimated 2,000 workers at four Goodyear plants in Canada. Pickets were being set up in front of Goodyear’s corporate headquarters.(see more at Ohio.com), no word on how or if this would effect Goodyear’s Racing tire operations with NASCAR.(10-6-2006)
UPDATE 2: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company’s supply of racing tires — including tires for NASCAR’s three main series — is unaffected by the recently announced strike by the United Steelworkers. “There is no issue whatsoever with our supply of tires to NASCAR, NHRA, and for the SCCA Runoffs,” said Stu Grant, general manager of global race tires. On Thursday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m., the United Steelworkers declared a strike against Goodyear. It involves production at 12 U.S. plants, including the Akron Technical Center Manufacturing facility, where all of Goodyear’s Eagle race tires are produced. However, with current inventories and contingency production plans in place, race tire supply will not be impacted as the race season winds down.(Goodyear PR)(10-7-2006)
- NASCAR Wants Toyota to Open Up: It may be impossible to buy a Toyota racing engine or parts to build one. NASCAR is looking for a way to open up Toyota’s engine program so that it’s open to the independent motor builders. The big three, Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge have open programs so that anyone wishing to build one of those engines, can buy the parts and construct one. But Toyota’s program is closed and doesn’t allow the independent builders to buy the parts. It’s not available to anyone not a part of the Toyota Racing family.(Insider Racing News)(10-7-2006)
- Gilliland wins pole at Talladega: #38-David Gilliland won the Budweiser Pole for the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 191.7212mph for his 1st career pole in nine starts. Starting on the outside pole is #88-Jarrett, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon and #16-Biffle are the top-5, rounding out the top-10 are #5-Busch, #14-Marlin, #26-McMurray, #25-Vickers and #18-Yeley. #8-Earnhardt Jr. qualified 33rd. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #45-Petty, #49-Bliss, #55-Waltrip, #15-Menard, #78-Wallace, #04-McClure, #09-MWallace and #74-Cope. Missing the race were: #32-Kvapil, #61-Chaffin, #4-Bodine, #34-Lepage, #00-Sadler and #27-Shelmerdine. See the qualifying results, starting lineup and more on the Talladega Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(10-7-2006)
- Where do the Chasers start at Kansas [order of points standings]:
#31-Burton starts 34th
#8-Earnhardt Jr. 33rd
- Ramblings – Talladega Qualifying Notes: #38-David Gilliland takes his first ever Nextel Cup Bud Pole today at Talladega Superspeedway for tomorrow’s UAW-Ford 500 in only his 9th race. Blasting away his previous best (15th at New Hampshire last month), he becomes the 14th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. Ironically, he’s the second entry in that event to come from the #38 M&M’s Ford. A bunch of “best sinces” this week…. Dale Jarrett (2nd) gives us an all-RYR front row. This is his best starting spot since he had the outside pole when we were here last October.
Greg Biffle (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Richmond in May
Kyle Busch (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Loudon in July
Sterling Marlin (7th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 6th at Martinsville in April
Jamie McMurray (8th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Infineon in June
Welcome back Mike Bliss (20th). His last Cup race was last November at Homestead when he started 19th and finished 12th
Michael Waltrip (21st) has his best starting spot since he lined up 19th at Daytona in July
Paul Menard (24th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 22nd at Atlanta in March (only four races)
And, welcome back Eric McClure (27th). His last Cup effort was at Las Vegas in March of 2005 when he qualified 41st and finished 32nd.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-5 starts in the last 5 races. Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
We’ve got our first non-chaser on the pole, fresh asphalt, a choke plate with smaller holes, and graduated banking on the frontstretch. But it’s still the same old Talladega and nobody’ll feel comfortable till the checkers fall…..especially those Top-5 guys in the Chase.(Stock Car Fans)(10-7-2006)
- Talladega Qualifying Notes:
• David Gilliland won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the UAW-Ford 500, lapping Talladega Superspeedway in 49.950 seconds at 191.712 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 44.998 seconds, 212.809 mph, set April 30, 1987 – prior to the advent of restrictor-plate racing. Elliott also holds the Talladega restrictor-plate record of 48.128 seconds, 199.388 mph, set May 4, 1990.
• This is Gilliland’s first career Bud Pole in just nine Nextel Cup Series races, making him the ninth-quickest Bud Pole winner (with reference to number of races) since 1972. He became the first first-time Bud Pole winner this season, extending the streak of seasons with at least one first-time Bud Pole winner to 20 (1987-2006)
• Gilliland became the 14th different Bud Pole winner in 2006.
• This is Gilliland’s first start better than 15th in his short career.
• Gilliland is competing in his career-first NASCAR restrictor-plate race.
• Gilliland became the 31st different Bud Pole winner at Talladega Superspeedway and the eighth in the past 11 races.
• Dale Jarrett posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 50.001 seconds, 191.516 mph – and will join Gilliland on the front row for the UAW-Ford 500. He and Gilliland were the only drivers to break the 191-mph mark. Jarrett has posted 18 top-10 starts in 40 races at Talladega. His best qualifying effort has been second, which he has done three times.
• The last 1-2 qualifying for Robert Yates Racing was in this race last season when Elliott Sadler started first in the #38 and Jarrett also started second in the #88. This is the third consecutive Bud Pole at Talladega for the #38 team.
• This is the fifth Bud Pole for Ford in 2006 – including three of the four restrictor-plate races. Dodge has 13 Bud Poles and Chevrolet has 11. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• Jimmie Johnson (third) has posted eight top-10 starts in 10 races at Talladega. He started on the Bud Pole in his career-first start here in April 2002 and started first again in October of that year when qualifying was canceled.
• Jeff Gordon (fourth) has started from the top-10 in 15 of his 28 Talladega races.
• Greg Biffle (fifth) has posted three top-10 starts in eight races at Talladega – all in the past three races here. He has 20 top-10 starts this season – one shy of Series leader Kurt Busch, who qualified 29th today.
• Only two of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Johnson and Gordon.
