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June 2009 News Archives


June 30, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: June 30 — 1990: Mark Martin leads only one lap, but it’s the most important one in the Carolina Pride/Budweiser 200 Nationwide Series race at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway. Tommy Ellis leads the first 199 laps and finishes seventh.(NASCAR.com)
  • New Hampshire TV Ratings Up: 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), for more race-by-race TV Ratings, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(6-30-2009)
  • NASCAR: Truck Series Safe: Despite reports from independent blogger Mike Mulhern, NASCAR Vice President of Communications Jim Hunter says emphatically that there is no validity to a story circulating that the Camping World Truck Series will shut down. “There’s no truth to it whatsoever,” Hunter said. “It’s total B.S. The demise of the truck series is the figment of one person’s imagination. (Mulhern) has a history of fabricating false stories and this is another example of it. We’re very aware that (the Camping World Truck Series) is affected the hardest during this economic recession. We’re currently looking at options. We’ve never given up on a series and we’re not going to start now.” That said, NASCAR is looking at options to reduce costs such as decreasing the schedule, increasing the number of single-day dates and bringing back the half-time pit stops that could eliminate the traveling crews to five or six members. One possible solution that is off the table is the use of crate engines. NASCAR VP of Competition Robin Pemberton said they are not a viable option because “they’re not durable to last much beyond one race” which would raise costs, not lower them. Pemberton feels the sanctioning body has made “good gains with new rules and regulations” and the series “still makes sense.”(FoxSports)(6-30-2009)
  • Johnson’s Team Captures Tissot Pit Crew Award in New Hampshire: Jimmie Johnson’s crew grabbed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was the second Tissot victory of the season for the #48 crew, which also won at Bristol in March. The win lifted Johnson’s crew to sole possession of third place in the Tissot standings. The crews for Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle lead the weekly competition with three wins each. The #48 Lowe’s Chevy spent the least amount of time on pit road – 136.490 seconds — during the New Hampshire rain-shortened event. The pit crew effort helped Johnson to a top-10 finish (ninth). Johnson’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Jeremy West (rear-tire changer), Andy Brown (rear-tire carrier), Kenneth Purcell (jackman), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Ron Malec (eighth man). The team’s pit crew coach is Greg Morin. The #48 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)(6-30-2009)
  • Zipadelli Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Loudon: Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for the #20 Home Depot Toyota driven by Joey Logano, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Running mid-pack for most of the afternoon, Logano’s left rear tire went down around Lap 180, sending him spinning and bringing out the caution. The #20 crew fixed the car and sent him back onto the track, one lap down. Shortly after restarting the race, the yellow came out once again on Lap 190, giving Logano the free pass. With rain in the area, crew chief Greg Zipadelli decided to gamble and leave his 19-year-old driver on track, saving fuel and hoping for a good finish. Because Zippy had brought his driver in just 80 laps earlier, Logano, who had plenty of gas, stayed out on Lap 273 while all the other lead-lap cars pitted under green, and was in the lead when the rains came and the red flag came out on. Shortly after, the race was made official and Zipadelli’s daring pit call helped the #20 team score its first victory with rookie Joey Logano. 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)(6-30-2009)
  • 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)
  • Latest on Mayfield, 2nd test by independent lab: Testing performed by an independent laboratory supported the results that left Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield indefinitely suspended for failing NASCAR’s substance abuse policy, court documents said. Results of the test and the name of the individual tested were blacked out, but a NASCAR spokesman confirmed they were identical. The documents, part of NASCAR’s response to Mayfield’s lawsuit to have his indefinite suspension lifted, show that Medtox Laboratories in Minnesota tested both his “A” and backup “B” samples last week and “confirmed the presence” of a substance that is blacked out in the filing. NASCAR claims Mayfield tested positive for a “dangerous, illegal, banned substance” and should not be allowed back on the track. It was revealed in open court two weeks ago that the drug was amphetamines. ESPN the Magazine’s Ryan McGee, citing multiple sources, said it was methamphetamines. Mayfield’s attorneys claim that NASCAR’s drug testing program does not meet federal workplace guidelines. They argue that Mayfield did not give permission for the “B” sample to be tested after the “A” sample came back positive and that the “B” sample should have been tested at an independent laboratory. They said since proper procedure was not used and because the “B” sample was compromised when opened, thus not giving Mayfield the opportunity to send it to a second lab, that the entire test should be invalid. Both samples originally were tested by Aegis Laboratory, the Nashville Tenn.-based facility NASCAR employs to run its testing program. The most recent test was conducted at MedTox Laboratories in St. Paul, Minn. All the evidence will be dealt with at a Wednesday [July 1st] hearing in U.S. District Court, where Mayfield is seeking a temporary restraining order that would allow him back in the car, possibly as early as Saturday night’s race at Daytona International Speedway.(see full story at ESPN.com), see much past news about this on my NASCAR Drug Policy News page.(6-30-2009)
  • Truex to MWR as of Chicago? looks doubtful: Could Martin Truex Jr. be headed to Waltrip’s outfit a little sooner than next season? It seems like a pretty good possibility. One garage source said it’s a likely possibility that Truex will be behind the wheel of Waltrip’s #55 NAPA Toyota Camry for the Lifelock.com 400 on July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway, with Aric Almirola taking over his current seat in the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #1 Bass Pro Chevy. And while the Truex to MWR rumor has been floating in the pond for some time, another name was tossed into the rumor mill concerning the big Waltrip announcement [July 7th at 12:30pm/et]. Could Richard Petty Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne be heading to a new third Toyota team with MWR? Sounds odd, but its being whispered.[Jayski Note: Kahne is signed with RPM thru 2010](Hartford Courant)
    AND The company line at Michael Waltrip Racing is that despite the expected announcement on July 7 [at 12:30pm/et] that Martin Truex Jr. will join the fold (hearing in the #56 Toyota), he will not drive the car until next season. And Waltrip will likely continue to run a limited 10 to 12 race schedule in the #55 car in 2010. But the consensus in the garage is that Truex could be in a MWR car as early as the Chicagoland Cup race in two weeks. A press release from NAPA announcing Waltrip’s brother Darrell (also a NASCAR on FOX analyst) as an honorary pit crew member for this weekend Coke Zero 400 has only fueled the speculation that it will be Michael’s last race. For now, MWR Vice President and GM Ty Norris and COO Cal Wells’ say that the teams will remain status quo for 2009. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing president Steve Lauletta says he expects to have Aric Almirola back in the #8 Chevy by mid-August if sponsorship can be secured. Lauletta echoed MWR’s sentiments that Truex will not be departing from the #1 Chevy before season’s end.(FoxSports)(6-30-2009)
  • McDonald’s to serve up McCafé twice more in July: The mocha brown and creamy white of McDonald’s McCafé returns on two Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge Chargers racing under the lights in July. First, Kasey Kahne will pilot the #10 McDonald’s McCafé Dodge Charger around Daytona in the July 3rd Nationwide Series race. The next week Reed Sorenson will take the #43 McDonald’s McCafé Dodge Charger to Chicagoland Speedway for the July 11th Sprint Cup race. Summer nights are heating up with great racing. McDonald’s McCafé has two delicious ways to chill down with creamy and cold Iced Latte and cool, chocolaty Iced Mocha. Both are available now at McDonald’s as part of the new McCafé menu of sweet and indulgent drinks at an affordable McDonald’s price.(McDonald’s), see images of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page.(6-30-2009)
  • RCR #3 Chevy to Participate in Goodwood Festival: 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)
  • Executive Management Changes At Indy: The Board of Directors of Hulman & Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that a new management team comprised of veteran IMS executives W. Curtis Brighton and Jeffrey G. Belskus will head the Hulman-George companies effective July 1. Brighton, currently executive vice president and chief legal counsel, will become president and CEO of Hulman & Company. Belskus, currently executive vice president and chief financial officer for the companies, will become president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation. They will replace Tony George, who will no longer serve as president and chief executive officer of the Hulman-George companies but will remain a board member of the Hulman-George companies. “Our board had asked Tony to structure our executive staff to create efficiencies in our business structure and to concentrate his leadership efforts in the Indy Racing League,” said Mari Hulman George, IMS chairman of the board. “He has decided that with the recent unification of open-wheel racing and the experienced management team IMS has cultivated over the years, now would be the time for him to concentrate on his team ownership of Vision Racing with his family and other personal business interests he and his family share.” Joie Chitwood is president and chief operating officer (COO) of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC. Terry Angstadt is president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League. Brian Barnhart is president of the competition division of the Indy Racing League. Charlie Morgan is president and COO of IMS Productions. Gary Morris is president and COO of Clabber Girl.(IMS PR)(6-30-2009)
  • Bristol and Banshee Music team on Music: Banshee Music is proud to announce a partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway to serve as official music provider to the racetrack. The partnership will begin with the introduction of a custom, 12-song release that captures the feel of the unique fan experience at Bristol, the excitement of racing on the half-mile track, the track’s signature night race and the raw power of the Thunder Valley drag strip. The CD is due to be released early this summer and will be available at retail and as a digital download.(BMS)(6-30-2009)
  • The Chase Comes to Auto Club Speedway: Southern California race fans have two great reasons to celebrate come October – Southern California’s inaugural “Chase Race” – the Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway and Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s 35th birthday. As if getting the fourth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup isn’t enough, fans can also celebrate one of NASCAR’s biggest stars’ birthday in style. To help celebrate Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s birthday, Auto Club Speedway is offering an $88 Dale Jr. Birthday Weekend Package, October 10-11th. Fans can also purchase Pepsi Rock n’ Rows $35 tickets and be part of the celebration. Both are expected to sell out quickly. The $88 Dale Jr. Birthday Weekend Package (a $150 value) comes complete with a Saturday general admission ticket for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race – the Camping World RV Service 300 presented by Coleman; a Sunday reserved seat for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race – the Pepsi 500 and a weekend pit pass that gets race fans up close and personal to all the on-track action. In addition to the $88 Dale Jr. Birthday Weekend Package, Auto Club Speedway offers free parking, allows fans to bring in their own food and other cost-savings opportunities for fans to experience a full weekend of entertainment and fun for the entire family. To purchase the $88 Dale Jr. Birthday Weekend Package or the Pepsi Rock n’ Rows tickets, call 800-944-RACE (7223) or visit the new www.autoclubspeedway.com for more information.(Auto Club Speedway)(6-30-2009)

June 29, 2009

  • No 301 yet: since the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was changed to the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 for the 2008 season, it has no made the 301 lap [318.458 miles] distance yet, last June the race was rained shortened to 284 laps and #2-Kurt Busch won, this year it was rain shortened to 273 laps and #20-Joey Logaono won.(6-29-2009)
  • Today in NASCAR History: June 29 — 2003: Jason Keller wins the GNC Lives Well 250 at Milwaukee for his 10th Nationwide Series victory. Keller, 39, who holds the record for Nationwide starts with 473, hasn’t won since, a stretch of 168 starts.(NASCAR.com)
  • The Entry List for the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway is posted, 45 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
    Not in top 35 of 2009 owners points:
    #09-Brad Keselowski (2009 Race Winner as owner)(38 in owners pts/17 attempts)
    #13-Max Papis (43/8)
    #36-Patrick Carpentier (42/17)
    #37-Tony Raines (50/10)
    #64-Mike Wallace (49/11)
    #66-Dave Blaney (41/17)
    #71-David Gilliland (37/17)
    #78-Regan Smith (40/9)
    #82-Scott Speed (36/17)
    #87-Joe Nemechek (39/17)
    In the event qualifying is rained out or cancelled:
    the eight who would make it [8]: #’s 09,82,71,87,66,36,64,37
    missing the race would be [2]: #’s 78,13
    See the full entry list at my Jayski’s Daytona Entry List.(6-29-2009)
  • Former NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner Steve Park will join ESPN NASCAR analysts Brad Daugherty and Tim Brewer as panelists on NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion program on ESPN2. The program airs Tuesday, June 30, at midnight ET (late Monday night). Allen Bestwick will host the edition of ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program.
  • Sprint Cup Series Facts and Notes:
    * Joey Logano won the rain-shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. At 19 years, one month and four days, Logano became the youngest driver to win a Cup race in NASCAR history.
    * Logano became the 11th race winner in 17 races in 2009. He became the ninth different race winner in the past nine races at New Hampshire.
    * Logano became the third first-time winner in 2009, joining Brad Keselowski (Talladega) and David Reutimann (Lowe’s). Reutimann won his career-first race in a rain shortened race at Lowe’s. Logano is the second driver to score his first win in a rain-shortened race at New Hampshire, joining Ryan Newman in 2002.
    * Logano scored his first Cup victory in his 20th start. He posted his first victory at New Hampshire in his second start. He led once for the final 10 laps.
    * Joe Gibbs Racing scored its 72nd series victory, its fourth at New Hampshire and fourth in 2009. Logano is the sixth driver to win for Joe Gibbs Racing and third to score his first career win with Gibbs, joining Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart.
    * This is the first win by Toyota at New Hampshire. Toyota scored its fifth win in 2009. Chevrolet has eight, and Dodge and Ford each have two.
    * Jeff Gordon (second) has scored top-10 finishes in the past four races, a streak that began at Pocono.
    * Kurt Busch (third) posted his third straight top-10 finish at New Hampshire. He remained fourth in the point standings.
    * Tony Stewart (fifth) has scored top-10 finishes in the past five races, a streak that began at Dover.
    * Jimmie Johnson (ninth) has led at least one lap in 14 of the 17 races in 2009. He led 93 laps in Sunday’s race, the most by any driver. Johnson (887) passed Kyle Busch (808 ) for the most laps led this season.
    * Carl Edwards (19th) ended a five-race streak of top-15 finishes that began at Lowe’s.
    * Clint Bowyer (20th) ended a five-race streak of top-15 finishes that began at Dover.
    (Racing Resources/ESPN)(6-29-2009)
  • Dillner’s daughter wins at Hickory: 15 year old Meghan Dillner, daughter of SPEEDtv’s Bob Dilner, won the Pro Challenge Series race at historic Hickory Speedway for BDI Racing, her first-ever Pro Challenge event win. Earlier in the day at Hickory, Dillner also won her first-career Pro Challenge pole position in qualifying. While winning at Hickory was memorable, one important member of Dillner’s family could not be at Hickory. Bob Dillner, BDI Racing team owner, was in New Hampshire covering the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for SPEED when his daughter made it to victory lane at Hickory, but a couple of phone calls made for a great night for both father and daughter.(51sports/BDI Racing)(6-29-2009)
  • Kyle Busch apologizes for wreck at NHMS: #18-Kyle Busch finished 7th in the rain shortened Lenox Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Suday. Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, rookie #20-Joey Logano, won the race by gambling on fuel as the rain approached. Busch survived 11 cautions for 47 laps in the rain-shortened event, including a multi-car accident on a lap 174 restart that began when #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., spun his tires and Busch, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya and 31-Martin Truex Jr., made contact at the end of the frontstretch. “I have to apologize to all those guys,” Busch said. “We got bottled up there in turn one – especially Martin and Jeff Burton and those guys. I meant nothing of that. The 88 (Earnhardt) spun his tires on the restart, I went to choose a lane, went to the middle, and the 42 (Montoya) and I got together a little bit. That pinched me with the 1 (Truex, Jr.) and I spun the 1 out and it was just mayhem from there. I hate it for all those guys because I know they’ve got ‘Chase’ contentions too. We were just battling for every spot out there today. Restarts are hectic, man. Everybody is fighting for every inch that’s out there because it’s so hard to pass with these cars. If you can get it done right now, then you can kind of single-file out for a while and then you don’t have to worry about much. The sooner you can get everything done – the quicker, the better, the more you’re by yourself.”(JGR)(6-29-2009)
  • Latest on Roush Fenway Racing having to trim a team: The five-car stable of Roush Fenway Racing (#16-Greg Biffle, #99-Carl Edwards, #17-Matt Kenseth, #6-David Ragan, #26-Jamie McMurray) must be trimmed to four vehicles for the 2010 season. According to Brian Corcoran, executive vice president of Fenway Sports Group, a decision should take place by August because of sponsorship obligations. An alternative is for one of the drivers (most likely Ragan or McMurray) to switch to Yates Racing, the current home of #96-Bobby Labonte and #98-Paul Menard. Roush has an existing partnership with Yates. “Should be an interesting 45 days,’’ Corcoran said. Corcoran also noted that Roush is still in discussions with DeWalt, the primary sponsor of Kenseth’s #17 Ford. Currently, DeWalt may not have the funds to continue primary sponsorship of the #17 next season.(Boston Globe)(6-29-2009)
  • NASCAR to Announce Inaugural Nominees For Hall Of Fame: 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)
  • added schemes from NHMS: #31 Lenox Industrial Tools#33 The Hartford#44 Berlin City Auto Group
  • New Hampshire Commercial breakdown:
    Total number of commercials: 115
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 58
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:41 PM
    Total minutes: 221
    Minutes of race broadcast: 163
    Minutes of commercials: 58
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
    Number of male enhancement ads: 2
    Number of race moments endorsed by Viagra: 1
    Total race brdcst time 163 Total comm. brdcst time 58
    See full report and more on my 2009 TV Commercials page.(6-29-2009)
  • Logano 1st ROTY candidate to win in 71 races: Raybestos Rookie of the Year Candidate #20-Joey Logano rallied from a lap down and stretched his fuel mileage to perfection to win the rain shortened LENOX Industrial Tools 301 Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Logano scored his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in just his 20th start and his first in two starts at New Hampshire. He became the first Raybestos Rookie [Keselowski is not a Rookie Candidate] to win in 71 races, dating back to Juan Pablo Montoya’s victory at Infineon Raceway in 2007. He joined Ryan Newman (2002) as the only Raybestos Rookies to win in 29 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire. He won in just his second start at New Hampshire and led the race just once, covering the final 10 laps. Logano leads Scott Speed by 31 points (199-168) in the overall Raybestos Rookie standings. Logano scored his first top-five and fourth top-10 of the 2009 season.(Raybestos PR)(6-29-2009)
  • 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: Michael Waltrip Racing announced on Monday that on July 7th, there will be a press conference involving sponsor NAPA Auto Parts at MWR’s headquarters.(MWR)(6-29-2009)
  • Kenseth to be honored at Daytona: #17-Matt Kenseth’s signature, right footprint and hand prints will now have their place in the history of Daytona International Speedway. During the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola, Kenseth on Friday, July 3 at 11:30am/et will participate in a question and answer session with the race fans inside Daytona 500 Experience motorsports attraction and then proceed outside where he will have his 3×3 cement block with his signature, hand prints and right foot print placed into the Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame. Kenseth, the winner of the 51st running of the Daytona 500 earlier this year, put his right foot, autograph and handprints into the cement during his Champion’s Breakfast car induction ceremonies. Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig and Daytona 500 Experience General Manager Kim Isemann will assist Kenseth in placing the block into Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame, which is located just outside the “Official Attraction of NASCAR.” Winning drivers of the Daytona 500 since 1996, the first year of operation for Daytona 500 Experience, have their hands, right foot and signature immortalized in cement in the Daytona 500 Champion’s Walk of Fame. Tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday night, July 4 start at $40. Tickets are available online at daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS)(6-29-2009)
  • Childers and Reutimann to Each Receive a Muscle Car: On Wednesday, July 1st, at 11am/et, David Reutimann and his #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota crew chief Rodney Childers will become proud owners of a pair of 1967 Shelby GT500 Mustangs. The keys to each car will be presented to them by Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing and owner of RK Collection LLC in Concord. How did these guys get so lucky? On the night of qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 in May, Reutimann and Childers made a bet with Kauffman. If the two were able to bring home the Coca-Cola 600 trophy from Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Kauffman would allow both of them to take home one trophy muscle car from his RK Collection auto restoration shop. On Monday, May 25th, Reutimann was declared a first-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner and presented with the coveted Coca-Cola 600 trophy. As Kauffman was boarding a plane to Europe simultaneously, he received a call from Victory Lane. Kauffman will hand over the two sets of keys on Wednesday – one set to Childers and one to Reutimann. RK Collection LLC [rk-collection.com] is located at 7975 Westwinds Blvd NW in Concord.(more info at MichaelWaltrip.com)(6-29-2009)
  • NBA Star to Serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver for Coke Zero 400: NBA basketball star and nearby Mainland High School graduate Vince Carter will serve as the Honorary Pace Car driver for the 51st annual Coke Zero 400 Powered Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Saturday, July 4. Carter, who currently plays for the New Jersey Nets, will pace the 43-car field prior to the green flag waving on the Independence Day holiday classic. Carter has shined off the court with his Embassy of Hope Foundation, assisting children and families in the Daytona Beach area, New Jersey and Toronto. Most recently, Carter, along with his mother Michelle Carter-Scott, donated $1.6 million to the Stewart-Marchman-Act Foundation to help build a 100-bed treatment center for alcohol and drug addiction recovery to be named “The Vince Carter Sanctuary.” Carter and his mother Carter-Scott will be honored during the Stewart-Marchman-Act Foundation Annual Dinner on Wednesday, July 1 at the Daytona 500 Club for their numerous contributions to the local community. Tickets remain available for the Independence Day holiday classic – the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola. For tickets, call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS)(6-29-2009)
  • IMS to make announcement?: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s board of directors is meeting again Tuesday and expected to make an announcement concerning Tony George’s position. It was reported on SPEEDtv.com last month that George had been voted out of power as CEO of IMS by his three sisters, which control six of the board of director votes and had removed his wife. Laura, from her IMS position earlier in May. TG maintained he was still CEO but an IMS release admitted the board wanted George to devise a a management plan that would allow him to focus on the business which requires the greatest attention. He is also CEO of the Indy Racing League, which he founded in 1996. It’s speculated that George could be replacing his mother, Mari Hulman-George, as IMS chairman of the board and that longtime NASCAR promoter Humpy Wheeler could be brought in as acting IMS president.(SPEEDtv)(6-29-2009)
  • Goo Goo Dools to headline concert at Chicagoland: Rock band the Goo Goo Dolls will be the headline act for the Miller Lite Rock N’ Racing concert at Chicagoland Speedway on Thursday, July 9, Chicagoland Speedway announced today. The concert will once again take place at the track’s Miller Lite Pit Stop, which is located behind the Speedway’s grandstands in Champions Park. Large crowds are expected for NASCAR Pole Day and the concert, so guests are encouraged to arrive early. The concert is free and will take place immediately following NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying. Tickets for Pole Day are $15 (children 12 and under are free) and provide fans with general admission access to watch practice and qualifying runs for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Tickets can be purchased by calling 888-629-RACE (7223) or by visiting www.chicagolandspeedway.com.(Chicagoland Speedway)(6-29-2009)

June 28, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: 1998: Road-course ace Ron Fellows wins his first of four Nationwide Series races, leading 54 of 82 laps at Watkins Glen. All four of Fellows’ wins have been on road courses — three at Watkins Glen and one at Montreal.(NASCAR.com)
  • Logano wins at New Hampshire: #20-Joey Logano won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his first career Sprint Cup race in his 20th race. Logano is the youngest driver ever to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at 19 years, 1 months, and 4 days, besting Kyle Busch who was 20 years, 4 months, 2 days old. Logano is the third first time winner in 2009, there were no first time winners in 2008, but four in 2007. #24-Gordon finished 2nd followed by #2-Busch, #00-Reutimann, #14-Stewart, #09-Keselowski, #18-Busch, #77-Hornish Jr., #48-Johnson and #9-Kahne. There were 11 cautions for 47 laps, 2 red flags [big wreck and rain] and there were 23 lead changes among 14 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my New Hampshire Race Results Page.(6-28-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after Infineon, race 16 of 36]:
    1) #14-Tony Stewart, 2524 [1 win], finished 5th
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon, 2455, -69 [1 win], 2nd
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 2355, -169 [2 wins], 9th
    4) #2-Kurt Busch, 2254, -270 [1 win], 3rd
    5) #99-Carl Edwards, 2157, -367, 19th
    6) #11-Denny Hamlin, 2132, -392, 15th
    7) #39-Ryan Newman, 2127, -397, 29th
    8) #18-Kyle Busch, 2108, -416, [3 wins], 7th
    9) #16-Greg Biffle, 2106, -418, 18th
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth, 2054, -470, [2 wins], 22nd
    11) #5-Mark Martin, 2052, -472, [3 wins], 14th
    12) #42-Juan Montoya, 2049, -475, 12th
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #9-Kasey Kahne, 2048, ONE point out of 12th, [1 win], 10th
    14) #00-David Reutimann, 2037, -12, [1 win], 4th
    15) #33-Clint Bowyer, 1955, -94, 20th
    16) #31-Jeff Burton, 1941, -108, 31st
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(6-28-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – New Hampshire Motor Speedway:
    Joey Logano won the LENOX Industrial Tools 301, his first victory in 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2009. Logano becomes the youngest winner in series history at 19 years, one month and four days.
    This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in two races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
    Jeff Gordon (second) posted his 16th top-10 finish in 29 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It is his 12th top-10 finish in 2009.
    Kurt Busch (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 17 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
    Joey Logano (first) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 69 points over Jeff Gordon.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-28-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Daytona:
    No changes, but the spread between 35th and 36th is up to 155 points
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1366, +273
    35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1248, 155 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1093, 155 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 1009, -239
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(6-28-2009)
  • Penalty Report – New Hampshire
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #55, 17, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #26, 22, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #98, 170, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #07, 175, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #98, 175, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #55, 176, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #20, 182, Pitting before pit road is open/Speeding entering, Tail End
    #07, 183, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #98, 184, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #07, 190, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #26, 246, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Pass Thru
    #39, 264, Hand pushing car more than 3 pit boxes, Pass Thru
    (NASCAR Statistics)(6-28-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at New Hampshire: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver down a lap
    Caution 2: no driver down a lap on the track
    Caution 3: #26-McMurray, 33rd
    Caution 4: no driver down a lap on the track
    Caution 5: no driver down a lap on the track
    Caution 6: #39-Newman, 29th
    Caution 7: #20-Logano, WON
    Caution 8: #12-Stremme, 28th
    Caution 9: #55-Waltrip, 24th
    Caution 10: #20-Logano (2), WON
    Caution 11: #55-Waltrip (2), 24th
    (6-28-2009)
  • No Bill Weber in the TNT booth today: 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)
  • Competition caution today after lap 35 during the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway unless a caution comes out earlier.(6-28-2009)
  • No Bill Weber in the TNT booth today: 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)
  • Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon and #14-Tony Stewart lead all drivers after 17 races in 2009 with 9 Top-5 finishes, with #48-Johnson next with 7. #14-Stewart has the most Top-10’s after 17 races with 13, followed by #24-Gordon with 12.
    Two drivers have run all 17 races in 2009 and have not scored a top-10 finish: #12-Stremme and #98-Menard. Nine drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all 17 races: #98-Menard, #12-Stremme, #07-Mears, #42-Montoya, #1-Truex Jr., #43-Sorenson, #26-McMurray, #6-Ragan and #77-Hornish Jr.(6-28-2009)
  • Driver wins before age 25: Only 60 of 2,227 NASCAR Sprint Cup races for which the winner’s age is known have been won by drivers under 25:
    1. Jeff Gordon, 15
    1. Kyle Busch, 15 [still under 25 until May 2, 2010]
    3. Kurt Busch, 7
    (tie) Richard Petty, 7
    5. Junior Johnson, 5
    Tied with one each: Joey Logano, Bob Burdick. Bobby Hillin Jr.; Parnelli Jones; John Kieper; Terry Labonte, Ryan Newman, Bill Rexford; Fireball Roberts; Donald Thomas; Brian Vickers.(6-28-2009)
  • Truex Jr. may leave EGR, but Bass Pro Shops will return: 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. “I heard about that [announcement] – I have no idea [its content],” Lauletta said in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway garage. “We have not re-signed Martin for 2010.” Lauletta was fairly mum on whether the team would put current driver Aric Almirola (who started the year driving for EGR in Sprint Cup and has since been driving select Nationwide and Truck races for other teams) in the #1 car or someone else. “We’re not going to talk about what we’re doing and what our options are,” Lauletta said. “We’ll keep that all internal.” He said those discussions would include Bass Pro Shops. As far as his manufacturer situation, Lauletta said EGR is in a similar situation as the rest of the Chevrolet organizations as it has been asked to cut back.(SceneDaily)(6-28-2009)
  • MWR to make announcement on July 7th? UPDATE: 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)
  • Shell to Hendrick? Rick Hendrick may be in the running for the lucrative Shell-Pennzoil sponsorship for 2010, according to sources in the NASCAR garage. Car owner Richard Childress is in the third season of Shell sponsorship, but he has said little about the contract or any negotiations. Hendrick has had a long-standing sponsorship relationship with Quaker State, which is owned by Shell. If Shell were to move from the Childress camp to the Hendrick camp, it would apparently go on Mark Martin’s car. NASCAR executives are expected to discuss the full range of sponsorship issues with key car owners and drivers in next week’s planned annual post-Daytona 400 ‘seminar.’ That private retreat each July was started by the late Bill France Jr., to get an inside look at the state of the sport from the owners’ perspective.(MikeMulhern.net)(6-28-2009)
  • Danica Patrick to Hendrick? Dale Jr. to…..UPDATE denied: If Danica Patrick does jump from the Indy Racing League to NASCAR, as increasingly appears likely, the battle for her, according to sources close to the negotiations, is down to car owners Rick Hendrick, of Chevrolet, and Jack Roush, of Ford. According to these sources, Hendrick and General Motors’ Chevrolet division are now suddenly the heavy favorites to sign Patrick. And the key would apparently be Hendrick’s willingness to put her in a Sprint Cup ride for the full 2010 season. Roush has said he would like to see her run some NASCAR Nationwide and/or Truck events, along with six or seven Cup events, to get her accustomed to stock car racing. Hendrick reportedly is willing to go further. Patrick might take Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s spot on Hendrick’s official four-team Cup roster, with Earnhardt moving to an expanded JR Motorsports operation. JR Motorsports, Earnhardt’s own operation, run in partnership with Hendrick, would thus be stepping up to a full Cup program; Hendrick has already been talking with Talladega winner Brad Keselowski about Keselowski’s future in NASCAR, with indications he could get a Cup ride with an expanded JR Motorsports venture, with Hendrick engines and Hendrick engineering. It is not clear how far along any Patrick-IMG-Hendrick negotiations have gone, but sources tell mikemulhern.net that the Patrick-Hendrick deal is very close to being a ‘done deal.'(Mikemulhern.net)(6-28-2009)
    UPDATE – denied:been told by Hendrick Motorsports reps that there is absolutely no truth to this.(6-28-2009)
  • JTG/Daugherty not shopping team: JTG/Daugherty Racing team owner Tad Geschickter categorically denied that the organization is shopping for a new arrangement for Marcos Ambrose. Ambrose’s #47 JTG/Daugherty Toyota team currently operates out of Michael Waltrip Racing. Geschickter said Saturday at NHMS that the arrangement with Waltrip is a one-year deal with an option but emphasized that he isn’t looking to move his operation. Rumors had linked JTG/Daugherty with both a possible fourth car at Joe Gibbs Racing or a third car at Stewart-Haas Racing. “We’re not shopping,” Geschickter said. About reports that sponsor Little Debbie Snacks recently had increased its financial commitment to the team, Geschickter said, “I’m not allowed to talk about the terms of the contract, but they’re very happy with our program.”(Sporting News)
    AND: JTG Daugherty Racing doesn’t have enough sponsorship to continue running Michael McDowell beyond next week’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway, team co-owner Tad Geschickter said Saturday. The team has sponsorship for Marcos Ambrose for the two Nationwide road-course events later this season but beyond that, Geschickter is not sure how many races the #47 car will run over the second half of the season. Tom’s snack company has sponsored the car for much of the first half of the season. Geschickter said the organization is concentrating on its Sprint Cup effort with driver Ambrose. The team is imbedded with Michael Waltrip Racing as part of a technical alliance. Whether that MWR relationship continues remains to be seen. “As far as what we’re doing next year, we haven’t started discussions with them yet,” Geschickter said. “We’ll have to renegotiate for the next year. … They’ve done a really good job. The secret’s been that we have integrated our people into their shop.”(SceneDaily)(6-28-2009)
  • Ambrose Sports Special Bucket Hat for Aussie Army: This week #47-Marcos Ambrose received a letter and a camouflage Army bucket that he is wearing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway that came from the Australian Embeds Task Force 633 International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan. Since arriving in Afghanistan, the Task Force has been following the success of the JTG-Daugherty Racing team and Ambrose. The letter expressed thanks to JTG-Daugherty Racing for their support of the Australian troops and of an Australian driver. They also thanked the team for reminding them of the ‘enjoyable things in life’ and ‘making a difference in their lives.’
    “Some Aussie troops from Afghanistan sent the bucket hat to me as a good luck charm for this weekend at New Hampshire,” said Ambrose, who wore the hat yesterday on his flight to Manchester and today in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. “I’m wearing it to support them and they’ve been wearing my Little Debbie hat to support us. They wished us the best of luck this season and told us that they have our backs.”(MWR)(6-28-2009)
  • Congrats: Roush Fenway Racing co-owner [and part owner of the Boston Red Sox] John Henry and Linda Pizzuti were married on Saturday on the groom’s yacht on a foggy trip from the North Shore to Boston’s Rowes Wharf. Also attending were Jack Roush, Henry’s partner in Roush Fenway Racing and #99-Carl Edwards. The reception was held under a huge glittering tent at Fenway Park in Boston.(Boston Herald)(6-28-2009)
  • Geoff Bodine keeps on racing: Geoff Bodine made a name for himself by winning 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup races and rubbing fenders with the likes of Dale Earnhardt. These days, Bodine finds himself trading paint with Father Time. It’s a race the 60-year- old knows nobody can win, but he wakes up every day determined to keep plugging away. “I don’t want to get old. I don’t want to act old,” Bodine said. “When I die, I want some quality in my life.” Bodine looked anything but old as he perched on a guardrail near his #99 Pontiac GTO in the infield of Lonesome Pine Raceway on Saturday afternoon. The veteran was in Coeburn to run a pair of 75-lap ISCAR Dash Series feature races. Bodine said ISCAR, which is the resurrection of the old Goody’s Dash Series, is a great steppingstone for young racers because it gives them a division where they can make the transition from Legend cars to Late Models.(Kingsport Times News)(6-28-2009)
  • NHMS Looks to Reduce Carbon Footprint: New Hampshire Motor Speedway is rolling out its Green Team Initiative for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 weekend. The Green Team Initiative is a recycling program in the RV and general parking areas at the speedway. It is a part of Waste Management’s Single-Stream recycling system where items such as paper, plastic, and aluminum are all recycled into one bin and then sorted at their plant. On the grounds of the speedway, campers will see green barrels for recycling and gray barrels for other trash. The green barrels will have a large yellow sticker outlining acceptable items for Single-Stream recycling. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway LENOX Industrial Tools 301 and SYLVANIA 300 weekends, call their Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931.(NHMS)(6-28-2009)

