Skip to content
Jayski LogoJayski Logo

September 2007 News Archives


News from September 30, 2007

  • Stewart Could Face Penalty for Obscenity UPDATE no penalty: #20-Tony Stewart could face his second points deduction this season for using vulgar language after telling a cameraman to “get the f– away from me” during an ESPN2 broadcast shortly after the first Nextel Cup practice ended Saturday morning at Kansas Speedway. NASCAR officials requested a videotape of the exchange and said they were investigating the matter. A penalty could damage a bid for a third championship by Stewart, who will enter Sunday’s Lifelock 400 trailing Jeff Gordon by two points in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings. Stewart was docked 25 points and fined $25,000 for saying “bull–” in an ESPN interview after winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. He was fined $10,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31 for skipping media obligations after finishing second at Phoenix International Raceway on April 21. ESPN broadcaster Dr. Jerry Punch apologized to viewers after Stewart’s latest transgression. “It was an unfortunate incident,” ESPN spokesman George McNeilly said. “The tape speaks for itself. In our view, the photographer was doing his job.”(USA Today)(9-30-2007)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart will not be penalized for uttering an obscenity Saturday morning during the ESPN2 telecast of the Nextel Cup practice session, NASCAR officials confirmed Sunday at Kansas Speedway. “It’s unfortunate, but there’s a lot of other noise when you see the tape,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications. “If you run it over and over, you get it. But if our viewers and ESPN’s viewers are sitting at home watching it, there’s a chance they might not have heard that.” Hunter said the decision not to penalize Stewart is in line with similar decisions when drivers said an obscenity outside a formal interview session.(ESPN.com)(9-30-2007)
  • Jarrett Considering Variety of Options for 2008: About two months ago, #44-Dale Jarrett approached officials from his sponsor, UPS, and essentially put his racing future in their hands. Together, they are mulling a number of options, including running a limited schedule next season or, perhaps, leaving the ride. “There’s so many [scenarios], we couldn’t get into it,” Jarrett said Saturday at [Kansas] Speedway. “The only thing I can tell you, it can be anywhere from one to 36 races. The biggest factor, obviously we want to make Michael Waltrip Racing better, [but] the biggest thing, mainly, is what’s best for UPS. It would be totally unfair to say they’re forcing me to do something because that’s not the case whatsoever. I want them to be able to do what’s best, and they want me to do what’s best. I have a tremendous relationship there. I feel fortunate to have the best sponsor in the business at the end of my career, and I want to do and give them what is best for them and what they deserve.” Jarrett has been working television broadcasts with ESPN and ABC, but stressed his potential television career would not be a factor in his decision-making. What he has found this season is that while it has been disappointing not qualifying for races, he has enjoyed his time away from the track. “I have a whole different outlook on things now, I think my mindset is if they tell me that running the Daytona 500 and we do something different from that point, I’d be perfectly happy with that. If they say our program is built around you and our people really want you to run all 36 races, I can do that again, too. I’m happy with all of that.” Jarrett said he would have a decision regarding his future within the next couple weeks.(ESPN.com)(9-30-2007)
  • Biffle wins at Kansas: #16-Greg Biffle won the shortened Lifelock 400 at Kansas Speedway by taking the lead with 37 laps to go and dodging a green-white-checker finish when NASCAR decided not to restart the race because of darkness. It is his first win of 2007 and the 12th of his career. The race was stopped twice because of rain including one red flag that lasted more than 2 hours. NASCAR shortened the race to 210 laps. #07-Bowyer finished second. #48-Johnson finished 3rd and now leads the points by 6 over #24-Gordon.. The rest of the top 10: #25-Mears, #24-Gordon, #29-Harvick, #41-Sorenson, #19-Sadler, #9-Kahne, and #8-Earnhardt Jr. Several chase drivers were in accidents and had poor finishes. Other chase drivers finished: #2-Busch 11th, #11-Hamlin 29th, #17-Kenseth 35th, #31-Burton 36th, #99-Edwards 37th, #1-Truex Jr. 38th, #20-Stewart 39th, and #5-Busch 41st. There were 12 cautions (and 2 red flags) for 54 laps and 11 leaders with 18 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Kansas Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Kansas page.
    Race Rundown: see my Kansas Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-30-2007)
  • Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Kansas [29 of 36 races]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5506
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon 5500 -6
    3) #07-Clint Bowyer 5492 -14
    4) #20-Tony Stewart 5389 -117
    5) #29-Kevin Harvick 5380 -126
    6) #5-Kyle Busch 5370 -136
    7) #99-Carl Edwards 5364 -142
    8) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 5348 -158
    9) #2-Kurt Busch 5329 -177
    10) #31-Jeff Burton 5320 -186
    11) #17-Matt Kenseth 5287 -219
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin 5258 -248
    For drivers/owners points, seee my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points page.(9-30-2007)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after Kansas [29 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 4309
    2) #20-Tony Stewart 3896 -413
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3885 -424
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin 3738 -571
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 3716 -593
    6) #17-Matt Kenseth 3707 -602
    7) #07-Clint Bowyer 3671 -638
    8) #5-Kyle Busch 3662 -647
    9) #31-Jeff Burton 3638 -671
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 3525 -784
    11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 3498 -811
    12) #2-Kurt Busch 3469 -840
    13) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3373 -936
    14) #16-Greg Biffle 3209 -1100
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points page.(9-30-2007)
  • Rumblings – Kansas:
    It was almost as if this race took all day to run…..and confusion reigned supreme at the end. I don’t know how you can have a winner sitting in the grass on the frontstretch (presumably with the engine not running….whether there was any fuel left is open to discussion) with at least the top-three cars passing him before the finish line (while staying behind the pace car, I might add)….and we get that old “field is frozen” line from NASCAR. Now, any good sports fan knows the only frozen field is the tundra at Lambeau in Green Bay, but maybe it moved? And besides, if the field was frozen, why did we continue to circulate around behind the pace car…and aren’t you supposed to maintain pace car speed? Why do we always get the feeling they make this stuff up as they go along?
    In any event, NASCAR has decreed that the #16 Aflac Ford of Greg Biffle was the winner this afternoon/evening at Kansas Speedway in the oft-delayed Lifelock 315 (even if our eyes deceived us). This was Greg’s first win of the season (he won the finale last year at Homestead) and 12th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now tied with Ryan Newman for 49th place on the all- time win list). He becomes the 16th different winner of ’07 (we had 17 different drivers grace Victory Lane in 2003) and accounts for win #101 for Roush Racing (their 6th of the season). It was worth $316,225 from the over $6M in posted awards.
    Casey Mears (4th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Michigan in June.
    Kevin Harvick (6th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Chicagoland in July.
    Reed Sorenson (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at the Brickyard in August.
    Elliott Sadler (8th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Daytona in February.
    Scott Riggs (13th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Talladega in April.
    Tony Raines (18th) had his best finish since he was 18th at Pocono in August.
    Kyle Petty (21st) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    Jeremy Mayfield (22nd) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Infineon Raceway in June of 2006!
    Dale Jarrett (26th) had his best finish since he was 26th at Infineon Raceway this past June.
    John Andretti (33rd) had his best finish since he was 18th at Chicagoland in July.
    The Chasers all took a hit today…..six of the twelve were 35th or worse!
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: David Ragan (16th) takes this award for the 13th time this season. He was followed by Paul Menard (27th), Juan Pablo Montoya (28th), and David Reutimann (31st). AJ Allmendinger was a dnq this weekend.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Dave Blaney (+28), followed by Mark Martin (+27), Tony Raines (+22), Robby Gordon (+22), and Kasey Kahne (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was a tie between Kyle Busch (-33) and Matt Kenseth (-33), followed by Martin Truex Jr (-29, Denny Hamlin (-24), and Tony Stewart (-20).
    Jimmie Johnson grabs the lead in the Chase by six points over teammate Jeff Gordon. Every position but last changed hands this week, and we’re able to hang up our first elimination numbers of the playoffs.
    In “Classic” points, Clint Bowyer (9th to 7th) made the best forward move today, while Ryan Newman (14th to 16th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(9-30-2007)
  • Kansas Fast Facts
    .. Greg Biffle won the LifeLock 400, his 12th victory in 179 Nextel Cup Series races.
    .. This is his first victory and ninth top-10 finish in 2007.
    .. This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in six races at Kansas Speedway.
    .. Only one Kansas race has been won by a Chase driver since the inception of the Chase for the Nextel Cup in 2004: 2005 – Mark Martin.
    .. Clint Bowyer (second) posted his 14th top-10 finish of the season and his second top-10 finish in as many races at Kansas Speedway.
    .. Johnson leads the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup by six point over Bowyer.
    .. David Ragan (16th) was the highest finishing rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(9-30-2007)
  • Pettys consider Kansas City for children’s camp: Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, founded the renowned Victory Junction Gang Camp in North Carolina to help children with chronic and terminal illnesses. Now they want to bring a similar camp to the Kansas City area. The Pettys laid the groundwork for a Midwest version of their camp at a meeting with top officials of Sprint, NASCAR, Kansas Speedway, Children’s Mercy Hospital and other business and community leaders Thursday night at Sprint headquarters in Overland Park. “[Victory Junction] was built for children in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and parts of east Tennessee,” Kyle Petty said. “All of a sudden, we’ve seen kids from 44 different states, and during the last two years the percentage of kids from west of the Mississippi is growing. That’s created a quandary for us. When we see a kid from Phoenix or California, we pay for the transportation to fly the child from there. This way, they don’t have to fly all the way to North Carolina. It makes the cost per child more economical.” That’s why Petty – who has a soft spot in his heart for Kansas City and for Sprint, which previously sponsored his Nextel Cup car as well as Adam Petty’s car – convened some of the biggest movers and shakers in the sport. he meeting Thursday included NASCAR chairman Brian France, vice chairman James France, vice president Lesa France Kennedy and president Mike Helton; [Kansas Speedway president Jeff] Boerger; Sprint vice president Tom Murphy; Dean Kessel, director of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series marketing for Sprint; and officials from Children’s Mercy Hospital.(Kansas City Star)(9-30-2007)
  • Gordon Says Penalties Get Teams’ Attention: When NASCAR slapped the #24 and #48 Hendrick Motorsports teams with 100-point penalties for illegal aerodynamic modifications back in June at Infineon Raceway, the message was received loud and clear, according to Jeff Gordon. “I will be honest with you, right now, if we don’t run as good as some other guys, it is because we are being conservative. We aren’t pushing the limits because we know what the outcome can be,” Gordon said at Kansas Speedway, site of Sunday’s LifeLock 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race. “We are making sure we go through inspection, we meet all the cold templates and every other thing that they have on the new car. We are doing everything we can to make sure that is the case going in to the race and that is the case coming out of the race. We might falter, too, but we are playing more on the conservative side, we might give up a few positions on the race track because of that, but we have been hit with it and we learned our lesson.” Gordon said he thought that other teams would be erring to the side of caution, too, after seeing #99-Carl Edwards and the Roush Fenway Racing team spanked with a 25-point fine for being too in post-race inspection last Sunday at Dover. “We are playing it conservative, I would think that is going to be case with the #99 (Edwards) now,” Gordon said.(SPEEDtv.com)(9-30-2007)


    News from September 29, 2007

  • Yates planning to move to shop near Roush Fenway: Robert Yates Racing is planning to move from its shop in Mooresville, N.C., to next to the Roush Fenway Racing shop in Concord, N.C., likely in the building that #60-Boris Said’s No Fear Racing team currently occupies. [Co-owner Doug]Yates said the move will allow better technology flow. Yates Racing will purchase chassis and bodies from Roush Fenway, which also will provide marketing and sponsorship help. He said it’s about getting the team stronger and hopes to keep his strongest employees. The move won’t be the only change for the team that will be known as Yates Racing. It has released the #88 to Hendrick Motorsports and is expected to resurrect the #28 it used in its early years. “We haven’t decided exactly yet [on the number],” Yates said. “That’s definitely a good possibility.” Yates needs two sponsors for next season for drivers David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil. Yates acknowledged Friday for the first time that M&M’s and Snickers will not return for next season. Sponsorship is in the works for both teams next year, Yates said. As far as the Busch side, Yates said he wasn’t sure what would happen with that team. “It’s not the No. 1 priority,” Yates said. “If Citi would like to come back [as a sponsor] or we could find sponsorship, we would run it. But the No. 1 deal is to get our two Cup teams back to where they need to be.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-29-2007)
  • Latest on Reutimann and MWR: For the second consecutive event, all three Michael Waltrip Racing teams qualified for a Nextel Cup Series event Friday at Kansas Speedway. And in that upbeat atmosphere, both MWR general manager Ty Norris and rookie driver #00-David Reutimann expressed optimism that Reutimann’s multi-year contract extension, which was given to the driver on his way to Dover last weekend, would be acceptable. “We feel real good about where it is, we just have a few details to work out,” Norris said. “There was one detail that was clarified this week as it relates to the Busch car — everything else seems to be easily worked out. David and I talked Wednesday and I feel like we’re in a great place with him.” Norris said Reutimann also wanted to run for a championship next season in what is now the Busch Series, where he currently sits second in the standings. “I like the people there and they’ve done a good job of giving me an opportunity, so we’ll get past this weekend and work some stuff out and I think we’re in a good spot,” Reutimann said. “We’re just trying to get everything situated so we can concentrate on racing. I wish it was done a month ago [because] you just want to have everything done as quickly as you can. One of the sticking points has been sponsorship for Reutimann’s #00 Cup Toyota, which this season is split between Domino’s and Burger King. Norris said he had no updates for either sponsor’s decision whether or not to continue with MWR.(NASCAR.com)(9-29-2007)
  • Drivers Don’t Like Villeneuve Debuting at Talladega: #24-Jeff Gordon thinks it’s a big mistake for former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve to attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut next week at Talladega Superspeedway. “I love Jacques, but that’s not the right decision to make,” Gordon said Friday. “I didn’t think it was the right decision last year for David Gilliland, either. Nothing against their talent or anything else, but that race in the Chase? Why? If you want to run a race, go to Atlanta or another 1.5-mile oval.” Gordon said he was surprised NASCAR gave it approval for Villeneuve to debut on the giant 2.6-mile oval. The Oct. 7 event is the first restrictor-plate race in the Car of Tomorrow.(ESPN.com)
    AND: #5-Kyle Busch was shocked to learn that former Formula 1 and CART champion Jacques Villeneuve will attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut next weekend at Talladega. “He’s doing what? Holy cow, that’s not good,” Busch said when asked for his reaction to Villeneuve racing at Talladega. “You’ve got to start somewhere but the Cup Series at Talladega definitely isn’t the place to start.”(SPEEDtv.com)(9-29-2007)
  • Talladega plate size, wicker height could change: Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby says that teams are going to practice at Talladega Superspeedway with the restrictor plate, wing angle and wicker height that they ended a recent test session with. But he also said that two of those could change if speeds are too high. The restrictor plates used to harness engine power will start with holes of 31/32nds of an inch. That should give teams 80 more horsepower than the current plates being used. That could change if speeds are too high in the pair of Nextel Cup practices at the track, though. The wing angle is set at 10 degrees, which should not change, and the wicker height is 1 inch. Any changes will be determined by how the cars perform and whether they surpass that average speed of 200 mph per lap which has long been the unofficial limit in the sport. (SceneDaily.com)(9-29-2007)
  • Sad News – Mike Swims: Dixie Speedway’s Mike Swims passed away after a courageous seven-year battle with cancer this morning at his home with his family at his bedside. He was 42-years-old. Swims had a long and illustrious career in dirt racing, as he was a 2007 inductee in the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame. Swims worked with his family as the Vice President and General Manager of Dixie Speedway and Rome Speedway since his teenage years, and he founded the Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Late Model Series in 1990. Mike Swims is survived by his wife of 21 years, Debra; 16 year old daughter, Breanna a junior at Woodstock High School; 18 year old Chase a freshman at University of Alabama; his parents Mickey and Martha, sister and brother-in-law, Mia and Marshall Green; nieces Macy and Marla Green. The Swims Family will be receiving friends on Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Roswell Funeral Home, 950 Mansell Road, Roswell, GA, 770-993-4811. A Memorial Service for Mike Swims will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday in the chapel at the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, 11905 State Road 92, Woodstock , GA. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Dirt Racing Outreach Ministry (DRO).(9-29-2007)
  • NASCAR Foundation to Donate $500,000 to Victory Junction: This Sunday, The NASCAR Foundation will present a $500,000 check to the Victory Junction Gang Camp during pre-race activities at the LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway. Sprint Vice President of Experiential Marketing and NASCAR Foundation Board Member Tom Murphy will present the donation, which is made possible by funds raised mainly through NASCAR Day, The NASCAR Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year. Victory Junction Gang Camp is part of The NASCAR Foundation Family of Charities. The camp enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun, and empowering, in a safe and medically sound environment. NASCAR Day is a one-day celebration of the NASCAR spirit and its fans. In exchange for a $5 donation, participants including NASCAR fans, corporations, schools and organizations across the country received a commemorative 2007 NASCAR Day lapel pin. Kansas Speedway was one of more than 2,000 organizations across the country to participate in the fourth-annual celebration of NASCAR Day on Friday, May 18. As a result of their outstanding efforts, Kansas Speedway is one of the top three fundraising tracks for NASCAR Day. To learn more about NASCAR Day and The NASCAR Foundation visit www.nascar.com/foundation.(NASCAR PR)(9-29-2007)
  • Newman Comments on Car Being Too Low After Qualifying: What started as a good qualifying run that left #12-Ryan Newman second beside pole sitter Jimmie Johnson, turned into a bad start for Newman and the #12 Alltel Dodge at Kansas Speedway. Newman was just three one-hundredths of a second slower than Johnson, but following post-qualifying inspection, NASCAR officials deemed the Alltel Dodge Charger´s roof was too low and the right-rear quarter panel was too high. NASCAR disallowed Newman´s qualifying run, which relegated Newman to the 42nd starting position for Sunday´s 267-lap race in Kansas. “I´m not sure what happened,” Newman said. “The car got through inspection before qualifying, but something wasn´t right when we went back through inspection after our run. We´ll just have to make up for this setback on Sunday.”(Dodge Motorsports PR)(9-26-2007)
  • Truex Racing with Broken Toe: #1-Martin Truex Jr. will race this weekend at Kansas Speedway with a broken bone. It’s a small bone in the “pinky” toe of his left foot. “It’s all good,” Truex said Friday. “I’m fine. I kicked the ottoman in my living room,” Truex said. “It hurt a little to put my shoe on [Friday] morning, but since I’ve been walking around, it feels pretty good,” Truex said.(SceneDaily.com)(9-29-2007)
  • Crew Cam: This weekend at Kansas, fans at home will be able to experience pit stops through the eyes of Ben Fischbeck, front-tire carrier for the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevy team. The Waynesville, Mo., native will wear a “crew cam” during ABC’s coverage of Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. In addition to his duties with the #25 team, Fischbeck also serves as the front-tire carrier for Hendrick Motorsports’ #24 Busch Series team. He has worked at Hendrick Motorsports since 2001.(HMS PR)(9-29-2007)


    News from September 28, 2007

  • Childress likely sticking to three full-time teams: Richard Childress said Friday he would likely not expand to four Sprint Cup entries for 2008 because he can’t find the “right situation.” Childress fields three Nextel Cup cars – for #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton and #07-Clint Bowyer – and wanted to add a fourth team next year. But the lack of sponsorship appears to be the main issue. Busch Series driver Scott Wimmer would “probably” be the driver of the fourth team, Childress said. Cars were already built for the fourth Cup team, Childress said, but those would be used among the three current teams.(SceneDaily.com)(9-28-2007)
  • Villeneuve to attempt Talladega: Jacques Villeneuve will make his Nextel Cup race debut next weekend, five weeks earlier than originally planned, in the ‘UAW-Ford 500’, at the famous Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Villeneuve, who sat in a ‘Cup’ car for the first time just 24 days ago, was initially scheduled to race the ARCA and Craftsman Truck races at Talladega – steps one and two on the NASCAR ladder – whilst watching the main ‘Cup’ event on Sunday, along with over 143,000 trackside spectators. Villeneuve’s fast-track to ‘Cup’, the top step of the NASCAR ladder, has been made possible only with the approval of NASCAR. His recent performance in his debut ‘Car of Tomorrow’ test, also at Talladega, where he ran more laps than any other driver, and successfully ‘bump-drafted’ his way through the pack, without making enemies of the more experienced drivers, is seen to have eased that same process of approval. Having made his NASCAR race debut in the Craftsman Truck event at Las Vegas just last weekend, Villeneuve now faces a new challenge, where he will again be focused initially on qualifying his #27 car (43 cars will start the race, of which 36 are guaranteed a place based on pre-earned team points – Villeneuve does not have the benefit of such team points, either earned or inherited). In addition to Sunday’s 500-miler, Villeneuve will contest Saturday afternoon’s Craftsman Truck event, the 94-lap ‘Mountain Dew 250’, which is exactly half the length of Sunday’s flagship ‘Cup’ race. Earlier this week, the 36-year-old Canadian tested an ARCA car at Talladega.(BDR PR)(9-28-2007)
  • M&M’s looks to be heading to Gibbs #18 in 2008 UPDATE 2: Mars U.S. was finalizing a deal Thursday to use its M&M’s brand to sponsor Kyle Busch when he moves to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. M&M’s would replace Interstate Batteries, which has sponsored Gibbs’ flagship #18 since its 1992 inception. J.D. Gibbs, president of the race team, didn’t respond to a request for comment. But two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that Mars was working on a deal to sponsor Busch that will be officially announced next month at M&M’s World in New York City. They requested anonymity because the deal was not yet complete. Interstate is expected to stay involved with JGR in a smaller role. JGR is also ending its 16-year association with General Motors at the end of this season and will field Toyotas beginning next year. It will make the move with three lucrative sponsors as Mars moves its M&M’s brand away from Robert Yates Racing and rookie David Gilliland. It’s unclear what the company will do with its Snickers sponsorship on Yates’ second car, but the move to JGR is troublesome to the Yates [currently #38 and #88] organization. The struggling team has been trying to restructure all season, and longtime owner Robert Yates said earlier this month that he plans to retire at the end of the season. He’s handing over the company to his son, Doug, who plans to call it Yates Racing and field cars for Gilliland and Travis Kvapil.(in part from the Associated Press)(9-21-2007)
    UPDATE: David Gilliland knows he’ll likely need a new sponsor following this season since M&M’s has emerged as a candidate to sponsor Kyle Busch’s #18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry in 2008. Gilliland, the Robert Yates Racing driver who has driven with M&M’s sponsorship since he entered the Nextel Cup Series in August of last year, said he’s aware that M&M’s is likely headed elsewhere in 2008. “I read it on the Internet,” he said Friday at Dover International Speedway, site of this weekend’s Dodge Dealers 400. “My understanding was we had a contract that went through next year, so I don’t know what happened with that. Hopefully we’ll find another sponsor who wants to be here and support us next year.” M&M’s has made a decision and will announce its future sponsorship plans on Oct. 3, spokeswoman Rhonda King said Friday.(SceneDaily.com)(9-21-2007)
    UPDATE 2: on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, Angelique S. Chengelis said the announcement of M&M’s sponsorship to the #18 Joe Gibbs racing team and Kyle Busch in 2008, will be announced Wednesday morning [Oct 3rd] in New York City.(9-28-2007)
  • Kansas Tire Notes: This is the second straight weekend that teams in these two NASCAR series have run this specific combination of left- and right-side tires . . . in addition to Kansas and Dover, these teams have run this combination at California and Michigan this season . . . Busch Series teams have also run this tire set-up at Kentucky . . . this left-side code (D-4078) has also been run by these teams with a different right-side code at both Texas and Chicagoland in 2007 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner 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. The estimated pit window is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full report with pressures and codes on the Kansas Race Info page.(9-28-2007)
  • Kansas Rookie Notes: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the September 23 Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway. Montoya scored a 10th-place finish, his fourth top-10 effort of the 2007 season, and claimed top rookie honors for the 12th time in 28 races. The Dover race was Montoya’s best finish since he placed second at Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (race #20). Montoya stretched his lead over David Ragan in the Raybestos Rookie standings to 15 points (222-207) entering the September 30 LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway. Montoya is 19th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He is three points ahead of 20th-place J.J. Yeley. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in six previous Nextel Cup races at Kansas is second by Ryan Newman in 2002 (.618 seconds behind race winner Jeff Gordon). Newman is the only Raybestos Rookie to finish inside the top-five at Kansas. Jason Leffler is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in six races at Kansas Speedway. Leffler took the top starting spot in the race in the inaugural race in 2001.(Raybestos PR), see rookie points, standings, history and more on the Rookies Page.(9-28-2007)
  • Franchitti wins 3rd Qtr Driver of the Year Award: Winning the Indy 500, and the IndyCar title are two very difficult tasks yet Dario Franchitti went beyond those feats as he won the voting for the 3rd Quarter, Driver of the Year – 2007. It was his second-straight honor. Although the IndyCar title went down to the last lap of the last race, Franchitti, a native of Scotland who now makes Tennessee his home, never faltered. That was reflected in the media balloting. In the third quarter he won two races, including the season finale at Chicagoland Speedway, four poles, and had only one finish below eighth. Franchitti, who drives the Canadian Club Dallara/Honda for Andretti Green Racing, said “”it is quite an honor to receive the Driver of the Year award for the second-consecutive quarter. I am especially honored when you consider all of the very talented drivers throughout every series.” Tony Stewart, a previous Driver of the Year winner, who drives for Joe Gibbs Racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series was second and last year’s Driver of the Year and Nextel Cup Champion, Jimmie Johnson at Hendrick Motorsports was third. In the voting Franchitti garnered seven first-place ballots and totaled 100. points. Stewart, who drives the Home Depot Chevrolet, had three NASCAR Nextel Cup wins which netted two first-place votes and a total of 65 points. Johnson, driving the Lowes Chevrolet, had two wins in the Cup series, resulting in three first-place votes, and finished third with 51 points. Fourth place went to IndyCar’s Scott Dixon of New Zealand. Drag Racing’s Tony Schumacher and NASCAR’s Kurt Busch were other drivers to a first-place vote. A total of 16 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting. In its’ 41st year, the Driver of the Year title is unique. A panel of 17 leading journalists from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9, 6, 4,3,2,1 basis. Franchitti will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date.(DOTY PR)(9-28-2007)
  • Sad News – Kitchens: Jimmy Lee Kitchens, age 67, of Hueytown, AL, died September 24, 2007. He was retired from Alabama Power Company. He was a member of Crossroads Baptist Church. He was a race car driver at Racetracks around the South East. He owned and operated Kitchens Speed Shop in Prichard, AL during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Survivors include three sons, Jimmy Kitchens [former Busch driver and current spotter for #10-Scott Riggs], Lee Kitchens and Kurt Kitchens; daughter, Terri Martin and her husband, Randall; seven grandchildren; one great grandchild; brother, Bobby Kitchens and his wife, Betty; sister, Peggy Lacey. Funeral Service will be held Friday, September 28, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at Peoples Chapel Funeral Home, with burial in Highland Memorial Gardens. Rev. Jimmy Bradford officiating. Visitation will be held Thursday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Peoples Chapel Funeral Home directing.(Alabama Live)(9-28-2007)
  • NASCAR Angels Gears Up For Launch of Second Season: NASCAR’s first nationally-syndicated television show, NASCAR Angels, is hitting the road for a second season of helping deserving people in need of a transportation fix. The first episode of the second season aired last weekend. Rusty Wallace and co-host Shannon Wiseman of NASCAR.com are back to lead the NASCAR Angels as they hit the road each week with new stories to tell and lives to change. In cities across the country, people struggle every day to get to work, take the kids to school or make it to a doctor’s appointment because they cannot keep the family car moving. The transportation so many of us simply take for granted becomes a huge hurdle for these folks. NASCAR has the resources and desire to help and NASCAR Angels is the vehicle that does just that. Reaching 85% of the nation’s viewing audience, NASCAR Angels can be seen on weekends on more than 200 local television stations, including top ABC-owned stations in New York and Los Angeles. In its first year, 45 million total viewers tuned in to see stories of families touched by the NASCAR Angels. NASCAR Angels is shot on location in major race markets and features top NASCAR drivers and crew chiefs giving deserving families the chance to go behind-the-scenes to meet their heroes, and get an up-close-and-personal glimpse into the NASCAR experience. Goodyear Gemini, a national repair service provider, is the presenting sponsor of the show. Back in the shop, with the help of Goodyear Gemini Technicians and the automotive products of NASCAR Performance partners, NASCAR Angels work under a deadline to complete each repair before the race begins that weekend. The show educates viewers on the importance of regular vehicle maintenance. Season two will feature 22 all-new episodes (and 30 repeats) as the NASCAR Angels travel to the sites of NASCAR races in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Daytona Beach, Miami, Indianapolis, Michigan, Phoenix, New Hampshire, Las Vegas and Charlotte.(NASCAR PR)(9-28-2007)
  • Harvick Has His Place In The Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame: Kevin Harvick’s signature, right footprint and handprints now have their place in history at the legendary Daytona International Speedway. On Wednesday, Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig and The Daytona 500 Experience General Manager Kim Isemann placed the 3×3 cement block with Harvick’s signature, footprint and handprints in the Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame, which is located just outside of the Official Attraction of NASCAR. Winning drivers of the Daytona 500 since 1996, the first year of operation for The Daytona 500 Experience, have their hands, right foot and signature immortalized in cement in the Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame. Harvick, who won the 2007 Daytona 500 by the slim margin of .020 seconds over Mark Martin, joined that exclusive club during the recent NEXTEL Cup Series weekend in July when he did his imprints inside The Daytona 500 Experience motorsports attraction. Beginning with the 50th running of the Daytona 500, the winner of “The Great American Race” will do their imprints in the cement during post-race Gatorade Victory Lane ceremonies and the cement block will then be placed in the Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame during the Sprint Cup Series weekend in July.(DIS PR)(9-28-2007)
  • Three Sixty [360 OTC] announces Certain Significant Corporate Changes: Three Sixty, Inc. [360 OTC, sponsor of the #36 Bill Davis Racing team] announced that a significant change in the corporate structure and its business activities has taken place. Effective as of September 14, 2007, Michelle E. Shearer has resigned as President & CEO of the company. Ms. Shearer, as President of Rockford-Montgomery Labs, Inc., also rescinded the share purchase agreement of Three Sixty, Inc. thus rendering the company without the asset stated. The company, after careful review with advice of counsel, accepted Ms. Shearer’s action without objection as the company believes it was in the best interest of the shareholders and the company. The company has since nominated a new President & CEO that will take the company in a new and more potentially lucrative direction in the aviation arena. In the coming weeks the company will change its name to IAH Corporation with a new trading symbol of which will better reflect the new direction of the company. Mr. Peter Van Dyke has acquired the controlling interest in Three Sixty, Inc. and has taken the position of President & CEO of the company.(Marketwire), no mention of NASCAR or the team.(9-28-2007)
  • Johnson wins pole at Kansas: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Budweiser Pole for the Lifelock 400 at Kansas Speedway with a speed of 175.063mph for his 3rd pole of 2007 and the 12th of his career. #17-Kenseth qualified second with the rest of the top-10:, #10-Riggs, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #16-Biffle, #5-Busch, #1-Truex, Jr., and #07-Bowyer. Other chasers will start: #2-Busch 12th; #29-Harvick 17th; #20-Stewart 19th; #99-Edwards 27th; #31-Burton 34th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #10-Riggs, #55-Waltrip, #44-Jarrett, #78-Nemechek, #00-Reutimann, #36-Mayfield, and #49-Andretti. #12-Newman initially qualified second, but his time was disallowed because the roof height was too low. See the starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(9-28-2007)
  • Four do not qualify [DNQ] for the Lifelock 400 at Kansas Speedway: #84-Allmendinger [29 team attempts/47th in OWNERS pts], #4-WBurton [28/42], #83-Vickers [29/38] and #47-Wood [1/68].(9-29-2007)
  • Ramblings – Kansas Jimmie Johnson took the Bud Pole today at Kansas Speedway for Sunday’s Lifelock 400 with a time of 30.846 (175.063 mph) for his second top-spot in a row and 3rd of the season. This was career pole #12 for the Lowe’s Chevy driver.
    He’ll be joined on the front-row by Matt Kenseth….original second place starter Ryan Newman didn’t fare too well in post-qual tech (the roof height was too low on the #12 alltel Dodge) so he’s kicked back to 42nd.
    For Kenseth, this is his best starting spot since he led ’em to the green at Atlanta last October….but that race was lined up by points. This is his best starting spot on time since he had the pole here in October of 2005!
    Scott Riggs (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Richmond in May.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Pocono in August.
    Dale Jarrett (13th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talladega last October!
    Jeremy Mayfield (26th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 20th at Chicagoland in July.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 9 Top-10 starts in a row. Denny Hamlin has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races. Martin Truex Jr has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
    Only 47 cars on hand this week….four on the Trouble Train. A. J. Allmendinger, Ward Burton, Brian Vickers, and Jon Wood get the weekend off.(Stock Car Fans)(9-28-2007)
  • Kansas Qualifying Fast Facts:
    ..Jimmie Johnson won the Bud Pole for the LifeLock 400 with a lap of 30.846 seconds, 175.063 mph.
    .. This is his 12th Bud Pole in 212 career Nextel Cup races.
    .. This is his third Bud Pole and 20th top-10 start in 2007. He is tied with Denny Hamlin (seventh) for the most top-10 starts this season.
    .. This is Johnson’s second Bud Pole in six races at Kansas Speedway. He became the first repeat Bud Pole winner in seven races here.
    .. Matt Kenseth (second) posted his eighth top-10 start of 2007, posting his season-best starting position for the third time. It is his third top-10 start in seven Kansas races – all in the past three.
    .. Scott Riggs (third) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time. It is his eighth top-10 start in the 23 races that he has qualified for this season. It is his second top-10 start in four races at Kansas. He started second here in 2006.
    .. David Ragan (19th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    .. Ryan Newman’s qualifying time was disallowed following post-qualifying inspection.(NASCAR Statistics)(9-28-2007)


    News from September 27, 2007

  • Green out of the #66? Riggs in for 2008? It looks like Scott Riggs will be next in line to take over the #66 Chevy at Haas CNC Racing. The team and Riggs are in serious discussion and the speculation is that the announcement may happen ‘within days’. Riggs future with Gillett Evernham was on shaky ground to begin with, but with the appearance of Canadian Patrick Carpentier to take over the #10 for next year, Riggs future at Gillett Evernham was doomed.(Cup Scene Daily)(9-27-2007)
  • Blaney re-ups at BDR: on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, Marty Smith said Bill Davis Racing has picked up an option to keep Dave Blaney, driver of the #22 Caterpillar Toyota to drive the car in 2008 and there are provisions to keep Blaney longer. Caterpiller had already re-upped with the team.(9-27-2007)
  • Chevy back with DEI, Smith number decided: on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, Marty Smith said he spoke with DEI’s John Story and they have will be a Chevy team in 2008 and have chosen a car number for Regan Smith’s team [currently #01] for 2008, but would not say what that number is.(9-27-2007)
  • Front Row Motorsports scales down? hearing that #37 Front Row Motorsports team and driver Kevin Lepage will be running at Talladega, Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix; unsure at Charlotte; and probably not at Atlanta or Homestead. The team is not on the Kansas entry list.(9-27-2007)
  • No Penalty for Petty: NASCAR will not penalize Kyle Petty for slapping the visor of Denny Hamlin in the garage area following their accident in Sunday’s Dodge Dealers 400, a NASCAR spokesman said.(SceneDaily.com)(9-27-2007)
  • #55 gasman injured at Dover UPDATE 4: during the 4th caution in the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway, a tire from the #44-Jarrett team, rolled onto pit road, many cars were able to avoid it, #6-Ragan tried but the tire rolled in front of his car and he hit it, the tire shot into the #55-Waltrip pit and hit Art Harris, the gasman for the #55 team and knocked him down. He was attended by paramedics and transported by Ambulance, any news heard/seen will be reported.
    UPDATE: Harris is awake and alert and has been be transported to the local hospital for further observation.
    UPDATE 2: it was reported on ABC that #55 gasman Art Harris was treated and released from the local hospital.(ABC Dover race coverage)(9-23-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Michael Waltrip Racing’s Art Harris was treated and released in Dover, Delaware after being struck by a loose wheel on pit road during the Dodge Dealers 400. Harris is the Gasman for the #55 NAPA Toyota driven by Michael Waltrip. He was able to fly home with the team after the event and will have further evaluation by his physician in North Carolina. His status is listed as day-to-day.(MWR Site)(9-25-2007)
    UPDATE 4: Art Harris, the NAPA team’s gas man, is feeling better after being struck by a tire on pit road at Dover International Speedway. Harris is participating in Thursday’s pit practice with the crew and plans to fuel the Napa Auto Parts Camry on Sunday. He says he is bruised and sore from where the tire hit him, but otherwise, he is fine and ready to go to Kansas.(MWR Site)(9-27-2007)
  • Reutimann still mulling MWR offer: David Reutimann has been stressing over his future, wondering whether he has done well enough as a rookie in NASCAR’s major-league level to earn a shot back next year. Now that Michael Waltrip Racing has presented him with a contract offer for next year, he’s trying to puts himself in the best situation he can for a long-term future in NASCAR. One of the sticking points in closing the deal, Reutimann said Tuesday, is that MWR wants to develop a young driver in its full-time Busch Series car. Reutimann, who is second in the Busch standings, wants to continue racing full-time in Busch. “I know they have to plan for the future,” Reutimann said. “Michael [Waltrip] is not going to drive forever, and neither is D.J. [Dale Jarrett]. They need to bring somebody into the company they can develop. But at this point, I’m not ready to step out of the Busch car.” Ty Norris, general manager for MWR, did not return phone calls Tuesday. Reutimann said MWR made him an oral contract offer last week and presented him with a contract on the plane ride from team headquarters in North Carolina to Dover International Speedway. It’s a multiyear deal “with conditions that hinge on sponsorships and other things like that. It could be a multiyear deal, or it could not, depending on how things fall. It’s a different kind of contract than what I’ve had in the past.” It’s unclear whether Reutimann would return with the #00 Toyota team, which had one-year sponsorship deals with Domino’s Pizza and Burger King, or move to one of the organization’s other two other cars, which have sponsorship with UPS [#44] and NAPA Auto Parts [#55]. There has been speculation that Jarrett, who turns 51 in November, will retire and move to the TV booth and talk that Michael Waltrip could step back from driving to concentrate on running his company. Reutimann said he has received no indication either Jarrett or Waltrip will retire or cut back. He said he was told the team will continue to run three cars in Nextel Cup.(Tampa Tribune)(9-27-2007)
  • Franchitti’s NASCAR plans on hold: Dario Franchitti’s plans to kick off his stock car career with Chip Ganassi Racing in two weeks’ have been put on hold because of the Scotsman’s contractual commitments with Andretti Green Racing. Chip Ganassi has been working on a deal to try to get Franchitti some stock car experience as soon as possible, with the aim of having him well-prepared to drive for his team in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. However, negotiations have apparently hit a stumbling block as Franchitti is still under contract with AGR, has further commitments to the team, and an early release from his obligations has not been reached. He is scheduled to race for AGR in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on October 6, driving an Acura in the LMP2 class, alongside his brother Marino and Bryan Herta. He raced the car earlier this year at Long Beach and Sebring, and has already tested it at Road Atlanta. Chip Ganassi said last Sunday at Dover that he was trying to get Franchitti in an ARCA race at Talladega on October 5, which is one day before the American Le Mans event. Despite both venues being just 150 miles from each other, there are conflicting schedules that would make it very difficult for the Scot to compete in both. Autosport.com understands that the bottom-line is that Franchitti, the current IRL and Indy 500 champion, won’t be able to race for Ganassi until he is out of his current deal with AGR, the team for which he has raced since 1998, when it was still owned by Barry Green in Champ Car. ARCA teams expected to compete on October 5 at Talladega had their only scheduled day of testing on Tuesday, and although Ganassi’s team was testing at the track with the #40 car driven by Bryan Clauson, Franchitti was not in attendance.(Autosport.com)(9-27-2007)
  • Camping World on the #7 at Kansas: This weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway marks the third cup race for Camping World on the #7 Ford of Robby Gordon, last seen in Bristol under the lights. Camping World Inc., is America’s largest direct marketer and specialty retailer of RV and outdoor camping accessories and services. Jim Beam, Menards and Mapei will all serve as associates.(Robby Gordon Motorsports)(9-27-2007)
  • Yeley doing the triple at Kansas: In addition to competing in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series events this weekend at Kansas, #18-J.J. Yeley will also jump back into a Silver Crown car and shoot for his third straight USAC Silver Crown win Saturday afternoon.(JGR PR)(9-27-2007)
  • Public hearing on Penske test track is postponed: A public hearing for a proposed racing test track near Mooresville, NC has been postponed until Nov. 6. The hearing, before the Iredell County Board of Commissioners, was originally scheduled for Oct. 2. Commissioners decided Tuesday to move the date after a request from Penske Racing. County Planning and Development Director Ron Smith said attorneys for Penske emailed him asking to move the date because the company wanted time to address neighbors’ concerns about the test-track plans. Penske is proposing to build the half-mile facility at its racing shops in the Mooresville Business Park.(Mooresville Tribune)(9-27-2007)
  • Testing in Nashville: Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge Cup Cars #98 and #9 tested Wednesday at the Nashville Superspeedway. Scott Riggs pulled double duty today at the track, testing both cars on the 1.33 mile Superspeedway. Gillett Evernham Motorsports has the track reserved for tomorrow, Thursday, March 27, too.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(9-27-2007)
  • Penske adds a race for Hornish UPDATE: Sam Hornish Jr. has added at least one race to his Nextel Cup schedule in the #06 Penske Racing Dodge. Hornish has attempted two races [New Hampshire and Dover] but has yet to make the field for a Cup race. He was already scheduled to try to make the field in the remaining races featuring the car of tomorrow: Talladega, Martinsville and Phoenix. Now, according to a team spokesman, Hornish will enter the Oct. 13 race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and might add the season-ending race at Miami-Homestead Speedway.(SceneDaily.com)(9-26-2007)
    UPDATE: Sam Hornish, Jr., delved deeper into the NASCAR experience during a Penske Racing test at Kentucky Speedway Wednesday. “We came out today to just get a little test time in on a mile-and-a-half. I hadn’t run a ‘COY’ (Car of Yesterday), as they call it, and we plan to try to run Charlotte and Miami, so we’re trying to get a little test time in,” he said. He has yet to announce his 2008 racing plans. “We haven’t decided what we’re going to do yet. The big thing for me is to continue to wait a little bit and get to the point where I feel like I have a good head on my shoulders as far as making the decision,” Hornish, Jr., said. “We’ll make it when that time comes. The best thing about it is that I’ve not had to make that decision yet.”(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-27-2007)
  • Mears’ Team Earns Pit Crew Challenge Win at Dover: Casey Mears’ #25 over-the-wall crew earned the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway. By spending 315.217 seconds on pit road, the National Guard/GMAC crew took top honors in the weekly competition for the second time this season. The crew, out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, will be presented with an $11,000 check by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly challenge. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the over-the-wall crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. Mears’ #25 crew includes: Jason Hunt (jackman), Ben Fischbeck (front-tire carrier), Tony Hamm (front-tire changer), Matt Myers (rear-tire carrier), Chuck Efaw (rear-tire changer), Chris Fasulka (gasman), Chris Hamilton (catch can) and Jim Jenkins (eighth-man). The team’s pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin. Mark Martin’s #01 crew and Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew are currently tied for the lead in the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings, with four wins each. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $308,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $308,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(9-27-2007)


