October 2007 News Archives

  • News from October 31, 2007

  • COT Testing at Atlanta Concludes: Atlanta Motor Speedway’s three-day Pep Boys Auto 500 race weekend was extended two days, allowing teams to participate in a Car of Tomorrow test. More than 50 cars were on hand to fine-tune the NASCAR race car. Kyle Busch posted the fastest lap during the two-day test with a circuit around AMS’ 1.54-mile quad oval in 29.632 seconds, (187.095 mph). (AMS PR), see updates and complete times on the Atlanta Testing Page.(10-31-2007)
  • NASCAR to not give Cup drivers points in Nationwide races? In hopes of giving the Nationwide Series its own identity, NASCAR officials are considering one future option that would stop Cup regulars from earning points in the feeder league. Officials also have talked to the teams about making engine and body changes, including the possibility of going to pony cars (Mustangs, Camaros, etc.) in 2009. “All we’ve done at this point is ask the teams how they would feel about various changes,” said NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston. “Nothing has been decided. It’s all very preliminary.” The most interesting idea being discussed is a new rule that would state any driver ranked in the top 35 in Cup points could not earn points competing in the Nationwide race. The plan would go into affect in 2009.(ESPN.com)(10-31-2007)
  • Lifetime Powertrain Warranty Scheme for Kahne: The #9 Dodge will feature a new Lifetime Powertrain Warranty promotional paint scheme for the races at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. Chrysler is the first and only original equipment manufacturer to offer a ‘best-in-industry’ Lifetime Powertrain Warranty – providing worry-free ownership. (Clear!Blue/GEM PR)(10-31-2007)
  • Richard Petty Visits USS Abraham Lincoln: Richard Petty will be a guest on the naval aircraft carrier the USS Abraham Lincoln on October 31, 2007. It will be Petty’s first visit on an aircraft carrier. Petty will travel to the Halsey Field Naval Air Station in San Diego, California where he will be taken to the ship. The USS Abraham Lincoln is currently out to sea preparing for its next deployment. Petty will spend the afternoon aboard the ship watching and participating in various naval base drills with the sailors. Petty is expected to take part in a landing on the flight deck in a dual-prop plane and spend time on the flight deck. He will also entertain troops by taking pictures and signing autographs for those on board.(Petty Racing PR)(10-31-2007)
  • Kevin Harvick Day in Houston: The City of Houston has declared November 1, 2007 as Kevin Harvick Day. The proclamation honoring the RCR driver and the # 29 Cup Series team, sponsored by Houston-based Shell Oil Company, will be delivered by Mayor Bill White. A full day of events across the city with personal appearances by Harvick, team owner Richard Childress and many members of the #29 Shell-Pennzoil team are scheduled for Houston’s Kevin Harvick Day. The event will kick off with a public event at City Hall when the proclamation will be read. This event will begin at 11 a.m. local time.(RCR PR)(10-31-2007)
  • Goodyear likely to return to Atlanta for more testing: Goodyear likely will have to return to Atlanta next January to select a different tire than the one Nextel Cup teams tested on Monday and Tuesday. Some teams have worn their tires out before the end of a fuel run, which is about 50-55 laps. “We’re pretty comfortable with what we’ve seen,” said Goodyear’s Greg Stucker. “[But] it appears the setup on the car of tomorrow is still pretty aggressive from a wear perspective. We’ll probably test again and try … to get more wear resistant. I think everybody is comfortable with the level of grip they have. Our target is a gas stop [for wear], and not everybody is able to get there right now.” Goodyear has at least two more tire tests left this year. It will test Nov. 5 at California with Hendrick Motorsports and David Green as the driver. It also will test Dec. 11-12 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with teams to be determined.(SceneDaily.com)(10-31-2007)
  • Delphi Renews with Hendrick: Delphi Product & Service Solutions announced that it will continue its major associate sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports during the 2008 NASCAR season. An associate sponsor of all of the 2008 Hendrick Motorsports entries, Delphi will also be the primary sponsor for the #5 Nationwide Series Chevy fielded by JR Motorsports for four races. In addition, Delphi will receive preferred logo placement on the #5 Sprint Cup Series car driven by Casey Mears at Las Vegas, Indianapolis and the second Texas race.(Hendrick PR)(10-31-2007)
  • Labonte Racing with Spoonfuls of Stories Paint Scheme: Bobby Labonte will be returning to his home state supporting the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program by running a #43 Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Dodge this weekend. The Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program helps get books into kids’ hands and encourages parents and children to read together. Over the past six years, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories has distributed more than 30 million books free inside boxes of Cheerios cereal, and donated more than $2.5 million to support nonprofit partner First Book.(Petty Racing PR)(10-31-2007)
  • Sad News – Joe Collins: NASCAR lost one of its dear people and loyal servants when Joe Collins passed away Oct. 25 at the age of 65. Joe served NASCAR for more than 25 years in a variety of capacities, including official and Weekly Series Racing Director. A native of Alabama, Joe worked for the railroad for 20 years before working with NASCAR. He and his wife of 46 years – Barbara – have a son and a daughter and three grandsons.(NASCAR PR)(10-31-2007)
  • Sad News – James Grotton: James Frederick Grotton Jr., 61, died Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007, at home surrounded by his family. James was born Jan. 11, 1946, in Gardiner, Maine, the son of Fred and Rita (Hopkins) Grotton. He was happily married to Diane (Prescott) Grotton for 43 years. He was part owner of the Pipeline Co., Everett J. Prescott in Concord for 30 years. He left the business in 1995 to travel the country with his wife following the NASCAR racing success of his son-in-law [Ricky Craven]. In addition to his wife, James is survived by their three children, Carman Alenson, Erik Grotton and Cathleen Craven; and nine grandchildren. The death of his oldest grandson, James F. Alenson, in January brought him much sadness. James is also survived by his mother, three brothers, a sister, and several nephews and nieces. (Concord Monitor)(10-31-2007)

    News from October 30, 2007

  • New Sponsor for Wood Bros. at Texas: The Wood Brothers team will be bringing a brand new sponsor on board this weekend in Delimex, an authentic brand of frozen Mexican Cuisine under the H.J. Heinz banner. This will mark the second of three events in which a Heinz-backed brand will adorn the legendary # 21 car on the race track.(Wood Brothers / JTG Racing PR)(10-30-2007)
  • Special Scheme for McMurray at Texas: Jamie McMurray will drive the #26 Crown Royal Special Reserve Ford in this Sunday´s Dickies 500 at Texas.(Roush Racing PR). See an image of the scheme on the #26 Team Schemes page.(10-30-2007)
  • NASCAR studying how Hamlin, Blaney had water in fuel: MORE Denny Hamlin, who thought he had enough gas while leading when his car sputtered and didn’t start with three laps remaining in the Pep Boys Auto 500, actually had water in his fuel cell at the time. Whether that caused him not to accelerate and get hit from behind by Martin Truex Jr. is uncertain, Joe Gibbs Racing Senior Vice President Jimmy Makar said Sunday night at Atlanta. But what is certain is that Hamlin and Bill Davis Racing’s Dave Blaney had water in their fuel cells, and Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle also might have had a similar situation. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said that no water was found in the Sunoco pumps following the race. Darby said all of the Sunoco documentation from the weekend shows no water in the tanks.(SceneDaily.com)(10-28-2007)
    UPDATE: Water found in the fuel tanks of cars driven by #11-Denny Hamlin and #22-Dave Blaney during Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Atlanta was not isolated to those teams, a NASCAR official said Monday. Water also was discovered in the fuel of the Penske Racing cars driven by #2-Kurt Busch and #12-Ryan Newman after returning to Charlotte, N.C. In addition, water was found in the fuel cell of all three Richard Childress racing team cars belonging to #29-Kevin Harvick, #07-Clint Bowyer and #31-Jeff Burton. #16-Greg Biffle believes his car may have had water in its fuel, although no evidence was found. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said the problem is more widespread than originally thought and that NASCAR has issued bulletins to all Cup and Truck Series teams to check for evidence of contamination so they can locate the source. Darby said everything from the underground fuel-holding tank at the track to the fuel trucks that deliver the gas to the individual gas cans are being analyzed. He said the underground tank is the least likely source because there is an alarm system located that can detect the slightest amount of contamination. Darby dismissed sabotage as a possible explanation, saying too many teams were affected for anyone to have been singled out.(ESPN.com)(10-30-2007)
  • Penske may consider points swap for Hornish: With Sam Hornish having trouble qualifying for Cup races – he has missed all six he has attempted this year – Penske Racing may consider making a points swap to get Hornish into races in 2008. With Kurt Busch having won the 2004 Nextel Cup championship, Penske could transfer the points earned by Busch’s #2 team to Hornish, which would lock him into the top 35 for the first five races of next season. Busch would get into those races as the most recent past champion if he failed to qualify on speed. NASCAR officials confirmed that a move would be allowed. Penske said he is committed to fielding three Sprint Cup cars next year for Busch, Hornish and Ryan Newman. Penske said he has not talked to other drivers for the third team.(SceneDaily.com)(10-30-2007)
  • Sauter to RGM with Yellow? No: Johnny Sauter is still, as far as he knows, the driver of the #70 Yellow Transportation Chevy for the same team, but Scott Riggs has been signed by the team for 2008. That leaves Sauter in an interesting position: Does he have a job or not? He has a sponsor in Yellow Transportation that is committed to the series, and they seem happy with Sauter. Latest is that Sauter will go to a second team with Robby Gordon, taking Yellow with him.(NASCAR.com)(10-24-2007)
    UPDATE: #70-Johnny Sauter is currently without a ride for the 2008 Sprint Cup season, but he believes he has done enough this year to prove he deserves another year at the sport’s highest level. Sauter, who is being let go from Haas CNC Racing at the end of the season, is 31st in points while the team is 33rd. “I am not sure what the future holds but at the end of the day all I want to do is race and be competitive, whether it is in Cup, Busch or trucks,” Sauter said.(SceneDaily.com)(10-25-2007)
    UPDATE: Johnny Sauter is trying hard to land a Cup deal for next season – but it won’t be with Robby Gordon Motorsports. A source said Sunday the rumored deal with Gordon to start a second team – with Sauter bringing Yellow Transportation as a sponsor – is not going to happen. The 29–year-old continues to be rumored to handful of Busch Series rides for next season while finishing out the Cup schedule driving the #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevy. Gordon, who had previously expressed a desire to start a second team, has yet to announce funding for his primary car.(Frontstretch.com)(10-30-2007)
  • Front Row Motorsports Announces Texas Sponsor: myAutoloan.com will be the primary sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry driven by Kevin Lepage at Texas Motor Speedway. The company is a privately held, direct-to-consumer, internet-based financing marketplace that helps consumers take control of the research, finance and buy processes for Auto, Motorcycle, Boats, RV’s, Home Equity and Mortgages.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(10-30-2007)
  • Bill Davis Trucking Files for Bankruptcy: Bill Davis Trucking Inc. of Batesville, Ark. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Bill Davis, company president, is widely known as owner of a NASCAR team. The company’s attorney, Geoff Treece of Little Rock, declined to comment on the pending case. A meeting with creditors is scheduled for Dec. 18, according to an Oct. 22 filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District Arkansas in Batesville. Chapter 11 allows restructuring of debt so that a company can continue to operate. A list of assets and liabilities is not currently available. The deadline for filing that is Nov. 6. Davis also owns Bill Davis Racing, based in High Point, N.C. It had been speculated that his NASCAR team would potentially be sold or bought into.(Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)
    Statement From Bill Daivs Racing: Bill Davis Trucking, Inc., founded in 1975 by Bill and Gail Davis, announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Today’s action was necessitated by an injury accident and an ensuing lawsuit against the company, based in Batesville, Arkansas. “This has been a very unfortunate chain of events and Gail and I certainly hate that it ever had to happen,” stated Bill Davis. “Bill Davis Trucking and Bill Davis Racing are two completely separate entities and the race team will in no way be affected by today’s announcement.”(Bill Davis Racing PR)(10-30-2007)
  • Franchitti Testing at Kentucky Wednesday: Dario Franchitti will continue his transition to full-time NASCAR competition by testing at Kentucky Speedway Oct. 31. Test sessions usually begin at 9:00 a.m., and conclude at 5:00 p.m. Fans are able to view sessions for free from the designated area outside the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N., in Sparta, Ky.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-30-2007)

    News from October 29, 2007

  • Overnight TV ratings drop 16.7%: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Pep Boys Auto 500 Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned a 3.5 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 16.7% lower than the 4.2 NBC earned overnight for the race in 2006.(SceneDaily.com)(10-29-2007)
  • Wyler & Gaughan CTS Teams Merge; Plan Six Cup Races in 2008: Jeff Wyler and Michael Gaughan jointly announced the formation of Wyler-Gaughan Racing, LLC (WGR), which will field two full-time Craftsman Truck Series teams and will run a partial Sprint Cup Series team during the 2008 season. WGR will field the #77 Toyota with driver Brendan Gaughan and the #60 Toyota. The driver of the #60 Toyota Tundra and sponsors for both teams will be announced at a later date. Gaughan will also be behind the wheel of the team’s Toyota Camry in at least six Sprint Cup races.(Wyler-Gaughan PR)(10-29-2007)
  • Latest on Bill Davis Team Sale: UPDATE: Jacques Villeneuve has apparently completed a buy-in of Bill Davis’ High Point-based Toyota operation, according to sources close to the team, and Villeneuve will have at least a majority interest in the operation, perhaps even full ownership. Last Sunday, when asked about the report of a planned Villeneuve buy-in, Davis said he wasn’t in a position to give a specific answer but did say he was considering a number of options. It is unclear what a purchase price might be. It is also unclear why Villeneuve, who lives in Montreal, would want to buy a NASCAR team, or if Villeneuve might move the team from High Point, where Davis has operated for more than 15 years.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2007)
    UPDATE: What Villeneuve might be doing in NASCAR is still a subject of debate. According to some familiar with the situation, Villeneuve may be coming into the sport for a short-time run as a driver but as a long-term run as an investor/owner. Just what role NASCAR executives might have in this is unclear, though obviously NASCAR is the big winner in the deal, which enhances their new Canadian venture. Last year, Villeneuve and Pollack began talking about setting up their own NASCAR operation and talked with Ford’s Jack Roush and Geoff Smith about a deal for cars, engines and start-up stuff. But it never got very far. Roush said that Villeneuve wanted to take the quickest road to the Cup tour, while Roush suggested he spend more time in Busch to learn the sport.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-29-2007)
  • Penske Staying with Dodge; Decision on Hornish Soon: Penske Racing owner Roger Penske said Sunday that his team will be driving Dodges for years to come. Penske said he has agreed to a multi-year deal with Dodge. The team contract was set to expire at the end of the 2008 season. As for Sam Hornish Jr., one of Penske’s two IndyCar Series drivers who is considering the switch to the Cup Series but has yet to qualify for a race, the plan is to continue trying to get him in a race. “We’re going to keep digging,” Penske said. He said the team likely will know its plans for Hornish by the Phoenix Cup race in two weeks.(ESPN.com)(10-29-2007)
  • McClure Motorsports considering options for 2008: Team owner Larry McClure says that his team will be back in Cup racing next season, but he has yet to finalize his plans. McClure has two more years of sponsorship from State Water Heaters, but is looking for additional sponsorship for about 15 races. “We just need something else to come with them and we’ll be fine,” he said. He has not named a driver for next season. Ward Burton has been driving for the team this season. “I guess we’re considering our options,” he said. “We still don’t have firm sponsorship for the complete season. When we do, then we’ll be seriously talking to some people. We’ve talked to some people, including Ward. It’s kind of unclear right now.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-29-2007)
  • Stremme to Nationwide Series with RWI? UPDATES: Hearing David Stremme will drive a part time Nationwide Series schedule for Rusty Wallace Inc in 2008, splitting time with rookie Chase Austin.(10-25-2007)
    UPDATE: Expect an announcement Sunday in Atlanta that David Stremme will run a 20-race schedule of Nationwide Series races next season for Rusty Wallace, Inc. Sources close to the team tell Sirius Speedway that Stremme will split the schedule with youngster Chase Austin, running all the companion events with the Sprint Cup Series. Stremme is still rumored to be in the running for the handful of rides still open on the Cup side for 2008, as well.(Motorsports Soapbox)(10-26-2007)
    UPDATE 2: David Stremme says that signing with Rusty Wallace Racing to drive in the Nationwide Series in 2008 has no impact on his hunt for a job in the Nextel Cup Series. Stremme is parting ways with the #40 Chip Ganassi Racing team at the end of the season. He announced Sunday morning that he’ll be driving for Wallace in 17 Nationwide Series races next season. Although that team will be a Chevy organization, Stremme does not think that will have an impact on any ongoing negotiations. As to a Cup ride, he says that he’s been discussing various opportunities with his agent.(SceneDaily.com)(10-29-2007)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Pep Boys 500
    Total number of commercials: 140 (in 2006: 154)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 71 (in 2006: 83)
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 25 (in 2006: 31)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 20
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 09//07: PM (in 2006: 2:50 PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 09/08/07: PM (in 2006: 6:38 PM)
    Total minutes: 247 (in 2006: 228)
    Minutes of race broadcast: 186 (in 2006: 154)
    Minutes of commercials: 61 (in 2006: 74)
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Total race brdcst time: 186 Total comm. brdcst time: 61
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-29-2007)
  • Johnson Added to SPEED Performer of the Year Voting Panel: Defending Nextel Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, last year’s inaugural winner of the SPEED Performer of the Year, has agreed to join the voting panel for the annual award beginning this year. Johnson, who edged MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden and F1 title winner Fernando Alonso to win last year’s SPEED Performer of the Year, joins a panel that includes SPEED on-air personalities Bob Varsha, Dave Despain, Tommy Kendall, Ralph Sheheen and Dorsey Schroeder, as well as SPEEDtv.com columnists Robin Miller, Tom Jensen and others. SPEED will offer all future winners of the SPEED Performer of the Year the opportunity to join the voting panel. The 2007 SPEED Performer of the Year will be voted on beginning in November and announced as part of the annual SPEED Performance Awards in February, with the winner earning the famed Mario Andretti Trophy, a three-foot bronze sculpture created by artist Elie Hazak.(SPEEDtv.com)(10-29-2007)

News from October 28, 2007

  • Johnson wins at Atlanta: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a green-white-checker finish for his 8th win of the season, the 31st win of his career, and the sweep of this season’s Atlanta races. #99-Edwards finished second, followed by #41-Sorenson, #17-Kenseth, #31-Burton, #07-Bowyer, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch, #9-Kahne, and #83-Vickers. #8-Earnhardt, Jr. lost a tire during the green-white-checker finish, collecting #26-McMurray and causing the race to end under caution. The race was slowed by 14 cautions for 55 laps. There were 11 leaders with 19 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, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-28-2007)
  • Chasers: where did the 12 chasers finish at Atlanta?
    #48-Johnson won
    #99-Edwards 2nd
    #17-Kenseth 4th
    #31-Burton 5th
    #07-Bowyer 6th
    #24-Gordon 7th
    #2-Busch 8th
    #29-Harvick 15th
    #5-Busch 20th
    #11-Hamlin 24th
    #20-Stewart 30th
    #1-Truex, Jr 31st
  • The Chase Standings [after Atlanta, race 33]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 6201
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6192, -9
    3) #07-Clint Bowyer 6090, -111
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 5940, -261
    5) #5-Kyle Busch 5882, -319
    6) #20-Tony Stewart 5879, -322
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 5809, -392
    8) #31-Jeff Burton 5801, -400
    9) #2-Kurt Busch 5782, -419
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin 5777, -424
    11) #17-Matt Kenseth 5753, -448
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 5688, -513
  • Atlanta Speedway – Fast Facts
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the Pep Boys Auto 500, his 31st victory in 216 Nextel Cup Series races.
    .. This is his eighth victory and 21st top-10 finish in 2007. This is his third sweep of the season (Richmond, Martinsville and Atlanta and his third time to post back-to-back victories in 2007.
    .. This is his third victory and ninth top-10 finish in 13 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    .. Johnson had the No. 1 pre-race Driver Rating at Atlanta (118.3) and is the fifth driver this season to win when having the top pre-race Driver Rating
    .. Carl Edwards (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in seven races at Atlanta.
    .. Reed Sorenson (third) posted his third top-10 finish in five races at Atlanta. It is his career-best finish in 71 Nextel Cup races.
    .. AJ Allmendinger (16th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Seven of the Chase drivers posted top-10 finishes.
    .. Jeff Gordon now leads the Chase for the Nextel Cup by a margin of nine points over Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-28-2007)
  • Rumblings – Atlanta Things got crazy at the end of the Pep Boys Auto 507 today, Jimmie Johnson was at the right place at the right time (after a strong two-tire call by Chad Knauss)….and Johnson was rewarded with the win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    Johnson ends up sweeping Atlanta (to go along with taking both races at Martinsville and Richmond) for his 8th win of the season and 31st of his Nextel Cup career. His third win at AMS was the 165th for Hendrick Motorsports (and their 16th this season). The take from the over $6.1M in posted awards was $349,661….and when you consider that JJ, Lowe’s, Hendrick Motorsports, Bruton Smith, and the France Family (and maybe a few others I’ve forgotten) are gonna match Johnson in giving the prize money to the Red Cross for relief efforts in California, it was a good day indeed.
    On another note, we sure had another boatload of empty seats again today!
    Reed Sorenson (3rd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 4th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    Matt Kenseth (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Michigan in August.
    Brian Vickers (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th at California in September.
    Kyle Petty (13th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    Bill Elliott (18th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Pocono in August.
    Dale Jarrett (19th) had his best finish since he was 11th when we were here last October.
    John Andretti (28th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Chicagoland in July.
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races. Clint Bowyer has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: A. J. Allmendinger (16th) takes this award for the second time this season. He was followed by Paul Menard (27th), David Ragan (33rd), and Juan Pablo Montoya (34th). David Reutimann was a dnq this weekend.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Reed Sorenson (+29), followed by Kyle Petty (+26), Bill Elliott (+25), Jeff Burton (+23), Ricky Rudd (+21), and Clint Bowyer (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was David Stremme (-32), followed by Mark Martin (-31), Bobby Labonte (-30), David Gilliland (-29), Ryan Newman (-28 ), Greg Biffle (-21), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (-20). Team Ganassi takes both ends of the “Shaft” this week.
    A. J. Allmendinger led a lap today for the first time in his Nextel Cup career. He’s the 51st driver to lead a lap this season…we had 48 leaders last year and 51 in 2005.
    Jeff Gordon’s Chase lead has been trimmed to just 9 markers after today. It’ll take divine intervention for any driver not in the top three to win it all.(Stock Car Fans)(10-28-2007)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Texas:
    #21 teams gains some ground on the #22, but are still 82 points out.
    33) #70-Sauter/Haas 2,654 182 ahead of 36th in owners pts
    34) #45-Petty/Petty Racing 2,640, +168
    35) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis 2,554 +82 pts
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
    36) #21-Elliott/Wood Bros. 2,472, 82 pts behind 35th
    37) #10-Riggs/GEM 2,266, -288
    Full Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Atlanta page.(10-28-2007)
  • Sospenzo back at track after health scare: Peter Sospenzo was back in the garage at Atlanta Motor Speedway less than a week after being hospitalized because of dizziness. The 50-year-old crew chief for Robby Gordon said doctors still are unsure what caused the dizziness last Sunday. He went to the infield care center at Martinsville Speedway when the dizziness didn’t go away, and the doctors were concerned that he was having a transient ischemic attack, a condition created when a blood clot temporarily clogs an artery. Sospenzo had a CAT scan Sunday and an MRI on Monday and both were negative. He took a couple of days off and was back at the shop Thursday. (SceneDaily.com), see the #7 Team Page for the original report on Sospenzo.(10-28-2007)
  • Gibbs expects Hall of Fame to remain affiliated, join Toyota: Hall of Fame Racing officials have not informed Joe Gibbs Racing whether the team will remain affiliated with JGR and move to Toyota next season, but JGR has no indication that it won’t. Hall of Fame Racing buys chassis, bodies and engines from JGR, which announced last month that it was switching to Toyota. Hall of Fame has yet to make a final decision, according to the team. “The conversations we’ve had so far would indicate they will be back with us,” JGR Senior Vice President Jimmy Makar said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “I’m expecting them to be there. I think they are still looking at some different options, but from what I understand, we’re probably going to be where they will end up.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-28-2007)
  • Pilot Truck Driver Challenge Champion Named: On Saturday, Peter Jellen was awarded his own championship at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jellen was announced as this year’s winner of the Pilot Truck Driver Challenge and the recipient of $50,000. The driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries transporter, Jellen said the $50,000 would become the college scholarship fund for his 20-month-old daughter, Jennifer. Second-place and a $15,000 check went to Bennie Stevens of Haas CNC Racing’s Yellow Transportation transporter. Joe Wernert, driver of Roush Fenway Racing’s Office Depot transporter placed third and collected $10,000. The competition focuses on safe and responsible truck driving. It includes driving tests, safety quizzes and equipment inspections.(AMS PR)(10-28-2007)
  • Congrats: #5 team front-tire carrier J.D. Holcomb and his wife Diana welcomed a daughter, Jacey Diana Holcomb, delivered by Dr. Thomas Barefoot on Oct. 14 at 3:03 p.m. ET. Both mother and baby are home and doing well.(Hendrick PR)(10-28-2007)

    News from October 27, 2007

  • Other Owners Looking at Allemendinger? UPDATE: A.J. Allmendinger, an Indy-car racer trying to make it in NASCAR, has another year on his contract with Toyota’s Team Red Bull, according to competition director Elton Sawyer. Nevertheless, there is speculation that at least one rival team owner would like to make a run at Allmendinger, even though Allmendinger has had a fitful first season on the stock-car tour.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-26-2007)
    UPDATE: A.J. Allmendinger said that he was amused Friday morning when he read an internet report stating that at least one other Cup team may be interested in him driving for it next season. Allmendinger said that he has no plans to leave Team Red Bull Racing. “My focus is trying to finish this year off good and get ready for next year,” Allmendinger said.(Macon Telegraph)(10-27-2007)
  • Red Bull Would Want Another Sponsor for Third Team: Team Red Bull boss Guenther Steiner said the team hasn’t decided whether it would add a third car for Scott Speed when the former Formula One driver, who will run the ARCA series next year, is ready to move to Cup. But if the two-car team were to expand, additional Camrys wouldn’t be sponsored by Red Bull, the energy drink company that also owns the operation. “First we need to see how Scott performs, but if we did a third car we would try to finance it somehow differently,” Steiner said. “To have three Red Bull cars doesn’t make sense. There is a plan, but at the moment in Cup, we want to perform with two cars at highest level and then proceed to three to four cars in the future.”(USA Today)(10-27-2007)
  • Hendrick Motorsports Atlanta COT Test Plans: Although Casey Mears and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will test with their 2008 teams at Atlanta, they will not drive cars branded with their 2008 numbers. Mears, who will drive the #5 Chevy next season, will run his customary # 25 National Guard/GMAC paint scheme during the two-day session. Earnhardt, who is slated for the #88 Chevy in 2008, will test a #5 car at Atlanta. To commemorate his first laps with Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt will sport a “throwback” #5 All-Star Racing Chevy during next week’s Atlanta test. Earnhardt’s Impala SS will feature a red and white paint scheme identical to the first car campaigned by team owner Rick Hendrick in Cup-level competition. Then known as “All-Star Racing,” Hendrick Motorsports fielded the car with driver Geoff Bodine in 1984. The #24 and #48 teams of Hendrick Motorsports will not attend next week’s Atlanta test.(Hendrick PR)(10-27-2007)
  • #83 Crew Chief Doug Richert Departs Red Bull Racing Team UPDATE: Red Bull Racing Team Competition Director Elton Sawyer on the Departure of #83 Crew Chief Doug Richert: Red Bull Racing Team R & D Manager, Randy Cox, will replace Doug Richert as the #83 Red Bull Racing Team crew chief starting this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Cox’s past crew chief roles were in the Busch Series with Kenny Wallace, and also with David Stremme. “In any Nextel Cup Series organization, the crew chief and driver are the two key forces that make a race team competitive, and there must be a balance in both personalities and methods for achieving goals,” Sawyer said. “Individually, each person can be strong at their job, but if they aren’t efficient collectively, then changes must be made so both sides can reach their optimum potential. The formula we’d put together to try and make the #83 team successful was no longer working, so it was an amicable decision to part ways. Doug Richert made many contributions in helping this team grow in our first year of competition and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.(Red Bull Racing PR)(10-23-2007)
    UPDATE: Doug Richert is upbeat about his prospects for 2008, saying he has already talked to a “few people” with a “couple more meetings” planned over the race weekend at AMS. One thing is sure, though, in terms of his new team for 2008, whichever one that happens to be. “If I land somewhere, I’m definitely looking at the points. It will be in the top 35,” Richert said. (SceneDaily.com)(10-27-2007)
  • Johnson to Donate Race Winnings to Red Cross: In response to the Southern California wildfires, #48Jimmie Johnson, Lowe’s, Hendrick Motorsports and Speedway Motorsports and Sonic Automotive Chairman Bruton Smith will each donate to the American Red Cross to support relief efforts for the California Wildfire Relief Fund this weekend to benefit people affected by the fires. Johnson, through the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, and Hendrick Motorsports will donate their winnings from Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Atlanta to assist Red Cross relief efforts throughout Southern California. Lowe’s and Smith will each match those contributions dollar for dollar.(GMR/Hendrick PR)(10-27-2007)

