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July 2009 News Archives


July 31, 2009

  • NASCAR History: July 31 — 1955: Crash Carson, one of two drivers named Crash to race in the Cup Series, makes his only NASCAR start, at Bay Meadows Speedway in San Mateo, Calif. He finishes last, 34th, bowing out after eight laps of the scheduled 250-lap race on the 1-mile dirt track (oil pressure). The actual distance is 252 laps because of a scoring error. NASCAR’s other Crash, Crash Bond, makes his only start in the Nashville 500 on August 6, 1961, and finishes 13th.(NASCAR.com)
  • Qualifying canceled at Pocono: Rain at Long Pond, PA caused the qualifying for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway to be canceled and the field was set by the NASCAR Rules book: Top 35 in owners points, past winner as owner [#09], then the remaining seven cars by race attempts. Since there are only 43 cars at the track, no drivers/teams will go home this week. It is the fifth time in 2009 that qualifying has been rained out. For links to the weather, see my Pocono Race Info page – weather links.
    #14-Stewart will start first [no credit for winning a pole nor the award], #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #2-Busch, #99-Edwards, #11-Hamlin, #39-Newman, #9-Kahne, #5-Martin and #42-Montoya. See the starting lineup up my Pocono Starting Lineup/Qualifying page.(7-31-2009)
  • RAIN at Pocono: as of 1:20pm/et, it is raining at Pocono Raceway and the track is soaked, which will push back the scheduled time of Sprint Cup Series qualifying, which is scheduled for 3:40pm/et and in all likelihood, cancel qualifying. If so, the field will be set by the rules book: Top 35 in owners points, past winner as owner [#09], then the remaining seven cars by race attempts. Since there are only 43 cars at the track, no driver/team will go home this week. For links to the weather, see my Pocono Race Info page – weather links.(7-31-2009)
  • Friday Practice for the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway is over after 53 minutes when rain caused the rest of practice to be cancelled, the top five:
    #5-Martin 169.354
    #48-Johnson 167.604
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 167.470
    #24-Gordon 166.799
    #18-Busch 166.257
    slowest: #37-Raines 159.898 and #09-Marlin 160.231
    incidents: #44-Allmendinger spun off turn 2 early in the practice and went thru the grass, no damage reported.
    #55-Waltrip spun off turn 3, got in the grass and hit pit road and damaged the splitter, Waltrip will go to a backup car.
    For best speeds, average speeds, laps run, see my Pocono Practice Speeds page.(7-31-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Pocono:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #66-Dave Blaney, 9th fastest
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 17th
    #36-Patrick Carpentier, 33rd
    #82-Scott Speed, 34th
    #71-David Gilliland, 38th
    #64-Mike Wallace, 41st
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 42nd
    #37-Tony Raines, 43rd/last
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    none, only 43 cars are entered
    For best speeds, average speeds, laps run, see my Pocono Practice Speeds page.(7-31-2009)
  • Last race only 43 cars? The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Speedway only had 43 drivers/cars entered, and all will start the race on Sunday. 43 cars is a full field and the most cars allowed to run a Sprint Cup race. The last time a Sprint Cup race only had 43 drivers/teams enter to attempt to qualify for a race was at California Speedway in May 2004.(7-31-2009)
  • Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act: The Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act logo will appear on Kyle Busch’s #18 M&M’s Toyota for Sunday’s Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Mars Chocolate, made with real 100% cocoa butter, is giving away free chocolate each Friday throughout the summer. Fans can visit realchocolate.com to get their free Mars chocolate.(M&M’s Racing), see images of the logo on my #18 Team Schemes page.(7-31-2009)
  • Sad News – Bruce Rossmeyer: Bruce Rossmeyer, one of the nation’s largest Harley-Davidson dealers and a supporter of charitable causes that helped thousands of children, was killed Thursday in a motorcycle crash in Wyoming as he made his way to the Sturgis, S.D., 69th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Rossmeyer is survived by his wife, Sandy, five children and nine grandchildren. Jeans and untucked shirts made up his CEO attire as Rossmeyer personified the fantasy of a millionaire biker. His private jet has flames running down the side like a Harley. His arm bore the signature Harley logo, permanently.
    Rossmeyer helped found, and served on the board of directors for, Camp Boggy Creek, a division of The Hole in the Wall camps; sponsored “Ride for Children,” the camp’s annual charity motorcycle ride; served on the executive committee of Boys & Girls Clubs of Volusia/Flagler Counties; sponsored “Kyle Petty Ride Across America;” served on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County and the Police Athletic League for the city of Daytona Beach.
    NASCAR driver Kyle Petty formed his own camp for children modeled after Camp Boggy Creek after the death of his son Adam in 2000. Rossmeyer helped him to form Victory Junctionin North Carolina after years of taking part in the local ride for children. Rossmeyer continued every year to hold similar fundraising rides for Victory Junction and other charities. Mr. Rossmeyer has been a major sponsor of the “Kyle Petty Ride Across America” which also benefits children’s hospitals they encounter on the trip. In 2008, to commemorate the 60 years of NASCAR, Rossmeyer teamed up with NASCAR to create 60 custom motorcycles, each individually serialized No. 1 through 60. Each motorcycle captures the true essence of NASCAR — a sport that combines design, technology and speed. Motorcycle No. 60 in the series was presented to Petty, who auctioned off the one-of-a-kind motorcycle with proceeds benefiting Victory Junction (a few of these motorcycles are still for sale).
    A celebration of Rossmeyer’s life is scheduled for Tuesday, August 4, 2009 at 11:00am at Christ Presbyterian Church, 1035 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach, FL with Pastor John Cole officiating. His family will also receive friends on Monday August 3, 2009 from 4-9pm at Lohman Funeral Home Ormond. Memorial donations can be made to the Camp Boggy Creek, 30500 Brantley Branch Road, Eustis, FL 32736, or Boys and Girl’s Club of Volusia/Flagler Counties, 101 North Woodland Blvd., Ste 400, Deland, FL 32720-4296. In addition, friends may send condolences to LohmanFuneralHomes.com. Arrangements are under the careful direction of Lohman Funeral Home Ormond.(info compiled from many sources including Daytona Beach News Journal)(7-31-2009)
  • RPM downsizing? Sorenson out? UPDATE2 denied: Rumors persist that Richard Petty Motorsports will shrink to three cars in the next few weeks, with A.J. Allmendinger moving to the #43 Dodge, replacing Reed Sorenson, and the #44 team being shut down.(Ford Racing)(7-29-2009)
    UPDATE: An internet report claiming that Reed Sorenson will be released by Richard Petty Motorsports as part of a downsizing of the team’s Sprint Cup roster appears to be premature. The Ford Racing website reported on rumors that Sorenson will be replaced by former Champ Car star A.J. Allmendinger when Allmendinger’s #44 Dodge is mothballed within the next few weeks. However, a source close to the team -– speaking on the condition of anonymity –- said today that while the move is being discussed, Sorenson’s release is not yet a done deal. “No one is sure that it’s going to happen,” said the source, “but it’s definitely being talked about. The team is working on the details right now.” If RPM does indeed decide to trim its roster from four cars to three, Allmendinger’s current sponsors would transfer to the #43 Dodge. Calls to Richard Petty Motorsports seeking comment were not immediately returned.(Sirius Speedway)(7-29-2009)
    UPDATE: a Richard Petty Motorsports representative says that the team will remain a four car team and Sorenson will stay with the #43 team.(7-31-2009)
  • Lowe’s tells speedway it won’t renew deal: Lowe’s has decided not to renew its naming-rights deal at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after this year, ending an 11-year relationship that began as the first racetrack naming-rights sponsorship. After more than a year of renewal talks, the home improvement retailer informed Speedway Motorsports Inc., the track’s parent company, of its decision within the last two weeks, industry sources said. The initial 10-year, $35 million deal ran through 2008 and last year the two sides agreed on a one-year extension through 2009 when they could not finalize a long-term deal. Talks continued this year, but the two sides have not been able to reach an agreement. Sources said it’s not inconceivable for Lowe’s to change its mind, given that five months remain on the current deal and the unpredictable nature of the economy, but such a change of heart is considered unlikely. Barring a late agreement with Lowe’s or the signing of a new corporate partner, the track is expected to go back to its former name, Charlotte Motor Speedway, in 2010. Industry sources say that SMI initially came to the table asking for close to $9 million annually, and while that number dropped over the course of their discussions, the two sides could not come together. There were other factors. Lowe’s must also consider its future with driver Jimmie Johnson, who has won three straight Cup championships and stands as the sport’s most dominant figure. The Lowe’s deal with Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports expires at the end of 2010 and those renewal talks are expected to begin later this year. Industry sources say that Lowe’s will be expected to pay a hefty increase to maintain its position as the only primary sponsor on Johnson’s #48 car, which is uncommon in this time of co-primary and “tri-mary” sponsorships on a car. The most expensive sponsorships go for the mid-$20 million range annually. Lowe’s also is navigating the recession, which has struck the home improvement and building sector especially hard. Lowe’s earnings fell 22% in 2008 and 60% in the final quarter of the year.(Sports Business Journal)(7-31-2009)
  • #71 to run Leiomyosarcoma scheme at Pocono: TRG Motorsports will run Leiomyosarcoma livery on the #71 TRG Motorsports Chevy this weekend at the NACAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) is a rare form of cancer. It affects only four to six people out of every million in the U.S. It is a soft-tissue cancer, which means it can occur in any soft tissue in the body, i.e. muscle, nerves, blood vessels, all the organs, fat, skin, connective tissues, etc. It spreads through the blood stream and is, in most cases, very aggressive and resists chemotherapy and radiation. Few doctors ever see LMS and often LMS goes misdiagnosed until it is too late. It has an incredibly high recurrence rate and, sadly less than 35% survive to five-years after diagnosis. The National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation hopes to raise awareness of this “forgotten cancer” and gives 100% of the money raised and donated for research. Information on how to help can be found at www.nlmsf.netwww.leiomyosarcoma.info, and www.team-sarcoma.net.(TRG Motorsports)(7-31-2009)
  • Pocono Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tire codes that NASCAR Sprint Cup teams ran at Pocono in June . . . this is the only Sprint Cup track at which these two tire codes will be used together in 2009, though they will each be used separately at one other Cup venue . . . this left-side code (D-4178) was run at Indianapolis last week . . . this right-side code (D-4160) will be used at both races at Bristol this season . . . this right-side was also run at both Pocono races last season, and at all four Bristol races between 2007-2008 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Pocono . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 35-37 laps, based on fuel mileage (Goodyear). For tire pressures, codes and more, see my Pocono Race page – Goodyear section.(7-31-2009)
  • DLP returns to the #96: The #96 Ford of Bobby Labonte will sport the black DLP paint scheme this weekend at Pocono Raceway. The #96 DLP Ford Fusion team will bring chassis RK-609 to Pocono this weekend. This is the same Ford that Labonte raced at Pocono earlier this year.(Yates Racing)(7-31-2009)
  • Patrick in no hurry to rush decision on future: Danica Patrick is in no hurry to make a decision about her racing future. The IndyCar star is in the final year of her contract with the Andretti-Green Racing team. She has been considering a jump to stock cars and recently toured several NASCAR shops in North Carolina. Chip Ganassi owns NASCAR and IndyCar teams. He said last week Patrick should stay in the open-wheel series because she’s close to making the last step toward a championship. Patrick says she’s not surprised by Ganassi’s position, but that won’t affect her decision.(Associated Press)(7-31-2009)
  • Cheez-It scheme returns at Pocono: The #5 Chevy of Mark Martin, which has visited victory lane more times than any other car in 2009, will sport the Cheez-It paint scheme this weekend at Pocono. The Cheez-It/Carquest Chevy has competed in three other races this season, including the team’s second victory of the year at Darlington Raceway in May.(HMS), see images of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(7-31-2009)
  • Kyle Busch – Track Facts: Of the 30 race tracks that will host NASCAR’s top three divisions in 2009, Busch has competed at 28 of them at least once, and with his win at Gateway two weeks ago, he has now won at 22 of them. The two tracks where he has not competed in the top-three series are Iowa Speedway in Newton (where he will compete this weekend in the Nationwide Series) and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, where he will race next month in the Nationwide Series. The six venues where Busch has raced but not scored a victory are Martinsville, Pocono, Indianapolis, Homestead-Miami, The Milwaukee Mile and Memphis Motorsports Park. Busch notched his best Sprint Cup finish at Pocono in June 2005 when he finished fourth in his second start at the 2.5-mile triangle.(M&M’s Racing)(7-31-2009)
  • Man wins ‘Sunoco Red Cross Ultimate Fan Experience: James Ruscigno, of Wappingers Falls, NY, won the Sunoco Red Cross Ultimate Fan Experience. Ruscigno will wave the green flag as the Official Starter of the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, July 31 – August 2, 2009 at Pocono Raceway. As the grand prize winner, Ruscigno will also experience a Hot Lap with NASCAR Driver #16-Greg Biffle, serve as an honorary member of Biffle’s pit crew with three friends during the race, as well as attend the driver’s meeting and be on stage during driver introductions before the race. In addition to sponsoring the Sunoco Red Cross Ultimate Fan Experience, Sunoco, Inc. is lending marketing and promotional support to the August race with signage at 1,826 retail locations in the Mid-Atlantic region. Sunoco has also highlighted the event on its website, www.GoSunoco.com, and provided a link to the Pocono Raceway ticket sales site in order to encourage fans to use the promo code, REDCROSS, and help raise money for the American Red Cross. Ten percent of all tickets sold through the promotion benefited American Red Cross local disaster relief. Ruscigno is one of more than 500 entrants into the contest who either made an online donation in support of the American Red Cross or purchased race tickets using the promo code.(Red Cross)(7-31-2009)
  • Chase Stats going into Pocono: #18-Kyle Busch doesn’t rally to make the 2009 Chase, the debate on wins vs. consistency in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points system will reignite. His 38th at Indy dropped him out of the Top 12, now 82 points out of 12th place. While Busch has three wins, he is 114 points and four spots behind 10th-place Juan Pablo Montoya, who does not have a top 5 in 20 races. #9-Kasey Kahne’s quiet 7th at Indy gained him 70 more points on 13th place. Kasey has the third most points (763) over the last five races and has zoomed seven spots in the rankings, to a relatively comfortable 121 points ahead of 13th. #31-Jeff Burton has scored only 391 points over the last five races and has dropped five positions to 17th. Dale Earnhardt Jr., although he has run better at times, has managed only 428 points and dropped four more spots over the last five. Contrast that to #14-Tony Stewart’s 880 points and #48-Jimmie Johnson’s 815 over the same period. More Chase stats on my Chase stats after Indy page.(7-31-2009)
  • Pocono Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 26 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Logano posted a 12th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the 16th time this season. Logano leads Scott Speed by 23 points (205-182) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 2 Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. #11-Denny Hamlin won both races at Pocono Raceway in 2006 and is the only Raybestos Rookie to sweep both races at the 2.5-mile track since the facility began hosting two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 1982. Hamlin also won both poles at Pocono in 2006. He is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in 35 previous August races at Pocono. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series race is Joey Logano, four races ago. The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Tony Stewart (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2002).(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos), for more info see my 2009 Rookies page.(7-31-2009)
  • Doctor says Massa up and about: Felipe Massa is already planning a return to racing and joking about keeping Michael Schumacher away from his car as he recovers from a high-speed crash. Massa’s family doctor Dino Altman said Thursday the Brazilian driver was eating and walking around his hospital room. He also appeared to have no problem in the left eye, which doctors feared had been badly injured in the crash during qualifying Saturday for the Hungarian Grand Prix. “He is back to normal,” Altman said. Massa has been recuperating at the AEK hospital in Budapest after undergoing surgery on multiple skull fractures. The 28-year-old driver was hit in the helmet by a loose part from another car and crashed into a protective tire barrier.(Associated Press)(7-31-2009)
  • Bacardi Bistro to debut at Pocono: Infield race fans attending the Pocono Raceway Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, July 31 to Aug. 2, will find a new addition – the Bacardi Bistro. The Bacardi Bistro, will provide infield fans the opportunity to purchase beverages, snacks and tasty food offerings including Notis The Gyro King – serving the tastiest sandwich in town, a Greek specialty that is nothing like you tasted before. It was voted #1 sandwich in the Wyoming Valley for the past 15 years. The Bacardi Bistro will feature limited mixed adult beverages, Yuengling beer, TV’s, indoor seating in an up scale chalet and an outdoor umbrella covered patio. Access to the Chalet will be restricted to fans 21 and older. Locate adjacent to the Tunnel Road, the Bacardi Bistro will be readily accessible to all infield race fans. For Pocono Raceway ticket information, call toll free 1-800-RACEWAY or visit poconoraceway.comand choose the convenient print at home option.(7-31-2009)
  • Blue Grass Concerts at Pocono: The Yabutz.com Blue Grass Concerts will showcase top blue grass artists including Ricky Skaggs, Steep Canyon Rangers, Charlie Sizemore Band, Dailey & Vincent, Del McCoury Band, Cherryholmes, Blue Highway and SteelDrivers. The concerts, being presented by Yabutz.com, are free to infield campers attending the race. Additionally grandstand fans can also attend the concerts and visit the Bacardi Bistro by purchasing a one day infield ticket for $25 or a 2 day infield ticket for $40 in addition to their grandstand tickets. These one day infield tickets will allow fans to drive their vehicles into the infield for the day, exiting at the conclusion of the concerts. For more information visit yabutz.com/bluegrass. For Pocono Raceway ticket information, call toll free 1-800-RACEWAY or visit poconoraceway.com and choose the convenient print at home option.(7-31-2009)

July 30, 2009

  • NASCAR History: July 30 — 1989: Patty Moise starts her fifth and final Cup race, the Talladega DieHard 500. Moise, wife of former driver Elton Sawyer, finishes 33rd, dropping out after 33 laps with engine problems. Moise’s NASCAR career continues in the Nationwide Series to 1998. She starts 133 Nationwide races during 12 seasons.(NASCAR.com)
  • Sprint Cup Series Live from Pocono on ESPN: ESPN will have live, flag-to-flag coverage in high definition as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series takes place at the “Tricky Triangle,” Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., on Sunday, Aug. 2. The telecast, presented by Old Spice, begins with NASCAR Countdown presented by Degree V12 at 1:00pm/et. The race’s green flag is scheduled at 2:18pm/et. ESPN’s coverage also includes a live telecast of NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, July 31, at 3:27pm/et, and telecasts of two practice sessions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cars on the 2.5-mile track, all on ESPN2. The first practice session will be aired Saturday, Aug. 1, at 10:00a,/et, with the final practice at 11:30am/et. Dr. Jerry Punch and analysts Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree will call the action. Allen Bestwick hosts NASCAR Countdown with analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty.
  • Kentucky vs. NASCAR Lawsuit continues: The former owners of the Kentucky Speedway are asking a federal appeals court for a green flag to pursue their antitrust claim against NASCAR. “They were squeezed out,” attorney Stan Chesley, who helped file the lawsuit in 2005, said after arguments Thursday in front of a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A lower-court judge last year rejected the speedway’s claim that the racing body and a sister company that operates tracks and promotes races have conspired to monopolize control over who gets the top stock car events. The Kentucky track, some 40 miles south of Cincinnati, has new ownership that wants the case ended to help its chances of gaining a coveted NASCAR Sprint Cup race. But Chesley said there are important issues for a trial, and that the former owners also want hundreds of millions in damages. “People have the right to have their case heard in court,” Chesley said. NASCAR attorney David Boies said the lawsuit against the racing body and its International Speedway Corp. represented impatience by the Kentucky Speedway to get a Sprint Cup race. “They want one. Everyone wants one,” Boies told the judges. Rule said the new Kentucky Speedway owners, Speedway Motorsports Inc., were co-conspirators. Boies told the judges there was no evidence of that claim. “Like other sports – the NFL, Major League Baseball, the NBA – NASCAR has the right to create its schedule and host events where it wants to,” said NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston.(Associated Press)(7-30-2009)
  • Jack Daniel’s may not return to the #07 in 2010? Jack Daniel’s, sponsor of the #07 Chevy that Casey Mears drives, has until Sept. 1 to inform Richard Childress Racing of its status for 2010. Some people in the NASCAR marketing circle say that Jack Daniel’s will not be coming back full-time next year, so do they become an associate sponsor on the other RCR cars or go elsewhere? That decision will determine if there will be a fourth team at RCR next year. Certainly expanding to four teams has depleted the organization as a whole because Mears’ team was a testing team last year. Childress needs to decide if he wants to field four teams or have three Cup teams and one testing team.(FoxSports), supposedly Mears signed a multi-year deal with RCR before the start of the 2009 season.(7-30-2009)
  • New Ford engine is on the way: Brian Wolfe, the director of Ford Racing Technology, said the new Ford engine will take to the track in anger very soon. Before the Chase begins. The exact timing of rollout will be determined by the teams which will use it. He is promising no miracles for those teams. “We’ve really struggled this year – you know that better than I do – after the first two races. Some bad luck, then probably some missed setups and we got some issues going and we haven’t had the wins. While the engine has tested well and appears to do what Ford wants it to do, teams will have to figure out how it affects other areas of performance. Areas like aerodynamics. Its improved cooling capabilities will allow teams to tamper with front downforce by using less tape on the nose. Some in the Ford camp have balked about using the new engine this year. Those would mostly be teams which appear headed to the Chase. Wolfe said he understands their concerns and will not pressure those teams to use the new engine.(Racin’ Today)(7-30-2009)
  • Kyle Busch wins at Anderson Speedway: Racing in his fourth race in four days, Kyle Busch started sixth in the CRA Super Series event and worked his way through traffic to take the lead on the 50th lap of the Redbud 300, his first ever race at Anderson Speedway (IN), then held it until the half way break. After the restart Eddie Hoffman inherited the lead as he only took 2 tires. Busch restarted in fifth and retook the lead on lap 190 and stayed to win going away. Rick Turner prevailed in the fierce fight for second, with Aaron Pierce third, Johnny VanDoorn fourth and Chuck Barnes, Jr. fifth.(craracing.net)(7-30-2009)
  • more schemes added: #16 3M Pistonz Ear Plugs#08 Toyota#09 Miccosukee Indian Gaming & Resorts Dodge#98 Menards / Johns Manville and #14 Old Spice Swagger
  • Latest on F1’s Felipe Massa: Formula One driver Felipe Massa took his first steps Wednesday since a high-speed crash last weekend left him near death. Massa’s father said his improving son had moved out of AEK hospital’s intensive care unit. “Felipe speaks, can sit upright and was even able to take his first steps,” Ferrari said in a statement. “From the clinical and radiological point of view, everything is going extremely well.” The 28-year-old Brazilian was hit in the helmet by a loose part from another car and crashed into a protective tire barrier at 120 mph during qualifying Saturday at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He sustained skull fractures and a concussion. Also on Wednesday, Brazilian driver and friend Popo Bueno said Massa had asked about his chances of racing in Valencia in three weeks, the next race on the F1 calendar. Seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher will replace Massa at the European GP on Aug. 21-23.(Associated Press/ESPN)(7-30-2009)
  • Sad News – Gloria Ann Summers: Gloria Ann Summers [Casey Mears Grandmother] 1926 – 2009 Gloria Ann Summers, 82, of Bakersfield, California residing in Charlotte, NC passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 25, 2009 at Asbury Care Center/Aldersgate enduring a long battle with Alzheimer’s. Mrs. Summers survivors include her son, Gary Summers; daughter, Carol Mears and husband Roger; grandchildren, Casey Mears [driver of the #07 Chevy] and fiancée Trisha Grablander, Zachary Summers; great granddaughter, Samantha Mears; Aunt Betty Marcil; cousin, Ame Marcil and wife Mary (Moe); nieces, Darlene Welles, and Jackie Conrad. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to: Aldersgate UMRC, Inc., 3800 Shamrock Dr., Charlotte, NC 28215 Attn.: Executive Office or to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.(Bakersfield Californian)(7-30-2009)

July 29, 2009

  • NASCAR History: July 29 — 2000: Kevin Harvick wins the Carquest Auto Parts 250 at Gateway International Raceway for his first Nationwide Series victory. It’s the first of many. Harvick has 33, second only to Mark Martin’s 48. Harvick also has two Nationwide championships (2001 and 2006).(NASCAR.com)
  • Lally to make Cup debut with TRG at Watkins Glen: Sports car ace Andy Lally is set to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips race at Watkins Glen International Raceway on August 9. Lally will join TRG Motorsports regular David Gilliland in a second car at The Glen [#Lally will run the #71 and Gilliland the #70]. The 34-year old Lally, originally from Northport, New York, has always called Watkins Glen his home track. The sports car veteran has an impressive road racing background having won Rolex Series championships in three different classes, GT in 2006, SGS in 2004 and SRPII in 2001. In addition, Lally anchored the GT class winning Rolex 24 Hour GT team this past February. He currently drives the #67 TRG Porsche in the Rolex GT Series. “Not only am I extremely honored to have a chance to qualify for my first ever Sprint Cup race, but when you add in the fact that it will be in my home state of New York, and at my favorite track makes this opportunity all that more special,” Lally said. “I can’t wait to get out there and see what we have. I would like to thank Kevin Buckler and the partners at TRG Motorsports for putting their faith in me for this race.” Lally has some miles behind the wheel of the TRG Motorsports Chevy. “I have had a chance to test the car already as the team prepared for Infineon. I learned a lot that day and the guys have improved the car since then. I only did about 20 laps in that session so it was a good first outing in the car. The team had a good primary car at Infineon and I think we can even improve on that for The Glen. We have a couple of more test dates set, so I will be able to get some more miles under my belt prior to the race. I have three weeks before the race and in that time I will be working with Slugger (Richard “Slugger” Labbe, crew chief) to cram in as much knowledge as possible. ” Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal, once again, is giving Lally an opportunity to expand his racing resume. “Andy has been an integral part of our sports car team for over four years now and has also been a good friend,” Buckler said. “He is one of the best road racers there is and he knows Watkins Glen like his own backyard. We brought him into NASCAR in 2007 when we started our programs, so I feel it is really cool to give him this shot in Sprint Cup. The partners and I are all really excited about this race. We are running two cars for the first time all season. We will also be introducing our TRG hospitality program that we intend to us in 2010.”(TRG Motorsports)(7-29-2009)
  • Mayfield sued by stepmother: Lisa Mayfield is seeking damages against her stepson, suspended Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield, for public comments he made in regard to his civil case against NASCAR, according to court documents. Lisa Mayfield is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $10,000, punitive damages in excess of $10,000 and any other “relief as the court may deem just and proper.” The complaint was filed Wednesday in the Iredell County Civil court in Statesville.(read the full story at ESPN.com)(7-29-2009)
  • RPM downsizing? Sorenson out? UPDATE: Rumors persist that Richard Petty Motorsports will shrink to three cars in the next few weeks, with A.J. Allmendinger moving to the #43 Dodge, replacing Reed Sorenson, and the #44 team being shut down.(Ford Racing)(7-29-2009)
    UPDATE: An internet report claiming that Reed Sorenson will be released by Richard Petty Motorsports as part of a downsizing of the team’s Sprint Cup roster appears to be premature. The Ford Racing website reported on rumors that Sorenson will be replaced by former Champ Car star A.J. Allmendinger when Allmendinger’s #44 Dodge is mothballed within the next few weeks. However, a source close to the team -– speaking on the condition of anonymity –- said today that while the move is being discussed, Sorenson’s release is not yet a done deal. “No one is sure that it’s going to happen,” said the source, “but it’s definitely being talked about. The team is working on the details right now.” If RPM does indeed decide to trim its roster from four cars to three, Allmendinger’s current sponsors would transfer to the #43 Dodge. Calls to Richard Petty Motorsports seeking comment were not immediately returned.(Sirius Speedway)(7-29-2009)
  • Sadler gets new Dodge engine for Pocono: #19-Elliott Sadler will run the new Dodge R6P8 engine for the second time in 2009 [supposedly #-Kahne is running the R6P8, #43-Sorenson and #44-Allmendinger are not]. Sadler finished 40th last week at Indianapolis due to mechanical problems early in the race. Sadler is tied with Tony Stewart for the longest active DNF streak (43 races) of drivers that have competed in every race. Regan Smith is at 52 races, but has not competed in every race during that span. Sadler has the longest all-time and active streak of races at Pocono without a DNF (21). Sadler has never recorded a DNF in his career at Pocono Raceway.(RPM)(7-29-2009)
  • Cope not running at Pocono: from the Derrike Cope site: After the weekend #75-Derrike Cope said, “You are all probably wondering what happened at Indy. Simply put we did not perform well enough to make the race. We struggled from the very first lap on the racetrack. We were loose and the car would not seem to allow me to drive it. It wanted to drive me which will not work. We just do not have enough experience yet with this car to be consistent enough to battle effectively to qualify for one of these Sprint Cup races at this exact moment. Gary Keller and myself, along with Rick and Del Markle, are working on acquiring some assistance from a veteran crew chief to lead us down the proper path. We have already purchased some parts and pieces that he has led us to believe is necessary to start that process. We will take the next two weeks to properly prepare for Michigan and try there again. We were scheduled to run Pocono this weekend, but have elected to withdraw and be better prepared with some things that hopefully will put us closer to the competition at Michigan in a couple weeks.”(Derrikecope.com)(7-29-2009)
  • Mayfield vs. NASCAR Trial date – Sept 2010: Jeremy Mayfield’s lawsuit against NASCAR has been set to be heard in a trial jury beginning on Sept. 13, 2010, according to court documents filed on Tuesday. The date was ordered by U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen. Mayfield was suspended by NASCAR on May 9 after testing positive for methamphetamines, a violation of the substance abuse policy. The suspension was lifted by Mullen in June, but reinstated by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals last week. Mayfield contends he did not take methamphetamines and is seeking to be fully reinstated. He also is seeking damages. In its most recent filing seeking that the suspension be permanent as long as the case is pending, NASCAR said it has several witnesses willing to testify that Mayfield took methamphetamines. Attorneys already have filed an affidavit from Mayfield’s stepmother saying Mayfield has taken amphetamines since 1998.(ESPN)(7-29-2009)
  • TV Ratings for Indy posted: ESPN’s live coverage of the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway scored a final household coverage rating of 4.8, making it the highest-rated NASCAR Sprint Cup race on cable so far this season. And the average viewership of 6,487,450 made it the second most-viewed NASCAR Sprint Cup race ever on ESPN, exceeded only by last year’s Indianapolis event (6,667,729). The race was also the most-viewed NASCAR Sprint Cup race on any network since the Talladega race in April. The rating was a six percent drop from last year’s 5.1 on ESPN and was close to the 4.9 rating for ESPN’s telecast of the 2007 race.(ESPN). for full season, race by race ratings, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(7-29-2009)
  • Swagger scheme for Stewart: Tony Stewart’s typically fire engine red #14 Chevy is now candy apple red for this weekend’s race at Pocono as it carries an Old Spice Swagger paint scheme highlighting the brand’s scented line of men’s anti-perspirant/deodorant, body wash and body spray. Following the race, fans will have the chance to bid on the firesuit worn by Stewart, with proceeds from the auction benefiting the Tony Stewart Foundation.(SHR), see images of the car on my #14 Team Schemes page.(7-29-2009)
  • Shepherd, Smith voted into Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: The fans have spoken… and Morgan Shepherd and Jack Smith will be the next drivers enshrined to the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame on Saturday, Oct. 31. Shepherd won the active driver nomination over Michael Waltrip and Kasey Kahne, while Smith won in the inactive driver category.(Talladega PR)(7-29-2009)
  • Penske honors sponsor on #77: Sam Hornish Jr. and the #77 team will run a special paint scheme this weekend at Pocono Raceway to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the relationship between PPG and Penske Racing. Over the years, PPG has become Penske Corporation’s largest supplier of refinish coatings for its racing, truck leasing and automotive collision repair divisions. This weekend’s race car will be painted with PPG’s Envirobase High Performance waterborne paint and will feature decals for PPG’s Automotive Refinish, Transitions Optical and the Architectural Coatings, Olympic Paint and Stain.(Penske Racing)(7-29-2009)
  • Hartford returns on Bowyers car: Clint Bowyer’s #33 Chevy will replace its traditional yellow and red colors this weekend in Pocono in favor of The Hartford’s white, blue and maroon paint scheme. Pocono marks the third and final race where the Hartford, Conn.,-based corporation will be featured as the primary sponsor this season. The Hartford will host a scavenger hunt surrounding the race events in Pocono this weekend. For more information, log on to TheHartfordRacing.com.(RCR), see images of the car on my #33 Team Schemes page.(7-29-2009)
  • Stewart looking to enter select club at Pocono: The Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 2nd will be the 64th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the 2.5 mile Super Speedway. Since 1982, Pocono Raceway has hosted two races each year (total of 28 years) in NASCAR’s premier series. During that time only six drivers have won both Pocono races in the same year. #14-Tony Stewart, who is currently leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race, won the 2009 Pocono 500 on June 7th and has an excellent chance to become the seventh driver to complete the “Pocono Sweep.” If Stewart wins the August 2nd Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500, he will join an elite company of NASCAR greats: Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1985), Tim Richmond (1986), Bobby Labonte (1999), Jimmie Johnson (2004) and Denny Hamlin (2006) as the only drivers to accomplish the “Pocono Sweep”. For Pocono Raceway ticket information, call toll free 1-800-RACEWAY or visit poconoraceway.com.(Pocono Raceway)(7-28-2009)
  • Kvapil has a truck ride for Nashville: Travis Kvapil, the 2003 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion, will pilot the #51 Miccosukee Resort Billy Ballew Motorsports truck at Nashville Superspeedway Saturday, August 1, 2009. Kvapil won the 2007 Truck Series race in his last start at the 1.33-mile superspeedway just outside Nashville, Tennessee. The current Yates Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver [#28 Ford which suspended operations early in the season] has five previous Camping World Truck Series starts at Nashville Superspeedway, posting one win, two top-five and three top-10 finishes. Nashville Superspeedway presents the winner of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race with a Gibson guitar hand painted artist Sam Bass.(Billy Ballew Motorsports)(7-29-2009)
  • Biffle’s Pit Crew Grabs Tissot Win at Indy: Greg Biffle’s #16 team won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award during the Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was the fourth victory of the season for the #16 pit crew, which took over sole possession of first place in the Tissot standings, breaking a three-win tie with Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew. Biffle’s #16 3M Ford Fusion spent the least amount of time on pit road during the Indy race – 191.906 seconds. The pit crew effort helped Biffle to a strong fourth-place finish. The #16 over-the-wall crew at Indy consisted of: Todd Zeigler (front-tire changer), Colin Pasi (front-tire carrier), Kyle Power (rear-tire changer), Kevin McDowell (rear-tire carrier), Rodney Fetters (jackman), Billy Manchester (gasman), Shane Wood (catch can) and Chris Elliott (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Greg Erwin and the pit crew coach is Andy Ward. Biffle’s crew will collect $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver.(Tissot)(7-29-2009)
  • Knaus Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Indy: Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 Lowe’s Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson, has been named the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson and the #48 team started the race in 16th position going on to capture his third Brickyard victory in four years. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season’s end.(Wypall)(7-29-2009)
  • New start time for Auto Club Speedway race in Oct: Auto Club Speedway officials today announced a new start time for Southern California’s inaugural “Chase Race”. The green flag for NASCAR’s much anticipated “playoff” event – the Pepsi 500 – is set to wave at 12:00pm [3:00pm/et] on Oct. 11. Speedway officials also reiterated that some of the ticket packages offered for the inaugural Chase Race are available for a limited time only and urged fans to contact the ticket office to reserve their seat to one of the most anticipated motorsports events in Southern California. A few of the many exciting ticket packages, at price points for all fans, include:
    Hendrick Motorsports celebration: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon are scheduled to make appearances on stage at the Hendrick Motorsports 25th Anniversary Party Zone presented by Pepsi. Cost for the limited Sunday package is $125 and includes a Pre-Race Pit Pass.
    $35 Ticket Tuesdays: Each Tuesday ACS will give ticket buyers a little something extra for purchasing a $35 Pepsi Rock N’ Rows ticket. Receive free ice cream in June, Krispy Kreme donuts in July and California-grown zucchini in August.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Birthday [October 10th]: Celebrate Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 35th birthday with an $88 Dale Jr. Birthday Package.
    Jimmie Johnson package: Q&A with Jimmie Johnson, grandstand ticket, Pre-Race Pit Pass and limited edition commemorative crystal gift, all for $148, with a portion of the ticket package price donated to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation.
    Fans experiencing Auto Club Speedway can also take advantage of free parking, bring in their own food, or partake in the unbelievable menu items on site as well as other cost-savings opportunities while enjoying a full day of entertainment and fun at a fantastic family value. To purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), or visit autoclubspeedway.com.(ACS)(7-29-2009)


