September 2006 News Archives
News from September 30, 2006
- Montoya to test at Kentucky Oct 3-4: Chip Ganassi Racing’s Juan Pablo Montoya will prepare for his Oct. 6 ARCA RE/MAX Series debut with a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway Oct. 3-4. He will be joined Oct. 3 by new Brewco Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series driver Casey Atwood in the #27 Kleenex Ford and five-time NASCAR Elite Division Kentucky Speedway race winner Jeff Fultz, who will practice in a #72 CJM Racing machine. Fultz also is scheduled to test Oct. 4. Fans will be able to view testing for free from the designated area outside the speedway Fan Center off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Rte. 35.(9-30-2006)
- Vickers not allowed in Hendrick Meetings: #25-Brian Vickers, who is leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season to drive for Toyota’s Team Red Bull, no longer takes part in the customary Hendrick race weekend team meetings. Only crew chief Lance McGrew is allowed to attend the at-the-track meetings where strategy and race setups are discussed among crew chiefs and drivers. “We all know there are few secrets in this sport and it’s important to keep as many as possible,” Vickers’ teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson said.(Yahoo! Sports)(9-30-2006)
- West Virginia-based race team licensed to compete in NASCAR: West Virginia fans of NASCAR racing will have a home-grown reason to cheer in the 2007 race season – a West Virginia-based race team and a chance to be there when it all begins next season. Revelocity Racing, LP, created by four West Virginia natives, was established to provide much needed exposure for the state of West Virginia via competition in the Nextel Cup Series. Revelocity Racing was sanctioned by NASCAR earlier this summer and was assigned #73 for the Nextel Cup Series. The team is currently in negotiations with potential drivers for the 2007 season but has committed to the “Car of Tomorrow” schedule which includes 16 races in 2007. To choose that lucky fellow West Virginian, the team is hosting the “Ultimate Fan Experience” contest for one lucky fan. The prize package will feature Hot Passes and access to the REVELOCITY RACING team and driver for the premiere race at Bristol next year. To sign up, interested participants should attend the final race at Ona Speedway in Milton on Saturday evening beginning at 6:00 p.m. or visit www.revelocityracing.com to enter.(MetroNews Radio Network)(9-30-2006)
- Mopar scheme for Kahne at LMS: #9-Kasey Kahne is scheduled to drive a Mopar scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 14th, see an image of the scheme on the #9 Team Schemes page.(9-30-2006)
- Montoya tests at Iowa: Juan Pablo Montoya’s crew took about 45 minutes to become acclimated at Iowa Speedway on Friday morning. Montoya needed far less time to adapt. Turing laps in a stock car for only the second time since announcing his move to NASCAR, the former Formula One and Indianapolis 500 winner posted impressive speeds during an ARCA Series test on the 0.875-mile track. Montoya ranked third of 18 drivers with a 99.713-mph lap in the morning. After an hourlong break for lunch, he was third fastest in a four-hour afternoon session at 102.727 mph. Former NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace, who retired from the Cup series in 2005, and Blake Bjorklund led the session at 103.294 mph. Montoya, who missed most of the first hour of practice while his team fixed a mechanical problem on the car, was surprised by the pace of his learning curve. He tested Monday at Talladega Superspeedway, a 2.66-mile oval where a driver has much less input on speeds. Wallace, who designed the speedway that sits among cornfields about 40 miles east of Des Moines, was impressed by Montoya and hopes he returns to Iowa Speedway for its ARCA race on Oct. 15. “To come right out of the box and be right up to speed, there’s no doubt in my mind that Ganassi made the right decision, and you made the right decision to come to NASCAR,” Wallace told Montoya during a break from testing a Rusty Wallace Inc. car as a substitute for his youngest son, Stephen, who was practicing a Busch Series car at Kansas Speedway on Friday. “The fans here really love you, and you have been the buzz around NASCAR. I know it’ll be a winning team. There’s no concerns in my mind about that.” Montoya will make his first start in a stock car in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 6. The treacherous 2.66-mile oval also will mark his first experience with racing in traffic. Brad Parrott, who will serve as Montoya’s crew chief for the rest of the season, said the Talladega race would be an important step in Montoya’s development. It’s expected Montoya will spend as much time as possible in a car through the final two months of the season, racing in the ARCA and Busch series and possibly attempting to qualify for the Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19.(full story at USA Today)(9-30-2006)
- Hauler malfunction slows Elliott: #37-Bill Elliott starts 39th after ending a bizarre day for his team. The liftgate on the hauler that unloads the cars broke. The team couldn’t get its car out until another team [#46 Carl Long’s team] backed its hauler to the rear of the hauler with Elliott’s car. That allowed the team to roll Elliott’s car on the liftgate of the other hauler. That was completed nearly three hours after the garage opened.(Roanoke Times)(9-30-2006)
News from September 29, 2006
- New ‘Team Director’ [crew chief] for Sadler: Chris Andrews, who started the year as the team director of the #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge, is no longer being referred to as a co-team director. Andrews had been listed with Josh Browne for several weeks as “co-directors” (the Evernham word for crew chief) for the team, but the listing was changed on the Elliott Sadler team roster this week. Andrews has been reassigned to work on special projects at Evernham. Browne was brought in to help with the transition from Jeremy Mayfield to Sadler when Sadler first joined the team at Michigan in mid-August.(SceneDaily.com)(9-29-2006)
- Kahne wins pole at Kansas: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway with a speed of 178.377mph for his 5th pole of 2006 and 11th of his career. The rest of the top-10 starters are #10-Scott Riggs, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #25-Brian Vickers, #18-J.J. Yeley, #07-Clint Bowyer, #2-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth, #19-Elliott Sadler and #31-Jeff Burton.
The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #06-Kluever, #45-Petty, #44-Labonte, #61-Chaffin, #55-Waltrip, #32-Kvapil, #37-Elliott and #78-Wallace. Missing the race were: #4-Wimmer, #49-Lepage, #92-Blount and #46-Long who wrecked on his first lap. See the qualifying results on my Kansas Qualifying/Grid Page.(9-29-2006)
- Where do the Chasers start at Kansas [order of points standings]:
#31-Burton starts 10th
#8-Earnhardt Jr. 12th
- Ramblings – Kansas Qualifying Notes: #9-Kasey Kahne takes his fifth Bud Pole of the season today at Kansas Speedway and for the third race in a row we’ve got a Chaser on the pole. Kasey’s time of 30.273 (178.377 mph) was good enough for his 11th career top-spot and he’ll lead ’em to the green for Sunday’s Banquet 400 with team-mate Scott Riggs alongside for an all-Evernham front row. Kasey is now tied with Kurt Busch for most poles this season.
Jimmie Johnson (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Lowe’s in May.
J. J. Yeley (5th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at Lowe’s in May.
Todd Kluever (22nd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 3th at Chicagoland in July.
STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
The “Chasers” may be talking about this weekend, but you know none of them will feel comfortable till we get next weekend out of the way. With Talladega lurking in the distance, so much for “playing ’em one at a time”.(Stock Car Fans)(9-29-2006)
- Kansas Qualifying Notes: • Kasey Kahne won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Banquet 400, lapping Kansas Speedway in 30.273 seconds at 178.377 mph. Matt Kenseth holds the track-qualifying record of 29.858 seconds, 180.856 mph – set Oct. 8, 2005.
• This is Kahne’s 11th career Bud Pole in 101 Nextel Cup Series races.
• This is Kahne’s fifth Bud Pole in 2006. He joins Kurt Busch in the lead for the season Bud Pole Award. Jeff Burton (four), Denny Hamlin (three), Greg Biffle (two) and Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
• This is Kahne’s first Bud Pole at Kansas Speedway. Kahne has started from the top 10 in two of his three races at Kansas – both from the front row. His other start was 42nd. He has posted 16 top-10 starts this season.
• Kahne became the sixth different Bud Pole winner in six races at Kansas Speedway.
• Scott Riggs posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 30.348 seconds, 177.936 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the Banquet 400.
• This is the second 1-2 sweep of qualifying for Evernham Motorsports in 2006. Kahne won the Bud Pole at Charlotte in May and Jeremy Mayfield started on the outside of the front row. Dodge last swept the front row at Dover in June (Ryan Newman – first and Mayfield – second).
• This is the 13th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• Jimmie Johnson (third) has posted four top-10 starts in five races at Kansas – all top fives and two from the front row. Johnson has 18 top-10 starts in 2006.
• Brian Vickers (fourth) has posted his first start better than 17th in three Kansas races. He has just 10 top-10 starts this season.
• J.J. Yeley (fifth) is making his first Nextel Cup start at Kansas. This is his seventh top-10 start in 2006. Clint Bowyer (sixth) is also making his first Nextel Cup start at Kansas. This is the 14th time this season for multiple rookies in the top 10.
• Kurt Busch (seventh) posted his second top-10 start in six races at Kansas – both in the past two races. He has started from the top 10 in 21 races this season – more than any other driver.
• Four of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Kahne, Johnson, Matt Kenseth (eighth) and Jeff Burton (10th). Denny Hamlin (25th) will start further back in the field than any other Chase driver.
• Todd Kluever (22nd) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time. He qualified for his third career Nextel Cup race and posted the best start of his three races.
• The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Kansas was 19th by Mark Martin in 2005.
• Twenty-four of 50 top-10 finishers at Kansas Speedway also started from the top 10.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(9-29-2006)
- 1000th ‘start’ for Labonte: In a career spanning four decades, Terry Labonte has reached a multitude of milestones. Sunday’s event at Kansas Speedway will mark yet another, as he makes his 1,000th career start in NASCAR- and IROC-sanctioned competition combined. Labonte has appeared in 999 events since 1978, the majority coming in his 845-race NEXTEL Cup Series career. He has also participated in the Busch Series (124 races), the Craftsman Truck Series (3) and IROC (27). With 999 races under his belt, Labonte has won two NEXTEL Cup championships, one IROC title, 11 Busch Series races and one Craftsman Truck Series event. He also clinched the 1993 IROC championship for the late Davey Allison with his substitute effort at Michigan that year. Labonte was the first driver to record a win in all three of NASCAR’s major touring series and “retired” from his three-race Truck Series career after winning from the pole position at Richmond, Va., in 1995. His average Truck Series finish: second. At Kansas, Labonte’s #44 GMAC Chevrolet will carry a red, white and blue paint scheme inspired by the #44 Piedmont Airlines car he drove to the 1984 Cup Series championship.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-29-2006)
- Bliss sues Haas Racing: Mike Bliss is hoping to claim $1.15 million in salary, and possibly more in damages, in a dispute with Haas CNC Racing scheduled for trial Oct. 2 in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte, according to a story in NASCAR Scene. In his complaint, Bliss said he thought in August 2005 he was going to continue to drive the Haas CNC Racing Nextel Cup car in 2006, so he didn’t pursue a possible opportunity to drive for another team. Team general manager Joe Custer told him in October that he wouldn’t be back for the next year. Bliss has filed suit and wants his salary for 2006 ($500,000) and 2007 ($650,000) and more in damages. In its court filings, the team claims that it invoked a clause in the contract that allowed Bliss to be terminated at the end of any season without the team having to pay the remainder of the deal. In court documents, Custer said he never “unequivocally told Bliss he was Haas’ driver for 2006.” The contract is part of the court file. The original three-year deal had Bliss getting paid $400,000 base in 2005 plus 40 percent of race purse and 30 percent of souvenir royalties. According to documents in the court file, Bliss had been approached by Hall of Fame Racing [#96 Chevy] during 2005 but did not pursue the deal because he believed he did not have to fear for his job. Bliss has driven mostly for [#16] Xpress Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series this year. One part of Bliss’ complaint already has been decided. A claim against Haas for breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act was dismissed by the court in August. Custer declined comment Sept. 23.(SceneDaily.com)(9-29-2006)
- Kansas Rookie Notes: Martin Truex Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the September 24 Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway. Truex Jr. scored a sixth-place finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season. The finish was the best for Truex Jr. in 37 Nextel Cup Series starts. He scored his first top-10 since the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway (race No. 20) and has racked up three top-10 finishes this season. Clint Bowyer scored an eighth-place finish at Dover, his eighth top-10 this season. Bowyer has claimed two top-10 finishes in his last four races. Denny Hamlin finished ninth at Dover, his 15th top-10 of the season. Hamlin is fourth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 18 points leader Jeff Burton and 12 behind second-place Jeff Gordon. He leads fifth-place Kevin Harvick by 36. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 28 races this season. Hamlin leads Bowyer by 49 points (263-214) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 1 Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in five previous Nextel Cup races at Kansas is second by Ryan Newman in 2002. Newman is the only Raybestos Rookie to finish inside the top-five at Kansas Speedway. He finished second, .618 seconds behind race winner Jeff Gordon. Jason Leffler is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in five races at Kansas Speedway. Leffler took the top starting spot in the inaugural Banquet 400 in 2001.(Raybestos PR), see the full notes, standings, history and more on the 2006 Rookie of the Year page.
- MotorSports Initiative at Chattanooga State: In response to exciting job opportunities and widespread interest in racing, Chattanooga State Technical Community College introduced a “MotorSports Initiative” into a number of the college¹s career programs beginning Fall 2005 featuring local NASCAR enthusiasts Nelson Bowers and Herb Adcox. Taking the lead in the MotorSports Initiative are Chattanooga State¹s advanced technology degree programs in engineering technology, information systems and management. In addition, diploma programs in automotive, welding and motorcycle& marine engine technologies, through the Tennessee Technology Center, are also part of the MotorSports Initiative. 12 credit-hours of advanced placement toward an A.A.S. degree in MotorSports Engineering Technology is available to TTC graduates with concentrations in Basic Engine Performance, Engine Machining, Advanced Engine Performance and MotorSports Weleding. A general overview of the MotorSports Initiative is available at chattanoogastate.edu.(PR)(9-29-2006)
- Blount gets a sponsor for Kansas: Kansas City company FOX Collision Center will sponsor the #92 Front Row Motorsports Chevy [entered as the #34 which will get the owners points] driven by Chad Blount at Kansas Speedway, for the Banquet 400. “I look forward to driving the FOX Collision Center car at Kansas,” commented driver Chad Blount. “The guys have been working real hard to get the cars ready each week. I’m confident we will have a strong showing this weekend.” Owned and operated by Kansas native and industry veteran Todd Fox, Fox Collision Center, Inc., Fox Collision has 15 locations in five markets [including 6 in Kansas]. For more information about Fox Collision please visit www.foxcollision.com.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(9-29-2006)
News from September 28, 2006
- New ‘Busch’ Series Sponsor in 2008? UPDATE Monster?: The NASCAR Busch Series is expected to have a new title sponsor in 2008, multiple sources close to ongoing negotiations told NASCAR.COM on Saturday at Dover. Potential replacement candidates were not disclosed. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter confirmed that 2007 is the final year of the existing contract between Anheuser-Busch and NASCAR, while stressing that discussions about the future are ongoing. “All I can tell you is we’re working on 2007, and Busch is certainly a part of that,” Hunter said. “We’re in discussions about the future.” The sources, each of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, all agreed that Anheuser-Busch is re-evaluating the Busch brand’s status as title sponsor of NASCAR’s second-highest series, and where it fits in the company’s overall marketing strategy. Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch vice president of global media and sports marketing, said nothing of the sort. “We haven’t even begun negotiations,” Ponturo said Saturday. “Renewal negotiations begin next spring.”(NASCAR.com)(9-23-2006)
UPDATE: Hearing the Monster Energy drink, which is distributed [not owned] by Anheuser-Busch, will be the new sponsor of the ‘Busch’ Series. So the Monster Series or the Monster Energy Drink Series?.(9-28-2006)
- Kansas Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the only track at which NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run this exact combination of left- and right-side tires in 2006 . . .these tire codes have been run at other tracks this season, however . . . this left-side code (D-4008) has been run at California, Texas, Kentucky (Busch Series only) and Homestead, while this right-side code (D-4062) has been run at Dover and Michigan . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Kansas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full tire notes. codes, pressures on my Kansas Race Info / Rundown Page.(9-28-2006)
- Montoya to make stock car debut in Talladega ARCA race: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the #4 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the ARCA/REMAX Series event on Friday, October 6 at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya and the CGRFS team tested at Talladega earlier this week in preparation for the ARCA event, as well as his first start in a stock car. In July CGRFS announced that Montoya would be piloting the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007. The 31-year-old Colombia, South America native will become the first Formula One driver in the 58-year history of NASCAR to compete on the circuit full time. He returns to the CGRFS organization with 137 starts competing in CART, IndyCar and Formula One, where he’s tallied 18 wins, 26 poles, 60 top-five and 79 top-10 finishes. Over his five complete seasons in Formula One, Montoya has finished sixth or better in the standings. Montoya previously worked with team owner Chip Ganassi in the CART Series in 1999 and 2000. He captured the CART Championship and Rookie of the Year honors in 1999 while visiting Victory Lane 11 times in those two years, including a win at the prestigious Indianapolis 500 in 2000. The Food World 250 is scheduled to start at 4:30pm and will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on Speed Channel.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-28-2006)
- Hornish may run some NASCAR races in 2007: IRL champion Sam Hornish says there is a possibility he will compete in some NASCAR races in 2007. While testing his IRL car at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday, Hornish said that running in NASCAR is something that’s going to happen eventually. Hornish, who drives for Roger Penske in the IRL, would drive for Penske if he did compete in the NASCAR ranks. “The first thing you have to do is go through all the preliminaries, doing the tests, getting that first little bit of seat time,” he said. “I’m not going to hop right in there and go to a race. People will know it’s happening before I just show up one day and here I am [at a race]. It’s something we’re looking to.” Hornish said that because the IRL season is more condensed the opportunity exists for him to also race in select Cup events. “Roger needs to find a good use for me to get the most out of his money,” he said. “I want to try it out and see if I’m capable of doing that. We have to wait and see when the right time is. I’m not sure yet.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-28-2006)
- More COT testing at Milwaukee UPDATE: Ganassi Racing wrapped up a day and a half of COT testing at The Milwaukee Mile with Kevin Hamlin driving. Penske Racing is scheduled to be testing their COT with Kurt Busch today [Wednesday Sept. 27 at The The Milwaukee Mile.(9-27-2006)
UPDATE: #2-Kurt Busch tested his Penske Engineering “Car of Tomorrow” at The Milwaukee Mile Wednesday. NASCAR is introducing a new-design race car that will be phased in beginning in March of 2007 in the Nextel Cup Series, and Busch’s team is one of several NASCAR teams in recent weeks to test their race cars at The Mile. Nextel Cup teams are allowed to test as often as they wish at non-Nextel Cup tracks. According to Busch, The Milwaukee Mile is an ideal place to test, and offers some key benefits to his team with their development of the car that will be raced in 16 races at 10 different speedways next season. In recent weeks, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing have also logged laps with their Car of Tomorrow race cars at The Milwaukee Mile.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(9-26-2006)
- Montoya to test Friday at Iowa: Former Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya of Chip Ganassi Racing will test a stock car Friday at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Heather Kincel, a public relations contact with Ganassi’s organization, confirmed today. Montoya, who signed with Ganassi to drive in NASCAR next season, tested Monday at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya, who won the 2000 Indianapolis 500 driving for Ganassi, could run ARCA RE/MAX Series, NASCAR Busch and Nextel Cup Series races before the end of this season, according to an Associated Press article. “I’m 100 percent committed to this,” Montoya said in the article. ARCA’s season finale is Oct. 15 at Iowa Speedway and will be broadcast live on Speed Channel.(Des Moines Register)(9-27-2006)
News from September 27, 2006
- Hershey Honoring Delana Harvick at Kansas: The Hershey Company and Young Survival Coalition will be honoring DeLana Harvick, this Saturday at 11:00am at the Sprint Fan Walk Stage. DeLana will be recognized as one of four “Sensational Women” on behalf of The Hershey’s Company and YSC. YSC is the only international, non-profit network of breast cancer survivors and supporters dedicated to the concerns and issues that are unique to young women and breast cancer. Limited edition pinkYork peppermint patties, Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Nuggets will hit the shelves this Fall to raise breast cancer awareness across the country. The Hershey Company is also supporting the campaign by contributing $250,000 to the Young Survival Coalition (YSC), the only non-profit network of breast cancer survivors and supporters dedicated to addressing the concerns and issues unique to young women and breast cancer. The donation doubles Hershey’s 2005 financial contribution and will be supported by the York peppermint pattie, Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Nuggets brands.(RCR PR)(9-27-2006)
- All-Star Challenge could be changed: The annual All-Star race is also being examined by series officials for tweaks to its format, The Associated Press has learned. Lowe’s Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler confirmed Tuesday that talks are under way to make changes to the Nextel All-Star Challenge. The race has been run at the suburban Charlotte track 20 of its 21 years. “We’re getting together in the next few weeks with NASCAR and Nextel to discuss some ways to tweak this thing,” Wheeler said. “The bottom line is we are trying to find a way to put together 2 1/2 hours of absolutely great racing.” The All-Star race currently is a 90-lap invitational, non-points race for Nextel Cup drivers. The winner gets a $1 million payout. The field is currently determined by drivers who have won races in the current and preceding year, past All-Star race winners and Cup champions from the last 10 years. The winner of the Nextel Open – the race held before the main event for all drivers not otherwise eligible – advances, and a fan vote was recently added to get another driver in. Now NASCAR is considering tying in the race with its Pit Crew Challenge, but is undecided on what to award. One idea being discussed is giving the pole position to the winner of the Pit Crew competition. Wheeler would like to see the field widened. He’d like more than one driver to advance out of the Open, and said he might push to get the top drivers from the Busch Series and Truck Series into the event. The format is also being examined and will likely change from its current three-segment form. The race currently starts with a 40-lap segment, followed by a 10-minute break in which teams are allowed to work on their cars. That’s followed by a 30-lap run, a yellow-flag pit stop, and a final 20-lap dash for the cash. “We might end up shortening the segments some,” Wheeler said. “We like that final 20-lap dash, the racing has always been very good over that final 20. But we’re looking at a way to get rid of all the lulls in the action.” LMS is always rumored to be in danger of losing the race, as NASCAR seeks to rotate it between venues. Teams and drivers are adamantly against that, because most are based in the area and treat the event as a “home race” that gives them a break from the 36-race schedule. With NASCAR’s Hall of Fame now coming to Charlotte, the event is likely safe at LMS and will eventually be tied into induction ceremonies and other Hall events.(Associated Press)(9-27-2006)
- Congratulations to #2 Miller Lite Dodge team’s regular front-tire changer Jay Hackney and wife, Krista, on the birth of their twins, Tyler Reed and Taylor Reese, born at Lake Norman Regional Hospital on Sunday. Tyler, born at 4:12pm/et, weighed in at 3 lbs., 12 oz., while Taylor was born at 4:37pm/et and weighed 4 lbs. 6 oz. They are the first children for the Hackneys.(Tom Roberts PR)(9-27-2006)
- Congratulations to # 5 Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Alan Gustafson and wife Shannon who celebrated the birth of son Austin Alan on Monday, September 25, 2006.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-27-2006)
- Cope to drive for #40 Key Motorsports Truck at Talladega: In an effort to remain in contention for top 30 status in team owner points for the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series season, #40 Key Motorsports has hired veteran Derrike Cope to drive its entry in the initial Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway next weekend. “We’re in the hunt for that top 30 position in points, and we will do everything we can to achieve that goal,” Key exclaimed. “We’ll look predominantly at veteran drivers to carry us through the remaining races and hope that Derrike (Cope) will start the ball rolling in our favor at Talladega,” added Key, who is expected to have several different drivers in the seat of his #40 Chevrolet Silverado trucks in the final six races this season.(Key Motorsports PR)(9-27-2006)
- Kurt Busch’s Team Captures Pit Crew Challenge Win in Dover: Kurt Busch’s #2 over-the-wall crew tallied its second Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season by spending the least amount of time on pit road in Sunday’s NEXTEL Cup event at Dover International Speedway. Spending just 405.936 seconds on pit road, the Miller Lite crew helped lift its driver to a fourth-place finish in the Dover 400. Checkers/Rally’s will award the team with the weekly $10,500 prize. In addition, a $105,000 bonus will be given to the pit crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Busch’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Ray Gallahan (jackman), Dave Littau (front-tire carrier), Dustin Coonfield (front-tire changer), Larry Robinette (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Hebert (rear-tire changer), Chris Williams (gasman), Steve Williams (catch can) and Brian Wilson (windshield). The #2 crew captured the win despite missing two full-time members. Front-tire changer Jay Hackney was at home in Mooresville, N.C. where he and his wife, Krista, were awaiting birth of their first child. And Andy Brown, rear-tire carrier, has been out with an injury since the August Bristol race. With eight races remaining on the NEXTEL Cup schedule, the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge championship is still for the taking with the pit crews of Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch leading the standings with four wins. Clint Bowyer’s and Tony Stewart’s teams are tied for second with three wins each. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $294,000 in prize money during this season. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(9-27-2006)
- Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 28 races, three drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers and #31-Burton. #5-Kyle Busch is the leader with 9 lucky dog passes used. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte], #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond and 5th at Dover in Sept] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(9-27-2006)
- Kluever to attempt Kansas in the #06: Todd Kluever will be attempting his third Nextel Cup start this weekend at Kansas. He will be driving the #06 3M Ford Fusion for Roush Racing. Kluever drove this car at California, although it did not qualify for the race. Kluever will be competing in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series races at Kansas this weekend.(Roush Racing PR)(9-27-2006)
- GM Racing Driver Development Program completes stages 1&2: GM Racing is in the process of hosting a three-stage Development Driver Evaluation Program. The purpose is to place a group of select young drivers in a controlled environment to give Chevy Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series racing teams the opportunity to meet the drivers and observe their on-track skills. All Chevrolet teams have been invited to attend and observe the drivers. GM Racing engineers along with Pratt-Miller staff members are in attendance at all three stages to accurately gather data for review by Chevy team representatives.
A total of 16 drivers with a wide variety of racing backgrounds were invited to participate in the first two stages of the program: Chase Austin, Colin Braun, Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Jay Gerst, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Lagano, Tim McCreadie, Chad McCumbee, Josh Richards, Jason Sarvis and Kody Swanson.
“We are excited to offer this unique opportunity to our NASCAR teams,” said Pat Suhy, NASCAR program manger for GM Racing. “Continuing to build our NASCAR racing future with our Chevy team partners is critical to the continued growth and success of the Chevrolet nameplate on the track. Unlike other programs of this nature, there are no winners or losers. Our program provides opportunities for both the drivers and the teams to connect if an opening exists in someone’s driver roster.
The first stage was held September 12-13, 2006 at Caraway Speedway, Asheboro NC and showcased the drivers in NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) cars. The cars were prepared and the trackside crew furnished by Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday, Jr. set the baseline of the cars and remained available throughout the day’s activities to answer questions and coach the drivers. Each driver was given a 20-minute test and tune session to work on the setup and get more comfortable in the car. After the crew did a final check of the car, the driver competed a 40-lap run of timed laps. The cars were equipped with data acquisition equipment to assist in evaluation of driver’s performance. Approximately 1,400 laps were run with just four minor spins and no damage sustained to any of the cars; a strong testament to the talent of the drivers participating in the evaluation program.
Stage II of the program was held September 19-20, at Dale McDowell Dirt School located at North Georgia Speedway, Chatsworth, GA. Three different dirt track cars – crate-motor dirt late model stock car (approximately 450 hp); a spec-motor dirt late model stock car (approximately 550 hp) and an open-motor dirt late model stock car (approximately 800 hp) -were setup and a baseline established by veteran dirt late model champion Dale McDowell. Again, with over 1,000 laps completed, there were no significant incidents on-track despite the wide variety of dirt track experience, ranging from none to full-time competitor.
