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October 2018 News Archives


  • News from October 31, 2008

  • Gordon on pole at Texas: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Coor’s Light Pole for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with a speed of 188.469mph for his 4th pole of 2008 and 67th pole of his career. #1-Truex, Jr will start 2nd followed by #07-Bowyer, #26-McMurray, #88-Earnhardt, Jr, #17-Kenseth, #48-Johnson, #20-Stewart, #41-Sorenson, and #66-Riggs. The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #77-Hornish, #47-Ambrose, #78-Nemechek, #96-Schrader, #10-Allmendinger, #25-Kselowski, #21-Elliott, and #02-Logano. Missing the race are #70-Raines, #40-Clauson, #45-McCumbee, #13-Papis, and #08 Sauter.
    See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Texas Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(10-31-2008)
  • Where do the 12 Chase Drivers start at Texas?
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 7th
    2) #99-Carl Edwards, 16th
    3) #16-Greg Biffle, 19th
    4) #31-Jeff Burton, 38th
    5) #29-Kevin Harvick, 23rd
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon, 1st
    7) #07-Clint Bowyer, 3rd
    8) #20-Tony Stewart, 8th
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth, 6th
    10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 5th
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin, 17th
    12) #18-Kyle Busch, 29th
    (10-31-2008)
  • Texas Superspeedway Qualifying Fast Facts:
    Jeff Gordon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Dickies 500 with a lap of 28.652 seconds, 188.469 mph.
    This is his 67th pole in 543 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his fourth pole and 24th top-10 start in 2008.
    This is his first pole in 16 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    Martin Truex Jr. (second) posted his eighth top-10 start of 2008 and his third in seven races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    Clint Bowyer (third) posted his second top-10 start at Texas Motor Speedway. It is his 10th in 34 races this season.
    Sam Hornish Jr. (21st) was the fastest qualifying rookie. (NASCAR Statistics)(10-31-2008)
  • Rookie of the Year Candidates: where do they start at Texas:
    Michael McDowell, DNR
    #01-Regan Smith, 186.207mph, starts 25th
    Patrick Carpentier, DNR
    #77-Sam Hornish (X), 186.335mph, starts 21st
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer: at Texas:
    Chevy: #24-Gordon, 188.469, starts 1st
    Ford: #26-McMurray, 187.859, starts 4th
    Toyota: #20-Stewart, 187.246, starts 8th
    Dodge: #41-Sorenson, 187.175, starts 9th
  • Qualifying Order for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is posted. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #19-Sadler, the final top-35 driver scheduled is ##88-Earnhardt, Jr. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #77-Hornish, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #45-McCumbee. See the full qualifying order on my Texas Qualifying Page.(10-31-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Texas Motor Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #10-A.J. Allmendinger, 2nd
    #47-Marcos Ambrose, 5th
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 7th
    #21-Bill Elliott, [PC], 24th
    #96-Ken Schrader, 27th
    #25-Brad Keselowski, 31st
    #77-Sam Hornish Jr., 33rd
    #40-Bryan Clauson, 37th
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #70-Tony Raines, 41st
    #02-Joey Logano, 43rd
    #45-Chad McCumbee, 46th
    #08-Johnny Sauter, 47th
    #13-Max Papis, 48th
    (10-31-2008)
  • Friday Practice for the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #24-Gordon 186.638
    #10-Allmendinger 186.632
    #99-Edwards 186.239
    #42-Montoya 186.181
    #47-Ambrose 186.104
    slowest: #08-Sauter 179.027 & #13-Papis 176.945
    #7-Gordon scraped the right rear of the car coming off turn 2 early in the session, just some sheetmetal damage.
    See speeds, ave speed, laps run on my Texas Practice Speeds page.(10-31-2008)
  • Martin to the #5…in 2008? UPDATE 2: hearing that Mark Martin may get started on his ride a few races early and running the #5 Carquest/Kelloggs Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the final four races [Atlanta , Texas, Phoenix, Homestead] of the 2008 Cup season. Casey Mears currently drives the car. Martin is slated to drive the #8 US Army Chevy for DEI in 3 of the 4 final 2008 races, with Aric Almirola in at Phoenix.(8-6-2008)
    UPDATE: during SPEED’s coverage of the first Saturday practice, Larry McReynolds said he had a nugget….Mark Martin will run the final four races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, including the final race at Homestead, but not in the #8 DEI Chevy, but in a Hendrick Chevy, so he could be in the #5 Chevy, meaning we may see Casey Mears in a 4th RCR car [#33?] at Homestead.(10-25-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Hendrick Motorsports is considering a plan that would put Mark Martin in the #5 car for the final race of this season at Homestead Speedway, sources told ESPN.com. Martin will drive the #5 car for Hendrick Motorsports in the 2009 season. A contingency to the plan is getting Casey Mears, the current driver of the #5, into the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing that he will drive next season. But in order to do that Mears likely would have to drive the #33, not the #07 that he is slated to drive because Clint Bowyer is driving that car in the Chase. Richard Childress Racing is willing to put Mears in the #33 car unsponsored as it wants to get him in the race. Martin will be free of his duties in the #8 at Dale Earnhardt Enterprises after the next two races at Texas and Phoenix. He will end his part-time schedule that he has been on for a couple of years to run a full-time schedule for Hendrick Motorsports. Officials from Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing were not immediately available for comment.(ESPN)(10-27-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Although a switch for the Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami was discussed, Casey Mears will remain in the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy while Mark Martin will sit on the sideline. There were discussions about Mears driving for RCR with Martin going into the Hendrick car for the finale so they could get a head start on next season, Mears and Martin said last Sunday. But Hendrick Motorsports has opted to just keep Mears in the car, Hendrick spokesman Jesse Essex said Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.(Scene Daily)(10-31-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR nixes GEM’s move to Toyota? UPDATE: George Gillett, who bought into Ray Evernham’s Dodge-anchor operation last year [now GEM], has made strong overtures to switch to Toyota. But NASCAR officials have apparently nixed any such move, and that could leave the Bill Davis Toyota team in limbo. Davis has talked for more than a year now about looking for a business partner. The Gillett-Evernham operation has been Dodge’s chief engineering arm in NASCAR, but Penske may now get that nod, and become the engine supplier to teams like the Pettys. Penske already leases Dodge engines to Robby Gordon. Sources say that Penske, who runs one of the country’s largest Toyota dealerships, in Los Angeles, has made overtures about Toyota, and may push for the launch of a satellite Toyota operation next year in order to be prepared for a possible changeover to Toyota in 2010.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2008)
    UPDATE: Gillett-Evernham Motorsports has been in talks with nearly every possible team in the garage area looking to merge including Bill Davis Racing, which is down to a one car, non-sponsored team since Caterpillar is leaving the #22 for Richard Childress Racing. From what I [Pete Pistone] have been able to gather, the report that NASCAR vetoed a GEM-BDR merger and a complete switch to Toyota is false. The stumbling block in all of this is the status of Dodge and Chrysler and the future of the struggling company. If the manufacturer can’t live up to its promise of supplying engines and support to GEM, its flagship Cup organization, the team needs to know that and make a move ASAP. But whether Toyota wants to support another team and a possible additional three cars is another question. Regardless, NASCAR has no say in what the teams and manufacturers decide to do.(CBS Sports)(10-31-2008) Comment here

  • Final Atlanta TV Ratings down: ABC’s coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned a final national rating of 3.6, down from the 4.0 the race earned last year when it also was telecast on ABC. The race averaged 5,611,102 viewers. Ratings for the Chase for the Sprint Cup on ABC are even with last year at an average of 3.8 through seven races.(ESPN), see TV Ratings Chart and new from each race on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(10-31-2008) Comment here
  • Texas Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Texas this weekend, though those for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while those for the Truck Series will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought for teams to run at Texas earlier this season — Cup and Nationwide in April and Truck in June . . . in addition to Texas, NASCAR teams have run this specific tire combination at Chicagoland earlier this summer . . . teams in all three of these series will run this set-up again at Homestead in two weeks . . . this left-side tire code (D-4134) has also been run with a different right-side code at Dover, Michigan and Kentucky in 2008 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams will are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Texas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. See codes, pressures and more on my Texas Race Info Page.(10-31-2008)

  • Camo scheme for Martin at Texas: Mark Martin will run a special camouflage paint scheme on the #8 U.S. Army DEI Chevy in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway to promotes effort to deliver more than one million holiday greetings to U.S. Military worldwide. In keeping with the VAULT motto, “Get It Done. And Then Some.,” Coca-Cola North America is implementing the largest marketing campaign for the brand since its 2006 launch to ensure the program’s success. The VAULT “Honoring the Uniform: Calling for Support” initiative features an exclusive opportunity for people across the country to send hand-written postcards to troops worldwide and raise up to $100,000 for the USO. People are encouraged to write messages of support on pre-addressed postcards, which can be found on special camouflage-themed VAULT 12-packs, at VAULT displays in participating retail stores or online at DrinkVault.com and MyCokeRewards.com, while supplies last. The postcards can be dropped in the mail with a first-class stamp and will arrive at a USO collection center for security screening before being distributed to U.S. troops during the holiday season.(Markmartin.com)(10-31-2008)

  • Mapei / Menards with Robby Gordon at Texas: Coming off a solid top-20 finish last weekend in Atlanta, Robby Gordon and the #7 team hope to carry this momentum forward into this weekend’s Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The #7 Dodge will display the familiar Mapei / Menards primary colors during Sunday’s 334-lap race.(RGM PR), see an image of the car on my #7 Team Schemes Page.(10-31-2008)


    News from October 30, 2008

  • NASCAR takes rear-end housing of #18: NASCAR officials opted to take the rear-end housing of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup car driven by Kyle Busch to electronically check the measurements following Sunday’s Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. Tharp said that NASCAR does not anticipate there will be a problem with the car, but wanted to check it more closely at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.(SceneDaily)(10-27-2008)
    UPDATE: A NASCAR spokesman says sanctioning body officials have found that the rear housing taken from the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Kyle Busch following the Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway was within the rules. NASCAR took the rear housing to its research and development center in Concord, N.C., to be measured electronically and found it to be in compliance with the rules, according to the spokesman, so the team will not face any penalties.(Scene Daily)(10-30-2008) Comment here
  • Even in a merger Dodge could remain another year UPDATE: There is still no official word from Chrysler executives, and the fate of NASCAR’s Dodge teams remains uncertain, with the possible — or probable — Chrysler merger with/buyout by General Motors. NASCAR executives are not thrilled, to say the least, with the implications and questions surrounding that merger debate, because 11 Sprint Cup teams run with Dodge factory backing. However, according to sources, regardless of what happens with the potential merger, Dodge is committed to backing its NASCAR teams for at least one more year, but perhaps no more. One thing for certain, NASCAR officials don’t want Toyota buying up any more top Cup teams, like it did with Joe Gibbs, and they have made that clear to the company. (Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2008)
    UPDATE – more on merger: With the American automotive industry trying to become relevant again, the news that General Motors and Chrysler are discussing a merger has led to some concern in the garage area. And while no one believes the loss of one of the circuit’s four automakers would be a devastating blow, two officials that I spoke to acknowledged that it wouldn’t be an easy road to travel either.
    “You deal with it when it happens,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “We didn’t always have four manufacturers; we didn’t always have three. We used to just have GM and Ford. One of the things to always remember is we have drivers, crews and team owners. We make rules and regulations on the cars that are out there available to drive.”
    “We’re not trying to be smug about it,” he added, “but they are basically big sponsors. We didn’t have any manufacturer participation in the late 1970s — virtually none. Junior Johnson had a decent Chevy deal at the time and Richard Childress lived off that quite a bit. The Pettys were independent. They would run an Oldsmobile on one track and a Chevrolet Monte Carlo on another one and a Chevy Caprice on another. Kyle Petty would run a Dodge Charger. That was all out of the same stable.”
    Added NASCAR’s Jim Hunter, “The questions to be asked would be what models? Would they pick a car? Would it be Chevrolet or Dodge or would they run both? We have no idea. In the history of this sport, manufacturers have been in and out all the time, going back to 1957 when AMA banned motorsports participation by the manufacturers. In 1964, Big Bill France banned the Chrysler Hemi engines, so it was all Fords. But I still think what wins on Sunday sells on Monday, even in a weakened economy. People relate to what they drive and what their favorite driver drives. That’s a given.”
    “I would not like to see this with no factory participation,” Hunter added, “because both the dollars and the support they give the teams help drive the economical engine. However, we have raced before with no manufacturer support before. When there is no manufacturer support, teams will pick a car that is the best car out there. Hopefully, this will eventually work its way out, as it always has. Some may make it and some won’t.”(Sports Illustrated)(10-30-2008) Comment here
  • Chase Stats going into Texas: The amazing run of Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the #48 team continues in The Chase. Johnson tacked on 34 more points to his lead with a late charge to second place at Atlanta. It is 183 points back to Carl Edwards with three to go, and Johnson has a first and second in his last two starts at Texas Motor Speedway. If he loses 23 or less points over the next two races, he needs to only start at Homestead to cinch his three-peat. Denny Hamlin’s third place run at Atlanta pulled him within 6 points of 10th place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the final spot to make the stage in New York. Carl Edwards added another strong win in his outstanding 2008 season at Atlanta, climbing two spots to second place. Five podium finishes in seven Chase races is awfully good. It’s just that Johnson has been better. See more on the 2008 Chase, Chase history, wins on my Chase Stats after Atlanta page and my 2008 Chase Rules & History page.(10-30-2008)

  • Clauson hopes third time is a charm: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) driver Bryan Clauson was scheduled to make his Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, but qualifying was rained out both times. Therefore, Clauson will attempt to make his NSCS debut again this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in the #40 Target/Guitar Hero World Tour Dodge. Clauson—a 19-year-old from Noblesville, Ind.—has competed in 24 Nationwide Series (NNS) races throughout this 2008 season, driving the #40 Fastenal Dodge. To-date, the teen racer has collected one pole, one top-five and two top-10 finishes. The #1 best-selling video game, Guitar Hero, returns to the race track this weekend at TMS as primary sponsor of the #40 CGRFS Dodge.(CGRFS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page.(10-30-2008) Comment here
  • Massive Layoffs for NASCAR teams? The dismal economic picture has already started to take its toll in the world of NASCAR. Several sources have reported as many as 750 to 1,000 employees from various Sprint Cup, Nationwide and truck series teams will be released the Monday after the Homestead weekend season finales. DEI, faced with the prospect of shrinking from four to one full-time team in 2009, is poised to lay off as many 100 people if necessary. And according to Felix Sabates, part owner of Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR operation, seven or eight teams from this year’s Cup roster won’t be in business in 2009.(CBS Sports)(10-30-2008) Comment here
  • Country Crock scheme on the #10 at Texas: The #10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge will sport the familiar Country Crock colors this weekend. It marks the first time the margarine alternative has adorned a GEM Cup car. Previously Country Crock was with GEM in the Nationwide Series.(GEM PR)(10-30-2008)
  • Texas Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 26 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring a 24th-place finish. Hornish Jr. grabbed top rookie honors for the third consecutive race and for the 10th time in 2008. Sam Hornish Jr. leads #01-Regan Smith by two points (195-193) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the November 2 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Hornish Jr. has sole possession of first-place in the standings for the first time since the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in three previous fall races at Texas is fifth by Clint Bowyer in 2006. Bowyer is the only Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five in three fall races at Texas. Only once in 15 previous races at Texas has a Raybestos Rookie won the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his first career Sprint Cup Series win by 5.920 seconds over Jeff Burton in 2000. Earnhardt Jr. led six times for six times for 106 laps, more than any other driver. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne are the only Raybestos Rookies to lead the most laps in 15 Sprint Cup race at Texas. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie in 15 previous races at Texas is third by Kasey Kahne (2004 spring) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2007 fall race).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos) see rookie standings, history and more on my 2008 Rookie of the Year page.
  • Winning streaks in jeopardy: Drivers with a streak of consecutive seasons with at least one win a year thru 2007 and need to win in the last three races to keep their streak going
    seasons streak, driver, last win/track listed:
    14, Jeff Gordon, Charlotte, October 2007
    6, Matt Kenseth, Homestead, November 2007
    2, Kevin Harvick, Daytona, February 2007
    1, Casey Mears, Charlotte, May 2007
    1, Martin Truex Jr., Dover, June 2007
    1, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sonoma, June 2007
    1, Jamie McMurray, Daytona, July 2007
    Gordon: Still winless through 33 races, Jeff Gordon has three more chances to continue a remarkable streak. Gordon has won at least two races in each season since 1994, his second year in the Sprint Cup Series. The streak stands at 14 consecutive seasons. Gordon usually wins early in the season, never waiting this long for his first win. In 11 of his 14 race-winning seasons, Gordon won prior to race No. 10. His longest winless stretch to open a season was 24 races in 2002. Gordon’s challenge becomes even more daunting when analyzing his success at the remaining three tracks. He has won at 20 of the 22 active Sprint Cup Series tracks. The two winless tracks: this weekend’s venue, Texas Motor Speedway, and the season-ending site, Homestead-Miami Speedway. Plus, Gordon didn’t nab his first Phoenix International Raceway win until last season. Arguably, Texas presents his biggest challenge. Gordon has finished last twice in his career – both have occurred at Texas, including the spring race this season.
    See the list of streaks on my Alltime/Active Wins Page – Streaks section.(10-30-2008)
  • Three vie for the manufacturers championship: The strong 2008 seasons by #48-Jimmie Johnson, #99-Carl Edwards and #18-Kyle Busch (from Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, respectively) has made this year’s Manufacturers’ Championship one of the most heated – and coveted – in history. With three races remaining in the Sprint Cup Series season, only five points separate the top three in the Manufacturers’ Championship standings. Chevrolet took the lead for the first time in 22 races after Jimmie Johnson’s second-place finish at Atlanta. Chevrolet, with 198 points, now leads Toyota by one point and Ford by five. Dodge, with 138 points, is 60 points out. Ford entered the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup trailing Toyota by 18 points. But three wins in seven Chase races has cut the deficit by 13. Toyota and Ford are looking to end a five-year run on championships by Chevrolet. The last time a non-Chevrolet outfit won the title was 2002 (Ford). Over NASCAR’s history, Chevrolet has captured 31 of the 58 championships (53%). Even if Chevrolet does hold on to win its sixth consecutive Manufacturers’ Championship, it would still fall short of its own record of nine consecutive titles (1983-1991). Below is a year-by-year breakdown of the Manufacturers’ Champions.(NASCAR PR), for rules, standings, race by race best, drivwers who have scored manufacturers points, all-time manufacturer wins, see my 2008 Manufacturers Championship page.(10-30-2008)
  • Jeff Gordon heading to 20,000 laps led: Another milestone – 20,000 career laps led – is well within reach for #24-Jeff Gordon this Sunday in the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Gordon, who is currently eighth all-time with 19,880 laps led, can surpass Rusty Wallace for seventh on that list if he leads 93 laps this Sunday. Tack on another 27 and Gordon reaches 20,000. While Gordon is well shy of Richard Petty’s total of 52,194, he holds a commanding lead over the nearest “active” competitor in that category – future teammate Mark Martin – who ranks 11th with 11,560. See the top 30 lap leaders on my MISC Stats page.(10-30-2008)


    News from October 29, 2008

  • JR Motorsports scaling back? UPDATE: hearing there were 15-18 people laid off at JR Motorsports, who field the #88 US Navy Chevy and #5 Chevy in the Nationwide Series. JR Motorsports is a joint venture between Sprint Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. [#88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy] and Hendrick Motorsports. Also been told that the #5 team may not run in 2009 and that the 10-race Unilever sponsorship announced at Lowe’s Motor Speedway may end up going to the #88 team and driver Brad Keselowski, a team without a sponsor for 2009 as the Navy is leaving. Mark Martin, Earnhardt and Hendrick development driver Landon Cassill are scheduled to drive the #5 NNS ride in those 10 races. No word how this effects Cassill’s 2009 plans with the team.
    UPDATE: Statement by Kelley Earnhardt, general manager of JR Motorsports: “We’ve been working aggressively to secure funding to continue with two teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The economic climate is difficult, as everyone is aware, and that is affecting every company’s ability to spend. The 2008 season will be ending in less than three weeks, and preparations for next season are already underway. We do not anticipate getting the funding required to field two teams after the end of this season, and we need to make adjustments now to prepare JR Motorsports accordingly. We are reducing our workforce and budgets to comply with a new plan for 2009, which at the present time is to field the #88 team full-time with driver Brad Keselowski, and the #5 team on a limited basis with a select group of drivers.”(10-29-2008) Comment here
  • Testing in Nashville: Penske Racing tested Tuesday and Wednesday at Nashville Superspeedway. The test was closed to the public. Kurt Busch, Sam Hornish, Jr, and David Stremme did two full days of R&D.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(10-29-2008)
  • Haas CNC Racing to Pay Tribute to Haas Automation: The final race of the 2008 Sprint Cup season also marks the last time Haas Automation Inc. will carry primary sponsorship for Haas CNC Racing and the team is commemorating the occasion by running a special paint scheme featuring the machine tool manufacturer’s 25th Anniversary. “Haas Automation is an amazing example of American ingenuity and we are honored to mark the company’s 25th Anniversary with a special paint scheme at Homestead,” said Joe Custer, Haas CNC Racing general manager. “As the team transitions to Stewart-Haas Racing, this is a simple way for us to thank Haas Automation for their support during the past six years. While Haas Automation will continue its ownership role with the new team, their capacity as sponsor will be reduced.” Founded in 1983, Haas Automation Inc. has grown to become the world’s leading manufacturer of computerized numerical control (CNC) machine tools – building, selling and shipping more machines per month than any other single builder in the Western World. Haas manufactures its products in the company’s 1-million-square-foot facility in Oxnard, Calif., and distributes them through a worldwide network of more than 140 Haas Factory Outlets. Each HFO has complete showroom facilities, factory-trained service personnel, extensive spare-parts inventories and fully stocked service vehicles to provide the industry’s best service and support. Currently there are more than 88,000 Haas CNC machines and 51,000 Haas rotary products in use around the world. In 2008, the company will build more than 14,000 machines, with approximately 60% of them shipping to international markets. (Haas CNC Racing PR), Tony Raines will drive the car, see an image on my #70 Team Schemes page.(10-29-2008) Comment here
  • Edwards to represent Team USA at Race of Champions: #99-Carl Edwards and motocross guru Travis Pastrana will team up this December to represent Team USA in the 2008 Race of Champions held at Wembley Stadium [December 14, 2008], as the USA aims for its first Race of Champions Nations Cup title since 2002. The back-flipping duo will take on an all star line-up including Michael Schumacher, Troy Bayliss and Sabastien Loeb. A daunting task but one that both Edwards and Pastrana, are up for. “Its great to be able represent the United States in the Race of Champions this year in England,” stated Edwards. “I’ve never been to Europe and expect it will be spectacular. To race with the top drivers in the world is the opportunity of a lifetime. I will be teaming up with X Games Champion Travis Pastrana, which will be a great experience in itself. He’s the man, and the goal is to bring back a trophy. I can’t wait. It should be a lot of fun.” Tickets for The Race of Champions are on sale now by calling 0844 412 1743, or online at www.raceofchampions.com.(RFR PR)(10-29-2008) Comment here
  • Keselowski to attempt Texas & Homestead: Brad Keselowski will attempt to put the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy in the Dickies 500 field during Friday afternoon’s Sprint Cup Series qualifying session at Texas Motor Speedway. Should he be successful, Keselowski will make his first-ever Sprint Cup start on Sunday. The 24-year-old driver was scheduled to attempt his first Cup race Oct. 11 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway before qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather. In addition to Texas, Hendrick Motorsports will enter the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy team in the Nov. 16 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Homestead race was added to Keselowski’s Cup schedule this week as a replacement for the Lowe’s Motor Speedway rainout. Veteran crew chief Lance McGrew will call the shots for Keselowski and the #25 GoDaddy.com team at Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. McGrew, who has been successful working with young drivers like Ricky Hendrick, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch, is a former Sprint Cup Series race winner and Nationwide Series champion.(Hendrick Motor Sports PR), see an image of the car on my #25 Team Schemes page.(10-29-2008) Comment here
  • CitiFinancial colors for Gilliland at Texas: #The #38 Yates Racing Ford driven by David Gilliland will sport a CitiFinancial Paint scheme for the fourth and final time in 2008 in this weekend’s Dickies 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. See images of the scheme on my #38 Team Schemes page.(10-29-2008) Comment here
  • #4 Team co-founder McClure indicted on tax charges: The general manager of Abingdon-based Morgan-McClure Motorsports has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges relating to wire fraud, mail fraud and violations of federal tax law, the U.S. Attorney’s office said late Tuesday. Larry Allen McClure, who has been general manager of his family’s motorsports team for 25 years, faces a maximum penalty of 115 years in federal prison and up to $2.75 million in fines if convicted on three counts of mail fraud, three counts of filing a false tax return, two counts of obstructing a tax investigation, two counts of money laundering and one count of wire fraud. The indictment against McClure, also released Tuesday, accuses him of filing fraudulent income tax returns in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Internal Revenue Service investigators said the returns omitted several large payments from an unidentified Florida man who leased race cars from McClure to use in races conducted by the American Racing Club of America. The family-owned Morgan-McClure team won 14 Sprint Cup races and 13 pole positions over a couple decades relying on sponsorship from Kodak. That record included three victories in the famed Daytona 500.
    But when Kodak discontinued its 18-year sponsorship at the end of the 2003 season, the Morgan-McClure team struggled for stability and success against the corporate-backed NASCAR mega-teams. In January, citing a lack of adequate sponsorship, McClure laid off 28 employees and halted operations. IRS investigators said in the indictment that in April 2006, the Florida man who leased cars from McClure was questioned and told investigators he needed to check his records to verify how much money was exchanged. The indictment also states that the man met with McClure soon after the interview and that in May 2006, McClure’s wife wrote the man a check for $325,000 with a “loan repayment” note written on the check. Then, in June 2006, the indictment states, McClure told investigators the money was payback for loans he’d received. “During that interview the defendant is charged with falsely stating to the investigators that he borrowed money from Person A three or four times while he was going through problems with Kodak …” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia stated in a news release. The indictment also said that invoices faxed to McClure from out-of-state and stating he spent $59,852 to paint four show-car trailers were fraudulent.(Bristol Herald Courier)(10-29-2008) Comment here
  • Special Scheme for McMurray at Texas: When Jamie McMurray’s #26 Crown Royal Ford hits the track at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, it will be carrying an important reminder that could forever change the life of one lucky NASCAR fan. Emblazoned with a special ‘Your Name Here 400’ hood, McMurray’s car will help promote Crown Royal’s legendary contest in which they name the May, 2009 Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway after an adult fan. Before Nov. 21, fans 21 years old and over can visit CrownRoyal.com to enter the contest by describing an accomplishment or honorable act worthy of toasting with Crown Royal. Selected finalists will enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip in February to the Daytona 500 where they will participate in an unveiling ceremony to announce the ‘Your Name Here 400’ grand prize winner. In addition to having their name officially incorporated into the race, the grand prize winner will serve as the Grand Marshal in Richmond – allowing them to do everything from delivering the trophy in Victory Lane to yelling the most famous words in racing, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” “It’s always fun to run new paint schemes for a sponsor like Crown Royal who does so much in the sport,” said McMurray. “From promoting responsible drinking with its ‘Be a Champion. Drink Responsibly.’ campaign to allowing fans the opportunity to have their own race with the ‘Your Name Here 400,’ Crown Royal is always coming up with cool ways for me and the team to be involved.”(Crown Royal PR), see my #26 Team Schemes page for an image of the hood.(10-29-2008) Comment here
  • Petty could run full Sports Car Series season: Kyle Petty made an appearance on Tuesday during the second day of the three-day October Test Days session at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 47th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 24-25. Petty was behind the wheel of the #45 Orbit Racing BMW Riley Daytona Prototype as he prepares for his seventh career start in the Rolex 24 and his first since 2006. But Petty says that the 2009 Rolex 24 could be the first of many sports car events next year with Orbit Racing as he and Orbit Racing owner Rodger Hawley are working on a potential deal for the whole Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season. “We’re trying to put something together to run not only the 24 Hours but all year long,” Petty said. “Obviously I’m in a place with the Cup stuff where I don’t really have a ride right now. I have always said this is where I wanted to be. From the time I came here for the first time, I said to run the Grand American division would be the next step up. I don’t want to go back to Nationwide and I don’t want to go run Trucks. That’s a step down from the Cup Series. This is a step over. I don’t look at this as a step down. This is a step to the top of road racing. It’s been a lot of fun out there so far. I forget where the infield goes sometimes.”(DIS site, listen to Petty audio clips there)(10-29-2008) Comment here
  • Blaney tests at Caraway, then visits Arkansas: Dave Blaney and the #22 BDR team spent Tuesday morning testing at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., shaking down chassis No. 81 for the upcoming event at Phoenix International Raceway and instead of heading straight from the BDR hanger in Greensboro, N.C., to the Fort Worth, Texas, area Thursday afternoon, the Caterpillar crew will make a detour to Bill and Gail Davis’ ranch in Concord, Ark. The team will experience first-hand the festivities surrounding the second annual Chimney Rock 500 Cattle Sale, which will take place Oct. 30-31. Last year, Lot 134, CRC’s Blaney 99S10, a Brangus bull named for BDR driver Dave Blaney, was the highest-selling bull at the event.(BDR PR)(10-29-2008)
  • Wimmer looking for Sprint Cup ride: In addition to preparing for this week’s Nationalwide Series race, at Texas, Scott Wimmer is also in the process of tracking down a ride for next season. Richard Childress Racing announced Aug. 28 that Wimmer would not be back next season, making him a free agent. “I’ve had some good talks with several car owners,” he said. “I feel real confident something will turn up. With the economy the way it is, it’s a crazy time in the sport, definitely for the drivers.” He is concentrating his efforts on landing a Sprint Cup ride, but he knows the Nationwide Series will be an option if he can’t make the jump. “Fortunately, there are some teams that will have openings. There are some teams that will be making changes,” he said. “I’ve got my name on their lists.”(Wausau Daily Herald)(10-28-2008) Comment here