July 28, 2009

  • NASCAR History: 1966: Paul Lewis wins the Smoky Mountain 200 at Smoky Mountain Raceway in Maryville, Tenn., for his only Cup victory in 114 career starts from 1960 to 1968. Lewis starts 27th in the 29-car field on the half-mile dirt track and finishes two seconds ahead of David Pearson, the only other driver on the lead lap. Lewis leads the final 64 laps.(NASCAR.com)
  • NASCAR to run Nationwide COT at Daytona in July; Ford to run Mustang; Image posted: It appears the Nationwide Series version of the Car of Tomorrow will not make its debut until next July at Daytona. NASCAR had hoped to roll out the new car for the series next February, however after meeting Tuesday with Nationwide Series owners at NASCAR’s Technical Center in Concord, North Carolina, team owner Rusty Wallace said it was a timing issue. Brian Wolfe, director of Ford North America Motorsports, announced that Mustang will debut as part of NASCAR’s “new car” limited rollout in the 2010 Nationwide Series. See the full post and an image of the Ford Mustang on Jayski’s Nationwide Series site.(7-28-2009)
  • Brian France talks about many NASCAR things (a Large Post): Monday, July 27th on “Sirius Speedway” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, who called in to the show unannounced.
    Host, Dave Moody: “Nice surprise. We weren’t expecting you today.”
    Brian France: “Well, I listen to you guys, like most of the NASCAR community does, frequently and I love just calling in once in awhile to check in and say hello. And, obviously, we had a lot of exciting things happen over the weekend so it’s good to be with you.”
    On Juan Pablo Montoya’s pit road speeding penalty Sunday at Indianapolis:
    Brian France: “There’s nothing that dropped our hearts more than to see that speeding violation flash up on the computer which is in the television booth which is in our booth. Everybody has access to it, which they should. And it is what it is. It’s sort of like a team that’s dominated a football game or something and they step out of bounds on the crucial play that would have gotten them in the end zone. That’s just the way it is. Now, that’s the bad news for Juan Pablo and Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates. The good news is they’re going to be a contender, I think as it’s turning out, for the whole thing. I think they’re going to make the Chase. At least that’s how they’re running. But nothing would have made us happier had he earned – and he definitely had the best car and he was driving the wheels off – to have [had Montoya] won that race and made a little history with the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400. But the rules are rules.”
    France: “There are some rules, as you know, that have some subjectivity to it. This just happens to be one that there isn’t any subjectivity to it. You either do or you don’t. And he understands that. I’m sure it was disappointing as it could have been but there’s no position that we can take on that. When you get past the frustration of watching somebody that should’ve won the race, earned it and it would have been great for everyone, but didn’t, well sure, there’s frustration that happens.”
    On the Jeremy Mayfield situation:
    France: “Where we are is we’re going through the process of the legal system, which was not our choice but we will deal with that. And we have not made any comments at all other than, ‘We’re pleased with the ruling,’ or something like that since I went on back around the Coke Zero [400] and discussed our policy, and I didn’t discuss that particular ruling. The judge has respectfully done what he needed to do and the appellate court has done what they need to do. That’s just really in the hands of the courts. We wish everybody well. As anything, you can appreciate that we have to defend our policy but we’re zeroed in on running great events and that’s where we are.”
    Host, Dave Moody: “Is it frustrating that the racing has been so good and the Race for the Chase has been so captivating and yet people like me spend a lot of our time here lately talking about methamphetamine and urine tests and things that we never really had to know that much about before?”
    France: “Well, sure, it’s a distraction for everybody. Our preference is to never have anybody test positive for anything and the world would be perfect, right? That would be our best case scenario. But random tests pick up what they pick up and we’ll deal with the rest of it, if there’s ever a rest of it, like we are in this situation. It is unfortunate but on the other hand we understand that it is important. It’s important for the other competitors to recognize that they’re in a safe environment as much as humanly possible. And it’s important to have a policy that works for everyone, not just a few people. So we understand the kind of reviews that go on when these topics hit at a high level but, look, I think at this point we just have to go down the legal process. We’re dealing with that. That’s really not anything that affects anything on the racetrack today. And, actually, we wish, I wish, anybody who has an issue the best. I mean, look, we’re all at the end of the day human so we’re pulling for anybody that has some issue, even somebody who is battling with us. In the end, we want to see people get better, rejoin the program and race clean in front and put their best foot forward. That’s our goal.”
    On the new double-file restarts:
    France: “The net of it is the drivers – beginning, middle, late in the race – it has really, really put people in contention that would typically, under the old format, would have had a tough time passing lapped cars and battling for the lead. I mean, Chicago was electric [with] what happened in that whole situation, having Denny Hamlin, as an example, who got an opportunity to mix it up. In the old situation he would have been too far back to even be a contender for that race win. You bet. And, look, the fans really, really weighed in before we did that and the drivers, in our town hall meeting, recognized that there were some definite challenges for them and we’ve tried to help them with them with respect to letting them pick a lane and so on. They realized that this as going to create a different dynamic but they’re also very, very supportive and we’re getting a great result. The racing’s never been better in a long time.”
    On the Nationwide Series “Car of Tomorrow”:
    Moody: “Have you got a line yet on what each of the four manufacturers want to do as far as the look of this car, the body style of this car, and how devoted is NASCAR to making this division look a whole lot different than the Cup car?”
    France: “We’re always looking to distinguish one series from another while giving it the obvious flavor of NASCAR, which is close, competitive, reasonable costs for the teams, so that we can field more competitive cars on any given Saturday or Sunday. That remains the case. With the new car potentially, we are certainly talking to the manufacturers but we’re zeroed in also on how do we make sure, from a timing standpoint, that we don’t burden the team owners with an enormous amount of cost into the system that we’ve been talking for quite a while, for good reason, about getting cost out of the system because the teams are going through, as everybody in this economy is, lots of difficulties trying to figure out a new business model in some cases. So we’re having to balance all this along with trying to make some progress. But we’ll get there. We’ve got really, really smart people working on it.”
    France: “The other thing we do now – I think we do it better than we ever have and I think we were always pretty good – that’s buy-in from the industry on any significant thing that we would do. And we listen with our fan council, as an example. A lot of our dedicated fans are terrific in responding to our questions every week. We’ve got tens of thousands of fans on our fan council. For all the talk that we kind of cruise along and don’t necessarily think about everything, I understand where that might be a perception but the reality of it is any significant issue that we are going to put forward with NASCAR, we will do a lot of work with anybody that is affected, starting with our fans – which are the most affected with anything we do – all the way down to the drivers, the team owners, the sponsors, manufacturers and the tracks and so on. And that’s a lot to try to get input and a whole bunch of different opinions, to kind of get all that information in a way that really will be good for everyone. That’s one of our biggest tasks but that’s what we do.” “SIRIUS Speedway” airs every weekday (3-7pm/etT) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio (SIRIUS channel 128 and XM channel 128 with the “Best of SIRIUS” programming package).(SIRIUS NASCAR Radio)(7-28-2009)
  • New sponsor for Ambrose at Pocono: The JTG Daugherty Racing #47 Toyota Camry, driven by Australia’s Marcos Ambrose, will race under iRacing.com colors in this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono International Raceway. The announcement of the single-event tie-up between the race team and the motorsport simulation company, which had been widely rumored, was made today by Steve Myers, iRacing’s executive producer, and Tad Geschickter, co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing. In recognition of this sponsorship, from July 31 through August 4, 2009 iRacing is offering new members a half-price three-month subscription to the service. Included are all of the cars and tracks necessary to complete the rookie and advanced rookie series in both oval and road-racing categories, plus an additional $15.00 value, the Chevrolet Impala SS as raced in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Go to www.iracing.com and hit the “Special Offer” button at the bottom of the page.(JTG-Daugherty Racing), see images of the car on my #47 Team Schemes page.(7-28-2009)
  • NASCAR says Mayfield lied to federal court: NASCAR accused Jeremy Mayfield of lying to a federal court about the chronology of a second random drug test, offering to provide an audio tape of the conversation in which Mayfield was told to submit a sample. The driver says the telephone call went to voicemail. The accusation came Monday in court filings that ask U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to lift the July 1 injunction he granted Mayfield so he could return to racing. NASCAR disputed the sworn testimony Mayfield provided to U.S. District Court last week, including the assertion that a July 6 request for a second drug test went to his voicemail at 1:18 p.m. He said he didn’t get the message until about 40 minutes later, making it difficult for him to meet the two-hour deadline to report for testing. NASCAR has asked Mullen to reverse the injunction based on new evidence – the failed July 6 test, and sworn testimony from Mayfield’s estranged stepmother that she witnessed him using meth at least 30 times over the years.(see full AP story)
    AND NASCAR filed court documents Monday stating that the sanctioning body has several witnesses to Jeremy Mayfield’s alleged drug use, but that they are hesitant to come forward after Mayfield’s comments about his stepmother.(more at SceneDaily)(7-28-2009)
  • Sad News – Myrtle Hoots: Myrtle Hoots, 87, mother of NASCAR Managing Event Director, David Hoots passed away on July 25, 2009. Visitation will be held Tuesday, July 28 from 6:00-8:00pm/et at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek Chapel, 3315 Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem, NC 27103 (phone 336.765.8181) and a Celebration of Life Service will be held on Wednesday, July 29 at 10:00am/et at Konnoak Hills United Methodist Church, 430 Weisner Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27127, (phone 336.788.7423) Memorials may be made to Konnoak Hills United Methodist Church, 430 Weisner Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27127 or to Sunnyside Ministries, 319 Haled Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27127.(7-28-2009)
  • Speed to visit Victory Junction: #82 Red Bull Racing driver Scott Speed makes his first trip to Victory Junction Tuesday night in Randleman, NC for “Irritable Bowel Disorder Week.” Speed will take a tour of the facility, and have dinner and play games with campers who suffer from irritable bowel disorders including both Chron’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Speed was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when he was twenty years old. UC is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes open sores or ulcers to form in the large intestine, or colon. Speed is a National Spokesperson for the Chron’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).(TRB)(7-28-2009)
  • Update on F1 Driver Massa: Formula One driver Felipe Massa was awake and talking to family members Monday, making significant improvement after his high-speed crash two days earlier. The chief surgeon at AEK hospital said Massa is now breathing unassisted and moving his limbs. In addition, a drain from his skull wound was removed. Chief surgeon Lajos Zsiros said the 28-year-old Brazilian is groggy but able to answer questions. Zsiros says further improvement can be expected. Zsiros said Massa didn’t have a fever and remained in stable condition in the military hospital’s intensive care unit alongside family members, including wife Anna Rafaela. Massa crashed into a tire barrier at 120 mph Saturday during qualifying at the Hungarian Grand Prix and was near death for two days. Raffaela, Massa’s wife who is six months pregnant with their first child, doesn’t think he will have any long-term physical injuries and hopes he can return to racing. Massa had multiple skull fractures in the accident and xperienced some brain swelling. Dr. Robert Veres, part of the three-man crew that performed the two-hour operation, said Massa would not be able to race again this season. The Brazilian’s long-term career plans are also uncertain. Massa was struck by a loose part from another car that bounced up and hit him in the helmet, causing a concussion. Several fragments of bone from the skull had to be removed during the operation, Veres said. Doctors are concerned about injuries to Massa’s left eye. F1’s governing body said Monday it will investigate the accident. The report will also address last week’s death of an F2 driver who was struck in the head by a loose tire from another car.(Associated Press/ESPN)(7-28-2009)
  • Watkins Glen’s McDonalds Family Grandstand Sold Out: Tickets in the McDonalds Family Grandstand are sold out for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen weekend, August 6-9. The family-friendly grandstand offers one of the best seats in the house, allowing fans to watch the stars of the Sprint Cup Series zip through the Esses and head for the backstretch. For the first time in recent memory, the McDonald’s Family Grandstand has sold out two weeks before the green flag falls at The Glen. Other great seats at The Glen are still available for the upcoming Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen weekend, August 6-9. For tickets and information, please contact the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE or log on to the official Watkins Glen International website at www.TheGlen.com.(WGI)(7-28-2009)
  • Stewart to sell tix at Bristol: #14-Tony Stewart not only will be in the Bristol Motor Speedway ticket office on Thursday, July 30th, helping sell some of the few remaining tickets to the Sharpie 500 race, but some fans also can look forward to getting a little something extra from him upon purchasing tickets. Stewart has some of his own Sharpie 500 tickets that he will give away to a few lucky fans that afternoon. The former Bristol winner is scheduled to arrive at BMS around 1:30pm/et on Thursday where he will then head to “work” in the ticket office. The Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup event is the last of four exciting night races that will take place at the BMS in August. Race week kicks off with a doubleheader Wednesday, Aug. 19 as the Whelen Modified Series takes to the track for the first time in the UNOH Perfect Storm 150, followed by the O’Reilly 200 Camping World Truck Series. Next up is the Food City 250 Nationwide race Friday, which will again feature a host of Sprint Cup stars. Tickets packages for the Sharpie 500 and the Food City 250 are currently available, starting at only $145. Tickets also are on sale for the Wednesday night doubleheader – the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 and the O’Reilly 200 – for $30 and tickets for the Food City 250 begin at $45. Anyone purchasing a package for the Sharpie 500 and Food City 250 will be eligible for the buy one, get one free Wednesday night ticket. Tickets may be purchased by calling the BMS ticket office at (423) BRISTOL (274-7865), (423) 989-6900 or by visiting www.bristoltix.com.(BMS)(7-28-2009)
  • LVMS hires new excutive: Mike Mossholder has been named vice president of sales and marketing for Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mossholder comes to LVMS from his post as vice president of sales and marketing for Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. Prior to working at the famed horse-racing facility, Mossholder spent five years as director of marketing partnerships for the Miami Dolphins and Dolphin Stadium (now Landshark Stadium). While with the Dolphins, he was instrumental in securing corporate partnerships for the NFL team as well as for the 2007 and 2010 Super Bowls, the 2009 BCS Championship game and the Florida Marlins.(LVMS)(7-28-2009)

July 27, 2009

  • NASCAR History: July 27 — 1980: Janet Guthrie finishes 28th in the Coca-Cola 500 at Pocono in her final Cup Series race. She completes 134 of 200 laps before her engine fails. She finishes her Cup career with five top-10s in 33 starts over four seasons.(NASCAR.com)
  • DeWalt will not return to the #17 team in 2010 UPDATE new sponsor?: Roush Fenway Racing was informed today that DeWalt Power Tools will not renew its sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 team for the 2010 NASCAR season. “We would like to thank DeWalt for serving as a great partner for the past 10 years,” said Roush Fenway President Geoff Smith. “During that time we have seen great success for both their company and marketing program, as well as with Matt on the race track. They will always be remembered and honored as the sponsor of Jack Roush’s first Sprint Cup Championship team. Despite this success – in the face of the significant world-wide economic decline in the construction industry – DeWalt’s decision to not return is not a great surprise to us. Fortunately, we have several great companies interested in taking over and we expect to begin finalizing those sponsorship arrangements in the very near future. All of us at Roush Fenway Racing remain committed to keeping the #17 DeWalt car running up front, winning races and to put them in a position to contend for a second championship this season.”(Roush Fenway Racing)(7-23-2009)
    UPDATE: hearing that Roush Fenway Racing will announce sometime this week that Crown Royal will sponsor the #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth for approximately 18 races in 2010, replacing DeWalt. The other 18 races will probably ne 2-3 other sponsors.(7-27-2009)
  • Ganassi to Gibbs? UPDATE2 denied: The latest rumor is that Chip Ganassi somehow will merge his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team [Chevy’s w/#1-Truex Jr. (leaves end of 2009) and #42-Montoya] with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota’s w/#18-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #20-Logano], possibly eliminating another owner.(SPEEDtv/Jimmy Spencer)(7-23-2009)
    UPDATE: Don’t believe the latest that has Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates partnering with Joe Gibbs Racing, making Juan Pablo Montoya JGR’s fourth driver with Target as the sponsor. Not that there hasn’t been some conversation looking at that as a possible marriage. There are conversations between almost every organization about almost everything these days. But this one hasn’t been talked about enough to warrant it as a substantial rumor. It likely never will be. Ganassi is under the umbrella of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with its partnership with DEI, and he’s happy with that relationship. “We have an affiliation now,” he said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We have an affiliation with Earnhardt with EGR [and] with Childress [Richard Childress Racing]. I’m very happy with that. Knock on wood. We’ve had no issues. The idea of what we put together at the end of the season last year, it’s been mission accomplished.”(ESPN Insider)(7-25-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Statement from Chip Ganassi per the Speculation about Potential Merger with Other Race Teams: “There have been numerous incorrect reports in the media over the last few days about a possible merger of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and other race teams and I can tell you that we have never had any such conversation with any team, nor do we plan to. Furthermore, as I have said many times, we are currently a FIVE-car team, we just happen to compete over three different forms of racing. We fully expect to continue to be a two car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2010 and beyond and have no plans of merging or downsizing at all. We are a Chevrolet team and focused solely on making The Chase for the Sprint Cup.”(EGR)(7-27-2009)
  • Sprint Cup Series Notes/Stats:
    * Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson scored his third victory at Indy, second only to Jeff Gordon and his four wins. Johnson became the first driver to score back-to-back Indy victories. Johnson’s third Indy win came in his eighth race there.
    * Chevrolet scored its seventh straight victory at the Brickyard, extending a streak that began in 2003. It marked Chevy’s 11th win in 16 races at Indy.
    * Johnson scored his 43rd career victory in his 275th start. Johnson has scored top-10 finishes in the past five races, extending a streak that began at Infineon. He is one of five drivers to score multiple victories in 2009.
    * This marked the 183rd Cup victory for Hendrick Motorsports and its seventh win at Indy.
    * Johnson has led at least one lap in 16 of the 20 races in 2009. Johnson led once for the final 24 laps of the race.
    * Juan Pablo Montoya led three times for 116 laps, the most of all drivers.
    * Mark Martin (second) posted his second runner-up finish at Indy. His other came in 1998. He has finished 11th or better in his past five races at Indy.
    * Tony Stewart (third) has scored top-10 finishes in the past eight races, extending a streak that began at Dover.
    * Greg Biffle (fourth) scored his best Indy finish in seven races there.
    * Brian Vickers (fifth) posted his third straight top-10 finish, extending a streak that began at Daytona.
    * Kevin Harvick (sixth) scored his 200th career lead-lap finish. It was his first top-10 finish in 16 races.
    * Jeff Gordon (ninth) scored his 350th career top-10 finish.
    * Montoya (11th) has scored top-15 finishes in the past seven races, extending a streak that began at Pocono.
    * Jeff Burton (25th) has finished 16th or worse in the past six races.
    * Kyle Busch (38th) has scored just one top-10 finish in the past eight races. Busch dropped from 10th to 14th in points, ending a 17-race run of ranking among the top 12. Busch is 82 points behind 12th-place Matt Kenseth.
    * Stewart and Elliott Sadler (40th) each have been running at the finish in the past 43 races, the longest current streak.(ESPN/Racing Resources)(7-27-2009)
  • Allstate terminates Brickyard sponsorship: Allstate and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are ending their five-year title sponsorship arrangement for naming rights to the NASCAR race at the track. It was run Sunday for the final time as the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Speedway spokesman Ron Green said it’s unlikely a replacement will be sought and the race will return to its former name as the Brickyard 400. Allstate, in a statement, cited “stronger (results) in other properties” for not renewing its sponsorship.(Indianapolis Star)(7-27-2009)
  • Reutimann testing road course: Been told that #00-David Reutimann is testing today at the Carolina Motorsports Park road course in Kershaw, SC in preparation for the race at Watkins Glen on August 9th.(7-27-2009)
  • Menard back with Yates in 2010: Yates Racing co-owner Max Jones said Sunday morning that the team plans to be back up to at least two cars next season, with Paul Menard and the Menards sponsorship returning to the #98 Yates Racing Ford in 2010. Menard has had a disappointing first season with the team which had spurred rumors that the driver and sponsor might move to a different team next season. But Jones said the driver and his sponsor will both continue forward in 2010. “The Menards deal is in place,” Jones said Sunday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jones said he was unsure if Yates would campaign the HoF [#96-Bobby Labonte] car again in 2010, saying talks to extend the partnership are underway, but the outcome uncertain. Another possibility is to take the fifth Roush Fenway Racing Ford next season, when NASCAR will require that team to downsize from five to four cars [possibly the #26 Ford with Jamie McMurray…if he stays]. Jones said that one way or another, Yates expects to run at least two cars next year.(SPEEDtv)(7-27-2009)
  • Montoya was over 5mph past limit: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was well on his way to winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. He had the field covered, including winner #48-Jimmie Johnson and runner-up #5-Mark Martin. But Montoya was caught speeding on pit road with 26 laps to go. On his final stop, Montoya came in a little too hot, not once, but twice. NASCAR officials made the call, meaning Montoya would have to go down pit road again for a pass-through penalty. After the race, Sprint Cup director John Darby had the specifics about Montoya’s double no-no. Pit road has eight zones where the speed is measured. The speed limit in the pits at Indy is 55 mph. NASCAR gives the drivers a 5 mph cushion. Darby said Montoya was caught over the cushion in Zones 2 and 4. Officially, the speed was recorded at 60.06 mph in Zone 2 and 60.11 mph in Zone 4. “And he was already pushing it,” Darby said. “He was over 59 miles per hour in most of the other zones.” Montoya’s big boo-boo caused him to fall back to 12th. He finished 11th.(ESPN)(7-27-2009)
  • Roush’s Smith talks about 2010 plans: Sunday on “The SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Pre-Race Show”, SIRIUS XM’s Claire B. Lang spoke with Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith about the possible changes to the team’s roster of drivers before next season.
    Geoff Smith: “If you’re asking about our team plans for 2010, we’re settled that Carl Edwards and Aflac, Greg Biffle with 3M, and David Ragan with UPS will be staying put and that sponsorship is going to kind of determine whether or not the #17 or the #26 are going to have to be the teams we shut down and move, if we can.”
    Smith: “There are difficulties. You just can’t assume that a team can transfer intact just because you want it to. There are sponsors that get to vote as to what organization they’re going to sponsor. So we have to work through that, which is what I’ve been saying. I expect, now that the DeWalt cloud has been removed, we’re going to move very quickly to lock in the sponsorship and then that sponsorship will determine [whether] the #17 stays or goes.”
    Host, Claire B. Lang: “Meaning that we could see a past champion, Matt Kenseth, moving?”
    Smith: “It all depends on the sponsorships. Our objective is to keep both of those teams (the #17 and the #26) in the Ford Motor Company community. We’re hoping that we don’t have to keep one and then lose one out of the Ford community entirely. So if we can keep them both in the [Ford] community by shuffling the #17 we would do that. Pretty unlikely that Matt Kenseth or the #17 will move at this point.”
    (SIRIUS NASCAR Radio)(7-27-2009)
  • Red Bull could decide soon on drivers and manufacturer: Jay Frye, Vice President and General Manager of Red Bull Racing says he expects to have driver #83-Brian Vickers’ contract extension finalized, and a manufacturer decision made, after he travels to Austria next week to meet with Red Bull officials. Frye said several weeks ago that a contract extension between Red Bull – which owns and sponsors the team’s two-car effort – and Vickers was one step away from being completed, but had not been approved. While ironing that out will be a priority, so to will be determining whether to remain with Toyota or making a move to another manufacturer. Vickers, who has driver for the team since 2007, told reporters Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that he was “keeping all my options open … the ball is in their court.” Red Bull Racing was one of Toyota’s original teams when the automaker joined NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series in 2007. Despite reports that have paired the organization with Chevrolet in 2010, Frye said nothing has been determined.(SceneDaily)(7-27-2009)
  • Stewart’s Dad attends Indy, after flipping in race: #14-Tony Stewart’s father, Nelson, attended Sunday’s race after flipping his three-quarter midget in a race Saturday night at the Rush County Fairgrounds. The 71-year-old Stewart was not injured. “I just ran out of talent,” he said.(Indianapolis Star)(7-27-2009)
  • Commercial breakdown for Indianapolis:
    For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, or wonder how often your driver was focused on, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race.
    Total number of commercials: 107
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 56
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 24
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:03 pm
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:12 pm
    Total minutes: 189
    Minutes of race broadcast: 147
    Minutes of commercials: 42
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
    Number of Driver Introductions seen in its entirety: 1 Nice touch!
    Number of Speedway Chairpersons to give the call to start the engines: 1 Mari Hulman George
    Number of extra pace laps, due to debris from opening ceremonies: 1
    Number of male enhancement ads: 1 many fans find these ads very offensive
    See full report and more on my 2009 Commercials page including the number of times selected drivers were focused.(7-27-2009)
  • NASCAR in Argentina; Schrader to drive: On Sunday July 19th, three NASCAR vehicles from Roush Fenway Racing arrived at the Buenos Aires City Port. On August 2, those cars will hold a special exhibition during the celebration of a Turismo Carretera Series racing weekend at Potrero de los Funes, a racetrack located in the San Luis Province. The American team will bring Ken Schrader who also has four wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Argentinean drivers Matías Rossi (3M driver in Turismo Carretera) and Diego Aventín will drive with Schrader in the 6250 meters (3.88 miles) circuit. The vehicles that will be showcased around the circuit on Saturday -in between the Turismo Carretera and TC Pista qualifying sessions, and on Sunday before the feature race of the mayor series in Argentina, come from the Sprint Cup, the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Series. Turismo Carretera was the first series created in the world, which earned it a Guinness Record Book mention. The first race was held in 1937 and over these 72 years has become a huge passion for Argentineans, just second to soccer. Every Turismo Carretera race attracts an average of 40,000 fans. For the event on August 2, at the track known as “Potrero de los Funes,” it is expected that a record number of more than 60,000 fans will attend, since it is a street course around a lake. Roush Fenway Racing will bring their crew chief and two mechanics that will travel with Ken Schrader.(Media Racing)(7-27-2009)
  • F1 Driver Massa Seriously Injured: Formula One Ferrari driver Felipe Massa remained in “life-threatening” but stable condition on Sunday following surgery on multiple skull fractures. Peter Bazso, the AEK hospital medical director, told reporters that Massa would remain sedated until Monday, but will be woken up periodically during that time. When asked whether Massa’s life remained in danger, Bazso answered: “Yes, of course.” A spring, from fellow Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn GP car, bounced into Massa’s helmet as the 28-year-old driver reached speeds of about 120 mph during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The impact concussed Massa, who then plowed into the protective tire barrier. The impact of the rear suspension part, believed to be made of steel, damaged the left side of Massa’s helmet, ripping out the visor and leaving a long dent on its side. Blood was visible on Massa’s left brow. The crash came less than a week after Henry Surtees, the son of former F1 champion John Surtees, died in similar circumstances in an F2 race last Sunday. Surtees was struck in the head by a tire from another car, causing him to lose consciousness and drive into a barrier. FIA would investigate the crash, which is commonplace for the governing body.(Associated Press/ESPN)(7-27-2009)
  • NASCAR back at Indy…in the fall? Stock cars might return this fall. IMS officials have discussed staging an exhibition on the road course with NASCAR and Grand Am’s sports cars. The road course will begin to be installed next week for the Aug. 28-30 motorcycle event, the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.(Indianapolis Star)(7-27-2009)
  • Lower ticket prices at Las Vegas; go on sale Aug. 17: The theme for the 2010 NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: “High speeds and lower prices.” Tickets will go on sale to the public on Monday, Aug. 17. A limited number of tickets will be available for $49 – the lowest pricing of NASCAR tickets since the speedway’s inception. In fact, LVMS has reduced the pricing on all Weekend Packages and Sunday-only tickets for next year’s NASCAR Weekend. In addition, the speedway has implemented a new payment structure to make ticket-buying easier than ever. For the first time, race fans can secure their tickets by paying just 33 percent of the value of their purchase. The remaining balance will be charged in equal installments on Oct. 15 and Nov. 15.
    The speedway also has created a Family 4-Pack for both weekend tickets and Sunday’s Sprint Cup event. Weekend Family 4-Packs are $316 and a Sunday-only Family 4-Pack is just $199. Some of these specials represent a 50-percent reduction in ticket prices. LVMS is using the weekend of Feb. 26-28 as the “working dates” for the 2010 NASCAR Weekend. These dates are pending the signing of sanctioning agreements with NASCAR. Neon Garage passes, driver introduction passes and Lucky 7 preferred parking passes also go on sale Aug. 17. Tickets are available online at www.lvms.com, by calling the speedway’s tickets services department at 1-800-644-4444 or in-person at the speedway box office.(LVMS)(7-23-2009)
  • Overnight Parks Available at Talladega: Talladega Superspeedway has overnight park availability for race fans wanting to spend Hallow-Dega weekend at the track, including limited spaces in the historic infield. All reserved overnight parks outside the track open at 8am on Tuesday of race week (October 27) and must be cleared by 11am Monday following the race. Guests will be required to show their race tickets and parking pass prior to entry and a valid ticket must be shown each time for admission. Overnight park reservations can be made by calling the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office at 1-877-Go2-DEGA or by visiting www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.(TSS)(7-27-2009)

July 26, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 26 — 1992: Dale Earnhardt finishes last, 40th, in the DieHard 500 at Talladega for his lowest Cup finish in 44 races at the superspeedway. Earnhardt is the career leader at Talladega in Cup victories (10), top-fives (23) and top-10s (27).(NASCAR.com)
  • Johnson wins third Brickyard 400: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his third win at the Brickyard, his third win of 2009 and 43rd of his career. Johnson took the lead for the first time on lap 137 and led those final 24 laps to win. Johnson is the first driver to ever win the Brickyard 400 two years in a row. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya led 116 laps until getting caught speeding on pit road late in the race. #5-Mark Martin, the pole sitter, tried to get around Johnson on the final laps, but Johnson held him off, Martin finished 2nd, tying his best finish there when he was 2nd in 1998. #14-Stewart finished 3rd and increased his points lead to 192 over Johnson, who is now in 2nd. #16-Biffle finished 4th, followed by #83-Vickers, #29-Harvick, #9-Kahne, #00-Reutimann, #24-Gordon and #17-Kenseth. Montoya finished 11th. #88-Earnhardt Jr., who started 3rd, blew an engine on lap 127 and finished 37th. There were only three cautions for 14 caution laps and there were 9 lead changes among 7 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Indianapolis Race Results Page.(7-26-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings
    [after Indianapolis, race 20 of 36]:

    1) #14-Tony Stewart, 3054 [2 wins], finished 3rd
    2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 2862, -192 [3 wins], 1st
    3) #24-Jeff Gordon 2847, -207 [1 win], 9th
    4) #2-Kurt Busch 2608, -446 [1 win], 27th
    5) #99-Carl Edwards, 2556, -498, 15th
    6) #11-Denny Hamlin, 2518, -536, 34th
    7) #39-Ryan Newman, 2506, -548, 14th
    8) #9-Kasey Kahne, 2482, -572 [1 win], 7th
    9) #5-Mark Martin, 2471, -583 [4 wins], 2nd
    10) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, 2461, -593, 11th
    11) #16-Greg Biffle 2445, -609, 4th
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth, 2429, -625 [2 wins], 10th
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #00-David Reutimann 2361, 68 points out of 12th, [1 win] 8th
    14) #18-Kyle Busch, 2347, -82 [3 wins], 38th
    15) #83-Brian Vickers, 2309, -120, 5th
    16) #33-Clint Bowyer, 2278, -151, 18th
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(7-26-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Pocono:
    No changes as the spread between 35th and 36th is still at 187
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1608, +320
    35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1475, 187 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1288, 187 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 1167, -308
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owners points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(7-26-2009)
  • Infraction Sheet – Indianapolis
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #20, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end engine change
    #19, 1, Safety violation, pit
    #7, 56, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #18, 57, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #11, 58, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #55, 66, Safety violation, pit
    #08, 92, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, pass thru
    #77, 107, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, pass thru
    #19, 116, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, pass thru
    #19, 118, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, pass thru
    #42, 125, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, pass thru
    #88, 127, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #47, 128, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #19, 129, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #08, 132, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #55, 133, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    (NASCAR Statistics)(7-26-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Indianapolis: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: none awarded, no driver down a lap
    Caution 2: #96-Labonte, 23rd
    Caution 3: #96-Labonte (2), 23rd
    (7-26-2009)
  • Some Schemes added from Indy:
    #1 Guitar Hero Smash Hits#11 FedEx Office#7 Johns Manville#18 Snickers/Bar Hunger#31 Prilosec OTC#36 Guy Fieri#42 Target Retro#43 Valvoine#44 Hunt Brothers Pizza#71 RaceHost.com#75 Flipnbag#82 Red Bull Cola
  • Harvick in 2010….”focused on this weekend”: #29-Kevin Harvick sat on a stack of tires outside his garage stall at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday willing to talk about what has been the most frustrating season of his Sprint Cup career. He was not ready to commit to driving for Richard Childress Racing next season. Despite a contract and sponsorship that runs through 2010 and a statement by owner Richard Childress that he expects both deals to be honored, Harvick went out of his way to be noncommittal. Here’s a snapshot of how ESPN’s David Newton’s interview with Harvick went:
    Q: What are your plans for the future?
    A: “Right now we’re focused on this week. We have a good car this weekend and the focus is on this weekend’s race.”
    Q: You talked to Childress this past week. What kind of conclusion did you guys come to?
    A: “Our focus is we brought a new car here and everything has gone well since we unloaded it. Our focus is to do what we need to do on the track and go from there.”
    Q: Childress says you two are all good for next season. Is that correct?
    A: “I think everybody has talked.”
    Q: Have you asked out of your contract?
    A: “We’re focused on this weekend.”
    Q: Do you want to be at RCR in the future?
    A: “Right now we’re here to race and do what we need to do from a driver’s standpoint. Everybody is working well together. … Right now I’m the driver of the Shell Pennzoil #29 RCR Chevy. That’s my job and that’s what I intend to focus on. All the rest of that stuff will take care of itself.”
    Q: Will you be at RCR next year?
    A: “All of us drivers and crew chiefs, we’re not going to drag this thing through the mud. We’re going to put our heads down and make it as good as we can.”
    Q: I know you’re not happy with the performance of the team, but are you happy with RCR?
    A: “That’s the same question, just a different way of asking it. We’re all focused on a week-to-week basis on what we need to do at the racetrack. Nothing has changed from that point.”
    Q: You easily could say you’ll be back next season. Why not?
    A: “I told you, we’re here to race this weekend and do the best we can, and we’ll continue to do that on a week-to-week basis.”
    He reportedly is interested in moving to Stewart-Haas Racing and joining Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman, two of his closest friends in the garage. If Harvick doesn’t want out, this could be his way of trying to force Childress to elevate the performance of the entire organization that has no driver in the Chase hunt after putting three in the past two seasons. All that’s known for sure is that Harvick is focused on this weekend. “Richard and I, no matter what happens in the end, Richard and I will always be friends,” Harvick said. “We have gone through a lot of good times and hopefully we’ll go through a lot of great times together as we go forward.”(ESPN)(7-26-2009)
  • Carter buys Mayfield’s team UPDATE: Tony Furr, Jeremy Mayfield’s long-time crew chief, says that Mayfield has sold his [#41] team [hauler and cars] to Georgia businessman, John Carter, who has been in racing for a while [the #08 Carter Simo Racing team], and Furr says he expected Labonte to run the rest of the season with the team, in as many races as it can make. Furr says the team will continue running out of Mayfield’s old shop. Furr is overseeing the operation, and said Friday morning Mayfield may well be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway sometime this weekend. However NASCAR won a legal appeal Friday afternoon in the U.S. 4th circuit court of appeals that should put Mayfield back on suspension. The latest legal move, in NASCAR’s favor, would apparently put Mayfield back on suspension, until the court case itself can be resolved. And that case might not get going for several months.”John Carter owns it, bought it from Jeremy,” Furr says. “I haven’t talked with Jeremy in about a week so I don’t know if he’ll be here. Terry is going to run the car wherever we run it, and we may run it the rest of the year, don’t know yet.” Toyota’s Joey Arrington is doing the motors; Jeremy Lafave is the crew chief. Furr says he himself “is mainly a consultant.”(MikeMulhern.net), also as announced a few weeks ago, Boris Said is scheduled to run some races in the #08, running a Ford with Frankie Stoddard as the crew chief, supposedly at Watkins Glen and Talladega. No word if Mayfield’s #41 team owner race attempts (12 attempts) and owners points transferred over to the #08 team.(7-24-2009)
    UPDATE: Suspended Sprint Cup owner/driver Jeremy Mayfield has sold his hauler and inventory of cars and parts to John Carter, who plans to compete in as many races as he can the rest of the season. Carter said the deal included six cars, including one Terry Labonte ran in Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Labonte has agreed to drive in five races — Indianapolis, Michigan, Bristol, Atlanta and Charlotte — and could drive in more if sponsorship is available. Carter will run the team out of his shop in Tacoa, Ga., and the shop Mayfield rented in the Charlotte, N.C., area. Four of Mayfield’s crew members, including crew chief Tony Furr, are now employed by Carter. The deal did not include an opportunity or Mayfield to drive for Carter if cleared. “That wasn’t even discussed,” Carter said.(ESPN)(7-26-2009)
  • McMurray told he is free to ‘look around’ for a ride; to #1 car?: Roush Fenway Racing has informed #26=Jamie McMurray he is free to talk to other organizations about next season, team president Geoff Smith said on Sunday. But Smith said that is not an indication Roush doesn’t want the driver of the #26 Ford associated with the organization in 2010. Smith said Roush is willing to move any of its five drivers with sponsorship to partner Yates Racing next season if that would maintain the current Ford stable. He said most of the drivers are willing to do that, understanding they will be in same equipment with the same technology. The problem is convincing sponsors to move to what is perceived as the “B” team. UPS, for example, is committed to keeping David Ragan at Roush. “It’s not moving apples to apples,” Smith said from the garage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    NASCAR has mandated that Roush be at the four-car cap by 2010. Roush currently has five drivers, McMurray, Ragan, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth. Although Edwards, Kenseth and Biffle signed extensions last season, Smith is not opposed to moving one if that keeps all within the Roush/Yates umbrella. “We would be open to any combination to keep them,” he said. McMurray is considered the most likely to be moved because his contract expires after this season. Smith said it did not make sense in this economic climate to re-sign him to a long-term deal without sponsorship commitment. Crown Royal, which sponsors a portion of races on McMurray’s car, has two years left on its contract. Smith didn’t rule out that could be moved to Kenseth’s car if necessary.
    Roush announced earlier this week that DeWalt, Kenseth’s long-term sponsor, will not return in 2010. Smith said sponsorship for that car would be cleared up soon. McMurray avoided conversations with the media on Friday and Saturday. He reportedly has been contacted by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing as a candidate to fill the spot being vacated by Martin Truex Jr. in the #1 Chevy.(ESPN)(7-26-2009)
  • Martin makes history at the Brickyard: #5-Mark Martin’s lap of 49.436 seconds, 182.054mph for the Allstate 400 made Martin the oldest pole winner of a major event in Indianapolis Motor Speedway history. Martin’s age of 50 years, 197 days old eclipses the previous record set by Cliff Bergere, who was 49 years, 175 days old when he won the pole for the 1946 Indianapolis 500. The previous Allstate 400 at the Brickyard record was set by Jimmy Spencer, when he won the pole at age 44 years, 171 days in 2001. “I like making history; that’s cool,” Martin said. “Yesterday was a lot of fun for me. We struggled through race trim practice and then we went into Q (qualifying) trim and we made improvements. We made three qualifying runs, the last one was about 10 minutes left of practice, (and) we went to the top of the board. You should have seen the light in all my guys’ faces.”(IMS)(7-26-2009)
  • Jeff Gordon still having back problems: #24-Jeff Gordon says he has decided not to have a second procedure to deal with an achy back and instead will try to deal with the pain. Gordon said Saturday during qualifying for Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that the first procedure didn’t help much and he doesn’t see the point in having another injection of anti-inflammatory medication. Gordon has been dealing with a sore back for several months but ruled out surgery because it was too invasive. Instead he will continue to focus on a series of stretching exercises and physical training in hopes the condition will improve.(Associated Press)(7-26-2009)
  • New Look for Robby’s #7 at Indy: #7-Robby Gordon returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for the 16th running of the Brickyard 400. Johns Manville, a leading manufacturer of premium quality building insulation, returns as the primary sponsor of the #7 Toyota Camry.(RGM), see images of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(7-26-2009)
  • New sponsor for Gilliland at Indy: TRG Motorsports’ welcomes Racehost.com onboard the #71 Chevy of David Gilliland this weekend for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Race Host, founded in 1996, was the first racing website design company to work exclusively in the racing, motorsport and automotive industry. “We’re excited about our new team partner Racehost.com and are looking forward to working together long into the future,” Buckler continued. Gilliland qualified the #71 Racehost.com/TRG Motorsports Chevy in 37th for the race.(TRG), see images of the car on my #71 Team Schemes page.(7-26-2009)
  • Busch – Johnson make up: #2-Kurt Busch has an excuse for why it took so long for he and #48-Jimmie Johnson to patch things up after a dustup at Chicago two weeks ago: bad cell service. Busch said Friday he hadn’t had a chance before Friday to respond to a text message from Johnson offering to talk after a late-race clash between the two drivers sent Busch to a 17th-place finish at Chicago and left him fuming. The two finally chatted Friday before practice for Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch said the two would’ve talked sooner but blamed the lack of communication on a busy schedule.(Associated Press)(7-26-2009)

July 25, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 25 — 1958: Cotton Owens wins the final NASCAR race at Monroe County Fairgrounds in Rochester, N.Y. Owens is the only driver to complete all 200 laps on the half-mile dirt track and finishes two laps ahead of Buck Baker and Speedy Thompson in the 21-car field.(NASCAR.com)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
    #39-Newman 176.706
    #11-Hamlin 176.678
    #48-Johnson 176.571
    #99-Edwards 176.312
    #5-Martin 176.049
    Slowest: #36-Skinner 170.026 and #08-Labonte 170.775
    See practice speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Indy Practice Speeds page.(7-25-2009)
  • Pit Stall Selections – Indianapolis: The selections of pit stalls for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been made. Pole sitter #5-Martin chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], outside pole sitter #42-Montoya took pit stall 10, the next pit stall with an opening in front of it, #88-Earnhardt Jr., who starts 3rd took the 17th stall, the next stall with an opening in front of it. The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #08-Labonte, who starts 43rd/last.
    See the pit selection chart on the Indianapolis Pit Stall Selection chart.(7-25-2009)
  • Martin wins pole at Indy: #5-Mark Martin won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a lap of 182.054mph for his 4th pole of 2009 and 45th pole of his career. Qualifying was rain delayed four hours. #42-Montoya was 2nd, followed by #88-Earnhardt Jr. (feeling ill), #21-Elliott [best of the go-or-go-homers], #00-Reutimann, #83-Vickers, #14-Stewart, #9-Kahne, #43-Sorenson and #33-Bowyer.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #21-Elliott, #82-Speed, #87-Nemechek, #66-Blaney, #78-Smith, #71-Gilliland, #36-Skinner and #08-Terry Labonte, who used a past champion provisional to make the field
    The five drivers who failed to qualify: #09-Marlin, #13-Papis and #75-Cope.
    See qualifying results, pole progression, starting lineup on my Indianapolis Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(7-25-2009)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
    #5-Mark Martin won the pole for the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard with a lap of 49.436 seconds, 182.054 mph. At 50 years, 197 days, he becomes the oldest pole winner of a major event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    This is his 45th pole in 742 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Martin moves into a tie for 10th with Buck Baker on the all-time poles list.
    This is his fourth pole and ninth top-10 start in 2009. The last time Martin won four poles in a season was 1996.
    This is his first pole in 16 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
    #42-Juan Pablo Montoya (second) posted his seventh top-10 start of 2009 and his second in three races at Indianapolis. He also started second in his first race at Indianapolis in 2007. He finished second that race.
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) posted his fifth top-10 start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It is his first in 20 races this season.(NASCAR Statistics)(7-25-2009)
  • Rookie of the Year Candidates: where do they start at Indy:
    #13-Max Papis (X), 175.346mph, DNQ
    #20-Joey Logano, 179.126mph, starts 18th
    #82-Scott Speed (X), 177.746mph, starts 26th
    X = not in top-35 owners points
    DNQ = Did not qualify for race
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Toyota: #00-Reutimann, 180.216, starts 5th
    Chevy: #5-Martin, 182.054, starts 1st
    Ford: #21-Elliott, 180.216, starts 4th
    Dodge: #9-Kahne, 179.867, starts 9th
  • Earnhardt Jr. fighting stomach virus: #88-But Dale Earnhardt Jr. won’t let two days of fever, IVs and nausea keep him out of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We didn’t have to dial 911,” Earnhardt said after qualifying third on Saturday. “I had a stomach virus pop up late Thursday night and was throwing up and all that good stuff all the way up until 5 o’clock in the morning [Friday]. I came here and got a couple of IVs early in the afternoon. I broke my fever about 8 o’clock yesterday morning. The fever came back last night but I broke it again. I’ve just been sweating a lot and probably will get some more fluids this afternoon after practice.” Earnhardt still will have Brad Keselowski, who drives for him in the Nationwide Series, on hand as a backup driver. Keselowski, who was scheduled to take a couple of practice laps in Earnhardt’s Cup car, is competing at nearby O’Reilly Raceway Park in Saturday night’s Nationwide race. “I doubt we’ll need it,” Earnhardt said. “I did that basically to be safe. The only thing I have to worry about is being hydrated from here on out. I feel tons better. That stomach virus was the worst thing I experienced in my life. I used to think sore throats were the worst aggravatingest thing. I’m not a very big fan of stomach viruses now.”(ESPN)(7-25-2009)
  • Dale Jr. not feeling well: The rain may be a good break for #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is being treated for flu-like symptoms. Earnhardt was an on IV at the infield medical center on Friday and team officials have put Brad Keslowski on standby as a backup driver. Keselowski is competing at nearby O’Reilly Raceway Park in Saturday night’s Nationwide Series race. Crew chief Lance McGrew said Saturday morning that Earnhardt had a fever overnight, but Earnhardt feels the fever broke.(ESPN)(7-25-2009)
  • Special Episode of SportsCenter Airs from Indianapolis: ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter will present a half-hour special from Indianapolis Motor Speedway on ESPN at 7:00pm/et on Saturday, July 25, the eve of ESPN’s live telecast of NASCAR’s 400-mile race at the famed track. SportsCenter at the Brickyard presented by Golden Corral will be hosted by Allen Bestwick with analysts Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty. Among features in the program will be Jarrett and defending race winner Jimmie Johnson playing a round of golf and discussing racing and life, and ESPN analysts who have tasted victory at the Brickyard (Jarrett, Evernham and Andy Petree) discussing their favorite memories. In addition to the special, extensive reports, interviews and highlights will air on regular editions of SportsCenter and on ESPNEWS. Post-race driver news conferences will air on ESPNEWS.
  • Ganassi plans to fill #1 ride: Chip Ganassi, co-owner of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, on replacing Martin Truex Jr., who is leaving the #1 Bass Pro Chevy for Michael Waltrip Racing next year: “We’re going to fill it. Everything’s fine. I’m not going out of business. We’re going to have two cars (next year). You guys always ask silly questions. I wish I had great answers for you. I’m unable to make things up. All I can tell you is we’re fine. We’re talking to a few guys, and I’ll tell you in due time.. .. I’m a bit of a gambler in that sense. I don’t feel the need to announce my plans July 1 like a lot of people do. I’m not going to be dragged into that. We’re going to make the best decision at the right time. We’re on my calendar. I’m not on anybody else’s calendar.”(USA Today)(7-25-2009)
  • Ganassi to Gibbs? UPDATE denied: The latest rumor is that Chip Ganassi somehow will merge his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team [Chevy’s w/#1-Truex Jr. (leaves end of 2009) and #42-Montoya] with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota’s w/#18-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #20-Logano], possibly eliminating another owner.(SPEEDtv/Jimmy Spencer)(7-23-2009)
    UPDATE: Don’t believe the latest that has Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates partnering with Joe Gibbs Racing, making Juan Pablo Montoya JGR’s fourth driver with Target as the sponsor. Not that there hasn’t been some conversation looking at that as a possible marriage. There are conversations between almost every organization about almost everything these days. But this one hasn’t been talked about enough to warrant it as a substantial rumor. It likely never will be. Ganassi is under the umbrella of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with its partnership with DEI, and he’s happy with that relationship. “We have an affiliation now,” he said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We have an affiliation with Earnhardt with EGR [and] with Childress [Richard Childress Racing]. I’m very happy with that. Knock on wood. We’ve had no issues. The idea of what we put together at the end of the season last year, it’s been mission accomplished.”(ESPN Insider)(7-25-2009)
  • Ragan the odd man out at Roush? UPDATE…nope? Who will be the odd man out at Roush Fenway Racing? According to published reports, Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith is putting together a sponsor package that would keep #26-Jamie McMurray in the fold. McMurray, whose contract expires after this season, has been speculated as the most likely to be moved to satellite team, Yates Racing, to get Roush to four teams. If McMurray stays then #6-David Ragan becomes the top candidate to leave because #17-Matt Kenseth, #99-Carl Edwards and #16-Greg Biffle signed new deals within the last year. A decision on restructuring should come by September at the latest. Roush has until the end of this season to move from five to four teams as NASCAR mandated when it put a cap on teams.(ESPN Insider)(7-21-2009)
    UPDATE: With #99-Carl Edwards, #17-Matt Kenseth and #16-Greg Biffle all signed to long term contracts, multiple sources say that #6-David Ragan will be the fourth driver at the team next year. “Absolutely, I can confirm that David Ragan will be driving for UPS in the #6 Roush Fenway car,” said Zak Brown, CEO of Just Marketing International, which handles the UPS marketing account. According to NASCAR rules, RFR has to downsize from five to four teams by the end of this year. #26-Jamie McMurray, the fifth driver at RFR, is likely headed across the street from the Roush shop to Yates Racing, which is a satellite organization of RFR. However, another option appears to be a reunion with former boss Chip Ganassi.(FoxSports)(7-25-2009)
  • Goodyear, drivers happy with Indy tire: Any lingering concerns about tires again making a mockery of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard were put to rest Friday during two hour-long practice sessions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Goodyear was embarrassed a year ago when rapid tire wear produced a race run in short stints between mandatory cautions that resulted in a race-record 52 of 160 laps under caution. After seven visits to the Speedway for more than 13,000 miles of testing, Goodyear saw the results it was hoping for Friday. Goodyear’s Greg Stucker admitted to a “few butterflies” as the day began, but they quickly flew away as it became clear NASCAR’s 16th visit to the Speedway would not be a repeat of the 15th. “Everything we’ve seen we’re very happy with,” said Stucker, expressing complete confidence that Sunday’s race will go off without a hitch. “There was a little apprehension, but it settled when we saw the track rubber in so quickly.”(Indianapolis Star)(7-25-2009)
  • Ganassi: Danica should stay in the IRL: Chip Ganassi doesn’t believe Danica Patrick should leave the IndyCar Series after this season to pursue a full-time ride in NASCAR. “Her IndyCar career, she’s about to make a step in that career if she decides to stay there,” Ganassi said before Friday’s Sprint Cup practice for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “She’s got one more step to make, and that’s it. As much as I love what’s going on here this weekend, my counsel to her is she’s pretty close to making that last step in IndyCar racing and she could easily do that in the next three or four or five years and still be able to do this.” Ganassi owns five teams between the IndyCar and Sprint Cup series, having won the Indianapolis 500 three times. He acknowledged talking to Patrick — whose contract with Andretti Green expires after this season — about driving for him in IndyCar. “If she wanted to do NASCAR on a full-time basis I would suggest there are better places for her to go and do it with [than Earnhardt Ganassi Racing],” said Ganassi, who is returning to the track for the first time in a month after undergoing eye surgery. “I don’t think our team is in position to do that.” There has been speculation that Patrick could compete in a handful of Nationwide or Cup events after the IndyCar season. EGR does not have a full-time Nationwide program, which many believe Patrick must compete in for a year or two before making the move to Cup. Ganassi characterized his talks with Patrick, who finished fourth in the Indianapolis 500 two months ago, as being on the pace lap level. “She’s on the market right now and she’s ready to make the next step in her career, wherever that takes her,” he said. “I wish I could tell you I’m a lot further down the road on that. The fact of the matter is, like most of the other teams, we’re in the top of the first inning on that.”(ESPN)(7-25-2009)
  • Crewmember Jeff Kerr wins spirit award: Jeff Kerr, jackman for the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #1 team of Martin Truex Jr., is the second quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Spirit Award. Kerr earned the honor for donating the $10,000 he won at the pit crew challenge in May to the family of 4-year-old Preston Loyd of Mooresville, N.C. Loyd was severely injured in April when his grandfather backed over the child with a riding lawn mower. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership. The 2009 overall winner will be announced during the NMPA’s annual convention and awards ceremony in January 2010. Also receiving votes were Clint Bowyer and the NASCAR Foundation. David Poole of The Charlotte Observer won the first quarter honor posthumously.(National Motorsports Press Association site)(7-25-2009)

