September 2004 News Archives
September 30, 2004
- Bestwick injured, will miss Talladega: NASCAR on NBC & TNT play-by-play commentator Allen Bestwick is scheduled to undergo surgery today to repair a broken leg suffered last night in a hockey game near his home in Coventry, R.I. and will not call Sunday’s NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Talladega, Ala. Pre-race host and lead pit reporter Bill Weber will fill-in for Bestwick calling the race from the booth with analysts Benny Parsons and Wally Dallenbach. “Our thoughts are with Allen for a speedy recovery,” said Ken Schanzer, President, NBC Sports. “Having a multi-talented guy like Bill able to step in at a moment’s notice is a real luxury. It’s a benefit to have a deep and talented team and be able to adjust when unfortunate circumstances like this arise.” Weber, who has provided play-by-play on NASCAR Happy Hour broadcasts on TNT and AFL games on NBC, will host the pre-race show from a specially designed desk on the roof of the broadcast booth instead of his usual perch atop the NASCAR on NBC & TNT Wagon on pit road. Following the pre-race show, he will move to the booth to call the race with Parsons and Dallenbach. Pit reporters Dave Burns, Marty Snider and Matt Yocum will handle reporting duties on all 43 teams from the pits.(NBC PR), no word on where to send cards or get wells, but I have NBC, TNT addresses on my TV/Media Contact page and you can go to the Speed Channel site to the Inside Nextel Cup show page where there is an email link for the show.(9-30-2004)
- Andretti and Johnson Set the Pace at Lowe’s Testing: John Andretti and Jimmie Johnson led the unofficial speed parade at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Wednesday night as 26 NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams wrapped up NASCAR testing for UAW-GM Quality 500 Week on Oct. 13-16. The unofficial stopwatches caught Andretti’s #14 ppc Racing Ford at 181.751 mph, just a tick faster than the lap he recorded to top the NEXTEL Cup speed chart during Tuesday night’s testing session. The cars Andretti drove were recently purchased from Robert Yates Racing and veteran Yates crew members Pete Peterson and Frank Good were among those assisting ppc Racing’s new crew chief, Dave Charpentier. Andretti and the ppc Racing team are scheduled to make their debut in the UAW-GM Quality 500 Saturday night, Oct. 16, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and full details of the effort, including a sponsor, are expected to be revealed in the next two weeks.
On the NASCAR Busch Series side of the garage, Johnson showed there is a distinct possibility he could drive the #48 SpongeBob SquarePants Chevrolet to victory in the Lowe’s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 on Friday night, Oct. 15. Johnson’s best unofficial lap at 179.850 mph was nearly two miles per hour quicker than the second-fastest car and was considerably faster than the speed he topped the charts with on Tuesday. There were no spins or accidents and the only caution flag came late in the five-hour session when Robby Benton’s Busch Series car dropped oil on the track.
Testing for UAW-GM Quality 500 Week events continues Tuesday evening, Oct. 5, when the stock cars of the American Speed Association take to the track in preparation for the Aaron’s 99 on Thursday night, Oct. 14. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title contender Mark Martin, a four-time ASA champion, is among those scheduled to participate.
Tickets for all October events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway are still available and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Speeds:
#14-John Andretti, 181.751;
#45-Kyle Petty, 178.921;
#0-Ward Burton, 177.474;
#5-Terry Labonte, 176.829;
#13-Greg Sacks, 175.171.
NASCAR Busch Series speeds:
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 179.850;
#60-Greg Biffle, 177.971;
#20-Mike Bliss, 176.846;
#8-Martin Truex Jr., 176.586;
#87-Joe Nemechek, 176.534;
#41-Casey Mears, 176.384;
#5-Kyle Busch, 176.298;
#27-Johnny Sauter, 175.833;
#22-Jason Keller, 175.376;
#31-Todd Bodine, 31, 174.076.(LMS PR)(9-30-2004)
- Atlanta Testing starts today with Kenny Wallace UPDATE: many Nextel Cup teams have scheduled tests for the next three weeks at Atlanta Motor Speedway as drivers prepare for the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend, the seventh of 10 races in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. Kenny Wallace will kick off testing season tomorrow by practicing his #1 Aaron’s Chevrolet for the Oct. 31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 NEXTEL Cup race. Wallace’s test will serve a dual purpose, as he will be competing in both the Oct. 30 Aaron’s 312 and the Oct. 31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500. Next week the testing will begin in earnest, as Jeff Green is scheduled to test his #43 Cheerios car for Petty Enterprises on Monday, Oct. 4. The General Motors NASCAR Craftsman truck teams will take over on Tuesday, Oct. for a two-day test, as they get a head start on next year’s two Craftsman Truck races at Atlanta. The Ford Craftsman Truck teams will be doing the same during a one-day test Monday, Oct. 11. On Tuesday, Oct. 12, Dawsonville native and local racing hero Bill Elliott will return to Atlanta for a two-day test in his #98 McDonald’s car. Elliott, who has run a limited schedule this year, will be returning to the driver’s seat for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at his home track. Roush Racing will follow on Elliott’s heels, coming to Atlanta on Monday, Oct. 18 for a one-day test. With two drivers – #17-Matt Kenseth and #97-Kurt Busch – in the hunt for the championship, this will be an extremely important test session for the team. Nemco Motorsports will round out this fall’s testing with a two-day session beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 19. All of these drivers will just be warming up for their big events during the Oct. 29-31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 weekend. Great seats are still available, with three-day ticket packages starting at just $69, from the ticket office at (770) 946-4211.
AND see Atlanta Motor Speedway’s new website at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(9-28-2004)
UPDATE: Kenny Wallace led off the testing spree with his #00 Aaron’s Chevrolet on Tuesday at AMS as he prepared his car for the Oct. 31 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500, the seventh of 10 races in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. The Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta is one of a handful of races that Wallace will drive for Michael Waltrip Racing in the team’s fledgling NEXTEL Cup effort. Wallace spent the first half of Tuesday’s test session working on race set-ups, then quickly turned to qualifying trim for the rest of the day. His fastest lap of the day was 30.35 seconds (183.143 mph), or roughly in the neighborhood that most teams reach during testing at Atlanta.(AMS PR)(9-30-2004)
September 29, 2004
- Special Mag: The Sporting News has produced a special ”Chase for the Nextel Cup Magazine.” The 136-page magazine provides analysis and previews of all 10 Chase races, profiles of the 10 title contenders, and other info. It is available at most news outlets and available online at sportingnews.com.(9-29-2004)
- More Kansas Testing…look who tested the #77: From PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show… #8-Dale Earnhardt jr. has just wrapped up a two day test at the Kansas Speedway along with #99-Carl Edwards, #30-Jeff Burton, #97-Kurt Busch and #17-Matt Kenneth. Continuing to fuel speculation about his future with Penske South, Brendan Gaughan’s team was out there but Brendan wasn’t behind the wheel of the #77 Kodak Dodge. Instead it was Reigning Truck Series champ Travis Kvapil, who crashed the primary car In turn three today. He finished the practice in the back-up.(9-29-2004)
- New Stock Car Racing Movie in the works: A North Carolina production company plans to make a movie about the roots of stock car racing called “Run Lightning.” Filming is expected to begin April1, 2005. Former driver Ned Jarrett has lent his expertise to the project.(Roanoke Times)
AND An action-adventure movie about moonshining and the early days of Southern stock-car racing appears to be on the fast track for shooting here next year. The independent feature “Run Lightning,” written by the husband-and-wife team of Joseph and Julia Gunnels of Asheville, NC, will open a production office in December and begin principal photography in April 2005. The Gunnels are longtime local residents who have been active in theater and the arts. No casting has been announced – and it is too early for locals to be looking for work – but the feature plans to shoot almost entirely in Western North Carolina. Locations have been scouted in Madison and Buncombe counties and elsewhere in the mountains. The movie, which has incorporated as Run Lighting Productions LLC, has a proposed budget of $15 million to $18 million, said Joseph Gunnels. The budget is not nearly as high as a Hollywood production, which could be $60 million and up, but is within the scope of an independent feature, said N.C. Film Commissioner Bill Arnold. Consultants on the movie include NASCAR racing legend Ned Jarrett, who won 348 races in a career that started in the early 1950s and ended in the mid 1960s when he was only 34. He won 50 races, including the 1965 Southern 500. Today, he is a racing broadcaster. “I’ve felt for a long time there needed to be an authentic film telling the story of the last days of moonshine running and how stock-car racing became the most popular racing series in the world,” Jarrett said in a statement released by the film’s producers. “Run Lightning” would be the latest in a long string of motion pictures shot in Asheville and WNC. The most recent was the Robert Redford thriller “The Clearing,” which filmed locally in fall 2002, and was released this summer. “Run Lightning,” which opens and closes in the present day, is mostly set in 1956 in Marshall, where a young man “runs whiskey to pay for his passion of racing cars,” Joseph Gunnels said. “It’s about the tension between justice and tradition.” The Gunnels have been working on “Run Lightning” since 1999, gathering material, polishing the script and making major-league movie connections including veteran production consultant Jeff Dowd, who has been working in film for a quarter of a century. Most of Dowd’s work has been as a producer’s representative and creative consultant working with independent filmmakers. Gunnels shopped the project to Hollywood studios, but instead decided to develop “Run Lightning” as an independent film and shoot it in WNC.(Citizen-Times), news on past racing themed movies on my Racing Movie’s page.(9-29-2004)
- Microsoft donates to Victory Junction: The Victory Junction Gang Camp, which provides year-round camp sessions for children aged 7-15 with life-threatening illnesses, celebrates an ongoing partnership with Microsoft Corporation with the announcement of a significant software grant. Microsoft’s donation includes more than $122,000 in software and services, along with eight Xbox gaming systems to be installed in the racing simulators in Adam’s Race Shop, one of Victory Junction Gang Camp’s signature buildings. These simulators allow campers to learn about various aspects of professional stock car racing by allowing up to eight campers to race virtually against each other and the stars of NASCAR at the same time. “We are so thankful for what Microsoft has done for our camp,” said NASCAR legend Richard Petty. “Our goal is for the kids who come to Victory Junction to have the chance to do things they have never been able to do before. With this donation, Microsoft has helped us achieve that goal.” Victory Junction Gang Camp was founded by Richard Petty’s son, NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, and Kyle’s wife, Pattie, in honor of their late son, Adam. The 75-acre site opened on June 20, 2004 and houses a total of 32 buildings, including a dining hall, gym, pool, theater, therapeutic equestrian center, arts and crafts center, race shop and cabins. The camp also offers a sophisticated, professionally-staffed medical facility capable of administering to the campers’ special needs, including chemotherapy treatment.
A check presentation for Microsoft’s software donation will be held Thursday, September 30 at the Victory Junction Gang Camp’s Silver Theater, 4500 Adam’s Way. In addition to NASCAR’s Richard Petty and Victory Junction Gang Camp staff and campers, Microsoft PSS General Manager Fred Rubino and Microsoft Southeast District Business Marketing Officer John Carpenter will be on hand to support the event. Following the grant announcement, Microsoft employees will help complete various special projects at the camp as part of Microsoft Corporation’s Day of Caring. “Microsoft is thrilled to support the Victory Junction Gang Camp through this software donation and the Day of Caring,” said Microsoft Southeast District General Manager Kirsten Kliphouse. “Victory Junction provides children with an exciting opportunity to meld technology with imagination, and we’re proud to be a part of that excitement in every facet.”(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR), also of note, the donations for Jayski’s Computer Lab are up to 230 contributions totaling $26,547.71 (of $75,000), THANK YOU! No takers on the Jayski Bandalero or the old Tbird, both which are for sale.(9-29-2004)
- Busch’s Pit Crew Takes Top Honors in Dover: Kurt Busch’s pit crew captured the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s MBNA America 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. It was the fourth victory of the season that Busch’s team has won the $20,000 weekly prize. The other three victories were in Las Vegas, Martinsville and the July race in New Hampshire. With eight Nextel Cup races remaining, Elliott Sadler’s pit crew continues to cling to the McDonald’s/POWERade points lead and the chase for the $200,000 champion’s bonus. Sadler’s crew has a 19-point lead – 1007 to 988 — over the pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Busch’s crew is third with 978 points. Busch’s No. 97 Sharpie Ford spent the least amount of time on Dover’s pit road – 197.353 seconds. Michael Waltrip’s No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet came in second with a time of 198.824. Ricky Rudd’s No. 21 “Keep It Genuine” Ford was third at 199.386. “These Sharpie guys did a great job on Sunday,” said crew chief Jimmy Fennig. “We had a lot of changes going on to keep up with the car during the stops, and the over-the-wall guys really hit their marks. Pit stops are just as important as anything else in this “Chase” deal, so to win the McDonald’s/POWERade competition shows that we’re doing that part right.” Busch’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Scott Ward (front tire changer), Mark Full (front tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear tire changer), Jason Binger (rear tire carrier), Doug Newell (gasman), Scott Radel (jackman) and Jim Gaudette (catch can).(DMF Communications), for the top-10 and season standings, see my Pit Crew Page.(9-29-2004)
- PRN to Produce First Kids’ Radio Broadcast For Lowe’s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 Performance Racing Network will produce a live radio broadcast especially for children of the Lowe’s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 on Friday night, Oct. 15, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Veteran broadcasters Mike Joy of Fox Sports and Stephanie Durner of PRN’s “Sunday Drive” will team with teenage race car drivers to deliver the NASCAR Busch Series race with unique features tailored for younger race fans. Sixteen-year-old Legends Car racer Chrissy Wallace, daughter of NASCAR driver Mike Wallace, and 15-year-old Bandolero racer Jessie Johnson, brother of NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson, will join Joy and Durner in the broadcast booth. Teenagers will also handle reporting duties with Kyle Whisenant delivering stories from the infield and Megan McMillan roaming as a feature correspondent. “This will be the first time a radio network produces a race broadcast geared specifically toward kids and utilizes teenage talent,” stated Doug Rice, vice president and general manager of the Performance Racing Network. “Nickelodeon’s sponsorship of this race with Lowe’s has increased NASCAR’s awareness with a younger audience. This broadcast will offer a complete new perspective as we hear the race described by young people who understand racing and who have competed at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Who knows? Maybe SpongeBob SquarePants himself will join us behind the microphone!”
The Lowe’s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 kids’ broadcast will begin at 7:45 p.m. with live flag-to-flag coverage exclusively in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point and Charlotte radio markets on HITZ 94.1 FM.(LMS PR)(9-29-2004)
- Testing at Lowe’s Motors Speedway UPDATE Tuesday Speeds: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams will test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Tuesday, Sept. 28, and Wednesday, Sept. 29, in preparation for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 16, and the Lowe’s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 on Friday night, Oct. 15. Testing will run from 5:00 to 10:00pm/et each day/night.
Participants: In order for NASCAR teams to participate in the testing sessions, they must request a voucher from NASCAR. As of noon today, teams fielding cars for the following drivers had requested a voucher for at least one day of the two-day session.
NEXTEL Cup Series: #14-John Andretti, #16-Greg Biffle, #0-Ward Burton, ?-Larry Foyt, #24-Jeff Gordon, #93-Steve Grissom and #5-Terry Labonte.
Busch Series: Robby Benton, #60-Greg Biffle, #20-Mike Bliss, #31-Todd Bodine, #5-Kyle Busch, #49-Derrike Cope, Kertus Davis, #43-Aaron Fike, #36-Travis Geisler, #55-Robby Gordon, John Graham, #26-Mark Green, #24-Steve Grissom, #2-Ron Hornaday, #48-Jimmie Johnson [spongebob], #22-Jason Keller, #19-Bobby Labonte, cott Lynch, #05-Eric McClure, #41-Casey Mears, Brandon Miller, #47-Robert Pressley, #27-Johnny Sauter, #8-Martin Truex Jr. and #4-Mike Wallace.
Spectators: Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s main grandstand will be open free of charge during both testing sessions. Fans should enter through Gate 5A next to the ticket office on the second floor of Smith Tower.(LMS PR)(9-26/28-2004)
UPDATE: John Andretti and Jimmie Johnson topped the unofficial speed charts Tuesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as 22 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series teams took to the 1.5-mile superspeedway in preparation for UAW-GM Quality 500 Week Oct. 13-16. Making his maiden voyage in the #14 Ford fielded by ppc Racing, Andretti was caught on the unofficial watches at 180.222 mph to lead the six NEXTEL Cup teams participating in the five-hour session. With the new team having no provisional starting spots at its disposal, crew chief and veteran engineer Dave Charpentier first focused on getting Andretti comfortable in the car; then searched for the required speed to make the 43-car starting field for the UAW-GM Quality 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 16. On the NASCAR Busch Series side of the garage, Johnson’s #48 SpongeBob SquarePants Chevrolet was fastest as 16 teams prepared for the Lowe’s presents The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 on Friday night, Oct. 15. The caution flag was never unfurled as the entire session was run without incident.
Testing continues Wednesday evening at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and fans can watch the action from the main grandstand free of charge. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series drivers will again share the track from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series speeds:
#14-John Andretti [ppc Racing], 180.222;
#24-Jeff Gordon, 178.968;
#0-Ward Burton, 178.701;
#16-Greg Biffle, 178.371;
#5-Terry Labonte, 176.962;
#13-Greg Sacks, 173.678
NASCAR Busch Series speeds:
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 176.678;
#20-Mike Bliss, 176.378;
#55-Robby Gordon, 176.056;
#5-Kyle Busch, 175.308;
#19-Bobby Labonte, 175.137.(LMS PR)(9-29-2004)
- Ward Busy in Alabama: #0-Ward Burton will be involved in two events for the state of Alabama after Saturday’s practice. Burton will be meeting with the governor/staff and other Alabama conservation notables and will be filming a Public Service Announcement for the Alabama 4H. The topic for the PSA will be firearm safety and hunting ethics. The 4H has over seven million members ages 9-19 nationwide including over 160,000 members in the state of Alabama. • Burton will also be filming a PSA for the Alabama Game Department concerning hunting and tree stand safety.(NetZero Racing PR)(9-29-2004)
- TONIGHT – Dale Jr. on 60 minutes Wed; Says Dad saved him from fire: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet, will be featured on the season premiere of the weekday edition of 60 Minutes. The episode begins Wednesday night at 8:00 pm Eastern on CBS-TV. Earnhardt Jr. is the first NASCAR driver to be featured on the prestigious news magazine show in nearly 20 years. Dale Jr. was interviewed by legendary correspondent Mike Wallace in Daytona (where he drove the 86-year-old reporter for a few brisk laps around the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway in a 2005 Corvette C6). Wallace also interviewed Dale Jr., the current point leader in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings, at his home and office near Mooresville, NC. The segment in Mooresville is the first in-depth interview with Earnhardt Jr. after his crash in a sports car practice session in July. This marks the fourth appearance on CBS-TV for the 29-year-old Earnhardt in 2004. He also appeared on the CBS sitcom “Yes, Dear,” as well as “Late Night with David Letterman” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.”(fingerprint inc. PR)
AND In an interview that will be broadcast Wednesday night on the season premiere of CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Nextel Cup Series fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. says his deceased father may have played a role in saving him from a fiery sports car crash earlier this season. Earnhardt’s father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., was killed in a wreck on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. In an wide-ranging interview with CBS’ Mike Wallace, Earnhardt Jr. said it was his father who helped him escape from the burning car in July.(See full story at ThatsRacin.com)(9-28/29-2004)
- Craven in the #11 Gibbs car at Talladega UPDATE: Ricky Craven will drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s third car this weekend in the EA Sports 500 Nextel Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Craven, 38, who earlier this season was released from the last two years of his contract with PPI Motorsports, will drive JGR’s #11 Old Spice Chevrolet as a team car to the Chase for the Nextel Cup contending Tony Stewart’s #20 Home Depot Chevy and Bobby Labonte’s #18 Interstate Batteries Chevy. The #11 will be a full-time program in 2005, but the Gibbs organization has yet to make an announcement of its driver or crew chief [supposedly Jason Leffler driving and Dave Rogers as the crew chief]. Late Tuesday afternoon, Gibbs Racing updated its entry and named veteran mechanic Philippe Lopez as Craven’s crew chief. Lopez has worked at JGR for about a month since coming from Bill Davis Racing.(NASCAR.com)(9-28-2004)
UPDATE: “I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Craven, reached by phone. “I’m going to use this opportunity to explore options for next year.” JGR’s rookie J.J. Yeley was originally scheduled to run the race, but was apparently pulled because of concerns over his lack of superspeedway experience, sources said.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-29-2004)
- Testing at Kansas UPDATE: Jeff Burton and the #30 AOL Race Team are testing at Kansas Speedway Tues., Sept. 28 and Wed., Sept. 29 for the upcoming Banquet 400 Oct. 10. Been told some Roush teams are also testing at the track, #97-Busch was scheduled to test at Kansas.(9-28-2004)
UPDATE: also been told, testing were #17-Matt Kenseth, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #99-Carl Edwards, #49-Kenny Schrader, #30-Jeff Burton, and #18-Bobby Labonte. Also, the #26 KCR/LoveFiFi Busch Series car driven by Mark Green.(9-29-2004)
September 28, 2004
- New Racing Simulator Technology Puts You “In the Driver Seat” for Real! Motorsports Image, a racing industry manufacturing company, has recently invented and designed a new motion based simulator that adds movement to racing games inside the actual racecars. What the company has done is invented a compact motion based simulator that can be mounted inside a racing showcar making the real drivers seat move to the action of the game. The first unit the company built was purchased by Coca Cola and is currently being used successfully at retail store appearances across the U.S.A. The second Sim Showcar the company built has two seats inside the racecar that move to the game letting both drivers compete against each other while feeling the racing action in their individual seats.
Now here’s the real “kicker”. The Simulator Showcar (as called by Motorsports Image the Sim/Showcar) can be an actual running full size racecar/showcar. The Sim Showcar cranks, runs, makes all the engine sounds every race fan loves. Then when the engine is turned off, and the racecar is parked, the racecar turns into a racing simulator experience for all to enjoy. Quite amazing! The Coca Cola Sim Showcar even did a parade lap around Lowe’s Motor Speedway prior to the Coca Cola 600 race this past May. The Coke Sim Showcar then went on later to operate as a simulator at various locations around the Charlotte N.C. area.
Motorsports Image based in Mooresville N.C. (“Race City U.S.A.) has been manufacturing racing related products for almost a decade. The company has been specializing in producing the finest showcars known in the Motorsports industry for the major companies in NASCAR racing. Their regular clients consist of: Penske, Yates, Team Rensi, ppc Racing, just to name a few. They also produce décor replica hoods, wall and ceiling hanging racecars, the famous cut-away racecars as seen on television, plus many other unique products. Portable Racing Simulator Rolls into Store Promotions across the U.S.A.
The Motorsports Image Sim/Showcar will also be featured at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Trade Show to be held November 17th-20th 2004. A Sim Showcar was displayed at last years IAAPA Show and received an overwhelming amount of attention. Since that debut, a refinement process was developed bringing the company up to the first units purchased by Coca Cola.
Motorsports Image now has two Sim Showcars available for appearances and rentals. Those two units made their first appearance for the Motorola Corporation at a company event, held recently at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. The Sim Showcars were linked so that people could race each other from one racecar to the other, another outstanding feature of this new invention. The racing action is also displayed on outside monitors for all to see. For more information about the Motorsports Image, contact the company’s main headquarters at 704-663-1023 or by visiting their web site at: www.motorsportsimage.com.(see the full PR at the Motorsports Images site)(9-28-2004)
- Blount to drive a 4th Penske car at Talladega: Chad Blount, an Indiana native who has been testing for Penske Racing South for the last 1 ½ years, will drive a fourth Penske-prepared car [#06 Dodge] at Talladega Superspeedway for the Oct. 3 EA Sports 500. “Chad has done an outstanding job testing cars for DaimlerChrysler and for us and, therefore, deserves this chance we are giving him at Talladega,” Penske Racing South President Don Miller said. “We are not grooming anyone for Rusty Wallace’s or Brendan Gaughan’s seat. This is simply a reward for a job well done.” For the Talladega effort, Penske Racing South head engineer Roy McCauley will be Blount’s crew chief and Matt McSwain his car chief. Also serving on the crew are mechanics Corey Tucker and David Dembicki. The pit crew consists of: Dustin Coonfield, front tire changer; Michael Warren, front tire carrier; Mark Padgett, jackman; Chris Hladik, rear tire changer; Corey Sain, rear tire carrier; Sam Ownsby, catch can; Jason Rogers, gasman; and David Doyle, 2nd gas can and sign board. A sponsor for the effort hasn’t been acquired, but discussions are ongoing. During the last year and a half, while competing in selected ARCA and Busch Series events, Blount has tested for Penske, primarily at Kentucky Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, and Greenville-Pickens Speedway. Earlier this year, Blount finished seventh in the ARCA season opener at Daytona International Speedway in a car fielded by Braun Racing. In May at Charlotte, he qualified 20th for the Busch Series race in a car fielded by Hirschfeld Motorsports and ran in the top 10 for most of the race before having to settle for a 34th-place finish after cutting a tire and hitting the wall. Blount made his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut in the July 11 Tropicana 400 in a #37 Dodge owned by John Carter and Roger Craven. He qualified 37th and practiced in the top 15, but he finished 43rd due to electrical problems in the car. The Walkerton, Ind., native made his Busch Series debut at Daytona in 2003. That season he competed in 13 races for Braun Racing, with whom he raced in ARCA, and six for Jesel Racing. His six races with Jesel included driving the 100th anniversary Miller High Life -sponsored car in the June 29 race at the Milwaukee Mile. After the race, then Miller Brewing Co. Motorsports Manager Sigmund Wysocki said Blount was a “very talented and personable young man.”(Penske Racing PR)(9-28-2004)
- #40 scheme at Talladega: Multi-platinum selling country group Rascal Flatts will once again join Sterling Marlin and the Coors Light team to bring some country charm to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Marlin’s #40 Coors Light Dodge will sport a special Rascal Flatts paint scheme in Talladega supporting the group’s new album, “Feels Like Today”, that hit music stores nationwide today.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-28-2004)
- Double Duty for Edwards..some jet settin’, Blaney to qualify the #99: Carl Edwards will pull double duty this weekend. He will practice and qualify his #99 Superchips truck on Friday in California, fly to Talladega that evening for Saturday morning’s drafting practice in the Nextel Cup Series, then fly back to California for the race on Saturday night. He will depart for Talladega again immediately after the truck race. Carl Edwards on California: “I’m excited for the race. I think running the Cup race there earlier this month got me a lot of experience that is really going to pay off in the truck. It’s going to be fast racing under the lights since it’s a temperature-sensitive race track. There will be more grip so it will be harder on the trucks. It will be a real test on the engines and the set-ups. It will be another weekend with a lot of travel. I’ll be going back and forth between California and Talladega. The truck is still my priority. We may have lost a few points at Las Vegas last week, but this Superchips team is still a big factor in the championship. We still have six races left to make up the 125-point deficit.” Dave Blaney will practice and qualify the #99 Roush Racing Ford on Friday. Per NASCAR rules, Edwards will start at the back of the field for Sunday’s race since Blaney will qualify the car. – This will be the first time Edwards has raced at Talladega Superspeedway however; Edwards did test at the track last week in the #17 DeWalt Ford.(Roush Racing PR)(9-28-2004)
- American Thunder’s roar is gone: got this from the Magazine Amercian Thunder today…..”Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are writing to inform you that as of this communication, American Thunder will no longer be published. We have spent the last month in discussions with potential purchasers. We contacted a number of very interested parties, but given the short time frame and financial constraints in the publishing world, we were not able to find a buyer in time. As we have just come to this unfortunate conclusion, we are sorry that we do not have more information or details to provide to you at this time. We are exploring liquidation and dissolution alternatives and will keep you informed as events dictate during this process.” No word on what happens with subscribers and if they will get refunds, contact info at their site www.getthunder.com.(9-28-2004)
- Sponsor for Edwards at Atlanta:
Roush Racing announced that World Financial Group, Inc. (WFG) will sponsor Carl Edwards and the #99 Roush Racing Ford at the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in October. World Financial Group will appear as the primary sponsor on the #99 Ford for the Halloween race weekend. This will be the first time World Financial Group has appeared as a primary sponsor on a NEXTEL Cup car. The #99 team is planning to test at Atlanta Motor Speedway in preparation for the Atlanta race weekend. Earlier this year Edwards raced the #99 Superchips F-150 to a seventh place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway after qualifying third. With three top-10 finishes in just six NEXTEL Cup starts, Edwards looks to be on the fast track to chalking up another strong finish at one of the circuit’s fastest tracks. About World Financial Group, Inc.(Roush Racing PR)(9-28-2004)
- Special Hood for Bobby Labonte at Talladega: Bobby Labonte’s 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet will have the name of Camus Auto, an Interstate Batteries dealer from Derby, N.Y., on the hood of the car for the EA Sports 500 Oct. 3 at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala. IBS of Greater Buffalo, the Interstate Batteries distributorship that services Camus Auto, will also be on the special hood at Talladega. Both were winners of Interstate Batteries’ unique “500 Miles of Fame” promotion, an effort by Interstate officials to increase sales and give their dealers and distributors a chance to have their name on the Interstate Batteries hood for a race weekend. Dave Camus, of Camus Auto and Todd Winder of IBS of Greater Buffalo will receive a paid trip to the EA Sports 500 and will meet Labonte on race morning. Camus, whose father operated Camus Auto for more than 30 years, expects the exposure to help his already well-respected business. Interstate Batteries and Joe Gibbs Racing have one of the longest-running major sponsorship relationships in NEXTEL Cup racing having been together since 1991. The company sponsored Dale Jarrett’s car when he won the 1993 Daytona 500 as well as when Labonte won the 2000 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship and the 2000 Brickyard 400. More info at ther web site:interstatebatteries.com.(Camp and Assoc./JGR PR), see an image of the hood on my #18 Team Paint Schemes page.(9-28-2004)
- Sad News: Mrs. Irene “Jack” Ridley, 82, of Chatsworth, passed away Saturday, Sept. 25, 2004, at Hamilton Medical Center. She was preceded in death by her husband, Murphy Ridley; granddaughter, Lisa Ridley; son-in-law, Michael Burkett; and parents, Andrew and Syble Johns. Survivors include sons and daughters-in-law, Ralph and Ruby Ridley, Biddle and Brenda Ridley, [former NASCAR driver] Jody and Margaret Ridley, and David Ridley; daughters and son-in-law, Faye and Danny Deal, and Linda Burkett; 13 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, brother and sister-in-law, Howard and Lillian Johns of Dalton; sister, Ora Bell Brogan of Ooltewah, Tenn.; nieces and nephews. Services are today at 11 a.m. in the chapel of Peeples Funeral Home with the Rev. Shane Craven officiating. Burial will follow in Treadwell Cemetery, concluding with the White Dove Release.(Daily Citizen)(9-28-2004)
- Special Texaco/Davey scheme at ‘Dega UPDATE: #42-Jamie McMurray will run another special Texaco/Havoline retro paint scheme at Talladega in October to celebrate the life of Davey Allison and the 2004 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame.(RacingOne)(6-12-2004)
UPDATE – The “Rising Star” is Set to Shine this Weekend in Talladega: Texaco/Havoline Racing is continuing its year-long 100th birthday celebration this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway as NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray will sport a retro “Rising Star” paint scheme on his #42 Dodge. The design resembles the one that the late Davey Allison competed with during the 1990 season [see an image of the scheme on the #42 Team Paint Scheme Page]. McMurray will continue Texaco/Havoline’s commitment to heritage when he joins Liz, Robbie and Krista Allison, along with Benny Parsons and Richard Petty this Saturday night at the Talladega/Texaco Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Davey Allison Memorial Park in Talladega, Ala. McMurray will help induct Kyle Petty into the Walk of Fame.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-28-2004)
- 35th Areo Warrior Reunion: The big 35th Areo Warrior Anniversary Reunion / Daytona Superbird Auto Club 2004 at Talladega is scheduled for September 30th through October 3rd, 2004. The cars will make a parade lap around 9:30am/ct [10:30am/et] on Sunday, Oct 3rd. Some of the drivers attending who have driven or had something to do with one of the Winged Cars include Charlie Glotzbach, Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Buddy Baker, George Wallace [former race engineer with Chrysler Corporation], Charlie Gray [formerly of Ford], Larry Rathgeb [Chrysler], Bill Holbrook [Ford], John Bach [Former Holman-Moody and Wood Brothers crewman], and Steve Lehto who has just written a book on Bobby Isaac. More info at either: superbirdclub.com or aerowarriors.com.(9-28-2004)
- Hermie leases a car from Yates for Talladega: #02-Hermie Sadler and East Tennessee Trailers have partnered together for several NEXTEL Cup races this season, but both are eagerly awaiting next weekends EA SPORTS 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. At Talladega, Sadler’s SCORE Motorsports team will be leasing a Ford from Robert Yates Racing, whose record on restrictor plate races rivals anyone in the business. Sadler knows this is a great opportunity for himself and his team. “Our season has not been what we had hoped for to this point,” Sadler said. “But this race is a chance for our team to show what we can do and turn our season around. Just the thought of driving a Yates car at Talladega is a dream come true.” Jack Bailey, President of East Tennessee Trailers, who has sponsored Sadler in several NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races this season, said this was too good to pass up. “We have always been confident in the ability of Hermie and his team,” Bailey said. “We are excited to join them for this race. We are as excited to have East Tennessee Trailers on the side of a Robert Yates prepared car as Hermie is to drive it.” East Tennessee Trailers is the nations value leader in enclosed cargo trailers. Its manufacturing facility is located in Oneida, Tennessee. They specialize in not only trailers for racing, but lawn care, construction, motorcycles and many other uses. For more information, please visit www.ettrailers.com.(SCORE Motorsports PR)(9-28-2004)
September 27, 2004
- #41 in the Pink for 3 races….for a good cause: In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Target Chip Ganassi Racing will unveil new paint schemes for their race cars competing in both the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Indy Racing League’s IndyCar series during the month of October. In partnership with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), Target will use the team’s race cars as vehicles to help promote breast cancer awareness to racing fans across the country. Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver Casey Mears will take the helm of a pink #41 Dodge for three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races in October, which include Talladega (October 3rd), Kansas (October 10th) and Martinsville (October 24th). “It’s great to know that we have the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives and help The Breast Cancer Research Foundation,” said Mears. “I’ve driven a red car, a black car and a green car, but this is definitely my first time driving a pink car. It’s an honor to represent Target and play a role in their initiative to raise awareness and money for a foundation that will ultimately save lives.” In addition to the pink ribbon paint schemes, the Target team will make a donation to BCRF for every lap completed in each of the four races by drivers Mears, IRL Drivers Scott Dixon, and Darren Manning (NASCAR and IRL) for up to a total of $50,000. All Target Racing team members in both series will also take part in the promotion by wearing pink ribbons on their firesuits or crew shirts to show their support to those touched by breast cancer, as well as raise awareness and encourage fans to help raise vital funds for BCRF. The racing.target.com team website will undergo a pink make-over for the entire month as well. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Target also will unveil an exclusive line of beautiful pink items this October. One hundred percent of the profits benefit BCRF. The full line of products is available online at target.com/breastcancer, with select items available in stores. For donations or more information on The Breast Cancer Research Foundation see www.bcrfcure.org.(Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-27-2004)
- Gordon sets new record? have done some research on this, been told by a few readers that Jeff Gordon broke a record by finishing 3rd at Dover on Sunday. It was his 20th top-10 finish of the 2004 season, making it 10 straight years that Gordon has had at least 20 top-10 finishes in a season, starting in 1995. Lee Petty had 9 straight seasons [had 19 in 1952]. The following drivers stats were checked and didn’t accomplish the feat. Richard Petty [who has 18 total seasons of 20 or more Top-10’s and had 43 in 1964 in 61 races, but had a 14 race season in 1965 and ‘only’ 17 in 1973, that broke up the streak], Dale Earnhardt had 11 20 Top-10 seasons scattered throughout 22 full seasons. Ned Jarrett in 1964, 1965 and Joe Weatherly 1962 hold the record for the most Top 10’s with 45.(9-27-2004)
- What Happened Between Gordon and Stewart? from a True Speed Communication PR [from Stewart’s side] — The ever-competitive driver of the #20 Home Depot Chevrolet was far from thrilled with his sixth-place effort in Sunday’s MBNA America 400 at Dover’s high-banked, 1-mile oval. Part of his frustration stemmed from having an ill-handling race car, while another part came via Robby Gordon. Gordon, who intentionally spun Greg Biffle last Sunday at New Hampshire to trigger a multi-car accident that consumed Stewart, again used questionable judgment at Dover. On a lap 22 restart, Gordon inexplicably drove his car to the outside of Stewart in turns three and four before officially taking the green. And when Gordon ran out of race track while coming off turn four, he clipped the right front corner of Stewart’s nose, altering the #20’s aerodynamics. With 378 laps still remaining, it was a case of premature aggression. Stewart quickly put the incident and Gordon behind him with a convincing pass through turns one and two. And throughout the race Gordon would remain in Stewart’s rearview mirror, as he wound up finishing 30th, 15 laps off the pace.(True Speed Communication PR)
AND Stewart, wrecked out of the New Hampshire race last weekend by Robby Gordon, tangled with him briefly again early in Sunday’s race. The two traded bumps, with Stewart finally getting by Gordon. Stewart was none too happy after the race and paid NASCAR officials a visit to complain about Gordon’s conduct. Asked what he felt like after the race, Stewart replied: “Kicking Robby Gordon’s butt, to be honest. It’s racing.”(ThatsRacin.com)
AND II “Tell him to come on over,” Gordon responded. “Or, here, give him my phone number and tell him ‘Anytime.'”(Winston Salem Journal)(9-27-2004)
- Ford Engines Ready for Talladega: Robert Yates Racing engine builder Doug Yates says the Ford Racing Engines will have something for the Chevrolets of Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Hendrick Motorsports this Sunday at Talladega. “We will have the new cylinder heads for all eight Fords,” Yates says. “We’ve seen improvement with the testing we’ve done.”(FoxSports/Sporting News)(9-27-2004)
- Martin has no plans to retire….at end of 2004: Mark Martin is 45 years old. Mark Martin finished second in the MBNA America 400 on Sunday after winning at Dover in June. Mark Martin is fifth in the Nextel Cup points standings. And Mark Martin is not going anywhere, even if he wins his first points title this season. “About the only way I’d consider retiring is if I finished 40th in the points,” Martin said after his 17th top-five finish in his 37th Cup start at Dover. “It’s a good thing to be challenging to win. If I had a year like last year … I was pretty miserable. We have some things to sort out over the next four to six weeks, but retirement’s not what I’m sorting out. I know a lot of people are speculating that, but that’s not exactly it.”(Delaware News Journal)(9-27-2004)
- Sponsor Saves Robby’s Gig; to the #00 in 2005?: Car owner Richard Childress was ready to release driver Robby Gordon last week after his run-in at Loudon, N.H., but sponsors intervened on Gordon’s behalf, according to sources close to Gordon. Gordon has been toying with the idea of expanding his Busch operation into a full Cup operation next season. However, he’s also under consideration for the ride with Gene Haas [#00 NetZero Chevy], depending on what Haas and current driver Ward Burton do, according to team sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-27-2004)
- Some Qualifying Notes AND Official Suspended: Never saw this before, in an odd twist, #30-Jeff Burton and #22-Scott Wimmer were allowed to requalify as the NASCAR Official who was supposed to take the cowl cover off the cars, failed to do so on the #22 and #30, so NASCAR let them requalify. Burton ran 154.759 [would had been good for 36th fastest] the first time and 155.273 in the requalify attempt [33rd]. Wimmer ran 154.063 [would had been good for 39th and provisional land] the first time and 155.682 in the requalify attempt [29th].(9-24-2004)
AND NASCAR has temporarily suspended official Don Berry, following a mix-up on pit road Friday during Nextel Cup qualifying at Dover International Speedway, ThatsRacin.com has learned. On Friday, two cars – those of Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer – were told to take to the track for qualifying runs without a NASCAR official first removing the tape that is placed over the cowl, the top part of the car body that supports the windshield and the dashboard. The tape can only be removed by a NASCAR official. Berry is the pit road coordinator during the qualifying process, supervising such actions. With the tape on, car will typically run somewhat slower. NASCAR officials noticed the mistake before the session ended and allowed both Burton and Wimmer to qualify again. Wimmer was 29th fastest, Burton 33rd. NASCAR spokesperson Tracey Judd declined to comment, citing NASCAR’s policy of not commenting on internal personnel matters.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-27-2004)
- Speeding – NASCAR’s Monitoring System in the Dark Ages: #48 owner, Rick Hendrick was not pleased with the drive-thru penalty handed to driver Jimmie Johnson [for speeding]. “I don’t understand with all the electronics at our disposal — and even our sponsor Delphi has told (NASCAR) that they could put a wire in the ground at every track. If these people think that they can put another 10,000 people in the seats, they’ll do that in a minute. But why not take the guesswork out of this pit-road deal. You got a guy up there with eyesight and a stop watch making a decision that can affect the championship.”(FoxSports/Sporting News)(9-27-2004)
September 26, 2004
- Newman dominates at Dover: #12-Ryan Newman won the MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway, dominating the race by leading 325 of 400 laps and winning by over 8 seconds. It is the 2nd win of the season for Newman, 3rd at Dover and 11th of his career in 108 starts. The rest of the top five were #6-Martin, #24-Gordon, #88-Jarrett and #97-Busch. #17-Matt Kenseth, one of the Chase drivers, used his mulligan today, hitting the tire/water barrier while trying to get to pit road early in the race, doing serious damage to the front end, he came back out after repairs and picked up a spot. #24-Gordon takes over the points lead by ONE point over #97-Busch.