June 27, 2009

  • Today in NASCAR History: June 27 — 1959: Richard Petty finishes last for the first time in his Cup career. Transmission problems in his 1957 Oldsmobile end his day after 14 laps of a 200-lap race at quarter-mile Bowman-Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. Petty finishes 24th. Rex White leads all 200 laps.(NASCAR.com)
  • Race Coverage of the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, June 28, 2009.
    TV: TNT at 2:00 pm/et; pre-race show at 12:30 pm/et; green flag approx 2:16pm/et
    Radio: PRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: SPEED, Wednesday, July 1 at 12:00pm/et;
  • Pit Stall Selections – New Hampshire: The selections for pit stalls of the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway have been made. Pole sitter #14-Stewart chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], outside pole sitter #24-Gordon took pit stall 19 the next pit stall with an opening in front of it, #48-Johnson, who starts 3rd took the 43rd stall, the 3rd stall with an opening in front of it and #17-Kenseth, who starts 10th took the final pit stall [44th].
    See the pit selection chart on the New Hampshire Pit Stall Selection chart.(6-27-2009)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
    #1-Truex Jr. 128.186
    #48-Johnson 127.795
    #16-Biffle 127.709
    #43-Sorenson 127.666
    #5-Martin 127.662
    slowest: #37-Raines 123.743 and #34-Andretti 125.203
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(6-27-2009)
  • 1st Saturday practice for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the top five are:
    #43-Sorenson 128.472
    #87-Nemechek 128.208
    #07-Mears 128.135
    #1-Treux Jr. 128.126
    #00-Reutimann 128.027
    slowest: #37-Raines 124.029 and #34-Andretti 125.463
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(6-27-2009)
  • TNT’s NASCAR Coverage Continues at New Hampshire: TNT continues its exclusive coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from Loudon on Sunday, June 28th live from New Hampshire International Speedway. The network will air the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 beginning at 2:00pm/et with play-by-play announcer Bill Weber 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 12:30pm/et with NASCAR on TNT Live! with Marc Fein (host), Petty and McReynolds. #2-Kurt Busch will join TNT’s infield rig for an interview prior to the race.
    TNT’s acclaimed Pride of NASCAR series will feature the legendary NASCAR owners Wood Brothers who hold one of the longest and richest legacies in the sport, developing great drivers such as Junior Johnson, Dan Gurney, Donnie Allison, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Dale Jarrett, David Pearson, Michael Waltrip, Elliott Salder and TNT’s Kyle Petty. In 1976, the Wood Brothers won the coveted ‘Triple Crown’ of NASCAR with wins at the Daytona 500, World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
    NASCAR on TNT Live! will be followed by Countdown to Green at 1:30pm/et with Weber (host), Dallenbach (analyst) and Petty (analyst) with reports from pit reporters Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, Ralph Sheheen and Lindsay Czarniak.
    During Countdown to Green, Sheheen will have an exclusive interview with #48 Jimmie Johnson to talk about a shared history between the two of them. Johnson began his career in off road racing and Sheheen was part of the broadcasting crew that covered the sport, including during Johnson’s teenage years. Johnson speaks about the impact of off road racing on his NASCAR career as well as his motivation to continue to succeed in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing. Also, an interview with veteran crew chief Greg Zipadelli and his rookie driver #20 Joey Logano will air during the pre-race show.
  • The future of NASCAR’s Truck tour in doubt? UPDATE denied: Promoter Bruton Smith and NASCAR president Mike Helton are reported to be meeting Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway over the uncertain future of NASCAR’s Truck series, with increasing speculation that the tour – 25 races this season, on 16 Sprint Cup tour tracks and seven other tracks – will be severely cut next season. Indeed even the survival of the Truck series, which was created in 1995 by the late Bill France Jr. as a budget-priced ‘proving ground’ for new car owners, new sponsors and new drivers, has been questioned. General Motors, Ford and Dodge have all withdrawn financial support of the Truck tour and the Nationwide tour, leaving only Toyota officially involved. Toyota officials have reportedly decided to drop their financial support too, though Toyota racing boss Lee White insists no decision has been made. One suggestion to help save the Truck series has been for the four NASCAR car makers to work together to design an inexpensive ‘spec’ Truck engine, to cut costs. Another suggestion has been a ‘common’ engine for all three NASCAR touring series.(mikemulhern.net)(6-27-2009)
    UPDATE: During an interview on SPEEDtv’s NCTWS setup program, NASCAR VP Steve O’Donnell said the state of the series is “really strong.” O’Donnell stated that NASCAR officials met with team owners earlier this year to help out the racing with some rule changes, they have been working with the teams, and that the series puts on the “best racing”. When asked about double-file restarts, O’Donnell said that the series has two weeks off following Memphis, and that NASCAR will continue to look at it. [Also heard that O’Donnell addressed the state of the series during the Drivers Meeting in Memphis, assuring teams that NASCAR is full speed ahead for 2010. He also said that NASCAR is excited by new owners and drivers and the new tracks coming on line next year.](6-27-2009)
  • New Ford engine should be ready by August…but: Ford team owner/engine-builder Doug Yates expects Ford’s new FR9 engine to be ready by August, just in time for the season-ending, 10-race Chase for the Championship playoff. Yates, David Simon and Mose Nowland have been working on it all year, and Yates sees light at the end of the tunnel. Once it’s ready, though, which members of Team Ford Racing will get it? It likely won’t go to Roush Fenway stars #99-Carl Edwards (fifth in points), #16-Greg Biffle (eighth) and #17-Matt Kenseth (10th) because they’ll almost certainly make the 12-driver championship playoff. With so much on the line, there’s some reluctance to run an engine that hasn’t been tested in competition.
    Edwards has already said he’d rather wait. “I told them I don’t want it right off the bat,” he said recently. “We’ll see who’s not in the Chase and maybe start testing it that way.” Kenseth takes a “whatever” approach. “I’m under the understanding we probably won’t have it full-time this year,” he said. “I’m not sure, but it doesn’t matter to me. I have a ton of confidence in Doug Yates and the engine guys, and whatever they think is best, I’m good with that.”
    The Wood Brothers with #21-Bill Elliott are running a limited schedule, so they might get it first. (Logic dictates that an engine-related DNF for Elliott won’t be as costly as one for a Chase-eligible team). #98-Paul Menard and #96-Bobby Labonte of Yates Racing will focus on making the Chase, as will Roush Fenway drivers #6-David Ragan and #26-Jamie McMurray [vert slim chances for any of those four to make the Chase]. The new piece is the first purpose-built NASCAR engine to come from Ford Motor Company. The three key differences between FR9 and the current engine: the cooling system has been improved to allow teams to use more tape on the grille, thus improving downforce; the valve train has been improved; and the production and assembly of FR9 will be easier than the current model.(Ford Racing)(6-27-2009)
  • MWR to make announcement on July 7th? 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)
  • Latest on Gordon’s back: #24-Jeff Gordon met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed many things, among them, how his back is doing, transcript in part:
    HAS YOUR BACK PLAYED ANY ROLE IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS?
    Gordon: “No, no. The thing with my back is it’s almost a blessing in disguise because I’ve always been fairly fit without having to do much. And I think that because of that, my core had gotten a little bit weak and I think over the last few years, especially with some wrecks, it’s contributed to my back problems. And now, I’m getting much stronger so I’m actually in better physical shape than I’ve been in a long time and still have a ways to go. But I think it’s actually going to help me be more prepared for the end of the year and the Chase than anything else. So far, I think Bristol, maybe Richmond, those tracks have been the toughest on me. And they’re not in the Chase. So we’ll be in good shape.”(GM Racing)(6-27-2009)
  • Logano Makes Visit To David’s House: #20-Joey Logano moved from his hometown of Middletown, CT at a young age, but he still maintains strong roots in the New England states. This is evident by his charities of choice — Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) and David’s House; two facilities that help give children and their family’s first-class healthcare and support throughout the region. With the upcoming racing action at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS), Logano took time out to visit David’s House on Thursday, June 25. While there he dropped off several video game consoles and games from his NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsor, GameStop, and visited with many of the children and families who use David’s House while receiving treatment at CHaD. Logano also made the trip next door to CHaD to visit with children who were not able to make it to the David’s House event. In addition, Logano was the guest speaker at the annual Governor’s Breakfast on Friday morning, June 26, at NHMS.(MCG)(6-27-2009)
  • MWR Owner to broadcast from England: Even though Rob Kauffman [co-owner of MWR] will be in London, England, he will be watching closely as he makes his color commentator debut in the UK during the Sprint Cup Series Lenox Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway live on Sky Sports alongside presenter Keith Huewen and British Racing driver John Mickel, who has previously raced in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. “Michael Waltrip gave me some pointers being that it is my first time as a color analyst,” Kauffman said. “He said, ‘First, don’t make anything up and second try not to be boring.” Sky Sports broadcasts NASCAR Sprint Cup races across the United Kingdom and Ireland. Sky Sports takes the feed via a satellite from the U.S. and supplements the coverage with their studio presentation. One night while watching the show, Kauffman emailed in to compliment Sky Sports’ coverage. The show’s producer, Dawn White, then contacted Kauffman and invited him to be a part of Sunday’s show since he is co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing.(MWR)(6-27-2009)
  • Michael Waltrip Teams Up with DW for Coke Zero 400: #55-Michael Waltrip will be going after his fourth Sprint Cup victory at Daytona International Speedway next Saturday night with a little extra help. He’s putting his big brother, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and 1989 Daytona 500 winner, Darrell Waltrip to work on the NAPA team. Waltrip thought it was a good idea since NAPA started implementing a new Honorary Pit Crew Member program this season for valued customers and clients at select races. “I have enjoyed watching all the NAPA people take part in the program and I thought, ‘Why not Darrell,’” said Waltrip, who has two Daytona 500 wins and one Pepsi 400 victory under his belt. “In my opinion, he is the perfect candidate because he’s been a loyal NAPA customer since the day I was born and he comes with a lot of experience. Both of us have enjoyed a lot of success at Daytona so he’ll be a good addition to the NAPA team.”
    “I believe my brother is going to win Daytona,” added the 62-year-old Waltrip who made his Daytona victory lane celebration memorable by doing the Ickey Shuffle. “I want to be a part of that from the pits not the broadcast booth. I don’t get much time to be in the garage when I’m working so this will be fun for me to get my hands dirty and hopefully, help my little brother win another race in Daytona. He is one of the best restrictor-plate racers of all time. It should be fun!” Darrell is the ninth person to take part in the popular program. A few perks include the placement of a decal with the Honorary Pit Crew Member’s name on the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, an opportunity to assist with the crew during the race, and watch the event on the pit box with crew chief Bootie Barker.
    “I haven’t told Bootie yet, but I’m pretty sure I know what job Darrell wants to help with on Saturday night,” elaborated Waltrip. “It would not surprise me if he gets on the radio, but it would mean a lot to me if he waves me into my pit box with my sign. Then my guys can put him to work by running gas or helping out with the tires. It should be a lot of fun for all of us.” This season at 19 NASCAR Sprint Cup events where NAPA is hosting its popular Race Day Experience, a guest will be chosen based on different criteria determined by the NAPA management from that region.(MWR)(6-27-2009)
  • Congrats: to Sirius XM Satelitte NASCAR Radio’s NRick Benjamin and his wife Katherine are grandparents. Benjamin and Chloe (CLO-ee) Lundgren were born at 11am/et. Proud parents Kelly and Adam Lundgren of Minneapolis.(6-27-2009)
  • Milwaukee Mile owes NASCAR money: The race promoter for the Milwaukee Mile owes NASCAR money stemming from the races last weekend, and the Indy Racing League won’t say whether it has been paid yet for its event in May. The Mile hosted the Camping World Truck Series Copart 200 and the Nationwide Series NorthernTool.com 250 last Saturday. Claude Napier, head of Wisconsin Motorsports, did not disclose attendance numbers Friday but said the turnout for the truck race was low. As for the Nationwide Series race, Napier said it was in excess of 35,000 fans. Napier acknowledged that the track would lose money this year. The Legislative Audit Bureau, which recently completed an audit of Wisconsin State Fair Park, said in its report that the Mile would lose money this year, putting added fiscal pressure on the fair. “The sanctions fees are part of an overall deal,” Napier said Friday. “We have been working closely with NASCAR in resolving these issues.” Asked for details, Napier said: “I don’t want to get into specifics about what we owe and what we don’t owe. We are working very closely with NASCAR and in particular we are working on the future.”
    Ramsey Poston, a NASCAR spokesman, said in a statement that, “despite having a terrific day of NASCAR racing last Saturday there remain outstanding issues which concern NASCAR. As a matter of policy I won’t get into the specifics of our business dealings. However, I can say we are working closely with the track management to resolve outstanding issues.” The competitors were paid, according to a Charlotte Observer story.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(6-27-2009)
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid to NHMS race: The 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid will serve as the official pace car for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on June 28 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Earlier this season the gas-electric Camry Hybrid became the first hybrid vehicle to serve as a pace car for an entire NASCAR race, leading the way at both Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., and last weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway LENOX Industrial Tools 301 and SYLVANIA 300 weekends, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(NHMS)(6-27-2009)
  • Lights at NHMS still planned…but: The hope for New Hampshire Motor Speedway executive vice president and general manager Jerry Gappens is that the track could also clear the hurdle of getting lights up. Standing in the way of that is an agreement that former track owner Bob Bahre made with local officials not to run night events at the track. “In a perfect world I would love to run them on a Saturday night under the lights here,” Gappens said. “I think that would be a homerun and give us more flexibility.” Gappens said moving past night racing agreement is still something track officials are working on. “It’s something that we need to move forward with because I think we’re going to see a day when NASCAR is going to require every track to have lights just from the standpoint of the money that’s involved with the TV package and trying to get the event completed on the same day that its scheduled,” Gappens said. “We can put up lights, there’s nothing to stop us from doing that. We can put them in and if the race is schedule for 2 p.m. and we get rain we can finish. But you can’t start a race on purpose at 7 o’clock at night. I will be starting to talk to local officials about what we need to do to get to that point because I do think it’s vital for the speedway.”(Hartford Courant)(6-27-2009)

June 26, 2009

  • Qualifying for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor 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, #64-Wallace and #37-Raines
    Drivers who will miss the race: #78-Smith [8 attempts], #51-Bean [5] and #27-Christopher [2]
    See the the starting lineup on the New Hampshire Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(6-26-2009)
  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Lenox Inustrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is scheduled for Friday, June 26, 2009 at 3:10pm/et.
    TV: SPEED – 3:00pm/et
    Radio: PRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Qualifying Re-Air: 9:30pm/et and 2:00am/et on SPEED
  • Qualifying for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor 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, #64-Wallace and #37-Raines
    Drivers who will miss the race: #78-Smith [8 attempts], #51-Bean [5] and #27-Christopher [2]
    See the the starting lineup on the New Hampshire Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(6-26-2009)
  • Friday Practice for the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
    #2-Busch 130.667
    #00-Reutimann 130.011
    #42-Montoya 129.967
    #48-Johnson 129.927
    #43-Sorenson 129.900
    slowest: #27-Christopher 124.033 and #51-Bean 125.442
    incidents: #14-Stewart smacked the turn 2 wall hard and did a lot of damage to the rear of the car and will go to a backup car, but since it is before qualifying, he will not have to go to the rear. #5-Martin got in the marbles and scraped the turn 3-4 wall and spun around, no serious damage. See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(6-26-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at New Hampshire:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #82-Scott Speed, 21st fastest
    #71-David Gilliland, 27th
    #78-Regan Smith. 28th
    #09-Brad Keselowski, 29th
    #64-Mike Wallace, 31st
    #37-Tony Raines, 36th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 39th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 40th
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #36-Patrick Carpentier, 42nd
    #51-Dexter Bean, 45th
    #27-Ted Christopher, 46th
    See fastest speeds, laps run, average speeds on my New Hampshire Practice Speeds page.(6-26-2009)
  • Only four drivers: only four drivers have completed in all 28 Sprint Cup races held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway since the first race in 1993: #24-Jeff Gordon [3 wins], #31-Jeff Burton [4], #96-Bobby Labonte [0] and #87-Joe Nemechek [1].(6-26-2009)
  • Keselowski to talk to Hendrick about Cup move UPDATE: Rick Hendrick said he plans to meet with Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski this week to discuss his plans for moving up to Sprint Cup in 2010. Hendrick mentioned two possible options for Keselowski — a third car at Stewart-Haas Racing, which is affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports, or a chance to stay at JR Motorsports if Dale Earnhardt Jr. decides to move his Nationwide team to Cup next year. “We’re looking at different options with some of our external situations with other teams,” Hendrick said Sunday at Infineon Raceway. “I told Brad that I want him to have the best opportunity. If we can’t give it to him, then I want him to have the best.” Keselowski told reporters at that event that he would love to drive a third Stewart-Haas car next year. Tony Stewart said Friday a third car for his team is a possibility for 2010. Stewart’s team is a satellite operation with Hendrick Motorsports, leasing engines from Hendrick. Hendrick also said Earnhardt Jr. is considering moving his Nationwide operation to Cup in 2010. Either way, Keselowski would stay in the Hendrick family, so to speak, if he signed with Stewart-Haas Racing or stayed at JR Motorsports. “Brad wants to do something that is somehow associated with our company,” Hendrick said. “We’re working on it and hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll have something sorted out. He’ll be running Cup [in 2010]. Whether he’ll be running them all or whether he’ll be running 75% of them or what, I don’t know.”(ESPN)(6-22-2009)
    UPDATE: As scheduled, Dale Earnhardt’s Jr.’s Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski spent some time this week talking with team owner Rick Hendrick, probing the two could possibly work together on the Sprint Cup Series next season. Keselowski felt it was a positive meeting. “It went pretty well and we talked about a number of different subjects. He’s a neat guy to be around and I always enjoy talking with him.” Keselowski admitted, though, they couldn’t talk a whole lot about specifics. “It just takes time. This is not an easy process. The rope is being pulled but you know everyone wants it to pull faster. We’re weighing all the options and waiting for things to fall into place and there are certain things that are out of both of our control. Obviously, the economy is a large piece of it, sponsorship fits into there. We’re happy working together and we’re going to continue to work together, but don’t really have a clear cut plan forward other than to continue to review our options and get back together.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-26-2009)
  • Robby drops appeal of penalty: #7 Driver/owner Robby Gordon says he has opted not to appeal the 50-point penalty levied against his Robby Gordon Motorsports team May 27 for having exceeded the maximum specified toe of plus or minus 1 degree during the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Spedway. Gordon was penalized 50 owner and 50 driver points, while crew chief Kirk Almquist was fined $50,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. The driver/owner said he was going to appeal but has changed his mind and opted not to go through the NASCAR appeals process. “I’m not going to appeal,” Gordon said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway when asked whether he had had his appeal prior to getting in his car for practice.(SceneDaily)(6-26-2009)
  • The King to ‘share his thoughts’: Richard Petty has plenty of NASCAR memories. He’ll be sharing those tonight as the Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT presents “An Evening with ‘The King.'” The winningest driver in NASCAR Sprint Cup history also will have a current success story to talk about. A 10-year absence from victory lane as a car owner ended at Infineon Raceway Sunday, when Kasey Kahne drove a Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge to a win in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on the road course in Sonoma, Calif. Petty, who will turn 72 on July 2, won a record seven titles on the way to 200 victories in a career that started in 1958 and ended in 1992. Next weekend at Daytona International Speedway he will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his last victory in the 1984 Firecracker 400. Petty isn’t quite sure about what fans can expect to hear at the Warner Theatre, a show that is being hosted by officials from Lime Rock Park in Salisbury. Lime Rock owner Skip Barber, a legend in American sports car racing, will moderate. “It will be a question-and-answer deal,” Petty said. “We’ll sign a few autographs. Whatever they want to do. To me it’s a chance to say thank you to the fans that support Sprint Cup racing. Without the fans, there wouldn’t be a Richard Petty as far as being a celebrity or whatever it might be that people want to call me. I wouldn’t have been able to have been the race car driver I was without the fans there every week.”(Hartford Courant)(6-26-2009)
  • Stewart has tough night in Late Model race: Tony Stewart’s first visit to Thunder Road International Speedbowl in Barre, Vt. was upstaged Thursday by the guy who helped to give him a car to drive at the track. Joey Pole.jpgIt was the members of Joey Pole Racing that prepared Stewart’s Late Model for his Thursday visit to Thunder Road and it was Joey Polewarczyk Jr. who ended up stealing the show at the CarQuest Governor’s Cup 150. Polewarcyk, of Hudson, N.H., held off Nick Sweet on a late restart and over the final five laps for the win. It was the first victory at Thunder Road for, Polewarczyk, a regular the American Canadian Tour. Stewart started 16th but spun 35 laps into the race and struggled to recover, coming back to finish 16th in the 30-car field, one lap down.(Hartford Courant)(6-26-2009)
  • Mayfield denies taking drugs: Suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield denies ever taking methamphetamines and says he doesn’t know how he failed a random drug test. Mayfield’s denial is found in an affidavit that is among several hundred pages of documents filed Thursday by his attorneys in U.S. District Court. The driver was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR on May 9 for failing a random drug test conducted eight days earlier at Richmond International Raceway. He is suing NASCAR for immediate reinstatement, and his next court date is July 1. NASCAR is countersuing and alleges Mayfield breached his contract and defrauded NASCAR and its competitors of earnings.(Associated Press)(6-26-2009)
  • Some ‘Numbers’ going into New Hampshire:
    3: Poles for Brian Vickers in past six Cup qualifying sessions
    12: Drivers running at finish in all 16 races this year
    7: Drivers running at finish through first 16 races last year
    36: Lead-lap finishers at Sonoma, most in a Cup road race
    7: Top-10 finishes for Juan Pablo Montoya this year
    9: Top-10 finishes for Montoya in 73 previous Cup starts
    43: Percentage of winners who led the most laps at Loudon (lowest percentage among 1-mile tracks)(ESPN)(6-26-2009)
  • Smith’s Finishing Streak Closing in on 50: There’s a common denominator in Regan Smith’s brief career in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series — the 25-year-old driver has finished every race he has entered. All 49 of them to be exact. No active NASCAR Sprint Cup driver started a career chalking up as many races without a DNF (did not finish) as Smith, driver of the Furniture Row Chevy Impala SS. Smith is looking to make it 50 straight races without a DNF at this weekend’s Cup race — LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Smith’s first career Cup start was on March 25, 2007 at Bristol Motor Speedway. He competed in seven races in 2007, 34 in 2008 and eight so far in 2009. His last race was two weeks ago at Pocono Raceway. After New Hampshire, the next race for Smith and the Furniture Row Racing team will be the following week at Daytona International Speedway.(Furniture Row Racing)(6-26-2009)
  • New Hampshire Rookie Notes: #13-Max Papis was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 21 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Papis scored a 12th-place finish, his best in nine Sprint Cup Series races and collected top rookie honors for the first time this season. Scott Speed led the Toyota/Save Mart 350 once for two laps and was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead at Infineon Raceway. Joey Logano leads Speed by 20 points (178-158) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 28 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has posted a top-10 finish in nine of 16 previous June races at New Hampshire, including six of the last eight. Tony Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in the June race at New Hampshire. Stewart led twice for 118 laps in the 1999 Lenox Industrial Tools 301. Two or more Raybestos Rookies have finished in the top-10 just once 16 June races at New Hampshire. In 1993, Jeff Gordon finished seventh while Bobby Labonte placed 10th. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier captured the top starting spot for the 2008 LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (36 races).(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos), see rookie standings, more info on my 2009 Rookies page.(6-26-2009)
  • NHMS Welcomes the Newest Member of Its Team: New Hampshire Motor Speedway now has a fan-friendly mascot to match its 1.058-mile oval superspeedway. The Mile Oval Moose, known affectionately as “Milo,” will start his new job at the speedway this weekend and is sure to be a fan favorite. A long-time resident of New Hampshire, “Milo” loves racing and entertaining. Attracted to speed and handy with tools for every job right down to changing a light bulb, “Milo” is a natural fit at the speedway. Equipped with his own special racing helmet, “Milo” is a force of nature behind the wheel as well. Whether in the pits tuning up a car or roaming the grandstands with the fans, Milo can be found anywhere and everywhere at the speedway on race weekend; just look for the antlers. A video of “Milo’s” press conference introduction with NASCAR Spring Cup Series driver Jeff Burton can be seen at NHMS.com. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway LENOX Industrial Tools 301 and SYLVANIA 300 weekends, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(6-26-2009)
  • Humpy in talks to Indy to help promote: 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)

June 25, 2009

  • Johnson, Castroneves Among Nominees for The 2009 ESPYs: #48-Jimmie Johnson and Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves are among the world-class athletes nominated for The 2009 ESPYs. The ESPYs gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. Fans will determine the winner in 37 categories (excluding special awards) by voting online at www.espys.tv or via mobile phone at www.espn.mobi. Voting begins today [June 25th] and runs through 11:59pm/et on July 11, and The 2009 ESPYs, hosted by Samuel L. Jackson and co-presented by Under Armour and Land Rover, will be televised Sunday, July 19, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN HD. A one-hour nomination show will be televised Friday, June 26, at 8:00pm/et on ESPN2.
    Johnson, who tied a NASCAR record by winning his third consecutive Sprint Cup championship in 2008, is nominated in the “Best Male Athlete” category along with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and NBA stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
    Castroneves’ win in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 is nominated in the “Best Moment” category. Also nominated are the thrilling victory by the U.S. swim team in the Olympic relay and University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow’s emotional speech in a press conference following the team’s only loss during the 2008 season.
    Johnson and Castroneves also are among five nominees in the “Best Driver” category, along with IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher and Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton.
    The ESPYs honor ESPN’s commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Jim Valvano at the inaugural ESPYs in 1993. For the second time in several years, a limited amount of ESPYs tickets are available for public purchase through www.ticketmaster.com. The 2009 ESPYs will be taped Wednesday, July 15, at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. More info at www.espys.tv.(ESPN PR)(6-25-2009)
  • Chase Stats going in New Hampshire: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya didn’t win at Infineon, but his sixth place finish catapulted him into the Top 12 for the first time at this point of the season in his three-year career. #9-Kasey Kahne’s very impressive win at Infineon gained him 88 points on 12th place and stamps him as a legitimate contender for the 2009 Chase, just three points out. #31-Jeff Burton, the last remaining RCR driver in the Top 12 heading into Infineon, dropped three spots with his hard-luck 34th. In fact, Burton (-9), #33-Clint Bowyer (-3) and #29-Kevin Harvick (-4) have dropped a combined 16 spots in the standings over the last five races. Burton (-46) and Bowyer (-65) remain strong contenders for the Chase if they can regain momentum in the next few races. Harvick, miles away from the Top 12 at -380, is having the worst season of his career since his rookie season in 2002. See chase stats, chase history and more on my Sprint Cup Chase Stats after Infineon and rules and history on my 2009 Chase News page.(6-25-2009)

