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February 2009 News Archives


News from February 28, 2009

  • Happy Hour practice for the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, the top 5:
    #48-Johnson 182.587
    #24-Gordon 181.555 #77-Hornish Jr. 181.464
    #2-Busch 181.275
    #5-Martin 181.263
    #18-Busch 181.153
    slowest: #7-Gordon 176.759 and #13-Papis 177.223
    incidents: #18-Busch scraped the wall and pancaked the right side; #78-Smith broke a spliiter support.
    For practice speeds, average speeds, laps run, see the Practice Speeds Page.(2-28-2009)
  • Saturday first practice for the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, the top 5:
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 181.733
    #5-Martin 181.561
    #16-Biffle 181.561
    #18-Busch 181.281
    #17-Kenseth 181.275
    slowest: #13-Papis 176.108 and #55-Waltrip 176.499
    no speed: #82-Speed [engine problems, already changed once]
    incidents: #20-Logano spun a and hit the wall with the right front, but will not go to a backup car.
    For practice speeds, average speeds, laps run, see the Practice Speeds Page.(2-28-2009)
  • Restart Line changes again: NASCAR is still experimenting with new distances for the restart zone. This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it’s 90 feet. The zone two weeks ago was 50 feet at Daytona. Last week, it was 110 feet at Auto Club Speedway in California. NASCAR has created the restart zone to limit the area where the leader may restart the event. Nationwide Series drivers were told of the change during their prerace drivers meeting Saturday.(SceneDaily)(2-28-2009)
  • Five engine changes…to the back UPDATE: #18-Kyle Busch blew a motor in his Toyota during Friday’s practice session, changed the engine, then ran a pole-winning lap of 185.995 mph to knock his big brother off the pole. #2-Kurt Busch ran a lap at 185.707 mph. But under NASCAR rules, Kyle Busch will have to drop to the back of the field at the start of Sunday’s race. Third-place qualifier Jimmie Johnson will slide onto the front row next to Kurt Busch during the warm-up laps. #00-David Reutimann and #47-Marcos Ambrose qualified fourth and fifth, but also had to change their motors after their laps and will drop to the back of the field. #83-Brian Vickers, who won the pole last week at California but had to forfeit it because of an engine change, and his teammate #82-Scott Speed also switched motors Friday. In all, five Toyota teams switched motors Friday.(AP/ESPN)(2-27-2009)
    UPDATE: Lee White, president of Toyota Racing Development, said some of the Sprint Cup Toyota teams have serious concerns about an engine wear issue that has caused problems the last two weeks. White said four Toyota teams were forced to change engines Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway because of the issue with this generation of the motors. Two of the cars making changes are the Red Bull Team Racing entries — the #82 Camry driven by Scott Speed and the #83 Toyota driven by Brian Vickers. The other two are the #47 Toyota driven by Marcus Ambrose and the #00 Camry driven by David Reutimann. “It’s embarrassing,” White said. “Whatever conditions we’ve created ourselves, stupidly, we suspect it’s a wear issue between the cam shaft and lubricant. It’s either a lack of lubrication, too much lubrication, not enough coating, whatever.” The team of pole winner Kyle Busch in the #18 Toyota also changed an engine Friday, but White said that was an unrelated issue. All five cars will move to the back of the field to start the Shelby 427 Sunday. “This is something the drivers don’t notice,” White said. “What we see first is a lash widening up on one cylinder or the lifters slowly wearing away. Once that starts, it’s hell and gone. You can’t stop it.” White said the problem first came to light last week before the Cup race at Fontana, Calif. Vickers won the pole at Auto Club Speedway, but was forced to start in the back after the engine problem was discovered. Michael Waltrip had the same issue after qualifying at ACS and changed his engine. Neither driver had a problem during the Auto Club 500. “That clouded my view of the whole situation,” White said. “I was confident in my people, but I guess I’m willing to say now we went the wrong direction.” White said all the Toyota teams have taken precautions and made changes for Sunday’s race. “We’re using a little heavier lubrication to not try to squeeze every last horsepower out of them in the race,” White said. “The adjustments we’ve made are four or five horsepower, but that’s not insignificant. No driver would give that up willingly. Our goal right now is to give them the best shot to get to the end [of the race].” Joe Gibbs Racing — the cars of Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano — is the only Toyota team that builds it’s engine in house, using Toyota parts. All other Toyota teams use engines built at TRD in Torrance, Calif. White met with three NASCAR officials Saturday morning — president Mike Helton, vice president of competition Robin Pemberton and Cup series director John Darby — to explain the problem.(ESPN)(2-28-2009)
  • LVMS anticipating sellout for Sunday’s Shelby 427; offering $50 general-admission seats: Las Vegas Motor Speedway officials expect most every seat to be filled for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Shelby 427. “The recent surge in interest for Sunday’s race is a testament to the strength of NASCAR and the true passion in NASCAR fans,” said Chris Powell, LVMS president. “In anticipation of a sellout, we are creating a $50 general-admission credential. These admissions will go on sale Saturday at 9 a.m. and will remain on sale until Sunday’s green flag at 1:30 p.m.” The general-admission credential will allow race fans to sit at the lower level of the speedway’s Section 4, just outside Turns 3 and 4. Seating in these rows has not been available for purchase since the speedway was reconfigured prior to the 2007 event. Powell added that today’s announcement is great news locally. “Despite a challenging economy, this event continues to deliver great benefits for Las Vegas,” Powell said. “I had my doubts a couple of months ago that we’d get so close to a full house, but now it looks realistic.” Powell said that ticket renewals for Sunday’s race, which were conducted in the late spring of 2008, were strong, but that the public sale of tickets had weakened when the economy turned sour later in the year. Recently, however, the speedway has observed a heightened interest in the event. “We’re aware of some fans who, probably because of the downturn in the economy, have purchased tickets and will not be able to travel to Las Vegas for this weekend’s racing activities,” Powell said. “So that should explain any empty seats that are visible. Except for a couple of hundred singles that we have available, all of our tickets have been distributed.” To obtain the $50 tickets, race fans should call the LVMS ticket services office at 1-800-644-4444. Tickets also remain available for Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide race.(LVMS PR)(2-28-2009)
  • Capital Window signs with TRG Motorsports: Capital Window, has signed a multi – race partnership on the #71 TRG Motorsports Chevy with driver David Gilliland in the Sprint Cup Series starting this weekend at the Shelby 427 being run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Capital Window specializes in packaging and positioning companies to experience growth and attract capital. Capital Window has helped many companies attract millions of dollars in private equity funding. The Capital Window team of seasoned entrepreneurs whose skills at measuring opportunities, packaging companies and raising capital has consistently helped individuals and companies achieve their goals.(TRG Motorsports PR)(2-28-2009)
  • Rusty and Evernham team up to run at Bristol: Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham announced that they will team to pilot a #2 Chevy in the March 21st Saturday Night Special at Bristol Motor Speedway. The event marks Wallace’s first career start at Bristol while driving a Chevy. Said Wallace, “When the opportunity to run this race first came about, of course I was interested, but I just didn’t really pay it a lot of attention. But then, when I saw all of these guys signing up to run, there was no way I was going to let Junior Johnson, Harry Gant and those guys get another chance at Bristol’s Victory Lane without me. I’ve been in Victory Lane there a lot of times before and you can bet that Ray and I are going to be trying like heck to get there again. Everyone’s acting like this thing’s just going to be for charity, but you better believe that we’re all in it to win it. Ray and I are bringing a bad little hot rod painted up just like my old Miller Genuine Draft cars and we’re going to try to take it to them one last time at Bristol.”
    Noted Evernham, “When you look back at it, Rusty and Jeff (Gordon) were really the guys to beat at Bristol for a long, long time. Through all of those races, I’d like to think that I’ve learned a few tricks about how to get around Bristol. Believe me, we’re going to use all of them that Saturday night.” Wallace and Evernham both currently serve as studio analysts for ABC and ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR and can be seen each weekend during NASCAR Countdown.(Rusty Wallace Racing PR)(2-28-2009)
  • Roush could tie record: Even if #17-Matt Kenseth fails to win Sunday, his four Roush Fenway Racing teammates could help match another Cup Series record. Only two owners / teams have won the first three races of a season. Owner Peter DePaolo’s team won the first three races of 1957 (two wins by Marvin Panch, one by Fireball Roberts) and Petty Enterprises won the first three races in 1963 (two wins by Jim Paschal, one by Richard Petty).(NASCAR.com)(2-28-2009)
  • F1 possible in the future for Kyle Busch: #18-Kyle Busch said the timing isn’t right for him to race in Formula One for the new F1 team based in Charlotte. Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor are partnering to form the team, which hopes to begin racing to start the 2010 season. Busch’s name has been mentioned as a candidate to drive one of the cars for the new operation. “I have not been talked to yet, but I do toss the idea around,” Busch said. “It’s something I’d love to give a shot one day. It’s not something I would shoot down, but I don’t think it’s the right time in my career to do something like that.” Busch, who turns 24 on May 2, wants to win a Sprint Cup title before taking a shot at F1. He won eight Cup races last season and started the Chase in first-place before finishing 10th overall. “I want to get it done here first,” Busch said. “If I could win a championship in the next two or three years, I wouldn’t mind going over there and running Formula One a couple of years, then come back. I’d only be 28 or so. It was never on my radar screen as a kid, but racers want to race different things. I also wouldn’t mind trying Indy car and running in the Indy 500.”(ESPN)(2-28-2009)
  • Johnson, Montoya could be called as witnesses in Castroneves trial: Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya and Roger Penske are among the potential witnesses that could be called in the tax evasion trial of open-wheel racing driver Helio Castroneves, his sister, Katiucia, and his attorney Alan Miller. The trial is scheduled to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in Miami. If convicted on all counts, all three defendants could face 78 months in prison, according to pretrial briefs. Miller, a noted sports attorney, has Johnson among his clients and has put Johnson and team owner Penske on his witness list. Montoya and other open-wheel drivers will also appear on the witness list for Castroneves, who has driven for Penske in the Indy Racing League. The scope of their potential testimony is not listed, and their inclusion on the witness list is no guarantee they will actually be called to testify.(more at SceneDaily)(2-28-2009)

    News from February 27, 2009

  • Five engine changes…to the back: #18-Kyle Busch blew a motor in his Toyota during Friday’s practice session, changed the engine, then ran a pole-winning lap of 185.995 mph to knock his big brother off the pole. #2-Kurt Busch ran a lap at 185.707 mph. But under NASCAR rules, Kyle Busch will have to drop to the back of the field at the start of Sunday’s race. Third-place qualifier Jimmie Johnson will slide onto the front row next to Kurt Busch during the warm-up laps. #00-David Reutimann and #47-Marcos Ambrose qualified fourth and fifth, but also had to change their motors after their laps and will drop to the back of the field. #83-Brian Vickers, who won the pole last week at California but had to forfeit it because of an engine change, and his teammate #82-Scott Speed also switched motors Friday. In all, five Toyota teams switched motors Friday.(AP/ESPN)(2-27-2009)
  • Kyle Busch wins Las Vegas pole..but: #18-Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a lap of 185.995mph for his 1st pole of the season and 5th career pole. BUT since the team changed engines after losing an engine during practice, will have to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race on Sunday. Starting 2nd will be #2-Kurt Busch, followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson [who will move up to the pole position], #00-Jimmie Johnson, #47-Marcos Ambrose, #39-Ryan Newman, #9-Kasey Kahne, #5-Mark Martin, #29-Kevin Harvick and #14-Tony Stewart. The top twelve cars all broke the previous track record of 184.856mph, set by Kahne in March 2007.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #14-Tony Stewart, #25-Brad Keselowski, #78-Regan Smith, #44-AJ Allmendinger, #87-Joe Nemechek. #13-Max Papis, #71-David Gilliland and #64-Todd Bodine.
    The eight drivers who failed to qualify: #28-Travis Kvapil [1st DNQ of season], #66-Dave Blaney [1st DNQ of season], #73-Mike Garvey, #41-Jeremy Mayfield [1st DNQ of season], #09-Sterling Marlin, #36-Scott Riggs [1st DNQ of season], #37-Tony Raines and #51-Dexter Bean [who wrecked on his run].
    See the starting lineup, qualifying results on the Las Vegas Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(2-27-2009)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
    Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Shelby 427 with a lap of 29.033 seconds, 185.995mph, a new qualifying record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    This is his fifth pole in 153 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first pole and third top-10 start in 2009.
    This is his second pole in six races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He also won the pole in last year’s Las Vegas race.
    Kurt Busch (second) posted his second top-10 start of 2009 and his ninth in nine races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    This marks the first time that the Busch brothers have occupied the front row in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
    The last time brothers started from the front row of a NASCAR Sprint Cup race was April 9, 2000.
    Rusty Wallace won the pole at Martinsville Speedway. His brother, Kenny, qualified second.
    Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his fourth top-10 start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is his third in three races this season.
    Joey Logano (20th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    Twelve drivers broke Kasey Kahne’s March 9, 2007 qualifying record of 184.856 mph, 29.212 seconds.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-27-2009)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Chevy: #48-Johnson, 185.688, starts 3rd
    Dodge: #2-Busch, 185.707, starts 2nd
    Ford: #99-Edwards, 184.496, starts 16th
    Toyota: #18-Busch, 185.995, starts 1st
    (2-27-2009)
  • Rookie of the Year Candidates: where do they start:
    #13-Max Papis, 183.974mph, starts 26th
    #20-Joey Logano, 184.388mph, starts 20th
    #82-Scott Speed, 181.257, starts 42nd
  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled for Friday, February 27, 2009 at 6:40pm/et.
    TV: SPEED – 6:30pm/et
    Radio: PRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Jayski.com: Jayski’s FREE Semi-Live Qualifying Page
    Qualifying Re-Air: 9:30pm/et
  • Qualifying Order for the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is posted. 51 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 #5-Martin, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #12-Stremme. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #41-Mayfield, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #13-Papis. See the full qualifying order on the Las Vegas Qualifying Page.(2-27-2009)
  • Friday Practice for the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, the top five were:
    #5-Martin 184.313
    #00-Reutimann 184.181
    #12-Stremme 183.849
    #48-Johnson 183.824
    #29-Harvick 183.755
    slowest: #51-Bean 177.626 and #18-Busch 177.977 [lost engine early]
    penalty box: #88-Earnhardt Jr., #9-Kahne, #1-Truex jr. all had to sit on pit road for 15 minutes before practicing as they were late for tech inspection last week at Auto Club Speedway.
    incidents: #77-Hornish Jr. smacked the turn 2 wall; #18-Busch lost an engine early in practice and the team is changing the engine, so Busch will have to fall to the rear of the field on Sunday no matter where he qualifies Friday.
    For practice speeds, average speeds, laps run, see the Practice Speeds Page.(2-27-2009)
  • Las Vegas Tire Notes: Teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be running the same right-side tire code (D-4234) as those in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Las Vegas this weekend, though they will be running a different left-side code (D-4232) . . . this is a brand new combination of left- and right-side tires for Sprint Cup teams . . . compared to the Las Vegas tire set-up last year, this left-side has a softer tread compound for more grip, while this right-side features a construction change for enhanced handling . . . this tire set-up came out of a test at Las Vegas with drivers Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, David Stremme and Brian Vickers in December . .. . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Las Vegas . . . 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 (Sprint Cup).(Goodyear PR), see full report, pressures, codes and more on my Las Vegas Race Info page – Goodyear.(2-27-2009)
  • #64 team signs two sponsors for Vegas: #64-Gunselman Motorsports has signed two companies to a one-race deal. Curtis Steel Co., of Las Vegas, has signed on to support the team’s qualifying and race efforts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. Curtis Steel provides quality carbon and alloy steels, aluminum, stainless, welding supplies and ornamental iron supplies. They have provided those services for multiple high-profile projects in Las Vegas. Also taking part in the sponsorship is Core Construction. They are also in Las Vegas with offices in Ariz, Fla, Ill and Texas, as well. One of their most recent projects of significance was the building of Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Their forte is the building of learning institutions, hotels, resorts and government buildings. Todd Bodine is behind the wheel of the #64 Toyota this weekend as the team strives to make it’s first Sprint Cup Series race of the season. They missed out last week by one position.(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(2-27-2009)
  • Golden Corral back to sponsor the #28: Golden Corral, America’s favorite family buffet and grill restaurant chain, is extending its NASCAR involvement and has signed on to sponsor Yates Racing driver #28-Travis Kvapil for the next three Sprint Cup Series races [Las Vegas, Atlanta and Bristol in March]. It will also continue its “Race for America’s Families” promotion. Each time Kvapil posts a top 10 finish, Golden Corral will give every kid in America a free buffet* as well as make a $5,000 donation to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV). “Golden Corral was thrilled to sponsor Travis in the Daytona 500 and our customers, employees and veterans across the country told us they were pulling for him, too,” said Chris Kuehn, chief marketing officer of Golden Corral. “We decided to extend our sponsorship because the response reinforced that this is a perfect fit for our brand and the start of the season is a great time of year to be involved in NASCAR.”(Chainleader.com), see images of the car on my #28 Team Schemes.(2-27-2009)
  • Looks like PVA staying with Petty: Looks like Paralyzed Veterans of America is going to continue to honor the two race deal they had in place with the now defunct Petty Enterprises and will be on the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge of Reed Sorenson, The original PVA.org press release said the scheme would run at the July 4th in Daytona and at Texas in November. Was sent an image of the #43 PVA.org card that the RPM merchandise hauler is giving out at the tracks. See the image on my #43 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2009)
  • Robby gets assoc sponsor for Vegas: Jim Beam will serve as the primary sponsor of Robby Gordon’s #7 Toyota for Sunday’s 285-lap event. In addition to MAPEI and Menards, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will also serve as an associate sponsor this weekend.(RGM PR)(2-27-2009)
  • What’s Up with Ward Burton? Ward Burton would like to see every youngster get the same opportunities that he had. And the 2002 Daytona 500 winner is not talking about winning NASCAR races. Rather Burton is concerned that many of the youth of today do not know what it is like to enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing. In 1996, he founded the nonprofit Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, an organization aimed at providing outdoors opportunities to the future hunters and fishermen. Burton, who made an appearance recently at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, is working through the school system in his native Virginia, something that may take more work to accomplish in Pennsylvania, where most school districts have done away with the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s hunter education programs. Recalling a recent outing with a seventh grade class from a Virginia middle school, Burton said, “You would not believe the percentage of kids who had never been fishing, or never had seen a beaver swamp or didn’t recognize a raccoon track on a bank, just simple common things.” He said he is concerned about the loss of the rural culture which, he said, is responsible for today’s young people having what he called “nature deficit disorder.” He said, “They don’t understand the things that we take for granted because of the way that we were brought up.”(see the full article at the Daily Item)(2-23-2009)
  • Girl Who Gave Earnhardt “Lucky Penny” to appear at Bristol: Wessa Miller, the girl who gave Dale Earnhardt Sr. her lucky penny prior to his winning the Daytona 500 in 1998, will return to Bristol Motor Speedway, a place where Earnhardt later brought the family to thank them for their special gift. Thanks to the efforts of the NASCAR Angels television program and working with The NASCAR Foundation, Motor Racing Outreach and The Pennies For Wessa Fund, the Miller family will make its return visit. Wessa Miller, now 16-years-old and still residing in Phyllis, Ky., was six years old on February 15, 1998 when her dream to meet NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. came true through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. During their meeting, Wessa gave Earnhardt her lucky penny. That weekend, with the coin glued to the dash of his car, Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the Daytona 500 on his 20th attempt. That April, Earnhardt arranged to have Wessa and her family attend the NASCAR race in Bristol, Tenn. During their visit, Earnhardt presented the Millers with a new van to help with their transportation needs. Eleven years later, the Millers still drive that same van, which transports the family to and from regular doctor visits in Lexington, Ky., 175 miles from Phyllis. The NASCAR Angels television program has arranged to bring Wessa Miller and her family to Bristol Motor Speedway on March 21 to film her as part of a ‘Heart of NASCAR’ segment to be featured in an upcoming episode.
    In conjunction with this event, The NASCAR Foundation has partnered with NASCAR Angels and Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) to launch an online auction that will raise funds for the MRO Benevolence Fund, a fund that supports causes like Pennies for Wessa. The auction will feature a variety of items including autographed memorabilia from numerous NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and more, exclusive VIP experiences at upcoming races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule and items from the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and NASCAR Performance. The Pennies For Wessa Fund was started by NASCAR beat writer and SIRIUS XM radio host David Poole in an effort to assist the needs of the Miller family [see his article at Charlotte Observer]. To learn more or to bid on items to support this auction, visit foundation.nascar.com. Fans can donate directly to the Pennies For Wessa Fund by visiting www.penniesforwessa.org.(NASCAR PR)(2-27-2009)


    News from February 26, 2009

  • Red Bank Outfitters to stay with #36 team thru Vegas: After receiving a large amount of media exposure during the Daytona 500 and Auto Club 500, Red Bank Outfitters has decided to continue its sponsorship of Tommy Baldwin Racing through the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. TBR finished 25th as an underdog in the Daytona 500 and crossed the finish line 36th last weekend after a mechanical failure ended a strong run during the Auto Club 500. Scott Riggs and the #36 Toyota is currently 32nd in the 2009 Sprint Cup point standings. “I am extremely happy that Red Bank Outfitters has decided to continue its sponsorship of TBR,” said Tommy Baldwin, owner and crew chief of the #36 entry. “I think it shows how impressed they have been by the amount of exposure they have received over the past couple of weeks.”(TBR/Everest Marketing Group PR)(2-26-2009)
  • Bristol Track Record Broken UPDATE2..or is it?: Four NASCAR Whelen Modified Series champions were among six drivers tested at Bristol Motor Speedway during a test session on Tuesday. The fastest time of the day was clocked by L.W. Miller of Dushore, Pa. Miller circled the .533-mile oval in 14.742 sec., breaking Ryan Newman’s Cup Series track record of 14.908 sec. [128.709mph] set in 2003. The cars were running with carburetor restrictor-plates for the test session. Later in the afternoon, a few drivers removed the plates, resulting in even faster times. Ted Christopher, the 2008 Whelen Modified Tour Champion, jumped at the chance to test his car on the concrete track with the engine unrestricted. Christopher turned an incredible lap of 14.479 sec. [133.269mph], a mind-blowing proposition. The Whelen Modified Tour returns Aug. 19 for a doubleheader event with the NASCAR Camping World Series. Other drivers participating in the test were Matt Hirschman, Brian Loftin, Ronnie Silk and Todd Szegedy.(BMS PR)(2-25-2009)
    UPDATE: in an old July 2003 post on the uscsracing.com site, it says: Kenny Adams was one of four drivers who tested winged sprint cars with the United Sprint Car Series on Wednesday [July 2003] at Bristol Motor Speedway. With aproximately 10 infield stop watches on hand, lap times were in the low to mid 14 second ranges thru the latter sessions of the three hour test period, putting speeds slightly over 135 miles per hour at the track which is slightly over one half mile long. Adams from Malabar Florida the current USCS “Asphalt Thunder” series points leader, recorded a 14.29 second lap as did Doug Berryman from Mansfield, Ohio. Two time USCS champion Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee flew around the high 36 degree banks in 14.37 seconds and Jim Raptis from Marietta, Georgia, had a best for the day of 14.63 seconds. All four drivers unofficially broke the record of 14.908 seconds set by Ryan Newman during qualifying for the Winston Cup event at BMS last March [2003].(2-26-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Sammy Swindell ran a 13.86 second lap [139.221mph] in 2000 when they ran the World of Outlaws ran there and converted the track to dirt.(2-26-2009)
  • Sad News – Maynard Bodine: Bodine, 75, of Chemung, NY, passed away February 24, 2009 at the Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, PA. He was the loving husband of Patricia J. (Wilcox) Bodine. The couple married August 29, 1970 and had 38 happy years together. Family and friends are welcome to gather from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Friday, February 27, 2009, and again on Saturday, February 28th, from 10:00-11:00 a.m. at the Roberts Funeral Home, Inc., 279 Main Street, Wellsburg, NY. The memorial service to celebrate Maynard’s life will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday at the funeral home. Burial will follow the service in Chemung Cemetery. (Elmira Star Gazette)
    AND The racing community is grieving the loss of Maynard Bodine, who built race engines for three generations of Bodines. The last of the five sons of Chemung Speedrome founder Eli Bodine Sr. died Tuesday at age 75 after a brief illness. Several members of the Bodine family from Chemung went on to make their mark racing stock cars, including Maynard’s brother Earl at the Speedrome, and his nephews Geoff, Brett and Todd Bodine in NASCAR. Maynard also tried his hand behind the wheel in the 1950s but soon realized others, like his brother, were faster. See full article: ‘Heart and soul’ of Bodine racing family dies.(2-26-2009)
  • #96 to carry 2nd name on car at Vegas: For the first time, the #96 Ask.com Ford scheme will include a name other than Bobby Labonte on the car. Ask.com has created an employee initiative program which awards outstanding employees with a space on the Hall of Fame Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry each week. This week’s employee is Steve Orr.(Yates Racing PR)(2-26-2009)
  • Energizer on the #42 at Las Vegas: The #42 Chevy of Juan Pablo Montoya will sport the Energizer paint scheme this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Crew Chief Brian Pattie and the #42 team will bring chassis #805 to Las Vegas Motor Speedway.(EGR PR)(2-26-2009)
  • added #43 Super 8#43 Charter#44 Charter#17 Carhartt and #34 Windows World [white].(2-26-2009)
  • Super 8 to sponsor RPM: looks like will sponsor the #43 Dodge of Reed Sorenson and the #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger for a few races in 2009. See the site Petty’s Garage for more info and images, and see an image of the #43 on my #43 Team Schemes page.(2-26-2009)
  • USG returns on the #17 at Vegas: #17-Matt Kenseth will run the USG Sheetrock paint scheme on Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first of three times this season. The other two USG Sheetrock races will be Chicago in July and Phoenix in Nov.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-26-2009)
  • RCR..four tracks left: Richard Childress Racing has earned a Sprint Cup Series victory at 18 of the 22 tracks on the 2009 schedule. The only tracks on the current schedule where RCR hasn’t earned wins are Auto Club Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. Additionally, RCR has Sprint Cup Series wins at 21 tracks overall, including North Wilkesboro, Riverside (CA) and Rockingham (N.C.) which are no longer on the schedule.(RCR PR)(2-26-2009)
  • Las Vegas Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the February 22 Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway. Logano scored a 26th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the first time this season. Logano and #82-Scott Speed are tied for the lead (21-21) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Speed claimed the ninth-place starting position for the Auto Club 500, the best qualifying effort by a Raybestos Rookie in two races this season. Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne share the best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in 11 previous Sprint Cup Series races at Las Vegas. Busch placed second in 2005, 1.661 seconds behind race winner Jimmie Johnson while Kahne finished second in 2004, 3.426 seconds behind winner Matt Kenseth. Busch, Kahne and Newman are the only Raybestos Rookies to score top-five finishes at Las Vegas. Kasey Kahne is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in 11 previous Sprint Cup races at Las Vegas. Kahne won the pole for the 2004 Shelby 427.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR)(2-26-2009)
  • Congrats: to JTG/Daugherty Racing’s Nationwide Series driver [and former Cup driver], Michael McDowell as he and wife Jami welcomed their first child, Trace McDowell, on Tuesday Wednesday Feb 25th at 7am/et. Trace was 7 pounds, 7 ounces.(JTG/Daugherty Racing)(2-26-2009)
  • Congrats: to Jared Connell, a Penske Racing bodyhanger/fabricator and his wife Amanda welcomed Cale Richard Connell born on Feb 24th at 6lbs 8oz.(2-26-2009)