The final stage is scheduled for October 10-11, 2006 at Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville TN. Drivers will again be showing their skills in RCR-prepared Busch Series cars.(GM Racing PR)(9-27-2006)
News from September 26, 2006
- Bill Elliott to attempt Kansas in #37 UPDATE Melling sponsoring the #37 – IMAGES: #37 R&J Racing announced that 1988 Cup Champ Bill Elliott will be in the #37 Dodge at Kansas Speedway next weekend. “We are extremely excited to announce that after a few weeks off to restructure our program, we have signed Bill to drive the #37 car. We feel that after joining forces with Ernie Elliott, we finally have achieved the success with our program that our team deserves.” R&J Racing also has signed a deal with Vision Motorsports Marketing out of Atlanta to handle sponsorship and PR for them. “We feel that the #37 team has made huge strides towards developing their program and we believe with the right marketing partner they would be a force to challenge for the win each weekend.” said Vision Motorsports Marketing Vice President Adam Loser. R&J Racing and Vision Motorsports Marketing are working on their sponsorship program with opportunities still available for the Kansas race.(Vision Motorsports Marketing PR)(9-19-2006)
UPDATE: Twenty-Five years after they first became one of the most dominating duos in Nascar history, Bill Elliott and the Melling family reunite in the Nextel Cup Series Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods October 1, 2006 at the Kansas Speedway. Mark Melling, now CEO of the Melling Family business, made the announcement today about the two getting back together with Melling providing a one race sponsorship of the #37 R&J Racing Dodge. The car will feature a retro red and white paint scheme from Bills first year driving with Melling funding in 1982. Over a span of a decade with Melling backing(1982-1991) Bill racked up 39 poles, 34 victories, the 1985 Winston Million Dollar Bonus, and the 1988 Championship. Because of this success, Mark Mellings late father Harry Melling was named one of the 40 most important people in Nascar history in 1997. Mark Melling noted he is thrilled to associate with the #37 team and sponsor their entry at the Kansas Race for the 25th anniversary season of Mellings original relationship with Bill Elliott. Melling Engine Parts is a world-class designer, manufacturer, and distributor of oil pumps and internal engine parts to the automotive aftermarket, performance, and original Equipment industries. Our catalog contains oil pumps, camshafts, timing components, valve train, and cylinder sleeves. More info at melling.com.(Melling Engine Parts/Fast Life Marketing PR)(9-25-2006)
IMAGES: see a images the car/scheme on my #37 Team Schemes page.(9-26-2006)
- #31 back in the winners circle: Jeff Burton is only the 2nd person to ever win a Cup race running the #31 after winning at Dover on Sept 24, 2006. Robby Gordon [also for RCR] was the last winner in the #31, at Watkins Glen in August 2003 and was the first winner ever in the #31 at New Hampshire in November 2001, the #31 has now won four times, see more about wins by car numbers on my Wins by Car# page.(9-26-2006)
- No Montoya in Kansas Busch race: Hopes that Juan Pablo Montoya would begin his stock-car racing career at Kansas Speedway have apparently ended. There just wasn’t enough time to get Montoya, who has been driving Formula One cars since leaving the CART series in 2001, ready for the coming weekend of racing at Kansas. Montoya spent Monday testing ARCA cars for team owner Chip Ganassi at Talladega Superspeedway. He will also practice in ARCA cars Friday at the new Iowa Speedway, which means he will not be able to participate in Busch series practice at Kansas that day.(Kansas City Star)(9-26-2006)
- Montoya ready to test Cup cars? UPDATE 3 Tests at Talladega; what’s next?: A deal has been struck that will allow Juan Pablo Montoya to begin testing with Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates’ NASCAR operation, possibly as soon as next week, Yahoo! Sports has learned. Montoya has been unable to practice in a stock car due to a contractual issue with his soon-to-be former employer McLaren-Mercedes F1. An agreement releasing Montoya from his contractual obligations to his F1 team is necessary before he can begin testing with Ganassi. That agreement has been reached, according to a source within the Ganassi organization. Details of the agreement have not been disclosed, though an announcement is expected soon. Ganassi/Sabates officials want the former F1 and Indy 500 winner behind the wheel of one of their cars as soon as possible in order to prepare for his entrance into Nextel Cup next season. Tentative plans have Montoya running at least four races and as many as nine before the end of the season, including the Busch Series races at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami and the Cup finale at Homestead – all markets with large Latino populations. Montoya also might run the ARCA race at Talladega in October, which would give the Colombian experience on a restrictor plate superspeedway.(Yahoo Sports)(9-22-2006)
UPDATE: Juan Montoya will get his first taste of stock car racing Monday at Talladega, Ala. and Chip Ganassi plans to run his open-wheel star in a few races before the 2006 season is over. “Yes, Juan has been set free,” said Ganassi on Saturday night when asked if the 1999 CART champion had worked out his contract issues with Team McLaren. “And we’re going to get with a pretty heavy testing schedule real quick starting with an ARCA car on Monday at Talladega.” Asked if the 30-year-old Colombian would do any racing, Ganassi replied, “Absolutely, A-B-C.” That reference was to ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup – Ganassi fields teams in all three series. Montoya, who shocked the racing world July by announcing he was leaving Formula 1 for NASCAR, was being blocked from changing careers until he settled his contract with McLaren, which was paying him through December.(Speed Channel)(9-24-2006)
UPDATE 2: Montoya could be in a NASCAR event as soon as next weekend’s Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. Montoya, who was released from his Formula One contract earlier this week, will test an ARCA car for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates on Monday at Talladega. He also will test an ARCA car in Iowa on Thursday. Ganassi plans to get Montoya into an ARCA or Busch Series race as soon as possible, and hopefully at least one Cup race before the end of the season.(NASCAR.com)(9-25-2006)
UPDATE 3: The process of transforming Juan Pablo Montoya from a top-flight Formula One driver into a NASCAR regular began Monday as the South American driver participated in an ARCA test session at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya ran laps in a Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge Charger as Ganassi, crew chief Donnie Wingo and much of the Ganassi hierarchy looked on. Although official speeds were not released [see speeds link at end of this post], team members said Montoya ran laps in the 187-mile-per-hour range. “I went out on the track for the first time, and it was like, ‘Oh, my God,'” Montoya said. “I went into [Turn] 3 and 4 and started to lift, but I said, ‘Oh, let’s just try it.’ I went into 1 pretty fast. They told me running flat [full speed around the track] here was easy. I did it, and it felt pretty quick. The car moves around a lot more than I’m used to, but I’m getting there. It will take some time.” Unless Ganassi’s plans change, Montoya will make his stock-car-racing debut in the Food World 250 ARCA race here Oct. 6. He is scheduled to run the full Nextel Cup series next season. Monday’s laps were Montoya’s first in a full-bodied NASCAR-style stock car, although he raced 12 years ago in Trans-Am-type cars in his native Colombia.(SceneDaily.com)
AND Montoya made his first test run as a stock car racer Monday at Talladega, beginning his transition from open wheel racing star to NASCAR neophyte. Montoya ran the Superspeedway in an ARCA Car for Chip Ganassi Racing, with whom he won the 2000 Indy 500 in his first try. Ganassi said he plans for Montoya to log as many miles as possible this season. He has also said he wants Montoya to run in ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup races by the end of the season, but said Monday he didn’t know yet where his first race would be. The Talladega ARCA race is Oct. 6.(Associated Press) and see the ARCA Speeds run by 31 drivers Monday at RacingOne, Mark Mitchell was the fastest at 187.768mph, Steve Wallace was 5th and Juan Pablo Montoya was 6th at 186.667mph.(9-26-2006)
- Dale Jr’s “Back in the Day” show to return in 2007: SPEED is bringing back Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Back in the Day for another season, signing a deal with the Nextel Cup Series star’s production company, Hammerhead Entertainment, for another 13 episodes of the 30-minute homage to NASCAR races of the 1960s and ’70s. New shows will debut during Daytona Speedweeks in 2007. “I think it’s important to show our history of the sport and to have a platform like Back in the Day to share them with everybody is cool,” Earnhardt Jr., said. “We’re going through the library of shows for another season and will add a few surprises along the way. I’m looking forward to get it started.” Season One DVDs of Back in the Day, a modern adaptation of the vintage race program Car and Track with Bud Lindemann, will be available in November. “We’ve had a lot of fun with this show,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED EVP & General Manager. “It’s cool to work on a project with one of the most popular and talented drivers in motor sports. Dale really knows the history of the sport … he literally grew up surrounded by the legends of NASCAR. So, teaming for a second season of Back in the Day is great news for Earnhardt fans and SPEED viewers.”(SpeedTV.com)(9-26-2006)
- Bobby Labonte to Assist KHI’s #77 Busch Team: Kevin Harvick Inc. announced that Bobby Labonte will assume driving duties of the #77 Dollar General Stores Chevy at the remaining companion events for the 2006 season. “KHI and Dollar General had high expectations for the #77 when the season started,” said Kevin Harvick. “Both Dollar General and KHI have been very patient throughout the season. This is a performance-based business and unfortunately we have not seen the level of improvement or the results we had hoped for. In an effort to evaluate the performance of the #77 team and get a jump start on the 2007 season, a change had to be made.” Burney Lamar will be back in the #77 Dollar General Stores Chevy in the Sam’s Town 250 at Memphis.(KHI PR)(9-26-2006)
- Trickle to Receive Bobby Isaac Memorial Award Prior LMS Busch Race: Short-track racing legend Dick Trickle will receive the Bobby Isaac Memorial Award during pre-race ceremonies for the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Busch Series race Friday night, Oct. 13, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Bobby Isaac Memorial Award is presented annually by Lowe’s Motor Speedway to an individual or group in recognition of outstanding contribution to short-track racing. Isaac, one of the sport’s outstanding racers, was well known for his short-track exploits and commitment, and it is in his honor the award is named. While detailed records were not kept, some estimates put Trickle’s career win total at nearly 1,200. The native of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., was a dominant force in late model stock car racing throughout the Midwest for decades. His amazing résumé also includes American Speed Association championships in 1984 and 1985, a period many consider to have been the most competitive in the touring late model series’ long history. After having made sporadic starts in the Nextel Cup Series beginning in 1970, Trickle became a series regular in 1989 and earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors at age 48. He continued to race in NASCAR’s premier division until 2002, recording 36 top-10 finishes in 303 races. Today, at age 65, Trickle still competes in an occasional short-track race and remains a fan favorite. Previous winners of the Bobby Isaac Memorial Award include journalists Chris Economaki and Tom Higgins; promoters Hugh Deery, Henry Furr and John Moose; drivers Jack Ingram and Harry Gant; motorsports equipment manufacturer Brian Butler; and American Sprint Car Series founder Emmett Hahn. Tickets for the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday night, Oct. 13, start at just $17 and can be obtained online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR)(9-26-2006)
- Pressley’s son wins Bobby Isaac Memorial race at Hickory: Coleman Pressley, son of former Nextel Cup [and Busch and Truck] took the lead on Lap 178 of the Bobby Isaac Memorial 200 and drove his way to victory in the completion of the race that was started on Labor Day. In doing so, the 18-year-old driver was able to tell his dad Robert Pressley (who was in Las Vegas with the Craftsman Truck Series) on the telephone from victory lane that he had just won the Bobby Isaac Memorial. In winning the event, which was the 30th annual Pressley, takes home the $4000 prize along with a beautiful crystal trophy. “My grandpa won this race and my dad ran it over and over, so I’m glad I can now be listed in the history of Hickory Motor Speedway,” said a happy Pressley in victory lane. The race which is run in memory of the late Bobby Isaac who passed away in August 1977 after participating in a Late Model Sportsman event at Hickory. Isaac got ill during the race and was taken to Catawba Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released. He then collapsed in the lobby of the hospital and died of a fatal heart attack. Isaac was the 1970 Nascar Grand National Division [now Nextel Cup] Champion.(Hickory Record)(9-26-2006)
News from September 25, 2006
- 2007 Nextel Cup Test Dates Set: NASCAR has set its 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing schedule that includes seven different venues that will provide the teams an opportunity to prepare for the various track layouts and surfaces that they will face over the course of the season. NASCAR determined the test schedule with the input and cooperation of each of the teams’ crew chiefs.
The testing sessions begin at Daytona International Speedway with the NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona, beginning Monday, Jan. 8 running through Wednesday, Jan. 10 for approximately half the teams. Thursday, Jan. 11 is the rain date, if necessary. Test sessions will resume Monday, Jan. 15 through Wednesday, Jan. 17, with Thursday, Jan. 18 as the rain date for the remaining teams. Test sessions at Daytona are scheduled for 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., weather permitting, with an hour lunch break from noon until 1 p.m.
The remaining six tracks that will host test sessions are:
* Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Jan. 29-30 (rain date is Jan. 31)
* Bristol Motor Speedway – Feb. 28-March 1 (rain date is March 2)
* Richmond International Raceway – April 3-4 (rain date is April 5)
* Lowe’s Motor Speedway – May 7-8 (rain date is May 9)
* Dover International Speedway – May 14-15 (rain date is May 16)
* Talladega Superspeedway – Sept. 10-11 (rain date is Sept. 12)
NASCAR instituted a new track testing policy in 2006 that pre-sets a schedule for when and where NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tests are to be conducted. The scheduled tests are the only opportunities teams will have to test at NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tracks. The policy was implemented to serve as an aid to maintain better overall competitive balance for the teams and contain costs. “NASCAR received input and recommendations from each of the crew chiefs that was valuable to our decision making process,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president for competition. “The seven tracks that were selected provide the teams with a wide variety of layouts, surfaces, and track characteristics that should provide them with an opportunity to have success in 2007.”(NASCAR PR)(9-25-2006)
- Dover 400 Race and Commercial Breakdown of 09-24-06:
Total number of commercials: 146
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 75
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast)
Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos: 15
Total amount of time these brief promos took during broadcast: app. 1 min. 40 sec.
Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 12:55 P.M.
End time to record race/commercial periods: 4:46 P.M.
Total minutes: 231 minutes
Minutes of race broadcast: 157
Minutes of commercials: 74
(works out to 9.6 minutes in 30 minute period)
See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(9-25-2006)
- Robby drops Chevy, looking at Manufacturer Options UPDATE denied: After failing to strike a deal to buy Robert Yates Racing – twice – #7-Robby Gordon began making known his desire to be the No. 2 team with Ford (behind Roush Racing) instead of his current status as, at best, the No. 5 Chevy team. Officially, Gordon says “as of now, we have no manufacturer deal for 2007,” but RGM [Robby Gordon Motorsports] has chosen not to renew its association with Chevrolet after this season. That leaves Gordon looking at Ford, Dodge and Toyota. And while Gordon has a past relationship with Toyota, his team doesn’t fit into Toyota’s immediate NASCAR plans. A source with a manufacturer says Gordon is most closely looking at Ford, which is in line with Gordon’s recent comments on the subject. Ford officials have declined to comment as to the status of their relationship with Gordon, although they have acknowledged having a dialog with the owner/driver. In the meantime, Gordon’s team has moved ahead with plans to expand its operation by building a new facility and expanding to two cars in 2007. Speculation centers on Motorola being one of the primary sponsors for the second car.(Yahoo Sports)(9-23-2006)
UPDATE: #7-Robby Gordon, a longtime Chevy driver, denies a report that he has decided to abandon Chevrolet and switch to a Ford in 2007, and he insisted he’s still debating his situation as an owner-driver. “That’s just not true, that I’m not going to be back with Chevrolet,” Gordon said. “We’re doing the Dakar Rally with Chevrolet, and we have an off-road (Baja) deal with them (GM’s Hummer division). When we get down to brass tacks (for a Cup deal), we’ll see where we end up. I have not said I will not be back with Chevrolet. We’re working methodically on it, and we want to make sure we make the right decision … based solely on performance opportunities. We’ll probably have a decision by Charlotte (Oct. 14).” But Gordon repeated his position that at the moment he’s fifth on the Chevrolet totem pole, behind the Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs and Dale Earnhardt Inc. teams, and that if he switched to Ford he would be at least third, behind Jack Roush and Robert Yates.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-25-2006)
- Johnson to race in Paris again: Jimmie Johnson is expected to return to Paris for the Race of Champions Dec. 16, and Formula One stars David Coulthard and Jenson Button are also expected. Promoters are hoping to get Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso in the race, too.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-25-2006)
- Stewart buys into Paducah: Recently, provisions were made to welcome Stewart as a fourth partner in Paducah International Raceway along with Ken Schrader, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Bob Sargent. This expansion will only benefit the track, local community and dirt racing industry and we look forward to having Tony onboard. We are all committed to building upon the successes of this inaugural year and optimistic about the 2007 racing season.(paducahinternationalraceway.com PR)(9-25-2006)
News from September 24, 2006
- Sit With Jimmy: In response to Kenny Wallace’s recent accusation that Jimmy Spencer is out of touch with race fans, “Mr. Excitement” unveiled his own Daytona 500 ticket package on Sunday’s NASCAR RaceDay at Dover, Del. More info at sitwithjimmy.com.(9-24-2006)
- Jeff Burton wins at Dover: #31-Jeff Burton won the Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway for his 1st win of 2006 and first in 175 races ago, at Phoenix in Oct 2001, the 18th of his career and vaults the #31 Cingular Wireless driver into the points lead for the first time since May 1999. Burton led only 6 laps, the final 6 laps, dueling with #17-Matt Kenseth [who led the most laps 215] until passing Kenseth on lap 394. Kenseth then ran out of fuel on the final lap and finished 10th. Rounding out the top 10 were: #99-Edwards, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch, #16-Biffle, #1-Truex Jr. [best career finish], #43-Labonte, #07-Bowyer and #17-Kenseth. Points leader, #29-Kevin Harvick was running in the top-10 when his engine failed on lap 366, dropping him out of the points lead. Three other Chasers had rough days with #9-Kasey Kahne getting caught up early in a #20-Stewart spin finishing 38th, #5-Kyle Busch lost an engine and finished 40th and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had some tire issues, finishing 21st down 3 laps. There were 9 leaders with 12 lead changes and 10 cautions for 48 laps.
Race Results on my New Hampshire Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after New Hampshire page
Race Rundown: see my Dover Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-24-2006)
- Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Dover [28 of 36 races]:
#31-Jeff Burton 5351
#24-Jeff Gordon 5345 -6
#17-Matt Kenseth 5333 -18
#11-Denny Hamlin 5333 -18
#29-Kevin Harvick 5297 -54
#6-Mark Martin 5276 -75
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5249 -102
#48-Jimmie Johnson 5215 -136
#9-Kasey Kahne 5169 -182
#5-Kyle Busch 5127 -224
and fighting for 11th
#20-Tony Stewart in 11th
#16-Greg Biffle -217
#99-Carl Edwards – 242
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(9-24-2006)
- Unofficial “Classic” Points Standings
…the old way, not the Chase after Dover:
1) #17-Matt Kenseth 4068
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3898 -170
3) #29-Kevin Harvick 3738 -330
4) #31-Jeff Burton 3658 -410
5) #24-Jeff Gordon 3656 -412
6) #11-Denny Hamlin 3651 -417
7) #6-Mark Martin 3592 -476
8) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3562 -506
9) #20-Tony Stewart 3537 -531
10) #5-Kyle Busch 3516 -552
11) #9-Kasey Kahne 3483 -585
- DOVER PENALTY REPORT:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
9 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 11
20 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 11
48 TELL Rolling a tire beyond the center of pit road L 24
4 TELL Excessive speed exiting the pits L 100
4 TELL Excessive speed exiting the pits L 167
49 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 185
61 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 206
22 TELL Excessive speed exiting the pits L 299
55 TELL Excessive speed entering the pits L 296
18 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 324
PT – Pass through
TELL – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-24-2006)
- Rumblings – Race Notes Dover:
Jeff Burton has been knocking on the door all season and today the #31 Cingular Wireless team kicked that door in. Burton passed Matt Kenseth with six laps to go today at Dover International Speedway and went on to win the Dover 400 by almost 8 seconds, and we beat the rain by all of about 10 minutes. Burton broke a 175 race losing streak (his last win was at Phoenix in October of 2001) for his 18th career win (he’s now tied with Geoffrey Bodine, Neil Bonnett, and Harry Gant for 35th on the all-time win list). He’s the 12th different winner of 2006, and the third winner in a row for Richard Childress (he now has 82 all-time). The victory was worth $230,370 from the over $5M in posted awards. We had great racing today for the final 20 laps or so….maybe the best stretch we’ve seen in a long time. Both Kenseth & Burton were working overtime to make sure they kept their cars off each other, and they were successful….proving it can be done! The decision by the #17 Dewalt Team to stay out on that last caution and not take fuel may come back to haunt them. Check back in about 8 weeks and we’ll see just how big those 36 points are.
Carl Edwards (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Loudon in July
Kurt Busch (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Pocono in July
Greg Biffle (5th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Loudon in July
Martin Truex Jr (6th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 7th at Lowe’s in May of 2005
Bobby Labonte (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Bristol in March
Kyle Petty (25th) had his best finish since he was 21st at Infineon in June
David Gilliland (27th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 32nd twice….once at Infineon in June and again at Fontana earlier this month
Stanton Barrett (35th) had his best finish since he was 33rd at Phoenix in April (only three races)
STREAKIN….Matt Kenseth has 6 Top-10’s in a row
…Denny Hamlin has 9 Top-10’s in the last 10 races
…Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-5’s in the last 6 races
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Martin Truex Jr (+27), followed by Dave Blaney (+26). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Scott Riggs (-32), followed by Robby Gordon (-27), Kevin Lepage (-26), Joe Nemechek (-21), and Ryan Newman (-20).
We have a new “Chase” leader as Jeff Burton assumes the points lead by six markers. We’ve got a spread of 18 points 1st to 4th.
In “Classic” points six positions in the Top-10 changed hands. We had five drivers advance two spots, and Kyle Busch fell four spots (6th to 10th).(Stock Car Fans)(9-24-2006)
- Dover Race News/Notes:
• Jeff Burton won the Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway, scoring his 18th Nextel Cup victory in his 431st career start.
• This is his first victory in 2006 and first at Dover in 26 races here. His most recent victory came at Phoenix in October 2001 – 176 races ago.
• Burton became the 12th different race winner in 2006.
• Burton climbed to 35th on NASCARS all-time win list, tied with Geoffrey Bodine, Neil Bonnet and Harry Gant.
• Burton won the $10,000 Nextel Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the points.
• Burton won the race from the 19th-place starting position. Matt Kenseth also won the spring race at Dover from 19th.
• Burton climbed from fifth to first in the point standings, the biggest gain among the top 10. He is six points ahead of second-place Jeff Gordon.
• This is the seventh time in his career that Burton has held the point lead. He last held the point lead after California in May 1999.
• Burton led the final six laps in the Dover 400, the only laps he led during the race.
• This is team owner Richard Chidress’ 82nd Nextel Cup victory. Childress has scored four victories at Dover. His last Dover victory was by Dale Earnhardt in the 1993 Budweiser 500.
• Burton’s victory was the 17th Chevrolet victory in 28 races in 2006.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-24-2006)
- Dover Notebook
• Carl Edwards (second) scored his 14th top-10 finish in 2006 and his second top-10 finish in five races at Dover.
• Jeff Gordon (third) scored his 14th top-10 finish in 2006. It marked his 17th top-10 finish in 28 races at Dover. Gordon climbed from fourth to second in the point standings and is now just six points behind Burton.
• Kurt Busch (fourth) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006. It marked his fourth top-10 finish in 13 races at Dover.
• Greg Biffle (fifth) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fourth top-10 finish in nine races Dover.
• Martin Truex Jr. (sixth) was the highest finishing rookie for the first time in 2006.
• Denny Hamlin (ninth) scored his 11th straight top-15 finish.
• Matt Kenseth (10th) scored his sixth straight top-10 finish, extending a streak that began at Michigan in August.
• Jimmie Johnson (13th) has been ranked among the top 10 for 97 consecutive races. Johnson has been running at the finish in all 28 races in 2006. Johnson climbed from ninth to eighth in the point standings.
• Four rookies finished in the top-15 at Dover: Truex (sixth), Clint Bowyer (eighth), Denny Hamlin (ninth) and Reed Sorenson (11th). This is the fourth time this season that four rookies posted top-15 finishes.
• At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 28 races this season.
• Kevin Harvick (32nd) ended a 39-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, which was the longest current streak. Mark Martin takes over the streak, running at the finish in the last 35 races. Martin’s streak began at Kansas City one year ago.
• Harvick also ended a streak of 11 straight top-15 finishes that began at Daytona in July.
• Tony Stewart (33rd) remained 11th in the point standings. He has a 217-point lead over 12th-place Greg Biffle who finished fifth. This is the first year that Stewart will not finish among the top-10 since 1999, ending a seven-year streak. Stewart missed The Chase by 16 points. Stewart is chasing the $1 million bonus for finishing 11th in the final point standings. Jeff Gordon finished 11th in 2005 and Jamie McMurray finished 11th in 2004, the inaugural year of the Chase.
• Chevrolet clinched the 2006 Manufacturers’ Championship at Loudon- the 30th Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet. Chevrolet has won the Manufacturers’ Championship in each of the last four years.
• Matt Kenseth led 215 laps in the Dover 400, leading the most laps for the fourth time in 2006. Kenseth also led the most at Las Vegas, Chicago and second Michigan.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-24-2006)
- The Chase Drivers
• Four of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10 in the Dover 400.
• Six of the 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Dover.
• Jeff Burton climbed from fifth to first in the point standings. He is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.
• Jeff Gordon climbed from fourth to second in the point standings. Gordon is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second time in three years. He is one of just two drivers that have competed in two of the three. Gordon finished third in 2004 and 11th in the 2005 final standings.
• Matt Kenseth remained third in the point standings. He is now 18 points behind point leader Burton. Kenseth is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. He is one of just three drivers to do so. Kenseth finished eighth in 2004 and seventh in 2005.
• Denny Hamlin dropped from second to fourth in the point standings. Hamlin is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time and is the first Raybestos rookie contender to compete in The Chase. He is 18 points behind point leader Burton.
• Kevin Harvick dropped from first to fifth in the point standings. Harvick is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time. He is also one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.
• Mark Martin (14th today) remained sixth in the point standings. Martin is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. He is one of just three drivers to do so. Martin finished fourth in 2004 and 2005.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr., remained seventh in the point standings. He is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second time in three years. He is one of just two drivers that have competed in two of the three. Earnhardt finished fifth in 2004 and 19th in the 2005 final standings.
• Jimmie Johnson climbed from ninth to eighth in the point standings. Johnson is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. Johnson finished second in 2004 and fifth in 2005.
• Kasey Kahne dropped from eighth to ninth in the point standings. Kahne is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time.
• Kyle Busch remained 10th in the point standings. He is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time and is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-24-2006)
- NASCAR Angels premieres: Nothing unites America like the automobile. Across the country every day, millions of people turn the ignition and depend on their vehicles to get them where they need to go. That’s where the NASCAR Angels come in… The NASCAR Angels hit the road with a simple mission: to help people and to fix broken cars. It’s Extreme Home Makeover meets Pimp My Ride, NASCAR-style. The twist? The Angels dream team has only three days to complete the entire project. With the help of NASCAR partners, the NASCAR Angels fix rides and give people a NASCAR experience they’ll never forget. Everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. That’s NASCAR Angels…transforming cars, enhancing lives. “NASCAR Angels” will complement the consumer education efforts of the automotive industry’s “Be Car Care Aware” campaign and the Fall release of its new Car Care Guide – a first-of-its-kind reference guide for motorists which covers typical service occasions and major components, systems and parts with service interval recommendations, a maintenance log and more. The original 22 episodes, which the number one rated stations in seven of the top-10 markets have agreed to carry, will be shot in Orlando/Daytona Beach, Chicago, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix, Atlanta and Philadelphia. More info at nascar.com/special/angels/ and check local listings for TV Times or see a PDF of stations and scheduled air time at NASCAR Angels Schedule page.(9-24-2006)
- Tide gone from PPI? UPDATE: hearing Tide will NOT being going to RYR as a sponsor and will NOT be back as a full primary sponsor in 2007 on any Nextel Cup team, currently Tide sponsors the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy that Travis Kvapil drives.(7-9-2006)
UPDATE: After struggling for several seasons against the three- and four-car teams that have become the norm in Nextel Cup, single-car team owner Cal Wells still is in search of an alliance with another team that would help take his program to the next level. However, Wells is losing primary sponsor Tide at the conclusion of the 2006 season, and driver Travis Kvapil also been courted by other teams. Sources within the garage indicate that Wells has been talking to several teams – including Yates – about a possible alliance for next year, which also makes Wells a potential Ford team next year should a deal with Yates be made. Wells currently campaigns Chevrolets. As of now, Wells also has no manufacturer commitment for 2007.(Yahoo Sports)(9-23-2006)
UPDATE 2: Tide officials have yet to inform Cal Wells of their 2007 plans, but the owner of PPI Motorsports is working as if he needs a new primary sponsor for his #32 Chevy. “I’m not working as though they’re coming back. I’m working as if they’re potentially an associate – only because I don’t know,” Wells said Saturday at Dover International Speedway. “In the past, we’ve always [re-signed] with them early, but this year they’ve got a lot of [internal things to deal with].” Wells sited new executives within the company as well as increased distribution costs as factors that will come into play as the sponsor decides its next step. Wells is working to secure primary sponsorship for Travis Kvapil’s team, and needs it in place before making a formal offer to Kvapil. The driver said that he has a feeling Tide won’t be a full-time sponsor with any organization next year. Kvapil said he hasn’t heard from Michael Waltrip of late and he doesn’t see Michael Waltrip Racing as an option. Wells said Tide isn’t talking with other teams, and that he’s given the company numerous proposals to study. “I think Tide may now have an idea of what their plans are, but they haven’t shared them with me yet,” Wells said. “We have been talking about [the fact] we have another deal cooking and when would we announce that versus when would they make their plans known. Are they gonna stay with us on this other deal? Are they going to do their own car? What are they going to do?”(SceneDaily.com)(9-24-2006)
- Gordon says Vickers not a teammate: Technically, Brian Vickers is Jeff Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate. Well, for nine more races at least. Certainly, Gordon doesn’t seem to mind that Vickers is leaving after this season, especially not after some hard driving led to some harsh words on Friday. “He’s my teammate, but he’s not my teammate because he’s moving on next year,” Gordon said. “I raced him harder than he wanted me to race him earlier in the race. I could give all the reasons and excuses, but it doesn’t do any good.” The two raced each other hard at New Hampshire, and Vickers rankled Gordon when he wouldn’t let the former champ pass. Gordon, fourth in the points standings, even complained on the radio to his team that he hoped Vickers knew that he was racing for a championship. “It did cost us time, Gordon said. “Right now he’s in a tough position. He’s moving on to a new team. He hasn’t been able to win races like other guys at Hendrick Motorsports. He wants it bad and he’s driving hard and I think it was just a little lapse in judgment.” Vickers finished fifth; Gordon third. Vickers will drive for Team Red Bull in 2007. “It’s not a guy that’s out there trying to help you win a championship,” Gordon said.(FoxSports/AP)(9-24-2006)
- Park hopes to have full-time ride in 2007..not Cup: Steve Park, a former NASCAR Cup competitor, has dabbled in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the Busch Series this year. He placed second in the Sunoco 150 Busch East Series race at Dover on Friday. “We’re looking to get back full time in ’07 or ’08 and hopefully we’ll be able to make an announcement in a month,” said Park, who has 181 Cup starts in his career. “We’re not looking at Cup because of the money factor. “Trucks is what we originally looked at but now they’re contemplating going to the Busch Series.” Park has run in only 10 truck events and six Busch events this year. “I have kind of enjoyed the time off,” he said.(SceneDaily.com)(9-24-2006)
News from September 23, 2006
- Bye-Bye Restrictor Plates? A NASCAR test session next month at Talladega Superspeedway for its new car [Car of Tomorrow/COT] will help series officials determine if they can use larger holes in a restrictor plate there and at Daytona. Gary Nelson, a former Cup series director who consults NASCAR, says he hopes NASCAR’s car of tomorrow will allow series officials to someday get rid of the carburetor restrictor plates that limit horsepower and keep speeds around 190 mph at Daytona and Talladega. Teams have been asked to bring engines they’d normally use at a track like Michigan or Charlotte to the test, which will be held Oct. 9, the day after the Talladega race. Former driver Brett Bodine, who leads NASCAR’s efforts on the new car, says the plan is to see what size of a restrictor plate can be used [Ricky Rudd is also scheduled to test the COT there for Wyler Racing]. The new car, which debuts at Bristol next spring, is larger than and not as sleek aerodynamically as the current car. That should allow NASCAR to increase the size of the holes in the restrictor plate and give drivers more throttle response. The new car is scheduled to run at Talladega next fall during the championship chase. Nelson said the biggest purpose of the test is to figure out the engine package for the races at Daytona and Talladega and “maybe there is an alternative or elimination of the restrictor plate down the road.” Nelson made it one of his goals when he became the Cup series director in 1991 to get rid of restrictor plates. He never did before moving to another position at NASCAR in 2002 and later starting his own research and development company. NASCAR has used restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega since 1988. Before the change, Bill Elliott ran a qualifying lap of 212.809 mph at Talladega. Elliott Sadler won the pole there last spring in the most recent Cup race with a lap of 188.511 mph.(Roanoke Times)(9-23-2006)
- Special 60th for Lowe’s on #48 at LMS: #48-Jimmie Johnson will run a special paint scheme at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 14th to honor the 60th Anniversary of Lowe’s Home Improvement opening. See an image on my #48 Team Schemes page.(9-23-2006)
- TV Ratings down at all but 2 races in 2006: TV ratings from NASCAR’s first championship chase race weren’t impressive – the Loudon race pulled a 3.1 rating on TNT (which Neilsen said translates to 4.792 million viewers), down 12% from the 2005 race. In comparison, NBC’s Labor Day Sunday prime-time coverage of the California 500 pulled a 5.1 (8.4 million viewers); and NBC’s NFL Sunday prime-time game Sept. 17 pulled an 11.9 rating (18.4 million viewers). ESPN, which will return to major coverage of NASCAR next summer, also scored big with the NFL, an 8.2 rating (12.570 million viewers) and 7.1 (10.495 million viewers) for its two Monday-night games on Sept. 11. Only two of the year’s 27 races have had gains, the Daytona 500 and Martinsville.(Winston Salem Journal), see ratings and past info on my 2006 TV Ratings page.(9-23-2006)
- More on the Roush Racing/Fenway Sports Group ‘deal’: Team owner Jack Roush said there is not yet an offer on the table from John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group as the entity discusses buying into Roush Racing with team President Geoff Smith. Roush said Friday that he’s not sure when the sides will next talk but added that’s not out of the ordinary. “I don’t do the money very well,” Roush said with a smile at Dover International Speedway. “Right now, there are discussions going on. There’s not a deal on the table. There may not be a deal that makes it to the table. What do I think the chances are that John Henry will become an investor in the Roush organization? On one day it looks like the glass is a little more than half full; on other days it looks like it’s definitely [less] than half full. And I don’t get a report every day on what’s going on.” Roush said talks are sometimes conducted via email, but added that several members of FSG were at the team’s North Carolina shops prior to the race at New Hampshire. If an agreement is reached, Roush said he wouldn’t sell more than 50 percent of the organization to Henry’s FSG, which is a separate entity from the partnership that owns the Boston Red Sox. And he said this simply isn’t a way to get around NASCAR’s ownership rules, which will eventually limit him to fielding four full-time Nextel Cup Series teams. If an agreement were reached, Henry would be an investor in Roush Racing, not fielding teams under the Fenway Sports Group umbrella as a separate entity. “Our plan is to operate four NASCAR stock car racing teams past this decade,” Roush said. “We think if I can spread my base and do an expanded marketing and sponsorship involvement program that would have a component of interest in the Northeast that we’d be stronger through that.” Anyone thinking this is Roush’s way of preparing to retire is mistaken according to the owner. “For anybody that thinks Jack is looking for a way to get off stage now, or in the foreseeable future or that retirement’s my plan, just hide and watch [me],” he said. “I’m not going to retire. I’m not trying to back away from the races. I’m not trying to put somebody between me and the race teams. One of my challenges my managers have on the race teams is, ‘How do we get Jack out of the way so we can do what we need to do.'”(SceneDaily.com)(9-23-2006)
- Andrews son wins Busch East race: Tim Andrews competes in the fledgling Busch East Series sporadically, so it is rare that he gets to share the same track as the Nextel Cup drivers. Those are days the son of Nextel Cup crew chief Paul Andrews [#43-Bobby Labonte] relishes, a chance to open the eyes of some of the top teams in NASCAR. Andrews got an extra-special experience in the Sunoco 150 Busch East race at Dover International Speedway on Friday. He passed former Cup driver Steve Park on lap 148 and held the lead through a green-white-checkered finish to record his first career victory in what turned out to be a 157-mile race.(Delaware News Journal)(9-23-2006)
News from September 22, 2006
- Jeff Gordon wins pole at Dover: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 156.162mph for his 1st pole of 2006, 1st since Sonoma in June 2005 [47 races] and 55th of his career, tying Bill Elliott for 6th All Time Poles Won. This is the 14th straight season Gordon has won a pole, the longest current streak and 3rd longest of all time. Starting on the outside pole is #10-Scott Riggs [but the team changed engine and will have to go to the rear of the field Sunday]. The rest of the top-10 are #17-Kenseth, #12-Newman, #01-Nemechek, #99-Edwards, #41-Sorenson, #16-Biffle, #6-Martin and #2-Busch. #8-Earnhardt Jr. qualified 13th [same as last week]. #18-Yeley wrecked on his first lap off turn 1 and backed into the wall, will have to go to a backup car. #10-Riggs said he missed a shift during his qualifying lap, may have to change engines and would have to go to the rear of the feild at the start of the race, but would keep the good pit stall. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #49-Lepage, #45-Petty, #55-Waltrip, 32-Kvapil, #74-Cope,#06-Ragan, #61-Barrett and #4-Wimmer. Missing the race were: #89-Shepherd, #78-Wallace, #34-Blount and #52-Neuenberger. See the qualifying results on my Dover Qualifying/Grid Page.(9-22-2006)
- Where do the Chasers start at Dover:
#29-Harvick starts 25th
#8-Earnhardt Jr. 13th
- Ramblings – Dover Qualifying Notes: The Chase rolls on and for the second week in a row we’ve got a “Chaser” in the top-spot. Jeff Gordon took the Bud Pole today for Sunday’s Dover 400 with a time of 23.053 (156.162 mph) for his first pole of the season and 55th of his Nextel Cup career. This is his first pole since he led ’em to the green at Infineon Raceway in June of 2005, and he’s the 13th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. Scott Riggs (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May…..but there’s a chance they’ll change engines so he may have to drop to the back.