    News from October 26, 2007

  • Carpentier in the #10 at Phoenix & Homestead: Patrick Carpentier will drive the #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge at Phoenix and Homestead. The plan is being implemented in an effort to give the #10 team a head start on preparations for the 2008 season. Gillett Evernham Motorsports will also field a 2nd Busch Series entry with Carpentier at Homestead. Scott Riggs will drive the #10 car at Atlanta and Texas.(Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR)(10-26-2007)
  • Chevy Renews with DEI: Chevy will continue its partnership with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2008 and beyond. “Chevy enjoyed a successful relationship, including six NASCAR Cup championships, with the legendary Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel of his Richard Childress Racing Chevy, and we’re proud of our longstanding relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. which extends all the way back to when Dale and Teresa Earnhardt founded the business,” said Ed Peper, Chevy general manager. “We’re pleased to be a part of the DEI family and look forward to continued success with one of racing’s leading organizations.”(Chevy PR)(10-26-2007)
  • Hmiel to Ganassi: UPDATE: Steve Hmiel has joined Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Hmiel will be responsible for competition management, race preparation, race engineering and testing. John Fernandez remains managing director. Tony Glover will remain as team manager overseeing race weekend activities.(10-26-2007)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced Steve Hmiel, former director of technical operations at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., has accepted a new position with the organization to serve as manager of competition of its Concord racing operation. John Fernandez will continue to manage the long-term strategic direction of the CGRFS race operations while Steve will focus more on the competition management and preparation – including race engineering. Both Hmiel and Fernandez will report directly to Ganassi.(CGRFS PR)(10-26-2007)
  • Earnhardt Jr. Launches The Dale Jr. Foundation: Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced the launch of The Dale Jr. Foundation Tuesday night at the eighth annual Dale Jr. Celebrity Sports Auction. His newly-formed charitable organization is dedicated to giving underprivileged individuals, primarily youth, the resources to improve confidence, education and the opportunity to achieve extraordinary goals. “My path in life made it a bit easier for me to reach my goals and get to where I am today, but I realize that not everyone is as fortunate,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really cool kids through the Make-A-Wish Foundation the last few years, and it’s made me appreciative of all that I have. I decided to start this foundation as a way to help those who haven’t had some of the opportunities I’ve had. We plan to help those in need who are trying to reach their goals and just need someone to give them a chance to succeed.” The Dale Jr. Foundation will continue to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation and will also aid the Victory Junction Gang Camp, with the Dale Jr. Celebrity Sports Auction serving as the annual fundraising event for the foundation.(JR Motorsports PR)(10-26-2007)
  • Another Episode of MTV Cribs with Dale Jr. Filmed: Six years after the first episode aired, MTV video crews were back near Mooresville, NC Thursday to tape another episode of CRIBS with Dale Jr. It’s the last major media appearance for Junior as a part of the Budweiser family (even though it will air sometime early next year). This time it’s an all-new ball game as MTV has the first exclusive look at Junior’s Whisky River western town, the multiple karting tracks, the golf course, numerous priceless automobiles, the vintage gas station, the pool/jacuzzi/slice of tropical paradise and… oh yeah… his house.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR)(10-26-2007)
  • Atlanta Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the second straight Nextel Cup Series race at Atlanta at which teams will run this specific combination of left- and right-side tires . . . Atlanta is the only track that these tire codes will be run on in 2007 . . . while teams in both NASCAR series will run the same left-side code this weekend (D-4066), they will each have distinct right-side codes on their vehicles . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner 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. The estimated pit widown is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage Goodyear’s “Spirit of Innovation,” based out of Pompano Beach, Fla., will be covering both races at Atlanta this weekend. (Goodyear PR), see the Atlanta Race Info page for pressures, codes and more.(10-26-2007)
  • Man Wins Contest to Announce Starting Lineup at Atlanta: When Charlie Spratt was stationed overseas with the United States Air Force, it was pretty much a given that he would be somewhere near a TV when a NASCAR race was on, even if it meant being up a 2 a.m. due to the difference in time zones. On Sunday, the 36-year-old Spratt, a Technical Sergeant stationed at Robins Air Force Base as an air traffic controller, will get to introduce his heroes to more than 125,000 fans at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Spratt recently won the speedway’s “The Call This Fall” contest, giving him the chance to announce the starting 43-car field for Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500.(Macon Telegraph)(10-26-2007)
  • Biffle wins pole at Atlanta: #16-Greg Biffle won the Budweiser Pole for the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a speed of 192.453mph for his first pole of 2007, the 4th of his career and first pole at Atlanta. #2-Busch qualified second with the rest of the top-10: #44-Jarrett, #9-Kahne, #8-Earnhardt, Jr., #48-Johnson, #40-Stremme, #24-Goredon, #12-Newman, and #19-Sadler. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #44-Jarrett, #83-Vickers, #78-Nemechek, #55-Waltrip, #10-Riggs, #49-Andretti, and #84-Allmendinger. #21-Bill Elliott had to use a past champions provisional to make the race, the 3rd of six, so he has three to use with three races to go in the season.(10-26-2007)
    See qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on the Atlanta Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results Page.(10-26-2007)
  • Five do not qualify [DNQ] for the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway: #00-David Reutiman [32 team attempts/38th in OWNERS pts]; #08-Burney Lamar [3/55]; #06-Sam Hornish, Jr. [5/52]; #4-Ward Burton [30/44]; and #36-Mike Skinner [32/46].(10-26-2007)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Ford: #16-Biffle, 192.453, starts 1st
    Dodge: #2-Busch 192.426, starts 2nd
    Toyota: #44-Jarrett 191.655, starts 3rd
    Chevy: #8-Earnhardt, Jr 191.489, starts 5th
  • Atlanta Qualifying Notes:
    .. Greg Biffle won the Bud Pole for the Pep Boys Auto 500 with a lap of 28.807 seconds, 192.453 mph.
    .. This is his fourth Bud Pole in 183 career Nextel Cup races. .. This is his first Bud Pole and 10th top-10 start in 2007. He became the 16th driver to win a Bud Pole this season.
    .. This is Biffle’s first Bud Pole and fourth top-10 start in 10 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    .. Kurt Busch posted the second-fastest qualifying time. It is his 13th top-10 start of 2007 and his fifth in 14 Atlanta races.
    .. Dale Jarrett (third) posted his 16th top-10 start in 40 races at Atlanta. He posted 10 straight between 1996 and 2002. It is his best start of the 2007 season and his first top-10 start since Talladega on Oct. 10, 2006.
    .. Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his 23rd top-10 start of 2007, extending his series lead in top-10 starts.
    .. Only three of the 12 Chase drivers qualified in the top-10: Kurt Busch, Johnson and Jeff Gordon.
    .. Jarrett was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
    .. Juan Pablo Montoya (21st) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-26-2007)
  • Atlanta Ramblings: Greg Biffle went out late tonight and took the Bud Pole for Sunday’s Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta with a scary-fast speed of 192.453 (28.807 sec). This is his first top-spot of the season (his last pole was at Richmond in May of 2006) and 4th of his Nextel Cup career. He becomes the 16th different pole winner this year.
    He’ll be joined on the front row by Kurt Busch (who went out early and his time almost stood up).
    Dale Jarrett (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talladega last October.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Pocono in August.
    David Stremme (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th when we were here in March.
    David Gilliland (13th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talladega in April.
    Jeremy Mayfield (41st) takes over the #66 from Jeff Green, but to hear the TV guys talks you’d have thought he was in exile all season…..
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 12 Top-10 starts in the last 13 races. Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
    The Trouble Train had five cars in tow today. Dave Reutimann, Burney Lamar, Sam Hornish Jr, Ward Burton, and Mike Skinner are the dnq’s this week.(Stock Car Fans)(10-26-2007)

    News from October 25, 2007

  • Yeley to test at Atlanta in the #96: on Monday and Tuesday next week, J.J. Yeley will work toward getting 2008 off to a good start by testing the #96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet for Hall of Fame Racing (HoFR) at Atlanta. Yeley will drive for HoFR beginning in 2008 and will test for the team during NASCAR’s two-day open test at Atlanta with the Car of Tomorrow (CoT). Teley tested the #96 recently at Kentucky Speedway.(JGR PR), Kyle Busch will test the #18 car for JGR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will test for Hendrick Motorsports, could see other dirvers in their 2008 rides in the Atlanta COT test.(10-25-2008)
  • Best Buy moving? hearing that Best Buy will not return to Haas CNC Racing in 2008, but supposedly will stay in the sport with an unknown team, possibly a Dodge team, the #19 GEM Dodge of Elliott Sadler is one rumored possibility.(10-22-2007)
    UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing has settled on its drivers for its two-car Sprint Cup team in 2008, but its sponsorship situation is unsettled. Best Buy, which backs the team’s # 66 – driven for the first time this weekend by Jeremy Mayfield – has not decided its future, a spokesman for the company said this week. And Wednesday, a statement released by Yellow Transportation said that company is evaluating its future in the sport. Yellow entered Nextel Cup this season as sponsor of Johnny Sauter’s #70. Sauter will be replaced next season by Scott Riggs. Haas CNC Racing General Manager Joe Custer said this week the team is negotiating with both companies to return next season.(SceneDaily.com)(10-25-2007)
  • Sauter to RGM with Yellow? Sauter Looking: Johnny Sauter is still, as far as he knows, the driver of the #70 Yellow Transportation Chevy for the same team, but Scott Riggs has been signed by the team for 2008. That leaves Sauter in an interesting position: Does he have a job or not? He has a sponsor in Yellow Transportation that is committed to the series, and they seem happy with Sauter. Latest is that Sauter will go to a second team with Robby Gordon, taking Yellow with him.(NASCAR.com)(10-24-2007)
    UPDATE: #70-Johnny Sauter is currently without a ride for the 2008 Sprint Cup season, but he believes he has done enough this year to prove he deserves another year at the sport’s highest level. Sauter, who is being let go from Haas CNC Racing at the end of the season, is 31st in points while the team is 33rd. “I am not sure what the future holds but at the end of the day all I want to do is race and be competitive, whether it is in Cup, Busch or trucks,” Sauter said.(SceneDaily.com)(10-25-2007)
  • Holiday Inn Renews with RCR: Holiday Inn has exercised the option in its current contract with Richard Childress Racing by signing a multi-year contract extension as the Official Hotel of RCR and the primary sponsor of RCR’s #29 Chevy in the Nationwide Series with co-drivers Scott Wimmer and Jeff Burton. At the same time, Wimmer has reached agreement with RCR on a contract extension with the 10-time NASCAR championship-winning organization. The 2008 season will once again feature Wimmer and Burton as co-pilots of the #29 Holiday Inn Chevy [in the Nationwide Series]. Wimmer will also run a limited schedule of Sprint Cup Series events next season.(RCR PR)(10-25-2007)
  • Chase Notes: #48-Jimmie Johnson had to win to gain 15 points on #24-Jeff Gordon, but Gordon’s fifth top 5 in 6 Chase starts continues to set a record-setting pace. Only Clint Bowyer has managed to stay within one race of the lead. Kurt Busch fell three spots back to 10th. He leads Martin Truex by 27 points and Matt Kenseth by 42. Only the top-10 go to the babquet in New York. Gordon leads Johnson by 53 points with four races to go, but it is not the largest Chase lead after four races, Kurt Busch had a 96 pt lead with four races to go in the first Chase, in 2004…and won the championship by 8 pts over Johnson. See more on the Chase Stats after Martinsville page.(10-25-2007)
  • Atlanta Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at Martinsville Speedway. Montoya finished eighth, his sixth top-10 finish in 33 Nextel Cup Series races. He took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 14th time this season. Montoya became the third consecutive Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 finish in the fall race at Martinsville. He also led the race (once for nine laps), the first time he had led since Infineon Raceway. Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by 19 points (231-212) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering Atlanta Motor Speedway. Montoya is 21st in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 112 points ahead of 22nd-place Ragan. The best finish 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. Since 1975, Kenny Irwin is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole at the fall race in Atlanta. Irwin grabbed the top spot in 1998. Dale Earnhardt also holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the fall race at Atlanta, holding the top spot six times for 69 laps in 1979.(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see standings, rookie of each race, history and more on the 2007 Rookies Page.(10-25-2007)
  • MRN Radio celebrates Grand Opening of New Headquarters in NC: Motor Racing Network (MRN) has a new home, corporate offices and studios. After more than three decades of residing in Daytona Beach, FL, MRN, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Speedway Corp. (ISC), has moved to North Carolina. Already the headquarters of multiple teams and NASCAR organizations, MRN can now add their name to the list of NASCAR-affiliated businesses in the area. The new headquarters opened with a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremony on Tuesday evening. Mike Helton, President of NASCAR, John Saunders, Executive Vice President/COO of ISC, and Roger VanDerSnick, Sr. Vice President Marketing and Business Operations of ISC, along with J. Scott Padgett, Mayor of Concord, were part of the ceremony. “In looking at the future of MRN and NASCAR, we decided being in the Charlotte area was in our best interests,” said David Hyatt, President of MRN. “Just like the sport, our needs and number of employees has grown. The best way we saw to build on our existing relationships was to make this move. Jim France, Lesa Kennedy and the entire senior management team at ISC have been extremely supportive of this relocation, encouraging us to expand the horizons of MRN. Our company is looking forward to increasing our presence in the NASCAR community and becoming great corporate citizens of Concord.” Two-thirds of the MRN staff who worked in Daytona Beach has relocated to the area with some vacant positions expected to be filled locally. Formerly a race shop, the network took over the 25,000 sq ft building remodeling it to their needs. Also the home of NEXTELVision, a production of MRN, the new headquarters will house all three of MRN’s mobile studios and production trucks for radio broadcasts. The interior offices have two full radio studios to air programming for MRN and MRN-produced shows for Sirius NASCAR Radio. There are four audio editing suites, a production studio and three video editing suites, as well. For more information on MRN Radio, visit www.mrnradio.com.(MRN Radio PR)(10-25-2007)
  • Kyle Busch’s Team Earns Pit Crew Challenge Win at Martinsville: Kyle Busch’s #5 over-the-wall crew earned its third Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season by taking top honors in Sunday’s Nextel Cup event at Martinsville Speedway. The win moved the #5 crew into a tie for second-place in the season-long standings. With only four races remaining on the Nextel Cup circuit, the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge honors remain up for grabs. Mark Martin’s #01 crew and Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew are currently tied for the lead in the season-long competition with four wins each, while the crews of Busch, Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have collected three wins. Checkers/Rally’s will present Busch’s crew with an $11,000 check for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be awarded to the over-the-wall team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #5 over-the-wall crew, out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, includes: Rick Pigeon (jackman), Jeremy “JD” Holcomb (front-tire carrier), DJ Richardson (front-tire changer), Jason Jones (rear-tire carrier), Josh Kirk (rear-tire changer), Brad Pickens (gasman), Jason Dalrymple (catch can), and Kevin Hulstein (eighth-man). The team’s pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $352,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(10-25-2007)

    News from October 24, 2007

  • Gold scheme for #2 at Atlanta: Kurt Busch and his Pat Tryson-led #2 Penske Racing Team will be returning to their gold “World Beer Cup” color scheme for the final time this year in Sunday’s Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “The fans have really let it be known how much they love the gold colors that we had on our car in the two races earlier this year, so we decided to bring out the gold for one final time this season,” Kurt said of the special paint job that reflects sponsor Miller Lite’s fourth gold award in the American-Style Light Lager category at the most recent World Beer Cup contest held last year. “We are so proud of what the color scheme represents that we actually hoped to run the gold car more than what we have so far this year.”(TRPR), see images of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page.(10-24-2007)
  • Halloween scheme for Rudd at Atlanta: Ricky Rudd and the #88 team will be running a special Snickers Halloween paint scheme this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway in celebration of the upcoming Halloween holiday. The team has also prepared a brand new chassis for this weekend’s Pep Boys Auto 500. The new chassis is based off of information the team has gathered throughout the 2007 season at various 1.5-mile tracks and the #88 team hopes this new car will yield a strong performance. Rudd has 57 starts at Atlanta, which ties him with #21-Bill Elliott for the most starts of any active Nextel Cup Series driver.(Elevation Group/Snickers Racing PR)(10-24-2007)
  • Aflac to sponsor Edwards in 2008: Aflac is close to announcing a 2008 NASCAR limited sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing. Aflac will sponsor a #99 Ford driven by Carl Edwards. An Aflac executive would not confirm the deal with Edwards on Tuesday, but the company did not deny it either when asked about Edwards. “We are still working through the details,” said Al Johnson, a second vice president responsible for sponsorships. “We like Carl and what he has done this year — and what we expect him to do next year. We’re very excited.” The final terms of the deal could be announced in the next two weeks. The deal with Edwards is expected to be for eight races and could possibly include an associate sponsorship that would put the Aflac duck logo somewhere on the car for the entire season, said a source familiar with the deal. Edwards’ primary sponsor is Office Depot. The eight races that Aflac will be the primary sponsor with the corporate logo on the hood have not been determined. Terms of the deal are not available. It is believed Aflac spent between $2 million and $3 million for the 2007 deal. Aflac broke into NASCAR racing this summer with an eight-race deal with Roush Fenway. That deal included four Nextel Cup races in California, New Hampshire, Chicago and Kansas City and four Busch Series races. #16-Greg Biffle drove the Aflac car on the Nextel Cup circuit, winning the race in Kansas City. Roush Fenway drivers Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray split the Busch races. Biffle, Edwards’ Roush Fenway teammate, will be sponsored by 3M next year. In July, Aflac announced a deal with NASCAR to serve as the sport’s exclusive supplemental insurance sponsor and provider through the 2010 season. It is not known what Aflac paid for that designation.(Ledger-Enquirer)(10-24-2007)
  • Furniture Row Racing finalizing contract with Nemechek: Furniture Row Racing officials say the team is working on the final details of a three-year contract with driver Joe Nemechek. Nemechek took over the team’s #78 at California Speedway in September. With the team outside the top 35 in owners points, Nemechek qualified his way into six consecutive races before failing to make the field for the last two. The organization is also seeking sponsorship to start a second team to run at least a limited schedule in the series.(SceneDaily.com)(10-24-2007)
  • Kenseth/Edwards altercation: UPDATES: on pit road at Martinsville Speedway after the Subway 500 Nextel Cup race, #17-Matt Kenseth and #99-Carl Edwards got into some sort of altercation which was aired on the SPEED Report Sunday night [and aired on Victory Lane the next hour]. SPEED’s Bob Dilner was getting ready to interview Kenseth, when Edwards came over the wall to talk to Kenseth, Dilner backed away but the camera was rolling, Edwards pushed Kenseth away from Dilner down the pit wall, and was ‘talking’ to Kenseth, touching Kenseth the whole time, the camera then cut away to show Kenseth on the inside of the wall and Edwards on the outside, both drivers said something as they were leaving and then Edwards came back towards Kenseth and faked a punch at Kenseth, who flinched and looked surprised. Edwards then walked away and Kenseth came towards Dilner and that was it. No word on what the exchange was about or if there will be any penalties from Roush Fenway Racing or NASCAR. The video can be seen at SPEEDtv.com about 8 minutes into the Subway 500 video.(10-22-2007)
    UPDATE: Owner Jack Roush has talked to both drivers with a simple message. “He told them they’ve got to settle this without wrecking our cars,” team president Geoff Smith said on Tuesday. “He told them to get yourself at peace with one another, then go compete against one another as hard as you want to compete.” Smith said neither driver would be punished by the organization, noting that Roush has a policy that teammates are allowed to compete against each other as though they are not teammates. Smith doesn’t believe Edwards intended to hit Kenseth.(ESPN.com)(10-23-2007)
    AND: Carl Edwards apologized Tuesday for his actions following Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway, saying he was wrong to show his anger toward Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth. Edwards said on a NASCAR teleconference that trouble has been brewing between the pair for a while and that it’s probably been six months since they’ve had a conversation. Now, he wants to change all of that. Edwards is hoping that he and his Roush Fenway teammates can do a better job of having a “team spirit,” and he says he plans to do his best to communicate better not only with Kenseth, but with all his Roush Fenway teammates. Edwards took full blame for his actions, pledged to get to know his teammates better and analyzed what could have brought on this type of display. He added that he would take the first step toward mending fences.(SceneDaily.com)(10-23-2007)
    Kenseth Comments: Kenseth wasn’t very surprised when Edwards accosted him shortly after the race. “His behavior has been real erratic lately, honestly,” Kenseth said of his Roush Fenway Racing teammate. “You don’t know what to expect with him. That’s the thing that’s a little bit troublesome. One minute, he has so much respect for you, and he’s real friendly and everything’s so much fun. The next minute he wants to kick your butt and he’s swearing at you. It’s a little scary. You never know what you’re going to get. I thought it was good in a way that the cameras were there because a lot of us see that, and nobody else does because he kind of puts on a different front.”(USA Today)(10-24-2007)
  • Water restrictions to change Atlanta sched? No The historic Georgia drought may force changes in NASCAR’s race plans next weekend at Atlanta. Teams have been told not to wash their big rigs and motor coaches. There has been speculation that NASCAR may change the weekend’s format to make the 500 an “impound” race, with no practice after qualifying. Monday’s car-of-tomorrow test is also in question, although NASCAR officials yesterday offered no indications it could be canceled. Teams use copious amounts of water to cool their engines during practice runs for qualifying; not a significant amount in the grand scheme of things, but enough perhaps to make for poor PR when the governor has called a state of emergency. All outdoor watering has been banned, because Atlanta has received only two inches of rain over the past two months.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-22-2007)
    UPDATE: Water restrictions forced upon metro Atlanta by an extreme drought shouldn’t have any impact on the upcoming race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, track president Ed Clark said Tuesday. “We’ve asked the teams to not wash their rigs and their haulers when they arrive here like they usually do,” Clark said. “That’s the only change.”(NASCAR.com)(10-24-2007)
  • Sad News: Ryan Bard: A dirt track racer died after a crash during weekend qualifying at the Abilene Speedway. Ryan Bard of Farmington, N.M., died early Monday at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where he was being treated for burns, according to the International Motor Contest Association. The 23-year-old Bard, a competitor in the association’s Southern SportMod division, was injured Sunday when his car rolled over and caught fire during a qualifying race for the Southern Challenge.(Associated Press / Yahoo Sports)(10-24-2007)
  • Sad News – Boyd Hole: Boyd Hole, 75, of Walnut Cove, NC passed away on Wednesday morning at Forsyth Memorial Hospital in Winston Salem due to complications from a lung illness. He was an avid race fan, a hard-working individual and a loyal family man. He was a long time friend and crew member of the Wood Brothers. He owned and operated a concrete business in Walnut Cove. He is survived by his wife, Betty Hole, daughter Sharon Hole, and son Toby Hole. Services are pending, but will take place at a church in Walnut Cove, NC.(10-24-2007)

    News from October 23, 2007

  • NANO scheme for Kenseth at Atlanta: For the second time this season Matt Kenseth’s #17 Ford will carry the DeWalt NANO Technology paint scheme. The predominantly black car will run twice more, at Phoenix and Homestead.(Roush Racing PR) The scheme first ran at Dover in Sept, see images of the car on the #17 Team Schemes page.(10-23-2007)
  • #40 Coors Light Dodge to feature St. Jude Paint Scheme at Atlanta: Coors Light, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced the #40 Coors Light Dodge driven by David Stremme will be wrapped with a special St. Jude paint scheme for this weekend’s Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The purpose of the paint scheme is to increase awareness of the hospital and its work as well as to support Coors Light’s yearly pumpkin-themed “Halloween Pinups” fundraiser. During the month-long “Halloween Pinups” promotion, Coors and its distributors will focus on raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In the Atlanta area, employees at participating retail locations will ask patrons to make a $1 donation to St. Jude’s to join in the fight against catastrophic childhood diseases. In return for the contribution, the donors will have the opportunity to write their names on pumpkin-themed pinups which will be displayed in each location through Halloween. In addition to its annual “Halloween Pinup” promotion, Coors Light will make a $10,000 base donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on race weekend, with an incremental donation for every lap Stremme completes in the race. Since 1997, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. has raised more than $440,000 for St. Jude Hospital and Target House by donating $5,000 for each victory, $1,000 for each pole position and $25 for each lap led.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-23-2007)
  • Labbe Takes Over as #36 Crew Chief: Richard “Slugger” Labbe will take over duties as crew chief of the #36 team for at least the next two races. Labbe, a 39-year-old native of Saco, Maine, has been busy for the last several months working with Bill Davis Racing newcomer Jacques Villeneuve.(BDR PR)(10-23-2007)
  • Pollack talks about interest of buying BDR: Jacques Villeneuve’s manager Craig Pollock says he is interested in buying a Nextel Cup team while admitting he has held talks with Bill Davis Racing, the team for which his driver is currently competing in NASCAR. The former Formula One team principal and Champ Car team owner said in an interview with Le Journal de Montreal that he has held talks with a number of Nextel Cup teams, evaluating different options to become involved as a team owner. Pollock is understood to be in serious talks with Bill Davis to buy equity in his NASCAR squad, which currently fields two cars in Cup and three in the Craftsman Truck Series. Jacques Villeneuve is expected to race for the team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup next year.”I’m interested in having an active participation in a NASCAR team, preferably the one where Jacques drives,” said Pollock. “It’s the best way to make sure that my driver has access to the best equipment available.” It had been reported during the weekend at Martinsville and on Canadian radio that Jacques Villeneuve was the one actually buying BDR, something that Pollock categorically denies. “Jacques has never spoken with a team with the intention to invest in it,” he added. Bill Davis would not confirm that he has already sold his team to Pollock, but has admitted openly that he is looking for the right partner to buy into his team in a time when funded investors have shown massive interest for getting involved in NASCAR.(Autosport.com), see the #22 Team News and links page for past news and rumors on the possible sale of BDR.(10-23-2007)
  • Lamar to run Atlanta Cup race? UPDATE: Burney Lamar, former Kevin Harvick Inc. Busch driver, was at Martinsville. He revealed that he plans to attempt to make the Nextel Cup field at Atlanta next week with an independent team. Lamar’s most memorable achievement to date was his second-place finish at for KHI at Daytona in 2006.(Racing Milestones)(10-22-2007)
    UPDATE: Lamar is listed as the driver of the #08 EM Motorsports Dodge on the Atlanta Entry List.(10-23-2007)
  • Crew chief Hylton gets a new gig: Accelerating Developments International, LLC (ADI) announced that Butch Hylton, veteran crew chief/car chief [recently #88 RYR crew chief] has joined the ADI team as Technical Sales Director. Butch helped win a Nextel Cup with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2000 as car chief on Bobby Labonte’s #18 car and won the car owner’s championship with Richard Childress Racing in 2003 with Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter. Accelerating Developments International is a leading provider of technology, product innovation, engineering solutions and strategic consulting to the automotive, OEM and Motorsports industries. ADI designs and builds the K-RIG and the KD-RIG, the newest kinematics diagnostic chassis and suspension testing available today. With the acquisition of APR, Accelerating Developments International is now able to provide the most up-to-date full service line of chassis and suspension testing available in the Motorsports industry today. ADI’s state-of-the-art R&D facility located in Concord, NC provides full service sales and rental time for all their rigs.(ADI PR)(10-23-2007)
  • Ford boosting Engineering help to teams: Ford has made tremendous advances in providing engineering support to the Ford NASCAR Nextel Cup teams this year, but there are definite lines drawn on what Ford engineers can and will do to help the teams, said Pat DiMarco, the vehicle dynamics and chassis supervisor at Ford Racing Technology. What the engineers share among the teams is how to tackle problems and find solutions. What’s closely protected is the specifics of the setups each team runs. “We share processes and simulation tools, the development of those to make them better, so if some of the stuff that the Roush guys are working on makes our simulation tools better, that gets applied across the board,” DiMarco, who has Ford engineers working in every Ford NASCAR shop lending help to individual teams. But those engineers who work on behalf of specific teams aren’t allowed to compare notes with the engineers at other Ford teams. They won’t take a setup—and I won’t let ‘em take a setup and go say, ‘Hey, why don’t you guys go try something like this?’ I pride myself on ethics, that my guys don’t go do that,” said DiMarco. “We do not take things off the car on race weekend … it’s more the tools and the methodologies, the processes that we share across the teams. All the teams know that going in.”(Ford Racing)(10-23-2007)
  • Sad News – Charlie Sentman: Charles W. Sentman, 65, of Waveland died on Sunday at Seton Specialty Hospital in Indianapolis. He was born Sept. 13, 1942 in Covington to Charles E. Sentman and Florence Briner Sentman. He was a 1960 graduate of Turkey Run High School. He was a member of Waveland Masonic Lodge F&AM 300. He attended Hillsboro Nazarene Church. He was an active auctioneer [Sentman Auctions] and appraiser for more than 40 years who was licensed and bonded in several states . He owned and operated a sawmill in Waveland and a pallet recycling facility in Hillsboro. He is survived by two sisters, Rita Harman of Waveland and Beverly Chaplain of Rockville; and a granddaughter. He parents and son, Gregory, precede him in death. Services will be Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at Machledt & Servies Funeral Home in Waveland with Revs. Greg McDonald and Dean Hancock officiating. Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will be in the Maple Ridge Cemetery at Waveland.(Journal Review)(10-23-2007)
  • New NASCAR Board Game: NASCAR fans can have their own race for the Nextel Cup with Patch Products’ new 2007 Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup licensed board game. The new for 2007 game features drivers who qualified for The 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup, which is NASCAR’s version of playoffs. The 12 drivers who are highlighted in the game along with their race cars are: Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer. The drivers were determined Sept. 8 after the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 race at Richmond International Speedway. Manufacturing of the game in the United States started immediately after the race so it will be on store shelves in October. The 2007 Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup board game is for 2 to 10 players, ages 8 to adult. For more information, visit www.patchproducts.com.(PR)(10-23-2007)