    News from February 25, 2009

  • Cooking Rookies: Raybestos rookie NASCAR drivers Scott Speed, Max Papis, Justin Allgaier, Michael Annett, Scott Lagasse Jr. and John Wes Townley are scheduled to participate in a cooking challenge at 2pm, Thursday, Feb 26th at the ESPN Zone in Las Vegas. The ESPN Zone culinary team, headed by executive chef Chris Gagen, will provide the rookies with an overview of cooking basics before each driver individually prepares their dishes. Kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas will be on hand to watch and judge the Iron Chef-style competition.(2-25-2009)
  • DuPont slashes NASCAR tab: DuPont, long recognized as the leader in hospitality among NASCAR sponsors, is drastically reducing its program this year as part of its companywide cost cutting. Instead of entertaining the 17,000 guests it had at 37 races last year, DuPont will buy hospitality packages at just six races this season and will host fewer than 2,000 guests. “The economy has had a huge impact on us,” said Larry Deas, DuPont’s motorsports manager. “The current environment along with the high cost of hospitality have forced us to make significant cuts.” Whether DuPont’s cuts signal the beginning of the end for its sponsorship of Jeff Gordon’s #24 Chevrolet remains to be seen. DuPont, which has been on the car since 1993, has been the only primary sponsor Gordon has known at Hendrick Motorsports and together they own the longest driver-sponsor-owner streak in the sport. DuPont’s current contract with Hendrick Motorsports runs through the end of the 2010 season. Deas would not speculate on how DuPont’s team deal might be affected in the future, but industry experts say it’s a bad sign that an iconic sponsor has made such deep cuts, which could represent a savings well into the seven figures, analysts say. Most high-end team sponsorships cost $20 million or more a year before activation. DuPont’s six races this season will be the two Daytona events, two at Dover, one at Las Vegas and one at Kansas Speedway. Those venues were selected because they are among the tracks where DuPont is committed to buying tickets as part of long-term deals. DuPont’s Wilmington, Del., headquarters also make Dover a natural. DuPont entertained 225 guests for the Daytona 500 earlier this month, down from 1,000 a year ago. Charlotte-based Performance PR Plus handles DuPont’s hospitality and public relations. Deas said DuPont is evaluating how it will work with Gordon this year.(see full article at the Sports Business Journal)(2-25-2009)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Auto Club 500
    Total number of commercials: 138
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 69
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 87
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 6:00pm/et
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:02pm/et
    Total minutes: 242
    Minutes of race broadcast: 182
    Minutes of commercials: 60
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of animated Digger sightings: 18
    Number of non-animated Digger sightings: 28
    Number of Total Digger sightings: 46
    Number of times we got to see Jeff Hammond whack a windshield with a bat: 1
    Number of famed Hudson Hornet sightings, with mentions of Dan Gurney and Johnny ‘Madman’ Mantz: 1
    Total race brdcst time 182 Total comm. brdcst time 60 See more on my TV Commercials page.(2-25-2009)
  • Ambrose’s #47 Toyota to have new look at Las Vegas: the #47 Toyota will have a fiery new look at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as Kingsford Charcoal is the primary sponsor for Marcos Ambrose and the JTG-Daugherty Racing team in the Shelby 427. Kingsford Charcoal, which was created in the 1920’s, has been a proud sponsor of JTG-Daugherty Racing since 1998 and today is the most popular charcoal in America. Ambrose developed a relationship with the sponsor when he made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in the #59 Kingsford entry owned by Tad and Jodi Geschickter at Daytona International Speedway in 2007. Now, Ambrose will carry the brand on his #47 Toyota for the big race on Sunday.(MWR/JTG-Daugherty Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #47 Team Schemes page.(2-25-2009)
  • Papis hopes to debut at Vegas..and congrats: #13-Max Papis will make his 2009 NSCS debut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Italian driver was the 2004 Grand-Am Daytona Prototype champion after a season in which he registered four wins, eight podium-finishes and 11 poles in 12 races utilizing a Lexus-powered entry. He earned the nickname ‘Mad Max’ for his never give up attitude during the 1996 24 hours at Daytona. Max and his wife, Tatiana, recently welcomed their second son, Matteo Fittipaldi Papis, on February 14. Matteo weighed in at 6 lbs. 10 oz., and measured 18 inches.(Toyota PR)(2-25-2009)
  • Pop Tarts scheme for Martin at Vegas: Pop-Tarts, Kellogg’s most popular morning food product, will be on the hood of the #5 Chevy of Mark Martin during this weekend Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Pop-Tarts will join Carquest as the co-primary sponsor three more times this season — at Bristol in August, Lowe’s Motor Speedway in October and Talladega in November. Martin and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates currently are being featured on Brown Sugar Cinnamon flavored Limited Edition NASCAR Printed-Fun Pop-Tarts. The pastries will be available throughout the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season at major retail outlets across the country.(HMS PR)(2-25-2009)
  • No blown engine for Harvick: Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines employees discovered a punctured oil filter on the engine of Kevin Harvick’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy after hard contact with the outside wall of Auto Club Speedway on lap 208. The filter was replaced and the engine restarted but the damage done to the car prevented the team from returning to the race and ending Harvick’s DNF streak at 81 [3 short of the all-time record].(RCR PR)
  • Some NASCAR drivers linked with new US F1 team UPDATE: With the new prospective American team USF1 set to be announced officially on Tuesday [Live press conference on SPEED 12noon/et], attention is already turning to the possible occupants of the Charlotte-built race cockpits in 2010. Indycar star Danica Patrick has already played down her reported link with the outfit, but other notable American names have also been mentioned in various quarters of the racing world. #44-AJ Allmendinger’s has been another name associated with USF1, but he said he is concentrating on his NASCAR foray even though he views a formula one opportunity as “intriguing”. The motor sport writer for the Toronto Star claims #18-Kyle Busch should be “a shoo-in” for a USF1 seat, while the 26-year-old veteran of 28 grands prix #82-Scott Speed has also been linked with Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor’s project, as have Conor Daly and Marco Andretti. Windsor is quoted by Britain’s The Independent newspaper as clarifying that no decisions about details including engines and drivers have been made. “We have yet to speak to any drivers, but we are looking at every American with the right credentials, and Danica is definitely on the list,” he said.( motorauthority.com)(2-24-2009)
    UPDATE: Kyle Busch’s agent said the young NASCAR star would “certainly leave the door open” to try Formula One “at some point” after Busch’s name was mentioned during a press conference announcing a new American-based F1 team. Officials with the USF1 team, which will be based out of Charlotte, said it would be interested in having Busch drive its car. Busch is under contract at Joe Gibbs Racing through the end of next season [2010]. “Obviously, it’s very flattering for him to be mentioned for a Formula One ride, especially an American-based team,” said Jeff Dickerson, Busch’s agent. “Thanks to Toyota, he was excited at the prospect of getting to test a Formula One car this past offseason. While it didn’t work out then, he would certainly leave the door open to try it out at some point. At the same time, he’s currently focused on winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series championships for Joe Gibbs Racing.” IndyCar Series drivers Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti were also among the drivers mentioned as possibilities by the USF1 team.(SceneDaily)(2-25-2009)
  • Blickensderfer named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Fontana: Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief of the #17 Carhartt Ford driven by Matt Kenseth, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for the second straight week following Sunday’s Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Ca. The #17 Blickensderfer-led team took their second victory on Sunday following the coveted first place finish in the Daytona 500 a week prior. 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.(Wypall PR)(2-25-2009)

    News from February 24, 2009

  • Harrah’s to sponsor #44 at Las Vegas: Harrah’s will serve at the sponsor for the #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger this weekend in Las Vegas. The team is looking for sponsorship to run the full season in 2009.(RPM PR)(2-24-2009)
  • Hendrick engine problems caused by bad parts: Hendrick Motorsports officials say a bad batch of parts led to engine failures by #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. “Both cars had valve train failures that were related to a specific batch of parts from a vendor,” said Doug Duchardt, HMS’ vice president of development. Duchardt said the parts were not restricted to use by Earnhardt and Martin, whose cars are prepared out of the same building. He said they also were used by Hendrick drivers #24-Jeff Gordon and #48-Jimmie Johnson, as well as lease programs such as Stewart-Haas Racing. Earnhardt finished 39th and Martin 40th after both lost their engines within 25 laps of each other. Gordon finished second and Johnson was ninth, combining to lead 138 of 250 laps. #14-Tony Stewart was eighth and led three laps. “So we’re glad it wasn’t more widespread,” Duchardt said.(ESPN)(2-24-2009)
  • Get well UPDATE 2: NASCAR vice president for broadcasting Robbie Weiss remains hospitalized in Charlotte for treatment of a brain aneurysm suffered last Thursday. Weiss, 38, is in the intensive care unit at Presbyterian Hospital.(Charlotte Observer)(1-29-2009)
    UPDATE: When NASCAR executive Robbie Weiss recently suffered a life-threatening aneurysm, France dispatched a company plane to bring Weiss’ parents and family to him.(ESPN)
    UPDATE 2: Robbie Weiss, NASCAR’s Vice President of Broadcasting, will be discharged today from a rehabilitation facility after less than two weeks of treatment. He will now be allowed to recuperate from his brain aneurysm as an out patient. Weiss suffered the aneurysm in late January and has been recovering since. Weiss is looking forward to regaining his normal life away from any and all institutions.(CaptainThunderRacing.com)(2-24-2009)
  • Truex Jr. to sport Wild Turkey Federation colors at Sprint Showdown: The National Wild Turkey Federation’s flying turkey logo will appear on the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Bass Pro Shops sponsored #1 Chevy, driven by Martin Truex Jr. Truex, who recently won the pole position and finished 11th in the Daytona 500, will be trying to win the NASCAR Sprint Showdown and earn his way into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race both on May 16th at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Bass Pro Shops salute to the NWTF is a part of the Conservation Fund’s “Racing for America’s Wildlife” program. The program is designed to engage the NASCAR community in conserving America’s hunting and fishing heritage through habitat protection, restoration, education, and outreach. The NWTF is an over 500,000 member conservation organization with chapters across the United States, Canada and 10 other foreign countries. The Federation has worked with its volunteers, partners and wildlife agencies to restore wild turkey populations to 49 states and in parts of Canada. Bass Pro Shops is a dedicated supporter of NWTF’s Women in the Outdoors, JAKES, and Wheelin’ Sportsmen outreach programs. For more information regarding Bass Pro Shops store locations, products or special events, please visit www.basspro.com.(Bass Pro Shops PR), see an image of the scheme on my #1 Team Schemes page.(2-24-2009)
  • Kenseth’s win means 2nd race fan headed to Homestead: Matt Kenseth’s back-to-back season-opening wins in his #17 Ford makes for back-to-back winners in Ford’s “We Race. You Win” national sweepstakes. For the second week in a row, a lucky fan will be notified this week about their trip to Ford Championship Weekend. The sweepstakes, announced January 22, awards one fan every time a Ford NASCAR Sprint Cup driver wins a points race this year. That lucky fan and a guest will win an all-expenses paid trip to Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. During the race weekend, one of those fans then will be selected as the grand prizewinner of a 2010 Ford Fusion. Kenseth’s first career Daytona 500 victory automatically created the contest’s first winner. His win in Fontana enables a second fan to win a trip to Ford Championship Weekend in Homestead, FL (Ford PR). More information about the contest on my Racing Contests page.(2-23-2009)
  • Stewart’s Crew Grabs Tissot Pit Road Win in California: The #14 crew for Tony Stewart took top honors Sunday, winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award at the Auto Club 500 Sprint Cup race in Fontana, CA. Stewart’s Old Spice/Office Depot Chevy spent the least amount of time on pit road (260.940 seconds) during the 250 lap, 500-mile race at Auto Club Speedway. The winning pit road performance helped Stewart to an eighth-place finish in the second race of the season. The #14 over-the-wall crew consists of: Jeff “Gooch” Patterson (gasman), Scott Radel (catch can), Mike Casto (jackman), Kelly Kellis (front tire changer), Todd Drakulich (front tire carrier), Daniel Smith (rear tire changer), Mike Morneau (rear tire carrier) and Troy Welty (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Darian Grubb and the pit crew trainer is Joe Piette. The Tissot Pit Road Precision Award pays $5,000 for each Cup race to the winning pit road team. In addition, the team with the most pit road event wins will be awarded a $100,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule by Tissot, the official watch and timekeeper of NASCAR.(DMF Communications/Tissot PR)(2-24-2009)
  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Matt Kenseth won the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. He became just the fourth driver to win the Daytona 500 and then the next race of the season. He joined Richard Petty (1973), Cale Yarborough (1977) and Jeff Gordon (1997). Kenseth is the fifth driver to win the first two races of the season. (Marvin Panch (1957), Bob Welborn (1959), David Pearson (1976), Jeff Gordon (1997).
    * This was Kenseth’s third victory at Auto Club Speedway. He also won this race in 2006 and 2007. Kenseth ties Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson for the most wins at Auto Club Speedway.
    * Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer has won the first two races of his Cup career. Blickensderfer has won the past four races that he was a crew chief. (He was the crew chief for Carl Edwards in the Nationwide Series for his wins at Phoenix and Homestead to end last year.)
    * Race-winner Kenseth led the most laps in the race; he led three times for 84 laps, including the final 38 laps. This is the third time Kenseth has scored back-to-back victories (Michigan/Bristol ’06 and Rockingham/Las Vegas ’04). He started 24th. His other two victories in California came from starting 31st and 25th.
    * This was the seventh victory for Roush Fenway Racing at California, tying Hendrick Motorsports for the most wins by an team here. Roush Fenway has won the past five February races at Auto Club Speedway.
    * This marks Roush Fenway’s 15th NASCAR win at Auto Club Speedway. (Cup: 7, Nationwide: 6, Trucks: 2)
    * A team has won the first two races of the season eight times in the series — most recently by Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2001 — but only three times in the past 32 seasons.
    * The most races a team has won to start the season is three, done twice: Petty Enterprises (1962) and Peter Depaolo Racing (1957).
    * Jeff Gordon finished second for the fourth time to Kenseth. It was also his third second-place finish since he last won; at Lowe’s in October, 2007, 43 races ago.
    * Kyle Busch finished third, Busch won both the Nationwide and Truck Series races at California. Busch currently leads both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series points standings. Busch did not lead the race Sunday.
    * Kevin Harvick (38th) ended an 81-race streak of running at the finish that began at Kansas in October 2006. Harvick’s last DNF came at Dover on Sept. 24, 2006, where he finished 32nd due to engine failure. His DNF on Sunday was also an engine failure. Clint Bowyer, with 75 consecutive RAF, now has the longest current streak.
    * The top 10 consisted of three Fords, three Chevrolets, three Toyotas and one Dodge.
    * Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart joined Matt Kenseth with top-10 finishes in the first two races of the season.(ESPN)(2-24-2009)


    News from February 23, 2009

  • Auto Club 500 TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing on Fox averaged a 5.3/8 for the Auto Club 500 presented by Quaker State from California. Though that’s down -13% from last year’s 6.1/10 for the same race, yesterday’s race was by far the top-rated sporting event for the weekend. That -13% year-to-year gap could shrink in the nationals with a good meter-to-national ratings index. Yesterday’s race powered Fox to a second-place finish for the night opposite competition from the Academt Awards [Oscars] on ABC. Fox’s prime average of 5.3/8 (7-10p) placed second behind ABC’s 18.8/28, but beat CBS’s 4.8/7, and NBC’s 3.4/5. Last night’s Prime average was also FOX’s best Sunday night in six weeks. Sunday’s race improved over FOX’s recent Oscar night performances. Last night’s 5.3/8 is +10% better than FOX’s Sunday Prime average opposite the Oscars from 2004-2007. Last year is excluded from that comparison because the NASCAR race was delayed by rain and pre-empted the planned Primetime lineup. That +10% edge over recent Oscar nights is likely to increase when NASCAR gets its typically strong meters-to-nationals boost. The 2009 Academy Awards on ABC averaged a 23.5/36 from 8:30-12m, up +7% over last year’s 21.9/33.(2-23-2009)
  • Johnson on Kimmel show: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” tonight/tomorrow morning. The show airs at 12:05am/et on ABC. If you miss the show tonight, click here to watch the episode online tomorrow.(JJF PR)(2-23-2009)
  • Schrader fine without Sprint Cup ride: Ken Schrader was at Green Valley Speedway [Glencoe, AL ] to compete in the 12th annual Bama Bash open-wheel modified race. On a chilly night with track conditions that made passing difficult Schrader finished second to Jimmy Hiett of Lincoln in the 50-lap event. “Off weekend and didn’t have anything to do,” Schrader said after the race. “Just wanted to have some place to play.” Schrader, who drove for #96 Hall of Fame Racing in the Cup Series last year, does not have a ride this year. But he said he is talking to a couple teams about possibly doing a limited schedule of races. But if it doesn’t work out, he said, he really doesn’t care. “It doesn’t make no difference,” he said. “I’ve had a day job now for a while. I mean I really don’t care, I’m glad I’m not in Fontana.”(Alabama Live)(2-23-2009)
  • Teams looking for sponsors: The most important part of Sunday’s Auto Club 500 was not what happened on the track but what took place in the garage, the suites and elsewhere. Some teams had prospective sponsors at Auto Club Speedway as they look to find additional funding. Teams looking for sponsors range from Roush Fenway Racing to Richard Petty Motorsports to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and others. Richard Petty Motorsports is trying to find sponsorship for #44-AJ Allmendinger beyond the nine races it has for him this season. De Cordell, chief sales and marketing officer, says the team also is looking for a primary sponsor for about six races on #43-Reed Sorenson’s car and a major associate sponsor for #9-Kasey Kahne. Cordell said the team had two potential sponsors at Sunday’s race, including one that came about after RPM’s Daytona 500 performance where it placed three of its four cars in the top 10.
    Earnhardt Ganassi Racing continues to search for sponsorship for #8-Aric Almirola and #1-Martin Truex Jr. Steve Lauletta, team president, says Almirola has sponsorship for about 10 races. Lauletta says Truex needs to add a sponsor for about six races. Lauletta said the team received two calls about prospective sponsors this week after the Daytona 500 where Truex won the pole, and had a couple of potential sponsors at the race. The team also is planning to announce a sponsorship agreement next week between its NASCAR teams and car owner Chip Ganassi’s IndyCar program. Lauletta estimates the team worked on that deal for 14 months.
    Roush Fenway Racing also is looking for future sponsorship and benefited from Matt Kenseth’s victory at Daytona. While the organization has primary sponsors for all five cars, each of those sponsors are open to joining other companies on the cars, says Robin Johnson, executive vice president, business development for Roush Fenway Racing.(Roanoke Time)(2-23-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #29-Harvick HAD been running at the finish in 81 consecutive races which is the modern era [1972-current] record, BUT he lost and engine at Californa in Feb 2009. So #33-Bowyer has the longest streak now without a DNF at 75 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick held the modern era (1972-present) record at 58 (10/3/2002-8/1/2004) until he broke it himself in 2008. Next up was Jeff Gordon at 56 and then Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(2-23-2009)
  • Jeff Gordon heading to 20,000 laps led: Another milestone – 20,000 career laps led – is well within reach for #24-Jeff Gordon in 2009 at Las Vegas. Gordon, who after leading 64 laps at Auto Club Speedway, passed Rusty Wallace for seventh on all time laps led, can hit 20,000 laps led if he leads 11 laps at Las Vegas. Gordon is well shy of Richard Petty’s total of 52,194 but is 3,142 laps nehind 6th all-time, Darrwll Waltrip, who had 23,131, laps led. See the top 30 lap leaders on my MISC Stats page.(2-23-2009)
  • NASCAR does not check video on rainout finishes: Jeff Gordon told his team last week after the Daytona 500 that he believed he could have been scored 12th instead of 13th in that Sprint Cup race, depending on the interpretation of NASCAR rules and policies. The final verdict: He was 13th. Here’s why Gordon was confused: When the caution comes out during a race, the field is frozen and reset to the previous scoring line. Depending on the track, there are a dozen or so scoring lines spread throughout the oval. But NASCAR policy is that on the last lap, it uses video in addition to the scoring lines to determine the final position. Gordon believed he had passed David Reutimann after passing the scoring line, but before the caution came out for rain in the Daytona 500. NASCAR later called the race because of rain. Gordon crew chief Steve Letarte discussed the situation with NASCAR officials after the race to learn about the interpretation, which was that NASCAR will only use video on the final scheduled lap or green-white-checkered situation. “We use the [non-video freezing] of the field because we didn’t know that we weren’t going to go back [racing],” NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Friday at Auto Club Speedway.(Scene Daily)(2-23-2009)
  • NASCAR Stars Back Off Resort Project: Three of the NASCAR celebrities who endorsed the Sheridan Ridge resort development have returned their lots, and the other two have drastically reduced the price paid, county records show. Quit-claim deeds recorded Dec. 30 indicate that drivers Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart and crew chief Greg Zipadelli gave their lots back to Sheridan Ridge Private Reserve LLC, the North Carolina company formed in 2006 to develop a NASCAR-themed community in the [Southwest Virginia] region. Deeds of correction were entered the same date for their property as well as lots owned by driver Elliott Sadler and FOX Sports personality and former crew chief Jeff Hammond, reducing the price of each lot from $323,205 to $50,000 – just enough to cover the lot release fee. “Certain infrastructure improvements to the Property were never completed,” according to the deeds of correction, “and the value of the Property on the recording date was actually $50,000.” In what has been a controversial project from the start, Sheridan Ridge selected a 1,400-acre site on the steep slopes of Walker and Little Brushy mountains to build a multi-million-dollar residential development with more than 500 houses and a 53-acre “village center” featuring shops and amenities.(Bristol Herald Courier)(2-23-2009)
  • Kyle Busch could make history with Cup win: UPDATE: On Saturday, Kyle Busch became the first driver to win twice in the same day on two of NASCAR’s top-three. He held the previous best same-day performance with a first in the Nationwide and second in the Sprint Cup Series races held at Daytona on July 7, 2007. This is just the third time a driver has won both a Camping World Truck Series and a Nationwide Series race in the same weekend (Greg Biffle at Phoenix in October 2001 and Kyle Busch at Phoenix in November 2007). There have been 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup-NASCAR Nationwide weekend sweeps. No driver has ever won all three races in the same weekend.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-22-2009)
    UPDATE: Busch finished the Auto Club 500 in third, so no driver has yet won all 3 races in a weekend.(2-23-2009)
  • Memorial Service for Wolf: A memorial service for longtime NASCAR official Carl Wolf will be held Tuesday, Feb. 24 from 5pm – 6pm at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord. Carl passed away Feb. 6 following a lengthy illness. For the past 10 years, Wolf worked for NASCAR in a variety of capacities. He spent time in the NASCAR garage as the supervisor of engine inspection for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He moved into the area of officiating training in June of 2003 – a position he held until his death. Responsible for training and instructing officials in various areas of inspection with a specialized focus on engine training, Wolf was instrumental in the development and implementation of many of the tools and gauges that are still used today in the inspection areas. His vast knowledge, enthusiasm and patience helped make him an outstanding instructor, who was well-respected and highly revered by his students, co-workers and peers. Carl Wolf was 70. In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to Levine & Dickson Hospice House, 11900 Vanstory Drive, Huntersville, NC 28078, The American Cancer Society, 6000 Fairview Road, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28210 or to a charity of the donors choice.(NASCAR)(2-23-2009)

News from February 22, 2009

  • Kenseth wins at California: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway for his second win in a row, his third at Fontana, and the 18th of his career. He is the first driver to win the season’s opening two races since Jeff Gordon in 1997. #24-Gordon was second followed by #18-Busch, #16-Biffle, #2-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #99-Edwards, #14-Stewart, #48-Johnson, and #83-Vickers. #88-Earnhardt, Jr. blew an engine and finished 39th. #29-Harvick also blew and engine and finished 38th, the first time he was not running at the end of a race in 82 races. There were 19 lead changes among 11 drivers and 5 caution flags for 43 laps. Four of the cautions were caused by light rain showers.
    See race results, laps led and more on my California Race Results page.(2-22-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after California race 2 of 36]:
    1) Matt Kenseth 385 [2 wins]
    2) Jeff Gordon 304 -81
    3) Kurt Busch 294 -91
    4) Tony Stewart 294 -91
    5) Greg Biffle 268 -117
    6) Clint Bowyer 266 -119
    7) Michael Waltrip 264 -121
    8) David Ragan 262 -123
    9) Carl Edwards 260 -125
    10) Juan Pablo Montoya 256 -129
    11) Elliott Sadler 248 -137
    12) David Reutimann 248 -137
    13) A J Allmendinger 241 -144
    14) Reed Sorenson 238 -147
    See drivers and owners points standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Daytona page.(2-22-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Auto Club Speedway:
    * Matt Kenseth won the Auto Club 500, his 18th victory in 330 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    * This is his second victory and second top-10 finish in 2009. The last driver to win the first two races of a season was Jeff Gordon in 1997.
    * This is his third victory and 11th top-10 finish in 15 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    * Jeff Gordon (second) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 18 races at Auto Club Speedway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2009. Gordon led 64 laps in the Auto Club 500 and moved to seventh on the all-time laps led list with 19,899.
    * Kyle Busch (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 10 races at Auto Club Speedway. Busch came up short is his bid for a second weekend record, finishing third in the Auto Club 500. Busch, who won the NASCAR Camping World Truck and NASCAR Nationwide Series races on Saturday, however, posted the best overall finish for a triple race weekend.
    * Joey Logano (26th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    * Matt Kenseth leads the point standings by 81 points over Jeff Gordon.
    * Kevin Harvick failed to finish the Auto Club 500, ending a streak of 81 consecutive races competed without a DNF – the longest in NASCAR Sprint Cup history. Harvick’s last DNF prior to tonight came at Dover in September 2006. This is just his 14th DNF in 288 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Harvick’s Richard Childress Racing teammate, Clint Bowyer, assumes the longest active streak of running at the finish with 75.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(2-15-2009)
  • Special Decal for Harvick at Calif: UPDATE: The #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy driven by Kevin Harvick will feature a special decal on the deck lid this weekend for the running of the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway. The Mater Dei High School (Evansville, Indiana) name will be featured on the deck lid of the Richard Childress Racing machine in honor of the 2008 Shell Eco-marathon Americas winning student team. The Shell Eco-marathon, held at Auto Club Speedway each April, invites teams of students to design and build the most energy-efficient vehicle powered by either conventional or alternative fuels. The students from Mater Dei High School set a record for fuel efficiency during the 2008 competition with a rating of 2,843 miles per gallon. The team claimed a $10,000 prize for their victory and also beat the overall mileage record that was set in 2007 by Cal Poly.(RCR PR)(2-19-2009)
    UPDATE: This is all in an effort to recognize the 2008 Shell Eco-marathon Americas winners as well promote the upcoming 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas set to take place in Fontana, California on April 15 – 18 at Auto Club Speedway. The Shell Eco-marathon is a global forum for current and future leaders who are passionate about finding sustainable solutions to the world’s energy challenge. Shell is committed to providing energy in a responsible way that addresses the realities of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To learn more about the Shell Eco-marathon, go to www.shell.com/ecomarathon.(Shell PR)(2-22-2009)
  • NASCAR evaluating new restart rule: UPDATE: NASCAR is evaluating the 50-foot distance announced at the Budweiser Shootout as the new standard for the leader to restart an event. It could decrease from track to track based on driver input, officials said. Under the new rule, the leader has between the double-red line 50 feet from the start-finish line and single-red line at the start-finish line to start the race. Otherwise, the starter on the flag stand will start the field.(ESPN.com)(2-14-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR has increased the restart zone for the leader to restart the race from 50 feet to 110 feet. Prior to this season, drivers had the entire distance from the restart line (typically coming out of Turn 4) to the starting line in order to mash the gas and restart the event. NASCAR created a 50-foot restart zone last week at Daytona International Speedway. If a driver didn’t restart the race by the end of the zone, the flagman would wave the green and restart the event. That distance apparently was too small. NASCAR has increased the length to 110 feet for the races at Auto Club Speedway in California this weekend.(Scene Daily)(2-22-2009)
  • Kyle Busch could make history with Cup win: On Saturday, Kyle Busch became the first driver to win twice in the same day on two of NASCAR’s top-three. He held the previous best same-day performance with a first in the Nationwide and second in the Sprint Cup Series races held at Daytona on July 7, 2007. This is just the third time a driver has won both a Camping World Truck Series and a Nationwide Series race in the same weekend (Greg Biffle at Phoenix in October 2001 and Kyle Busch at Phoenix in November 2007). There have been 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup-NASCAR Nationwide weekend sweeps. No driver has ever won all three races in the same weekend.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-22-2009)
  • Montoya, Speed not interested in F1: A new Formula One team based in the United States will announce its plans Tuesday, but no Sprint Cup drivers with connections to the series expect to be involved. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, who has seven career Formula One victories, seemed surprised when asked about the pending announcement Friday at Auto Club Speedway in California. “I didn’t even know there was supposed to be a team here,” Montoya said. #82-Scott Speed, who competed in Formula One in 2006 and 2007, laughed when asked if he was going back to that circuit. “No, I don’t think so,” the Red Bull Racing driver said. “I’ve been there, done that.”(Scene Daily)(2-22-2009)
  • Sad News – Lee Ann Darnell: ARRANGEMENTS: Lee Anne Darnell [mother of Erik Darnell], 49, of Beach Park, IL passed away on Monday, February 16, 2009, at home. Automobile racing was always a big part of her life. Lee Anne met Danny through racing and the two of them spent countless hours on road trips and at race tracks across the country, and continued to do so with their three children. She was proud of all her children’s accomplishments and encouraged them to follow their dreams. Lee Anne made life-long friends at the track and in the community with her good-natured spirit and passion for life. Survivors include her husband of 28 years, Danny; sons, Erik (fiancee’, Amber Moody) Darnell of Davidson, NC, and Casey Darnell of Chicago, IL; daughter, Dale (fiance’, Jeff LaBelle) of Beach Park, IL; father, Dave (Dawn) Metz of Eagle Nest, NM; mother, Eileen (Ron) Smith of Henderson, NV. A Funeral Service will be held on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at Congdon Funeral Home, 3012 Sheridan Rd., Zion, IL.(2-20-2009)
    AND The funeral is on Monday, February 23 at 10:30 a.m. at Congdon Funeral Home, 3012 Sheridan Road, Zion, IL. 60099, (847) 746-1234. The visitation is on Sunday, February 22 from 5-8 p.m. Flowers can be sent to the funeral home or in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Lee Anne’s name to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Roush Racing PR)(2-22-2009)