Joe Nemechek (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Daytona in July
Carl Edwards (6th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 3rd at Talladega in April
Reed Sorenson (7th) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best was at Loudon in July when he started 9th
Kevin Lepage (11th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 6th at Kansas last October
Derrike Cope (31st) has his best starting spot since he lined up 31st at Texas in April of 2004 (20 races)
Welcome David Ragan! He’ll start 37th this week in a Jack Roush Ford for his Cup debut.
STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races
Only three “Chasers” in the Top-10 spots this week could lead to a little tippy-toeing early on Sunday. This place has been known to chew up more than a few cars…..they don’t call it the Monster Mile for nothin’.(StockCarFans.com)(9-22-2006)
- Dover Qualifying Notes:
• Jeff Gordon won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Dover 400, lapping Dover International Speedway in 23.053 seconds at 156.162 mph. Jeremy Mayfield holds the trackqualifying record of 22.288 seconds, 161.522 mph – set June 4, 2004.
• This is Gordon’s 55th career Bud Pole in 465 Nextel Cup Series races. He moved into a tie with Bill Elliott for sixth all-time on the Bud Pole winners list.
• This is Gordon’s 14th consecutive year to score a Bud Pole, every season since his full-time career began in 1993. He ended a 47-race streak without a Bud Pole – the longest of his career.
• Gordon became the 13th different Bud Pole winner in 2006. This is his 13th top-10 start in 2006.
• This is Gordon’s third Bud Pole and 18th top-10 start in 28 Nextel Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, but his first Bud Pole here since June 1996.
• Gordon became the third different Bud Pole winner in the past eight races at Dover International Speedway. Ryan Newman had three Bud Poles and Jeremy Mayfield two since 2002. Qualifying was canceled twice in the eight-race period.
• Scott Riggs posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 23.068 seconds, 156.060 mph – and will join Gordon on the front row for the Dover 400. It is his fourth top-10 start this season, Riggs had not started better than 15th in his previous five races at Dover.
• This is the 11th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has 12 Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• Matt Kenseth (third) posted his fifth top-10 start in 16 races at Dover. Kenseth had just eight top-10 starts in the first 22 races of the season, but has posted four in the past six races.
• Ryan Newman (fourth), who started 38th in his career-first Dover race (June 2002), has posted nine top-10 starts in 10 races here – all top-fives. This is only qualifying effort that did not result in a front-row starting position for Newman since September 2002 when he started fourth in his second race here. His other non-front row starts were when qualifying was canceled in September 2003 (fifth) and again in June 2005 (fourth).
• Joe Nemechek (fifth) posted his ninth top-10 start in 25 races at Dover. It is also his eighth top-10 start of 2006 but just his second in the past 11 races.
• Reed Sorenson (seventh) was the highest qualifying rookie and posted his career-best qualifying effort.
• David Ragan (37th) qualified for his career-first Nextel Cup race. He became the 86th driver to attempt to qualify this season and the 72nd to compete in 2006.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-22-2006)
- Latest on Martin’s plans..back in 2008? Mark Martin says he’s working to secure sponsorship so he can compete in the #60 No Fear Racing Ford for 10-12 Nextel Cup races in 2007. And he’s not ruling out the possibility of returning to the series full time in 2008. For next season, however, Martin plans to compete full time in the Craftsman Truck Series for Roush Racing, though he does not have a contract yet. No Fear, owned by driver Boris Said, crew chief Frank Stoddard and businessman Mark Simo, has competed in four races with Said this season. The team has a business partnership with Roush Racing. As far as the possibility of competing for Robert Yates Racing next season, Martin says that is “unlikely at this point in time.” He says that his heart simply isn’t into competing full time in the Cup series for another year. “I really do want to do a limited Cup schedule to complement their truck program that they’re going to offer me,” Martin said. “That’s where we are today.” Martin added that there have been more opportunities come up than he would have ever expected for him. He says he keeps reminding himself of one simple fact: “What is it that I want to do? I’ve got to keep my eye on that target and do what I want to do and not what someone else wants me to do.” Martin says he’s eyeing those 13 weekends off in the truck series and hopes to combine his seasons to include chances to win in both series. “I would do Nextel Cup if somebody could offer me 13 weekends off more than what I have this year,” he said. Asked about the amount of money being offered some drivers and if he had a magic number, Martin quipped, “Not a realistic one.” But he’s not ruling out full-time Cup racing forever. “I can do this truck thing, and I get a chance to catch my breath. I would say that there is a good chance that I’d come back full time in ’08,” he said. “I don’t know what I want to do, and I’ll never know until I get a break. I haven’t had a day off, I don’t feel like, in 19 years. Yes I’ve had a day off, but I haven’t missed a test, I haven’t missed a practice day or a qualifying day or a race day in 19 years, and every year I do more and more and more to stay competitive.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-22-2006)
- Sharp to sponsor Ragan at Dover: Sharp AQUOS, maker of LCD TVs with Vikuiti™ technology from 3M, has secured the primary sponsorship of the #06 Ford driven by David Ragan at Dover International Speedway this weekend. Ragan, who currently competes in the Craftsman Truck Series, will make his Nextel Cup Series debut in the Dover 400 on Sunday. “We’re happy to join with 3M to sponsor the car and make NASCAR fans aware that Sharp AQUOS LCD TVs are made with 3M Vikuiti technology and help us deliver amazing picture quality to AQUOS customers,” said Bruce Tripido, Sr. Director and Group Leader of Marketing for Sharp’s Product and Marketing Group. The Sharp Electronics’ Sharp Vikuiti paint scheme is scheduled to run as the major associate sponsor on both #06 Fords in the Busch and Cup Series at Phoenix November 11 and 12.(Roush Racing PR)(9-22-2006)
- Jeff Gordon Foundation is launching the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital Bear on QVC with a $10.00 donation from every bear purchased directly benefiting the children’s hospital. Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, is scheduled to appear on QVC’s “For Race Fans Only” live from Dover International Speedway on Friday, September 22, 2006. The show airs from 9 -10pm/et. For more information, visit www.jeffgordonfoundation.org.
- RCR Forms Partnership with Metris: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) is investing in a multi-million dollar partnership with Metris to utilize the Belgium-based company’s integrated metrology solutions for use in the production of the nine-time NASCAR champion racing organization’s engines and race cars. Metris, with U.S. operations in Detroit, California and Virginia, will supply RCR with proven high-technology metrology systems, both contact and optical, and the expertise to improve the aerodynamics and boost the performance of its engines. The partnership is another strategic move in RCR’s continuing bid to boost the performance of its cars with winning technology. “We’re partnering with Metris because of its impressive range of advanced metrology products,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “We’re confident that the expertise its engineers have demonstrated will help us to push the performance of our race cars to the next level. The technology involved in NASCAR today continues to grow and RCR’s partnership with Metris will put us on the cutting edge in both the engine and fabrication shops.” Metris provides integrated solutions for automotive and aerospace metrology. The portfolio comprises Coordinate-Measuring Machines (CMM), Optical CMM, 3D Laser Scanners, Laser Radar and iGPS systems along with Focus, the leading inspection and reverse engineering software. “Having Metris’ equipment on-site at RCR will help facilitate our engine and body fabrication sides of the business,” said Bobby Hutchens, RCR’s vice president of research and development. “On the fab side, it will provide us with the technology to more precisely duplicate our bodies and, on the engine side, will ensure that both the parts we purchase from outside sources as well as those produced by RCR’s Okuma Technology Center meet our current specifications.” More info about Metris at www.metris.com. (RCR PR)(9-22-2006)
- Ex-employee’s lawsuit claims improprieties in engine shop at RCR UPDATE Statement by Childress: .A lawsuit filed by a former Richard Childress Racing employee includes specific allegations that engines the team used in events at 2006 Speedweeks at Daytona were designed to defeat NASCAR rules. The team denies the allegations. Anthony Corrente, who lost his job as assistant manager for engine research and development for RCR earlier this year, filed his suit Wednesday in Mecklenburg County superior court. It alleges wrongful termination, defamation and breach of contract against the team, which fields Nextel Cup cars for #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton and #07-Clint Bowyer. Corrente said he inspected an engine from Harvick’s #29 Chevy after the Budweiser Shootout and found it had been altered to allow more air to enter, which would be contrary to the purpose of carburetor restrictor plates used at the Daytona track. “Inserts were placed in the four outside corners of the cylinder head where the manifold is attached,” the lawsuit says. When tightened, the bottom of the bolts hit these inserts, leaving room for air to get in between the intake manifold and the cylinder head. Such air would get to the engine beneath the restrictor plate, which is designed specifically to limit the flow of air. More air means more power, at least in theory. The suit also says that Burton won the pole for this year’s Daytona 500 with another engine that had the same modifications. Burton’s engine passed NASCAR inspection following the qualifying session. David Hart, a spokesman for Richard Childress Racing, said Thursday that Corrente’s allegations are untrue. “We will deal with them in the courts,” Hart said. Corrente left Joe Gibbs Racing in July 2005, signing a three-year contract with a two-year renewal option at RCR. He said he was fired after a conversation with Harvick in May during a test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where Harvick’s team had tested an engine built to Corrente’s specifications that differed from what the team had been doing. See full story by David Poole at ThatsRacin.(9-21-2006)
UPDATE Statement by Richard Childress: The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing (RCR), regarding allegations made in a lawsuit filed by a former employee: “The allegations made about RCR in a lawsuit filed by a disgruntled former employee are absolutely untrue. Specifically, our cars passed NASCAR inspection both before and after qualifying for the 2006 Daytona 500. Additional allegations made are also untrue. We will make no further comments until after the issue is resolved in a court of law.”(RCR PR)(9-22-2006)
- Dover Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought to Dover earlier this season . . . this set-up has also been run at Michigan by Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams in 2006 . . . teams in these two series ran this left-side code (D-4060) with a different right-side code at Chicagoland . . . unlike on other NASCAR one-mile ovals, teams are required to run liners in their tires at Dover . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 90-95 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see more tire notes, codes, air pressusres on the Dover Race Info / Rundown Page.(9-22-2006)
- Petty Driving Experience brings Safe Driving Program to Texas A&M University: Richard Petty Driving Experience will bring its Safe Driving Program to Texas A&M University Sept. 28-29 with hands-on training and demonstrations intended to make Aggies more safety conscious when behind the steering wheel. It will be the first university-oriented program of its type offered in Texas. The four half-day sessions will allow 160 Texas A&M students to participate in the safe-driving program that will be staged at one of the large parking areas at Post Oak Mall. The morning class will run from 8 a.m. to noon and the afternoon class will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Vehicular accidents claimed the lives of 15 Texas A&M students last year. The safe-driving program is divided into four areas and is designed to educate students about the dangers associated with motor vehicles. Students will participate in behind-the-wheel training through modules that include skid control, braking skills, crash avoidance and a tailgating/following distance exercise. The program is intended to create awareness by placing students in compromising situations in a controlled environment. Professional driving instructors will coach the students through corrective responses during each stage of the safe driving modules. For more information, call 1-800-BE-PETTY or visit www.1800bepetty.com.(PR)(9-22-2006)
- Rowdy hosts Buck and Bass to host pre-race activities at Dover: “Bass” Masters and “Buck” Fever, the hosts of Rowdy, the daily racing radio show you get on your cell phone, will be hosting pre-race activities prior to driver introductions for both the Busch and Cup races this weekend at Dover. The festivities will include parachute jumpers, fireworks, a BMX bike stunt show, a Dodge Caliber car contest giveaway, and if they’re lucky, even the chance for Buck and Bass to lead a full-fledged marching band around the high-banked concrete oval (the challenge will be getting the band to turn in the apex of the corner). Buck and Bass will also be joining the folks at WDSD-FM radio (92.9) in the Dover area on Friday night from 8-10 PM and Sunday morning from 6-10 AM for racing talk and driver interviews. Race fans who want to check out Rowdy should visit www.rowdy.com or www.rowdypodcast.com for the downloadable version of the show.(9-22-2006)
News from September 21, 2006
- Goodyear tire test at Talladega UPDATE 3: Five teams will participate in a Goodyear tire test Sept. 18-19 at the newly repaved Talladega Superspeedway, Goodyear officials confirmed Saturday. None of the five drivers is in Chase contention, so no title contender will have an advantage when the Nextel Cup Series competes at the track Oct. 8. The five drivers who will participate will be #1-Martin Truex Jr., #12-Ryan Newman, #25-Brian Vickers, #32-Travis Kvapil and #40-David Stremme.(SceneDaily.com)(9-3-2006)
UPDATE: Rookie David Gilliland has never raced at Talladega Superspeedway, so he gratefully accepted an invitation to participate in the Sept. 19-20 Goodyear tire test at the newly paved track. The addition of the Robert Yates Racing driver will add a Ford to the group. Goodyear plans on bringing its Charlotte left-side tire to see if it will be able to stand the increased heat resulting from the new pavement. Goodyear plans on using the same tire for the Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series events during the Oct. 7-8 weekend.(SceneDaily.com)(9-17-2006)
UPDATE 2: the test will be held Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006.(TSS PR)(9-20-2006)
UPDATE 3: Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr., David Stremme, Travis Kvapil, Dave Gilliland and Brian Vickers participated in the tire tests [at Talladega]. During testing, drivers are allowed to attach computer sensors to the cars that measure several factors, including suspension travel. Track General Manager Rick Humphrey said one team gave the new track surface a rousing stamp of approval. “They said when they got here they thought their equipment might not be working because it wasn’t recording any suspension travel,” he said. “They finally realized it was just because the track is so smooth. The bumps are gone.” The drivers said the new surface has not resulted in an increase in speeds, but they did find a dramatic decline in tire wear during tests. Several said the minimal tire wear could result in some major strategy changes during Talladega’s UAW-Ford 500 race. Where Talladega Superspeedway’s surface was notoriously rough on tires in the past, tire wear is minimal now and drivers will likely try to improve track position by just taking two tires or maybe no tires at all on some pit stops, drivers said.(Alabama Live), no speeds or incidents reported. See video/slideshow of the track and testing at RacingOne.(9-21-2006)
- NASCAR Hires new Director of Security: NASCAR has named Gary L. Gardner, a veteran Supervisory Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as its new Director of Security. Gardner will oversee all aspects of NASCAR’s corporate and event security. Gardner, 58, retired from the FBI in 1999 after 32 years of service. Near the end of his FBI career, Gardner joined the bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. During that time, he directed the design and development of a national interactive computer communications capability and information service used exclusively for the law enforcement/ criminal justice/public safety community. Gardner also serves as the First Vice President of the Charlotte InfraGard Chapter, a public/ private sector organization involved in the protection of our nation’s critical infrastructures. He is a decorated U.S. Army Ranger veteran and is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in Administration of Criminal Justice.(NASCAR PR)(9-21-2006)
- Texas to honor Labonte in final Cup start: Terry Labonte will retire from the Nextel Cup Series career following the Nov. 5 Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. To salute his long and successful career, Texas Motor Speedway and NASCAR are planning a special celebration in honor of “Texas Terry” during the Nov. 2-5 Dickies 500 race weekend. “Terry Labonte is one of the great champions of our sport,” Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. “He has made a lifetime of memories for race fans, and we are planning a number of special ways to say ‘thanks’ to one of Texas’ great sports legends. Also, fans attending the Dickies 500 race weekend will be able to participate in this tribute to Terry.” The two-time Cup series champion (1984, ’96) is one of only 14 drivers in NASCAR history to win multiple Cup series titles. His career features 22 wins, including a trip to Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway in 1999. In 11 starts at TMS, Labonte has five top-10 finishes as well as a pole position in 2000. Texas Motor Speedway and NASCAR have “Texas-sized” plans to honor Labonte leading up to and throughout the Dickies 500 race weekend. One of those special honors for Labonte will directly involve the fans, who will have an opportunity to sign a giant greeting card designed especially for “Texas Terry.” It will be located in the “10 Years Strong Experience” exhibit, located in the midway area near Gate 4, throughout the race weekend. On the evening of Thursday, Nov. 2, the “All-Star Tribute to Terry Labonte” will be held in the Texas Grand Ballroom on the ninth floor of The Speedway Club. The special dinner gala will honor the career of Labonte and benefit Speedway Children’s Charities, Texas Chapter. The evening will also include a live auction featuring items from Terry’s career courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports. To reserve a table or seats, contact Speedway Children’s Charities at (817) 215-8421.
On Sunday, Nov. 5, prior to the start for the Dickies 500, Texas Motor Speedway, in association with NASCAR, will present a special pre-race salute to Labonte. NASCAR and key sponsors through the years will present special gifts to Terry and his family on stage at the start/finish line. Fans will enjoy an exciting video tribute to Labonte on the NEXTELVision screens.
During driver introductions prior to the Dickies 500, Labonte will be the final driver introduced, regardless of his qualifying position. He and his wife, Kim, will be given a parade lap around the track in a Chevrolet Corvette so fans can have a chance to show their appreciation. All other drivers will receive a parade lap in the bed of Chevy Silverado trucks. Following the command for “Gentleman, Start Your Engines,” Terry will lead the field on the parade lap before falling back to his qualifying position for the pace laps. In addition to the pre-race festivities honoring Labonte, the official Texas Motor Speedway Collector’s Edition Souvenir Program will highlight his career. An eight-page special section will be included in the Dickies 500 edition focusing on the life and accomplishments of “Texas Terry.” Fans also will receive a special Terry Labonte poster that will be inserted in each program. For ticket information regarding the Nov. 3 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Silverado 350k, Nov. 4 Busch Series O’Reilly Challenge and Nov. 5 NEXTEL Cup Series Dickies 500, contact the speedway ticket hotline at 817-215-8500 or go online to www.texasmotorspeedway.com.(TMS PR)(9-21-2006)
- More on the Speed Channel/RCR Wheels Report: per NASCAR Live with Eli Gold, Kevin Harvick comments, “We have an inspection process that happens every week. The ironic part about it is that our wheels are taken to the racetrack by a wheel company every week. Really, the only thing you can touch is the valve stem. And the report was, that, you know, I don’t even know, laser cut holes in the wheels. So, there’s really no possible way that you could even wind up knowing what corner that the wheels are going to be mounted on, because the tires are already mounted when you get to the race track. If somebody would have just done their homework for thirty seconds or a couple of minutes and just figured out exactly what they were doing, they would have realized they would have realized that it’s virtually impossible to do what they reported. So, it’s just unfortunate that we’ve spent the whole week talking about Bob Dillner instead of talking about our win, and that’s unfortunate for the Speed Channel that they are where they are in their journalism state of reporters.”(MRN Radio)(9-21-2006)
- Waltrip Racing – 2006 Softball Champs: Waltrip Racing clinched their first-ever Totally Racin’ Softball League championship last night at Walter Safrit Park in Kannapolis (NC). The team, consisting of crew members from both Darrell Waltrip Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing led by Coach Scott Stallings, won three of four games outclassing Chip Ganassi Racing and Evernham Motorsports to win the title. 2006 Tournament Scores from Tuesday, September 19th: · Chip Ganassi Racing 13 vs. Waltrip Racing 12 · Evernham Motorsports 14 vs. Waltrip Racing 15 · Chip Ganassi Racing 7 vs. Waltrip Racing 16 · Chip Ganassi Racing 11 vs. Waltrip Racing 12.(MWR PR), see an image of the team and more info at racecityresumes.com/softball/.(9-21-2006)
- Graham named crew chief for Shepherd: Veteran NASCAR crew chief and former car owner Jim Graham will serve as crew chief of the #89 team through the end of the current race season, the team announced September 20. Graham, who has served as crew chief on an interim basis during races earlier this month at Richmond and Loudon, earned the position because of the team’s improvements shown at the track. Graham has been with Faith Motorsports since its formation on August 1 and previously served as a crew member. He has been involved in NASCAR racing for more than 20 years and has previously served as a crew member, crew chief and car owner with various race teams. “Jim realizes that we all wear many hats and in addition to crew chief duties he will have to do a lot of other jobs as well, but his leadership is showing,” said team co-owner and driver Morgan Shepherd. The team had previously used veteran crew chief Gere Kennon at Bristol, but Kennon had other racing commitments which prevented him from traveling with the team to Richmond and Loudon, which resulted in Graham being named interim crew chief for those races.(racewithfaith.com)(9-21-2006)
- Hornish wins 3rd Qtr DOTY award: Although Sam Hornish, Jr.’s IndyCar title came down to the last lap, of the last race of the series, he was easy winner in the voting for Third Quarter Driver of the Year. Hornish, driving the Marlboro Team Penske Dallara-Honda, won the Indy 500 earlier in the year and won three out of the eight races in this quarter with a second and third place finish. He also had one pole during this period. In the voting, by an elite panel of print and broadcast journalists, Hornish got a majority of the first-place votes. Hornish, a prior quarterly winner, took nine out of the 17 first-place votes and totaled 115 points. Kevin Harvick, who took two wins, clinched a spot in the Nextel Cup series, and has a commanding lead in the Busch Series with three wins in the period, was second in the ballot earning five first-place votes with a total of 81 points. AJ Allmendinger, who broke into the win column in the Champ Car World Series earlier this year, had three victories and garnered two first-place votes, totaled 69 points in the Forsythe Championship Racing Lola Ford-Cosworth. Matt Kenseth, a former champion in Nextel Cup, took the only other first-place vote finishing fourth in the voting with 68 points. A total of 15 drivers scored points in the third quarter voting. In its’ 40th year Driver of the Year is unique because it is the oldest award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. A separate one-driver vote will determine the 2006 Driver of the Year. In recognition of the honor, Hornish will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix, wristwatch. The trophy presentation will take place later this year.(DOTY PR)(9-21-2006)
- Papis [not Said] testing the #78 at Kentucky: Before heading to Dover, the #78 Furniture Row team will test this week in Kentucky, with driver Max Papis filling in for regular driver Kenny Wallace.(Rocky Mountain News)(9-21-2006)
- Dover Rookie News and Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the September 17 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Hamlin finished fourth and moved into second-place in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings. He is just 35 points behind leader Kevin Harvick. Hamlin scored his fifth top-five and 14th top-10 finish this season and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 14th time in 27 races this season. Hamlin posted his 10th straight top-15 finish and led the race once for four laps. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead the Nextel Cup Series championship standings is Jimmie Johnson in 2002. Johnson led after the Kansas event (race No. 28). A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 27 races this season. Tony Stewart owns the best points finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the sport’s modern era, placing fourth in the championship standings in 1999. James Hylton holds the best points finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the sport’s history, a second-place effort in 1966. Hamlin leads Clint Bowyer by 52 points (260-208) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the September 24 Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson is the only Raybestos Rookie to win both Nextel Cup races at Dover. Johnson swept both events in 2002, and led the most laps in each race. Johnson is the only first-year driver to lead the most laps in the fall race at Dover (four times for 170 laps) and is the most recent freshman driver to lead a lap at the one-mile Delaware speedway. The best qualifying effort by a Raybestos Rookie for the fall race at Dover is third by Tony Stewart (1999), Brian Vickers (2004) and Busch (2005). The most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the fall race at Dover is Jimmie Johnson in 2002 (four times for 170 laps). He is also the most recent Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the fall event.(Raybestos PR), for more rookie notes, standings, history…see the 2006 Rookies Page.(9-21-2006)
- Medaire Provides Lifesaving Medical Solutions to Vickers: MedAire, a company that serves the business and general aviation industry with lifesaving medical solutions, is providing a MedLink medical advisory subscription service and medical kits for #25- Brian Vickers, Nextel Cup Series Driver and 2003 Busch Series Champion. Vickers is the first motor-sports driver to take advantage of MedAire’s medical offerings. Should Vickers or his associates become ill while traveling by private aircraft or while on the ground, they will have 24/7 access to MedAire’s MedLink Global Response Center located in Phoenix, Ariz., where board-certified emergency care physicians will assess the medical emergency and help treat the patient remotely. During flight-based emergencies, MedLink physicians access MedAire medical equipment on board and recommend treatment for ailments ranging from heart and asthma attacks to respiratory and gastrointestinal problems. More info on MedAire can be found at www.MedAire.com.(MedAire PR)(9-21-2006)
News from September 20, 2006
- Benny is back at Dover; Wally’s World: Benny Parsons, who missed TNT’s New Hampshire broadcast, was back behind the microphone Monday night at Performance Racing Network hosting his weekly “Fast Talk” radio program. Benny, who is undergoing treatments for lung cancer, told listeners “I feel pretty good now. I was tanked out on Friday. I went to see the doctor before my trip to Loudon and my blood levels were just way down so they said you need to go to the hospital and get some intensive care.” As for this weekend Benny is good to go saying “Right now I don’t see any reason why I can’t be in Dover. I don’t have any treatments this week. My radiation is now behind me…I don’t do any chemotherapy until next week, so this week I’m clean. I feel I’ll get better each day as the week progresses and by Saturday I’ll be ready to go to Dover and call the race Sunday.” The great news is Parsons’ tumor continues to shrink. “We talked about it two or three weeks ago that I had an 80-percent reduction in the tumor to where it started. Talking to my doctors they feel like we’re going to be okay in this deal and the next time I have a scan we’re going to be okay. If not, I’ll be awfully disappointed.”(PRN’s “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons” radio show)
AND: TNT’s Wally Dallenbach will take 2006 World Champion figure skater Kimmie Meissner for a twirl around the track in another segment of Wally’s World.(TNT PR)(9-20-2006)
- Terry Labonte to run ‘Tribute Car’ in final Cup race..at Texas: Having been nicknamed “The Iceman” early in his career, two-time NASCAR champion Terry Labonte is widely known for his cool, calm and collected demeanor. But even he was surprised following the unveiling of his #44 Kellogg’s/Terry Labonte Tribute Chevy at Texas Motor Speedway on Tuesday evening. Labonte, in town to give driving tips to members of the Dallas Cowboys prior to a session with the “Team Texas” racing school, was unaware he would also be pulling the car cover off the Monte Carlo SS he will pilot in his final NEXTEL Cup Series race, the Nov. 5 Dickies 500 at TMS. “It was quite a surprise,” said Labonte, a native of Corpus Christi who was joined by speedway president Eddie Gossage and Cowboys players for the reveal. “It’s a truly unique race car, that’s for sure. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. I’m definitely looking forward to showing it off to all the fans here in November and hopefully giving the car a good run. Everyone did a great job keeping this a secret because I had absolutely no clue it was happening.” The vision of car designer Jim Gravlin, the scheme features moments from Labonte’s 1996 championship and each of his dozen Cup victories with Hendrick Motorsports since 1994. The images include his infamous 1995 win at Bristol, Tenn., the historic 2003 Southern 500 triumph at Darlington, S.C., and his 1999 victory at Texas, which is appropriately showcased on the hood. The rear bumper of the car is inscribed simply with, “Thanks for the memories.”(TMS PR), see an image of the scheme on mt #44 Team Schemes page.(9-20-2006)
- DirecTV back on the #07 at Dover: For the third time this season, Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will sport a DIRECTV paint scheme. DIRECTV is the nation’s leading digital television service provider. DIRECTV is also the official satellite television service provider of NASCAR. The team’s customary primary sponsor, Jack Daniel’s, will be featured on the car’s lower-rear quarter panels and deck lid. (RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(9-20-2006)
- Smith to Ginn? UPDATE: hearing that Regan Smith, currently driving the #35 McDonald’s Ford for Team Rensi in the Busch Series, will go to Ginn/MB2 Motorsports [#01-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin] in 2007 to run a Cup/Busch schedule.(9-19-2006)
UPDATE: The following quote is attributed to Jay Frye, CEO and general manager of MB2 Motorsports: “Since Bobby Ginn purchased a majority interest in MB2, it is the goal of the company to expand its racing operations. MB2 is currently evaluating a number of different expansion scenarios and combinations for the 2007 season. And yes, Regan Smith is a potential candidate to fill our expansion needs. He will be testing an MB2 car in Kentucky tomorrow (Wednesday, Sept 20th). Ryan Pemberton and Doug Randolph will oversee the test session.”(MB2 Motorsports PR)(9-20-2006)
- Six Flags Paint Scheme on the #20 Chevy at Dover: The hood of the #20 Home Depot Chevy will feature Six Flags graphics to commemorate the strategic partnership with The Home Depot and to launch the Fright Fest in-store promotion. From Sept. 29 through Oct. 31, over 1,000 The Home Depot stores nationwide will offer discount coupons to 12 Six Flags parks. Discounts range from “Buy One Get One Free” to “Save $15 to 10% Off.” Coupons are available at stores within a 150-mile radius of Six Flags-branded U.S. theme parks. Motorsports Authentics and Six Flags have a licensing agreement for the production of 3,400 1/24-scale die cast cars to be sold online and through Motorsports Authentics dealer networks.(True Speed Communication/JGR PR), see images of the scheme on my #20 Team Schemes page.(9-20-2006)
- Cotton Owens honored: An estimated 1,500 fans attended “Cotton Owens Day” at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. “This is the largest honor I have ever had,” said Everett “Cotton” Owens, who was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. “(All of these people) just show how many good friends that I do have. I feel real good knowing that I have all of these friends. I am very lucky.” Gov. Mark Sanford attended the event and surprised Owens with The Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest award for service. “Cotton and other pioneers really got NASCAR started,” said Sanford, who is seeking his second term in the November elections. “And NASCAR has had a remarkable amount of significance in the Carolinas. It’s always a privilege to be in the company of a legend, and what we have here today is a legend that lives in our own midst.” A friend and former driver for Owens, two-time Winston Cup champion David Pearson, was present to help celebrate the day. “It’s real great that we can honor him, but it should have been done a long time ago,” Pearson said. “We had a real good relationship (when we were working together) and it’s still real good. In fact, we go out and eat together quite a bit on Sundays after church.” While driving for Owens in 1966, Pearson won the NASCAR Grand National Championship (now known as the Nextel Cup). During their five seasons together Owens and Pearson combined for 27 wins in 170 races. “It’s an honor to be here, and I appreciate them inviting me,” said Ned Jarrett, another one of Nascar’s 50 Greatest Drivers. “Cotton Owens is one of the pillars of NASCAR. He certainly deserves the honor that is being bestowed upon him.” As a car owner and driver, Owens collected 41 wins and 38 poles in 487 races.(GoUpstate.com)(9-20-2006)
- New Sponsor for the #49, starting at Dover: BAM Racing announced that WhatsOnline.com, a subsidiary of Abble Media, as primary sponsor of the #49 Dodge starting this weekend at Dover International Speedway. The first peek anyone will get of WhatsOnline.com will on Sunday afternoon. Abble Media has timed the “sneak peek” launch of WhatsOnline.com to coincide with the website’s primary sponsorship of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge driven by Kevin Lepage this weekend in the Dover 400. In light of the recent personnel changes taking place at BAM Racing, the addition of WhatsOnline.com as a repeat primary sponsor in 2006 and 2007 is an additional step in the reorganization process for the team. The full-featured official launch of WhatsOnline.com is expected in mid-October.(BAM Racing PR-pdf)(9-20-2006)
- Chevrolet Scores 30th All-Time Manufacturers’ Cup Title: #29-Kevin Harvick’s victory of the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday helped make history for Chevrolet, securing the 400th victory for the Monte Carlo and clinching the 2006 Manufacturers’ Cup Championship for Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series. With nine races left in the season, Chevrolet has collected its 30th all-time manufacturers’ crown and 26th in NASCAR’s Modern Era (1972 – present) in NASCAR’s premier racing series. “Chevrolet is proud to be the winningest name in racing,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “Our success in NASCAR is a result of many hours of hard work and dedication from all the men and women on our Chevy race teams. We also know that a strong performance in racing helps to generate the same strong performance in the marketplace, and we’re pleased with everyone’s efforts to keep the Chevy bowtie out front on and off the track.”