July 24, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 24 — 1994: Three weeks after winning his first Cup race (at Daytona), Jimmy Spencer wins his last Cup race, beating teammate Bill Elliott by 0.25 seconds at Talladega. In 18 seasons, those are Spencer’s only Cup wins in 478 races.(NASCAR.com)
  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is scheduled for Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 10:10am/et.
    TV: ESPN2 – 10:00am/et
    Radio: IMS Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Jayski.com: Jayski’s FREE Semi-Live Qualifying Page
    Qualifying Re-Air: none scheduled
  • Friday’s 2nd practice for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
    #5-Martin 180.643
    #42-Montoya 180.151
    #9-Kahne 179.860
    #29-Harvick 179.727
    #43-Sorenson 179.716
    Slowest: #75-Cope 170.338 and #08-Labonte 172.236
    Track record was set in 2004 by Casey Mears at 186.293mph
    See practice speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Indy Practice Speeds page.(7-24-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers run in the 2nd practice at Indianapolis:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #21-Bill Elliott [PC2], 10th fastest
    #82-Scott Speed, 33rd
    #13-Max Papis, 35th
    #78-Regan Smith, 36th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 39th
    #36-Mike Skinner, 40th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 42nd
    #08-Terry Labonte [PC1], 45th fastest, but would get in via Past Champ prvisional
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #71-David Gilliland, 43rd
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 44th
    #75-Derrike Cope, 46th
    See practice speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Indy Practice Speeds page.(7-24-2009)
  • Qualifying Order for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is posted. 46 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 #77-Hornish Jr., the final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #98-Menard. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #36-Skinner with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #13-Papis. See the full qualifying order on the Indy Qualifying Page.(7-24-2009)
  • Friday’s 1st practice for the Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
    #16-Biffle 177.075
    #42-Montoya 176.630
    #21-Elliott 176.547
    #83-Vickers 176.481
    #39-Newman 176.187
    slowest: #75-Cope 167.202 and #34-Andretti 169.584
    no speed listed: #08-Labonte
    incident: #48-Johnson scraped the wall and did very minor damage to the #48.
    See practice speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Indy Practice Speeds page.(7-24-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers in the 1st practice at Indianapolis:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #21-Bill Elliott [PC2], 3rd fastest
    #36-Mike Skinner, 24th
    #71-David Gilliland, 25th
    #82-Scott Speed, 28th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 30th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 34th
    #78-Regan Smith, 36th
    #08-Terry Labonte [PC1], no speed, but would get in via Past Champ prvisional
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #13-Max Papis, 40th
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 43rd
    #75-Derrike Cope, 45th
    See practice speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Indy Practice Speeds page.(7-24-2009)
  • Montoya to drive “Retro” Target Paint Scheme at the Brickyard: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and Target announced that the #42 Target Chevy of Juan Pablo Montoya will feature a “Retro” Target paint scheme for the Brickyard 400 this weekend as a tribute to Montoya’s 2000 Indianapolis 500 win in 2000. His 2009 Brickyard 400 Cup car and firesuit will feature the famed gold lightning bolts similar to those on his IndyCar and firesuit when he last raced for Target on the famed oval back in 2000.
    · The Bolt Returns to Indy: Montoya returns to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the same Target colors for the first time since he won the Indianapolis 500 for Target and Chip Ganassi in 2000. Chip Ganassi Racing and Target have a solid history at the famed oval. As an owner Ganassi has won at the track three times (Emerson Fittipaldi – 1989, Montoya – 2000 and Scott Dixon – 2008) and Target has been the sponsor for two of those (2000 and 2008).
    · Target Celebrates 20th Season with Ganassi: The team’s partnership with Target continues to rank as one of the longest continuous relationships in motorsports. Chip Ganassi created his own one-car IndyCar team in 1990 and that same year established a partnership with Target. Today, Target remains the only full-time sponsor in both the NSCS and the IndyCar Series. With Montoya and his IndyCar Series teammates Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, Team Target now sports three drivers that have all won open-wheel championships and the Indianapolis 500.
    · A familiar place: Juan Pablo Montoya made history in 2007 by becoming the first driver to have competed in all three major events at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: He has participated in the Indianapolis 500 (IndyCar), the United States Grand Prix (Formula One) and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (NASCAR). Montoya has six starts in the Grand Prix, with two starts at the Brickyard 400 and one in the Indianapolis 500. Should Montoya win, he would become the first driver in history to win both the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400.
    Juan Pablo Montoya: “There are a number of things that I am pleased with so far this year and driving for Target again is one of them. I am also really excited about driving the Target car with the paint scheme that I used back in 2000 when I drove for Target here in the Indy 500. To wear the firesuit and drive the car will bring back a lot of great memories for me.”(EGR), see images of the scheme on my #42 Team Schemes page.(7-24-2009)
  • Carter buys Mayfield’s team: Tony Furr, Jeremy Mayfield’s long-time crew chief, says that Mayfield has sold his [#41] team [hauler and cars] to Georgia businessman, John Carter, who has been in racing for a while [the #08 Carter Simo Racing team], and Furr says he expected Labonte to run the rest of the season with the team, in as many races as it can make. Furr says the team will continue running out of Mayfield’s old shop. Furr is overseeing the operation, and said Friday morning Mayfield may well be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway sometime this weekend. However NASCAR won a legal appeal Friday afternoon in the U.S. 4th circuit court of appeals that should put Mayfield back on suspension. The latest legal move, in NASCAR’s favor, would apparently put Mayfield back on suspension, until the court case itself can be resolved. And that case might not get going for several months.”John Carter owns it, bought it from Jeremy,” Furr says. “I haven’t talked with Jeremy in about a week so I don’t know if he’ll be here. Terry is going to run the car wherever we run it, and we may run it the rest of the year, don’t know yet.” Toyota’s Joey Arrington is doing the motors; Jeremy Lafave is the crew chief. Furr says he himself “is mainly a consultant.”(MikeMulhern.net), also as announced a few weeks ago, Boris Said is scheduled to run some races in the #08, running a Ford with Frankie Stoddard as the crew chief, supposedly at Watkins Glen and Talladega. No word if Mayfield’s #41 team owner race attempts (12 attempts) and owners points transferred over to the #08 team.(7-24-2009)
  • Court rules in NASCAR’s favor; Mayfield suspended: An appeals court has ruled in NASCAR’s favor, granting its request to keep Jeremy Mayfield off the race track. The decision Friday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means Mayfield is once again suspended for failing a May 1 random drug test. A federal judge lifted the driver’s suspension July 1, and NASCAR appealed to the appeals court in Richmond, Va. That court issued a stay until the appeal can be heard. U.S. District Court Graham Mullen, who allowed Mayfield to return to competition, still has a request before him to overturn his earlier decision based on NASCAR’s claim that Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine a second time. Mayfield is not entered in Sunday’s race at Indy.(Associated Press)(7-24-2009)
  • #42 to backup at Indy? OOPS no sure yet what the reason is, but sources at the track tell me that Juan Pablo Montoya will go to a back up #42 Target Chevy. Practice has started and have heard nothing nor seen anything about this.
    UPDATE: the backup was used…..for the press conference to unviel the special paint scheme for Indy. The primary car is on the track.(7-24-2009)
  • Indianapolis Tire Notes: Goodyear returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a new tire set-up developed after a comprehensive, 11-month testing effort . . . since last summer’s Brickyard 400, Goodyear has conducted seven tire tests at the Speedway — three last fall, two this spring prior to the Indianapolis 500 and two in June after the Indianapolis 500 . . . in all, Goodyear worked with 30 different drivers and teams over those seven tests and logged more than 14,000 miles on the Speedway . . . the left-side tire code (D-4178) that NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will be running this weekend is also run at Pocono . . . teams will be running a new right-side tire code (D-4252) . . . this right-side=2 0features a new tread compound that utilizes a different formulation strategy to address the high wear characteristics of the Speedway and help “rubber in” the track while maintaining performance and heat dissipation . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at IMS . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 32-35 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear), see more tire notes, pressures on my Indy Race Info page – Goodyear section.
    AND: NASCAR likely will allow more than the normal six sets of tires for practice and qualifying, though that number has not been determined, Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales for Goodyear, said.(Kansas City Star)(7-24-2009)
  • General Motors Shakes Things Up: In what looks like good news for NASCAR’s Chevrolet teams: a major General Motors shakeup Thursday puts racing aficionado Brent Dewar in charge of the entire Chevrolet brand world-wide. The 54-year-old Dewar, currently running GM’s European operations, will take over as head of the “global” Chevrolet brand, which will include Chevrolet in North America. Dewar’s boss will be Bob Lutz, who is GM’s new head of marketing and communication. Lutz is one of the eight key men on the “executive committee” that GM CEO Fritz Henderson — looking for a meaner, leaner operation – has created. The others are Tom Stephens as boss of global product development, Nick Reilly as head of international operations, Ray Young as chief financial officer, Tim Lee as head of global manufacturing and labor relations, John Smith as boss of corporate planning and alliances, Mark LaNeve and head of U.S. sales, and Bob Socia as boss of global purchasing and supply, Henderson is also pruning jobs. Among the men leaving GM: Ralph Szygenda, chief information officer; Troy Clarke, president of GM North America (Henderson himself will now be in charge of North American operations); Maureen Kempston Darkes, in charge of GM’s Latin America, Africa and Middle-East projects; Michael Grimaldi, CEO of GM Daewoo; and Jonathan Browning, head of global sales, service and marketing. Ed Peper, who has been running GM’s North American Chevy operations, is moving over to Cadillac as general sales manager.(mikemulhern.net and more info at the Detroit Free Press)(7-24-2009)
  • Evernham to participate in a Teen Safe Driving Q&A: Legendary NASCAR crew chief and team owner Ray Evernham will participate in a Teen Safe Driving question-and-answer session from 10:15-10:45am on Race Day for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, Sunday, July 26. The session will take place on the Coke Zero Stage behind the famed Pagoda. Info about tickets for the Allstate 400 at indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(IMS)(7-24-2009)

July 23, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 23 — 1950: Curtis Turner wins a 200-lap race at Charlotte Speedway, a three-quarter-mile dirt track, to win back-to-back races for the second time that season. Turner won the previous race in Rochester, N.Y., and he also won the third and fourth races, in Langhorne, Pa., and Martinsville, Va., respectively.(NASCAR.com)
  • Mayfield’s hair may be tested: The back and forth between NASCAR and driver Jeremy Mayfield over drug allegations has gotten so bad that in Mayfield’s latest statement he describes the humiliation of having to go to the bathroom while someone watched. So what could bring it all to an end? It turns out it could come down to a piece of hair. “It’s like the bully in school,” Jeremy Mayfield told NewsChannel 36 last week. “Every three to five days I go get tested.” Who ends up in victory lane may come down to the difference between urinating in a cup and pulling a hair. “The drug that is incorporated into your hair — it stays there. You get a record, basically, of drug use with the hair,” said Dr. Ruth Winecker, the chief toxicologist for the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office. She says there’s no messing with hair. But no one has tested Mayfield’s hair, just his urine samples. “There are techniques people can use to try to cheat the system,” Winecker said. That’s exactly what both sides have accused each other of doing. NASCAR says Mayfield diluted his urine even before testing positive for meth, and Mayfield says NASCAR did something to his urine. NewsChannel 36 asked Mayfield’s attorney if they’ll be testing his hair as the judge in the case suggested several weeks ago. Attorney John Buric told us they are looking at the possibility, but right now they have been told Mayfield’s hair is too short.(NewsChannel 36)(7-23-2009)
  • Mayfield working on ‘big’ sponsor deal, seeking ride: Jeremy Mayfield, who says he’s “80% there” on getting a major sponsorship deal that might enable him to once again drive in the Sprint Cup Series, isn’t on the entry list for Sunday’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. Mayfield spoke by phone Tuesday morning, prior to meeting his legal team to discuss his ongoing court battle over NASCAR suspending him from competition as either an owner or a driver as of May 9, due to a positive result for methamphetamine in a random drug test taken May 1 at Richmond International Raceway. “I’d like to come to Indy just to come watch, and to try to get a ride,” Mayfield said. “We’re working on sponsorship deals as we speak and I’m telling you, if this works out, it’s going to be big. And what’s funny is, it could be big in all kinds of different ways, and all I needed was [NASCAR’s] support, and to work with me on this. They could have had races sponsored and tracks sponsored and I could have been with one of their big teams with a big sponsor and I guess they don’t want that, because I didn’t need them to get it.” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said that he is “unfamiliar with the possible sponsor opportunity” that Mayfield references. Yet, Mayfield’s description of the company he’s talking to was vivid. “Sounds like a union, doesn’t it?” Mayfield said. “Imagine if they got involved, and they’re behind me 200 percent right now. America’s not about a dictatorship no more and it never was.”(NASCAR.com)(7-23-2009)
  • DeWalt will not return to the #17 team in 2010: Roush Fenway Racing was informed today that DeWalt Power Tools will not renew its sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 team for the 2010 NASCAR season. “We would like to thank DeWalt for serving as a great partner for the past 10 years,” said Roush Fenway President Geoff Smith. “During that time we have seen great success for both their company and marketing program, as well as with Matt on the race track. They will always be remembered and honored as the sponsor of Jack Roush’s first Sprint Cup Championship team. Despite this success – in the face of the significant world-wide economic decline in the construction industry – DeWalt’s decision to not return is not a great surprise to us. Fortunately, we have several great companies interested in taking over and we expect to begin finalizing those sponsorship arrangements in the very near future. All of us at Roush Fenway Racing remain committed to keeping the #17 DeWalt car running up front, winning races and to put them in a position to contend for a second championship this season.”(Roush Fenway Racing)(7-23-2009)
  • Ganassi to Gibbs? The latest rumor is that Chip Ganassi somehow will merge his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team [Chevy’s w/#1-Truex Jr. (leaves end of 2009) and #42-Montoya] with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota’s w/#18-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #20-Logano], possibly eliminating another owner.(SPEEDtv/Jimmy Spencer)(7-23-2009)
  • Kenseth wins at Slinger: Matt Kenseth held off a hard charging Eric Fransen to capture the win in the 200-lap 30th Annual Miller Lite Nationals presented by SuperSeal Wednesday night at the Slinger Super Speedway, his record-setting fifth overall victory in the prestigious super late model event. Not to be outdone, son Ross Kenseth followed up his father’s performance by scoring his first Slinger Speedway win in the 35-lap late model main event.(7-23-2009)
  • New 2-race sponsor for Truex Jr.: Unilever announced that Vaseline Men Lotion will be an associate sponsor of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Vaseline Men will be the primary sponsor of the #1 Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. at select races NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. The Vaseline Men paint scheme will make its debut on the #1 Chevy in the NSCS at Dover on September 27 and again in Martinsville on October 25. The Vaseline Men lotion range includes fast-absorbing body, face and hand lotions that give men strong, resilient skin. More info at vaseline.com. Martin Truex, Jr., Driver of the #1 Chevy: “I’m really looking forward to driving the Vaseline MEN car at Dover and Martinsville at the end of this season. They are another addition in a long line of great partners that we’ve had on our car this season. I got my first win at Dover in 2007 and I hope to have another strong performance there.”(Earnhardt Ganassi Racing)(7-23-2009)
  • TMS president Eddie Gossage fighting cancer: Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has been absent from TMS because he has been undergoing treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer. Gossage, 50, was diagnosed with cancer early last fall and began treatment this spring. Gossage, who oversaw the construction of the track and was the general manager for its first race in 1997, declined to be interviewed. A statement from TMS vice president of media relations Mike Zizzo said Gossage “would like to keep his illness private and does not plan to discuss it publicly.” Gossage was informed by doctors in February that treatment needed to begin, and it was done around the Samsung 500 in April and the Bombardier Learjet 550 in June. He was at the track for the IndyCar Series race in June and looked thinner than he did at the Sprint Cup event in April. He hasn’t appeared at any TMS public functions since the June race as he has undergone more intense treatments over the last month. Gossage is hoping to return to work next month. “I’ve been talking to him almost every day either by phone or text,” Zizzo said. “His brain is in overdrive. If it were up to him, he’d be back tomorrow.” Zizzo said Gossage doesn’t want to talk about his illness because he doesn’t want that to be what people identify him with. Gossage’s father, H.L., died of lung cancer in 1998. “He’s trying to keep it under the radar and keep it as low-key as possible,” Zizzo said.(Dallas Morning News)(7-23-2009)
  • Chase Stats: #5-Mark Martin’s dramatic win at Chicagoland brought a lot of teams back to the “danger zone” in the 2009 Race to the Chase. #99-Carl Edwards’ 14th dropped him 63 points closer to 13th, but he still has a relatively comfortable 153-pt margin for now. More adverse was #18-Kyle Busch’s 33rd, which dropped him 120 points and left him only 13 points ahead of 13th. #17-Matt Kenseth’s 23rd lost him 90 precious points, and the Kenseth’s bid to join #48-Jimmie Johnson as the only two teams to make all six Chases is now looking shaky, with only 10 points separating 12th place Kenseth from 13th place #16-Greg Biffle. Biffle’s 31st dropped him from 9th all the way out of the Top 12. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya’s amazingly consistent run for The Chase continues. Montoya’s 10th at Chicagoland gained him two more positions in the standings to 9th. Montoya has gained six spots while scoring 704 points over the last five races while #00-David Reutimann has scored 518 points and lost three positions over the same period. Reutimann is now 76 points out of the Top 12, and needs a good run at Indy to get in closer touch with the Chase field.
    Sunday’s Allstate 400 at The Brickyard is the fourth event in the Race to the Chase, the 10-race stretch that ends with the cutoff for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup – race No.26 of the season, Sept. 12 at Richmond International Raceway. Following that event, the top 12 drivers will compete for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title during the season’s final 10 races. More Chase stats on my Chase stats after Chicago page.(7-23-2009)
  • Snickers colors returns for Busch: Kyle Busch’s #18 Toyota will sport a special “Bar Hunger” Snickers paint scheme in the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard. Busch will also make a stop at Gleaner’s Food Bank in Indianapolis to help raise awareness for Feeding America. The Snickers brand is teaming up with Feeding America to “Bar Hunger” – a campaign to help the one in eight Americans struggling with hunger. As part of “Bar Hunger,” Snickers will donate the equivalent of at least 3 million meals to Feeding America in 2009. The brand will educate and inspire Americans to help through special branding and educational verbiage on its Snickers packaging, dedicated national advertising, its Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/snickers, as well as a series of events throughout the year. Snickers brand also introduced a new language this spring called “Snacklish,” which uses its iconic logo and brand essence to communicate the right thing, in the right time and place, to the right people. The Snacklish language will continue to reach the American public through a unique advertising campaign called “Snickers Speak.” Busch and his team are hoping that the Snickers colors adorning the #18 Toyota this weekend bring as much good luck as it did in its first start in 2009, and in 2008 as well. Busch drove his #18 Snickers Toyota to victory at Atlanta in March 2008. In the most recent start for Snickers, Busch brought home a win at Bristol Motor Speedway this past March.(Snickers Racing/JGR) See the Snickers scheme on my #18 Team Scheme page.(7-23-2009)
  • 200th start for Kahne: #9-Kasey Kahne is set to make his 200th consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start when he takes the green flag at this weekend’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Talk about making your 200th start this weekend at Indy. “It’s hard to believe this will be the 200th start. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was racing sprint cars in Washington. I feel pretty fortunate to be able to do what I do for a living. I’ve celebrated a lot of great moments in racing and I hope to celebrate more. I still have a lot of goals – I want to win races and compete for and win championships. I’ve had a lot of great support getting to this point and I’m thankful for the success that I have had in NASCAR. I’m lucky to work with the guys on this Budweiser team that support me each week and look forward to rewarding them with more wins.”(Elevation Group/RPM)(7-23-2009)
  • Feel Your Heart Race – NASCAR-Themed Special Provides Inside Look: As ESPN’s coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts with one of the biggest races on the NASCAR schedule, ESPN2 will air Feel Your Heart Race, a half-hour look into why and how NASCAR attracts the most devoted fans in the country. The program airs Thursday, July 23, at 6:00pm/et on ESPN2, the night before practice begins for the event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Produced and directed by noted documentary filmmaker Doug Pray and Oil Factory, Feel Your Heart Race allows viewers to take a look inside the hearts and minds of drivers and fans to reveal NASCAR as a sport that is honest, real, complex, beautiful and fueled by passion. The story is told directly and entirely by top NASCAR drivers and their fans without narration or commentary and contains scenes of life at the track, colorful fan interviews and surprisingly honest testimony from drivers themselves about what it really feels like to be behind the wheel.
  • McMurray Trades Stock Car for Taxicab in Indy: Before hitting the bricks at one of the most historic tracks in all of motorsports, NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray will show off his skills on the street when he provides adults free and safe rides home from Indianapolis-area hot spots on Friday, July 24. The Crown Royal “Safe Rides Home” designated-driver program provides adult consumers safe rides home via a fleet of four (4) replica purple and gold #26 Ford Fusion cars. The program will take place at the corner of Jackson Place and South Meridian on Thursday, July 23, with safe rides home made available from 8pm – 12am. McMurray will headline the event on Friday, July 24 at the corner of Broad Ripple Avenue and Guilford Streets from 7:30 – 9:30pm, with rides continuing until midnight. In addition to his spot in the driver’s seat, McMurray will make appearances at various local venues in the Broad Ripple-area to meet with fans and sign autographs. This marks the fifth year the Safe Rides fleet will take to the streets of Indianapolis prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend. During that span, the “Safe Rides Home” program has provided residents and race fans in the area hundreds of free rides totaling more than 5,000 miles. Throughout the years, Indianapolis residents and bar owners have commended Crown Royal for offering this service. Consumers can sign up to receive a free safe ride home at special Crown Royal #26 taxi stands on Thursday they will be located at corner of Jackson Place and South Meridian and Friday at the corner of Broad Ripple Avenue and Guilford Street. Eligible residents must be 21 or over and live within a 20-mile radius of the signup location. There is a four-passenger limit per car.(Taylor)(7-23-2009)
  • Guy Fieri to sponsor the #36 at Indy: Guy Fieri will sponsor Tommy Baldwin Racing’s (TBR) #36 Toyota at the Brickyard 400 this weekend in Indianapolis, IN. The celebrity chef, restaurateur and Food Network star is a big fan of NASCAR and his logo will be featured on the hood of the TBR Camry. “I was Grand Marshall at Infineon Raceway and had an amazing time. When this opportunity came up, I jumped on it. NASCAR is an amazing way to promote my brand and I look forward to supporting Tommy’s efforts to continue to build his organization. We all have to start somewhere and what Tommy has done this year, I really admire,” said Fieri. Mike Skinner will drive the Guy Fieri Toyota this weekend. He will also be racing at O’Reilly Raceway Park in the AAA Insurance 200 NASCAR truck series race on Friday night, July 24th.(TBR)(7-23-2009)
  • Davis plans no more Nationwide races; hopes to run Cup race: The next time you see Marc Davis on a NASCAR track, it will be in the Sprint Cup Series. Davis’ dad, Harry, told Full Throttle Autos Online that Marc Davis Motorsports has no further plans to compete in the Nationwide Series at this time. “We got out of Nationwide because essentially except for the price of the engine it costs the same to go Nationwide [racing] as it does to go Cup [racing],” Harry Davis said. When that Cup debut will be is yet to be determined. Marc Davis is still under contract with his two primary sponsors, The Word television network and Howard University’s WHUR Radio. But the team is seeking additional funding because it isn’t interested in joining the start-and-park brigade. Marc Davis was originally scheduled to make his Cup debut last month at Sonoma.(Full Throttle Autos)(7-23-2009)
  • Indianapolis Rookie Notes and Stats: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 11 LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Logano posted an 18th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the 15th time this season. #82-Scott Speed started second at Chicagoland, the best qualifying effort by a Raybestos Rookie in 2009. Logano leads Speed by 23 points (203-180) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 26 Allstate 400 at The Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in 15 previous Allstate 400 at The Brickyard races is second-place by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2007. Montoya finished 2.982 seconds behind race winner Tony Stewart. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-10 in each of the past none of the past ten Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis. The best starting position by a Raybestos Rookie at Indianapolis is second by Juan Pablo Montoya (2007) and Clint Bowyer (2006). The record for most wins by a Raybestos Rookie is three, shared by Tony Stewart (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2002).(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos). See rookie standings, histoy, past winner and notes on my 2009 Rookies Page.(7-23-2009)
  • Monsters scheme coming for Bowyer: #33-Clint Bowyer is scheduled to run a special General Mills Monsters Cereal / Halloween paint scheme on October 17th at Lowes Motor Speedway. See the scheme on my #33 Team Scheme page.(7-23-2009)
  • Indy Transporter Parade: A parade of approximately 40 colorful NASCAR Sprint Cup Series transporters will drive through greater Indianapolis on Thursday evening, July 23, the day before the 16th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard opens at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The parade will start at 6:00pm in Greenwood and travel on Interstate 65 North to Interstate 70 West. The transporters will exit at Holt Road and drive to 10th Street before stopping on Main Street in Speedway, where they will be on display for the public until 8:30pm. Info about tickets for the Allstate 400 at indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(IMS)(7-23-2009)

July 22, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 22 — 1953: Herb Thomas wins the only Cup race run in South Dakota, taking the checkered flag ahead of Dick Rathmann and Fonty Flock in a 200-lap event at the half-mile dirt track of Rapid Valley Speedway in Rapid City. Fifteen cars are in the field. Lee Petty finishes fourth and Buck Baker fifth.(NASCAR.com)
  • NASCAR drivers targeted in scam: NASCAR drivers are among the victims of a scam that also targeted police officers, Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials said. FDLE agents served two search warrants on homes in Ormond Beach and Ponce Inlet believed to be involved in the scam. Officers are searching for evidence as well as potential victims. Ivey said Grand Am driver Henri Zogaib and Ormond Beach businessman Paul Bellanca worked together to convince clients to invest in iron and ore products through their two companies. Zogaib was able to gain credibility with NASCAR officials through his association with Grand Am racers and teams, the FDLE said. No charges have been filed in the case and it may take weeks for any to be filed. NASCAR drivers were victimized as well as a top-ranking NASCAR official and a retired police officer Ivey said. Investigators believe dozens of people fell victim to the scam and are searching for additional victims. “NASCAR is learning about the allegations as well, and we are as eager as everyone else to learn about the facts of this case,” NASCAR said in a statement released Wednesday.(ClickOrlando)(7-22-2009)
  • Almirola’s future up in the air: Since the #8 team folded, Aric Almirola has gone to almost every Cup race in an effort to keep his name circulating in the garage as a driver looking for a ride. “I’ve been going and talking to people and showing my face,” said the 25-year-old Tampa, Fla., native. “I’m really scared of basically [being] out of sight, out of mind. I’ve been trying really hard to not let that happen. I don’t want to be forgotten, and I want people to think about me if they have an opportunity or if they’re looking to put somebody in the seat. … Or if I run into somebody and they’re thinking about it, I want to be someone that crosses their mind.” Almirola, who remains under contract with EGR, says he has talked with team officials about possibly returning to the seat at some point but has been given no indication that will happen. Whether with EGR or another team, Almirola still wants to return to NASCAR’s top series as soon as possible. He says he would be open to taking a full-time Truck ride in 2010, however, if the opportunity arose. Right now, though, he doesn’t know what his future in the sport – long term or short team – holds.(SceneDaily)(7-22-2009)
  • ESPN supportive of consistent race start times: Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, programming and acquisitions, was asked about consistent starting times for NASCAR Sprint Cup races during a media conference call Tuesday:
    JULIE SOBIESKI: “There’s definitely been a lot of dialogue about start times, and a lot has been written. With ratings being down, there’s lots of factors that are contributing to that. Can consistent start times make a difference? Certainly that’s possible. We’d be supportive of consistent start times with ESPN and we know that’s also been a priority for NASCAR to try and look at, so if it’s good for the fans, and we think it’s going to benefit ratings, then certainly we’re onboard with that concept. It’s ultimately NASCAR’s call when it comes to the schedule of their races, and certainly the tracks as well. All we can do is have the open dialogue and support ultimately where NASCAR and the tracks feel (the starting time) is best to serve the fans. Nothing is set for next year, so I think that dialogue is ongoing and continuing, and we’ll see where that ends up. NASCAR is going to need to make the decision that they feel is best for all their constituents involved.”(ESPN PR)(7-22-2009)
  • Changing Indy 500 start time not being discussed: For those hoping that the Indianapolis 500 might change its start time to encourage drivers to be able to do both the IndyCar Series race and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, think again. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus, who oversees both the IRL and the race track, said Tuesday during a news conference at the track that he has had no discussions about changing the start time since taking over the position three weeks ago. The Indianapolis 500 start time likely would have to change from its recent 1 p.m. EDT slot for it to be possible for a driver to do both events. It would be hard for Lowe’s Motor Speedway to start the NASCAR race later than 5:45 p.m. because of the length of the 600-mile race, which takes more than four hours to complete. With the crossover of open-wheel drivers to NASCAR – such as #14-Tony Stewart, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #7-Robby Gordon, #34-John Andretti and #77-Sam Hornish Jr. – heavy interest could be generated if drivers could do both races and rumors have circulated that the start time could be altered.(SceneDaily)(7-22-2009)
  • Truex debuts Guitar Hero scheme at Indy: The #1 best-selling video game, Guitar Hero, returns to the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as primary sponsor of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ #1 Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. This time the popular video game franchise introduces their latest hit, Guitar Hero Smash Hits. The video game returns as a primary sponsor with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for the fourth time this season after sponsoring Aric Almirola and the #8 Team for several races including the 2009 Daytona 500. This marks the first race for Guitar Hero as primary sponsor of the #1 Chevy team. Guitar Hero will once again be the featured paint scheme for Truex and team with paint schemes at the upcoming Atlanta and Charlotte events.(Earnhardt Ganassi), no image yet.(7-22-2009)
  • Montoya to run retro Target Scheme at Brickyard: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will make his return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Target colors for the first time since he won the Indy 500 for Target in 2000. To commemorate their reunion at IMS, Montoya will run the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in a “retro” paint scheme and uniform that echoes back to the same scheme used in 2000 when he won the Indy 500.(Earnhardt Ganassi), see an image of the car on the #42 Cup Schemes page.(7-22-2009)
  • Prilosec back on the #31: Prilosec OTC’s major associate sponsorship of RCR’s #31 Chevy kicks into high gear this weekend in Indianapolis as Burton and the #31 team transform their yellow and black #31 Caterpillar Chevy into a purple Prilosec OTC – Walmart racing machine for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard.(RCR), see an image of the car on the #31 Cup Schemes page.(7-22-2009)
  • Mayfield Attorneys: NASCAR hasn’t proved case: UPDATE: Attorneys for Jeremy Mayfield filed papers on Monday arguing NASCAR has not shown sufficient reason that the court should overturn the decision to lift the Sprint Cup driver’s suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy. The papers filed in U.S. District Court are a counter to NASCAR’s request on Wednesday asking for an immediate stay of the injunction after Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine for a second time. The counterclaim did not address the second test. Mayfield has since claimed the governing body spiked the July 6 test to get the desired results. His attorney, John Buric, released results of another test taken on the same day but performed by LabCorp, an independent laboratory not hired by NASCAR, that came up negative for methamphetamines and amphetamines. NASCAR officials argue that the LabCorp test should not be recognized because there is no evidence that the sample is legitimate or that proper procedure was used. Asked for specifics about the test, such as whether Mayfield was directly observed giving the sample, Bill Bonello of LabCorp said, “LabCorp does not comment on drug testing results.”(see full story ESPN)(7-21-2009)
    UPDATE: An independent drug test on Jeremy Mayfield was negative for methamphetamines, contradicting the results of a NASCAR test taken 40 minutes earlier, the driver claimed in court documents filed Tuesday. In response to NASCAR’s claim that Mayfield again tested positive for methamphetamines on July 6, Mayfield submitted an affidavit to the U.S. District Court that said he traveled to Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory, N.C., right after NASCAR collected a sample at his Catawba County home. In a room he described as “very sterile,” Mayfield said he emptied his pockets, washed his hands and was ushered into a bathroom, where he provided another urine sample. Mayfield said in the court filing he received confirmation from Laboratory Corporation of America in Raleigh, N.C., that his sample was negative on July 10 – the same day NASCAR informed his counsel that its sample was positive. Dr. Harold Schueler of the Broward County (Fla.) Medical Examiner’s Office, filed an affidavit on behalf of Mayfield that claimed the levels of methamphetamine in NASCAR’s test are “astronomical” and “could not be remotely accurate, unless Mr. Mayfield was deceased or a chronic abuser.” (Associated Press)(7-22-2009)
  • Carfax sponsoring Michigan race: Carfax and its dealer customers are treating NASCAR fans to another historic event next month at Michigan International Speedway. Carfax will be the title sponsor of its first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the CARFAX 400, on Sunday, Aug. 16. The event follows the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 race on Saturday, Aug. 15 as part of the “Show Me the CARFAX Race Weekend” at MIS. The doubleheader marks the first time MIS has had a corporate partner who is sponsoring both NASCAR events on the same weekend(MIS PR)(7-22-2009)
  • Humpy in talks to Indy to help promote UPDATE: Humpy Wheeler, who helped make Lowe’s Motor Speedway a power in NASCAR, said he could be in line to help Indy-car racing improve its business. Wheeler confirmed talks with Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. officials about having his company, The Wheeler Company, offer promotional and marketing support to the IndyCar Series. Advertisement “Right now it’s all in its infancy,” he said. “We haven’t made any deals yet; we’re just in the talking stage.” IMS Corp. officials have not confirmed talks with Wheeler or his son, Trip, who runs the family business. Wheeler, who in the 1960s worked with Firestone’s Indy-car program, said there is a need to “objectively look” at the series.(Indy Star)(6-26-2009)
    UPDATE: Former Lowe’s Motor Speedway president H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler was at the Indianapolis 500 and plans to be back at the famed Brickyard for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race. Could he be positioning himself to become a permanent fixture there? “Could be,” Wheeler said on Monday night. There is an opening now. Joie Chitwood, the president and chief operating officer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, announced on Monday he is resigning to become vice president of business operations for International Speedway Corp. in Daytona Beach, Fla. “We were talking,” Wheeler said. “Things have kind of slowed down a little bit. The latest move about Chitwood leaving added to the drama. We’ll see what happens.” Asked directly if he were interested in a position at IMS, Wheeler said, “We’ll see.”(ESPN Insider)(7-22-2009)
  • Six promoters express interest in Milwaukee Mile: Six investor groups have expressed interest in taking over promotional rights for the historic Milwaukee Mile racetrack. NASCAR and the Indy Racing League are poised to post their 2010 schedules soon, creating a tight timeline to pull off a deal. Wisconsin State Fair Park interim executive director Craig Barkelar said Tuesday that the board has had “general discussions” with six groups and hopes to receive formal bids by Friday. The State Fair Park board voted Monday to end its partnership with promoter Wisconsin Motorsports, which is believed to owe NASCAR and the IRL several million dollars.(Associated Press)(7-22-2009)