    News from February 21, 2009

  • Kenseth’s spotter has permanent Daytona 500 memory: While Matt Kenseth’s spotter has already gotten a tattoo to honor the Roush Fenway Racing team’s victory in last weekend’s Daytona 500, don’t expect the driver to follow suit. While Kenseth spent the past week touring various cities as part of a post-victory media blitz, Mike Calinoff decided to mark the occasion in a different way – and one that Kenseth actually unintentionally encouraged. Calinoff, who left Kenseth’s team a few years ago but returned as Kenseth’s spotter this season, celebrated the group’s 2003 championship in the same way. Calinoff said that the $250, multicolored tattoo took two hours and was painful to get put on, but that he is glad that he did it. “It was worth it,” he said. “I’d do it again tomorrow.” Calinoff admits that he could be the only spotter commemorating a big win in this way, but he doesn’t regret it at all.(Scene Daily)(2-21-2009)
  • Allmendinger looking at all options: #44-AJ Allmendinger doesn’t have a full-time ride this season in the Sprint Cup Series, but he’s not closing any doors on his racing future. He was asked Friday if he might be interested in driving for the Charlotte-based U.S. team in Formula One that will be formally announced next week. “I’ve learned in this sport over the past couple of years that you don’t deny anything,” Allmendinger said. “You just nod your head and say, ‘There’s a chance.’ I love being a part of NASCAR, going to all of these races and being around the fans and everything,” Allmendinger said. But he admitted a shot at F1 is not without intrigue. It has intrigue, for sure,” Allmendinger said. “Driving a race car, no matter what it is, has intrigue for me. … but it’s not my focus, either.”(Charlotte Observer)
  • MWR plane develops trouble, but is OK: UPATE: A private aircraft landed safely at McCarran International Airport this [Thurs., Feb 19th] afternoon after the left engine had to be shut down during the flight. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the Canada Air Challenger CL60 was en route to Ontario, Calif. [near Auto Club Speedway], when it diverted to Las Vegas because of the engine trouble. McCarran spokesman Chris Jones said the plane landed without incident on the west side of the airport. The Clark County Fire Department was alerted to the problem. Fire Department spokesman Scott Allison said no injuries were reported and the 48 people on board the regional jet all exited the aircraft safely after the incident, which happened about 4:20pm. It was unclear what caused the engine trouble. Gregor said the aircraft is owned by Michael Waltrip Racing [no word if driver/owner Micheal Waltrip was on the plane].(Las Vegas Sun)(2-2-2009)
    UDPATE: “There was an issue with one motor that lost oil pressure, so they shut it down,” [Marcos] Ambrose said. “On the landing, apparently the other motor got jammed in reverse thrust. But everybody is safe and sound.” All three crews for MWR — Ambrose’s #47 Toyota, Waltrip’s #55 Camry and David Reutimann #00 car — were on the plane, but none of the drivers were on board. Tad Geschickter, co-owner of Ambrose’s car, also was on the flight.(ESPN.com)(9-21-2009)
  • Yates and Gilliland part ways: UPDATE: Yates Racing and David Gilliland announced that they are terminating their relationship due to a lack of sponsorship on Yates Racing’s #38 Sprint Cup car. Gilliland began driving the #38 car for Robert Yates Racing in mid-2006. “David did a great job for us and is a gifted driver. We are sorry to lose him but it is important for David to continue driving, and sponsorship is very tough this year,” stated Doug Yates of Yates Racing.(Yates Racing PR)(2-20-2009)
    UPDATE: Gilliland said he has no ill will toward Yates Racing, where he finished 27th in points last year but was left without a ride as the team found sponsorship for Paul Menard and Bobby Labonte – but not for him. The team is running a partial schedule for Travis Kvapil but had nothing for Gilliland this year. “They’ve been so good to me – they brought me into the Cup series, gave me my first opportunity here and really stood behind us last year when we weren’t fully funded and did run us all year,” Gilliland said. “They stuck their neck out on the line for Travis and myself when we weren’t fully funded.”(Scene Daily)(2-21-2009)
  • NASCAR comments on quick Daytona 500 call: Here’s Robin Pemberton, NASCAR VP of Competition on the issue of if the Daytona 500 should be run to completion: “That’s fine if we didn’t have other obligations further on down the road. Teams had to start traveling out here Monday evening or Tuesday at some time. It is a great race. There’s a lot of prestige that goes along with it but it is just one of our many, many races that we conduct during the season and all of our races basically have the same guidelines whether its rain-shortened and what we try to do for the fans and out of respect for the people who are sitting in the stands.(Roanoke Times)(2-21-2009)

    News from February 20, 2009

  • Vickers will have to change engine: Brian Vickers thought he finally had some good news to override the controversy of the past week. The 25-year-old Red Bull Racing driver won the pole for Sunday’s Auto Club 500, barely beating heavily favored Jimmie Johnson. But, about an hour after taking the sixth pole of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career with a lap of 183.429 mph, Vickers found out his team would have to change the engine in his No. 83 Toyota, sending him to the back of the 43-car field.(Associated Press)(2-20-2009)
  • Vickers on pole at California: #83-Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Auto Club 500 with a lap of 183.439mph for his 6th career pole. #48-Johnson was second fastest followed by #26-MuMurray, #2-Busch, #16-Biffle, #24-Gordon, #00-Reutimann, #44-Allmendinger, #82-Speed, and #18-Busch.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #44-Allmendinger, #14-Stewart, #66-Blaney, #71-Gilliland, #36-Riggs, #28-Kvapil, #41-Mayfield, and #87-Nemechek.
    The five drivers who failed to qualify: #64-Todd Bodine, #37-Raines, #51-Starr, #09-Markin, and #73-Garvey.
    See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my California Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(2-20-2008)
  • California Qualifying Fast Facts:
    * Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Auto Club 500 with a lap of 39.250 seconds, 183.439 mph.
    This is his sixth pole in 174 Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is Vickers’ third pole on a two-mile track. He won the pole for the 2004 fall race at Auto Club Speedway as well as at Michigan International Speedway last August. Vickers has started from the front row at Auto Club Speedway on three previous occasions.
    This is his second pole in 11 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his second top-10 start of 2009 and his eighth in 13 races at Auto Club Speedway. This is the eighth time Johnson as started from the front row at Auto Club Speedway. He was the pole-sitter for both of last year’s races.
    Jamie McMurray (third) posted his first top-10 start at Auto Club Speedway. McMurray’s best previous Auto Club Speedway start was 12th in the spring of 2004. It is his first top-10 start in two races this season.
    Scott Speed (ninth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    This is his first race at Auto Club Speedway. AJ Allmendinger (eighth) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.(NASCAR Statistics)(2-20-2009)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Toyota: #83-Vickers, 183.439, starts 1st
    Chevy: #48-Johnson, 183.164, starts 2nd
    Ford: #26-McMurray, 182.653, starts 3rd
    Dodge: #2-Busch, 182.556, starts 4th
    (2-20-2009)
  • First Practice: for the Auto Club 500 is over, the fastest:
    #48-Johnson 181.571
    #24-Gordon 180.873
    #16-Biffle 180.696
    #00-Reutimann 180.569
    #39-Newman 180.365
    slowest: #73-Garvey 170.867 & #51-David Starr 170.052
    notes: #20-Logano scraped the wall about 5 minutes into the session, but only minor damage. #51-David Starr looks to have lost an engine 20 minutes into the session. #24-Gordon scraped the right rear of the car about an hour into practice, but only minor damage.
    See speeds, ave speeds, laps run and more on my California Practice Speeds Page.(2-20-2009)
  • Yates and Gilliland part ways: Yates Racing and David Gilliland announced that they are terminating their relationship due to a lack of sponsorship on Yates Racing’s #38 Sprint Cup car. Gilliland began driving the #38 car for Robert Yates Racing in mid-2006. “David did a great job for us and is a gifted driver. We are sorry to lose him but it is important for David to continue driving, and sponsorship is very tough this year,” stated Doug Yates of Yates Racing.(Yates Racing PR)(2-20-2009)
  • Aflac won’t likely sell off as many races as planned: Aflac will likely be the primary sponsor of Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Ford driven by Carl Edwards for more NASCAR Sprint Cup races this year than originally announced. When Aflac announced it would become the primary sponsor in 2009, a company official had indicated that it hoped to keep only 20-25 races as the primary sponsor and sell off the remaining 11-16. That was back in May when the contract, reportedly a three-year deal with Roush Fenway worth $26 million a year, was inked. The economy has changed since then, as has Edwards’ stature as he challenged for last year’s Sprint Cup title and won a series-high nine races. Aflac currently has sold off four races – three to Subway and one to Claritin – and a company executive says it won’t sell off additional races unless the potential sponsor fits with Aflac’s business model. “Our strategy is right now we feel like we have the hottest driver in NASCAR,” Keith Farley, Aflac’s corporate sponsorship manager, said last week at Daytona. “We feel like since originally working with him last May and working on the contract, his value has gone up. Our strategy is to make sure we do what’s right for the Aflac brand and for Carl. We might sell to other sponsors. We’ve turned other sponsors down that want to be on the car because we want to make sure it makes business sense for us, not just from a branding standpoint.” As a supplemental insurance company, Aflac wants only partners that can increase its insurance business. “When we look at a company like Subway that has 30,000 franchises, that is the perfect example of small business owners,” Farley said. “Does that make good sense for Aflac, to sell these products to employees to be involved with? Yes. It’s got to fit there because that’s the main reason we’re in the sport.”(SceneDaily)(2-20-2009)
  • MWR plane develops trouble, but is OK: A private aircraft landed safely at McCarran International Airport this [Thurs., Feb 19th] afternoon after the left engine had to be shut down during the flight. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the Canada Air Challenger CL60 was en route to Ontario, Calif. [near Auto Club Speedway], when it diverted to Las Vegas because of the engine trouble. McCarran spokesman Chris Jones said the plane landed without incident on the west side of the airport. The Clark County Fire Department was alerted to the problem. Fire Department spokesman Scott Allison said no injuries were reported and the 48 people on board the regional jet all exited the aircraft safely after the incident, which happened about 4:20pm. It was unclear what caused the engine trouble. Gregor said the aircraft is owned by Michael Waltrip Racing [no word if driver/owner Micheal Waltrip was on the plane].(Las Vegas Sun)(2-2-2009)
  • Starr in the #51? UPDATE: hearing that Camping World Truck Series driver, David Starr, will attempt to make the Sprint Cup race at California this week for #51 Blackjack Racing. Kelly Bires attempted to make the Daytona 500 in the car, but failed to race inot the field in the Gatorade Duel. If Starr makes the field, he will be making his Sprint Cup Series debut. Dexter Bean is scheduled to attempt the Cup race at Las Vegas in the #51.(2-16-2009)
    UPDATE: Camping World Truck Series veteran David Starr heads to California looking to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut this weekend at the Auto Club Speedway. The Texas-native will be behind the wheel of the #51 Dodge fielded by BlackJack Racing. Starr and the team will be sponsored by Allegro Marinade in a one race sponsorship for the Auto Club 500. “I have always dreamed about driving in the Cup Series and I am very appreciative of this opportunity that the Bean family has given me,” said Starr. “This all came together rather quickly last week in Daytona and I jumped at the chance. We were also able to secure sponsorship from Allegro Marinade at the last minute. This is really cool and I hope to put on a good performance for Allegro Marinade and BlackJack Racing.” BlackJack Racing fields the #51 Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series full-time and narrowly missed making the field in the Daytona 500 last week with Kelly Bires behind the wheel. Dexter Bean will make his Sprint Cup Series debut next week in Las Vegas and will be behind the wheel for the remainder of the 2009 season. For more information anbout Allegro Marinade visit allegromarinade.com.(BlackJack Racing PR)(2-20-2009) .
  • California Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three of these NASCAR series will be running the same combination of left- and right-side tire codes at California this weekend, though those for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,’ while those for the Camping World Trucks will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . last season, Cup and Nationwide teams ran this same combination at Kansas, while teams in all three series ran this right-side code (D-4150) with a different left-side code here at California . . . the new left-side code at California features a softer sidewall construction than the one run at the track in 2008 . . . this particular construction was integrated with good success into several other Goodyear tire codes last season . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at California . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 40-44 laps, based on fuel mileage (Sprint Cup). See tire pressures, codes and more on my Daytona Race Info page.(2-20-2009)
  • Mike Wallace looking for ride: The roar of the engines after Daytona Speedweeks has silenced and the series is heading west to Auto Club Speedway in California. For one driver with victories in two out of NASCAR three series racing this weekend, the silence is deafening. Mike Wallace, with four NASCAR Nationwide and four Camping World Truck Series victories to his credit, will not be competing. “I think people thought I was all set during Daytona because I was in both the Cup and Nationwide Series garages,” said Wallace. “I had a one-race deal with TRG to make the Daytona 500 in their #71 car. “Then, I had a one-race deal with JD Motorsports in the Nationwide race down there. We did okay there earning a top-20 in 19th place. In addition to the eight victories; he’s amassed a total of 56 top-fives and 130 top-10 finishes. “Right now, I am open to talking with owners about driving for their team,” said Wallace. “I’m sure there is a need for an experienced driver like myself and I’m willing to talk. If I can obtain a sponsor, I have several quality teams that I can take it to and we can be competitive right from the start. Basically, I just want folks to know I am available and ready to drive.” Wallace will be a co-host on ESPN2’s “NASCAR Now” Sunday morning, March 8 and on ESPN News following the Sprint Cup Series race. The following day, he will be a panelist on the Monday edition of “NASCAR Now” on ESPN2.(PR)(2-20-2009) .
  • Sad News – Lee Ann Darnell: Lee Anne Darnell [mother of Erik Darnell], 49, of Beach Park, IL passed away on Monday, February 16, 2009, at home. Automobile racing was always a big part of her life. Lee Anne met Danny through racing and the two of them spent countless hours on road trips and at race tracks across the country, and continued to do so with their three children. She was proud of all her children’s accomplishments and encouraged them to follow their dreams. Lee Anne made life-long friends at the track and in the community with her good-natured spirit and passion for life. Survivors include her husband of 28 years, Danny; sons, Erik (fiancee’, Amber Moody) Darnell of Davidson, NC, and Casey Darnell of Chicago, IL; daughter, Dale (fiance’, Jeff LaBelle) of Beach Park, IL; father, Dave (Dawn) Metz of Eagle Nest, NM; mother, Eileen (Ron) Smith of Henderson, NV. A Funeral Service will be held on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at Congdon Funeral Home, 3012 Sheridan Rd., Zion, IL.(2-20-2009)

    News from February 19, 2009

  • Edwards on Talk Show tonight/Friday morning: #99-Carl Edwards is scheduled to be a guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson [the funniest of the talk shows] on CBS, scheduled for 12:35am/et.
  • Crew Member in Violation of NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy UPDATE: Paul Chodora, a licensed crew member in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. On Feb. 11, Chodora was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 7-5 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(2-19-2009)
    UPDATE: Chodora, who NASCAR confirmed was a member of Jeremy Mayfield’s #41 Sprint Cup team Thursday, is the first person to be punished under the policy that was amended last season to mandatory preseason testing and random testing throughout the season. Kevin Harvick fired two members of his Truck Series team that failed drug tests given by his organization, not NASCAR, prior to the season. Mayfield’s team was formed only a month ago and crew members were not all hired at the time of NASCAR’s preseason testing in January. Chodora was given a license by the governing body to participate in Sunday’s Daytona 500, then was tested and suspended after only a day and a half of work. Chodora has served previously as a front tire changer with Johnny Sauter’s team.(ESPN)(2-19-2009)
    STATEMENT: The following is a statement from driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield of Mayfield Motorsports regarding Paul Chodora, who was found to be in violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy: “Mayfield Motorsports respects the decision by NASCAR to indefinitely suspend Paul Chodora. We as an organization appreciate NASCAR’s drug testing policies and policing efforts as it makes the sport stronger overall. If Paul doesn’t comply with NASCAR’s reinstatement process, then he will no longer be an employee of Mayfield Motorsports.”(Mayfield Motorsports/Co-Pilott PR)(2-19-2009)
  • Johnson visits child neighborhood: Twice a year, Jimmie Johnson detours through his childhood neighborhood en route to a NASCAR race in Fontana. “I like to stay connected,” the NASCAR champion said recently. “Many of my friends and memories are still rooted in El Cajon.” This week was no exception. Johnson flew into San Diego yesterday before heading north for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway. As usual, Johnson is visiting the site of the four Habitat for Humanity homes his foundation is building near downtown El Cajon and he will stop by the Chevrolet dealership in Kearny Mesa that bears his name. Johnson last night gave the induction speech for Ivan Stewart as the legendary off-road champion was inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame during the 63rd annual Viejas Salute to the Champions dinner at the Town and Country Resort. Johnson also was honored at the event, being one of five professionals named Stars of the Year for 2008.(San Diego Union Tribune)(2-19-2009)
  • Congrats: JR Motorsports’ Mike Davis and wife Sarah on the birth of Virginia Grace at 4:41 am this morning. Gracie weighed 6 lbs., 5oz.(2-19-2009)
  • Kenseth Enjoys Victory Tour Through San Francisco: Daytona 500 champion Matt Kenseth learned how to crack a Dungeness crab, enjoyed world-class chocolates and was given a magnum of Sonoma Valley wine on Wednesday in San Francisco. Kenseth, who won NASCAR’s Great American Race on Sunday, celebrated his historic win with a Victory Tour Through the Streets of San Francisco on-board a motorized cable car, complete with a California Highway Patrol escort. Kenseth, and his wife Katie, enjoyed a first-class tour of San Francisco, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and visiting legendary Fisherman’s Grotto No. 9 at Fisherman’s Wharf. Kenseth learned how to cook and crack a Dungeness crab under the guidance of co-owner Anthony Geraldi. The tour continued to Ghirardelli Square where the Kenseths received a large basket of gourmet chocolates and were treated to ice cream sundaes. The cable car ride culminated at Willie Mays Plaza at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, where Kenseth greeted race fans and the Northern California media. Giants Vice President Russ Stanley presented Kenseth with an official team jersey, complete with Kenseth’s name and car number on the back. Kenseth was also surprised at the press conference by a visit from Tony Moll, a Sonoma native who is an offensive lineman on Kenseth’s favorite NFL team, the Green Bay Packers. Raceway President Steve Page also presented Kenseth with a commemorative magnum of Sonoma Valley wine. “This was a really fun day and I’m amazed at all of the fans out here,” said Kenseth. “I got to see a lot of San Francisco from the front of that cable car and experience a little of everything, so it was great.” The appearance also marked the Official Countdown to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Infineon Raceway, June 19-21 (Father’s Day weekend). Race day is just 124 days away. Tickets are now available for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Be sure to call 800-870-RACE or visit infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(2-19-2009)
  • Special Decal for Harvick at Calif: The #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy driven by Kevin Harvick will feature a special decal on the deck lid this weekend for the running of the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway. The Mater Dei High School (Evansville, Indiana) name will be featured on the deck lid of the Richard Childress Racing machine in honor of the 2008 Shell Eco-marathon Americas winning student team. The Shell Eco-marathon, held at Auto Club Speedway each April, invites teams of students to design and build the most energy-efficient vehicle powered by either conventional or alternative fuels. The students from Mater Dei High School set a record for fuel efficiency during the 2008 competition with a rating of 2,843 miles per gallon. The team claimed a $10,000 prize for their victory and also beat the overall mileage record that was set in 2007 by Cal Poly.(RCR PR)(2-19-2009)
  • Haas Automation scheme for Newman: So, how does a Hoosier claim the California track as home? The answer lies in #39-Ryan Newman’s affiliation with newly formed Stewart-Haas Racing as the driver of the #39 Chevy. The team is co-owned by two time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart and Oxnard, Calif.-based Haas Automation, the largest CNC tool manufacturer in the western world. The company’s 1 million square-foot facility in Oxnard employs 1,200 people, and is the largest, most modern machine tool manufacturing operation in the United States. This weekend, Haas Automation will also adorn the hood of Newman’s black #39 Chevy. Newman, who has one pole and four top-10 finishes in 12 career Sprint Cup starts at Auto Club Speedway, including a 10th-place effort last February, is hoping to post a solid showing for his co-owner and sponsor in their own backyard.(Stewart-Haas Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #39 Team Schemes page.(2-19-2009)
  • California Raybestos Rookie Notes: #82-Scott Speed was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Daytona 500, scoring a 35th-place finish. Speed took top rookie honors for the first time this season. Speed leads #20-Joey Logano by one point (11-10) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Feb. 22 Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway. As a Raybestos Rookie, Kyle Busch won the pole for the 2005 Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway, becoming the youngest pole winner in NASCAR’s premier series (19 yrs.., 9 mos. and 24 days). Jimmie Johnson is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in 12 previous spring races at California Speedway. Johnson captured the 2002 event by .620 seconds over Kurt Busch. Regan Smith won 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in the Sprint Cup Series, edging Sam Hornish Jr. by seven points (236-229). Smith became the first Raybestos Rookie of the Year in the 52-year history of the program without a DNF (did not finish). He was running at the finish in all 34 starts he made this season. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series race is Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya captured the 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, crossing the finish line 4.097 seconds ahead of second-place Kevin Harvick (56 races). The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier captured the top starting spot for the 2008 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (20 races).(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR), see Rookie history, rules, standings and more on my 2009 Rookie Page.(2-19-2009)
  • Hornish to have AAA scheme at Calif: Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the Penske Racing #77 Auto Club Dodge Charger, will debut the Auto Club of Southern California paint scheme this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. The Automobile Club of Southern California and its affiliated clubs (AAA) have joined the Penske Racing partner family as primary sponsor of the #77 car for three events in 2009 and as co-primary for an additional two races. On Thursday, February 19, Hornish will visit the Auto Club headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif., to meet with employees and kick off the race weekend at Auto Club Speedway.(Penske Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #77 Team Schemes page.(2-19-2009)
  • Tryson wins award: #2-Miller Lite Dodge crew chief Pat Tryson won the “Moog Chassis Parts Problem Solver of the Race Award” in Sunday’s Daytona 500. “It was a great team effort in being able to get a top-10 finish out of Sunday’s race,” Pat said. “We got caught up in the big one, but Kurt and all of our Miller Lite Dodge team refused to give up. We pitted every time we could (under the caution) to make repairs and got it fixed as well as we could without going a lap down. Kurt put on a helluva’ show out there in coming up from 29th to finish 10th.(Tom Roberts PR)(2-19-2009)
  • Todd Bodine in the #64 at Calif: Todd Bodine, just as planned, will drive the #64 Toyota for Gunselman Motorsports at the Auto Club Speedway in the Auto Club 500. The youngest of the racing Bodine brothers takes over for Geoff, who attempted the Daytona 500, just as planned in the underfinanced Toyota of Gunselman Motorsports. Keeping with the plan, the team is doing the West Coast swing consisting of the California and Las Vegas races. Larry Gunselman, team owner: “Everything is going to plan. We are putting Todd in the car for the races that don’t conflict with his Truck Series schedule. When he can’t do it, then Geoff will be in the car. I take a lot of pride in having Todd get in our Toyota fresh off his Truck win at Daytona. I just hope that winning feeling carries over to California this weekend when it comes to qualifying on Friday. I like our chances for making the next two races. Once we do, then we can go racing and get this team moving forward in the right direction. Geoff has been a huge help doing everything from working on the car in the shop and at the track; to helping get it ready for loading. He’s going to be out West with us to continue helping, too.” In addition to being the crew chief, Doug Richert is also capable of jumping over the wall to change tires; just like in the old days when he first started out in racing. Gunselman just might have to call him into action – stay tuned. The team will be using Car No. 8, the same one they used in their attempt to make the Daytona 500. The team still has openings for unique sponsorship opportunities for anyone who want to get involved in NASCAR racing. Send inquiries to info@larrygunselman.com. Like many NASCAR team since the schedule started having back-to-back West Coast races in California then Las Vegas, the Gunselman team will remain in the Pacific Time Zone until after the Vegas race.(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(2-19-2009)

    News from February 18, 2009

  • Chris Economaki Named 2009 Recipient of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award of Excellence: Chris Economaki, the Dean of Motorsports Journalists, has been named the 2009 recipient of Pocono Raceway’s Bill France Award of Excellence. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence has been presented annually to the person, corporation or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport of Sprint Cup Series Racing. This prestigious award, first presented in 1977, is dedicated to the inspiration of William H.G. France, founder of NASCAR. Economaki’s selection is especially significant since it marks the first time a journalist has been named to receive this award.
    Born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 15, 1920, Economaki has been involved in racing most of his life. He saw his first race at the age of nine and was hooked for life. By the time he was 14, he was a fixture around race tracks doing anything he could to be involved with the sport. He began selling a daily newspaper, which had a racing section, in the grandstands of many tracks. When the National Racing News became a spin-off of the daily newspaper, he began writing his first by-line columns. He later took over as editor, publisher and owner of National Speed Sport News and turned it into the most influential weekly motorsports publication in the country. The newspaper is considered “America’s Weekly Motorsports Authority” and Chris continues to write his column “The Editors Notebook” which has appeared in National Speed Sport News for more than 50 years.
    Chris became one of the most popular track announcers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. His style grew to legendary status and soon caught the attention of ABC and CBS television executives in the early 1960’s. He covered many of the world’s major auto racing events for TV including the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans in a TV career that spanned four decades.
    “Chris Economaki gained the respect of the entire racing community for his fair and insightful reporting and enjoys a first-name relationship with the entire automotive and racing world,” stated Dr. Joseph Mattioli, Pocono Raceway Chairman of the Board. “Chris Economaki helped bring NASCAR onto the national scene and I am honored to announce that Chris has been named the recipient of Pocono Raceway’s 2009 Bill France Award of Excellence,” concluded Dr. Mattioli.
    The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence, a beautifully sculptured and highly polished piece of anthracite coal mined in Pennsylvania, will be presented to Chris Economaki at an award ceremony on Saturday, June 6, 2009. This ceremony is part of the festivities leading up to the June 7, 2009 Pocono 500 Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway.(Pocono Raceway PR)(2-18-2009)
  • Richard comments on Kyle’s remarks: from a Dodge Motorsports NSCS Teleconference Transcript:
    KYLE (PETTY) WAS VERY VOCAL DURING DAYTONA REGARDING THE 44’s PAINT SCHEME, HAVE YOU TALKED TO HIM ABOUT HIS COMMENTS?
    A: “It kind of upset him because that’s where he started. He started with the 44 car at Daytona and was lucky enough to win the race. When we did our deal with Boston Ventures, we never had a place for Kyle at Petty Enterprises. He sort of got out of the loop. When he got out of the loop, he’s been doing his own thing…he run the 24 (Rolex 24) and doing some TV. I’ve not seen him since Christmas. He’s been so busy, I’ve been so busy. He got snow-bound in Pittsburgh for a few days one time; we just really never have gotten together. I’ve really not talked to him. I spoke to him a couple of times on the phone; you can’t get much done on the phone. He talked to his mother. He was really crushed that we didn’t include him in that part of it, and I can understand that. We were so busy trying to get our end of the deal done and make it work with a new team that it fell through the crack and I’m sorry that it did.”(Dodge Motorsport PR)(2-18-2009)
  • Richard Petty about A.J.’s future plans: from a Dodge Motorsports NSCS Teleconference Transcript:
    Q: WITH ALLMENDINGER’S THIRD-PLACE FINISH AT DAYTONA, HOW MUCH WILL THAT HELP YOU FIND ADDITIONAL SPONSORS FOR THE 44 CAR?
    A: “It’s got to be a plus-plus. I think we’ve got sponsorship for 10 or 12 races right now and we’re already committed for the first six or eight races. We feel like if he (Allmendinger) can continue to show promise and do as well as he did at Daytona, then we feel very confident that we’ll be able to pick up different sponsors over a period of time to continue running him. If he keeps running like he did at Daytona, I’ll just run him out of my pocket because he’ll be bringing the money back in.”(Dodge Motorsport PR)
    AND Charter Communications will be on both #43-Reed Sorenson’s and #44-A.J. Allmendinger’s Dodges this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.(RPM PR)(2-18-2009)
  • Window World Extends Sponsorship with FRM: After a successful debut in the Sprint Cup Series during the 51st Daytona 500, Window World Inc. announced it will extend its sponsorship of the #34 Front Row Motorsports team driven by John Andretti. One of the sport’s newest sponsors, Window World will be the primary sponsor of the Front Row Motorsports Chevrolet at Auto Club Speedway on February 22, Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1, Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 8 and Bristol Motor Speedway on March 22. “This is great news for Front Row Motorsports and Window World,” said Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins. “Daytona was the first time Window World sponsored a race car. On the track, and off the track, their program was a success. The Window World customers and employees have all rallied behind this program. We want to continue that momentum for another four races.” More info about Window World at windowworld.com.(Breaking Limits/Front Row Motorsports PR)(2-18-2009)
  • Burton to Appear on ABC Daytime’s “General Hospital”: Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will trade in his fire suit and helmet for an acting role on ABC Daytime’s “General Hospital.” Burton will visit the set of General Hospital Feb. 19 and take part in scenes with top neurosurgeon and Port Charles resident Dr. Patrick Drake. Drake’s character, which is played by Canadian actor Jason Thompson, is an avid fan of racing on the popular daytime Emmy award-winning series. “I’m excited about going to the set of General Hospital and taking on a role with Jason,” explained Burton. “I’ve been in commercials and was a guest star on a sitcom a couple of years ago so I’m hoping those appearances prepped me for my soap opera debut. Luckily, I get to play myself and talk racing, which will help take some of the pressure off.” After Thompson teaches Burton the ins and outs of being a soap opera actor, the roles will reverse when Thompson visits Auto Club Speedway, located in Fontana, Calif., to shadow Burton on the day of the Auto Club 500. The South Boston, Va., native will treat the actor to a pace car ride before heading out to his sponsor’s hospitality tent where both will participate in question-and-answer and autograph sessions. Before taking a seat atop the Cat Racing team’s pit box for the Sprint Cup Series race, the Edmonton, Alberta, Canada native will participate in the race track’s pre-race festivities by attending the driver’s meeting and driver introductions. Scheduled air time of Burton and Thompson’s episode is slated for mid-March.(RCR PR)(2-18-2009)
  • Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper to sponsor Sorenson: Moving into their fifth season of NASCAR sponsorship, Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper has contracted with Richard Petty Motorsports (formerly Gillett Evernham Motorsports) as the primary sponsor for four 2009 races. The Auto Value logo will decorate the Dodge race car for two races during the season while the other two races will showcase the Bumper to Bumper logo on the renowned Petty racecars. Reed Sorenson will drive the #43 Auto Value Dodge on April 18 at the Phoenix and the #43 Bumper to Bumper Dodge at Michigan in August. Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper will be making their first Nationwide Series race start of 2009 with the #9 Auto Value Dodge on the track at the New Hampshire in June with Elliott Sadler taking the wheel. Kasey Kahne returns to the Bumper to Bumper cockpit in the #9 Dodge in October at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper will be an associate sponsor of the Richard Petty Motorsports Dodges for all other Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races in 2009 and will receive branding on Petty team uniforms, team haulers and pit equipment.(800autotalk.com), see an image of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page.(2-18-2009) .
  • Congrats to Benny Ertel, Mark Martin’s Business Manger, and his wife Cheryl became first time Grandparents on Tuesday, Feb 17th when there daughter Samantha Allison Ertel gave birth to Gavin Julius Ertel Linsley at Halifax Medical Center at 8 lbs 7 oz.(2-18-2009)
  • NASCAR HoF 60% Complete: Work on the $195 million NASCAR Hall of Fame is 60% complete and on schedule for a spring 2010 opening, the city’s project manager said Tuesday during a tour of the construction site. Eric Bilsky, project manager on the hall of fame for the city of Charlotte, says contractor Turner BE&K Davis remains on budget. In September, costs increased by 20%, or $32 million, as the hall of fame’s operator, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, requested and won City Council approval for money to upgrade planned exhibits and add architectural flourishes. Tuesday’s tour came amid scaffolding, girders and 400 construction workers scrambling to maintain the construction pace. Most of the roof has been applied and, in the months ahead, substantive interior work will begin. By fall, exhibit installation should begin, Bilsky says. In May 2010, the hall of fame opens with the inaugural induction ceremony. “We’re building this to help the economy,” Mayor Pat McCrory said moments before raising the ceremonial beam as part of a topping out ceremony at the Second Ward construction site. “That was always the goal.” McCrory expects the hall of fame to bolster the city’s ailing tourism sector while cementing the region as the hub for NASCAR teams and related businesses. More than 60,000 people in the region work in the tourism sector, an industry crippled by reduced corporate and lesiure travel during the past year. Workers broke ground on the 130,000-square-foot hall of fame in January 2007. An adjoining, 40,000-square-foot convention center ballroom is also under construction on the same site. An adjacent tract houses the 20-story, $90 million NASCAR Plaza office tower. It opens in May.(Charlotte Business Journal)(2-18-2009)
  • Robby to stop by Firehouse World Expo convention: Robby Gordon, driver of the #7 Jim Beam Toyota, is no stranger to firefighters and EMS workers; they watch over him every weekend at the races. This week, before competing in the California Sprint Cup Series race, Gordon will have an opportunity to show his appreciation when he makes a brief stop at the Firehouse World Expo convention in San Diego, Thursday, February 19. Gordon’s appearance coincides with Jim Beam’s efforts to help raise awareness for the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund, an organization dedicated to assist firefighters and their families across America. Founded shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund was established in memory of Terry Farrell, a decorated member of Rescue 4/FDNY and Chief of the Dix Hills Volunteer Fire Department. Farrell, along with 342 of his brothers, perished in the World Trade Center attack.(Jim Beam Racing PR), more info on the appearance on my Drivers Appearance page
  • Gilliland to drive the #71 for next four races UPDATE 2: the TRG team — that stands for The Racers Group — led by owner Kevin Buckler, whose car, driven by Mike Wallace, missed the Daytona 500 by one position. That one position cost $500,000, Buckler said. “Last place in the Daytona 500 pays $250,000, and I had a sponsor who was ready to come aboard for the race, if we made it, for another $250,000. So it hurt.” But Buckler is entered in the California race next week, and he plans to attempt the next four races with driver David Gilliland, who was the odd man out in the Yates organization this year.(Orlando Sentinel)(2-16-2009)
    UPDATE: David Gilliland will drive the #71 TRG Motorsports Chevy in round two of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Sunday, February 22. Daytona 500 winning crew chief, Richard “Slugger” Labbe, has also joined the team. The 33-year old Gilliland raced in 2008 for Robert Yates behind the wheel of the #38 and was the 2007 Daytona 500 Pole Winner. Gilliland is originally from Riverside, California, just up the road from Fontana. He cut his teeth on ovals all over the West Coast in his ascension up the NASCAR ladder. Slugger Labbe knows how to win in NASCAR’s premier league. As a crew chief at Dale Earnhardt Inc., he won two races at Daytona including the 2003 Daytona 500. Labbe most recently worked with Red Bull Racing in driver development [and was Mike Skinner’s crew chief in his attempt to make the 2009 Daytona 500 in the #23 Chevy]. TRG Motorsports’ Kevin Buckler is determined to establish the team in the Sprint Cup Series. “Daytona was a hard lesson,” Buckler said. “We are determined to put the right pieces in place to be successful. David has the most experience in the COT car of any driver available. Slugger gives us a lot of experience working with the COT car. We were short a few pieces at Daytona, but I believe we have put the right people together to have a successful weekend in California.”(TRG Motorsports PR)(2-17-2009)
    UPDATE 2: TRG Motorsports will run their #71 Chevy in the next four Sprint Cup Series rounds at the Auto Club Speedway, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Bristol. Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal, is working hard to get sponsorship while the team focuses on accruing enough points to be in the top 35 in owner points going into the fifth race at Bristol. “We are pulling out all of the stops to make the next four races,” Buckler said. “We want to be in the top 35 in owner points by the time we finish Bristol. We have singed-up David Gilliland and Slugger Labbe to help us accomplish that goal. The water is deep in NASCAR and we are not afraid to dive in with the sharks, but we have a very steep learning curve ahead of us and we will do our best. The team did not hesitate after Daytona getting ready for California. I met with Richard Childress about an engine package and we had a good backup car in the trailer that suits California, Las Vegas and Atlanta. It was just a matter of jumping in with both feet and moving forward. We took a big hit a Daytona by not making the race, but we have taken that and turned it into determination. Everyone involved sees the upside and wants to keep our foot firmly planted on the accelerator to turn this into a full season. With that kind of attitude and a strong team behind the 71, I think we can push it into the field on Friday.”(TRG Motorsports PR)(2-18-2009) .


