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April 2009 News Archives


News from April 30, 2009

  • Final Talladega TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing posted a 5.0/12 (8.1 million viewers) on Sunday for the race from Talladega. Though that’s down -12% from last year’s 5.7/13 for the same race, Sunday’s telecast was the top-rated event of the weekend, and was FOX’s highest-rated and most-watched NASCAR event in nearly two months. Sunday’s race opened with a 4.4/12 (6.9 million viewers), and grew steadily throughout the race peaking at a 6.6/15 (10.8 mill). Season-to-date, NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX is averaging a 5.5/11 (9.2 million viewers), down -13% from last year’s 6.3/13, but remains the highest-rated and most-watched sport in season.(4-30-2009), see race-by-race chart and more on my 2009 TV Ratings page.

  • Prospective Members Of Nominating Committee, Voting Panel Announced For Inaugural NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France has sent letters of invitation to 50 people asking them to serve on the NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominating Committee and/or Voting Panel. The hall’s inaugural class, consisting of five members, is scheduled to be enshrined in May 2010. That class will be selected by the Voting Panel from a list of 25 candidates assembled by a 21-person Nominating Committee. The Voting Panel will consist of the members of the Nominating Committee and 29 others from throughout the NASCAR industry. There also will be one more ballot, decided by a nationwide fan vote, for a total of 51 Voting Panel ballots. Prospective members of the Nominating Committee represent NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, major race track ownership groups and operators of historic short tracks. See the full Voting Panel on my NASCAR Hall of Fame page. Voting, to include a fan vote, will be completed by October 2009 with the results announced soon after.(NASCAR PR)(4-30-2009)

  • UPS Unveils new scheme for Richmond: NASCAR fans will see a different look for the #6 UPS Ford this weekend when David Ragan hits the track at Richmond International Raceway for the Russ Friedman 400 presented by Crown Royal. Taking a break from the traditional brown UPS paint scheme, Ragan’s car will feature a special UPS Freight design to promote the Richmond, Va.-based division of UPS. The design incorporates the gray of UPS Freight with new brown and gold trim using a unique paint formula that includes crushed glass to make the vehicle sparkle. UPS Freight offers a wide range of ground freight shipping options for customers who need to ship anything from a single oversized package to a heavy pallet or full truckload of freight across North America, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To kick off the Richmond race weekend, Ragan will make a special appearance at the UPS Freight headquarters today to spend time with local UPS employees. UPS Freight employs nearly 2,000 people in the Richmond area and roughly 17,000 total around the country. In addition to the special UPS Freight paint scheme, the UPS Freight Charlotte Service Center will be featured on the wing of Ragan’s #6 Ford as part of UPS’s ‘Maximum Center’ program. UPS launched the program this year to recognize UPS operating facilities for accomplishments in service, safety and performance.(UPS Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page.(4-30-2009)

  • Chrysler (Dodge) to file for bankruptcy: Chrysler will file for bankruptcy after talks with a small group of creditors crumbled just a day before a government deadline for the automaker to come up with a restructuring plan, two administration officials said Thursday. The Obama administration had long hoped to stave off bankruptcy for Chrysler LLC, but it became clear that a holdout group wouldn’t budge on proposals to reduce Chrysler’s $6.9 billion in secured debt, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the filing plans are not public. Clearing those debts was a needed step for Chrysler restructure by the Thursday night deadline. Bankruptcy doesn’t mean the nation’s third largest automaker will shut down. And the privately-held Chrysler is expected to sign a partnership agreement with the Italian company Fiat as early as Thursday as part of its restructuring plan. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing would allow a judge to decide how much the company’s creditors would get.(ABC News), NO word how or if this will effect Dodge’s involvement in NASCAR.(4-30-2009)

  • Richmond Pivotal Track For Chase Hopefuls: Richmond International Raceway — the site of Race 10 on the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule — has proven to be pivotal to the hopes of potential Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders. Nearly 80% of the drivers who have been Chase eligible coming out of the spring Richmond race have gone on to qualify for the Chase, with the championship field set following the second Richmond race. The breakdown is as follows: 2004 (8-10); 2005 (6-10); 2006 (8-10); 2007 (11-12); and 2008 (10-12).(NASCAR)(4-30-2009)

  • Interesting Stat – only one Birthday winner EVER: Cale Yarborough is the only Sprint Cup driver to ever win a points paying race on his birthday, which is March 27. In 1977 at North Wilksboro Speedway AND 1983 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NOTE, since much email was first recieved with guess’s, a few items were covered and checked: Richard Petty never won on his birthday [July 2nd] [in Cup] and neither did Jeff Gordon [August 4th]. In fact, the Brickyard 400 was only been held on Gordon’s birthday once, in 2002, when Bill Elliott won. Gordon’s first Brickyard 400 came on August 6, 1994. Why do I bring this up? #18-Kyle Busch will celerbate his 24th birthday on Saturday, May 2nd [the same as Uncle Bud] amd could be the 2nd driver ever to win on his birthday.(4-30-2009)

  • After rain leaves, drivers test tires at Indy: Rain again disrupted a Goodyear test today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but once the track dried shortly after noon, four NASCAR teams were able to get in nearly six hours of tire testing. The purpose of the one-day session, which was a continuation of last week’s rain-plagued test, was to settle on the tire compound Goodyear will bring to a final test June 15-16. That session will involve about a dozen teams as Goodyear works to avoid the embarrassing problems that marred last year’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. This year’s race is scheduled July 26. #39-Ryan Newman (Chevy), #17-Matt Kenseth (Ford), #83-Brian Vickers (Toyota) and #9-Kasey Kahne (Dodge) were the participating drivers Wednesday.(Indianapolis Star)(4-30-2009)

  • Primary Sponsorship for Prilosec OTC on Two RCR Cars in 2009: Prilosec OTC, the No. 1 doctor and pharmacist recommended over-the-counter acid reducer, will be the primary sponsor of two of Richard Childress Racing teams for three races during the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Prilosec OTC will be the primary sponsor of the #31 Prilosec OTC-Walmart Chevy driven by Jeff Burton at Richmond International Raceway in May and Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July. Primary sponsorship will then be featured on the #33 Prilosec OTC-Walmart Chevy driven by Clint Bowyer at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., in October. Prilosec OTC has been an associate sponsor of RCR’s #31 team since 2006. “Over the last four seasons, we’ve engaged millions of race fans, educating them on how Prilosec OTC can treat their frequent heartburn and get them back to enjoying NASCAR to the fullest,” said Robert Cleveland, Prilosec OTC Brand Manager. “Our partnerships with RCR and NASCAR play an important role in showcasing Prilosec OTC’s product benefits and its ability to treat frequent heartburn all day and all night with one pill a day.” Throughout the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Prilosec OTC has been featured on the rear quarter panel of the #31 Caterpillar Chevy as well as the uniforms and firesuits of Burton and the entire #31 team. In addition to the RCR team partnership, Prilosec OTC will sponsor the “Prilosec OTC BBQ Shootout Series” throughout the 2009 Sprint Cup Series race season. The mobile tour will travel to six NASCAR cities during the spring and summer months showcasing the country’s best BBQ Pit Masters [Texas a few weeks ago, Richmond in May, Charlotte in May, Indy in July, Bristol in August and Atlanta in Sept.](RCR PR), see an image of the #31 car on my #31 Team Schemes page.(4-30-2009)

  • PVA scheme for A.J. at Richmond: #44-A.J. Allmendinger takes his vote campaign to Richmond International Raceway for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race on the three-quarter mile, D-shaped oval. Last weekend in Talladega, Allmendinger gave away about 250 pizzas to fans while his wife Lynne, and their Labrador Misty, one of the puppies featured in the movie Marley and Me, sported shirts seeking votes to gain entrance in the All-Star race in Charlotte. The top two finishers from the Sprint All-Star Challenge transfer into the All-Star race while the third is voted in by the race fans. The 27-year-old Californian has pledged to “do anything” to earn the fan vote if he doesn’t race his way into the field. At Richmond, Allmendinger’s Dodge will carry a paint scheme promoting the “King’s Cup Karting for a Cause” race on May 19 in Mooresville, N.C. The event will feature a four-hour endurance go-kart race, along with appearances by ‘The King’ Richard Petty and other Richard Petty Motorsports drivers, entertainment and a silent auction. Money raised goes to the Paralyzed Veterans of America.(RPM PR)(4-30-2009)

  • Smallsponsor.com joins up with Mayfield: Mayfield Motorsports is welcoming Small Sponsor.com to the #41 Toyota. Small Sponsor is providing businesses throughout the country with the opportunity to be part of the NASCAR sponsorship community. Small Sponsor.com has created a NASCAR Marketing phenomenon that provides small businesses with a way to benefit from 70 million people each week seeing the Small Sponsor logo which is an online portal linking directly to their businesses. “We are fortunate at Mayfield Motorsports to have Small Sponsor.com as a partner. We believe that this will give us the ability to step up our program and allow us to give Small Sponsor.com the marketing presence that they are looking for” says Jeremy Mayfield. Starting today [April 29th] and for the next 30 days, Small Sponsor will be recruiting thousands of people across the country to start a new and rewarding career in sports marketing advertising. Small Sponsor will be using its own unique business model to provide an opportunity for people to work in their local area and realistically earn $40,000 per year, while, at the same time, creating a whole new segment of official NASCAR sponsors. More info at SmallSponsor.com.(Mayfield Motorsports PR)(4-30-2009)

  • Fans injured in Edwards wreck UPDATE 3: Seven spectators suffered injuries at the end of the Aaron’s 499 Sunday when the #99 Ford of Carl Edwards went airborne and slammed into the catchfence on the frontstretch. “None of the injuries are dangerous or life-threatening,” said Dr. Bobby Lewis, medical director at Talladega Superspeedway. “It’s mostly bumps and bruises with possible minor fractures.” Two women were airlifted to an area hospital, but Lewis said that was for traffic concerns and not because of the severity of their injuries. “One has a lacerated lip and possible broken jaw,” Lewis said. “The other person was not injured, but has unrelated medical problems.” When the car hit the catchfence, pieces exploded off the car as catch fencing bent back severely, but did not break. “I’m not sure if it was pieces of car or pieces of debris from the fence that hurt the spectators,” Lewis said.(ESPN)(4-26-2009)
    UPDATE on fan: A woman who was injured during a wreck at Talladega Superspeedway is listed in fair condition at UAB Hospital. Another woman who was taken to Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham for treatment of a medical condition after the wreck was discharged Sunday night. Her name was not released. A spokesman for UAB Hospital said the fan still being treated, Blake Bobbitt, was in fair condition Monday afternoon. Seven fans sustained minor injuries caused by flying debris Sunday when Carl Edwards’ car went into the safety fence on the final lap of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The other injured fans received treatment at the track and did not have to go to a hospital.(ESPN/AP)(4-27-2009)
    UPDATE 2: A teenager from the Shoals area was among the spectators injured in a crash at the Talladega Super Speedway. Blake Bobbitt, 17, of Rogersville, was one of seven NASCAR fans injured when Carl Edwards’ car went into the safety fence on the final lap of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega on Sunday. WHNT News 19 spoke exclusively with Bobbitt’s father, whose grateful that his daughter is still alive. Terry Bobbitt owns the Minnow Bucket convenience store in Rogersville. He works long hours and does not get many days off. He saw Sunday as the perfect opportunity to take a break, have a good time and escort his teenage daughter to Talladega. “It was her first trip,” says Bobbitt. Bobbitt and his daughter, Blake, landed seats on the second row. It was an exciting race. However, as it neared the end, the fun came to a crashing halt. “Basically, it was headed to us,” says Bobbitt. Carl Edwards’ race car flipped into another car and slammed into the metal safety fence – only a few feet from stunned and scared spectators. Metal debris flew everywhere. Terry and Blake took cover, but it wasn’t quick enough. “When it actually happened, I turned and I pointed to her to make sure she saw the car that was coming in the air,” says Bobbitt. “All in that same motion, I grabbed her and it took her down. I didn’t know she’d been hit at all until we got up.” A piece of metal broke Blake’s jaw. Emergency responders rushed her to UAB Hospital. Doctors performed reconstructive surgery and had to insert two plates into her jaw. As a result, her mouth will be wired shut for the next six weeks. Blake Bobbitt attends Lauderdale County High School. Her 18th birthday and graduation are both within the next month. Her parents say it’s bad timing, but still a big blessing. Terry says it’s a miracle that Blake wasn’t hurt worse. “She’s alive. I’m alive,” says Bobbitt. “That’s the main thing. We had a guardian angel over us, no doubt.” Terry Bobbitt and his wife both say that the community has been extremely supportive. Beyond that, Carl Edwards even called the hospital to check on Blake after the surgery. Terry says they’re expecting doctors to release Blake from the hospital on Wednesday.(whnt.com)(4-29-2009)
    UPDATE 3: A UAB Hospital spokeswoman said that Lauderdale County High School senior Blake Bobbitt was discharged on Wednesday. Bobbitt had reconstructive surgery to repair a broken jaw. Bobbitt’s mother said she had her lower jaw reconstructed. Blake was in the second row of the grandstands with her father when the wreck occurred.(Associated Press)(4-30-2009)

News from April 29, 2009

  • Sad News – David Poole: David Poole, NASCAR Writer for Charlotte Observer for the last 13 years, passed away today. David was one the first writers to ever help Jayski.com and myself back in 1997. No word on arrangements. Thoughts go out to David’s family.
    From the Charlotte Observer/Thatsracin: Over thousands of backstretches and hundreds of checkered flags, David Poole made himself into more than one of the nation’s leading authorities on NASCAR. He became a part of the sport he loved. “David Poole was as much a fixture in this sport as the actual cars themselves,” driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Tuesday. “He was a one-of-a-kind individual and an extremely talented writer.” Poole, who covered racing for the Observer, died of a heart attack Tuesday at his Stanly County home. He was 50. A native of Gastonia, N.C., Poole became the Observer’s NASCAR writer in 1997. He built a national following through ThatsRacin.com and a daily program he hosted on Sirius NASCAR Radio. The National Motorsports Press Association four times named him its writer of the year. He wrote about the sport with the enthusiasm of a fan and the critical eye of a journalist. “He could be controversial from time to time but he always wrote and spoke what he believed,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO Richard Childress Racing. “He didn’t pull any punches with anybody and that’s what people respected about him. He was good for the sport.”
    To honor Poole, Sirius plans to broadcast a tribute Wednesday morning. NASCAR plans a moment of silence before Saturday’s race at Richmond.
    “He was truly one of the nation’s best and he always wrote what he believed,” said Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports. “Whether you agreed with him or not, he made us all think, and that’s what the best writers do. He cared about what he did and had a passion for his work. It came through in what he wrote every day.”
    In announcing Poole’s death to a hushed newsroom Tuesday afternoon, Observer editor Rick Thames called him “the best in his field, there’s no doubt about that.” Thames said: “David Poole was the fans’ reporter, always covering NASCAR with their sensibilities in mind. Their passions were his passions. Their values, his values. If that occasionally clashed with the powerbrokers of the sport, so be it. David told it like it was. And by doing that, he made the sport richer and more genuine for all who love it.”
    After dramatic weekend crashes at Talledega – one of which sent two spectators to hospitals – Poole criticized the track’s design in a column headlined “Will it take a death for Talladega to change?
    “It seems we’ve decided we can live with that much damage being done to the sport’s customers for ‘good racing,’” he wrote. “How many people have to be listed in ‘guarded’ or ‘critical’ condition before we say that’s too much?”
    Poole graduated from journalism school at UNC Chapel Hill in 1981. He took a job at the Virginian Pilot in Norfolk but was there just two months when he got a call from the Gastonia Gazette, where he eventually became sports editor. In 1989 he left for a newspaper in Palm Beach but returned a year later for a job at the Observer in part to be closer to his family. After taking over the motorsports beat from Tom Higgins a few years later, it didn’t take him long to make his mark. “I’d go in restaurants in Mooresville and people would say, ‘Did you read what Poole wrote today?’” Higgins said. “And I’d say that’s the first thing I read.” Early last year, Poole told the story of Wessa Miller, a Kentucky girl with spina bifida and a passion for Dale Earnhardt. He recounted how in 1998 she met her idol at the Daytona 500, a race Earnhardt had never won. She gave him a lucky penny, which he glued to his dashboard before going on to win his first 500. A few months after he wrote the story, Poole learned that Wessa’s father faced unexpected heart surgery. Poole started an account called “Pennies For Wessa” to help the family through its troubles.
    Guest book: Post your condolences.(4-28-2009)
    Statement from Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO: “The NASCAR community is stunned and saddened by the loss of David Poole. David was as passionate about NASCAR as anyone and had very definitive opinions about the sport. He served the industry, and most importantly the fans, through his reporting and commentary in the Charlotte Observer and Sirius Satellite Radio. Our thoughts and prayers go out to David’s family and friends. He will be missed.”(4-29-2009)
  • David Poole Services: Visitation and Funeral Service Information for David Poole
    Receiving friends on Wed (April 29) from 6:30p-8:30pm/et (or until the last person leaves)
    McLean Funeral Home
    700 South New Hope Rd.
    Gastonia, NC 28054
    (704) 865-3451
    Service on Thursday (April 30) at 1:00pm/et
    Parkwood Baptist Church
    1729 E. Garrison Blvd.
    Gastonia, NC 28054
    (704) 864-3681
    Burial Immediately Following Service Gaston Memorial Park
    1200 S New Hope Rd
    Gastonia, NC 28054
    (704) 865-9521
    In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to: www.PenniesForWessa.org and/or www.VictoryJunction.org.(4-29-2009)

  • Poole to be honored on special Sirius Radio Show: On Wednesday, April 29th, Davod Poole’s memory will be honored with a very special tribute show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, NASCAR Channel 128 from 7:00am tp 11:00am/et. Some folks expected to be on the show include: Current & Former “TMD – The Morning Drive” with Mike Bagley, Marty Snider, Greg Biffle, Mike Helton, Cal Wells, Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Shannon Spake, Bruton Smith, David Stremme, Steve Letarte, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Jim Hunter, Brian France, Jim Utter, Monte Dutton, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Max Seigel and Juanita Miller (mother of Wessa Miller), a full replay of the show will air tonight [Wed, April 29th] at 11pm/et.(4-29-2009)

  • Gordon wins 1st Qtr Award: #24-Jeff Gordon’s fast start, and return to victory lane, turned the tide as he was voted first quarter Driver of the Year 2009. Gordon, a four-time NASCAR champion and the only four-time winner of the Driver of the Year AWARD led the Sprint Cup standings as of the date of this year’s first ballot. Although he won a single event, the Samsung 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway, his early performance impressed the elite panel of voters as he narrowly beat #18-Kyle Busch 111-107 in the vote. In the voting Gordon took eight first-place ballots and he was on every ballot. But still Kyle Busch, who drives the #18 M & M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, was a close second-place only four points behind Gordon. He received seven first-place votes. Ron Capps, who drives for Don Schumacher in the NHRA PowerAde drag racing series, scored one first place vote and was third in the voting with 66 points. Donnie Schatz and Mark Martin each scored one first-place vote. A total of 17 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting. Gordon will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date.(DOTY PR)(4-29-2009)

  • Edwards helps drive Hybrid more then 1,000 miles: A team of seven dedicated drivers, including #99-Carl Edwards, attempted and succeeded at driving the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid more than 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas this past weekend in Washington, DC in a challenge event to support JDRF. The Fusion Hybrid was driven for 69 hours, reaching 1,445.7 miles and an 81.5-mpg average. Wayne Gerdes, world record breaking hypermiling champion and founder of cleanmpg.com, was part of the team and was there to coach Carl Edwards as he took the Fusion Hybrid past the 1,000 mile mark Monday morning.(Ford Racing PR)(4-29-2009)

  • Stremme hopes to ‘Live Long and Prosper’ at Richmond: The #12 Penske Racing Dodge of David Stremme will have a new look for the Saturday night showdown at Richmond International Raceway. The car will sport a special paint scheme to help promote the up-coming theatrical release of “Star Trek.” The movie hits theaters May 7, 2009.(Penske Racing PR)(4-29-2009)

  • Gunselman Motorsports return to action at Richmond: After taking a one-race hiatus to concentrate their efforts on upcoming races; #64-Gunselman Motorsports is ready to get back to business this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Team owner Larry Gunselman and the Gunselman Group mutually decided to forego the Talladega Superspeedway race last week. Because the team is still searching for full time or one-race partnerships, the need to race smarter with what they have keeps things in check with pre-season plans. So, the plan to concentrate on the Richmond, Darlington and Charlotte races is being carried out with great attention to detail. The team feels their strengths are in their short-track program, which will be put to use with Todd Bodine driving the #64 Toyota at the .75-mile oval of Richmond this weekend. The team will be using Chassis No. 15, last used at Phoenix International Raceway that failed to make the race by a mere 1/10th of a second.(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(4-29-2009)

  • Kvapil hoping for ride soon: Travis Kvapil, sidelined since Bristol, says his Sprint Cup career is still in a holding pattern. “This is definitely where I want to be,” Kvapil said after flying into Talladega Superspeedway to serve as a relief driver for Sam Hornish Jr. “I feel like I can get it done at this level.” Four of Kvapil’s 110 career Cup starts came earlier this season in the Yates Racing #28 Ford. But a lack of sponsorship eventually led the organization to shut the team down. Yates Racing continues to field Fords for drivers #96-Bobby Labonte, in a Hall of Fame entry, and #98-Paul Menard. “The 28 deal, if we can get sponsors and get that [team] back on the track, obviously that’s first and foremost what we’d like to have happen,” Kvapil, 33, said. “If not, maybe another opportunity will come up. I felt like what we did last year – we ran well, ended up 23rd in points with very limited funding [should be worth something]. Currently, he said, there’s not much movement in relation to driver changes at the Cup level. Contact with interested parties has been virtually non-existent. “But it’s still early. If people are going to make [driver] changes, it will be probably another month or so before they do,” he said. As it turned out, Kvapil wasn’t needed at Talladega – Hornish wound up staying in the car for the duration and eventually finished 34th. “I hate to wish bad luck on anybody, but I’m ready to go,” Kvapil said. “I’m starting to get the [racing] itch real bad.”(SceneDaily)(4-29-2009)
  • Osborne Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Talladega: One of Wypall’s own, Bob Osborne, crew chief for the #99 Claritin Ford Fusion driven by Carl Edwards, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday’s tantalizing Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Osborne and team decided to “play it safe” in the 188-lap event, knowing the track’s history. Edwards started 16th, but laid back towards the back of the field most of the day. This conservative strategy was in an effort to avoid being involved in any wrecks towards the beginning of the race. With 20 laps to go and his driver in 28th, Osborne instructed Edwards to charge through the field. On the final restart, with four laps to go, Edwards had moved to ninth, and within a lap, moved to take the lead. Brad Keslowski battled Edwards on the final lap and clipped the #99 Ford as they neared the finish line, sending Carl’s car flying in to the retaining fence on the frontstretch. Although Keslowski walked away with the coveted trophy, the Osborne-led crew executed tremendous strategy and played all of the right moves to put Edwards in the position to win. 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 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.(Wypall PR)(4-29-2009)

  • Fans injured in Edwards wreck UPDATE 2: Seven spectators suffered injuries at the end of the Aaron’s 499 Sunday when the #99 Ford of Carl Edwards went airborne and slammed into the catchfence on the frontstretch. “None of the injuries are dangerous or life-threatening,” said Dr. Bobby Lewis, medical director at Talladega Superspeedway. “It’s mostly bumps and bruises with possible minor fractures.” Two women were airlifted to an area hospital, but Lewis said that was for traffic concerns and not because of the severity of their injuries. “One has a lacerated lip and possible broken jaw,” Lewis said. “The other person was not injured, but has unrelated medical problems.” When the car hit the catchfence, pieces exploded off the car as catch fencing bent back severely, but did not break. “I’m not sure if it was pieces of car or pieces of debris from the fence that hurt the spectators,” Lewis said.(ESPN)(4-26-2009)
    UPDATE on fan: A woman who was injured during a wreck at Talladega Superspeedway is listed in fair condition at UAB Hospital. Another woman who was taken to Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham for treatment of a medical condition after the wreck was discharged Sunday night. Her name was not released. A spokesman for UAB Hospital said the fan still being treated, Blake Bobbitt, was in fair condition Monday afternoon. Seven fans sustained minor injuries caused by flying debris Sunday when Carl Edwards’ car went into the safety fence on the final lap of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The other injured fans received treatment at the track and did not have to go to a hospital.(ESPN/AP)(4-27-2009)
    UPDATE 2: A teenager from the Shoals area was among the spectators injured in a crash at the Talladega Super Speedway. Blake Bobbitt, 17, of Rogersville, was one of seven NASCAR fans injured when Carl Edwards’ car went into the safety fence on the final lap of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega on Sunday. WHNT News 19 spoke exclusively with Bobbitt’s father, whose grateful that his daughter is still alive. Terry Bobbitt owns the Minnow Bucket convenience store in Rogersville. He works long hours and does not get many days off. He saw Sunday as the perfect opportunity to take a break, have a good time and escort his teenage daughter to Talladega. “It was her first trip,” says Bobbitt. Bobbitt and his daughter, Blake, landed seats on the second row. It was an exciting race. However, as it neared the end, the fun came to a crashing halt. “Basically, it was headed to us,” says Bobbitt. Carl Edwards’ race car flipped into another car and slammed into the metal safety fence – only a few feet from stunned and scared spectators. Metal debris flew everywhere. Terry and Blake took cover, but it wasn’t quick enough. “When it actually happened, I turned and I pointed to her to make sure she saw the car that was coming in the air,” says Bobbitt. “All in that same motion, I grabbed her and it took her down. I didn’t know she’d been hit at all until we got up.” A piece of metal broke Blake’s jaw. Emergency responders rushed her to UAB Hospital. Doctors performed reconstructive surgery and had to insert two plates into her jaw. As a result, her mouth will be wired shut for the next six weeks. Blake Bobbitt attends Lauderdale County High School. Her 18th birthday and graduation are both within the next month. Her parents say it’s bad timing, but still a big blessing. Terry says it’s a miracle that Blake wasn’t hurt worse. “She’s alive. I’m alive,” says Bobbitt. “That’s the main thing. We had a guardian angel over us, no doubt.” Terry Bobbitt and his wife both say that the community has been extremely supportive. Beyond that, Carl Edwards even called the hospital to check on Blake after the surgery. Terry says they’re expecting doctors to release Blake from the hospital on Wednesday.(whnt.com)(4-29-2009)

  • Special National Guard scheme for Dale Jr at RIR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a special #88 National Guard “Drive the Guard”/AMP Energy Chevy at Richmond International Raceway. Get paid, get trained and get moving in the right direction with the National Guard. The “Drive the Guard” program was developed to assist National Guard applicants in obtaining full-time employment by assisting them in completing truck driving training at an approved school. Graduates will be guaranteed employment with a motor carrier related to the Commercial Vehicle Driver Training Foundation Inc. Qualified applicants will receive a pre-hire commitment at the time of application to the commercial driver training program (CDTFI). Participants can get their commercial driver’s license, a monthly paycheck and a full-time job with a reputable trucking company while serving part-time in the National Guard, without the need to relocate. Visit www.cdtfi.org for more information. See images of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.
    May will be busy for the paint bay in the #5/88 shop as the #88 team prepares to run three special paint schemes in a row this month. After the Drive the Guard car this weekend at Richmond, Earnhardt plans to race a Mountain Dew scheme at Darlington Raceway. Finally, Earnhardt’s Dale Jr. Foundation will take the hood during the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a special design created by the 34-year-old driver. This is the final week that AMP Energy is giving fans a chance to win unique Earnhardt merchandise and VIP trips to the AMP Energy 500, which will be held in October at Talladega Superspeedway. To play, fans should enter the code found on the bottom of their AMP Energy beverage can.(HMS PR)(4-29-2009)

  • New crew chief for Sadler? this was rumored late in 2008 but didn’t happen, and am hearing it again: Todd Parrott could be heading to Richard Petty Motorsports as #19-Elliott Sadler’s crew chief. Parrott was #96=Bobby Laobite’s crew chief until last week, when he was replaced by Ben Leslie and Parrot moved back into management. Parrott was Sadler’s crew chief when he ran the #38 at Yates Racing.(4-29-2009)

  • Special scheme for Waltrip; to appear on ‘My Name is Earl: The #55 Toyota Camry of Michael Waltrip will boast a new paint scheme at Richmond and Darlington. NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads will be on the car. Adaptive One Brake Pads are designed to reduce noise and brake dust without sacrificing the ‘stop-on-a-dime’ braking power. During the month of May, NAPA is offering a great rebate on a four-wheel brake job using NAPA’s Adaptive One Brake Pads. For details, go to AdaptiveOne.com for all the rebate details. ALSO: Waltrip will make his acting debut on the first of a two-part episode of the NBC sitcom, My Name is Earl [Jayski Fave]. “Inside Probe Part 1” will air Thursday night at 8:00pm/et.(MWR PR)(4-29-2009)

  • Edwards to appear on ‘Ellen”: On Wednesday, April 29th talk show host Ellen DeGeneres welcomes NASCAR sensation #99-Carl Edwards on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Edwards joins Ellen just days after his car flipped 15 feet in the air after colliding with other cars during a race at the Talladega Speedway, this past weekend. Fortunately, after getting out of the car, Edwards safely jogged across the finish line. During his appearance, Ellen tells Carl he should take it easy so she gives a new ride of a “Cruzin Cooler” (a cooler on wheels.) Tune in to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (check ellentv.com for syndicated/local listings) on Wednesday, April 29th to catch Carl’s recap his spectacular wreck in Talladega.(The Ellen DeGeneres Show PR)(4-29-2009)
  • The Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Your Trip to RIR: 1) Plan to get here early on Race Day!
    2) What you can bring. What you can’t bring
    3) Hungry? There are plenty of new food options on race weekend
    4) Get on Pit Road, and see drivers up close and personal in fan hospitality
    5) Good times and good tunes are on the way
    6) Experience the Midway! There’s so much to do and see
    7) Let us show you the way! Download maps to get here and there quickly
    8) Getting here is easier than ever with free shuttle service
    9) Don’t miss a thing! The weekend schedule of events
    10) Don’t forget your Fan Guide and have a great time
    See the full list with explanations at rir.com.(4-29-2009)
  • AMS announces ticket specials for Pep Boys Auto 500: If you haven’t already purchased your tickets to the Pep Boys Auto 500 Sprint Cup night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the time is now. New and returning specials can be seen at atlantamotorspeedway.com. Because each ticket special features limited quantities, fans are encouraged to act now.(AMS PR)(4-29-2009)

News from April 28, 2009

  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Brad Keselowski won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.
    * Keselowski, who started ninth, led only the final lap — the first lap he has led in his Cup career. It is the first time in series history that a race winner’s first lap led was to win the race.
    * It was Keselowski’s fifth career Cup start. He is the 27th driver to win within five starts, and fourth in the modern era, joining Mark Donahue, Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray.
    * Keselowski became the 38th different race winner in 80 Cup races at Talladega. He became the 10th driver to score his first Cup win at Talladega. The last first-time Cup winner was Clint Bowyer at New Hampshire in September 2007.
    * Keselowski’s victory is the first Cup win by Phoenix Racing in 117 races. This was Keselowski’s first start in the #09 of Phoenix Racing. He did not qualify at Daytona earlier this year. This was the fifth race for the #09 this season. The team DNQ’d in the other four.
    * Chevrolet has dominated at Talladega with 34 victories, followed by Ford with 17, Dodge with three and Toyota with two.
    * A Chevrolet has won 18 of the past 21 races at Talladega.
    * The 57 lead changes were the 10th most at Talladega. The all-time record of 75 came here in May 1984.
    * Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished second, posting his third top-10 finish in 2009. It marked his best finish of the season.
    * This is the fourth victory for Chevrolet in 2009, all in the past four races.
    * Kurt Busch (sixth) took over as the leader of the Cup standings by five points over second-place Jeff Gordon. This is the first time Busch has led the points since he led after Las Vegas in March 2005, 149 races ago.
    * Ryan Newman (third) posted his first top-5 finish in 2009.
    * Marcos Ambrose (fourth) scored his second career top-5 in 20 career races. It is his best finish in 2009.
    * Scott Speed (fifth) was the highest-finishing rookie. This was the first time a rookie of the year contender has finished in the top 10 since David Ragan finished 10th at Homestead in November 2007. Joey Logano finished 10th. The last time there were two rookies to finish in the top 10 was when there were three at Homestead in November 2006.
    * Jeff Burton (10th) has scored seven straight top-15 finishes.
    * Elliott Sadler (19th) posted his best finish since finishing fifth at Daytona. Sadler has finished 20th or worse in the seven non-restrictor-plate races.
    * Denny Hamlin (22nd) ended a streak of five straight top-15 finishes.
    * Tony Stewart (23rd) ended a streak of three straight top-5 finishes.
    * Jeff Gordon (37th) posted his worst finish of the season. He has finished 13th or better in seven of the nine races this season.
    * Mark Martin (43rd) ended a streak of four straight top-10 finishes that dated to Bristol.
    * The top 10 consisted of four Chevrolets, four Toyotas, one Dodge and one Ford.(ESPN)(4-28-2009)

  • Goodyear returns to Indy to test tires this week: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Wednesday to continue its testing program for this year’s Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track this July 24-26. This week’s one-day session is a continuation from a rain-shortened test at the Speedway last week. Goodyear held three different sessions at Indianapolis last September to begin the testing program, and made some good strides toward this year’s tire recommendation at that time. After the long winter, the tire manufacturer picked up where it left off at the historic, 2.5-mile track. Rain slowed the on-track activity last Monday and Tuesday, forcing Goodyear and the four Sprint Cup teams it was working with to stay through Wednesday. Participating last week were #17-Matt Kenseth (Ford), #39-Ryan Newman (Chevrolet), #43-Reed Sorenson (Dodge) and #83-Brian Vickers (Toyota).
    “The goal was to build upon what we’ve learned up to this point. We started last week on the control tire from last fall, the one that enabled us to make some 25-lap runs at the time. We went on to evaluate some additional compounds and constructions and we just didn’t see the same results,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s Director of Race Tire Sales. “The one thing we know that changed over the winter was the amount of rubber on the race track. Our test last week was the first on-track activity since our fall tests, and the race track is much greener than we saw at that time. We’re not getting the wear levels we’d like to see at this point.”
    As a result, Goodyear has decided to return to Indianapolis for a continuation test this coming Wednesday. “The track worked with us, the teams have worked with us and our guys at the Goodyear Tech Center have produced some additional development tires in just a few days so we can continue our testing this week,” said Stucker. “Even though the wear wasn’t the same as we saw last fall, the drivers were happy with the handling characteristics of this set-up. Our challenge right now is to not overreact to last week’s results because we know the track will be different after the Indianapolis 500 in May. That’s why we have a multi-car confirmation test scheduled in June in preparation for our race in July.“
    Three of the four teams from last week will return this Wednesday for the continuation test — those of Kenseth, Newman and Vickers. Sorenson and his team could not make it back this week and will be replaced by #9-Kasey Kahne. “Like all tire testing at Goodyear, this is a process,” said Stucker. “Our goal is to always bring the best performing, most competitive tires to the race track. Indy certainly presents a challenge and we are committed to getting it right.”(Goodyear PR)(4-28-2009)

  • Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Format Remains Same
    The 2009 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, a fan-friendly event that features competition between the series’ top pit crews, is scheduled for 7:00pm/et Thursday, May 14 at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online at www.pitcrewchallenge.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 495-2295. SPEED’s broadcast of the event begins at 9:00pm/et.
    Returning for its fifth consecutive year, the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman is the only indoor event sanctioned by NASCAR and is one of the highlights of the week leading up to the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday, May 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The format for this year’s event remains the same as a year ago.
    Eligibility:
    All teams qualified for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, which includes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners from 2008 and 2009, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners of the past 10 years and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions of the past 10 years who are active drivers and have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event during the 2008 or 2009 season. Also eligible is the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge winner. If there are no new event winners, the remaining unfilled positions will become available to the car owners ranked highest in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner point standings as of May 13, 2009, who are not otherwise eligible for this event.
    The current eligible teams are: #2 Miller Lite Dodge; #5 Kellogg’s Chevy; #09 Miccosukee Chevy; #9 Budweiser Dodge; #11 FedEx Toyota; #14 Office Depot Chevy; #16 3M Ford; #17 DeWALT Ford; #18 Mars Toyota; #24 DuPont Chevy; #29 Shell Chevy; #31 Caterpillar Chevy; #33 General Mills Chevy; #39 Army Chevy; #48 Lowe’s Chevy; #83 Red Bull Toyota; #88 Amp/National Guard Chevy; #96 Ask.com Ford; and #99 Aflac Ford.(PR), see the rules on my Pit Crew News page.(4-28-2009)