    News from October 22, 2007

  • #7 Crew Chief Sospenzo hospitalized: Early Sunday morning the #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports team received shocking news at Martinsville Speedway. Peter Sospenzo, Robby Gordon’s crew chief, was taken to the hospital [in Martinsville] for further diagnosis after reporting symptoms of dizziness. Later in the afternoon, Sospenzo was moved to a hospital closer to his family. At this point, the diagnosis is still inconclusive. The team pulled together and decided that car chief, Bill Henderson, would call the race in Sospenzo’s absence. “First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with Peter and his family. Peter is a good person and I hate that he is going through this,” said Gordon. “Today was really difficult altogether, especially with Peter not being here. The #7 team did a great job pulling together. Bill and the guys did great getting me back out on the track. It was the same thing as Charlotte, we were out there by ourselves making laps and trying to salvage a decent point’s day, but we weren’t really racing anyone. Even after we wrecked, we were fast when we were racing in the pack. It’s just frustrating when you know you could race well, but you’re not actually racing for position.”(RGM PR)(10-22-2007)
  • Stremme? Mayfield to Haas? UPDATE 2 Mayfield in the #66 NOW: hearing that both David Stremme, currently driving the #40 Dodge for Chip Ganassi [but out of a job at the end of 2007] has also talked to Haas CNC Racing about driving for them in 2008; also hearing that Jeremy Mayfield, currently driving the #36 Toyota for Bill Davis Racing [but out of a job at the end of 2007] has talked to Haas CNC Racing about driving for them in 2008. Haas CNC Racing has already signed Scott Riggs [now in the #10 Dodge at GEM] to drive one of their cars for them in 2008, either the #66 Chevy currently driven by Jeff Green], the #70 Chevy [currently Johnny Sauter] or a possible third team. Stremme is also being rumored to others rides, including #10 GEM Dodge, Michael Waltrip Racing and Penske Racing [if Horish decides not to run Cup in 2008 in their third car].(10-9-2007)
    UPDATE Mayfield to Haas? on Sunday’s SPEED Report, Bob Dilner reported that it looks like current Haas CNC Racing drivers, Jeff Green and Johnny Sauter will not return in 2008 and that Jeremy Mayfield is now the leading candidate to join the team. Scott Riggs was recently signed to drive for the team in 2008. Dilner also mentioned that Tony Furr could ended up back with Haas as Mayfield’s crew chief, but Furr denied that.(10-22-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Jeremy Mayfield will replace Jeff Green in the Haas CNC Racing #66 Chevrolet, effective immediately, team general manager Joe Custer said Monday morning. Mayfield also will join Scott Riggs in the driver lineup for next season but the alignment of the two drivers with car numbers in 2008 has not been determined, Custer said. Green is 27th in the series points standings. “[Green] did a good job for us, and we appreciate everything he did,” Custer said. His replacement in the #36 Bill Davis Racing team for this weekend at Atlanta has not been announced. As far as the status of current Haas CNC Racing driver Johnny Sauter, Custer said Sauter (who is 31st in points) is under contract with the team and that “we’re working through that” for 2008.(SceneDaily.com)
    AND Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson will share driving duties of the #36 Toyota Camry for the remaining four events on the 2007 Nextel Cup schedule. BDR and Jeremy Mayfield, who had been behind the wheel since the season began, have parted ways effective immediately. Skinner, who currently leads the battle for the Craftsman Truck Series championship in his Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra, will pilot the #36 Camry this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and again the following weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Benson, driver of the #23 Toyota Tundra for BDR, will take over the reigns of the #36 Toyota Camry beginning with the event at Phoenix International Raceway and will finish out the season in the car [last race at Homestead].(BDR PR)(10-22-2007)
  • Valvoline moving to another team? Patrick Carpentier’s #10 Dodge [in 2008], which is half owned by Valvoline and half-owned by Gillett Evernham Motorsports, likely will have a primary sponsor other than the oil company next year, sources sell TFR. Valvoline is an associate sponsor for Roush Fenway Racing.(Ford Racing)(10-22-2007)
  • Testing at Gateway: #27-Jacques Villeneuve and #22-Dave Blaney, both of Bill Davis Racing, are scheduled to test at Gateway International Raceway Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 23-24. The Wednesday test session is open to the public with gates opening at 9 a.m.(GIR PR)(10-22-2007)
  • Villeneuve buys Bill Davis Racing? UPDATE 3: Auto123.com’s contributor Bertrand Godin has learned earlier today a rumour indicating that Jacques Villeneuve and Craig Pollock have purchased the Bill Davis Racing Team [#22, #27 and #36 in Cup, #5, #22, #23, #27 in Truck]. According to a reliable source, Villeneuve and his business manager since 1992, Craig Pollock, have recently purchased Bill and Gail Davis’ stock-car racing team. This is the team that currently runs Villeneuve in the Craftsman Trucks series and in the Nextel Cup. The new team, based in High Point, North Carolina will apparently continue to field the current drivers, as well as a Sprint Cup car for Villeneuve.(Auto123.com)(10-19-2007)
    UPDATE: Team owner Bill Davis insisted on Saturday that he has not sold his organization as published reports indicated. That doesn’t mean he won’t. The owner of Bill Davis Racing said several parties have expressed an interest in purchasing his company that includes two Nextel Cup cars driven by Dave Blaney and Jeremy Mayfield, who will be replaced by Formula One star Jacques Villeneuve next season. “Like any team our size, we have to be realistic and look at all of our options with what’s going on in the sport right now,” he said before practice at Martinsville Speedway. “We’ve had a lot of interest, a lot of very interested people, and a lot of things that are for real. We just have to do our due diligence and make a smart, logical choice.”(ESPN.com)(10-20-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Bill Davis sees all that is going on around him in Nextel Cup racing and is not ashamed to say that his operation needs help. So he has hung out the “For Sale” shingle at Bill Davis Racing. Part of it? All of it? Even Davis doesn’t seem to be sure yet. But he’s willing to listen to all offers, and indeed is in the process of doing precisely that. Jacques Villeneuve indicated that he is not interested in owning BDR — but didn’t rule out the fact that his business manager, Craig Pollock, might have some interest. Davis said he would like to retain at least part-ownership in the team that bears his name.(NASCAR.com)(10-21-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Bill Davis said reports that he’s selling his High Point NASCAR team may be premature, but he won’t flat-out deny reports he may be selling part of his team to Jacques Villeneuve, perhaps a very significant part. Davis has signed Villeneuve to run his Toyotas next season on the Nextel Cup tour, as teammate with Dave Blaney. And Villeneuve is spending this fall running NASCAR Trucks, to warm up for 2008. Now comes word that there is much more to the Davis-Villeneuve deal than the two are letting on. Davis hedged when pressed on the situation. “We’re not in position to make any comment right now,” Davis said.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-22-2007)
  • Johnson to test at Kentucky next week UPDATE cancelled: Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team are scheduled to test the #48 Lowe’s Chevy at Kentucky Speedway Oct. 22. Fans can view testing for free from the designated area outside the speedway Fan Center in Turn 3. Test sessions generally begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. Times will vary based on team goals and schedules.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-18-2007)
    UPDATE: The Nextel Cup Series test scheduled for Jimmie Johnson at Kentucky Speedway today [Monday] has been cancelled. Johnson earned his series-leading seventh win of the season yesterday [Sunday] at Martinsville Speedway.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-22-2007)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Subway 500
    Total number of commercials: 152 (in 2006: 143)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78 (in 2006: 72)
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 26
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 21
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 09//07: 1:30 PM (in 2006: 12:43 PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 09/08/07: 5:47 PM (in 2006: 4:44 PM)
    Total minutes: 257 (in 2006: 241)
    Minutes of race broadcast: 189 (in 2006: 173)
    Minutes of commercials: 68 (in 2006: 68)
    Number of missed restarts: 2 (in 2006: 1)
    Total race brdcst time: 189 Total comm. brdcst time: 68
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-22-2007)

News from October 22, 2007

  • No more contracts for Ganassi crews: Car owner Chip Ganassi [#’s 40,41,42] is reshuffling his massive operation for 2008, releasing a number of crewmen and saying he will not be signing any crewmen to contracts anymore.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-22-2007)
  • Riggs to Run Proto Tools Paint Scheme in Texas: When Scott Riggs takes to the track for the Dickies 500 at Texas his #10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge will have a unique look to it. The Stanley Proto Industrial Tool brand will be on the #10 Charger to mark the 100th anniversary of the industrial tool line. Proto Tools are used in the maintenance, repair, operations and production (MROP) applications in basically all industrial market segments including oil exploration, petrochemical, mining and minerals, transportation, utility and power generation, and general manufacturing. The company invented the first combination wrench in 1933. Proto tools were used to tightened bolts on dams and bridges raised by the “New Deal”, stormed the beaches of Normandy and built rockets that fueled the space age.(Clear!Blue PR), see an image of the scheme on the #10 Team Schemes page.(10-22-2007)

    News from October 21, 2007

  • McCumbee Could Attempt Homestead; Will Drive 5 Cup Races Next Year: Petty Enterprises General Manager Jerry Freeze said Chad McCumbee will attempt to qualify a third Petty Enterprises car for the season-ending Nextel Cup Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, or try to qualify for the Busch Series race that weekend. “If this Busch opportunity comes through, we may let him focus on that, along with his Truck Series commitment,” Freeze said. “One way or the other, we’ll run him at Homestead.” McCumbee is likely to stick with Petty Enterprises next season. Freeze said there are plans for Petty to partner with an existing Busch team to have McCumbee drive in 22-24 races. McCumbee is also penciled in to drive Kyle Petty’s Nextel Cup car for the five races he’ll again skip to jump into the broadcast booth. Plus, there may be opportunities to qualify for a handful of other Cup races in a third Petty car without jeopardizing his rookie status.(Myrtle Beach Sun)(10-21-2007)
  • Earnhardt Jr. & Busch will test with new teams at Atlanta: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch will be allowed to test with their new teams at a car of tomorrow test at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 29-30. A Hendrick Motorsports spokesman confirmed Saturday that plans have been finalized to allow Earnhardt Jr. to drive one of that team’s Chevys in the test following next weekend’s Cup race at the Atlanta track.(Thats Racin)(10-21-2007)
  • Ward Burton Still Unsure of 2008 Plans: Ward Burton made his return to Nextel Cup racing one year ago at Martinsville after almost two years without a ride. With his one-year contract at Morgan-McClure Motorsports set to expire at the end of the season, the South Boston driver said Saturday he remains unsure of his plans for 2008 and has no timetable for an announcement.(Roanoke Times)(10-21-2007)
  • Labonte & Petty Could Switch Cars: Bobby Labonte could find himself in the #45 instead of the 43 at Petty Enterprises should Kyle Petty fall out of the top 35 in Nextel Cup owners’ points over the next five weeks. Petty said he would consider switching cars with his teammate so both would be guaranteed a starting spot, him on Labonte’s points [17th] and Labonte on his past champion’s provisional, the remainder of this season. That also could help for next season if Labonte could race the #45 back into the top 35 that will be guaranteed a spot the first five races of 2008. “Yeah, we’d consider it,” Petty said Saturday between practices at Martinsville Speedway. “I’m not gonna lie. Look, as long as they don’t change the rules and the rulebook is written that way, we’re in the business to run racecars. We have two racecars, the 43 and 45. Whatever it takes to get those in, I don’t see the issue with it.”(ESPN.com)(10-21-2007)
  • Robby Gordon Sponsorship for 2008 Coming Together: From an interview at NASCAR.com: “I … went to a sponsor meeting with Menards, actually with MAPEI and they’re coming back next year [as a Sprint Cup sponsor] so we’re real happy about that and just finalizing that deal. For next season we’re good with Menards and MAPEI and we’ve got a couple new ones, we believe, though they’re not fully signed yet — but I’m pretty confident our #7 car is covered.”(NASCAR.com)(10-21-2007)
  • Biffle Likes Option of Part Time Schedule in the Future: If #16-Greg Biffle could choreograph his preferred exit strategy from the NASCAR Nextel Cup ranks, he’d race for six more years. Possibly seven. He’d like to sign a three-year contract now, and down the line ink another three-year deal. That would get him to 43 years old. But say he was offered a part-time mentorship gig like Mark Martin has at Dale Earnhardt Inc. Would he consider it? “To be totally honest, if I could sign a three-year deal that I ran 15 to 17 races [a year], I’d strongly consider ending the fulltime thing sooner,” Biffle said Friday at Martinsville Speedway. “It gives you a life.”(ESPN.com)(10-21-2007)
  • Jimmie Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway in a green-white-checker finish for his 7th win of the season and 30th of his career win. It was also his 3rd consecutive win at Martinsville. #12-Newman finished second, followed by #24-Gordon, #5-Busch, #17-Kenseth, #11-Hamlin, #16-Biffle, #42-Montoya, #07-Bowyer, and #29-Harvick. #8-Earnhardt, Jr. lost an engine during the last caution and fell to 23rd at the finish. The race was slowed by a record 21 cautions for 127 laps. There were 7 leaders with 12 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 notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-21-2007)
  • The Chase Standings [after Martinsville, race 32]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 6055
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6002, -53
    3) #07-Clint Bowyer 5940, -115
    4) #20-Tony Stewart 5806, -249
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 5770, -285
    6) #5-Kyle Busch 5765, -290
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 5686, -369
    8) #11-Denny Hamlin Chevrolet 5681, -374
    9) #31-Jeff Burton Chevrolet 5646, -406
    10) #2-Kurt Busch 5635, -420
    11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 5608, -447
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth 5593, -462
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after Martinsville [32 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 4864
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4381, -483
    3) #20-Tony Stewart 4313, -551
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin 4161, -703
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 4122, -742
    6) #07-Clint Bowyer 4119, -745 [1 win]
    7) #5-Kyle Busch 4057, -807
    8) #17-Matt Kenseth 4013, -851
    9) #31-Jeff Burton 3964, -900
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 3831, -1087
    11) #2-Kurt Busch 3777, -1033
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 3758, -1106
    13) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3626, -1238
    14) #12-Ryan Newman 3560, -1304
    15) #16-Greg Biffle 3531, -1333
    16) #25-Casey Mears 3508, -1356
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after Martinsville [32 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 4864
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4381, -483
    3) #20-Tony Stewart 4313, -551
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin 4161, -703
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 4119, -745 [3 wins]
    6) #07-Clint Bowyer 4119, -745 [1 win]
    7) #5-Kyle Busch 4057, -807
    8) #17-Matt Kenseth 4013, -851
    9) #31-Jeff Burton 3967, -897
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 3831, -1087
    11) #2-Kurt Busch 3777, -1033
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 3758, -1106
    13) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3626, -1238
    14) #12-Ryan Newman 3560, -1304
    15) #16-Greg Biffle 3531, -1333
    16) #25-Casey Mears 3508, -1356
  • Martinsville Speedway – Fast Facts
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the Subway 500, his 30th victory in 215 Nextel Cup Series races.
    .. This is his seventh victory and 20th top-10 finish in 2007.
    .. This is his fourth victory and 11th top-10 finish in 12 races at Martinsville Speedway. He became the first driver to win three straight at Martinsville since Rusty Wallace (both races 1994 and spring 1995). Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty and Fred Lorenzen (four) also won three consecutive Martinsville races.
    .. Ryan Newman (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in 12 races at Martinsville.
    .. Jeff Gordon (third) posted his 24th top-10 finish in 30 races at Martinsville and his 26th of the season.
    .. Juan Pablo Montoya (eighth) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Seven of the Chase drivers posted top-10 finishes: Johnson, Gordon, Kyle Busch (fourth), Matt Kenseth (fifth), Denny Hamlin (sixth), Clint Bowyer (ninth) and Kevin Harvick (10th).
    .. Jeff Gordon leads the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup by a margin of 53 points over Jimmie Johnson.
    .. With four races remaining, all 12 of the Chase drivers are still mathematically eligible for the Championship.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-21-2007)
  • Rumblings – Martinsville Speedway It’s gettin’ to be a habit….Jimmie Johnson won his third consecutive race (and fourth overall) today at Martinsville Speedway as he was victorious in the Subway 506….a race won under caution in a g/w/c finish.
    This was the 7th win of the season for Johnson, and 30th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s solo in 21st on the all-time win list). And, it was worth $244,486 from the over $4.8M in posted awards.
    This race was actually rather tame by short-track standards….
    Ryan Newman (2nd) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Pocono in June.
    Matt Kenseth (5th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Michigan in June.
    Juan Pablo Montoya (8th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at the Brickyard in August.
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-5’s in the last 7 races.
    The Rookie Report: Juan Pablo Montoya (8th) takes this award for the 14th time this season….that’s tops! He was followed by David Reutimann (17th), Paul Menard (24th), David Ragan (26th), and A. J. Allmendinger (35th).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the week is Greg Biffle (+30), followed by Denny Hamlin (+24), Tony Stewart (+21), and Kyle Petty (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was J. J. Yeley (-34), followed by Elliott Sadler (-26), Jamie McMurray (-23), and Kurt Busch (-20).
    No change in the Top-35 in Owner Points this week….the #21 just gets further behind as the #45 and #22 swap spots (Petty is back up to 34th and Blaney falls to 35th).
    Johnson trims 15 markers from Jeff Gordon’s “Chase” lead today….it’s now at 53 points. Those “Magic Numbers” for everybody 7th on back are getting pretty big…..
    In “Classic” points, Juan Pablo Montoya (21st to 19th) made the only multiple position move forward, while J. J. Yeley (18th to 21st) fell the most spots. (Stock Car Fans)(10-21-2007)
  • Wallace on standby; Rudd Expects to Run Whole Race: been told that Kenny Wallace is on standby at Martinsville Speedway for #88-Ricky Rudd as Rudd’s shoulder is still sore from the Californina wreck [missed 4 races]. Rudd may also start the race on Sunday and Wallace could sub and finish the race.(10-19-2007)
    UPDATE: Ricky Rudd’s left shoulder, which he separated in a hard crash at California Speedway over Labor Day weekend, is hurting him this weekend at Martinsville, but the Virginia native said he plans to drive with pain through 500 laps on Sunday. “It’s sore, but I think it’s gonna be all right. It hurts, really, to be honest with you, but I’m trying not to take any Advil or anything like that right now to see if I can deal with it,” said Rudd. “I don’t know. Part of me say, ‘I don’t know,’ but the other part of me is saying, ‘Aw, you’ll tough it out. You’ll be all right.’”(SPEEDtv.com)(10-21-2007)

    News from October 20, 2007

  • France’s to switch jobs? from a Robin Miller article on SPEEDtv.com – Jim France moving into the Big Chair [CEO of NASCAR?] and nephew Brian [France] going to Grand-Am?(SPEEDtv.com)(10-20-2007)
  • DEI workers blamed for airborne shot at Bobby Ginn: Three DEI employees who allegedly planned and paid for a derogatory banner to fly over Lowe’s Motor Speedway last weekend have been fired. The banner, which read, “How much does Bobby Ginn owe you?” was pulled by a plane and flown over Lowe’s before the start of last Saturday night’s race. The banner was directed at the former NASCAR team owner, who allowed his organization to be acquired by DEI after just one year of ownership, leaving about 100 people out of a job. But Kasey Brooks, Mike Clark and Greg Price were hired by DEI after the merger, and are believed to be responsible for the banner. Clark and Price were fabricators at DEI, and Brooks worked in the parts department. “We addressed the situation internally, dealt with it appropriately and we’re quite frankly embarrassed that this situation ever arose,” DEI general manager John Story said. There have been grumblings throughout the garage that Ginn owes former employees back salaries, and drivers Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek and two crew chiefs have sued him for payment. That lawsuit is in the final stages of being settled, and Ginn sent a Sept. 27 letter to most of his former employees that promised back-owed team bonuses would be paid in full via an Oct. 3 direct deposit.(AP/Thatsracin)(10-20-2007)
  • Sauter in Limbo for 2008: UPDATE: #70-Johnny Sauter is receiving mixed signals about his future at Haas CNC Racing but believes the overriding message from the team is clear. “The word put to me is we’re not going to tell you that you have a job, we’re not going to tell you that you don’t,” Sauter said. “They haven’t said I’m going to be released, but yet they’re saying I should be out there looking for something. That means I need a job, you know what I mean? The fact that I’ve been told to look strongly suggests that I should start beating the bushes.” The team has hired Scott Riggs for the 2008 season but hasn’t said whether he’ll be filling Sauter’s #70 Chevy or Jeff Green’s #66. Sauter said he hasn’t been told if he’s competing with Green for the team’s second seat. “I don’t have a clue,” he said. “I’ve never been in limbo quite like this before.” The three-time winner in the Busch Series would like to stay in NASCAR’s premier series, but the prospects seem dim because most of next season’s open rides have been filled.(USA Today)(10-19-2007)
    UPDATE: Robby Gordon Motorsports is prepared to add a second Nextel Cup team in 2008, and team owner Robby Gordon said Friday that Johnny Sauter is a candidate, provided he can bring sponsorship. “We’re speaking with Johnny Sauter, who could potentially be available,” Gordon said Friday at Martinsville Speedway. “It depends on sponsorship — either sponsorship he brings or helps me find. It’s hard to find [sponsorship] unless the sponsor says, ‘That’s my guy.’ ” Gordon said his shop is ready to integrate a second team, and that RGM has nine Cars of Tomorrow completed.(ESPN.com)(10-20-2007)
  • Jeff Green Back with Haas? Driver Jeff Green told ESPN.com this week that as far as he knew, he was driving the # 66 in 2008. Green said he has a contract for 2008 that’s an annual renewal, and hadn’t yet been picked up for 2009. (ESPN.com)(10-20-2007)
  • Couple More Years before Gordon Decides on Possible Retirement: If you’re a Jeff Gordon fan, mark your 2009 calendar as a watershed moment in the icon’s NASCAR career, as he said Friday at Martinsville that it’s very likely that might be when he makes a decision on what the closing phase of his career will be. “I think that there truly is no number [he’s set as a deadline to retire]. All I can tell you is that 2010 is when our contracts are ending and probably 2009 is a year that’s going to have a lot of decision-making for me. Those contracts might be up in 2010 but they all want to talk about them in 2009. “So to me that’s going to be a big year. We’ll just see where I’m at, how things are going, how fatherhood is going — how much tuition is for kindergarten [laughing]. I don’t know. This year I’m just having a blast and enjoying life and racing like I never have so [quitting] hasn’t even been a thought.”(NASCAR.com)(10-20-2007)
  • Congrats to Greg Biffle & Nicole Lunders: At just around 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17th, Greg Biffle and his longtime girlfriend Nicole were pronounced husband and wife in a little white chapel at the Palmetto Bluff Resort in South Carolina. The couple met in the spring of 1998 and began dating officially later that summer. Last Christmas, Greg decided it was time to propose and Nicole happily accepted. Plans were made for an autumn wedding at the southern resort located about 20 minutes from Savannah.(Roush Fenway PR)(10-20-2007)
  • Sad News – Shav Glick: Former Los Angeles Times beat writer Shav Glick passed away Saturday morning in his Pasadena (Calif.) home after a bout with cancer. He was 86 years old. A native Californian, Glick got his first byline in a daily newspaper in 1935 at the Pasadena Post – he was 14 years old. In 1954, legendary publisher Otis Chandler recruited Glick to the Los Angeles Mirror, which became a part of the Los Angeles Times in 1963. In 1969, Glick began covering motorsports for the Times, retiring from that post in January 2006. In 2004, he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He was only the fourth person in the 18-year history of the Motor Press Guild to receive a lifetime achievement award, and was a member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Shortly after his retirement, Glick was honored as the Grand Marshal of the 2006 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(10-20-2007)

    News from October 19, 2007

  • Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Steve Hmiel Part Ways: UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Inc. and director of competition Steve Hmiel have parted company. Hmiel’s responsibilities have been redistributed throughout the organization and his replacement will be named soon. “I have enjoyed a wonderful association with Dale Earnhardt Inc. over the past nine years,” said Hmiel. “It is time for me to pursue other endeavors and reestablish new goals for myself.”(DEI PR)(10-18-2007)
    UPDATE: Steve Hmiel says it was a difference in opinion that led to his departure from Dale Earnhardt Inc. “Just a difference in philosophy,” Hmiel said of the split Friday at Martinsville Speedway. “It was a job I grew into, so there wasn’t really ever a definition [of the position]. I started out doing one thing, then added things along the way and pretty soon, you find yourself doing a lot of different stuff. But I really enjoyed it. It’s a different world now, a different time. Some of the things I saw chaffed against me, and some of the things I did chaffed against them. So we sat down and talked about it and thought we might ought to just go do this.”(SceneDaily.com)(10-19-2007)
  • U.S. Army/DEI Transport Driver Honored: Gale “Bandit” Wilson, the friendly crew member for the #01 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. NASCAR team, was caught off guard Saturday before the Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. A long-time race team transport driver, Wilson was recognized with a special plaque from the Transport Drivers of Motorsports Association. The plaque, which was presented to Wilson by Kyle Petty read, “In Appreciation of Many Years Outstanding Service & Dedication.” “That really took me by surprise,” said Wilson. “But it was sure an honor to receive this recognition, especially from my fellow transport drivers.” Wilson, 64, is in his 28th season hauling race cars from venue to venue. However, his role has never been exclusive to driving the truck. He assists the crew during race weekends and has been multi-tasking long before the phrase became trendy. For many years he doubled up as an over-the-wall crew person, handling the catch can duties. “That was a while ago, before pit crews wore firesuits and helmets,” noted Wilson. Wilson’s nickname of “Bandit” was given to him back in the early 1980s when he worked for the Skoal Bandit Cup team. Wilson and his wife Bobbie reside in Statesville, N.C. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.(DEI PR)(10-19-2007)
  • Goodyear and NASCAR use RFID tags to track racing tires: When NASCAR cars and trucks hit the racetrack for the 2008 season, they’ll be outfitted with Goodyear tires imbedded with passive UHF RFID tags. The unique ID numbers in the RFID tags will help Goodyear keep track of the thousands of tires it leases to NASCAR racing teams, and they’ll also help NASCAR track down any racers who’ve illegally tampered with their tires.(Modern Materials Handling)(10-19-2007)
  • Hearing Scheduled on NASCAR-Kentucky Speedway Lawsuit: The day after the 2007 Nextel Cup champion is decided, NASCAR attorneys are scheduled to be in a courthouse trying to convince a judge that Kentucky Speedway’s anti-trust lawsuit has no merit. U.S. District Court Judge William O. Bertelsman has scheduled a 1 p.m. hearing for Nov. 19 in Covington, Ky., to hear a variety of motions in the case, including a motion for summary judgment filed by NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. That motion, which asks the judge to rule in favor of NASCAR and ISC before the case goes to trial, already has been filed under seal.(SceneDaily.com)(10-19-2007)
  • Gordon wins pole at Martinsville: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway with a speed of 94.974mph for his 7th pole of 2007, the 63rd of his career and 6th career pole at Martinsville. #1-Truex, Jr. qualified second with the rest of the top-10: #29-Harvick, #48-Johnson, #9-Kahne, #5-Busch, #8-Earnhardt, Jr., #18-Yeley, #26-McMurray, and #96-Raines. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #49-Andretti, #00-Reutimann, #84-Allmendinger, #55-Waltrip, #10-Riggs, #44-Jarrett, and #4-Burton. #21-Bill Elliott had to use a past champions provisional to make the race, the 2nd of six, so he has four to use with four races to go in the season.(10-19-2007)

    See qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on the Martinville Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results Page.(10-19-2007)

  • Five do not qualify [DNQ] for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway: #06-Sam Hornish Jr. [4 team attempts/53rd in OWNERS pts]; #78-Joe Nemechek [31/43]; #83-Brian Vickers [31/39]; #36-Jeremy Mayfield [31/45]; #37-Kevin Lepage [28/49].(10-19-2007)
  • Martinsville Qualifying Fast Facts
    .. Jeff Gordon won the Bud Pole for the Subway 500 with a lap of 19.938 seconds, 94.974 mph.
    .. This is his 63rd Bud Pole in 505 career Nextel Cup races.
    .. This is his seventh Bud Pole and 19th top-10 start in 2007.
    .. This is Jeff Gordon’s sixth Bud Pole 21st top-10 start in 30 races at Martinsville Speedway.
    .. Martin Truex Jr. posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 19.988 seconds, 94.737 mph.
    .. This is Truex’s 13th top-10 start of 2007 and his first better than 15th in four Martinsville races. He tied his career-best start set at Chicago and second Loudon.
    .. Kevin Harvick (third) posted his 10th top-10 start this season and his fifth top-10 start in 13 Martinsville races. This is his first start better than fifth here.
    .. Jimmie Johnson (fourth) posted his series-leading 22nd top-10 start of 2007.
    .. Five of the 12 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Gordon, Truex, Harvick, Johnson, Kyle Busch (sixth)
    .. John Andretti (15th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
    .. David Reutimann (19th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-19-2007)
  • Martinsville Ramblings: Jeff Gordon was fastest in the abbreviated practice then backed it up when it counted later in the afternoon and took the Bud Pole at Martinsville Speedway today for Sunday’s Subway 500 with a time of 19.938 (94.974 mph). This is the 7th top-spot of the season for Gordon and the 63rd of his Nextel Cup career.
    Martin Truex Jr (2nd) ties his career-best starting spot this weekend. He had the outside pole at Chicagoland in July and Loudon in September.
    Kevin Harvick (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Phoenix last November.
    J. J. Yeley (8th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Michigan in June.
    Tony Raines (10th) has his best startings spot since he lined up 4th at Rockingham in November of 2003!
    Johnny Sauter (13th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at New Hampshire in June.
    Aric Almirola (27th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 31st at Las Vegas in March.
    Jeff Green (31st) has his best starting spot since he qualified 24th at the Brickyard in August.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 11 Top-10 starts in the last 12 races.
    48 cars on hand….five on the Trouble Train. Sam Hornish Jr, Joe Nemechek, Brian Vickers, Jeremy Mayfield, and Kevin Lepage get the early out this week.
    As worried as most of the “Chasers” were a couple weeks ago at ‘Dega, this place can be just as troublesome. My perfect scenario for the Chase would be five plate races and five short tracks. We’d have 12 nervous drivers for a solid 10 weeks….but then, they probably wouldn’t be much fun to be around, huh?(Stock Car Fans)(10-20-2007)
  • Robby to debut Mac Tools scheme and run in the dirt at TMS: This weekend’s event will mark the debut appearance of the #7 Mac Tools Ford of Robby Gordon. Jim Beam, Menards, Mapei, and Motorola will serve as associates. Gordon will also race in the Championship Off Road Racing (CORR) Series race this weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway. He will be racing in both the Lucas Oil Series Pro 2 point’s races as well as the Pro 2 Jason Baldwin Cup Qualifier [no word how that will effect his Cup schedule and practice]. (RGM PR), see images of the Mac Tools scheme on the #7 Team Schemes page, [Been told Gordon will not miss any Cup practice and will qualify the car](10-19-2007)
  • Martinsville Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Martinsville this weekend, though the Nextel Cup tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the same specific combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for these teams to run at Martinsville earlier this season . . . this is the only track at which Craftsman Truck teams will run either of these two tire codes in 2007 . . . while Nextel Cup teams only run this exact combination at Martinsville, they did run this right-side code (D-4110) on all four tire positions at both road course races in 2007 . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Martinsville. The estimated pit window is every 125-135 laps, based on fuel mileage (Nextel Cup). Goodyear’s “Spirit of Innovation,” based out of Pompano Beach, Fla., will be covering both races at Martinsville this weekend.(Goodyear PR), see the Martinsville Race Info page for pressures, codes and more.(10-19-2007)