• Kyle Petty (18th) was the fastest of the drivers required to qualify on time.(NASCAR Statistical Sevices)(10-7-2006)
- Wood Bros sign developmental driver: The Wood Brothers have signed Kelly Bires as a development driver, co-owner Eddie Wood said. Bires, 22, drove in Friday’s ARCA race. He’s from Mauston, Wis. Also, Wood said a couple more sponsorship deals are close to being set that will define how many races #21-Ken Schrader and Jon Wood will drive next season. They’ll share the No. 21 car. Wood is expected to drive in 10-12 Cup races next season. (Roanoke Times)(10-7-2006)
- Montoya finishes 3rd in Stock Car debut at Talladega: Juan Pablo Montoya put on a show in his first stock-car race, leading the first nine laps, making a sterling save to avoid a spin and rallying from 36th in the final 40 laps to finish third. Frank Kimmel triumphed in a race shortened 13 laps by darkness, but Montoya scored a valuable and successful lesson in the first major test of his much-anticipated transition from Formula One to NASCAR. The Colombian will start racing in the Nextel Cup Series full time next season for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates [#42 Texaco Dodge], and the Daytona 500 will mark his next start in a restrictor-plate race akin to those at Talladega. “I think what I learned today is nice,” Montoya said. “It’s definitely necessary to come here. You’ve got to live it and experience it. All the Cup guys are here, and they can see this. It’s all about getting experience and playing smart. If you don’t bring the car home, it doesn’t matter. You have to be at the right place at the right time.” The 31-year-old acquitted himself well in the 2.66-mile superspeedway’s finicky draft, where choosing the wrong lane or making a rash move can result in the loss of several positions. He swung past polesitter Bobby Gerhart and into the lead out of Turn 2 on the first lap and fended off several challenges in the opening laps.(USA Today, also see more on the ARCAracing.com site)(10-7-2006)
- Chevy Engine Approved: NASCAR has finally approved a new Chevrolet engine for the 2007 Cup season, for the first time in eight years. Chevy’s venerable SB2 engine is the oldest model on the stock-car tour. Toyota will have a new engine for its 2007 Nextel Cup debut, though it still hasn’t been approved. Dodge and Ford were both given opportunities to submit new Nextel Cup engines for 2007, but both withdrew their submissions six weeks ago, for some still questioned reasons.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-7-2006)
- Final Kansas TV Ratings Down: NBC’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Banquet 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Kansas Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.0 and a 9 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 11.1% lower than the 4.5/9 the Kansas race earned last year.(SceneDaily.com), see more news on TV Ratings and the 2006 Chart on my TV Rankings page.(10-7-2006)
News from October 6, 2006
- Benny back in the booth; Wally’s World: NASCAR on NBC/TNT analyst Benny Parsons was been absent last week at Kansas from the broadcast booth while undergoing treatment for lung cancer. Parsons is returning to the air this week at Talladega and says he wouldn’t want to miss it: “This is Talladega – any race fan in the world wants to be at Talldega. It’s special, and not to mention dangerous. If you’re a driver, that’s 43 of your friends that you watch going around the track at 190 mph.” This week on “Wally’s World,” Dallenbach goes long with NBC’s “Football Night in America” analyst Sterling Sharpe, a five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver with the Green Bay Packers and NASCAR fan.(NBC PR)(10-6-2006)
- MB2 Announces Martin/Smith to #01; Nemechek to #13: MB2 Motorsports announced Friday that Mark Martin and rookie Regan Smith will co-drive the team’s #01 U.S. Army Chevy during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. Joe Nemechek, the current driver of the Army Chevy, will pilot a third MB2 entry in 2007 that will carry the #13; the sponsorship will be announced at a later date. Sterling Marlin will continue to drive the #14 MB2 Chevrolet. Martin, who will be leaving his longtime ride with Roush Racing after the 2006 season, signed a multiyear contract with MB2. The agreement calls for Martin to drive the #01 Army car in 20 Nextel Cup races in 2007 plus the Bud Shootout (Daytona, Feb. 10) and the Nextel All Star Challenge (Charlotte, May 19). Martin’s first points race will be the Daytona 500, Feb. 18. Smith will drive the Army car in the remaining 16 Cup point races and will also drive an MB2 car in the NASCAR Busch Series. Along with driving in 22 races in 2007, Martin’s extended role with MB2 will be a mentor to the 23-year-old Smith and to MB2’s development drivers. “Our goal at MB2 is to reach a new level, and with Mark joining our organization it not only elevates our presence, but his knowledge and credibility will also be a viable asset to all of our race teams,” said team owner Bobby Ginn (pronounced GHIN). “While Mark brings a wealth of experience to MB2, we are also thrilled with the acquisition of Regan,” Ginn added. “He’s eager, talented and will be groomed by one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers of all time.” Martin, who is currently third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup championship points battle, feels his new role with MB2 offers him an excellent opportunity for doing what he enjoys most and that is to compete as a driver and serve as a mentor. “Joining MB2 is a win-win situation for me,” said Martin, a native of Batesville, Ark. “I not only get to drive, but I also get to teach and I love doing both. I have had a great 19 years with Roush Racing. It was a difficult decision to move on. But right now I welcome the opportunity to drive the U.S. Army car and represent our brave soldiers who are fighting the global war on terrorism.” Smith, who grew up in Cato, N.Y.– 25 miles west of Syracuse — has been preparing for this opportunity since he started to drive a go-kart at age 4. “This is an exciting time for me,” said Smith. “Driving an Army-sponsored car in Nextel Cup competition with Mark Martin as your coach is an incredible opportunity. I’m going to listen well and take advantage of what has been presented to me. I am ready to give it all I have in both Cup and Busch.” Smith has been competing in the Busch Series this season, driving the #35 car for Team Rensi Motorsports. In his new MB2 Busch ride for 2007, Smith is expected to compete full time in the series. “Mark Martin is one of NASCAR’s greatest competitors and having him come on board will greatly enhance and accelerate our development,” said Jay Frye, MB2’s CEO and general manager. “This is definitely a red-letter day in MB2’s 10-year history. We have the best of both worlds with Mark and Regan — a Hall of Famer, who will work closely with a talented and aggressive young driver.” Frye also said that Ryan Pemberton will continue as crew chief for the Army car in 2007. It was also announced today that Kraig Kinser and Jesus Hernandez will continue with their MB2 developmental programs in 2007. Kinser’s schedule will include NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and Cup races. Hernandez will continue to run the late model series as well as selected ARCA and Truck races.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(10-6-2006)
- Martin to MB2 Motorsports in 2007..in a Chevy UPDATE 3 Official: hearing that Mark Martin will announced his 2007 plans on Friday morning [Oct 6th] at Talladega….however, hearing part of his 2007 plans include running some 2007 Nextel Cup races in the #01 Chevy [MB2 is NOT changing to Fords] with MB2 Motorsports….the sponsor would NOT be the U.S. Army. Supposedly current #01 driver, Joe Nemechek would move to a different car number for MB2 Motorsports.
From Two Weeks Ago: hearing that Regan Smith, currently driving the #35 McDonald’s Ford for Team Rensi in the Busch Series, will go to Ginn Motorsports [#01-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin] in 2007 to run a Cup/Busch schedule.(9-19-2006)
UPDATE: nascar.com has something posted on this: Mark Martin will drive the #01 Chevrolet part time for the 2007 Nextel Cup season, multiple sources close to MB2 Motorsports told NASCAR.COM on Thursday. It is believed that Martin will run 22 races for the team. Busch Series driver Regan Smith will drive the remaining 14 Cup races, the sources said.(10-5-2006)
UPDATE 2: Team owner Jack Roush, who has fielded a Ford for Martin in NASCAR’s top series since 1988, is expected to make the announcement Friday at 10:30am/et at Talladega Superspeedway. MB2 general manager Jay Frye has scheduled a news conference for later Friday morning at the Talladega track. Martin reportedly will share the ride in the #01 Chevrolet with rookie Regan Smith, a 23-year-old regular in the Busch Series, a source told The Associated Press. Joe Nemechek, currently racing in the #01, will remain with MB2, but will move to a third team entry, while Sterling Marlin will stay in the team’s #14 Chevy. Roush team president Geoff Smith said several weeks ago that the team would definitely not field a Cup car for Martin in 2007 and that it was close to completing a deal with Martin to drive a Roush truck. But that deal apparently fell apart after the MB2 ride became available. The source said it was unclear if Martin might also drive in the truck series in 2007, along with the MB2 ride.(ESPN.com)(10-6-2006)
OFFICIAL: Mark Martin announced today that he will continue in the Nextel Cup Series next season, driving the #01 MB2 Motorsports Chevy on a limited basis in 2007. “I consider Mark Martin a personal friend and over the last 20 years we have had a fantastic relationship professionally and personally,” Roush said. “Mark will always hold a special place in my heart and a special place in Roush Racing, and I truly wish him all the best in his future plans.”
“Jack Roush and I have enjoyed a very special relationship for the past 20 years,” said Martin. “Jack afforded me the opportunity to chase my dreams, and there is no way to put in words what he has meant to me, my life and my career. The deal to come back with Roush in the #6 with AAA really worked out great and gave me one of the best and most rewarding years of my career, AAA has been great to work with and it’s really been awesome to work on such important issues. I’m really glad I was able to come back a year and help those guys and Jack out, and we are going to do everything we can to keep chasing after that Nextel Cup for the next seven races.”