  • ESPN’S NASCAR Coverage Earns 19th Sports Emmy Award: ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR earned its 19th Sports Emmy Award, among five presented to ESPN by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Monday night in New York. The NASCAR award was for Technical Team Studio in the 2008 season and honored the ESPN Pit Studio and Craftsman Tech Garage, two mobile studio facilities utilized across ESPN platforms. “We’re humbled that our efforts associated with both the ESPN Pit Studio and the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage were recognized,” said Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports. “Both are unique in our industry and are used as key elements of our NASCAR coverage.” For its NASCAR Countdown studio shows that precede all NASCAR race telecasts, ESPN originates from the Pit Studio. The studio, which weighs nearly 78,000 pounds and travels all season, allows ESPN to bring the look and feel of its Bristol, Conn.,-based studio shows such as SportsCenter and Sunday NFL Countdown to the tracks. Host Allen Bestwick and analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty man the pit studio for ESPN. The mobile pit studio is outfitted with state-of-the-art LED lighting, robotic HD cameras and a dramatic, contoured, video display fronting the anchor desk. Situated near the pits at every track, the studio is elevated 14 feet while in use and 30 foot glass windows give viewers a look at the cars, grandstands and pageantry prior to the race start. The ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage is an enclosed studio that contains two ESPN Chevy Cutaway Cars. The studio also has room for displays of other race car elements such as engines, transmissions and shock absorbers. ESPN’s Tim Brewer, a two-time NASCAR champion crew chief, and other ESPN analysts report from the Tech Garage during race telecasts to help viewers better understand the technical and mechanical aspects of NASCAR racing. The ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage allows ESPN to present segments in the telecasts that originate from an enclosed, controlled environment with no exterior interference, adding to the viewing experience and giving NASCAR fans more information. ESPN has now won 128 Sports Emmy Awards in 21 years of eligibility.(ESPN PR)(4-28-2009)

  • Some Sprint Cup Driver Notes:
    • #2-Kurt Busch is the new points leader, overtaking #24-Jeff Gordon by five points. Gordon held the top spot for the last six races. Busch, after a Talladega finish of sixth, assumes the lead for the first time since March 13, 2005.
    • #5-Mark Martin’s victory parade is short lived. After his win at Phoenix, Martin moved to 13th-place. But after only his sixth 43rd-place finish in 731 starts, Martin fell 18th. He is now 92 points outside the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cut-off.
    • #39-Ryan Newman lands on the Chase bubble. Newman, who finished third at Talladega, has shrugged off a slow start that saw four consecutive finishes outside the top 20. He is now just 30 points outside the top 12. Only six races ago, Newman was 32nd in the points.
    • #16-Greg Biffle and #9-Kasey Kahne are going in opposite directions. Biffle, off three consecutive top 10s, is back in the top 12. Kahne, coming off four consecutive finishes outside the top 10, got bounced from the top 12 and sits 14th.
    • #47-Marcos Ambrose is the biggest mover this week, vaulting seven spots up the standings. His fourth-place finish at Talladega (which was his second career top five) moved him into the top 20.(NASCAR PR)(4-28-2009)

  • Team Owner Larry McClure sentenced: As he was about to be sentenced Monday for federal income tax fraud, those in the courtroom stood up for Larry McClure [owner of the #4 Chevy in Sprint Cup Series, three Daytona 500 wins]. Supporters of the motorsports icon filled the courtroom, which was too small to hold them. Family members, friends, giants of the stock car racing world – around 50 people– spilled into the hallway, stood on benches and stood shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with McClure and his family. Junior Johnson, the fabled moonshiner-turned-dirt track racer and NASCAR team owner, turned out. Joy Stata, a Florida native, was there to support the man who put her hometown of Bartow on the racing map. Jeff Byrd, president of Bristol Motor Speedway, stood outside, having arrived too late to get a seat.
    Inside the courtroom of Judge James P. Jones, McClure made his last public mea culpa. “I’d like to apologize to you, the court,” he told Jones, chief judge for the Western District of Virginia. “To the opposing counsel, to my family, my God. His will be done, whatever you decide.” Jones’ decision ushered in a stunned silence, punctuated by sniffles: McClure will serve 18 months in prison, the low end of the sentencing range. For McClure’s supporters, it was a crushing end to a three-year criminal investigation that has taken a toll on him personally and financially. McClure pleaded guilty in January to five counts of filing a false income tax return, obstructing the federal investigation and lying to Internal Revenue Service investigators.
    In addition to the prison time, McClure was fined $40,000, ordered to reimburse the IRS $25,000 for its investigation, and to pay nearly $60,000 in restitution to Eastman-Kodak for filing a false invoice. He was also ordered to refile his personal income tax returns for 2002, 2003 and 2004. During those years, McClure admitted to accepting $269,000 in cash payments from a friend in exchange for services provided by Morgan-McClure Motorsports, of which McClure is a part owner. He did not report the income to the corporation or on his personal tax returns, and owes the government just over $100,000. (Bristol Herald Courier)(4-28-2009)
  • Sad News – Pamela Roberts Trivette: Pamela Roberts Trivette, the only child of the late NASCAR legend Glenn “Fireball” Roberts, died Sunday at her home in Rockledge. The cause of death has not been announced. She was 58. Fireball Roberts, of course, is the Apopka native who became one of the first NASCAR superstars, winning 33 races, including the Daytona 500. He died on July 2, 1964, after being badly burned in a crash at Charlotte weeks earlier. Pam, as she was known to the NASCAR community, was active in Daytona Beach-area historical functions, and maintained a Web site dedicated to her father at www.fireball22.com. Motorsports historian Roland Via has a tribute to Pam at the Web site he maintains, www.fireballroberts.com, which also has a link to an excellent profile on Pam by Florida Today writer Mark DeCotis, which talks about the book she was writing on her father.(Orlando Sentinel)(4-28-2009)
  • Centennial Era Balloon Festival at Indy: The famed Energizer Bunny “Hot Hare” Balloon – the world’s tallest hot air balloon – will be among the many colorful participants in the Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Real Yellow Pages on May 1-3 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The “Hot Hare” likeness of the Energizer Bunny, which has been the star of entertaining Energizer Battery commercials since October 1989, stands at 175 feet when fully inflated – 25 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. The balloon, along with many other colorful hot air balloons, will participate in a full weekend of activities as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway kicks off its Centennial Era celebration, honoring the founding and construction of the iconic Speedway in 1909. The Centennial Era Balloon Festival presented by AT&T Real Yellow Pages will feature balloon “glows” open to the public Friday night, May 1 and Saturday night, May 2, plus balloon races Saturday morning, May 2 and Sunday morning, May 3. It’s an appropriate start to the Centennial Era, as a balloon event on June 5, 1909 was the first competitive event to take place at IMS.
    Tickets for the three events in 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the Indianapolis 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP – can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time.(IMS PR)(4-28-2009)

News from April 27, 2009

  • Fans injured in Edwards wreck UPDATE: Seven spectators suffered injuries at the end of the Aaron’s 499 Sunday when the #99 Ford of Carl Edwards went airborne and slammed into the catchfence on the frontstretch. “None of the injuries are dangerous or life-threatening,” said Dr. Bobby Lewis, medical director at Talladega Superspeedway. “It’s mostly bumps and bruises with possible minor fractures.” Two women were airlifted to an area hospital, but Lewis said that was for traffic concerns and not because of the severity of their injuries. “One has a lacerated lip and possible broken jaw,” Lewis said. “The other person was not injured, but has unrelated medical problems.” When the car hit the catchfence, pieces exploded off the car as catch fencing bent back severely, but did not break. “I’m not sure if it was pieces of car or pieces of debris from the fence that hurt the spectators,” Lewis said.(ESPN)(4-26-2009)
    UPDATE on fan: A woman who was injured during a wreck at Talladega Superspeedway is listed in fair condition at UAB Hospital. Another woman who was taken to Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham for treatment of a medical condition after the wreck was discharged Sunday night. Her name was not released. A spokesman for UAB Hospital said the fan still being treated, Blake Bobbitt, was in fair condition Monday afternoon. Seven fans sustained minor injuries caused by flying debris Sunday when Carl Edwards’ car went into the safety fence on the final lap of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The other injured fans received treatment at the track and did not have to go to a hospital.(ESPN/AP)(4-27-2009)

  • Talladega Catch-fence to be evaulated: Talladega Superspeedway officials will evaluate to see if the catch-fence system involved on the spectacular last-lap crash in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race needs to be heightened, track president Rick Humphrey said Monday. #99-Carl Edwards’ car went airborne into the fence after a nudge by winner Brad Keselowski coming off Turn 4, leaving seven people with non-life threatening injuries. Two women were airlifted to area hospitals. One was released on Sunday night and another remained hospitalized on Monday in “fair condition” with a possible fractured jaw. Humphrey said the poles and cables, while bent, did not appear to come unattached. That left him to speculate that those injured were struck by pieces from Edwards’ car. Humphrey said the track will evaluate whether the height of the catch fence needs to be adjusted to prevent debris from reaching the stands. The Talladega fence was approximately 14 feet from the ground to the top. The distance from the track to the top of the fence at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte is 21 feet. LMS went from a catch-fence system that was 15 feet tall with three feet of hangover to 21 feet with six feet of hangover after parts of an IRL car went into stands during a 1999 race. Three were killed and eight injured in that incident. “We certainly will look at that and see if any of that needs to change and if it would have made any difference [Sunday] … what would have happened had the fence been higher,” Humphrey said. Humphrey said the fence is in the process of being reconstructed in time for a weekend driving school. He said no decisions will be made on whether the system needs to be adjusted until officials have looked at it from all perspectives. “The system in place did its job,” Humphrey said. “It is designed to put the race car back on the track and it certainly did. But we’ll certainly continue to look at videos and all that we have to see if there is anything else that needs to be done.” That includes looking to see if fans need to be moved further from the racing surface. “We’ll look at everything to see what we can do to prevent this,” Humphrey said. “Let me just say how fortunate we feel and how blessed we are that nobody was really hurt seriously.” Humphrey understands there are concerns about safety concerns in general at Talladega. He has read comments from drivers and media members, some suggesting the track should be blown up and rebuilt from scratch. “Racing is a dangerous sport in general,” he said. “Certainly, Talladega has created some very exciting racing and exciting finishes and along the way there have been some incidents that people have been rather outspoken about. “We’ve had several caution-free races here, too. The racing here is unique. I don’t think anything drastic needs to happen,” he said. Humphrey said NASCAR officials, who plan to address the finish later in the day, appeared satisfied that the system in place worked. “We’ll continue to have discussions to see what, if anything, needs to be done,” Humphrey said. “The answer is not to blow the place up and start over.”(ESPN)(4-27-2009)

  • Talladega Overnight TV Ratings down: NASCAR on Fox earned a 4.5/11 Sunday for racing from Talladega, FOX’s best NASCAR overnight in seven weeks but also -13% lower than last year’s 5.2/11 for the same race. In the overnights the Talladega race tied with ABC’s Cavaliers-Pistons game as the highest-rated event of the weekend. The race rated a 4.1/10 at green flag, which is just -7% off last year’s initial tune-in (4.4/10). Yesterday’s exciting race peaked at a 5.8/13 at 5:30. That’s -11% lower than last year’s peak of a 6.5/14. Season-to-date, NASCAR’s 4.9/10 average in the metered markets trails last year’s 5.7/11 by -14%.(4-27-2009), see race-by-race chart and more on my 2009 TV Ratings page.

  • Bye-Bye Pontiac? UPDATE gone: General Motors Corp., surviving on $15.4 billion in federal loans, is expected to announce Monday that it will kill the Pontiac brand but keep GMC as part of a tougher restructuring plan being overseen by the government, sources familiar with the automaker’s plan said Friday. GM has started reaching out to Pontiac dealers ahead of a public announcement about the brand’s future, when the automaker likely will also outline permanent plant closures, more job cuts and a tougher offer to bondholders to slash the automaker’s $28 billion in unsecured debt.(Detroit News)
    BUT: As General Motors Corp. races to come up with another turnaround plan, there has been growing speculation that the Detroit automaker will drop its Pontiac brand. The company tried to pat down those reports Friday with a statement saying it has not yet announced any changes to its long-term viability plan. “GM is continuing to review its restructuring plan to go further and faster and best ensure its future success,” the company said in a statement. “Additional information will be released as any decisions are finalized.”(Detorit Free Press)(4-25-2009)
    UPDATE – gone: General Motors Corp. will cut an additional 7,000 to 8,000 factory jobs in the United States, kill the Pontiac brand and shed 2,600 dealers by 2010 under a revised business plan developed with the Obama administration and announced today. GM Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson said the Pontiac brand would be closed by 2010, calling it an “extremely personal decision.” In addition to speeding up decisions on Saturn, Saab and Hummer, GM will be left with four brands – Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.(Detroit Free Press)(4-27-2009), Pontiac ran in many Sprint Cup races, winning 155 races before leaving the sport after the 2003 season. See past news on my Pontiac News Page.

  • Rookie’s run well at Talladega: #82-Scott Speed scored a fifth-place finish in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, his best finish in 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts. #20-Joey Logano grabbed a ninth-place finish, his best effort in 12 Sprint Cup Series starts and his first top-10. #13-Max Papis was credited with an 18th-place finish, his best in five Sprint Cup Series starts and first ever lead lap finish. All three Raybestos Rookies scored their best career Sprint Cup Series finish in today’s race at Talladega: Speed, Logano and Max Papis. Logano claimed a ninth-place finish while Papis was credited with 18th-place. All three drivers finished on the lead lap. Speed grabbed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the third time this season. Logano leads Speed by eight points (98-90) in the Raybestos Rookie standings. Speed became the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish since David Ragan placed third in the 2007 Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway, a span of 54 races. Speed became the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the spring race at Talladega since Kurt Busch placed third in 2001. Speed and Logano became the first pair of Raybestos Rookie to finish in the top-10 in the spring race at Talladega since 1980 [Lake Speed (no relation) and Jody Ridley](Camp and Assoc PR)(4-27-2009)

  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer has been running at the finish in 82 consecutive races [the team fixed the car after the wreck at Talladega and Bowyer finished the race], the longest current streak and the new modern era record [he was tied with #29-Harvick at 81], next up is #78-Regan Smith at 46 [but has not run all the 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 [Beam didn’t run all the races, but didn’t DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 81 [he also has the 3rd longest at 58], then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(4-27-2009)

  • #47 crew member returns after suspension: The crew member who chased a tire across pit road has returned from a four-race suspension and is in the pits at Talladega Superspeedway. Jimmy Watts returned on Sunday as the gas man on #47-Marcos Ambrose’s crew. He is still on probation through the end of the year. Watts chased a rolling tire across pit road and into the infield grass when it got away from Ambrose’s stall at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He put on his apron required of all gas men and went to work shortly before the green flag dropped at Talladega. NASCAR had suspended Watts under a rule that prohibits crew members from going onto the racetrack while cars are racing or while cars are running under yellow or red flags.(Associated Press)(4-27-2009)

  • Quickest wins by a driver: When #09-Brad Keselowski won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, it was in his 5th career start. Jamie McMurray holds the modern era record for fastest to win when he won in his second start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Oct 2002, and John Rostek won in his 2nd career start in April 1960 at Arizona State Fairgrounds. Kevin Harvick won in his third start, when he won at Atlanta in March 2001 as did Dan Gurney in 1963. Three drivers won in their first start: Johnny Rutherford won a Daytona Qualifying race in his first start back in 1963, back then the Qualifier races counted as wins and the championship and points. Jack White won in his first start in 1949, the 5th race of the season and of course Jim Roper won in his first start, the first race ever held by NASCAR in 1949.(4-27-2009)

News from April 26, 2009

  • UPSET – Keselowski wins at Talladega: #09-Brad Keselowski won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway for his first ever career win in only his fifth career start after a wild, wild ending. #99-Edwards and #09-Keselowski drafted past his Nationwide Series boss, #88-Earnhardt Jr. and #39-Newman [who was infront of the #88], and it was just Keselowski and Edwards going for the win, Keselowski went high to pass, Edwards moved over to block and Keselowski moved down and got a run on Edwards and went low, got into Edwards and past the #99. Edwards got sideways and the car got airborne up against the fence and rode the fence for about 30 feet, but the fence held and Edwards got out of the car and jogged to the start-finish line. It was the first ever win in the Sprint Cup series for the #09 and for car owner James Finch [Phoenix Racing]. #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd, followed by #39-Newman [who’s car was trashed when Edwards car bounced off the hood, Newman got across the line], #47-Ambrose, #82-Speed, #2-Busch, #16-Biffle, #83-Vickers, #20-Logano and #31-Burton. There were two “Big One’s” collecting points leader #24-Gordon and #48-Johnson. There were 9 cautions for 33 laps and there were 57 lead changes among 25 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more on the Talladega Race Results Page.(4-26-2009)
  • #09 is the 101st car number to win: when Brad Keselowski won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 26, 2009, it was the first Sprint Cup win ever for a car number 09, being the 101st different car number [as far as I can calculate] that has won in the Cup series. It was also Brad Keselowski’s first Cup Series win. See all the wins by car numbers on my Wins by Car Numbers page.(4-26-2009)
  • Eight fans injured in Edwards wreck: Eight spectators suffered injuries at the end of the Aaron’s 499 Sunday when the #99 Ford of Carl Edwards went airborne and slammed into the catchfence on the frontstretch. “None of the injuries are dangerous or life-threatening,” said Dr. Bobby Lewis, medical director at Talladega Superspeedway. “It’s mostly bumps and bruises with possible minor fractures.” Two women were airlifted to an area hospital, but Lewis said that was for traffic concerns and not because of the severity of their injuries. “One has a lacerated lip and possible broken jaw,” Lewis said. “The other person was not injured, but has unrelated medical problems.” When the car hit the catchfence, pieces exploded off the car as catch fencing bent back severely, but did not break. “I’m not sure if it was pieces of car or pieces of debris from the fence that hurt the spectators,” Lewis said.(ESPN)(4-26-2009)
  • UNOFFICAL Driver Points Standings [after Talladega, race 9 of 36]:
    1) #2-Kurt Busch, 1299 [1 win]
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon, 1294, -5 [1 win]
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 1235, -64 [1 win]
    4) #14-Tony Stewart, 1232, -67
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin, 1193, -106
    6) #18-Kyle Busch, 1124,-175 [2 wins]
    7) #99-Carl Edwards, 1119, -180
    8) #33-Clint Bowyer, 1098, -201
    9) #31-Jeff Burton, 1092, -207
    10) #16-Greg Biffle, -1081, -218
    11) #00-David Reutimann, 1077, -222
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth, 1063, -236 [2 wins]
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #39-Ryan Newman 1033, 30 points out of 12th 14) #9-Kasey Kahne, 1030, -33
    15) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1018, -45
    16) #42-Juan Montoya, 1018, -45
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(4-26-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Talladega:
    Brad Keselowski won the Aaron’s 499, his first victory in five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in one races at Talladega Superspeedway.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. (second) posted his 11th top-10 finish in 19 races at Talladega Superspeedway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2009.
    Ryan Newman (third) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 15 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
    Scott Speed (fifth) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Kurt Busch leads the point standings by 5 points over Jeff Gordon.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-26-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Richmond:
    no changes in who is in and who is out BUT #82-Speed moves to 36th and is only 18 points out of 35th
    33) #20-Logano/Gibbs: 753, +118
    34) #34-Andretti/Earnhart Ganassi: 676, +41
    35) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 653, 18 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 635, 18 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 594, -59
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(4-26-2009)
  • Infraction Sheet – Talladega Superspeedway
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #82, 0, Safety violation, 1 lap, work before green flag
    #83, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #99, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #19, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #13, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #43, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #96, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #07, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #78, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #09, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #00, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #31, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #18, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #55, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #39, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #31, 29, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #31, 43, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #99, 43, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #55, 43, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #2, 61, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #00, 147, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #1, 172, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #17, 179, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #55, 179, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #77, 179, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #11, 179, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #12, 179, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #48, 179, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #42, 179, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #16, 181, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #18 302, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    (NASCAR Statistics)(4-26-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Talladega: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #82-Speed, 5th
    Caution 2: none awarded
    Caution 3: #44-Allmendinger, 35th
    Caution 4: #31-Burton, 10th
    Caution 5: #31-Burton (2), 10th
    Caution 6: #98-Menard, 13th
    Caution 7: #43-Sorenson, 11th
    Caution 8: #34-Andretti, 27th
    Caution 9: NONE awarded when there are 10 laps or less left
    (4-26-2009)
  • The Big One II: on lap 180, #11-Hamlin got into #42-Montoya, turning Montoya that started the 2nd ‘Big One’, collecting (hd)=heavy damage: #48-Johnson (hd), #55-Waltrip (hd), #1-Truex Jr. (hd), #96-Labonte (hd), #7-Gordon (hd), #12-Stremme (hd), #41-Mayfield (hd) and #77-Hornish Jr.(4-26-2009)
  • The Big One: only seven laps in to the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, the ‘big one’ [wreck] happened when #17-Kensth, just ahead of #24-Gordon, moved up a tad and into the front of Gordon, sending the #24 info the wall, collecting the following drivers (hd)=heavy damage: #5-Martin (hd), #29-Harvick (hd), #26-McMurray (hd), #36-Riggs (hd), #71-Gilliland (hd), #33-Bowyer (hd), #07-Mears, #9-Kahne (hd), #14-Stewart, #19-Sadler, #83-Vickers, #2-Busch, #13-Papis, #44-Allmendinger, #96-Labonte, #18-Busch.(4-26-2009)
  • Hornish Jr. has flu, Kvapil to stand by: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. has the flu and Travis Kvapil was flown to Talladega to stand by and has been fitted in the #77 Dodge. Hornish Jr. scheduled to start 4th, will start the car and is in the infield care center getting fluids. Hornish Jr. and the team will decide when Kvapil will take over, if he takes over.(SPEED NASCAR Raceday)(4-26-2009)
  • Pit Stall Selections – Talladega: The selections for pit stalls of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway have been made. Pole sitter #42-Montoya chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], while outside pole sitter #16-Biffle took pit stall 29, the second next stall with an opening in front of it and #1-Truex Jr., who starts 3rd, took pit stall 17, which is the first stall with an opening in front of it [after stall 1]. #82-Speed who starts 8th, chose the final pit stall. See the pit selection chart on the Talladega Pit Stall Selection chart.(4-26-2009)

  • Latest on the future of the #8 car: Steve Lauletta, president of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, says that efforts continue to find sponsorship for the #8 car [with driver Aric Almirola] that the team quit running earlier this month. “I’m hoping that something’s going to come forward pretty quick,” Lauletta said. “I think what we’re looking at right now is a second half of the season into 2010 if we can get one of these deals done.”(Roanoke Times)(4-26-2009)

  • Goodyear still looking for right compound for Indy: NASCAR and Goodyear made progress in finding a suitable tire for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but drivers who participated in testing at the 2.5-mile oval this week said work remains to solve the durability issues that turned last year’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard into a debacle. Ryan Newman of Stewart-Haas Racing said teams worked through several compounds and constructions bud “didn’t really see anything that is ideal.” Red Bull Racing’s Brian Vickers said the tires lasted longer than in the 2008 race but not as long enough for a full fuel run. Last season, NASCAR had to throw a caution flag every 10 to 12 laps to avoid blowouts. “It was an embarrassment for the sport, and I commend NASCAR and Goodyear (for) going above and beyond to try to get this problem fixed,” Vickers said. “They’re looking for perfection. Unfortunately from what I’ve seen, we’re going to have a fast tire. There’s just no way around it. When you make these tires slower and harder, they just slide across the pavement and because of that grooving it just turns into a shredder. So we’re going to have to have a softer, faster tire that essentially will grip the track instead of sliding across it to make it last.”(USA Today)(4-26-2009)

  • Hamlin to open two car washes in Virginia: Denny Hamlin announced the April 29th grand opening date of two, full-service car washes to bear his name in Hamlin’s home state of Virginia. The two Denny Hamlin’s Speed Wash centers are located in the Richmond suburb of Midlothian and 68 miles north in the town of Fredericksburg. Each racing-themed Denny Hamlin’s Speed Wash will feature unique Hamlin racing memorabilia such as driver suits, race car parts, photos and merchandise. In addition, car wash fundraising efforts tied to the Denny Hamlin Foundation will benefit the Richmond area community. Hamlin, a Richmond native, is scheduled to appear at one of the car washes, see my Driver Appearances page for more info.(MMI PR)(4-28-2009)
  • Daytona 500 – Super Bowl Conflict coming? Plans to expand the NFL’s regular season could very well wind up putting the Super Bowl on the weekend that’s also the traditional date for NASCAR’s premiere event, the Daytona 500, based on comments from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Speaking Friday in a meeting with Associated Press Sports Editors before this weekend’s draft in New York City, Goodell outlined a scenario for the extended regular season that would push the Super Bowl back to President’s Day weekend. It would have two preseason games in August, down from the current four. That would be followed by an open week on Labor Day weekend, followed by the opening week of the regular season. “We have not found a saturation point for pro football, which is a good thing,” Goodell said. “I don’t want to be around if we do.” NASCAR’s position on an expanded NFL regular-season and a possible conflict with the Daytona 500 hasn’t changed. “We’re aware of the proposal and are watching to see what happens,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said.(Charlotte Observer)(4-26-2009)

  • Hylton OK: ARCA driver James Hylton was released from Birmingham’s Brookwood Medical Center on Saturday afternoon after an overnight stay. Full details were not available, but most thought his admittance was mostly a precautionary measure. And when you’re dealing with a individual in Hyton’s situation — being 74 years old — every precaution should be taken. Hylton held his own on Friday in the ARCA RE/MAX 250 for his age, and actually for anyone’s age, finishing 15th. As a precautionary measure, Hylton was taken to the infield car center when he got out of his car. Hylton has run in all of the major racing series and started his racing career in 1954. He won NASCAR’s Cup rookie of the year honors in 1966 [and two Cup races].(Alabama Live)(4-26-2009)
  • some schemes added: #33 The Hartford#41 Big Red and #42 Tums
  • Aaron’s Extends Title Sponsorship at Talladega Superspeedway: Talladega Superspeedway announced that Aaron’s Rents, Inc. has extended its contract for title sponsorship on both the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The nation’s leader in rental sales and lease ownership activated a clause in its contract that allows the company to extend its role as title sponsor for multiple years. “Aaron’s has been a great partner to Talladega Superspeedway since 2002,” said Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey. “We are excited that they have decided to extend their contract with us and we look forward to welcoming our fans to the Aaron’s 312 and Aaron’s 499 for years to come.”
    “Aaron’s has realized great value partnering with Talladega Superspeedway and producing one of the premier event weekends on the NASCAR schedule, The Aaron’s Dream Weekend.” Stated Robin Loudermilk, Chief Executive Officer of Aaron’s, Inc. “Taking advantage of the option to extend our partnership allows Aaron’s to continue to have a high-profile marketing platform through 2013. Rick Humphrey and his staff have been very accommodating and we appreciate all of their efforts that help make the Aaron’s Dream Weekend such a great experience for all of our guests and those that attend this tremendous facility. We look forward to continuing to build on what we have developed here since 2002.”(TSS PR)(4-26-2009)
  • “Big One” Ticket Buster Monday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Officials at Lowe’s Motor Speedway are ready to roll the dice on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday afternoon at Talladega, and the fans will be the winners. Starting Monday at noon, Lowe’s Motor Speedway will sale 1,000 tickets combined to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16 and the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 at a price equal to the number of cars involved in the biggest wreck at Talladega. Fans must call 1-800-455-FANS or come to the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office to take advantage of the special offer. “The talk around the Talladega race is always about ‘The Big One,'” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “But Sunday, if only a few drivers get caught up in the biggest wreck, the deal on Monday is that much sweeter. Plus, it gives the fans a chance to save some real money on another ‘Big One,’ the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600.” Following the race, Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials will announce the special price for the Monday ticket offer. Ticket packages and payment plan options for both events are available through the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(4-26-2009)
  • RIR keeps focus on fan experience: Richmond International Raceway (RIR) is known for exciting night racing “under the lights,” and fans can expect to once again see some of the best and most entertaining racing in all of motorsports during the upcoming NASCAR Doubleheader weekend May 1-2. But, the commitment to the fan experience is one of the main reasons why RIR is known as America’s Premier Short Track. The track has continued to focus on improving the fan experience and fans can also expect the same great guest service during their upcoming visit. At Richmond International Raceway, it’s all about the fans.
    After listening to its fans and due to the economic conditions, earlier this year RIR announced a ticket price restructuring for Sprint Cup Series tickets in the Henrico Grandstand. Tickets currently on sale for the May 2 Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race start at $40. The $40 restructured price reflects a 50% decrease from the May 2008 price.
    RIR officials also worked with hotels in the region to promote special lodging rates and offers to race fans. Track officials reached out to area hotel owners and management and offered the opportunity to promote compelling lodging deals to race fans. The hotel offers for race weekend can be found online at: www.rir.com/hotelspecialoffers/. Some of the 2009 race weekend rates are 20-50% lower compared to 2008 race weekend prices, and many of the hotels on the list have reduced or eliminated the minimum stay requirement for the upcoming May race weekend.
    Additionally, for fans flying to Richmond from out of town, AirTran Airways is offering 10% off flights to Richmond International Airport for ticket holders to the NASCAR doubleheader weekend. Ticket holders received information about the reduced airfare with their tickets. For additional information on the AirTran program, please contact the RIR ticket office at 866-455-RACE.
    At the track, RIR recently announced an extensive list of new and unique concession options available to fans, as well as reduced prices on some traditional items. The list of new offers includes several options that will be available exclusively to fans at RIR, including the Richmond Raceway Dog, a Crabcake Sandwich and the Raceway Rib Sandwich. Additional new items to be rolled out in May include a two-piece fried chicken meal, a catfish and hushpuppy basket, Boardwalk French Fries, and Famous Dave’s Barbeque. Several new value meals will be available as well, including a jumbo barbeque sandwich with cole slaw, chips and a drink; a cheeseburger meal with chips and a drink; and the Boss Dog meal, featuring an enormous 1/3 pound hot dog, chips and a drink. There is also now a kids meal, featuring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Oreo cookies, a fruit cup and a Capri Sun drink.
    On Friday, the Charlie Daniels Band will perform a free concert on the midway at 5:15 p.m. at the Lipton display area, located near the flag pole in the center of the Midway. The Charlie Daniels Band concert is just one of many great activities to enjoy during the NASCAR doubleheader weekend out in the Midway. In addition to the concert, the Midway features free interactive displays and games, give-aways, product samples and souvenir stands with RIR gear and driver merchandise. Additionally, Chevy Fan Fest will be taking place on the Midway with show cars, games and more all weekend.
    The Commandant’s Own Marine Drum & Bugle Corps will perform their always-stunning rendition of the National Anthem prior to the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 Sprint Cup Series race. And as always, automobile parking in all of the RIR parking lots is free to fans with race tickets, and fans can continue to bring their own food and drinks into RIR. Tickets are on sale now for the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the Lipton Tea 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and can be purchased by logging on to www.rir.com or calling 866-455-RACE (7223).(RIR PR)(4-26-2009)

News from April 25, 2009

  • Montoya wins pole at Talladega: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a lap of 188.171mph for his 1st career pole. #16-Biffle will start 2nd, followed by #1-Truex Jr., #77-Hornish Jr., #33-Bowyer, #78-Smith, #5-Martin, #82-Speed, #09-Keselowski and #6-Ragan.
    Times disallowed: two teams have had their qualifying times disallowed, #7-Gordon and #43-Sorenson. Supposedly the cars didn’t meet height requirements, so both will start at the rear of the field and penalties could be announced next week. Sorenson was set to start 34 and Gordon 38th
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #78-Smith, #82-Speed, #09-Keselowski, #87-Nemechek, #36-Riggs, #71-Gilliland, #41-Mayfield and #13-Papis
    Two drivers failed to qualify: #66-McDowell and #4-McClure.
    See qualifying results, order, pole progression and starting lineup on my Talladega Qualifying/Starting Lineup page.(4-25-2009)
  • Mikey undecided about future plans: #55-Michael Waltrip says it is too early to decide if he will retire at the end of this season or return in 2010. Waltrip has not won a race since 2003 and enters Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway 25th in the Sprint Cup standings. He could retire and devote his full energy to running Michael Waltrip Racing, which also fields entries for #00-David Reutimann and #47-Marcos Ambrose. Waltrip opened the season with a seventh-place finish in the Daytona 500, but has finished 24th or worse in five other Cup races. Waltrip said on Saturday that he still wants to race, believes he can win again in the #55 and wants to win a championship for his longtime sponsor (NAPA).(Associated Press)(4-25-2009)
  • RCR Kicks off 40th Anniversary Celebration Where it All Began: What began in September 1969 as a stroke of good fortune for a young driver with a dream has become one of the more storied franchises in sports history. Richard Childress Racing launched its 40th anniversary celebration today at Talladega Superspeedway, the track where Richard Childress made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut and where good fortune shined on his racing destiny. The RCR 40th Anniversary Celebration will continue through Nov. 1, 2009, the length of time between the two Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega. The cornerstone of the program will include the Pick the Greatest RCR Moment contest on RCR’s website, where fans will vote on one of a dozen great moments in RCR history, with one lucky fan winning RCR’s VIP prize package for two to the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 AMP Energy 500 weekend. “I’ve been very fortunate in my racing career and I look forward to giving something back to the fans and sharing with them some of the great stories from the past 40 years,” explained Childress. “Talladega has always been a special place to me, from Mr. France (Bill France Sr.) allowing me to get my first Cup Series start there to some of the great runs Dale (Earnhardt) had to trying to win the race here this weekend. It just made sense to kick things off at Talladega. I’m looking forward to spending time with the winner of the Pick the Greatest RCR Moment contest in October.” Additional activities during the RCR 40th Anniversary Celebration will include a monthly breakdown of RCR highlights, from Childress’ driving career to the halcyon days with the legendary Dale Earnhardt and the famed black #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolets to the current six-team operation with drivers Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Casey Mears, Stephen Leicht and Austin Dillon. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native started 26th and finished 23rd in that first Talladega race. Childress drove a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro after competing in the same car the day before in a support race for the inaugural event at what was then known as Alabama International Motor Speedway. He only competed in the race when NASCAR founder Bill France asked him to help fill the field after the regular series drivers refused to drive on the brand new 2.66-mile high-banked facility. Childress invested the money he made that weekend in a small piece of land where he built a race shop and, as is so often said, the rest is history.(RCR PR)(4-25-2009)
  • some schemes added: #33 The Hartford#41 Big Red and #42 Tums
  • Chase Notes going into Talladega: #5-Mark Martin left Las Vegas five races ago with a blown engine and a season already in jeopardy. Saturday night’s win at Phoenix capped an amazing five-race run since, moving up 21 spots in the standings over that span. Martin is now breathing down the neck of #17-Matt Kenseth in 12th place, just nine points out. Matt Kenseth shocked the NASCAR world by winning the first two races of the season. His #17 team has hit hard times since, and is now in jeopardy of dropping out of the Top 12. #00-David Reutimann served notice last season that Michael Waltrip Racing had arrived and he is the leader of that effort. Another solid top 10 at Phoenix has him as the biggest surprise in the Top 12 so far. See more stats on the Chase Stats after Phoenix.(4-25-2009)

  • Truex Jr. unsure of future plans: #1-Martin Truex Jr. said he’ll make a decision soon on where he’ll drive in 2010 and beyond. The two-time Nationwide champion signed a one-year deal last August to stay with Dale Earnhardt Inc., which merged with Chip Ganassi Racing in the offseason. Though Truex says he’s “100 percent committed” to Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and enjoys his crew, the timing and ambiguity caused by the merger — which moved Truex’s #1 Chevrolet into Ganassi’s shop in late December — left the team in disarray. “We just lost our way and needed time to regroup and that’s why we started out slow,” he said. “We sat on our hands all winter, not because we wanted to but because we were forced into doing it, and it hurt us.” Truex wouldn’t put a timetable on a career decision but said he has begun “laying the groundwork” for signing a long-term deal. “There’s a lot of things that go into this with the economy the way it is,” he said. “I need to put myself in a happy home for the next three to five years. A lot of things will drive that decision.”(USA Today)(4-25-2009)

