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June 2008 News Archives


  • News from June 30, 2008

  • Randy Moss starting truck team: UPDATEs: Hearing that NFL Player Randy Moss has bought into Morgan-Dollar Motorsports and the team will be renamed Randy Moss Motorsports. No idea when this will be announced.(6-12-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Moss Motorsports has scheduled a press conference at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Thursday, July 3rd at 2:00pm/et – anticipating a formal announcement of future plans.(6-27-2008)
    UPDATE 4: A source at New Hampshire Motor Speedway told the Herald yesterday that Moss’ NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team, Randy Moss Motorsports, will make its debut on July 19 at Kentucky Speedway. Moss’ truck will be #81, the jersey number he wears for the Patriots. Moss has also purchased a major portion of Morgan Dollar Motorsports, a team currently racing in the truck series. Moss will make the announcement on Thursday at Daytona International Speedway and is expected to have a prominent Sprint Cup driver race his truck in Sparta, KY.(Boston Herald), see more on this, the original post, PR and news on my Truck Series Site.(6-30-2008) Comment here

  • Hunt Brothers Pizza Extends Sponsorship with HAAS CNC Racing:HAAS CNC Racing announced today that it has extended its sponsorship agreement with Hunt Brothers Pizza for the 2008 Sprint Cup season. The Nashville, Tenn.-based company will serve as a primary sponsor of the #66 and #70 Chevys in multiple races and will be an associate sponsor on the #66 in each of the remaining races. “We are very excited to have Hunt Brothers Pizza as a continued partner,” said HAAS CNC Racing general manager Joe Custer. “This is a great step ahead for our race team. We’re looking forward to representing Hunt Brothers well, both on and off the track.” The #70 Chevy Impala SS first featured the Hunt Brothers Pizza brand at Talladega in April where the team qualified third. “NASCAR is a natural fit for Hunt Brothers Pizza,” said company executive Scott Hunt. “NASCAR fans are known to be the most brand-loyal fans among all of the major sports and we’re proud to have many NASCAR fans in our existing customer base. We look forward to taking our message nationally to the millions of fans across the country.” Next up for Hunt Brothers Pizza is the July 5, Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway where the company will be primary sponsor of the #66 HAAS CNC Racing Chevy driven by Scott Riggs. For more information about Hunt Brothers Pizza, please visit www.huntbrotherspizza.com or call 1-800-453-3675.(Haas CNC Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on the #70 Team Schemes page.(6-30-2008) Comment here
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 61 consecutive races, the longest current streak and a NEW modern era record, next up is #07-Bowyer at 54 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick held the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) unil he broke it himself in 2008. Next up was Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(6-30-2008)
  • Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #18-Kyle Busch leads all drivers after 17 races in 2008 with 10 Top-5 finishes followed by #88-Earnhardt jr. and #24-Gordon at 7. #99-Edwards has the most Top-10’s after 17 races with 12, followed by #88-Earnhardt jr. and #18-Busch with 11. Full-time drivers who have run all 17 races in 2008 with no top-10 finishes are #77-Hornish Jr. and #15-Menard. Seven drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all 17 races: #-7-Gordon [last top-5 at Watkins Glen 8/2007], #15-Menard [none so far], #26-McMurray [last at Daytona, a win 7/07], #28-Kvapil [none], #43-Labonte [last at Martinsville in 10/2006], #44-Reutimann [none] and #77-Hornish Jr.[none].(6-30-2008)
  • New Hampshire Commercial breakdown:
    Total number of commercials: 120
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 48
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 37
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:15 PM
    Total minutes: 195
    Minutes of race broadcast: 137
    Minutes of commercials: 58
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
    See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(6-30-2008)

  • Montoya and Kyle Busch tangle: While trying to wreck #18-Kyle Busch on Sunday, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya managed to wreck himself in the process near the end of the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. And he did it during a caution. After a caution flag flew with 21 laps to go, Montoya ran into the right-rear fender of Busch’s car. It caused Busch to spin and hit Montoya’s car as Montoya was driving by. “We always give each other lots of room,” Montoya said of Busch. “But he went wide like I wasn’t there. Then I got beside him and he started banging me like he was trying to wreck me. I looked at him like, ‘What are you doing?’ ” Montoya had no problem admitting he deliberately ran into Busch’s car. “Yeah. I did what he did to me,” Montoya said. “I don’t appreciate people who race me like that. There’s a fine line and he crossed it.” Apparently, NASCAR officials felt the same was about Montoya’s retaliation move. He was assessed a two-lap penalty for rough driving outside of race procedure. It dropped Montoya to 32nd in the finishing order. Busch finished 25th, but still leads the Cup standings by 64 points over #31-Jeff Burton. So what caused the altercation with Montoya? “I have no idea,” Busch said. “I got a run on him earlier. I didn’t turn down into him. He ran me up the race track. The caution came out and he thought he had to beat me. I touched his door and he spun me out. I don’t know what his beef is.”(ESPN.com)(6-30-2008) Comment here
  • Stewart hits 10,000 laps led: when #20-Tony Stewart led 132 laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, he surpassed 10,000 career laps led, the 13th driver in history to do so. Stewart now has led 10,123 laps. Richard Petty is the all-time lap leader. Jeff Gordon is the leading active driver and 8th overall. See the laps led list on my MISC stats page.(6-30-2008)
  • Richard Petty on QVC: Petty Enterprises quickly approaching the 50th anniversary of Richard Petty’s first race, which will be celebrated July 10th-12th at Chicagoland Speedway. As part of the campaign surrounding this event, Petty Enterprises has worked with partners to produce special merchandise designed to commemorate this momentous occasion. On July 3rd Richard ‘The King’ Petty is scheduled to be on QVC’s For Race Fans Only show to promote the 50th anniversary merchandise. The #43 and #45 Richard Petty 50th anniversary die-cast cars will be featured along with die-casts of some of ‘The King’s’ most famous racecars from 8:15-9:00pm/et. See images of the cars [real and diecast] on my #43 Team Schemes page and #45 Team Schemes page.(6-30-2008)

  • Newman To Have His Space In Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk Of Fame: Ryan Newman’s signature, right footprint and hand prints will now have their place in the history of Daytona International Speedway. During the Coke Zero 400 Weekend, Newman on Friday, July 4 at 1:30 p.m. will participate in a question and answer session with the race fans inside Daytona 500 Experience motorsports attraction and then proceed outside where he will have his 3×3 cement block with his signature, hand prints and right foot print placed into the Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame. Newman, the winner of the historic 50th running of the Daytona 500 earlier this year, put his right foot, autograph and handprints into the cement during his post-race Gatorade Victory Lane celebration. Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig and Daytona 500 Experience General Manager Kim Isemann will assist Newman in placing the block into Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame, which is located just outside the “Official Attraction of NASCAR.” Winning drivers of the Daytona 500 since 1996, the first year of operation for Daytona 500 Experience, have their hands, right foot and signature immortalized in cement in the Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame. Tickets to the Coke Zero 400 Weekend are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(6-30-2008)
  • Top Sponsors Fuel the Return of TNT’s ‘Wide Open Coverage’: TNT announced its full lineup of sponsors for this year’s highly-touted Wide Open Coverage race telecast, which will air once again during the primetime Coke Zero 400 race from Daytona International Speedway on Sat., July 5th. The ten national sponsors, which matches last year’s sponsorship commitment, featured in this year’s innovative telecast include Coke Zero, Coors Light, HP, Papa John’s, Sprint, Subway, Toyota, US Army, Viagra and Warner Bros. TNT’s exclusive Wide Open Coverage telecast is a groundbreaking television presentation format that provides continuous race coverage free of national commercial breaks and features 22% more unobstructed race action than that of a standard telecast by using a letterbox widescreen format. In place of the national ads, the telecast features a variety of animated sponsor messages, unique branded content and distinct on-screen graphic elements. Wide Open Coverage debuted on TNT during the 2007 Daytona 400 race and showcased extended non-stop green flag racing, missing only three laps of green flag racing. The network’s race coverage begins at 6:30pm/et with the NASCAR Live pre-race show hosted by Marc Fein with analysts Kyle Petty and Larry McReynolds, followed by the Allstate Countdown to Green at 7:30pm/et with Bill Weber, Wally Dallenbach and Petty with reports from pit reporters Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, Ralph Sheheen and Lindsay Czarniak. The race will begin at 8:00pm/et with a brief Wide Open Coverage introduction by Sprint Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart, Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle.(Turner Sports PR)(6-30-2008)

News from June 29, 2008

  • Sad News – Jason Arden: Jason Michael Arden, 28, died in a tragic motor vehicle accident on Thursday, June 26, 2008. Born March 6, 1980 in Libertyville, IL, he was the son of Donna Smith Mason. Jason was currently employed as a Car Chief for Stanton Barrett. In recent years he also worked for Michael Waltrip Racing, Robbie Gordon Motorsports, among others in Mooresville, NC. Jason started his career working in Sprint Cars in Wisconsin. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his brother, Adam T. Arden and his companion, Jennifer; nephew, Jason Arthur Arden; and niece, Paige Nicole Arden. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 PM on Monday, June 30 at the Michael Waltrip Racing Center, 20310 Chartwell Center Drive, Cornelius, NC 28031 with Rev. Kenny Crosswhite officiating. The family will receive friends following the service. Memorials may be made to the Perception Ministry, 736-D St. Andrew’s Road #136, Columbia, SC 29210, to help with the cost of the funeral. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the Arden family.(Charlotte Observer)(6-29-2008)

  • Martin to Leave DEI, Almirola Full Time Next Season: UPDATE 3 announcement at Daytona? Mark Martin will have a new racing home in 2009, ESPN.com has learned. Martin was unavailable for comment Sunday. Officials for Martin’s current team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., would neither confirm nor deny the speculation, but did confirm that young Aric Almirola would run a full-time schedule in 2009. “Aric is ready for a full-time ride,” said John Story, DEI vice president of motorsports operations. Almirola has shared the #8 U.S. Army Chevy with Martin for the past two seasons. “Were talking to Mark about what his objectives for the future are, and trying to marry that with our own, with Aric Almirola, to make sure Aric has an opportunity to run full time next year. We’re going through the process right now of trying to make sure that we get something for Aric that provides him a 36-race schedule, and at the same time that Mark is in a good situation.”(ESPN.com)(6-22-2008)
    UPDATE: Casey Mears and Mark Martin look to be on the move, and their futures might be linked. Mears’ future with Hendrick Motorsports appears in jeopardy, ESPN.com has learned. Although Mears has one year left on his contract, team owner Rick Hendrick would not commit to the driver of the #5 car beyond this season. “I’m committed to him right now,” Hendrick said on Sunday at Infineon Raceway. “I’m committed to him making that car run better right now.” Earlier on Sunday, sources told ESPN.com that Martin would leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. Later, ESPN.com learned that he would replace Mears, making one last full-time run at a championship.(ESPN.com)(6-22-2008)
    UPDATE 2: The speculation comes as rumors swirl about Mark Martin’s future with Dale Earnhardt Inc. He’s previously been mentioned as a candidate to split the Cup schedule with Scott Speed at Red Bull Racing, but there could also be a similar role for him in the #5 car for Hendrick. One scenario could have Martin splitting the seat time with Brad Keselowski, who currently drives a Nationwide Series car for JR Motorsports. Hendrick is partners with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in that venture, and Martin occasionally drives a car for them in that series. Martin is currently splitting a ride with Aric Almirola for DEI, but the team wants Almirola in a full-time ride in 2009. “Aric is ready for a full-time ride,” said DEI vice president John Story. “We have to get him in a car full time somehow, someway.”(Associated Press)(6-23-2008)
    UPDATE 3: SPEED’s Wendy Venturini reported that sources say Mark Martin could announce his 2009 plans next week at Daytona.(SPEED)(6-29-2008) Comment here

  • Dale Jr. plans to race in Australia: Dale Earnhardt Jr. plans to make his Australian racing debut in a V8 Supercar at Sydney’s Oran Park this December [2008]. Earnhardt will race a Holden Commodore in V8’s junior feeder category, the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series, at Oran Park’s curtain-closing Grand Finale before it is torn down to make way for redevelopment. Fujitsu V8 series team boss Scott Loadsman confirmed on Monday he will expand his current one-car team to two cars. He has purchased a Commodore from Paul Morris Motorsport, nicknamed ‘Gidget’. With Loadsman’s existing driver, series leader Steve Owen, more likely to use this newer chassis, Earnhardt is set to drive Owen’s current car. Coincidentally, its nickname is ‘Earnhardt’. Earnhardt first visited Australia at the 2007 V8 Grand Finale at Phillip Island during his end-of-season holiday as a guest of former V8 champ Marcos Ambrose. Morris gave Earnhardt a test in a V8 Supercar ride car at his facility on the Gold Coast, and Earnhardt has since remained in contact with the V8 driver. With the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race being held on November 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Earnhardt will be able to fly to Australia in time for Oran Park on December 4-7.(Wheelsmag.com)(6-29-2008) Comment here

  • NASCAR considering open testing policy: John Darby, NASCAR’s Sprint Cup director, had a nice surprise for the series crew chiefs Saturday, offering them the opportunity to guide the sanctioning organization in setting next year’s testing policy. “NASCAR’s the policy-maker, but one thing that’s really reliant on the teams’ input is what we test, how many times we test and where we test,” Darby said after a brief meeting with the crew chiefs in the garage area at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “In the past, it’s just been a matter of, ‘Here, select your race tracks and let’s go.’ This year, I felt it was time that we just sat down with everybody and talked and said, ‘Look, we’re open to any suggestions you have,’ from leaving our testing policy exactly like it was in ’08, all the way to going to what I’m going to call wide-open testing, no limits — any track, any week, any time, as many times as you want to go. We’re prepared for either way, it doesn’t matter to us. We’ll listen to what all of the teams come back with for suggestions and formulate a test plan for ’09 and go forward.” Darby said his offer was met with some disbelief from the assembled crew chiefs. “There was a pretty good gasp of air when you got to talking about wide-open testing because the immediate perception is, ‘Holy cats, we’re going to be testing 38 weeks a year,’ ” he said. NASCAR officially allowed seven open tests this season at tracks where the Cup teams race. The teams can also opt to hold private tests as often as they like at tracks where the Cup cars do not race. Darby said he expects the crew chiefs to go back to their teams and talk to the owners and others in their organizations to come up with their own ideas.(ESPN/Associated Press)(6-29-2008) Comment here
  • Hill unveils 2007 All-Star print signed by Harvick: The annual NASCAR Sprint All Star Race has been an enduring part of the NASCAR experience since 1985. It’s a go-for-broke, show-me-the-money, run-what-you-brung-and-hope-you-brung-enough showdown that has produced some of the most memorable finishes in motor racing history. For more than two decades, renowned motorsports artist Garry Hill has captured the electricity of the May Classic in an ongoing collection of artwork, aptly entitled the “All Star Series.” Prior to each year’s event, he unveils an original painting honoring the most recent winner, with each illustration being made available to the public as a limited edition fine art print. The unveiling of Hill’s latest masterpiece — “2007 NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge” — was televised on SPEED’s NASCAR Live on May 16. Commissioned by Nextel/Sprint, this riveting artwork catches Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing/Pennzoil Platinum Chevrolet flashing under the checkered flag at the conclusion of last year’s All Star speed fest. See more at nascar.com or garryhill.com.(6-29-2008)
  • KURT Busch wins at New Hampshire: #2-Kurt Busch won the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 for his 1st win of 2008 and the 18th of his career and Busch has now won at least a race a year for ther last 6 years. His last win came at Michigan in August 2007, 29 races ago. The race was called on lap 284 of 301 after a wreck, then the rains came. #55-Michael Waltrip finished 2nd, his best finish and first top five since a 5th at Pocono in June 2005. #96-J.J. Yeley was 3rd for his 2nd career top-five finish and best finish since a 2nd at Charlotte last October. #1-Truex Jr. and #19-Sadler rounded out the top five. #41-Sorenson finished 6th, followed by #5-Mears, #11-Hamlin, #48-Johnson and #43-Labonte. #99-Edwards was the best finishing Ford driver at 17th. #20-Stewart led the most laps with 132 but a late caution before the rain came, mixed up the field and he finished 13th. #88-Earnhardt Jr. wrecked and finished 24th. #18-Kyle Busch was never in contention during the race, was running around 17th when he and #42-Montoya tangled AFTER the caution, spinning both, with Busch finishing 25th and his points lead drops to 64 points over #31-Burton, who finished 12th. #42-Montoya finished 32nd and was penalized two laps for rough driving [he admitted on TV he spun Busch on purpose]. Pole sitter #10-Patrick Carpentier finished 31st. There were 7 cautions for 33 laps and their were 9 lead changes among 8 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my New Hampshire Race Results Awards Page.(6-29-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after New Hampshire race 17 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 2496 [5 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 2432 -64 [1 win]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2352 -144 [1 win]
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 2262 -234 [3 wins]
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2220 -276 [1 win]
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2171 -325
    7) #11-Denny Hamlin 2150 -346 [1 win]
    8) #16-Greg Biffle 2119 -377
    9) #20-Tony Stewart 2042 -454 [41 pts]
    10) #9-Kasey Kahne 2031 -465 [2 wins][30 pts]
    11) #07-Clint Bowyer 2021 -475 [1 win][20 pts]
    12) #29-Kevin Harvick 2016 -480 [15 pts ahead of 13th
    other chase contenders
    13) #17-Matt Kenseth 2001 -495 [15 pts out of the chase]
    14) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1945 -551 [-71]
    15) #12-Ryan Newman 1905 -591 [-111]
    16) #83-Brian Vickers 1903 -593 [-113]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after New Hampshirepage.(6-29-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Daytona:
    no changes in the top 35, but the #00 and #77 drop to 25 points ahead
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    30) #22-Blaney/Davis Racing: 1394 +125
    31) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing: 1378 +109
    32) #01-Smith/DEI: 1345, +76
    33) #7-Gordon/Gordon: 1329 +60
    34) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 1294 +25
    35) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing: 1294 20 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing: 1269 25 points out of 35th
    37) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing: 1137 -157
    38) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing: 1133 -159
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(6-29-2008)
  • New Hampshire Motor Speedway Penalty Report:
    Car#, Penalty, Reason, Lap Issued
    1 #40 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 87
    2 #70 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 140
    3 #40 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 205
    4 #16 Excessive Speed-Entering pits TE 206
    5 #6 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 273
    6 #6 Safety violation MCI 274
    7 #8 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
    8 #88 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
    9 #18 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 281
    10 #8 Safety violation MCI 284
    11 #42 Safety violation – rough driving 2 Laps 284
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-29-2008)
  • Who got a lap back on each caution at New Hampshire: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #78-Nemechek, 20th
    Caution 2: #10-Carpentier, 31st
    Caution 3: #8-Almirola, 23rd
    Caution 4: #41-Sorenson, 6th
    Caution 5: #19-Sadler, 5th
    Caution 6: #16-Biffle, 21st
    Caution 7: #7-Gordon, 26th
    (6-29-2008)
  • New Hampshire Motor Speedway Fast Facts
    .. Kurt Busch won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301, his 18th victory in 273 Sprint Cup Series races.
    .. This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. This is his third victory and sixth top-10 finish in 15 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
    .. Michael Waltrip (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 25 races at New Hampshire. It is his first top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. J.J. Yeley (third) posted his first top-five and third top-10 finish in 14 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
    .. Regan Smith (27th) was the highest finishing rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-29-2008)
  • Carpentier only 2nd foreign born driver to win a pole in the Sprint Cup Series history when #10-Patrick Carpentier won the pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The other driver was Lloyd Shaw, from Toronto, Canada. Shaw won the pole at Langhorne, PA in June 1953 and finished 23rd in his only Cup start.(6-29-2008) Comment here
  • NHMS Walk raises $30k: #99-Carl Edwards and a few hundred fans walked a lap around New Hampshire Motor Speedway following the Camping World RV Sales 200 as part of the Speedway Children’s Charity/NASCAR Foundation Track Walk. The walk raised $30,000 for Speedway Children’s Charities, the Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation, Victory Junction Gang Camp and the NASCAR Foundation. Each organization provides vital services to children in need. The Irwin foundation and Victory Junction Gang Camp also honor the memories of two NASCAR drivers, Kenny Irwin Jr. and Adam Petty, who were killed in crashes at NHMS in 2000.(New Hampshire Union Leader)(6-29-2008)


    News from June 28, 2008

  • Pit Stall selections: pole sitter #10-Patrick Carpentier got the first pit stall selection for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and chose the 1st pit stall. Outside pole sitter, #43-Bobby Labonte chose the next stall with an opening in front of it, stall 19, #29-Harvick chose stall 18. See the full pit stall selections on my New Hampshire Pit Stall Selection page.(6-28-2008)
  • Happy Hour practice: for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #42-Montoya 127.316
    #48-Johnson 127.202
    #41-Sorenson 127.163
    #29-Harvick 127.159
    #16-Biffle 126.977
    slowest: #45-Labonte 125.154 and #22-Blaney 125.191
    See laps run, best speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds Page.(6-28-2008)
  • The first Saturday practice: for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #42-Montoya 126.829
    #40-Franchitti 126.698
    #41-Sorenson 126.669
    #18-Busch 126.542
    #24-Gordon 126.509
    slowest: #45-Labonte 124.065 & #22-Blaney 124.801
    See laps run, ave speeds, best speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds Page.(6-28-2008)

  • Robby gets a sponsor for New Hampshire: When the #7 Dodge Charger hit the track earlier this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, it was sporting the all too familiar “back in black” paint scheme. But when the Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 starts, Robby Gordon’s #7 Dodge will feature the blue and gold Camping World paint scheme. For the second consecutive weekend, Camping World has offered their support to Gordon and his team. It will also mark their fifth race of the 2008 season as Gordon’s primary sponsor. “I want to thank Camping World for sponsoring our team again this weekend. It was disappointing for our team to unload another black car this weekend, so it means a lot to have a sponsor like them that continues to support and strengthen our program,” commented Gordon. “I got my first NASCAR win here in 2001, so I think that the Camping World Dodge will finish well on Sunday.” Camping World offers over 8,000 quality products geared toward the RVing community through 65 nationwide SuperCenters, a well-established catalog call center, and an award-winning website. Camping World is the industry leader in RV accessories and services. In addition to RVs, Camping World provides its customers with high-quality products and services to help enhance their life on the road.(RGM PR), see images of the car on my #7 Team Schemes page.(6-28-2008) Comment here

  • Dale Jr. not looking to talk about JR Motorsports moving to Cup:#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. got a little testy Friday when asked again about future plans to move his Nationwide Series team up to Sprint Cup. “I shouldn’t have said anything about that, man,” Earnhardt said. “I should have kept it to myself, because I don’t want to talk about it in the press. That’s personal to me, what I do with my business, and I’m damn sure ain’t going to air my timeline out over the media. If we feel like we want to do that, we’ll do it. We’ll let you know and that will be that. I don’t want to answer questions about it every week. My [Nationwide] team is doing great. I’d be foolish to make too many changes right now.”(ESPN)(6-28-2008) Comment here

  • Terry Labonte back in the #45 at Chicago? during Sprint Cup qualifying at New Hampshire on SPEED, Larry McReynold’s mentioned that Terry Labonte, who is running the #45 Petty Dodge in five races while regular driver Kyle Petty broadcasts the races on TNT, may run the car at Chicagoland Speedway. Labonte was scheduled to run five races, Pocono in June thru Daytona in July with Chad McCumbee in the car at Chicago.(6-28-2008) Comment here


    News from June 27, 2008

  • “Smoke” screen or is Stewart interested in the #5 ride? #20- Tony Stewart said Friday the new opening at Hendrick Motorsports could affect his decision about where he drives next season. Hendrick Motorsports announced that Casey Mears would not return in the #5 Chevrolet. “There’s no one in the garage area that’s not going to look in that direction,” Stewart said. “You’ve got to look at it. Absolutely.” Stewart has said he is exploring an ownership option to become the co-owner and a driver for Haas/CNC Racing. He was asked Friday when he might have a decision on his future. “At this morning’s announcement [on the #5 car], I don’t know,” he said. “It may be pushed back even more. We’ll wait and see. It’s however long it takes to make the right decision. There’s a lot of variables to look at. We’ve got all the information except what happened today. The good news is we still have time to look at it.” Stewart is under contract with Joe Gibbs Racing through the 2009 season. JGR officials have said they plan to hold Stewart to his contact obligations in the #20 Toyota. Hendrick did not say who will drive the #5 Chevy next season, but ESPN.com reported Sunday Mark Martin will join the team and take over for Mears full time in one final attempt to win a Cup title.(ESPN)(6-27-2008) Comment here

  • Bowyer re-signs with RCR: #07-Clint Bowyer said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that while he is flattered to be in the rumor mill and having other teams interested in him, he has signed with Richard Childress Racing for three more years [thru 2011?] to run the #07 Chevy.(PRN’s Garage Pass)(6-27-2008) Comment here

  • Wheldon not coming to NASCAR: Dan Wheldon has left the door open for some time regarding a move over to NASCAR. Wheldon said this week that door has closed. “Up until this year, I really did consider NASCAR and the reason I did is I’m a driver,” Wheldon said. “I like to be on track and I like the fact they race so much. But with the merging together of both open-wheel series, the series is really fun to drive in right now.” Wheldon is in the final year of his contract with Target Chip Ganassi Racing, and said he has talked with Ganassi about an extension of his original three-year deal. Wheldon said the deal isn’t done yet, but he hopes it will be done soon. “When you have more cars like that, it’s definitely fun to drive,” Wheldon said. “So I would say with the fact I think they’re going to continue to build the schedule and from what I understand they’re going to allow more testing during the season . . . that’s what I’m looking for. . . . I definitely think I will be in IndyCars for certainly the next three years after this one.”(Richmond Times Dispatch)(6-27-2008) Comment here

  • More on Stewart and Haas CNC UPDATE done deal?: Tony Stewart is shopping for car sponsorships in anticipation of a potential partnership with Haas CNC Racing, multiple sources told ESPN.com. Although Stewart has a year left on his contract at Joe Gibbs Racing and JGR officials insist he hasn’t asked for a release, the two-time Sprint Cup champion appears prepared to share ownership of Haas Racing’s two-car team in 2009. One source close to the situation said there have been discussions with Ryan Newman as the second driver. Newman has said he will not return to Penske Racing if the performance of that team doesn’t improve quickly. Newman’s name definitely would help draw sponsorship to Haas. “He’s talking to every major sponsor that is available out there for this Haas deal,” one source said of Stewart and his representatives. “I don’t know if it’s done, but it sounds like it’s very close.” Office Depot and Old Spice have emerged as the favorites for at least one of the cars. Office Depot lost its bid to remain with Carl Edwards of Roush Fenway Racing when Aflac was chosen as the primary sponsor of the #99. Sources said there have been discussions with Stewart’s representatives that would make Office Depot and Old Spice co-primaries with Office Depot as the lead sponsor. Old Spice already has a relationship with Stewart in the Cup and Nationwide Series. Stewart would not address his future following Sunday’s race at Infineon Raceway. JGR president J.D. Gibbs insisted Stewart had not closed the door on signing a long-term deal with the company that brought him to Cup racing in 1999 and helped him win titles in 2002 and 2005. But there is widespread speculation that the reason JGR has rushed Joey Logano into the Nationwide Series is to prepare him to take Stewart’s place should Stewart leave. Stewart admitted two months ago there had been inquiries from other teams. He acknowledged there had been talks with Haas CNC that included ownership.(ESPN.com)
    AND: am hearing that Stewart leaving JGR and buying into Haas CNC Racing is a done deal, supposedly the 2nd driver could be Martin Treux Jr. Hearing the sponsors could be UPS and Bass Pro Shops.(6-26-2008)
    UPDATE: supposedly the deal is done, earlier Friday, a source close to the situation said that Chevrolet has agreed to terms with Joe Gibbs Racing to buy Tony Stewart out of his contract with the #20-Toyota Sprint Cup racing team. Stewart will indeed be making the move to Haas CNC Racing, a rumor that has been circulating for months. Supposedly Stewart’s new sponsor will be Office Depot and terms have been finalized regarding the impending sponsorship. In addition, Stewart will be joined by current #12 Penske Racing driver Ryan Newman, who would be sponsored by Burger King. No word yet on what car numbers the drivers will run and an announcement could come as early as next week at the Daytona International Speedway.( Captain Thunder)(6-27-2008)Comment here