A total of seven different Chevrolet drivers have contributed to 16 victories in 27 races to date. Chevy Monte Carlo SS drivers who posted wins this season include #48-Jimmie Johnson (four), #29-Kevin Harvick (four), #24-Jeff Gordon (two), #20-Tony Stewart (two), #11-Denny Hamlin (two), #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (one) and #5-Kyle Busch (one). The 2006 Manufacturers’ Cup Championship continues Chevrolet’s history of success in North America’s most popular racing series. Since NASCAR’s Modern Era began, GM has earned 28 of 35 possible manufacturers’ championships with Chevrolet collecting 26 titles for an impressive 80 percent championship record (Buick has won the title twice).
Mark Kent, director of GM Racing: “Chevrolet has a storied history in NASCAR competition with 465 race wins since the Modern Era began in 1972. To clinch the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Manufacturers’ Championship with nine races remaining in the season is an impressive accomplishment for Chevrolet and its teams. It has truly been a group approach with seven different Chevy drivers sharing in this result. This cooperative effort among the teams, in concert with the technology and support provided by GM Racing, has made this championship special for all concerned. We are extremely proud to capture our fourth consecutive manufacturers’ championship.”(GM Racing PR), see more on the Manufacturers Championship Standings/News pagefor more.(9-20-2006)
- Petty Enterprises Testing in Nashville: The #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge rolled off the truck this morning at the Nashville Superspeedway to begin testing with driver Bobby Labonte behind the wheel. Kyle Petty is also in town observing as the crew and crew chief, Paul Andrews, tackle the right set-up on the 1.33-mile concrete D-shaped oval. “We decided to come to Nashville to work on some general set-ups for the car to use in the near future. I guess you could say we’re doing some R & D, but it mainly consists of finding new ways to set the car up. I believe this is Bobby’s first test run on this particular track in a Petty car so we should have some interesting results by this afternoon,” said Andrews. When asked about his thoughts on the “Car of Tomorrow” Andrews said, “It’s definitely going to take some time to adjust for all of us. The main reason for the COT is driver safety, but also to make the competition closer and more even across the board. The wing on the back end of the car is supposed to help the driver, especially in traffic where the air can get taken off the back, to have more control and not have to deal with the issue of being loose. I guess the jury is still out on the whole deal and will be for awhile, but we do what NASCAR tells us to do. The primary reason for the COT is to make our drivers safer, so that’s always a positive thing and we’ll all have to adapt.”(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(9-20-2006)
News from September 19, 2006
- Boston Red Sox owner in talks to buy part of Roush: While Roush Racing president Geoff Smith isn’t sure where discussions with Boston Red Sox owner John Henry and his Fenway Sports Group will lead, he doesn’t envision a scenario in which Jack Roush would relinquish control of the operation. Negotiations have been ongoing throughout the summer, Smith said late Tuesday afternoon. He’s not sure what percentage of the team – which competes in all three of NASCAR’s national series – could be sold, if any, but expects one thing to remain the same. “I can’t see Jack Roush giving up control of Roush Racing,” Smith said. “I don’t see that as an outcome.” Roush and Henry, who heads the NESV partnership, have been friends for several years, sparking occasional rumors that Henry was looking to buy into Roush Racing. In the past, though, Smith said the two sides were just discussing marketing possibilities, not a sale. The two were seen together on Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway and Roush Racing released a statement Tuesday that confirmed discussions about selling an interest in the team were ongoing.(in part from the SceneDaily.com)
AND: According to multiple executives briefed on the negotiations, Fenway Sports Group is in talks to buy as much as 50 percent of privately held Roush Racing, the class of NASCAR, for something north of $50 million. No deal is imminent, these executives cautioned, and the negotiations, which have started and stopped before, could still falter. Both the Fenway Sports Group and Roush Racing confirmed the talks, but both said there is no agreement. Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, called the Red Sox unit “attractive partners” because of its marketing capabilities, particularly in the Northeast. Said Mike Dee, president of Fenway Sports Group: “If these discussions are fruitful, we will be happy to talk about them.”(in part from the Boston Globe)
AND II: “Roush Racing confirms,” said Geoff Smith president of Roush Racing, “It has entered into discussions to sell an interest in Roush Racing to Fenway Sports Group, Boston. Should these discussions ultimately materialize into a definitive agreement Roush Racing will provide further information on the topic.”(Roush Racing PR)(9-19-2006)
- Sponsor change on the #29? UPDATE: hearing that GM Goodwrench will not return as the primary sponsor of Kevin Harvick’s #29 RCR Chevy in 2007, supposedly Reese’s/Hershey’s will return as a co-sponsor and a gasoline and lubricant supplier would be the other co-primary.(9-16-2006)
UPDATE: During the PRN’s “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons” radio show Monday night car owner Richard Childress commented briefly on rumors that GM Goodwrench would not be back to sponsor Kevin Harvick’s Chevy in 2007. “There’s always rumors out there swinging around. We’re talking about ’em right now…we’re looking at what we’re going to do next year and right now our plans are Goodwrench and Hershey for next year but who knows what can happen in the sport…things change.”(PRN’s “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons” radio show)(9-19-2006)
- Bill Elliott to attempt Kansas in #37: #37 R&J Racing announced that 1988 Cup Champ Bill Elliott will be in the #37 car (Dodge?) at Kansas Speedway next weekend. “We are extremely excited to announce that after a few weeks off to restructure our program, we have signed Bill to drive the #37 car. We feel that after joining forces with Ernie Elliott, we finally have achieved the success with our program that our team deserves.” R&J Racing also has signed a deal with Vision Motorsports Marketing out of Atlanta to handle sponsorship and PR for them. “We feel that the #37 team has made huge strides towards developing their program and we believe with the right marketing partner they would be a force to challenge for the win each weekend.” said Vision Motorsports Marketing Vice President Adam Loser. R&J Racing and Vision Motorsports Marketing are working on their sponsorship program with opportunities still available for the Kansas race.(Vision Motorsports Marketing PR)(9-19-2006)
- Junior Johnson to Receive Smokey Yunick Award Prior to Bank of America 500: Junior Johnson, whose driving skills took him from the dusty back roads of North Carolina to the auto racing hall of fame, will receive the Smokey Yunick Award Saturday night, Oct. 14, during pre-race ceremonies for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Instituted in 1997 by legendary car owner and mechanic Smokey Yunick who passed away May 11, 2001, the award annually recognizes an individual whose lifelong efforts have had a major impact on the motorsports industry. “Junior Johnson not only excelled behind the wheel of a stock car, but was also a championship team owner who brought several major corporations into the sport as sponsors,” said H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “His impact was far reaching, and he played a very important role in helping elevate the sport to the status it enjoys today. Smokey wanted this award to honor those who rose from humble beginnings and through hard work and dedication made a major impact on stock car racing,” continued Wheeler, who will present the award. “The blue-ribbon panel that selects the recipient made an outstanding choice of which Smokey would be very proud.”
Like many of stock car racing’s pioneers, Johnson honed his driving skills running moonshine in the North Carolina mountains. His first NASCAR start came in the 1953 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and he won 50 races before hanging up his helmet in 1966. Johnson’s greatest success, however, came as a car owner where he won 139 races and six championships in NASCAR’s premier division. His drivers included Fred Lorenzen, Curtis Turner, LeeRoy Yarbrough, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte. Throughout his career, Johnson was an industry leader in mechanical innovation and many of the sport’s top crew chiefs and mechanics learned their trade while working under his leadership. In addition, his race cars were among the first to carry sponsorship from major consumer brands and Johnson was responsible for bringing R.J. Reynolds and NASCAR officials together, a meeting that resulted in a 33-year series sponsorship. In 1990, Johnson was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and in 1998 was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. Previous winners of the Smokey Yunick Award include Ken Squier, Bill Simpson, Ralph Moody, Banjo Matthews, Bud Moore, Cotton Owens, Junie Donlavey, Jim Hunter and Glen and Leonard Wood.(LMS PR)(9-19-2006)
- Ganassi teams testing at Nashville: Although Chip Ganassi Racing does not have a Nextel Cup Series car vying for the “Chase for the Championship” in 2006, that doesn’t deter them from looking for a few wins before the season wraps up. #42-Casey Mears and his team is at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway concrete oval today looking to improve their chances to snag a future win at the Kansas Speedway. “We decided to come to the Nashville Superspeedway to basically “shakedown” the Havoline Dodge before we take her to Kansas. #41-Reed Sorenson was coming here anyway with Steve Boyer, our head guy over the “Car of Tomorrow” program at Ganassi Racing, so we decided since Reed would be here testing the COT that it would be a great place to work on the #42 too”, explained Mears’ crew chief Donnie Wingo. Testing is closed to the public.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(9-19-2006)
- No more Roush Gong show; Ragan in the #06 at Dover? UPDATE Ragan at Dover: Geoff Smith, head of Roush Racing, “We are committed to a rookie in the (#6) car. There are tremendous long-term business advantages to doing a program with a rookie, if the rookie can get the job done. And we expect any of our rookies to get the job done. We have been able to put four of our Gong Show drivers in rides this year to scrutinize them: Todd [Kluever]; David Ragan, splitting duties with Mark in Trucks; Erik Darnell, rookie-of-the-year leader in Trucks; and Danny O’Quinn. “One of those guys will be in the six [Cup car]. And by the time we get to Kansas City, we have to be done. We haven’t had home runs out of the box with all four, but David and Erik have done extremely well. And Danny and David are only 20 years old. So we feel very good about where we are.” Smith said he and Roush have thus canceled this year’s Gong Show.(Winston Salem Journal), look for David Ragan to run the #06 Ford in the Dover Cup race.(9-18-2006)
UPDATE: Ragan to attempt Dover Cup race in the #06: Roush Racing announced that David Ragan will attempt to make his first attempt at a Nextel Cup Series start in the #06 Ford this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Ragan is currently competing in the Craftsman Truck Series. “I’ve looked forward to this day for a long time,” said Ragan. “I never thought that the day would come this soon. It just goes to show that hard work and determination really can pay off. I have gotten a lot of racing experience in the Craftsman Truck Series that will help race with the guys in the Nextel Cup Series. I’m looking forward to working with Frank Stoddard and the #06 Ford team.” Ragan will also make his second Busch Series start of the 2006 season in the #50 Barr-Nunn Ford when he competes in the Dover 200 on Saturday. “This is an awesome opportunity to get some more experience in the NASCAR Busch Series,” said Ragan. “The guys with the #50 team had a great run with Danny O’Quinn here in the spring. It’s a really good opportunity to get some valuable seat time to help me get familiar with Dover. I’ve never raced here so every lap I make is really going to help me.”
“I see a lot of potential in these young drivers,” said Jack Roush. “This will give us an opportunity to evaluate David Ragan and it will also give him valuable experience running in both series at Dover. Dover International Speedway is a very challenging track, but I know David will perform to the best of his ability.”(Roush Racing PR)(9-19-2006)
- Kahne, Riggs and Yeley test at Kentucky: Chase for the Nextel Cup contender Kasey Kahne fine tuned elements of the intermediate track program for his #9 Dodge Dealers Dodge during a Kentucky Speedway test on Monday. Kahne used the valuable test time to hone his intermediate track skills that will prove helpful in upcoming events at Kansas Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and ultimately Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Chase for the Nextel Cup finale. The only Dodge representative in the Chase for the Nextel Cup said he will rely on the input of not only his team, but teammates #19-Elliott Sadler and #10-Scott Riggs while pursuing a first series title. Riggs and Joe Gibbs Racing driver #18-J.J. Yeley also turned test laps. Yeley are scheduled to return Tuesday, Sept. 19. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-19-2006)
- COT Testing at Milwaukee: hearing that “Car of Tomorrow” [COT] was tested Monday [and also on Tuesday] at the Milwaukee Mile with Aric Almirola testing for Joe Gibbs Racing and David Green testing a Hendrick Motorsports COT Chevy. Ganassi Racing will test the COT at Milwaukee later this month.(9-19-2006)
- Kurt Busch tests COT at Greenville Pickens: the Greenville News has pictures and video of #2-Kurt Busch testing a “Car of Tomorrow” [COT] on Monday. The car ran with Goodyear and Hoosier tires [due to Goodyear leasing rules, teams need tires, Hoosier is NOT coming back to Cup]. See more at the Greenville News.(9-19-2006)
- Issue with #29 and #31 cars after race at NHIS UPDATE’s NASCAR denies; RCR & Speed’s statements: FoxSports/Speed’s Bob Dilner reports: have learned that there was an issue with the winning car of #29-Kevin Harvick and also his teammate, #31-Jeff Burton, in postrace tech [at New Hampshire Intl Speedway in the Cup race]. That issue surrounded the actual [wheel] rim of the race car. The team apparently manipulated that rim to act as a bleeder valve to release air pressure from that rim. In English, it was performance advantage for the RCR team. Now, it was not against anything in the rule book so there won’t be any fines or points penalties later on this week, but they have been told not to do it again.(more at FoxSports)(9-18-2006)
UPDATE: Race winner Kevin Harvick and his teammate, Jeff Burton, did not have any problems in post race tech Sunday night at Loudon. Late Sunday night, it was reported that the Richard Childress Racing teams had manipulated their rims to act as a bleeder valve to release air pressure from the rim. According to NASCAR however, the issue of the rims never surfaced during post race tech. “We’ve been checking valves and valve stems for about 4 months now,” said Jim Hunter Vice President of Corporate Communications for NASCAR said Monday. “What it was, was one reporter trying to make something that wasn’t there. Then another reporter went on TV and reported it as fact, when it was actually totally untrue. It was one reporter’s unsubstantiated fantasy,”(Cupscene.com)
AND The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing (RCR), regarding allegations in the media after the Sept. 19 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway that two of RCR’s teams had manipulated the rules: “Reports in the media, specifically on SPEED TV, that one or more of our NEXTEL Cup Series teams was found by NASCAR to be manipulating the rules yesterday at New Hampshire International Speedway are false and misleading. Our cars passed post-race inspection and officials at NASCAR assured us last night and again today that no one from RCR was told at any time not to bring a part back to the race track. The reported events and conversations did not happen. Our focus remains on two of our teams competing for the championship and the other finishing as high in the points as possible.(RCR PR) SPEED statement:SPEED issues the following response to statements made by NASCAR and Richard Childress Racing regarding a story filed by SPEED reporter Bob Dillner during the Sept. 17 LIVE broadcast of The SPEED Report. “SPEED reporter Bob Dillner has a strong record of solid reporting from the NASCAR garage; so there is no rational reason for us to consider that the events and conversations he related to SPEED viewers are anything other than the truth,” said Chris Long, SPEED Executive Producer for NASCAR programming.(SpeedTV.com) ANDKevin Harvick told Sirius Speedway that he believes a rival team was behind Sunday’s SPEED TV report alleging that NASCAR had discovered issues with the team’s right-front wheels. “I absolutely think it was a plant from another team,” said Harvick. “NASCAR didn’t say anything, so it’s pretty obvious to me where it came from. It’s an attempt to try and distract us from what we’re doing, but they’re going to have to do a lot better than that.” Harvick said he knows who planted the story, but declined to name names. (Sirius Speedway/MRN Radio)(9-18-2006)
UPDATE 3: Car owner Richard Childress told Benny Parsons during Monday night’s PRN’s “Fast Talk radio show” that a Speed Channel report that RCR manipulated a rim giving the 29 car a performance advantage at New Hampshire was not true. Childress said reporter Bob Dilner “Got some bad information and he talked about it before he knew all the facts.” Childress fielded many phone calls from various sponsors about the story, but he did not chastise Dilner. “I’ve got to say something for Bob Dilner. He did not report that on purpose. He didn’t do it out of anything derogatory to RCR or Jeff or Kevin. Its part of you guys (the media) job sometimes…you report things and maybe you don’t get the whole story.” Meanwhile the incident brought back some fond memories to the long-time car owner who won six championships with Dale Earnhardt. “All it did was made me think back to the days when Dale and RCR was winning and running good. You know, nobody ever loses…if you’ve ever heard that story…it’s because somebody’s doing something wrong to win. So, naturally with Kevin’s performance the last few weeks and RCR’s performance this year, people are going to say things.”(PRN’s “Fast Talk with Benny Parsons” radio show)(9-19-2006)
- Burton’s Team Claims Pit Crew Win in New Hampshire: Jeff Burton’s #31 pit crew earned its second Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday’s NEXTEL Cup event, helping boost the Chase driver to a seventh-place finish in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. “Our pit crew has been a big part of Team Cingular’s success this season,” said Scott Miller, crew chief for the #31 Cingular Chevy. “Everyone has worked extremely hard to do their part, and we have seen the result of that on the track. I am very proud of the pit crew’s efforts and look for it to continue throughout the final nine races in The Chase.” Burton’s over-the-wall crew, which spent a winning 171.097 seconds on pit road, consists of: Josh Yost (jackman), Kevin Nervenga (front-tire carrier), Joe Zielinski (front-tire changer), Jason Fowler (rear-tire carrier), Aaron Smith (rear-tire changer), Larry Hartle (gasman), Rich Burgess (catch can) and Wes Adams (windshield). The pit crew coordinator is Corrine Mauldin. Burton’s team is one of 13 different pit crews to have won the weekly competition, which pays $10,500 for each win. In addition, a bonus of $105,000 will be awarded to the pit crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule. With nine races remaining, the $105,000 bonus is still up for grabs with the over-the-wall crews of Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch leading the standings with four wins each. Clint Bowyer’s and Tony Stewart’s teams are tied for second with three wins. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(9-19-2006)
News from September 18, 2006
- Commercial Breakdown for the Sylvania 300/New Hampshire: from cawsnjaws.com:
Total number of commercials: 130
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 79
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 21
Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos: 18
Total amount of time these brief promos took during broadcast: app. 3 min.
Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 1:24 P.M.
End time to record race/commercial periods: 4:47 P.M.
Total minutes: 203 minutes
Minutes of race broadcast: 140
Minutes of commercials: 63
(Jayski Note: that would be 9 minutes of commercials in 30 minutes – less then a sitcom in primetime)
(see the full report at CawsnJaws.com)(9-18-2006)
- RYR one car team in 2007? UPDATE 2 Nope..looks like Martin; BUT can’t run both?…. Robert Yates Racing co-owner Doug Yates told reporters in Richmond, Va., his team could shrink from two cars to one if sponsorship isn’t found for its #88 [currently driven by Dale Jarrett with UPS as the sponsor](USA Today sidebar)(9-15-2006)
UPDATE: Despite recent dire predictions that he may have to shutter his #88 Ford team next year for lack of a sponsor, car owner Robert Yates told SPEEDTV.com on Saturday that he’s close to inking a deal for next season — and he hopes the driver of the #88 in 2007 will be Mark Martin. “From my side, we’re getting pretty optimistic,” Yates said following “Happy Hour” practice for the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. “We’re given and getting some good (sponsor) opportunities … I think it’s going to happen, and I’m anxious and I’m happy that we’re getting the cars better. … I think it’s all going to end up on the positive. I think I may have a job for a while longer.” Last week at Richmond, Yates said he might have to close the #88 team down next year, because he didn’t have a sponsor, but events of the last few days have changed his mind about 2007. Asked if things had changed in the last week, Yates said, “Big time,” adding, “I turned upbeat this week.” Asked how close he was to a sponsor deal, Yates said, “It could happen this week. The sooner, the better, but I want to make sure we get our cars right. We’re gaining on that quite a bit. It needs to happen. Right now, I’m very optimistic that we’ll be in good shape and good to go for another season.” The team owner said he wanted a veteran driver and that could mean Mark Martin, who Yates’s son, Doug, has talked to about moving over from Roush Racing. “I know Doug has talked to him … he’s interested,” said Yates. “That’s the feedback I get. I haven’t talked one on one with him.” Martin said Friday he hadn’t talked to Yates but left the door open for options outside of Roush next year.(Speedtv.com)(9-16-2006)
UPDATE 2 – can’t do Cup full-time? Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said Mark Martin’s Truck Series contract that is in the final stages of preparation will not allow him to run a full Nextel Cup schedule in 2007. “You can’t do both,” Smith said emphatically before Sunday’s Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Smith said Martin’s best option for a partial Cup schedule if that’s what he desires will be in the #60 team that Roush Racing manages with Boris Said. He smiled when told that Robert Yates continues to put Martin on his wish list to drive the #88 next season.(NASCAR.com)(9-18-2006)
- Engine News – Dodge pulls engine plans; Chevy engine approved? Dodge executives have joined Ford in unexpectedly withdrawing plans for a new NASCAR engine for 2007, Dodge’s Mike Accavitti, the company’s new racing boss, said yesterday. The moves by Ford and Dodge portend a looming engine-rules debate in the Nextel Cup garage, since Toyota will have a new engine for its tour debut next February. And it is unclear just what is at play in this growing engine debate. Ford’s Jack Roush said that NASCAR has changed its 2007 engine plans several times this season, leading to his decision. Chevrolet officials are awaiting word from NASCAR about their own proposed new engine. Chevrolet’s current engine design is the oldest on the tour, and NASCAR has rejected GM’s last two proposed new engines. Dodge’s Accavitti said that it’s his understanding that NASCAR has already approved the new Chevrolet engine, though GM officials say they have heard nothing yet. Accavitti said that Dodge plans to come back with another engine-package design next year for 2008.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-18-2006)
- Walker to BDR truck team? sponsor 360 OTC? hearing there will be an announcement soon that past World of Outlaws Gumout Champion Tyler Walker will be behind the wheel of Rockford-Montgomery’s #36 360 OTC Toyota Tundra in the Craftsman Truck Series, fielded by Bill Davis Racing.(9-18-2006)
- Unser Jr to NASCAR? Al Unser Jr. is the latest driver interested in moving into stock-car racing.(Winston Salem Journal)….that is all it says concerning a move to NASCAR.(9-18-2006)
- Benny sits out: Bill Weber on fellow TNT broadcaster Benny Parsons who sat out the race at New Hampshire due to illness: “He spent a couple hours in the hospital this week but he just called an hour ago and told me that the hospital kicked him out so that he could go home and watch the race.”(TNT PR)(9-18-2006)
- Power Outage at NHIS causes problems, sets #27 back 4 laps: A power outage left only NASCAR’s generator-driven apparati up and running at the start of the race at New Hampshire. The governing body generously shared its power with television, so that the broadcast booth, along with the space housing race officials, could be air-conditioned. As a result, the pre-race prayer and singing of the national anthem were conducted for TV audiences only. The whole affair was staged, and most of the capacity crowd didn’t know it was taking place. In fact, while the prayer was being delivered, the crowd was taking part in “the wave,” and practically no one was standing at the beginning of the anthem. Gradually, fans became aware that something was going on because they could see the pit crews standing at attention on pit road. Since TV couldn’t fully eliminate from its live pictures all evidence that the fans didn’t know what was going on, TNT anchor Bill Weber had to mention afterward that there had been a power outage. During the first caution period, power was restored.(Gaston Gazeete)
AND Electrical power to the New Hampshire track blinked out just minutes before the start of Sunday’s race. But the 300-mile event started right on time, thanks to generators that kept all of NASCAR’s equipment, including timing and scoring, up and running. The TV broadcast by TNT was also able to continue without interruption until full power was restored after just four laps had been run. Ted Christopher’s [#27 Chevy] car was held in the garage until after the power came on because his spotter, who apparently was stuck on an elevator, had note reported to the spotters’ stand at the top of the grandstand. Christopher started the race four laps behind. Officials said an auto accident away from the racetrack knocked down high voltage lines and caused the brief outage.(FoxSports/AP)(9-18-2006)
- New car chief for Labonte? hearing that besides a new crew chief, Paul Andrews, Rick Bourgeois is the new car chief for #43-Bobby Labonte.(9-18-2006)
News from September 17, 2006
- Martin waiting on Roush contract for Truck ride UPDATE almost done, rookies vie for #6 gig: #6-Mark Martin said Friday that he’s still waiting for Roush Racing to give him a contract for his Craftsman Truck Series ride for next season, but until he gets it, he’s keeping his Nextel Cup options open. The only thing he knows for sure he won’t do next year is drive the Roush #6 Cup car he’s manned since 1988. And that may be the reason his NCTS deal isn’t done. Todd Kluever, the heir apparent for the #6 Roush Ford Fusion, has struggled mightily in the Busch Series this year, leading to rumors that he might not move up to that ride next year. And that, in turn, has fueled speculation that Roush would try to get Martin to stay another year in the Cup car. Nothing Martin said Friday at New Hampshire International Speedway quashed those rumors. “It is my intention to drive the #6 truck (in 2007),” Martin said. “We just don’t have it done yet. … I’m not worried about it. We’ve had this planned for over a year now. They (Roush) didn’t present me with a contract a year ago because they knew they were going to talk me into driving the #6 car, I think. I think they haven’t proceeded very quickly on this truck thing this year, because they knew something else might happen. I know (Roush Racing President) Geoff Smith and I’m not saying he’s manipulative or anything like that, but he’s pretty smart.” Until the deal’s done, though, Martin hasn’t closed any doors. “I would imagine if they’d present me with a contract, I’d sign it, then that would be it,” Martin said of the Roush truck deal. “But they haven’t yet. Some details still aren’t worked out yet on it. In the meantime, there are some very interesting opportunities.”(Speedtv.com)(9-15-2006)
UPDATE: Roush Racing president Geoff Smith said he has reached a verbal agreement with Mark Martin and his sponsors for Martin to drive Roush’s #6 Truck Series entry full-time next season. Smith also said Martin’s replacement in the #6 Cup car would come from among four Roush prospects: Todd Kluever, Erik Darnell, Danny O’Quinn or David Ragan. Kluever was the anointed choice but has lost his locked-in status on the basis of a disappointing showing in the Busch Series this year. “The plan for almost two years has been to have Mark be the flagship driver for our truck program,” Smith said Sunday morning at New Hampshire International Speedway. “… There were some open business issues involving a sponsor and Ford that we had to get out of the way. From Mark’s point of view, they might be getting out of the way a little slower than they should have. From my point of view, they probably got out of the way in a more typical fashion. On a handshake basis, those details are out of the way and now I have to get the paperwork done,” said Smith. “I think it’s a formality now.”
As for the #6 AAA Cup car that Martin is vacating, Smith said, “The #6 Cup car will be driven by one of our rookies next year. That was our plan from the get-go and that plan will stay in place. The only thing that’s changed at all about the plan … is that we have more of a luxury of being able to put three more rookies in our program and make it an evaluation process involving four drivers instead of just Todd Kluever.” Smith said the winner from among the four rookies would get the Cup ride full-time. It will not rotate among the drivers. “We’ll just pick one and that will be it.” The apparent deal with Martin opens the door for the veteran to do a 10-12 race deal with another Cup team next year, perhaps with [#88] Yates’ or Boris Said’s #60 Ford team.(Speedtv.com)(9-17-2006)
- Allmendinger to Red Bull? UPDATE: Murmurs in Champ Car circles say Red Bull, which carries a personal services contract with AJ Allmendinger, might like to see the young American in Nextel Cup, where it hopes to strike big in 2007 in partnership with Toyota. With so much money and fame up for grabs in NASCAR, it has become a challenge to keep promising open-wheel drivers away from the France family circus. It could prove difficult for Owner Carl Russo and Champ Car to hold onto Allmendinger, especially if he starts winning.(Autoweek)(4-9-2006)
UPDATE: Champ Car driver A.J. Allmendinger wears a Red Bull helmet as one of the drivers endorsed by the energy-drink maker, so maybe that’s why Team Red Bull Competition Director Elton Sawyer was one of the first people to talk to Allmendinger on pit road after his Truck Series debut Saturday at New Hampshire. Sawyer and Team Red Bull General Manager Marty Gaunt were both in attendance as Allmendinger finished 13th in his debut after wrecking his Bill Davis Racing Toyota Tundra in qualifying. Could the 24-year-old Allmendinger, who has four wins in Champ Car this year in a season driving for two different teams, be Brian Vickers’ teammate when Team Red Bull takes to the track next season as part of the initial Toyota Camry Nextel Cup effort? “That’s a tough question,” Gaunt said on whether Allmendinger could be Nextel Cup ready. “He did a hell of a job for his first time out. He finished 13th in a backup truck. He did real, real good. He wanted to try this, and when he was switching rides, he got hold of [Bill Davis] and you’ve got to give him a lot of credit for going out and doing what he did here today.” Gaunt said TRB is still a month away from naming a driver and a possible sponsor for that car. “We still have a lot of pieces to put together,” Gaunt said. “We’re still looking at all the [driver] candidates that are options, It is a crucial decision, so we have to make sure to make the right one.” Allmendinger, who still might return to Forsythe Championship Racing on the Champ Car circuit next year and used the NHIS event to test the NASCAR waters, plans on competing in the Oct. 8 truck race at Talladega. “Red Bull has been a great driver-sponsor/athlete sponsor of mine for the last three years,” Allmendinger said Saturday. “Over this year with my success and switching to the Forsythe team, we’ve been able to really have a strong relationship and they [Red Bull] enjoy the atmosphere in Champ Car as well. Right now, I was just trying to see what it was like and my focus is still on the rest of the year in Champ Car and more than anything just trying to please Red Bull and win races in that.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-17-2006)
- Rudd Rumors: Ricky Rudd may be waking up again from his semiretirement, or at least putting feelers out that he’s getting restless sitting on the porch. Rudd hasn’t been seen since he subbed for injured #20-Tony Stewart at Dover in June. But now he’s lined up to test a Toyota car of tomorrow at Talladega on Oct. 9, during NASCAR’s next planned test of the controversial new model. Rudd would be testing in a model for a Toyota Truck team that now fields Trucks for Jack Sprague. Rudd said he’s been offered Toyota Cup rides next season, but hasn’t said yes or no as of yet. And there is speculation that General Motors may want to make Rudd a Nextel Cup offer for next year, too. Already there is widespread speculation that Richard Childress may be ready to expand to a fourth Nextel Cup team. Rudd and Childress were once GM teammates.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-17-2006)
- Harvick wins at New Hampshire: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway for his 2nd Cup win in a row, his 4th of the year and 9th of his career. Harvick also takes the Nextel Cup drivers points lead for the first time in his career. Harvick dominated the race, leading 196 of the 300 laps and is only the third driver in 24 races at NHIS to win from the pole. #20-Stewart finished 2nd, followed by #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #25-Vickers. The rest of the top-10 were #19-Sadler in 6th then #31-Burton, #18-Yeley, #22-Blaney [two top-10’s in a row] and #17-Kenseth. Two Chasers had problems, #48-Johnson has engine problems early after starting 7th, then got caught in a wreck and finished 39th. #5-Busch got involved in an early accident with #66-Green, then got back on the lead lap, fell off the lead lap again when #07-Bowyer got loose and into the #5 which spun and smacked the wall, finishing just ahead of Johnson, 38th. There were 10 leaders with 27 lead changes and 10 cautions for 47 laps.