  • Bye-Bye Pontiac? General Motors Corp., surviving on $15.4 billion in federal loans, is expected to announce Monday that it will kill the Pontiac brand but keep GMC as part of a tougher restructuring plan being overseen by the government, sources familiar with the automaker’s plan said Friday. GM has started reaching out to Pontiac dealers ahead of a public announcement about the brand’s future, when the automaker likely will also outline permanent plant closures, more job cuts and a tougher offer to bondholders to slash the automaker’s $28 billion in unsecured debt.(Detroit News)
    BUT: As General Motors Corp. races to come up with another turnaround plan, there has been growing speculation that the Detroit automaker will drop its Pontiac brand. The company tried to pat down those reports Friday with a statement saying it has not yet announced any changes to its long-term viability plan. “GM is continuing to review its restructuring plan to go further and faster and best ensure its future success,” the company said in a statement. “Additional information will be released as any decisions are finalized.”(Detorit Free Press), Pontiac ran in many Sprint Cup races, winning 155 races before leaving the sport after the 2003 season. See past news on my Pontiac News Page.(4-25-2009)

  • Owner-Driver Breakthrough Victory could be at Hand for Stewart: You have to go all the way back to Sept. 27, 1998 to find the last time a driver-owner won an event in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ricky Rudd raced to victory that day at Martinsville Speedway. After eight races this season, #14-Tony Stewart appears poised to end that drought. Stewart comes into Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway fourth in the series points — and comes off a season-best second-place finish at Phoenix. Stewart, in his first year heading up the new Stewart-Haas Racing operation, has accelerated the progress of his team and now, he comes to one of NASCAR’s fastest tracks, the 2.66-mile Talladega tri-oval. The high-banked layout also happens to be the place where Stewart’s last previous NASCAR Sprint Cup win occurred. Last October, Stewart captured Talladega’s fall race — his final victory for his former team at Joe Gibbs Racing. Although he’s still after his first win as a driver-owner, Stewart has quickly developed a championship style consistency. Which means, for the first time since Alan Kulwicki’s magical march to the series title in 1992, the words “driver-owner” and “championship” are compatible when used in the same sentence. “This is the best start to the season that I’ve ever had in my career,” Stewart said. “The last three weeks have just been amazing. I mean, it’s been so much fun. We’ve been in contention. We’ve led laps. We’re doing everything right. It’s just a matter of time. We are consistent now and that’s the way you’ve got to be. We’re just clicking them off one at a time here. I don’t think any of us would have predicted we would be in the top five in points.”(NASCAR PR)(4-25-2009)

  • Edwards part of drivers group to run Ford Fusion Hybrid a 1,000 miles: This weekend, the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is being put to the ultimate fuel-efficiency test. A team of drivers, including NASCAR star Carl Edwards and world-record breaking hypermiler Wayne Gerdes, will attempt to drive more than 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas, raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the process. The 1,000-Mile Challenge starts at around 8:00am on Saturday, April 25, from Mount Vernon, VA, and ends the morning of Monday, April 27, in Washington, D.C. The team will drive for more than 43 hours continuously to reach the 1,000-mile goal. The drivers will do stints of between two and three hours each and will have regular breaks to ensure safe driving is maintained.(ford.com)(4-25-2009)

  • Gordon’s back still hurtin’: from a GM Racing Jeff Gordon Press Conference Transcript:
    LAST WEEK YOU WEREN’T FEELING THAT GREAT AND YOUR BACK WAS HURTING YOU, IS IT BETTER NOW? “There are certainly tracks that are definitely harder on my back and Phoenix is one of them. Richmond coming up will be another one. Martinsville, Bristol and road courses. The pain has not subsided any, the way that the muscle reacts and spasms is not getting any better but I’m getting stronger and I don’t expect it to happen overnight and go away. It’s going to take time. Last week my back wasn’t what was preventing us from being more competitive, I think it was a combination of things. I was sick. I didn’t feel like I gave good feedback to the team throughout the whole weekend. We qualified good and we picked the number two pit stall and it didn’t seem to work out as good for us as it had. We had some trouble there. All the way around it seemed like we under-performed and it’s a good wake-up call for us. I mean this is a totally different type of race this weekend but I expect us to be strong and have fun this weekend especially with the Pepsi throw back paint scheme. We’re looking forward to going to Richmond next weekend and getting our short-track program where it can be.”(GM Racing PR)(4-25-2009)

  • Kahne set at RPM thru 2010 UPDATE: #9-Kasey Kahne Open Interview – Dodge Motorsports Transcript:
    CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW THINGS ARE RIGHT NOW AT RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS? ARE YOU HAPPY? ARE YOU EXPLORING OTHER OPTIONS? [Kahne] “I’m definitely not exploring other options. I have another year with Richard Petty Motorsports. The Gillett’s have been good to me since I came here. I made a commitment to them to race thru 2010, so I’ll do that for sure. I’ve told them from the start that if we can get our cars to where they’re right and we’re competitive with the best teams out here, then I don’t know why I’d ever want to move from that company. I like the people (at RPM). From the guys building the race cars in the shop, the engine guys to the guys painting the cars, I have a good relationship with everybody. For me to leave, I wouldn’t want to, but at the same time, I want to get a chance in some really good equipment too. I think that we’re working on that. If we get there, I’ll stay with RPM for a long time.”
    WOULD YOU SAY THAT WOULD BE THE DECIDING FACTOR?
    “Yeah, that’s my only factor. At the end of the day, I grew up racing Sprint cars and driving for my dad. When I had a chance to drive for Steve Lewis, it was a no-brainer. He had the best equipment that there was and I took it and we won a ton of races and basically nobody’s done that since in USAC as far as the Midget series goes or before. I just feel like that at some point, I want that opportunity and hopefully it can be right where we are at.”(Dodge Motorsports PR)(4-17-2009)
    UPDATE: Rumors persist that #9-Kasey Kahne is exploring options outside of Richard Petty Motorsports even though he has one year left on his contract. It began with rumors that his primary sponsor, Budweiser, was stepping away after this season. The beer company knocked that one down in a hurry. Kahne did his best to dispel speculation that he is looking last weekend at Phoenix. “I’m definitely not exploring other options,” he said. “I have another year with Richard Petty Motorsports. The Gilletts have been good to me since I came here. I made a commitment to them to race through 2010, so I’ll do that for sure.” Beyond that? “I’ve told them from the start that if we can get our cars to where they’re right and we’re competitive with the best teams out here then I don’t know why I’d ever want to move from that company,” Kahne said. “For me to leave, I wouldn’t want to, but at the same time I want to get a chance in some really good equipment too. We’re working on that. If we get there, I’ll stay with RPM for a long time.”(ESPN)(4-25-2009)

  • Dale Jr. and Mears are ‘cool’: from a GM Racing Dale Earnhardt Jr. Press Conference Transcript:
    TALK ABOUT YOUR OPINION ON THE PROBATION AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER LAST WEEKEND’S RACE. “I don’t really have one. Me and (Casey) Mears are cool. We’ve been buddies. What happens on the track stays on the track. It’s good to be on probation every once in a while I guess.”
    HAVE YOU TALKED TO CASEY ABOUT IT? “Yeah, me and Casey are real good friends so we definitely wouldn’t go the week without having a discussion about it. He’s having a better season this year but is still not satisfied and I’m definitely in the same position he is and we’re just trying to run better. It’s just frustrating. I knew that he had made a mistake because Casey doesn’t run over people but I just lost my cool. It happens.”
    WAS SOME OF THAT YOUR FRUSTRATION COMING OUT? “Well not really. I just hated leading the race and running good and then getting wrecked running 20th. That’s all that was.”(GM Racing PR)(4-25-2009)

  • Dale Jr. doesn’t comment on rumors: asked about the rumor about swapping Hendrick Motorsports swapping crew chiefs between the #88 and #5 teams, all Dale Earnhardt Jr. would say: “I don’t comment on rumors…that’s all it is. A rumor is a rumor and I don’t wanna get in the middle of that. I’ve got a job to do and I do it and shouldn’t listen to rumors.”(http://www.goprn.com>PRN’s Garage Pass Radio show)(4-25-2009)

  • Ward’s son to race at VIR in SCCA: Jeb Burton, 17-year old son of former NASCAR driver and Daytona 500 winner, Ward Burton, has been chosen as a guest driver for the season opener of Volkswagen of America, Inc.’s SCCA Pro Racing Jetta TDI Cup series, hosted by VIRginia International Raceway. Burton will also participate in all of the weekend’s on and off-track events, including practice and qualifying and compete in the series’ second race at VIRginia International Raceway at 2:00pm on April 26. The 2009 season marks the second year of competition for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. During the season, young, up and coming drivers between ages 16-26 compete in 10 events on eight road courses around North America. Each driver competing in the series will earn a Pro Racing license from SCCA at the conclusion of the season and the series champion will win $100,000. While Burton will be a full participant in the race at VIR, he is ineligible for driver points or prize money. Currently, Burton drives the No.27 State Water Heaters Chevy Impala in the Limited Sportsman Division at South Boston Speedway. He has participated in two races so far this season and finished in the top three at both.(Wardburton,com)(4-25-2009)
  • Prelude to the Dream announced: On Wednesday, June 3, the Field of Dreams that is Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio will once again play host to the Prelude to the Dream. The all-star dirt Late Model race featuring 25 world renowned drivers as they battle for dirt supremacy will be presented live to the entire nation on HBO Pay-Per-View, with proceeds from the telecast going to support four military-themed charities. The fifth annual event will feature such racing icons as Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer and more. All will pilot 2,300-pound dirt Late Model stock cars capable of putting out over 800 horsepower. More info on my Racing Charities page.(4-25-2009)

  • Fan to ride with Harvick in Pennzoil Victory Challenge: Pennzoil is taking the excitement around the 2009 Pennzoil Victory Challenge to an even higher level by allowing one lucky fan the chance of a lifetime to ride shotgun with Kevin Harvick in the 2009 Pennzoil Victory Challenge. The second annual event is set for May 16, 2009 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS) as part of the Sprint All-Star Race pre-event festivities. The Pennzoil Victory Challenge is NASCAR’s version of a “slam dunk contest” however this contest features the sport’s top talent showing off their abilities in post-race-win celebrations in classic NASCAR smoking donut style. The driver lineup has been expanded from five drivers to seven, and like in 2008, each driver will compete in identically prepared stock cars. However, this year the new format allows each driver a longer freestyle demonstration and the panel of judges will score their creativity. The driver with the highest score from the panel will be declared the winner, with $10,000 awarded to their designated charity and a reserved spot in the 2010 Pennzoil Victory Challenge. Joining the first driver announced, #29-Kevin Harvick, will be #16-Greg Biffle (winner of the 2008 Pennzoil Victory Challenge), #24-Jeff Gordon, #33-Clint Bowyer, #18-Kyle Busch and #9-Kasey Kahne. The Pennzoil Victory Challenge will be televised live during SPEED’s pre-race coverage on Saturday, May 16th prior to the NASCAR Sprint Showdown and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. For more info on this contest and many other racing contests, see my Racing Contest page.(4-25-2009)
  • NASCAR Day ‘Goes Pink’ for Susan G. Komen for the Cure: The NASCAR Foundation has announced that NASCAR Day will “Go Pink” through a joint partnership with FOX Sports Supports and Susan G. Komen for the Cure April 24-26. Celebrated on May 15, NASCAR Day is an opportunity for fans, corporations, schools and organizations across the country to donate to The NASCAR Foundation to raise funds to help thousands of children live better lives. Through the partnership between The NASCAR Foundation, FOX Sports Supports and Komen for the Cure, a portion of the net proceeds raised through the program will benefit Komen for the Cure, supporting its promise to save lives end breast cancer forever. Specifically, the money raised will support the Susan G. Komen Scholarship Fund – a fund specifically designed for children whose mothers have lost their battle against cancer.(NASCAR PR)(4-16/25-2009)

News from April 24, 2009

  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway is scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 11:10am/et.
    TV: SPEED – 11:00am/et
    Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Jayski.com: Jayski’s FREE Semi-Live Qualifying Page
    Qualifying Re-Air: none scheduled
  • Qualifying Order for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway is posted. 45 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #55-Waltrip, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #33-Bowyer. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #66-McDowell and the final driver scheduled to qualify is #09-Keselowski. See the full qualifying order on the Talladega Qualifying Page.(4-24-2009)
  • Happy Hour/Final Practice for the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway is over, the top 5:
    #99-Edwards 194.904
    #71-Gilliland 194.820
    #14-Stewart 194.618
    #20-Logano 194.591
    #39-Newman 194.559
    slowest: #44-Allmendinger 180.543 and #4-McClure 182.856
    no speed/not running: #1-Truex Jr., #88-Earnhardt Jr., #42-Montoya, #82-Speed, #9-Kahne, #29-Harvick
    See speeds, ave speed. laps run and more on my Talladega Practice Speeds Page.(4-24-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers in Final Practice at Talladega Superspeedway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #71-David Gilliland, 2nd
    #09-Brad Keselowski, 22nd
    #36-Scott Riggs, 25th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 29th
    #78-Regan Smith, 30th
    #13-Max Papis, 33rd
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 36th
    #66-Michael McDowell, 38th
    these drivers would miss the race if theings stayed the same:
    #4-Eric McClure, 39th
    #82-Scott Speed, no speed
    See speeds, ave speed. laps run and more on my Talladega Practice Speeds Page.(4-24-2009)
  • The First Practice for the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway is over, the top 5:
    #7-Gordon 197.472
    #00-Reutimann 197.260
    #31-Burton 197.102
    #26-McMurray 196.689
    #18-Busch 196.378
    slowest: #4-McClure 182.727 and #66-McDowell 184.203
    incidents: #44-Allmendinger and #9-Kahne lost engines
    See speeds, ave speed. laps run and more on my Talladega Practice Speeds Page.(4-24-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice in the 1st session at Talladega Superspeedway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #36-Scott Riggs, 35th
    #13-Max Papis, 37th
    #82-Scott Speed, 38th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 39th
    #09-Brad Keselowski, 40th
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 41st
    #71-David Gilliland, 42nd
    #78-Regan Smith, 43rd
    these drivers would miss the race if theings stayed the same:
    #66-Michael McDowell, 44th
    #4-Eric McClure, 45th
    See speeds, ave speed. laps run and more on my Talladega Practice Speeds Page.(4-24-2009)
  • IMPOUND: the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway is the first IMPOUND race of 2009, there will be [down from five] THREE impound races in 2009, both Talladega races [April & Nov] and Daytona in July. For more info, see my Impounding Info page.

  • Retro Pepsi image at ‘Dega for Gordon UPDATE 2: The year was 1983 when Darrell Waltrip took to the track in the Pepsi Challenger Chevy. Waltrip had won back-to-back titles and was trying for three in a row when PepsiCo changed the primary sponsor on his car from Mountain Dew to its signature brand before the season. Waltrip failed to win the title that year. At Talladega, Jeff Gordon will go retro with Waltrip’s 1983 paint scheme on his car.(gordonline.com), see an image there or on my #24 Team Schemes page.(3-10-2009)
    UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon will drive a special retro “Pepsi Challenger” #24 paint scheme Chevy in Talladega on April 26, 2009. Inspired by Darrell Waltrip’s Pepsi Challenger of the 1980’s this car will feature retro Pepsi logos and a white and yellow scheme.(JeffGordon.com), see images of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(3-30-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Jeff Gordon will give fans a blast from the past at Talladega this weekend when he drives a retro Pepsi Throwback paint- scheme on his #24 DuPont/ Pepsi Throwback Challenger Chevrolet on April 26 at Talladega Superspeedway. The last time fans saw this memorable yellow paint scheme was over 25 years ago, when Darrell Waltrip drove the #11 Pepsi Challenger to victory lane six times in the race for the 1983 Cup Championship. Gordon’s latest paint scheme celebrates Pepsi Throwback, a new limited time only product sweetened with natural sugar in a retro-look package, offering consumers a taste of the past. The cola began appearing in stores on April 20 and will be available for eight weeks. Gordon, who is Pepsi’s longest standing spokesperson, will be sporting a memorable Pepsi Throwback racing suit, similar to the one worn by Waltrip in 1983. As part of the Throwback celebration, Pepsi is launching a number of in-store promotions. Tear pads located in retail outlets will give fans the chance to win cool throwback prizes- five fans will win a trip to DW Motorsports in Charlotte for a barbecue with Darrell Waltrip; 20 winners will receive a Darrell Waltrip autographed retro die-cast car; one lucky fan will win the retro racing suit Jeff Gordon wears during race week at Talladega; and 600 other fans will win a Jeff Gordon/Darrell Waltrip Throwback tee-shirt. Additionally, there will be a new Throwback look for PepsiRacing.com, where each race fans have the chance to win the same cash prize as the winning driver. A free desktop wallpaper featuring Jeff Gordon will be available for download on PepsiRacing.com.(Pepsi Racing PR)(4-24-2009)

  • Wood Brothers to Run 2009 Sprint Showdown: The Wood Brothers #21 Motorcraft sponsored Ford Fusion will be running in the May 16, 2009 Sprint Showdown race and trying to make the All-Star race that immediately follows The Sprint Showdown. Co-owner Len Wood stated, “We made the decision to run the race because it gives us track time for the Coca-Cola 600 (to be run the following weekend) and gives our sponsors (Ford and Motorcraft) another marketing opportunity – not to mention it’s a fun event and five minutes from our shop.” Bill Elliott and the Wood Brothers #21 Ford Fusion can make the All-Star race by finishing first or second in The Sprint Showdown race or by being voted in by the fans.(Wood Brothers Racing site)(4-24-2009)

  • Latest on Manufacturers troubles: Heavy storm clouds are hanging over some NASCAR teams at Talladega Superspeedway this week: Chrysler appears headed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy within the next week, and then Italian car maker Fiat will likely pick and chose the parts of the American automaker that it wants to buy and take a major stake in the Detroit company – and what that means for NASCAR’s Dodge teams, like the ones owned by Roger Penske, Richard Petty and George Gillett is anybody’s guess. The Obama administration has given Chrysler until April 30th to make a deal with Fiat before giving the car maker enough money to survive. Such a bankruptcy would apparently force the U.S. government to take over some key parts of Chrysler’s business, perhaps some of the health care and pension plan aspects. Bankruptcy would apparently also leave all those Cerberus investors without much, if anything, to show for the billions they invested in the car maker a few years ago when buying it and taking it private. Fiat would gradually buy enough of Chrysler, or its parts, to eventually have controlling interest. One interesting angle – Fiat owns Ferrari, the Formula One powerhouse, though Ferrari is operated independently.
    On the General Motors’ side of the picture, GM officials say they plan to shut down virtually the entire company for about two months beginning in about two weeks….though that may be just a bluff, because such a shutdown could add tens of thousands more to the unemployment roles, through a major trickle-down effect. GM is under an Obama deadline of May 31st to get its financial affairs in better order. Like the Chrysler situation, the potential impact on GM’s NASCAR operations are unclear.(Mikemulhern.net)(4-24-2009)

  • Final Phoenix TV Ratings: NASCAR on Fox tumbled to a 3.6/7 (6.0 million) on Saturday night for racing from Phoenix. Saturday’s 3.6/7 is the lowest NASCAR rating ever on FOX, as well as an -18% decline compared to last year’s 4.4/8. Sports competition was somewhat tougher on Saturday night than it was a year ago, as ESPN carried an NBA Playoff doubleheader. Last year’s Phoenix race was run on April 12 and the NBA Playoffs had not yet begun. For the season-to-date, NASCAR is averaging a 5.6/11 (9.3 mill.) on FOX, down -13% compared to last year’s 6.4/13 (10.6 mill.). Much has been written about NASCAR’s ratings declines this year, but it’s worth remembering that at a 5.6/11 NASCAR is still the #1 spring sport by a huge margin, and more than doubles the first-week average of the NBA Playoffs on ABC (2.7/7). See race-by-race and more on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(4-24-2009)

  • #71 TRG sponsorship on hold: David Gilliland is ready to put the TRG Motorsports #71 Chevy through its paces at the Aaron’s 499 to be run at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 26. The team heads to the famed track located outside of Birmingham, Alabama with superspeedway redemption on their mind. TRG Motorsports failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 and is looking to show the world that the TRG Motorsports Chevy and five guys can work their magic at a superspeedway. The team heads to Talladega 36th in owner points, just 26 out of 35th position. Gilliland will have to qualify in speed. Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal, looks at Talladega as just another challenge for this tight-knit team. “This will be the team’s first restrictor plate race,” Buckler said. “The guys know we have something to prove after what happened at Daytona. We found a good superspeedway car for David that Slugger really likes, so we are going in with a good piece. David has done well at Talladega and has a lot of confidence. We haven’t had a problem getting into the races, we just need to perform better and get the tire monkey off of our back to finish well. This team needs a big time performance this weekend! We will be running the familiarTRG Motorsports blue this weekend. We have experienced funding delays with the sponsor that was announced last weekend at Phoenix. The team continues to persevere in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and pursue all avenues for funding and sponsorship with the goal of running the full 36 race schedule.”(TRG Motorsports PR)(4-24-2009)

  • NASCAR officially moves Cup banquet to Vegas; Nationwide and Truck Banquets combined: UPDATE: Fan tickets? TV coverage? NASCAR announced that Las Vegas formally becomes the “Official Host City of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week.” NASCAR’s annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony will be held at the Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. The move to Las Vegas provides for greater flexibility for driver and fan events. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events will be combined and held at the Loews Miami Beach on Monday, Nov. 23. The Grand-Am Rolex Series banquet will be held at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 12. NASCAR had held the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in New York City every year since 1981. After exploring several options, NASCAR formed a partnership with Las Vegas Events, making the change of venue a reality. “I can’t say enough about the warm reception from Las Vegas,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “Las Vegas really made it a priority to get the awards ceremony moved there. We were able to come to an agreement on reasonable room blocks, banquet facilities, and approvals to hold fan activities on the famous Las Vegas Strip.” Activities being planned for the days leading up to the Awards Ceremony include the return of the “Victory Lap,” a procession of the top 10 NSCS drivers in their race cars, the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon, the Pit Stop Tour and the NASCAR Street Tour to include stock cars and mobile marketing units placed throughout the city. The awards ceremony for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be consolidated in south Florida. This is designed to provide another great venue for the ceremony as well as help save NNS teams from making an additional trip following the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The top-five finishers from the NNS and NCWTS will be honored at the combined banquet celebration.(NASCAR PR)(4-23-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will move its Sprint Cup banquet from New York City to Las Vegas, and now it needs to decide what to do with the banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas, which was announced as the site for the 2009 awards ceremony on Thursday. Does it sell tickets to fans, as the National Hockey League is doing with its postseason awards ceremony in Las Vegas? Or does it keep it an invitation-only affair as it was during the banquet’s 28 years in New York. “That decision hasn’t been made yet,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Thursday. “That will be decided in the near future. But the Wynn hotel provides us a lot more flexibility than we had in the past. There are going to be some really good options to take a look at, including a fan element at the banquet. That hasn’t been finalized yet.” Poston declined to comment on whether NASCAR is getting paid to bring the banquet to Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last month that the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority would pay NASCAR between $500,000 and $1 million for each year of the contract, which is believed to be for three years. Poston said NASCAR is talking with ABC/ESPN and Speed to determine who will televise that banquet. ESPN has the Nationwide contract, and Speed has the Truck contract.(Scene Daily)(4-24-2009)

  • Current longest-tenured driver/crew chief pairings:
    After the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Saturday, Richard Childress Racing will swap crews and crew chiefs on the #07 & #29 teams, bringing and end to the second longest current driver/crew chief combination.
    Driver / Crew Chief: Start Date
    #48-Jimmie Johnson / Chad Knaus: October 2001
    #29-Kevin Harvick / Todd Berrier*: March 2003*
    #24-Jeff Gordon / Steve Letarte: September 2005
    #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. / Tony Eury, Jr.: September 2005
    #11-Denny Hamlin / Mike Ford: October 2005
    #31-Jeff Burton / Scott Miller: November 2005
    * – Ending after Sunday’s race at Talladega
    (Sports Illustrated)(4-24-2009)

  • Race winners getting older: Just three years ago, the average age (at season’s end) of the 13 drivers who won races was 30.5. This race is only eight races old, but the average age of the winners so far is 35.7. At the moment, the profile of Sprint Cup winners looks a lot like the late 1980s or early ’90s. What was it like back in 1993? The youngest winner was 32 years old. The average was 38.2. Mark Martin, who won five races that year, was 34. Last week he won at age 50. He is the only winner common to both seasons, though then-rookie Jeff Gordon won an unofficial race, a 125-mile qualifier, at Daytona. In recent years, the great trend of the 1990s – younger and younger drivers gradually ousting the generation that preceded them – has reversed. Part of the reason is simply that a generation of great stars – Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, et al. – has gotten older. But part of it is also that the effect of young drivers – the most notable exception being Kyle Busch – has waned. From 1999, when Stewart arrived to much fanfare, through 2007, when Juan Pablo Montoya was the top rookie, at least one rookie won a race six times in a span of eight years. Before 1999 and Stewart, 11 years had passed without the rookie of the year winning. It didn’t happen last year, and the odds appear long, based on results so far, that either of this year’s rookies, Joey Logano and Scott Speed, will score.(NASCAR This Week)(4-24-2009)

  • Goodyear Tire Notes – Talladega: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes at Talladega this week . . . for Sprint Cup teams, this is the same left-side tire code (D-4138) that they ran at Talladega last season . . . this right-side tire code (D-4224) is new, featuring a mold and construction change compared to last year . . . the change was implemented to align this tire set-up with the one teams ran at the circuit’s other restrictor plate track in Daytona in February . . . . . . for Nationwide teams, this is a completely different combination of left- and right-side tires that they ran at Talladega last season . . . this is the only track at which these tire codes are scheduled to be run in 2009 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Talladega . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear PR), see pressures and more notes on the Talladega Race Info page – Goodyear Section.(4-24-2009)

  • NASCAR teams up with BET for new TV show: Black Entertainment Television, a network keyed to African-Americans, will air a show next season with NASCAR, a sport that has tried for years to improve diversity within its ranks. “Changing Lanes,” a docu-reality series expected to launch in 2010, will spotlight drivers in NASCAR’s “Drive for Diversity” program. BET has bought 10 episodes of the hour-long show.(New York Daily News)(4-24-2009)
  • Michigan Speedway forms non-profit entity: Michigan International Speedway officials announced the establishment of MIS Cares, a 501 c (3) non-profit entity under the umbrella of the NASCAR Foundation. MIS Cares will serve as the liaison between the speedway and all of the charitable causes the speedway supports. The focus of MIS Cares is to raise money and distribute the charitable dollars through grants to non-profit groups in the region. MIS Cares will begin accepting grant applications in early 2010 and will award financial gifts twice annually. Through MIS Cares, race fans and the general public will have opportunities to become involved with the many community service projects MIS supports.(Michigan Speedway PR)(4-24-2009)

News from April 23, 2009

  • NASCAR officially moves Cup banquet to Vegas; Nationwide and Truck Banquets combined: NASCAR announced that Las Vegas formally becomes the “Official Host City of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week.” NASCAR’s annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony will be held at the Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 4, 2009. The move to Las Vegas provides for greater flexibility for driver and fan events. The NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events will be combined and held at the Loews Miami Beach on Monday, Nov. 23. The Grand-Am Rolex Series banquet will be held at the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 12. NASCAR had held the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event in New York City every year since 1981. After exploring several options, NASCAR formed a partnership with Las Vegas Events, making the change of venue a reality. “I can’t say enough about the warm reception from Las Vegas,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “Las Vegas really made it a priority to get the awards ceremony moved there. We were able to come to an agreement on reasonable room blocks, banquet facilities, and approvals to hold fan activities on the famous Las Vegas Strip.” Activities being planned for the days leading up to the Awards Ceremony include the return of the “Victory Lap,” a procession of the top 10 NSCS drivers in their race cars, the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Media Luncheon, the Pit Stop Tour and the NASCAR Street Tour to include stock cars and mobile marketing units placed throughout the city. The awards ceremony for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be consolidated in south Florida. This is designed to provide another great venue for the ceremony as well as help save NNS teams from making an additional trip following the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The top-five finishers from the NNS and NCWTS will be honored at the combined banquet celebration.(NASCAR PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Yarborough shows Logano around Darlington Raceway: The learning curve in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is steep and on Wednesday at Darlington Raceway class was in session for one of the most heralded rookies in series history. The student, Joey Logano, got a one-on-one tutoring session with one of the most legendary names, not only in Darlington history, but NASCAR history, Cale Yarborough. Yarborough invited Joey into his classroom, in this case a 3,400 pound stock car, and took him for a ride at the track “Too Tough to Tame.” Yarborough is no stranger to Darlington Raceway. The Timmonsville, S.C. native reminisced about sneaking under the fence during his younger days just to catch a glimpse of the action on the track. Sneaking in would eventually pay off, Yarborough would go on to win a record five Southern 500 victories making him the ideal teacher for the young driver looking to break out in NASCAR’s top touring division. “Meeting Cale, spending time with him and listening to his stories about Darlington was by far one of the coolest things I have ever done,” said Logano. “Just getting out on the track and riding with him was such a neat experience. He definitely had me on the edge of my seat a few times, but he also gave me some great tips that I can use when I get back here for the Southern 500.”
    “Joey is a great kid who has a ton of talent and potential,” said five-time Southern 500 winner, Yarborough. “I didn’t sugar coat anything, I told him Darlington would be the toughest place he raced all year. I also told him that there is no victory as sweet as winning the Southern 500.” Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com.(Darlington Raceway PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Hendrick drivers win three in a row: #5-Mark Martin’s win last week at Phoenix International Raceway came on the heels of two other Hendrick Motorsports wins — #48-Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville and #24-Jeff Gordon at Texas — and marked the third time Hendrick Motorsports has won three consecutive Cup events with three different drivers. Hendrick, the only team in NASCAR’s modern era to have three different drivers win in three straight races, accomplished the feat in 2007 — with Johnson, Gordon and Casey Mears — and in 1989 — with Darrell Waltrip, Ken Schrader and Geoff Bodine. In 1956, Carl Kiekhaefer’s drivers won three in a row twice. Buck Baker, Speedy Thompson and Herb Thomas contributed to the first streak, while Baker, Jack Smith and Thompson were part of the other.(HMS PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Pedigree colors make 2009 debut for Busch: Pedigree will make its first of three appearances as primary sponsor of Kyle Busch’s #18 Toyota at Talladega this weekend. The other events at which the Mars Pedigree brand will adorn the #18 this season will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September and Phoenix International Raceway in November. The first Pedigree paint scheme of 2009 kicks off the company’s “NASCAR’s Luckiest Dog” contest in which the winner of which will have his or her dog pictured on Busch’s #18 Toyota at the Checker Auto Parts 500k at Phoenix in November.(M&M’s Racing PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Said’s car catches fire during ALMS race: With only 6 minutes left in the American Le Mans Series sports car race in Long Beach, a GT2 Corvette driven by [part-time Sprint Cup driver] Boris Said burst into flames and filled with smoke. The veteran racer scrambled out of the cockpit and across the track as safety workers sprayed the car with fire extinguishers. Said was not injured. The race was won by Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud.(ESPN/AP)
    AND: During an ALMS race on Saturday in Long Beach, Calif., Boris Said’s Corvette burst into flames. He got out, but not before sustaining several second degree burns to his arms and eyes.(Portland Press Herald), watching the video, Said got out of the car and ran to the wall and sat there a few minutes with safety workers looking at him and talking to him, Said got up walked away and waved to the crowd and got in a safety vehicle.
    AND Boris Said adds to the legend. Said suffered second- and third-degree burns in a fire during the Long Beach Grand Am race. Get better, buddy, see an image of Said on Marty Smith’s Door to Door column at ESPN
    SAID Ride plans: Carter Racing plans to return to the track for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint All Star Race. Boris Said will drive the #08 Dodge for the Sprint Showdown, his second race in the #08 this season. The team is actively searching for sponsorship.(Carter Racing PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Special look for Newman’s car at Talladega: Ryan Newman’s #39 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy is scheduled to run a Prelude to the Dream/Haas Automation/U.S. Army scheme in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.(SHR PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Dodson injured in car wreck: Former NASCAR Cup crew chief Barry Dodson suffered multiple injuries in an automobile accident on April 10 in Pawley’s Island, S.C. Dodson was taking a test drive at a dealership when he says the car’s accelerator hung. He crashed into two cars on the lot, totaling both, before he struck a steel pole. Dodson suffered neck, shoulder and closed-head injuries and remains under a physician’s care. “The only escape route I had was a busy four-lane highway,” Dodson said. “So I chose to crash into the cars on the lot rather than taking a chance on injuring someone else.” He declined to identify the dealership.(SceneDaily)(4-23-2009)

  • Different look for #77 at ‘Dega: Sam Hornish Jr. will run a Penske Truck Rental/AAA scheme on his #77 Penske Racing Dodge Charger in the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Hornish earned his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series top-10 finish last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.(PCR PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Drivers on CMT Cribs: Martin Truex Jr. will join Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch as the featured celebrities on CMT Cribs when the latest episode airs this Saturday, April 25th. Packed with the latest in luxury living, top of the line toys and the wildest whips on the road, this season takes us to new levels of country living. Martin’s segment will focus on his new garage. Be sure to tune into to CMT (Country Music Television) this Saturday, April 25, 2009 at 4:30pm/et/pt and re-air at 7:30pm/et/pt on that same day.(EGR PR)(4-23-2009)
  • Talladega Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 18 Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Logano scored a 21st-place finish and claimed top rookie honors for the third consecutive race. Logano leads #82-Scott Speed by 13 points (86-73) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the April 26 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The late Davey Allison is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. He won the 1987 event by .78 second over Terry Labonte. Allison led the most laps in the race, holding the top spot six times for 108 of the 178 laps (the event was shortened by 10 laps due to darkness). Allison is the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in the Aaron’s 499 and holds the record for most laps led by a rookie in the spring race at Talladega. Since Allison’s win in 1987, a Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-five in the Aaron’s 499 just twice: Tony Stewart (fifth in 1999) and Kurt Busch (third in 2001). Only one Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position in 39 previous Aaron’s 499 races at Talladega: Jimmie Johnson (2002). Johnson won the second pole of his career and posted a seventh place finish in the race.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR), see Rookie history, standings, records and more on my 2009 Rookies Page.(4-23-2009)

  • RCR 40th Anniversary Announcement: Richard Childress Racing has scheduled a press conference for Saturday, April 25, at 9:30am in the infield media center at Talladega Superspeedway. The press conference will kick off RCR’s 40th anniversary celebration that will conclude at the fall races in Talladega, where Childress made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in 1969 in the track’s inaugural event.(RCR PR)(4-23-2009)