  • Busy weekend for Newman: In addition to piloting the #39 Haas Automation/U.S. Army Chevy in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire on Sunday, Ryan Newman will compete in two other races during the course of the weekend. On Friday night, Newman will be behind the wheel of the #39 Helping Hands of America/Hot Pepper Promotions Winged- Midget racecar in the North East Midget Association race at Lee Speedway. Then, on Saturday, Newman will drive the #7NY Aggressive Hydraulics Modified in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Newman has driven twice previously for car owners Kevin “Bono” Manion [crew chief for #1-Truex Jr.] and Gary Putnam in the Modified ranks, his only two starts in a Modified. Newman’s first-ever Modified race was at New Hampshire last September.(Stewart Haas Racing)(6-25-2009)
  • TomTom returns to the #1 at NHMS: After riding to victory lane last weekend at Iowa with Target Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dario Franchitti, TomTom will again appear on the #1 Chevy of Martin Truex Jr. This is the second time this season TomTom has appeared on Truex’s car. He first piloted the green TomTom Chevy at Pocono Raceway earlier this month.(Earnhardt Ganassi Racing PR), see an image of the car on the #1 Team Schemes Page.(6-25-2009)
  • Toyota to leave Nationwide and Truck Series? UPDATE 2 denied: Toyota appears ready to withdraw its financial support of NASCAR Truck and Nationwide teams, though continuing engineering support, in the wake of General Motors’ decision to join Ford and Chrysler in withdrawing all but engineering support for those two NASCAR tours. There has been no specific comment on that yet from Toyota executives.(MikeMulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
    UPDATE: Word in the Infineon Raceway garage over the week was that Toyota has decided to follow its three corporate rivals and pull all but engineering and technical support and parts supplies from the two NASCAR tours. Lee White, head of Toyota’ racing development operations: “Toyota and TRD have been in the process for over a year, of adapting our series support for the Truck/Nationwide programs to be appropriate to the value of each series. Our process in the future will not be determined by other manufacturer’s actions but by the value delivered by each series. At this point there is no plan to change our involvement for the remainder of this season. As always we will re evaluate each series over the winter and could make appropriate adjustments.”(MikeMulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Toyota has no plans to leave the Nationwide or Truck Series as has been reported and speculated. Lee White, who heads Toyota Racing Development, said the Japan-based manufacturer has eliminated its financial support in both series over the past couple of seasons. But technical, he added, support continues. “We’re not going out of the series,” White said. “We’re not leaving. In fact, as we kind of moderated our involvement we gained truck count and car count in [both series].” White said it’s unfair to say Toyota is following other manufacturers that have pulled financial support from the Nationwide and Truck series over the past few months.(ESPN Insider)(6-24-2009)
  • Moen on the #98 at NHMS: Moen will debut on the hood of the #98 MOEN / Menards Ford for this weekend’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301.(Yates Racing PR)(6-25-2009)
  • #26 pit crew goes to Victory Junction Gang Camp: Before the #26 IRWIN Industrial Tools pit crew travels to New Hampshire this weekend for Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301, members of the pit crew traveled to Randleman, NC for the Victory Junction Gang Camp’s weekly “NASCARnival” event. The # 26 team visited the camp on Tuesday, June 23rd and had the opportunity dine, dance, and demonstrate pit stops to the campers. Members of the team in attendance were: Sean Meckelson (jackman), Bryan Huitt (front tire carrier), Kevin Novak (front tire changer), Chris Tompkins (rear tire changer), Ben Surface (rear tire carrier), Wesley Lape (tire specialist), Ryan Flores (tire support), Chris Brady (fuel runner), and Jim Watson (driver assist – 8th man). The team arrived at the camp Tuesday afternoon and had the opportunity to tour the facility before they were invited to dine with the campers. Following dinner, the campers entertained the Roush Fenway crew by teaching them dance moves to their favorite songs. After the entertainment, the #26 team demonstrated their lightening-fast pit stops with a series of demonstrations for the campers.(Roush Fenway PR)(6-25-2009)
  • Ask.com PSA Wins Two Awards: Ask.com was recently honored as a recipient of a CINE Award and a Telly Award for its Internet Safety Public Service Announcement featuring #96-, Web Wise Kids and NASCAR. The campaign features Internet safety tips delivered by Bobby Labonte, driver of the #96 Ask.com Ford Fusion. In addition to representing Ask.com on the race track, Labonte, who is the father of a 15-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, serves as the brand’s spokesperson for its efforts to promote Internet safety for children. To date, the PSA has reached over 27 million viewers nationwide. To view the award-winning campaign, visit Ask.com and search Internet Safety.(6-25-2009)
  • New Trackside Safety Fence Up and Ready for races at NHMS: New and enhanced trackside safety fencing is up along the grandstand sides of the racing surface at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Approximately 3,400 feet of fencing was installed. The lower portion is reinforced with six strands of 5/8-inch, high-strength cable, while the upper portion consists of sixteen strands of 3/8-inch cable. “Wheel fence” arch posts also raise the overall height of the safety fence to over 21 feet. The upgrade process, which began construction in April, will be completed in time for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 event week as planned. The new fence system is consistent with safety standards at other Speedway Motorsports, Inc.-owned and operated facilities. “This was not a reaction to what happened in Talladega,” said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, referring to Carl Edwards’ wreck on the last lap which injured seven fans. “Bruton Smith, our chairman, put this project on the top of our priority list for 2009 facility improvements, utilizing the improved technology and engineering used at other SMI facilities and installing it here.” The previous grandstand safety fence measured 16 feet in height from the track’s surface, 12½ feet high from the grandstand surface side. The new fence measures 21 and a half feet in height from the racing surface, 18 feet on the grandstand side. “We are upgrading many aspects of New Hampshire Motor Speedway to Speedway Motorsports, Inc.’s standards, and this fell right in place with the infield renovations in process for the June race,” said John Zudell, Vice President of Operations and Development at New Hampshire Motor Speedway”. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway LENOX Industrial Tools 301 and SYLVANIA 300 weekends, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(NHMS PR)(6-25-2009)
  • Infield Improvements Unveiled at NHMS: A reconfiguration of New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s infield will greatly increase its usable space and functionality. Infield construction began in May of this year after the necessary permits were obtained. After just two months of other structural adjustments and improvements, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is nearing the completion of its infield transformation. The most impressive of these adjustments is the expansion of the infield, resulting in an increase of over 400% in usable land. Overall, this portion of the infield has grown from one and a half usable acres to nearly seven. Fencing installation was another big project at the speedway. Interior fencing in the infield has been replaced with new, black chain link. The winner of the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on Sunday, June 28, will visit a redesigned Victory Lane, also part of the renovation. With more ornate plans in mind for the facility, Vice President of Operations and Development John Zudell said the update will serve as an “interim Victory Lane.” Though physical construction only took two months, the project is the result of 18 months of rigorous planning and approval. When O. Bruton Smith, Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., purchased the track in early 2008, he immediately started planning the infield renovation project. Fans will get to experience Mr. Smith’s vision during the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 weekend, starting Thursday, June 25, and can view the renovations firsthand with the Pre-Race Pit Pass, available online for $100. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway LENOX Industrial Tools 301 and SYLVANIA 300 weekends, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(NHMS PR)(6-25-2009)

June 24, 2009

  • Today in History: June 24 — 1951: Curtis Turner wins his first NASCAR race on pavement, leading 177 of 200 laps at half-mile Dayton (Ohio) Speedway. Dick Rathmann is second, and Tim Flock, who leads the other 23 laps, finishes third.(NASCAR.com)
  • College fund established for Poole’s grandson: Since his passing eight weeks ago, the inspiration of David Poole’s legacy has been quite prevalent. Countless memories have been shared and personal tributes written. In those tributes, it was clear the sport of auto racing held a significant place in David’s heart. But it was also clear his inner-joy came from his two-year-old grandson, Eli. We all find balance and escape in different ways. Poole found his in Eli. With the support of many industry people as well as Katy Poole, David’s wife, a college fund has been established for Eli. The hope here is that Eli will be afforded the opportunity to embark on his own successful career, and – all the while – truly understand how much his PawPaw meant to the NASCAR community. The college fund for Eli is established at the Bank of Stanly in Oakboro, N.C. Donations can be sent to the following address:
    Eli Samuel Ross
    Bank of Stanly
    Attn: Misty Nordan
    P.O. Box 539
    Oakboro, NC 28129
    Phone: 704.485.3435
    (Please make checks payable to “Eli Ross Account” at Bank of Stanly.)
    (PR)(6-24-2009)
  • added more images from Infineon: #08 California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, #02 Efusjon Energy Club, #16 Post-It, #18 M&M’s Transformers, #55 NAPA, #66 Toyota and #71 Adobe Road Winery; and a couple days ago….#02 Efusjon Energy Club, #04 Jim Beam / Menards, #08 Black Ford, #1 Ge Reveal, #27 Lilly Trucking, #36 California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, 71 Adobe Road Winery plus the #44 Best Buy and #18 Transformers/M&M’s scheme see them on my Paint Scheme Gallery
  • “The King” dicusses Toyota rumors: Tuesday, June 23rd on “Sirius Speedway” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with NASCAR legend Richard Petty. Petty was asked about the rumors that Richard Petty Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne might be switching from a Dodge to a Toyota.
    Host, Dave Moody: “Lot of rumors swirling around about Kasey Kahne and a possible affiliation with Toyota, on again, off again, conversations that may or may not be happening. What can you tell us on that, if anything?”
    Richard Petty: “Exactly what you just said. That’s how much I know about it, too. It’s all swirling around. You grab some of it. I don’t really know, okay? And I don’t think anybody knows right now exactly where we’re sitting, what we’re gonna do, what’s gonna happen, you know, three weeks from now let alone the beginning of next year. We’re like everybody else. We’re trying to put ourselves together with our sponsor deals, make sure we’ve got monetary deals to be able to go do the deal. Then we’re going to look at whatever we think is going to be the best for Richard Petty Motorsports in the short run and the long run. Because after being here for 50 or 60 years anyway I’m not looking for a quick fix, okay? We’re trying to put stuff together so that we can go on down the road next year, the year after next, the year after that. What happens? I don’t know. We’re open about anything right now to look at. So we’re going to put everything on the table and then we’re going to say, ‘Okay, this happens and that happens and this over here happens.’ Then we hope we’ll make the right decisions on where we go. Other than that, that’s about all I know about it.”
    Moody: “I know you’ve been fiercely loyal to Dodge over the years but at the end of the day loyalty doesn’t feed the dog, does it?”
    Petty: “Well, you’ve got to look at it from the standpoint that can Dodge be loyal to us now that the government owns Chrysler, okay, or whoever owns it? So I don’t know if the people that are head of what’s going on right now, are they race fans? If they are then that’s going to be great. But if they’re not then, you know, it affects so many people and there’s so much going on out there, under the table deal or under the ground, that we don’t know about. So what Dodge does next year or what Chevrolet does or what Ford does or Toyota or whoever, we’re just going to have to sort of wait and let things sort of let the dust settle and then we’re going to run in there and pick up the best thing we can.”
    Moody: “Would it be even theoretically feasible to field two different brands of race cars out of the same race shop? Could that be done?”
    Petty: “You know, I’ve asked the same question. (laughs) Really, I have. I said, ‘What if?’ And I think that’s what we’re gonna have to do. We’re gonna have to say, ‘What if?’ and then see if it’s done and what would it be to be able to do something like that. The problem I see with running two different kinds of cars out of the same shop is basically the engine shop. The cars have got the same wheels, same brakes, same chassis, same basic body so all that stuff would be easy. The big deal was how could you do the motor situation? That would be the big question mark. I don’t know if it’s ever been done but if it could be done we could probably do it.”
    “SIRIUS Speedway” airs every weekday (3-7 pm ET) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.(SIRIUS XM Radio)(6-24-2009)
  • Infineon TV ratings drop: TNT’s coverage of Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway earned a 4.0 cable rating, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 7.0% lower than the 4.3 cable rating TNT earned for the 2008 race. This year’s race averaged 5.788 million viewers, down 3.8% from last year’s 6.015 million viewers. For its first three Sprint Cup races this season, TNT is averaging a 3.9 cable rating and 5.483 million viewers, down 9.3% and 5.1%, respectively, from the 4.3 rating and 5.780 million viewers last year, the Daily reports.(SceneDaily)(6-24-2009)
    MORE TNT posted a 3.4/8 on Sunday for NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Infineon Raceway. That’s down -8% compared to last year’s 3.7/8. Through three races, NASCAR on TNT has been a continuation of all the major ratings trends that were in evidence on FOX earlier in the year. TNT’s first three races are down -8% nationally (3.4/8 vs. 3.7/9)(6-25-2009), see race-by-race and more TV Ratings news on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(6-24-2009)
  • Long hopes to race at Bristol: #46-Carl Long is still considerably upset at NASCAR for his suspension and $200,000 fine for an oversized engine, but he’s talking with various sponsors about paying his penalty and resuming his part-time driving career. “I’m looking for one corporate sponsor to sponsor my car at Bristol,” Long said Monday in a telephone interview. “I know I can make the race. I have a ton of experience there.” Long said he won an All Pro Series race at the high-banked, .533-mile oval and has qualified for the last six Sprint Cup Series races that he has attempted. “That’s a real good track for me,” he said. An engine that Long cooked in practice for the Sprint Showdown at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in May was measured at 358.17 cubic inches. The NASCAR maximum is 358ci. NASCAR threw the book at Long for his engine being .17ci over the limit. Long was fined $200,000, suspended for 12 races and lost 200 championship points. The suspension was shortened to eight races after a final appeal to national commissioner Charles Strang. Long, a crew man for Front Row Motorsports, is still disturbed by the suspension and fine. “I didn’t put jet fuel in the motor. I didn’t have traction control,” he said. “We didn’t go out there to stink up the show. For them to do this to me, still ticks me off.” Long hopes to find a company that will pick up the tab for a new car-engine combination and pay the fine, a total of $300,000 in sponsor money for a one-shot effort at Bristol. And, Long is accepting donations at carl-long.com to help pay the fine. The donation total was more than $19,000 as of Monday afternoon. “The bottom line is a rule is a rule,” Long said. “I can’t do much else than try this thing at Bristol.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-24-2009)
  • New colors for Burton at NHMS: LENOX’s associate sponsorship of RCR’s #31 Chevy driven by Jeff Burton kicks into high gear this weekend in New Hampshire as the #31 team transform their black and yellow #31 Caterpillar Chevy into a red, white and blue LENOX racing machine for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301. LENOX produces band saw blades, sawing fluids and hand power tool accessories in over 70 countries around the world. NHMS is the site of Burton’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on July 11, 1993. The 41-year-old driver started sixth and finished 37th driving for Filbert Martocci’s #0 entry. Burton will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Monday, June 29.(RCR), see images of the scheme on my #31 Team Schemes page.(6-24-2009)
  • Different colors for Allmendinger at NHMS: AJ Allmendinger drives the #44 Berlin City Auto Group Dodge this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Allmendinger: “Our owner George Gillett also owns the Berlin City Auto group and they tell me Dave Dion used to be sponsored by Berlin City Auto Group with an orange paint scheme that you could spot anywhere on the track. We are running a version of that paint scheme this weekend. I think all the long time racing fans in New England will know what I’m talking about. I’m sure that will bring back memories. Berlin City was on the pole for this race last year so hopefully we’ll give them something as exciting this year.” The Berlin City Auto Group with dealerships throughout New England, specializes in the sales, service and parts for automotive manufacturers and pre-owned vehicles.(RPM), see images of the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(6-24-2009)
  • Kurt Busch goes hunting: #2-Kurt Busch is on a hunting expedition in Montana this week. “We fly in to Missoula, then take a 90-minute truck ride, followed by a three-hour ride on a donkey to get where we’ll be hunting,” Kurt said of his trip that started on Monday of this week. “I’d been hoping to get to go big black bear hunting, when Darius (Songaila, center/forward for Washington Wizards and a neighbor of Kurt’s) invited me to go on this hunt he had scheduled. We’re doing it the hard way, that’s for sure. We’ll be using bow and arrow and I’ll have my video camera along to document everything. I hope to have some great video to show the guys when we get to New Hampshire.” Kurt’s schedule will see him do the reverse route in order to get to New Hampshire for Friday’s opening practice session. “Yep, we’ll be riding the donkeys back for three hours, hopping back in the truck and heading for the Missoula Airport. Then we fly through Denver and hopefully land in Boston at about 10:00 p.m. on Thursday night.”(Tom Roberts PR)(6-24-2009)
  • Montoya’s Team Wins Tissot Pit Crew Award in Sonoma: Juan Pablo Montoya’s crew won the Tissot Pit Crew Precision Award in Sunday’s (June 21) NASCAR Sprint Cup road race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma. Montoya’s #42 crew is the 12th Cup team to garner the Tissot award as the season approaches the halfway mark. The fast work by the #42 crew during the Toyota / Save Mart 350k helped Montoya to a solid sixth-place finish at the 1.99-mile road circuit. Montoya’s Chevrolet Impala SS spent 107.846 seconds on pit road. Montoya’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Trevor Lysne (front-tire changer), Eric Bilyeu (front-tire carrier), Chris McMullen (rear-tire changer), Chip Goode (rear-tire carrier), TJ Ford (jackman), Mike Bodick (gasman) and Heath Silver (catch can). The payout for winning the weekly Tissot Pit Road Precision Award is $5,000. The crew with the most Tissot wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver. After 16 Cup races, the crews of Jeff Gordon and Greg Biffle are tied for first in the Tissot standings with three wins each. There are 10 teams tied for third with one win each.(Tissot)(6-24-2009)
  • Kerr Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Infineon: Frank Kerr, crew chief for the #47 Little Debbie Toyota driven by Marcos Ambrose, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s Toyota Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. A solid third-place qualifying run was overshadowed by disappointment on Saturday when the team lost an engine in practice, forcing them to start from the tail end of the field. Kerr decided to bring his driver down pit road on lap 12, off-sequence from the leaders, to get him some clean air. It didn’t take long for Ambrose to race his way to the front of the field, eventually moving into third place, where he finished behind Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart. 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)(6-24-2009)
  • Free Admission to Thursday’s “Fan Fest” at NHMS: On Thursday, June 25, “Fan Fest” at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will feature free grandstand admission for NASCAR Camping World Series East Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour qualifying, as well as a great evening of free entertainment. One of the big highlights at “Fan Fest” will be an interview session with #9-Kasey Kahne. Greg Kretschmar, host of Greg and the Morning Buzz, and Jamie Staton, Sports Director at WMUR/ABC 9, will host this fan forum. Performing live throughout the night will be up-and-coming country-rock band Jonathan Scott and the Blazing Hearts. North American County Music Association, International’s 2007 “Band of the Year” in new country music. The group from Jaffrey, N.H. features frontman Jonathan Scott. Scott is the NACMAI’s 2007 “Male Vocalist of the Year” and “Male Entertainer of the Year.”
    “Transaurus” will be doing a preview of Sunday’s pre-race show on Thursday night at “Fan Fest” chewing a car cut in half by the one and only Lee ‘Hackman’ Breton as a part of the LENOX Industrial Tools 2009 World Tour. Qualifying sessions will begin at 3:15pm on Thursday, June 25 as the aces of NASCAR Camping World Series East make their pole run for the Heluva Good! 125. At 4:45pm, the ground-pounding NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour stars will qualify for the New Hampshire 100. From 6:00pm to 9:00pm, the “Fan Fest” celebration will end a great opening day at the speedway. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway LENOX Industrial Tools 301 and SYLVANIA 300 weekends, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(NHMS PR)(6-24-2009)
  • AMS is looking for a Chief Lighting Officer: Atlanta Motor Speedway is conducting a national search for a Chief Lighting Officer, the shining star who will have the honor to flip the “switch” to turn on the lights before Atlanta’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race on Labor Day weekend. The search for the Chief Lighting Officer will seek out one glowing personality to turn it on for the crowd as they hit the lights before the first night race in Atlanta Motor Speedway’s storied history. The Chief Lighting Officer will receive a prize package arguably unlike any other in racing history, with VIP race access to Atlanta Motor Speedway, inclusion in the official race souvenir program, and the winner will be introduced during pre-race driver introductions.
    Selected by a panel of Atlanta Motor Speedway employees, the Chief Lighting Officer will receive:
    * Passes for both the Labor Day weekend night races on Sept. 5 and 6, 2009 with one guest
    * Hotel and airfare to the races
    * VIP-access
    * A tour of race control
    * An introduction on stage at driver introductions
    * The honor to flip the “switch” to turn the lights on Sunday night
    * A Sunday pre-race pace car ride with guest
    * An official CLO shirt
    * Featured in the official race souvenir program
    To enter to become Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Chief Lighting Officer, visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com/CLO and explain why AMS should shine the spotlight on you before Atlanta’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race on Labor Day weekend. To purchase tickets to Atlanta Motor Speedway’s historic first night race, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-877-9-AMS-TIX, 770-946-4211 or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(6-24-2009)

June 23, 2009

  • Today in History: 1971: Bobby Allison wins the Space City 300 at Meyer Speedway in Houston. The field is 14 cars, the last time fewer than 20 cars start a Cup race. It is the only NASCAR race on the half-mile track. Allison starts from the pole and leads 253 laps. James Hylton is second and Walter Ballard third.(NASCAR.com)
  • Racing Resources Says …Stats from Infineon:
    * Kasey Kahne won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. He scored his 10th series victory in his 196th start. His last win came at Pocono in June 2008, 37 races ago. Kahne led twice for 37 laps, the most of all drivers. Thirty-six drivers finished on the lead lap, the most ever in a series road course race; the previous record was 34 at Infineon in June 2005 and Watkins Glen in August 2005. Kahne posted his first series victory at Infineon in his sixth start; his best previous finish at Infineon was 23rd in 2007. He scored his first series victory on a road course in 11 starts; it was his first top-10 finish on a road course. His previous best finish on a road course was 14th (twice — both at Watkins Glen).
    * Kahne became the 10th different race winner in 16 races in 2009.
    * Kahne’s #9 was one of three numbers that had competed in all 20 previous races at Infineon without winning; the #21 [didn’t run this year] and the #5 were the other two.
    * Kahne became the 41st driver to score at least one win on a series road course.
    * Richard Petty scored his first win as a car owner since John Andretti won at Martinsville in April 1999. It was 363 races between wins. Richard Petty Motorsports posted its first series victory; 18 different teams had won since a team owned by Richard Petty last won. All three RPM cars finished in the top 10.
    * Dodge scored its second win at Infineon and second victory of 2009; the last win came at Atlanta with Kurt Busch.
    * Marcos Ambrose (third) matched his career-best finish set at Watkins Glen last August.
    * Juan Pablo Montoya (sixth) has finished in the top 10 in four of the past five races and has seven top-10s in 2009. Montoya moved up to 12th in the series points standings; it’s only the third time in his 89-race career he has been in the top 12; he has picked up three spots in the points over the last two races. Montoya has scored more top-10 finishes in 2009 than he has in any other season.
    * Max Papis (12th) scored his career-best finish; he had the highest finish among Rookie of the Year contenders.(ESPN)(6-23-2009)
  • RCR to scale back to two teams? UPDATE – Statement: There is speculation that Chevy team owner Richard Childress may have to cut back to a two-car operation next season, if the Shell [#29-Harvick] and Jack Daniels [#07-Casey Mears] sponsorships are not renewed. Childress says he intends to have four Cup teams again next year, but conceded sponsorship issues remain to be resolved. Childress, through the Winston-Salem law firm Womble, Carlyle, has filed legal papers over what he says is GM’s non-payment of a bill of $2,538,750. Childress insists he’s not suing GM over its failure to make that payment due June 15th. That bill would apparently be a scheduled quarterly payment, part of a $10 million a year Chevrolet sponsorship for Childress’ four-team operation.(mikemulhern.net)(6-22-2009) UPDATE: The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing regarding allegations that RCR has filed a lawsuit against General Motors: “I would like to set the record straight that RCR has NOT filed a lawsuit against General Motors and I do not appreciate anyone suggesting otherwise. As is standard practice in bankruptcy proceedings, RCR has made a filing which is common among creditors in these situations. As previously stated as recently as this past weekend in Sonoma, RCR is proud to be associated with General Motors and we are working closely with them during these difficult economic times.”(RCR)(6-23-2009)
  • Kahne to Toyota? by August? denied UPDATE 4: Speculation is increasing that Dodge driver #9-Kasey Kahne, who runs for Richard Petty, could switch to a Toyota by the July 11th Sprint Cup race at Chicago. Petty has said that Chrysler has cut its payments to his four-car operation, and apparently Petty has only enough engine parts for one of the new Dodge NASCAR engines. Petty’s business partner, George Gillett, tried last season to make a deal with Toyota. There is no immediate comment from Toyota officials.(mikemulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
    UPDATE: And speculation that Richard Petty and Kasey Kahne could switch to Toyotas as soon as July? Lee White, head of Toyota’ racing development operations, says “I’ve never talked to the King or his driver. I’m pretty sure that no one at Toyota/TRD has talked to either of them.”(mikemulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that Richard Petty Motorsports will begin fielding Toyotas for driver #9-Kasey Kahne in mid-August, with at least part of the team remaining in Dodge livery for the time being. Published reports this week claimed the team will begin fielding Toyotas for Kahne at Chicagoland Speedway on July 11, but an RPM source speaking on the condition of anonymity tells Sirius Speedway that the change will not happen until team officials are able to hammer out a financial settlement with their current manufacturer. “Dodge owes the team a ton of money, and they’re trying to negotiate some kind of settlement right now,” said one source. “Until that’s done, the team cannot make a move. Once the settlement is signed, you’ll see Kasey Kahne in a Toyota.” RPM’s familiar #43 – driven by Reed Sorenson – will remain in Dodge livery for the foreseeable future. A decision on future manufacturer affiliations for the #19 and #44 cars — driven by Elliott Sadler and AJ Allmendinger – is pending.(Sirius Speedway)(6-22-2009)
    UPDATE 3 – denied: Been told by sources within Richard Petty Motorsports that there are no plans to switch manufacturers with any of their Sprint Cups teams in 2009.(6-23-2009)
    UPDATE 4: sources inside the walls at RPM say plans have been made to field Toyota Camrys for Kasey Kahne beginning in mid-August, as soon as team officials finalize a financial settlement package with Dodge. Those negotiations have reportedly taken a sudden turn in recent days, though, with the possibility now existing for Kahne and his RPM teammates to remain in the Dodge camp, after all.(Sirius Speedway)(6-23-2009)
  • EGR to Toyota? Once #1-Martin Truex Jr. announces that he’s driving for Michael Waltrip Racing next month, where does that leave Earnhardt Ganassi Racing? With #42-Juan Pablo Montoya. But after GM dramatically reduced its assistance to EGR last week, is now the time that Chip Ganassi bolts to Toyota? One hot rumor swirling around the garage was a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing to run Montoya in a fourth car similar to the situation that Marcos Ambrose has with MWR. On Sunday, JGR president J.D. Gibbs said, “No, no, no…,” but the guess is his bottom line could say “yes”.(FoxSports)(6-23-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #14-Stewart and #19-Sadler have the longest current streak of finishing races at 39. #78-Regan Smith is at 49 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.(6-23-2009)
  • Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon and #14-Tony Stewart lead all drivers after 16 races in 2009 with 8 Top-5 finishes, with #48-Johnson 2nd with 7 #14-Tony Stewart is next with 7. #14-Stewart has the most Top-10’s after 16 races with 12, followed by #24-Gordon with 11.
    Two drivers have run all 16 races in 2009 and have not scored a top-10 finish: #12-Stremme and #98-Menard. Ten drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all 16 races: #98-Menard, #12-Stremme, #07-Mears, #42-Montoya, #1-Truex Jr., #43-Sorenson, #26-McMurray, #6-Ragan, #77-Hornish Jr., and #20-Logano.(6-23-2009)
  • Racing school at North Wilkesboro June 27th: On Saturday June 27th, Buck Baker Racing School will have an event at North Wilkesboro Speedway. They will be offering HOT LAPS (Laps will be sold for $20 each lap, minimum two laps) from 8am-12noon, And later depending upon attendance, This will be the real racing experience with side by side driving, Real restarts and much more. If you have any questions or would like to sign up, contact Thomas Heavey at (704) 453-9328.(6-23-2009)
  • Council OKs Metrolina race track: Charlotte City Council approved a rezoning Monday that will allow a developer to build a $50 million race track and amateur sports complex on the Metrolina Tradeshow Expo grounds in north Charlotte. Plans for the project, called the Metrolina Speed and Sports Center, include a 40,000-square-foot facility with rooftop skateboard park, a 200-room hotel and a banked race track. The popular flea market would stay on the site. Developer Simon Weber expects the project to create 150 jobs, and he said Monday he plans to open the complex in May 2010, when the uptown NASCAR Hall of Fame opens. City Council voted unanimously to rezone the 135.3-acre Metrolina property. Weber is also planning a 100-foot buffer between the outdoor facilities and property lines and a 3.2-acre community garden to soften noise for the nearest neighbors.(Charlotte Observer)(6-23-2009)
  • Purse for New Hampshire races announced: Featuring one of the most lucrative payouts-per-mile in NASCAR racing, record purses totaling more than seven million dollars are up for grabs for NASCAR drivers competing in next weekend’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Drivers racing in any of the week’s four NASCAR series races will be chasing their share of $7,005,549 in prize money, the highest in New Hampshire Motor Speedway history. The NASCAR Sprint Cup purse is $5,423,189, up from last year’s track record. The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 features the sixth-highest purse per-mile on the series schedule to date [of 17 races]. The NASCAR Nationwide Series will be racing for the $1,197,559. The NASCAR Camping World Series East at $217,884 and the remaining $166,917 is on the line in the New England 100 for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Lenox Industrial Tools 301 and Sylvania 300 weekends, stop by the ticket office in Loudon, call the ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931, or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(6-23-2009)
  • Three Dog Night to give concert at NHMS: Three Dog Night will take the stage at the start/finish line at 12:30pm/et for a 45 minute performance. Entering their fourth decade, the music icons hold some impressive industry statistics. From 1969 through 1974, the band had 21 consecutive Top-40 hits and 12 straight RIAA Certified Gold LPs. Their latest album, released in 2004, is a collection of hit singles. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Lenox Industrial Tools 301 and Sylvania 300 weekends, call the ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(NHMS PR)(6-23-2009)
  • Local Heroes invites to New Hampshire Cup race: In recognition of its Extra Mile Heroes Contest, Lenox Industrial Tools is teaming up with New Hampshire Governor John Lynch and the State to honor the everyday heroes of New Hampshire. Lenox Industrial Tools and Gov. Lynch have invited members of the state police, local police and fire departments, and the National Guard, along with up to four members of their respective families, to attend the Lenox Industrial Tools 301, on Sunday, June 28 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. A limited number of grandstand tickets, made available from a section of seating speedway officials earmarked for a charitable partnership, are being offered on a first-come basis to their respective departments for free. The donation was made as an extension of the Lenox Extra Mile Heroes program which began with last year’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301, adding an extra lap to recognize those who go the Extra Mile in their community. To purchase tickets to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Lenox Industrial Tools 301 and Sylvania 300 weekends, call the ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(6-23-2009)