“When Mark finally reconciled his somewhat conflicting desires, he settled on staying in Cup and running a 20-race schedule. We had no way of accommodating that desire since all of our Cup programs were previously committed,” said Roush Racing president Geoff Smith. And, NASCAR team limits prevented Roush Racing from putting together an additional team for Mark, so in the end Mark had to move on – in order to stay in the Cup series. He’s meant a great deal to this organization and we certainly wish him the best in whatever he chooses to do down the road.” Martin reiterated that his focus over the next seven races will remain on the “Chase” for the Nextel Cup Championship. “Our focus is on winning this championship,” Martin said. “I’ve been fighting this fight in the #6 car for 19 years now, and we aren’t about to give up anytime soon. It’s the complete focus of our attention, and we’ll fight down to the very end for it.”(Roush Racing Site/PR)
#17 Ownership no idea how this effects the ‘ownership’ of the #17 Ford. Mark Martin is listed as the owner, but supposedly only in name only, would assume Jack Roush will be listed as the owner in 2007, until hear different…no idea.(10-6-2006)
- Sauter to Cup with Haas? Johnny Sauter said Haas CNC Racing sponsor Yellow Transporation will decide whether he remains in the Busch Series or moves to Nextel Cup to team up with #66-Jeff Green. The decision should be made by Oct. 1. [nothing announced yet](NASCAR Scene Print), Sauter has attempted a couple of races in Cup with the Haas team in the #70 Chevy.(10-6-2006)
- #72 CJM Racing to run last six races with Skinner: Mike Skinner, has signed a deal to take the seat of the #72 CJM Racing for the final six races of 2006 starting at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte on October 14th. “I really look forward to the opportunity to race for CJM Racing starting in Charlotte”, says Skinner, “I was very impressed with the fact they were buying some of Joe Gibbs Racing equipment and felt like our chances are good to be competitive.” Co-owner Tony Mullet adds,” We are confident having Mike Skinner behind the wheel, that we are getting the most out of our #72 Chevrolet. We couldn’t ask for a more experienced driver with his talent.” Skinner and the team have been testing in Kentucky in preparation for the upcoming Charlotte night race. CJM Racing has spent the last two months away while revamping their motorsports program. Along with the addition of Mike Skinner, they’ve made the switch from Dodge to Chevy, added more engine power and new shop equipment in an effort to support their long term goals. Mullet says, “We believe we have made the necessary changes to finish strong this season, but more importantly to show the NASCAR world what we also anticipate for 2007 and beyond. It is important for us to make a statement to NASCAR, the fans, and our future sponsors.” The team has been meeting with sponsors and hopes to announce partnerships in the upcoming months.(CJM Racing PR)(10-6-2006)
- Talladega Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . because the track surface at Talladega has been repaved since the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series last visit to the track in April, Goodyear needed to change its tire recommendation from that race. . . this tire set-up was tested with six drivers at Talladega last month . . . teams in both NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Talladega this weekend, though the Nextel Cup tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle” and the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Talladega . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 34-36 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear Tires PR), see the full tire notes, codes and more on the Talladega Race Info Page.(10-6-2006)
- Villeneuve to Roush Racing? UPDATE 3 DENIED: [note: the verbage is odd as it was translated thru google.com] First Juan Pablo Montoya, now also Jacques Villeneuve. NASCAR 2007 receives to open arms the former-pilots of F.1. Of the Columbian already one knew, inasmuch as after the liberatoria of the McLaren a Dodge of the Ganassi team has already tried the slid week, while the news that regards the Canadian is recent. Villeneuve has defined in fact an agreement with the structure of Jack Rousch [should be Roush], one of largest and competitive of the series, for the next season. The team, that it represents the official square of Ford, has conquered the title it NASCAR with Matt Kenseth in the 2003 and Kurt Busch in 2004. And at the moment it lines up 5 cars very, than they will be reduced to four in 2007 [actually not until 2009/2010 range]. One will be for the formerones of F.1. With annexed and connected of marketing: the series in fact from the next year will land also in Canada, just to Montreal where Jacques would go to living with the moglie and the son in arrival.(the verbage is odd as it was translated thru google.com from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italian to English)(10-3-2006)
UPDATE: nothing new, just more in English: According to reports in the Italian press, Jacques Villeneuve has already signed a deal with Jack Roush to race for the Roush Racing outfit in NASCAR next season. Even before his departure from F1 this summer, the French/Canadian had made clear his interest in the series.(Planet-F1.com) and According to websites, grandprix.com and planet-f1.com, Villeneuve has signed on with Roush Racing and will compete on the Busch circuit next season.(sportsnet.ca)
UPDATE 2 – Denied: Another Formula One driver is reportedly making the leap to NASCAR next year. Jacques Villeneuve has signed a deal with Roush Racing and will move back to Canada from his current base in Europe, according to a report in the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport. When contacted by ESPN, Roush Racing said the story is not true and that Villeneuve has not signed with them. However, according to a report on TSN of Canada’s Web site, reporters for La Presse spotted Villeneuve and his wife Tuesday in Montreal. When asked about the Italian report, Villeneuve smiled and said, “I’m retired.” Villeneuve also said “they’re only rumors” when asked if he was moving to Montreal but didn’t deny the report. If Villeneuve were to sign with Roush Racing, he would likely take the opening left by Mark Martin, who is scheduled to retire at the end of the season. Roush also has six cars in the Busch Series, but Villeneuve has said that if he were to run in NASCAR, it would likely be at the Nextel Cup level.(ESPN.com)(10-4-2006)
UPDATE 3: Craig Pollock says a published report that Jacques Villeneuve has signed a deal to race NASCAR next year is completely false. “You’re the only one from around the world to contact me to confirm or deny this story,” Pollock, Villeneuve’s long-time manager and close friend, said Wednesday when contacted by the Montreal Gazette. “What I can say is that what’s been said is totally unfounded.” Italian Sports daily Gazetta dello Sport reported earlier Wednesday that the 1997 Formula One world champion had signed to return to racing in 2007 with Roush Racing, one of the leading Ford teams in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series.(Canada.com)(10-6-2006)
- Gerhart wins ARCA Pole; Montoya on outside pole: Driving a car he had never raced before, Bobby Gerhart turned in a qualifying lap of 189.485 mph Thursday, giving him the pole position for Friday’s running of the Food World 250 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Gerhart also sat on the pole at Talladega in 2001, and he went on to win that race. Joining Gerhart on the front row will be Formula One star #4-Juan Montoya, who turned in a fast lap of 189.451 mph. Matt Hagans qualified third at 189.204, followed by ARCA points leader Frank Kimmel (188.252), A.J. Henriksen (188.097), Billy Venturini (187.875), Mike Wallace (187.783), Kelly Bires (187.544), Brett Rowe (187.298) and Justin South (187.013). The race starts at 5:30pm/et and will be televised on SPEED at 8:00pm/et.(TSS Site)(10-6-2006)
News from October 5, 2006
- Microsoft Windows Live featured on #66 Entry at Talladega: The #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet will sport a special paint design this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The Microsoft Windows Live logo will appear on the hood and quarter panels of the #66 entry, driven by Jeff Green, in Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race. Earlier this year, Microsoft became an associate sponsor of the Haas team, and Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare product was featured on the #66 entry in the Neighborhood Excellence 400 race at Dover International Speedway in June. The Microsoft Windows Live logo has appeared on the lower rear quarter panels of the #66 car in select races since that time. Best Buy, who is the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet in a number of events this season, is a featured retailer of Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare service, an all-in-one PC care service available to consumers nationwide. As an added convenience for customers, Geek Squad Agents are available 24/7 to install Windows Live OneCare in-home or at Geek Squad Precincts in Best Buy Stores. Including the June race at Dover International Speedway, this weekend marks just the second time in Microsoft’s history the company has been the primary sponsor of a Nextel Cup Series car.(Best Buy Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #66 Team Schemes page.(10-5-2006)
- Kyle Busch testing at Caraway: Kyle Busch and his #5 Kellogg’s Racing team will test at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., this week to prepare for the Oct. 22 Nextel Cup event at Martinsville Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(10-5-2006)