  • Biffle-Roush close to a deal UPDATE 3 It’s OFFICIAL..done: Roush-Fenway Racing is very close to signing driver #16-Greg Biffle to a new multi-year contract. “It looks like we’re down to the wire on it”; Biffle said following practice at Pocono. Biffle went onto say, “I suspect to have it wrapped up by Michigan I would think. You’ll see me in the 16 for a few years, that’s what it’s looking like. Roush has made a pretty strong offer…plus my cars are fast…all the things a guy wants…all the ingredients are there. I think that’s the decision I’m going to make.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)(6-6-2008)
    UPDATE: #16-Greg Biffle expects to sign a three-year extension with Roush Fenway Racing by the end of next week. Biffle recently canceled a trip outside of the country for a Tuesday brake test. He plans to use the free time around that to iron out the few remaining details on the deal. “We’ve basically agreed on everything else,” he said on Friday at Michigan International Raceway. “It’s just a matter of finding time for everybody to sit down and finish this thing.” Biffle added that 3M will remain his primary sponsor, denying reports that Crown Royal would move from Jamie McMurray’s car to his.(ESPN.com)(6-13-2008) Comment here
    UPDATE 2: Greg Biffle has reached an agreement on a three-year deal with Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle met with Roush Fenway officials this week to iron out final details. He said a formal announcement, including a new deal with 3M, could be unveiled next week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.(ESPN.com)(6-20-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Greg Biffle announced today that he has signed a three-year extension of his contract with Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle has been with Roush Fenway Racing since 1998. During his 10 years at Roush Fenway Racing, Biffle has accumulated 46 wins, 166 top-five finishes and 250 top-10 finishes in 496 starts. Biffle is looking forward to the continued relationship with Roush Fenway Racing as well as a long-term partnership with 3M. “I’m extremely happy and relieved to have this contract complete,” said Biffle. “I have a team that can contend for the championship this season and for future seasons as well. 3M has been an incredible partner for several years now and having them on board made the decision even easier. All the elements are in place: the resources of Ford and Roush Fenway, the excellent team, the outstanding cars and having a great primary sponsor like 3M for the next few years.” In addition to Biffle’s Cup Series program, he is also running a partial schedule in the #16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion in the Nationwide Series this season. “I would like to run another partial schedule in the CitiFinancial Ford next season,” Biffle said. “We’re still working out the schedule but I have always had fun racing in the Nationwide Series so I’d say it’s likely you’ll see me there in 2009.”(Roush Racing)(6-27-2008) Comment here

  • Toyota’s Aust retires end of June UPDATE: Jim Aust is retiring June 30 as vice president of motorsports for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and president and chief executive officer of Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A. Aust joined Toyota in 1987 and held assorted management positions before moving to motorsports in 1998. He guided Toyota into NASCAR in 2004 when it entered the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and helped lead Toyota in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series in 2007. Toyota’s U.S. racing boss was on hand Sunday at Infineon Raceway to attend the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, where Pitpass caught up with him. See interview and quotes at the Toyota site.(6-24-2008)
    UPDATE: Toyota announced today that effective July 1, Lee White will become president and general manager of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development) and that motorsports activities at Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., will be consolidated under Ed Laukes, TMS corporate manager of motorsports marketing. White and Laukes will replace Jim Aust, who previously announced his plans to retire on June 30, from his position as vice president of motorsports at TMS and president at TRD. “As the Toyota racing program continues to grow and we enhance our motorsports marketing activities, these changes will allow Lee and Ed to focus on their key areas of responsibility, both on and off the track,” said Dave Illingworth, TMS senior vice president, chief planning and administrative officer. White, who will report to Illingworth, will be responsible for all TRD activities in the U.S., including engine development, manufacturing, chassis design/development, team/manufacturer relationships, manufacturer/sanctioning body relations and engineering support for Toyota teams participating in NASCAR, USAC, NHRA, Grand-Am and Off-Road competition.(Toyota PR)(6-27-2008) Comment here

  • Ford Racing Boss to Step Down: Dan Davis, Director of Ford Racing Technology, will resign his position effective August 1, 2008. When Dan Davis steps down from his position as Director, Ford Racing Technology on Aug. 1, Ford and NASCAR will lose a passionate advocate of racing and the benefits competition returns to companies involved in racing. As head of Ford Motor Co.’s North American Racing operations since Oct. 31, 1997, Davis has overseen the company’s involvement in NASCAR’s top three series, as well as the NHRA, USAC, Grand Am and myriad other forms of racing. And in a time of unparalleled economic strife among the Big Three Detroit automakers, it was Davis’s job to make sure Ford’s racing dollars were used wisely.(see full story at SPEEDtv)
    AND Brian Wolfe, a 26-year Ford veteran who has held a series of management positions within Ford’s powertrain operations, has been named the new director of Ford Racing Technology, the company announced today. Wolfe will replace Dan Davis, who has overseen the company’s racing efforts the past 11 years. Davis will retire after 32 years with the company on Aug. 1. “Dan has done a great job for the company and its racing program, and he’s going to be a tough act to follow,” said Wolfe. “I look forward to the challenge of taking the program forward and continuing the record of success he brought to us.” Wolfe, 47, has been director, Powertrain Calibration and Controls, Product Development, since 2002.(Ford Racing)(6-27-2008) Comment here
  • Carpentier on pole at New Hampshire: #10-Patrick Carpentier won the Coor’s Light Pole for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a speed of 129.776mph for his first career pole in 17 races. Carpentier is the first rookie to win a pole since Denny Hamlin captured the top starting spot for the 2006 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway (62 races ago). Qualifying was delayed an hour and 45 minutes due to rain, 24 cars had made qualifying runs up to that point. #18-Kyle Busch was on the tracks when the rain came and was allowed to take his run over. #43-Labonte will start 2nd followed by #29-Harvick, #66-Riggs, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #41-Sorenson, #40-Franchitti, #1-Truex Jr., #17-Kenseth and #84-Allmendinger.
    The Go-or-go homers [non top 35 in owners pts] to make the race: #10-Carpentier, #66-Riggs, #40-Franchitti, #84-Allmendinger, #96-Yeley, #45-Labonte, #70-Sauter and #78-Nemechek. Missing the race are #34-Raines and #21-Ambrose.
    For the starting linup, qualifying results, order, pole progression, see my New Hampshire Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(6-27-2008) Comment here
  • New Hampshire Motor Speedway Qualifying Fast Facts
    .. Patrick Carpentier won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 with a lap of 29.349 seconds, 129.776 mph.
    .. This is his first pole in 17 career Sprint Cup races. He was also the highest qualifying rookie.
    .. This is his second top-10 start in 2008 and was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
    .. This is Carpentier’s first career race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
    .. Bobby Labonte (second) posted his best start since he started second in the 2003 season finale at Homestead. It is his fourth top-10 in 2008 and his 14th in 26 races at New Hampshire.
    .. Kevin Harvick (third) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2008 and his eighth in 15 New Hampshire races.
    .. Dario Franchitti (seventh), also making his first career start at New Hampshire, posted his career-best start.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-27-2008)
  • Rookie of the Year Candidates: how fast were they and where do they start:
    #00-Michael McDowell, 126.846, starts 38th
    #01-Regan Smith, 127.872, starts 25th
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 129.776, starts 1st
    #40-Dario Franchitti, 128.251, starts 7th
    #77-Sam Hornish, 128.251, starts 20th
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Chevy: #29-Harvick, 128.976, starts 3rd
    Dodge: #10-Carpentier, 129.776, starts 1st
    Ford: #17-Kenseth, 128.624, starts 9th
    Toyota: #84-Allmendinger, 128.624, starts 10th
  • Friday practice for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #29-Harvick 128.697
    #48-Johnson 128.558
    #42-Montoya 128.550
    #07-Bowyer 128.459
    #9-Kahne 128.433
    slowest: #00-McDowell 123.952 and #55-Waltrip 124.601
    See the practice speeds, laps run, bets lap and ave speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(6-27-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #40-Dario Franchitti, 13th fastest
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 18th
    #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 20th
    #70-Johnny Sauter, 28th
    #96-J.J. Yeley, 31st
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 37th
    #66-Scott Riggs, 39th
    #45-Terry Labonte [PC1], 40th
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #34-Tony Raines, 42nd
    #21-Marcos Ambrose, 43rd
    See the practice speeds, laps run, bets lap and ave speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(6-27-2008)
  • New Hampshire Tire Notes: Teams in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes at New Hampshire this weekend . . . this is the first time that Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to New Hampshire, though teams do have experience on this tire set-up . . . with this being Goodyear’s intermediate/flat track set-up, teams in these two series have run these tire codes at Phoenix, Richmond and Milwaukee (Nationwide only) already in 2008 . . . Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series teams will also run this tire combination at Gateway, Indianapolis Raceway Park and Memphis this season . . . as on most NASCAR’s one-mile ovals, 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). See more on the tire notes on my New Hampshire Race info page of the 2008 Goodyear Tire Notes page.(6-27-2008)

  • ESPNs Outside the Lines Examines Economys Impact on NASCAR:Sundays Outside the Lines (ESPN 9:30am/et; ESPNEWS 12noon/et) will examine how NASCAR is being affected by todays struggling economy. Transporting equipment and personnel cross country has never been costlier due to escalating fuel prices, which have also impacted fans traveling to races. The economy has made sponsors more vital, yet hard to secure, prompting long-time team owners to seek outside investors: Boston Red Sox owner John Henry became co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing (2006); Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillette became primary owner of Gillette Evernham Motorsports (2007); Boston Ventures, an equity firm, took control of Petty Enterprises (May 2008). Mike Massaro reports.
    From Sundays Outside the Lines: “We could see six or so teams shut down if they are not funded. Nobody is going to run this out of their own pocket for too long, myself included, so it is a serious situation”. — Doug Yates, owner of Yates Racing
    “Before, let’s say five years ago, a top echelon team, you were looking at $10-15 million. All of a sudden, now, I’m told, because of driver salaries and all the other factors that affected the cost of going racing, that top tier team now is $24-30 million” — Larry Camp, motor sports marketing expert
    “I know this is a sports story, but this is not a sport anymore, except on Sunday afternoon from about 1-to-5 in the afternoon. It’s a business six days a week”. Kyle Petty, driver for Petty Enterprises and son of NASCAR legend Richard Petty
    “We are committed to getting through this year, but I got to be able to see into 09 something a little more positive than I see today. I think well make it, but the economy and the struggles the other teams are seeing are the same as ours. It is a tough, tough world out there right now in NASCAR”. Doug Yates.(ESPN PR)(6-27-2008)


    News from June 26, 2008

  • Sad News – Linda Braun: Yesterday afternoon Braun Racing lost one of its most beloved members of its team. Linda Braun, lovingly known as Mama B, mother of Nationwide Series owner, Todd Braun, passed away suddenly of natural causes in her hometown of Winamac, Indiana. As a tribute to “Mama B” both Braun Racing entries, the #38 Toyota driven by Jason Leffler and the #32 to be driven by Denny Hamlin, will go entirely black, void of all sponsor decals, in Saturday afternoon’s Camping World 200 at New Hampshire International Speedway. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made on behalf of Linda Braun to the Dove House Children Advocacy Center. Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center, PO Box 825, 328 E. Broad Street, Statesville, NC 28687. For information about funeral arrangements and visitation please visit frainmortuary.com and click the obituaries tab for that information.(Braun Racing PR)(6-26-2008)

  • Atlas Copco Compressors Primary Sponsor of the #70 at New Hampshire: Atlas Copco Compressors LLC will sponsor the #70 Haas Automation Sprint Cup Series car for the second consecutive year at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 29. “We are excited about our continuing partnership with Haas CNC Racing,” said Jim Bruce, Atlas Copco’s Eastern Regional Vice President. “Our two organizations share a passion for innovation and a commitment to developing technology that will improve everyday lives.” Crucial to this racing partnership is Atlas Copco’s global experience with wind tunnel and leading edge technologies, as well as local engineering support provided through Atlas Copco Compressors, whose North American headquarters is located in Rock Hill, S.C. The partnership between Atlas Copco and Haas CNC Racing extends off the track through the recent construction of a state-of-the-art, $40 million wind tunnel in Concord, N.C. The wind tunnel is the only one of its kind available for rent by racing teams and manufacturers. The wind tunnel features a single belt rolling road system, the first of its kind in North America. A continuous steel belt running under the vehicle simulates the road beneath a race car. It is the most accurate and aerodynamic road simulation possible in the industry today and it offers repeatability that is critical to gathering valid, usable data. Data gathered in the controlled conditions of a wind tunnel can be applied by racing teams to improve the aerodynamics of racecars. “With fierce competition in the Sprint Cup Series, drivers and teams look for every possible advantage,” said Johnny Sauter, who drives for Haas CNC Racing. “Our relationship with Atlas Copco gives us the ability to test and refine design concepts in the wind tunnel so they’re already at a high state of development the first time they see a speedway.” Atlas Copco is a world leading provider of industrial productivity solutions. More info about Atlas Copco at atlascopco.comairforwinners.com or classzero.com.(Atlas Copco PR), see images of the car on my #70 Team Schemes page.(6-26-2008)

  • Red Sox scheme for Ragan at NHMS UPDATE: #6-David Ragan will run at AAA Insurance/Boston Red Sox scheme at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. See the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page.(6-24-2008)
    UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing announced that two Ford Fusions bearing the Boston Red Sox marks will compete at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) in Loudon, N.H. on Saturday, June 28 and Sunday, June 29. The #6 AAA/Red Sox Ford Fusion driven by Roush Fenway Racing’s David Ragan, will compete in NASCAR’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup Race on Sunday, June 29 and the #60 Under Armour/Red Sox Ford Fusion driven by Roush Fenway Racing’s Carl Edwards will race in the Nationwide Camping World RV Sales 200 presented by RVs.com on Saturday, June 28. This announcement marks an evolution of last year’s successful cross-sports promotional program between NASCAR and Major League Baseball (MLB) that featured Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards racing a special #99 Red Sox/Lumber Liquidators/Gillette Ford in 2007’s Sprint Cup Series’ LENOX Industrial Tools 300. As Red Sox sponsors, AAA Southern New England and Under Armour had a special opportunity to utilize Boston Red Sox marks for marketing and promotional activation at this weekend’s NASCAR races in Loudon through a regional sponsorship agreement with Roush Fenway Racing. These rights allow the two companies to leverage their association with the team to feature the Red Sox mark on the #6 and #60 cars. In addition to being featured on the Roush Fenway Racing entries, the sponsors will activate their sponsorship by tapping into Roush Fenway Racing’s public relations and marketing services to reach a broader audience of NASCAR fans. AAA Southern New England is leveraging its relationship with Roush Fenway Racing and the Red Sox to increase visibility for its safe-driving programs, generate exposure for its new AAA mobile navigational application and to connect with Red Sox Nation and NASCAR fans throughout its New England territory. Earlier this week, AAA Southern New England launched a program designed to capitalize on the synergy between the Red Sox and Roush Fenway Racing fan base with the “Races & Bases” online sweepstakes. This integrated promotion provides one lucky fan with the opportunity to watch a Red Sox game with #6 driver Ragan and attend the September race at NHMS. Nationally, AAA is the primary sponsor of Roush Fenway Racing’s #6 car and the official auto insurance for International Speedway Corp. tracks.(Roush Racing) See the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page(6-26-2008) Comment here
  • Sonoma TV Ratings down: NASCAR Sprint Cup on TNT posted a 3.7/8 (6.0 mill.) this Sunday for racing from Infineon Raceway, down -8% from last year’s 4.0/9. Sprint Cup Racing on TNT is averaging a 3.7/9 (5.8 mill) through three races. That’s a +9% increase over 2007 which includes the rain delayed race at Pocono.(PR)(6-26-2008) Comment here

  • Sadler’s #19 to feature movie: In conjunction with Best Buy and Sony Pictures Entertainment, the #19 Dodge of Elliott Sadler will carry the movie title “Hancock” on the hood and rear bumper in New Hampshire. Starring Will Smith and Charlize Theron, the movie debuts in theaters on July 2. All Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodges will carry a decal in New Hampshire honoring NHRA driver Scott Kalitta who died last weekend in a racing accident.(GEM PR)(6-26-2008)

  • Waltrip Expresses his Gratitude for the Bahre Family at New Hampshire: When Michael Waltrip reminisces about people who have had a positive impact on his career, Dick Bahre and his family are at the top of his list. Thanks to Bahre taking a chance on a 22-year-old originally from Owensboro, Kentucky in 1985, Waltrip made his Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) debut and over the years became an accomplished driver, a two-time Daytona 500 winner and an owner himself. To show his appreciation, Waltrip will run a special decal on two Michael Waltrip Racing cars at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 this weekend in honor of the Bahre family. “We want to say thanks to the Bahre family and show our gratitude by placing decals on Michael McDowell’s #00 Champion Mortgage Toyota and the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota,” Waltrip said.(MWR PR)(6-26-2008)

  • Sylvania on the hood of the #15 at NHMS: Menards Racing will feature Sylvania on the hood of it’s #15 Menards/Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevy that Paul Menard will drive during this weekend’s LENOX Industrial Tools “301”. Sylvania is based in nearby Danvers, Massachusetts and has been a partner sponsor of Menards Racing since 2004.(Co-Pillott PR). See image of the scheme on my #15 Team Schemes page.(6-26-2008)
  • France To Deliver Keynote Speech at APSE National Convention:Brian France, NASCAR’s Chairman and CEO, will serve as the keynote speaker Thursday afternoon at the annual Associated Press Sports Editor (APSE) National Convention, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Minneapolis, Minn. France accepted an invitation from APSE President Mike Fannin of the Kansas City Star, 10 years after his late father, Bill France, spoke to the same organization’s national convention in Richmond, Va. Topics France plans to address include the changing landscape of the newspaper business, with special emphasis on the move toward increased online coverage – and the NASCAR-related content available to assist that coverage. Fannin, meanwhile, cited the evolving NASCAR landscape as a reason for inviting France. “We had Brian’s dad speak in 1998 and a lot has changed in NASCAR since then,” Fannin said. “And yet, the France family is still making auto racing ‘go’ in America. We wanted to hear from the man who’s taking the sport into new places and adapting it for the 21st-century marketplace.”(NASCAR PR)(6-26-2008)
  • New Hampshire Rookie Notes: #00-Michael McDowell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 22 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. McDowell scored a career-best 21st-place finish in his 11th Sprint Cup Series start. He claimed top rookie honors for the second time in the last three races and for the third time this season. For his efforts in the race, McDowell won a unique trophy from Raybestos Brand Brakes, a piece that featured a mounted replica wine bottle and barrel. #77-Sam Hornish Jr. holds an eight-point lead (154-146) over #01-Regan Smith in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year Standings entering the June 29 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Only two Raybestos Rookies have scored top-five finishes in 15 previous July races at New Hampshire: Ryan Newman (fifth in 2002) and Kyle Busch (fourth in 2005). The best start by a Raybestos Rookie at New Hampshire is third by Jeff Gordon in 1993. Two or more Raybestos Rookies have finished in the top-10 just once 15 summer Sprint Cup races at New Hampshire. In 1993, Gordon finished seventh while Bobby Labonte placed 10th.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see rookie history, standings and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(6-26-2008)

  • No Sponsor for Robby Gordon at New Hampshire: Robby Gordon and the #7 Dodge will be sporting the “back in black” paint scheme once again this weekend. Primary sponsorship opportunities are still available for this weekend’s race, and interested parties should contact the team via robbygordon.com.(RGM PR)(6-26-2008) Comment here


    News from June 25, 2008

  • Chase Notes: With the second year in the 12-team Chase format, more current members of the top 12 are within one race of dropping out than this time last year, 7 to 2. More outside the top 12 are within one race of the top 12, 5 to last year’s 2. Even though there’s 10 long races to go, #17-Matt Kenseth finally made it to the top 12 with his 8th at Infineon. Just five races ago, Kenseth had fallen back to 20th place, but was still only 153 points out. He’s just two ahead of #29-Kevin Harvick, but momentum seems to be with the #17 as they bid to join #48-Jimmie Johnson and the #48 as the only two teams to make all five Chases. Harvick is in a free fall, having dropped four spots and being outscored by Kenseth by 283 points over the last five. Loudon is a good track for the #29 and they desperately need a strong finish. #9-Kasey Kahne fell back from a pole start to a 33rd finish, losing 67 points to 13th place. Hamlin turned in a 27th after a late mishap and lost 54 points. Both are within one race of dropping out of the top 12. Hamlin won the first New Hampshire race last year and a top five Sunday would rejuvenate his team at just the right time. See full chase stas on my Chase Stats after Sonoma page.(6-25-2008)
  • Interesting Stat – only one Birthday winner: been told that Cale Yarborough is the only Cup driver to ever win a points paying race on his birthday, which is March 27. In 1977 at North Wilksboro Speedway and 1983 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NOTE, since I got email on it, I will cover a few items, since folks are guessing: Richard Petty never won on his birthday (July 2nd) [in Cup] and neither did Jeff Gordon [August 4th]. In fact, the Brickyard 400 has only been held on Gordon’s birthday once, in 2002, when Bill Elliott won. Gordon’s first Brickyard 400 came on August 6, 1994.(8-6-2004)
    Two drivers have birthday’s this Sunday, while Cup races at New Hampshire: #1-Martin Truex Jr. and #31-Jeff Burton.(6-25-2008)Comment here

  • Brad Daugherty starting truck team in ’09? UPDATE JTG Racing…to CUP?: After discussion surrounding the recent announcement of Randy Moss’ possible entry in the Truck Series [supposedly the Morgan-Dollar team] during ESPN’s NASCAR Now television broadcast on Wednesday night, analyst Brad Daugherty announced he too is going racing in 2009 with his own Craftsman Truck Series team. [No details given.](The Daly Planet)(5-1-2008)
    UPDATE: As part of an article about Kelly Bires, ESPN’s Mark Ashenfelter reports…It’s been a hectic year for JTG, which ended its relationship with Wood Brothers Racing on the competition side prior to the season. Since the year started, teammate Marcos Ambrose has swapped crew chiefs and the team has, at least temporarily, closed its Craftsman Truck Series team. And Brad Daugherty, a former team owner turned broadcaster, has bought into the team. [JTG Racing fields the #47 and 59 Nationwide teams and had fielded the #20-truck which has since ceased operations. [No word on if/when truck team will return to the Truck Series]. For complete article visit: ESPN.com.(6-24-2008)
    UPDATE 2: hearing JTG Racing could move up to Sprint Cup in 2009 with Marcos Ambrose driving and the team could switch from Ford to Chevy, no idea if Daugherty would be part of this deal. Other rumors have Ambrose going to the #21 of the Wood Brothers in 2009, that team would remain a Ford. Ambrose is schedule to run eight races this season in the #21 and four in the #47 Ford fielded by JTG Racing.(6-25-2008)Comment here

  • LENOX scheme for Burton at NHMS: LENOX’s associate sponsorship of RCR’s #31 Chevy kicks into high gear this weekend in New Hampshire as Burton and the #31 team transform their bright orange #31 AT&T Chevy into a red, white and blue LENOX racing machine for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301. LENOX produces band saw blades, sawing fluids, hand power tool accessories in over 70 countries around the world. In addition to the added mile in this weekend’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301, LENOX has kicked off their Extra Mile Hero contest where LENOX customers can nominate the hero in their life who have gone the extra mile either in their job or community. The contest winner could receive up to a half a million dollars with a matching gift awarded to their charity of choice. Complete LENOX Extra Mile Hero contest details are available at www.lenoxhero.com.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(6-25-2008)

  • #17 to carry Celtics decal: In honor of the Boston Celtics 17th NBA title, Matt Kenseth’s #17 DeWalt Ford will carry a special congratulatory decal. The #17 crew will also don pit caps to celebrate the occasion. On Wednesday, June 25, Kenseth along with his Roush Fenway Racing teammates and the Boston Red Sox will celebrate Roush Fenway Day at Fenway Park.(Roush Racing PR)(6-25-2008)

  • Ford Driven scheme for Kvapil at NHMS: Travis Kvapil will be driving the #28 “Ford Drive one” Ford Fusion for the second time this season when the green flag falls in Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The paint scheme, which encourages consumers to drive any Ford product, debuted at Phoenix in April and finished 22nd.(Ford Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #28 Team Schemes page.(6-25-2008)

  • Truex still talking to DEI about contract: #1-Martin Truex Jr. was on the weekly NASCAR teleconference and spoke about his contract situation:
    Q. Your name has been thrown up a lot in the garage as far as your future goes – can you give us any indication right now what you’re thinking about for the future?
    MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Way to start it off. You know, I’m not sure. Right now we’re working hard with DEI to put some things together for next year. Really it’s just a lot of – it’s taken a little bit longer than expected for both of us, both sides – on my side and on DEI’s side. We’re just trying to get through the details. For me, it’s just trying to get comfortable and be comfortable in the position I’m in . what they’re doing and the direction they’re headed for the future, so I can make sure that we can be together for a long time.
    Q. What are you looking for as far as comfort? Is it the fact that you want race victories? What else are you looking for?
    MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Well, a lot of things. You know, good direction for the future of a championship. I think obviously there are some things going on with our race cars and other teams that I’m not quite sure what’s happened with them. So just a lot of things here and there. The performance hasn’t been as good as it’s been this year for whatever reason. We’ve had an okay season. We’ve run really well at times and we’ve run not so well at times. So we’ve had a lot of bad luck spread throughout the season, especially the beginning part of the year which has got us in this position right now. We really just need to dig deep for now and try to get a win or two before the Chase starts. We really just need to get some points and try to make the Chase and battle for that championship like we did last year.
    Q. Do you have a timetable for that decision?
    MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: No. But we’re working on it every day, really, so just as soon as we can get it all ironed out.(NASCAR)(6-25-2008)

  • Ambrose back in the #21 at NHMS: Marcos Ambrose will be in the #21 Little Debbie Honey Buns [not Motorcraft] Ford Fusion this weekend in Loudon, N.H., attempting to qualify for his second consecutive Cup race. Ambrose, a two-time Australian V8 Supercars champion, made his Sprint Cup debut last weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.(Ford Racing PR)(6-25-2008)
  • Steve Letarte Joins ESPN NASCAR Team at New Hampshire: Steve Letarte, crew chief of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet driven by Jeff Gordon in the Sprint Cup Series, will join ESPN’s NASCAR team for coverage of Saturday’s Nationwide Series Camping World RV Sales 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Letarte will report from the ESPN Tech Center as a fill-in for ESPN analyst Tim Brewer, who has the weekend off. Letarte, a native of Maine, has been Gordon’s crew chief since September, 2005, and has been with Hendrick Motorsports for 14 years. During the race, he will work with the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car and the other parts, pieces and visuals in the Tech Center to illustrate and explain technical aspects of the event. The telecast airs at 2:30pm/et on ABC and in high definition on ABC HD.(6-25-2008)


    News from June 24, 2008

  • Menard expected back at DEI: “while rumors have circulated about #15-Paul Menard and the Menard’s sponsorship being courted by other teams, sources expect the driver to remain at dei through 2009 with primary sponsorship staying put as well.(6-24-2008) Comment here

  • Testing at Kentucky: Jeff Gordon turned his first test laps at Kentucky Speedway today attempting to create the elusive balance between speed and comfort in his #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver #19-Elliott Sadler and DEI’s #01-Regan Smith also turned test laps this afternoon.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(6-24-2008)

  • Testing at Nashville: David Stremme for Team Penske, Brad Coleman for Hall of Fame Racing, and Tim Fedewa for Red Bull Racing held a closed test at the Nashville Superspeedway on Tuesday, June 24, 2008. David Stremme hit the wall in turn three half way through the test session but was not injured. Penske did not test the remainder of the test session. Hall of Fame Racing and Red Bull Racing are expected to test Wednesday.(Nashville Superspeedway PR)(6-24-2008)

  • Testing at Milwaukee today: Penske Racing’s #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch, Ganassi Racing’s #41-Reed Sorenson testing today, Tuesday, June 24 at The Milwaukee Mile. Grandstands will be open free to the public between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.(The Milwaukee Mile)(6-24-2008)