  • Indy tire testing MORE: Richard Petty Motorsports driver #43-Reed Sorenson says that Goodyear officials will extend their Indianapolis Motor Speedway tire test into Wednesday for four drivers because of rain that has continually interrupted their efforts. Sorenson, Roush Fenway Racing’s #17-Matt Kenseth [Ford], Stewart-Haas Racing’s #39-Ryan Newman [Chevy] and Red Bull Racing’s #83-Brian Vickers [Toyota] began testing tires at the track Monday as Goodyear officials work to find a better tire for this season’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the track after a 2008 event in which drivers had to pit regularly because of issues with tire wear.(SceneDaily)(4-21-2009)
    UPDATE: Despite being disrupted by rain for the second day in a row, a NASCAR tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is providing Goodyear engineers with valuable information to help ensure against a repeat of last year’s caution-filled Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. “We feel like we’re establishing a very good baseline so that we can walk out of here with a good, solid recommendation for what to bring back in June,” Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of race tire sales, said Tuesday at the track. “The most important thing is we want to make sure we get everything done we need to get done, and that means getting different opinions on different combinations.” Goodyear tested three times last fall and has four Sprint Cup teams in town for the current test, which was extended to today because of the frequent rain. A final shakedown in preparation for the July 26 race is scheduled June 15-16 with about a dozen teams expected to participate. The extra testing is the result of an embarrassing 2008 race in which a record 52 of the 160 laps were run under caution because of rapid and excessive tire wear. NASCAR was forced to throw competition cautions every dozen or so laps out of concerns for driver safety. Stucker said the problem was a tire compound incompatible with the track surface and NASCAR’s new, heavier car — the so-called Car of Tomorrow — that had not previously run at Indy. Instead of the expended rubber working its way into the track, which is intentionally abrasive to provide more tire grip, the particles were so small that they turned to dust and literally floated away. Tires haven’t been a major issue at any of the first eight races this season and Stucker is confident they won’t be at Indy, either. “Three tests here last year and two this year certainly demonstrates we’re taking it seriously,” he said. “Goodyear, the racetrack, NASCAR and all the teams are putting forth the effort to make sure we don’t have anything like that again.”(Indianapolis Star)(4-23-2009)
  • NHMS to Plant Trees as Part of Earth Day and “Green Team” Initiative: In celebration of Earth Day and as a part of its “Green Team” initiative, officials of New Hampshire Motor Speedway announced a plan today to plant additional trees throughout the 1,200-acre facility. Between now and the end of the day on April 30, speedway officials will plant a tree for every ticket sold to the June 28 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in honor of the devoted race fans who support the largest sports and entertainment venue in all of New England. A wide variety of trees will be planted including red maple, white pine, gray and yellow birch, and various hemlocks. The speedway has more than 500 acres of permanently protected wildlife habitats located throughout the property. These habitats provide natural, undisturbed environments for many species of animal and plant life native to New Hampshire. “We continue to be one of the most eco-friendly sports facilities in the country,” said Jerry Gappens, executive vice-president and general manager of the speedway. “This program is another facet of our on-going commitment to the ecological improvement and beautification of one of the most diverse and largest parcels of land in New England.” The speedway is also working with Franklin Pierce University and Waste Management Company as part of a new “Green Team” initiative that will recycle more than half of the paper, plastic, metal, and glass waste that comes onto the property. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway LENOX Industrial Tools 301 and SYLVANIA 300 weekends, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(NHMS PR)(4-23-2009)
  • RIR offers options amd lower food prices: In a continuing effort to provide the best fan experience in motorsports, Richmond International Raceway is proud to announce an extensive list of new and unique concession items available to fans at America’s Premier Short Track during the NASCAR Doubleheader weekend May 1-2, as well as lower prices on some of the track’s well known items. After listening to its fans, Richmond International Raceway has worked to provide fans more affordable and diverse menu items, including several packaged value meals and kid-friendly meal options, at the track. The list of new items includes several options that will be available exclusively to fans at Richmond International Raceway, including the introductions of the Richmond Raceway Dog, a Crabcake Sandwich and the Raceway Rib Sandwich. The Richmond Raceway Dog features a hot dog topped with chili, delicious Richmond Relish and spicy mustard. A staple in the Mid-Atlantic Region, the Crabcake Sandwich provides a great option for seafood lovers, and the Raceway Rib Sandwich, smothered in mouthwatering barbecue sauce and pickles, provides another unique alternative to the normal concession fare. Each of the three new exclusive items carries a great low price as well, with both the Richmond Raceway Dog and Raceway Rib Sandwich available for $3. For those fans who want to stick with the traditional hot dog, that price has been lowered to $3 as well. The Crabcake Sandwich is priced at $6.
    Additional new items to be rolled out in May include a two-piece fried chicken meal with a dinner roll and cole slaw, a catfish and hushpuppy basket with cole slaw, Boardwalk French Fries and Famous Dave’s Barbeque. Several new value meals will be available as well, including a jumbo barbeque sandwich with cole slaw, chips and a drink, a cheeseburger meal with chips and a drink, the Boss Dog meal, featuring an enormous 1/3 pound hot dog, chips and a drink and a kids meal, featuring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Oreo cookies, a fruit cup and Capri Sun drink. The value meal options represent an average savings of $3, or 25%, per meal over the cost of the same items in 2008. Also, the Fast Franks program has been carried over to 2009, featuring four regular ready-to-eat hot dogs packaged together for $10. By offering improved and value-added concession items, Richmond International Raceway continues to work on enhancing the overall fan experience at the track. Tickets for both races can be purchased by calling 866-455-RACE (7223), by visiting www.rir.com or at the Richmond International Raceway ticket office at 600 E. Laburnum Avenue.(RIR PR)(4-23-2009)

News from April 22, 2009

  • Hendrick to swap #5 and #88 crew chiefs? UPDATE no truth to it? Sources within Hendrick Motorsports confirmed to Captain Thunder that discussions were held over the Easter break regarding the possible switching of crew chiefs between the #5 and #88 teams. Mark Martin’s crew chief Alan Gustafson was said to be on the block and was willing to move to the #88 team and Martin was willing to support the move. The discussions over Easter ended with an agreement between the two teams and Mr. Hendrick to keep their current teams in tact for at least three more weeks to see if both teams could improve on the slow start they have endured through the first part of the 2009 Sprint Cup season. Sources said Tony Eury Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin, and Gustafson all agreed that if Mr. Hendrick wanted a change, they would be willing to swap Gustafson for Eury Jr. However, with Martin’s win Saturday night in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix, any switch is now out of the question for the foreseeable future. Hendrick and Martin have no desire to take Gustafson away from the #5 team after the way they dominated the Phoenix race. Now, the timetable is set for the All-Star race at Charlotte on May 16th. If both teams continue to perform poorly, expect a change the week of the All-Star race. However, if Martin’s team continues to gain momentum following their Phoenix win, and the #88 team continues to struggle, sources said Eury Jr. could be replaced by car chiefs Ron Malec of the #48 team or Jason Burdett of the #24 team.(CaptainThunderRacing.com and reported on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show by Capt Thunder)(4-22-2009)
    UPDATE: Will rumors of a Hendrick Motorsports separation of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Eury Jr. ever end? Ever? Ever? Never, as long as there are upstart, cottage-industry Web-sites churning this stuff out, and others linking to it. “There’s absolutely nothing to this,” came an e-mail reply from high-up inside Hendrick, when the latest one was checked. The latest report appears on Jayski.com, picked up from CaptainThunderRacing.com, that meetings were held over the Easter break at Hendrick. Supposedly there was discussion of swapping crew chiefs, with Eury going to Mark Martin, and Alan Gustafson going to Earnhardt, if the two teams’ performances didn’t improve within three races. Here’s how screwy this stuff can get. Right in the middle of the CaptainThunder report, there’s a line, “However, with Martin’s win Saturday night in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix, any switch is now out of the question for the foreseeable future.” Then the report goes right on to say that new deadlines have been set for a possible switch: “If both teams continue to perform poorly, expect a change the week of the All-Star race.” The wackiness warranted a double-check high-up at Hendrick, which brought the firm reply, “Not a shred of truth to any of it.”(ESPN Insider)(4-22-2009)

  • RCR Swap Crew Chiefs and Crews of #29 & #07 Teams: Richard Childress Racing’s #07 Jack Daniel’s crew will become the #29 Shell-Pennzoil crew, and vice versa, immediately following this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. Crew chief Gil Martin and his crew will move to the #29 team with driver Kevin Harvick while Todd Berrier and his crew will take over the #07 team with driver Casey Mears. In addition to the crew chiefs, the transition will include car chiefs, engineers, shock specialists, engine tuners, tire specialists, mechanics, transporter drivers and over-the-wall pit crews. Harvick and Mears, who will maintain their race spotters, are currently 16th and 22nd, respectively, in the Sprint Cup Series point standings after eight races. “The decision to interchange the 29 and 07 teams was made to make both programs stronger and more successful,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “Our main objective has always been to have all four of RCR’s teams qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Neither team has had the success this season that we know they’re capable of, so we decided it was time to make a change to improve the two teams and the overall strength of RCR. We feel this change positions us to achieve that goal. Todd and Gil are proven winners who have strong and successful teams behind them. Chemistry is an important part of any successful organization and I felt it was time to change the makeup of these two teams. We’ve done this before with positive results.”(RCR PR)(4-22-2009)

  • Bobby Labonte gets new crew chief: Yates Racing today announced Ben Leslie, former crew chief for the #28 Yates Racing Ford, will serve as crew chief for Bobby Labonte and the #96 Hall of Fame entry for the remainder of the 2009 season. Previous crew chief Todd Parrot will assist the Yates organization as a whole. “Ben’s experience with Ford Racing is really an asset to our organization,” said Max Jones, co-owner of Yates Racing. “The #96 team is fortunate enough to have a Champion driver and a group of experts in the sport. I believe Ben will bring the right changes to this team to help it accomplish some solid finishes this season and climb a few positions in the points.” Prior to joining Yates Racing, Leslie served as a liaison between Ford Racing and NASCAR managing Ford’s development in all three series. Earlier in his career, Leslie worked with several notable drivers including Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd. In 2001 Leslie led Martin to a second-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, recorded 15 top-10 finishes and a win in the Coke 600. “I’m looking forward to working with Ben,” said Labonte. “He’s done a lot with Ford Racing specifically and I like that he has experience with many Champion drivers. I’m excited to see what we will do together on the track in the next few weeks.” Todd Parrot who aided in Labonte’s fifth-place finish in Las Vegas will remain with Yates Racing and assist with both the #96 Hall of Fame Racing entry as well as the #98 Menards Ford Fusion.(HOF Racing/Yates Racing PR)(4-22-209)

  • #64 car withdraws UPDATE: no reason given, but the NASCAR Talladega Entry list now shows the #64 Gunselman Motorsports entry that Geoff Bodine was to drive at Talladega, as withdrawn. See the entry list on my
  • Talladega Entry List page.
    UPDATE: After much thought, team owner Larry Gunselman has decided to withdraw the #64 Gunselman Motorsports Toyota from this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Because of the financial demands required to get a competitive restrictor-plate motor for Talladega, Gunselman decided to focus the team’s limited finances and instead put forth their fiscal and physical energy towards the next three races. After this weekend, the Sprint Cup Series visits Richmond, Darlington and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The unsponsored team already has two engines for those tracks ensuring they will enter those races; but couldn’t afford to rent a plate motor for Talladega. “I hate, and I mean HATE, that we will not be in Talladega this weekend,” Gunselman said. “This wasn’t an easy decision by no means as we were hoping to have some kind of partnership on the car by now through our earlier efforts. I’m disappointed for myself, the team and Geoff Bodine because now he won’t get a chance to compete. Of all the go or go-homers, we are the final one in the standings that would make a race if qualifying rains out. While that’s good, it’s not good enough to take a chance on taking the team to Talladega without the proper motor. This team wants to race and put forth a full-race effort each week. This team is made of racers who want to compete. But, right now, we have to race smart with what we have and that means we can’t race this weekend.” While the team has found limited one-race sponsorships for some races, their goal is to have a multi-race deal in place to ensure they can be competitive. “We were hoping to attract a partner for $25,000 a race so we could be run races from start-to-finish. And, we are still looking to achieve that partnership with the right company right now. That’s what we need to be more competitive. Gunselman Motorsports offers a value that many other teams can’t and our goal right now is to find those companies who want to be part of racing on affordable terms. Here we are trying to save money by not going to Talladega and the hotel is still going to charge us for the three rooms for three nights down there. When we called the Budget Inn to tell them our situation, they basically said we couldn’t get out of them. So, if anyone wants some rooms for this weekend, I know where three are available less than two miles from the track.”(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(4-22-2009)

  • McDowell replaces Blaney UPDATE: the updated entry list for the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway shows Michael McDowell now driving the #66 Prism Motorsports Toyota for owner Phil Parsons and not Dave Blaney, who has ran six races for the team in 2009. No word if this is a permanent move or just for Talladega. See my Talladega Entry page. McDowell ran in 20 Sprint Cup races in the #00 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2008 with a best finish of 18th at Darlington.(4-21-2009)
    UPDATE: hearing that Blaney had a family obligation for this weekend [Apr 25-26] and will return to the #66 car at Richmond, McDowell was kind enough to step in to help the team out.(4-22-2009)

  • Roush Fenway Racing increases pledge to be more sustainable: It’s been 40 years since Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day and on this day of ecological awareness, Roush Fenway Racing is upping their pledge to promote more sustainable operations and better environmental management. Always a leader in the sport of NASCAR on and off track, Roush Fenway has been working with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to reinforce its position as a leader in environmental stewardship in the industry. Through the team’s current efforts, they recycle almost 96% of every race car. In 2008, the team recycled over 66 tons of waste (plastic, paper and metal); reduced the overall amount of waste produced by more than 11 tons; reduced storm water run off by 1.51M gallons; and saved 2.10M gallons of water by not using potable water for irrigation.
    As a next step, Roush Fenway Racing pledges to meet or exceed its corporate environmental target of an overall 10% improvement in indoor air quality; reduction of water consumption; increase in waste reduction and recycling; and improvement in energy usage over the next 18 months. The team has commissioned an independent energy audit through Electricities and the Carolina Consulting Group in cooperation with the City of Concord (N.C.) to further identify opportunities to reduce its power consumption. These efforts are applauded by the NRDC.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(4-22-2009)

  • Different colors for Edwards at ‘Dega: The #99 team of Carl Edwards will carry the Claritin paint scheme this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. This is the first and only time in 2009 Edwards’ Ford Fusion will don the Claritin design. The Claritin crew will be unloading chassis RK-629 this weekend. This is the same Ford Fusion that Edwards raced in this year’s Daytona 500. He started that race 16th and was relegated to an 18th-place finish after rain shortened the event.(RFR PR)(4-22-2009)

  • Martin’s win was his 400th Top-10: #5-Mark Martin not only won, but he also picked up his 400th career top-10 finish, and did it in style. He’s just the fourth driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to pick up 400 top-10 finishes, but he’s the only one to do it without winning a title. The most career top-10s in Cup history:
    Driver — Top 10s — Titles
    Richard Petty — 712 — 7
    Bobby Allison — 446 — 1
    Dale Earnhardt — 428 — 7
    Mark Martin — 400 — 0*
    *Finished second in points four times.(ESPN)(4-22-2009)

  • Montoya signed for a few more years: from a GM Racing Transcript, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was asked: “How long is your contract for that you’re currently under? Do you miss Formula One at all?”, Montoya said: “My contract is still a couple years, two, three, four, five, I don’t know. I’m not going to tell you actually how long is my contract (laughter). But I don’t miss Formula One at all.”(GM Racing Transcript)(4-22-2009)

  • Smith’s Talladega Return will be in National Day of Prayer Car: Regan Smith’s return to Talladega Superspeedway for this weekend’s Sprint Cup race will be in the #78 National Day of Prayer Chevy for Furniture Row Racing. This is the fourth straight year at the Talladega spring race that the Denver, Colo.-based Furniture Row company is donating space on the car to National Day of Prayer, an annual observance established by Congress and held on the first Thursday in May. “It’s hard not to think about that last lap,” said Smith, who led the field to the checkered flag in the October Talladega race, but saw victory taken away when NASCAR ruled that he passed Tony Stewart on the final lap below the out-of-bounds yellow line. The penalty relegated Smith to an 18th-place finish in his Dale Earnhardt Inc. entry. “I was being blocked and it was either passing Stewart or crashing the field,” explained Smith. “I felt I made the proper move and won the race.” With Furniture Row Racing running a limited schedule in 2009, the Talladega race will be Smith’s fifth Cup event of the season. He has qualified in the previous four races he entered with a best starting position of ninth, which was at last week’s event in Phoenix.(FRR PR)(4-22-2009)

  • McMurray to make a visit: On Thursday April 23, #26-Jamie McMurray will visit Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL. Redstone Arsenal was built in 1941 to produce conventional chemical ammunition for use in World War II. For more than 40 years, Redstone has been the heart of the Army’s rocket and missile programs. McMurray will tour the facility and meet with the soldiers on the base on behalf of Crown Royal.(RFR PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Hendrick Motorsports plane crash trial starts: A trial to determine who was responsible for the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash that killed 10 people Oct. 24, 2004, on the way to a NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville Speedway is scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, N.C. At issue is who is responsible for the accident – HMS Holdings (parent company of Hendrick Motorsports), the pilots themselves or the government, which is responsible for the air-traffic controllers. The trial covers five cases involving widows Dianne Dorton (wife of HMS engine builder Randy Dorton), Linda Turner (wife of HMS general manager Jeff Turner), and Tracy Lathram (wife of Tony Stewart pilot Scott Lathram, a passenger on the plane); HMS Holdings; the pilots’ estates; and the United States. According to court documents, the crash resulted when the pilots overshot the airport by five miles and failed to follow the missed-approach procedure for the Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport, which requires a climbing right turn to avoid Bull Mountain. The plane, in heavy cloud cover, climbed without turning and crashed into the mountain, killing all 10 aboard.(SceneDaily)(4-22-2009)

  • Revamped TonyStewart.com Unleashed on the Web: The 2009 racing season ushered in a new era in the career of Tony Stewart. The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has a new team, a new number and new sponsors. It’s only fitting that he has a new website – www.TonyStewart.com. The official TonyStewart.com has been redeveloped from top to bottom, coinciding with Stewart’s new role as a driver and owner with Stewart-Haas Racing, the two-car Sprint Cup team he co-owns with Oxnard, Calif.-based Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world.(TSC PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Newman’s Team Captures Tissot Pit Road Win in Phoenix: Ryan Newman’s team claimed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The #39 team out of the Stewart-Haas Racing stable became the season’s sixth winner of the pit road competition. The Tissot pit road win was awarded to Newman’s crew as a result of the team’s #39 Chevrolet Impala SS spending the least amount of time on pit road – 234.393 seconds – during the 312-lap event at the one-mile oval. Newman’s pit crew consists of: Adam Davis (front-tire changer), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Brandon Blake (rear-tire changer), James Houk (rear-tire carrier), Andrew Turner (jackman), Michael Moore (gasman), Andy Rueger (catch can) and Jay Guarneri (eighth man). For winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, the #39 team will receive $5,000. The team with the most pit road wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the driver and over-the-wall crew members.(Tissot PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Alan Gustafson Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Phoenix: Alan Gustafson, crew chief for the #5 CARQUEST/Kelloggs Chevy driven by Mark Martin, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Martin led 104 laps of the 312-lap event and went on to win his first race in more than three years. The Gustafson-led team had consistent and precise pit stops throughout the race, after starting from the pole position. “We had a great race car, great pit stops, and great strategy [by crew chief, Gustafson]” said Martin. 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 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.(Wypall PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Hamlin Makes Special Delivery to Unsuspecting Race Fan: Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver #11-Denny Hamlin surprised Concord resident Ken Vogl with a special delivery of four tickets to the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 today. “This certainly wasn’t expected,” said Vogl, who is a self-professed fan of Hamlin. “I knew that someone from the speedway was delivering some tickets that I had supposedly won, but I had no idea they would be delivered in a pace car by Denny Hamlin! I’ve been a fan of Denny’s since before he was racing in Cup, so to have a chance to meet him and get tickets to the Coca-Cola 600 all at once is a dream come true.” The ticket giveaway was a compliment to Hamlin’s “Win Denny’s Seats” program, where he is giving away tickets to each Sprint Cup Series race in 2009 to NASCAR fans who sign up on his Web site. Tickets for the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 are available for as little as $49. Convenient payment plan options and multi-day ticket packages are also available. Fans can call 1-800-455-FANS for more details or log onto www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Watkins Glen Family Grandstand Tickets Prices Lowered: Watkins Glen International announced during a press conference held at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel this afternoon, that they have teamed up with McDonald’s to lower ticket prices in the McDonald’s Family Grandstand during the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen and Zippo 200, NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race weekend, August 6-9, 2009. The cost per ticket is now $65 down 24% from $85 dollars in 2008 and a new 12 and under kids’ ticket can be purchased for only $20, in the McDonald’s Family Grandstand. The McDonald’s Family Grandstand is a smoke-and-alcohol free grandstand located in the infield near the top of the famed “Esses” and was created to provide families with a safe and fun entertainment environment during the race weekends. The grandstand seating has a large screen. Tickets for the entire 2009 season at Watkins Glen International are on sale now! For tickets and information contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen website at TheGlen.com.(WGI PR)(4-22-2009)
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway Announces Ticket Specials for Labor Day Weekend: Atlanta Motor Speedway has announced a host of ticket specials for the Pep Boys Auto 500 Labor Day weekend of night racing, including $59 frontstretch tickets, in an effort to make Atlanta’s first Sprint Cup night race even more affordable for fans. Continuing past specials and introducing new offers, Atlanta Motor Speedway has introduced a complete list of ticket specials for Labor Day weekend, highlighted by a $59 frontstretch ticket in the Winners Grandstand. As a special offer for NASCAR-loving families, Atlanta Motor Speedway is admitting children ages 12 and under free of charge for Saturday’s Degree V12 300 Nationwide Race and NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying. Children must be accompanied by a parent with a regularly-priced Earnhardt Grandstand adult ticket and multiple children can accompany one adult ticket. Select sections in the Earnhardt Grandstand are designated as smoke/alcohol free to accommodate families. Because each ticket special features limited quantities, fans are encouraged to act now to receive these special rates by calling Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849) or 770-946-4211, or purchasing tickets online at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS PR)(4-22-2009)

News from April 21, 2009

  • Dale Jr. and Mears to be penalized? UPDATE 2: NASCAR officials will likely lower the boom on #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #07-Casey Mears for late-race and post-race antics here Saturday night at Phoenix. The two tangled several times late, bringing out the final caution that almost cost Mark Martin the win. Mears: “I didn’t mean to get together with Dale Jr. I think he was trying to save fuel and make it to the end without stopping, and I wheel-hopped the car getting into the corner and ended up making contact with him. I guess he was a little bent out of shape about it because he spun me out after the checkered flag.”(mikemulhern.net)(4-20-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR will NOT penalize Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears for their post-race incident at Phoenix.(Virginian Pilot)(4-21-2009)
    UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced that it has placed Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears on probation for the next six races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of their on-track incident last Saturday at the conclusion of the race at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt, driver of the #88 team and Mears, driver of the #07 team, both violated Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing; hitting another competitor’s car after the race had concluded) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. The probation takes effect beginning with this weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway.(NASCAR PR)(4-21-2009)

  • Indy tire testing: Richard Petty Motorsports driver #43-Reed Sorenson says that Goodyear officials will extend their Indianapolis Motor Speedway tire test into Wednesday for four drivers because of rain that has continually interrupted their efforts. Sorenson, Roush Fenway Racing’s #17-Matt Kenseth [Ford], Stewart-Haas Racing’s #39-Ryan Newman [Chevy] and Red Bull Racing’s #83-Brian Vickers [Toyota] began testing tires at the track Monday as Goodyear officials work to find a better tire for this season’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the track after a 2008 event in which drivers had to pit regularly because of issues with tire wear.(SceneDaily)(4-21-2009)

  • Mark Donohue Tribute at Watkins Glen: The weekend of April 25-26, 2009, Watkins Glen International and the International Motor Racing Research Center will join forces to present a Mark Donohue Tribute. The weekend will include the launch of Michael Argetsinger’s new book on Mark. This is the first definitive biography ever written on Mark and at more than 600 pages, promises to be an outstanding read and a tremendous tribute to his memory. Details of the weekend remain in the planning stage but activities will include an opportunity to drive the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen circuit in your own car. A dedicated session will provide for ex-Donohue race cars to have the track to themselves. Several outstanding cars have already committed to be there. There will also be discussion sessions with key people in Mark’s life presenting their memories and stories.
    Donohue’s SCCA Championship Winning Cars Will Be Featured at Opening Day, Catch Two of Donohue’s 1967 Lola T70 Cars at The Glen, Donohue’s 1973 PC-1 F1 Car Will Be at Opening Day and Donohue’s Final Indy 500 Ride Coming to The Glen. More info available at www.UnfairAdvantageRacing.com and theglen.com.(4-21-2009)

  • Toyota Hybrid to pace the Coke 600 and other races: When a Toyota Camry Hybrid leads the 43-car starting field to the green flag for the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS), it will mark the first time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) history a hybrid vehicle will serve as the ‘official’ pace car for an entire race. The Camry Hybrid will make its pace car debut on Sunday, May 24, at the Concord, N.C., track. Built at the Toyota manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Ky., the Toyota Camry Hybrid is a 187- horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder vehicle that gets an EPA estimated combined average of 33 miles per gallon. Before being approved to serve as the pace car for the upcoming May race the Camry Hybrid had to pass a NASCAR-mandated performance test. In order to qualify as a pace car for the race at LMS, a vehicle is required to reach speeds close to 100 miles per hour from a stand-by position near the exit of pit road to the time it reaches the exit of turn two, a distance of approximately one-quarter-mile. In addition to the May Coca-Cola 600 and the October 17 race at LMS, the Toyota Camry Hybrid will serve as the ‘official’ pace car at Infineon Raceway (June 21), Chicago (July 11), Watkins Glen (Aug. 9) and Martinsville (Oct. 25).(Toyota PR)
    NOTE: 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid led the field to the green at Homestead in November 2008, but did not pace the field on other cautions.(4-21-2009)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Subway Fresh Fit 500
    Total race brdcst time 137 Total comm. brdcst time 52
    Total number of commercials: 110
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 62
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 62
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 8 min. 50 sec.
    Total minutes: 189
    Minutes of race broadcast: 137
    Minutes of commercials: 52
    Number of missed restarts: 1
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’: 1
    Total Digger sightings: 31
    Animated Digger shots: 9
    ‘Digger Vision’ shots: 2
    Still Digger shots: 16
    Text Digger to 7555 mentions: 2
    Get Digger theme at itunes.com mentions: 2
    See more and selected driver focus and link to full report on my 2009 TV Commercials page.(4-21-2009)

  • Mark Donohue Tribute at Watkins Glen: The weekend of April 25-26, 2009, Watkins Glen International and the International Motor Racing Research Center will join forces to present a Mark Donohue Tribute. The weekend will include the launch of Michael Argetsinger’s new book on Mark. This is the first definitive biography ever written on Mark and at more than 600 pages, promises to be an outstanding read and a tremendous tribute to his memory. Details of the weekend remain in the planning stage but activities will include an opportunity to drive the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen circuit in your own car. A dedicated session will provide for ex-Donohue race cars to have the track to themselves. Several outstanding cars have already committed to be there. There will also be discussion sessions with key people in Mark’s life presenting their memories and stories. We will provide more details as they become available but, for now, be sure to plan for this unique event. More info available at www.UnfairAdvantageRacing.com and theglen.com.(4-21-2009)
  • Kansas donates race tix to National Guard: In a show of support for the men and women of the Kansas National Guard, Kansas Speedway has donated approximately 2,500 tickets to the Guard for the upcoming NASCAR Camping World Truck Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 on Saturday, April 25. The tickets are being distributed to Kansas National Guard personnel on a “first-come, first-served” basis.(Kansas Speedway PR)(4-21-2009)
  • Championships Tickets on sale at Homestead: New Value Pricing for 2009: Racing fans are invited to be a part of history in 2009—and at a very special value. Homestead-Miami Speedway announced that all children ages 12 and younger will be: Admitted FREE of charge to both the grandstands and the exclusive paddock area during the Oct. 10 NextEra Energy Resources SpeedJam Championships Weekend and admitted FREE of charge to the Grandstands for the Nov. 20 Camping World Truck Series Championship finale during NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend. Tickets for all Six Championships—NASCAR, IndyCar and Grand-Am Sports Cars—are on sale, via (866) 409-RACE and www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com. Adult prices start at just $30 for the IndyCar/Grand-Am Championships and $55 for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Championship. Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2009 becomes the first venue ever to host all of North America’s premier motorsports championships. The SpeedJam Championships (Oct. 9-10) feature the finales of the IndyCar, Firestone Indy Lights and Grand-Am Sports Car Series. Six weeks later (Nov. 20-22), NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend features the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series finales. Morer details by calling (866) 409-RACE or going to www.HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.(HMS PR)(4-21-2009)

News from April 20, 2009

  • Phoenix overnight TV Ratings: NASCAR on Fox posted a record-low 3.3/6 Saturday night for racing from Phoenix. Saturday’s 3.3/8 is an -18% drop compared to last year’s 4.0/7. FOX’s rating at the green flag was just a 3.1/6, down -18% compared to last year’s 3.8/7 when a long-running Yankees-Red Sox game drove some viewers straight into the first lap of the race. For the season-to-date, NASCAR On FOX is averaging a 4.9/10 in the metered markets, down -14% compared to last year’s 5.7/11. For the full season chart and more, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(4-20-2009)

  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series
    * Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway after starting from the pole. His victory was the fifth straight win by Hendrick Motorsports at Phoenix. Martin led five times for 157 laps, including the final six.
    * Martin scored his 400th top-10 finish and became the fourth driver in NASCAR history to score 400 or more top-10 finishes. He scored his second victory in 25 races at Phoenix and is the oldest driver to win at Phoenix at 50 years, three months and nine days. Martin is just the fourth driver to win over the age of 50, joining Harry Gant, Bobby Allison and Morgan Shepherd. Shepherd was the last driver over 50 to score a victory, doing so at Atlanta in March 1993.
    * Martin is the 15th different driver to win for Hendrick Motorsports, and is the ninth driver to win in the #5 car, which has won 35 times.
    * This was Martin’s 36th career victory in 730 races and he remained 18th on NASCAR’s all-time wins list.
    * This was Martin’s first victory with Hendrick Motorsports and first with an owner other than Jack Roush. It was his first victory with crew chief Alan Gustafson. This is the 178th victory for Hendrick Motorsports; third in 2009 and third straight (Jimmie Johnson won at Martinsville, Jeff Gordon won at Texas).
    * Tony Stewart finished second, posting his sixth top-10 finish in 2009. It marked his best finish of the season and best with his new team.
    * This is the third victory for Chevrolet in 2009, all in the last three races.
    * Gordon leads the points standings, by 85 over second-place Johnson.
    * Kurt Busch, third, posted his fifth top-10 finish in 2009.
    * Jimmie Johnson, fourth, scored his sixth top-10 of 2009 and fourth consecutive top-4 finish.
    * Sam Hornish Jr. (ninth) scored his career-best finish.
    * Clint Bowyer (26th) extended an 81-race streak of running at the finish that began at Homestead in November 2006. Bowyer’s last DNF came at Phoenix on Nov. 12, 2006, where he finished 33rd because of an oil pump failure. This ties him for the most consecutive races running at the finish with Kevin Harvick. Herman Beam had a streak of 84 races in which he competed without a DNF, but those races were not consecutive.
    * The top 10 consisted of four Chevrolets, two Toyotas, two Dodges and two Fords.(ESPN Monday Rundown)(4-20-2009)

  • Dale Jr. and Mears to be penalized? NASCAR officials will likely lower the boom on #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #07-Casey Mears for late-race and post-race antics here Saturday night at Phoenix. The two tangled several times late, bringing out the final caution that almost cost Mark Martin the win. Mears: “I didn’t mean to get together with Dale Jr. I think he was trying to save fuel and make it to the end without stopping, and I wheel-hopped the car getting into the corner and ended up making contact with him. I guess he was a little bent out of shape about it because he spun me out after the checkered flag.”(mikemulhern.net)(4-20-2009)

  • #42 to car Tum’s scheme at ‘Dega: TUMS Dual Action will be the primary sponsor on Juan Pablo Montoya’s #42 Chevy from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for the Aaron’s 499 at Talldega Superspeedway on April 26. The #42 TUMS Dual Action Chevy will feature a white and blue fading paint scheme with energy bolts on both sides of the car. In addition to the #42 TUMS Dual Action Chevy sponsorship at Talladega, TUMS serves as a tier-one sponsor for the #42 Target Chevrolet.(Tums Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #42 Team Schemes page.(4-20-2009)

  • IMHOF Induction Ceremony Presenters and Inductees Rich In History: The list of well-known names who will be in attendance for the 2009 International Motorsports Hall of Fame(IMHOF) Induction Ceremony extends far beyond the five men who will make up this year’s class of inductees. The Class of 2009 consists of car owner and race promoter J.C. Agajanian, NASCAR Cup driver Donnie Allison, seven-time Modifieds champion Jerry Cook, longtime team owner Bud Moore and NASCAR pioneer and car owner Raymond Parks. Those inductees will be presented during the April 23 ceremony by a group that also has plenty of motorsports experience, including one former driver who is already a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Agajanian will be presented by Parnelli Jones, who drove one of Agajanian’s cars to victory in the 1963 Indianapolis 500. Longtime motorsports journalist Dick Berggren will present Cook. NASCAR’s Jim Hunter will present Allison. NASCAR President Mike Helton will present Parks. Buz McKim will present Moore. McKim, the historian for the new NASCAR Hall of Fame has spent years chronicling the history of Moore, his drivers and associates in racing. Also scheduled to be in attendance are 2009 Miss America winner Katie Stam of Indiana, and Stan Barrett, driver of the 3-wheeled Budweiser Rocket Car that attempted to break the sound barrier in 1979. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $5 for kids age 7 to 17 and free for kids age 6 and younger. Discounts to the museum of $1 off individual tickets are available to: adults in the military, AAA members, senior citizens, children (age 7 to 17) of a military member or AAA member. Discounts do not apply to combo tickets. The 2009 ceremony will be held April 23rd, at the SPEED Channel Dome, adjacent to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. Individual tickets for the evening are $125 and a table of eight may be reserved for $1,000. Tickets and tables are available by calling 1-256-362-5002.(TSS PR)(4-20-2009)
  • Darlington walls go retro for Southern 500: When spectators and competitors arrive at Darlington Raceway for the May 9th Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com everyone will notice one distinct difference – red and white retaining walls surrounding the track “Too Tough to Tame.” “Giving the most famous walls on the NASCAR circuit a retro facelift seemed very fitting as part of our 60th celebration,” said track President, Chris Browning. “This is the first time since 1989 that the walls have been painted anything but white and it certainly reminds me of the early days of NASCAR racing.” The walls are painted in 40-foot sections alternating red and white and took nearly 50 hours and 315 gallons of paint to complete. In addition to the red and white paint scheme, a retro font was used for the Darlington Raceway signage at the start/finish line. Tickets to the 2009 Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com, as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 are on-sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at http://www.darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.(Darlington Raceway PR)(4-20-2009)
  • Overnight Parks Will Be Rocking All Weekend at Talladega: LoCash Cowboys will be cranking the tunes for infield guests on Saturday night of race weekend, but they won’t be the only band appearing at Talladega Superspeedway. Six bands will perform free concerts for guests in four overnight parks surrounding track property Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26.
    Overnight Parks and Band Performing:
    Infield – LoCash Cowboys (Saturday, 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
    West B – Who So Ever (Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
    West C – Cross Country (Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
    Reserved South Park – The River (Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
    Free South Park – Renaissance (Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
    Free South Park – Thunder (Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
    North Park – Trackside the Band (Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.)
    For tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.(TSS PR)(4-20-2009)

News from April 19, 2009

  • Schrader runs out of gas at the Rock, Caisse wins: Sean Caisse shot by Ken Schrader’s fuel-starved Chevrolet and into the lead with three laps remaining in Sunday’s Carolina 200 to collect his career-first ARCA/REMAX Series victory. Caisse, 23, trailed Schrader by 4.5 seconds in the closing laps, placing him in position to capitalize on the Missouri native’s misfortune when he had to duck onto pit road for fuel. Caisse, who led once for three laps, finished 7.535 seconds ahead of points leader Patrick Sheltra in a Dodge. Schrader dominated the 200-lap event on the 1-mile track, leading three times for 185 laps, but he didn’t anticipate a 90-lap, green-flag run in the race’s second half. Schrader said the Rockingham track hadn’t changed since the days he raced on it in NASCAR events. “Run around the bottom, around the top and any place in between,” Schrader commented. Rockingham Speedway’s next major race weekend is the Fourth of July when the ASA Late Model Series will make its debut at the track and Frank Kimmel’s Street Stock Nationals return for its second outing.(Rockingham Speedway PR)(4-19-2009)

  • McMurray team gone after 2009? UPDATE: The #26 Roush Fenway Racing team of Jamie McMurray is expected to be dumped by Roush when it has to cut back to four Cup teams after this season.(Virginia Pilot)(4-15-2009)
    UPDATE: Team co-owner Jack Roush said Friday that no decision had been made regarding what his organization’s NASCAR Sprint Cup team lineup would look like in 2010. #26-Jamie McMurray, currently one of five Roush Fenway Racing Cup drivers, has been mentioned in media reports as the likely choice to go elsewhere, most likely to join Yates Racing next season. Roush Fenway Racing currently fields five Sprint Cup Series teams, but per changes to NASCAR’s competition policy instituted in 2006, Cup ownership groups can have a maximum of four teams. Because of sponsorship agreements in place at the time of the policy change, Roush’s organization was “grandfathered in” until the end of 2009. Yates Racing, which like Roush Fenway fields Ford entries, has a technical alliance with RFR. The Yates group began the season with three teams – fielding cars for #96-Bobby Labonte (through an alliance with Hall of Fame Racing), #98-Paul Menard and #28-Travis Kvapil – but recently shut down Kvapil’s team due to a lack of sponsorship. “That is premature,” Roush said of one recent report which said McMurray’s team was expected to be dumped. “And if I had something to announce, there would be something written on the shelf back there [in the media center]. We’re not thinking about next year yet, we’re thinking about this year. Certainly there was nothing that has happened in the last week that is noteworthy or newsworthy and I wouldn’t care to speculate.”(SceneDaily)(4-19-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer has been running at the finish in 81 consecutive races, the longest current streak, and now tied the modern era record of #29-Harvick who had 81 until DNFing at California in Feb 2009, next up is #78-Regan Smith at 45 [but has not run all the races] and then #48-Johnson at 32 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 [Beam didn’t run all the races, but didn’t DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 81 [he also has the 3rd longest at 58], then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(4-19-2009)