    News from September 26, 2007

  • 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Scheduled Announced: The 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule was announced today, a 36-race slate that kicks off with the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Daytona International Speedway. The 2008 season also marks NASCAR’s 60th year as stock car racing’s longest operating sanctioning body. Following the “Great American Race” the series travels to Southern California, then to the bright lights of Las Vegas before returning to the southeast for races at Atlanta and Bristol. The first scheduled off date for the series will be in March during the Easter holiday. Following the race in Martinsville, the series makes another swing to the southwest, racing at Texas and Phoenix in early April. The second scheduled off weekend occurs in mid-April. The series then picks back up with races at Talladega, Richmond and Darlington prior to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “By running five consecutive points events before the first scheduled break in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the 2008 schedule is designed to be even more fan friendly,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. Another adjustment to the 2008 schedule is that the Chicago race will be run Saturday night. “Night racing provides an additional element of intrigue and excitement,” said France. “Running under the lights at Chicagoland on a Saturday night will be even more exciting for the fans in the stands as well as those watching from home.”
    Other key dates:
    * The 30th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be held on Feb. 9.
    * On Sunday, July 27, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    * On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 6, Richmond International Raceway will be the last opportunity for drivers to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
    * The week after Richmond, on Sunday, Sept. 14, New Hampshire again will have the kick-off event in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which covers the season’s last 10 races and determines the series champion.
    * On Sunday, Nov. 16, Homestead-Miami Speedway will again host the season finale, where the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will be crowned.(NASCAR PR), the sched can be seen on the Jayski’s 2008 Sprint Cup Schedule Page.(9-26-2007)
  • New crew chief for Robby? UPDATE 3 Sospenzo: hearing crew chief Gene Nead has parted ways with the #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports team, no word on the new crew chief or what Neads plans are.(9-20-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing that Nead will head to the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team, to take over for Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain, who will step down at the end of the season. Hearing former Hendrick Motorsports/Ginn Racing crew chief, Peter Sospenzo, going to crew chief for Robby Gordon.(9-21-2007)
    UPDATE 2: #7-Robby Gordon is at Dover International Speedway this weekend without a crew chief after parting ways with Gene Nead on Monday. Gordon said that he and Nead parted amicably. When asked what he was looking for in a crew chief, the Cup owner/driver answered simply, “I don’t know.” This weekend he plans to use either a car chief or team engineer in that role. He is currently looking for a crew chief, though. “Yes, I’m looking,” he said. “Gene and myself just have differences in philosophy on how things need to be operated.” He added that Peter Sospenzo, who was one of the crew chiefs eliminated by Ginn Racing when two of the companies teams ceased to exist earlier this year, is someone that is high on the list of potential replacements.(SceneDaily.com)(9-21-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Robby Gordon Motorsports officially named Peter Sospenzo as the crew chief for the #7 Ford Fusion. Historically with multicar teams such as Penske, Hendrick Motorsports and Ginn Racing, Sospenzo brings renewed optimism to Nextel Cup’s only single car owner/driver combination. “This is the most unique opportunity in the garage,” Said Sospenzo. “First we have one of the most talented drivers in any form of motorsports behind the wheel in Robby Gordon. He drives the wheels off everything he gets into and drivers in the garage respect him. They don’t run all over him because they know what a fierce competitor he is. Robby has also done a remarkable job with this team. You can chart the progress over the past three years and can clearly tell which direction RGM is headed. The race cars are very well built and with the expanded facility and strong backing from sponsors we’re looking forward to getting this team into the top twenty by the end of the year – and then coming out strong in ’08 at Daytona.” When Sospenzo became available after the Dale Earnhardt Incorporated merger with Ginn Racing, the choice for Gordon became clear. “This is an extremely tough business and Peter Sospenzo brings a strong racing background to RGM. He is the first crew chief hired by our organization that has taken a car to victory lane in the Nextel Cup Series. He has won races with other drivers in Nextel Cup and we look forward to having a guy with his experience on our team.”(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR)(9-26-2007)
  • New Spotter for Kyle Petty: Veteran Nextel Cup spotter and crew member, Roman Pemberton will be taking over the spotting duties for the #45 Dodge’s driven by Kyle Petty, for the remainder of the season, beginning with this weekend’s race at the Kansas Speedway. Pemberton, an 18 year veteran of the sport has been serving as crew chief consultant and spotter the past few months for driver A.J. Frank in the Hooters Pro Cup series. Frank, taking advantage of recent Cup layoffs, put Pemberton to work the over the final few races and it paid off right away with his best run of the season, a second place finish at Lake Erie Speedway and followed that with a pair of top tens. Despite the enjoyment of the less pressured Hooters Pro Cup, Pemberton is glad to be back home at the Nextel Cup level. “I’m very excited to get back a top the spotters stand and try to help Kyle the 45 team and Petty enterprises close out the season on a positive note. Incidentally, Sunday will be the first time in three years that all four Pemberton brothers, Robin, VP of Competition for NASCAR, Ryan Pemberton, Crew chief for DEI driver’s Mark Martin and Eric Almirola and DIRECTV and SPEED television personality Randy Pemberton and Youngest brother Roman will be in the NASCAR Garage at the same time.(PR)(9-26-2007)
  • Stewart to promote Ryobi tools at Kansas: When Tony Stewart goes for a repeat win in Sunday’s LifeLock 400 Nextel Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, he’ll do so with lithium power augmenting the 850-horsepower beneath the hood of his #20 Home Depot Chevy. Ryobi (pronounced Ree-Oh-Bee) is introducing a new line of lithium-powered tools this week exclusively at The Home Depot. Commemorating this line of green and black tools will be a touch of green and black to Stewart’s traditionally orange Home Depot Chevrolet at Kansas. The special, one-race paint scheme showcases the first line of affordable lithium tools, which are compatible with all current blue Ryobi 18-volt tools, including the range of Ryobi One+ Tools. Like Stewart’s Joe Gibbs Racing-prepared Chevrolet Monte Carlo, the powerful new Ryobi lithium battery has a fuel gauge to indicate current charge levels. It’s also 20% lighter than conventional NiCd batteries, and offers better performance in cold temperatures and holds a charge four times longer than comparable NiCd batteries when idle.(True Speed Communication/JGR PR), see images of the scheme on my #20 Team Schemes page.(9-26-2007)
  • Garmin to Help Jeff Green, #66 Team Find Their Way around Kansas Speedway: Best Buy announced that Garmin International, a leading manufacturer of GPS navigation systems and a Kansas-based Best Buy retail partner, will be the primary sponsor for driver Jeff Green and the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet during the Nextel Cup Series weekend at Kansas Speedway. Green’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo will carry a special silver and blue paint design representing Garmin, an industry leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of GPS (Global Positioning System), navigation and communication products. Garmin is an associate sponsor of the Haas CNC Racing team, appearing on the #66 Chevy in races where Best Buy is the car’s primary sponsor. Many Garmin products are available at Best Buy retail locations and at www.BestBuy.com, including the highly-acclaimed nüvi and StreetPilot personal navigation devices. Garmin has promoted its sponsorship of the #66 team by advertising on SPEED Channel’s NASCAR RaceDay, and through a commercial that features the #66 Chevy painted in Garmin colors. The spot, filmed at Kansas Speedway, shows the #66 driver using a Garmin nüvi personal navigation device during a race, as the unit’s voice prompts remind him repeatedly to “turn left in 200 feet.” Garmin employees will get a chance to greet their driver in person on Wednesday, Sept. 26, when Green visits Garmin’s headquarters in Olathe, Kan. For more information, visit Garmin’s site www.garmin.com.(GMR Live Marketing)(9-26-2007)
  • Wallace back in the #88 UPDATE: hearing Kenny Wallace will once again sub for Ricky Rudd in the #88 Snickers Ford, this week at Kansas Speedway.(9-25-2007)
    UPDATE: For the fourth week in a row, Kenny Wallace will drive the #88 Snickers Ford, while Ricky Rudd continues to recover from his separated shoulder injury. Wallace is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and considers Kansas Speedway his home track. Quoting Snickers Driver, Kenny Wallace: “Ricky and I have been getting along really well and I am so grateful to him helping me out at every race that I’ve driven his car. He really is a terrific driver and I’ve been so fortunate to have him behind me supporting me every weekend with the team. It really has meant a lot. I’m from St. Louis, so I’m very excited to go and I feel that it’s going to be a very fun week for me. My oldest daughter will be at the race this weekend and I’m just very thankful that I’ll have the opportunity to race for my daughter this weekend. It’s going to be a great time.”(RYR PR)(9-26-2007)


    News from September 26, 2007

  • Edwards winning car at Dover fails post race inspection UPDATE Penalty Announced: been told that #99-Carl Edwards Ford, which won the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway, was too low on one side of the rear of the car. Supposedly NASCAR will take the car back to its R&D Center in Concord, NC to check it out further, but that they do not consider it as the team altering the COT [Car of Tomorrow] and probably would not be any fines or penalties unless they find something different. Edwards Statement: “The worse case would be 25 points, the right rear being low – any engineer or crew chief in the garage will tell you that’s the last thing you want,” Edwards said. “You want the right rear to be high. The only thing I can think of is at the end of the race, Greg came up and gave me a couple of love taps to say ‘good job, good race’ and hopefully they find that that bent the tail of the car down a little bit. There are some braces bent under the decklid so hopefully that’s what it is.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)
    AND #99-Carl Edwards’ race-winning Roush Fenway Racing Ford failed postrace inspection Sunday at Dover International Speedway. The right rear of his car fell below the 1/2-inch tolerance for height, NASCAR said. The victory most likely will stand, but Edwards’ team is expected to be penalized later this week. Team owner Jack Roush said that there were no changes made to the right side of the car and that he believes NASCAR will find the car is bent. He added it was his understanding that the right-rear was 3/8ths of an inch low, which doesn’t make sense to him. Although this is a car of tomorrow entry, the likely penalty does not fall under the tampering-with-COT rules since the structure of the body has not been manipulated. The question NASCAR now will have to answer is what did happen. The sanctioning body is taking the car to its research and development center in Concord, N.C. for further review.(SceneDaily.com)(9-23-2007)
    UPDATE 2 Carl Edwards Docked 25 Points, Crew Chief Fined $25,000: Carl Edwards, winner of this past Sunday’s Nextel Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway, has been penalized 25 driver championship points due to rule violations found in post-race inspection. The loss of points dropped Edwards from third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings to sixth, 28 points behind leader Jeff Gordon. The #99 Ford driven by Edwards was found to be too low in the right rear area, which violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment not conforming to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.8.1C (failed to meet minimum rear car heights) of NASCAR Car of Tomorrow Technical Bulletin #3 dated April 10, 2007. In addition, those infractions have resulted in a $25,000 fine for Edwards’ crew chief Bob Osborne, plus a penalty of 25 car owner championship points for Roush Fenway Racing. Osborne also has been placed on probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR PR)(9-25-2007)
  • Roush Fenway to Appeal #99 Penalty: NASCAR advised Roush Fenway Racing today that it will issue penalties against Carl Edwards (25 driver points), Jack Roush (25 owner points) and crew chief Bob Osborne ($25,000) for violating a rear fender height rule following Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway. Roush Fenway Racing president, Geoff Smith gave a statement following NASCAR’s announcement: “We have the misfortune of violating a rule which makes no sense. It was promulgated to address restrictor plate races, not downforce races. I say misfortune because we are being penalized for a violation that actually impaired the car’s performance. We intend to appeal the unfair assessment of the point’s penalty. What is unfair is that Carl is receiving a penalty that is 250% greater in its effect than a similarly assessed penalty against a non-‘Chase’ driver. ‘Chase’ drivers are competing for a total of 1,950 points. All drivers competed for 5,070 points in the first 26 races. Do the math. The net effect is that a 25 point penalty falls unfairly hard on a ‘Chase’ contender. That’s simply not right. To equalize the penalty impact on all competitors not more than 10 points should have been taken from a ‘Chase’ contender.”(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(9-25-2007)
  • Special Schemes for #24 at Talladega & Atlanta: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to run a DuPont/Pepsi special COT paint scheme in the October 7, 2007 race at Talladega Superspeedway. The paint scheme was designed by a fan and sports a two-tone blue and white paint scheme with the Pepsi logo on the hood. Gordon is also scheduled to run a special DuPont/Nicorette paint scheme for the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta in Oct with yellow and orange flames on the hood and side panels of this red car, while the Nicorette Cinnamon Surge logo rests atop the hood. See images of the schemes on the #24 Team Schemes page.(9-25-2007)
  • Coors Light to replace Bud as official beer of NASCAR UPDATE 3: Coors Light may become the official beer of NASCAR, replacing Budweiser, according to sources, and Coors may also become the new sponsor of what is now the Busch series tour.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND also hearing Coors could be the sponsor of the #01 DEI team in 2008.(9-9-2007)
    UPDATE: Coors Light will announce Tuesday a $20 million deal over five years to become the official beer of NASCAR starting in January. Coors replaces Anheuser-Busch as the official sponsor. The new deal includes renaming the pole award to the Coors Light Pole Award from the Bud Pole Award. For Coors, the NASCAR deal also replaces its sponsorship of the #40 Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series. “Our deal was up with those guys, and this opportunity came up,” says Andy England, chief marketer for Coors. “It feels like we are elevating our game.” For consumer product marketers, a league deal opens up greater opportunity for strong retail display — especially in and around cities when races occur.(USA Today)
    Coors Shootout? no word on what happens to what is known as the Budweiser Shootout BUT, per Florida Today: From Daytona International Speedway: NASCAR’s agreement with Coors does not include the Bud Shootout race, which is a separate entitlement with DIS. There will be a Bud Shootout event in 2008.(9-25-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Coors Brewing Company and NASCAR today announced a multi-year partnership, making Coors Light the official beer of NASCAR. The five-year sponsorship agreement gives Coors Brewing Company category exclusivity starting with the 2008 NASCAR season. “We’re proud that Coors Light, the World’s Most Refreshing Beer, is now the official beer of NASCAR – refreshing race fans every weekend from the start of the season to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup,” said Andy England, Chief Marketing Officer, Coors Brewing Company. “This partnership allows us to deliver exciting and relevant programs to our distributors and retailers – all centered around the number-one spectator sport in the country.” The sponsorship agreement gives Coors Light exclusive rights to NASCAR logos in advertising, packaging and promotions, as well as the right to brand the Pole Award. In addition, Coors Light will build distributor and consumer promotions giving fans exclusive access to one-of-a-kind NASCAR experiences.(Business Wire)(9-25-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Coors Light announced it will replace Budweiser as the sport’s official beer in 2008. The five-year, $20 million deal includes renaming the Sprint Cup pole award to the Coors Light Pole Award from the Bud Pole Award, but does not impact the Budweiser Shootout exhibition race that annually kicks off Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. The speedway will hold the Bud Shootout in February.(Florida Today)(9-26-2007)
  • Hornish to test at Kentucky Wed: Sam Hornish, Jr., is scheduled to continue his stock car racing experience during a Sept. 26 test at Kentucky Speedway. Testing usually begins at 9:00am and ends at 5:00pm. Times will vary based on team goals. Fans can watch testing for free from the designated area outside the track Fan Center located off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N in Sparta, Ky.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(9-26-2007)
  • Drivers to thank wounded soldiers: a few NASCAR drivers will pay “Tribute to the Soldiers” this Wednesday, September 26th at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., along with NASCAR’s Brian France, Fox’s Darrell Waltrip and wife Stevie, drivers David Stremme, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, and Tony Stewart. Drivers and executives will participate in the day-long tribute to the nation’s soldiers, their families and hospital staff members with autograph sessions, ward visits, and a Q&A session.(PR)(9-26-2007)
  • NASCAR Foundation Blood And Marrow Drive Has Potential To Save 11,000 Lives: The results are in, and NASCAR fans rolled up their sleeves in record numbers. The Second Annual NASCAR Foundation Blood and Marrow Drive has had a record-breaking year, collecting 3,410 pints of blood and adding over 1,000 volunteers to the National Marrow Donor Program Registry. The donations from this year’s drive have the potential to save over 11,000 lives. Out of the 23 tracks that have already held their drives, the top three participating tracks are Michigan International Speedway (MIS), Pocono Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway. MIS collected 962 pints of blood and added 80 volunteers to the registry; Pocono Raceway collected 541 pints of blood and added 109 volunteers to the registry; and Talladega Superspeedway collected 229 pints of blood and added 125 volunteers to the registry. Last year, the inaugural drive collected over 2,500 pints of blood and added 650 volunteers to the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry at 14 participating tracks. The NASCAR Foundation, Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Hendrick Marrow Program partner on the Annual Blood and Marrow Drive, which seeks to provide unique experiences at many different tracks that bring out the goodwill and community pride in all race fans. The drive helps serve a desperate need for blood and marrow donations – more than 38,000 blood donations are needed per day and over 6,000 people are searching for a marrow match on any given day. To round out the national drive, New Hampshire International Speedway will hold its blood and marrow drive on Nov. 27. For more information or to learn more about The NASCAR Foundation, Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Hendrick Marrow Program visit www.nascar.com/foundation.(NASCAR PR)(9-26-2007)
  • Hamlin wears special helmet again: Before running in the Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway, driver Denny Hamlin will visit Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics on Thursday morning to meet with patients and deliver a $25,000 donation to the hospital on behalf of FedEx. Hamlin also will receive a special helmet designed by 16 year-old Children’s Mercy patient Michael Beeson. The helmet presented to Hamlin this week is the eighth of eleven helmets designed by children’s hospital patients and children granted wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation program as part of the 2007 FedEx “Wear Your Heart on Your Helmet” program. All eleven race-worn helmets will be auctioned off at the end of the season to benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(JGR PR)(9-26-2007)


    News from September 25, 2007

  • Schrader back in the #21 at Kansas: Due to a last minute lineup change, Ken Schrader will once again be back behind the wheel of the #21 Little Debbie Ford for the third straight week this weekend at Kansas Speedway, as the Wood Brothers/JTG team loads up for the Lifelock 400. The Wood Brothers/JTG team will also be fielding a second entry for the race with Jon Wood set to make just his second Nextel Cup start at the 1.5-mile track. The primary sponsor for Wood will be McKee Foods, parent company of Little Debbie snack cakes. Schrader made the most of an excellent opportunity to move the #21 team further up into the owner point standings by virtue of his 26th place finish at Dover International Speedway last weekend. The Wood Brothers/JTG team now holds a 105-point lead over 36th place and is just one point shy of tying Kyle Petty’s #45 team for 34th place overall.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)(9-25-2007)
  • Goodyear Returns to DIS for Daytona 500 Tire Testing: Goodyear returned on Tuesday [Sept 25] to Daytona International Speedway for tire testing with NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow in preparation for the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17. Rain slowed Goodyear’s two-day test last week at DIS. Goodyear, testing different tire compounds and structures for the 50th running of the Daytona 500, only got on the track for an afternoon session on the first day. On Tuesday, four drivers participated in the test: #40-David Stremme in Dodge, Mark Green in a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, Hendrick Motorsports’ Casey Mears in a Chevrolet and a Dodge with Kyle Petty. NASCAR tickets for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks 2008 events are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(9-25-2007)
  • GEM to open New York Sales Office Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that Jim Tucker has been hired as senior director, sales & development. Tucker has over nine years of corporate sponsorship experience, in developing, negotiating and implementing integrated marketing programs for major brands and properties in the sports, media and entertainment industries. Jim Tucker will be opening a sales office in New York City that will work complement and expand the reach of the existing Statesville, NC based sales and marketing department. Tucker will report to David Jessey, Vice President of Sales & Development. The new office will be responsible for developing new team sponsorships with Fortune 500 companies for the Gillett Motorsports’ fleet of cars and drivers, including #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #10-Scott Riggs. Prior to this announcement, Jim Tucker spent four years in NASCAR’s sales and marketing offices, based in Manhattan. Prior to NASCAR, Jim Tucker worked with the National Football League in their Corporate Sales & Marketing division, managing the League’s official sponsorships.(Clear!Blue PR)(9-25-2007)
  • NC drivers could be shut out for the first time ever? Unless one of the six North Carolina born drivers, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #44-Dale Jarrett, #83-Brian Vickers, #45-Kyle Petty, #6-David Ragan [actually born in Unadilla, GA not NC] or #10-Scott Riggs, wins one of the final nine races in 2007, it will be the first year since the NASCAR Cup Series started that a driver born in North Carolinian would not win at least one race in a season. And you only need a few North Carolina born drivers to prove it. Lee Petty won at least one race every year from 1949 thru 1961, then Richard Petty did it from 1961 thru 1977, Benny Parsons won in 1978, Dale Earnhardt in 1979-1980, Richard won in 1981, the Dale Earnhardt won at least a race a year from 1982 thru 1996, Dale Jarrett 1993 thru 2003 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2000-2006. Of course many other North Carolina born drivers won in those years.(9-21-2007)
    UPDATE: Kyle Petty – “I have been asked, on several occasions, my opinion on the fact that no driver from the state of North Carolina has won a race yet this season. If you look, there are probably fewer of us now than at any point in the history of NASCAR. It’s just a part of the evolution of the sport. I think North Carolina, as a whole, definitely played a large role in getting Nextel Cup racing to the level it is today. At the same time we’re heading to Kansas the home of Sprint, our series title sponsor in 2008. The sport has changed and it has grown much bigger and better. That is no way a negative.”(Petty Racing PR)(9-25-2007)


    News from September 24, 2007

  • Dover early TV Ratings: ABC’s Nextel Cup at Dover delivered a 3.5 fast national rating with 3,911,057 households and 5,498,209 viewers. ABC had double-digit increases among almost all measurements as compared to last year’s Dover telecast. Households were up 15%, viewership was up 17%, Males 18-34 up 20%, Males 18-49 up 14% and Males 25-54 up 18%.(ESPN Communications), last year the race was on TNT and drew a 3.8 cable rating, see more on the 2007 TV Ratings page.(9-24-2007)
  • Latest on Dale Jr. testing for Hendrick: Dale Earnhardt Jr. wants to test a car for Hendrick Motorsports at the upcoming Atlanta car of tomorrow test, but said he would only do so if Dale Earnhardt Inc. allowed it. DEI’s answer? Go ahead. “We’re talking about it and we don’t necessarily have a problem with it,” DEI vice president John Story said. “We recognize that Dale Jr. and Tony [Eury] Jr. both need to get going with their new program and we’re not going to stand in their way.” DEI had already planned to put Regan Smith in the #8 car during the two-day Atlanta test, which will take place in the two days following the Nextel Cup race at the track. Tony Gibson will be the crew chief at the test for DEI, as Eury will already have left for Hendrick. “It would be positive for everybody,” Story said. “It would give Regan a chance to work with our team and give Tony Jr. and Dale Jr. an opportunity to go work with their new guys. In the spirit of cooperation, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-24-2007)
  • Not NASCAR but John Force injured: Drag-racing star John Force was alert and conscious Sunday after sustaining serious injuries in a wreck with Funny Car rival Kenny Bernstein during the O’Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis. See more at ESPN.com.(9-23-2007)

    UPDATE: John Force was able to stand and shuffle his feet Monday, pronouncing himself “lucky to have my legs” a day after a wreck at the O’Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex hospitalized the drag-racing star. Force has a compound fracture of his left ankle, a lacerated right knee, a dislocated left wrist and abrasions on two fingers on his right hand. He had screws inserted into his ankle and temporary pins placed in his wrist, said David Densmore, a spokesman for John Force Racing. Force’s prognosis is “very good” after six hours of surgery Sunday following the most severe accident he’s experienced in more than three decades of racing, Densmore said. More at ESPN.com.(9-24-2007)

  • 100th Cup win for Roush: #99-Carl Edwards hit another historical marker Sunday winning his seventh career Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway and claiming win number 100 for Jack Roush and Roush Fenway Racing in NASCAR’s elite series [4th all-time]. Roush’s first Nextel Cup win came in 1989 with Mark Martin in the #6 Stroh’s Light Ford. Martin claimed Roush Fenway Racing’s first win at Rockingham Speedway and now, 18 year’s later, Edwards’ has brought home win number 100 in the #99 Office Depot Ford. Roush has won with seven different drivers in NASCAR’s top series, all in Ford’s. Three of the seven have moved on but not before leaving their mark in Roush Fenway’s history books. Martin has the most wins of the seven drivers with 35 while Jeff Burton took home 17 wins during his seven years at the company. Kurt Busch also claimed his share of wins beginning in 2002 at the first Bristol race. Busch went on to win a total of 14 Cup races under the Roush umbrella as well as Roush Fenway’s second Cup championship in 2004 (the very first Nextel Cup championship). Four of Roush Fenway’s current Nextel Cup drivers have all contributed to the win column including 15 from Matt Kenseth. Busch and Truck Series champion Greg Biffle has 11 total Cup victories to date. Jamie McMurray has one, this past July at Daytona. This brings Roush Fenway Racing’s win column to 364 total wins across Roush’s NASCAR, Trans-Am and drag racing endeavors.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(9-24-2007)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Dodge Dealers 400
    Total number of commercials: 160 (in 2006: 146)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 76 (in 2006: 75)
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 20 (in 2006: 15)
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 09/23/07: 1:30 PM (in 2006: 12:55 PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 09/23/07: 5:59 PM (in 2006: 4:46 PM)
    Total minutes: 269 (in 2006: 231)
    Minutes of race broadcast: 200 (in 2006: 157)
    Minutes of commercials: 69 (in 2006: 74)
    Number of missed restarts – 0 (in 2006: 0)
    Number of debris cautions when debris not shown – 2
    Total race brdcst time: 200 Total comm. brdcst time: 69
    Additionally, in future races Dr. Jerry Punch may be hesitant to state that ‘following this commercial break we’ll be green to the checkered flag’. Following that announcement during Sunday’s race, there were more cautions including a red flag, culminating in four more commercial breaks, which included twenty two more commercials.
    See the full report at CawsnJaws.com. (9-24-2007)
  • Congrats: Marcos Ambrose’s decision to pass up an opportunity to make his Nextel Cup debut at Dover Sunday was justified when his wife Sonja gave birth to their second child at 3pm in Charlotte, NC. Ambrose finished 20th in the Busch Series race on Saturday in his #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford Fusion and then flew directly back to Charlotte to be with his wife. Ambrose had been offered the chance to make his Nextel Cup debut in a second #77 Robby Gordon Motorsport entry, but kindly declined the opportunity because he knew it would be “cutting it fine” with the impending birth. onja went into labor at 8am this morning and was driven to hospital where Adelaide Elizabeth Ambrose arrived at 3.04pm weighting 7lbs 11 ounces. Adelaide is a sister for two-year-old Tabitha. Ambrose will continue his Busch Series campaign at Kansas City, KS this weekend.(Marcosambrose.com)(9-24-2007)