For my race rundown, see my Dover Race Info/Rundown Page
For race results, see:
Jayski’s Dover Race Results/Awards page
- Runner-up Champs: what drivers have finished 2nd in the Drivers Championship the most times?
Richard Petty: 6 runner-up finshes [7 championships]
Bobby Allison: 5 
Mark Martin: 4 
Dale Earnhardt: 3 
Darrell Waltrip: 3 
Cale Yarborough: 3 
Bill Elliott: 3 
(from my All Time Winners page)(9-26-2004)
- Leffler talking to a few Cup teams: NASCAR Busch Series driver Jason Leffler confirmed Friday he has spoken with officials from Joe Gibbs Racing, among others, about driving next season in the Nextel Cup Series. Leffler declined to name the other teams, but said he could have “an exciting thing going on next year.” Leffler, 29, has emerged as the leading candidate for Gibbs’ #11 Chevrolet, which will debut next season. The team will be sponsored by FedEx. “Gibbs is one of the teams I’ve talked to. I hope to make an annoucement here in the next couple of weeks,” Leffler said. Leffler said even if he joins the Cup series next season, he may still run a partial schedule in the Busch Series. Leffler started his NASCAR career as a Busch driver with Gibbs before moving to Cup and Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001. He struggled in Cup, but did win a pole and was fourth in the rookie standings in his first full season. Leffler left Ganassi at the end of the year and moved to Craftsman Truck Series and Ultra Motorsports. Since the middle of last season, Leffler has driven in Cup (2003) and Busch (2004) with Haas CNC Racing. “I’ve learned so much since the last time I did (Cup), so I know what expect,” Leffler said. “It’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to it.”(ThatsRacin.com), however, evedrything I hear has Leffler in the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy and Joe Gibbs Racing and supposedly alreadt been fitted for a seat.(9-26-2004)
- Rusty’s Son Wins at Bristol: Steve Wallace captured his first career UARA Late Model win on the series’ biggest stage Saturday night under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway. Wallace’s win came exactly one month to the day after a violent crash in a Hooter’s ProCup Series race at Bristol, making his victory all the more sweet. Wallace, driving the #02 Food City Dodge, took the lead on Lap 83 and stayed in front for the remainder of the race. The 17-year-old Wallace’s previous best UARA finish was a third-place effort earlier this year at Anderson Motor Speedway in South Carolina. Wallace is the son of NEXTEL Cup Series driver and nine-time Bristol winner Rusty Wallace. Josh Adams, driving the lone Toyota in the field finished second. Jamey Caudill, Keith Stiltner and Jamie Yelton rounded out the top-five. UARA points leader Jason York suffered a setback early on in the race as he and the No. 44 of Mark King got together in Turn 1 to bring out the race’s third caution on Lap 36.(BMS PR)(9-26-2004)
- Dover Race Notes:
—- Ryan Newman won the MBNA America 400, scoring his 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 108th career start. His last victory came at Michigan June 20, 2004, 13 races ago.
—- Newman scored histhird victory at Dover International Speedway. It was his fifth top-10 finish in six races at Dover. Newman won both races at Dover in 2003.
—- Newman became the eighth driver with multiple victories in 2004.
—- Newman climbed from ninth to eighth in The Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
—- Newman led five times for 325 laps including the final 135, leading the most laps for the second time in 2004 and the most he has led in a single race in his career. His previous most laps led in a single race was 187 at New Hampshire in July 2004.
—- This is the fourth victory for Dodge in 2004. Chevrolet has won 15 and Ford has nine.
Notebook Items – The Race for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
—- With eight races remaining, 10 drivers continue The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. First to 10th in the standings are separated by 157 points. The biggest margin is between and third-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and fourth-place Jimmie Johnson, who are separated by 39 points. Fifth-place Mark Martin has the same points as Johnson (5,314). Johnson has four victories to Martin’s two and holds the fourth-position based on the tiebreaker.
—- Eight drivers in the top-10 in points changed positions at Dover International Speedway.
—- All 10 drivers competing in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup scored at least one victory in the first 26 races of the 2004 season. Busch and Newman posted victories in the first two races of the 10-race Chase to the NEXTEL Cup.
—- Kurt Busch is the only driver that has scored top-five finishes in each of the first two races in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
—- Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Gordon are the only drivers to score top-10 finishes in each of the first two races in The Chase.
—- Eight of the 10 drivers in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup posted top-10 finishes in the MBNA America 400.
—- Approximately $1 million will be paid to the driver who finishes 11th in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, an increase of more than $400,000 over one year ago. That includes a $250,000 bonus, which will be paid to the 11th-place finisher. Additionally, the 11th-place driver will also join the top-10 drivers on the stage at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Banquet in New York in December. Currently, Jamie McMurray holds the 11th-place position by 99 points over 12th-place Kevin Harvick.
—- Mark Martin (second) scored his third top-five finish in his last four races. It was his 13th top-10 finish in 2004 and his 22nd top-10 finish in 37 races at Dover International Speedway. Martin won here in June. —- Jeff Gordon (third) scored his 20th top-10 finish in 2004, the most of all drivers. Gordon has scored three straight top-10 finishes and 16 top-10 finishes in 24 races at Dover International Speedway.
—- Dale Jarrett (fourth) scored his 11th top-10 finish of the season. Despite his finish, he remained 15th in the point standings.
—- Kurt Busch (fifth) scored his 14th top-10 finish in 2004. It marked his best finish at Dover and is his second top-10 finish in nine races at Dover International Speedway.
—- Tony Stewart (sixth) scored his 14th top-10 finish in 2004. It is his 11th top-10 finish in 12 races at Dover.
—- Matt Kenseth has ranked in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 for 63 straight races.
—- Matt Kenseth (32nd) dropped from fourth to seventh in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. It marked his worst finish at Dover since he finished 40th here in June 2002.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-26-2004)
- StockCarFans.Com – Rumblings – Dover: Ryan Newman led early (the first 32 laps), led often (five times for a whopping 325 laps), and led late (the final 135!) to capture today’s MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway for his second win of the 2004 season (he won at Michigan in June). This was his third win in the last four races at DIS, and the 11th of Ryan’s Cup career (he’s now tied with Kurt Busch for 46th on the all-time win list). Win #56 for Penske (if you count the three for Michael Kranefuss) was worth $195,477 from the almost $5M in posted awards. Uh, somebody wanna tell me why you wouldn’t want to clean the track before the race? We were shown an awful lot of marbles outside of the groove pre- race…..
Ricky Rudd (12th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Watkins Glen in August.
Bobby Labonte (14th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Watkins Glen last month.
Kyle Petty (17th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Las Vegas in March.
Brendan Gaughan (22nd) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Loudon in July.
Jimmy Spencer (26th) had his best finish since he was 19th at The Brickyard in August.
Tony Raines (28th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Homestead last November (only 4 races).
Kevin Lepage (36th) had his best finish since he was 30th at Bristol in March (only 7 races).
STREAKIN….Jamie McMurray has 6 Top-10’s in a row. Dale Earnhardt Jr has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: For the second week in a row we have no Operator….Sterling Marlin (+19) gets honorable mention. DOWN: The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-35), followed by Jeff Burton (-24), Kasey Kahne (-22), and Ward Burton (-20).
Something to remember: That #17 crew busted thier butts to get Matt Kenseth back on the track today, all to gain 3 points. Let’s see what that’s worth in another 8 weeks.
New leader in the “Chase”…..Jeff Gordon by a single marker over Kurt Busch.
But in “Classic” points, Gordon holds a 69 point margin. Wonder which format he likes now?
We had four drivers gain two spots in the Top-20, while Kasey Kahne (10th to 14th) had the biggest drop of the weekend. You’ll also notice that Jamie McMurray (leading that all important race to the 10th loser by 99 points over Kevin Harvick) would be in 9th (would be the topic of a story or two) and would be only 139 markers out of the Top-5. We were told that almost never happens, remember?(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(9-26-2004)
September 25, 2004
- More on Hard Liquior to NASCAR AND 21 the new age? UPDATE: With both NBC and Fox having apparently approved hard-liquor sponsorship of a Nextel Cup car, the ball is in NASCAR’s court in the debate over whether to allow Diageo, makers of Crown Royal and other alcoholic beverages, to sponsor a car on the Nextel Cup tour next season, and sources say NASCAR has decided to allow the company to sponsor a Cup car. NASCAR vetoed Jack Roush’s [#99] sponsorship plans earlier this season. For much of the year the debate has been in the network offices of Fox and NBC, where executives have been against allowing TV ads for products like Crown Royal, even while allowing their cable subsidiaries to accept such ads. The Fox Speed channel is carrying the Crown Royal-sponsored IROC series. But ABC’s decision to allow Jim Beam sponsorship during the Indianapolis 500 apparently broke the long-time network ban, and Fox and NBC are willing to let Nextel Cup teams carry such sponsorships too – once NASCAR executives work out their own details – according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)
AND rumors are circulating that if NASCAR allows hard liquior as a sponsor in the Cup Series, they may raise the minimum age requirement to 21. If so, would that stop Kyle Busch’s possible move to the Cup Series in 2005? Brian Vickers couldn’t race in the Crown Royal IROC Series and the Bud Pole stickers on the #25 [and Busch’s #84 Cup car] says ‘Pole Awards’ with an Anheuser-Busch logo, NOT “Budweiser Pole Award”.(9-18-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR has considered changing the minimum age to compete in the Nextel Cup Series to 21, but NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said he “doesn’t know of any plan to do that.” Speculation is that the change could come if NASCAR allows hard liquor companies to sponsor teams.(NASCAR Scene Print Edition)(9-25-2004)
The normal Budweiser Pole sticker
The Pole Award sticker with the Anheuser-Busch logo, from the #25 car
Taken at Las Vegas by Jayski
- Tire Testing Ongoing: In the week that separated the Richmond International Raceway and New Hampshire International Speedway events several NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams tested the 2005 aero recipe at Las Vegas Motor Speedway [see past news on my Testing Page]. These testing chores were handled by Ford driver Greg Biffle and Dodge pilots Casey Mears and Ryan Newman. The cars that were run were trimmed to ‘05 specifications, including a one-inch shorter spoiler. Mears upped the ante, driving one of the new ‘05 Dodge cars during the test [see images of the 2005 Dodge on my 2005 Cup Scheme page]. Goodyear engineers were also on hand with several of their ’05 tire packages, testing to see if the computer simulations used to design tires were as accurate as Goodyear engineers’ predictions. This test, the second of three planned, gave the Vegas track it’s chance to shine. Earlier this month tests were performed at Bristol Motor Speedway. A test was scheduled the week before the Richmond event for Lowe’s Motor Speedway, but rain caused a reschedule for sometime in the immediate future [with Mark Martin testing]. Biffle told www.teamfordracing.com at NHIS that he found the new configuration incredibly different from what’s being run this year; and he has concerns that perhaps the cars were tossed into a performance area where none but the most sound drivers will be able to handle the machines.(Team For Racing)(9-25-2004)
- NASCAR’s Shawna Robinson gets a new look: The Queen City [Charlotte, NC] continues to be a magnet for TV makeover shows (“What Not to Wear,” “Extreme Makeover,” “Ambush Makeover”). TLC’s “A Makeover Story” recently documented the transformation of NASCAR driver Shawna Robinson. “We really wanted to profile a strong woman in sports, and Shawna was the perfect fit,” said Keesha Bullock of TLC. No air date has been set. The following retailers — all in Dilworth — were involved: Sloan and Step by Sloan boutiques and Modern Salon & Spa’s Mantra salon. Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., a friend of Robinson’s, reportedly filmed footage for the show.(Charlotte Observer)(9-25-2004)
- Ward to stay in the #0 in 2005? during an interview with MRN’s Danielle Frye, Ward Burton, driver of the #0 NetZero Chevy, said he is talking again with the team about possible staying together in 2005. Some past news/rumors had Burton leaving the team at the end of the 2004 season and can be read on my #0 Team News and Links page.(9-25-2004)
- Daytona USA close due to possible hurricane: Due to the threat of Hurricane Jeanne, DAYTONA USA, the “Official of Attraction of NASCAR,” closed at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 and will remain closed on Saturday, Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26. DAYTONA USA will reaccess operating hours when the storm has passed. For more information on DAYTONA USA, contact (386) 947-6800 or log on to www.DAYTONAUSA.com.(DIS PR)(9-25-2004)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Kurt Busch as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on September 19th, Deanna R. of Derby, NY was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Deanna picked Busch as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Busch. This is the fourth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Busch.
The Gillette Young Guns are 14 for 27 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. have four victories, followed by Kurt Busch with three victories, Matt Kenseth who has two victories, and Ryan Newman who has one victory.
Through the 27th race of the season, fellow Young Guns Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch are tied for the lead in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. Three other Gillette Young Guns are also in the top-10 and rank as follows – Kenseth (Fourth), Johnson (Fifth) and Newman (Ninth). Kevin Harvick, who is not in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup, is currently in the 13th position in the standings.
For 24 of the 27 races run in 2004, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings have been led by four members of the Gillette Young Guns. Current point leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. has led for 10 weeks, Jimmie Johnson led for nine weeks, Matt Kenseth led for four weeks and Kurt Busch has led for two weeks.
(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(9-25-2004)
- Blaney at Dover: Dave Blaney is scheduled to drive Carl Edwards’ #99 car in both practice sessions today as Edwards flies to Las Vegas to compete in tonight’s Craftsman Truck race. Edwards is scheduled to return to Dover for Sunday’s Cup race. He’s making the cross-country trip because he is third in the truck series standings, 39 points behind series leader Bobby Hamilton.(Roanoke Times)(9-25-2004)
- Jeremy’s Tshirt says ‘Stay Away’: Wearing an orange shirt (the same color as Robby Gordon’s car) that read “I want you to stay far, far away from me,” Jeremy Mayfield qualified first yesterday for the MBNA 400 a Dover International Speedway. He edged Ryan Newman with a 159.405-mph lap his second slowest this year at the 1-mile oval. Mayfield, who set a track record (161.522) in June, became the first driver to complete a season sweep of pole positions at Dover since Cale Yarborough in 1980. Mayfield needs a strong result tomorrow. He dropped 142 points out of first after he got caught in a crash started by Gordon at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday. But his #19 Dodge has proved resilient recently, clawing its way into the Chase by winning at Richmond International Raceway after two subpar showings. “We’re going to have to do that every week from here on out,” he said. “That’s what this team seems to be really good at. We get knocked down, chewed up, spit out and booed off the stage, but we come right back. When the going gets tough, we feel like we perform our best.” Mayfield hadn’t heard yet from Gordon, who said yesterday morning he wanted to apologize to Mayfield and Tony Stewart, the other title contender victimized by his spin. “Obviously he wasn’t in too desperate of a search for me,” Mayfield joked. “It might have been the shirt. What’s cool is that [Gordon’s car owner] Richard Childress called. He apologized and said he was very sorry. That’s classy of Childress. Richard didn’t seem to have any problems getting a hold of anybody.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-25-2004)
- Sarah Fisher to make NASCAR debut at Phoenix UPDATE: Open-wheel star Sarah Fisher has been named to drive for Bill McAnally Racing in the Subway 150 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Oct. 3. Fisher – who has raced four seasons in the IRL IndyCar Series – will be making her NASCAR debut, driving the #20 NASCAR Select by NAPA Filters Chevrolet. “We are excited to have Sarah be a part of the team at Phoenix,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “This is a great opportunity for BMR to work with a talented young driver from the open-wheel ranks. She should provide an interesting perspective and some valuable input into our program.” Fisher, who progressed through the sprint car and midget car ranks to the Indy Racing League, was voted the IRL’s Most Popular Driver the past three seasons. The 23-year-old resident of Indianapolis, Ind., scored a career-best runner-up finish in the IRL IndyCar Series at Homestead-Miami in 2001 and won the pole at Kentucky in 2002. In 2000, she became only the third woman in history to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. “I’m really excited to be making my NASCAR debut,” Fisher said. “It’s a great opportunity. I’ve been working hard to prepare for this.” Fisher will join BMR at Phoenix as a teammate to Austin Cameron, who is currently second in the championship standings. The event is the 10th in a 13-race schedule for the series this year. McAnally is a veteran car owner in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series with three consecutive series championships (1999, 2000 and 2001) to his credit. The West Series and the Busch North Series comprise the Grand National Division. Graduates of the West Series include 1998 series champion Kevin Harvick and Brendan Gaughan, who won back-to-back titles in 2000 and 2001. The NASCAR Doubleheader Weekend at PIR features the JC’s Glass 100 NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series race and the Subyway 150 NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race. Tickets for the NASCAR DoubleHeader Weekend at PIR on October 2-3, can be purchased by phone 602-252-2227 or 1-866-408-7223. They can also be purchased by logging on the website www.phoenixraceway.com.(PIR PR)(9-23-2004)
AND Fisher is filling the seat temporarily vacated by Kerry Earnhardt, who will be at Talladega Superspeedway next week for a Nextel Cup race. Earnhardt is a son of the late Dale Earnhardt. McAnally initially was going to replace Kerry Earnhardt with Clint Boyer, who drove the car at PIR earlier this season. But Nextel Cup car owner Richard Childress, who helped get Earnhardt the ride with the West Series team, called McAnally last week and asked if he would be interested in putting Fisher in the car. “Richard asked me what I thought about it, and I thought it was OK,” McAnally said. “I think she could be real good for our series, and I think our series could be real good for her. I’m looking forward to it.”(Arizona Republic)(9-24-2004)
UPDATE: Sarah Fisher, a 23-year-old Indy-car racer, could be headed for a NASCAR Busch [Childress?] ride next season if her tryout in a NASCAR-West race at Phoenix Oct. 3 goes well. Fisher tested at Caraway Speedway in a Kevin Harvick car a few weeks ago and was impressive..(Winston Salem Journal)(9-25-2004)
September 24, 2004
- Mayfield wins pole at the Monster: #19-Jeremy Mayfield won the Budweiser Pole for the MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 159.405mph, his 2nd pole at Dover in 2004 and 3rd at Dover and 9th pole of his career. Mayfield was the first driver to wins both pole positions at Dover since Cale Yarborough in 1980. The rest of the top 5, #12-Newman, #25-Vickers, #38-Sadler and #15-Waltrip. In an odd twist, #30-Jeff Burton and #22-Scott Wimmer were allowed to requalify as the NASCAR Official who was supposed to take the cowl cover off the cars, failed to do so on the #22 and #30, so NASCAR let them requalify. Burton ran 154.759 [would had been good for 36th fastest] the first time and 155.273 in the requalify attempt [33rd]. Wimmer ran 154.063 [would had been good for 39th and provisional land] the first time and 155.682 in the requalify attempt [29th]. For who missed the race and used provisionals, the starting grid and all the speeds on my Jayski’s Dover Qualifying/Starting Lineup Page
Other lineup links at:
- Robby Apologizes Again; has talked to Biffle: Robby Gordon repeated his apology Friday for his actions in last Sunday’s race at New Hampshire, during which he intentionally wrecked Greg Biffle, but caught up Chase for the Nextel Cup contenders Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart as well. “What happened last weekend obviously I’m sorry for, but I’m more sorry to Tony Stewart and Jeremy Mayfield, putting them behind the eight-ball in this 10-race championship,” Gordon said. “I hope they have an opportunity to climb back into the championship. I’m sorry we got into this situation. I didn’t intend for it to be this at all.” Gordon said he spoke to Biffle Thursday night, but had not yet been able to speak to Mayfield or Stewart, but had tried to reach them. “Between me and Greg there is no issue because he knows what he did and he knows what I did,” Gordon said. “I consider Greg not only a fierce competitor but a good friend of mine.”
Gordon also denied reports this week by ThatsRacin.com, Speed TV, The Tampa Tribune, The Rocky Mountain News and NASCAR Scene, among others, that he had pushed aside [XM] radio reporter Claire B. Lang after the race while attempting to avoid a gathering of media members. After first saying, “I did not push Claire B. Lang after the race,” Gordon responded to a follow-up question later with, “If she got moved a little bit, it was not an intentional shove. If I bumped you, I apologize.” For her part, Lang has stated both that she did not recall the incident and that it didn’t happen in conversations over the past week. Gordon, who was penalized two laps in the race by NASCAR and also placed on probation by his Richard Childress Racing team, also admitted to using an obscene gesture, but said it was directed to one member of the media, not the group as a whole. Gordon said he also spoke with NASCAR officials Friday morning to “clear the air.” NASCAR President Mike Helton “said my punishment I received last weekend for being two laps held should have been embarrassing enough to be what it is.”(ThatsRacin.com and the full press conference transcipt at FoxSports)(9-24-2004)
- Congrats! Chris Williams, gasman and mechanic on the #32 Tide Chevy that Bobby Hamilton Jr. drivers, became a first-time father on Monday, September 20th. Mother, Karie, delivered a baby boy named Cameron Bailey at 6:30 p.m. weighing in at 8 lbs., 3 oz.(PPI Motorsports)(9-24-2004)
- Motorcycle Racer Offered NASCAR Contract? UPDATE…AND: Speedfreaks is reporting….it broke on HBO’s ‘Real Sports w/Bryant Gumbel’ a few weeks ago and was made true (to the Freak Nation at least) on Friday night at the AMA Motocross autograph session in SoCal. One certain Cup/Busch team owner would like to sign 125cc Motocross Champion, James “Bubba” Stewart, to a TEN year NASCAR contract. Now, the kid definitely has talent and just may be the best rider to hit the Motocross/Supercross scene EVER… yep, better than McGrath, better than Carmichael (maybe – we’ll see next season though), better than Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward, Marty Smith and the like. He will make the jump to the top class, 250cc, next year and the reality of Bubba’s talent will be seen… can he indeed run with the big boys? Based on test sessions so far, YES! (SpeedFreaks.tv)(9-14-2004)
UPDATE: Stewart said he has talked to several teams recently. Chip Ganassi Racing, which fields cars in both series, has expressed the most interest. A team representative traveled to Haines City, Fla., to meet with Stewart and his family. The two sides have talked several times since. “It’s no secret that I have always had an interest for car racing,” said Stewart, who loves to take his shifter kart out for a spin whenever he’s at home and has some spare time. “Only now, I just might be able to make that happen.” Stewart said he “wants to be like Tony Stewart,” a NASCAR regular who occasionally drives in the Indy 500. Bubba Stewart said he would like to do both, too. But where he ends up depends upon how his testing goes. He plans to drive stock cars and open-wheel cars before he determines which series is right for him. He probably won’t start testing cars for another year. However, when asked if he might try to log some practice laps now that the dirt-bike season is over, he said, “We will just have to wait and see. I am trying to keep all of this stuff behind closed doors.” Stewart said he wants to make one thing clear: He is not ready to walk away from the sport that has made him a star. He recently signed a two-year contract extension with the Irvine-based Kawasaki factory team, and he said he probably will ride for five or six more years. But Stewart said there is a chance he could begin racing cars before he decides to park his dirt bike for good, squeezing in a few races in the fall after the Motocross season finale.(Orange County Register)
AND while on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, Stewart said he is interested in going to NASCAR in the future and has talked to some ‘people’ but wouldn’t elaborate. Dave said he asked Ganassi who sad he hadn’t talked to Stewart.(9-24-2004)
- Protest at Atlanta: A little-known group of minority race fans plans to protest a NASCAR event at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Oct. 31. Hampton Police Chief Bud Smith said representatives from the National Association for Minority Race Fans are seeking a protest permit for that day’s race. However, the city ordinance does not address such a request. “We do not have an ordinance that requires them to get a permit,” he said. “But we will require them to register at city hall. We will also discuss this issue at the Oct. 5 pre-race meeting.” Little is known about the group, which has a Web site at www.namrf.com. The site displays a countdown to when the site will be open to the public, midnight Oct. 1. Until then, only members can log onto the site. Phillip W. Offill Jr., an attorney with Dallas law firm Godwin Gruber, said he represents the group. “This will be a fairly substantial protest,” he said. “They are loud and proud and have a problem with what is going on with NASCAR.” Specifically, Offill said the group pinpoints racism and the safety of minorities and women at race events but declined to elaborate. “Some more will come out closer to the release of the documentary,” he said. “But a lot of folks, because of the color of their skin or gender, don’t feel safe at race events.”
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Wednesday that he is not familiar with the protest group. He said NASCAR is proud of the strides made within the organization to attract everyone as fans. “NASCAR respects the right of all people to express their opinions and NASCAR is committed to making the sport off and on the track even more like America,” he said. “No issue is more important for NASCAR to succeed and grow.”
Smith said the group specifically wants to protest the Oct. 31 race n the Bass Pro Ships MBNA 500 n but Offill alluded to Talladega as another possible target but would not elaborate. The EA Sports 500 is slated at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway Oct. 3. Talladega officials said Wednesday they have not had contact with the group, which they had not heard of. Offill said the Web site is available only to members because they don’t want to let “personalities” get out in front of the issues and concerns of the group.