    News from October 18, 2007

  • Chase Notes: The odds are pretty good that Sunday’s race at Martinsville will boil down to a Jeff Gordon vs. Jimmie Johnson battle. The two teammates have won five of the last seven at Martinsvill. Clint Bowyer has finishes of 22-23-11 in three starts, so a top five would be huge and keep him within one race of the lead. Jeff Burton moved into stage spot #10 with his fourth at Lowe’s. He leads Martin Truex by +12, and Matt Kenseth by +76 [only the top 10 go to NYC and the stage at the banquet]. Carl Edwards will have to get scorching hot to get back into Chase contention from fifth place and 240 points out, and Martinsville presents an uphill challenge as “Flip” doesn’t have a top 10 in six starts. Tony Stewart has to still be considered a contender with the races coming up, but he must put five straight top 10s or better together. It’s hard to count sixth place on back as being in reasonable contention at this point. See the Chase stats after Charlotte page for more.(10-18-2007)
  • Martinsville Rookie News and Notes: #84-AJ Allmendinger was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 13 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Allmendinger grabbed a 15th-place finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season. He scored his best finish in 14 Nextel Cup Series races. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by 15 points (226-211) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering Martinsville Speedway. Montoya is 21st in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 112 points ahead of 22nd-place Ragan. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-10 in each of the last two Subway 500 (fall) races at Martinsville. Kyle Busch scored a ninth-place finish in 2005. Only once since 1975 have TWO Raybestos Rookies finished in the top-10 in the Subway 500. In 1979, Joe Millikan finished third while Terry Labonte placed ninth. Only one Raybestos Rookie has won a pole for the Subway 500 since 1975: Ryan Newman in 2002. The most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the Subway 500 (since 1975) is 53 by Geoffrey Bodine in 1982.(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR) see rookie history, standings and more on the 2007 Rookies page.(10-18-2007)
  • NASCAR Visits Pendleton Marine Base: A group of NASCAR drivers made a pit stop to visit with a group of stock car racing’s most loyal fans today. The drivers visited with the service personnel and families at the legendary United States Marine Corps base Camp Pendelton. The event was in advance of the Oct. 20 NASCAR Toyota Showdown at Irwindale Speedway. The drivers came from NASCAR Grand National Division teams, including representatives of the Busch East Series and the NASCAR West Series. Goodyear is the exclusive tire provider for the Grand National Division. The tiremaker assisted with the coordination of the base visit. “There are a ton of race fans at Camp Pendelton,” said Goodyear’s Chad Fletcher. “The racing world owes the debt of freedom to these folks, so it’s nice to be part of giving something back.” The drivers toured the base and had the opportunity to make a simulated beach landing off an amphibious landing craft. The drivers signed autographs at three areas around the huge base. The autograph session was a big hit, Fletcher said. “I think we wore out some pens. Five teams brought their racecars and the families all got to get close enough to see what the cars really look like,” said Fletcher. “It was probably the most exciting thing these drivers will do, outside of their racecars, all week.” Goodyear gave away 250 tickets to the weekend’s racing event and made arrangements with the track to provide a special seating section for the Marines at Saturday night’s race. Camp Pendleton will provide the color guard for Saturday’s pre-race activities. The Showdown begins Friday with practice and qualifying. The race will be held Saturday [shown on SPEED]. The drivers who took part in the appearance included Mike David (2007 West Series champion), Brian Ickler, Eric Richardson, Moses Smith, Brett Thompson, Eric Holmes, Tim Woods III, Peyton Sellers, Justin Lofton, Eric Hardin and Marc Davis.(Goodyear PR)(10-18-2007)
  • Bodine wrecks in bobsled: former NASCAR Cup driver, Geoff Bodine was at Lake Pacid, NY on Sunday testing equipment. He crashed on his first trip, but changed runners and made it the next two runs down the course. Ironically, Bodine rolled it in the famous Trickle Turn (turn 18) where Dick was upended twice at the Bodine Bobsled Challenge in 2006.(PR), more info on the 2008 Challenge on the Racing Charities page.(10-18-2007)
  • Team Red Bull buying Yates’ shop? UPDATE no: Team Red Bull [#83, #84) has approached Robert Yates Racing [#38, #88] about purchasing its racing and chassis manufacturing shops in Mooresville, N.C. The offer comes in the heels of Yates’ announcement that it wants to move to Concord, N.C., to a shop currently occupied by Boris Said’s No Fear team (next to Roush Fenway) to expedite their sharing of technology in 2008. Yates will use Roush-built chassis next season. Red Bull is in dire need of more space. It gets engines from Toyota Racing Development and buys chassis, but wants to start departments in both areas. Buying Yates’ facilities would give them the room to do that.(Sports Illustrated)(10-11-2007)
    UPDATE: “Robert Yates did contact us awhile back to see if we were interested in talking with him about purchasing his building or his teams. We weren’t – so the conversation ended there. We’re committed to building our team from scratch and making our cars competitive. We don’t have plans to buy anyone else’s team.”(Red Bull VP of Competition, Guenther Steiner statement)(10-18-2007)
  • #2 Hauler driver wins Hauler Challenge: Congratulations to Miller Lite Dodge Team’s chief transport driver Bill “Stump” Lewis for coming home the winner in this year’s Freightliner Run Smart Hauler Challenge. The final stage of the contest was held last Saturday morning at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, with “Stump” placing first and taking the $35,000 grand prize. “Stump” and wife, Cindy, share the truck-driving duties for the #2 Penske Racing Dodge Team. “I am extremely proud of this award and thrilled to have brought the honor to our Penske Racing Miller Lite Dodge Team,” said “Stump,” now a two-time winner of the annual NASCAR truck-driving contest. “As for that $35 grand, I think Cindy already has it spent on some construction work we are getting done at our house.” The couple is celebrating winning the award this week at the annual “Biketoberfest” in Daytona Beach.(TRPR)(10-18-2007)
  • Stewart to hold “Stewie Awards”: #20-Tony Stewart will award the first ever “Stewie Awards” during a live broadcast of his Sirius Satellite Radio show from New York Nov. 29 at 6 p.m. The completely made-up awards will honor drivers in such categories as “Best Duet,” for the best teamwork between a driver and crew chief and the “Best Vocal Performance” for the driver who had the best memorable quote or sound bite. Nominees will be revealed in an upcoming “Tony Stewart Live” show, and fans will be able to vote at www.sirius.com/nascar.(10-18-2007)
  • Bowyer’s Team Takes Pit Crew Challenge Win in Charlotte: Clint Bowyer’s #07 over-the-wall crew claimed the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Bowyer’s crew spent 345.178 seconds on pit road on its way to a runner-up finish in the Nextel Cup event. “We’re all excited to win the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive Thru Challenge,” said crew chief Gil Martin. “Mr. Jack’s Crew has been the model of consistency this year and we had another good night at Charlotte. We knew when the Chase started that our entire team would have to step up in a big way and this award definitely illustrates this team’s ability to answer that call.” Checkers/Rally’s will award the Richard Childress Racing team with an $11,000 check for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the over-the-wall crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. Bowyer’s #07 over-the-wall crew consists of: Carey Wimbish (jackman), Dail Long (front-tire carrier), Shane Westerberg (front-tire changer), Dustin Long (rear-tire carrier), Jake Lind (rear-tire changer), Mike Morrison (gasman), Clint “Ratto” Almquist (catch can) and Troy Welty (eighth man). With just five races remaining in the Nextel Cup season, Mark Martin’s #01 crew and Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew are currently tied for the lead in the season-long competition with four wins each. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $341,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(10-18-2007)
  • Jeff Green will appear on NASCAR Angels: What is “NASCAR Angels?” It’s a syndicated TV show, featuring former NASCAR champion, Rusty Wallace. Each week, the Angels help one person or family by fixing up their car. Nothing unites America like the automobile. Across the country every day, millions of people turn the ignition and depend on their vehicles to get them where they need to go. That’s where the NASCAR Angels come in… The NASCAR Angels hit the road with a simple mission: to help people and to fix broken cars. It’s Extreme Home Makeover meets Pimp My Ride, NASCAR-style. The twist? The Angels dream team has only three days to complete the entire project. With the help of NASCAR partners, the NASCAR Angels fix rides and give people a NASCAR experience they’ll never forget. Everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. That’s NASCAR Angels…transforming cars, enhancing lives. Since everyone knows how much Jeff Green likes muscle cars and working on hot rods, he was chosen to help introduce the story of Jeff Bodenschatz, a husband and father who also enjoys fixing up old cars. Mr. Bodenschatz has always dreamed of rebuilding a 1968 Javelin, but when he fell ill with cancer, it sidelined his dream. With the help of the NASCAR Angels, Jeff’s dream will now become a reality.(Best Buy Racing)(10-18-2007)
  • Kyle Busch & Steven Wallace enter Snowball Derby: Kyle Busch and Steven Wallace to race with the best short track racers in the country in the 40th Annual Snowball Derby at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway. Busch is no stranger to the Snowball Derby. He competed in the prestigious event as a 16-year-old in 2002, but bad luck relegated him to a disappointing 33rd-place finish. Now, the former West Coast Super Late Model and ASA racer will be getting back to his short track roots. Busch will be piloting his own #51 Chevrolet with support from the former Snowball Derby-winning team of Richie Wauters, who will also have Busch Series driver Steven Wallace, a former Snowball Derby winner himself, in their stable for this year’s Derby. For more information on the 40th Annual Snowball Derby event visit www.snowballderby.com.(10-18-2007)
  • Testing at Kentucky AND: J.J. Yeley tested for Hall of Fame Racing at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, along with David Green testing for Michael Waltrip Racing. #45-Kyle Petty is scheduled to test on Wednesday [Oct 16th]. Also Jeff Green and the #66 Haas CNC Racing team are taking part in a two-day test session, Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 16-17. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway/Best Buy PR)(10-17-2007)
    AND Correction… Mark Green was testing for Michael Waltrip Racing and David Green was there testing for Hendrick Motorsports R&D Team.(10-18-2007)

    News from October 17, 2007

  • Special schemes for Sorenson and Stremme: Target and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today that the #41 Target Dodge will feature a pink paint scheme for the next two Nextel Cup Series events to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. Reed Sorenson will be running a pink #41 Dodge in this weekend’s 500-mile race at Martinsville Speedway and at his hometown track – Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 28. Additionally, Target and CGRFS also announced Sorenson’s teammate #40-David Stremme will be driving a Target House Dodge at Martinsville, highlighting Team Target’s commitment to cause-related programs. Sorenson has created a donation pledge for the Atlanta race, which Target will match, that consists of a number of levels, with the top amount (including the match) being $36,400. Sorenson will donate $10,000 for a win, $5,000 for a top-five finish, $1,000 for a top-10 finish, $4,100 for a pole and $12.62 for each lap completed, totaling $4,100 if he completes all of the scheduled 325 laps that will make up the Pep Boys Auto 500. He will also auction his autographed custom race helmet and firesuit with proceeds from the pledge and auction benefiting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and Project Pink House.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), more info on the auction on the Racing Charities page, see an image of the scheme on the #41 Team Schemes and #40 Team Schemes pages.(10-17-2007)
  • Rusty Wallace rumors untrue: there were some rumors floating around on Wednesday that ESPN/ABC would replace Rusty Wallace as it’s analyst of the Busch and Nextel Cup Series races [to be Nationwide and Sprint Cup in 2008] for the 2008 season. All ESPN and Wallace sources have told me this is NOT TRUE and Wallace will return in 2008. From ESPN: “Rusty Wallace is our guy. We have a long-term contract with him. He’s the voice of NASCAR on ESPN.” NORBY WILLIAMSON – ESPN Executive Vice President, Studio and Remote Production.(10-17-2007)
  • Jeff Hammond joins the Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience: Jeff Hammond has teamed up with the Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience (DWRE) at Belle Island Village in Pigeon Forge, TN. Jeff Hammond, sports analyst for NASCAR, FOX Sports, Co-Host of Trackside Live, former NASCAR crew chief and co-creator of the PIT Instruction and Training facility in Mooresville, NC, joins his long-time teammate, Darrell Waltrip to lend his technical expertise to the DWRE. Hammond will assist in the design and development of the technical aspects of the project. His years of experience in and around NASCAR will help to authenticate the guest experience for the estimated 500,000 visitors a year that are expected to visit the venue. Darrell Waltrip has stated many times that it is his vision to give the visitor the total sensory experience at the venue, letting them …”smell, hear, touch and see..” what the drivers and crews experience. The Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience is a 27,000 square foot, interactive attraction that highlights the action, history and future of stock car racing. The high-tech attraction will feature theatres, exhibits, hands on racing and full, live production capabilities. Belle Island Village, the $114 million themed entertainment/hospitality project is set to open Fall of 2008 and will be home to the Darrell Waltrip Racing Experience, the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Motion Picture Museum, the Knoxville Zoo’s North American River Otter exhibit along with over 300,000 square feet of retail, dining, attractions and lodging. The Darrell Waltrip racing Experience and all of Belle Island Village is scheduled to open in fall 2008. Belle Island Village is located off the Parkway between traffic lights 3 and 4 in Pigeon Forge, TN. More info at www.bellelsland.com.(Allwaltrip.com)(10-17-2007)
  • Gibbs to the rescue for MWR UPDATE Denied: Michael Waltrip said in a TV interview last week that one reason his team has improved in recent weeks is the help it has received from Joe Gibbs Racing. JGR is moving to Toyota next year, but it can’t make Chevrolet officials too happy to hear the Gibbs experts already are sharing info with the Toyota camp.(ESPN.com)(10-17-2007)
    UPDATE: “Joe Gibbs Racing is 100 percent focused on trying to win a championship for GM, as well as our sponsors and fans. We have at no time shared any technical information with Toyota or any Toyota team, nor will we as long as there are still races to be run in 2007.” – J.D. Gibbs, president, Joe Gibbs Racing.(10-17-2007)
  • VA HOF induction Thursday, Hill to show artwork: Thursday, October 18, 2007 from 6:00 pm until the Virginia Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame will hold it first Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Limited seating is still available at $50.00 per person. To inquire please call 276-694-5554. Inductees are: H. Clay Earles, Paul Radford, L.O. Stanley, Curtis Turner, Glen Wood and Leonard Wood. Plus NASCAR artist Garry Hill, will show his artworks on Saturday, October 20th from 11am – 6pm. As an artist working only with racing subjects, Garry has created painting s for the Motorsports community at the corporate level as well as for private collectors. Currently he is publishing two very special limited edition fine art print series. “The Great Moments In Racing” series documents the history of NASCAR racing, and “The All Star” series focuses on the annual NASCAR NEXTEL All- Star Challenge races. Many of the prints are available autographed by the drivers including Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty, Bill Elliot, Dale Jarrett, Bobby and Davey Allison, Junior Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman and more. To view Garry’s work go on line at www.garryhill.com. See more about the VA HOF at Virginia Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame site.(10-17-2007)
  • Hamilton employee wins race and Hamilton Cup: Skip McCord picked the perfect time to win his first late model race at the Music City Motorplex [Nashville, TN]. McCord passed Craftsman Truck rookie Willie Allen after a caution with 20 laps to go Sunday to win the Late Model 200 to conclude the Southern 300 and win the Bobby Hamilton Sr. Cup. “This means a lot period just to win this race,” said McCord, a fabricator for Bobby Hamilton Racing. “Bobby was a mentor to me, I knew Bobby pretty well. He had a big hand in helping me get started. I learned some valuable lessons from him.” D.W. Shacklett, who also is a BHR Racing fabricator, finished third.(Tennessean)(10-17-2007)
  • GEM Introduces New Driver Patrick Carpentier in Montreal: Patrick Carpentier was introduced to the media today at a press conference prior to the Montreal Canadiens game at the Bell Centre. Foster Gillett welcomed Carpentier on behalf of the Gillett family, who owns the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club and recently purchased ownership in Gillett Evernham Motorsports. “There is tremendous local support for our hometown sports figures here in Quebec and Canada,” said Foster Gillett. “That is why we wanted to introduce Patrick to the local media and fans here at the Bell Centre.”
    “These past few months have been a dream come true for me,” said Carpentier, driver of the #10 Dodge Avenger [in 2008]. “I look forward to working with the Gillett family, Ray Evernham and my teammates Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler.” Appropriately, the Montreal Canadiens presented Carpentier with a personalized #10 hockey jersey.(Clear!Blue/GEM PR)(10-17-2007)
  • #99 Team Wins 3rd Qtr Pit Crew Award: The #99 Office Depot pit crew for Roush Fenway Racing has enjoyed a celebration in victory lane three times this season, including twice during the third quarter, as they made a strong push for driver Carl Edwards to race into the Chase for the Championship. In addition to a Chase birth, the pit crew for the #99 Office Depot team has been named the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew for the third quarter of the season. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award is given quarterly throughout the Nextel Cup Season. At the end of each quarter, the winning pit crew is determined by a vote of each team’s crew chief. The four quarterly winners are eligible for the year-end Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award and a check for $100,000 awarded at the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Awards Banquet in New York City.(Mechanix Wear/Clear!Blue PR)(10-17-2007)
  • #31 testing at Nashville: Jeff Burton and the #31 AT&T Racing team are scheduled to test at Nashville Superspeedway on Wednesday, October 17 in preparation for the remaining races on the 2007 NASCAR Cup Series calendar.(RCR PR)(10-17-2007)
  • Tire testing at LMS: The #22 Caterpillar Racing team and driver Dave Blaney spent Monday and Tuesday tire testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The team will spend two days next week at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis. The BDR team will also participate in the COT test at Atlanta Motor Speedway at the end of the month.(BDR PRAND #2-Kurt Busch and crew are tire testing for Goodyear at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for two days this week (Oct. 15-16) and it gave the Miller Lite Dodge Team the opportunity to get track time with the new COT cars on the fast 1.5-mile quad-oval.(TRPR)(10-17-2007)
  • Kahne Donates $500,000 to Ronald McDonald House: On Monday, Oct 15th, #9-Kasey Kahne, NASCAR driver and founder of the Kasey Kahne Foundation donated $500,000 to the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte to support the construction of a new Ronald McDonald House in Charlotte. “We are thrilled to partner with Kasey Kahne on this important initiative to support critically ill children in the Charlotte area,” said Joanne Charnetski, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. “The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte relies heavily on the generous support of individuals like Kasey Kahne and his foundation, as well as our dedicated volunteers.” The new facility will serve as a “home away from home” for the families of children who are receiving care at two state-of-the-art children’s medical facilities – Presbyterian Hemby Children’s Hospital and Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC). Upon completion of the new Ronald McDonald House in Charlotte, there will be a Ronald McDonald House located in every major city across the United States. The Ronald McDonald House program has provided a “home-away-from-home” for millions of families of children being treated at nearby hospitals since its inception in 1974. There are 270 Ronald McDonald Houses open in 30 countries worldwide.(PR)(10-17-2007)

    News from October 16, 2007

  • New Dale Jr. show on ESPN? hearing that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is working on a deal with ESPN to telecast a mini-series following Dale Jr as he makes the transition to Hendrick Motorsports from now up to the Daytona 500, which Jr’s people have already started taping meetings, all kinds of behind the scenes situations. No word on an air date.(10-16-2007)
  • Petty to Move Into Top-Five in Career Starts: At Martinsville Speedway, #45-Kyle Petty becomes the driver with the fifth most starts all-time. He enters this weekend tied with Darrell Waltrip with 809 career starts. Petty has made 53 starts at Martinsville. He has five top-five and 15 top-ten finishes at the track. He also grabbed one pole at Martinsville, which came in 1992. Petty’s 23,817 laps completed at Martinsville are the most of any track in his career.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(10-16-2007)
  • Franchitti to test at Memphis: Dario Franchitti – is scheduled to be on the track in Memphis this Wednesday, Oct. 17, for a closed test session, fueling speculation that he will enter the Busch Series Sam’s Town 250 on Oct. 27. Franchitti made a successful stock car debut for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) in the ARCA race at Talladega Oct. 5. After testing in Memphis this week, he is slated to make his Craftsman Truck Series debut Saturday in Martinsville before a possible return to Memphis to make his first Busch Series start. CGRFS announced Oct. 3 that Franchitti had signed a multi-year deal with the organization to compete in the Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2008 driving the # 40 Dodge Avenger next season. The 34-year-old Franchitti is in the midst of a stock car development program similar to the one CGRFS teammate Juan Pablo Montoya engaged in just over a season ago, with an impressive qualifying run and ARCA race in Talladega that led to his NASCAR debut in Memphis. The official entry list for the Sam’s Town 250 will be released next week. NASCAR returns to Memphis Motorsports Park on Oct. 26-27. For Sam’s Town 250 tickets or more information, call toll-free 1-866-40-SPEED or visit MemphisMotorsportsPark.com.(MMP PR)(10-16-2007)
  • Former 49ers Owner Almost Bought Hendrick in 2004 UPDATE no: Former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo told Sports Business Journal recently that he almost became a NASCAR owner in 2004. “We would have bought a NASCAR team if Reggie White hadn’t died,” DeBartolo said of the former NFL player. “The week he passed away we were going to sign the agreement with Hendrick Motorsports. After that, I just couldn’t do it. I loved Reggie too much.”(Roanoke Times)(10-14-2007)
    AND and from a July article – Dale Earnhardt Inc. president Max Siegel told ESPN.com on Wednesday [in July] that three years ago he was prepared to partner with NFL Hall of Famers Reggie White and Ronnie Lott, as well as former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartalo Jr., in purchasing MB2 Motorsports, which at the time fielded the #01 and #10 Chevrolets. The papers were drawn. All that was left was the official closing, which was slated for Jan. 15, 2005. But when White died suddenly on Dec. 26, 2004, and the deal died with him. Siegel said he and White originally had planned to partner with Rick Hendrick on a NASCAR Busch Series operation. Then the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash in October 2004 halted that initiative. A couple of months had passed, and Siegel said Hendrick contacted him about the program. Hendrick explained that in order for him to be involved, White and Siegel had to purchase a team with an existing Hendrick partnership. Enter MB2, whose engines were supplied by Hendrick. At the time, Valvoline was part-owner of MB2, as well. All the pieces were in place, then White passed away.(ESPN.com)(10-14-2007)
    UPDATE 2: At the time in question, Mr. DeBartolo and Mr. White were in discussions with the former MB2 Motorsports team, and our involvement was limited solely to a potential technical support relationship. Hendrick Motorsports is not, and has never been, for sale.(HMS)(10-16-2007)
  • Roush testing at CMP: been told that Carl Edwards and Colin Braun are at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, SC today testing Busch cars.(Carolina Motorsports Park)(10-16-2007)
  • Edwards to wear special firesuit & helmet at Martinsville: Fans of Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Office Depot Ford in the Nextel Cup Series, have the opportunity to bid on a one-of-a-kind racing firesuit and helmet in an online auction to benefit City of Hope National Medical Center in California. Edwards will show his support for City of Hope by wearing the firesuit and helmet in the Subway 500 race on October 21 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see more on the Racing Charity page.(10-16-2007)
  • NASCAR Drivers to help teach development drivers: Team Full Throttle’s NASCAR Driver Development Program would like to announce the first annual TFT Coaching and Evaluation Day on Tuesday, October 16th at the Hickory Motor Speedway. On this day, nearly 20 of Team Full Throttle’s racers from across the nation will be given exclusive on-track education by Chip Ganassi Racing NASCAR Nextel Cup racer David Stremme and Michael Waltrip Racing development driver Josh Wise as they gain valuable experience in a variety of cars including a Busch East Series car provided by Fitz Motorsports, a Limited Late Model provided by Tri-Star Motorsports, and a Team Full Throttle INEX Legends car. Team Full Throttle President and Driver Coach Mike Calinoff [Stremme’s spotter] says this event will provide an energy filled start to the four day “TFT Week” where racers from the group will gain hands-on knowledge of driving and media skills along with enjoying the Driver Development Clinic and a special awards dinner just for TFT members. The dinner will wrap up this unprecedented week for the group and will give Calinoff and partner Tom Baker a platform from which to make some major announcements about the group’s 2008 plans. Team Full Throttle is the nation’s most comprehensive NASCAR Driver Development Program, and is represented by Driver Development Services, LLC of Charlotte, NC. For more information about Team Full Throttle, call 704-281-7699 or see them online at www.goteamfullthrottle.com.(10-16-2007)

    News from October 15, 2007

  • Overnight TV ratings slip 2.5%: ABC’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 4.0, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 2.5% lower than the 4.1 NBC earned overnight from the nation’s largest markets for the race in 2006.(SceneDaily.com), see past news on my 2007 TV Ratings page.(10-15-2007)
  • Testing at Gateway….changes: #27-Jacques Villeneuve and #22-Dave Blaney of Bill Davis Racing have rescheduled their Car of Tomorrow test at Gateway International Raceway originally slated for tomorrow [Oct 16] to next week [dates will be announced]. #48-Jimmie Johnson is still scheduled to test at GIR tomorrow and Wednesday, Oct. 16-17. GIR’s Select-A-Seat event is still scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday. On Wednesday [Oct 17], #07-Clint Bowyer, #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Elliott Sadler are scheduled to test at Gateway International Raceway. The test sessions will be open to the public.(Gateway International Raceway PR)(10-15-2007)
  • Kurt Busch on merger of Miller and Coors: DOES THE MERGER BETWEEN MILLER AND COORS AFFECT YOUR SPONSORSHIP? “I don’t know anything other than they did combine, or they’re in negotiations to do such. The numbers that I’ve heard are 58 percent for MillerSAB and 42 percent for MolsonCoors. That’s all that I know. I haven’t talked with any Miller people about it. They are all coming in tonight to check out qualifying, and then tomorrow we’ve got some in the morning for meetings. Right now I’m sure it doesn’t change a thing. Roger Penske has been with Miller for over 25 years and his race teams. That’s what really anchors us solidly with that program.”(Dodge Motorsports PR)(10-15-2007)
  • Benson to MWR in ’08? On Sunday’s SPEED/tv’s Speed Report, it was reported by Bob Dilner that there were many candidates for the vacant seat for the third Michael Waltrip Racing team among them; Johnny Benson.(10-15-2007)
  • Nead debuts for the #21 team: With the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG race team just outside the top-35 in points headed into this weekend’s event, Bill Elliott returned behind the wheel to greet a brand new primary sponsor, H.J. Heinz. During a special Thursday night edition of Nextel Cup qualifying, Elliott put the #21 Heinz Ore-Ida Ford 35th in the field for the running of the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Also new to the team this week, Gene Nead stepped in as crew chief to lead the organization’s efforts for the remainder of the year. Elliott finished 35th [and the team fell to 109 pts behind 35th in owners pts](Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)(10-15-2007)
  • Martin Truex Jr. Announces Foundation: #1-Martin Truex Jr. announced he has started a foundation that will benefit children in need. Truex Jr. donated a check in the amount of $100,000 to the foundation in making the announcement. “I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by a loving family and supportive friends,” said Truex. “They have helped me get to where I am today. When I joined Dale Earnhardt Inc. I made a promise to myself to give back to those less fortunate than me. The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation is the realization of that promise. The foundation is dedicated to providing funds to non-profit, charitable organizations that will properly impact the lives of children. It will benefit children in my hometown in New Jersey, as well as the town of Mooresville, North Carolina, and the surrounding area. There are so many kids who could accomplish things in their lives if only given the right tools. My goal is to help these kids any way I can. Our first project, “Little Bears for Little Kids”, is a stuffed animal drive for children who have been served by the Dove House in Statesville, North Carolina. We have collected several thousand stuffed animals for the children in need. I need to thank everyone with all of these corporations who have helped to make this a success.” The Dale Earnhardt Foundation also donated $5,000 to the fund. The Earnhardt Foundation will donate $3,000 for each victory Truex Jr. earns for the rest of 2007 and in 2008. Bass Pro Shops will also donate 1,000 stuffed bears to the Little Bears for Little Kids program. Eight hundred and twenty-seven of the bears were donated today to the Dove House in Statesville, which benefits victims of child abuse.(Lowes Motor Speedway PR)(10-15-2007)
  • DEI to unveil #8 for 2008: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI) to Unveil #8 U. S. Army Chevy this afternoon at Lowe´s Motor Speedway. Mark Martin and Aric Almirola will co-drive the #8 Chevy in 2008.(DEI PR)(10-12-2007)
    IMAGES: added a few images to the 2008 Sprint Cup Schemes Page of the #8 US Army Chevy.(10-13-2007)
    MORE: The U.S. Army Chevrolet, owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc., will carry the #8 during the 2008 Sprint Cup season. Veteran Mark Martin and rookie Aric Almirola will co-drive the #8 Chevy with Ryan Pemberton handling the crew chief duties. The #8 car was unveiled Friday, Oct. 12 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. “We are thrilled to be associated with the United States Army and representing our men and women in uniform,” said Max Siegel, president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc. “The #8 has a long tradition in the Earnhardt family and it is only fitting that it will be showcased on the soldiers’ car that will be driven by Mark Martin, one of the most revered drivers in NASCAR history, and a young talent in Aric Almirola.”
    “As a proud partner of Dale Earnhardt Inc., the U.S. Army is honored to have the soldiers’ car carry the # 8, which has a rich tradition and a remarkable Earnhardt family legacy,” said Michael J. Sullivan, U.S. Army deputy director of marketing and advertising. “We are excited about continuing the Army spirit in NASCAR and having Mark Martin and Aric Almirola driving the #8 Chevrolet.” Along with Martin and Almirola, DEI’s driver lineup for the 2008 Cup season includes #1-Martin Truex Jr., #15-Paul Menard and #01-Regan Smith.(DEI PR)(10-15-2007)