News from September 23, 2007

  • Multiple drivers in #21 in 2008, Air Force returns UPDATE: Officials with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing are finalizing their Cup sponsor and driver lineup for next season. More than one driver will race the #21 Ford. Jon Wood appears set to compete in races with Air Force as sponsor.(Roanoke Times)(9-22-2007)
    UPDATE: ABC’s Dr. Jerry Punch said during the broadcast of the race at Dover that Bill Elliott, Jon Wood and Marcos Ambrose would be the drivers who would share the #21 ride in 2008.(ABC’s Race Coverage of the Dover Cup race)(9-23-2007)
  • Franchitti to run ARCA at Talladega, heading to Cup? The move of reigning IRL champion Dario Franchitti to the Nextel Cup Series with Chip Ganassi Racing is expected to begin in two weeks at the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway. Ganassi is using the same plan he implemented a year ago when he broke former Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya into NASCAR’s premier series at the Alabama track. “We’re trying to get him in [the ARCA race],” Ganassi said before Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway. “We have a few little hurdles left to get done before we can announce something. We’re feverishly working at it, and we’re confident that we’re going to be able to put something together with him. Much like with Juan last year, if and when we get to that point, it’s going to be a work in progress and you’re going to have to constantly adjust and readjust.” Franchitti is expected to move into the #40 Dodge driven by David Stremme, whose option for next season was not picked up when Ganassi couldn’t get a commitment from sponsor Coors Light. Ganassi said that Franchitti “is a candidate for our team next year.” Ganassi said Franchitti is not bringing a sponsor amidst rumors that Canadian Club was following him from the IRL. He added that Franchitti has no qualms about driving a 36-race schedule. “He definitely wants to do it,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a question. Some people that [schedule], it would intimidate. Some people it doesn’t.” Details of Franchitti’s deal could come within the next week. He will continue the flow of open wheel drivers — Montoya, Jacques Villenueve and possibly Sam Hornish Jr. — to NASCAR. “This is where the action is right now,” Ganassi said.(ESPN.com)(9-23-2007)
  • Petty vs. Hamlin…the quotes: on lap 204 of the Dodge Dealers at Dover International Speedway, #11-Hamlin got into #45-Petty, sending Petty spinning on the frontstretch and into the inside wall..so in the garage minutes after both cars headed to the garage, Petty came over to Hamlin, who was in the #11 while the crew is working on the car, Petty took the window net down and yelled and pointed at Hamlin, gave Hamlin the one finger salute [which was blurred by ABC], NASCAR Officials tired to block Petty, then Hamlin had enough when Petty touched his helmet, which Hamlin removed and got out the car, where he was restrained by his crew and NASCAR officials, then ABC cut back to the race. Comments made by each sent out by respective manufacture reps:
    KYLE PETTY (#45 Wells Fargo Dodge Avenger) ON THE ACCIDENT “We were a little bit loose. I guess it’s my fault. I watched the Busch race yesterday and I knew Denny (Hamlin) was sick, I just didn’t know he was hallucinating and needed three lanes to get up off the corner because he ran all over us. I guess he is in a race by himself.”
    ON HIS WORDS WITH HAMLIN “I just told him ‘he is in the Chase and I’m not’. That’s how simple it is. It’s a shame that a guy with that much talent has to drive like that. We’ve seen it a lot. We’ve seen it all year long. Even his teammate Tony Stewart talked about it. I think it pretty much speaks for itself.”(Dodge Motorsports PR)
    AND DENNY HAMLIN (#11 Fedex Ground Inpala SS – Finished 38th) DID YOU GIVE SO MUCH IN THE BUSCH RACE YESTERDAY THAT YOU WEREN’T FOCUSED TODAY? “That definitely wasn’t an issue. The biggest thing is that I know Kyle (Petty) gets run over a lot and a lot of the reason is that he’s so far off the pace. I firmly believe in my heart that he was trying to get out of the way. But I was right there on his bumper on the inside of him and I think he was trying to pull low. When he did, he checked up to pull low. You can’t do that when someone’s right on you and I think that’s the reason that stuff happens. You’ve got a car two seconds off the pace or whatever it may be. We’re in a clutter of leaders and he’s racing his own little battle and some days it’s your day and some days it’s not. Get out of the way.”
    WHAT DID YOU SAY TO KYLE PETTY AND WHAT DID HE SAY TO YOU AT YOUR CAR WINDOW? “He just said it wasn’t racing. And absolutely it wasn’t racing. I wasn’t racing him. There was no reason. Let’s look back at my career. I’ve never wrecked anyone my entire career has anybody spun off my front bumper. It’s not like I’m a guy who runs into everybody. You’ve just got to use your brain. You’ve got to calm down. This is not over for us. A lot of guys had trouble today and we’re going to bounce back from this. This is just one step of this 10-week chase.”
    IN HINDSIGHT, DO YOU THINK YOU WERE TOO AGGRESSIVE WITH HIM (PETTY) AT THAT POINT? “There was no reason for me to be aggressive at all. I had the 07 a car length or two behind, but I can give up a spot. I have no problem in that. I’d seen the way he had been running the laps before and he had been going up to the wall. I was assuming he was going to do the same thing but instead he came off the corner and he slowed up right off my front bumper. It’s a mistake whether it’s on my part or his part. That’s what happens. You can’t have two cars that distinguished in speed and expect them to race near each other.”
    WERE YOU SURPRISED AT PETTY’S REACTION? “Yeah, I think a lot of it was his frustration over this whole top 35 thing, but we’re racing for bigger and better things. Hopefully, one day, if they get it turned around, I can exchange the favor. But right now, we’re the guys racing for the championship, so you know, heed a little bit.”
    WHAT SET YOU OFF TO HAVE YOU JUMP OUT OF YOUR CAR LIKE THAT WHEN YOU WERE WAITING FOR THE CREW TO FIX THE CAR? “Don’t smack me on the helmet. You smack me on the helmet and I’m going to punch you in the face, bottom line. So I’d like for him (Kyle Petty) to call me sometime this week, before next week.”
    IS THERE AN UNWRITTEN RULE ABOUT TAKING YOUR WINDOW NET DOWN OR COMING TO YOUR CAR? “You don’t come to my car; you don’t come to my pit. You meet me somewhere else and we’ll settle it. I have the utmost respect for Kyle, but don’t lay your hands on my head.”
    WHY DID HE DO THAT? DID YOU SAY SOMETHING BACK TO HIM? “I did not say one word to him. I asked him to come over and talk to me. He chose to slap my helmet. I have a short fuse. Don’t do that. I didn’t say one word to him (Petty) in the garage. All I just said wad ‘Come here and let me talk to you about it’. He chose to slap my helmet, you know, in hindsight, I should have grabbed his throat.”(GM Racing PR)(9-23-2007)
  • The King talks about possible deal with Gillett: Petty Enterprises is not merging with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. But the Petty family and the Gillett family are exploring the possibility of a partnership. Richard Petty said Friday that his family’s company needs a partner to remain competitive and he is further along in talks with George Gillett than any other potential partner in the past. “We’re probably halfway there,” said Petty, who owns Petty Enterprises. “We’re doing a lot of talking, I’ll put it that way. We have not signed any papers.” When asked if a deal could be done by the start of next season, Petty said “that’s a good question” and “we’re way on down the road, but we don’t know how far down the road we are. Petty said he envisions that if he and Gillett partner at Petty Enterprises, the team would then purchase chassis, and bodies from GEM as well as to continue to buy engines from the team. The two teams, though, would remain as separate companies. There are plenty of sticking points, including how many teams would be in the Petty fold. Gillett could not have an ownership stake in three cars at GEM (#9 with Kasey Kahne, #19 with Elliott Sadler, #10 with Scott Riggs) and then two cars in Petty (#43 with Bobby Labonte, #45 with Kyle Petty) – he would be over the four-team limit. “We at Petty Enterprises are not looking to do away with any of our cars,” Petty said. “So he’s caught in some situations and we’re caught in some situations. … You never look at going backwards. Even with getting all the engineering and everything from other people, you need something to bounce your people off of, so that’s the reason that I would think you would have to have … two cars.” When asked if he was forced to choose between his car numbers, Petty said the 43 would always be with his team but “we haven’t gotten that far along” in the discussions. For Petty, the deal is difficult and he called emotional issues about selling his team “half the battle right now.” “The deal with us is that we’re the Petty name,” said Petty, whose team started when NASCAR started in 1949. “We do Petty Enterprises. We’ve got the Richard Petty Driving Experience. We’ve got Victory Junction Gang Camp. That’s all encompassed, that’s all basically one deal. For now, GEM and Petty will still share information as they have for much of this season.(SceneDaily.com)(9-23-2007)
  • Waltrip waiting on Reutimann and sponsors for the #00: Michael Waltrip says that while he is still waiting to hear back from Burger King and Domino’s about sponsoring the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Nextel Cup Toyota next year, he has offered current driver David Reutimann a multi-year contract. Reutimann is taking a week to 10 days to mull it over. Waltrip hopes that Reutimann and the sponsors see his hiring of Dr. Eric Warren as technical director as a sign that he is committed and has the financial stability to get his fledgling program to perform more consistently. Warren has a doctorate in aerospace engineering and used to be with Evernham Motorsports. Waltrip said he will field three Sprint Cup cars and at least one car in what is now known as the Busch Series next year. Warren will serve as technical director and oversee the building of the cars to keep them the same across the three.(SceneDaily.com)(9-23-2007)
  • Wood returning to Cup at Kansas UPDATE 2: in the #47: Jon Wood is scheduled to return to the NASCAR Nextel Cup ranks for the Sept. 30 race at Kansas Speedway. Wood has been competing for the team in the Craftsman Truck Series, but will make his return to the Cup series for this event. Wood drove for the Wood Brothers in the #21 Cup Ford at Las Vegas earlier this season. He originally planned to run the full Busch Series schedule and compete in more races in the #21, but was sidelined with health issues before returning to the truck series. “We’re going to run two cars at Kansas … – Jon will be in one with Sunbelt Snacks on it, and I’m guessing that Bill Elliott will be in the other with Little Debbie’s,” team co-owner Len Wood said. Gene Nead, who parted company with Robby Gordon Motorsports Monday, will be the crew chief for the car. Nead started with the Wood Brothers team on Thursday. He and team co-owner Eddie Wood have known one another for a long time and had talked in the past about doing some work together in the Busch Series. Len Wood said that the team is also testing the car of tomorrow on Tuesday, and Nead will lead that effort. “Him being able to come on now and start I think will be a benefit for next year,” he said. “We have not had the best COTs – it’s supposed to be equal and all that, but somehow they are not equal. Hopefully he can help us get turned around on that too. And [crew chief Michael McSwain] can focus on running the rest of the races.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-21-2007)
    UPDATE: Jon Wood will be behind the wheel of the #21 at Kansas next week, where he’ll make his 2nd Nextel Cup start [he made his debut in the #21 at Las Vegas in March]. Regardless of how Ken Schrader fares Sunday at Dover, the team cannot fall out of the top 35 [since #22-Dave Blaney missed the race and is 36th in owners pts]. Turning the wrenches for Wood next weekend will be Gene Nead, who recently separated from Robby Gordon Motorsports, and is expected to replace Michael Fatback McSwain next season. At Kansas, the team will run a second car [#47 Ford] for Bill Elliott, who would make the race based on his past-champion’s provisional.(Ford Racing with corrections made)(9-22-2007)
    UPDATE 2: The Wood Brothers/JTG race team has announced that next week, the team will indeed enter two cars on the entry list for the Lifelock 400 Nextel Cup Event at Kansas. The team would like to clarify that the #47 McKee Foods Ford will be driven by Jon Wood, who is set to make his second career Nextel Cup start in 2007. The #47 Ford will have Gene Nead calling the shots from the pit box. McKee Foods is the parent company of the Little Debbie brand of snack cakes. The #21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion will be driven by Bill Elliott, with Michael “Fatback” McSwain continuing his duties as crew chief for the team.(Wood Brothers PR)(9-23-2007)
  • Edwards car too low? MORE: been told that #99-Carl Edwards Ford, which won the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway, was too low on one side of the rear of the car. Supposedly NASCAR will take the car back to its R&D Center in Concord, NC to check it out further, but that they do not consider it as the team altering the COT [Car of Tomorrow] and probably would not be any fines or penalties unless they find something different. Edwards Statement: “The worse case would be 25 points, the right rear being low – any engineer or crew chief in the garage will tell you that’s the last thing you want,” Edwards said. “You want the right rear to be high. The only thing I can think of is at the end of the race, Greg came up and gave me a couple of love taps to say ‘good job, good race’ and hopefully they find that that bent the tail of the car down a little bit. There are some braces bent under the decklid so hopefully that’s what it is.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)
    AND #99-Carl Edwards’ race-winning Roush Fenway Racing Ford failed postrace inspection Sunday at Dover International Speedway. The right rear of his car fell below the 1/2-inch tolerance for height, NASCAR said. The victory most likely will stand, but Edwards’ team is expected to be penalized later this week. Team owner Jack Roush said that there were no changes made to the right side of the car and that he believes NASCAR will find the car is bent. He added it was his understanding that the right-rear was 3/8ths of an inch low, which doesn’t make sense to him. Although this is a car of tomorrow entry, the likely penalty does not fall under the tampering-with-COT rules since the structure of the body has not been manipulated. The question NASCAR now will have to answer is what did happen. The sanctioning body is taking the car to its research and development center in Concord, N.C. for further review.(SceneDaily.com)(9-23-2007)
  • Edwards wins Dover wreckfest: #99-Carl Edwards won the wild Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway for his 3rd win in 2007 and 7th of his career. With 13 laps to go there was a big wreck that included 12 cars and took out Chase drivers #2-Busch [who caused the wreck when something broke in the car or lost a tire] and damaged the cars of #1-Truex Jr. and #48-Johnson. #17-Kenseth led 192 laps [the most led] until he lost his engine late and finished 35th. #11-Hamlin tangled with #45-Kyle Petty and even after the crew made repairs to the car, Hamlin only finished 38th and is now 12th in the Chase pts, down 158. #24-Gordon finished 11th and leads the points by 2 pts over #20-Stewart, 3 pts over #48-Johnson and 4 pts over #99-Edwards. #16-Biffle finished 2nd, followed by #8-Earnhardt Jr., #01-Martin, #5-Busch, #25-Mears, #31-Burton, #26-McMurray, #20-Stewart and #42-Montoya. Other chase drivers finished: #24-Gordon 11th; #07-Bowyer 12th; #1-Truex Jr. 13th [in a battered car]; #48-Johnson 14th; #29-Harvick 20th; #2-Busch 29th/accident; #17-Kenseth 35th/engine and #11-Hamlin 38th. There were 13 cautions for 66 laps with 2 red flags and 9 drivers led the race with 14 lead changes.
    Race Results on my Dover Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Dover page
    Race Rundown: see my Dover Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-23-2007)
  • The Chase Standings [after Dover, race 28]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 5340
    2) #20-Tony Stewart 5338, -2
    3) #99-Carl Edwards 5337, -3
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5336, -4
    5) #5-Kyle Busch 5330, -10
    6) #07-Clint Bowyer 5322, -18
    7) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 5294, -46
    8) #31-Jeff Burton 5265, -75
    9) #29-Kevin Harvick 5225, -115
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth 5224, -116
    11) #2-Kurt Busch 5192, -148
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin 5182, -158
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(9-23-2007)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after Dover [28 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 4149
    2) #20-Tony Stewart 3845 -304
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3715 -434
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 3689 -460
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin 3662 -487
    6) #17-Matt Kenseth 3644 -505
    7) #5-Kyle Busch 3622 -527
    8) #31-Jeff Burton 3583 -566
    9) #07-Clint Bowyer 3501 -648
    10) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 3444 -705
    11) #29-Kevin Harvick 3370 -779
    12) #2-Kurt Busch 3329 -820
    13) #8-Earnhardt Jr. 3239 -910
    14) #12-Newman 3112 -1037
    (9-23-2007)
  • Rumblings – Dover Race Notes: Carl Edwards takes the Dodge Dealers 400 today at Dover International Speedway by a comfortable .671 seconds over teammate Greg Biffle after another teammate (Matt Kenseth) pretty much dominated. When Kenseth lost a motor on lap 374, Edwards was home free. This was Carl’s 3rd win of the season and 7th of his Nextel Cup career (moving him into a six-way tie for 58th on the all-time win list with Darel Dieringer, A. J. Foyt, Kasey Kahne, Jim Reed, and Marshall Teague). This was win #5 for Roush Racing on the season, and #100 in their history. And, if that weren’t enough, Edwards takes down $229,250 from the over $5.1M in posted awards.
    Greg Biffle (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Homestead last November.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Pocono in August.
    Mark Martin (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Texas in April.
    Casey Mears (6th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Chicagoland in July.
    Jamie McMurray (8th) had his best finish since he won at Daytona in July.
    Juan Pablo Montoya (10th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at the Brickyard in August.
    Michael Waltrip (15th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Michigan in June.
    Joe Nemechek (22nd) had his best finish since he was 15th at Pocono in June.
    Kenny Wallace (23rd) had his best finish since he was 21st at Bristol in March.
    STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 9 Top-10’s in the last 10 races.
    Kyle Busch has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    BTW, Mr. Lead Lap had his best finish since he was 6th when we were here in June of 2004. Long-time readers will remember our hero, but if you’re new, that just means the last time we had fewer than six cars on the lead lap at the finish was that Dover event in June of ’04 when we had just five. That “Lucky Dog” thang has just killed ol’ LL.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Jeff Burton (+31), followed by Clint Bowyer (+30), Michael Waltrip (+28 ), Mark Martin (+27), Jamie McMurray (+22), and Robby Gordon (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Denny Hamlin (-35), followed by A. J. Allmendinger (-32), Scott Riggs (-28 ), Kurt Busch (-25), Matt Kenseth (-25), and Kyle Petty (-24).
    In the Chase standings, ten of the twelve spots changed hands today….Jeff Gordon has a two point lead over Tony Stewart at the top. In “Classic” Points, Tony trimmed eight markers from Jeff’s lead, but it’s still a healthy 304 point spread. The only multiple position changes in the Top-30 on the upside belonged to Carl Edwards (6th to 4th) and Mark Martin Martin (26th to 24th). On the down side, Denny Hamlin (3rd to 5th) and David Stremme (24th to 26th) were the biggest droppers.(Stock Car Fans)(9-23-2007)
  • Dover Fast Facts:
    .. Edwards won the Dodge Dealers 400, his seventh victory in 113 Nextel Cup Series races.
    .. This is his third victory and 12th top-10 finish in 2007.
    .. This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in seven races at Dover International Speedway.
    .. Greg Biffle (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in 11 races at Dover.
    .. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 16 races at Dover. It is his 11th top-10 this season.
    .. Juan Pablo Montoya (10th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Jeff Gordon leads the Chase for the Nextel Cup by two points over Tony Stewart. Just 10 points separate the top-five.(NASCAR Statistics)(9-23-2007)
  • Pit Road at Dover: there are 42 pit stalls at Dover International Speedway [something that will be corrected in the next year or two]. Pit 1 is nearest the Turn 1 exit to pit road, and Pit 43 is nearest the Turn 4 entrance to pit road. #07-Bowyer [started 42nd] and #55-Waltrip [starts 43rd] will share pit 39 and the #07 team has the first option to stay or move from the 39th pit when another becomes available if another team falls out of the race. See the pit selections link on my Dover Racepage.(9-23-2007)
  • Hamlin sick at Dover, but wins Busch race, should be ok for the Cup race: Feeling weak and needing intravenous fluids before the Busch Series race on Saturday, Denny Hamlin nearly threw in the towel. Hamlin shook off an illness and found the energy to dominate and win the caution-filled Busch Series race at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, his third win of the season. Hamlin complained of a tender throat, had trouble breathing and dizzy spells. Then he got in the car for a 200-lap race. Hamlin said the illness shouldn’t affect him for Sunday’s Cup race at Dover. “I get hot. I get cold,” he said. “I feel inadequate really.” Hamlin struggled just to get in his car. He took fluids and leaned, slumped, really, against his #20 Chevrolet before putting on his firesuit. Kyle Busch took the seat shortly before the race to see how he would fit and was on standby in case Hamlin couldn’t go.(ESPN.com)
    UPDATE: on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now, Shannon Spake reported that she talked the Hamlin’s crew chief, Mike Ford, and was told Hamlin will go to the Infield Care Center at Dover to get checked out and that the team has no plans to have a driver standing by as Hamlin feels better.(9-23-2007)


    News from September 22, 2007

  • Latest on Reutimann, contract from MWR: David Reutimann received a contract offer to drive for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2008, so his future, in doubt for some time, is a bit clearer. Sort of. “When you’re dealing with something that’s 20 pages long with a lot of big words that I don’t really understand, you kind of have to have somebody help me through it,” Reutimann said Friday. “I don’t know what I’m looking it. It might as well be written in Dutch or something.” Reutimann said it’s a multi-year offer to drive a Nextel Cup car for Michael Waltrip Racing, though one that “hinges on a lot of different things.”
    “Michael and those guys gave me some stuff to look over on the flight here,” Reutimann said. “I have to look over it when I get past the race weekend here and see where we stand. It’s a contract to drive for him next year. I think it could be a multi-year deal — it hinges on a lot of things. I have a little better idea about my future, just have to get through this weekend and concentrate on that stuff on the trip home Sunday night and Monday morning. I want to get this stuff behind me and find out what’s going to happen.” MWR general manager Ty Norris confirmed it is indeed an offer to drive in Nextel Cup. Reutimann has spoken with Richard Childress Racing about driving for its fourth Nextel Cup team, but no offer has been extended. His performance this season has been the steadiest of all three Waltrip drivers. The question about his future at MWR was never about lack of performance, rather lack of sponsorship. “It’s a little bit frustrating, but it comes down to the sponsorship and the 44 and the 55 were solid and my deals were all one-year deals,” Reutimann said. “Obviously they can’t come in there and give you and extension without sponsorship. I understand that. They told me all along that it wasn’t a question of whether they felt I was doing the job or not. It was a question of having the funds to do it like they needed to do it. I understand that part of the equation. It’s interesting. I’m learning. I’ve never been in this situation. It’s not pleasant by any means, but you learn a lot.”(ESPN.com)(9-22-2007)
  • Red Bull Racing could be switching manufacturers UPDATE denied..again: As the Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship moves to Dover International Speedway Sunday there are negotiations taking place that seem to have slipped under the radar of most garage watchers. Sun Media has been told that Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has been in discussions to switch manufacturers from Toyota next year. Those in the know say that Mateschitz has been deeply disappointed about the results of both the #83 and #84 Red Bull Toyotas in the team’s inaugural Cup season. And he is not pointing the finger at either A.J. Allmendinger or Brian Vickers. The general feeling among team members is that Toyota has not stepped up with the kind of technological and engineering support that the team expected when it signed on with the Japanese auto giant. With Chevrolet losing Joe Gibbs Racing to Toyota next year, there certainly is room for Red Bull to fill that void in the Bow Tie brigade.(Toronto Sun), however, as of Sept 4th, Elton Sawyer, Team Red Bull’s competition director, said the team would stay with Toyota.(9-18-2007)
    UPDATE Denied..again: Despite speculation suggesting a switch to Chevrolet to boost its Cup performance, Team Red Bull reiterated its commitment to Toyota. “The rumor keeps coming up, but we are staying with Toyota,” Team Red Bull vice president of competition Guenther Steiner said Friday. “We don’t want to want leave Toyota, we want to stay with them and I hope I have to say it for the last time now.” The season has seen more qualifying misses than hits with the tandem combining to miss 25 starts on speed. While Steiner said he expected some stumbles with the Camry in Toyota’s transition to stock cars, he admitted to not fully grasping the concept of being in the top-35 in terms of qualifying. In time that won’t be an issue with Toyota, Steiner added. “When we get in the race we are not yet decent, far from where we need to be,” Steiner said. “Maybe we underestimated that (top-35), but we are learning and we try to make up for it. We want to win in two years, but we are realistic.”(USA Today)(9-22-2007)
  • About car numbers and #28 back at Yates? A common misconception in NASCAR Nextel Cup racing is that the teams own their numbers and can trade them freely among each other. In fact, NASCAR owns each and every number in the Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series and licenses them to the teams on an annual basis. That’s the formal policy. Informally, NASCAR has on occasion permitted the exchange of number between teams, which was the case when Robert Yates Racing agreed to forego its right to the #88 so that Dale Earnhardt Jr. could use the number in 2008 when he moves to Hendrick Motorsports. RYR agreed to give the number up and Hendrick went to NASCAR for approval of moving the #88 to Earnhardt’s car. But the transfer wouldn’t have happened without the OK from the Yates organization, which next year will campaign #28 in the Nextel Cup Series for Travis Kvapil and #38 for David Gilliland. The deal to move the #88 to Hendrick was negotiated between Robert Yates and Earnhardt’s sister and business manager, Kelley Elledge Earnhardt.(Ford Racing)(9-22-2007)
  • Rudd Could be Back at Kansas UPDATE: Ricky Rudd says there’s a chance he could be back behind the wheel of the #88 Robert Yates Racing by next Sunday’s race at Kansas Speedway. “I won’t know that until Wednesday,” said Rudd, who suffered a dislocated shoulder at California Speedway on Sept. 2. “On a scale of 1-10, the pain was at level 10 (immediately after the accident). Now, it’s about a five.” Rudd began rehabbing the injury two days after the wreck in what has 900th career Cup start. Kenny Wallace will sub for Rudd for the third consecutive time this weekend. Rudd said it will be easy to know if he’s ready to race. “When I can drive with one hand, that being the bad one, I think I’ll be ready,” said Rudd, who announced earlier this season he would retire from full-time Cup competition at season’s end.(USA Today)(9-22-2007)
    UPDATE: Ricky Rudd was at Dover International Speedway on Friday, but he was not in the #88 Yates Racing Ford Fusion Car of Tomorrow, nor is he expected back in the car for at least two more races. Rudd’s injured shoulder is responding well the therapy and he’s scheduled to have it evaluated again next week in Charlotte, N.C. There’s still pain, however, especially with quick, sudden movement, which can cause brief, but debilitating surges of pain. So it’s Kenny Wallace in the car for the foreseeable future.(Ford Racing)(9-22-2007)
  • McGrath leaves JR Motorsports: JR Motorsports development driver Jeremy McGrath has left the team and has joined a Late Model team on the West Coast, closer to his home. JR Motorsports Vice President of Competition Steve Crisp confirmed Friday the departure of the motorcycle supercross star. “He’s got a little girl, and he’s got another on the way,” Crisp said. “Looking at what he’s done, he’s had a full career, a very successful career – and a career that’s every bit as taxing as a Nextel Cup driver. He traveled all the time, had to go all over the world. He wanted to drive a stock car, but he didn’t want to get into the traveling. “And he didn’t want to relocate his family. Looking at those two components, that mean he probably needed to do it on the West Coast.” McGrath, who lives in the San Diego area, has Monster Energy Drink as one of his sponsors, and that would have been an apparent conflict with JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s deal with Mountain Dew Amp Energy beverage.(SceneDaily.com)(9-22-2007)
  • Another Earnhardt on track at Dover UPDATE Caisse wins, Logano Champ: Fans of the Earnhardt family have another driver to cheer for at Dover International Speedway today, as Jeffrey Earnhardt will drive the #1 Chevrolet in the Sunoco 150 Busch East Series race. Jeffrey Earnhardt is the son of Kerry and the grandson of the late seven-time Cup champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. The 18-year-old is a developmental driver for Dale Earnhardt Inc.(Delaware News Journal)(9-21-2007)
    UPDATE: Sean Caisse held off newly crowned Busch East Series champion Joey Logano to score his first win at the Monster Mile, and fourth of the 2007 season. Earnhardt finished 3rd, Jesus Hernandez finished fourth with Tim McCreadie fifth. McCreadie will attempt to qualify for the Busch Series race at Dover on Saturday. Caisse finished second to Logano in the 2007 points race. Earnhardt’s car was a hand-me-down from his uncle. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ran the car at the All-Star race in May.(DIS PR)(9-22-2007)


    News from September 21, 2007

  • M&M’s looks to be heading to Gibbs #18 in 2008 UPDATE: Mars U.S. was finalizing a deal Thursday to use its M&M’s brand to sponsor Kyle Busch when he moves to Joe Gibbs Racing next season. M&M’s would replace Interstate Batteries, which has sponsored Gibbs’ flagship #18 since its 1992 inception. J.D. Gibbs, president of the race team, didn’t respond to a request for comment. But two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that Mars was working on a deal to sponsor Busch that will be officially announced next month at M&M’s World in New York City. They requested anonymity because the deal was not yet complete. Interstate is expected to stay involved with JGR in a smaller role. JGR is also ending its 16-year association with General Motors at the end of this season and will field Toyotas beginning next year. It will make the move with three lucrative sponsors as Mars moves its M&M’s brand away from Robert Yates Racing and rookie David Gilliland. It’s unclear what the company will do with its Snickers sponsorship on Yates’ second car, but the move to JGR is troublesome to the Yates [currently #38 and #88] organization. The struggling team has been trying to restructure all season, and longtime owner Robert Yates said earlier this month that he plans to retire at the end of the season. He’s handing over the company to his son, Doug, who plans to call it Yates Racing and field cars for Gilliland and Travis Kvapil.(in part from the Associated Press)(9-21-2007)
    UPDATE: David Gilliland knows he’ll likely need a new sponsor following this season since M&M’s has emerged as a candidate to sponsor Kyle Busch’s #18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry in 2008. Gilliland, the Robert Yates Racing driver who has driven with M&M’s sponsorship since he entered the Nextel Cup Series in August of last year, said he’s aware that M&M’s is likely headed elsewhere in 2008. “I read it on the Internet,” he said Friday at Dover International Speedway, site of this weekend’s Dodge Dealers 400. “My understanding was we had a contract that went through next year, so I don’t know what happened with that. Hopefully we’ll find another sponsor who wants to be here and support us next year.” M&M’s has made a decision and will announce its future sponsorship plans on Oct. 3, spokeswoman Rhonda King said Friday.(SceneDaily.com)(9-21-2007)
  • Marlin to run #09 at Talladega: during SPEED’s Busch Series practice coverage, Sterling Marlin, released from the #14 [now closed] Ginn Racing team in July, said he would drive the #09 Phoenix Racing COT at Talladega Superspeedway the weekend of October 7th.(SPEED’s Busch Series practice coverage) Marlin tested the #09 COT at Talladega on September 10-11.(9-21-2007)
  • Sad News – Chuck Silvey: Chuck Silvey, who worked for Motorsports Authentics [Action Performance] for roughly 17 years died earlier this week. Silvey ran Dale Earnhardt Sr’s souvenir hauler. In 1994, he was promoted to Transportation Director of Trackside and oversaw some 60 souvenir trailers. On any given weekend, Silvey would also play chauffeur and take drivers to and from autograph sessions, hospitality events and the helipad. Some drivers will display a decal to honor Silvey at Dover this weekend including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, with others possibly displaying the decal which can be seen on my Sad News Page.(9-21-2007)
  • New crew chief for Robby? UPDATE 2: hearing crew chief Gene Nead has parted ways with the #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports team, no word on the new crew chief or what Neads plans are.(9-20-2007)
    UPDATE: hearing that Nead will head to the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team, to take over for Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain, who will step down at the end of the season. Hearing former Hendrick Motorsports/Ginn Racing crew chief, Peter Sospenzo, going to crew chief for Robby Gordon.(9-21-2007)
    UPDATE 2: #7-Robby Gordon is at Dover International Speedway this weekend without a crew chief after parting ways with Gene Nead on Monday. Gordon said that he and Nead parted amicably. When asked what he was looking for in a crew chief, the Cup owner/driver answered simply, “I don’t know.” This weekend he plans to use either a car chief or team engineer in that role. He is currently looking for a crew chief, though. “Yes, I’m looking,” he said. “Gene and myself just have differences in philosophy on how things need to be operated.” He added that Peter Sospenzo, who was one of the crew chiefs eliminated by Ginn Racing when two of the companies teams ceased to exist earlier this year, is someone that is high on the list of potential replacements.(SceneDaily.com)(9-21-2007)
  • Johnson wins pole at Dover: #48-Jimme Johnson won the Budweiser Pole for the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 154.765mph for his 2nd pole of 2007 and the 11th of his career. #42-Montoya qualified second with the rest of the top-10: #11-Hamlin, #2-Busch, #1-Truex Jr., #10-Riggs, #29-Harvick, #43-Labonte, #16-Biffle and #17-Kenseth. Other Chasers will start: #99-Edwards 15th; #5-Busch 22nd; #24-Gordon 27th; #20-Stewart 28th; #31-Burton 36th and #07-Bowyer 42nd. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #10-Riggs, #84-Allmendinger, #00-Reutimann, #78-Nemechek, #44-Jarrett, #83-Vickers, #49-Andretti and #55-Waltrip.
    See the starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(9-21-2007)
  • Six do not qualify [DNQ] for the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway: #4-Burton [27 team attempts/41st in OWNERS pts], #36-Mayfield [27/42]; #22-Blaney [27/36]; #33-Wimmer [3/49]; #06-Hornish [1/59]; #and 37-Lepage [26/47].(9-21-2007)
  • Pit Road at Dover: there are 42 pit stalls at Dover International Speedway [something that will be corrected in the next year or two]. Pit 1 is nearest the Turn 1 exit to pit road, and Pit 43 is nearest the Turn 4 entrance to pit road. #07-Bowyer [started 42nd] and #55-Waltrip [starts 43rd] will share pit 39 and the #07 team has the first option to stay or move from the 39th pit when another becomes available if another team falls out of the race. See the pit selections link on my Dover Racepage.(9-22-2007)
  • Ramblings – Dover Qualifying Notes: Jimmie Johnson captured the Bud Pole today for Sunday’s Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway….round two of the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Jimmie’s time of 23.261 (154.765 mph) was over a tenth of a second quicker than Juan Pablo Montoya, and gives Johnson his second pole of the season (he had the top-spot at Richmond two weeks ago) and 11th of his Cup career.
    Juan Pablo Montoya (2nd) ties his career-best starting position. He also had the outside pole at the Brickyard and Bristol in August.
    Scott Riggs (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Richmond in May.
    Kevin Harvick (7th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at New Hampshire in July.
    A. J. Allmendinger (11th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 13th at Richmond in May.
    Kyle Petty (16th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 14th at Martinsville last October.
    Joe Nemechek (18th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 5th at Michigan in June.
    Dale Jarrett (19th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 16th at Infineon Raceway in June.
    Tony Raines (20th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 17th at Pocono last month.
    Johnny Sauter (25th) has his best starting spot since he started 18th at Chicagoland in July.
    Ken Schrader (26th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 8th at Darlington in May (only three races).
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 8 Top-10 starts in a row.
    The Trouble Train pulled out with six cars in tow today. The dnq’s were: Ward Burton (his 14th of the season), Scott Wimmer (his 3rd), Sam Hornish Jr (his second….back to back), Kevin Lepage (that team’s 24th), Dave Blaney (his third, and both of the events here at Dover), and Jeremy Mayfield (his 16th miss of the year).
    (Stock Car Fans)(9-21-2007)
  • Dover Qualifying Fast Facts:
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the Bud Pole for the Dodge Dealers 400 with a lap of 23.261 seconds, 154.765 mph.
    .. This is his 11th Bud Pole in 211 career Nextel Cup races.
    .. This is his second Bud Pole and 19th top-10 start in 2007, including each of the past eight races.
    .. This is Johnson’s first Bud Pole and seventh top-10 starts in 12 races at Dover International Speedway. He started first here in June 2005 when qualifying was canceled.
    .. Juan Pablo Montoya posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 23.402 seconds, 153.833mph. This is his seventh top-10 start in 2007 and his third time to start second. He started 16th in his first race at Dover this past June.
    .. Denny Hamlin (third) posted his second top-10 start in four Dover races and his xx this season.
    .. Six of the 12 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Johnson, Hamlin, Kurt Busch (fourth), Martin Truex Jr. (fifth), Kevin Harvick (seventh) and Matt Kenseth (10th).
    .. Scott Riggs (sixth) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.(NASCAR Statistics)(9-21-2007)
  • Sad News – G.C. Spencer: NASCAR pioneer G.C. Spencer won so many short track races in the 1940s and ’50s he literally caused some Midwest racetracks to close down because fellow competitors would stop showing up. But the Jonesborough resident fell short of reaching victory lane in his 20-year NASCAR career, which included 415 starts in what is now known as the Nextel Cup. Spencer, 82, died Thursday morning at the NHC Healthcare Center in Johnson City following a long battle with emphysema. He’d lived in Jonesborough since 1962 when he married his wife, Faye, a Johnson City native. Spencer competed in NASCAR’s top division from 1958-77. Throughout that time he never acquired the coveted “factory deal” with a manufacturer, which was a necessity for any consistent winner in NASCAR. He was offered a deal with Ford prior to the 1965 season, his only full-time run for a championship. When Ford’s chief rival Chrysler dropped out of NASCAR prior to the first race, however, Ford backed out on the deal with Spencer, telling him they didn’t need him anymore. That year he placed fourth in the championship point standings and finished second in three races — each time behind eventual champion Ned Jarrett. “I believe if Ford had stuck with me in ’65 I could have won the championship,” Spencer said. Spencer had seven second-place Cup finishes in his career but never won a race. Spencer hung up his helmet in 1977 at the age of 51 and continued fielding cars as an owner until 1983. In 1983 Larry McClure purchased Spencer’s equipment and formed the Abingdon, Va.-based Morgan-McClure Motorsports. Spencer hired on as Morgan-McClure’s team manager for three seasons before retiring from racing. After racing he and Faye operated an antique business. “I saw G.C. a couple of weeks ago, and he certainly still had his wit and was as active as he could be,” McClure said Thursday. “He was a tough customer — a tough guy that the racing community is going to miss. I know I’m going to miss him sorely. He’s the reason I’m in racing and have been in racing the last 25 years. He was a good guy and a good friend.” Spencer told the Times-News he probably stayed in NASCAR too long and spent money as a car owner that he should have saved. At the end of his life he and Faye were living mainly on Social Security and his Veterans Administration health benefits in a small house in Jonesborough.(See full article at the Kingsport Times-News)
    SERVICES: A graveside service for Mr. G. C. Spencer will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, September 22, 2007 at Monte Vista Memorial Park, Johnson City, with Rev. Mack Houston and Rev. Michelle Buckles officiating. Active pallbearers will be Tim Henley, Steve Ragan, Bud Rambo, James Collins, Ricky Pace and Bob Douglas. The family will receive friends Saturday from 12:30 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. in the East Chapel of Appalachian Funeral Home and travel in procession to the cemetery.(9-21-2007)
  • Dover Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the second straight NASCAR race weekend at Dover to which Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires . . . this is one of the more popular tire combinations in Goodyear’s 2007 tire lineup, having been run by Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams at Dover, California and Michigan already this season . . . Busch teams have also run this tire set-up at Kentucky in 2007 . . . in addition, this left-side code (D-4078) has been run by these teams with a different right-side code at both Texas and Chicagoland this season . . . unlike on other NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Dover . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full report with tire codes, pressures and more on my Dover Race Info Page.(9-21-2007)
  • Truex Jr. to sign his seat in the DuPont Monster Bridge: #1-Martin Truex Jr. will visit the Dupont Monster Bridge at Dover International Speedway for a brief press event to sign the #1 seat. Truex will sign this seat as part of a Dover tradition, with race winners of the Nextel Cup events at the Speedway being invited to sign their respective seat in the special structure.(DIS PR)(9-21-2007)


    News from September 20, 2007

  • Eury Jr. to leave DEI after Talladega: Tony Eury Jr. will leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. for Hendrick Motorsports earlier than expected, team officials confirmed on Thursday. Eury, who has been Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car or crew chief for all but one season since the two broke into the Nextel Cup Series in 2000, will step down after the Oct. 7 race at Talladega Superspeedway. He will be allowed to take four members of Earnhardt’s #8 team with him under a deal made by DEI when it agreed to free him contractually to join Earnhardt at HMS in 2008. DEI vice president John Story said he met with Eury’s crew this week and only one person has mentioned leaving thus far. Eury and Earnhardt could work together for HMS as early as the Car of Tomorrow test at Atlanta Motor Speedway following the Oct. 28 race. Tony Gibson, who replaced Eury during Eury’s six-race suspension earlier this year, will complete the season with Earnhardt Jr. Mark Martin will step into Earnhardt’s #8 next year, bringing crew chief Ryan Pemberton and his entire crew with him from the #01 team. Gibson is a candidate to move to the #01 car that will be driven by Regan Smith. “Tony Gibson needs an opportunity to get his team together,” said Max Siegel, the president of global operations at DEI.(ESPN.com)(9-20-2007)
  • Scott Speed to race ARCA at ‘Dega: Team Red Bull and Eddie Sharp Racing announced former Formula One driver Scott Speed will drive the #21 Red Bull Toyota in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 5, 2007. This will mark Speed’s debut in stock car racing. With Red Bull backing, Speed raced his way through the European ranks and into a full-time seat in 2006 at Red Bull Racing’s sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso. After parting ways during the 2007 season, Speed turned his attention to landing a Red Bull-backed drive in the States. In an effort to hone and adapt Speed’s skills from F1 to stock car racing, Red Bull tapped ARCA team Eddie Sharp Racing.(Red Bull Racing PR)(9-20-2007)
  • Dale Jr. to run up to seven Busch races in 2008: Dale Earnhardt Jr. likely will run seven Busch Series races next season. Which races he runs in the #5 car is still to be determined, said his sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, general manager for JR Motorsports. “It will be around seven or so,” Earnhardt Elledge said Wednesday. “We haven’t identified where exactly and we haven’t identified all of the sponsor partners.” The team has not yet named a driver for the #88 [Busch Series] car, where Brad Keselowski is finishing out the season and is a candidate to remain there for next year. The drivers of the #5 car will likely come from the Hendrick Motorsports stable. The two teams are merging their Busch operations.(SceneDaily.com)(9-20-2007)
  • Hendrick may try to test Dale Jr at Atlanta: Rick Hendrick said he might try to get Earnhardt into a Hendrick Car of Tomorrow during testing at Atlanta Motor Speedway next month, a week before the Nextel Cup series returns to Texas Motor Speedway. Hendrick said he’s considering talking to other car owners to see if they’d be willing to swap some drivers so teams could get a head start on next season. “Car owners do work together, so we’ll see if that’s a possibility,” Hendrick said. “But we don’t have anything planned at this time.”(Dallas Morning News)(9-20-2007)
  • #88 Retires with Robert Yates: Robert Yates confirmed today he is retiring the #88 from Robert Yates Racing (RYR) following the last race of the 2007 Nextel Cup season. He is requesting NASCAR transfer the number to Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. for use in competition for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. “Ralph Earnhardt drove the #88 Olds in 1957 and because of this number’s history with the Earnhardt family; I felt car #88 should continue with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.,” Yates said. “Younger fans don’t realize I built cars and raced against Ralph. I also had a very close relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. I’m proud to transfer this number to Dale Jr. and let him know how much I appreciate the friendship and competitive racing I’ve always enjoyed with his family,” Yates continued. Dale Jarrett began driving the #88 Ford Quality Care/Ford Credit Racing Ford in 1996 and promptly won the Daytona 500 in the team’s first race. UPS assumed the role of primary sponsorship in 2001 with Ford Credit staying on as an associate sponsor. Jarrett had 29 victories and won, what was then, the Winston Cup championship in 1999. He also finished in the top 10 in points seven consecutive seasons from 1996 through 2002. Ricky Rudd assumed driving duties in 2007, with sponsorship from Snickers. Doug Yates announced two weeks ago, David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil will be the team’s drivers in 2008 with sponsorship and car numbers to be announced.(Robert Yates Racing PR)(9-20-2007)
  • TRANSCRIPT view the full transcript from Wednesday’s news conference, in which Nextel Cup driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his plans sponsors and car number he will run in 2008 with Hendrick Motorsports on the Dale Jr. Sponsor Announcement Transcript page.(9-20-2007)
  • Air Force Celebrates 60th Anniversary Heading to Dover: The United States Air Force celebrated its 60th Anniversary on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 and the #21-Wood Brothers/JTG race team will be sporting the familiar dark blue paint Air Force paint scheme this weekend for the running of the Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway. Ken Schrader will drive the #21 car in his second race back since the team moved into the top-35 in owner points. Currently, they enjoy a 39-point advantage over 36th place and they remain 43 markers from the 34th spot. Following Friday’s qualifying session, Wood Brothers/JTG drivers and team owners will attend a private reception at the Dover Air Force base [where Jayski was stationed while in the Air Force from 1982-1986]. There’s no doubt this will be an important weekend for a long-running sponsor of the Wood Brothers, as the United States Air Force is in their seventh consecutive year with the team. The team will be hoping for a great finish that will continue their upward climb in the owner point standings as the season’s final weeks tick off the clock. In support of this Air Force weekend, the #21 Wood Brothers/JTG souvenir hauler will be offering a 10% discount on all products for those with a Military ID.(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)(9-20-2007)
  • Dover Rookie Notes: #6-David Ragan was the Rookie of the Race in the September 16 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Raceway. Ragan finished 19th and took top rookie honors for the 12th time this season. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads Ragan by 13 points (219-206) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the September 23 Dodge Dealer 400 at Dover International Speedway. Montoya is 20th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He is 36 points ahead of 21st-place Ragan. Jimmie Johnson is the only Raybestos Rookie to win both Nextel Cup races at Dover. Johnson swept both events in 2002. The best qualifying effort by a Raybestos Rookie for the fall race at Dover is third by Tony Stewart (1999), Brian Vickers (2004) and Kyle Busch (2005).(Camp and Assoc PR). See the rookie history, standings, notes on my 2007 Rookie Page.(9-20-2007)
  • Sad News – “Buck” Sewell: Lawrence “Buck” Glen Sewell, 71, of 204 Red Haven Drive, died Tuesday, September 18, 2007, at home. He was the husband of Linda Bradham Sewell and son of the late Lawrence G. Sewell, Sr. and Virginia McCarter Sewell. He was with NASCAR for over 20 years as chief mechanic for Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Bobby and Donnie Allison, and Buck and Buddy Baker, all numerous NASCAR championship winners. He was a member of Croft Baptist Church. Visitation will be 1:00-2:30pm/et, Friday, September 21, 2007, at Bobo Funeral Chapel. Graveside services will follow at 3:00 PM, at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens officiated by Pastor Danny Cannon. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of South Carolina, 110 Dillon Drive, Spartanburg, SC, 29307.(9-20-2007)
  • Edwards and Mom team up to help PTA: Office Depot and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) announced that #99-Carl Edwards and his mother, Nancy Sterling, will serve as Co-Ambassadors for Youth for the nation’s largest volunteer parent organization, PTA. Edwards and Sterling have both been strong supporters of PTA in the past, with Edwards serving as National Ambassador for Youth last year and Sterling having been President of her local PTA when Edwards and his younger brother Kenny were in grade school. Office Depot, a Proud Community Partner of PTA, will help Edwards and his mom Nancy work with the national organization to reach out to kids nationwide, encouraging parents to be more involved with their kids’ education. Sterling isn’t the only member of her family with a role in education on her resume – Edwards was a substitute teacher prior to his racing career taking off in 2005. Edwards and PTA are working with the Office Depot Foundation to help distribute more than 300,000 backpacks with school supplies to underprivileged children during this back to school season.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(9-20-2007)
  • Second Day Of Goodyear Tire Testing At DIS Rained Out: Wednesday’s second day of the Goodyear tire test with NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow in preparation for the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17 was rained out. On the first day of testing, teams were also slowed by rain showers and only got on the track for an afternoon session. Drivers scheduled to participate in the test included #11-Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing), #38-David Gilliland (Yates Racing), #40-David Stremme (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), #55-Mark Green subbing for Michael Waltrip (Michael Waltrip Racing) and #07-Clint Bowyer (Richard Childress Racing). NASCAR tickets for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks 2008 events are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(9-20-2007)
  • Kyle Busch’s Team Wins Pit Crew Challenge at New Hampshire: Kyle Busch’s over-the-wall crew recorded the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Posting the least amount of time on pit road – spending only 149.142 seconds – the #5 team earned its second pit crew win of the season. The Kellogg’s crew will be presented with an $11,000 check by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. Busch’s #5 crew includes: Rick Pigeon (jackman), Jeremy “JD” Holcomb (front-tire carrier), DJ Richardson (front-tire changer), Jason Jones (rear-tire carrier), Josh Kirk (rear-tire changer), Brad Pickens (gasman), Jason Dalrymple (catch can), and Lee Deese (eighth-man). The team’s pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. Mark Martin’s #01 crew and Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew are currently tied for the lead in the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings, with four wins each. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $297,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(9-20-2007)
  • Mears To Visit Walter Reed: Casey Mears and members of the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevy will visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon. The group will meet with military service men and women who are currently receiving treatment. The Walter Reed Army Medical Center serves more than 150,000 active and retired personnel from all branches of the military. “It’s not easy to visit soldiers who have been through so much, but it’s something I really want to do,” Mears said. “It’s a great honor to represent the National Guard every weekend, and the men and women who serve put a lot of things in perspective for the rest of us.”(NASCAR)(9-20-2007)