Race Results on my New Hampshire Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after New Hampshire page
Race Rundown: see my New Hampshire Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-17-2006)
- Unofficial Driver Points Standing after New Hampshire [27 of 36 races]:
#29-Kevin Harvick 5230
#11-Denny Hamlin 5195 -35
#17-Matt Kenseth 5189 -41
#24-Jeff Gordon 5180 -50
#31-Jeff Burton 5166 -64
#6-Mark Martin 5155 -75
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5149 -81
#9-Kasey Kahne 5120 -110
#48-Jimmie Johnson 5091 -139
#5-Kyle Busch 5084 -146
and fighting for 11th
#20-Tony Stewart in 11th
#16-Greg Biffle -313
#99-Carl Edwards -353
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.
The CLASSIC/OLD way:
1) #17-Matt Kenseth 3924
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3774 -150
31) #29-Kevin Harvick 3671 -253
4) #11-Denny Hamlin 3513 -411
5) #24-Jeff Gordon 3491 -433
6) #20-Tony Stewart 3473 -451(2 wins)
7) #5-Kyle Busch 3473 -451 (1 win)
8) #31-Jeff Burton 3473 -451
9) #6-Mark Martin 3471 -453
10) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3462 -464
11) #9-Kasey Kahne 3434 -490
- NHIS PENALTY REPORT:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
#5 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 3
#01 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 29
#22 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 97
#21 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 193
#61 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 200
#21 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 200
#21 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 200
#01 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 209
#10 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 265
#96 PT Jumping the restart Lap 270
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-17-2006)
- New Hampshire Race Notes:
• Kevin Harvick won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, scoring his ninth Nextel Cup victory in his 205th career start.
• Harvick has posted victories in three of the last six races, also winning at Watkins Glen and Richmond. This is his fourth victory in 2006. Harvick won at Phoenix earlier this season.
• Harvick extended a 39-race streak of running at the finish that began at California in 2005, the longest current streak.
• Harvick won the $60,000 Nextel Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the points at the end of the event.
• Harvick moved into 56th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list.
• Harvick’s victory today was the 16th Chevrolet victory in 27 races in 2006. That victory clinched the 2006 Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet – the 30th time that they have won the Manufacturers’ Championship, including each of the last four years.
• Harvick has scored 11 straight top-15 finishes, extending a streak that began at Daytona in July.
• Harvick became the fifth different race winner in the last five races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
• Harvick scored his first victory in 12 races at New Hampshire International Speedway and sixth victory in 159 races on a superspeedway.
• Harvick won the race from the Bud Pole, the third time in 24 Nextel Cup races at New Hampshire that a driver won from the pole. This marked the sixth time in 2006 that a race was won from the Bud Pole.
• Harvick scored his third straight top-10 finish at New Hampshire International Speedway.
• Harvick climbed from third to first in the point standings, 35 points ahead of second-place Denny Hamlin This is the first time that Harvick has been the point leader in his 205-race career.
• Harvick led the most laps for the second time in 2006. Harvick also led the most at first Richmond.
• Race winner Harvick led seven times for 196 laps including the final 84 laps.
• This is team owner Richard Chidress’ 81st Nextel Cup victory and his second at New Hampshire International Speedway. His other victory here was by Robby Gordon in November 2001.
• Tony Stewart (second) scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 10th top-10 finish in 16 races at New Hampshire. Stewart remained 11th in the point standings with a 313-point lead over 12th-place Greg Biffle This is the first year that Stewart will not finish among the top-10 since his first full-time season in 1999. Stewart missed The Chase by 16 points. He is chasing the $1 million bonus for finishing 11th in the final point standings. Jeff Gordon finished 11th in 2005 and Jamie McMurray finished 11th in 2004, the inaugural year of the Chase.
• Jeff Gordon (third) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006 and his 13th top-10 finish in 24 races at New Hampshire. • Denny Hamlin (fourth) scored his 14th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his second top-10 finish in two races at New Hampshire International Speedway. It was his 10th straight top-15 finish.
• Hamlin was the highest finishing rookie for the 14th time in 2006.
• Brian Vickers (fifth) scored his first top-10 finish in his last seven races and his sixth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in six races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
• At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 27 races this season.
• Elliott Sadler (sixth) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2006 and his fourth in 16 races at New Hampshire.
• Jeff Burton (seventh) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 2006 and his 11th top-10 finish in 24 races at New Hampshire.
• Dave Blaney (ninth) scored his second top-10 finish in 2006, both in the last two races.
• Jimmie Johnson (39th today) dropped from second to ninth in the point standings. He has been ranked among the top 10 for 96 consecutive races. Johnson has been running at the finish in all 27 races in 2006.
The Chase Divers
• Race #27 at New Hampshire marked the first of the 10 races in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup. Five of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10. All 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at New Hampshire.
• Kevin Harvick climbed from third to first in the point standings. Harvick is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time. He is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.
• Harvick’s 35 point lead over second-place Denny Hamlin is the biggest point lead after Race #1 in the threeyear history of The Chase.
• Denny Hamlin climbed from fifth to second in the point standings. Hamlin is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time. He is the first Raybestos rookie contender to compete in The Chase.
• Matt Kenseth dropped from first to third in the point standings. He is now 41 points behind point leader Harvick. Kenseth is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. He is one of just three drivers to do so. Kenseth finished eighth in 2004 and seventh in 2005
• Jeff Gordon climbed from ninth to fourth in the point standings. Gordon is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second time in three years. He is one of just two drivers that have competed in two of the three. Gordon finished third in 2004 and 11th in the 2005 final standings.
• Jeff Burton climbed from eighth to fifth in the point standings. Burton is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time.
• Mark Martin climbed from seventh to sixth in the point standings. Martin is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. He is one of just three drivers to do so. Martin finished fourth in 2004 and 2005.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr., dropped from sixth to seventh in the point standings. Earnhardt Jr. is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second time in three years. He is one of just two drivers that have competed in two of the three. Earnhardt Jr. finished fifth in 2004 and 19th in the 2005 final standings.
• Kasey Kahne climbed from 10th to eighth in the point standings. Kahne is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time.
• Jimmie Johnson dropped from second to ninth in the point standings. Johnson is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. Johnson finished second in 2004 and fifth in 2005.
• Kyle Busch dropped from fourth to 10th in the point standings. He is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-17-2006)
- Interesting Stat – only one Birthday winner: Cale Yarborough is the only Cup driver to ever win a points paying race on his birthday, which is March 27. In 1977 at North Wilksboro Speedway and 1983 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NOTE, since much email was first recieved with guess’s, a few items were covered and checked: Richard Petty never won on his birthday [July 2nd] [in Cup] and neither did Jeff Gordon [August 4th]. In fact, the Brickyard 400 has only been held on Gordon’s birthday once, in 2002, when Bill Elliott won. Gordon’s first Brickyard 400 came on August 6, 1994.(8-6-2004)
WHY do I mention this? #48-Jimmie Johnson turned 31 today and had a shot as Johnson started 7th, but had trouble from the start, wrecked and will not win, so the ‘record’ will stand.(9-16/17-2006)
News from September 16, 2006
- NASCAR Sticking to decision on Grubb Suspension: Although Kevin Grubb told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he does not recall being asked to submit to a drug test after his crash at Richmond last week, a NASCAR spokesman says series officials remain firm about his suspension. NASCAR suspended Grubb indefinitely after he refused to submit to a drug test. NASCAR suspended Grubb in 2004 for violating the series’ substance abuse policy. Part of his reinstatement earlier this year was that he had to take random drug tests. Grubb told the Times-Dispatch he was “foggy” after his accident last week and that he doesn’t “remember most of being at the track.” Asked if Grubb’s comments might change NASCAR’s stance, spokesperson Kerry Tharp said: “NASCAR made multiple requests for him to submit to a test and we’re comfortable on our position with that.”(Roanoke Times), see more on the Busch Series site.(9-16-2006)
- Robby hopes to expand to 2-car team in 2007..with Ford? #7-Robby Gordon, who had been trying to arrange a merger with Robert Yates Racing in recent weeks, has changed his strategy for 2007. He’s now working to build his own multicar team. And that team could be using Fords, not his current make, Chevrolet. “I’m done talking to other teams. [They] just don’t have an interest, to be honest with you,” Gordon said Friday. “We’re going to keep our own little program, and we’re going to build it.” Gordon says talking about the merger detracted from his team’s efforts. “We talked a lot with Yates, obviously, and once that didn’t happen, I’m going to say it put us behind, by spending our time and effort to do that,” Gordon said. “We should have put our time and effort into our own stuff.” Gordon says he’s had serious discussions about adding a second team. He’s confident he’ll land a deal to run a limited schedule. Who that driver might be is up to the sponsor, Gordon said. When asked specifically about which way he was leaning in terms of a manufacturer for next year, Gordon declined comment.(Scene Daily.com)(9-16-2006)
- Lester hopes to run Cup in 2007: Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester’s plans for next year are uncertain, but he remains optimistic about finding sponsorship to run in the Nextel Cup Series. Lester said running a part-time Nextel Cup schedule could be a possibility rather than a full-time return to the truck series. “It’s still up in the air, but we’re hoping to see what shakes out,” he said. “The biggest thing is communicating that we need support.” Lester is the only African-American competing in NASCAR’s top three touring series. He has made two Cup starts this season, qualifying 19th at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March as the first black driver in NASCAR’s premier series in nearly 20 years.(USA Today)(9-16-2006)
- Still no word on MWR’s #00 driver: David Reutimann met with Burger King executives Tuesday but says he has no idea if he will drive the #00 Burger King/Domino’s Pizza Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007. “The meeting seemed to go well,” Reutimann said Friday morning at New Hampshire International Speedway. “It’s really hard to tell. I kind of find myself leaving these meetings probably knowing less than I did when I went. There are some decisions to be made by the higher powers, and I am not in on that decision-making process.” Reutimann, third in the Truck Series standings driving for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports, already knows he will run full time in the Busch Series next year for Michael Waltrip. All he is waiting for is word whether he will run any Nextel Cup races as part of the first year of the Toyota Camry program.(SceneDaily.com)(9-16-2006)
- NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award up to 2 Million Votes: The two millionth vote was cast this week as race fans logged onto www.mostpopulardriver.com to support their favorite driver in the race for the coveted NASCAR NMPA Chex® Most Popular Driver award. This milestone is the halfway point to topping last year’s total of 4 million votes. The current list of top-ten drivers in no particular order includes Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr.[bet he is the leader], Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip. Competition is still in high gear since some of these drivers are separated by only 500 votes. Race fans are encouraged to make their vote count and get their driver in the running by logging on to the Chex Most Popular Driver Website once a day, each day, through Monday, November 20, 2006 at 11:59am/ct. The award has been given annually since 1956 and the top winner of the competition is Bill Elliott with 16 total wins and “The King” Richard Petty follows in second with nine. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has three consecutive wins in the voting competition, with his most recent win coming in 2005. General Mills began sponsoring the award in 2002 and since then more votes have been received than ever before in the history of the award. With this latest landmark, 15.5 million total votes have been received.(Elevation / General Mills PR)(9-16-2006)
- The Hat Man appears: this Sunday [Sept 17th] on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain has two special guests, Ed Hinton of the Orlando Sentinel/Chicago Tribune, who always has some fun opinions will co-host the show….and one of the most often asked questions I get: “What Happened to the Hat Man?”, well Dave will be talking to Bill “Hat Man” Brodrick (former Unocal NASCAR Rep.). Wind Tunnel airs live on Sunday at 9:00pm/et [with re-airs Monday at 12:00am/et and 10:00am/et].(9-16-2006)
- Track Walk to Benefit Irwin and Petty Camps: The NASCAR Foundation will host the Track Walk at New Hampshire International Speedway on Saturday, Spet. 16th in celebration and honor of Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin Jr.[both died at NHIS in 2000]. The walk will raise awareness with funds to benefit the charitable initiatives supported by the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Kenny Irwin Jr. Foundation. More info on my Racing Charities Page.(9-16-2006)
News from September 15, 2006
- Peters to RCR? Dodge released Timothy Peters as driver of the Craftsman Series #4 truck, Bobby Hamilton Racing announced Tuesday. However, Peters shouldn’t be without a ride for long. After racing for two seasons with Bobby Hamilton Racing, Peters is expected to sign with Richard Childress Racing as early as this weekend in New Hampshire. Phone messages left with Richard Childress Racing were not immediately returned, and Peters said he couldn’t comment on his future. “I’m not at liberty to say anything,” he said. In 17 Truck Series races this season, Peters has one top-10 finish – placing sixth on June 23 at Milwaukee. He has three career top-10 finishes in 33 Truck Series starts, and is currently 19th in the points standings. “We brought Timothy Peters in as a rookie, and with some seat time under his belt he has proven to be a hot commodity,” team owner Bobby Hamilton said in a release. A potential deal with RCR would join Peters with Danville native Peyton Sellers, who is in RCR’s development program, and South Boston native Jeff Burton. For now the plan is to team back up with his Bailey’s South Boston team for the Bailey’s 300 late model race at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 1.(Danville Register Bee)(9-15-2006)
- Harvick wins pole at New Hampshire: #29-Kevin Harvick won the Budweiser Pole for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway with a speed of 132.282mph for his 1st pole of 2006, 1st since Richmond last Sept. and 5th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #24-Jeff Gordon, #2-Kurt Busch, #12-Ryan Newman and #11-Denny Hamlin are the top-5, rounding out the top-10 are #40-Stremme, #48-Johnson, #16-Biffle, #7-Gordon and #21-Schrader [1st top 10 start of the season]. #8-Earnhardt Jr. qualified 13th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #45-Petty, #32-Kvapil, #55-Waltrip, #61-Chaffin, #4-Wimmer, #49-Lepage, #89-Shepherd and #27-Christopher. Missing the race were: #30-Barrett, #34-Blount, #46-Long, #74-Cope and #78-Wallace. The fastest 43 drivers made the race and #61-Chaffin made the race in a backup with no laps on the car and just beating the 5 minute clock as the final driver to go out and make an attempt. See the qualifying results, starting lineup and more on the New Hampshire Qualifying/Grid Page.(9-15-2006)
- Where do the Chase drivers start at NHIS?
#17-Kenseth starts 25th
#29-Harvick, 1st on the pole
#8-Earnhardt Jr. 13th
- New Hampshire Qualifying Notes:
• Kevin Harvick won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Sylvania 300, lapping New Hampshire International Speedway in 28.793 seconds at 132.282 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 28.561 seconds, 133.357 mph – set Sept. 12, 2003.
• This is Harvick’s fifth career Bud Pole in 205 Nextel Cup Series races.
• This is his first Bud Pole and 11th top-10 start this season. He became the 12th different Bud Pole winner in 2006.
• This is his first Bud Pole at New Hampshire. He became the 12th different Bud Pole winner here. Harvick has started from the top-10 in five of his 12 races at New Hampshire.
• Kurt Busch (five), Kasey Kahne (four), Jeff Burton (four), Greg Biffle (two), Denny Hamlin (three) and Ryan Newman (two) are the multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
• Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 28.909 seconds, 131.751 mph – and will join Harvick on the front row for the Sylvania 300. Gordon posted his 14th top-10 start in 24 races at New Hampshire. This is Gordon’s 10th front-row start here.
• This is the 10th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has 12 Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• Kurt Busch (third) posted his Series-leading 19th top-10 start of 2006. It is also his career-best among his six top-10 starts in 12 races at New Hampshire.
• Ryan Newman (fourth) has posted 12 top-10 starts this season and eight in 10 races at New Hampshire. This is his sixth top-five start here.
• Denny Hamlin (fifth) and David Stremme (sixth) put multiple rookies in the top-10 starters for the 13th time this season. Hamlin started 12th and finished sixth in July – his career-first start at New Hampshire. Stremme started 22nd and finished 11th in July – his career-first start here.
• Ken Schrader (10th) posted his season-best start and his best since he started seventh at Bristol in August 2005. This is the best start for the Wood Brothers since Ricky Rudd started second at Martinsville last October.
• Four of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Harvick, Gordon, Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson (seventh).
• Kyle Petty (27th) was the fastest of the drivers that were required to qualify in time.
• Ted Christopher (43rd) made the field for his sixth Nextel Cup race and his first since this race last season. Five of his six races have been at New Hampshire. Christopher will become the 71st different driver to compete on the Nextel Cup circuit this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-15-2006)
- Elliott back to roots; no word on 2007 plans yet: Bill Elliott is going back to his roots this weekend, racing his own car at the track where he learned to drive race cars. Elliott will run his Late Model car in the feature event at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, where he once was a regular competitor. “That place has a lot of history for me,” Elliott said. “I’ve been going there since the early ’70s.” Elliott last raced at Dixie in 1991. As in his early years, Elliott will be racing on Saturday with an engine prepared by his brother, Ernie Elliott. His new car was taken for a shake-down run on Thursday by dirt racing veteran Ray Cook. “I think it’ll be competitive,” Elliott said. Elliott’s 2007 NASCAR plans are uncertain. He’s weighing several offers and expects to decide soon.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(9-15-2006)
- Stremme’s spotter featured in book: Mike Calinoff, who is the spotter for Nextel Cup driver #40-David Stremme, is one of the main characters in the opening chapter of recently released, “Book of Fate”, by best-selling author Brad Meltzer. Calinoff, who helped Meltzer research President Bush’s 2004 visit to the Daytona 500, is depicted as a retired NASCAR driver who accompanies the President in the motorcade. The “Book of Fate” logo also appeared on the FitzBradshaw #12 in the Busch Series race at Richmond. Read Chapter 1 at mikecalinoff.com.(9-15-2006)
- Chevy holds their own ‘Gong Show” At Caraway Speedway this week, General Motors officials set up cars in Chevy’s version of the”Gong Show” [Rosuh Racing does it years running drivers to run a Truck team]. Drivers ran in a Ron Hornaday-prepared Busch car. Two days of testing at Caraway, with a platoon of engineers from Richard Childress’ operation, under the watchful eyes of GM racing execs Pat Suhy and Alba Colon, then the group will go next month to a Georgia dirt track and then to Nashville’s high-banked concrete track. The drivers being tested are: Jeff Earnhardt [Dale Sr’s grandson via Kerry], Joey Logano, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Colin Braun, Chase Austin, Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jay Gerst, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Tim McCreadie, Chad McCumbee, Josh Richards, Jason Sarvis and Kody Swanson. One of last year’s diversity drivers, Allison Duncan, is running this year for Childress at the same Virginia track at which Jeff Earnhardt is running. But there’s no word yet on whether Childress plans to move Duncan up next season. Car owners Childress and Rick Hendrick were the most visible in this round of testing, but Kevin Harvick, who has his own NASCAR teams in addition to his day job with Childress on the Nextel Cup tour, is expected to have some input, too, along with several other Chevy teams.(in part from/see full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(9-15-2006)
- New Hampshire Goodyear Tire Notes: Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will run the same tire codes this weekend at NHIS, though the Cup tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle” while the Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought to New Hampshire for the Nextel Cup Series earlier this season . . . Cup teams also ran this tire set-up last weekend at Richmond . . . this is Goodyear’s intermediate tire set-up, and will be run on both Nextel Cup cars and Craftsman Trucks at Phoenix in 2006 . . . this combination has also been run by Truck Series teams at Gateway, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Mansfield, Memphis and Milwaukee this year . . . as on most NASCAR one-mile ovals, teams will not run liners in their tires at New Hampshire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 90-95 laps, based on fuel mileage (Nextel Cup)(Goodyear PR), for the full notes, tire pressures, codes and more, see the New Hampshire Race Info / Rundown Page.(9-15-2006)
- Dover to be televised in Canada: The Dover 400, not initially scheduled to air in Canada, will now be shown in its entirety on TSN’s dedicated High Definition channel, TSN HD, on Sunday, September 24 at 12:30pm/et. Bell ExpressVu will also provide the network broadcast with full commentary and analysis on Channel 440, as well as a free preview of the NASCAR IN CAR package on channels 441-446. Rogers Cable Television will offer its free preview of the NASCAR IN CAR package on channels 446-452. Subscribers can tune in to channels 1, 85 and 445 for digital coverage of the race and channel 59 for analog coverage. Rogers Television will also provide High Definition coverage of the race on channel 483.(TSN.com)(9-15-2006)
News from September 14, 2006
- Mayfield could run #15 Truck at Atlanta UPDATE at Vegas: on Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup Monday, Jeremy Mayfield was interviewed and said he was talking to the #15 Billy Ballew Racing Truck Series team about possibly running a truck at Atlanta for the team in October. Mayfield said he also expects to test for Bill Davis Racing and Toyota for the rest of the season.(Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup)(9-6-2006)
UPDATE: Jeremy Mayfield will get a leg up on the competition before the 2007 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s new high banks. Mayfield, who has run every Nextel Cup race held at LVMS, will compete in the Smith’s Las Vegas 350 Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday, Sept. 23. It will be the first race held at the speedway since the banking in the turns was raised from 12 to 20 degrees and the pit road was moved 275 feet closer to the grandstands. Mayfield will drive the #15 Chevy for Billy Ballew. Ballew is no stranger to Victory Lane in the Truck Series or at LVMS. Shane Hmiel won the 2004 Smith’s Las Vegas 350 driving for Ballew and Las Vegas’ Kyle Busch has won four races in the past two years for Ballew. Tickets for the Smith’s Las Vegas 350 are on sale by calling the speedway at 1-800-644-4444 or logging on to www.lvms.com.(LVMS PR)(9-14-2006)
- Partners buy into Arrington: Pendergast Partnership LLC has bought 75% of Arrington Manufacturing, according to Joey Arrington, president. The deal was completed Aug. 25, said Alan Armstrong, one of five partners with Pendergast of Rowayton, Conn. Armstrong was at the Arrington plant at the Patriot Centre industrial park on Wednesday. Arrington will remain as chief executive officer, and no changes among the company’s 25 employees are planned, Armstrong said. Arrington makes racing engines for Dodge cars in NASCAR’s Busch and Craftsman Truck series vehicles, Armstrong said. Armstrong said Pendergast “heard about them (Arrington) and approached them” about the purchase. He would not release financial details of the deal. Joey Arrington previously denied that the company was for sale. “I was mad,” he said Wednesday of the denial. “The rumor got started before I was ready to talk about” the impending sale. Arrington also said he believes that “loose lips sink ships,” and that was another reason for his response. Arrington said a press release that will be available today would explain the transaction more completely.(Martinsville Bulletin – one day link)(9-14-2006)
- Wyler Racing to test COT at Talladega with Rudd driving: Wyler Racing, who curently field a Truck Team for driver Jack Sprgaue, announced that it will take part in NASCAR’s “Car Of Tomorrow” test session at Talladega Superspeedway on October 9th. Behind the wheel of their Toyota Camry will be veteran NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd. “We are very excited about this opportunity,” said team owner Jeff Wyler. “We feel this is the perfect time to expand our organization. We bring tremendous value to the table for potential sponsors especially with Toyota entering into the NEXTEL Cup Series and with the personnel we have assembled.”
“I’m really excited about getting the opportunity to test the Toyota Camry COT for Wyler Racing and Toyota,” said Rudd. “This will be my first time testing the COT so I’m really looking forward to the test and giving as much feedback to the team as possible.” For Wyler Racing, the test is a chance for the young team to assist Toyota and glimpse at what the future could hold. Although testing a NEXTEL Cup car, Wyler Racing is firmly committed to its NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series effort. “While we are excited about the Cup opportunity, the focus remains on the #60 Con-way Freight Toyota and helping Jack Sprague to win his fourth Series championship,” stated team president David Wyler.(Wyler Racing PR)(9-14-2006)
- NASCAR Drivers to Perform Top Ten List Wed on Letterman UPDATE: The 10 NASCAR drivers competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup — Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin — will present a special Top Ten List on The Late Show with David Letterman, Wednesday, Sept 13th, the show is broadcast weeknights (11:35pm-12:37am/et/pt) on the CBS Television Network.(NASCAR PR)(9-12-2006)
UPDATE – The List:
The Subject: Things Never Before Said by a NASCAR Driver:
10) Kasey Kahne: “Anyone Know How to Drive a Stick”
9) Jeff Gordon: “Does this gas taste funny to you”
8) Jeff Burton: “I don’t care much for country music or beer”
7) Mark Martin: “Switch the “R” and “C” in ‘Racing and you get ‘Caring’
6) Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “Wow, Letterman Looks so young in person”
5) Denny Hamlin: “Your’re looking at a guy who ca driver 500 miles without taking a Leak”
4) Kyle Busch: “A Truely Great Driver doesn’t mind asking for directions, am I right, Ladies?”