June 22, 2009

  • Kahne to Toyota? by Chicago? UPDATE 2: Speculation is increasing that Dodge driver #9-Kasey Kahne, who runs for Richard Petty, could switch to a Toyota by the July 11th Sprint Cup race at Chicago. Petty has said that Chrysler has cut its payments to his four-car operation, and apparently Petty has only enough engine parts for one of the new Dodge NASCAR engines. Petty’s business partner, George Gillett, tried last season to make a deal with Toyota. There is no immediate comment from Toyota officials.(mikemulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
    UPDATE: And speculation that Richard Petty and Kasey Kahne could switch to Toyotas as soon as July? Lee White, head of Toyota’ racing development operations, says “I’ve never talked to the King or his driver. I’m pretty sure that no one at Toyota/TRD has talked to either of them.”(mikemulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that Richard Petty Motorsports will begin fielding Toyotas for driver #9-Kasey Kahne in mid-August, with at least part of the team remaining in Dodge livery for the time being. Published reports this week claimed the team will begin fielding Toyotas for Kahne at Chicagoland Speedway on July 11, but an RPM source speaking on the condition of anonymity tells Sirius Speedway that the change will not happen until team officials are able to hammer out a financial settlement with their current manufacturer. “Dodge owes the team a ton of money, and they’re trying to negotiate some kind of settlement right now,” said one source. “Until that’s done, the team cannot make a move. Once the settlement is signed, you’ll see Kasey Kahne in a Toyota.” RPM’s familiar #43 – driven by Reed Sorenson – will remain in Dodge livery for the foreseeable future. A decision on future manufacturer affiliations for the #19 and #44 cars — driven by Elliott Sadler and AJ Allmendinger – is pending.(Sirius Speedway)(6-22-2009)
  • Toyota to leave Nationwide and Truck Series? UPDATE: Toyota appears ready to withdraw its financial support of NASCAR Truck and Nationwide teams, though continuing engineering support, in the wake of General Motors’ decision to join Ford and Chrysler in withdrawing all but engineering support for those two NASCAR tours. There has been no specific comment on that yet from Toyota executives.(MikeMulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
    UPDATE: Word in the Infineon Raceway garage over the week was that Toyota has decided to follow its three corporate rivals and pull all but engineering and technical support and parts supplies from the two NASCAR tours. Lee White, head of Toyota’ racing development operations: “Toyota and TRD have been in the process for over a year, of adapting our series support for the Truck/Nationwide programs to be appropriate to the value of each series. Our process in the future will not be determined by other manufacturer’s actions but by the value delivered by each series. At this point there is no plan to change our involvement for the remainder of this season. As always we will re evaluate each series over the winter and could make appropriate adjustments.”(MikeMulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
  • Commercial breakdown, driver focus for Infineon:
    Total number of commercials: 109
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 65
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 30
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 5:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 8:32 PM
    Total minutes: 212
    Minutes of race broadcast: 158
    Minutes of commercials: 54
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 0
    Number of pitches for the Toyota Camry Hybrid during opening ceremonies: 1
    Number of drivers featured in ‘Foot Cams’: 3
    Total race brdcst time 158 Total comm. brdcst time 54
    See more, past races, links to a full report on my TV Commercials page.(6-22-2009)
  • Spec Engines for NNS/Trucks? Detroit’s NASCAR people are talking with NASCAR officials about a new ‘spec’ engine (‘crate’ engine) program for the Truck and Nationwide series, which could be supplied by a ‘consortium’ of engineers from the four NASCAR car makers, Toyota, Ford, Dodge and Chevry. However NASCAR executives have so far shown little interest in such a program. According to one Detroit executive, such a ‘spec’ engine program could provide competitive Truck and Nationwide engines to a team for perhaps as little as $600,000 for the season.(mikemulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
  • What’s up with Roush’s five teams? Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith on the team cutting from five teams to four after this season (as mandated by NASCAR to meet its four-car limit): “We’re still messing with the sponsorship pieces,’’ Smith said. “We’re still not sure how it’s going to lay out. We thought we’d be done by now but we’re not.’’ One of the teams will move to Yates next year, Smith said. Smith also was asked about the status of signing Jamie McMurray to a contract extension: “Jamie wants to stay. We’d like him to stay. We’re hoping we can have sponsorship around Jamie before he has to decide how much longer he can wait. We’ve been working together. Hopefully we’ll have that worked out pretty quickly before he has to turn his attention to the marketplace.’’(Virginia Pilot)(6-22-2009)
  • RCR to scale back to two teams? There is speculation that Chevy team owner Richard Childress may have to cut back to a two-car operation next season, if the Shell [#29-Harvick] and Jack Daniels [#07-Casey Mears] sponsorships are not renewed. Childress says he intends to have four Cup teams again next year, but conceded sponsorship issues remain to be resolved. Childress, through the Winston-Salem law firm Womble, Carlyle, has filed legal papers over what he says is GM’s non-payment of a bill of $2,538,750. Childress insists he’s not suing GM over its failure to make that payment due June 15th. That bill would apparently be a scheduled quarterly payment, part of a $10 million a year Chevrolet sponsorship for Childress’ four-team operation.(mikemulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
  • Keselowski to talk to Hendrick about Cup move: Rick Hendrick said he plans to meet with Nationwide Series driver Brad Keselowski this week to discuss his plans for moving up to Sprint Cup in 2010. Hendrick mentioned two possible options for Keselowski — a third car at Stewart-Haas Racing, which is affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports, or a chance to stay at JR Motorsports if Dale Earnhardt Jr. decides to move his Nationwide team to Cup next year. “We’re looking at different options with some of our external situations with other teams,” Hendrick said Sunday at Infineon Raceway. “I told Brad that I want him to have the best opportunity. If we can’t give it to him, then I want him to have the best.” Keselowski told reporters at that event that he would love to drive a third Stewart-Haas car next year. Tony Stewart said Friday a third car for his team is a possibility for 2010. Stewart’s team is a satellite operation with Hendrick Motorsports, leasing engines from Hendrick. Hendrick also said Earnhardt Jr. is considering moving his Nationwide operation to Cup in 2010. Either way, Keselowski would stay in the Hendrick family, so to speak, if he signed with Stewart-Haas Racing or stayed at JR Motorsports. “Brad wants to do something that is somehow associated with our company,” Hendrick said. “We’re working on it and hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll have something sorted out. He’ll be running Cup [in 2010]. Whether he’ll be running them all or whether he’ll be running 75% of them or what, I don’t know.”(ESPN)(6-22-2009)
  • More on Red Bull Manufacturer: Red Bull Racing driver #83-Brian Vickers has won back-to-back poles in a Toyota Camry, but to hear his boss talk, it doesn’t sound like that will make a difference on whether Red Bull remains a Toyota team. Red Bull is in its final year of its Toyota contract, and there has been speculation that Red Bull, could move to Chevrolet (without manufacturer support). But wouldn’t two consecutive poles make the team brass think twice about going to a new manufacturer, especially after being one of Toyota’s initial teams when it entered Cup in 2007? “Ask them,” Red Bull Racing general manager Jay Frye said at Infineon Raceway Saturday. “Obviously Toyota has been great to us. We’ve been one of their freshman teams and all that. We appreciate everything they’re doing and continue to do. We’re going through lots of different scenarios right now. There’s a lot going on in the world and it’s been reported that our deal is up with them at the end of the year and it’s possible they don’t want us to come back, right? It’s possible. Or it’s possible they want us to come back but they can’t for some reason do that. Anything is possible.” Toyota Racing Development senior vice president Dave Wilson said the manufacturer wants to continue the relationship with Red Bull and there have been discussions to extend the relationship. There have been reductions in Toyota’s total racing budget, but Wilson said the manufacturer wants to have 10-12 cars on the track. “We have a great deal of loyalty to those guys,” Wilson said. “They slogged it out in the tough entry period in ’07 and obviously we should have notched a couple of victories with Red Bull. We’re certainly not looking to change that.” Frye said there is no time frame to make a decision. The other contract Red Bull needs to get finalized is the one for Vickers. Frye indicated that everything just needs a look in the corporate offices in Austria. “Everything is agreed, done, just the legalese stuff and things like that are going on right now. There’s no [issues],” Frye said.(SceneDaily)(6-22-2009)
  • Congrats: to Mike and Lauren Sichette on the birth of Emily Starr Sichette, born on Saturday, June 20th at 8:08 pm 6lbs 8ozs. Mike is a fabricator at Stewart-Haas Racing.(6-22-2009)
  • 4th Gibbs team? Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs is still open to the idea of four Sprint Cup teams if the sponsorship can be found for 2010 by the end of the summer. “We can still plug in a fourth team,” Gibbs said Sunday at Infineon Raceway. “The problem is from an economy standpoint. You can probably get a few [sponsors] to mix and match, but we don’t have a full fourth ready to go from a sponsor standpoint. We’re in no hurry. If we have to wait a year, that’s fine. You have got to have the right driver, the right core group and the right sponsor. But if that happened, we could do it pretty quick. I wouldn’t cross it off for next year but at the same time we’re not going to force it.” When asked if that fourth car could be Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick, Gibbs laughed. JGR uses IMG to help it find sponsors and Danica is represented by IMG. “I don’t know what she wants to do,” Gibbs said. “Does she want to still run what she’s running and dip her toe in the water, does she want to do the whole thing? … I think it would be great for the sport wherever she goes. I don’t think she would want to be part of a [new] fourth team [here].” In addition to a fourth team, JGR also could become a vendor for other teams. JGR did not have a successful affiliate/vendor program with Hall of Fame Racing from 2006-2008, and Gibbs said if JGR did it in the future, it would be a closer relationship. Gibbs said the team management would have to decide whether such an arrangement would be simply for profit or help the organization run better. He also thinks that adding a fourth team would be more of a priority.(SceneDaily)(6-22-2009)
  • St. Louis Race track crash kills 1, hurts 2: Police said Sunday a 47-year-old man was killed and two other injured Saturday night when a race car flipped off the track and slammed into the pit area at St. Francois County Raceway. Police withheld the man’s identity, saying they weren’t sure whether his nearest relatives had been notified. Two others also were injured, including the driver of the race car that lost control.(St Louis Post Dispatch)(6-22-2009)

June 21, 2009

  • Today in History: June 21 — 1959: “Tiger” Tom Pistone picks up his second and final Cup victory, winning the Richmond 200 at the half-mile dirt track of Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds in Richmond, Va. The only other cars on the lead lap are second-place Glen Wood and third-place Buck Baker. Both of Pistone’s victories come in 1959; he closes out his career in 1968 with 130 starts.(NASCAR.com)
  • Kahne wins at Infineon: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for his 1st win of 2009, 1st road course win and the 10th win of his career. Kahne’s previous best road course finish was 14th, twice at Watkins Glen. It was Kahne’s first win since Pocono last June, 37 races ago. The race was a green-white-checkered finish after a late race caution. #14-Stewart finished second followed by #47-Ambrose, #48-Johnson, #11-Hamlin, #42-Montoya, #44-Allmendinger, #33-Bowyer, #24-Gordon and #19-Sadler. Pole sitter #83-Vickers finished 16th after leading the first 17 laps. There were 7 cautions for 20 laps and there were 10 lead changes among 8 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more, see my Infineon Race Results Page.(6-21-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after Infineon, race 16 of 36]:
    1) #14-Tony Stewart, 2364 [1 win], finished 2nd
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon, 2280, -84 [1 win], 9th
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 2207, -157 [2 wins], 4th
    4) #2-Kurt Busch, 2084, -280 [1 win], 15th
    5) #99-Carl Edwards, 2051, -313, 13th
    6) #39-Ryan Newman, 2046, -318, 17th
    7) #11-Denny Hamlin, 2009, -355, 5th
    8) #16-Greg Biffle, 1992, -372, 28th
    9) #18-Kyle Busch, 1962, -402, [3 wins], 22nd
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth, 1957, -407, [2 wins], 18th
    11) #5-Mark Martin, 1926, -438, [3 wins], 35th
    12) #42-Juan Montoya, 1917, -447, 6th
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #9-Kasey Kahne, 1914, 3 points out of 12th, [1 win], 1st
    14) #00-David Reutimann, 1877, -40, [1 win], 31st
    15) #31-Jeff Burton, 1871, -46, 26th
    16) #33-Clint Bowyer, 1852, -65, 8th
    17) #83-Brian Vickers, 1794, -123, 16th
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(6-21-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Infineon Raceway
    Kasey Kahne won the Toyota/Save Mart 350, his 10th victory in 196 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and fifth top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in six races at Infineon Raceway.
    Kahne’s best previous finish at Infineon was 23rd in 2007. His best road course finishes were a pair of 14ths, most recently last August, at Watkins Glen International. The last win by a Richard Petty owned car was by John Andretti at Martinsville Speedway in the spring of 1999.
    Tony Stewart (second) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 11 races at Infineon Raceway. It is his 12th top-10 finish in 2009.
    Marcos Ambrose (third) posted his first top-10 finish in two races at Infineon Raceway.
    Max Papis (12th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 84 points over Jeff Gordon.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-21-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at New Hampshire:
    No teams jumped into the top 35, #34-Andretti’s lead over 36th increases to 95 since #82 missed the race
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1273, +235
    35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1133, 95 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1038, 95 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 966, -167
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(6-21-2009)
  • Infraction Report – Infineon:
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #47, Pre-Race to the rear W tail end engine change
    #71, Pre-Race to the rear W tail end backup car
    #87, Pre-Race to the rear W tail end driver change
    #44, 10, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, pass thru
    #29, 22, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #48, 29, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, pass thru
    #19, 43, Safety violation, pit
    #24, 54, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, tail end
    #19, 54, Using more than two(2) air wrenches during one pit stop, tail end
    #08, 67, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, pass thru
    #71, 82, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #87, 82, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #2, 90, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #02, 95, Safety violation, pit
    #16, 97, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #71, 97, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    (NASCAR Statistics)(6-21-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Infineon: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #13-Papis, 12th
    Caution 2: #44-Allmendinger, 7th
    Caution 3: #02-Ash, 41st
    Caution 4: #18-Busch, 22nd
    Caution 5: #17-Kenseth, 18th
    Caution 6: #77-Hornish Jr., (still 8 laps down),
    Caution 7: #77-Hornish Jr.(2), (still 7 laps down),
    (6-21-2009)
  • Six Current Race Tracks Johnson has never won: There are six current race tracks the Sprint Cup Series runs on that #48-Jimmie Johnson has not won at [a Sprint Cup race], plus Johnson ran five races at Rockingham and didn’t win:
    Bristol: 0 for 15 with a best finish of 3rd in 8/2004 and 3/2009
    Michigan: 0 for 14 with a best finish of 3rd in 8/2007
    Infineon: 0 for 8 with a best finish of 4th in 6/2009
    Chicago: 0 for 7 with a best finish of 2nd in 7/2004 & 7/2008
    Watkins Glen: 0 for 7 with a best finish of 3rd in 8/2007
    Homestead: 0 for 8 with a best finish of 2nd in 11/2004
    (6-21-2009)
  • RPM owner sells NHL team: George N. Gillett Jr [owner of Richard Petty Motorsports #’s 9,19,43,44] and Geoff Molson announced that they have reached an agreement in principle for the sale of the Gillett family’s interests in the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club, the Bell Centre and Gillett Entertainment Group. They will hold a news conference as soon as the agreement is finalized.(NHL.com)(6-21-2009)
  • Red Bull to Chevy? UPDATE: It is very possible that Brian Vickers, winner of the pole at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, could be behind the wheel of the #83 Red Bull Chevy next season. Yes, Chevy. Over the last three years, the Red Bull program has worked to gain speed but has experienced some reliability issues with the Toyota Racing Development engines. Red Bull’s contract with Toyota is up at the end of this season. And although General Motors likely cannot afford to support additional teams at this time, Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, who owns race teams in both NASCAR and Formula One, could certainly afford to take on the role as Chevy parts customer. If Red Bull Racing was to make the switch to Chevy engines, Hendrick Motorsports would be the logical choice of vendor. Given Jay Frye’s relationship with HMS, most recently during the management of Ginn Racing and MB2 Motorsports prior to that, there’s a familiarity as a technical customer.(FoxSports)(6-13-2009)
    UPDATE: Red Bull is in its last year of a three-year contract with Toyota and that’s led to a report that the team could switch manufacturers to Chevrolet and receive equipment from Hendrick Motorsports, as Stewart-Haas Racing does. The team fields cars for Brian Vickers, who is starting on the pole for today’s race, and rookie Scott Speed. “We’re going through lots of different scenarios right now,” said Jay Frye, the team’s general manager. “It’s possible they won’t want us to come back. It’s possible. Or it’s possible that they want us to come back but they can’t for some reason do that. Anything is possible at this point. They’ve been a great partner. We’ll see here shortly what’s the next step.”(Roanoke Times)(6-21-2009)
  • SCCA Driver dies in in wreck: Thomas Thrash Jr., 48, of Houston, Texas, was pronounced dead late Saturday morning at St. Nicholas Hospital (Sheboygan, Wis.). Thrash was involved in a single-car incident Saturday at Road America during the Sports Car Club of America-sanctioned Chicago Region June Sprints event. The cause of death is under investigation. Witnesses reported that Thrash lost control of his E Production class Mazda RX-7 before Turn Eight, with the car entering the gravel trap and coming to rest against the tire wall. A 12-year veteran driver in SCCA competition, Thrash was the 2007 SCCA National Champion in E Production and a two-time Runoffs polesitter. Thrash had qualified his car on the pole position for Saturday afternoon’s race before the incident. “We are deeply saddened to have lost Tom Thrash, a great champion and individual that epitomized the spirit and competition of SCCA racing, and most importantly, a member of our SCCA family,” SCCA President and CEO Jeff Dahnert said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”(Road America site)(6-21-2009)
  • Tim Richmond being honored UPDATE: On June 20th Mansfield Motorsports Park will host the inaugural running of the Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA-RE/MAX 200 celebrating the incredible on-track accomplishments of the late Tim Richmond, an Ashland, Ohio native who would have turned 54 June 7th. Like many aspiring stock car racers, Richmond’s racing resume included a stint in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, when, in only his career first Series start, he won the February, 1981 ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway. Richmond’s racing career began in 1976 when he turned some laps in a Sprint Car at Lakeville Speedway in Lakeville, Ohio. He went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors in the 1980 INDY 500 and later became one of the first drivers to successfully make the switch from open wheel racing to stock car competition. He posted 13 wins, 42 top-5s, 78 top-10s and 14 pole awards in just 185 career starts in NASCAR’s premier division, the Sprint Cup Series. There will also be a Team Transporter Parade Tribute to Richmond on June 19th.(6-19-2009)
    RACE: From his high school graduation ceremony Friday night, to the winner’s circle at Mansfield Motorsports Park Saturday night, 18-year-old Parker Kligerman padded his point lead with another convincing ARCA RE/MAX Series victory. With an exceptional and ultra-enthusiastic crowd on their feet, the Penske Racing development driver, in the Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, held off Joey Coulter during a green-white-checker finish to win the inaugural Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA 200 presented by National Speed Sport News at the Mansfield, Ohio short track.(ARCARacing)(6-21-2009)
  • Race Coverage of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway is scheduled for Sunday, June 21, 2009.
    TV: TNT at 5:00 pm/et; pre-race show at 3:30 pm/et; green flag approx 5:16pm/et
    Radio: PRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: SPEED, Wednesday, June 24 at 12:00pm/et;
  • Most Road Course Wins All-Time top 10 drivers
    Driver, Wins 
    *Jeff Gordon, 9
    Rusty Wallace, 6
    Bobby Allison, 6
    Richard Petty, 6
    Ricky Rudd, 6
    *Tony Stewart, 6
    Darrell Waltrip, 5
    Tim Richmond, 5
    Dan Gurney, 5
    David Pearson, 4
    *Mark Martin, 4
    (* active, running the race today)
    Other active road course winners: Robby Gordon (2 wins), Kyle Busch (2), Juan Pablo Montoya amd Kevin Harvick

June 20, 2009

  • Happy Hour practice for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway is being over, the top 5:
    #44-Allmendinger 92.525
    #09-Fellows 92.480
    #7-Gordon 92.348
    #42-Montoya 92.307
    #9-Kahne 92.220
    slowest: #66-Blaney 89.828 and #02-Ash 90.253
    no speed: #34-Andretti, #71-Gilliland
    TV Note: SPEED will not air the practice live as the rain delayed Truck Series race is being showed, but the practice will be aired approx 4:00pm/et on SPEED after the truck race.
    See speeds, most laps run, average speeds and more on my Infineon Practice Speeds/Notes page.(6-20-2009)
  • Saturday’s First Practice: for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway is over, the top five:
    #47-Ambrose 92.490 [blew engine]
    #42-Montoya 92.293
    #33-Bowyer 92.144
    #26-McMurray 92.123
    #7-Gordon 92.085
    slowest: #04-Jones 89.282 and #66-Blaney 90.025
    no speed: #34-Andretti, #71-Gilliland
    incident: #47-Ambrose blew an engine, the team will put in a new one and Ambrose will have to start from the rear of the field, he was scheduled to start 3rd. About 15 minutes into the session, #34-Andretti was waiting at the end of pit road to enter the track, #71-Gilliland was behind him, looked down to turn on switches and ran into the rear of the #34, crushing the nose of his own car. Gilliland will go to a backup car, Gilliland’s primary car was a road race car they purchased a month ago, the backup is not. Some rear damage to the #34.
    See speeds, most laps run, average speeds and more on my Infineon Practice Speeds/Notes page.(6-20-2009)
  • Pit Stall Selections – Infineon: The selections for pit stalls of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway have been made. Pole sitter #83-Vickers chose pit stall 23, the 2nd stall with an opening in front of it, outside pole sitter #18-Busch took pit stall 11 the next with an opening in front of it [at the start finish line] and #47-Ambrose, who starts 3rd took stall 1, the first to get out to the track. #13-Papis took the final pit stall. See the pit selection chart on the Infineon Pit Stall Selection chart.(6-20-2009)
  • TRG leases a Chevy from EGR: TRG Motorsports has leased the #1 Chevy [backup] from Earnhardt Ganassi for the Toyota Save Mart 350 to be run at Infineon Raceway tomorrow, Sunday, June 21. Gilliland will be relegated to the back of the field for the start of the race. In today’s first practice, David Gilliland was involved in an accident exiting pit road when he collided with the #34 of John Andretti. The damage to the #71 Adobe Road Winery Chevy was too extensive to repair. The team, working on a very tight budget, had their short track car as a backup. The management at Earnhardt Ganassi offered their Martin Truex Jr. road course backup car, which finished 16th here last year and fifth at Watkins Glen, and TRG Motorsports team principal Kevin Buckler gladly accepted. The team would like to thank Ultimate Limousine Service in Petaluma and the Fairfield Inn of Vacaville for their support this weekend.(TRG Motorsports)(6-20-2009)
  • Logano gets punted in West Series race: Joe Gibbs Racing’s Joey Logano was spun while leading on the final lap of the NASCAR Camping World West Series Bennett Lane Winery 200 on Saturday afternoon at Infineon Raceway. The driver who tapped him, Patrick Long, was penalized and scored at the tail end of the lead lap, with Jason Bowles inheriting the win. Logano finished 17th. Two other Sprint Cup drivers were in the field: Boris Said (EM Motorsports in Cup) finished fourth and David Gilliland (TRG Motorsports) finished 31st.(SceneDaily)(6-20-2009)
  • Wood Brothers to pit for Said: Road-racing ace Boris Said qualified John Carter’s unsponsored #08-Ford ninth for Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Wood Brothers Racing [#21 Ford], which did not enter this race, will serve as the pit crew for Said on Sunday, servicing his car when it stops for gas and tires. “For a part-time guy it’s hard because, one, I haven’t driven one of these cars since February in the Twin 150’s (Daytona qualifying races),” noted Said. “These guys are the best in the world at what they do and they’re in these cars week-in and week-out, and we throw some guys together and show up every three or four months, so it’s just tough. That’s a bigger uphill battle. We’ve been really close a lot of times and I’m not giving up. That’s my goal is to someday win one of these things.” For the Wood Brothers, helping out another team is hardly something new. In fact, way back in 1965, the Woods served as the pit crew for Scotsman Jimmy Clark when he won the Indianapolis 500. Team co-owner Eddie Wood said the squad was happy to jump in to help out Said. “We spoke a few weeks ago and Boris mentioned he was going to run Sonoma and didn’t have a pit crew, so since that race wasn’t on our schedule and we had no intentions of going, we offered up our guys,” said Wood. “Boris Said helped us out at Watkins Glen a couple of years ago and has done a lot to help our road racing program overall. He’s just a friend.” The partnership could be extended in August at the Watkins Glen International road course. “We’re trying to find some money to take Boris to Watkins Glen in one of our cars,” said Wood. “We haven’t been successful so far, but we’re trying because there aren’t many better on a road course than him. Really, it’s just a case of friends take care of friends. He needs something and I’m glad we’re the ones who can be able to help him out. I’m sure he would do the same for us.”(SPEEDtv)(6-20-2009)
  • New Ford engine? The debut of the new Ford engine could be coming soon. The big question: Who will get it first? When the engine was introduced at the Sprint Cup media tour in January, top Ford officials speculated that the #21-Wood Brothers, running a 12-race schedule, would get it first. The theory was to let them experiment with it before those competing for spots in the Chase used it. With Roush Fenway Racing’s #6-David Ragan and #26-Jamie McMurray out of Chase contention, they have become candidates. So have all three drivers from Yates Racing who aren’t competing for a playoff spot. “I told them I don’t want it right off the bat,” Roush’s #99-Carl Edwards recently said. “We’ll see who’s not in the Chase and maybe start testing it that way.” Doug Yates, who helped build the FR9, says the engine won’t be ready until August. That could come sooner if Roush believes it could help Edwards, #17-Matt Kenseth and #16-Greg Biffle in the Chase.(ESPN Insider)(6-20-2009)
  • Speed to race the #87 car at Infineon: Red Bull Racing general manager Jay Frye worked a deal with #87-Joe Nemechek, who qualified 31st, to put Scott Speed in his car for Sunday’s race. Nemechek races in old Red Bull cars, and qualified in one of their Toyotas from last season. Red Bull, which also borrowed his car for Speed at Darlington last month, will cut Nemechek a later deal as payment for the Sonoma favor. “I came here to race, but I told them ‘Hey, whatever you need me to do,’ ” Nemechek said of turning over his ride. Speed, a former Formula One driver with a tremendous amount of road course experience, was having a strong run that would have solidly put him in the field when he overdrove his car and went off course. Although he saved it from a wreck, it sunk his qualifying chances.(ESPN/AP)(6-20-2009)
  • Richard Childress Statement about General Motors: The following is a statement from Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, regarding cutbacks by General Motors: “Richard Childress Racing is proud to be associated with General Motors and Chevrolet. I’ve been driving Chevys since I ran a Camaro in Talladega’s first Cup race in 1969 and I look forward to continuing that relationship. I’ve been fortunate to see some of the great new products General Motors has to offer, vehicles with great fuel mileage and styling. I’ve recently purchased a new Corvette and a Camaro and they’re two of the finest cars I’ve ever driven. RCR is honored to help showcase GM products to help sell them in the dealerships. These difficult economic times have forced all of us to evaluate our budgets closer than ever but I can assure you that this will not affect our competition on the track.”(RCR)(6-20-2009)
  • How much does GM pay to teams? While no one is saying how much General Motors is cutting its financial support from teams, at least one court document puts a price tag on it. Try $2,538,750. And that’s to one Cup team. A court document [click to view pdf] shows that GM was to have paid RCR Enterprises, LLC (i.e. Richard Childress Racing) that amount on June 15. Childress spoke Friday at Infineon Raceway about the GM situation. Asked if he received his June 15 payment from GM, Childress said: “That’s kind of personal. I didn’t ask you if you got your paycheck this week.” If nothing else, that gives you a sense of some of the money that’s out there and involved in this sport. Childress would not reveal what kind of cutbacks GM is making with his team. Asked if he would have to lay anyone off, Childress said: “I don’t know really what all is going to happen. We’re going to have to make cuts like everybody in the sport or in business. We don’t want to cut performance. For sure, we’re not going to cut performance. We’ll cut a lot of other things before that.”(Virginian-Pilot)(6-20-2009)
  • Stewart-Haas to three teams? #14-Tony Stewart is off to such a strong first season as a team owner, he’s already open to expansion. The Sprint Cup Series points leader said Friday he’d consider adding a third team to Stewart-Haas Racing next year if the right combination was available. Although he promised his team not to expand too quickly, their success so far this season has made him consider his options. “I wanted to make sure we had two cars that were competitive and had a chance to win a championship,” he said Friday at Infineon Raceway. “I’m proud of the fact that I think we’re at that point. So if the right situation came along, we would entertain it.” Stewart did not offer any potential drivers or sponsors that would pique his interest. Of the current free agents, Brian Vickers is not looking to leave Red Bull Racing and Martin Truex Jr. is widely believed to be headed to Michael Waltrip Racing. That leaves Jamie McMurray as the only driver in a contract year still trying to finalize his 2010 plans. But, Hendrick Motorsports developmental driver Brad Keselowski wants a Cup ride next season and Hendrick doesn’t currently have an open seat to offer. Stewart has a technical alliance with Hendrick. Then there’s a handful of drivers – Kasey Kahne or Kurt Busch – who would potentially try to negotiate a release from the current contract for the opportunity to join SHR. Kahne and Stewart are both represented by Motorports Management Inc., which typically does not encourage its drivers from breaking their contracts.(Associated Press)(6-20-2009)
  • Danica to Roush? Danica Patrick will be in a Jack Roush NASCAR Ford next season, bank on it. Well, don’t bet the ranch, but there is a growing sense that that is the momentum on the issue, if the sexy Indy-car star does make the leap into stock car racing, as she has hinted. And in the NASCAR garage here at Infineon Raceway Roush himself pondered the Danica option Friday. Patrick herself has been talking around the NASCAR possibility for several weeks now but insists she won’t be making any announcement of where she’ll be racing next season until this fall [after the IRL’s finale in Oct]. Last weekend Geoff Smith, head of Roush Fenway Racing, talked about the Danica Patrick option. What does Roush himself think about her as NASCAR stocker? “I don’t know enough about her to know how much time she’d have to spend in the Nationwide series or Truck series,” Roush said. “I’d say, as a minimum, two years in the Nationwide series would be required…and at the same time she could run six or seven Cup races, to maintain her rookie status. It just depends on how badly she wants it,” Roush says of any Patrick move into NASCAR. Patrick has some big advantages, Roush points out: “I don’t know of any problems with Danica Patrick. If a female is going to make it in NASCAR in the foreseeable future, it will be Danica Patrick.(mikemulhern.net)(6-20-2009)
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame announces opening date: The NASCAR Hall of Fame announced May 11, 2010 as the official grand opening date for the state-of-the-art facility under construction in Charlotte, N.C. “This is a very exciting time in the development of the NASCAR Hall of Fame,” said Winston Kelley, Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “We’re less than a year away from opening the doors that will give visitors an unparalleled experience of the energy, excitement, technology and incredible history of NASCAR – a sport that is so closely tied to our city, our region and our rich heritage in racing.” As part of the announcement, the NASCAR Hall of Fame unveiled three new artifacts that will be featured in the facility when it opens next year. Included among a host of interactive displays, exhibits and artifacts will be the blazer that Ned Jarrett wore while he commentated the 1993 Daytona 500 in which his son, Dale, staved off Dale Earnhardt to claim his first Daytona 500 win. The artifact represents the close family ties within NASCAR, a sport in which fathers, sons, brothers and cousins race with each other, for each other and against each other. To date, the NASCAR Hall of Fame has announced two major artifacts for display in the Hall – the Plymouth Belvedere that Richard Petty drove to 27 wins in 1967, and an epic collection of NASCAR awards and memorabilia donated by Raymond Parks, including the first NASCAR trophy ever awarded a team. Exhibits that will showcase artifacts such as these at the NASCAR Hall of Fame are currently under development. The NASCAR Hall of Fame will launch a comprehensive sales campaign this fall, including ticket and membership sales, and will feature the marketing tagline “Where the race lives on.” The NASCAR Hall of Fame broke ground in Charlotte on January 25, 2007 and will open May 11, 2010. The facility will honor the history and heritage of NASCAR and the many who have contributed to the success of NASCAR. The Hall of Fame will comprise 150,000 square feet, including exhibit space, state-of-the-art theater, a Hall of Honor that will house the commemorations of Hall of Fame inductees, numerous interactive entertainment experiences, a themed restaurant, retail outlet, and a modern media center for the industry. The Hall will be owned by the City of Charlotte and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.(NASCAR HOF)(6-19-2009)
  • What is Infineon? been asked by some readers what the Infineon in Infineon Raceway means? from their website: Infineon Technologies focuses on the three central challenges facing modern society: Energy Efficiency, Communications and Security and offers semiconductors and system solutions for automotive and industrial electronics, chip card and security applications as well as applications in communications. Infineon’s products stand out for their reliability, their quality excellence and their innovative and leading-edge technology in analog and mixed signal, RF and power as well as embedded control. With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the USA from Milpitas, California, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore, and in Japan from Tokyo. See more at Infineon.com.(6-20-2009)
  • Air Show Takes Center Stage on Sunday at Infineon:
    * Airshows America’s Patriots Jet Team Air Show: Pre-race festivities kick off with the Patriots Jet Team Air Show which will bring the sky to life with their show, which is performed in four 1983 L-39 Ex-Military Jets. The show will feature 25 minutes of beautifully choreographed maneuvers, including diamond formation loops and rolls.
    * Red Bull Helicopter Stunt Show: Check out the Red Bull helicopter stunt show performed by Charles “Chuck” P. Aaron, the only pilot licensed in the United States by the Federal Aviation Administration. Watch as he performs loops, barrel rolls and back flips in a BO-105 CBS helicopter.
    * Red Bull Sky Diving Team: You won’t want to miss the Red Bull Sky Diving Team as it demonstrates “Free Flying” from 10,000 feet above Infineon Raceway. The Red Bull team travels world-wide performing different skydiving maneuvers.
    * Patriotic Parachute Team: The Patriotic Parachute Team is comprised of dedicated men and women from all branches of the Armed Forces.
    * Military Fly-bys: Keep your eyes glued to the sky immediately following the national anthem for thrilling military fly-bys.
    * US Army Cannon Salute Following National Anthem, Army Cannon Salute Provided by the 75th Division Salute Batter from Camp Parks Dublin, CA
    For more information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350 or to purchase tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(6-20-2009)
  • Watkins Glen offers ‘Smashing” Ticket Package: In the aftermath of the events that occurred during Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Victory Lane celebration, Watkins Glen International is setting up a unique program to give back to the arts. To promote our soon-to-be-announced relationship with acclaimed artist Sam Bass, any fan that brings a new or used musical instrument to the WGI ticket office, located on the corner of Old Bronson Hill Road and Route 16, can purchase a ticket to the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at a discounted price, and receive an autographed Sam Bass-commissioned event poster. Sam Bass has been painting images of NASCAR racing for over 25 years. He not only designed the Gibson guitar presented at Nashville Superspeedway, but has created the artwork for the 2009 Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen event program. All instruments collected through the drive will be donated to local music organizations and local schools for use in their music departments. 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)(6-20-2009)
  • Oakland Police Officers Honored During Race Weekend: Four motorcycle officers from the Oakland Police Department will lead the 43-car field around the road course prior to the start of the Toyota/Save Mart 350. This will serve as a salute to the four officers from the Oakland Police Department who lost their lives in the line of duty in March: Sgts. Ervin Romans, Daniel Sakai and Mark Dunakin and Officer John Hege. The Oakland Police Department will also have a booth at race weekend with donations going to the families of the four officers. For more information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350 or to purchase tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(6-20-2009)
  • Racing School tests at North Wilkesboro: Four instructional drivers from the Buck Baker Racing School were testing North Wilkesboro Speedway in hopes of expanding their services to Wilkesboro. The owner of Buck Baker Racing School, Jeff Bowyer, said although the track, which was closed in 1996, may not be the prettiest the racing surface isn’t bad. Bowyer said, “I believe we will have the racing school here. The track is not in that bad of condition. It looks a little ugly because there’s no paint on the walls, [but] as for the track surface itself, I’ve raced on worse. The cracks aren’t big enough to worry about. Nothing’s coming up out of the track, and that’s what we were worried about; chunks coming out of the track. Right now, we see nothing like that.” Charles Collins, who is leasing the track for three months from Bruton Smith, said he is hoping to get the cracks in the track patched and paint the walls. A reality television show is also in the works to be shot at the track. The program will be called “Women, So You Think You Can Race?” and Collins said he hopes to begin shooting next month. Collins also said he hopes to hold a late model race [2 scheduled races were already cancelled] at the track before the end of the summer. As far as the Buck Baker Racing School, Bowyer said former students who have driven at other tracks have already showed great interest in driving at North Wilkesboro Speedway. Bowyer said if enough interest is shown, the track is in such good condition that they could hold a racing school session as early as next week.(GoBlueRidge.net)(6-20-2009)