  • Oldest Sprint Cup Race Winners
    Driver, Date, Track, Age
    1) Harry Gant, 8/6/1992, Michigan, 52 years, 7 months, 6 days
    (Gant won 8 races after turning 50, and his last pole was at 54 years old, Bristol 1994)
    2) Morgan Shepherd, 3/20/1993, Atlanta, 51 years, 4 months, 27 days
    3) Mark Martin, 4/18/2009, Phoenix, 50 years, 3 months, 9 days
    4) Bobby Allison, 2/14/1988, Daytona, 50 years, 2 months, 11 days
    5) Dale Earnhardt, 10/15/2000, Talladega, 49 years, 5 months, 16 days
    6) Dale Jarrett, 10/2/2005, Talladega, 48 years, 10 months, 6 days
    7) Bill Elliott, 11/9/2003, Rockingham, 48 years, 1 month, 1 day
    8) Rusty Wallace, 4/18/2004, Martinsville, 47 years, 8 months, 4 days
    9) Geoffrey Bodine, 8/11/1996, Watkins Glen, 47 years, 3 months, 24 days
    10) Richard Petty, 7/4/1984, Daytona, 47 years, 2 days
    11) Terry Labonte, 8/31/2003, Darlington, 46 years, 9 months, 15 days


    News from April 18, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/18/2009
  • Mark Martin wins at Phoenix: #5-Mark Martin won the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway for his first win in 97 races [Kansas in 2005] for his first win in 2009 and 36th win of his career [16th all-time]. Former owner Jack Roush came to victory lane to shake Martin’s hand along with many other drivers. #14-Stewart finished 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #48-Johnson, #16-Biffle, #11-Hamlin, #1-Truex Jr., #00-Reutimann, #77-Hornish Jr. [career best finish] and #99-Edwards. Points leader, #24-Jeff Gordon had a bad pitstop late and finished 25th and his point lead dwindles to 85 over #48-Johnson. There were 6 cautions for 29 laps and there were 14 lead changes among 10 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more on the Phoenix Race Results Page.(4-18-2009)
  • UNOFFICAL Driver Points Standings [after Phoenix, race 8 of 36]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon, 1242 [1 win]
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 1157, -85 [1 win]
    3) #2-Kurt Busch, 1144, -98 [1 win]
    4) #14-Tony Stewart, 1138, -104
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin, 1088, -154
    6) #33-Clint Bowyer, 1052, -190
    7) #18-Kyle Busch, 1026,-216 [2 wins]
    8) #99-Carl Edwards, 1023, -219
    9) #00-David Reutimann, 992, -250
    10) #9-Kasey Kahne, 975, -267
    11) #31-Jeff Burton, 953, -289
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth, 946, -296 [2 wins]
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #5-Mark Martin, 9 points out of 12th [1 win]
    14) #16-Greg Biffle, -16
    15) #42-Juan Montoya, -36
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(4-18-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Talladega:
    no changes in who is in and who is out, #71-Gilliland dropped 3 more points behind 35th
    32) #98-Menard/Yates: 637, +86
    33) #20-Logano/Gibbs: 610, +59
    34) #34-Andretti/Earnhart Ganassi: 589, +38
    35) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 577, 26 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 551, 26 points out of 35th
    37) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 475, -102
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(4-18-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Phoenix International Raceway
    Mark Martin won the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500, his 36th victory in 730 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. The last over-50 driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Morgan Shepherd, 51, March 20, 1993 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Martin becomes the fourth different over-50 driver to win a NSCS event.
    This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his second victory and 16th top-10 finish in 25 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Tony Stewart (second) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 15 races at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his sixth top-10 finish in 2009.
    Kurt Busch (third) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 13 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Joey Logano (21st) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Jeff Gordon leads the point standings by 85 points over Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-18-2009)
  • Infraction Sheet – Phoenix International Raceway
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #09 55, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #88 55, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #7 166, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #55 166, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #09 166, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #44 167, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #36 227, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #24 233, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #83 244, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Pass Thru
    #42 244, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Pass Thru
    #71 302, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #18 302, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    (NASCAR Statistics)(4-18-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Phoenix: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #36-Riggs,36th
    Caution 2: #98-Menard, 23rd
    Caution 3: #20-Logano, 21st
    Caution 4: #29-Harvick, 30th
    Caution 5: #19-Sadler, 32nd
    Caution 6: NONE awarded when there are 10 laps or less left
    (4-18-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer has been running at the finish in 81 consecutive races, the longest current streak, and now tied the modern era record of #29-Harvick who had 81 until DNFing at California in Feb 2009, next up is #78-Regan Smith at 45 [but has not run all the races] and then #48-Johnson at 32 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 [Beam didn’t run all the races, but didn’t DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 81 [he also has the 3rd longest at 58], then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(4-18-2009)

  • Oldest Sprint Cup Race Winners
    Driver, Date, Track, Age
    1) Harry Gant, 8/6/1992, Michigan, 52 years, 7 months, 6 days
    (Gant won 8 races after turning 50, and his last pole was at 54 years old, Bristol 1994)
    2) Morgan Shepherd, 3/20/1993, Atlanta, 51 years, 4 months, 27 days
    3) Mark Martin, 4/18/2009, Phoenix, 50 years, 3 months, 9 days
    4) Bobby Allison, 2/14/1988, Daytona, 50 years, 2 months, 11 days
    5) Dale Earnhardt, 10/15/2000, Talladega, 49 years, 5 months, 16 days
    6) Dale Jarrett, 10/2/2005, Talladega, 48 years, 10 months, 6 days
    7) Bill Elliott, 11/9/2003, Rockingham, 48 years, 1 month, 1 day
    8) Rusty Wallace, 4/18/2004, Martinsville, 47 years, 8 months, 4 days
    9) Geoffrey Bodine, 8/11/1996, Watkins Glen, 47 years, 3 months, 24 days
    10) Richard Petty, 7/4/1984, Daytona, 47 years, 2 days
    11) Terry Labonte, 8/31/2003, Darlington, 46 years, 9 months, 15 days

  • Schrader on the ARCA pole at the Rock, LaJoie wins UARA race: Veteran Ken Schrader added another Rockingham Speedway pole to his resume Saturday, claiming the top starting position for this weekend’s Carolina 200 ARCA/REMAX Series event. Schrader, who earned a NASCAR Winston Cup Series pole at the 1-mile track in 1990, recorded a lap of 145.761 mph, 24.698 seconds, in a Chevrolet to reap the Menards Pole Award presented by Ansell. In addition to Schrader walking off with Rockingham’s R.A. Jeffreys Distributing Co. Pole Award, Donnie Richeson received the NASCAR Technical Institute Crew Chief Award. Richeson, a former NASCAR crew chief, now serves in that capacity with Schrader. Ricky Carmichael, making his Rockingham debut in a Chevrolet owned by Kevin Harvick Racing, earned the fourth starting position. Sunday’s race will be televised live on SPEED beginning at 1 p.m. For more information about the Carolina 200 or to order tickets, please contact the speedway at (910) 205-8800 or visit www.rockinghamspeedway.com.
    AND LaJoie wins Corey LaJoie followed in his father’s tread marks Saturday at Rockingham Speedway, snaring his first-ever UARA victory at the track where father Randy LaJoie clinched one of his two NASCAR Busch Series championships in the late 1990s. Other drivers with Father’s who raced in NASCAR Cup who ran the race included Kyle Grissom [Steve] finished 4th and Coleman Pressley [Robert], finished 7th. Brandon McReynolds, son of FOX analyst and former NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds, finished 19th.(4-18-2009)
  • Pit Stall Selections – Phoenix: The selections for pit stalls of the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway have been made. Pole sitter #5-Mark Martin chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], while outside pole sitter #18-Busch took pit stall 13, the next with an opening in front of it and #2-Busch, who starts 3rd, took pit stall 21, which is the next stall with an opening in front of it. #78-Smith who starts 9th, chose the final pit stall. See the pit selection chart on the Phoenix International Raceway Pit Stall Selection chart.(4-18-2009)

  • Dale Jr. comments on the demise of the #8: from a team Chevy Dale Earnhardt Jr. press conference Transcript:
    IS IT SAD THAT THERE IS NO NUMBER EIGHT AT THE TRACK THIS WEEKEND? “I’m pretty sad, but I don’t think it will be gone for long. I read a lot of the input that you guys (media) had all week and sort of got the temperature of what the press was thinking and what the fans were thinking. The one thing that I kept thinking about when I was reading those articles was how glad I was that Robert (Yates) and Doug (Yates) and everybody at Yates — that they were willing to work with me on the 88 because I don’t have any malice about what Teresa’s (Earnhardt) decision was on keeping that number.
    “If I was in her shoes I probably would have done the exact same thing and that has been the case with every other owner in the past. That’s what the understanding is that the number belongs to them and I understood that. I really wasn’t as upset about it as a lot of people probably thought I was and it wasn’t as ugly of a situation as a lot of people felt like it was. I was glad that I found Robert (Yates) and the guys willing to talk about the 88 because that was a number with a ton of history and something that I could really wrap my hands around and get excited about. The eight will be back and someone else will add to it and do something great with it and hopefully it’s Ganassi and Teresa (Earnhardt). Hopefully they can get it back on the race track and I wouldn’t ever count them out. It’s a tough economy. I just wish them all the success and I wish that they will get that car funded to where Aric (Almirola) can get back on the race track, he’s a super guy and needs to be out on the race track with us and I think it’s small pieces to the puzzle really. I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be permanent, hopefully.”
    DO YOU THINK YOUR GRANDMA (MARTHA EARNHARDT) IS UPSET ABOUT THE NUMBER NOT BEING HERE? “No, not at all. She especially, we have been around this sport for a long time and you have to get used to change and I’ve worked with a lot of different people. Some I wish today I was still working with, but circumstances prevented that and you have to be able to let go of that and move on and try to do the best you can. That’s the same way in every situation in this sport. Yes I wish I would have never had to have changed numbers — I had to under the circumstances and I am happy to have the opportunity to use the 88 and I hope I do a good job with it for all the guys that have used it in the past. That’s really the only thing that I think about right now. Having that number there’s a little bit of responsibility with it because it was pretty historic so I must concentrate on that, you know?”(Chevy/GM PR)(4-18-2009)

  • Castroneves and Motorsports agent aquitted: Brazilian race car driver and “Dancing With The Stars” champ Helio Castroneves was acquitted Friday of most charges that he worked with his sister and lawyer to evade more than $2.3 million in U.S. income taxes. A federal jury acquitted Castroneves on six counts of tax evasion but was hung on one count of conspiracy. When the sentence was read, Castroneves broke into sobs and leaned against his attorneys for support. The jury also acquitted Katiucia Castroneves, 35, who is her 33-year-old brother’s business manager, on the tax evasion counts but also hung on the conspiracy charge. Michigan motorsports attorney Alan Miller, 71, was acquitted on all three counts of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy. The deliberations took six days after a six-week trial.(ESPN/AP)(4-18-2009)
  • Online Voting Open for Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: Online voting for the 2009 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame is currently underway. On Saturday, Oct. 31, 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 will have to decide. 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 talladegawalk.com. Voting is limited to one vote per day.
    Active driver nominees for 2009 include: Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Robby Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Morgan Shepherd and Michael Waltrip.
    Inactive driver nominees for 2009 include: Jim Paschal, Bill Rexford, Jack Smith and Speedy Thompson.
    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. For additional information, visit talladegawalk.com. For tickets, visit talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(TSS PR)(4-18-2009)
  • Ward Burton to serve as grand marshal of festival: former Sprint Cup driver, Ward Burton, winner of five Nextel Cup races, is scheduled to be the grand marshal of the 2009 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival and appear in many functions of the festival May 1-2. More info at thebloom.com.(4-18-2009)


    News from April 17, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/17/2009
  • Race Coverage of the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, 2009.
    TV: FOX at 8:30 pm/et; pre-race show at 8:00 pm/et; green flag approx 8:46pm/et
    Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: SPEED, Wednesday, April 21 at 12:00pm/et;
  • Martin wins pole at Phoenix: #5-Mark Martin won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway with a lap of 133.814mph for his 3rd pole of 2009, 1st ever at Phoenix and 44th of his career [10th all time]. Martin has won 7 races from the pole in his career. #18-Busch qualified 2nd followed by #2-Busch, #24-Gordon, #83-Vickers, #14-Stewart, #98-Menard, #00-Reutimann, #78-Smith and #48-Johnson.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #78-Smith, #82-Speed, #87-Nemechek, #71-Gilliland, #36-Riggs, #09-Marlin and #73-Raines.
    The five drivers who failed to qualify: #64-Todd Bodine, #41-Mayfield, #51-Bean, #02-Ash and #06-Boys.
    For qualifying order, results and starting lineup see my Phoenix Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(4-17-209)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Phoenix International Raceway:
    Mark Martin won the Coors Light Pole Award for the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 with a lap of 26.903 seconds, 133.814 mph.
    This is his 44th pole in 730 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his third pole and fifth top-10 start in 2009.
    This is his first pole in 25 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Kyle Busch (second) posted his seventh top-10 start of 2009 and his fourth in nine races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Kurt Busch (third) posted his eighth top-10 start at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his fifth in eight races this season.
    Scott Speed (18th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-17-2009)
  • Pole Progression: (who had the pole first, who got it next and who ended up with it)
    #47-Ambrose, 1st out to qualify, 132.402mph, starts 29th
    #9-Kahne, 2nd out, 132.626, starts 21st
    #16-Biffle, 8th out, 133.240, starts 13th
    #5-Martin, 9th out, 133.814, starts 1st

  • J.D. Gibbs gives Joey Logano vote of confidence: Rumors earlier this month that Joe Gibbs Racing considered replacing #20-Joey Logano with Martin Truex Jr. didn’t reach Logano until Joe Gibbs told the rookie they weren’t true. “I like this saying: the brighter the spotlight on you, the more bugs it attracts,” Logano said. “The more people are going to talk about you, the more all that’s going to happen. … If people want to make stuff up that’s fine.” Since then, the organization has emphasized its confidence in the 18-year-old’s future. “Watching everything he’s done up to this point, he’s really gifted,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “He’s the guy; we feel like he’s the guy of the future.” Tony Stewart’s departure from JGR one season before his contract expired caused the vacancy in the #20 Toyota. Gibbs said there was talk of keeping Logano longer in Nationwide, but Cup and Nationwide cars are too different. They knew 2009 would be a challenging year. “Before the year’s out we expect to be out front challenging, and next year we’d like to come out of the box and grow,” Gibbs said. “I don’t care who you are in this sport, you have to perform as a team or you won’t be here. There’s no franchising to guarantee a spot.”(Orlando Sentinel)(4-17-2009)

  • Kahne set at RPM thru 2010: #9-Kasey Kahne Open Interview – Dodge Motorsports Transcript:
    CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW THINGS ARE RIGHT NOW AT RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS? ARE YOU HAPPY? ARE YOU EXPLORING OTHER OPTIONS? [Kahne] “I’m definitely not exploring other options. I have another year with Richard Petty Motorsports. The Gillett’s have been good to me since I came here. I made a commitment to them to race thru 2010, so I’ll do that for sure. I’ve told them from the start that if we can get our cars to where they’re right and we’re competitive with the best teams out here, then I don’t know why I’d ever want to move from that company. I like the people (at RPM). From the guys building the race cars in the shop, the engine guys to the guys painting the cars, I have a good relationship with everybody. For me to leave, I wouldn’t want to, but at the same time, I want to get a chance in some really good equipment too. I think that we’re working on that. If we get there, I’ll stay with RPM for a long time.”
    WOULD YOU SAY THAT WOULD BE THE DECIDING FACTOR?
    “Yeah, that’s my only factor. At the end of the day, I grew up racing Sprint cars and driving for my dad. When I had a chance to drive for Steve Lewis, it was a no-brainer. He had the best equipment that there was and I took it and we won a ton of races and basically nobody’s done that since in USAC as far as the Midget series goes or before. I just feel like that at some point, I want that opportunity and hopefully it can be right where we are at.”(Dodge Motorsports PR)(4-17-2009)
  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway is scheduled for Friday, April 17, 2009 at 7:10pm/et.
    TV: SPEED – 7:00pm/et
    Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Jayski.com: Jayski’s FREE Semi-Live Qualifying Page
    Qualifying Re-Air: none scheduled
  • Qualifying Order for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway is posted. 48 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #47-Ambrose, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #18-Busch. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #71-Gilliland, and the final driver scheduled to qualify is #66-Blaney. See the full qualifying order on the Phoenix Qualifying Page.(4-17-2009)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway is over, the top five:
    #48-Johnson 132.236
    #42-Montoya 131.912
    #24-Gordon 131.844
    #14-Stewart 131.392
    #2-Busch 131.329
    slowest: #06-Boys 122.088 and #02-Ash 123.191
    See best speeds, times, ave speeds and laps run on my Phoenix Practice Speeds Page.(4-17-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice in Happy Hour at Phoenix International Raceway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #78-Regan Smith, 7th fastest
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 28th
    #36-Scott Riggs, 33rd
    #82-Scott Speed, 35th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 36th
    #71-David Gilliland, 39th
    #64-Todd Bodine, 41st
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 42nd
    these drivers would miss the race if things stayed the same:
    #73-Tony Raines, 43rd
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 44th
    #51-Dexter Bean, 46th
    #02-Brandon Ash, 47th
    #06-Trevor Boys, 48th
    See best speeds, times, ave speeds and laps run on my Phoenix Practice Speeds Page.(4-17-2009)
  • First Friday practice for the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway is over, the top 5:
    #48-Johnson, 130.392
    #1-Truex Jr., 130.317
    #14-Stewart, 130.265
    #16-Biffle, 130.237
    #17-Kenseth, 130.161
    slowest: #06-Boys 117.867 and #02-Ash 123.512
    incidents: #26-McMurray smacked the wall early and pancaked the side of his Ford.
    Happy Hour practice is scheduled to run from 3:30 – 5:00pm/et.
    See best speeds, times, ave speeds and laps run on my Phoenix Practice Speeds Page.(4-17-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Phoenix International Raceway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #66-Dave Blaney, 21st fastest
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 26th
    #73-Tony Raines, 29th
    #71-David Gilliland, 32nd
    #36-Scott Riggs, 35th
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 39th
    #78-Regan Smith, 40th
    #64-Todd Bodine, 42nd
    these drivers would miss the race if things stayed the same:
    #82-Scott Speed, 43rd
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 44th
    #51-Dexter Bean, 46th
    #02-Brandon Ash, 47th
    #06-Trevor Boys, 48th
    See best speeds, times, ave speeds and laps run on my Phoenix Practice Speeds Page.(4-17-2009)
  • American Monster to sponsor #71 at Phoenix UPDATE: the sponsor listed on the updated Phoenix Entry List for the #71 Chevy of David Gilliland is American Monster, a TV Show, a project that showcases successful, homegrown talent from a variety of arenas. More info at americanmonstertv.com. The announcement is expected sometime Friday. See images of the car on my #71 Team Schemes page.(4-17-2009)
    UPDATE: American Monster has agreed to a deal with TRG Motorsports to become the primary sponsor on the #71 American Monster Chevy driven by David Gilliland. The car will debut this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. American Monster is a television concept that will showcase successful, homegrown talent from a variety of competitive arenas. To be an American Monster is to defy the odds and compete at the highest levels relying on little more than your natural talent, innate abilities and pure determination. In 2009, each series will focus on athletes and talent from the Mixed Martial Arts, Monster Trucks, and NASCAR expanding to other sports in the near future. The show will give viewers a behind the scenes view on what it takes to compete against the world’s most sophisticated competition without any of the luxuries of huge budgets, or traditional means of support. The American Monster TV concept will be revealed on FOX Sports Net by the fourth quarter of 2009.
    “The TRG Motorsports NASCAR on a Dime story of entering the most competitive racing series on the planet is exactly what the American Monster concept is all about,” Roger Dean, American Monster creator said. “We chose TRG Motorsports as the catalyst to introduce and publicize the American Monster brand. The car will be used as a 180 mph billboard to let people know what will be coming on the American Monster TV shows. We will also use the NASCAR venues to cross promote our other exciting program segments and brand lifestyle. American Monster’s creative partners Joe Iacono of Iacono Design Group and James Begera of WA007 will leverage the NASCAR audience to offer American Monster’s television viewers and advertisers added value by building a lifestyle brand of the future. American Monster will utilize David Gilliland and the sport to explain to everyone that an American Monster lives in all of us, but you have to have what it takes.”
    TRG Motorsports team principal Kevin Buckler now has a few more dimes to continue running in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “We have found a partner that really mirrors what we are all about at TRG Motorsports,” Buckler said. “The very definition of an American Monster is what we portray in our team. What we have been able to do, with 11 Monsters on the crew, against the large well funded teams has earned us a place in this sport. It was a huge risk to get involved when we did, but that risk is now rewarded with a great looking blue and silver #71 American Monster Chevrolet. The partnership with American Monster will help us to focus on increasing our level of competitiveness on the track as well as begin to incubate a fan following in NASCAR through a very cool merchandising program.”
    Racer Management led by Bryan Houtchens in conjunction with The Hufco Pro-Motion Agency led by John Huffman worked with American Monster to find the appropriate team that fit the American Monster program with a lean, mean, and targeted approach in motorsports; thus culminating in the relationship between TRG Motorsports and American Monster as a predominant force within NASCAR for many years to come.(TRG PR)(4-17-2009)

  • MAPEI to make 2009 debut for Robby: The #7 Toyota of Robby Gordon will display the familiar yellow and blue MAPEI / Menards colors for the first time this season at Phoenix International Raceway. Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 will mark Gordon’s 14th start at the ultra-fast mile oval. He owns two top-10 finishes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and also has one win in the CART Series at PIR. “We are also excited to have MAPEI return as a primary sponsor for Robby Gordon Motorsports this year. We expect good things from this car and our team for their 2009 debut this weekend,” commented Robby Gordon.(RGM PR)(4-17-2009)

  • Hamlin, FedEx Racing Marching for Babies in Phoenix: The #11 FedEx Toyota Camry will sport an unfamiliar paint scheme this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Instead of the nearly all-black paint that Hamlin has driven to sixth place in the Cup standings, the FedEx team will unload a white and purple #11 FedEx Office/March for Babies Toyota this weekend – all in the name of charity. For the second consecutive year, Hamlin and team are raising awareness for the March for Babies – the March of Dimes’ largest annual fundraiser. Hamlin also will wear a helmet designed by Bernard “Sonny” VanBuskirk. Sonny is the son of FedEx Express employee Bernard VanBuskirk and was born seven weeks premature in 1998. Eleven years later, Sonny is a healthy, vibrant boy due to the March of Dimes and the medical care he received. VanBuskirk designed the helmet and his work was transferred on to the official race helmet by renowned helmet designer Jason Beam.(FedEx Racing PR), see an image of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page.(4-17-2009)

  • RPM locks up Allmendinger UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports has picked up the option on #44-AJ Allmendinger’s contract, locking up the driver through 2010. According to multiple sources, Joe Gibbs Racing had inquired about Allmendinger’s status as they consider starting up a fourth team. RPM had an Aug. 15 deadline to pick up Allmendinger’s option for 2010.(FoxSports)(4-17-2009)
    UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports announced today AJ Allmendinger will race for the team in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. “This was an easy decision for Richard Petty Motorsports,” said Tom Reddin, the team’s chief executive officer. “AJ has done a superb job, both on and off the track in 2009. We want to let everyone know that he’s going to be a vital part of Richard Petty Motorsports for what we believe will be a long-term, winning relationship.” The Petty team signed Allmendinger before the start of the 2009 season with plans to run the Bud Shootout and the first eight point races. Allmendinger finished fifth in the preseason Bud Shootout, and posted a third-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a ninth-place finish at Martinsville. He was the only driver without a guaranteed starting spot to qualify for all of the races in 2009. Sponsorship from Dodge, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Valvoline, Harrah’s, Super 8, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Charter Communications extended Allmendinger’s schedule through the Sept. 12 Richmond race. Reddin said he is confident the team will secure the sponsorship needed to extend the number of races the 27-year-old Californian will run in 2009 for the full season. Allmendinger is 20th in points but only 104 points out of the 12th and final “Chase” position. “I’m thrilled about this,” Allmendinger said. “Racers are no different than anyone else. We like to know we have a job. I’m very thankful to be where I am and I expect we will keep running better and better each weekend. I think I have found a long-term home at Richard Petty Motorsports.”(RPM PR)(4-17-2009)

  • Biffle goes off road Racing: With the Nevada desert in Primm, NV as the backdrop, #16-Greg Biffle got behind the wheel of Ford’s newest truck, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R, after company engineers requested his feedback. An avid truck lover, Biffle jumped at the opportunity to go off-roading at a desert race for the first time in his life as part of this weekend’s “Terrible’s 250” Best in the Desert Racing Association event. “That is so much fun I might quit my day job, I’m not sure,” said Biffle after making two laps around the three-mile course. “That is certainly a thrill. I’ve never done something like that before and I can see why these guys do this on a weekly basis because it’s a kick in the pants. This thing is unbelievable. I’ve never been off the ground in a production truck. I’ve been off the ground in my sand car or something like that, but never anything like this. A jump like we made, I’d be a little nervous to jump that in my sand car, but it’s incredible. I can’t even begin to explain what that was like.” In addition to Biffle, Ford also invited Lindsey Weenk, driver of the Blue Thunder F-150 in the Monster Jam Truck Series, to test out the F-150 SVT Raptor. The truck, which will be available in showrooms later this summer, is being raced in all five BITD events this season by former Ford Rough Riders Steve Olliges and Rob MacCachren. Biffle spent about three hours in the desert driving and learning about the truck before flying to Phoenix, where he will be competing in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.(Ford Racing site)(4-17-2009)

  • Harvick visits Luke Air Force Base: #29-Kevin Harvick, on Thursday, visited hundreds of airmen at Luke Air Force Base. Harvick, partially sponsored by the Veteran of Foreign Wars, plays a key role in the Salute to the Military program at Phoenix International Raceway that began four years ago. In Thursday’s visit to the base, Harvick answered questions from the fans and signed autographs. “We’ve been fortunate to have a relationship with the VFW, and we’ve been able to do a lot of things like this,” said Harvick, also a team owner in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. “Today, it’s obviously great to be a part of the people who make it happen for us to live our lives how we’re able to live them. So we’re all pretty fortunate to live in a country like we do, and to be able to support the people who make the sacrifices to make sure we have that is pretty neat just to be a part of.” Col. Henry Reed was grateful for Harvick’s presence and involvement. “It really connects our airmen in a sport that is generally very, very popular amongst military, so whenever we get the opportunity to have a great driver like Kevin come out and interact with our airmen and their families, sign autographs, talks to their kids and answer questions, it’s a great morale boost,” he said. “You add into the fact that PIR and VFW gave us 2,000 tickets for these airmen . . . I’m continually amazed by the outstanding community support that we have here at Luke, and we’re blessed to have it.” PIP President Bryan Sperber said supporting the military and giving back to the community is a common theme of NASCAR: “I can tell you every driver and their teams, in their own way, support the U.S. military even when the cameras aren’t there. The entire sport is so proud of the job the U.S. military does, and it’s very easy for us to want to do everything that we can to say thank you and support them.”(Arizona Republic)(4-17-2009)

  • Kenseth takes fan on test drive: Chuck Fountain, of Plymouth, Minn., got the test drive of his life Tuesday when reigning Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth took him for a ride around his hometown in a 2010 Ford Fusion and 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Fountain earned the visit from Kenseth after his name was drawn as part of Ford Racing’s yearlong “We Race. You Win.” national on-line sweepstakes. Each time a Ford driver wins a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points event this season, one lucky fan and a guest will win an all-expenses paid trip to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway from Nov. 20-22. During the race weekend, one of those fans will win the grand prize of a 2010 Ford Fusion. Kenseth’s visit and test drive was a one-time only event, and was a bonus Fountain appreciated. “It’s been an experience I’ll never forget. I feel very fortunate,” said Fountain. “Getting that first-hand experience really is what it’s all about. You can read an article about the Fusion in a magazine or on the Internet, but having that experience and hearing it from the experts, that’s really interesting. I know driving down here on (Route) 169, Matt was showing on the Fusion how the blind spot warning indicator on the side mirrors works. I had never seen that before. That was fascinating. He knows that car. He’s got one on order, for crying out loud.”(Ford Racing Site)(4-17-2009)
  • Goodyear Tire Notes – Phoenix: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes at Phoenix this week . . . this left-side tire (D-4240) is slightly different than the one run at Phoenix last season . . . this year’s left-side features a compound change to offer more grip . . . this tire set-up came out of a Goodyear tire test at Phoenix in mid-January . . . drivers participating in that test were A.J. Allmendinger (Dodge), Joey Logano (Toyota), Jamie McMurray (Ford) and Martin Truex Jr. (Chevrolet) . . . teams in these two series will also run this same combination of left- and right-side tires at Richmond in two weeks . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix. The estimated pit window (for Cup) is every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage (Goodyear PR), see pressures and more notes on the Phoenix Tace Info page – Goodyear Section.(4-17-2009)

  • Vote-In Your Favorite Driver to All-Star race: Whoever receives the most votes will race in the All-Star Challenge on May 16th. Fans can also vote by texting the word “NASCAR” to “7777” on their Sprint Phones or by visiting a Sprint store. Voting begins April 14 and ends on May 16, 2009. Vote and more info at NASCAR.com or Sprint.com.(4-17-2009)


    News from April 16, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/16/2009
  • NASCAR Day ‘Goes Pink’ for Susan G. Komen for the Cure: The NASCAR Foundation has announced that NASCAR Day will “Go Pink” through a joint partnership with FOX Sports Supports and Susan G. Komen for the Cure April 24-26. Celebrated on May 15, NASCAR Day is an opportunity for fans, corporations, schools and organizations across the country to donate to The NASCAR Foundation to raise funds to help thousands of children live better lives. Through the partnership between The NASCAR Foundation, FOX Sports Supports and Komen for the Cure, a portion of the net proceeds raised through the program will benefit Komen for the Cure, supporting its promise to save lives end breast cancer forever. Specifically, the money raised will support the Susan G. Komen Scholarship Fund – a fund specifically designed for children whose mothers have lost their battle against cancer.(NASCAR PR). More on my Racing Charities page.(4-16-2009)
  • Chase Notes: #16-Greg Biffle shook off two Bottom 10 finishes in the first six races and carded a third place finish at Texas, lifting him eight spots all the way to 15th place, now only 60 points out. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya lurks in 13th place, 16 points out, but he was even closer at this juncture in 2007 in his rookie season, 12 points out. He’s improved six positions over this point in 08, and is leading the way for the Earnhardt/Ganassi stable. Engine problems have parked #5-Mark Martin twice. See more chase stats on my 2009 Chase Stats after Texas page.(4-16-2009)

  • Lenox returns on the #31: #31-Jeff Burton is scheduled to once again run the Lenox colors at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the Lenox 301 on June 28, 2009. See an image of the scheme on the #31 Team Schemes page.(4-16-2009)

  • Motor oil recycling featured on Harvick’s car: To help spread the word about the importance of used motor oil recycling, Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Pennzoil are working together to raise awareness around the Pennzoil Clean Change Campaign in a special way. This Saturday, as Americans look forward to Earth Day, the deck lid of Kevin Harvick’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil car will feature the Pennzoil Clean Change Campaign logo and web site during the Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway. The Pennzoil Clean Change Campaign is a nationwide initiative that encourages Do-It-Yourself oil changers to recycle their used motor oil and help maintain a clean environment. Improper disposal of the used oil from just one oil change can potentially contaminate up to one million gallons of drinking water. It is estimated that 185 million gallons of used motor oil is improperly disposed of each year in the U.S. — dumped on the ground, tossed in the trash or poured down storm sewers and drains. Use of the deck lid during the April 18th NASCAR Sprint Cup race is just a part of the Pennzoil Clean Change efforts continuing throughout the year to help raise awareness of the importance of recycling used motor oil. Throughout the season, RCR and Pennzoil hope to gather more than 100,000 online pledges.(Pennzoil PR)(4-16-2009)

  • NASCAR not policing start and park; full fields not required: When it comes to start-and-park, the bottom line appears to be that it’s not a major issue to NASCAR, which is usually keenly tuned to the public’s perception of the sport. “NASCAR doesn’t perceive this to be an issue,” a statement released this week by the sanctioning body said. “It doesn’t impact the quality of competition whatsoever. NASCAR has always been about teams having the opportunity to participate in our sport; some teams might not have the full complement of resources to compete at the same level as others, but it’s all about having an opportunity.” Virtually to a man, the owners who seem to be in the middle of the situation see it in the same way, as racers. And NASCAR said it has had no conversations with owners specific to what their intentions are once they qualify for races. Staying in line with its take that the situation is not one of concern, NASCAR said it would not monitor any closer the reasons teams give for the their cars’ dropping out of races, which range from a variety of mechanical reasons such as “engine,” “transmission” and “rear end” to more nebulous causes including “handling,” “vibration” or “electrical.”
    AND One thing NASCAR did dispel is the misconception that there is language in the current TV contracts for the three national tours that demands 43-car fields in Cup and Nationwide, and a 36-truck field in the Truck Series, with penalties resulting if full fields aren’t provided. “It is NASCAR’s responsibility to have a reasonable field of cars for each of its events,” NASCAR said in a statement. “However, there is no language in the TV contracts that demands what the size of the fields must be.”(NASCAR.com)(4-16-2009)

  • What’s up with Patrick Carpentier? It’s not exactly resurrecting a stagnant racing career, but Patrick Carpentier will be back behind the wheel for NASCAR’s Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 2000 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in August. The 37-year-old LaSalle native will drive the #99 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry for Michael Waltrip Racing Aug. 29-30 in what might be his only race action this year. Carpentier has been relocating from Las Vegas to a new home north of Montreal. He’s also involved in the business of building and selling homes and has returned to Quebec, with his wife Anick and the couple’s two children, to pursue studies to become a licensed contractor. “We’ve been buying and selling houses in the U.S., but to build houses and commercial properties here I need a license, so that’s why I’ve gone back to school,” he said. “People buy sports cars and things like that, but me I buy tools. I love tools (to build with). It’s another passion besides racing and it’s what I want to do after racing.”(Montreal Gazette)(4-16-2009)

  • flipNbags.com to sponsor Cope at All-Star Showdown: Derrike Cope, Inc. and Cope/Keller Racing have found the “perfect demographic match” between the flipNbags.com products and NASCAR. flipNbags.com will sponsor Derrike Cope in five of his DCI Nationwide efforts and one Cup event. Cope and the team are eligible for the NASCAR All-Star race weekend to participate in the Showdown at Lowes Motor Speedway and flipNbags.com will be the primary sponsor. Entries into the Camping World Truck Series are also being considered.()(4-16-2009)
  • PEAK on the #98 at Phoenix: PEAK will make its 2009 debut on the hood of the #98 PEAK / Menards Ford for this weekend’s Subway Fresh Fit 500.(Yates Racing PR)(4-16-2009)

  • Ask.com employee on the #96: Ask.com will honor employee Eve Chaurand-Fraser in Phoenix this weekend by placing her name on the hood of the #96 Ask.com Ford. Chaurand-Fraser is Ask.com’s associate general counsel. She keeps the Ask legal engine finely tuned, revved up, and race-ready. Whether it’s focusing on syndication deals, privacy policies, or partner contracts, Chaurand-Fraser is always poised and focused on doing whatever she can to help grow the business.(Yates Racing PR)(4-16-2009)
  • Sad News: Jack McCoy: Jack McCoy, a two-time champion and the winningest driver in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, died Tuesday at the age of 68. McCoy – who won series championships in 1966 and 1973 – registered a record 54 series wins, along with a record 57 career poles in the series. A native of California’s Central Valley, McCoy was well known for the Dodge he drove, which was usually purple in color. He was among the inaugural inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002 and was among a list of drivers named to the “NASCAR Camping World Series West All-Time Top-10,” compiled by NASCAR and NASCAR Insider in 2005. While McCoy’s overall racing career spanned from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, he focused primarily on the NASCAR Camping World Series West from 1962 to 1974. In addition to his two series championships, he finished as the runner-up in the final standings of the series on four occasions – 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1974. (NASCAR PR), McCoy ran in 20 Cup races from 1963-1974 with a top finish of 5th at Martinsville in Sept 1973.(4-16-2009)