3) Kevin Harvick: “It would be nice if the guys in the pits occasionally surprised me with a piece of carrot cake or something”
2) Jimmie Johnson: “The Nextel Cup is great, but what I’m really excited for is The Late Show ventriloquist week”
1) Matt Kenseth: “If You think I’m fast in my car, you should see me in the bedroom”
(from watching the Late Show with David Letterman)(9-14-2006)
- NASCAR Stamps available: NASCAR fans and collectors looking to support their favorite drivers can now do so in a way previously unavailable – by mailing it in. Backed by a lineup of impressive cars and drivers, Xpress It Postage introduces the first-ever United States postage officially licensed by the individual race teams and drivers, featuring cars and drivers on First Class and Postcard postage. Xpress It Postage’s lineup features the first-ever, actual U.S. Postage to be released featuring an official racing stock car. The inaugural release, a 39-cent First Class offering, depicts the historic #3 Richard Childress Racing, GM Goodwrench Chevy. The postage is being made available in sheets of 10, and as part of two limited edition cachet envelopes. Non-cancelled cachets will also be available. Other 39-cent postage includes the #24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevy, the #9 Kasey Kahne Dodge and the #48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s Chevry and more. Gordon is also the subject of the first 24-cent postcard postage, playing off his car number. Releases will eventually be available in both 39-cent and 24-cent denominations. Future Xpress It Postage releases will feature the work of artist Garry Hill, of Garry Hill Automotive Fine Art, the Art of History. All postage releases will be available for a limited time only and some will be produced in limited quantities. The cachet envelopes will be limited to the number cancelled on the release date. Xpress It Postage will produce and release postage of new drivers and cars every few weeks. A Release Calendar is available at www.xpressitpostage.com. The postage is produced by Endicia, an authorized vendor of the U.S. Postal Service.(PR)(9-14-2006)
- NASCAR considering giving more points to race winners: When Kasey Kahne came perilously close to not making the Chase For The Nextel Cup despite a series-high five victories, the debate raged during the Richmond race weekend on how a win should affect determining the Chase field. The question: Whether the driver with the most wins in a season might qualify as a wild card or whether a win should be worth more points in general. NASCAR is considering adding more points for a win. The sanctioning body increased the points margin between first and second place from five to 10 points in 2004 when it instituted the Chase format. “We’re looking at what effect it would make to award more points,” NASCAR Managing Director of Corporate Communications Ramsey Poston said Sept. 9. “But at this point, nothing is done. It is important for us to get through this season so we have three full seasons to look back on.” Two drivers – Jeff Burton and Mark Martin – made the Chase without a win, while Tony Stewart (two wins) and Greg Biffle (one win) are 11th and 12th, respectively, in points and out of Chase contention. Burton noted that the point system does not reward a team for winning as much as it penalizes a team for performing poorly. “That is something nobody really puts any emphasis on, the penalty for doing poorly,” Burton said. “If you have a terrible, terrible race, that is a huge penalty that you pay.”(in part from SceneDaily.com)(9-14-2006)
- Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 26 races, three drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers and #31-Burton. #5-Kyle Busch, #14-Sterlin Marlin and #40-David Stremme [24 races run] are the leaders with 8 lucky dog passes used. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte] and #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(9-14-2006)
- Schrader’s Team Grabs Pit Crew Win in Richmond: #21-Ken Schrader’s pit crew claimed the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400, becoming the 13th Nextel Cup team of the season to capture the weekly competition. The pit crew win, which helped lift Schrader to a season-best seventh-place finish, was the result of the #21 U.S. Air Force/Little Debbie/Motorcraft Ford Fusion spending the least amount of time on Richmond International Raceway’s pit road – 418.964 seconds. “They’ve been solid all year,” said Schrader of the #21 pit crew. “Enthusiasm is a very infectious disease. The better the car has been running the better they’ve been in getting us in and out of the pits. I’m glad this happened because they certainly deserve to be recognized.” Schrader’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Chuck White (jackman), Brandon Pegram (front-tire carrier), Mike “Andretti” Smith (front-tire changer), Dwayne Doucette (rear-tire carrier), Chris McMullen (rear-tire changer), Jimmy Watts (gasman), James Rhoades (catch can) and Mike Hartman (eighth man). The pit crew coach is Gary Smith and crew chief is Michael “Fatback” McSwain. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(9-14-2006)
- New Hampshire Rookie Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin finished 15th in the September 9 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway to clinch a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Hamlin is the first Raybestos Rookie to qualify for the Chase. He is fifth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 20 points behind leader #17-Matt Kenseth. #11-Hamlin led the Richmond race once for 19 laps, the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the event. #07-Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at Richmond, scoring a 12th-place finish. He took top rookie honors for the sixth time this season. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 26 races this season. #48-Jimmie Johnson owns the best points finish by a Raybestos Rookie, placing fifth in the championship standings in 2002. Hamlin leads Bowyer by 44 points (251-207) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the September 17 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.(Raybestos PR), See standings, history, more notes on the 2006 Rookies page.(9-14-2006)
- Labonte Races for Books: For every lap #43-Bobby Labonte completes from now until the end of the season Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories will donate 43 books per lap, which will be distributed to children in need, through nonprofit partner First Book. If Labonte completes every lap, a total of more than 135,000 books will be donated through Spoonfuls of Stories.(Petty Racing PR)(9-14-2006)
- NASCAR Personal/Drivers Jumping on Thursday: Carl Edwards, Joe Nemechek, Jack Roush and members of the Nextel Cup #99 team will experience a different kind of speed as they participate in once-in-a-lifetime jumps with the U.S. Army Parachute Team, “The Golden Knights” on Thursday, September 14th. Each jumper will freefall at more than 100 m.p.h. while tethered to a member of the Golden Knights before opening their chutes and flying safely to the ground at Maxton Airport, Laurinburg, NC.. The Golden Knights, based at nearby Fort Bragg, N.C., annually perform more than 27,000 jumps before an estimated 12 million people.(PR)(9-14-2006)
News from September 13, 2006
- Get Well: Bob Tomlinson, a fixture in the NASCAR garage [Team Mgr for Cale Yarborough, worked for Eel River Racing] since the early 1970’s, is losing his battle with cancer. Tomlinson is known to owners, drivers, NASCAR Officials, and the crews alike. Tomlinson is doing a stint at NC Baptist Hospital in Winston Salem and staying at Hawthorne Inn, 420 High St – rm 227, Winston Salem NC 27101.(9-13-2006)
- Ganassi waiting on Montoya: Chip Ganassi Racing officials are still waiting anxiously for Juan Pablo Montoya to get in one of their race cars, according to this week’s NASCAR Scene. Montoya still has not gotten out of his Formula One contract. He was replaced after announcing in July that he will drive the #42 Ganassi Dodge in Nextel Cup Series beginning next season but is not allowed to even test a Cup car until the F1 season ends Oct. 22. Once he is allowed to test, Montoya could possibly race in Busch and Nextel Cup before the 2006 season ends, Ganassi Managing Director John Fernandez said Sept. 9. After the F1 season ends, there are four race weekends where Montoya could race: Atlanta (Cup) and Memphis (Busch) Oct. 28-29; Texas Nov. 4-5; Phoenix Nov. 11-12; and Homestead Nov. 18-19. If Montoya were to become available earlier, Fernandez said he would entertain running him in ARCA races Oct. 6 at Talladega and Oct. 15 at Iowa Speedway. Which races Montoya will do depends on how he feels during the tests. “We want to make sure that he’s ready, so we want to make sure that he progresses at the rate he wants to progress at,” Fernandez said. “He’s a veteran driver, and he will tell us when he is ready to step up from ARCA to Busch and Busch to Cup.” Fernandez said pulling Casey Mears out of the #42 car early for Montoya is unlikely. Mears is headed to [#25] Hendrick Motorsports next year. “We would probably run a fourth team,” Fernandez said. “Casey has done a great job for us. We’re hoping to get him a win before he leaves.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-13-2006)
- Speaking of Montoya….Congrats: Juan Pablo Montoya became a father for the second time this morning. Montoya’s wife Connie gave birth to their second child, Paulina, in Miami. Paulina was born in Florida at around 9:00am, and both mother and daughter are reported to be in good health and spirits. Montoya, who has spent time between the US and Colombia since he left the McLaren team, became a father for the first time in April last year, to son Sebastien.(Autosport.com)(9-13-2006)
- Hornish to test Busch/ARCA cars for Penske? maybe not..yet: [see past news on the #77 Team News & Links page] – [Sam] Hornish said he has yet to discuss with Team Penske plans for testing ARCA or Busch Series cars this fall. But he sounded very much committed to open-wheel racing. “I still want to win some more (Indianapolis) 500s,” he said. “That’s the big thing. I’ve still got three more to go to get anywhere near (four-time winner) Rick Mears.” Hornish leads the IRL in all-time wins (18) and is the only multiple champion. He implied that testing or racing stock cars would be done to complement his open-wheel career. “Right now we’re focused on IndyCar stuff. We want to continue doing that throughout the year,” he said. “We … have not had much of an opportunity to sit down and figure out what our plan is. With the IndyCar series being consolidated down into a short amount of months and having the opportunity where I could probably run 10-12 races whether they be ARCA or Busch or whatever in my free time, it gives me the opportunity to have a little bit more practice time.”(St Petersburg Times)(9-13-2006)
- Grubb suspended indefinitely UPDATE: NASCAR announced today that Busch Series driver Kevin Grubb has been suspended indefinitely, after failing to comply with the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. Grubb, 28, driver of the #56 Chevy, was suspended after violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-E (failure to comply with substance abuse policy: refusal to submit to required testing) of the NASCAR Busch Series rule book. This is the second time Grubb has been suspended indefinitely. The first suspension was in March 2004, after Grubb tested positive for banned substances. Grubb was reinstated on June 7 of this year. He has since participated in five NASCAR Busch Series events. The reinstatement required Grubb to comply with the stipulations of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy, which include periodic testing.(NASCAR PR)(9-12-2006)
UPDATE: Grubb was punished for refusing to take a drug test after an accident ended his run in the Emerson Radio 250 on Friday night at Richmond International Raceway. Grubb was suspended indefinitely in March 2004 for violating NASCAR’s substance-abuse policy. He was reinstated June 7 with the understanding he would submit to periodic drug testing. Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications, said several attempts were made to persuade Grubb to submit to a test Friday night. “He was on a program where he agreed to be tested at any time,” Hunter said. “He, for whatever reason, refused to be tested.” Hunter said doctors and “medical liaisons” were involved. Grubb said the force of the accident, which came on Lap 2 in the Busch Series race, made things “foggy” shortly thereafter. He was treated and released from the infield care center after the crash. “I don’t remember most of being at the track,” Grubb said. “I had people pulling me in 20 different directions. I ended up leaving, from what I understand.” Grubb said he woke up Sunday morning, still feeling “terrible” and unable to remember what day it was. He went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion. “I’m guessing that explains me acting crazy at the track,” Grubb said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”
Grubb said he called NASCAR officials Monday morning when he heard of the suspension. He was directed to talk to Dr. David L. Black, who is in charge of NASCAR’s substance-abuse program. He set up the program for reinstatement that Grubb was on, and will be the person to set up a program if he were to try to be reinstated again. “Kevin was reinstated based on the recommendation of Dr. Black,” Hunter said. “The reason he needs to talk to Dr. Black is that if he hopes to be reinstated again, then he needs to talk to him.” Grubb said he has called Black several times but has yet to receive a return call. A call to Dr. Black’s office late yesterday afternoon was not returned by press time. Grubb said he still is feeling the aftereffects, sleeping a lot and feeling “pretty foggy.” He says he’s confident he and NASCAR will come to an agreement, and reiterates he didn’t suffer a relapse. He says he’s fine with officials observing him or testing him as often as necessary. “I’ve been clean the whole time,” Grubb said. “The next day, once I found out all the things that happened, I offered to take it. I’m ready to put the ball in action. I’m sure we’ll get something situated out of that. I worked very hard to get my life back to where it was. I don’t see it being thrown away in one night.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(9-13-2006)
- Former Team Owner Donlavey Draws a Crowd at RIR: Few people in motorsports are as popular, respected and gracious as Junie Donlavey. The Richmond, Va., native fielded [#90] Ford-based cars in NASCAR’s top division for more than 50 years, dating to the old Daytona Beach highway/beach course, and the first Southern 500, Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. His list of drivers includes many of stock car racing’s top-50, several of them in most meaningful halls of fame. But the sport began passing him by in the mid-90s and left him in its dust in recent years. He had neither the finances, nor the personnel nor the business connections to keep up with the mega-teams that seemed to have unlimited funds. Despite not fielding cars since 2002 and keeping only two employees on the payroll, Donlavey’s presence in the garage at Richmond on Saturday attracted a throng of drivers, crewmen, officials and fans. “This is what I miss the most,” said Donlavey, whose only Cup victory in 863 starts came with Jody Ridley at Dover in 1981. “I miss the people and the friendships and the story-telling you can only get in racing, Oh, I’ve still got eight or nine cars in my shop [across town from RIR], but I’ve sold a bunch of them, too. I’ve got people coming to see them all the time, from ARCA and NASCAR and some other series. I’ll get rid of ‘em if I can because I don’t have any use for them. There’s no way in the world I’d try to make a comeback now. As far as racing’s concerned, I’ve done all I’m gonna do.”(Ford Racing)(9-13-2006)
- Home Depot and KaBOOM up for award: The Home Depot and KaBOOM! have been selected as a finalist for the US Chamber of Commerce Corporate Citizen Business Partnership award. They were nominated for their “Racing to Play” program where they built 10 playgrounds in race markets (also built 10 last year) with Home Depot and Joe Gibbs Racing. The next round is a “Peoples Choice” selection determined by a vote through their website (voting ends on September 15th). They are only a few hundred votes behind, to vote, go to uschamber.com. The Home Depot’s Racing to Play program is an initiative designed to make a lasting, positive impression in the lives of at-risk children who live in NASCAR race communities. Now in its second year, the program will build 10 racing-themed KaBOOM! playgrounds in 2006 and is a partnership between the company, Joe Gibbs Racing, and KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. More info at kaboom.org(PR)(9-13-2006)
- Helmet to be signed by Indy 500 winners..then auctioned off: By its journey’s end, a race driver’s helmet will have crisscrossed continents, met every living winner of the Indianapolis 500 and helped a camp for seriously ill children. At least that’s Al Pearce’s plan for the unused, full-face helmet that has been autographed by 13 of the 25 surviving Indy 500 winners so far. Once all the signatures are gathered, the helmet will be auctioned on eBay and the sale price will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp. See more on my Racing Charities page.(9-13-2006)
- Kyle Petty to Share Four of His Favorite Films on TCM: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will take viewers on a ride with NASCAR driver Kyle Petty on Saturday, Sept. 16, as he introduces and discusses with TCM weekend daytime host Ben Mankiewicz his love for the quintessential Hollywood classic Casablanca to the controversial cult film Freaks (1932). Petty exchanges his racecar driving status for a role as a devoted fan of classic film by hand-picking four of his favorite movies and sharing with viewers what he has come to love about each one.
The film schedule is as follows (all times Eastern):
12pm: Freaks (1932)
1:15pm: Grand Prix (1966)
4:30pm: D.O.A. (1950)
6pm: Casablanca (1942)
Petty’s day of co-hosting with Ben Mankiewicz on TCM will precede the first race in the chase for the Nextel Cup Championship. Coverage begins live on Sept. 17 at 12:30pm/et on TNT.(Turner PR)(9-13-2006)
News from September 12, 2006
- Alabama Track Complex Bears Name of Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Gulf Coast Entertainment announced plans to construct a major motorsports and entertainment park in southern Alabama. The investor group has narrowed its site choices to a location in Mobile County in the area across from the University of Mobile and two potential sites in adjacent Baldwin County–one on the Foley Beach Express and the other in central Baldwin County. The project – which is to include an asphalt speedway, a road course, a drag strip and a dirt track – will be named “Alabama Motorsports Park, A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway.” Joining the motorsports star and a diverse group of investors from various southern states in participation in the project are Kelley Earnhardt Elledge and Kerry Earnhardt, marking the siblings’ first professional collaboration. “Our family business is racing and it’s been our business for three generations,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “Kelley, Kerry and I want to continue the family business with hopes that the next generation of Earnhardts will want to be involved in the sport. This new venture with the Alabama Motorsports Park provides yet another avenue in which the Earnhardt family can participate. The site plan developed by HOK Sport of Kansas City includes parking, a significant RV resort, multiple music theaters and an arena and reserves land for commercial, residential and light industrial activities. The schedule calls for the project to be completed in the fall of 2009. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has provided input on the lighted, 75,000-seat, 7/10-mile oval. Features will include pedestrian/vehicle tunnels and banking and multiple grooves to promote close racing with extensive passing opportunities. Kerry Earnhardt has provided input on both the track and on a freshwater lake that investors believe will attract national fishing events. The 3.5-mile road course will feature two distinct but connected segments to enhance testing on the track. The 1/4-mile drag strip and 3/8-mile dirt track will be designed to attract national events. The park’s website, alabamamotorsportspark.com, will provide future project and construction updates.(PSE-3 PR)(9-12-2006)
- NASCAR buying CASCAR UPDATE Official: [after years of rumors…] NASCAR today will unveil a Canadian-based stock car series that will feature a season-long points battle among the country’s best drivers and end with the awarding of the Canadian Tire Cup. The Toronto Sun has learned that a deal to sell CASCAR — Canada’s top stock car racing series — to the France family business that is NASCAR will be made official at a news conference today in Toronto and that Canadian Tire has signed on as the title sponsor. The deal, which has been two years in the making, will see NASCAR sanction a national stock car racing series in Canada on the foundation that has been laid by Tony Novotny and his wife, Linda, over the past 20 years. “It’s finally going to happen,” Linda Novotny said yesterday. At the Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal last month CASCAR also became the first stock car series to race on an active Formula One track at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. It is the same track where the NASCAR Busch Series will hold its first-ever Canadian race in 2007. Robbie Weiss, NASCAR’s international director, is flying in from his Los Angles office to make the proclamation about his company’s future in the Great White North and while his office would not reveal why he is visiting Toronto, it’s not likely just another glad-handing affair where Brian France gets his hands on some of that Canadian Tire money.
Speaking of CASCAR, all of a sudden it seems to be the place to be for two of Quebec’s top open wheel racing drivers. A week ago Patrick Carpentier, a veteran of both Champ Car and the Indy Racing League, drew high praise for his sixth-place finish after he climbed into the Dave Jacombs Racing #88 Ford for CASCAR’s Labour Day Classic at Cayuga Speedway. And this past Saturday at Montreal’s Autodrome Ste. Eustache, 19-year-old Andrew Ranger, driver of the #27 MiJack Conquest Racing Lola in Champ Car, drove the same car to a 13th-place finish in his first try in the big sedans. Both Carpentier and Ranger have been paying attention to the NASCAR talk in their home province and both are likely to make bids to be part of the show there next season.(Toronto Sun)
UPDATE: In support of its initiatives across Canada, NASCAR announced the creation of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. Scheduled to launch in May 2007, the series includes a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Canadian Tire – an iconic Canadian brand with strong national presence. The NASCAR Canadian Tire Series will operate nationally in Canada with a schedule of 10-12 races (May-October). The series will provide new racing opportunities for teams and drivers from the former CASCAR series. The official NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule, point fund and tracks will be announced at a later date. The series will receive support from NASCAR’s extensive resources, including competition, research and development, marketing, licensing and communications. A dedicated staff will operate the series, with NASCAR Canada providing additional support in sponsorship, licensing, marketing and media initiatives. In addition to becoming title sponsor of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Canadian Tire, the most-shopped general merchandiser in the country, will become the official automotive retailer of NASCAR in Canada. Canadian Tire will offer exclusive customer promotions, seasonal marketing programs and national advertising and in-store programs in partnership with NASCAR Canada. As part of the partnership agreement and its continued focus on being first-to-market with new and exciting products, Canadian Tire will explore licensing opportunities, including developing a new line of NASCAR products for the automotive aftermarket.
TSN, a NASCAR broadcast partner for more than 20 years, will help market the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and draw new fans to NASCAR and stock car racing in Canada. Among these efforts, TSN is developing a monthly magazine-style show that will showcase the many aspects of the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. The program will spotlight the stars of the series, race news, updates and highlights.(NASCAR PR)(9-12-2006)
- Stewart, Yeley & Hamlin to help open Arena Racing season: Arena Racing USA will open its inaugural, 15-race season in Charlotte, N.C., on Wed., Oct 11 at the Cricket Arena on Independence Blvd. Among the participants will be the three drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing’s Nextel Cup Series stable – #20-Tony Stewart, #11-Denny Hamlin and #18-J.J. Yeley. Tickets went on sale at 10:00am/et on Tues., Sept. 12. Tickets can be ordered by calling Ticketmaster at 704-522-6500 or by going online to www.ticketmaster.com. Advanced sales of reserved seats are $22 while adult general admission is $17 and general admission for children age 12 and under is $7. Arena Racing USA features half-scale stock cars capable of 100 mph, but are confined to a 1/10th mile banked, indoor race track. The track is portable and fits inside the confines of a hockey rink. The champion of the inaugural Arena Racing USA season in Charlotte will be crowned after the season finale on March 31, 2007. More info at ArenaRacingUSA.com. Only a handful of slots remain in the 56-team field that will compete at Charlotte.(Truespeed Communications/JGR PR)(9-12-2006)
- Congrats: Sporting News NASCAR writer Matt Crossman and his Emily are the proud parents of Lily Grace Crossman who came into the world at 5:42 a.m. Sept. 11. Lily was 6 lbs., 3 oz. and 19 1/2 inches long.(9-12-2006)
- Testing at Kentucky: Kentucky Speedway is scheduled to play host to test sessions for Evernham Motorsports drivers #9-Kasey Kahne and #10-Scott Riggs along with Hall of Fame Racing driver #96-Tony Raines Sept. 12, and the new Nextel Cup Series Toyota Team Red Bull Thursday and Friday, Sept. 14-15. Fans are able to view testing for free from the designated area outside the speedway Fan Center off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Rte. 35.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-12-2006)
News from September 11, 2006
- Labonte and Petty get new Crew Chiefs: In an effort to prepare for the 2007 season, Petty Enterprises announces crew chief changes on both the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge. Veteran Bill Wilburn has been hired to crew chief Kyle Petty and the #45 Dodge team. In addition, championship crew chief Paul Andrews will now handle the same duties for #43-Bobby Labonte. Greg Steadman returns to his position as Director of Competition. The changes are effective immediately.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(9-11-2006)
- Chevy Rock & Roll Race and Commercial Breakdown of 9-9-2006:
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:36pm/et
End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:50pm/et
Total minutes: 194
Minutes of race broadcast: 135
Minutes of commercials: 59
Total number of commercials: 119
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 17
Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 2.(see full report at CawsnJaws.com)(9-11-2006)
News from September 10, 2006
- Sprint Cup Series? Not in 2007: There will be no Sprint Cup Series in 2007. As early as June 2005, there were reports that the Nextel Cup Series would go through a name change effective next season. But a Sprint official insisted Sept. 9 that no decision has been made to change the name, and there definitely will be no change for 2007. “When you’re talking about the magnitude of a change in terms of a series name change, we take that extremely seriously,” said Mary Nell Westbrook, Sprint’s sponsorship communications director. “We absolutely want to do our due diligence to do it right. … We want it to take as long as it takes to do it right.” That could mean a name change in 2008. “It is possible for 2008,” Westbrook said. “But we haven’t decided yet. It’s possible it will stay the same too.” Nextel and Sprint merged in 2005, in the second year of a 10-year deal Nextel had made to sponsor NASCAR’s premier series. The contract allows one name change to the series over the 10 years. (SceneDaily.com)(9-10-2006)
- 12 Drivers in the Chase Next Year?: UPDATE: On Speed Channel’s, NASCAR Live, Bob Dillner reported that NASCAR officials are considering increasing the number of drivers making the chase next year from 10 to 12. He said NASCAR is also looking at a new points system for chase participants.(9-9-2006)
UPDATE: NASCAR is giving serious consideration to widening the Chase for the championship field and awarding more points to race winners beginning next season. Changes to the final 10 races – which won’t happen in 2007, anyway – are unlikely. The sanctioning body is looking at ways to award a “wild card” but hasn’t finalized anything. “We’re trying to see if there is a way to earn a spot in the Chase without harming the integrity of it,” spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “Everyone made a big deal of Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. not making it last year, but it really only legitimized it. The Chase for the championship field currently consists of the top 10 drivers in the standings, plus anyone within 400 points of the leader. In the third year of the Chase, that 400-point mark has yet to come into play, and widening it is under consideration. But NASCAR does not want to ensure a spot in the Chase field to a driver who wins a single race. NASCAR also is leaning toward awarding more points for victories – something the sanctioning body has been under pressure to do, particularly this season.(Associated Press)(9-10-2006)
- Congrats to Brian France: NASCAR chairman Brian France became a father this week – twice over. His wife, Meghan, gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl, on Tuesday in California.(FoxSports.com/AP)(9-10-2006)
- Congrats: to David and Megan Smith-Tilley on the arrival of their first child, Southern Ray Smith-Tilley. He was born on Friday 9/8/06 at 6:08pm and weighed 8 lb 14 oz and is 19 1/2″ long. David is the rear tire carrier on the #78 Furniture Row racing teams in the Busch and Nextel Cup teams.(9-10-2006)
News from September 9, 2006
- Harvick wins at Richmond; Stewart Misses Chase: #29-Kevin Harvick backed up his Busch Series win on Friday night by taking the win in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 on Saturday night. He led on 6 different occasions, for 54 laps. He took the lead for the final time on lap 399, passing #5-Kyle Busch, who dominiated most of the race, leading 248 laps. #9-Kasey Kahne raced his way into the Chase for the Championship with a third place finish. #22-Dave Blaney finshed fourth and #6-Mark Martin fifth. The rest of the top ten were #16-Greg Biffle, #21-Ken Schrader, #17-Matt Kenseth, #31-Jeff Burton, and #10-Scott Riggs. It was a tough night for many of the chase contenders. #20-Tony Stewart battled an ill-handling backup call all night, finishing 18th, and falling out of the top 10 in points by 16 points. He will not be able to defend last year’s championship. #11-Denny Hamlin had engine problems but managed a 15th place finish. #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had brake problems and finished 17th. #48-Jimmie Johnson was involved in 2 accidents but stayed on track and finished 23rd. #24-Jeff Gordon finish 31st, two laps down. There were 8 leaders with 16 lead changes and 7 cautions for 48 laps.
Race Results: on my Richmond Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings: on my Drivers/Owners Points after Richmond page
Race Rundown: see my Richmond Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown, laps lead, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-9-2006)
- Sadler Fan Club Party Raises $30,000: Elliott, Hermie and the Sadler family hosted 1,000 Sadler fans at the Sadler Barn on Thursday evening prior to the race at Richmond International Raceway. Elliott and Hermie were joined by special guests Blake Shelton and Dale Jarrett. The agenda for the evening included bologna burgers, autographs, photo opportunities, viewing of Elliott’s famous hunting dogs and a concert by country music artist Blake Shelton. The Sadler Fan Club Barn Party raised over $30,000 for the Elliott and Hermie Sadler Foundation.(Sadler PR)(9-9-2006)
- Martin says he will NOT drive the #6 in 2007 UPDATE 2 to the #88? UPDATE 3 Denied….MORE: Mark Martin on Friday said that he will not drive the #6 Roush Racing Ford in 2007. “I’m not worried about next year, but I will tell you this: there never has been — ever — a consideration for me to drive the 6 car in 2007,” Martin said. “Everybody’s in this frenzy about what I’m going to do in 2007 — it’s just not important right now,” Martin said. “What’s here in front of me is what’s important to me. I’ve tried to help these guys and keep the ship on track, and if we don’t produce then so be it. I’ve never once this year thought or considered driving it again in ’07. I’ve driven it 19 years. That’s enough for the 6 car and me.”(see full report at NASCAR.com)(9-1-2006)
UPDATE: #6-Mark Martin’s farewell tour will be extended yet another year when he drives the #88 Ford next year for Robert Yates Racing. Martin originally said last year would be his final as a full-time driver in the Nextel Cup Series, but he changed his mind to return to his familiar #6 Ford at Roush Racing this season. Now it appears he will keep going, but for a new team. Three different sources close to Ford Racing said Martin will take over for Dale Jarrett at Yates after Jarrett moves into a new Toyota Camry at Michael Waltrip Racing in 2007, Morris News Service has learned. Martin said Friday he won’t drive the #6 Ford at Roush next year – a ride he’s had since the 1988 season – and most people believed that meant he finally planned to start his planned retirement. Robby Gordon confirmed this week he attempted to buy half of Robert Yates Racing recently, but the deal apparently fell through in the last couple weeks. Sources close to Yates confirmed Sunday that Martin – apparently with support of Jack Roush – also tried to buy Yates during the summer. Negotiations went so far that Yates had an inventory completed to show the exact worth of his racing operation. Robert Yates Racing said they would make an announcement on a new driver in about a week. They’ve already hinted it would be a veteran racer.(Athens Banner-Herald)(9-5-2006)
UPDATE 2 – sponsors: hearing McDonald’s and Citi-Financial will be the sponsors for Martin and the #88 Ford in 2007, not sure if as co-primaries or some other arrangement.(9-6-2006)
UPDATE 3: Benny Ertel, who is Mark Martin’s business manager, went Internet surfing Wednesday morning and found some interesting “fiction” on various racing Web sites. The stories indicated Martin would be buying into Robert Yates Racing and the veteran would drive the #88 Ford, which will be abandoned by Dale Jarrett at season’s end. “Wishful thinking,” Ertel said. “I read that online. There’s no truth to it. I can’t say Robert wouldn’t want Mark in his car. They may come at him hard when we get to Richmond. I don’t know. I know we haven’t talked to Robert Yates; (or) to my knowledge, nobody at Yates Racing.”(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(9-7-2006)
UPDATE 4: Robert Yates Racing co-owner Doug Yates says he hasn’t talked with Mark Martin, but he certainly would like to have him in the team’s #88 Ford next season. But first he needs to land sponsorship for the team. Yates admitted that courting a driver at this point would be “putting the cart before the horse.” He expects to finalize sponsorship plans for the team in the next three to four weeks. Yates was then asked if the #88 would definitely be back next season. “Well, I hope so,” he said after a pause. “That’s our plan.” [Yates] did say, though, that with sponsorship approval he’d be very interested in [Martin]. He also said the team would be interested in Ricky Rudd. Martin says he’d like to compete with a 12-race limited schedule in 2007. Yates said any partial or full-time driver decisions would be made by the future sponsor. Yates added that it makes sense to have a rookie driver with one team and a veteran in the other car.(SceneDaily.com)(9-9-2006)
UPDATE 5: Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd and Ward Burton are the top choices of Robert Yates Racing to drive the #88 Ford opposite rookie David Gilliland in 2007. “We really want a veteran driver to work with David,” Doug Yates, the co-owner of RYR, said.(NASCAR.com)(9-9-2006)
- Hermie Sadler Making Move to Broadcast Booth: Hermie [Sadler] is slowly making the transition from driver to broadcaster. He’s done a handful of Busch and Truck series races this season on FX and the Speed Channel. Next year, he’ll be full-time with the Speed Channel. He won’t drive any more Busch races this season and plans to try to qualify for four more Nextel Cup races. Sadler doesn’t want to rule out driving beyond this year. He’s also realistic. Since winning the Busch rookie award, his driving career hasn’t panned out. “My heart and my love is in driving and racing,” Sadler said. “I’ve done it for a long time, trying to stay involved and keep my name out there and make something good happen. We’ve had our moments. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do a limited Cup schedule next year. I have to think long and hard about how feasible it is going to be to do it as an independent. I’ve had a good time, we’ve had a good run . . . I just don’t have the patience and the drive to keep doing it under these conditions. I love to race, but I don’t love riding around finishing 35th each week,” Sadler said. “I have enough going on to keep me busy”.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(9-9-2006)
- Reutimann to Meet with Burger King; Announcement Next Week?David Reutimann will meet in Miami with officials from Burger King on Tuesday in what he hopes is the final step for moving into the Nextel Cup Series for Michael Waltrip Racing next season. Reutimann already has met with officials from Domino’s Pizza, which will split sponsorship on Waltrip’s new Toyota team in 2007. An announcement could come by the end of next week. Reutimann said the tentative plan is for him to drive a full Busch and Cup Series schedule.(NASCAR.com)(9-9-2006)
- Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Richmond [26 of 36 races]:
#17-Matt Kenseth 3785
#48-Jimmie Johnson 3728 -57
#29-Kevin Harvick 3481 -304
#5-Kyle Busch 3424 –361
#11-Denny Hamlin 3348 -437
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3338 –447
#6-Mark Martin 3336 -449
#31-Jeff Burton 3322 -463
#24-Jeff Gordon 3321 -464
#9-Kasey Kahne 3319 -466
out of 10th and the chase
#20-Tony Stewart 3303 -16 out of 10th
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(9-9-2006) (9-9-2006)
- Unofficial Driver CHASE Points Heading into the Chase:
#17-Matt Kenseth 5050
#48-Jimmie Johnson -5
#29-Kevin Harvick -10
#5-Kyle Busch -15
#11-Denny Hamlin -20
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. -25
#6-Mark Martin -30
#31-Jeff Burton -35
#24-Jeff Gordon -40
#9- Kasey Kahne -45
- Rumblings – Richmond: Kevin Harvick passed Kyle Busch on lap 399 tonight at Richmond International Raceway and captured the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 for his third win of the season….but the story was who rounds out the “Chase”. Harvick’s win marks the third week in a row a driver has swept the weekend….you’re on your own next week cause the Busch boyz are off! This was the 8th career win for Harvick (he’s tied for 56th on the all-time win list with Kyle Petty) and the 80th for Richard Childress. It was worth $234,136 from the almost $5M in posted awards.
The odd-man out of the “Chase” is (gasp) defending Champion Tony Stewart! (He missed by 16 markers). In the short history since the format change, Tony’s the first Champion not to have the opportunity to repeat. You could make a case that Tony’s chances dropped dramatically about five minutes into practice yesterday when he wrecked his primary car….but that’s the nature of the beast nowadays. Oh, and Harvick makes up 294 points in an instant. Ain’t paper points wonderful?
Dave Blaney (4th….but you’d never have known it from the TV coverage, huh?) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Darlington in March of 2003! Blaney’s Top-5 finish gives us 27 drivers at that number this season….last year’s was 30. The Top-10 finish gives us 35 drivers at that level this season….last year we had 43 of ’em. Ken Schrader (7th….ditto from Blaney) had his best finish since he was 6th at Bristol in April of 2004! Casey Mears (11th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Daytona in July.
STREAKIN….Kyle Busch has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races. Matt Kenseth has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Tony Stewart (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Martin Truex Jr (-33), followed by Jeff Gordon (-28), Carl Edwards (-26), and Scott Wimmer (-23). Tony is now tied with Casey Mears and Clint Bowyer with three Ops for the “Shaft” lead.
Sterling Marlin continues to lead over Kyle Petty for that 35th and final exempt spot in the Owner Points. The margin is 14 heading into next week, and you know we’re heading to a track where Kyle would rather be anywhere else but there.(StockCarFans)(9-9-2006)
- Richmond Race Notes
• Kevin Harvick won the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, scoring his eighth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 204th career start.
• This is his third victory in 2006. Harvick also won at Phoenix and Watkins Glen.
• Harvick scored a weekend sweep for the second time 2006. He also swept both races at Phoenix in April. Matt Kenseth swept Bristol in August and Kasey Kahne swept California, one race ago.
• This is first time in NASCAR history that a weekend sweep has occurred on three consecutive weekends since the NASCAR Busch Series ran it’s first race in 1982. Harry Gant was the first driver to post back-to-back weekend sweeps winning at Richmond and Dover in September of 1991.
• Harvick moved into 56th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list tied with Kyle Petty.
• Harvick has scored 10 straight top-15 finishes in the last 15 races.
• Harvick became the 10th different race winner in the last 11 races at Richmond International Raceway. Only Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted two wins in the 11-race period since this race in 2001.
• Harvick scored his first victory in 12 races at Richmond and second victory in 34 races on a short track.
• Harvick won the race from the fifth-place starting position.
• Harvick scored his fourth straight top-10 finish in 12 races at Richmond International Raceway.
• Harvick remained third in the point standings, and will start the Chase 10 points behind first-place Matt Kenseth.
• Kyle Busch led the most laps for the second time in 2006. Busch led the most at Loudon.
• Race winner Harvick led six times for 54 laps including the final two laps in the 2006 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
• This is team owner Richard Chidress’ 80th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Childress has scored six victories at Richmond. His last victory at Richmond was scored by Dale Earnhardt in the 1991 Pontiac Excitement 400. Earnhardt also was the last driver to win the September race at Richmond and go on to win the Championship, doing so in 1990.
• Kevin Harvick extended a 38-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak. Harvick has posted 10 straight top-15 finishes.
• Kyle Busch (second) scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fourth top-five finish in four races at Richmond International Raceway. Busch climbed from fifth to fourth in the point standings.
• Kasey Kahne (third) scored his 14th top-10 finish in 2006. It marked his third top-10 finish in six races at Richmond.
• Dave Blaney (fourth) scored his first top-10 finish first since he finished sixth at Homestead last November. It is his first top-five finish since he finished third at Darlington in March 2003. It is his second top-10 finish in 13 races at Richmond International Raceway.
• Mark Martin (fifth) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 23rd top-10 finish in 42 races at Richmond International Raceway. It is his 10th straight top-15 finish at Richmond.
• At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 26 races this season.
• Matt Kenseth (eighth) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 2006.
• Clint Bowyer (12th) was the highest finishing rookie for the sixth time in 2006.
• Four rookies finished in the top-15 for the fourth time in 2006.
• Jimmie Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 95 consecutive races. Johnson has been running at the finish in all 26 races in 2006.
• Matt Kenseth remained first in the point standings and begins the Chase with a five point lead over Jimmie Johnson. Kenseth will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for the third straight year. He is one of just three drivers to do so. Kenseth finished eighth in 2004 and seventh in 2005.
• Jimmie Johnson remained second in the point standings. Johnson will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for the third straight year. Johnson finished second in 2004 and fifth in 2005.
• Kevin Harvick remained third in the point standings and will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for first time. He is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.
• Kyle Busch climbed from fifth to fourth in the point standings and will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for first time. He is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.
• Denny Hamlin climbed from seventh to fifth in the point standings. Hamlin will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for first time. He is the first Raybestos rookie contender to compete in The Chase.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. remained sixth in the point standings and will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for the second time in three years. He finished fifth in 2004 and 19th in 2005.
• Mark Martin climbed from ninth to seventh in the point standings and will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for the third straight year – just three drivers to do so. Martin finished fourth in 2004 and 2005.
• Jeff Burton climbed from 10th to eighth in the point standings and will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for first time.