July 21, 2009

  • Testing at Road Atlanta: Hearing that drivers testing at Road Atlanta today include #99-Carl Edwards, #6-David Ragan, #16-Colin Braun (subbing for Greb Biffle), #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #47-Marcos Ambrose, #2-Kurt Busch, #77-Sam Hornish Jr., #12-David Stremme, #13-Max Papis and Boris Said (in John Wes Townley’s #09 Nationwide Series Ford which he will run at Watkins Glen).(7-21-2009)
    AND: told #7-Robby Gordon was also at the track.(7-21-2009)
  • Another Marlin Racing: Sporting the red #711 that her grandfather made famous in the 1960’s, and with her two-time Daytona 500 champion dad coaching her over her radio headset, Sutherlin Marlin chased down her destiny Saturday night. Sutherlin, 19, finished 8th in a 40-lap Supertruck feature at Fairgrounds Speedway, the track on which her grandfather, Coo Coo, won four championships in the 1960’s and her father Sterling added three more in the 1980’s. “I can’t wait to go again,” said Sutherlin, a student at Columbia (Tn.) State who spent months practicing for her first race. “I was a little nervous at first, but after the race started it went away. It was fun and I’m definitely going to keep racing.” The Fairgrounds season runs through the fall and Sutherlin plans to be a regular competitor in the truck series, the track’s second-tier division. Sterling and son Steadman raced in Saturday night’s premier Late Model division. Both were involved in crashes and finished back in the field. Sterling this year is running a partial schedule in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series and will attempt to qualify for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis [in the #09 Dodge].(Racin’ Today)(7-21-2009)
  • Ragan the odd man out at Roush? Who will be the odd man out at Roush Fenway Racing? According to published reports, Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith is putting together a sponsor package that would keep #26-Jamie McMurray in the fold. McMurray, whose contract expires after this season, has been speculated as the most likely to be moved to satellite team, Yates Racing, to get Roush to four teams. If McMurray stays then #6-David Ragan becomes the top candidate to leave because #17-Matt Kenseth, #99-Carl Edwards and #16-Greg Biffle signed new deals within the last year. A decision on restructuring should come by September at the latest. Roush has until next season to move from five to four teams as NASCAR mandated when it put a cap on teams.(ESPN Insider)(7-21-2009)
  • Cautions on par with the 2008 season: This season, ServiceMaster Clean became the first-ever official sponsor of caution periods at the 19 International Speedway Corporation (SC) and Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (SMI) tracks as well as Dover International Speedway. When there was a problem on the track, the ServiceMaster Clean yellow flag was displayed and the company’s familiar yellow vehicles were dispatched to clean the track.
    The July 4th race at Daytona International Speedway marked the halfway point of the 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. At 17 (Pocono is not a part of the program) of the 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, there was little change in the number of cautions compared to the previous year. There were only three more cautions, 157-154, in those 17 events compared to 2008. For all 18 events, there have been 162 cautions in 2009 compared to 164 in 2008.
    In 17 races this year, 760 laps have been run under caution (780 in the 18 events). Last year, there were 666 caution laps in the 17 events (705 in 18). In 2009, three races (Atlanta, Bristol and Infineon) have been extended beyond the scheduled distance for a green-white-checkered finish and three (Daytona, Lowe’s and New Hampshire) have been stopped short of the scheduled distance due to inclement weather.
    ServiceMaster ‘By The Numbers’
    (*Pocono is not a participant in the ServiceMaster program)
    Topic, 2008 stats, 2009 stats
    Cautions (18 races), 164, 162
    Cautions (17 races*), 154, 157
    Caution Laps (18 races), 705, 780
    Cautions Laps (17 races*), 666, 760
    Laps Run (18 races), 5425, 5194
    Miles Run (18 races), 7397.452, 7015.405
    Most Caution (18 races), 18 (Martinsville), 17 (Darlington)
    Fewest Cautions (18 races), 5 (Dover), 3 (Michigan)
    Most Miles Under Caution (18 races), 97.5 (Pocono), 99.72 (Darlington)
    Race Length Extended Due to Caution, 6, 3
    Race Length Shortened Due to Weather, 1, 3
    In 2008, only New Hampshire was shortened due to inclement weather while late-race cautions extended the scheduled distance for a green-white-checkered finish at six tracks (Bristol, Texas, Richmond, Michigan, Infineon and Daytona).
    In racing, a yellow flag means it’s time to clean up the track. Debris removal and track drying must be done quickly and professionally in order to get back to racing. In homes and businesses across North America, a yellow ServiceMaster Clean van means cleaning and restoration is being done quickly and professionally by America’s number one cleaning team.(ServiceMaster)(7-21-2009)
  • Mayfield Attorneys: NASCAR hasn’t proved case: Attorneys for Jeremy Mayfield filed papers on Monday arguing NASCAR has not shown sufficient reason that the court should overturn the decision to lift the Sprint Cup driver’s suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy. The papers filed in U.S. District Court are a counter to NASCAR’s request on Wednesday asking for an immediate stay of the injunction after Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine for a second time. The counterclaim did not address the second test. Mayfield has since claimed the governing body spiked the July 6 test to get the desired results. His attorney, John Buric, released results of another test taken on the same day but performed by LabCorp, an independent laboratory not hired by NASCAR, that came up negative for methamphetamines and amphetamines. NASCAR officials argue that the LabCorp test should not be recognized because there is no evidence that the sample is legitimate or that proper procedure was used. Asked for specifics about the test, such as whether Mayfield was directly observed giving the sample, Bill Bonello of LabCorp said, “LabCorp does not comment on drug testing results.”(see full story ESPN)(7-21-2009)
  • Sad News – Gramma Gilly: (aka: Inez M. Gilliland) 87, mother of 1997 Winston West Champion, Butch Gilliland, and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, [#71 Chevy] David Gilliland passed away on July 16, 2009. She was a great inspiration to those that ever had the privilege to truly know her; she was a remarkable woman, and as a Matriarch of the Gilliland family, she will be greatly missed. Services for Gramma Gilly are on July 25, 2009, at 10:00am at the: Nampa Funeral Home — Yraguen Chapel, 415 12th Ave South, Nampa, Idaho 83651.(208-442-8171)(7-21-2009)
  • Chitwood leaves Indy and joins ISC: Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood announced July 20 he was stepping down from his position after this week’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and returning to his home state of Florida. His last day with IMS will be Thursday, Aug. 6. IMS President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus will assume the daily responsibilities of managing the Speedway. It has not been determined if Chitwood will be replaced. Chitwood is becoming the vice president of business operations for the International Speedway Corporation, with headquarters in Daytona Beach, FL.(IMS)(7-21-2009)
  • Tickets for Allstate 400 available: Established in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has long prevailed as an icon of motorsports excellence. Beginning in 2009, the Speedway celebrates its Centennial Era, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the facility in 2009 and the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 2011. Tickets for the two remaining events in 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP – can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time. Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.(IMS)(7-21-2009)

July 20, 2009

  • F1 Champ Hamilton may consider NASCAR? The reigning F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton, was quizzed on his future by Sun readers in an exclusive Q&A session. McLaren ace Hamilton, 24, said: “I’m into all kinds of sports, a bit like Michael Schumacher. I’d love to try a MotoGP bike but not particularly race one. I would love to try one of Malcolm Wilson’s rally cars – and one day I might try a NASCAR. But if Mercedes-Benz want to go to Le Mans one day and take me, I’ll do that.” Hamilton ruled out chasing glory at the gruelling Indy 500, though. He said: “To do the Indy 500 you have to be going at it. It would be unreasonable for me to expect to get in the car and go and win it.(The Sun)(7-20-2009)
  • Danica says no to F1 try: During a visit to Los Angeles to attend the ESPY Awards, Danica Patrick also talked about her recent visit to Tony Stewart’s NASCAR shop, the prospects of her moving to the Formula One series and other topics in a question-and-answer session: Have you at least narrowed down the series where you would drive next year? “I’d say it’s probably not F1.” You don’t have any interest in this new U.S. team being formed for F1? “Not really, and the fact that to my knowledge they’ve never called. I’ve had opportunities to take it a step further with Formula One, and I don’t want to lead anyone down a path. It’s not in my heart to go there. I’ve explored Europe before. I particularly like to be here and I like my family and I like my friends and I like my creature comforts of my home country.”(Los Angeles Times)(7-20-2009)
  • Sad News – Lindsay Nava: Lindsay Nava 24, daughter of NASCAR West car owner [#77 team, Andrew Myers driver, part time], Joe Nava, was killed in a car accident early Sunday morning, July 19.(Racing West) Thoughts go out to Joe and his family.
    Services for Lindsay will be held Thursday, July 23rd, 2:00pm at Grace Church – 515 S. Glendora Avenue – Glendora, CA (626-335-4067). In lieu of flowers, etc., a memorial fund has been established in Lindsay’s name. Lindsay Lynnelle Nava Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 277, Glendora, Calif 91740.(7-20-2009)
  • Sad News – Joan Verlatti: Joan Verlatti, wife of NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Director, Mike Verlatti, passed away Thursday, July 16. The Memorial Service for Joan Verlatti will be held on Tuesday, July 21 at 1 p.m. at Golden Hills Community Church, located at 2401 Shady Willow Lane, Brentwood, CA. Memorial donations, if desired, may be made to ARF: Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, 800.567.1ARF or www.arf.net.(Racing West/Contra Costa Times)(7-20-2009)
  • Sadler to run new Dodge motor at Indy: #19-Elliott Sadler will run the new Dodge R6P8 engine for the first time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sadler finished fourth last year in the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard with the previous Dodge engine. Sadler is tied with #14-Tony Stewart for the longest active DNF streak (42 races) of drivers that have competed in every race. #78-Regan Smith is at 51 races, but has not competed in every race during that span. Says Sadler, “This year I’m going to be racing the new Dodge R6 engine there, so I really feel like we are going to be fast and racing for a chance to win at the end. This is the first time that we’re running that engine in the #19 this year so I guess you could say I’m pretty optimistic based on what we’ve seen from the #9 over the last couple weeks. “(RPM)(7-20-2009)
  • McGriff makes history, starts NASCAR race at 81, finishes 13th: Ever the gentleman, Hershel McGriff was good-natured about finishing 13th in a national NASCAR series race at age 81. “My competition was faster,” he deadpanned. Although he certainly would have taken a victory, McGriff seemed nevertheless pleased with his showing in the Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125 on the road course at Portland International Raceway, part of the NASCAR Camping World West Series. Jim Inglebright of Fairfield, Calif., won the race. McGriff was the defending champion in Portland winning the only other time the series — then known as Winston West — visited the track in 1986. McGriff, who last raced in 2002, broke his own record as the oldest driver. In a career that has spanned more than six decades, he has four NASCAR Cup series victories and 37 wins on the West series. He is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame.(ESPN/AP)(7-20-2009)
  • Talladega to Fan Appreciation Day: Talladega Superspeedway will be welcoming race fans to the track on Sept. 20 for a Fan Appreciation Day. This event is open to the public and free of charge. Events for the day include lunch, photo opportunities, live music, games and more. Ticket buyers to either of the two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Talladega, the Aaron’s 499 in the spring or upcoming AMP Energy 500, will be given the opportunity to drive their cars around the track on paced laps. Track president Rick Humphrey will also be hosting a Q&A session and joining him will be Richard Brickhouse, winner of the inaugural Talladega 500. Fans attending the Appreciation Day will also receive $2 off tickets to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum. Race fans should make plans now to experience HALLOW-DEGA during the AMP Energy 500 weekend, Oct. 30 through Nov. 1. For information on tickets, visit talladegasuperspeedway.com, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA or by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office.(TSS)(7-20-2009)
  • Roundtrip Shuttles Available for the Brickyard: The Town of Speedway is facilitating roundtrip bus service for Allstate 400 at the Brickyard fans Sunday, July 26 at three convenient locations, including two in downtown Indianapolis and one at Indianapolis International Airport. Service will be provided by Transportation Management Services (TMS) and the Free Enterprise System, Inc. Both companies will serve fans with air-conditioned shuttles and handicapped-accessible vehicles on all routes. For shuttle schedulesand more info, go to indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(IMS)(7-20-2009)

July 19, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 19 –1987: Dale Earnhardt wins the Summer 500 at Pocono from the 16th starting position, the deepest in the field for a winner in the 29-race Cup season. Only five races are won by drivers starting outside the top 10, and Earnhardt wins two of those races (he wins the March race at Rockingham from 14th on the grid).(NASCAR.com)
  • Trickle slowing but not stopping: Dick Trickle sure uses the word “retired” a lot for a guy who says he’s not retired. Then again, the ageless one is coming up on 68, and “hip replacement” and “Plavix” dot his conversations the way “drafting partner” and “Goodyear” and “Pabst Blue Ribbon” once did. “For all the victories I’ve had, which I appreciate, you know I had a few times when I came in backwards, too,” Trickle said this week from his home in North Carolina. “They didn’t have soft walls here in my time. I’m paying for some of my good times, but at the same time, I’m getting better and better with old age.” Wisconsin’s most prolific short-track stock-car racer of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s hasn’t driven competitively in more than a year, but that’s as much his doctors’ choice and his family’s suggestion as it is his choice. The 2007 hip replacement – actually the result of a fall as a child that left Trickle with a distinctive gait – isn’t an impediment, nor is residual pain from countless cracked ribs, cartilage tears and knocks to the head. But he’s still on blood thinners after a heart procedure in mid-March 2008 and shouldn’t put himself at risk for internal injuries. “I’m healthy enough, I’m young enough, I’m feisty enough and I’d like to, but I ain’t going to cry over a great career,” said Trickle, whose résumé includes some 1,200 feature victories. “As I get younger here and get feeling better and better, I could race, and then again I could not.” So that’s what he’ll do – that and shake hands, pose for pictures and sign autographs – when he comes home to Wisconsin for the Miller Lite Slinger Nationals on Tuesday. The Nationals is an event Trickle created nearly 30 years ago with Slinger Speedway owner WayneErickson, when Trickle was a barnstorming legend and Erickson was eager to promote him in a big show. Trickle eventually left to race in NASCAR and earned the rookie -of-the-year title in 1989 in what has become Sprint Cup. The shelf life of a 48-year-old rookie is limited, and shortly after Trickle arrived, owners began to choose youth over experience. The last NASCAR race to include Trickle was on June 2, 2002. These days he enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren in North Carolina and keeps busy with home improvements and puttering around on small welding projects. The highlight Tuesday was a trip to pick up a burning permit. Trickle keeps up on NASCAR, watches the Packers and when they’re not on TV will tune in to golf.(full story at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-19-2009)
  • NASCAR to meet with Nationwide teams about COT: NASCAR will host Nationwide Series owners and drivers at a meeting at its research and development center in Concord, N.C., on July 28 to inform them of plans to roll out the car of tomorrow for the 2010 season, series director Joe Balash confirmed Saturday. NASCAR already has informally told teams the new car will be used on restrictor-plate tracks and road courses next year. The July 28 meeting will officially detail the use of the car. Track testing is likely to take place after the October Sprint Cup race at Talladega, despite NASCAR’s testing ban this season. The car has been track tested twice, at Richmond and Charlotte last year, but only by a few teams. Most Nationwide teams don’t have a COT, and some teams will likely buy old Cup chassis and convert the bodies to Nationwide specs.(SceneDaily)(7-19-2009)
  • Mayfield speaks to reporters; NASCAR Spiked test? UPDATE – own test results: Going against the wishes of his attorney, embattled NASCAR Driver Jeremy Mayfield speaks for almost 20 minutes in a FOX Charlotte interview, Mayfield discusses his drug testing problems, his relationship with NASCAR and his plans going forward – including a film crew! See it at foxcharlotte.com.
    AND WBTV Reporter Sarah Batista interviewed Mayfield at his home in Catawba County Thursday night. He accuses NASCAR of conspiring against him. “I’ve never done meth,” Mayfield said. Mayfield says there’s no doubt in his mind that NASCAR is trying to make an example out of him but he says he’s not going down without a fight. NASCAR says Mayfield tested positive once again for methamphetamine on July 6th less than two months after he was suspended for a similar infraction. Mayfield told WBTV the results of this test were not accurate. He claims the results turned up positive because he took allergy medicine and Adderal for his Attention Deficit Disorder. “When you look at 15 tests since May 1st, and two have tested positive, why are they all negative for meth except two?” Mayfield asked. He claims the only reason NASCAR won’t let him have the backup samples retested is because they “doctored it up” and “spiked my urine.” WBTV learned from a source on Thursday that Mayfield has sold his race shop and equipment located on Highway 49 in Harrisburg, NC.(see more and video at WBTV/CBS)(7-17-2009)
    UPDATE: Lawyers for Mayfield released results of his own independent drug test, showing no sign of methamphetamine. Friday afternoon, Mayfield’s lawyers revealed what they said is proof the driver does not use drugs. Attorney John Buric said the results show no detection of meth or amphetamines. The results, one sheet of paper from LabCorp, do not have Mayfield’s name only a number. “This number is referred to in the sample data packet that will show that it is Mr. Mayfield’s sample,” Buric said. That data will not be available until next week.(wsoctv.com, see the PDF: Mayfield’s Independent Drug Test Results from WSOC)(7-18-2009)
    NASCAR Responds: NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston responded to Mayfield’s test. “They seem to be light on details don’t you think?” Poston told WCNC. “It’s all pretty transparent. We will continue to let real science and sworn affidavits do our talking.”(ESPN)(7-19-2009)

July 18, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 18 — 1971: Friday Hassler starts from the pole of a Cup race for the first time in his career. Hassler goes on to finish sixth in the Northern 300 at 1.5-mile Trenton Speedway. In his 135-race career, he starts from the pole twice, both times while driving the #39. No driver in the #39 won another Cup pole until Ryan Newman in this year’s Coca-Cola 600. The #39 has never been to Victory Lane in a Cup race.(NASCAR.com)
  • Mayfield speaks to reporters; NASCAR Spiked test? UPDATE – own test results: Going against the wishes of his attorney, embattled NASCAR Driver Jeremy Mayfield speaks for almost 20 minutes in a FOX Charlotte interview, Mayfield discusses his drug testing problems, his relationship with NASCAR and his plans going forward – including a film crew! See it at foxcharlotte.com.
    AND WBTV Reporter Sarah Batista interviewed Mayfield at his home in Catawba County Thursday night. He accuses NASCAR of conspiring against him. “I’ve never done meth,” Mayfield said. Mayfield says there’s no doubt in his mind that NASCAR is trying to make an example out of him but he says he’s not going down without a fight. NASCAR says Mayfield tested positive once again for methamphetamine on July 6th less than two months after he was suspended for a similar infraction. Mayfield told WBTV the results of this test were not accurate. He claims the results turned up positive because he took allergy medicine and Adderal for his Attention Deficit Disorder. “When you look at 15 tests since May 1st, and two have tested positive, why are they all negative for meth except two?” Mayfield asked. He claims the only reason NASCAR won’t let him have the backup samples retested is because they “doctored it up” and “spiked my urine.” WBTV learned from a source on Thursday that Mayfield has sold his race shop and equipment located on Highway 49 in Harrisburg, NC.(see more and video at WBTV/CBS)(7-17-2009)
    UPDATE: Lawyers for Mayfield released results of his own independent drug test, showing no sign of methamphetamine. Friday afternoon, Mayfield’s lawyers revealed what they said is proof the driver does not use drugs. Attorney John Buric said the results show no detection of meth or amphetamines. The results, one sheet of paper from LabCorp, do not have Mayfield’s name only a number. “This number is referred to in the sample data packet that will show that it is Mr. Mayfield’s sample,” Buric said. That data will not be available until next week.(wsoctv.com, see the PDF: Mayfield’s Independent Drug Test Results from WSOC)(7-18-2009)
  • More Mayfield News: see my #41 Team News and Links page for the lastest news on Jeremy Mayfield the past few days.
  • Said and Clark to finalize deal to merger: Boris Said would love to be driving full-time in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. But most of all, the tall Californian with the trademark head of big curly hair just wants to race. So this weekend fans at Barber Motorsports Park can catch the veteran Said driving a bright yellow and blue BMW in the Koni GS Series as co-driver with Matt Bell, one of road-racing’s brightest young talents. Said — whose fans wear big curly wigs and called themselves Said Heads — is known to NASCAR fans as a road-racing specialist — and he’ll be back at Watkins Glen for the Cup’s second road-course race. Said expects to finalize a merger between his own No Fear team and Rick Clark Motorsports. Plans for the merger were announced in February at Daytona but were held up until now. “It didn’t get done yet because the economy slowed us down, the lawyers slowed us down,” Said said. “I think we’re going to have it done next week.” The intention is to run a full-time schedule, but that depends — as it usually does in these economic times — on sponsorship. Said has his fingers crossed about that but says he’s “a glass half-empty guy” on such things. “They’re trying really hard to do the whole season,” he said. “We’re going to do as much as we can.”(Alabama Live)(7-18-2009)
  • Joe Gibbs releases book “Game of Life”: Joe Gibbs, NASCAR championship team owner, three-time Super Bowl–winning coach of the Washington Redskins, and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is set to release his legacy book Game Plan for Life on July 21, 2009, while embarking on a book and media tour in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Indiana and Washington, D.C., hoping to help men lead more productive, meaningful, and God-centered lives. More info on the book and the tour stops on my Racing Bookstore News page.(7-18-2009)
  • Red Bull Racing’s contract stalls: It was reported June 10 that Brian Vickers had agreed to a new multi-year deal with Red Bull Racing and that an announcement would come later that week. So where’s the contract? Vickers described the situation last weekend as “strange” and said he’d hoped to have the new deal signed before now. “Right now, we still haven’t agreed on a contract,” Vickers told reporters at Chicagoland Speedway. “There were many times where I went into the week expecting it to be signed and sent to me to sign, and that didn’t happen. Why? I can’t answer that. That’s a question for Red Bull and a question for Jay [Frye].” Frye is Red Bull’s general manager. He was scheduled to meet with team owner Dietrich Mateschitz this week in Austria to work on Vickers’ deal and a manufacturer for next season. Red Bull is in the final year of its contract with Toyota, which would like to re-sign the organization. Frye also has been in discussions with Hendrick Motorsports about forming a technical alliance in which HMS would supply engines and chassis as it does for Stewart-Haas Racing. If an alliance occurs with HMS, Red Bull also could be a potential landing spot for Brad Keselowski, although Frye recently said he had no plans to expand.(ESPN Insider)(7-18-2009)
  • Danica visits Stewart Haas: UPDATE2: IRL star Danica Patrick was at Stewart Haas racing today on a personal shop tour, she even went into the fan zone and signed autographs for a bunch of surprised fans who were visiting the shop.(7-13-2009)
    UPDATE: Patrick was a guest of team owner Tony Stewart last fall at Phoenix. But the two-time Cup champion was not available to be a guide Monday because he was at a Goodyear tire test at Atlanta Motor Speedway. According to sources, Patrick was introduced to Ryan Newman, crew chief Tony Gibson, General Manager Bobby Hutchens and engineer Matt Borland. The tour included stops in the fabrication shop and a look at the seven-post shaker rig.(FoxSports)(7-14-2009)
    AND: SHR isn’t the only place [Danica Patrick] visited during a daylong skip-hop in Charlotte. She went to Roush Fenway. She went to Michael Waltrip Racing and Richard Childress Racing, too. And her day began at Joe Gibbs Racing.(ESPN)(7-18-2009)
  • U.S. bobsledders test at wind tunnel in Mooresville: Mooresville NC, the town known as Race City USA for its many motorsports shops was the place to be Wednesday for America’s top men and women bobsledders. They came to gain an edge on the competition, six months before the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. The four men and two women put on suits and helmets and got into their bobsleds at A2 Wind Tunnel off Mazeppa Road. Gigantic electric fans pulled air at up to 85mph to simulate racing speeds and study how changes in the way the competitors positioned themselves could improve performance. A2’s wind tunnel rises to about 30feet at one end. Its fans sound like a jet engine throttling up. A computer system analyzes whether the bobsledders gained or lost time based on such factors as how they placed themselves in the sled and even which helmet they wear. Wind tunnels are long chambers more commonly associated with stock-car testing. Gary Eaker, former aerodynamics chief at Hendrick Motorsports, opened A2 several years ago beside his larger AeroDYN Wind Tunnel. Mooresville might be the perfect setting for such world-class competitors, as U.S. bobsledding can trace a lot of its success the past two decades to NASCAR veteran Geoff Bodine, 1986 winner of the Daytona 500. Bodine created a in 1992 called the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project after he noticed U.S. Olympic bobsledders competing with European-made sleds. The U.S. team had not won a medal in the sport since the 1956 Games. Bodine started the nonprofit with Connecticut-based Chassis Dynamics, whose president, Robert Cuneo, was Bodine’s engineer when Bodine owned a NASCAR team.(see more at the Charlotte Observer)(7-18-2009)
  • Indy Digital Guest Guide available: Fans can enhance their experience at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on July 24-26 at IMS by reading the event’s digital Guest Guide available at the Traveler Info. tab at allstate400athebrickyard.com and the Next Event tab at indianapolismotorspeedway.com. The 16-page guide, available exclusively online, includes information about the event, including the schedule, directions, parking and transportation, a facility map, merchandise locations and more. The interactive guide also is enhanced by embedded video and photos, creating a rich multimedia experience for fans.(IMS)(7-18-2009)
  • Farm Bureau Insurance To Sponsor Martinsville Speedway’s Fall Pole Day: Two companies steeped in Virginia history and tradition have joined forces for the Farm Bureau Insurance Pole Day at Martinsville Speedway on October 23. Martinsville Speedway president W. Clay Campbell announced today that Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance is the pole day sponsor leading up to the TUMS Fast Relief 500 on October 25. The pole day sponsorship will not be the Farm Bureau’s only involvement in the TUMS Fast Relief 500. Farm Bureau will also be the primary sponsor on Joey Logano’s Toyota, part of a six-race relationship with Joe Gibbs Racing. Visit Virginia Farm Bureau Insurance at FarmBureauAdvantage.com. Tickets are on sale for the TUMS Fast Relief 500, the Kroger 200 and the Virginia Farm Bureau Pole Day and may be purchased by calling 877.722.3849 (877.RACE.TIX) or by visiting martinsvillespeedway.com online. Ticket prices range from $25 to $77.(Martinsville Speedway)(7-18-2009)

July 17, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: Geoff Bodine wins the Miller Genuine Draft 500 at Pocono to put the #7 in Victory Lane in a Cup race for the first time since Alan Kulwicki’s last victory two years earlier. Bodine wins two more times in 1994 and once more in 1996 for the last victories for the #7..(NASCAR.com)
  • Mayfield speaks to reporters; NASCAR Spiked test? team sold? Going against the wishes of his attorney, embattled NASCAR Driver Jeremy Mayfield speaks for almost 20 minutes in a FOX Charlotte interview, Mayfield discusses his drug testing problems, his relationship with NASCAR and his plans going forward – including a film crew! See it at foxcharlotte.com.
    AND WBTV Reporter Sarah Batista interviewed Mayfield at his home in Catawba County Thursday night. He accuses NASCAR of conspiring against him. “I’ve never done meth,” Mayfield said. Mayfield says there’s no doubt in his mind that NASCAR is trying to make an example out of him but he says he’s not going down without a fight. NASCAR says Mayfield tested positive once again for methamphetamine on July 6th less than two months after he was suspended for a similar infraction. Mayfield told WBTV the results of this test were not accurate. He claims the results turned up positive because he took allergy medicine and Adderal for his Attention Deficit Disorder. “When you look at 15 tests since May 1st, and two have tested positive, why are they all negative for meth except two?” Mayfield asked. He claims the only reason NASCAR won’t let him have the backup samples retested is because they “doctored it up” and “spiked my urine.” WBTV learned from a source on Thursday that Mayfield has sold his race shop and equipment located on Highway 49 in Harrisburg, NC.(see more and video at WBTV/CBS)(7-17-2009)
  • Yates Racing hopes to have drivers back in 2010: Yates Racing team co-owner Max Jones says he hasn’t soured on his driver lineup [#96-Bobby Labonte and #98-Paul Menard] despite having seen some good days go bad and some bad days remain bad. “I won’t say I’m disappointed, but it’s not the outcome we were hoping for the first half of the year,” Jones says. “We’ve had some good runs from both teams, but we haven’t been consistent enough. We have a lot of work to do. … When we’ve had good cars and we’ve run up [near the] front, we haven’t been able to close the deal, and that’s what hurt us.” After a first year at Yates Racing where Travis Kvapil finished 23rd in points and David Gilliland was 27th in a pair of underfunded cars, Jones’ expectations rose with Menard bringing his family sponsorship and Hall of Fame Racing providing the Ask.com sponsorship with Labonte as the driver. The team has an alliance with Roush Fenway Racing and is housed in a building next to the Roush Fenway campus and gets its cars as well as technological and marketing help from the organization. “Everybody’s frustrated,” Jones says. “Our expectations coming into the year, I felt that Paul could be in the top 20 in points, and I felt like Bobby was a top-15 [driver] and maybe working our way into the Chase [For The Sprint Cup]. People may think that’s far-fetched, but I don’t think so. That’s attainable. Not this year, with the way we’ve dug ourselves in the hole, but I think that the organization and the drivers are capable of doing that if we put everything together.”
    The Hall of Fame alliance, where Yates Racing fields the cars, is a one-year deal (as is the Ask.com sponsorship), and Jones hopes that it continues. He says that Menards is a two-year deal that runs through 2010. Whether Yates Racing gets another team siphoned from Roush Fenway Racing, which must cut from five teams to four after this season, is still to be determined, Jones says. Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith has said he hopes to move a team to Yates but that it would depend on sponsorship. “I’m sitting here today hoping I have two [cars],” Jones says about 2010. “I feel good about that. The Hall of Fame program, they’re working really hard on their end of it, and we’re working really hard on sponsorship, too. We have another year on Paul’s program. … I don’t know all what they’ve got going on [over at Roush Fenway].”(SceneDaily)(7-17-2009)
  • Truex to field car for ARCA race at Kentucky: NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Jesus Hernandez will take another step forward in his career Saturday night when he competes in the ARCA race at the Kentucky Speedway. Hernandez will compete in a car entered by his fellow worker at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex Jr. (#1 Bass Pro Chevy). Hernandez will pilot the #56 Chevrolet. The car will have support from lavendar Boutique and G.C. Pollex and Associates. Hernandez will be making his second career ARCA start, previously racing in this event in 2007, finishing an impressive sixth in his debut. The team, made up of many Sprint Cup employees moonlighting on this project, has made this a true grassroots effort. The team has worked for nearly eight months preparing this car for Saturday night’s race. Hernandez, 27, has competed this season in the Camping World East Series and has collected three top-10 finishes, including one top-five.(Breaking Limits)(7-17-2009)
  • Johnson repeats as Best Driver in ESPYs: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevy, picked up the ESPY for Best Driver during the 17th annual ceremony Wednesday at the Nokia Theater L.A. Live. Fans can watch the ESPYs, hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, this Sunday at 9:00pm/et on ESPN. This marks the second year that Johnson has won the award, which is based upon a fan vote. Johnson, the three-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, also was nominated for Best Male Athlete, which was presented to 14-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. NASCAR has dominated the Best Driver category, picking up 11 of the last 14 awards. Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates have won five of them: Jeff Gordon in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2007, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2004.(NASCAR)(7-17-2009)
  • Stewart/Office Depot to donate backpacks: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice “Back-To-School” Chevy, headlines a very special event at a local Indianapolis Office Depot store. Stewart, an Indiana native and two-time Sprint Cup Series champion, will be helping local kids get ready to head back to school with the tools they need to succeed. Stewart is partnering with Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation for a special “Back To School Celebration” to donate backpacks containing essential school supplies to Indianapolis area children in need. During the event, Stewart will assist the Foundation in donating 5,000 backpacks to representatives from local organizations and schools as part of the Office Depot Foundation’s National Backpack Program. This year marks a milestone for the Foundation as it will donate its 2-millionth backpack since beginning the program in 2001. The Foundation donates backpacks across the United States and Canada in an effort to help kids succeed in school. Organizations scheduled to receive backpack donations include: Bridges to Success, United Way of Central Indiana; Children’s Bureau, Inc.; Covering Kids & Families; Metropolitan School District of Perry Township; Indianapolis Public Schools; and Educational CHOICE Charitable Trust. The event will take place at an Indianapolis Office Depot (4200 South East Street) on Thursday, July 23, 2009, afterwards there will be an autograph session w/Tony Stewart, more info anout the appearance on my Driver Appearance page.(Edelman)(7-17-2009)
  • Grand Marshal named for Indy: Indiana Pacers 2009 first-round draft pick Tyler Hansbrough will serve as grand marshal for the 16th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 26. Hansbrough, a 6-foot 9-inch forward selected with the 13th overall pick in the NBA draft, also will wave the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ mid-summer classic at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Info about tickets for the Allstate 400 at indianapolismotorspeedway.com.(IMS)(7-17-2009)
  • Ticket special for military at Indy: Members of the United States military can take advantage of a special promotion for Race Day tickets for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 26. The package includes one Race Day ticket in the North Vista or Northeast Vista Backstretch, two Indianapolis Motor Speedway souvenirs and a coupon good for 10 percent off the purchase of IMS merchandise, all for $70. That’s a savings of $25 off the retail value of $95. All orders for this package must be received by Friday, July 24. To order, call the IMS Group Sales Office at (866) 221-8775 or visit brickyard.com, type MIL09BY into the Package Promotion Code box and then select the grandstand of your choice. Tickets are limited and subject to availability.(IMS)(7-17-2009)
  • Music Lineup Named for Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: Virgin Records recording artists Saving Abel will headline a diverse lineup of musical acts scheduled to play during Allstate 400 at the Brickyard weekend July 24-26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Popular rock band Saving Abel will play from 11:00am to 12:00pm on Sunday, July 26 on the Coke Zero Stage, concluding 30 minutes before 2009 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard pre-race ceremonies begin. The Coke Zero Stage is located in the IMS Pagoda Plaza, located directly behind the landmark Pagoda control tower. The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Practice Day lineup Friday, July 24 features Indianapolis-based musical acts Healing Sixes from 11:30am – 12:30pm and Corey Cox from 4:30-5:30pm, both on the Coke Zero Stage. The Speedway’s public gates open at 8:00am Friday with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice scheduled for 2:00-3:00pm and 3:30-4:30pm. The Coke Zero Stage music lineup Saturday, July 25 includes country music artist Casey Jamerson from 11:45am -12:30pm, The Elms from 1:00-2:00p.m., Megan Linville from 3:00-3:45pm and Steve Trent and Small Town from 4:30-5:30pm. Public gates open at 7:00am Saturday. Tickets for the two remaining events in 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP – can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time. Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.(IMS)(7-17-2009)

July 16, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 16 — 2000: Forty-four cars start the Econo Lodge 200 at Nazareth Speedway, the last time more than 43 cars start a Nationwide Series race. Ron Hornaday wins, picking up his first Nationwide victory. And finishing last is Chad Chaffin, which makes him the last driver to finish worse than 43rd in a Nationwide Series race.(NASCAR.com)
  • Mayfield talks on Sirius Late Shift [this is a long post]: On Wednesday’s “Late Shift” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, hosts Nate Ryan and and Buddy Baker spoke with NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield. NASCAR filed a motion with a federal appeals court saying Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine in a second round of drug tests and should have his suspension from the sport reinstated.
    Host, Nate Ryan: “Your reaction to [the allegations]?”
    Jeremy Mayfield: “Well, first of all I didn’t think they were going to come back and say I was clean you know what I mean? Because that’s just not, doesn’t seem which way they want to work anymore. I had a test done before their test and I had a test done 30, 35 minutes after their test that got different results than what they’re mentioning there. We’ll hear more about that tomorrow, more detail on that. But it’s just part of the deal that’s going on. It’s just a bad deal all the way around for everybody involved and stuff just keeps popping up, one thing after another. It’ll all come out and at the end we’ll all know. And I think a lot of you guys that I’ve known and seen the past for years know for sure without a shadow of doubt there’s nothing wrong here, nothing going on. And they have a hard time admitting when they’re wrong or done something wrong and we all know that, whether we admit it or not, we know that and it’s just part of the battle, part of the things we’re going to have to fight here.”
    Host, Buddy Baker: “There was also a report there that your stepmother had suggested that she had watched you use drugs. What in the world is going on there?”
    Mayfield: “I’m not even going to call that lady my stepmom. That was a lady who was married to my dad who is very, very angry at me. And that’s all going to come out too. It’s a whole different subject. A lady who pretty much shot and killed my dad and that’ll all, in the next few days you’ll be hearing more about that. It’s just another part of my life that’s going on that I’ve had to get figured out. I had private investigators and everything on my dad’s case when it all happened in ’07. She’s a very evil lady and obviously can be bought and her time’s coming. And it’s definitely somebody that doesn’t like me whatsoever and doesn’t deserve to even have the Mayfield last name. She’s, like I said, very angry and obviously out to do whatever she’s got to do and NASCAR jumps right on the bandwagon. And I guess when you get paid to say something you can say whatever you want to say. But, like I said, that’s a whole different, separate thing that’s going on in my life that you’ll be hearing about more in the next couple of days with a wrongful death situation that she’s involved in and trying everything she can to get back at me. And what do you say? I damn sure won’t call her a stepmom, I tell you that. She never was.”
    Ryan: “Going back to what you were saying there about the testing, when NASCAR did its test a week ago, on Monday, you did a test at another facility? Are you saying those test results will show that you didn’t test positive for methamphetamine?”
    Mayfield: “Yeah, definitely. And I took it at two different facilities. One was at the Piedmont Urgent Care before their test and another one actually at an emergency room right after their test. And the one I took after their test was, I’m going to say 30, 35 minutes later just to let you know the timeline there. I promise you they’ll show different results than what they show.”
    Baker: “What has this done to your life as far as just walking around? A lot of people know you and think highly of you but have you noticed a difference in just daily life since this came about?”
    Mayfield: “Oh, definitely, Buddy. It’s something that we’re dealing with on a daily basis. Every day, all day long, this is what we deal with and have been since it happened. But I can tell you this: I’m not going to lay down. I’m going to stand up for what’s right. That’s the way I am and who I am. And they can try and throw every little tactical thing they can throw at me but I can promise you I’m not going down. I want the world to know that. And if I do anything at all hopefully it’ll make their drug policy like it needs to be and it helps another driver or several drivers in the future. At least give them a fair shake and this won’t happen again. And that’s what bothers me more than anything, is how wrong, and the lie that you have to sit here and read every day on the internet and see how wrong this whole situation is. I haven’t said anything for awhile. I’ve been real quiet, letting them do their own deal. Let Ramsey [Poston] run his mouth on a daily basis. And I just can’t take it no more and I need to tell the truth. I need to let everybody know that what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. And I find it hard for a guy in Brian France’s position to sit here and tell the world how great and how strong their drug policy is and basically, you look at the World Anti-Doping Association – I said this last week in an interview – you go ask anybody in any kind of sporting series in the world what kind of policy we have and it’s the worst out there. And I have a hard time when Brian wants to sit there and tell all the race fans out there how strong and how great their policy is when in fact it’s not. And I just don’t believe in things like that and it’s time to tell it. It’s time for the world to know that kind of stuff.”
    Ryan: “Another contention from NASCAR is that you attempted to dilute this drug test and that was the reason for the delay, that you had attempted to dilute it by ingesting large quantities of water. Would you care to respond to that?”
    Mayfield: “Yeah, I’d love to respond to it. The day after this happened, day one, we started shooting a documentary on all this, some buddies of mine and friends of mine in the past that I worked with, they’re in the movie business kinda, out in L.A. And we started shooting a documentary of our lives every day since then. And Buddy asked the question: How’d this change your life? We’re going to show on TV, and the world’s going to know how it’s changed our life because they’ve been with us every day, 24/7. And that day there they were with us and watched. They met the NASCAR security and, I guess, the collectors at my front porch. Nobody held them off for 10 minutes. Nobody had done any of that stuff. Nobody was running and hiding. I waited here at my house for an hour and a half and it’s documented on tape, live, waiting for them to get here. And they say, ‘Well, you ran from this, ran from that.’ They give me 18 minutes. My attorney told me – I had a meeting on Monday – I had 18 minutes to get to the lab of their choice, whatever it was, to go take my test. Well, there’s no way I could make it in 18 minutes. And I got mad about it. I was like, ‘There’s no way I can make it there.’ So we went and got our own test right before just to show the world I was not trying to hide anything. So we’ve got all this documented and it’s all going to come out and the truth will be known.”
    Ryan: “What can you tell us about your NASCAR career at this point? Do you have any designs on even racing in NASCAR right now or is it more just about trying to prove your point here and not really worrying about continuing your career?”
    Mayfield: “I’m not worried about continuing my career because, you know, we all know what happens when you buck the system and you go back and try to race again. It’s not going to work out for me for whatever reason that we all know. My deal now is I can’t afford to sit there and pay employees and pay people to work on race cars when we don’t have the money to do that. And we’re putting all of our resources, everything we got now, into fighting this to the end. And that’s what we intend to do and [are] going to do. And I just can’t keep people on the payroll for no reason, you know?”
    Ryan: “What’s the next step from here? Where do you expect this case to go and does this mean we aren’t going to see you at the racetrack again anytime soon?”
    Mayfield: “I doubt you will. The case, like I said, I’m fighting it to the end, whatever I’ve got to do. It’s just like if somebody accuses you. They say, ‘Hey, man, you’re going to jail.’ For what reason they don’t tell you. They send you to jail and you’ve got to explain later how you’re going to get out, this, that and the other. You’re not going to do that. You’re not going to take the fall for somebody else. You’re going to stand up and be a man about it and fight for what’s right and that’s what I gotta do.”
    Baker: “Like you said, right or wrong, we’ll know the truth here pretty soon.”
    Mayfield: “Right, that’s the whole deal right there. And, like I said, we’ve had a camera crew with us 24/7 that’s going to be [unintelligible] every bit of this and we’ll all see it. And one other thing as I sit here and think about this: You know, Brian France out there talking about effective drug policy, it’s kind of like Al Capone talking about effective law enforcement. And that’s the way I feel about it. The pot shouldn’t be calling the kettle black, you know what I’m saying? And I think the world needs to hear that, too.”
    Ryan: “NASCAR has said they have not tested the B sample yet from what they collected from you. Was your test observed, the one you conducted at an independent laboratory? Was that observed by someone and was there a B sample for that?”
    Mayfield: “Yes, there is a B sample and, yes, it was at a professional lab. When you go take these drug tests and everybody that’s had one – and by the way I’m getting them, I’ve been getting them since this happened about every three or four days I go get a drug test. I’ll say in the next couple weeks I’ll probably have up to 15 or 16 different tests that show clean and the only two that show positive are the ones that come from [Dr.] David Black down at his lab. And the B sample, their deal with the B sample was we told them what lab to send it to, send our B sample, since that belongs to me supposedly, send it to a credible lab. We told them what lab to send it to. They didn’t want to send it to that lab. They wanted to send it to the lab they wanted to send it to. Well, if it’s my sample why can’t it be my choice? There again, policy-wise, that’s the way it is in all sports. You send it – the B sample belongs to the donor – you send it to the lab you want it sent it to. And [for] some reason they’re not doing that. They can sit there and say what they want to and make up all the excuses they want to. That’s the truth. They did not want to send it to the lab we wanted it sent to.”
    Ryan: “Do you feel as if you’ve been targeted here? Do you feel as if NASCAR is singling you out and, if so, what would be the motive for that?”
    Mayfield: “I feel like I was definitely targeted and definitely was going to be, they thought, a good example for their drug policy. I’d go away for thirty days or whatever and come back, got my own team, and drive again. But nobody, like I said, nobody in their right mind would do that and that’s when you got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything, you know? And the deal with me, they got me and I was a good example for their policy. Remember policy, that Brian talks about all the time? If they got me then none of their stars would ever have to go down for a positive drug test, which Brian said the other day they have all the time, positive drug tests. There again, if it’s a zero policy, zero tolerance on their policy, then how do you have a bunch of positive drug tests? Why was mine the only one positive that was going to have to be used for an example?”
    (SIRIUS XM NASCAR Radio)(7-16-2009)
  • Mayfield defends himself; suing stepmother: Jeremy Mayfield didn’t spare his stepmother or NASCAR in defending himself against Wednesday’s report that he has again tested positive for methamphetamines. NASCAR filed court papers on Wednesday saying that his most recent drug test came back positive and including an affidavit from Mayfield’s stepmother Lisa who claims to have seen the racer using drugs on numerous occasions. Mayfield said he does not trust NASCAR testing and saved his strongest words for his stepmother. “She’s basically a whore,” he told ESPN.com’s David Newton. “She shot and killed my dad.” Mayfield’s father Terry died in 2007 at age 56, and Mayfield told ESPN.com that his stepmother will be served with a wrongful death suit on Thursday. “She knows what we’ve got on her,” Mayfield said. “For her to come out and do this is pretty ballsy. Everybody that’s ever know me knows I never, ever have been around her for more than 10 hours of my life. She’s a gold digger. I knew that from Day 1.” Although he said he has no proof, Mayfield claimed that NASCAR paid Lisa Mayfield for her affidavit. “It wouldn’t take much money. She tried to get money from me,” Mayfield said. “I have a very short fuse when it comes to her.” Mayfield said he has been tested for drugs every two to five days by an independent lab and never tested positive. He said it was no coincidence that the tests by NASCAR’s lab resulted in his suspension and now another positive test. In blasting NASCAR, he went straight for the top, chairman Brian France.(more at ESPN.com)(7-16-2009)
  • NASCAR: Mayfield again tests positive for meth: NASCAR says Jeremy Mayfield has again tested positive for methamphetamine and wants the federal judge who lifted the driver’s drug suspension to reinstate the ban. The positive result from a July 6 random test was included in a U.S. District Court filing Wednesday. The filing includes an affidavit from Mayfield’s stepmother, who claims she personally witnessed the driver using methamphetamine at least 30 times over seven years. NASCAR says in its filings that the “A” sample had levels of methamphetamine consistent with habitual users who consume high doses. The filing also claims Mayfield and his attorneys have failed to select a qualified laboratory to test the backup “B” sample.(Associated Press)
    AND The general manager of Jeremy Mayfield’s race team says he has left the organization because he doesn’t believe Mayfield Motorsports will return to the race track. Bobby Wooten says he was the last remaining employee. The team was started this season, and Mayfield said in court documents he had to lay off 10 employees since NASCAR suspended him in May for failing a random drug test. A federal judge has lifted that suspension, but Mayfield did not bring the #41 Toyota to the track in the two races since he was reinstated. Wooten says he does not believe Mayfield has any interest in resurrecting the team.(Associated Press)(7-15-2009)
  • TV Ratings for Chicago posted: TNT concluded its portion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season with a 3.0/6 for racing from Chicagoland Speedway. That’s down -6% from last year’s 3.2/7. For the 2009 season, NASCAR on TNT averaged a 3.3/8, down -8% from last year’s 3.6/8. For Race to Race TV Ratings Chart and news, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(7-16-2009)
  • Sad News – Charlie Webster: Police in Oxford, ME say a race car driver was killed Wednesday night when he crashed during a race. Police identified the driver as 38-year-old Charles Webster, of Auburn. Webster was racing in the Accelaration Series as a part of Speed Week, leading up to the TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway on Sunday [Rusty, Kenny and Steven Wallace are scheduled to appear]. Officials say Webster crashed around 7:30pm, and many of his family members were at the track, watching the race. It’s still unclear what caused the crash.(wgme.com)(7-16-2009)
  • $25 Tickets/Track Pass Return To Martinsville Speedway: The speedway has dropped ticket prices to $25 in several areas of the track for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race on October 25 after a similar effort was wildly popular for the recently run Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500. For the TUMS Fast Relief 500, seats in areas of the backstretch, along with some seats in the Sprint Tower, the Clay Earles Tower and the South Annex have been reduced to $25.
    Fans will again have the chance to wander along Martinsville Speedway’s front stretch prior to the TUMS Fast Relief 500 on October 25. The Pre-Race Track Pass, first introduced this spring, will allow fans to walk the distance of the front stretch of historic Martinsville Speedway from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on race day. From the front stretch, fans can get a close-up look at what happens on along pit road in the final hours leading up to the TUMS Fast Relief 500. They can take pictures, visit with other race fans and even autograph the wall and start-finish line if they like. The cost of the Pre-Race Track Pass is just $10. More info on both by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com or calling 877.722.3849.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(7-16-2009)
  • $99 All-You-Can-Eat Deal Returning To Talladega Superspeedway: Talladega Superspeedway officials announced that the popular All-You-Can-Eat package for the Allison Grandstands returns for HALLOW-DEGA weekend, Oct. 30 – Nov. 1. The $99 package includes a reserved seat in the Allison Grandstand for the Mountain Dew 250 on Saturday, the AMP Energy 500 on Sunday, a Pre-race Pit Pass for Sunday’s AMP Energy 500 and all-you-can-eat vouchers for both days! The all-you-can-eat voucher is valid from 10 a.m.– noon Saturday and Sunday. Each trip to the concession stand allows a voucher holder to receive a maximum of 2 sandwiches (2 hotdogs or 2 hamburgers or 1 of each), 2 bags of chips and 2 soft drinks. This offer sold-out in the spring, so fans wanting to take advantage of this great deal should act soon. The included Pre-race Pit Pass allows access to pit road from 8 a.m. until one hour before the start of the AMP Energy 500 on Sunday only. A tram will shuttle guests from the front of the Allison Grandstand to pit road. Pit road access is subject to change pending NASCAR rules and subject to time and weather permitting. For information on tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(TSS)(7-16-2009)