    News from April 15, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/15/2009

  • Andretti will drive 34 races: John Andretti wasn’t sure how many Sprint Cup races he would enter when Front Row Racing offered him a ride for the Daytona 500. Turns out he will attempt all but two of 36. Andretti plans to miss only two races, the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway and Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte. He?ll be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for both weekends, one for qualifying and the other for the Indianapolis 500. His replacement for those events hasn’t been named.(ESPN Insider)(4-15-2009)

  • McMurray team gone after 2009? The #26 Roush Fenway Racing team of Jamie McMurray is expected to be dumped by Roush when it has to cut back to four Cup teams after this season.(Virginia Pilot)(4-15-2009)

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame gets approval for companies to produce exhibits: Charlotte City Council unanimously approved $17.7 million worth of contracts Monday night for four companies to produce exhibits for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The city owns the hall of fame under a licensing agreement with NASCAR, and all contracts must be approved by the council. The total exhibit budget is $31 million. Kubik Maltbie will be the primary fabricator and installer of all exhibits. Its contract, including $1 million in contingency fees, is $9,991,527. Kubik Maltbie’s original asking price was just over $11 million before negotiations with the city. The firm’s past work includes projects at the Smithsonian Institution and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Electrosonic Inc. will do all of the audio-visual components and provide an on-site technician for one year for $6,652,859, including contingency fees of $500,000. Electrosonic’s original bid was about $6 million but did not include $1 million for a video screen and sound on the building’s exterior. Electrosonic, which has collaborated with Kubik Maltbie on numerous projects, has a long list of clients, including The Weather Channel sets, the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center and the World of Coca-Cola. Two much smaller contracts also were approved.(Scene Daily)(4-15-2009)

  • Todd Bodine in the #64 at Phoenix; Geoff at Talladega: Just like it has every race weekend, the Gunselman Motorsports #64 Toyota team heads to the next event hoping to qualify for the sake of survival and opportunity to compete. The Gunselman Motorsports team has been prepping the all-white #64 Toyota for Phoenix the last two weeks to ready for the one-mile oval. Having made three of the seven Sprint Cup races this year, the team will work heavily on qualifying runs during practice on Friday. Then, when it’s time to line up with the other “go or go-homers” later that day in qualifying, driver Todd Bodine will utilize his championship skills to make the race. The team will have Geoff Bodine driving the #64 Toyota at Talladega Superspeedway.(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(4-15-2009)

  • 300th start for Kurt Busch: Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be making his 300th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. In his 299-race Cup career that began on Sept. 24, 2000 (at Dover, Del.) he has had 299 starts, 19 wins (6.4%), 63 top-fives (21.1%), 119 top-10s (39.8%), and 10 Coors Light Pole Awards.(Tom Roberts PR)(4-15-2009)

  • Gordon, Johnson going for records at Phoenix: Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won four straight races at Phoenix International Raceway, with #48-Jimmie Johnson visiting Victory Lane during the last three events. #24-Jeff Gordon won the April 21, 2007, contest after starting from the pole position. During the last eight races at the track, Hendrick Motorsports drivers have claimed five victories and five pole positions. Last November, Jimmie Johnson made track history by becoming the first driver to win three consecutive races at Phoenix International Raceway. On Saturday, the three-time and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion will attempt to extend that history with a fourth consecutive Phoenix victory – this time in the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500. Gordon, who ended a 47-race winless streak on April 5 with his first victory at Texas Motor Speedway, now has 82 in his career. He stands one behind fifth-place Cale Yarborough on the all-time victories list and only two away from tying Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for third.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(4-15-2009)

  • Sorenson running Auto Value scheme at Phoenix: This Saturday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 will mark the first time Sorenson climbs behind the wheel of an Auto Value-sponsored No. 43 Dodge. Auto Value, a longtime sponsor of the organization now known as Richard Petty Motorsports, begins its four-race 2009 NASCAR schedule.(RPM PR) See an image of the scheme on the #43 Team Schemes page.(4-15-2009)
  • Phoenix Rookie Notes: Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 5 Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Logano took top rookie honors for the fifth time in seven races this season and was credited with a 30th-place finish. Logano leads Scott Speed by 12 points (75-63) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the April 18 Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix (Avondale, Ariz.) International Raceway. Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2008 Subway Fresh Fit 500, scoring a 20th-place finish. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in four spring races at Phoenix is fifth by Clint Bowyer in 2006. The best qualifying effort by a Raybestos Rookie in four previous spring races at Phoenix is sixth by Denny Hamlin in 2006. The most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the spring race at Phoenix is 21 by Clint Bowyer in the 2006 event.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR), see rookie history, past winners, stats, standings on my 2009 Rookies page.(4-15-2009)


    News from April 14, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/14/2009
  • Subway on the #99: The Sprint Cup race at Phoenix will mark the first time Subway appears on the #99 Ford of Carl Edwards. See an image of the scheme on the #99 Team Schemes page.(4-14-2009)
  • Haas Automation back on the #39: In 267 Sprint Cup starts, Newman has collected 43 pole positions and 13 wins. He returns to Phoenix this weekend with his new Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team and the #39 Haas Automation Chevy.(Stewart-Haas Racing PR) See an image of the scheme on the #39 Team Schemes page.(4-14-2009)

  • Jim France stepping down as CEO of ISC: Jim France will step down as chief executive officer of International Speedway Corporation effective June 1 with Lesa Kennedy succeeding him in that role. Jim France is the son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., brother of former NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. and uncle of current NASCAR chairman Brian France. Brian France is Lesa Kennedy’s brother. Jim France will retain his role as chairman of ISC’s board of directors. Lesa Kennedy will remain vice chair of the ISC board. John Saunders, currently the executive vice president and chief operating officer of ISC, will take over as ISC president – the title previously held by Lesa Kennedy.(Charlotte Observer)(4-14-2009)

  • 8th Annual Dale Earnhardt Day Set for Friday May 15: Jeff Steiner, executive vice president and general manager of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced plans for the company’s eighth annual Dale Earnhardt Day, celebrating the life of seven-time NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt, for fans and friends. The celebration will be preceded with a special birthday commemoration on April 29, 2009 from 11:30 a.m, to 1:30 p.m., a preview event for the day-long fan celebration on Friday, May 15, 2009 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the day before the Sprint All Star Race at Lowes Motor Speedway. Behind-the-scenes tours, dining in Dale Earnhardt’s private dining room – The Trophy Room as well as a unique First Look Dinner on May 14, are all part of this year’s events. Festivities will be held at the company’s headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. Follow plans on Twitter at www.twitter.com/daleday09. A complete schedule of events and additional information is available at: www.daleearnhardtinc.com/content/legacy/daleday.aspx.(DEI PR)(4-14-2009)

  • Kentucky lawsuit resolution not likely in time to secure 2010 date: The likelihood that Kentucky Speedway will be awarded a 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup race has become even more remote because an antitrust lawsuit by the track founders against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. now likely won’t be resolved until July at the earliest. The case, which is in U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, is not included in the hearing calendar finalized Monday for a two-week session beginning April 20. Although the court could still add the case to the schedule, that would be rare in a case such as this one. The next two-week hearing session begins June 8 – the Monday prior to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the track. NASCAR Chairman Brian France has said that NASCAR will not consider a realignment request for a Sprint Cup date from current owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. until the case is resolved. NASCAR typically begins the sanctioning process in April or May, and France has said that the track is running out of time to begin the realignment process.(Scene Daily:)(4-14-2009)

  • Petty to be grand marshal at Iowa Speedway event: NASCAR legend Richard Petty will be grand marshal of an event next month at the Iowa Speedway in Newton. Petty will serve as grand marshal for the NASCAR Camping World East/West Series race May 17. It will be the first of four NASCAR races at the speedway in 2009. The Iowa Speedway opened in 2006.(Associated Press/USA Today)(4-14-2009)

  • Sellars announces product sponsorship of Tommy Baldwin Racing: Sellars announced their product sponsorship of Tommy Baldwin Racing. Sellars and TBR joined together as teammates in their shared pursuit of innovation, efficiency and speed. Tommy Baldwin, co-owner of the Crew Chief Club LLC, and John Sellars began their relationship several years ago when Sellars shop towels became an official sponsor of the Crew Chief Club. Now Sellars has jumped on board to show their support of TBR. In exchange for product the Sellars logo will be placed on the #36 entry for the remainder of the season. They will also be placed on the TBR website as one of the official sponsors of TBR. Sellars is a leading manufacturer of shop towels, disposable wipers, and sorbents that are made with recycled fibers.(Everest-Mareting / TBR PR)(4-14-2009)
  • Sad News – Chuck Gaa: Charles ‘Chuck’ Wilson Gaa, 63, passed away at his home in Marshall, N.C. on Saturday, April 4, 2009. Chuck owned GAACO Enterprises in Atlanta and was contracted by Buick and Chevrolet to design and build a series of radically different NASCAR race cars for owners such as Junior Johnson and Travis Carter while serving as GM’s suspension and chassis consultant. Chuck became involved in stock car racing with Jim Welty in USAC while still a teenager and served as chief mechanic for A.J. Foyt’s USAC Championship winning Ford for Jack Bowsher while still in college. Following graduation, he worked for two years for Petty Enterprises designing and fabricating cars and later he worked with Cotton Owens and Jim Ruggles before starting GAACO. In his years in NASCAR, Chuck worked with drivers such as Richard Petty, Pete Hamilton, Neil Bonnett, and Harry Gant, and owners such as Jr. Johnson, Cotton Owens, and Travis Carter. In addition to his work in NASCAR, Chuck was commissioned by General Motors to build a number of road racing cars for both the IMSA and Trans Am series and served as a suspension consultant for Jaguar cars with their GTP car in IMSA. Chuck also designed and built the GTP 935 Porches driven to victories in the 24 hours of Daytona, the 12 hours of Sebring, and the World Endurance Championship by John Paul and John Paul, Jr. Following his retirement, he moved to Marshall, N.C. and found a home within the community and with Builders Express in Mars Hill, N.C. In his spare time, he volunteered on the Madison County Arts Council. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his son, Adam Gaa of Opelika, Ala.; daughter, Rae Powers and husband Ian Randall of Brighton, England; brothers, John Gaa and wife Cynthia of Willis, Texas, James Gaa and wife Marilyn of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Thomas Gaa and wife Karen of Menlo Park, Calif.; and a precious grandson, Alex Powers Randall. Donations may be made to the Madison County Arts Council, 90 S. Main St., Marshall, N.C. 28753. An online register is available at ashevillemortuaryservices.com.(4-14-2009)


    News from April 13, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/13/2009
  • Prilosec returns to the #31: #31-Jeff Burton is scheduled to drive the purple #31 Prilosec Chevy colors at Richmond in May. See an image of the scheme on the #31 Team Schemes page.(4-13-2009)

  • Morgan-McClure Motorsports set to return at Talladega: UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports is back. The team will return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway on April 26 and will attempt to make the Aaron’s 499 with driver Eric McClure, sources said Friday at Nashville Superspeedway. The team will again field the #4 Chevy, with sponsorship from Hefty brand. If the Talladega race weekend goes well, a source said the team could attempt to make more races later in the season.(Scene Daily)(4-11-2009)
    UPDATE: Having not competed in Sprint Cup competition since the 2007 season finale, Morgan McClure Motorsports (MMM) will make a return to the circuit in two weeks as they attempt the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The 2.66-mile speedway is home to four of their 14 Sprint Cup career victories. Nationwide Series regular Eric McClure, will join forces with MMM, piloting the famed #4 Chevy for the Aaron’s 499 weekend. No stranger to MMM, the 30-year-old driver has competed in two Sprint Cup events and four Nationwide Series events for the organization, earning a best finish of 26th and 22nd respectively. The Hefty brand, featuring its Steel Sak waste bag, will serve as primary sponsor for the event and continue its relationship with McClure that began in 2006 and continues full-time in the Nationwide Series.(Eric McClure PR)(4-13-2009)
    IMAGE posted: see an image of the #4 Hefty/Walmart Chevy that McClure will run at Talladega on the #4 Team Schemes page.(4-13-2009)
  • Hendrick plane crash trial could start later this month: More than four years after a Hendrick Motorsports plane crash that killed 10 people on the way to the NASCAR Cup race Oct. 24, 2004, at Martinsville Speedway, lawsuits over who was responsible for the crash could finally go to trial in the next couple of weeks. A final pretrial conference is set for Friday in cases involving Hendrick Motorsports, the estates of the pilots, the U.S. government and the widows of Hendrick Motorsports engine builder Randy Dorton, general manager Jeff Turner and Tony Stewart pilot Scott Lathram (a passenger on the plane). The trial could start as early as next Monday in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, N.C. At issue is who is responsible for the accident – HMS Holdings (parent company of Hendrick Motorsports), the pilots themselves or the air-traffic controllers. According to court documents, the crash resulted when the pilots overshot the airport by five miles and failed to follow the missed-approach procedure for the Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport, which requires a climbing right turn to avoid Bull Mountain. The plane, in heavy cloud cover, climbed without turning and crashed into the mountain, killing all 10 aboard.(Scene Daily)(4-13-2009)

  • $10 Million, Just for Motor Oil: The most advanced piece of technology in a NASCAR vehicle these days isn’t its engine, its suspension or anything made of carbon fiber. It’s the motor oil. Joe Gibbs Racing has spent about $1 million a year over the past decade to perfect its motor oil. As a result, its engines have squeezed out an extra 10 horsepower, a roughly 2% increase that can be a serious advantage in NASCAR races.With NASCAR increasingly cracking down on the use of technology in the sport to cut costs, motor oil is one of the last places teams can innovate without restraint. Companies like Shell, Quaker State and Mobil also make special oils packed with synthetic lubricants, new polymers and experimental molecules for the teams they sponsor. All this has spawned a culture of secrecy. Shell was so worried about protecting its motor-oil formula that it recently refused to allow used race oil to be sold as a souvenir to NASCAR fans. The concern, a spokesman said, is that someone could “reverse engineer” the used oil to see what its properties are. Joe Gibbs Racing, one of NASCAR’s richest and most-successful teams, won’t say which company assembles its synthetic oil and will only identify the scientists who work on its formula as “William the chemist,” who’s in charge of formulating the oil, and “Douglas,” who used to work for NASA and is in charge of analyzing the team’s worn engine parts under a microscope. “I don’t want other teams trying to find out who these guys are,” says Lake Speed Jr., who runs the team’s oil program.(Wall Street Journal)(4-13-2009)

  • Means honored by county hall of fame: NASCAR’s biggest star and the people of Huntsville, Ala., have something in common these days. They both recognize Huntsville resident Jimmy Means as a true American hero. Dale Earnhardt Jr. for years has been vocal and enthusiastic in his support of Means, a journeyman driver in the series now known as Sprint Cup but who now fields under-funded cars in the Nationwide Series. The Huntsville folks are making their affection official Monday, inducting Means into the Huntsville/Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame. Veteran Huntsville Times reporter Mark McCarter says Means is the first race driver inducted into the Hall.(Racin’ Today)(4-13-2009)

News from April 12, 2009

  • Rusty Wallace, Inc. considering 2010 move to Cup: NASCAR Nationwide Series car owner [#62 & #64] Rusty Wallace said he hopes to move his two-car team to the Sprint Cup Series in 2010. But the situation would have to be perfect. Rusty Wallace Racing fields two Chevys, for Brendan Gaughan and Rusty’s son, Steve, in the Nationwide Series. “Ideally, if all the moons lined up, I’d start in 2010,” Wallace said at Nashville Superspeedway, where the Nashville 300 will be held Saturday. “Two cars. I’d want Stephen and Brendan to go right in.” But Rusty Wallace would need a partnership with an existing team in order to stock enough inventory of cars and engines. Also, RWR would need the right level of sponsorship. Richard Childress Racing provided RWR with engines in the Nationwide Series, and Wallace said he’s had casual conversations about a Cup alliance with RCR. Wallace said his shop facilities in Mooresville, N.C. would be adequate for a Cup team. The team currently does its own bodies there and has a large fabrication area.(Scene Daily)(4-12-2009)
  • Platform falls at Ohio track, injuring 5: A concrete viewing platform at a central Ohio racetrack has collapsed before a NASCAR event, injuring several people. The platform was under an announcer’s box at the suburban Columbus Motor Speedway. The fire department says five people were injured when the platform fell just hours before the track was to open its season Saturday night. The wife of one of the track’s co-owners says the five people sustained cuts but no other injuries. Cindy Nuckles says track officials have no idea why the platform fell. A buildings inspector is expected to examine the area. The track’s racing program of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models, Columbus Modifieds, Sport Stocks and Crazy Compacts has been postponed.(Associated Press)(4-12-2009)
  • Sad News – Bobby Burcham: Bobby Wayne Burcham Sr., 73, of Rossville, Georgia passed away Friday April 10, 2009 at his residence. A resident of the North Georgia Chattanooga area for the past 50 years, he was self-employed in real estate. Bobby was a successful stock car driver from the 50’s to the early 70’s, winning several 100’s of races across the Southeast. He was an inductee to the Tennessee Racing Hall of Fame and was to be inducted later this year into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. He is preceded in death by his Father; Bobbie Burcham and Brother; Joe Burcham. He is survived by his Wife; Jean Knight Burcham of Rossville, GA., Mother; Opal Burcham of Chattanooga, TN., Daughter and Son-in-law; Vickie and Jack Harp of Rossville, GA., Son; Bobby Burcham Jr. of Chattanooga, TN., Sister and Brother-in-law; Sue and Charles Worley of Trenton, GA., 2 Grandchildren, several nieces and nephews. Graveside services will be held 2:00 P.M. Monday at Lakewood Memory Gardens-East with Elder Wayne Peters officiating. The family will receive friends Sunday from 5-9 P.M. at the funeral home. Arrangements are by W.L. Wilson & Sons Funeral Home Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia Graveside services will be held 2:00 pm. Monday at Lakewood Memory Gardens-East with Elder Wayne Peters officiating. The family will receive friends Sunday from 5-9 pm at the funeral home. Arrangements are by W.L. Wilson & Sons Funeral Home Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Burcham made 36 Cup starts from 1968-1979 with a 4th at Nashville in 1974 being his best finish.(4-12-2009)
  • Park ‘n Ride Program Available at Phoenix Phoenix International Raceway is encouraging race fans to make their trip to the track a smooth one on Saturday, April 18. Following its success for previous PIR events, the Subway Fresh Fit 500 Park ‘N Ride will be available for fans to make an easy trip to the feature event of the track’s April NASCAR event weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500. After much success in recent years, the Park ‘N Ride program returns to Cricket Pavilion, located just two blocks north of I-10 on 83rd Avenue (Exit 135). All NASCAR fans heading to PIR are welcome to enter at the 83rd Avenue entrance and park on Pavilion grounds, from where shuttle bus service from First Student Charter of Phoenix will be provided to the Gate 7 area at the track. Parking and shuttle services to PIR will total just $7 per car. With the green flag dropping on the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at 5:30 p.m., “Park ‘N Ride” services will be available for 12 hours – from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. – on Saturday, giving all NASCAR fans an easy way both to and from the track, before and after the race.(Phoenix Raceway PR)(4-12-2009)
  • Special Tix offer for Chase race at Auto Club Speedway: Building on what was a tremendous value and significant savings for race fans to experience the thrill of NASCAR at Auto Club Speedway, Pepsi and ACS have once again teamed up to bring race fans the special value ticket price in the Pepsi Rock n’ Rows (1-5) for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series inaugural “Chase Race” – the Pepsi 500 on Sunday, Oct. 11 for only $35 per ticket. Beginning Monday, April 13, for only $35, race fans can get an up close and personal experience to all the on-track action by purchasing a seat in the Pepsi Rock n‘ Rows – the first five rows of the main grandstands. The tickets are usually priced at $55. In addition to the partnership with Pepsi, fans experiencing Auto Club Speedway can also take advantage of free parking, bring in their own food, or partake in the unbelievable menu items on site as well as other cost-savings opportunities while enjoying a full day of entertainment and fun at a fantastic family value. To purchase tickets in the Pepsi Rock n’ Rows for only $35 call 800-944-RACE (7223), or visit autoclubspeedway.comfor more information.(Auto Club Speedway PR)(4-12-2009)


    News from April 11, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/11/2009

  • Kenny Wallace to run Cup race? UPDATE: hearing Kenny Wallace and Jay Robinson Racing [#28 in Nationwide Series] has a Sprint Cup car and could run the Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in May.(4-9-2009)
    UDPATE: Kenny Wallace denied published reports that he will run the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington in May for his Nationwide team owner, Jay Robinson Racing. Speaking on Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway, Wallace said, “We do have a Cup car, an old James Finch car. We’re concerned that the car may be too old and heavy, though. It’s out of date, not a new generation car. It’s not as light as it needs to be. The difference between this car and some of the newer ones may be only 15 or 30 pounds, but that’s a lot. We definitely want to run a Cup race or two, but I’m not sure when we’ll attempt it. It definitely won’t be Darlington. We don’t have the manpower to build a top-flight car right now.”(Sirius Speedway)(4-11-2009)

  • Morgan-McClure Motorsports set to return at Talladega: Morgan-McClure Motorsports is back. The team will return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway on April 26 and will attempt to make the Aaron’s 499 with driver Eric McClure, sources said Friday at Nashville Superspeedway. The team will again field the #4 Chevy, with sponsorship from Hefty brand. If the Talladega race weekend goes well, a source said the team could attempt to make more races later in the season.(Scene Daily)(4-11-2009)

  • Pit road shakeups for Roush? Could there be a few shakeups in the pit crews at Roush Fenway Racing? Officials haven’t said anything, but co-owner Jack Roush spent a lot of time in meetings this past week trying to figure out why his teams are having so much trouble on pit road. That usually means changes for the man known as “Cat in the Hat.” Carl Edwards went from first to 11th after a crucial mistake on his final pit stop with about 30 laps remaining in Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Greg Biffle believes pit road mistakes, at least one by him, has cost him a shot at two wins this season. Even Matt Kenseth had problems at Texas. He was second coming onto pit road on lap 252, but left in 15th after a lug nut problem on the right rear tire. Nobody is publicly blaming anybody as Kyle Busch did in a Nationwide Series race last month when a pit road mistake cost him a victory. But there are concerns.(ESPN Insider)(4-10-2009)
    UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards said small changes made this week to his Sprint Cup pit crew were designed to help his #99 team be able to compete for the Cup title this year. Edwards said Friday at Nashville Superspeedway that one crew member was replaced, and a team spokesman said it was front tire changer Corey Quick.(Scene Daily)(4-11-2009)

  • Could Gordon catch Pearson in wins? Now that Jeff Gordon has proved he still has some victories left in him, fans will start to ask whether he can catch David Pearson for #2 on NASCAR’s list for career victories. #24-Jeff Gordon has won 82 times, but he has another 24 burnouts ahead of him if he’s going to pass David Pearson for the second most Cup victories. It’s a virtual certainty that Gordon will blow by the three drivers between him and Pearson — Cale Yarborough (83 wins), Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip (84 wins each). But catching Pearson is a much tougher task for Gordon, who turns 38 on Aug. 4. Gordon would need to average almost five victories a season over the next five years. We could say he needs to average only 2.4 wins a season over the next 10 years, but Gordon has said repeatedly that he has no intention of racing into his late 40s. Gordon averaged three wins a year over the previous four seasons. If he keeps that pace, a reasonable expectation, he would tie Pearson in the 2016 season, when Gordon would be 45. Find one more victory somewhere along the way and he would own the #2 spot all alone.(ESPN.com)(4-11-2009)
  • LoCash Cowboys to Headline Free Infield Concert at Talladega: The roar of the engines from the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on April 25 will be followed that evening by the roar of a free concert in the track’s infield, brought to you by the Bama Jam Music and Arts Festival, a Ronnie Gilley Entertainment Production. The country/rock duo LoCash Cowboys will headline the free event, which will be open to both Saturday and Sunday infield guests, including all infield campers. Sunday infield admission tickets will be sold in advance, for the first time ever, beginning Saturday, April 4. Those fans will be allowed access to the infield Saturday night in order to attend the concert. The opening act for LoCash Cowboys will be the winner of the BamaJam Battle of the Bands, to be held April 17-18 in Enterprise, Ala. Nearly three dozen bands are scheduled to compete in the two-day event at the Bama Slam Saloon. For tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. You can purchase tickets online at www.bamajammusicfestival.com or by calling 1-877-4BAMAJAM (422-6252).(TSS PR)(4-11-2009)
  • Kate and Kacey Coppola to perform national anthem at Phoenix: Big Machine Records recording artists Kate and Kacey Coppola will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to the Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, April 18. Now residents of Nashville after a shared childhood in Denver, the identical twins first charmed country music listeners with their fresh harmonies and engaging spirit by reaching the semi-final round on CMT’s reality contest, “Can You Duet?” Named as artists “to watch in 2009” by Country Weekly and featured in People Magazine’s Country Special, Kate and Kacey will tour with country superstar Kenny Chesney for 11 shows this summer. Also gifted songwriters, Kate and Kacey – with Jamey Johnson – wrote the single “House with No Doors” for George Strait’s latest album, Troubador.(PIR PR)(4-11-2009)


    News from April 10, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/10/2009

  • Pit road shakeups for Roush? Could there be a few shakeups in the pit crews at Roush Fenway Racing? Officials haven’t said anything, but co-owner Jack Roush spent a lot of time in meetings this past week trying to figure out why his teams are having so much trouble on pit road. That usually means changes for the man known as “Cat in the Hat.” Carl Edwards went from first to 11th after a crucial mistake on his final pit stop with about 30 laps remaining in Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. Greg Biffle believes pit road mistakes, at least one by him, has cost him a shot at two wins this season. Even Matt Kenseth had problems at Texas. He was second coming onto pit road on lap 252, but left in 15th after a lug nut problem on the right rear tire. Nobody is publicly blaming anybody as Kyle Busch did in a Nationwide Series race last month when a pit road mistake cost him a victory. But there are concerns.(ESPN Insider)(4-10-2009)

  • Kvapil open to other opportunies; hopes to return to #28: While his first goal would be to see Yates Racing revive the #28 car, Travis Kvapil said he didn’t think the Yates Racing team would keep him from other opportunities. “Obviously I want to be racing,” Kvapil said. “I don’t like sitting on the couch. I don’t like not being there, not competing. It’s really hard to watch it on Sunday just knowing that I feel like I should be out there. It has just not worked out. I want to race, and if there were other opportunities that came up, we’d have to look at them as they come and cross that bridge when it comes. The Yates group told me if something did come up, they wouldn’t necessarily hold me back from competing, we’d just have to work it out.” Kvapil said he wouldn’t rule anything out, but would like to find something at the Cup level where he feels as if he still has a lot to prove. He isn’t too concerned about sitting out as far as his abilities deteriorating while he is out of the seat. If Yates Racing does find sponsorship, Kvapil said the team wouldn’t need much time to get ready to get to the track. “In a matter of two or three days we could probably be ready to go to the race track,” Kvapil said. “They took my handful of race cars and pushed them over in the corner and the hauler is all ready to go. They didn’t scavenge any parts or pieces from the 28 bunch to go to any other team. The 28 is ready to go. we’d have to hire a few people back right away, but a number of people we had on the 28 came from within the company already, so they’re there.”(Scene Daily)(4-10-2009)

  • Allmendinger being paid “creatively”: How and when #44-A.J. Allmendinger is getting paid by troubled Richard Petty Motorsports depends on how creative your definition of “creative” is. “I am definitely getting paid,” Allmendinger said in response to garage-area rumors to the contrary. “But we’ve had to be creative about it, for sure.” Is he plowing all his race winnings back into the financially strapped team? “No, no, definitely not,” he said. “We’ve just got to be creative about it.” Sponsorship for six more races was announced this week from Hunt Brothers Pizza, which Allmendinger called “awesome news” in that it assures he’ll race through the Sept. 12 event at Richmond, Va. “We’ve all been kind of taking every week as it comes,” said his business manager, Tara Ragan. “We’re pretty organic. There isn’t even a hard, fast rule [for compensation].” Bottom line, “I’d rather be on the race track running strong than sitting at home,” he said.(ESPN Insider)(4-10-2009)

  • Papis auctioning helmet for earthquake charity: #13-Max Papis is selling a race-worn helmet on ebay, as well as other autographed items such as GEICO Racing shirts and hats, and autographed photos of Papis with his new #13 GEICO NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car to benefit Italian earthquake charities. For more information, see my Racing Charites page.(4-10-2009)

  • Dale Earnhardt Inc. appoints two new executives: Dale Earnhardt Inc. President and CEO Teresa Earnhardt announced the appointments of two executive leaders for the company on Thursday. Jeff Steiner was named Executive Vice President and General Manager responsible for the oversight and management of DEI, the Dale Earnhardt Foundation and special initiatives relating to Earnhardt properties. Steiner began his role at the company on April 1. Chad Warpula was appointed as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for DEI. Warpula will oversee the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates NASCAR Sprint Cup team and handle all legal matters for DEI, EGR and Earnhardt-Childress Racing. Both executives will report to Teresa Earnhardt.(Scene Daily)(4-10-2009)

  • ‘NASCAR Rev’d Up’ Featuring O.A.R. Kicks Off All-Star Race Week: “NASCAR Rev’d Up,” a six-hour event highlighted by a concert with Everfine/Atlantic recording group O.A.R., will kick off activities for NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race week in Charlotte, N.C. The event, which is free to the public, will take place Wed., May 13 between 3rd and Mint Streets in uptown Charlotte from 4-10 p.m. This year, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is being held for the 25th time. “NASCAR Rev’d Up” marks the first time that the all-star race week will open with a concert. A major fan event, “NASCAR Rev’d Up” features a program filled with driver appearances, show cars and interactive displays, culminated by the O.A.R. concert. Performing as special guests will be Charlotte band Simplified.(NASCAR PR)(4-10-2009)
  • Congrats: to Aron Oakley of Penske Racing and wife Robyn Oakley of Street & Smith’s Sports Group, on the birth of their second daughter Harper Grace. She was born at 7:33 yesterday morning and weighed 7lbs. 10 oz. Everyone is doing great.(4-10-2009)
  • Congrats to Jeff McBride (with Champion Tire and Wheel) and Frannie Henderson (Nascar Members VIP Team) on their marriage on March 31, 2009.(4-10-2009)


    News from April 9, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/9/2009

  • NASCAR to host Touring and Weekly Series banquets in Charlotte: NASCAR announced that its “stars of tomorrow” and short track veterans will gather in the greater Charlotte area for two special year-end celebrations. NASCAR will host a special week of activities culminating in the 2009 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) Awards Banquet on Friday, November 13, and the new NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards Gala on Saturday, November 14. Both season-end awards banquets will be held in the recently-completed Embassy Suites Hotel Concord Convention Center which is located near the NASCAR Research & Development Center, in proximity to the future NASCAR Hall of Fame complex, as well as the home bases of many of today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams. Moving the banquets to the Charlotte area compliments the commitment the community has made to the business of NASCAR and the development of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The NWAAS Awards Banquet will feature weekly racing drivers from top short tracks across the United States and Canada. Invited attendees will include the 2009 NWAAS National Champion, NWAAS State and Provincial Champions, all 58 track champions, the national/ state/provincial Rookies of the Year, the 2009 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award winner, and many others. The NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Gala will feature the champions and top drivers from all of NASCAR’s North American regional touring series including invitees from the NASCAR Camping World Series East, the NASCAR Camping World Series West, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour, and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.(NASCAR PR)(4-9-2009)

  • Jeff Gordon involved in Niagara Race Track: UPDATE: New details surrounding a proposed $200-million, 65,000-seat international motor speedway in Fort Erie [Ontario, Canada] have surfaced. An article published in the inaugural edition of Professional Motorsport Circuit, an international trade journal, says NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon is involved with the project. Gordon’s name has been tagged with a signature speedway and a driving school that’s part of the proposal. The article was written by Azhar Mohammad – executive director of Emirates Consulting, a Toronto-based subsidiary of Kuwaiti-based investment bank Bayt Al Mal Investment Co., that is financially backing the project. Mohammad could not be reached for comment Tuesday. “After carefully studying the pitfalls and successes of motor-sport initiatives in the North American market for almost two years, (Bayt Al Mal Investment Co.) assembled a high-profile team,” the article states. “The team was spearheaded by multi-NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, flanked by Paxton Waters Architecture, Derek Daly Design, and Philips Engineering, and supported by a host of local and international strategic partners.” Last October, plans were announced for a motor speedway on lands near the QEW, between Gilmore Road and Bowen Road. Bayt Al Mal, which has been assembling more than 600 acres of land for the project, has done numerous environmental, planning and engineering studies to support its application and has invested several million dollars. The proposal is working its way through the Town of Fort Erie’s planning department. Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin confirmed there has been talks with Gordon’s representatives. “We have met with them at the region, they have been here,” Martin said Tuesday. “Through the proposal that’s obviously coming on, we were aware that (Bayt Al Mal) were in talks with Jeff Gordon’s (people).”(Niagara Falls Review)(4-8-2009)
    UPDATE: John Bickford, vice president and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., verified to The Buffalo News on Wednesday that Gordon is involved in the project. Bickford — who is also Gordon’s stepfather — stated via e-mail that while there is a letter of understanding between the parties, there is no signed agreement at this time. Gordon was not available to comment.(Buffalo News)(4-9-2009)

  • Biffle to tackle desert in new Ford Truck: #16-Greg Biffle is a racer’s racer who will drive anything – anytime, anyplace – and that includes the new Ford F-150 SVT Raptor R at next week’s Best in the Desert Terrible’s 250 at Primm [NV]. Biffle agreed to drive the F-150 SVT Raptor a couple months ago when Ford engineers were looking for some professional feedback. “When I think of Raptor the first thing that comes to mind is a proven off-road piece with its finish in the Baja 1000, and I think it’s a long-time overdue, if you want my opinion,” said Biffle, who is participating in the event’s Fun Run on Thursday, April 16, before heading to Phoenix for Saturday night’s NASCAR event. “Up to this point, no manufacturer has built a truck like this. People had to do it themselves, so there’s a definite market out there and I’m excited about it. I’ve been paying attention and watching some of the desert testing that they’ve done and I can’t wait.” Biffle will be driving the F-150 SVT Raptor R being campaigned by former Ford Rough Riders Rob MacCachren and Steve Olliges in all five Best in the Desert races this year. “I’ve never pre-run Baja or anything like that, and I might do that this year, but I’ve never really been in a specific off-road. I’ve watched the stuff on Speed a lot. It looks fun and it looks exciting to do, so I’d like to mess with it a little bit.(Ford Racing PR)(4-9-2009)

  • West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame announces inductees: The West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame has announced 10 new members for induction in ceremonies to be held July 3 at Irwindale Speedway in Southern California. The 2009 class is the sixth in the history of the Hall which inducted its first members in 2002. The Hall, founded in 2001, memorializes significant contributors to the sport’s development and history — including designers, engineers, mechanics, drivers, race track owners, promoters, publicists and members of the motorsports media. The latest group brings the Hall’s membership to 83. The nomination process began earlier this year followed by a final vote by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors. Elected in the Historic category (1930 through 1969) are Ben Gregory, brothers Joe and John Fernandez, Bert Letner, Chuck Meekins, Dick Rathman and Art Watts. Inductees from the Modern era (1970 to present) are Chuck Bown, Rick Carelli, Doug George and Wayne Spears.(NASCAR.com)(4-9-2009)

  • Kenny Wallace to run Cup race? hearing Kenny Wallace and Jay Robinson Racing [#28 in Nationwide Series] has a Sprint Cup car and could run the Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in May.(4-9-2009)

  • Ryan Truex Pairs with MWR: At 17 years of age, Ryan Truex has a career action plan and one of his long-term career goals includes following his NASCAR NNS champion brother Martin Truex Jr. to the Sprint Cup Series level. Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced a partnership that will field a full-time NASCAR Camping World East program for the young Truex as he takes the next step towards fulfilling that lifelong dream. The season-opener is this weekend at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. Last season, Truex finished 11th at Stafford Speedway in his CW East debut and only career start while driving a car prepared by Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Now, he is ready for his first race with Michael Waltrip Racing. Truex started four years ago racing a Bandolero at Wall Township Speedway in Wall, New Jersey that has been hosting racing event for 54 years. He graduated to Legends and quickly won a speedway championship at the track in 2007. Last season, Truex raced a family-owned Late Model at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va.(MWR PR)(4-9-2009)