June 19, 2009

  • Vickers on pole at Infineon: #83-Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway with a lap of 93.678mph for his 2nd straight pole in a row, 4th of 2009 and 9th of his career [has never won from the pole]. #18-Busch was 2nd fastest followed by #47-Ambrose, #14-Stewart, #9-Kahne, #1-Truex Jr., #39-Newman, #19-Sadler, #08-Said and #17-Kenseth. #24-Johnson will start 11th, #24-Gordon 13th and #88-Earnhardt Jr’s woes continue as he will start 35th
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race:
    The four drivers who failed to qualify: Rookie of the Year candidate #82-Speed, #27-Hubert, #37-Cook and #36-Simo [who lost an engine during his lap]
    See starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression and more on my Infineon Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(6-19-2009)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Infineon Raceway:
    Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 with a lap of 76.475 seconds, 93.678 mph.
    This is his ninth pole in 188 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his fourth pole and eighth top-10 start in 2009.
    This is his first pole in five races at Infineon Raceway. Vickers’ best previous start at Infineon Raceway was 18th. His best previous road race start was 17th at Watkins Glen International.
    This is the first time in 2009 that Toyotas have qualified one-two-three. The only other time the manufacturer claimed the top three qualifying positions was at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 7, 2007.
    Kyle Busch (second) posted his 12th top-10 start of 2009 and his first in five races at Infineon Raceway.
    Marcos Ambrose (third) posted his second top-10 start at Infineon Raceway. It is his third in 16 races this season.
    Joey Logano (12th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-19-2009)
  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway is scheduled for Friday, June 19, 2009 at 6:35pm/et.
    TV: SPEED – 6:30pm/et
    Radio: PRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Qualifying Re-Air: none scheduled
  • Qualifying Order for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway is posted. 47 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 #11-Hamlin, the final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #88-Earnhardt Jr. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #27-Hubert with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #09-Fellows. See the full qualifying order on the Infineon Qualifying Page.(6-19-2009)
  • Friday practice for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway is over, the top five:
    #47-Ambrose 93.404
    #24-Gordon 93.368
    #08-Said 93.336
    #48-Johnson 93.116
    #83-Vickers 92.883
    slowest: #34-Andretti 89.511 and #27-Hubert 90.135
    incidents: #88-Earnhardt Jr., #31-Burton and #00-Reutimann spun
    See speeds, most laps run, average speeds and more on my Infineon Practice Speeds/Notes page.(6-19-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Infineon Raceway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #08-Boris Said, 3rd fastest overall
    #71-David Gilliland, 16th
    #82-Scott Speed, 23rd
    #09-Ron Fellows, 27th
    #13-Max Papis, 28th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 36th
    #36-Brian Simo, 37th
    #37-Chris Cook. 41st
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 42nd
    #04-P.J. Jones, 44th
    #02-Brandon Ash, 45th
    #27-Tom Hubert, 46th
    See speeds, most laps run, average speeds and more on my Infineon Practice Speeds/Notes page.(6-19-2009)

  • NASCAR says Mayfield expert lied; court date set UPDATE 2: NASCAR has filed a motion in federal court that says an expert witness for suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield lied about his credentials. The motion was filed Tuesday. It claims Dr. Harvey MacFenerstein falsely represented himself on six counts in a May 29 affidavit presented on behalf of Mayfield, who was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after failing a drug test. NASCAR says MacFenerstein does not have the medical degrees or certifications he listed in his qualifications. In his testimony about NASCAR’s drug-testing policy, MacFenerstein said the policy is flawed and does not meet federal workplace guidelines. His findings were the basis of Mayfield’s argument that he should be immediately reinstated.(Associated Press)(6-16-2009)
    UPDATE: An expert witness for suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield is defending his qualifications after NASCAR accused him of lying about his credentials. Dr. Harvey MacFenerstein says he noticed mistakes in the affidavit that was prepared on Mayfield’s behalf. He says in a statement on Thursday that he corrected the mistakes in his educational background, but the revisions were not on the affidavit that was submitted May 29. MacFenerstein did not say who prepared the incorrect affidavit. NASCAR on Monday filed a motion to have MacFenerstein’s testimony dismissed. Mayfield is challenging his indefinite drug suspension, prompted by a positive drug test.(Associated Press)(6-18-2009)
    UPDATE 3: Suspended NASCAR driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield’s next race won’t be at least until the July 4 event at Daytona International Speedway as U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen has set a hearing for July 1 for Mayfield’s preliminary injunction request to keep NASCAR from enforcing its indefinite suspension against him.(SceneDaily)(6-19-2009)

  • Tim Richmond being honored: On June 20th Mansfield Motorsports Park will host the inaugural running of the Tim Richmond Memorial ARCA-RE/MAX 200 celebrating the incredible on-track accomplishments of the late Tim Richmond, an Ashland, Ohio native who would have turned 54 June 7th. Like many aspiring stock car racers, Richmond’s racing resume included a stint in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, when, in only his career first Series start, he won the February, 1981 ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway. Richmond’s racing career began in 1976 when he turned some laps in a Sprint Car at Lakeville Speedway in Lakeville, Ohio. He went on to earn Rookie of the Year honors in the 1980 INDY 500 and later became one of the first drivers to successfully make the switch from open wheel racing to stock car competition. He posted 13 wins, 42 top-5s, 78 top-10s and 14 pole awards in just 185 career starts in NASCAR’s premier division, the Sprint Cup Series. There will also be a Team Transporter Parade Tribute to Richmond on June 19th.(6-19-2009)

  • Adobe Road Winery to Sponsor #71 at Infineon: TRG Motorsports has signed Adobe Road Winery to sponsor the No. 71 TRG Motorsports Chevrolet Impala SS for this weekend’s Toyota SaveMart 350 to be run at Infineon Raceway. Petaluma, California rooted Adobe Road Winery is one of the hottest boutique wineries in the industry right now. The winery has won numerous accolades for their wide range of varietals. Some of their most notable accomplishments include four of their wines receiving “Outstanding” 90+ point reviews in the prestigious Wine Spectator magazine, as well as numerous Gold Medal honors from wine competitions located around the country and taking the overall victory and sweepstakes award at this year’s Sonoma Harvest Fair out of 1,100 wines entered. Adobe Road Winery in Petaluma, California specializes in handcrafting small batches of red and white wine from the best vineyards in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. For more information about their exclusive wine club, visit www.adoberoadwines.com.(TRG Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on my #71 Team Schemes page.(6-19-2009)

  • Chase Notes/Stats going into Infineon: The ageless wonder, #5-Mark Martin, is methodically becoming the story of the 2009 NSCS season. Three wins in the first 15 races, and back in the Top 12, although only 61 points ahead of #00-David Reutimann in 13th. RCR’s recent woes continued at MIS and #31-Jeff Burton’s 26th place finish dropped him to just 3 points inside the Top 12. Reutimann’s 19th at MIS dropped him just out of the Top 12. #42-Juan Pablo Montoya’s strong run all day at MIS netted him a sixth place finish and gained him 19 precious points toward 12th place. Now just 43 points out of the Top 12, a win win or podium finish at Infineon would push Montoya closer to the Chase field, if not at least temporarily in it. See more on my Chase Stats page.(6-19-2009)

  • Infineon Tire Notes: NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will run the same tire code (D-4230) on all four tire positions at Infineon Raceway this weekend . . . this is the first time Sprint Cup teams have run this tire code on a road course . . . Cup teams have run this code before as the right-side at Martinsville in March . . . compared to last year’s Infineon tire, this tire has a slightly softer compound for more grip . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Infineon. The estimated pit window is every 36-40 laps, based on fuel mileage. See full report, codes, pressures on my Infineon Race Info pafe – Goodyear section.(6-19-2009)

  • Christopher to attempt New Hamphire race: Ted Christopher will go looking to hit the track with the Sprint Cup Series next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Christopher will look to make his seventh Sprint Cup Series start in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire on June 28. Christopher will attempt to qualify a [#27 Toyota] car owned by Kirk Shelmerdine. Christopher has driven Shelmerdine owned cars in three previous Sprint Cup events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “I went over to see him last weekend when I was [in North Carolina],” Christopher said. “He said come over and try the seat in the car. It fit good and he called me on Monday and said they he had got a sponsor and wanted me to run his car. I’m looking forward to it. I think I’ve made the race for him every time we’ve tried to qualify at New Hampshire.” Christopher last started in a Sprint Cup Series event in September 2006, finishing 41st at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a Shelmerdine owned car.(Hartford Courant)(6-19-2009)

  • TNT at Infineon: TNT continues its exclusive coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 21st live from Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. The network will air the Toyota/Save Mart 350 beginning at 5:00pm/et with play-by-play announcer Bill Weber 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 3:30pm/et with NASCAR on TNT Live! with Marc Fein (host), Petty and McReynolds. #18 Kyle Busch will join TNT’s infield rig for an interview prior to the race.
    TNT’s acclaimed Pride of NASCAR series will feature racing legend Dan Gurney who is the original road course ‘ringer’ and notably the first driver to win races in Formula One, NASCAR and Indy Car. Gurney also started the tradition of spraying champagne in the Winner’s Circle when he did so following a 24 Hours of Le Mans win in 1967.
    In honor of Father’s Day on Sunday, June 21, TNT will feature a father/son story of #6 David Ragan and his father, Ken, who sold his prized 1966 Corvette in order to fund Ragan’s early racing career. Last year, Ragan tracked down the same Corvette and gave it back to his father as a gift.
    The show will be followed by Countdown to Green at 4:30pm/et with Weber (host), Dallenbach (analyst) and Petty (analyst) with reports from pit reporters Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, Sheheen 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 Infinieon Raceway. He will virtually walk along the road course to discuss its nuances, with the ability to stop the race footage. In addition, Yocum will detail how #47 Marcos Ambrose is helping teammate #00 David Reutimann conquer road course racing in an effort to make the Chase for Sprint Cup Championship. Countdown to Green leads into coverage of Toyota/Save Mart 350 at 5:00pm/et with Weber, Dallenbach and Petty calling the action with frequent interaction with McReynolds (analyst) who will man the TNT Offtrack Robotic Car.
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid Ready to Pace Toyota/Save Mart 350: For the first time in history at a NASCAR road course, a Camry hybrid will lead the 43-car Sprint Cup Series starting field to the green flag for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, June 19-21. The Toyota Camry Hybrid pace car made its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last month when it became the first hybrid vehicle to serve as the ‘official’ pace car for an entire race. Before being approved to serve as the pace car, the Camry Hybrid had to pass a NASCAR-mandated performance test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, a one-and-a-half-mile oval located in Charlotte, N.C. In order to qualify as a pace car, the vehicle was required to reach speeds close to 100 miles per hour from a stand-by position near the exit of pit road to the time it reaches the exit of turn two, a distance of approximately one-quarter-mile. For more information on the Toyota/Save Mart 350 or to purchase tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(6-19-2009)

June 18, 2009

  • Michigan TV Ratings: TNT’s Sprint Cup race from Michigan averaged a 3.3/9 (5.118 mill.) on Sunday. That’s flat with last year’s rating (3.3/9) and up very slightly on average audience (+1% vs. 5.084 million). This is the first NASCAR race of this season to be flat on rating and also the first to post any increase on viewership. Through two races TNT is averaging a 3.3/9, down -11% from last year’s 3.7/9. TNT viewership is down -6% (5.327 mill. vs. 5.671), see more on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(6-18-2009)

  • NASCAR says Mayfield expert lied UPDATE: NASCAR has filed a motion in federal court that says an expert witness for suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield lied about his credentials. The motion was filed Tuesday. It claims Dr. Harvey MacFenerstein falsely represented himself on six counts in a May 29 affidavit presented on behalf of Mayfield, who was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after failing a drug test. NASCAR says MacFenerstein does not have the medical degrees or certifications he listed in his qualifications. In his testimony about NASCAR’s drug-testing policy, MacFenerstein said the policy is flawed and does not meet federal workplace guidelines. His findings were the basis of Mayfield’s argument that he should be immediately reinstated.(Associated Press)(6-16-2009)
    UPDATE: An expert witness for suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield is defending his qualifications after NASCAR accused him of lying about his credentials. Dr. Harvey MacFenerstein says he noticed mistakes in the affidavit that was prepared on Mayfield’s behalf. He says in a statement on Thursday that he corrected the mistakes in his educational background, but the revisions were not on the affidavit that was submitted May 29. MacFenerstein did not say who prepared the incorrect affidavit. NASCAR on Monday filed a motion to have MacFenerstein’s testimony dismissed. Mayfield is challenging his indefinite drug suspension, prompted by a positive drug test.(Associated Press)(6-18-2009)

  • Jones to run 2nd RGM car at Infineon: the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway entry list now shows P.J. Jones in a 2nd Robby Gordon Motorsports car, the #04 Jim Beam / Meanrd’s Toyota. See my Infineon Raceway Entry List for more.(6-18-2009)

  • Carl Long to make final appeal Monday UPDATE2: On Monday, June 15th, #46-Carl Long will present his second and final appeal to National Stock Car Racing Commissioner, Charles Strang, regarding the penalties his team received. Long was penalized for having an illegal engine during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last month. The 12-race suspension, 200-point penalty and $200,000 fine are NASCAR records. The hearing will begin at 2 PM Eastern.(Carl-Long.com)(6-14-2009)
    UPDATE: According to a post on Long’s web site by his wife, DeeDee, the verdict of Monday’s hearing will not be known until possibly the end of the week.(Carl-Long.com)(6-16-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Marty Smith reported on ESPN2’s NASCAR Now that Long’s suspension was reduced from 12 to 8 race but the $200,000 fine stands.
    AND Sprint Cup driver Carl Long had his 12-race suspension reduced to eight, but his record $200,000 fine remained after a final appeal to NASCAR Stock Car Racing commissioner Charles Strang. Strang heard Long’s appeal, which was denied two weeks ago by the stock car commission, on Monday in Chicago. “The simple part of it means NASCAR don’t care who you are or what your circumstances are,” Long told ESPN.com. Long said he doesn’t know how he will pay the fine. “I suppose I will stand in front of the racetrack with my helmet and beg for change,” he said. More than $16,000 has been donated to Long’s cause on his Web site. “That’s still a long way from $200,000,” Long said.(ESPN)(6-18-2009)

  • GM to cut back on Sprint Cup: General Motors will reduce its financial support in the Sprint Cup series, officials from several Chevrolet teams confirmed on Wednesday. Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart Haas Racing, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Richard Childress Racing officials said they have been asked to participate in cutbacks by the U.S. auto manufacturer that recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Officials did not say how large the cuts would be. “We had very productive conversations this week with the folks at General Motors, and it’s clear they are committed to racing and committed to our organization,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports in a statement. “They’ve asked us for some help, and we’re going to give it to them. We’re proud to be a Chevy team, and we will do our part to support the new GM both on and off the racetrack.”
    Tony Stewart, the co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing and Sprint Cup point leader, echoed Hendrick’s sentiments. “We have been, and will continue to be, strong supporters of GM and its Chevrolet brand,” he said. “These are tough times for our auto industry, and in light of what’s happening to them and how it affects all the people who make a living building and selling cars and trucks, the sacrifices we’ll have to make as a race team are pretty weak in comparison. We believe in the products GM has now and in the products they’re building for the future. We’re proud to carry the Chevy bowtie on the hoods of our racecars, and we support GM in this time of uncertainty because we know they’ll be an even stronger company in the years to come.” Stewart said the cutbacks will force teams to review their budgets, but “it will not impact our preparation for the track or the return on investment we provide for our partners.” The cutbacks come a week after GM cut all support from its Nationwide Series and Truck Series teams.(ESPN)(6-18-2009)
  • Infineon Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 7 LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Logano scored a 25th-place finish and grabbed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the sixth consecutive race and for the 12th time this season. Logano leads #82-Scott Speed by 19 points (168-149) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 21 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Juan Pablo Montoya won the 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway as a Raybestos Rookie. Montoya scored the first victory of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career in the race, crossing the finish line 4.097 seconds ahead of second-place Kevin Harvick. Only two Raybestos Rookies have led a lap in 20 previous NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Infineon Raceway: Montoya (once for seven laps) and Scott Pruett (twice for 10 laps in 2000). Montoya is the only Raybestos Rookie winner in 20 races at Infineon Raceway. He is also the only freshman driver to score a top-five finish. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie at Infineon Raceway is second, shared by Jerry Nadeau (1998) and Tony Stewart (1999).(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos) and see Rookie Standings, Notes, History and more on my 2009 Rookies page.(6-18-2009)

  • Sponsor search for 2010: We’ve been hearing for months that sponsors, including those at top teams such as Hendrick Motorsports, won’t fully commit past this season. Team owner Rick Hendrick made that clearer on Sunday when he indicated that Kellogg’s and Carquest may not return in their full capacity in 2010. “Our sponsors are coming back,” Hendrick said after Martin won at Michigan. “We don’t know to what extent. That’s the question. As you go along with this economy companies are taking longer to get their budgets in line. They’re not a year out, or not even eight months like they have been in the past. We’re in good shape. We have a lot of sponsors inside our company that we’re talking about, you know, splitting up the car. So look for the guys that are on it to be back, but there will probably be someone new along there with them.” That not only goes for the #5, but the #24 of Jeff Gordon and #88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. also could have more partners next season. Jimmie Johnson and Lowe’s appear solid on the #48. The same sort of restructuring is going on at other organizations such as Roush, which is trying to find multiple partners to lessen the load of DeWalt [of #17 Matt Kenseth].(ESPN Insider)(6-18-2009)
  • Infineon Raceway Goes “Green” for NASCAR Weekend: The Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Infineon Raceway, June 19-21, will definitely have a “green” feel to it this year. The raceway has featured a comprehensive recycling program since 2004, but the Sonoma Valley facility has taken things to a new level in 2009 with a number of initiatives. Below is an outline of the efforts for the 2009 race season at Infineon Raceway, including the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Father’s Day weekend:
    Recycling Since 2004, Infineon Raceway has recycled more than 73 tons (147,524 pounds) of materials. The tonnage equates to slightly more than the total weight of a full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starting field – 43 stock cars. The raceway has been recognized by the State of California Department, Division of Recycling for its recycling efforts. Infineon Raceway also works with Safety-Kleen at its NASCAR and NHRA events to recycle used oil products. Safety-Kleen refines approximately 180,000,000 gallons of used motor oil each year.
    Mowing Green Nearly 3,000 sheep will continue to call Infineon Raceway home in 2009. They will provide an invaluable service, helping to maintain the grasses and fire lanes around the facility. The raceway formed a relationship with Rocky Mountain Wooly Weeders in 2008, which provides the sheep. The sheep live on property full-time and are tended by two shepherds.
    Clean Green Clean facilities are very important at Infineon Raceway, and to that end, 90-percent of the janitorial products we use in 2009 will be environmentally-friendly.
    Water Conservation Infineon Raceway will continue to conserve and reduce its demand for water in 2009:
    * Waterless urinals in restrooms, which reduce water consumption by 36%.
    * The raceway is home to an independent water system and sewage treatment plant. The raceway is not dependent on the county or city for its water needs.
    * All landscaping is watered with recycled and reclaimed water.
    Rubber to Roads The raceway will send old tires to be recycled in 2009 so that they can be used to help create rubber-based asphalt, playground padding and other purposes.
    Cardboard Recycling Using its own cardboard baler, Infineon Raceway will recycle more than 3,000 pounds of cardboard each month in 2009. These efforts will help greatly to reduce the number of debris boxes sent to landfills.
    Owls Welcome Infineon Raceway will feature 15 owl boxes around its property in 2009 to encourage the birds to nest and hunt for gophers and other rodents around the facility. One family of Barn Owls can eat 30-to-40 rodents a night, which helps the raceway eliminate the need for pesticides and other poisons in controlling pests.(Infineon Raceway)(6-18-2009)
  • Buyer for North Wilkesboro? North Wilkesboro Speedway sat dormant for nearly 14 years until this spring when a Georgia man leased the property from its owner, Speedway Motorsports. Now that company’s chairman says that the 62-year-old track may soon have a buyer. “I have people coming in tomorrow who want to buy it,” Smith said during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “I’m not sure if they have money or not — if not, it’ll be a short meeting — but they’re very serious about it.” Smith wouldn’t say who ‘they’ are. The meeting Wednesday is not with the man leasing the track, Charles Collins, though Collins says he wants to buy the track after his lease expires in August. Collins’ tenure at the speedway started in March with the purpose of using the facility to film a women’s racing reality series. He also had plans for a tractor pull, concert and stock car race in May and June, but those events were canceled, reportedly because of a lack of sponsorship. Smith said that Collins’ original lease, which expired in May, did not include plans to host a race. “I don’t know exactly what his plans are, but he had the place leased for 90 days and had not been fortunate to get anything done,” Smith said. “It’s a shame, really, because I’d really like someone to do something up there and be successful.” As to why Collins was granted an extension on his lease, “I guess he caught me at a weak moment,” Smith said.(Running Wide Open )(6-18-2009)
  • Ticket Deals at The Milwaukee Mile: With great anticipation, Wisconsin’s biggest motorsports weekend is drawing near at The Milwaukee Mile. Top NASCAR teams are preparing to race in the Friday night, June 19 Copart 200 and the Saturday night, June 20 NorthernTool.com 250 at America’s Legendary Oval. To purchase Milwaukee Mile NASCAR tickets, visit the speedway’s website, www.milwaukeemile.com.(6-18-2009)

June 17, 2009

  • McGriff, 81, Ready for Return to Infineon Raceway: Eighty-one year old Hershel McGriff has had enough of retirement, and the legendary driver will make his return behind the wheel at Infineon Raceway for the Bennett Lane Winery 200, presented by Supercuts, on Saturday, June 20. McGriff walked away from racing in 2002, but he will compete in three road-course events on this year’s NASCAR Camping World Series West schedule, including the series’ only stop in Sonoma. If McGriff takes the checkered flag, he would become the oldest driver to ever win in one of NASCAR’s premier series. McGriff has reason to be excited about making his return at the Sonoma Valley road course. He has earned four West Series victories at Infineon Raceway (1983, ’85, ’87, ’89) and still has the track record for most West Series poles with three. Perhaps best known for his talent on a road course, it’s only natural that McGriff makes his return at the road-course events. McGriff’s racing career is one that pre-dates NASCAR and spans seven decades of racing. His first race was at 17 years of age after his family moved to Portland and from there his career took off. McGriff was presented with the NASCAR Award of Excellence and named one of the 50 Greatest Drivers in NASCAR in 1998. He was also inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in its inaugural year in 2003. McGriff’s popularity among fans was indicated by the record 12 consecutive years (1981-1992), that he was named the Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Camping World Series West.(Infineon Raceway), McGridd also has four Sprint Cup wins in 85 races from 1950-1993.(6-17-2009)

  • Mayfield sued by parts supplier, chassis builder: Suspended owner/driver #41-Jeremy Mayfield’s Mayfield Motorsports Inc. has been sued for $86,304.55 for parts, pieces and chassis work. Triad Racing Technologies and BDR Acquisition are suing Mayfield in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte. The suit was filed last Wednesday. Both companies share the same address, and their registered agent with the state of North Carolina is TRT co-owner Mike Held, who was one of the people who bought the assets of Bill Davis Racing and his chassis/engine shop Triad Racing Development. The suit claims that on Jan. 22, Mayfield requested parts from BDR Acquisition for his new Sprint Cup team but later requested to return the parts rather than pay for them and then returned only a portion of the parts. Mayfield also asked for some paint work to be done. He owes $79,763.95 for those services, according to the lawsuit. Triad Racing Technologies did chassis work for Mayfield, and TRT claims that Mayfield owes $6,540.60.(Scene Daily)(6-17-2009)

  • California Outdoor Heritage Alliance on the #36 at Infineon: The California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA) and its member organizations will be featured on Tommy Baldwin Racing’s #36 Toyota with driver Brian Simo at Infineon. Additionally, COHA will also be featured on Jason Bowle’s car in the NASCAR Camping World West Series Race at Infineon Raceway on Saturday, June 20th. This was made possible through an anonymous donation to highlight the important efforts of COHA to NASCAR fans in California and throughout the nation. COHA is a 501(C)4 political advocacy organization dedicated solely to the promotion of wildlife conservation and the protection of our hunting heritage.(Everest-Mareting / TBR PR)(6-17-2009)

  • “Serving America” scheme for Earnhardt Jr at Daytona: Next month at Daytona International Speedway, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will run the #88 National Guard “Serving America”/AMP Energy Chevy. It 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.(HMS), see an image of the car on the #88 Paint Schemes page.(6-17-2009)
  • Biffle’s Team Captures Tissot Pit Crew Award in Michigan: For the third time this season, Greg Biffle’s #16 crew took top honors in the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award by winning the weekly competition in Sunday’s LifeLock 400 Sprint Cup race at Michigan. The win not only paid Biffle’s crew $5,000, but it also lifted the #16 team to a tie for first in the Tissot standings. Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew also has three wins. The crew with the most Tissot wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver.(Tissot)(6-17-2009)
  • NHMS Announces Improvements, New Mascot: New Hampshire Motor Speedway has announced several improvements to the track in preparation of next weekend’s Sprint Cup race. A new infield area will include some environmental upgrades to Gues Meadow Brook that runs through the track. It will also have two more large screen TVs for fans to follow the action. A new, higher fence was also unveiled. Track officials said it was not built in response to a violent crash earlier this year at Talladegah where some fans suffered minor injuries. Also unveiled was Milo the Moose, the track’s new mascot who will interact with the fans at all the races.(wmur.com)(6-17-2009)

June 16, 2009

  • Goodyear returns to Indy for another tire test: UPDATE: Goodyear appears to have resolved some of the problems that plagued last year’s Allstate 400 in Indianapolis. Nine cars made it onto the track for testing Monday. Kyle Busch’s #18 car did the most consecutive laps with 17 early in the afternoon. During last year’s Allstate 400, tire problems forced race officials to call competition cautions every 10 to 12 laps. It’s the third time Goodyear has returned to Indy for testing this year. Two cars reportedly ran 30 consecutive laps before running out of fuel at a previous session. Goodyear has one more test session Tuesday.(Associated Press)(6-16-2009)
    UPDATE: Jeff Gordon insists this year’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be a real race, not a seven-lap sprint to the finish line like last year. He guarantees it. After rain washed out most of Goodyear’s final tire testing day at Indianapolis, the four-time Cup champion gave the manufacturer’s new, softer tires an unwavering endorsement for one of NASCAR’s biggest races. “I’m 100 percent confident,” he said Tuesday. “I ran this tire as hard as I possibly could, and this is a dead issue. This race might come down to a lot of things – fuel, pit strategy, a double-file restart – but it is not going to come down to a 10-lap shootout on whose tires can last the longest.” Race organizers and Goodyear could not have hoped for a stronger statement from one of the series most recognizable drivers, nor could they have chosen a better time for Gordon to make it. Race tire sales director Greg Stucker could not calculate how much money or how many man-hours were spent resolving the problem but acknowledged that tires for Indianapolis were discussed every day since late July. Teams were running 20-lap intervals late [Monday] afternoon and projected they could have gone 35 to 40 laps on the new tires. Gordon suggested he could have run 50, and Carl Edwards ran multiple segments Monday, totaling 33 or 34 laps, before running out of fuel.(Associated Press)(6-16-2009)

  • NASCAR says Mayfield expert lied: NASCAR has filed a motion in federal court that says an expert witness for suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield lied about his credentials. The motion was filed Tuesday. It claims Dr. Harvey MacFenerstein falsely represented himself on six counts in a May 29 affidavit presented on behalf of Mayfield, who was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after failing a drug test. NASCAR says MacFenerstein does not have the medical degrees or certifications he listed in his qualifications. In his testimony about NASCAR’s drug-testing policy, MacFenerstein said the policy is flawed and does not meet federal workplace guidelines. His findings were the basis of Mayfield’s argument that he should be immediately reinstated.(Associated Press)(6-16-2009)

  • Carl Long to make final appeal Monday: UPDATE: On Monday, June 15th, #46-Carl Long will present his second and final appeal to National Stock Car Racing Commissioner, Charles Strang, regarding the penalties his team received. Long was penalized for having an illegal engine during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last month. The 12-race suspension, 200-point penalty and $200,000 fine are NASCAR records. The hearing will begin at 2 PM Eastern.(Carl-Long.com)(6-14-2009)
    UPDATE: According to a post on Carl’s web site by his wife, DeeDee, the verdict of Monday’s hearing will not be known until possibly the end of the week.(Carl-Long.com)(6-16-2009)

  • Bruton says 2010 Cup race at Kentucky ‘doubtful’: UPDATE: Hours before the NASCAR Nationwide Series Meijer 300 was to go green at Kentucky Speedway, the big question to track owner Bruton Smith was whether there would be a Sprint Cup race at the track next year. Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., sounded as pessimistic that it would happen, and Smith is not known for being pessimistic. “I would like to say, ‘Yes,’ but I don’t know,” Smith said. “It’s doubtful that we get it done. It would take a tremendous cooperation from NASCAR.” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston would not totally close the door on Kentucky’s Cup chances for 2010, but indicated that it is doubtful. “As we’ve said, there can be no consideration of a Cup date for Kentucky while the litigation is pending,” Poston said. “Having said that, the sanctioning process is currently under way.” Once he gets a commitment to a Cup race, Smith said he would add about 50,000 seats to the track, which currently seats 69,000, as well as add additional roads to and from the facility. He would also move pit road closer to the grandstands – “You saw what I did in Vegas,” Smith said.(Scene Daily)(6-14-2009)
    UPDATE: Jerry Carroll, one of the five founders and former co-owners of Kentucky Speedway, expects the group’s antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR will continue at least through the appeal scheduled to be heard next month. “Absolutely,” he said Saturday as he stood about 25 feet away from current track owner Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. Smith and Carroll consider themselves friends, but Smith cannot convince Carroll and his partners to drop the lawsuit filed in 2005 against NASCAR and sister company International Speedway Corp. If the founders win their appeal, the case would go back to U.S. District Court for trial and, with appeals, could drag on for years.(Louisville Business Journal)(6-16-2009)
  • Letarte Named Wypall Crew Chief of the Race in Michigan: 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 following Sunday’s LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. After losing an engine during practice, the No. 24 team was forced to start the race from the tail end of the field. However, a stout race car prepared by Letarte and the rest of the Dupont crew, helped Gordon drive through the field and into the top-15 by lap 64. The team then survived late-race fuel mileage drama and came home with a runner-up 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 PR)(6-16-2009)
  • Oakland Police Department Officers Honored at Infineon: Infineon Raceway will honor four fallen officers from the Oakland Police Department with a very special tribute at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, June 19-21. Four motorcycle units from the Oakland Police Department will lead the 43-car field around the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course prior to the start of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday, June 21. The police department’s Davina Kelly will also sing the national anthem on Sunday. Finally, the Oakland Police Department will have a booth in the main paddock over the weekend, with all donations going to the families of the four fallen officers. The four officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in March were: Sgts. Ervin Romans, Daniel Sakai and Mark Dunakin and Officer John Hege.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-16-2009)

June 15, 2009

  • Kyle Busch & Scott Speed to drive for Ganassi in Rolex event at Daytona: Chip Ganassi Racing will field a second entry for Sprint Cup Series drivers Kyle Busch and Scott Speed in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 4. The race will take the green flag at 2 p.m. ET, and will be televised live on SPEED in advance of that evening’s Sprint Cup race. The duo will make their Grand-Am Rolex Series debut piloting the #02 Lexus Riley alongside defending Grand-Am series champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the #01 Lexus Riley.(Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(6-15-2009)
  • Sad News – Carlos Pardo: Driver Carlos Pardo has been killed in a crash during the final laps of a NASCAR Mexico race, organizers said. Pardo was leading the race in the 97th lap when his car was nudged by a competitor from behind and slid sideways into a wall at the entrance to the pit lane at about 200 kph (120 mph) on Sunday. The car disintegrated as a result of the impact. He was removed from the wreckage and sent by helicopter to a hospital. The NASCAR Mexico Web site reported that he died 45 minutes later. Pardo was later declared winner of the race in Pueblo, east of Mexico City. Pardo won the series championship in 2004 and had 10 career victories in 74 races.(Associated Press / USA Today)(6-15-2009)

  • NASCAR talking to other manufacturers: NASCAR continues to have contact with foreign-based carmakers who are not yet involved in stock car racing but have manufacturing plants in the United States and may want to market through NASCAR, sanctioning body chairman Brian France said Sunday. “Clearly there are some companies that are going to look at opportunities that may not have been there in the past,” France said. Of NASCAR’s four current manufacturers, Chrysler and General Motors are in bankruptcy and Ford has reduced its expenditures on racing. Toyota, though its worldwide passenger car sales have been lagging, stands now as the strongest supporter of NASCAR among manufacturers. But other brands could help fill the void if the traditional American carmakers should weaken further and reduce if not eliminate their NASCAR participation. “We have companies that are interested in particular in developing the North American market as robustly as they can,” France said. “And we’re all aware that there are lots of foreign manufacturers producing cars here in America. That was part of the rationale that Toyota used” to get involved in NASCAR. Other such companies with U.S. plants include Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. But, “I’m not going to name names,” France said. “We have been talking to people off and on for a long time. These are decisions, in terms of new manufacturers joining the sport, that will take a long time to evaluate and actually enter. So this isn’t something that if we turn the light switch on tomorrow morning it would happen. But of course, we’re the preeminent place in America for car manufacturers to build their businesses with an auto racing group. We remain that.”(ESPN.com)(6-15-2009)