- DirecTV back on the #07 at Talladega: For the fourth and final time this season, Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will sport a DIRECTV paint scheme. DIRECTV is the nation’s leading digital television service provider. DIRECTV is also the official satellite television service provider of NASCAR. The team’s customary primary sponsor, Jack Daniel’s, will be featured on the car’s lower-rear quarter panels and deck lid.(RCR PR), see images of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(10-5-2006)
- Talladega Rookie Notes: #07-Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 1 Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway. Bowyer finished ninth, his ninth top-10 of the 2006 season and second consecutive. He took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the seventh time in 2006. Bowyer led the Kansas race three times for 43 laps and was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the race. Denny Hamlin finished 18th at Kansas and is second in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 69 behind leader Jeff Burton. Hamlin leads third-place Mark Martin by one point and fourth-place Matt Kenseth by 15. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15in all 29 races this season. Hamlin leads Bowyer by 45 points (264-219) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 8 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The only Raybestos Rookie to win the fall race at Talladega is Ron Bouchard. Bouchard won the 1981 Talladega 500 over Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte in a photo finish.(Raybestos PR), see the rookie standings, full notes and history on my 2006 Rookies Page.(10-5-2006)
- “The King” to Serve as Spokesperson for Leading Garden Brands: Central Garden & Pet Company announced that it has entered into a marketing alliance with Petty Marketing Company, LLC; the marketing arm of Petty Enterprises and racing legend Richard Petty. “The King” Richard Petty will initially serve as the spokesman for three of Central’s leading lawn & garden brands: AMDRO Fire Ant Bait, Rebel Grass Seed and recently acquiredIRONITE mineral supplement. Petty will appear in TV and radio commercials beginning this fall and in 2007 supporting these premium brands. Petty will also be making personal appearances on behalf of Central Garden & Pet at key trade shows and at NASCAR events nationwide. The partnership with Petty Marketing will also include access to the popular Richard Petty Driving Experience, which Central plans to use in consumer and trade promotions to drive retail sales and build consumer awareness of its lawn and garden brands. More info at centralgardenandpet.com.Central Garden & Pet PR)(10-5-2006)
News from October 4, 2006
- Schrader/Wood to split time in 2007? UPDATE: hearing Ken Schrader, driver of the #21 Little Debbie’s/Motorcraft/Air Force Ford, and Jon Wood, who is running the full Busch Series with the #47 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team this year will share the #21 Ford in 2007, witrh Wood running seven races and Schrader the other races.(8-19-2006)
UPDATE: Wood Brothers/JTG Racing will again field one Nextel Cup team [in 2007], two Busch Series teams, and two Craftsman Truck teams. The team also expects to field a second Nextel Cup car for select Cup races. Driver and sponsor relationships for 2007 are quickly coming into focus. Ford Racing Technology will again be supporting all divisions with the Ford Fusion in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series events and the Ford F-150 Truck in the Craftsman Truck Series. Little Debbie Snack Cakes will continue to be primary sponsor of the famed #21 Nextel Cup Ford for 18 races in 2007 with Ken Schrader in the driver’s seat. Chris McKee states, “We are very pleased to have Ken Schrader behind the wheel of the Little Debbie Ford Fusion for the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series. Little Debbie fans and NASCAR fans relate well to Ken Schrader and we’re looking forward to a winning season.” Third generation driver Jon Wood will share driving duties with Ken Schrader in the #21 Nextel Cup ride. Ore-Ida Extra Crispy French Fries and Delimex Delicious Mexican Cuisine are proud to join Wood Brothers/JTG Racing as primary sponsors of the #21 Ford Fusion for a limited schedule as well as being a major associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. Tad Geschickter, team co-owner stated “It’s time for Jon to get started in the Cup Series. He will also compete full time in the NASCAR Busch series in the #47 Clorox/Armor All/American Red Cross Ford Fusion. We look forward to getting Jon plenty of seat time by combining this limited Cup schedule with his duties in the #47 Busch car.” Also Marcos Ambrose will move to the Busch Series #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford after a year in the Craftsman Truck Series, with Stacy Compton, moving from the #59 Busch ride, back to the Truck Series for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing.(woodbrothersracing.com)(10-4-2006)
- Camo for Stremme at Talladega: Coors Light and Coors have partnered in 2006 to target their hunting consumers by leveraging Bill Jordan’s Advantage Max-1 and Advantage Max-4patterns on product packaging and point of sale items. Look for these items to feature the patterns in a store near you: Coors Light 6-pack 16 oz. cans, Coors Light Big 18, and Coors 6-pack 16 oz cans. To further leverage the unique camouflage can, Coors Light will take the packaging to the track! The Coors Light #40 Dodge of David Stremme will be wrapped in the same pattern as the can for this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR). See the possible scheme on the #40 Team Schemes page for the image.(10-4-2006)
- ‘Alien’ scheme on the #10 at Charlotte: The #10 Stanley Tools Dodge will run a special ‘Alien’ scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race on Oct. 14th. The ‘Alien’ is from a Stanley Tools commercial featuring their Stanley MaxLife 369 Tripod LED flashlight. See the #10 Team Schemes page for the image.(10-4-2006)
- Wimmer to RCR? hearing that Scott Wimmer, who parted ways with Morgan-McClure Motorsports on Tuesday, will have a ride with a Richard Childress Racing Busch Series team in 2007.(10-4-2006)
- Evernham expanding in 2007: Evernham Motorsports has won a race in each of its six seasons and qualified for all three editions of the Chase for the Nextel Cup. But success has come with a price. Once able to field cars with $10 million apiece annually and about 60 crewmembers, Evernham has a staff of 330 and says he needs $20 million a car to be competitive. Next year, the team will add a part-time fourth Charger while spending more on the Car of Tomorrow. Evernham estimates his budget will need to grow by $8 million for software, technology and personnel.(USA Today – in part), the team currently fields three Cup teams, one part time Busch team and a Truck Series team.(10-4-2006)
- Officer Shot at Kansas Speedway UPDATE 2: Police said they took two people into custody after an attempted armed robbery and a female off-duty officer was shot at Kansas Speedway on Sunday night. Police said the victim was shot multiple times and is a 25 year veteran. A helicopter flew the officer to an area hospital around 8:30 p.m. Police said the off-duty officer was shot when she tried to intervene in the attempted armed robbery. Police said the Speedway often employees off-duty officers to do security.(myfoxkc.com/FOX 4)(10-2-2006)
UPDATE – good news: Doctors upgraded an off-duty police officer to fair condition after someone shot her several times after she tried to break up a robbery at the Kansas Speedway. Paramedics airlifted the 25-year veteran officer to the hospital in critical condition on Sunday night. Police said three people walked into the area where she was working and tried to rob the place. The robbery happened long after the race had ended, and Speedway workers were preparing to close down the facility. Witnesses reported hearing up to seven gunshots. One man said he heard the whole thing over the police radio. “I heard this lady screaming. We heard that she was shot several times,” Dennis Lyons, witness, said. Police chased and arrested two of the robbery suspects, and will question them again on Monday. According to witnesses, there were three people involved, but police haven’t found a third suspect. If you know who the third suspect could be, or if you have any information, call the TIPS hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.(myfoxkc.com/FOX 4)(10-2-2006)
UPDATE 2: The Wyandotte County district attorney filed attempted capital murder charges this afternoon against Fredrick Douglas and Nolden Garner, alleging they shot a detective during an attempted robbery of Kansas Speedway. According to the charges, the two men fired multiple gunshots at Kansas City, Kan., Police Detective Susan Brown, even while she was on the ground. The charges allege the two men intended to kill her and to rob her. Douglas and Garner also were charged with aggravated battery in the shooting of a track employee. District Attorney Jerome A. Gorman said the employee suffered minor injuries. He was hit either directly or by shrapnel. Douglas and Garner also face charges of aggravated robbery for allegedly taking Brown’s handgun, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated robbery. Garner was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.(Kansas City Star), no more details on the detective’s condition.(10-4-2006)