    News from October 28, 2008

  • Even in a merger Dodge could remain another year: There is still no official word from Chrysler executives, and the fate of NASCAR’s Dodge teams remains uncertain, with the possible — or probable — Chrysler merger with/buyout by General Motors. NASCAR executives are not thrilled, to say the least, with the implications and questions surrounding that merger debate, because 11 Sprint Cup teams run with Dodge factory backing. However, according to sources, regardless of what happens with the potential merger, Dodge is committed to backing its NASCAR teams for at least one more year, but perhaps no more. One thing for certain, NASCAR officials don’t want Toyota buying up any more top Cup teams, like it did with Joe Gibbs, and they have made that clear to the company. (Winston Salem Journal)(10-28-2008) Comment here
  • RCR Names DiCio Director of Business Development: Michael DiCio has been named managing director of business development for 11-time NASCAR championship-winning Richard Childress Racing. DiCio comes to RCR with nearly 30 years’ experience in marketing and business development with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation. His day-to-day responsibilities will include overseeing overall business development, including sponsorship opportunities across RCR’s teams and new corporate and technical partnerships. He will also explore new strategic partnerships, potential B2B opportunities for RCR and its partners, and incremental revenue opportunities. “We are excited about Mike becoming a key member of our marketing team at RCR,” said Ben Schlosser, RCR’s vice president of marketing. “Mike’s energy and his nearly 30 years of strategic planning, business development, brand management and international business experience will make him a valuable asset to RCR and our partners.” DiCio earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He was the 1978 NCAA Division III Springboard Diving Champion and a six-time All-America in both one-meter and three-meter competition (1977-79).(RCR PR)(10-28-2008)
  • MWR names new Technical Director: Nick Hughes has been named technical director at Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). “I am looking forward to the challenge of combining the skills of our engineering group with the experience and knowledge of our teams and other departments in order to continue increasing the performance and competitiveness of our cars,” Hughes said. Hughes replaces Dr. Eric Warren who recently departed MWR to pursue new opportunities in the Sprint Cup Series. “Michael Waltrip personally asked me to help get the team on its feet and Andy Graves from TRD was instrumental in me coming to MWR,” said Dr. Warren, who won 13 Cup races while at Gillette-Evernham Motorsports before joining MWR in September 2007. “I feel like we were successful over the course of the year. I’m looking forward to a new opportunity at the pinnacle of our sport and wish the team continued success.”
    “I want to thank Eric for all he’s done for Michael Waltrip Racing,” Calvin Wells III stated. “He helped build a strong foundation for MWR’s teams during his tenure. We wish him success in his endeavors. We also are pleased to announce Nick Hughes as technical director and congratulate him on his new position.”(MWR PR)(10-28-2008)
  • Papis and Geico to run 18 Cup races, will run at Texas too: Widely regarded as one of the most versatile racecar drivers in the world, “Mad” Max Papis will add to his already impressive resume as he slides behind the wheel of the #13 Geico Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The former Formula 1 driver and 2004 Rolex Grand Am Series Champion will lead the way for Geico as they make their maiden voyage into the Sprint Cup Series after spending eight years in NASCAR’s number two series [Nationwide].
    While Geico has sponsored a few NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races over the years, this will be their first Cup-focused race program. Geico Racing launched with a single race sponsorship at Richmond International Raceway on May 2, 2001. Through the years and a myriad of sponsorships among NASCAR’s top three series, Geico Racing has evolved into a fulltime racing and marketing program that is experiencing great success and commanding national attention.
    Recognized for a vast marketing strategy that fully encompasses their entire race program, Geico has signed a four-year sponsorship agreement with Germain Racing that will find the Gecko adorning the hood of the #13 Germain Racing Sprint Cup Series entry for 18 races per season beginning in 2009. Max Papis was born in Como, Italy, and now resides in Mooresville, NC. He has made over 100 open wheel race starts, including two prior Indianapolis 500 starts, while also serving as a test driver for NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports. Papis has also competed in NASCAR’s number two Series, where he recorded a third place finish on August 4, 2007 in Montreal. In order to gain valuable experience, the Geico Racing team will debut their Sprint Cup Series program at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2008, in the Dickies 500. They will subsequently participate in the Sprint Cup Series season finale on November 16, 2008, at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford 400.(Max Papis site)
    AND The new #13 Germain Racing Sprint Cup team will be part of an alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing, new driver Max Papis said in announcing his Cup deal Monday afternoon. Papis has signed a four-year deal with Germain Racing for 18 Cup races annually with sponsorship from Geico. The collaboration with MWR makes sense in two ways: Germain already was running Toyotas in the Nationwide and Craftsman Truck series and Papis drove for MWR Executive Vice President Cal Wells when Wells was an owner in the CART open-wheel series. Papis said that Randy Goss will serve as his crew chief for the two races this year with Germain general manager Mike Hillman Sr. also being heavily involved. Papis’ 2009 tentative schedule: Las Vegas, Texas, Talladega, Darlington, Dover, Michigan, Sonoma, Daytona, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, Bristol, Atlanta, Richmond, Kansas, California, Charlotte, Phoenix, and Homestead.(SceneDaily), With Geico sponsoring half the season, Germain is looking to fill out the rest of the 2009 Cup schedule for Papis.(SceneDaily), see images of the scheme on my #13 Team Schemes page.(10-28-2008) Comment here
  • Johnson needs to average 9th to clinch: With each pass at Atlanta, #48-Jimmie Johnson inched closer to an historic third consecutive championship. Cale Yarborough is the only driver in NASCAR history to accomplish the feat, winning championships from 1976-78. Johnson finished second to seven-time 2008 winner #99-Carl Edwards, who refuses to give up on a championship comeback. Edwards is now 183 points behind Johnson in the Sprint Cup Series standings with three races remaining. Johnson needs to average a ninth-place finish over the final three races to clinch a championship. So Edwards will need wins, and some bad luck for Johnson. Edwards does have some history on his side to keep the optimism alive. In each of the last three years, the winner of the Atlanta race followed up with a Texas victory (Johnson in 2007; Tony Stewart in 2006 and Edwards in 2005). Statistically, the remaining schedule sets up nicely for Edwards. At the Texas, Phoenix and Homestead, Edwards has two wins, seven top fives, an average finish of 13.5 and a Driver Rating of 101.0. Unfortunately for his cause, the layout favors Johnson even more. At the next three tracks, Johnson has three wins, 12 top fives, an average finish of 8.9 and a Driver Rating of 108.0.(NASCAR Public Relations)(10-28-2008)
  • TV Ratings down for Atlanta: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Pep Boys 500 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 3.2, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The figure is 8.6 percent lower than the 3.5 ABC earned for the fall Atlanta race in 2007.(SceneDaily)(10-28-2008) Comment here
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Carl Edwards won the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He posted his 14th career victory in his 154th career race [9.1% winning %]. It was his seventh victory in 2008, second only to Kyle Busch, who has eight wins.
    * Edwards posted his third career weekend sweep. He also won the Nationwide race at Memphis on Saturday. His other two sweeps came at Atlanta in 2005 and Michigan in ’08.
    * Edwards has scored three victories (Las Vegas, Texas, second Atlanta) and five top-10 finishes in the eight races on 1.5-mile tracks in 2008. He posted his third win in nine races at Atlanta and his seventh top-10 finish in nine races there. Edwards won the race from the fourth-place starting position.
    * Edwards posted his fourth win in 47 Chase races. It was his 12th career victory in 102 superspeedway races. He led six times for 98 laps, including the final 16.
    * Roush Fenway Racing posted its sixth Atlanta victory. Its most recent Atlanta victories came in 2005 when Edwards swept both races. It marked Roush Fenway’s 13th Chase victory since ’04, second only to Hendrick Motorsports, which has scored 18 wins in the 47 Chase races.
    * Points leader Jimmie Johnson (second) has scored top-10 finishes in the past nine races, extending a streak that began at California in August. Johnson has led in 27 of the 33 races this season, more than any other driver. He led 28 laps Sunday. Johnson has led 738 laps in the seven Chase races. Matt Kenseth is second in laps led at 327 laps.
    * Jeff Gordon (ninth) has gone 38 races without a victory, his longest streak between victories.
    * Denny Hamlin (third) scored his first top-5 finish in seven races at Atlanta.
    * Kevin Harvick (13th) has been running at the finish in the last 77 races, the longest current streak by any driver.
    * Clint Bowyer (20th) ended a nine-race streak of top-15 finishes that began at the second Bristol race.
    * This was the ninth win for Ford in 2008. Chevrolet and Toyota each have 10 and Dodge has four. The top 10 consisted of five Fords, two Chevrolets, two Toyotas and one Dodge.
    * Michael Waltrip, who made his 1,000th NASCAR start, finished 37th after suffering radio problems, tire issues and a bout with the wall on Lap 168 and an accident on Lap 209.
    * The top five finishers were Chase drivers. Seven of the top 10 were Chasers.
    * Greg Biffle won the first two Chase races, Tony Stewart won at Talladega, Jeff Burton won at Lowe’s, Jimmie Johnson won at Kansas and Martinsville and Carl Edwards won at Atlanta.
    * Six of the 12 Chase drivers each earned lap-leader bonus points at Atlanta by leading at least one lap: Johnson, Edwards, Kenseth, Biffle, Earnhardt Jr. and Hamlin.
    * Eight of the 12 Chase drivers changed positions after Atlanta.
    * Johnson now leads second-place Edwards by 183 points, the biggest lead ever in the Chase (since 2004) with three races remaining.
    * The biggest points deficit overcome with three races remaining occurred in 1990 when Dale Earnhardt was 49 points behind Mark Martin and won that season by 26. * Johnson is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in the first seven races of the Chase. He also is the only Chase driver to lead in all seven Chase races.(ESPN)(10-28-2008)


    News from October 27, 2008

  • Images added added #45 Richard Petty Driving Experience Holiday/Garmin that will be driven at Texas, plus the 2009 #13 Geico and #5 Carquest/Kelloggs images to the Paint Scheme Gallery
  • Mayfield to buy into Truck Team? Jeremy Mayfield told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway Monday that he is negotiating to purchase half of the Billy Ballew Motorsports Craftsman Truck Series team. “Billy and I have been talking for a while now,” said Mayfield. “He’s a great guy, and he has a great team. I’m not sure what’s going to happen on the Cup side yet, but (NASCAR has) the Truck Series sponsor worked out now, and I know it’s going to be around a while.” Mayfield said the plan is for him to purchase the #15 team, with the truck still being fielded out of the Ballew shops. “I would run the #15 truck as a teammate to Billy’s #51. Nothing’s done yet, there are no details done. But it would be fun to go Truck racing. I’ve always wanted to own my own team, and if something comes up on the Cup side of things, maybe I’ll do the deal anyway and put someone else in the Truck.”(Sirius Speedway)(10-27-2008)Comment here
  • NASCAR nixes GEM’s move to Toyota? George Gillett, who bought into Ray Evernham’s Dodge-anchor operation last year [now GEM], has made strong overtures to switch to Toyota. But NASCAR officials have apparently nixed any such move, and that could leave the Bill Davis Toyota team in limbo. Davis has talked for more than a year now about looking for a business partner. The Gillett-Evernham operation has been Dodge’s chief engineering arm in NASCAR, but Penske may now get that nod, and become the engine supplier to teams like the Pettys. Penske already leases Dodge engines to Robby Gordon. Sources say that Penske, who runs one of the country’s largest Toyota dealerships, in Los Angeles, has made overtures about Toyota, and may push for the launch of a satellite Toyota operation next year in order to be prepared for a possible changeover to Toyota in 2010.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2008) Comment here
  • Kodak Marks Conclusion of Motorsports Sponsorships: Eastman Kodak Company is taking another step to realign its corporate sponsorship activity to better support the company’s digital business model. Kodak said today it will conclude its corporate sponsorship of motorsports with NASCAR and Penske Racing effective at the end of 2008. “NASCAR and Penske Racing have been great partners for Kodak. These have been wonderful relationships that have served us well and we celebrate all we have done together,” said Kodak’s Betty Noonan, Director and Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Branding. “Just as we have transformed our company, we are transforming our marketing. We want to express our deepest thanks to our friends at NASCAR and Penske Racing for their partnership and support. We remain big fans and wish them continued success.” In December 2007, Kodak announced a new marketing partnership with the PGA TOUR that includes the Kodak Challenge competition and Kodak branding on digital scoreboards. Noonan added that Kodak is now focusing on opportunities to engage customers in other countries. About 60% of Kodak’s sales are outside the United States. Kodak has been a sponsor of NASCAR since 1986 and Penske Racing since 2004. In 2008, Kodak was a primary sponsor of the #12 Dodge in six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and an associate sponsor on the #3 and #6 Team Penske cars in the IndyCar Series. Kodak has been a part of four Daytona 500 wins, this year with Ryan Newman, in 1994 and 1995 with Sterling Marlin, and in 1991 with Ernie Irvan. To celebrate the Kodak Moments in motorsports, Kodak has posted a story on its A Thousand Words blog at 1000words.kodak.com.(Kodak PR)(10-27-2008) Comment here
  • #45 to Sport RPDE ‘Holiday’ Paint Scheme at Texas: Petty Enterprises announced that the Richard Petty Driving Experience will be the primary sponsor of the #45 Dodge, driven by Chad McCumbee, for the upcoming race at the Texas Motor Speedway along with new partners, TheGPSStore.com and Garmin, the global leader in satellite navigation TheGPSStore.com and Garmin are continuing their long-standing associations with McCumbee. The GPS Store.com, which is headquartered near McCumbee’s hometown of Supply, N.C., has been a primary sponsor of his past Truck Series entries from 2006-2007.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(10-27-2008) Comment here
  • Images added added #45 Richard Petty Driving Experience Holiday/Garmin that will be driven at Texas, plus the 2009 #13 Geico and #5 Carquest/Kelloggs images to the Paint Scheme Gallery
  • Logano to attempt Texas: Joe Gibbs Racing will try yet again to get Joey Logano into one of its cars this season by sending him to Texas Motor Speedway next weekend. Logano has tried three times to race the #02 car in the Sprint Cup Series, but all three qualifying sessions were washed out by rain, including this weekend at Atlanta. In those situations, the 43-car field is determined by the points. Logano, a regular in the Nationwide Series this season, was left out each time. “We’re going to run Texas and there is a possibility that we will add some more to it,” team president J.D. Gibbs said Sunday. “It probably depends on our test schedule and what we’ve got going on.” The 18-year-old phenom has been tabbed to replace Tony Stewart in the #20 ride next season, and JGR is trying to get him as much Cup seat time as possible before his promotion. He’s made two Cup starts this season, both for Hall of Fame Racing, and struggled to finishes of 32nd and 39th. Logano is not yet NASCAR-approved to run the season-opening Daytona 500, and racing at Texas could secure it. But Gibbs thinks Logano’s experience running in the ARCA and Truck Series’ at Talladega earlier this month might be enough. “I think he’s probably done enough,” Gibbs said. “From our standpoint, we’ve talked to NASCAR, too, we want to see him in some more stuff as well. We’re going to run at least one or two more.”(AP/ESPN)(10-27-2008) Comment here

  • Martin to the #5…in 2008? UPDATE 2: hearing that Mark Martin may get started on his ride a few races early and running the #5 Carquest/Kelloggs Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the final four races [Atlanta , Texas, Phoenix, Homestead] of the 2008 Cup season. Casey Mears currently drives the car. Martin is slated to drive the #8 US Army Chevy for DEI in 3 of the 4 final 2008 races, with Aric Almirola in at Phoenix.(8-6-2008)
    UPDATE: during SPEED’s coverage of the first Saturday practice, Larry McReynolds said he had a nugget….Mark Martin will run the final four races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, including the final race at Homestead, but not in the #8 DEI Chevy, but in a Hendrick Chevy, so he could be in the #5 Chevy, meaning we may see Casey Mears in a 4th RCR car [#33?] at Homestead.(10-25-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Hendrick Motorsports is considering a plan that would put Mark Martin in the #5 car for the final race of this season at Homestead Speedway, sources told ESPN.com. Martin will drive the #5 car for Hendrick Motorsports in the 2009 season. A contingency to the plan is getting Casey Mears, the current driver of the #5, into the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing that he will drive next season. But in order to do that Mears likely would have to drive the #33, not the #07 that he is slated to drive because Clint Bowyer is driving that car in the Chase. Richard Childress Racing is willing to put Mears in the #33 car unsponsored as it wants to get him in the race. Martin will be free of his duties in the #8 at Dale Earnhardt Enterprises after the next two races at Texas and Phoenix. He will end his part-time schedule that he has been on for a couple of years to run a full-time schedule for Hendrick Motorsports. Officials from Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing were not immediately available for comment.(ESPN)(10-27-2008) Comment here

  • Woods and HOF? Len and Eddie Wood [#21 Ford] say they’ve got their sponsorship deals in place for 2009, with Ford Motor Company and Motorcraft. But they are noncommittal about reports that the six team owners of the one-car Hall of Fame Racing operation (which runs #96 and is officially owned by Jeff Moorad,) are negotiating with the Woods to become Ford partners next season [Jayski Note: Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Bill Saunders and Mark Griege are no longer part of the ownership group on the #96 as of about a month ago]. Ken Schrader, a former driver for the Woods, is the Moorad team’s current driver. Moorad has been running a Toyota operation this season, with engineering support from Joe Gibbs; but that support contract is apparently up at the end of this season.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-27-2008) Comment here

  • NASCAR takes rear-end housing of #18: NASCAR officials opted to take the rear-end housing of the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup car driven by Kyle Busch to electronically check the measurements following Sunday’s Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. Tharp said that NASCAR does not anticipate there will be a problem with the car, but wanted to check it more closely at the Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.(SceneDaily)(10-27-2008) Comment here

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta:
    Total number of commercials: 124
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 64
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 25
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 5 min. 20 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:02 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:04 PM
    Total minutes: 242
    Minutes of race broadcast: 186
    Minutes of commercials: 56
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 1
    Total race brdcst time 186 Total comm. brdcst time 56
    See more and link to full report on my 2008 Commercials page.(10-27-2008) Comment here

  • Bowyer talks bout new crew chief and car# change: #07-Clint Bowyer met with media [at Atlanta Motor Speedway] and discussed Shane Wilson named as crew chief for ’09, starting on a clean sheet of paper next year, and more:
    ON THE ANNOUNCED PLAN THAT SHANE WILSON WILL BE HIS CREW CHIEF IN 2009.
    “He’s the best man for the job. He’s been around RCR for quite some time. He’s going to fit in well right off the bat. That’s something that’s important. Everybody knows we’ve got to start off at Daytona right out of the box good to be in contention for this Chase. I think he’s the best guy for that and the fit-factor, and he’s organized. He’s got a game plan and that’s what I like about him.”
    WHY WAS THAT DECISION MADE TO HAVE SHANE WILSON BE YOUR CREW CHIEF AND NOT GIL MARTIN?
    “It’s for the betterment of our organization. Bringing a fourth team in and moving me over to the #33 car in the long haul, that’s going to be better for me. It’s going to bring more income in, more resources. When we go test, it’s another car I can pull information from. In the long haul looking forward it’s going to be a lot better.”
    A LOT OF FANS THINK THE #07 IS JUST GOING TO SWITCH OVER, PUT NEW UNIFORMS ON, AND TAKE THE POINTS OF THE ’07, BUT YOU GUYS ARE STARTING ON A CLEAN SHEET OF PAPER
    “Yeah, it is what it is. You’ve got to make the best out of it and we will. We’re going to make the Chase and hopefully we can get all four of us in it.”(GM Racing PR)(10-27-2008) Comment here

News from October 26, 2008

  • Edwards wins at Atlanta: #99-Carl Edwards won the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his 7th win of the season and the 14th of his career. #48-Johnson came back from a speeding penalty and being a lap down, getting the lucky dog and finishing 2nd, followed by #11-Hamlin, #17-Kenseth, #18-Busch, #2-Busch, #26-McMurray, #6-Ragan, #24-Gordon and #16-Biffle. There were 10 cautions for 43 laps and 18 lead changes among 8 leaders.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Atlanta Race Results Awards Page.(10-26-2008)
  • UNOFFICIAL Chase Driver Points Standings [after Atlanta race 33 of 36]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6248 [6 wins]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 6065 -183 [7 wins]
    3) #16-Greg Biffle 6063 -185 [2 wins]
    4) #31-Jeff Burton 6030 -218 [2 wins]
    5) #29-Kevin Harvick 5941 -307
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 5936 -312
    7) #07-Clint Bowyer 5934 -314 [1 win]
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 5847 -401 [1 win]
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth 5835 -413
    10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5829 -419 [1 win]
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin 5823 -425 [1 win]
    12) #18-Kyle Busch 5783 -465 [8 wins]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Atlanta.(10-26-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Classic Driver Points Standings [after Atlanta race 33 of 36]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4784 [6 wins]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 4686 -98 [7 wins]
    3) #18-Kyle Busch 4581 -203 [8 wins]
    4) #31-Jeff Burton 4404 -380 [2 wins]
    5) #16-Greg Biffle 4343 -441 [2 wins]
    6) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4307 -477 [1 win]
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 4224 -560
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon 4157 -627
    9) #20-Tony Stewart 4132 -652 [1 win]
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin 4048 -736 [1 win]
    11) #07-Clint Bowyer 4040 -744 [1 win]
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth 3967 -817
    13) #6-David Ragan 3944 -840
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 3720 -1064 [2 wins]
    (10-26-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Texas:
    No drop in or out of top 35, #7 moves up to 34th and #84 down to 35th and the spread is larger, 80 pts ahead of 36th
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    33) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 2606 +160
    34) #7-Gordon/RGM: 2551 +105
    35) #84-Speed/Red Bull Racing: 2526 80 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #47[was #00]-Ambrose/Waltrip Racing: 2446, 80 points out of 35th
    37) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 2396 -130
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(10-26-2008)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Atlanta: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver a lap down
    Caution 2: #78-Nemechek, 42nd
    Caution 3: #38-Gilliland, 27th
    Caution 4: #48-Johnson, 2nd
    Caution 5: #16-Biffle, 10th
    Caution 6: #6-Ragan, 8th
    Caution 7: #31-Burton, 18th
    Caution 8: #12-Newman, 16th
    Caution 9: #10-Allmendinger, 14th
    Caution 8: #20-Stewart, 17th
    (10-26-2008)
  • Atlanta Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #77 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 3
    2 #21 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 3
    3 #77 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 3
    4 #21 Pulling up to pit OL 5
    5 #77 Pulling up to pit OL 5
    6 #66 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 35
    7 #48 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 89
    8 #84 Excessive speed – Exiting pits PT 90
    9 #22 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 112
    10 #9 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 132
    11 #55 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 134
    12 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 209
    13 #55 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 245
    14 #29 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 254
    15 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 254
    16 #55 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 254
    17 #21 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 255
    18 #7 Commitment Line Violation TE 255
    19 #22 Commitment Line Violation TE 255
    20 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 289
    21 #55 Safety violation MCI 299
    22 #83 Car/truck pitting out of the assigned pit box OL 299
    23 #41 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 303
    24 #42 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 303
    25 #78 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 303
    26 #31 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 304
    27 #66 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 305
    28 #47 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 307
    29 #31 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 313
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-26-2008)
  • Winning streaks in jeopardy: Drivers with a streak of consecutive seasons with at least one win a year thru 2007 and need to win in the last four races to keep their streak going
    seasons streak, driver, last win/track listed:
    14, Jeff Gordon, Charlotte, October 2007
    6, Matt Kenseth, Homestead, November 2007
    2, Kevin Harvick, Daytona, February 2007
    1, Casey Mears, Charlotte, May 2007
    1, Martin Truex Jr., Dover, June 2007
    1, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sonoma, June 2007
    1, Jamie McMurray, Daytona, July 2007
    See the list of streaks on my Alltime/Active Wins Page – Streaks section.(10-26-2008)
  • Interesting Streak: The past three winners of the fall race at Atlanta Motor Speedway have won at Texas Motor Speedway the following week [all three years since Texas got a 2nd date in 2005]. The year and winner: #48-Jimmie Johnson in 2007; #20-Tony Stewart; and #99-Carl Edwards.in 2005.(10-26-2008)
  • Testing changes to be announced soon? UPDATE: NASCAR hasn’t delineated the exact testing policy [for the Sprint Cup Series], but apparently it will allow teams to test at any of the tour tracks, for a total of about 24 days a team per season. There are 22 tracks on the tour, so teams should be able to test everywhere.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2008)
    UPDATE: NASCAR VP of Communications Jim Hunter said the sanctioning body is rethinking the 24-day testing schedule given the current economic conditions. Testing has to make financial sense for the haves as well as the have-nots.(FoxSports)(10-26-2008) Comment here
  • Harvick Donates Van to Former NASCAR Nationwide Champ Ard: Kevin Harvick presented former NASCAR champion driver Sam Ard [see samard.com] with the van that was used in the Shell fuels commercial featuring the #29 Shell-Pennzoil driver and the “Passionate Experts” from Shell at Atlanta Motor Speedway today. Ard, who won the NASCAR Nationwide Series title in 1983 and 1984, has been battling Alzheimer’s disease and facing financial woes. The former champion was 66 years old when he was first diagnosed with the disease. Doctors believe that that the onset of the disease was likely quickened by severe head injuries Ard sustained in a career-ending accident in 1984. Despite missing the final event of that season, he still won the championship by more than 400 points. In addition, Ard’s wife Jo has been diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease that is slowly taking her vision. “Sam Ard has been a huge part of NASCAR and an inspiration in my career,” said Harvick. “A lot of people don’t understand how hard those guys raced and how different it was back then. Those guys spent everything they won on racing and I am just happy that we are able to help Sam because none of us would be able to do what we love to do if it weren’t for guys like Sam Ard.”
    In just three seasons as a competitor in the Nationwide Series, Ard recorded an astonishing 22 wins, 24 poles, 67 top-five and 80 top-10 finishes. He had 10 wins in the 1983 season alone. Ironically, in 2006, Harvick chased Ard’s record for most wins in a season but fell one victory short before the season ended as he went on to claim his second Nationwide Series championship. The donated Chevrolet van was used in the Shell fuels commercial that has run throughout the 2008 season. The commercial featured the driver of the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet and the Shell “Passionate Experts.” The Shell pit crew along with the experts, were trying to pull a prank on Harvick by disassembling what they thought was the two-time Nationwide Series champion’s van. The experts realize the vehicle they tore apart wasn’t Harvick’s as he drives away in another van identical to the one they dismantled. After the commercial shoot was completed, professional mechanics put the van back to its original state and Shell, along with Harvick, decided to present it to Ard.
    The NASCAR Foundation and Motor Racing Outreach have partnered together for an online auction to raise additional funds for the Sam Ard Fund more info on my Racing Charities page.(RCR PR)(10-26-2008)
  • Petty covers #45 up on his cap during TV show UPDATE to honor Adam: This weekend, Tradin’ Paint [SPEED] welcomed [NASCAR Scene] reporter Bob Pockrass back to the program in Atlanta as the media guest. It was cold outside and Kyle Petty wore a Petty Enterprises jacket and a black baseball hat for his #45 car and its sponsors. Only this week, TV viewers saw that something was different. Petty had a black band firmly placed right through the numbers on the front of his baseball hat. It was clear for all to see that the #45 car that Kyle had clung-to in memory of his late son Adam was no longer his. The frustration emerged on a day when it was reported that Boston Ventures CEO David Zucker had said the company [Pettty Enterprises] would field two cars for 2009, but that Kyle Petty was not going to be involved with either effort. “Part-time if a sponsor could be found” was the phrase used to describe Petty’s future opportunities. Petty’s words on that topic came out during a Tradin’ Paint discussion about mergers. “I have not seen an acquisition help any team in the sport yet,” said Petty about the new wave of outside investors. “I have not seen Boston Ventures help Petty Enterprises be more competitive now than what they were at the beginning of the year. When you look at it and ask what do they get (in mergers), I don’t have a clue what they get,” continued Petty. “You are taking two organizations who are falling or stable and just putting them together. Sometimes, warm water and warm water (combined) just gets colder.”(Daly Planet)(10-26-2008)
    UPDATE: Kyle Petty is wearing a black band over the #45 on hats he is wearing to honor his son, Adam Petty, who died in 2000 during Busch Series practice at New Hampshire. Petty said it was his son Austin’s idea and should not be construed as a statement against new Petty Enterprises majority owner Boston Ventures. “When Adam was killed and Austin said lets put a black band across [the number],” Petty said Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “If you live in our neighborhood, you’ll see hundreds of these numbers [with black bands] on cars around our neighborhood. … When I started driving the 45, I said I drive the 45 and that’s Adam’s car and I didn’t even put my name on that car. So since I’m not driving the 45 as much, Austin about a month ago said, ‘Why don’t you go back and wear that hat again.’ And I thought, ‘Good idea.’ All I did was switch back since I’m not driving the 45 full time. Austin’s opinion was, and I deferred to him, that it was Adam’s number and Adam’s car and now you’re not in it, let’s go back and close the personal door. It’s a personal thing. It’s not a statement. It’s not anything other than that.” Petty had said earlier in the weekend that Boston Ventures, which bought its stake in the organization in June, had not helped the competitive side yet of the teams. Petty said Sunday that he was trying to explain that none of the mergers have helped on the competitive side and Boston Ventures had only been with the organization for four months.(SceneDaily)(10-26-2008)


    News from October 25, 2008

  • Pit Stall Selections have been made for the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, #48-Johnson got to choose first since he will start from the pole due to rained out qualifying, and took stall #1, #16-Biffle, who starts 2nd, took stall #21, the next pit with an opening in front of it and #31-Biffle, who starts 3rd took stall #20, the first stall with an opening behind it. #17-Kenseth [starts 10th] took the final pit stall. See who took what stall on my Atlanta Pit Stall selections page.(10-25-2008) Comment here
  • Happy Hour Practice for the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #99-Edwards 181.776
    #15-Menard 180.710
    #29-Harvick 180.669
    #8-Martin 180.628
    #16-Biffle 179.977
    slowest: #22-Blaney 171.667 and #70-Raines 172.834
    See speeds, laps run on my Atlanta Practice Speeds page.(10-25-2008)
  • Saturday Practice for the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #99-Edwards 184.726
    #29-Harvick 182.189
    #18-Busch 181.046
    #24-Gordon 180.981
    #17-Kenseth 180.981
    slowest: #70-Raines 174.192 and #45-McCumbee 174.807
    See speeds, ave speed, laps run on my Atlanta Practice Speeds page.(10-25-2008)
  • Newman becomes 19th driver to win a race in all National series: When Ryan Newman won the Truck Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, October 25th, he became the 19th driver to win at least one race in the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Craftsman Truck Series race [the three National Series]. Newman has won 13 Cup races, 7 NNS races and 1 CTS race for a total of 21. See the full list of 19 drivers who have won on my Misc Stats page – All 3 wins section.(10-25-2008)
  • Martin to the #5…in 2008? UPDATE: hearing that Mark Martin may get started on his ride a few races early and running the #5 Carquest/Kelloggs Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the final four races [Atlanta , Texas, Phoenix, Homestead] of the 2008 Cup season. Casey Mears currently drives the car. Martin is slated to drive the #8 US Army Chevy for DEI in 3 of the 4 final 2008 races, with Aric Almirola in at Phoenix.(8-6-2008)
    UPDATE: during SPEED’s coverage of the first Saturday practice, Larry McReynolds said he had a nugget….Mark Martin will run the final four races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, including the final race at Homestead, but not in the #8 DEI Chevy, but in a Hendrick Chevy, so he could be in the #5 Chevy, meaning we may see Casey Mears in a 4th RCR car [#33?] at Homestead.(10-25-2008) Comment here
  • Latest on the possible GM-Chrysler merger: the ragged U.S. economy and slumping car sales are leading General Motors to the brink of what looks like a buyout of Chrysler, which has NASCAR’s 11 Dodge teams [#’s 2,7,9,10,12,19,41,42,43,45,77] on pins and needles. One Detroit source says he senses the merger as inevitable and says that merger could really shake up the NASCAR garage, because rival car makers GM, Ford and Toyota may be quite unlikely to want to pick up any new NASCAR teams. George Gillett has been looking at buying Bill Davis’ Toyota team and becoming a three-team Toyota operation; however there now appears to be a major stumbling block to any such move by Gillett – Toyota itself. There are also worries that when the 2009 season dawns at Daytona there will be only 30 teams with full-time non-factory corporate sponsorship.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-25-2008)
  • Roush’s #6 & AMS to honor soldier: Roush Fenway Racing will honor Sgt. William P. Rudd this weekend by placing a decal in honor of his memory on the #6 AAA Ford Fusion at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Additionally, Atlanta Motor Speedway has donated 200 tickets for members of Sgt. Rudd’s unit to attend Sunday’s Sprint Cup event. Sgt. Rudd died on October 5, 2008 while on combat patrol in Mosul, Iraq. This was the same raid in which U.S. soldiers killed the alleged #2 leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Qaswarah. Sgt. Rudd, originally from Madisonville, Ky., joined the Army on October 2, 2003 and was a member of the U.S. Army Rangers, an elite special operations troop. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Ft. Benning, Ga. and had previously been deployed twice to Afghanistan and five times to Iraq. His story was told to Jack Roush by Roush’s friend Don Bowles who also hails from Madisonville, Ky. Instantly, Roush knew he wanted to not only honor the fallen soldier, but celebrate the homecoming of his unit. In his five years of service, Sgt. Rudd was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Army Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. He is expected posthumously to receive the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal and Meritorious Service Medal.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(10-25-2008) Comment here
  • Jeff Burton promotes safe teen driving: On Thursday, a group of Luella High School underclassmen got positive reinforcement about driving safety from veteran NASCAR driver Jeff Burton. Burton visited the school enroute to the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He will run his #31 AT&T Mobility Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in hopes of winning Sunday’s Pep Boys Auto 500. “Driving safely is so important, and this is the place where all the young drivers are,” Burton said. “It’s just a great opportunity [to promote safe driving].” Burton, a driver-safety advocate with AT&T, has visited high schools around the country for the past two years, urging students and would-be new drivers of their driving responsibilities. He was at Luella early Thursday afternoon. “Every year, high schools across the county lose students because of car accidents,” Burton said. “It’s really, really important for you guys to understand [driving …], with it comes a huge responsibility.” He told his teenage audience that he experienced the loss of friends, and injuries to family members in preventable automobile accidents. He urged teens to use sound judgment, common sense and adhere to the rules of driving, to avoid fates similar to people he knew. According to the Teen Driving Council, one in three teen drivers has an accident in the first year of receiving a license, and a teenager is injured in a car crash every 55 seconds, and killed every 6.5 minutes. Crashes continue to rank as the top cause of death among children and young adults. “Anytime you have a celebrity push the same message that we try to, it’s important,” added Principal Eckerle. “With Jeff Burton speaking about it, the message becomes even stronger.”(Henry Daily Record)(10-25-2008) Comment here
  • #99 Hauler Driver wins the 2008 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge: Pilot Travel Centers announced the winner of the 2008 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge. Bob Decker, transport driver for the #99 Office Depot team from Roush Fenway racing, was awarded $50,000 for capturing the 2008 title. He narrowly defeated Peter Jellen, Joe Gibbs Racing and Tom McCrimmon, Joe Gibbs Racing who both tied for second place, receiving $12,500 each. The yearlong competition is open to all NASCAR Sprint cup transport drivers and promotes safe and responsible driving on the highways, offering over $75,000 in cash and prizes. Throughout the competition, participants were judged in various categories including safety quizzes, a DOT check and chicane courses designed to test driving skills. “This competition is designed to encourage and inspire the professional truck driver. Pilot recognizes their commitment to this sport, as well as to this nation’s economy,” shared Mark Hazelwood, executive vice of Pilot Travel Centers. Decker revealed top-notch driving abilities and skill level as a professional truck driver by exhibiting perfect driving scores in three out of four chicane courses. He also showcased his knowledge by scoring the highest on the total of three safety quizzes. “Bob Decker has been an efficient and reliable transport driver for Roush Fenway for several years. I am pleased to hear that he has won the Pilot Truck Driver Challenge Award, but not surprised. His pleasant demeanor has made the #99 transporter a welcoming place for employees and sponsors alike. He is a valued employee and is truly worthy of this award,” stated Jack Roush, team owner. The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge will return in 2009, giving Pilot Travel Centers the opportunity to honor the hardest working members of any race team, the professional truck driver.(Marketing 500 PR)(10-25-2008) Comment here