  • Danica Patrick to sign with Ganassi? Chip Ganassi is supposedly working on a deal at the moment that would not only keep open wheel racing’s biggest name away from the clutches of NASCAR, it would likely advance her ascention in Indy cars. Ganassi is considering signing Danica Patrick for a third car on the Target team for 2010, joining Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti. Ganassi didn’t return phone calls Wednesday but his veteran lieutenant acknowledged adding a car for Patrick could be possible. “We’ve always entertained having a third driver if we could get the comparable funding that Target provides us,” said Mike Hull, managing director of Target/Ganassi. “If Danica has something and wants to talk to us, that would be great because I think she’s ready to take that next step. But I can tell you we haven’t spoken to her.” Patrick’s three-year contract with Andretti-Green Racing, which was sponsored by Motorola to the tune of $21 million, expires at the end of this season. And, if she wanted to test the waters in NASCAR down the road, Ganassi could slide her right into one of his seats on the team he shares with Teresa Earnhardt.(Robin Miller/SPEEDtv)(6-11-2009)
    UPDATE:Danica Patrick will be in NASCAR next season. If NASCAR executives can pull it off. George Pyne — the former NASCAR Chief Operating Officer, and thus one of the top officials in stock car racing, and now head of IMG sports and entertainment, the high-buck talent marketing agency – and key NASCAR executives are together working the entire Sprint Cup garage trying to put together a package for Patrick to run NASCAR next season. Finding sponsorship is quite likely not the big issue, as hot a property as Danica Patrick is. (mikemulhern.net)(6-15-2009)

  • Yates would like reduction in horsepower on cars: Support appears to be growing to cut Cup horsepower, thus cutting corner-entry speed, thus making for more side-by-side racing. David Hyder, crew chief for #21-Bill Elliott and the Woods, says putting restrictor plates on engines at tracks like this two-mile oval and California’s Auto Club Speedway would greatly improve the racing. And Doug Yates agrees. “Nobody likes plates, but here [Michigan] you’re going into the corners at 215 mph, which is ridiculous. And then you’ve got the tire problems at Indianapolis…..It’s all just a physics equation – how fast you go into the corner, how much grip you have, and what that does to the tires. So I’m an advocate of taking some engine power away and making the racing better. Take at least 50 horsepower way. These Cup cars are overpowered today. We definitely need to take some power away. Every engine builder in this garage has made gains of 15 to 20 horsepower every year for 20 years…and we’re going to gain another 15 horsepower next year. And it will cost us more money. The fans in the stands don’t care if we’ve got 700 horsepower, 800 horsepower or 900 horsepower or 1,000 horsepower, they just want to see a good race. If we could take some power away, put more grip in the tires, it would make for better racing.” (mikemulhern.net)(6-15-2009)

  • “Sportier” COT on the way? Manufacturers reportedly poured more than a half-billion dollars into the sport last year through factory and technical support to the teams, track support, vehicle programs and advertising. Yet NASCAR turned its back on Detroit with each generation of its race car as it morphed further away from what was on the showroom floor. Yes, the new Sprint Cup car has proved to be safer. After the initial blow of scrapping entire fleets of the old car, the new model will be more cost efficient. The level of competition with the new car — at tracks other than intermediate and two-mile venues — has picked up considerably. But the majority of core NASCAR fans have never embraced this car. The evidence of their displeasure can be measured in the dramatic drop in attendance, souvenir sales and television ratings, all of which started long before the economy tanked. Now NASCAR is feeling a similar pain in its pocketbook. And the sanctioning body is responding by offering an olive branch in the form of a sleeker, sexy race car to entice the fans back to the stands. A car, which will hopefully revive the “Win on Sunday, buy on Monday” mentality with fans so automakers and sponsors can continue to enjoy a return on investment in the sport. Rather than admitting their mistake in the Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR will begin filtering elements of the Nationwide cars back to the Cup model. The cockpit is expected to remain the same to maintain the integrity of the safer vehicle but the car will take on a sportier appearance.(FoxSports)(6-15-2009)

  • Ash to attempt Infineon with new sponsor: #02-Brandon Ash and Brandon Ash Racing plans to attnept to make the Toyiota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway with new primary sponsor, Efusjon Energy Club. Efusjon Energy Club is an Oregon based company that produces 100% all natural energy drinks. For information on Efusjon Energy Club go to www.myefusjon.com/kenwood. Associate sponsors are going to be Sunny D Manufacturing and JL Carpenter & Associates.(Brandon Ash Racing)(6-15-2009)

  • Commercial breakdown, driver focus, and links related to the LifeLock 400 Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00pm
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 4:54pm
    Total number of commercials: 108
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 58
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 26
    Total minutes: 174
    Minutes of race broadcast: 125
    Minutes of commercials: 49
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 2
    Total race brdcst time 125 Total comm. brdcst time 49
    See report and link on my TV Commercials page.(6-15-2009)
  • Sprint Cup Series Notes from Michigan: Mark Martin won the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Martin scored his third victory in 2009, tying Kyle Busch for the most wins. Martin started 32nd.
    There have been nine different winners in 15 races this season: Mark Martin (three), Kyle Busch (three), Jimmie Johnson (two), Matt Kenseth (two) plus Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart and David Reutimann have one win apiece this season.
    Martin scored his 38th career win in his 737th start. He moved into sole possession of 17th on NASCAR’s all-time wins list. It was his fifth victory in 47 races at Michigan. The last time Martin won at Michigan was June 14, 1998. Martin has scored 29 top-10 finishes in his 47 races at Michigan.
    This is the 181st victory for Hendrick Motorsports. HMS has won five races at Michigan. It has won two of the past three races at Michigan.
    Martin led only the final lap — the fewest laps led by a race winner at Michigan. This is the second race in 2009 that the race winner has led only one lap (Keselowski at Talladega).
    This was the sixth last-lap pass at Michigan. The last was in June 2001 when Gordon passed Ricky Rudd on the white-flag lap.
    Jimmie Johnson was the leader at the halfway point. Johnson led 146 of the 200 laps. The leader of the most laps at Michigan has won four of the past six races. Ironically Johnson led the most laps in June 2008 and again today and failed to win either race. The leader at halfway has won just two of the past 16 races at Michigan.
    Jeff Gordon, Sam Hornish Jr. and Joe Nemechek all dropped to the rear for engine changes. Jeff Gordon (second) was the only of the three drivers to score a top-10 finish.
    Tony Stewart (seventh) has scored top-10 finishes in eight of his past 10 races.
    Johnson (22nd) has led in 13 of the 15 races this season, more than any other driver.
    Joey Logano (25th) was the highest-finishing rookie of the three in the race. Logano has been the highest-finishing rookie in 12 of the 15 races in 2009, including the last six.
    This was the eighth victory for Chevy in 2009. Toyota has four wins, Ford has two and Dodge has one.
    The top 10 consisted of five Chevys, two Toyotas, two Fords and one Dodge.
    (Racing Resources/ESPN.com)(6-14-2009)
  • Post-Race Track Walk at Infineon Raceway: Race fans are invited to participate in the 4th annual Track Walk at Infineon Raceway once the checkered flag drops on the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, June 21. An added bonus is a massive scavenger hunt for blue-and-gold specially-marked lug nuts that will be hidden on the road course. Fans can enter the track from six locations around the road course: the north end of the Main Grandstand; Turn 1; Turn 2 hospitality area; Turn 7; Turn 9 (at the south end of the terrace); and Turn 11. Track officials will drop the lug nuts around the track prior to opening the gates for the Track Walk, and the people who find those lug nuts will be treated to great prizes, including a big-screen TV, Save Mart Supermarkets gift certificate and 2010 Toyota/Save Mart 350 race tickets. Fans can redeem the specially marked lug nut at the Ticket Pit Stop located behind the main grandstand. The Track Walk is free, but the raceway encourages participants to pre-register at the Speedway Children’s Charities booth located next to the Ticket Pit Stop. Fans are also encouraged to make a voluntary contribution to Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of Infineon Raceway. The charity benefits youth groups in Sonoma County and has distributed more than $3 million since 2002.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-15-2009)

June 14, 2009

  • More on Benson’s Accident: [Following the accident] the Life EMS emergency response crew, along with Berlin Raceway officials and safety team, worked carefully to extract Johnny Benson from his race car. Benson was awake and alert during the process and gave race fans a wave when loaded into the ambulance. “He was pretty sore, but he seemed to be doing well last night when I talked to him,” Johnny Benson Sr. said. “The car’s driver side hit the wall hard, and it’s a testament to the Hans (head and neck safety) device and the safety seat in the supermodified car that held him in place so well. I have to commend the safety crew and ambulance crew at Berlin Raceway for their quick response – they did their job well, putting the fire out quickly and taking care of Johnny.” Benson Sr. said the fuel line was cut in two when it was pinched between the rear axle and the frame. The alcohol-based fuel that these supermodified cars use burns blue and very hot, and Benson managed to come out of it with barely any burns due to the quick response by the safety crew. The frame of the car was not bent badly, and all of the safety aspects of the car held up well, which allowed Benson to escape without major injuries.(Berlin Raceway PR) see earlier reports about the accident on the Camping World Truck Series Site.(6-14-2009)
  • Mark Martin wins at Michigan: #5-Mark Martin won the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway for his 3rd win of 2009 and the 38th of his career. It was a fuel mileage race as #48-Jimmie Johnson was leading the race coming to the white flag when he ran out of gas, handing the lead to #16-Greg Biffle, who then ran out of gas on the backstretch. #24-Jeff Gordon finished second, followed by #11-Hamlin, #99-Edwards, #16-Biffle, #42-Montoya, #14-Stewart, #2-Busch, #83-Vickers, and #33-Bowyer. Johnson fell to 22nd at the finish. There were just 3 cautions for 14 laps and there were 11 lead changes among 6 drivers.
    For race results, awards and more on the Michigan Race Results Page.(6-14-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after Michigan, race 15 of 36]:
    1) #14-Tony Stewart 2189 [1 win], finished 7th
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon 2142 -47 [1 win], 2nd
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 2047 -142 [2 wins], 22nd
    4) #2-Kurt Busch 1961 -228 [1 win], 8th
    5) #39-Ryan Newman 1934 -255, 23rd
    6) #99-Carl Edwards 1927 -262, 4th
    7) #16-Greg Biffle 1913 -276, 5th
    8) #5-Mark Martin 1868 -321, [3 wins], 1st
    9) #18-Kyle Busch 1860 -329, [3 wins], 13th
    10) #11-Denny Hamlin 1849 -340, 3rd
    11) #17-Matt Kenseth 1848 -341, [2 wins], 20th
    12) #31-Jeff Burton 1810 -379, 26th
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #00-David Reutimann 1807, 3 points out of 12th, [1 win], 19th
    14) #42-Juan Montoya 1767, -43, 6th
    15) #9-Kasey Kahne 1719, -91, 21st
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(6-14-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Michigan International Speedway
    Mark Martin won the LifeLock 400, his 38th victory in 737 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his third victory and eighth top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his fifth victory and 29th top-10 finish in 47 races at Michigan International Speedway.
    Jeff Gordon (second) posted his 21st top-10 finish in 33 races at Michigan International Speedway. It is his 10th top-10 finish in 2009.
    Denny Hamlin (third) posted his third top-10 finish in seven races at Michigan International Speedway.
    Joey Logano (25th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 47 points over Jeff Gordon.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(6-14-2009)
  • Penalty Report – Michigan
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #24 Pre-Race to the rear, engine change, Tail End
    #77 Pre-Race to the rear, engine change, Tail End
    #87 Pre-Race to the rear, engine change, Tail End
    #1 122 Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    (NASCAR Statistics)(6-14-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Michigan: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #39-Newman, 23rd
    Caution 2: #00-Reutimann, 19th
    Caution 3: #17-Kenseth, 20th
    (6-14-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Infineon:
    No teams jumped into the top 35, #34-Andretti’s lead over 36th increases slightly to 53 points
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1213, +206
    35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 1060, 53 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 1007, 53 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 899, -161
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(6-14-2009)

  • Carl Long to make final appeal Monday: On Monday, June 15th, #46-Carl Long will present his second and final appeal to National Stock Car Racing Commissioner, Charles Strang, regarding the penalties his team received. Long was penalized for having an illegal engine during the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last month. The 12-race suspension, 200-point penalty and $200,000 fine are NASCAR records. The hearing will begin at 2 PM Eastern.(Carl-Long.com)(6-14-2009)

  • Johnny Benson injured at Berlin Raceway: UPDATE: “expected to be fine”: Johnny Benson Jr. came off Turn 3 at Berlin Raceway and met up with another car during Saturday’s ISMA Supermodifieds race. Then came the sight no one wanted to see at the track: Benson’s car bursting into flames. When Benson’s car came to rest between Turns 3 and 4 after the collision with Larry Lehnert, the wing of Lehnert’s vehicle was knocked sideways and Benson’s car drove airborne over Lehnert’s car. Once on the track, the main cab of Benson’s supermodified vehicle caught fire. Track personnel raced over to the vehicle and put out the flames as quickly as possible. Benson was awake and alert when pulled from the car and was transported to an area hospital. Berlin owner Mike Blackmer could not specify which hospital Benson was sent to, citing privacy laws.(Michigan Live)
    AND: A spokesperson for Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids confirms that Benson is in serious condition.(WZZM.com)(6-14-2009)
    UPDATE: Spectrum Hospital tells 24 Hour News 8 that Benson is in serious but stable condition at the hospital and “he’s expected to be fine”.(woodtv.com)(6-14-2009)
    UPDATE 2: From JB’s Message Board – “As of this morning [Sunday am], JB is awake and alert in a Grand Rapids hospital with at least one broken rib. He is being kept for observation. There is no release time as yet.”(JohnnyBenson.com)(6-14-2009)

  • Davis to attempt New Hampshire race: Marc Davis’ [a former Joe Gibbs development driver who has been running a limited schedule in the Nationwide Series] next race will be an attempt for the Sprint Cup race in two weeks at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Harry Davis [Marc’s father] said they will attempt three or four Cup races before the Chase For The Sprint Cup and then attempt additional Nationwide Series events.(Scene Daily)(6-14-2009)

  • Bruton says 2010 Cup race at Kentucky ‘doubtful’: Hours before the NASCAR Nationwide Series Meijer 300 was to go green at Kentucky Speedway, the big question to track owner Bruton Smith was whether there would be a Sprint Cup race at the track next year. Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., sounded as pessimistic that it would happen, and Smith is not known for being pessimistic. “I would like to say, ‘Yes,’ but I don’t know,” Smith said. “It’s doubtful that we get it done. It would take a tremendous cooperation from NASCAR.” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston would not totally close the door on Kentucky’s Cup chances for 2010, but indicated that it is doubtful. “As we’ve said, there can be no consideration of a Cup date for Kentucky while the litigation is pending,” Poston said. “Having said that, the sanctioning process is currently under way.” Once he gets a commitment to a Cup race, Smith said he would add about 50,000 seats to the track, which currently seats 69,000, as well as add additional roads to and from the facility. He would also move pit road closer to the grandstands – “You saw what I did in Vegas,” Smith said.(Scene Daily)(6-14-2009)
  • D4D participant, Steck claims first win: Emily Sue Steck picked up her first career win Saturday night and became the first female to win in LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway’s Kwik Trip Late Model Division. The 23-year-old Drive for Diversity participant led every lap of the caution-free feature held off pole sitter Cole Howland to win the Coca-Cola 25. Steck started the feature second but got a run off Turn 4 of the first lap to wrestle the lead away from Howland, who wound up second. It is the 29th win for a Drive for Diversity participant. The Drive for Diversity initiative, managed by The 909 Group, develops minority and female drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.(NASCAR/D4D PR)(6-14-2009)

June 13, 2009

  • Happy Hour practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #5-Martin 185.257
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr. 185.042
    #83-Vickers 184.985
    #16-Biffle 184.686
    #33-Bowyer 184.639
    slowest: #37-Raines 178.815 & #13-Papis 176.965
    no speed: #66-Blaney
    notes: Because of the threat of rain, NASCAR started the practice 5 minutes early and extended it 5 minutes. #2-Busch has been complaining of starter problems.
    See fast speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Michigan Practice Speeds page.(6-13-2009)
  • First Saturday practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway is over, the fastest:
    #11-Hamlin 187.911
    #5-Martin 187.480
    #18-Busch 187.125
    #99-Edwards 186.225
    #16-Biffle 185.821
    slowest: #37-Raines 179.100 & #13-Papis 168.311
    no speed: #34-Andretti
    notes: #48-Johnson spun in turn 4 early, but suffered no damage. #13-Papis scraped the left rear of the car on wall about 15 minutes in. The team will repair it. #16-Biffle spun with 5 minutes remaining but didn’t hit anything. NASCAR is concerned about some rain moving into the area this afternoon so the session was extended by 10 minutes.
    See fast speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Michigan Practice Speeds page.(6-13-2009)

  • Accavitti new CEO of Dodge: Amid all the hoopla over General Motors and its bankruptcy and its future, and its future in NASCAR, and the hot debate in the past few days about the fate of Chrysler and its NASCAR Dodge teams, a huge piece of news seemingly slipped through the cracks: Mike Accavitti, the long-time Dodge racing director, has just been promoted to president and CEO of Dodge itself, a jump up of about three huge rungs on the Detroit ladder. Accavitti, who hasn’t made it to a NASCAR track in some time, has been a strong supporter of NASCAR racing, so his promotion would seem to bode very well for the sport.(mikemulhern.net)(6-13-2009)

  • Red Bull to Chevy? It is very possible that Brian Vickers, winner of the pole at Michigan International Speedway on Friday, could be behind the wheel of the #83 Red Bull Chevy next season. Yes, Chevy. Over the last three years, the Red Bull program has worked to gain speed but has experienced some reliability issues with the Toyota Racing Development engines. Red Bull’s contract with Toyota is up at the end of this season. And although General Motors likely cannot afford to support additional teams at this time, Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz, who owns race teams in both NASCAR and Formula One, could certainly afford to take on the role as Chevy parts customer. If Red Bull Racing was to make the switch to Chevy engines, Hendrick Motorsports would be the logical choice of vendor. Given Jay Frye’s relationship with HMS, most recently during the management of Ginn Racing and MB2 Motorsports prior to that, there’s a familiarity as a technical customer.(FoxSports)(6-13-2009)
  • Waltrip closer to hiring Truex? Michael Waltrip hinted Friday that he’s closer to a decision on his future – and that future may involve Martin Truex Jr. Waltrip reiterated his stance that he needed to run better in order to remain the driver of the NAPA-sponsored #55 car at Michael Waltrip Racing, the race team he owns. Truex, whose contract at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing expires after this season, has been frequently tied to the possible opening in the #55. “You just have to figure that he’s one of the ones that no one knows where he’s going,” Waltrip said. “He’s been a Chase guy. He stumbled in and has run up front from the beginning, so I don’t know what the future holds. But he might be one of those on that list that would be better than me.” Asked if he was any closer to a decision on his future on Friday, Truex smiled. “I’d love to share it with you, but I can’t,” he said.(Scene Daily), for earlier information on Truex to MWR, see the #1 team page,(6-13-2009)

  • Cup races for Steve Wallace in 2010? Rusty Wallace Racing’s plans to move to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010 are on hold, as Wallace said Friday at Kentucky Speedway that his two-car team will remain in the Nationwide Series next year. “My goal is still to get in Cup, but not now. Too much weird [stuff] is happening with this economy. Our Nationwide cars are funded real well. I’m happy with that. It’d be too much for me to bite off [to move to Cup].” Wallace said he is working on a deal to get son Steve as many as 10 Sprint Cup races next season, pending sponsorship. “There’s a good chance I can pull that off,” Wallace said. “Then I’d want to partner with an existing Cup team that already has points. Maybe they could run 26 and we could run 10.”(Scene Daily)(6-13-2009)

  • NASCAR Tree-Planting Program To Capture Carbon Emissions: NASCAR announced “NASCAR Green Clean Air” – a program to help capture the carbon emissions produced by racing. Under a pilot program that will expand significantly next year, NASCAR will plant ten new trees for each green flag that drops during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. The tracks participating in the tree-planting program – eleven this year and every venue visited by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010 – will mitigate 100% of the carbon emissions produced by the race cars competing in their Sprint Cup Series events. Over time, rolled out across all three national series, NASCAR and its partners will be planting approximately 20 acres of new trees each year. Michigan International Speedway, which is at the forefront of green initiatives, is matching the carbon-capturing planting effort at its track. A tree stores approximately one ton of CO2 over its lifetime, which means that the entire CO2 emissions from a typical race will be offset during this time.(NASCAR PR)(6-13-2009)
  • IMS, O’Reilly Raceway Park offering ticket packages: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis are teaming up to offer ticket packages for three exciting NASCAR races July 24-26 and other value-added features for less than $100. The packages, available starting Monday, June 15, provide fans with special offers on reserved-seat race tickets and food coupons for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, July 26 at IMS, the Kroger 200 Nationwide Series race Saturday evening, July 25 and the AAA Insurance 200 Camping World Truck Series race Friday evening, July 24, both at O’Reilly Raceway Park. Round-trip luxury motorcoach transportation between IMS and O’Reilly Raceway Park, provided by TourHendricksCounty.com, also will be among the many benefits of the packages. Fans can choose from “Two Track Double Pack” or “Two Track Triple Pack” options.(ORP PR)(6-13-2009)

June 12, 2009

  • Vickers on pole at Michigan: #83-Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a lap of 189.110mph for his 3rd pole of the year and the 8th pole of his career. #18-Kyle Busch was 2nd fastest followed by #48-Johnson, #00-Reutimann, #2-Busch, #44-Allmendinger, #42-Montoya, #9-Kahne, #33-Bowyer and #34-Andretti. Point leader #14-Tony Stewart starts 11th, #88-Earnhardt, Jr. starts 30th.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #21-Elliott, #82-Speed, #71-Gilliland, #66-Blaney, #87-Nemechek, #37-Raines, #09-Marlin and #13-Papis.
    The only driver who failed to qualify: #36-Skinner.
    For qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression, qualifying order, see my Michigan Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/OrderPage.(6-12-2008)
  • Michigan Qualifying Notes:
    Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the LifeLock 400 with a lap of 38.073 seconds, 189.110 mph.
    This is his eighth pole in 187 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his third pole and seventh top-10 start in 2009.
    This is his second pole in 11 races at Michigan International Speedway.
    Kyle Busch (second) posted his 11th top-10 start of 2009 and his fifth in nine races at Michigan International Speedway.
    Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his 10th top-10 start at Michigan International Speedway. It is his 12th in 15 races this season.
    Scott Speed (21st) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-12-2009)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Toyota: #83-Vickers, 189.110, starts 1st
    Chevy: #48-Johnson, 188.299, starts 3rd
    Dodge: #2-Busch, 187.950, starts 5th
    Ford: #21-Elliott, 186.911, starts 15th
  • Qualifying Order for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway is posted. 44 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 #6-Ragan, the final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #77-Hornish, Jr. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #13-Papis with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #87-Nemechek. See the full qualifying order on the Michigan Qualifying Page.(6-12-2009)
  • Friday practice for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway is over, the top five:
    #48-Johnson 188.818
    #83-Vickers 188.610
    #2-Busch 188.521
    #42-Montoya 188.353
    #33-Bowyer 187.779
    fastest go-or-go-homer: #21-Elliott at 19th
    slowest: #34-Andretti 181.809 and #36-Skinner 181.616
    notes: #07-Mears and #00-Reutimann both scraped the wall early in the session, but only suffered a little sheetmetal damage. #24-Gordon lost an engine midway through practice.
    See fast speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Michigan Practice Speeds page.(6-12-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Michigan International Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #21-Bill Elliott [PC], 19th
    #82-Scott Speed, 25th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 35th
    #71-David Gilliland, 36th
    #37-Tony Raines, 38th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 39th
    #13-Max Papis, 40th
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 42nd
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #36-Mike Skinner, 44th
  • Robby wins Baja 500 UPDATE 3 Gordon responds to penalties: haven’t seen much yet, but Robby Gordon won the Baja 500 in the #77 Chevy Trophy Truck per PlanetRobby.com. Gordon missed practicing the #7 Pittsburgh Paints Toyota at Pocono Raceway Saturday to run the Baja 500. Travis Kvapil practiced the car for Gordon, who will run the Pocono 500 on Sunday.(6-7-2009)
    UPDATE: Robby Gordon and his #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires team continued their dominance of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series season by winning the coveted Baja 500 title on Saturday. Gordon continues to lead the 2009 points standing and set the pace for the rest of the competitors this season. In the three races ran this season, Gordon holds two victories and a second place finish. Further, Saturday’s Baja 500 win marks the renowned off-road racer’s fifth class win and fourth overall victory. Gordon started the 432.51-mile race from the sixth position, but quickly moved his way up through the field and set the race pace for most of the day. He was able to finish the grueling course in eight hours, 35 minutes and 49 seconds, averaging roughly 50 miles per hour in the #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck. Gordon won by over a four minute margin to second place finisher, B.J. Baldwin. Immediately following his ninth career race win in the SCORE Trophy-Truck division, Gordon, also a NASCAR veteran, headed towards Pocono Raceway for the Sprint Cup Series, where he finished 31st.(RGM)(6-8-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon was moved from the winning spot to 7th early today as SCORE International handed out penalties from last weekend’s 432-mile race. The “black box” tracking information needed to be examined in order to verify that Gordon didn’t violate the Mexico highway speed limits and deviate from the racecourse. It has been revealed the Robby Gordon was not penalized for course deviation, but was assessed a 10 minute penalty for exceeding the maximum allowed speed of 60 mph while traveling on the highway and Gordon was assessed a 90-minute penalty for the fueling violation.(DirtNewz.com) and see official results at score-international.com now show Robby Gordon in 7th and niot winning the Baja 500.(6-11-2009)
    UPDATE 2: A statement from Robby Gordon Motorsports: “We are deeply disappointed with SCORE’s decision and reject their claims in the strongest possible terms. We plan an immediate appeal of this unjust decision. First, SCORE assessed a speeding penalty because it claimed that there was no IRC data between kilometer 77 and kilometer 78. The IRC device on our vehicle worked properly during all other sections of the race course, and Steve Myers from IRC has no explanation why no IRC data exists from that section alone. Our race team has footage of the entire race, and the video proves that we were not speeding during the section in question. Further, the #77 Trophy Truck has a speed control device connected to the engine management system that does not allow it to exceed 60 MPH. The pit violations claims are equally invalid.”, see the full release and more details on Robby’s web site.(RGM PR)(6-12-2009)

  • Chris Andrews helping out #6 team: In an effort to improve communication between driver David Ragan and the engineering support group at Roush Fenway Racing, Chris Andrews will be working with the #6 UPS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team for the next five weeks. Andrews, RFR’s Engineering Manager, has been with the organization for almost three years and will assess what changes may be necessary to benefit the team’s performance. Jimmy Fennig will continue to call the races for the #6 UPS Ford and be involved in on-track activities throughout the weekend.(Roush Fenway PR)(6-12-2009)

  • GM cutting support in Nationwide & Truck Series: UPDATE: General Motors is cutting factory support for Chevy teams competing in NASCAR’s Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series as the automaker restructures under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to a story that will appear in Friday’s edition of SportsBusiness Journal. According to SBJ’s Michael Smith, who wrote the story, the cost-cutting measures are likely to have the greatest affect on larger organizations, such as Kevin Harvick Inc., which fields teams in both series, and Rusty Wallace Inc. and JR Motorsports, which field teams in the Nationwide Series. As Smith points out, support from manufacturers typically comes in the forms of engines, parts and cash. In most cases, factory support goes to larger, more substantial organizations, while smaller teams receive little assistance, if any. “Chevy’s (and GM’s) involvement in racing is a sound business decision that translates directly into the sale of cars and trucks,” an unidentified GM spokesperson said in a statement provided to SBJ. “It is essential, however, that we continue to look at every penny we spend as General Motors takes the necessary steps to become a leaner company with a significantly stronger balance sheet. While Chevy Racing is talking to its business partners about ways to reduce cost and maximize the return on investment, it is our policy to not talk about the details of business relationships with our partners.”(Sporting News)(6-12-2009)
    UPDATE: General Motors is planning to cut back on its support of NASCAR teams in all of the sanctioning body’s professional series. Chevy spokesman Terry Rhadigan says GM, which is reorganizing through bankruptcy, is discussing what he described as incremental cutbacks in support. He says cuts will be made soon and that the discussions are “indeed NASCAR-wide.” Rhadigan would not say if one series would be affected more than others, nor would he say the size of the cuts or how much GM spends on NASCAR. The automaker, through its Chevy brand, provides cash and other support to teams including engines and parts.(Associated Press)(6-12-2009)

  • Year of the NCO scheme for Gordon at MIS: This weekend at Michigan, the National Guard’s “Year of the Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO)” program will be showcased on the hood of the #24 DuPont/National Guard Chevy of Jeff Gordon. The Secretary of the Army established 2009 as the Year of the NCO in recognition of these soldiers’ commitment to service and willingness to make great sacrifices on behalf of our nation. Referred to as the “Backbone of the Army,” NCOs will be recognized throughout 2009. Visit nationalguard.com/JeffGordon to learn more about the program. On Oct. 6, 2008, Staff Sgt. Michael Noyce Merino, a Montana National Guard combat veteran and cattle rancher, was named the Army’s 2009 “Best Warrior” and “Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year” at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual meeting and exposition in Washington, D.C. As the first National Guardsman to achieve the title of NCO of the Year, Merino will represent the Army and National Guard at pre-eminent soldier events throughout 2009 and will be a guest at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.(HMS), see image of the hood on my #24 Team Schemes page.(6-12-2009)

  • New sponsor for Sorenson at MIS #43-Reed Sorenson heads to Michigan International Speedway (MIS) this weekend with a new sponsor, Reynolds Wrap, on the hood of the famous #43. Reynolds Wrap is serving as the primary sponsor of the #43 Dodge for the first time. For more information on Reynolds Wrap, Reynolds products or easy recipe ideas please visit www.ReynoldsKitchen.com.(RPM), see image of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page.(6-12-2009)

  • Ambrose to be featured on Sixty Minutes (Australia): #47-Marcos Ambrose will featured on Sixty Minutes on the Nine Network at 7.30pm this Sunday. A Sixty Minutes crew, headed by reporter Peter Overton, was treated to a “fly on the wall” experience with Ambrose at a NASCAR event in the US. The crew began their experience at Ambrose’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina where they spent some time with his wife Sonja and two young daughters. Ambrose then treated them to an afternoon of gold panning at the site of North America’s first gold discovery at Reed Mine just outside of Charlotte – panning is one of Ambrose’s sources of relaxation in his otherwise hectic life. For those fans outside of Australia, the Sixty Minutes website hosts a collection of online segments each week, so keep an eye on www.MarcosAmbrose.com for links to video coverage.(JTG-Daugherty Racing)(6-12-2009)

  • Jim Bean and Robby Gordon honored: The National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) and the National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC) awarded the NADCP Ambassador Award to Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc., the leading American spirits company and industry leader in the battle against hardcore drunk driving. #7-Robby Gordon was also honored with an Ambassador Award for his continued support of DWI Courts. Beam Global and Robby Gordon have partnered with NCDC since 2007 to bring national attention to the effectiveness of DWI Courts in addressing hardcore drunk driving. Beam Global and Robby Gordon received the award at the NADCP 15th Annual Training Conference held in Anaheim, California. The NADCP Ambassador Award is given to public figures who have used their celebrity or public position to raise awareness about Drug Courts or DWI Courts. Martin Sheen will also receive a 2009 NADCP Ambassador Award.(Welt Online)(6-12-2009)

  • Michigan Tire Notes: Teams in the two NASCAR series in action at Michigan this weekend will be running slightly different tire set-ups . . . while Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck teams will run the same left-side tire code (D-4134), they will be running different right-side codes . . . in the Cup Series, this is the same right-side tire code (D-4186) that teams ran two weeks ago at Dover . . . teams in this series should be very familiar with this left-side code, having run it eight times in 2008 and at Dover in 2009 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. See tire pressures, codes and more on my Michigan Race page – Goodyear section.(6-12-2009)