    News from September 19, 2007

  • Mountain Dew AMP Energy & the National Guard to Sponsor Earnhardt Jr.: Mountain Dew AMP Energy and the Army National Guard will sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr. when the popular stock-car driver joins Hendrick Motorsports for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series campaign, it was announced Wednesday at the Dallas Convention Center. Earnhardt, who helped design his two primary paint schemes and red car-number graphic, will drive the #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolets next season. The cars will see racing action for the first time in February during season-opening Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. “To be able to announce our new sponsorship partners, car number and paint schemes for 2008 is a big relief for me, and I know it is for my fans as well,” said Earnhardt, 32, winner of 17 Cup-level races and two NASCAR Busch Series championships. “This year has been full of major decisions and changes, and I’m really happy with the outcome. We are aligned with powerful brands, Mountain Dew AMP Energy and the National Guard, each with traits that everybody can identify with. And we are racing with a number that’s very relevant to me, the #88. It’s hard not to already be excited for the 2008 season.”
    Pepsi-Cola North America, the maker of Mountain Dew AMP Energy, has been involved in racing since NASCAR introduced its premier division, now known as the Nextel Cup Series, in 1949. Mountain Dew was the lead sponsor on Darrell Waltrip’s championship-winning Cup entries in 1981 and 1982. The Mountain Dew AMP Energy sponsorship will provide opportunities for driver-branded products and prominently feature Earnhardt’s image in television, radio, print and online advertising, along with at-track activation and in-store marketing. Mountain Dew AMP Energy is charged with an energizing blend of B-vitamins, taurine, caffeine, ginseng and guarana geared to help keep consumers focused and in control. “Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of the most popular athletes in the world and his talent is as big as his following,” said Dawn Hudson, president and CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America. “Mountain Dew’s racing heritage runs deep and in many ways it is the original energy drink. AMP is the next evolution of Dew and now it’s entering a new exciting chapter with Dale. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be partnering with Dale, Hendrick Motorsports and the National Guard. We look forward to joining them in victory lane.”
    The oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Guard has a longstanding dual mission: to provide the states with units trained and equipped to protect life and property, while serving the nation with units ready to defend the country and its interests around the world. An active NASCAR sponsor for more than five years, the National Guard’s racing initiative focuses on three primary areas: recruiting, retention and branding. The Guard also leverages its program by honoring exceptional soldiers through NASCAR-focused recognition programs. “Dale Jr. is the real deal,” said Lt. Gen. Clyde A. Vaughn, director, Army National Guard. “He is authentic, talented and focused on victory, which mirrors what America’s National Guard Soldier is all about. Every mission, every time America calls on us, whether at home or abroad, victory is the only goal that matters. We are proud to be partnered with PepsiCo, a great American company that has done so much for the Soldiers of the National Guard, and Rick Hendrick, a NASCAR icon who knows how to win. It is an honor to be a part of one of the greatest teams in the greatest sport in America.”
    Both sponsors of the #88 Chevrolets are established Hendrick Motorsports partners, as 2008 will mark PepsiCo’s 12th season with the organization and the National Guard’s second. “Having a pair of sponsors like Mountain Dew AMP Energy and the National Guard supporting the #88 team is just unbelievable,” said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, who has scored a NASCAR-best 161 Cup-level victories since 1984. “It’s a fantastic combination that fits Dale Jr.’s personality and will allow him to be successful at Hendrick Motorsports for many years to come. We have terrific sponsors, talented people and sharp-looking cars, so we think Dale Jr.’s fans can really get excited about the future. Now that we’ve got everything set for 2008, there’s a lot to look forward to.” With 65 wins and 52 poles since 1949, cars carrying the #88 have started 1,264 Cup-level events with multiple drivers, including Earnhardt’s legendary grandfather, Ralph Earnhardt. The number is currently campaigned by Yates Racing, which has released it for the 2008 season.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), Added a bunch of images of the cars on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(9-19-2007)
  • Dodge Dealers back on the #19 in 2008 UPDATE maybe not? Elliott Sadler’s #19 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge will continue to carry the colors of Dodge dealers nationwide, who again in 2008 will ante up to stay in Nextel Cup.(SPEEDtv.com)(9-16-2007)
    UPDATE: Sponsorship for Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #19 car driven by Elliott Sadler remains unclear for next season, majority owner George Gillett said Tuesday. “We have options,” Gillett said of the 19 car. “We can go that way [with Dodge] or we can go other ways. We have a very good relationship with Dodge and the Dodge Dealers. They wanted to be associated with Evernham and our cars, and we have flexibility.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-19-2007)
  • Congrats: to #66 Jackman, Tony Cardamone and his wife Stephanie had a heathly baby boy on 9-14-07.(9-19-2007)
  • More on the GEM/Petty ‘merger’: George Gillett Jr., the majority owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, has been a big fan of seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard Petty for more than 30 years. Now he wants to be business partners. Gillett is actively pursuing a merger that would make Petty Enterprises and GEM a four-car team. Sources close to the situation say the merger likely would happen before the start of the 2008 Sprint Cup season, with Petty likely moving his two-car operation of #43-Bobby Labonte and #45-Kyle Petty to GEM’s Statesville [NC] facility. Gillett would only confirm that there have been discussions. “He’s a man of great integrity, honesty,” Gillett said of Petty. “His values are something like I’ve never seen. … I’d love to figure out a way to be associated with him. I’m not prepared to say any more than that today. Richard and I are good friends.” GEM minority owner Ray Evernham said such a deal would make both organizations stronger. “From my point of view, I would like to see that happen,” Evernham said of the merger. “For me, the sooner the better.” Evernham has been looking to expand to four teams. The difference here, he said, is he would have four good teams that are solidly in the top 35 for next season. Gillett said expansion is the only way to keep up, and not just in terms of teams. He is looking to build a large shop in the Charlotte area that will become a destination for racing fans. “Ray Evernham has every bit of technical skill and genius as the best of any one of those programs,” he said of Evernham, who won three Cup titles as Gordon’s crew chief. “So we will deploy ourselves in a way that gives us as much competitive strength as is possible to do within the rules.” To stay within those rules, specifically NASCAR’s four-car limit, GEM would have to lose one of its three teams to merge with Petty. The #10 driven by Scott Riggs is the likely target. Riggs is 37th in [drivers and owners] points, well behind Kahne in 22nd [drivers] and Elliott Sadler in 25th [drivers]. Gillett acknowledged that he would like to get more seat time for Patrick Carpentier, who finished 22nd when he replaced Riggs at the Watkins Glen road course last month. “We had our first test with him yesterday on an oval,” [Kentucky Speedway] he said. “We’re going over the data. … I can tell you he looked very good and very comfortable on the track. He was competitive. It doesn’t appear there will be any significant learning curve.” Regardless, to merge with Petty Enterprises there would be no room for Carpentier in a Cup car. “It’s all about the number of cars,” Gillett said. “We would have to get rid of one of the cars here. Whether ‘get rid of’ means mothball or have it aligned with another team … there are a number of teams out there that don’t have four cars, several of whom we already have relationships with.” GEM and Petty, which would remain under the Petty Enterprises umbrella, potentially could have the knowledge of six to eight cars under that scenario as Roush Fenway Racing plans to do under its partnership with Yates Racing. “As you can see, we’ve got technical excellence, a commitment to technology and upstanding people,” Gillett said. “We need to exploit that. That can be exploited in any number of ways.”(ESPN.com), on has to wonder….. what about Petty Enterprises long standing non-alcohol sponsorship policy? neither the #43-Labonte or #45-Petty cars carry any form of alcohol [beer or spirits] decals/sponsorship – like the Bud Pole award. How would teaming up with GEM and the #9 Budweiser sponsorship effect this policy?(9-19-2007)
  • DIRECTV back on the #07: Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will feature DIRECTV colors this weekend in Dover. Jack Daniel’s, the team’s customary primary sponsor, 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.(9-19-2007)
  • Comcast on the #66 at Dover: Comcast Corporation, a Best Buy retail partner, will be the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy and driver Jeff Green during the Nextel Cup Series weekend at Dover International Speedway. The Dover event marks the second time this season Green’s Chevy is carrying a special black and yellow design representing Comcast, the nation’s leading provider of cable and entertainment products and services, which is headquartered in nearby Philadelphia, PA. The design was also featured on the #66 entry at Chicagoland Speedway in July.(Best Buy Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #66 Team Schemes page.(9-19-2007)
  • Dale Earnhardt Candy from Hershey: If you’re a Dale Earnhardt fan and you like chocolate, you’ll likely love the new “collector edition” Hershey bars that will hit the market in January. Hershey Co. unveiled four bars featuring different images of Earnhardt, two Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar designs, one Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds bar design and one Kit Kat wafer bar design. The images span the career of the seven-time NASCAR champion, including an image of the #3 Chevrolet with which Earnhardt won the 1998 Daytona 500. Also, the candy bars will feature a design that include Earnhardt’s signature and the stylized #3. Hershey will invite consumers to make a donation to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation through an online charity event. The bars will be available in January at retail outlets nationwide, Hershey said. The promotion will run through May 2008.(SceneDaily)(9-19-2007)
  • More Earnhardt candy with Dale Jr.: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is bringing his heavy-hitting brand and high-profile name to the candy business, announcing the launch of his new candy bar, “Dale Jr.’s Big Mo’ ” through R.M. Palmer Company. Earnhardt Jr. introduced Big Mo’ to buyers and industry media today at the 2007 Candy Expo at McCormick Place. The name Big Mo’ is a play off Earnhardt Jr.’s hometown of Mooresville, NC., and the longtime moniker used for he and his closest friends, the Dirty Mo’ Posse. The milk chocolate candy bar will come in two flavors – creamy caramel and peanut butter. It is scheduled to hit stores nationwide in January 2008. Known for its seasonal novelty candies, R.M. Palmer Co. has been specializing in traditional holiday candies since 1948, but this is the first of its product line to be a milk chocolate everyday candy bar. To coincide the announcement of the Big Mo’ bar, R.M. Palmer Company is launching the “Big Mo’ment with Dale Jr.” sweepstakes [more info on my Contest Page](JR Motorpsorts PR)(9-19-2007)
  • Wimmer to attempt Cup race: Scott Wimmer will attempt to qualify for his second Cup Series race of the season at Dover International Speedway, giving RCR four entries in the Dodge Dealers 400. Wimmer was behind the wheel of the #33 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, where he started 22nd and finished 33rd after being involved in an incident on pit road. The #33 Chevy will be sponsored by Holiday Inn and will be crewed by RCR’s #2 Busch Series team and crew chief Dan Deeringhoff.(RCR PR)(9-19-2007)
  • Hornish to attempt Dover: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #06 Penske Truck Rental Dodge Avenger, will attempt to make his Nextel Cup Series debut at Dover International Speedway on Sunday in the Car of Tomorrow. This is Hornish’s inaugural appearance at the 1-mile concrete oval. Although Hornish’s 2008 plans have not been finalized, the 28-year-old is determined to qualify for each of the four remaining COT races, including two additional Car of Yesterday events, with Roy McCauley leading the charge.(Penske Racing PR)(9-19-2007)
  • Goodyear Kicks Off Two-Day Car of Tomorrow Test At DIS: The future arrived at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday as Goodyear kicked off a two-day Car of Tomorrow tire test with five Nextel Cup Series teams in preparation for the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 17. Drivers that participating in the test include #11-Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing), #38-David Gilliland (Yates Racing), #40-David Stremme (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), #55-Mark Green subbing for Michael Waltrip (Michael Waltrip Racing) and #07-Clint Bowyer (Richard Childress Racing). Rain slowed the first day of testing, which Goodyear is using to test different tire compounds and structures. The morning session of the test was rained out but the teams got on the track just after noon. Intermittent rain showers did slow the afternoon session. This isn’t the first time the Car of Tomorrow has been on track at “The World Center of Racing.” Earlier this year during Preseason Thunder testing, Penske drivers Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman shook down their Dodges for a few laps. The Goodyear tire test with the Car of Tomorrow continues on Wednesday and is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through The Daytona 500 Experience motorsports attraction. NASCAR tickets for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 and other DIRECTV Speedweeks 2008 events are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(9-19-2007)
  • Labonte To Make 500th Consecutive Start: This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team head to the one-mile, banked Dover International Speedway for Sunday’s Dodge Dealers 400. Labonte will be making his 500th consecutive start this weekend [the 9th most all-time, see my MISC Stats page for the list.(MCG Sports/Petty Racing PR)(9-19-2007)
  • Lathram lawsuit settlement reached: Tracy Lathram, whose husband Scott Lathram died in the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash in October 2004 near Martinsville, Va., has settled her lawsuit against Hendrick Motorsports and the government. All sides had agreed to a settlement in June, and it was approved Tuesday in U.S. District Court in North Carolina. The confidential agreement ends all of Lathram’s claims against both Hendrick and the air-traffic controllers. It doesn’t end Hendrick’s request that the government be held at least partially responsible and contribute to any judgments, according to court documents.(SceneDaily.com)(9-19-2007)
  • Special Scheme for Kenseth at Dover UPDATE: #17-Matt Kenseth is scheduled to run a DeWALT / NANO Technologies special paint scheme at Dover on September 23rd. See an image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(9-17-2007)
    UPDATE: This weekend, the #17 Ford Fusion will be painted black and carrying the DEWALT NANO Technology logo. NANO Technology is a proprietary technology from DEWALT that delivers to the user longer cycle life, lighter weight, greater performance, and an expanded system of tool offerings.(Roush Fenway Racing)(9-19-2007)
  • The Daytona 500 Champions Chat Series Delivered by UPS will launch Sept. 19 as part of the celebration of the 50th running of the Daytona 500. Fans can log on to daytona500.com/upschat or racing.ups.com to participate in online chat sessions with their favorite race winners and seeing the chat schedule thru Jan 30, 2008, while getting free access to additional multimedia content about each driver and the Daytona 500. Mario Andretti is the first driver on Sept 19th.(9-19-2007)
  • Dale Jr. in the #88 Mountain Dew/AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy in 2008: It was announced at a press conference in Dallas, TX, that Dale Earnhardt Jr., who announced in May he would leave the #8 DEI Chevy, then in June he would drive for Hendrick Motorsports, and Rick Hendrick announced Earnhardt Jr. would drive the #88 Chevy with sponsorship Mountain Dew / AMP Energy Drink / Army National Guard in 2008. Dale Jr. thanked Robert and Doug Yates for working with him to get the #88.(ESPNEWS/SPEED press conference coverage), will post the press releases, images and transcripts as they are available during the day. Added a video capture of an image of the cars on my Paint Scheme Gallery.(9-19-2007)


    News from September 18, 2007

  • Budweiser to sponsor Kahne and #9 in 2008: Budweiser announced Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne will become the next world-class racer to take the wheel of the iconic red Budweiser car when the 2008 Sprint Cup season kicks off in February. “Budweiser has a long and storied history with NASCAR and some of its most successful drivers. We’re excited about Kasey’s ability to add to that outstanding lineage,” said Tony Ponturo, vice president, global media and sports marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “Along with team owners George Gillett and Ray Evernham, we feel the pieces are in place for the #9 Budweiser Dodge to contend for NASCAR Sprint Cup championships for years to come.”
    “The fan in me is thrilled because driving for Budweiser is the kind of opportunity you dream of when you break into this sport. I’m excited about getting behind the wheel of a car that’s been driven by some of the best this sport has seen,” said Kahne, who has seven wins, 31 top-fives and 46 top-10s in three and a half years on the Cup circuit. “We’ll be out to win races and championships, and everyone involved with our organization feels we can do that.”
    “If Kasey’s proven anything in his young career it’s that he has the talent to be one of our sport’s most consistent winners,” said Gillett Evernham Motorsports co-owner Evernham.
    “He’s already one of the most popular drivers on the circuit and only stands to benefit more from Budweiser’s track record for helping develop drivers with sponsorship activation that’s second to none,” added Gillett.
    Budweiser first sponsored a team on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series circuit in 1983, and in 1998, Budweiser became the “Official Beer of NASCAR,” cementing the brand’s place among stock car racing’s elite sponsors. Budweiser is also the sponsor of the Bud Pole Award in all NASCAR divisions, the title sponsor of the annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, the exclusive beer and malt beverage advertiser of the Daytona 500, and the “Official Beer Sponsor” of Daytona International Speedway, the Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400.(GEM PR) added a few images of the car to my Paint Scheme Gallery.(9-18-2007)
  • #00 team to lose sponsors? hearing that Burger King and Domino’s Pizza will not return to the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota in 2008, no word if one of the other or both will sponsor another team in 2008. David Reutimann is the current driver of the #00, but could be headed to another team in 2008 or could return to MWR with another sponsor.(9-18-2007)
  • Red Bull Racing could be switching manufacturers: As the Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship moves to Dover International Speedway Sunday there are negotiations taking place that seem to have slipped under the radar of most garage watchers. Sun Media has been told that Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz has been in discussions to switch manufacturers from Toyota next year. Those in the know say that Mateschitz has been deeply disappointed about the results of both the #83 and #84 Red Bull Toyotas in the team’s inaugural Cup season. And he is not pointing the finger at either A.J. Allmendinger or Brian Vickers. The general feeling among team members is that Toyota has not stepped up with the kind of technological and engineering support that the team expected when it signed on with the Japanese auto giant. With Chevrolet losing Joe Gibbs Racing to Toyota next year, there certainly is room for Red Bull to fill that void in the Bow Tie brigade.(Toronto Sun), however, as of Sept 4th, Elton Sawyer, Team Red Bull’s competition director, said the team would stay with Toyota, see my #83 Team News and Links page for past news on this.(9-18-2007)
  • More testing at Nashville: Busch East Driver Joey Logano is testing the #20 and #11 Chevy Car of Tomorrow for Joe Gibbs Racing at Nashville Superspeedway. The two day test, Tuesday, September 18 and Wednesday, September 19 will be gathering information for Dover and Kansas.(NSS PR)(9-18-2007)
  • Ambrose not to race Cup at Dover..to take a raincheck: Marcos Ambrose has chosen family over money, turning down the chance to compete in this weekend’s Nextel Cup race in Delaware [Dover]. The former V8 Supercar champion was entered to drive a #77 Robby Gordon Motorsport Ford at the race at Dover International Speedway. The deal was meant as a payback after Ambrose and Gordon clashed in the Montreal Busch Series race. However Ambrose has rescheduled his deal with Gordon as his wife Sonja is expecting the couple’s second child this weekend. “We’ll try and hook up down the road,” Ambrose said yesterday. Ambrose will have a private plane on stand-by to make sure he can rush home to North Carolina as soon as his racing commitments finish. Despite his delay getting to Nextel Cup, Ambrose has the support of Ford and is expected to move to the series at least part-time next year while still driving in the Busch Series. Any deal to move up to the Nextel Cup would come with his current team, Wood Brothers/JTG Racing.(Herald-Sun)(9-18-2007)
  • TV Ratings for NHIS overnight vs. fast national: ABC drew a 3.3 fast national rating for its Sylvania 300 telecast Sunday from New Hampshire International Speedway, according to the network. Households (3,676,000) were up 7% from last year when the race was shown on cable (TNT).(SceneDaily.com)
    AND Coverage of the first leg of the Chase For the Nextel Cup drew a surprisingly low numbers on Sunday afternoon. The Sylvania 300 drew a 2.8 overnight on ABC; there is no comparison to last year’s numbers available, as the 2006 edition of the race aired on cable [was on TNT with a 3.0 cable rating, approx 5 million viewers]. The 2.8 is not only the lowest overnight for a regularly scheduled Nextel Cup race this season (on broadcast or cable), but it is also the lowest overnight for NASCAR on network television since at least 2004. The 2.8 rating put NASCAR behind NFL telecasts on FOX and CBS, and behind the final round of the Tour Championship on NBC, the final leg of the PGA Tour Playoffs. Last year, eight Chase for the Cup races on NBC averaged a 4.0 overnight rating. Prior to Sunday, no Chase for the Cup race on network television had drawn less than a 3.4 overnight.(sportsmediawatch/Sports Business Daily-Sub needed)(9-18-2007)
  • Park to run Busch East race at Dover: former Cup driver Steve Park will be behind the wheel for the Dover Busch East event, piloting the #53 Waste Management car for NDS Motorsports on Friday, September 21st.(Steve Park site)(9-18-207)
  • MWR hires Techincal Director, open to partner: Michael Waltrip hired Dr. Eric Warren as technical director, the first of many moves he hopes will strengthen his three-car team. Warren, who has a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from North Carolina State University, spent the last five years as technical director at Evernham Motorsports. He was replaced midway through this season as team owner Ray Evernham refocused his energy on building cars to help his slumping team. Warren’s hiring fills a role that has been vacant at Michael Waltrip Racing since he began hiring late last season. “It was a job we wanted to fill when we first started, but we didn’t feel like the right person was available to choose from,” Waltrip told The Associated Press on Monday. “Eric is a special dude. He’ll help us out immensely.” As more and more team owners take on partners and look at mergers as a prudent way to maintain the company, Waltrip said he’s not ruled out taking on investors. But he doesn’t want to sell majority ownership of his team, and is only interested in an equal partnership that would allow him to continue the vision he has for MWR. “I’ve certainly had a lot of people come to me saying, `We want to invest in you.’ But it ends up sounding like they want to take over,” he said. “That doesn’t interest me. A true partner would interest me — half you, half me. You have your responsibility and I have mine. There’s a lot of people that are interested in our sport, and I’ll just hopefully keep improving our product and if someone is interested in being part of it, I’ll listen. But for me, today, right now, the right deal hasn’t come along.” Waltrip said he plans to field three Cup cars and a Busch team next season, and has verbal commitments for Jarrett and Reutimann to be behind the wheel. But he acknowledged there are no contracts finalized, but he’s moving forward as if all three will be back.(in part from AP/Yahoo Sports)(9-18-207)
  • New Jeff Gordon commercial: A Sprint Nextel commercial that debuts this month will feature #24-Jeff Gordon as a father and a husband, marking the first time since his wife gave birth that an ad refers to the NASCAR driver’s new family. “Behind the Legend,” a 30-second spot that will air on ABC, ESPN and Speed during Nextel Cup broadcasts and other NASCAR programming, depicts Gordon in the middle of a promotion when his cell phone rings. It’s his real-life wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, on the other end, telling Gordon that she needs diapers for baby Ella, who was born June 20. Gordon promises to comply and then continues with the promotion when the phone rings again. This time, Vandebosch tells Gordon with much greater urgency that she needs diapers — now. The spot closes with Sprint Nextel promotional offers that are tied to the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Vandebosch’s voice is used in the ad, but she does not appear. The spot was created by Goodby, Silverstein and Partners, San Francisco. It’s timed to run throughout the Chase, which began on Sunday at New Hampshire and runs through the season finale at Homestead-Miami in November. Sprint Nextel chose Gordon because he’s a four-time champion and he led the Nextel Cup points standings at the end of NASCAR’s regular season. “Jeff asked Ingrid if she wanted to do the ad,” said John Bickford, Gordon’s stepfather and manager of Jeff Gordon Inc. “She makes her own decisions, and she said that she’d do it.” The original script called for a female voice-over to be used in the spot, but Gordon insisted that Vandebosch’s voice be used instead.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(9-18-2007)
  • Levi Strauss, Johnson to end partnership? Levi Strauss has notified Hendrick Motorsports driver #48-Jimmie Johnson that it will not continue its personal services agreement with him beyond the 2007 Nextel Cup season, according to the SportsBusiness Journal. The company has been Johnson’s official apparel sponsor since 2004. Last fall, it announced a three-year contract with Johnson that was to run through the 2009 season. A corporate official told the SportsBusiness Journal that it would be going in a different direction than being the official jeans of the team.(SceneDaily.com)(9-18-2007)
  • Dr. Jerry Punch to Emcee Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony: Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame officials announced that Dr. Jerry Punch, lead announcer and host of ESPN/ABC sports coverage, will emcee the 2007 Induction Ceremony honoring Matt Kenseth and Terry Labonte. “I know how much my dear friend, the late Benny Parsons, loved being involved with this special evening,” Punch said. “I am extremely honored and privileged to be asked to emcee this event. I hope I can continue the passion that Benny brought to the induction ceremony; however, as we all know, there was only one Benny Parsons.” The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in downtown Talladega is both a focal point saluting NASCAR’s greatest names and a tribute to one of racing’s brightest stars – the late Davey Allison. Developed in 1994, the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame has inducted one active driver and up to two inactive drivers since 1995 based on the fans’ vote chosen from a ballot of nominees selected by strict guidelines.(TSS PR)(9-18-2007)
  • Paul Brooks To Lead NASCAR’s Charlotte, N.C. Office: NASCAR announced that effective immediately, Paul Brooks, senior vice president for NASCAR, will take over day-to-day responsibilities for NASCAR’s Charlotte, N.C. offices and will lead efforts for the creation of the NASCAR Media Group. All broadcasting, new media, licensing and consumer products, automotive aftermarket, and publishing departments will report to Brooks. Brooks, who continues to serve as president of NASCAR Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment, will supervise the creation of the NASCAR Media Group, a merger of NASCAR Images, NASCAR Digital Entertainment and other affiliated content groups. Brooks will serve as president of the new NASCAR Media Group and NASCAR Broadcasting and will continue to report to NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. NASCAR Media Group will be a rights management, content production, distribution and entertainment company designed to grow exposure, media and content opportunities for the entire sport, while also helping to best serve the public relations and media industry that covers NASCAR worldwide. Brooks’ current responsibilities in the areas of public relations, public affairs and diversity will shift to Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps.(NASCAR PR)(9-18-2007)


    News from September 17, 2007

  • #07 is the 100th car number to win: when Clint Bowyer won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday, Sept 16, 2007, it was the first Cup win ever for a car number 07, being the 100th different car number [as far as I can calculate] that has won in the Cup series. It was also Clint Bowyer’s first Cup Series win. For more on car numbers, see my Wins by Car Numbers page.(9-17-2007)
  • 18 drivers have now won in all 3 national series: with #07-Clint Bowyers first career Nextel Cup win at New Hampshire, there now have been 18 drivers whow have won at least one race in each of the three national series: Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck Series. Mark Martin has the most combined wins with 89 [35 Cup, 47 Busch, 7 Trucks]. See my Misc Stats page for the list.(9-17-2007)
  • Testing at Nashville: Ganassi Racing tested a Car of Tomorrow at Nashville Superspeedway on Monday, September 17. Kevin Hamlin was the driver. Joe Gibbs Racing is schedule to test at Nashville Superspeedway on September 18 and September 19.(NSS PR)(9-17-2007)
  • Kenny Wallace back in the #88 at Dover: Kenny Wallace will be driving the #88 Snickers Ford at Dover, Ricky [Rudd] told Friday the team he won’t be healed enough by Dover to race. After that it is still a race by race decision, making sure Rudd is healed enough not to put himself in a worse position in case of another accident.(Kennywallace.com)(9-17-2007)
  • Franchitti to test ARCA car at ‘Dega: There still hasn’t been an official announcement about NASCAR but Dario Franchitti will be testing one of Chip Ganassi’s stock cars at Talladega later this month in preparation for the ARCA race on Oct. 5. “That’s the plan,” said Ganassi on Sunday night. “There’s an open test on Sept. 27th so we’ll run that and then come back for the race.” Ganassi didn’t elaborate on Franchitti’s future but the 2007 Indy 500 and IRL champion is expected to be named as the full-time Cup driver of Ganassi’s No. 40 car later this week. Running the high-banked superspeedway in Alabama would give Franchitti a taste of what to expect next February at Daytona. It’s believed the 34-year-old Scotsman, whose open-wheel career in the United States began in 1997 in CART, has signed a five-year contract to run in NASCAR’s premier series. And that goes against Franchitti’s style of signing only one-year contracts.(SPEEDtv.com)(9-17-2007)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Sylvania 300
    Total number of commercials: 80 (in 2006: 130)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 58 (in 2006: 79)
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 14 (in 2006: 21)
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 09/16/07: 2:01 PM (in 2006: 1:24 PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 09/16/07: 5:11 PM (in 2006: 4:47 PM)
    Total minutes: 190 (in 2006: 203)
    Minutes of race broadcast: 145 (in 2006: 140)
    Minutes of commercials: 45 (in 2006: 63)
    Number of missed restarts – 1 (in 2006: 0)
    Total race brdcst time: 145 Total comm. brdcst time: 45
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(9-17-2007)
  • Drivers May Test with New Teams at Atlanta: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and J.J. Yeley both know they’ll be with new teams next year, and both know where they’re headed, but they can’t escape their contracts until season’s end. There’s a possibility they could get a chance to at least test with their future teams in a few weeks, when there’s an open trial at Atlanta, though a series of dominos would have to fall if that’s to happen. Yeley hopes to test the #96 car that Tony Raines currently rides, which would allow his eventual replacement, Kyle Busch, to steer the Interstate Batteries Chevy, but in order for that to take place Earnhardt would have to be allowed to take Busch’s seat in a Hendrick Motorsports machine. Whether that’ll happen, however, remains in question. Dale Earnhardt, Inc. president Teresa Earnhardt has already said Regan Smith will test with Junior’s current team at Atlanta, but hasn’t yet released her stepson to test with Hendrick, so the whole equation may break down and leave the lame ducks with their soon-to-be defunct teams. “The biggest domino is if Teresa will let Dale Jr. go drive for Hendrick,” Yeley said. “If that’ll happen, I think you’re going to see next year’s lineup four months in advance, but that comes down to Teresa.” (Concord Monitor)(9-16-2007)
  • Latest on Hornish to NASCAR: UPDATE: If all goes better than it did on this crisp September day, [Sam Hornish & Crew Chief Roy McCauley] will be together permanently at Penske Racing when the 2008 season begins at Daytona. “It’s a good match right now,” McCauley said. “Obviously, I had a situation that took me away from it. I can help him a lot and give him an opportunity to have good experience around him and have a great crew around him. We’ll go from there. I can’t predict anything. And I don’t like predicting anything.” Predictions aside, it’s a safe bet to say Hornish is planning to drive a full schedule. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be trying to make all five Car of Tomorrow races and possibly two others over the final 10 Cup events of this season. “I can’t say that there’s no possibility that we’d do it, because we wouldn’t be over here doing this if there wasn’t,” Hornish said with a smile. “I look at it as a new challenge.” But Hornish remained firm that he’s split down the middle on whether to run Cup or return to the IRL next season.(ESPN.com)(9-15-2007)
    UPDATE: Team owner Roger Penske says his gut tells him he wants to move Indy Racing League driver Sam Hornish from the Indy Racing League to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing next season. Penske said there is a chance that Hornish could be entered in another race after he missing NHIS. “Every bit of track time he can get will only make him better if he runs,” Penske said. Penske could move some resources from his part-time Busch Series team for his third Nextel Cup team. He said with the difference in the Busch car compared to the car of tomorrow, there is little information that can be transferred from one to the other.(SceneDaily.com)(9-17-2007)
  • Stewart Will Wait on Contract Extension: #20-Tony Stewart just wants to concentrate on trying to win a third Cup title and not worry about a contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing – for now. “I’m not even going to work on it any more until this season is over – seriously,” said Stewart, whose current contract runs through the 2009 season. With Gibbs switching next season from Chevrolets to Toyotas, there has been some speculation that General Motors would try to get Stewart back on one of its teams in 2010, but Stewart has been outwardly supportive of the change. For now, Stewart said he just wants to focus on the next 10 races.(Canadian Press/Associated Press)(9-17-2007)
  • Court papers confirm AT&T-NASCAR settlement: NASCAR, AT&T and Sprint have filed paperwork in U.S. District Court in Atlanta confirming they have settled the lawsuit over logos on the #31 Richard Childress Racing car. All sides announced Sept. 8 that a settlement had been reached, allowing the AT&T logos on the Jeff Burton car through the end of the 2008 season. AT&T, which had a deal to sponsor Burton through 2010, cannot sponsor a Cup car beyond 2008. The paperwork was filed with the court Sept. 14. No terms were part of the filing, although it indicated that each side would pay its own costs and attorney fees.(SceneDaily.com)(9-17-2007)
  • Nextel FanView to Carry Live Original Content from ESPN and Speed: Sprint Nextel and NASCAR announced an initiative that will bring Nextel Cup Series fans even closer to the action through NASCAR Nextel FanView. Beginning at New Hampshire International Speedway, NASCAR Nextel FanView devices will carry live broadcasts of ESPN’s “NASCAR Now” and Speed’s “NASCAR Trackside” throughout each Nextel Cup Series race weekend. In addition, Speed also will provide recent episodes of “Survival of the Fastest” and “Inside Nextel Cup” to enhance NASCAR Nextel FanView’s content during non-active track periods.(Trading Markets)(9-17-2007)
  • Kahne and Bud…a done deal? UPDATE 4 Allstate?: hearing #9-Kasey Kahne has already signed with Budweiser, an announcement could be coming in the next couple of weeks.(8-3-2007)
    UPDATE: Kasey Kahne said a deal with sponsor Budweiser would be “awesome,” but that nothing has been signed yet. An Internet report on Friday said Budweiser had signed with Evernham Motorsports to be Kahne’s primary sponsor beginning in 2008. “I’ve been in some conversations, so I’d say it’s closer if they bring a driver into conversations,” Kahne said Saturday at Pocono Raceway. “And it went really well. But as far as anything signed, there’s nothing signed that I know of.”(SceneDaily.com)(8-4-2007)
    UPDATE 2: GEM and Kahne to announce sponsor on Tuesday: Gillett Evernham Motorsports has finalized a multi-year sponsorship for driver Kasey Kahne and the #9 Dodge. Gillett Evernham Motorsports principals George Gillett and Ray Evernham will make the formal announcement during a press conference at the team’s shop in Statesville, N.C. on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2007. NASCAR fans can visit the Web sites of Gillett Evernham Motorsports (www.evernhammotorsports.com) and Kasey Kahne (www.kaseykahne.com) to watch a live Webcast of the press conference.(Career Sports Entertainment PR)
    UPDATE 3: As expected, Budweiser will become the primary sponsor for Kasey Kahne and the #9 Dodge in 2008, sources confirmed Thursday. The deal for Budweiser to sponsor Kahne has been in the works for more than two months. GEM officials first had to make sure Dodge representatives were OK with the change. The Dodge dealers sponsor two GEM cars — Kahne and the #19 driven by Elliott Sadler. Finalizing the deal with Budweiser also took longer than expected because all the parties had to agree on the percentages for licensing revenues.(ESPN.com)(9-14-2007)
    UPDATE 4: The fact Kasey Kahne will drive a Budweiser-sponsored Dodge in 2008 is old news. What’s interesting is that the #9 won’t be red in every race. In fact, sometimes it may be blue. Sources close to negotiations told ESPN.com on Sunday that one of Kahne’s current sponsors, likely Allstate, would serve as primary sponsor in “a couple of races.” (Which races the blue car would run was not known.) That would be a significant move; Anheuser-Busch isn’t apt to offer up the hood of its car to another sponsor. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has driven several different paint schemes during his eight full Nextel Cup seasons in the #8. But they all were Budweiser-sponsored. Kahne chose not to comment on the speculation Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway. Kahne’s team is the latest to move to multiple primary sponsorships. Given the hefty sum of money required to be competitive, more and more teams are divvying up primary sponsorships to more than one company.(ESPN.com)(9-17-2007)

News from September 16, 2007

  • Yates needs sponsors in 2008: Robert Yates Racing [Yates Racing in 2008] needs two new sponsors to replace Snickers on the #88 [with a new car # and Travis Kvapil as the driver] and M&M’s on the #38 of David Gilliland.(SPEEDtv.com)(9-16-2007)
  • Latest on the GEM-Petty merger: A possible merger between Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Enterprises would benefit both teams from a competition standpoint, Petty vice president of racing operations Robbie Loomis said Saturday. In a season of mergers, GEM and Petty are just the latest to talk about combining their teams and resources. From Loomis’ view on the competition side, sharing engineering would only help. Loomis pointed to the agreement between Roush Fenway Racing and Yates Racing – in which the teams will share information, cars and motors – as one that might work for Petty and GEM. “I think that’s the same thing we’re trying,” he said. “The model of the sport has been created by NASCAR, the framework has been set with the rules. And now we’re trying to figure out how to make Petty Enterprises bigger and larger.” Petty already gets its engines from GEM. Evernham, who is focused more on the racing and less on the business since selling a majority share of his company to George Gillett, said he would welcome the opportunity to work with the Pettys and “especially Bobby Labonte.” “There’s obviously discussions going on,” he said. “I don’t know exactly where they’re at. … I think it would be a good thing for both organizations.” Loomis said in the year and a half since he returned to the Petty organization, he’d been approached by three or four teams about doing various deals with the 43 car in particular. “That’s what everybody is interested in, they’re interested in the Petty brand and the 43,” he said. “It’s such a clean thing. You look at the things with Kyle Petty and Victory Junction Gang [Camp] and everything they stand for, their worth is worth a lot more than what’s on the race track. And what I want to do is make sure we’ve got the money and the tools to operate on the race track. Right now we’re operating on half to a third of the budget that the big teams are operating on, so I want to make sure that we’re going to get the money and the financing to carry the company forward and take it to the next level while we still keep what I call the ‘P’ in the Petty – the things off the track that makes Petty feel good.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-16-2007)
  • Brewco Busch Team Could Run Some Cup Races in 2008: Former track Gary Baker has purchased controlling interest in Brewco Motorsports Busch team and intends to move the team to Nashville, Tenn., possibly by the end of the year. Baker is the former owner of the track now known as Bristol Motor Speedway as well as the short track in Nashville. [Brewco President Todd] Wilkerson said Baker plans other changes and wants to put one driver in each car for the full season in 2008 instead of multiple drivers in each car. Wilkerson also said the team could run four or five Sprint Cup races in 2008.(SceneDaily.com)(9-16-2007)
  • Bowyer wins at NHIS: #07-Clint Bowyer won the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway from the pole for the first win of his career in 64 races. He dominated most of the race, leading 222 laps on the day. #24-Gordon finished 2nd, followed by #20-Stewart, #5-Busch, #1-Truex, Jr., #48-Johnson, #17-Kenseth, #25-Mears, #12-Newman, and #18-Yeley. Other chase contenders: #99-Edwards was 11th, #11-Hamlin 15th, #29-Harvick 18th, #31-Burton 18th, and #2-Busch 25th. There were 7 cautions for 27 laps and 9 drivers led the race with 13 lead changes.