    News from October 24, 2008

  • Qualifying for the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway has been cancelled due to rain and a wet track. The field was set by the rules book [owners pts top 35, 2007 owners win, past champ and race attempts], so #48-Johnson will start first followed by #16-Biffle, #31-Burton, #99-Edwards, #07-Burton, #29-Harvick, #24-Gordon, #20-Stewart, #88-Earnhardt Jr. and #17-Kenseth. Two drivers will miss the race, #02-Logano and #40-Clauson. This is the 10th time in the 2008 season where rain washed out qualifying. See the starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying page. For weather links, see my Atlanta Race Info page.(10-24-2008)
  • Practice for the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway finally began after a 2 hours, 15 minute delay. The fastest after 8 minutes, then a mist rolled in and it has been red-flagged:
    #12-Newman 187.900
    #16-Biffle 1850536
    #6-Ragan 184.302
    #99-Edwards 183.966
    #55-Waltrip 183.673
    28 of the 45 drivers have made a run
    after 8 minutes, a light mist started and has halted practice
    see the cancelled practice speeds on my Atlanta Practice Speeds page.(10-24-2008)
  • Rain out winners: so far in 32 2008 races and 33 qualifying sessions, there have been TEN qualifying sessions rained out, supposedly the most ever. In the nine races run, all nine winners have come from the top 10 starting spot:
    California, February: winner #99-Edwards started 9th, #48-Johnson started 1st finished 2nd
    Bristol, March: #31-Burton 8th, #48-Johnson 18th
    Michigan, June: #88-Earnhardt Jr. 3rd; #18-Busch 13th
    Chicago, July: #18-Busch 1st
    Watkins Glen: August, #18-Busch 1st
    Richmond, September: #48-Johnson 3rd; #18-Busch 15th
    New Hampshire, September: #16-Biffle 9th, #18-Busch 34th
    Charlotte, October: winner #31-Burton 4th, #48-Johnson 6th
    Martinsville, October: winner #48-Johnson 1st
    Atlanta, October: #48-Johnson started 1st
    (10-24-2008)
  • added #18 Halloween M&M’s#19 Ronald McDonald House Charities#38 FCC/Digital TV Transition and #28 All Sport and the 2009 #48 Lowe’s diecast image.(10-24-2008)
  • Kyle Busch not at the track: during SPEED’s Truck Series rain delayed practice coverage, it was mentioned that Kyle Busch is not yet at the track as his helicopter can’t get to the track yet due to the weather, so Mark Martin is standing by to practice Busch’s truck at Atlanta Motor Speedway, if the trucks make it to the track.
    UPDATE: just after 3pm/et, SPEED showed Busch walking into the garage area.(10-24-2008)
  • Red Bull fires supervisor, reprimands others: Red Bull Racing has fired a supervisor and reprimanded several other employees for their involvement in the violation that resulted in major points penalties and suspensions for Brian Vickers’ team [see #83 Team Page for the penalty news], general manager Jay Frye said on Friday. Vickers was fined 150 driver points and crew chief Kevin Hamlin was indefinitely suspended and fined $100,000 after NASCAR officials determined during a random post-race inspection at Martinsville that the sheet metal did not meet the minimum thickness specifications. Frye said Hamlin and Vickers had no knowledge of the violation that also resulted in the indefinite suspension of car chief Craig Smokstad and the loss of 150 owner points to Dietrich Mateschitz. “It was an isolated incident and somebody made the decision without the appropriate people knowing,” Frye said. “These people are good veteran guys. They should have known better. They just made a poor decision. There’s too much at risk and NASCAR has very much of a zero tolerance on these cars. We know that.” Frye said the sheet metal was not dipped in acid as originally reported, but it simply was a thinner grade that he estimated lightened the car by two or three pounds. He said procedures are being put in place to make sure such an incident doesn’t happen again. Frye said NASCAR has given no indication of whether the suspensions will spill over into next season. And while he sees the suspensions as a setback, he is confident interim crew chief Randy Cox will fill in nicely.(ESPN)(10-24-2008) Comment here
  • Papis to run some 2009 Cup races with Germain UPDATE: Sirius Speedway has learned that GEICO Insurance will team with Italian road course expert Max Papis to run as many as 18 Sprint Cup Series races next season, in Toyotas fielded by Germain Motorsports. GEICO currently sponsors veteran Mike Wallace on the Nationwide Series, but cannot remain in NASCAR’s number two series beyond 2009, due to language in the sanctioning body’s contract with major sponsor, Nationwide. They can, however, move to either the Sprint Cup or Truck ranks. Wallace said recently that he is already looking for a new backer, adding, “We have an indication of what (GEICO is) going to do, (and) for me to continue to race in years to come, I’ve got to go find another sponsor.” A spokesperson for Germain Motorsports declined to comment earlier today.(Sirius Speedway/Motorsports Soapbox)(9-10-2008)
    UPDATE: Former open-wheel star Max Papis is set to run a limited Sprint Cup schedule with Germain Racing and sponsorship from Geico in 2009. Papis is expected to run 18 races in Cup next year, Papis’ agent Doug Barnette confirmed Friday afternoon. An official announcement is expected Monday. Geico has posted a pair of videos online with Papis, including one that says he is “the new Geico driver” for Sprint Cup. The car pictured is a #13 Sprint Cup car. Papis tested a Toyota Camry with Germain Racing this past week at Kentucky Speedway. Geico sponsored Mike Wallace at Germain Racing in the Nationwide Series but NASCAR required the company to leave that series after this season because of a conflict with the title sponsor.(SceneDaily)(10-24-2008) Comment here
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities Featured on #19 at AMS UPDATE: Elliott Sadler’s #19 Dodge will feature a Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) paint scheme this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway in support of World Children’s Day at McDonald’s. This year, participating McDonald’s restaurants will offer customers the opportunity to Give A Hand by donating a small amount to personalize and post a paper hand that symbolizes their support. In addition, in the U.S. on November 20, participating restaurants will donate $1 from the sale of select menu items to RMHC. In addition, from November 10 – 20, customers in the U.S. can help support RMHC through the “Give a Hand” in-restaurant program. For each hand sold, $1 will go to support RMHC. Started in 2002, World Children’s Day at McDonald’s is the company’s largest annual fundraiser for children. The #19 Ronald McDonald House Charities Dodge will run “Thank You Paul Newman 1925 – 2008” on the rear panel of the racecar. Paul Newman, a former IndyCar team owner, actor and philanthropist, began supplying McDonald’s with Newman’s Own all-natural salad dressing in March 2003. McDonald’s, as a Newman’s Own customer, enabled Paul Newman to donate additional profits to charity through the exclusive agreement. Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $250 million to thousands of educational and charitable purposes worldwide since 1982. In 2005, Newman accepted the Ronald McDonald House Charities Award of Excellence on behalf of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps.(GEM PR)(10-23-2008)
    UPDATE – Image: on Friday #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Elliott Sadler, of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, combined efforts to help raise awareness for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), benefitting programs to support children and families in need around the world. Kasey Kahne, founder of the Kasey Kahne Foundation, donated $150,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities to support its three core programs: Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. Kahne is a long-time supporter of RMHC, donating $500,000 to date.
    In addition to Kahne’s donation, Elliott Sadler announced he will drive an RMHC-themed race car this weekend, during the Sprint Cup Series race in Atlanta, to help raise awareness for the Charity and World Children’s Day at McDonald’s – the company’s largest annual fundraiser for RMHC. The race car will also feature a special tribute to Paul Newman – famous philanthropist, race car enthusiast and long-time supporter of the Charity. The #19 Ronald McDonald House Charities Dodge will run “Thank You Paul Newman 1925 – 2008” on the rear panel of the race car. Since 1982, Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation have given over $250 million to thousands of educational and charitable purposes worldwide.(CSRwire) See an image of the scheme on my #19 Team Schemes page.(10-24-2008)
  • Ambrose to drive final four Cup races: In preparation for Sprint Cup Series competition in a Toyota in 2009 with JTG-Daugherty Racing, Marcos Ambrose has agreed to drive the final four races of the season for Michael Waltrip Racing. The Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) Toyota team, which has carried the #00 this season, will switch to car #47 for remainder of 2008, starting this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway [as previously announced]. JTG-Daugherty, co-owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter and former NBA All-Star Brad Daugherty, will field Toyotas through a technical alliance with MWR in 2009 for Ambrose, carrying sponsors Kingsford Charcoal, Clorox, Bush’s Baked Beans and Little Debbie [see image of the schemes on my 2009 #47 Team Schemes page]. Frank Kerr, who has been named Ambrose’s crew chief for the JTG-Daugherty entry in 2009, will serve as crew chief for the remaining MWR races this season. In 2009, JTG-Daugherty Racing will operate out of MWR’s 140,000-square foot facility in Cornelius, North Carolina, and receive cars, engineering, mechanical and other technical support from MWR’s existing infrastructure.(MWR PR)(10-24-2008) Comment here
  • 1992…4 races to go, large points lead…and: Martinsville marked Jimmie Johnson’s 13th career victory in the Chase. No one has squandered a lead of 149 points in the final four races since the Chase was implemented in 2004. However, in 1992, Bill Elliott led Alan Kulwicki by 144 with four races remaining, but Kulwicki managed to come from third to first in the standings. Elliott had led then-runnerup Davey Allison by 67.(NASCAR This Week)(10-24-2008) Comment here
  • Car counts not changing: from the NASCAR Teleconference Transcript – Truck Series Sponsor Announcement, an interview with NASCAR’s chairman and CEO, Brian France:
    Q. Brian, is there any consideration whatsoever at NASCAR in the Sprint Cup Series of reducing the size of the field in 2009?
    BRIAN FRANCE: #We’ve had some events, many events, where we’ve had to send cars home. Obviously in the last 10 or 12 weeks, you’re seeing some of the cars on the fringe there that aren’t making it to the events. But still we expect full fields in 2009.(NASCAR)(10-24-2008) Comment here
  • Newman could break Atlanta pole record: Should #12-Ryan Newman claim the pole during Friday’s Hot Shot Qualifying Night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Newman would surpass his mentor, Buddy Baker, with eight-career pole wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Currently tied with Baker at seven poles. More info about poles, records, all time pole list and 2008 poles, see my All Time Pole Wins page.(10-24-2008) Comment here
  • Jim Beam back on the #7 at Atlanta: The #7 Jim Beam Dodge returns to racing action this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Before Robby Gordon makes a lap around the 1.54-mile track in his Dodge Charger, he will help Jim Beam and the National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) raise awareness about the success of DWI Courts in Georgia on Friday, October 24th at the Georgia State Capital Building. With more than 170,000 people killed by drunk drivers in the United States each year, Beam Global and NCDC have joined forces to bring national attention to the effectiveness of the DWI Courts in addressing drunk driving, and Gordon serves as spokesman on the issue.(RGM PR)(10-24-2008) Comment here
  • Jeff Gordon heading to 20,000 laps led: Another milestone – 20,000 career laps led – is well within reach for #24-Jeff Gordon this Sunday in the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Gordon, who is currently eighth all-time with 19,880 laps led, can surpass Rusty Wallace for seventh on that list if he leads 93 laps this Sunday. Tack on another 27 and Gordon reaches 20,000. While Gordon is well shy of Richard Petty’s total of 52,194, he holds a commanding lead over the nearest “active” competitor in that category – future teammate Mark Martin – who ranks 11th with 11,560. See the top 30 lap leaders on my MISC Stats page.(10-24-2008)
  • Chase Stats going into Atlanta: In the very first Chase in 2004, Kurt Busch [then in the #97 Ford] built his lead to 96 points as he went to Atlanta for race #7. At Atlanta, Busch blew an engine and Jimmie Johnson (entering the race down 207) won the race, and the Chase was on, although Busch ended up edging Johnson by 8 points. Johnson’s convincing win at Martinsville gives him a Chase record 149 point lead over Greg Biffle with four races to go. If Johnson gains just 13 more points on second over the next three races, he need only start the Homestead race to ice his third straight title. Johnson used a second at Lowes in race #5 as a springboard to his first title in 2006. Counting the last six races of ’06, the 07 Chase and the first six races of the ’08 chase, consider these stats:
    Top 10 finishes in 20 of 22 races
    No finish worse than 14th
    15 Top Five finishes in 22 races
    14 Podium finishes (1st, 2nd or 3rd)
    7 wins in 22 races
    Carl Edwards posted a career best 3rd at Martinsville and still lost 30 points to the leader. However, he gained ground on Greg Biffle and Jeff Burton and is still in striking distance if Johnson and the #48 have some uncharacteristic trouble. Although he’s essentially out of the title hunt, Dale Earnhardt Jr. made a strong showing with a second at Martinsville and gained some margin on a spot at the NY banquet as only the top-10 drivers go to the banquet. Matt Kenseth took 10th place from Denny Hamlin and how has a 12-point lead on Hamlin in 11th. Kyle Busch fell all the way from 9th to last, now 37 points out of Kenseth. See more stats on my Chase Stats after Martinsville page and check out the 2008 Chase News/Stats page.(10-24-2008)
  • Atlanta Goodyear Tire Notes: Based on two tire tests held at Atlanta Motor Speedway since the Sprint Cup race at the track in March, Goodyear has brought a new right-side tire for this Sunday’s event . . . only teams in the Sprint Cup Series will be running the new right-side tire code, while those in the Craftsman Truck Series will be running the same tire combination as in March . . . this being the second COT race at Atlanta, Goodyear improved its tire recommendation through tests at AMS held on July 21-22 and September 16 . . . both tests were handled by the same three teams in order to keep continuity and build off early results . . . those teams were the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Kyle Busch), #28 Yates Racing Ford (Travis Kvapil) and #66 Haas-CNC Racing Chevy (Scott Riggs) . . . while Goodyear will bring the same left-side tire code as in March (D-4152), the new right-side tire code (D-4188) will help give cars more grip while maintaining good wear characteristics for Atlanta’s abrasive racing surface . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams will 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 window is every 50-54 laps, based on fuel mileage. See codes, pressures and more on my Atlanta Race Info Page.(10-24-2008)


    News from October 23, 2008

  • Martinsville Final TV Ratings down: ABC’s live coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Martinsville Speedway earned a final national rating of 3.3, down from last year’s 3.7, also aired on ABC. The race had an average viewership of 3,776,618. Through six races, ratings in the Males ages 35-54 demographic are up five percent in ABC’s coverage of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as compared to last year.(ESPN)(10-23-2008). See more about TV Ratings on my 2008 TV Ratings pageComment here
  • Atlanta Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 19 TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Hornish Jr. took top rookie honors for the ninth time this season and was credited with a 34th-place finish in the race. #01-Regan Smith and #77-Sam Hornish Jr. are tied for the lead (192-192) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 26 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Since 1975, Kenny Irwin is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole at the fall race in Atlanta. Irwin grabbed the top spot for the 1998 Pep Boys Auto 500. 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. Earnhardt also holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the Pep Boys Auto 500, leading six times for 69 laps.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), for rookie standings, history and more, see my 2008 Rookies Page.(10-23-2008)
  • Camping World to sponsor Truck Series: NASCAR announced today that Camping World will be the title sponsor for the NASCAR Truck Series beginning in 2009. Camping World replaces longtime series sponsor Craftsman, which had been the sole title sponsor since the inception of the NASCAR Truck Series in 1995. The seven-year agreement gives Camping World the exclusive rights to sponsor the series, which features 25 points events at 23 tracks across North America. All NASCAR Camping World Truck Series [NCWTS] races will be broadcast live on SPEED or FOX.. Camping World will continue its successful relationship with Kevin Harvick Inc., RCR, ISC, SMI, Dover Motorsports, ESPN, SPEED and its title sponsorship of the NASCAR Camping World East and West Series through 2009 (NASCAR PR)(10-23-2008)
  • Waltrip Set to Make 1,000th Career NASCAR Start at Atlanta: #55-Michael Waltrip will make his 1,000th NASCAR start at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he starts the #55 NAPA Toyota for the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Sunday, Oct. 26. After finishing 18th in Martinsville in his 999th-combined NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series start, Waltrip returns to Atlanta for number 1,000, where he has eight career top-10 finishes.
    Stats: After Atlanta Waltrip will have 722 Cup starts [4 wins], 270 Nationwide starts [11 wins] and 8 Truck Series starts [0 wins]. Check out a full story on Waltrip’s career at NASCAR.comand more at MichaelWaltrip.com.(10-23-2008) Comment here
  • Kyle Busch says what? joke? Last week on the Big D & Bubba Show show, #18-Kyle Busch talked a little NASCAR, discussing everything from the hatred of fans to a certain little physical altercation between Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards. Kyle had some interesting thoughts on that fight, saying that Harvick is “one of the biggest hotheads” in Sprint Cup, and Edwards is “probably on more juice than Barry Bonds.” Jayski note: after listening to the interview on Monday, it sounded like Busch was joking and Big D & Bubba asked him briefly about it, Busch laughed and said “I said probably” and it was never brought up after that or later in the interview. I had not planned to post anything as it seemed to all be taken out of context, but folks are asking about it, so see/hear more at the links on bigdandbubba.com.(10-23-2008) Comment here about the Busch interview
  • Petty’s Loomis talks about Dodge & mergers: from a Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript:
    Q: WHERE DOES PETTY ENTERPRISES STAND WITH REGARDS TO A MERGER?
    ROBBIE LOOMIS: We’re very committed to Dodge at Petty Enterprises. If you read the news out there, everybody is talking to everyone about our merger. As the future unfolds, we all have to be smart on how we pay attention to how we operate and is there ways that we can be more efficient as we grow. That’s what will drive the decision of the future.
    Q: IN REGARD TO MERGERS, FOR PETTY ENTERPRISES, IS THIS SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE?
    LOOMIS: It’s a tough question. I think that our number one thing is…..in 2008 we wanted to move into a new shop. We wanted to move to Charlotte. We wanted to bring in an investor with Boston Ventures. We’ve got a new CEO in David Zucker. We have been looking at things…I know as I have the last couple years…we kind of saw that we were two cars and we wanted to get to four because years ago, NASCAR said there needs to be a four-car team. Then all of a sudden the landscaping is kind of changing and there are a lot of alliances. Before, a one or two car team was trying to hook on another two car team. Now, you’re seeing a four-car team and two-car team that want to attach to them and maybe grow to a four-car team to attach to that.(Dodge Motorsports PR)(10-23-2008) Comment here
  • Johnson has the highest winning % of active drivers: By winning at Martinsville on Sunday, #48-Jimmie Johnson passed #24-Jeff Gordon on the all-time list for Cup Series win percentage. Johnson has 39 victories in 251 career starts, pushing his winning percentage to 15.54%. Gordon’s percentage stands at 14.87% (81 wins in 541 starts.) Overall, Johnson is eighth all-time in win percentage [drivers with over 100 starts]:
    1. Herb Thomas — 21.05% (48 wins, 228 starts)
    2. Tim Flock — 20.86% (38/187)
    3. David Pearson — 18.26% (105/574)
    4. Richard Petty — 16.89% (200/1184)
    5. Fred Lorenzen — 16.46% (26/158)
    6. Fireball Roberts — 16.02% (33/206)
    7. Junior Johnson — 15.97% (50/313)
    8. Jimmie Johnson — 15.54% (39/251)
    9. Jeff Gordon — 14.97% (81/541)
    10. Cale Yarborough — 14.82% (83 / 560)
    (stats from Racing-reference.info and NASCAR Statistics)(10-23-2008)
  • Halloween colors for Kyle Busch at AMS: Kyle Busch’s #18 M&M’s Toyota will feature a special Halloween M&M’s paint scheme in the Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in celebration of Halloween on Friday, Oct. 31, and to promote the M&M’s Halloween Millions contest. Busch will participate in the NASCAR Foundation Track Walk Sunday morning in Atlanta and walk alongside the children of the Carrie Steele-Pitts Home orphanage located in Atlanta, a charity supported by the Kyle Busch Foundation (KBF). The children will stick around and cheer Busch on during the Pep Boys Auto 500, compliments of the NASCAR Foundation and Busch.(Elevation Group PR), see my #18 Team Schemes page for an image of the scheme.(10-23-2008)
  • So how is the Budweiser Shootout shaping up after 32 races? as posted and announced back in August, the 2009 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will have a new format with a field of 24 cars representing the top 6 teams from each manufacturer [Chevy, Dodge, Ford and Toyota], based on the final 2008 car owner points [NOT driver points]. NOT who won poles in 2008. NOTE: IF Dodge leaves OR teams merge or run a new manufacturer in 2009, no word how that will effect the 2009 lineup.
    The Chevy six teams [# 48,31,07,29,24,88] are all set since they are in the Chase, the only change will be Casey Mears will be in the #07 with Bowyer going to the #33 unless RCR lets Bowyer run the race in the #07 [Childress has said he is not moving the #07 owners points to the #33 for Bowyer].
    The six Dodge teams are pretty set [#’s 9,12,2,43,19,42] as the team in 7th, #41 Ganassi is 417 pts down; David Stremme will be in the #12 with Newman moving on [in the past the Petty cars would not run the Bud sticker and would not run the Bud Shootout, no word if the #43 would run the race of not].
    The top 5 Ford teams [#’s 16,99,17,6,26] are set with the two Yates Racing cars, #28 and #38 fighting for the 6th spot, with the #28 ahead by 172 points.
    The top 5 Toyota teams are set [#’s 20,11,18,83,44] with the #55 MWR 49 points ahead of #22 BDR team. The #44 will become the #00 in 2009 with Reutimann.
    NOTE: IF Dodge leaves OR teams merge or run a new manufacturer in 2009, no word how that will effect the 2009 lineup. See the new Budweiser Shootout standings on my 2009 Budweiser Shootout page.(10-23-2008) Comment here
  • Official – Ford and Roush re-up: Ford Racing and Roush Fenway Racing announced Wednesday that they have agreed in principle to a multi-year contract. Brian Wolfe, director, Ford Racing Technology, along with Jack Roush, owner of Roush Fenway Racing, and Geoff Smith, president of Roush Fenway Racing, answered questions about the deal during a teleconference. A few highlights:
    BRIAN WOLFE CONTINUED – WHAT CHANGES, IF ANY, DO YOU ANTICIPATE NEXT YEAR IN NATIONWIDE AND TRUCK SERIES PROGRAMS? IS FORD GOING TO BE GIVING THE SAME LEVEL OF SUPPORT TO THOSE SERIES AS IT HAS IN THE PAST? “First, our prime goal was really to protect our performance in Cup racing, and with that we have cut back our support for the supporting series. We have not pulled out of those series, for example, with truck we are basically going to continue with the contingency program and continue our technical support to the teams racing Ford products. But as far as financial, we will not continue next year. And, also our Nationwide program has been scaled back as well, but we are continuing with technical support and the contingency programs as well.”
    JACK ROUSH CONTINUED – WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE TRUCK SERIES NEXT YEAR, INCLUDING ENGINE SUPPORT? “The Roush Yates engines are partnered with Ford to provide engines, not only for the Sprint Cup Series but the Craftsman Truck Series and Nationwide Series as well. Ford’s support for the engines – through the engine shop – for the development of the engines for the specific rules and I guess the other challenges that come from other manufacturers is the same that it has been. So for people that want to race Ford trucks and people that are able to and want to race Nationwide Fusions, there is no change. The support continues at the same level it’s been at. We’ve got one sponsored entry – Con-way Trucking – for Colin Braun that we’re gonna run for a championship in the Craftsman Truck Series next year, and we’re open to accept interesting calls and proposals from other sponsors that would like to be involved with truck. Right now, all of our Nationwide programs are fully funded. Our Truck program is fully funded. We’ve got one more year running five Sprint Cup teams. They’re all fully funded with sponsorship and I think that’s a testament to the fact that over the period of time we’ve given our sponsors good value, good return for what they’ve done and how strong NASCAR is in the eyes of the consumer and how well that’s recognized by the people who need to compete for the support of interest of consumers.”
    WHAT ABOUT ERIK DARNELL’S STATUS WITH YOUR ORGANIZATION? YOU SAID COLIN BRAUN WAS THE ONLY FULL-SPONSORED TRUCK NEXT YEAR. “Erik is gonna have an involvement with us next year in the Nationwide Series. If a sponsor came and very much wanted to have Erik back in the Truck Series, we would certainly think about that. If Erik is going to advance, my understanding of his career goal wasn’t that he wanted to be a Craftsman Truck driver for his career. He’s looking to advance into Nationwide and into Sprint Cup and we’ve got an opportunity, although he’s not running for a championship, he’ll get a significant number of races in a Nationwide Fusion next year. We would look, I think, with greater interest in having a full program for Ricky Stenhouse or one or two other drivers that we haven’t really had a chance to audition yet in the Truck Series.
    See the full transcript at the Ford Racing site.(10-23-2008) Comment here


    News from October 22, 2008

  • Sad News – Steve Lawson UPDATE: it was reported on ABC’s opening coverage of the TUMS Quickpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway Sprint Cup race that NASCAR Sprint Cup official, Steve Lawson, has passed away. No details or arrangements known.
    UPDATE: Steve Lawson, a popular NASCAR official, was found dead in his hotel room Sunday morning, NASCAR officials said. He was 51. The cause of death was not announced. Lawson, of Rockford, Ill., worked as an official for stock car racing’s governing body for more than a decade, most recently as a safety inspector in the Sprint Cup Series. He was scheduled to work at Sunday’s TUMS Quikpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. A moment of silence was held before the race.(ESPN/Associated Press)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR Statement On The Passing Of NASCAR Official Steve Lawson – Steve Lawson, 51, a NASCAR official for more than 10 years, passed away Sunday morning in Martinsville, Va. Lawson was in town working the NASCAR events at Martinsville Speedway. Lawson, a native of Rockford, Ill., worked as a safety inspector in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. NASCAR made the following statement regarding Lawson’s death: “The entire NASCAR family is saddened by the loss of one of its own – Steve Lawson. He provided outstanding service to our sport. And, while our officials are certainly keeping Steve’s family and friends in their thoughts and prayers, they are preparing to officiate today’s race with the quality and efficient manner that Steve would want them to.”(NASCAR)(10-19-2008)
    SERVICES: Funeral/memorial information for Steve Lawson follows:
    Tuesday, October 28, Visitation from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Funeral from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    Fred C Olson Funeral Chapel, 1001 2nd Avenue, Rockford, IL 61104 815-963-6521
    Donations in lieu of flowers to NASCAR Foundation/Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund.
    Anyone wishing to send cards to the family should send them to: Steve Lawson Family, C/O NASCAR R&D Center, 7010 Westwinds Blvd., Concord, NC 28027.(10-22-2008)
  • Three Episodes of Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears Airs This Week: NASCAR fans will have an opportunity to see three encore presentations of episodes of the television series Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears, chronicling the move of Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, this week on ESPN Networks. Back-to-back episodes air Wednesday, Oct. 22, beginning at 10pm/et on ESPN2, and a third episode airs Friday, Oct. 24, at 6pm/et on ESPN Classic. The series provides viewers with a behind-the-scenes look at the personal, corporate and competitive ramifications involved with the five-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver award recipient leaving Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the team founded by his late father. Dale Jr. – Shifting Gears is produced by Earnhardt Jr.’s Hammerhead Entertainment, a division of JR Motorsports, in cooperation with Hendrick Motorsports and is presented by the National Guard.(10-22-2008)
  • Red Bull faces heavy fines for shaving weight UPDATE: NASCAR is expected to levy what could be record-breaking fines on the #83 Team Red Bull Toyota outfit on Wednesday. After Brian Vickers finished 11th at the Tums QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway, the #83 Toyota was selected as the random car to be further inspected at the NASCAR Technical Center in Concord, N.C., where officials discovered the sheet metal on the #83 car did not meet the minimum thickness requirements. According to sources familiar with the situation, the sides of the car — the doors, fenders and quarter panels — were too thin. The NASCAR rulebook states in rule 20-2, 1D that teams must use a minimum of 24 gauge (0.025 inch thick) sheet steel for their car bodies. Also, the practice of “Acid dipping or chemical milling,” which makes the sheet metal thinner, is strictly forbidden. One individual close to the situation said acid dipping would allow a fabricator to make the metal thinner. Once the steel is sanded and painted, it is nearly impossible for NASCAR to detect. Multiple sources said NASCAR returned the car to TRB after cutting off the sheet metal.(FoxSports)(10-22-2008)
    UPDATE: NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions and fines to the #83 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions found on Tuesday during a Martinsville post-race inspection at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. The car 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 20-2.1-D (exterior sheet metal body parts did not meet the specified minimum thickness) of the 2008 NASCAR rule book. As a result, both the crew chief, Kevin Hamlin, and the car chief, Craig Smokstad, have been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR. Additionally, Hamlin has been fined $100,000. river Brian Vickers and owner Dietrich Mateschitz have been penalized with the loss of 150 driver and 150 owner points, respectively.(NASCAR PR)
    RED BULL STATEMENT: Jay Frye, General Manager & VP, Red Bull Racing Team, on the #83’s infractions: “As a team we accept full responsibility for the infractions regarding the #83’s Martinsville car and will not appeal NASCAR’s ruling. This approach to racing is against the values of the Red Bull Racing Team, and the necessary steps will be taken to rectify the situation ensuring it does not happen again. It is a privilege to race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and we are taking this penalty seriously. R&D Manager Randy Cox will assume the duties of interim Crew Chief on the #83 in Atlanta.”(TRB PR)
    POINTS: Vickers drops from 15th in drivers points to 17th and the #83 drops from 16th in Owners Points to 18th, see my Drivers/Owners Points page for updated standings.(10-22-2008)Comment here
  • Elliott may come back for a few races in 2009: Q: You really think you’ll [Bill Elliott] be able to step out of the car for good at the end of this season? What if the Wood Brothers come knocking on your door again to maybe run a few more races for them again next season?
    Elliott: At this point in time, I don’t know. I think I’m just going to look at the next few races and see if I can help ’em out maybe, but it would just be a short-team deal. A few and that’s it. I think right now they’re trying to sell stuff, and they don’t really have a whole lot else going on. If we can turn around and get something going here — and keep it going — that’s one thing. If it’s gonna go and turn around and change directions on you, then no, I don’t want to do this anymore. We’ve been through some changes [at Wood Brothers Racing] and now we’ve kind of turned the corner a little bit. But there again, unless they can put several deals together, it’s gonna be tough on them boys anyway. You never can predict the future.
    As far as me ever runnin’ a full-time deal again? No, never. Would I run a couple first off? Yeah, maybe. But that would be it. And if they could find something to fill the void before the first of next year, I wouldn’t even do that. What I’m saying, I guess, is let’s get through the next few races — and then what they find out and what they come up with will be the determining factor.(NASCAR.com)(10-22-2008) Comment here
  • Yarborough resigned to sharing record with Johnson: When Cale Yarborough won a third-straight NASCAR title in 1978, he never expected that it would take 30 years for someone else to challenge that record. Now that two-time reigning Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson appears on the way to doing just that, Yarborough has mixed feelings about sharing the record that some thought was untouchable. “The handwriting’s on the wall,” Yarborough said Monday during a telephone news conference. “It’s going to happen. I understand that I was Jimmie’s hero when he was growing up, so if he does it more power to him,” the longtime NASCAR star added. Then that old competitive streak that helped Yarborough to 83 race wins, including four Daytona 500s, showed itself. “That don’t mean I’m pulling for him,” Yarborough added, laughing. “But, if he does it, I’ll be in good company. I hope he feels the same way.” While the 32-year-old Johnson has not finished worse than fifth in the points since he became a full-time Cup driver in 2002, Yarborough’s best years didn’t come until he got a full-time ride with Richard Howard in 1973 at the age of 34. The driver from South Carolina finished second for two straight years driving for Howard before going to work for Junior Johnson in 1975. He finished ninth that first year with Johnson before beginning his unprecedented string of championship in 1976. Yarborough stayed with Johnson for two more seasons, finishing fourth in the points in 1979 and losing the title to Dale Earnhardt by just 19 points in 1980. That was his last full season of racing before cutting his schedule to spend more time with his family. One major difference between the years when Yarborough won his titles and the current era is the points format. In his day, everyone raced for the same points throughout the season. Since 2004, the Cup title has been decided by the Chase, with a small group of drivers who spent 26 races making themselves eligible for the postseason competing for the championship over the final 10 races of the season. “I think it may have been harder to win (championships) back then than it is today because you had to compete against everybody,” Yarborough said. Asked if he would have to change his style if he was racing today, Yarborough said, “I never was one to do much calculating. I went all out every lap I ever raced in my whole career. I’d still be doing it today. The only thing I can say is Jimmie better be glad I’m not racing with him today.”(Associated Press/ESPN)(10-21-2008) Comment here
  • Start #300 for Blaney: This weekend marks a milestone in #22-Dave Blaney’s career as he will make his 300th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start when the green flag waves Sunday afternoon. He made his first Cup Series start in October 1992 at [Rockingham] North Carolina Speedway driving for owner Stan Hover [in the #80] and finished 37th (qualified seventh) in his first Cup race at Atlanta in 1999 [his 2nd career start] in which, like this weekend, Blaney was aboard a Bill Davis Racing owned machine. Blaney’s best career finishes were 3rds: at Darlington in March 2003 and Talladega in Oct 2007.(BDR PR)(10-21-2008) Comment here


    News from October 21, 2008

  • 2009 Crew Chief for Newman? hearing that #8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. crew chief, Tony Gibson, will be Ryan Newman’s crew chief on the #39 U.S. Army Chevy Stewart-Haas Racing team in 2009.(10-21-2008) Comment here
  • Shane Wilson Named Crew Chief for RCR’s #33 in 2009: Richard Childress Racing has named veteran NASCAR crew chief Shane Wilson to head up its #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team for the 2009 NASCAR Cup Series season. Wilson will call the shots for Clint Bowyer, who was announced in August as the driver for RCR’s fourth Cup Series team next year after completing this season with its #07 team. “Shane brings a great deal of knowledge and success to the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team, much of which he has earned since coming to RCR in 2006,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “He will be able to hit the ground running since he’s already familiar with and has been a part of the organization for the past three years. He and Clint have worked together a little bit and I’m confident they will complement each other in this new program.” Wilson, a South Royalton, Vt., native has been with RCR since January 2006 and has nearly a quarter-century of motorsports experience.(RCR PR), when the Mears-Bowyer switch was announced, it was mentioned that the #33 would NOT get the #07 team owners points, but that Childress had something in the works, like possibly buying owners points from another team, with all the merger rumors out there, that could be DEI, Ganassi or another team in the top-35. Have heard nothing since.(10-21-2008) Comment here
  • Aflac Cancer Center to sponsor #38 at Atlanta: Yates Racing announced that the Aflac Children’s Cancer Center will serve as the primary sponsor on the #38 entry with driver David Gilliland for the Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October, 26, 2008. The Aflac Cancer Center is committed to providing their pediatric patients a brighter future through advanced medical treatment, family-centered care, a child-friendly environment and innovative research. Recognized as one of the top five childhood cancer centers in the country by Child magazine, the Aflac Cancer Center treats nearly 350 new cancer patients each year and follows more than 2,500 patients with sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other blood disorders. Their courageous patients range in age from infants to young adults. Aflac Cancer Center, in conjunction with Emory University School of Medicine and the Emory Winship Cancer Institute, is committed to excellence and innovation in pediatric cancer and blood disorders research. Their participation in hundreds of national therapeutic and non-therapeutic clinical trials gives their patients access to the latest in treatment for childhood cancer and blood disorders. More info at www.aflaccancercenter.org or call 404-250-KIDS.(Yates Racing PR)(10-21-2008)Comment here
  • Latest Ganassi merger rumor? Petty? UPDATE:Trying to pin down the state of Petty Enterprises, under its new Boston Ventures’ management, and the future of the Chip Ganassi operation has been tough enough the last few weeks, but now the speculation of a GM-Chrysler corporate merger has thrown things into a real tizzy. Insiders at both the Petty and Ganassi Dodge camps say there is speculation that the two struggling teams may somehow merge, and that that speculation is fueled by the sense that fellow Dodge owner George Gillett, who has majority interest in Gillett-Evernham-Motorsports, is “99 percent” certain to jump to Toyota. Ray Evernham was Dodge’s mainstay in NASCAR racing, making such a move highly unusual. Dodge officials a few weeks ago denied such a change might be coming. One major complication for Dodge teams like Petty’s and Ganassi’s is that Gillett-Evernham has been a major Dodge engine operation. If Gillett moves to Toyota, then Dodge loses a very big player.(Winston-Salem Journal)(10-12-2008)
    UPDATE: hearing that a Ganassi-Petty Enterprises merger is still possible with Target being the sponsor for Bobby Labonte in the #43. With #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #44-Chad McCumbee as teammates and a possible 4th team with Kyle Petty running part time in the #45.(10-21-2008) Comment here
  • Clauson to attempt Cup debut at Atlanta: The #1 best-selling video game, Guitar Hero, returns to the track at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) as primary sponsor of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ #40 Dodge driven by 19-year-old Bryan Clauson. Clauson was scheduled to make his Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway but qualifying was washed out and the #40 car was unable to make a qualifying run. Bryan Clauson will be attempting his debut in the Sprint Cup Series at AMS in the #40 Target/Guitar Hero World Tour Dodge. Clauson—a 19-year-old from Noblesville, Ind.—has competed in the 24 Nationwide Series (NNS) races throughout this 2008 season, driving the #40 Fastenal Dodge. To-date, the teen racer has collected one pole, one top-five and two top-10 finishes. Guitar Hero World Tour transforms music gaming by expanding Guitar Hero’s signature guitar gameplay into a cooperative band experience that combines the most advanced wireless and wired controllers with new revolutionary online and offline gameplay modes including Band Career and 8-player “Battle of the Bands,” which allows two full bands to compete head-to-head online for the first time ever. The Guitar Hero consumer bus will be parked in the display area at AMS all weekend for fans to take a sneak peak at the game. Clauson and Target Driver Reed Sorenson will make an appearance on Sunday to display their music talents prior to the Pep Boys Auto 500.(CGRFS PR) see an image of the scheme at chipganassiracing.com or my #40 Team Schemes page.(10-21-2008)
  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series
    * Jimmie Johnson won the Tums QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Johnson posted his 39th career victory in his 251st career race.
    * Johnson posted his second win in the Chase. It was his sixth win of the 2008 season, including four of the last eight. Johnson posted his fifth win in 14 races at Martinsville. He has won four of the last five races there, and he has won four of the five Chase races at Martinsville, since 2004.
    * Johnson won the race from the pole position. He has scored top-10 finishes in the last 13 straight races at Martinsville. Johnson posted his 13th win in 46 Chase races, the most of all drivers. It marked his eighth career short-track victory in 42 short-track races.
    * Johnson has scored top-10 finishes in the last eight races, extending a streak that began at California in August.
    * Johnson led seven times for 339 laps, including the final 35. The 339 laps led are the most Johnson has led in a single race in his Cup career, exceeding his previous record of 334 laps led at Lowe’s in May 2004. Johnson has led in 26 of the 32 races this season, more than any other driver. Johnson has led 710 laps in the six Chase races. Matt Kenseth is second in laps led at 199. Johnson has led at least one lap in the last six races at Martinsville, the longest current streak.
    * Hendrick Motorsports posted its 18th win in 46 Chase races, the most of all teams. HMS posted its seventh victory in 2008 (Johnson, six; Dale Earnhardt Jr., one). Hendrick had all four teammates finish in the top-six positions (Johnson, first; Earnhardt, second; Jeff Gordon, fourth; and Casey Mears, sixth).
    * Earnhardt posted his best finish in 18 races at Martinsville. He has scored four top-10 finishes in his last six races at Martinsville.
    * Gordon has scored top-10 finishes in the last 12 races at Martinsville. He has gone 37 races without a victory, his longest streak between victories.
    * Denny Hamlin (fifth) has scored six top-10 finishes in his seven races at Martinsville.
    * Kevin Harvick (seventh) has been running at the finish in the last 76 races, the longest current streak by any driver.
    * Clint Bowyer (ninth) has scored top-15 finishes in his last nine races, a streak that began at the second Bristol race.
    * This was the 10th win for Chevrolet in 2008. Toyota has 10 wins, Ford has eight and Dodge has four. The top 10 consisted of seven Chevrolets, two Fords and one Toyota. The top five finishers were Chase drivers. Eight of the top 10 were Chasers.
    * Greg Biffle won the first two Chase races, Tony Stewart won at Talladega, Jeff Burton won at Lowe’s and Jimmie Johnson won at Kansas and Martinsville.
    * Four of the 12 Chase drivers each earned lap-leader bonus points at Martinsville by leading at least one lap. Eight of the 12 Chase drivers changed positions after Martinsville.
    * Johnson now leads second-place Greg Biffle by 149 points, the biggest lead in the six races thus far. Johnson is the only driver to score top-10 finishes in the first six races of the Chase.
    * This was the eighth green-white-checkered finish in 2008.(ESPN)