  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 60 consecutive races, the longest current streak and a NEW modern era record, next up is #07-Bowyer at 53 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick held the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) unil he broke it himself in 2008. Next up is Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(6-24-2008)
  • Kyle Busch to drive for Manion at NHIS modified race UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch and Kevin Manion, crew chief for #1-Martin Truex Jr. in the Sprint Cup Series, are fierce competitors on race weekends. That will all change during Saturday’s New England 100 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when Busch pilots Manion’s #7 entry in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.
    UPDATE: Busch will not run the modified race, the team and driver decided there was too much going on to run the race.(6-24-2008)

  • Carpentier out of the #10 for Pocono UPDATE: Patrick Carpentier will concentrate on racing in the Nationwide Series race at Montreal on August 2. The Sprint Cup Series will be in Pocono the same weekend and Gillett Evernham Motorsports has asked Carpentier to leave his seat in the # 10 Dodge for the race in order to ensure the best possible finish in Montreal. The replacement for Carpentier has not yet been determined, but Bill Elliott could be considered.(Translated thru Google from Canoe Sports)(6-22-2008)
    UPDATE: Gillett Evernham Motorsports has announced that SUBWAY restaurants will sponsor Patrick Carpentier’s #9 Dodge in the Aug. 2 Nationwide race at Montreal. Tom Reddin, CEO of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, said Carpentier will focus solely on the Montreal race during the weekend instead of racing in both Montreal and the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono the same weekend. Reddin said the new relationship with SUBWAY restaurants is part of the team’s overall plan to build a solid foundation for the future.(Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR), NO word on who will drive the #10 at Pocono.(6-24-2008) Comment here

  • Toyota’s Aust retires end of June: Jim Aust is retiring June 30 as vice president of motorsports for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., and president and chief executive officer of Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A. Aust joined Toyota in 1987 and held assorted management positions before moving to motorsports in 1998. He guided Toyota into NASCAR in 2004 when it entered the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and helped lead Toyota in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series in 2007. Toyota’s U.S. racing boss was on hand Sunday at Infineon Raceway to attend the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, where Pitpass caught up with him. See interview and quotes at the Toyota site.(6-24-2008)


    News from June 23, 2008

  • Army looking for new team in 2009? UPDATE 3: The U.S. Army is examining it options for 2009 and beyond, and could leave Dale Earnhardt, Inc., for another team. The Army sponsorship is a year-by-year affair, and is renegotiated at the end of each season for the next year. Sources close to the situation tell Sirius Speedway that while the Army could still return to the DEI camp next season, officials are talking to at least one other Sprint Cup Series team, including one from the Toyota camp. Mark Martin has steered the US Army Chevrolet to a pair of Top-5 and five Top-10 finishes this season, and stands 24th in points despite running only 12 of the 15 races to date. Aric Almirola has made the other three starts in the car, with one Top-10 finish.(Motorsports Soapbox)(6-17-2008)
    UPDATE: Angelique Chengelis reported during ESPN’s “NASCAR Now” that the U.S. Army is likely to be on Bill Davis Racing’s second car next year.(6-22-2008)
    UPDATE 2: The U.S. Army, who has sponsored Martin’s DEI #8 Chevy for the last two season, is shopping other teams now, although [DEI VP of Motorsports Operations John] Story insisted DEI is still in the running to retain the deal. “We are talking to them on a regular basis,” Story said of the U.S. Army. Army officials have not yet decided which team they want to go with next year, multiple sources confirmed on Sunday. One published report had them moving to Bill Davis Racing next season, which was roundly denied by several sources close to the situation. (SPEEDtv.com)(6-23-2008)
    UPDATE 3: In a related story, ESPN’s Angelique Chengelis reported yesterday that the Army sponsorship is likely to move from DEI to Bill Davis Racing’s #23 Toyota next season. That report has been denied by several sources, however, and Sirius Speedway has learned that Red Bull Racing is actually a leading candidate for the Army deal. Red Bull General Manager Jay Frye first brought the Army sponsorship to NASCAR during his tenure at MB2 Motorsports, and is said to be in serious discussions to secure that sponsorship once again in 2009. There is no word on whether the Army would replace Red Bull as sponsor of either Brian Vickers or AJ Allmendinger next season, or if a third car will be added to the team for former Formula One and current Craftsman Truck Series star Scott Speed.(Motorsports Soapbox)(6-24-2008)Comment here

  • Martin to Leave DEI, Almirola Full Time Next Season: UPDATE 2: Martin Replacing Mears? Mark Martin will have a new racing home in 2009, ESPN.com has learned. Martin was unavailable for comment Sunday. Officials for Martin’s current team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., would neither confirm nor deny the speculation, but did confirm that young Aric Almirola would run a full-time schedule in 2009. “Aric is ready for a full-time ride,” said John Story, DEI vice president of motorsports operations. Almirola has shared the #8 U.S. Army Chevy with Martin for the past two seasons. “Were talking to Mark about what his objectives for the future are, and trying to marry that with our own, with Aric Almirola, to make sure Aric has an opportunity to run full time next year. We’re going through the process right now of trying to make sure that we get something for Aric that provides him a 36-race schedule, and at the same time that Mark is in a good situation.”(ESPN.com)(6-22-2008)
    UPDATE: Casey Mears and Mark Martin look to be on the move, and their futures might be linked. Mears’ future with Hendrick Motorsports appears in jeopardy, ESPN.com has learned. Although Mears has one year left on his contract, team owner Rick Hendrick would not commit to the driver of the #5 car beyond this season. “I’m committed to him right now,” Hendrick said on Sunday at Infineon Raceway. “I’m committed to him making that car run better right now.” Earlier on Sunday, sources told ESPN.com that Martin would leave Dale Earnhardt Inc. Later, ESPN.com learned that he would replace Mears, making one last full-time run at a championship.(ESPN.com)(6-22-2008)
    UPDATE 2: The speculation comes as rumors swirl about Mark Martin’s future with Dale Earnhardt Inc. He’s previously been mentioned as a candidate to split the Cup schedule with Scott Speed at Red Bull Racing, but there could also be a similar role for him in the #5 car for Hendrick. One scenario could have Martin splitting the seat time with Brad Keselowski, who currently drives a Nationwide Series car for JR Motorsports. Hendrick is partners with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in that venture, and Martin occasionally drives a car for them in that series. Martin is currently splitting a ride with Aric Almirola for DEI, but the team wants Almirola in a full-time ride in 2009. “Aric is ready for a full-time ride,” said DEI vice president John Story. “We have to get him in a car full time somehow, someway.”(Associated Press)(6-23-2008) Comment here

  • DEI could cut back to 3 teams in 2009: Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s Vice President of Motorsports Operations John Story said Sunday morning at Infineon Raceway that the team … is still looking for a sponsor for the #01 Chevy driven by Regan Smith. If no sponsor is found, Story said, the team will cut back to three cars.(SPEEDtv.com)(6-23-2008) Comment here

  • Berlin City Auto Group to sponsor #10 at NHMS: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that Berlin City Auto Group – serving consumer automotive needs in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont – will sponsor Patrick Carpentier’s #10 Dodge at the June 29 Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “It’s really special to have a company the New England race fans will immediately recognize on our car,” said Carpentier, an open wheel veteran in his first full NASCAR season. “We plan to put on a good show and help them sell some cars.” The Berlin City Auto Group, with dealerships throughout New England, specializes in the sales, service and parts for eighteen automotive manufacturers and pre-owned vehicles. The Berlin City Auto Group ensures their excellence in customer service with their over the top care by down to earth people. “We are excited to be part of the New England community and to serve the automotive needs of its residents. We’re proud to sponsor the #10 Gillett Evernham Dodge at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and wish Patrick the best,” said Rod Buscher, president of Berlin City Auto Group.(GEM PR)(6-23-2008) Comment here

  • Roush Fenway hopes to have drivers locked in soon for ’09: Roush Fenway Racing hopes to soon solidify its current driver lineup in the same positions for 2009, team president Geoff Smith said Sunday at Infineon Raceway. The first item would be locking in #16-Greg Biffle, who said Friday he expects to complete the deal this week. As far as #6-David Ragan, Smith also was optimistic. “We’re working through a final contract now with a sponsor, and unless Tony Stewart puts a wheel under us [in his sponsorship quest], it should be over very shortly,” Smith said. The team’s other three drivers – #99-Carl Edwards, #26-Jamie McMurray and #17-Matt Kenseth – are already signed for next season. Roush Fenway Racing can have five teams in 2009 but will have to cut down to four for the 2010 season.(SceneDaily.com)(6-23-2008) Comment here

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of Infineon Raceway:
    Total number of commercials: 118
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 45
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 25
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 25 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 5:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 8:31 PM
    Total minutes: 211
    Minutes of race broadcast: 157
    Minutes of commercials: 54
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
    See the full report on my 2008 Commericals page.(6-23-2008) Comment here

  • Georgia Racing Hall of Fame class of 2008 chosen: This year’s inductees are former NASCAR vice president of competition Bill Gazaway, short track racer Jack Jackson, 1965 NASCAR rookie of the year Sam McQuagg, Peach Bowl champion Charles Padgett, drag racing pioneer Randy Payne, NASCAR legend Wilbur Rakestraw, car owner Dub Smith, and track promoter Mike Swims. The eight inductees were chosen from the initial “Sweet 15” nominees, who had been whittled down from over 40 nominees that were submitted to the Hall of Fame voting committee.(Georgia Racing Hall of Fame PR)(6-23-2008) Comment here

News from June 22, 2008

  • Jimmy Spencer to be Honored at New Hampshire: As part of a season-long celebration of 60 years of Modified champions, two-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour titlist Jimmy Spencer will be honored at the New England 100 on June 28 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Spencer, who currently works for SPEED TV as a co-host for “NASCAR Raceday” and “NASCAR Victory Lane,” became the first driver to earn back-to-back NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championships in 1986 and 1987. He is one of just three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour drivers to capture consecutive titles. NASCAR plans to honor each of its 31 all-time Modified champions throughout the season. The celebration began with the recognition of Frankie Schneider, Donny Lia and Richie Evans at Thompson on April 6. Since the season-opener Red Byron, Jeff Fuller, Ernie Gahan and Mike Stefanik have also been recognized. (NASCAR PR)(6-22-2008)
  • Kyle Busch wins at Infineon: #18-Kyle Busch won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for his 5th win of 2008 and the 9th of his career. He came from the 30th spot at the start and led 78 of the 110 laps. #38-Gilliland finished 2nd [his career best finish], followed by #24-Gordon, #07-Bowyer, #5-Mears, #42-Montoya, #12-Newman, #17-Kenseth, #99-Edwards, and #20-Stewart. There were 6 cautions for 14 laps and their were 6 lead changes among 6 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Infineon Race Results Awards Page.(6-22-2008)
  • Infineon Raceway Fast Facts:
    .. Kyle Busch won the Toyota/Save Mart 350, his ninth victory in 130 Sprint Cup Series races. It is his first on a road-course. Busch has now won on all four type tracks on NASCAR’s premier circuit.
    .. This is his fifth victory and 11th top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. This is his second top-10 finish in four races at Infineon Raceway.
    .. David Gilliland (second) scored his career-best finish and posted his first top-10 finish in three races at Infineon. It is his second top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. Jeff Gordon (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 2008 and his 12th in 16 races at Infineon.
    .. Michael McDowell (21st) was the highest finishing rookie.
    .. The five foreign-born drivers in this race marks the most ever for a Sprint Cup Series event. Three foreign-born drivers was the most that had competed in a series event previously which occurred eight time, most recently in this race in 2007.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-22-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Infineon race 16 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 2408 [5 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 2305 -103 [1 win]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2256 -152 [1 win]
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 2150 -258 [3 wins]
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2079 -329 [1 win]
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 2041 -367
    7) #16-Greg Biffle 2019 -389
    8) #11-Denny Hamlin 2008 -400 [1 win]
    9) #9-Kasey Kahne 1958 -450 [2 wins]
    10) #07-Clint Bowyer 1924 -484 [1 win]
    11) #20-Tony Stewart 1908 -500
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth 1892 -516
    other chase contenders
    13) #29-Kevin Harvick 1890 -518 [2 pts out of the chase]
    14) #6-David Ragan 1848 -560 [-44]
    15) #83-Brian Vickers 1788 -620 [-104]
    16) #12-Ryan Newman Dodge 1787 -621 [-105]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Infineon page. (6-22-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at New Hampshire:
    no changes in the top 35, but the #41 & #7 teams are closer to falling out
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    30) #01-Smith/DEI, 1,263, +55
    31) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing, 1,257 +49
    32) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing, 1,251, +43
    33) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing, 1,248, +40
    34) #7-Gordon/Gordon, 1,239 +31
    35) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing, 1,228, +20 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
    36) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing, 1,208, -20 points out of 35th
    37) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing, 1,099 -129
    38) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing, 972 -256
    39) #40-Franchitti/Ganassi Racing 947 -281
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(6-22-2008)
  • Infineon Penalty Report:
    Car #, Reason, Penalty, Lap Issued
    #60, Excessive speed – Exiting pits, PT, 32
    #31, Excessive speed – Exiting pits, PT, 67
    #15, Excessive speed – Exiting pits, TE, 70
    #60, Excessive Speed-Entering pits, TE, 71
    #55, Excessive speed – Exiting pits, TE, 71
    #01, Pitting before Pit Road is Open, TE, 105
    #41, Pitting before Pit Road is Open, TE, 108
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-22-2008)
  • Who got a lap back on each caution at Infineon: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #8-Almirola, 28th
    Caution 2: #11-Hamlin, 27th
    Caution 3: #78-Nemechek, 26th
    Caution 4: none awarded with 10 or less laps to go in the race
    Caution 5: none awarded with 10 or less laps to go in the race
    Caution 6: none awarded with 10 or less laps to go in the race
    (6-22-2008)
  • No Sponsor for Robby Gordon at Infineon; UPDATE 2: Camping World & DLP: Robby Gordon and the #7 Dodge have been selected to carry an in-car camera for Sunday’s TNT broadcast, showing fans his moves as he battles the ten-turn track. Front tire changer, Bobby Burrell, will also be displaying the crew cam, giving fans a chance to see live pit action. For the second year in a row, Gordon will be a featured driver on DirecTV’s Hot Pass. Despite Gordon’s dominance at Infineon Raceway, the #7 will sporting the “back in black” paint scheme for the second time this season. In last year’s race, Gordon led the most number of laps – 48 of 110 laps, but fuel mileage cost the #7 a chance at the checkered flag. In his ten starts at the 1.99-mile road course, Gordon owns one victory, two top-five and three top-ten finishes as well as five top-ten starts. Gordon’s strong performance earned his sponsors in excess of $3 million dollars of exposure in last year’s Sonoma race. Primary sponsorship opportunities are still available for this weekend’s race, and interested parties can contact the team via robbygordon.com.(RGM PR)(6-19-2008)
    UPDATE: Although Robby Gordon Motorsports arrived at Infineon Raceway with an unsponsored car for this weekend’s Toyota/SaveMart 350, it should come as no surprise that when the green flag drops later today the #7 Dodge will feature the familiar blue and yellow colors of Camping World. King Taco has also signed on as an associate sponsor for the race.(RobbyGordon.com)(6-22-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Hall of Fame Racing officials announced that the logo of the team’s primary sponsor, DLP HDTV, will appear on the #7 car of Robby Gordon during Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350k in Sonoma. The appearance of the DLP logo on the #7 car is only for the Toyota/Save Mart 350k.(HOF Racing PR)(6-22-2008)Comment here


    News from June 21, 2008

  • NASCAR monitoring heat and carbon monoxide inside cars: The thermometer hovered at 102 degrees just prior to Friday’s qualifying at Infineon Raceway, which means the temperature inside the Sprint Cup cars was much hotter. Not to worry. NASCAR is monitoring the situation. The governing body began last week at Michigan International Speedway monitoring the heat inside the new cars after several drivers complained that they were hotter than the old cars. They also began doing random tests for carbon monoxide to guarantee nobody was at risk. The findings were just what officials anticipated, that cars with proper ventilation, vents and insulation had no problem. For example, the temperature inside the car of Brian Vickers was 130 degrees, compared to 105 for another. “You start looking at the cars and say how can this be, they’re all the same?” series director John Darby said. “Well, the 105 degree car didn’t have a lot of vents and stuff in it, but they did take the time to insulate the floorboard and put insulation around the exhaust pipes. There’s so many little things that make a difference that if you want to do them you can do them.” Darby said none of the eight to 10 drivers tested for carbon monoxide at Michigan showed a dangerous level.(ESPN.com)(6-21-2008) Comment here

  • RCR close on fourth driver: Richard Childress said he has a short list of three to four drivers and that he should have an announcement by Aug. 15. He said the list includes drivers who are and are not in the Cup series but would not reveal any names. “We’re very close,” Childress said on Friday at Infineon Raceway. “We’re just trying to find the right person that will be a good fit with General Mills.” Sources close to the situation said Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr. are on the list but considered longshots. Dale Earnhardt Inc. has picked up the option for Truex next season. Unless he can get out of that he will return to the #1 car. Scott Wimmer is on the list, but considered on the lower end. Childress has hinted he may go with a younger driver with star potential. “He could be anywhere from 21 to 33 or 34,” he said. Not on the list is Dave Blaney, who hopes to re-sign with Bill Davis Racing next season. Blaney’s car is without sponsorship for 2009 after Caterpillar announced earlier this week it would sponsor Jeff Burton’s car at RCR.(ESPN.com)(6-21-2008) Comment here

  • BDR to have new look for #22 in 2009 and a 2nd team: UPDATE: Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced that Caterpillar, the team’s sponsor for the past 10 seasons, will not return as primary sponsor of the #22 Bill Davis Racing team following the conclusion of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series season. “Caterpillar and Bill Davis Racing have enjoyed a long and successful partnership throughout the last 10 seasons, and we are proud of everything we’ve accomplished together, including wins in both the Daytona 500 and Southern 500,” stated Team Owner Bill Davis. “This is an exciting time for our team, and we are looking forward to the future.” The #22 Bill Davis Racing team continues to impress on the track, and the team remains in the 29th spot in the Sprint Cup Series Owners’ point standings. The team, led by veteran crew chief Tommy Baldwin, picked up 10 championship point positions over the course of five events and has posted two top-10 finishes and six finishes of 22nd or better in the past eight races. An announcement regarding the second Bill Davis Racing car for 2009, the #23 Sprint Cup Toyota, will take place in the coming weeks.(BDR PR)(6-18-2008)
    UPDATE: BDR’s Chief Financial Officer Mike Brown told SPEEDtv.com on Friday that the team expects to have a replacement for Cat on Dave Blaney’s #22 next season and another new sponsor for the team’s second car, which will carry #23 in 2009. No decision has been made on whether Jacques Villeneuve will return to the team or be replaced by another driver, Brown added. (SPEEDtv.com)(6-21-2008) Comment here

  • Sad News – NHRA driver Scott Kalitta: Scott Kalitta died Saturday when his Funny Car burst into flames and crashed at the end of track during the final round of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The NHRA said the 46-year-old Kalitta – the 1994 and 1995 Top Fuel season champion who had 18 career victories, 17 in Top Fuel and one in Funny Car – was taken to the Old Bridge division of Raritan Bay Medical Center, where he died a short time later. Kalitta’s Toyota Solara was traveling at about 300 mph when it burst into flames.(Associated Press)(6-21-2008)


    News from June 20, 2008

  • Biffle-Roush close to a deal UPDATE 2: Roush-Fenway Racing is very close to signing driver #16-Greg Biffle to a new multi-year contract. “It looks like we’re down to the wire on it”; Biffle said following practice at Pocono. Biffle went onto say, “I suspect to have it wrapped up by Michigan I would think. You’ll see me in the 16 for a few years, that’s what it’s looking like. Roush has made a pretty strong offer…plus my cars are fast…all the things a guy wants…all the ingredients are there. I think that’s the decision I’m going to make.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)(6-6-2008)
    UPDATE: #16-Greg Biffle expects to sign a three-year extension with Roush Fenway Racing by the end of next week. Biffle recently canceled a trip outside of the country for a Tuesday brake test. He plans to use the free time around that to iron out the few remaining details on the deal. “We’ve basically agreed on everything else,” he said on Friday at Michigan International Raceway. “It’s just a matter of finding time for everybody to sit down and finish this thing.” Biffle added that 3M will remain his primary sponsor, denying reports that Crown Royal would move from Jamie McMurray’s car to his.(ESPN.com)(6-13-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Greg Biffle has reached an agreement on a three-year deal with Roush Fenway Racing. Biffle met with Roush Fenway officials this week to iron out final details. He said a formal announcement, including a new deal with 3M, could be unveiled next week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.(ESPN.com)(6-20-2008) Comment here

  • Marlin Fined by State of Tennessee: Sterling Marlin has agreed to pay fines for two instances of allowing fill dirt to be dumped into a stream, according to a state order. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and Marlin came to an agreement Tuesday for Marlin to pay $8,655 for violating water quality laws, spokesperson Meg Lockhart said. According to TDEC’s order, Marlin’s development on Nashville Highway and Columbia Rock Road dumped fill dirt into Haley Branch. The violation was discovered at a TDEC inspection on Feb. 14, 2007. Marlin’s construction operation stopped dumping fill dirt into the stream by March 2007 and a permit was issued by TDEC. Marlin and his Nashville attorney William Penny met with TDEC officials and agreed on the fine for the Nashville Highway violation and one other on Cranford Hollow Road, Lockhart said.(Columbia [TN] Daily Herald)(6-20-2008) Comment here

  • NASCAR Members Club Launches NASCAR Competition Art Series:Official NASCAR Members Club artist Eric Soller launched his Competition Art Series titled “Pit Road” via an exclusive distribution agreement with Pit Road Prints. The Competition Art Series portrays authentic and detailed images of NASCAR competition from an insider’s perspective and is an exclusive product of the Official NASCAR Members Club, whose mission is to bring NASCAR fans closer to the sport they love.(NASCAR Members Club PR)(6-20-2008) Comment here
  • Kahne on pole at Infineon: #9-Kasey Kahene won the Coors Light Pole for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway with a speed of 92.153mph for his 2nd pole of 2008 and 16th of his career. #48-Johnson will start 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #43-Labonte, #24-Gordon, #19-Sadler, #21-Marcos Ambrose, #7-Gordon, #12-Newman, and #16-Biffle. The go-or-go homers who made the race: #21-Ambrose [7th], #45-Labonte [11th], #60-Said [14th], #78-Nemechek [24th], #66-Papis [28th], #10-Carpentier [34th], #84-Allmendinger [37th], and #34-Simo [41st]. Missing the race: #96-Yeley, #70-Riggs, #40-Franchitti, and #02-Ash.
    For starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression, see my Infineon Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results Page.(6-20-2008)
  • Infineon Raceway Qualifying Fast Facts:
    .. Kasey Kahne won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 with a lap of 77.740 seconds, 92.153 mph.
    .. This is his 16th pole in 160 career Sprint Cup races; his first on a road course.
    .. This is his second pole and 10th top-10 start in 2008.
    .. This is Kahne’s third top-10 start in five races at Infineon Raceway.
    .. Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his 13th top-10 start of 2008 and his second in seven Infineon races.
    .. Kurt Busch (third) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2008 and his sixth in eight races at Infineon.
    .. Marcos Ambrose (seventh) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time and qualified for his first career Sprint Cup Series race. Ambrose would have attempted to qualify at Watkins Glen in 2007, but not get the opportunity and did not make the field when qualifying was canceled due to weather.
    .. Sam Hornish Jr. (16th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-20-2008)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Dodge: #9-Kahne, 92.153, starts 1st
    Chevy: #48-Johnson, 92.040, starts 2nd
    Ford: #21-Ambrose, 91.819, starts 7th
    Toyota: #11-Hamlin, 91.207,starts 13th
  • Infineon Goodyear Tire Notes: Sprint Cup Series teams will run the same tire code (D-4110) on all four tire postions at Infineon Raceway this weekend . . . this is the same tire code that teams ran at Infineon last season . . . Sprint Cup teams are also scheduled to run this code at the other road course on the circuit — Watkins Glen . . . this code also serves as the right-side tire for Cup teams at Martinsville . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Infineon.(Goodyear PR), see pressures, codes and more on my Infineon Race Info page.(6-20-2008)


    News from June 19, 2008

  • Michigan TV Ratings same as 2007: Sprint Cup racing posted a 3.3/9 (5.1 mill.) this Sunday for racing from Michigan on TNT. In its first fair comparison to last year (last week’s comparison was impacted by rain in 2007), NASCAR on TNT was flat among all Homes (3.3) and down among M18-34 (-13%), M18-49 (-8%), and average audience (-3%).(PR), for more TV Ratings, see my 2008 TV Ratings page and chart.(6-19-2008) Comment here
  • Ice Road Truckers and RCR’s #07: To capitalize on DIRECTV’s partnership with the History Channel’s hit reality television program Ice Road Truckers, several members of RCR’s #07 team will be featured in mini-documentary interstitials during this season’s run of Ice Road Truckers. The interstitials will feature comparisons between RCR’s #07 DIRECTV Chevrolet and the equipment the team uses each week to compete in the Sprint Cup Series and the big rigs on the show. The June 15 episode featured tire specialist Charles Moles while engine tuner Cameron Brown will be part of this Sunday night’s show. Bowyer, crew chief Gil Martin, a handful of other members of the #07 team and additional RCR employees will be highlighted throughout the season. Season two of Ice Road Truckers airs on the History Channel Sunday nights at 9pm/et.(RCR)(6-19-2008)
  • Crew Chief Richert hired by SPEED: SPEED has hired veteran NASCAR crew chief Doug Richert to provide analysis for multiple NASCAR programs, with a lead role during the Chase for the Sprint Cup in the weekly news program The SPEED Report. “I’m thrilled to death to have a shot at this side of the sport,” said Richert, who, as a 20 year old, won the Sprint Cup Series championship in 1980 with legendary driver Dale Earnhardt. “This is something my wife and I have always talked about, but the timing and the demand of the crew chief position didn’t let it work.” Richert, who served as crew chief for three-time champ Ron Hornaday and 2003 NCTS Rookie of the Year Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, also will work in the SPEED booth for select NCTS races, spelling Michael Waltrip.(SPEED pr)(6-19-2008)
  • Sonoma Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 15 LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, scoring a 22nd-place finish. Hornish Jr. claimed top rookie honors for the sixth time this season and for the third time in the last four races. He led the race twice for two laps, the first time he has led in 17 career Sprint Cup Series starts. #01-Regan Smith holds a one-point lead (146-145) over Hornish Jr. in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 22 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway [Smith will not be running the race]. Only two Raybestos Rookies have led a lap in 19 Sprint Cup races at Infineon Raceway: Juan Pablo Montoya (once for seven laps in 2007) and Scott Pruett (twice for 10 laps in 2000). Montoya is the only Raybestos Rookie winner in 19 previous Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway and is also the only freshman driver to score a top-five finish. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie at Infineon Raceway is second, shared by Jerry Nadeau (1998) and Tony Stewart (1999).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see more news on rookies, history and standings on my 2008 Rookies page.(6-19-2008)
  • Johnson foundation scheme returns at Calif: the 2008 Jimmie Johnson #48 Jimmie Johnson Foundation paint scheme is scheduled to run at the Auto Club Speedway in August. This is the second year that Johnson has used his home track to pay tribute to his foundation, which is dedicated to assisting children, families and communities in need throughout the United States. See an image of the car on my #48 Team Schemes page.(6-19-2008)