Smith said the group seeks a peaceful demonstration but the request itself is unusual. “They say they are very peaceful and not aggressive,” he said, “but I have not known of a race protest and I’ve been here since 1972. As long as they are peaceful, we’ll work with them.” The group, accompanied by a film crew, first approached the Henry Superior Court clerk’s office for a permit. However, Clerk Judy Lewis sent them to Hampton since the track is inside the city limits. Getting permission to protest and actually having a place in which to do so are two different things. AMS spokeswoman Angela Revell said she is not familiar with the group and has had no contact with any of its representatives. She also expressed surprise that minorities have a beef with NASCAR. “I guess they haven’t heard of Magic Johnson’s minority initiatives,” said Revell. Earlier this year, sports legend Johnson announced plans to boost minority involvement in NASCAR. He told reporters in June his dad, a “big fan,” took him to the track when he was a child. The event made a lasting impression. NASCAR is also making other efforts to diversify the fan base including developing a program called “Drive for Diversity,” [www.drivefordiversity.com] aimed at generating well-trained minority and female drivers and crew members. Last year, NASCAR clashed with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition when board member Bill Shack called car racing organizations “the last bastion of white supremacy.” NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne responded that his organization is “vigorously” reaching out to minorities, citing mandated sensitivity training for all employees and the formation of a diversity council, intern programs and college tours.(News-Daily), past news on the diverstiy issue on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(9-23-2004)
AND More at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.(9-24-2004)
- Dover Qualifying Notes:
—- Jeremy Mayfield won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the MBNA America 400, lapping Dover International Speedway in 22.584 seconds at 159.405 mph. Mayfield holds the track-qualifying record of 22.288 seconds, 161.522 mph, set June 4, 2004. —- This is Mayfield’s ninth career Bud Pole in 337 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His most recent Bud Pole came here at Dover on June 4, 2004, two races ago. It is Mayfield’s third Bud Pole and ninth top-10 start in 21 races at Dover. It is his 14th top-10 start in 2004.
—- The last driver to sweep both Bud Poles in a season at Dover was Cale Yarborough in 1980. David Pearson (1973) is the only other driver to win both Bud Poles in a season since 1971, the first year of twice-a-year racing here.
—- There have been five different Bud Pole winners in the last seven races at Dover. Bud Pole qualifying was canceled due to weather in September 2003. Mayfield is the only repeat Bud Pole winner here since 2001.
—- Mayfield became the sixth multiple Bud Pole winner in 2004. Jeff Gordon (six), Ryan Newman (five), Kasey Kahne (four), Casey Mears (two) and Brian Vickers (two) are the other drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen, second Michigan and second New Hampshire due to weather.
—- Ryan Newman had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 22.639 seconds at 159.018 mph and will join Mayfield on the front row. It is his fifth top-10 start in his six races at Dover, all top fives. It is his second consecutive runner-up start and his third on the front row. It is his 19th top-10 start in 2004, more than any other driver.
—- This is 13th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2004. Chevrolet has 10 Bud Poles and Ford has two.
—- Brian Vickers (third) posted his 13th top-10 start in 2004 and his second consecutive third-place start at Dover as the top-three duplicated their qualifying efforts from the June race.
—- Elliott Sadler (fourth) posted his 14th top-10 start in 2004 and his third top-10 start in 12 races at Dover.
—- Michael Waltrip (fifth) posted his seventh top-10 start in 2004 and his sixth top-10 start in 38 races at Dover, including his only career Bud Pole.
—- Five of the 10 drivers involved in The Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualified in the top 10: Mayfield, Newman, Sadler, Matt Kenseth (eighth) and Jimmie Johnson (ninth). Fifty-six of the 69 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Dover have been won from a top-10 starting position.
—- Jeff Fuller, Joe Ruttman, Geoffrey Bodine, Morgan Shepherd and Kirk Shelmerdine used provisionals to complete the 43-car field. Seven drivers failed to qualify for the MBNA America 400: Hermie Sadler, Carl Long, Stanton Barrett, Greg Sacks, Kenny Hendrick, Derrike Cope and Mike Garvey.
A driver has swept both races at Dover in five of the last 10 years: Ryan Newman (2003), Jimmie Johnson (2002), Tony Stewart (2000), Jeff Gordon (1996) and Rusty Wallace (1994).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-24-2004)
- StockCarFans.Com – Ramblings – Dover: If today looked like a replay from this past June, it’s only because it was….. The Top-3 qualifiers for Sunday’s MBNA America 400 today at Dover International Speedway were exactly the same as when we were last here…. only the speeds were different. Jeremy Mayfield (almost 3/10ths slower than a couple months ago) captured his second Bud pole of the season (and 9th of his career) this afternoon with a speed of 159.405 (22.584 sec), besting Ryan Newman and Brian Vickers. An expensive day for Rick Hendrick. First Vickers pulled out a backup after a practice crash (that one wasn’t too bad), then Terry Labonte had a hard crash between 1 and 2 that’ll be lucky if it only takes a rear clip. They can’t get those soft walls into this place quick enough!
Michael Waltrip (5th) has his best starting spot since qualified 4th at Loudon in July.
Bobby Labonte (6th) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the pole at Texas in April.
Rusty Wallace (7th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Infineon Raceway in June.
Dale Jarrett (11th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Daytona in July.
Kyle Petty (27th) has his best starting spot since he started 26th at the Brickyard in August.
STREAKIN….Jeremy Mayfield has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.
Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
50 cars on hand…49 took a time (Mike Garvey was a DNS). The other non-qualifiers on the Trouble Train were: Hermie Sadler, Carl Long, Stanton Barrett, Greg Sacks, Kenny Hendrick, and Derrike Cope.
Provisionals were doled out to (and isn’t this becoming a familiar lot): Jeff Fuller, Joe Ruttman, Geoffrey Bodine, Morgan Shepherd, and Kirk Shelmerdine.(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter PR)(9-24-2004)
- Andrews son wins Busch North pole at Dover: Tim Andrews, son of long-time Nextel Cup crew chief [Alan Kulwicki, Roush Racing, DEI and others, now Kahne’s crew chief in the Busch Series] Paul Andrews, wheeled his Chevrolet around the high-banked, one-mile Dover International Speedway oval in 24.372 seconds for an average speed of 147.710mph to win his first Busch North Series. The closest Tim Andrews had been to Dover International Speedway was sitting on his couch watching the races on television. “I’ve never even seen this place,” Andrews said. “I did talk to my dad about the track a lot and got a lot of information from him, but to come out and get the pole is just incredible.” Paul Wolfe will start second, followed by Kelly Moore and Bryon Chew.(Delaware News Journal)(9-24-2004)
- Jeff Gordon Donates His Personal 2004 Z71 Chevy Tahoe to Charity: Jeff Gordon and The Jeff Gordon Foundation will once again host a raffle, this time raffling off Gordon’s personal 2004 Z71 Tahoe with all proceeds going to The Jeff Gordon Foundation. Along with the Tahoe, the winner of the raffle will receive a private “meet and greet” with the four-time champion at his No. 24 DuPont Race Shop. The Tahoe features a sunroof, in-dash 6-CD player, Bose speakers, On-Star, front and side air bags, leather bucket seats, tinted windows, and wheels/tires personally selected by Gordon. Raffle tickets are $100 each with a limited number of 2,225 available. Tickets purchased directly benefit The Jeff Gordon Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization established in December 1999 by Jeff Gordon that benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Marrow Foundation and Riley Hospital for Children. The Foundation is dedicated to help support the physical, social and intellectual needs of children and their families throughout the United States. Tickets are available by mailing a check or money order to The Jeff Gordon Foundation, Attn: Tahoe Raffle, P.O. Box 880, Harrisburg, NC 28075. Visa & Master Card are accepted online at www.JeffGordonFoundation.org or by faxing the raffle form to 704-455-0623 to order. The raffle will run September 23, 2004, thru December 23, 2004, with the final drawing to be held at 5 p.m. on December 23, 2004, at JG Motorsports, Inc. Winners need not be present. For more information on the raffle call 704-455-0625 or visit www.JeffGordonFoundation.org.(Jeff Gordon Site)(9-24-2004)
September 23, 2004
- Two Crew Chiefs fined: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series crew chief #97-Jimmy Fennig was fined $1,000 for a fuel cell spacer infraction that occurred at last weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at New Hampshire International Speedway and crew chief #17-Robbie Reiser received the identical fine for the same infraction at the Sept. 11 event held at Richmond International Raceway, NASCAR officials announced today.(NASCAR PR)(9-23-2004)
- Sadler gets to feel the new Martinsville Suface: #38-Elliott Sadler drove his way into Martinsville Speedway’s “unofficial” record book Wednesday afternoon. Slowly circling the track in the passenger side of track president Clay Campbell’s street car, Sadler became the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver to take a lap on Martinsville’s recently repaved racing surface. “I got to ride on the race track earlier and it is smooth,” Sadler said during a media gathering for the October 24th running of the SUBWAY 500. “In talking to Clay, I know there were a lot of headaches involved in getting the repaving done, but it is unbelievably smooth. It’s a big difference from the way the track was. From the concrete to the asphalt, wow, the transition is unbelievable. I’m glad they added another 100 feet of concrete. That will be a lot easier on the motor guys and on the driver. That was always the biggest obstacle here at Martinsville, getting the car hooked up from the concrete to the asphalt.” It wasn’t the new asphalt and concrete that caught Sadler’s eye first, though. “When Clay took me around the track, the first thing I noticed were the SAFER walls. As a driver, we love to see track owners do that,” said Sadler. “And not only did he do the corners, he did the inside of the straightaway walls, which is going the extra step.” Sadler helped Martinsville Speedway unveil a myriad of changes and additions to the historic facility since the NEXTEL Cup Series last visited in April. The on-track work – the resurfacing and SAFER barriers – were the most evident, but there were more. Stage one of the projects to relocate the railroad tracks which parallel the backstretch is just about finished. Excavation and grading work, which involved the moving of over 100,000 yards of earth, is complete and the new rail bed is ready. Reseeding has begun so campers will have grassy camping spots for the SUBWAY 500 weekend. After the October events, work will begin on laying new tracks on the new rail bed, about 100 yards from the location of the present tracks. The souvenir area outside of the fourth turn has also been enlarged. The old souvenir and display area will be used solely for corporate displays. Souvenir trailers will be located on four tiers built on the slope directly adjacent to the display area. Tickets for both the SUBWAY 500 on Sunday, October 24, and the Kroger 200 NASACAR Craftsman Truck Series race, on Saturday, October 23, are on sale and can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX. SUBWAY 500 tickets may also be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(9-23-2004)
- Kenny in the #1 at Talladega: Kenny Wallace will no longer be driving the #00 Aaron’s Chevy for Michael Waltrip at Talladega in the EA Sports 500. Wallace will instead drive the #1 Aaron’s Rent DEI Chevy(Kenny Wallace site), Waltrip didn’t have a car ready for the race.(9-23-2004)
- Gaughan Expects to be back in the #77 in 2005: Brendan Gaughan told MRN/Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody Tuesday that he expects to remain in the Penske/Jasper Racing Kodak Dodge. “I’m sitting here in the shop, signing a pile of pictures and posters and diecast cars,” said Gaughan. “Everyone is talking to me, we’re working on cars for the rest of the year…everything’s just like it ever was. If I’m getting fired, they’ve got a funny way of letting me know.” Responding to published reports of unhappiness with the team’s performance, Gaughan laughed, “No kidding. There’s nobody that wants to run well more than I do. I’m not happy with the way things have gone, either, but we’re working hard to improve our performances, and I honestly think you’ll see some results before the end of the season. We’re getting some new cars to work with, and I think it’s going to make a big difference.”(MRN/Sirius Speedway Sirius Radio Show)(9-23-2004)
- Marlin’s Pit Crew Wins in New Hampshire: The pit crew for Sterling Marlin won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. It was the second time this season that Marlin’s crew earned the $20,000 weekly prize – the team’s other win was at the March race in Bristol, Tenn. In the McDonald’s/POWERade point standings, Elliott Sadler’s pit crew remains in the lead and the chase for the $200,000 bonus which will go to the season champion. After 27 races, Sadler’s crew enjoys a 26-point lead – 977 to 951 — over the pit crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kevin Harvick’s crew, a non-winner so far in 2004, is third with 937 points. Marlin’s No. 40 Coors Light Dodge spent the least amount of time on pit road in New Hampshire – 169.138 seconds. Michael Waltrip’s No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet came in second with a time of 172.124. Harvick’s No. 29 Goodwrench Chevy was third at 180.261. “The Coors Light crew did a great job getting me in and out of the pits,” said Marlin. “The guys work hard week in and week out and I am proud of them for winning the McDonald’s/POWERade pit crew competition this past weekend.” Marlin’s over-the-wall crew consists of Steven Wolfe (front-tire changer), Trent Davis (front-tire carrier), Barry Boeckenstedt (rear-tire changer), Tim Shore (rear-tire carrier), Mark Jacobs (jackman), Randy Hildreth (gasman) and Mike Motil (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Lee McCall and the pit crew coach is Phil Horton.(DMF Communications PR), for the tp 10 at Loudon and the season standings, see my Pit Crew page.(9-23-2004)
- Free Video of NASCAR.com’s Leliani Munter Racing: TRIMSPA sponsored stock car driver and NASCAR.com correspondent Leilani Munter in the NASCAR Elite Division Southeast Series “Kentucky 150” at Kentucky Motor Speedway this past weekend. NASCAR.COM sent along their cameras and now you can watch a day in the life of NASCAR.COM’s Leilani Munter as she races at Texas Motor Speedway and Kentucky Motor Speedway. You will go behind the scenes with her race team as they prepare her car to compete. You will see footage of Leilani at Texas Motor Speedway when she started 4th and finished 7th in her first super late model race in June, sponsored by FHM Magazine. This NASCAR.com Nextel TrackPass video is sponsored by Waste Management and will be free for 7 days.(PR)(9-23-2004)
- Terry Labonte to tie DW: Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event will mark #5-Terry Labonte’s 809th career start on the circuit, tying him with Darrell Waltrip for fourth on NASCAR’s all-time list. The only drivers with more starts are Richard Petty (1,177), Dave Marcis (882) and Ricky Rudd (830).(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-23-2004)
- NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Champ: A veteran race car driving instructor is at the head of the class in NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series competition this year. Greg Pursley, 36, of Santa Clarita, Calif., has returned the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship to the Golden State for the first time in nearly two decades. Pursley has won the series’ national championship by competing and winning at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. Doug McCoun, of Prunedale, Calif., last took the series’ national champion’s trophy to California in 1985. In the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, eight regional champions are compared to determine a national champion, and Pursley’s honors begin with NASCAR’s Sunbelt Region, which includes eight tracks in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Tennessee and Georgia. As the regional champion, Pursley will collect $45,000 in post-season prize money. National championship bonuses from NASCAR, Dodge and othe participating sponsors add up to $125,000, for a total payout of $170,000. Pursley will be the guest of honor at the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet, Oct. 30 in Nashville, and he’ll enjoy a V.IP. trip to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series awards banquet in New York City in December [Dec 3rd, TNT, closed to the public](9-23-2004)
- Food for Racing? Celebrity Chef Mario Batali to cook drivers supper at Dover. Rowdy has learned that Mario Batali, star of the Food TV show Molto Mario and owner of 6 New York restaurants, will be preparing an Italian feast for the drivers on Saturday at Dover. Mario, along with being an incredible chef and best-selling author, is a big Michael Waltrip fan. Rowdy has all the details, including an exclusive interview. Also on the show, Ricky Rudd and Ryan Newman on Robby Gordon. Rowdy is daily racing news, driver interviews, and commentary on your cell phone. Call 1-800-95-ROWDY [1-800-957-6939] for a free trial. (Rowdy PR)(9-23-2004)
September 22, 2004
- Congrats: Kenny Francis, Team Director of the #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge from Evernham Motorsports, is proud to announce the birth of he and wife Rebecca’s first baby girl. Emma Michelle Francis was born at 10:26 p.m. last night (Tuesday, Sept. 21). Emma weighed 10 lbs. 3 oz. at time of delivery. Kenny chose the middle name Michelle for her. Mother and child are doing well, and Kenny Francis will be back on the pit box this weekend at Dover.(ClearBlue/Evernham Motorsports PR)(9-22-2004)
- Kahne going for the record: with 9 races left, #9-Kasey Kahne is chasing NASCAR’s modern-era record for top-five finishes by a rookie driver. Kahne is one of only four drivers to have scored 10 or more top-five finishes this season. Kahne has five top fives in his last eight races.
Most top fives by a Cup series rookie (1972-2004)
14 by Ryan Newman in 2002, 36 races [38%]
12 by Tony Stewart in 1999, 34 races [35%]
11 by Dale Earnhardt in 1979, ran 27 of 31 races [41%]
10 by Kasey Kahne in 2004 after 27 races [37%].(Clearblue PR)
9 by Davey Allison in 1987, 22 of 29 races [41%](9-22-2004)
- Sad News: Larry Phillips, a champion stock-car racer from Springfield, MO who raced for four decades, died today after a four-year battle with lung cancer. He was 62. Phillips retired in 2000 after a career during which he won five NASCAR National Short-Track Championships, competing mostly at Lebanon I-44 Speedwayand Bolivar Speedway. Phillips began his racing career in 1960 at the Springfield Fairgrounds Speedway and won an estimated 900 feature races on both dirt and paved surfaces during his career. He was inducted in the Springfield Area Sports Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2001. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.(Springfield News-Leader), Phillips made one Cup start in 1976 at Ontario, CA, starting 24th and finishing 13th.(9-21-2004)
AND a very large story with images and more info at the Springfield News-Leader. In addition to Judy and son Terry, also an accomplished race car driver, Phillips is survived by daughters Carrie, Yvonne and Shelly and eight grandchildren. A tribute is planned for Friday and Saturday at I-44 Speedway during the season-ending Mid-America Racing Series event there. Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at Praise Assembly, 3535 N. Glenstone Ave. A visitation is planned from 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday at Thieme-Shadel-Hicks at White Chapel, 5234 W. State Highway EE.(Springfield News-Leader)(9-22-2004)
- Robby put on probation by RCR: Robby Gordon has been placed on probation by Richard Childress Racing (RCR) for the remainder of the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series season. “Many athletes have made mistakes in their careers and would take back the negative things they’ve said or done if they could,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “As a result of his actions last weekend in New Hampshire, I have placed Robby on probation for the rest of the season. I would like to apologize to all of the fans, the media, and the teams. I also would like to publicly apologize to Cingular Wireless for being placed in this situation. If there is one positive, I think this can make Robby understand that there is more to racing than just being aggressive. In this sport today, one action can affect many people’s lives on the track and beyond it, as well.” Gordon will conduct a press conference at 8:30am/et on Friday, Sept. 24, in the infield media center at Dover International Speedway.(RCR PR)(9-22-2004)
- Happy 70th to Leonard Wood of the famed Wood Brothers Racing, #21 Motorcraft/Air Force Ford that Ricky Rudd drivers, turned 70 today and has been fixture in the garage for over 50 years and still accompanies the #21 car to the track on a weekly basis.(9-22-2004)
- Long leaves Hover: Carl Long announced that he would be leaving the #80 Stan Hover Motorsports team, effective immediately. The move was solely Long’s decision to explore other options. Long will be driving the McGlynn Motorsports #00 Buyer’s Choice Auto Warranty Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway. Future races to be run with McGlynn Motorsports will be announced at a later date.(www.carl-long.com)(9-22-2004)
- #77 Evaluating…Kvapil in 2005? UPDATE Kvapil denies: Penske-Jasper Racing officials are exploring “all options” with regard to its #77 Kodak Dodges in 2005, including a driver change if necessary, teams sources confirmed Sunday. Rookie Brendan Gaughan has struggled this season in the car, which is owned jointly by Penske Racing South and Jasper Motorsports. Prior to Sunday’s race he was 31st in points with one top-10 finish and has failed to finish eight races. Team officials have made no secret of late of their desire to see performance pick up with the team. Gaughan, who led the Craftsman Truck Series with six wins last season, declined comment Sunday.(ThatsRacin.com)
AND Changes are expected with the #77 Penske-Jasper Dodge. Travis Kvapil, the 2003 truck series champion, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Brendan Gaughan. On Saturday, Kvapil showed total focus, winning despite the turmoil at Bang Racing involving a possible split from Toyota and the loss of teammate Mike Skinner. Certainly Penske-Jasper would be a more stable situation, but Penske South G.M. John Erickson says nothing will happen before the end of the season.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(9-20-2004)
UPDATE: Kvapil also denied rumors published last weekend that he was in line to replace Las Vegan Brendan Gaughan in the #77 Dodge for Penske/Jasper Racing in the Nextel Cup Series. “It’s that time of year for rumors,” Kvapil said. “No one from Penske has talked to me.” Meshkin, a native of Washington, D.C., said he expects to make an official announcement about his NASCAR plans in 45 to 60 days and it could include a second part-time team in the Busch series. He also said Kvapil will compete in some truck races next year to support one of the team’s sponsors that makes products geared to pick-up trucks.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(9-22-2004)
- Kenny to give driving tips: Students at Milford High School will get some driving pointers from Busch Series driver Kenny Wallace on Thursday. But they won’t be tips on racing. Rather, Wallace will be teaching the importance of safe driving and routine car maintenance. Wallace will speak at Milford High at 1:20 p.m. as part of the “YJ Stinger’s Race to Bee Safe” program, which targets young drivers. Wallace is preparing for Saturday’s Stacker 200 presented by YJ Stinger Busch Series race at Dover International Speedway. Milford High is the 10th of 16 schools nationwide that the program will visit. In the program, students and parents are asked to sign a safe driving promise. Students participating in the program can also take part in an essay contest that will award up to $20,000 in scholarship money at the end of the year.(Delaware News Journal) and see more at stacker2racing.com(9-22-2004)
- TV Ratings for NHIS down 6%: The NHIS race got a 2.8 Cable rating and was tied for sixth most popular basic cable program behind the Dolphins/Bengal NFL game on ESPN [6.2 rating, 9,302,000], the ESPN NFL pre-game show, Law and Order, Sponge Bob Square Pants and the WWE. Total households watching were 3,024,000 as compared to 3,214,00 last year, a 6% drop.(Nielsenmedia.com)(9-22-2004)
- MBNA Primary Sponsor of #18 at Dover: MBNA is the primary sponsor of the #18 Chevrolet for Dover. The company, which is based in Wilmington, Del., has sponsored races at Dover since 1995 and is a long-time sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(9-22-204)
- BAM Racing’s Graf to Run ARCA race at Talladega: Klaus Graf bears testament to the fact that Talladega Superspeedway is revered worldwide. While the 33-year-old native of Germany has a vastly different background than his fellow competitors, his reaction to driving the 2.66-mile tri-oval for the first time Tuesday was not unlike any other driver who had grown up hearing about the famed track. “It’s a place with a lot of history and a great image, even in Europe. Daytona and Talladega, these places are so massively big. Talladega is always known as a different race, different from any other race. That is what makes it so special,” Graf said during the ARCA RE/MAX Series open test in preparation for the Oct. 2 Food World 300. This will be Graf’s second ARCA RE/MAX Series start with BAM Racing, following up a third place finish in his first outing with the team at Nashville Superspeedway in April. Then in June, Graf partnered again with BAM for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Infineon, qualifying 38th and finishing 17th. Graf explained that his finish in that first outing wasn’t too much of a surprise due to his considerable road course experience, but his impressive ARCA RE/MAX finish on the oval track at Nashville was particularly gratifying since his experience on such tracks has been limited. Running the NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup Series full time is Graf’s ultimate goal, and he hopes to run at least a limited schedule as a second entry in NASCAR’s elite series for BAM Racing next year. BAM Racing owns the #49 NEXTEL Cup team with driver Ken Schrader, who Graf said has been extremely helpful to him. “Having Kenny Schrader as a teammate in the 49 car is very helpful to me. He is the oldest driver in the pedal, and I say that with a lot of respect because that means he also knows pretty much everything about this sport. That is good for me; it is very helpful. I think I am in a very good environment right now. It is very helpful and I am very happy,” Graf said. Graf will compete in the Food World 300 on Oct. 2 not only to be competitive and for experience, but also to gain clearance from NASCAR to compete in superspeedway NEXTEL Cup events, he explained. He will drive the #99 car in the event.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(9-22-2004)
- Rusty on Trackside: Beginning Friday in Dover, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Rusty Wallace will join SPEED Channel’s Trackside panel for six events in 2004. Rusty will work the next four shows in a row, Darlington and one more event TBA. Trackside airs LIVE from the SPEED Channel traveling stage truck from the site of each weekend’s NEXTEL Cup Series race. At Dover International Speedway, the SPEED Stage is located outside the track, near Turn 4 in the area called “Tent Village.” Fans are invited to the live show at 7:00pm/et.(Speed Channel PR)(9-22-2004)
- Blaney ‘expected’ to replace Gordon; Craven in at Dover? UPDATE 5 RCR Denial: it’s been more than a year since one of his [Richard Childress] teams last won, and that was Robby Gordon at Watkins Glen. Now Gordon is expected to be replaced by Dave Blaney.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-19-2004)
UPDATE: after Gordon’s ‘incident’ with Biffle, Stewart, Mayfield and the media [see below] at New Hampshire, rumors have caught fire. Have heard Ricky Craven or Dave Blaney could be in the #31 as soon as Dover this week.(9-20-2004)
UPDATE 2: the Boston Herald is reporting…..Ricky Craven will replace the embattled Robby Gordon behind the wheel of the #31 Richard Childress Racing machine at Dover (Del.) this Sunday, Bostonherald.com has learned. Gordon’s contract was to expire at the end of the season and RCR is not seeking to re-sign him. Craven, of Newburgh, Maine, could not be reached for comment. Childress is expected to fire Gordon later this week after a poor showing at NHIS. Craven is without a ride after being replaced earlier this month by Bobby Hamilton Jr. He was asked to race the No. 32 Tide car at NHIS for the Sylvania 300, in which he finished 17th.(Boston Herald)(9-20-2004)
UPDATE 3: XM Radio’s NASCAR Channel 144 reporter, Claire B. Lang, reports that her contacts at RCR say Robby Gordon is still their driver and will be in the #31 Chevy at Dover. Also, Claire said she was not pushed by Gordon and was in a group of about 10 other reporters at the time.
AND more from the Boston Herald – According to a NASCAR source, Gordon’s employer, Richard Childress Racing, has taken immediate action, reportedly asking driver Ricky Craven of Newburgh, Maine, to take over the wheel at Dover, Delaware, this weekend. Craven was behind the wheel of the #32 Tide Chevy for PPI Motorsports in Sunday’s Sylvania 300, in what was to be his last race since team owner Cal Wells signed another driver in the beginning of September. Craven could not be reached for comment, and a spokesperson from Hawk Sport Management would not confirm or deny that the agency’s client will be driving for Childress this weekend.(Boston Herald) and another column at Union Leader: Craven rides again with Childress.(9-21-2004)
UPDATE 4: from RCR – Robby is definitely in the car this weekend at Dover. The rumors about Craven driving the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet at Dover are completely false and unfounded. RCR placed a call to the reporter from the Boston Herald asking him about his source but that was unreturned as of late Tuesday afternoon.(RCR PR)(9-21-2004)
UPDATE 5: Embattled Nextel Cup driver Robby Gordon will still be driving for owner Richard Childress this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Gordon’s publicist, Angie Copen, confirmed Gordon’s status as the driver of Childress’ #31 Cingular Chevrolet. The Union Leader and Boston Herald reported Monday that Maine-native Ricky Craven was likely to unseat Gordon this Sunday in Dover.(Union Leader)(9-22-2004)
September 21, 2004
- #51 Team gets sponor for Dover….Buddy Lee: Lee Jeans says it will sponsor Competitive Edge Motorsports’ #51 Chevrolet in this weekend’s MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway. The clothing manufacturer says it will put its “Buddy Lee” icon on the car, which is scheduled to be driven by Tony Raines. Buddy Sisco will be the crew chief. Financial terms were not announced.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-21-2004)
- #350 for Ward: Ward Burton will make his 350th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start this weekend at Dover. Burton made his first career start at Richmond in 1994.(NetZero Racing PR)(9-21-2004)
- Testing at Kentucky this week: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Testing at Kentucky Speedway on Wed, Sept 22nd and Thursday, Sept. 23rd. Fans may view testing from the area outside Fan Center in Turn 3 at no charge. Driver scheduled to test:
#19-Jeremy Mayfield (9/23); #9-Kasey Kahne (9/23); #2-Rusty Wallace (9/23-24); #41-Casey Mears (9/24); and Reed Sorenson in a Ganassi R & D Dodge.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-21-2004)
- Dale Jr. ‘actor’ in ‘3’ is a driver: Chad McCumbee is a business major at UNC Charlotte and aspiring Nextel Cup racer. He plays Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the TV movie “3,” an ESPN production about the late Dale Earnhardt set to premiere Dec. 11. McCumbee, 19, spoke with Charlotte Observer writer Jennifer Rothacker, see the Q&A at: Racer gets Dale Jr. role in TV movie.(9-21-2004)
- McMurray NOT the Future #2 Driver: According to an interview with Kenny Wallace on last Wednesday’s edition of “The SpeedZone” (every Wed. on 590 The Fan, KFNS, at 6 p.m. CST, live via streaming at KFNS.com), Jamie McMurray has become quite close to the Wallace family and has run some races for Rusty Wallace’s Busch Series team . However, Kenny assured myself [Brandon Mudd, interviewer] and Tony Hubert that McMurray WILL NOT be the future pilot of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge. The youngest Wallace said Rusty has too much respect for Felix Sabates (McMurray’s co-owner with Chip Ganase) to try to steal McMurray from the #42 Dodge. Another reason for this is, according to Kenny, McMurray is a dead lock for the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy being fielded by Joe Gibbs Racing next season. While this is big news, a conversation I [Mudd] had with someone in the know said this is impossible, since McMurray’s contract is iron-clad, and the real driver for that JGR ride next year is likely Jason Leffler…[see rumors below on this](KFNS.com)(9-21-2004)
- Some ‘other’ Race Stuff: Due to weekend rain, a couple of races were run yesterday at NHIS. Four years after his last win at the track, two-time defending NASCAR Busch North champion Andy Santerre of Cherryfield, Maine, won the Sylvania 125. Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., blew away the field to win the NASCAR Modified Sylvania 100.(Boston Herald)
Mike Garvey [on the Dover Cup entry list] won the ASA race at Kentucky Speedway.
former Cup driver, Stanley Smith won the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Southeast Series “Kentucky 150″ at Kentucky Speedway.
Jason Jarrett, son of Dale, who ran at Talladega last Oct, won the ARCA race at Salem Speedway and Frank Kimmel locked up his 6th ARCA Championship.(9-21-2004)
- Ward leaving the #0 team? retire? UPDATE 2 David Starr? denied: Ward Burton says he “probably won’t be back” with #0 car owner Gene Haas next season. “They’ve given me an offer, but I probably won’t take it,” Burton said. “I’ve got a couple options. But if they don’t work out, then I might just give this up and go back to farming. You have to devote too much emotion energy into all this, and give up too much of your family life, and if it’s not fun, there’s no point in doing it. So I might just ride off into the sunset.”(Winston Salem Journal), if so, Jason Leffler could end up in the #0 Cup car as he drive’s Hass’ #00 Busch car.(9-18-2004)
UPDATE: Ward Burton may be, like many at this point in the season, emotionally drained, but he says he’s not really considering retirement. “I still want to drive and still want to win races,” Burton said. However, that apparently will not be with Gene Haas, his team owner, who has made a new contract offer that Burton says he probably won’t accept.(Winston Salem Journal)
AND Ward Burton, who learned his contract with the #0 NetZero/Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet will not be renewed, is a man of principle, so it’s not surprising that he would contemplate retirement rather than suffer the humiliation of finding a ride with a second-rate Cup team. “I still want to drive, and I know I can still win races,” Burton says. His sponsor, NetZero HiSpeed, thinks so, too, and will follow him if he signs with another team. But the problem is simple: The seats of the cars capable of winning are filled. Jason Leffler has been rumored to be moving into the #0, and his name also has been mentioned in connection with the new #11 Joe Gibbs Racing ride. If Leffler graduates from the Busch Series to Cup, it’s possible that truck series driver David Starr could join Haas CNC Racing.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(9-20-2004)
UPDATE 2: being told that the rumor regarding David Starr as a possible candidate for that either the #0 Cup or #00 Busch ride is absolutely untrue. Starr wants to reiterate that he is very happy in the #75 Spears Manufacturing Silverado and intends to remain in that truck in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as a member of the Chevrolet Team Silverado effort and run for the championship in the NCTS in 2005 and beyond.(9-21-2004)
- Testing at Talladega, Elliott and Yeley: Bill Elliott and J.J. Yeley joined the ARCA RE/MAX Series teams of Bobby Gerhart, Boston Reid, Mike Harmon, Jim Walker, Ray Cook and Rich Woodland Monday in a high-paced day of testing at Talladega Superspeedway. Elliott and Yeley rescheduled their test due to a rain-out last week, and the ARCA teams wedged in an extra day of testing prior to their series’ open test scheduled for Tuesday, which more than 23 ARCA RE/MAX teams are expected to attend. Elliott and Yeley pulled double-duty Monday, testing two cars each for their multi-car teams owned by Ray Evernham and Joe Gibbs, respectively. Yeley said he will make his second NEXTEL Cup start in the EA SPORTS 500 on Oct. 3, behind the wheel of the #11 Old Spice Chevrolet Monte Carlo. He’s run several Busch Series races this year, but his first NEXTEL Cup start was at California. He will also run the Busch race at Dover this Saturday. During Monday’s test, Elliott switched off between the #9 and #19 Dodges to be driven by teammates Kahne and Mayfield, respectively. Although the semi-retired driver has run select races this year, the Aaron’s 499 here in April was not one of them. There is no word whether he will compete here in the EA SPORTS 500 on Oct. 3, however he will have a particular interest in the ARCA RE/MAX Series Food World 300 on Saturday, since he is involved with one of the teams through the Dodge driver development program. “I have been trying to help out Dodge’s driver development deal, with Ray Cook driving. They’re just trying to get it going. Ray Evernham has loaned me a car, and Ray Cook, I was going to run him in a race or two. Since it is a superspeedway car, I throught I’d bring him over here and see how he does today and tomorrow,” Elliott said, adding he hopes to enter the car in the Food World 300 on Oct. 2.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(9-21-2004)
- France Launching Publishing Venture: NASCAR Chairman Brian France is launching a separate marketing agency providing custom publishing services for NASCAR and other sports and entertainment properties, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal reports in this week’s issue. Game Change Marketing is expected to begin operations within the next month, sources told the magazine’s Terry Lefton. The business, which will initially focus on custom publishing, has been circulating a “Racewatch” prototype modeled after the Playbill programs given away in theaters. Similar custom publishing deals are planned for the Professional Bull Riders Association, National Hot Rod Association and the Association of Volleyball Professionals. Lefton reports that NASCAR Director of Multimedia Marketing Josh Cohen would move to GCM and said NASCAR Chief Operating Officer George Pyne and Vice President of Corporate Marketing Brett Yormark may also have roles.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-21-2004)
- Jeff Gordon’s patch: just cause I am tired of the email about it, yes, Jeff Gordon’s uniform at New Hampshire had a Winston Cup patch instead of a Nextel Cup patch, Why?……I have NO idea…sorry….saw it myself during the pre-race. And, had someone say they lost all respect for me for posting this? No idea why, just explaining to folks, I had no idea why.(9-20-2004)
AND as expected…been told that Gordon has a few uniforms hanging in the transporter and uses the old one for testing and Gordon must had grabbed the old one.(9-21-2004)
September 20, 2004
- Robby NOT Happy, gestures to media UPDATE Apologizes: Following the race [at New Hampshire], a large media contingent gathered outside Gordon’s hauler. After parking his #31 Cingular Chevrolet, Gordon got out of the car, pushed aside XM Satellite Radio reporter Claire B. Lang saying, “Get out of here.” He then walked to a golf cart without saying a word, and before being driven off, directed an obscene gesture toward the crowd of media.”(ThatsRacin.com)….yikes.(9-19-2004)
UPDATE Robby Apologizes: The following is a statement by Robby Gordon, driver of the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet, regarding yesterday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway: “First and foremost, I feel terrible for Jeremy Mayfield, Tony Stewart, their teams, sponsors and car owners Joe Gibbs and Ray Evernham. I allowed my frustration with the 16 car to affect two other teams, both of which have great shots to win a championship, and for that I am sorry. I also want to apologize to Cingular Wireless and everyone at Richard Childress Racing. We had a car capable of winning Sunday, and from my standpoint I was spun intentionally after I made a clean aggressive pass on the 16, and I showed poor judgment in trying to even the score. As for the post-race events, I chose not speak with the media given the fact that I had nothing to say other than I’m sorry. One media member made what I felt was a very inappropriate comment to me because I would not answer his question, and he was the target of my gesture, not the media contingent as a whole. That, too, was poor judgment and, in hindsight, I should have just walked away, so I also apologize to any media members and bystanders I offended. It was a bad day that just seemed to get worse and worse.”(RCR PR)(9-20-2004)
- Wells Fargo Re-Ups with Petty and expands sponsorship: Wells Fargo Financial announced today it has renewed and expanded its sponsorship of Petty Enterprises in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series. For 2005, the sponsorship will increase to include driver Kyle Petty and his #45 Georgia-Pacific Dodge and driver Jeff Green and his #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge. Wells Fargo Financial, the North American consumer finance subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company, is continuing and growing the sponsorship as a result of its highly successful three-year partnership with Petty Enterprises.