    News from October 20, 2008

  • Testing changes to be announced soon? NASCAR hasn’t delineated the exact testing policy [for the Sprint Cup Series], but apparently it will allow teams to test at any of the tour tracks, for a total of about 24 days a team per season. There are 22 tracks on the tour, so teams should be able to test everywhere.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2008)
  • Martinsville Overnight TV Ratings down: The overnight TV Ratings for the TUMS Quickpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway drew an overnight rating of 2.9 with a share of 6. In 2007, the overnight rating was 3.3. The final national TV Ratings for the race in 2007 wasd 3.7.(10-20-2008). See more about TV Ratings on my 2008 TV Ratings pageComment here
  • DEI and Petty merger? UPDATE 2: Talks about a possible merger between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Petty Enterprises are under way, according to sources familiar with the situation, and Wells Fargo’s sponsorship money could be key to making something happen. However, the economic chaos that is wracking the country is also playing havoc with so many suddenly struggling NASCAR teams that it’s unclear how any of the various scenarios might actually play out. And just what positives might even come out of a DEI-Petty merger aren’t that clear, either. Richard Petty sold a “significant” stake this summer in Petty Enterprises, the family racing operation in business since 1949, to Boston Ventures, a private equity firm. Precisely how that joint NASCAR venture might fit into any DEI-Petty merger is unclear, considering the financial problems of many Wall Street investment firms. Petty Enterprises is looking for a 2009 sponsor for Bobby Labonte, who drives the legendary #43 car. #45-Kyle Petty, the other Petty driver, has been at odds apparently with some of the team’s executives, and he appears to have the option to take the Wells Fargo sponsorship with him to another team. If Kyle Petty were to leave, that would, for the moment, leave Petty Enterprises with no major sponsors.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-17-2008)
    UPDATE: Robbie Loomis said Petty Enterprises has been approached by at least three organizations about a possible alliance heading into next season. The vice president of racing operations, speaking Friday at Martinsville Speedway, would not identify them, but published reports say Dale Earnhardt Inc. might be on that list. DEI officials declined to comment. Loomis said the Pettys’ deal with Dodge extends three years past this one. DEI signed an extension with General Motors/Chevrolet before this season. Loomis said Petty Enterprises is closer to naming a sponsor for Labonte, and he appears close to set on Chad McCumbee to drive the second car, which will be the #44. He said the key in all of this is continued growth of the Petty brand, which a merger with DEI may or may not allow.(ESPN.com)
    AND Officials from Petty Enterprises do not deny that they have held preliminary discussions about a possible future partnership of some sort with Dale Earnhardt Inc., but they strongly deny that anything is close to happening or even likely to happen. In fact, Robbie Loomis said that DEI is not the only group with which Petty Enterprises is discussing its future. Nor is it alone in the Sprint Cup Series garage area, where Loomis insisted all teams are scrambling to find stronger footing in difficult economic times. “The bottom line for us is that we’re committed to Dodge,” Loomis said. “We like Dodge as our manufacturer; Richard Petty especially. We have three more years with them as far as solid commitments. We feel good about where we’re at with them.”(NASCAR.com)(10-18-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Petty Enterprises appears on track to merge – somehow – with Dale Earnhardt Inc., which would turn the Petty Dodges into Chevrolets….apparently. Or maybe it’s just Kyle Petty ‘merging.’ Richard Petty Sunday didn’t have much to say about the DEI report; he didn’t deny the talks, but he insisted he didn’t have to panic about things: “We did our panicking last year. That’s why we did the deal with Boston Ventures. We’re ahead of the curve.” However there appears to be considerable internal disagreement between the father and son about the next business steps to take, though #43-Bobby Labonte still has no sponsor for 2009, and Kyle Petty himself apparently is looking to leave Petty Enterprises at the end of the year and take the company’s only full sponsor, Wells Fargo, with him.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2008) Comment here
  • GM-Chrysler merger….by Nov 4th? If the General Motors merger/buyout of Chrysler does go through, and well it might, perhaps by Nov. 4, what happens to all those NASCAR Dodge teams? [GEM, Petty, Ganassi, Penske] Dodge racing executives haven’t had much to say lately about the situation. And what might happen to Dodge’s various NASCAR contracts if Chrysler is ‘sold’ to GM is up in the air. Dodge has a number of long-term contracts in place, and just a few weeks ago Dodge officials insisted things were fine.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2008)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville:
    Total number of commercials: 127
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 65
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 16
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 1:31 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:18 PM
    Total minutes: 227
    Minutes of race broadcast: 174
    Minutes of commercials: 53
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’: 0
    Total race brdcst time 174 Total comm. brdcst time 53
    See full report and more on my 2008 TV Commericals page.(10-20-2008) Comment here
  • added #5 Cheez-It Chevy image that Mark Martin will run in a few races in 2009.(10-20-2008)
  • Kurt Busch not leaving Penske: Walt Czarnecki, a top Penske Racing executive, denies speculation #2-Kurt Busch might be with another team next season. There are reports that at least one top team would be interested in talking with Busch if his Penske contract were up. But Czarnecki calls it “categorically untrue” that Busch might be moving on.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-20-2008) Comment here
  • GEM on the verge..to Toyota? George Gillett [GEM], who with minority owner Ray Evernham (20%, perhaps to shrink to 10) has been Dodge’s anchor in NASCAR, is on the verge of making a deal to run Toyotas next season. That would put #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #10-Reed Sorensen in the Toyota camp.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND could an announcement of a Gillett/Bill Davis Racing [#22-Dave Blaney] deal be imminent?(Yahoo Sports)(10-20-2008) Comment here
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 76 consecutive races, the longest current streak and a NEW modern era record, next up is #07-Bowyer at 69 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick held the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) unil he broke it himself in 2008. Next up is Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(10-20-2008)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Joe Nemechk are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway on Tues. Oct 21 and Wed., Oct 22. Fans can view testing from the designated area outside the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center in Turn 3 for free. Tests usually begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. Times will vary based on team goals.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-20-2008)
  • Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #18-Kyle Busch leads all drivers after 32 races in 2008 with 16 Top-5 finishes followed by #99-Edwards at 15. #99-Edwards has the most Top-10’s after 32 races with 23, followed by #48-Johnson with 20. All full-time drivers who have run all 32 races in 2008 have scored a top-10 finish. Four drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all 32 races: #7-Gordon [last top-5 at Watkins Glen 8/2007], #28-Kvapil [none], #43-Labonte [last at Martinsville in 10/2006] and #44-Reutimann [none].(10-20-2008)
  • #99 Team Wins 3rd Quarter Mechanix MVPC Competition: The #99 Office Depot Ford over-the-wall team from Roush Fenway Racing has earned third-quarter honors in the 2008 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award competition. The #99 crew is the third team to qualify for the 2008 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award title. The Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award is given quarterly throughout the Sprint 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. The presentation will be made at the 2008 NASCAR National Motorsports Press Association Myers Brothers Media Luncheon in New York City in December. The #18 Joe Gibbs Racing team of Kyle Busch won the first quarter and the #9 Gillett Evernham Motorsports team of Kasey Kahne won the 2nd quarter.(Roush Fenway Racing site)(10-20-2008)

News from October 19, 2008

  • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the TUMS Quickpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 6th win of the season, 5th win at Martinsville, 8th short track win and the 39th of his career. Johnson held off #88-Earnhardt Jr. after a green-white-checkered finish, #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd followed by #99-Edwards, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #5-Mears, #29-Harvick, #17-Kenseth, #07-Bowyer and #1-Truex Jr.. #84-Scott Speed finished 30th in his Sprint Cup debut. There were 12 cautions for 76 laps and 14 lead changes among 7 leaders.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Martinsville Race Results Awards Page.(10-19-2008)
  • UNOFFICIAL Chase Driver Points Standings [after Martinsville race 32 of 36]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 6073 [6 wins]
    2) #16-Greg Biffle 5924 -149 [2 wins]
    3) #31-Jeff Burton 5921 -152 [2 wins]
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 5875 -198 [6 wins]
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer 5831 -242 [1 win]
    6) #29-Kevin Harvick 5817 -256
    7) #24-Jeff Gordon 5798 -275
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 5735 -338 [1 win]
    9) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5694 -379 [1 win]
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth 5665 -408
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin 5653 -420 [1 win]
    12) #18-Kyle Busch 5628 -445 [8 wins]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Martinsville.(10-19-2008)
  • Where did the 12 Chase Drivers finish at Martinsville?
    (the chase standings before Martinsville)
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, WON
    2) #31-Jeff Burton, 17th
    3) #16-Greg Biffle, 12th
    4) #99-Carl Edwards, 3rd
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer, 9th
    6) #29-Kevin Harvick, 7th
    7) #20-Tony Stewart, 26th
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4th
    9) #18-Kyle Busch, 29th
    10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 2nd
    11) #17-Matt Kenseth, 8th
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin, 5th
    (10-19-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Classic Driver Points Standings [after Martinsville race 32 of 36]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4609 [6 wins]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 4496 -113 [6 wins]
    3) #18-Kyle Busch 4426 -183 [8 wins]
    4) #31-Jeff Burton 4295 -314 [2 wins]
    5) #16-Greg Biffle 4204 -405 [2 wins]
    6) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4172 -437 [1 win]
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 4100 -509
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 4020 -589 [1 win]
    9) #24-Jeff Gordon 4019 -590
    10) #07-Clint Bowyer 3937 -672 [1 win]
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin 3878 -731 [1 win]
    12) #6-David Ragan 3802 -807
    13) #17-Matt Kenseth 3797 -812
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 3656 -953 [2 wins]
    (10-19-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Atlanta:
    No drop in or out of top 35, #84 moves up to 34th and #7 down to 35th and the spread is larger, 75 pts ahead of 36th
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    33) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 2566 +196
    34) #84-Speed/Red Bull Racing: 2460 +90
    35) #7-Gordon/RGM: 2445 75 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #47[was #00]-Ambrose/Waltrip Racing: 2370, 75 points out of 35th
    37) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 2305 -140
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(10-19-2008)
  • Who got a lap back on each caution at Martinsville: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #21-Elliott, 16th
    Caution 2: none awarded
    Caution 3: #28-Kvapil, 19th
    Caution 4: #00-Bliss (still 4 laps down), 39th
    Caution 5: #00-Bliss (still 4 laps down), 39th
    Caution 6: #45-McCumbee, 25th
    Caution 7: #17-Kenseth, 8th
    Caution 8: #38-Gilliland, 32nd
    Caution 9: #10-Allmendinger, 15th
    Caution 10: none, #41-Sorenson would had, but he caused the caution
    Caution 11: #16-Biffle, 13th
    Caution 12: none awarded when 10 laps of less are left in the race
    (10-19-2008)
  • Martinsville Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #88 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 30
    2 #2 Commitment Line Violation TE 64
    3 #2 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 66
    4 #78 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 115
    5 #17 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 116
    6 #18 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 163
    7 #70 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 163
    8 #77 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 163
    9 #18 Intentionally causing a caution 2 Laps 163
    10 #19 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 197
    11 #7 Safety violation PT 219
    12 #43 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 259
    13 #42 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 259
    14 #12 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 259
    15 #2 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 381
    16 #31 Car/truck pitting out of the assigned pit box OL 461
    17 #1 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 461
    18 #12 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 461
    19 #44 Lug nut(s) not installed MCI 462
    20 #38 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 486
    21 #41 Safety violation PT 488
    22 #41 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 489
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-19-2008)
  • Rain out winners: so far in 32 2008 races, there have been NINE qualifying sessions rained out, the most since 1959. In the nine races run, all nine winners have come from the top 10 starting spot:
    California, February: winner #99-Edwards started 9th, #48-Johnson started 1st finished 2nd
    Bristol, March: #31-Burton 8th, #48-Johnson 18th
    Michigan, June: #88-Earnhardt Jr. 3rd; #18-Busch 13th
    Chicago, July: #18-Busch 1st
    Watkins Glen: August, #18-Busch 1st
    Richmond, September: #48-Johnson 3rd; #18-Busch 15th
    New Hampshire, September: winner #16-Biffle 9th, #18-Busch 34th
    Charlotte, October: winner #31-Burton 4th, #48-Johnson 6th
    Martinsville, October: winner #48-Johnson 1st
    The NINE qualifying sessions cancelled are the most since 1959. From 1980 thru present, the next worse year for qualifying cancellations was in 2002 when five were cancelled. Back a few years ago, if it rained on Friday, qualifying was many times moved to Saturday morning, that doesn’t happen any longer.(10-19-2008)
  • Sad News – Steve Lawson: it was reported on ABC’s opening coverage of the TUMS Quickpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway Sprint Cup race that NASCAR Sprint Cup official, Steve Lawson, has passed away. No details or arrangements known.
    UPDATE: Steve Lawson, a popular NASCAR official, was found dead in his hotel room Sunday morning, NASCAR officials said. He was 51. The cause of death was not announced. Lawson, of Rockford, Ill., worked as an official for stock car racing’s governing body for more than a decade, most recently as a safety inspector in the Sprint Cup Series. He was scheduled to work at Sunday’s TUMS Quikpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. A moment of silence was held before the race.(ESPN/Associated Press)(10-19-2008)
  • Pit Stall Selections have been made for the Tums QuickPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway, #48-Johnson got to choose first since he will start from the pole, and took stall #1, #31-Burton, who starts 2nd, took stall #11, the next pit with an opening in front of it and #16-Biffle, who starts 3rd to stall #10, a stall that has an opening behind it. #83-Vickers took the final pit stall. See who took what stall on my Martinsville Pit Stall selections page.(10-19-2008)
  • Where did the 12 Chase Drivers finish at Martinsville in March 2008?
    (the chase standings before Martinsville)
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4th
    2) #31-Jeff Burton, 3rd
    3) #16-Greg Biffle, 20th
    4) #99-Carl Edwards, 9th
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer, 10th
    6) #29-Kevin Harvick, 12th
    7) #20-Tony Stewart, 5th
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon, 2nd
    9) #18-Kyle Busch, 38th
    10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 6th
    11) #17-Matt Kenseth, 30th
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin, WON
    (10-19-2008)
  • Tums QuickPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway Pit Stall Selections
  • Race Coverage of the Tums QuickPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, October 19, 2008.
    TV: ESPN at 1:30pm/et; pre-race show at 1:00pm/et
    Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite NASCAR Radio
    ESPN.com: on the ESPN.com NASCAR page – Racecast and Chat.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    ESPN2, Monday, October 20 at 2:30am/et
    ESPN Classic, Monday, October 20 at 9:00am/et
    SPEED, Thursday, October 23 at 12:00pm/et and;
    HDNET, Thursday, October 23 at 5:30pm/et
  • added #38 FCC/Digital TV Transition image from Martinsville.(10-19-2008)
  • Ford re-ups with Roush BUT pulls some support for Trucks: Ford Racing has reinforced the importance of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series to the manufacturer under tough economic times by reaching a five-year deal to remain with Roush Fenway Racing. BUT Ford will pull its financial support in the Craftsman Truck Series beginning next season. Team owner Jack Roush assured that Ford has not pulled support from the Cup program. “Ford has made us a commitment for five years going into the future that we feel is adequate to our needs for the support that comes from manufacturers,” Roush said before Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Roush has been with Ford since he got into NASCAR in 1988. His organization owns five of the eight Cup teams currently funded by the manufacturer and has an alliance with two more at Yates Racing. The single-car team [#21] of the Wood Brothers is the only other one that runs fulltime in NASCAR’s premiere series, although Yates plans to expand to three teams [#28,#38 and Paul Menard] in 2009. The withdrawal of financial support in the Truck Series was purely an economical decision. It is the second big hit for that series, which lost Dodge support earlier this year. Unlike Dodge, Ford will continue to provide technical support and engineering. “We remain positive about the performance of our teams and their dedication to the company during these challenging times,” said Brian Wolfe, the director of Ford Racing Technology.(ESPN.com)(10-19-2008) Comment here
  • Smaller fields in NASCAR’s future? UPDATE denied: Another sign of the times is the rumor [Bob Margolis] heard in the Cup garage that NASCAR has floated the possibility of a change in the field size for the Craftsman Truck and Nationwide Series to 28 vehicles and the Cup field down to 36 sometime in the future.(Yahoo Sports)(10-13-2008)
    UPDATE: Q: There was a report last week about NASCAR looking at trimming the fields of truck races to 28 and Cup fields to 36. Is this accurate?
    A: “First of all it wasn’t a report, it was somebody’s opinion from the garage area and it was not a NASCAR opinion. We’re not looking at reducing the fields. If circumstances warranted it, then a field less than 43 cars … a reasonable size field under 43 cars does not, I think, impair the quality of a NASCAR race. But there is no thought process today to shorten the field of a Cup or Nationwide series or Truck series.”(Roanoke Times)(10-19-2008) Comment here
  • So how is the Budweiser Shootout shaping up? as posted and announced back in August, the 2009 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will have a new format with a field of 24 cars representing the top 6 teams from each manufacturer [Chevy, Dodge, Ford and Toyota], based on the final 2008 car owner points [NOT driver points]. NOT who won poles in 2008. The Chevy six teams [# 48,31,07,29,24,88] are all set since they are in the Chase, the only change will be Casey Mears will be in the #07 with Bowyer going to the #33 unless RCR lets Bowyer run the race in the #07. The six Dodge teams are pretty set [#’s 9,12,2,43,19,42] as the team in 7th, #41 Ganassi is 354 pts down and David Stremme will be in the #12 with Newman moving on. The top 5 Ford teams [#’s 16,99,17,6,26] are set with the two Yates Racing cars, #28 and #38 fighting for the 6th spot, with the #28 ahead by 133 points. The top 5 Toyota teams are set [#’s 20,18,11,83,44] with the #55 MWR only 37 points ahead of #22 BDR team. The #44 will become the #00 in 2009 with Reutimann. See the new Budweiser Shootout standings on my 2009 Budweiser Shootout page.(10-19-2008)


    News from October 18, 2008

  • Happy Hour practice for the TUMS Quickpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #24-Gordon 94.671
    #48-Johnson 94.637
    #07-Bowyer 94.354
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 94.190
    #26-McMurray 94.167
    slowest: #78-Nemechek 92.438 and #2-Busch 92.737
    TV: Happy Hour is scheduled to be aired on ESPN2 at 7:00pm/et.
    See speeds, laps run, fastest lap and average speed on my Martinsville Practice Speeds page.(10-18-2008)
  • Saturday 1st practice for the TUMS Quickpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #48-Johnson 94.808
    #24-Gordon 94.500
    #6-Ragan 94.369 [wrecked]
    #29-Harvick 94.223
    #26-McMurray 93.999
    slowest: #78-Nemechek 92.574 and #66-Riggs 92.665
    incident: #6-Ragan spun around in turn 1 and smacked the wall and will go to a backup car
    See speeds, laps run, fastest lap and average speed on my Martinsville Practice Speeds page.(10-18-2008)
  • Nicroette back with Gordon in 2009? UPDATE: When Jeff Gordon’s new DuPont paint scheme was revealed recently, Nicorette’s associate sponsorship along the lower rear quarter panels was notably missing. But that doesn’t mean Hendrick Motorsports’ relationship with the smoking cessation product is necessarily over. And even if it is, there appears to be an opportunity for another sponsor to form a marketing relationship with Gordon’s team. “Nicorette has been a valued partner of Hendrick Motorsports, and we are in the process of discussing 2009 options with them,” a Hendrick spokesperson told the [Long Island] Press. In 2008, Gordon’s car will sport Nicorette green six times as primary sponsor, including upcoming races at Atlanta and Texas. Pepsi was the primary sponsor twice in ’08. But the Hendrick rep later added, “The structure of the sponsorship will be similar to what you’ve seen the past few seasons.” Attempts to reach Lutz, Fla.-based Lighthouse Marketing, LLC, which manages Nicorette’s motorsports account, were unsuccessful. National Guard, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s co-primary sponsor, could pick up Nicorette’s former spot on the lower rear quarter panels.(Long Island Press)(10-15-2008)
    UPDATE: during Friday nights ‘For Race Fans Only’ on QVC, in which Darrell Waltrip was the special guest, the new 2009 ‘black’ DuPont car was in the studio and instead of having Nicorette on the lower rear quarter panels, it had National Guard BUT the diecast being hawked was had Nicorette instead. See images and video at QVC.com. But am hearing Nicorette is out and National Guard is in, NO word how or if this would effect the co-primary sponsorhip of Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 Chevy.(10-18-2008) Comment here
  • New Crew Chief for McMurray in 2009 UPDATE: from a Detroit Free Press article by NASCAR Sprint Cup owner Jack Roush: “By the way, Jamie [McMurray, #26 Ford after his 1st top-5 in over a year] did the job at Charlotte [in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway], finishing fifth. We’ll be looking to 2009 with a new crew chief for him — mix up the chemistry again”.(Detroit Free Press), so looks like current #26 crew chief, Larry Carter, will not return to the #26 team and McMurray in 2009.(10-17-2008)
    UPDATE: hearing that McMurray will reunite with his former Ganassi crew chief Donnie Wingo and Carter could be headed to Yates Racing as the crew chief for Paul Menard.(10-18-2008) Comment here
  • DEI and Petty merger? UPDATE: Talks about a possible merger between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Petty Enterprises are under way, according to sources familiar with the situation, and Wells Fargo’s sponsorship money could be key to making something happen. However, the economic chaos that is wracking the country is also playing havoc with so many suddenly struggling NASCAR teams that it’s unclear how any of the various scenarios might actually play out. And just what positives might even come out of a DEI-Petty merger aren’t that clear, either. Richard Petty sold a “significant” stake this summer in Petty Enterprises, the family racing operation in business since 1949, to Boston Ventures, a private equity firm. Precisely how that joint NASCAR venture might fit into any DEI-Petty merger is unclear, considering the financial problems of many Wall Street investment firms. Petty Enterprises is looking for a 2009 sponsor for Bobby Labonte, who drives the legendary #43 car. #45-Kyle Petty, the other Petty driver, has been at odds apparently with some of the team’s executives, and he appears to have the option to take the Wells Fargo sponsorship with him to another team. If Kyle Petty were to leave, that would, for the moment, leave Petty Enterprises with no major sponsors.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-17-2008)
    UPDATE: Robbie Loomis said Petty Enterprises has been approached by at least three organizations about a possible alliance heading into next season. The vice president of racing operations, speaking Friday at Martinsville Speedway, would not identify them, but published reports say Dale Earnhardt Inc. might be on that list. DEI officials declined to comment. Loomis said the Pettys’ deal with Dodge extends three years past this one. DEI signed an extension with General Motors/Chevrolet before this season. Loomis said Petty Enterprises is closer to naming a sponsor for Labonte, and he appears close to set on Chad McCumbee to drive the second car, which will be the #44. He said the key in all of this is continued growth of the Petty brand, which a merger with DEI may or may not allow.(ESPN.com)
    AND Officials from Petty Enterprises do not deny that they have held preliminary discussions about a possible future partnership of some sort with Dale Earnhardt Inc., but they strongly deny that anything is close to happening or even likely to happen. In fact, Robbie Loomis said that DEI is not the only group with which Petty Enterprises is discussing its future. Nor is it alone in the Sprint Cup Series garage area, where Loomis insisted all teams are scrambling to find stronger footing in difficult economic times. “The bottom line for us is that we’re committed to Dodge,” Loomis said. “We like Dodge as our manufacturer; Richard Petty especially. We have three more years with them as far as solid commitments. We feel good about where we’re at with them.”(NASCAR.com)(10-18-2008) Comment here


    News from October 17, 2008

  • Rain cancels qualifying at Martinsville: rain showers at Martinsville has cancelled qualifying for the TUMS Quickpak 500 at Martinsville Speedway and the field was set by the rules books [owners points, past owner win, past champ and race attempts]. Two drivers will miss the race, #09-Sterling Marlin and #75-Derrike Cope. Cope has missed the last two race due to the rain, without a shot of qualifying.
    So #48-Johnson starts 1st followed by #31-Burton, #16-Biffle, #99-Edwards, #07-Bowyer, #29-Harvick, #20-Stewart, #24-Gordon, #18-Busch and #88-Earnhardt Jr.
    See the full starting linup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(10-17-2008)
  • Rain out winners: so far in 2008 31 races and 32 qualifying attempts, there have been NINE qualifying sessions rained out. In the eight races run, all eight winners have come from the top 10 starting spot:
    California, February: winner #99-Edwards started 9th, #48-Johnson started 1st finished 2nd
    Bristol, March: #31-Burton 8th, #48-Johnson 18th
    Michigan, June: #88-Earnhardt Jr. 3rd; #18-Busch 13th
    Chicago, July: #18-Busch 1st
    Watkins Glen: August, #18-Busch 1st
    Richmond, September: #48-Johnson 3rd; #18-Busch 15th
    New Hampshire, September: winner #16-Biffle 9th, #18-Busch 34th
    Charlotte, October: winner #31-Burton 4th, #48-Johnson 6th
    Martinsville, October: winner ? #48-Johnson starts 1st
    The NINE qualifying sessions cancelled are a record. From 1980 thru present, the next worse year for qualifying cancellations was in 2002 when five were cancelled. Back a few years ago, if it rained on Friday, qualifying was many times moved to Saturday morning, that doesn’t happen any longer.(10-17-2008)
  • Petty hopes to race in 2009; #44 back to PE UPDATE: Kyle Petty said that he will drive at Phoenix International Raceway later this year, but then he is still unsure of how many Sprint Cup races he will enter in 2009. Petty did say whatever races he does drive, he will compete under the Petty Enterprises banner. Bobby Labonte is signed to return to Petty Enterprises and Chad McCumbee is being looked at for the car where Kyle Petty is currently the primary driver. “I don’t have anything going right now for next year,” Petty said Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “We’d like to run five races, 10 races, 15 races, whatever we can run. It really depends on what you get financially. We feel like we’ve got some good leads for the 43 and pretty confident that Marathon and everybody will be here for Chad [McCumbee]. I’m not going to go somewhere else. I’ve always said if I run Cup stuff, I [will come] back here and I don’t want to go anywhere else. I’m too old to learn new tricks.” Petty Enterprises CEO David Zucker indicated that the team would have two primary drivers next year – and Kyle Petty, who already has a six-race commitment to TNT, wouldn’t be one of them. Petty likely would continue to drive the #45, which was the number of Petty’s son, Adam, who was killed during Nationwide Series practice eight years ago at New Hampshire. Michael Waltrip Racing Executive Vice President Cal Wells indicated that MWR will return the #44 to Petty Enterprises for its use next year. Petty said any perception of a rift between him and the Boston Ventures people is not necessarily accurate.(SceneDaily)(10-16-2008)
    UPDATE: Petty Enterprises will resurrect the #44 for its second Sprint Cup team next season, vice president of racing operations Robbie Loomis said Friday. The #45, currently fielded as the second team with Bobby Labonte in the #43, will be reserved only for any races that Kyle Petty may run. Petty switched from the #44 to the 45 after his son, Adam, was killed driving that number in a Busch [now Nationwide] Series practice in 2000. Loomis said the organization remains high on Chad McCumbee as the second driver. He did not rule out Petty appearing in a handful of races if sponsorship is available. The #44 was used sparingly by the Pettys from 2000 to 2003, and then was transferred in 2007 to Michael Waltrip Racing for Dale Jarrett. David Reutimann has driven the #44 for MWR this season, but he will switch to the #00 in 2009. The #00 crew will move to Marcos Ambrose’s #47 team with the JTG organization that recently formed an alliance with MWR for next season.(ESPN.com)
    AND MWR will return the #44 to Petty Enterprises, with MWR’s #00 taking the points of the #44 in 2009.(NASCAR.com)(10-17-2008) Comment here
  • Driver for the #00 at Martinsville? Atlanta? UPDATE 4: hearing that J.J. Yeley could be running the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota next week at Martinsville Speedway.(10-10-2008)
    UPDATE: MWR Executive Vice President Cal Wells said there is a plan for the rest of the year [for the #00 team] that includes [rookie Michael] McDowell and wouldn’t say who would drive next week at Martinsville. He said the situation is “fluid,” but did say that J.J. Yeley, rumored to have been driving the car, will not be driving it.(SceneDaily)(10-12-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Bob Dillner reported on SPEED Report that Mike Bliss will drive the #00 at Martinsville next weekend and Marcos Ambrose will be in the car at Atlanta.(10-13-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announces Mike Bliss will attempt to qualify and race the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series Tums QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Bliss follows Kenny Wallace and AJ Allmendinger with the same agenda of repositioning the MWR team inside the top 35 owner points standings.(MWR PR)(10-13-2008)
    UPDATE 4: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced Friday that Marcos Ambrose is scheduled to drive for the racing organization in the Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with Little Debbie as primary sponsor. The #00 MWR Toyota team will switch to the #47 number for the final four events. At this time, the Michael Waltrip Racing #47 driver is to be determined for Texas, Phoenix and Homestead [Ambrose was scheduled to run all three races in the #21 Ford and #47 Ford, the the MWR changed that, but he could end up in the #47 Toyota for the 3 races]. “It’s really nice to have a head start on the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and integrate Marcos with our team,” Waltrip said. “We are pleased that NASCAR worked with us to switch our number so that Marcos and his sponsors have continuity. I, of all people, know the importance of car numbers to sponsors. We are very appreciative that everything worked out. This is a great opportunity for Marcos and it gives him a glimpse of what next season may look like for him. We are really happy about that.”
    “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to come to Michael Waltrip Racing,” Ambrose said. “There is a lot of synergy here and I am looking forward to qualifying the #47 Little Debbie Toyota. Racing with the organization gives me the chance to have an early start on getting to know my team, Michael Waltrip and how the company operates.”(MWR PR)(10-17-2008) Comment here
  • DEI and Petty merger? Talks about a possible merger between Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Petty Enterprises are under way, according to sources familiar with the situation, and Wells Fargo’s sponsorship money could be key to making something happen. However, the economic chaos that is wracking the country is also playing havoc with so many suddenly struggling NASCAR teams that it’s unclear how any of the various scenarios might actually play out. And just what positives might even come out of a DEI-Petty merger aren’t that clear, either. Richard Petty sold a “significant” stake this summer in Petty Enterprises, the family racing operation in business since 1949, to Boston Ventures, a private equity firm. Precisely how that joint NASCAR venture might fit into any DEI-Petty merger is unclear, considering the financial problems of many Wall Street investment firms. Petty Enterprises is looking for a 2009 sponsor for Bobby Labonte, who drives the legendary #43 car. #45-Kyle Petty, the other Petty driver, has been at odds apparently with some of the team’s executives, and he appears to have the option to take the Wells Fargo sponsorship with him to another team. If Kyle Petty were to leave, that would, for the moment, leave Petty Enterprises with no major sponsors.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-17-2008) Comment here
  • Chase stats after Charlotte: #48-Jimmie Johnson’s drive to a third straight title is going pretty much according to plan, as he takes a 69-point lead to Martinsville, a track where he has failed to make the top 10 in only one of 13 starts! He also hasn’t finished worse than fourth since the spring race of 2005 and has four career wins at Martinsville. #31-Jeff Burton vowed his team was “dangerous” as a Chase contender going into Saturday night’s race at LMS and he certainly made a statement with the win. The #31 bested the #48 by one position in the spring Martinsville race. #16-Greg Biffle and #99-Carl Edwards each only have one top 10 finish at Martinsville on their resumes. Edwards’ situation is especially important as he lost 96 points to Johnson at LMS and is now more than one race out at 168 points. Only the Top 10 Chasers make the stage at the Waldorf for the championship banquet. At the halfway mark, 11th place Matt Kenseth is 6 points out of 10th place Dale Earnhardt Jr., and last place Denny Hamlin is 26 out. See more Chase stats on my Chase Stats after Charlotte page.(10-17-2008)
  • FCC to sponsor #38 in three races: Yates Racing announced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will sponsor the #38 entry with driver David Gilliland for a total of three races in the remaining Sprint Cup Series schedule. The primary sponsorship will debut at Martinsville Speedway on October 19th as the #38 Digital TV Transition Ford will take to the track. The primary sponsorship is to help educate the American public about the fact that on February 17th, 2009 all full-power broadcast television stations in the United State will stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital. Digital broadcasting will allow stations to offer improved picture and sound quality along with additional channels. The debut of the #38 Digital TV Transition Ford Fusion will take place on October 19th, 2008 at Martinsville Speedway. The remaining two races of the primary sponsorship will include the Sprint Cup Series events at Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Digital Television (DTV) is a new type of broadcasting technology that will transform television since the DTV signal is delivered digitally the television signal is virtually free of interference. DTV is more efficient than our current analog signal and with DTV broadcasters are able to offer television with improved quality pictures and surround sound. For more information about the Digital Transition visit www.DTV.gov.(Yates Racing)
    AND: Hoping to rev up awareness for the transition to digital TV, the Federal Communications Commission is putting up $350,000 to sponsor NASCAR team #38. The price tag covers a race Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, another in Phoenix and a third in Miami and includes the posting of www.dtv.gov along the track, on the car’s sides and on the driver’s helmet and suit. The market rate for the package is around $450,000.(Associated Press)(10-17-2008) Comment here
  • Teams test at new 1/2 mile track at the Rock: Monday morning, October 13th, the final strip of pavement was placed on “Little Rock,” the new half-mile track built [supposedly shaped and banked like Martinsville] just outside the backstretch of the one-mile oval at Rockingham Raceway Park. Fast Track High Performance Driving School cars worked rubber into the new track surface Monday evening and then turned the track over to 10 Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series teams that were testing for this weekend’s race at Martinsville. Kyle Busch’s #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Joe Nemechek’s #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy, Scott Riggs’ #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy and Jack Sprague’s #60 Wyler Racing Toyota Truck all tested at the Little Rock Speedway on Tuesday. Wednesday’s test session featured current Sprint Cup Series points leader, Jimmie Johnson and his #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy as well as Chad McCumbee’s #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge and two test teams from Gillett Evernham Motorsports driven by A.J. Almendinger and Dennis Setzer. Thursday, Roush Fenway Racing’s test team brought two cars to be driven by Colin Braun. The team spent the morning on the one-mile speedway before taking their second car to Little Rock for the afternoon testing. The Little Rock Speedway will also see plenty of racing action during the 2009 season with over 15 races planned on the ¼ mile race track that is contained inside of the half-mile. Those races will feature the INEX Legend Series and Bandolero Series cars. Tickets will be going fast for the Black’s Tire American 200 with reserved seats starting at $25 and kids 12 and under are free with a paid adult. A special John Anderson concert will be held following the race and is included in the ticket price as well. Call the Rockingham Speedway ticket office to order your reserved seats today at 910-205-8800 or visit www.rockinghamspeedway.com.(Rockingham Raceway Park PR)(10-17-2008) Comment here
  • Goodyear Tests at Indy and Homestead: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company had its test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway shortened last week due to rain. The tiremaker returned this week to complete its agenda on Monday, then held a scheduled test at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Tuesday. While 13 cars participated in the Indianapolis test last week (Oct. 6-7), the track was able to take on a good amount of rubber. Returning this week after rain had washed the track clean added another level to the proceedings. “We went back to Indy to finish up the end of our program from the previous week,” said Rick Campbell, Goodyear’s NASCAR project manager. “We went back to see if we could document the same gains on a green track that we saw on a ‘rubbered in’ race track. What we learned over the past two weeks was that we saw a significant improvement under a variety of track conditions, and that everything we learned will provide a basis to begin our 2009 development program.” This Monday’s test at Indianapolis was run by the #10 Gillett-Evernham Motorsports Dodge with driver A.J. Allmendinger.
    The Homestead test was a basic confimation for the upcoming event scheduled for the South Florida-facility on November 14-16. Goodyear’s tire codes for the race will be D-4134 on the left-side and D-4136 on the right-side, the same tire set-up that has been run at Texas and Chicagoland this season. The Homestead test was handled by the #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge team with Juan Pablo Montoya and the #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota with Brian Vickers. This week’s tests completed a busy stretch of testing for Goodyear. NASCAR’s exclusive tire supplier for its top-three series has now completed eight tests at six different facilities over the past eight weeks. Still on this year’s calendar is a tire test at Las Vegas on December 10-11.
    Martinsville Tire Notes: Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck Series will run the same combination of left- and right-side tires at Martinsville this weekend, though the Cup tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this will be the fourth consecutive race weekend at Martinsville that Cup and Truck teams will run on these particular tire codes . . . Martinsville is the only track at which Cup teams run this specific tire combination, though this right-side tire code (D-4110) is used on all four tire positions at the series’ two road course events . . . Truck teams have run this specific tire set-up at its other, true short track race at Mansfield in May . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners their tires at Martinsville.(Goodyear PR), see more tire notes/stats on my Martinsville Race Info page and/or Tire Notes Chart.(10-17-2008)
  • Congrats: hearing that congrats are due to #99-Carl Edwards and his girlfriend, Dr. Katherine Downey, who have just become engaged to be married!(10-17-2008)