  • Testing at the Rock: Dennis Setzer tested a Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports on Rockingham Speedway’s ‘Little Rock’ on Wednesday while three ARCA teams tested on the 1 mile track.(4-9-209)

  • Steve Park Ready To Get Rolling: Steve Park’s long and successful racing career has taken him all over the map – from his days running the short tracks of the northeast to racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Dale Earnhardt Sr. The winding road has had its up and downs, and it has taken him back to the beginning, as he prepares to enter his second season of his second go-around in the NASCAR Camping World Series East. When he first came through the series back in 1996, it was known as the NASCAR Busch North Series and primarily based in the New England and New York. Park took on the likes of Dave Dion, Kelly Moore, and the late Stub Fadden – guys who have made their careers on the bullrings around the region. Fast forward more than a decade later. The series has evolved, stretching from its New England roots down the Atlantic Coast to South Carolina — where the 2009 season will kick off with Saturday’s season opener at the historic Greenville Pickens Speedway. The faces behind the wheel have changed to, as a fresh crop of development drivers look to replace the likes of Joey Logano, Trevor Bayne and Austin Dillon as stars-of-tomorrow who made their mark in the series and are now looking to establish themselves in one of NASCAR’s three national series.(NASCARHomeTracks.com)(4-9-2009)

  • EGR’s #8 car parked UPDATE: The #8 Sprint Cup Chevy, the centerpiece of Dale Earnhardt Inc. before its merger with Chip Ganassi Racing, is the latest casualty of the economy. Sources close to the situation said officials at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates are parking the car driven by Aric Almirola until sponsorship is found. An announcement could come in the next 24 hours. EGR officials were not available for comment, but sources said a handful of employees have been let go, and that number could grow to 40 to 50 before all is said and done. Almirola ranks 37th in owner points heading into next week’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. He is 59 points behind rookie Joey Logano, who occupies the final spot for the top 35 guaranteed a position in each race. Almirola has an average finish of 32.9 this season, finishing no better than 21st in seven races and no better than 33rd the past three. Parking that car leaves EGR with two full-time drivers in Martin Truex Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya. Sources deny a report that Truex has a clause in his contract that would free him and primary sponsor Bass Pro Shops if he doesn’t have at least two fulltime teammates.(ESPN.com)(4-7-2009)
    UPDATE: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing president Steve Lauletta is optimistic the #8 car made famous by Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to the track one day, but not until sponsorship is found. Lauletta confirmed on Wednesday an ESPN.com report that operations for the car driven by Aric Almirola has been suspended until sponsorship is found. Lauletta would not confirm how many employees were released, but sources said the total would be between 40 and 50. “The plan was to run the 8 all season,” Lauletta said. “We worked really hard to get a few sponsors. We’re working really hard to continue to get it back on the track. But when you’re in the position we’re in where you don’t know what sponsor goes on a car a couple of weeks out, how the team is going to progress in order to race two and three weeks out, it takes a lot of focus away from everybody at the shop.”(ESPN)(4-9-2009)

  • ‘Racing Dreams’ to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Racing Dreams,’ a documentary focusing on kids who dream of one day racing for NASCAR, will be screened at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. Racing Dreams, directed by Marshall Curry, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his 2005 documentary, ‘Street Fight,’ will follow three young drivers, aged 11-13, who race extreme karts in the World Karting Association’s National Pavement Series. With races at speeds of 60-70 miles per hour, the series is widely seen as the first step in a career racing for NASCAR. The film will chronicle the young drivers’ successes and frustrations, their relationships and their dreams, shedding light on the vast segment of America that is passionate about racing. The three drivers are Joshua Hobson, Brandon Warren and Annabeth Barnes. Barnes has been part of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. “The motivation and talent these kids demonstrate is incredible, and this is an inspiring look at their passion and drive,” said Ben Goldhirsh, Founder and CEO of GOOD, the production company. “The opportunity to work with like-minded individuals like Marshall Curry, allows us to create relevant, entertaining and stimulating content for a broader audience.”(Newsday)(4-9-2009)


    News from April 8, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/8/2009

  • Allmendingers sched to get longer UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports is close to extending #44-A.J. Allmendinger’s schedule beyond the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. “If you had told me last year that I’d be 15th in points right now, I would have laughed at you,” Allmendinger said. “But we’re in striking distance of the top 12.” With Allmendinger so close to the top 12 in points, RPM needs to decide whether it is committed to moving forward with the driver and the team before another organization snatches him up. According to multiple sources, Joe Gibbs Racing has already inquired about the driver’s status. While RPM is currently securing additional sponsorship (potentially with Hunt Brothers Pizza) nothing will guarantee Allmendinger and the #44 Dodge’s success faster than a revamped pit crew. Allmendinger inevitably loses positions every time he enters pit road. RPM has an Aug. 15 deadline to pick up Allmendinger’s option for 2010.(FoxSports)(4-5-2009)
    UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Hunt Brothers Pizza will sponsor AJ Allmendinger’s #44 Dodge for six races plus the All-Star race in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The announcement extends Allmendinger’s season through the Sept. 12 Richmond race. The Petty team remains committed to racing Allmendinger in a full season of competition if its success in generating sponsorship continues. “This is awesome news,” said Allmendinger who is 20th in the point standings despite entering the year outside the top 35. “I want to thank Hunt Brothers Pizza for coming on board and supporting us. I know our fans and NASCAR fans in general certainly appreciate all they are doing for the sport. We plan to give Hunt Brothers Pizza a lot to talk about in the coming weeks.” Hunt Brothers Pizza said its interest in Allmendinger and the Petty team would be a huge hit with its team members as well as their customers in over 6,000 locations across the country. “Partnering with Richard Petty Motorsports is exciting for everyone involved with Hunt Brothers”, said Scott Hunt, CEO of Hunt Brothers Pizza. “We feel blessed to be in a position to support AJ while connecting with our convenience store customers, many of whom are NASCAR fans. Getting the opportunity to work with “The King” Mr. Richard Petty, AJ Allmendinger and all the professionals at Richard Petty Motorsports, offers us a unique opportunity. We are excited and looking forward to seeing the Hunt Brothers Dodge on the track.” Tom Reddin, CEO at Richard Petty Motorsports: “AJ has done a heck of a job placing the #44 in the top 20, and we’ve been able to form some great partnerships along the way with Hunt Brothers Pizza, Dodge, Valvoline, Charter Communications, Harrah’s, Super 8 Hotels and Paralyzed Veterans of America,” said Reddin. “The success we are having on and off the track has helped us extend our schedule for the 44 team at least through the second Richmond race, and with a little help from some additional partners, we should have a good shot at making a successful full season. We think the on-track performance of the 44 team, AJ’s personality, and all the assets of the Richard Petty Motorsports organization makes this team a very attractive and unique opportunity for potential partners.” Allmendinger will race the Hunt Brothers Pizza paint scheme April 26 at Talladega, May 16 in the All-Star race and May 24 in The Coke 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, July 11 in Chicagoland, Aug. 22 in Bristol, Sept. 6 in Atlanta, and Sept. 12 in Richmond. Allmendinger joined the Petty team for the final five races of the 2008 season. The Los Gatos, Calif. native is a five-time victor in open wheel racing who made the switch to NASCAR two years ago.(Richard Petty Motorsports PR)(4-8-2009)

  • Jeff Gordon involved in Niagra Race Track: New details surrounding a proposed $200-million, 65,000-seat international motor speedway in Fort Erie [Ontario, Canada] have surfaced. An article published in the inaugural edition of Professional Motorsport Circuit, an international trade journal, says NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon is involved with the project. Gordon’s name has been tagged with a signature speedway and a driving school that’s part of the proposal. The article was written by Azhar Mohammad – executive director of Emirates Consulting, a Toronto-based subsidiary of Kuwaiti-based investment bank Bayt Al Mal Investment Co., that is financially backing the project. Mohammad could not be reached for comment Tuesday. “After carefully studying the pitfalls and successes of motor-sport initiatives in the North American market for almost two years, (Bayt Al Mal Investment Co.) assembled a high-profile team,” the article states. “The team was spearheaded by multi-NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, flanked by Paxton Waters Architecture, Derek Daly Design, and Philips Engineering, and supported by a host of local and international strategic partners.” Last October, plans were announced for a motor speedway on lands near the QEW, between Gilmore Road and Bowen Road. Bayt Al Mal, which has been assembling more than 600 acres of land for the project, has done numerous environmental, planning and engineering studies to support its application and has invested several million dollars. The proposal is working its way through the Town of Fort Erie’s planning department. Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin confirmed there has been talks with Gordon’s representatives. “We have met with them at the region, they have been here,” Martin said Tuesday. “Through the proposal that’s obviously coming on, we were aware that (Bayt Al Mal) were in talks with Jeff Gordon’s (people).”(Niagara Falls Review)(4-8-2009)

  • 2009 vs. 2008?: where were the 2009 Top 12 drivers after seven races in 2008?
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon was 14th in the 2008 points after race seven
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson was 6th
    3) #2-Kurt Busch was 15th
    4) #33-Clint Bowyer was 11th in the #07 car
    5) #14-Tony Stewart was 5th in the #20 car
    6) #11-Denny Hamlin was 7th
    7) #18-Kyle Busch was 3rd
    8) #99-Carl Edwards was 9th
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth was 13th
    10) #9-Kasey Kahne was 12th
    11) #00-David Reutimann was 31st
    12) #31-Jeff Burton was 1st
    notes: the drivers who were in the top 12 after the 7th race in 2008 and are not in the top 12 in 2009: #29-Kevin Harvick was 2nd
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 4th
    #16-Greg Biffle was 8th
    #39-Ryan Newman was 10th in the #12 car
    (4-8-2009)

  • #51 Team to return at Phoenix: been told the #51 BlackJack Racing Dodge of Dexter Bean will return to the Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix. The team attempted the first three races of the 2009 season, failing to make any with three different drivers, Kelly Bires, David Starr and Bean. After failing to make the race at Las Vegas, BlackJack Racing moved their race operations from Mooresville, NC back to Westby, Wisconsin and has been preparing cars for Phoenix. Live Wire Energy Chews will be sponsoring the #51 Dodge and the team plans to test at the La Crosse Faigrounds Speedway in West Salem, Wisconsin.(4-8-2009)

  • Gordon down to one track with no win: #24-Jeff Gordon’s win at Texas means there’s only one track on the Sprint Cup circuit at which he has yet to win, that being Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the series runs only once a year, the season finale. Gordon has won on 23 of the 24 tracks he has raced at in the Cup Series, including two tracks that are no longer active, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham. He also draws just one win shy of Cale Yarborough for the fifth-most wins in Cup history, and a pair shy of tying Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for third. But how do those drivers shape up as far as number of tracks won at? Let’s check out the numbers:
    Driver — Wins — Tracks won at
    Richard Petty — 200 — 51 of 84
    David Pearson — 105 — 38 of 65
    Bobby Allison — 84 — 28 of 47
    Darrell Waltrip — 84 — 16 of 26
    Cale Yarborough — 83 — 18 of 46
    Jeff Gordon — 82 — 23 of 24
    Of course, a disclaimer here is that in the old days of NASCAR, many tracks were raced at once or just a handful of times, but that’s still pretty impressive.(ESPN.com)
    Current Drivers: the active leaders with the most wins at the 22 different tracks currently on the NSCS schedule:
    Rank, Driver, Number of Tracks 1. #24-Jeff Gordon, 21
    2. #14-Tony Stewart, 19
    3. #48-Jimmie Johnson, 16
    4. #5-Mark Martin, 16
    5. #18-Kyle Busch, 13
    (NASCAR PR)(4-8-2009)

  • Gordon’s Crew Scores Back-to-Back Tissot Pit Road Wins: It was a double victory for the #24 team Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway in Forth Worth. Along with driver Jeff Gordon winning the 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the #24 over-the-wall crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award. Gordon’s crew also won the pit road competition the previous week in Martinsville. The #24 crew claimed the Tissot win in Texas due to Gordon’s DuPont/National Guard Chevy spending the least amount of time on pit road — 217.453 seconds. Gordon’s pit crew consists of: Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Mike Houston (front tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Cook (jackman), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Andy Kruep (eighth man). The pit crew coach is Greg Morin. For winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, the #24 team will receive $5,000. The team with the most pit road wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the driver and over-the-wall crew members.(Tissot PR)(4-8-2009)

  • Evernham’s Track debuts with Full House/Field: A record crowd packed East Lincoln Speedway Saturday night for the grand opening of the newly revamped 3/8 mile clay oval. RE Driver’s MeetingUnder the new ownership of veteran NASCAR crew chief and team owner Ray Evernham along with his business partner Bob Mack, a capacity crowd flooded the facility to see the many upgrades and improvements made to the 20-year-old speedway. East Lincoln Victory LaneEast Lincoln Speedway will be back in action this Saturday night April 11 with a full racing program. East Lincoln Speedway is located at 1873 Mariposa Rd in Stanley, NC.(PR)(4-8-2009)
  • Letarte Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Texas: Steve Letarte, crew chief for the #24 DuPont/National Guard GED Plus Chevy driven by Jeff Gordon, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday’s Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. 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 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 2009 season and spotlight the men behind the machines.(Wypall PR)(4-8-2009)


    News from April 7, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/7/2009
  • EGR’s #8 car parked: The #8 Sprint Cup Chevy, the centerpiece of Dale Earnhardt Inc. before its merger with Chip Ganassi Racing, is the latest casualty of the economy. Sources close to the situation said officials at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates are parking the car driven by Aric Almirola until sponsorship is found. An announcement could come in the next 24 hours. EGR officials were not available for comment, but sources said a handful of employees have been let go, and that number could grow to 40 to 50 before all is said and done. Almirola ranks 37th in owner points heading into next week’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. He is 59 points behind rookie Joey Logano, who occupies the final spot for the top 35 guaranteed a position in each race. Almirola has an average finish of 32.9 this season, finishing no better than 21st in seven races and no better than 33rd the past three. Parking that car leaves EGR with two full-time drivers in Martin Truex Jr. and Juan Pablo Montoya. Sources deny a report that Truex has a clause in his contract that would free him and primary sponsor Bass Pro Shops if he doesn’t have at least two fulltime teammates.(ESPN.com)(4-7-2009)

  • ISC Net Income Falls 31%: International Speedway Corp.’s fiscal first-quarter net income fell 31% on falling revenue amid price cuts as the racetrack operator cut its fiscal-year outlook, citing a worsening economy. The company has seen attendance at its events fall. The average income of NASCAR fans is below the national median, making them more susceptible to the recession. The company had also said it had begun to see a slowdown in corporate spending for hospitality, making the process of securing deals more time consuming. The company cut its fiscal-year earnings outlook to a range of $1.80 to $2 on revenue of $700 million to $720 million from December’s estimate of $2.35 to $2.45 a share on revenue of $745 million to $765 million. It also said it wasn’t including its Motorsports Authentics business in that estimate, saying that division’s management was re-evaluating it given the challenges of selling licensed sports goods in the current market. President Lesa Kennedy said the company had reduced ticket prices to make it more affordable for fans to come to events. For the period ended Feb. 28, the motorsports promoter reported net income of $25.1 million, or 52 cents a share, down from $36.2 million, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings fell to 56 cents from 78 cents. Revenue decreased 14% to $166.1 million.(Wall Street Journal)(subscription required)(4-7-2009)

  • Official – Petty to co-own Inday 500 car UPDATE 3: According to a press release from TB Communications, a press conference has been scheduled for Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a “NASCAR team owner” to announce an entry into the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24. The release said the team owner will be making his debut as a car owner in the Indy 500. Two Sprint Cup Series team owners can be eliminated. Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi have both won the Indy 500 as car owners. The NASCAR team owner announcing the entry is also expected to announce a major sponsor for the deal and also who will drive his car. The release did not say if the NASCAR team owner involved is an owner in the Sprint Cup Series.(Hartford Courant)(4-3-2009)
    UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports will field an Indy 500 entry for driver John Andretti, sources have confirmed to NASCAR.COM. The official announcement will be made Monday. Given that RPM currently does not have an IndyCar operation, it was unclear Friday how the program would take shape.(NASCAR.com)(4-3-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Richard Petty will make his first foray into the Indianapolis 500 as an owner when he fields a car for John Andretti in next month’s race. A news conference is scheduled Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but details were confirmed Friday by a person familiar with the arrangement. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the deal has not been announced. In 1994, Andretti became the first driver to run both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR event in Charlotte on the same day, finishing 10th at Indianapolis and crashing and finishing 36th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon have both since done the double, but the grueling feat is no longer possible since Indianpolis changed its starting time several years ago. Petty is a partner in NASCAR with George Gillett in Richard Petty Motorsports, the team formerly known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Gillett is not expected to be part of the Indy deal. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which runs the full IndyCar Series, will work with Petty at Indy, providing equipment and personnel.(Associated Press)(4-4-2009)
    UPDATE 3: Richard Petty will field an entry for the Indianapolis 500 for the first time, with John Andretti driving the Window World-sponsored car in the 2009 edition of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” on Sunday, May 24. Seven-time NASCAR champion Petty unveiled the #43 Window World Dallara/Honda/Firestone for Indy 500 veteran and NASCAR regular Andretti on April 6 at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Window World, the world’s largest replacement window company, brought Andretti to the Daytona 500 earlier this year. Petty’s new entry will feature the traditional “Petty Blue” and “Day-Glo Red” from his stock cars in the “King’s” debut as a team owner in the Indy 500 after participating in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard for the past 15 years. Richard Petty Motorsports currently campaigns four Dodge cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Window World and Petty will combine efforts with the Indy-based Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team to field the #43 Honda-powered Indy car for Andretti, an Indianapolis native.(see more, a transcript and photos at Indy500.com)(4-6-2009)

  • Camping World to leave Truck Series? UPDATE denied: NASCAR is putting out feelers for a sponsor to replace Camping World for the Truck Series. Camping World entered the sport as the sponsor for Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick Inc. on Ron Hornaday’s truck in 2007. Later that season CW expanded to include what was formerly the NASCAR Busch East and North developmental series. Camping World was named title sponsor of the Truck Series last fall following an extensive search after Craftsman Tools bowed out.(FoxSports)(4-4-2009)
    UPDATE: Sources confirmed to SPEEDtv.com late Monday that Camping World intends to remain as the title sponsor of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Published reports said NASCAR was shopping for a replacement Truck Series sponsor for Camping World, which is in the first year of a multi-year agreement with the sanctioning body. But a spokesperson for the retailer said the company is actually helping locate a replacement sponsor for the Camping World East and West Series. Camping World previously had announced that 2009 would be its last year as title sponsor for the East and West Series. “We have no intention at this point of trying to pull out of the Truck Series,” said Diana Ardelean of Camping World. “We’re very excited and fully in support of the Truck Series.”(SPEEDtv)(4-7-2009)

  • What is the ‘Hat Man’ up to? Bill Brodrick, known as the ‘Hat Man’, who worked for Unocal’s 76 [formerly the official fuel of NASCAR] and used to great the winning drivers in the winners circle. Brodrick, emailed with an update: “I am back running my gin joint, the Tavern at the Bridge, here in Algonquin, IL located at Route 62 at the Fox River. After turning the business over to my son in 2007 he decided he wanted out and I went back to running things in January of’ 2008. Heck, I had 34 years of racing experience. Might as well but it to good use and run a tavern. I still get one of my trading cards in the mail (P. O. Box 14, Algonquin, IL 60102) once in a while for an autograph which I’m more than happy to do. I have a lot of old racing memorabilia in the Tavern and fans come in to watch the big screen and BS. That’s the one thing I miss about being out of the business…..the fans. Race fans are the greatest people in the world. And they never forget you. If anyone comes through Algonquin (40 miles NW of Chicago) they’re more than welcome to stop by. The beer is always cold and the popcorn fresh. God bless”(4-7-2009)

  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series:
    * Jeff Gordon won the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. This was his 82nd career victory. He remained sixth on NASCAR’s all-time wins list, just one behind fifth-place Cale Yarborough.
    * Gordon ended a 47-race winless streak, the longest of his career. The last time he had won was at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October 2007. He has won at 21 of the 22 tracks on the current schedule. He has not won at Homestead.
    * Gordon won his first race at Texas in his 17th start there, tying Phoenix with the most starts at a track before winning.
    * This was Gordon’s 10th victory with crew chief Steve Letarte.
    * Gordon is the only driver to score top-15 finishes in all seven races in 2009. He has finished sixth or better in his past six races and is the only driver to score six top-10 finishes in the first seven races. He has scored top-10 finishes in five of his past six races at Texas.
    * Jimmie Johnson finished second to Gordon, the ninth time they have finished 1-2. Gordon has won six times, Johnson has won three times.
    * This was the 24th 1-2 finish for Hendrick Motorsports. This was the 177th victory for HMS, its second in 2009 and second straight. (Johnson won March 29 at Martinsville.)
    * Gordon became the fifth different race winner in seven races this season. He tied Dale Earnhardt with 14 wins on the seven 1.5-mile tracks, the most by any driver. Gordon has scored 55 top-5s and 74 top-10s in his 121 races on the 1.5-mile track, the most by any driver.
    * Gordon led six times for 105 laps, including the final 28 laps, for the most laps led at Texas. He had failed to win the previous four times he had led the most laps.
    * This was the second victory for Chevrolet in 2009, both in the past two races.
    * Gordon leads the Sprint Cup point standings by 162 points over second-place Johnson.
    * Johnson scored his fifth top-10 of 2009 and third consecutive top-three finish.
    * Greg Biffle (third) broke a three-race streak of finishing 28th or worse.
    * Tony Stewart (fourth) scored his fifth top-10 of 2009.
    * Matt Kenseth (fifth) scored his first top-10 since winning the first two races of the season.
    * Juan Pablo Montoya (seventh) scored his best finish of 2009.
    * Clint Bowyer (22nd) extended an 80-race streak of running at the finish that began at Homestead in November 2006. Bowyer’s last DNF came at Phoenix on Nov. 12, 2006, when he finished 33rd because of an oil-pump failure.
    * Joey Logano (30th) was the only rookie contender in the race. Scott Speed failed to qualify.
    * The top 10 consisted of six Chevrolets, three Fords and one Dodge. The highest-finishing Toyota was David Reutimann (11th).(ESPN Monday Rundown)(4-7-2009)


    News from April 6, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Past News Page for 4/6/2009

  • Texas Overnight TV Ratings: NASCAR on Fox posted a 4.2/10 Sunday for Sprint Cup racing from Texas. The 4.2/10 is down -11% compared to last year’s 4.7/10 for the same race. Once again FOX had trouble getting viewers to the set, as tune-in at the green flag was down half a rating point compared to last year (-13%, 3.4/9 vs. 3.9/9). That half-point decline at the start matches the half-point decline for the entire race, showing that the build of the rating through the race was normal. More positively, yesterday’s race was far and away the day’s highest-rated sports event, it delivered FOX’s best NASCAR rating in a month, and the year-to-year decline of five-tenths of a point is an improvement over the average of nine-tenths for FOX’s previous races this season. Season-to-date, NASCAR is now averaging a 5.1/10 in the metered markets, down -15% compared to last year’s 6.0/12. For race by race chart and more, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(4-6-2009)
  • Two teams could be missing from Phoenix UPDATE #71 will be there: on SPEEDtv’s SPEED Report, Bob Dilner reported that two Sprint Cup teams could be missing at Phoenix on the weekend on April 17-18th. #8-Aric Almirola [the team plans to meet about the future of the #8 on Tuesday, Aprl 7th] and the #71 TRG Motorsports team that David Gilliland drives. Gilliand said the team needs a sponsor to continue on.(4-6-2009)
    UPDATE: on Monday’s “The Morning Drive” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, hosts Mike Bagley and David Poole spoke with Slugger Labbe, crew chief for TRG Motorsports’ #71 Chevy and driver David Gilliland, about the team’s plans for the Phoenix race on April 18.
    Host, David Poole: “There was at least one report that said that you guys might not be going to Phoenix. What’s the status of that deal?”
    Slugger Labbe: “Well, we’re going. You know, we’ve got the motor sitting here, the gear transmission. We just got the car back from getting the body fixed and it is in the paint booth now getting ready. We’re planning on going. David is wanting to race. He’s going to run the West race out there, whatever that series is. He’s going to run out there. I’m going to go help him. And, you know, Kevin [Buckler] is trying to secure funding. We’re so close to the top 35. It helps that they say the #8 car is shut down. He’s 37th in points. The next three guys behind us all missed the race at Texas this weekend so we’re in a unique situation that we have to go.”
    “The Morning Drive” airs weekdays (7-11am/et) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio (available nationwide on SIRIUS channel 128 and on XM channel 128 with the “Best of XM” programming package.)(4-6-2009)
  • The Comcast Cup? Will Comcast buy Sprint? “As telco giants AT&T and Verizon move deeper into the TV business, cable giants like Comcast may have to get into the wireless business to compete. That could eventually involve Comcast buying Sprint Nextel, the No. 3 U.S. wireless carrier,” writes Silicon Alley Insider. Comcast and Sprint are backing the Clearwire 4G wireless network, and its WiMax system. If Clearwire doesn’t connect, and cash-rich Comcast decides it’s easier to buy than build, “the most logical deal could be for Sprint, which currently has a $12 billion market cap,” Insider says. “It’s not a new idea. But it could make sense in the next few years.” Citing a report from Pali Research, the article quotes Comcast CEO Brian Roberts at the annual cable show in Washington yesterday: “Wireless is a conundrum for the cable industry… AT&T and Verizon… are the super elephants. They’ve got all the market share…” He “avoided a clear answer to the question as to whether Clearwire was Comcast’s sole wireless strategy.”(Philly.com)(4-6-2009)

  • Smith Continues DNF Streak: Regan Smith finished 31st in Sunday’s Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was the third race of the season for Smith and the #78 Furniture Row Racing team, which is competing part-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Though the Denver-Colo.-based team was slightly off its previous two performances of 21st (Daytona 500) and 19th (Las Vegas), Smith continued his impressive streak of running at the finish. He has finished every one of his 44 career Cup starts, dating back to the 2007 season. Smith and the #78 team are looking forward to the next Cup race — April 18 at the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway. “We had two good test sessions at the one-mile Pikes Peak International Raceway, which has similarities to Phoenix,” noted the 25-year-old Smith. “You never know in this business, but the gut feeling around this team is that we’re going to be better in Phoenix.” The Phoenix event is part of the team’s current 13-race Sprint Cup schedule.(DMF Communications PR)(4-6-2009)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Samsung 500:
    Total race brdcst time 165 Total comm. brdcst time 58
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:43 PM
    Total number of commercials: 133
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 72
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 89
    Total minutes: 223
    Minutes of race broadcast: 165
    Minutes of commercials: 58
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’: 1 debris was mentioned, but not shown
    Animated Digger shots: 10
    Still Digger shots: 17
    See more info and a link to the full report on my 2009 TV Commercials page.(4-6-2009)

  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer has been running at the finish in 80 consecutive races, the longest current streak, only 1 race behind the modern era record of #29-Harvick who had 81 until DNFing at California in Feb 2009, next up is #78-Regan Smith at 44 [but has not run all the races] and then #48-Johnson at 31 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 [Beam didn’t run all the races, but didn’t DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 81 [he also has the 3rd longest at 58], then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(4-6-2009)

  • Tire test at New Hampshire: there is a scheduled Goodyear Tire Test at New Hampshire on Tues. and Wed. this week [April 7-8], with drivers scheduled being: #24-Jeff Gordon (Chevy); #18-Kyle Busch (Toyota), #6-David Ragan (Ford) and #12-David Stremme (Dodge)(4-6-2009)

News from April 5, 2009

  • Jeff Gordon wins at Texas: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway for his first win at Texas [Homestead is the lone track Gordon has not won a race in Sprint Cup], his 1st win of 2009, his first win in 47 races [his last points win was at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Oct 2007] and 82nd win of his career. #48-Johnson finished 2nd, followed by #16-Biffle, #14-Stewart, #17-Kenseth, #5-Martin, #42-Montoya, #2-Busch, #31-Burton and #99-Edwards. Pole sitter #00-Reutimann finished 11th and #88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 20th, a lap down. There were 6 cautions for 30 laps and there were 28 lead changes among 14 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more on the Texas Race Results Page.(4-5-2009)
  • UNOFFICAL Driver Points Standings [after Texas, race 7 of 36]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon, 1154 [1 win]
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 992, -162 [1 win]
    3) #2-Kurt Busch, 974, -180 [1 win]
    4) #33-Clint Bowyer, 967, -187
    5) #14-Tony Stewart, 963, -191
    6) #11-Denny Hamlin, 938, -216
    7) #18-Kyle Busch, 914,-240 [2 wins]
    8) #99-Carl Edwards, 889, -265
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth, 864, -290 [2 wins]
    10) #9-Kasey Kahne, 851, -303
    11) #00-David Reutimann, 845, -309
    12) #31-Jeff Burton, 835, -319
    Contenders for the top-12:
    13) #42-Juan Montoya, 819, -335
    14) #29-Kevin Harvick, 796, -358
    15) #16-Greg Biffle, 775, -379
    16) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 768, -386
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(4-5-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Texas Motor SpeedwayB Jeff Gordon won the SAMSUNG 500, his 82nd victory in 552 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and sixth top-10 finish in 2009. Gordon ends a career-long 47-race winless drought.
    Gordon remains sixth on the all-time wins list with 82 wins, one behind Cale Yarborough.
    This is his first victory and ninth top-10 finish in 17 races at Texas Motor Speedway. Gordon now has a win at every active track but one — Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 12 races at Texas Motor Speedway. It is his fifth top-10 finish in 2009.
    Greg Biffle (third) posted his fourth top-10 finish in 11 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    Jeff Gordon leads the point standings by 162 points over Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-5-2009)
  • Penalty Report – Texas Motor Speedway
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #78, 99, Outside half of the pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tires, Tail End
    #18, 153, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Tail End
    #00, 154, Car pitting out of the assigned pit box, 1 Lap
    #19, 158, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #96, 221, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #88, 221, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #43, 222, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #12, 304, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #25, 306, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come
    (NASCAR Statistics)(4-5-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Texas: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #44-Allmendinger, 34th
    Caution 2: #83-Vickers, 16th
    Caution 3: #83-Vickers (2), 16th
    Caution 4: #98-Menard, 13th
    Caution 5: #00-Reutimann, 11th
    Caution 6: #39-Newman, 15th
    (4-5-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Phoenix:
    no changes in who is in and who is out, but #71-Gilliland lost 20 points to 35th for the locked position
    31) #77-Hornish/Penske: 571, +84
    32) #98-Menard/Yates: 543, +56
    33) #34-Andretti/Earnhart Ganassi: 540, +53
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 531 +44
    35) #20-Logano/Gibbs: 510, 23 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #71-Gilliland/TRG 487, 23 points out of 35th
    37) #8-Almirola/Earnhardt Ganassi: 451, -59
    38) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 414, -96
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(4-5-2009)

  • Allmendingers sched to get longer: Richard Petty Motorsports is close to extending #44-A.J. Allmendinger’s schedule beyond the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. “If you had told me last year that I’d be 15th in points right now, I would have laughed at you,” Allmendinger said. “But we’re in striking distance of the top 12.” With Allmendinger so close to the top 12 in points, RPM needs to decide whether it is committed to moving forward with the driver and the team before another organization snatches him up. According to multiple sources, Joe Gibbs Racing has already inquired about the driver’s status. While RPM is currently securing additional sponsorship (potentially with Hunt Brothers Pizza) nothing will guarantee Allmendinger and the #44 Dodge’s success faster than a revamped pit crew. Allmendinger inevitably loses positions every time he enters pit road. RPM has an Aug. 15 deadline to pick up Allmendinger’s option for 2010.(FoxSports)(4-5-2009)

  • NASCAR no plans on keeping radio chatter from fans: Radio transmissions between drivers, owners, spotters and crew chiefs will continue to be available to NASCAR, media and fans. Flak over a torrid exchange between #2-Kurt Busch and car owner Roger Penske last Sunday at Martinsville — in which Busch called his owner “dude” — evoked a familiar refrain on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. “The radio, I always thought, has been a team tool that should be utilized just by the teams,” Busch said. “We don’t get to hear what the coach says to his offensive and defensive coordinators in the NFL. I don’t think that we get to hear what they do in baseball when they call to the bullpen. You don’t get to hear what they say in the huddle, and what they say in the huddle is pretty animated. Roger and I are on the same page. Martinsville is behind us.” That may be, but NASCAR isn’t about to budge when it comes to keeping the airwaves open.
    “The more access we can give the fans, that’s a part of what made NASCAR what it is, the accessibility of the drivers,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications. “In my opinion, drivers — even in the heat of battle — need to be able to control their emotions. They’re driving a racecar around at 200 miles an hour with a bunch of other people. NASCAR needs to be able to hear what’s going on with the teams during a race, and we’ve extended that to the fans.”(Sporting News)(4-5-2009)

  • If #8 team closes, Truex could be free agent..to Gibbs? UPDATE Bass Pro Shops not leaving: The buzz in the garage has Earnhardt Ganassi Racing shutting down the #8 Chevy and sidelining Aric Almirola after this weekend if a sponsor doesn’t magically appear. If that happens, three contracts are affected: #1-Martin Truex Jr., Bass Pro Shops Racing and Chevy. Truex’s contract states that he must have two teammates or he can leave the team. Bass Pro Shops has a performance clause and with Truex 28th in owner points, the #1 team is in a precarious position. Finally, Chevy can alter its support to EGR if three teams are not under the roof. The hot rumor at Martinsville last week had Truex replacing Joey Logano in the #20 Home Depot Toyota. Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs insisted Sunday and again by phone on Wednesday that “Joey’s our guy. We haven’t had any conversations with anyone,” Gibbs said. “We’d like to have someone in line by summer time, but you have to sit down, look at what partner is available, what driver is available and who would be a good fit for the team. We had [#96] Hall of Fame last year and we don’t have it now. So we have room for a fourth team. We’d love to have it.”
    Gibbs mentioned JGR’s plans to run the #02 Farm Bureau Toyota to race later this season. An announcement was made in January that Farm Bureau Insurance was signed for six Cup races in 2009, including being the primary sponsor for two Cup races on Denny Hamlin’s car at Darlington and Atlanta and on Logano’s car at Martinsville. A fourth team will feature Farm Bureau as the title sponsor for the fall races at LMS, Texas and Homestead. Gibbs did not believe Farm Bureau was committed to a level where it could expand as a full-time sponsor in 2010.
    Truex said on Friday that he’s committed to staying the course. “When I give someone my word by signing a contract, if they keep theirs and I keep my mind, there’s no reason to ever think about doing anything else, obviously,” Truex said. “Right now, my focus is on getting this car better and moving up in the points. We’re back here where we shouldn’t be. We’ve never been back this far before and we’ve had a tough start to the year.”
    As for Bass Pro Shops, if Truex does leave. don’t be surprised if the sponsor fills out Ryan Newman’s program on the #39 Chevy at Stewart-Haas Racing [US Army is there for 23 races]. That deal, which is valued between $8 million and $10 million, could go down before summer.(FoxSports)(4-4-2009)
    UPDATE: SPEEDtv’s Hermie Sadler reported that EGR’s President Steve Lauletta said they would be meeting Tuesday to decide the fate of the #8 team and that Bass Pro Shops is signed with EGR thru the 2010 season and there is no ‘out’ for them.(4-5-2009)

  • Penske to Toyota? doubtful: Speculation mounts that some Dodge teams may be looking to bolt, depending on how the Washington-Detroit-Chrysler-Fiat talks go. Most prominent in the speculation is that Roger Penske, who is one of the nation’s biggest Toyota dealers, may move Kurt Busch’s Dodge team, which just won at Atlanta, into the Toyota camp. A Penske-Toyota-NASCAR scenario has been bandied about for several years. There was no immediate comment from officials at Chrysler, but Toyota racing boss Lee White said “Unless RP [Roger Penske] has resorted to secretly stealing our parts, there is not chance he’s running anything remotely resembling a Toyota in the foreseeable future. It’s just another of many false rumors.”(mikemulhern.net)(4-5-2009)