    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 NHIS Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-16-2007)

  • The Chase Standings [after NHIS, race 27]:
    1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5210
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon 5210
    3) #20-Tony Stewart 5200 -10
    4) #07-Clint Bowyer 5195 -15
    5) #5-Kyle Busch 5175 -35
    6) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 5170 -40
    7) #17-Matt Kenseth 5156 -54
    8) #99-Carl Edwards 5147 -63
    9) #11-Denny Hamlin 5128 -82
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 5122 -88
    11) #31-Jeff Burton 5119 -91
    12) #2-Kurt Busch 5108 -102
    For driver/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points page.(9-16-2007)
  • Unofficial “Classic” Driver Points Standings after New Hampshire [27 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points…the old way, not the Chase)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 4019
    2) #20-Tony Stewart 3707 -312
    3) #11-Denny Hamlin 3608 -411
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3589 -430
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth 3576 -443
    6) #99-Carl Edwards 3499 -520
    7) #5-Kyle Busch 3467 -552
    8) #31-Jeff Burton 3437 -582
    9) #07-Clint Bowyer 3374 -645
    10) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 3320 -699
    11) #29-Kevin Harvick 3267 -752
    12) #2-Kurt Busch 3248 -771
    13) #8-Earnhardt Jr. 3074 -945
    14) #12-Newman 3033 -986
    (9-16-2007)
  • Ramblings – New Hampshire:
    Clint Bowyer gets his first-ever Nextel Cup victory today in the Sylvania 300 at New Hamphshire International Speedway….and a more boring race you may never see!
    I guess this race was really over on Friday when Bowyer grabbed the pole, cause there sure wasn’t any passing today. Bowyer led 222 of the 300 circuits to take his initial victory in his 64th career start….becoming the 4th first-timer of the season (Casey Mears, Martin Truex Jr, and Juan Pablo Montoya preceded him).
    In becoming the 15th different winner this season, Bowyer gets win #86 for Richard Childress, and is now tied for 116th on the all-time win list. We had 13 different drivers win last season and 15 in 2005.
    Bowyer also becomes the first Chase competitor to get his first win during the Chase….and it was worth $259,175 from the over $5.3M in posted awards.
    Jeff Gordon (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up when we were here in July.
    Casey Mears (8th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Chicagoland in July.
    Jamie McMurray (11th) had his best finish since he won at Daytona in July.
    Joe Nemechek (29th) had his best finish since he was 29th at Chicagoland in July.
    STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races. Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
    The Rookie Report: David Ragan (19th) captures this award for the 12th time this season….he now leads Juan Pablo Montoya 12-11 in this category. He was followed by Montoya (23rd), Paul Menard (24th), David Reutimann (26th), and A. J. Allmendinger (33rd).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Matt Kenseth (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-31), followed by Dave Blaney (-25), Kurt Busch (-22), and Regan Smith (-20). Kenseth has been Op five times already this season…..our leader in the “Shaft”.
    We’ve got a tie at the top of the Chase points as Jeff Gordon made up those 20 points on his teammate Jimmie Johnson today. Kurt Busch plummets to the basement.
    In “Classic” Points, Gordon keeps that 312 margin over Tony Stewart. Reed Sorenson (25th to 23rd) made the best move forward today, while Kurt Busch (10th to 12th) and the absent Mark Martin (24th to 26th) were the only multiple position movers in the negative direction.(Stock Car Fans)(9-16-2007)
  • New Hampshire Fast Facts:
    .. Clint Bowyer won the Sylvania 300, his first victory in 64 NASCAR Nextel Series races.
    .. This is his 13th top-10 finish in 2007.
    .. Bowyer became the fourth first-time race winner this season, joining Casey Mears, Martin Truex Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya.
    .. Bowyer became the 18th driver to post victories in all three of NASCAR’s top series.
    .. This is his first top-10 finish in four races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
    .. Jeff Gordon (second) posted his16th top-five finish of 2007 and his 15th top-10 finish in 26 races at New Hampshire.
    .. Tony Stewart (third) posted his 11th top-10 finish in 18 races at New Hampshire.
    .. David Ragan (19th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. Jimmie Johnson is tied with Jeff Gordon in championship points, both with 5,210 points, Johnson holds the number one position based on the tiebreaker of six wins to Gordon’s four.
    .. This is the fourth straight time that the first Chase race has been won by a Chase driver.(NASCAR Statistics)(9-16-2007)
  • RCR still looking for 4th car sponsor, no driver signed: Richard Childress Racing has extended its own internal deadline to land a sponsor for its proposed fourth car until the end of this month. A team source at Richard Childress Racing said Saturday that contrary to Internet rumors making the rounds, the team has not signed David Reutimann and has nothing definite on a possible fourth car.(SPEEDtv.com)
    AND: David Reutimann expects to get a contract proposal from Michael Waltrip Racing by early next week, but he didn’t rule out going to another team. “It’s an option,” he said of re-signing with MWR. “It’s a solid option. But I haven’t seen the proposal yet. “Reutimann would not expand on his options, but said recent improvements at MWR don’t hurt the organization’s chances. Sponsorship issues with Burger King and Domino’s are the biggest question.(ESPN.com).(9-16-2007)


    News from September 15, 2007

  • Tragic News – Colin McRae: The police has confirmed the identity of the victims in the helicopter crash involving former World Rally Champion Colin McRae near the Scot’s own estate in the UK on Friday afternoon. Besides the 39-year-old rally star, his five-year-old son Johnny and two family friends, 27-year-old Graeme Duncan and six-year-old Ben Porcelli, have also been killed. McRae’s helicopter came down in Jerviswood, Lanarkshire, half a mile from the family’s home and burst into flames just after 4 p.m. on Friday. Jean-Eric Freudiger, McRae’s agent, confirmed to London’s The Times that the 39-year-old driver had been piloting the helicopter himself. McRae is survived by wife Alison and their daughter Hollie, 9. An aggressive driver whose flamboyant style had earned him fans worldwide, McRae won the 1995 world rally title driving for Subaru. Despite clinching that crown a single time, the Scot was one of the winningest drivers in the sport’s history with 25 event wins. He had been out of a full-time WRC ride since the end of the ’03 season, but remained active as a driver in a series of one-offs and guest appearances ranging from the X-Games’ rallying competition to the Goodwood Festival of Speed to the WRC itself, where he was drafted by Skoda for two events in ’05 and replaced and injured Sebastien Loeb for one round last year. Recently, McRae had revealed he was working on a deal to return to full-time WRC competition next year.(SPEEDtv.com)(9-15-2007)
  • Pony Cars Coming To Busch Series? NASCAR hopes to inject new life into its Busch Series by changing the types of cars raced, beginning as early as 2009, according to multiple sources familiar with the project. If plans go according to schedule, the next-generation Busch Series cars will be Chevy Camaros, Dodge Challengers, Ford Mustangs and an as-yet-to-be named Toyota model, sources said. Ford overhauled the Mustang as a 1960s-retro model in 2005, to positive critical and commercial results. Chevrolet and Dodge will release similarly retro-themed Camaros and Challengers, respectively, by the 2009 model year. The Mustang, Camaro and Challenger all are two-door coupes with rear-wheel drive and available V-8 engines, a hugely popular combination in the halcyon days of 1960s muscle cars. A switch to these cars – plus whichever model Toyota chooses to campaign – would make a huge amount of sense, as it would help the Busch Series have its own distinct identity apart from Nextel Cup and help remove the stigma of the series as “Cup Lite,” as some call it now. Sources familiar with the project said NASCAR has discussed the idea of switching cars with the manufacturers and has received a positive reception for the idea.(SPEEDtv.com)(9-15-2007)
  • Dale Jr. re-signs with Wrangler: As far as the Wrangler brand is concerned, whether or not to re-sign Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the 2008 season was not a difficult decision. Today, Dale Jr. confirmed the feeling was mutual by re-signing as an endorsee for the Wrangler brand. The denim icon will continue its tie-in with Earnhardt Jr. and follow him to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. For a fifth consecutive season, the Wrangler logo will once again proudly appear on his soon-to-be-announced car and race suit. “When a company like Wrangler acknowledges relationships and history, it really means something,” said Dale Jr. “That’s why they continue to be a really special sponsor for us. I’m proud to have them back and am looking forward to seeing that Wrangler logo on my car again next year.” The Wrangler brand, the official jeans of Dale Earnhardt Jr., is long respected for comfortable, durable and affordable jeans, pants, shorts and shirts and is available at value-minded retailers nationwide. For more information visit www.wrangler.com.(VF/Wrangler PR)(9-15-2007)
  • NASCAR may give “regular-season” bonus in the future: NASCAR is considering creating a reward for the winner of the “regular season” in response to the huge points lead Jeff Gordon built before the Chase for the championship. NASCAR chairman Brian France said earlier this week he is willing to explore the idea of rewarding the driver who is leading the points at the end of the 26th race of the season. Gordon built a lead of more than 300 points, but lost all of it when the field was reset this week for the Chase for the championship. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Friday that the sanctioning body will discuss the issue during the offseason. Among the ideas being kicked around are awarding additional bonus points to be used in the seeding, more prize money or a trophy different from the Nextel Cup.(Associated Press/Yahoo Sports)(9-15-2007)
  • Hendrick Engines for #78 team: During Nextel Cup qualifying on ESPN2 Friday, Dr. Jerry Punch stated that, effective last week in Richmond, the #78 team is now using Hendrick engines.(9-15-2007)
  • The King to receive NCMA Award: The North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) will host its second annual awards banquet on January 31, 2008, when it will present Richard Petty with the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award for his lifetime accomplishments in motorsports and contributions to the state of North Carolina. “King” Richard’s seven NASCAR Cup Series championships, seven Daytona 500 victories and 200 career wins make Petty, statistically, the top driver in NASCAR history. However, what he has accomplished for the sport and the state of North Carolina off the track are equally notable. Born in Level Cross, N.C., where he still lives and works and where he has raised a family, Petty has truly made a difference as a leader in his community, and his service to others is unrivaled in many ways. The NCMA will also honor the outstanding achievement of individuals and organizations that have a significant impact on the North Carolina motorsports industry. Companies are nominated for 10 awards in seven distinct categories including education, diversity, marketing, economic development, safety innovations, event facilities and manufacturers & suppliers. Award nominations begin September 15, and nominees will be evaluated by the NCMA Awards Nomination Committee. The three finalists chosen for each award by the Nominations Committee will be announced at the Association’s annual luncheon on November 5. More info at motorsportsnc.org(NCMA PR)(9-15-2007)
  • Cup Practices Rained Out Saturday: Persistant rain at NHIS washed out all on track action for the Nextel Cup Series Saturday. CTS qualifying was also rained out. Weather is not expected to not be an issue Sunday for the race.(9-15-2007)
  • Rachtman taking the week off from racing: For the past few years Riki Rachtman has been all over NASCAR media. From weekly appearances on SPEED’s “NASCAR Raceday” , his own radio show “Racing Rocks“, and host of 24/7 Live on NASCAR.com. This weekend Riki will miss the first race of the 2007 season to stay in Hollywood to host VH1’s “Rock of Love Reunion Special” This is one of the highest rated shows on the music channel. It follows Poisons Bret Michael’s trying to find love among a bevy of beautiful rock chicks. Riki will be back to the track at Dover.(9-15-2007)


    News from September 14, 2007

  • No #25 for Jr. at Hendrick UPDATE: #88? Q) Will The Owner Points For The #5 And #25 Stay In Place Where They Are In 2008?
    A) Rick Hendrick: “Yes, they’ll stay like they are. Casey will move over to the #5 car and that’s the only that will change there and the number will change on the #25.”
    Q) Do You Already Know What Number and Sponsor Dale Jr. will have and can you reveal it?
    A) Rick Hendrick: “It’s not going to be the #8. Nor the #25. And the sponsorship, hopefully in the next two weeks we’ll be able to announce that and the number at the same time. We hope that’s going to be probably something with the #8 [such as 81,58,82,38,28] in it but we really don’t even have that locked in right now. That’s a true story.”(GM Racing PR)(9-8-2007)
    UPDATE: Hendrick said he’d like to find a number that includes an 8 for Earnhardt, and the team has applied for trademarks on the 28, 38, 51, 58, 81 and 82.(Associated Press), the #28 is new, seems an odd choice…but.
    AND on Sunday’s LTN Hour radio show, Travis Kavapil, who was recently named to run the #88 Yates Racing Ford in 2008, said he didn’t know what number the car would be, so that could free up the #88 for Dale Earnhardt Jr.(9-10-2007)
    UPDATE: Fans who liked watching Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #8 since he moved to the Nextel Cup series eight years ago will double their pleasure in 2008. Earnhardt will drive two stylized 8s next season for Hendrick Motorsports, sources told ESPN.com on Friday. Robert Yates Racing, sources said, has agreed to sell the #88 that Dale Jarrett drove to the 1999 championship.(ESPN.com)(9-14-2007)
  • Dodge statement regarding Kahne’s sponsor: Responding to the media advisory from Gillett Evernham Motorsports that a multi-year sponsorship agreement for Kasey Kahne and the #9 Dodge has been finalized and will be announced on Tuesday, Mike Accavitti, Director – Dodge Brand and SRT Marketing and Communications, issued the following statement: “When Dodge made its return to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2001 with Ray Evernham and Evernham Motorsports, a key component of the program was the sponsorship of the 9 and 19 by our Dodge Dealers. That partnership with Evernham Motorsports has produced significant on-track results and has been a viable platform for our dealer group to showcase the Dodge DNA of power and performance. During the past seven years, the Dodge family has grown to multiple teams with multi-car operations. That’s created new opportunities and challenges for Dodge as we focus on the future and our goal of winning races and competing for the championship in NASCAR’s premier series. Additional sponsorship support of the No. 9 Dodge Avenger, driven by Kasey Kahne, in 2008 gives Dodge the opportunity to redirect valuable resources toward the challenges facing all our teams. We welcome the new partnership and look forward to working with Gillett Evernham Motorsports toward the goal we share with all teams in the Dodge family, the Nextel Cup. This does not change our commitment to be the manufacturing leader in NASCAR’s premier series, win races and consistently contend for the Nextel Cup. We now have the opportunity to apply additional resources to areas that can directly impact the on-track performance of all our teams and expand marketing opportunities for our dealers.”(Dodge/ClearBlue PR)(9-14-2007)
  • Statement from NHLR on Yates/Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing: Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing, LLC was excited about its future plans with Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88] and were quite surprised by the announcement of Robert Yates’ retirement from racing and handing the team over to his son Doug. [They] wish Robert the very best in his retirement. At this time [they] are continuing to explore several exciting opportunities for the 2008 NASCAR season.(NHL Racing site)(9-14-2007)
  • Cheerios Race For Books Kicks Into High Gear: The Cheerios Race For Books program, which has already raised more than 300,000 books for children in need this season, is kicking into high gear for the last 10 races of the season. Cheerios and nonprofit partner First Book have already donated 43 books for every lap that Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team have completed this season. And beginning this weekend at the New Hampshire International Speedway, Cheerios and First Book will double the number of books they donate for every Top 10 finish the team achieves from now through the last race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18.(Petty Racing PR)(9-14-2007)
  • Tire Testing for the COT at Daytona on Tues-Wed: NASCAR Car of Tomorrow Goodyear tire testing for the 50th running of the Daytona 500 is scheduled to be run on Tuesday, Sept. 18 and Wednesday, Sept. 19th. Driviers expected to participate in the test are: #11-Denny Hamlin, #38-David Gilliland, #40-David Stremme, #55-Michael Waltrip and #07-Clint Bowyer.(DIS PR)(9-14-2007)
  • Testing at Kentucky Sept 17-19: a few Nextel Cup teams will test at Kentucky Speedway next week, Sept. 17-19th. #84-A.J. Allmendinger, #19-Elliot Sadler and #10-Scott Riggs are scheduled for Monday the 17th; Allmendinger and #7-Robby Gordon are scheduled for Tuesday and #43-Bobby Labonte is scheduled for Wed. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(9-14-2007)
  • Lumber Liquidators on the #16 at NHIS: On Sunday, Sept 16th, at the New Hampshire International Speedway, Lumber Liquidators will be the primary sponsor of the #16 Ford Fusion driven by Greg Biffle. In addition, Lumber Liquidators will celebrate its relationship with the Boston Red Sox by featuring the Red Sox logo on the Roush Fenway entry for the Sylvania 300. This is an extension of the partnership between the hardwood flooring retailer and Roush Fenway Racing; at the June 1 race at Loudon, Lumber Liquidators featured the Red Sox logo on the #99 Ford driven by Carl Edwards.(Lumber Liquidators PR), see an image of the #16 car on my #16 Team Schemes page and the #99 from July on my #99 Team Schemes page.(9-14-2007)
  • New Hampshire Goodyear Tire Notes: This is Goodyear’s flat-track/mile-track tire set-up for 2007 and was run at New Hampshire earlier this summer . . . this is the second consecutive race weekend that teams in each of these NASCAR series will be running this exact combination of left- and right-side tires . . . Nextel Cup teams ran these tire codes at Richmond last weekend, while Craftsman Truck teams ran them at Gateway two weeks ago . . . other major NASCAR tracks at which this tire combination has been run this season are Phoenix, Milwaukee and Indianapolis Raceway Park . . . also, this left-side tire code (D-4104) was run twice by Nextel Cup teams at Pocono in 2007 . . . as on most mile-tracks in NASCAR, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at New Hampshire. The estimated pit window is every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage. (Goodyear PR) for full report, codes, pressures, see my New Hampshire Race Info page.(9-14-2007)
  • Stremme to feature Halo 3 scheme at Dover: Target, Microsoft and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced that the # 40 Dodge will feature an exclusive “Halo 3”-themed paint scheme during the Doodge Dealers 400 Nextel Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 23. As fans throughout the world line up for the blockbuster Xbox 360 title, CGRFS driver David Stremme will showcase a distinctly designed paint scheme in advance of the game’s much anticipated release on Tuesday, September 25. In addition to the special paint scheme in the Nextel Cup race on Sunday, Target and Microsoft are giving select drivers the chance to play “Halo 3”, one of the most anticipated video games of all time, before it releases to the public. “Halo 3,” the final chapter in the groundbreaking “Halo” trilogy, is set to shatter day-one entertainment sales records when it is released worldwide beginning Tuesday, Sept. 25.(CGRFS PR), see an image of what the scheme is supposed to look like on my #40 Team Schemes page.(9-14-2007)
  • Clint Bowyer wins pole at New Hampshire: #07-Clint Bowyer won the Budweiser Pole for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway with a speed of 130.412mph for his 2nd pole of 2007 and the 2nd of his career. #1-Truex, Jr. qualified second with the rest of the top-10: #2-Busch, #48-Johnson, #12-Newman, #20-Stewart, #19-Sadler, #29-Harvick, #16-Biffle, and #22-Blaney (the highest go or go home driver). The rest of the non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #00-Reutimann, #4-Burton, #10-Riggs, #78-Nemechek, #84-Allmendinger, #83-Vickers, and #98-Said. #49-Andretti posted the 26th fastest time in qualifying but his time was disallowed after NASCAR determined the car was too low. See the qualifying results and starting lineup on my New Hampshire Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(9-14-2007)
  • Six do not qualify [DNQ] for the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway: #44-Jarrett [26 race attempts / 41st in owner points], #06-Hornish [0/0], #36-Mayfield [26/44]; #55-Waltrip [26/46], #37-Lepage [25/49], and #49-Andretti [26/47].(9-14-2007)
  • Ramblings – New Hampshire:
    Clint Bowyer kicked off the Chase in style today…. Bowyer took the Bud Pole today at New Hampshire International Speedway for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 with a time of 29.206 (130.412 mph) for his second career top-spot and second of the season (he led ’em to the green at Darlington back in May).
    Martin Truex Jr (2nd) ties his career-best starting spot this week. He also had the outside pole at Chicagoland in July.
    Kevin Harvick (8th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Daytona in July.
    Paul Menard (17th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 16th at Chicagoland in July.
    DON’T LEAVE YET BORIS!!! John Andretti’s time was disallowed (they were too low in post-qual inspection) and Boris Said draws in at 43rd.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 7 Top-10 starts in a row. Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
    We had four sets of ties today (thanks to our buddy Dan Beaver for that heads-up)….and remember that a tie is broken by Owner Points. 6/7, 11/12, 27/28, and 40/41 were the spots.
    We had 49 cars take a time, and six got the early out. The Trouble Train included Dale Jarrett (his 10th dnq of the season), Sam Hornish Jr (his first attempt this season was futile), Jeremy Mayfield (their 16th dnq), Michael Waltrip (his 16th also), Kevin Lepage (that team’s 23rd), and John Andretti (that team’s 16th).
    The Chase starts this weekend so I hope your favorite is in it, or else he’ll be relegated to the world of the unknown and irrelevant. Unless of course he wins. Then he’ll get a small mention before we get the latest points rundown. Oh, and don’t get in the way either…..(Stock Car Fans)(9-14-2007)
  • Richmond Qualifying Fast Facts:
    .. Clint Bowyer won the Bud Pole for the Sylvania 300 with a lap of 29.206 seconds, 130.412 mph.
    .. This is his second Bud Pole in 27 career Nextel Cup races.
    .. This is his second Bud Pole and eighth top-10 start in 2007.
    .. This is Bowyer’s first start better than 24th in four races at New Hampshire International Speedway.
    .. Martin Truex Jr. posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 29.241 seconds, 130.255 mph. Truex has posted top-10 starts in three of his four New Hampshire races.
    .. Kurt Busch (third) posted his eight top-10 start in 14 New Hampshire races.
    .. Six of the 12 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Bowyer, Truex, Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson (fourth), Tony Stewart (sixth) and Kevin Harvick (eighth).
    .. Dave Blaney (10th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
    .. Paul Menard (17th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(9-14-2007)


    News from September 13, 2007

  • Hamlin to run purple car at NHIS: In honor of FedEx and the 275,000 FedEx employees and contractors around the world, the #11 FedEx Express Chevy will carry an entirely purple paint scheme at New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend.(FedEx/Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image of the car on my #11 Team Schemes page.(9-13-2007)
  • Energizer on Board the #40 again: The #40 Dodge of David Stremme will sport the Energizer e2 Lithium paint scheme for a third time this season at New Hampshire. Stremme drove the scheme previously at the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway (finished 13th) and last weekend at Richmond (finished 19th). The dynamic silver and blue paint scheme will feature Energizer e2 Lithium, the World’s Longest Lasting Battery in High Tech Devices, alongside the famous Energizer Bunny.(CGRFS), see an image of the car on my #40 Team Schemes page.(9-13-2007)
  • Sylvania on the hood of the #15: Not only is Sylvania the title sponsor of this weekend’s race at New Hampshire, but it’s also Paul Menard’s hood sponsor on the #15 Menards Chevry. The company is based in nearby Danvers, Massachusetts and has been a partner sponsor to the Menards Racing program since Menard joined Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2004.(Team Menard PR)(9-13-2007)
  • Edwards to have different colors at Loudon: Marriott Vacation Club, the world’s leader in timesharing with resorts around the globe will partner with Roush Fenway Racing this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway. The #99 driven by Carl Edwards will sport the Marriott Vacation Club colors this Sunday in Sylvania 300 at Loudon. For more information visit www.marriottvacations.com.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see an image on my #99 Team Schemes page.(9-13-2007)
  • New Hampshire Rookie Notes: #6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at Richmond. Ragan finished third, his second top-five finish of the season and claimed top rookie honors for the 11th time this season. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads Ragan by 14 points (218-204) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering New Hampshire International Speedway. #00-David Reutimann scored a 13th-place finish at Richmond, his best in 19 NEXTEL Cup Series races. Montoya is 20th in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He is 48 points ahead of 21st-place Ragan. Ragan was the top Raybestos Rookie finisher in the July race at New Hampshire, claiming a 15th-place finish. Ryan Newman is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the September race at New Hampshire. In 2002, Newman held off Kurt Busch in a race that was rain shortened to 207 of the scheduled 300 laps. Denny Hamlin holds the record for most earnings by a Raybestos Rookie ($6.6 million in 2006). The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Tony Stewart (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2002).(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see more Rookie Notes, stats, standings and history on my 2007 Rookies Page.(9-13-2007)
  • Brian France Interview: The NASCAR Chairman and CEO stopped by the SIRIUS NYC studios for a wide-ranging, no-holds-barred discussion of everything NASCAR. Listen to his thoughts about The Chase, the Car of Tomorrow, strategic partnerships and new open-wheel drivers racing to the sport. Listen to the interview at SIRIUS.com/nascar, including:
    John Kernan: “Are you considering any changes to the Chase for next year? Could you possibly put more bonus points out there during the Chase for the winners?”
    Brians France: “Well, we’ll look at it but what we wanted to do, we wanted to reward the regular season, reward that going into the Chase, make it meaningful and we did. There are only ten races in the final segment here so we’ll see how it plays out. But we’re pretty comfortable with the way it’s seeded, [benefiting] the teams that had the most wins in the regular season.”(9-13-2007)
  • NASCAR My Race: The Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship puts the excitement and fast-paced action of NASCAR at center stage for a 10-week, don’t miss countdown to crown the series’ champion. But what if a fan misses a race? Or, what if they want to watch the action again? Until now, there was nothing they could do. But today, race fans can simply go online at www.MyRaceDVD.com and order their favorite races from the Chase for the Championship for the special price of $24.95. Each race weekend, My Race offers fans a Collector’s Edition DVD of the race featuring more than six hours of race footage and exclusive content. Each race DVD will include:
    * A 52-minute highlight of the race broadcast
    * Six selectable driver and broadcast audio channels
    * Six selectable camera views
    * Opportunity for viewers to ride shotgun with five different drivers
    * My Race OnScreen Dashboard to manage the action
    * At-track interviews with top drivers and NASCAR celebrities by My Race reporter John Roberts, beginning with the Bristol race in August and continuing through the season finale in Miami * Feature reports on race day by John Roberts
    * Special bonus DVD that includes:
    · Passes and clashes from each race in quad- and split-screen format
    · A 52-minute highlight of the previous year’s race at that track
    · Behind-the-scenes interviews from each track
    * Wallpaper downloads(PR)(9-13-2007)
  • Roger Penske to Receive Smokey Yunick Award: Roger Penske, whose race teams have captured 20 national championships while setting the industry standard for professionalism, will receive the Smokey Yunick Award Saturday night, Oct. 13, 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. Penske was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1998 and became a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1995. He was also inducted into the Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002. Previous winners of the Smokey Yunick Award include Junior Johnson, Ken Squier, Bill Simpson, Ralph Moody, Banjo Matthews, Bud Moore, Cotton Owens, Junie Donlavey, Jim Hunter and Glen and Leonard Wood. Tickets for the Oct. 13 Bank of America 500, round five of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, start at $39 and are available online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.(9-13-2007)
  • Smith to Drive #01 DEI Chevy at NHIS: Regan will drive DEI’s #01 Chevy in this weekend’s Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. The #01 entry in New Hampshire will have primary sponsorship from Principal Financial Group, the nation’s 401(k) leader and premier benefits provider. The U.S. Army, which is the primary sponsor on the #01 Chevy for 34 of the 36 Cup races, will have an associate status at the New England track. The New Hampshire race will be Smith’s seventh start in the #01 Chevy this season. He also competed in the #01 car at the July 1 New Hampshire race, where he started 13th and finished 32nd due to a mechanical issue. Sunday’s Sylvania 300 will mark the first time that Smith will return to a track where he’s already competed in a Cup race. For the remainder of the 2007 season Smith is scheduled to drive in a number of Craftsman Truck races for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports. DEI announced last week that Smith will join the organization’s full-time Nextel Cup lineup in 2008.(DEI PR)(9-13-2007)
  • Jeff Gordon’s Team Grabs Pit Crew Challenge Win at Richmond: Jeff Gordon’s over-the-wall crew captured its fourth Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season during Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400, moving into a tie for first place in the season-long standings. Mark Martin’s #01 pit crew also has four wins. Gordon’s crew, which spent 281.730 seconds on pit road at Richmond International Raceway, will be presented with an $11,000 check by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. Out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, the #24 crew includes: Jeff Cook (jackman), Jamie Frady (Catch can), Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Mike Atwell (rear-tire changer), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Mike “Tiny” Houston (front tire carrier) and Andy Kruep (eighth-man). The crew chief is Steve Letarte. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $286,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(9-13-2007)
  • Ragan to promote safety: When David Ragan signed on with AAA to drive the #6 Nextel Cup Series car in 2007, his sponsor had big plans for him to help promote safe driving from coast to coast. This weekend, while in New Hampshire for the Sylvania 300, Ragan along with his mother, Beverly Ragan, will be doing just that. The mother and son duo will be producing a public service announcement for the Maine Department of Transportation encouraging young drivers and their parents to come to an agreement, and an understanding, about the laws and expectations that the state of Maine has put forth for all drivers on the roads.(Roush Fenway Racing)(9-13-2007)
  • Chase Drivers to appear in New York on Sept 13th for Interactive Fan Q&A: NASCAR’s twelve Chase drivers in 2007 will appear at the ESPN Zone in Times Square, 1472 Broadway, Corner of 42nd and Broadway in Times Square, NYC, NY on Thursday, Sept. 13, from 12:00 – 2:30pm/et to take part in an interactive Q&A with fans and kick off the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup. The Chase, with the first race on September 16 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, is NASCAR’s post-season playoff where the top-twelve drivers in the points standings after the first 26 races shoot it out over the last ten races for the honor of being the 2007 Nextel Cup Series Champion. $10 per person per hour in food and beverage to sit in the Screening Room for the event. Any one can stand at the bar in that same room. Seating and standing room are available on a first come first serve basis.(NASCAR PR)(8-29/9-13-2007)


    News from September 12, 2007

  • From the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska… THE “LATE SHOW” TOP TWELVE
    “Top Twelve Reasons I Love Racing”
    For the first time in the history of the Late Show with David Letterman broadcasts, tonight’s Late Show Top Ten is instead a Top Twelve, presented by the 12 NASCAR drivers in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. The following list will air on the Wednesday, Sept. 12 broadcast of the Late Show with David Letterman, seen weeknights (11:35 PM/12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.]
    12. Clint Bowyer: “We’ve got special mirrors that show objects the size that they actually are.
    11. Kevin Harvick: “Sometimes back in the garages there’s horseplay with the airhose.”
    10. Jeff Burton: “Between the G-forces and the fumes, I’m loopy most of the season.”
    9. Kyle Busch: “Switch the ‘R’ and the ‘C’ in ‘Racing’ and you get ‘Caring.’”
    8. Matt Kenseth: “Can hold 8 gigs of music on my new iHelmet.”
    7. Martin Turex, Jr.: “In a pinch, checkered flags make a lovely tablecloth.”
    6. Denny Hamlin: “Two more wins and I get to marry Ashley Judd.”
    5. Kurt Busch: “You can talk to your car and pretend you’re David Hasselhoff.”
    4. Carl Edwards: “How many people can say their “office” goes 200 miles per hour.”
    3. Tony Stewart: “Driving fast and starting fights.”
    2. Jeff Gordon: “It’s not one of those sports you have to inject stuff in your ass to be good.”
    1. Jimmie Johnson: “Unlike most guys, I like it when my wife says, ‘You’re too fast.’”
    The Late Show with David Letterman is a presentation of Worldwide Pants Incorporated. Barbara Gaines, Maria Pope, Jude Brennan and Rob Burnett are the executive producers(CBS PR)(9-12-2007)
  • Cup Banquet to Las Vegas? Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith believes chances are good NASCAR will move the Cup postseason awards banquet from New York City to Las Vegas in 2008. “I think it’s 80 to 90 percent likely to happen,” Smith said Tuesday from his office in Charlotte. “I think it would be a wonderful thing for everyone involved if we can get this worked out.” Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director of corporate communications, said talk of moving the banquet is strictly speculation. “NASCAR has no current plans to relocate the banquet,” Poston said. “However, NASCAR is courted on a regular basis by other major cities, and on a consistent basis for the Cup banquet and other banquets.” Smith has lobbied for more than year to try to convince NASCAR officials to move the banquet to Las Vegas. The Cup banquet, which comes the week after Thanksgiving, will be held at the Waldorf Astoria hotel on Nov. 30, the 27th consecutive year the ceremony has taken place in New York. But Smith said he recently has engaged in some favorable conversations with NASCAR chairman Brian France about the possibility of moving the awards banquet to Las Vegas. “I think everyone is more accepting of the idea now,” Smith said. “It seems we’ve worn out our welcome a little bit in New York. That was obvious when plans to build a track up there fell through.”(ESPN.com)(9-12-2007)
  • 500th start for Jeff Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon will become the youngest active driver to reach 500 career starts this weekend when he takes the green flag in the SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. This career milestone will be downplayed, however, because this weekend’s event also marks the first race in the ‘Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup.’(Performance PR Plus)(9-12-2007)
  • More on the Marlin-Nemechek-Ginn Lawsuit: Bobby Ginn said Tuesday he’s surprised by a lawsuit that claims he hasn’t honored the contracts for Sterling Marlin, Joe Nemechek and two crew chiefs. All four lost their jobs when Ginn Racing merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in late July. The four filed separate lawsuits against both teams last week in Cabarrus County, claiming they are owed their salaries. The suits don’t specify what the parties are seeking, but claim they have demanded payment, and the teams have either failed or refused to comply. “Sterling and Joe’s contracts ran through the end of the year, and I have paid them through August — all of their winnings and salary, per the contract,” Ginn said. “And I intend to pay through the end of the year. I always have.” Ginn said that crew chiefs Richard “Slugger” Labbe and Peter Sospenzo were given severance packages when they were let go, and said he’s honored it and payments are up to date. “This totally surprised me, and it looks to me like they are trying to ask for something over and above and they are just not entitled to,” Ginn said. Marlin did not return a telephone message Tuesday, while Nemechek and the crew chiefs could not be reached. DEI, also named in the suit, said it was never a party to the contracts in question and the obligation to honor the agreements falls on Ginn.(AP/ESPN.com), see past news on this and more on the lawsuit, see my Lawsuit News page.(9-12-2007)