- Stewart’s Pit Crew Takes Top Honors in Kansas: By claiming the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway, Tony Stewart’s over-the-wall crew moved into a three-way tie for first place in the season-long competition. It was the fourth win of the season for Stewart’s crew, equaling the number of victories scored by Jimmie Johnson’s and Kyle Busch’s teams. Along with paying the winning pit crew $10,500 at each race, Checkers/Rally’s will also award a $105,000 bonus to the crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule. The weekly pit crew winner is determined by the team which spends the lowest cumulative time on pit road and finishes on the lead lap. Stewart, who drove his #20 Chevrolet to Victory Lane in Kansas, praised his crew for an outstanding effort during the 267-lap, 400-mile event. “I’m really proud of the guys on this Home Depot team,” said Stewart. “They work so hard and had an awesome day at Kansas. We never lost a position on pit lane all day. We at least maintained or gained positions on each stop. It was the best day the guys have had on pit road all season.” Stewart’s over-the-wall crew is comprised of: Jason Lee (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Jody Fortson (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff Patterson (gasman), Brian Larson (catch can) and Scott Geerts (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa. “The Home Depot crew really picked it up and kept us in contention by being consistent,” added Stewart, “That’s what the Double Drive-Thru Challenge is all about. It proves that consistency means more than one quick stop.” To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $304,500 in NEXTEL Cup Series prize money during this season. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(10-4-2006)
- Mikey cutting some grass: On Wednesday, October 4th, #55-Michael Waltrip will be trading in his fire suit for a lawn pro suit as he mows the lawn of avid drag racer and NASCAR fan Janice Sipes. Ms. Sipes won the opportunity to have Waltrip and a team of lawn care professionals manicure her family’s lawn as part of the Yard-Man “Honey, Is that Michael Waltrip Mowing our Lawn?” sweepstakes. Not only will Ms. Sipes have her lawn mowed, but she and her family and friends will have the opportunity to meet the NASCAR veteran in a private meet and greet as well as test their driving skills against him on NASCAR simulators. In addition to a finely manicured lawn – and neighborhood bragging rights – the Sipes family will receive a full garage of lawn, garden and power equipment courtesy of the Yard-Man #66 racing team.(PR)(10-4-2006)
News from October 3, 2006
- Gordon has shot to be first to hit $80 million: Six years after his final victory, Dale Earnhardt’s record of 11 restrictor-plate victories can be tied this weekend in the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. If that record is matched, Jeff Gordon has also tied “The Intimidator’s” career total of 76 wins in the Nextel Cup Series – and eclipsed the $80 million mark for career race winnings [which includes point funds, championships, etc].(Performance PR Plus), Gordon is currently at $79,882,400, needing $117,000.(10-4-2006)
- Wimmer and Morgan-McClure part ways, Todd Bodine in #4 at Talladega: #4-Morgan-McClure President, Larry McClure announced today the mutually agreed upon release of Scott Wimmer as their full-time driver for the remainder of the 2006 season. Wimmer and McClure have agreed to part ways now, allowing the team to possibly utilize some veteran experience to diagnose the existing cars as well as try some potential drivers for 2007. Wimmer remains available to assist the team at any of the remaining events for 2006. “We are sorry to lose Scott, but at the same time we all have to do what is best for each of us. He is one of the nicest young men I’ve had the opportunity to work with and we enjoyed having him with us this year and getting to know him and his family. I knew he was going to have to make a decision soon about his future in the sport and we wish him nothing but the best in his next endeavor,” said McClure early Tuesday morning from his Abingdon, VA based facility. “We just decided to go different ways in ’07. We were working real hard to put sponsorship together and get things going in the right direction and it just never seemed to materialize. I think we had a successful season, we ran real well at times, especially with losing our sponsor so early and having to go through all that. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t find the consistency we needed and missed a few races. But I think we ran real good at other ones and definitely were building something. We just never could get decent funding or the sponsorship we needed, so we decided to go different ways in ’07,” said Wimmer of his departure. Wimmer continued, “I really enjoyed the time that I was there. I think that they are great car owners and great people and definitely deserve to have success in this sport like they used to. I wish them the best and hope they can find what they had back in the 90’s and be successful like they were there.”
There were several options McClure considered before naming Todd Bodine as the driver for the next two races. “Todd got in our car last year at Homestead and really went out and showed us what we were capable of, so he was a good choice for us. We are looking forward to getting to Talladega and working with Todd again.”(Morgan-McClure PR)(10-3-2006)
- Eric McClure to attempt Talladega: Eric McClure will be attempting his first 2006 Nextel Cup race at Talladega in the #04 Hefty Brand Chevy for Morgan-McClure Motorsports with associate sponsorship from 77 Sports.com, Forward Air, Morgan-McClure Chevrolet and Duke Yontz Auctions. Calling the shots for the Chilhowie, VA native will be a collaborated effort between Larry McClure, Steve Gray (car chief of the #4 team), and longtime MMM employee Robert Larkins. McClure will be competing with MMM chassis #80 which was last used in Nextel Cup Series competition during the 2003 Daytona 500. The UAW-Ford 500 marks the second of three events for Hefty Brand and Eric McClure during the 2006 Nextel Cup and Busch Series season. Their final event of the year will come at the Busch Series Dollar General 300 on October 13, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. McClure is attempting to qualify for his third (3) career NASCAR Nextel Cup event, and first of the 2006 season at the Talladega. The UAW-Ford 500 will mark McClure’s second time competing at the famed 2.66-mile speedway. His first appearance came in his Nextel Cup Series debut in April 2004, where he started 35th and finished 26th. In addition to McClure’s efforts, Hefty Brand will serve as Co-primary sponsor on the MMM #4 entry during the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 14, 2006.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(10-3-2006)
- Bliss in the #49, Lepage out..starting at Talladega: BAM Racing announced that former Truck Series Champion Mike Bliss as driver of the #49 Dodge for the remainder of the 2006 season beginning this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway [replacing Kevin Lepage]. Bliss joins BAM Racing in light of the recent restructuring efforts of the team. Recently, David Hyder returned to the team as crew chief and WhatsOnline.com joined BAM Racing as a repeat primary sponsor for 2006 and 2007. “I’m excited to have this opportunity with BAM Racing and to return to racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,” commented Bliss. “This team is making great strides in preparing for the 2007 season and I am happy to be part of the process. As one of the few single-car teams, the challenges we face are greater than those of multi-car teams but so are the rewards. I look forward to being a part of the team that is being assembled by BAM Racing.” Bliss will be making his first Nextel Cup Series start of the 2006 season this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. He has four starts at the track with an average starting position of 28.0 and average finish of 25.2 at the 2.66-mile tri-oval with one top-10 finish. “We are pleased to have Mike Bliss behind the wheel of the BAM Racing Dodge,” said team co-owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. “Our team has been in a restructuring period for weeks now. As we look to the future, we feel that Mike has the determination and enthusiasm it takes to be successful. The final races of this season are important building blocks for us and Mike will be an integral part of our continued reorganization.”(BAM Racing site), nothing heard about Kevin Lepage’s plans.(10-3-2006)
- Lucky Dog Pass Stats after Kansas: so far in 2006, after 29 races, two drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart and #31-Burton. #5-Kyle Busch is the leader with 9 lucky dog passes used. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #6-Martin [3rd at Kansas], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte], #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond and 5th at Dover in Sept] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(10-3-2006)
- Kenseth to make 250th Cup start: When #17-Matt Kenseth takes the green flag in this Sunday’s UAW-Ford 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway, he will be making the 250th Nextel Cup Series start of his nine-year career. Kenseth, the 2003 Cup Champion, will become the 76th driver in NASCAR history to reach the milestone. Kenseth broke into the Cup Series in 1998 at Dover International Speedway, where he drove to a sixth-place finish while filling in for #94-Bill Elliott. Together with crew chief and fellow Wisconsin native, Robbie Reiser, and car sponsor DEWALT, Kenseth made the leap into full-time competition in NASCAR’s Cup division in 2000. That year, Kenseth became the only rookie ever to win the Coca-Cola 600, a victory that helped propel him to Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. In 2003, Kenseth brought car owner Jack Roush his first Cup Championship by claiming the final championship of the Winston Cup era. Since then, Kenseth has won the 2004 IROC Championship, won the 2004 Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and is one of only three drivers to have made NASCAR’s Chase for the Nextel Cup all three seasons.(Roush Racing PR)(10-3-2006)