July 15, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 15 — 1990: Tommy Ellis, the 1988 Busch Series champion, wins his 22nd and final race in the series. Ellis wins the Budweiser 300, the first Busch race at New Hampshire, by .29 seconds over Harry Gant. Chuck Brown is third.(NASCAR.com)
  • NASCAR: Mayfield again tests positive for meth: NASCAR says Jeremy Mayfield has again tested positive for methamphetamine and wants the federal judge who lifted the driver’s drug suspension to reinstate the ban. The positive result from a July 6 random test was included in a U.S. District Court filing Wednesday. The filing includes an affidavit from Mayfield’s stepmother, who claims she personally witnessed the driver using methamphetamine at least 30 times over seven years. NASCAR says in its filings that the “A” sample had levels of methamphetamine consistent with habitual users who consume high doses. The filing also claims Mayfield and his attorneys have failed to select a qualified laboratory to test the backup “B” sample.(Associated Press)
    AND The general manager of Jeremy Mayfield’s race team says he has left the organization because he doesn’t believe Mayfield Motorsports will return to the race track. Bobby Wooten says he was the last remaining employee. The team was started this season, and Mayfield said in court documents he had to lay off 10 employees since NASCAR suspended him in May for failing a random drug test. A federal judge has lifted that suspension, but Mayfield did not bring the #41 Toyota to the track in the two races since he was reinstated. Wooten says he does not believe Mayfield has any interest in resurrecting the team.(Associated Press)(7-15-2009)
  • Harvick wants out at RCR? UPDATE RCR Statement Kevin Harvick has told Richard Childress he would like to leave after this season, according to multiple sources. Harvick has one year remaining on his contract with RCR, but the Shell/Pennzoil sponsorship deal on the #29 Chvey ends at the end of this season, and Harvick is trying to move with it to Stewart-Haas. Tony Stewart has said his team is interested in running a third car in Sprint Cup in 2010. Childress is in a tough spot. He could hold Harvick to the contract and try to re-sign Shell/Pennzoil, but in a performance-based business, the Stewart-Haas option, undoubtedly, is more appealing to the gas and oil company. If Shell/Penzoil decides to leave, Childress has to find $15 million to $20 million in sponsorship to replace it — a very difficult prospect in this economy. Harvick would also bring additional Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series capability to the organization, joining the JR Motorsports operation owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick. Kevin Harvick Inc. competes in both series.(Sports Illustrated)(7-14-2009)
    UPDATE: The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, regarding recent reports about RCR team sponsor Shell-Pennzoil and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: “Richard Childress Racing has a multi-year contract with Shell-Pennzoil that includes the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Shell-Pennzoil remains a great partner for RCR and Kevin Harvick as well as our sport overall. RCR also has a multi-year contract with Kevin Harvick that includes the 2010 season. That said, Shell will be the sponsor and Kevin will be the driver of RCR’s No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet Impala SS in 2010.”(RCR site)
    UPDATE 2:Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick would like to be released from the final year of his contract that expires in 2010, a source close to the situation said on Wednesday. “He’s making that evident,” the source said. The SI.com report said Shell’s contract expires after this season, but multiple sources told ESPN.com the deal runs through 2010. Sources added that it is unlikely RCR owner Richard Childress would let both the driver and sponsor go, particularly in today’s economic climate. A spokesman for Harvick had no comment when contacted by ESPN.com.(ESPN)(7-15-2009)
  • Vickers visits NASA: A few weeks ago, #83-Brian Vickers spent two days at NASA checking out the space shuttle. “This was one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do. To get that close and see all the parts and pieces that help put the Shuttle up into Space was awesome,” said Vickers in the media center. “I’ve always been a big supporter of NASA and the space program. It’s just something that still fascinates me. The power behind it is just incredible!”(see video at brianvickers.com)(7-15-2009)
  • Keselowski to Penske next year? UPDATE 4 Red Bull denied: For the second straight season, Brad Keselowski is the top candidate for the #12 Penske Racing Dodge. David Stremme has experienced a couple of miserable weeks at the racetrack and is currently 32nd in the point standings. Keselowski said on Friday he does not have a deal signed for next year. Certainly for a self-proclaimed “Eastsider,” partnering with fellow Detroit-based Roger Penske would be an honor. Keselowski was offered the #12 ride last year after Ryan Newman announced he was leaving the ride to join Stewart-Haas Racing.(Fox Sports)(7-11-2009)
    UPDATE: Brad Keselowski’s racing team for 2010 is still undecided. The 25-year-old Keselowski hoped a recent meeting with team owner Rick Hendrick would answer some questions about where he’d be racing next season. Keselowski wants a full-time ride next year, and he’s optimistic he can stay affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports. He discussed several possibilities with Hendrick, though no final decision was reached. “I have some preferences, but I haven’t gotten very far with them,” Keselowski said. “I’m not really close on anything.” No matter where he ends up, Keselowski felt he would have a full-time ride next season. “I feel pretty confident that’s the way it’s heading,” he said. “It would have to be a big problem to come up for that not to happen.”(Associated Press)(7-12-2009)
    UPDATE 2: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said there’s “only a 10 percent chance” he’ll move his JR Motorsports team from the Nationwide to the Cup series next year. “I basically just wanted to put feelers out there and see what kind of interest there was from sponsors,” he said. “I would have to drive the car myself (to get a sponsor) and I’m going to be working for Rick for the next couple of years, at least.”(Indianapolis Star)
    UPDATE 3: Brad Keselowski wasn’t kidding when he said he had “options” for next season. In addition to being close to re-signing a deal with JR Motorsports to run in the Nationwide Series, the latest buzz has Keselowski paired with Red Bull Racing. If Keselowski indeed stays with JRM, the only scenario that would work on the Cup side would be with a Chevy team. Maybe Red Bull is closer to inking a Chevy deal. Rick Hendrick said on Saturday that HMS has the resources to include Red Bull in its engine program.(FoxSports)(7-13-2009)
    UPDATE 4: been told by sources that no one at Red Bull Racing has talked to Keselowski about driving for the team in 2010.(7-15-2009)
  • Mayfield may have sponsor for Indy? If Jeremy Mayfield’s injunction against NASCAR is upheld during upcoming court proceedings, he may have a sponsor for the July 26 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard—and beyond. In an interview Friday with Full Throttle Autos Online, Robert Craddock, the Florida-based owner of SmallSponsor.com, expressed his confidence in Mayfield’s innocence despite a failed drug test in May. “How many years has Jeremy been doing this? Has there ever been an indication [of a drug problem] in all those years?” Craddock said. “I think the answer is no.” Craddock went on to call the test “completely bogus,” citing reports that Mayfield would be dead if he tested positive at the level of methamphetamine NASCAR says he did. To that end, Craddock says he’s in very positive discussions with a Fortune 500-level company that would be willing to join SmallSponsor.com as a co-primary sponsor of Mayfield’s #41 Camry. Even if that partnership didn’t develop, Craddock said SmallSponsor.com has funding to support Mayfield. “We could definitely support it, but it’s like everything else, you can never have enough money,” Craddock said of his company, which funded Mayfield Motorsports prior to the driver’s suspension and for a brief period after J.J. Yeley was put into the car. Bobby Wooten, team manager of Mayfield Motorsports, was noncommittal about Craddock’s promises, although he called Craddock a friend of the team and said he was working hard to help put the #41 back on the track. “We’re waiting for Robert to get everything put together,” Wooten said. “If he can bring to the table what he says he can, we’ll be more than glad to get out there with him.” Craddock says Mayfield’s suspension has held up big plans for the company, including a national television ad campaign and potentially naming rights to a Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. “They’re shooting the hands that have literally been feeding them,” Craddock said of NASCAR delaying his program during a soft sponsorship and advertising climate.(Full Throttle Autos)(7-15-2009)
  • Stremme wins at Plymouth Speedway: David Stremme, driver of the #12 Penske Racing Dodge in the Cup series, started on the pole and led the first 100 laps of the CRA Super Series Summer Championship 200 Presented by Crown RV & Boat Cleaner at Plymouth Speedway [Indiana] Sunday night. Restarting back in the pack after choosing to change tires at the halfway break, Stremme worked his way back to the front and took the lead after 50 laps and held on to win at his home track. The event raised $1,000 for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.(CRA)(7-15-2009)
  • Hamlin’s Team Wins Tissot Pit Crew Award in Chicagoland: Denny Hamlin’s crew took top honors in the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award during Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway. Hamlin’s #11 crew became the 13th Tissot winner in the 19 Cup races contested in 2009. The pit crew win was the result of Hamlin’s FedEx Toyota Camry spending the least amount of time on pit road – 194.055 seconds. The quick work helped Hamlin and the Joe Gibbs Racing team to a fifth-place finish in the 267-lap, 400-mile race. Hamlin’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Jonathan Sherman (front-tire changer), Brandon Pegram (front-tire carrier), Mike Hicks (rear-tire changer), Heath Cherry (rear-tire carrier), Nate Bolling (jackman), Scott Wood (gasman), John Eicher (catch can) and Bobby “Spike” Christenson (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Mike Ford and the pit crew coach is Paul Alepa. The athletic director for Joe Gibbs Racing is Michael Lepp. The #11 team will collect $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver. The crews for Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle lead in the Tissot standings with three wins each. Tony Stewart’s and Jimmie Johnson’s crews are tied for third with two wins each.(Tissot)(7-15-2009)
  • Letarte named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Chicago: Steve Letarte, crew chief for the #24 Dupont/ National Guard Chevy driven by Jeff Gordon, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race after Saturday night’s Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The team started the race with a stout car, taking the green flag on the inside of row four. Letarte kept his driver running up front most of the night by making adjustments to improve a tight racecar. With just 20 laps to go, he called his driver to pit road for four fresh tires in hopes to give him an advantage over the top eight teams who chose to stay out. The call paid off, and Gordon was able to pass cars at ease on his way to a second place finish. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead.(Wypall)(7-15-2009)
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway Announces Chief Lighting Officer: Jack Welch has been selected by Atlanta Motor Speedway to serve as the Chief Lighting Officer for the Speedway’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race, the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Sept. 6. Ending a six-week search that sought an electric personality to “flip the switch” turning on the lights before Atlanta’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race, Welch was picked from more than 750 entrants. “It was one of those situations where they said, ‘I won,’ and I didn’t believe the girl on the phone,” said Welch, a resident of Pearl, Miss. “My wife and I are extremely excited and I can’t wait to turn on the lights.” Welch’s entry outshined the rest, displaying his bright use of vocabulary with lighting-themed puns. But Welch was also chosen for being a shining star to a child in need when he donated tickets to the 2008 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway to the Aflac Cancer Center, giving a young boy an once-in-a-lifetime experience. “We buy tickets to the Pep Boys Auto 500 each year and couldn’t make the race last year, so we wanted to get those tickets out there and let someone else use them. When we heard about Carl Edwards’ visit to the Aflac Cancer Center, my wife, Nancy, suggested we send the tickets there,” said Welch. “We already have tickets for this year’s Pep Boys Auto 500, so we are going to donate the tickets to the Aflac Cancer Center again.” In addition to turning on the lights for the track’s first night race as Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Chief Lighting Officer, Welch will have travel arrangements to Atlanta provided, be featured in the official souvenir program, and receive VIP access to Atlanta Motor Speedway. For more information on the Chief Lighting Officer or to purchase tickets to Atlanta Motor Speedway first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race, the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Sept. 6, visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(7-15-2009)

July 14, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 14 — 1957: Eddie Pagan wins a 200-lap race at half-mile Portland Speedway in the last Cup race run in Oregon. Portland Speedway was the site of seven Cup races, four in 1956 and three in 1957. Pagan won two of them.(NASCAR.com)
  • Harvick wants out at RCR? Kevin Harvick has told Richard Childress he would like to leave after this season, according to multiple sources. Harvick has one year remaining on his contract with RCR, but the Shell/Pennzoil sponsorship deal on the #29 Chvey ends at the end of this season, and Harvick is trying to move with it to Stewart-Haas. Tony Stewart has said his team is interested in running a third car in Sprint Cup in 2010. Childress is in a tough spot. He could hold Harvick to the contract and try to re-sign Shell/Pennzoil, but in a performance-based business, the Stewart-Haas option, undoubtedly, is more appealing to the gas and oil company. If Shell/Penzoil decides to leave, Childress has to find $15 million to $20 million in sponsorship to replace it — a very difficult prospect in this economy. Harvick would also bring additional Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series capability to the organization, joining the JR Motorsports operation owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick. Kevin Harvick Inc. competes in both series.(Sports Illustrated)(7-14-2009)
  • Truex’s car too high at Chicago UPDATE Penalties announced: The #1 Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. did not pass a post-race inspection when NASCAR officials discovered the right rear quarter panel was too high on the car. Truex finished 16th in the LifeLock 400 race at Chicagoland Speedway. The car will be taken back to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for further evaluations. NASCAR officials will determine if the height problem is a violation that requires a penalty. Any announcement of the process will come later this week, likely on Tuesday or Wednesday. Similar height situations have resulted in championship point reductions and fines in the past.(ESPN.com)(7-12-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced that Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #1 Chevy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, crew chief Kevin Manion and car owner Teresa Earnhardt have been penalized for rule violations during last weekend’s event at Chicagoland Speedway. Truex was penalized 25 points in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver standings. Manion was fined $25,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, 2009. Earnhardt was penalized 25 points in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series owner standings. The three were penalized for violating Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); Section 12-4-I (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules) and Section 20-12.8.1C (right rear quarter panel height did not meet the required specifications; too high in post-race inspection).(NASCAR)(7-14-2009)
  • General Motors Cuts Sports Spending: In order to emerge from bankruptcy protection, General Motors had the legal right to reject contracts that it had previously signed. GM has now emerged from bankruptcy, but 54 sponsorship agreements it terminated as part of the bankruptcy were filed with the courts yesterday. Some NASCAR related cuts mentioned in the article:
    Track Agreements
    California Speedway Corp. (Fontana) -– 70 suite passes w/ pit row access, 35 VIP parking passes
    Daytona International Speedway –- 65 seats w/ 77 tickets, 11 parking passes
    Dover International Speedway –- 50 seats w/65 suite passes, 30 VIP
    Lowe’s Motor Speedway –- 66 suite tickets, 16 pit passes, 10 parking passes
    Richmond International Speedway –- 60 person suite, 30 pit passes, 15 parking passes
    Racing Team Sponsorship Agreements
    Jeff Burton, personal service agreement (RCR)
    Ryan Newman Motorsports
    Other Sponsorships Agreements
    IMG Worldwide (official car)(CNBC)(7-14-2009)
  • Tire Test at Atlanta UPDATE: In preparation for Atlanta Motor Speedway’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race, the Pep Boys Auto 500, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company is conducting a two-day tire test [July 14-15, Tue-Wed] to ensure the preeminent tire is ready for night racing in Atlanta. Drivers scheduled to take part in the test: #14-Tony Stewart (Chevy), #2-Kurt Busch (Dodge), #11-Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and #26-Jamie McMurray (Ford). This session is closed to the public.(AMS)(7-10-2009)
    UPDATE: Tire testing is currently underway at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as four NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers assist the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in preparing the preeminent tire for Atlanta’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race, the Pep Boys Auto 500 on Sept. 6. Goodyear is tasked with preparing the first tire for Sprint Cup night racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the company is utilizing NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers #2-Kurt Busch, #11-Denny Hamlin, #26-Jamie McMurray and #14-Tony Stewart in the two-day Goodyear Tire Test. “It’s definitely tough to prepare a tire for a night race [in Atlanta], because there are unknowns going into a night race – how fast is the track going to be and where do we need to have many of our settings,” said Busch, who won the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. “I felt like the tire was just fine in March, obviously. With the way our car handled and we drove it into Victory Lane, I wouldn’t change a thing. But, we’ve got a night race now, so we’re here working with Goodyear to find something better and make the racing more exciting.” All four participating drivers have higher-average finishes in night races than afternoon races in 2009. In five-2009 night races, Stewart has the highest average night race finish of the four at 2.4, compared to his season average of 7.6. Of the remaining drivers, Hamlin has an average night race finish of 8.2 (13.4 for the entire season), Busch has an average of 10.6 (12.5) and McMurray’s average night race finish is 14.6 (20.2). Tire testing will resume at 2:00pm/et on Tuesday and continue until 10:00pm/et. The test is closed to the public.(AMS)(7-14-2009)
  • Wood Bothers add a race: While the NASCAR Sprint Cup series began the second half of its 36-race season Saturday night, the race marked the sixth event of the season for the Wood Brothers and the #21 Ford Bill that Elliott drives. The team scaled back to a partial schedule this season because it was unable to find enough sponsorship to run the entire year. This marks the first time since 1984 the team hasn’t attempted to run a full Cup schedule. Eddie Wood, co-owner of the team, said that the team has added one race — the Charlotte fall race — giving it 13 for the year [plus the team ran the Sprint Showdown]. The team’s next race is Indianapolis in two weeks, and then the team will skip two races before returning to Michigan in mid-August. “It’s really working out for us,” Wood said. “Just like everybody else in here, we send out [sponsorship] proposals everyday. Literally. If something turns up to where we get another chunk of money, we’ll add races accordingly. But we won’t run races if we don’t have the money to support it and do it correctly.”(Roanoke Times)(7-14-2009)
  • Menard Shopping Sponsorship? Frontstretch.com reports that #98-Paul Menard and his family are surveying their options and shopping around their sponsorship package to other teams for 2010. Both driver and sponsor are a package deal, although Menard’s list of options on the current Sprint Cup landscape is rather short. Among those teams still under the pending four-car limit and with the ability to expand include Michael Waltrip Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing (extremely unlikely), Robby Gordon Motorsports (Menards has a relationship with Gordon already), Earnhardt Ganassi Racing (the team Menard left in 2008), and Penske Racing.(Frontstretch)(7-14-2009)
  • Speed getting married this weekend: #82 Red Bull Racing Team driver Scott Andrew Speed will wed Amanda Smith Mathis on Saturday, July 18th in a black and white-themed ceremony and reception. The couple, who wrote their own vows, will say “I do”at the 55-acre Graylyn Estate in Winston Salem, NC in front of 120 of their closest friends and family. The couple became engaged in November 2008. “I’m really excited for our wedding this weekend, for sure!” Speed said. “Amanda has put a lot of planning into this wedding so I know it will be a really fun evening. We have a lot of family and friends coming in town to see us tie the knot, so it will be nice to hang out and have some fun with everyone. What can I say – head first, here we go!” The 26-year old Speed helped pick the wedding location and the design for the invitations, but when it came down to details, he let his bride-to-be take the reins. “Honestly, Scott’s just been too busy this year to find time for wedding planning,” Mathis said. “I’m definitely the organized one of the the two of us, so I really enjoyed the wedding planning experience. Scott claims he’s going to have one final input – and that’s the song for our first dance – but we’ll see about that!”(Red Bull Racing Team)(7-14-2009)
  • Danica visits Stewart Haas: UPDATE: IRL star Danica Patrick was at Stewart Haas racing today on a personal shop tour, she even went into the fan zone and signed autographs for a bunch of surprised fans who were visiting the shop.(7-13-2009)
    UPDATE: Patrick was a guest of team owner Tony Stewart last fall at Phoenix. But the two-time Cup champion was not available to be a guide Monday because he was at a Goodyear tire test at Atlanta Motor Speedway. According to sources, Patrick was introduced to Ryan Newman, crew chief Tony Gibson, General Manager Bobby Hutchens and engineer Matt Borland. The tour included stops in the fabrication shop and a look at the seven-post shaker rig.(FoxSports)(7-14-2009)
  • Mayfield’s latest drug test still being analyzed UPDATE: NASCAR was still analyzing Jeremy Mayfield’s latest drug test Friday, four days after demanding the driver submit to a random test. “The process continues,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said, declining further comment. Dr. David Black, the program administrator, said Wednesday the test processed by Aegis Sciences Corp. would be completed by Friday at the latest. His Nashville, Tenn.-based lab typically needs four days to analyze a sample. “I just don’t think there’s anything to report right now. I did not come to work (Friday) expecting we’d get the results,” Mayfield attorney John Buric said. “But then again, I’m a lawyer, and I can wait a year for a ruling. So I am never too surprised when things take time. I wouldn’t read too much into it, honestly.”(Associated Press)(7-11-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR has not issued the results of the drug test administered to Jeremy Mayfield on July 6. NASCAR ordered Mayfield to be tested again July 6. Mayfield submitted to the test and also went to two independent labs July 6 to give urine samples. “The process continues,” was all NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston would say about the test results Monday morning. Mayfield attorney John Buric did not immediately respond to a voice mail Monday asking about the test results. Poston said Monday that once the process is over, the sanctioning body likely would say whether the results of the test were positive or negative. NASCAR typically does not announce the results of negative tests, but it also typically is not public knowledge who is being tested. NASCAR also doesn’t typically comment on positive tests until the B sample is verified. Dr. David Black, whose Aegis Laboratories conducts the NASCAR drug-testing program, said last week that he had hoped to have the results analyzed by last Friday but it could take longer depending on what the initial results showed. If Mayfield’s initial sample showed that it was positive, Black said he would have to ask the court what to do with the B sample because part of Mayfield’s lawsuit centers around whether Aegis or an independent laboratory should analyze the B sample. There were no filings in either U.S. District Court nor the U.S. Court of Appeals (where NASCAR is asking for the injunction to be overturned) about the test as of Monday morning.(SceneDaily)(7-14-2009)
  • Carter / Simo plans to run rest of season; UPDATE: Furr joins as crew chief for Labonte: Carter / Simo Racing announced that Terry Labonte is teaming up with Boris Said for the remaining NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Starting at Indianapolis and continuing through the remainder of the 2009 season, fans can expect to see Terry Labonte driving the #08 Camry or Boris Said behind the wheel of the #08 Ford. The team has immediate openings for sponsors the remainder of the season, all inquires can be made their website.(Simo Racing PR)(7-11-2009)
    UPDATE: John Carter announced Tony Furr is now crew chief for the Terry Labonte #08 Camry. “This will be a winning combination along with Boris Said and crew chief Frankie Stoddard in the #08 Ford.”, said Carter.(Carter / Simo PR), Earlier in the year, Furr was serving as crew chief for Jeremy Mayfield and had recently been consulting with the #64 Gunselman Motorsports team.(7-14-2009)
  • Sad News – Bill Robinson: Longtime sportswriter and columnist Bill Robinson, known in part for his NASCAR coverage, has died. He was 79. Former Atlanta sports editor Jim Minter said Robinson was the writer who nicknamed famed driver Richard Petty “King Petty.” NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter recalled Robinson as a “fun-loving, unique person.” Lafayette Sun editor Michael Hand said Robinson, who died Saturday, had open heart surgery in April and spent some two months in the hospital. His cause of death was not immediately available Monday. Robinson was a retired Atlanta Journal writer living in Chambers County, Alabama. He still wrote columns for the Opelika-Auburn News and Lafayette Sun.(Associated Press / WHNT.com)(7-14-2009)
  • Atlanta Announces Pre-Race Party for Pep Boys Auto 500: A Pre-Race Party celebration has been added to the schedule for the Sept. 6 Pep Boys Auto 500, Atlanta Motor Speedway’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race, giving race fans stage-front access for driver introductions and a pre-race concert with Diamond Rio and Jason Michael Carroll. The Pre-Race Party will take place beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the Atlanta Motor Speedway frontstretch in front of the Champions Grandstand. The event features a combined two-hour concert with country legends Diamond Rio and rising-star Jason Michael Carroll and will be followed by pre-race festivities and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver introductions. A limited number of stage-front passes are available for purchase at the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at 877-9-AMS-TIX or 770-946-4211, or online at atlantamotorspeedway.com. Pre-Race Party passes for stage-front access will sell for $49, with the first 200 specially-priced at $39. A Pep Boys Auto 500 ticket is required for admission to the party area.(AMS PR)(7-14-2009)

July 13, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: — July 13 — 2002: Johnny Sauter wins the Tropicana Twister 300 at Chicagoland Speedway for his first Nationwide Series victory. Todd Bodine is second .425 seconds back, and Jeff Burton finishes third.(NASCAR.com)
  • Danica visits Stewart Haas: IRL star Danica Patrick was at Stewart Haas racing today on a personal shop tour, she even went into the fan zone and signed autographs for a bunch of surprised fans who were visiting the shop.(7-13-2009)
  • Sprint Cup Series Facts and Notes:
    Mark Martin won the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. He scored his 39th Sprint Cup Series win in his 741st start; tied for 13th place all time in wins. Martin posted his fourth win of 2009, the most of all drivers. He scored his first win at Chicagoland in his ninth start there; this was his first Chicagoland top-5 finish. Martin has now won on 19 different tracks in the series. He is the seventh different winner in nine Chicagoland races. Martin scored his 10th win on 1.5-mile tracks; four of the 10 races in the Chase are on 1.5-mile tracks. He led 179 of the first 223 laps before being passed by Jimmie Johnson. He led 195 of the 267 laps, the most in the race. Martin had led only 44 laps in his previous eight starts at Chicagoland. He started 14th, the sixth time the Chicagoland race winner has started outside the top 10.
    Jeff Gordon (finished second) gave Hendrick Motorsports its 27th 1-2 finish. Martin has won with Gordon finishing second in the past two of those; it was Hendrick’s fourth 1-2 finish of 2009.
    Martin restarted fourth on Lap 251 and retook the lead for the final time on lap 252, leading the final 16 laps.
    Hendrick Motorsports scored its second win at Chicagoland, the previous one coming in 2006 by Jeff Gordon. The team scored its 182nd series win and seventh of 2009. Hendrick Motorsports led 253 of the 267 laps in the race.
    Kasey Kahne (third) scored his first top-10 finish at Chicagoland; he has now scored a top-10 finish on every series oval track. He picked up four spots in the points, moving from 12th in points to eighth.
    Tony Stewart (fourth) posted his 11th top-5 finish and his 15th top-10 finish of 2009; he started 32nd.
    Denny Hamlin (fifth) has finished in the top five in four of the past five races.
    Ryan Newman (sixth) ended a four-race streak of finishes outside the top 10.
    Juan Pablo Montoya (10th) has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races; he has finished in the top 12 the last six races.
    Marcos Ambrose (11th) has finished in the top 11 in four of the last six races.
    Greg Biffle (31st) fell from ninth in points to 13th, 10 points out of the top 12.
    Joey Logano (18th) was the best finishing Rookie of the Year contender.
    The top 10 consisted of seven Chevrolets, two Toyotas and a Dodge. Carl Edwards in 14th was the best-finishing Ford.
    (Racing Resources/ESPN)(7-13-2009)
  • Keselowski to Penske next year? UPDATE Red Bull?: For the second straight season, Brad Keselowski is the top candidate for the #12 Penske Racing Dodge. David Stremme has experienced a couple of miserable weeks at the racetrack and is currently 32nd in the point standings. Keselowski said on Friday he does not have a deal signed for next year. Certainly for a self-proclaimed “Eastsider,” partnering with fellow Detroit-based Roger Penske would be an honor. Keselowski was offered the #12 ride last year after Ryan Newman announced he was leaving the ride to join Stewart-Haas Racing.(Fox Sports)(7-11-2009)
    UPDATE: Brad Keselowski’s racing team for 2010 is still undecided. The 25-year-old Keselowski hoped a recent meeting with team owner Rick Hendrick would answer some questions about where he’d be racing next season. Keselowski wants a full-time ride next year, and he’s optimistic he can stay affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports. He discussed several possibilities with Hendrick, though no final decision was reached. “I have some preferences, but I haven’t gotten very far with them,” Keselowski said. “I’m not really close on anything.” No matter where he ends up, Keselowski felt he would have a full-time ride next season. “I feel pretty confident that’s the way it’s heading,” he said. “It would have to be a big problem to come up for that not to happen.”(Associated Press)(7-12-2009)
    UPDATE 2: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said there’s “only a 10 percent chance” he’ll move his JR Motorsports team from the Nationwide to the Cup series next year. “I basically just wanted to put feelers out there and see what kind of interest there was from sponsors,” he said. “I would have to drive the car myself (to get a sponsor) and I’m going to be working for Rick for the next couple of years, at least.”(Indianapolis Star)
    AND: Brad Keselowski wasn’t kidding when he said he had “options” for next season. In addition to being close to re-signing a deal with JR Motorsports to run in the Nationwide Series, the latest buzz has Special K paired with Red Bull Racing. If Keselowski indeed stays with JRM, the only scenario that would work on the Cup side would be with a Chevy team. Maybe Red Bull is closer to inking a Chevy deal. Rick Hendrick said on Saturday that HMS has the resources to include Red Bull in its engine program.(FoxSports)(7-13-2009)
  • Ryan Truex passes Park to win again: After getting passed for the lead with less than five laps remaining, former Sprint Cup Series winner Steve Park had a message for fans concerning the driver that left him settling for a second place finish. “You guys better get his autograph tonight because he ain’t going to be around here much longer,” Park said of 17-year old Ryan Truex. After losing the lead to Park on a lap 95 restart, Truex rallied back on the next lap to retake the top spot from him and went on to win the Camping World East Series Pepsi Full Fender Frenzy 100 Saturday at Thompson International Speedway. It was the second victory of the season for the Truex, of Mayetta, N.J., the younger brother of Sprint Cup Series regular Martin Truex Jr. Corey LaJoie, the 17-year old son of two-time Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie, finished 19th in his Camping World East debut. LaJoie was running ninth on lap 52 when he went to the pits with motor issues and retired from the event.(Hartford Courant)(7-13-2009)
  • Biffle Returning Home for Short-Track Race: During an upcoming off-weekend from his Sprint Cup duties driving the #16 3M Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, Greg Biffle will return home to the northwest for a 10-lap exhibition race at Sunset Speedway in Banks, Oregon. Sunset Speedway is a local dirt track just over 30 miles from Biffle’s hometown of Vancouver, Washington. The exhibition race will be part of the Saturday night racing events on July 18th and will also feature Biffle’s brother Jeff who is a regular at Sunset Speedway.(Roush Fenway PR)(7-13-2009)
  • Phoenix offers $25 Reserved seats for November Cup race: Phoenix International Raceway is offering a $25 reserved seat to fans for the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil on November 15 – an unprecedented value to watch the semifinal race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. Beyond the hard-charging Sprint Cup action of the Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, fans can secure three full nights of NASCAR action for a mere $47 by purchasing the NASCAR Extreme Value Ticket Package. PIR is offering a $15 reserved seat to its Nationwide Series race on Saturday, November 14 and a $7 reserved seat for the Lucas Oil 150 in the Camping World Truck Series on Friday, November 13. PIR kicks off the November race weekend with grassroots USAC racing as part of the famed Copper World Classic on Thursday, November 12. Tickets for the November NASCAR event weekend at Phoenix International Raceway are available now by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223) or visiting www.phoenixraceway.com.(PIR)(7-13-2009)

July 12, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: — July 12 — 1949: Happy 60th birthday to Joseph Riddick Hendrick III, better known as Rick Hendrick. Hendrick started Hendrick Motorsports in 1984 and has 181 Cup wins and eight Cup championships, including the past three with Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR.com)
  • Chicago Commercial Breakdown:
    Total number of commercials: 125
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 57
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:17 PM
    Total minutes: 197
    Minutes of race broadcast: 136
    Minutes of commercials: 61
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 3
    See full report and more on my 2009 TV Commercials page.(7-12-2009)
  • Truex’s car too high: The #1 Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. did not pass a post-race inspection when NASCAR officials discovered the right rear quarter panel was too high on the car. Truex finished 16th in the LifeLock 400 race at Chicagoland Speedway. The car will be taken back to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for further evaluations. NASCAR officials will determine if the height problem is a violation that requires a penalty. Any announcement of the process will come later this week, likely on Tuesday or Wednesday. Similar height situations have resulted in championship point reductions and fines in the past.(ESPN.com)(7-12-2009)
  • Keselowski to Penske next year? UPDATE: For the second straight season, Brad Keselowski is the top candidate for the #12 Penske Racing Dodge. David Stremme has experienced a couple of miserable weeks at the racetrack and is currently 32nd in the point standings. Keselowski said on Friday he does not have a deal signed for next year. Certainly for a self-proclaimed “Eastsider,” partnering with fellow Detroit-based Roger Penske would be an honor. Keselowski was offered the #12 ride last year after Ryan Newman announced he was leaving the ride to join Stewart-Haas Racing.(Fox Sports)(7-11-2009)
    UPDATE: Brad Keselowski’s racing team for 2010 is still undecided. The 25-year-old Keselowski hoped a recent meeting with team owner Rick Hendrick would answer some questions about where he’d be racing next season. Keselowski wants a full-time ride next year, and he’s optimistic he can stay affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports. He discussed several possibilities with Hendrick, though no final decision was reached. “I have some preferences, but I haven’t gotten very far with them,” Keselowski said. “I’m not really close on anything.” No matter where he ends up, Keselowski felt he would have a full-time ride next season. “I feel pretty confident that’s the way it’s heading,” he said. “It would have to be a big problem to come up for that not to happen.”(Associated Press)(7-12-2009)
  • Double-file restarts still causing confusion: The new double-file restart rule is still causing confusion for drivers and their crew chiefs. Race director David Hoots was questioned about restarts several times during the prerace Sprint Cup drivers meeting at Chicagoland. First, #48-Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus asked about which car controls the start of the race if the leader pulls off to make a late pit stop. Hoots answered that all cars would simply move up in their line instead of reshuffling the whole field, and the second-place car would get to control the restart – even if it had the outside position. Then, #2-Kurt Busch’s crew chief Pat Tryson wondered about the scenario that occurred in Friday night’s Nationwide Series race, when Carl Edwards illegally passed Brian Vickers on the outside before the start/finish line but gave the spot back and was not penalized.”I’d stress to you drivers that you’re good enough that you shouldn’t be getting yourself in that position – stay in line until you cross the start/finish line,” Hoots said. Hoots then said that NASCAR officials let drivers figure it out for the first six races, but that they should have the restart procedures down by now. #24- Jeff Gordon to ask Hoots if there was a “grace period” for making mistakes like Edwards did in the Nationwide race. “The grace period is over,” Hoots said. “We’re serious about it tonight.”(SceneDaily)(7-12-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #14-Stewart and #19-Sadler have the longest current streak of finishing races at 42. #78-Regan Smith is at 51 but has not run all the races [Smith has never DNF’d in a Cup race]. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963 [Beam didn’t run all the races, but didn’t DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Clint Bowyer holds the modern day (1972-present) at 83, next is Kevin Harvick at 81 and 58, then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53.(7-12-2009)
  • Michigan hosting web chats for vistors: Michigan International Speedway once again brings the Guest Guide to life during a series of live Web chats, starting July 15. MIS Live!, a weekly teleconference on Ustream.tv will run every Wednesday through Aug. 5, the week prior to the NASCAR events at Michigan International Speedway. Each hour-long session in the real-time Web chats will focus on topics geared toward helping MIS customers make the most of their race weekends at the speedway. Track President Roger Curtis sees the Web chats as an opportunity to talk to fans in advance of their visits to MIS, strengthening the speedway’s commitment to openness and availability to its guests. All chat sessions will begin at 7 p.m. and last about an hour. Guests can click http://www.ustream.tv/channel/MIS-Live for the MIS Live! channel link on Ustream. Ustream is a free service. Anyone can log on and watch the teleconference, however, you need a free Ustream account and password to participate.(Michigan Speedway PR)(7-12-2009)

July 11, 2009

      • Today in NASCAR History: — July 11 — 1981: In his third Cup race, 22-year-old Mark Martin starts from the pole for the first time. Martin leads the first 36 laps of the Busch Nashville 420 at Nashville (Tenn.) Speedway and finishes 11th. Darrell Waltrip leads 303 laps and picks up one of his eight wins on the.596-mile track. Martin, now 50, has 44 poles, tied with Ryan Newman for 11th all time.(NASCAR.com)
      • Mark Martin wins at Chicago: #5-Mark Martin won the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway for his 4th win of 2009 and the 39th of his career. He dominated most of the race, leading 195 of the 267 laps. #24-Jeff Gordon finshed second, followed by #9-Kahne, #14-Stewart, #11-Hamlin, #39-Newman, #48-Johnson, #33-Bowyer, and #42-Montoya. There were 7 cautions for 30 laps and 10 lead changes among 6 leaders.
        For race results, awards and more, see my Chicago Race Results Page.(7-11-2009)
      • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after Chicago, race 19 of 36]:

    1) #14-Tony Stewart 2884 [2 wins], finished 4th

 

    • 2) #24-Jeff Gordon 2709 -175 [1 win], 2nd

 

    • 3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2672 -212 [2 wins], 8th

 

    • 4) #2-Kurt Busch 2526 -358 [1 win], 17th

 

    • 5) #11-Denny Hamlin 2457 -427, 5th

 

    • 6) #99-Carl Edwards 2438 -446, 14th

 

    • 7) #39-Ryan Newman 2385 -499, 6th

 

    • 8) #9-Kasey Kahne 2336 -548 [1 win], 3rd

 

    • 9) #42-Juan Montoya 2321 -563, 10th

 

    • 10) #18-Kyle Busch 2298 -586 [3 wins], 33rd

 

    • 11) #5-Mark Martin 2296 -588 [4 wins], 1st

 

    • 12) #17-Matt Kenseth 2295 -589 [2 wins], 23rd

Contenders for the top-12/chase:

    • 13) #16-Greg Biffle 2285, 10 points out of 10th, 31st

 

    • 14) #00-David Reutimann 2219 -76 [1 win], 12th

 

    • 15) #33-Clint Bowyer 2169 -126, 9th

 

    • 16) #83-Brian Vickers 2149 -146, 7th

 

    • 17) #31-Jeff Burton 2113 -182, 37th

 

    • For drivers and owners points standings, see the

Drivers/Owners Points Standings page

    • .(7-11-2009)

 

  • Race Fast Facts – Chicagoland Speedway:
    Mark Martin won the LifeLock.com 400, his 39th victory in 741 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his fourth victory and ninth top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in nine races at Chicagoland Speedway. He is within one victory of matching Harry Gant’s 1991 season record for a driver age 50 or older.
    Jeff Gordon (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in nine races at Chicagoland Speedway. It is his 13th top-10 finish in 2009.
    Kasey Kahne (third) posted his first top-10 finish in six races at Chicagoland Speedway.
    Joey Logano (18th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 175 points over Jeff Gordon.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(7-11-2009)
  • Penalty Report – Chicago
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #34 Pre-Race to the rear, Engine Change, Tail End
    #71 Pre-Race to the rear, Engine Change, Tail End
    #21 40, Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road, Tail End
    #16 41, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #19 42, Going above the blendline exiting the pits, Tail End
    #43 94, All passing on pit road must be to the outside, Pass Thru
    #16 94, Non-compliant refueling (overflow container), Pass Thru
    #7 189, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Pass Thru
    #14 212, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #18 220, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #20 221 Outside half of the pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tires, Tail End
    #31 227, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #98 227, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #82 227, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #26 227 Running over/under equipment, Tail End
    #26 263, Outside half of the pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tires, Tail End
    (NASCAR Statistics)(7-11-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Chicago: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #07-Mears, 28th
    Caution 2: #42-Montoya, 10th
    Caution 3: #00-Reutimann, 12th
    Caution 4: #1-Truex, Jr., 16th
    Caution 5: #44-Allmendinger, 13th
    Caution 6: #47-Ambrose, 11th
    Caution 7: #20-Logano, 18th
    (7-11-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Indy:
    No changes, but the spread between 35th and 36th is up to 190 points
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1529, +311
    35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1408, 190 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1218, 190 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 1089, -319
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race. For the owners points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(7-11-2009)
  • Ford hasn’t cut support this year: Last week there was a call placed to Ford Motor Company’s Brian Wolfe in Dearborn, Mich., to get an idea where those boys at the Blue Oval were going with their stock-car racing program. Ford, he says, drafted a slimmed down business plan under the company’s new CEO Alan Mulally, and yes, cuts were made to the racing budget — last year. “For our part at Ford, our story hasn’t changed a whole lot since the start of the season, other than we haven’t won enough races,” Wolfe howled. “We’re in a little different position than two of the other players in the sport.” Those players are GM and Chrysler, which competes in NASCAR with its Dodge brand. Wolfe said Ford had to make some “tough cuts” at the end of the 2008 season, which included an end to direct financial support to Nationwide and Truck Series race teams. “But we have kept our engineering support,” he said. “That is really critical; that hasn’t changed. The Cup teams, that we have long-term contracts with, have stayed the same. We’re pushing along with our plan.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(7-11-2009)
  • Mayfield’s latest drug test still being analyzed: NASCAR was still analyzing Jeremy Mayfield’s latest drug test Friday, four days after demanding the driver submit to a random test. “The process continues,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said, declining further comment. Dr. David Black, the program administrator, said Wednesday the test processed by Aegis Sciences Corp. would be completed by Friday at the latest. His Nashville, Tenn.-based lab typically needs four days to analyze a sample. “I just don’t think there’s anything to report right now. I did not come to work (Friday) expecting we’d get the results,” Mayfield attorney John Buric said. “But then again, I’m a lawyer, and I can wait a year for a ruling. So I am never too surprised when things take time. I wouldn’t read too much into it, honestly.”(Associated Press)(7-11-2009)
  • Carter / Simo plans to run rest of season: Carter / Simo Racing announced that Terry Labonte is teaming up with Boris Said for the remaining NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Starting at Indianapolis and continuing through the remainder of the 2009 season, fans can expect to see Terry Labonte driving the #08 Camry or Boris Said behind the wheel of the #08 Ford. The team has immediate openings for sponsors the remainder of the season, all inquires can be made their website.(Simo Racing PR)(7-11-2009)
  • Vickers still waiting to sign contract: UPDATE: Where will #83-Brian Vickers be next year? Surprisingly, there is no answer to that question yet. The 25-year-old racer reached a verbal commitment to remain with Team Red Bull for another year last winter, yet nothing has been inked as of this week. Vickers called the situation “strange” and expected to have a contract signed before now. “We went into the season, with the economy and things the way they were, there were some uncertainties, which is understandable, I think, with anyone in corporate America these days,” said Vickers, who won his fifth Cup pole of the year Thursday at Chicagoland. “So, I didn’t really think that much about it. Right now, we still haven’t agreed on a contract. There were many times where I went into the week expecting it to be signed and sent to me to sign, and that didn’t happen. Why? I can’t answer that. That’s a question for Red Bull and a question for Jay (Frye).” Frye, Red Bull team manager, is expected to meet with owner Dietrich Mateschitz next week in Austria to hash out details of Vickers’ contract and the possible technical alignment with Hendrick Motorsports in 2010. Vickers remains happy with the organization and hopes to have answers upon Frye’s return.(Fox Sports)(7-10-2009)
    UPDATE: Red Bull Racing Vice President and General Manager Jay Frye will travel to Austria next week for his semi-annual meeting with his team owner and sponsor’s upper management. During that time, Frye said he will try to nail down a number of details for 2010, including a deal with an automaker, a contract for Brian Vickers and, possibly, a new major associate sponsor for the team. Red Bull is the final year of its deal with Toyota. Frye said on Friday at Chicagoland Speedway that “they’ve (Toyota) been a great partner and it’s our intention to try and go forward with them.” But he also said that talks on a new deal have been ongoing for more than a year and that the team is talking with Chevy as well. Frye said the team absolutely intends to re-sign Vickers.(SPEEDtv)(7-11-2009)
  • Keselowski to Penske next year? For the second straight season, Brad Keselowski is the top candidate for the #12 Penske Racing Dodge. David Stremme has experienced a couple of miserable weeks at the racetrack and is currently 32nd in the point standings. Keselowski said on Friday he does not have a deal signed for next year. Certainly for a self-proclaimed “Eastsider,” partnering with fellow Detroit-based Roger Penske would be an honor. Keselowski was offered the #12 ride last year after Ryan Newman announced he was leaving the ride to join Stewart-Haas Racing.(Fox Sports)(7-11-2009)
  • Labonte & Menard out at Yates? Hearing Yates Racing will clean house with its current driver roster at the end of the season. After the example that Tony Stewart has set at Stewart-Haas Racing on how a satellite operation should be run, is there any question why Jack Roush would not consider unloading #96-Bobby Labonte and #98-Paul Menard, who are 27th and 31st respectively, in the point standings? Yes, Menard brings decent money to the table, but with Ask.com shopping its sponsorship there is certainly reason for concern for the #96 Ford.(Fox Sports)(7-11-2009)
  • Gilliland in fourth Gibbs car this year? It’s been a tough road for former Yates driver David Gilliland this season. Gilliland, who was 21st in the #28 Ford for Doug Yates at this juncture last year, has qualified for every race in the #71 TRG Motorsports Chevy. Gilliland has been a loyal soldier in the start-n-park venture and is currently 43rd in the point standings. However, it appears he will have a reprieve — at the hand of Joe Gibbs Racing. Gilliland, 33, is expected to drive the fourth JGR car [#02 sponsored by Farm Bureau] in four races at the end of this season.(Fox Sports)(7-11-2009)
  • General Motors exits bankruptcy: The swift exit of General Motors from bankruptcy protection was good news for NASCAR’s industry leaders, who count on the automaker’s financial support to fund their pricey race teams. GM emerged Friday after only 40 days under court protection. Hendrick vice president of development Doug Duchardt said Friday that Hendrick Motorsports never wavered in its support. “We’ve raced Chevys for 25 years,” Duchardt said at Chicagoland Speedway. “This is just one situation. We’ve worked through it and we’ll move on down the road.” Duchardt, the former head of GM Racing, was surprised at how quickly the car company escaped bankruptcy. GM notified teams last month that it would cut back spending after filing for Chapter 11 protection. Duchardt said there changes made to their agreement after meeting with GM officials, but expected no further adjustments to their contract. “We’re happy that they committed to us in the middle of all that,” Duchardt said. “Now that the bankruptcy is over, it doesn’t really change anything after we had that meeting.” GM left bankruptcy protection leaner, cleansed of massive debt and burdensome contracts that would have sunk it without federal loans.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(7-11-2009)
  • Kurt Busch throwing out first pitch: #2-Kurt Busch is set to throw the first pitch and lead the singing during the seventh-inning stretch in the Chicago Cubs’ Sunday’s afternoon game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field. The game is a makeup contest from one postponed on April 19. It will start at 12:05 p.m. CDT and will be shown live on WGN-TV.(Tom Roberts PR)(7-11-2009)
  • Logano is newest Gillette Young Gun: Gillette announced that it will heat things up this summer by adding recent NASCAR race winner Joey Logano, driver of the #20 Home Depot Toyota, to its elite group of Gillette Young Guns Drivers which includes Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman. Logano earned his rookie stripes from his fellow Gillette Young Guns during the filming of a new commercial to support the Gillette Optimal Shave indicator strip, which alerts consumers that it is time to change their blades when the strip color changes from blue to white. The commercial features all seven Gillette Young Guns and highlights Logano as the latest addition to the roster of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars. The ads will begin airing during the broadcast of the July 11 LifeLock.com 400 from Chicagoland Speedway. (Gillette PR)(7-11-2009)
  • Kernan hosting radio show from Chicagoland: John Kernan will host Motorsports Today live from Chicagoland Speedway Saturday from 12-3pm/ct. The show originates on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. Guests will include Carl Edwards, David Ragan, Joey Logano, and more. Fans can listen online at espnchicago.com.(7-11-2009)
  • Closing date on Memphis Motorsports Park sale extended: For the second time this year, Dover Motorsports has extended the closing date so Gulf Coast Entertainment can get the financing to purchase Memphis Motorsports Park. GCE is building Alabama Motorsports Park, a project that includes Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his siblings as investors. Dover had agreed to sell the track for $10 million in January with a closing date scheduled for the end of April. The closing date was then extended to June 29, and Dover Motorsports filed a notice with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday indicating that it is in the process of negotiating an amendment to the purchase agreement to extend the closing date to Sept. 29. GCE has not broken ground on the Alabama complex, which is expected to include a 0.7-mile D-shaped oval. Once the sale is complete, Dover Motorsports will operate Memphis Motorsports Park under an agreement with GCE, which could request realignment of the Truck and Nationwide races from Memphis to the Alabama track.(SceneDaily)(7-11-2009)

July 10, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: — July 10 — 1988: A Nationwide Series-record 47 cars start the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine. What makes the largest field all the more remarkable is Oxford’s size: It’s a one-third-mile track. Four drivers, led by Dick McCabe, complete all 282 laps. Twenty-six cars are running at the end.(NASCAR.com)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #5-Martin 175.861
    #33-Bowyer 175.547
    #83-Vickers 174.899
    #24-Gordon 173.823
    #31-Burton 173.796
    slowest: #96-Labonte 170.627 & #09-Bliss 169.972
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my Chicago Practice Speeds page.(7-10-2009)
  • First Friday practice for the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #48-Johnson 177.200
    #99-Edwards 176.881
    #11-Hamlin 176.725
    #00-Reutimann 176.091
    #16-Biffle 176.039
    slowest: #71-Gilliland 170.138 & #96-Labonte 169.534
    notes: The session was cut down from 45 to 35 minutes so NASCAR could get 2 practices in before the Nationwide race.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my Chicago Practice Speeds page.(7-10-2009)
  • Images from Chicago: added #7 Red Stag / Kid Rock#14 Office Depot Back to School#17 USG Sheetrock#18 M&Ms Real Chocolate#19 Insignia#24 Patriot Academy#26 Sears / Valvoline#33 Cheerios#36 Palermo’s Pizza#37 Long John Silvers#43 McCafe#47 Kingsford/Rite-Aid#96 DLP.(7-10-2009)
  • Mayfield defends himself in interview; considering selling team: UPDATE: Suspended Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield has broken his silence, vehemently denying allegations of drug use and adamantly defending himself from recent NASCAR claims in an exclusive interview with ESPN. “Every time there’s an action [by NASCAR], there’s going to be a reaction. From here on out,” Mayfield said in a phone interview Wednesday from his home in Statesville, N.C. “I try to be nice. I try to be respectful to them. I try to do everything right. But I’m not getting drug through the mud no more.” Mayfield repeated his stance that he never took methamphetamine. He also said he no longer consumes alcohol, largely due to the fact, he said, his father was a “bad alcoholic.” Asked if he had ever taken illegal drugs, Mayfield responded, “What are you calling illegal? I’ve drank beer. I don’t drink beer at all anymore. I don’t drink. Don’t do anything.” He said he feels as though NASCAR is attempting to make an example of him. “I feel like that’s exactly what they thought I was going to be. Exactly. To a ‘T,'” Mayfield said. “Now, all the sudden, Brian’s [France, NASCAR Chairman] coming back saying, ‘Well, we have positive tests all the time.’ Well, if it’s a zero-tolerance policy, how in the hell do you have people testing positive all the time? “Then he comes back and says there’s a list. I forget what big word he used — an exhaustive list of drugs. Everybody in the world has asked him why the drivers don’t have a list. What did he say? Now there’s a list — an exhaustive list. Right? Where’s it at?” Mayfield broke his silence in response to accusations by NASCAR on Wednesday that he had purposely delayed taking a drug test by more than seven hours on Monday. The comments infuriated Mayfield, who said he was sent on a “wild goose chase,” and was given just 18 minutes to get to a NASCAR-appointed lab to undergo testing. “I wasn’t running or hiding from anybody, because I don’t have to,” he said.(ESPN.com)(7-9-2009)
    UPDATE: Unable to find funding since his suspension for failing a random drug test, Jeremy Mayfield is considering selling his race team. Shana Mayfield said Thursday she and her husband are considering selling their remaining inventory because they don’t have the cash to field a race team. Mayfield transferred ownership of the #41 Toyota to his wife following his May 9 suspension. “We are looking at all options at this point, since we cannot get sponsorship,” Shana Mayfield said.(Associated Press), for Mayfield’s timeline of events, NASCAR’s decision to appeal, and all the previous information on the Mayfield issue, see the NASCAR Substance Abuse News page.(7-10-2009)
  • Vickers still waiting to sign contract: Where will #83-Brian Vickers be next year? Surprisingly, there is no answer to that question yet. The 25-year-old racer reached a verbal commitment to remain with Team Red Bull for another year last winter, yet nothing has been inked as of this week. Vickers called the situation “strange” and expected to have a contract signed before now. “We went into the season, with the economy and things the way they were, there were some uncertainties, which is understandable, I think, with anyone in corporate America these days,” said Vickers, who won his fifth Cup pole of the year Thursday at Chicagoland. “So, I didn’t really think that much about it. Right now, we still haven’t agreed on a contract. There were many times where I went into the week expecting it to be signed and sent to me to sign, and that didn’t happen. Why? I can’t answer that. That’s a question for Red Bull and a question for Jay (Frye).” Frye, Red Bull team manager, is expected to meet with owner Dietrich Mateschitz next week in Austria to hash out details of Vickers’ contract and the possible technical alignment with Hendrick Motorsports in 2010. Vickers remains happy with the organization and hopes to have answers upon Frye’s return.(Fox Sports)(7-10-2009)
  • Tire Test at Atlanta: In preparation for Atlanta Motor Speedway’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race, the Pep Boys Auto 500, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company is conducting a two-day tire test [July 14-15, Tue-Wed] to ensure the preeminent tire is ready for night racing in Atlanta. Drivers scheduled to take part in the test: #14-Tony Stewart (Chevy), #2-Kurt Busch (Dodge), #11-Denny Hamlin (Toyota) and #26-Jamie McMurray (Ford). This session is closed to the public.(AMS)(7-10-2009)
  • Nemechek gets sponsor for Chicago: Joe Nemechek has secured sponsorship for both his Sprint Cup and Nationwide entries at this weekend’s NASCAR races at Chicagoland Speedway. NYC Bagel Deli, a Chicago-based deli/restaurant known for its kettle-boiled bagels, cream cheeses, smoked fish and Boar’s Head premium meats and cheeses, has agreed to be a primary sponsor on Nemechek’s #87 Chevy in Friday night’s Nationwide Series race and his #87 Toyota Camry in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup event.(DMF Communications PR)(7-9-2009)
  • Eury Jr. to serve as Keselowski’s crew chief this weekend: This weekend will mark the first time that #25-Brad Keselowski will work with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. Prior to this weekend, Keselowski worked with Lance McGrew, and the pair scored a team-high finish of seventh at Darlington Raceway. In the Nationwide Series, Keselowski works with Eury’s father, crew chief Tony Eury Sr.(Hendrick PR)(7-9-2009)
    UPDATE: His race day results with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a steady decline, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. lost confidence in his setups and strategies. He quit talking with Earnhardt on the radio because every brief conversation was dissected by critical fans and media. Earnhardt can feel the weight of NASCAR and its fans on him at times as the sport’s most popular driver. And when he failed, it was his cousin and loyal crew chief who often took the often unfair hit. When team owner Rick Hendrick pulled the plug on the unproductive relationship in late May, Eury was ready to move on. “At some point in time you have to weigh it and say, ‘Is it worth it?'” Eury said. “And it wasn’t.” Eury was back at the track Thursday for the first time since the longtime duo were separated with Earnhardt in the midst of one of the worst starts of his career. He’ll be crew chief for #25-Brad Keselowski’s Hendrick Motorsports team for Saturday night’s race at Chicagoland Speedway – a less pressure-packed position than working with Earnhardt. Eury was excited, relaxed and talked about racing with “nothing to lose” this weekend, a sharp difference from his final races with Earnhardt.(Associated Press)(7-10-2009)
  • Earnhardt says he’d like to run Indy 500 someday: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he would jump at the chance to drive in the Indianapolis 500 if there were not a conflicting NASCAR race on the same day. Rain washed out his plans for a ride in a two-seat Indy car on Thursday. Instead, he strapped himself behind the wheel and received a 10-minute driving lesson from former 500 winner Dan Wheldon. Earnhardt said he “picked his brains as hard as I could.” And he said driving at Indianapolis “definitely interests me,” though he has NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, N.C., on the same day. However, he said he and many other NASCAR drivers would try Indy if the schedules could be resolved.(Associated Press)(7-10-2009)
  • NASCAR rebrands Jeff Gordon Racing Experience: NASCAR announced an agreement to rebrand the former Jeff Gordon Racing School into the NASCAR Racing Experience. The multi-year licensing agreement brings an authentic racing experience to NASCAR fans, its sponsors and business partners at racetracks throughout the country. The NASCAR Racing Experience (NRE) provides a menu of racing programs from a ride-along as a front-seat passenger to the full racing experience which puts fans behind the wheel of an authentic race car. The program will use current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racecars for all of its programs. The NASCAR Racing Experience will begin operating at 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series tracks across the country before expanding to additional tracks in 2010. Current locations include: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Darlington Raceway, Kansas Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Nashville Superspeedway, Richmond International Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway and Texas Motor Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(7-10-2009)
  • Jessie James to present National Anthem for LifeLock.com 400: Jessie James, a 21-year-old combination of throw-back rocker and pop diva, will sing the National Anthem before the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway July 11. James, who recently finished a tour with The Jonas Brothers, is a “big talent in a petite, power-packed package,” according to Mercury Records. She’s on a mission to be “wonderful” – in a way that shows you can be a rebel and a lady, too.Chicagoland Speedway PR)(7-10-2009)

July 9, 2009

  • Vickers on pole at Chicago: #83-Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the LifeLock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway with a lap of 184.162mph for his 5th pole of the season and 10th pole of his career. His teammate, #82-Scott Speed was 2nd fastest followed by #48-Johnson, #11-Hamlin, #33-Bowyer, #18-Busch, #24-Gordon, #21-Elliott, #00-Reutimann, and #47-Ambrose.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #82-Speed, #21-Elliott, #66-Blaney, #09-Bliss, #25-Keselowski, #87-Nemechek, #36-Skinner and #71-Gilliland.
    The three drivers who failed to qualify: #64-Wallace, #51-Bean, and #37-Raines.
    See starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression and more on my Chicago Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(7-9-2009)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Chicagoland Speedway:
    Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the LifeLock.com 400 with a lap of 29.322 seconds, 184.162 mph.
    This is his 10th pole in 191 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his fifth pole and ninth top-10 start in 2009. Vickers has poles on four configurations of race track: short track, 1.5-mile, 2.0-mile and road course.
    This is his first pole in five races at Chicagoland Speedway.
    Scott Speed (second) posted his fourth top-10 start of 2009 and his first in one races at Chicagoland Speedway. This marks the first time that Team Red Bull has claimed both front row starting positions.
    Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his seventh top-10 start at Chicagoland Speedway. It is his 15th in 19 races this season.
    Scott Speed (second) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(7-9-2009)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Toyota: #83-Vickers, 184.162, starts 1st
    Chevy: #48-Johnson, 182.217, starts 3rd
    Ford: #21-Elliott, 181.476, starts 8th
    Dodge: #43-Sorenson, 181.275, starts 11th
  • Thursday practice for the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #83-Vickers 180.234
    #5-Martin 180.180
    #82-Speed 180.060
    #48-Johnson 179.766
    #24-Gordon 179.766
    slowest: #96-Labonte 173.700 & #51-Bean 172.678
    #71-Gilliland brought out the caution early when he lost an engine and dropped fluid on the track.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my Chicago Practice Speeds page.(7-9-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Chicago:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #82-Scott Speed, 3rd
    #25-Brad Keselowski, 21st
    #21-Bill Elliott [PC], 30th
    #09-Mike Bliss, 32nd
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 35th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 36th
    #36-Mike Skinner, 41st
    #71-David Gilliland, 42nd
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #64-Mike Wallace, 43rd
    #37-Tony Raines, 44th
    #51-Dexter Bean, 46th
  • Qualifying Order for the LifeLock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway is posted. 46 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 to go out is #6-Ragan. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #64-Wallace with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #82-Speed. See the full qualifying order on the Chicago Qualifying Page.(7-9-2009)

  • Mayfield defends himself in interview; considering selling team: Suspended Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield has broken his silence, vehemently denying allegations of drug use and adamantly defending himself from recent NASCAR claims in an exclusive interview with ESPN. “Every time there’s an action [by NASCAR], there’s going to be a reaction. From here on out,” Mayfield said in a phone interview Wednesday from his home in Statesville, N.C. “I try to be nice. I try to be respectful to them. I try to do everything right. But I’m not getting drug through the mud no more.” Mayfield repeated his stance that he never took methamphetamine. He also said he no longer consumes alcohol, largely due to the fact, he said, his father was a “bad alcoholic.” Asked if he had ever taken illegal drugs, Mayfield responded, “What are you calling illegal? I’ve drank beer. I don’t drink beer at all anymore. I don’t drink. Don’t do anything.” He said he feels as though NASCAR is attempting to make an example of him. “I feel like that’s exactly what they thought I was going to be. Exactly. To a ‘T,'” Mayfield said. “Now, all the sudden, Brian’s [France, NASCAR Chairman] coming back saying, ‘Well, we have positive tests all the time.’ Well, if it’s a zero-tolerance policy, how in the hell do you have people testing positive all the time? “Then he comes back and says there’s a list. I forget what big word he used — an exhaustive list of drugs. Everybody in the world has asked him why the drivers don’t have a list. What did he say? Now there’s a list — an exhaustive list. Right? Where’s it at?” Mayfield broke his silence in response to accusations by NASCAR on Wednesday that he had purposely delayed taking a drug test by more than seven hours on Monday. The comments infuriated Mayfield, who said he was sent on a “wild goose chase,” and was given just 18 minutes to get to a NASCAR-appointed lab to undergo testing. “I wasn’t running or hiding from anybody, because I don’t have to,” he said.(ESPN.com) Mayfield gives his timeline of events in the story.(7-9-2009)
  • Manion to MWR with Truex? UPDATE: #1-Martin Truex’s current crew chief Bono Manion is expected to join Michael Waltrip Racing in the future, whether that date is after Homestead or before is likely predicated on the Chip Ganassi. Manion has worked with Truex since the May Richmond race in 2003. If Truex and Manion leave EGR prematurely, Aric Almirola, who is still under contract but has not raced since Texas due to a lack of sponsorship, could jump in the car.(FoxSports)(7-8-2009)
    UPDATE: Claire B Lang interviewed Truex on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio “Dialed In”:
    CBL: Can you talk at all about Bono and whether you can bring Bono over to the (MWR) operation – you and Bono have been through the war.
    Martin Truex Junior: “We’ve done a lot of good things together. We’ve had a lot of success together. You know I love him – he’s like a brother to me. So I would love to have him over here. I’ve got a lot of confidence in him. I know he’s good. I know he can do the job so we’ll just have to see. You know obviously it’s not my sole decision to make. I think that we need to figure out his situation and talk to him and see what he wants and you know make sure that he thinks this is the right deal for him and we’ll sit down and have Ty(Norris) and everybody and if they are comfortable with it then I’d be all for it. I think it would make things a lot easier for me coming into a new place to have him on my side.((7-9-2009)

  • Busch says Stewart dumped him at Daytona: All is not forgiven in the eyes of #18-Kyle Busch. Busch said he felt he was “dumped” by #14-Tony Stewart Saturday night at Daytona when the two cars collided as the drivers headed to the finish line of the Coke Zero 400. Busch didn’t directly criticize Stewart at first, but found a way to make his point when asked what NASCAR should do about last-lap crashes at Daytona and Talladega. “NASCAR can take steps to look at it,” Busch said. “If the second-place driver dumps the leader, then black flag his ass. He doesn’t get the win. If he’s up along side the leader and dumps him, give the third-place car the victory.” Busch then was asked if he considered the bump with Stewart “a dump.” “Yes, it would be considered a dump,” he said.(ESPN.com)(7-9-2009)

  • Today in NASCAR History: — July 9 — 1965: Junior Johnson wins the Old Bridge 200, the last Cup race run at half-mile Old Bridge (N.J.) Stadium. Johnson leads 88 laps and is the only driver on the lead lap. Dick Hutcherson finishes second and Marvin Panch third, the only drivers a lap down.(NASCAR.com)

  • Long John Silver’s on the #34 & #37; Free Tacos Tuesday: Front Row Motorsports and Long John Silver’s will be looking to hook your attention this weekend during the LifeLock.com 400 Sprint Cup Series event at the Chicagoland Speedway. Long John Silver’s has partnered with Front Row Motorsports to help promote Baja Fish Taco Day on the hood of both the #37 entry driven by Tony Raines and the #34 entry driven by John Andretti. Race fans will be reminded each time they see the Front Row Motorsports entries on the track that Long John Silver’s will celebrate Baja Fish Taco Day on Tuesday, July 14, when fans can enjoy a free Baja Fish Taco at participating restaurant locations across the country from Open to 2:30 p.m.(Front Row Motorsports PR), see an image of the #37 car on the #37 Paint Schemes page.(7-9-2009)

  • Mayfield not going to Chicago: Reinstated NASCAR driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield will not race this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway as part of an oral agreement with the U.S. Court of Appeals, Mayfield lawyer John Buric said Thursday morning. Mayfield obtained an injunction July 1 from U.S. District Court in Charlotte to lift a suspension for a failed drug test that NASCAR says was positive for methamphetamines. NASCAR asked the appeals court in Richmond, Va., Wednesday to immediately lift the injunction so it can suspend Mayfield until there is a hearing on the appeal. Buric said that since Mayfield hadn’t found sponsorship to race this week, he agreed to not go to Chicagoland – where practice starts this afternoon for the race Saturday – so he can have more time to respond to NASCAR’s request to have the injunction lifted. If he was still entertaining thoughts of going to Chicagoland, Mayfield would have had to respond to NASCAR’s motion by today. Now he has until next Wednesday. “He couldn’t get the sponsorships anyway to race,” Buric said. “We agreed with NASCAR and reported to the court that he would not be racing this weekend, taking away the urgency of their motion, so we could properly brief it. … If you listen to the folks in the garages and you listen to the owners and you listen to the other drivers, he is a pariah at this point, and nobody is touching him right now. “It made our decision simple to report to the court that there is no urgency, you don’t need to decide this by today, give us the standard seven days to respond.”(SceneDaily)(7-9-2009)

  • Eury Jr. to serve as Keselowski’s crew chief this weekend: This weekend will mark the first time that #25-Brad Keselowski will work with crew chief Tony Eury Jr. Prior to this weekend, Keselowski worked with Lance McGrew, and the pair scored a team-high finish of seventh at Darlington Raceway. In the Nationwide Series, Keselowski works with Eury’s father, crew chief Tony Eury Sr.(Hendrick PR)(7-9-200)

  • Blaney upbeat about future: #66-Dave Blaney’s NASCAR Sprint Cup season has been tumultuous, so to speak. The Hartford native, who drives for Prism Motorsports, has competed in 15 of the 18 Cup races. He has a completion percentage of 16.9 percent, starts with an average of 32.2 and finishes with an average of 40.7. He’s accumulated $1,161,200 in winnings heading into this weekend’s race in Chicago. “In my case, all you can do is stay in the car, stay at the racetrack and do all you can do,” Blaney said prior to Tuesday’s Lou Blaney Memorial Classic. “The first few weeks, it was a really hard thing to do. You kind of resign yourself to that’s what it is.” Blaney finished only one race this season, the Coca-Cola 600. In the other races, Blaney and his team dealt with “star and park” status, in which some drivers finish early to preserve their cars at the first sign of mechanical problems, such as vibration or transmission, because they are unable to pit for repairs. It’s a matter of economics. “Hopefully, an opportunity comes along in either of the other series or in the Cup series or my team gathers a little sponsorship along the way and it starts building up,” Blaney said. “It’s hard thing, but at the moment, it was the best option.”(Warren Tribune Chronicle)(7-9-2009)

  • Daytona TV ratings: TNT says its coverage of Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway earned a 3.1 household rating from Nielsen Media Research. The rating was 18.4 percent lower than the 3.8 TNT earned for the race in 2008, and a spokesperson noted this year’s race fell on the July 4th holiday, which is traditionally a weak time for television ratings.(SceneDaily)(7-9-2009)

  • Roush looking for first Chicago win: Chicagoland is one of two tracks on the current Sprint Cup schedule that a Roush Fenway entry has not won at. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the other.(Roush Fenway PR(7-9-2009)

  • Gordon, Martin shooting for $1 million bonus at Chicago: A $1 million bonus is up for grabs in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, but only a pair of drivers – Hendrick Motorsports teammates #24-Jeff Gordon and #1-Mark Martin – can secure the extra loot. At Michigan International Speedway in June, the duo finished one-two with Martin taking the victory in the LifeLock 400. To win the bonus provided by the title sponsor of the race, the pair must occupy the top-two spots – in any order – at the conclusion of Saturday night’s event.(Performance PR Plus)(7-9-2009)

  • Chicago Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Logano posted a 19th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the 14th time this season. Logano leads #82-Scott Speed by 23 points (201-178) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The record number for Raybestos Rookies to finish inside the top-10 at Chicagoland is three in 2006: Reed Sorenson (seventh), Clint Bowyer (ninth) and J.J. Yeley (10th). #29-Kevin Harvick is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in eight Sprint Cup races at Chicagoland. Harvick won the 2001 Tropicana 400 by .649 seconds over Robert Pressley and is the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in a race at Chicagoland (five times for 113 laps).(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos), see rookie standings, more info on my 2009 Rookies page.(7-9-2009)

  • SPEEDtv’s Pass Time features NASCAR, NHRA competitors: Competition tightens for Season Four of the SPEED drag racing game show, Pass Time, as the stars of NASCAR and NHRA take turns at beating the house – and each other – beginning Wednesday, July 15. The celebrity shows kick off ten Wednesday evening premieres, each starting prime time at 9 p.m. ET, encompassing shows from palatial zMAX Dragway @ Concord (N.C.) and NHRA-owned Atlanta Dragway. The season kicks off with back-to-back episodes featuring Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, against his crew chief, Pat Tryson, and NSCS regular Casey Mears facing off against his crew chief, Todd Berrier. Upcoming episodes will include Roush Racing star Greg Biffle versus crew member Roger Ueltsch (July 22), NHRA championship teammates Greg Anderson and Jason Line on July 29 and former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champions Mike Skinner against Ron Hornaday on Aug. 5.(SPEEDtv PR)(7-9-2009)
  • Jimmy Fallon named Grand Marshal for Lifelock.com 400: He may be associated with the most recognized opening line in American comedy, but on Saturday evening, July 11 the words fans at the LifeLock.com 400 will be waiting for from Jimmy Fallon will be the most famous phrase in racing – “Gentlemen, start your engines!” Fallon, host of NBC’s new “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” will come to you live from Chicagoland Speedway as Grand Marshal of the anchor event of the weekend, NASCAR Sprint Cup’s LifeLock.com 400.(Chicagoland Speedway PR)(7-9-2009)
  • Milwaukee Mile race featuring Kenseth cancelled: The Aug. 29 Wisconsin All-Star 100 at the Milwaukee Mile has been cancelled, Steve Jones, the track’s general manager said Wednesday. The third annual event was to feature Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth, a native of Cambridge, racing against some of the top drivers from around the region. Wisconsin Motorsports, which holds the contract to promote races at the track, owes money to NASCAR and the Indy Racing League for the race weekends they sanctioned earlier this season. Its staff was laid off and office closed last week.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-9-2009)

July 8, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: — July 8 — 2006: Casey Mears wins the USG Durock 300 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland for his first victory in NASCAR’s top three national series. Mears beats Carl Edwards to the line by .525 seconds, and Jeff Burton is third. The top 16 finishers are full-time Cup drivers.(NASCAR.com)

  • NASCAR appeals judge’s decision on Mayfield: UPDATE 2: NASCAR has asked a federal judge to reverse his ruling and keep driver Jeremy Mayfield off the track. NASCAR filed the motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to reinstate Mayfield’s ban. The latest twist comes after Mullen’s decision last week to grant an injunction clearing him to compete. Mullen said the chance of a false positive on his drug test was “quite substantial.” NASCAR disputes Mullen’s conclusion, and says Mayfield poses a threat to public safety. NASCAR also filed a notice saying it plans to bring the case before a federal appeals court.(Associated Press)(7-6-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR on Wednesday asked an appeals court to ban Jeremy Mayfield from racing, alleging the participation of “a proven methamphetamine user” could lead to fatal consequences for other competitors and fans. NASCAR asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn last week’s injunction that lifted Mayfield’s indefinite suspension for a failing a random drug test. In the filing, NASCAR argues U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen relied on incorrect information when he lifted the suspension. If allowed on the track, NASCAR believes Mayfield poses a dangerous threat.(Associated Press)(7-8-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Mayfield attorney John Buric scoffed at the idea Mayfield is a potential danger and revealed the driver was tested twice Monday – once at an independent laboratory and once at his home by NASCAR. “He’s not a danger, and they have the right to test him anytime to find that out,” Buric said. “In fact, they did test him on Monday night at his home. A group of people went to his home and watched him pee in a cup. It was humiliating.” NASCAR’s appeal did not mention the most recent random test, but spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed Mayfield was tested Monday evening. But Buric and NASCAR differed on what exactly happened during the seven-plus hours after Mayfield was asked to report for testing. Buric and NASCAR differed on what exactly happened during the seven-plus hours between the time Mayfield was asked to report for testing and when NASCAR collected a sample – a lag time the program administrator called “a classic case of delay tactics used by someone who doesn’t want to be tested. The standard procedure for this type of testing is notification to an individual and no more than a 2-hour time lapse before the sample is collected,” said Dr. David Black, CEO of Aegis Sciences Corp., which runs NASCAR’s program. “When an individual has more than two hours, they have an opportunity to engage in behavior that can mask a sample. When you are dealing with a seven-hour lag, there is a great opportunity for mischief.” NASCAR said Mayfield was notified by an Aegis representative at 1:18 p.m. Monday to report to a nearby testing center within two hours, but the driver said he had to first speak to his attorney. After a delay, Buric told NASCAR that Mayfield couldn’t get to the center by 3:18 p.m., so NASCAR said it found a lab closer to his location. At 3:45 p.m., Mayfield called the lab to say he was close but lost, and a receptionist offered to talk him the rest of the way, Poston said. NASCAR said Mayfield told the lab he would call right back but no one was contacted until 5:30 p.m., when Buric called NASCAR to inform them Mayfield could not find the location so the lawyer had sent him to an independent laboratory. Two testers and a NASCAR security officer arrived at Mayfield’s home in Catawba County, N.C., at 7:20 p.m., could not gain access for 10 minutes, and then weren’t able to persuade Mayfield to give a sample until 8:20 p.m. Even though Mayfield has been cleared to race, Buric said he doubted the driver will be in Chicago for this weekend’s event. Mayfield has until Thursday afternoon to enter his Mayfield Motorsports’ car or find another team owner willing to hire him for the event. “As of right now, he does not have any sponsors, he does not have anyone asking him to drive,” Buric said. “His career is all but ruined unless someone gives him a chance. But people are treating him like a pariah. We thought the injunction was an important factor in getting him back on track. As it appears to be turning out, having accomplished that doesn’t at all get him what he really wants: getting back in a car going around the track.”(Associated Press)(7-8-2009)

  • More races for Furniture Row? UPDATE: For #78-Regan Smith, who knew he had only a 12-race schedule when he signed to race for Barney Visser’s team this season, [team manager Joe] Garone gave the ultimate payoff on Saturday. “We’re looking at adding some more races as we move forward,” Garone said. “We’ll announce them later, and we’re working hard to get sponsors to run a full season next year. Regan’s finishes absolutely led to us thinking about adding races. Man, when you’re not tearing stuff up, you’re just able to better prepare and better plan and do the things you need to do, so it all helps.”(NASCAR.com)(7-8-2009)
    UPDATE: Regan Smith told Sirius Speedway host Dave Moody that Furniture Row Racing has added the August 22 race at Bristol Motor Speedway to their 2009 schedule.(Sirius NASCAR Radio(7-8-2009) (

  • Stewart say Goodyear has solved Indy tire problems: Two-time Allstate 400 winner #14-Tony Stewart says he’s confident Goodyear has solved the tire problems that plagued last year’s race at the Brickyard. Stewart was among the drivers who participated in Goodyear’s seven test sessions at the track since last year, when the problems turned the race into a series of 10- to 12-lap sprints. Stewart says he was able to run about 30 laps on the new tires during the tests and he’s “not at all” concerned about their durability. (Associated Press)(7-8-2009)

  • Special scheme for Newman at Chicago: The latest version of the U.S. Army’s PC action game will be featured on Ryan Newman’s #39 Chevy in Saturday night’s LifeLock.com 400 Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. The car’s hood will carry the AA3 logo, which stands for America’s Army 3, the third edition of a PC action game that delivers an authentic and entertaining Army experience by reflecting the training, technology, actions and career advancement of a Soldier. The teen-rated game from Steam was launched on June 17 and can be downloaded free at www.americasarmy.com/steam.(SHR), see an image of the car on the #39 Paint Schemes page.(7-8-2009)

  • Truex: Too Many questions at EGR to stay: Martin Truex, who won two championships in what is now the Nationwide Series with Chance 2 Motorsports (a division of Dale Earnhardt Inc.) and then became a full-time Cup driver for DEI in 2006, said he believed the future of Michael Waltrip Racing was much more solid than that of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, the result of a merger between DEI and Chip Ganassi Racing after last season. “For me, there was a lot less in question [at MWR],” said Truex, who won one race and made the Chase with DEI in 2007. “They were able to answer more questions. It was easier to see where they were heading. The picture was just a lot more clear for me. … It’s solid.”(SceneDaily)(7-8-2009)

  • Manion to MWR with Truex? #1-Martin Truex’s current crew chief Bono Manion is expected to join Michael Waltrip Racing in the future, whether that date is after Homestead or before is likely predicated on the Chip Ganassi. Manion has worked with Truex since the May Richmond race in 2003. If Truex and Manion leave EGR prematurely, Aric Almirola, who is still under contract but has not raced since Texas due to a lack of sponsorship, could jump in the car.(FoxSports)(7-8-2009)

  • Bean looking to make second race of the year: #51-Dexter Bean’s next stop is Chicagoland Speedway where he will make his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start in the LifeLock.com 400 on Saturday, July 11, 2009. Bean’s last outing was at New Hampshire Motor Speedway where he did not make the race due to qualifying being rained out and the field set by owner’s points. Fans can be a part of Dexter’s success by visiting www.lwdex.com and purchasing LiveWire Energy Chews. With every chew purchase you will receive free flavor samples. A portion of every chew purchased goes towards the funding of BlackJack Racing.(BlackJack Racing PR)(7-8-2009)