    News from September 11, 2007

  • Special Chase Mag: A special edition of USA TODAY Sports Weekly devoted to the Nextel Cup hits newsstands today. USA TODAY Sports Weekly’s Chase for the Cup preview examines the relationship between Gordon and Johnson, and previews the 12 drivers and 10 tracks in the Chase. The Sports Weekly Chase for the Cup preview edition will be on sale at newsstands through October 8th at a cover price of $4.95. The issue can also be ordered online at mysportsweekly.com/specialissue. Sports Weekly publishes special editions throughout the year covering special events in the world of sports.(9-11-2007)
  • Talladega Testing Day 2 PM drafting: The second day [of two] of COT testing at Talladega Super Speedway closed out the testing of the COT there with 49 drivers in 54 cars doing drafting testing in the afternoon still using a smaller restictor plate [31/32nds of an inch] and a smaller wicker on the wing [1″]. #15A-Menard once again osted the fastest drafting speed at 193.045mph followed by #5A-Busch, #29B-Harvick, #21B-Schrader and #9-Kahne. The fastest Toyota was #44-Jarrett who was 22nd. Slowest was #99-Edwards at 179.135 and #6A-Ragan at 181.305. Rain showers forced NASCAR officials to shorten Tuesday’s test at Talladega Superspeedway.
    See all the speeds on my Talladega Test Speeds page.(9-11-2007)
  • Hornish to run at NHIS in #06: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #06 Penske Truck Rental Dodge Avenger, will attempt to make his Nextel Cup Series debut at New Hampshire on Sunday in the Car of Tomorrow. This is Hornish’s first run at the 1.058-mile oval. Although Hornish’s 2008 plans have not been determined, the 28-year-old will attempt to qualify for no more than seven events, including each of the five remaining COT races with Roy McCauley leading the charge taking chassis PRS-512 to this weekend’s Sylvania 300. This car was last driven by Kurt Busch at Phoenix in April where it started sixth and finished 18th. Hornish on New Hampshire International Speedway: “I’m excited about my first Cup race but there is definitely a lot of pressure. At this point, qualifying on Friday is our main concern. Hopefully we’ll get it in. The COT cars are pretty good but they’ll be even better if I make it in.”(Penske Racing PR)(9-11-2007)
  • ABC’s Return to Cup Delivers Ratings, Viewership Increase for Richmond: The first Nextel Cup race televised on ABC since July 2000 delivered an increase in ratings and viewership for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The telecast by ESPN on ABC delivered a 4.2 fast national rating with more than 4,731,000 households and more than 6,750,000 viewers. The households represent a 33% increase (up from 3,568,000) and the viewership increased 28% (up from 5,288,000) from last year’s Richmond telecast. ABC won Saturday night in all key adult demographics, and the race delivered ABC its largest Saturday night audience since April, as well as its strongest Adult 18-49 Saturday night audience since December.(ESPN PR)(9-11-2007)
  • Congrats: to Gus Larkin, Sponsorship Manager at JR Motorsports, and wife Barbara for the birth of their second child, Grayson Corbin Larkin. The healthy boy entered the world a tick early on Sept. 8 and weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces.(9-11-2007)
  • Schrader back in the #21 at NHIS UPDATE: Ken Schrader is listed as the driver of the #21 Little Debbie’s Ford on the New Hampshire entry list, plus on SPEED’s Inside Nextel Cup Schrader said he would drive the car at NHIS and also drive the #18 Dodge truck on the Craftsman Truck Series race there. Bill Elliott had been running the car, which had fallen out of the top-35 in owners points and had no guaranteed starting spot, so Elliott was brought in to have the safety net of the past champions provisional and to get the #21 in the top-35 which it has been the past two weeks, now 19 pts ahead of the #22 BDR team Dave Blaney drives for.(9-11-2007)
    UPDATE: With the Chase for the Championship set to get underway this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway, the Wood Brothers/JTG race team is proud to announce that driver Ken Schrader will return to the seat of the #21 Little Debbie Ford for the Sylvania 300. With a cushion for the second straight week in the top-35 owner points, the team is guaranteed a starting spot in the field and hopes to add to the margin. The driving duty of the #21 Ford is still a week-to-week decision based upon the latest owner points total. The team intends to take COT Chassis C-5 to the race this weekend, the same car that was used previously in the July New Hampshire event. Schrader is scheduled to pull double-duty at the New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend, as he will also carry on his regular driving duties in the #18 Fastenal Dodge in the Craftsman Truck Series event on Saturday afternoon. Ken Schrader, Driver of the #21 Little Debbie Ford: “I’m really excited to get back to driving the Little Debbie Ford. I think the time that I’ve spent racing in the Craftsman Truck Series and all of the personal racing, I’ve not only kept busy, but sharp. I look forward to working with Michael McSwain this weekend and see if we can’t come up with a setup and a plan that keeps this team moving forward.”(Wood Brothers/JTG Racing PR)(9-11-2007)
  • Special Scheme for Labonte at NHIS: This weekend Bobby Labonte has some visitors along for the ride for Sunday’s New Hampshire 300 at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway. General Mills characters Lucky, Trix, Sonny and Buzz Bee will make up the #43 Cheerios Racing/Trix, Lucky and Friends Dodge. It’s the first time that all characters have shared the hood and sides of the #43 Petty Enterprises Dodge. Labonte, who will be dressed in the characters colors, will be making his 26th consecutive start at New Hampshire this weekend. Labonte made his 500th Nextel Cup career start last weekend and will be making his 499th consecutive start this weekend.(Petty Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #43 Team Schemes page.(9-11-2007)
  • Kenny back in the #88 at New Hampshire? UPDATE 2: hearing Kenny Wallace will once again sub for Ricky Rudd in the #88 Snickers Ford of Yates Racing. Rudd seperated his shoulder at California and Wallace ran the #88 at Richmond.(9-9-2007)
    UPDATE: Ricky Rudd plans on letting Robert Yates Racing know later Monday whether or not he will be able to drive this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway. Rudd is scheduled to meet with the Carolina Panthers training staff and re-evaluate his shoulder injury. Kenny Wallace is testing the #88 Snickers Ford Fusion today and tomorrow at Talladega Superspeedway and would once again fill-in for Rudd, if he is unable to compete.(Ford Racing)(9-11-2007)
    UPDATE 2: The Nextel Cup Series travels New Hampshire International Speedway this weekend for the Sylvania 300. Kenny Wallace will pilot the Snickers Ford for the second week in a row while Ricky Rudd, who normally drives the #88, will not race this weekend as a result of a separated left shoulder injury he sustained at California Speedway. Wallace also went to Talladega Superspeedway this week to test the #88 Snickers Ford for a two day test session with the new Car of Tomorrow chassis which will make its superspeedway debut in October. Wallace’s best finish at New Hampshire is second which he accomplished in 1999.(RYR PR)(9-11-2007)
  • Talladega Test notes:
    A one-inch restrictor plate is being used for this week’s test, and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said a final decision on plate size has yet to be made. “We’re working really hard to stay with the one-inch plate,” he said. “Overall speeds will ultimately make the decision.” A total of 52 series teams are testing on Talladega’s high-banked, 2.66-mile tri-oval. It’s the sixth of seven NASCAR-scheduled series tests in 2007 and the third dedicated to the Car of Tomorrow (previous tests for the new car took place at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway).
    Jason Keller is tesing the #98 Dodge for Gilltett Evernham Motorsports
    Sam Hornish Jr. is testing the #06 for Penske Racing
    Jacques Villeneuve is testing the #27 Toyota for Bill Davis Racing.
    Sterling Marling is testing the #09 for Phoenix Racing.(9-10-2007)
    AND In the day’s only incident, #41-Reed Sorenson hit the wall in turns 1 and 2 with less than five minutes remaining the day’s final session. Sorenson was not injured although his car sustained right-side damage. While teams tested with a restrictor plate that had 1-inch holes Monday (up from the 7/8th-inch plate used here earlier this year), series director John Darby said it’s likely that teams will begin Tuesday’s morning test session with a smaller plate. “The wing combination is different from what we tested with last October and earlier this year,” he said. “And, we’ve gone from zero degrees to 10 degrees on the wing angle. Basically, that makes the rear of the car a little more efficient and enabled us to go up to a 1-inch restrictor plate. Today we left the plate alone and went to a taller wicker [on the rear wing]. Tomorrow, we may come down a little on the wicker and go a little smaller on the plate to see if it helps. One of the comments we’ve heard is that the engines are running through the powerband too quickly, so that should help a little and take some of the ‘buffeting’ of the car away.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-11-2007)
  • Talladega Testing Day 2 AM drafting: The second day [of two] of COT testing at Talladega Super Speedway had 49 drivers in 61 cars doing drafting testing in the morning session using a smaller restictor plate [from an inch to 31/32nds of an inch] and a smaller wicker on the win [1″..down from 1 1/4″](SceneDaily.com). #15A-Menard posted the fastest drafting speed at 191.684mph followed by #5A-Busch, #27B-Villeneuve, #24B-Gordon and #20-Stewart. The fastest Ford was #16-Biffle who was 10th and the fastest Dodge was #9A-Kahne at 12th. There were no incidents on the track during the morning session. The only brief stoppage came after #25-Mears lost an engine.
    See all the speeds on my Talladega Test Speeds page.(9-11-2007)


    News from September 10, 2007

  • Said to drive 4th GEM car at NHIS: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that Boris Said will be behind the wheel of a fourth Nextel Cup entry this weekend at New Hampshire International Speedway. Said will be running the #98 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Avenger in what would be his first Nextel Cup start on an intermediate track since 2005. Gillett Evernham Motorsports has built a successful relationship with Said in the Busch Series over the past two seasons resulting in a pole, a second-place finish, two top fives and 31 laps led in nine starts. The #10 Avenger of Scott Riggs will be running its Stanley Tools primary paint scheme at New Hampshire as Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ three fulltime teams including, #19-Elliott Sadler and #9-Kasey Kahne, will remain unchanged. “Fielding the #98 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Avenger at New Hampshire this weekend is the start of some additional research and development Gillett Evernham Motorsports will be doing with the COT heading into the 2008 season,” said Ray Evernham. “This is also an excellent opportunity to get Boris (Said) some seat time at a Nextel Cup race considering all he has done for our Busch and road course programs over the last two seasons.”(GEM PR), Jason Keller is testing a #98 Dodge Advenger at Talladega for GEM as Said is tesing his own #60 Ford there.(9-10-2007)
  • No #25 for Jr. at Hendrick UPDATE: Q) Will The Owner Points For The #5 And #25 Stay In Place Where They Are In 2008?
    A) Rick Hendrick: “Yes, they’ll stay like they are. Casey will move over to the #5 car and that’s the only that will change there and the number will change on the #25.”
    Q) Do You Already Know What Number and Sponsor Dale Jr. will have and can you reveal it?
    A) Rick Hendrick: “It’s not going to be the #8. Nor the #25. And the sponsorship, hopefully in the next two weeks we’ll be able to announce that and the number at the same time. We hope that’s going to be probably something with the #8 [such as 81,58,82,38,28] in it but we really don’t even have that locked in right now. That’s a true story.”(GM Racing PR)(9-8-2007)
    UPDATE: Hendrick said he’d like to find a number that includes an 8 for Earnhardt, and the team has applied for trademarks on the 28, 38, 51, 58, 81 and 82.(Associated Press), the #28 is new, seems an odd choice…but.
    AND on Sunday’s LTN Hour radio show, Travis Kvapil, who was recently named to run the #88 Yates Racing Ford in 2008, said he didn’t know what number the car would be, so that could free up the #88 for Dale Earnhardt Jr.(9-10-2007)
  • More on Franchitti to Ganassi..sponsor: Chip Ganassi has pulled off another stunning move as the team owner appears to have lured Indianapolis 500 champion Dario Franchitti to the Nextel Cup Series. Franchitti has an offer for a five-year deal. Franchitti would not confirm the move and neither would Ganassi, but sources close to the two sides have indicated Canadian Club is ready to replace Coors Light as the sponsor [also Energizer will be part sponsor] for Ganassi’s #40 Dodge. David Stremme currently drives that car in Nextel Cup, but will leave the team at the end of this season. Once the details are finalized and the contract is signed, Franchitti is expected to compete in some lower division stock car races, such as ARCA and the Busch series as he prepares to be a Nextel Cup rookie in 2008. The decision appears to have earned the blessing of Franchitti’s wife, actress Ashley Judd. The couple lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee.(Yahoo Sports/Sports Ticker)(9-10-2007)
  • Marlin, Nemechek file lawsuit against Ginn Racing, DEI Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek have sued Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. for alleged breaches of their contracts, which included a base salary of $1.2 million apiece. The separate suits, filed Sept. 7 in Cabarrus County, N.C., do not specify how much they have been paid or what they exactly are owed. Also suing Ginn and DEI are crew chiefs Richard “Slugger” Labbe and Peter Sospenzo. Ginn and DEI merged prior to the Indianapolis race in July, and Marlin and Nemechek found themselves without a place in the organization. The points of the #14 of Marlin ended up moving to the #15 of DEI with Paul Menard as the driver, while the #13 Nemechek team was eliminated. “Demand for payment has been made …, but [Ginn and DEI] have failed and/or refused to pay all or any part,” the complaints state. The contracts of both drivers and both crew chiefs were filed as part of the complaints and give an insight to what the current rate is for drivers. Both drivers joined the organization when it was MB2 Motorsports. Marlin began in 2006 with a base salary of $1.1 million, and that increased to $1.2 million for 2007. Nemechek started with MB2 in 2004 and received $900,000 for 2004, $1 million for 2005, $1.1 million for 2006 and $1.2 million for 2007. Both drivers got to keep 45% of their race winnings (Nemechek, who was 27th in points in 2006, had $4,099,914 million total in race winnings last year, while Marlin, 34th in points, had $3,248,034 million) and 33% of souvenir sales. Their bonus schedules were $50,000 per win, $25,000 for a top-five, $10,000 for a top-10 and $5,000 per pole. Winning a Cup title was worth a $500,000 bonus, while second through fifth in the final standings were worth $250,000; sixth through 10th were $150,000; 11th through 15th were $100,000 and 16th through 20th were $50,000. Each received a $500 per race travel allowance, a seat on the team plane and a hotel room for each race. They also got a personal car. They agreed to 50 hours of personal appearances for a sponsor plus two days for commercials or media events as well as unlimited track hospitality visits not to exceed 30 minutes in length. They were both responsible for their own insurance. There is a morals clause in each contract stating they “shall not associate with gamblers or other notorious characters; shall not use illegal drugs; and shall not consume alcoholic beverages except in moderation but in no event within eight hours prior to driving in a race or practice.”
    As far as the crew chiefs, Labbe, hired as the crew chief for Marlin in August 2006, and Sospenzo, hired as crew chief for Nemechek in October 2006, were earning $450,000 annual salaries. Labbe was guaranteed another $50,000 if his bonus money didn’t reach that amount, while Sospenzo was guaranteed $25,000. Their bonuses were $20,000 for a win, $10,000 for second-fifth, $5,000 for sixth-10th, $2,500 for 11th-15th and $1,000 for a pole. A season championship was worth $100,000, second-fifth ($75,000) and sixth-10th were $50,000 for Labbe and sixth-12th were $50,000 for Sospenzo. They also got a personal vehicle as well as reimbursement for motorhome expenses. They agreed to make 10 away-from-the-track appearances. They also signed confidentiality agreements related to technical data and car setups. They also agreed that if they left they company, they would not attempt to hire any crew members for a year.(SceneDaily.com)(9-10-2007)
  • Kvapil could be in #88 before end of year: Travis Kvapil said many details [of his 2008 ride with Yates Racing in the #88 Ford] are still not finalized. He’s uncertain who will sponsor him, but said “it all sounds promising.” He hasn’t been promised he’ll have a ride if sponsorship doesn’t materialize, he said. “To be honest with you we haven’t even really talked about any of that stuff yet,” he said. “I’d hope to think so. It takes a lot of money to run these cars, but we just haven’t gotten to that point yet, but I’d like to think with Roush Fenway’s marketing we’d be able to swing a couple deals for that car and fund it for a season.” But what about now? The current full-time driver in the #88, Ricky Rudd, is week-to-week with a left shoulder separation. He’s uncertain whether he’ll return. Veteran Kenny Wallace replaced Rudd at Richmond last weekend and finished 28th, but might Kvapil take the seat early, before the end of ’07? “I know it’s been kicked around. We talked Thursday and Friday about it,” he said. “We just don’t want to get the cart before the horse going into these next couple of weeks, here. Not sure right now, but we have talked about it.” Dover, Kvapil said, presents the lone obstacle. While the Busch and Cup Series are at The Monster Mile, the Craftsman Truck Series is in Las Vegas. With three victories in the past eight races, Kvapil currently ranks third in the 2007 CTS standings. As for next year, Kvapil hopes to run a Busch Series slate to supplement this Cup schedule.(ESPN.com)(9-10-2007)
  • Raines Looking, maybe other NASCAR series: Hall of Fame Racing driver Tony Raines, who will not drive the #96 next season as J.J. Yeley takes over, said he knows the chances of earning a Cup ride in 2008 are slim. He hopes to drive in one of NASCAR’s other series. “I’m disappointed, but I understand the decision,” said Raines, who ran into Jeff Green on the eighth lap of Saturday’s race and finished 35th. “When you don’t have the results that are expected, changes are made. It’s tough, but that’s what happens.”(Dallas Morning News)(9-10-2007)
  • Hornish to run 5-6 races in the final 10 UPDATE: Sam Hornish Jr. plans to run five to six of the final 10 races in the Nextel Cup season for Penske Racing, team owner Roger Penske said on Saturday. Penske said the 2006 Indianapolis 500 champion, who is considering a full-time ride in Cup next season, will turn his focus to stock cars as soon as the Indy season ends on Sept. 9. Hornish’s first Cup race could come in the championship Chase opener at New Hampshire International Speedway. “That’s the game plan right now,” Penske said before the start of the Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Obviously, he’s got to qualify. But he did a good job at Michigan and if there is a chance to run cars every week, we’ll see.” Penske would like to keep Hornish’s focus on Car of Tomorrow races — New Hampshire, Dover, Talladega, Martinsville and Phoenix — because that is the car NASCAR will use full time in 2008. “I told him the more experience you get the better you’re going to be,” Penske said. “We’ll see.”(ESPN.com)(8-25-2007)
    UPDATE: on SPEED’s SPEED Report, Bob Dillner reported that Penske Racing driver Sam Horish Jr. will drive the five COT races that are in the final ten races in the Chase with plans to run Hornish full-time Cup in 2008. Per Talladega testing, the car is listed as the #06 for the 2007 races. no word if it will be a third team in 2008, but both #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch are signed thru at least 2008. Hornish will attempt to make his Nextel Cup debut this coming weekend at New Hampshire. Hornish has made eight career Busch Series starts in 2006-2007 with a best finish of 15th at Atlanta.(9-10-2007)
  • Talladega Testing Day 1 PM drafting: The first day [of two] of COT testing at Talladega Super Speedway had 70 cars doing drafting testing in the late afternoon session. The fastest was #70H-Sauter at 196.165mph then #1A-Truex Jr., #40A-Stremme, #9A-Kahne and #42A- Montoya. The fastest Ford was #16A-Biffle – 12th and the fastest Toyota was #27A-Villeneuve – 11th. Slowest was #26B-McMurray at 181.450mph.
    See all the speeds from all three sessions on my Talladega Test Speeds page.(9-10-2007)
  • Talladega Testing Day 1 AM single car runs: The first day [of two] of COT testing at Talladega Super Speedway had 62 cars testing in the morning session with #11-Hamlin (Chevy) being fastest in the morning session with a speed of 189.560mph followed by #18-Yeley, #96B-Raines, #42A-Montoya (Dodge) and #40A-Stremme. The fastest Ford was #88A-Wallace – 28th and the fastest Toyota was #55B-Waltrip – 11th. Slowest driver was #27-Villeneuve at 160.658mph.
    See all the speeds on my Talladega Test Speeds page.(9-10-2007)
  • Talladega Testing Day 1 PM single car runs: The first day [of two] of COT testing at Talladega Super Speedway had 51 cars testing in the afternoon session with #11-Hamlin (Chevy) once again the fastest at 188.345mph followed by #15A-Menard, #42A-Montoya (Dodge), #19A-Sadler and #07B-Bowyer. The fastest Ford was #17B-Kenseth – 26th and the fastest Toyota was #22A-Blaney – 6th. Slowest driver was #99A-Edwards at 180.717.
    See all the speeds on my Talladega Test Speeds page.(9-10-2007)

News from September 9, 2007

  • Coors Light to replace Bud? Coors Light may become the official beer of NASCAR, replacing Budweiser, according to sources, and Coors may also become the new sponsor of what is now the Busch series tour.(Winston Salem Journal)
    AND also hearing Coors could be the sponsor of the #01 DEI team in 2008.(9-9-2007)
  • Cup team test COT’s at Talladega Sept 10-11: Oct. 7 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway will be the first restrictor-plate event for the Car of Tomorrow – NASCAR’s next-generation race car that will compete fulltime in 2008 – so next week’s two-day test means preparing to make history. “I think it’s going to be a big test,” said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. “When you look at Talladega historically, they have had some of the most exciting races and tightest competition. That race track is one of the widest tracks we go to. It is the biggest track we go to. So the races there have historically been great.” A total of 52 series teams will test next Monday and Tuesday on Talladega’s high-banked, 2.66-mile tri-oval. It’s the sixth of seven NASCAR-scheduled series tests in 2007 and the third dedicated to the Car of Tomorrow (previous tests for the new car took place at Bristol Motor Speedway and Richmond International Raceway). Teams are phasing in the new car by running it in 16 of 36 scheduled ’07 events; the Oct. 7 race at Talladega marks the 14th such event. NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Director John Darby said the new car will have a considerable, positive effect on teams’ restrictor-plate preparations. Two of the car’s new components – including the splitter just below the front air dam and the rear wing – should allow crew chiefs more restrictor-place tuning options. “Forever, we’ve had a restrictor-plate car and a short-track and intermediate car,” Darby said of the variations of the current car. “And although I would never walk down the path of being as naive as saying there won’t be any differences, the cars will be much, much closer. The differences between the (.526.-mile) Martinsville (Speedway) car and Talladega car will probably be small enough that only a specialist in the field will be able to tell them apart.” Both days’ sessions run from 9am-5pm/ct, weather permitting.(NASCAR PR)(9-9-2007)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Chevy Rock ‘n Roll 400
    Total number of commercials: 144 (in 2006: 119)
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 87 (in 2006: 78 )
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 24
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 22
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 09/08/07: 7:30 PM (in 2006: 7:36 PM)
    End time to record race/commercial periods 09/08/07: 11:32 PM (in 2006: 10:50PM)
    Total minutes: 242 (in 2006: 194)
    Minutes of race broadcast: 179 (in 2006: 135)
    Minutes of commercials: 63 (in 2006: 59)
    Number of missed restarts – 5 (in 2006: 2)
    Total race brdcst time: 179 Total comm. brdcst time: 63
    See full report at CawsnJaws.com.(9-9-2007)
  • Franchitti to Ganassi? Stremme out? UPDATE2: it was mentioned on SPEED’s NASCAR Live that IRL driver Dario Franchitti could end up at Ganassi Racing in 2008, didn’t say which team or car.
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi, reached by phone Friday, confirmed that his Nextel Cup organization did not pick up the option on David Stremme’s contract to drive the #40 Dodge in 2008. Stremme is free to explore other options, but the door is still open for him to return to Ganassi. “First of all, we had an option on Stremme and I have no sponsor,” Ganassi said. “When they say Coors isn’t coming back — would you sign Stremme without a sponsor? That’s all I told him. I can’t sign you here without a sponsor. Is he free to look elsewhere? Yes. I hope he stays with us. I hope we find something and he stays right here.” Ganassi chose not to comment on speculation that open-wheel star Dario Franchitti would replace Stremme. Sources close to the team say a deal is in the works to bring Franchitti, winner of the 2007 Indianapolis 500, to NASCAR. Ganassi, though, said he’s still actively seeking sponsorship for Stremme. “I was talking about another deal [for] him not an hour ago,” Ganassi said.(ESPN.com)(9-7-2007)
    UPDATE 2: A source close to the negotiations said Dario Franchitti will sign with Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the #40 Dodge beginning in 2008. David Stremme, the current driver of the #40, has already been told he will not have the ride next year. The source, who asked to not be identified because details of the agreement have not yet been finalized, said Ganassi and Franchitti decided to make the announcement after the end of the IndyCar Series schedule, which ends with Sunday’s PEAK Antifreeze 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. He will join Juan Pablo Montoya, another former open-wheel star, a heralded rookie with Ganassi’s NASCAR Nextel Cup team this season. Franchitti and Montoya tied for the CART – now champ Car – series points lead in 1999, with the Colombian driver winning the title on a tiebreaker – four more wins. Franchitti, who currently drives for Andretti Green Racing, goes into Sunday’s race with a three-point lead over Ganassi driver Scott Dixon in the battle for the series title. “Right now, all I want to concentrate on is winning this championship and then winning the (Sports Car) championship next week in Utah,” Ganassi said Saturday. “All this other stuff can wait until after that.” Franchitti also declined to talk about the future, saying, “I’m trying to win a championship here, and that’s all I want to talk about.” The Scotsman works on one-year contracts, so he would become a free agent on Dec. 1. It is expected that Franchitti, who has yet to drive a stock car of any kind, will get a quick course in the sport from Ganassi, who plans, according to the source, to enter him in a series of ARCA and NASCAR Busch Series races to get him up to speed.(Associated Press)(9-9-2007)
  • Reutimann next Free Agent to sign soon? UPDATE 3 RCR?: hearing that #00-David Reutimann is the next free agent that is expected to sign with a team soon. Sources say Reutimann is being heavily courted by two teams. Reutimann’s one-year contract with Michael Waltrip Racing expires at the end of the season.(9-5-2007)
    UPDATE: Reutimann: There’s nothing new yet on my contract situation for next year. The guys at Michael Waltrip Racing are working on some things. Time’s running short, and I’ve got some decisions to make before long.(Tampa Tribune)(9-7-2007)
    UPDATE 2: #00-David Reutimann says he is not roaming around the garage asking about a job for next season, but he doesn’t know yet if his sponsors will return to Michael Waltrip Racing next year. Reutimann admitted, though, that he has talked to other teams. “I’ve gone to Michael and asked him in different situations to be able to talk to people, and Michael being the guy that he is and the driver, he has allowed me to do that,” Reutimann said Friday at Richmond International Raceway. “It’s not a situation where I’m running around trying to talk to everybody. Sometimes something comes our way.” Reutimann’s name has come up in the rumor mill with several teams, but seats are rapidly being filled. “I’m flattered it keeps coming up with some pretty good organizations,” Reutimann said. “I know they’re working really hard [at MWR]. Everybody is trying to put things together.”(SceneDaily.com)(9-8-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Toyota’s David Reutimann is the latest driver being mentioned for Richard Childress’ planned fourth Cup team next season. Childress is reported to be buying back shares of his own company from investment partner Chartwell.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-9-2007)
  • Chevy Clinches 31st Manufacters Championship: #48-Jimmie Johnson’s victory of the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway clinched the 2007 Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet in NASCAR’s premier division. With ten races left in the season, Chevrolet has collected its 31st Manufacturers’ crown since 1952. A total of nine different drivers have contributed to the 19 victories in 26 races thus far this season that brought Chevrolet this award. Chevy drivers who posted wins during the season included Jimmie Johnson (6), Jeff Gordon (4), Tony Stewart (3), Kevin Harvick (1), Denny Hamlin (1), Kyle Busch (1), Jeff Burton (1), Casey Mears (1), and Martin Truex, Jr. (1) This marks Team Chevy’s fourth consecutive Manufacturers’ title under the Nextel reign.(GM Racing PR)(9-9-2007)
  • Gibson to be #01 crew chief in 2008: Tony Gibson, who substituted as the crew chief for #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. earlier this year and was crew chief for Michael Waltrip at the end of the 2005 season at Dale Earnhardt Inc., will be the crew chief for Regan Smith next year. Gibson replaced Tony Eury Jr., who is heading to Hendrick Motorsports with Earnhardt Jr. DEI Vice President John Story expects the current #8 team to become the #01 team next year with Smith while the current #01 crew moves to the #8 along with drivers Mark Martin and Aric Almirola. All of the other crew chiefs remain the same for their drivers – Kevin Manion with #1-Martin Truex Jr., Dave Charpentier with #15-Paul Menard and Ryan Pemberton with the #8-Martin/Almirola team.(SceneDaily.com)(9-9-2007)
  • Yates/Roush alliance could bypass 4-team rule: Roush Fenway Racing officials have been looking for a way around NASCAR’s four-car cap rule ever since it was introduced at the end of the 2005 season. Their alliance with Robert Yates Racing appears to be the answer. Roush Fenway Racing, which already shared an engine program with RYR, will expand its relationship in 2008 to include building and selling cars and parts to its fellow Ford partner as well as licensing and marketing. That ultimately will allow Roush after the 2009 season — the deadline NASCAR has set for it to get to four teams — to send its fifth car and whatever employees that might go with it to RYR. “That’s not part of the deal, but it certainly won’t shock anybody here if in two years that’s where it goes,” Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith said before Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. “When you shrink an organization like NASCAR is doing to us you end up not being able to promote people because they don’t have places to go, so they end up leaving us for somebody else. This gives us a chance to really keep all that training money within our Ford Motor company camp.” It also allows Roush to benefit from the sharing of information for basically a seven-car team that could grow to eight. Smith said he and other Roush employees have gone to great length to make sure this alliance falls within the NASCAR rules. “We are not even close to any of the prohibitions that NASCAR got,” he said. “We’re in another universe. This is a real, careful, safe deal. We’re not close to getting near their concerns. Here’s the rules. You can’t own it, you can’t profit share, you can’t take prize money and you can’t underwrite their loss to shore them up. Those are the core rules. Then they told us about ancillary rules. You can’t lease them cars. You’ve got to sell them cars. All those rules, we’re good with that.”
    Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president for competition, initially avoided the question of whether this is circumventing the rules. “You’re starting [something],” he said. “Don’t go there on me. I’m telling you, don’t go there cause I know what you’re starting. Ask a regular question.” Asked again if this was Roush’s way of circumventing the rules, Pemberton said, “There would be concern if you had everything in one facility. That’s why we’ve gone to the four-car limit. There’s business sense in buying cars and going and employing an engineering staff that has the resources that make your teams run better.” Pemberton applauded RYR for doing what it can to survive after losing its cornerstone driver, Dale Jarrett, and sponsor UPS this season to Toyota. “Employing the services of a group that’s got proper engineering and builds cars is what he needs to do to put him and Doug back running again,” he said, referring to RYR owner Doug Yates. But NASCAR officials said Roush still would have to get NASCAR’s approval, which it doesn’t, before moving a team to Yates. While RYR will be a two-car operation next season, it ultimately could be a four-car team with Roush Fenway Racing having all the knowledge and information sharing from an eight-car team. This also guarantees that RYR doesn’t leave Ford for another manufacturer had it been sold.(ESPN.com)(9-9-2007)


    News from September 8, 2007

  • Qualifying changes at NHIS? as has been rumored and denied, it was mentioned on SPEED’s Go-or-Go Home show Friday that the go-or-go homers could be lumped together in qualifying starting next week at New Hampshire, see my Qualifying Rules page for the past news on this.(9-8-2007)
  • Johnson wins at Richmond: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway for his 6th win in 2007 and 29th of his career, locking him into the lead of the drivers points at the start of the Chase. The race for the chase ended up with #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. losing an engine while running 3rd with 5 laps to go, finishing 30th, but it didn’t matter as #2-Kurt Busch finished 9th and #29-Kevin Harvick finished 7th, so they easily clinched a spot in the Chase. Back to the race….#20-Stewart finished 2nd, followed by #6-Ragan [best career finish], #24-Gordon, #70-Sauter [his best career finish and 1st ever top-5], #11-Hamlin, #29-Harvick, #9-Kahne, #2-Busch and #18-Yeley. Other chase drivers finished: #07-Bowyer 12th; #17-Kenseth finished 14th; #1-Truex Jr. 15th; #31-Burton 18th; #5-Busch 20th; #99-Edwards 42nd/engine. There were 12 cautions for 71 laps and 11 drivers led the race with 17 lead changes.
    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 page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-8-2007)
  • The Chase Standings [after Richmond, race 26]:
    Rank, Driver, Wins, Red Points Rank, Difference
    1 Jimmie Johnson, 6, 5,060, 4, +2
    2 Jeff Gordon, 4, 5,040, 1, -1
    3 Tony Stewart, 3, 5,030, 2, -1
    4 Carl Edwards, 2, 5,020, 6, +2
    5 Kurt Busch, 2, 5,020, 10, +5
    6 Denny Hamlin, 1, 5,010, 3, -3
    7 Martin Truex Jr., 1, 5,010, 11, +4
    8 Matt Kenseth, 1, 5,010, 5, -3
    9 Kyle Busch, 1, 5,010, 8, -1
    10 Jeff Burton, 1, 5,010, 7, -3
    11 Kevin Harvick, 1, 5,010, 12, +1
    12 Clint Bowyer, 0, 5,000, 9, -3.
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(9-8-2007)
  • Kvapil to the #88? Restucturing at Yates UPDATE yep and no more NHL Racing: Robert Yates Racing is expected to announce a management structure change Friday night that, according to multiple sources close to the situation, will include team owner Robert Yates’ retirement. Those same sources say that Travis Kvapil, current driver of Roush Fenway Racing’s #6 Ford in the Craftsman Truck Series, will replace Ricky Rudd in the #88 Ford for the 2008 Sprint Cup season. Sources said Doug Yates, Robert’s son and the president of the team, will assume the ownership role and preside over the company. Sources also said that Roush Fenway Racing will provide full support to Yates, including licensing, marketing and engineering. It was unknown how this might affect the recently-announced partnership between open wheel team Newman/Haas/Lannigan Racing and Yates. Robert Yates has been a Cup Series owner since 1989. During that time he has established himself as the premier engine builder at NASCAR’s highest level and has collected 57 victories.(ESPN.com)(9-7-2007)
    UPDATE: Doug Yates announced he will field two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) teams in 2008 with drivers #38-David Gilliland and #88-Travis Kvapil. These teams will be operated under a company called “Yates Racing” which has agreed to acquire operating assets from Robert Yates Racing, including the transfer of car numbers and owner points. The transaction will be effective December 1, 2007. “With this announcement it’s clear that the letter of intent with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing will not proceed. We’re thankful for their support and would welcome the opportunity to work with them in the future,” said Yates Racing CEO Doug Yates. “I am very excited to carry the Yates Racing heritage into the future. I believe I have the experience and understanding of the competition and business requirements that are necessary to be an effective team owner. My first order of business is to revamp our infrastructure into one that can field race teams that can compete successfully with the pre-eminent teams in the sport. I personally think the best business and competitive model in the sport to emulate for long-term success is that of Jack Roush and Roush Fenway Racing, I have gotten to know Jack and his organization very well through our joint engine company and before I undertook this commitment I asked Jack for advice. I am pleased to announce that Yates Racing will have full support from Roush Fenway Racing, including hardware, engineering, marketing and operational practices, by the 2008 Daytona 500, Yates Racing wants to be in an elevated position where we are competing successfully against any race team in the sport. With David, Travis and Roush Fenway Racing, we will continue to work on finding the right sponsor partners to join our programs.” Neither Jack Roush, Roush Fenway Racing, John Henry or Fenway Sports Group will have any ownership interest in Yates Racing.(Robert Yates Racing PR)(9-8-2007)
  • GEM/Petty to merge? Petty Enterprises, NASCAR’s most storied organization, is open to a change of ownership. The two-car operation owned by seven-time champion Richard Petty is having discussions with Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. that would allow it to merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports and form a four-car Nextel Cup organization. “They have quoted some numbers,” Kyle Petty, the CEO of Petty Enterprises and driver of the #45 Dodge, said on Friday at Richmond International Raceway. Gillett recently purchased majority ownership of Evernham Motorsports, now known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Petty said Gillett has floated an offer in which the companies would merge but allow Petty Enterprises to continue working under its flagship name. For that to happen, Gillett Evernham Motorsports would have to drop one of its three teams to comply with NASCAR’s cap of four cars. The #10 car of Scott Riggs would be the most likely victim. Riggs is out of the top 35 in owner’s points that automatically qualify for races and his contract is up after this season. Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler are solidly in the top 35 in owner’s points with Kahne at 22 and Sadler at 28. Both Petty Enterprises cars also are in the top 35 with Bobby Labonte at 18 and Kyle Petty at 34. Evernham said there’s no doubt the proper business model is for a four-car operation. Because he already has a relationship with the Pettys, supplying the organization with engines and technical support, he would be all for a merger. “I think we could combine the organizations and be stronger,” he said. “How the car numbers work, I don’t know.” Petty said he is far from a deal with Gillett, which took more than six months to finalize his deal with Evernham, or any suitor. Should a merger with Gillett occur, Petty said the organization would consider every option from relocating to Salisbury, N.C., as has been discussed regardless to moving to Evernham’s shop in Statesville, N.C. “We’ve been in this business 60 years,” Petty said. “When you look at it this just seems to be the trend of the moment. Do you jump on the trend of the moment or do you stay the course? We’ve been the same course for 60 years. Whether that’s the right course or wrong course I’m not going to say.”(ESPN.com)(9-8-2007)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after Richmond [26 of 36 races]:
    (Traditional Points)
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 3849
    2) #20-Tony Stewart 3537 -312
    3) #11-Denny Hamlin 3490 -359
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3439 -410
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth 3430 -419
    6) #99-Carl Edwards 3372 -477
    7) #31-Jeff Burton 3328 -521
    8) #5-Kyle Busch 3302 -547
    9) #07-Clint Bowyer 3179 -670
    10) #2-Kurt Busch 3160 -689
    11) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 3160 -689
    12) #29-Kevin Harvick 3155 -69
    some other notables:
    #8-Earnhardt Jr. 13th, 2954 -895
    #12-Newman is 14th, 2890 -959
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(9-8-2007)
  • Rumblings — Richmond: Jimmie Johnson completed a sweep of the Nextel Cup races at Richmond International Raceway tonight by taking the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 in convincing fashion. As he pulled away to a three second margin at the finish, he captures his 6th win of the season and 29th of his Cup career (he’s now solo in 21st place on the all-time win list). This win gives him back-to-back victories and was worth $249,836 from the over $5M in posted awards. This was win #161 for Hendrick Motorsports and their 12th this season.
    David Ragan (3rd) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 5th at Daytona in the 500 this past February.
    Johnny Sauter (5th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 9th twice….at Phoenix in April of 2005 and again there this past April. His Top-5 finish gives us 30 drivers at that mark this season….last year we had 29 and there were 30 drivers to score a Top-5 in 2005.
    J. J. Yeley (10th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    David Reuitmann (13th) had his career-best finish tonight as well. His previous best was 15th at Michigan in June.
    Kyle Petty (25th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    STREAKIN….Tony Stewart has 7 Top-10’s in the last 8 races.
    Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-5’s in the last 6 races.
    Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Johnny Sauter (+30), followed by J. J. Yeley (+26) and Martin Truex Jr (+25). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Carl Edwards (-36), followed by Jamie McMurray (-26), Juan Pablo Montoya (-26), and Scott Riggs (-24).
    In “Classic” Points, Jimmie Johnson (6th to 4th), Johnny Sauter (32nd to 30th), and Paul Menard (36th to 34th) made the best moves forward in the Top-35, while Carl Edwards (4th to 6th) was the only multi-position mover on the negative side.(Stock Car Fans)(9-8-2007)
  • Richmond Fast Facts:
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, his 29th victory in 209 Nextel Cup Series races.
    .. This is his Series-leading sixth victory and 16th top-10 finish in 2007.
    .. This is his second victory and third top-10 finish in 12 races at Richmond. Both of his Richmond victories came this season.
    .. Tony Stewart (second) posted his 18th top-10 of 2007 and his 12th in 18 Richmond races.
    .. David Ragan (third) posted his career-best Nextel Cup finish.
    .. Jeff Gordon led point standings at the finish of the race but Jimmie Johnson assumed the lead by 20 points based on the Chase adjustment.(NASCAR Statistics)(9-8-2007)
  • Robert Yates Retiring at end of 2007 season: Robert Yates announced his intention to retire as President of Robert Yates Racing following the last race of the 2007 Nextel Cup season. Certain facets of Robert Yates Racing are being transferred to a new company presided over by Doug Yates. The new entity will be called Yates Racing. Robert Yates Racing will continue with its joint ownership of Roush Yates Racing Engines as well as other ventures. “As many of you know I announced at the Brickyard, earlier this year, my decision to enter into a partnership with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing”, said Robert Yates. “The goal of this partnership was to build a team to contend for the championship. The more I thought about it the more I realized instead this was the perfect opportunity for me to pass the torch to the next generation. I don’t know how to express my gratitude to the Newman/Haas/Lanigan group for their support and belief we could get to the top. I’m closing this chapter of my life, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for me next. Carolyn and I look forward to watching Doug build Yates Racing into a championship caliber team”.
    Since Robert Yates Racing was formed, the now two-car Cup team has posted 57 victories and 48 poles in addition to winning the 1999 NASCAR championship with Dale Jarrett. Current Nextel Cup drivers Ricky Rudd and David Gilliland pilot the #88 and #38 Ford Fusion’s, respectively. On February 11, 2007 at Daytona International Speedway, both of Robert Yates cars qualified on the front row for the Daytona 500. David Gilliland qualified on the pole with Ricky Rudd was alongside in second. Robert Yates Racing also fields the #90 Ford Fusion driven by Stephen Leicht in the NASCAR Busch Series. Drivers such as Davey Allison, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, Kenny Irwin, and Elliott Sadler have driven for RYR.(Robert Yates Racing PR)(9-8-2007)
  • Carpentier close to signing with GEM? UPDATE: While it appears Patrick Carpentier is close to signing with Gillett Evernham Motorsports, it looks like the next step for the Canadian driver is a test session with the NASCAR team. Carpentier’s business partner, Robert Desrosiers, said Wednesday that he has had regular talks with the team over the last few weeks. “We don’t have any contract signed with them, we don’t have any schedule for which race he will do,” Desrosiers said. “The only thing that I know for sure is that Patrick will be testing in the very near future.” Desrosiers said the test session will likely be on an oval in Kentucky, possibly as early as next week. “I believe that after the tests, I think all of the cards are going to fall in place and we’ll have more of a definite schedule on what Patrick’s going to do this season,” he said. “There are still quite a few races left in Busch and Nextel Cup and it’s going to be up to Mr. Evernham and Mr. Gillett to see where they want to put Patrick.” There was no immediate word on which car Carpentier might drive, but the former Champ Car and IRL driver should be comfortable testing on an oval with his open-wheel experience.(Canadian Press)(9-7-2007)
    UPDATE: George Gillett, majority owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, said Canadian racer Patrick Carpentier will drive a Cup car for them during the Chase this season and probably will race full time in Cup for GEM next year. “I think there’s a very good chance of that,” Gillett told CKAC radio in Montreal. “Patrick is a fine young man and a great driver. He will be in some car for us at some of the races, if not all races, the rest of the season.” Gillett also said the team plans to add a fourth car for some races the rest of this year. GEM has three drivers — Kasey Kahne in the #9 Dodge, Elliott Sadler in the #19 and Scott Riggs in the #10 car. But Riggs’ status for 2008 is uncertain, so Carpentier could replace him in 2008. “Patrick will be testing our car at Kentucky Speedway,” Gillett said. “If he drives as well on the ovals as we think he will, I think there will be a place for him.”(ESPN.com)(9-8-2007)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 34 consecutive races, the longest current streak, next up is #07-Bowyer at 27 consecutive races. In the 2007 season after 25 races, three drivers have finished all the races: #07-Bowyer, #29-Harvick and #19-Sadler. #22-Blaney has the most DNF’s [Did Not Finish] with eight (8).(9-8-2007)
  • Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon leads all drivers after 26 races in 2007 with 21 Top-10 finishes and 15 Top-5 finishes. Next with most top-5’s is #48-Johnson at 14; the next most top-10’s is #20-Stewart at 18. All full-time drivers who have run all 26 races in 2007 have scored a Top-10 finish. Four drivers do not have a Top-5 [ran all races]: #43-Labonte, #19-Sadler, #40-Stremme and #66-Green.(9-8-2007)
  • Chevy hopes to get Stewart back in Cup: One of the top executives in the General Motors racing operation said the automaker will attempt to sign Tony Stewart to a contract with another Chevrolet team after his current deal with Joe Gibbs Racing expires. “We’d be interested in Tony staying with Chevy,” Brent Dewar, GM North America vice president of sales, service and parts, said Friday at Richmond International Raceway. “Most fans don’t realize that the drivers sign with the teams, and we all respect that. I understand he’s through 2009 currently with Gibbs. We’d love for him to continue with Chevrolet down the road. … “We’ve had a great relationship with Tony.” Dewar also said Chevrolet will continue to support Stewart’s hobby—sprint-car racing—despite his defection to Toyota next year along with the rest of the Gibbs drivers. “We’ve just got to sit down and see if it makes sense for all parties,” Dewar said. “We are starting to work with him and develop … he’s passionate about sprint cars, so we can see some avenues.” Stewart said during last week’s Toyota press conference that he is planning an aggressive round of contract negotiations with his team.(Ford Racing)(9-8-2007)
  • NASCAR plate expected to be ready by January in FL:
    Just in time for next year’s Daytona 500, Florida race fans should be able to buy NASCAR license plates. Gov. Charlie Crist and the state Cabinet are scheduled to vote Sept. 19 on the design of a new NASCAR plate. If all goes well, the plates will go on sale in January. The extra cost per plate is $25 with a $2 processing fee.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(9-8-2007)
  • Hicks considering NASCAR investment: Richard Childress said Friday that Tom Hicks [owner of MLB’s Texas Rangers] is “doing due diligence on our sport” and confirmed that he invited Hicks and members of his family to last Sunday’s race at California. “They wanted to look at our sport,” Childress said. “I think it would be great if they wanted to get involved.” Hicks could not be reached for comment. But his son, Tom Hicks Jr., vice president of Hicks Sports Group, said the company is exploring options for possible sponsorship within the sport. “We would like to be opportunistic,” he said, “and would consider making an investment in the sport if we thought a deal created value for the team and us.”(Dallas Morning News)(9-8-2007)