• Jeff Gordon dropped from fourth to ninth in the point standings. He will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for the second time in three years. Gordon finished third in 2004 and 11th in 2005.
• Kasey Kahne climbed from 11th to 10th in the point standings and will compete in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup for first time.
• Tony Stewart dropped from eighth to 11th in the point standings, missing The Chase by 16 points.. This is the first year that Stewart will not finish among the top-10 since 1999.
• Seven drivers in the top-11 changed points positions at Richmond International Raceway.
Heading to New Hampshire
• Ryan Newman has won four of the last eight Bud Poles at New Hampshire International Speedway. His four Bud poles at New Hampshire are the most of any driver.
• There have been four different race winners in the last four races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
• Jimmie Johnson swept both races at New Hampshire International Speedway in 2003; Kurt Busch swept both races there in 2004. These are the only sweeps in the nine-year period of twice-a-year racing there.
• Jeff Burton leads all drivers, scoring four victories at New Hampshire International Speedway.
• Jeff Gordon leads all drivers scoring nine top-five finishes in 23 races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
• Dale Jarrett leads all drivers scoring 14 top-10 finishes in 23 races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
• Greg Biffle has posted three straight top-five finishes at New Hampshire International Speedway, the longest current streak.
• Ryan Newman leads all active drivers with a 6.0 starting average in nine races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
• Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with more than one start with an 8.66 finishing average in nine races at New Hampshire International Speedway. Johnson has posted top-15 finishes in all nine of his races at New Hampshire.(NASCAR Statistiacl Services)(9-9-2006)
- Richmond Penalty Report
26 TELL Commitment Line violation L 40
99 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 125
1 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 125
1 TELL Excessive speed exiting the pits L 125
38 MCI Safety Violation (loose sheet metal) L 124
66 Parked Safety Violation (aggressive driving) L 323
11 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 326
PT – Pass through
TELL – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
(NASCAR Statistiacl Services)(9-9-2006)
- U.S. Army Veteran to Receive Free Car From Checkers/Rally’s at Chevy Rock & Roll 400: Wayne Price, who was left homeless with his 15-year-old son and later rebuilt his life, will receive a free Chevrolet Cobalt from Checkers®/Rally’s® during Saturday’s Chevy Rock & Roll pre-race ceremonies. The charitable car giveaway program is a part of Checkers/Rally’s national community relations efforts as the Official Burger of NASCAR, and was conducted locally in partnership with the National Center for Children & Families (NCCF), a partner agency of the United Way of Central Maryland. In late 2004, Price, a then 48-year-old platoon sergeant in the U.S. Army, was informed that he was going to be deployed to Iraq. Following orders, Price left his job and moved to Andrews Air Force Base, where he was later diagnosed with an illness that precluded him from serving. Because of this, Price could not be placed on active duty, and having already left his job, he found himself under emotional and financial distress, rendering him and his 15-year-old son homeless. Price turned to the National Center for Children & Families (NCCF) for assistance. He entered an 18-month transitional housing program, where he rebuilt his life, dissolved his debt, attended group training sessions and learned how to advocate for himself. Today, Price, who resides in Gaithersburg, Md., has regained control of his future and he and his son are working hard to ensure their success continues.(Checkers/Rallys PR)(9-9-2006)
News from September 8, 2006
- Jon Wood’s Cup Plans on Hold: Very few things have gone according to plan for Jon Wood this year. The Stuart VA native went into this season expecting to be competitive in the Busch Series, run seven Nextel Cup races and prepare to go full time into a Cup car for next year. The intended car was the #21 Wood Brothers Ford owned by his family and currently being driven by Ken Schrader. That’s still the eventual plan, but the situation has changed. Wood hasn’t seen the results he was hoping for in the Busch Series. It’s unlikely now that Wood will make his Nextel Cup debut this season. Both he and his father, Eddie, say it’s more likely that Wood will run a partial schedule. Jon Wood says he knows what he’d like to see happen. “For example, say Schrader and I split the 21 car,” he said. “He did the races, say, I wasn’t comfortable with, or did the races one particular sponsor wanted, then I did the others. That’s kind of a way of not having to be thrown to the wolves and learn so fast. That would be my ideal scenario.” Eddie Wood said nothing is set in stone but that he still has every intention of getting Jon into a Cup car for next year. Jon said he will drive a full Busch schedule next year.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(9-8-2008)
- Australian Racer Peter Brock Dies in Rally Accident: Peter Brock, one of Australia’s most successful and well-known race car drivers, died Friday in an accident during a rally in Western Australia state. The 61-year-old Brock died when his car crashed into a tree about 25 miles north of Perth during the Targa West rally, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport said his co-driver was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition.(ESPN/AP)(9-8-2006)
- SpeedFreaks Joins Forces With ESPN2: The Radio and Television Motorsports Show, SpeedFreaks announced that ESPN2 will be the new home for their extremely successful television show. Kenny Sargent and The Pit Crew will kick things off with an hour special this Sunday [9/10] afternoon at 3:00pm/et [replay Monday at 2:30am/et] with some of the biggest Freakin’ names in motorsports. “ESPN is very excited to add SpeedFreaks to the ESPN2 Family,” says Frantz R. Cayo, Director of Motorsports Programming. “Their unique take on the world of motorsports and their reputation with the racing community will be a very nice complement to our overall motorsports strategy. We look forward to introducing Kenny Sargent, Lugg Nuttz, Crash Gladys, and Statt Mann Caruthers to all of our fans.” This SpeedFreaks Sunday special was shot from the Mopar Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway and the Mopar Big Block Party in Golden, Colorado. Featured throughout the 60 minutes is NASCAR’s Kasey Kahne, Drifting’s Sam Hubinette, MotoGP’s Colin Edwards & Nicky Hayden, Injured Motocrosser Ernesto Fonseca and a slew from the NHRA paddock. Oh yeah, kicking off the show is none other than Formula One’s defending Champion, Fernando Alonso. And, beginning February 2007, SpeedFreaks will hit the track full throttle on ESPN2 every Friday evening as part of the new motorsports weekend programming. More info about SpeedFreaks at SpeedFreaks.TV.(9-8-2006)
- Strange’s Florist Associate Sponsor on the #74: Strange’s Florist, a traditional full service family owned florist serving the Richmond area since the 1930’s has joined McGlynn Racing as an associate sponsor of the #74 driven by Derrike Cope. StrangesFlorist.com will be displayed on the car for the first time at the upcoming Chevy Rock & Roll 400.(McGlynn PR)(9-8-2008)
- Fan Designs Kahne’s scheme for Richmond: Race fans had a chance to leave a lasting impression on Kasey Kahne and the whole #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge team in a national contest put on by Dodge Motorsports. Oshkosh, Wisconsin’s Brandon Reinders’ did just that. He came up with the winning paint scheme design that will run on Kasey Kahne’s #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The scheme, which incorporates the classic Dodge red and traditional Dodge logos, integrates a bold white flame job with fluorescent-yellow highlighting. It was an original design by Reinders, who was basing his design off of a paint scheme that Kahne ran last season. As the grand prize winner, Reinders will receive a three day, two night trip for two to Richmond, Va. this weekend; tickets for two to the Nextel Cup series race on Saturday night and a 2006 Dodge Charger SXT. Reinders and other entrants visited www.designachargerracecar.com to register for the contest and develop a design for Kahne’s Dodge Charger using the online design tools. The winning entry was selected based on: originality (50%), creativity (25%) and Dodge themed (25%). Contest entries were accepted through July 16th. The winning entry was selected shortly thereafter. In addition to the grand prize, there were a number of instant winners that received prizes just for registering in the contest.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(9-8-2006)
- O.A.R. Scheme for Vickers at Richmond: Hendrick Motorsports’ #25 GMAC Chevy will have a different look for this weekend’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Richmond. As part of the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, Brian Vickers’ #25 will feature the colors of his favorite band, O.A.R.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-8-2006)
News from September 7, 2006
- Wimmer has nothing locked down for 2007 UPDATE 2: Scott Wimmer barely knows week by week whether he’s going to drive in the Nextel Cup Series, much less what 2007 has in store for him. Wimmer and the #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports team must qualify on speed for each race, and that hasn’t always been easy. Though he started last in Saturday night’s race, Wimmer has failed to qualify for five of 23 races this year, and that doesn’t create a lot of job security. “I really don’t have anything locked down for next year,” he said. “As a driver you always worry about when everybody else has a ride locked up and you’re kind of without anything. Team owner Larry McClure also isn’t sure about next year, especially because the team doesn’t have a sponsor yet.(Augusta Chronicle)(8-28-2006)
UPDATE: In light of recent rumors regarding the status of his operation, Larry McClure, President and Team Manager of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc. announced Monday that his familiar #4 team will compete full time in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007. “We currently have an agreement in place for our #4 car for next season and an announcement is forthcoming,” said McClure. “Additionally, we are in negotiations with a prospective partner for a long-awaited second team. We have a viable team here with the necessary components for success, including our driver Scott Wimmer, and it is our intention to have Scott in one of our cars next year. The 2007 season will mark our 25th year in NASCAR’s top series and we’re excited about what’s in store for Morgan-McClure Motorsports.”(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-29-2006)
UPDATE 2: Hearing that despite reports that Scott Wimmer is going to sign or is signed with the #4 Morgan McClure Motorsports team for 2007 season, Wimmer is NOT currently signed with anyone, but is in negotiations with a couple teams and an announcement could come soon.(9-7-2006)
- STP back on the #43 at RIR: #43-Bobby Labonte will head to Richmond sporting the famous STP colors this weekend. It is the second time this season that Labonte has raced the scheme. Labonte also went ‘retro’ earlier this season at the Talladega Superspeedway. STP will donate $43 to the Victory Junction Gang Camp for the total laps completed of both the Talladega race and Saturday night’s event.(Petty Racing PR), see images of the scheme on the #43 Team Schemes page.(9-7-2006)
- Wally’s World and TNT Chase Special: during TNT’s Bank of America Countdown to Green pre-race show [7:00pm/et Sept 9th] for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond, TNT’s Wally Dallenbach takes Barenaked Ladies lead singer Ed Robertson around the track during the Wally’s World segment. Immediately following the race, TNT will air a special Chase for the Nextel Cup Championship Preview Show with TNT announcers reviewing the field for the Chase to the Nextel Cup Championship and providing analysis and commentary on the drivers that made the Chase and those that did not.(TNT PR)(9-7-2006)
- Nicorette scheme for Sorenson at RIR: Reed Sorenson will be sporting a different look this weekend at Richmond, driving the #41 Nicorette Dodge. The special Nicorette paint scheme is another part of the only smoking cessation sponsorship in NASCAR history featuring the brands Nicorette nicotine gum, NicoDerm CQ nicotine patches and Commit nicotine lozenges. This unique NASCAR sponsorship also features the first-of-its-kind “QUIT Crew” program that provides quit smoking counseling and information to the NASCAR community. Over 170 NASCAR team members, officials and media, including several employees from the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates organization, have enrolled in the program. Free quit smoking counseling is also available to race fans at the Winner’s Circle Exhibit located in the fan walk area at 30 NASCAR races including Richmond this weekend. For more information on Nicorette and its NASCAR programs, go to quit2winracing.com. The Target scheme will return next weekend in New Hampshire.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the scheme on the #41 Team Schemes page.(9-7-2006)
- Richmond Rookie Notes: #07-Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the September 3 Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. Bowyer placed third, his best finish in 26 career Nextel Cup Series starts and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the fifth time this season. He racked up his third top-five and seventh top-10 finish of the season. #11-Denny Hamlin finished sixth, his seventh consecutive top-10 finish and 13th of the 2006 season. In 31 career Nextel Cup Series starts, Hamlin has logged 16 top-10 finishes. Hamlin leads Bowyer by 47 points (250-203) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the September 9 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond. Hamlin is seventh in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings. He trails sixth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. by one point and is 31 ahead of eighth-place Tony Stewart. Hamlin will clinch a spot in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup by finishing 16th or better at Richmond, regardless of where 11th-place Kasey Kahne finishes (lap leader points are not included). The only Raybestos Rookie to win the September race at Richmond is Tony Stewart, who captured the 1999 Chevy Rock and Roll 400. Stewart scored his first Nextel Cup Series win by 1.115 seconds over Bobby Labonte.(Raybestos PR), see standings, history and more on the 2006 Rookies page.(9-7-2006)
- Changes at the very top for Ford: In a surprising move, Ford Motor Company chairman Bill Ford Jr. has stepped down as the company’s chief executive, tapping former Boeing executive Alan Mulally to replace him. The move comes shortly after Ford Jr. – great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford – outlined to the company’s employees a three-point plan to solve FoMoCo’s problems. Ford has lost $1.44 billion in the first half of 2006, and recently announced it has put its Aston Martin brand of high-end sports cars for sale. Ford Jr. will stay involved with the company as executive chairman. Mulally, 61, headed Boeing’s commercial airplane unit and was one of the top candidates to become that company’s CEO last year.(Speed Channel)(9-7-2006)
- Ganassi Racing Hires new VP of Business Development: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc., announced the hiring of Chris Weiller as Vice President of Business Development. Weiller will be based out of the team’s Concord, N.C. race shop and will be responsible for creating and implementing new business and marketing opportunities for the team and its drivers across NASCAR, the Indy Racing League and the Grand Am series. Weiller joins Chip Ganassi Racing from the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats where he served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-7-2006)
- NASCAR sued for racial discrimination UPDATE: A former African-American crewman who once worked on NASCAR’s Winston Cup circuit sued the governing body of the U.S. stock car series on Tuesday for race discrimination and breach of contract. David Scott, who worked as a motorcoach driver to one of the racing teams, claimed NASCAR executives deceived him and did not fulfill promises of a job following a well-publicized 1999 racial incident involving white motorcoach drivers, according to the complaint filed in Manhattan federal court that seeks unspecified damages. Scott was harassed by at least two white motorcoach drivers from different racing teams, including being called “n-word” and an incident where he was confronted by the pair with one wearing a white pillow case over his head imitating a Ku Klux Klansman, according to the complaint. When the incident was reported in the media, the complaint said, top NASCAR executives flew Scott back home to North Carolina promising him a future job, but while negotiations continued over the next five years, a job never materialized. Scott seeks back pay and compensatory damages for loss of employment benefits and mental suffering. NASCAR was not immediately available for comment.(Reuters)(8-9-2006)
UPDATE: NASCAR has denied allegations of racial discrimination and breach of contract in its court filing Tuesday in response to a lawsuit filed by former race team motorcoach driver David Scott. The allegations stem from a highly publicized 1999 incident at New Hampshire International Speedway in which Scott, who is black, was greeted by a pair of motorcoach drivers, one of whom was wearing a white pillow case over his head as if he were a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The sanctioning body indefinitely suspended the two drivers involved in the incident. In his complaint, Scott said he was promised a job with NASCAR in response to the incident. The offer never materialized, with NASCAR only recommending jobs with NASCAR sponsors, Scott alleges. In its response to the complaint filed in federal court in New York, NASCAR denies the allegations and says Scott “was given several work opportunities which were declined” and “was not qualified” for the racing official job he wanted. NASCAR also claims that all of its actions “were undertaken in good faith, for good cause and legitimate business reasons unrelated to [his] race.” NASCAR has denied allegations of racial discrimination and breach of contract in its court filing Tuesday in response to a lawsuit filed by former race team motorcoach driver David Scott.(SceneDaily.com)(9-7-2006)
News from September 6, 2006
- Hyder returns to #49 BAM Racing, other crew changes: BAM Racing announced the return of David Hyder as crew chief of the #49 BAM Racing Dodge driven by Kevin Lepage. Hyder, a High Point, N.C. native, joined BAM Racing in October of 2004 as crew chief for Ken Schrader leading the team throughout the 2005 season. In 2006, Hyder joined Schrader at Wood Brothers Racing but now returns to build upon an impressive record with BAM Racing. In a total of 43 races with BAM Racing, Hyder captured three top-10, six top-15 and 11 top-20 finishes. In addition, he secured one top-10, five top-15 and seven top-20 starts during his tenure with the team. “I welcome the opportunity to effect change as a crew chief,” said Hyder. “I have respect for this team and I enjoy working with this organization. We have a history of success together and I feel very fortunate to have the chance to build upon that record. The team that is being assembled is the right group to build a strong foundation for the 2007 season.” With the #49 team currently outside of the top-35 in the owner points standings, Hyder returns with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Under his direction, the #49 team finished 33rd in the owner points standings in 2004 and 31st in 2005. Joining Hyder in the transition is Dean Johnson who originally joined BAM Racing alongside Hyder in 2004 as shock specialist. Johnson will now serve as chassis specialist. The team is pleased to bring back together this proven successful combination. Also, Louis Duncan, racing aerodynamics pioneer and former director of the RAD program – a research consortium for then team owners Richard Childress, Andy Petree and Dale Earnhardt – of the late 1990s, is lending his expertise to BAM Racing by way of Arrington Engines.(BAM Racing PR)(9-6-2006)
- RoadLoans back on the #49 car: BAM Racing announced that RoadLoans.com will return to the #49 Dodge for two NASCAR Nextel Cup events this season. The #49 RoadLoans Dodge Charger will hit the track this weekend at Richmond International Raceway with veteran driver Kevin Lepage and at Texas Motor Speedway in November. Also adorning the hood of the BAM Racing Dodge with RoadLoans this weekend is CarMax, one of its strategic partners. With its headquarters in Richmond, Va., CarMax is the nation’s largest retailer of used cars. For more information, visit www.roadloans.com.(BAM Racing PR-pdf)(9-6-2006)
- Gilliland to run #25 Busch car in 2007? hearing that David Gilliland, driver of the #38 M&M’s Ford of Robert Yates Racing, will drive either a part or full-time 2007 Busch Series schedule in the #25 Team Rensi Ford. The team recently announced that current driver Aston Lewis would not return in 2007 and it supposedly the team is looking for a sponsor. The team is currently sponsored by the US Marines.(9-6-2006)
- Mayfield could run #15 Truck at Atlanta: on Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup Monday, Jeremy Mayfield was interviewed and said he was talking to the #15 Billy Ballew Racing Truck Series team about possibly running a truck at Atlanta for the team in October. Mayfield said he also expects to test for Bill Davis Racing and Toyota for the rest of the season.(Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup)(9-6-2006)
- Bowyer’s Team Captures Pit Crew Win in California: Clint Bowyer’s #07 pit crew earned the Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win at California Speedway, helping boost the Richard Childress Racing driver to a third-place finish in Sunday night’s Nextel Cup race. This is the third pit crew challenge win of the season for the #07 team, which is now tied with Tony Stewart’s team for second-place in the season-long standings. Bowyer’s crew also took the honors at Phoenix International Raceway in April and Watkin’s Glen International in August. The crews of Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch are tied for the lead with four victories each. The #07 over-the-wall crew consists of: Carey Wimbish (jackman), Dail Long (front-tire carrier), Shane Westerberg (front-tire changer), Dustin Stanley (rear-tire carrier), Jake Lind (rear-tire changer), Ron Liddell (gasman), Clint Almquist (catch can) and Troy Welty (windshield). The pit stop coordinator is Corinne Mauldin. Bowyer’s Jack Daniels Chevrolet spent 332.959 seconds on pit road. The crew will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize and an additional $105,000 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(9-6-2006)
- Special Scheme for #22 at RIR: Dave Daney’s #22 car will sport a new paint scheme for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond. The paint scheme highlights Cat Engines with ACERT Technology. Cat engines with ACERT Technology open a new era in diesel engine design. Using highly advanced combustion technology to optimize performance, these revolutionary engines meet today’s most stringent emissions reduction standards. And they’re poised to take on tomorrow’s challenges. ACERT combines proven systems with innovative new technologies to precisely shape the combustion process. It maintains engine performance, efficiency and durability while dramatically reducing emissions. Looking ahead, ACERT is the only diesel emissions reduction technology currently available with a clear path to Tier 4/Stage IIIb compliance. Only Cat engines have ACERT Technology.(BDR PR), see a image of the scheme on the #22 Team Schemes page.(9-6-2006)
- #66 Chevy will promote new interactive AOL Gold Rush Game at Richmond: This weekend at Richmond, the #66 Best Buy Racing Chevy that Jeff Green drives will carry logos promoting Gold Rush, a groundbreaking interactive reality game from Mark Burnett and AOL.com – where players literally can turn their entertainment and pop culture knowledge into gold. Gold Rush launches online at www.aol.com/goldrush Wednesday, Sept. 13. Best Buy, primary sponsor of driver Jeff Green and the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy, is a sponsor of the game, and the Best Buy brand will be integrated throughout game clues and challenges. Chevrolet, Coca-Cola Zero, T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Washington Mutual are also Gold Rush sponsors. The hood of the yellow and blue #66 entry will be emblazoned with the game’s logo, a bar of gold, surrounded by Best Buy’s signature yellow price tags and the tagline, “Yellow leads to gold.” The game’s website address, AOL.com/Goldrush, will be displayed on the car’s quarter panels, along with the Best Buy logo. For a complete list of rules and eligibility requirements, visit www.aol.com/goldrush.(GMR PR)(9-6-2006)
- Jarrett to race #88 UPS Freight Car at Richmond: Dale Jarrett and the #88 UPS Racing Team will race its first special paint scheme of the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season on behalf of sponsor UPS, who will be rolling out the #88 UPS Freight Ford Fusion for Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 event in Richmond. In an effort to expand its service portfolio by offering a variety of less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload services (TL) for customers in North America, UPS acquired Overnite Transportation Company in 2005, which immediately positioned UPS as a top LTL carrier in the United States. “This is probably one of the best examples of UPS utilizing this sponsorship to promote the different businesses in which they’re involved,” said Dale Jarrett, driver of the UPS Ford. “They have always done the best job of using this race program to create brand awareness.” To celebrate the occasion, Jarrett will make an appearance at the UPS Freight headquarters on Wednesday, September 6th. Jarrett will assist UPS Freight employees in kicking off this year’s United Way campaign.(UPS PR), see a image of the scheme on the #88 Team Schemes page.(9-6-2006)
- Barenaked Ladies featured on the #29 at RIR: GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick’s #29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet will sport a special paint scheme with the music group Barenaked Ladies at Richmond International Raceway for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 and the seventh #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge race Founded in 1988 by singer-guitarists Steven Page and Ed Robertson, the Toronto-based Barenaked Ladies includes Tyler Stewart, Jim Creegan and Kevin Hearn. The band has sold more than 14 million records worldwide, with hits such as “One Week,” “Pinch Me” and “Brian Wilson.” Along the way, they have developed a dedicated following and a reputation as one of North America’s best-loved live acts [one of Jayski’s fave].(RCR PR), see images of the scheme on the #29 Team Schemes page.(9-6-2006)
- Carpentier finishes 6th in 1st stock car race: Former Champ Car and IRL driver Patrick Carpentier is another open-wheel driver who is taking his act to the stock car circuits. Sunday at Cayuga International Speedway he got his first taste of the big sedans and came away both impressed with the racing and impressive on the track. Carpentier, driving the #88 Ford of Dave Jacombs Racing, started way back in 21st on the grid for the CASCAR Super Series Hot Head Henry 200 and battled veterans of Canada’s top stock car racing series to finish sixth. The 33-year-old native of Joliette, Que., came away with a new appreciation for the CASCAR drivers. “The drivers in the series knew that I was new at this and they were really great with me,” he said. “They gave me pointers, advice and all kinds of information relating to race lines and how to handle traffic.”(Toronto Sun), Carpentier is actively talking to Busch Series team about a ride in 2007.(9-6-2006)
News from September 5, 2006
- Fireball to be honored in Augusta: Streets surrounding the former Augusta International Raceway will be named for former champions Glenn “Fireball” Roberts and Dave MacDonald at the third annual “Celebrating Georgia’s Racing Heritage” on Sept. 9 at 10 a.m. For information, go to augustavintagenationals.com. The track held one Cup Series [then Grand National] on November 17, 1963 with Fireball Roberts winning the race, followed by Dave McDonald, Billy Wade, Joe Weatherly and Ned Jarrett.(9-5-2006)
- Labbe Named Interim Crew Chief For MB2’s #14 Chevy: MB2 Motorsports announced that Richard “Slugger” Labbe has taken over the crew chief duties on an interim basis for the #14 Chevy driven by Sterling Marlin. Labbe replaces Scott Eggelston, who has mutually parted ways with MB2. Labbe’s first Nextel Cup race with the #14 entry will be this weekend at the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 in Richmond. MB2 hired Labbe two weeks ago when the veteran crew chief became available to the organization. His specific role with MB2 will be announced at a later date.(MB2 Motorsports PR), Labbe is Marlin’s 3rd crew chief of the season after Eggelston and Doug Randolph.(9-5-2006)
- Allmendinger tests truck at RIR? UPDATE 2 two truck races in 2006: hearing that Champ Car driver A.J. Allmendinger tested a Toyota Truck this week at Richmond International Speedway, while confirmed a Toyota Truck was testing this week, no team was mentioned but hear it was for Bill Davis Racing which could field Allmendinger in a Truck Series race sometime this season.(9-1-2006)
UPDATE: A.J. Allmendinger, presently the only American competing in the Champ Car World Series, had a Craftsman Truck Series test with Bill Davis Racing at Richmond this week, it was confirmed Friday. He reportedly did quite well. Allmendinger has won four Champ Car races for Forsythe Racing this season, but his options are apparently open for next year. When Allmendinger was let go by RuSport Racing in June prior to the Portland race, he put out feelers in several directions, then Forsythe hired him and he won three straight races, beginning with Portland.The opportunity to test with Bill Davis Racing was one of those options and it is possible Allmendinger might do some Truck or Busch races next season, in addition to continuing in Champ Car, a spokesperson for Allmendinger said Friday.(Ford Racing)(9-2-2006)
UPDATE 2: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that A.J. Allmendinger will be joining the team’s Craftsman Truck Series line-up for two races. Allmendinger, who is currently fighting for the championship on the Champ Car World Series circuit, will drive the #24 Toyota Tundra for BDR at New Hampshire International Speedway (Sept. 16) and Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 7). “When I had the opportunity a few months ago to explore my career options, I really wanted to try my hand at something in the stock car arena,” said the 24 year-old Allmendinger. “We began making phone calls and this opportunity with Bill Davis Racing really came about from that. I’m grateful to Bill Davis and the entire BDR team for giving me the chance to take on a new challenge. I also want to thank my Champ Car team owner Gerry Forsythe and the Forsythe/Indeck team for supporting me as I try something new.”
“A.J. Allmendinger was interested in exploring his options and abilities in NASCAR and Bill Davis Racing has always had an interest in looking at new talent. We look forward to working with A.J. for a couple of races and I’m confident his open-wheel success will carry over into his NASCAR endeavors,” added team owner Bill Davis. In preparation for his upcoming races, Allmendinger completed a brief testing session with the BDR NASCAR Craftsman Truck crew on Aug. 29 at Richmond International Raceway.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(9-5-2006)
- Commercial breakdown for the Sony HD 500 race: from cawsnjaws.com:
Total number of commercials: 151
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 81
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:54pm/et
End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:58pm/et
Total minutes: 244
Minutes of race broadcast: 171
Minutes of commercials: 73
(see full article at CawsnJaws.com), so that is about 12 minutes of commercials in 30minutes, regular TV shows do about 10 minutes of commercials. NOTE: no complaints to Jayski: send them to NBC, see my media contact page for ways to contact NBC for praise or complaints.(9-5-2006)
- Benny’s son wins at Myrtle Beach: Kevin Parsons [Benny’s son] won the Carolina Labor Day 400 Myrtle Beach Mitsubishi Truck race by driving an entirely different line around the racetrack than anyone else. Parsons made his way through the pack by running a lane or better higher through the corners than anyone else. Once he made it to lead by passing Robert Powell others started to mimic his driving style and indeed started picking up speed. Powell once several car lengths back in 2nd place tried the high line and was able to close the gap on Parsons but was unable to make the pass with only a handful of laps left. By the time lap 48 rolled around of the 50 lap race nearly every driver on the track was attempting to run the “high line” that Parsons had discovered. One of the first drivers to adapt Parson’s style was Bryan Blackwell who passed both Jimmy Herrington and Strom Altman at the same time on the high side.(Myrtle Beach Speedway), Kevin called Benny from victory lane.(9-5-2006)
- Hermie Sadler teams with Hometown sponsors at RIR: Virginia native Hermie Sadler will be carrying colors of a Virginia based company as #00 MBA Motorsports teams up with Richmond Electric Supply, Co., based in Richmond, for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 this weekend at RIR. Sadler and Richmond Electric President Darryl Harman, Sr. met a couple weeks ago at a Charity golf outing in Richmond, and by the end of the day, had made a deal for the race at Richmond. “We hit it off right away”, said Sadler of his relationship with Harman. “He is a big race fan, and represents what I like in a person and company. RESCO is a family owned local business much like our race team. It will be fun for us to team up at RIR and try and beat the odds.” MBA Motorsports will also carry associate sponsorship from The Haven Inn, a NASCAR themed restaurant located in Norfolk, Virginia. Dave Willis, who owns The Haven Inn with his wife Lynne, was a crew member for a Dodge Weekly Racing Series team for over 10 years. Also this weekend at RIR, Sadler, the 1993 Busch Series Rookie of the Year, will attempt to make his first Busch Series start of the season in the #28 Chevy owned by Jay Robinson. For more information go to www.sadlerfanclub.com.(PR)(9-5-2006)
- Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 25 races, three drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers and #31-Burton. #5-Kyle Busch and #40-David Stremme [23 races run] are the leaders with 8 lucky dog passes used. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte] and #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(9-5-2006)
- Consecutive Races Finished on Lead Lap:[modern era?] – if #48-Jimmie Johnson finishes on the lead lap at Richmond Saturday, Sept 9th, he will tie Jeff Gordon for the most races run in a row finishing on the lead lap with 21 [assuming this is the modern era 1972-current record], the best streaks [bold is current]:
1) Jeff Gordon, 21 races, from June 14, 1998 thru Feb 14, 1999
2) Jimmie Johnson, 20, April 2, 2006 thru Current Race
3) Rusty Wallace, 17, May 29, 2005 thru Sept 25, 2005
4) Jamie McMurray, 16, August 8, 2004 thru Nov 21, 2004
Denny Hamlin, 16, May 6, 2006 thru Current Race
5) Rusty Wallace, 15, June 20, 1993 thru Oct 24, 1993
Jeff Gordon, 15, June 11, 1995 thru Oct 1, 1995
Dale Jarrett, 15, April 30, 2000 thru Sept 03, 2000
Matt Kenseth 15, May 5, 2006 thru Current Race
6) Dale Jarrett, 14, May 24, 1998 thru Sept 6, 1998
Bobby Labonte, 14, Sept 11, 1999 thru March 12, 2000
Kevin Harvick, 14, July 20, 2003 thru Oct 19, 2003
Mark Martin, 14, Sept 5, 2004 thru Feb 27, 2005
Jimme Johnson, 14, Oct 16, 2004 thru April 23, 2005
(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-5-2006)
News from September 4, 2006
- Testing at Homestead set: The final of six testing dates have been set, with testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway being held Monday, October 16 thru Wednesday, October 18, 2006. Team usually are allowed to choose any two fo the three dates to test, not all three. Testing is free and open to the public, from 9am until 5pm/et, from the Speedway’s Club Level Seats.(Homestead-Miami Speedway site), although the site says “both days”, unless it is just Mon and Wed for some reason, but testing is usually a three day deal.(9-4-2006)
- Dodge from Charger to Challenger in 2007? UPDATE no: The Dodge Charger has been a disappointment on the track, although that is probably more a reflection of problems within the various Dodge teams and the company’s racing hierarchy than any significant technical issues. Several teams balked at running the Charger earlier this year, preferring to run the older Intrepid, even though Dodge wasn’t selling that brand any more. Now it appears likely that in 2007 Dodge’s NASCAR teams could be marketed under the Challenger logo, rather than the Charger brand. NASCAR has approved a new Dodge nose for next season. But the Challenger isn’t expected in dealer showrooms until 2008, so Dodge would have to speed up its introduction.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-3-2006)
UPDATE – No: The new Dodge nose recently approved by NASCAR for 2007 will be based on the current production model Charger and not the new Challenger being introduced in 2008, according to NASCAR officials. Dodge team owners sought the change for the nose after they felt that was the area of the Charger that was causing the models to be less competitive than Chevrolet or Ford.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(9-4-2006)
- ‘Earl’ drives a pace lap: Jason Lee, star of the NBC sitcom “My Name Is Earl” [and a Jayski Fave show] was the honorary pace car driver, driving ahead of Todd [they mean Brett] Bodine on the track. Sunday’s race [at California Speedway] was the first for him. “Indy, I like a lot, and Formula One,” said Lee. “I’ve seen some races up in Canada. I get to drive the pace car, that’s pretty exciting. That’s the kind of stuff you think about when you’re a kid.” Ethan Suplee, who plays Lee’s brother Randy on the show, was also in attendance. “Randy, can you believe we’re actually here? We’re at NASCAR,” Lee said in character. “What are the odds on Ricky Bobby winning this race?” Suplee replied, also in character, a reference to Will Ferrell’s movie “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.”(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(9-4-2006)
- Changes to the past champion provisional could be coming: NASCAR is looking at possibly altering the past champion’s provisional for next year. There is no limit in the Nextel Cup Series for a past champion’s provisional. In the Busch Series, a past champion can use it only once every eight races. “It maybe won’t be the same amount of races, but it would be something similar put in place,” NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell said Sept. 2. He said NASCAR is still going through its rulebook and discussing any revisions for 2007 As far as a rumor that the top 35 locked-in owners might be decreased to top-30, O’Donnell said, “Nothing is finalized for next year. I think it’s fair to say I feel pretty confident we’ll be at top 35.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-4-2006)
- Memorial Day Weekend/Labor Day Weekend Doubles..rare: #9-Kasey Kahne’s win at California marks just the 4th time in the modern era that the winner of the Memorial Day weekend Cup race went on to win the Labor Day weekend Cup race in the same season. The others were David Pearson in 1976, Jeff Gordon in 1997, and again Jeff Gordon in 1998. Those 3 instances occurred when the Labor Day weekend race was held at Darlington Raceway, while the Memorial Day race has always been held at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte during the modern era. Also it should be noted both times when Gordon accomplished this feat, he went on to win the Cup championship.(9-4-2006)
- 4th RCR team in 2007? UPDATE: Richard Childress is considering a fourth car, probably with Holiday Inn as a sponsor.(Ford Racing)(8-28-2006)
UPDATE: Car owner Richard Childress’ long-rumored fourth Cup team may be closer to fruition, according to sources. The big question is who the driver might be. As hot as Childress’ stuff is right now, potential drivers should be clogging the phone lines to his Welcome shop. Jeff Burton, one of Childress’s drivers, was less than enthusiastic last year when a fourth team was proposed, for fear it would take away from the three other teams, which at that time weren’t very spiffy. Now, however, Childress’ three men – Burton, Kevin Harvick and rookie Clint Bowyer – are all hot, and Bowyer has been a distinct plus for the operation.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-4-2006)
News from September 3, 2006
- Kahne wins at California: #9-Kasey Kahne won the SONY HD 500 at California Speedway for 5th win of 2006 and 6th of his career, Kahne dominated the race, leading 130 of the 250 laps. Kahne also won the Busch Series race at California on Saturday night. Kahne overcame a pit road speeding penalty to win the race. #41-Reed Sorenson was leading with 2 laps to go, trying to stretch the fuel mileage, but ran out of gas and finished 19th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd, followed by #07-Bowyer [best career finish], #99-Edwards, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #17-Kenseth, #5-Busch, #20-Stewart and #88-Jarrett. Pole sitter #2-Kurt Busch lead the first 11 laps, fell back, got caught on pit road when a caution flew and finished 27th, down a lap. Kahne is now 30 points behind the 10th place driver, #31-Jeff Burton, who finished 16th. #99-Edwards and #16-Biffle are officially eliminated from the Chase, so it will be 11 drivers for the 10 spots in The Chase, unless there is a tie for 10th, then both drivers would get in. There were 10 leaders with 26 lead changes and 7 cautions for 29 laps.