  • Stewart-Haas Racing Announces Technical Partnership: Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owned Tony Stewart and Haas Automation, has formed a technical partnership with Sandvik Coromant. With its global headquarters in Sandviken, Sweden and its U.S. headquarters in Fair Lawn, N.J., Sandvik Coromant is the world’s leading producer of tools for turning, milling and drilling. This partnership with SHR allows the cutting tool company to become an official team sponsor, while providing SHR with all of its indexable tooling needs for its Haas CNC machines. Sandvik Coromant will add another dimension in technical expertise for SHR when it comes to finding machining solutions and employing the industry’s latest techniques. It also strengthens Sandvik Coromant’s relationship with Oxnard, Calif.-based Haas Automation, the largest CNC machine tool builder in the western world.(SHR)(6-12-2009)
  • Bristol Tickets for August race selling fast: Fans who have wanted to see the night race at Bristol Motor Speedway, some of whom said they had quit trying, were able to grab tickets this week as a limited number of seats for the Sharpie 500 weekend became available. By the end of the day Tuesday, fans in 28 states and three Canadian Provinces grabbed coveted seats, a list that grew to 35 states Wednesday. The Food City 500 in March marked the 54th consecutive sellout Sprint Cup event at Bristol Motor Speedway, a NASCAR record. “We still have tickets to sell, but we’re working toward our 55th straight full house,” Jeff Byrd, president and general manager of BMS said. “It’s a win-win situation for our fans who have tried for years in vain to get these tickets while some of our corporate partners have been forced to adjust.” Tickets may be purchased by calling the BMS ticket office at (423) 989-6900 or by visiting www.bristoltix.com.(Bristol Motor Speedway PR)(6-12-2009)

June 11, 2009

  • Fellows in the #09 at Infineon & Watkins Glen: James Finch and Ron Fellows are back together in 2009. Fellows, now with four NASCAR Nationwide wins and two Truck Series wins, will drive the #09 Miccosukee Gaming and Resorts Chevy at Infineon next week; looking to complete the series sweep with a win in Sprint Cup. Fellows is also slated to race at Watkins Glen in the #09 Impala SS in August.(Phoenix Racing PR)(6-11-2009)

  • Fired crew member sues Roush Fenway: A former employee of Roush Fenway Racing is suing the organization for firing him shortly after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Jason Myers says his February termination is in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act. He has filed a civil complaint in Cabarrus County Superior Court that seeks more than $10,000 in damages. Myers spent three seasons as car chief for Carl Edwards but was demoted to mechanic this year. According to the lawsuit, he attempted suicide by overdosing on Tylenol and insulin on Feb. 10 – six days before the season-opening Daytona 500. He says Roush officials fired him the next week because he did not report to work following his discharge from the hospital.(Associated Press)(6-11-2009)

  • Pocono Ratings down: TNT started its portion of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup on Sunday with a 3.4/9 (5.5 million viewers) for the Pocono 500, down 13% from last year’s Pocono race (3.9/9). For race-by-race, chart and more, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(6-11-2009)

  • Robby wins Baja 500 UPDATE 2 moved to 7th: haven’t seen much yet, but Robby Gordon won the Baja 500 in the #77 Chevy Trophy Truck per PlanetRobby.com. Gordon missed practicing the #7 Pittsburgh Paints Toyota at Pocono Raceway Saturday to run the Baja 500. Travis Kvapil practiced the car for Gordon, who will run the Pocono 500 on Sunday.(6-7-2009)
    UPDATE: Robby Gordon and his #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires team continued their dominance of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series season by winning the coveted Baja 500 title on Saturday. Gordon continues to lead the 2009 points standing and set the pace for the rest of the competitors this season. In the three races ran this season, Gordon holds two victories and a second place finish. Further, Saturday’s Baja 500 win marks the renowned off-road racer’s fifth class win and fourth overall victory. Gordon started the 432.51-mile race from the sixth position, but quickly moved his way up through the field and set the race pace for most of the day. He was able to finish the grueling course in eight hours, 35 minutes and 49 seconds, averaging roughly 50 miles per hour in the #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck. Gordon won by over a four minute margin to second place finisher, B.J. Baldwin. Immediately following his ninth career race win in the SCORE Trophy-Truck division, Gordon, also a NASCAR veteran, headed towards Pocono Raceway for the Sprint Cup Series, where he finished 31st.(RGM)(6-8-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon was moved from the winning spot to 7th early today as SCORE International handed out penalties from last weekend’s 432-mile race. The “black box” tracking information needed to be examined in order to verify that Gordon didn’t violate the Mexico highway speed limits and deviate from the racecourse. It has been revealed the Robby Gordon was not penalized for course deviation, but was assessed a 10 minute penalty for exceeding the maximum allowed speed of 60 mph while traveling on the highway and Gordon was assessed a 90-minute penalty for the fueling violation.(DirtNewz.com) and see official results at score-international.com now show Robby Gordon in 7th and niot winning the Baja 500.(6-11-2009)

  • NASCAR’s most penalized driver is … Dustin Long of the Virginian-Pilot did some research on which driver has been penalized the most so far this season so far. Infractions include pitting before pit road is open (something many do after they’ve been in an accident or had some mechanical troubles), lug nuts not all installed, speeding and pit crew members not taking care or tires or too many during a stop or something like that. #7-Robby Gordon has been penalized 17 times. After him, it’s Aric Almirola [only 7 races run] at 11, #77-Sam Hornish Jr., #00-David Reutimann, #12-David Stremme, #55-Michael Waltrip and #29-Kevin Harvick with 10 penalties each. Again, a lot of these penalties — but not all — were for pitting before pit road was open. #19-Elliott Sadler, for example, had problems early at Las Vegas and pitted five times before pit road was open, incurring five of his seven penalties this season just in that race. As for speed penalties #43-Reed Sorenson, #18-Kyle Busch and #34-John Andretti (12 races) have each had 4 speeding penalties. See full post and longer lists at the Virginian-Pilot.(6-11-2009)

  • Danica Patrick to sign with Ganassi? Chip Ganassi is supposedly working on a deal at the moment that would not only keep open wheel racing’s biggest name away from the clutches of NASCAR, it would likely advance her ascention in Indy cars. Ganassi is considering signing Danica Patrick for a third car on the Target team for 2010, joining Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti. Ganassi didn’t return phone calls Wednesday but his veteran lieutenant acknowledged adding a car for Patrick could be possible. “We’ve always entertained having a third driver if we could get the comparable funding that Target provides us,” said Mike Hull, managing director of Target/Ganassi. “If Danica has something and wants to talk to us, that would be great because I think she’s ready to take that next step. But I can tell you we haven’t spoken to her.” Patrick’s three-year contract with Andretti-Green Racing, which was sponsored by Motorola to the tune of $21 million, expires at the end of this season. And, if she wanted to test the waters in NASCAR down the road, Ganassi could slide her right into one of his seats on the team he shares with Teresa Earnhardt.(Robin Miller/SPEEDtv)(6-11-2009)

  • Four Cup drivers test at Infineon: Sprint Cup Series drivers #20-Joey Logano, #00-David Reutimann, #6-David Ragan and #13-Max Papis completed a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway on Wednesday to hone their skills on the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. The drivers came to the track in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, June 19-21 (Father’s Day weekend). Logano was coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook, who has also worked with NASCAR drivers Johnny Sauter and Los Gatos’ AJ Allmendinger. Logano will pull double-duty in Sonoma, competing in the Bennett Lane Winery 200, presented by Supercuts, NASCAR Camping World West Series, as well as the Toyota/Save Mart 350. Papis tested and also helped coach Reutimann and Ragan. The drivers all piloted late model stock cars supplied by Pioneer Motorsports out of Lake Oroville in Northern California. “Even if we drove a rental car out here it would help,” said Ragan. “I just needed to get back into the rhythm of turning left and right.”(Infineon Raceway)(6-11-2009)

  • Chase Notes going into Michigan: The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup cut-off bubble is as tight as ever. One single point is the difference between competing for a championship and missing out altogether. Mark Martin is 13th, one point behind Denny Hamlin in 12th. Only once in the Chase era (2004-Present) have the standings been this close at this juncture. After 14 races in 2005, when the Chase was a 10-driver field, 11th-place Kurt Busch trailed 10th-place Tony Stewart by a point. With 12 races still left to go to determine the 2009 Chase field, no one is really safe, but bet on Tony Stewart +365, Jeff Gordon +294 and Jimmie Johnson +262 to make the field. After that, Ryan Newman barely has a one race edge at +162 ahead of 13th place. Places 5-12 are all within one race of falling out of the Top 12, as Mark Martin did with his 19th at Pocono. Five drivers are within one race of piercing the Top 12. Of the five only Juan Montoya and Brian Vickers have yet to make a Chase. They should resurrect the Goody’s Headache award for Denny Hamlin. Mechanical problems sent the usually reliable Hamlin to the garage early, and he managed only a 38th place at Pocono. The #11 has dropped seven spots in five races and now hangs in the Top 12 by a mere point. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s disappointing 27th at Pocono dropped him 30 points further behind the Top 12 and two more positions. Kevin Harvick’s 24th lost him 21 points to 12th place and two spots, and “Happy” is now 327 points out. If he comes back and makes The Chase, he will break the record of Matt Kenseth, who roared back from 320 points out with 12 to go in 2005. See year-to-year comparisons, 2009 breakdown and more on my Chase Stats after Pocono page.(6-11-2009)

  • Michigan Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 7 Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Logano scored a 23rd-place finish on the lead lap and grabbed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the fifth consecutive race and for the 11th time this season. Logano leads #82-Scott Speed by 17 points (157-140) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 14 LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Only once since 1975 have two or more Raybestos Rookies have led the spring race at Michigan. In 2004, Brendan Gaughan (once for 13 laps) and Scott Riggs (once for one lap) led the race. The only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in 40 previous spring races at Michigan is Loy Allen, who grabbed the top starting position for 1994 race. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series race is Juan Pablo Montoya capturing the 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway (69 races). The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Patrick Carpentier at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (34 races).(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos), see rookies standings, history and more on my 2009 Rookies Page.(6-11-2009)
  • Delaware passes a sports-betting bill: The Delware state legislature has passed a sports-betting bill, making Delaware the only state in the East where wagering on sports will be legal. Nevada, Oregon and Montana are the only other states that offer sports wagering. Delaware hopes to have the betting system in place in time for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in September. This means NASCAR fans will be able to place bets on their favorite drivers. “Martha, I’m putting $10 on Tony Stewart to win. How ‘bout y’all? $10 on Jeff Gordon to win?”
    “We’ll do everything they do in Vegas except straight bets on one team over another,” Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover International Speedway, said. He added that point spreads are needed to legally be a lottery. We’ll be the only state east of Montana where fans will be able to bet legally. “We should be able to attract a whole new demographic that we don’t get from slots.”()(6-11-2009)
  • Fan sues Lowe’s Motor Speedway: A spectator in the stands hit by a flying car shock absorber during a race in May 2006 in what is now the Nationwide Series has filed suit against Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Robert James Kaine claims a piece of metallic debris “sliced open [his] right thigh area just above the knee” late in the event, according to the complaint filed in North Carolina Superior Court in Concord, N.C. Kaine, who resides in Canada, claims his injuries are permanent. There were no further details of the injuries suffered by what Kaine identifies as a part of a shock. Kaine claims that the injuries were caused by the negligence of LMS because of inadequate fencing.(SceneDaily)(6-11-2009)
  • Majestic to perform Saturday night concert at MIS: NASCAR fans will be treated to live entertainment in the New Holland Fan Plaza throughout the June race weekend at Michigan International Speedway. The headlining musical entertainment act on Saturday night is “Majestic,” a tribute band to the band Journey. Majestic is scheduled to hit the stage around 6:20pm Saturday. Opening for Majestic will be crowd favorite cover band, “The River,” who has played numerous times at MIS and developed a huge local following, especially from the track’s infield crowd. The River will play right after the checkered flag for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, around 4:30pm.Moving the June, Saturday night concert from the speedway’s Lot 10 to the New Holland Fan Plaza area will allow more race fans to experience live entertainment at MIS. Past concerts have required a Saturday event ticket, yet many of the campers at MIS and surrounding private campgrounds don’t purchase Saturday tickets. There will be bands playing in the New Holland Fan Plaza on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, starting as early at 9am each day. A full lineup will be posted on MISpeedway.com. Tickets are on sale by calling 800-354-1010 or logging onto the new MISpeedway.com. Michigan International Speedway.(MIS)(6-11-2009)

June 10, 2009

  • Source: drug named that triggered positive test of Mayfield UPDATE: Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine during a random drug screening May 1 at Richmond International Raceway, ESPN The Magazine has learned from two independent sources. In court documents filed in the past two weeks (Mayfield sought a temporary restraining in order to return to the track; NASCAR countersued), it was revealed that Mayfield had admitted ingesting a double dosage of Claritin-D [note: which contains pseudoephedrine which is used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine], an allergy medication, and the prescription drug Adderall XR immediately prior to the Richmond drug test conducted for NASCAR.(full story at ESPN the Magazine)(6-9-2009)
    UPDATE: Suspended for failing a drug test, driver Jeremy Mayfield said he “inhaled fumes from a fiery wreck in the Talledega race,” according to more court papers filed in the battle between Mayfield and NASCAR. Mayfield was indefinitely suspended May 9 for failing a random drug test conducted May 1 at Richmond International Raceway. He filed suit to overturn his suspension on May 29. In legal papers obtained Monday, a response by NASCAR drug testing firm Aegis Labs said a doctor asked Mayfield if he had taken any diet medications or inhalers, specifically, Vick’s Inhaler. Mayfield said he had not, the papers say. Doctors said in the documents that they agreed with Mayfield’s account from an earlier suit that in a subsequent phone call Mayfield said “he was in a fiery wreck while competing in the Talledega race in late April …. and inhaled a large amount of fumes.” The Talledega race was in late April, prior to Richmond.(Charlotte Observer)(6-10-2009)

  • Vickers close to re-upping with Red Bull UPDATE: Red Bull Racing is close to finalizing a contract extension with #83-Brian Vickers, who is in the final season of a three-year contract. Both sides hold an option on next season that has to be exercised by June 1st .(ESPN/AP)(5-24-2009)
    UPDATE: Sprint Cup driver Brian Vickers has agreed to a multiyear contract to remain the driver of the #83 Toyota for the Red Bull Racing Team, sources confirmed Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. An official announcement is expected later this week. Vickers is competing in his sixth Cup season. He was in the last year of a three-year contact with Red Bull, but team officials had an option to extend the deal one season. Vickers wanted a multiyear agreement, which team officials gladly accepted to keep Vickers in the organization long term.(ESPN)(6-10-2009)

  • Said to run at Infineon UPDATE: Boris Said will be driving the EM Motorsports #08 Ford owned by John Carter in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway June 21st. The team has available sponsorship on race car.(EM Motorsports)
    UPDATE: Absent from the Sprint Cup Series since missing the season-opening Daytona 500, Boris Said is expected to make his return at Infineon Raceway later this month. Said, best known for his road-racing skills, will drive Georgia businessman John Carter’s #08 Ford in the Toyota/SaveMart 350 on June 21. Said originally planned to enter as many as 18 races this season, but a deal with Rick Clark Motorsports announced in February never came to fruition. Carter claims the team has been working on providing Said with a competitive car for the track that winds through the Sonoma hillside. “We have missed several races while preparing for this race,” Carter said. “Boris Said is one of the all-time greats on the road courses and I feel comfortable that Boris is the man for the job.”(NASCAR.com)(6-10-2009)

  • Chrysler-Fiat deal done and approved: The long-awaited tie-up between Chrysler LLC and Fiat SpA has been finalized, and now the company must get back to the business of building and selling cars and trucks. The two sides signed off on a partnership this morning that creates a new automaker to be known as Chrysler Group LLC, allowing the new company to emerge after a 40-day stay in bankruptcy. It begins operations immediately under new chairman Robert Kidder and Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, who is also CEO of Fiat. The vice chairman of the former Chrysler, Jim Press, has been appointed Deputy CEO and Special Adviser, reporting to Marchionne and responsible for restructuring the company to create a “new leaner, flatter” organization, Chrysler said. The new Chrysler combines the most valuable assets of the bankrupt automaker with small-car and engine technology from Fiat, which is not putting cash into the deal. Fiat has an initial 20 percent stake in the company, which will grow to 35 percent if Fiat meets three benchmarks. Fiat can buy a majority stake in Chrysler — only after $6 billion in government exit financing loans are repaid. But Chrysler isn’t required to pay back the more than $7 billion that Chrysler received earlier. Some of the bad Chrysler assets remain under Chapter 11 protection pending liquidation.(Detroit News)(6-10-2009)

  • Marty Smith and team win fish tourney: They started late and their bass boat was bogged down by beer and Jack Daniel’s, but somehow country artist Eric Church, ESPN NASCAR reporter Marty Smith and champion shotgun marksman Bill McGuire sped away with the grand prize at the second annual Porter Wagoner Memorial Artists & Anglers Fishing Tournament on Tuesday. Part of the festivities leading up to the CMA Music Festival, the tournament paired veteran anglers with artists from the country music world on Percy Priest Lake to honor The Thin Man From West Plains who was quite the bass-chaser in his day.(Tennessean), proceeds go to the Opry Trust Fund.(6-10-2009)

  • Newman’s car to salute Army’s birthday: How sweet would it be for Ryan Newman to capture a win at his home track on the day his primary sponsor celebrates its 234th birthday. “Very sweet and very special,” said Newman, whose recent hot streak has catapulted him to fourth place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver point standings. “We’ve been on a nice roll lately but victory has eluded us and that’s our ultimate goal.” It will be the U.S. Army’s 234th birthday on Sunday. The military branch, which sponsors Newman’s Chevrolet Impala SS, was born on June 14, 1775. The June 14th birthday also coincides with Flag Day. Newman’s special weekend at MIS also includes involvement with the sponsorship of the Racing for Wildlife 200 ARCA race on Friday. Racing for Wildlife is a national initiative of the Ryan Newman Foundation and the Conservation Fund. One of the projects of Racing for Wildlife is partnering with MIS, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan United Conservation Club to renovate Cedar Lake Outdoor Center in the Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea, Mich, approximately 25 miles from MIS. As an environmental advocate, Newman will take part in a tree-planting ceremony Friday in the MIS campground, which is part of NASCAR’s new Green Flag Tree Planting program.(US Army Racing/SHR), see an image of the scheme on my #39 Team Schemes page.(6-10-2009)

  • Carhartt returns to the #17: The #17 Ford Fusion of Matt Kenseth will again carry Carhartt paint scheme this weekend at Michigan. Kenseth took the checkered flag at California in the last Carhartt race. Carhartt will serve as the primary two more times this season at New Hampshire in Sept. and Charlotte in Oct.(RFR), see images of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(6-10-2009)

  • Kurt Busch testing news: #2-Kurt Busch tested on Tuesday at Virginia International Raceway in preparation for the June 21 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. “We have a brand new car for the road courses (“PRS-617”) and we wanted to get in some test time before we head out to Sonoma (Infineon),” Pat explained. “We’ll likely return to VIR or maybe head down to Road Atlanta between now and Watkins Glen in August.” Busch and team also plans to use “PRS-600” Miller Lite Dodge in tire testing for Goodyear at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 15-16. “It looks like a continuous work in progress in coming up with the tire we’ll be racing there next month,” Kurt said. “We’re glad to chip in with their effort there and are happy to get the track time before heading there for the race weekend.”(Tom Roberts PR)(6-10-2009)
  • Sad News – Dick May: former NASCAR Cup driver, Dick May, passed away Tuesday. May was the driver of the B29 at Watertown Speedway for many years and a former track champion there before campaigning on the NASCAR circuit from 1970 to 1985 starting 185 races and subbing in many more. May was inducted into the DIRT Hall of Fame two years ago.(dirttrackdigest.com) More info about May at GoNascarGo.com
    SERVICES: The Family will receive Friends at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville NC during the afternoon and evening of Monday, June 15. Funeral service will be conducted at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville NC at 1:00pm on Tuesday, June 16 followed by a processional to facilities of Performance Instruction & Training (PIT), 156 Byers Creek Rd., Mooresville, NC were Family and Friends will continue an informal celebration of Dick’s life and career until 5:00pm.(6-10-2009)
  • Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz Chosen as Honorary Starter: Detroit Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz will wave the green flag as Honorary Starter for Sunday’s LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Schwartz, who will begin his first season as the Lions’ head coach this fall, not only loves football, but shares a love of NASCAR, as well. “I’m a big NASCAR fan,” he said. “So to be involved with the race, in the shadow of Detroit, The Motor City, is an absolute thrill. I’ve always been impressed with the incredible loyalty of NASCAR fans. They stick with their teams and drivers thru thick and thin. They have the same type of passion and loyalty Lions’ fans have for our football team.” The honorary starter duties include waving the green flag to start the race. Schwartz will also receive a pace car ride from NASCAR’s official pace car driver Brett Bodine and attend the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers’ meeting with members of the Detroit Lions football team. Grand Marshal Kid Rock will give the command at 2:07pm on Sunday, starting the LifeLock 400, followed by Schwartz, who will wave the green flag at 2:16pm. Great seats are available by calling 800-354-1010 or logging onto MISpeedway.com. Michigan International Speedway.(MIS)(6-10-2009)

June 9, 2009

  • Source: drug named that triggered positive test of Mayfield: Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine during a random drug screening May 1 at Richmond International Raceway, ESPN The Magazine has learned from two independent sources. In court documents filed in the past two weeks (Mayfield sought a temporary restraining in order to return to the track; NASCAR countersued), it was revealed that Mayfield had admitted ingesting a double dosage of Claritin-D [note: which contains pseudoephedrine which is used in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine], an allergy medication, and the prescription drug Adderall XR immediately prior to the Richmond drug test conducted for NASCAR.(full story at ESPN the Magazine)(6-9-2009)
  • Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon and #14-Tony Stewart lead all drivers after 14 races in 2009 with 7 Top-5 finishes, #48-Johnson is next with 6. #14-Stewart has the most Top-10’s after 14 races with 10, followed by #24-Gordon and #48-Johnson with 9.
    Two drivers have run all 14 races in 2009 and have not scored a top-10 finish: #12-Stremme and #98-Menard. Eleven drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all 14 races: #98-Menard, #12-Stremme, #07-Mears, #42-Montoya, #1-Truex Jr., #43-Sorenson, #55-Waltrip, #26-McMurray, #6-Ragan, #77-Hornish Jr., and #20-Logano.(6-9-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #14-Stewart and #19-Sadler have the longest current streak of finishing races at 37. #78-Regan Smith is at 49 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.(6-9-2009)

  • Bowyer to run special Cheerios scheme: Clint Bowyer’s #33 Chevy will sport a “heart healthy” paint scheme this week at Michigan International Speedway as Cheerios, along with Richard Chidlress Racing president and CEO Richard Childress kick off a month-long program encouraging race fans to take care of their hearts. Thanks to a donation from Bowyer, Camp Alexander, located in Bowyer’s hometown of Emporia, Kan., will have enough money to operate their camp the rest of the summer, according to Kay Calvert, chairwoman of Camp Alexander’s board of directors.(RCR). MIS and Cheerios are teaming up for a “Good for the Heart” walk for fans at this year’s LifeLock 400, more info about the walk on my Racing Charities page.(6-9-2009)

  • Carpentier in the #55 for road course? UPDATE: hearing that Patrick Carpentier will drive the #55 NAPA Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at the two road courses: Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen.(6-7-2009)
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that Patrick Carpentier will drive the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry in the upcoming Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. “There are so many great road course racers competing in Sonoma this year, and as the owner and driver of the #55 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, I am in a unique position,” said Waltrip who has two top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in his NASCAR Sprint Cup road racing career. “If I see where I can improve my car’s performance then that’s exactly what I am going to do. I am a good road racer, but Patrick is a great road racer. I love being an owner and I want to get another win for NAPA. It will feel just as good if I get the victory for NAPA or watching from the pit box with Patrick driving the car. I appreciate NAPA allowing me to make these kind of personnel moves when I feel it is best for the team.”
    Carpentier, who has 27 Sprint Cup Series and 12 Nationwide Series starts to his credit is also driving for MWR and sponsor NAPA in the upcoming NASCAR Nationwide Series event, the NAPA Auto Parts 200, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Aug. 30. He’ll be behind the wheel of the #99 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota with veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter calling the shots.
    “I couldn’t believe it when I was approached with this opportunity. I am honored,” said Carpentier. “For me to work with a guy like Michael Waltrip, who is a legend in NASCAR, is an amazing opportunity. I really like driving these cars on the road courses. We will work hard and get some good things going at Infineon Raceway. It’s my goal to get a good finish and plenty of points for the NAPA Auto Parts team.”(MWR)(6-9-2009)

  • The #7 “Rocks” in Michigan: The #7 Jim Beam Team of Robby Gordon will host Kid Rock along with featuring a special Red Stag by Jim Beam/ Kid Rock paint scheme for the upcoming LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway. This coincides with the recent announcement of Red Stag by Jim Beam’s partnership with multi-platinum superstar, Kid Rock, as a headline sponsor of Kid Rock’s 2009 Rock N’ Rebels Tour, which will hit 25 cities across North America this Summer. Kid Rock will kick off the Red Stag by Jim Beam partnership on June 14, when the Detroit native will serve as Grand Marshal of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 race at Michigan International Speedway. Fifty cents from every ticket sold for Kid Rock’s upcoming concert tour will be donated to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to America’s military veterans returning home to their families. Through their support of Operation Homefront, Red Stag and Kid Rock will help fund emergency aid, moving assistance, computer programs and care packages in local chapters throughout the country. Red Stag, an all-new cherry-infused offspring of the world’s No. 1 selling bourbon is scheduled to launch in June and is the latest innovation from Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc.(RGM), see an image of the scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.
    AND Robby Gordon Motorsports has a limited number of open races during the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season including the June 21, 2009 road course race in Sonoma, CA. More info at robbygordon.com for more sponsorship information.(6-9-2009)

  • Kahne tests a modifield at Bristol: On Monday, June 8th, there were 19 Modifieds testing at Bristol Motor Speedway in preparation for the August debut of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at the half-mile mile facility. Both Northern and Southern Tour teams are on hand. NASCAR Sprint Cup driver #9-Kasey Kahne was on-hand, and not as a spectator. Kahne is hopping behind the wheel of the Troyer house car. Rob Fuller took laps in the #96 H&H ride before Kahne arrived. Kasey Kahne was eighth fastest with a speed of 15.371 in the Troyer House car. Talk at the track is that Kahne will drive the car in the Bristol Mod race in August.(Speed51.com)(6-9-2009)
  • Correction – Edwards Team Wins Tissot Pit Crew Award in Pocono: The Tissot Pit Road Precision Award winner in the Pocono 500 Sprint Cup Series race was Carl Edwards’ #99 team, not Jimmie Johnson’s #48 team, which was previously reported due to an anomaly with a NASCAR scoring loop on pit road. It was the first Tissot win of the 2009 season for the #99 crew, which helped Edwards to a runner-up finish in the 200-lap, 500-mile race at Pocono Raceway. Edwards’ Ford Fusion spent the least amount of time on pit road — 222.264 seconds. Edwards’ over-the-wall crew consists of: Greg Donlin (front-tire changer), Jeremy Dyer (front-tire carrier), Brandon Hopkins (rear-tire changer), Jody Fortson (rear-tire carrier), Tracy Duncan (jackman), Joe Karasinski (gasman) and Norm Lowe (catch can). The team’s crew chief is Bob Osborne and the pit crew coach is Jesse Posey. The #99 team will receive $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver. Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew leads in the Tissot standings with three wins. Greg Biffle’s crew is second with two wins. Nine teams are tied for third with one win.(Tissot)(6-9/10-2009)
  • Grubb Named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Pocono: Darian Grubb, crew chief for the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy driven by Tony Stewart, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Despite starting from the rear of the 43-car field after giving up the pole because of a practice accident, Grubb told his driver to just stick to the [original] game plan” and they did just that. Stewart did not waste any time charging his way back up front, taking over the lead on lap 77. 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)(6-9-2009)
  • Round 1 Fan MIS appreciation winners announced: The first round of prizes have been awarded in Michigan International Speedway’s fan appreciation program. Winners in Round 1 will be notified via e-mail or phone call that they have won prizes. All prizes may be claimed at the speedway’s Mobile Ticket Display in the New Holland Fan Display area at MIS this weekend. In Round 2, a second wave of drawings will be held for prizes that will be awarded during the June race weekend. Everyone, even ticket-holders, who want to be considered in the second wave of drawings must register at the speedway’s Mobile Display Trailer in the New Holland Fan Display at MIS from June 12-14. More info at MISpeedway.com.(6-9-2009)
  • Tix on sale for August Bristol race: Fans who have long aspired to own Bristol tickets will have the chance to make that dream a reality Tuesday, June 9. That is the day tickets to NASCAR’s most popular race, the Sharpie 500, which takes place Aug. 22, will be available. “We expect June 9 to be a big day,” said Bristol Motor Speedway president Jeff Byrd. “Fans who have been trying for years to get tickets to the Sharpie 500 will finally get the opportunity to own them so we’re expecting the phone lines to be busy.” While BMS continues to maintain the highest renewal rate in the sport with fans, tickets have become available this year due to cutbacks from a number of corporate clients. In March, the Speedway made those packages available to fans who had tried unsuccessfully for years to purchase them. “We sold quite a few packages in March,” said Byrd, “but we do have some partial packages available for our August race weekend. On one hand, it’s a tough situation for our corporate clients, who have had to make concessions where tickets are concerned. On the other hand, it’s a win-win situation for our fans who have tried for years in vein to get these tickets”. The Food City 500 in March was the 54th consecutive sellout Sprint Cup event at Bristol Motor Speedway, a NASCAR record. The August race week features four races under the lights, including the O’Reilly 200 Camping World Truck Series race and the UNOH Perfect Storm 150 Whelen Modified Series event Wednesday, Aug. 19, followed by the Food City 250 Nationwide Series race Friday, Aug. 21. The weekend culminates with the Sharpie 500 Saturday, Aug. 22. The August ticket package includes tickets for both the Sharpie 500 and the Food City 250. Package prices begin at $145. Also, anyone purchasing a package will be eligible for the buy one, get one free Wednesday night ticket, which includes both the O’Reilly 200 truck event and the Whelen Modified 150. Wednesday tickets are $30. Tickets may be purchased by calling the BMS ticket office at (423) 989-6900 or by visiting www.bristoltix.com.(BMS)(6-9-2009)
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway Sells Out of Tent Camping: Having sold out of reserved tent camping, Atlanta Motor Speedway has opened two new campgrounds to accommodate fans attending AMS’ first NASCAR Sprint Cup night race on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5 and 6. The Legends Reserved Tent Campground and Elliott Reserved Campground have been created by Atlanta Motor Speedway to meet surging camping demand for Atlanta’s first full weekend of night racing. Atlanta Motor Speedway’s Elliott Reserved Campground is located directly behind the Elliott Grandstand overlooking Turn 3 and will include two additional rows of camping for handicap patrons. The Elliott Reserved Campground also features a large number of sites adjacent to handicap camping for additional fans. Each RV spot is approximately 45 feet long by 25 feet and costs just $150. Shaded by a tree grove, the Legends Reserved Tent Campground is located between Atlanta Motor Speedway’s main entrance and the Legends Campground. With more than 230 campsites with dimensions of 20 feet by 30 feet for $125, the Legends Reserved Tent Campground will be one of the most desired camping locations on the Atlanta Motor Speedway property. For more information on camping or tickets to Atlanta Motor Speedway first Sprint Cup night race on Labor Day weekend, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849), 770-946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(6-9-2009)

June 8, 2009

  • Sprint Cup Series Notes from Pocono:
    * Tony Stewart won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. He started first but dropped to the rear under penalty because he went to a backup car after crashing in Saturday practice. This is the fourth time a driver started at the rear and won in 2009. Six of the past eight races have been won from the front-row starting positions at Pocono.
    * Stewart became the ninth different winner in 14 races this season, joining Kyle Busch (3), Mark Martin (2), Jimmie Johnson (2) and Matt Kenseth (2), plus Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and David Reutimann with one each.
    * Stewart became the first owner-driver to win since Ricky Rudd at Martinsville in September 1998. Geoff Bodine was the last owner-driver to win at Pocono, in July 1994.
    * Stewart scored his 34th career win in his 370th start. He tied Mark Martin and Bobby Isaac for 17th on NASCAR’s all-time wins list. Stewart scored his second victory in 21 races at Pocono. His last Pocono win came in June 2003. He has 15 top-10 finishes in his 21 races at Pocono, including the last two.
    * Stewart remained the points leader by 71 over Jeff Gordon. Stewart led two times for 39 laps, including the final 37. He scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2009, the most by any driver. He has scored top-5 finishes in seven of his past nine races.
    * A car with the #14 has won 27 times in the Cup series by five different drivers: Tony Stewart, Bobby Allison, Fonty Flock, Hershel McGriff and Jim Paschal. The last time a driver won in the #14 was Allison at Montgomery Speedway in December 1968.
    * Thirty-one of Stewart’s 34 victories have come in the month of June or later in the season.
    * Steve Letarte made his 125th start as Jeff Gordon’s crew chief. Gordon finished fourth, giving Letarte his 54th top-5 finish (43 percent). * Jimmie Johnson (seventh) has led in 12 of the 14 races this season, more than any other driver.(Racing Resources/ESPN.com)(6-8-2009)