Petty Enterprises is unique in its ability to bring added value to a Nextel Cup sponsorship. “We are very happy with our relationship with Kyle and the entire Petty Enterprises team and excited to now be affiliated with Jeff Green and the celebrated #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge. Wells Fargo Financial is proud to be involved with one of the most celebrated names in all of NASCAR and in the fastest growing spectator sport in America,” said Tom Gibbons, Director of Corporate Sponsorships.
“We’re very pleased to have Wells Fargo Financial continue its sponsorship of Petty Enterprises,” said Kyle Petty. “We believe they are the premier financial services company in the U.S. and an excellent partner with our other top-quality sponsors, like General Mills, Georgia-Pacific and Coca-Cola.”
The sponsorship has provided significant benefit and impact to Wells Fargo Financial’s business lines through client/dealer incentives and entertainment, customer promotions, driver appearances, show car appearances and employee incentives. NASCAR’s popularity exceeds the NBA, NHL and MLB combined and averages more than 190,000 fans attending each event and more than 7 million viewers per race. Over 80 million Americans call themselves fans of the sport. More info on Wells Fargo at financial.wellsfargo.com.(Williams Company PR)(9-20-2004)
- #72 at NHIS: didn’t see the car on TV and driver/owner Kirk Shelmerdine had Bush-Cheney ’04 on his #72 Ford at New Hampshire.(Boston Herald)(9-20-2004)
- SPEED Channel signs wind tunnel’s Despain to three-year contract: SPEED Channel locked up one of the premier motor sports television journalist in the country, signing popular Wind Tunnel host Dave Despain to a three-year contract this week. Wind Tunnel, a viewer participation program with guests from all over the world of racing, airs Monday through Thursday evenings at 10:00pm/et on SPEED. Said Despain: “I think Wind Tunnel serves a very important purpose, providing fans with the opportunity to voice their opinions on national TV, no matter what form of motor sport they love. It’s a privilege to host the show and I look forward to doing that for years to come.” With guests from Dan Gurney and Jeff Gordon to Magic Johnson and Paul Newman, Wind Tunnel has rapidly become the place for race fans to hear about everything going on in the motor sports arena. According to Rick Miner, SPEED Channel’s Sr. VP Programming/Production and Executive Producer, Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain is a lock to return to the network in 2005. “A journalist of Dave’s caliber is forged, like coal, into a diamond over many years,” Miner said. “It is great to have him at the forefront of the SPEED Channel team for another three years.”(SPEED Channel)(9-20-2004)
- Problems with Little E and Mikey? #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #15-Michael Waltrip had a close call when their Chevrolets exited the pits side by side after the Dale Earnhardt Inc. teammates made their final stop under green with about 40 laps left. “He drove the car all the way up to the yellow line as if I wasn’t even there,” said Earnhardt, who took the points lead by finishing third yesterday. “I’d about wreck into the side of him for three or four laps. I was just trying to figure out where he was getting his team orders from because whoever was giving them to him needs a new [pay]check. Whoever they’re working for, we need to see where they’re getting their kickbacks from. I was [ticked] about it. I’m sure Michael didn’t mean anything by it.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-20-2004)
- All Teams Get a Check at NHIS: Kudos to Bob Bahre, president of New Hampshire International Speedway, who presented “tow money,” a consolation check of $20,000, to the cars that weren’t able to try to qualify for Sunday’s race because qualifying was rained out. “I remember when we were racing midgets, and my wife and I didn’t have enough money to stop at McDonald’s on the way home from the track,” Bahre says. “Nobody leaves here without a check.”(FoxSports/Sporting News)(9-20-2004)
- Nextel Exec’s at the Track: Nextel CEO Tim Donahue and Chief Operating Officer Tom Kelly sat at the head of yesterday’s drivers meeting at NHIS, and Donahue saluted Cup stars for helping the cellular phone giant in a “wonderful inaugural year” as title sponsor of NASCAR’s top series. “The company is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the sport,” Donahue said. “It’s helped us lift our brand and sell telephones. You’re a great group of people to work with. It’s the smartest damn thing I’ve ever done since I’ve sat in the chair.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-20-2004)
- AOL done with NASCAR? UPDATE looks like NO, will return: Garage insiders indicate that America Online may want to scale back their involvement in the sport next season. Currently, they sponsor the #30 Chevy of Jeff Burton.(Motorsports.com)(9-11-2004)
UPDATE: Car owner Richard Childress is expected to sign a sponsorship renewal with AOL, according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-18-2004)
AND/OR? Richard Childress is negotiating with AOL, sponsor of his #30 car [Jeff Burton], but says he has a backup plan if that sponsorship falls through.(FoxSports/Sporting News) OR? Motorsport.com is reporting that AOL is leaving the sport of NASCAR next season to become the title sponsor of another stock car racing series. While they will remain in the sport on a lesser basis than the head sponsor of the #30 Richard Childress Racing Chevy, RCR has been shopping for a new sponsor. Word is that they found one this week and are good to go for next season.(9-20-2004)
- Rookie Rules will NOT change: NASCAR has concluded a review of its rookie of the year programs and will not change the eligibility requirements, vice president of corporate communications Jim Hunter said Sunday. There has been speculation in recent weeks NASCAR would find a way to get #99-Carl Edwards and #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. eligible to run for Nextel Cup rookie honors next season, even though Hamilton has, and Edwards will likely, surpass the seven-race maximum to remain eligible for the program. Without them, there are currently no other candidates for rookie of the year for the 2005 season in Cup.(ThatsRacin.com)…unless Kyle Busch moves up to Cup in 2005; Kvapil in the #77?(9-20-2004)
- Mr. Excitement and Casey make up: #4-Jimmy Spencer and #41-Casey Mears, the principals in the multicar crash that knocked Jimmie Johnson out of last week’s race at Richmond International Raceway, cordially discussed the incident after yesterday’s driver’s meeting, ending the conversation with a handshake.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-20-2004)
- Leffler in the #11 Fed-Ex car? UPDATE 2: hearing that Jason Leffler, driver of the #00 Chevy in the Busch Series could end up in the #11 Fed-Ex Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy, seems odd as he is a young guy, not a Cup veteran [1 full season and some one-off races]. Leffler drove for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Busch Series in 1999 and 2000.(9-17-2004)
HOWEVER other sources report that Jamie McMurray is the strongest ‘rumor’ floating around the garage for the #11 car…a one year deal, then to the #2 Penske Dodge.
BUT Jamie McMurray’s name has been scratched from the list, because he is apparently unable to work his way out of a contract with Chip Ganassi. That leaves Dave Blaney, Robby Gordon and J. J. Yeley among the men to consider.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-18-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR Busch Series driver Jason Leffler has emerged as the leading candidate to drive Joe Gibbs Racing’s third Nextel Cup entry beginning next season, ThatsRacin.com has learned. Messages left with Leffler on Saturday went unreturned, but multiple sources confirmed the search for Gibbs’ new driver for the #11 Fed-Ex Chevrolets was all but over. Leffler was not at New Hampshire this weekend, as the Busch Series was off. J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR, would not comment on specific drivers for the organization’s new team. “We’re meeting with FedEx officials (the sponsor) this week, actually,” he said. “I think within two or three weeks we’ll have a definite direction where we can come out and say, Hey this is what we’re doing.’ That’s probably all I can say right now.” Leffler, ironically, started his NASCAR career as a Busch driver with Gibbs before moving to Cup and Chip Ganassi Racing in 2001. Leffler, 30, struggled in Cup, but did win a pole and was fourth in the rookie standings in his first full season. He left Ganassi at the end of the year and moved to Craftsman Truck Series and Ultra Motorsports. Since the middle of last season, Leffler has driven in #0-Cup (2003) and #00-Busch (2004) with Haas CNC Racing. He is currently third in points with one win and one pole this season. In past interviews, Leffler has expressed his desire to return to the Cup series and said his original move to Cup happened “too fast.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-19-2004)
UPDATE 2: Jason Leffler, a sprint-car and Busch star who made a big splash at Daytona in July, will likely be Joe Gibbs’ newest Cup driver next season, a teammate with Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte, according to team sources, and the announcement could come in the next few days. Jimmy Makar, the team manager for the Gibbs operation, would not confirm Leffler as the pick but said “he is in the hunt, very seriously in the hunt. But I’m not at liberty at this moment to speculate on who it is going to be, but he is certainly there.” Makar said he would be talking Monday with J. D. Gibbs, who runs his father’s team, and expected to have an announcement about the new driver within the next few days. Heading Gibbs’ new third team will be Dave Rogers, who is currently the chief engineer for Tony Stewart.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-20-2004)
September 19, 2004
- Age of the Chase Drivers:
#24-Jeff Gordon, 33 years old [current]
#48-Jimmie Johnson, 29
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 29
#20-Tony Stewart, 33
#17-Matt Kenseth, 32
#38-Elliott Sadler, 29
#97-Kurt Busch, 26
#6-Mark Martin, 45
#19-Jeremy Mayfield, 35
#12-Ryan Newman, 26
The oldest Nextel Cup Champion? Bobby Allison at 45 years, 11 months, 28 days in 1983
The youngest Next Cup Champ? Bill Rexford at 23 years, 8 months, 17 days.
So both of these records are safe.(9-19-2004)
- Busch wins at Loudon: #97-Kurt Busch dominated and won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway after leading 155 of 300 laps, his 3rd win of the season and 11th of his career. #17-Matt Kesneth was 2nd and co-points leader, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 3rd, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne and #42-Jamie McMurray. Earnhardt Jr. and Busch are tid in the new Chase for the Nextel Cup points system with 5210 points, but Earnhardt Jr. is considered the leader as the tiebreaker is wins and Dale Jr. has 4 to Busch’s 3. #31-Robby Gordon was penalized 2 laps early in the race for punting Greg Biffle, who got togehter a tad earlier in the race. The problem was, when Gordon hit Biffle, Biffle went into #19-Mayfield and #20-Stewart had no place to go and hit Biffle. Stewart finished 39th and Mayfield 35th. For my unofficial race rundown, cautions, lap leaders, lucky dogs [not mentioned at all during the telecast], and some narrative, see my Loudon NH Race Info/Rundown Page and a good race report at ThatsRacin.com: Busch dominates at Loudon.
For race results, see:
Jayski’s Loudon Race Results/Awards Page
- New Spring Rule for Talladega AND: On Fox Sports Net’s NASCAR This Morning, Bob Dillner reported that the Cup teams were given news that they would be handed springs [front and rear?] in the 375-400lbs range that they would have to use at Talladega Superspeedway in the EA Sports 500.
AND NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo confirmed Sunday the sanctioning body is contemplating a rule change for the Oct. 3 EA Sports 500 race at Talladega. NASCAR already mandates rear shocks and a restrictor-plate for all superspeedway races and beginning at Talladega this fall, NASCAR is also expected to mandate the rear springs teams can use. If adapted, the rule will require NASCAR to issue rear springs to teams at the start of the weekend and will maintain control over them as they do rear shocks and the plates. The rear springs issued by NASCAR are expected to rate between 375 and 400 pounds, likely to fall on the lower end of the scale, Zizzo said.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-19-2004)
- BAM Racing to expand to 2 teams in 2005 UPDATE team with Evernham?: BAM Racing is planning to run a two-car Nextel Cup operation next season, but the schedule for the second team has yet to be determined, said team manager, Eddie Jones. “At this point, we plan to run a second car in some form or another. It could be 12 races, it could be all 36, we have laid the groundwork for that and have the people to make it a reality,” Jones said. Veteran Ken Schrader will again drive BAM’s #49 Schwan’s Food Service Dodges next season, while Klaus Graf [#59?] is the likely candidate for the second team. Graf, 32, a sports car driver from Germany, has driven a limited schedule in Cup and the Automobile Racing Club of America series for BAM this season. Graf is going to run the ARCA race at Talladega this season as well as Cup races at Martinsville, Va., Homestead, Fla. Charlotte is also a possibility. “He is very adaptable,” Jones said. “I think that’s one of his strongest points is his adaptability.” Jones, who named Donnie Richeson as interim crew chief for Schrader’s team this week, hopes to have a permanent replacement in place by the end of the season. “We have conducted several interviews and the names will not be unrecognizable by anybody,” Jones said. “They’re very highly regarded and it will be the next step in the evolution of BAM Racing.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-17-2004)
UPDATE: hearing that BAM Racing could end up working with Evernham Motorsports somehow, engines? bodies? alliance? (9-19-2004)
- Teams/Drivers not happy with 2005 aero rules: The hottest topic in the garage [at NHIS] isn’t the championship race but Goodyear’s Las Vegas tire test four days ago. Stock-car crews studying test results from Las Vegas are ticked off more than ever about NASCAR’s new aerodynamic rules. “They’re just going to make the racing worse, just like those rules did back in 1998,” one crew man said, after asking not to be named. “When Greg Biffle and Casey Mears are yelling ‘loose!’ what do you think the rest of these cats in here are going to say, because Greg and Casey can drive a loose race car better than just about anybody.” The new rules cut an inch off the rear spoiler. In turn, Goodyear is to come up with a slightly softer tire. “The shorter spoiler is only going to make the cars faster and harder to drive,” one crew chief said. “And you can’t fix lack of downforce just by adding tire grip.”<Winston Salem Journal)(9-19-2004)
- Tests Left? UPDATE number of: The NASCAR Nextel Cup championship could be decided by what happens at empty race tracks days before the series races at those places. Some teams saved their test sessions for the final 10 races, while others used most of their tests to assure that they’ll make the championship chase. Tests are valuable because teams typically have only two hours of practice before qualifying and 90 minutes of practice the day before the race. Test sessions usually last eight hours, giving teams time to try different setups.
#17-Matt Kenseth has saved all but one test for the final 10 races. He’s scheduled to test at Martinsville, Dover, Atlanta, Homestead, Phoenix and a track to be determined.
#48-Jimmie Johnson has four test sessions left. Crew chief Chad Knaus says they plan to test at Martinsville, Talladega, Phoenix and Homestead.
#24-Jeff Gordon has four test sessions left and is planning to test at Martinsville, Dover, Phoenix and Homestead.
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to test at Kansas City, Homestead, Dover and Martinsville.
#20-Tony Stewart has three tests and is expected to test at Darlington and Homestead with another track to be decided.
#97-Kurt Busch plans to test at: Kansas, Lowe’s, Martinsville and Homestead.
#38-Elliott Sadler, has two sessions left. The team has not decided where it will go.(Roanoke Times)(9-12/19-2004)
LEFT:[adjusted after Dover]
#24-Gordon, 4 [3 after Dover’s test]
#48-Johnson, 4 [3 after Talladega]
#8-Earnhardt Jr. [3 after Dover’s test]
#17-Kenseth, 7 [6 after Dover’s test]
#12-Newman, 2.(NASCAR Scene Print)(9-17/19-2004)
- New Hampshire Race Notes:
—- Kurt Busch won the 2004 Sylvania 300, scoring his 11th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 141st career start. His last victory came at New Hampshire in July, eight races ago.
—- Busch swept both races at New Hampshire this season and posted his fourth top-10 finish in eight races here. This is his third victory in 2004.
—- Busch became the second driver in two years to score a sweep at New Hampshire International Speedway. He joins Jimmie Johnson who swept both races at New Hampshire in 2003.
—- Busch is one of the 10 drivers competing in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and climbed from seventh to second in the point standings.
—- Busch led three times for 155 laps including the final 36, leading the most laps for the third time in 2004.
—- This was the ninth victory for Ford in 2004. Chevrolet has won 15 and Dodge has three. 2004 Sylvania 300-Notebook Items The Race for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
—- With nine races remaining, first to 10th in the standings are separated by 142 points with the biggest margin occurring between eighth-place Tony Stewart and seventh-place Mark Martin who are separated by 53 points. —- Nine of the 10 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup changed positions at New Hampshire International Speedway.
—- Seven of the 10 drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup posted top-15 finishes in the Sylvania 300.
—- Six drivers in the Chase for the Nextel Cup led at least one lap in the Sylvania 300, earning the additional five bonus points. Kurt Busch earned the extra five points for leading the most laps.
—- All 10 drivers competing in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup scored at least one victory in the first 26 races of the 2004 season.
—- Approximately $1 million will be paid to the driver who finishes 11th in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings â€“ an increase of more than $400,000 over one year ago. That includes a $250,000 bonus, which will be paid to the 11th-place finisher. Additionally, the 11th-place driver will also join the top-10 drivers on the stage at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Banquet in New York in December. Currently, Jamie McMurray holds the 11th-place position by just eight points over 12th-place Kasey Kahne. Drivers ranked 11th to 15th are all separated by just 149 points, which means they can all change positions at Dover.
—- Matt Kenseth (second) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 2004. It was his sixth top-10 finish in 10 races at New Hampshire International Speedway. â€¢ Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 2004. This was his third top-five finish in the last four races. This was his fourth top-10 finish in 11 races at New Hampshire International Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. moved from third to first in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. He holds the position because he has one more victory than Busch who also has 5,210 points.
—- Kasey Kahne (fourth) scored his third top-five finish in the last five races. This was his second top-10 finish in two races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
—- Jamie McMurray (fifth) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 2004. It was his third top-10 finish in four races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
—- Matt Kenseth has ranked among the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Top 10 in 62 straight races.
—- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Leader bonus will be worth $80,000 at Dover International Speedway.
—- Jeremy Mayfield (35th) dropped from ninth to 10th in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup.
—- Tony Stewart (39th) dropped from fourth to eighth in the Chase for the NEXTEL Cup. It is Stewart’s second DNF in 12 races at New Hampshire, tying his worst finish there set in July 2002. This also is Stewart’s second DNF in 2004 and his worst finish since he finished 40th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte in May 2003.
—- Heading to Dover – Tony Stewart has scored top-five finishes in nine of his 11 races at Dover International Speedway, including the last four races there. He has had only one finish outside the top 10 in those 11 races (11th-June 2002).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-19-2004)
- StockCarFans.com (Nextel Cup) Newsletter – Rumblings – New Hampshire:
At a track that has never lent itself to side-by-side racing, we were treated to another snoozefest today. Does it look like most of the “Chasers” are just gonna ride around for the first nine races or was the winner just that dominant? Kurt Busch led 155 laps today at New Hampshire International Speedway to take the Sylvania 300 and make it a sweep of both events here in New England. He led 110 laps when we were here in July, so thats 265 of the 600 circuits. This was the 3rd win of 2004 for Busch and the 11th of his Cup career. Win #73 for Roush Racing was worth $237,225 from the over $5.1M in posted awards.
Todays race brings up a question: Would NASCAR have penalized Robby Gordon if the two “Chase” combatants had not been involved? Are we seeing the first steps to a “contrived” Championship? Yeah, I know, that’s two questions…..
12 leaders…..but if we hadn’t had a round of green-flag pit stops with about 40 to go we would have had no more than 7.
Matt Kenseth (2nd….and a Roush sweep of the top-two spots), had his best finish since he won at Las Vegas in March.
Joe Nemechek (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Daytona in February.
Michael Waltrip (9th) had his best finish since he was 6th here in July.
Ken Schrader (16th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Bristol in March.
Ricky Craven (17th in his swan song in the Tide Ride) had his best finish since he was 16th at Infineon in June.
Hermie Sadler (31st) had his best finish since he was 26th at Martinsville in April (only 8 races).
STREAKIN….Jamie McMurray has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
The Rookie Report: Kasey Kahne (5th) is the top finishing rookie for the 15th time this season, and he’s got Brian Vickers dormie (15-6 with nine to go). Kasey was followed by: Brian Vickers (22nd), Scott Riggs (26th), Brendan Gaughan (30th), and Scott Wimmer (36th).
This Week’s Elevator….UP: NOBODY! It takes a 20 position move to grab this esteemed honor, but honorable mention goes to Joe Nemechek (+19). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Tony Stewart (-35), followed by Jeremy Mayfield (-26), and Ryan Newman (-23). The back end of the “Shaft” is not the place the “Chasers” want to be…..
We had 7 of the 10 “Chasers” lead a lap today…..
Kurt Busch (7th to 1st) made the best move forward in “Chase” points today, while Tony Stewart (4th to 8th) fell the most spots.
In “Classic” Points, I betcha Jamie McMurray & Kasey Kahne are wondering why “10” was the magic number! They would both be in the hunt after this race instead of in the race for the 10th loser (11th place). The best move forward was made by Kevin Harvick (14th to 11th), while Jeremy Mayfield (9th to 13th) would have reversed last weeks advance. For the record, Jamie now has an 8 marker lead over Kasey for that “all- important” 11th spot (sarcasm intended).(StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter)(9-19-2004)
September 18, 2004
- Labonte #7 Now: With Terry Labonte’s 18th-place finish Saturday at Richmond International Raceway, he earned $89,230, which lifted him past Bill Elliott into seventh place on NASCAR’s list of all-time money winners. Now at $36,924,624.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-19-2004)
- Did ya know? No driver in the last five years who won at New Hampshire went on to win the title.(Roanoke Times)(9-18-2004)
- Crew Chief for the #11: Jimmy Makar has hired the new crew chief for Joe Gibbs Racing’ new third [#11 Fed-Ex] Cup team, and it’s a familiar face – Dave Rogers, chief engineer for Tony Stewart and Greg Zipadelli.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-18-2004)
- Whelen’s to sponsor series: NASCAR’s Modified Series has gained Whelen Engineering, a Connecticut-based manufacturer of emergency lighting and signaling devices, as a title sponsor for next year.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-18-2004)
- More on Hard Liquior to NASCAR AND 21 the new age?: With both NBC and Fox having apparently approved hard-liquor sponsorship of a Nextel Cup car, the ball is in NASCAR’s court in the debate over whether to allow Diageo, makers of Crown Royal and other alcoholic beverages, to sponsor a car on the Nextel Cup tour next season, and sources say NASCAR has decided to allow the company to sponsor a Cup car. NASCAR vetoed Jack Roush’s [#99] sponsorship plans earlier this season. For much of the year the debate has been in the network offices of Fox and NBC, where executives have been against allowing TV ads for products like Crown Royal, even while allowing their cable subsidiaries to accept such ads. The Fox Speed channel is carrying the Crown Royal-sponsored IROC series. But ABC’s decision to allow Jim Beam sponsorship during the Indianapolis 500 apparently broke the long-time network ban, and Fox and NBC are willing to let Nextel Cup teams carry such sponsorships too – once NASCAR executives work out their own details – according to sources.(Winston Salem Journal)
AND rumors are circulating that if NASCAR allows hard liquior as a sponsor in the Cup Series, they may raise the minimum age requirement to 21. If so, would that stop Kyle Busch’s possible move to the Cup Series in 2005? Brian Vickers couldn’t race in the Crown Royal IROC Series and the Bud Pole stickers on the #25 [and Busch’s #84 Cup car] says ‘Pole Awards’ with an Anheuser-Busch logo, NOT “Budweiser Pole Award”.(9-18-2004)
The normal Budweiser Pole sticker
The Pole Award sticker with the Anheuser-Busch logo, from the #25 car
Taken at Las Vegas by Jayski
- NASCAR on TV in Canada cut short: TSN has the Canadian broadcast rights for the TNT production of Sunday’s Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway – the first race in the historic new Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship. However, they won’t see it live because TSN has chased the Chase to show the Ryder Cup from Oakland Hills – the same broadcast that’s on NBC. TSN will show the replay of the race from 6-8:30 p.m. – a bumper to keep the Ryder Cup and the Dolphins-Bengals game from running into each other.(Chatham Daily)(9-18-2004)
- Jeff Gordon wins 3rd Qtr Speed Channel Driver of the Year Vote: Jeff Gordon, who leads the Chase for the Cup, was nearly the unanimous winner in the third quarter voting for Speed Channel’s Driver of the Year 2004 third quarter. He started the quarter with a bang, winning the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Speedway from the pole. He went on to take a total of four poles, three wins (including the Brickyard 400), and ended on the top of the series points standings. The driver of the #24 Hendricks Motorsports Chevrolet took 15 out of the 17 first-place votes cast in the media ballot. He was picked by all voting professionals and scored no lower than third on any ballot as a result he totaled 151 points.
Second place went to France’s Sebastien Bourdais, who drives the McDonalds Lola/Ford. In the quarter he racked up three wins and six poles while starting no lower than third. He had five top-five finishes to lead the Bridgestone presents Champ Car World Series powered by Ford standings. Driving for the venerable Newman/Haas team, which has produced four Drivers of the Year, he tallied 71 points including two first-place votes. Greg Anderson, who is looking to repeat as winner of the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Championship driving the Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am, padded his points lead with four-straight National wins in the five events this quarter. He totaled 46 points. Twenty-one drivers earned points in the third quarter voting, including fourth place Dan Wheldon – runner-up in the Indy Racing League, in fifth place was NASCAR’s Mark Martin who also took one first-place vote, and IRL’s Buddy Rice was sixth. Noteworthy; Boudais won the fan vote by a narrow margin over Gordon, Carl Edwards, who is now dividing his time between Cup cars and Trucks in NASCAR, was third with the fans and seventh overall.
In its 38th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 96,4,3,2,1 basis. Gordon will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV. A separate vote will determine the 2004 Driver of the Year at season’s end.(Speed Channel PR)(9-18-2004)
September 17, 2004
- BAM Racing to expand to 2 teams in 2005: BAM Racing is planning to run a two-car Nextel Cup operation next season, but the schedule for the second team has yet to be determined, said team manager, Eddie Jones. “At this point, we plan to run a second car in some form or another. It could be 12 races, it could be all 36, we have laid the groundwork for that and have the people to make it a reality,” Jones said. Veteran Ken Schrader will again drive BAM’s #49 Schwan’s Food Service Dodges next season, while Klaus Graf [#59?] is the likely candidate for the second team. Graf, 32, a sports car driver from Germany, has driven a limited schedule in Cup and the Automobile Racing Club of America series for BAM this season. Graf is going to run the ARCA race at Talladega this season as well as Cup races at Martinsville, Va., Homestead, Fla. Charlotte is also a possibility. “He is very adaptable,” Jones said. “I think that’s one of his strongest points is his adaptability.” Jones, who named Donnie Richeson as interim crew chief for Schrader’s team this week, hopes to have a permanent replacement in place by the end of the season. “We have conducted several interviews and the names will not be unrecognizable by anybody,” Jones said. “They’re very highly regarded and it will be the next step in the evolution of BAM Racing.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-17-2004)
- Blaney to drive the #99 in 3 races UPDATE 2 now a stand-by: Roush Racing announced today that Dave Blaney will drive the #99 Roush Racing Ford in the upcoming Dover, Talladega and Charlotte NEXTEL Cup races due to scheduling conflicts with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Meanwhile, Carl Edwards will pilot the #99 Superchips F-150 at Las Vegas, Fontana and Texas in his quest to win the Truck Series Championship. “I am honored to drive for Roush Racing,” said Blaney. “Roush Racing is a high visibility race team and has had success at all types of tracks. I will do my best to run up front at all three of these races for Roush Racing and the #99 team. I’m hopeful that by doing this, other car owners will take note and see that I am available to drive for them.”
Of the 10 remaining NEXTEL Cup races Edwards will race the other seven. However, just 76 points out of first, his commitment to winning a Truck Championship remains strong. “I would love to be able to drive both the #99 Truck and #99 Cup car those three weekends,” said Edwards. “However, I need to also focus on winning the Truck Series Championship with the #99 Superchips team and right now that has to be the priority. We weighed all our options and looked at both schedules and the travel demands placed on me were a lot. Dave is a great race car driver and I know he’ll do a good job in the #99 Ford in my absence for those three races.” Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said, “This is a good addition to the #99 team, it will keep the team working and help progress the program”(Roush Racing PR)
UPDATE: not sure what is up but the Press Release has been retracted by Roush Racing, but I don’t like to remove stuff once it is posted, so this is the UPDATE.(9-16-2004)
UPDATE 2: After some initial confusion, it appears Carl Edwards will attempt to run the remainder of the Nextel Cup season in Roush Racing’s #99 Ford. A statement released late Thursday, then retracted, by Roush Racing said driver Dave Blaney would drive the No. 99 in three of the races. However, Roush officials said Friday that instead Blaney would serve as a backup driver in those races, in case Edwards had conflicts with practice or the races. Edwards’ remaining Craftsman Truck Series schedule has conflicts with Cup weekends at Dover, Del.; Talladega, Ala.; and Charlotte. Edwards is expected to move full-time to Cup in 2005. Blaney has driven a limited Cup schedule this season with several teams including [#23] Bill Davis Racing and [#30] Richard Childress Racing.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-17-2004)
- Blaney to Gibbs…to the #11 Fed-Ex car? UPDATE: during Busch Series qualifying at Richmond, Speed Channel broadcaster, Larry McReynolds said the Dave Blaney has been hired by Joe Gibbs Racing to help [drive?] J.J. Yeley with his Busch and Cup series rides. Blaney could be paired up with recent Joe Gibbs Racing hire, crew chief Philippe Lopez. Blaney has worked with Lopez with Bill Davis Racing. Blaney could end up in the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy full-time or Blaney and Yeley could split duties.(9-9-2004)
UPDATE: Blaney was hired by JGR as a driver coach for J.J. Yeley [Busch] and Denny Hamlin for the races at Richmond. JGR says they have no plans to put Blaney in a car. Whether Blaney coaches the drivers in the future is undetermined.(NASCAR Scene Print)(9-17-2004)
- Qualifying at NHIS for the Sylvania 300 was rained out. 16 drivers made attempts. 8 drivers missed the race, including #1-Martin Truex Jr. who was fast in practice and #46-Carl Long, who ran a very good lap in the rain-out qualifying session [16 cars ran]. The field was set by the NASCAR Nextel Cup Rules Book, 1-35 by owners points, the rest by race attempts [ties broken by owners points pos. For the lineup and some notes until qualifying got rained out, see:
Jayski’s Loudon Qualifying/Starting Grid Page or/and
- StockCarFans.Com – Ramblings – New Hampshire: We got 16 cars in on time, then that nasty old Ivan (and I’ve had quite enough of him, thank you) made an appearance and we had another wash out today at New Hampshire International Speedway for Sunday’s Sylvania 300. Since we didn’t finish qualifying, we’ll line ’em up by points for the event, and that means the Top-10 in the “Chase” will start up front….and you won’t hear any complaints from the guys in Daytona Beach, I’d bet. This was the third time this season we’ve lost quals to the weather, and they’ve all occured in the last 6 weeks.