    News from October 16, 2008

  • Speed to make Cup debut at Martinsville: Debut #2 for Scott Speed comes this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, where he’ll drive the #84 Red Bull Toyota in the first of five races to close the Sprint Cup season. The 25-year-old Speed missed out on his first attempt at a Cup race [in the #82 Toyota] when rain cancelled qualifying last Thursday at Charlotte. “Martinsville isn’t the nicest track to make my introduction to Cup, but it’s got to happen sometime,” Speed said. “It’s going to be a tough race, and I expect to get beaten up quite badly, like everyone else. The drivers are going to be really rough, and I’m not going to make a lot of friends out there being a rookie.” Speed has experienced Martinsville’s long straightaways and tight corners once before. In his second start in the Craftsman Truck Series, he finished 10th there last March. He’ll also drive Bill Davis Racing’s #22 Toyota truck in Saturday’s truck race. In the span of a short Sunday afternoon, Scott Speed went from points leader to finishing fifth in the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship. He got wrecked by his closest pursuer [Ricky Stenhouse Jr] on lap 27 and returned the favor seven laps later — an incident that classified his car’s damage as “terminal” after it hit the inside and outside walls. Still, Speed said he earned valuable “street cred.” “Straight out of ‘Days of Thunder,’ I just said, ‘Change my tires. Just put the tires on it and let me go out and try it,’” said Speed (a.k.a. Cole Trickle). “I went out for a lap and a half until the 99 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr., a.k.a. Russ Wheeler) was in our presence. And I did to him what he did to me. From my perspective, I was the championship leader and he disrespected me on the track so there was no way I was going to let him win a championship like that.” Speed finished 34th in ARCA’s season finale. His 2008 stat line reads like this: four wins, three poles, 10 top fives and 17 top 10s in 21 races.(Red Bull Racing PR)(10-16-2008) Comment here
  • All Sport to sponsor Kvapil for three races: Yates Racing announced today that All Sport, a leading isotonic sports drink company which is a subsidiary of Big Red, Inc., will sponsor the #28 entry with driver Travis Kvapil for a total of three races in the remaining Sprint Cup Series schedule. The primary sponsorship will debut at Martinsville Speedway on October 19th and the race will mark the first time All Sport has been a primary sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series. The All Sport brand has a history of success in auto racing. From 1994 through 1997 the brand was the primary sponsor for Tommy Kendall and his Ford Mustang in the Trans-Am Series. Kendall drove the All Sport Ford to three consecutive series championships in 1995, 1996, and 1997 while also winning eleven straight races in 1997. Kendall’s win streak rocketed the All Sport Ford into the record books as he surpassed Mark Donahue’s previous record of eight consecutive wins which had stood for nearly 30 years. Yates Racing’s General Manager and Co-Owner, Max Jones, was the General Manager of Roush Fenway’s Trans-Am series at the time of All Sport’s and Kendall’s success. The #28 All Sport Ford Fusion will debut on October 19th, 2008 at Martinsville Speedway. The remaining two races of the primary sponsorship are the Sprint Cup Series events at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami. For more info about All Sport go to www.drinkallsport.com. A subsidiary of Big Red, Inc., All Sport, Inc. is based in Austin, Texas and distributed by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.(Yates Racing)(10-16-2008) Comment here
  • Evernham thinking about leaving GEM? UPDATE: Ray Evernham, who has a minority share in Gillett Evernham Motorsports [#9, #10, and #19], said he was not involved in the decision to release rookie Patrick Carpentier. Evernham stressed he’s a minority partner in the team and hinted maybe that role could change to not being a part of the team. “That’s largely up to the Gillettes,” Evernham said if he would remain with the team. “I want to help Mr. Gillette, and I’ll do whatever I can to help him be successful, but I also want to pursue … I’m enjoying my life at ESPN. I’m enjoying a little bit of semi-retirement. I want to help as much as I can, but I also want to make sure I have creditability with the viewers and that’s important to me.”(Roanoke Times)(10-13-2008)
    UPDATE: Tuesday [Oct 14th] on “SIRIUS Speedway” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with Gillett Evernham Motorsports co-owner Ray Evernham. Evernham talked about the rumor that he is considering reducing his stake in the race team and reports that Gillett Evernham Motorsports is contemplating a manufacturer switch from Dodge to Toyota. On the rumor that he is considering selling part of his stake in Gillett Evernham Motorsports:
    Host, Dave Moody: “Randy Lajoie said on Sirius NASCAR Radio last week that you told him you’re considering selling your remaining 20% stake in Gillett Evernham Motorsports to the Gilletts. True?”
    Ray Evernham: “We’ve talked about some things with some stuff that they have going on. I do have a percentage stake that Mr. Gillett and I could talk about but a lot of it depends on what his future is and where he’s headed. But that offer is on the table, yes. Not the complete. Just to make me a smaller partner. It was not the complete buyout.”
    Moody: “So you’re not going to disappear. You’ll just go from one-fifth to a fraction smaller than one-fifth?”
    Evernham: “Correct.”
    On reports that Gillett Evernham Motorsports will switch from Dodge to Toyota:
    Moody: “There are published reports out there this week that say George Gillett is “99 percent certain” that he’s going to move from Dodge to Toyota next season. To your knowledge, is there truth to that?”
    Evernham: “To my knowledge George is talking about several different things and to his credit, as I’ve said before, he’s going to do what he believes it takes to win a championship. And that’s why he purchased the race team. Again, I’m removed from the business side. There are things going on there that I don’t really need to be involved in nor want to be involved in. I try to help George with the competition stuff but George has made it very clear to me and to Dodge and to everybody else that he wants to win a championship. He’s got a good plan for growing this team. The man knows how to win championships if you look at the history with his hockey team. He’s going to do what it takes. I’ve heard a lot of those things just like everybody else but I don’t really have the answer for that.”
    Moody: “You are still 20 percent owner of that team. Could something as important as a manufacturer change be done without your knowledge?”
    Evernham: “No, it cannot be done without my knowledge. Any kind of business proposition, until it comes time to put something on paper, anybody can talk about anything. But certainly it could not be done without my knowledge.”(SIRIUS Speedway PR)(10-16-2008) Comment here
  • Bob Bahre Named To Hall of Fame: New Hampshire Motor Speedway founder Bob Bahre will be inducted to the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame on Jan. 25, 2009 at LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, Conn. Bahre, generally acknowledged as the man who brought “major league’ auto racing to New England, is also recognized as having saved Maine’s Oxford Plains Speedway. He lifted the track to prominence with the Oxford 250, long one of the richest short track races for late model stocks in America. He changed the face of the sport in 1990 when he built the mile oval in Loudon — today New Hampshire Motor Speedway. At the time it was the first superspeedway built in the world in 20 years. Tickets to the ceremony are on sale in Nov. at near1.com.(Union Leader)(10-16-2008)
  • Braun to test for Roush at the Rock: Roush Fenway Racing Truck Series driver Colin Braun is scheduled to test COT Cup car at Rockingham Speedway on Thursday, Oct. 16th.(Ford Racing)(10-16-2008)
  • Back in the Saddle Barry Sheppard, transporter driver for the #07 Jack Daniel’s Racing team and driver Clint Bowyer, will return to the track this weekend in Martinsville after 11 weeks on the sidelines. Following the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sheppard had surgery to repair two ruptured discs in his lower back. After a lengthy convalescence at his home in Stuart, Va., the 2001 International Truck Challenge Championship winner has been cleared by Dr. Charles Branch to return to his regular duties beginning this weekend.(RCR PR)(10-15-2008)
  • Martinsville Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 11 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hornish Jr. scored a 22nd-place finish and took top rookie honors for the eighth time this season. He was the top Raybestos Rookie in both races this season at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. His 13th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 is the best by a freshman driver this season. Regan Smith leads Sam Hornish Jr. by two points (191-189) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering Martinsville. Smith was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March 30 Goody’s Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville. He has been the top Raybestos Rookie in four of the five short track races this season. Only one Raybestos Rookie has won a pole for the Subway 500 since 1974: Ryan Newman (2002). A Raybestos Rookie has finished on the lead lap in each of the past SEVEN consecutive Subway 500 races at Martinsville. The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Tony Stewart (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2002). More than one Raybestos Rookie has posted victories in their rookie season only three times: Morgan Shepherd and Ron Bouchard (one each in 1981), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two) and Matt Kenseth (2000), Jimmie Johnson (three) and Ryan Newman (2002).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see rookie standings, history and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(10-16-2008)
  • Drive for Diversity Combine finishes up: Twenty-Six drivers took to the track Monday/Tuesday for the fifth annual Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco. The drivers competed for 14 spots – 10 rides in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and four in the NASCAR Camping World Series. For more news and notes for Day 1 and Day 2, see the driver development page.(10-16-2008) Comment here


    News from October 15, 2008

  • schemes added: for the 2009 season, three of Marco Ambrose’s #47 Toyota’s with Kingsford, Clorax and Little Debbie’s; plus another image of the #39 U.S. Army scheme, see my Paint Scheme Gallery/Chart and/or 2009 Paint Scheme page.(10-15-2008)
  • DEI working on the future: Max Siegel, Bobby Hutchens and John Story are trying to hold Dale Earnhardt Inc. together, rebuild it and find solid sponsorships for 2009 in a dismal economic climate. Siegel heard the rumors that swirled through the Lowe’s Motor Speedway garage last weekend, including the one that DEI was on the verge of laying off 80 employees after losing Paul Menard and the John Menard and U.S. Army sponsorships. But Siegel says he’s doing his best to put together the sponsorship deals to keep DEI running smoothly. “Since I’ve been with DEI, we’ve had to deal with perception issues,” said Siegel, a two-year veteran with the operation. “But we’ve got great people and great facilities. Right now, today, it is an interesting dynamic. If you look at the company and our infrastructure and the people who have been there a long time, and look at how our cars have been running, we have made some impressive gains. Last year people were killing us about our engines, so we’ve made a concerted effort to focus on our joint engine venture (with fellow owner Richard Childress). And there has definitely been improvement.”
    “We’re running four team cars ‘til the end of the year (with #1-Martin Truex Jr., #01-Regan Smith, #8-Aric Almirola and #15-Menard). And our intent is to run four cars again next year … but we are going to be fiscally responsible So right now any of the deals that are out there, we’re trying to put those together. And we’re wide-open as to how we can sustain a healthy race program. We have some very resilient people … but it’s the end of the year, and everyone is on pins and needles, trying to figure out what the future may bring.”
    Cutting 80 people? Siegel says he heard the rumors. “That’s not our intent, but I was hearing it, too,” he said. “Over the last two years, we’ve done some things and made some investments to strengthen our racing program. Sure, people tend to speculate when you see a sponsor leave.” And rivals are not above creating such speculation in order to pluck off key employees. “My heart goes out to all 400 of our employees who work so hard every week,” Siegel said. “And I am doing the best I can to sustain a level of confidence in our company and reassure everyone that we are doing everything we can to keep it healthy. And we have no imminent plans to lay off any people or shut down any of our race teams.”(Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2008) Comment here
  • Jeff Gordon heading to 20,000 laps led: Another milestone – 20,000 career laps led – is well within reach for #24-Jeff Gordon this Sunday in the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Gordon, who is currently eighth all-time with 19,823 laps led, can surpass Rusty Wallace for seventh on that list if he leads 150 laps this Sunday – something Gordon has accomplished on nine occasions there. Tack on another 27 and Gordon reaches 20,000. While Gordon is well shy of Richard Petty’s total of 52,194, he holds a commanding lead over the nearest “active” competitor in that category – future teammate Mark Martin – who ranks 11th with 11,560.(PPR Plus PR), see the top 30 lap leaders on my MISC Stats page.(10-15-2008)Comment here
  • Kurt Busch live at Barrett-Jackson…this Thursday (Oct. 16) between 4:10 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. local time in Las Vegas (PDT – 7:10 to 7:20 Eastern) at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Events Center. Kurt will help auction – live on SPEED-TV – the Miller Lite Dodge he raced last year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with all proceeds going to the Kurt Busch Foundation benefiting the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Tom Roberts PR)(10-15-2008)
  • Nicroette back with Gordon in 2009? When Jeff Gordon’s new DuPont paint scheme was revealed recently, Nicorette’s associate sponsorship along the lower rear quarter panels was notably missing. But that doesn’t mean Hendrick Motorsports’ relationship with the smoking cessation product is necessarily over. And even if it is, there appears to be an opportunity for another sponsor to form a marketing relationship with Gordon’s team. “Nicorette has been a valued partner of Hendrick Motorsports, and we are in the process of discussing 2009 options with them,” a Hendrick spokesperson told the [Long Island] Press. In 2008, Gordon’s car will sport Nicorette green six times as primary sponsor, including upcoming races at Atlanta and Texas. Pepsi was the primary sponsor twice in ’08. But the Hendrick rep later added, “The structure of the sponsorship will be similar to what you’ve seen the past few seasons.” Attempts to reach Lutz, Fla.-based Lighthouse Marketing, LLC, which manages Nicorette’s motorsports account, were unsuccessful. National Guard, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s co-primary sponsor, could pick up Nicorette’s former spot on the lower rear quarter panels.(Long Island Press)(10-15-2008) Comment here
  • Yeley hopes to get back in Cup ride soon: J.J. Yeley would welcome the opportunity to return to Sprint Cup this season. He tried to get into MWR’s #00 Toyota for Martinsville, but the team hired Mike Bliss. “He had a little sponsorship and he won,” Yeley said. Yeley has spoken with Chip Ganassi about the #41 [Target Dodge] being vacated by Sorenson at the end of the season. It’s the only fully funded car left in the Cup garage. “Chip hasn’t said no,” Yeley said. “My name is still on the list. It would be a great opportunity.” A.J. Allmendinger’s name has been linked to that seat, too. Other seats with established teams are available, but they need funding and a driver with some of it will have an edge. Yeley is working with a marketing company to bring something to the table if he doesn’t land the job at Ganassi. “I’ve had lots of discussions with a lot of teams,” Yeley said. “If you can bring a little bit of money, they can bring the rest. It puts you at the front of the line. I want to race at the highest level, I’d love to do Cup. If I can’t, then I’ll look at Nationwide and [Craftsman] Trucks.”(Sports Illustrated)(10-15-2008) Comment here
  • Miko Salo to NASCAR? UPDATE: not much reported, but during SPEED’s broadcast of “The Petit Le Mans” American Le Mans Series Sports car race from Road Atlanta, it was reported that Miko Salo is talking to NASCAR teams about running there in 2009, no series was mentioned [Cup, Nationwide or Trucks].(10-4-2008)
    UPDATE: Former Formula One racer Mika Salo is pondering moving to NASCAR and has been in talks with a number teams to try to arrange a first test at the wheel of a stock car. The Finnish driver was in attendance at Lowe’s Motor Speedway during the race weekend, as he explores the possibility of making a first approach to NASCAR to evaluate if he would like to commit to it in the future. “I have a little interest, yeah, so just having a look to see if there’s any opportunity or anything for me to at least try the thing and know if I like it,” Salo told autosport.com while visting the Sprint Cup garage. “I’ve driven everything else in the world, not NASCAR, so that’s why I want to try it.” Salo has recently been competing in the American Le Mans series driving a Ferrari 430 GT for Risi Competizione, winning a couple of weeks ago in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Salo confirmed he has already approached a couple of teams hoping to get an opportunity to drive a stock car for the first time. He said he still hasn’t signed a contract for next year – although he expects to do so next week – but would like to sample the car first before progressing into further talks with teams. “I’ve been in contact with a few teams and yeah, there’s serious contact,” Salo said. “But I’d like to try the car first before I sort of go any further. Just trying to work on a test day for now and see then. I haven’t signed anything for next year yet but I will probably next week. Then I’m stuck but maybe next year I can try one.” The 41-year-old says he has followed NASCAR more closely since former Formula One colleague Juan Pablo Montoya made the switch two years ago. However, he admits he would like to have a first go on a road course, given that he has never raced on an oval before.(Autosports)(10-15-2008) Comment here
  • #00 team could go away in 2008, McDowell not picked up: Michael Waltrip Racing will field cars for #55-Michael Waltrip and David Reutimann [#44 in 2008 supposedly will use the #00 in 2009 with #44 owners points] and then partner with JTG Daugherty Racing to field the car for Marcos Ambrose [#47] in the Sprint Cup Series in 2009. The fate of the current #00 MWR team is still to be determined. Running that car would depend on sponsorship, MWR Executive Vice President Cal Wells said Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Our plan right now is two plus one [of JTG Daugherty], and we’re working on some other opportunities for next year,” Wells said. “We’re all in to make those three cars race-winning contenders every week. We’re not going to spread our resources unless we can really find the right kind of deal. We did this year, but next year we’re going to make sure that we’re [sponsored].” The team currently fields three cars, including one that has primarily been driven by Michael McDowell. But McDowell hasn’t driven the last two weeks. AJ Allmendinger drove the car Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Wells said he considers him a candidate for a full-time ride if sponsorship is found for the fourth car. McDowell didn’t seem very optimistic about returning to MWR when talking Saturday. “They didn’t exercise the option on me,” McDowell said. “I know it’s due to not having funding, but being out these few races here, I’m not really sure where that’s driven from. I don’t know if I’m racing next week. Hopefully I’ll be in at Martinsville or in at some races before the end of the year. But in the meantime, they’re working hard on sponsorship and I’m working hard on trying to stay in the garage.” Wells said there is a plan for the rest of the year that includes McDowell and wouldn’t say who would drive next week at Martinsville. He said the situation is “fluid,” but did say that J.J. Yeley, rumored to have been driving the car, will not be driving it.
    “I just want to race – I don’t care if it’s a truck, Nationwide or a Cup car,” McDowell said. “I’m ready for any of the above. You’re not going to be extremely picky, choosy at this point. I need a job.” Wells said he was unsure exactly will happen with the points and which cars’ points the JTG Daugherty team will get.(SceneDaily)(10-15-2008) Comment here
  • Clauson to attempt Atlanta: Chip Ganassi Racing’s #40-Bryan Clauson said he will attempt to make his Sprint Cup debut in the upcoming race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a Ganassi Dodge. Clauson, a part-time Nationwide Series driver this year, didn’t get a chance to qualify at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last weekend because of rain, but the team will try again at Atlanta in the Pep Boys Auto 400 on Oct. 26. “We hope it doesn’t rain,” Clauson said. “It was frustrating, as good a test as we had out here. The guys went back and worked really hard on that car, and the motor shop did an awesome job, giving us a motor to come back with. We felt like we wouldn’t have any problem getting in the show. To not get to go out there and turn a lap, let alone make an attempt, was really frustrating.”(SceneDaily)(10-15-2008)
  • Cope to run at Martinsville: from Derrikecope.com – “I get to come back to the Cup Series with the #75 Cope/Keller Racing Dodge entry. Germane RED from Reading, PA will be on as an associate sponsor as well as Design Elite, a home interior design company based in Concord, NC.”(Derrikecope.com)(10-15-2008) Comment here
  • #77 Corn Maze: The Leaders farm, the home of Ohio’s original corn maze since 1997, are sporting a #77 Sam Hornish Jr. corn maze. See the maze at funtimefarm.com.(10-15-2008)
  • Blaney to test at Nashville UPDATE: #22-Dave Blaney and the Caterpillar Racing team are scheduled to spend Wednesday testing at the Nashville Superspeedway in preparation for several upcoming events on the Sprint Cup schedule.(BDR PR)(10-14-2008)
    UPDATE: Jeff Burton and the AT&T Chevy joined Dave Blaney testing Wednesday at the Nashville Superspeedway.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-15-2008)


    News from October 14, 2008

  • Congrats: Bill Davis Racing’s Vice President Marty Gaunt and his wife Cindy welcomed son Parker Martin to the family last Thursday. Parker weighed in at 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and is the first child for the couple.(BDR PR)(10-14-2008)
  • McMurray’s golf event helps out: On Monday, the Jamie McMurray Foundation raised over $100,000 for autism awareness in the Third Annual Jamie McMurray Foundation golf tournament.(RFR PR)(10-14-2008)
  • Steve Peterson Memorial Trust Fund: Contributions are being accepted for the Steve Peterson Memorial Trust Fund for Motorsports Education and Safety. The scholarship fund has been established by the family of the late Steve Peterson, the former NASCAR Technical Director who passed away this past July at his home in Concord, N.C. Peterson began his NASCAR career in January, 1995 and led many of NASCAR’s safety initiatives including development and installation of SAFER barriers, management and approval of head and neck restraints and improved seat belts, and coordination of the safety features in NASCAR’s new Sprint Cup Series car. The scholarship fund will be for students who aspire to study Motorsports Engineering and work in the field of motorsports safety. Contributions can be made through deposits to the following Wachovia bank account: 2000042225126 in the name of the Steve Peterson Memorial Trust Fund for Motorsports Education and Safety. Any questions can be directed to Greg Peterson by calling 616-662-1612.(10-14-2008)
  • Charlotte TV ratings: the ABC broadcast of the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway had a an overnight overnight rating 3.5 with a 7 share.
    AND ABC’s live coverage of the Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday night, Oct. 11, earned a final national rating of 3.8, down from the 4.2 final rating for last year’s telecast that also aired on ABC. The race averaged 6,034,447 viewers. ABC’s coverage of the Chase for the Sprint Cup is up from last year, averaging 3.9 through five races. Last year’s five-race average was 3.8.
    ESPN2’s live coverage of the rain-plagued Nationwide Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 10 earned a final national HH coverage rating of 1.1, averaging 1,356,716 viewers. The race had two red flags for rain. The rating was down from 1.3 for the same race last year when the event ran without rain delays. ESPN2 continues to be up over last year’s Nationwide Series with an average rating of 1.5 after 20 races, up from a 1.4 average last year (ESPN). See more about TV Ratings on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(10-14-2008)
  • Testing at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday: The Joe Gibbs Racing teams of Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway Tuesday, October 14. Fans can view testing from the designated area outside the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center in Turn 3 for free. Tests usually begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. Times will vary based on team goals.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-15-2008)
  • No rules changes for COT next year: Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s VP of competition, says series officials won’t be making rule changes for the Cup car after this season, saying they want to keep the rules constant so teams have a better chance of improving their cars instead of changing rules all the time and forcing teams to work in several different directions. “We’re going to remain firm on our rules,” Pemberton said Monday during a break in testing for the Nationwide COT at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “There are no rule changes coming along. We’ve had conversations with competitiors in the garage area throughout the summer and generally when we’re talking about the (upcoming) year, those discussions happen in mid-August, early September as far as rules and regulations go. We’re pleased with the progress the teams have made. I think as the teams have made their improvements, maybe early on they were looking for rule changes but I think as they found things to get their drivers and teams competitive and happy, they’ve come back and said, “OK, let’s stay the course on rules and regulations and we’ll get another year under our belt.”(Roanoke Times)(10-14-2008) Comment here
  • Goodyear may have to build different tires for Cup and Nationwide COTs: Goodyear could be forced to build different tires for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide series in 2010 when the Nationwide car of tomorrow is rolled out, a top official from the sanctioning body says. Currently, Goodyear uses the same tire when both series run on the same weekend, even thought the Cup series is using a new-model car. But NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said differences in the 2010 models for both series will be substantial, and that could mean a different tire for each. When the Nationwide car is introduced in 2010, it will have less horsepower and more downforce than the Cup version. NASCAR wants to make the cars “significantly different” for drivers, Pemberton said. Some in the Nationwide Series have asked for different tires than the Cup series to help differentiate the series and make sure Cup drivers don’t simply use the Nationwide Series as a test bed.(Scene Daily)(10-14-2008) Comment here
  • Drive for Diversity Combine gets underway: More than a dozen drivers took to the track Monday as the fifth annual Drive for Diversity Combine presented by Sunoco got underway. The two-day event, sponsored by NASCAR, is designed to showcase the sport’s top minority and female drivers in front of NASCAR car owners. Twenty-five drivers will take part in on-track testing, off-track media training and evaluations. They are competing for 14 rides – 10 in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and four in the NASCAR Camping World Series.(NASCAR PR), for more information on the event and participants see my driver development page.(10-14-2008) Comment here
  • R+L on the #17 at Martinsville: The #17 will sport the green and yellow colors of R+L Carriers this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Team 17 will be unloading chassis RK-574. Matt Kenseth raced this car at both Richmond races this year. Each time, he was relegated to less than stellar finishes due to accidents.(Roush Fenway Racing PR) see an image of the car on my #17 Team Schemes Page.(10-14-2008)


    News from October 13, 2008

  • Yeley to the #00 at Martinsville? No, Bliss: hearing that J.J. Yeley could be running the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota next week at Martinsville Speedway.(10-10-2008)
    UPDATE: MWR Executive Vice President Cal Wells said there is a plan for the rest of the year [for the #00 team] that includes [rookie Michael] McDowell and wouldn’t say who would drive next week at Martinsville. He said the situation is “fluid,” but did say that J.J. Yeley, rumored to have been driving the car, will not be driving it.(SceneDaily)(10-12-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Bob Dillner reported on SPEED Report that Mike Bliss will drive the #00 at Martinsville next weekend and Marcos Ambrose will be in the car at Atlanta.(10-13-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announces Mike Bliss will attempt to qualify and race the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series Tums QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday. Bliss follows Kenny Wallace and AJ Allmendinger with the same agenda of repositioning the MWR team inside the top 35 owner points standings.(MWR PR)(10-13-2008)
  • Racing Resources Says…
    …Jeff Burton won the Bank Of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday. He posted his 21st career victory in his 506th career race. It was his first win in the 2008 Chase and fifth top-10 finish in the five races so far in the Chase.
    …Burton posted his second victory of the 2008 season. He also won the first Bristol race. Richard Childress Racing scored its third Sprint Cup victory in 2008. The last Lowe’s victory for RCR came in the 1993 Coca-Cola 600 by Dale Earnhardt.
    …Burton won the race from the fourth-place starting position. He led twice for 58 laps, including the final 57.
    …This was the ninth win for Chevy in 2008. Toyota has 10 wins, Ford has eight and Dodge has four.
    …Burton has scored 25 top-15 finishes in 31 races this season, the most of any driver. He has scored top-10 finishes in the past six races.
    …Jimmie Johnson (sixth) has scored top-10 finishes in the past seven races. He made his 250th Cup start in Saturday’s race.
    …Johnson has led in 25 of the 31 races this season, more than any other driver. He has led at least one lap in the past 14 races at Lowe’s, the longest current streak. Johnson failed to lead in his first race at Lowe’s in October 2001 but has led in every race since.
    …Kevin Harvick (13th) has been running at the finish in the past 75 races, the longest current streak by any driver.
    …The top 10 consisted of four Chevys, two Dodges, three Fords and one Toyota.
    …Kasey Kahne (second) made his 175th Cup start in Saturday’s race.
    …Kyle Busch (fourth) posted his best finish in the 2008 Chase.
    …Tony Raines (40th) made his 125th Cup start.
    …Jeff Gordon (eighth) has gone 36 races without a victory, his longest streak between wins.
    …Two of the top five finishers were Chase drivers. Five of the top 10 were Chasers.
    …Greg Biffle won the first two Chase races. Jimmie Johnson won at Kansas, and Tony Stewart won at Talladega.
    …Seven of the 12 Chase drivers earned lap-leader bonus points at Lowe’s.
    …Four of the 12 Chase drivers changed positions after Lowe’s.
    …Carl Edwards (33rd) dropped from second to fourth in the Chase standings, now 168 points behind Johnson after suffering ignition problems.
    …The top three drivers (Johnson, Burton and Biffle) are separated by 86 points.
    …Bobby Labonte (17th) has been running at the finish in his past 20 races at Lowe’s, the longest current streak.
    (ESPN.com)(10-13-2008)

  • Smaller fields in NASCAR’s future? Another sign of the times is the rumor [Bob Margolis] heard in the Cup garage that NASCAR has floated the possibility of a change in the field size for the Craftsman Truck and Nationwide Series to 28 vehicles and the Cup field down to 36 sometime in the future.(Yahoo Sports)(10-13-2008) Comment here

  • Evernham thinking about leaving GEM? Ray Evernham, who has a minority share in Gillett Evernham Motorsports [#9, #10, and #19], said he was not involved in the decision to release rookie Patrick Carpentier. Evernham stressed he’s a minority partner in the team and hinted maybe that role could change to not being a part of the team. “That’s largely up to the Gillettes,” Evernham said if he would remain with the team. “I want to help Mr. Gillette, and I’ll do whatever I can to help him be successful, but I also want to pursue … I’m enjoying my life at ESPN. I’m enjoying a little bit of semi-retirement. I want to help as much as I can, but I also want to make sure I have creditability with the viewers and that’s important to me.”(Roanoke Times)(10-13-2008) Comment here

  • Stremme beats Busch at Winschester: David Stremme won the 37th Annual Winchester 400 Sunday in Winchester, IN beating Kyle Busch.(CRA Racing)(10-13-2008)