News from October 14, 2007

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Bank of America 500
    Total number of commercials: 153 (in 2006: 142)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 73 (in 2006: 78)
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 16
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 14
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 09//07: 7:34 PM (in 2006: 7:04 PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 09/08/07: 11:59 PM (in 2006: 11:09 PM)
    Total minutes: 265
    Minutes of race broadcast: 200
    Minutes of commercials: 65
    Number of missed restarts: 1
    Total race brdcst time: 200 Total comm. brdcst time: 65
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-14-2007)
  • Hass Racing Quiet about 2008 Drivers: When it comes to who’ll be in what Haas CNC Racing cars in 2008, nobody seems to know much of anything. Joe Custer, the team’s general manager, plays his cards close to the vest. Very, very close. Johnny Sauter, driver of the organization’s #70 entry, says that he doesn’t have a clue what he’ll be doing next year, but adds that he’s been given permission to look elsewhere. Jeff Green, who steers its #66 Chevy, refuses altogether to comment on the situation. With Scott Riggs already signed for next year and two Haas cars available, there’s considerable speculation as to which one he’ll drive and whether it’ll be Green or Sauter who’s left out of the mix. Then again, names other than Riggs’ [including Mayfield and Stremme] have been mentioned as joining the operation. If that happens, Green and Sauter would most likely both be gone. According to Custer, neither driver has a decided advantage at this stage of the game.(NASCAR.com)(10-14-2007)
    More Stremme Buzz in the Garage: Hearing from many sources that #40 David Stremme is now the leading candidate for at least four teams. Options include third and fourth car situations (GEM?, Penske?, MWR?, Ganassi?) and Haas Racing where Johnny Sauter is expected to be replaced.(10-14-2007)
  • Jarrett won’t get behind the wheel once he retires: Terry Labonte has done it on occasion. Bill Elliott is doing it now. But don’t expect Dale Jarrett to join the on-again, off-again trend of former Nextel Cup champions running one-off races sporadically. “As far as coming back, and people wanting you to get in a race here and there, I just don’t see that happening, whatsoever,” Jarrett said Friday, just after announcing his pending retirement. Jarrett considers it unfair to the teams attempting to run the entire schedule. “I know what that is like [from experiencing it] this year,” Jarrett said. “I didn’t want to put someone else in that position. The only thing that would change that would be if UPS came to me and said, ‘We need you to run this race.'” So what’s next? Jarrett will mentor Michael Waltrip Racing development drivers Josh Wise and Michael McDowell, and said he plans to begin discussions with ESPN about his television future very soon.(ESPN.com)(10-14-2007)
  • World Speed Record Set in Dodge Charger: Russ Wicks, who holds World Speed Records of more than 200 miles per hour on both land and water, has set a stock car world record of 244.9 miles per hour, which has been confirmed by Guinness World Records. Wick successfully achieved the record on Tuesday, October 9 at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Northwestern Utah while driving a 2007 Dodge Charger built to NASCAR specifications. The new mark shatters Wicks´ previous stock car world speed record of 222 miles per hour. Wicks´ vehicle was developed with the backing of the Dodge Motorsports Engineering Group and Arrington Engines.(Dodge Motorsports PR)(10-14-2007)

    News from October 13, 2007

  • Sad News – Ray Cooper: Ray Cooper, a manufacturer’s rep for Dodge on the Nextel Cup Series, passed away Saturday after a battle with cancer. Cooper was recently named the third quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award. Info on services will be posted when arragements are finalized.(10-13-2007)
    SERVICES: Stanley Ray Cooper, 53, a longtime reporter and manufacturer representative in NASCAR, passed away Saturday morning following a brief illness. Mr. Cooper was born in Inman, S.C., and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1976. He worked 12 years as a sports reporter at the News and Observer before becoming the first manufacturer media representative for Chevrolet in NASCAR. During a 15-year stretch, he covered 467 consecutive races, earning the prestigious Joe Littlejohn Award and the George Cunningham Awards from the National Motorsports Press Association for his excellence in motorsports reporting. Mr. Cooper joined Dodge Motorsports in 2001 and worked as its manufacturing representative. He recently was honored with the Pocono Spirit Award by the NMPA. Mr. Cooper was preceded in death by his father, Eugene Clarence Cooper. He is survived by his wife, Chris; his son, Andrew; his daughter, Katy; and his mother, Evelyn White Cooper. Visitation is Sunday at Forbis and Dick Funeral Home, 5926 West Friendly Ave., Greensboro, N.C., from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. and at the Friendly Avenue Baptist Church, Greensboro, Monday at 10 a.m. A celebration of Mr. Cooper´s life follows at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, Mr. Cooper requested donations be made to the Victory Junction Gang Camp and Hospice of Greensboro.(Charlotte Observer)(10-13-2007)
  • MWR uncertain of future status of Domino’s, Burger King: Michael Waltrip Racing is still talking with sponsors Domino’s and Burger King, but right now it appears the two companies will not return as primary sponsors in 2008. The pair shared the primary sponsorship of David Reutimann’s #00 Toyota this season. MWR Vice President and General Manager Ty Norris said that the organization is still in talks with the companies. “At this point, they won’t be back as a primary sponsor,” Norris said. “However we still continue to have conversations with them but we don’t have anything contracted for next year from them.” Still, the team, which is now a 50-50 partnership between Waltrip and investor Robert Kauffman, is committed to running three cars full time in the series. Do they have the sponsorship issue covered? “We do have a few races contracted, but we have a good many races that are currently under proposal and on a company’s desk, but [team owners] Rob [Kauffman] and Michael [Waltrip] have looked at all the financials and looked at everything and said, “We are going to run that third Cup car.” And here is the financial gap we have to fill and that’s what we’re in pursuit of right now,” Norris said.(SceneDaily.com)(10-13-2007)
  • Wise or McDowell Could Drive #00: MWR general manager Ty Norris said the #00 doesn’t have full sponsorship for 2008 yet, but the team is committed to fielding it for the entire 36-race schedule. The plan for now is to use MWR development driver Josh Wise and Michael McDowell, who has been racing in the ARCA Series, in that car. “We’ve got a lot of time to figure out if those guys are ready,” Norris said. “We’ll test them and try to get them up to speed and see if we can’t use them in that car next year. If they aren’t ready, we’ve got plenty of time to find a driver from the (free agents) who are still available. Since David is going to run the first five races, we could conceivably wait until the sixth race of the year to figure out what we’re going to do with that car.”(Associated Press)(10-13-2007)
  • Jeff Gordon wins at Charlotte: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in a green-white-checker shootout for his 6th win of the season and 81st career win, by holding off #07-Bowyer at the checkered flag. Gordon has four top-5 finishes in the first 5 chase races. The finish was set up after #12-Newman spun while leading with 6 laps to go. #07-Bowyer was second, followed by #5-Busch, #31-Burton, #99-Edwards, #22-Blaney, #20-Stewart, #9-Kahne, #40-Stremme, and #55-Waltrip.
    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 notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-13-2007)
  • Chasers: where did the 12 chasers finsih at Talladega?
    #24-Gordon won
    #07-Bowyer 2nd
    #5-Busch 3rd
    #31-Burton 4th
    #99-Edwards 5th
    #20-Stewart 7th
    #48-Johnson 14th
    #1-Truex Jr. 17th
    #11-Hamlin 20th
    #2-Busch 26th
    #29-Harvick 33rd
    #17-Kenseth 34th
  • The Chase Standings [after Charlotte, race 31]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 5880
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5812, -68
    3) #07-Clint Bowyer 5802, -78
    4) #20-Tony Stewart 5682, -198
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 5640, -240
    6) #5-Kyle Busch 5600, -280
    7) #2-Kurt Busch 5565, -315
    8) #29-Kevin Harvick 5552, -328
    9) #11-Denny Hamlin 5531, -349
    10) #31-Jeff Burton 5514, -366
    11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 5502, -3787
    12)#17-Matt Kenseth 5438, -442
    Full Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Charlotte page.(10-13-2007)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after Charlotte [31 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 4689
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4191, -498
    3) #20-Tony Stewart 4189, -500
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 4017, -662
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin 4011, -672
    6) #07-Clint Bowyer 3981, -708
    7) #5-Kyle Busch 3892, -797
    8) #17-Matt Kenseth 3858, -831
    9) #31-Jeff Burton 3832, -857
    10) #2-Kurt Busch 3705, -984
    11) #29-Kevin Harvick 3697, -992
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 3652, -1037
    13) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3527, -1162
    14) #25-Casey Mears 3405, -1284
    15) #12-Ryan Newman 3390, -1299
    16) #16-Greg Biffle 3385, -1304
  • Rumblings – Lowe’s Motor Speedway It may be Jimmie Johnson’s house, but somebody must have loaned the keys to his teammate! Jeff Gordon took tonight’s Bank of America 505.5 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in a cloud of speedy dry. With the DuPont Chevy sputtering all the way, Gordon took down his 6th win of 2007 and the 81st of his Cup career (he’s now just two behind Cale Yarborough). This was win #163 for Hendrick Motorsports and their 14th of the season (tying 1998 as their best year for wins). The victory was worth $268,236 from the over $5.1M in posted awards.
    David Stremme (9th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Talladega in April.
    Michael Waltrip (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Michigan in June.
    Ricky Rudd (11th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Infineon Raceway in June.
    A. J. Allmendinger (15th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 18th at California in September.
    Kyle Petty (18th) had his best finish since he was 3rd here in May.
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-5’s in the last 6 races. Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    The Rookie Report: A. J. Allmendinger (15th) takes this award for the first time this season. He was followed by Paul Menard (22nd), David Reutimannn (29th), Juan Pablo Montoya (37th), and David Ragan (40th).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Dave Blaney (+28), followed by J. J. Yeley (+26), Kyle Petty (+24), Clint Bowyer (+23), Jeff Burton (+23), Tony Stewart (+22) and Ricky Rudd (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ward Burton (-28), followed by Ryan Newman (-27), Matt Kenseth (-27), Elliott Sadler (-25), and Scott Riggs (-22).
    Kyle Petty’s #45 team fell to 35th in Owner Points, but they’ve got a 109 point margin over the 36th place Woods Brothers #21 Ford. Looks like Awesome Bill can count on driving the next few events at the very least and maybe the rest of the season.
    Jeff Gordon stretched his points lead in the Chase to 68 markers after tonight….and if the Magic Numbers tell us anything, this is turning into a three horse race.
    In “Classic” Points, we had no multiple position advancers in the Top-40, while Jamie McMurray (17th to 19th) and Elliott Sadler (24th to 26th) were the only drivers to fall two spots.(Stock Car Fans)(10-14-2007)
  • $1.6 Million Raised Through NASCAR Day: Thousands of NASCAR fans and companies participated in NASCAR Day on May 18th in an effort to raise money for the charitable causes supported by The NASCAR Foundation. A grand total of over $1.6 million was raised through donations made by fans, corporate partners and the NASCAR Day Telethon. The money raised from NASCAR Day goes to support The NASCAR Foundation and its Family of Charities which helps children’s causes, animal welfare and wildlife conservation. As a result of this overwhelming support of NASCAR Day, a $500,000 check was presented at Kansas Speedway to Kyle and Pattie Petty for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The funds raised this year from NASCAR Day will also help open the doors to a brand new racing-themed Speediatrics Children’s Emergency Room at Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Fla.(NASCAR PR)(10-13-2007)
  • Congressional aides visiting racetrack advised to get immunized: The House Homeland Security Committee planned a fact-finding trip about public health preparedness at mass gatherings and decided to conduct the research at two of the nation’s most heavily attended sporting events, NASCAR’s Bank of America 500 event this weekend and the UAW-Ford 500 last weekend. Staff who organized the trips advised the NASCAR-bound aides to get a range of vaccines before attending — hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria and influenza.(Charlotte Observer)(10-13-2007)
  • Sad News – Bobby Batson: Longtime motorsports publicist Bobby Batson passed away on Wednesday at his home in Concord, N.C., after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 66. A public memorial service was held Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Concord. Batson became Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s public relations director from 1974 through 1976 when he accepted a similar position with Atlanta Motor Speedway. After that Batson worked with several sponsors in the motorsports industry – mainly the Chattanooga Chew and Swisher Sweets brands where he was national accounts manager.(LMS PR)(10-13-2007)

    News from October 12, 2007

  • New owner/investor for Waltrip? Announcement: hearing that in addition to Dale Jarrett’s Friday announcement of his retirement and limited schedule for 2008, Michael Waltrip Racing will also introduce David Reutimann as 2008 driver of the UPS Toyota plus MWR will also introduce their new owner/investor.(10-11-2007)
    Announcement: Michael Waltrip Racing unveiled the next phase of its accelerated growth, announcing several moves to enhance its future as an elite NASCAR racing organization. Michael Waltrip introduced Robert Kauffman as an equal ownership partner in a newly formed company, Michael Waltrip Racing Holdings, LLC. Kauffman, a founder and managing partner of Fortress Investment Group, will lend financial and business strategy support to MWRH to ensure its growth is both strategic and successful. Kauffman, a long-time racing enthusiast who was born in New York and currently lives in Europe, is pursuing this business opportunity personally, not through Fortress Investment Group. Waltrip also confirmed that MWRH will field three full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and one full-time Nationwide Series effort in 2008, and that rookie David Reutimann has renewed his driving contract to remain in the MWRH stable for the next three years. Waltrip will continue to drive the #55 Toyota Camry sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts. Reutimann will drive the first five races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season in the #00 Toyota Camry before taking over the #44 UPS Toyota Camry starting at Martinsville, Va. Dale Jarrett will drive the #44 UPS Toyota Camry for the first five Sprint Cup races (Daytona International Speedway, California Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway) and will run his final race in May in the Sprint All-Star event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Reutimann, currently second in Busch Series drivers points, will also drive the #99 Toyota Camry sponsored by Aaron’s Sales Lease and Ownership, Best Western and XM Satellite Radio, full-time in the Nationwide Series, running for the championship. As part of the business strategy, MWRH is adding depth to its executive management team. In addition to retaining Ty Norris as its Vice President and General Manager, MWRH announces the hiring of Calvin Wells III as its Executive Vice President of Operations and Larry Johns as its Chief Financial Officer.(Michael Waltrip Racing PR), no word on another driver for the #00 team. Stremme and Mayfield had been rumored. See the #00 Team Page for more info.(10-12-2007)
  • Jarrett to Retire from Full-Time Competition: Dale Jarrett announced he would retire from full-time competition in the Nextel Cup Series at the conclusion of the 2007 season. While Jarrett is retiring from full-time competition, he will compete in six races during the 2008 season [the Bud Shootout, the first 5 races, and the All-Star race in May]. “This is obviously a decision that required a lot of thought and consideration and it is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do,” said Jarrett. “I’ve been fortunate to have one of the best NASCAR sponsors in UPS, and I’m first and foremost a competitor. The desire to compete is the reason why I have continued as a driver in the Nextel Cup Series. But I’ve come to the decision to get out of the racecar and while I’ll miss being a driver, I am looking forward to the next phase of my life and career.”(Michael Waltrip Racing PR), for earlier information and rumors see the #44 Team Page.(10-12-2007)
  • Biffle plans to work on contract extension in offseason: Greg Biffle said Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that he will definitely be back in the #16 next year but doesn’t have a contract beyond that. “Probably this winter we’ll start talking about it, start getting moving forward on an extension,” Biffle said. “It’s sort of backwards, because a lot of times you’ve got to have a driver to be able to sell a sponsor.” Biffle wants to have an extension signed before the Daytona 500. He said there is a “90 percent” chance he’ll remain in with Roush Fenway.(SceneDaily.com)(10-12-2007)
  • Same Schedule for Martin in 2008:Mark Martin enjoyed his first season of part-time racing so much that he’s repeating it race for race in 2008 – Martin will enter both Sprint Cup all-star events and 24 points races. Aric Almirola will drive the #8 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevy in the remaining 12 points races next season.(SPEEDtv.com)(10-12-2007)
  • Green to Gibbs or Childress? Jeremy Mayfield had been rumored to be talking to Haas CNC Racing, which signed Scott Riggs last week after Jeff Green decided not to return to the #66 and signed with another team, according to a source. Why would Green leave a team on the rise with owner points he worked for? It would have to be a team he thought had greater potential and could overcome not having owner points at the start of next season with performance. The two organizations that fit that profile are Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing, which both want to get to four cars. Gibbs, of course, is switching to Toyota next year and the manufacturer is likely willing to supply the funding for an additional entry. Childress has been trying to find a sponsor for its fourth car.(Sports Illustrated)(10-12-2007)
  • Charlotte Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same specific combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for teams in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series to run at Charlotte in October 2006 . . . this is the fourth straight Charlotte race weekend that teams in these two series have run this right-side tire code (D-4022), dating back to May ’06 . . . in addition to Charlotte, Cup and Busch teams ran this right-side code at Las Vegas earlier this season . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Charlotte . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window: Every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage (Nextel Cup).(Goodyear PR), see the full report, codes, pressures on the Charlotte Race Info page.(10-12-2007)

    News from October 11, 2007

  • Team Red Bull buying Yates’ shop? Team Red Bull [#83, #84) has approached Robert Yates Racing [#38, #88] about purchasing its racing and chassis manufacturing shops in Mooresville, N.C. The offer comes in the heels of Yates’ announcement that it wants to move to Concord, N.C., to a shop currently occupied by Boris Said’s No Fear team (next to Roush Fenway) to expedite their sharing of technology in 2008. Yates will use Roush-built chassis next season. Red Bull is in dire need of more space. It gets engines from Toyota Racing Development and buys chassis, but wants to start departments in both areas. Buying Yates’ facilities would give them the room to do that.(Sports Illustrated)(10-11-2007)
  • Ski Motorsports & NOS Energy Drink to compete in ’08: SKI Motorsports and NOS Energy Drink have announced that they will team up to take on the Sprint Cup Series in 2008. Backed by innovative promotions and top-notch equipment, the team will attempt the Series most celebrated races next season-the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, and the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Driver for the #50-NOS Energy Drink/Ski Motorsports Chevy will be Stanton Barrett.(SKI Motorsports PR), the team has competed on a limited basis in the Busch Series over the last 2 years.(10-11-2007)
  • Gilmore falls ill, hospitalized, released UPDATE 2: SPEED qualifying coverage reported that DEI’s VP of Competition Richie Gilmore, was taken to a Birmingham, AL hospital for a possible stroke, but was later diagnosed as an aneurysm. Gilmore was released and is headed in NC.(SPEED qualifying coverage)(10-6-2007)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. vice president Richie Gilmore has been treated and released from a Birmingham, Ala. hospital after suffering what has been diagnosed as a minor aneurysm. Gilmore suffered stroke-like symptoms on Friday and was taken to Birmingham for evaluation. He is currently back home in Mooresville, NC. “I spoke with both Richie and his wife Lisa on a couple of different occasions today and Richie is doing well,” said Max Siegel, president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. “He was released today from the hospital and he’s back home getting some rest. He will undergo further evaluation and precautionary testing next week.”(DEI PR)(10-7-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Richie Gilmore is expected to be out at least a month after suffering a brain aneurysm last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Gilmore was released from a Birmingham, Ala., hospital on Saturday and returned to Charlotte by plane. He was hospitalized again on Monday for tests, but his blood was too thick to do a proper dye test. He underwent the dye test on Wednesday and was scheduled for two MRI’s on Thursday. Hmiel said Robbie Benson has taken over Gilmore’s duties heading up DEI’s side of the engine program with Richard Childress Racing.(ESPN.com)(10-11-2007)
  • 3M to be primary sponsor for Biffle in 2008: 3M announced today a multi-year partnership with Roush Fenway Racing to become the primary sponsor of the #16 3M Ford Fusion. The contract calls for 3M to be the primary sponsor for driver Greg Biffle for 23 Sprint [Nextel this year] Cup races in 2008. Terms were not disclosed. “Greg is one of the most respected drivers in NASCAR and we’re looking forward to building on the great relationship that has grown over the years with Greg and with Roush Fenway Racing,” said Bob MacDonald, 3M Senior Vice President of Marketing. “He’s great on the track and just as good with our customers and employees and with all the fantastic NASCAR fans. The 3M Motorsports team is really working hard to drive brand awareness and sales growth with the great NASCAR fans through our association with NASCAR and Roush Fenway Racing,” MacDonald added. “Jack Roush has been instrumental in helping us take 3M’s NASCAR program to the next level, and I appreciate everything he and his team have done. I also thank Todd Kluever for his contributions to our program over the last two years. We wish him every success in the future. ” In 2007 3M sponsored Biffle (19 races) and Kluever (14 races) in the Busch Series, and seven races with Biffle in the Nextel Cup Series. Since 1995 3M has been a Contingency Decal sponsor of NASCAR in the Nextel Cup, Busch Series and the Whelen All-America Weekly Racing Series and has many products that have been designated Officially Licensed Products of NASCAR. For more information abour 3M, see www.3M.com.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my 2008 #16 Team Schemes page.(10-11-2007)
  • Irvan preaches prevention: Ernie Irvan knows first-hand how a traumatic brain injury can disrupt a life and a career. He also knows many of them are preventable, which is the message the former NASCAR driver brought to Indianapolis on Wednesday as keynote speaker at the Brain Injury Association of Indiana annual conference. Irvan, 48, suffered a life-threatening brain injury when he crashed at Michigan International Speedway in 1994. He defied the odds to return to racing but was forced to retire in 1999 after another hard hit in virtually the same place on the same racetrack. He has spent much of his time since trying to raise awareness about traumatic brain injuries, which each year afflict 1.5 million Americans and result in more than 50,000 deaths. He started the Race2Safety Foundation and speaks to a half-dozen groups a year.(see full story at the Indianapolis Star)(10-11-2007)
  • Gilliland to run special pink M&M’s scheme at Charlotte: For this weekend’s Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, David Gilliland and Team 38 are joining forces with primary sponsor, M&M’S Brand Chocolate Candies, as they lend sweet support to the fight against breast cancer. M&M’S is offering its consumers the opportunity to go pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October to commemorate Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s 25th year in the fight against the deadly disease. The brand will also make a minimum guaranteed contribution of $550,000 in support of Komen for the Cure’s promise to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Gilliland will run a special paint scheme with pink M&M’S Brand Chocolate Candies and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure logo on his #38 Ford at Charlotte. Additionally, from October 11-13 MY M&M’S will host a computerized kiosk at the Speedway where NASCAR visitors can order the Promise Blend in support of finding the cure. In addition to the activities scheduled for this weekend’s race, M&M’S Brand Chocolate Candies is offering the following products, merchandise and activities in support of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure throughout the month of October:
    • MY M&M’S will donate 10% of the sales of its “Promise Blend” to support the cause. The pink and white M&M’S Milk Chocolate Candies, available at www.mymms.com/sgk, are pre-printed with the new Susan G. Komen for the Cure “Moving Ribbon” logo and a “for the CURE” message.
    • Limited-edition dark- and light- pink M&M’S Milk Chocolate and M&M’S Peanut Milk Chocolate Candies will be sold nationwide in stores in September and October. Both varieties are available in 14-ounce and 21.3-ounce bags.
    • M&M’S World stores are also getting in on the action, donating 10% of Pink Ribbon merchandise sold in-store in 2007 to the world’s largest breast cancer organization. M&M’S World stores are located in New York, Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla.(M&M Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on the #38 Team Schemes page.(10-11-2007)
  • Newman on Pole in Charlotte: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser Pole for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a speed of 189.3945mph for his 5th pole of 2007 and the 42nd of his career. #48-Johnson qualified second witht he rest of the top-10: #42-Labonte, #24-Gordon, #9-Kahne, #26-McMurray, #17-Kenseth, #2-Busch, #25-Mears, and #16-Biffle. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #10-Riggs, #4-Burton, #55-Waltrip, #00-Reutimann, #84-Allmendinger, #21-Elliott, #36-Mayfield, and #49-Andretti. See qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on the Charlotte Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results Page.(10-6-2007)(10-11-2007)
  • Six do not qualify [DNQ] for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: #44-Jarett [30 team attempts/41st in OWNERS pts], #78-Nemechek [30/42], #83-Vickers [30/48], #06-Horish [3/54], #08-Long [2/57], #27-Shelmerdine [2/68].(10-11-2007)
  • Charlotte Qualifying Fast Facts
    .. Ryan Newman won the Bud Pole for the Bank of America 500 with a lap of 28.512 seconds, 189.394 mph.
    .. This is his 42nd Bud Pole in 219 career Nextel Cup races.
    .. This is his fifth Bud Pole and 14th top-10 start in 2007.
    .. This is Newman’s seventh Bud Pole and 12th top-10 start in 13 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    .. Jimmie Johnson posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 28.573 seconds, 188.990 mph. This is his series-leading 21st top-10 start in 2007.
    .. Bobby Labonte (third) posted his eighth top-10 start in 2007 and his best since he started third at Bristol in August 2006.
    .. Scott Riggs (14th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
    .. Paul Menard (17th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-11-2007)
  • Ramblings – Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Ryan Newman took the Bud Pole tonight at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for Saturday Night’s Bank of America 500 with a time of 28.512 (189.394 mph) for his 5th top-spot of the season and 42nd of his Nextel Cup career (he’s 11th all-time). He’ll be joined on the front-row by Jimmie Johnson.
    Bobby Labonte (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Dover in June…..and one original paint scheme!
    Casey Mears (9th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 8th at Pocono in August.
    Mark Martin (12th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 10th at Michigan in August.
    Johnny Sauter (23rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 18th at Chicagoland in July.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 10 Top-10 starts in the last 11 races.
    The Trouble Train never has far to go when you miss a race in your own backyard, and tonight there are six cars in tow. Dale Jarrett, Joe Nemechek, Brian Vickers, Sam Hornish Jr, Carl Long, and Kirk Shelmerdine are all dnq’s this week.(Stock Car Fans)(10-11-2007)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Dodge: #12-Newman, 189.394, starts 1st
    Chevy: #48-Johnson, 188.990, starts 3nd
    Ford: #26-McMurray, 188.075, starts 6th
    Toyota: #55-Waltrip, 186.761, starts 19th
  • Roush Fenway Racing signs Stenhouse: Roush Fenway Racing has announced that they have signed Olive Branch, Miss. native Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. to a multi-year contract. Stenhouse will race full-time in the ARCA Series for Roush Fenway beginning in 2008. Stenhouse is currently racing in USAC’s National Sprint Car and National Midget Car Series. Stenhouse has looked brilliant in both a Sprint and Midget car in 2007 racing for Tony Stewart Racing. In 22 Sprint car starts, Stenhouse has chalked up two wins, seven top-five and 14 top-10 finishes and currently sits fifth in the overall point standings. In the USAC National Midget Series, Stenhouse has looked just as strong claiming five wins in 23 starts along with 10 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes while occupying third in the overall point standings.(Roush Fenway PR)(10-11-2007)
  • Carpentier signed with GEM? UPDATE 2 official: hearing Gillett Evernham Motorsports has signed Patrick Carpentier to run the #10 Dodge in 2008.(10-10-2007)
    UPDATE: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced today that they have added Patrick Carpentier to their driver lineup for 2008. The Quebec native and former open wheel stand out will drive fulltime in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next year as well as select races in the Nationwide [Busch] Series. The car number and sponsorship have not yet been announced. Carpentier made his Nextel Cup Series debut earlier this season driving the #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger at Watkins Glen, leading seven laps in the event. Just one week earlier, he had made his Busch Series debut at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The road course veteran proved to be a quick study as he won the pole for the event and led 14 laps en route to a second-place finish. Carpentier has compiled two Champ Car World Series wins, three CART victories, and a Toyota Atlantic Championship. “We are excited to add Patrick Carpentier to our organization for 2008,” said George Gillett co-owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports. “Patrick (Carpentier) has shown tremendous talent in every series he has driven throughout his career and has a bright future in NASCAR. We are committed to giving Patrick (Carpentier) the best resources and opportunities available to make this transition and we look forward to a great deal of success together both on and off the track.” Gillett Evernham Motorsports will conduct a formal press conference next week to introduce Patrick Carpentier and discuss further details. Information regarding this press conference to follow.(Clear!Blue/GEM PR)(10-10-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Patrick Carpentier will be put on the fast track to drive full-time in the Nextel Cup series for Gillett Evernham Motorsports next season. Minority owner Ray Evernham hopes to get the former Champ Car star into two Busch Series and two Cup events before the end of the season, beginning at Martinsville Speedway in two weeks. Evernham said Carpentier also will drive at least a partial schedule next season in the Nationwide Series, now the Busch Series. Carpentier has been cleared by NASCAR to run a Cup event at every track but Daytona and Talladega. He could be approved for Daytona by competing in the ARCA or Busch race before the 500. “We’ll do whatever we need to,” Evernham said. “He’s a great race driver. He’s smart. He communicates well with the team. I haven’t really worked with him much, but I know a lot about him and I know in a short time if most drivers don’t get it, they don’t. “Patrick gets it.” Carpentier will fill the third car at EMS being vacated by Scott Riggs, who last week signed with Haas CNC Racing. Evernham said there are no plans to put Carpentier in Riggs’ car the remainder of this season, saying Carpentier will drive the #98 test team car.(ESPN.com)(10-11-2007)
  • Sam Bass teams up with Motorsports Authentics: Motorsports Authentics announced a partnership with NASCAR artist Sam Bass that will allow the leader in the design, promotion, marketing and distribution of licensed motorsports merchandise to offer a “value-added” surprise to Action Racing Collectables (ARC) die-cast and other merchandise and memorabilia. This worldwide licensing deal will have Bass creating original pieces of art exclusively for use by Motorsports Authentics and the company’s top brands such as ARC and Chase Authentics. More info at sambass.com or goracing.com.(10-11-2007)
  • Kenwood to sponsor Hornish at LMS: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #06 Kenwood Dodge Charger, will attempt to make his Nextel Cup Series debut at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday. This is Hornish’s first attempt to qualify for a Cup event in a race not using the Dodge Avenger. Hornish has attempted to qualify for three Cup Series events so far this season – New Hampshire, Dover and Talladega. Although Hornish’s 2008 plans have not been determined, the 28-year-old will attempt to qualify for no more than seven events, including each of the two remaining COT races with Roy McCauley leading the charge.(Penske Racing PR)(10-11-2007)
  • Windstream donates 1,000 pole night tickets to soldiers and military families: Windstream Corporation announced that it will host 1,000 North Carolina National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve soldiers and their families at the upcoming Pole Night qualifier for the Bank of America 500. Pole night is Thursday, Oct. 11 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Windstream recently acquired CT Communications (CTC) in Concord, N.C. and is continuing CTC’s community involvement in the area by providing Pole Night tickets to members of the military. Windstream is the official telecommunications provider for Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Windstream PR)(10-11-2007)
  • Stewart on the tube tonight: Tony Stewart, in partnership with Goody’s Cool Orange and Orange County Chopper, will be featured on this week’s episode of American Chopper on The Learning Channel (TLC). The episode airs on Thursday, October 11 at 9:00pm and 11:00pm/et on TLC. The chopper, sponsored by Goody’s Cool Orange, the orange flavored, fast-acting headache powder, was auctioned off earlier this year for $60,599.96 to benefit the Tony Stewart Foundation. Stewart and American Chopper’s Paul Teutel Sr. gave race fans a sneak peek of the chopper during pre-race ceremonies in April’s Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Consumers will have the opportunity to win a version of the Tony Stewart and Goody’s Cool Orange Chopper through an in-store promotion this fall.(Goody’s Racing PR)(10-11-2007)