You’ll notice I’ve spent little time talking about the “Chase” in my twice weekly missives….and with good reason. I didn’t like it when they announced it and my opinion hasn’t changed. Seems like most everybody else’s has tho…. Saw one column this week that said the “Chase” winner would be a “True Champion”. Well, to paraphrase a somewhat infamous former President….that depends on what your definition of “True” is. If a True Champion is a driver that accumulates the most points in the final 10 events of the season, then you’re happy with that. If it’s the standard our sport has used for 50+ years, then you’re gonna hear a lot of arguing….or a lot of the old time fans will just start paying less and less attention. And, I’m afraid it’ll be the latter. They’re just gonna have a tough sell if somebody who would have been 400+ points behind ends up atop the “Chase” come Homestead. Course, with their willing “media partners”, they can sell almost anything. Since you asked….
Mr. Lead Lap is not in the “Chase” (now you’re learning the real reason why I don’t like it….our hero is not in the hunt!). He’s mired in 22nd place in the standings with an average finish of only 19.9. That “Lucky Dog” thang ain’t helping him either.
No Best Sinces this week….
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.
Jeremy Mayfield has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
We had a healty car count of 51 this weekend, and it’s a shame some of these guys didn’t get a chance to at least make an attempt. A couple of the drivers who were among the first 16 seemed to be fast enough to make the Top-38 (Carl Long and Johnny Sauter) and with the kind of equipment you get from DEI (Martin Truex Jr)….but it was all for naught. Forecast for Sunday is better, but after what I’ve seen this week I’m not believing any of those weather guys anymore. I’m gonna look out the window instead.( StockCarFans.Com Nextelcup Newsletter.(9-17-2004)
September 16, 2004
- Nextel Cup Trophy Unveiled: NASCAR and Nextel Communications Inc. today unveiled the highly anticipated NASCAR Nextel Cup Trophy, a 27-pound trophy crafted in sterling silver, by world-renowned jeweler and silversmith Tiffany & Co. The inaugural NASCAR Nextel Cup Trophy will be awarded to the 2004 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion at the sport’s annual awards ceremony on December 3 at The Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The trophy, which is up for grabs among the 10 drivers competing in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup, will be put on display at each of the final 10 races of the 2004 season. Bruce Newman, an accomplished businessman, financial manager and design director, designed the new trophy. In conjunction with NASCAR, Newman began designing the trophy in 2003. Featuring flowing checkered flags, rendered entirely in sterling silver, the NASCAR Nextel Cup Trophy will sit on top a perpetual base listing the names of every NASCAR NextelCup Series Champion since 1948. Using age-old techniques – spinning, etching, silversmithing and polishing – Tiffany’s master artisans spent nearly four months crafting the Nextel Cup Trophy at the company’s silver shop in Parsippany, N.J. The checkered pattern alone required approximately 80 hours of etching. In addition to the Nextel Cup Trophy, Tiffany & Co. crafts the National Football League’s Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy, the National Basketball Association’s Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, the World Series Trophy for Major League Baseball, and the U.S. Open Tennis Championship Trophies.
The NASCAR Nextel Cup Trophy Fast Facts
Height: 24 inches
Weight: 27 pounds
Materials: Sterling silver and wood (base)
Created by: Tiffany & Co.
Designed by: Bruce Newman
Production time: Four months
(quotes and images at RacingOne.com)(9-16-2004)
- New Race Track Wall Barrier: Safety Innovation Technology Company, Safety Systems, Inc., (SSI) released test results that demonstrate the company’s RACE WALL impact barrier offers significantly more impact protection than current products installed on most NASCAR racetracks. The R.A.C.E. Wall ™ (Restricted Air Controls Energy) was conceived out of the need to save lives and subsequently lessen vehicle damage at the same time, “in following with NASCAR’S efforts to control the costs for teams competing in this ultimate sport”. The RACE Wall uses proprietary technology in conjunction with specific materials, construction methods and “outside the box” thinking to produce the second-generation softwall.
SSI developed the patented technology, and used the expert skills of Dr. Ajit Kelkar to evaluate the technology through FEA testing and computer-simulation. Dr. Kelkar, a professor at North Carolina A&T University’s Mechanical Engineering Dept., stated that the initial crash results far exceeded our expectations.
The physical crash tests were performed at MGA Research Corporation in Burlington, Wisconsin and revealed at 90 mph, using NASCAR vehicles, the RACE Wall produced 40% less G forces than current technology used at most NASCAR tracks, in side-by-side comparison tests.
Tests at speeds over 140 mph are scheduled as the last testing phase and SSI researchers expect the benefits to increase with the added speed. “Our RACE Wall technology lets track owners install a more practical mechanism to primarily protect drivers, who are so important to NASCAR and their fans, “said Tim Smith, Chairman of SSI. “I can’t imagine any track owner not wanting the safest track available”. Video of the crash test is available for media outlets only.(SSI PR) For video information or more information on the system [phone numbers and email] see my Softwalls page and an article at: Driving Today: New System Could Improve Track Safety.(9-16-2004)
- OK NASCAR Plates up for Auction: From September 15 to October 15, 2004 the Oklahoma Tax Commission will be auctioning plate numbers 0-100 for most of the current NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers along with Richard Petty and Dale Earnahrdt. More info at www.oktax.state.ok.us.(9-16-2004)
- Sad News: Joanne Naman, the wife of Don Naman, the original Director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, lost her ten year battle with cancer early Tuesday morning in Talladega, AL. Visitation will be at Usrey Funeral Home on North Street in Talladega, on Friday, Sept 17th from 5-7pm. A Rosary service will follow, also at Usrey. Funeral Services will be on Saturday at 10:00 am, at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Pell City. Father Pat Sullivan will officiate.
Joanne had personally requested that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a project that was very dear to her, Kyle Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp. Donations should be sent to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317.(9-16-2004)
- Testing at the Monster UPDATE 3: On Tuesday, Sept. 14th Nextel Cup regulars #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, #17-Matt Kenseth, #42-Jamie McMurray and #45-Kyle Petty are scheduled to test at Dover International Speedway along with the Busch Series teams of Blake Feese, Aaron Fike and Dion Ciccarelli. McMurray and Kenseth will test again on Wednesday. Busch North Series points leader Andy Santerre and Busch Series driver [#29 RCR Busch] Kerry Earnhardt tested at Dover this week. The teams are preparing for Dover’s upcoming race weekend, which will culminate with the MBNA America 400 Nextel Cup Series race Sept. 26.(Delaware News Journal)(9-9-2004)
UPDATE: been told it has been raining in Dover off-and-on today so far, supposedly the drivers got some laps in.(9-14-2004)
UPDATE 2: Jeff Gordon was among six Nextel Cup Series drivers testing at Dover International Speedway today, hoping to find that little something extra that might translate into a fraction of a second and increase his speed at the high-banked, one-mile oval. Gordon said preparation will be key among the 10 drivers remaining in the new Chase for the Nextel Cup, a 10-race “playoff” that will decide this year’s champion. Defending Cup champion Matt Kenseth, who was also testing at Dover, said Gordon’s team rates as the favorite in the title chase. “I think the last 10 is definitely a Jeff Gordon 10,” Kenseth said.”There’s a lot of tracks where he’s ran really good at. “Right now Mark Martin has a lot of momentum, Jeff Gordon has a lot of momentum, and when you get teams like that rolling, it’s hard to stop them.”(Delaware News Journal)(9-15-2004)
UPDATE 3: drivers at Dover testing: Nextel Cup drivers #24-Jeff Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #17-Matt Kenseth, #25-Brian Vickers, #42-Jamie McMurray, #45-Kyle Petty and Busch Series Johnny Benson (for driver Aaron Fike) and Dion Ciccarelli.(Delaware News Journal), heard it rained in Dover most of the day and may had not been any testing on Wednesday.(9-16-2004)
September 15, 2004
- Tire Testing at Las Vegas UPDATE 2005 Dodge Image: #16-Greg Biffle, #41-Casey Mears and #12-Ryan Newman were at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Sept 14th testing for Goodyear with the 2005 package on the cars. Mears even had a 2005 Dodge doing the test, while the other drivers were in 2004 bodies. Mears and Biffle will test on Wednesday as well, but Newman has to go to New York for a Chase media deal for NASCAR, so Brendan Gaughan will test the #12 car in Newman’s place on Wednesday.
AND have an image of the 2005 Dodge that Casey Mears tested at Las Vegas, see my 2005 Cup Paint Schemes page for the image.(9-15-2004)
- Ultra Motorsports Crew Shave Heads in Support: Ken Bainbridge Sr. is a man who fears little. Decades of building competitive race cars out of raw metal, steel and sweat have toughened the Amherst, NY native’s constitution. Obstacles and impediments that derail the mortal man hold no sway over the veteran racer. Even when diagnosed with extreme small cell cancer at the beginning of this year and faced with what could be his ultimate demise, Bainbridge Sr. did not blink. He forged ahead with his business and went on with his life, teaching others his craft and contributing so much to the sport he loves. However for a man who fears little there was one thing he feared most. “My dad went through some radiation over the past few weeks and his hair started falling out,” recounts Kenny Bainbridge Jr., the gears and transmission specialist for Ultra Motorsports. “He was pretty upset about it. I made a promise to him when he was diagnosed with cancer that if he ever lost his hair then I would shave my head. He didn’t believe me. When Jeff Miles found out that I was going to shave my head then he agreed to do it and he recruited others on the team to do the same to show support.”
When the smoke from the clippers cleared and the follicles were settled a courageous group of seven Ultra Motorsports crew members were transformed into a stylish band of onion heads. Bainbridge, Jr. was joined by Kyle Lewis, Scott Crispin, and Mike McCarville from the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge crew and by Miles, Bobby Koski and Geofrado “Fonzie” Alfonzo of the Mopar Dodge. What started as one man’s fear ended up as a fashion statement and a strong show of support and concern from a loving son and caring teammates. Bainbridge Jr. also had a deep respect for his father’s accomplishments both on and off the track. Lessons learned are not always about racing but about a deeper and more meaningful complex subject, life itself. See full story at the Ultra Motorsports site.(9-15-2004)
- Waltrip’s Crew Wins in Richmond; Sadler’s Crew Extends Points Lead: Michael Waltrip’s crew captured the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. It was the third time the No. 15 crew claimed the $20,000 weekly prize. The team’s other wins were at Texas and the Daytona race in July. Waltrip’s crew edged Elliott Sadler’s crew for the Richmond victory. But coming in second for Sadler’s No. 38 crew earned them enough points to enjoy their biggest lead in the McDonald’s/POWERade standings. With 10 Nextel Cup races remaining, Sadler’s crew has a 27-point lead over Dale Earnhardt’s crew – 941 to 914. The season champion will receive a $200,000 bonus.
Waltrip’s crew, which finished second overall in last year’s McDonald’s/POWERade competition, moved into seventh place with 855 points.
Waltrip’s No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet spent 121.762 seconds on Richmond’s pit road. The pit road time for Sadler’s No. 38 M&M’s Ford was 123.926. Jeff Burton’s No. 30 AOL Chevy came in third at 124.054.
“It’s always very cool to win the McDonald’s/POWERade pit crew competition,” said crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe. “The guys were awesome in Richmond, averaging 13.20 seconds a stop.
“We didn’t make the Chase for the Nextel Cup, but there’s one championship we can still win and that’s the McDonald’s/POWERade championship. There are 10 races remaining and we’re still in the hunt for the title. We need to pick up eight to nine points a race – that’s doable. We finished second in the championship last year and would love to come back and win it this year.” The over-the-wall pit crew for Waltrip’s team consists of: Brian Chase (jackman), Jeff Opal (gasman), Chris Crumley (front tire changer), Greg Osborne (rear tire changer), Shawn Ward (front tire carrier), Chad Walter (rear tire carrier) and Tom Vigue (catch can). The team’s pit crew coach is Walt Smith.(DMF Communications PR), for top 10 from Richmond, who won each week and the season standings…see my Pit Crew News page.(9-15-2004)
- Gillette Young Guns – Weekly Update: By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Chevy Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 11th, Cherie J. of Independence, KY was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Cherie picked Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com entering before the weekly deadline.
As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Earnhardt Jr. This is the 10th time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Earnhardt.
The Gillette Young Guns are 13 for 26 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. have four victories, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch who each have two victories, and Ryan Newman who has one victory.
Five members of the Gillette Young Guns have made the top-10 and been awarded a chance to battle for the Chase for the 2004 NEXTEL Cup. They are Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Clinched at Bristol), Matt Kenseth (Clinched at California), Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman (Clinch at Richmond). Kevin Harvick currently occupies the 14th position in the standings.
Though Kevin Harvick did not make the top-10, there is still a lot of prestige on the line for 11th place in the standings. A total of $970,103 will be paid to the driver who finishes 11th in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings – an increase of more than $400,000 over one year ago. That includes a $250,000 bonus, which will be paid to the 11th-place finisher. Additionally, the 11th-place driver will also join the top-10 drivers on the stage at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Banquet in New York in December.
There have been nine different winners in the last 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at New Hampshire. Jimmy Johnson is the only driver with multiple victories at New Hampshire since September 1999, posting back-to-back victories there in 2003.(Alan Taylor PR)(9-15-2004)
- #49 Crew Chief Out? UPDATE 2: hearing that #49 BAM Racing crew chief Scott Eggleston and the team parted ways, hearing Donnie Richeson could be the new crew chief.
UPDATE: BAM Racing has announced a new interim crew chief for Ken Schrader and the 49 team. Donnie Richeson replaces Scott Eggleston. Eggleston had been with the team since 2003. Owner Beth Ann Morgenthau said “a change was in order”. Schrader is 32nd in points with one top-10 finish this year.(FoxSports/Totally NASCAR – missed it, not used to the new time yet)(9-14-2004)
UPDATE 2: Donnie Richeson has been named interim crew chief for BAM Racing, which fields the #49 Schwan’s Home Service Dodge for driver Ken Schrader in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Richeson replaces Scott Eggleston, who had been with the team since the start of the 2003 season. “With everything else in place for the rest of the year and for 2005 – Schwan’s Home Service on board with us and Ken Schrader as our driver – we felt a change was in order,” said Beth Ann Morgenthau, owner of BAM Racing. “Tough decisions are part of this sport, and this was certainly a tough decision for everyone. We wish Scott nothing but the best in his career.” BAM has already begun discussions with several potential crew chiefs. Richeson will maintain those duties at least until a full-time replacement is named.(Williams Company PR)(9-15-2004)
- Carrier back at the #4 car: Noticed in Morgan-McClure’s post Richmond race press release, that Chris Carrier is listed as the crew chief of the #4 Morgan McClure Chevy for the Richmond race. No idea if Tim Brewer was just away from the track that race or has left the team or moved to a different position with the team.(9-15-2004)
- Diving Schools Questioned after Deaths: Two driver fatalities in three weeks in amateur race-driving programs — one at Talladega and one at Nashville Superspeedway — raises questions about allowing unskilled drivers to run on tracks where their speeds reach 130 mph. But veteran driving instructor Ricky Haynes believes the timing of the two fatal crashes is purely coincidental and cites the ”impeccable” 10-year safety record of his local Monster Racing program. ”This program has been running for six years at Dover and we’re in our fourth year here, and during all of that time we’ve never had a serious accident,” Haynes said. ”We have an impeccable record. We constantly emphasize safety, and we carefully monitor our drivers.” Jack Walter Irwin, 56, of Hendersonville, TN died while driving a car in the Richard Petty Racing Experience last Friday at the Superspeedway. The car hit the retaining wall but an investigator said the driver ”might have had a medical problem.” The investigation is continuing. Haynes, whose Monster Racing program is not connected to the Richard Petty Driving Experience, said he would not advise anyone with medical problems — especially heart-related — to participate in such racing programs. Although the two recent fatalities are sure to raise concerns, Haynes said the programs ”are well-supervised and completely safe. I don’t know what happened in these two instances but I’m sure it wasn’t safety-related. It could have been something that could have happened to them if they had been driving to work.” Haynes said the fatalities will not disrupt his program’s schedule.(in part from the Tennessean)(9-15-2004)
- Dale Earnhardt Licence Plate in New York: Gov. George Pataki announced Tuesday that New York would begin offering the first custom license plate in the nation honoring Earnhardt. The new red, white, black and gray “legacy” plate features a silhouette of NASCAR Legend Dale Earnhardt with arms stretched out in victory in front of the trademark “E” against a black background. Earnhardt’s signature and the logo of NASCAR are just below the image. The new plate is officially licensed by Dale Earnhardt Inc. The initial cost is $43, and the plates may be purchased for passenger and commercial vehicles registered in New York state. The state began producing NASCAR plates in 1999, and today 1,366 vehicles are registered with the No. 3 Dale Earnhardt plate, followed by 880 featuring the #8 of his son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. In all, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles offers 25 NASCAR plates.(USA Today/AP)(9-15-2004)
- Craven’s Last Start in the #32: Ricky Craven will make his final appearance in the #32 Tide Chevrolet this weekend at his home track, New Hampshire International Speedway. Craven will also take his first turn behind the wheel of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series truck in the companion race this weekend at NHIS. He will drive the #47 ACXIOM Chevrolet. The #32 Tide Chevrolet will feature a special paint scheme at New Hampshire this weekend for a new product, “Tide with a touch of Downy.” Tide with a touch of Downy is a combination of the cleaning technologies of Tide and the softness and freshness technologies of “Downy Through-the-Wash”. “Downy Through-the-Wash” is a new formula of Downy that contains detergent-compatible softness technologies to deliver softening even when it’s added to the wash cycle. Look for Tide with a touch of Downy in these three scents – Clean Breeze, April Fresh and Soft Ocean Mist – and experience a touch of softness you never imagined from Tide! The #32 team debuted this paint scheme last month at Bristol and will also run this paint scheme at Martinsville this fall [with Bobby Hamilton Jr. driving](PPI Motorsports PR)(9-15-2004)
- No More Indy 500-Coca Cola 600 doubles? The Indianapolis 500, which in 2005 will be held for the 89th time, will begin at 12:00noon/ct [1:00pm/et] on May 29 after starting at 11:00am/ct [12:00noon/et] the past 41 years. Track officials said the switch is seen as a way to improve television ratings that have sagged in recent years. Other changes include a new four-day qualifying formet with bumping each day, less practice time and moving Carburetion Day to the Friday before the race.(Indianapolis Star/IMS Site), with the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway starting around 5:30pm/et the smae day, it may be near impossible for a driver [such as Robby Gordon or Tony Stewart] do the Indy 500/Coke 600 double, running both races in the same day.(9-15-2004)
- Companies join forces: The Sponsor Agency is pleased to announce a recent agreement between itself and New Century Marketing Concepts, a motorsports marketing agency based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The two companies have joined forces and are now combining their unique services in an effort to provide turnkey solutions for race teams and sponsors alike.(more info at PRweb.com)(9-15-2004)
September 14, 2004
- Congrats: MRN Radio co-anchor and host of Raceline Joe Moore and Tiffany Ricardo were married in ceremonies held in Big Sur, California on Sept. 1st. The couple was surrounded by friends in the racing industry, including MRN President David Hyatt and Producer Ryan Horn serving as groomsmen. MRN Pit Reporter Danielle Frye was matron of honor and Nextel Vision Producer Debbie Ray was maid of honor. The ceremony was conducted by Dr. C.J. Bordeaux of Monroe, N.C., Moore’s first cousin. FOX TV’s Dick Bergren was photographer. The couple will reside in Norfolk, Va.(9-14-2004)
- Body Dynamics Making Some Changes: Scott Davis of Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. is currently looking for a position as a Marketing/Media Director or Publicist with a NASCAR Nextel Cup, Busch Series or Truck Series team or with a driver. Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc. is currently undergoing some changes and they have come to a mutual agreement that Davis has outgrown their organization. “Scott has been a tremendous asset to our organization, “Stated Tim Suggs, President and CEO of Body Dynamics Racing Bodies, Inc., “We do not want to let Scott go, but we have changed direction with Body Dynamics and with Scott’s talents and drive we feel that we would be selfish by keeping him here as well as holding him back from future successes.”
“He has made Body Dynamics Racing a household name.” continued Suggs, “He created a media frenzy that encompassed creation of our website, making us the first NASCAR type entity to host live web cams, he introduced us to the America’s Most Wanted Motorsports Platform which he will continue to manage, which has garnered mentions and features on national television, on the Today Show, Larry King Live and had us featured on America’s Most Wanted (via John Walsh and his publicist) as well as an audience with President George W. Bush. We have been seen on a weeklybasis and featured on NASCAR This Morning, Totally NASCAR and FOXSPORTS.com going on three years now. He has great relationships and a great reputation with the media in and out of our industry, as I said we hate to see him go!, but we know with our new direction we would hinder his success if he stayed. He would be great addition to any existing team and a valuable asset to any new teams that are starting up.” For more information on Davis please see www.bodydynamicsracing.com.(9-14-2004)
- Big TV Ratings for Richmond….NOT up from 2003 but up 13%: the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond Inernational Raceway on Saturday night televised on TNT, had a rating of 3.5 and total households watching at 3,829,000.(Zap2it.com), however, compared to 2003, the ratings viership was up 500,000 [last year had 3.3 million households, which was down from 2002, which was 3.611 million households]. The Chief’s-Bronco’s NFL game on Sunday [ESPN] was double the race in both rating [6.9] and households [7,527,000]. Some had predicted over an 8.0 rating for the race.
AND TNT says its airing of Saturday night’s Chevy Rock and Roll 400 from Richmond International Raceway earned a 4.3 national cable rating/3.5 U.S. rating, a 13.2% increase over last year’s 3.8/3.1. This year’s race reached 3.8 million households, compared to 3.4 million in 2003. TNT noted that Saturday’s race was the final event in the contest to determine the field of 10 drivers who will take part in the Chase For The Nextel Cup.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-14-2004)
- Eury Sr. wins Wiper Award for RIR: Internet voters have selected Tony Eury Sr. as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second in Saturday night’s Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Eury and his Dale Earnhardt Inc. crew helped Earnhardt Jr. fight back from two wrecks to finish behind Jeremy Mayfield in Evernham Motorsports’ #19 Dodge. Eury leads the contest for the $10,000 prize at the end of the year with seven victories to date.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-14-2004)
- Gaughan Being Pressed? Rookie #77 Brendan Gaughan is being pressed quietly to pick up his performance in the final 10 Nextel Cup races by his Penske Racing South team. The first-year Cup driver and veteran of the Truck series apparently is being held to the same standard as Ryan Newman, who has 10 wins, 41 top fives, 23 poles and a rookie of the year award in his third full Cup season for Penske. Gaughan has denied there is a performance clause in his contract.(St Petersburg Times)(9-14-2004)
- Nadeau on hold until May 2005..at least UPDATE: Former MB2 Motorsports driver Jerry Nadeau met with team G.M. Jay Frye last week to discuss his Cup future. Initially, Nadeau was going to run an A-B-C (ARCA-Busch-Cup) program in 2005, but Frye says doctors want to wait until May — two years after Nadeau’s crash at Richmond — to determine Nadeau’s condition. If Nadeau checks out OK, he could run ARCA and Busch races in 2006.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)
UPDATE: been told that Jerry Nadeau is not on hold until May, which will mark the two-year anniversary of his accident in Richmond. Doctors have said that Nadeau could fully recover from his head injury before then and start a recovery driving program in the ABC series — ARCA, Busch and Cup. However, if Nadeau does not fully heal, doctors have said they would need to wait approximately two years from the time of sustaining the injury before having a clearer understanding on a recovery prognosis.(9-14-2004)
- JGR Looking for #11 Crew Chief – Slugger? UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing still is looking for a crew chief to lead the #11 FedEx car in 2005. Sources say Slugger Labbe, crew chief for #15-Michael Waltrip, is a candidate. Labbe is one of the best crew chiefs in the garage and would be great for a start-up team. Finding a driver is another matter. Although JGR is expected to run J.J. Yeley in additional races this season, sources say FedEx is looking for a more experienced driver. Jamie McMurray, Robby Gordon and Dave Blaney have been mentioned as prospects.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)
AND MORE: speculation continues about owner Joe Gibbs’ planned third Nextel Cup team. #20 Crew Chief Greg Zipadelli declined to talk about the possibility that Dave Blaney might be hired to drive Gibbs’ new third team. Blaney – a sprint-car veteran like Stewart and a good buddy of Stewart’s – has been hired to coach rookie J. J. Yeley, who Gibbs hopes to hone into a Cup driver, though that project could take a few years longer than expected. And the latest rumor is that Gibbs would like to hire Richard “Slugger” Labbe, a two-time Daytona 500 winning crew chief, to run that third team. “Dave is just to help J.J.,” Zipadelli said. “He’s got three more Cup races this year and some Busch races, and Dave is a good driver, with a good, level head on his shoulders, knows what’s going on. He knows what you should do and shouldn’t do. He should help accelerate J.J.’s learning curve. He won’t have to go through everything, because Dave has already been there and can explain why you don’t do this or that. It’s different if it comes from a driver than if it comes from us.” But what about the story that Gibbs has hired Blaney to drive the third car? “Good story, huh?” Zipadelli said with a grin. “You ain’t going to find anything out here. Don’t try to read anything more into this.”(Winston Salem Journal)(9-14-2004)
- Motorcycle Racer Offered NASCAR Contract? Speedfreaks is reporting….it broke on HBO’s ‘Real Sports w/Bryant Gumbel’ a few weeks ago and was made true (to the Freak Nation at least) on Friday night at the AMA Motocross autograph session in SoCal. One certain Cup/Busch team owner would like to sign 125cc Motocross Champion, James “Bubba” Stewart, to a TEN year NASCAR contract. Now, the kid definitely has talent and just may be the best rider to hit the Motocross/Supercross scene EVER… yep, better than McGrath, better than Carmichael (maybe – we’ll see next season though), better than Rick Johnson, Jeff Ward, Marty Smith and the like. He will make the jump to the top class, 250cc, next year and the reality of Bubba’s talent will be seen… can he indeed run with the big boys? Based on test sessions so far, YES! (SpeedFreaks.tv)(9-14-2004)
- Testing at Talladega, Hermie Sadler to run a Yates car: NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series drivers Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex, Jr., Hermie Sadler and ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Blake Feese took turns zipping along the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway Monday after early morning rain finally gave way to clear skies. Johnson, who slipped to second in the points standings after a wreck at Richmond Saturday, said clinching a position to contend for the championship brought “a small amount of relief,” but knows the real pressure has only begun. In his five starts at Talladega, he’s qualified higher than ninth every time. However, this spring was the first time he was able to break into the top 5 here, finishing fourth. Johnson said he hasn’t had the best of luck at Talladega, but is more confident with a solid run here earlier this year. Sadler said he is excited to be returning to Talladega in October, particularly because he will be running in the EA SPORTS 500 in a Robert Yates machine. He decided to run the Talladega event primarily because of being able to reach an agreement to lease a car with Yates. “It’s a good opportunity for my team, not running all the races and not having some of the stuff a lot of the other teams have, to come here and drive one of their cars. We’re excited about that,” Sadler said. “They’ve got a great program. The timing worked out so we could do it, and it will give us a chance to come here and be a lot more competitive than we would be had we tried to do a superspeedway car of our own. We don’t have access to the wind tunnel and all those types of things and they have got a good reputation for a good superspeedway program. So hopefully it will be a good opportunity for us.”(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(9-14-2004)
- Kim Labonte Attends DOD Conference: Kim Labonte, wife of two-time Nextel Cup Series champion #5-Terry Labonte and mother of NASCAR Busch Series driver #44-Justin Labonte, has accepted an invitation from Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to participate in the Defense Department’s Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (JCOC 68). Rumsfeld attended the Nextel Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway Saturday. The program, which will be held September 11 – September 17, will give participants an opportunity to learn first-hand about U. S. military personnel, their equipment and capabilities, and national defense strategies. As a JCOC 68 participant, Kim will visit military bases of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Locations will include Hawaii, Korea, Japan and Guam among others. Very few people, even those employed by the Department of Defense, get the opportunity to interact with such an encompassing cross-section of military leaders and service members of all ranks. Participants will fly on military aircraft; experience aircraft landings and launches from Navy ships; observe amphibious landings, urban area combat techniques, special operations assaults, and other warfare demonstrations. Justin Labonte is sponsored by the United States Coast Guard in the Busch Series and won his first series race at Chicagoland Speedway July 10. The Coast Guard announced last week that they would be partnering with Justin for the full Busch Series schedule for 2005 after running a partial season this year. Kim’s trip will begin in Honolulu, Hawaii where the Coast Guard has a large base.
After an initial orientation, the JCOC team will travel by military aircraft throughout the Pacific theater. Due to a refocusing of military resources in the United States on Operation Iraqi Freedom, the conference adjusted what has been a U.S.-based agenda to one focused on the key command centers engaged in winning the global war on terrorism. This conference was initiated in 1948 by Secretary Forestal and is the Department’s premier civic leader program. Only fifty U.S. citizens are selected from hundreds of candidates nominated by military commands worldwide. JCOC 68 participants pay all of their own expenses, including travel to and from the conference, lodging and meals.(PR)(9-14-2004)
September 13, 2004
- Testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway’s calendar shows three Nextel Cup drivers planning tests this week. Dale Jarrett is scheduled for Tuesday in Robert Yates Racing’s #88 UPS Ford, while Robby Gordon is scheduled Wednesday in Richard Childress Racing’s #31 Cingular Chevrolet along with Bobby Hamilton Jr. in PPI Motorsports’ #32 Tide Chevrolet. The track says spectators may watch from its Fan Center but caution that the schedule is subject to change.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-13-2004)
- Andretti and ppc Racing team up? UPDATE 2: John Andretti could be in a Cup car as early as October’s Charlotte race. Although officials from ppc Racing would not “confirm or deny” that a deal has been signed, garage sources say Andretti will race a ppc Ford. Dave Charpentier, who was replaced as Ricky Craven’s crew chief in July, signed on with ppc last week and likely will work with Andretti.(FoxSports/Sporting)
AND hearing the team will run five Cup races in 2004 and a full season in 2005 and has a sponsor signed [haven’t heard who…yet](9-6-2004)
UPDATE: hearing lead mechanic for the #32 Braun Racing Busch Series team, Derek White, left to take a similar job with the new ppcRacing Nextel Cup team that John Andretti will drive for. Still no word on a car number [#57? – only because it is available and they used it for years in Busch – nothing to do with a sponsor] or sponsor.(9-13-2004)
- NASCAR tests scoring computers: NASCAR made sure its scoring computers were in top shape for Saturday night’s run at Richmond International Raceway, the crucial 26th race of the Nextel Cup season which would determine the field for the “Chase for the Championship.” To get a trial run of potential scoring situations, simulated models were run through the computer system, using the results of last weekend’s race at California as if those were the results at Richmond. Statisticians even altered the order of finish several times to see what might occur around the critical 10th-place cutoff ranking in the standings. In one scenario, the results produced a tie for 10th between Mark Martin and Jamie McMurray. If that were the actual case, Martin would have been in the Chase and McMurray left out. The tie, as per NASCAR rules, would be broken by Martin having one victory and McMurray none.(Alabama Live)(9-13-2004)
- Terry Labonte working on 2005 deal, part-time UPDATE #44?: Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said Saturday veteran Terry Labonte has agreed to drive in the Nextel Cup Series for two more years, but will not run a full-time schedule. “I know he’ll run at least 15 races, if not more,” Hendrick said. “Beyond that, that’s all we know right now. We’re waiting to talk to sponsors and they’re going to tell us the number and the color (of the car). Right now, I don’t know who’s going to be doing what. I just know we’re going to be there.” Hendrick said he would like to wait until the Chase for the Nextel Cup is well under way before making any more announcements, so to not distract his teams that are participating. Labonte had indicated earlier this season that he was contemplating several options – including retirement, running a limited schedule or running for another team – for next season. Should Labonte move to a partial schedule, it will likely open the seat in his current ride, Hendrick’s #5 Chevrolets.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-11-2004)
UPDATE: Terry Labonte, met with owner Rick Hendrick last week to discuss his future. Labonte is expected to run a limited schedule over the next two seasons, possibly reviving the #44, the number he won his first title with, while Kyle Busch moves into the #5 Chevrolet.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)
- AARWBA Members to Select Newsmaker of the Half-Century: Selection of the “Newsmaker of the Half-Century” will be the headline event of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2005. AARWBA, founded in August 1955, is the country’s oldest and largest organization of motorsports media professionals. Fifty of racing’s most famous names from the last half-century will be considered by AARWBA’s Board of Directors, who may also nominate people not on the original list. Each director will choose 12 prospective finalists and the top dozen newsmakers will be put to the full membership for a vote. The 12 nominees will be announced by AARWBA President Dusty Brandel and 50th Anniversary Celebration Chairman Michael Knight at the AARWBA All-America Team awards banquet, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2005 in Pomona, Calif. Champion drivers from 2004 will be honored at the 35th annual dinner, which is open to the media, racing officials and sponsors, as well as the public. Ticket information is available at the AARWBA.org web site. The Newsmaker of the Half-Century will be named, and presented with a specially-commissioned painting, at a major race during the 2005 season.