    News from June 18, 2008

  • Guitar Hero to be featured on #40 at New Hampshire..image: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced it has partnered with Activision and its long-time sponsor Target to feature the latest version of the Guitar Hero series, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, on Dario Franchitti’s #40 Dodge in the Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) on June 29. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, which will be released June 29, is the latest installment from the Activision franchise that was the top-selling video game in 2007. The game puts players in the shoes of Joe Perry (guitar), Brad Whitford (guitar) and Tom Hamilton (bass), as they rock out alongside front man Steven Tyler and drummer Joey Kramer. Gamers will experience Aerosmith’s Grammy winning career, from their first gig to becoming rock royalty while jamming to the band’s top songs.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the scheme on my #40 Team Schemes page(6-18-2008) Comment here
  • CAT leaves BDR for RCR #31: Caterpillar Inc. and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) have agreed to a multi-year partnership for the #31 Chevy driven by Jeff Burton beginning with the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. Burton, a 20-time winner in Sprint Cup Series competition, is currently second in the 2008 point standings with one victory, four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in the season’s first 15 races. The #31 team has made the “Chase for the Championship” the past two seasons, finishing seventh in 2006 and eighth last year. “To represent a well-known global brand like Caterpillar is an honor,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. “Cat products have played a big part over the decades in construction projects at RCR, Childress Vineyards and Yadkin River Angus. Jeff and I look forward to meeting the Cat dealers and customers who loyally follow NASCAR racing.” The 2009 season will mark Caterpillar’s 17th year of sponsorship in NASCAR. It will also be Richard Childress’ 40th anniversary in the sport. “Success in the highly competitive environment of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series requires substantially greater levels of technology and investment than even a few years ago,” said Jim Parker, vice president of Caterpillar’s North American Commercial Division. “Joining Richard Childress and his team matches two organizations that share common values, as well as high levels of success. I’m confident this new partnership will excite Caterpillar’s customers, dealers and employees.”(RCR PR), AT&T is the #31 current sponsor, but must leave the series after 2008.(6-18-2008)Comment here
  • NAPA doubles up at Infineon: NAPA (National Automotive Parts Association) takes pride in team effort, expectations and results and so does Michael Waltrip and his #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry team. On Sunday at Infineon Raceway, Waltrip will have fans seeing double with Michael McDowell carrying the NAPA shield on his #00 Toyota Camry as a sign of gratitude for NAPA’s continued support. “We are taking Michael McDowell to Infineon Raceway in a NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry because it is a chance to say thanks to NAPA and all the fine people who represent them,” Waltrip said.(Michael Waltrip Racing), see an image of the car on my #00 Team Schemes page.(6-18-2008) Comment here
  • SI.com interview with former NASCAR race official Grant Mauricia “Mo” Grant spent nearly three years as a race official in the Nationwide Series, working for NASCAR as the only African-American female in such a role. Now she’s at the center of a $225 million lawsuit filed against the organization, in which she alleges sexual and racial discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. She claims she was called demeaning names, subjected to sexual advances — including two male co-workers allegedly exposing themselves to her — and made the brunt of graphic and lewd jokes. In her first face-to-face and most extensive interview since the lawsuit became public, Grant, 32, spoke to SI.com this week about some of the background of the suit. During the two-hour, sometimes emotional interview (including an animated discussion about last week’s NASCAR race at Michigan), her passion for the sport was evident. See full interview at SI.com – Grant paints picture of ‘ignorant’ NASCAR culture.(6-18-2008)
  • New look for #40 at Infineon: Chip Ganassi Racing welcomes two familiar sponsors to the #40 Dodge of Dario Franchitti, Texaco/Havoline and The Hartford. The Hartford is back after having sponsored the car at Bristol with Franchitti behind the wheel. Texaco/Havoline, one of the primary sponsors on the #42 Dodge driven by Juan Pablo Montoya, will also sponsor the #40 car this weekend.(CGRFS PR)(6-18-2008)
  • Jeff Gordon DVD: Sports fans can get behind the wheel with one of NASCARs biggest stars as ESPN Home Entertainment, in conjunction with Genius Products, LLC, presents the most comprehensive look at Jeff Gordon to date. Following the successful franchise launch of ESPN INSIDE ACCESS with Derek Jeter in April, ESPN has scoured the vaults to bring fans rare Gordon race footage, exclusive interviews and off-the-track features with ESPN INSIDE ACCESS: Jeff Gordon. The DVD hit stores nationwide on June 10, 2008, available for $19.95 SRP. Gordon has also been selected as the cover athlete for the NASCAR 09 game from EA Sports concurrent with the DVD release. More info at the espnshop.com site.(6-18-2008)
  • Newman waiting on team performace before making plans: Ryan Newman has an agreement to revisit his latest contract offer with team owner Roger Penske after an undisclosed deadline, but said he will not return to his current NASCAR Sprint Cup team unless his #12 Dodge program shows significant improvement soon. Newman’s season has been mostly a disappointment after he opened with a victory in the 50th Daytona 500. He’s 17th in points with five top-10s but four finishes of 30th or worse, two because of engine failures. “It’s a performance issue,” Newman, 30, said at a pre-Coke Zero 400 media event at Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday.(St Petersburg Times)(6-18-2008) Comment here
  • Zippy has an out if Stewart leaves, but may not: #20 crew chief, Greg Zipadelli insists he doesn’t know what Tony Stewart will decide about his future, which, according to his contract, should include at least another year at JGR. But Zipadelli believes a decision is all but made and sounds like a man resigned to a split. “I truly have tried not to get wrapped up in that, questioning about the unknown in my mind,” he said. “When that comes, I’ll worry about that. Right now, I need to worry about me, my guys, my family and this race team and being in the top 12 in points.” Should Stewart leave, Zipadelli could go with him and extend the longest crew chief-driver reign in Cup. The long-term extension he signed with JGR last season has outs in it if Stewart is not with the organization. But Zipadelli doesn’t sound like a man seeking to start over as Stewart would be doing to some degree if he joined a fledgling race team such as Haas. He is happy at JGR and enjoys the security the company offers him and his family, which expanded by one this past Wednesday with the birth of his second son and third child.(ESPN.com)(6-18-2008)
  • Sad News – Tom Davies: Thomas J. Davies, 76, passed away June 13th, son of the late Thomas and Helen (Johnson) Davies. He owned and operated Thomas Davies Ford in Cortland, N.Y. In 1976 he moved to this area and for many years worked as a security guard for Daytona International Speedway. An avid NASCAR enthusiast, he enjoyed racing and belonged to Living Legends of Auto Racing. Donations may be made in his memory to Florida Hospice Oceanside, 264 S. Atlantic Ave., Ormond Beach, FL 32176. See more info at the Daytona Beach News Journal.(6-18-2008)
  • Vickers wins at Golf: #83-Brian Vickers won the second round of the HP Tee Shot Tour on Thursday at The Grande Golf Club in Jackson, Mich. On the lighted 395-yard par 4 first hole, Brian proved he can drive more than a race car when he won the driver and team categories. Brian once fired a 79 on the high school golf team and claims his longest drive ever is 300- plus (with some roll). He was paired with Kevin Bullard, who’s a regular in the power golf series with long drive professionals and NASCAR drivers that include Marcos Ambrose, Stephen Leicht, Kyle Petty, David Ragan, Elliott and Hermie Sadler and J.J. Yeley. The winning cumulative score at the end of six events will have $25,000 donated in their name to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The next Tee Shot Tour event is scheduled for July 9 at Joliet Country Club in Joliet, Ill.(Red Bull Racing PR)(6-18-2008)
  • Many teams testing at Kentucky UPDATE: on Tuesday June 17th and Wednesday, June 18th, many Sprint Cup and NNS teams are scheduled to test at Kentucky Speedway, including R&D Test teams of Michael Waltrip Racing, Gillett Evernham Motorsports, Hendrick Motorsports [Landon Cassill] and Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates; Joey Logano in the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing/Gamestop Toyota; Scott Wimmer in the #29 Holiday Inn RCR Chevy Chevy, #43-Bobby Labonte for Petty Enterprises, #45-Chad McCumbee for Petty Enterprises. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway site)(6-17-2008)
    UPDATE: Drivers testing at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday were Clint Bowyer, A.J. Allmendinger, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, David Reutimann, Reed Sorenson and Michael Waltrip.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(6-18-2008)
  • Eury Jr. named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Michigan: Tony Eury Jr., crew chief of the #88 National Guard/Amp Energy Chevy driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Starting from the third position, Earnhardt ran in the top-15 throughout the entire 203-lap race. Late in the race many of the lead lap cars came up short on fuel and ducked onto pit road. Eury Jr. decided to take a chance and stretch their fuel mileage to the finish. Following the sixth caution of the day on lap 199, Eury Jr. instructed Earnhardt to cut off his engine and coast so he would have every ounce of fuel for a two-lap, green-white-checkered flag finish. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(PR)(6-18-2008)
  • Dale Jr. and team to visit base: On Wednesday, June 18th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the #88 team will visit the Camp Butner National Guard training center, a 4,750-acre facility located outside of Durham, N.C. Earnhardt and his team will participate in training at the rifle range and observe how National Guard recruits prepare to serve their country. The team also will unveil its special paint scheme for the July 5 race at Daytona International Speedway to the soldiers at the base.(HMS PR), see am image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(6-18-2008)


    News from June 17, 2008

  • Pruett in for Sorenson at Infineon UPDATE hearing road course specialist Scott Pruett will drive the #41 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi racing in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, replacing regular driver Reed Sorenson. The #41 team is 32nd in Owners Points, only 29 points from being 36th and out of a guaranteed starting spot.(6-17-2008)
    UPDATE: CGRFS announced the team’s road-racing veteran driver Scott Pruett will make the switch from Daytona Prototypes to stock cars to compete in the first Sprint Cup Series road course race of the season at Infineon Raceway this Sunday. Pruett, the California native who currently leads the Rolex Sports Car Series championship for CGRFS with teammate Memo Rojas, will pilot the #41 Target Dodge entry for the Cup race around the 1.99-mile track in Sonoma, Calif., on Sunday.(CGRFS PR)(6-17-2008) Comment here

  • CHP scheme for the #28 at Sonoma UPDATE images: hearing the #28 Yates Racing Ford of Travis Kvapil will run the CHP – California Highway Patrol colors at Infineon Raceway next weekend. See images on my #28 Team Schemes page.(6-13-2008)
    UPDATE: The Sprint Cup series will make its only Northern California stop for the 2008 season this upcoming June 22 for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, and the #28 Yates Racing Ford will feature quite an interesting paint job: It will be wearing the colors and design of a California Highway Patrolvehicle. The California Highway Patrol is excited for the car’s debut, which should help with the agency’s current “very energetic recruitment push,” said Mark Garrett, public affairs recruitment sergeant for the CHP’s Southern Division. “We know how effective and influential NASCAR is,” he told Inside Line. The black-and-white CHP-design Fusion will be driven by 2003 Craftsman Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil. A set of gold-and-black Goodyear Eagle tires almost perfectly matches the CHP logo that decorates the hood. This will be the California Highway Patrol’s first venture into Cup sponsorship. At this point, the plan is to back the Yates Racing Ford for only one race.(Edmunds.com), see images on my #28 Team Schemes page(6-17-2008) Comment here

  • Army looking for new team in 2009? The U.S. Army is examining it options for 2009 and beyond, and could leave Dale Earnhardt, Inc., for another team. The Army sponsorship is a year-by-year affair, and is renegotiated at the end of each season for the next year. Sources close to the situation tell Sirius Speedway that while the Army could still return to the DEI camp next season, officials are talking to at least one other Sprint Cup Series team, including one from the Toyota camp. Mark Martin has steered the US Army Chevrolet to a pair of Top-5 and five Top-10 finishes this season, and stands 24th in points despite running only 12 of the 15 races to date. Aric Almirola has made the other three starts in the car, with one Top-10 finish.(Motorsports Soapbox)(6-17-2008) Comment here

  • Vickers says NASCAR admitted scoring mistake: NASCAR admitted to #83-Brian Vickers that it made a mistake in placing the Red Bull Racing driver behind Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #8-Mark Martin prior to a restart during the waning laps of the LifeLock 400 Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. For Vickers, that admission was important. Vickers said he had passed Martin two laps prior to the caution coming out. He believes he could have had a chance to win the race if he hadn’t had to restart behind Martin. Vickers went to the NASCAR hauler after the race to talk to NASCAR officials. “They said, ‘We made an honest mistake – the 8 car [of Martin] was supposed to be behind you,’ ” Vickers said Tuesday during a NASCAR teleconference. “That’s all you can ask for. It’s like when a driver on the race track gets into you, it makes all the difference in the world if they call you the next day and say, ‘Man, I’m sorry. I messed up. I’m sorry. Let’s just move forward from here on.’ And I totally respect that. I’ve made many, many, many mistakes in my life, and I probably will make many more. The important thing is to just own up to it and move on.” Vickers ended up finishing fourth. “I was pretty upset by it and rightfully so,” Vickers said. “I wanted an explanation of why that took place. I felt like in a lot of ways it cost us a shot at the race. There’s no guarantees what would have happened, but it definitely hurt us.” So what can NASCAR do? Not much, Vickers said. “Unfortunately in our sport, and if I was sitting in the tower, I couldn’t do it any different – you can’t just call timeout and go look at the replay and sort it out,” Vickers said. “You look at a football gamem and they get a bad call on the field, they call a timeout and they look at the replay, they fix it, and they move on. That’s one call. For those guys, it’s 43 calls up in the tower; they have 43 positions to sort out every caution, not one. It’s a tough job, and they can’t just halt the race. They’ve got guys running out of fuel, the race is coming to an end, and it’s time to go green and get the checkered out there.”(SceneDaily)(6-17-2008) Comment here

  • Another F-1 driver attends Cup race: Formula One Toyota driver Jarno Trulli snuck into Michigan International Speedway on Sunday without the fan crush he’s accustomed to when he races in Europe. “A few people asked me for autographs when I first arrived but it basically cooled down,” Trulli said. “In Italy or France, you would basically be surrounded.” Trulli, an Italian, competed in the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal this month, where he finished sixth, and decided to stick around and pay a surprise visit to former F1 drivers Juan Pablo Montoya (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) and Scott Speed (Bill Davis Racing), who are running in NASCAR. “They were the first two people I visited with,” Trulli said. “They were surprised to see me.” Trulli, eighth in F1 points, said he watches NASCAR on television, but Sunday’s was the first stock car race he’d attended. Would he take a crack at ovals if given a chance? “Maybe one day — a test or something,” said Trulli, who began his F1 career with Minardi in 1997. “I like the U.S. and having another (racing) experience would be good.” Though Trulli has never raced a stock car, he drove at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., in 1994. “I competed in the Race of the Americas karting series in 1994 and 1995 on the road course at Charlotte,” Trulli recalled. “I finished first and second.”(Detroit Free Press)(6-17-2008)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the LifeLock 400 at MIS:
    Total number of commercials: 101
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 50
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 20
    Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 19
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 2 min. 50 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:06 PM
    Total minutes: 186
    Minutes of race broadcast: 138
    Minutes of commercials: 48
    Number of missed restarts:0
    Number of ‘beer can’ cautions: 1
    For more see my TV Commercials 2008 page.(6-17-2008) Comment here

  • Stewart to help out hometown flood victims UPDATE: When #20-Tony Stewart returned to his hometown of Columbus, Ind., late Sunday night after the race at Pocono. There, Stewart, a 1989 graduate of Columbus North High School saw his town under water. With people displaced and many homes severely damaged if not destroyed, Stewart quickly found a new perspective on true sorrow and disappointment. On Monday, he visited the Columbus Public Works garage and thanked all those who had been working around the clock to help restore the town’s infrastructure. He also stopped by his old junior high school, which the American Red Cross had converted into a shelter for flood evacuees. There, Stewart chatted with those who had to call the gymnasium floor their temporary home, and allowed them a short distraction from the headaches and worry that came when rising flood waters significantly altered their lives. There were so many stories of hardship, Stewart wondered where to even start. The answer: Sunday’s LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Whatever Stewart’s portion of the race winnings are in the LifeLock 400, he’ll donate them to the American Red Cross in Columbus, with the money specified for flood assistance. Those wishing to join Stewart in helping those affected by the floods throughout Indiana can call 812-379-9551 or send checks payable to The American Red Cross, 931 Repp Drive, Columbus, IN 47201. If writing a check, write “Indiana Flood & Tornado Relief” on the memo line. How is your home in Columbus? “My old house by the high school is good. The farm is just wet, absolutely saturated. You can’t get on it. You can’t do anything. And we’re getting baby deer now. We have four little ones, and we’ve got them on the deck in a small pen because you can’t get on the ground to put them anywhere. They’re so young, you don’t want them to get stuck.”(True Speed Communication/JGR PR)(6-13-2008)
    UPDATE: Others who felt that #20-Tony Stewart’s fifth-place effort at Michigan served as a win were those in Stewart’s hometown of Columbus, Ind. The area was ravaged by flooding last weekend, and Stewart’s portion of the $136,986 [approx 40%] he earned by finishing fifth in the LifeLock 400 will be donated to the American Red Cross in Columbus, with the money specified for flood assistance. Those wishing to join Stewart in helping those affected by the floods throughout Indiana can call 812-379-9551 or send checks payable to The American Red Cross, 931 Repp Drive, Columbus, IN 47201. If writing a check, write “Indiana Flood & Tornado Relief” on the memo line. “I’m happy we got a top-five for everyone in Columbus, Indiana, and that we can do something to help our community out,” Stewart said. “It’s been on my mind all weekend. That’s what this top-five is for. When it’s your own community and your own neighbors, it’s good to generate a good amount of winnings for them.”(True Speed Communication/JGR)(6-17-2008)Comment here


    News from June 16, 2008

  • Lawyer behind discrimination suit talks: But Benedict Morelli — the lawyer for Mauricia Grant in the $225 million discrimination lawsuit against NASCAR — took note that there was one other intriguing headline over the weekend: Nationwide Series officials Tim Knox and Bud Moore [NOT the former car owner Walter “Bud” Moore, who owned the #15 Ford and others for years with 63 wins] were both suspended, with pay, for what the sport’s CEO, Brian France, called “violations in NASCAR policy.” France didn’t give specifics on what prompted the action while defending his company on Saturday, but both are accused in the lawsuit of exposing themselves to Grant — an African-American co-worker of theirs who was fired in October 2007. In a 45-minute interview with SI.com before those suspensions, Morelli shared some of his thoughts on the case. “I look at this as an opportunity [for NASCAR],” he said from his offices in Manhattan. “There are a number of things that have to go on. NASCAR ultimately has to pay a lot of money — but they have to do more than that. They have to try to legitimately change the culture. In a lot of ways, a lawsuit like this could benefit them if they make the necessary changes.” Morelli says his client is willing to take a stand, and knows it will be a long fight. See the full story at the Sports Illustrated site.(6-16-2008)

  • Busch gives up full time Nationwide run: #18-Kyle Busch said on TNT’s pre-race show he won’t race a Nationwide car next weekend in Milwaukee. The Cup series is in Sonoma, Calif., and getting back and forth is taxing on drivers. Busch also mentioned he won’t compete in the Nationwide event at Memphis, which is the same October weekend the Cup series is in Atlanta. Busch said he’s cutting back his schedule slightly because he’s too far back to win the Nationwide title, so there’s no need to make such trips.(Roanoke Times)(6-16-2008)

  • No word from Alltel: Car owner [#2,#12,#77] Roger Penske said he has not had any conversations with Alltel officials since the recent announcement Verizon will buy Alltel, a deal that could force Penske to find another sponsor. NASCAR officials indicate that Verizon won’t be able to replace Alltel as sponsor for Ryan Newman’s car. Only wireless companies already in the sport were allowed to remain when Nextel, which later became Sprint, took over as series sponsor. Penske says he hasn’t needed to talk with Alltel officials until the company decides how the new version will be branded. If the Alltel brand goes away, so, it appears, will the sponsorship.(Roanoke Times)(6-16-2008) Comment here

  • Some drivers upset with Dale Jr. passing pace car: Several drivers were upset that #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was allowed to speed up and pass the pace car during a caution so he could save gas to make it to the finish line. The running start gave Earnhardt enough momentum to allow him to turn his engine off and coast halfway around Michigan International Speedway. “I just didn’t know you could pass the pace car,” third-place finisher #17-Matt Kenseth said. NASCAR rules prohibit anyone from passing the pace car during a caution, but Earnhardt was allowed to pull in front of the pace car at least twice to save fuel. The sanctioning body eventually warned him not to do it, but by then he had saved enough to win the LifeLock 400 on fumes. Earnhardt admitted he stretched the rules — and NASCAR’s patience — but not enough to give the victory back. “I got a little greedy,” he said. “I can understand how it looked, especially if you’re not a Dale Jr. fan. But I got the trophy; I got the points.”(Augusta Chronicle)(6-16-2008) Comment here

  • Harvick breaks his own DNF record: #29-Kevin Harvick has been running at the finish in 59 consecutive races, the longest current streak and now the record for the modern era [1972-present. Harvick had the record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004). The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF [did not finish] is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963.(6-16-2008)

News from June 15, 2008

  • First NC driver: With #88-Dale Earnhardt’s win at Michigan, it is the first time a driver born in North Carolina has won a Cup race since Brian Vickers won at Talladega in Ocr 2006. The 2007 season was the first time in the history of the sport that no North Carolina drivers won at least one race in a season since it started in 1949.(6-15-2008)

  • Logano could run some Sprint Cup races late this season: Joey Logano, who in only his third Nationwide Series start won on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway, likely will compete in a few Sprint Cup races for Joe Gibbs Racing before the end of the season. “We would like to get him in some Cup stuff towards the end of the year,” team owner Joe Gibbs said before Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. “We want to make sure it’s the good stuff and the right way.” Gibbs said it was too late in the year to start a fourth Cup team for Logano to run fulltime next season. Asked if Logano might replace Tony Stewart should the two-time Cup champion leave for another team [rumored teams include Haas CNC, #5 Hendrick, 4th RCR team], Gibbs said, “I don’t think we’ve gone in that direction yet. We’re still trying to work things out.” Stewart is being pursued by several teams, including at least one [Haas CNC Racing] that is offering ownership. Gibbs and his son, team president J.D. Gibbs, have been emphatic that they won’t part with Stewart before his contract expires after 2009. They remain optimistic that he will re-sign with JGR and end his career there.(ESPN.com)(6-15-2008) Comment here

  • Fellows to run the #01 at Infineon: Veteran road course specialist Ron Fellows will pilot the Dale Earnhardt Inc. #01 Chevy in the Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 22 with a goal of scoring maximum car owner points in the event. Leading rookie-of-the-year candidate Regan Smith will be back in the car the following week at Loudon [New Hampshire]. “We’re very proud of the job Regan is doing and our commitment to him has not changed,” said John Story, Dale Earnhardt Inc. vice president of motorsports. “The progress of the No. 01 team has been significant. We have a team around Regan now that communicates well together and we expect to see more of the improvement they’ve already made in the second half of the season. Our goal for Regan remains winning the rookie of the year title and building momentum that we hope will carry us into 2009. Ron has a successful history with DEI and he certainly knows his way around Infineon. The opportunity to capitalize on his experience and abilities against some of the other road course experts is our objective.” Fellows, who ran road courses for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2003-04, boasts 17 Cup starts in his career, with the majority coming on road courses. He finished second at Watkins Glen in 2004 and seventh in 2003 at Infineon, both in the DEI #1 car. The specialist ran both road courses last season, finishing inside the top 15 in both outings, including a fourth-place finish at Watkins Glen. Included as part of his esteemed career in road racing, Fellows boasts three wins in 12 starts in the Nationwide Series and two wins in the Craftsman Truck Series.(DEI PR)(6-15-2008) Comment here

  • Former official sues NASCAR over harassment claims UPDATE 2 two officials suspended: A former racing official is suing NASCAR, alleging racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. Mauricia Grant worked as a technical inspector responsible for certifying cars in NASCAR’s second-tier Nationwide Series from January 2005 until she was fired last October. Grant, who is black, alleges she was referred to as “Nappy Headed Mo” and “Queen Sheba,” by white co-workers. She also claims she often was told she worked on “colored people time,” and was frightened by one official who routinely made references to the Ku Klux Klan. The lawsuit, which seeks $250 million, was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.(ESPN.com/Associated Press) and see a copy of the lawsuit at FoxSports (pdf format)(6-10-2008)
    UPDATE: NASCAR chairman Brian France says a former official who’s suing the organization never reported discrimination or harassment claims to her supervisors. Mauricia Grant filed a $225 million suit against NASCAR on Tuesday, alleging racial discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliatory termination. France said Wednesday the detailed filing was the first NASCAR learned of her claims. “The disappointing thing is she makes a lot of claims, none of them reported,” he said.(Associated Press)(6-11-2008)
    UPDATE 2: Two officials named in a $225 million racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against NASCAR have been placed on administrative leave for violating company policy, The Associated Press has learned. The officials, who were not immediately identified, were sent home from Kentucky Speedway on Friday evening, a person familiar with the NASCAR investigation told the AP. The person requested anonymity because NASCAR’s investigation is ongoing. NASCAR sent a team of investigators from its human resources and legal offices to Kentucky this weekend to interview those named in the suit. Of 27 interviews conducted away from the track Thursday and Friday, two officials were found to have engaged in behavior that violated NASCAR policy. Their leave is indefinite. In addition, investigators failed to uncover a single instance where Grant complained to her supervisors or other NASCAR employees about the way she was treated, the person familiar with the investigation told AP. Grant has said she followed the chain of command all the way to Nationwide Series director Joe Balash, but stopped short of telling human resources because she was reprimanded by that department for a separate incident two weeks after lodging her complaint. She said she viewed the reprimand, which included a threat of termination, as retaliation for complaining to Balash. Balash was not one of the officials placed on leave Friday. Grant’s lawyer, Benedict P. Morelli of Morelli Ratner PC, was not immediately available for comment.(Associated Press)(6-14-2008)
    UPDATE 3: Two officials suspended by NASCAR are accused in a $225 million lawsuit of exposing themselves to a former co-worker, the Associated Press has learned. Tim Knox and Bud Moore [NOT the former car owner Walter “Bud” Moore, who owned the #15 Ford and others for years with 63 wins] have been placed on indefinite administrative paid leave. NASCAR will not reveal the identities of the officials sent home Friday from Kentucky Speedway, but a person familiar with the investigation confirmed to AP on Saturday that Knox and Moore were suspended. The person requested anonymity because NASCAR’s investigation is ongoing. NASCAR did not give a reason for the men’s suspension, and chairman Brian France cautioned against assuming the officials are being punished for allegations made in the lawsuit.(Associated Press)(6-15-2008)
  • Dale Jr. wins at Michigan: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 1st win of 2008, first in 76 races (Richmond in May 2006) and the 18th of his career. #9-Kahne finished 2nd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #83-Vickers, #20-Stewart, #48-Johnson [led the most laps], #99-Edwards, #6-Ragan, #19-Sadler and #26-McMurray. The win gave Chevrolet its first triumph at MIS since Jeff Gordon’s victory in 2001. Points leader #18-Busch finished 13th but increased his points lead to 32 as #31-Burton finished 15th. There were 7 cautions for 22 laps and their were 31 lead changes among 13 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Michigan Race Results Awards Page.(6-15-2008)
  • First NC driver: With #88-Dale Earnhardt’s win at Michigan, it is the first time a driver born in North Carolina has won a Cup race since Brian Vickers won at Talladega in Ocr 2006. The 2007 season was the first time in the history of the sport that no North Carolina drivers won at least one race in a season since it started in 1949.(6-15-2008)
  • Michigan International Speedway Fast Facts
    .. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the LifeLock 400, his 18th victory in 306 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    .. This is his first victory and 11th top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. This is his first victory and sixth top-10 finish in 18 races at Michigan International Speedway.
    .. Kasey Kahne (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at Michigan. It is his eight top-10 finish in 2008.
    .. Matt Kenseth (third) posted his 12th top-10 finish in 18 races at Michigan.
    .. Sam Hornish Jr. (22nd) was the highest finishing rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)((6-15-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Michigan race 15 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 2213 [4 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 2181 -32 [1 win]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2129 -84 [1 win]
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 2007 -206[3 wins]
    5) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1959 -254 [1 win]
    6) #11-Denny Hamlin 1926 -287 [1 win]
    7) #9-Kasey Kahne 1889 -324 [2 wins]
    8) #16-Greg Biffle 1884 -329
    9) #24-Jeff Gordon 1876 -337
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 1817 -396
    11) #20-Tony Stewart 1774 -439
    12) #07-Clint Bowyer 1764 -449 [1 win]
    other chase contenders
    13) #6-David Ragan 1754 -459 [10 pts out of the chase]
    14) #17-Matt Kenseth 1750 -463 [-14]
    15) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1670 -543 [-94]
    16) #83-Brian Vickers 1667 -646 [-97]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Michigan page.(6-15-2008)