- Nemechek to run #46 Truck at Talladega: Joe Nemechek will pilot the #46 Chevy Silverado fielded by Morgan-Dollar Motorsports in Saturday’s John Deere 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. It will be the first time Nemechek has competed in the Truck Series since January 1998. The U.S. Army, Nemechek’s full-time sponsor on his MB2-fielded Chevy Monte Carlo SS in the Nextel Cup Series, will support his Truck Series effort at the 2.66-mile track. Giving Nemechek an added edge atop the pit box will be Eric Phillips, who is also his brother-in-law. Phillips, a Canton, IL native, has six career wins in the Truck Series, including four wins in 2005 with MDM #85 E85 FlexFuel driver, Dennis Setzer.(Morgan Dollar Motorsports PR)(10-3-2006)
- Johnson DID serve penalty: #48-Jimmie Johnson DID serve the pass-thru penalty after getting caught speeding on his final pit stop at Kansas Speedway [on the final lap as the checkered flag fell]. On Speed’s Victory Lane it was mentioned Johnson had not served the penalty, no place else was it reported, it was reported on MRN coverage that Johnson did serve the penalty, Larry McRaynolds explains this at FoxSports.com: “There’s no question that he served the penalty. It’s the reason he finished 14th. The #48 car had a pretty good lead when he attempted to make his green-flag stop. Most of the cars running near the front — Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards — made pit stops as well. Those guys ended up finishing in front of Johnson because they did have to serve a pass-through penalty. As he [Johnson] approached pit road to make his green-flag stop, the #9 car spun out coming to pit road. Making a great move back on the track, Johnson anticipated that a caution was going to come out. If the caution had been thrown, a ton of cars would have gone a lap down, and he would have been in pretty good shape. Johnson probably would have come to pit road and taken four fresh tires, which would have put him in position to win the race. Unfortunately for Johnson, the caution did not wave. When he finally came back around to make a green-flag stop, he knew that he had given up a lot of time slowing down to come to pit road and then getting back up to speed on the last lap. There’s a chance that he went over the speed limit to make up ground. If pit road speed at Kansas was 45 mph, Johnson was going in excess of 50 in at least one of the eight to 10 sections of pit road measured by loops. He only had to be speeding in one of those sections to get penalized. The penalty under green is called a pass-through. The driver has to come back to pit road. He doesn’t have to stop in his pits, but he must maintain pit road speed. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kyle Busch, was caught speeding under caution at lap 196, and the penalty under caution is starting at the tailend of the longest line.”(10-3-2006)
- Newton-Everett Biotech to Sponsor #74 and Cope: Newton-Everett Biotech, the world renowned maker of premium supplements and nutraceuticals will #74-Derrike Cope in the Nextel Cup Series. Newton-Everett Biotech will market Vialafil, a natural male enhancement supplement on the #74 Dodge beginning at UAW-Ford 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Vialafil.com will also be the co-primary sponsor at the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 12th. Vialafil is sold worldwide as is available exclusively through www.Vialafil.com. “We are proud to break ground with this exciting new sponsorship opportunity and offer NASCAR fans a chance to discover Vialafil, a product for male sexual enhancement that has sold at over 2 million doses worldwide!” says Stefan Russell, President of Newton-Everett Biotech.(McGlynn Racing PR)(10-3-2006)
News from October 2, 2006
- Kansas overnight TV ratings down: NBC’s coverage of Sunday’s Banquet 400 Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway earned a 3.4 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 7 share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 5.5% lower than the 3.6/7 overnight figures last year, and 15% below the 4.0/8 in 2004.(SceneDaily.com)(10-2-2006)
- Car Number swaps? sells? There is talk in the garage about the possibility of car number sales, or at least swaps within teams, so as to accommodate as many drivers as possible in the first five races of next season. Several new teams, including the Toyota fleet, will join the battle next year with no guarantee of a starting spot at Daytona. Through the first five races of each year, the top 35 in owner points from the previous year are assured starting positions. After five races, the assurance reverts to same-year points. Next year, there certainly will be more than 35 well-sponsored teams. Some think Robert Yates might profit by selling or loaning one of his car numbers. The 88 and the 38 both are safely in the top 35 as of now. Others consider that unlikely, as the gain for Yates would be negligible and the cost for a buyer likely too high.(SpeedTV.com)(10-2-2006)
- Commercial breakdown for the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway:
Total number of commercials: 141
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 68
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 20
Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:04 P.M.
End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:40 P.M.
Total minutes: 216
Minutes of race broadcast: 150
Minutes of commercials: 66
See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-2-2006)
- Reutimann hopes he gets #00 ride UPDATE: David Reutimann doesn’t have a Nextel Cup contract just yet, but he’s thinking that he might be a little closer to getting the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing ride for next season. Reutimann is the leading candidate and has met with officials from sponsors Domino’s Pizza and Burger King. “Michael talked to me [Thursday] some about it – he said they have a couple of final things to hammer out, but he’s really encouraged by it,” Reutimann said Friday night after Busch Series practice at Kansas Speedway. “He hasn’t said it’s a done deal, but it is the first time that he has said we’re in a pretty good position.”
“It looks like it will probably be a week to 10 days,” said Michael Waltrip Racing General Manager Ty Norris. “There’s some internal things going on with both corporations. It’s a pretty lengthy process when you’re dealing with so many franchisees. A lot of communication has to happen before we’re ready to decide.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-1-2006)
UPDATE: David Reutimann feels better about his chances to be named the driver of Michael Waltrip Racing’s #00 Toyota Nextel Cup entry for 2007, but admits waiting is difficult. Reutimann, 36, a full-time truck series driver, said Waltrip and team general manager Ty Norris have been increasingly encouraging as they continue to pitch him to co-sponsors Burger King and Domino’s Pizza. “I think there are still some hurdles we have to overcome there, but I’m feeling like in the next couple weeks we’ll be to the point where we at least make some kind of decision so everybody knows, including me, because it’s tough not knowing,” Reutimann said. “You want it to happen, but sometimes you want to know no matter (what) the outcome is so you can just move on.” Reutimann is already signed to drive a Busch Series car for Waltrip in 2007.(St Petersburg Times)(10-2-2006)
News from October 1, 2006
- Yates still looking for a sponsor for the #88 in 2007: With an ongoing sponsorship search that’s been “tougher than expected,” Robert Yates Racing co-owner Doug Yates said it’s “time to go” where RYR’s #88 team is concerned. Yates hopes to have something locked down within several weeks, but can’t begin serious talks with a driver to replace Dale Jarrett until securing a sponsor to replace outgoing UPS. “We all know it’s tough; $15 million sponsors aren’t just laying around every corner,” Yates said Friday at Kansas Speedway. “We see how some teams have to piece things together to get to a full season. That’s not our first wish, of course, but we’ll see how it goes.” While a sponsor will look to the team for input, Yates said the sponsor will have the greatest role in choosing the team’s next driver. A veteran would be preferable to pair with David Gilliland but Yates said a younger driver could also work if it goes that way. “We would prefer a veteran because we need that balance,” Yates said. ” But on the other hand, you look at it and say you need to build on something, too. It’s really a tough call. You want to build for your future, but you also want to get your program back to where it needs to be. There’s a lot of things up in the air and it’s been tough.” Gilliland has struggled since replacing Elliott Sadler in the #38 car last month at Michigan. Yates, though, knew patience would be required for a driver with only limited Busch Series experience. “The bright part is he is very fast and qualifies well and you can see the speed. The downside is we don’t need to tear up equipment,” Yates said. “That’s tough. When you wreck cars it’s hard to build on it. You kind of know that going in with somebody and we’ve got a steep learning curve. We knew when we got together and made this that we’re going to have our challenges. But the part that keeps me very excited is you see the speed in him and you see the potential there and you look at the other guys that have come before him and where they’re at today.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-1-2006)
- More on Robby to Ford: hearing there will be an announcement by Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) at Lowe’s Motor Speedway/Charlotte, NC when NASCAR races there Oct 12-14th, that the #7 RGM team will be switching from Chevy’s to Ford’s for the 2007 season.(10-1-2006)