List of 50 — AARWBA “Newsmaker of the Half-Century” (in alphabetical order):
Bobby Allison, Mario Andretti, Michael Andretti, Kenny Bernstein, George Bignotti
Craig Breedlove, Richard Childress, Mark Donohue, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott
John Force, A.J. Foyt, The France family, Don Garlits, Jeff Gordon
Andy Granatelli, Dan Gurney, Carl Haas, Jim Hall, Hurley Haywood
Rick Hendrick, Phil Hill, Al Holbert, The Hulman-George family, Jim Hurtubise
Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Ted Johnson, Parnelli Jones, Steve Kinser Rick Mears, Shirley Muldowney, Wally Parks, David Pearson, Roger Penske
Richard Petty, Don Prudhomme, Fireball Roberts, Johnny Rutherford, Carroll Shelby
Danny Sullivan, Mickey Thompson, Al Unser, Al Unser Jr., Bobby Unser
Darrell Waltrip, Rodger Ward, The Wood Brothers, Cale Yarborough, Smokey Yunick
- Lots of Work/Inspections UPDATE: NASCAR officials were expected to tear down as many as 20 cars in a postrace inspection after tonight’s race. Typically, series officials examine about five cars after a race. “We’re going to try to remove any doubt from everybody’s mind,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president for corporate communication, of the increased inspection process.(Roanoke Times)(9-12-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR inspected 11 cars after the Richmond race to ensure there was no impropriety with the drivers who qualified for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Although inspections lasted well into Sunday morning, no issues were found.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)
- #09 has parts confiscated: NASCAR inspectors confiscated unapproved fender braces from the #09 Dodge driven by Mike Wallace over the weekend at Richmond.(ThatsRacin.com)(9-13-2004)
- Chase for Nextel Cup only UPDATE well….: NASCAR president Mike Helton said the 10-driver, 10-race Chase to the Championship format now used in the Nextel Cup Series isn’t likely to be applied to the Busch or Craftsman Truck Series. He said the drivers who race in more than one series complicate things. “The challenges, in addition to wanting this to be unique to the Nextel Cup Series, is that the Truck and Busch series have so many Cup competitors who participate,” Helton said. “When you start running the models, it gets pretty skewed.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(9-12-2004)
UPDATE: Expect NASCAR to scrutinize the new points format closely before deciding whether to use it in the Busch Series and Craftsman Trucks Series. NASCAR vice president of corporate communications Jim Hunter says adapting the system in the two lower series is a possibility, but the issue would have to be “debated internally” first.(FoxSports/Sporting)(9-13-2004)
September 12, 2004
- Tests Left? The NASCAR Nextel Cup championship could be decided by what happens at empty race tracks days before the series races at those places. Some teams saved their test sessions for the final 10 races, while others used most of their tests to assure that they’ll make the championship chase. Tests are valuable because teams typically have only two hours of practice before qualifying and 90 minutes of practice the day before the race. Test sessions usually last eight hours, giving teams time to try different setups.
#17-Matt Kenseth has saved all but one test for the final 10 races. He’s scheduled to test at Martinsville, Dover, Atlanta, Homestead, Phoenix and a track to be determined.
#48-Jimmie Johnson has four test sessions left. Crew chief Chad Knaus says they plan to test at Martinsville, Talladega, Phoenix and Homestead.
#24-Jeff Gordon has four test sessions left and is planning to test at Martinsville, Dover, Phoenix and Homestead.
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to test at Kansas City, Homestead, Dover and Martinsville.
#20-Tony Stewart has three tests and is expected to test at Darlington and Homestead with another track to be decided.
#38-Elliott Sadler, has two sessions left. The team has not decided where it will go.(Roanoke Times)(9-12-2004)
- Team 48 and Team 5 are “Racing for Relief”: In response to Hurricanes Charley and Frances, Lowe’s Monte Carlo drivers Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch are “Racing for Relief” at Richmond International Raceway this weekend to generate funds for disaster relief efforts. Last month, Johnson announced the implementation of an in-store customer donation program at Lowe’s stores along the Gulf and East Coasts to assist the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Lowe’s announced it will match donations up to $1 million. In addition, for every lap that Johnson completes in the 400-lap NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Richmond on Saturday night, Lowe’s will donate $48 (Johnson’s car number). For every lap that Busch completes Friday night in the 200-lap Busch Series race at Richmond, Lowe’s will donate $50 [Busch finished 5th, ran all 250 laps, total is $12,500]. Racing for Relief is a program Lowe’s first introduced in April of 2000. The program has helped disaster relief efforts for hurricanes, tornados and floods, raising more than $350,000 to date.
In addition, Johnson’s #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet will carry a special decal on the rear deck lid (trunk) and hood supporting the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Anyone interested in donating to the fund may go to any Lowe’s store along the Gulf or East Coasts or make an online donation at www.lowes.com or www.redcross.org.
All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of the recent hurricanes and thousands of other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.(9-11-2004)
THANKS: $12,500 for Busch’s 250 laps, and $16,224 for Johnson’s 338 laps run.(9-12-2004)
September 11, 2004
- Mayfield wins at Richmond and gets in ‘The Chase’: #19-Jeremy Mayfield won the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night, leading the most laps, and clinching 9th in the ‘Chase for the Nextel Cup’. It is Mayfield first win in 142 races, at Pocono on June 19, 2000, the 4th of his career. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 2nd, followed by #24-Jeff Gordon, #80-Mike Bliss [best career finish] and #6-Mark Martin. #99-Carl Edwards was 6th, his 3rd top 10 in his first 4 races. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. finished 11th, his career finish [best was 14th at Talladega in Oct 2001]. Some great pre-race ceremonies honoring 9-11.
For more on the race, lap leaders, DNFs, cautions, notes, how the top 10 starters did, etc. see my Richmond Race Info/Rundown Page and a good race report see ThatsRacin.com.
For race results, see:
Jayski’s Richmond Race Results/Awards page
- Wood Bros and Roush Splitting? The Winston Salem Journal) reports….The Wood brothers [#21 Motorcraft/US Air Force/Rent-A-Center Ford] and Jack Roush are splitting, and it’s not clear what’s going on behind the scenes. The Wood brothers, who will still be running Roush-Yates engines, shrug off the situation with little comment, saying they’ve been doing most of their own engineering work for some time now. Roush says the Woods’ decision to hire Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain has changed the dynamics of the relationship between his five teams and the Wood brothers, who have been allied with Roush on the technological side for several years. The Wood brothers hired McSwain two weeks ago at Ricky Rudd’s urging. Rudd and McSwain worked well together in the past, and Rudd hopes the reunion will rekindle that magic. Roush says that he and his drivers were OK with the Wood brothers hiring McSwain but that his crew chiefs are concerned about revealing too many secrets to McSwain.(quotes also at: Winston Salem Journal).(9-11-2004)
- Testing at Phoenix in Oct: #24-Jeff Gordon, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Jarrett and #42-Jamie McMurray are penciled in for a two-day PIR test scheduled Oct. 18-19. The test is open to the public, and admission is $20 per day. Fans already holding tickets to the Nov. 7 Checker Auto Parts 500 at PIR can attend free. Race-day tickets begin at $35 and can be purchased during the test session by entering Gate 7.(Arizona Republic)(9-11-2004)
- New Spotter for Dale Jr.: Stevie Reeves, Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s spotter, was relieved of his spotter duties by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. racing. Reeves will remain with the team in some other capacity. Steve Hmiel will spot for Jr. this weekend. “We want to win, we can go for a win at all costs, and that means everything,” said Earnhardt after he qualified the No. 8 DEI Chevrolet. 8 team members deduced that Hmiel may serve as a better umpire between Earnhardt and the Eury’s.(Motorsport.com)(9-11-2004)
- More on Robby at RCR..Blaney? Schrader? Onne of the hottest stories in the garage sits inside Childress’ head – the future of the team that Robby Gordon drives for. Will Childress sign Gordon to a new contract for 2005 or will Childress sign a new driver? Dave Blaney is the man most prominently mentioned as the candidate for the ride. Ken Schrader is another man also mentioned for the ride. Childress, without saying what his specific options are, expects to make a decision “within the next two weeks.”(Winston Salem Journal)
AND Matt Crafton a possible replacement in the #31 Chevy? Matt Crafton, who currently pilots the #6 owned by Kevin Harvick [in the Truck Series] has been mentioned as one of the driver’s being considered to inherit the ride of Robby Gordon – IF (and that’s a very big IF) Cingular and Richard Childress Racing decide not to renew Gordon’s contract.(Motorsports.com)(9-11-2004)
- Biffle to have different sponsor(s) in 2005? UPDATE: #16-Greg Biffle’s Ford, which carries sponsorship from the National Guard and Subway, will have ‘things’ different next year , some of the changes could be in form of associates. Speculation has the National Guard not returning. Some of Biffle’s sponsors may migrate over to the #99 and Carl Edwards.(Last Weeks NASCAR Scene)(9-1-2004)
AND – Crown Royal allowed to sponsor #99 in 2005? Jack Roush will likely get that $15 million a year Crown Royal sponsorship for [#99] Carl Edwards, according to NASCAR sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2004)
UPDATE: Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, says he expects National Guard to return to Greg Biffle’s #16 team and that he remains hopeful that the team can sign a sponsorship deal with Diageo, which manufactures several brands of hard liquor. Roush Racing still has no sponsor for Carl Edwards’ #99 Cup team. NASCAR vetoed the Diageo deal earlier this year because of a policy of not permitting hard liquor advertising. Smith says he’s continuing to talk to NASCAR about the sponsorship possibility for a hard liquor brand.(Roanoke Times)(9-11-2004)
- AOL done with NASCAR? Garage insiders indicate that America Online may want to scale back their involvement in the sport next season. Currently, they sponsor the #30 Chevy of Jeff Burton.(Motorsports.com)(9-11-2004)
- Grands! Biscuits Most Popular Voting Keeps Record Pace: Record numbers of voters have pushed total votes for Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award to the cusp of 3 million, and the award will most likely finish with a record number of total votes by the time voting closes at the end of the 2004 season. Richard Petty, NASCAR’s winningest driver and car owner and the man most consider NASCAR’s most popular driver of all time, said he isn’t surprised.
“Race fans have always been passionate, not just about their sport but about the drivers and the teams they pull for,” Petty said. “With more and more race fans being developed because of television and the Cup series running in more of the larger markets, it just seems natural that the votes for Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver would grow too.”
More than 2.8 million votes have been cast so far this year for the Grands! Biscuits NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver at the Web site www.mostpopulardriver.com. During the 2003 voting season, 3 million votes were cast. These vote totals are well ahead of the mark reached the second week of September last season, clearly showing the fans’ enthusiasm for supporting their favorite drivers.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continues to lead the nationwide balloting, maintaining his first-place position since the start of the 2003 season. Earnhardt Jr. leads second-place Jeff Gordon. Rounding out the top 10 are Kevin Harvick, Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Dale Jarrett, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte.
Fans can log onto www.mostpopulardriver.com once each day and vote for their favorite driver. The Web site, www.mostpopulardriver.com, is available for Internet voting through 11:59 a.m. CST on Monday, Nov. 22. Additional voting guidelines are accessible on the Web site.(Williams, Williams Company)(9-11-2004)
- Poles at RIR: There have been ten different Bud Pole winners in the last ten races at Richmond.
Rusty Wallace and Jeff Burton in 2000; Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon in 2001; Ward Burton and Jimmie Johnson in 2002; Terry Labonte and Mike Skinner in 2003 and Brian Vickers and Ryan Newman in May 2004.(9-11-2004)
- One Team gets their hand slapped, #12? UPDATE denied: When NASCAR announced its new points system in January, some drivers complained. Since then, many have changed their mind, at least publicly, saying NASCAR made the right call. Don’t expect to hear a dissenting opinion as at least one team [hearing it was the #12 team] has been told by NASCAR to keep its driver from bashing the system.(News and Record)(9-7-2004)
UPDATE: Ryan Newman remains an opponent of the current championship format, but he said no one in NASCAR had pressured him to temper his remarks. “I think the system that determines the champion ought to be fair to everybody,” said Newman, “and this system isn’t fair. I’m going to leave it at that, but I think everybody knows, as Americans, that we have constitutional rights, and if I have an opinion, I’m going to express it. I would hope NASCAR recognizes the rights we all have as Americans, and, no, they haven’t said anything to me about it.”(Gaston Gazette)(9-11-2004)
September 10, 2004
- Whats Up with Ricky Craven: For the first time in 132 races, Newburgh’s Ricky Craven wasn’t behind the wheel of the Tide #32 car last weekend. So what was it like to watch a Nextel Cup race rather than participate in it? “Actually, I watched [daughter] Riley and [son] Everett on the Carolina Cyclone. I had promised to take them all summer,” said Craven referring to a ride at a local amusement park near their North Carolina home. “To be honest, if I’m not in it, I’m not interested,” said Craven. “I don’t watch a lot of television.” Craven and team owner Cal Wells III originally announced in July that they would part company at the end of the season. But Craven decided to leave the team last week to allow Hamilton Jr. to begin his transition. “I’ll bounce back. I’m 38 and I’m feeling good. What I’m doing now is evaluating what I could have done better and where we may have failed as a team. I hope to use that to my advantage. I will also retain the things we did well. We overachieved in 2001, 2002 and the early part of 2003. We were the only single-car team to win in several years when we won [at Martinsville] in 2001 and we did it again two years later [at Darlington],” said Craven, who will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck series debut in the No. 47 ACXIOM Chevy Silverado at the Sylvania 200 in eight days. Craven will make one more appearance in the #32 Tide Chevy for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway in nine days. He said he has had “discussions” with Nextel Cup teams and he has enjoyed the conversations. But there isn’t anything to report at this time, he said. “I still have that desire to compete. And that will continue to climb as the season winds down and I have a clearer picture of 2005. I’ll come back hungrier and more determined than ever,” said Craven whose wife, K.K., is expecting their third child in February. Craven likes the fact he has been able to spend more time with his family but said he would race again this season “if the circumstances are right. I want to go to a program that could either help me for next year or that will lead into next year. I’m not going to race just to race. That’s of no interest to me, now. It may have been five or six years ago.” He admitted it is a “hard time for me” but he knows rides will become available and he wants to put his best foot forward to land a competitive Nextel Cup ride for 2005.(Bangor Daily News)
AND Asked yesterday if he would be hesitant to join another single-car team down the road, Craven answered quickly. “Absolutely,” he said. However, Craven insists he intends on remaining a part of the Nextel Cup series, NASCAR’s premier level of stock car racing. He’ll race in the Craftsman Truck Series at NHIS later this month as part of a once-a-year program through General Motors, but Craven said the trucks or the Busch Series don’t “have my attention right now” in terms of future employment. Instead, he’ll watch his Cup colleagues compete in the stretch drive of this season, looking to capitalize on what he characterizes as a lack of patience among team-leading higher-ups.(Concord Monitor)(9-10-2004)
- Replacing Wallace: Hornish or McMurray? Now that Rusty Wallace has announced that 2005 will be his final Nextel Cup season, speculation has begun as to who will replace him in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge [in 2006]. The two names that keep coming up are IRL driver Sam Hornish Jr. and Cup driver Jamie McMurray. Hornish and Wallace have the same team owner in Roger Penske, and Hornish considered moving to NASCAR last year. McMurray is under contract with Chip Ganassi, but contract situations can change. “We’ve got a year and a half to make that decision,” Wallace said. “But I don’t think we’re in the mood to go through a lot of growing pains. Miller wants a young hot shot. We need a guy who’s kicking tail right now.”(Dallas Morning News)(9-10-2004)
- Kenseth wins IROC Race at RIR: Matt Kenseth won race three of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions at Richmond International Speedway Thursday night. Starting fourth, Kenseth, the reigning NASCAR Cup champion, took the lead from IndyCar Series driver Scott Sharp on lap six of the 90-lap event and without challenge went on to dominate the remainder of the first short track event for the All-star series. Finishing second was NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver, Ryan Newman placing him in the points lead. Fellow NASCAR drivers Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively. There were two caution periods, including the competition yellow at lap-60. The first caution was for World of Outlaws star, Danny Lasoski who got his car out of shape exiting turn two. Lasoski flat spotted his Goodyear tires and was serviced by the Crown Royal crew before rejoining the field. IndyCar Series star, Scott Sharp bested the open wheel contingent finishing sixth followed by USAC Triple Crown champion J.J. Yeley in seventh. IndyCar Series drivers Helio Castroneves and Scott Dixon finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Lasoski finished 10 th followed by NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil finishing 11 th after tagging the wall, and rounding out the field, finishing 12th, World of Outlaws champion Steve Kinser. Kinser fell out of the race on lap-38 with mechanical problems.
Kenseth, in his first year of Crown Royal IROC competition spoke proudly of his accomplishment at Richmond saying, “I watched a lot of IROC races as a kid and I remember watching Mid-Ohio and Darlington with all the great drivers in it. It’s an honor for me to be invited to the IROC series, and really cool to win a race and get one of the IROC trophies.“ The Crown Royal International Race of Champions will reward one million dollars to the 2004 champion when the series concludes at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 30.(IROC Site), all three races in 2004 were have been won by first time IROC winners, Kenseth at RIchmond Lasoski at Texas and at Newman at Daytona and the last six races have been won by first time IROC winners, in the last three races in 2003 the winners were: Jimmie Johnson at Indy, Mike Bliss at Chicago and Kurt Busch at Talladega.(9-10-2004)
- RaceSafe used in IROC: for the first time, the IROC cars used RaceSafe System, owned by Racing Electronics [Jayski sponsor], at Richmond Thursday night. Race Safe Systems makes the Race Safe Warning Light System uses a radio transmitter and receiver that alerts all drivers of a caution situation simultaneously [using yellow lights].(9-10-2004)
- Gillette Young Guns – Chevy Monte Carlo 400 Notes By picking Ryan Newman. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway on September 5th, Wendy S. of Deshler, OH was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Wendy picked Newman as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Newman. This is the second time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Newman.
The Gillette Young Guns are 13 for 25 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. have four victories, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch who each have two victories, and Ryan Newman who has one victory.
Through the 25th race of the season, Jimmie Johnson has once again take over the point lead from his teammate Jeff Gordon. Johnson now leads Gordon by 50 points. Four other Gillette Young Guns are also in the top-10 and rank as follows – Earnhardt Jr. (Third), Kenseth (Fifth), Busch (Seventh), and Newman (Eighth). Kevin Harvick currently occupies the 15th position in the standings. The top-15 drivers are now separated by 480-points. Out of 7,088 laps run so far in 2004, the Gillette Young Guns have led 3,074 laps (43%). Gillette Young Guns Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman are among nine total drivers who have never recorded a DNF (did not finish) at Richmond.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(9-10-2004)
- Sadler gets cool sponsor: Richmonder Floyd Booth has joined the ranks of high-rolling NASCAR sponsors for a week, paying $2,500 to buy a pair of decals on the rear quarterpanels of the car Hermie Sadler will attempt to qualify for tomorrow’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400. The decals carry the name of Booth’s son, John A. Booth, and support a scholarship Booth endowed in his son’s name at J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College. “It’s part of the PAVE program, which assists students with what would be called slight mental handicaps,” Booth said. “My son was like that, but he also had a heart condition. He died in 1989, just before we got PAVE started in 1990.” In addition to the decals, Booth’s contribution netted him tickets to the race and a chance to take a place in Sadler’s merchandise trailer, where he’ll pass out literature and solicit contributions to the scholarship fund. “I think it’s worth it,” Booth said. “The program at Reynolds is the only one in the state. Once they find out about it, people like to support it.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-10-2004)
September 9, 2004
- Enterprise to sponsor for Truex Jr. in NHIS Cup race? UPDATE: hearing Enterprise Rent-a-car will be the sponsor for Martin Truex Jr.s ‘official’ Nextel Cup debut next week at New Hampshire where he will drive the #1 DEI Chevy. Truex Jr. subbed for #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. at New Hampshire in July when Dale Jr. was recovering from the Sport Car fire in Sonoma where he was injured, suffering burns.
UPDATE; Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Enterprise Rent-A-Car have joined forces to enter Martin Truex Jr. in the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race next weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway, the team announced Thursday. The Sylvania 300 will be Truex Jr.’s first start in NASCAR’s premier series. The current Busch Series point leader will drive DEI’s No. 1 Enterprise Rent-A-Car Chevrolet at New Hampshire , where he is a Busch North Series winner. Truex, competing in his first full season in the Busch Series, leads Kyle Busch by 95 points heading into Friday night’s Emerson Radio 250 at Richmond International Raceway, with nine races remaining this season. “It’s still sinking in that I’m running my first Cup race,” Truex Jr. said. “Enterprise Rent-A-Car and DEI have made strong efforts to give me this opportunity. Everyone at DEI rents cars from Enterprise on the weekends we race, so I’m looking forward to representing them on the track in New Hampshire .” Enterprise Rent-A-Car is also making its debut as a primary sponsor in Nextel Cup racing.(DEI Site)(9-9-2004)
- Robby Gordon out of the #31 at end of 2004? #31 Cingular Chevy driver Robby Gordon seemed to indicate Thursday this would be his final year with Richard Childress Racing, although he left open the possibility of a return. When asked at Richmond International Raceway about the plans for his Busch Series team next year, Gordon replied: “How do you say it in a nice way? Those are the only plans I do have are the Busch plans. We were sitting here in fourth (in points) this season when Richard asked me to slow down the Busch program and focus on the Cup deal.” Gordon, who has three Cup wins in his career, said he has had good runs in Cup this season, only to see them turn sour by bad luck. “We’ve had flat tires, other things have happened and got wrecked. I plan to run the (Busch team) in 24 races next year and if I don’t get anything else, we’ll fill the rest of the races with another sponsor.” Asked later if he was certain he was leaving RCR, Gordon said, “We have been consistently the best car in the camp quite often, so I wouldn’t say I won’t be there. I’ve had a good relationship with Richard and we’ll see what happens. If I could do my own deal, that’s probably what I would do.” Gordon ran his own Cup team briefly in 2001, but he never completed the whole season. He started up his own Busch team this season operated out of a new shop and has had good results, with three top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 19 starts. Gordon’s Cup team is 19th in points, with two top-five and five top-10 finishes. All three of his career wins have come with RCR. (ThatsRacin.com)(9-9-2004)
- Blaney to Gibbs…to the #11 Fed-Ex car? during Busch Series qualifying at Richmond, Speed Channel broadcaster, Larry McReynolds said the Dave Blaney has been hired by Joe Gibbs Racing to help [drive?] J.J. Yeley with his Busch and Cup series rides. Blaney could be paired up with recent Joe Gibbs Racing hire, crew chief Philippe Lopez. Blaney has worked with Lopez with Bill Davis Racing. Blaney could end up in the #11 Fed-Ex Chevy full-time or Blaney and Yeley could split duties.(9-9-2004)
- Wimmer out? UPDATE NO: Rowdy is hearing that Raybestos Rookie of the Year Candidate, Scott Wimmer may be out of the #22 Caterpillar Dodge soon. Word is he will stay in the Bill Davis Racing organization in some capacity. Hear about it on Rowdy at 1-800-95-ROWDY. Rowdy is racing news on your cell phone, with driver talk, trivia, fan commentary, and more. Call 1-800-95-ROWDY to sign up for a free no-obligation trial.(Rowdy), back to the #23 Busch car? Kenny Wallace back up? Maybe new Bill Davis Racing Truck Series driver, Mike Skinner?
UPDATE: been told by sources that this is not the case, Wimmer is safe in the #22 car.
AND Mike Skinner says there is no truth to any rumor floating that he may replace Scott Wimmer in the Caterpillar Dodge. PRN’s Mark Garrow asked Skinner about it at Richmond Thursday afternoon and his response was….”No, no…no truth to that.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(9-9-2004)
- Stewart goes fishing: Outdoor Life Network’s new show NASCAR Outdoors will feature 2002 NASCAR Premier Series Champion, Tony Stewart, fishing for bass in Birmingham, Ala. He may be fiery on the track, but he knows how to dial it down off the pavement. Fans will experience a different side of “Smoke” as he casts his lines for bass at a friend’s exclusive resort in the heart of Alabama. The episode will air on OLN(r) on Saturday, September 18th in the morning at 8:30am/et/pt and in primetime at 7:00pm/et.(Alan Taylor PR)(9-9-2004)
- Sadler’s Pit Crew Takes Over Points Lead: Elliott Sadler’s pit crew captured its fifth victory of the season by taking top honors in the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Sunday’s Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway in Fontana. The No. 38 crew, which paced Sadler to victory at California and a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, has earned $100,000 in McDonald’s/POWERade prize money and leads all crews with five season victories. As a result of the California win, Sadler’s crew moved into first place in the season standings with 889 points, eight more than the second-place crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. The two teams have been waging a season-long battle for the McDonald’s/POWERade lead and the 200,000 champion’s bonus that will be paid out at the awards banquet in New York City. Sadler’s M&M’s Robert Yates Racing Ford spent the least amount of time on pit road at California Speedway – 284.837 seconds. Coming in second was Joe Nemechek’s No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet with a time of 290.866. Jamie McMurray’s Texaco/Havoline Dodge was third at 292.925.
“Our entire organization is extremely proud of our win in the Pop Secret 500,” said Eddie D’Hondt, general manager of Robert Yates Racing. “You have to admire the outstanding effort our M&M’s “Chocolate Thunder” pit crew put forth this week to put Elliott in position to drive his way to victory. The McDonald’s/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship has been an ongoing battle for these guys and they have responded to the challenge all year long. They are the best and they have played a big part in the success the Robert Yates Racing No. 38 team has enjoyed throughout this year.” Sadler’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Darryl Lockyer (front-tire changer), Kevin Hall (front-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer/car chief), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Rodney Fetters (jackman), Preston Cordell (gas man) and Jay Thompson (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Todd Parrott.(DMF Communications PR) and see top-ten, season standings on my Pit Crew Page.(9-9-2004)
- Have you ever wanted to be on a cereal box? Honey Nut Cheerios will be giving someone that opportunity and encouraging people to live a healthier lifestyle in the process. The “heart healthy” person who can best answer the question, “How I Lowered My Cholesterol” will appear on a special-edition Honey Nut Cheerios box, which will be unveiled in February at Daytona. Search entrants will submit stories that detail how they have lowered their cholesterol and made a commitment to a healthier lifestyle at www.honeynutcheerios.com. “Making choices to live a healthier lifestyle requires the same gritty determination and strong discipline that you need to compete in NASCAR races,” said Bill Lester, the driver of the #22 Bill Davis Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, who will also be supplying heart health tips on the back of a Honey Nut Cheerios box this fall. “I am honored to be part of this program, and to help give one person out there the same thrill that I had.”(Alan Taylor PR)(9-9-2004)
- AOL Scheme at RIR: Jeff Burton’s #30 AOL Chevrolet will exchange its normal blue and yellow paint scheme this weekend at Richmond International Raceway (RIR) for a psychedelic blue and black design as part of Chevrolet’s Rock & Roll 400 promotion. Country music band “Big & Rich” will adorn the hood and quarter panels of the car for the Saturday night event. Big & Rich has been nominated for two Country Music Association awards for Best New Group of the Year and Duo of the Year. Their album “Horse of a Different Colour” currently sits atop the Billboard Country Charts.(RCR PR)(9-9-2004)
- Fleetwood Develops NASCAR Products: Fleetwood RV, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of recreational vehicles, announced a new license agreement with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) that allows Fleetwood to develop custom-designed NASCAR-licensed RV products. “While RVing has become increasingly more popular nationwide, it has always been part of the NASCAR fan experience,” said Mark Dyer, vice president of licensing and consumer products for NASCAR. “Additionally, recreational vehicles are seen all over the country, and NASCAR holds races in all corners of the United States.” NASCAR fans are known to be strong outdoor enthusiasts. Compared to non-fans, they are more likely to visit campgrounds and travel by recreational vehicles, participate in outdoor activities, and own multiple types of outdoor gear, according to the Simmons National Consumer Survey. When NASCAR fans stay at a private or public campground, they are twice as likely to travel by recreational vehicle, according to the Simmons research. Fleetwood RV will unveil all of its new NASCAR-licensed products during the October 16, 2004, race weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, as well as the California RV Show in Pomona, California, October 15-24, 2004.(Motorhome Magazine)(9-9-2004)
September 8, 2004
- Overnight TV Ratings for California: NBC’s broadcast of Sunday night’s Pop Secret 500 from California Speedway was the weekend’s top sports program on television and drew an overnight rating of 4.5 and an 8 share from Nielsen Media Research, today’s Sports Business Daily reports. Because of Hurricane Frances, however, some Florida markets were not included. Last year’s Labor Day weekend event, the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, drew a 4.4 overnight rating for NBC and went on to draw final figures of 4.9/13.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-8-2004)
- Tryson takes the Wiper Award at California: Internet voters have selected Pat Tryson as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after his driver, Mark Martin, led the most laps and finished third in Sunday night’s Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway. Tony Eury Sr. remains in first place in the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge with six wins in the contest for a $10,000 prize at the end of the season.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-8-2004)
- Sauter returns to Cup with RCR: Mag-Lite Flashlights and Johnny Sauter are teaming together this weekend to light up the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Sauter will be driving the #33 Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Mag-Lite Chevrolet with additional support from the GM Card. Sauter will have backing from Mag-Lite and the GM Card for both the Richmond and Phoenix Nextel Cup Series events. Known for its excellent design, the Mag-Lite flashlight was introduced in 1979. Police officers, firefighters, and mechanics quickly spread the word about the rugged, reliable anodized aluminum flashlight, which would change the portable lighting industry forever. Often referred to as the “Work of Art that Works,” the Mag-Lite and Mini Maglite flashlights have received many prestigious honors and awards. Mag-Lite is also proud to be a leader in the current renaissance in American manufacturing. All Mag-Lite products are made domestically and bear the “Made In The USA” tagline. Sauter identifies with the “Made In The USA” tagline as the youngest of 12 brothers and sisters from the Midwest, but he might better identify with the tagline, “Racing at Richmond.” Sauter will be a busy man this weekend driving in all three NASCAR events (Trucks, Busch and Cup) at RIR.(Mag-Lite PR/Co-Pilott Motorsports Marketing), Sauter also mentioned on FSN’s Totally NASCAR that he may run the #33 in the NHIS Cup race next week if the car comes out of Richmond intact.(9-8-2004)
- Rumsfeld will attend RIR Cup race: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will be attending the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Nextel Cup event and participating in prerace ceremonies at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. RIR officials confirmed a formal announcement will be made today concerning the race, which is being held on the third anniversary of Sept. 11. Rumsfeld, who is attending his first NASCAR race, will become the second member of the Bush administration welcomed at a Cup race this year. President Bush gave the command to start engines at the season-opening Daytona 500.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-8-2004)
- Jeff Gordon on a lottery ticket? Michigan State officials will call on two unlikely sources to help bail out next year’s cash-starved budget: Jeff Gordon and Coca-Cola. The budget deal forged last week projects $11 million for increased lottery receipts from a new series of instant tickets featuring the images of popular NASCAR drivers, such as Gordon ($3 million), and using game tickets and Keno monitors for advertising space ($8 million). “An instant scratch-off featuring NASCAR drivers can be very successful,” said Michigan Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters. “There are 13 other states that offer those kinds of tickets, and they’re the most popular instant tickets they have.”(Lansing State Journal)(9-8-2004)
- Sadler/Score split with FanZCar, have new sponsors for RIR races FanZCar response: #02 SCORE Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler and former NBA Star Bryant Stith, has terminated its sponsorship agreement with SSRacing, Inc. and The FanZCar program for lack of payment. “We worked very hard to make this program work, including re-structuring the contract three different times, but it became evident that they are unable to fulfill their contractual obligations,” stated [driver] Hermie Sadler. “It is in our best interest to move forward and find new sponsors and partners for our team.” Even though SCORE Motorsports will have no relationship with SSRacing, Inc., they will allow current members of the program to request pit and garage passes on a first come, first serve basis. Members can make their requests through the Sadler Fan Club [www.sadlerfanclub.com]. “We want to try and take care of the Hermie Sadler fans that joined this program,” Sadler concluded.
AND SCORE Motorsports and driver Hermie Sadler announced today their sponsors for this weekends races at Richmond International Raceway. Jenkins, Jenkins, & Jenkins, P.A. Attorneys at Law, located in LaPlata, Maryland, will be sponsoring their NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series car and Slip-in Food Marts will be sponsoring their NASCAR Busch Series car. Jenkins, Jenkins, & Jenkins has been involved in sponsorship in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions this year, including the SCORE Motorsports Chevrolet that Sadler drove in the spring NEXTEL Cup race at RIR. They are the first law firm to use major NASCAR sponsorship to create awareness for their firm, something that Frank Jenkins says has worked for them. “We know that NASCAR fans are very loyal,” Jenkins said. “They pay attention to who sponsors and supports the teams and drivers. We have found NASCAR racing to be a great way to get exposure and entertain guests.”