    News from February 17, 2009

  • Sorenson’s Team Captures Pit Road Award in Daytona 500: Reed Sorenson’s #43 team captured the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s (Feb. 15) Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. The Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, which is given to the NASCAR Sprint Cup team that spends the least amount of time on pit road and finishes on the lead lap, is in its first season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes of the sport. The program awards $5,000 for each Cup race to the top pit road team. In addition, the team with the most pit road event wins will be awarded a $100,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule by Tissot, the official watch and timekeeper of NASCAR. The winning performance by the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Team team lifted Sorenson and his Dodge Charger to a ninth-place finish in the 500. “Our McDonald’s pit crew was just awesome in the Daytona 500,” said Sorenson. “They gave us great stops all night long and put us in position to compete in the top-five at the end of the race. It was a great first outing for us as a team and I know they are happy to be recognized by Tissot for the precision of their work.” Sorenson’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Bryan Jacobson (front tire changer), Brett Morrell (front-tire carrier), Ed Watkins (jackman), Tony Lunders (rear-tire changer), Joel Coronel (rear-tire carrier), Chris Moore (gas man) and Jeff Seaburg (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Mike Shiplett and the pit crew coach is Brett Cumming. Tissot has been an official partner of NASCAR since 2006 and is the official timekeeper for a number of other sports, including the MotoGP World Championship, the Ice Hockey World Championship, the Cycling World Championship and the Fencing World Championship.(DMF Communications PR)(2-17-2009)
  • Daytona 500 TV Ratings: The rain-shortened Daytona 500 last Sunday (2/15) reaffirmed its status as one of America’s premier annual sports events. Despite losing to rain what are historically its most-watched laps, this year’s average audience of 16.0 million viewers places the Daytona 500 ahead of many of the country’s iconic sports events including the NCAA Final Four (15.4 million viewers), Beijing Olympics (15.2 million), 2008 NBA Finals (14.9 million), Kentucky Derby (14.2 million) and the final round of The Masters (13.1 million) and US Open (12.1 million). The Daytona 500 also maintained its position as the No. 1 motorsports event on television, outdistancing last year’s Indianapolis 500 by 122% (7.2 million).
    The 2009 Daytona 500 on Fox on FOX averaged a 9.2/19 household rating/share according to fast national figures released by Nielsen Media Research. This year’s edition of the Great American Race is the second broadcast by FOX since 2001 negatively impacted by the weather. The last rain-shortened Daytona 500 came in 2003, and posted a 9.8/21, with an average audience of 16.8 million viewers. Last year’s full 200 lap, 500 mile race earned a 10.2/20, with 17.8 million viewers. Clearly, Sunday’s rain interruption prevented the Daytona 500 from enjoying the explosive viewership growth it typically experiences over its final laps. The 2009 Daytona 500 was called due to rain with 48 of 200 laps remaining. Last year, viewers arrived in droves to catch the conclusion of the race, lifting the rating for the last half-hour of racing +16% higher than the previous half-hour (12.1 vs. 10.4). On Sunday, the final half-hour grew by just +1% over the previous half-hour (9.8 vs. 9.7).(Fox Sports PR)(2-17-2009)
  • Gilliland to drive the #71 for next four races UPDATE: the TRG team — that stands for The Racers Group — led by owner Kevin Buckler, whose car, driven by Mike Wallace, missed the Daytona 500 by one position. That one position cost $500,000, Buckler said. “Last place in the Daytona 500 pays $250,000, and I had a sponsor who was ready to come aboard for the race, if we made it, for another $250,000. So it hurt.” But Buckler is entered in the California race next week, and he plans to attempt the next four races with driver David Gilliland, who was the odd man out in the Yates organization this year.(Orlando Sentinel)(2-16-2009)
    UPDATE: David Gilliland will drive the #71 TRG Motorsports Chevy in round two of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Sunday, February 22. Daytona 500 winning crew chief, Richard “Slugger” Labbe, has also joined the team. The 33-year old Gilliland raced in 2008 for Robert Yates behind the wheel of the #38 and was the 2007 Daytona 500 Pole Winner. Gilliland is originally from Riverside, California, just up the road from Fontana. He cut his teeth on ovals all over the West Coast in his ascension up the NASCAR ladder. Slugger Labbe knows how to win in NASCAR’s premier league. As a crew chief at Dale Earnhardt Inc., he won two races at Daytona including the 2003 Daytona 500. Labbe most recently worked with Red Bull Racing in driver development [and was Mike Skinner’s crew chief in his attempt to make the 2009 Daytona 500 in the #23 Chevy]. TRG Motorsports’ Kevin Buckler is determined to establish the team in the Sprint Cup Series. “Daytona was a hard lesson,” Buckler said. “We are determined to put the right pieces in place to be successful. David has the most experience in the COT car of any driver available. Slugger gives us a lot of experience working with the COT car. We were short a few pieces at Daytona, but I believe we have put the right people together to have a successful weekend in California.”(TRG Motorsports PR)(2-17-2009) .
  • R&L Carriers to sponsor Kenseth for four races: R&L Carriers is an associate sponsor for #17-Matt Kenseth. For a total of four races this season (May 24-Charlotte, July 4-Daytona, Sept. 6-Atlanta and Oct. 11-California), Kenseth’s Ford will prominently display the green and yellow colors of R&L as well as the company’s logo, according to Donald R. DeLuca, vice president and general counsel for R&L. For the remainder of the Sprint Cup season, R&L Carriers brand will be located on either the rear quarter panel or on the TV panel. This is the final year of a three-year contract R&L has with Kenseth.(Wilmington News Journal), see images of the #17 Team Schemes page for the image of the scheme.(2-17-2009)
  • Farmers Insurance to sponsor Kvapil at California: Yates Racing announced that Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, will sponsor Travis Kvapil and the #28 Ford Fusion in the February 22nd Sprint Cup Series race at Fontana, California. “It’s another great opportunity for the #28 team and Yates Racing to have Farmers Insurance on board for next weekend’s race at Fontana,” said Yates Racing driver Travis Kvapil. “Yates and Ford Racing have a great intermediate track program which gives us a lot to look forward to next weekend at Fontana.”
    “This is an exciting first for Farmers and we are pleased to sponsor Travis Kvapil in next Sunday’s Sprint Cup race,” commented Kevin Kelso, Farmers Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “The Farmers Insurance family of 21,000 employees and 26,000 agents from coast-to-coast are long time fans of NASCAR. We will all be cheering for Yates Racing and a big win for Travis Kvapil.” The #28 Farmers Insurance Ford Fusion will debut next Friday, February 20th during opening practice of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race weekend at Fontana, Calif. For more information about Farmers Group, visit farmers.com.(Yates Racing PR)(2-17-2009)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2009 Daytona 500:
    Total number of commercials: 126
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 64
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 42
    Total number of ‘Digger’ appearances: 19
    Total number of three-minute movie previews during broadcast (for ‘Watchmen’): 1
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 8 min. 45 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:20 pm
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:48 pm
    Total minutes: 208
    Minutes of race broadcast: 150
    Minutes of commercials: 58
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of stars in sunglasses: 1 (Tom Cruise)
    Number of legends waving the green flag: 1 (Bobby Allison)
    Total race brdcst time 150 Total comm. brdcst time 58
    See more on my 2009 TV Commercials page.(2-17-2009)
  • Childress Earns Humanitarian Honors: The philanthropic efforts of Richard Childress, who, with his family, established the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, are being recognized through humanitarian awards and financial support for the Institute. Since December, Childress has been honored with the 2008 NASCAR Home Depot Humanitarian Award and the N.C. Motorsports Association’s Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award, given in part for charitable work off the track. “Richard’s generous spirit and commitment to this cause will bring awareness to pediatric traumatic injuries and help save the lives of countless children in the future,” said Frank Bifulco, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of The Home Depot. The NCMA Tribute Award honored Childress, who celebrates his 40th anniversary as a NASCAR Cup Series team owner in 2009, for his accomplishments in motor sports, his compassion and philanthropic efforts off the track, and his individual integrity and character. Childress’s work on behalf of the Institute has earned significant recent contributions. The Institute received a $1 million commitment from John L. Morris, founder and chief executive officer of Bass Pro Shops, and a $1 million pledge has been made by a private family foundation that wishes to remain anonymous. The Childress family and the Medical Center are working with corporations and individuals to raise $20 million needed to establish the Institute. Because of significant programs and infrastructure in place at the Medical Center, the Institute will devote most of the monies to research, education, treatment and prevention and to raising national awareness about childhood injuries. For more information, visit www.childresspediatrictrauma.orgwww.wfubmc.edu or call (866) 635-8190.(PR)(2-17-2009)
  • Legendary Car Owner Raymond Parks at Daytona 500: Over half a century after his cars and drivers raced their way into history, former NASCAR team owner Raymond Parks returned to the track for Sunday’s 51st Daytona 500. Parks, who celebrates his 95th birthday in 2009, attended the pre-race drivers meeting. He also participated in several photos with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and NASCAR President Mike Helton, plus another photo with one of his historic race cars – a black 1939 Ford Coupe on display in Daytona International Speedway’s Sprint FANZONE. A Dawson County, Georgia native, Parks is one of stock-car racing’s earliest – and most successful – team owners. NASCAR founder Bill France drove for him and his cars were considered among the best of their time. “Raymond Parks is one of the nicest men the sport has ever known,” said Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president for corporate communications. “He’s a true southern gentleman, and he supported the sport long before NASCAR was a household word.” Funded by successful business and real estate ventures in Atlanta, Park began his career as a stock-car owner in 1938 with drivers Lloyd Seay and Roy Hall. His pairing with another Atlantan, mechanic Red Vogt, produced equipment good enough to dominate the sport throughout much of the 1940s. Driver Red Byron won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title in 1949 in a Parks-owned car. Parks retired from racing in 1952.(NASCAR PR)(2-17-2009)

    News from February 16, 2009

  • Kenseth’s Winning #17 Inducted Into Daytona 500 Experience: The victory celebration of the 51st annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race continued Monday morning as Matt Kenseth’s #17 DeWalt Ford was inducted into the Daytona 500 Experience – the Official Attraction of NASCAR –during the annual ConAgra Champion’s Breakfast. Kenseth, owner Jack Roush and crew chief Drew Blickensderfer participated in a fan forum inside the attraction and received their winning Daytona 500 leather jackets from Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig. The three were joined by the rest of the #17 Roush Fenway Racing crew to continue the tradition of signing the car, which will be on display inside the attraction until the 52nd annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 14, 2010. “To win the 500 is really cool,” said Kenseth, who also unveiled the logo for next year’s Daytona 500 to the media attending the event. “It’s pretty cool that the 17 group and team that Jack and Robbie (Reiser, former crew chief, current GM of Roush Fenway Racing) assembled was able to win that first championship and first Daytona 500.”
    “The first 14 times that I came to Daytona for road racing I always took a trophy home – every time,” said Roush, referring to his Rolex 24 success. “As we started coming with the Cup cars and it didn’t happen right away, I kind of put it out of my mind and decided that I was snake-bit – that I had already had more success than I deserved and I would be denied this one.” Not wanting to jinx his chances of a victory, Kenseth was not prepared for this week’s whirlwind media tour in New York City and California. He had to fly back home after last night’s race to pack before returning to Daytona for this morning’s celebration. “I wasn’t prepared for it kind of on purpose,” Kenseth said. “One year I was thinking, ‘They take you all these places, don’t want you to go home afterwards, you’re gone all week – so I’ll bring some extra clothes.’ That was my worst 500 I think we’ve ever had. “I told (wife) Katie if it happens and we win, I’ll worry about it then. So I had to worry about it last night. They’re not going to let us go home until after California, so I needed to go home for a few hours.”
    Among the media duties Kenseth will perform this week include appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night and Live with Regis and Kelly on Tuesday morning. “As a kid, I always watched Letterman with my dad,” Kenseth said. “Of any TV show I could ever be on, I’ve always wanted to be on Letterman. The first two times I’ve been on there we’ve done the Top 10 list and I’ve never got to meet him or talk to him. This time I think I get to sit down and talk to him so I’m looking forward to that.”(DIS PR)(2-16-2009)
  • Starr in the #51? hearing that Camping World Truck Series driver, David Starr, will attempt to make the Sprint Cup race at California this week for #51 Blackjack Racing. Kelly Bires attempted to make the Daytona 500 in the car, but failed to race inot the field in the Gatorade Duel. If Starr makes the field, he will be making his Sprint Cup Series debut. Dexter Bean is scheduled to attempt the Cup race at Las Vegas in the #51.(2-16-2009) .
  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series
    * Matt Kenseth won the 51st running of the Daytona 500.
    * This was the fourth rain-shortened Daytona 500. The previous rain-shortened 500s: 1965,133 laps; 1966, 198 laps; and 2003, 109 laps. Sunday’s race ran 152 laps. The last rain-shortened Cup race was at Loudon last June.
    * Kenseth became the 33rd different winner of the Daytona 500, scoring his first victory in 10 starts in this prestigious race. It was his first restrictor-plate victory. His previous best finish at Daytona was a third-place finish in July 2008. That third-place was also his previous best restrictor-plate finish in 36 restrictor-plate races.
    * Kenseth posted his 17th career Sprint Cup victory in his 329th career start. Roush Fenway’s previous best finish in the 500 was second three times: Jeff Burton (2000) and Kurt Busch (2003 and 2005).
    * Kenseth was winless in 2008, with his last Sprint Cup win coming at Homestead in November 2007. He led once in Sunday’s 500 for the final seven laps.
    * Kyle Busch led the most laps in the race, leading twice for 88 laps.
    * Kevin Harvick finished second.
    * Ford posted its 11th victory in 51 Daytona 500s. Chevrolet has 20 500 victories, while Dodge has four.
    * Scott Speed (35th) was the highest-finishing rookie contender among the two rookies who raced. Speed started 38th.
    * Michael Waltrip (seventh) was the highest-finishing Toyota.
    * There were five first-time starters in this year’s 500: AJ Allmendinger (third), Marcos Ambrose (17th), Aric Almirola (30th), Speed (35th) and Joey Logano (43rd).
    * The top 10 consisted of four Dodges, three Chevrolets, two Fords and one Toyota.(ESPN Monday Rundown)(2-16-2009)
  • 51 races, 4 rain outs: four Daytona 500’s out of the 51 run have been shortened by rain:
    1965 won by Fred Lorenzen, ran 129 laps for 322.5 miles
    1966 won by Richard Petty, ran 198 laps for 495 miles
    2003 won by Michael Waltrip, ran 109 laps for 272.5 miles
    2009 won by Matt Kenseth, ran 152 laps for 380 miles.(2-16-2009)
  • Denny Hamlin Gives Race Tickets to NASCAR Fans: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing has decided to give something back to the fans that have made NASCAR one of America’s most popular sports. Hamlin will purchase four tickets to every race on this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. Fans will have an opportunity to share with Hamlin why they want to sit in his seats. All of the entries will be considered and the individual, couple or family that resides near that weekend’s race and who has submitted the best entry will win four tickets to that weekend’s race. Fans can find more information, including instructions how to submit an entry, at www.dennyhamlin.com. “NASCAR fans have made this sport what it is today and I wanted to do something to help make sure those great fans aren’t missing out on the chance to see races in person,” said Hamlin. “I realize that these are tough economic times so the opportunity to offer race tickets free of charge seemed like the best way to thank a NASCAR fan.”(JGR PR)(2-16-2009)
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts NASCAR Contingency Award: O’Reilly Auto Parts, the official auto parts store of NASCAR, will sponsor a Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and a Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) contingency special award this season. The O’Reilly Auto Parts “People, Service and Performance” award recognizes the team effort made both on the track and in the pits. The NSCS and NCWTS driver who records the fastest lap time and lowest cumulative pit stop time of the event will be the award winner. In order to be eligible, the driver must finish the race on the lead lap. In the event of a tie, the award will be presented to the driver with the highest finishing position in the event. The winning NSCS team will receive a $5,000 check each race and the team which wins the most awards during the course of the season will be awarded with a $100,000 year-end bonus. The winning NCWTS team will receive a $1,000 check each race and the team which wins the most awards during the course of the season will be awarded with a $10,000 year-end bonus.(NASCAR PR)(2-16-2009)
  • ONMC Awards 2008 NASCAR Biggest Fan: The Official NASCAR Members Club announced that Julie Geary from Lindenwold, N.J. has been named NASCAR Biggest Fan for 2008 and received $25,000 as part of its promotion throughout the year asking for fans to prove their ultimate fanhood. Geary bested the several hundred entries received and joined three other finalist winners in Daytona Beach, Fla. for an awards presentation prior to the Daytona 500 Sprint Cup Series race. Second place and winner of $10,000 is Nick Deweese of Chesapeake, Va. Third place went to Dennis O’Keefe of Charlotte, N.C. who won $5,000 and fourth-place went to Dennis Muldoon of Spring Hill, Fla. who receives a $1,000 shopping spree at the NASCAR.COM Superstore. The contest, in which NASCAR fans register, post up to five videos, view and rate others, takes advantage of the power of the internet as well as the viral power of NASCAR fans coast to coast. The contest was formed by the Official NASCAR Members Club and ZigZadZ, a user-generated content company that brings users together with advertisers. The ONMC will launch the 2009 NASCAR Biggest Fan contest on March 15, 2009. Home for the contest is www.nascarbiggestfan.com.(NASCAR PR)(2-16-2009)

News from February 15, 2009

  • Kenseth wins the Daytona 500: #17-Matt Kenseth won the 2009 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, his first Daytona 500 win and Roush Fenway Racing’s first Daytona 500. The race was called due to rain after 152 [of 200] laps. Kenseth started 39, the farthest back a driver has ever started and won at Daytona. The win is Kenseth’s 17th of his career. #29-Harvick finished 2nd followed by #44-Allmendinger, #33-Bowyer, #19-Sadler, #6-Ragan, #55-Waltrip, #14-Stewart, #43-Sorenson and #2-Busch. Pole sitter 31-Truex Jr. finished 11th. 2008 Cup Champion, #48-Johnson finished 31st. Last years Daytona 500 winner, #39-Newman, was never a factor and finished 36th. #18-Busch led the most laps with 88, was caught up in the ‘big one’ and finished 41st. There were 8 cautions for 36 laps and 10 drivers led a lap with 11 lead changes. The race is scheduled to re-air on SPEED, Thursday, February at 12:00pm/et.
    See race results, laps led and more on my Daytona Race Results page.(2-15-2009)
  • UNOFFICAL Driver Points Standings [after Daytona race 1 of 36]:
    1) #17-Matt Kenseth 190 [1 win]
    2) #29-Kevin Harvick 170 -20
    3) #44-A.J. Allmendinger 165 -25
    4) #33-Clint Bowyer 160 -30
    5) #19-Elliott Sadler 160 -30
    6) #6-David Ragan 150 -40
    7) #14-Tony Stewart 147 -43
    8) #55-Michael Waltrip 146 -44
    9) #43-Reed Sorenson 138 -52
    10) #1-Martin Truex Jr. 135 -55
    11) #2-Kurt Busch 134 -56
    12) #24-Jeff Gordon 129 -61
    13) #00-David Reutimann 127 -63
    14) #42-Juan Montoya 121 -69
    See drivers and owners points standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Daytona page.(2-15-2009)
  • Did ya know? the last two Daytona 500’s run on February 15th were won by an Earnhardt? Dale Earnhardt won on Feb. 15, 1998 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. won on Feb. 15, 2004. BUT not in 2009.(2-15-2009)
  • Petty not happy bout merger: Kyle Petty is displeased with the way Petty Enterprises was consumed by Gillett Evernham Motorsports — then renamed Richard Petty Motorsports — and was “crushed” the new team co-opted a bit of his personal history. “Petty Enterprises ceased to exist when it left (ancestral home) Level Cross, N.C.,” said Petty, who does not have a Sprint Cup ride for the first time since 1979. “It further ceased to exist whenever the other group bought it, and that’s just a fact of life.” But Petty was perhaps most irked by RPM’s move to use, without consultation, a #44 Dodge for A.J. Allmendinger with the paint scheme Petty bore in winning in his first start, a 1979 ARCA race at Daytona. Petty drove the #44 at Petty Enterprises until his son Adam was killed in 2000, then he switched to his son’s #45. “I was crushed. I was hurt and I’m not going to get over it for a while,” Petty, 48, said. “And that’s a personal thing. That’s me. That’s not … anything to do with anything else. That was my paint job and my car and my number and my stuff from my first win. Not for Petty Enterprises or GEM or whoever that is.”(St Petersburg Times)(2-15-2009)
  • MRN celebrates 40th year of coverage: Motor Racing Network (MRN Radio) celebrates its 40th DAYTONA 500 tomorrow by broadcasting the event over nearly 500 affiliate stations across North America, highlighted by legendary MRN personality Barney Hall calling his 50th “Great American Race.”
    “We are thrilled to celebrate our 40th DAYTONA 500 this year and look forward to bringing NASCAR’s most prestigious race to fans throughout North America in multiple languages and across multiple distribution networks including 490 affiliate stations, internet radio at NASCAR.com, and Sirius-XM Satellite Radio,” said David Hyatt, president of MRN. “Our outstanding team of broadcasters, including the legendary Barney Hall, will call the exciting lap by lap action tomorrow. MRN Radio has already covered DIRECTV Speedweeks at Daytona, providing complete coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Camping World Truck Series, Gatorade Duel at Daytona, and live race talk programming throughout the entire week,” added Hyatt. “In my five decades of calling races, I’ve never been this excited to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup season,” said MRN personality Barney Hall. “I think I speak for the entire MRN team when I tell you we feel privileged to bring the live action from the ‘World Center of Racing’ to the millions of fans across North America. We can’t wait to kick off the 2009 season.”(MRN PR)(2-15-2009) .
  • Baldwin and Riggs gets sponsors for Daytona UPDATE: Red Bank Ale & Quail Outfitters of Red Bluff, CA will be running two cars at Daytona. The #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing Toyota that Scott Riggs will drive in the the Sprint Cup Gatorade Duels and the Daytona 500 [if Riggs qualifies for the race] and #81DJ Kinnington in the Nationwide Series (Red Bank site)(2-12-2009)
    UPDATE: Tommy Baldwin Racing inks Red Bank Outfitters as the primary sponsor for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway and for the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California.(TBR PR)
    UPDATE 2: Tommy Baldwin Racing announced that Mahindra USA Tractors will be an associate sponsor on the #36 Toyota during the 51st Running of the Daytona 500. The Mahindra decal will be located on the TV panel of the white, red and black machine. Mahindra, the primary sponsor for Mike Skinner’s No. 23 machine, jumped on board after Skinner failed to qualify for the Daytona 500.(Everest Marketing/TBR PR). See an image of the #36 on my #36 Team Schemes page.(2-15-2009) .
  • Harley J. Earl trophy, who was Earl? The Daytona 500? Its trophy is named after Harley J. Earl. Who was Earl? No drivers asked knew about Earl. None of these responses come as a surprise to Richard Earl, Harley’s grandson. The 48-year-old West Palm Beach resident is determined to put his late grandfather’s prize on a figurative mantel alongside the most-recognized prizes in sports. Richard Earl believes Daytona’s annual Speed Weeks, which culminate in Sunday’s 50th running of the Daytona 500, should be a perfect platform for a Harley Earl renaissance. He had hoped to do much to educate the public about his grandfather’s legacy, but his plans haven’t materialized. He’s disillusioned, not sure he’ll even accept Daytona International Speedway’s invitation to attend the race. “When you look at all their promotion for the upcoming race, there’s very little mention of Harley,” Richard Earl said. “This guy did a lot. His name’s on this trophy for a reason. He’s a real icon.” Harley Earl was an automotive pioneer, the father of car design. He has been called the “Da Vinci of Detroit.” When he began in the 1920s American cars were basically boxes on wheels. By the time he retired in 1958, he and his designers had created many “concept cars” that looked more like spacecraft.(Palm Beach Post). Richard Earl, a former Wall Street broker, makes his living selling Harley Earl-designed cars. ” ‘Motoramic masterpieces’ is how I like to refer to them,” he said. He maintains the official Harley Earl Web site, carofthecentury.com, and is working on a biography of his grandfather.(2-15-2009) .
  • Rusty Wallace Inc considering Cup with RCR help: The union of two families with passionate racing backgrounds has led Rusty Wallace to seriously consider a 2009 Sprint Cup Series debut with his own team, and a possible full-time venture in the near future. In the offseason Wallace did a deal with Las Vegas businessman Michael Gaughan, whose family excelled in off-road and Truck Series racing. The deal put his son Brendan Gaughan, 33 — an eight-time Truck Series winner and Wallace’s former Cup teammate at Penske Racing — in RWR’s #62 car. “I do want to run some Cup races with Stephen this year, I do. And probably my best avenue to do something with that would be with Richard Childress. I’m a Chevy team; Richard builds all our motors [Earnhardt Childress Racing Technologies] — it just kind of makes sense.” Rusty Wallace said. “I never had a whole lot of desire to drive in the Nationwide Series,” Gaughan said. “I liked the Camping World Trucks, and I wanted to get back to Sprint Cup, but on my own terms, and Rusty really has me excited about this. Doing this with Rusty is probably the only way I’d be this excited. He brings that out of me and out of all his guys. “I’m looking at this and saying, ‘Yeah, I want to get back to Sprint Cup one day, on my terms, but I know that Rusty wants to maybe go Sprint Cup racing one day on his terms, with his team so if I can do well and me and [Steve] can work together and get it to where we both can run, then maybe I’ve found my home on my terms with a family organization that likes me, wants me and we can make a long future with.(NASCAR.com)(2-15-2009)
  • Sad News – Matt Hawkins: Matt Hawkins, one of the brightest young stars of the short track world, has passed away at the age of 21. Hawkins lost his life after an incident involving an accidental gun discharge Friday night in Georgia. On the track, Hawkins had built up an amazing resume. He won in his first career starts in both the ARCA RE/MAX Series and USAR Pro Cup Series – a seemingly-impossible accomplishment that may never be matched. He also won numerous Pro Late Model races in the Southeast and finished in the top three of the Snowball Derby for the last two seasons.(51 Sports)
    AND It is with great shock and sadness that Motorsports Management International confirms that Matt Hawkins, a young stock car racer from Canton, Georgia, died Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009 from a tragic accident at his home, according to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office in Canton. Funeral arrangements have been scheduled for South Canton Funeral Home & Chapel on Monday, February 16 at 2:00pm/et. Viewing is available anytime after 12:00pm/et on Sunday, February 15.(MMI)(2-15-2009)