  • Pressley to help out Ambrose: Marcos Ambrose said Robert Pressley would practice and qualify Ambrose’s #59 JTG Racing Nationwide Series Ford at the Milwaukee Mile next weekend should Ambrose qualify for the Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway. Ambrose will attempt to make the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in the Wood Brothers’ #21 Sprint Cup Ford. If he qualifies, Ambrose said Friday he would drive in both Cup practices next Saturday before trying to make it to Milwaukee in time for the Camping World RV Rental 250. “We got all the planes and helicopters and stuff that we need to get it done,” Ambrose said. “The first thing is to get that car in the race at Sonoma, and then we activate that plan. If we don’t, then I’ll just make my way to Milwaukee and practice and qualify the car and do the weekend as normal. We intend to try to do both, depending on how it works. If I get the 21 Wood Brothers car in the race, my focus is going to be primarily on that package.” Pressley, a 10-time winner in the No. 2 series, last ran a race in 2005. He’s a former driver for owner Tad Geschickter’s team and has served as a driver coach for JTG.(SceneDaily)(6-15-2008)

  • Kanaan visits MIS: Tony Kanaan, the only driver to win at MIS in both the Championship Auto Racing Teams series and the Indy Racing League, is at the speedway this weekend. “I just came here to support my friend, Dario Franchitti,” Kanaan said. “This is my first time at a NASCAR race. I had my first victory at this place. I’ll never forget this place. Every time I drive underneath the tunnel, I get good memories. It’s a good place for me.” Kanaan added that he was not considering a move to NASCAR. Kanaan won the CART race at MIS in 1999 and won the IRL race last August.(Michigan Live)(6-15-2008)
  • Logano wins 1st career NNS race; youngest ever: Joe Gibbs Racing rookie Joey Logano became the eighth different Nationwide Series race winner at Kentucky Speedway tonight in front of a track-record sellout crowd [eighth consecutive NNS sellout] of 73,195 assembled for the “Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo.” The Middletown, Conn., driver known as “Sliced Bread” became the youngest victor in series history at age 18 years and 21 days as well as the third straight first-time series winner at the track after guiding his #20 GameStop Toyota across the finish line a series track-record 2.259 seconds ahead of Scott Wimmer in the #29 Holiday Inn Chevy.(Kentucky Speedway) Casey Atwood was the youngest Nationwide Series winner at 18 years, 10 months and 9 days winning at Milwaukee July 4, 1999. See results, points, news and more on my Nationwide Series site.(6-15-2008)


    News from June 14, 2008

  • Penske Racing Teams Up with Cunningham Motorsports: Helping to pave the way for its continued success in stock car racing, Penske Racing announced an official developmental partnership with Cunningham Motorsports. With the consistent growth of Penske Racing, which currently competes with three Dodge Chargers in the Sprint Cup Series and one Dodge Charger in Nationwide Series competition, the 2008 Daytona 500 championship team is eager to add to its history of motorsports success. As it looks for talented personnel to join the team in the future, Penske Racing will partner with Cunningham Motorsports, an established and proven team across the developmental racing ranks. Through this partnership, Penske Racing will work with the Cunningham Motorsports teams racing in USAC Midget, ARCA RE/MAX Series and Craftsman Truck Series competition. Penske Racing will also help develop the talented young drivers in the Cunningham Motorsports program as well as identify potential crew and team members to add to its staff in the future. In addition, the partnership will provide Penske Racing another source for testing as well as engine and chassis development as it continues to enhance its program.(Penske Racing PR)(6-14-2008)

  • Roush to be honored: Jack Roush of Roush Fenway Racing, was named a finalist for the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday. “The Michigan Sports Hall of Fame is certainly an organization that has a high standing in the community and is respected throughout the country, and if I’m up for an award, I feel honored by it,” he said. Roush was nominated in the Contribution category. The inductees will be announced June 20. Roush is the chairman of the board of Roush Enterprises, the parent company for Roush Industries and Roush Performance, which are both headquartered in Livonia. Roush also calls Livonia home. Roush was inducted into the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.(Detroit News)(6-14-2008)
  • Pit Stall selections: #18-Kyle Busch starts first since he is the points leader and qualifying was rained out, the team chose the first pit stall, starting 2nd is #31-Burton and they chose the next opening, stall 11. The last pit stall was chosen by #6-Ragan. See the full pit stall selections on my MIS Pit Stall Selection page.(6-14-2008)

  • NASCAR Calls mandatory meeting for all Cup drivers Friday:NASCAR called a mandatory meeting for Sprint Cup drivers and owners before Friday’s practice at Michigan International Speedway in which president Mike Helton encouraged everyone to keep the fans first. NASCAR officials and drivers both agreed this simply was a reminder that during these tough economic times when fans are paying $4 a gallon for gas to travel to tracks that drivers should be more positive about the sport. In other words stop complaining about the new car that has become a target for everything that is wrong in NASCAR’s premier series, from creating boring races to being so hot that the drivers are at risk. “My interpretation was that the drivers should be thankful for the position they’re in and should be more positive in where this car is going to be in a year or two,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. Jeff Burton agreed. “In today’s conversation you could have heard whatever you wanted to hear,” he said. “I bet if you asked every driver what they heard they would have said something different. What I heard was things aren’t bad. Let’s don’t forget we can make things better.”
    NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said this so-called “Come to Jesus” was a reminder of chairman Brian France’s preseason back-to-basics message. That the timing was a few days after the lawsuit, he added, was merely coincidental and that the lawsuit wasn’t discussed. “We remind them if it weren’t for the fans we wouldn’t be here,” he said. “The fans are paying over $4 a gallon for gasoline. [We told them] to keep the fans in mind when you’re talking, to show your appreciation to the fans. Without them this wouldn’t be like it is.” The criticism reached an all-time high last weekend at Pocono. Denny Hamlin and several others implied the car was much hotter than the older car and possibly put drivers at risk. Series director John Darby understands. He said there are a lot of things available to keep the cars cooler “that’s not being used.” He reiterated that NASCAR has no plan to change the car until it’s been through an entire season.(in part from ESPN.com)(6-14-2008)


    News from June 13, 2008

  • Biffle-Roush close to a deal UPDATE: Roush-Fenway Racing is very close to signing driver #16-Greg Biffle to a new multi-year contract. “It looks like we’re down to the wire on it”; Biffle said following practice at Pocono. Biffle went onto say, “I suspect to have it wrapped up by Michigan I would think. You’ll see me in the 16 for a few years, that’s what it’s looking like. Roush has made a pretty strong offer…plus my cars are fast…all the things a guy wants…all the ingredients are there. I think that’s the decision I’m going to make.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)(6-6-2008)
    UPDATE: #16-Greg Biffle expects to sign a three-year extension with Roush Fenway Racing by the end of next week. Biffle recently canceled a trip outside of the country for a Tuesday brake test. He plans to use the free time around that to iron out the few remaining details on the deal. “We’ve basically agreed on everything else,” he said on Friday at Michigan International Raceway. “It’s just a matter of finding time for everybody to sit down and finish this thing.” Biffle added that 3M will remain his primary sponsor, denying reports that Crown Royal would move from Jamie McMurray’s car to his.(ESPN.com)(6-13-2008) Comment here

  • Forbes Rates the Most Valuable Teams In NASCAR: There’s a widening gulf in NASCAR between stock car racing’s biggest, most valuable teams and those hoping to hang on for just one more race. Since our first NASCAR valuation package two years ago, values have rocketed skyward, up 65% on average, to $119 million, thanks to a rash of investment in a sport whose radical growth over the past decade appears to be sputtering.
    The top-five MVT’s are: Hendrick Motorsports at $335 million; Roush Fenway Racing $313 million; Joe Gibbs Racing $184 million; Gillett Evernham Motorsports $150 million; and Richard Childress Racing $130 million
    The top-five higest paid drivers listed by Forbes: 1. Jeff Gordon: $32 million; 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: $31 million; 3. Jimmie Johnson: $23 million; 4. Tony Stewart: $19 million; and 5. Kasey Kahne: $14 million.
    See full story with at Forbes.com and see the top paid drivers at Forbes.com.(6-13-2008)

  • Mother of 6 Soldiers to be Guest of U.S. Army Team at MIS: Mary Cay Thorrez-Wheeler, a mother of six soldiers, will be a guest of the #8 U.S. Army NASCAR team and driver Mark Martin for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway (MIS). A resident of Jackson, Mich., Mary Cay will be joined at MIS by five of her Army sons. DJ, the oldest of the six family soldiers, was killed in Iraq during a patrol ambush in October 2003. He joined the Army following the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedies. “It will be an honor to meet Mary Cay and her sons,” said Martin. “She is not only an inspiration to her family, but is also an inspiration to all parents who support and believe in their children’s ambitions and dreams.” The five soldier/siblings who will accompany Mary Cay to the LifeLock 400 NASCAR race are: Quentin (Army Reserve), Paul (Army, active duty), Spencer (Army, active duty), Dominic (Future Soldier) and Patrick (JROTC). Mary Cay and her sons are scheduled to participate in Sunday’s U.S. Army birthday cake-cutting ceremony with Martin and Maj. Gen. Scott West, approximately 11:10 a.m. at the #8 hauler in the MIS garage. The U.S. Army, which was formed on June 14, 1775, is celebrating its 233rd birthday this weekend.(DEI PR)(6-13-2008)
  • Qualifying cancelled at MIS due to rain: rain washed out qualifying for the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway, so the field was set by the NASCAR Rules books and by owners points [top-35], two past champs and the remaining by race attempts with ties broken by owners points standings. So #18-Busch starts 1st followed by #31-Burton, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #99-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #48-Johnson, #16-Biffle, #24-Gordon, #9-Kahne and #29-Harvick. Two drivers will miss the race: #34-Raines and #70-Leffler. See the starting lineup on my Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(6-13-2008)
  • #34 team gets assoc: Continental Fire & Safety will be an associate sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry at various tracks during the reminder of the 2008 season. Continental was on the #34 entry driven by Tony Raines at Dover on June 1st of this year. They will also be on the car for the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday, July 12th and the Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, September 21st. Additional races will be announced at a later date. Continental Fire & Safety – Your one stop solution for fire & safety products. They are committed to their customers by providing the most innovative and advanced fire, safety and suppression equipment and services available today to protect lives and property. “Continental Fire & Safety has partnered with us in the past and we appreciate the support they have given us”, commented owner Bob Jenkins. “We are pleased to be associated with them for another year.”(FRM PR)(6-13-2008)
  • Friday practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #48-Johnson 184.308
    #19-Sadler 183.383
    #7-Gordon 183.215
    #07-Bowyer 183.141
    #16-Biffle 182.829
    slowest: #34-Raines 174.817 and #70-Leffler 178.293
    incident: #78-Nemechek scraped the wall and did some minimal damage to the right side
    See the speeds run, ave speed, laps run on my Practice Speeds page.(6-13-2008)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Michigan
    if things stay the same, these drivers would make the race:
    #40-Dario Franchitti, 9th fastest overall
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 21st
    #84-A.J. Allmendinger, 23rd
    #55-Michael Waltrip, 24th
    #96-J.J. Yeley, 34th
    #45-Terry Labonte [CH1], 35th
    #78-Joe Nemechek, 42nd
    #21-Bill Elliott [CH2], 43rd
    if things stay the same, these drivers would miss the race:
    #70-Jason Leffler, 44th
    #34-Tony Raines, 45th/last
    See the speeds run, ave speed, laps run on my Practice Speeds page.(6-13-2008)

  • CHP scheme for the #28 at Sonoma? images: hearing the #28 Yates Racing Ford of Travis Kvapil will run the CHP – California Highway Patrolcolors at Infineon Raceway next weekend. See images on my Paint Scheme Gallery/Chart.(6-13-2008)

  • DuPont, Customers to Help Rebuild Town Leveled by Tornado:DuPont and #24-Jeff Gordon announced that DuPont will partner with customers and make an initial donation of more than 30 innovative products and services worth nearly $750,000 to help rebuild homes and businesses in tornado-ravaged Greensburg, Kan. The donation also includes funding for two Habitat for Humanity homes. The town was leveled by one of the largest tornados in U.S. history in 2007. Very few structures remained in the aftermath of the deadly EF5 tornado and more than 1,500 people, who were displaced, are waiting to return to their homes. Greensburg residents are rebuilding their town using sustainable materials. The materials, which include key end-use products from DuPont customers, will provide a number of benefits to homeowners in Greensburg for safety and energy efficiency, using sustainable materials for both inside and outside their homes. Greensburg will premiere on Planet Green on June 15 at 9:00pm/et/pt and will air every Sunday for 12 additional weeks. The series will document the story of a community coming together and the enormous scope of rebuilding a small city. The 13-part series also is the subject of featured programming on the Discovery Communications, Inc. sister networks Discovery Channel, Science Channel and TLC.(PRPLUS PR)(6-13-2008)


    News from June 12, 2008

  • LifeLock to Co-Sponsor Kahne at MIS and Indy: Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced that LifeLock, the nation’s leading identity theft protection service, will co-sponsor the #9 Budweiser Dodge with driver Kasey Kahne when it races at Michigan Speedway this weekend [June 15th] and at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis on July 27. LifeLock also sponsors Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver #10-Patrick Carpentier in eight Sprint Cup races in the 2008 season. Team CEO Tom Reddin said the addition of two more races to the LifeLock schedule is another sign of the growing relationship between the two companies. LifeLock has held sponsorship deals in NASCAR, open wheel and sports car racing. Recently, it announced a three-year agreement to sponsor this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan Speedway. LifeLock has created a special new offer for race fans interested in signing up for LifeLock’s services. When signing up, fans will receive LifeLock services for free for the first 60 days by using the new promotional code “GEM”. To sign up for LifeLock, fans can call 1-877-LIFELOCK or sign up online at www.evernham.com or www.lifelock.com.(GEM)(6-12-2008)

  • #16 Cask scheme for McMurray at MIS: In support of Father’s Day this weekend, Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Crown Royal Cask #16 Ford Fusion with a special Father’s Day message on the hood. McMurray’s father, Jim McMurray will have his name above the passenger door for this weekend’s race at Michigan.(Roush Fenway Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #26 Team Schemes page.(6-12-2008)

  • Montoya happier now with changes: As #42-Juan Pablo Montoya tried to explain his renewed commitment to Chip Ganassi Racing, the boss man walked up the stairs into the driver’s motor home for a surprise visit. “Were your ears burning?” Montoya asked Ganassi. “No, why? Were you talking about me?” Ganassi answered. Before his star driver could reply, the owner had Montoya in a headlock as the two playfully greeted each other at Pocono Raceway. The relationship between the two is as strong as ever, surviving a rocky stretch last month when Montoya openly questioned the direction of Ganassi’s NASCAR team. His criticism came after crew chief Donnie Wingo was transferred off his team, and a month later, replacement Jimmy Elledge was fired. It gave Montoya his third crew chief in just over a month, and despite the praise everyone around him had for Brian Pattie, the driver wasn’t pleased with the change. Montoya wasn’t convinced Pattie wanted the job, and didn’t think the crew chief liked him very much. Three races and two test sessions later, he’s had a complete change of heart. “A lot of people told me Brian would be good, but until it happens — I’ve been told so many times in my career that things are going to be great and then they are not,” Montoya said. “I’d rather wait and see. The way I’ve always been is if you expect great things, the fall is a lot bigger. This way I got to be pleasantly surprised.” Montoya has been impressed with Pattie’s dedication and focus on fostering the relationship. He praised Pattie for the frequent visits he makes to Montoya’s motor home to go over notes, future setups and, more importantly, to bond with the driver. “He’s the one making the extra effort to bond together and we go at it the right way,” Montoya said. “It gives you a lot of confidence as a driver. You can see the guy trying hard and you’ll do what he wants. You’ll go the extra mile for him. With Wingo, we worked really hard, we worked really well together and I thought it was pretty good and we had a lot of respect for each other. With Elledge, I liked the guy because he was really aggressive and he was willing to try anything whether it was stupid or not. With this guy, he’s a combination of both.” And as for the rumors that Montoya might leave Ganassi to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing next season? Nothing to them, Montoya said. “I’ve got a deal with Chip, and I am 100 percent behind Chip,” he said.(in part from the Associated Press)(6-12-2008)

  • Michigan Rookie Notes: #00-Michael McDowell was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 8 Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. McDowell logged a 27th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the second time in the last four Sprint Cup Series races. #01-Regan Smith holds a three-point lead (137-134) over #77-Sam Hornish Jr. in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 15 LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Smith started fourth at Pocono, his best qualifying effort in Sprint Cup Series races and equaled the best qualifying run by a Raybestos Rookie in 14 races this season (#10-Patrick Carpentier started fourth in the May race at Richmond). Three Raybestos Rookies have guaranteed starting positions at Michigan: Smith, McDowell and Hornish Jr. #40-Dario Franchitti and Patrick Carpentier must qualify for the race on speed. A Raybestos Rookie has finished inside the top-10 in three of the last four consecutive June races at Michigan. The most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the LifeLock 400 is 25 by Jimmie Johnson in 2002. The only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in 39 previous LifeLock 400 races at Michigan is Loy Allen. Allen grabbed the top starting position for 1994 race.(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see full report, history, standings and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(6-12-2008)
  • Michigan Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Michigan this weekend, though the Sprint Cup tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Craftsman Tuck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . these teams ran this exact combination of left- and right-side tires at Dover two weeks ago . . . compared to the tire codes run at Michigan in 2007, there have been slight changes to the left-side construction to improve grip and performance, as well as to the right-side compound to improve treadwear . . .in addition to Michigan and Dover, Nationwide (this weekend) and Craftsman Truck (July 19) teams are scheduled to run this specific tire set-up at Kentucky this season . . . this left-side code (D-4134) will also be run with a different right-side code at Texas and Chicagoland . . . as on all NASCAR’s ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear PR), see pressures, codes and more on my Michigan Race Info page.(6-12-2008)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hosts 100th Episode of XM Radio Show: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will host the 100th episode of his XM Satellite Radio show “Dale Jr. Unrestricted” on June 12. The show airs Thursdays during NASCAR season at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT on the XM Sports Nation channel (XM 144). Encores air on XM at various times through the weekend. For show number one hundred, Earnhardt and his friend and co-host Josh Snider will do their weekly round-up of the latest NASCAR news, and they will talk with professional golfer Boo Weekley, who recently won the Verizon Heritage tournament for the second year in a row. The first episode of “Dale Jr. Unrestricted” premiered on XM on February 13, 2006.(XM Radio)(6-12-2008)

  • Former NASCAR Crew Chief Escapes Injury In Boat Explosion:Former NASCAR crew chief Cliff Champion and three other people escaped serious injury Tuesday when the 80-foot charter boat Champion operates on Lake Norman exploded, but a 19-year-old man who was refueling the boat when the blast occurred was still missing at nightfall. Champion’s company — Championship Yacht Charters — had just finished a graduation party cruise with about 60 people when the blast occurred. The partiers had exited the three-story boat and were getting into their cars when the 19-year-old man began refueling the yacht at Westport Marina. Champion was Benny Parsons’ crew chief 1983-86 and it was during this time that the team he headed won the Ingersoll-Rand Pit Crew Championship. He also worked with Alan Kulwicki and long-time friend Ricky Rudd before deciding to start his charter business on Lake Norman about a decade ago. In his business, he worked closely with the racing community, providing charters for competitors, sponsors, race teams and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. On May 17, he hosted an Appreciation Day for the Armed Forces, providing a day of cruises for troops from Fort Bragg and Fort Jackson and Marines from Camp Lejeune.(see full story at GoFastNews.com and updates at wsoctv.com)(6-12-2008)

  • EM Motorsports plans double duty at MIS UPDATE: EM Motorsports is competing in the both the ARCA RE/MAX Series Racing for Wildlife 200 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. James Hylton will be making his 32nd career start this weekend as he pilots the number #08 FUBAR Dodge Charger in ARCA RE/MAX competition. James made his first start at Michigan on June 15, 1969 in the Motor State 400. Hylton, driving the Hylton Motorsports 1969 Dodge Charger 500, finished in seventh place and collected $2,102 for his efforts.(EM Motorsports), no word who will drive the Sprint Cup car at MIS.(6-11-2008)
    UPDATE: been told that the #08 EM Motorsports has withdrew from the Cup race at Michigan.(6-12-2008)
  • NASA to host Daytona 500 media day at Kennedy Space Center: In honor of NASA’s 50th anniversary and the 50th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 in February, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will host a media day Tuesday, June 17, starting at 11:30am/et. The event will include the winner of this year’s race, Ryan Newman. During the event, NASA will present NASCAR with two green racing flags that were flown last February aboard space shuttle Atlantis’ STS-122 mission to the International Space Station. One flag will be given to Newman, the second will be presented to Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig. A third flag that was flown will be kept by NASA for public display. At the event, Newman will drive the crawler-transporter, the huge tracked vehicle that carries space shuttles to the launch pad. The flag presentation ceremony will be at Launch Pad 39A. Following the ceremony, a news media question-and-answer session will be held at the pad. Afterward, there will be a separate interview opportunity for print media in Kennedy’s news center auditorium. The connection between NASA and Daytona’s International Speedway extends beyond their close proximity to one another. During recent years, technology developed for the space program has found many uses on Earth, including helping NASCAR drivers stay safe and increase performance.(PR)(6-12-2008)


    News from June 11, 2008

  • Labonte Signs Contract Extension with Petty: Petty Enterprises has announced the signing of 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte to a four-year contract extension. The contract will keep the veteran driver behind the wheel of the famed #43 Petty Enterprises Dodge through the 2012 Sprint Cup season. Labonte, 44, began driving the #43 Dodge in 2006. “I have known all along this is where I want to finish my racing career,” said Labonte. “The future is very bright for Petty Enterprises. As we continue to develop and learn from this new car we will increase our testing and engineering support. The investment from Boston Ventures will allow us to compete on the same level as the bigger Sprint Cup teams.” In Robbie Loomis, Jeff Meendering, Derrick Finley and others, we have some of the brightest minds in the garage area. They will continue to expand our resources which will continue to pay dividends for us both on and off of the track. After the initial meeting I had with Boston Ventures, it was evident they shared the same vision and desire to return Petty Enterprises to Victory Lane that we all have,” continued Labonte. “Their enthusiasm is contagious. When you can pair that with ‘The King,’ the confidence and success that he portrays, you have an organization that will be as strong as any in the Sprint Cup Series.” See full PR woth quotes and info on Baker and Davis at Pettyracing.com.(6-11-2008) Comment here
  • Petty Enterprises Names Zucker CEO: Petty Enterprises announced today that David Zucker has been named Chief Executive Officer of the legendary race team and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Zucker brings a wealth of business acumen and experience which will help grow and expand the Petty brand. Zucker has held prominent positions in the media, entertainment, sports and technology sectors, serving most recently as President and CEO of Midway Games, Inc., a publisher and developer of video games for home console and PC platforms. The company, based in Chicago, IL, had 900 employees and produced the Mortal Kombat and NBA Ballers series of video games. Zucker also spent 11 years with the Walt Disney Company, including eight years at ESPN, where he helped expand their motorsports strategy, directed the programming launch of ESPN2, championed the original X-Games and oversaw the growth of ESPN International to include 21 networks in 20 languages around the world. See full PR woth quotes and info on Zuckr at Pettyracing.com.(6-11-2008) Comment here
  • Boston Ventures Invests in Petty Enterprises: Boston Ventures, a leading middle market private equity firm, announced that it has agreed to a sizeable investment in Petty Enterprises and the Richard Petty Driving Experience. The infusion of capital will allow Petty Enterprises to significantly grow the organization with the goal of returning to the pinnacle of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and growing the Richard Petty Driving Experience into the safe driving and performance sectors. Barry Baker, Managing Director of Boston Ventures, will become Chairman of Petty Enterprises. Andrew C. Davis, Managing Director of Boston Ventures, will also serve on the newly formed Petty Enterprises Board of Directors. See full PR woth quotes and info on Baker and Davis at Pettyracing.com.(6-11-2008) Comment here
  • Promotion Dedicated to NASCAR Team Community Will Benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp: In honor of NASCAR’s 60th anniversary and Father’s Day, Tissot, the Official Watch and Timekeeper of NASCAR, will launch the Tissot Father’s Day Charity Drive Contest to honor the unsung heroes of the NASCAR world. To demonstrate Tissot’s commitment to the NASCAR community, the company has created a special photo contest to acknowledge and honor those who sacrifice time away from families — the fathers, sons and daughters in the sport. The Tissot Father’s Day Charity Drive Contest encourages NASCAR team members, including crews and race shop mechanics, to submit a photo with their fathers or their own sons or daughters to NASCARmembers.com. Each person submitting a photo is eligible to win a free Tissot watch. Tissot will select the best 60 photos in honor of NASCAR’s anniversary. The owners of the chosen photos will win a Tissot timepiece valued at up to $495 and will have a choice of 8 styles from Tissot. For each photo received, Tissot will make a $60 donation to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Crew members can enter starting on Thursday June 12 through Friday August 1, 2008. All instructions and rules are contained on the NASCARmembers.com website. The Tissot Father’s Day Charity Drive Contest will culminate with Tissot making a donation to Victory Junction Gang Camp founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty. The camp enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.(6-11-2008)

  • MWR in trouble? UPDATE2 denied again: been hearing that there might be trouble over at Michael Waltrip Racing. It seems that they are laying people off, telling them that it is because of financial issues. The team currently fields three Sprint Cup cars, the #00, the #44 and the #55, and one Nationwide Series car, the #99. This year Waltrip brought on a partner, Robert Kauffman, after suffering huge losses on renovations for his Cornelius, NC race shop and a bad 2007 season. Primary sponsor UPS is also pulling out of the team at the end of this season.(NASCAR Insiders, a site that claims to be two NASCAR insiders, including a crew member and journalist, see a follow up on this there also: The MWR Discussion Continues…)(6-9-2008)
    UPDATE: from a Michael Waltrip Racing PR – There is a rumor that reports MWR has fallen on tough times and may go away. Is that true? Waltrip says, “I fancy myself as being a friend to one of the Web sites that is reporting that. But I have to say that the rumor is probably one of the most ridiculous things I have read on the internet. We are probably on as good of footing financially as anyone in the garage area. We are focused on the future. When you are a new team, a lot of times there is turnover. There is reorganization. That is what is going on at MWR and will continue to happen until we hit our stride. We are not in any peril as being reported. We are very into what we are doing and what we need to do to be successful.”(MWR PR)(6-10-2008)
    UPDATE2: “In response to the baseless comments posted on an anonymous web site this week, I want to be clear that categorizing Michael Waltrip Racing as anything other than growing would be incorrect,” said Calvin Wells III, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Michael Waltrip Racing. “The partnership formed between Michael Waltrip and Rob Kauffman last October has allowed MWR to meet our short-term objectives while setting the course for our long-term success. MWR is financially sound but fiscally responsible, as all race team owners should be. We have made some recent moves to re-allocate our funds towards areas which will maintain long-term success for MWR, including significant capital investments in equipment, continued expansion of our engineering staff, a more concentrated effort with our test team and the expansion of our Sales/Marketing division with the recent hiring of a Chief Marketing Officer, while broadening our alliances with Toyota Racing Development and other technology partners. In only our second year, MWR maintains a growth pattern towards success and continues to be a destination point for fans, employees, drivers and sponsors, just as Michael Waltrip believed it would be when he embarked on this life-long dream two years ago.”(Michael Waltrip Racing)(6-11-2008) Comment here
  • Petty Enterprises Press Conference: Kyle Petty hosted the press conference at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, with NASCAR’s Brian France, #43 driver Bobby Labonte, Richard Petty, new CEO David Zucker and Andrew C. Davis, Managing Dorector of Boston Ventures were seated at the front table.
    The partnership between Petty Enterprises and Boston Ventures was announced.
    Zucker becomes the first non Petty to be in charge.
    Zucker says he plans to expand to more teams/cars in the future
    Boston Ventures would not say what percentage of Petty Enterprises they invested in
    No 2009 sponsor was named for the #43 or #45, General Mills/Cheerrios will leave the #43 after 2008 and head to a 4th RCR team.
    Bobby Labonte is signed to drive the #43 Dodge thru 2012 and says there are options for him to becomed more involved with the afterwards.(6-11-2008)

  • Same sponsor for the Labonte brothers at MIS: both Petty Enterprises will run similar paint schemes in the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway with #43-Bobby Labonte and #45 Terry Labonte running Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil schemes. Terry Labonte comments: “It’s going to be cool to wear the Marathon colors this week, especially with this being close to their home in Findlay, Ohio. My brother, Bobby, and I are both running the Marathon colors. Our paint schemes will be mirrored. It will be easy for our dad to find us on Sunday. It has been a few years since I raced on Father’s Day weekend. Sharing the track with my brother will make it special.”(Petty Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page and #45 Team Schemes page.(6-11-2008)