The Busch Series car will be exciting for Sadler, as well as the team, as it puts Sadler back in the familiar yellow paint scheme that both he and brother Elliott Sadler ran successfully on Virginia’s Late Model Stock Car tracks in the early to mid 1990s. Both brothers carried sponsorship for Slip-in Food Marts on their late model cars and the Busch Series paint scheme will be a direct replica of those cars. Slip-in Food Marts operates 24 convenience stores in Southside Virginia, as well as two truckstops, one in Emporia, Va. and the other in Dunn, N.C. For more information on Jenkins, Jenkins, & Jenkins, visit www.racinglaw.com.(SCORE Motorsports PR)
AND II The FanZCar will release a statement either Tuesday night or Wednesday regarding the announcement in which Hermie Sadler has terminated his contact with SS Racing, Inc. and The FanZCar.(FanZCar PR)(9-7-2004)
UPDATE: SS Racing Inc., founding company of The FanZCar has parted ways with SCORE Motorsports. “I regret the separation between SCORE and The FanZCar. NASCAR is a performance sport and very competitive. The FanZCar believed the level of performance committed to us, while luring our sponsorship, would have provided us with the exposure necessary to continue the strong growth of our members,” said Scott Stricker, President and Co-CEO of The FanZCar. “The FanZCar and all of our members have provided SCORE with a great deal of support this year. We will continue to honor any and all agreements with SCORE and wish the team success. Our primary focus will be to ensure the highest level of satisfaction for our current and future members while we continue to execute the goals and strategies of The FanZCar. The FanZCar and our members are bigger than a single driver or team. We are very excited about our future plans that will continue the growth of our organization,” added Stricker. Media inquiries should be directed to Scott Stricker and/or Eric Say. Contact information is available at www.TheFanZCar.com.(FanZCar PR)(9-8-2004)
September 7, 2004
- Another Maze – Daytona theme this time: Larson’s Farm and Maze in Brookfield, CT have cut a 9 acre NASCORN adventure maze into thier corn field that was inspired by true racing fans. A fantastic family day with games, activities, and fun in their Courtyard. Then practice your maze solving skills in their Mini-Mazes, or relax and enjoy a light refreshement. Face Painting, Chez Lenard (Hot Dogs) and other Food/beverages are available all day at the maze. The corn maze is open weekends only from late August through early November, from 10am – 6pm and are also open for holidays during the week from 11am until 6pm. All dates are weather permitting. Please call ahead or check their website: www.larsonsfarmmarket.com for daily availability updates, actual opening dates, and pricing.(PR), see my #15 Team News and Links page for the #15 Corn Maze.(9-7-2004)
- “Drive for Diversity” Crew Application Deadline Extended: Access Marketing & Communications announced that it will continue to accept resumes for the “Drive for Diversity” crew member development program through September 30, 2004. “Drive for Diversity” is seeking talented minorities and women to receive training to go “over-the-wall” as part of the pit crew of a NASCAR Series team in 2005. “Drive for Diversity” will hold its second annual motorsports testing and evaluation combine this fall. Prospective pit crew members will try out before a team of racing professionals and staff from Access, as well as other motorsports organizations. At the “combine,” participants will engage in a variety of activities, including physical fitness evaluation, skills test and oral interviews. From the combine, a pool of participants will be selected for the “Drive for Diversity” program. Candidates who are selected for the program and complete training from 5 OFF 5 ON Race Team Performance will have the opportunity to be placed with a NASCAR Series team for the 2005 season. For more information on the program, please visit www.drivefordiversity.com.(Access Marketing & Communications) and more info and an email address on my Racing Schools/Jobs page.(9-7-2004)
- One More Race to get in the ‘Chase’: With one race remaining, there is still time to secure a place in the final top-10 before the race for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup begins in earnest in two weeks at New Hampshire. As much as 156 points can change within one race, based on the difference of a first-place finish leading the most laps (190 points) as opposed to a 43rd-place finish (34 points). All of the top-15 points positions following California are separated by less than 156 points, meaning all of those positions conceivably can change hands at Richmond International Raceway.
As a result of their finishes in the Pop-Secret 500 at California Speedway, two more drivers have clinched a spot in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, They join Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who clinched at Bristol:
Drivers Locked in the Chase / Points ahead of 11th
Jimmie Johnson 449
Jeff Gordon 399
Dale Earnhardt Jr 333
Tony Stewart 271
Matt Kenseth 220
Elliott Sadler will be assured a spot in the final top-10 if he starts at Richmond because he is more than 156 points ahead of 11th-place Jamie McMurray. The rest of the top-10, Kurt Busch [needs to finish 42nd or better at RIR], Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, and Mark Martin, all could lose their top-10 ranking at Richmond.
The only drivers mathematically still eligible for a spot in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup:
Pos Driver Ahead of 11th
7th Kurt Busch 153
8th Ryan Newman 45
9th Kasey Kahne 34
10th Mark Martin 25
Pos Driver Behind 10th
11th Jamie McMurray 25
12th Bobby Labonte 36
13th Dale Jarrett 43
14th Jeremy Mayfield 55
15th Kevin Harvick 56
Seven drivers in the top-10 in points changed positions at California Speedway.
A total of $970,103 will be paid to the driver who finishes 11th in the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, an increase of more than $400,000 over one year ago. That includes a $250,000 bonus, which will be paid to the 11th-place finisher [at the end of the year]. Additionally, the 11th-place driver will also join the top-10 drivers on the stage at the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Banquet in New York in December.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-6/7-2004)
- Points to be reset…if there are more then 10 then…..: After this week’s race at Richmond, those eligible for the championship chase will have their points reset. The points leader after Richmond will have a point total of 5,050 with each position after dropping by five points so that 10th place has 5,005 points. If there are more than 10 drivers, the 11th-place driver will have his total reset to 5000. If there are any other drivers who qualify, they also will be at 5,000 points.(News and Record), what happens to the rest of the drivers? Their points are scored the same, and for the rules and some info on the Chase, see my New Points System News Page.(9-7-2004)
- The King Helps ESPN Celebrate: Richard Petty was invited to help celebrate ESPN’S Silver Anniversary on Tuesday night Sept. 7, and attended the “ESPN 25 Party” at the ESPN Zone in New York City. To commemorate each year ESPN has been on the air, the cable sports network profiled a nationally-prominent athlete by a significant year in his career. Petty represented the year 1984, the year he captured his record 200th NASCAR Nextel Cup victory at the Daytona International Speedway. Petty was to be joined by other athletes as well as ESPN”s top on-air talent from the past 25 years.(Williams Company PR)(9-7-2004)
- Elliott testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway’s calendar shows Bill Elliott scheduled to test Evernham Motorsports’ #91 Dodge on Wednesday and Thursday. The track says fans are permitted to watch from its fan center, but it cautions that testing schedules are subject to change.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-7-2004)
- One Team gets their hand slapped: When NASCAR announced its new points system in January, some drivers complained. Since then, many have changed their mind, at least publicly, saying NASCAR made the right call. Don’t expect to hear a dissenting opinion as at least one team [hearing it was the #12 team] has been told by NASCAR to keep its driver from bashing the system.(News and Record)(9-7-2004)
- #8 to promote boxing at RIR: Budweiser, sponsor of the #8 NEXTEL Cup car with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., will promote the boxing battle royale for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world between Oscar de la Hoya and Bernard Hopkins with a decal on the Bud Chevrolet this weekend. The decal will ride on the decklid of the Bud car for Saturday night’s Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond. Budweiser is presenting the fight, which can be seen on Pay-Per-View Saturday night, September 18.(fingerprint/Busweiser PR)(9-7-2004)
- Four Mo Races in the #00 for Kenny: Kenny Wallace will drive the #00 Michale Waltrip Aarons Dream Machine Chevy in four more Cup races: Talladega, Lowes Motor Speedway, Atlanta and Homestead,(Kenny Wallace Site)(9-7-2004)
- DNF’s: #38-Elliott Sadler has the longest current DNF [Did Not Finish] streak at 30 races and is the only driver who has run all 25 races and not had a DNF. #89-Morgan Shepherd has the most DNF’s at 13 [in 15 races], the drivers who have ran all 25 races with the most are #43-Jeff Green and #77-Brendan Gaughan with 8. Gaughan also has a streak of six straight races with a DNF.(9-7-2004)
- The Longest Line Rule: NASCAR officials reaffirmed in the drivers meeting that the car that gets its lap back [Lucky Dog] in a restart must start at the tail end of the longest line. That car can move up before the restart only if other cars ahead pull to the bottom of the track in a sign for series officials that they’re letting the car by.(News and Record)(9-7-2004)
- Sad News – Driver Killed: The Silver Spring Speedway racing community was greatly saddened Saturday night when one of its longtime competitors was fatally injured in a crash during the super sportsman feature. “Wild” Bill Heckert, 61 years-old, of Carlisle, PA was involved in a lap 27 accident. His car struck the outside wall in turn one and flipped over. Emergency Personnel responded to the scene and Heckert was extricated from the car. He was transported to the Holy Spirit Hospital. It was later reported that Heckert had sustained fatal injuries. Heckert has raced super sportsman at Silver Spring for almost 40 years. He had one career feature win and was a heat race winner Saturday night. He is survived by his wife, Beattie, who was always by his side at the speedway. Further details, including funeral arrangements, will be released by the speedway at the appropriate time.(Silver Spring Speedway)(9-7-2004)
September 6, 2004
- Intake Manifolds Submitted: According to NASCAR sources all three manufacturers have submitted new intake manifolds for consideration of approval by NASCAR for the 2005 season. The deadline for new part submittal was Sept. 1. The Ford piece doesn’t represent an earth shattering improvement, and actually the new item was submitted to help the engine builders assemble and seal the intake system. The current intake posses a problem due to the orientation of the bolts used to secure it to the head and the fasteners don’t allow a seal to the quality of the other manufactures. The GM types are keeping their cards close to their vest, but cited assembly issues. The Dodge Boys weren’t available to learn their desires for a new intake.(Team Ford Racing)(9-6-2004)
- Andretti and ppc Racing team up? UPDATE: John Andretti could be in a Cup car as early as October’s Charlotte race. Although officials from ppc Racing would not “confirm or deny” that a deal has been signed, garage sources say Andretti will race a ppc Ford. Dave Charpentier, who was replaced as Ricky Craven’s crew chief in July, signed on with ppc last week and likely will work with Andretti.(FoxSports/Sporting News)
AND hearing the team will run five Cup races in 2004 and a full season in 2005 and has a sponsor signed [haven’t heard who…yet](9-6-2004)
- Magic Johnson watches first Cup race: Magic Johnson saw his first Nextel Cup race Sunday, the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway, but the former Laker superstar figured that, in the last few months, he’d made progress in learning the sport. Said Johnson, chairman of the steering committee of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity: “What I’ve learned the most is that there’s a lot of closet minority fans. My office is flooded with calls. I’m saying to myself, ‘Wow! And I thought we had a problem.’ ” The program is NASCAR’s attempt to involve minorities, as fans, officials, mechanics, salespeople and, ultimately, drivers. Johnson has been directing the project since February. “I’ve had about 30 meetings, so far, with minorities who want to be involved in NASCAR,” he said. “I’ve been fielding a lot of phone calls [from NASCAR insiders]. There’s a lot of people in the sport who want to be involved. So I’m trying to understand the sport… I’ll continue to educate myself, because the more I know, the more I can share…. When I see 120,000 people here, I want 10,000 to 20,000 of those to be minorities. That’s the good part of this sport, it’s for all people. Yes, I want a driver someday, but the biggest goal to me is more minorities in the sport, fans, crewmen, mechanics, the people selling shirts and caps.” Johnson said corporate America had expressed interest. “Minorities love cars and speed,” he said. “That’s not a hard sell. And we don’t want to take over the sport, or anything like that. We just want to be a part of it. If we never get a driver, that’s OK, as long as we get [other] people in the sport.”(Los Angeles Times)(9-6-2004)
- Robby Gordon In Documentary: Robby Gordon will fly back to Los Angeles, California on Wednesday, September 8, to see the premier of the action documentary, “Dust to Glory” in which he is one of the featured drivers. The film, by Brownwa Pictures, is about the Baja 1000 and is directed by Dana Brown, who also brought us the 2003 surfing documentary, “Stepping into Liquid.” Also featured in the documentary will be racers, Sal Fish, Mario Andretti, Malcolm Smith, Chad McQueen, and Ricky Johnson.(Insider Racing News)(9-6-2004)
September 5, 2004
- Sadler wins at California: #38-Elliott Sadler won the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway, his 2nd win of 2004 and 3rd of his career. Sadler is 6th in Drivers Points and just needs to start the race at Richmond to clinch a spot on the Chase for the Nextel Cup, the top five have clinched. #9-Kasey Kahne finished 2nd, for the 5th time in 2004 [Rockingham, Las Vegas, Texas, Michigan in June and now California]. The rest of the top five were #6-Mark Martin, #42-Jamie McMurray and #12-Ryan Newman. Points leader coming into the race, #24-Jeff Gordon lost and engine and #48-Jimmie Johnson takes over the points lead with his 14th place finish.
For the race rundown, top 10, lap leaders, cautions, narrative and notes on my California Race Info/Rundown Page
Race Results at:
- Martin to test 2005 tires at Lowe’s: #6-Mark Martin has the early part of his week scoped out doing work for the industry. That work will come in the form of a Goodyear tire test on Tuesday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The test won’t do Martin or the rest of the Ford teams a lot of good for this year’s car configuration as the tires that Martin will test are for the 2005 season, done in a car built to 2005 specification—the test Taurus will have a spoiler that’s an inch shorter than what he’ll be running tomorrow evening. There was no word on who besides Martin will be at the test, but given his ability to dial in a car and maximize tire use it’d be difficult to think of a better candidate for the mission.(Team Ford Racing), good chance this will get rained out and postponed.(9-5-2004)
- Herbie the Love Bug on the track: Matt Dillon spent hours in the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage on Friday morning, dressed in a black driving suit with orange flames which was pulled down to his waist. Walt Disney Pictures was filming scenes plus cameos of Casey Mears, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rusty Wallace, Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray for the new “HERBIE” movie. Herbie was in the garage, with his handler and hauler. The picture stars Lindsey Lohan and Michael Keaton, and filming continued throughout the garage on Friday.(Insider Racing News)
AND Yes, that was a Volkswagen at the tail end of the Busch Series field during the parade laps for Saturday’s Target House 300. No, NASCAR hasn’t changed its rules. No, the #53 car didn’t compete in the race won by Greg Biffle. Actually, it was Hollywood. In conjunction with NASCAR, Walt Disney Pictures used the California Speedway background to film part of the movie “Herbie; Fully Loaded.’ It will be the fifth movie in the Herbie saga, which started in 1969 with “The Lovebug.’ The latest Herbie movie will start Lindsay Lohan, Justin Long, Breckin Meyer, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton. The film, scheduled for release next summer, will also feature cameos from Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Kevin Harvick and Rusty Wallace. Director Angela Robinson and her crew filmed scenes in the track’s garage and scoring tower. Robinson visited the Speedway in May during the Auto Club 500 to learn about NASCAR and determine what scenes could be shot. The production crew will return later this month and in October to complete physical and visual effect shots.(Los Angeles Daily News)
AND II Now wouldn’t it be cool to see Herbie go thru inspection – Taken At Fontana 9-4-03. The car actually went out and took laps with the Busch cars on the Pace laps, and was dicing it up with the guys that had to go to the back. The #55 Chevy, part of the movie, was supposedly driven by Andy Hillenburg. Thanks to Greg Kammerman and Robert Binns for the images, click on any of the images to see larger versions.(9-5-2004)
- Not NASCAR but Sad News – since many are into motorcycles: Indian Larry, Larry Desmedt, a master motorcycle mechanic and stunt man, passed away August 30th following an accident while performing last Saturday at the Liquid Steel Classic and Custom Bike Series show at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center in Concord, NC. He was best known for his appearances on Discovery Channel’s “Great Biker Build-Off” show. “He was riding and standing up on his seat,” said Mike Downs, Cabarrus County deputy county manager. “The bike started to wobble and he was not able to regain control.” Indian Larry fell off the bike before a crowd of about 8,000. He was not wearing a helmet. Paramedics were standing by and aided him until he could be airlifted to CMC, Downs said. “Cabarrus County along with the staff at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center sends its sincere condolences to the family of Indian Larry,” said Robert M. Freeman, chairman of the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners. “Indian Larry was a man with great skill and talent as a mechanic and metal sculptor. He will be truly missed by his fans here in Cabarrus County and throughout the nation.” Indian Larry was best known for his eccentric nature, according to his official Web site. His résumé includes movie, video and television.(Charlotte Observer)(9-5-2004)
- Schrader not retiring anytime soon: #49-Ken Schrader, at 49 the oldest [full time driver] on the tour, is making no retirement plans. Schrader, from St. Louis, as is Wallace, grew up racing against Wallace. “And I could tell you some stories,” Schrader said with a laugh. “We raced with each other until we went separate ways, Rusty to ASA, me to open-wheel dirt. Rusty has always been full-speed-ahead. Very much so. From the get-go.” The retirement issue, Schrader said, “is nothing new. It happens all the time.” But it appears that NASCAR is on the verge of watching an entire generation of stars hang it up. And it’s unclear if NASCAR has any marketing plans for this generation, or even cares. “The sport’s in good shape with all them kids, there are some really good ones, on and off the track,” Schrader said. “And if all the guys 45 and over were to quit, the sport would move right along. It’s just part of the deal that you’re not going to do it forever. I didn’t think I’d do it this long when I came in (in 1988). Didn’t have a clue. You just don’t know how things are going to work out.” Schrader not only has his own race shop with cars and trucks, but he owns a short track in St. Louis and has part ownership in a racing association.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-5-2004)
- Victory Junction Kicks Off Fall Family Weekend Program: Victory Junction is kicking-off the fall family weekend programs on Friday, September 17th with a special weekend geared toward foster families. Campers and their families will enjoy the camp experience free of charge and participate in activities such as boating and fishing, horse back riding, and arts and crafts. The Victory Junction Foster Families weekend will allow these special children and families to share a weekend of relaxation and fun, a time to be normal kids, and time to bond as a family. Any family with foster children can apply, including foster children with medical needs and foster children who are healthy. Interested families should call the camp at 336-495-2017 for an application or to request more information. There are plenty of spaces available. Campers and their families would arrive September 17, and depart on September 19. Parents interested in learning more about the camp or how to apply can visit www.victoryjunction.org.(Victory Junction Gang Camp PR)(9-5-2004)
- Glick to be honored at California Speedway: Shav Glick one of the most distinguished motorsports journalists in the United States will be honored by the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award panel, for his lifetime of service to the award, at California Speedway on Sunday, September 5th. Glick has been the motor sports reporter for the Los Angeles Times since 1963 and a member of the Expert Panel since 1969 – the second longest tenure on the panel. A California native, Glick can trace his journalistic roots to covering baseball legend, Jackie Robinson, in Junior College. Just like his native state being a microcosm of racing; Glick, an octogenarian, has covered just about every form of big league motor sports. Earlier this year he became the first daily print journalist and the second media member to be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame, in Novi, MI. As a token of esteem of the panel Glick will be presented a Maurice Lacroix Swiss wristwatch and a plaque in pre-race ceremonies for the Pop Secret 500 in the Nextel Cup Series.(DOTY PR)(9-5-2004)
- Ganassi signes Lagasse Jr. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today the signing of 22-year-old Scott Lagasse Jr. to its Talent Development Program. The St. Augustine, Fla. native joins the program with impressive credentials as a driver and a person. Lagasse Jr. becomes the fourth driver on the Talent Development roster at Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, which includes David Stremme, Reed Sorenson and Ryan Hemphill. Lagasse Jr. began running in the ASA series in 2003 where he earned an impressive four top-10 finishes in just six starts. This year, Lagasse Jr. captured his first win in the series at Kentucky Speedway and his first pole at Indianapolis Raceway Park. As impressive as his on-track performance is, Lagasse Jr. is also committed to his education. He attends Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. on a full academic scholarship where he is on track to earn a Business/Marketing degree.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-5-2004)
- 1,900 people respond to promotion for Bud One Night Stand: Fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. lined up in droves to donate blood and receive free tickets to Thursday’s Budweiser One Night Stand event in San Bernandino, Calif. The Blood Bank of San Bernandino and Riverside Counties reports the number of area blood doners in August far exceeded the target mark, thanks to Earnhardt and the mass of fans that want to see him Thursday night. The promotion, a joint effort between Budweiser, Los Angeles rock station KCAL 96.7-FM, and the Blood Bank, promised two free tickets to Budweiser One Night Stand for anyone who donated a pint of blood in any of the five San Bernandino or Riverside County doner centers.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR)(9-5-2004)
- New Time for Race Day on Fox Sports Radio: Motorsports news-talk radio show, Race Day, will have a new time slot beginning on September 12th. Race Day is moving to a 6am – 9am (eastern) live time slot — just during football season, and will switch back to 9am to noon next year before the Daytona 500. However, Fox Sports Radio will also re-broadcast Race Day every Sunday from 9am to noon eastern time, so local stations can chose to carry it live from 6 to 9 am eastern, or can carry the entire rebroadcast from 9am to noon. Either time slot, it’s the complete Race Day program, with all the news, interviews and insiders information from the world of racing! www.RaceDayOnFox.com.(9-5-2004)
- Driver to be inducted into Dirt Track Walk of Fame at LMS: Dirt late model racing veteran Freddy Smith will be inducted into The Dirt Track Walk of Fame prior to the Golden Corral Dirt Late Model Championship Saturday night, Sept. 18, at The Dirt Track @ Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Smith will join 18-time World of Outlaws sprint car champion Steve Kinser, DIRT modified legend Bob McCreadie, longtime sprint car ace Sammy Swindell, DIRT founder Glenn Donnelly, late model legend Mike Duvall and the late AMA motorcycle star Will Davis in the Walk of Fame. To purchase tickets, call 1-800-455-FANS or visit www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(9-5-2004)
- StockCarFans.com – Rumblings – California: I won’t say it was a snoozer, but when the highlight of the first-half of a race is watching guys pick up paper on the frontstretch it’s not going to take much to see some improvement in the second half. After the sun went down and the lights took hold, the racing got better. And after a 10 lap sprint to the finish it was Elliott Sadler who took home the spoils. Sadler captured the Pop Secret 500 tonight at California Speedway for his second win of the season (he grabbed the 500 at Texas in April) and the 3rd of his Cup career. He’s now in a 9-way tie for 81st on the all-time win list. His win was the 66th for Robert Yates Racing and was worth a healthy $279,398 from the over $6M in posted awards.
Kasey Kahne (2nd) was the bridesmaid again for the 5th time this season. His last runner-up spot was at Michigan in June.
Carl Edwards (6th) had his career-best (albeit only three races) finish tonight. His previous best was 10th at Michigan last month.
Scott Riggs (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Dover in June.
Rusty Wallace (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Lowe’s in May.
Joe Nemechek (12th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Chicagoland in July.
Brian Vickers (13th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Daytona in July.
Kyle Busch (24th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 32nd at Lowe’s in May (only 3 races).
STREAKIN….Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
Dale Jarrett has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Robby Gordon (+26). DOWN: The Big Dropper is a tie between Greg Biffle (-29) and Jeff Gordon (-29), followed by Casey Mears (-23), Bill Elliott (-22), Dale Earnhardt Jr (-22), and Brendan Gaughan (-20). Lots more downers than ups this week….and this is BD #4 for Jeff Gordon on the season.
Shane Hmiel led today (once for 4 laps) in his Nextel Cup debut. He becomes the 47th different driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 48 different leaders.
Jimmie Johnson takes over the point from Jeff Gordon tonight. He’s up by 50 markers (like that means anything).
The race for the “Chase” is alive from 8th to 15th. Those spots are separated by 76 points with Kevin Harvick taking the biggest hit tonight. He runs good at Richmond, so he’s not out of it yet but his back is certainly against the wall. Robby Gordon (22nd to 18th) made the best move forward tonight, while the aformentioned Mr. Harvick (8th to 15th) threw it in reverse.(StockCarFans.com (Nextel Cup) Newsletter)(9-5-2004)
September 4, 2004
- Congrats! Kip Childress (operations manager, southern division of Racing Electronics – Jayski sponsor) and wife Jenny are proud parents of a new baby girl. Brianna was born on Sept.1st at 7:42 pm. Everyone is doing fine. Kip and Jenny also have a 5 year old daughter, Sarah.(9-4-2004)
- Dr Phil and Gordon: In an episode entitled “Dr. Phil – Trading Places II” scheduled to air on Sept. 7, popular syndicated talk show host Dr. Phil will share his experience of riding shotgun alongside four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon around Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet two-seater. Taped earlier this year, Dr. Phil took a brief Richard Petty Driving Experience course around the 1.5-mile speedway before turning the wheel over to Gordon. Check local listings for time and channel.(HMS Site)(9-4-2004)
- Robby looking at options for 2005: #31-Robby Gordon is a free agent. His contract with Childress expires at the end of the season, and he doesn’t know who he will be working for when the 2005 season opens at Daytona in February. He might end up being his own boss again. He would like to continue working for Childress; however, he said he has been talking to three other “well-established, elite teams” in the series. “My time with Richard has been great. I think we have had some good success together,” said Gordon. Since he began driving for Richard Childress Racing in September 2001, Gordon has won three races and finished in the top five eight times. “I have had a great relationship with him. Don’t get me wrong,” Gordon said. “We have been talking. But my contract is up, and it is what it is.” On Wednesday, Gordon spent most of the day hanging out at Harrah’s in Las Vegas. The hotel and casino used to sponsor A.J. Foyt’s Cup team, but now Gordon does endorsements for Harrah’s. Gordon even had a stock car painted in Harrah’s colors that is used for promotional purposes. Harrah’s isn’t on the side of his Childress-owned Chevy Monte Carlo in the Cup series, but Gordon said if you look hard enough at the side of his Busch Series car, which he owns, you will see a Harrah’s logo. He said his “deal” with Harrah’s could “very easily be taken to the Cup level.” For the past couple of days, Gordon has been talking with a few potential sponsors, and he said he is close to some sort of a deal for next season. “The next few days could get pretty interesting,” Gordon said. “I have learned so much from Richard when it comes to owning your own team, like where to spend the money. If I do end up owning my own team in Cup, I will be so much smarter than when I did this the last time.”
“Don’t forget I own my own Busch car this year, and I have had some pretty good results,” said Gordon, who opened the season with five top-10 finishes in the first eight Busch Series races. If he does end up driving for someone else next year, which he said still is a “very real possibility,” Gordon said he might add another car to his Busch team. One of the cars would be for him, and he would drive it on a part-time basis. The other he would like to give to a young driver, possibly Brandon Miller, 23, from Bakersfield, CA. But if he can land the right kind of sponsorship deals, he said he might be able to fund two Cup cars and one Busch car. The Busch car would be driven off-and-on by Gordon. Childress said he wants to announce his lineup of drivers in October.(Orange County Register)(9-4-2004)
- Hurricane affecting Sacks team: Hurricane affects NASCAR team which fields the #13 Arc Dehooker/Vita Coca Dodge NASCAR Nextel cup car of driver/owner Greg Sacks – is the only team based in Daytona Beach, FL., home of the stock car racing sanctioning body. That also makes it the only team based in the imminent path of Hurricance Frances, expected to slam into Florida late Saturday. The team has been in its Daytona Beach shops all week preparing for Richmond next week – and preparing for Hurricane Frances. It is Running a partial schedule this year in preparations for a full 2005 Cup run. Owner/driver Greg Sacks: “What can you do? We’re not in an evacuation area, so we boarded up the windows and got everything inside that was outside – the same things everybody is doing at home. After that, all you can do is wait and hope and pray – for ourselves, and for everybody else who is being affected by the hurricane. “So we’ve been working on our race cars and getting ready for Richmond and the races we have the rest of the season. By the first of the week, this thing should be out of here and we’re still going to need to be ready to race. So everybody is doing their jobs. “Racers are racers, man. They don’t think about anything else. If Dorothy had been a racer, instead of holding Toto in the tornado in ‘Wizard of Oz’ she would have been yelling at somebody to check the camber one more time. “So we’re just going to check the camber one more time, and be ready to go at Richmond next week. We can’t do anything about the storm, so we’re concentrating on the things we can control.”(Williams Company PR)(9-4-2004)
- Elliott looking to race more in 2005: Knowing what he now knows about being “partially retired,” Bill Elliott [#98 Dodge this week] said he’d like to increase the number of races on his 2005 calendar. “Ten to 12 races is still what my goal is,” he said. “I don’t know that I want to do any more than that. For this year, I’ve not really done enough. We’ve tested a good bit the last few weeks and I’ve got comfortable with the car.”(NASCAR.com)(9-4-2004)
- Tire Problems Addressed UPDATE: Tire problems at Indianapolis during the Brickyard 400 drew the wrath of NASCAR’s Bill France Jr., who has told Goodyear he plans to enforce minimum tire air-pressure standards. NASCAR inspectors are to roam the pits checking tires, and France is threatening to park for two laps any team found with low air pressure. Crews drop tire pressure to make cars handle better.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR officials have apparently backed off from plans to monitor tire air pressure on pit road. NASCAR’s Bill France Jr. and Goodyear executives talked about just such a move, according to NASCAR sources, following major left-side tire problems at Indianapolis that marred the Brickyard 400.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-4-2004)
- Wallace downplays Earnhardt influence: #2-Rusty Wallace sought to downplay remarks he made during his retirement announcement this week at Daytona Beach, Fla., in which he claimed he “didn’t want to get hurt” and that the death of seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt in 2001 “kind of got to me.”
“It got misconstrued a little bit,” Wallace said Friday at California Speedway. “That didn’t cause my decision to retire. It influenced it a little bit. His death hasn’t caused me to retire. His death hasn’t caused me to get scared. His death hasn’t caused me to do anything different. I just thought it was an unbelievable shame that the guy did that much in his life and – boom – he couldn’t enjoy any of it.” Wallace said his decision to retire at the end of the 2005 season has been a slow coming one. “I started thinking about it about two years ago. Then I kind of made the decision about eight months ago,” he said. “I wanted to retire at the top of my game. I think I’ve still got enough in me that I can go out there and still kick all these guys’ butts if I can.”(ThatsRacin.com)(9-4-2004)
- President Bush at RIR? UPDATE – No?: hearing President Bush will attend the Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway on 9/11/2004 and that security for the race will be heightened even more since the race falls on 9/11, the three year anniversary of the attacks.(7-5-2004)
UPDATE – No? Denied: Rumors persist inside the NASCAR traveling show that President George W. Bush will be at Richmond for the 9/11 race, going there straight from Ground Zero in New York. Officials keep denying it or hedging, but the grapevine has it that the denials are all to keep the Secret Service happy by stifling advance notice.(Orlando Sentinel)
AND Flat out No: Contrary to previous reports from other news outlets, President George Bush will not visit the Richmond International Speedway next weekend on September 11th.(Motorsport.com)(9-4-2004)
- Championship Scenarios… If a driver is more than 190 points ahead of 11th-place after California he cannot fall out of the top 10 and will be assured a spot in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
If a driver is less than 190 points ahead of 11th-place after California, but is more than 156 ahead of 11th, all he must do is start at Richmond to insure a spot in the Chase for the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
Any driver that is less than 156 points behind 10th after California will have an opportunity to race his way into the top 10 or remaining positions at Richmond if the 400 points come into play.(Tiebreakers are wins, seconds, thirds etc., if needed)(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-4-2004)
- DEI and Hendrick teams test at NHIS: Hendrick Motorsports teammates #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson tested at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) on Wednesday, September 1 in preparation for the SYLVANIA 300 on Sunday, September 19. Both teams have clinched spots in the 2004 “Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup”. Martin Truex, Jr. tested on Tuesday, August 31 and Wednesday, September 1 in the #1 Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Truex, Jr. will be attempting to qualify for the upcoming SYLVANIA 300 at NHIS. For ticket and race information, please visit the Speedway online at www.nhis.com or call Speedway Guest Services at (603) 783-4931.(NHIS PR)(9-4-2004)
September 3, 2004
- Hurricane Francis Stuff: Lowe’s is also helping consumers stock up on information before the storm [Hurricane Francis – see www.storm2004.com or www.weather.com]. Homeowners can dial 1-877-3PREPARE (1-877-377-3727) toll-free for hurricane preparedness and safety tips in both English and Spanish. Informational flyers are available in stores, and the Lowe’s Severe Weather Guide is in stores and at Lowes.com/hurricane.
AND Atlanta Motor Speedway will open its campgrounds this weekend to evacuees of Hurricane Frances. The speedway, which is equipped to handles thousands of campers during its two annual NASCAR race weekends, will open its two largest gravel campgrounds to evacuees free of charge. AMS will also open its camper shower facilities, allowing evacuees free access to hot showers and restroom facilities. “It’s just the thing to do,” Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark said. “These are our neighbors, and they’re in need. It’s just the right thing to do.” Already a million people in Florida have been ordered to leave their homes, and states of emergency have been declared in both Georgia and Florida. With Hurricane Frances’ path projected to continue up the eastern seaboard, more evacuations are expected. With Atlanta area hotels already filling up, and state officials wondering where to put all of the hurricane evacuees, opening up the AMS campgrounds just seemed a natural, Clark said.