News from October 12, 2008

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte:
    Total number of commercials: 120
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 67
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 16
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:35 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:31 PM
    Total minutes: 236
    Minutes of race broadcast: 183
    Minutes of commercials: 53
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 1
    Total race brdcst time 183 Total comm. brdcst time 53
    See more on my 2008 Commercials Page.(10-12-2008) Comment here
  • Chrysler, GM discuss merger, acquisition: UPDATE: General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC have held preliminary talks about a merger or an acquisition of Chrysler by GM, according to published reports. The Wall Street Journal, citing people it described as familiar with the discussions, reported that Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm that owns 80.1 percent of Chrysler and 51 percent of GMAC Financial Services, proposed trading Chrysler’s automotive operations to GM. The Journal said Cerberus would receive GM’s remaining 49 percent stake in GMAC. The New York Times, also citing people familiar with the talks, reported that the automakers were discussing a merger. The Times did not mention GMAC, a traditional auto lender hit hard by the housing market downturn. The talks have stalled because of the recent turmoil in the financial markets, according to the Journal. Its sources said negotiations could resume if markets stabilize because both GM and Cerberus want to quickly divest the assets under discussion.(Associated Press/Yahoo)(10-11-2008)
    UPDATE: General Motors Corp. approached Ford Motor Co. in recent months about a possible merger but Ford called off the talks after the Dearborn, Mich. auto maker concluded it should continue to go it alone, according to a person directly familiar with the talks. GM and Ford already have a joint venture involving six-speed transmissions and have talked about expanding that partnership to include powertrains, according to sources familiar with the discussions.(Wall Street Journal), no idea how these deals will or would effect their NASCAR involvment.(10-12-2008) Comment here
  • Latest Ganassi merger rumor? Petty; GEM to Toyota? Trying to pin down the state of Petty Enterprises, under its new Boston Ventures’ management, and the future of the Chip Ganassi operation has been tough enough the last few weeks, but now the speculation of a GM-Chrysler corporate merger has thrown things into a real tizzy. Insiders at both the Petty and Ganassi Dodge camps say there is speculation that the two struggling teams may somehow merge, and that that speculation is fueled by the sense that fellow Dodge owner George Gillett, who has majority interest in Gillett-Evernham-Motorsports, is “99 percent” certain to jump to Toyota. Ray Evernham was Dodge’s mainstay in NASCAR racing, making such a move highly unusual. Dodge officials a few weeks ago denied such a change might be coming. One major complication for Dodge teams like Petty’s and Ganassi’s is that Gillett-Evernham has been a major Dodge engine operation. If Gillett moves to Toyota, then Dodge loses a very big player.(Winston-Salem Journal)(10-12-2008) Comment here
  • Harvick/Edwards confrontation: UPDATE 2: hearing there was a confrontation in the Nationwide Series garages at Lowe’s Motor Speedway between Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick over last Sunday’s Talladega wreck. Details as they are found will be posted.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-9-2008)
    UPDATE: Witnesses said Edwards approached Harvick in the garage stall housing Harvick’s #33 Chevy and engaged in conversation. Following what a witness called a heated discussion, Harvick turned to walk away and Edwards grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around. According to reports Harvick then shoved Edwards in retaliation, forcing Edwards onto the hood of the #33 Chevy. #33 crew chief Rick Ren pointed to a dent in the hood where he said Edwards landed. Others on site then proceeded to separate the drivers, and witnesses said Edwards was grabbed around the neck in a headlock by Harvick’s motor-home driver, Jeff Smith. No punches were thrown, witnesses said. NASCAR did not immediately comment on the issue. Edwards and Harvick were not immediately available to comment. Witnesses claim the verbal exchange Thursday was in reference to a handwritten note Edwards left in a seat on Harvick’s airplane following the AMP Energy 500 last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The note facetiously thanked Harvick for disparaging comments he made toward Edwards on ABC following a multi-car wreck on Lap 174 of 188, which was triggered when Edwards tapped teammate Greg Biffle. Harvick was collected in the incident.(ESPN)(10-9-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick were warned before Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway not to let the physical confrontation they had on Thursday spill over onto the track. Edwards and Harvick met with NASCAR president Mike Helton, vice president of competition Robin Pemberton and series director John Darby following the drivers’ meeting. There will be no fines and neither was placed on probation.(ESPN.com)(10-12-2008) Comment here
  • Inman receives Smokey Yunick Award: Legendary Petty Enterprises crew chief Dale Inman was awarded the Smokey Yunick Award prior to the start of the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The award acknowledges outstanding achievement in the world of motorsports. Inman, the most decorated crew chief in NASCAR history, joined several of his colleagues with this recognition, including Glen and Leonard Wood, Ralph Moody and Bud Moore. While no driver has ever won more than Petty’s seven NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, Inman has won eight as a crew chief. All seven of Petty’s championships came under Inman’s watch, along with 198 of his 200 record-setting wins. He won his eighth and final championship with Terry Labonte in 1984.(MCG Sprots/Petty Enterprises PR)(10-12-2008)


    News from October 11, 2008

  • Burton wins at Charlotte: #31-Jeff Burton won the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for his 2nd win of the season and the 21st of his career. He took no tires on his final pit stop and held off a late run by #9-Kahne to take the win. #2-Busch finished third, followed by #18-Busch, #26-McMurray, #48-Johnson, #16-Biffle, #24-Gordon, #8-Martin, and #6-Ragan. Other chase drivers: #20-Stewart was 11th, #07-Bowyer 12th, #29-Harvick 13th, #11-Hamlin 16th, #99-Edwards had an ignition failure and finished 33rd, #88-Earnhardt, Jr cut a tire and finsihed 36th, #17-Kenseth was involved in an accident just past the midway point of the race for a 41st place finish. There were 10 cautions for 48 laps and 24 lead changes among 16 leaders.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Charlotte Race Results Awards Page.(10-11-2008) Comment here
  • UNOFFICIAL Chase Driver Points Standings [after Charlotte race 31 of 36]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5878 [5 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 5809 -69 [2 wins]
    3) #16-Greg Biffle 5792 -86 [2 wins]
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 5710 -168 [6 wins]
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer 5693 -185 [1 win]
    6) #29-Kevin Harvick 5671 -207
    7) #20-Tony Stewart 5650 -228 [1 win]
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon 5633 -245
    9) #18-Kyle Busch 5552 -326 [8 wins]
    10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5524 -354 [1 win]
    11) #17-Matt Kenseth 5518 -360
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin 5498 -380 [1 win]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Charlotte.(10-11-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Classic Driver Points Standings [after Charlotte race 31 of 36]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4414 [5 wins]
    2) #18-Kyle Busch 4350 -64 [8 wins]
    3) #99-Carl Edwards 4331 -83 [6 wins]
    4) #31-Jeff Burton 4183 -231 [2 wins]
    6) #16-Greg Biffle 4072 -342 [2 wins]
    5) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 4002 -412 [1 win]
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 3954 -460
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 3935 -479 [1 win]
    9) #24-Jeff Gordon 3854 -560
    10) #07-Clint Bowyer 3799 -615 [1 win]
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin 3723 -691 [1 win]
    12) #6-David Ragan 3678 -736
    13) #17-Matt Kenseth 3650 -764
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 3592 -822 [2 wins]
    (10-11-2008)
  • Where did the 12 Chase Drivers finish at Charlotte?
    (the order before Charlotte)
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 6th
    2) #99-Carl Edwards, 33rd
    3) #16-Greg Biffle, 7th
    4) #31-Jeff Burton, 1st
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer, 12th
    6) #29-Kevin Harvick, 13th
    7) #20-Tony Stewart, 11th
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon, 8th
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth, 41st
    10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 36th
    11) #18-Kyle Busch, 4th
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin, 16th
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway Race Fast Facts:
    …Jeff Burton won the Bank of America 500, his 21st victory in 506 starts.
    …This is his second victory and 17th top-10 finish in 2008.
    …This is his third victory and 15th top-10 finish in 30 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte.
    …Kasey Kahne (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in ten races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte. It is his 13th top-10 finish in 2008.
    …Kurt Busch (third) posted his third top-10 finish in 17 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte.
    …Sam Hornish Jr. (22nd) was the highest finishing rookie.
    …Jimmie Johnson leads the point standings by 69 points over Jeff Burton.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(10-11-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Martinsville:
    No changes in the top 35, the #84 team fell to 35th, but is still 63 points over #00 team
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    32) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 2489 +165
    33) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 2469 +145
    34) #7-Gordon/RGM: 2402 +78
    35) #84-Speed/Red Bull Racing: 2387 63 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #00-Bliss/Waltrip Racing: 2324, 63 points out of 35th
    37) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 2387 -143
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(10-11-2008)
  • Charlotte Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1) #77 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 44
    2) #78 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 44
    3) #96 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 64
    4) #5 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 104
    5) #28 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 104
    6) #55 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 106
    7) #10 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 121
    8) #77 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 173
    9) #6 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 178
    10) #01 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 179
    11) #10 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 187
    12) #45 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 196
    13) #42 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 197
    14) #21 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 197
    15) #15 Outside half pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tire. TE 200
    16) #88 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 199
    17) #43 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 206
    18) #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 206
    19) #10 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 206
    20) #88 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 207
    21) #18 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 257
    22) #20 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 258
    23) #88 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 267
    24) #7 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 266
    25) #15 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 266
    26) #7 Pulling up to pit OL 268
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-11-2008)

  • Allmendinger still working on ride for 2009: AJ Allmendinger says that while he knows what he’ll be doing for the remainder of 2008, he still doesn’t have anything finalized for next year. Allmendinger is driving the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing car this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and then will drive the #10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports car for the final five races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season. He has talked with Chip Ganassi Racing about its #41 car opening but he said he hasn’t heard too much the last couple of weeks. “That’s kind of been a little bit quiet, but until the seat is taken, I hope I’m always a candidate,” he said. “I’ve got no contracts, no obligations to anybody except for these six races, and that’s kind of the way I’m taking it.”(Scene Daily)(10-11-2008) Comment here

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame Chooses First Petty Piece: NASCAR Hall of Fame executive director Winston Kelley announced that the Petty Blue 1967 Plymouth Belvedere from Petty Enterprises is “the first significant artifact” publicly presented by the hall. ‘The King’ Richard Petty drove the Plymouth to more wins than any other car in NASCAR history. During the 1967 season, Petty won 27 races, including a NASCAR-record 10 in a row. The car, however, was actually a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere that was updated through 1967. In all, the dominate machine tallied 36 wins from 1966-67. It will be on loan for two years from the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, N.C. Kelley acknowledges that picking a Petty artifact as the first significant piece was one of the easiest choices he has made as executive director. More info about the NASCAR Hall of Fame at nascarhall.com.(MCG Sports/Petty Enterprises PR)(10-11-2008) Comment here

  • Latest on Indy’s Tire Test: UPDATE: Goodyear Tire and NASCAR officials, along with Sprint Cup Series drivers Kasey Kahne and Mark Martin [tested the #5 Hendrick Chevy], expressed optimism at the progress made in tire testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A total of 14 Sprint Cup Series drivers tested Oct. 6-7 at IMS as Goodyear developed a tire for the 16th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for Sunday, July 26, 2009. The final day of the three-day test, Wednesday, Oct. 8, was canceled due to rain. This was the second Goodyear test at IMS in three weeks and, according to Stu Grant, Goodyear’s general manager of worldwide racing, the effort is paying dividends. “We tested with Kyle Petty a couple weeks ago, saw some very, very encouraging results out of that test,” he said. “Now, of course, we’re here with a lot more cars. We’ve got what we believe to be a good start toward a 2009 race recommendation. Just look at the racetrack, you can see there’s a groove in the racetrack where the cars are going around, just kind of looking normal. We’ve got rubber debris on the outside of the groove, and we’re seeing some significant improvements in wear.” Goodyear also plans to test again with multiple cars in April 2009 at IMS, Grant said. Detailed laboratory analysis after the 2008 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, which was slowed by frequent competition cautions, identified the causes of excessive tire wear during that event, Grant said. The 2008 event was the first for NASCAR’s “Car of Tomorrow” at IMS. “We saw that the additional load and additional slip that the right rear tire saw was considerably more than it was in 2007,” Grant said. “Then we started to do some laboratory analysis to try to figure out, ‘OK, why did we see that kind of wear debris, why did the track not rubber in?’ To make a long story short, what we found out was that the additional load and slip that the right rear tire saw changed the particle size of the wear debris.” Goodyear brought tires to this test that lasted longer and will produce better racing next year at IMS, Sprint Cup stars Mark Martin and Kasey Kahne said.(IMS PR)(10-9-2008)
    UPDATE: “We are extremely pleased that the efforts of all of our engineers and research team has paid off,” said Stu Grant, Goodyear’s general manager of worldwide racing. “Our test program has been built on the knowledge that the team has gained over the last several months and the results indicate that we will be able to provide an excellent tire for next years race at Indy. We had several tire set-ups that ran full fuel stops and provided good grip and good wear.” Another important element to this week’s test was measuring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track surface throughout the test in an effort to quantify how the surface changes during the “rubbering in” process. But while Goodyear has seen many gains, the work is far from over. “Right now we plan to go back to re-test some of our results on a ‘green’ race track this coming Monday,” added Grant. “Then, of course we will return to Indianapolis next spring to determine the tire that we will provide for the race, but we are very pleased with the results of our track testing programs so far this fall.” This Monday’s session will have the #10 Gillett-Evernham Motorsports team with driver A.J. Allmendinger participating.(Goodyear PR)(10-11-2008)
  • Special helmet for Smith at LMS: Doug Warf, Director of Community Relations and Executive Director of the Kids ‘N Community Foundation for the Carolina Hurricanes, announced that NASCAR driver #01-Regan Smith will wear a special Carolina Hurricanes-themed helmet on Saturday, Oct. 11, during the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Smith is wearing the Hurricanes-themed helmet this weekend to draw attention to the start of the 2008-09 NHL season, and will donate the helmet to the Kids ‘N Community Foundation for a charity auction following the race. The 25-year-old driver of DEI/Principal Financial Group’s #01 Chevy, is in the hunt for Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year honors, and is coming off of a controversial finish in last weekend’s AMP Energy 500 at Talladega. Smith is a self-proclaimed “Caniac,” who moved to Mooresville, NC, in 1995 from his hometown of Cato, NY.(hurricanes.nhl.com)(10-11-2008)
  • NASCAR Charity/Foundation News: Despite the rainy weather, hundreds of fans showed up and helped collect $100,000 in donations and pledges at The First Official Jail and Bail charity event benefitting the Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund Oct. 8 at the Brickhouse Tavern in Davidson, N.C.
    AND Representatives for The NASCAR Foundation presented Victory Junction Gang with a $450,000 check from funds raised through the NASCAR Day 2008 celebration. Mike Helton, NASCAR president and The NASCAR Foundation board member, and Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of corporate communications and The NASCAR Foundation board member, made the presentation to camp founder Kyle Petty and Victory Junction camper Collin McCord at the camp in Randleman, N.C., prior to a service project carried out by members of The NASCAR Foundation Volunteer Network.
    AND The Jeff Gordon Foundation and Jeff Gordon, hosted “A Hero’s Journey” on Wednesday. The day-long event raised over $310,000 for the Hendrick Marrow Program. See more on my Racing Charities page.(10-11-2008)


    News from October 10, 2008

  • Chase Stats/Notes: In the four previous Chases, only eventual champ Tony Stewart had a bigger lead (+75) in 2005 than Jimmie Johnson (+72) carries into Lowe’s Motor Speedway this weekend. Greg Biffle has scored the second most points in the four Chase races, and was second in the spring at LMS. Jeff Burton’s fourth at ‘Dega gained him 22 points on Johnson and he has a fourth and sixth in his last two trips at Lowe’s. After his crash at Talladega, Jeff Gordon is going to need the top three or four to have some trouble and he needs to get hot, like a repeat of his fall win at LMS last year. In 2006 after three races, Johnson was 8th in the Chase, 156 points out and won the Championship, the farthest any driver has been to win after three Chase races. See my Chase Stats page for more.(10-10-2008)
  • Hamlin cleared, but will sit out NNS race: UPDATE: Denny Hamlin will be back behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Camry this weekend in Charlotte after his heavy-impact crash last weekend at Talladega. Following his release from University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) hospital on Monday morning, Hamlin met with NASCAR’s consulting physician, Dr. Jerry Petty, this week in North Carolina and was cleared to race in the Sprint Cup race this weekend in Charlotte. Hamlin on Talladega: “It was definitely the hardest hit I have ever taken in a race car. It was good to get home, get some rest and take it easy this week. I am feeling better everyday and look forward to getting back in the car this weekend. I need to thank everyone at Talladega and at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Hospital, and also Dr. Petty and the NASCAR medical team for taking care of me. I really appreciate all they did for me and for putting my health above everything else. Thanks to all of the fans for their concern and, of course, thanks to everyone at JGR and #11 team who build really safe cars and that showed last weekend. This sport has made big gains in terms of safety – everything from the cars to the walls and those are big steps in the right direction.”(FedEx Racing PR)
    AND Hamlin will skip Friday night’s Nationwide Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hamlin had been scheduled to drive in Friday’s Dollar General 300 in Braun Racing’s #10 Toyota. The car will now by driven by Dave Blaney, who gave Braun Racing its first win in the series in this race in 2006.(ESPN)(10-8-2008)
    UPDATE: #11-Denny Hamlin said he considered skipping Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway because of last weekend’s grinding crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Hamlin lost a tire and slammed into the wall during the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega on Sunday, sending him to University of Alabama-Birmingham hospital for overnight observation. Hamlin opted out of Friday’s Nationwide Series race here, even though he has been cleared to race this weekend. But after considering missing Saturday’s Cup event, Hamlin decided to race. “The most important thing is long-term health, and that’s why we’re sitting tomorrow night’s race out. If I take a hit there then it’s going to be hard for them to clear me on Saturday. I think right now we’re good to go.” Hamlin said he would not have a relief driver standing by Saturday night.(Scene Daily.com)(10-10-2008) Comment here
  • Red Rocks Café on the #00 at Charlotte: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Red Rocks Cafe is partnering with the racing organization to be an associate sponsor on the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota driven by AJ Allmendinger in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Saturday night. Red Rocks Café is a North Carolina based restaurant with two locations at Southpark in the Charlotte area at Strawberry Hill Shopping Center and Birkdale Village in Huntersville.(MWR PR)(10-10-2008) Comment here
  • Aerosmith Guitarist Brad Whitford at visit LMS: Having written his first song, titled Round and Round, Aerosmith rhythm and lead guitarist Brad Whitford may have been thinking about his other passion in life, auto racing. This weekend Whitford will take to the Lowe’s Motor Speedway with #43-Bobby Labonte as a guest for Saturday night’s running of the Bank of America 500. It will be Whitford’s first trip to the track. Whitford will tour the garage, the Cheerios/Betty Crocker transporter and meet with the crew before the race.(Breaking Limits PR)(10-10-2008) Comment here
  • Juicy Fruit scheme for Montoya at LMS: The #42 Dodge of Juan Pablo Montota will sport the colors of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS). The Juicy Fruit Slim Pack car will be seen once more this season in the Sprint Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(CGRFS PR), see images of the scheme on my #42 Team Scheme page.(10-10-2008)
  • Happy Hour practice: for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #48-Johnson 183.007
    #99-Edwards 182.908
    #26-McMurray 182.100
    #42-Montoya 181.494
    #16-Biffle 181.458
    slowest: #96-Schrader 178.548 & #70-Raines 178.324
    incidents: #07-Bowyer slid up into the wall at the beginning of the session. The team has decided to repair the car rather than go to a backup.
    #18-Busch suffered some minor sheetmetal damage when he made minor contact with the wall.
    #77-Hornish hit the wall in turn 2 just past the midway point in the session and will have to go to a backup.
    See the speeds, laps run, ave speeds on my Charlotte Practice Speeds page.(10-10-2008)
  • First Friday practice: for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #99-Edwards 182.051
    #9-Kahne 181.629
    #19-Sadler 181.513
    #16-Biffle 181.403
    #5-Mears 181.214
    slowest: #45-McCumbee 177.713 & #70-Raines 177.136
    The session was delayed for approx. 10 minutes because of of rain showers.
    See the speeds, laps run, ave speeds on my Charlotte Practice Speeds page.(10-10-2008)
  • Pit Stall Selections have been made for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, #48-Johnson got to choose first since he will start from the pole, and took stall #1, #99-Edwards, who starts 2nd, took stall #15, the last pit with an opening in front of it before the start finish line. #17-Kenseth, who starts 9th, took the final pit stall. See who took what stall on my Charlotte Pit Stall selections page.(10-10-2008)


    News from October 9, 2008

  • Army to Newman? UPDATE Official, IMAGES: sources said Army is close to finalizing a deal to be a partial co-sponsor of Ryan Newman’s [#39 Chevy] car at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009.(ESPN.com)(9-12-2008)
    UPDATE: Another piece of the Stewart-Haas Racing puzzle will be fit into place Thursday when the race team will unveil the U.S. Army as primary sponsor of Ryan Newman’s #39 Chevy for next season [supposedly for 22 races], sources have confirmed to NASCAR.com. The announcement is scheduled to be made at 1:30pm/et Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, site of this weekend’s Sprint Cup event. The Stewart-Haas organization now has both its Chevys sponsored for next season with Office Depot and Old Spice set to back the car of team co-owner [#14] Tony Stewart.(NASCAR.com)
    UPDATE 2: U.S. Army To Sponsor Newman’s Stewart-Haas Ride For 22 Races Next Year Stewart-Haas Racing officials tomorrow are expected to announce a deal for the U.S. Army to “serve as primary sponsor” in 22 races next season for the #39 Sprint Cup…(Sports Business Daily)(10-8-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Two strong teams joined forces as the U.S. Army announced it will sponsor Ryan Newman and his #39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy for the 2009 Sprint Cup season. The 2009 Sprint Cup season will be the U.S. Army’s seventh as a primary NASCAR sponsor. The U.S. Army will be the primary paint scheme for 22 point-paying Sprint Cup races in 2009, along with the non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star race May 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. For the remaining 14 races, the U.S. Army will serve as an associate sponsor on the #39, which is owned by Stewart.(GoArmy.com), see an image of the car on my #39 team schemes page.(10-9-2008) Comment here
  • Talladega TV Ratings Even with 2007: ABC earned a 4.6 national rating for its live telecast of the AMP Energy 500 Sprint Cup race from Talladega Superspeedway, the same rating as was earned by last year’s race telecast, also on ABC. The race averaged 7,439,614 viewers. The race earned ABC’s highest rating so far this season and matched its highest rating from 2007. The network is televising all 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.(ESPN), for the dull season and Ratings chart, see my 2008 TV Ratings page.(10-9-2008) Comment here
  • Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be running the same tire codes this weekend . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that teams in these two series ran at Charlotte in May . . . Charlotte is the only track at which this left-side tire code (D-4128) will be run in 2008 . . . this right-side code (D-4130) was run with a different left-side at Darlington 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 lines should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.
    Testing update: Goodyear held its second recent tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past Monday and Tuesday . . . teams that participated were the No. 07, 1, 5, 9, 17, 20, 26, 29, 38, 41, 43 and 84 . . . the test was scheduled to continue on Wednesday, but rain cancelled all on-track activity . . . this was a follow-up to the test held with the No. 45 Petty Enterprises Dodge at IMS on Sept. 22-23 . . . other tire tests upcoming include include a 2008 confirmation test at Homestead (Oct. 14) and one looking ahead to the 2009 season at Las Vegas (Dec. 10-11). For pressures, codes and more see my Charlotte Race Info page.(10-9-2008)

  • Labonte “going pink” at Charlotte: In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Petty Enterprises has partnered with General Mills, primary sponsor of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, to promote awareness of breast cancer during the week of the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The efforts support Pink Together, a national campaign dedicated to inspiring hope among those touched by breast cancer. The centerpiece of this week’s partnership will be the #43 Cheerios Racing/Pink Together Dodge Charger that will be driven by Bobby Labonte during Saturday night’s race. The pink Dodge will carry the names of hundreds of people who shared their stories about breast cancer at PinkTogether.com, an online community of hope for those impacted by this devastating disease.(Petty Enterprises PR), see an image of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page.(10-9-2008)
  • AMP Energy Relaunch scheme for Earnhardt, Jr.: This weekend, the #88 Chevy will change to Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s favorite color, orange, to showcase AMP Energy Relaunch for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. AMP Energy Relaunch revives and hydrates with a burst of orange citrus and an intense surge of energy to get up and get moving again.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), see images of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(10-9-2008)
  • Pink M&M’s scheme for Busch at LMS: While M&M’s will be on board as the primary sponsor this weekend in the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch’s #18 Toyota will feature a pink paint scheme to help raise awareness for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation during Breast Cancer Awareness month.(JGR PR), see image of the scheme on my #18 Team Schemes page.(10-9-2008)
  • Pop Tarts scheme for Mears again: For the fourth time this season and second consecutive week, Pop-Tarts, Kellogg’s most popular morning food product, will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevy. Pop-Tarts was also the co-primary sponsor of the #5 Chevy in March at Las Vegas, in August at Bristol and last weekend at Talladega.(HMS PR), see images of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(10-9-2008)
  • Gordon to run Menard’s scheme at Charlotte: Coming off their third top-ten restrictor-plate finish of the 2008 season, Robby Gordon and his #7 Menards team look to carry their superspeedway momentum forward into this weekend’s Bank of America 500.(RGM PR), see images of the Menard’s scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(10-9-2008)
  • Sad News – T. Taylor Warren: Thomas Taylor Warren, a lifelong NASCAR photographer, died Wednesday. He was 83. Known simply as T. Taylor in the NASCAR community, T. Taylor Warren began photographing racing before NASCAR itself was born. Warren started shooting Sprint and Midget racing at the Milwaukee Fairgrounds in 1947 when he lived in Wisconsin. Over the next 60 years, Warren saw, and shot, it all. From his photo of the three-wide finish of the first Daytona 500 in 1959…to images from this year’s 50th anniversary Daytona 500 that he shot with a digital camera, Warren rolled with the changes in NASCAR and kept on going. Warren was the first photographer to win the International Motorsports Hall of Fame’s Henry T. McLemore Award for achievement in journalism, an honor presented to him in 2006. Funeral arrangements have not been released.(Scene Daily)(10-9-2008)
    SERVICES: A memorial service will be held this Sunday, October 12th at 4:00 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church, 126 Pearl Street in Darlington, SC. The family also invites you to share in light refreshments in the church fellowship hall following the service. At the request of the family, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA), P.O. Box 500, Darlington, SC 29540. For a personal message to the family, the Warren’s address is 325 Bar-M Ranch Road, Florence, SC 29501. Directions to the church from Darlington Raceway: Take Highways 151 & 34 into downtown Darlington, go through three stop lights, the church will be on your left at the third light.(10-9-2008) Comment here
  • Pit Stall Selections have been made for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, #48-Johnson got to choose first since he will start from the pole, and took stall #1, #99-Edwards, who starts 2nd, took stall #15, the last pit with an opening in front of it before the start finish line. #17-Kenseth, who starts 9th, took the final pit stall. See who took what stall on my Charlotte Pit Stall selections page.(10-10-2008)
  • Qualifying cancelled; Johnson on pole at Charlotte: Thursday practice and qualifying for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway was cancelled due to rain, for the 8th time this season. #48-Jimmie Johnson, who leads the points, will start 1st, followed by #99-Edwards, #16-Biffle, #31-Burton, #07-Bowyer, #29-Harvick, #20-Stewart, #24-Gordon, #17-Kenseth, and #88-Earnhardt, Jr. Not make the race were #25-Brad Keselowski, #40-Bryan Clauson, #82-Scott Speed [all three trying to make their series debut], and #75-Derrike Cope. See the starting lineup on my Charlotte Qualifying Page.(10-9-2008)
  • Dan Stillman named Wypall Crew Chief of the Race in Talladega: Dan Stillman, crew chief of the #01 DEI/Principal Financial Group Chevy driven by Regan Smith, was named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for Sunday’s strong performance in the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. After qualifying in the fourth position, Smith and the Stillman-led team went on to display a remarkable performance throughout the entire 500-mile race. Running in the top-10 for the latter part of the race, Smith was in second place on the final lap when he attempted to pass race leader Tony Stewart. Stewart moved up the track to block the #01, but Smith forced his way to the inside, beating Stewart to the checkered flag. NASCAR officials ruled that Smith had passed Stewart by going below the yellow line. They penalized Smith and the #01 team, crediting them with an 18th place finish. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(PR)(10-9-2008)
  • Keselowski to attempt first Cup race: Brad Keselowski will attempt to put his #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy in the Bank of America 500 field during Thursday evening’s Sprint Cup Series qualifying session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Should he be successful, Keselowski will make his first-ever Sprint Cup Series start Saturday night. Car owner Rick Hendrick will enter Keselowski and the #25 GoDaddy.com team in two Sprint Cup races this season — Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the Nov. 2 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will mark the return of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, which most recently was fielded in the 2007 Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with driver Casey Mears. Hendrick Motorsports ran the #25 Chevy full time from 1986-2007, winning 17 races with drivers Tim Richmond (nine victories), Ken Schrader (four), Jerry Nadeau (one), Joe Nemechek (one), Brian Vickers (one) and Mears (one). Veteran crew chief Lance McGrew will call the shots for Keselowski and the #25 GoDaddy.com team at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. McGrew, who has been successful working with young drivers like Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch, is a former Sprint Cup Series race winner and Nationwide Series champion. The #25 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet team participated in the Sept. 23-24 Sprint Cup open test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Keselowski posted the 12th-best lap time of the two-day session at 29.250 seconds and 184.615 mph. Keselowski has logged hundreds of laps in the new Chevrolet Impala SS by testing with Hendrick Motorsports’ research and development team. The experience also has allowed Keselowski to develop a strong relationship with McGrew, who helps guide Hendrick’s R&D efforts.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(10-9-2008)


    News from October 8, 2008

  • Career start #250 for Johnson, special scheme: #48-Jimmie Johnson will make his 250th Cup Series start when he takes the green flag for Saturday’s Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. To commemorate the event, Johnson will be debuting the 2009 #48 Lowe’s Impala SS paint scheme, which will carry a special decal honoring Johnson’s 250th start on the decklid during Saturday night’s event. “I can’t believe this weekend is my 250th start,” said Johnson. “I’ve been very lucky in my career that I’ve had one sponsor, Lowe’s, since I started racing in the Sprint Cup Series. It somehow seems fitting that we’ll be able to celebrate the occasion together at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.” Starting in the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports in 2001, Johnson has collected 38 wins, 98 top-five and 152 top-10 finishes heading into this weekend’s race. Lowe’s has been the primary sponsor on Johnson’s Chevy since he entered the series.(Lowe’s Racing) see an image of the car on my #48 Team Schemes page.(10-8-2008) Comment here
  • Elliott back in the #21 at LMS: Bill Elliott, will be back behind the wheel of the Wood Brothers Racing #21 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500 on October 11th. Elliott has 57 starts at the 1.5 mile quad-oval and two career wins in 1984 and 1987. He also holds four pole awards, 11 top-5 and 22 top-10 finishes at the track. Elliott will also be behind the wheel of the historic #21 for the rest of the season as the team looks to build on the progress it has made during the second half of the season.(Wood Brothers Racing PR), Marco Ambrose was scheduled to run the #21 at Texas and Phoenix, guess those plans changed when JTG Daughtey Racing signed with MWR for 2009.(10-8-2008) Comment here
  • #19 Stanley Dodge Painted Pink for the Bank of America 500: Elliott Sadler and the #19 Stanley Dodge are changing their look with a passionate pink paint scheme for the Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup Series race on Oct. 11 in Charlotte. The pink paint scheme is in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Sadler, who races each week with a pink ribbon decal above the driver’s side door on the #19 Dodge, is excited for the opportunity to lend support to breast cancer awareness. “Last year my mother, Bell, was diagnosed with breast cancer, so this is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart,” said Sadler. “We are fortunate that she was able to fight and is now on the road to recovery, but I’m excited to get involved with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help support breast cancer awareness and raise money for research to find a cure.” Stanley is making a $100,000 donation to Susan G. Komen for the Cure in support of the initiative. Following the race weekend, all of Sadler’s uniform items are going up for auction with proceeds set to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. “Stanley Tools is proud to be supporting breast cancer awareness and Susan G. Komen for the Cure,” said Rebecca Durham, Motorsports & Sponsorships Manager of Stanley Tools. “Elliott has told us how important breast cancer awareness is to him and his family, and Stanley Tools is equally as passionate about the cause. This is a big weekend for Elliott, Stanley Tools and Susan G. Komen for the Cure and we are thrilled to be lending our support.” The pink Stanley logo that appears on the #19 Dodge and on Sadler’s firesuit marks the first time in the company’s 165 year history that its logo will change to a color other than Stanley Yellow.(GEM PR), see images of the scheme on my #19 Team Schemes page.(10-8-2008) Comment here
  • Charlotte Rookie Notes/Facts: #01-Regan Smith ]almost won the race] was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 5 AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Smith scored an 18th-place finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the ninth time in 2008. Smith leads #77-Sam Hornish Jr. by four points (190-186) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 11 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Smith has led the Raybestos Rookie standings for 13 consecutive races dating back to Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Only two Raybestos Rookies have scored top-five finishes in the fall race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway since 1975: Ron Bouchard (fifth in 1981) and Jeff Gordon (fifth in 1993). Since 1975, only two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions for the fall race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Jeff Gordon (1993) and Ward Burton (1994). Kasey Kahne holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the Bank of America 500 (since 1975). Kahne led the 2004 race four times for 207 of the 334 laps. The most Raybestos Rookies to lead a lap in the fall race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway are two in 1979 and again in 1994. 1994, John Andretti led twice for 30 laps and Ward Burton led once for one lap. In 1979, Dale Earnhardt led three times for 55 laps while Harry Gant held the top spot once covering seven laps.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), with Carpentier’s released from the #10 GEM ride and McDowell not in the #00 car, only #01-Smith and #77-Hornish are racing each week for the award. See the rookie standings, history, past roty’s, more notes on the race at my 2008 Rookies Page.(10-8-2008)
  • Congrats – Casey Mears: Casey Mears and Trisha Grablander welcomed their baby yesterday, Oct. 7th. Samantha Mae Mears weighed 8lbs. 7oz. and is 20 3/4 inches long. Sam is named after her Great-Grandmother Mae “Skip” Mears. Mom, Dad, and baby are doing fantastic!(10-8-2008) Comment here
  • Clauson hopes to make Cup debut at LMS:Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced it has partnered with Sony Computer Entertainment America and its long-time sponsor Target to have MotorStorm Pacific Rift on Bryan Clauson’s #40 Dodge in his Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS) on October 11. Clauson, a 19-year-old from Noblesville, Ind., has been competing in the Nationwide Series (NNS) throughout this 2008 season, driving the #40 Fastenal Dodge. He made his career-first Nationwide start in September 2007 at Richmond, and has tallied 23 NNS starts since. To-date, the teen racer has collected one pole, one top-five and two top-10 finishes. Clauson scored his first career stock car victory in the ARCA Series at Gateway in his fifth career ARCA start. MotorStorm Pacific Rift, which will be released Tuesday October 28, takes you to a solitary tropical paradise in the Pacific Ocean, ready for a whole new take on no-holds-barred racing action through thick swamps, dense jungle, towering peaks and steaming volcanoes. Not just pretty backdrops to the action, these environments take center stage in challenging players with everything in Mother Nature’s arsenal. Thick mud, tangled undergrowth, swift flowing rivers, choking volcanic clouds and searing lava pools all test the drivers to their limits and beyond.(CGRFS PR), this will be the first race for the #40 CGRFS team since it suspended operations after the 17th race of the season. The team is not in the Top-35 in owners points and must qualify on speed to make the race at LMS.(10-8-2008) Comment here