    News from September 7, 2007

  • AT&T logos back on the #31 Chevy UPDATE 2: on SPEED’s NASCAR Live Friday, Bob Dilner reported and it was shown at Richmond International Raceway, the AT&T decals are back on the #31 Chevy that Jeff Burton driver for Richard Childress Racing, no word on details…yet.
    UPDATE: AT&T, NASCAR and Sprint apparently have settled the lawsuit involving the primary sponsorship logos on the #31 Richard Childress Racing Chevy. With NASCAR approval, the AT&T logos were being put on the car of Jeff Burton on Friday afternoon at Richmond International Raceway. Details of the settlement were not immediately released.(SceneDaily.com)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR, Sprint Nextel, AT&T and Richard Childress Racing have agreed to end the legal dispute over branding of the #31 car. The agreement immediately permits AT&T to continue as primary sponsor of the #31 car, using the AT&T name and logos, through the 2008 season. “This agreement represents compromise from all sides that ultimately serves the sport well,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “No one likes litigation, most of all the NASCAR fans, and it was time to find a mutually agreeable resolution. We’re now happy to move forward with the exciting conclusion of the season as we approach the Chase for the Nextel Cup.”
    “This is a great solution for NASCAR, the fans, Richard Childress Racing and Sprint Nextel,” said Tim Kelly, chief marketing officer for Sprint. “We accomplished our ultimate goal of protecting our unique position with NASCAR while giving the #31 team ample time to transition to a new sponsor. We will continue to focus on bringing new and unique innovations to NASCAR fans for the betterment of the sport.”
    “We’re very pleased to have the AT&T logos back on the #31 Chevrolet and to have AT&T continue as a primary sponsor for Jeff Burton and Richard Childress Racing,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “We’re excited to have AT&T back on the car for Richmond and that they will continue to be a big part of what we do,” said Jeff Burton, driver, RCR’s #31 AT&T Chevrolet. “Now we can move forward and concentrate on winning races and competing for the championship.”
    “This agreement is the right step taken at the right time. It provides a clear path forward for the sport and its fans, for Richard Childress Racing and Jeff Burton, and for AT&T, which can use its brand on the #31 Car,” said Dave Garver, executive director of business development and wireless sponsorships for AT&T’s wireless unit.(NASCAR PR)
    AND Garver said at the end of 2008, AT&T must leave the Cup Series. He said the telecommunications company could stay in the sport in a lower series.(Associated Press)(9-7-2007)
  • Martin and Almirola will drive the #8 in 2008: Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced on Friday that Mark Martin and Aric Almirola will split next season in the car that has become famous with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt had hoped to carry the number with him to Hendrick Motorsports next season, but was unwilling to agree to the terms of DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt, his stepmother. Martin will drive in 23 to 26 races with Almirola taking the rest. Sponsor U.S. Army and most of the #01 crew that has worked with Martin this season as he’s split the year with Regan Smith will move to the #8. Smith will drive the #01 [team, could be a different car number] next season. DEI officials have described next year as a transition year for the car, hoping to land one of the high profile free agents that will become available to run a full schedule in 2009.(ESPN.com)
    AND: The team said the number [#01?, #14?] and sponsor [Coors?] for Smith would be announced at a later date.(SceneDaily.com)(9-7-2007)
  • #40 Crew Chief fined UPDATE: Steve Lane, crew chief for the #40 Dodge driven by David Stremme, has been fined $2,500 because the team’s scorer, Joel Charpentier, left the scoring area prior to the completion of this past Sunday’s event at California Speedway. Lane was in violation of Sections 12-4A and 9-4A (crew chief assumes responsibility for actions of team members).(NASCAR PR)(9-6-2007)
    UPDATE: When Charpentier heard that the #15 jackman, T.J. Ford was injured [ended up being ok] when the #40 car clipped him, and that they did not have a backup, he found someone to relieve him on the scoring stand, and came down to #15 pits to offer his services [his Dad Dave is the crew chief]. With the approval of the #40 Car Crew Chief and Ganassi’s Team Manager Tony Glover, Charpentier stepped in and relieved Ford. It was only when he returned to the scoring stand to retrieve his bag and radio, that he found out that NASCAR was not happy with him leaving the scoring stand, because even though he found a replacement before leaving, he failed to inform NASCAR before leaving. So it was not just an arbitrary desertion of his post.(9-7-2007)
  • Rudd may not race again…but hopes to: #88-Ricky Rudd said Friday that he is not sure whether he’ll start another Nextel Cup race. Rudd sustained a separated shoulder during a wreck in Sunday’s race at California and will miss the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 on Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. “I don’t have an answer for that, it’s kind of in the doctor’s hands,” Rudd said of racing again. “They consider it a level three separated shoulder. When I heard separated shoulder I thought that sounded better than breaking it. But it’s not necessarily a good thing. There are torn ligaments and damaged ligaments and stretched ligaments. As far as recovering from the injury, it could be next week or it could be five or six weeks. I hope it’s not my last race. I’m not planning on that. We’ll just face it one week at a time. Who knows?” If he recovers within six weeks, he could still compete in about five more races. Ten races remain on the Cup schedule following Richmond. But Rudd considers Richmond his home track, and missing Saturday’s race is painful. “I’m disappointed that this probably would’ve been my last Richmond race because I’m stepping out and retiring next year,” Rudd said.(Daily Press)(9-7-2007)
  • Chevy Continues Partnership with Hendrick Motorsports: Chevrolet, the winningest nameplate in NASCAR, will continue its partnership with championship team Hendrick Motorsports in NASCAR competition in 2008 and beyond. In 23 years (1984-2006) of NASCAR competition, Hendrick Motorsports has garnered six Nextel Cup Series (formerly Winston Cup) championships, three Craftsman Truck Series titles and one Busch Series crown, making it one of stock-car racing’s premier organizations. Rick Hendrick is the only team owner in NASCAR’s modern era to earn more than 150 Cup Series victories and is currently at 160 Cup wins – all of them coming in Chevrolets. Hendrick Motorsports’ win at the first “Car of Tomorrow” race at Bristol earlier this year also earned Chevrolet its first Impala SS win and Chevy’s 600th win in NASCAR Cup competition. The four full-time NASCAR Cup teams of Hendrick Motorsports slated to run in 2008 include four-time champion Jeff Gordon in the #24 DuPont Chevy; Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Lowe’s Chevy; Casey Mears in the #5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevy; and new addition Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who has only driven Chevrolets in his NASCAR career.(GM Racing PR)(9-7-2007)
  • Rejection of Penske test track recommended: Iredell County [NC] commissioners should deny Penske Racing permission to build a test track off Mazeppa Road near Mooresville [NC], the Iredell County Planning Board voted late Wednesday [9-5]. Fueled by about 200 opponents in the audience who were concerned primarily about noise, the board voted 9-0 against the $21 million track. The Planning Board is a citizen advisory board and the final say rests with the commissioners, who will consider Penske’s plans on Oct. 2.(Charlotte Observer/Thatsracin)(9-7-2007)
  • Sad News – Terry Mayfield: Terry Mayfield, father of Bill Davis Racing driver Jeremy Mayfield, passed away last night at the age of 56. A native of Owensboro, Ky., Mayfield made his home in Mooresville, North Carolina. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. “Gail and I, as well as everyone at Bill Davis Racing, offer our condolences to Jeremy on the passing of his father. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, Shana, Terry’s wife Lisa and his family at this difficult time.” Mayfield will compete in this weekend’s Nextel Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway.(Bill Davis Racing PR)(9-6-2007)
    AND Terry “Slick” Allen Mayfield, 56, of Mooresville , NC died Thursday, September 5, 2007 at his home. He was born on January 27, 1951 in Owensboro , KY to the late Zeb and Lillian Davis Mayfield. He was employed with Mayfield Motor Sports and loved to watch his son race. Slick was very gifted with his hands and had a deep love hunting, fishing and for animals, especially his cat Black Jack. He is survived by his wife, Lisa Rymer Mayfield; sons, Jeremy Allen Mayfield and wife Shana of Catawba, NC and John Wesley Harding of Statesville, NC; daughter, Amy Pooser of Owensboro, KY; brothers, Lawes, David and Ernie Mayfield, all of Owensboro; sisters, Mona Clark, Jackie Mayfield, Sharon Lockston and Sue Wedding, all of Owensboro; and 1 grandchild. He is preceded in death by his brothers, Bob and Barry Mayfield. Funeral Services will be held at 3:00pm Sunday, September 9, 2007 in the chapel of Raymer Funeral Home with Rev. Max Helton officiating. The family will receive friends 2 hours prior to the service, from 1-3 PM. Memorials may be made to the Catawba County Humane Society, PO Box 63, Hickory, NC 28603. Raymer Funeral Home Huntersville, NC is serving the family.(9-7-2007)
  • Goodyear Tire Notes: This is Goodyear’s flat track/mile track tire set-up for 2007 and was run at Richmond in May . . . other major NASCAR tracks at which this combination of left- and right-side tires has been run this season are Phoenix, New Hampshire, Milwaukee, Gateway and Indianapolis Raceway Park . . . also, this left-side tire code (D-4104) was run twice by Nextel Cup teams at Pocono in 2007 . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Richmond. The estimated pit window is every 100-105 laps, based on fuel mileage (Nextel Cup). Goodyear Blimp: Goodyear’s “Spirit of Innovation,” based out of Pompano Beach, Fla., will be covering both races this weekend at Richmond.(Goodyear PR), see more notes, pressures, etc on my Richmond Race Info page.(9-7-2007)
  • Johnson wins pole at Richmond: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Budweiser Pole for the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, for his 1st pole since April 2006 at Martinsville, 2nd at RIR and 10th of his career. Johnson becomes the 14th driver to qualifying for the 2008 Budweiser Shootout [not counting past winners eligible]. #24-Gordon will start 2nd, followed by #5-Busch, #12-Newman, #11-Hamlin, #99-Edwards, #20-Stewart, #6-Ragan, #19-Sadler and #43-Labonte. #8-Earnhardt Jr. starts 20th and #29-Harivick starts 13th. The non-Top 35 drivers [go or go homers] to make the race were: #10-Riggs, #00-Reutimann, #84-Allmendinger, #83-Vickers, #22-Blaney, #78-Nemechek, #44-Jarrett and #49-Andretti.
    For pole progression, qualifying speeds and order and more, see my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(9-7-2007)
  • Four do not qualify [DNQ] for the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway: #55-Waltrip [25 team attempts/44th in OWNERS pts], #36-Mayfield [25/42]; #4-Burton [24/41]; #and 37-Lepage [24/47].(9-7-2007)
  • Ramblings – Richmond Qualifying Notes: It’s not just an all-Hendrick front row….it’s an all-Hendrick Top-3! Continuing to show that COT dominance, Jimmie Johnson took the Bud Pole tonight at Richmond International Raceway for Saturday Night’s Chevy Rock and Roll 400 with a time of 21.378 (126.298 mph) with teammate Jeff Gordon alongside and teammate Kyle Busch right behind him in 3rd. This is the first top-spot for Johnson this season and he becomes the 14th different driver to qualify for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. This is career pole #10 for JJ.
    Kenny Wallace (22nd….and in the #88 for Ricky Rudd this weekend) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Darlington in May.
    Kyle Petty (30th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 23rd at Infineon Raceway in June.
    Dale Jarrett (32nd) has his best starting spot since he timed in 16th at Infineon Raceway in June.
    STREAKIN….Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Denny Hamlin has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
    Kyle Busch has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
    Short haul for the Trouble Train this week. The four dnq’s are Michael Waltrip (for the 15th time this season), Jeremy Mayfield (his 14th), Ward Burton (#13 for him), and Kevin Lepage (the 22nd dnq for that team this season).(Stock Car Fans)(9-7-2007)
  • Richmond Qualifying Fast Facts
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the Bud Pole for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 with a lap of 21.378 seconds, 126.298 mph.
    .. This is his 10th Bud Pole in 209 career Nextel Cup races.
    .. This is his first Bud Pole and 17th top-10 start in 2007.
    .. This is Johnson’s second Bud Pole and seventh top-10 start in 12 races at Richmond International Raceway.
    .. Jeff Gordon posted the second-fastest qualifying time with a lap of 21.541 seconds, 125.298 mph. It is his 23rd top-10 start in 30 Richmond races and his 10th on the front row.
    .. Kyle Busch (third) posted his 11th top-10 start in 2007 and his third in six races at Richmond. He gave car owner Rick Hendrick a sweep of the top-three positions.
    .. Scott Riggs (16th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
    .. David Ragan (eighth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(9-7-2007)
  • Dale Jr. to open a nightclub: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to open Whisky River, a bar and live-music venue, in uptown’s new EpiCentre development this December. “It’s going to be a cool hangout,” said Chris Epstein, a nightclub veteran in Charlotte who is partnering with Earnhardt, the majority owner. But don’t expect Whisky River — named for the bar at Earnhardt’s house — to look like a racing watering hole with NASCAR memorabilia strewn about. Rather, it will resemble a basement bar that anyone would enjoy hanging out in — including Junior when he’s in town, Epstein said. Think lots of wood and metal decorations, multiple TVs and a mechanical bull “with rides a bit rougher than those in a race car,” according to a news release. As for food, think bar staples, such as chicken wings. “He really wants it to be a cool place he can take his friends and not be a shrine to anyone,” said Epstein, who owned the former Liquid Lounge in Charlotte. He and Earnhardt worked with Charlotte’s Bar Management Group, which operates Dixie’s Tavern uptown and bars in 21 other cities, to land the EpiCentre location. Earnhardt, who has been sponsored by Budweiser, looked at other markets across the country and closer to home, including Mooresville, before choosing Charlotte. Unavailable Thursday for comment, Earnhardt said in a news release: “Charlotte is where I’m at the most and it’s home.” Whisky River will open in a 10,000-square-foot space facing East Trade Street across from the Bobcat Arena’s main entrance. When asked how much Earnhardt was investing in the entertainment venture, spokesman John Rhodes left it at “a lot.” Earnhardt and Epstein expect Whisky River to be popular with Charlotte residents looking for uptown entertainment as well as visitors, especially those checking out the NASCAR Hall of Fame, slated to open in 2010 at Stonewall and Caldwell streets.(Charlotte Observer)(9-7-2007)
  • Fine-tuning possible for Talledega plate: NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said Tuesday that its possible a car of tomorrow test next week at Talladega Superspeedway could result in allowing Nextel Cup teams restrictor plates with larger openings for October’s race. The Oct. 7 race at Talladega will be the first using the COT for a restrictor-place race. “We’ll be there next week for a two-day test, fine-tuning the plate size and things of that nature,” Pemberton said. “This car will allow us to open up the restriction a little bit on the engine. They’ll make a considerable amount of horsepower more than what they have raced at Talladega and Daytona in the past.” The openings in the plates allow air into the carburetor, so bigger openings would mean more power. With the current openings, drivers keep their accelerators planted all the way down. The hope is that bigger plates would give them some throttle response and with it the ability to get more power when it’s needed to complete a pass.(Charlotte Observer/Thatsracin)(9-7-2007)


    News from September 6, 2007

  • Mayfield’s team expects ‘big penalties’ from infraction UPDATE: Joe Lax, crew chief for Jeremy Mayfield’s #36 Toyota, is expecting a significant penalty after his team got caught putting illegal weight in the car. In pre-qualifying inspection Friday at California Speedway, Mayfield’s Bill Davis Racing car was found to have too much camber in the rear end. The team fixed the problem, which requires taking a blowtorch to the rear of the car, and went back through the inspection line, but the car was found to be too light on the right side. Then, in a moment of desperation, a team member stuck a piece of lead inside the water bottle to add the extra weight. But NASCAR discovered the illegal trick, which is considered tampering with the car.(SceneDaily.com)(9-1-2007)
    UPDATE: Joe Lax, crew chief for the #36 Toyota driven by Jeremy Mayfield in the Nextel Cup Series, has been fined $25,000, suspended from NASCAR competition until Sept. 19 [2 races] and placed on probation until Dec. 31 due to rule violations last week at California Speedway. Prior to qualifying, Lax was found to have violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment not conforming to NASCAR rules); 20-2.3 (added car weight); and 12-4W (improperly attached weight; weight installed inside water container). Those infractions also have resulted in a loss of 25 championship driver points for Mayfield and a loss of 25 championship car owner points for Gail Davis.(NASCAR PR)(9-6-2007)
  • Villeneuve tests COT at Kentucky: Jacques Villeneuve continued his preparation for his NASCAR debut by testing Wednesday at Kentucky Speedway. He turned laps for Bill Davis Racing in the new Car of Tomorrow [#27 Toyota]. “Feels great! I’m just getting up to speed and getting used to driving the car,” said Villeneuve during a lunch break. “It is very different than anything I have driven before so I just want it to become natural and its fun.” Villeneuve will use the final seven races of the 2007 Craftsman Truck Series season to prep for Sprint Cup Series competition in 2008. Even though the race trucks and the COT have similar aerodynamics, both are very different from what he has driven in the past. “It is not as responsive. But, the tracks are very different as well. The driving style is different. If it was on a similar type than there would be a huge difference.” Testing continues through-out the fall at the 1.5 mile tri-oval. For the weekly schedule, check www.kentuckyspeedway.com. The testing schedule appears on the home page.(Kentucky Speedway site with images of the car and Villeneuve)(9-6-2007)
  • Ganassi extends with Energizer, special schemes on #40 in 2007: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. (CGR), and Energizer Holdings, Inc. announced a multi-year extension to their long-lasting relationship that dates back over a decade. Energizer will continue to showcase its brand as a major associate sponsor on the #41 Target Dodge driven by Reed Sorenson in the Nextel Cup Series and both Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) entries in the IndyCar Series driven by current championship contender (second place) and past champion Scott Dixon and 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner and series champion Dan Wheldon beginning with the start of the 2008 racing season. “We’re thrilled to continue our long-lasting partnership with Target Chip Ganassi Racing.” said Jeff Ziminski, Chief Marketing Officer, Energizer Battery. “Both Energizer and TCGR share an ongoing commitment to quality and innovation. It’s an honor to extend our pursuit of excellence with an outstanding organization like TCGR.” In addition to the sponsorship extension, the #40 Dodge driven by David Stremme in the Nextel Cup Series will feature a special Energizer paint scheme in the upcoming events at Richmond International, New Hampshire and Kansas. The paint scheme, dynamic silver and blue, will highlight not only the Energizer e2 Lithium brand, the World’s Longest Lasting Battery in High Tech Devices, but a successful, 12-year partnership between CGR and Energizer that keeps going and going, the famous Energizer Bunny.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see images of the scheme on my #40 Team Scheme page.(9-6-2007)
  • Nemechek Plans More Races with Furniture Row UPDATE: Joe Nemechek said he expects to run a handful of races with #78-Furniture Row Racing the remainder of the season. Nemechek qualified for the Sharp Aquos 500 this weekend at California Speedway and expects to drive next week at Richmond and the following two weeks at New Hampshire and Dover.(SceneDaily.com)(9-1-2007)
    UPDATE: Joe Nemechek qualified the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet for Sunday’s race in California but finished last because of an engine failure. Nemechek will drive the car for a least the next five races for the Denver- based team.(Rocky Mountain News)(9-6-2007)
  • Bobby Labonte Joins 500 Club: This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Avenger team head to Richmond International Raceway for Saturday night’s Richmond 400. Saturday’s race will be Labonte’s 500th career start. Labonte joins active drivers Terry Labonte, Bill Elliott, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Kyle Petty, Ricky Rudd and Michael Waltrip to have eclipsed 500 career starts (not counting Sterling Marlin or Ken Schrader). Labonte and Rudd are the only two drivers to have over 500 starts and have started every race this season [until this weekend when Rudd will miss the race due to injury]. Labonte, 43, is also the youngest active driver to have 500 starts. This weekend’s start will be Labonte’s 498th consecutive Nextel Cup start. He is second on that list, only behind Jeff Gordon by one start [Gordon will make his 500th start next week at NHIS].(Petty Racing PR), see image of the scheme on my #43 Team Scheme page.(9-6-2007)
  • Jeff Gordon to run Nicorette scheme at Richmond: Jeff Gordon will run the special #24 DuPont/Nicorette Chevy paint scheme for the third time this season at Saturday’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Gordon drove the DuPont/Nicorette paint scheme at Las Vegas and Chicago earlier this year and will run the special paint scheme again at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 28. The special paint scheme coincides with one of the most unique sponsorships in Motorsports history with Nicorette helping race fans and crew members quit smoking through its QUIT Crew program. Nicorette’s QUIT Crew program is currently helping over 280 NASCAR team members from 16 different racing organizations quit smoking through counseling, support, and the proper use of the smoking cessation products Nicorette, NicoDerm CQ and Commit. Quit smoking support is also available to NASCAR fans throughout race weekend at Nicorette’s interactive Winner’s Circle Exhibit located in the RIR fan area. At the exhibit, Nicorette’s certified smoking cessation coaches will be on hand to provide individuals with free, quit smoking counseling. For more information about Nicorette’s racing program and on how to quit smoking, visit www.quit2winracing.com.(Lighthouse Marketing/Nicorette Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #24 Team Scheme page.(9-6-2007)
  • Ford hired by ISC: Edsel Ford II, great-grandson of pioneer automaker Henry Ford, is becoming a director of International Speedway Corp., owner of Daytona International Speedway. Ford, 58, due to be formally elected in November, will take over the board seat of Chairman William C. France, who died in June. Ford has been a vice president of Ford Motor Co. since 1993. James C. France, William C. France’s brother, officially took over as ISC chairman. Lesa France Kennedy, ISC president and William’s daughter, became vice chairman.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(9-6-2007)
  • Aikman plans to stay involved with HOF Racing: Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach didn’t get into NASCAR to watch their car cross the finish line 25th. You don’t win Super Bowl rings – five between them – by accepting mediocrity. These guys are winners. And their Nextel Cup #96 team – Hall of Fame Racing – isn’t winning. In its second season, it’s not even finishing high enough to make NASCAR’s version of the playoffs, the Chase for the Nextel Cup. “I want to watch a race and know that we have a chance to be where Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are,” Staubach said. “Everyone associated with our team wants that. We had gone as far as we could go, and it was time to figure out a way to get better.” Aikman, Staubach and their partners didn’t think they could do that on their own, explaining why they have sold controlling interest in Hall of Fame Racing, leaving them as minority owners. Does that mean the two Hall of Famers are completely easing out of the NASCAR scene? “I’m an old man, so we’ll see,” said Staubach, 65. “Troy’s young. He should do this for awhile.” Aikman, 40, said he expects to stay involved in the team long term, though in what capacity is to be determined. Staubach said he’s keeping his interest in the team for at least next season and will decide what he wants to do after that. The desire to improve Hall of Fame Racing led Aikman to call an old friend, Jeff Moorad, the CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Aikman has known Moorad since he was a 22-year-old fresh out of UCLA. He has enough trust and respect for Moorad that he mentioned him in his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech. Moorad and a partner, Tom Garfinkel, who spent five years in management at Chip Ganassi Racing before joining Moorad in the Diamondbacks’ front office last year, bought controlling interesting in Hall of Fame Racing. The deal became official last weekend. What Aikman and Staubach see in Moorad’s group, West Coast Racing, is knowledge about how to organize a bigger team, contacts to lure more sponsors and the long-term commitment and resources to build the team into a winner. The next move, which may not occur until 2009, is to build Hall of Fame Racing into a multi-car operation. To have sustained success and win championships in NASCAR, an organization needs several cars – preferably four, which is the most NASCAR will allow one organization to own.(Dallas Morning News)(9-6-2007)
  • Lifelock the primary sponsor of the #49 at RIR: BAM Racing will have LifeLock as primary sponsor of the #49 Dodge driven by John Andretti for this weekend’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. LifeLock, the leader in identity theft prevention, helps consumers to render their personal information useless to thieves, backing up its service with a million-dollar guarantee. LifeLock also offers the nation’s only child identity theft prevention service. LifeLock is offering a 30-day free trial subscription as well as 10% off for life to BAM Racing fans by using or mentioning promo code BAM. Enroll online at www.lifelock.com or call 1-877-LIFELOCK (543-3562). The public can pay tribute to the military service of a family member or friend by purchasing a Tribute Star that places the name of the honored service member or veteran on the #49 Dodge. To support Paralyzed Veterans through the excitement of Nextel Cup Series racing, visit pvastartribute.org.(BAM Racing PR)(9-6-2007)
  • Richmond Rookies Notes: #6-David Ragan was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race on September 2 at California Speedway. Ragan scored a 12th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the 10th time this season. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya leads Ragan by 23 points (217-194) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the September 8 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. #84-AJ Allmendinger scored an 18th-place finish at California Speedway, his best in 10 career Nextel Cup Series races. Allmendinger’s best previous finish was 31st in the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. #00-David Reutimann led the Sharp AQUOS 500 once for one lap, the first time he has led a lap in 18 career Nextel Cup Series races. Reutimann was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the race. Montoya is 19th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. The first time in Nextel Cup’s modern-era that two Raybestos Rookies claimed front row starting positions occurred at the 2002 Chevy Rock & Roll 400. Jimmie Johnson won the pole while Ryan Newman claimed the second-place starting position. An all-rookie front row has occurred just one other time: the 2004 Pocono 500 (Kasey Kahne first and Brian Vickers second). Since 1975, two or more Raybestos Rookies have not finished in the top five in the September race at Richmond. The only Raybestos Rookie to win the September race at Richmond is Tony Stewart, who captured the 1999 Chevy Rock & Roll 400. The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Tony Stewart (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2002). At least one Raybestos Rookie has won a Bud Pole in each of the last 11 years (1996-2006).(Camp and Assoc/Rabestos PR), see the full report, standings and history on my 2007 Rookies page.(9-6-2007)
  • Congratulations to Lisa Smokstad, tire specialist for the #25 National Guard/GMAC Chevy team, and husband Craig on the birth of their first child. RaElla Michelle Smokstad entered the world on Aug. 30 and weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces.(HMS PR)(9-6-2007)
  • SPEED’s The Chase is On returns: After missing the Chase in 2006, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Office Depot Ford, has secured a spot in this year’s championship battle, and for a second consecutive season, the Roush Fenway Racing driver will join host Steve Byrnes for a weekly preview of each Chase event with the Thursday night SPEED program The Chase is On. The Chase is On begins Thursday [Tonight] at 8:00pm/et, with Byrnes and Edwards breaking down all of the scenarios as teams head to Richmond to set the final 12-car field for this year’s Chase.(SPEED PR)(9-6-2007)
  • Earnhardt’s Team Picks Up Pit Crew Challenge Win at California: Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s over-the-wall crew picked up its second Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season during Sunday night’s Nextel Cup event at California Speedway. On its way to a fifth-place finish, the team spent 302.234 seconds on pit road. Earnhardt’s #8 team, out of the Dale Earnhardt Inc. stable, will be presented with an $11,000 check by Checkers/Rally’s for winning the weekly competition. An additional $111,150 prize will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. The #8 crew includes: Brian “Hootie” Chase (jackman), Shawn Ward (front-tire carrier), D.J. Copp (front-tire changer), Erik Wakeland (rear-tire carrier), Greg Burkhart (rear-tire changer), Jeff Clark (gasman), Craig Lund (catch can) and Jay Guarneri (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Tony Eury Jr. and the pit crew coordinator is Walt Smith. Mark Martin’s #01 crew leads the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four wins. To win, teams are required to finish on the lead lap while spending the least amount of time on pit road. Checkers/Rally’s is in its third season as title sponsor for the Pit Crew Challenge. To date, Checkers/Rally’s has paid out $275,000 to Nextel Cup pit crews. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(9-6-2007)