    News from February 14, 2009

  • Stewart & Newman wreck in Happy Hour practice: #14-Tony Stewart and #39-Ryan Newman wrecked during the final Daytona 500 practice, tearing up Stewart-Haas Racing’s two cars before Sunday’s season-opening race. Newman, the defending Daytona 500 winner, lost his right rear tire Saturday and his car spun out of control. Stewart, his car owner, was trailing tightly around Daytona International Speedway and couldn’t avoid running into him. Both drivers had to go to backup cars, and both were livid with Goodyear. They blamed the tiremaker for providing a poor product that cost them their race cars before NASCAR’s biggest event of the year. “Same stuff that we always talk about every year, failures Goodyear has,” said Stewart, who frequently takes the tiremaker to task. “I think that’s part of their marketing campaign — the more we talk about it, the more press they get. But, I think they forget it’s supposed to be in a good way, not a bad way.” Stewart, a two-time series champion, turned to the car he drove to a third-place finish in last week’s Budweiser Shootout. But by going to a backup, he forfeited his fifth-place starting spot. Newman needed his second backup of Speedweeks: He wrecked two others since arriving in Daytona.(ESPN/AP)
    AND Stewart is now driving Chassis No. 14-454, which is the car he drove to a third-place finish in last Saturday’s non-point Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. It is a carryover chassis from the former Haas CNC team, as it made its debut at Talladega in October 2007 with driver Johnny Sauter, who qualified 39th and led two laps before finishing 12th. It participated in winter testing at Daytona in 2008 before Scott Riggs piloted the car in the Daytona 500, where he qualified 27th and finished 21st. The #14 team was able to get some track time during final practice with Chassis No. 14-454. It will now be wrapped in Office Depot/Old Spice colors for the Daytona 500.
    Ryan Newman is now driving Chassis No. 39-452. Its history consists of three restrictor-plate track tests in 2007, three Talladega races (fall 2007, spring and fall 2008) and one Daytona attempt. This car was tentatively slated as the backup for the #14 team if its Budweiser Shootout car was damaged in the race, hence the red paint. Once the #14 team’s Budweiser Shootout car emerged from the race unscathed, Chassis No. 39-452 was designated as a communal backup racecar for both the #14 and #39 teams should anything happen to either team during the remainder of Daytona Speedweeks. The #39 team was already using its designated backup car during final practice after crashing its primary racecar in the Gatorade Duel. The #39 team was unable to get Chassis No. 39-452 on the track during final practice. It will now be wrapped in U.S. Army colors for the Daytona 500.(True Speed Communication PR)(2-14-2009)
  • NASCAR HotPass is FREE in 2009 Feel every thunderous turn of the 2009 Sprint Cup Series with 4 driver channels, compliments of DIRECTV:
    * Each Driver Channel focuses on one driver throughout the race
    * See the network broadcast and video from the driver’s in-car camera on one screen
    * Listen to the broadcast network audio and the driver’s team audio.
    NASCAR HotPass has been reformatted for 2009, but still has many of the same features as previous seasons. Some features have changed and are no longer available.(DIRECTV.com)(2-14-2009)
  • Dale Jr. running out of time for championship? #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is approaching a dangerous statistical marker as he enters his 10th season as a Sprint Cup driver. Only two Cup champions — Bobby Allison in 1983 and Dale Jarrett in 1999 — raced as long as Earnhardt has before they won their first title. It took Allison 18 years racing full time before he won his only championship, two weeks before turning 46. Jarrett did it in his 13th season, five days before he turned 44. Earnhardt is only 34, so time is on his side, but history isn’t. Of all the drivers who have suited up as full-time competitors for 10 years or more, Allison and Jarrett are the only ones who became champions in their second decade of racing.(ESPN)(2-14-2009)
  • NASCAR evaluating new restart rule: NASCAR is evaluating the 50-foot distance announced at the Budweiser Shootout as the new standard for the leader to restart an event. It could decrease from track to track based on driver input, officials said. Under the new rule, the leader has between the double-red line 50 feet from the start-finish line and single-red line at the start-finish line to start the race. Otherwise, the starter on the flag stand will start the field.(ESPN.com)(2-14-2009)
  • Florida War Hero to be Guest of Newman: Sgt. 1st Class Samuel Potter, a decorated war hero, will be a guest of Ryan Newman and the #39 U.S. Army/Stewart-Haas Racing team for Sunday’s running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Potter, a native of Tallahassee, who now resides in Daytona and works as an Army recruiter in Orlando, was awarded the Purple Heart when his truck came into contact with an improvised explosive device in Iraq on Aug. 7, 2004. He suffered shrapnel injuries to his neck, face and upper arm in the explosion. Additionally, Potter was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service by playing an instrumental role in establishing guidelines to increase security for his company’s convoys in Iraq, as he proposed new rules for gun crews and convoy commanders. His changes in weapon systems and tactics became standard training for crews to provide maximum protection for convoy personnel. During his tour in Iraq, Potter was responsible for more than 50 missions as a convoy commander and 80 missions as a lead gunner, logging more than 20,000 miles in the face of explosives and small arms fire on a daily basis.(Stewart Haas Racing/U.S. Army Racing PR)(2-14-2009)
  • Almirola won’t run full season without full funding: Aric Almirola will not run the full 2009 Sprint Cup season unless funding is secured, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing co-owner Chip Ganassi said Friday afternoon. Ganassi would not specify how many races Almirola, who has sponsorship from Guitar Hero for a select number of events, would run, but he said he definitely will run the first five. “I’d like to sit here and tell you we’re close,” Ganassi said. “But the fact of the matter is we’re not. We’re not unlike … a situation we were in a year ago, but we’re going to give it our best shot. We need more funding to run Aric.” Almirola has 18 career starts over the last two seasons and hopes to run the entire 2009 schedule.(SceneDaily)(2-14-2009)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2009 Gatorade Duels
    Total number of commercials: 96 Total number of companies or entities advertised: 47 Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 17 Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:11 PM Total minutes: 191 Minutes of race broadcast: 141 Minutes of commercials: 50 Number of missed restarts: 1 Total race brdcst time 141 Total comm. brdcst time 50 For more see my 2009 Commercials page.(2-14-2009)
  • Goodyear takes back tires UPDATE: Goodyear took back eight right-side tires that it had assigned to teams, believing that they came from a possible bad batch that could have resulted in some of the tire problems Sprint Cup teams had Thursday during the Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway. The tires were replaced Friday, according to a Goodyear spokesman. Goodyear Director of Race Tire Sales Greg Stucker had said earlier in the day that the company was trying to figure out what had happened in a couple of the instances. Overall, Stucker said prior to practice Friday that he was “pretty happy” with the tire wear so far this week.(SceneDaily)
    UPDATE: After Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin had problems in the 150-mile qualifiers, Goodyear noticed that portions of their tires in question were all manufactured on the same day. So Goodyear took back the eight tires that had the same components made on that day as a precautionary measure. Results of any tests won’t be known until next week, said Goodyear general manager of racing tires Stu Grant. No other tires will be mounted for the Daytona 500 on Sunday that came from that batch, Grant said Saturday morning at Daytona International Speedway. “It looked like either a tire that blistered and kept blistering or a tire that was severely worn,” Grant said. “It looked a little more severe than some of the other ones. It looked different enough that it’s why we looked at the sequence numbers and see if there was anything common there. We noticed a common processing date for one of our manufacturing components.” The teams were not doing anything excessive with the setups, Grant said. “Everything we know is circumstantial right now,” Grant said. “You look at it and you say you have the same common processing date for these tires, so let’s get them back and be sure.”(SceneDaily)(2-14-2009)
  • Bernstein, Hobbs, Parker, Richter, Unser, Jr., Wheeler & Weatherly to be inducted into MHOF: Racing legends Kenny Bernstein, David Hobbs, Scott Parker, Les Richter, Al Unser, Jr., H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler and Joe Weatherly will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America when the organization stages its annual induction ceremony on Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit. Tickets for the induction ceremony can be purchased by calling 248-349-RACE (7223). More info on the Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame at mshf.com.(MHOF PR)(2-14-2009)

    News from February 13, 2009

  • Friday practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway is over, the top five:
    #26-McMurray 191.546
    #7-Gordon 191.424
    #98-Menard 190.307
    #44-Allmendinger 190.170
    #16-Biffle 190.126
    slowest: #66-Labonte 182.304 and #21-Elliott 186.982
    Kyle Busch ran some laps in the #20 for Logano to help shake it down
    #29-Harvick smacked the wall, did enough damage that the team will pull out the backup
    no speeds/not practicing (6): #11-Hamlin, #82-Speed, #36-Riggs, #8-Almirola, #41-Mayfield, #18-Busch
    See speeds, ave speeds, laps run and more on my Daytona Practice Speeds Page.(2-13-2009)
  • The Hartford Set to Sponsor RCR: With its iconic stag logo ready to stand firm on the hood at top speeds of 200 miles per hour, The Hartford Financial Services Group announced that it will sponsor Richard Childress Racing’s #33 Chevy and driver Clint Bowyer at the following three Sprint Cup Series races this year – Dover International Speedway on May 31, New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 28, and Pocono Raceway on August 2. The Hartford will also be an associate sponsor of RCR’s #31 Caterpillar Chevy and driver Jeff Burton in the Sprint Cup Series. Both Bowyer and Burton will be spokesmen for the program, which will focus primarily on automobile and home insurance. For more information about The Hartford’s commitment to racing, see thehartfordracing.com.(RCR PR)(2-13-2009)
  • No Fear Racing merges, to run more races UPDATE: during ESPN2’s NASCAR Show, Boris Said said Rick Clark Motorsports and No Fear Racing will merge in which Clark will have majority ownership. The team is expected to run 12-18 races this season. No word if Said will continue to run the #08 or go back to the #60. Clark has been trying to organize a team in either the Nationwide or Sprint Cup series for the past couple of years and has also led the Drive for Diversity initiative in NASCAR in the past. Said mentioned that an official announcement will be made at Daytona on Thursday where more details will be made known.(2-9-2009)
    UPDATE: A 10:00am press conference is scheduled for Thursday where it will be announced that Rick Clark of New River, Va., has become majority owner of Cup team that plans to field Boris Said in 12-18 races this season. Adding to the announcement is that Clark is African-American and he would become the first African-American to be a majority owner in a Cup team since Sam Belnavis owned a Cup team in 2003. This isn’t Clark’s first endeavor with NASCAR. Two years ago, he announced plans to begin running in what is now the Nationwide series and move to Cup but had not been heard from since making the announcement.(Virginian Pilot)(2-11-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Rick Clark and Boris Said announced their merger between Rick Clark Motorsports (RCM) and No Fear Racing. The new organization, RCM No Fear Racing, will form a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team with majority minority ownership. Clark, an African American businessman who spent eight years in the NFL as an agent for several players, was lured to the appeal of NASCAR and the opportunity to create a multicultural approach to auto racing which focuses on America’s youth by noted friend and ESPN lead broadcaster Dr. Jerry Punch. The race team will create a platform from which other marketing programs will be launched to increase inclusion in the industry. Said, with crew chief Frank Stoddard, will remain the driver of the #60 car and is expected to compete in 12-18 events in 2009, although competing in the #08 car this weekend through a prior commitment. Among the events that the RCM No Fear Racing team expect to compete are restrictor plate and road course events where Said has had past success. Mobile marketing and an animated movie make up the other marketing verticals, and a foundation will be established to give back to minority communities in need. In addition to Clark, prominent Wall Street and emerging markets finance lawyer, Al Tindall, is a principal in the RCM No Fear Racing team.(Performance PR Plus)(2-12-2009)
    UPDATE 3: The two plan to run 12-18 races this season with Said behind the wheel, anticipating additional funding to run a full-time schedule in 2010. RCM / No Fear will start up teams in NASCAR’s lower series, specifically selecting women and minority drivers who can develop over the next few seasons. The goal is to have a teammate at the Cup level for Said by no later than 2012. Debuting at Atlanta in the #60 Ford, this gives his team the cash infusion it needs to not only survive, but also thrive in this tough economy. But at 46, Said knows his days behind the wheel are numbered … and he’s excited to be a part of a future project that could change the landscape of the sport in the long-term. “Boris in not your ‘cookie-cutter’ driver,” Clark said of the road-racing veteran who’s also won a pole at Daytona in a Cup car. “He has a wide appeal, and will serve us well in developing young drivers who might not otherwise have a shot in the sport.” Those young drivers are rumored to be men like motocross champ “Bubba” Stewart, Drive For Diversity graduates Marc Davis and Chris Bristol, and Mexican driver Rogelio Lopez. Whoever gets selected, the long-term plan is for Said and Clark to partner with Nationwide and Truck Series programs to get these drivers an opportunity in top-level equipment to prove themselves under the RCM / No Fear banner. Those partnerships could begin as early as later this year. To support those efforts off the track, Clark plans a groundbreaking marketing program designed to diversify NASCAR’s fan base. Debuting a clothing line called “Krewe Wear” in association with his program, the team will look to market an entire brand of NASCAR-related merchandise to urban America, using some of the profits to expand and develop their program.(Sports Illustrated)(2-13-2009)
  • TRG unsure if they will run California: TRG Motorsports missed making the Daytona 500 by one place after finishing 13th in the second Gatorade Duel 150 with Mike Wallace in the #71 TRG Motorsports Chevy. Wallace started from the 22nd position and steadily moved toward the front of the field. The race witnessed two cautions and the fast pit work of the Casey Mears/Jack Daniels crew made up spots for the team with each stop. Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team owner, looks at today as a learning experience and wants more. “We will be back,” Buckler said. “Mike did a good job, the pit stops were flawless and we were in a position to get in there at the end when we got pushed up the track. The ending of theses restrictor plate races can put you in victory lane or on the trailer in one lap. We are entered for California next week for the Sprint Cup race, but I am unsure if we can make it. We will catch our breath and take a look at the calendar and see when it makes sense to run the car again. It will be sooner than later.”(TRG PR)(2-13-2009)
  • Mayfield’s jackman injured: The jack man for #41-Jeremy Mayfield’s team was sent to a local hospital after being injured while working in the pits for another car during Thursday’s first 150-mile qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway. Kyle Roland was taken to nearby Halifax Medical Center after suffering a reported shoulder injury while servicing the car of #27-Kirk Shelmerdine. He was awake and alert. “Our thoughts and prayers go out with him,” said Mayfield, who formed his team less than a month ago, and raced his way into Sunday’s Daytona 500. “Hopefully, he’s OK. We’ll be checking on him shortly. There again, I really don’t know half the guys on our pit crew [Thursday], to be honest with you. I will get to know them because they did a great job and they’re going to be with us quite a while.” Roland’s injury forced Mayfield’s team to use their own substitute jack man for the second of the two events. They borrowed Steve King, a member of Michael Waltrip’s #55 team. Mayfield finished ninth in the race [and qualified for the 500].(NASCAR.com)(2-13-2009)
  • Newman Forced to Backup Car for 500: While running in third place with 13 laps remaining in Thursday’s Gatorade Duel qualifying race, Ryan Newman’s day came to an abrupt halt when his #39 U.S. Army Chevy got punted from behind by the #00 car of David Reutimann. The heavy hit on the backstretch of the 2.5-mile oval turned Newman around as he slapped the concrete wall, then skidded down track before coming to a stop on the infield grass. Newman did not suffer any injuries in the incident, but his car took a front-end beating, forcing the Stewart-Haas team to take out the backup car for Sunday’s running of the Daytona 500. Newman’s was credited with a 24th-place finish in the second qualifying race and will start 36th in the 500.(Stewart Haas Racing PR)
    OTHERS: that will have to go to the rear and will use backup cars: #17-Kenseth, #77-Hornish, #82-Speed.(2-13-2009)
  • Dale Earnhardt to be remembered at Candlelight Tribute: Fans of Dale Earnhardt are being asked to pay tribute on Wednesday February 18th in honor and memory of the legendary driver. A guest book will be available throughout the day at Dale Earnhardt Inc. for those wishing to document their memories of Dale, while a candlelight tribute will be held outside the headquarters on Hwy #3 in Mooresville from 6:00-8:30pm/et The facility will be illuminated with candles while commemorative decals, prayer cards and hand held candles will be distributed to everyone in attendance. The facility’s gates will remain open through 10pm for those that cannot attend the candlelight portion but still want to pay tribute to the legendary Dale Earnhardt. Those unable to attend are encouraged to light a candle in remembrance of Dale Earnhardt at home that evening.(Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(2-13-2009)
  • Daytona 500 heroes meet SI Swimsuit Issue models This weekend’s Fabulous February cover story brings together two American institutions — NASCAR and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition — for the first time. For our exclusive cover story, photo shoot and inside-the-magazine poster, we invited three of NASCAR’s biggest name drivers — Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. — and two top swimsuit models — Brooklyn Decker and Julie Henderson — to pose for famed SI photographer Walter Iooss Jr. at the Richard Petty Driving Experience in Concord, N.C. (Find out what newspaper near you carries USA WEEKEND with this list.) Check out a slideshow of photos from the shoot taken by our senior photo editor, David Baratz, and click read more below for some on-set scoop from senior writer Dennis McCafferty. You’ll also find a time-lapse video that shows you how many people it really takes to make a photo shoot successful. More info at usaweekend.com.(2-13-2009)

    News from February 12, 2009

  • Robby, no interest in merging: The odds are long, the challenge is overwhelming for #7-Robby Gordon. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. In a sport of multi-car operations and technical alliances, Gordon still prefers to go it alone in the Sprint Cup Series. While teammates compare notes and share information, Gordon prefers to rely on his own experience and guile to make his way around the track. Last year, 33 of the top 35-ranked drivers in the series were part of a multi-car operation. Gordon and Dave Blaney represented the single-car approach in 2008, and of those two, Gordon’s team is the only one still in operation. Now on his fourth different manufacturer in as many years, Gordon insists his business model was built out of necessity, not stubbornness. He likes controlling his own destiny, not only inside the car but also in the front office. He likes carving his way through the business, even if contradicts the standard operating procedures of the bigger, more profitable teams. Gordon does it because that’s what works best for him. “I have no interest (in merging with another team),” Gordon said. “We’re trudging forward and building our race team. I think stubborn is the wrong thing. We’re good business people. We’re able to operate our team without going in debt and without doing it over the top without controlling it.”(Augusta Chronicle)(2-12-2009)
  • Engine Malfunction Forces Newman to Rear of Field: Ryan Newman’s #39 U.S. Army Chevy suffered an engine malfunction in today’s (Wednesday) first practice session at Daytona International Speedway. The team was forced to change engines for the afternoon practice session, and under NASCAR rules, an engine change will require Newman to start Thursday’s Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying race from the rear of the field. He was scheduled to start the second 150-miler from the outside pole. The engine change will not affect the Daytona 500 starting order. “Something broke in the engine,” said Newman, the defending Daytona 500 champion. “I’m not really sure what. Obviously the horsepower has been great in qualifying and it felt strong out there. I was just coming up through the gears and getting up to speed and something let go. It’s unfortunate. But these guys have another bullet they can bolt in and we’ll be good to go.”(Stewart Haas Racing PR)(2-12-2009)
  • Evernham’s new gig: For the first time in almost 20 years, Ray Evernham has no real stake in the Daytona 500. The former crew chief turned car owner is mostly retired after giving up his stake in Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Though he still owns a small portion of the company, which was folded into Richard Petty Motorsports last month, Evernham will work mostly as a consultant while doing some TV work for ESPN on the side. That doesn’t mean Evernham, who guided Jeff Gordon to three Cup championships with Hendrick Motorsports before going into business for himself, has lost his need for speed. During a meeting with reporters Wednesday, Evernham passed around a picture of a mock-up of a sleek prototype he hopes will one day set the land speed record for a piston-driven car. Evernham is teaming with good friend and longtime drag racer Doug Herbert on the project. Evernham is handling the financing while Herbert is working on the car. They hope to get it to top 500 mph, well past the current record of 420 mph.(AP/NASCAR.com)(2-12-2009)
  • ESPN Classic Airs Five Classic Daytona 500 Races Starting at 8:00pm/et on Saturday, Feb. 15, the eve of the Daytona 500 , ESPN Classic televises highlights of five of the best Daytona 500 races of all time – 1979, 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2007. In addition, ESPN Classic re-airs an episode of its signature series SportsCentury featuring seven-time Daytona 500 winner Richard Petty on Friday, Feb. 13, at 9am, and an episode with Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Monday, Feb. 16, at 9am.
  • Kurt Busch is ecology-conscious: #2-Kurt Busch is always ecology-conscious and one way he is showing that this season is in his mode of travel while at the race tracks. “We ditched the old gas-powered golf cart for our new state-of-the-art Ruff & Tuff Hunter 4X4,” Kurt said. “It’s the first-ever single motor electric 4-wheel drive cart. Most important is that it’s powered by a ‘clean and green’ dry cell battery system.” “It’ll go at least 50 miles on a single charge,” boasted Kurt’s transportation specialist, Paul Bostic, who became acquainted with the Ruff & Tuff brand through friends at Mossy Oak Camouflage. “It’s a lot of fun to drive. It has great maneuverability and you can shift from 2-wheel to 4-wheel drive in an instant just by pushing a button.”(Tom Roberts PR)(2-12-2009)
  • Greg Biffle Foundation Donates to More Than 100 Groups: The Greg Biffle Foundation announced the recent grant donations to more than 100 humane societies and animal shelters across the United States, doubling the number of grants awarded last year. The Foundation received more than 200 applications throughout the year and was able to assist 112 animal welfare agencies located in 37 different states across the United States. Grant awards will be used to assist these animal welfare agencies with spay/neuter programs, vet care, pet supplies and much more. The Greg Biffle Foundation was founded in 2005 by Greg and Nicole Biffle to create awareness and serve as an advocate to improve the well-being of animals by engaging the power and passion of the motor sports industry.(Roush Fenway Racing PR)(2-12-2009)

    News from February 11, 2009

  • 2nd Wed practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #8-Almirola 191.436
    #17-Kenseth 191.347
    #24-Gordon 191.335
    #18-Busch 191.054
    #7-Gordon 189.725
    slowest: #57-Benning 175.552 and #64-Bodine 179.795
    incidents: late in the session, #9-Kahne got loose leading a pack, #55-Waltrip checked up and #12-Stremme, who washind Waltrip, got into the rear of the #55, sending Waltrip skating accross the track, collecting #26-McMurray. Both cars look like they will be able to be repaired.
    See speeds, fast lap, average speed on my Practice Speeds Page.(2-11-2009)
  • First Wed practice for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway is over, the top 5:
    #9-Kahne 190.994
    #2-Busch 190.840
    #77-Hornish Jr. 190.678
    #07-Mears 190.609
    #55-Waltrip 190.529
    slowest: #57-Benning 178.116 and #27-Shelmerdine 181.536
    54 of 56 cars made it to the track
    no speed: #73-Garvey, #64-Bodine
    incidents: #20-Logano smacked the wall and pancaked the right side of the car
    #39-Newman lost an engine and will have to change the engine
    See speeds, fast lap, average speed on my Practice Speeds Page.(2-11-2009)
  • No brace for Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson didn’t wear a brace in Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout and doesn’t plan to wear one in Thursday’s 150-mile qualifying races, Sunday’s Daytona 500 or any practice sessions. Johnson cut tendons in the middle finger on his left hand last month at the Rolex 24 trying to cut a hole in his fire suit. He has gradually worked down the size of the plastic brace for off-track activities, but none are small enough to wear with a safety glove. “I wear a brace at night so when I’m sleeping I don’t roll over and bend my finger back and hurt the tendon,” Johnson said before Wednesday’s first practice at Daytona International Speedway. “I whacked my wife in the head with it the other day. I clobbered her. She came swinging back, too.”(ESPN.com)(2-11-2009)
  • No Fear Racing merges, to run more races UPDATE: during ESPN2’s NASCAR Show, Boris Said said Rick Clark Motorsports and No Fear Racing will merge in which Clark will have majority ownership. The team is expected to run 12-18 races this season. No word if Said will continue to run the #08 or go back to the #60. Clark has been trying to organize a team in either the Nationwide or Sprint Cup series for the past couple of years and has also led the Drive for Diversity initiative in NASCAR in the past. Said mentioned that an official announcement will be made at Daytona on Thursday where more details will be made known.(2-9-2009)
    UPDATE: A 10:00am press conference is scheduled for Thursday where it will be announced that Rick Clark of New River, Va., has become majority owner of Cup team that plans to field Boris Said in 12-18 races this season. Adding to the announcement is that Clark is African-American and he would become the first African-American to be a majority owner in a Cup team since Sam Belnavis owned a Cup team in 2003. This isn’t Clark’s first endeavor with NASCAR. Two years ago, he announced plans to begin running in what is now the Nationwide series and move to Cup but had not been heard from since making the announcement.(Virginian Pilot)(2-11-2009)
  • Daytona 500 Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be running a different tire set-up than those in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series at Daytona this week . . . Sprint Cup teams will be running the same left-side tire code (D-4180) that they ran at Daytona last July, but they will be running a brand new right-side code (D-4222) . . . the new right-side features a slight change in compound over last year, which is designed to make the tire more heat resistant . . . Daytona is the only track at which Cup teams will run either of these two tire codes 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 Daytona . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 41-43 laps, based on fuel mileage. See full set of notes, pressures, codes and more on my Daytona 500 Race Info page – Goodyear Tire Notes section.(2-11-2009)
  • Ford still using NASCAR to launch new products: Ford Racing cut its budget for 2009, but the manufacturer is using money from other programs to launch some new marketing initiatives aimed at NASCAR race fans, including a new display at Daytona International Speedway in the days leading up to Sunday’s Daytona 500. The 10,000-square-foot display includes 2010 Ford brands such as the Taurus, Mustang, Raptor and a Fusion hybrid. It is being paid for from a budget to promote new brands, including some that are not even on the road yet and have not been introduced at a major car show. The display is one of the ways the manufacturer hopes to get the most out of NASCAR while having a budget that is smaller than in the past. “My Ford Racing expenditures are considerably less this year than last year,” said Ford Racing NASCAR Marketing Manager Tim Duerr. “The midway display [at Daytona] is being funded by the Ford brand team utilizing what we call new-product launch funding. … It’s part of the budget that Ford has to launch new vehicles.” The display is Ford’s second biggest at-track activation for the year. The biggest will come at Homestead-Miami Speedway as part of the Ford-sponsored final weekend of the season. Ford is a sponsor of the Kentucky Truck race, and Ford’s dealers also made a deal with Bristol Motor Speedway, and there will be displays there. Ford has the same number of full-time cars this year as the Wood Brothers went from a full schedule to a part-time schedule, but Yates Racing added Bobby Labonte as part of a partnership with Hall of Fame Racing.(SceneDaily)(2-11-2009)
  • 2009 Schemes: added 112 Daytona 500 qualifying images, all the cars, plus the #99 Subway schemes, PLUS more images from the Bud Shootout including #31 Caterpillar, #14 Old SPice/Office Depot, #48 Lowe’s, #96 Ask.com, #43 McDonald’s, #98 Menards/Quaker State; PLUS the #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing car and a 2009 Bud Shootout Schemes page [all 28 will load] to the Paint Scheme Gallery
  • Chevy still has NASCAR plan: Chevrolet is looking at new ways to connect with NASCAR fans in the wake of substantial cutbacks and a re-evaluation of all spending in the wake of federal assistance given to struggling parent company General Motors, the manufacturer’s racing representative says. To try to compensate for having fewer displays at tracks, for instance, Chevrolet is trying to do more online, especially with advertising for those who might watch or gather NASCAR information online rather than watching on television, says Terry Dolan, manager of Chevy Racing. Dolan says that all fans – whether they can afford a new car or not – remain a key target audience. “We have to appeal to a large base of consumers and their needs,” Dolan said. “Some of that is price. … Additionally, we have to work to keep our dealers viable in some of these difficult times. If in fact, you’re not in position to buy a new car today, we’d sure like you to go to your local Chevrolet dealer to buy a used vehicle.” Among the noticeable areas that Chevrolet has cut back are its deal with the tracks. It still has a display area at Daytona, but it is smaller than in the past. Chevrolet also used to pay for exclusivity at the track, but it’s no longer that way as both Chevrolet and Ford will pace races, and they both have displays, as does Toyota, on track property. Chevrolet has let contracts expire at New Hampshire and Bristol, among others.(SceneDaily)(2-11-2009)
  • Time for a Clean Change: Richard Chiladress Racing and Pennzoil are working together in 2009 to raise awareness of the need to recycle used oil through the Pennzoil Clean Change Campaign. The nationwide campaign encourages do-it-yourself oil changers to recycle their used oil and help maintain a clean environment. Clean Change efforts will be ongoing throughout the year to help raise awareness of the importance of recycling used motor oil. Through the Pennzoil Clean Change Campaign, Pennzoil asks do-it-yourself oil changers to pledge to properly recycle used motor oil. Consumers can visit the campaign web site www.cleanchange.org to make the pledge, test their environmental prowess with a challenging quiz, and easily locate a certified used oil recycling facility nearest them. RCR and Pennzoil hope to gather more than 100,000 online pledges this season.(RCR PR)(2-11-2009)
  • HANS Downing honored: Jim Downing, a driving force behind the HANS Device, has been honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club with the 2008 Bob Akin Award. The Bob Akin Award is given to those who have an exceptional history of success in motor sport. Jim Downing is a five time IMSA champion. He is known to most racers as a developer of the HANS Device. The HANS Device is worn by more than 75,000 racers worldwide and continues to be the #1 choice for performance, #1 for vision and #1 for winners.(HANS PR)(2-11-2009)
  • Daytona track to be resurfaced: International Speedway Corporation plans to resurface Daytona International Speedway in three years, the first time that has occurred since 1978. “It has nothing to do with money, although it will be a $20 million project,” DIS president Robin Braig said. “It has nothing to do with technology. We banked Talladega so we know we can do it on the high banking. “It’s all about when NASCAR and Goodyear says we need to do it,” Braig said. Daytona is one of the few major tracks that hasn’t been resurfaced over the past 10 years. Talladega, Darlington, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and many others have been through the process.(ESPN)(2-11-2009)
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Racing Roulette Returns for 2009: After tremendous response a year ago, Racing Roulette returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway in what could result in the lowest-ever ticket prices for the March 8 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase Kobalt Tools 500 tickets for the price of the winning car number of Sunday’s Daytona 500. Regularly priced at $95, the first 1,000 tickets will be sold with a limit of two per customer at the discounted rate starting at 9am on Monday, Feb. 16. While the 2008 Roulette promotion featured just 1,000 tickets, the 2009 Racing Roulette contest will be available to all fans wishing to buy tickets through 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 17 or until all of the Speedway’s $95 tickets are sold. For those who miss out on the initial 1,000 tickets sold, fans can purchase additional tickets at a discount of buy one regularly-priced ticket, get the second ticket for the price of the winning Daytona 500 car number. Atlanta Motor Speedway introduced the Racing Roulette program a year ago and quickly sold 1,000 $12 tickets following Ryan Newman’s victory in the 2008 Daytona 500. Adding to the intrigue of the 2009 Racing Roulette promotion, the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet of Martin Truex Jr. and the #5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet of Mark Martin hold the front row starting spots for Sunday’s Daytona 500. In the race’s history, the winner has come from the front row more than 30 percent of the time. For more information or to purchase Racing Roulette tickets following the Daytona 500, fans can visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com, call 1-877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849).(AMS PR)(2-11-2009)