    News from October 7, 2008

  • Harvick “Driven to the Outdoors” at LMS: In cooperation with RCR sponsors Realtree, Chevrolet, Shell Oil Company and Motorsports Authentics, Kevin Harvick’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy will feature a camouflaged-based Shell-Pennzoil paint scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, as part of the first ever Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program. In addition to a full line of NASCAR camouflage merchandise and memorabilia, the Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program will feature a unique sweepstakes that will ultimately reward one fan with a 2009 Chevy Silverado LTZ. Fans interested in learning more about the Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program and the rules associated with the sweepstakes can visit www.chevy.com/driven.(RCR PR)(10-7-2008)
  • Penske testing at Kentucky UPDATE: Penske Racing is testing with three teams at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday, October 7. Scheduled to test are #2-Kurt Busch, #77-Sam Hornish, and the R&D team with David Stremme. Fans can view testing from the designated area outside the Kentucky Speedway Fan Center in Turn 3 for free. Tests usually begin at 9:00am and end at 5:00pm. Times will vary based on team goals.(Kentucky Speedway PR)
    UPDATE: Penske Racing’s new-look Sprint Cup Series line-up of Kurt Busch, Sam Hornish, Jr., and David Stremme rolled through its 2009 punch list during today’s test session at Kentucky Speedway. Items on the agenda included a trial run of next season’s test rules as well as a shake down of the new Dodge race engine. “We have four or five different projects we’re working on. We didn’t feel like we tested that well at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last week, so we had to make some changes in our plans. We were going to go to the Indianapolis tire test, but instead we came here and decided to blend this test into the procedures for what’s going to happen next year. We didn’t know how many cars we were going to be able to get ready in time (for today), but next year you can have as many drivers as you want test. We just have to change seats and seat belts (in the cars.) We’re working on that to see how quick we can make that happen as well as comparing Sam’s car to my car. We’re also spending more time on the engines,” Busch said. “The more testing we can get (with the engine) the better. In race conditions it ran cool as far as water temperature, but the oil temperature was up around 250 degrees, so that was a little warm for normal circumstances. Maybe the engine has a bigger water cavity, we just need to get more miles on it to balance that out as well as measure its durability. It’s just like everything else; it takes time. If it were lightning in a bottle we’d have poured it in a long time ago,” the nine-year veteran said. Today’s extended track time also helped Busch and Hornish, Jr., learn more about their new teammate. “David’s been doing a great job for us testing our Car of Tomorrow (C.O.T.) here, at Nashville and even some short tracks, but he didn’t know what the set-ups were in the car. Now he’s seeing the set-ups, the numbers on what things are and it gives him a better feel – especially for the way that I drive and the way Sam is driving. David will be able to balance us both and check us both out. We have to have the best drivers surrounded by the best crew to get ahead of the curve. Right now, we’re just trying to get caught up to it,” Busch said.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-7-2008)
  • NC Auto Racing HOF announces Walk of Fame: Mooresville, North Carolina, also known as “Race City, USA”, will unveil a new Walk of Fame attraction in May 2009 designed to honor inductees of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. The walkway will be located on the sidewalks of Historic Downtown Mooresville in front of the Charles Mack Citizen Center. Ron Johnson, Director of the Mooresville Convention and Visitors Bureau, has played key role in the project, not only by bringing the funding to the table but injecting his vision for a one of a kind attraction. Said Ron Johnson, “This project marks the end of a five-year dream that NASCAR Technical Institute’s John Dodson and I have shared. We wanted to build something that would bring together the rich heritage of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and the downtown Mooresville area.” The attraction will feature markers for each of the Hall of Fame’s inductees. The 2008 induction ceremony, being held on October 8, will honor the late Benny Parsons. During this year’s ceremony, an unveiling of the Walk of Fame markers, featuring Richard Petty’s 1997 induction into the Hall of Fame, will take place. Don Miller, founder of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame and Chairman of the Board said, “I can’t tell you how excited I am about this project. Racing was born in the Carolinas. This walkway solidifies our rich history and preserves our heritage in this great sport that has meant so much to all of us.” North Carolina manufacturer David Allen Company has been contracted to build the markers, which will be installed by early May. More info on the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame at ncarhof.com.(NCARHOF PR)(10-7-2008)
  • Carpentier blamed by crew chief UPDATE released: After the Gillett Motorsports #10 Dodge failed to qualify on speed at Talladega Superspeedway, crew chief [or as GEM calls them, Team Director] Mike Shiplett decided to put good judgement aside and lash out at team driver Patrick Carpentier in the Tow Truck in a Box team trailer while the doors were open, allowing anyone in the paddock to witness the skirmish. This gesture was not appreciated by the canadian driver. “I think it’s a complete lack of respect,” said Carpentier. “I never was shy to take the blame when I thought it was my fault, but here, everybody knows that it’s like driving in a straight line. The driver just has to keep the steering wheel straight. He should have taken a time out and calmed down before he spoke. ” Shiplett accused Carpentier of going too low down on the last straight, which he claimed made the front of the car rub against the ground. “It’s bulls**t,” said Carpentier. “I’ve looked at the timing data and we were already three-tenths below the time we needed to qualify when I went below the line. I went low because i felt we had to try everything. I gave it all I had, but now he blames me? This is totally unacceptable. It’s not as if my teammates were on the first row! They both ran slower than me! ” #9-Kasey Kahne (41st) and #19-Elliott Sadler (43rd) posted times that were slower than the Carpentier (39th). It is their positions in the top 35 point standings that allowed them to be in the starting lineup of AMP 500. Sadler was using the new generation of the Dodge / GEM chassis. Kahne was also using the new chassis until when he damaged his primary car during practice. For Carpentier and the #10 Tow Truck in a Box Dodge, the only option given by GEM was to use an old generation Dodge Charger chassis. What most enraged Carpentier, is that Shiplett decided to scold him at Talladega, a track where the driver can do nothing to improve his fate if his car is not up to speed. “Even though I know his criticism didn’t make any sense, what is worst is that he seems to have forgotten pretty quickly races like Dover or in Atlanta where I’ve qualified a car that he himself didn’t think was fast enough to earn a place on the starting grid. I realize now that some people have a really short memory span in NASCAR, “said Carpentier”. Shiplett was not available for comment after the non-qualification of his car.(patcarpentier.ca taken from a french article at canoe.com)(10-5-2008)
    UPDATE: Patrick Carpentier has been released from Gillett Evernham Motorsports, sources confirmed Tuesday. Carpentier, a Sprint Cup rookie and former open-wheel racer in Champ Car and the IndyCar Series, was the driver of the #10 Dodge for GEM. He could not be reached for comment. On his Web site, patcarpentier.ca, Carpentier wrote he got into an argument and skirmish Saturday with team director Mike Shiplett, who blamed him for failing to qualifying at Talladega. Dominique Fugere, motorsports writer for Le Journal de Montreal, reported Shiplett later apologized to Carpentier after the argument at Talladega. Carpentier already was a lame-duck at GEM, which announced earlier that Reed Sorenson [not Scott Riggs] would drive for the team in 2009. GEM officials have not said who will drive the car this weekend for the Sprint Cup race at Lowes Motor Speedway.(ESPN)
    UPDATE 2: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced today that Mike Wallace will drive the #10 Dodge at Charlotte this weekend and A.J. Allmendinger will take over driving duties at Martinsville on Oct. 19 and for the remainder of the 2008 Sprint Cup season. Wallace and Allmendinger replace Patrick Carpentier who drove the #10 in 24 races this season. Allmendinger, 26, is committed to driving the #00 this weekend at Charlotte. “I’m excited about this news,” said the California native. “GEM has great equipment and I’m confident we can take these final five races and get the #10 up in points. I know we have a lot of work to do, but we are going to give it our best shot. I’m looking forward to spending some time with Crew Chief Mike Shiplett and the guys starting at Martinsville.” Reed Sorenson will assume the driving duties of the #10 at the beginning of the 2009 season.(GEM PR)(10-7-2008) Comment here
  • NASCAR making progress with tires at Indy: Goodyear and NASCAR officials say tire wear has improved significantly during this week’s testing at Indianapolis. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said on Tuesday that cars in the tests were running at least 20 laps on Goodyear’s new tires, built using a compound similar to that used during the second race in Dover, Del., this year. Pemberton also did not appear overly concerned about tire problems during Sunday’s race in Talladega, Ala. Several drivers had blowouts during the race, which Pemberton attributed primarily to punctures.(Associated Press)
    Teams: been told the teams testing [13-14 teams] are: #1-Truex Jr./DEI, #5-Mark Martin, #9-Kahne, #17-Kenseth, #20-Joe Gibbs Racing, #26-McMurray, #33-RCR, #41-Ganassi, #43-Labonte, #44-Reutimann/MWR, #84-Red Bull Racing; un-number white Ford and un-number gray HMS Chevy.
    AND for more info on Goodyear’s tire tests, see my Goodyear Tire page.(10-7-2008) Comment here
  • Talldega overnight TV Ratings: ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Amp Energy 500 Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway earned a 4.0 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 4.8% lower than the 4.2 the Cup race earned overnight on ABC in 2007.(SceneDaily)(10-7-2008) Comment here
  • Almirola about 2009 sponsorship: ARIC ALMIROLA, #8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, ON SPONSORSHIPS FOR ‘09? “I have told a lot of people this weekend, I don’t get paid to speculate, I get paid to drive race cars. I am just going out there doing the best job I can every weekend. I am not giving any extra effort now, because if I were, that would be shame on me, because I wasn’t doing my job earlier in the season. I am doing everything I was doing earlier in the season, I am doing the same things. It is business as usual. It is up to Max (Siegel) and John (Story) to take care of all that stuff. A part of me worries about it, but a part of me, I can’t worry about it, that isn’t my job.”(GM Racing PR)(10-7-2008)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega:
    Total number of commercials: 123
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 71
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 25
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:01 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:28 PM
    Total minutes: 267
    Minutes of race broadcast: 212
    Minutes of commercials: 55
    Number of missed restarts: 0 but they were very close on two occasions
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’: 1
    Number of times Jerry should not have said ‘We will now race commercial-free to the green’: 1
    Total race brdcst time 212 Total comm. brdcst time 55
    See more on my 2008 Commercials Page.(10-7-2008) Comment here


    News from October 6, 2008

  • A.J. back at Charlotte? UPDATE to MWR: A.J. Allmendinger was interviewed on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now and he said he has been in meetings with teams at Talladega Superspeedway and hopes to have his 2009 plans set soon and hopes to be in a ride as soon as the Bank of American at Lowe’s Motor Speedway next weekend.(10-5-2008)
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that AJ Allmendinger will attempt to qualify the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 Saturday night. “I look forward to it and I think this is a great opportunity,” Allmendinger said. “Over the past couple of months the organization has really picked up with how everyone has been running. Hopefully, I can go out there and do a good job and get the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota team back inside the top 35.” This past weekend Kenny Wallace recorded the team’s best finish of the season by crossing the finish line in 12th-place at Talladega Superspeedway. Now, it is Allmendinger’s turn to strap into the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota for the first time on Thursday for Sprint Cup Series practice and then qualifying. Allmendinger knows the team is only 39 points shy of 35th-place in the owner points. The coveted position is currently occupied by #7-Robby Gordon, who finished eighth on Sunday. Michael Waltrip Racing’s decided to make a driver change with the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota after the team failed to qualify with Michael McDowell for the Sprint Cup Series event at Kansas Speedway. The objective remains the same and that is to qualify on time and return the Michael Waltrip Racing team to the top 35 before the checkered flag waves at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(full PR at MWR)(10-6-2008) Comment here
  • Entry List is posted for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, 47 cars are entered including #25-Brad Keselowski, #40-Bryan Clauson, #75-Derrike Cope, #82-Scott Speed and #45-Chad McCumbee. Mark Martin is back in the #8, Bill Elliott back in the #21, A.J. Allmendinger will run the #00 MWR Toyota and Mike Wallace is in the #10 since Carpentier was released. See the entry list on Jayski’s Charlotte Entry List page.(10-6/7-2008)
  • Entry List for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is posted, 47 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
    Not in top 35 of 2008 owners points (2008 race attempts/owners pts standings in parens):
    #00-A.J. Allmendinger (30/36)
    #10-Mike Wallace (30/39)
    #21-Bill Elliott [past champ] (30/42)
    #25-Brad Keselowski (0/0)
    #40-Bryan Clauson (17/44)
    #45-Chad McCumbee (30/40)
    #70-Tony Raines (30/43)
    #75-Derrike Cope (0/0)
    #77-Sam Hornish Jr. (30/37)
    #78-Joe Nemechek (30/41)
    #82-Scott Speed (0/0)
    #96-Ken Schrader (30/38)
    In the event qualifying is cancelled:
    the eight who would make it [8]: #’s 77,21,00,96,10,45,78,70
    missing the race would be [4]: #’s 40,25,75,82
    See the full entry list at my Jayski’s Charlotte Entry List.(10-6/7-2008)
  • Below yellow line at Daytona/Talladega OK on last lap? NO UPDATE 3: This was posted back in Feb 2007 about the Truck Series race at Daytona. The ‘rule’ was metnioned at the end of ABC’s broadcast, but NASCAR ruled otherwise.
    Drivers throughout the Craftsman Truck Series garage were still talking about last week’s [Feb 2007] three-wide finish at Daytona International Speedway. While they admitted the finish was good for television, most wondered why NASCAR allowed Johnny Benson to drive below the yellow line – Daytona’s out of bounds line – to jump from third to second in the final 200 yards. Benson wasn’t penalized because “if you can see the checkered flag on the last lap, anything goes,” according to NASCAR spokesman Owen Kearns.(Augusta Chronicle)(2-24-2007/10-5-2008), no word on the exact ruling, problem with the ruling? take it up with NASCAR, contact info on my Racing FAQ/Contact NASCAR page.
    from NASCAR: Post-Race Comments from NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter Talladega Superspeedway, Oct. 5, “You cannot improve your position anytime you go below the yellow line. In our judgment, he (Regan Smith) improved his position and the penalty for that is a pass thru, so he was moved back to the tail end of the longest line or 18th position. At the driver’s meeting, we clearly state that you cannot improve your position by going below the yellow line. We do not feel he was forced below the yellow line. Anytime you get into a situation like this, there are going to be two different opinions. We respect Regan’s view, but we made the call, we think it’s the right call and the finish is final. NASCAR has to maintain some kind of control – and that’s the reason we say, you cannot advance your position by going below the yellow line. If he had not improved his position, he probably would have been awarded 2nd place.”(NASCAR)(10-5-2008)
    UPDATE: Smith and even Johnson, the two-time defending champion, said after the race they thought that the rules were not as tight coming to the finish line. A NASCAR spokesman stated publicly after a controversial truck race finish at Daytona in February 2007 that such was the case. Hunter, speaking for NASCAR on Sunday, said that was not true. “From what the officials tell me, it was pretty black and white,” Hunter said of the decision. “You can’t advance your position. It doesn’t matter how you get there. It’s a no-no.”(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE 2: Talladega Drivers Meeting: THIS IS YOUR WARNING DRIVERS: Race Director -David Hoots told the drivers and crew chief’s today “This is your warning. If you race below the yellow line and in the judgement of NASCAR you advance your position, you will be black flagged. If, in NASAR’s judgement you force someone below the yellow line in an effort to stop him from passing you , you may be black flagged” Hoots added: “Aggressive driving zones..first off don’t place yourself in position of opening up in our judgement of what’s aggressive. It’s considered all the way around the race track with much emphasis and observation placed on the turns and in the tri-oval. If you think that you are getting ready to go over being aggressive back off and let’s get to the end of the race.” Hoots also warned the group about speeding. “I would remind you all we had numerous speeding penalties yesterday at the entrance and exits and yellow line to yellow line,” he said. NO Questions: When asked by Hoots if there were any questions – the room of drivers and crew chiefs was silent.(Dialed in/Claire B. Lang)
    UPDATE 3: NASCAR Rule Clarification Regarding Passing At Daytona International Speedway And Talladega Superspeedway: At yesterday’s Drivers Meeting, NASCAR reiterated the rule about passing under the yellow line and provided the same information to all drivers and crew chiefs in a hand out, as we’ve done in past Daytona and Talladega races. The verbatim language is: “This is your warning: race above the yellow line. If, in NASCAR’S judgment, you go below the yellow line to improve your position, you will be black-flagged. If in NASCAR’s judgment you force someone below the yellow line (in an effort to stop him from passing you), you may be black-flagged.”
    “During the last lap of yesterday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway the driver of the #01 violated NASCAR policy by driving under the yellow line to improve his position,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “In NASCAR’s opinion he was not forced below the yellow line. NASCAR correctly took immediate action to enforce the policy by penalizing the #01 and scoring the #20 as the race winner.”
    Helton continued, “Since the end of the race there has been some confusion as to what is allowable during the last lap at Daytona and Talladega. To be clear, as we go forward, there will be no passing under the yellow line at any time during NASCAR races at Daytona or Talladega, period. This includes any passing below the yellow line near the start/finish line on the final lap,” said Helton.(NASCAR PR)(10-6-2008) Comment here
  • Hamlin taken to hospital after hard wreck; overnight stay Released: #11-Denny Hamlin was held Sunday night at a Birmingham hospital Sunday for further evaluation after a tire failure led to a hard crash at Talladega Superspeedway. Hamlin was alert and awake when he was transported to the UAB Medical Center, but was complaining of a headache and possibly had a concussion. He was also favoring his right foot after a slow exit from his crumpled car. “The tire went down and it was quite a shot,” Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs said. “He’s got a little headache, so they’re just going to watch him. It was a scary deal, but it’s at least nice that he’s alert and with it.” Hamlin, one of 12 drivers racing for the Sprint Cup title, was leading midway through the race when his right front tire failed and his Toyota shot into the outside wall. He said nothing over his in-car radio after the hit and took several moments to get out of the car. Crew chief Mike Ford said he was unsure what happened to the tire, and did not have a chance to speak to Hamlin. “But it happened so fast, I doubt he even knows,” Ford said. Hamlin’s tire failure was the fourth one in the race and fifth of the weekend. Earlier, Brian Vickers’ tire exploded as he was racing for the lead and it triggered an eight-car accident. Ford said on the run before Hamlin’s tire failure, the right rear tire had several cuts in it when the crew removed it during a pit stop. Hamlin attributed the cuts to debris on the race track, so Ford said it was unclear if the later failure was caused by Hamlin running over something or a deficiency in the Goodyear product.(Associated Press)(10-5-2008)
    UPDATE: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing was released this morning from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital after spending the night for observation. Following his lap 99-incident in yesterday’s Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, Hamlin was taken to the track’s infield care center then transported by ambulance to Birmingham. He was kept overnight at UAB and released this morning to return home to North Carolina. Hamlin had just lead his ninth lap of the race when he lost his right-front tire in turn two, slid up the track and made heavy contact with the SAFER barrier.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(10-6-2008) Comment here
  • Sprint Cup Series Record 28 Different Leaders At Talladega: There were 28 different leaders in Sunday’s AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, an all-time Sprint Cup Series record. The previous record of 26 was snapped on Lap 142 when Joe Nemechek crossed the start/finish line in first. Michael Waltrip later extended the record to 28, leading lap 165. The old record of 26 different leaders was originally set July 27, 1986, at Talladega. It was tied on April 22, 2001, again at Talladega. Sunday’s race also placed in the top five in terms of lead changes. There were 64 total lead changes, which is tied for fifth-most in NASCAR history.(NASCAR)(10-6-2008)
  • Petty to run Phoenix, after that ? #45-Kyle Petty will race for Petty Enterprises in November at Phoenix International Raceway, but will he return to the team in 2009? Petty Enterprises Executive Vice President Robbie Loomis said the future is still to be determined and if Petty could find more races somewhere else, he could drive for another team next year. Petty has talked in the past about possibly doing a part-time schedule next year, either with the Pettys or somewhere else. He already has committed to be in the telecast booth for TNT during its six events. Some of Petty’s sponsorship are tied to him as a driver. “We’ve got to look at Petty Enterprises and where we’re going with the future, but at the same time Kyle Petty has to look at Kyle Petty himself and I’m sure if the opportunity comes up and somebody’s got a good situation for him to run a full schedule, I would think Kyle probably would want to do it barring he still gets to do his TV races,” Loomis said Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Chad McCumbee will run the remainder of the races starting with next week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with the exception of Phoenix, Loomis said. Loomis said he really likes McCumbee, who will be evaluated for the rest of the season to determine if he will be signed for 2009.(SceneDaily)(10-6-2008) Comment here

News from October 5, 2008

  • Stewart finally wins at Talladega: #20-Tony Stewart won the Amp 500 at Talladega Superspeedway for his 1st win of 2008, his 1st win ever in a Cup race at Talladega after six 2nd place finishes and his 33rd career win [ties him for 17th all time wins with Fireball Roberts]. It was Stewart’s first win in 43 races, Watkins Glen in 2007 and the 9th season in a row [every season] that Stewart has won at least one race. #01-Regan Smith was 2nd but he passed Stewart at the start-finish line after passing the #20 under the yellow line and was penalized and credited with a finish of 18th. So #15-Menard is 2nd [his best career finish and first ever top-5 finish] followed by #6-Ragan, #31-Burton, #07-Bowyer, #43-Labonte, #66-Riggs, #7-Gordon, #48-Johnson and #19-Sadler. There were 64 lead changes among 28 drivers, 10 cautions for 41 laps and 2 red flags for the two big wrecks which lasted a little over 29 minutes.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Talladega Race Results Awards Page.(10-5-2008) Comment here
  • Three Race Tracks Tony Stewart has never won a Cup race at: There are three current race tracks the Cup Series runs on that #20-Tony Stewart has not won at [a Cup race]:
    California 0 for 15 with a best finish of 4th in 1999 & 2001
    Las Vegas 0 for 10 with a best finish of 2nd in 2000
    Darlington 0 for 16 with a best finish of 4th in 2001 & 2002
    Stewart had not won at Talladega until Oct 5, 2008 on his 20th try, he had six 2nd place finishes there before the win.
    Stewart has won at 19 of 23 tracks he has raced on, didn’t win at Rockingham which is no longer active for Cup racing.(10-5-2008)
  • UNOFFICIAL Chase Driver Points Standings [after Talladega race 30 of 36]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5718 [5 wins]
    2) #99-Carl Edwards 5646 -72 [6 wins]
    3) #16-Greg Biffle 5641 -77 [2 wins]
    4) #31-Jeff Burton 5619 -99 [1 win]
    5) #07-Clint Bowyer 5566 -152 [1 win]
    6) #29-Kevin Harvick 5547 -171
    7) #20-Tony Stewart 5515 -203 [1 win]
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon 5486 -232
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth 5473 -245
    10) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5469 -249 [1 win]
    11) #18-Kyle Busch 5387 -331 [8 wins]
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin 5383 -335 [1 win]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega.(10-5-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Classic Driver Points Standings [after Talladega race 30 of 36]:
    1) #99-Carl Edwards 4267 [6 wins]
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4254 -13 [5 wins]
    3) #18-Kyle Busch 4185 -82 [8 wins]
    4) #31-Jeff Burton 3993 -274 [1 win]
    5) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3947 -320 [1 win]
    6) #16-Greg Biffle 3921 -346 [2 wins]
    7) #29-Kevin Harvick 3830 -437
    8) #20-Tony Stewart 3800 -467
    9) #24-Jeff Gordon 3707 -560 [1 win]
    10) #07-Clint Bowyer 3672 -595 [1 win]
    11) #11-Denny Hamlin 3608 -659 [1 win]
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth 3605 -662
    13) #6-David Ragan 3539 -728
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 3422 -845 [2 wins]
    (10-5-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Charlotte:
    No changes in the top 35, Gordon pad his lead to 39 pts over #00 team
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    32) #22-Blaney/Bill Davis Racing: 2387 +102
    33) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 2383 +98
    34) #84-Skinner/Red Bull Racing: 2341 +56
    35) #7-Gordon/RGM: 2324 39 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #00-KWallace/Waltrip Racing: 2285, 39 points out of 35th
    37) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 2147 -177
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(10-5-2008)
  • Where did the 12 Chase Drivers finish at Talladega?
    (the order before Talladega)
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 9th
    2) #99-Carl Edwards, 29th
    3) #16-Greg Biffle, 24th
    4) #31-Jeff Burton, 4th
    5) #29-Kevin Harvick, 20th
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon, 38th
    7) #07-Clint Bowyer, 5th
    8) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 28th
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth, 26th
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin, 39th
    11) #20-Tony Stewart, 1st – WON
    12) #18-Kyle Busch, 15th
    (10-5-2008)
  • Talladega Superspeedway Race Fast Facts:
    The 28 Lap Leaders in the AMP Energy 500 sets the all-time Sprint Cup record for different leaders in a race.
    Tony Stewart won the AMP Energy 500, his 33rd victory in 350 Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and 15th top-10 finish in 2008.
    This is his first victory and 12th top-10 finish in 20 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
    Paul Menard (second) posted his first top-10 finish in five races at Talladega Superspeedway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2008.
    David Ragan (third) posted his second top-10 finish in four races at Talladega Superspeedway.
    Regan Smith (18th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Jimmie Johnson leads the point standings by 72 points over Carl Edwards.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-5-2008)
  • Who got a lap back on each caution at Talladega: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #7-Gordon, 8th
    Caution 2: #48-Johnson, 9th
    Caution 3: #7-Gordon(2), 8th
    Caution 4: #00-Wallace, 12th
    Caution 5: #96-Schrader (still down a lap), 16th
    Caution 6: #96-Schrader(2), 16th
    Caution 7: #45-Labonte (still a lap down), 17th
    Caution 8: #45-Labonte, 17th
    Caution 9: #45-Labonte, 17th
    Caution 10: no passes awarded with 10 or less laps to go
    (10-5-2008)
  • Penalties…see all 33 of them on my Talladega Race Rundown page
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 74 consecutive races [yes, he made it back to the track Sunday at Talladega after wrecking], the longest current streak and a NEW modern era record, next up is #07-Bowyer at 67 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick held the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) unil he broke it himself in 2008. Next up is Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(10-5-2008)
  • Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #18-Kyle Busch leads all drivers after 30 races in 2008 with 15 Top-5 finishes followed by #99-Edwards at 14. #99-Edwards has the most Top-10’s after 30 races with 22, followed by #48-Johnson with 18. All full-time drivers who have run all 30 races in 2008 have scored a top-10 finishe. Five drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all 30 races: #7-Gordon [last top-5 at Watkins Glen 8/2007], #26-McMurray [last at Daytona, a win 7/07], #28-Kvapil [none], #43-Labonte [last at Martinsville in 10/2006] and #44-Reutimann [none].(10-5-2008)
  • Waltrip now 10th: on Sunday, #55-Michael Waltrip broke a tie for 10th place in all time starts with 719. Just behind Waltrip is Bobby Allison and Mark Martin at 718. In 9th is Ken Schrader at 727 and Richard Petty is the driver with the most starts at 1184.(10-5-2008)
  • Riggs has ride for 2009? during ABC’s TV coverage of the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Dr. Jerry Punch said that #66-Scott Riggs said he has a contract in hand to sign that would settle his 2009 plans. No word on what team Riggs will drive for, rumors include DEI, Petty Enterprises and Ganassi Racing.(10-5-2008) Comment here
  • Sadler crew chief not at track and congrats: Gillett Evernham Motorsports engineer Kevin Kidd will serve as crew chief today for #19-Elliott Sadler during the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.Crew Chief Rodney Childers left Talladega on Friday to be with his wife for the birth of their twins in North Carolina.(SceneDaily)(10-5-2008)
  • Miko Salo to NASCAR? not much reported, but during SPEED’s broadcast of “The Petit Le Mans” American Le Mans Series Sports car race from Road Atlanta, it was reported that Miko Salo is talking to NASCAR teams about running there in 2009, no series was mentioned [Cup, Nationwide or Trucks].(10-4-2008) Comment here
  • Robby back with own team in 2009: #7-Robby Gordon says he has enough sponsorship to run the full Sprint Cup Series schedule next season and has no interest in driving for anyone but himself [there were rumors he could go to DEI]. Gordon said Menards is among the sponsors coming back. Gordon has had sponsorship mainly from Menards and Jim Beam this year. Jim Beam announced last November that it would sponsor Gordon through 2008 and has not yet announced its plans for 2009. As far as a possible merger – Gordon had agreed in January to be bought out by Gillett Evernham Motorsports but that deal fell through – Gordon says he is not going to drive for anyone else. Gordon recently began a four-race engine-leasing deal with Penske Racing.(SceneDaily)(10-5-2008) Comment here
  • Big Wreck: gonna be a big shake up in Chase points as on lap 174, six Chasers running up front were involved in an 11 car wreck: #99-Edwards [was 2nd in pts], #16-Biffle [3rd], #17-Kenseth [9th], #29-Harvick [5th], #88-Earnhardt Jr.[8th] and #18-Busch [12th but not much damage]. Plus #11-Hamlin [10th] had a tire blow and hit the wall hard while leading and is now 39th; #24-Gordon [6th] was involved in an early wreck and is currently 38th. #48-Johnson got a lap down early, finally got a lap back and looks like he will pad his 10 point lead.(10-5-2008)
  • Keselowski practices for Mears UPDATE: Brad Keselowski is practiced Hendrick Motorsports’ #5 Pop Tars/Carquest Chevy Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway for Casey Mears, who is expecting his first child with girlfriend Trisha Grablander. In the event that Mears needs to return to North Carolina to be with Grablander, Keselowski will be on standby and is practicing the car accordingly. NASCAR is requiring that Keselowski must practice the car before being allowed to drive in relief. Keselowski is a JR Motorsports driver [#88 US Navy Chevy] in the Nationwide Series who will attempt his Sprint Cup debut in a Hendrick car next week at Charlotte [at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy](SceneDaily)(10-3-2008)
    UPDATE: #5-Casey Mears will start on the front row Sunday, assuming he’s still in Talladega. Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski will make his Sprint Cup debut and replace Mears in the #5 Pop Tarts/Carquest Chevy if Mears’ girlfriend, Trisha Grablander, goes into labor. Grablander is due at any moment. Mears, who qualified second, will fly home to North Carolina if Grablander goes into labor this weekend. “It’s a very important time in my life,” Mears said. “I don’t want to miss the birth of my child. Hendrick Motorsports has set it up for me to get back if it comes to that.”(ESPN)(10-5-2008) Comment here
  • Labonte Humbled by Talladega Walk of Fame Induction: #43-Bobby Labonte welcomed his induction into the Talladega Walk of Fame this evening in a ceremony at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in Talladega, Ala. He joined 1960 Sprint Cup champion, Rex White, in the 2008 class of inductees. Benny Parsons, who was already a member of the prestigious group, was honored with a permanent plaque for his years of service to the Talladega Walk of Fame, which included serving as emcee for the annual induction ceremony. “This is a great honor because it is voted on by the fans,” said Labonte. “Since coming to Petty Enterprises and seeing firsthand how “The King” Richard Petty appreciates all the fans, it is important to me to continue to do the same. To be able to be a part of a celebration that included two great champions like Rex White and Benny Parsons is pretty special because I have a lot of respect for those that came before me and helped paved the way for what we enjoy today.” This is the second consecutive year that a Labonte has been inducted into the Talladega Walk of Fame. Terry Labonte, who will compete in Sunday’s race in the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge, went in last year. This adds to an already impressive list of accomplishments for the Labonte brothers, including the fact that they are the only brothers to both win the Sprint Cup Series title. “I’ve always looked up to my brother as one of my heroes,” continued Labonte. “The fact that we will both be racing for Petty Enterprises on Sunday is definitely a cool way to celebrate my induction.”(MCG Sports/Petty Enterprises PR), more info about the Talladega Walk of Fame at talladegawalk.com.(10-5-2008)
  • Newman vs. the lawn mower: #12-Ryan Newman has four stitches on his forehead, courtesy of a bout this week with his lawn mower. Newman was down on the ground putting a belt on his mower when it snapped off and caused him to knock his head on the crossbar of the handle. It left a nasty cut at the hairline of his forehead. His helmet rubs up against the stitching, but Newman doesn’t think it will cause any problems in Sunday’s race.(ESPN)(10-5-2008) Comment here