  • Big Mac theme at MIS for Sadler: Elliott Sadler and the #19 Dodge team will make people in the Michigan International Speedway NASCAR garage and grandstands very hungry this weekend when they roll by them. Sporting the familiar McDonald’s orange and yellow colors, the car has a very visual Big Mac theme to their paint scheme.(GEM PR) see an image of the car on my #19 Team Schemes page.(6-11-2008)

  • Both Yates cars to have same sponsor at MIS: FreeCreditReport.com, the regualr sponsor for Daivd Gilliland in the #38 Yates Racing Ford, will also sponsor teammate Travis Kavpil in the #28 Yates Racing Ford in the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Kvapil will also run FreeCreditReport.com at Chicago in July.(Yates Racing)(6-11-2008)

  • Testing at Nashville: Nashville Superspeedway hosted Richard Childress Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing Tuesday, June 10. Hendrick Motorsports will test at the track Wednesday. David Green will test the 24 car on the 1.33 mile concrete track.(NSS PR)(6-11-2008)

  • Special schemes for the #40 and #42 at MIS: This weekend, the Wrigley’s Brand’s will rev up the new Juicy Fruit and Big Red Slim Pack, sleek 15-stick envelope packages that are more durable and portable. New Slim Pack paint schemes on the Big Red and Juicy Fruit Dodges as well as the new Slim Pack television commercials will air and will run throughout the race on TNT. Juan Pablo Montoya’s #42 Dodge will feature Big Red, while his teammate Dario Franchitti will carry the Juicy Fruit logo on his #40 Dodge.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(6-11-2008)

  • Cup Series Drivers Complete Test at Infineon Raceway: Six Sprint Cup Series drivers completed a one-day test session on Tuesday at Infineon Raceway in advance of the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22. For one of the drivers, it was a return to familiar surroundings, albeit in a different type of racecar. #77-Sam Hornish Jr. posted a career-best finish of fifth in three IndyCar Series starts in the Sonoma Valley. Getting behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car may be a different story. “I’ve driven around this track before, but I’ve never seen this track configuration, so it’s different,” said Hornish, who tested in a Penske Racing Nationwide Series car. “Any track that I really liked in IndyCar, I don’t seem to like in the stock car, so I’m trying to treat this like I’m coming out here for the first time. We’ll see if that helps.” Other drivers at the test included: #28-Travis Kvapil; #21-Marcos Ambrose; #96-J.J. Yeley; #6-David Ragan; and #38-David Gilliland. Yeley, Ragan, Ambrose and Kvapil tested in GT America stock cars supplied by Pioneer Motorsports out of Lake Oroville (outside Sacramento), while Gilliland piloted a NASCAR Camping World Series West car. For Ambrose, it was the first time he stepped foot on the Sonoma Valley facility. He is a regular in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Unlike Ambrose, Gilliland has had plenty of success at Infineon Raceway, winning the NASCAR Southwest Series event in 2004, and the Camping World Series West race in 2007. Gilliland’s NASCAR Cup debut also came in Sonoma in 2006. For ticket information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 20-22, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-11-2008)
  • Victory Junction NASCARnival Night: On Tuesday, the Richard Childress Racing’s Sprint Cup Series over-the-wall crews made a special visit to the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C. While at the camp, the crews ate dinner with the campers and demonstrated real-time pit stops. Additionally, RCR’s over-the-wall teams took hot air balloon rides, played carnival games and made snow cones with the campers. All the campers this week suffer from Chron’s disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects an estimated 500,000 people in the United States.(RCR)(6-11-2008)

  • Vanity license plates: Earnhardt style: On Monday at a license plate bureau in Kannapolis, NC. Martha Earnhardt [Dale Earnhardt’s mother] joined Dale Jr.’s mother Brenda Jackson, and his sister Kelley Earnhardt Elledge to show off their specialized NASCAR license plates. The state Department of Motor Vehicles offers 25 specialty NASCAR plates, including one with Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s number 88. On the honor, Martha says, “I never thought I’d have a license plate for my grandson.” Hers reads, “GMAW,” short for Grandma. Jackson’s reads “MOMA” and Elledge’s “1SIS.” It was a charity that got the Earnhardt family involved in this effort. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the plates goes to the North Carolina Motorsports Foundation, which then funds programs and scholarships for students who want to work in the industry. Jackson hopes NASCAR fans get behind the effort, saying, “The whole thing is a win, win situation. You’ve got a nice looking tag that you can put your mark on and help a lot of kids out. So, I’m very excited about it.” The special plates add $30 to your yearly registration fee — more if you want them personalized. Of that, $20 is sent to the foundation. In all, there are 25 drivers to choose from. The plates are on sale now through the state DMV website at www.ncdot.org/dmv.(WCNC.com)(6-11-2008)


    News from June 10, 2008

  • Pocono Ratings up 27% over 2007: Turner Sports hit the track this past Sunday with the first of it’s six 2008 Sprint Cup Summer Series races on Turner Network Television (TNT). TNT’s coverage of the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earned a 3.9 US rating, up 27% over last year’s coverage on the network. The race was also the top-ranked program for the week on cable among total viewers (6,098,000), households (4,393,000), adults 18-49 (2,780,000) and adults 25-54 (3,271,000).(TNT PR)(6-10-2008)
  • Testing at Milwaukee: Sprint Cup teams are scheduled to be testing at The Milwaukee Mile Tuesday June 10, Wednesday June 11, Thursday, June 12 and Friday, June 13. Free admission to grandstands for spectators between 9am and 5pm daily. Teams anticipated during Tuesday’s test include Hendrick Motorsports [Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Casey Mears], Richard Childress Racing [Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton], Roush Fenway Racing [Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Colin Braun], Bill Davis Racing [Michael Annett, Dave Blaney] and Haas CNC Racing [Johnny Sauter, Scott Riggs]. Among the expected teams to test through Friday of this week on various days include Team Red Bull, Petty Enterprises and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. These teams may elect to bring in test drivers rather than the well-known ‘Cup Series stars, and some drivers MAY NOT be driving/in attendance. There will be access to fans in the grandstands only. All activities subject to change without notice.(The Milwaukee Mile PR)(6-10-2008) Comment here

  • #66 Penalties uphead by NASCAR Commission: On June 9, 2008, the National Stock Car Racing Commission [Leo Mehl, Kevin Whitaker, George Silbermann, Chairman] heard and considered the appeal of Haas CNC Racing regarding the #66 car. The appeal concerned four penalties issued by NASCAR stemming from inspection on May 24, 2008 at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing” and Section 20.3.1.3A “Wing mounting locations were not as specified by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book.” The penalties assessed were:
    • Loss of 150 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points, and confiscation of the racecar, for car owner Joe Custer.
    • Loss of 150 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Scott Riggs.
    • $100,000.00 fine; suspension from NASCAR for the next six (6) Sprint Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until July 9, 2008, and probation until December 31, 2008 for crew chief Bootie Barker.
    • Suspension from NASCAR for the next six (6) Sprint Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until July 9, 2008, and probation until December 31, 2008 for team member Derick Jennings.
    The Appellants did not contest the rules violation, but argued that the penalties were too severe for the infractions. They also argued that the infractions did not involve illegal parts on the car, and that the resulting higher wing location was a disadvantage. The Commission found that the infractions resulted from what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to circumvent the inspection process. Accordingly, the penalties that were issued are warranted. Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR PR)(6-10-2008) Comment here

  • #70 Penalties uphead by NASCAR Commission: On June 9, 2008, the National Stock Car Racing Commission [Dale Pinilis, Cathy Rice, George Silbermann, Chairman] heard and considered the appeal of Haas CNC Racing regarding the #77 car. The appeal concerned four penalties issued by NASCAR stemming from inspection on May 24, 2008 at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing” and Section 20.3.1.3A “Wing mounting locations were not as specified by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book.” The penalties assessed were:
    • Loss of 150 Sprint Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points, and confiscation of the racecar, for car owner Margaret Haas.
    • Loss of 150 Sprint Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Johnny Sauter.
    • $100,000.00 fine; suspension from NASCAR for the next six (6) Sprint Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until July 9, 2008, and probation until December 31, 2008 for crew chief David Skog.
    • Suspension from NASCAR for the next six (6) Sprint Cup Series Championship Events; suspension from NASCAR until July 9, 2008, and probation until December 31, 2008 for team member Thomas Harris.
    The Appellants did not contest the rules violation, but argued that the penalties were too severe for the infractions. They also argued that the infractions did not involve illegal parts on the car, and that the resulting higher wing location was a disadvantage. The Commission found that the infractions resulted from what appeared to be a deliberate attempt to circumvent the inspection process. Accordingly, the penalties that were issued are warranted. Therefore, it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR PR)(6-10-2008) Comment here
  • Hamlin named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Pocono:Kevin Hamlin, crew chief of the #83 Red Bull Toyota driven by Brian Vickers, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. After starting 15th, Vickers led 18 laps and paced the field until eventual race winner Kasey Kahne passed him on fresher tires with 15 laps to go. Following a caution on lap 178, Hamlin instructed Vickers to stay out rather than come in for tires. And although the Red Bull team did not visit victory lane, Hamlin’s quick thinking and strategy awarded them a successful runner-up position, the team’s best career finish ever. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team.
    Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(Wypall PR)(6-10-2008)

  • HANS advancements approved by NASCAR: HANS Performance Products announced that NASCAR has approved the use of the new Vision Advantage PLUS sliding tether system and the HANS Device Sport Series. The new Vision Advantage PLUS sliding tether system permits improvements in left and right visibility by allowing easy but controlled rotation of a racer’s helmet. The proven results are tethers that allow over four times the field of view of competing head and neck restraints. The HANS Device Sport Series provides drivers with class leading performance at a value price. Starting at $595 for youth sizes, the Sport Series features a revolutionary carbon fiber composite combined with an innovative and proprietary molding process. NASCAR did extensive testing to ensure their driver’s protection. Sales Director Howard Bennett said, “We’re very pleased that NASCAR approved the Vision Advantage Plus sliding tether and HANS Device Sport Series. We recognize they trust us to keep NASCAR participants secure.” Introduced at the PRI show in December of 2007, the Vision Advantage Plus sliding tether and HANS Device Sport Series have been approved by the SFI Foundation and the FIA.(HANS PR)(6-10-2008)
  • Petty Investor to be announced soon UPDATE 3 announc Wed: Petty Enterprises’ yearlong search to find an investment partner seems to be in the final stages, with an announcement tentatively planned for next week to announce a deal with a private equity firm. Boston Ventures is expected to take over a controlling interest in the company, which has fallen behind NASCAR’s top organizations and needs a boost to become competitive. Richard Petty declined to discuss the deal Saturday. “We’re not even going there,” he said. Robbie Loomis, vice president of racing operations, said Petty Enterprises is an attractive partner to any potential investors. “The Petty brand is such a clean brand and stands for so much, and we want to take it to the next level with the right company,” Loomis said. Boston Ventures has invested six funds totaling $2.6 billion in capital commitments in its 22-year history. Some of Boston Ventures previous portfolio companies include American Media Inc., Motown Records, Six Flags Entertainment and Continental Cablevision.(ESPN/AP)(6-8-2008)
    UPDATE: not sure if this is a press conference for the investor, but Petty Enterprises will host a news conference on Wednesday, June 11, 2008 at 11:00am/et at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Media Center with Richard Petty, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty and others attending. Hearing that Labonte’s new deal with Petty could be announced and possibly a new sponsor.(6-9-2008)
    UPDATE 2: The future of Petty Enterprises will become clearer on Wednesday. NASCAR’s most famed organization has called a news conference for 11am/et Wednesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Among the expected topics are a partnership with Boston Ventures Management and the re-signing of Bobby Labonte.(ESPN.com)
    UPDATE 2a: On Wednesday, Petty Enterprises will announce that Boston Ventures, a private equity firm, has acquired controlling interest in the 60-year-old racing operation which has produced 10 NASCAR champions but struggled to remain competitive the last two decades. Richard Petty will remain involved at a high level, but David Zucker, 45, will assume the role of CEO according to David Hovis, a spokesman for Petty Enterprises. Hovis also said it will also be announced that veteran driver Bobby Labonte has agreed to a four-year extension. Labonte will continue to drive for what is expected to remain a two-car Cup team for 2009. Until March, Zucker had been CEO of Midway Games, a Chicago-based producer of video games. In 2002, Zucker was named president and CEO of Playboy Enterprises. From 1988-1999 he was with the Walt Disney Corp., becoming executive vice president at ESPN. He also served as director of ESPN International, overseeing international operations. Petty said the initial deal is to run two cars but indicated he’d like to have a third Cup team running full time by 2010. Sponsorship, however, remains an issue. The team is losing its primary sponsor of the Labonte’s #43 car. General Mills, to Richard Childress Racing next year. Hovis said a fourth component of the deal will be announced at a Wednesday press conference.(USA Today)(6-10-2008) Comment here

  • Ragan on TV show tonight: Roush Fenway Racing’s #6-David Ragan will appear on the Travel Channel series, “Lawerence of America,” Tuesday, June 10th at 11pm/et. The series is new to the Travel Channel and features Lawerence immersing himself in American culture. In the episode Lawerence will spend some time with Ragan and see what racing is all about. The two team up to drive some go-karts to give Lawerence a feel of what it’s like to be behind the wheel. “It was fun filming the show with Lawrence last fall,” said Ragan. “I think he learned a lot and it will be a great way to hopefully introduce the sport to some new fans to the sport. We had a good time at the go-kart track, but next time we’ll go the big track and see how he does.”(Roush Fenway Racing)(6-10-2008)
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Kasey Kahne won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his ninth career series victory in 158 races. He led the most laps, five times for 69 laps. He is the third multiple-race winner in 2008.
    * Five of Kahne’s nine wins have come from the Coor’s Light pole. Kahne is the 13th driver to win from a top-10 starting position in the 14 races in 2008. Kahne’s last series victory came at Lowe’s, two races ago.
    * This was Kahne’s first victory in nine races at Poco#His previous best Pocono finish was third in August 2004. This marked his third top-10 finish at Pocono, and he became the 28th different race winner in 61 races at Pocono.
    * This is the second victory for Gillette Evernham Motorsports in 2008.
    * Brian Vickers (second) scored his best finish in 2008. It was his fourth top-5 finish at Pocono and best finish since joining Team Red Bull.
    * Denny Hamlin (third) scored his fifth top-10 finish in five races at Pocono.
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2008.
    * Jeff Burton (fifth) is the only driver to score a top-15 finish in each of the 14 races this season.
    * Carl Edwards (ninth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2008. Edwards has scored top-10 finishes in his past five races, extending a streak that began at Richmond.
    * A.J. Allmendinger (12th) scored his career-best finish.
    * Kevin Harvick (13th) extended the longest streak of running at the finish to 58 races; the streak began in October 2006 at Kansas.
    * Jeff Gordon (14th ) ended a streak of four straight top-10 finishes that began at Richmond. He dropped from sixth to eighth in points.
    * Kyle Busch (43rd) ended a seven-race streak of top-10 finishes that began at Texas.
    * Busch finished 43rd for the third time in his 128-race career. He last finished 43rd at Michigan on Aug. 21, 2005. He remains first in the points standings but lost 121 points. He now is just 21 points ahead of second-place Burton.
    * Elliott Sadler (34th) has been running at the finish in 19 straight races at Pocono, the longest current streak.
    * 34 cars finished on the lead lap.
    * Seven points separate 12th-place Tony Stewart from 13th-place David Ragan as the race to the chase continues with 12 events remaining.(ESPN.com)(6-10-2008)

  • Biffle to Be Honored by Long Island Animal Rescue Organization:#16-Greg Biffle and his wife Nicole will be honored for their life saving efforts on behalf of homeless animals at North Shore Animal League America’s Seventh Annual Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon. North Shore Animal League America’s 7th Annual Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon honors nine individuals and organizations who have helped to save lives and sustain the Animal League’s mission to rescue, nurture and adopt. The event will be held on Wednesday, June 11th, 12:00 to 3:00pm/et at the Garden City Hotel, 45 Seventh St., Garden City, NY. Along with the Biffles honorees are the Laura J. Niles Foundation, Dr. Laura Gay Senk of the LI Cat Project, animal rescuers Susan Ford and Kate Mizzoni, feline heroes Roxie and Molly, animal photographer Christopher Appoldt, New York Post, author and animal activist Jana Kohl, and Firstborn Multimedia. For additional information about North Shore Animal League America visit www.aninmal-league.org.(North Shore Animal League America PR)(6-10-2008)


    News from June 9, 2008

  • Win #200 for Dodge: with #9-Kasey Kahne’s win in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, it was Dodge’s 200th all-time win in NASCAR Cup racing with is third best of all the manufacturers since the sport began in 1949. Lee Petty won the first race for Dodge at Palm Beach Speedway in Feb 1953. Dodge last won the manufacturers championship in 1975 and was out of the sport from 1978 thru 2000. See the full list of manufacturers wins on the Dodge site and info on the manufacturers on my 2008 Manufacturers Championship page.(6-9-2008) Comment here

  • Zippy thinks Stewart has made his decision: While #20-Tony Stewart continues to play coy about his future, at least one person believes the two-time Cup champion already has decided what he plans to do. “I honestly think the decision’s made, I just don’t think we all know yet,” crew chief Greg Zipadelli said. Stewart and Zipadelli are in their 10th season together at Joe Gibbs Racing in the longest active driver-crew chief combination in the garage.(ESPN/AP)(6-9-2008) Comment here

  • Newman talking future with Penske, but sponsorship could affect it UPDATE: #12-Ryan Newman already has been in discussions about his future with Penske Racing, and now the issue is complicated with the uncertainty over sponsor Alltel. Alltel and Verizon announced Thursday that Verizon has agreed to purchase Alltel, with the transaction completed by the end of the year pending approval from industry regulators. Verizon plans to drop the Alltel brand, and NASCAR officials are adamant that Verizon cannot replace Alltel on the car because Verizon was not grandfathered in when NASCAR signed Nextel as its premier series sponsor in 2003. Will the uncertainty of the sponsor impact negotiations? “Long term, yeah, it’s going to have an influence,” Newman said on Friday after qualifying at Pocono Raceway. “I don’t know what that influence is yet. Obviously, it’s new news to everybody, including most of the people at Alltel. I’ll keep doing what I usually do and see what happens.” Penske Racing has a long-term deal with Alltel beyond this season, and its status might not be determined until late in the season or early next year depending on when the deal is completed and when Verizon drops the Alltel name. Newman could sign a contract without a committed sponsor but that is rare for marquee drivers. “I don’t know,” Newman said when asked if he would sign without a sponsor commitment. “I have no idea how long things are going to take and what the situation is going to be like.”(SceneDaily)(6-7-2008)
    UPDATE: Team owner Roger Penske said he does not believe uncertainty surrounding primary sponsor Alltel will affect negotiations with driver #12-Ryan Newman. Communications company Alltel last week indicated it has agreed to sell to its business Verizon in a deal that should conclude by the end of this year. Verizon will not be able to replace Alltel as a sponsor on Newman’s car, NASCAR officials said, citing the ATT/Cingular issue involving Richard Childress Racing and Jeff Burton’s car last year. “We have not had any discussion strategically how that [sale] will affect the brand at this point,” Penske said Sunday at Pocono Raceway. “They have a number of options. It’s way too early for me to speculate what’s going to happen with the sponsorship. We’re waiting to see when the transaction, if it happens, when it gets executed and what’s going to be the brand strategy.” Penske said his team could absorb any financial issues if Alltel has to withdraw. “We have a long-term commitment with Alltel, and I’m certainly sure they wouldn’t leave us high and dry,” Penske said. “We’re a team that can operate with or without a sponsor. We have done it in the past.” Newman, who joined Penske Racing with Alltel in 2002, continues to negotiate with Penske Racing. Newman, whose contract expires at the end of this year, said he is not concerned about this future. “I know that once you’re in this place [Sprint Cup racing], you’re pretty much locked in unless you screw up,” Newman said. “There’s no point in being emotional about something that doesn’t require emotion.” Newman also said he is talking to other teams. “I have to do that to be fair to myself,” Newman said. “I’m not leading the points, and if I was, it would be a no-brainer. It’s not like marriage. It’s not like we’re locked in for life. You can stop with whoever you’re dating and date someone else. You can have more than one phone number in your phone.” Penske said the negotiations with Newman have been “very open.” “I’ve talked to drivers, and drivers have talked to us,” Penske said. “[Newman] and I have had very open conversations for several months. It’s good that everybody gets a chance to see what’s out there and what are the opportunities and at the time we’ve got to make a decision, we’ll make it.” Penske also addressed a rumor that he is interested in buying Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, saying there is nothing to it. “Chip’s been a friend of mine for a long time, and I think that all came out of a comment, ‘How can we work together to get better?’ ” Penske said.(ESPN.com)(6-9-2008) Comment here
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 58 consecutive races, the longest current streak, next up is #07-Bowyer at 51 consecutive races.(6-8-2008)
  • DNF [Did Not Finish] Record: The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.

  • Petty expects Labonte back in 2009: Kyle Petty answering a viewer question submitted on NASCAR.com on what car Bobby Labonte will race next year: “This year Bobby Labonte drives the 43 car, which is obviously a teammate to the 45 car. I think Bobby Labonte will end up in the 43 car (next year). We feel very confident in where we’ve been and where we’re going (with Bobby this year) and some of the things that Bobby has helped us do…Bobby is an integral part of Petty Enterprises, what Petty Enterprises is and where Petty Enterprises is going.”(TNT PR)(6-9-2008) Comment here

  • Leffler back at MIS: Jason Leffler said he would run the [#70 Chevy] car next week at Michigan, while competing for Braun Racing, his regular team, in the Nationwide race at Kentucky.(SceneDaily)(6-9-2008)Comment here

  • More on Villeneuve; Davis still interested: Barry Green, business manager for Jacques Villeneuve, said the former Formula One champion definitely wants to be in the Sprint Cup series in 2009. Green, who denied reports last week that he and Villeneuve planned to start their own Cup team, said Villeneuve has turned down several offers to race in Europe. “He wants Sprint Cup,” Green said. “We are far from having a deal for 2009 put together. We would like to see him do a handful of races this year.” Green said “it’s a given” Villeneueve will compete in the Nationwide race in Montreal on Aug. 2, but was not prepared to say which team he will be with. Villeneuve entered this season with Bill Davis Racing. He did not qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500 and never attempted another Cup race because he had no sponsorship. Villeneuve split shortly after with then-business manager Craig Pollock. Davis said he is interested in continuing the relationship with Villeneuve. “Barry is trying to salvage something,” Davis said. “We’ve got a good relationship with Barry and Jacques, and if they get something worked out, we would be all ears.”(ESPN.com)(6-9-2008) Comment here
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Pocono 500
    Total number of commercials: 151
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 36
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:27 PM
    Total minutes: 267
    Minutes of race broadcast: 198
    Minutes of commercials: 69
    Number of missed restarts: 1
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’: 1
    See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(6-9-2008)

News from June 8, 2008

  • Montoya gives Ganassi an earful; JGR looking at Montoya? UPDATE denied: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya requested a face-to-face meeting with his boss and got it the day before the Indianapolis 500, when owner Chip Ganassi flew to North Carolina to talk with his emotional driver. The early morning meeting Saturday let Montoya express his frustrations over the race team’s direction, including the firing of crew chief Jimmy Elledge, a move Montoya vehemently opposed. “I told him everything I was thinking and how it was,” said Montoya, who finished 30th. “The hope of the meeting is that everything that has happened turns into results. I need to run better. That’s what will calm me down.” Meanwhile, there is speculation that Joe Gibbs Racing may make a run at Montoya to fill the seat Tony Stewart is expected to leave at the end of the season.(Chicago Tribune)(5-29-2008)
    UPDATE: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, who is on his third crew chief this season, says he is getting more settled with new crew chief Brian Pattie. A few weeks after venting frustration over his crew chief situation, Montoya said don’t translate that frustration into his looking to leave Chip Ganassi Racing, which brought him into Sprint Cup racing full time last year. “People have got to understand that I’ve got a long commitment to Chip [Ganassi],” Montoya said Friday after qualifying at Pocono Raceway. “This is where I am and this is where I am going to be for a couple of years.”(SceneDaily)(6-8-2008) Comment here
  • Kahne wins at Pocono: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway for his 2nd win of the season and 9th of his career and his 5th from the pole. Kahne led 69 or 200 laps, the most of any driver. #83-Vickers finished 2nd, followed by #11-Hamlin, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton, #48-Johnson, #2-Busch, #17-Kenseth, #99-Edwards and #8-Martin. #84-Allmendinger finished 12th, his career best. Drivers who ran well but had problems late include #20-Stewart [speeding penalty], #16-Biffle [speeding penalty], #99-Edwards [flat tire]. Points leader coming into the race, #18-Busch wrecked early in the race and finished 43rd [last], even after the crew worked to get the car back on the track but with not much attrition in the race, Busch made up no spots and Busch lost it late in the race and spun, then parked the car. The best finishing rookie was #00-McDowell at 27th. There were 23 lead changes among 12 drivers and 10 cautions for 38 laps.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Pocono Race Results Awards Page.(6-8-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Pocono race 14 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 2084 [4 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 2063 -21 [1 win]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1939 -145
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 1856 -228 [would be 3rd without 100 pt penalty][3 wins]
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin 1800 -284 [1 win]
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1799 -285 [1 win]
    7) #16-Greg Biffle 1781 -303
    8) #24-Jeff Gordon 1767 -317
    9) #9-Kasey Kahne 1719 -365 [2 wins]
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 1690 -394
    11) #07-Clint Bowyer 1679 -405 [1 win]
    12) #20-Tony Stewart 1614 -470
    other chase contenders
    13) #6-David Ragan 1607 -477 [7 pts out of the chase]
    14) #12-Ryan Newman 1604 -480 [-10][1 win]
    15) #17-Matt Kenseth 1580 -504 [-34]
    16) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 1558, -526 [-56]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page.(6-8-2008)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Michigan:
    the big change is #66-Riggs is back in the top 35 and #55-Waltrip is out
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    31) #01-Smith/Dale Earnhardt Inc 1,120, +56
    32) #41-Sorenson/Ganassi Racing 1,118, +54
    33) #00-McDowell/Waltrip Racing 1,105, +41
    34) #66-Riggs/Haas CNC Racing, 1,086, +22
    35) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing 1,076, 12 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
    36) #55-Waltrip/Waltrip Racing 1,064, -12 points out of 35th
    37) #84-Allmendinger/Red Bull Racing, 936, -140
    38) #96-Yeley/Hall of Fame Racing, 901, -175
    39) #40-Franchitti/Ganassi Racing 888, -188
    40) #78-Nemechek/Furniture Row, 752, -324
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(6-8-2008)
  • Pocono Raceway Penalty Report:
    Car #, Reason, Penalty, Lap Issued
    1 #1 Non-compliant refueling (overflow container) TE 26
    2 #2 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 40
    3 #77 Excessive speed – Exiting pits TE 59
    4 #77 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 68
    5 #38 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 68
    6 #10 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 68
    7 #7 Safety violation TE 80
    8 #55 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 105
    9 #70 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 121
    10 #78 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 122
    11 #40 Pitting before Pit Road is Open TE 122
    12 #10 Excessive speed – Exiting pits PT 153
    13 #22 Excessive Speed-Entering pits PT 159
    14 #16 Excessive speed – Exiting pits PT 165
    15 #20 Excessive speed – Exiting pits PT 171
    PT – Pass through
    TE – Tail end of the longest line
    SG – Stop and Go
    OL – One lap
    ND – NASCAR discretion
    MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-8-2008)

  • After 13 races in 2004-2007, worst spot a future chaser was? after 13 races in the four previous Sprint Cup Chase’s, what was the worst spot a future Chaser [in that season] was in after that 13th race? In 2007, #2-Busch was 17th in the points, 88 points from the 12th spot
    (in 2007 the drivers in the chase increased from 10 to 12)
    In 2006, #11-Hamlin was 11th in points, 80 points from the 10th spot
    In 2005, #17-Kenseth was 22nd in points, a whopping 278 points from the 10th spot
    In 2004, #19-Mayfiend was 15th in points, 99 points from the 10th spot.
    This year there are 13 drivers within 278 points of the 12th spot after 13 races
    The drivers who won the last four Sprint Cup Chase Championships were no deeper then 6th after 13 races:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson was 2nd in 2007 #48-Jimmie Johnson was 1st in 2006 #20-Tony Stewart was 5th in 2005 #97-[now in the #2]-Kurt Busch was 6th in 2004 after 13 races. For more, see my Chase Stats after Dover page.(6-8-2008)