    News from February 10, 2009

  • New book about Overated/Underated in NASCAR: ESPN.com writer Terry Blount gives kudos to Texas Motor Speedway and Eddie Gossage in his new book, “The Blount Report: NASCAR’s Most Overrated and Underrated Drivers, Cars, Teams, and Tracks” with the venue being named the most underrated and Gossage being named among the top five leaders in NASCAR today. In the book, Blount sorts out the issues that have long been debated by NASCAR fans and the community itself and boldly selects the overrated and underrated among drivers, cars, teams and tracks. Blount lists Texas Motor Speedway as NASCAR’s most underrated speedway, discussing the struggles Gossage and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith experienced in the early years of the facility. More info on the book at Amazon.com.(2-10-2009)
  • Congrats to Tim and Kellee Fedewa on the birth of their first child, a daughter born in the off season. Willow Josephine Fedewa was born on January 8th, 2009, weighed 7lbs 9 oz and she was 21 inches long. Fedawa is the spotter ffor #82-Scott Speed.(2-10-2009)
  • Gossage and Dale Jr bury the hatchet: Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage said he and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. have buried the hatchet. The two men had a two-week disagreement and exchanged barbs over who needs to do more for the fans in tough economic times — speedway executives or drivers. “Dale Jr. is doing all he can and we’re doing all we can,” Gossage said. “I talked to Junior’s representatives [Saturday] and learned some things they were doing that most people don’t know about.” One of those things is lowering prices on some of Junior’s merchandise items. Gossage said Friday that Earnhardt should be willing to reduce prices on his souvenir products after insisting speedways reduce tickets prices, which most have done. “I want to commend Dale Jr. for taking that step,” Gossage said. “That shows a real commitment on his part, and I respect him for it. I learned they already had reduced prices on merchandise, just as we have reduced ticket prices and concession prices.” During the NASCAR media tour in Charlotte two weeks ago, Gossage and other speedway executives suggested some Cup drivers should do more to help promote the sport. On Thursday, Earnhardt pointed out to my colleague, Ed Hinton, several examples of how he does more than his fair share, and said other drivers also go the extra mile. But he suggested speedways needed to do more. So Earnhardt and Gossage were accusing each other of not doing enough. But Gossage said they both have a new understanding now of their respective positions. “Earnhardt and I realize everyone has to do more to get through this,” Gossage said. “He’s setting an example for others to follow and being a true leader in the sport.”(ESPN)(2-10-2009)
  • Wood Brothers not loooking for investors: In this year of economic hardship and disappearing sponsors, #21-Wood Brothers is hunkering down. The team, which has won just one race in the past 15 seasons, will run just a third of the 2009 season. “Our plan is, unless something substantial comes, here’s our 12 and that’s what we’re going to do,” team co-owner Len Wood said. The team would rather run just 12 races with Bill Elliott than try to piece together a season by scrounging sponsorships on a race-by-race basis, he said. “If someone comes in and says `I’ll give you $100,000 to run this race,’ that’s not going to make money,” Wood said. The team has also rejected the idea of looking for outside investors with deep pockets. That just brings interference, Wood said. “When it comes to making a decision – do we need to buy this – we don’t have to go through a board of directors or anything like that,” he said. “It’s us. We don’t have to answer to anybody.” Instead, the Ford team is tightening its belt and finding ways to do more with less. “We have smaller groups than we had before,” Wood said. “I need a guy who can jack the car and be a mechanic. I need a guy who can be a fabricator and can also change tires. Instead of two people to do one job I need one guy to do two.” The team ran an entry in NASCAR’s truck series last year but that’s on the shelf in 2009. This season will only feature Elliott in the #21 with backing by Motorcraft. The advantage of using a veteran such as Elliott is being able to fall back on the provisional entry he is entitled to as a past NASCAR champion in order to qualify for a race. Elliott had to use only one champion’s provisional last year. This year using a provisional might be more difficult because other past champions will try to qualify for races and the one available provisional per race goes to the most recent champion who needs it. “People try to say that’s why we got him,” Wood said of Elliott and his provisional. “It probably started that way, but Bill Elliott is different. He can step up and get that car in if he needs to. We didn’t have very good cars the first of last year but (changes made) turned our program around. We’re just trying to get it back on track and get our performance back.” But soon that first race will come when Wood Brothers doesn’t make the trip. And, Wood said, “I’ll be sitting there watching just like a fan at home, but I won’t be liking it.”(Alabama Live)(2-10-2009)
  • Golden Corral Racing Promotion to Aid Veterans: On Sunday, Feb. 15, all eyes will be on the Golden Corral #28 Ford and its driver Travis Kvapil as he races for the checkered flag for American families and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) during the 2009 Daytona 500. If Kvapil finishes in the top 10, Golden Corral will give every kid in America a free buffet* as well as make a $5,000 donation to the DAV. In celebration of Kvapil’s success, Golden Corral, America’s favorite family buffet and grill restaurant chain, will turn Monday, Feb. 16, into “Kids Eat Free” Day. Families who bring a Daytona 500 race ticket or official race results from a newspaper or Web site can receive a free kid’s buffet for any child 12 and under with the purchase of an adult buffet at participating restaurants. In addition to “Kids Eat Free” Day, Golden Corral will also make a $5,000 donation to the DAV, an 87-year-old non-profit organization dedicated to providing services – free of charge through its nationwide network – to disabled veterans and their families. Through Golden Corral’s “Military Appreciation Monday,” the company has helped raise more than $3.26 million for the DAV since the program started in 2001.(chainleader.com)(2-10-2009)
  • Jeff Gordon and Mom on “Rachael Ray” TODAY: #24-Jeff Gordon and his mother, Carol Bickford, will appear on the “Rachael Ray” show on Tuesday, February 10, 2009. Bickford, who co-authored Pit Stop in a Southern Kitchen: Two Moms of Racing Legends Serve Up Stories and Recipes with Martha Earnhardt, will demonstrate how to prepare her chicken casserole, a recipe found in the new hard-cover cookbook which was released on February 1, 2009. Gordon will be seen “chatting” with Ray about his career, then assisting Bickford and the renown cook and talk-show host with the casserole.(Performance PR Plus)(2-9/10-2009)
  • Newman Leads the Way at New Smyrna: A strong crowd was on hand Monday evening for Night Four of the 43rd Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway (FL). Six divisions raced throughout the evening with six different drivers taking home victories. Ryan Newman showed the way in the 25-lap Tour-type Modified feature. Newman and 2008 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Ted Christopher exchanged the lead several times in the closing laps, with Newman taking the victory. Christopher maintained second place at the finish line. Eric Goodale, John Jensen and Jon McKennedy rounded out the top five finishers in that feature event. Canadian racer Patrick Laperle won a wild Crate Late Model event that was shortened to 11 laps after several early wrecks and caution periods. 2008 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year Landon Cassill finished second. Jimmy Blewett won his third straight SK Modified feature of the week. He remains unbeaten so far in that division at New Smyrna during Speedweeks 2009. Other winners were Dave Steele in the winged Sprint Cars, Buddy Griffin in the Vintage Racecars and Jerry Symons in the Florida Modifieds. The fifth night of Florida Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway will take place Tuesday, February 10th.(51sports PR)(2-10-2009)
  • 23rd Anniversary of The Official NASCAR Preview and Press Guide: The Official NASCAR Preview and Press Guide 2009 marks the magazine’s 23rd year of being the Official record of NASCAR. With unmatched quality, insightfully written features and unique format, there is no question why for over 22 years the Press Guide has been THE magazine of choice for true NASCAR fans and industry professionals alike! The 2009 Press Guide waves the green flag on the beginning of this year’s racing action, providing the most accurate and valued resource of information on NASCAR. The Press Guide is available on newsstands or can be ordered directly from UMI at 800-747-9287 or www.umibooks.com.(2-10-2009)
  • More NASCAR on TV in Australian: As a result of the significant and ever-growing interest in Australian NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose, Australian viewers will enjoy unprecedented NASCAR television coverage in 2009. For the first time, Australian free-to-air television will telecast both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying and ‘happy hour’ (final practice) on Network Ten’s new 24-hour sports channel, ONE. Before ONE’s launch in late March, NASCAR Nationwide Series and selected Sprint Cup coverage will be seen on Ten-HD. ONE will also carry the full NASCAR Nationwide Series and show weekly one-hour highlights packages from both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. ONE will also broadcast four of the biggest Sprint Cup races of the season live and in high definition; the Daytona 500 (including both Gatorade Duels), the Coke Zero 400, also from Daytona International Speedway, the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the season-ending Ford 400 from Homestead-Miami Speedway. Pay-TV network FOX Sports will continue to broadcast the full Sprint Cup Series live across it’s three channels as well as highlights packages from both the Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series.(Marcos Ambrose site)(2-10-2009)
  • ARCA drivers hospitalized UPDATE: Patrick Sheltra and Larry Hollenback remained in a Daytona Beach hospital Saturday night following wrecks in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 season opener. Sheltra, 22 was rear-ended by a car driven by Hollenbeck, 60, of Kalamazoo, Mich., after an initial accident occurred in front of them. A Daytona International Speedway spokesman said Sheltra and Hollenbeck were conscious and alert when they were transported to nearby Halifax Health Medical Center. Bobby Gerhart, 50, a five-time winner of the Daytona race, was treated and released after an earlier incident in a race that featured six multi-car pileups. Emergency crews needed extra time to extricate Hollenbeck as well as Sheltra, who finished 15th in last year’s ARCA 200, his Daytona debut.(USA Today)(2-8-2009)
    UPDATE: ARCA Series drivers Patrick Sheltra and Larry Hollenbeck were released from the hospital Monday, two days after being involved in a late crash during the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. The series said both drivers were released from Halifax Medical Health Center to the care of their personal physicians.(ESPN/AP)(2-10-2009)


    News from February 9, 2009

  • No Fear Racing merges, to run more races: during ESPN2’s NASCAR Show, Boris Said said Rick Clark Motorsports and No Fear Racing will merge in which Clark will have majority ownership. The team is expected to run 12-18 races this season. No word if Said will continue to run the #08 or go back to the #60. Said mentioned that an official announcement will be made at Daytona on Thursday where more details will be made known.(2-9-2009)
  • Shootout and Qualifying TV Ratings down: The 2009 NASCAR season got underway this weekend with a 4.1/7 on Saturday night for the Budweiser Shootout and a 2.1/5 on Sunday afternoon for Daytona 500 Qualifying. Both the Bud Shootout gave Fox a Saturday Primetime win. The race and pre-race/”pace lap” averaged a 4.0/7 in Primetime, which won the night and beat second-place CBS’s 3.8/7 by +5%. Both the Bud Shootout and the qualifying posted declines compared to last year’s ratings – -9% for the Shootout and -22% for the qualifying – and the Shootout fell to its lowest overnight rating ever on FOX.(2-9-2009)
  • OTL-Branded Series on ESPN’s NASCAR Now to Examine the Economy’s Impact on NASCAR with the OTL-branded piece scheduled to run on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now Monday and Tuesday at 5pm, Wednesday at 6pm. What do a NASCAR fan, a pit crew engineer and Richard Petty have in common? Reporter Shannon Spake chronicles how the economy has hit NASCAR from the perspective of three of the sport’s major sectors.
    * Monday, Feb. 9: Fans — Some fans hit hard by the economy can’t afford to travel to races and therefore sell their tickets on Ebay.
    * Tuesday, Feb. 10 : Pit crews – An engineer and tire changer lost his job five months ago.
    * Wednesday, Feb 11: Richard Petty – One of NASCAR’s storied teams is enduring cutbacks.(ESPN PR)(2-9-2009)
  • U.S. Chrome to sponsor Said for Daytona: The Carter/Simo Racing team with driver Boris Said has added U.S. Chrome Corporation as a sponsor. Said’s #08 ScottsMiracle-Gro/U.S. Chrome Ford Fusion is vying for a qualifying berth for the Daytona 500. Based in Stratford, Conn. U.S. Chrome has specialized in functional wear, corrosion and friction resistant coatings since 1946. The company has six plant locations — in Connecticut, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin. U.S. Chrome features new environmentally friendly electrocomposite coatings for the aerospace, agricultural, solar, automotive, firearms, machining, FAA aircraft repair, oil, gas, powersports and motorsports industries. “We feel fortunate to have another outstanding company join our race team,” offered Said. “We have a New England bonding — U.S. Chrome is headquartered in Stratford, Conn., I’m a native of Stamford, Conn. and our crew chief Frank Stoddard is from New Hampshire. If we qualify for the 500, I think we’ll all get together and have a lobster feast.” U.S. Chrome has a history in motorsports. The company owned Busch East and Busch South teams in the 1980s. The crew chief on those teams was Stoddard. “U.S. Chrome is thrilled to partner with Boris and Frankie and the entire Carter/Simo Racing team,” said Bob Reath, owner of U.S. Chrome. “Our customers are motorsports fans and this is a good fit for our company.” Stoddard, a 15-time Cup winner as crew chief, said it’s a special feeling to be reunited with U.S. Chrome. “Having U.S. Chrome as a sponsor brings back many pleasant memories,” noted Stoddard. “It’s a great company, which is led by Bob Reath. We want nothing more than to give them, and all of our sponsors, a solid performance in Daytona.”(DMF Communications PR)(2-9-2009)
  • Gordon-Evernham Reunion? #24-Jeff Gordon opened the door this week to the idea of a reunion with Ray Evernham but it wouldn’t be as a crew chief if it ever happened. “We’ve always stayed great friends, and I admire him and he’s a sharp guy and he’s done a lot, obviously, in this sport,” Gordon said. “We’re always looking to find ways to make ourselves better. If (an Evernham reunion) was ever the case, it wouldn’t be in a crew chief role. If it’s an engineer, if it’s a team manager, whatever options are out there for anybody we always take them serious. With my experience with Ray being so positive in the past, I certainly wouldn’t throw it out. It’s not something that is happening, but it’s not something that I would ever say never would.” Asked about a possibility of Evernham returning to Hendrick Motorsports in some fashion, car owner Rick Hendrick didn’t say no. Instead, he said that he remains close to Evernham. “We consult with each other all the time,” Hendrick said. “That hasn’t changed since he left. He calls me, and I talk to him. We share information. We talked about the fact that the manufacturers were not going to be around as strong as they are three or four years ago. We think a lot alike, and I respect his knowledge a ton. We talk almost every week. We’ve been consultants to each other.”(Roanoke Times)(2-9-2009)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2009 Bud Shoot Out: Fox was the broadcaster for this event
    Total number of commercials: 66
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 38
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:10 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:21 PM
    Total minutes: 133
    Minutes of race broadcast: 100
    Minutes of commercials: 31
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘Digger the Gopher Cam’ appearances: 5
    Total race brdcst time 100 Total comm. brdcst time 31
    See more on my 2009 Commercials page.(2-9-2009)
  • Tissot sponsors NASCAR Sprint Cup Series contingency award: Tissot, the official watch and timekeeper of NASCAR, will sponsor a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in-race contingency award this season. The Tissot “Pit Road Precision Award” highlights the team aspect of NASCAR, as the over-the-wall crew members will play a vital role in winning the award. The award will be given to the eligible driver who has spent the least amount of time on pit road and has finished on the lead lap. The winning driver will earn $5,000 and a Tissot watch. There will also be a year-end award of $100,000 given to the driver who has won the most “Pit Road Precision Awards” during the season.(NASCAR PR)(2-9-2009)
  • Jeff Gordon and Mom on “Rachael Ray”: #24-Jeff Gordon and his mother, Carol Bickford, will appear on the “Rachael Ray” show on Tuesday, February 10, 2009. Bickford, who co-authored Pit Stop in a Southern Kitchen: Two Moms of Racing Legends Serve Up Stories and Recipes with Martha Earnhardt, will demonstrate how to prepare her chicken casserole, a recipe found in the new hard-cover cookbook which was released on February 1, 2009. Gordon will be seen “chatting” with Ray about his career, then assisting Bickford and the renown cook and talk-show host with the casserole.(Performance PR Plus)(2-9-2009)
  • Duel wins doesn’t equal 500 win: Only seven times has the winner of a 125-mile race gone on to win the Daytona 500. Fireball Roberts was the first to do so, in 1962. Yarborough did it twice, in 1977 and 1984. Bill Elliott (1985), Bobby Allison (1988), Sterling Marlin (1995) and Earnhardt (1998) also have accomplished the feat.(NASCAR.com)(2-8-2009)

News from February 8, 2009

  • See the Gatorade Duel starting lineups on my 2009 Gatorade Duel 150’s Starting Lineup Page
  • Truex Jr. wins pole for Daytona 500: #1-Martin Truex Jr. [from New Jersey] won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Daytona 500 with a lap of 188.001mph for his 1st career Daytona 500 pole and 2nd pole of his career. #5-Mark Martin was 2nd fastest and has a set starting spot for the race, the outside pole. All other starting positions will be determined following the Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying races. The rest of the top five for qualifying were #39-Ryan Newman, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and #21-Bill Elliott. #21-Elliott, #28-Kvapil and #14-Stewart are the three go-or-go-homers [not in the top-35 of end of season owners points] who are guaranteed of making the race via speed. #66-Terry Labonte os now guaranteed to make the race, at least thru the past champions provisional since Stewart and Elliott are in via speed. Four other drivers can get in via their speed IF the four already in [Elliott, Kvapil, Stewart, Labonte] race in via the Gatorade Duels [top 2 in each get in]: #78-Smith, #87-Nemechek, #08-Said and #36-Riggs.
    So it is the top 2 are in, followed by spots 3-39 [33 from the top 35 and 4 from the Duels], then spots 40, 41 and 42 from the next fastest cars, then then the most recent past champion in 43rd. If not needed, then the fastest driver not already in, would get the spot.
    See the qualifying results, qualifying procedures and more on my Daytona 500 Qualifying Results Page.(2-8-2009)
  • No practice for Hylton means no Daytona 500 attempt: The hauler of #60-James Hylton was leaving Daytona International Speedway on Saturday as Hylton never got out on the track to practice. The Carter Simo Racing driver won’t attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500 on Sunday because he never was able to get a complete lap in practice, and NASCAR typically requires a driver to complete a lap at a reasonable speed to qualify the car. The team had been working on the car for the 74-year-old driver throughout the weekend but apparently never got it to race specifications. So there will be 56 drivers attempting to qualify for the Daytona 500.(SceneDaily)
    AND: The final pre-qualifying practice for the Daytona 500 has ended. The #60 Dodge of James Hylton continued to be plagued with battery and carburetor issues. Per Nascar rules, car’s must run a practice lap above an average of 175mph in order to attempt to qualify on Sunday. Despite a valiant effort from the crew, who pushed the car up and down pit lane several times attempting to get it to fire, the car would not start. “We just got snakebite today.”, said James Hylton.(EM Motorsports site)(2-8-2009)
  • Double Yellow Line at Daytona = do not pass: In order to emphasize the yellow-line rule at Daytona International Speedway where passes are not permitted, NASCAR has made the single yellow line into a double-yellow line. The second yellow line was painted on the inside of the existing yellow line.(SceneDaily)(2-8-2009)
  • Gunselman Motorsports secures assoc sponsor for Daytona: Gunselman Motorsports has secured much-needed support for their Daytona 500 efforts on the eve of qualifying for the Coors Light Pole Award. Fred’s Hometown Discount Store – The Low Price Leader, contacted team officials late Thursday night to see how they could help the underfunded Sprint Cup Series team. Larry Gunselman, team owner, and Fred’s Inc. worked out an agreement where their logo would adorn the hood of Geoff Bodine’s #64 Toyota. “This is great in so many ways,” Gunselman said. “We came here telling everyone we were coming down to Daytona to try and race. With so many people out of work or on the verge of losing their jobs, we represent people going through rough times. Our team is made up of guys without full-time jobs. But, just like everyone in this country who puts in their resume to get a job, we put ours in at the NASCAR hauler every week to get a starting spot. If we make the race, then we work. If not, then we try again the next race. America loves and underdog effort; and we are definitely an underdog effort. When the people at Fred’s Hometown Discount Stores saw what we were doing and were about; they said they wanted to get involved and help. We can’t thank them enough and hope to represent them well on Sunday and Thursday. Lucky for them, we have plenty of room on the hood, deck lid and quarter panels for their logo.” Fred’s Inc. owns more than 600 stores and 300 pharmacies operating in 15 Southeastern states.(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(2-8-2009)
  • Shelmerdine plans to run full Cup season: #27-Kirk Shelmerdine [KSR] has reached an agreement with his partners, including Wabash Motorsports as well as other stakeholders including TRD, friends, family and acquaintances. This new Toyota campaign represents a significant move in Kirk’s continuing quest to become a factor in the 2009 Sprint Cup Series. A private equity group has provided KSR something they have not had in the past. An influx of cash that has allowed the team to acquire new Toyotas and all of the pertinent accessories that it takes to start a competitive team. KSR fully intends to attempt every race on the 2009 schedule, however more help is needed. Kirk and his partners are actively seeking sponsorship that is geared to fit the location, size and demographics of businesses who are actively seeking a unique marketing opportunity. A variety of sponsorship packages are available and can be discussed on a case by case basis. We are especially looking for a long term partnership can result in long term benefits for all stakeholders. If interested in sponsoring KSR at (618) 847-7401.(KSR PR)(2-8-2009)
  • Gordon hopes to stay at Hendrick after retirement: #24-Jeff Gordon plans to continue in some capacity with Hendrick Motorsports after his driving career is over. Whether that’s in a managerial role or as a possible replacement for team owner Rick Hendrick, who turns 60 this season, Gordon doesn’t know. “I would like to think I have something to offer the organization past driving, and definitely would like to work something out with Rick,” Gordon said on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. “This organization has been so good to me. My life has changed because of Hendrick Motorsports and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.” Gordon already co-owns with Hendrick the #48 team of three-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. He made it clear he has no plans to become an owner independent of Hendrick. Gordon has a lifetime contract to drive for HMS, but his contract with primary sponsor DuPont expires after the 2010 season. That has led some to speculate Gordon, 37, may step away from part of the full-time grind after that deal is done. Gordon insists it’s premature to discuss retirement other than to say when it does happen he wants to remain an active part of HMS.(ESPN)(2-8-2009)
  • ARCA drivers hospitalized: Patrick Sheltra and Larry Hollenback remained in a Daytona Beach hospital Saturday night following wrecks in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 season opener. Sheltra, 22 was rear-ended by a car driven by Hollenbeck, 60, of Kalamazoo, Mich., after an initial accident occurred in front of them. A Daytona International Speedway spokesman said Sheltra and Hollenbeck were conscious and alert when they were transported to nearby Halifax Health Medical Center. Bobby Gerhart, 50, a five-time winner of the Daytona race, was treated and released after an earlier incident in a race that featured six multi-car pileups. Emergency crews needed extra time to extricate Hollenbeck as well as Sheltra, who finished 15th in last year’s ARCA 200, his Daytona debut.(USA Today)(2-8-2009)

    News from February 7, 2009

  • 2009 Schemes: added some more images from the Bud Shootout including #31 Caterpillar, #14 Old SPice/Office Depot, #48 Lowe’s, #96 Ask.com, #43 McDonald’s, #98 Menards/Quaker State; PLUS the #36 Tommy Baldwin Racing car and a 2009 Bud Shootout Schemes page [all 28 will load] to the Paint Scheme Gallery
  • Subway to sponsor Edwards in 2009 UPDATE Subway is completing a deal with #99-Carl Edwards that will make the ultra-fit NASCAR driver a spokesman for the big-spending restaurant chain, industry sources said. Subway is expected to be the primary sponsor for Edwards’ #99 Ford in three Sprint Cup races next year and sign him to a personal-services agreement to use him in its advertising. The three-race primary sponsorship will run Subway about $2.25 million. Terms on the personal services agreement were not available. Subway will be an associate sponsor on the #99 car the rest of the season.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal.)(8-19-2008)
    UPDATE – Subway for 3 races: Subway Restaurants will serve as the primary sponsor of Carl Edwards and the #99 Sprint Cup Series Ford for three races in 2009, which includes the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in April [18th]. Edwards will also pilot the car in the Coke Zero 400 [July 4th] at Daytona International Speedway and then a to be announced race.(RacingOne), see image of the scheme on my #99 Team Schemes page.(2-7-2009)
  • Kyle Busch joins Gillette Young Guns: With the NASCAR season ready to roll, Gillette announced that Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota will be the newest member to its star-studded Gillette Young Guns lineup, which includes Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman [Kyle replaces his brother Kurt]. During the off-season, Busch was welcomed to the Gillette Young Guns team when he participated in a two-day ad shoot to support the launch of the gaming-inspired Gillette Fusion Power Gamer, which features Fusion’s 5-bladed shaving surface for unsurpassed comfort and a sleek new look. The spot, titled “Jumbotron,” was created by BBDO NY, features all six Gillette Young Guns. Airing for the first time during the FOX telecast of the Daytona 500, “Jumbotron” follows the Gillette Young Guns as they attempt to sneak into the race track and play video games from atop a motorcoach.(Gillette Young Guns PR)(2-7-2009)
  • Said to be sponsored by ScottsMiracle-Gro at Daytona: ScottsMiracle-Gro and Carter/Simo Racing announced that they will sponsor Boris Said in the #08 Ford Fusion for the Daytona 500. The #08 Ford Fusion will feature the Scotts Bonus S Max Lawn Fertilizer paint scheme during Daytona Speedweeks. “I’m really happy that Scotts is on board for the 500,” commented Said. “Between using Scotts products on my lawn and helping Carl (Edwards) with his road racing efforts, I feel like I already have a strong relationship with Scotts. I’m thrilled to represent them over the next week.”
    “It is great to have an opportunity to team up with Boris Said for the Daytona 500 where he will be driving the Scotts Bonus S Max Ford Fusion,” said Jim Shertzer, Event Marketing and Sponsorship Manager for ScottsMiracle-Gro. “Living in Southern California, Boris has already started to enjoy his Scotts lawn and his Ford Fusion is featuring Scotts Bonus S Max Lawn Fertilizer – with its unique 3-in-1 formula that kills and prevents fire ants for up to six months, kills dollarweed and feeds your lawn!”.
    Carter/Simo racing is proud to offer fans with a unique way to interact with them at the 51st Daytona 500. Fans will be able to join a social network where they will get an unrestricted view of how the teams prepare for Daytona. Fans will be provided multiple live daily updates of the teams progress. They can also follow the team through practices, Coors Pole qualifying, Gatorade Duel events, and ultimately the Daytona 500. Photos, videos, and messages will all come direct from the team, to the fans at no cost. More info at www.em-motorsports.com.(Carter/Simo Racing PR)(2-7-2009)
  • Sad News – NASCAR Official Carl Wolf: Carl Wolf, who for the past 10 years worked for NASCAR in a variety of capacities, passed away Friday night following a lengthy illness. Wolf spent time in the NASCAR garage as the supervisor of engine inspection for the Sprint Cup Series. He moved into the area of officiating training in June of 2003 – a position he held until his death. Responsible for training and instructing officials in various areas of inspection with a specialized focus on engine training, Wolf was instrumental in the development and implementation of many of the tools and gauges that are still used today in the inspection areas. His vast knowledge, enthusiasm and patience helped make him an outstanding instructor, who was well-respected and highly revered by his students, co-workers and peers. Carl Wolf was 70.(NACCAR PR)(2-7-2009)
  • Qualifying Order for the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway is posted. 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 #24-Gordon, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #18-Busch. The first go-or-go homer to go out [36th] is #09-Keselowski, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #37-Raines. See the full qualifying order on my Daytona 500 Qualifying Page.(2-7-2009)
  • 2nd practice for the Daytona 500 is over, the top five were:
    #21-Elliott, Ford, 187.950
    #1-Truex Jr., Chevy, 187.504
    #88-Earnhardt Jr.,Chevy, 187.348
    #39-Newman, Chevy, 187.285
    #5-Martin, Chevy, 187.215
    fastest Toyota is #00-Reutimann at 8th
    fastest Dodge is #19-Sadler at 18th
    slowest: #57-Benning 176.665
    55 of 57 drivers have made runs
    no speeds for: #29-Harvick, #60-Hylton
    See the speeds for all on my Daytona 500 Practice Speeds/Notes page.(2-7-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Daytona International Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these THREE drivers would make the race
    by having the fastest three speeds:

    #21-Bill Elliott [PC3], 1st fastest
    #14-Tony Stewart [PC1], 11th
    #36-Scott Riggs, 19th
    would make it via a past champs prov since Stewart was fast
    #66-Terry Labonte [PC2], 49th
    four of these drivers would need to race in via the Duels
    top two finishers from each, 14 will miss the race:

    #44-A.J. Allmendinger, 21st
    #28-Travis Kvapil, 24th
    #08-Boris Said, 29th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 30th
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 33rd
    #09-Brad Keselowski, 35th
    #71-Mike Wallace, 42nd
    #27-Kirk Shelmerdine, 44th
    #73-Mike Garvey, 45th
    #37-Tony Raines, 47th
    #78-Regan Smith, 48th
    #23-Mike Skinner, 50th
    #75-Derrike Cope, 51st
    #64-Geoff Bodine, 52nd
    #51-Kelly Bires, 53rd
    #46-Carl Long, 54th
    #57-Norm Benning, 55th
    #60-James Hylton, 57th
    (2-7-2009)
  • First practice for the Daytona 500 is over, the top five were:
    #21-Elliott, Ford, 187.645
    #96-Labonte, Ford, 187.414
    #88-Earnhardt Jr., Chevy, 187.348
    #1-Truex Jr., Chevy, 187.243
    #18-Busch, Toyota, 187.211
    fastest Dodge is #19-Sadler at 17th fastest
    slowest: #57-Benning 169.718 and #51-Bires 171.194
    56 of 57 drivers have made runs. No speed for #60-Hylton
    See the speeds for all on my Daytona 500 Practice Speeds/Notes page.(2-7-2009)
  • 2010 Camaro to pace Daytona 500? UPDATE: The 2010 Camaro will be the 2009 Daytona 500 race’s official pace car per an advertisement found by many readers. See the image and more at camaro5.com.(2-2-2009)
    UPDATE: Daytona International Speedway officials announced the return of the Chevy Camaro as the Official Pace Car of the 51st running of the Daytona 500—the first Camaro to pace the field since 1969. “Chevy has been a great partner of the Daytona 500 for more than 30 years, and the Camaro is an automotive icon,’” said Speedway President Robin Braig. “This 2010 model will set the tone for a 21st century sports car, and that’s a perfect fit to lead the pack at the ‘Great American Race.’’ The 426-horsepower vehicle, powered by the 6.2-liter all-aluminum Chevy V-8, carries a PPG Cyber Grey paint scheme with a bold accent design befitting “The World Center of Racing.” A Camaro has paced the field just twice in Dayton 500 history, in 1968 and ’69, and this 2010 model is scheduled to hit showroom floors this spring. Built on GM’s new global rear-wheel drive architecture, the Camaro also will be offered in V-6-powered LS and LT models. Additional specs of the 2010 model pace car include:
    · All-aluminum 6.2-liter V-8
    · 426 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque
    · Fully integrated strobe system, including a GM-designed custom light bar utilizing Whelen 500 series linear strobes
    · 27-mpg estimated highway fuel economy
    · Fuel-saving Tremec 6-speed manual transmission
    Tickets remain available for NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race. For tickets, Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access packages and more information for the 51st annual Daytona 500, call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS PR)(2-7-2009
  • #8-#42 Owner Points Swap: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, whose largely sponsorless #8 Chevy was 14th in 2008 owner points, has swapped positions with new teammate #42-Juan Montoya, who was 25th last year while driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. The assumption is that if the #8 was shut down within the first five races, Montoya would have a nine-position advantage if qualifying was rained out. In conjunction with the point swaps, Chip Ganassi now owns the #8 and Teresa Earnhardt took ownership of the #42 from Ganassi’s father, Floyd.(NASCAR.com)(2-7-2009)
  • NASCAR approves #12 paint scheme: NASCAR has approved a paint scheme and uniform for Penske Racing’s #12 car and driver David Stremme that has the Verizon and Penske red and black colors but neither with the Verizon logo featuring a thin red check. NASCAR must approve all uniforms and paint schemes, and the Penske team had to go through a more scrutinized process because of the Cup series sponsorship from Sprint. NASCAR is responsible for making sure that none of Sprint’s rivals have branding in the garage, and Verizon, which bought out Penske sponsor Alltel earlier this month, is a sponsor of the organization and has its logos on the Nationwide Series car. Penske Racing crewmen spent part of Friday morning covering up a little bit of red striping near the front of the car with black strips. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said NASCAR asked for the minor change but the rest of the paint scheme has been approved. None of uniforms nor the car has the red check that would make people think of Verizon. The red stripes are at angles but there are no markings in the shape of a check. Penske Racing officials had said last month that even though Verizon’s logos could not be on the Cup car, that the #12 Cup car would not need primary sponsorship at least through 2010 because Verizon had assumed Alltel’s commitment.(SceneDaily), see images of the scheme on my #12 Team Schemes page.(2-7-2009)
  • Congrats – Casey Mears: During the off-season, #07-Casey Mears and his girlfriend Trisha Grablander were engaged. The happy couple plan to wed following the 2009 season.(RCR PR)(2-7-2009)
  • Petty unhappy about #44 not getting automatic spot: Richard Petty was feeling a little bait-and-switched on Friday. The sponsors that Richard Petty Motorsports have been courting for the #44 Dodge felt even more so, he said. NASCAR’s recalibration of owner points for the start of the 2009 season put Petty driver A.J. Allmendinger 36th, one spot below the cutoff for automatic entry into the first five races of the season. Clint Bowyer’s #33 Chevrolet — a new fourth car at Richard Childress Racing — and Sam Hornish’s #77 Dodge garnered top-35 spots by bringing in points-possessing former car owners as partners. Bowyer’s car will now be listed under former team owner Bobby Ginn, and Bill Davis has formed a partnership with Roger Penske to own Hornish’s car. RPM has only an eight-race deal with Valvoline and is courting sponsors, a less-arduous process if the team is guaranteed of making races. Petty said NASCAR told him at the end of last season that the points of the #10 Gillett Evernham Dodge (now applied to the #44 after Petty merged with GEM) would be in the top 35. “It puts us in a bad situation with a sponsor, because when we went in, that was part of our selling point,” Petty said. “All of a sudden, we don’t (make the top 35). They blame us as an organization for leading them down a path.” Allmendinger failed to qualify on time for the Daytona 500 in his first two attempts at Red Bull Racing.(St Petersburg Times)(2-7-2009)
  • No Ride for Kyle Petty: Kyle Petty said he had a couple of opportunities for rides, but they weren’t worthwhile. “I’m not at the stage where I want to come down and beat your head against the wall and be there,” he said. “I’ve been doing that for the last five or six years, coming down here with cars that were uncompetitive. I don’t want to get in somebody else’s car that is uncompetitive. I just ended up without a ride. I’m on the other side of the fence looking in, but not at my choice.” Petty drove in the 24-hour race at Daytona last month, but mechanical issues limited him to one shift. He plans to compete in more road races, but he’s uncertain which ones. He also will be back as an analyst with TNT for its six Cup broadcasts in June and July, which will keep him from racing during that period. While Petty sits out, he continues his work with the Victory Junction Gang Camp. A second camp, which will be located in the Kansas City area, is expected to have its groundbreaking around September.(Virginian-Pilot)(2-7-2009)
  • Mears tests in offseason: Casey Mears and the #07 Richard Childress Racing crew tested three times prior to Speedweeks in an effort to get to know one another and be better prepared for 2009. The group was at Nashville Superspeedway on Nov. 4, 2008, at GM’s Desert Proving Grounds in Mesa, Ariz., from Jan. 12-14 and at New Smyrna Speedway in New Smyrna, Fla., on Tues., Jan. 27.(RCR PR)(2-7-2009)
  • Kevin Costner named NASCAR Day Spokesperson: The NASCAR Foundation announced that actor/musician Kevin Costner will serve as the 2009 NASCAR Day spokesperson. Celebrated on May 15, NASCAR Day is an opportunity for fans, corporations, schools and organizations across the country to make donations to The NASCAR Foundation to raise funds for its Family of Charities in an effort to help thousands of children live better lives. Costner will appear in print, radio and television advertising to promote the industry’s charitable initiative. Past celebrity supporters for NASCAR Day include Will Ferrell, Kelly Clarkson, Garth Brooks and several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers. More info on my Racing Charity page – NASCAR Day section.(2-7-2009)
  • Man convicted in Kansas Speedway shooting is sentenced: The man convicted of shooting a Kansas City, Kan., police detective at Kansas Speedway was sentenced Friday to more than 48 years in prison. Fredrick Douglas, 68, was found guilty in December of attempted capital murder and other charges. He was charged with shooting Detective Susan Brown on Oct. 1, 2006, as she guarded a Speedway vault after a Nextel Cup race. A co-defendant, Nolden Garner, is scheduled for trial next month.(Kansas City Star)(2-7-2009)
  • Ford to pace ARCA, Duels & NNS races at Daytona: For the first time in almost 40 years, a Ford pace car will lead the fields for Speed Weeks races at Daytona International Speedway. The honor goes to a 2010 Shelby GT500, which will pace three events on Daytona’s famous 2.5 mile tri-oval, with a 2010 Ford Fusion Sport prepped and ready to go in case a backup is needed. Both cars are completely stock mechanically, the only extra equipment being light bars supplied by Whelen Equipment. The Fusion Sport also has a special vinyl wrap applied, giving the car its colorful and distinctive flame motif. The Shelby GT500 is powered by a 540 horsepower V8 engine. The car’s features include a hood extractor to remove heat from the engine, and a Gurney Flap spoiler to tune rear downforce. The Fusion Sport is a new model for 2010, powered by a 263 horsepower V6 engine and equipped with an upgraded suspension and 18-inch wheels. Their pace car duties begin on Saturday [Feb 7th] in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, opening round of the 2009 ARCA/ReMax Series. Next up is the Gatorade Duel on Feb. 12— the twin 150-mile Daytona 500 qualifying races. And on Feb. 14, the cars again will be on the scene for the Camping World 300, the NASCAR Nationwide Series season-opener.(Ford PR)(2-7-2009)
  • Lofton wins ARCA pole, Owens 2nd: Justin Lofton earned the ARCA Series pole at Daytona International Speedway on Friday afternoon with Daytona Beach, Florida native Alli Owens starting 2nd. Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano will start 3rd. Five-time ARCA Daytona winner Bobby Gerhart starts sixth. KHI Truck Series driver and former Motorcycle champ, Ricky Carmichael, will start 23rd. James Hylton failed to make the race.(ARCASeries.com)(2-7-2009)
  • 2009 Schemes: added some images from the Bud Shootout including #44 Valvoline Powder Blue, #12 Penske Racing, #82 Red Bull, #18 M&M’s, #17 DeWalt, #20 Home Depot, #26 Crown Royal, #6 UPS, #19 Stanley Tools and #00 Aaron’s to the Paint Scheme Gallery

    News from February 6, 2009

  • Menard wrecks in Bud Shootout Happy Hour, No Backup…hopefully: #98-Paul Menard, the pole-sitter for Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout, got sideways during [Haoot Hour, final] practice Friday at Daytona International Speedway and crashed with rookie #82-Scott Speed. As Menard slowed down while trying to straighten out his #98 Ford in a turn on the 2 1/2-mile superspeedway, Speed drove his #82 Toyota into his left-front fender. Both cars spun across the track and came to a stop near the infield. “The guy in front of me started spinning out and slowing down, and I had nowhere to go, so I started doing the same,” said Speed, a former Formula One driver. “I couldn’t really see much, honestly. … It’s good we got my first wreck under my belt here at Daytona.” Speed’s car sustained little damage, but Menard’s had to be towed to the garage area. Menard was treated and released from the infield car facility. He said he thought he had a tire going flat before the spin. Team officials said Menard’s team was going to repair the damage instead of going to a backup car. If they can’t fix it, Menard would have to switch cars and start from the back of the 28-car field. If that happens, Reed Sorenson would become the pole-sitter for NASCAR’s non-points, All-Star event that officially kicks off Speedweeks.(Associated Press)(2-6-2009)
  • Happy Hour practice for the 2009 Budweiser Shootout is over, the top five fastest [this is all drafting speeds]:
    #48-Johnson 192.620
    #44-Allmendinger 192.542
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 192.304
    #9-Kahne 191.910
    #14-Stewart 191.800
    slowest of the 28 drivers: #07-Mears 186.296
    #31-Burton lost and egine early in practice; #98-Menard lost a tire in turn 1 and #82 Speed got into the 98, but doesn’t look like much damage to either car
    See all the speeds on my 2009 Budweiser Shootout Page.(2-6-2009)
  • First practice for the 2009 Budweiser Shootout is over, the top five fastest [this is all drafting speeds]:
    #18-Busch 191.453
    #48-Johnson 191.156
    #17-Kenseth 191.144
    #43-Sorenson 190.706
    #44-Allmendinger 190.512
    slowest of the 28 drivers: #07-Mears 186.749
    no incidents or wrecks so far. #00-Reutimann lost a piece of metal off the car
    See all the speeds on my 2009 Budweiser Shootout Page.(2-6-2009)
  • Petty Unveils Historic Retro Look for #44 Valvoline Dodge: Richard Petty Motorsports unveiled today a paint scheme with historical significance at Daytona International Speedway. The newly-formed Richard Petty Motorsports’ #44 Valvoline Dodge Charger, driven by AJ Allmendinger during Daytona Speedweeks, will feature a tribute to winning history with a replica paint scheme of the Valvoline Dodge that Kyle Petty drove to an ARCA victory for Petty Enterprises at Daytona 30 years ago (Feb. 11, 1979). “The Valvoline retro paint scheme is awesome,” said Allmendinger. “It’s great to be a part of the winning history that both Petty and Valvoline enjoy, and I’ll be working hard to get the #44 Valvoline Dodge into the winner’s circle.” The replica paint scheme will make its racing debut during Saturday night’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. “Richard Petty is a natural partner for Valvoline”, said Rob Clendening, motorsports manager at Valvoline. “Both names embody sustained excellence, tradition and winning innovation. The Petty return to Valvoline partnership is more like a family reunion. And let’s face it, the car looks great!” Richard Petty, a seven-time Daytona 500 winner, would also like some déjà vu for his team’s #44 Valvoline entry. “Just looking at the Valvoline #44 car brings back pleasant memories,” said Petty. “It was Kyle’s first race and we won. It’s really neat to be reunited with Valvoline and hopefully we can deliver another victory for them here at Daytona.” Allmendinger added, “The King has been awesome and supportive and obviously has a lot of experiences we can learn from. You don’t win 200 races without knowing what you are doing. He’s been someone I have always admired and it will be neat to have him in our meetings. When he speaks you listen.”(Valvoline/DMF Communications PR)(2-6-2009), see images of the car on my #44 Team Schemes page.
  • R3 Motorsports’ gets sponsor for Daytona 500: R3 Motorsports announced Friday that Mahindra Tractors will serve as the primary sponsor on the team’s #23 Chevy that Mike Skinner will attempt to qualify for the 2009 Daytona 500. R3 Motorsports, which fielded a part-time Nationwide Series effort last season for driver Robert Richardson Jr., will attempt to qualify for its first Cup race with Skinner behind the wheel. “I first want to thank R3 Motorsports and Mahindra Tractors for this opportunity to race,” said Skinner. “The Daytona 500 is one of those things, that as a racer, it is an honor to be able to compete in. The crew has been busy working back at the shop to put a car out there that will be strongly competitive and qualify for the big show. Even though the team is very young and it is their first Cup race, there is a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise at R3 Motorsports. I hope with my veteran status that I can lend a hand and produce strong results at Daytona.” The team plans to attempt to qualify for the first five races of the season and then continue on a race-to-race basis. Veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe will make pit calls for Skinner at Daytona.(SceneDaily)(2-6-2009)
  • Andretti Driving Window World Chevrolet in Daytona 500 Window World announced John Andretti will drive in the 2009 Daytona 500 as he steps behind the wheel of the #34 Window World Chevy as part of a partnership between Front Row Motorsports (FRM) and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. The Moorseville, NC based Front Row Motorsports will work together with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to field the car for the Daytona 500. Window World, the nations leading residential replacement window company, will provide sponsorship for Andretti’s Daytona effort.(Window World PR), see image of the car on my #34 Team Schemes page. Windows World will also be the sponsor on the #66 Toyota of Terry Labonte at Daytona.(2-6-2009)
  • Garvey enters Daytona 500: Mike Garvey has entered the Daytona 500, running the #73 JaniKing Dodge. Garvey last ran in the Cup Series in 2005-2006. See an image of the scheme on my #73 Team Schemes page.(2-6-2009)
  • Foyt to be at Daytona 500 to support Stewart’s debut as owner: A.J. Foyt will attend the 51st running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in support of Tony Stewart, who will be making his Sprint Cup Series debut as a driver/owner with Stewart-Haas Racing and his #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy in the season-opening race. When Stewart announced his plans to carry the #14 in honor of A.J. Foyt, the four-time Indianapolis 500 champion and 1972 Daytona 500 winner did an interview with Stewart on his SIRIUS Satellite Radio show, “Tony Stewart Live.” During the course of the interview, Stewart invited Foyt to be in the #14 team’s pits during the Daytona 500. Foyt accepted the invite and is making good on his word to attend.(A.J. Foyt Racing PR)(2-6-2009)
  • NASCAR: Drivers pass preseason drug tests UPDATE but…: NASCAR does not anticipate suspending any drivers who took their preseason drug tests last week in North Carolina, sanctioning body spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “We are proud of how the process worked so far,” Poston said in a statement. “All drivers, crew members and officials will have passed the substance-abuse test going into the season.” Drivers in NASCAR’s three national series must pass a drug test during the preseason, and most drivers took their test last week at the NASCAR Research and Development Center. This is the first season that NASCAR is requiring its drivers to pass a preseason drug test. Its previous policy allowed NASCAR to test at any time for reasonable suspicion – which is still the policy today – but did not require the passing of a preseason test. Teams had to submit crew rosters and list those who had passed a drug test in order to have them licensed to work on the cars. “We will continue to randomly test throughout the season,” Poston said, “and our reasonable suspicion remains in place, making NASCAR’s substance abuse policy one of the most comprehensive in sports.”(SceneDaily)(1-31-2009)
    UPDATE: All drivers in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Nationwide Truck Series passed the first round of drug testing under NASCAR’s new policy, officials said on Thursday, but that wasn’t the case for crew members. Kevin Harvick said two pit crew members for his Truck Series team were released after failed tests and he expects there are others throughout all three series. “There’s definitely more out there,” Harvick said during media day at Daytona International Speedway. “There’s a lot of people that are looking for jobs right now that are straight-up people. It couldn’t have come at a better time.” NASCAR implemented a policy that calls for mandatory preseason testing for all drivers and crew members and random testing throughout the season by an independent laboratory after former Truck Series driver Aaron Fike admitted last season he competed under the influence of heroin. The tests are focused on narcotics, beta blockers and steroids. Random testing will be done at the track almost every race weekend, beginning at Daytona next week. Anywhere from 12 to 14 crew members and two drivers per series will be tested each weekend. A failed test by a driver will be made public, but not those by crew members. Three failed tests will result in an automatic lifetime ban. In the past, testing was done only on “reasonable suspicion.”(ESPN.com)(2-6-2009)
  • Tom Cruise on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now Friday: The Friday, Feb. 6, edition of ESPN2’s NASCAR Now will include an original interview with actor Tom Cruise at 5pm/et. Cruise discusses his interest in NASCAR and how he drove a race car at Daytona while filming the 1990 movie Days of Thunder. The movie featured a young Cruise playing the role of Cole Trickle — a hotshot rookie driver looking for success in NASCAR’s premiere division. From the big screen to real life, Cruise has had a lifelong passion for racing. The NASCAR season begins this weekend at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach.(ESPN PR)(2-6-2009)
  • ESPN at NASCAR’s Daytona Speedweeks: ESPN will provide 10 days of comprehensive coverage of Speedweeks and the start of the NASCAR season at Daytona International Speedway across its multimedia platforms. Television coverage, highlighted by a Daytona 500 origination for ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter, an expanded schedule for ESPN2’s daily news program NASCAR Now, coverage of NASCAR Media Day on ESPNEWS, and NASCAR Nationwide Series practice and qualifying, will culminate with the NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World 300 on ESPN2 Saturday, Feb. 14, at 12noon/et. Other TV highlights include NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series preview shows on ESPN2 and the airing of multiple past Daytona 500 races on ESPN Classic. SportsCenter at Daytona airs Saturday, Feb. 14, at 4pm/et on ESPN2, originating from the Fan Zone at Daytona International Speedway. In addition to programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS, which includes extensive coverage on SportsCenter, other ESPN platforms including ESPN.com, Jayski.com, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic and ESPN Mobile Properties also will surround the NASCAR Nationwide Series race telecast and the Daytona 500 with NASCAR-related programming and coverage. See much more on my ESPN news page.(2-6-2009)