    News from October 4, 2008

  • Robby and investment company headed to court? UPDATE: #7-Robby Gordon claims he’s been defrauded in a failed deal with Gillett Evernham Motorsports and wants a judge to excuse a million dollar bill. Gordon’s company made a deal to merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. According to legal documents, an investment company was hired to make the deal. But Gordon claims the deal went south because it was “fraudulently induced.” As a result, Gordon and Co. want the judge to excuse an obligation to pay a $1,013,656 investment fee.(TMZ.com see the documents posted there)(10-2-2008)
    UPDATE: Robby Gordon Motorsports and Gillett Evernham Motorsports issued a joint statement today confirming that all issues between them are resolved. As previously announced, the two auto racing firms acknowledged that they acted in good faith in connection with their former merger plans. Recent news reports concerning a lawsuit between RGM and a business broker have suggested that RGM and GEM are in a continuing legal dispute. Those news reports are incorrect. GEM is not a party to RGM’s lawsuit, and no claims are being asserted against GEM.(RGM/GEM PR)(10-4-2008)
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame Announces Commemorative Brick Program: NASCAR fans and community residents can take part in creating this tribute to the sport and its stars with the new NASCAR Hall of Fame Commemorative Brick Program. Beginning October 10, 2008, NASCAR fans and Charlotte community members will be able to help lay the foundation for the NASCAR Hall of Fame with a personalized brick at the NASCAR Hall of Fame that celebrates their memories of the sport and recognizes their favorite drivers, champions, stars and races. The bricks are available on a limited basis while supplies last and installation will be completed in time for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s grand opening in the Spring of 2010. The NASCAR Hall of Fame commemorative bricks are a perfect way to honor a special person or memory, as each brick can be inscribed with a customized message. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Commemorative Brick Program also allows NASCAR fans to celebrate their favorite NASCAR stars with their likeness inscribed on the bricks, or to include the logos of their favorite racetrack or team. NASCAR fans and community residents have several unique ways to be a part of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The NASCAR Hall of Fame commemorative bricks are available in two sizes – 4×8 and 8×8 – which will be placed in the plaza and outdoor areas surrounding the NASCAR Hall of Fame facility. The 4×8 brick will allow up to three lines of customized inscription. The 8×8 brick can accommodate up to six lines of text or four lines of text plus a driver likeness or team or track logo. The NASCAR Hall of Fame commemorative bricks can be ordered online at www.NASCARHall.com/brick or at 888.NHF-BRKS (888.643.2757). See more at nascarhall.com.(10-4-2008) Comment here
  • International Motorsports Hall of Fame 2009 inductees named: Donnie Allison, 69, was one of five inductees who will make up the 2009 International Motorsports Hall of Fame class, which was announced Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. “It’s hard to put into words,” he said. “Without a doubt, it’s the biggest honor ever bestowed on me. I’m really at a loss for words, believe it or not.” Legendary team owner Bud Moore joins Allison, along with car owner and race promoter J.C. Agajanian, former NASCAR Modifieds champion Jerry Cook and former car owner Raymond Parks. One of the men Donnie drove for is Moore, who became one of the most successful team owners in NASCAR history. Moore’s drivers also included Joe Weatherly, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Darrell Waltrip. Weatherly won two championships (1962, ’63) driving for Moore. Moore, 83, was the crew chief for Buck Baker’s championship season in 1957. Parks, 94, was the car owner of the first NASCAR champion when Red Byron won the title in 1949. Cook, 69, won six NASCAR Modifieds championships in the 1970s, and later became the director of the Modifieds division. Agajanian, who died in 1984, won two Indy 500s as a car owner with Troy Ruttman in 1952 and Parnelli Jones in 1963.(ESPN)(10-4-2008)
  • No answers for Busch’s engine woes at Kansas: Jimmy Makar, senior vice president for Joe Gibbs Racing, says the team is unsure what caused #18-Kyle Busch’s engine woes during last weekend. Busch reported that he was losing power but then things improved. Still, he finished 28th, his best finish in the first three races of the Chase. “I wish I could tell you,” Makar said of what was wrong. “We’ve looked at the fuel system. We’ve run everything across the dyno. We’ve run it across the lab in the shop. We’ve actually taken everything and gone to Kentucky and tested with it [Thursday]. I haven’t found anything. I think it was fuel related, but we can’t find anything that says this is it. Whatever caused it is … it came and went and we haven’t been able to locate the problem. That’s your worst nightmare, when you can’t find a reason for your problem.”(Roanoke Times)(10-4-2008) Comment here
  • Kvapil on pole at Talladega: #28-Travis Kvapil won the Coor’s Light Pole for the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 187.354mph for his first pole of 2008 and 1st pole of his career in 100 starts. #5-Mears will start 2nd followed by #8-Almirola, #01-Smith, #15-Menard, #33-MWallace, #78-Nemechek, #70-Raines, #83-Vickers and #1-Truex Jr. Points leader #48-Johnson will start 20th and #88-Earnhardt Jr. who lost and engine and a car Friday will start 15th but have to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race for the engine change. Only one rookie of the year candidate made the race, #01-Smith.
    The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #33-MWalalce, #78-Nemechek, #70-Raines, #00-KWallace, #09-Marlin, #45-TLabonte, #21-Wood and #96-Schrader [8th fastest starts 43rd]. Missing the race are #77-Hornish and #10-Carpentier.
    See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Talladega Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(10-4-2008)
  • Where do the 12 Chase Drivers start at Talladega?
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 20th
    2) #99-Carl Edwards, 12th the best of the Chasers
    3) #16-Greg Biffle, 22nd
    4) #31-Jeff Burton, 17th
    5) #29-Kevin Harvick, 39th
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon, 26th
    7) #07-Clint Bowyer, 35th
    8) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 15th [but goes to rear after engine change]
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth, 31st
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin, 36th
    11) #20-Tony Stewart, 34th
    12) #18-Kyle Busch, 37th
    (9-28-2008)
  • Talladega Superspeedway Qualifying Fast Facts:
    Travis Kvapil won the Coors Light Pole Award for the AMP Energy 500 with a lap of 51.109 seconds, 187.364 mph.
    This is his first pole in 100 Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first pole and first top-10 start in 2008.
    This is his first pole in five races at Talladega Superspeedway.
    Casey Mears (second) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2008 and his fourth in 12 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
    Aric Almirola (third) posted his first top-10 start at Talladega Superspeedway. It is his third in 10 races this season.
    Regan Smith (fourth) was the fastest [and only] qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(10-4-2008)
  • Rookie of the Year Candidates: where do they start at Talladega:
    #00-Michael McDowell, not running the race
    #01-Regan Smith, 187.181, starts 4th
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 185.215, starts DNQ
    #77-Sam Hornish, 185.258, starts DNQ
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer: at Talladega:
    Chevy: #5-Mears, 187.295, starts 2nd
    Dodge: #42-Montoya, 186.430, starts 13th
    Ford: #28-Kvapil, 187.354, starts 1st
    Toyota: #83-Vickers, 186.707, starts 9th


    News from October 3, 2008

  • Former Charlotte TV sports chief joins NASCAR’s media arm: Longtime Charlotte sportscaster Chuck Howard, former sports director at WCNC (Channel 36) and host of the “Power Hour” on WFNZ AM (610, 1660), will become news producer for the NASCAR Media Group this month. Howard will develop shows and stories for television, radio and Internet outlets as part of a larger effort by NASCAR to connect with local news outlets nationwide. “Local media do not tend to report on the race unless it’s in their market,” Jay Abraham, chief operating officer for NASCAR Media Group, said Thursday. “This will make it easier for them to cover it.” In the new Hall of Fame campus in uptown, NASCAR is building two high-definition TV studios, a production hub and a glassed-in CNN-style news center where tourists can see the media operation in action. NASCAR is also installing HD cameras at major race shops in the region so it can link local stations to drivers or race teams for on-the-spot interviews. Howard said he will help stations make those connections as well as develop stories for NASCAR’s media outlets. “I couldn’t have written a job description more in my wheelhouse,” said Howard, who was a NASCAR fan when he moved to the Charlotte area from Buffalo in 1995. NASCAR Media Group, now based on Stuart Andrew Drive in south Charlotte, will consolidate operations at the Hall of Fame complex beginning in 2009, Abraham said. Since 2002, the unit has grown from about 35 people to 180.(Charlotte Observer)(10-3-2008)
  • Bailout bill gives tax break to Racetracks: A tax break for NASCAR racetracks and other motor-sports facilities is among the “sweeteners” tucked inside a 450-page financial-services bailout bill to make the package more palatable to lawmakers. The Senate-passed bill includes an array of so-called “tax extenders.” One extends for two years a tax policy that had been allowed to expire in December that lets motor-sports facilities be treated the same as amusement parks and other entertainment complexes for tax purposes. That allowed them to write off their capital investments over a seven-year period. The motor sports industry feared that without a specific legal clarification, motor sports facilities would be required to depreciate their capital over 15 years or longer because of a recent Internal Revenue Service inquiry into the matter. That would make repaved tracks and new concession stands more expensive in the short term. It isn’t a new tax break, rather the way tax law historically has been interpreted, said Lauri Wilks, the vice president of communications for Speedway Motorsports, which owns the NASCAR tracks in Fort Worth, Texas; Sonoma, Calif.; Concord, N.C.; and elsewhere. “It gives us incentive to go ahead and invest in our facilities,” she said.(see full story at McClatchy Newspapers)(10-3-2008) Comment here
  • Childress Honored:
    NASCAR team owner Richard Childress has been named the third quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Pocono Spirit Award. Childress was recognized for his partnership with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in creating The Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. The Institute’s goal is to help pave the way for others in the nation searching for ways to help save the lives of severely injured children and help those who survive on the road to recovery. The Childress family has donated $5 million to the Medical Center to initiate the project. Wake Forest Baptist and the Childress family are working with a number of corporations and individuals to raise the additional $20 million to establish the Childress Institute. The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is selected by a vote of the NMPA membership. The 2008 overall winner will be announced during the NMPA’s annual convention and awards ceremony in January 2009. Also receiving votes in the third quarter were Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. Juan Pablo Montoya was the first-quarter winner and longtime NASCAR photographer T. Taylor Warren was the second-quarter winner.(RCR Site)(10-3-2008)
  • Ambrose/JTG Racing to MWR in 2009? UPDATE 3: hearing that Marcos Ambrose and Little Debbie’s could be moving to Michael Waltrip Racing in 2009 and Ambrose would not run in the Cup Series for JTG Racing.(9-22-2008)
    UPDATE: JTG Daugherty Racing hasn’t named a manufacturer for next season when it moves full time to the Sprint Cup Series from the Nationwide Series but the team was working out of a Michael Waltrip Racing hauler on Saturday at Kansas Speedway. JTG Daugherty, which qualified on speed for Sunday’s Cup race with driver #47-Marcos Ambrose, had a hauler fire in June that destroyed one of its transporters. The team got some help from Richard Childress Racing when it qualified for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in late July. But could the team working out of a MWR hauler at Kansas be a sign of a potential affiliation and a move to Toyota? JTG Daugherty currently fields Fords. “Obviously we have a really good relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing,” Geschickter said. “At this point, we’re not ready to announce anything. But we know them better than most in the fact that we were able to go straight over there and borrow some equipment.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-28-2008)
    UPDATE 2: JTG Daugherty Racing has signed what team co-owner Brad Daugherty called a “technical alliance” with Michael Waltrip Racing, and thus will field Toyota’ full-time in the Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2009. The deal will be announced formally Wednesday afternoon. Under the agreement, JTG/Daugherty receives the same chassis, engines and technological information-sharing that Waltrip gets through Toyota Racing Development. “This way we don’t come out of the box already behind,” said Daugherty, reached by phone Wednesday. “Actually, this puts us about two years ahead of where we would have been otherwise.” Daugherty, an ESPN NASCAR analyst, said the alliance includes the #47 team being housed under the MWR roof. Daugherty stressed there was still independence from MWR, however, saying it is not a merger and that the #47 is not a fourth Waltrip team. “We’ll work with Toyota Racing Development out of Costa Mesa [Calif.], and all their parts and pieces already flow through MWR,” Daugherty said. “It just makes sense for us to be in-house over [at MWR].” Marcos Ambrose will drive the #47 Toyota, with sponsorship from Little Debbie Snack Cakes and Clorox.(ESPN.com)(10-1-2008)
    UPDATE 3: JTG-Daugherty Racing announced it has chosen to field Toyotas during its inaugural Sprint Cup campaign in 2009, after forming a technical alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) and Toyota Racing Development (TRD). JTG-Daugherty, co-owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter and former NBA All-Star and current ESPN broadcaster Brad Daugherty, will enter the #47 Toyota sponsored by primary sponsors, Kingsford Charcoal, Clorox Laundry and Household Products, and Little Debbie’s Snack Cakes. JTG-Daugherty will move its Sprint Cup operation into MWR’s 140,000-square foot facility in Cornelius, NC, and receive cars, engineering, mechanical and other technical support from MWR’s existing infrastructure. TRD will support the JTG-Daugherty team with engines from its Costa Mesa, California, facility, and vehicle engineering support from its Salisbury, N.C., facility. Frank Kerr has been named crew chief of the #47 car. Marcos Ambrose, a former Australian V-8 Supercar Champion, has been named driver of the #47 Sprint Cup entry.
    Michael Waltrip commented, “The alliance with Tad, Jodi and Brad happened because MWR has shown over the past few months that we can field a competitive product. This allows MWR to maintain the economies of scale we currently enjoy as a three-car team. We continue to invest in our development and this alliance helps keep the momentum we’ve gained in our fabrication and engineering departments this summer. We wanted to help Tad and Brad in their transition into NASCAR Sprint Cup ownership. If anyone can identify the hidden demons of a start-up team it is me. Having JTG-Daugherty operating in our shop helps our NAPA Toyota and our Aaron’s Toyota with David Reutimann. So this is one of the classic examples of win-win-win for everyone involved, most importantly JTG-Daugherty and MWR employees”. This alliance does not change MWR’s desire to run a fourth car in 2009. “This doesn’t change anything from our original plans as our sales team is working hard on securing sponsorship for another MWR Cup entry. And those plans currently include [Michael] McDowell. That’s the same position we were in before the JTG-Daugherty alliance was formed.”(JTG/MWR PRs)(10-3-2008) Comment here
  • Chase Notes: Want to hang close in the Chase? Podium finishes. The top three in the Chase have claimed eight of the nine podium finishes (1-2-3) so far. Only Matt Kenseth has broken the string with a second at Dover. The one-race range to first place goes back only to sixth position: Jeff Gordon at 143 points out. The Joe Gibbs threesome of 10–Denny Hamlin -243, 11-Tony Stewart -255 and 12-Kyle Busch -311 are a real longshot to get back into contention. Greg Biffle, currently only 30 points out of first, does not have a top 10 in his last nine starts at Talladega. Carl Edwards has gone three Talladegas without a top 10. Jeff Gordon swept the races at Talladega last year, and a win Sunday could certainly catapult him closer in the Chase. Dale Jr. hasn’t won at Dega since 2004 and has not recorded a top five since then. He only has two top 10s in his last seven starts there. See more on my Chase Stats after Kansas page.(10-3-2008)
  • Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be running a combination of left- and right-side tires that is different than those in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Talladega this weekend . . . Sprint Cup teams will run the same combination they ran at this track earlier this season . . . Talladega is the only track at which Cup teams will run these particular tire codes . . . 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 lines should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.
    Testing update: Goodyear will hold the second of two scheduled tests at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next Monday-Wednesday (Oct. 6-8) . . . this is a follow-up to an initial test at IMS, held with the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge with Kyle Petty on Sept. 22-23 . . . teams scheduled to participate in next week’s test include the #’s 07, 1, 5, 9, 11, 17, 20, 29, 38, 41, 44, 45 . . . other tire tests scheduled in 2008 include Homestead (Oct. 14) and Las Vegas (Dec. 10-11). For pressures, codes and more see my Talladega Race Info page.(10-3-2008)
  • Kansas Sprint Cup TV Ratings Up, Nationwide Series Even: ABC’s coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway earned a final national TV rating of 3.5, up from the 3.1 for last year’s rain-delayed event. The telecast averaged 5,691,928 viewers, an increase of 19% from last year. ESPN2’s coverage of the Nationwide Series event at Kansas earned a 1.3 final rating, the same as last year’s event, with an average viewership of 1,633,512.(ESPN), see past TV Ratings on my 2008 TV Ratings page.(10-3-2008) Comment here
  • Career start #300 for Robby: Robby Gordon and his #7 Mapei / Menards Dodge team make their way to Talladega Superspeedway for the last restrictor-plate race of the 2008 season. Gordon has had much success in the previous three superspeedway events this year with an average finish of 8.33. In fact, he is third in the 2008 restrictor-plate points. This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway marks #7-Robby Gordon’s 300th career Sprint Cup start. Gordon debuted in the Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway in February of 1991, driving for Junie Donlavey in the #90 Publix Supermarkets Ford.(RGM PR)(10-3-2008) Comment here
  • Qualifying Order for the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Supersway is posted. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #1-Truex Jr., the final top-35 driver scheduled is #99-Edwards. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #33-Wallace, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #78-Nemechek. See the full qualifying order on my Talladega Qualifying Page.(10-4-2008)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Supersway is over, the top 5:
    #83-Vickers 192.699
    #9-Kahne 192.618
    #43-Labonte 192.556
    #5-Mears 192.490
    #29-Harvick 192.471
    slowest: #31-Burton 183.860 and #22-Blaney 183.522
    notes: SPEED reports that Brad Keselowski is practicing the #5 Chevy for Casey Mears, as Mears is on alert as his girlfriend is pregnant and due. #88-Earnhardt Jr. made it on the track with his backup car as is #9-Kahne
    big wreck: just in to the practice #88-Earnhardt Jr., #38-Gilliland, #20-Stewart, #44-Reutimann, #11-Hamlin, #07-Bowyer and #9-Kahne involved in a wreck when Earnhardt Jr’s right rear tire exploded taking much of the rear of the car off.
    no speeds [some chose not to practice – 8 cars]: #6-Ragan, #17-Kenseth, #8-Almirola, #1-Truex Jr., #41-Sorenson, #24-Gordon. #42-Montoya & #19-Sadler.
    backup cars: #88-Earnhardt Jr., #07-Bowyer, #9-Kahne, #38-Gilliland, #44-Reutimann
    See the speeds, laps run, ave speeds on my Talladega Practice Speeds page.(10-3-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice in Happy Hour at Talladega Superspeedway:
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #33-Mike Wallace, 23rd
    #21-Jon Wood, 24th
    #00-Kenny Wallace, 25th
    #45-Terry Labonte [has past champ prov to use], 26th
    #70-Tony Raines, 27th
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 28th
    #96-Ken Schrader, 29th
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 30th
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 32nd
    #77-Sam Hornish Jr., 34th
    See the speeds, laps run, ave speeds on my Talladega Practice Speeds page.(10-3-2008)
  • Front Row Technologies files suit over FanView patent: NASCAR and Sprint are among defendants in another patent lawsuit over the technology used to power the popular FanView handsets used by spectators to watch races and listen to scanner traffic and television broadcasts at the race track. Front Row Technologies field suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Texas against NASCAR, Sprint, the NFL, DirecTV and FanView technology developer Kangaroo Media. Front Row alleges that its patents for “providing multiple perspectives for a venue activity through an electronic hand held device” and “broadcasting venue data to a wireless hand held device” have been infringed upon by the sales of FanView and the Kangaroo TV handsets used at select NFL cities. Sprint released the following statement in response to the lawsuit: “We are aware of the litigation that has been filed. We are reviewing the allegations, and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.” NASCAR, Sprint and Kangaroo had settled a suit with Immersion Entertainment earlier this year over patents for “audio/video signal distribution for head mounted displays” and “audio/visual system and method utilizing a head mounted apparatus with noise attenuation.” Kangaroo agreed to pay Immersion at least $3 million to settle the lawsuit, according to a company news release issued at that time.(SceneDaily)(10-3-2008)


    News from October 2, 2008

  • New look for the #24 in 2009 UPDATE 2 Image posted: Jeff Gordon announced on QVC’s shopping show “For Race Fans Only” that the primary paint scheme will change on the #24 DuPont Chevy in 2009. The primary scheme seemingly changes whenever there’s a new occupant in The White House. Gordon raced the rainbow-themed DuPont Chevrolet from 1993-2000 while Bill Clinton occupied the highest office in the land. Gordon experienced his greatest career success in the rainbow car. In 2001, he changed to the fire and flames scheme and raced that for the next 8 years while George Bush ran the country. And now, the third — and likely, final — incarnation of the DuPoint paint scheme will be raced in 2009 and beyond. The new 2009 DuPont paint scheme is expected to be unveiled during the week leading up to the October 11 race at Lowes Motor Speedway.(Gordonline.com), am hearing the base color will be BLACK.(9-20-2008)
    UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon and sponsor DuPont are scheduled to unveil his 2009 (and beyond) paint scheme live on the NBC’s Today Show Thursday [Oct 2nd] morning at 7:00am/et, Rockefeller Center, New York. It’s his first paint scheme change since 2001 and only the third since 1993.(10-1-2008)
    AND Jeff Gordon will be a guest on the Thursday, Oct. 2, edition of ESPN First Take. The news and information program airs at 10am/et on ESPN2. Gordon will tell host Dana Jacobson why his car will have a new look in 2009. Gordon also will discuss the upcoming AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The race airs live Sunday, Oct. 5, at 1pm/et on ABC.(ESPN PR)(10-1-2008)
    UPDATE 2 – Image posted: One of NASCAR’s most popular and successful drivers, Jeff Gordon, unveiled his brand new 2009 paint scheme before a national audience live on NBC’s “TODAY Show” this morning, marking the first change Gordon has seen on his DuPont Chevrolet since 2001. Designed by popular motorsports artist Sam Bass, the new car features a sleek and stealth black body emblazoned with bold neon red, orange and blue flames. “I’m fired up about our new paint scheme,” said Gordon. “I’ve always loved cars with flames and the current ‘Fire and Flames’ paint scheme has been one of my favorites. But now I think we’ve improved upon that with the ‘FireStorm’ design and hopefully we’ll be as fast on the track as the paint scheme makes us look.” The four-time Sprint Cup Champion will debut his new colors on-track at the 51st Running of the Daytona 500 in February when he celebrates his 17th season with primary sponsor, DuPont, and the 25th Anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports. “We have such a solid, longstanding relationship with both Jeff and Hendrick Motorsports, so continuing that relationship and debuting Jeff’s new DuPont Chevrolet in conjunction with Hendrick’s 25th Anniversary is very exciting for us and the sport as a whole,” said David Bills, chief marketing and sales officer for DuPont. Motorsports Authentics, through its Action Racing Collectables die-cast brand, will be offering a collectable die-cast version of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet. Pre-orders are being taken on goracing.com, nascar.com and at Motorsports Authentics authorized dealers nationwide. The Racing Collectables Club of America (RCCA) will also offer a version of the die-cast through its RCCA Elite brand.(Motorsports Authentics PR), see an image of the scheme on my 2009 #24 Team Schemes page.(10-2-2008) Comment here
  • Ride Along With Jr. scheme: During the AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will have 70,000 fans riding along as part of the “Ride Along With Jr.” promotion from AMP Energy Drink. The first 70,000 fans that bought an AMP Energy Drink and entered the code on the bottom of can at www.AMPenergy.com will have their names featured on the car. The remaining fans that entered will have their names on Earnhardt, Jr.’s pit wall, car cover or other areas around the track.(TSS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(10-2-2008)
  • Mike Wallace to attempt Talladega for RCR: Mike Wallace’s will attempt to qualify RCR’s #33 Realtree Driven to the Outdoors Chevy at Talladega and will give RCR four entries for this weekend’s AMP Energy 500. This will be his first Cup Series attempt this season but he has 186 career starts since making his series’ debut in 1991. In two Cup Series races last season, he finished fourth in the Daytona 500 and 19th at the fall race at Talladega. Richard Childress competed as a driver in Talladega’s inaugural race in 1969 and used his winnings from that race weekend to help start RCR. In cooperation with RCR sponsors Realtree, Chevrolet, Shell Oil Company and Motorsports Authentics, Wallace’s paint scheme will feature a Driven to the Outdoors themed paint scheme. In addition to a full line of NASCAR camouflage merchandise and memorabilia, the Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program will feature a unique sweepstakes that will ultimately reward one fan with a 2009 Chevy Silverado LTZ. Fans interested in learning more about the Chevy Driven to the Outdoors program and the rules associated with the sweepstakes can visit www.chevy.com/driven.(RCR PR)(10-3-2008) Comment here
  • Mars Acquires Wrigley: In a move that ends more than a century of family control, shareholders of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. approved the company’s $23 billion sale to Mars Inc., which now becomes the world’s largest candy maker. The deal, which bumps Britain’s Cadbury PLC from the top candy-making slot, will offer gums such as Juicy Fruit and Big Red, M&Ms, Snickers and Skittles under the same corporate banner. Under Mars’ ownership, the firm will be able to grow in new directions, Bill Wrigley Jr. said. Wrigley’s is slated to take over control of Mars’ non-chocolate candy, such as Starburst and Skittles.(csnews.com), no word on how or if it will effect the sponsorship of the #18 M&M’s Toyota of Kyle Busch or the #42 Big Red/Juicy Fruit Dodge of Juan Pablo Montoya.(10-2-2008)
  • Talladega Rookie Notes: #10-Patrick Carpentier was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the September 28 Camping World RV 400 at Kansas Speedway. Carpentier scored a 29th-place finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the seventh time in 2008. Carpentier was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the Kansas race, holding the top spot once for three laps. He became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a Sprint Cup race since Michael McDowell led once for one lap in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Carpentier has now led 11 laps in three races this season. Regan Smith leads Sam Hornish Jr. by Three Points (188-185) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 5 AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Two Raybestos Rookies have won the pole for the AMP Energy 500 twice since 1975: Geoffrey Bodine (1982) and Jimmie Johnson (2003).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), for standings, history and more, see my 2008 Rookies Page.(10-2-2008)
  • Pop-Tart back with Mears: For the third time this season, Pop-Tarts, Kellogg’s most popular morning food product, will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevrolet of Casey Mears. Pop-Tarts was also the co-primary sponsor of the #5 Chevy in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and in August at Bristol Motor Speedway.(HMS PR), see an image of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(10-2-2008)


    News from October 1, 2008

  • Labonte, White to be inducted into Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: Fans voted in July for the 2008 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame honorees, and on Saturday, Oct. 4 during Talladega Superspeedway’s AMP Energy 500 weekend, two new names will be added to this prestigious list: Bobby Labonte and Rex White. The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in downtown Talladega is both a focal point saluting NASCAR’s greatest names and a tribute to one of racing’s brightest stars – the late Davey Allison. Developed in 1994, the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame has inducted one active driver and up to two inactive drivers since 1995 based on the fans’ vote chosen from a ballot of nominees selected by strict guidelines. In the park, Davey Allison is remembered with a large marble monument, while drivers inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame have bronze plaques placed around the park, accessible by walkways that form the shape of Talladega Superspeedway.
    Dr. Jerry Punch, lead announcer and host of ESPN/ABC sports coverage, will make his second appearance as emcee for the Induction Ceremony. Punch took over emcee duties last year after the passing of Benny Parsons. Parsons was a longtime supporter and significant part of the event. He is also credited with being one of the first inactive drivers to be inducted. During this year’s event, Phil Parsons, Benny’s brother, will help unveil a permanent plaque honoring Benny’s longtime duties.(TSS PR), more info at talladegawalk.com.(10-1-2008) Comment here
  • Ten 2007 pole winners yet to get a pole in 2008: with seven races to go, ten drivers have not won a pole in 2008, jeopardizng some long streaks:
    season streak poles, driver, last race pole, when
    2, Kurt Busch, California, August 2007
    2, David Gilliland, Daytona, February 2007
    1, Clint Bowyer, New Hampshire, September 2007
    1, J.J. Yeley, Michigan, June 2007
    1, Jamie McMurray, Sonoma, June 2007
    1, Dave Blaney, New Hampshire, June 2007
    1, Casey Mears, Chicago, July 2007
    1, Reed Sorenson, Indianapolis, July 2007
    1, Michael Waltrip, Talladega, October 2007
    1, Martin Truex Jr., Texas, November 2007.
    See the all-time pole winners, 2008 pole winners and more on my Pole Winners page.(10-1-2008)
  • Rusty back to Cup? with DEI? UPDATE denied: from an article at SPEEDtv.com by Kenny Wallace: The hot NASCAR rumor right now is not something you’d hear anywhere other than around the race shops in Mooresville, N.C. Everyone wants to know if my brother Rusty Wallace is coming out of retirement to drive for Dale Earnhardt Inc. next season. I’m running the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega and was at Michael’s shop Tuesday being fitted for my seat. Six different crew members came up to me and said they’d heard a rumor Rusty was coming back to drive for DEI. These rumors get started in the Mooresville area because the shops are so close to each other and nothing can be kept secret for long. All I can say is that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And he is definitely considering stepping back into a race car. He’s considering this huge move because he watched Brett Favre come out of retirement in the NFL and his good friend Mark Martin is giving it another shot next year at Hendrick. If Mark had quit, Rusty would have been comfortable with his retirement. But watching Mark, who is a couple of years younger than my brother, stage this comeback has really tugged on Rusty’s heartstrings. Rusty has told me numerous times he can outrun half the drivers in the Cup Series and he truly is giving a lot of thought to returning to the track. If he wants to make that commitment, I’ll support him 110-percent. The decision is Rusty’s and his wife Patti’s, but I think the whole possibility is very inspirational and I’m looking forward to his answer. If he comes back, I think he’ll be a bit surprised by the new car. I predict Rusty will be successful but he’ll be shocked that he won’t have control of the chassis the way he used to. He’ll have an adjustment period because the cars are controlled by engineers, bump-stops and seven-post machines, technology that wasn’t in such great use when he left the sport. There is no doubt Rusty has the talent to run well but he’ll probably be upset he won’t be able to set up the car on his own or tell the team how to do it. Maybe we’ll know sometime soon if I’m right or not.(SPEEDtv)(10-1-2008)
    UPDATE denied: Rusty Wallace on Wednesday denied a report that he is considering ending his three-year retirement to drive again — possibly for former rival Dale Earnhardt’s team. “I love Kenny to death; he’s been trying to get me back in a car ever since I retired after 2005,” Rusty Wallace said in a statement. “While any rumors like this are certainly flattering, they’re untrue. I have a long-term commitment to ABC and ESPN and I really love what I’m doing right now.” DEI president Max Siegel did not immediately return a call for comment.(ESPN)(10-1-2008) Comment here
  • Logano tests at Kentucky; may run more Cup races: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Joey Logano continued his Sprint Cup Series education by turning test laps at Kentucky Speedway today. “I’m here today in the Cup car just trying different stuff for Joe Gibbs Racing we haven’t really tried yet. We’re wingin’ it to see what we’ve got and to see if we can learn a thing or two,” Logano said. Today’s Sprint Cup Series test follows yesterday’s announcement that Logano will not complete the final three events of a previously-announced five-race Sprint Cup Series stretch with Hall of Fame (HOF) Racing. While he’ll yield the #96 seat to veteran Ken Schrader for the Oct. 11 event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the Oct. 18 race at Martinsville and the Nov. 2 clash at Texas, Logano will see Sprint Cup Series action in a #02 JGR machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway Oct. 26. “When things aren’t working right, you’ve got to make a change. We couldn’t pinpoint what was goin’ on. In the practice that was rained out at Richmond at least we were fast, so we’re going to back to that deal and we’ll try to go from there. I think I learned a lot in those (two Cup) races, but they were no where near the runs we were looking for. Personally, I’d like to race a lot better, so we cut a little of those (HOF) races back, but I think it was worth it. We’re going to run the No. 02 Home Depot Toyota in Atlanta and possibly a couple more races. I feel like I’m going to be in a really good car,” Logano said.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(10-1-2008)
  • Bootie Barker to join MWR in 2009: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that NASCAR veteran Robert “Bootie” Barker will be the crew chief of the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota driven by two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip for the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. Bobby Kennedy, who has worked with Waltrip in multiple roles for over a decade, is moving into a crucial management position at MWR. “Our organization continues to grow and add depth in several key areas,” Waltrip said. “Bringing Bootie on as my crew chief is part of a larger plan that enables Bobby Kennedy to move into a critical management position. We have discussed this move since the summer, but waited until we were able to hire a crew chief of Bootie’s caliber and we’re really glad to have him join MWR.”
    “I really appreciate the confidence that Michael has in me,” Barker said. “He has accomplished a lot in his racing career and the fact that he wanted me to be his crew chief goes a long way for me personally. Everyone I met from the crew chiefs to the management team are very welcoming and they are all racers. I’m looking forward to being able to help the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry team achieve their short-term and long-term goals.”(MWR PR) see full PR on my #55 Team News and Links page.(10-1-2008) Comment here
  • Kenny Wallace in the #00 at Talladega: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Kenny Wallace will attempt to qualify the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota at Talladega Superspeedway for the Sprint Cup Series AMP Energy 500 on Sunday. Michael Waltrip Racing made the decision to make a driver change starting this weekend. The team is regrouping after failing to qualify last weekend at Kansas Speedway. The status for the remaining six races this year is being determined. Michael McDowell, who has five top-25 finishes in 20 starts during his rookie season, is still an option. Each event will be determined by who may be able to best help the #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota team reach their goal of finishing the season in the top 35 owner points standings. “We have a singular focus with the #00 team now and that is to get it in the top 35 in owner’s points when the checkered flag falls at Homestead-Miami,” Waltrip said. “This is not about an individual, it is about an organization. Kenny has a lot of experience restrictor plate racing and a lot of friends who trust him, which is critical at that race. He has a great record at Talladega and we felt like he was our best shot at scoring maximum points. We’re going to make the same evaluation for the remaining 2008 Sprint Cup races,” Waltrip continued. “That could include multiple drivers based on their experiences at particular tracks. Teams have done this at road course events and we have the flexibility to do this with the remaining oval races.” Wallace drove the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine for Waltrip at Talladega Superspeedway in 2004. Now, Wallace returns to the organization looking to top his runner-up finish he scored at the 2.66-mile tri-oval in 2000 where he pushed the late Dale Earnhardt to his final Cup victory. Wallace was driving for Andy Petree in the #55 numbered car. Wallace’s best qualifying effort at Talladega to date is third (October 1999) and in his most recent attempt (April 2007) he started sixth.
    “Michael and I have been friends for a long time,” said Wallace, who has two top-five and six top-10s in 23 starts at Talladega. “I watched him bring his vision to life and become a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner. I’m proud of everything he has accomplished and I’m proud that I was able to be one of the first Cup drivers to help him. I vividly remember the small garage he worked out of before taking his organization to the top level. I’m looking forward to returning to Michael Waltrip Racing and helping the team get back inside the top 35.”(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(10-1-2008) Comment here
  • Logano to run Truck race at Talladega: Joey Logano will make his Craftsman Truck Series debut as he will drive the #59 HT Motorsports Toyota in the Mountain Dew 250 this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Logano replaces Ted Musgrave, who parted ways with the team during the Las Vegas race weekend.(SceneDaily)(10-1-2008) Comment here
  • Harvick tests in Ohio: #29-Kevin Harvick is driving laps in his Chevy Impala Monday at the Sandusky Speedway. Harvick and his crew are preparing for an upcoming Sprint Cup series race in Martinsville, Va. which has a track similar to the one in Sandusky. Craftsman Truck Series Champion Ron Hornaday, a driver with Kevin Harvick Inc., is also taking laps with Ricky Carmichael. Carmichael is a new member of the KHI truck series team. The drivers will be at the speedway again today [Tuesday], according to speedway owner Kevin Jaycox.(Sandusky Register)(10-1-2008)
    AND Kevin Harvick and the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Racing RCR team tested at the Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway on Monday and Tuesday of this week in preparation for the remaining seven races on the 2008 NSCS schedule.(RCR PR), see new about testing I have heard about on my 2008 Test News page.(10-1-2008)
  • Burton to visit a school in AL: Before heading to Talladega, Ala., for the running of the AMP Energy 500, #31-Jeff Burton will stop in Birmingham, Ala., on Thurs., Oct. 2 to be a guest speaker at Shades Valley High School. Burton will speak to approximately 150 students about AT&T’s Be Sensible program. This program teaches novice drivers how to manage all distractions and includes a video, detailed educator’s guide, educational wall poster, and classroom activities.(RCR PR)(10-1-2008)
  • Kvapil 100th start: Sunday’s race at Talladega will be #28-Travis Kvapil’s 100th career start in the Sprint Cup series.(Yates Racing PR)(10-1-2008)