  • Penske drivers in fuel economy challenge event: #2-Kurt Busch, along with Penske Racing drivers #77-Sam Hornish Jr. and #12-David Stremme, will be participating in Friday’s Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy Challenge in the South Parking Lot of Soldier Field. They will be joined by ESPN’s Dan Patrick and NFL Hall-of-Famer Dan Hampton in driving fuel-efficient “smart fortwo” cars through a number of “challenges” on a miniature road course. The “contest” is being held in an effort to raise awareness for ways consumers can save fuel during the busy summer driving season.(Tom Roberts PR)(7-8-2009)

  • Wheldon giving Earnhardt Jr. IndyCar Two-Seater Ride at IMS: Two of the National Guard’s biggest racing stars will be sharing a ride in an IndyCar this Thursday when Panther Racing driver, and former Indianapolis 500 winner, Dan Wheldon will give NASCAR Sprint Cup star #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. a ride in the Indy Racing Experience two-seater at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Earnhardt Jr. is in Indianapolis to promote the upcoming July 26th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Wheldon is traveling to Canada immediately after Thursday’s event for the Honda Indy Toronto IndyCar Series race, which will be held on Sunday. Earnhardt will also turn laps in the historic #16 Noc-Out Hose Clamp Special that Mauri Rose and Floyd David co-drove to victory in the 1941 Indianapolis 500.(Panther Racing PR)(7-8-2009)

  • Patriot Academy on the #24 hood: This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, the National Guard’s newest pilot program — Patriot Academy – will be showcased on the hood of the #24 DuPont/National Guard Chevy. The Patriot Academy was created for qualified applicants who have dropped out of high school for six months or longer and wish to get their life and future back on track by enlisting into the National Guard.(Hendrick PR)(7-8-2009)

  • Insignia scheme for Sadler: Sadler and the #19 team are changing colors this weekend in Chicago, and they won’t be hard to find. The bright green of the Insignia brand of electronics sold exclusively at Best Buy is making its first ever appearance on the hood of the #19 at Chicagoland Speedway.(Richard Petty Motorsports PR), see an image of the car on the #19 Paint Schemes page.(7-8-2009)

  • DLP debuts on the #96: This weekend the #96 Ford will make its debut with the DLP paint scheme and Texas Instruments DLP as primary sponsor.(Yates Racing PR)(7-8-2009)

  • Sylvania on the #98 at Chicago: Sylvania will debut on the hood of the #98 Sylvania / Menards Ford Fusion for this weekend’s Lifelock.com 400.(Yates Racing PR)(7-8-2009)

  • USG on board with Kenseth: #17-Matt Kenseth will run the USG Sheetrock paint scheme this weekend at Chicagoland. It will be the second of three races for USG on the car this season. The #17 carried the blue and red earlier this year in Las Vegas and will carry the colors again later this year at Phoenix in November.(Roush Fenway PR), see an image of the car on the #17 Paint Schemes page.(7-8-2009)
  • Charges Filed Against North Wilkesboro Lease Owner: A man leasing North Wilkesboro Speedway was arrested last night on three felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense in Wilkes County and on a fugitive warrant from Florida, according to warrants from the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office. The fugitive warrant charges Charles Collins Jr. with contracting without a license during an emergency and third degree grand theft, according to Capt. Steve Cabe, the chief of detectives. Cabe said Collins is also wanted on a fugitive warrant from Georgia, and that local authorities expect to receive that today. Authorities said the local charges are related to checks Collins made out to race car driver April Myers in the amounts of $1,000, $750, and $245. The checks were to reimburse Myers after she’d paid for a driving school that was to be held at the speedway but was canceled. Collins wrote the reimbursement checks when he knew there was not enough money in the account to cover the check, according to the warrants.(Winston-Salem Journal)(7-8-2009)

July 7, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: — July 7, 1991: Rickey Craven picks up his first NASCAR victory, winning the True Value 250 Nationwide Series race at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine. Craven, of Newburgh, Maine, beats Tommy Houston by three-tenths of a second in the 303-lap race on the one-third-mile track. Todd Bodine is third.(NASCAR.com)

  • Goodyear conducts tire test at Bristol: Drivers from NASCAR’s top three series were at Bristol Motor Speedway Tuesday for a closed-session tire test to help Goodyear determine the best compounds for the upcoming August races. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular #07-Casey Mears tested tires for the Aug. 22 Sharpie 500, while Jason Keller and Steve Wallace ran laps on behalf of the Nationwide Series competitors who will race in the Aug. 21 Food City 250. Past Camping World Truck Series champions Todd Bodine and Ron Hornaday were on hand representing that series. After spending the morning hours working rubber into the track, the drivers began to get a feel for what to expect in August.(Bristol Motor Speedway PR)(7-7-2009)

  • ISC reports drop in admissions revenue: International Speedway Corp. has seen revenues drop 13.6 percent and has reported a loss for the first six months of its 2009 fiscal year – the loss mostly attributed to a write-down of $55.6 million for struggling merchandise arm Motorsports Authentics. In releasing its financial statement for December 2008-May 2009, ISC said it has seen admissions revenue drop 16.5 percent, motorsports-related revenue drop 8.7 percent and food, beverage and merchandise revenue drop 33.7 percent. Admissions revenue for March-May (including NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends at Martinsville, Phoenix, Talladega, Richmond and Darlington) were down 18.2 percent. The track operator has had a net loss of $6.5 million for the first half of the year, compared to a profit of $62.25 million in the first half of last year.(SceneDaily)(7-7-2009)

  • Triad Racing Technologies expands: Triad Racing Technologies announced it will be expanding its engine and body parts businesses in High Point, while adding a parts distribution location in Cornelius, NC. Marty Gaunt, Principal at TRT, said Triad will look to increase shop capacity of its engine facility in High Point, including engine development and assembly. Additionally, it will expand the Triad parts business by adding a centrally located distribution location to offer a pick up point closer to the headquarters of many NASCAR teams. Triad Racing Technologies currently builds Toyota engines for teams competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series.(Triad Racing Technologies PR)(7-7-2009)

  • Advanced Fuel Economy scheme for Hornish: Penske Racing driver Sam Hornish Jr. will drive a special #77 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 11 to help make consumers aware of the best ways to conserve fuel during the busy summer driving season. The #77 Mobil 1 Advanced Fuel Economy Dodge is designed in part to show ExxonMobil’s continued support for the Alliance to Save Energy and its Drive $marter Challenge, which has the goal of increasing fuel efficiency nationwide.(Exxon Mobil PR), see an image of the car on the #77 Paint Schemes page.(7-7-2009)

  • ISC reports drop in admissions revenue: International Speedway Corp. has seen revenues drop 13.6 percent and has reported a loss for the first six months of its 2009 fiscal year – the loss mostly attributed to a write-down of $55.6 million for struggling merchandise arm Motorsports Authentics. In releasing its financial statement for December 2008-May 2009, ISC said it has seen admissions revenue drop 16.5 percent, motorsports-related revenue drop 8.7 percent and food, beverage and merchandise revenue drop 33.7 percent. Admissions revenue for March-May (including NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends at Martinsville, Phoenix, Talladega, Richmond and Darlington) were down 18.2 percent. The track operator has had a net loss of $6.5 million for the first half of the year, compared to a profit of $62.25 million in the first half of last year.(SceneDaily)(7-7-2009)
  • MWR to make announcement on July 7th? UPDATE 3: Truex: On Friday Rowdy.com visited Michael Waltrip Racing [Cornelius, NC] which offers an amazing tour of the facility, including the fabricating shop. Even more interesting than the tour itself was this tidbit…someone in our group was asking how Ryan and Martin Truex Jr. (brothers) were related. Somehow this led to our tour guide telling us that Michael Waltrip Racing would be making a MAJOR announcement on July 7th.(Rowdy.com)(6-27-2009)
    UPDATE: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta said no matter what happens with Martin Truex Jr., he expects Bass Pro Shops will remain with the organization for 2010. Truex, who drives for EGR, is expected to be announced as the 2010 full-time replacement for Michael Waltrip at Michael Waltrip Racing on July 7.(SceneDaily)(6-28-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Martin Truex Jr. will be named on Tuesday the newest addition to Michael Waltrip Racing, multiple sources confirmed on Saturday at Daytona. A press conference including sponsor NAPA is scheduled for noon at the team’s Cornelius, N.C., shop. Truex is in the final year of his contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. NAPA, the long-time sponsor of team owner Michael Waltrip, will be become his primary sponsor. Waltrip will move from a full-time to part-time schedule that will include the Daytona 500 in February. He could remain in his familiar #55 with Truex taking another number, possibly the #56.(ESPN.com)(7-5-2009)
    UPDATE 3: A driving career that has spanned a quarter of a century, defined by two emotional winning performances on NASCAR’s biggest stage, will be celebrated during the 2010 Daytona 500. Michael Waltrip, a two-time Daytona 500 champion, announced that he will drive a limited schedule beginning next season as he begins to focus on being one of the youngest multi-team owners in the history of NASCAR.(MWR PR)(7-7-2009)
    AND: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that NAPA Auto Parts has signed a multi-year contract to continue its primary sponsorship with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization, and has named two-time Nationwide Series champion and 2007 Chase participant Martin Truex, Jr. as its driver. Starting in 2010, the car number on the NAPA Auto Parts Toyota will be the #56, a number that has been in the Truex racing family for three generations. MWR co-owner Michael Waltrip, the only full-time driver NAPA has had since joining the Sprint Cup division in 2001, will drive a limited schedule, to include the 2010 Daytona 500 driving the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota – an event in which Waltrip and NAPA have shared two memorable victories. Waltrip will retain the number 55. The owner points earned during the 2009 Sprint Cup campaign will be transferred to Truex’s full-time effort.(MWR PR)(7-7-2009)
    AND: Some notes from the press conference: Truex says he is committed to Earnhart Ganassi for the rest of the 2009 season; NAPA’s contract extension is only described as “multi-year”; Waltrip will run a minimum of 4-5 races and as many as 10-12; Waltrip could run some races in the #66 PRISM Motorsports car, owned by Phil Parsons (who gets some assistance this year from Michael Waltrip Racing); no decisons have been made on crew swaps or crew chiefs.(7-7-2009)

  • Grubb Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Daytona: Darian Grubb, crew chief for the #14 Burger King Chevy driven by Tony Stewart, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. After qualifying was rained out, the #14 team was able to pick the first pit stall by virtue of acquiring the pole position as the points leader. Great track position and a strong car that needed very few changes throughout the evening gave the team an advantage over the rest of the field. Stewart led the most laps in the race and resided in the top-three for nearly all of the 400 miles completed. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead.(Wypall)(7-7-2009)
  • ‘Back to School’ for Stewart at Chicago: Tony Stewart will sport a colorful “Back-To-School” paint scheme on his #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy during this weekend’s LifeLock.com 400 race at Chicagoland Speedway. The scheme includes everything from crayons to paper clips to pencils, and even reads “Teacher’s Pet” on the decklid, which is designed to look like a school composition book.(Edelman/True Speed PR), see an image of the scheme on the #14 Paint Schemes page.(7-7-2009)

  • Palermo’s Pizza to Sponsor #36 at Chicago: Palermo’s Pizza announced that it will sponsor Tommy Baldwin Racing’s #36 Toyota and driver Mike Skinner in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend. In celebration of its sponsorship of the #36 machine, Palermo’s Pizza will offer race fans an opportunity to download a money saving coupon by visiting www.tommybaldwinracing.net. Palermo’s Pizza has been making quality, authentic Italian-style pizzas for over 40 years. What began as a small Italian bakery has grown to become a leading name in premium frozen pizzas.(Everest-Mareting / TBR PR), see an image of the car on the #36 Paint Schemes page.(7-7-2009)

  • Valvoline / Sears on the #26 at Chicago: Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Valvoline/Sears Auto Center Ford this weekend in the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.(Roush Fenway PR), see an image of the car on the #26 Team Schemes Page.(7-7-2009)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Reaches Midpoint: Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart needed little time to grasp the driver-owner concept. At the season’s midpoint, he has already:
    * Won two races (Pocono and Daytona), becoming the first driver-owner to win a race since Ricky Rudd in 1998, and the first to win multiple races since Rudd in ’97;
    * Captured the points lead, the first driver-owner to do so since Alan Kulwicki in 1992;
    * Put both of his Stewart-Haas Racing cars in the top 12 in points.
    Stewart’s surprising success highlights a season filled with compelling storylines. Competition is strong and balanced, as illustrated by the 11 different race winners this season. There were 12 different winners in all of 2008, including seven drivers who have yet to win this season. In other words, last year’s mark will likely be passed.
    Some other statistics gleaned from the first half:
    * 7 different teams represented in the current NASCAR Sprint Cup top 12
    * 8 different Coors Light Pole winners
    * 34 drivers with at least one top-10 finish
    * 40 drivers have led at least one lap
    * Average Margin of Victory of 1.044 seconds
    * 10 races with an MOV under 1 second
    * Average of 11 leaders per race
    * Average of 20 lead changes per race
    * Average of 22 green flag passes for the lead all around the track
    * Average of 3,038 green flag passes per race
    * 52% of the cars finished on the lead lap
    * 85% of the cars were running at the finish
    * All four manufacturers have won a race and are in the top 12
    (NASCAR PR)(7-7-2009)
  • Stewart’s Team Captures Tissot Pit Crew Award in Daytona: Tony Stewart’s crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway. The fast pit stops by the #14 crew helped Stewart win the 160-lap, 400-mile race. Stewart’s Chevy spent the least amount of time on pit road – 238.890 seconds. The #14 over-the-wall crew consists of: Jeff “Gooch” Patterson (gasman), Scott Radel (catch can), Rick Pigeon (jackman), Kelly Kellis (front tire changer), Todd Drakulich (front tire carrier), Daniel Smith (rear tire changer) and Mike “Shrek” Morneau (rear tire carrier). The team’s crew chief is Darian Grubb and the pit crew coach is Joe Piette Jr. At the halfway point of the season (18 races completed), the crews for Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle lead in the Tissot standings with three wins each. Stewart’s and Jimmie Johnson’s crews are tied for third with two wins each. The #14 team will collect $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award wins at the completion of the 36-race Sprint Cup schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver.(Tissot)(7-7-2009)
  • Congrats to Matt and Katie Kenseth: Kaylin Nicola Kenseth was born to Matt and Katie on Monday. It is the couple’s first child together. Matt has a son, Ross, from a previous relationship.(7-7-2009)
  • ‘Dega Dollars Return To Talladega: The ‘Dega Dollars promotion that Talladega Superspeedway unveiled earlier this year is returning for the AMP Energy 500 weekend. For every $45 ‘Dega Dollar combo package purchased, race fans will receive a reserved seat in the Lincoln or Gadsden grandstands for the AMP Energy 500 plus 10 ‘Dega Dollars. This combo offers savings of approximately 45% from previous years’ prices, when a similar package could cost up to $85. ‘Dega Dollars spend like cash at all Americrown concession stands at Talladega Superspeedway. Combo meals were also created at the concession stands earlier this year that allow fans to save up to 25%. Talladega Superspeedway continues to offer free day parking on track property and free overnight parks, so attending a race weekend is now more affordable than ever in recent history. For information on tickets, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.(TSS)(7-7-2009)

July 6, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: — 1983: Butch Lindley wins the Goody’s 200 in the final Nationwide Series race at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. Lindley beats Jack Ingram to the line on the half-mile track. Jimmy Hensley is third and Tommy Houston fourth, the only other cars on the lead lap.(NASCAR.com)
  • NASCAR appeals judge’s decision on Mayfield: NASCAR has asked a federal judge to reverse his ruling and keep driver Jeremy Mayfield off the track. NASCAR filed the motion asking U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to reinstate Mayfield’s ban. The latest twist comes after Mullen’s decision last week to grant an injunction clearing him to compete. Mullen said the chance of a false positive on his drug test was “quite substantial.” NASCAR disputes Mullen’s conclusion, and says Mayfield poses a threat to public safety. NASCAR also filed a notice saying it plans to bring the case before a federal appeals court.(Associated Press)(7-6-2009)
  • Kahne testing ARCA car: #9-Kasey Kahne was testing a Doug Stringer Motorsports car at the ARCA test at Kentucky Speedway Monday morning.(ARCARacing.com)(7-6-2009)
  • Mayfield not on Chicago entry list: NASCAR driver #41-Jeremy Mayfield’s name isn’t on the entry list for Saturday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway. Mayfield, whose drug suspension was overturned by a federal judge last week, still could attempt to qualify for the race. Under NASCAR rules, teams have until one hour before the first practice to register. That gives Mayfield until Thursday afternoon, but he would have to pay a penalty. Mayfield admitted in court filings that his Mayfield Motorsports team is struggling financially. He also could make the race if hired to drive for another team.(Associated Press/ESPN.com), see my Chicago Entry List page for the current entries.(7-6-2009)
  • Daytona Commerical Breakdown:
    TNT was the broadcast team for this event. This particular broadcast was TNT’s ‘Wide Open Coverage’, consisting of fewer commercials, as well as commercials shown in a small box during the race broadcast. Lots of racing stats were provided on-screen during the broadcast as well.
    Total number of commercials: 32
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 24
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 8:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:09 PM
    Total minutes: 189
    Minutes of race broadcast: 172
    Minutes of commercials: 17
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 1
    See full report and more on my 2009 TV Commericals Page.(7-6-2009)

  • Almirola hasn’t discussed #1 ride: UPDATE: Earnhardt/Ganassi could have an opening in 2009 if, as expected, #1-Martin Truex announces this week he will leave for MWR, but Almirola says he had not spoken with Ganassi about it. “That’s not up to me,” he said. “Those have been internal discussions that really have not involved me. Whatever happens I will be ready, race there or race somewhere else.” Almirola said Ganassi has suggested he would allow him to leave if he finds work elsewhere.(St. Petersburg Times)(7-5-2009)
    UPDATE: Aric Almirola was hanging out at the #42 transporter [at Daytona] with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing president Steve “Jake” Lauletta. If I [Lee Spencer] had to bet, Almirola will be back in the #8 Chevy by the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. The race pays exceptionally well and apparently EGR is close to securing sponsorship.(FoxSports)(7-6-2009)

  • Special silver scheme for Edwards at night races: #99-Carl Edwards is scheduled to drive the Aflac Silver Special scheme in the Lifelock.com 400 at Chicagoland on July 11, 2009 and in all the remaining night races during the 2009 season. See the scheme on my #99 Team Scheme page.(6-30-2009)

  • Chase Notes/Stats going into Chicago: #5-Mark Martin (38th) and #00-David Reutimann (36th) got in big trouble at Daytona and the result was everyone in the Top 12 gained big ground. #99-Carl Edwards and #11-Denny Hamlin went from being in the 161-point “danger zone” after New Hampshire to good cushions now. Mark Martin’s fifth Bottom 2010 finish of the year dropped him out of the Top 12. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya’s ninth at Daytona gained him 85 points over 13th place. Lots of racing left, but the #42 team has to feel great going to Chicagoland in 11th place, with an 86-point margin over 13th. Montoya has yet to record a top 5 this season. See full chase stats on my Chase stats after Daytona page.(7-6-2009)

  • Lou Blaney Memorial Classic on Tuesday: Sharon Speedway holds the Lou Blaney Memorial Classic Tuesday, a combination Big Block Modified and 410 Sprint Cars. Blaney died this past January at the age of 69. Blaney began racing in 1958 and kept going through part of the 2004 season. It’s nearly impossible to summarize a career that spanned that length of time. Lou’s wife of 49 years, Kate, said they never counted Lou’s victories, but she said it is more than 600. Younger fans will remember Blaney as a Modified driver, but he made his mark in the Sprint Car. Blaney won four consecutive Lernerville Sprint Car titles from 1972-75. He also won the Sprint championship in 1977-78. During that run, he won an incredible 49 victories at the track.(Pittsburgh Tribune Review), Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Dave Blaney are scheduled to compete in the 410 Sprint car race.(7-6-2009)

  • Date set for 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown: NASCAR announced that its premier short-track racing showcase, the 2010 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown, will be run Jan. 29-30 at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). The seventh running of the event, which brings together the top racers from across North America for the “Daytona 500 of short-track racing,” will be highlighted by the 225-lap NASCAR Camping World Series all-star race. The schedule also includes a 100-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Super Late Model race and a 75-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model race. Both nights of racing will air live on SPEED as part of full weekend of racing on SPEED that includes the Rolex 24 at Daytona sports-car event.(NASCAR PR)(7-6-2009)
  • AMS sues Pep Boys over sponsorship: UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway is suing Pep Boys over a payment dispute on a contract that called for the auto parts chain to pay $3 million for a two-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race sponsorship, according to court documents. Pep Boys has allegedly stopped making payments for the 2009 race, according to the lawsuit filed April 30 in Georgia Superior Court in Henry County, Ga. The suit says the deal was worth $1.4 million for the track’s 2008 fall race and $1.6 million for the 2009 fall race. According to the complaint, Pep Boys did not make the $800,000 payment due March 1, 2009, and the track is owed $1.6 million for the 2009 race. Although the contract states that the sponsorship is for “a fall NSCS Event,” SMI says in its complaint that Pep Boys did not object to the 2009 race being moved to Labor Day weekend before it was announced. According to the complaint, Pep Boys sent a letter saying it could terminate the contract because the track breached the agreement since the 2009 fall race is now “during the summer.” Atlanta Motor Speedway alleges that the wording in the contract prevents it from being terminated on those grounds.(SceneDaily)(5-8-2009)
    UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway and Pep Boys have reached an out-of-court settlement of the track’s lawsuit against the auto parts retail chain over the title sponsorship of the Sept. 6. Sprint Cup race at the track, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta. The settlement was not filed with the court, but an AMS spokesman indicated that the race will remain being called the Pep Boys Auto 500 this year.(SceneDaily)(7-6-2009)
  • Martinsville Speedway Tix Prices Drop: Martinsville Speedway has always prided itself on being fan friendly. Beginning with the TUMS Fast Relief 500 on October 25, it will be a little friendlier. Working to help fans through the difficult economic times, Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell recently announced a rollback in ticket prices, effective with the TUMS Fast Relief 500 on October 25. Many ticket prices have been reduced, some to prices of a decade ago.
    • Tickets prices start at $25, down from $42
    • All seats in Bill France Tower now just $40
    • Seats in the Clay Earles Tower are now $55, down from $72
    • Seats in the Sprint Tower are now $65, down from $77
    Anyone who has purchased tickets in areas affected by the price change will be contacted by the Martinsville Speedway ticket office in the next few weeks. Tickets for the TUMS Fast Relief 500 and the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race may be purchased by calling 877.722.3849 (877.RACE.TIX) or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.comonline.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(7-6-2009)

July 5, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 5 — 2002: Joe Nemechek becomes the first winner from the pole in a Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway. Nemechek leads 78 of 100 laps and wins the Stacker 2/GNC Live Well 250 by .190 seconds on Greg Biffle. Nemechek’s win comes in the 22nd Nationwide race at Daytona. In 35 races, the only other drivers to win from the pole are Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003) and Tony Stewart (2008).(NASCAR.com)
  • NASCAR Now Roundtable this Monday: ESPN NASCAR analysts Randy LaJoie and Ricky Craven and ESPN.com reporter David Newton will be panelists on NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion program airing Monday, July 6, at 5:00pm/et on ESPN2. Allen Bestwick will host the edition of ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program.

  • MWR to make announcement on July 7th? UPDATE 2: On Friday Rowdy.com visited Michael Waltrip Racing [Cornelius, NC] which offers an amazing tour of the facility, including the fabricating shop. Even more interesting than the tour itself was this tidbit…someone in our group was asking how Ryan and Martin Truex Jr. (brothers) were related. Somehow this led to our tour guide telling us that Michael Waltrip Racing would be making a MAJOR announcement on July 7th.(Rowdy.com)(6-27-2009)
    UPDATE: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta said no matter what happens with Martin Truex Jr., he expects Bass Pro Shops will remain with the organization for 2010. Truex, who drives for EGR, is expected to be announced as the 2010 full-time replacement for Michael Waltrip at Michael Waltrip Racing on July 7.(SceneDaily)(6-28-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Martin Truex Jr. will be named on Tuesday the newest addition to Michael Waltrip Racing, multiple sources confirmed on Saturday at Daytona. A press conference including sponsor NAPA is scheduled for noon at the team’s Cornelius, N.C., shop. Truex is in the final year of his contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. NAPA, the long-time sponsor of team owner Michael Waltrip, will be become his primary sponsor. Waltrip will move from a full-time to part-time schedule that will include the Daytona 500 in February. He could remain in his familiar #55 with Truex taking another number, possibly the #56.(ESPN.com)(7-5-2009)

  • Almirola hasn’t discussed #1 ride: Earnhardt/Ganassi could have an opening in 2009 if, as expected, #1-Martin Truex announces this week he will leave for MWR, but Almirola says he had not spoken with Ganassi about it. “That’s not up to me,” he said. “Those have been internal discussions that really have not involved me. Whatever happens I will be ready, race there or race somewhere else.” Almirola said Ganassi has suggested he would allow him to leave if he finds work elsewhere.(St. Petersburg Times)(7-5-2009)

  • Furr say Mayfield team can be ready for Chicago: Mayfield Motorsports’ #41 Toyota hasn’t been on the race track since the May 24 Coca-Cola 600. One week after that race, the Mayfields were forced to lay off their team members, including crew chief Tony Furr. Gaining sponsorship money to revive the team is their primary goal. Furr, who was at Daytona working as a consultant with owner Larry Gunselman’s #64-Sprint Cup team — which was sent home Friday when qualifying was rained out — said he had a meeting set with Mayfield for Monday and that he saw no problem being ready for Chicagoland or anywhere else. “I want to figure out what he wants to do, because all the stuff is still there at the shop,” Furr said. “We’re a day-and-a-half away from having [a car] ready to go to wherever. The full crew worked for a week after the Charlotte 600 — everyone worked together and left together.” Furr said he’d continued to speak to his former Mayfield Motorsports co-workers and that getting them back together wouldn’t be difficult. “I could have a team in place in less than an hour,” Furr said. “There are a lot of people out on the street right now and most of the guys that were there to start with will come back — I’ve talked to every one of them and been in touch with them since this [judge’s] ruling.(NASCAR.com)(7-5-2009)

  • CNBC’s “Inside Track: Refueling the Business of NASCAR”: CNBC’s “Inside Track: Refueling the Business of NASCAR” hosted by Emmy-Nominated CNBC Sports Business Reporter, Darren Rovell, examines a sport that was once seemingly unstoppable. Infamous for its ties to southern bootleggers and famous for filling some of the largest venues in the world – 200,000 fans at some speedways – a decade of growth made it the fastest growing sport in America. But the rise of the 90s has given way to a new century recession. An imploding car business and shrinking sponsorship budgets are threatening the corporate dollars that are the sport’s very lifeblood. NASCAR is now feeling the pressure of the economic implosion as the companies whose names are decaled on the cars are reconsidering their investments. Owned and controlled by the France family, NASCAR is looking at ways to weather the storm. “Inside Track: Refueling the Business of NASCAR” will premiere on Thursday, July 9th at 9:00pm, 10:00pm and 1:00am and re-air on Sunday, July 12th at 10:00pm and Monday, July 13th at 10:00pm.(7-5-2009)

  • Arneson wins IAMA Bronze Award: Motorbooks, a division of Quayside Publishing Group, authors Ken Gross and Erik Arneson are recipients of 2008 International Automotive Media Awards presented on June 23, 2009 in Tucson, Arizona. The International Automotive Media Awards are presented annually to the best in the world of automotive journalism and media. Congratulations to Ken Gross and Erik Arneson for their exceptional contributions to the automotive world. Erik Arneson was presented with the IAMA Bronze Award for Best Biography Book for his best-selling book, Mickey Thompson: The Fast Life and Tragic Death of a Racing Legend, published by Motorbooks in November 2008. Former motorsports reporter for USA Today, Erik Arneson is now a bestselling author with the success of his book, John Force. When not writing, Erik Arneson is the Vice President of Media Relations at SPEED TV and lives in Charlotte, NC.(Quayside Publishing Group PR)(7-5-2009)
  • Fans to Serve as ‘Grand Marshal’ for Martinsville: All fans attending the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, October 25, will serve as the ‘Grand Marshal’ for the event. TUMS, Martinsville Speedway and the NASCAR community will recognize the fans throughout pre-race ceremonies leading up to the final honors of giving the command ‘Gentlemen, Start Your Engines’ and starting the 500-lap event. On a few occasions, fans have been invited to join the designated Grand Marshal in giving the command ‘Gentlemen, Start Your Engines’. At the TUMS Fast Relief 500, the honor goes solely to the fans. TUMS returns as the title sponsor for the fall NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at the .526-mile track for the second consecutive year. Martinsville Speedway, built in 1947, is rich in tradition from its fan-friendly atmosphere to its famous concession item – the Martinsville hot dog – and the Ridgeway grandfather clock trophy presented to each race winner. In addition to sponsoring the TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, TUMS sponsors the TUMS’s Fast Relief Zone, an interactive NASCAR experience in the midway, where fans can participate in various activities and receive a free sample of TUMS. Tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series TUMS Fast Relief 500 race on Sunday, October 25, at Martinsville Speedway are now on sale. To order tickets or for more information, call 877.722.3849 or online at martinsvillespeedway.com.(Martinsville Speedway)(7-5-2009)

July 4, 2009

  • Stewart wins at Daytona: #14-Tony Stewart won the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway for his 2nd win of 2009 and the 35th of his career. #18-Busch passed Stewart coming to the white flag and led through turn 4, but Stewart gave him a bump and tried to pass on the outside, Busch moved up to block and Stewart moved him out of the way, spinning Busch into the wall. Busch was then hit by #9-Kahne and several other cars were collected at the start-finish line. #48-Johnson finished second followed by #11-Hamlin, #99-Edwards, #2-Busch, #47-Ambrose, #83-Vickers, #17-Kenseth, #42-Montoya, and #19-Sadler. There was also a big wreck on lap 77 that involved 13 cars. There were 8 cautions for 30 laps and there were 23 lead changes among 10 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Daytona Race Results Page.(7-4-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after Daytona, race 7 of 36]:
    1) #14-Tony Stewart 2719 [2 wins], finished 1st
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon 2539 -180 [1 win], 28th
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2525 -194 [2 wins], 2nd
    4) #2-Kurt Busch 2414 -305 [1 win], 5th
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 2317 -402, 4th
    6) #11-Denny Hamlin 2302 -417, 3rd
    7) #39-Ryan Newman 2235 -484, 19th
    8) #18-Kyle Busch 2234 -485 [3 wins], 14th
    9) #16-Greg Biffle 2215 -504, 18th
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth 2201 -518 [2 wins], 9th
    11) #42-Juan Montoya 2187 -532, 8th
    12) #9-Kasey Kahne 2166 -553, 15th
    Contenders for the top-12/chase: 13) #5 Mark Martin 2101, 65 points out of 12th, [3 wins], 38th
    14) #00 David Reutimann 2092 -74, [1 win], 36th
    15) #31 Jeff Burton 2061 -105
    16) #33 Clint Bowyer 2031 -135
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(7-4-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Chicago:
    No changes, but the spread between 35th and 36th is up to 172 points
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1468, +305
    35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1335, 172 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1163, 172 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 1052, -283
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owners points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(7-4-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Daytona International Speedway:
    * Tony Stewart won the COKE ZERO 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, his 35th victory in 374 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    * This is his second victory and 14th top-10 finish in 2009. The last driver-owner to win multiple races in a season was Ricky Rudd in 1997 (Dover and Indianapolis).
    * This is his third victory and 12th top-10 finish in 22 races at Daytona International Speedway. All of Stewart’s Daytona wins have come in the July race.
    * Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 16 races at Daytona International Speedway. It is his 12th top-10 finish in 2009.
    * Denny Hamlin (third) posted his first top-10 finish in eight races at Daytona International Speedway.
    * Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 180 points over Jeff Gordon.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(7-4-2009)
  • Penalty Report – Daytona
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #00, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end, engine change
    #16, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end, backup car
    #77, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end, backup car
    #87, 27, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #07, 28, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #07, 30, Pulling up to pit, 1 lap
    #77, 58, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #09, 58, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #37, 58, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #77, 65, Safety violation, pit
    #83, 77, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #39, 77, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #09, 77, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #24, 77, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #88, 77, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #9, 77, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #33, 77, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #29, 78, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #55, 78, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #00, 78, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #77, 100, Safety violation, pit
    #00, 102, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #24, 102, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #83, 103, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #29, 103, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #39, 103, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #77, 103, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #39, 104, Excessive speed EXITING the pits , tail end
    #6, 122, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #82, 153, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    (NASCAR Statistics)(7-4-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Daytona: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver down a lap on track
    Caution 2: #37-Raines, 30th
    Caution 3: #42-Montoya, 8th
    Caution 4: #42-Montoya(2), 8th
    Caution 5: #26-McMurray, 10th
    Caution 6: #83-Vickers, 7th
    Caution 7: #29-Burton, 17th
    Caution 8: #39-Newman, 19th
    (7-4-2009)
  • Today in NASCAR History: July 4 — 1971: Bobby Isaac starts 21st and wins the Firecracker 400 for his only Cup victory when he started outside the top 10. Of Isaac’s 37 Cup wins, he started in the top four in 33 and sixth, seventh and seventh in the other three.(NASCAR.com)

  • Mayfield releases letter; hopes to be a Chicago:
    To all my fans, friends and fellow competitors:
    First and foremost, Shana and I want to thank all of you who have supported us. To say that the last two months have been two of the worst months of my entire life is an understatement. The only event I can think of that brought me even greater pain was the loss of my father in 2007.
    Last Wednesday’s ruling by Judge Mullen was a giant step towards clearing my name and getting the 41 car back on the track. Our hope was to bring our team to Daytona this weekend to qualify and race in the Coke Zero 400. For those who know me well, there is nothing in the world that I would rather do than race for you all on the 4th of July. Following Judge Mullen’s ruling, we had less than twenty-four hours to prepare the car, assemble a team, get sponsorship and travel to Daytona. Ultimately, we were unable to get this done in time. We’ve received several phone calls from friends and fans as well as friends in the media wondering if we would be coming to Daytona this weekend, anyway. We’ve decided that our time is best spent back here in North Carolina working around the clock to try and secure the funding needed to get the 41 car to Chicago and beyond. Shana and I as well as everyone at Mayfield Motorsports will do everything in our power to race next weekend.
    Finally, we’ve been watching on television and reading online about the “Storm Clouds Over Daytona” and the “Mayfield Media Circus.” Honestly, this is the last thing Shana or I want for anybody. This weekend shouldn’t be about a questionable drug test or a flawed drug testing system. It should be about celebrating our country, the greatest country in the world. So, enjoy the weekend with your friends and family, and have a very happy Independence Day. We look forward to seeing you all at the track very soon.
    Thanks again for keeping us in your hearts and prayers.
    Jeremy and Shana Mayfield
    (Mayfield PR)(7-4-2009)

  • Busch takes IV after Grand-Am race: Kyle Busch has received intravenous fluids following a 70-minute driving stint in the Grand-Am race at Daytona International Speedway. Busch was co-driving with fellow NASCAR driver Scott Speed in the Saturday afternoon race in a car owned by Chip Ganassi. He drove the first stint and headed directly to the care center after turning the car over to Speed. Busch received an IV there as a precautionary measure, then headed back to his motorhome to rest before Saturday night’s 400-mile Sprint Cup Series race. He’s the defending race winner of NASCAR’s Coke Zero 400. He and Speed finished 10th in the Grand-Am race.(Associated Press)(7-4-2009)

  • Petty working with Chrysler on debt; Kahne in Toyota in Nationwide next year: Chrysler is working on a deal to pay off some of its debt to Richard Petty Motorsports [#9, #19, #43, #44] , co-owner Richard Petty said on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. Petty said last month that Chrysler’s bankruptcy put cash flow from the manufacturer to the organization on hold. The subsequent layoff of nine RPM employees also was blamed on anticipated cuts from the bankruptcy. “They’ve stopped everything,” he said of Chrysler’s support. Petty said on Friday that RPM should expect some money soon. “Yeah, we’ll get some money from them,” he said. “Right now we’re in the process of figuring out exactly what they can do to get back to us to see what we can do.” Petty’s initial comments increased speculation that RPM may leave Dodge for Toyota after this season. The organization is in the final year of its contract and has partnered with Toyota’s Braun Racing for five Nationwide Series races in 2009.(ESPN.com)
    AND: Braun Racing [Nationwide Series team] announced that Great Clips, Inc., will return for another three seasons to sponsor the #38 Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Jason Leffler will pilot the #38 Great Clips Camry for 27 of the 35 scheduled races while Kasey Kahne will drive the #38 in the remaining eight races.(Braun Racing PR)(7-4-2009)

  • France happy with double-file restarts, NASCAR overall: NASCAR Chairman Brian France praised the success of double-file restarts and reiterated his stance that the sport remains healthy despite the headaches of a sagging economy. France, speaking to reporters Friday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway, said double-file restarts “clearly are putting a nice energy around the events,” which are producing “fantastic” racing overall. He said NASCAR remains the No. 1 or No. 2 most-viewed and most popular sport on any given weekend, which means that despite the economic downturn, “lots of people would like to have our problems.” France said the product on the track is the “most important thing,” and to that end NASCAR continues to evaluate possible adjustments – which he termed as minor changes – to its new model car. France repeated his comments from last month at Michigan, when he noted that other manufacturers may be interested in joining the sport. But he said nothing was imminent. Regarding the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series, France said both were “relatively healthy” despite reduced manufacturer support and the economy in general.(SceneDaily)(7-4-2009)

  • Move to Cup unlikely for JR Motorsports: You can’t cross JR Motorsports totally off of Brad Keselowski’s list for a fulltime Sprint Cup ride in 2010, but it doesn’t seem likely. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who co-owns JR Motorsports with Rick Hendrick, said on Friday it would be “quite a challenge for anybody to find the kind of financial support you need” to make the move from the Nationwide Series to Cup. He also talked more of Keselowski, who drives the JR Motorsports Nationwide car, as though he would be somewhere else after this season and how he looked forward to preparing another driver for the Cup series. “The way I see it Brad has a ton of opportunities and the doors are wide open for him,” Earnhardt said. “We have to look at what our chances are for moving into the Cup series before we can put that before Brad.”(ESPN Insider)(7-4-2009)

  • Bill Lester’s Sprint Cup days behind him:The good news for Bill Lester: He’s back, racing at Daytona International Speedway . The bad news: His race starts at 2 p.m. He’d really rather be racing at 8 p.m. Lester is entered in the Brumos Porsche 250 Grand-Am race, teamed with Orlando’s Ryan Dalziel, a former Champ car driver, in the Riviera Beach-based Orbit Racing Dinan BMW in the Rolex series. At 48, Lester knows he is likely to finish out his racing career where it began, in sports cars, instead of his ultimate goal: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Lester became the first black driver to compete in the Cup series in 20 years when he made two starts in 2006 for Bill Davis Racing. Most of his NASCAR career, though, was spent in the Camping World truck series, where he made 142 starts, won three poles and had seven top-10 finishes. He would liked to have raced longer, and more often in NASCAR, “but I’ve been fortunate do be able to do what I have on the limited amount of support and funding that I’ve been able to find.” Even when his driving career is over, Lester said he doesn’t plan to stray far from motorsports, possibly working to fund minority drivers for the future. “I’d definitely be interested in working with a developmental project, maybe helping find the next Bill Lester, Willy T. Ribbs or Wendell Scott.”(Orlando Sentinel)(7-4-2009)

  • Taylor Earnhardt Completes First Runs in RCR #3 Chevy: Taylor Earnhardt, daughter of Dale and Teresa Earnhardt, completed two hillclimb runs in the first day of the 17th annual Goodwood Festival of Speed driving the Richard Childress Racing #3 GM Goodwrench Chevy. The Goodwood Festival of Speed is held on the grounds of Goodwood House in West Sussex, a place of significant British motorsports history. This year’s gathering includes a number of NASCAR stock cars in honor of the 50th anniversary of Daytona International Speedway that will participate in both demonstration and competition runs up the nine-turn, 1.16-mile hillclimb circuit. The car was prepared and is being taken care of at the Goodwood Festival of Speed by former #3 team crew members Danny Lawrence and Rich Burgess. Lawrence is currently the assistant head engine builder/trackside manager for Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines and Burgess is the shop manager for RCR’s #31 Caterpillar team in the NSCS.(RCR PR)(7-4-2009)
  • IMS giving away tickets through social media sites: Fans of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will want to stay logged on to the IMS pages on Twitter, Facebook and MySpace as IMS will soon give away pairs of Allstate 400 at the Brickyard tickets via these social networking Web sites. The giveaways will take place at multiple, random locations in and around Indianapolis. Some sets of tickets feature the autographs of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and more. For each ticket giveaway, IMS staff will use one of the three Web sites to alert fans of the location of the giveaway and other necessary information to claim the tickets. The first person to locate the IMS staff member at the location will win two tickets to the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, July 26.(IMS PR)(7-4-2009)

July 3, 2009

  • Pit Stall Selections – Daytona: The selections for pit stalls of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway have been made. Pole sitter #14-Stweart chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], while outside pole sitter #24-Gordon took pit stall 21 the next with an opening in front of it and #99-Edwards, who starts 5th took stall 43, the final pit stall. See the pit selection chart on the Daytona Pit Stall Selection chart.(7-3-2009)
  • Qualifying for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway has been cancelled due to rain. The field was set by the rules book, first 35 by owners points position, then #09- past race winner, then by race attempts with owners points as a tie breaker. So #14-Stewart starts 1st, followed by #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson, #2-Busch, #99-Edwards, #39-Newman, #11-Hamlin, #16-Biffle, #18-Busch and #17-Kenseth.
    The eight go-or-go homers who made the race: #09-Keselowski, #82-Speed, #71-Gilliland, #87-Nemechek, #66-Blaney, #36-Carpentier, #37-Raines, and #78-Smith
    Drivers who will miss the race: #78-Smith [9 attempts] and #13-Papis [8]
    The #64-Wallace team did not make the race because they were a late entry, even though they had more attempts than the #78-Smith team.
    See the the starting lineup on the Daytona Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(7-3-2009)
  • Today in NASCAR History: Carl Edwards wins the Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway for his fifth NASCAR victory. He wins one more Truck race in 2004.(NASCAR.com)
  • images from Daytona: added #37 Gander Mountain#44 Paralyzed Veterans#29 Pennzoil Platinum#16 Scotch Brite#14 Burger King#88 National Guard ACU Camo.(7-2-2009)
    AND: #26 Irwin Marathon saw blades#7 MAPEI#64 Fred’s Hometown Discount Stores.(7-3-2009)