    News from October 10, 2007

  • Special scheme for Blaney at LMS: The #22 Toyota of Dave Blaney will sport a new paint scheme this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which will feature Catused.com. CatUsed.comis the official online source for finding Caterpillar used equipment, used Cat parts, engines and attachments. Available from the best Dealer network in the industry, literally thousands of used Cat machines and parts are at customers’ fingertips, straight from Cat Dealers who stand behind the equipment. Through easy search options on the home page, customers are able to view actual inventory, informative equipment evaluations and photos of the product, making buying used Cat equipment easy and efficient.(BDR PR), see an image of the car on the #22 Team Schemes page.(10-11-2007)
  • Some Chase Notes: #24-Jeff Gordon stormed to the lead at Talladega and to the point in The Chase, but Saturday night poses a big challenge for Gordon as he guns for championship number five. Gordon has finishes of 30-2-30-38-36-24-41 in his last seven starts at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Only the top 10 of the 12 Chasers get to the stage at the Waldorf for the championship banquet. #1-Martin Truex occupies the final spot, +18 over #17-Matt Kenseth and +36 over #31-Jeff Burton. #20-Tony Stewart is about one race behind as he goes to LMS, and he doesn’t have a top 5 there in the last seven starts. He has to string together top 5s and hope the law of averages catches up with the leaders. See the full Chase States page for more.(10-11-2007)
  • Charlotte Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya scored a 15th-place finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 13th time this season, including two of the last three races. Montoya leads #6-David Ragan by 15 points (225-210) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 13 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Montoya is 20th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 61 points ahead of 21st-place Kasey Kahne. David Stremme was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2006 Bank of America 500, scoring a 15th-place finish. 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). The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Tony Stewart (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2002).(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see standings, history and more on my 2007 Rookies page.(10-11-2007)
  • Verizon & Motorola Team up with Robby Gordon Motorsports UPDATE: October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Verizon Wireless, Motorola, and Robby Gordon Motorsports are trying to help raise community awareness about domestic violence and its societal impact. One out of 3 American women report being abused at some point in their lifetime, and 21 percent of full-time, employed adults report they have been a victim. See full info on the Racing Charities page.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR), also Gordon will have Motorola sponsorship in the Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(10-9-2007)
    UPDATE: This weekend’s event will mark the second appearance of the #7 Motorola Digital Audio Players Ford Fusion as the primary sponsor for Gordon. They were last seen on track in Atlanta in the spring. Jim Beam, Menards and Mapei will serve as associates.(RGM PR)(10-11-2007)
  • New sponsor on the #21 at Lowe’s: The Wood Brothers/JTG team welcomes a new sponsor as their primary partner for the Bank of America 500 event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Bill Elliott will be behind the wheel of the #21 Heinz Ore-Ida Ford Fusion this weekend. Heinz will also be the primary sponsor in the upcoming Texas and Phoenix events in November. The #21 team has slipped back out of the top-35 in points. They are now 51 points behind the #22 car of Dave Blaney and 53 points behind the #45 of Kyle Petty with six events remaining in 2007.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR), see an image of the car on the #21 Team Schemes page.(10-10-2007)
  • Testing at Gateway next week UPDATE: Gillet-Evernham Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing are scheduled to test at Gateway International Raceway Wednesday, Oct. 17. The RCR #07 team of Clint Bowyer and the GEM #19 team of Elliott Sadler are planning to attend. On Tuesday, Oct. 16, Bill Davis Racing is scheduled to test at Gateway International Raceway with drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Dave Blaney.(Gateway International Raceway PR) No word if the public can go watch the test.(10-9-2007)
    UPDATE: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to test at Gateway International Raceway Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 16-17. Also testing Tuesday is Jacques Villeneuve and Dave Blaney. On Wednesday, Richard Childress Racing driver Clint Bowyer and Gillet-Evernham Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler are scheduled to test at Gateway International Raceway. The test sessions will be open to the public with an announcement to be released tomorrow.(Gateway International Raceway PR)(10-10-2007)
  • Edwards appeal to be heard Tues UPDATE penalty upheld: Roush Fenway Racing will have its appeal hearing Tuesday in front of a three-person panel of the National Stock Car Racing Commission. #99-Carl Edwards was penalized 25 points after winning two weeks ago at Dover when a postrace inspection showed the rear quarter panel on his No. 99 Ford was too low. Edwards plans to attend the hearing with Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith. “If I go, maybe I can learn something about the process,” Edwards said. “And I still believe we have a good case to get some relief.” NASCAR officials admit the lower height of the car was not an advantage, but a rule is a rule. That isn’t the argument for team officials. Smith and team co-owner Jack Roush have argued that the points penalty should be reduced from 25 points to 10 during the Chase because fewer points are available for the Chase competitors.(ESPN.com), as of 10-9-2007, there have nothing to report yet.(10-6-2007)
    UPDATE: NATIONAL STOCK CAR RACING COMMISSION STATEMENT: On October 9, 2007, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Roush Fenway Racing regarding the #99 car. The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following post-race inspection on September 23, 2007 for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event at Dover International Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules” and Section 20-12.8.1.C of the NASCAR COT Technical Bulletin #3 dated 4/10/07: “Failed to meet the minimum rear car heights.”
    The penalties assessed were:
    * Loss of 25 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for car owner Roush Fenway Racing.
    * Loss of 25 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Carl Edwards.
    * $25,000.00 fine and probation until December 31, 2007 for crew chief Robert Osborne.
    The Appellants argued that the infraction was due to the failure of a clamp on a jack bolt and that the resulting low rear car height was a performance disadvantage. They further argued that penalties imposed during the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup should be assessed differently than during other portions of the season, and differently for Chase contenders than for other competitors.
    In deciding the Appeal, the Commission considered several factors:
    * There was no indication that the infraction was intentional.
    * The car failed to meet post-race height requirements. Whether this constituted an advantage, disadvantage or otherwise does not alter the fact that the car failed to meet the rules.
    * All eligible competitors in each NASCAR Nextel Cup Series championship race are awarded championship points per the NASCAR Rule Book. Accordingly, point penalties should continue to be assessed irrespective of a given competitor’s overall standing in the championship points, or in which championship race an infraction occurs.
    * The penalties imposed are consistent with those for other recent car height violations.
    Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission (John Capels, Grant Lynch and George Silbermann, Chairman) to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR PR)(10-10-2007)
  • Kurt Busch tests at Iowa: #2-Kurt Busch and the Miller Lite Dodge team tested at the Iowa Speedway Oct. 9-10, 2007. “We’re just using the test to sort out some stuff that will help us in the future COT races,” Crew Chief Pat Tryson said late Tuesday afternoon from the seven-eighths-mile “Rusty Wallace designer track,” located near Newton, Iowa. “Kurt was out in Las Vegas on Monday for the Dodge function and the group dropped him off here on their way back to North Carolina. We’re pretty fortunate to be getting in the additional test time and it can only help. We’re in line to do some tire testing for Goodyear next Monday and Tuesday at Charlotte (Lowe’s Motor Speedway), so we have a pretty busy schedule going right now.” Kurt Busch Inc. has scheduled its special “Grand Opening Open House” celebration this Thursday (Oct. 11) at the KBI complex – kurtbusch.com.(Tom Roberts PR)(10-10-2007)
  • Labonte Goes Pink for the Cure: Bobby Labonte is partnering with General Mills this Saturday night at the 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway located in Concord, North Carolina to help introduce “Pink for the Cure”. Labonte will be driving the #43 Cheerios/Pink for the Cure Dodge in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500. Labonte’s pink “Pink for the Cure” Dodge is supporting the General Mills’ campaign that donated $2 million to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and offers anyone touched by the disease the opportunity to join the cause. Fans can go to www.PinkTogether.com, an online community encouraging anyone touched by breast cancer to share their story. General Mills will donate $1 for every story shared on PinkTogether.com, up to $100,000, through October 31, 2007. Fans can also share their support by looking for General Mills products with special pink packaging including Cheerios, Progresso Soup and Nature Valley Granola Bars. By supporting these brands, consumers help ensure that General Mills can continue to support the fight against breast cancer. Labonte is pitching in to the cause by donating his Cheerios/Pink for the Cure uniform and helmet to be auctioned off to help raise more money for breast cancer awareness and research. Labonte’s uniform will be auctioned off on www.komen.org while his race helmet will be auctioned off at www.bobbylabonte.com.(Petty Racing PR), see an image of the car on the #43 Team Schemes page.(10-10-2007)
  • Marlin vs. Marlin at Music City: Three generations of Marlins have raced at Music City Motorplex [Nashville, TN]. Two of them will be back on the track Sunday in the Southern 300. Sterling Marlin has entered the field for the 200-lap late model race, along with his son, Steadman. It will mark the first time since Oct. 12, 2004, in Charlotte that the two have raced together. “We had an extra car,” Sterling said. “I thought we’d get it ready and go out and have some fun. This is one of the best short tracks in the country.” Sterling said it’s been about seven years since he and his son raced together at the Fairgrounds. Prior to being released by Ginn Racing this summer, Marlin said, he rarely had time to race a non-Cup event. Steadman said he’s happy his father is in the field, but hopes he can finish the race with his father. “The last two times I’ve ran here I haven’t finished,” Steadman said. “The first time he had me beat, but I ended up getting T-boned. The second time I thought I had something for him, but I still got tore up. I just want to finish the race with him here.” Sterling Marlin said his plans for next year’s schedule have yet to be finalized. “If I had my choice, I’d like to run about 15 Busch (will become Nationwide) races,” he said. “I’ve been talking to (car owner) James Finch a little, and I think he wants to run about 10 Cup races. But right now they’ve got the qualifying format so screwed up, it’s hard to get in a race. We qualified 20th at Talladega last week and had to go home.”(Tennessean)(10-10-2007)
  • Franchitti to make debut in Martinsville truck race: On the heels of Dario Franchitti’s successful stock car debut in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced that Franchitti will continue his development program in the Craftsman Truck Series. Franchitti will qualify the #41 Target Dodge Ram next Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. The Cunningham Motorsports-owned truck will be led by Ganassi Crew Chief Brian Pattie and his CGRFS team, who guided Franchitti through his ARCA debut last weekend. The 0.526-mile oval will mark Franchitti’s first run behind the wheel of a NASCAR Truck, and his first ever appearance at the Virginia short track.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-10-2007)
  • NMPA names Spirit Award winner: Award-winning sportswriter and longtime manufacturer’s representative Ray Cooper has been named the third quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award. Cooper, diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, remains active in the sport despite curtailing his work with Dodge as a manufacturer’s rep in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series this year while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. A former recipient of the Joe Littlejohn Award, he was also the 1986 winner of the George Cunningham Award for excellence in writing. Cooper received 46 votes cast by the membership. Jimmie Johnson received nine votes. Johnson recently raised nearly $500,000 for the Jimmie Johnson Foundation through an inaugural golf tournament, dinner and auction. The foundation is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need and contributes to several charitable organizations. The NMPA/Pocono Spirit Award, which has been presented annually since 1992, recognizes character and achievement in the face of adversity, as well as sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Four quarterly winners are selected, with one overall Spirit award winner chosen by a vote of the NMPA membership at year’s end. The award will be presented during the group’s annual dinner and awards ceremony in January 2008. James Hylton was named the first-quarter winner of the award, while Bill France Jr. was the recipient of the award for the second quarter.(SceneDaily.com)(10-10-2007)
  • Most Popular Driver Award Tops Three Million Votes: The NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award recently surpassed the 3 million mark in votes, and voters are still logging in daily. This new tally tops last year’s total of 2.8 million votes cast. Log on to the Chex Most Popular Driver Website at www.mostpopulardriver.com. The current list of top-ten drivers, in no particular order, includes Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Dale Jarrett, Jimmie Johnson, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip. The NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver winner will receive the award on Thursday, November 29, 2007 at the annual Myers Brothers Luncheon held in conjunction with the Nextel Cup Series’ end-of -year banquet in New York City. The award has been given annually since 1956. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has four consecutive wins in the voting competition, with his most recent win coming in 2006. He joined drivers Bill Elliott and Richard Petty as the only drivers to win four consecutive awards.(Elevation Group PR)(10-10-2007)
  • Georgia Auto Racing Hall of Fame Announces 2007 Inductees: They are Jody Ridley, Paul McDuffie, Phil Bonner, Billy Carden, Bruce Brantley, Harvey Jones, Roy Shoemaker, and Linda Vaughn. Jody Ridley – The Chatsworth, Georgia driver picked up around 500 short track victories in his career. Ridley moved up to what is now NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series for veteran car owner Junie Donlavey in the early 80s, giving Donlavey what would be both men’s only victory in the top division with a win at Dover, Delaware in 1981. Ridley would later return to short tracks, becoming the dominating force in NASCAR’s All-Pro short track division, scoring seven championships on the circuit. Now retired, Ridley continues to live in Chatsworth. Paul McDuffie, originally from Hawkinsville, Georgia, became highly noted as the man who led Chevrolet factory racing into NASCAR in the late 50s. McDuffie’s cars won the Southern 500 at Darlington with Fireball Roberts in 1958, and the inaugural World 600 at Charlotte with Joe Lee Johnson in 1960. McDuffie was killed, along with two other men, in a tragic accident at Darlington during the 1960 Southern 500. The accident occurred when Bobby Johns’ out of control racer spun into the pits, hitting the pit wall. McDuffie, Charles Sweatlund, and Joe Taylor were all killed in the accident. Billy Carden was a true stock car racing pioneer, who started racing after World War II. Carden ran in NASCAR competition from 1949 to 1959, recording four top five finishes, 17 top tens, and 2 poles. Carden’s best finish came in 1951 at Pine Grove Speedway in Shippenville, PA, where he finished third behind fellow Georgia Hall of Famer Tim Flock and John McGinley. After leaving the big circuit, Carden could be seen running the occasional late model event around the south. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in October, prior to the annual Moonshine Festival in Dawsonville, GA. The Georgia Automobile Racing Hall of Fame Association is a statewide organization with over 500 members. Anyone who is a fan of automobile racing may become a member. We encourage fans of all ages to join us in preserving the history of automobile racing in Georgia. For more information on GARHOFA, please visit www.garhofa.org. See more on the inductee’s on my Hall of Fame News page.(10-10-2007)

    News from October 9, 2007

  • North Carolina to Honor Benny Parsons TODAY: Residents of North Carolina’s Wilkes County will pay homage to their hometown hero, Benny Parsons, by naming a portion of U.S. Highway 421 in honor of the 1973 NASCAR champion. The “Benny Parsons Highway” will be unveiled during a dedication ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 11, at 11 a.m. The five-mile stretch of road runs from the Maple Springs community to the Watauga County Line. “Benny loved his hometown and moving back here meant everything to him. He would be overjoyed by this,” said Terri Parsons, Benny’s wife. North Carolina Governor Mike Easley is among those scheduled to participate in the dedication ceremony. The event will take place at Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge Wine Tasting Room and Racing Museum located at 4187 Highway 421 in North Wilkesboro, N.C. A reception will follow. The wine tasting room and museum is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm. Wines may also be purchased online at www.rendezvousridge.com. Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge recently earned three bronze medals for its Chardonnay, Merlot and Cab Franc wines during the 2007 Mid Atlantic South Eastern Wine Competition.(PR)(10-9-2007)
  • Stremme? Mayfield to Haas? hearing that both David Stremme, currently driving the #40 Dodge for Chip Ganassi [but out of a job at the end of 2007] has also talked to Haas CNC Racing about driving for them in 2008; also hearing that Jeremy Mayfield, currently driving the #36 Toyota for Bill Davis Racing [but out of a job at the end of 2007] has talked to Haas CNC Racing about driving for them in 2008. Haas CNC Racing has already signed Scott Riggs [now in the #10 Dodge at GEM] to drive one of their cars for them in 2008, either the #66 Chevy currently driven by Jeff Green], the #70 Chevy [currently Johnny Sauter] or a possible third team. Stremme is also being rumored to others rides, including #10 GEN Dodge, Michael Waltrip Racing and Penske Racing [if Horish decides not to run Cup in 2008 in their third car].(10-9-2007)
  • #41 Team Penalized For Rule Violations At Talladega: NASCAR has issued penalties and fines to the #41 team that competes in the Nextel Cup Series, as a result of rule violations found last Sunday in post-race inspection at Talladega Superspeedway. The #41 Dodge, driven by Reed Sorenson, was found to be in violation of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8.1C (failed to meet minimum front car heights) of NASCAR Car of Tomorrow Technical Bulletin #3 dated April 10, 2007. Sorenson has been penalized 25 championship driver points, while car owner Chip Ganassi has been penalized 25 championship car owner points. In addition, crew chief Jimmy Elledge has been fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR PR), Sorenson goes from 2771 pts to 2746 and stays in 23rd spot in Drivers Points.(10-9-2007)
  • Ganassi testing at Gateway: For the third time this season, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates tested at Gateway International Raceway, this time for a two-day test focusing on the upcoming “Car of Tomorrow” race at Phoenix International Raceway. Kevin Hamlin, who earned his best-ever Busch Series finish at GIR with a seventh-place effort in July, piloted the Ganassi Dodge Charger during the sessions. “We really enjoy this race track,” Hamlin said. “I really like running here. It’s always fun to come back, it’s a fun town, and it’s a good place to test various things on the car. We come to get data for (Ganassi’s Nextel Cup Series teams) and hopefully, what we learn will translate well and help them on the race track. The stuff we’ve found this year already has. Our Car of Tomorrow program is getting better and all three (Cup Series) guys are running really well, so that means we’re doing our job here.” Despite high temps and rain on Monday and cool, breezy conditions on Tuesday, Hamlin said there wasn’t much difference on the track. “Track-wise, it’s actually about the same,” he said. “We got about the same track times we did yesterday. Which is good because that means our data is going to be more consistent. It’s a little more comfortable in the car today than it was yesterday. When it gets humid here and rains, it’s pretty miserable, but you couldn’t ask for a better day today.” There was speculation that Hamlin would drive a full NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule for Ganassi next year, but he said that probably isn’t the case. “I don’t think so,” the Washington native said. “I have a role of testing and limited races here and there. Obviously, as a driver I want to go full-time, but I’m pretty lucky to be able to do this for a living. I have a lot of fun coming here with these test guys. Next year, we’re going to be doing a lot of testing and hopefully, I’ll get a handful of races and we’ll see what happens.”(GIR Site)(10-9-2007)
  • Molson Coors, SABMiller Combine U.S. Operations: The makers of Coors and Miller Lite plan to combine their U.S. brewing operations in an effort to compete better against industry leader Anheuser-Busch. The joint venture announced Tuesday will be known as MillerCoors and will have responsibility for selling brands including Miller Lite, Miller Genuine Draft, Coors, Coors Light and Molson Canadian in the U.S. Anheuser-Busch Cos. accounts for about half of the U.S. market with brands such as Budweiser, Michelob and Bud Light. SABMiller PLC will have a 58% economic interest in the venture and MolsonCoors Brewing Co. will own 42% of the new company. They will have equal voting interests, however. The joint venture will also result in cost savings of $500 million, the companies said. That savings will mainly come from reducing shipping distances, finding economies of scale in brewing operations, optimizing production and eliminating duplicate corporate and marketing services. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies said they will conduct all of their U.S. business exclusively through the venture. The companies said by combining their U.S. operations, the venture will be able to invest more in marketing its brands to consumers and compete more effectively with larger brewers like Anheuser-Busch and InBev NV S.A., which imports a large number of global beers into the U.S. and is the world’s largest brewer by volume.(AP/Yahoo Biz), no word how or if this will effect the sponsorship of the #2 Pensek Racing Dodge of Kurt Busch, Coor’s Light was just announced as the official beer of NASCAR and will not sponsor a team in 2008.(10-9-2007)
  • Sprint: ‘Business as usual’ after CEO steps down: Sprint pledged to continue business as usual in its sponsorship of the Nextel Cup (soon to be Sprint Cup) Series following the immediate resignation of Sprint Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Forsee. Forsee had been CEO of Sprint in 2003 and was named the leader of Sprint Nextel when their merger was complete in 2005. Chief Financial Officer Paul Saleh, who was the Nextel CFO prior to the merger, is the acting CEO. Sprint is doing an external search to find a new CEO.(SceneDaily.com)(10-9-2007)
  • Villeneuve, BDR consider competing in COT race at Phoenix: #27-Jacques Villeneuve and Bill Davis Racing, coming off positive results in the former Formula One champion’s Cup debut Sunday at Talladega, are contemplating running another Cup race before the end of the season. Mike Brown, general manager at BDR, said the team had several meetings Monday to discuss the feasibility of Villeneuve competing in the Car of Tomorrow race at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 11. Villeneuve, who also has an Indianapolis 500 win on his resume, qualified sixth at Talladega and finished 21st. Villeneuve, who will drive in the remaining Craftsman Truck series races this year, will drive in the Cup series for BDR next season. “We’ve talked to Jacques about it, and he wants to do it and we want to do it,” Brown said of adding Phoenix. “We’re kicking it around, and we really want to do it.” Brown said the team wants Villeneuve, who will participate in the two-day COT test later this month at Atlanta, to get in some testing time at a track comparable to the one-mile Phoenix track. Villeneuve has raced an open-wheel car at the track, so it’s not a completely unknown entity to him. Villeneuve possibly could test at Nashville or New Smyrna.(ESPN.com)(10-9-2007)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Sam Hornish, Jr. is scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway in and Penske Racing R&D car along with #36-Jeremy Mayfield on Tuesday, Oct 9th and on Wed, Oct 10th Gillet Evernham Racing will test and R&D car, no driver named. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(10-9-2007)
  • Gibson takes over at Dale Jr.’s crew chief: Tony Gibson will be the crew chief for the #8 Budweiser team for the remainder of the season. He was the interim crew chief for six races earlier in the season after Tony Eury Jr. was suspended. In the six races with Gibson at the helm, the team recorded an eighth-place finish at Charlotte and two top-five finishes. Gibson, a native of Daytona, joined Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2003. He was crew chief for Steve Park and Michael Waltrip at DEI before becoming the car chief for the #8 Bud team in 2005. He spent six seasons and won two championships as the car chief for Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports before coming to DEI. In his long NASCAR career, he also won a Cup title with driver/owner Alan Kulwicki and has worked with drivers including Bill Elliott, Cale Yarborough, Lake Speed and Rob Moroso. His goal is to win a fourth championship with a third organization.(Bud Racing/fingerprintinc PR)(10-9-2007)
  • Kenny Wallace not back in the #88 UPDATE Rudd back: Hearing Kenny Wallace will not return to the seat of the #88 Snickers Ford at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, looks like Ricky Rudd will return to the car there. Wallace could be in line for Yates Busch Series team, if it runs in 2008.(10-8-2007)
    UPDATE: Ricky Rudd has been cleared by doctors to return to the #88 Ford this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the veteran driver told ESPN.com on Monday. “The plan right now is to race this weekend,” Rudd said. “I have to get a release from NASCAR, but the doctor said there’s no reason why I couldn’t race this week. There are a couple of technicalities, more of a formality than anything — liability issues and things like that. The doctor has to give an official word to NASCAR, and he said that will happen.”(ESPN.com)(10-9-2007)

    News from October 8, 2007

  • Carl Long to attempt Charlotte: been told Carl Long will attempt to make the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway [Oct 13th] in the #08 EM Motorsports Dodge. Joe Nemechek was to drive the #08, but has since gotten a full-time gig with the #78 Furniture Row team [which he will run in 2008 also]
    AND confirmed at Carl-long.com…Carl Long will be racing in both the Busch Series and the Nextel Cup Series races next weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. Long will pilot the #54 Fridel-Carter Motorsports Dodge in the Busch Series Dollar General 300, and the #08 E&M Motorsports Dodge in the Nextel Cup Bank of America 500.(10-8-2007)
  • ProParts Joins NASCAR: SPEK gauges are accepted by NASCAR for the upcoming 2008 racing season. ProParts is proud to be part of the NASCAR family and is the first microprocessor gauges accepted in the history of NASCAR. ProParts offers the only custom PIT- ROW RPM warning lights in the industry that allows the driver to keep his/her eyes on the road and not the Tachometer pointer. They also offer one of the biggest and brightest multi-colored dial lighting in the industry.(ProParts site)(10-8-2007)
  • Overnight Talladega TV ratings drop UPDATE: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday UAW-Ford 500 Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.2, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The figure is 2.3% lower than the 4.3 NBC earned overnight for the race in 2006.(SceneDaily.com)
    UPDATE: ABC’s coverage of the Talladega race earned the largest households and viewership numbers of the 11 Nextel Cup events that have been televised so far by ABC and ESPN. With a fast national rating of 4.6, ABC’s coverage was seen by 7,347,000 viewers in 5,156,000 households. The previous season high in both categories for ESPN and ABC was ABC’s live telecast of the Richmond event, which had 6,804,000 viewers in 4,749,000 households. ESPN’s telecast of the Indianapolis event had the highest rating of 4.9. While the household rating was only 5% lower than last year’s Talladega race, ABC was up 19% in the key Males 18-34 demographic.(ESPN Communications), see past TV Ratings and more at 2007 TV Ratings page.(10-8-2007)
  • Down to 2 – Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 38 consecutive races, the longest current streak, next up is #07-Bowyer at 31 consecutive races. In the 2007 season after 30 races, two drivers have finished all the races: #07-Bowyer and #29-Harvick. #22-Blaney has the most DNF’s [Did Not Finish] with eight (8). #19-Sadler had ran all the races in 2007 without a DNF until being involved in an accident at Talladega.(10-8-2007)
  • GEM-Petty deal on hold? Alex Gillett still hopes to work out a partnership with Petty Enterprises, although he admits talks have slowed. “What you’ve got is one of the most storied people in the sport,” the co-owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports said. “There is a lot of emotion attached to what they want to do in the future and who they want to move into the future with. I can respect that. If that means give them space or not space. We did it with Ray.” Negotiations to merge Gillett with owner Ray Evernham lasted at least four months longer than anticipated because an underground storage tank had to first be removed from Evernham’s property in Statesville, N.C., for environmental reasons. “A lot of people criticized us for taking too long to close,” Gillett said. “Well, nobody asked us the question of why. Each one of these has a life cycle. You can’t push it.” Meanwhile, Gillett said GEM officials are talking to two or three drivers to replace Scott Riggs in the #10 next season. He acknowledged that Canadian driver Patrick Carpentier is a strong candidate even though he has only one Nextel Cup start. David Stremme, who was not re-signed by Chip Ganassi Racing, also is a candidate. “I’m not sure if you bring somebody like a Patrick Carpentier and throw him right into Nextel Cup,” Gillett said. “So we’ve got some other good options in the No. 10 car we’re exploring. We’ll see over the next couple of weeks where that ends up.”(ESPN.cpm)(10-8-2007)
  • Penske sticking with Hornish: #06-Sam Hornish Jr. has failed in his first three attempts to qualify for a Nextel Cup event, but Penske Racing will continue to place Hornish on the entry list for upcoming Cup races. “We’re going to stay on our plan to try to qualify Sam in as many races as we can for the rest of the season,” said Walt Czarnecki, vice chairman of Penske Racing. “Nothing has changed. We’ll go again at Charlotte next week.” Czarnecki, who also is the listed owner of the #06 Dodge that Hornish is driving, said they already have a primary sponsor [rumored to be Mobil 1] lined up for the third team car next season. Would they still consider Hornish moving full time to Cup in 2008 if he doesn’t qualify for any races this year? “I think that’s a possibility,” Czarnecki said. “The disappointment he has, and we all have, is he was 20th quick at New Hampshire. We told him not to drive it too hard and he missed the show by a fraction. At Dover, he had one hour of track time, then misses the show by four one-hundredths of a second. Circumstances haven’t worked in his favor.” NASCAR’s qualifying system works against a driver trying to break into Cup with a new car. Czarnecki realizes Hornish is in a difficult position when only eight spots are available each week in the 43-car field. Hornish was 13th in qualifying Saturday at Talladega, but five positions too low to make the race. The top 35 cars in owner’s points have a guaranteed spot in the field. “It is frustrating, but I also understand NASCAR’s rationale for going to the top-35 rule,” Czarnecki said. “It’s an economic reality of the sport that precipitated that decision.” With six races left this season, Czarnecki is confident Hornish will qualify for some of those events.(ESPN.com)(10-8-2007)
  • But..Hornish undecided: Sam Hornish Jr. said he is going to wait until after the season before sitting down with his team, sponsors and owner Roger Penske to decide where he’ll be racing next year. Hornish failed to qualify at Talladega, his third miss in as many tries to make his Nextel Cup debut. He is committed to Car of Tomorrow races Oct. 21 at Martinsville, Va., and Nov. 11 at Phoenix, in addition to some Busch Series events. Unlike fellow Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti, who as a rookie next year will inherit a car that is in the top 35 of the standings and thus assured of being in the first five races, Hornish would have to qualify week to week. “We have to get to the point where we feel comfortable we can get into these races,” he said. “What if I go to Daytona (for the 2008 opener in February) and don’t make the race? Then we’re behind all the way.” Hornish is not averse to spending another year in the IndyCar Series. “Whatever the team decides, I’m OK with that,” he said.(Indianapolis Star)(10-8-2007)