  • Kyle Busch’s Triple Race Weekend:
    Truck Series [started 17th/last, finished 2nd] at Texas, J.R. Norris practiced & qualified the #51 Miccosukee Resorts/NOS Energy Toyota in the 17th spot, Busch had to fall to the rear of the field before the race, and was able to finish 2nd to Ron Hornaday. See more on my Truck Series site.
    Nationwide Series at Nashville Superspeedway: [started 5th, finished 20th] Willie Allen practiced the #32 Dollar General Toyota of Braun Racing 21st fastest in Happy Hour on Friday. Busch was able to get to Nashville in time to qualify the #32 car in the 5th starting position. Busch finished 20th at Nationwide. More info on my Nationwide Series site.
    Sprint Cup: [started 10th/last, finished 43rd] Busch qualified the #18 M&M’s Toyota 10th for the Pocono Raceway at Pocono Raceway. During the 1st practice Saturday, Busch wrecked and will go to a backup car, so he will have to fall to the rear of the field on Sunday. Busch wrecked early in the race, the crew giot him back out, but he could not make up any positions, spun again and finally parked the car, finishing 43rd/last.(6-8-2008)

  • No plans to shut down the #01 team: #01-Regan Smith isn’t listening to rumors about his team’s future. He’s just focusing on getting better. Smith’s team doesn’t have full sponsorship and is running a DEI logo on the hood this weekend. Smith is 32nd in driver points and the team is 32nd in owner points. The team changed crew chiefs in mid-May and Dan Stillman is entering his second week as the full-time crew chief. “The past five weeks, [we] have really started getting some good consistency down and especially the past couple of weeks here, we’ve actually run better than where we’ve finished,” Smith said Friday. “For a team coming from where we came from at the beginning of the year to now that’s a good thing. And for me as a driver that’s a good thing because I was beating myself up, and you question if you can do it or if everything you’re doing is wrong or what’s going on. It’s good for all of us. It’s just rumors,” Smith said about talk that DEI might shut down the 01 team. “They’ve been out there all year long and I’m sure they’ll be out there to the end of the season and all that stuff. That’s fine. We know what the situation is and I’ve talked to Teresa [Earnhardt] and management numerous times and I know the situation. The race car is going to be on the race track and that’s all that matters.”(SceneDaily)(6-8-2008) Comment here


    News from June 7, 2008

  • Sad News – Jim McKay: Jim McKay, 86, a longtime television sports journalist, has died of natural causes in Maryland, according to a statement from the McKay family. McKay is best known for hosting “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” and 12 Olympic Games. McKay won numerous awards for journalism, including the George Polk Memorial Award and two Emmys — one for his sports coverage, the other for his news reporting — for his work at the 1972 Munich Olympics, which were tragically affected by the Black September terrorists’ attack on the Israeli athletes in the Olympic Village. In 1988, McKay was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. In 1968, McKay won the first of his 13 Emmy Awards, becoming the first sports commentator to receive that honor. McKay was the first American network sports commentator to visit mainland China. In 1991, he visited Cuba to interview Fidel Castro. McKay was with “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” since its inception in April 1961. Jim McManus (McKay’s real name) was born in Philadelphia on September 24, 1921, and moved to Baltimore when he was 15.(ESPN.com)(6-7-2008)

  • Cup Drivers Scheduled to test at Infineon Raceway: Six Sprint Cup Series drivers are scheduled to visit Infineon Raceway on Tuesday, June 10, for a one-day test session. NASCAR drivers expected to attend the test day include #96-J.J. Yeley, #77-Sam Hornish Jr., #6-David Ragan, #38-David Gilliland, #28-Travis Kvapil and #21-Marcos Ambrose. Most of the drivers will test the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in late-model stock cars provided by a Northern California-based race team. Testing runs from 8:30am – 4:30pm/pt and is open to the public, FREE of charge. For more information call 800-870-RACE. Several NASCAR Camping World Series West teams and drivers are also expected at the test session, including Bennett Lane Winery drivers Mike David and P.J. Jones, Fairfield’s Jim Inglebright and drivers from Bill McAnally Racing out of Sacramento. These teams are preparing for the Bennett Lane Winery 200, presented by Supercuts, on Saturday, June 21. The drivers will return for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR weekend, June 20-22, at Infineon Raceway. For tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(6-7-2008)
  • Happy Hour Practice for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway is over, the top-5 fastest:
    #99-Edwards 164.769
    #9-Kahne 164.102
    #19-Sadler 163.949
    #8-Martin 163.920
    #17-Kenseth 163.890
    #18-Busch, pts leader in a backup is 16th fastest
    slowest: #45-Labonte 159.256 & #77-Hornish Jr. 160.496
    incidents: #77-Hornish crashed and will go to a backup car, #07-Bowyer spun, but had no damage.
    The practice is scheduled to be televised via tape on SPEED at 5:30pm/et.
    See the speeds run, ave speed, laps run on my Pocono Practice Speeds page.(6-7-2008)


    News from June 6, 2008

  • Verizon in talks to buy Alltel UPDATE2 bought, no NASCAR: Verizon Wireless is in talks to buy Alltel Communications LLC, the country’s fifth-largest wireless carrier by subscribers, for $27 billion, according to news reports. If consummated, an acquisition would be the biggest telecom deal since AT&T Inc. bought BellSouth Corp. at the end of 2006. Adding Alltel’s 13.2 million subscribers to Verizon Wireless’ 67.2 million would create the largest wireless carrier in the country, far ahead of AT&T Inc. with 71.4 million customers. Talks are at a sensitive stage, according to CNBC and The Wall Street Journal. Both reports cited unnamed sources close to the discussions. Representatives of Verizon Communications Inc. and Alltel had no comment Wednesday.(Associated Press)(6-5-2088)
    UPDATE: Verizon Wireless said Thursday it would buy rural mobile phone service provider Alltel Corp for $28.1 billion, including debt, which would vault it to first place in the U.S. market ahead of AT&T Inc. Under the deal, Verizon Wireless would acquire the equity of Alltel for $5.9 billion and take on an estimated $22.2 billion in debt, mostly incurred when Alltel was taken private in November in a leveraged buyout by TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s GS Capital Partners. Verizon Wireless said the deal would create savings of $1 billion in the second year after closing, which is targeted for the end of 2008, pending regulatory approval. It forecast total savings of more than $9 billion by 2011, driven by reduced capital and operating expenses. Verizon Wireless and Alltel, which has more than 13 million customers, together would have more than 80 million customers. AT&T ended the first quarter with about 71 million customers.(Forbes.com), no word on how or if this would effect the sponsorship [which is good thru 2008] of the #12 Penske Racing Dodge of Ryan Newman, whose primary sponsor is Alltel.(6-6-2008)
  • UPDATE 2: Industry insiders say Verizon will likely discontinue the Alltel brand, and NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed yesterday that the sanctioning body’s contract with title sponsor Sprint will not allow Verizon to re-brand Penske Racing’s #12 Alltel Dodge, driven by Ryan Newman. The contract allows Alltel to remain in the sport, as long as it does not change teams or brand names.(Motorsports Soapbox)(6-6-2008) Comment here

  • Biffle-Roush close to a deal: Roush-Fenway Racing is very close to signing driver #16-Greg Biffle to a new multi-year contract. “It looks like we’re down to the wire on it”; Biffle said following practice at Poco#Biffle went onto say, “I suspect to have it wrapped up by Michigan I would think. You’ll see me in the 16 for a few years, that’s what it’s looking like. Roush has made a pretty strong offer…plus my cars are fast…all the things a guy wants…all the ingredients are there. I think that’s the decision I’m going to make.”(PRN’s Garage Pass)(6-6-2008) Comment here

  • “The Man in Black” Program to Honor Earnhardt and Cash: Delbert McClinton, Taylor Earnhardt and Tommy Cash were guests today of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum where Dale Earnhardt and Johnny Cash were honored as two of the greatest American icons ever. Meant to continue the legacies of both men, “The Man in Black” program provided music fans and race supporters the ultimate historical crossroad between Country Music and NASCAR. Taylor Earnhardt, Dale’s daughter, and Tommy Cash, Johnny’s younger brother, spoke at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum where country recording artist Delbert McClinton and Mark Dyer, president and CEO of Motorsports Authentics, were both present. Also in attendance were NASCAR artist Sam Bass and Marshall Grant, former bassist for the Tennessee Two. “The Man in Black” car with Earnhardt’s famous paint scheme was unveiled with Cash and Earnhardt’s names and likenesses on the sides and hood of the car. The first car in a multi-year series that will continue the legacy of Earnhardt by teaming him up with other iconic American personalities, puts one of the most influential American musicians on the hood of the car of NASCAR’s most respected driver of all-time. Motorsports Authentics, through its Action Racing Collectables die-cast brand, will be offering a collectible version of the limited edition #3 Dale Earnhardt/Johnny Cash car. Pre-orders are being taken on goracing.com, nascar.com and at Motorsports Authentics authorized dealers nationwide. Chase Authentics, the authentic trackside apparel of NASCAR, will also offer Cash and Earnhardt fans an opportunity to express their love of both men through an array of apparel items such as hats, t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts. In addition to Thursday’s unveiling and special guitar presentation from Sam Bass, it was announced today that QVC will go live from Nashville on Friday night with its “For Race Fans Only” show. Set to air from 7 – p pm/et live from the Musicians Hall of Fame, “For Race Fans Only” will celebrate the “Man in Black” program and give Cash and Earnhardt fans around the world a unique opportunity to see this historic convergence of NASCAR and Country Music.(Motorsports Authentics PR), see more a goracing.com.(6-6-2008) Comment here

  • McMurray denies reports of leaving Roush: Jamie McMurray, driver of the #26 Crown Royal/IRWIN Tools Ford Fusion, will make his 200th career Sprint Cup start this weekend at Pocono. McMurray met with reporters this morning, and quickly dismissed a report from earlier this week that said he was leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the year.
    WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEXT YEAR?
    McMURRAY “The same thing that I’m doing this year: the Crown Royal, #26, with Roush Fenway.”
    WHY DO YOU THINK [REPORTER] THINKS OTHERWISE?
    “I don’t know. I’m not a speculator.”
    THERE IS PLENTY OF SILLY SEASON SPECULATION GOING ON. ARE YOU PUTTING OUT ANY FEELERS?
    “No, I have not.”
    HAVE YOUR REPRESENTATIVES?
    “Not that I am aware of.”
    HAVE OTHER TEAMS INQUIRED ABOUT YOU?
    “Not that I’m aware of. It’s hard to answer questions because anything I answer will lead to the next question, and there’s not really anything to talk about. I don’t know where he got his story, and so it’s certainly drawn attention to something that – it’s, I don’t know how you can say it, it’s like whenever there’s not anything to talk about, and you tell the truth, you feel like you need to add to the story so you can make people believe you. But, there’s not anything to talk about.”
    DO YOU WANT TO BE THERE NEXT YEAR? “Yes.”
    DO YOU WORRY ABOUT IT? “No.”
    ARE YOU HAPPY?
    “Yes. Certainly, we want to run better. I’m at an incredible organization, and we have all the cars and people that are capable of running to win every weekend. So, the move from Ganassi to here I really hoped was going to be able to put me in the chase every year, and that we’d contend to win races on a regular basis, and our performance hasn’t been as good what’s expected – whether it’s from me, the race team or the sponsor. So, you want to continue to get better, and the car of tomorrow has brought some new challenges. The first four or five races we didn’t run bad, but we just seemed to have bad luck or freaky things would happen to us, and it just put us in a really bad position. But the last four or five weeks have been pretty good, and you just try to continue and build on that. The thing about racing is that if you run well for four weeks everything’s great, and if you run bad for two it seems like you need to go find somewhere else to drive, they say. Everything is fine here. I don’t really know what the basis of his story was.”
    HAVE YOU TALKED TO JACK ROUSH OR GEOFF SMITH ABOUT IT?
    “Well, when all of it came up, we just all talked and I never asked to get out of my contract and they never said that they were going to release me from my contract. There was never any discussion of any of that. So, we just were all trying to figure out where it came from.” (Ford Racing PR)(6-6-2008) Comment here

  • Bowyer good at RCR thru 2009: #07-Clint Bowyer met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and talked about his contract extension with Richard Childress racing and other topics.
    WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON YOUR NAME BEING TOSSED AROUND IN THE SILLY SEASON TALKS ABOUT WHO COULD MOVE WHERE?
    Richard (Childress) exercised his option for 2009 and we are just working on a long term deal right now. I don’t know.
    SO YOU ARE SET FOR NEXT YEAR RIGHT HERE?
    As far as I am concerned, yes.
    ARE YOU HAPPY THAT THE OPTION WAS EXERCISED?
    Yes, absolutely, yea, yea.
    IS GETTING A LONG TERM DEAL DONE WITH RCR, IS THAT SOMETHING YOU WANT?
    Yes, absolutely. Nobody wants to shuffle around year to year, you want to know where you are at and know you that your team is underneath you and every thing’s put in place for long term. Nobody wants to be bouncing back and forth and see the guys in the silly season year after year, that has to be torture. Not knowing where you are going to be and worrying about that all the time and trying to stay focused on the task at hand at the same time; I think that would be pretty tough.(Team Chevy PR)(6-6-2008) Comment here

  • Kvapil gets sponsor for Pocono: Yates Racing announced Friday that DISH Network will sponsor the #28 entry with driver Travis Kvapil for this weekend’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 8. “We are thrilled to have DISH Network as our sponsor this weekend at Pocono,” stated Kvapil. “There is a lot of momentum and excitement right now at Yates Racing and we are honored that DISH Network wanted to participate in our program. We are always very grateful that companies recognize our increased performance both on and off the track this season and I’m looking forward to an exciting weekend at Pocono for our #28 DISH Network team.”(Yates Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #28 Team Schemes page.(6-6-2008) Comment here
  • Kahne on pole at Ponoco: #9-Kasey Kahene won the Coors Light Pole for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway with a speed of 170.219mph. for his 1st pole of 2008 and 15th of his career. #48-Johnson will start 2nd, followed by #8-Martin, #01-Smith [best career start], #78-Nemechek, #99-Edwards, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #84-Allmendinger, #66-Riggs and #18-Busch. #70-Leffler makes his first Cup race since Indy in August 2005. The go-or-go homers who made the race: #78-Nemechek [5th], #84-Allmendinger [8th], #66-Riggs [9th], #40-Franchitti [14th], #10-Carpentier [24th], #70-Leffler [26th], #21-Elliott [29th] and #45-Labonte takes a past champions provisional to make the race. #96-Yeley misses the race and #34-Rains withdrew before qualifying.
    For starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression, see my Pocono Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results Page.(6-6-2008)
  • Pocono Raceway Qualifying Fast Facts:
    .. Kasey Kahne won the Coors Light Pole for the Pocono 500 with a speed of 170.219 mph / 52.873 seconds.
    .. This is Kahne’s 15th pole in 158 career Sprint Cup Series races.
    .. This is Kahne’s first pole of the season. His previous best start was second at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Kahne now has eight top-10 starts this season.
    .. This is Kahne’s second pole and sixth top-10 start at Pocono Raceway. His previous pole came in June of 2004, which was a track qualifying record of 172.533 mph.
    .. Jimmie Johnson (second) notched his 11th top-10 start of 2008 and 10th at Pocono.
    .. Mark Martin (third) notched his sixth top-10 start of 2008 and 29th at Pocono.
    .. Regan Smith (fourth) was the fastest-qualifying rookie.
    .. Joe Nemechek (fifth) was the fastest of those drivers required to make the field on time.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-6-2008)
  • Rookie of the Year Candidates: how fast were they and where do they start:
    #00-Michael McDowell, 166.276, starts 39th
    #01-Regan Smith, 168.745, starts 4th
    #10-Patrick Carpentier, 167.345, starts 24th
    #40-Dario Franchitti, 167.939, starts 14th
    #77-Sam Hornish, 165.071, starts 41st
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Chevy: #48-Johnson, 169.856, starts 2nd
    Dodge: #9-Kahne, 170.219, starts 1st
    Ford: #99-Edwards, 168.517, starts 6th
    Toyota: #84-Allmendinger, 168.479,starts 8th

  • Pocono Tire Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought these tire codes to Pocono, though Sprint Cup teams did run this exact combination of left- and right-side tires at Bristol earlier this season . . . Cup teams also tested this tire set-up during a successful open test at Pocono in mid-May . . . compared to the tire codes run at Pocono in 2007, there have been no performance changes to this left-side code (D-4158), while this right-side code (D-4160) features a different compound and construction for enhanced grip and performance . . . as on all NASCAR’s ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Pocono . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 32-34 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full tire notes, pressures and more om my Pocono Race Info page.(6-6-2008)
  • Kyle Busch win record in three series: #18-Kyle Busch has 10 victories across NASCAR’s three national series, which is only four short of the all-time record set by Kevin Harvick in 2006 [Harvick didn’t win a Truck race], if you count drivers who have won at least one race in each series in a season, it has happened five times:
    1995: Terry Labinte – 3 Cup wins, 1 Nationwide win and 1 Truck win, 5 total
    2003: Kevin Harvick – 1, 3, 1, 5
    2005: Kyle Busch – 2, 1, 3, 6
    2006: Kyle Busch – 1, 1, 1, 3
    2008: Kyle Busch – 4, 4, 2, 10
    (6-6-2008)


    News from June 5, 2008

  • #31 will hit the ‘Road to Beijing’ with new paint scheme: To drive excitement for Team USA at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, AT&T Inc. today announced a new paint scheme for Richard Childress Racing’s (RCR) #31 AT&T Chevrolet, driven by Jeff Burton. Burton will circle the Pocono Raceway in a paint scheme featuring the AT&T USA five-ring logo and images of U.S. Olympic Team hopefuls gymnast Nastia Liukin and swimmer Michael Phelps. “We’re excited to integrate our support for professional stock car racing and AT&T Team USA into this fresh and unique paint scheme,” said Jamie Butcher, vice president of Sponsorships and Employee Communications. Burton said: “We’re in the midst of an exciting season, and the AT&T Racing team is thrilled about the new look. The Olympic Games only come around every two years, and it’s an honor to show our support for AT&T Team USA hopefuls.” “It’s an amazing honor to be featured on Jeff Burton’s race car and to know that we have great support from fans, AT&T and the AT&T Racing team as we prepare for the Olympic Games,” Liukin said. “The new paint scheme looks awesome.” Liukin is currently focused on qualifying for her first Olympic Games. She now has nine world medals (four gold and five silver), tying the mark of nine world medals held by Shannon Miller, who has earned more world and Olympic medals than any other U.S. gymnast (16 total). Phelps said: “The excitement and encouragement we receive from fans around the Olympic Games is incredible, and it really motivates us to compete at our very best. The new paint scheme will help drive that enthusiasm for the Olympic Games, and it’s a privilege to be showcased on the #31 AT&T Chevrolet.” Phelps is the most decorated swimmer in World Championships history and is a 20-time world-record holder. He captured eight medals – six gold and two bronze – at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, becoming the first American to win eight medals in one Olympiad. The new paint scheme was unveiled today at the 2008 Visa Championships at Boston University’s Agganis Arena, where Liukin and the USA’s other top gymnasts begin the final steps toward earning berths on the U.S. Olympic Team. The race car will tour the country to promote excitement for the 2008 Olympic Games and support for Team USA until its race track debut at the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway in August. “It is exciting to see AT&T taking Olympic sponsorship outside the traditional boundaries,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Having USA Gymnastics and Nastia representing the Olympic movement within NASCAR is a tremendous testament to the relevance of the Olympic Games, and the sense of pride that we all have around the U.S. Team.” Today’s announcement is the latest move by AT&T to help U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes train and compete for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. AT&T is an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Team and provides significant financial support, products and services to the U.S. Olympic Committee. AT&T will also serve as the official telecommunications services partner of the U.S. Olympic Team for the 2008 Olympic Games. In addition to supporting USA Gymnastics and USA Swimming, the company serves as an official partner for several National Governing Bodies, including USA Track & Field and USA Diving. Team USA enthusiasts who want to stay connected to their favorite U.S. athletes can log on to the AT&T blue room (attblueroom.com/teamusa) to enjoy webcasts of events and exclusive interviews with AT&T U.S. Olympic Team hopefuls. The blue room currently features “USA Gymnastics: Behind the Team,” the online series available only on the AT&T blue room Team USA site. Liukin and Phelps are also featured in AT&T Tips and Training program episodes – original productions that provide fans access to sport-specific training tips from several elite U.S. Olympic Team hopefuls. Liukin is in the latest AT&T Home Turf episode – a series of streaming video webisodes in which athletes grant fans a behind-the-scenes peek of life off the clock. AT&T U-verseSM TV customers can also connect with U.S. Olympic Team hopefuls with AT&T Tips and Training and “USA Gymnastics: Behind the Team” via AT&T Team USA On Demand. These sponsorships are an important part of AT&T’s mission to connect people with their world, everywhere they live and work, and do it better than anyone else. Additional information about AT&T’s sponsorship of the U.S. Olympic Team is available at www.att.com/teamusa2008. For more information on AT&T’s products and services, visit http://www.att.com. For more information on AT&T racing news, visit att.com/racing(AT&T Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(6-5-2008) Comment here

  • Blaney testing in Milwaukee next week: #22 Bill Davis Racing team and driver Dave Blaney has scheduled a two-day test at the Milwaukee Mile for next Tuesday and Wednesday [June 10-11].(BDR PR)(6-5-2008)

  • No sponsor for Robby at Pocono: For the first time this season, #7-Robby Gordon Motorsports will be racing a “back in black” unsponsored race car. For sponsorship opportunities available for the top-35 team see contact info at Robbygordon.com.(RGM), see an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page(6-5-2008)

  • TNT Starts its 6-race run at Pocono: Turner Network Television (TNT) is gearing up for its 2008 Sprint Cup Series six week race package by unveiling new, exclusive on-air features and announcing drivers who will join the set during the network’s extensive 90 minute pre-race coverage. Current Sprint Cup drivers who will join TNT’s pre-race show each week include #11 Denny Hamlin (Pocono), #99 Carl Edwards (Michigan), #42 Juan Montoya (Sonoma) and #31 Jeff Burton (New Hampshire). TNT will also showcase both new and veteran NASCAR faces in weekly series called NASCAR Future Stars, featuring the future faces of the Sprint Cup Series, and the Pride of NASCAR, which will highlight six racing legends such as Bobby Allison, Raymond Parks, Ernie Irvan and Marvin Panch among others. TNT’s Wally Dallenbach hops back in the car for Wally’s World, this time joined in a second car by Kyle Petty as they get behind the wheel of stock cars and demonstrate to viewers the nuances of each racetrack and break down the strategy required to be successful each week. Finally, pit reporter Lindsay Czarniak will uncover little known facts and stories from each of the race locations in a weekly segment called Lindsay on Location.(TNT PR)(6-5-2008) Comment here

  • Stewart wins Prelude to the Dream: the fourth annual Old Spice Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway was won by Tony Stewart, just beating Robby Gordon. The rest of the results of the race held June 4th at Eldora Speedway: 3) Clint Bowyer, 4) Kenny Wallace, 5) Denny Hamlin, 6) Matt Kenseth, 7) Kevin Harvick, 8) Jimmie Johnson, 9) Ken Schrader, 10) Kyle Busch, 11) David Reutimann, 12) Ryan Newman, 13) Red Farmer, 14) Jeff Gordon, 15) Cruz Pedregon, 16) Ray Evernham, 17) Ron Capps, 18) Carl Edwards, 19) Aric Almirola, 20) Dave Blaney, 21) JJ Yeley, 22) Kasey Kahne, 23) Bobby Labonte, 24) Mark Martin [DNS], 25) Bill Elliott [DNS].
    Winner’s average speed: 32.494 mph
    Time of race: 27:41.858
    Margin of victory: 1.502 seconds
    Cautions: 7 (Lap 2: Yeley spin T3; Lap 6: Yeley spin T3; Lap 8: Labonte spin T2; Lap 9: Yeley spin T4, Newman, Farmer contact T2; Lap 11: Blaney, Stalled T2: Lap 16: Almirola, Stalled Frontstretch; Lap 19: Evernham, Spin T2)
    Lead changes: No Lead Changes
    Lap leaders: Stewart 1-30
    Attendance: More than 23,000
    Broadcast: HBO Pay-Per-View
    Following victory lane, Tony Stewart presented Kyle Petty with a check for $1,000,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp! Much more on the way in the coming hours at eldoraspeedway.com.(6-5-2008) Comment here

  • Haas team to appeal penalties UPDATE: With severe penalties looming, Haas-CNC Motorsports has decided to appeal NASCAR’s ruling that the team’s cars were illegally altered for the May 25 Coca-Cola 600, sources told ESPN.com’s David Newton. NASCAR handed down its most severe penalties yet concerning alterations to its new car on May 28, when the crew chiefs and car chiefs for Scott Riggs and Johnny Sauter were suspended six races apiece for tampering with the rear wings on their Chevrolets at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Additionally, crew chiefs Bootie Barker and Dave Skog were fined $100,000 each. Derick Jennings and Thomas Harris, the car chiefs, were not fined but their suspensions are unprecedented. All four must sit out until the July 12 race in Chicago, and are on probation through the end of the year. Riggs and Sauter were each docked 150 driver points, penalties that severely hurt the struggling teams. The cars are both fielded by Haas-CNC Motorsports, which was docked 150 owner points for each Chevrolet. Haas general manager Joe Custer is listed as the owner for Riggs’ #66, and Margaret Haas is listed as the owner of Sauter’s #77. Gene Haas, who actually owns the fledgling two-car team, began serving a two-year prison sentence for tax evasion in January. The team is widely believed to be for sale, and two-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart has acknowledged he’s received an offer to buy the organization.(ESPN.com)(6-4-2008) AND Haas CNC Racing has appealed its penalties for unapproved wing mounting locations discovered during the Coca-Cola 600 weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, a team spokesman confirmed Wednesday. NASCAR penalized the #66 and #70 teams and drivers 150 points as well as issuing six-week suspensions the crew chiefs and car chiefs for both cars. In addition, the crew chiefs were fined $100,000. The team spokesman would not elaborate on the nature of the appeal. The 150-point penalty was the most for a violation of the template rules for the new NASCAR model being used in the Sprint Cup Series. The suspension for car chiefs also was unprecedented. Because the penalty is under appeal, the team could opt to bring back its car chiefs and crew chiefs for the races this weekend at Pocono Raceway, or it could opt to sit them out, thinking that the suspensions might eventually be reduced instead of eliminated. The appeal is tentatively scheduled for June 9.(SceneDaily)(6-5-2008)
    NOTE: the points penalty stays in effect and is not recinded unless the appeal is won and the team gets some/any/all points back. So the #66 must qualifying for the race and is NOT in the Top-35 of owners pts. Comment here

  • Steak-umm adds 2nd race to DEI sponsorship: Steak-umm has added an additional NASCAR race sponsorship to its 2008 campaign with an agreement to serve as the primary sponsor of the #8 Chevy driven by Mark Martin in this weekend’s Pocono 500 Sprint Cup Race at Pocono Raceway. Steak-umm previously sponsored rookie-of-the-year leader Regan Smith’s #01 car in the May Richmond Sprint Cup race, and will again serve as the primary sponsor of Martin’s #8 Chevy in the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono in August. Steak-umm also serves as an associate sponsor on the #8 car for the full 2008 season.(Yahoo Biz), see images of the scheme on my #8 Team Schemes page of #01 Team Schemes page.(6-5-2008) Comment here