    News from September 5, 2007

  • Gibbs to Toyota – Official UPDATE 4: been told that the Joe Gibbs Racing / Toyota announcement will be made at the JGR Headquarters the week before the Richmond race.(8-30-2007)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing is expected to announce next week it will join Toyota Motorsports beginning next season, sources told ESPN.com. A news conference has been scheduled for Wednesday morning at JGR headquarters. Expected to be in attendance are team drivers Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin. A GM official reached Thursday in Detroit said the manufacturer would not comment. Toyota Motorsports officials were equally mum.(ESPN.com)(8-31-2007)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Busch confirmed that he has been told that Joe Gibbs Racing will race Toyotas next season. Busch said he is comfortable with the switch, which is expected to be announced next week by the team. Mark Cronquist, the team’s head engine builder, is expected to spearhead the work on the engine. (SceneDaily.com)(8-31-2007)
    UPDATE 3: SPEED will interrupt regular programming on Sept. 5 at 11am/et to present a live NASCAR press conference. It is expected to be an announcement from Joe Gibbs Racing regarding the 2008 season.(9-5-2007)
    UPDATE 4: the press conference started just after 11:00am/et with JGR’s J.D. Gibbs and Jimmy Makar; drivers Tont Stewart and Denny Hamlin; crew chiefs Steve Addington, Mike Ford and Greg Zipadelli; JGR’s engine builder Mark Conquist; and Toyota officials Jim Aust and Lee White. Gibbs announced the team is switching from Chevy/GM to Toyota in 2008. Stewart says he is excited about the move and working on extending his contract. His USAC and WoO teams will stay Chevy and nothing will change there. Hamlin says he is working on his contract and is excited about the move.(9-5-2007)
    PR: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will campaign Toyota Camrys in the Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Grand National Series [and also will switch to Toyota in the Busch Series] beginning in 2008. “We look forward to partnering with Toyota in NASCAR in 2008. Toyota will be hands-on with us as we become an integral part of their long-term development in NASCAR,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. We have 420-plus families that are our number one priority, and taking care of them for the future is very important to us. Our people have made us as successful as we are today, and it’s those same people who will ensure our success in the future. When our teams win, those families win. We’re thrilled for everyone at JGR who will benefit from this.”
    “This decision was made by all of the key leadership at JGR,” said Jimmy Makar, senior vice president of racing operations for JGR. “It was a decision made by the people in our competition department, who live by the one question whenever a decision is made regarding Joe Gibbs Racing: ‘Will this make us more competitive on the race track?’ The consensus answer was yes.”(see full PR at the Joe Gibbs Racing site)(9-5-2007)
  • How Dale Jr. can make the Chase: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. still has a shot to qualify for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. A longshot, granted. “I want [our fans and sponsors] to know that no matter what, me and the team are giving everything we got,” Earnhardt said. “We’re not going to lose focus or give up or pack it in.” Earnhardt is 13th in series points coming into Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400, 128 behind 12th-place #29-Kevin Harvick. The top eight drivers in the current points have clinched Chase spots. Drivers in ninth and 10th place must only start on Saturday night to clinch. The lowest Earnhardt can finish at Richmond is fifth to still have a chance at making the Chase. The two caveats to that scenario: He must also lead the most laps and Harvick has to finish 43rd. He can also finish fourth and lead one lap, or finish third and lead no laps and still qualify – as long as Harvick finishes last. On the other end of the spectrum, if Earnhardt wins Saturday night and leads the most laps, he’ll clinch a spot if Harvick finishes 33rd or worse OR if Kurt Busch finishes 37th or worse. If Earnhardt wins but doesn’t lead the most laps, he’ll need a Harvick finish of 34th or lower OR a Busch finish of 39th or lower.(NASCAR PR)(9-5-2007)
  • Chase Stats before Richmond: Quiet for most of the summer, defending champ Jimmie Johnson and the #48 team clinched their fourth straight Chase by winning at California, and took the lead in the 2007 Chase standings as well. Only #17-Matt Kenseth has made all four Chases. All #07-Clint Bowyer and #1-Martin Truex Jr. have to do is show up at RIR Saturday night and start the race and they gets in their first Chase in only their second full season. Truex was in 22nd and Bowyer was 18th at this time last season.
    In the 2004 inaugural Race to the Chase, Kasey Kahne lost an 89-point lead over Jeremy Mayfield and didn’t make The Chase. In 2005, Jamie McMurray dropped out and Ryan Newman snuck in. Last year, Kahne was the one who got in the Chase as his third place gained 61 points over Tony Stewart’s 18th, with Kahne having 16 points to spare in making his first Chase. If #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes the chase, he will become the first driver to make up over 100 points at RIR and make the Chase
    If only 10 got into the 2007 Chase [as it was the first three years], it would be four drivers fighting for two spots at RIR. Here’s how it would look going to Richmond:
    Ahead of 11th
    9-Bowyer, +25
    10-Truex, +20
    Out of 10th
    11-KuBusch, -20
    12-Harvick, -33
    13-Earnhardt Jr., -161, Truex would just need to start
    For more Chase stats, see my Chase Stats before Richmond page and for last week, see the Chase Stats before California page.(9-5-2007)
  • Toyota Statement: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that the three-time championship-winning race team will campaign Toyota Camrys for drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. Joe Gibbs Racing’s NASCAR Grand National Series program will also utilize Toyota Camrys next season. Joe Gibbs Racing will be joining Bill Davis Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and Team Red Bull as the teams that will be racing the ‘Most Popular Car in America’ when the 2008 season kicks- off next February at Daytona International Speedway. Assembled at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant, more than six million Camry models have been sold in the United States since its debut 23 years ago.(see full PR at the Toyota Motorsports site)(9-5-2007)
  • GM Statement of JGR moving to Toyota: Statement from Brent Dewar; General Motors North America Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Parts Regarding Joe Gibbs Racing’s decision to sign with another manufacturer: “General Motors has been associated with Joe Gibbs Racing for 16 years working together winning races and championships. While we understand the business nature of racing, we are disappointed in J.D.’s decision and announcement today. With our long-standing relationship and record of winning with them, we hoped they would remain with Chevrolet. We will continue to support our JGR drivers in this year’s Chase for the Championship. We wish JGR well as they go forward, and Chevrolet will compete against them on the track next year to defend its title as the winningest name in racing.”(GM Racing PR)(9-5-2007)
  • Coors not returning to Ganassi in 2008: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) and Coors Brewing Company announced that Coors Light will not return as a primary sponsor on the team’s #40 Dodge in 2008. “After much evaluation on both of our parts, we agreed that having Coors Light back as a sponsor on the #40 Dodge was not going to meet the marketing objectives of either organization,” said Chip Ganassi Racing Teams’ President Steve Lauletta. “Coors has been a tremendous partner over the last 14 years and we wish them nothing but the best. We continue to weigh our sponsorship opportunities for the #40 and an announcement on that will be forthcoming. CGRFS has always prided itself on not only our long-term partnerships but also on our ability to attract new sponsors to the sport – just as we did earlier this year with Wrigley and Memorex.”
    “We believe that NASCAR is a valuable property that allows us to reach our target audience,” said Bryce McTavish, vice president of sponsorship and channel marketing for Coors Brewing Company. “From a marketing perspective, one of the sport’s greatest assets is the variety of ways in which companies can be involved and we are evaluating a number of them. We enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Chip and Felix and would like to thank them for their efforts on our behalf throughout the years. We will always appreciate their contribution to our business and our success.”
    The announcement will end a string of 14 years that Coors Light has been the primary sponsor or partial primary of the #40 car (seven with CGRFS). The relationship began in 1994 when Sabates’ Team SABCO and the Coors Brewing Company started their first partnership as Coors Light became the primary sponsor of the #40 with Bobby Hamilton behind the wheel.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)
    AND: hearing Coor’s Light will end up at DEI, not sure which team.(9-5-2007)
  • Rudd injures shoulder in California crash: UPDATE 3 to miss RIR: Ricky Rudd injured his shoulder in a crash during Sunday night’s Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway. After being caught up in a six-car pileup on lap 181 of the 500, Rudd was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. NASCAR officials confirmed he was treated and released. Rudd, driver of the #88 Robert Yates Racing Ford, separated his left shoulder according to FoxSports.com. NASCAR officials would only confirm that Rudd injured that shoulder.(SceneDaily.com)(9-3-2007)
    UPDATE: Ricky Rudd, who made his 900th career Cup Series start Sunday at California Speedway, separated his left shoulder and was briefly knocked unconscious in a wicked wreck during the Sharp Aquos 500, the veteran driver told ESPN.com. The shoulder is the major concern, and leaves Rudd concerned about his status for next weekend’s Chevy Rock ‘n Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway. He said he wouldn’t grade his chances of competing as very high.(ESPN.com)(9-3-2007)
    UPDATE 2a: For the first time in his NASCAR Cup Series career, Ricky Rudd will miss a race because of injury. The left shoulder separation Rudd suffered last Sunday at California Speedway will prevent him from competing in this weekend’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, the veteran driver told ESPN.com on Tuesday. The wreck “tore a bunch of ligaments and tendons,” Rudd said. “I’m out at Richmond.” Rudd will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis to determine his return to competition. Kenny Wallace will replace Rudd in the #88 Snickers Ford. Rudd said he’ll still attend the race to assist in any way possible, including driver/team communication. Rudd, who made his 900th career Cup Series start Sunday at California, separated his left shoulder and was briefly knocked unconscious in a wicked wreck on lap 181 of the Sharp Aquos 500. The last time Rudd was unable to compete because of injury was early in his career, when he’d only begun dabbling in stock car racing. At the time he was racing motorcycles, and a compound fracture of his arm ended his season. “Yeah, that was the only time and we really didn’t have a true schedule, so to answer [the] question, no, I’ve never had to miss a race due to injury — until now,” Rudd said.(ESPN.com)(9-4-2007)
    UPDATE 3: Yates Newman Haas Lanigan driver Ricky Rudd will not race this weekend in the Nextel Cup Series at Richmond International Raceway as a result of a separated left shoulder sustained in an accident during Sunday’s race at California Speedway. Team Owner Robert Yates has selected Kenny Wallace to take over driving duties for Rudd this weekend at RIR. Rudd sustained the shoulder injury in a multi-car accident on lap 180 in Sunday’s race at California Speedway, when contact from another car sent the #88 machine into the outside retaining wall of the front stretch. Rudd was treated and released from the Loma Linda University Medical Center on Sunday before returning to Charlotte. After examination on Tuesday by a Charlotte area physician, specializing in shoulder and elbow injuries, it was determined Rudd will not require surgery on his shoulder. In addition to rest, Rudd will begin a rehabilitation program this week in Charlotte. Rudd will receive an evaluation next week to determine if he will be able to return as driver of the #88 for the September 16th race at New Hampshire International Speedway.(Yates Newman Haas Lanigan Racing PR)(9-5-2007)
  • Testing at Milwaukee: Nextel Cup teams are testing COT cars at The Milwaukee Mile Wednesday, Sept 5 including:
    Red Bull with #83 Brian Vickers & #84 AJ Allmendinger
    Evernham Motorsports with #19 Boris Said (2 cars)
    Hendrick Motorsports with #5 Kyle Busch [explains why he was not at the Gibbs/Toyota press conf]
    Team Penske with #12 with Sam Hornish
    Teams indicated they will be testing today only, and no speeds will be recorded.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(9-5-2007)
  • Testing at Kentucky: Landon Cassill and David Green are testing at Kentucky Speedway for Hendrick Motorsports in their R&D cars on Tuesday and Wednesday this week [Sept 4-5]. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(9-5-2007)
  • Ward hopes to be back in 2008:#4-Ward Burton said he’d like to return to Morgan-McClure Motorsports next season but that will depend on the team acquiring sponsorship.(Roanoke Times)(9-5-2007)
  • BDR hires race engineer for Villeneuve: Ryan Coniam has been hired as race engineer for Jacques Villeneuve in the 2008 Nextel Cup Series. Villeneuve, who was world driving champion in 1997, will start his NASCAR career at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sept. 22 when he will partner Bill Davis Racing teammate Mike Skinner in a Craftsman Truck Series race. Villeneuve is expected to drive as many as seven truck races and possibly one Nextel Cup race in ’07 before going into the Cup series full-time in 2008. The 27-year-old Coniam, former World of Outlaws sprint car star and son of Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame inductee Warren Coniam, has been living in Mooresville, N.C., where he was employed in research and development for Dale Earnhardt Inc. He was head-hunted by BDR and travelled to Bristol, Tenn., for an interview the weekend of Aug. 25. He was notified last Friday that he has the job. Villeneuve will drive truck #27, renumbered in recent days by BDR to honour Villeneuve’s late father, Gilles Villeneuve, who drove Ferrari #27. Jacques Villeneuve also drove with that number on his car when he raced in the CART series in the mid-1990s, winning both the Indianapolis 500 and the CART championship in 1995.(Toronto Star)(9-5-2007)
  • Sad News – Tex Trigg: Robert Earl “Tex” Trigg, 68, formerly of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, passed away Saturday, September 1, 2007 in Huntersville, North Carolina. A native of Brownsville, Texas, he had lived on Lookout Mountain for 12 years and had been a resident of Statesville, NC for the past 17 years. Mr. Trigg was employed as a machinist with Joe Gibbs Racing, served in both the U.S. Army & Air Force and was a member of the Remington Gun Club. His first wife, Charlotte Mae Trigg, preceded him in death. Survivors include his wife, Kathleen Trigg; daughters, Kim Crocker, Kannapolis, NC, Donna Blevins, Lookout Mtn., GA, Tina Nelson, Douglasville, GA, & Toni Trigg, Chattanooga Valley; step-children, Julie Dove, Statesville, NC, & Scott Haldane, Andover, NJ; thirteen grandchildren also survive. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in the South Crest Chapel with Bishop Billy Blevins officiating. Interment will follow in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Lookout Mountain. The family will receive friends Tuesday from 2 – 8 p.m. at the South Crest Chapel of Lane Funeral Home & Crematory, Rossville.(lane-southcrestchapel.com)(9-5-2007)


    News from September 4, 2007

  • Mears to the #5 in 2008; DaleJr to #25 team [new number]: Casey Mears will drive the #5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series, joining a team that secured its second consecutive Chase for the Championship berth Sunday at California Speedway. In his first season with Hendrick Motorsports, Mears has notched one victory, a pole position, four top-five finishes and six top-10s through 25 races. The Bakersfield, Calif., native will complete the current schedule in the organization’s #25 Chevys before transitioning to the Kellogg’s/CARQUEST team. The effort will be led by Alan Gustafson, 32, who has earned four wins, two poles, 25 top-five finishes and 45 top-10s since his first season as crew chief of the #5 Chevy in 2005. “My goal is to meet the high standard the drivers before me helped established with the #5 Chevrolet, both on and off the track,” said the 29-year-old Mears. “I’m looking forward to working with Alan and the team to continue the winning tradition for Kellogg’s, CARQUEST and Hendrick Motorsports.” Since its inception in 1984, the #5 Hendrick Motorsports team has posted 27 victories and 35 pole positions with just four different drivers — Geoff Bodine, Ricky Rudd, Terry Labonte and Kyle Busch. It has finished among the top 12 in Cup points in 17 of the past 23 seasons (1984-2006), including a championship in 1996. “The #5 was our first car (at Hendrick Motorsports), so, for me, there’s a lot of personal history in that team,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “Casey has proven capable of winning and running up front, which is what the #5 has always been about. The goal is more victory lanes and championships for the team, and for Kellogg’s and CARQUEST.” The relationship between Kellogg Co. and the #5 Hendrick Motorsports team is one of the most enduring in NASCAR. Kellogg’s debuted as primary sponsor of the #5 Chevys in 1994 and has since earned a Cup Series title, 16 race wins, 89 top-five finishes and 170 top-10s.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-4-2007)
  • Eury Jr. to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008: When driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. joins Hendrick Motorsports for the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season, Tony Eury Jr. will be his crew chief. Eury, who has been Earnhardt’s crew chief for the past two seasons, signed a multi-year agreement with the organization this week. “Tony Jr. and Dale have a successful history working together,” Hendrick said. “They have trust in each other, which is the biggest part of the relationship between driver and crew chief. We have the utmost confidence in their ability to win races and compete for titles at Hendrick Motorsports.” A Kannapolis, N.C., native, Eury will move to Hendrick Motorsports immediately following the current NASCAR season. He will continue the work of Darian Grubb, who will finish the 2007 schedule as crew chief of the #25 Chevrolets before moving into a senior competition role with Hendrick Motorsports. “Dale Jr. and I are both excited to continue working together,” said Eury, 34, who has been Earnhardt’s crew chief or car chief for the majority of the driver’s NASCAR career. “With the resources we’ll have at Hendrick Motorsports, it’s an opportunity to consistently run up front and be in title contention every year. The goals are winning races and winning championships.” Grubb, 31, who hails from Floyd, Va., will coordinate the at-track engineering efforts of the Earnhardt and Mears teams with emphasis on supporting Eury’s transition to Hendrick Motorsports and Mears’ switch to the #5 Cup Series program. The personnel moves will give Hendrick Motorsports additional depth with the Earnhardt and Mears teams. Grubb, who earned a championship as an engineer with the #48 Chevrolets and has won three times in 29 races as a crew chief, will work hand-in-hand with veteran team manager Brian Whitesell. Hendrick Motorsports is evaluating alternative numbers for the Earnhardt team, which currently uses the #25 on its Chevy race cars. A timetable for that announcement has not been set.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-4-2007)
  • Hall of Fame Racing to name 2008 driver today….Yeley UPDATE: Hall of Fame Racing hold a Driver Announcement for #96 Nextel Cup Series Team on Tuesday afternoon at their shop in Huntersville, NC. This press conference is CLOSED to the public.(PR)
    AND hearing that J.J. Yeley will be named the driver.(9-4-2007)
    UPDATE: Hall of Fame Racing has signed J.J. Yeley to drive for the #96 team in the Sprint Cup Series beginning in 2008. Yeley’s debut in the #96 DLP HDTV car [rumored to be Toyota in 2008, now a Chevy] will come in February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. His entry into the prestigious event came via his first career pole at Michigan International Speedway this past June. “In 23 years of being involved in professional sports, I have worked with many great athletes,” said Jeff Moorad, owner of Hall of Fame Racing. “J.J Yeley’s determination to succeed reminds me of many of the championship athletes that I have been around in my career. He is hungry and determined to win races and championships and to do it with class. We look forward to J.J. being an integral part of Hall of Fame Racing and to winning with him going forward.” Yeley comes to Hall of Fame Racing from Joe Gibbs Racing, the team for which he drove full-time in the Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2006. Yeley will take over for Tony Raines, current driver of the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy, following the conclusion of the 2007 season. “After meeting with Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel it was easy to see why both of them have been so successful with the Arizona Diamondbacks and their other past ventures,” said Yeley, whose contract with Hall of Fame Racing runs through the 2010 season. “Both of them are very determined to be successful. They know you can’t just come in and throw money at the team and expect to win races. The benefit of this team is that there’s already a great history and foundation in place with equipment from Joe Gibbs Racing, which is equal to the best equipment in the sport. All those things added up to make me feel that Hall of Fame Racing and DLP will be the best fit for me.”
    “When you leave an organization like Joe Gibbs Racing, one of the top teams in NASCAR, you want to try to make the right step to be more successful,” said Yeley, who finished a career-best second in May at the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I’ve never had to make a decision this difficult in my life, but I’m confident that Hall of Fame Racing will be competitive week-in and week out and build the future team around me as their driver. The affiliation with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the great people in Phoenix was just an added bonus that makes it the perfect fit for me.”
    “We are very much looking forward to J.J. representing DLP and our retail partners,” said Dave Duncan, sponsorship marketing manager for DLP Products and Texas Instruments. “We’ve had a relationship with J.J. the past two seasons as an associate sponsor on the #18 car and look forward to working with him in the future.”
    Yeley replaces Tony Raines, who has driven for Hall of Fame Racing the past two seasons and will drive the final 11 races in 2007. “I very much enjoyed working with everyone at Hall of Fame Racing and DLP,” Raines said. “I can’t thank them enough for everything they did for me and both companies are class organizations. We had some success, especially in the Car of Tomorrow (COT) races and I look forward to running the final 11 races, including the five COT races. We’re going to do our best to finish out strong before we go our separate ways. I wish them the best of luck in 2008 and beyond.”(True Speed Communication/Hall of Fame Racing PR)(9-4-2007)
  • AMP Dale Jr’s sponsor? UPDATE 2 and mountain Dew: ESPN.com’s sources say Budweiser knows it won’t be on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s cars next year at Hendrick Motorsports, and that it looks like some sort of sponsorship deal with a Pepsi product (or products) is likely for him. Terry Blount and David Newton got further down the road with sources than I have. Nothing they wrote conflicts with what I’ve been trying to nail down. But all anybody with official ties to Pepsi or Budweiser or the teams will say for the record is they don’t comment on speculation. One source I’ve trusted for a long time tells me that AMP, an energy drink Pepsi markets under the Mountain Dew umbrella, will factor in the deal for Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick. Jeff Gordon and the Hendrick folks have a deal with Pepsi that stretches through 2010. Pepsi also is ending its contracts with International Speedway Corp. One reason could be that money’s going into the Hendrick-Earnhardt Jr. basket.(Charlotte Observer)(6-12-2007)
    UPDATE and Mountain Dew: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Hendrick Motorsports are expected to announce later this month Pepisco Inc. products Mountain Dew and Amp energy drink are his primary sponsors for next season, sources confirmed Sunday.(ESPN.com)(9-3-2007)
    UPDATE 2: on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now Monday night, it was reported that Mountain/AMP would probably be 55% of the races and National Guard would be 45% of the races for Dale Earnhardt Jr. There would be no problem with Navy being the sponsor of Dale Jr’s #88 Busch team, but don’t expect to see Earnhardt in a National Guard Busch car.(9-4-2007)
  • “Dale” to make its TV debut on CMT: Dale Earnhardt is known as one of the most legendary drivers in the history of NASCAR, and his life both on and off the track is featured in the two-hour CMT feature, DALE, premiering Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 8:00pm/et/pt on CMT [with a special Dale Pre-Show: His Greatest Comeback]. DALE will encore at 8:00pm on Wednesday, Sept. 5 and Thursday, Sept. 6, with those being the only additional scheduled airings of DALE on CMT prior to the film’s release on DVD next year. Produced by NASCAR Images and CMT Films, DALE is the only authorized film on Dale Earnhardt. Narrated by Paul Newman, this portrait of Dale Earnhardt includes archival race footage, rare outtakes, never-before-seen family home videos and interviews with his closest friends and family, toughest competitors and most avid fans, illustrating the depth of Earnhardt’s influence in the racing world and beyond. DALE was produced with the support and endorsement of Richard Childress Racing, plus the Earnhardt family, corporation, and team. Prior to airing on CMT, DALE was launched theatrically in February 2007 and premiered in select cities on the Nextel Cup Series circuit. DALE will be available on DVD first quarter 2008. See more info on the movie at http://dale.cmt.com.(8-14/9-4-2007)
  • Extensions for Stewart & Hamlin close: [Joe Gibbs Racing’s] Car owner J.D. Gibbs says that contract extensions are nearly set with #11-Denny Hamlin and #20-Tony Stewart. Both have contracts through 2009. Both are set to attend the team’s press conference later this week announcing the [supposed] move to Toyota and their contact extensions could be announced there.(Roanoke Times)(9-4-2007)
  • Red Bull staying with Toyota: Elton Sawyer, Team Red Bull’s competition director, responded to questions about a possible switch from Toyotas to Chevrolets next season by saying his operation “is very content with our current manufacture. We have no plans to make any changes. It’s been a good partnership.” There has been intense speculation that the first-year team has been trying to make the change. The other question facing the new NASCAR operation is Scott Speed, the Red Bull-backed racer who just lost his Formula One ride and who has been at the company’s Charlotte-area shops the past few days looking for something to do next. “Scott is a Red Bull athlete, and anything we can to do to help him get introduced to NASCAR racing, whether it be Busch, Truck or ARCA, we’ll do,” Sawyer said. But he said that there were no specific plans currently for Speed.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-4-2007)
  • Ambrose may run for Robby at Dover: Marcos Ambrose gets a do-over. One of the feel-good stories of this year happened when Robby Gordon provided a Nextel Cup car for Australia’s Ambrose at Watkins Glen, a week after an on-track confrontation cost both of them a victory in the Busch race in Montreal. The only problem was, qualifying was rained out and Ambrose never got an opportunity. Gordon says he’s going to enter Ambrose in one of his Ford Fusions for Dover.(Sports Illustrated)(9-4-2007)
  • No decision on 2008 plans yet for McSwain: Michael ‘Fatback’ McSwain will step down as crew chief of the #21 Wood Brothers Ford driven by Bill Elliott at the end of the 2007 season. He said Sunday at California Speedway he does not yet know what he’ll be doing in 2008. “I’ve done this so long, it’s pretty much all I know,” said McSwain, who has worked in NASCAR for 17 years, the last 11 as a crew chief. McSwain lives in Dallas, N.C. with his wife Deanna. He wants to spend more time at home with her and is tired of leaving two-year-old daughter Makayla and three-month-old son Wyatt wondering where “daddy is going.” Secondary to his family but hugely important in his life, McSwain wants the opportunity to deepen his faith in God. “I believe in the Bible and I believe in God, but my faith is not as strong as I would like it to be,” McSwain said. “I was raised a Christian. I’m a member of a church on paper, but I’m not there” to participate and grow.” McSwain, who grew up in Shelby, N.C., said he went to Wood Brothers near the end of 2004. “They’re great people,” McSwain said of the family race team that has been a NASCAR pioneer. “I consider them brothers. I want to do anything I can to help them.” While he knows he won’t be back as crew chief, McSwain said he might end up working in some capacity for Wood Bros. “Something will happen; I never planned any of it,” said McSwain, who added that he feels his God will do the leading. “He has so far; I’ve got no reason to believe He won’t now,” added McSwain.(Ford Racing)(9-4-2007)
  • Johnson to run at the race of champions again in Dec: Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana have both confirmed their attendance for The Race of Champions at Wembley Stadium, UK, this December, which will see the London arena transformed into a tarmac race-track. The event is the only opportunity for the world’s motorsport heroes from many various disciplines to race in exactly the same cars and on a parallel-track. Jimmie Johnson is coming back as part of Team USA after missing out on last year’s event at the Stade de France in Paris, France due to an injury he sustained only days before the race. Despite his injury the 31-year-old was still there to cheer on team-mate and fellow American Pastrana. Both drivers are confident they can make up for missing out on last year’s Nations Cup title as well having The Race of Champions 2007 individual title firmly in their sight. More info at raceofchampions.com.(Race of Champions PR)(9-4-2007)
  • Schrader wins ARCA race: Longtime Nextel Cup driver Ken Schrader won the ARCA RE/MAX-Southern Illinois 100 for the second straight year, beating Josh Wise by 0.364 seconds on the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds’ mile dirt oval. Schrader passed Wise for the lead on the 85th lap in the 100-lap race and held on for his 15th career ARCA victory. Schrader pitted only once, for fuel and tires on lap 20. Josh Richards was third, followed by A.J. Fike, eight-time series champion Frank Kimmel, Patrick Sheltra, Justin Marks and Billy Venturini.(AP/Sporting News)(9-4-2007)


    News from September 3, 2007

  • Sad News – Billy Kimmel: Mechanicsburg native and race car driver Billy Kimmel, 27, was killed in an accident at the Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, PA on Sunday night [9-2]. Kimmel was flown via Life Lion to Harrisburg Hospital after the accident, where he was pronounced dead at 11:51pm/et, according to the hospital. The hospital said Kimmel was alive at the scene, but crews had to begin CPR while he was in flight. Kimmel was on lap 24 of the 25-lap 410 Sprint car feature when the accident occurred in turn three.(Sentinel Online), more info and a tribute at the Williams Grove Speedway site.(9-3-2007)
  • Childress Could Lose Sponsorship For #31 Team: Richard Childress said on Sunday at California Speedway, that he could be in danger of losing sponsorship for the #31 car if the lawsuit between AT&T and NASCAR/Sprint goes the wrong way. “If they would go away, we definitely could, they couldn’t afford to stay in (the sport) to run a blank car. It’s all up to Sprint to make the decision. It’s in Sprint’s hands. NASCAR is being controlled by what Sprint is going to let them do. The sad part of it is, the money AT&T spends with Richard Childress Racing, they will spend three times as much in media, FOX, ESPN, newspapers, magazines, and everything else they do — they’ll spend millions of dollars promoting their products and in that product, they are helping to promote our sport. It’s just sad to see it where it is. If they (AT&T) get beat and end up having to leave, naturally we’re going to lose them. Not only will RCR have a loss — but the sport will lose. Again, it’s in Sprint’s hands.”(Insider Racing News)(9-3-2007)
  • Childress Nearing Deadline for 4th Team: Richard Childress said he has a drop-dead date of the end of September to make a decision on a full-time fourth car for the 2008 season. Childress listed the chances of working everything out at 50/50. Childress was asked if J.J. Yeley still was a candidate to drive a fourth RCR car next year. “I’m still interested, but I think he’s already gone to the #88,” Childress said. Childress also is talking to 2007 Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti about moving to NASCAR.(ESPN.com)(9-3-2007)
  • Yeley Nearing Decision on Team: J.J. Yeley said Friday he should have a decision within two weeks about which team he will drive for next season. Yeley has spoken with Robert Yates about the opening in the #88 Ford. He also has talked to Richard Childress about the possibility of running a fourth car for RCR next season. Yeley also may be in the running to replace Scott Riggs in the #10 Dodge for Gillett Evernham Motorsports. What happens with that car depends on what Valvoline officials want. Valvoline is the co-owner of the #10 Dodge and has a major input in who drives the car.(ESPN.com)(9-3-2007)
  • Baseball Execs Buy Majority of Hall of Fame Racing: UPDATE; Two executives with the Arizona Diamondbacks have purchased majority interest in the team owned by Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. Jeff Moorad, chief executive officer of the Diamondbacks, and Tom Garfinkel, the chief operating officer, will be introduced as the controlling owners of Hall of Fame Racing Sunday at California Speedway, two people familiar with the deal told the AP. The original ownership group, including Aikman and Staubach, will remain involved as minority owners. But Moorad, who is part of the Diamondbacks ownership group, and Garfinkel will have controlling interest. Garfinkel has vast racing experience through his previous role as executive vice president of Chip Ganassi Racing. Moorad founded his own management company in 1983, and has represented athletes such as Manny Ramirez, Will Clark, Steve Young, Warren Moon, and Aikman. It was that previous relationship with Aikman that led the executives to Hall of Fame Racing when they began looking for a team to purchase. Hall of Fame Racing has a close alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, and that’s not expected to change with the sale. Gibbs currently fields Chevy, but is expected to announce next week that it is switching to Toyota. Although aspects of the Hall of Fame sale are still being discussed, sources told the AP the team will use the same manufacturer that Gibbs does next season.(USA Today/Associated Press)(9-2-2007)
    UPDATE: Hall of Fame Racing will continue its partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and follow its switch from Chevy to Toyota in 2008, the teams announced. HFR general partner Bill Saunders and Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs announced the partnership extension. JGR is expected to announce Wednesday its move to Toyota. JGR supplies engines, chassis and bodies to HFR in a lease agreement. Tony Raines is the driver of HFR’s car, which is sponsored by DLP/Texas Instruments. [new owner Tom] Garfinkel said no decision has been made on whether Raines will return next season. DLP is in the second year of a three-year deal with the team and will continue next season as the primary sponsor.(ESPN.com)(9-3-2007)
  • Commercial breakdown Sharp Aquos 500:
    Total number of commercials: 144
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 73
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 23
    Start time to record race/commercial periods 09/02/07: 8:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods 09/03/07: 12:07 AM
    Total minutes: 247
    Minutes of race broadcast: 180
    Minutes of commercials: 67
    Number of missed restarts: 1
    Total race brdcst time: 180 Total comm. brdcst time: 67
    See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(9-3-2007)
  • Sports Teams Owner is Childress’ Guest at California: [MLB’s Texas] Rangers and [NHL’s Dallas] Stars owner Tom Hicks and members of his family were scheduled to attend the Sharp Aquos 500 Nextel Cup race at California. Hicks said it was a social invitation by team owner [#s 07, 29, 31] Richard Childress. He wouldn’t comment on whether he has any interest in investing in a NASCAR team. But his sports empire has grown this year. In February, he became co-chairman of the Liverpool Football Club, one of the most storied soccer franchises in the English Premier League. Hicks’ partner in that purchase was George Gillett, the owner of the NHL’s Montreal Canadians and now a major investor in Ray Evernham’s NASCAR team.(Dallas Morning News)(9-3-2007)

News from September 2, 2007

  • Johnson wins at California: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway for his fifth win of the year, which will guarantee him a top seed when the Chase starts in two weeks. #48-Johnson, #31-Burton, and #5-Busch are now locked into the Chase. #99-Edwards finished second, followed by #5-Busch, #31-Burton, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #1-Truex Jr., #17-Kenseth, #83-Vickers, #2-Busch, and #9-Kahne. Points leader #24-Gordon finished 22nd after getting caught in an accident. #8-Earnhardt, Jr’s 5th place finish helped him gain 30 points on 12th place in the standings, but he still remains 128 out. There were 11 cautions for 43 laps and there were 16 leaders with 30 lead changes.
    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/Rundwon Page for my race rundwon page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-2-2007)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standings after California [25 of 36 races]:
    1) #24- Jeff Gordon 3679 cliched chase
    2) #20-Tony Stewart 3362 -317, cliched chase
    3) #11-Denny Hamlin 3335 -344, cliched chase
    4) #99Carl Edwards 3330 -349, cliched chase
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth 3309 -370, cliched chase
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 3249 -430, cliched chase
    7) #31-Jeff Burton 3219 -460, cliched chase
    8) #5-Kyle Busch 3199 -480, cliched chase
    9) #07-Clint Bowyer 3047 -632, starts at RIR to clinch
    10) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 3042 -637, starts at RIR to clinch
    11) #2-Kurt Busch 3022 -657, 32nd or better clinches at RIR
    12) #29-Kevin Harvick 3009 -670, 36nd or better clinches at RIR
    other notables:
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 13th 128 pts behind 12th and the chase
    #12- Ryan Newman 14th 272 pts behind 12th and not in contention for the chase
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(9-2-2007)
  • Rumblings – California: It was a hot one….but JJ was nothin’ but cool at the end! Jimmie Johnson dominated late tonight at California Speedway and went on to win the Sharp Aquos 500 (tho you wouldn’t have known the race sponsor by watching the event on ESPN) over Carl Edwards. Johnson led four times for 84 circuits on the way to his 5th win of the season (that’s tops this year), and 28th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now tied with Rex White for 21st on the all-time win list). This was the second win for Johnson in Fontana, and the 160th for Hendrick Motorsports (they have 11 this season). It was worth $289,411 from the over $6M in posted awards.
    Kyle Busch (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Daytona in July.
    Jeff Burton (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Infineon Raceway in June.
    David Ragan (12th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Daytona in July.
    Jamie McMurray (16th) had his best finish since he won at Daytona in July.
    A. J. Allmendinger (18th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 31st twice….at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May and at Michigan in June.
    Kyle Petty (28th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May.
    Aric Almirola (31st) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 36th last week at Bristol.
    STREAKIN….Carl Edwards has 4 Top-5’s in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-5’s in the last 5 races. Kurt Busch has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
    The Rookie Report: David Ragan (12th) takes this award for the 10th time this season. He was followed by A. J. Allmendinger (18th), Paul Menard (24th), David Reutimann (32nd), and Juan Pablo Montoya (33rd).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Matt Kenseth (+29), followed by Jamie McMurray (+22) and David Ragan (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-35) followed by Elliott Sadler (-29). This was Op #4 for Kenseth (tops this season) and BD #4 for Newman (he’s tied with Kasey Kahne for the lead in that category.
    David Reutimann led a lap tonight for the first time in his Cup career. John Andretti led a lap tonight for the first time since he led one lap at the Daytona 500 in 2004! We’ve had 50 drivers lead a lap this season….. last year’s number was 48 and we had 51 leaders in ’05.
    We had another swap in the final exempt qualifying position (35th in Owner Points) tonight. The #21 of Bill Elliott is now in (by four points) over Dave Blaney’s #22.
    We’ve got five drivers for four spots….but Dale Earnhardt Jr certainly has his work cut out for him. He’s 128 points behind Kevin Harvick for the 12th and final transfer spot to the Chase. The Top-8 are locked in, but for all practical purposes the Top-10 are in (all Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr have to do is start next week’s race)….the Magic Number for Harvick is still a relatively safe 32nd (and remember, that’s assuming that Little E would win the event and lead the most laps in doing it).
    Three drivers (Kasey Kahne, David Ragan, and Reed Sorenson) advanced two spots in the points tonight, while Mark Martin fell three spots. Of the drivers entered, Kevin Harvick and Elliott Sadler fell two spots each.(Stock Car Fans)(9-2-2007)
  • Sharp Aquos 500 Fast Facts:
    .. Jimmie Johnson won the Sharp AQUOS 500, his 28th victory in 208 Nextel Cup Series races.
    .. This is his Series-leading fifth victory and 15th top-10 finish in 2007.
    .. This is his second victory and sixth top-10 finish in 10 races at California Speedway.
    .. Carl Edwards (second) posted 11th top-10 in 2007 and his sixth in seven California races.
    .. Kyle Busch (third) posted 14th top-10 finish in 2007 and his fifth in seven races at California.
    .. Jeff Gordon continues to lead the 2007 point standings. He has led the point standings since Bristol and is now 317 points ahead of Tony Stewart.
    .. Gordon, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch have all clinched a berth in the 2007 Chase for the Nextel Cup.
    .. Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. only have to start at Richmond to clinch a Chase berth.
    .. Kevin Harvick leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 128 points for the 12th position. Kurt Busch in 11th is 141 markers ahead of Earnhardt. Harvick can clinch by finishing 32nd or better at Richmond – regardless of what Earnhardt does. For Busch a 36th or better finish will clinch a Chase position.(NASCAR Statistics)(9-2-2007)
  • Kyle Busch Doesn’t Expect Move to Toyota to Cause Problems with Hendrick: Kyle Busch says he doesn’t expect the imminent change of Joe Gibbs Racing from Chevy to Toyota for next season to make things any more awkward for him as he finishes out the year at Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been awkward since June when it was announced Dale Earnhardt Jr. would replace him in the seat. “We’re still doing our job, we’re still trying to make this Chase and make this championship happen,” Busch said Friday. “It’s a little bit of a difficult situation to go through, but in the end, you just know that it’s business and you have to work together to make sure it doesn’t happen.(SceneDaily.com)(9-2-2007)
  • Joe Gibbs Racing Forms Motocross and Supercross Team: Since debuting in the 1992 Daytona 500, Joe Gibbs Racing has won over 100 races in NASCAR and the NHRA. In 2008, the veteran racing organization will continue to add to its rich history, but in addition to winning races on four wheels, they’ll also attempt to do it using only two. Joe Gibbs Racing Motocross (JGRMX) is the latest venture of the 16-year-old race team founded by Joe Gibbs. Gibbs’ youngest son, Coy, will head up the operation, along with motocross industry veteran David Evans. The two have already secured the services of riders Josh Hansen and Josh Summey, as JGRMX will campaign both riders in the World Supercross GP and American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Supercross Series, and also the AMA National Motocross Championship. (Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(9-2-2007)
  • Special Scheme for Newman at California: A Missouri man has won the “Ink Ryan’s Ride” contest, sponsored by Eastman Kodak Company. The winning design for the # 12 Kodak Dodge will be driven by Ryan Newman in Sunday’s Sharp Aquos 500. Raymond VanDerLinden of Springfield, Mo., answered Kodak’s challenge to “think about ink” with a colorful and creative design for Newman’s car. His winning design, chosen from among four other semi-finalists, was selected from more than 3,100 online entries. (Kodak PR) See an image of the car on my #12 Team Schemes page.(9-2-2007)


    News from September 1, 2007

  • Kenny Wallace to the #88? Kenny Wallace may return to the NASCAR Cup series next year if a meeting with Robert Yates goes well Sunday in California. “He called me up and said that his brother-in-law told him that the driver he needed to hire was right under his nose – me,” Wallace said with his signature laugh. “I told him that the manufacturer wanted me to drive his car last but M&Ms wanted” Ricky Rudd. Wallace said Yates asked him to test the # 88 Ford at Talladega in the near future. “I keep reading that they are considering J.J. Yeley, so we will see what happens,” Wallace said. “At least he called me, I didn’t call him.”(St. Louis Post Dispatch)(9-1-2007)
  • Mayfield’s team expects ‘big penalties’ from infraction: Joe Lax, crew chief for Jeremy Mayfield’s #36 Toyota, is expecting a significant penalty after his team got caught putting illegal weight in the car. In pre-qualifying inspection Friday at California Speedway, Mayfield’s Bill Davis Racing car was found to have too much camber in the rear end. The team fixed the problem, which requires taking a blowtorch to the rear of the car, and went back through the inspection line, but the car was found to be too light on the right side. Then, in a moment of desperation, a team member stuck a piece of lead inside the water bottle to add the extra weight. But NASCAR discovered the illegal trick, which is considered tampering with the car.(SceneDaily.com)(9-1-2007)
  • Car Number news for Dale Jr UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports has applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for potential use of five numbers next season for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. The numbers under consideration are #38, #51, #81, #82 and #58. Filing with Patent and Trademark Office does not guarantee NASCAR approval to use any of those numbers, but does prevent an outside party from trademarking the specific font and graphic package used by Hendrick on its racecars, diecast collectibles and souvenirs. Hendrick filed for the #81 on July 25th, with the most recent filing being for the #38 on August 9th. There have been reports that Hendrick is attempting to strike a deal with Robert Yates Racing for the #38 next season, but my [Dave Moody] sources tell me that the deal is not likely to happen.(Motorsports Soapbox and Thatsracin)(8-30-2007)
    UPDATE: Earnhardt was asked on pit road after qualifying Friday at California Speedway when he hopes to announce what car he will be driving next season. “When we announce the number, it’s going to be the same day we announce the sponsor, and that will be at a press conference — not standing on pit road after qualifying,” Earnhardt said. Earnhardt added that he thinks “we’re a couple of weeks out” from making it all official. When asked if crew chief Tony Eury Jr. would be following him to Hendrick Motorsports, he also said: “We don’t have an announcement, but Tony Jr. is working in that direction.”(NASCAR.com)(9-1-2007)
  • Music City Motorplex to name race for Adam Petty: The Music City Motorplex will honor Adam Petty, who was killed in 2000 while practicing for a Busch Series race, during the 25th annual All-American 400. The All-American 400, scheduled for Nov. 2-4, is an ASA Late Model Series race which pits stockcar drivers from the North and South against one another. Pattie Petty said she and her husband, Kyle Petty, were honored by the motorplex’s decision to name the race for their son. The Adam Petty Memorial All-American 400 will benefit the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Associated Press/NASCAR.com)(9-1-2007)
  • Charlotte to spend $2.5M more for NASCAR hall: A basement for the new NASCAR Hall of Fame will cost an additional $2.5 million, an unexpected expense that was approved by the Charlotte City Council. The basement for the $154.5 million project was approved this week after officials said adding it now would be cheaper than waiting. Two of the 11 council members opposed the plan. Assistant City Manager Jim Schumacher said the extra space would be used for more exhibits or other operations. The hall is scheduled to open near the Charlotte Convention Center in 2010. The hall is being financed mostly with proceeds of a hotel and motel tax.(Associated Press/Sports Illustrated)(9-1-2007)
  • McMurray to appear on a soap opera: Before making his way to Fontana this weekend for the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway, Roush Fenway Racing driver #26-Jamie McMurray stopped in Hollywood for a brief cameo appearance on the soap opera “Passions.” On Wednesday afternoon, McMurray visited the set of “Passions” located in Studio City, Calif., where he participated in a scene for an upcoming episode. McMurray was invited to tape a scene on “Passions,” where the 31- year old played himself a “real-life NASCAR driver,” as the script refers to him. The episode is scheduled to air on September 26, 2007. “It was a lot of fun shooting my scene on “Passions,” said McMurray. “I think the best part about the shoot was how nice the people were on the set. It was pretty cool to be able to go behind the scenes and see how it was shot. It’s amazing to think they shoot five days a week, and sometimes for up to 15 hours in one day. My part in the show was really quick and I only had a few lines to remember, but I have to admit, I was pretty nervous when all the cameras were turned on. What people don’t realize is that it isn’t just you and the other actors; it’s also like 20 other people behind the cameras. And on top of that, I didn’t want to be the one to mess up the shoot.” When the lights were up and the cameras were rolling, it only took McMurray one shot to nail his lines.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(9-1-2007)
  • Hall of Fame Racing Undecided on Manufacturer: #96-Hall of Fame Racing general manager Philippe Lopez said the team hasn’t decided which manufacturer it will partner with next season. If Hall of Fame Racing doesn’t go to Toyota, it would look at other Chevy teams like Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports. Lopez said his team has talked to both owners about that possibility. Lopez said Hall of Fame Racing is in the second year of a three-year deal with Gibbs, but that they can opt out of the contract if Gibbs switches manufacturers.(Dallas Morning News)(9-1-2007)