    News from February 5, 2009

  • Staring Order for the 2009 Budweiser Shootout was shown on SPEED and the drvers chose bottles of Budweiser and drew by order of the highest ranking driver for each manufacturer [Chevy, Ford, Toyota, Dodge] followed by drivers points position, so #48-Johnson went first, the lineup:
    #98-Menard, Ford, chose 22nd, starts 1st POLE
    #19-Sadler, Dodge, chose 20th, starts 2nd
    #43-Sorenson, Dodge, chose 16th, starts 3rd
    #82-Speed, Toyota, chose 27th, starts 4th
    #11-Hamlin, Toyota, chose 3rd, starts 5th
    #14-Stewart, Chevy, chose 25th, starts 6th
    #83-Vickers, Toyota, chose 15th, starts 7th
    #96-Labonte, Ford, chose 26th, starts 8th
    #88-Earnhardt Jr., Chevy, chose 21st, starts 9th
    #18-Busch, Toyota, chose 11th, starts 10th
    #99-Edwards, Ford, chose 2nd, starts 11th
    #2-Busch, Dodge, chose 12th, starts 12th
    #7-Gordon, Dodge, chose 24th, starts 13th
    #9-Kahne, Dodge, chose 4th, starts 14th
    #26-McMurray, Ford, chose 18th, starts 15th
    #6-Ragan, Ford, chose 14th, starts 16th
    #55-Waltrip, Toyota, chose 23rd, starts 17th
    #44-Allmendinger, Dodge, chose 28th/last, starts 18th
    #20-Logano, Toyota, chose 7th, starts 19th
    #12-David Stremme, Dodge, chose 8th, starts 20th
    #48-Johnson, Chevy, chose 1st, starts 21st
    #00-Reutimann, Toyota, chose 19th, starts 22nd
    #31-Burton, Chevy, chose 13th, starts 23rd
    #07-Mears, Chevy, chose 9th, starts 24th
    #17-Kenseth, Ford, chose 10th, starts 25th
    #16-Biffle, Ford, chose 6th, starts 26th
    #29-Harvick, Chevy, chose 5th, starts 27th
    #24-Gordon, Chevy, chose 17th, starts 28th
    more info about the race on my Budweiser Shootout page
  • Lengendary racers to run charity race at Bristol: Darrell Waltrip, Harry Gant, David Pearson, Junior Johnson and other champion drivers are scheduled to be a part of the first Saturday Night Special at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday, March 21. Paired with celebrity partners, these legendary racers will run 35 circuits of a 50-lap event to benefit charity and send race fans on a trip down memory lane. Assigned teammates will start the race and run 15 laps. At the end of that segment, some of Bristol’s best will start the second portion of the race in the order of finish of the first. Drivers will be competing in late model stock cars and $25,000 will be donated to the charity of choice of the winning team. The second-place team will have $10,000 given to the charity of its choice and $5,000 will go to the designated charity of the other entrants. But that big Bristol trophy they get to keep for themselves. “It’s been a while,” said Johnson, who has one win as a driver, but 20 at BMS as a car owner. “But I think I can still turn some laps around this place. Darrell better buckle up.” Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Jimmy Spencer and Phil Parsons also are expected to compete. Dale Jarrett, Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Cale Yarborough were extended invitations. The Saturday Night Special will take place after the completion of the Scotts Turf Builder 300 Nationwide Series race and the 100-lap UARA late model event. Info on Tickets at (423) 989-6900 and toll-free (866) 415-4158.(BMS PR)(2-5-2009)
  • Johnson says finger is ok, ready to race: from a GM Racing transcript, concerning #48-Jimmie Johnson’s finger injury during the Rolex 24 at Daytona, when he cut his finger working on his uniform:
    HOW IS YOUR FINGER DOING? “It’s good, got the stitches out. It’s still a little ugly and swollen but I’ve got motion and grip which we’ve been working hard at the rehab center, so outside of being a little clumsy and swollen it’s doing well.”
    HOW MANY STITCHES DID YOU HAVE? “I think there were five, five on the outside. It went all the way around. I had my suit open and it just gets in may way and I was trying to cut the hole in the pocket for the cool suit and I felt like I could cut those two off so I had the bright idea to flip it over and then I should have realized you know you’re going to cut yourself why are you doing this but I didn’t and still tried to do it and it went through it.”
    WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO WEAR, IS YOUR GLOVE ENOUGH FOR PADDING? “I don’t think I need any padding. We have two or three braces, one is kind of extended so it’s in the most comfortable position and other ones that kind of wrap my hand around so I can easily grip the wheel. So I’m just going to try a few different things in practice tomorrow.”
    HAVE YOU LOST ANY STRENGTH IN IT? “Yeah, I’m limited on training in general. The worse thing I can do is go into this position because it would pull the tendon tight and break the sutures and stuff that sewed it back together so they said you can do anything this way especially once the swelling goes down. Frankly the thing their most worried about is if I trip or fall and have to catch myself that would put me in the worst situation possible.”
    IS IT GOING TO BE MOST DIFFICULT WHEN YOU’RE SHIFTING? “I’m not really sure. I actually think getting through the garage area is going to be more difficult. I’ve been driving at home and driving my corvette so I can do the shifting and all that stuff to get ready for it. The toughest part I have is the real sharp turns so I think getting in and out of the garage area is going to be the toughest part. Once you’re going especially here the corners are so big you only turn the wheel a quarter or half of the way so it should be pretty easy.”(GM Racing PR)(2-5-2009)
  • Aaron’s to sponsor #00 for full season: Michael Waltrip confirmed Thursday that Aaron’s has agreed to sponsor the #00 MWR Toyota of David Reutimann for the entire season. Aaron’s originally had planned to be the primary sponsor of the car for just half the 2009 Sprint Cup season, but Waltrip said he’s signed the company for the whole year. “There’s two reasons why it’s huge,” Waltrip said during NASCAR’s annual Media Day prior to the opening of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. “Aaron’s has been a great partner. The Aaron’s Dream Machine has been the roots for what MWR is today. We raced that car (in the Nationwide Series) from behind my house. Toyota noticed what we did. They said, ‘Hey, we want you to be an owner at the Cup level.’ So it’s the reason I’m here today. Secondly, they (Aaron’s) stepped up to half season of Cup and I was talking to (Ken) Butler, the CEO, and I said, ‘Reutimann’s going to win. You watch.’ And I said, ‘If he wins in somebody else’s car, that’s going to really get on my nerves, because you guys have put us here. e want him to win in your car.’ And we were going to leave Daytona and go to California either with out a sponsor or a different sponsor. I just couldn’t handle that, so we talked and we worked (it out).”(SPEEDtv)(2-5-2009)
  • Latest on the owners points craziness: JTG Daugherty Racing’s Marcos Ambrose will have a guaranteed spot in the Daytona 500 and the next four Sprint Cup race, but Phoenix Racing’s #09-Brad Kesolowski will have to race his way into the events, NASCAR sources said Thursday morning. Sanctioning body officials decided that allowing the transfer of a car number for a rookie to run a fifth car wasn’t the intent of the points-transfer rules and won’t allow a transfer of Chip Ganassi Racing points from last season to Phoenix Racing’s Keselowski. The move will lock Ambrose into the season’s opening five events. Ambrose was told of the situation Thursday morning, and NASCAR sources confirmed that Ambrose will be among the top 35 cars from owner points last year that get locked in the first five races this season. NASCAR doesn’t allow teams to sell points outright but generally approves transfers to other teams as long as the original owner has a minimal ownership stake.
    Keselowski was expected to get the points from the #41 car (33rd last year) as part of a deal that would allow him to be a fifth Earnhardt Ganassi Racing car under the four-car cap provision that allows for an additional car for a driver preparing for a full-time ride in the future. But NASCAR officials indicated they have ruled that the points-transfer rules were not designed to give team a fifth car for a rookie. Ambrose was 36th in car owner points and thought he would be locked in over the winter until the last couple of weeks when three car owners who had top-35 points but no plans to run this year began making deals with other teams outside the top 35.
    #34-John Andretti will get the #15 points from Dale Earnhardt Inc. as part of a deal with the new Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Richard Childress Racing’s #33-Clint Bowyer appears set to get the #01 points that DEI had last year. But no one will end up with the #41 points, allowing Ambrose in the field.(SceneDaily)
    AND NASCAR notified the team Wednesday that the #47 secured the final spot in the top 35 in owner points, guaranteeing Ambrose a starting position in the first five races for the season. A quick glance at last year’s owner points expected to see the #15, #22, #01 and #41 parked for the season, which would automatically lock in the #47, 10 [now #44], #77 and #21. Inevitably, the #15 points aligned with the #34 and John Andretti at Front Row Motorsports (who will have a technical alliance with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing). The #22 points went to Penske Championship Racing and Bill Davis will be minority owner. And the #01 points partnered with Clint Bowyer in the #33 at Richard Childress Racing where Bobby Ginn will be the minority owner of that team.
    At the end of last season, the #47 Toyota was listed 36th in the owner points standings and advanced to 35th. George Gillett’s #10 Dodge, listed 37th at the end of last season, was not so lucky. AJ Allmendinger, who now occupies that car which has since been changed to the #44, remains hopeful and confident. “We’re just going to have to race our way in, but you know what, that’s the way it should be anyway,” Allmendinger said. “I wish everyone had to race their way in. I have had to race my way in the last two years and have gained a lot of knowledge from both of those experiences. I know we are going to have a great car to get the job done and we as a team are just going to have to go out there and make it happen. I am confident we are still going to be in the field for the Daytona 500, we are just going to have to do it the hard way and fight our way into the race from the duels.”(FoxSports), see my 2009 Owners Points – 1st five races page for the breakdown.(2-5-2009)
  • Activision teams with EGR to sponsor #8 and #1: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced a partnership with Activision Publishing, Inc., the publisher of the top-selling Guitar Hero video game franchise, for a multi-race deal that will include primary sponsorship of multiple races with Aric Almirola and his #8 Chevy, and multiple races with Martin Truex Jr. and his #1 Chevy. In the 2009 Daytona 500, the first race to feature a Guitar Hero branded car, the #8 will race around the track with a paint scheme of Activision’s latest #1 music-based video game – Guitar Hero World Tour. The orange and black car will sport the familiar Guitar Hero World Tour logo and the same graphics as the game’s packaging. Subsequent races will feature the #8 or the #1 cars branded with upcoming Guitar Hero titles. Aric Almirola: Driver, #8 Chevy: “I was excited about running my first Daytona 500 to begin with, but now having the Guitar Hero brands on my car will make it even that much more fun. I can’t think of another brand that I would rather have on my car. I play the Guitar Hero games all the time and to now be representing it is very cool.”
    Martin Truex Jr.: “I am really looking forward to pairing up with Activision and Guitar Hero. It is one of my favorite video game brands and I can’t wait to see it on my car.”
    Steve Lauletta: President, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing: “I really love to see big brands come into the sport and it is even better when they are on one of our cars. I don’t know if there is a bigger or hotter video game brand right now than the Guitar Hero franchise. We had an opportunity to work with them last season and now look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with Activision.”(Aric Almirola site)(2-5-2009)
  • Goodyear developing bigger tire: Goodyear is developing a wider, taller tire that could improve racing in the Sprint Cup series, but the tire won’t be ready for competition until sometime next year at the earliest, a company official said. Goodyear officials hope to test the tire at a track in the second half of the season, said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of race tire sales. The tire could make its debut at the short- track events in 2010 if things go well. That would follow how NASCAR phased in the Car of Tomorrow. The main advantage of a taller, wider tire is it could give drivers more grip. That would help the car’s handling and could give teams improved tire wear. “We’re operating right on the edge of the envelope for our current package,” Stucker said. “The new car definitely seems to stress tires differently with the additional right-side weight, it’s harder on those right sides. We would like to go taller and wider to… make the tire a little bit more forgiving and a little less sensitive to maybe guys missing the setup or maybe being more aggressive on their setups.” Goodyear’s current Cup tire is 28.5 inches tall and 11-12 inches wide, depending on the track configuration. Stucker said that Goodyear officials are looking at making the tire 1.5 to 2 inches taller and the same amount wider. That creates issues, though. A taller, wider tire will force teams to alter their cars and that could cause headaches. “When you raise the car up, obviously, you change your suspension pickup points and so on and so forth,” Stucker said. “We’re trying to be very careful in approaching this. If there are going to be changes necessary, make sure they’re the right changes and let’s think through it. We’re proceeding fairly cautiously.” Another issue is that Stucker said that Goodyear would have to alter its equipment to produce a different-sized tire. That will take time. “We’ve got to make some fairly significant changes, which we are in the process of planning and getting ready to do,” Stucker said. “That’s going to take some time to upgrade all of that equipment.”(Virginian Pilot)(2-5-2009)
  • Dream Racers – Former Penske builder works to help keep kids calm during treatments: Mark Smith does magic with metal. For years, he has repaired wrecked cars, built cars from scratch and restored relics. But he sold his shop in Mooresville’s Lakeside Business Park because he found something he wanted to do more. Now, he’s a dreamer. He’s making Dream Racers, miniature race car reproductions built from the ground up, the same way Smith helped build race vehicles at Penske Racing. They’re 78 inches long, 38 inches tall and 27 inches wide, and weigh less than 100 pounds, and they sit on locking casters so they can be rolled into place. Where Dream Racers are designed to go makes them most special. They’re built for children’s hospitals or facilities where young patients sometimes have to remain relatively still – for chemotherapy, respiratory treatments or other procedures. A computer monitor is mounted to the hood and connected to a video game and DVD system – a diversion from the treatment a child might endure. There is a spot for an oxygen bottle and a slot on the roll cage for a pole to hold intravenous fluids. David Reutimann, driver of the #00 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, saw a need for the therapeutic cars – and made the first dream come true. “When you see sick kids, it just gnaws on you,” Reutimann said. He hosts a golf tournament each year to benefit charities such as All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla., near his hometown of Zephyrhills. Kelly Sutton, who knows Smith from having competed in the NASCAR Truck Series, told Reutimann about the Dream Racer. Reutimann dedicated the proceeds from his 2008 golf tournament to pay $9,500 to get the first Dream Racer – with paint and decals like his Sprint Cup car sponsored by Aaron’s – in All Children’s. “It is a fabulous device,” said Sara Barnett, a child life specialist at the hospital. “It certainly makes life a lot easier.” Children scheduled for treatments cinch up the safety belts in the Dream Racer, watch a movie or play a video game – and maybe the procedure seems to pass more quickly. The car, Barnett said, also can be used a reward for patients who cooperate through difficult treatments. “It’s a little escape from what’s going on in their lives,” Reutimann said. “Anything that can be done to take their minds off what’s going on or distract them a little bit will help make the time go by quicker.” It takes 80 to 100 hours to build each Dream Racer. Sage Hendricks and Bill Snyder, both recently laid off at Dale Earnhardt Inc., are helping Smith build – and refine – the cars. Much of the work on the Dream Racers is done in the garage of Hendricks’ house. The work is meticulous. Each piece of the car is handmade. Each weld is done by hand. The wiring is housed inside conduits, and all electronics are carefully grounded. Engineers at All Children’s checked the racer Reutimann donated, and it received more than 50 points above the hospital’s passing score. It has been delivered and is going through final safety checks.(Charlotte Observer) more info at childrensdreamracer.com.(2-5-2009)
  • Indy tire testing in April and June: Goodyear plans to test twice more at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The tire company had three tests at that track last fall after the disastrous race there last year in which tires wore out within a few laps. One test is scheduled for April and will likely have three or four cars. The other test is expected to be held sometime in June and could be open to several more Cup teams. Also, Goodyear is bringing a different tire to Daytona this year. Some of Goodyear’s tires blistered last February in its first race at Daytona. The right-side compound has been altered slightly to make it harder. The left-side tires are the same as what Goodyear brought to Daytona in July.(Virginian Pilot)(2-5-2009)
  • Sad News – Clarice Lane: Clarice Lane, Darlington Raceway’s best-known female ambassador, died Monday evening after a long illness. Lane, 82, was a part of the inaugural event at the track in 1950 and an even bigger part of ensuing events for more than 50 years. She came to personally know hundreds of NASCAR drivers and their families. A native of Mullins, S.C., Lane served as administrative assistant to the president of the track. The late NASCAR Chairman and CEO Bill France Jr. referred to Clarice as one of his favorite people. “She sold the sport with her personality,” NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter said. She was married to the late Floyd N. Lane. She is survived by three children, Reecie (Freeman), Neil, Johnny and five grandchildren. Visitation will be held at Belk Funeral Home in Darlington on Thursday, Feb. 5th from 5-7 p.m. Graveside services will be held on Friday, Feb. 6 at 3 p.m. at Darlington Memory Gardens in Darlington, S.C. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: Trinity United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 16, Darlington, SC 29540.(NASCAR)(2-5-2009)

    News from February 4, 2009

  • Terry Labonte looks to compete in 10 to 12 Cup races: Terry Labonte retired from driving full time in 2004, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to throw away his helmet. Labonte has competed in 44 races in the four years since he retired, and he will attempt to make this year’s Daytona 500 in Prism Motorsports’ #66 Toyota. So far, that’s Labonte’s only scheduled race this year, but things could change. “I wouldn’t mind running eight or 10 or 12 races, something like that,” Labonte said. “It would depend who it was. I’ve got to know them. I had a blast last year. It was actually fun.” Labonte insists he’s still retired from full-time competition, saying he doesn’t understand “why anybody would want to run every week.”(SceneDaily)(2-4-2009)
  • New name for Penske’s team: Bill Davis has become a minority owner of the team now known as Penske Championship Racing, a move giving Sam Hornish Jr. points that will guarantee him a spot in the season’s first five races. With the addition of Davis, the team changed its name to Penske Championship Racing from Penske Racing. Bud Denker, the senior vice president of Penske Corporation, confirmed the move on Wednesday.(ESPN)(2-4-2009)
  • Penske buys the #22, Davis a minority owner UPDATE more: Bill Davis is now a minority owner in Penske Racing. Penske has acquired Davis’ #22 and will keep the number for further consideration to align with the #2 and #12. But for now, the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. will take the 22’s owner points and start the 2009 season 31st, which guarantees it a position in the Daytona 500. “As a business person, you have to look at what your options are,” Penske said by phone. “I think the key thing right now is it’s too bad that anyone who has run a full season whether they’re in the top 35 or not — and I don’t mean the ones that run a half season — but if you run the full season last year, every car in every race, you hope you would be given some kind of priority.”(FoxSports)(2-3-2009)
    UPDATE: #09-Phoenix Racing’s Brad Keselowski will get the points from the #41 or #01 left over from the Chip Ganassi Racing-Dale Earnhardt Inc. merger, according to sources. That leaves one set of points remaining, and those possibly could go to Richard Childress Racing’s Clint Bowyer, who moved to the new RCR #33 car this year while Casey Mears, the new driver of the #07 car, has Bowyer’s points from last season. RCR officials would not confirm whether the team is working a deal for top-35 points. While having the points is good news for Hornish (who will still drive the #77), it is not good news for Richard Petty Motorsports’ #44-AJ Allmendinger, who now will have to qualify on speed or race his way in the Daytona 500. His car was 37th in owners points last year. Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing car, is on the bubble at 36th from last season. If RCR gets points for Bowyer as expected, then Ambrose also will have to qualify on speed or race his way in the Daytona 500. Michael Waltrip, whose Michael Waltrip Racing builds cars for Ambrose, said Tuesday that he was unsure whether Ambrose would end up being locked in for the Daytona 500.(SceneDaily), see my 2009 Owners Points – 1st five races page(2-4-2009)
  • Congratulations to Big Ed Watkins – Jackman for Reed Sorenson at Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Dodge – and wife Vonda Watkins on the birth of their daughter and first child Avelyn Mae Watkins on Sunday.(2-4-2009)
  • New car chief for Kurt Busch: Jeff Thousand returns to being a “road warrior” as he will serve as #2-Kurt Busch’s car chief for the 2009 season. Thousand’s racing career dates back to the short tracks of the Midwest as he was a member of Rusty Wallace’s successful operation during the late 70s and early 80s. Thousand followed Wallace to the Cup ranks after Penske Racing’s NASCAR team started in 1991, moving from St. Louis to reunite with Wallace for the 1993 season. Thousand was a fixture on the circuit during much of Wallace’s legendary career and last served as car chief for Wallace during his final year behind the wheel back in 2005. “Jeff brings so much knowledge and experience to our team and we’re glad to get him out of our shop and back on the road with us,” Pat [Tryson, crew chief] said. “We have a great group of guys on our team and we all get along really well and communicate very effectively.”(Tom Roberts PR)(2-4-2009)
  • Grant lawsuit officially dismissed: The sexual and racial discrimination and harassment lawsuit filed in June by former NASCAR official Mauricia Grant has officially been dismissed in U.S. District Court in New York, according to court filings. NASCAR had announced Dec. 18 in a news release that it had reached a settlement in the suit, and that the terms of the settlement are confidential and neither NASCAR nor Grant admits liability nor wrongdoing by way of the settlement. NASCAR and Grant filed jointly Friday to voluntarily dismiss the case. No terms were listed in the filing, which was just one paragraph stating that both sides had agreed to discontinue the case.(SceneDaily)(2-4-2009)
  • Speedway Illustrated Sold: Anthem Media Group (AMG), announced that the firm has acquired one of the nation’s most prominent and largest circulation motorsports magazines, Dick Berggren’s Speedway Illustrated, and related assets including SEMA Show Daily relationship, NASCAR Insider, Speedway Expo and SpeedwayIllustrated.com. “Speedway Illustrated has an incredibly solid history of financial performance and the team is one of the best in the business,” said Brian Weaver, CEO of Anthem Media Group. “The magazine has the strongest ABC audit in the category and is a great complement to Anthem’s other motorsports assets. Of course having Dick Berggren on board is a tremendous asset to any organization. Dick will continue on as Executive Editor of the magazine and will have an enhanced role with our other assets as well.”(PRNewswire)(2-4-2009)

    News from February 3, 2009

  • Penske buys the #22, Davis a minority owner: Bill Davis is now a minority owner in Penske Racing. Penske has acquired Davis’ #22 and will keep the number for further consideration to align with the #2 and #12. But for now, the #77 Mobil 1 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish Jr. will take the 22’s owner points and start the 2009 season 31st, which guarantees it a position in the Daytona 500. “As a business person, you have to look at what your options are,” Penske said by phone. “I think the key thing right now is it’s too bad that anyone who has run a full season whether they’re in the top 35 or not — and I don’t mean the ones that run a half season — but if you run the full season last year, every car in every race, you hope you would be given some kind of priority.”(FoxSports), see my 2009 Owners Points – 1st five races page(2-3-2009)
  • Blu Frog Energy to sponsor Cope at Daytona: The Limu Company’s amazing new product Blu Frog Energy is the primary sponsor for three different vehicles during the week at Daytona. The vehicles include the #75 Blu Frog Energy Dodge that will be running to qualify for The Daytona 500, driven by 1990 Daytona 500 Champion Derrike Cope, the #74 Blu Frog Energy Dodge Truck, driven by Larry Foyt and the #56 Blu Frog Energy Chevy, also driven by Foyt.(thelimucompany.com)
    AND “We’re really delighted to have The Limu Company and the new Blu Frog Energy drink as our sponsor,” said Cope, the 1990 Daytona 500 Champion. “We’re especially excited to create great synergy for the Blu Frog Energy brand in combination with Larry Foyt. It’s pretty rare but very powerful to have three separate vehicles creating major branding and awareness opportunities for the same company. This Speed Week should give a huge boost to the Blu Frog Energy brand!”
    “All of us at The Limu Company are incredibly energized about our sponsorship positions at Daytona this year,” said Gary Raser, Founder, President and CEO of The Limu Company. “Our members across the U.S. and around the world, almost 50,000 strong, are huge NASCAR fans and can’t wait to see Derrike Cope and Larry Foyt race at Daytona with Blu Frog Energy. This incredible brand visibility comes at a perfect time for us, supporting our national launch of our new Blu Frog Energy Drink. And what better way to launch the brand than at Daytona! We’re thrilled to be going racing with NASCAR and to be a part of the Great American Race, and the most-watched racing weekend in America.”(Blu Frog/Limu Company PR), see image of the scheme on my #75 Team Scheme page.(2-3-2009)
  • Tommy Baldwin Racing signs assoc sponsor: Metaljeans.com, the only company that manufactures denim apparel, shirts, outwear, casual wear, foot wear and race gear exclusively in America, announced that they are METALizing Tommy Baldwin Racing for the 2009 Sprint Cup season [as an associate/product sponsor].. “We are pleased to be associated with Tommy Baldwin and his new race team,” said Roger Kent, President of Metal Jeans. “We are looking forward to supplying him, his crew and Scott Riggs with all their apparel this season and wish them the best of luck.” Metal has a long association with Tommy Baldwin while looking after his apparel demands for his previous NASCAR teams. “I am extremely excited that Metal Jeans jumped on board to support our race team,” Baldwin said. “I have had a long standing relationship with them and I am just thrilled they have agreed to support me and my race team.” In addition, the band Sevendust will be guests of metaljeans.com at Daytona International Speedway during the Great American Race. The band will visit the crew of Tommy Baldwin Racing as well as several other teams sponsored by metaljeans.com.(Everest Marketing Group/TBR PR)(2-3-2009)
  • Mayfield returns to full Cup ride, with sponsor: Jeremy Mayfield returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup competition in 2009 as both team owner and driver. Thanks in part to NASCAR and sponsor All Sport, Mayfield plans to field a full time entry in the series. He will assume driving duties of the team’s #41 entry beginning with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. “Team ownership is something I’ve always wanted to pursue,” said Mayfield. “Things have really fallen into place this year with the NASCAR rule changes and with All Sport coming on board as a partner.” Mayfield’s ownership aspirations were given new life when NASCAR announced one key rule change for the 2009 season – a ban on testing at NASCAR sanctioned tracks. “I have to give NASCAR a lot of credit for the things they’ve done in the sport over the last two years to make it possible for people like me to get involved as a team owner,” continued Mayfield. “The new COT car and even more importantly the testing ban have made it a reality for me to come in and compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.” Mayfield will be joined in ownership by Gary Smith, Chairman and CEO of Big Red, Inc. and co-owner of Mayfield Motorsports. Smith’s All Sport brand will sponsor the team during the 2009 Sprint Cup season. “We are excited to continue our involvement in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series by teaming up with Mayfield Motorsports to sponsor the #41 All Sport Toyota,” said Smith. “All Sport has been a key partner in many auto racing sponsorships in the past and as a result, our plan is to capture the thrill of racing through in-store programs designed to get consumers excited about our connection to motorsports.” Mayfield’s level of commitment is bolstered by his dual role in the organization and supplemented by the support of a strong team with leadership provided by veteran crew chief Tony Furr. In addition, Mayfield will be utilizing Triad Racing Technologies engines and chassis to support his racing efforts. “Mayfield Motorsports is a collaboration of a lot of good people and friends of mine,” explained Mayfield. “With this opportunity, we we’re able to put a lot of people who were out of work back into a job, which has given everyone working here a real connection to the team. I grew up drinking All Sport, so to enter into a partnership with Gary Smith and to represent the brand is a fantastic opportunity for me. Auto racing is a very physically demanding sport and as a driver it is important for me to stay hydrated. All Sport gives me the hydration I need for a grueling race.” Mayfield’s plans may begin with the Daytona 500, but they have an undertone of endurance similar to what the driver has shown in his 20-year racing career. “We’re here for the long haul,” said Mayfield. “This isn’t something I’m going into with short term aspirations. Together with All Sport, we’re going to compete this year with the goal to build a solid team for many years to come.” For more info about All Sport see www.drinkallsport.com.(Co-Pillot PR), see image of scheme on my #41 Team Schemes page.(2-3-2009)
  • Golden Corral to sponsor Kvapil at Daytona: Yates Racing announced that Golden Corral, America’s favorite family buffet and grill restaurant chain, will sponsor Travis Kvapil and the #28 Ford Fusion in the 2009 Daytona 500 on February 15th. “It’s great to have Golden Corral on board for the biggest race of the year,” said Yates Racing driver Travis Kvapil. “I’ve always been a huge fan of Golden Corral, and now to have them on the #28 Ford for the Daytona 500 is such a great opportunity for us. I can’t wait to get back down to Daytona. It’s been a long off season without any testing, and I think I speak for all the guys on the #28 team, but we are all chomping at the bit to get back down there. Doug (Yates) has been working solid hours over at the engine shop getting ready for the 500, and I know we’ll have a ton of horsepower under the hood of the #28 Golden Corral Ford Fusion.”
    “Golden Corral is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Daytona 500,” commented Chris Kuehn, Chief Marketing Officer of Golden Corral. “Golden Corral customers and employees have been long time supporters and fans of NASCAR and to be with Travis Kvapil and Yates Racing in the Daytona 500 is a perfect fit for our brand.” Golden Corral will debut with the #28 Golden Corral Ford Fusion in the season opening practice on February 7th at Daytona International Speedway, followed by pole qualifying on February 8th and then the final-field setting Gatorade Duels on February 12th. In Kvapil’s last start at a restrictor plate track, the #28 took the pole at Talladega Superspeedway in October 2008. Sponsorship opportunities are available; please see www.yatesracing.com.(Yates Racing PR)(2-3-2009)
  • Owners Points still could be shook up: Brad Keselowski, driving for Phoenix Racing [#09], is expected to be locked into the field for the Daytona 500, and there could be others also locked into the opening Sprint Cup races as various points transfers are being talked about as teams outside the top 35 in owners points try to secure those spots. NASCAR has been quiet on the issue of who is getting whose points because it is still accepting entries for the Daytona 500, but it appears that drivers who once thought they could be locked in – most notably #44-AJ Allmendinger at Richard Petty Motorsports – will end up having to qualify on speed for the first five races of the season when the 2008 owners standings are used to set the field. Keselowski will be locked in, according to multiple sources. And among those who could be looking for points are Penske Racing driver #77-Sam Hornish Jr. and Richard Childress Racing’s #55-Clint Bowyer, who is moving to a different RCR team this season.
    NASCAR does not allow a team to sell points outright but generally will approve offseason transfers as long as the original owner has some sort of ownership stake in the car going forward. Some of the switches have already been announced: Paul Menard (#98) and Bobby Labonte (#96) are getting the two Yates Racing points from the #28 and #38 last year. There are three cars with top-35 owners whose assignments have not been announced.
    One of those is the #22 from Bill Davis Racing and the other two are from Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Chip Ganassi Racing #01 and #41]. When the DEI and Ganassi teams merged, they had six cars with top-35 owners points. Three of those from the merger will go to the three Earnhardt Ganassi cars driven by Martin Truex Jr. (#1), Juan Pablo Montoya (#42), and Aric Almirola (#8). That leaves the #15, #01 and the #41 from last year. As part of an alignment with Front Row Motorsports, driver John Andretti will have one of those remaining three, Andretti said. Most likely that would come from the #15.
    The other two are possibly up for grabs, although it would take some maneuvering because technically no one owner – Chip Ganassi or Teresa Earnhardt – can have a financial interest in more than five teams (four, plus one for up to seven races for an aspiring rookie looking to run a full season in the future). Keselowski would count as an aspiring rookie. That would fill one of the three remaining unaccounted for top-35 spots. As far as the other two, Hornish and Bowyer seem to be the most likely possibilities. When asked last week if Penske Racing was attempting to get owners points from the #22 Bill Davis Racing entry, a Penske Racing spokesman said that the team is “exploring all of our options.”
    Bowyer needs points since the #07 points stayed with the car and new driver Casey Mears while Bowyer is moving to a fourth RCR car (#33). An RCR spokesman said he couldn’t confirm if Bowyer has secured points. Drivers who are waiting to see what will happen are those who were 36th or 37th overall in points last year. They would be locked in the first five races if one of the top-35 car owners doesn’t end up with some sort of association at Daytona. In 36th last year was the JTG Daugherty Racing #47 car of Marcos Ambrose, which has an alliance with Michael Waltrip Racing. In 37th would be Richard Petty Motorsports’ #10, which is turning into the #44 driven by AJ Allmendinger. Allmendinger, who originally thought he was going to be in the 500 and now most likely won’t be locked in, also could lose a spot in the Budweiser Shootout if Hornish can get top-35 points and be one of the top six Dodges in the field.(SceneDaily), see my 2009 Owners Points – 1st five races page for how it looks right now, before any of the possible changes mentioned above.(2-3-2009)
  • Official NASCAR Magazine hits stands Feb 9th: A.E. Engine, a publishing and marketing services company, has released the Daytona 500 edition of NASCAR Pole Position, an officially licensed NASCAR magazine. The 88-page, newsstand-quality magazine, now in its fifth year, is available free in the greater Daytona Beach area from distributors such as Wal-Mart and CVS. The Daytona magazine marks the first of 36 editions that will be published in 2009. The magazine, whose Daytona cover features Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch, will be published in all 36 race markets in 2009. Each issue features content from respected NASCAR writers and photographers. The magazine includes profiles of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ top drivers, trivia, games for kids and plenty of photography. In the next two weeks, A.E. Engine will release the California and Las Vegas editions of Pole Position in those respective race markets. For collectors and out-of-market fans, editions are available for purchase at the magazine’s web site, www.freeracemag.com. More information, including digital editions, can be found at www.freeracemag.com.(2-3-2009)

    News from February 2, 2009

  • Get Well – Martha Earnhardt: Martha Earnhardt, mother of the late Dale Earnhardt and grandmother of Dale Jr., fell last Thursday in her Kannapolis, NC home and broke her left leg above the knee. Been told Mrs. Earnhardt is doing well but is in long for a long recovery. Martha and Carol Gordon Bickford [Jeff Gordon’s Mom] are coming out with a new cookbook. For more info on the book, see my Racing Book News page.(2-2-2009)
  • Sad News – Robert “Hoot” Auton: Robert “Hoot” Auton passed away Sunday, February 1, 2009 following a lengthy illness. He was 75. Robert, father of Truck Series Competition Director, Wayne Auton, and Buster Auton, who works in the Sprint Cup Series, was a former NASCAR official and known by many in the NASCAR community. See funeral arrangements on my Truck Series site.(2-2-2009)
  • Said teams up with Carter for Daytona 500: Carter/Simo Racing is proud to announce that Boris Said and James Hylton will now team up and prepare to qualify for the 2009 Daytona 500. Said will pilot the #08 Ford, while Hylton will pilot the #60 Dodge. Both cars must make the field on speed, or through the “Gatorade Duel” qualification races. In addition to the Daytona 500, Hylton will also race the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA Remax Series Event. Full and Partial sponsorship opportunities are still available visit EM-Motorsports.com for more info.(2-2-2009)
  • No Daytona 500 for Marlin, but other Cup races: Two-Time Daytona 500 winner, Sterling Marlin, doesn’t have a ride for the Daytona 500. “Everything has to end sometime,” says Sterling Marlin, 51. “Nothing goes on forever.” Last year he just missed cracking the lineup in his qualifying race. This year he won’t even get to try. “I thought I might have something lined up but it didn’t work out,” Marlin said earlier this week. Marlin will still be in Daytona doing some PR work for Coors Beer, with a possibility of landing a ride in the Nationwide Series. Despite the Daytona disappointment, Sterling is not hanging up his helmet in the Sprint Cup Series. He is scheduled to run “12 to 14” races this year, sharing a ride in James Finch’s #09 with Ken Schrader and Mike Bliss. He will also run some races at Fairgrounds Speedway, where he won three championships from 1980-82. His son Steadman will run the full Fairgrounds schedule while daughter Sutherlin plans to compete as a rookie on the quarter-mile track. Sutherlin agreed to attend Columbia State if her parents would let her race.(Nashville City Paper)(2-2-2009)
  • 2010 Camaro to pace Daytona 500? The 2010 Camaro will be the 2009 Daytona 500 race’s official pace car per an advertisement found by many readers. See the image and more at camaro5.com.(2-2-2009)
  • Official NASCAR Viewing Party of the Daytona 500 in NYC: the 4th annual viewing party of the Daytona 500 live in HD on a14-foot Big Screen at ESPN Zone in Times Square [at 42nd Street and Broadway -1472 Broadway, (212) 921-3776] in New York City is scheduled for Sunday, February 15th from 1:30pm/et until the conclusion of the race. Chance to win a trip for 2 to the 2009 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway by competing in a virtual racing tournament. Competition begins in the Sports Arena on the 3rd floor at 1:30pm, space is limited. Tailgate Toss competition to win 2 DreamSeat recliner seats in the front row of the Screening Room to watch the race; plus a $40 voucher for food and non-alcoholic beverages. Competition begins in the Sports Arena on the 3rd floor at 1:30pm, space is limited. This event is free and open to the public. Table service requires a minimum charge of $10 per person per hour. For more information you can go to: www.espnzone.com/newyork.(2-2-2009)

News from February 1, 2009

  • Daytona 500 entry list: it’s rough, it’s crude, it’s probably incomplete, but see the Totally Unofficial 2009 Daytona 500 Entry List page also it explains the Daytona 500 qualifying format, different then all the other races of the season.
  • TV Rights available for NASCAR HOF: NASCAR has announced who will be eligible and how the voting will be conducted for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which is scheduled to have its first induction ceremony in May 2010, but no decision has been made yet on the awarding of television broadcasting rights. As part of its contract with the City of Charlotte, which will own and operate the hall of fame, NASCAR owns all broadcast rights for the event. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the induction ceremony is not packaged in the current television deal and the negotiation process on the rights is just beginning. Fox, Speed, TNT and ABC/ESPN are the current NASCAR television partners as part of a racing contract that currently runs through 2014, an eight-year deal worth a total of $4.48 billion. Obviously, Speed, which is owned by Fox, would love to have that hall induction ceremony programming. “Speed is totally fired up about working on programming covering the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony,” said Speed President Hunter Nickell. “In fact, the brainstorming has long been under way, and we are in the process of developing a specific approach to this historical event.” An ESPN spokesman said the network also would be interested in the induction ceremony. And TNT, whose parent company Turner owns NASCAR.com, also could play a role in the negotiations.(SceneDaily)(2-1-2009)