  • France defends NASCAR’s drug policy: Brian France says NASCAR’s drug-testing policy is a fair system that protects its competitors and fans from the dangers of an impaired driver on the race track. The NASCAR chairman says the drug policy is still the best in professional sports, despite a federal judge’s decision to reinstate driver Jeremy Mayfield. France says in the interest of safety, NASCAR should be able to suspend a driver who has a positive drug test result.(Associated Press)(7-3-2009)

  • NASCAR plans no immediate changes to drug policy: NASCAR does not plan any immediate changes to its substance-abuse policy in light of Jeremy Mayfield’s victory in obtaining a preliminary injunction forcing NASCAR to lift his suspension for an alleged positive drug test for methamphetamines, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Thursday. Part of Mayfield’s case questions the guidelines that NASCAR must follow in its drug-testing policy. Mayfield argues that NASCAR must follow the guidelines for federal agencies; NASCAR contends that it does not have to do so. NASCAR will continue with its random drug-testing policy, which it implemented this year, during this weekend’s events at Daytona International Speedway just as it has done all year, Poston said. Poston said he is not aware of any challenges from any crew members suspended this year under the policy, and he did not think the ruling would prompt challenges.(SceneDaily)(7-3-2009)

  • NASCAR changes drug testing process: #9-Kasey Kahne says NASCAR has stepped up its drug testing procedure since the suspension of Jeremy Mayfield. Kahne said the tests he took prior to the suspension were “in and out” in five to 10 minutes. He said his most recent test two weeks ago at Infineon Raceway took nearly 40 minutes. “It’s a process now,” Kahne said on Thursday at Daytona. “Every little step you have to sign your name or initial, work with the person that is taking the sample. To me that’s because of the whole Mayfield incident, to clarify everything and make sure the driver and also the person taking the sample is on the same page.” NASCAR’s procedure was under attack when attorneys were seeking a temporary injunction to get Mayfield’s suspension lifted, which it was on Wednesday by a federal judge in Charlotte, N.C. Attorneys for Mayfield questioned whether Mayfield saw the seal put on his “A” and “B” samples. Kahne said he always has watched the collector put on the seal, but that the process wasn’t so detailed before. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, who was tested at Dover in early June, said there is a lot more paperwork now. “I did it at Daytona [in February] and it was a little easier,” he said. “[At Dover] it was like proof of who you are. I’m like, ‘I’m a freaking racer.’ ” Three-time defending Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson has not been tested since Mayfield’s suspension, but said he’s had to wait on other drivers who were and it’s taken longer. He noted at Sonoma Kahne held up things because he had to go get his driver’s license, something that he didn’t understand to be required previously.(ESPN.com)(7-3-2009)

  • NASCAR questions Mayfield’s urgency to get back to track: NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said Jeremy Mayfield’s absence from the track Friday called into question the argument his attorneys used in requesting a preliminary injunction on NASCAR’s drug suspension. Here’s what Poston said: “Jeremy and his legal team asked for a preliminary injunction for emergency relief because it was necessary apparently to come and compete here in Daytona. Apparently he’s not here and it appears as if he’s not going to compete this weekend which would raise some questions on how much of an emergency it really was.”(Orlando Sentinel)(7-3-2009)

  • Latest on Red Bull to Chevy: Red Bull Racing [#82 & #83] will decide in a month whether to switch from Toyota to General Motors in 2010, sources close to the situation said. There has been speculation for a month that Red Bull would move to Chevys with the chassis and engines supplied by Hendrick Motorsports. HMS owner Rick Hendrick has said he needs to pick up some additional business to make up for the financial support GM cut after it filed for bankruptcy last month. Red Bull general manager Jay Frye, who has worked with HMS in the past, said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, that no decision has been made. Richard Petty Motorsports could leave Dodge and fill Red Bull’s vacancy if there is one. Robbie Loomis, the vice president for race operations at RPM, said the organization continues talking to all manufacturers about next season.(ESPN Insider)(7-3-2009)

  • Burger King sponsorship of Stewart kicks off at Daytona: Saturday Burger King Corp. will officially kick-off the company’s sponsorship of Tony Stewart and Stewart-Haas Racing at Daytona International Speedway with the debut of the #14 Burger King Chevy. Burger King Corp. is teaming with TNT for the “Wide Open” race coverage of the Coke Zero 400 – allowing fans fewer interruptions during the race. BKC will feature two :60 ads in the lower third quadrant of the screen starring the King and Tony Stewart. This weekend also marks the first time race fans will have the opportunity to purchase Burger King branded Tony Stewart merchandise. The BKC/Stewart-Haas Racing sponsorship agreement, which was announced in January of this year, includes two primary paint schemes on the #14 Sprint Cup car, including this weekend at Daytona and for the September 27th race at Dover. The company also has a personal services agreement with Stewart.(Burger King PR), see image of the car on the #14 Team Schemes page.(7-3-2009)

  • Pete Pistone joins Sirius’ “The Morning Drive”: RacingOne’s Pete Pistone will join Sirius NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive” as co-host beginning on Monday, July 6. Pistone will team up with veteran broadcast Mike Bagley on the popular morning radio show which airs Monday through Friday from 7-11 a.m. ET on Sirius Channel 128. Pistone has been part of the Sirius NASCAR Radio team for more than a year and has hosted and co-hosted a variety of shows on the channel.(RacingOne)(7-3-2009)
  • Milwaukee Mile office closed: Employees of the Milwaukee Mile have been laid off and the office closed, at least for the moment, promoter Claude Napier told the Journal Sentinel’s Don Walker on Thursday. Napier said he met his most recent payroll for troubled Wisconsin Motorsports. He admitted for the first time to the Journal Sentinel that he has no investors in the business but said he is looking for help. Brothers Dominic and Frank Giuffre, former promoters at the facility at State Fair Park, have made a pitch to the park board to return.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-3-2009)

July 2, 2009

  • Happy Hour practice for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #00-Reutimann 192.135
    #07-Mears 192.061
    #29-Harvick 192.029
    #83-Vikers 191.980
    #42-Montoya 191.591
    slowest: #66-Blaney 183.760 & #64-Wallace 182.994
    notes: #77-Hornish and #16-Biffle were involved in Turn 2 late in the session. Both drivers will go to a backup car. The session started over an hour late after a rain shower move across the track.(7-2-2009)

    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my Daytona Practice Speeds page.(7-2-2009)

  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice in the final session at Daytona International Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:

    #09-Keselowski, 29th
    #78-Smith, 34th
    #71-Gilliland, 38th
    #82-Speed, 39th
    #87-Nemechek, 40th
    #36-Carpentier, 41st
    #41-Papis, 42nd
    #37-Raines, 43rd
    these drivers would miss the race if things stayed the same:
    #66-Blaney, 44th
    #64-Wallace, 45th
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my Daytona Practice Speeds page.(7-2-2009)
  • 1st Thursday practice for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #6-Ragan 190.714
    #07-Mears 190.666
    #26-McMurray 190.460
    #20-Logano 190.166
    #83-Vickers 189.398
    slowest: #64-Wallace 181.965 & #37-Raines 180.926
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my Daytona Practice Speeds page.(7-2-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice in the 1st session at Daytona International Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:

    #78-Smith, 34th
    #09-Keselowski, 36th
    #82-Speed, 37th
    #87-Nemechek, 38th
    #71-Gilliland, 39th
    #36-Carpentier, 40th
    #41-Papis, 41st
    #66-Blaney, 43rd
    these drivers would miss the race if things stayed the same:
    #64-Wallace, 44th
    #37-Raines, 45th
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my Daytona Practice Speeds page.(7-2-2009)
  • Qualifying Order for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway is posted. 45 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #39-Newman, the final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #20-Logano. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #09-Keselowski with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #87-Nemechek. See the full qualifying order on the Daytona Qualifying Page.(7-2-2009)
  • images from Daytona: added #37 Gander Mountain#44 Paralyzed Veterans#29 Pennzoil Platinum#16 Scotch Brite#14 Burger King#88 National Guard ACU Camo.(7-2-2009)
  • Nominees Announced For Inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction: NASCAR announced a history-rich list of 25 nominees for the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame induction class. From that list, five inductees will be chosen via a process that includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.COM; the inductees will be announced in October and honored next May at the new Hall of Fame facility in Charlotte, N.C. The nominees, which include many of the sport’s legendary names, were selected by a 21-person nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks. The HOF’s first inductees will be determined by the Voting Panel, which has 50 members — the entire Nominating Committee, 14 media members, four manufacturer representatives and nine retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs — three each) and two recognized industry leaders. In addition, the fan vote will result in the Voting Panel’s 51st and final ballot. Following are the 25 individuals who have been nominated:
    • Bobby Allison, 1983 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and winner of 84 races
    • Buck Baker, the first driver to win consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
    • Red Byron, first NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, in 1949
    • Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
    • Dale Earnhardt, won record seven NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
    • Richie Evans, nine-time NASCAR Modified champion
    • Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
    • Bill France Jr., NASCAR president, chairman and CEO (1972-2003)
    • Bill France Sr., NASCAR founder and first president (1948-1972)
    • Rick Hendrick, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
    • Ned Jarrett, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
    • Junior Johnson, 50 wins as a driver, 132 wins and six championships as an owner
    • Bud Moore, 63 wins and two NASCAR Sprint Cup titles as a car owner
    • Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner
    • Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
    • David Pearson, 105 victories and three NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
    • Lee Petty, winner of the first Daytona 500 and first three-time series champion
    • Richard Petty, 200 wins and seven NASCAR Sprint Cup titles — both records
    • Fireball Roberts, won 33 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, including the 1962 Daytona 500
    • Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, 1951 and ’53
    • Curtis Turner, first to win Daytona 500, Southern 500, Coca-Cola 600 in same year
    • Darrell Waltrip, winner of 84 races and three NASCAR Sprint Cup championships
    • Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
    • Glen Wood, as driver, laid foundation for Wood Brothers’ future team success
    • Cale Yarborough, winner of three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup titles, 1976-78

    (NASCAR PR)(7-2-2009)

  • Mayfield not at Daytona as garage opens: UPDATE 2: Car owners #64-Larry Gunselman and #36-Tommy Baldwin say they will not put Jeremy Mayfield in their cars this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Gunselman says his sponsor, Fred’s, does not want Mayfield in the car. Baldwin says Mayfield has too much baggage to drive his car. Mayfield’s indefinite suspension for a failed drug test was lifted by a federal judge on Wednesday, allowing him to race this weekend. His team was not at the track when the garage opened Thursday, which NASCAR initially said was the deadline for the #41 to enter the race. NASCAR now says Mayfield has until 3 p.m. to bring Mayfield Motorsports to the track.(Associated Press)(7-2-2009)
    UPDATE: [Mayfield] can drive for someone else or bring his own #41 Toyota to the track, but the $5,005 late entry fee is daunting for the cash-strapped Mayfield. He said in an affidavit last week that he laid off 10 employees, borrowed money from family and had to sell personal assets to cover his living expenses. Phil Parsons said he’d keep Dave Blaney in his #66 car, and Joe Nemechek said he had no intention of giving up his seat in his #87. (Associated Press)(7-2-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Jeremy Mayfield has missed the deadline to enter his car into Saturday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway. He had an afternoon deadline Thursday to bring the #41 Toyota to the track, and it passed with no sign of Mayfield or his race team.(Associated Press)(7-2-2009)

  • Ramsey Poston speaks about Mayfield ruling: Today on “The Morning Drive” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, hosts Mike Bagley and Nate Ryan spoke with NASCAR managing director of corporate communications Ramsey Poston about the temporary injunction issued yesterday by a judge that lifted driver Jeremy Mayfield’s drug suspension.
    Bagley: “What are the next steps for NASCAR?”
    Poston: “We’ve got a couple of options to consider. At this point it is to, with regards to the lawsuit, is to begin to go into the discovery phase, begin to get testimony and affidavits and a witness list.”
    Bagley: “Does yesterday’s temporary injunction affect the current policy or procedure in place or does it even raise a discussion that there perhaps at some point needs to be a change to the policy and the procedure?”
    Poston: “In the short term we’ll continue to implement our policy as is because, again, this was a temporary injunction to allow him back onto the track. It was not any sort of indictment in terms of the policy. But anytime you go through any sort of challenge on any policy, you tend to learn more about it and I suspect once we get past this process and the dust settles, we’ll look back and say, ‘OK, where can we strengthen the policy? What can we do?’ I will say this: if this stands and if this is not reversed, this becomes a much larger question for all of sports and all of substance abuse testing. This now means that any athlete in any sport, regardless of what contracts they’ve signed, can now take that to court and be allowed back onto the playing surface.”
    Host, Nate Ryan: “Ramsey, are you guys going to appeal the decision?”
    Poston: “That is one of the options that we’re considering. We have not made a decision on that yet.”
    Ryan: “When do you have to make that decision by?”
    Poston: “We have some time to make it, so there’s no definitive deadline on when it has to be made.”
    (Sirius NASCAR Radio PR)(7-2-2009)

  • Gunselman Motorsports picks up sponsor for Daytona: Gunselman Motorsports has secured a major sponsor with Fred’s Hometown Discount Stores for this weekend’s Coke Zero 400 in Daytona. The Fred’s Inc. logo will adorn the hood and quarter panels of Mike Wallace’s #64 Toyota. “Decals are being applied at this very moment and our team is very excited to have Fred’s back on the car, this time, as a major sponsor and partner,” said Larry Gunselman.(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(7-2-2009)

  • NASCAR to Announce Inaugural Nominees For Hall Of Fame UPDATE: The NASCAR Hall of Fame’s inaugural class will take a significant step towards realization Thursday night when the first 25 nominees will be revealed. The announcement will take place during an hour-long special on SPEED at 8:00pm/et that will be hosted by long-time NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier. The Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a fan-vote element, will then choose the first class of inductees – five NASCAR greats who will be honored next May at the new NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The elite 25 names were determined by a 21-person Nominating Committee that consists of officials from both NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, plus owners/operators of major speedways and historic short tracks. The list represents many who helped build the sport, including drivers, owners and promoters.(NASCAR)(6-29-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Says, a blog of NASCAR.com, blogs this week that will provide some “sneak peeks” at the inaugural list of nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The first two sneak peaked are lengendary drivers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.(NASCAR Says)(6-30-2009)
    UPDATE 2: two more nominee’s Glen Wood and Richard Childress. Both were drivers originally, who switched their concentration to team ownership. Both ended up having some of NASCAR’s biggest stars drive their cars. On Thursday the entire 25-person list will be known.(NASCAR Says)(7-1-2009)
    UPDATE 3: Lee Petty and Cale Yarborough have made the list of nominees for the first NASCAR Hall of Fame induction class. Petty was the first driver to win three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships. Yarborough was the first driver to win the championship three consecutive years.(NASCAR Says)(7-2-2009)

  • MAPEI on the #7 at Daytona: MAPEI, a leading manufacturer in the floor-covering industry, returns as the primary sponsor of Gordon’s No. 7 Camry in this weekend’s 400-mile race.(RGM PR)(7-2-2009)

  • Mayfield’s attorney speaks: Wednesday on “Sirius Speedway” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with Bill Diehl, the attorney for driver Jeremy Mayfield.
    Host, Dave Moody: “In your view, what was the key to this decision going your way?”
    Bill Diehl: “Probably NASCAR’s over the top confidence about how right they were and how wrong Jeremy was. You know, they were wrong about it from the get-go and we stayed with our position throughout the argument and throughout the time that we’ve been suspended and we just carried the day as far as the judge is concerned that Jeremy had been treated wrong and to right the wrong meant giving him back his position in NASCAR and suspending the suspension.”
    Moody: “How soon will he be back? Will we see Mayfield Motorsports at Daytona trying to qualify this weekend and, if so, will Jeremy be the driver?”
    Diehl: “I think that’s probably problematic to be perfectly honest. I think it’s real difficult for him to get ready starting tonight and then race Saturday. He normally would have three days with a Sunday race and instead he only has two with a Saturday night race and I think it will be quite difficult. He hasn’t made up his mind as far as a final decision is concerned but I think it realistic to expect that he’d be returning next week rather than this week.”
    Moody: “There have been conflicting reports since the ruling was announced earlier this afternoon about whether or not NASCAR would appeal this decision. What’s your expectation? Do you have any at this point?”
    Diehl: “I really don’t. You know, they would do well to put this behind them, put this whole issue behind them, and go forward. It’s what I hope. But, again, they’re proud people and they don’t lose very often and they’ve lost something that they may decide to try to carry on the case even longer and fight harder and that might be their position. I can’t tell you today, for certain, that there’ll be any contact. The judge himself urged the parties to try to talk to each other. We’re certainly willing. We’ve never been haughty about this. We’ve never been over the top and I don’t think we’ve been pushy. We’ve said, ‘We have rights. We think they ought to be vindicated. We think you ought to listen.’ So far they’ve been real hard to deal with. Maybe their position will change. I can’t predict that.”
    (Sirius NASCAR Radio PR)(7-2-2009)

  • Different look for Harvick at Daytona: Instead of the usual yellow and red Shell-Pennzoil colors, Kevin Harvick’s #29 RCR Chevy will carry a special silver design in this weekend’s Coke Zero 400 to promote Pennzoil Platinum. Pennzoil Platinum is full synthetic engine oil with superior Active Cleansing Agents that continuously attacks potential and stubborn deposits to help keep the engine clean. Pennzoil Platinum is designed to provide the ultimate cleansing under the most severe driving style or conditions to maximize engine responsiveness.(RCR), see image of the scheme on the #29 Team Schemes page.(7-2-2009)

  • McMurray to sport saw blades look: #26-Jamie McMurray will pilot the #26 Irwin Marathon Ford at Daytona in the Coke Zero 500. This is a special paint scheme promoting Irwin’s Marathon saw blades.(RFR)(7-2-2009)

  • New Hampshire TV Ratings Up UPDATE: TNT’s telecast Sunday of the Sprint Cup Series’ Lenox Industrial Tools 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway earned a 4.1 cable rating and 5.555 million viewers from 1:59-5:45pm/et, the Sports Business Journal reported Tuesday. The telecast marks the first Cup Series race this season to see both year-over-year ratings and viewership gains, up 2.5% and 1.1% from last year’s 4.0 cable rating and 5.495 million viewers. The race also was the ninth most-viewed telecast on all of cable for the week of June 22-28. For four Cup Series races to date, TNT is averaging a 4.0 cable rating and 5.502 million viewers, down 4.8% and 3.7% from a 4.2 rating and 5.715 million viewers last year.(NASCAR.com)(6-29-2009)
    UPDATE: TNT’s ratings for its coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Racing from Loudon marked the first increase during the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, receiving a 3.5 US Household rating, up 3% over the same race last year (3.4). Also, households had a 3% increase (4,003,000 vs. 3,873,000) over last year.(TNT)(7-2-2009)

  • RCR #3 Chevy to Participate in Goodwood Festival: UPDATE: The Richard Childress Racing #3 GM Goodwrench Chevy that seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt earned his 76th and final victory in will participate in this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in England on July 3-5, 2009. Taylor Earnhardt, 20, Earnhardt’s youngest child, will drive the car in demonstration runs during the three-day festival. It is her inaugural turn behind the wheel of a stock car. She will be accompanied by her mother, Teresa Earnhardt, president and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., founded in 1980 with her legendary husband. The Goodwood Festival of Speed is an annual event held since 1993 at the Goodwood House in West Sussex, a place of great British motorsports history. Race cars old and new will participate in both demonstration and competition runs up the nine-turn 1.16-mile hillclimb circuit. This year’s gathering will include a number of NASCAR stock cars in honor of the 50th anniversary of Daytona International Speedway. The car was prepared by and will be cared for at the Goodwood Festival of Speed by former #3 team crew members Danny Lawrence and Rich Burgess. Lawrence is currently the assistant head engine builder/trackside manager for Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines and Burgess is the shop manager for RCR’s #31 Caterpillar team in the NSCS.(RCR)
    AND: and a couple drivers with NASCAR connections will attend the festival with Mike Skinner driving a Red Bull Racing Toyota and Rusty Wallace in a NASCAR Dodge Charger. More info on the festival at goodwood.co.uk.(6-30-2009)
    UPDATE: Four cars and drivers with NASCAR connections will participate the annual Festival of Speed at Goodwood Estate in West Sussex, England. Held since 1993, the Festival celebrates historic cars from all forms of racing. The three-day event, hosted by the Earl of March at his family’s estate, features a 1.16-mile hill-climbing competition for all classes and types of race cars and motorcycles, plus a 2.5-kilometer course for historic rally cars. This year’s Festival runs from July 3-5.
    Four NASCAR teams will participate in the three-day event – Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Team Red Bull and Rusty Wallace Inc.
    Landon Cassill, the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, will drive Hendrick Motorsports’ “T-Rex” – the then-revolutionary #24 chassis that four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon drove to victory in the 1998 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
    Taylor Earnhardt, the 20-year-old daughter of seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, will drive the #3 Richard Childress Racing chassis that her father drove to his last career win in October 2000.
    Rusty Wallace Inc., is sending its namesake – 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace, whose organization currently fields two NASCAR Nationwide Series teams. Also an ESPN commentator, Wallace will drive a #2 chassis fielded by his long-time former team, Penske Racing.
    Mike Skinner, the 1995 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, will drive a former NASCAR Sprint Cup chassis fielded by Team Red Bull, for whom he’s driven on a part-time basis while competing full time for another NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title.
    Cassill, Earnhardt, Wallace and Skinner are among this year’s Festival-record 103 drivers and riders. Also attending the 2009 Goodwood Festival of Speed: Jim Hunter, NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications. Hunter has over 40 years of experience in the sport, as a journalist, promoter, track president and administrator.(NASCAR)(7-2-2009)

  • “Kids Stop” rig at race tracks: Motorsports Authentics is letting kids take the green flag at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race tracks with the launch of its newest trackside merchandise rig, “The Kids Stop.” Making its official debut at Daytona International Speedway, “The Kids Stop” is dedicated entirely to NASCAR-related merchandise for youth. The rig will carry a wide variety of items featuring some of NASCAR’s most popular drivers so even the smallest racing fan can show his colors. The rig will join Motorsports Authentics’ trailers at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events throughout the remainder of the 2009 season.(Motorsports Authentics PR)(7-2-2009)
  • Kyle Petty Named Grand Marshal For The Coke Zero 400: Kyle Petty will serve as Grand Marshal for the 51st annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, July 4 at Daytona International Speedway. Petty, who is currently serving as an analyst for TNT, will give the command “Gentlemen, start your engines” to the 43-car field and to his father Richard Petty, who will pace the field in a replica 200th-winning #43 car.(Daytona Speedway PR)(7-2-2009)

July 1, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: July 1 — 2000: Kurt Busch wins his first NASCAR race, the Sears DieHard 200 Truck race at The Milwaukee Mile. He leads 156 laps and beats Randy Tolsma to the finish line by .564 seconds. Greg Biffle finishes third.(NASCAR.com)

  • Mayfield wins injunction: UPDATE 2: Independence Day came a few days early for suspended Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield, as a federal judge granted him a temporary injunction allowing him to race this weekend. The ruling, made Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte by senior Judge Graham Mullen, lifted his suspension for failing NASCAR’s substance abuse policy and allows him to return as the driver/owner of his #41 team in time for Saturday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway. Mullen said in granting the injunction that the irreparable harm appeared to be greater for Mayfield than NASCAR.(ESPN.com)(7-1-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR chairman Brian France said the organization has no immediate plans to file an appeal, but he didn’t rule it out. “We are disappointed, but we respect the judge’s ruling,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said in a statement. “This is only a temporary injunction. The legal case continues beyond this point, and we will continue to make our case.” (Associated Press)(7-1-2009)
    UPDATE 2: ESPN’s David Newton reported on Wednesday’s NASCAR Now that Mayfield probably does not have time to get his #41 team down to Daytona for this week’s race, but that he could be in the #64 for Larry Gunselman.(7-1-2009)

  • Gander Mountain sponsoring Front Row Motorsports cars at Daytona Gander Mountain will be the primary sponsor of both Front Row Motorsports’ (FRM) #37 Sprint Cup entry and FRM’s #34 Nationwide entry at the legendary Daytona International Speedway during the 4th of July holiday race weekend. The sponsorship highlights Gander Mountain’s new online firearms department and free standard shipping program. Both race cars will be piloted by Tony Raines, currently 13th in driver point standings in the Nationwide Series. Raines has routinely qualified for races this season behind the wheel of the #37 Dodge for FRM. Gander Mountain, with 116 stores in 23 states, is the nation’s largest retail network of stores for hunting, fishing, boating, camping, marine and outdoor lifestyle apparel, products and services. FRM team owner Bob Jenkins welcomes Gander Mountain as a sponsor and said, “Gander Mountain is sure to have success with its launch of online firearms sales and free shipping program.” He continued, “We intend to run strong and help spread the word at Daytona over this holiday weekend.”(Front Row Motorsports PR)(7-2-2009)

  • Newman at Bristol UPDATE: #39-Ryan Newman is at Bristol Motor Speedway today, to help the track promote the NASCAR races in August. Hearing Newamn will announce that he will do triple duty the August 19-22 weekend there, running the Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races.(7-1-2009)
    UPDATE – make it four: Ryan Newman put his name in the record books at Bristol Motor Speedway in March of 2003 when he set the track record during qualifying. During August race week, the 31-year-old NASCAR Sprint Cup star again will be making his mark at BMS, while also etching his name in the NASCAR record books as he makes history by competing in NASCAR’s top three divisions, as well as the Whelen Modified Series, at the same track in the same week. Newman will start his marathon during the wildly popular August race week at the World’s Fastest Half-Mile with the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 Whelen Modified race and the O’Reilly 200 Camping World Truck Series event Wednesday, Aug. 19. On Friday, Aug. 21 he will compete in the Food City 250 Nationwide Series event and run the final leg, the Sharpie 500 Sprint Cup Series race, Saturday, Aug. 22. When totaled, Newman stands to make an astounding 1,100 laps, traveling more than 586 miles around the .533-mile oval over three nights and could be in the seat for more than seven hours. Newman’s success at BMS during the August race week, could also mean some big money for a lucky fan. Should Newman win all four races, one lucky fan will pocket the same amount he would win in purse money – approximately $400,000. To enter, fans should visit the BMS website at www.bristolmotorspeedway.com.
    Newman will be piloting the #7NY Aggressive Hydraulics ride in the UNOH Perfect Storm 150, the #2 Pringles truck, owned by Kevin Harvick Inc. in the O’Reilly 200, the #5 Fastenal Nationwide car owned by JR Motorsports in the Food City 250 and the #39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation ride, owned by Stewart-Haas, in the Sharpie 500. Tickets may be purchased by calling the BMS ticket office at (423) 989-6900 or by visiting www.bristoltix.com.(BMS)(7-1-2009)

  • NASCAR to Announce Inaugural Nominees For Hall Of Fame UPDATE: The NASCAR Hall of Fame’s inaugural class will take a significant step towards realization Thursday night when the first 25 nominees will be revealed. The announcement will take place during an hour-long special on SPEED at 8:00pm/et that will be hosted by long-time NASCAR broadcaster Ken Squier. The Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a fan-vote element, will then choose the first class of inductees – five NASCAR greats who will be honored next May at the new NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The elite 25 names were determined by a 21-person Nominating Committee that consists of officials from both NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, plus owners/operators of major speedways and historic short tracks. The list represents many who helped build the sport, including drivers, owners and promoters.(NASCAR)(6-29-2009)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Says, a blog of NASCAR.com, blogs this week that will provide some “sneak peeks” at the inaugural list of nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The first two sneak peaked are lengendary drivers Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip.(NASCAR Says)(6-30-2009)
    UPDATE 2: two more nominee’s Glen Wood and Richard Childress. Both were drivers originally, who switched their concentration to team ownership. Both ended up having some of NASCAR’s biggest stars drive their cars. On Thursday the entire 25-person list will be known.(NASCAR Says)(7-1-2009)

  • NASCAR: Mayfield positive for meth: NASCAR has confirmed suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamines. The confirmation from NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston came Wednesday after Mayfield’s attorney mentioned the illegal substance several times during a 45-minute argument against the suspension. Mayfield has denied using methamphetamines. He’s in federal court in Charlotte, N.C., trying to have his suspension lifted in time to race this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Mayfield lawyer Bill Diehl argued that NASCAR’s testing system is flawed because Mayfield was never given the opportunity to have his backup “B” sample tested by an independent laboratory. The court recessed after Diehl’s argument and will reconvene at 2pm/et.(Associated Press/ESPN), see much past news about this on my NASCAR Drug Policy News page.(7-1-2009)

  • No Bill Weber in the TNT booth at NHMS UPDATE – to miss final two races: TNT will not have Bill Weber in the booth for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, according to a TNT spokesman. “Bill Weber will not be part of TNT’s NASCAR coverage of the Cup Series from New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend,” said a company statement released by senior vice president Sal Petruzzi. “As this is a private issue, it’s the policy of the company not to discuss personal matters involving our employees.” Ralph Sheheen will step in for Weber on today’s telecast.(SceneDaily)(6-28-2009)
    UPDATE: Bill Weber will not be part of TNT’s NASCAR coverage of the Cup Series for the network’s last two races. Ralph Sheheen will handle play-by-play duties for The Coke Zero 400 in Daytona and the LifeLock.com 400 from Chicagoland. Sheheen will be calling the races alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach in the booth.(TNT)(7-1-2009)

  • New Assoc. sponsor for Kurt Busch: Penske Racing announced the addition of Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Family Sports Pubs as an associate sponsor on the #2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Kurt Busch. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s will be featured on the #2 Cup Series car, beginning with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway this Fourth of July weekend. Sponsorship activation plans include a register-to-win VIP experience with Busch and the Miller Lite Dodge team this November in Miami, Florida. In addition, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s in-store menus will showcase two of Busch’s personally-selected menu favorites – the Wild West Chicken Sandwich and the Queso Dip and Chips. Founded by Jim Mellody in 1985, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a neighborhood pub-style restaurant chain where families and friends can enjoy good food and sports in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. With locations in 23 states across the Southeast and Midwest regions of the country, good food and great service go hand-in-hand at every Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. Visit www.beefobradys.com for more information.(Penske Racing)(7-1-2009)

  • Chase Notes going into Daytona: #99-Carl Edwards is in fifth place in the Sprint Cup standings, but is far from safe. From Edwards (+109) on down to 12th place #42-Juan Pablo Montoya (+1), eight members of the Top 12 in all are within the one race margin of dropping out of the standings. In fact, 14th place #00-David Reutimann could rise all the way to fifth if things fell his way at Daytona Saturday night. This is the most spots up for grabs at the 17-race mark in the six-year history of The Race to the Chase. #31-Jeff Burton’s fall from the Top 12 has been sudden and brutal. His 31st at New Hampshire dropped him another spot Sunday. He’s now lost eight spots in five races and is now 108 points out in 16th place. #33-Clint Bowyer lost more ground with a 20th and it is probably safe to count #29-Kevin Harvick out of making his fourth straight Chase as he is now 451 points out in 27th place. #2-Kurt Busch’s solid third at Loudon moved him to 206 points ahead of 13th place and gives him some breathing room. See more on my Chase Stats after New Hampshire and 2009 Chase News/Rules page.(6-30-2009)

  • Castroneves wins 2nd Qtr DOTY Award: Indy 500 winner, Helio Castroneves, won a hotly-contested vote for the second quarter Driver of the Year 2009. The Brazilian, who won his third Indy 500 – from the pole – this May, narrowly edged NASCAR’s Tony Stewart who is now a co-owner driver, 119-116. It was the closest margin of victory since Stewart lost the overall award in a tie-breaker in 2002. In the voting Castroveneves took eight first-place votes and was on every ballot. Stewart was second only three points behind Castroneves. He also garnered eight first-place votes. Mark Martin was third in the voting with 42 points. Kyle Busch also received one first-place ballot. A total of 19 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting. Castroneves will receive a trophy and a Tissot wristwatch to be presented at a later date.(DOTY)(7-1-2009)

  • R&L returns to sponsor Kenseth: The #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth will carry the green and gold colors of R+L carriers this weekend at Daytona. The scheme will highlight R+L Global Services. It will be the second of four races this season with R+L Carriers as the primary on the #17 Ford. Kenseth has carried the R+L Carriers paint scheme 11 times since 2006. In his 11 previous starts in the #17 R+L Carriers Ford, Kenseth has achieved 11 top-12, nine top-10, and four top-five finishes. Kenseth will not be racing the same car that he won with in the Daytona 500. That car (RK-631), which was actually Kenseth’s third car that weekend, was left behind and can be seen at the Daytona Experience up until next season. The team will bring a brand new chassis (RK-658) to the race this weekend.(RFR). See the scheme on my #17 Team Scheme page.(7-1-2009)

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr. at Daytona: To honor the National Guard and celebrate Independence Day, the #88 Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will run a special hand-painted camouflage ACU (Army Combat Uniform) scheme this weekend. The Hendrick Motorsports body shop needed two days and 14 coats of DuPont paint to finish the job. Earnhardt will unveil the paint scheme to National Guard soldiers and fans at Daytona’s Bandshell on Wednesday. The Nationnal Guard “Serving America”/AMP Energy Chevy is a special paint scheme to honor National Guard soldiers who dedicate a portion of their time to serving their nation, state and local communities. Since first muster in 1636, National Guard soldiers have brought glory and honor upon themselves and the Guard through quiet and selfless service. Approximately 363,000 soldiers strong, the Army National Guard is the oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States and celebrated its 372nd birthday in December 2008.
    Earnhardt has 12 wins at Daytona International Speedway. He won the 2004 Daytona 500, the 2001 Pepsi 400, two Budweiser Shootouts (2003 and 2008) and five NASCAR Nationwide Series events. Earnhardt also won his Gatorade Duel qualifying races in 2003, 2004 and 2008. At this year’s AMP Energy 500 at Talladega, thousands of members of JR Nation will see their names on Earnhardt’s #88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevy as part of the AMP Energy “Get on the 88” promotion. More info at www.AMPEnergy.com.(HMS)(7-1-2009)

  • PVA/Petty scheme for Allmendinger: The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway marks the 25th anniversary of Richard Petty’s 200th victory. The Paralyzed Veterans of America is running a tribute paint scheme on the #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger in honor of the anniversary.(RPM)(7-1-2009)

  • Kenseth looking to Sweep: #17-Matt Kenseth will be looking to complete a rare sweep of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Daytona International Speedway. He will look to join Fireball Roberts (1962), Cale Yarborough (1968), LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969) and Bobby Allison as the only Daytona 500 champions to also win the Independence Day holiday classic in the same year.(DIS)(7-1-2009)

  • Stremme buys house, helps those out of work: #12-David Stremme added another title to his name this week. The 32-year-old driver just finalized the purchase of a new home in North Carolina. Stremme hired members of the racing community, who lost their jobs in the economic downturn, to help him move into his new abode. Stremme has completed all but one lap of NASCAR Cup Series competition at Daytona International Speedway. The 32-year-old has completed 99.8% of all the laps he has attempted at the historic speedway.(Penske Racing)(7-1-2009)

  • Chris Wimmer holds off Kenseth to win All-Star Challenge: Chris Wimmer not only won Tuesday night’s All-Star Challenge, he also earned praise from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Tony Stewart. Wimmer passed Cambridge native and 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth with 11 laps left to clinch victory in the 100-lap super late model race in front of approximately 6,000 fans at Madison International Speedway. “I don’t know much about him, but it doesn’t’t take long to figure out how good he is,” Stewart said of Wimmer. “Obviously, you go beat Matt Kenseth like that, it’s a big deal.(Wisconsin State Journal)(7-1-2009)
  • TNT Revs Up Its Innovative Wide Open Coverage for Daytona: TNT’s groundbreaking Wide Open Coverage will return for the third consecutive year during the network’s exclusive coverage of the primetime Coke Zero 400 at Daytona powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 4th. The format provides continuous race coverage free of national commercial breaks and features 22% more unobstructed race action than that of a standard telecast by using a letterbox widescreen format. In place of the national ads, the telecast features a variety of animated sponsor messages, unique branded content and distinct on-screen graphic elements. Wide Open Coverage debuted on TNT during the 2007 Daytona 400 race and continued in 2008 during the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona; the two races resulted in only 12 missed laps of green flag racing.
    The ten national sponsors, which matches the last two years’ sponsorship commitment, featured in this year’s innovative telecast include Coke Zero, US Army, Sprint, Toyota, Coors Light, Viagra, Goodyear, Burger King, Subway and the Weinstein Company (movie Inglourious Basterds). TNT will air the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona powered by Coca-Cola beginning at 8:00pm/et with play-by-play announcer Ralph Sheheen calling the race alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach in the booth. In addition, analyst Larry McReynolds will make frequent contributions from the in-field as he breaks down crew strategy and analyzes car adjustments.
    The network will rev up its pre-race coverage beginning at 6:30pm/et with NASCAR on TNT Live! with Marc Fein (host), Petty and McReynolds. #14 Tony Stewart will join TNT’s infield rig for an interview prior to the race. Stewart won his first race as an owner/driver during TNT’s coverage of the Pocono 500. Also, legendary driver and owner Richard Petty will stop by the set as well.
    TNT’s acclaimed Pride of NASCAR series will feature the legendary owner Junie Donlavey who was a NASCAR owner for more than 50 years. Donlavey is best known for giving young drivers their first chance in NASCAR, with more than 70 drivers race in his car throughout his career. Donlavey still lives and works in his Richmond, Va. shop that he started in 1950.
    Lindsay on Location continues this week as TNT pit reporter Lindsay Czarniak takes a tour of #42 Juan Montoya’s impressive warehouse in Miami that includes past race cars, trophies, a rock climbing wall and jet skis.
    NASCAR on TNT Live! will be followed by Countdown to Green at 7:30pm/et with Fein (host), Dallenbach (analyst) and Petty (analyst) with reports from pit reporters Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, Adam Alexander and Czarniak. During Countdown to Green, Dallenbach will once again break down race strategy during Wally’s World, as he is superimposed into live race footage from last season’s race at Daytona International Speedway. He will virtually walk along the road course to discuss its nuances, with the ability to stop the race footage. Dallenbach will also spend time with #5 Mark Martin to talk about how, at the age of 50, Martin stays so young. Dallenbach will take viewers behind the scenes to check out Martin’s workouts that keep him in shape and competitive on the race track. Snider will go from the asphalt of the racetrack to the hardwood of the basketball court with a feature on #11 Denny Hamlin’s love for the game of basketball.
    Countdown to Green leads into coverage of Coke Zero 400 at Daytona powered by Coca-Cola at 8:00pm/et with Sheheen, Dallenbach and Petty calling the action with frequent interaction with McReynolds (analyst) who will man the TNT Offtrack Robotic Car.(TNT)
  • Papa John’s Founder John Schnatter to Serve as Honorary Starter for Coke Zero 600: John Schnatter, also known as “Papa John,” the Founder and CEO, for Papa John’s pizza restaurants, will serve as Honorary Starter for the 51st annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, July 4 at Daytona International Speedway. Schnatter will wave the green flag for the 43-car field from the starter’s stand and kick off the racing action in the Independence Day holiday classic. At the age of 22, Schnatter knocked out the broom closet in his father’s tavern, sold his prized 1972 Z28 Camaro, purchased $1,600 worth of used restaurant equipment and began delivering pizzas out of the back of the bar. Papa John’s opened its first pizza restaurant in 1984 and today is the world’s third largest pizza company with more than 3,400 restaurants world wide. Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday night, July 4 are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(7-1-2009)
  • DIS To Honor Five Medal of Honor Recipients: Daytona International Speedway will pay tribute to five Medal of Honor recipients during the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola, reinstituting a program that was first started by Bill France Sr. back in the 1970s. The Medal of Honor recipients, all from the Vietnam War, to be honored are:
    * Walter Marm, a retired U.S Army Colonel from Washington, Penn.
    * Kenneth Stumpf, a retired U.S Army Sergeant Major from Neenah, Wis.
    * John McGinty, a retired U.S Marine Captain from Boston, Mass.
    * Charles Hagemeister, a retired U.S Army Lieutenant Colonel from Lincoln, Neb.
    * Gary Littrell, a retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major from Henderson, Ky.
    All five Medal of Honor recipients will be honored during a special luncheon at noon on Friday at the Bill France Room inside Daytona 500 Experience and will attend driver’s meetings and participate in pre-race ceremonies for both the Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It’s bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States. Tickets for the luncheon in which Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey will serve as Master of Ceremonies are $40 and can be purchased by calling Daytona 500 Experience Group Sales at (386) 681-6470.
    Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday night, July 4 are available at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(7-1-2009)
  • NASCAR seeking payment from Milwaukee Mile: In documents obtained by the Journal Sentinel, NASCAR states that Wisconsin Motorsports, the race promoter at the Mile, owes it $1,878,228 for the two races NASCAR sanctioned earlier this month. Wisconsin Motorsports recently hosted two major NASCAR events: a Camping World Truck Series race and a Nationwide Series race. Exact attendance numbers have not been made public but it was estimated that the truck race drew about 7,000 fans, and Claude Napier, the head of Wisconsin Motorsports, said the Nationwide Series race drew in excess of 35,000 fans. The documents include an agreement that Napier signed in which he states that he is unable to pay in full the fees due NASCAR for sanctioning the races. Napier did not respond to requests for comment. Late last week, Napier acknowledged that he owed money to NASCAR but declined to provide details. He also admitted, as the Legislative Audit Bureau reported in a recent audit of the Wisconsin State Fair, that the track would lose money this year. A NASCAR spokesman, asked for comment, said the letter “speaks for itself.”(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-1-2009)