- Tennis accident key to Montoya exit? Juan Pablo Montoya’s shock decision to turn his back on Formula One for NASCAR can be traced back to an off-track accident last year, McLaren team boss Ron Dennis said on Sunday. “The accident that damaged his shoulder was very counter-productive, it took that year out of play,” he told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix. “That created some tensions, but not tensions that anyone created other than the circumstances that existed as a result of that.” Colombian Montoya missed two races in the early part of last season after fracturing his shoulder, officially while working out with a game of tennis, although there was strong speculation in the paddock that he had fallen off a motocross bike. He returned in pain at the Spanish Grand Prix but the championship was already turning into a straight fight between his Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen and Renault’s Fernando Alonso. Although Montoya won three races last year, Raikkonen won seven, the same number as Alonso who was then signed as a McLaren driver from 2007 before the start of the new season.(Reuters)(10-1-2006)
- Labonte Gears Things Up in a Race for BOOKS! Bobby Labonte, driver of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, has a reason to be excited heading into this weekend’s race in Kansas. His seventh place finish last weekend in Dover means he has already helped CheeriosR Spoonfuls of StoriesR donate more than 26,000 books to kids in need all across the country through nonprofit partner First BookR. The “Race for BOOKS!” kicked off two weeks ago in New Hampshire. Labonte was racing towards the top 10 when he was taken out of contention in a wreck. Labonte, however, rebounded for his fifth top-10 finish of the season last weekend and completed all 400 laps. For every lap Labonte completes the rest of the season, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories will donate 43 books in an effort to call attention to the importance of reading and getting books to children. Depending on how many laps Labonte completes, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories could distribute more than 135,000 books to kids as the result of his efforts As of this fall, Cheerios, through the Spoonfuls of Stories program, will have donated more than $2 million to First Book (www.firstbook.org), and given more than 25 million books to children free inside boxes of Cheerios cereal. For more information on the Race for Books and Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories, see www.cheerios.com.(PR)(10-1-2006)
- Changes coming at the #16 team? #16-Greg Biffle knows the changes are coming to Roush Racing. What he doesn’t know yet is exactly what they’ll entail, and whether crew chief Doug Richert will be part of the personnel shuffle. Jack Roush said at Dover that changes would be made in the operation, but said Friday at Kansas Speedway that he’s still in the process of determining what those moves will be. So Biffle and Richert can only wait to see what comes next. “I know that we’re making some pretty major changes in our organization throughout,” Biffle said. “Kind of reorganizing a lot of stuff and going to try and re-energize what we did in 2005, sharing a lot of information. Not saying we’re not now, but trying to focus on that better and find out what works really good and then spread it company wide and then try to get everybody going that way.” Biffle said it looks like he’ll remain paired with Richert and that he hopes that’s the case. Richert has served as Biffle’s crew chief since August 2003.(SceneDaily.com)(10-1-2006)
- DeLana Harvick honored: DeLana Harvick, wife of Nextel Cup driver #29-Kevin Harvick, was honored by the Hershey Co. on Saturday morning. Harvick was chosen as a “Sensational Woman” by the company for her efforts in helping the first against breast cancer. Today marks the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She was the first of four women to receive the honor from the chocolate company. Harvick, who lost her father to cancer last year, had $5,000 donated in her honor by Hershey. “It’s important that people get behind this all year long,” Harvick said. “It’s more than just a one-month-a-year cause.”(Kansas City Star/GM Racing PR)(10-1-2006)
- Wedding bells at Kansas: Kansas Speedway played host to its first race-weekend wedding Sunday morning. Terry Erwin and Crystal Collins married at the Fan Walk stage on the infield. “It’s a lifetime experience,” Erwin said. “More than we could have ever imagined would happen.” Erwin, an Indiana resident, ran sprint cars for more than a decade. “We’re both into NASCAR and drag racing,” Erwin said. “If it has an engine and runs, we like it.”(Kansas City Star)(10-1-2006)
- Stewart ‘coasts’ to the win at Kansas: #20-Tony Stewart won the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway after running out of gas a few hundred feet from the start finish line, but was able to coast to the start/finish line before #42-Casey Mears, who also was running out of gas. The win is Stewart’s 3rd win of 2006 and 27th of his career and only led the 5 final laps. Mears ended up 2nd to tie his career best finished [2006 Daytona 500]. Rounding out the top-10 were #6-Martin, #88-Jarrett [1st top-5 of the season], points leader #31-Burton, #99-Edwards, #5-Busch, #25-Vickers, #07-Bowyer and #8-Earnhardt Jr. Six Chase drivers finished out of the top-10 with #48-Johnson finishing 14th [after getting caught speeding on pit road on the final pitstop with 5 laps to go], #29-Harvick 15th, #11-Hamlin 18th, #17-Kenseth 23rd and #24-Gordon finished 39th after he lost fuel pressure and the crew could not get the engine to re-fire. There were 13 leaders with 20 lead changes and 11 cautions for 45 laps.
Race Results on my Kansas Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Kansas page
Race Rundown: see my Kansas Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-1-2006)
- Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Kansas [29 of 36 races]:
#31-Jeff Burton 5511
#11-Denny Hamlin 5442 -69
#6-Mark Martin 5441 -70
#17-Matt Kenseth 5427 -84
#29-Kevin Harvick 5415 -96
#24-Jeff Gordon 5391 -120
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5388 -123
#48-Jimmie Johnson 5346 -165
#5-Kyle Busch 5278 -233
#9-Kasey Kahne 5238 -273
and fighting for 11th
#20-Tony Stewart in 11th
#16-Greg Biffle -270
#99-Carl Edwards -272
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-1-2006)
- Unofficial “Classic” Points Standings
…the old way, not the Chase after Kansas:
1) #17-Matt Kenseth 4162
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4029 -133
3) #29-Kevin Harvick 3856 -306
4) #31-Jeff Burton 3818 -344
5) #11-Denny Hamlin 3760 -402
6) #6-Mark Martin 3757 -405
7) #20-Tony Stewart 3722 -440
8) #24-Jeff Gordon 3702 -460
9) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3701 -461
10) #5-Kyle Busch 3667 -495
11) #9-Kasey Kahne 3552 -610
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-1-2006)
- Kansas Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
#7 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 10
#26 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 11
#41 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 20
#37 TE Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon Lap 61
#38 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 68
#26 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 130
#55 OL Speeding exiting pit road Lap 129
#32 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 132
#12 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 132
#37 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 133
#55 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 133
#40 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 133
#17 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 145
#1 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 146
#11 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 146
#10 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 146
#11 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 146
#29 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 154
#25 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 154
#07 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 172
#38 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 174
#12 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 181
#12 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 181
#40 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 195
#06 TE Removing equipment from pit box Lap 197
#5 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 196
#01 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 196
#7 PT Speeding entering pit road Lap 264
#48 PT Speeding exiting pit road Lap 263
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-1-2006)
- Rumblings – Kansas Race Notes: Somebody give that man a pot pie! “Everthing’s up to date in Kansas City” after all (my apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein) as we ended up with the top-two finishers today running on the apron and mass confusion as to where anybody finished in the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway. Tony Stewart ran out of fuel on the backstretch but coasted to his 3rd win of the season today (the 27th of his Nextel Cup career) over an out-of-gas Casey Mears (see a pattern here?). Tony’s win was worth a healthy $346,361 from the almost $6M in posted awards and moved him into a solo 21st place on the all-time win list. This was win #52 for Joe Gibbs Racing….and it was certainly a sweet one for Zippy and the gang.
Casey Mears (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Daytona in February.
Mark Martin (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Atlanta in March.
Dale Jarrett (4th) had his best finish since he won at Talladega last October. His Top-5 gives us 28 drivers at that level this season….last year we had 30 of ’em.
Bill Elliott (16th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Michigan in August of 2005.
Travis Kvapil (19th) had his best finish since he was 19th at Pocono in June.
Sterling Marlin (20th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Loudon in July.
David Gilliland (22nd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 27th last week at Dover.
Todd Kluever (32nd) had his career-best finish today as well. His previous best was 41st at Chicagoland in July.