Race Results on my California Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after California page
Race Rundown: see my California Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-3-2006)
- Unofficial Driver Points Standing after California [25 of 36 races]:
#17-Matt Kenseth 3638 [clinched a spot in the chase]
#48-Jimmie Johnson 3629 -9 [clinched]
#29-Kevin Harvick 3296 -342
#24-Jeff Gordon 3251 -387
#5-Kyle Busch 3244 -394
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3226 -412
#11-Denny Hamlin 3225 -413
#20-Tony Stewart 3194 -444
#6-Mark Martin 3181 -457
#31-Jeff Burton 3179 -459
and fighting for 10th
out of 10th and the chase
#9-Kasey Kahne -30
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(9-3-2006)
- California Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
7 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 9
7 Stop & Blend Running the stop & go sign L 9
7 TELL Excessive speed exiting the pits L 9
25 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 109
00 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 111
9 TELL Excessive speed entering the pits L 156
38 MCI Lug nut(s) not installed L 157
38 TELL Pitting before pit road is open
40 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 172
2 TELL Too many crewmember(s) in contact with pit service area L 193
PT – Pass through
TELL – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits
(NASCAR Statisical Services)(9-3-2006)
- Rumblings – California: How big would the margin of victory have been without the penalty? Kasey Kahne dominated tonight’s SONY HD 500 at California Speedway, leading eight times for 130 laps, and pulled away to a 3.4 second victory in the Nextel Cup event…..in spite of getting caught for speeding on pit road! Reed Sorenson tried to steal it, but ran out of fuel on the penultimate lap and Kahne cruised by for his 5th win of the season (that’s the most of any driver this year) and 6th of his career (he’s now solo in 62nd place on the all-time win list). Win #12 for Ray Evernham gives Kasey a sweep of the weekend (he took the Busch event last night as well), and was worth $279,214 from the almost $6M in posted awards. By doing all he could do points wise, Kasey is now just 30 markers out of the “Chase” with one race left.
Dale Earnhardt Jr (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Richmond in May. Clint Bowyer (3rd) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 4th at The Brickyard in August. Dale Jarrett (10th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Atlanta in March. Casey Mears (14th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Daytona in July. David Gilliland (32nd) tied his career-best finish tonight. He was also 32nd at Infineon in June. STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 7 Top-10’s in a row. Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races. This Week’s Elevator….UP: The Operator of the Week is tie. Dale Jarrett (+26) and Mark Martin (+26) share the honors followed by Carl Edwards (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-39), followed by Kurt Busch (-26) and Ryan Newman (-21). This is BD #3 for Vickers this season.
Matt Kenseth re-assumes the points lead from Jimmie Johnson tonight for the first time since we left Phoenix in April. Matt’s got a 9 point margin. There are a number of scenarios where we could have a tie for the 10th and final qualifier for the “Chase”….we’ve got only 11 drivers with a chance this year with one race to go. Dale Earnhardt Jr (9th to 6th) made the best move forward in the standings this week, while Jeff Burton (7th to 10th) and Brian Vickers (17th to 20th) fell the most spots. Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, and Jeff Burton will spend most of next week wanting to know where the #9 car is.(Stock Car Fans)(9-3-2006)
- California Race Notes:
• Kasey Kahne won the SONY HD 500 at California Speedway, scoring his sixth Nextel Cup victory in his 97th career start.
• This is his fifth victory in 2006, the most of all drivers. Kahne also won at Atlanta, Texas, Charlotte and Michigan.
• Kahne is the third driver to score a weekend sweep in 2006 joining Kevin Harvick at Phoenix in April and Matt Kenseth at Bristol one week ago.
• This is only the second time in NASCAR history that a weekend sweep has occurred on back-to-back weekends.Harry Gant was the first driver to post back-to-back weekend sweeps winning both races at Richmond and Dover (September 1991).
• This marked the first victory by a Dodge at California Speedway since the track opened in 1997.
• Kahne became the 10th different race winner in the last 10 races at California Speedway.
• Kahne scored his first victory in six races at California Speedway and fifth victory in 75 races on a superspeedway.
• Kahne won the race from the ninth-place starting position.
• Kahne scored his fourth top-10 finish in six races at California Speedway.
• Kahne remained 11th in the point standings, now just 30 points behind 10th-place Jeff Burton.
• Kahne led the most laps for the second time in 2006. Kahne also won and led the most at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
• Kahne led eight times for 130 laps including the final two laps in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway.
• This is team owner Ray Evernham’s 12th Nextel Cup victory and first at California Speedway.
• Evernham Motorsports has won at least one race each season 2001– 2006, six consecutive years.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. (second) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his third top-10 finish in 10 races at California. He climbed from ninth to sixth in the point standings, 77 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
• Clint Bowyer (third) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2006. It is his first top-10 finish in two races at California Speedway.
• Carl Edwards (fourth) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his fifth top-10 finish in five races at California.
• Jeff Gordon (fifth) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his sixth top-10 finish in 13 races at California, all top-fives. Gordon climbed from fifth to fourth in the point standings, 102 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
• Denny Hamlin (sixth) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006, the most among the rookie contenders. He extended a streak of seven straight top-10 finishes that began at New Hampshire in July.
• At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 25 races this season.
• Matt Kenseth (seventh) scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006. Kenseth took over the point lead by nine points over Jimmie Johnson. Johnson had held the point lead for the last 16 races since Talladega in May.
• Jimmie Johnson (11th today) has been ranked among the top 10 for 94 consecutive races. He has been running at the finish in all 25 races in 2006.
• Kevin Harvick (15th) extended a 37-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak. Harvick has posted nine straight top-15 finishes.
• Jeff Burton (16th) dropped from seventh to 10th in the point standings and is just 30 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-3-2006)
- To the Back: #4-Scott Wimmer and #21-Ken Schrader both had engine failures during Saturday’s practices and the teams had to make engine changes, so Wimmer [was to start 17th] and Schrader [was to start 29th] will both have to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the SONY HD 500 at California Speedway on Sunday.(9-3-2006)
- Toyota Camry and Avalon? There are reports that Toyota might like to promote not only its Camry but also its Avalon through NASCAR racing.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-3-2006)
- Great News for Bobby Hamliton: There’s more good news for Bobby Hamilton – he came of Thursday’s biopsy operation in Nashville with a clean bill of health – no trace of cancer in his lymph nodes. Hamilton has been fighting cancer with a rigorous regime of chemotherapy and radiation since the disease was diagnosed in February.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-3-2006)
- Goodyear tire test at Talladega Sept 18-19: Five teams will participate in a Goodyear tire test Sept. 18-19 at the newly repaved Talladega Superspeedway, Goodyear officials confirmed Saturday. None of the five drivers is in Chase contention, so no title contender will have an advantage when the Nextel Cup Series competes at the track Oct. 8. The five drivers who will participate will be #1-Martin Truex Jr., #12-Ryan Newman, #25-Brian Vickers, #32-Travis Kvapil and #40-David Stremme.(SceneDaily.com)(9-3-2006)
- Hornish to run Busch and ARCA Races UPDATE 2 testing..#77?: Roger Penske said Saturday that he was working on a plan that would allow his IRL driver Sam Hornish Jr. to race in some NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Series races next season. That would be in addition to a full IRL schedule for Hornish, who won the Indianapolis 500 this year. “Sam has talked about running some Busch or ARCA races, and we’re looking at a potential program,’’ Penske said before the Sharpie 500. “We haven’t put all the pieces together.” Although Penske used an ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup program to develop the driver Ryan Newman before promoting him to the Cup series full-time, Penske said it was too early to say if Hornish would move up to compete in the Cup series by 2008.(New York Times)(8-28-2006)
UPDATE: Reports that Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. would be running races in the NASCAR Busch and ARCA Series next year in addition to his Indy Racing League schedule are premature. “There’s no confirmation,” Team Penske director of marketing and communications Chris Schwartz said. “They’re considering a plan that would allow Sam to run some Busch and ARCA events next year. The details of that plan are tentative. Some people are thinking that this is something more than it really is.”(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(8-31-2006)
UPDATE 2: Sam Hornish Jr. could begin testing a Penske Racing South Dodge sometime this fall in preparation for what could be a limited Busch Series and ARCA schedule in 2007, team president Don Miller said Saturday. “They’re just looking at that possibility [for next season],” Miller said. “He’ll probably do some testing a little bit later on.” Whether Hornish begins testing this year or not until next season will depend, in part, on how Penske Racing South’s preparations are going for next season. The team has struggled with its intermediate-track program this year and is also busy working to gear up for the introduction of the “car of tomorrow” next season. Hornish, who will run the full IRL schedule next year, would ease into stock cars. If Hornish were to make the move to NASCAR full time in 2008 or beyond, it would likely mean Penske Racing South would resurrect the #77 team it shut down after last season.(SceneDaily.com)(9-3-2006)
- Chase Clinching Scenarios Following Sunday’s Sony HD 500:
•Only 48 points separate positions four through 10 in the current Nextel Cup Series standings. Only 138 points separate positions four through 11. A driver can gain a maximum of 156 points over another competitor in each event.
•The 11th-place driver, Kasey Kahne, can move as high as fourth in the standings following Sunday’s Sony HD 500 at California Speedway.
•Any driver in positions four through 10 can fall from the top 10 following Sunday’s event.
•Drivers in positions four through 10 can clinch a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup following Sunday’s event.
•No top-10 driver will be mathematically eliminated from the Chase even if he finishes 43rd (last) at California.
•Kevin Harvick will clinch a Chase berth with a finish of third or better in Sunday’s event, no matter where another competitor finishes. Harvick also can clinch if he finishes lower than third, as long as his advantage over 11th place is 191 points or greater after the Sony HD 500.
•Harvick can fall as low as 10th in the standings following Sunday’s event.
•Also important: Top-10 drivers are racing for the highest finish in the standings before the Chase begins. Although the point separation to start the Chase is a mere five points per position, the 2004 series title was decided by eight points. The 2005 title margin was 35 points.
•The sports statistics experts at STATS LLC have calculated 574,560 different possibilities for the order of the top 11 drivers following Sunday’s event.
•Any driver with a lead of 191 points or more over 11th place following Sunday’s event will clinch a spot in the Chase. (Note: The clinching method used by NASCAR does not assume that a driver will be able to start all of the remaining races, although that is likely.)(NASCAR PR)(8-31-2006)
STATS: see more on the Chase Stats after Bristol Page.(9-1/3-2006)
- Fatback stays home UPDATE: Ernie Cope will serve as #21-Ken Schrader’s crew chief this weekend, as his regular crew chief, Michael McSwain, remained at the Wood Brothers shop to complete other work.(Roanoke Times)(9-2-2006)
UPDATE: Ken Schrader’s regular crew chief Michael Fatback McSwain is not with the team this weekend for the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway as he tends to business at the team’s shop in North Carolina, according to team co-owner Eddie Wood. “This weekend, Fatback stayed back to get ready for Richmond and Loudon and help our short track stuff,” Wood said. “Ernie Cope is the crew chief this weekend, so we’re just going on with business as usual.” Wood was asked if this might be an indicator of what teams might do if they were eliminated from The Chase to get a head start on the next season’s preparation. “Yes, in a roundabout way,” Wood said. “It wasn’t something we really planned in advance, but it just kind of worked out that way. Ernie has been helping Fatback since he came back and since Fatback had some stuff to do, it’s a no-brainer to have Ernie fill in. Ernie is an experienced crew chief in his own right, so it’s business as usual.” Schrader qualified 29th Friday in the U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion but blew an engine in Saturday’s early afternoon practice and did not participate in Happy Hour. He will have to start Sunday’s race at the back of the grid because of the engine change.(Ford Racing)(9-3-2006)
- Kyle Busch inducted into Walk of Fame: #5-Kyle Busch, the defending champion of the Sony HD 500, took his place on the California Speedway Walk of Fame on Saturday, and he did it in his own unique way. The walkway includes the footprints of previous race winners. Busch went barefoot. “Pretty cool,” he said. Busch, 21, became the Nextel Cup’s youngest winner when he took the checkered flag at Fontana a year ago. At the time, he said he didn’t realize he set the milestone when he won at the age of 20 years, 4 months and 2 days. “We made it by three days,” he said.”I’ve got taken out of races here, but I’ve won races here, for me it’s something cool to come out here. I like racing on the West Coast anyway. It’s a fun place to race.”(Press Enterprise)(9-3-2006)
- SPEED Trophy named after Mario Andretti: SPEED [Channel] will pass on the legacy of Champ Car and Formula 1 champion Mario Andretti by awarding the Mario Andretti Trophy to its Performer of the Year. The trophy, which was created by renowned sculptor Elie Hazak and was given to the top vote-getter for the Champ Car All-Star team from 1999-2001, depicts many of the highlights of Andretti’s career including his 1967 Daytona 500 win, his 1978 F1 title and his four Champ Car titles. The trophy also symbolizes Andretti’s emigration from Italy to Nazareth, Pa., with a globe and an olive tree with roots going to both locales. The original trophy, which stands 38 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds, will be on display at various SPEED trackside locations throughout the rest of the season leading to the inaugural award ceremony.(Speed Channel PR)(9-2-2006)
- Founder of America Supports You Program to Join Speedway Fans at California: Allison Barber, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and the architect of the America Supports You program will join NASCAR fans at the California Speedway Sept. 3, 2006. America Supports You is an outreach program launched by the Department of Defense to recognize citizens’ support for military men and women and to communicate that support to members of the Armed Forces and their families.
• 86 NASCAR race cars including pace cars will carry the America Supports You decal during the Busch Series Race on Saturday, Sept 2, and the NEXTEL Cup Series on Sunday Sept 3. In addition, America Supports You logo will be stenciled in color on the grass along the front straightaway of the Speedway.
• In conjunction with the California Speedway, America Supports You will provide race fans an opportunity to text their vote of support for our military men and women in uniform. Text messaging is an interactive component of the America Supports You program designed to give all Americans a way to show the volume of their support, and it provides a strong message to members of the military. Barber and sports announcers will invite spectators to actively show their support by texting “Thanks” to T-X-A-S-Y (89279) from their cell phones.
• Shout outs from the troops stationed overseas to NASCAR fans will play on California Speedway jumbotrons, and America Supports You public service announcements will be broadcast in-stadium for on-site fans.
In addition, Barber will be interviewed on Sunday afternoon during pre-race ceremonies from the California Speedway along with four military members recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, including SPC Robby R. Case, SSgt Paula Denise Newman and Sergeant Patrick Bauschke.(NASCAR PR)(9-3-2006)
News from September 2, 2006
- Reutimann/Kvapil finalists for #00 MWR team: David Reutimann and Travis Kvapil are the finalists to drive Michael Waltrip Racing’s #00 Toyota in 2007, but a decision may be several weeks away. Waltrip wouldn’t name the second finalist, but a source familiar with the process said that Kvapil, who currently drives for PPI Motorsports, is the other driver under consideration by sponsors Burger King and Domino’s Pizza. Waltrip hoped the choice would be made by now, but things haven’t gone as quickly as planned when it comes to coordinating meetings with the team’s co-sponsors. “It’s more of a deal now where we just need to all reconvene,” Waltrip said Friday. “We presented all the options to ’em and I told Ty [Norris, the team’s vice president and general manager] we would be proud to have either one of [our choices] and we’ll see what happens.” Kvapil wouldn’t name the two teams he’s talking with besides PPI Motorsports, which is still working to nail down its sponsorship for next season [supposedly Tide will not return]. “I told Cal [Wells, PPI’s owner] six weeks ago that we were going to try to figure out which way we were going at the end of August,” Kvapil said. “I think a couple of other teams I’ve been talking to are going to make decisions here shortly, too. It’s kind of a wait and see as to how it all shakes out. I like some of the things Cal’s trying to do for the future of his team. I think he realizes the days of a single-car team are probably limited, so he’s trying to either expand himself or form an alliance or do something to help his team in the future produce on the track.” Reutimann met with executives from Domino’s Pizza on Aug. 29, but a meeting with Burger King executives in Florida didn’t materialize as a tropical storm was bearing down on the state. Reutimann returned to North Carolina unsure of where things stand, though he felt the meeting went well.(SceneDaily.com)(9-2-2006)
- Paul Tracy to Run for Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports in limited 2007 schedule: Having announced the formation of Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports less than a month ago, co-owners Bill Riley and Eddie D’Hondt are proud to announce that Sport Clips has agreed to be the primary sponsor of one of their new teams in the 2007 Busch Series. Fielded out of their new shops located in Mooresville, NC, Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports will run a yet-to-be-determined limited schedule with champion open-wheel driver Paul Tracy in the driver’s seat. Sport Clips has spent the last three seasons in the Busch Series where they have experienced great success. In 2004, Sport Clips was in Victory Lane at Daytona with driver, Mike Wallace. In February 2005, they sat on the Pole at Daytona with driver, Joe Nemechek, and, most recently, they are the primary sponsor of Champ Car star Paul Tracy in his 2006 Busch Series effort. Adding to an already impressive motorsports resume, Sport Clips was the primary sponsor of Max Papis’ Indianapolis 500 entry on May 28, 2006, and also was the primary sponsor for Max Papis’ debut in the Busch Series on August 12, 2006.(Riley-D’Hondt Motorsports PR)(9-2-2006)
- Dale Jr. – rebuild Calif Speedway if: Some view NASCAR races at the California Speedway as boring because there isn’t enough passing, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. offered a blunt solution Friday: Start over in Fontana. “Dig it up and rebuild it,” he said when asked how to generate closer racing on the two-mile, D-shaped oval. “They do it at other places, so I don’t see why we couldn’t do it here. It’s a little too flat, The banking is flat in Turns 1 and 2 and it’s not conducive to good racing.” All four corners have 14-degree banking. “We’re going 196 [mph] down the front straightaway into a flat corner,” Earnhardt said. “How are you supposed to race around that? You do your best just to get around it uneventfully, you know, much less try to pass somebody.” The track’s banking is flatter than some Nextel Cup tracks, but others have even less banking in the corners, including the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Los Angeles Times)(9-2-2006)
News from September 1, 2006
- Robby DID try to buy into RYR: from PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show:
#7 car owner-driver Robby Gordon says he came close on two occasions to a 50-50 partnership with Robert Yates Racing. “I was going to buy Yates. Yes we were. We had funding and sponsorship in place for the 88 car.We have our car funded for the seven car. I wanted to buy half of his two cars. That was the deal that was proposed, so whatever you hear on the other side of the street, I wasn’t going to do it unless I could own half of those two cars.”
So is any deal with RYR dead in the water? “Before Indianapolis it was dead and then after Indianapolis it was alive and today it’s dead so who knows where that is or what’s going to happen. It’s unfortunate that it’s dead because I think I could have been a good coach for the two younger drivers they’re going to have in their cars because to date I don’t know what they’re going to have for experience showing up at the Daytona 500.”
What killed the deal? “I don’t know.We agreed on everything and the day it was supposed to be done it just didn’t happen. I got a call from Robert’s attorney that we’re (Robert Yates Racing) isn’t going to do the deal tomorrow. So it was like, huh? Okay.”
It’s also unclear as to which manufacturer Gordon will partner with in 2007. “I have had a great relationshp with Chevrolet…obviously I’ve had past relationships with Ford. Chevrolet has done a great job. They have the best teams in the sport. I can say from a business side right now that with a little bit of luck and to say if we improve as much in 2007 as much as we did in 2006. I could become the second Ford team pretty easy. For me to become the second Chevrolet team we have a lot of work to do. It’s really going to come down to who is willing to give us the most amount of resources. We have enough money to race right now…we need more technical support.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show), see the past rumors about this on my #7 Team News and Links page.(9-1-2006)
- Michigan and Bristol TV Ratings Down: TNT got a 3.6 national rating for its broadcast of the Sharpie 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway last Saturday night, down from a 3.9 in 2005 but up slightly from a 3.4 in 2004. TNT’s numbers were also down slightly for the Michigan race, with a 4.1 this year compared with a 4.5 rating in 2005.(Thatsracin)(9-1-2006)
- Kurt Busch sweeps poles at California: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Pole for the SONY HD 500 at California Speedway with a speed of 184.540mph for his 2nd pole at California this season, 5th pole of 2006 and 8th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #25-Brian Vickers; #07-Clint Bowyer, #10-Scott Riggs, #1-Martin Truex Jr. are the top-5, rounding out the top-10 are #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #31-Jeff Burton, #11-Denny Hamlin, #9-Kasey Kahne and #5-Kyle Busch. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #4-Wimmer, #00-Elliott, #44-Labonte, #14-Marlin, #55-Waltrip, #49-Lepage, #78-Wallace and #32-Kvapil. Missing the race were: #06-Kluever, #34-Davis, #61-Chaffin and #23-Lester. #23-Lester spun the car on the frontstretch coming to the white flag, turned it around to redo the first lap and get momentum for the 2nd lap BUT after recording the 1st lap of 38.108mph, he shut the car down in turn 2 as the handling was gone with the flat spotted tires. See the qualifying results/starting lineup on the California Starting Grid/Qualifying Results page.(9-1-2006)
- Ramblings – Qualifying Notes – California: Kurt Busch kept his qualifying success rolling today at California Speedway as he took the Bud Pole for the SONY HD 500 with a time of 39.016 sec (184.540 mph). This is the third top-spot for Busch in the last four races, his 5th of the season (he leads in that category now) and the 8th of his Nextel Cup career. Brian Vickers will join Busch on the front-row for the Sunday twilight affair.
Scott Riggs (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
Martin Truex Jr. (5th) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best has been 8th (three times)….the most recent at New Hampshire in July.
Dale Earnhardt Jr (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Michigan in June.
Scott Wimmer (17th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 14th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last October.
David Gilliland (20th) has his career (albeit short) best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 26th at Michigan two weeks ago.
Bill Elliott (23rd) has his best starting spot since he timed in 9th at Texas last October (only six races).
STREAKIN….Jeff Burton has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races.
…Kurt Busch has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
…Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
Once again this weekend the race within the race will involve where the 5, 24, 11, 31, 20, 8, 6, and 9 car are. Expect lots of point updates (since we’re just about down to the nitty-gritty) with Kasey Kahne the only logical contender to make the “Chase” (he’s 90 points in arrears).(Stockcarfans.com)(9-1-2006)
- California Qualifying Notes:
• Kurt Busch won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the SONY HD 500, lapping California Speedway in 39.016 seconds at 184.540 mph. Kyle Busch holds the track-qualifying record of 38.248 seconds at 188.245 mp -, set Feb. 26, 2005.
• This is Kurt Busch’s eighth career Bud Pole in 209 Nextel Cup Series races.
• This is his fifth Bud Pole and 18th top-10 start in 2006 – both more than any other driver. He became the first driver to win five Bud Poles in 2006. Kasey Kahne (four), Jeff Burton (four), Greg Biffle (two), Denny Hamlin (two) and Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
• This is Kurt Busch’s second Bud Pole at California. He has started from the top-10 five times in nine races at California – all fourth or better.
• Kurt Busch became the first repeat Bud Pole winner in 13 races at California Speedway. Qualifying was canceled in 1997 due to weather.
• Brian Vickers posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 39.120 seconds, 184.049 mph – and will join Kurt Busch on the front row for the SONY HD 500. Vickers has posted five top-10 starts in his six California races. This is his third front row start here.
• This is the 12th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has eight Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
• Clint Bowyer (third) posted his first top-10 start in two races at California. He started 32nd and finished 14th here in February.
• Scott Riggs (fourth) has started from the top 10 in four of his six races at California and has not started worse than 14th here.
• Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) posted his career-best qualifying effort, bettering his previous best of eighth, which he posted at Atlanta in October 2005. His fifth top-10 start this season is his best of 2006.
• Denny Hamlin (eighth) posted his second top-10 start in as many races at California Speedway. He started fifth and finished 12th here earlier this season.
• Kyle Busch, the qualifying record holder at California, qualified 10th. He has started from the top 10 in three of his five races here. He won his career-first Bud Pole in qualifying for the 2005 Auto Club 500 and posted his career-first victory in the 2005 SONY HD 500 – both at California Speedway.
• This is the 11th time in 2006 that two or more rookies have started in the top 10.
• Scott Wimmer (17th) was the highest qualifier of the drivers that had to make the field on time.
• Five of the 13 drivers still vying for the Chase to the Nextel Cup qualified in the top 10 and four others are in the top 20. Mark Martin (38th) posted the worst starting position of the drivers still eligible for the final 10-race Chase.
• Ford did not post a top-10 start for the fourth time this season – all in the past six races. A Ford driver has won two of those six races and finished second in two others.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-1-2006)
- Villeneuve and NASCAR…more: Jacques Villeneuve is edging closer to a deal with a NASCAR team, according to an Italian sports newspaper. La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting this week that the French Canadian, whose BMW Sauber tenure and Formula One career abruptly ended after the German Grand Prix last month, is now in talks with a team in the highly-popular American stock car series.(F1-Live.com), see past news on this on my Misc Drivers page.(9-1-2006)
- Walk of Fame for Kyle Busch: #5-Kyle Busch will be inducted into the Walk of Fame at California Speedway for his record-breaking win [youngest driver ever to win a Cup race] in the September 2005 NEXTEL Cup race there. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 12 p.m. local time at Gate 12.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-1-2006)
- Vickers going green at California: Brian Vickers’ #25 Chevy will sport a different look this weekend at California Speedway. Garnier, the popular unisex haircare brand, will be featured on the hood of the bold bright-green design. The scheme will adorn the car in one more NextelL Cup Series event this season — Kansas Speedway in October.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), see an image of the scheme on my #25 Team Schemes page.(9-1-2006)
- California Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought to California Speedway earlier this season . . . this is the only track at which teams will run this specific tire set-up in 2006 . . . however, this left-side tire code (D-4008) will be run with a different right-side code at both Texas, Kansas and Homestead this year . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at California . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 48-52 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) See the California Race Info/Rundown Page for more notes, codes, pressures.(9-1-2006)
- Terry Labonte returns to the track: Driving a #44 GMAC Chevrolet, two-time Nextel Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will make his 12th start at California Speedway on Sunday. It will mark the final California race of his storied career. Labonte will next race at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 1, followed by his final trip to Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 14. The last race of his career will come Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway. Labonte will return to his native Corpus Christi, Texas, on Wednesday, Sept. 6 to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Whataburger Field prior to Game 2 of the Texas League Division Series. Labonte will be pulling for his hometown Corpus Christi Hooks, owned by baseball great and fellow Texas legend Nolan Ryan.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-1-2006)
- California Rookie Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 26 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin took the honor for the 13th time this season and was the only first-year driver to finish inside the top-10. He leads Clint Bowyer by 53 points (244-191) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the September 3 Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. Hamlin is sixth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings. He trails fifth-place Jeff Gordon by 21 points and leads seventh-place Jeff Burton by six. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 24 races this season. Hamlin has led 24 times in eight races for a total of 337 laps, 726.608 miles, best among the Raybestos Rookie class. J.J. Yeley was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in February’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, claiming an eighth-place finish. Kyle Busch became the first Raybestos Rookie to win a race at California Speedway when he captured the 2005 Sony HD 500 [NOT TRUE: guess Raybestos forgot about Jimmie Johnson in 2002 when he won as a Rookie]. A Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position in 3 of the last 5 races at California Speedway.(Goodyear PR). See more notes, standings, history on the 2006 Rookies Page.(9-1-2006)
- Lester to attempt to makes 3rd Cup start at Calif: Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester is looking forward to attempting his third Nextel Cup start in this weekend’s SONY HD 500 at California Speedway. Piloting the #23 Waste Management Dodge Nextel Cup entry for Bill Davis Racing, Lester became the first black driver to compete in a Nextel Cup race in 20 years when he qualified for the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March in his first appearance behind the wheel of a Nextel Cup racecar. This weekend, along with the pressure of qualifying and racing in the Nextel Cup series, and the numerous demands for media interviews and appearances, Lester will have the additional attention of a large contingent of family and friends following his every move. Bester was raised on California, got his first laps in a race car on Northern California tracks, graduated from UC Berkley, and many of his immediate family members reside in California.(LM Motorsports Marketing PR)(9-1-2006)