News from October 7, 2007

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the UAW Ford 500
    Total number of commercials: 149 (in 2006: 151)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 75 (in 2006: 75)
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 14 (in 2006: 17)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 13
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 10/07/07: 2:00 PM (in 2006: 2:20 PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 10/07/07: 5:51 PM (in 2006: 5:55 PM)
    Total minutes: 231 (in 2006: 215)
    Minutes of race broadcast: 169 (in 2006: 150)
    Minutes of commercials: 62 (in 2006: 65)
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Total race brdcst time: 169 Total comm. brdcst time: 62
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-7-2007)
  • Waltrip to announce 2008 plans UPDATE 2 Jarrett 6 races in 2008? Michael Waltrip said Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, that he plans to make an announcement about Michael Waltrip Racing’s 2008 plans on Friday, Oct 12th. Waltrip said he know what he wants to announce, but still has a few things to work out this week. When asked about #44-Dale Jarrett and a possible part-time 2008 schedule, Waltrip said Jarrett is can do whatever he wants and the decision is up to Jarrett.(PRN’s Garage Pass)(10-6-2007)
    UPDATE: #44-Dale Jarrett appears to be taking his first steps toward retirement. Jarrett, who has been mulling his racing future and a potential television career with ESPN, said Saturday after qualifying he intends to “race some” next year. Jarrett, who said he will remain with Michael Waltrip Racing, said he will reveal his plans on Thursday and a formal announcement is expected Friday. “I made my decision, [and] I’ll tell you the rest Thursday before qualifying [at Lowe’s Motor Speedway],” Jarrett said. “Can you hang on for five days? I don’t think it’s anything that will change the world or anything.” Waltrip, pole-sitter for Sunday’s UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, is the owner of the three-car team but said he could not offer more regarding Jarrett’s decision. “We’ll just have to see,” Waltrip said. “I want him to do whatever he wants. He’s a legend, he’s a champion. I want him to be happy, so whatever it takes to do that. I know we’ve got something scheduled Friday, [but] we don’t know all we’re going to say yet. I know I own [the team], but I don’t know anything to tell you right now.” Meanwhile, in related Michael Waltrip Racing news, driver David Reutimann said he anticipates having his contract worked out within the next few days. “I think we’re all in a pretty good place right now,” Reutimann said. “We still have some things to work out, some I’s to dot and t’s to cross, but hopefully we’ll have something in the next couple days.”(ESPN.com)(10-7-2007)
    UPDATE 2: #44-Dale Jarrett is leaning toward running just six races next year before stepping out of his car after 23 seasons. Jarrett has been mulling his future for several months and does not plan to drive the car past the March 30 event at Martinsville, according to a person familiar with the 2008 plans at Michael Waltrip Racing told The Associated Press. The person requested anonymity because portions of the deal are still being finalized. Jarrett, the 1999 Cup champion, has a past champion’s provisional that can be used six times to ensure him a spot in the field. That will take him up to Martinsville, where he made his first career start in 1984. MWR officials are hopeful Jarrett can use those six events to get the #44 Toyota inside the top 35 in points. The top 35 cars are locked into the field, and MWR’s three cars have all been outside the cutoff this season and have struggled to make races. The team currently hopes to replace Jarrett with David Reutimann, who drives the #00 and would pilot it while Jarrett closes out his career. MWR wants to continue racing the #00 after the switch, but the driver [David Stremme is rumored] and sponsor are still being ironed out. Jarrett is expected to ease into the broadcast booth upon retirement. He’s done some work for ESPN this season and has thrived in the booth, but stressed that future opportunities did not play into his decision.(Associated Press)(10-7-2007)
  • Winners in 2007 17 drivers have won a Nextel Cup race in 2007, three drivers who won in 2006, have not won in 2007 and have five races to keep a streak going…#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr.[last win Richmond in May 2006], #9-Kasey Kahne [last win Charlotte in Oct 2006] and #83-Brian Vickers [Talladega in Oct 2006].(10-7-2007)
  • Gilmore falls ill, hospitalized, released UPDATE: SPEED qualifying coverage reported that DEI’s VP of Competition Richie Gilmore, was taken to a Birmingham, AL hospital for a possible stroke, but was later diagnosed as an aneurysm. Gilmore was released and is headed in NC.(SPEED qualifying coverage)(10-6-2007)
    UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt, Inc. vice president Richie Gilmore has been treated and released from a Birmingham, Ala. hospital after suffering what has been diagnosed as a minor aneurysm. Gilmore suffered stroke-like symptoms on Friday and was taken to Birmingham for evaluation. He is currently back home in Mooresville, NC. “I spoke with both Richie and his wife Lisa on a couple of different occasions today and Richie is doing well,” said Max Siegel, president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. “He was released today from the hospital and he’s back home getting some rest. He will undergo further evaluation and precautionary testing next week.”(DEI PR)(10-7-2007)
  • Carpentier to the #10 in 2008? Patrick Carpentier could be the next open-wheel driver to make the move to the Nextel Cup Series. Ray Evernham, the minority owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, said the Canadian-born Carpentier is a candidate to replace Scott Riggs in the #10 car next season. “That’s going to be up to [George] Gillett,” Evernham said of GEM’s majority owner. “I know he’s one of the people being considered. They’ll make that decision.” Gillett has said Carpentier, who replaced Riggs at the Watkins Glen road course earlier this year, could drive in at least one Cup race during the championship chase. Evernham added that he will have three full-time Cup teams and possibly two full-time Busch teams in 2008, and that his goal of becoming a four-car team likely won’t happen until 2009.(ESPN.com)(10-7-2007)
  • Gordon 6th to sweep ‘Dega: #24-Jeff Gordon is the sixth driver to sweep both races at Talladega in the same season. Other drivers with the Talladega double are Pete Hamilton in 1970, Buddy Baker in 1975, Darrell Waltrip in 1982, Dale Earnhardt in 1990 and 1999, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2002.(10-7-2007)
  • Jeff Gordon wins Talladega last lap pass: #24-Jeff Gordon won the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in a four lap shootout and last lap pass to win his 5th race of the season, 6th win at Talladega, 12th restrictor plate win [most all time] and 80th career win [6th all-time, 3 behind Cale Yarborough]. Gordon spent most of the day hanging around the rear of the field all day with teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson, Gordon was 34th at lap 100; 36th at 120; 36th at 140; 17th at 160; 9th at 180 and won. Johnson was 32nd at lap 100; 31st at 120; 31st at 140; 25th at 160; 15th at 180 and finished 2nd. Johnson finished 2nd, followed by #22-Blaney [best of season, ties career best at Darlington in March 2003], #11-Hamlin, #12-Newman, #25-Mears, #2-Busch, #20-Stewart, #96-Raines [1st top 10 of season, 3rd of career] and #41-Sorenson.
    Inspection: #41-Sorenson’s car was found to be too low in the front and the car will be evaluated bt NASCAR with any penalties to be announced Tuesday.
    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 notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-7-2007)
  • Chasers: where did the 12 Chasers finish at Talladega?
    #24-Gordon won
    #48-Johnson 2nd
    #2-Busch 7th
    #20-Stewart 8th
    #07-Bowyer 11th
    #99-Edwards 14th
    #29-Harvick 20th
    #17-Kenseth 26th
    #5-Busch 36th
    #1-Truex Jr. 42nd
    #31-Burton 43rd
  • The Chase Standings [after Talladega, race 30]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 5690
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5681,-9
    3) #07-Clint Bowyer 5627, -63
    4) #20-Tony Stewart 5536, -154
    5) #29-Kevin Harvick 5488, -202
    6) #99-Carl Edwards 5485, -205
    7) #2-Kurt Busch 5475, -215
    8) #5-Kyle Busch 5430, -260
    9) #11-Denny Hamlin 5428, -262
    10) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 5390, -300
    11) #17-Matt Kenseth 5372, -318
    12) #31-Jeff Burton 5354, -336
    Full Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega page.(10-7-2007)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after Talladega [30 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 4499
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4060, -439
    3) #20-Tony Stewart 4043, -456
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin 3908, -591
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 33837, -662
    6) #07-Clint Bowyer 3806, -693
    7) #17-Matt Kenseth 3792, -707
    8) #5-Kyle Busch 3722, -777
    9) #31-Jeff Burton 3672, -827
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 3633, -866
    11) #2-Kurt Busch 3615, -884
    12) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 3540, -959
    13) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3421, -1078
    14) #12-Ryan Newman 3306, -1193
    15) #25-Casey Mears 3305, -1194
    16) #16-Greg Biffle 3303, -1196
  • Rumblings – Talladega Race Notes: Jeff Gordon played possum most of the race and led exactly one lap today at Talladega Superspeedway (the last one) and won the UAW-Ford 500 in yet another wild ‘Dega finish…..he bested his teammate Jimmie Johnson by .066 seconds. Gordon completed the sweep (he won here in April) to take his 12th plate win (that’s the tops), his 5th of 2007, and the 80th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s 6th all-time). This was win #13 for Hendrick Motorsports this season and #162 in their history. It was worth $246,036 from the over $5.3M in posted awards. We didn’t see the “Big One” till lap 146 today….and it was a 11 car job! We’ll see some scrambling in the RCR/DEI engine program after today. No less than 5 motor problems amongst the 7 cars, and one car may have wrecked before they had a chance to blow (the #15 of Paul Menard). A passel of empty seats again today, but they tell us the estimated crowd was 155,000. Go figure…. 22 leaders….42 lead changes. Typical ‘Dega in any car!
    Dave Blaney (3rd) tied his career-best finish today. He was also 3rd at Darlington in March of 2003. His Top-5 moves us up to 31 drivers at that mark….you’ve got to go back to 2004 for the last time we had that many.
    Denny Hamlin (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Watkins Glen in August.
    Ryan Newman (5th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Pocono in June.
    Tony Raines (9th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October. His Top-10 gives us 41 drivers at that mark this season….the last time we had more was 43 in 2005.
    Jeff Green (13th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Loudon in June.
    Aric Almirola (30th) has his career-best finish today. His previous best was 31st at California in September.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Kurt Busch (+34), followed by Jeff Gordon (+33), Johnny Sauter (+27), and Casey Mears (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-36), followed by Martin Truex Jr (-29), Joe Nemechek (-28 ), Bobby Labonte (-27), John Andretti (-25), and Jeff Burton (-22).
    Jeff Gordon takes the lead over Jimmie Johnson in the Chase by nine markers. Some of those “Magic Numbers” are encroaching on double digits.
    In “Classic” points, Ryan Newman (16th to 14th) and Greg Biffle (14th to 16th) switched places.
    See full report at Stock Car Fans.(10-7-2007)
  • Talladega Superspeedway – Fast Facts:
    .. Jeff Gordon won the UAW-Ford 500, his 80th victory in 503 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    .. This is his fifth victory and 24th top-10 finish in 2007.
    .. This is his sixth victory and 16th top-10 finish in 30 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
    .. Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 12 races at Talladega. It is his 19th top 10 of the 2007 season.
    .. Dave Blaney (third) posted his first top-10 finish in 14 races at Talladega and tied his career-best set at Darlington in March 2003.
    .. Juan Pablo Montoya (15th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Jeff Gordon retook the lead in the Chase for the Nextel Cup and is now nine points ahead of teammate Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-7-2007)
  • Sad News – Bob Burdick: Bob Burdick, perhaps Nebraska’s most storied and successful race car driver, died Thursday. He was 70 years old. Burdick won the 1961 Atlanta 500 in the Grand National Race, the equivalent of today’s Nextel Cup. It was considered a big upset on the national stage as Burdick drove the car of his father, Roy, besting a 46-car field on used tires. Burdick took home a check for $15,775 that day 46 years ago. It is still the only win for a Nebraska driver on NASCAR’s top circuit. He would compete in 15 races from 1959 through 1962, winning the race in Atlanta and finishing in the top 10 nine times, earning a pair of poles along the way. His career earnings were just shy of $30,000. “That’s all he liked to do,” Bud Burdick, Bob’s uncle and racing partner, said Friday evening. “Racing was it.” Bob Burdick won 40 features in three years on the IMCA stock car circuit. The Burdicks would run two more NASCAR races in 1962 before ending their days on the circuit. Visitation will begin Sunday at 3:30 p.m. with a vigil service scheduled for 5 p.m. at St. John Vianney Catholic Church on 58th and Oak Hills Drive. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. on Monday at St. John Vianney.(Omaha World-Herald)(10-7-2007)
  • Stewart 2nd’s at Talladega: #20-Tony Stewart has finished second six times but never won a Cup race at Talladega, tying Bobby Allison at Martinsville and Mark Martin at Pocono for NASCAR’s near-miss record.(10-7-2007)
  • NASCAR to watch bump drafting Sunday: Nextel Cup Series director John Darby said bump drafting will be monitored more closely than ever at Talladega Superspeedway where the technique is used to gain ground in the draft. “Describing the what and how we police there won’t be any change in the rule,” Darby said before Saturday’s qualifying. “But there obviously will be more attention paid to it. There may be more emphasis in the driver’s meeting about backing off of it and we’ll be a little more observant in the control tower.” Because the back and front bumper of the COTs match up more evenly than the former cars it’s easier for drivers to bump draft, particularly in no-bump zones that are in the turns and tri-oval, without spinning out the car ahead of them. Tony Eury Jr., the crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., said NASCAR could play a big role in determining the championship Chase if it properly enforces bump drafting. “It will be interesting to see how deep they want to get into that,” he said. “They could make a call that could decide how the championship comes out. Everybody out here will be doing it at some point of the other. It’s just going to be who do they get on first.” The penalty for excessive bump drafting could range from being held a lap on pit road to being parked. Either would be costly to a Chase contender. “It depends on the situation,” Darby said.(ESPN.com)(10-6-2007)
  • No plate changes planned at Talladega: NASCAR officials don’t anticipate a last-minute change in the size of the restrictor plate hole before Saturday’s qualifying or Sunday’s Cup race [at Talladega Superspeedway]. Tony Stewart topped both practices, registering a speed of 194.959mph in the first session and 194.054mph in the second. Officials said that was well within the range to keep racing safe.(ESPN.com)(10-6-2007)
  • Talladega COT rules: Sunday’s UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway marks the big track debut of the Car of Tomorrow, the first time it’s run on a superspeedway. The COT is taller and has more drag than the old-style spoiler car, which means NASCAR car run a larger restrictor-plate this weekend. Teams will begin the weekend using a 31/32-inch restrictor plate – the same size they tested with last month. They ran 7/8 (28/32) inch plates the last time they raced at Talladega in May. The bigger plate is expected to add 75-80 horsepower, NASCAR said. Should the cars prove too fast during practice, NASCAR has the option of installing smaller plates for the race. NASCAR also has mandated a minimum rear wing angle of 10 degrees. NASCAR will supply the wings at the track, as it has done in all previous COT races. NASCAR also will issue the teams end plates at the track, which has not been done before. Other changes include a taller wicker on the rear wing (one inch compared with 3/16 inch in the past), which will help add drag to the car. And for the first time, there will be a mandated gear rule.(SPEEDtv.com)(10-4-2007)

    News from October 6, 2007

  • Waltrip wins pole at Talladega: #55-Michael Waltrip won the Budweiser Pole for the UAW-Ford at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 189.070mph for his 1st pole of 2007, first since Pocono in June 2005, the 4th of his career and 2nd ever for Toyoya. #22-Blaney qualified second with the rest of the top-10 quite different from the norm: #83-Vickers, #78-Nemechek, #00-Reutimann, #27-Jacques Villeneuve [Cup debut], #49-Andretti, #43-Labonte, #9-Kahne and #19-Sadler. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #55-Waltrip, #22-Blaney, #83-Vickers, #78-Nemechek, #00-Reutimann, #27-Villeneuve, #49-Andretti and #44-Jarrett [who qualified 8th but will start 43rd as the top 7 non-top 35 start where they qualified and 8th starts 43rd unless an eligible past champ needs the spot]
    NOTE: #2-Kurt Busch and #6-David Ragan failed postrace inspection for being too low in the front. Their times will be disallowed, forcing them to start at the rear Sunday.
    See qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on the Talladega Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results Page.(10-6-2007)
  • Eight do not qualify [DNQ] for the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway: #84-Allmendinger [was 9th fastest] [29 team attempts/48th in OWNERS pts], #60-Said [5/50]; #10-Riggs [29/37]; #06-Horish [2/57]; #36-Mayfield [29/45]; 09-Marlin [4/56]; #4-Burton [28/43]; #and 37-Lepage [27/49].(10-6-2007)
  • Budweiser Poles eight drivers scored a pole in 2006 do not have a pole in 2007 with six races to go: #83-Vickers, #5-Busch, #19-Sadler, #10-Riggs, #29-Harvick, #31-Burton, #16-Biffle and #60-Said.(10-6-2007)
  • Ramblings – Talladea Qualifying Notes: Michael Waltrip toured the 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeeday this afternoon in 50.648 sec (189.070 mph) to take the Bud Pole for tomorrow’s UAW-Ford 500. The top 11 cars were all in the go-or-go-home category, but 9/10/11 won’t be seen tomorrow. This was Waltrip’s first pole of the season and 4th of his Nextel Cup career, and qualifies him for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona (or whatever they’ll call it if they change the name). He’s the 15th different driver to win a Bud Pole this season. Dave Blaney will join Mikey on the front row. This is his best starting spot since he had the pole at Loudon in June.
    Brian Vickers (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Texas last November. Toyota’s start 1-2-3 this week.
    Joe Nemechek (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Texas in November of 2005!
    David Reutimann (5th) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best was 12th at Michigan in August.
    Welcome, Jacques Villeneuve (6th). He makes his first career Nextel Cup start this weekend for Bill Davis.
    John Andretti (7th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 5th at Pocono in July of 2003!
    Kyle Petty (12th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 8th at Bristol last August.
    Tony Raines (14th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 11th at the Brickyard in August.
    Mike Wallace (15th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 15th at Kansas in October of 2005.
    J. J. Yeley (17th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 17th at Daytona in July.
    STREAKIN….An empty category this week….no surprise there!(Stock Car Fans)(10-7-2007)
  • Talladega Qualifying Fast Facts
    .. Michael Waltrip won the Bud Pole for the UAW-Ford 500 with a lap of 50.648 seconds, 189.070 mph.
    .. This is his fourth Bud Pole in 686 career Nextel Cup races.
    .. This is his first Bud Pole and first top-10 start 11 races in 2007.
    .. This is Waltrip’s first Bud Pole and 11th top-10 start in 43 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
    .. Dave Blaney posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 50.838 seconds, 188.838 mph. He posted his second top-10 start in 14 races at Talladega and his seventh top-10 start in 27 races in 2007.
    .. Brian Vickers (third) posted his second top-10 start in seven Talladega races. It is his second top-10 start in 19 races this season.
    .. Jacques Villeneuve (sixth) qualified for his career-first Nextel Cup race.
    .. Waltrip was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
    .. David Reutimann (fifth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-6-2007)
  • Rudd expects to be back at Charlotte: Ricky Rudd, who has missed the last four races and is on the sidelines again this week, said Friday he hopes to be back in Robert Yates Racing’s #88 Ford at Lowe’s Motor Speedway next weekend. Rudd separated his left shoulder in a grinding crash at California Speedway on Sept. 2. “It’s getting better,” Rudd said. “I’ve got a few weak areas I’m working on with therapy, trying to get some strength back. “I’d hate to sit here and say, ‘Yeah, 100 percent, I’ll back at Charlotte.’ But I’ll be real disappointed if I don’t make it back at Charlotte, I’ll put it that way.” Rudd would still need approval from NASCAR to return to action. “The biggest thing is somewhere along the way, I’ve got to get a release,” Rudd said. “I’ve got to go back to the doctor. I’ve pretty much been in the hands of one of the sports medicine trainers. That’s who I go see, about an hour-and-a-half every day. “The workouts get long and longer, so I’ll probably know about 12:30 on Monday what’s going to happen for Charlotte.” Rudd said he had no strength in his left arm after the crash and couldn’t drive a street car. He said the arm has probably 60-70% of its strength back. Following the Charlotte race, the Nextel Cup Series moves to the tough Martinsville short track, a Rudd favorite. But he isn’t sure if he’ll be ready for Martinsville.(SceneDaily.com)(10-6-2007)
  • Franchitti finishes 17th in ARCA race; Speed 7th: It took Dario Franchitti less than a straightaway to know he was in foreign territory Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. The reigning IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner saw the green flag wave for the start of Friday’s ARCA RE/MAX 250, his stock car debut, and immediately ran out of room on the highbanked 2.66-mile oval. “You can’t pass on the left in this kind of racing like you can in IndyCar and people checked up in front of me on the start and I had nowhere to go,” Franchitti said, grinning. “That was my first learning experience and it continued all day.” The 34-year-old Scot, driving his first race for new employer Chip Ganassi, managed to stay out of trouble throughout the 94-lap event and wound up 17th. “It was a lot of fun out there,” he said. “I’m disappointed with the result. But what I’ve learned, I don’t think you can put a price on it. I learned so much today. I’m looking at the long game, I’m looking at next year.” The Scot, who signed a multiyear contract Wednesday to replace David Stremme in Ganassi’s #40 Cup entry [in 2008], had never even sat in a stock car until earlier this week. Franchitti was outshone on Friday by another open-wheel refugee, Scott Speed, who finished seventh in his first stock car start. Speed, the only American in Formula One before being let go earlier this season by the Scuderia Toro Rossa team, qualified seventh, got as high as third and was never out of the top 15. The race was won by Bill Davis Racing rookie Michael Annett, who dominated, leading 75 laps on the way to giving Toyota its first ARCA win in his first superspeedway race. Frank Kimmel finished second, all but locking up his ninth series title with one race remaining. Points runner-up Michael McDowell, another rookie, was caught up in a five-car cash and finished 32nd.(ESPN.com/AP)(10-6-2007)
  • SPEED goes High-Def in 2008: SPEED will make its move to High Definition in 2008, beginning Feb. 7 with 100 hours of NASCAR on SPEED HD from Daytona Speedweeks. Topping the 70-million U.S. household mark and coming off four consecutive years of ratings growth in 2007, the move to High Definition is the next step in the evolution of a network that has added more than 30 million homes since being fully acquired by Fox Cable Networks in 2001. In addition to its season-long, at-track coverage of NASCAR, with programs including NASCAR RaceDay, Trackside, NASCAR Victory Lane, Tradin’ Paint, NASCAR Live!, NASCAR Performance and Go or Go Home, SPEED also will explore opportunities to bring other racing series and special events to viewers in HD in 2008. In a move that began earlier this summer, SPEED programming is now commissioned in true 16:9 HD. In addition to the bold moves on the television side, SPEED’s interactive division will raise the bar as well, with a re-launch of a completely re-tooled SPEEDtv.com slated for early February. The new site will feature dramatic across the board improvements in depth and timeliness of motor sports news and information, delivered through a new wide-screen format that is optimized for easy navigation, interactivity with mobile and other applications, social networking and customization. Registered SPEED Insiders (www.insider.speedtv.com) will get a sneak peek at the new SPEEDtv.com in early in January.(SPEED PR)(10-6-2007)