STREAKIN….Jeff Burton has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Casey Mears (+31), followed by Dale Jarrett (+28 ), Ken Schrader (+23), Bill Elliott (+23), Carl Edwards (+21), and Tony Stewart (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was J. J. Yeley (-36), followed by Kasey Kahne (-32), Scott Riggs (-32), Elliott Sadler (-31), and Jeff Gordon (-28 ). Mears is now tied with Tony for most Ops this season (4)….and the “Shaft” is sure bottom-heavy with Evernham Dodges this week.
Jeff Burton stretches his lead in the “Chase” to 69 markers over new second place man Denny Hamlin. Mark Martin makes the big move up to third this week and we can hang our first “Magic Numbers” of the playoffs. Kasey Kahne will be eliminated if Burton runs fifth or better the final seven races. In “Classic” Points this week Tony Stewart (9th to 7th) and Martin Truex Jr (23rd to 21st) made the only multiple postition positive moves in the Top-40, while Jeff Gordon (5th to 8th) fell three spots.(Stock Car Fans)(10-1-2006)
- Kansas Race Notes:
• Tony Stewart won the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway, scoring his 27th Nextel Cup victory in his 277th career start.
• This is Stewart’s third victory in 2006. He also won at Martinsville and Daytona in July.
• This is Stewart’s first victory in six races at Kansas He has scored five top-10 finishes in six races at Kansas
• Stewart remained 11th in the point standings. He has a 270-point lead over 12th-place Greg Biffle who finished 12th. This is the first year that Stewart will not finish among the top-10 since 1999, ending a seven-year streak. Stewart missed The Chase by 16 points. Stewart is chasing the $1 million bonus for finishing 11th in the final point standings. Jeff Gordon finished 11th in 2005 and Jamie McMurray finished 11th in 2004.
• Stewart’s victory is the 18th Chevrolet victory in 29 races in 2006. Chevrolet clinched the 2006 Manufacturers’ Championship at Loudon- the 30th Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet. Chevrolet has won the Manufacturers’ Championship in each of the last four years.
• Stewart won the race from the 21st-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started at Kansas.
• Race winner Stewart led the final five laps in the 2006 Banquet 400, the only laps he led during the race.
• The 13 different lap leaders in the 2006 Banquet 400 set the record for Kansas Speedway.
• This is team owner Joe Gibb’s 52nd Nextel Cup victory and his first at Kansas. Three of Gibb’s five victories in 2006 have been scored by Stewart while Denny Hamlin has two.
• Joe Gibbs Racing has won at least one race each season 1993-2006, 14 consecutive years.
• Jimmie Johnson led five times for 105 of the 267 laps raced, leading the most laps for the first time since Atlanta in March 2005.
• Casey Mears (second) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 2006. He tied his career-best finish set in thee 2006 Daytona 500. It marked his second top-10 finish in four races at Kansas Speedway.
• Mark Martin (third) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006 and his third top-10 finish in six races at Kansas. Martin climbed from sixth to third in the point standings and is now just one point behind second-place Denny Hamlin.
• Mark Martin has been running at the finish in the last 36 races, the longest current streak. Martin’s streak began at Kansas City one year ago.
• Dale Jarrett (fourth) scored his first top-five finish since he finished first at Talladega last October. It is his second top-10 finish in six races at Kansas Speedway.
• Jeff Burton (fifth) scored his 18th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his first top-10 finish in six races Kansas Speedway.
• Clint Bowyer (ninth) was the highest finishing rookie for the seventh time in 2006. Bowyer and Martin Truex (11th) put two rookies in the top-15 for the 18th time in 2006.
• At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 29 races this season.
• Denny Hamlin (18th) ended a streak of 11 straight top-15 finishes.
• Matt Kenseth (23rd) ended a streak of six straight top-10 finishes that began at Michigan in August.
• Jimmie Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 98 consecutive races. Johnson has been running at the finish in all 29 races in 2006. Johnson has gone five straight races without scoring a top-10 finish tying the longest streak of his career. Johnson went five races at the start of his career before scoring a top-10 finish and did so again between Dover and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in 2003. Johnson remained eighth in the point standings.
The Chase Drivers
• Four of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10: Mark Martin, Jeff Burton (fifth), Kyle Busch (seventh) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10th).
• Six of the 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Kansas.
• Jeff Burton remained first in the point standings. He is competing in the Chase for first time.
• Denny Hamlin climbed from fourth to second in the point standings. He is 18 points behind point leader Burton. Hamlin is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time. He is the first Raybestos rookie contender to compete in The Chase.
• Mark Martin climbed from sixth to third in the point standings, just one point behind second-place Hamlin. Martin is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. He is one of just three drivers to do so. Martin finished fourth in 2004 and 2005.
• Matt Kenseth dropped from third to fourth in the point standings. Kenseth is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. He is one of just three drivers to do so. Kenseth finished eighth in 2004 and seventh in 2005.
• Kevin Harvick remained fifth in the point standings. Harvick is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time. He is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.
• Jeff Gordon dropped from second to sixth in the point standings. Gordon is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second time in three years. He is one of just two drivers that have competed in two of the three. Gordon finished third in 2004 and 11th in the 2005 final standings.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr., remained seventh in the point standings. Earnhardt Jr. is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second time in three years. He is one of just two drivers that have competed in two of the three. Earnhardt Jr. finished fifth in 2004 and 19th in the 2005 final standings.
• Jimmie Johnson remained eighth in the point standings. Johnson is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. Johnson finished second in 2004 and fifth in 2005.
• Kyle Busch climbed from 10th to ninth in the point standings. Busch is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time. He is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.
• Kasey Kahne (33rd) dropped from ninth to 10th in the point standings. Kahne is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-1-2006)
- Pardo Wins to become first Mexican Driver to Win a NASCAR Race: Ruben Pardo completed a brilliant rookie season in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series by holding off defending race winner Matt Kobyluck to win Saturday’s Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park’s 1.53 mile road course. Mike Olsen’s third place finish made him the series champion for the second time, five years after his first title. Pardo qualified second and trailed Busch Pole winner Kobyluck until the latter pitted after 16 laps. Pardo surrendered the top spot to Olsen after 32 circuits, with Kobyluck cycling back to the front five laps later. The last half of the 82-lap, 200-kilometer race was primarily a three way battle among Kobyluck, Pardo, and Brian Hoar, who finished fourth. Their duel was punctuated when Pardo and Kobyluck tangled in turn one on lap 56. Pardo emerged second and passed Hoar for the lead ten laps later. Sean Caisse, Olsen’s main rival for the title all summer, finished fifth and did not lead a lap for the first time all season. Pardo won $10,496 while clinching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award for 2006 and winning the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award for exceeding his performance at Dover International Speedway last week by 23 places. The Mexico City native also became the first international driver to win a race in the Busch East Series – and the first Mexican driver to win a NASCAR touring series race.(NASCAR PR)(10-1-2006)
- Richard Petty Driving Experience Completes Safe Driving Program at Texas A&M University: The Richard Petty Driving Experience completed a successful first day of its Safe Driving Program at Texas A&M University on Thursday with President Robert M. Gates and NASCAR legend Kyle Petty participating in the driving skills. The half-day sessions allowed participating students to receive hands-on training designed to make them more safety conscious when behind the steering wheel. It is the first university-oriented program of its type offered in Texas and the program will conclude tomorrow. “We hold what may be a national record that we wish we didn’t hold – Texas A&M lost 15 students in auto accidents last year,” Gates told the media before the demonstrations. “Having a program like Richard Petty Driving Experience Safe Driving Program, where many of our students can learn safe driving techniques, is a real benefit for us. I want to thank the entire Petty family for sponsoring this very educational program.” The safe-driving program was divided into four areas, each designed to educate students about the dangers associated with motor vehicles. Students participated in behind-the-wheel training through modules that include skid control, braking skills, crash avoidance and a tailgating/following distance exercise. Students participated in the program free of charge, thanks to generous sponsorship support from Dodge, Coca-Cola and General Mills. Richard Petty Driving Experience Safe Driving Program will be offered at Texas A&M again on Nov. 2–3. For more information, call 1-800-BE-PETTY or visit www.1800bepetty.com.(10-1-2006)