  • EGR looks to have a ‘common chassis’ soon: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing [#1-Truex Jr., #8-Almirola, #42-Montoya] is planning on a common chassis constructed using the best ideas from both elements of EGR. It might appear as early as in two weeks when the season resumes at Phoenix after next weekend’s Easter break. EGR competition director Steve Hmiel said Truex and Montoya might be in “common cars” as early as in two weeks on the 1-mile Phoenix oval, or as late as the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May. “There’s one done now that could go to Phoenix if they desire,” Hmiel said. “We finished one Thursday morning before we came out [to Texas] and we finished another one [Friday].”(NASCAR.com)(4-5-2009)

  • Tire test at New Hampshire: there is a scheduled Goodyear Tire Test at New Hampshire early next week [April 6-8 range], so far only #24-Jeff Gordon has been mentioned as a test driver.(Chevy Transcript)(4-5-2009)


    News from April 4, 2009

  • Race Coverage of the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, April 5, 2009.
    TV: FOX at 2:00 pm/et; pre-race show at 1:30 pm/et; green flag approx 2:16pm/et
    Radio: PRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Scheduled Race Re-Air: SPEED, Wednesday, April 8 at 12:00pm/et;
  • Pit Stall Selections – Texas: The selections for pit stalls of the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway have been made. Pole sitter #00-David Reutimann chose pit stall 1 as do most pole sitters, while outside pole sitter #24-Gordon took pit stall 14, the next with an opening in front of it and #17-Kenseth, took pit stall 24, which is the next stall with an opening in front of it. #6-Ragan who starts 4th, chose the final pit stall. See the pit selection chart on the Texas Motor Speedway Pit Stall Selection chart.(4-4-2009)
  • Happy Hour Practice for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is over, the top 5:
    #48-Johnson 183.717
    #11-Hamlin 188.717
    #18-Busch 183.605
    #26-McMurray 183.293
    #71-Gilliland 183.175
    slowest: #09-Bliss 175.092 and #13-Papis 175.359
    incidents: none
    For the best speeds, ave speeds, laps run and more, see the Texas Practice Speeds/News page.(4-4-2009)

  • NASCAR team owner to run Indy 500? UPDATE: According to a press release from TB Communications, a press conference has been scheduled for Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a “NASCAR team owner” to announce an entry into the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24. The release said the team owner will be making his debut as a car owner in the Indy 500. Two Sprint Cup Series team owners can be eliminated. Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi have both won the Indy 500 as car owners. The NASCAR team owner announcing the entry is also expected to announce a major sponsor for the deal and also who will drive his car. The release did not say if the NASCAR team owner involved is an owner in the Sprint Cup Series.(Hartford Courant)(4-3-2009)
    UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports will field an Indy 500 entry for driver John Andretti, sources have confirmed to NASCAR.COM. The official announcement will be made Monday. Given that RPM currently does not have an IndyCar operation, it was unclear Friday how the program would take shape.(NASCAR.com)(4-3-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Richard Petty will make his first foray into the Indianapolis 500 as an owner when he fields a car for John Andretti in next month’s race. A news conference is scheduled Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but details were confirmed Friday by a person familiar with the arrangement. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the deal has not been announced. In 1994, Andretti became the first driver to run both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR event in Charlotte on the same day, finishing 10th at Indianapolis and crashing and finishing 36th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon have both since done the double, but the grueling feat is no longer possible since Indianpolis changed its starting time several years ago. Petty is a partner in NASCAR with George Gillett in Richard Petty Motorsports, the team formerly known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Gillett is not expected to be part of the Indy deal. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which runs the full IndyCar Series, will work with Petty at Indy, providing equipment and personnel.(Associated Press)(4-4-2009)

  • Allmendinger and Speed on USF1’s short list UPDATE Speed says NO: Sources tell AutoRacingSport.com that NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers AJ Allmendinger and Scott Speed are ‘definitely’ on the short list of the newly formed USF1 Formula 1 team that’s set to begin competition in 2010 while IndyCar star Danica Patrick and NASCAR Sprint Cup sensation ‘Kyle Busch are not. Ken and Peter (Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor-USF1 team Principals) are really looking for open wheel experience, and Scott and AJ (Speed and Allmendinger) fit that bill quite well, with AJ being a winner in Champ Car and Scott having F1 experience.’ our source informs us.(AutoRacingSport.com)(3-28-2009)
    UPDATE: Oh yeah, there’s one other thing I [Scott Speed] wanted to mention. Even though I might talk fondly about my F1 days, I’m not going back. So don’t believe anything that anyone is saying about me joining the new U.S. F1 team next year. Those rumors were generated by journalists who were just being journalists, that’s all. So get used to me, I’m not going anywhere!(Frontstretch.com/Scott Speed Diary)(4-4-2009)

  • ESPN Motorsports Coverage Earns Five Sports Emmy Nominations: ESPN’s coverage of motorsports earned five Sports Emmy Award nominations, among an industry-leading 54 nominations earned by ESPN, Inc., it was announced today by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The 54 nominations were the most of any submitting company for the eighth time in nine years. The winners will be announced Monday, April 27. The five nominations in motorsports included the company’s production endeavors for live event coverage and technical expertise.
    Outstanding Technical Team Remote: ESPN NASCAR 2008
    Outstanding Technical Team Studio: ESPN NASCAR 2008 (Pit studio and Tech Center)
    Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound: ESPN NASCAR 2008
    George Wensel Technical Achievement Award: Draft Track 2.0
    Outstanding Open/Tease: 2008 Indianapolis 500: The Perfect Storm
    ESPN has won 18 Sports Emmy Awards for motorsports in its history, 17 during the 1990s and one last year for 2007 and the network’s return to NASCAR. Overall, ABC has won 160 Sports Emmy Awards since they were first given in 1980, while ESPN has won 123 in 21 years of eligibility.(ESPN PR)(4-4-2009)
  • Fox earns 5 Emmy noms: NASCAR on FOX received 5 Sports Emmy Noms including Outstanding Live Series and Live Special for Daytona 500 coverage.(4-4-2009)

  • National Science Foundation Teams With NASCAR: As science educators continue to explore ways to improve science scores among students grades 8-12, they now can turn to NASCAR. A new online series of videos called The Science of Speed, announced Friday at the Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in Fort Worth, reveals the sophisticated science and engineering behind NASCAR racing to teach science. To bring the 12-module science video series to computer screens, NSF teamed with NASCAR, the largest sanctioning body of motorsports in the United States, University of Texas at Dallas physics professor Diandra Leslie-Pelecky—author of the book The Physics of NASCAR and Santa Fe Productions, Albuquerque, N.M. In a series of high-quality, easy-to-understand videos, fast cars double as science experiments that illustrate basic concepts of friction, safety, sound and other elements of racing at speeds up to 200 miles per hour. Deftly guided onscreen by Leslie-Pelecky, viewers glimpse the intricacies of a rarely seen side of NASCAR—the science. Segments feature drivers, crew chiefs and engineers from numerous NASCAR garages including Jeff Gordon, Steve Letarte and Lisa Smokstad of Hendrick Motor Sports; Nick Hughes of Michael Waltrip Racing; Carl Edwards and Chris Andrews of Roush Fenway Racing; Josh Browne and John Probst of Red Bull Racing; Andy Randolph of Earnhardt Childress Racing and many others. Teachers and students can download the videos for free from NSF’s new website, Science360.gov. Science360.gov was created to be the preferred on-line destination for obtaining cutting-edge science information.(NASCAR PR), see a video at ESPN.com and more info at stockcarscience.com.(4-4-2009)

  • Plans for Keselowski: from a Chevy Press Conference Transcript of Brad Keselowski:
    ON PLANNING FOR NEXT SEASON: “There’s so many pieces to the puzzle as far as deciding where I’m going to be next year and what my situation is that it’s almost mind-boggling. You stop thinking about it and you just worry about running as competitively as you can and knowing that everything will work itself out.”
    ON TAKING OVER THE #5 NSCS CAR IN 2010: “I haven’t had the discussion about that. I think ultimately its Mark’s (Martin) call and I don’t know how that’s exactly going to unfold, but I feel comfortable with the organization I’m with at Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports that it will work itself out in the end if I run competitively and can win races.”
    WHO ARE YOU UNDER CONTRACT WITH?: “I’m still under contract with JR Motorsports, but we have an informal agreement with Hendrick Motorsports.”
    ON OTHER OFFERS FOR THIS SEASON: “I had the offer last year to drive the Penske car and I still feel this way even though the season hasn’t gone the way I wanted it to go in the Nationwide series — I still feel that this is my home with the 88 Nationwide team with having Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) and Mr. Hendrick as a boss. Even though it’s not been as competitive I feel like it’s my home and that it will continue to get better and that we will be an elite team.”(Chevy Press Conference Transcript)(4-4-2009)

  • Final Martinsville TV Ratings down: Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.6 and a 10 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 13.2% lower than the 5.3 Fox earned for the race in 2008.(SceneDaily), see season TV Ratings, race-by-race ratings and more on the 2009 TV Ratings page.(4-4-2009)

  • Only Happy Landings for ESPN’s Shannon Spake: Despite growing up with a pilot for a father, ESPN NASCAR pit reporter Shannon Spake admits she has always been one to comment about bad landings on commercial airline flights – until now. “I’m never judging again,” said Spake, who flew a Southwest Airlines simulator at the airline’s Dallas headquarters Thursday prior to heading to nearby Texas Motor Speedway to work ESPN2’s telecast of Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event. “I have a whole new respect,” said Spake, who flew in the right seat as her father, Southwest Captain Don Speacht, was in the pilot’s seat in the Boeing 737 simulator. “I did two landings, and all I could think about was how people like me sit in the back of those planes and judge landings. They make it seem so flawless, and until I did it I had no idea how much was involved.” But what she really enjoyed was a day at the office with her father. “He wanted to take me to work with him, and it was so much fun,” she said. “After all these years, I finally got to see him at work when we flew the simulator. That was just awesome.”(ESPN MediaZone)(4-4-2009)

  • Camping World to leave Truck Series? NASCAR is putting out feelers for a sponsor to replace Camping World for the Truck Series. Camping World entered the sport as the sponsor for Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick Inc. on Ron Hornaday’s truck in 2007. Later that season CW expanded to include what was formerly the NASCAR Busch East and North developmental series. Camping World was named title sponsor of the Truck Series last fall following an extensive search after Craftsman Tools bowed out.(FoxSports)(4-4-2009)
  • “Celebration of Life” Planned for Michael Lance: Michael “Sweats” Lance, who passed away Wed., April 1, will be remembered Monday night, April 6, at Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home in Winston-Salem, N.C. A “Celebration of Life” is scheduled for 6:30pm. Lance was born October 27, 1966, in High Point, N.C., and worked for Richard Childress Racing as a transporter driver for the #33 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. He had been a member of the NASCAR community for some time, previously working for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Joe Gibbs Racing. Lance is survived by his wife, Debbie Boose, and step-children Brandon and Bailey Boose. Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home is located at 3315 Silas Creek Parkway.(RCR PR)(4-4-2009)


    News from April 3, 2009

  • Reutimann wins pole at Texas: #00-David Reutimann won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway with a lap of 190.517mph for his 1st pole of 2009 and 2nd career pole. Points leader #24-Jeff Gordon will start 2nd, followed by #17-Kenseth, #6-Ragan, #98-Menard, #9-Kahne, #14-Stewart, #18-Busch, #48-Johnson and #20-Logano.
    The seven non top-35 drivers to make the race: #09-Bliss, #71-Gilliland, #78-Smith, #21-Elliott, #13-Papis, #25-Keselowski, #8-Almirola and #66-Blaney.
    Missing the race are: #87-Nemechek, #82-Speed, #41-Mayfield, #64-Bodine and #36-Riggs.
    See qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Texas Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(4-3-2009)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Texas Motor Speedway
    #00-David Reutimann won the Coors Light Pole Award for the SAMSUNG 500 with a lap of 28.344 seconds, 190.517 mph.
    This is his second pole in 70 Sprint Cup Series races. His first pole came at Homestead in 2008.
    This is his first pole and fourth top-10 start in 2009.
    This is his first pole in four races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    One driver has won a Texas Sprint Cup Series race from the pole — Kasey Kahne in the 2006 spring race.
    #24-Jeff Gordon (second) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2009 and his 11th in 17 races at Texas Motor Speedway.
    #17-Matt Kenseth (third) posted his sixth top-10 start at Texas Motor Speedway. It is his second in seven races this season.
    #20-Joey Logano (10th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-3-2009)
  • Pole Progression: (who had the pole first, who got it next and who ended up with it)
    #98-Menard, 1st out to qualify, 189.907mph, starts 5th
    #6-Ragan, 3rd out, 189.934, starts 4th
    #17-Kenseth, 10th out, 189.954, starts 3rd
    #24-Gordon, 13th out, 190.194, starts 2nd
    #00-Reutimann, 17th out, 190.517, starts 1st
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Chevy: #24-Gordon, 190.194, starts 2nd
    Dodge: #9-Kahne, 189.900, starts 6th
    Ford: #17-Kenseth, 189.954, starts 3rd
    Toyota: #00-Reutimann, 190.517,starts 1st
  • Rookie of the Year Candidates: how fast were they and where do they start:
    #13-Max Papis (X), 186.496mph, starts 39th
    #20-Joey Logano, 189.268mph, starts 10th
    #82-Scott Speed (X), 185.790, starts DNQ
    X = needed to race their way in to the race
    DNQ = Did not qualify for race
  • Qualifying Order for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is posted. 48 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #98-Menard, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #1-Truex Jr. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #09-Bliss, and the final driver scheduled to qualify is #87-Nemechek. See the full qualifying order on the Texas Qualifying Page.(4-3-2009)
  • Friday Practice for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is over, the top 5:
    #5-Martin 189.693
    #00-Reutimann 189.553
    #2-Busch 189.547
    #16-Biffle 189.016
    #48-Johnson 188.983
    slowest: #64-Bodine 184.118 & #36-Riggs 184.206
    For the best speeds, ave speeds, laps run and more, see the Texas Practice Speeds/News page.(4-3-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Texas Motor Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #13-Max Papis, 18th
    #71-David Gilliland, 28th
    #78-Regan Smith, 29th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 35th
    #8-Aric Almirola, 37th
    #21-Bill Elliott [PC], 40th
    #09-Mike Bliss, 41st
    #25-Brad Keselowski, 42nd
    these drivers would miss the race if things stayed the same:
    #82-Scott Speed, 43rd
    #66-Dave Blaney, 44th
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 45th
    #36-Scott Riggs, 47th
    #64-Todd Bodine, 48th

  • NASCAR team owner to run Indy 500? UPDATE: According to a press release from TB Communications, a press conference has been scheduled for Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a “NASCAR team owner” to announce an entry into the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24. The release said the team owner will be making his debut as a car owner in the Indy 500. Two Sprint Cup Series team owners can be eliminated. Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi have both won the Indy 500 as car owners. The NASCAR team owner announcing the entry is also expected to announce a major sponsor for the deal and also who will drive his car. The release did not say if the NASCAR team owner involved is an owner in the Sprint Cup Series.(Hartford Courant)(4-3-2009)
    UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports will field an Indy 500 entry for driver John Andretti, sources have confirmed to NASCAR.COM. The official announcement will be made Monday. Given that RPM currently does not have an IndyCar operation, it was unclear Friday how the program would take shape.(NASCAR.com)(4-3-2009)

  • Las Vegas lands NASCAR’s Sprint Cup banquet: NASCAR and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority have reached an agreement in principle to bring the Sprint Cup banquet, awards ceremony and postseason celebration to Las Vegas in the first week of December. LVCVA president Rossi Ralenkotter confirmed the tentative agreement to move the annual event from downtown New York, where it has been held for the past 27 years, and make it a citywide event centered on the Strip. Some deal points still need to be finalized,” Ralenkotter said Thursday. The sides have yet to settle the length of the contract; Ralenkotter wants a deal of three to five years. Also to be determined is the degree to which Las Vegas will be included in advertising and media references to the event. The LVCVA would pay NASCAR between $500,000 and $1 million for each year of the contract, Ralenkotter said. NASCAR has the option of selecting the venue for the banquet, likely to be Dec. 4. A spokesman for NASCAR, Ramsey Poston, said “nothing’s been finalized” about this year’s banquet plans. The event honors the top 10 drivers from the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Talks between NASCAR officials and Ralenkotter began two years ago, with Ralenkotter attending the 2007 banquet. Negotiations picked up in the past two months. NASCAR moved its banquet from Daytona Beach, Fla., to New York in 1981 in part to establish a Madison Avenue presence. The move was highly successful, helping to attract a number of Fortune 500 sponsors, including Home Depot, Dupont and Sprint Nextel, to the sport. But high-priced hotel rooms in Manhattan and often harsh winter weather created problems for racers, sponsors and media traveling to the five-day event. Last year the “Victory Lap” parade around midtown with the top-10 Cup cars and drivers was canceled because it caused traffic congestion. NASCAR would be the second major professional sport to shift its awards ceremony to Las Vegas this year. Ralenkotter negotiated a three-year deal to bring the NHL awards to the Palms on June 18.(Las Vegas Review-Journal)(4-3-2009)

  • #64 Team gets sponsor for Texas: Gunselman Motorsports and the #64 Toyota driven by Todd Bodine have partnered with Mambo Restaurants to spice up the team’s sponsorship for this weekend’s Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Headquartered in Houston, TX; the seven Mambo Restaurants include six Mambo Seafood and one Mambo Parilla restaurant. Featuring authentic Latin cuisine, the seafood restaurants started serving their signature dishes in the mid-1990s in the north and southwest Houston neighborhoods. After adding another five, the company opened Mambo Parilla in 2003 serving Mexican-inspired grilled items on Houston’s East end. Each restaurant features family style or individual platters and are complimented by their copyrighted Mambo Michelada to wash it all down. “We appreciate Mambo’s wanting to get involved with us for the Texas race weekend,” said Larry Gunselman, team owner. “Every little bit helps with a team like ours and we hope to make the folks at Mambo Restaurants proud. I just wish they had a place closer than Houston so we could enjoy some of their great food. We got hungry just looking at their menu online the other day.”(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(4-3-2009)

  • Sadler To Promote Autism Awareness at Texas: This weekend at Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler is driving into the month of April with something important on his mind-raising awareness for Autism-by wearing a specially designed autism awareness helmet for Autism Awareness month. The helmet features the familiar multi-colored puzzle pieces that have become the symbol for autism awareness, along with the arrow pointing forward that is prominently placed on every Sadler helmet. Following the month of April the helmet will go up for online auction at www.SadlerFoundation.org to raise money that will directly benefit The Hermie and Elliott Sadler Foundation and autism related charities.(ElliottSadler.com)(4-3-2009)

  • Keselowski back in the #25 at Texas: Brad Keselowski will attempt to qualify the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. This is Keselowski’s fifth attempt at making a Sprint Cup Series event and his fourth for Hendrick Motorsports. Keselowski has qualified three times driving the #25 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports and most recently drove the #25 Chevy to a 38th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1. After this weekend at Texas, Keselowski will attempt to make the field in five more Sprint Cup races this season for Hendrick Motorsports. Keselowski will try to line up the #25 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet at Darlington on May 9, Dover on May 31, Chicago on July 11, Michigan on Aug. 16, and Kansas on Oct. 4. Crew chief Lance McGrew has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 25-537 for this weekend’s event at Texas Motor Speedway. The car, which will be pitted by Keselowski’s #88 Nationwide Series crew, has not been raced or tested, although McGrew and his team took it to the wind tunnel last month.(HMS PR)(4-3-2009)

  • Gordon has good record at Texas, but no wins: #24-Jeff Gordon has more top-five and top-10 finishes than any other Sprint Cup driver at Texas Motor Speedway. He ranks sixth on the all-time Sprint Cup win list with 81 victories and out of the 22 tracks on the Cup circuit, Gordon is lacking wins on two – Homestead and Texas. In Gordon’s last appearance at TMS, the Dickies 500, he sat on the pole and finished runner-up to Carl Edwards. Gordon went winless last season for the first time since 1993, his first full Cup season, but the #24 team has started 2009 on a better note. Gordon is situated among the points leaders and has posted second-places finishes at Daytona and Atlanta.(TMS PR)(4-3-2009)
  • Texas Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March 29 Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Logano scored a 32nd-place finish and took top rookie honors for the fourth time in six races this season. Logano leads #82-Scott Speed by two points (64-62) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the April 5 Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Only once in 16 previous NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Texas has a Raybestos Rookie won the race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored his first career Sprint Cup Series win by 5.920 seconds over Jeff Burton in 2000. Earnhardt Jr. also led the most laps in the event (six times for 106 laps). Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne are the only Raybestos Rookies to lead the most laps in 16 previous Sprint Cup Series races at Texas. Kahne led six times for 148 laps in 2004 Samsung 500 (spring race). Ryan Newman holds the all-time Raybestos Rookie record for most poles (6), most top-fives (14) and most top-10s (22). Denny Hamlin is the only Raybestos Rookie to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup since the program was created in 2004.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR), see rookie history, past winners, stats, standings on my 2009 Rookies page.(4-3-2009)
  • Texas Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both NASCAR series will run the same right-side tire code at Texas this week, but they will run different left-side codes . . . the left-side code for Sprint Cup teams (D-4220) is new to the Goodyear tire lineup and features a compound change over last year’s left-side to offer more grip . . . this is the same right-side code (D-4136) that was used by Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams at Texas, Chicagoland and Homestead in 2008 . . . . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Texas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see codes, pressures and more on the Texas Race Info page.(4-3-2009)


    News from April 2, 2009

  • UPS Reveals New NASCAR Ad Campaign: #6-David Ragan won’t be racing the “big brown truck” this year, but he will be learning what it takes to be a UPS driver in a humorous new television advertising campaign UPS launches this weekend as part of its revamped racing program. The four-spot series, which was produced by The Martin Agency, will feature Ragan competing with UPS drivers in various extreme physical challenges to determine who will earn the title of “Maximum Driver.” The first spot will be broadcast on FOX on Sunday, April 5, during the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but a special preview will be available on Friday afternoon, April 3, at www.racing.ups.com. Ragan made his UPS Racing debut at the Daytona 500 in February, at which time a new television ad introducing him to the UPS team began running that featured Ragan driving his No. 6 Ford Fusion through UPS corporate headquarters. The “Maximum Driver” series will go beyond the introduction, with Ragan facing several unique and potentially harrowing challenges as he goes toe-to-toe with some of UPS’s elite delivery professionals. The “Maximum Driver” campaign follows UPS’s immensely popular “Race the Truck” commercials featuring NASCAR legend Dale Jarrett, who represented UPS Racing for nearly eight years. After the Samsung 500, the three remaining spots will be revealed sequentially throughout the 2009 racing season.(UPS Racing)(4-2-2009)

  • Regan Smith Takes Impressive Streak to Texas: #78-Regan Smith, who returns to Sprint Cup action this weekend, will take an impressive streak to Texas Motor Speedway, site of Sunday’s Samsung 500. The Furniture Row Racing driver has competed in 43 career Cup races and has finished every one of them. He has never had a DNF (did not finish). Smith’s 43 Cup races include seven in 2007 (six with Ginn Racing, one with DEI), 34 with DEI in 2008 and two this year with Furniture Row Racing. “Honestly, I don’t think about it (the streak) at all,” said the 25-year-old Smith. “I go out there the same way every week and focus on finishing races, completing laps and getting the most I can out of the race car without tearing it up. I can’t get better if you’re constantly fixing racecars.” The Texas event will be the third race of the season for both Furniture Row Racing and Smith as the Denver, Colo.-based team is running a part-time schedule in 2009. After Texas, Smith and the Furniture Row team will compete at the next two Cup races — April 18 at Phoenix International Raceway and April 26 at Talladega Superspeedway. The team’s current schedule includes 13 Cup races for 2009.(DMF Communications/FRR PR)(4-2-2009)

  • Labonte, Smith inducted into Texas Motorsports HOF: #96-Bobby Labonte and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith were inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame during Wednesday evening’s gala at The Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway. The two were honored along with Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, #99-Carl Edwards and IndyCar Series driver Scott Dixon. Labonte and Smith join previous inductees A.J. Foyt (2003), Johnny Rutherford (2003), Terry Labonte (2004), Lee Shepherd (2004), Kenny Bernstein (2005), Jim Hall (2005), Eddie Hill (2006), Mark Martin (2007) and Jim McElreath (2007) into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. Labonte’s presenter for his induction was none other than his older brother and 2004 inductee, Terry Labonte. “It’s a great honor,” Labonte said. “Just having the career and starting out in Texas. This is just a neat factor to come to this. This is pretty cool. I always enjoyed following in Terry’s footsteps.” Labonte was honored with a special announcement at the conclusion of the ceremony. Interstate Batteries CEO Norm Miller and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch unveiled the special paint scheme Busch will run during Sunday’s Samsung 500. The paint scheme is a replica of the #18 Interstate Batteries car that Labonte drove during his 2000 Sprint Cup Series championship year while at Joe Gibbs Racing. The scheme pays tribute to Labonte’s induction with “Congrats Bobby Labonte! Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame 2009 Inductee” on the deck lid of the car [see images of the scheme on my #18 Team Schemes page]. Smith brought back NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing to Texas in 1997 with the construction of Texas Motor Speedway. Since then, he has continued to develop “The Great American Speedway!” into one of the premier sporting venues in the country. Smith, with the help of racing star Curtis Turner, opened Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1960 and hosted the first World 600 that year. Since that time, Smith has set the standard in marketing and promoting motorsports as he has turned SMI into one of the most recognizable brands in NASCAR.
    Hendrick was awarded this year’s Bruton Smith Legends Award. The honor is a lifetime achievement award given to a legendary figure in motorsports. Hendrick is known for establishing one of the winningest organizations in NASCAR. The team owner of four of NASCAR’s most recognizable drivers (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin) has set the standard of excellence in motorsports.
    Edwards, who became the first Sprint Cup Series driver to sweep both races at Texas Motor Speedway last year (the Samsung 500 and Dickies 500), earned the Texas Motor Speedway Racer of the Year. Edwards led nearly half the Sprint Cup Series laps run last year at TMS, leading 335 of 673 laps. His two wins placed him atop the list for most wins by a Sprint Cup Series driver at “The Great American Speedway!” with three. Dixon received the Texas Motor Speedway Sportsmanship Award. Dixon earned his first TMS victory during last year’s Bombardier Learjet 550k en route to the IndyCar Series championship.(TMS PR)(4-2-2009)

  • Reggie Busch to visit with Vickers: NFL running back Reggie Bush, who plays for the New Orleans Saints, recently became the first- ever NFL player to join the Red Bull family and their extensive athlete roster. The 2005 Heisman Trophy winner and former USC star will hang out with Brian Vickers prior to this Sunday’s events for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and watch the race from the #83 pit box.(Toyota PR)(4-2-2009)

  • Labonte to provide ride to school: Texas native #96-Bobby Labonte and Ask.com are going to provide one lucky Dallas/Fort Worth-area fifth grade student the opportunity to get a ride from Labonte in the Ask.com Ford Fusion on Thursday, April 2 in conjunction with the Ask.com Safe Search Schools program. The program promotes the importance of parents playing a key role in keeping kids stay safe online. Along with a visit from Labonte, the winning school will receive new computers and a donation of Web Wise kids’ fun which are computer games that teach Internet safety to parents and students through real-life simulation. Students will submit their Internet safety plan and a panel of judges will select the best entry.(TMS PR)(4-2-2009)


    News from April 1, 2009

  • Revised Post-Race Engine Tear-Down Procedures: In a move that should be more cost-saving to the industry and help enhance the inspection process, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will begin conducting its post-race engine tear-down at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. “Along with cost savings, this will provide our officials and teams with the means to analyze the engines in a more controlled setting,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “We have been moving towards doing this in the past, and as the stakes continue to rise in our sport, we believe it’s the most effective way of doing things.” As part of its post-race inspection, NASCAR typically tears down the engines of the event’s top-two finishers, in addition to a random car. The height and weight measurements, in addition to the shock and gear inspections, will still take place at the track following the race. Post-race inspection of the engines at the R&D Center will remain open for observation as it did at the race track. Should any violations be discovered during the tear-down process, forthcoming penalties will be handled just as they have before through the NASCAR competition department.(NASCAR PR)(4-1-2009)

  • Valvoline/Sears scheme for McMurray UPDATE & IMAGE: This weekend #26-Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Valvoline/Sears Auto Center Ford in the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. This car is the same car that McMurray last raced at Texas in November 2008 which was the start of his streak of finishing third for the last three races of the 2008 season.(RFR PR)(4-1-2009)
    UPDATE and IMAGE: As a means of celebrating its successful partnership with Sears Auto Center, Valvoline is sharing its scheduled primary paint scheme with Sears Auto Center on Jamie McMurray’s #26 Ford in Sunday’s Samsung 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The Sears Auto Center logo will be the primary display on the hood and rear-quarter panels of the #26 Ford, which is part of the Roush Fenway Racing team. The car look will be in the Valvoline blue, white and red colors. The Valvoline logo will be positioned on the hood, trunk decklid and rear bumper (TV panel). The Texas event will be the first of two Cup races that Valvoline and Sears Auto Center will share space on McMurray’s #26 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. The other Cup event will be the July 11 Saturday night race at Chicagoland Speedway. “Valvoline is proud of its partnerships and winning heritage with both Roush Fenway Racing and Sears Auto Center,” said Rob Clendening, Valvoline’s motorsports manager. “It’s a natural fit to have the three high-profile companies join forces with a slick looking paint scheme on the #26 Ford.”(DMF Communications/Valvoline PR), see an image of the scheme on the #26 Team Schemes page.(4-1-2009)

  • #18 team to honor Labonte UPDATE & IMAGE: Kyle Busch’s #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota will feature a special paint scheme for the Samsung 500 in honor of Corpus Christi, TX native Bobby Labonte, who will be inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Labonte was behind the wheel of the #18 Interstate Batteries car for 10 years with team owner Joe Gibbs, which includes his 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship and 21 Sprint Cup career victories. Busch took over the #18 Toyota in 2008, which is sponsored by Interstate Batteries this weekend. The special paint scheme will be on display between 6-7 p.m. at the Speedway Club, with a photo opportunity with Busch, Labonte, CEO of Interstate Batteries Norm Miller and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chairman/CEO Bruton Smith at 6:30pm. #96-Bobby Labonte and SMI Chairman Bruton Smith, who brought NASCAR back to Texas with the construction of Texas Motor Speedway, will be inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame on Wednesday, April 1 in The Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway. Labonte and Smith will be available for media interviews between 6-7 p.m. and the dinner ceremony will begin at 7:30pm. Proceeds of the event will benefit Happy Hill Farm, an academy and home for at-risk children.(TMS PR)(4-1-2009)
    UPDATE and IMAGE: Kyle Busch will attempt to deliver something that has been high on the wish list for Interstate Batteries in their home state – a win at the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) in Fort Worth, located approximately 30 miles from Interstate’s company headquarters in Dallas. Busch will look for that elusive Sprint Cup victory at TMS in Sunday’s Samsung 500 Sprint Cup race. To add to the nostalgia of the coming weekend for Busch and the #18 team, their Toyota will sport the retro green and bright-red paint scheme that is similar to the one used on Labonte’s car during his 2000 championship season. The scheme coincides with Labonte’s induction into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame on Wednesday evening, a ceremony that Busch and Miller will attend. Busch will also sport a logo in honor of Labonte’s induction on the rear decklid of his Interstate Batteries Toyota. While Interstate has gone to victory lane at 12 different racetracks in the last 17 years, including prestigious venues such as Daytona International Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Interstate and its distributors and dealers desperately want to add Texas to that list.(True Commincations/JGR PR), see an image of the scheme amd tribute on the #18 Team Schemes page.(4-1-2009)

  • Get well Mike Paz: lontime Daytona International Speedway and may other race track announcer, Mike Paz, was hospitalized on Saturday [3/28/2009] with a possible stroke. He is listed in guarded condition and thoughts and prayers go out to Paz and his family. Cards can be sent to Mike “Paz” Pazdyk c/o Strong Memorial Hospital, 601 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, NY 14642.(nyirp.com)(4-1-2009)

  • Bodine to have new car and motor at Texas: Todd Bodine and the unsponsored #64 Toyota head to Texas Motor Speedway with momentum and mechanics on their side. Aiding in their effort will be a newly-purchased Toyota with a new motor under the hood. After making Bristol by qualifying 16th and Martinsville thanks to Mother Nature, the Gunselman Gang hopes another great qualifying effort will get them in the show and, in turn, closer to their goal of completing a race. With a crew from SPEED TV scheduled to follow them this weekend, they have extra incentive to make the Samsung 500 qualifying field. Larry Gunselman, team owner: “We were supposed to have SPEED TV following us during practice, qualifying and pre-race last week in Martinsville. But when the weather pretty much cancelled everything but the race, they were nice enough to reschedule for this weekend in Texas. I’d like to thank them for that, too. This should be a good weekend to do that because we’re using a new car and will have a new motor for it, too. Its chassis No. 47 that we bought from Red Bull Racing and AJ Allmendinger won the Showdown with last year at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. So, this would be a great weekend for someone to get their name on the hood and quarter panels for both SPEED TV following us and because we are looking for a great racing weekend, too.”(Gunselman Motorsports)(4-1-2009)

  • National Guard returns on the #24: #24-Jeff Gordon and his Hendrick Motorsports team have a chance to share their patriotism publicly this season by featuring National Guard community-related initiatives on the hood of the #24 Chevy in eight Sprint Cup Series events. The National Guard’s mission is to use the #24 car as a platform to help create awareness on some of the special programs it has to offer. These programs provide such incentives like job opportunities, valuable career training, college tuition, salary and benefits and the guidance needed to excel in life. This weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Gordon’s car will spotlight the National Guard’s GED Plus program. The GED Plus program courses take only three weeks and has a success rate of more than 93 percent. Soldiers enlisted under the program earn a monthly paycheck and have the opportunity to select from more than 200 Military Occupational Specialties in which they can become skilled. For more information, visit www.nationalguard.com/JeffGordon.(NASCAR.com)(4-1-2009)

  • Guitar Hero Metallica returns at Texas: Guitar Hero Metallica will again partner with #8-Aric Almirola and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for this weekend’s Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The game, which was released on March 29, allows users to enter the world of Lars Ulrich, James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo and experience the intensity and skill of one of the greatest bands of all time.(EGR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #8 Team Schemes page.(4-1-2009)

  • Junior Johnson’s son to make racing debut: Robert Johnson, the son of Junior and Lisa Johnson, is scheduled to be make his racing debut April 4th driving a Late Model car on dirt at Friendship Speedway in Elkin, NC. Johnson’s team will be lead by his father and veteran NASCAR crew member Rock Harris. Sponsor’s for Johnson’s effort in 2009 will Carolina Carports and Junior Johnson Country Ham.(Robert and Junior Johnson PR)(4-1-2009)
  • Sad News – Thom Tittle: Thomas Tittle, 63, passed away Sunday, March 29, 2009. Among many, his other passions were target pistol shooting and volunteering at Victory Junction Gang Camp. He worked at least one weekend or one week at camp every year since it opened in 2004. His hearing impairment made it difficult to work directly with the children so his duties were in the kitchen. Like everything Thom did in his life, he did it lovingly and to the best of his ability. It brought him great joy to help the camp help disabled and sick children get a chance to be “normal” and have a wonderful camp experience. If your heart has been touched by Thom and you would like to do something to truly honor him, consider making a donation to VJGC. 4500 Adam’s Way, Randleman, NC 27317 or www.victoryjunction.org. Kim and the family want to thank all of you for your cards, gifts, words of encouragement and prayers. It is Thom’s wishes not to have a funeral service; however, there will be a celebration of his life/open house at a later date. More at Akron Beacon Journal.(4-1-2009)
  • Jeff Gordon’s Crew Grabs Tissot Pit Road Win in Martinsville: The pit crew for Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway. The #24 crew took top honors in the Tissot weekly competition as a result of Gordon’s DuPont Chevrolet Impala SS spending the least amount of time on pit road — 233.463 seconds. The pit road performance was a factor in Gordon’s strong fourth-place finish in the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at the historic half-mile flat track. Gordon’s pit crew consists of: Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Mike Houston (front tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Cook (jackman), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Andy Kruep (eighth man). The pit crew coach is Greg Morin. For winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, the No. 24 team will receive $5,000. The team with the most pit road wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the driver and over-the-wall crew members.(Tissot/DMF Communications PR)(4-1-2009)
  • Chad Knaus Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Martinsville: Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 Lowe’s Chevy driven by three-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. 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 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 2009 season and spotlight the men behind the machines.(Wypall PR)(4-1-2009)