  • Pocono Rookie Notes: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 1 Best Buy 400 at Dover International Speedway. Hornish Jr. scored an 18th-place finish and claimed top rookie honors for the fifth time in 13 races this season. #00-Michael McDowell led the Dover race once for one lap, the first time he has led in eight Sprint Cup Series starts. Other Raybestos Rookies that have led a lap this season: #10-Patrick Carpentier (four), #40-Dario Franchitti (1) and #01-Regan Smith (1). Hornish Jr. and Regan Smith are tied for the lead (127-127) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 8 Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. This is the fourth tie for the lead in the overall Raybestos Rookie standings this season. Three Raybestos Rookies have guaranteed starting positions at Pocono: Smith, Hornish Jr. and McDowell. Franchitti and Carpentier must qualify on speed. Franchitti will be attempting to make his first Sprint Cup Series start since April 12 at Phoenix. Franchitti has been sidelined since he fractured his left foot in an accident April 26 in a Nationwide Series race at Talladega. The only Raybestos Rookie to win the Pocono 500 (26 races) is Denny Hamlin. Hamlin won the 2006 race 1.328 seconds over second-place Kurt Busch and became just the third Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the June race at Poco# He also became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps (six times for 83 laps) and is one of just six rookies to lead a lap in the June race at Pocono (since 1989). Two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions for the June race at Pocono: Hamlin and Kasey Kahne, who captured the top starting position for the 2004 race. Only once since 1975 have two or more Raybestos Rookies finished in the top-10 in the June race at Pocono: Tim Richmond finished ninth and Ron Bouchard placed 10th in the 1981 Mountain Dew 500. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Denny Hamlin. Hamlin captured the top starting spot for the 2006 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond (59 races).(Camp & Assoc/Raybestos), see Rookie history, standings and more on my 2008 Rookies page.(6-5-2008)


    News from June 4, 2008

  • Villeneuve teams up with Green-Legault on Cup team UPDATE: a little crude but the La Presse [Canada in French] reported that former F-1/CART driver, Jacques Villeneuve who was teamed up with Bill Davis racing and started the season in ther #27 Toyota [attempting just the Daytona 500] has teamed up with former CART team owner Barry Green and promoter of the Grand Prix of Canada, Normand Legault. The team needs sponsorship and could allign itself with another Cup team, Ganassi Racing was mentioned.(Translated thru Google from La Presse)(6-3-2008)
    UPDATE: Barry Green is denying reports that he and Jacques Villeneuve are attempting to raise money to start their own Sprint Cup team. A report in La Presse indicated that Green and Villeneuve had joined forces with Canadian Grand Prix promoter Normand Legault in a bid to raise enough funds to have Villeneuve run his own team under the umbrella of an existing Sprint Cup organization, such as Chip Ganassi Racing, Hendrick Motorsports or Richard Childress Racing. But Green tells RDS.ca that they have no plans to field a team in NASCAR, rather, they are looking for a sponsor which will help facilitate a NASCAR ride. “We’re trying to find a primary sponsor for Jacques,” said Green, who has been working with Villeneuve on the business side of his NASCAR career. “The Sprint Cup series is very competitive and to launch a new team doesn’t make much sense.” Green says Legault is a longtime friend of Villeneuve’s and he is doing everything he can to help him achieve his goal of racing in the NASCAR series.(tsn.ca)(6-4-2008) Comment here

  • Three Roush drivers hit milestones at Pocono: #16-Greg Biffle and #26-Jamie McMurray will make their 200th career Cup starts at Pocono. In support of McMurray’s 200th Sprint Cup start, the #26 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Fusion will carry a special “200” decal on the lower hood in this weekend’s Pocono 500. And #17-Matt Kenseth will start in his 300th straight Cup race.(6-4-2008)

  • Ambrose tests at VIR with Wood Bros: Australian NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose has completed his first test with Wood Brothers Racing in preparation for his Sprint Cup debut at the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California in three weeks time. Ambrose drove the famous #21 Wood Brothers Ford in an open test at Virginia International Raceway which was attended by the majority of the Sprint Cup field. Ambrose completed 38 laps for a total of about 85 miles (136kms) and was conservatively in the top five cars at the end of the day, which was not officially recorded or timed. Ambrose will make his debut in NASCAR’s top ranks in a Little Debbie-backed Wood Brothers Ford Fusion at Sonoma on June 22. He will then run a further seven events for Wood Brothers at New Hampshire, Watkins Glen, Michigan, California, Dover, Texas and Phoenix. Ambrose will also drive four Sprint Cup events for JTG Racing, the first of which will be at Indianapolis in August. He will also run at Kansas, Atlanta and Homestead for that team.(BAM Media PR)(6-4-2008) Comment here

  • Kodak makes 2008 debut on the #12: Pocono is the first of six races in which Kodak is the primary sponsor of the #12 Dodge Charger driven by Ryan Newman. Kodak also will serve as the primary sponsor for Newman’s car at Chicagoland, Watkins Glen, California, New Hampshire and Atlanta.(Penske Racing), see images of the car on my #12 Team Schemes page.(6-4-2008) Comment here

  • Kyle joins Wally in Wally’s World: TNT’s Wally Dallenbach hops back in the car for Wally’s World, this time joined in a second car by Kyle Petty as they get behind the wheel of stock cars and demonstrate to viewers the nuances of each racetrack and break down the strategy required to be successful each week.(TNT PR)(6-4-2008) Comment here

  • Menard testing at VIR: #15-Paul Menard and his Menards/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team will test today at Virginia International Raceway in preparation for this month’s race at Infineon Raceway. In addition to today’s test, Menard participated in a one day test session at the track in April where the driver of the #15 Menards Chevrolet piloted a late-model around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course.(Co-Pilott Motorsports Marketing)(6-4-2008)

  • Leffler returns to the #70 car: In addition to Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, Jason Leffler will attempt to qualify for the Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway on Sunday in the #70 Haas CNC Racing entry.(Braun Racing PR)(6-4-2008) Comment here


    News from June 3, 2008

  • Kyle Busch trying to be first to do the triple: #18-Kyle Busch, who leads the Sprint Cup Series standings, will run that series’ events at Pocono Raceway, the Pocono 500 on Sunday afternoon in addition Busch also plans on being at Texas Motor Speedway for Friday night’s Craftsman Truck Series race, the Sam’s Town 400. Then, on Saturday night, he’ll be in the Nationwide Series at Nashville Superspeedway for the Federated Auto Parts 300 presented by Dollar General. This is unprecedented to say the least. No driver has ever attempted to run in all three NASCAR national series on one weekend at three different tracks. Due to the intense travel challenges, Busch will take part in only one qualifying session this weekend – at Pocono, in the #18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. At Nashville, Busch will be in the #32 Toyota for Braun Racing. Tennessee native Will Allen will sub for Busch during practice and qualifying. At Texas, Busch will be in the #51 Toyota for Billy Ballew Motorsports, but qualifying and practice in the truck will be handled by J.R. Norris.(NASCAR PR)(6-3-2008) Comment here
  • Been asked: how does #18-Kyle Busch’s 2008 Cup Season start compare to others [since the current points system started in 1975]? Busch’s start would rank 10th best with 2050 points. in 1977 Cale Yarborough had 2176 points and 6 wins [so he would have 2296 points using the extra 10 points winners get now per win], 2nd would be Ernie Irvan in 1994 at 2130 points after 13 races [adjusted to 2190 for three wins] and third best would be Dale Earnhardt in 1987 at 2119 [adjusted to 2239 for 6 wins]. Last seasonJeff Gordon led after 13 races with 2059 points and 3 wins.(6-3-2008)
  • Addington named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Dover: Steve Addington, crew chief of the #18 Combos Toyota driven by Kyle Busch, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s Best Buy 400 at Dover International Speedway. The Addington-led team captured its fourth win of the season on Sunday after Busch raced near the front of the 43-car field for practically the entire afternoon. The 2008 Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge is a season-long contest that will determine the best crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage. Following each race, a panel will vote to determine which crew chief demonstrated the most outstanding strategy and leadership during the race. It isn’t necessarily the crew chief that goes to Victory Lane, but the crew chief that makes the biggest difference for his team. Representatives from Wypall Wipers, together with FOX/SPEED television analyst Jeff Hammond, and three of NASCAR’s top crew chiefs who represent Wypall, including Todd Berrier of Richard Childress Racing’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy team, Bob Osborne of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Office Depot Ford team, and Kenny Francis of Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ #9 Budweiser Dodge team, make up the panel of judges. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly top wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, Fla. The Wypall Wipers Crew Chief Challenge will continue throughout the remainder of the 2008 season and spotlight the men behind the machines. For more information, log onto www.Wypall.com.(6-3-2008)
  • NASCAR on Fox TV Ratings & Viewership Rise in 2008: Putting the brakes on a two-year trend, overall viewership figures for the Emmy Award-winning series in 2008 rose year-to-year for the first time since 2005, posting an impressive 5.7/12 average national household rating and share (9.4 million viewers), up +2% over last year’s 5.6/13 (9.3 million). NASCAR Sprint Cup racing on FOX concluded its season as the top-rated and most-watched regular season sport from February through June for the eighth consecutive year. Eleven out of the thirteen NASCAR Sprint Cup points races on FOX either grew or equaled last year’s viewing levels, a first for the sport on the network. In addition to households, NASCAR on FOX also posted year-to-year increases in the sports’ traditionally strong male demographics. The rating for men age 35-54 was up +5% (6.5 vs. 6.2) over last season, while ratings in the broader male, 25-54 category were up +2% (5.4 vs. 5.3).
    NASCAR on FOX concluded its 2008 campaign with two big races. First, on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (5/25), the Coca Cola 600, the longest race of the season, posted a 4.7/10 household rating (7.6 million viewers), +4% over the 2007 race and was the top-rated and most-watched event of the holiday weekend. This marks the eighth straight year that the Coke 600 on FOX delivered a larger audience than the Indy 500 4.6/13, (7.2 million). Last Sunday, in the FOX season finale, the race from Dover scored a 4.5/11 (7.1 million viewers), and was the top-rated event for the weekend. The Dover race a year ago was washed out on Sunday and posted a 2.3/7 when run on Monday.(FOX)(6-3-2008)Comment here
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Kyle Busch won the Best Buy 400 at Dover International Speedway after starting the race third. Busch scored his eighth career victory in his 127th career race. Busch’s previous victory came at Darlington. Busch scored his fourth victory in 2008, the most in the series. Three of those victories have come in the past five races. Busch scored his seventh straight top-10 finish, extending a streak that began at Texas. This is Busch’s first victory in seven races at Dover. His previous best Dover finish was second (twice). It marked his fifth top-five finish in seven races at Dover.
    * Busch’s win marked Toyota’s fifth victory in 2008. Chevrolet and Ford each have three wins, and Dodge has two.
    * Greg Biffle led the most laps, leading three different times for 164 laps total.
    * This was the fifth victory for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008.
    * Busch led four times for 158 laps, including the final 74.
    * Carl Edwards (second) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2008. Edwards has scored top-10 finishes in his past four races, extending a streak that began at Richmond. Edwards has finished third or better in the past four races at Dover.
    * Busch remained first in the points standings. Busch gained 48 points in the race. He is now 142 points ahead of Jeff Burton — the largest championship lead so far this season.
    * Busch has won 10 races in NASCAR’s three National divisions (four in Cup, four in Nationwide, two in Trucks). Busch is the only driver to score nine top-5 and 10 top-10 finishes in 13 races this season.
    * Biffle (third) scored his fifth straight top-10 finish at Dover.
    * Matt Kenseth (fourth) scored his third top-10 finish in his past three races.
    * Jeff Gordon (fifth) scored his fourth straight top-10 finish, extending a streak that began at Richmond. He climbed from 10th to sixth in points.
    * Burton (eighth) is the only driver to score top-15 finishes in all 13 races this season.
    * Sam Hornish Jr. (18th) was the highest-finishing rookie.
    * Kevin Harvick (38th) extended the longest streak of running at the finish of 57 races that began at Kansas in October 2006.
    * A Lap 18 accident involving 11 cars (Nos. 07, 9, 11, 15, 19, 20, 21, 29, 43, 66 and 88) resulted in a 15-minute, 42-second red flag. Six of the top 12 in points were involved in this accident, resulting in a shuffle in the points standings.
    * Only six cars finished on the lead lap, the fewest in a race this season.(ESPN.com)(6-3-2008)


    News from June 2, 2008

  • Champion Mortgage to sponsor #00 Toyota: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that Champion Mortgage will sponsor the #00 Toyota Camry and driver Michael McDowell for a minimum of 10 races beginning at Pocono Raceway this weekend. Champion Mortgage, a leading mortgage lender, is a well known name in the Northeast and has been expanding its mortgage lending across the US since the Champion brand became a division of Nationstar Mortgage LLC in 2007.(MWR PR), see an image of the car on my #00 Team Schemes page.(6-3-2008)Comment here

  • Dover TV Ratings: Sprint Cup Racing on Fox concluded its 2008 campaign with a 4.2/10 for the race from Dover yesterday to rank as the top-rated event for the weekend. Last year’s race which was rained-out and rescheduled on a Monday afternoon posted a 2.2/7 and was not included in the 2007 season average. For the 2008 season, Sprint Cup racing averaged a 5.2/11 in the meters for 13 races, flat with last year’s average for just 12 races.(Fox)(6-2-2008) Comment here

  • McMurray out at Roush at end of 2008? #26-Jamie McMurray will be driving for another team next year, according to one report Sunday citing unidentified sources. McMurray finished 10th Sunday. However, McMurray denies the report.(Hamptonroads.com), hearing Crown Royal could stay with Roush Fenway Racing, teaming up with Greh Biffle [who is expected to re-sign with Roush] in 2009. No word if Roush Fenway Racing would field a fifth team in 2009 or drop down to the mandated max of four Cup teams, which will go in effect for the 2010 season.(6-2-2008) Comment here

  • Ganassi and Penske? Preposterous: Rumors that have surfaced recently about a possible alliance between Chip Ganassi [#40,#41,#42] and Roger Penske [#2,#12,#77] in NASCAR racing, or of a possible Penske buyout of Ganassi’s stock car team? Both men field Dodges in Sprint Cup racing, and at the recent Indianapolis 500, won by Ganassi driver Scott Dixon, the two pillars of the sport reportedly appeared a lot more chummy than usual. Sunday at Dover, Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge Brand and SRT Marketing Communications, said he had read the rumors but scoffed at them. “Absolutely preposterous,” Accavitti said. “That would be like putting the Hatfields and McCoys together.”(Sporting News)(6-2-2008) Comment here

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of Dover
    Total number of commercials: 130
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 76
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:51 PM
    Total minutes: 231
    Minutes of race broadcast: 174
    Minutes of commercials: 57
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’: 1
    See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(6-2-2008) Comment here

  • Busch almost loses helmet: #18-Kyle Busch almost had to go to a backup helmet this weekend. His helmet was stolen from the garage Friday night, but track security officers caught the culprit. “Somebody snuck in the garage with the cleanup crew and stole it,” Busch said. “Somebody saw it happen, I guess, and they told security guards outside. They were checking everybody that was leaving and they found him and brought the helmet back.” Did the helmet have any special significance to Busch? “It didn’t matter,” he said. “It’s not a lucky helmet.” But Busch now has two victories with that helmet, including Atlanta. “On second thought, it might be a lucky helmet,” team owner Joe Gibbs said.(ESPN.com)(6-2-2008) Comment here

  • Ambrose eyeing Cup: Marcos Ambrose was encouraged, but also somewhat realistic following his recent Sprint Cup test at Pocono International Raceway. The Tuesday-Wednesday test marked his first time in a Cup car [actually Ambrose practiced a 2nd Robby Gordon car at Watkins Glen in 2007 before qualifying was rained out] and his first time at the three-sided, 2.5-mile track in the mountains of northeast Pennsylvania. “It went OK, pretty good,” the 31-year-old Australian said Saturday at Dover International Speedway. “But it was a difficult place to get in a Cup car for the first time. I went there to get in laps and get a feel for that kind of [Cup] car. We ran in the middle of the pack most of the day. Another few tenths [of a second] would have been nice, but, still, I learned a lot about these Cup cars. The adjustment [from Nationwide to Cup COT car] is as tough as everyone said it would be. And Pocono is about as hard a track to learn as I’ve ever seen. I know we have plenty of work to do, but we got better as we went along and got a good feel for where we are.” Ambrose will run a handful of Cup races this season, some in the Wood Brothers’ #21 Ford and some with #47 Ford-based JTG Racing. He’ll run Sonoma and Watkins Glen for the Woods, plus a race in Michigan and one in Loudon [New Hampshire]. “I can’t remember the others he’ll do for us,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said Saturday. “It’s on a calendar somewhere at the shop. I’m sure of those four, but there are maybe three or four more he’ll do for us.” Ambrose also will do at least Indianapolis, Kansas, Atlanta, and Homestead in the #47 Fusion of JTG Racing.(Ford Racing)(6-2-2008) Comment here
  • Sad News – Bill Connell: William (Bill) D. Connell, Sr. (1947 – 2008) passed away Saturday morning [May 31st] at 9:07am/et. He was at Northeast Medical Center in Concord, N.C. Bill was preceded in death by his father and mother Mr. Demarcus William Connell, and his father-in-law William McKinley Steedley. Bill is survived by his wife Sherry Steedley Connell, daughter Angela and grandson Jordan Connell, son Mark and daughter-in-law Heather Connell, and his younger sister Vickie and brother-in-law Skip Kress. Bill was also a Vietnam War veteran serving in the U.S. Navy. He was best known for his thirty-four years of motorsports broadcasting which included twelve years of producing and hosting his own, regional network television show The PROS In Motorsports. During his glorious broadcast career Bill was also cast in three motion pictures: Last American Hero, Greased Lightning, and Stroker Ace. After losing a kidney to cancer in March of 1998, Bill continued to battle his health which led to his early retirement in May 2003, after the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where Bill called his final NASCAR event. His family will be receiving friends this Tuesday, June 3, from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m. at Linn-Honeycutt Funeral home in Landis, N.C. They will celebrate Bill’s, blessed life Wednesday, June 4, 4p.m at Dayspring Community Church in China Grove, N.C. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Dayspring Community Church building fund, P.O. Box 967, China Grove, N.C. 28023 or The North Carolina Kidney Foundation.(6-1/2-2008)

  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick has been running at the finish in 57 consecutive races [almost lost it at Dover], the longest current streak, next up is #07-Bowyer at 50 consecutive races. Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963.(6-1-2008)
  • Burton’s streak ends: #31-Jeff Burton finished eight in the Best Buy 400 Benefiting Student Clubs at Dover International Speedway, but was one lap down, ending a streak of 17 straight races of finishing on the lead lap. That was the best streak since matt Kenseth, who had 18 straight races in 2006-2007. Burton’s streak started at LMS in Oct 2007. Jeff Gordon has the best streak since 1993. Gordon ran 21 straight races from June 1998 thru Feb 1999.(6-2-2008)

News from June 1, 2008

  • Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame Online Voting Begins: On Saturday, Oct. 4, two new names will be added to the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame – which two drivers will receive this honor however, is something the fans have to decide. Online voting for the 2008 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame is currently underway. The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame located in the Davey Allison Memorial Park 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. Fans may vote for their driver of choice through July 15 by visiting www.talladegawalk.com. Voting is limited to one vote per day. Active driver nominees for 2008 include: Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton, Morgan Shepherd, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Robby Gordon, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte, Jeremy Mayfield, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader and Carl Edwards. Inactive driver nominees for 2008 include: Jim Paschal, Bill Rexford, Jack Smith, Rex White and Speedy Thompson. The first inductees – “Alabama Gang” drivers Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison, Red Farmer and Neil Bonnett – were inducted by decree of the board. In the park, Davey Allison is remembered with a large marble monument, while drivers inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame have bronze plaques placed around the park, accessible by walkways that form the shape of Talladega Superspeedway.(6-1-2008)
  • Kyle Busch wins at Dover: #18-Kyle Busch won the Best Buy 400 benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway for his 4th win of 2008 and 8th of his career. #99-Edwards finished 2nd, followed by #16-Biffle, #17-Kenseth, #24-Gordon, #1-Truex Jr., #48-Johnson, #31-Burton, #22-Blaney and #26-McMurray. There was one big wreck, early in the race which knocked six curretn Chase drivers out of the race or way back in the running order. A few involved included #88-Earnhardt Jr who finished 35th, #29-Harvick 38th, #20-Stewart 41st and #11-Hamlin 43rd. There were only 5 cautions for 26 yellow flag laps and 9 drivers lead a lap for 15 lead changes.
    For races results, awrds and more, see my Dover Race Results Awards Page.(6-1-2008)
  • UNOFFICAL Drivers Points Standings [after Dover race 13 of 36]:
    1) #18-Kyle Busch 2050 [4 wins]
    2) #31-Jeff Burton 1908 -142 [1 win]
    3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1779 -271
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 1713 -337 [would be 3rd without 100 pt penalty][3 wins]
    5) #16-Greg Biffle 1658 -392
    6) #24-Jeff Gordon 1646 -404
    7) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1644 -406 [1 win]
    8) #07-Clint Bowyer 1633 -417 [1 win]
    9) #11-Denny Hamlin 1630 -420 [1 win]
    10) #29-Kevin Harvick 1566 -484
    11) #20-Tony Stewart 1551 -499
    12) #9-Kasey Kahne 1524 -526 [1 win]
    other chase contenders
    13) #6-David Ragan 1516 -534 [8 pts out of the chase]
    14) #12-Ryan Newman 1495 -555 [1 win]
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Dover page.(6-1-2008)

  • Charitable contributions at Dover: Three days of NASCAR action at the Monster Mile did more than satisfy the need for speed for thousands of fans that visited Dover International Speedway over the course of the weekend. It also proved to be a great benefit for one very worthy cause – to the tune of $76,907.50 – with all funds being raised to support the work and create awareness for Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading autism advocacy organization. Dover International Speedway and a variety of partners have brought the organization’s message of autism awareness to millions of NASCAR fans nationwide. From its inclusion in the entitlement of the “Best Buy 400 benefiting Students Clubs for Autism Speaks,” to money raised directly from event ticket sales, the organization collected funds from many charitable donors, through several special ways. Grammy-nominated band Emerson Drive performed a benefit concert on Saturday night at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. The concert was underwritten by Heluva Good!, sponsor of the May 31, 2008 “Heluva Good! 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Monster Mile, and all proceeds benefited Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of Delaware. Long-time autism awareness advocates Joe and Shelly Galli pledged $15,625 through an online auction to win the exclusive opportunity to say “Gentleman start your engines” prior to the start of the “Best Buy 400 benefiting Students Clubs for Autism Speaks.” 9-year-old Camille Galli gave the command to start the June 1 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the family enjoyed VIP opportunities at the Speedway throughout the entire race weekend. See more at DoverSpeedway.com.(DIS PR)(6-1-2008)

  • Robby has tough luck in Baja, heads to Dover: #7-Robby Gordon Off-Road was off to a good start in the 40th annual Tecate SCORE Baja 500, when a hub on the Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Hummer broke, and the team was forced to end the race early. This was the same part that the team had trouble with during the Central Europe Rally. Robby Gordon was dissapointed in the results of the race, but will use it as a learning experience. He is headed out to Dover, Delaware for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Best Buy 400. “We were excited going into this race about the practice we would be getting with our Hummer for the 2009 Dakar Rally,” Gordon stated. “So I think we really did gain some valuable information that we plan on using for that race. I am dissapointed that I was not able to add another win to our resume, but I look forward to heading to Dover and tackling the Monster Mile.”(RobbyGordon.com), Matt Crafton practiced and qualified the car for Gordon [qualified 41st, Gordon will fall to the rear before the start of the race.(6-1-2008) Comment here

  • Haas CNC still deciding whether to appeal penalties: Haas CNC Racing [#66 and #70 Chevy’s] has not yet decided whether it will appeal the penalties for illegal wing mounting locations found May 24 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, team competition director Matt Borland said Sunday morning. NASCAR penalized the drivers and teams 150 points and suspended the two crew chiefs as well as the car chiefs for six races. In the past, NASCAR has docked 100 points and only suspended crew chiefs. NASCAR also has confiscated and kept the cars. The team has another six days to decide whether to appeal. “It’s their decision to make and we’ll deal with what we’ve got to deal with,” Borland said at Dover International Speedway. “I don’t know [about an appeal] right now.”(SceneDaily), see the news on the penalties on my Penalties page.(6-1-2008) Comment here

  • Truex expects to re-sign with DEI: #1-Martin Truex Jr. doesn’t want to talk much about his contract, which is up after this season. But the Stafford Township, N.J., native says he wants to sign a long-term deal with Dale Earnhardt Inc. “We’re just working on some stuff,” he said Saturday of the negotiations. On April 28, ESPN.com reported that DEI had picked up Truex’s option for the 2009 season. However, there have since been other reports stating that deal was not yet complete and that Truex remains a possible free agent. DEI president of global operations Max Siegel has said signing Truex long-term is a priority. Truex declined to talk in detail about his contract status but said it has been difficult dealing with the issue on top of the pressure of being one of the Sprint Cup series’ top drivers – last year, he qualified for the 12-driver Chase for the Championship for the first time, and this year he became DEI’s top driver when Dale Earnhardt Jr. left as a free agent for Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s a pain,” Truex said. “It’s a big pain. That’s why I try not to talk about it. We’ll see what happens. We’ll get it done, and when it’s done, everybody will know.”(Atlantic City Press)(6-1-2008) Comment here

  • Latest with Sorenson: There has been speculation that #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, unhappy with Chip Ganassi for making yet another crew chief change, could leave at the end of the season, possibly to replace Tony Stewart at Joe Gibbs Racing if Stewart decides to move on. Though unlikely, if Montoya were to leave Ganassi, it might be the only way Reed Sorenson gets to stay in the #41 Target Dodge. But if Montoya does stay put, which would appear the more likely scenario, Sorenson could be on his way out. The 22-year-old Sorenson has been with CGR for five years, starting first as a developmental driver, then as a Busch Series competitor and subsequently a quick ascension to a full-time Cup ride at the age of 20. He finished 24th in the standings in his rookie campaign two years ago, improved to 22nd last season, but has had a horrible start to his junior season currently in 30th position, with just one top-five finish in the first 12 events (a fifth-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500). The last four races came under new crew chief Donnie Wingo, who switched roles/teams with Jimmy Elledge (Montoya’s former crew chief) just before Sorenson’s last-place finish at Talladega on April 27. Sorenson’s in the final year of his three-year contract with CGR. While he’s trying to remain optimistic that he’ll be retained, two things seem to be working against him. Sorenson acknowledges with a shrug he’s heard rumors that Dan Wheldon, who drives for Ganassi in the Indy Racing League, is interested in jumping to NASCAR to join fellow former open-wheelers Montoya and Dario Franchitti. It’s highly unlikely Ganassi would expand his Cup program to four teams, meaning one driver currently in his stable would have to go. More than likely that would be Sorenson, who would find himself in the same position as former teammate David Stremme, who was bounced to the curb last year in favor of Franchitti. Sorenson’s overall performance this season does not put him in a very strong bargaining position. While a longtime Ganassi favorite, Sorenson is expendable, particularly if a guy like Wheldon decides to make the switch. “I’m kind of making sure I concentrate on (this year) before I get too carried away with next year yet,” he said. “I figure if I can run good here for a little while, then (whether he’ll stay with CGR) will take care of itself.”(Yahoo Sports)(6-1-2008) Comment here

  • Allison honored at Dover: There aren’t many accolades a driver can have at Dover International Speedway that Bobby Allison doesn’t already have. He’s the all-time leader in laps led at the track. He’s tied with Richard Petty for most wins at Dover with seven. One of the grandstands on the frontstretch is named for him. So, given all that, it’s fitting that Allison was the first driver to be honored on Dover’s newest monument. The Monster Monument at Victory Plaza presented by AAA, to be exact, which was erected this month, now displays Bobby Allison’s name among its ring of honor that’s reserved for drivers who have had immense career success. The plaque was unveiled as part of a ceremony on Saturday afternoon.(Dover Intl Speedway)(6-1-2008)
  • Competition Yellow at lap 30: NASCAR will throw a competition caution after 30 laps [unless there is a caution before lap 30] of the Best Buy 400 today at Dover International Speedway. Teams cannot refuel prior to the competition caution. The caution will allow teams to check tire wear because there is not as much rubber on the track after Saturday’s rain. A typical fuel run at Dover would be between 70 and 80 laps.(SceneDaily)
    UPDATE: with an 11 car wreck on lap 18, taking out #19-Sadler, #11-Hamlin, #20-Stewart and doing serious damage to #88-Earnhardt Jr., #29-Harvick among others, there will probably not be any competition yellow.(6-1-2008)