“We had all of this space, and it was going to go unused this weekend,” Clark said. “It’s the least we can do to open it up for someone who really needs it.” Atlanta Motor Speedway is located approximately 25 miles south of Atlanta on Hwy 19/41 and approximately eight miles west of I-75. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway offices at (770) 707-7904 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. Those interested in camping at Atlanta Motor Speedway should enter the speedway grounds at Entrance E off Hwy 19/41 or Entrance G off Richard Petty Boulevard and park in the large gravel lot located adjacent to these entrances. For on-site assistance or directions, visit the ticket office/gift store building.(AMS PR)(9-3-2004)
- Designated Drivers Available: Designated Drivers Inc., Miller Brewing Co. and Gate City Beverage will offer a “Partners in Prevention” program during this weekend’s NASCAR events at California Speedway. Booths at Gates 12 and 14 will offer fans information about impaired-driving and also will arrange to have a trained, licensed, insured driver transport them home in their own vehicle free of charge.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(9-3-2004)
- 3rd-Qtr Driver of the Year Voting Begins: Jeff Gordon heads a list of Championship contenders as Speed Channel’s Driver of the Year’s fan vote goes public for the third time this year. This is a unique process where a poll of experts and fans determine the outcome. Besides NASCAR’s Gordon, drivers nominated for the fan vote include Greg Anderson (NHRA), Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR), Tommy Kendall (Trans-Am), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), and Dan Wheldon (Indy Racing League). In its 38th year, the Speed Channel DRIVER OF THE YEAR’s award for this quarter will be determined by an independent vote of the 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on the cumulative tally of fans’ voting at www.speedtv.com. At the end of the year a special separate vote will be held for the SPEED Channel 2004 DRIVER OF THE YEAR. The panelists will have their quarterly vote on September 15th and the fan vote will close soon thereafter.(DOTY PR)(9-3-2004)
- Race of Champions to Announce 2004 Team USA UPDATE: The 2004 Race of Champions (ROC) Nations Cup – the motorsports equivalent of soccer’s World Cup – will announce its two Team USA drivers [Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon] on Friday, Sept 3rd for the Dec. 4, 2004 race in Paris, France. This year’s competitors include seven-time Formula One Champion Michael Schumacher and current World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb. Countries are represented by two-driver teams. At the ROC Nations Cup race, teams compete based on the number of heat wins and combined times (in the event of a draw). In every match, racers go head-to-head against their counterparts, resulting in extremely close action and finishes often separated by only fractions of a second. The team emerging from Saturday’s final earns “the World’s Fastest Nation” title.(Golin Harris PR)(9-3-2004)
UPDATE: The 2004 Race of Champions (ROC) Nations Cup – the motorsports equivalent of soccer’s World Cup – is set to draw the attention of fans from every major racing series in the world to Paris, France on December 4th, 2004 [the day after the Nextel Cup Banquet]. This year’s competition marks the first year that the points leaders from the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Formula One and the World Rally Championship will come together to battle for their country’s right to claim they are “the World’s Fastest Nation.” Friday [Sept 3rd], at California Speedway, NEXTEL Cup points leader Jeff Gordon and second place driver Jimmie Johnson, running just 24 points behind Gordon, announced that they will lead Team USA’s effort to reclaim the Nations Cup.
Gordon and Johnson are intimately familiar with the challenge the ROC Nations Cup presents, having both been on the 2002 winning team that claimed the first Cup ever for the U.S. The ROC Nations Cup offers the ultimate test of a driver’s skills, and is the only opportunity for racers from different countries and disciplines of motorsports to compete in equal machinery and on an equal track. Four-time NASCAR Champion Gordon and 10-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner Johnson are attempting to capture the United States’ second Nations Cup title, but it will not be an easy task considering the stiff competition that includes seven-time Formula One Champ Michael Schumacher driving for Germany and current World Rally Championship leader Sebastien Loeb behind the wheel for France.
Immediately following this year’s NASCAR banquet, Gordon and Johnson will board a plane provided by Learjet, Inc, a subsidiary of Bombardier, Inc. and travel to Paris, France for the competition. “We are very proud to be playing a role in these great athletes’ effort to recapture the title they first won for the United States in 2002,” said Dana Arnold of Learjet. At the ROC Nations Cup, teams are eliminated based on the number of heat wins and combined time (in the event of a draw). In every match, racers go head-to-head against their counterparts, resulting in extremely close action and finishes often separated by only fractions of a second. The team emerging from Saturday’s final lays claim to “the World’s Fastest Nation” title.
For more information on the ROC – Nations Cup, please visit: www.raceofchampions.com.
For ticket information to the 2004 Race of Champions, please visit: www.stadefrance.com.
The 2004 Race of Champions – Nations Cup supports ICM (The institute for Brain and Spinal cord Disorders) and ADREC (The Association for the Development of Research on the Brain and Spinal cord Disorders) www.icm-institute.org.(Golin Harris PR)(9-4-2004)
- 2005 Dodge Approved: NASCAR and Dodge officials confirmed Friday the new 2005 model Dodge car submitted this season has been approved for competition. NASCAR spokesman Mike Zizzo said the body of the 2005 version Dodge had been approved, but there remained a few “minor issues” to be completed. Dodge had made all of NASCAR’s deadlines, Zizzo said. John Fernandez, senior manager for Dodge Motorsports Operations released a brief statement Friday: “Dodge has received approval from NASCAR for the 2005 Dodge race car body. We’re pleased with NASCAR’s decision, and look forward to racing in 2005.” Dodge has so far declined to name the model name the car will carry. It will have an official unveiling of the new model in the coming weeks. The Nextel Cup Series rulebook provides for a Sept. 1 deadline for new final approval of new manufacturer submissions for the next season. Dodge has used the Intrepid model since its return to Cup racing in 2001.(ThatsRacn.com), all rumors and talk point to the 2005 Dodge being the ‘Charger’, see past Dodge news on my Dodge Past News page.(9-3-2004)
- Ganassi Extends Mears: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that they have exercised their option to extend Casey Mears’ driver agreement into the future. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed per company policy. “We are excited about having Casey (Mears) as part of the team into the future,” said team owner Chip Ganassi. “Casey’s been a team player and has worked hard. The #41 Target team has become a contender this year and we’re looking forward to Casey and the team winning races soon.”(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(9-3-2004)
- Hmiel to run more races for Davis: Bill Davis Racing, has hired Shane Hmiel to run five Cup races this season beginning with Sunday’s Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway and hopes to sign him to a full-year deal for next year.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
AND one of the races will be at Richmond International Speedway.(BDR Site)(9-3-2004)
- Vickers wins the pole at California, ALMOST a new track record: Rookie of the Year candidate #25-Brian Vickers won the Budweiser Pole with a near track record of 187.417mph [the track record was set by Ryan Newman in April 2002, 187.432mph], knocking #98-Bill Elliott off the pole. Elliott will start 3rd after running a lap of 186.306. #19-Jeremy Mayfield ran a fast late lap and will start 2nd, #97-Kurt Busch will start 4th and #9-Kasey Kahne rounds out the top five. Some part-timers making the race include: #84-Kurt Busch [18th], #23-Shane Hmiel [29th], #11-J.J. Yeley [32nd] and #36-Boris Said [36th]. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., in his first race in the Tide Chevy will start 24th.
See my Jayski’s Pop Secret 500 Qualifying/Starting Lineup Page for qualifying results, pole progression, provisionals, who DNQ’d, rookie results.
For qualifying results/starting lineup, see:
- California Qulaifying Notes:
Brian Vickers won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Bud Pole for the Pop Secret 500, lapping California Speedway in 38.417 seconds at 187.417 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 38.414 seconds, 187.432 mph, set April 26, 2002.
This is Vickers’s second career Bud Pole in 30 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. His other Bud Pole came at Richmond on May 14, 2004, 14 races ago.
It is Vickers’s second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Fontana.
There have been eight different Bud Pole winners in nine races at California. Qualifying was canceled in 1999.
Vickers became the fifth multiple Bud Pole winner in 2004. Jeff Gordon (six), Kasey Kahne (four), Ryan Newman (four) and Casey Mears (two) are the other drivers with more than one Bud Pole this season. Qualifying was canceled at Watkins Glen and second Michigan due to weather.
Jeremy Mayfield had the second-fastest time with a qualifying lap of 38.634 seconds at 186.364 mph and will join Vickers on the front row. It is his 11th top-10 start in 2004 and third top-10 start in his nine races at California.
This is 10th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2004. Dodge has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has two.
Bill Elliott (third) posted his third top-10 start in his fifth race this season. He came up just shy of his 101st front-row start. Elliott has 55 Bud Poles and 45 second-place starts.
Kurt Busch (fourth) posted his ninth top-10 start in 2004 and his second in five races at California.
Kasey Kahne (fifth) posted his 11th top-10 start in 2004. He started on the Bud Pole in his only other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at California.
Shane Hmeil (29th) and J.J. Yeley (32nd) both qualified for their first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. It was the second attempt for Hmeil. He failed to qualify at Daytona in July 2003 driving for Richard Petty. It was the first actual attempt for Yeley. He was present at Michigan two races ago but qualifying was canceled.
Ward Burton, Ken Schrader, Jimmy Spencer, Jeff Fuller and Derrike Cope used provisionals to complete the 43-car field. Five drivers failed to qualify for the Pop Secret 500: Kevin Lepage, Hermie Sadler, Mike Wallace, Morgan Shepherd and Kirk Shelmerdine. This will be Fuller’s ninth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start and his first since October 2000.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-3-2004)
- Stock Car Fans – Ramblings – California: Brian Vickers grabbed the Bud Pole today at California Speedway for our first visit here at this time of the year with a speed of 187.417 mph (38.417 sec)….and that was a ton ahead of Jeremy Mayfield. He was over 2/10ths quicker than Jeremy, and when you consider positions 2-11 were separated by about the same margin you could say that Vickers was in another league today. This is Brian’s second pole of the season (and career)….he had the top-spot at Richmond when we were there in May.
Something to ponder….Anybody see the TV ratings for last week’s race? When the PR piece is slugged “Bristol race second most watched cable program for the weekend” you figure they were okay…..but the numbers were down more than 20% over last year’s ratings. That’s a MONSTER drop when you consider that Bristol is one of our marquee events. You can try to spin it any way you want, but the people at TNT must be scratching their heads and getting ready to do some make-goods. Troubling indeed….
If we don’t see a significant spike in this week’s numbers, you’ve gotta start asking some tough questions. With a prime-time Sunday Night race on the East Coast (compared to that horrible Darlington they keep telling us about), anything less than a 15% increase in numbers should be considered disappointing.
Jeremy Mayfield (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Dover in June. Bill Elliott (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Texas in April (only 3 races). Scott Riggs (9th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Daytona in July. Jeff Green (13th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Lowe’s in May. Ricky Rudd (20th) has his best starting spot since he started 20th at Daytona in July. Bobby Hamilton Jr (24th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 18th at Kansas last October (only 8 races). Welcome…..and Welcome Back: Shane Hmeil (29th in Bill Davis’ #23 this week) makes his first career Nextel Cup start. He dnq’ed in the Petty #43 at Daytona in July of 2003. J. J. Yeley (32nd) makes his first career start this weekend in Joe Gibb’s #11. He was washed out at Michigan a couple weeks ago. Boris Said (36th) makes only his second oval-track start….he started 27th and finished 34th at Homestead in November of 1999. Jeff Fuller (42nd) gets the start in the Arnold #50 this week…..only the second Cup start of his career. He started 29th and finished 30th at Richmond in March of 1992 [Jayski NOTE: Fuller has made 8 [this will be 9] career Cup starts, last in Oct 2000].
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans Nextel Cup Newsletter)(9-3-2004)
- Bristol TV Ratings: The Sharpie 500, televised this past Saturday night from Bristol by TNT, was the 2nd most watched cable program, behind the 2004 Video Music Awards on MTV. The ratings was 3.4 with 5,743,000 viewers, down from 2003 which had a 4.3 Nielsen Media Research rating and 5,958,000 viewers.(Nielsen Media Research Site)(9-3-2004)
- Gillette Young Guns – Pop Secret 500 Notes: By picking Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the top Gillette Young Gun finisher in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 28th, Barbara M. of Manville, NJ was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Barbara picked Earnhardt Jr. as the highest finishing Young Gun by going to www.gilletteyoungguns.com and entering before the weekly deadline.
As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Earnhardt Jr. This is the ninth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Earnhardt Jr.
The Gillette Young Guns are 13 for 24 in the win column so far in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. have four victories, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch who each have two victories, and Ryan Newman who has one victory.
Out of 6,838 laps run so far in 2004, the Gillette Young Guns have led 3,064 laps (45%). Through 24 races, the six members of the Gillette Young Guns have combined to lead 161 times for a total of 3,874.98 miles.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(9-3-2004)
- Camo Scheme for Biffle in California: This weekend at the California Speedway, the #16 Ford of Greg Biffle will be make laps in what the Army refers to as “urban camo.” Urban camo is a black, white and gray camo that the Army uses when engaged in urban combat. Urban camo is primarily worn by military police and SWAT teams involved in such combat situations. The National Guard Ford will be primarily white with a black and gray camo pattern. Under the urban camo paint scheme is that same car the team took to victory lane at Michigan just two weeks ago. The National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and one of the nation’s longest enduring institutions. The National Guard operates in all 50 states, three territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Islands) and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit the National Guard website at www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.(Roush Racing site), see an image of the scheme on my #16 Team Paint Scheme page.(9-3-2004)
- NASCAR Teams Finding Milwaukee Mile Ideal For Testing: Joe Gibbs Racing elected to bring their two team NASCAR NEXTEL Cup effort to The Milwaukee Mile for a test session, as they are squarely in the hunt to win a third NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship. Drivers Tony Stewart and Bobby Labonte tested Monday and Tuesday, and were joined by Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Target Chip Ganassi Racing teams, all in an effort to prepare for tracks similar to The ‘Mile they’ll compete on yet this season. Stewart, Labonte, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, and Scott Pruett (for Ganassi) spent time dialing-in their race car’s flat track set-ups at The ‘Mile. Their test in Milwaukee does not count against their team’s test allotment. Teams testing at The ‘Mile can apply suspension set-ups to both the ¾-mile fairgrounds oval in Richmond, VA, and at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS), a flat one-mile track patterned in a lot of ways after The Milwaukee Mile in banking, shape and design. Burton, a new teammate to Harvick with RCR, shared the #29 Chevy on Monday, while Pruett spent two full days of testing to provide set-up information for Ganassi’s three full-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, with drivers Jamie McMurray (currently 14th in points), Casey Mears (16th) and Sterling Marlin (19th). Defending NASCAR champion and Cambridge, WI native Matt Kenseth, tested with his Roush Racing team at America’s Legendary Oval in July. A return trip for Kenseth (5th in points) or any of the NASCAR teams in contention for the Cup is a possibility.(The Milwaukee Mile PR)(9-3-2004)
September 2, 2004
- Hamilton Jr. takes over the #32 Tide car starting at California / UPDATE 6: It was reported on Fox Sports Net’s Totally NASCAR show that PPI Motorsports is building cars for 2005 #32 Tide Chevy driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr. and Hamilton Jr. may be in one of those PPI Motorsports Chevy’s by Martinsville on Oct 24th. No word on if it will be in the #32 Tide Chevy [and Craven out?] or if he will run PPI Motorsports 2nd car, #96, that Johnny Benson tested in May.
MORE Sources close to Bobby Jr.’s future Cup team, the 32 Tide Chevrolet, say that cars are already being built for Bobby Jr. and that he could be in that car some time this year. Perhaps as early as Martinsville.(FoxSports)(8-26-2004)
UPDATE: during Speed Channel’s NASCAR Live on Friday afternnon, Bob Dilner said he was told Ricky Craven will be in the #32 Tide Chevy for the rest of the 2004 season.
AND Car owner Cal Wells was noncommittal about reports that Bobby Hamilton Jr. might replace Ricky Craven in his cars before the end of the season, but Wells said he would like to have Hamilton in his car for the last four or five races. “But we’re committed to finishing the season the way we are…. but anything can happen,” Wells said. That indicates it could be up to Craven what happens next.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-28-2004)
UPDATE 2: Cal Wells will keep Ricky Craven in the #32 Tide Ford the until season’s end, even though his ’05 driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr., was recently released from his Busch Series ride. If Craven were to find an opening, Wells says he would not be opposed to plugging Hamilton into the spot early to gain familiarity with the team.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-30-2004)
UPDATE 3: hearing that Ricky Craven is out of the #32 Tide Chevy immediately and Hamilton Jr. will run the car at California and test at Hickory this week to get acquainted.(8-30-2004)
UPDATE 4: Despite recent pronouncements that such a deal would be unlikely, it now appears NASCAR Busch Series driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. will get an early start in his Nextel Cup ride with PPI Motorsports for next season. Barring last minute disapproval from PPI’s sponsor, Procter & Gamble [Tide], Hamilton Jr. should take over the driving duties for the #32 Tide Chevrolets beginning this weekend at California Speedway.(ThatsRacin.com)(8-31-2004)
UPDATE 5: Bobby Hamilton Jr.’s Nextel Cup career could begin sooner than expected. Fox Sports Net’s Sean Pragano has learned that Hamilton has asked to be in California on standby to drive the #32 Tide Chevrolet contingent upon contract negotiations between current driver Ricky Craven, owner Cal Wells and sponsor Procter and Gamble. Hamilton Jr.’s former Busch Series crew chief Harold Holly is expected to take over crew chief duties for Mike Beam on the #32 as soon as Hamilton takes over that ride, again, as early as this weekend.(FoxSports)(9-2-2004)
UPDATE 6 – Hamilton Jr. In; Craven will run at NHIS: PPI Motorsports announced today that Bobby Hamilton, Jr. will assume driving duties for its #32 entry in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starting with this weekend’s event at California Speedway. Ricky Craven will return to the #32 entry for one more race, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at New Hampshire International Speedway held on September 19, 2004. Owner Cal Wells III said, “We are very grateful Ricky Craven chose to allow us the opportunity to get a head start on the 2005 season and let us put Bobby Hamilton, Jr. behind the wheel of the #32 car. This will give Bobby Jr. and the team a chance to work together for the remaining events to build a foundation for next season. We are also very excited to be taking Ricky back to New Hampshire this fall.” Mike Beam will continue to serve as crew chief for the remainder of the 2004 season. Harold Holly, who was hired to serve as crew chief for Hamilton, Jr. in 2005 for the #32 team, will also play a role in Hamilton, Jr.’s transition with PPI Motorsports this season.
“Harold has already made considerable contributions to next year’s program,” said Wells. “We had announced previously that Harold and Bobby Jr. would start testing under the PPI Motorsports banner, and Harold has been working on building cars for Bobby Jr. in preparation. We understand Harold has obligations to his current employer and do not want to distract him from his duties. However, Harold will be atop the pit box on race day to acclimate both himself and Bobby Jr. to the organization.” Bobby Hamilton, Jr. has 20 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup starts to date, including six in the #09 car during the 2004 season.(PPI Motorsports PR)(9-2-2004)
- NASCAR Museum in the works: An official NASCAR museum and hall of fame could be roaring into downtown Atlanta. After Atlanta officials pitched the idea earlier this year, NASCAR decided to request bids from at least three cities — Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Fla., and Charlotte — for a NASCAR hall of fame and museum, said Atlanta business and civic leaders familiar with NASCAR’s plans. NASCAR is still working on the details of the attraction, but it may be comparable in size and scale to the new 85,000-square-foot World of Coca-Cola, expected to open by 2007. Herb Branham, a NASCAR spokesman at its headquarters in Daytona Beach, said it’s “basically way too premature to speculate on any sort of project like that right now.” George Pyne, NASCAR’s chief operating officer, was not available for comment Wednesday. Pyne is a former Atlantan who once worked at developer John Portman & Associates with Sam Williams, head of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Though several tracks, such as Daytona and Talledega, Ala., have museums nearby, NASCAR has no official attraction besides its cafes in cities including Las Vegas and Myrtle Beach, S.C. Georgia has its own state racing hall of fame, Thunder Road USA, in Dawsonville. [links on my Hall of Fame page](Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(9-2-2004)
- Ward’s car to show No Fear: Haas CNC Racing’s #0 NetZero Chevrolet will have a new look this weekend for the Labor Day weekend running of the Pop Secret 500 at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. Evidently fear, or more precisely fear of change, is not a factor for Ward Burton and the NetZero Racing team, and the normally all black Chevrolet Monte Carlo will feature a special Fear Factor paint scheme to showcase NBC’s popular action-packed Monday night reality series. Sporting flames to match its new orange, black and yellow paint job, the car gives NetZero the chance to spotlight their involvement with the show as the sponsor of the timeclock used for stunts and challenges. Now in production on a fifth season with Joe Rogan (“NewsRadio”) as host, the Top 20 series “Fear Factor” will celebrate it’s landmark 100th episode — which has enabled the enduring program to become the first reality show to be sold into syndication — on Monday, Nov. 8 (8-9 p.m. ET).(Motorsports Marketing Solutions/NetZero Racing PR)(9-2-2004)
- DW to be honored: Darrell Waltrip will be honored at the 16th annual MS Dinner of Champions on Sept. 28 at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel [TN]. The Mid South Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society chose Waltrip to receive the MS Hope Award ”for his outstanding civic and community dedication.” The retired three-time NASCAR champion is active in a number of Middle Tennessee charities.(Tennessean)(9-2-2004)
- Gordon’s Pit Crew Wins At Bristol: The pit crew for Robby Gordon won the McDonald’s Drive-Thru Pit Championship fueled by POWERade in Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was the fourth victory of the season for the No. 31 Cingular Wireless crew, which has amassed $80,000 in season prize money. The record of four McDonald’s/POWERade victories ties Elliott Sadler’s crew for most pit crew wins in 2004. The victory also lifted Gordon’s crew from eighth to sixth in the season point standings. The crew for Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues to lead in the title chase that will pay $200,000 to the season pit crew champion. Earnhardt’s crew has a 12-point lead over Sadler’s crew – 868 to 856. Gordon’s Cingular Chevrolet spent 207.043 seconds on pit road in Bristol. Greg Biffle’s National Guard Ford was second with a time of 211.289 and Earnhardt’s Budweiser Chevy was third at 264.916. “Saturday night was tough,” said Chris Andrews, crew chief for the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing Team. “The long green-flag run was brutal on the drivers and pitting the car without losing too much ground is always a challenge at Bristol because of the track’s short distance. “Robby and the guys really worked hard all night to get the job done. I knew they were doing pretty good when we actually gained two positions after everyone was forced to make green-flag pit stops approaching the midway point of the race. We were 12th and then we were 10th. That doesn’t seem like much, but Bristol is one place it is not easy to gain position when you come down pit road.” Gordon’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Kevin Nervegna (front-tire carrier), Timmy Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Matt Kreuter (rear-tire carrier), Ron Liddell (gas man), Mike Moore (jackman) and Coy Hedrick (catch can).(DMF Communications PR), see the top 10 and season standings on my Pit Crew page.(9-2-2004)
September 1, 2004
- Crown Royal allowed to sponsor #99 in 2005? Jack Roush will likely get that $15 million a year Crown Royal sponsorship for [#99] Carl Edwards, according to NASCAR sources.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2004)
- Speedway, fans and sponsors raise over $40,000: This year’s Sharon Speedway Victory Junction Gang Camp (VJGC) Benefit Night was twice as good as last year’s. On Saturday, Aug. 21, Sharon Speedway, with tremendous help from its fans, sponsors and a few NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers, raised more than $40,000 – double last year’s gift – for Victory Junction, the retreat for seriously ill children and their families in Randleman, N.C., that was founded by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, his wife Pattie and actor Paul Newman. The event raised money in various ways, including an autograph session with NASCAR drivers Tony Stewart, Ken Schrader, Kyle Petty and Dave Blaney and a raffle for Bristol race tickets provided by Goody’s Headache Powders and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. The track also donated the proceeds from its merchandise and ticket sales that night. Fans gave generously, too, stuffing VJGC collection containers with coins and bills. Sharon’s Sunburst Environmental Sprints division driver Ed Lynch Jr. contributed half of his nightly winnings, and D.A. Holt, Inc. of Berlin Center, Ohio, presented speedway officials with a $1,000 check for the camp. Fans that are part of the Employee Activities Association at BP Amoco Whiting Refinery donated $750 for VJGC, which will be matched by their employer for a total donation of $1,500. Donations also included non-monetary gifts. Tom’s Sewer and Septic Service provided the colorful fireworks that entertained the fans during the VJGC event, and children taking part in Sharon Speedway’s Kids Crew donated materials for and made five blankets for the campers at VJGC which they presented to Petty. Also, the Niles, Ohio Toys R Us store donated two large baskets of toys, a case of crayons and a case of markers for the campers. As of June more than 11,000 people have helped to raise over $24 million in cash and pledges for Victory Junction Gang Camp. The camp operates solely on donations, and it will cost an estimated $2.5 million to run the camp each year.(VJGC PR)(9-1-2004)
- NASCAR Teams Using Facilities at ORNL to Increase Performance: More and more, NASCAR teams seeking a racing edge are making pit stops at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Temperature Materials Laboratory [ornl.gov / Oak Ridge, TN] for high-tech tips to better performance. “ORNL facilities that are used to test and develop transportation and materials technologies are gaining popularity among the NASCAR set,” HTML Director Arvid Pasto said. “HTML provides a means for racing teams to study ways to enhance a car’s ability to race at high speeds.” Pasto said the HTML helps solve problems in advanced energy conversion systems — such as race cars — to make them more efficient and reliable. Engineers with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) of Welcome, N.C., which includes three cars [#’s 29,30,31] on the Nextel Cup circuit and two more in the Busch series, said they have been able to improve performances of their cars during the first half of the 2004 season based in part on research conducted last fall at the HTML.(more at azom.com.(9-1-2004)
- What’s Up with Terry Labonte? UPDATE NOT Retiring: What’s in store for Terry Labonte, Brian Vickers and Kyle Busch? Hendrick Motorsports expects to have the #5 and #25 Nextel Cup teams under one roof next season, copying the successful model shared by Jeff Gordon’s #24 and Jimmie Johnson’s #48 crews. Vickers will be in the #25 car next season, but a Hendrick source says a final decision has not been made on whether Labonte, 47, will run the full 2005 season in the #5 car. He could retire or semiretire, allowing Busch, 19, to step into that ride. The source says the choice is up to Labonte, who has won two Cup championships.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(8-31-2004)
UPDATE: #5-Terry Labonte, testing at Richmond on Tuesday, hinted at big news. The two-time champion, who reportedly is mulling a limited schedule similar to Bill Elliott’s this year, said he will be revealing his future plans later this season. “We’re probably going to announce something not too far off, and I’m very excited about it,” said Labonte, 47. “I can’t tell you what it is. I can tell you I’m not retiring.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-1-2004)
- Biffle to have different sponsor(s) in 2005? #16-Greg Biffle’s Ford, which carries sponsorship from the National Guard and Subway, will have ‘things’ different next year , some of the changes could be in form of associates. Speculation has the National Guard not returning. Some of Biffle’s sponsors may migrate over to the #99 and Carl Edwards.(Last Weeks NASCAR Scene)(9-1-2004)
- Hermie to skip Calif. Busch race but will run rest of the Cup sched: #02 SCORE Motorsports and driver Hermie Sadler will not enter the NASCAR Busch Series race this Saturday at California Speedway, but will return to the Busch Series next weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Sponsorship and performance are the two main reasons for the decision, according to co-owner and driver Hermie Sadler. “When we started the season, we were only planning about 15 races,” Sadler said. “Then we wanted to try and run all of the races, which has really stretched our people and equipment very thin. It has gotten to the point where our schedule to make all of the races was affecting our preparation and performance, so we made the decision to cut back on the number of races we will run in the Busch Series for the remainder of 2004 and put more emphasis on trying to be more competitive in the races we enter.” Sadler says he has fielded some offers from some driver/sponsor combinations, and that the team may look at putting another driver in the car for selected races. “We are interested in putting a competitive product on the track, regardless of who drives the car,” Sadler said. “If involving some other drivers and sponsors helps us be more competitive, then we will do that.” The team will announce its remaining Busch Series schedule in the next few weeks. The team also plans to compete in all remaining NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races in 2004, beginning with the Pop Secret 500 this weekend in California.(Score Motorsports PR)(9-1-2004)
- House of Blues for Sterling: The #40 Coors Light Dodge will be highlighting Coors Light’s partnership with House of Blues by showcasing them on the lower rear quarter panels and the decklid for this weekend’s race in California.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)
- Special Scheme for Mears at California: Casey Mears will run a special Target House paint scheme on the #41 Dodge this weekend for the Pop Secret 500. Target House, funded by Target Stores and vendor and celebrity partner contributions, is an innovative approach to long-term housing for families whose children are receiving life-saving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Mears will also be wearing a special helmet designed by Josh Oehl, a current resident of Target House.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)
- #100 for Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to start his 100th Nextel Cup race on Sunday at California Speedway.(Lowe’s Racing)(9-1-2004)
- MTV to film Mears and McMurray’s Cribs: #41-Casey Mears and his home will be featured on MTV Cribs. MTV will film at his home next week and his segment will be aired later this year.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)
AND #42-Jamie McMurray will open up his house in Statesville, N.C. next week to MTV to film an episode of MTV Cribs that will air later this year. The television show showcases celebrity’s homes and lifestyles.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)
- Tire Problems Addressed: Tire problems at Indianapolis during the Brickyard 400 drew the wrath of NASCAR’s Bill France Jr., who has told Goodyear he plans to enforce minimum tire air-pressure standards. NASCAR inspectors are to roam the pits checking tires, and France is threatening to park for two laps any team found with low air pressure. Crews drop tire pressure to make cars handle better.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-1-2004)
- Johnson to run a special tool scheme at California: #48-Jimmie Johnson will drive a special Tool World paint scheme this weekend at California Speedway. The new Tool World is a remodeled section of 500 bits, blades, and power tool accessories in over 700 Lowe’s stores across America. The new Tool World is designed for speed and convenience so customers can get what they need fast. Tool World sports the largest selection of America’s best tool brands like DeWalt, Hitachi, Bosch, Shop Vac, Irwin and many more. Johnson’s car will feature Hitachi power tools and Black & Decker Firestorm power tools.(Lowe’s Racing)(9-1-2004)
- McMurray to anchor the news: #42-Jamie McMurray will tape a segment as guest anchor on Channel One News. Channel One News is a daily, televised, 12-minute newscast that is beamed via satellite to 12,000 middle, junior and high schools representing over 8 million students and 400,000 educators.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-1-2004)
- Drivers to film cameos in new Herbie movie: Casey Mears, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick and Rusty Wallace will be filming cameo appearances in the Walt Disney Picture Herbie: Fully Loaded at California Speedway on Friday. The picture stars Lindsey Lohan, Matt Dillon and Michael Keaton. See past news on this movie and other NASCAR Themed movies on my Movies News page.(9-1-2004)
- PRESS RELEASE: see the official Tom Roberts press release – Wallace Announces 2005 Will be his final Driving Season.
AND see images of the press conference and one of the schemes Wallace will run at the Rusty Wallace site.(9-1-2004)
- NASCAR Family Feud; Ward, Sterling, Mears, Salder – Nov 8th airdate: Ward Burton,crew chief Bill Ingle, and three additional members of the NetZero Racing team (Derick Jennings, Robby Maschhaupt and Ken Anderson) will take part in the taping of an episode of NASCAR Family Feud next Wednesday.(NetZero Racing PR), there will be two tapings of shows on Wed. Sept 1st in Hollywood CA, for more info if you are out in CA for the race next week at Fontana, see www.familyfeud.com, have not seen yet when the show will air or what other drivers/teams will be part of it.(8-25-2004)
AND Sterling Marlin will be taping at the “Family Feud” daytime game show on Wednesday, September 1, 2004. The rest of his “family” will include Lee McCall, Tony Glover and a couple of other teammates.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(8-27-2004)
AND II add Casey Mears, Jimmy Elledge and some of the team members.(8-28-2004)
AND III: Elliott Sadler, Carolyn Yates and spotter Brett Griffin along with other members of the #38 team will be taping an episode of the Family Feud on Wednesday, Sept. 1st. Sadler and his team members will play against Sterling Marlin and the #40 team. The teams will compete for $20,000 for their charity of choice – Sadler’s is the Autism Society of America. The show is slated to air the week of November 8th.(Elevation Group PR)
AND IV: Add David Green and Bill Lester to the list drivers and teams flying to Hollywood earlier than most this week, to tape an episode of the game show “Family Feud”.(Frontstretch)
Jeremy Mayfield vs Kevin Harvick
Ward Burton vs Kenny Wallace
Scott Wimmer vs Casey Mears
Sterling Marlin vs Elliott Sadler
Bill Lester vs David Green.(9-1-2004)
- Shelmerdine gets sponsorship for California: 2nd Chance Race Parts and RacingUnderdog.com are once again teaming up with NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Kirk Shelmerdine, and will be on board the Freddie B’s #72 Ford Taurus as associate sponsors for this weekend’s Pop Secret 500 at the California Speedway. The two companies were also associate sponsors for Shelmerdine for several events earlier this year. Rick Russell, owner of 2nd Chance Race Parts, has just launched a website, 2ndchanceraceparts.com. 2nd Chance, based in Mooresville, NC, buys and resells used race cars, parts, and accessories from top-tier Nextel Cup teams. Russell will be directly involved with the team’s effort – he’s driving Kirk’s hauler out to California for the Pop Secret 500. 2nd Chance Race Parts supplies race teams in all levels of competition from Canada to Australia, and includes several NASCAR independents among its clients. RacingUnderdog.com is a NASCAR commentary and opinion site which focuses on the drivers who are generally out of the media spotlight. This weekend, the site will combine fantasy with reality as it sponsors the two main events for ESCORS, the European Online Stock Car Racing Series. ESCORS is the top simulated racing league in Europe. Kirk Shelmerdine is the only independent driver who has attempted to qualify for every Nextel Cup event in 2004. He is currently 42nd in the NASCAR Nextel Cup driver point standings, and 41st in the Nextel Cup owner point standings. In his only prior career start at Fontana, Kirk finished 42nd in the Auto Club 500 in May.(Racingunderdog.com PR)(9-1-2004)
- Not NASCAR but could be BIG Auto Racing News UNTRUE: As rumour of a shock Michael Schumacher retirement gains momentum, Ferrari’s racing German has called a press conference. Speculation is doing the rounds that with seven titles now in the bag, the 35-year-old feels he has nothing left to prove in F1. See full story at f1racing.net.
UPDATE – UNTRUE see Speed Channel article – Michael Schumacher Laughs Off Retirement Rumors.(9-1-2004)