    News from October 5, 2007

  • Scott Speed to run ARCA in 2008, maybe some NASCAR: Team Red Bull formally announced an agreement with former Formula 1 Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Scott Speed to race the #2 Red Bull Toyota Camry with Eddie Sharp Racing for the 2008 ARCA Re/MAX Series Season. Patrick Donahue will serve as crew chief for the rookie driver as he begins his ascent into stock car racing. Red Bull may consider occasional opportunities for Speed in NASCAR as the 2008 season progresses. Speed’s connection with Red Bull dates back to 2002, when Speed won the Red Bull Driver Search, a program aimed at putting an American talent into Formula One. With Red Bull backing, Speed raced his way through the European ranks and into a full-time seat in 2006 at Red Bull Racing’s sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, before mutually parting ways in 2007.(Red Bull Racing PR), Speed starts 7th in Friday’s ARCA race at Talladega.(10-5-2007)
  • Villeneuve’s rides to promote UNICEF at Talladega: This week’s truck race will be Jacques Villeneuve’s second, having debuted in Las Vegas on the weekend of September 22. As was the case when he debuted in Las Vegas, Villeneuve has never driven a truck at Talladega. Villeneuve will debut title sponsorship from the United Nations’ UNICEF children’s charity on both his # 27 truck and Cup car. As part of the relationship, visitors to the UNICEF.org website will be asked to donate $27 to charitable causes as part of an initiative called ‘Going the extra mile’.(Bill Davis Racing PR), see an image of the car at the UNICEF site of my #27 Team Schemes page.(10-5-2007)
  • Crew Chief change at the #88? UPDATE: hearing Butch Hylton and Robert Yates Racing have parted ways, hearing RYR Busch team crew chief, Cully Barraclough, could be the new crew chief of the #88 for Mike Wallace [at Talladega], no word where Hylton may go.(10-2-2007)
    UPDATE: Charles “Cully” Barraclough will serve as crew chief for Mike Wallace this weekend in the #88 Robert Yates Racing Ford, according to an updated NASCAR entry list. Barraclough has been serving as crew chief for RYR’s Stephen Leicht in the Busch Series. He is replacing Butch Hylton, who parted ways with the team earlier this week.(SceneDaily.com)(10-5-2007)
  • Sad News: Mary L. Paskiecz, sister of #72 Busch team spotter, Chicago Paskiecz, passed away Thursday after battling cancer. Mary is survived by four children.(10-5-2007)
  • Congrats: Richmond International Raceway’s extended family grew a little larger Thursday. Jillian Margaret Turner-daughter of the track’s Director of Public Relations, Aimee Turner, and her husband, Matthew Turner-entered into the world October 4, 2007, at 11:36 a.m. Jillian tips the scales at 6 lbs., 12 oz. and stretches 18-1/2 inches. Jillian is the Turners’ first child.(RIR PR)(10-5-2007)
  • Talladega Goodyear Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought these two tire codes (left-side: D-4082; right-side: D-4084) to the track . . . the change from the spring race at Talladega (April 29) came mostly as a result of NASCAR deciding to run the “Car of Tomorrow” at the superspeedway this time around . . . also because of that, Nextel Cup teams will be running different tire codes than Craftsman Truck teams this weekend . . . this is the only race remaining on the 2007 Nextel Cup schedule at which Nextel Cup teams will run this tire setup . .. as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner 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.(Goodyear PR), see full report, pressures and more on my Talladega Race Info page.(10-5-2007)
  • Talladega Rookie Notes: #6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the September 30 LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway. Ragan scored a 16th-place finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 13th time this season, including four of the last five races. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads Ragan by 14 points (223-209) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 7 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya is 20th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 46 points ahead of 21st-place Ragan. Ragan was the top Raybestos Rookie in the April race at Talladega, scoring a 17th-place finish. The only Raybestos Rookie to win the fall race at Talladega is Ron Bouchard. Bouchard won the 1981 Talladega 500 by inches over Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte in a photo finish. Two Raybestos Rookies have won the pole for the UAW Ford 500 twice since 1975: Geoffrey Bodine (1982) and Jimmie Johnson (2003).(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see rookie history, standings and more on my 2007 Rookie Page.(10-5-2007)
  • Earnhardt’s Team Collects Pit Crew Win at Kansas: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #8 crew collected the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway. It was the third win of the season for Earnhard’t over-the-wall crew. On its way to a 10th-place finish, the Budweiser crew spent 230.576 seconds on pit road during the rain-shortened 210-lap event. The win moves Earnhardt’s crew to a tie with Denny Hamlin’s #11 team for second place in the season long standings. Mark Martin’s #01 crew and Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew are currently tied for the lead with four wins each. Checkers/Rally’s will present the Dale Earnhardt Inc. team with an $11,000 check for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the over-the-wall crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #8 crew consists of: Brian “Hootie” Chase (jackman), Shawn Ward (front-tire carrier), D.J. Copp (front-tire changer), Erik Wakeland (rear-tire carrier), Greg Burkhart (rear-tire changer), Jeff Clark (gasman), Craig Lund (catch can) and Jay Guarneri (windshield). The team’s pit crew coordinator is Walt Smith. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $319,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(10-5-2007)
  • Talladega inspection process goes smoothly: Unlike other Car of Tomorrow races, NASCAR passed out mandated side plates and wickers for Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. Those were the only two major areas on the car in the past where crew chiefs could make adjustments to affect air flow. So instead of being able to choose between a curved or flat side plate, teams were mandated flat ones. Side plates and wickers aside, the inspection process at Talladega went off without a hitch. About half the field, including the top 12 teams competing for the championship, passed with only a few having to make minor adjustments to be legal. The rest of the field will be inspected before Friday morning’s first practice. “It’s been pretty routine,” series director John Darby said. NASCAR’s biggest concern before Sunday now is the size of the restrictor plate hole. It is larger than the hole teams used during the spring race, creating 75 to 80% more horsepower. But many believe the governing body will reduce the size after Friday’s two practices to lower speeds. Darby said the difference could be as minor as a 64th of an inch, about the thickness of a matchbox cover.(ESPN.com)(10-5-2007)
  • Hamlin parked in 1st Talladega practice: NASCAR cracked down on bump-drafting in the first Nextel Cup practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, and #11-Denny Hamlin was the first culprit. Hamlin was parked late in the session, though he said his Joe Gibbs Racing was finished in that practice anyway. “They made a general warning right at the beginning to everyone to stop using the front bumpers, and after that I got hit probably 20 to 30 times,” Hamlin said. “So I figured I’d just keep doing what I was doing. Right there at the end, I guess I was a little excessive.” Hamlin was curious as to why he and Gibbs teammates Tony Stewart and J.J. Yeley were singled out. “They said Gibbs cars in specific, they had an eye out on,” Hamlin said. “I wonder what makes us different than anyone else, other than we were the first three cars in line. We were working well together, and when I say working well together, we were pushing each other well. But they said they didn’t want any contact, and we broke that rule. So we’re going sit have to sit out for a while.” NASCAR officials said they parked Hamlin for refusing to heed a NASCAR directive. “Our concern is whenever you’ve got restrictor-plate racing and cars as closely matched as they are, you’re always going to have occasions of front bumpers being in contact with rear bumpers. It’s a product of the draft,” NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said. “That being said, there’s also a point where it’s forced aggressiveness and that’s what we don’t want to have happen.” Darby said Hamlin wasn’t the only driver who was warned, but he was the most aggressive. Hamlin said his #11 team would not participate in Friday’s second [Happy Hour and final] practice.(SceneDaily.com)(10-5-2007)
  • Franchitti qualifies 6th of ARCA race, Speed 7th: Dario Franchitti, in his first official day in a stock car, qualified sixth Thursday for the ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. The reigning IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner, who this week signed a multiyear contract to drive in NASCAR for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will make his race debut Friday. The pole went to Bryan Clausen, a developmental driver for Ganassi, at 184.840. Scott Speed, another open-wheel driver making the move to stock cars, was right behind Franchitti in seventh at 183.480.(ESPN.com/AP), both Franchitti and pole winner Clausen changed engines and will start from the rear. SPEED will air the race 5:00pm/et.(10-5-2007)

    News from October 4, 2007

  • Nemechek to the #78 in 2008: Barney Visser, owner of Denver-based #78 Furniture Row Racing, said he and driver Joe Nemechek have agreed in principle to a contract for next season. Visser also said his team has stopped producing its own engines and has been powered by Hendrick Motorsports motors since Nemechek came aboard.CQ Hendrick will provide Visser with all his engines next year, he said.(Denver Post)(10-4-2007)
  • Valvoline Evernham Racing and Scott Riggs Will Part Ways in 2008: Valvoline Evernham Racing and Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced Wednesday that driver Scott Riggs will not be back in the #10 Dodge for the 2008 season. Over the past two seasons the successful partnership between Riggs and Valvoline Evernham Racing has grown Gillett Evernham Motorsports into a three car operation. Together Riggs and Valvoline Evernham Racing have claimed three Nextel Cup Series poles, including a win and a pole in the Nextel Open, nine top 10s, and a finish of 20th in owners points last season. Plans for a replacement driver have not yet been made. “Scott Riggs has represented Valvoline Evernham Racing well over the past two seasons through his talent behind the wheel and his down to earth personality off the track,” said Jim Rocco, Team Owner of Valvoline Evernham Racing. “Thanks to his efforts, the #10 team has accomplished a great deal since starting out as a new team last season. We wish Scott success in the future and know he will be an asset to his new team.”(GEM PR), rumored drivers to the #10 include David Stremme and Patrick Carpentier.(10-4-2007)
  • Miller Lite to honor military vets: Miller Lite will be launching an engaging statewide promotional campaign around the upcoming Nov. 4 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The campaign will recognize, celebrate, honor and reward military veterans, both past and present, for their commitment to serving our country. Miller Lite has teamed with Operation Homefrontto support Texas troops and their families. Miller Lite will donate financial support to the cause and consumers will have the opportunity to visit a special web site and vote how to apply Miller Lite’s contribution. Consumers will also be able to make a donation on their own through the site. Stay tuned for additional details forthcoming in the next few weeks.(TRPR)(10-4-2007)
  • Irwin Vice Grip scheme for McMurray: This weekend at Talladega, Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 IRWIN Vise-Grip Ford Fusion. The IRWIN paint scheme has the same blue and yellow look, but with a large pair of locking pliers on the door of the #26 Ford Fusion.(Roush Racing PR)(10-4-2007)
  • Pillsbury scheme for Labonte: This weekend #43-Bobby Labonte heads to Talladega Superspeedway with the Pillsbury brand on the hood and sides of the famed #43 Dodge.(Petty Racing PR)(10-4-2007)
  • Camping World again on the #7: Camping World makes its fourth appearance on Robby Gordon’s #7 Ford Fusion this weekend, last seen at Kansas Speedway last weekend. Jim Beam, Menards, Mapei and Barlovento, LLC will all serve as associates. Chris Tompkins, rear tire changer for the #7, will wear a helmet camera during the race for ABC.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR)(10-4-2007)
  • Toyota Celebrates 50th Anniversary in America: This October, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. is celebrating its 50th year of doing business in the United States. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., was formed October 31, 1957, establishing its headquarters in a former Rambler dealership in Hollywood, Calif. Sales began in 1958 and totaled a modest 288 vehicles that first year — 287 Toyopet Crown sedans and one Land Cruiser. Today, Toyota produces nine vehicles in the United States, including the Avalon, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, Sienna, Solara, Sequoia, Tacoma and the Tundra. Toyota operates 10 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and builds approximately half the vehicles it sells here. Recently, Toyota announced it will build its 11th U.S. vehicle assembly plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi. In nine of the past 10 years, the Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in America. Assembled at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant, more than six million Camry models have been sold in the United States since its debut more than 20 years ago. Highlights from Toyota’s NASCAR activities include the 2003 Dash Series driver’s title (Robert Huffman) and the 2006 manufacturer’s and driver’s championships (Todd Bodine) in the Craftsman Truck Series, as well as a Busch Series victory (Jason Leffler) at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis earlier this year. Brian Vickers fifth-place finish at Charlotte’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been the best result by the Toyota Camry in the Nextel Cup Series this season. For more information on the 50th anniversary of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., visit www.toyota50th.com.(Toyota PR)(10-4-2007)
  • Latest news on Three Sixty Inc./360 OTC: Morgan-McClure Motorsports is one of two auto racing companies suing an Athens firm that markets a hangover relief pill for failing to live up to sponsorship agreements. The suits allege breach of contract and fraud against Three Sixty Inc., which distributes over-the-counter hangover relief medicine 360 OTC. Other defendants in the suits are Three Sixty’s subsidiary Rockford-Montgomery Labs Inc., Rockford-Montgomery company officers Michele Shearer and Mark De Mattei and Air, Sea and Ground Inc. an advertising agency run by De Mattei. The lawsuits are just part of the trouble for the apparently beleaguered company. See the full story [and past news] on the #36 Team News and Links page or at the Athens Banner-Herald)(10-4-2007)

    News from October 3, 2007

  • Franchitti to Join Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Drive #40 Dodge Avenger: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced reigning Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Champion Dario Franchitti has signed a multi-year deal with the organization to compete in the Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) beginning in 2008. Franchitti will become the first European driver in the 59-year history of NASCAR to join the series full time when he assumes the driving duties of #40 Dodge Avenger next season. “Any time you can sign a driver of Dario’s caliber you have to be thrilled,” said Team Owner Chip Ganassi, who now fields cars for three former Indianapolis 500 winners (Juan Pablo Montoya-2000, NNCS; Dan Wheldon-2005, IndyCar; and Franchitti-2007). “Dario is a world-class driver. He is a proven winner, an Indianapolis 500 champion and an accomplished individual that will be a super teammate to both Juan Pablo and Reed.”
    Franchitti will immediately begin a stock car development program similar to the one CGRFS teammate Montoya engaged in just over a season ago when he attempts to qualify a CGRFS-prepared #42 Target Dodge in Friday’s ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway. Franchitti will pilot the #40 Dodge Avenger next season while running for the Sprint Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year title along with an assortment of Busch Series races.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-3-2007)
  • M&M’s to sponsor #18 car and Kyle Busch in 2008: Mars U.S. announced a three-year partnership with M&M’S Brand Chocolate Candies as the sponsor of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) team and driver Kyle Busch in the Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2008. “I can’t wait to climb behind the wheel of the M&M’S car next season,” Busch said. “M&M’S Racing has been a fan favorite for years in the sport and it’s an honor to drive for one of the most recognized brands in the world. My focus is to win, and I know that everyone at Mars shares that vision as well. I want to thank the associates at Mars U.S. for this opportunity and look forward to a winning relationship.” During the 2008 season, Mars U.S. brands will serve as the primary sponsor of JGR’s #18 Sprint Cup Series team for a total of 30 point races. Mars will feature the popular M&M’S Brand colors beginning with the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17. Snickers and Pedigree also will serve as primary brand sponsors for several races. Additionally, Combos, Twix, Skittles, Starburst and Milkey Way brands will provide support as associate sponsors. Interstate Batteries will serve as a primary sponsor of the #18 Sprint Cup team for six point races. The 2008 season will mark the 15th year for Mars U.S. as a primary sponsor in NASCAR’s premier racing division. The famous candy maker joined the series in 1990, running its first three seasons under the Snickers Brand moniker. After serving as an associate sponsor for four seasons, the company returned with the Skittles Brand colors in 1997 before transitioning to M&M’S Brand Chocolate Candies in 1999.(Joe Gibbs Racing site), see images of the car on the 2008 #18 Team Schemes page.(10-3-2007)
  • NASCAR Nationwide Series Begins with the 2008 season: NASCAR announced that Nationwide Insurance will become title sponsor of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, replacing Anheuser-Busch’s Busch brand at the start of the 2008 season. Nationwide Insurance will also become the official auto, home and life insurance provider of NASCAR. The seven-year agreement gives Nationwide Insurance the exclusive rights to tie its brand to the most popular form of motorsports in the U.S.(NASCAR PR), read all the details on the Busch Site.(10-3-2007)
  • Green out of the #66? Riggs in for 2008? UPDATE 2 Riggs signed by Haas CNC: It looks like Scott Riggs will be next in line to take over the #66 Chevy at Haas CNC Racing. The team and Riggs are in serious discussion and the speculation is that the announcement may happen ‘within days’. Riggs future with Gillett Evernham was on shaky ground to begin with, but with the appearance of Canadian Patrick Carpentier to take over the #10 for next year, Riggs future at Gillett Evernham was doomed.(Cup Scene Daily)(9-27-2007)
    UPDATE: Scott Riggs has signed a contract with Haas/CNC Racing to drive one of the team’s two Chevrolets in 2008, sources close to the team confirmed to ESPN.com Tuesday. The team is expected to issue a statement Wednesday. It is unknown whether Riggs will pilot Haas/CNC’s #66 or #70 or who will back the team financially. Sources said current drivers Jeff Green and Johnny Sauter will be evaluated throughout the remainder of the 2007 season and a decision as to whom Riggs will replace will be made at the end of the year. There has been some speculation that ousted Chip Ganassi Racing driver David Stremme is a candidate for the other Haas/CNC Chevy.(ESPN.com)(10-3-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Haas CNC Racing announced today that the team has signed Scott Riggs for the 2008 Sprint Cup season. The car Riggs will drive next season (#66 or #70) will be determined at a later date. “We’re very happy to welcome Scott Riggs to Haas CNC Racing,” team general manager Joe Custer said. “It’s exciting for us to land a driver with Scott’s leadership experience and great attitude. We’re confident in our equipment, so from a competition standpoint one of Matt’s (Director of Competition Matt Borland) challenges is to find the right personnel combinations to get the most out of it,” Custer said. ” We believe Scott has the ability to get every bit of speed a car can offer. That’s very important to us.”(Haas CNC Racing PR) (10-3-2007)
  • Overnight Kansas TV ratings drop UPDATE: ABC earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 2.8 for the 2 to 6 p.m. portion of Sunday’s LifeLock 400 Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 17.6% lower than the 3.4 NBC earned when it aired the Kansas race in 2006. Because of the rain delays in Sunday’s race, ABC shifted coverage to its ESPN2 channel, where it earned a 2.1, according to the Daily.(SceneDaily.com), see more on the ratings on the 2007 TV Ratings page.(10-2-2007)
    UPDATE: ESPN officials say the late-day coverage of Sunday’s LifeLock 400 Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway set a record as the highest-rated and most-viewed auto race in ESPN2’s history. The race, which was switched from ABC after two rain delays, earned a 2.8 rating and was seen by 2.7 million households and 4.1 million viewers.(SceneDaily.com)(10-3-2007)
  • Garmin back on the #66 at Talladega: For the second consecutive week, Garmin International, a leading manufacturer of GPS navigation systems, will be the primary sponsor for driver Jeff Green and the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy during the Nextel Cup Series weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Green’s Chevy will again carry a special silver and blue paint design representing Garmin, an industry leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of GPS (Global Positioning System), navigation and communication products. Garmin, a Best Buy retail partner, is an associate sponsor of the Haas CNC Racing team, appearing on the #66 Chevy in races where Best Buy is the car’s primary sponsor.(Best Buy Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on the #66 Team Schemes page.(10-3-2007)
  • Mac Tools Teams up with Robby Gordon Motorsports IMAGE: Mac Tools is partnering with #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports to sponsor Robby Gordon in the #7 Ford. The car will make its debut during the Nextel Cup Series race on October 21st at the Subway 500 at the Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA. “Mac Tools has built a relationship with Robby Gordon Motorsports over the past 3 years,” said Mac Tools Director of Marketing, Roger Spee. “We are very pleased to have this opportunity to promote our brand in this way for the first time and with such a great driver!”
    “We are very excited to expand our relationship with Mac Tools and are even more excited that their first NASCAR Cup race will be with Robby Gordon Motorsports. Looking to the 2008 season, RGM is proud to have Mac Tools involved,” Robby Gordon remarked. For more information about Mac Tools, visit www.mactools.com.(RGM PR)(10-1-2007)
    IMAGE: see an image of the scheme on the #7 Team Schemes page.(10-3-2007)
  • Nationwide in final stages to sponsor ‘Busch’ Series UPDATE: Nationwide is moving into the final stages of negotiations to replace Anheuser-Busch’s Busch beer as title sponsor of NASCAR’s #2 series, sources are telling Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily. Michael Smith of Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal this morning reported in the Daily that Nationwide submitted an offer last Thursday, as did Subway, the sandwich franchise operation that had been considered the frontrunner. Nationwide’s talks with NASCAR progressed over the weekend, the story said, and a contract proposal is believed to be in the legal pipeline at Nationwide. Officials at NASCAR say that it does not have a deal with a new sponsor, but sources say an agreement with Nationwide could be finalized in the coming days.(SceneDaily.com)(10-2-2007)
    UPDATE: Nationwide Insurance will become the new title sponsor of the NASCAR Busch Series in 2008, sources close to the negotiations confirmed Tuesday. An official announcement is expected Wednesday. Nationwide will pay an estimated $12 million per season for a multiyear deal, slightly more than Anheuser Busch was paying. NASCAR officials considered going a year without a title sponsor before Nationwide joined the negotiations last month.(ESPN.comAND Allstate is the official insurance company of NASCAR, but this new sponsorship deal will likely require Nationwide to take over that role. NASCAR officials did not immediately return a call for comment. It’s also not clear what Nationwide will call the series, which has been the Busch Series since A-B took over as title sponsor for what was first known as Late Model Sportsman and later the Grand National Series.(AP)(10-3-2007)
  • Franchitti to run ARCA race at Talladega UPDATE: Dario Franchitti’s much-anticipated move to stock cars will begin Friday with an ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway, the Associated Press has learned. Franchitti has agreed to a multiyear deal to replace David Stremme in the #40 Dodge for NASCAR’s Chip Ganassi Racing, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who requested anonymity because the deal had yet to be announced. An official announcement is expected Wednesday at Ganassi’s race shop in North Carolina. Ganassi said Sunday at Kansas Speedway that he was close to a deal with Franchitti’s open-wheel team, Andretti Green Racing, to get the 34-year-old Scot out of his contract, which ends Dec. 1. An Andretti Green spokesman said the team would have no comment on Franchitti’s move at this time. Franchitti is expected to get some much-needed seat time in stock cars by running a series of races, including ARCA, Busch and Cup, before the end of this season, much as Montoya did in 2006 after leaving Formula One.(Associated Press)(10-2-2007)
    UPDATE: Introduction of Driver of the 2008 #40 Dodge, Wednesday, October 3 at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Race Shop.(CGRFS PR)
    ON TV: SPEED will interrupt regularly scheduled programming at approximately 10:30am/et Wednesday, October 3rd in order to bring viewers a live press conference from the headquarters of Chip Ganassi Racing in Concord, North Carolina. Programming will resume following the press conference.(10-3-2007)

    News from October 2, 2007

  • Chase Notes going into Talladega: #07-Clint Bowyer is peaking at the right time. He has only three podium finishes all season, but two have come in the three Chase races. Talladega presents a mental roadblock, as Bowyer has finishes of 40-35-35 in three starts. #2-Kurt Busch (-177), #31-Jeff Burton (-186), #17-Matt Kenseth (-219) and #11-Denny Hamlin (-248) are all more than one race out of the lead, and one more bobble in the next couple of races will probably eliminate that driver. Take heart, because #48-Jimmie Johnson stood 165 points out at this time last season. Kurt Busch does have a big margin to make up to get back into Case contention, but he boasts an admirable streak of six straight Talladega Top 10s coming into Sunday. See some Chase stats and more on the Chase Stats after Kansas page.(10-2-2007)
  • Mike in for Kenny at the #88: Mike Wallace will take over the driving duties of the #88 M&M’S Halloween Ford Fusion from brother Kenny this weekend at Talladega while Ricky Rudd continues to recover from a shoulder injury which has kept him sidelined for five weeks. Along with a new driver in the #88 Ford, the car will also be sporting an M&M’s Halloween paint scheme instead of the normal Snickers colors. Halloween is an iconic American holiday and M&M’S is offering consumers the ultimate treat: the opportunity to enter and play the M&M’S Million Dollar Halloween Instant Win Game and Sweepstakes. Fans will have twice the ghoulish fun this weekend at Talladega as both the #88 Ford and the #38 Ford with David Gilliland will run the special M&M’S Halloween paint schemes in celebration of the upcoming holiday.(Evelvatin Group/RYR PR)(10-2-2007)
  • The story of a hero: A year ago Monday, Susan Brown lay dying in a pool of her own blood. You see, just hours after Tony Stewart limped across the finish line to take the checkered flag at Kansas Speedway, two masked men with guns stormed into the speedway’s vault and demanded what was inside. Only Brown, a detective with the Kansas City, Kan., police department, didn’t want to hand over the roughly $1 million that was inside. Instead, she stood strong, directing employees into another room as a shootout ensued. Bullets flew back and forth. Several hit Brown. But even as she lay bleeding on the floor, Brown did not give up the fight. She returned fire and forced the robbers to flee – empty-handed. When they did, Brown was finally able to radio for help. “10-60,” she said weakly. Officer has been shot. See the full story at Yahoo.com.(10-2-2007)

  • JC Penney looking? UPDATE: hearing JC Penney, deptartment store chain, are considering sponsoring a Nextel Cup team in 2008 and some teams have even presented mockup cars, but no word which team may get that sponsorship or when anything would be announced.(9-29-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing it could with Joe Gibbs Racing in some form, supposedly the #11 Chevy was featured at a recent JC Penney meeting.(10-2-2007)
  • Fan designs Jeff Gordon’s Talladega scheme: Deborah Chastain of Thomasville, GA, will be leading the cheers for the #24 DuPont/Pepsi Chevy on October 7 when Jeff Gordon races in the paint scheme she designed. Earlier this year, Jeff Gordon, together with Pepsi, handed creative control over to the fans by asking consumers to create their own paint-out design for the car that Gordon will race in the UAW-Ford 500. NASCAR artist Sam Bass narrowed down the submissions to five finalists, allowing Jeff Gordon to ultimately choose the winning design. Deborah and a guest will receive VIP passes to the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, scoring some one-on-one time with Jeff Gordon before the race. For more information, go to www.pepsiracing.com.(Pepsi-Cola North America PR), see an image of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(10-2-2007)
  • NHRA’s Parks passes away: Wally Parks, the driving force behind the formation of NHRA, has died at the age of 94. It was Parks’ vision, goals and unconditional commitment to the need for speed and side-by-side racing in a safer, more controlled environment that created what is today the world’s largest motorsports governing body. See nhra.com for tributes and more info.(10-2-2007)
  • Baker and Hyde to be honored at NC Auto Racing HOF: Buddy Baker, the first driver to win on the Big Four tracks on Nextel Cup circuit and legendary crew chief Harry Hyde will be honored by the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame at its annual induction ceremonies on Oct. 10 at Mooresville’s Charles Mack Citizens Center. Baker, winner of 19 races and 40 pole positions, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Hyde, who headed the 1970 NASCAR Grand National [Nextel Cup] championship team and oversaw teams that made record runs at Pikes Peak and the Bonneville Salt Flats, will receive the coveted Snap-On Golden Wrench Award for his outstanding contributions to the sport. Baker, nicknamed the “Gentle Giant”, wasn’t go gentle on the race track. He was the first driver to win the circuit’s Big Four – Daytona, Talladega, Darlington and Charlotte. His victory in the 1980 Daytona 500 remains the fastest on record with an average speed of 177.602mph. On March 24, 1970 Baker set a world closed-course record while preparing for the inaugural Alabama 500 at Talladega. That day, he posted a lap of 200.447 mph, making him the first driver to exceed 200 mph on a closed course.
    Hyde’s powerful race cars won 56 Winston Cup races with drivers Bobby Isaac, Bobby Allison, Baker, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett, Dave Marcis, Geoff Bodine and Tim Richmond. Isaac won the 1970 series championship in Hyde’s familiar orange and white #71 K&K Insurance Dodge. Bobby Unser’s run up Pikes Peak in a Dodge Dart Kit Car that possessed that Hyde magic set a world record for a stock car. At the Bonneville Salt Flats, with Isaac as the driver, the K&K team set 28 world speed records, which still stand. Those records were established in 1971 in a winged Dodge Daytona.
    The 2007 induction ceremonies will be presented by Alltel in association with Snap-On Tools. Located in Mooresville, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame celebrates the rich heritage of motorsports and its cultural contributions to society. It opened its doors in 1994 and now welcomes more than 300,000 visitors annually. More than 30,000 fans visited the Hall of Fame during Charlotte race weeks in May 2007. A non-profit museum, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame is dedicated to all forms of motorsports – from drag racing to stock cars. It houses more than 35 cars as well as numerous displays and showcases. Past inductees into the museum’s Hall of Fame include Tim Flock, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Bill France Sr., Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Cale Yarborough, Ralph Moody Jr., Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson and Darrell Waltrip. For more information about the museum and the 11th annual induction ceremony, log on to www.ncarhof.com.(NCARHOF PR)(10-2-2007)
  • NASCAR loses research partner, reopens category: Advanced Micro Devices, which entered NASCAR as the official technology partner late in 2005, has obtained a release from its deal and decided to exit the sport. Travis Bullard, a spokesman for AMD, said the company’s $5.4 billion acquisition of ATI Technologies last year led to a re-evaluation of AMD’s marketing strategy and partnerships. Tissot remains NASCAR’s official timekeeper.(Alabama Live/Sports Business Journal)(10-2-2007)

    News from October 1, 2007

  • Testing at Kentucky this week: today [Oct 1] Kevin Hamlin is testing at Kentucky Speedway in the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, on Tuesday, October 2nd Sam Hornish, Jr. is scheduled to test for Penske Racing and on Wednesday and Thursday this week [Oct 3-4th] Joe Gibbs Racing will test with their R&D team. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(10-1-2007)
  • NASCAR Statement on End of Kansas Race: Statement from Ramsey Poston, NASCAR Managing Director, Corporate Communications:“When the caution came out on Lap 207 the field was frozen. At the time of the caution, the #16 was in the lead and maintained a reasonable speed and was declared the race winner. There is no passing under caution. “By rule, cars under caution need to maintain a reasonable speed, which the #16 did. If it hadn’t maintained a reasonable speed or the car had come to a stop, then that car would not have won the race. In this instance the #16 maintained a reasonable speed, crossed the finish and won the race.”(NASCAR PR)(10-1-2007)
  • Ganassi/Franchitti deal could be done soon: Team owner Chip Ganassi said he is hopeful to have a contract with reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti signed this week. Franchitti, who remains under contract with Andretti Green Racing in the IndyCar Series, is joining Ganassi’s NASCAR Cup team for the 2008 season. The plan has been for Franchitti to compete in the ARCA race Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. But Franchitti is scheduled to run the American LeMans Series event at Road Atlanta on Saturday for AGR with teammates Bryan Herta and Tony Kanaan. “Hopefully it will be done this week and hopefully he’ll be in Talladega — hopefully,” Ganassi said Sunday before the Cup race at Kansas Speedway. “I’m working hard on it. I’ve been working on it every single day. He likes to race. He wants to be here.”(ESPN.com)(10-1-2007)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the LifeLock 400
    This race was broadcasted by two networks, ABC and ESPN2, due to lengthy rain delays and cautions. While the race was shortened in length (from 267 laps to 210), it was extended in time (from app. four hours to over six hours) due to all of the delays.
    Total number of commercials: 195 (in 2006: 141) Total number of companies or entities advertised: 86 (in 2006: 68) Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 13 (in 2006: 20) Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 30 sec. Start time to record race/commercial periods 09/30/07: 2:00 PM (in 2006: 2:04 PM) End time to record race/commercial periods 09/30/07: 8:16 PM (in 2006: 5:40 PM) Total minutes: 376 (in 2006: ) Minutes of race broadcast: 294 (in 2006: ) Minutes of commercials: 82 (in 2006:) Number of missed restarts: 1 (in 2006: ) Total race brdcst time: 294 Total comm. brdcst time: 82 See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-1-2007)
  • DEI West to house Cup cars; #01 stays: Max Siegel, president of Global Operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc., said the facility DEI inherited in the merger with Ginn Racing has been renamed DEI West. Siegel said Sunday that the #15 Chevrolet team and the #01 Chevy operation already have moved to the DEI West building. The #8 team and the #1 operation will stay at DEI headquarters until the end of the season. “We don’t want to do anything to disrupt the 1 [Martin Truex Jr.] or the 8 [Dale Earnhardt Jr.] right now,” Siegel said. “Those teams work really well together.” Truex is DEI’s one driver in the Chase. After all the Cup teams move to the new facility, current DEI headquarters will house all the administrative offices, along with the Busch Series team and Busch East operation. Siegel also said he hopes to make an announcement within two weeks on a new sponsor for the #01 Chevy. Siegel confirmed that DEI has decided to continue to use 01 as the number.(ESPN.com)(10-1-2007)
  • Hall of Fame Undecided on Manufacturer: #96-Hall of Fame Racing is still trying to decide on a manufacturer next year, according to new team co-owner Tom Garfinkel. Garfinkel said discussions continue with Toyota so that his team could continue its alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. “We don’t have a manufacturer yet at this point,” Garfinkel said Sunday at Kansas Speedway. “We should know in the next week or two. We’re working on it. … We expect to be with Gibbs and we’re hopeful that we get everything worked out in the next week.(SceneDaily.com)(10-1-2007)