  • RPM lays off nine employees: Richard Petty Motorsports has laid off nine employees and reduced salaries throughout the organization, a byproduct of Chrysler’s bankruptcy filing. A person familiar with the moves tells The Associated Press that RPM officials are anticipating significant cutbacks from Dodge. Chrysler is Dodge’s parent company, and the automaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. Team co-owner Richard Petty has said the bankruptcy filing slowed the money flow from Dodge over the past few weeks. RPM fields cars for #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler, #43-Reed Sorenson and #44-AJ Allmendinger. The team has funded Allmendinger’s car largely out of pocket all season.(Associated Press)(6-8-2009)

  • Odyssey Batteries Named Technical Partner of RCR: Richard Childress Racing and EnerSys Energy Products Inc., through its line of Odyssey batteries, have reached agreement for Odyssey Battery to become a Technical Partner of Richard Childress Racing. The Odyssey batteries logo will be carried on the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy team with driver Casey Mears. Odyssey batteries are manufactured by EnerSys Energy Products, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of EnerSys. For more information about EnerSys and its Odyssey batteries at www.Odysseybattery.com.(RCR)(6-8-2009)

  • Truex Jr. to have GE Reveal as sponsor for two races: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and GE Lighting announced that the GE Reveal Light Bulb brand will be the primary sponsor on the #1 Chevy of Martin Truex Jr. for races this weekend, June 14 at Michigan and the following race at Infineon Raceway on June 21st. The light bulbs bring Clean, Beautiful Light to any space. The #1 Chevy’s bright blue design draws inspiration from the blue coloring of an unlit GE Reveal light bulb. Race fans should be sure to look for the iconic GE script logo on the hood of the #1 Chevy along with the rainbow-hued logo of GE Reveal running down the car’s quarter panels. For more information, consumers may visit www.ge.com.(EGR), see an image of the scheme on my #1 Team Schemes page.(6-8-2009)

  • Commercial breakdown, driver focus, and links related to the Pocono 500 Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00pm
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:57pm
    Total number of commercials: 141
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 73
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 20
    Total minutes: 237
    Minutes of race broadcast: 170
    Minutes of commercials: 67
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (no debris shown): 2
    Total race brdcst time 170 Total comm. brdcst time 67
    See report and link on my TV Commercials page.(6-8-2009)

  • Long speaks to Dave Despain on Wind Tunnel: Part-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Long [Carl-long.com – donation info there] joined Dave Despain in-studio Sunday night on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain to discuss his recent NASCAR penalty for an oversized Cup engine during NASCAR Sprint All-Star weekend. Long’s appeal was heard but the penalties, including his suspension and $200,000 fine, were upheld.
    Dave Despain: You’ve been vocal in criticizing the penalty here. What do you think should have happened? Had you been NASCAR, what would you have done?
    Carl Long: “Kept the engine. Some infraction but not near what we got from this deal.”
    Despain: Less penalty?
    Long: “Yeah, I’ve been vocal. It was an All-Star Race and in no other All-Star event in any sport does it affect the regular season, so I asked them to change the rules. That didn’t work out too well, either.”
    Despain (reading NASCAR statement): Nothing has changed. There have always been severe penalties for attempting to manipulate engine, tires or fuel. Do you have any reaction to that?
    Long: “Somewhat. I think that when Richard Petty won the race, he won the race when Bodine did what he did. They were in competition. This was in practice and anyone in the garage area knows my circumstances and why I’m there. The rules are written for what they are but the bottom line is it always has ‘at NASCAR’s discretion.’ There’s a few things – ‘Hey, get this fixed before you come back through tech. Fix this before next week.’ So, I was wrong by expecting to get something out of it. A rule is a rule – that’s what they said. That’s the way it’s got to be. There’s no other game in town, so what do you do?”
    Despain: Richard Petty, when he won his 198th race, I think it was, with a huge motor at Charlotte, got a $35,000 fine, which was a record at the time, and they took away 104 points. So, there’s that. When you appealed it, did you think something was going to happen?
    Long: “I expected a reduction. I expected the suspension to be dropped or at least the four weeks like Geoff Bodine and Junior Johnson had. I thought about a lot of things but none of them seemed to happen except the infraction got rolled over to a Sprint Cup Series rule and that was the first time I’d seen that happen.”
    Despain: They took your original NASCAR suspension, which was 12 weeks, and applied it only to Sprint Cup, meaning you can still work in Truck and Nationwide. How does that change in the suspension affect your life? Does it help?
    Long: “A little. It will allow me to go with our Nationwide team but at the same time, if I’m spotting for our Nationwide team, are they going to kick me out of the flagman’s stand if I’m spotting for the Cup team when they change practice sessions? It’s been pretty tough because when I go to the race track, if I was going cheated, I was going to go ‘big cheated’ and if I got kicked out I had every opportunity to load up and go the house and we didn’t. So, here I am and we can’t pay the fine, so we’re just out of NASCAR.”
    Despain: Does Ernie Elliott have a role in this? Does the engine builder have any responsibility in your mind?
    Long: “I tried to see if NASCAR, when I lobbied the hearing, would make engine builders responsible, and that’s not a part of it. Ernie basically cut me a deal – he had a lot of extra Ganassi engines, he cut me a deal on one. Why it’s big and how it got big I have no idea. His part was as much as it overheated, it melted the head gasket into the cylinder head and he said that’s why it got big.”
    Despain: It was a crew chief’s fine … does it revert to you if he can’t pay it?
    Long: “Yes, at the end of the year, section 12 of the rulebook basically states any fines not settled goes back to the owner, which my wife was listed as the owner. So, typically, you could say I’m off the hook. But how do I go back to the race track without my wife when it’s my team?”
    Despain: Have they run you off?
    Long: “I hope not. David Reutimann has started cheerleading and trying to pool up some money and make things happen for us. This penalty is probably at least 300-percent more than what we make. I don’t know how I go forward with it. You want to race. You want to be a part of it. Yes, I can be in the Nationwide Series garage and so forth but at the end of the year, my license is not in good standing. I’ve never seen anything to compare it to in the past.”(SPEEDtv), past news about Long and the penalty on my #46 Team News and Links page.(6-8-2009)

  • Robby wins Baja 500 UPDATE: haven’t seen much yet, but Robby Gordon won the Baja 500 in the #77 Chevy Trophy Truck per PlanetRobby.com. Gordon missed practicing the #7 Pittsburgh Paints Toyota at Pocono Raceway Saturday to run the Baja 500. Travis Kvapil practiced the car for Gordon, who will run the Pocono 500 on Sunday.(6-7-2009)
    UPDATE: Robby Gordon and his #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires team continued their dominance of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series season by winning the coveted Baja 500 title on Saturday. Gordon continues to lead the 2009 points standing and set the pace for the rest of the competitors this season. In the three races ran this season, Gordon holds two victories and a second place finish. Further, Saturday’s Baja 500 win marks the renowned off-road racer’s fifth class win and fourth overall victory. Gordon started the 432.51-mile race from the sixth position, but quickly moved his way up through the field and set the race pace for most of the day. He was able to finish the grueling course in eight hours, 35 minutes and 49 seconds, averaging roughly 50 miles per hour in the #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires trophy truck. Gordon won by over a four minute margin to second place finisher, B.J. Baldwin. Immediately following his ninth career race win in the SCORE Trophy-Truck division, Gordon, also a NASCAR veteran, headed towards Pocono Raceway for the Sprint Cup Series, where he finished 31st.(RGM)(6-8-2009)

June 7, 2009

  • Stewart wins at Pocono: #14-Tony Stewart won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway, his 1st win of 2009, 34th of his career, 1st in 19 races. Stewart won from the pole, even thou he started in the rear due to a backup car, but official results will show Stewart starting 1st. Stewart has now won at least one race every season for ten straight years. Stewart is the first Owner/Driver to win a race since Ricky Rudd in September 1998 at Martinsville. Stewart is the 5th driver to win in the car #14, the last was Bobby Allison at Montgomery, AL in December 1968. #99-Edwards finished 2nd followed by #00-Reutimann, #24-Gordon, #39-Newman, #47-Ambrose, #42-Montoya, #31-Burton and #77-Hornish Jr. #51-Dexter Bean finished 36th in his Sprint Cup debut, four laps off the pace. Stewart maintains the points lead with 2043, 71 pts ahead of #24-Gordon. There were 22 lead changes among 12 drivers and 5 cautions for 20 laps.
    For race results, awards and more on the Pocono Race Results Page.(6-7-2009)
  • To the rear winners in 2009: in the first 14 races of 2009, four races have been won by drivers who had to fall to the rear of the field before the start, note: where the drivers qualified is their official starting position:
    #17-Kenseth, Daytona 500, backup car [was to start 39th]
    #18-Kyle Busch, Las Vegas, engine change [was to start 1st]
    #09-Brad Keselowski, Talladega, engine change [was to start 9th]
    #14-Tony Stewart, Pocono, backup car [was to start 1st]
    (6-7-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after Pocono, race 14 of 36]:
    1) #14-Tony Stewart 2043 [1 win], finished 1st
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon 1973, -71 [1 win], 4th
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1940, -103 [2 wins], 7th
    4) #39-Ryan Newman 1840, -203, 5th
    5) #2-Kurt Busch 1819, -224 [1 win], 37th
    6) #99-Carl Edwards 1762, -281, 2nd
    7) #16-Greg Biffle 1753, -290, 11th
    8) #17-Matt Kenseth 1745, -298 [2 wins], 16th
    9) #18-Kyle Busch 1731, -312 [3 wins], 22nd
    10) #31-Jeff Burton 1725, -318, 9th
    11) #00-David Reutimann 1701, -342 [1 win], 3rd
    12) #11-Denny Hamlin 1679, -364, 38th
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #5-Mark Martin 1678, 1 points out of 12th [2 wins], 19th
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 1619, -60, 15th
    15) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya 1617, -62, 8th
    16) #33-Clint Bowyer 1576, -103, 12th
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(6-7-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Pocono Raceway
    #14-Tony Stewart won the Pocono 500, his 34th victory in 370 Sprint Cup Series races. This marks the first win in the series by a driver-owner since 9-27-98 (Ricky Rudd, Martinsville Speedway.)
    This is his first victory and 10th top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his second victory and 15th top-10 finish in 21 races at Pocono Raceway.
    Carl Edwards (second) posted his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at Pocono Raceway. It is his seventh top-10 finish in 2009.
    David Reutimann (third) posted his first top-10 finish in five races at Pocono Raceway.
    Joey Logano (23rd) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 71 points over Jeff Gordon.(NASCAR Statistics)(6-7-2009)
  • 1st win for the car #14 since 1968: with #14-Tony Stewart’s win at Pocono on 6/7/2009, it is the first time the #14 has visited victory lane in the Sprint Cup Series since Bobby Allison won at Montogomery, AL on Decemer 8, 1968. It is the 27th time a car with the #14 has won in the series. The first time the #14 won was in 1951 with Fonty Flock. The #43 has the most with 198 [Richard Petty didn’t win all his races in the #43] followed by the #11 with 184 [besides Hamlin others who have won in #11 include Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Mario Andretti, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltip, Bill Elliott among many others]. For more see my Wins by Car# page.(6-7-2009)
  • Penalty Report – Pocono
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #14, Pre-Race to the rear W tail end backup car
    #7, Pre-Race to the rear W tail end driver change
    #51, 15, Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon, tail end
    #51, 45, Commitment Line Violation, pass thru
    #48, 103, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #39, 106, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, tail end
    #39, 114, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #12, 114, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    (NASCAR Statistics)(6-7-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Pocono: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver down a lap
    Caution 2: no driver down a lap
    Caution 3: #96-Labonte, 28th
    Caution 4: #19-Sadler, 25th
    Caution 5: #55-Waltrip, 17th
    (6-7-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Michigan:
    No teams jumped into the top 35, #34-Andretti’s lead decreases the lead over 36th to 41 points
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1101, +146
    35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 996, 41 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 955, 41 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 832, -164
    The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(6-7-2009)
  • Race Coverage of the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway is scheduled for Sunday, June 7, 2009.
    TV: TNT at 2:00 pm/et; pre-race show at 12:30 pm/et; green flag approx 2:16pm/et
    Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: SPEED, Wednesday, June 10 at 12:00pm/et;
  • TNT Takes Driver’s Seat for Sprint Cup Series Coverage: TNT’s coverage of NASCAR action revs up on Sunday, June 7 with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Racing from Pocono as the network hits the track for the NASCAR on TNT Summer Series. The network will air exclusive coverage of the Pocono 500 beginning at 2pm/et with play-by-play announcer Bill Weber 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 12:30pm/et with NASCAR on TNT Live! with Marc Fein (host), Petty and McReynolds. #48 Jimmie Johnson will also join TNT’s infield rig for an interview prior to the race.
    TNT’s acclaimed Pride of NASCAR series will return this season, with the premiere episode profiling NASCAR legend Dave Marcis, Cup Series driver from 1968 – 2002. Marcis had 883 starts on the circuit, second only to Richard Petty and stands as the last successful non-factory supported independent owner/drivers, racing while wearing wingtip shoes to absorb the heat in the car.
    Also, the first of six Wally’s World features will air as Dallenbach breaks down the strategy of each race in virtual reality. Dallenbach will be superimposed into live race footage from last season from the Pocono 500 as he walks along the track to discuss the nuances necessary to contend at Pocono Raceway. Dallenbach’s new setting allows him the ability to stop the race footage and interact with the cars virtually.
    In addition, Lindsay on Location returns as TNT pit reporter Lindsay Czarniak explores various hot spots at each track. This week, she’ll accompany #38 Ryan Newman and his father on a fishing trip to a local fishing hole around Pocono.
    The show will be followed by Countdown to Green at 1:30pm/et with Bill Weber (host), Dallenbach (analyst) and Petty (analyst) with reports from pit reporters Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, Ralph Sheheen and Czarniak.
    Countdown to Green leads into coverage of the Pocono 500 at 2pm/et with Weber, Dallenbach and Petty calling the action with frequent interaction with McReynolds (analyst) who will man the TNT Off-Track Robotic Car. Throughout this year’s NASCAR on TNT Summer Series, the network will provide TNT RaceBuddy a multiplatform experience for race fans which features live feeds from the racetrack including pit road and in-car cameras, as well as live chats and polls. Joining the Turner Sports family will be Jim Noble, who will serve as a pit reporter exclusively on nascar.com throughout TNT’s six races.(6-7-2009)
  • NASCAR’s Robin Pemberton explains new restart rules: NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton gave an explanation Friday of the new double-file restart rules. Here are excerpts of the conversation with the media and his answers to some questions ask.
    SD: What is the procedure for double-file restarts?
    Pemberton: “When the caution comes out, the field will be frozen as it is today. The free-pass car will be identified as it is today and it will be the same format. As the cars are gathered behind the pace car, the pit road is opened for leaders, the second time by it will be open for the lap-down cars, and that is how it is today. And when we come to the one [lap]-to-go [until the green drops], the cars that have elected not to pit that are lap-down cars that will be in front of the lead-lap cars that have pitted, will be waved around to join the field at the tail end. The lineup will be on the double-file restart, lead-lap cars to the front, lap-down cars, … then it will be the free-pass car, then it will be the cars that have been waved around and then it will be the penalty cars.
    SD: If a guy on the lead lap opts not to pit, he’s the leader?
    Pemberton: Correct. Still P1 [the leader].
    SD: Is there an option for the lead car to select which lane?
    Pemberton: When we give the 1-to-go, the leader throughout the entire race will get lane choice, high or low. He has to make that choice when we come to the 1-to-go at the stripe. One other thing we have added is the free pass will take place from start to finish throughout the entire race.
    SD: If a car on the lead lap pits a second time with the lap-down cars, does he restart with the lap-down cars?
    Pemberton: He will start in his respective track position how he came off of pit road. If you have a lead-lap car who makes multiple pit stops to work on his car, he is not in that lead-lap group that pitted that first-time by. He’ll be scored where he comes off pit road [with lapped cars]
    SD: The lap-down cars that don’t pit and the get the wave around the leader, do they get to come all the way around to rear of the field?
    Pemberton: That’s correct but they will not be able to hit pit road for tires and fuel. Pit road won’t be closed but they will forfeit their wave-around status if they hit pit road for tires and fuel.
    SD: At tracks like Martinsville and Bristol and you’re waiting for the 1-to-go, are you anticipating that the wave around could be hard to be completed?
    Pemberton: There could be issues. Every track has its different set of challenges. We’ll have to address those when we get to them. The whole field will be double file so they won’t be as strung out.
    SD: If multiple lead-lap cars stay out, do the lap-down cars that don’t pit still get waved around?
    Pemberton: The only way you can be waved around is if you are between the leader and the pace car. As pit stops take place, you need to be in front of the lead-lap cars. You get waved around regardless if you’re one or two or three laps down [or more].
    SD: Are you going to use double-file restarts throughout the race for every race?
    Pemberton: Yes.
    SD: It was said that Trucks and Nationwide will use it later this year? Any timetable?
    Pemberton: It’s just later. We need to work through some of these details here. We’ve got three races in three different states [this weekend]. We want to make sure we concentrate on this [in Cup] and get everything as right as we can.(SceneDaily)(6-7-2009)
  • No Sale or changes for Pocono: Joseph Mattioli understands that Pocono Raceway has an unusual place on the NASCAR circuit – and that’s just the way the outspoken track owner likes it. The track’s two races will always be 500 miles long, even as drivers and critics beg for 100 miles to be sliced off each. And those names, the Pocono 500 and Pennsylvania 500, will remain traditional and eschew corporate sponsorship. The track is a 2.5-mile triangle and boasts the longest straightaway (3,740 feet) in the series. And with a fourth-generation of Mattiolis in line to run the raceway, Pocono will never be for sale. Not to Bruton Smith. Not anyone. “If Bruton comes down Gasoline Alley with a wheelbarrow with a billion dollars, he wouldn’t get borscht from me,” the 84-year-old Mattioli said. “I have enough money, we don’t owe any money and all three generations are working and a fourth is waiting to start. It would be like selling part of your family.”(Associated Press)(6-7-2009)

June 6, 2009

  • Pit Stall Selections – Pocono: The pit stall selections for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway have been made. Pole sitter [die to rain out] #14-Stewart chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters] even thou Stewart is in a backup car and will start the race at the rear of the filed at the start. Outside pole sitter #24-Gordon took pit stall 24 the first stall will an opening behind it and #48-Johnson, who starts 3rd took the final pit stall as they tend to do. See the pit selection chart on the Pocono Pit Stall Selection chart.(6-6-2009)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway is over, the top-5:
    #11-Hamlin 165.317
    #39-Newman 165.213
    #16-Biffle 165.210
    #33-Bowyer 165.080
    #48-Johnson 165.017
    #14-Stewart is 6th in the backup car
    slowest: #09-Marlin 160.959 and #51-Bean 160.996
    See fast laps, average speeds, laps ran on the Pocono Practice Speeds.(6-6-2009)
  • First Saturday practice for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway is over, the top 5:
    #48-Johnson 167.607
    #39-Newman 166.747
    #14-Stewart 166.701
    #11-Hamlin 166.620
    #24-Gordon 166.248
    slowest: #51-Bean 159.886 and #36-Carpentier 162.010
    incidents: #14-Stewart spun, went thru the grass and did some damage to the car and sheared the spiltter off, the crew is pulling the backup out, so Stewart, who was to start on the poll, will drop to the rear of the field before the start of the race Sunday.
    See fast laps, average speeds, laps ran on the Pocono Practice Speeds.(6-6-2009)
  • To the rear winners in 2009: in the first thirteen races of 2006, three races have been won by drivers who had to fall to the rear of the field before the start:
    #17-Kenseth, Daytona 500, backup car [was to start 39th]
    #18-Kyle Busch, Las Vegas, engine change [was to start 31st]
    #09-Brad Keselowski, Talladega, engine change [was to start 9th]
    #14-Stewart will start at the rear of the field on Sunday at Pocono after having to go to a backup car, was to start 1st
    (SPEED’s coverage of Pocono practice)(6-6-2009)

  • Gordon discusses his back, no surgery planned: #24-Jeff Gordon met with media about his back, the transcript:
    HOW IS YOUR BACK AND HOW WILL IT HOLD UP HERE AT POCONO VERSUS A TRACK LIKE DOVER?: “I think this track is probably one of the easier tracks. You get a lot of resting period on those long straightaways. About the only place that it might be an issue will be under braking getting into turn one. I had to do a test at Road Atlanta this week – that was one of the real tests and I was surprised that we got through it pretty good. Especially after the wreck last Friday during qualifying. I was pretty sore from that. I think the road courses and Martinsville, Bristol – those are the toughest tracks on it. This one should be pretty easy.”
    HOW IS YOUR BACK FEELING?: “Right now I’m feeling pretty good. It’s always nice to have an extra day of rest – kind of got that today. I know there’s a lot of people that this didn’t work out so well for. For us, it worked out well – we got an extra day of rest, got a great starting position, great pit stall and now we can go focus for the race on Sunday. We’ll get out there tomorrow with the car in race conditions.”
    DO YOU KNOW WHETHER YOU WILL HAVE TO HAVE SURGERY ON YOUR BACK?: “Surgery really hasn’t been an option looking at my condition and the options of surgery is really too invasive. I don’t necessarily think it’s necessary. I might do another treatment of what I did a couple weeks ago. We have to wait four to six weeks. They say the second treatment you usually have a lot better results than the first one. I really haven’t seen any big effects from the first one so I wasn’t really thrilled about doing a second one. Anytime they talk about sticking needles in your back it’s not something I’m looking forward to. It wasn’t so bad though and I’m certainly willing to give it a shot so we’ll do that when the time’s right and it fits in the schedule. Until then, my focus is on the training and just stretching. It’s strengthening the area, my whole core area and that’s been great for me in a lot of ways because it’s got me in better physical shape. From a cardio standpoint especially, when I’m in the car everything feels better. I don’t feel as hot in the car, I don’t feel as winded and it’s just dealing with the spasms – just the muscles getting really tight and causing some pain there. Other than that, we’re getting through it.”
    DO YOU HAVE A ROUTINE BEFORE EVERY RACE?: “One thing we started this year was just incorporating an individual that comes to the track – it takes usually about an hour a day. They do ultrasound, massage and then some stretching. Then usually after the day is over I do some ice on my back. It’s just a routine. It doesn’t happen overnight or just flip a switch – just gradually getting used to the stuff going on in the car and getting stronger and getting better. I try to get in some stuff with my doctors when I’m at home that is a little more intense than that and then training as well. Being a Dad too – all those are great training.”(Chevy Racing)(6-6-2009)

  • Changes coming to improve the car-of-tomorrow? Drivers says NASCAR officials are telling them now changes are coming with controversial car-of-tomorrow, but no one seems to know what NASCAR might do, or when. “I think they’re going to go look into the engines — to maybe reduce horsepower,” Denny Hamlin says. “Maybe do something to the cars…but it’s tough to say whether they’re going to add downforce or take it all away. But I think they are going to make changes to the car. And I think it’s going to be after a lot of meetings with team engineers and finding out what we need to do to make them better.” Two of the biggest problems with the new COT is — that it doesn’t want to turn in the corners, so teams are doing really farout things with the chassis to help it turn (once reason apparently for some of the Dover tire issues); and that it has such a high center-of-gravity and so much right-side weight that it eats up right-side tires. Kyle Busch says “I’d like to see NASCAR do something to help these cars – either by taking 100 pounds out of these cars, or taking some right-side weight out. We’ve all gotten smarter in building these cars, and now we all have maybe 200 pounds of lead, or rather tungsten, in the car (as ballast).”(mikemulhern.net)(6-6-2009)

  • ESPN’s Jamie Little Appearing on Food Network’s Iron Chef: Jamie Little, pit reporter for ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR, will step out of her element as a guest judge on the popular Food Network program Iron Chef America. The program airs Sunday, June 7, at 10pm/et. The program pits a challenging chef against one of the network’s star chefs in a one-hour contest staged in “Kitchen Stadium.” The chefs must make a multi-course meal using a “secret ingredient” that they only learn about moments before the contest begins. Their work is then judged by a three-person panel to determine a winner. Little taped her appearance in New York City nearly a year ago and was sworn to secrecy. “I even had to sign documentation that I would not reveal what the secret ingredient was,” she said. The program re-airs June 11 at 8 p.m., June 13 at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Sept. 12 at 10 p.m.(ESPN)(6-6-2009)

June 5, 2009

  • Qualifying rained out at Pocono, set by rules book: Qualifying for the Pocono 500 pole at Pocono Raceway was cancelled due to rain at the track and set by the rules book. So #14-Stewart will start on the pole [not credited with winning one] followed by #24-Gordon, #48-Johnson, #2-Busch, #39-Newman, #18-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #17-Kenseth, #16-Biffle and #31-Burton.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #09-Marlin [owner win]. #82-Speed, #71-Gilliland, #87-Nemechek, #36-Carpentier, #66-Blaney, #78-Smith and #51-Bean [1st career start]
    The three drivers who failed to qualify: #75-Cope, #64-Wallace [was a late entry] and #37-Raines [was a late entry].
    See the starting lineup on my Pocono Starting Lineup page.(6-5-2009)

  • NASCAR countersues Mayfield: NASCAR filed a countersuit against Jeremy Mayfield on Friday, accusing the suspended Sprint Cup driver of willfully violating the substance abuse policy, breach of contract and defrauding competitors of earnings. The suit stated that Mayfield knowingly participated in sanctioned competition using a combination of drugs in violation of the substance abuse policy that he agreed to follow. “And in doing so violated his contract with NASCAR and the standards of care for other drivers,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said from Pocono Raceway. “You will see in [the lawsuit] he competed in a number of races that had we known he had been on a medication he was on and certainly known there were illegal substances involved we wouldn’t have allowed him to compete,” Poston said. According to Poston, drivers are required in their contract with NASCAR to notify Dr. David Black, who runs the drug testing program at AEGIS Lab in Tennessee, of any prescription drugs they are taking. The suit alleged that Mayfield did not notify anybody with NASCAR that he was on a prescription drug until the May 1 drug test, and that Mayfield already had participated in two races while on the drug. The suit said that Mayfield crashed in three of the five races in which he competed this season, including races in which he was under the influence of the drug he failed to report to NASCAR, a combination of drugs and the illegal drug that was blacked out in the suit. The suit also said Mayfield earned more than $150,000 in those races that would have gone to other competitors.(see more at ESPN.com)(6-5-2009)
    See FULL story and past news on my #41 Team News and Links page or/and Drug Policy page.(6-2-2009)
  • NASCAR’s Drug Policy: in a PDF form at the Charlotte Observer.

  • Final Dover/Season TV Ratings: A challenging season of NASCAR on Fox came to an end this weekend with a 4.0/10 (6.1 million viewers) for racing from DOVER. Sunday’s 4.0/10 is down -11% compared to last year’s 4.5/11 for the same race, making nine straight regularly scheduled races that have been down double-digits compared to 2008. The 2009 season of NASCAR on FOX concludes with an average rating of 5.1/11 (8.5 mill.), down -11% compared to last year’s 5.7/12 and a new low in the nine-year history of NASCAR On FOX. Despite the poor year-to-year trend, NASCAR remains the dominant player in February-June sports. FOX’s 5.1/11 for NASCAR more than doubles ABC’s rating for regular season NBA (+113% vs. 2.4/6). It’s also +46% better than ABC’s NBA Playoff average (3.5/8) and NASCAR nearly matched the viewership of the complete NCAA Tournament on CBS (8.5 million vs. 8.7 million).
    • FOX’s NASCAR season suffered from a trio of negative on-track trends: more cautions, fewer lead changes, and lower average speeds. 649 laps were run under caution on FOX this season, a +15% increase over last year. Put another way, there was one caution flag for every 40 miles of racing this season. Last year it was one every 45 miles, in FOX’s first NASCAR season (2001) it was one every 63 miles. Ten years ago it was one every 72 miles. Lead changes were down this year, with one coming every 20 miles compared to last year’s once every 17 miles. That’s at least one extra lap between lead changes, sometimes more. Average speed, which is obviously tied to number of cautions, was also down this year. This year’s average speed during FOX races was 118mph. Last year it was 124mph. In 2001 it was 128mph, and in 1999 it was 130mph.(Fox), see race-by-race TV Ratings and chart on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(6-5-2009)

  • Richard Childress Elected to NRA Board of Directors: NASCAR championship-winning team owner Richard Childress [#’s 07,29,31,33] realized a long-time dream when he was recently elected to the board of directors of the National Rifle Association. The NRA Board of Directors is elected by the Association’s four million members and has a broad spectrum of constituents with varying backgrounds, from law enforcement to competitive shooting, political activists to elected officials. Notable NRA Board members include Lt. Col. Oliver North, Karl Malone, Ted Nugent and Tom Selleck. The Board of Directors oversees the policies and programs developed by the organization. Childress, of Clemmons, N.C., is a lifelong supporter of the Second Amendment, a big-game hunter and an outdoor conservationist. The 12-time NASCAR championship-winning team owner is a Life Member of the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Grand Slam Club/Ovis (Grand Slam #901). He was named a Board Member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation in 2008. Childress works with local, state and national agencies on wildlife/outdoor conservation efforts and many related charities. He worked with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in 2000 to reintroduce an elk herd into North Carolina for the first time in 200 years. His family recently teamed with Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center to create the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma.(RCR)(6-5-2009)

  • Penske may make bid for Saturn UPDATE: Roger Penske says he is contemplating a bid for the Saturn automotive brand that General Motors Corp. plans to sell or shut down. While Penske has not yet made an offer, he said Friday a decision would have to come soon and that a number of unidentified details need to be worked out. Penske has a vested interest in the automotive industry. He owns the second-largest U.S. automobile retail chain in terms of sales, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Penske Automotive Group Inc. He has race teams in the IndyCar, NASCAR and Grand-Am series. But Penske denied that he has made a deal and said published reports are ahead of the process.(ESPN.com/AP)(5-8-2009)
    UPDATE: General Motors Corp. has struck a tentative deal to sell its Saturn brand to former race car driver and auto dealer Roger Penske. Penske, who owns the Penske Automotive Group dealership chain, told reporters on Friday that he plans to offer all 350 Saturn dealerships new franchise agreements. He says Saturn’s 13,000 employees will stay on with the company for at least the immediate future. He declined to name the price for the deal. Penske says GM will continue to produce Saturn vehicles, though he is in discussions with manufacturers worldwide about building the vehicles going forward.(AP/ESPN)(6-5-2009)

  • Robby Gordon run Baja 500 Saturday: Leader of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series points standings and four-time Baja 500 champion, Robby Gordon returns to Ensenada, Mexico hoping to continue his dominance of the dirt in the 2009 season. Following his season-opening win in the Laughlin Desert Challenge and his second place finish in the San Felipe 250, Gordon has a 125-point lead heading into Saturday’s 41st Tecate SCORE Baja 500. On Saturday morning, Gordon and co-driver Andy Grider will climb into the #77 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires Chevy CK1500 for 432.51-miles of racing action. The green flag will drop for the car and truck classes at approximately 10:00 a.m. local time. The duo of Gordon and Grider roll off sixth and will race their way towards the coveted Baja 500 title in front more than 100,000 spectators. Upon completion of the race, Robby Gordon will head east to Pocono, where he will race another 500 miles in the Sprint Cup Series event. When it is all said and done, Gordon will have raced more than 950 miles.(RGM)
    Kvapil in: Travis Kvapil will be practicing and qualifying the #7 Pittsburgh Paints Toyota for Gordon car on Friday and Saturday at Pocono and Gordon will race the car.(6-5-2009)

  • NASCAR’s Most Valuable Teams: To date, all 13 races have been won by five of the sport’s most valuable teams; six have come from Hendrick Motorsports, which tops Forbe’s list this year. No. 2: Roush Fenway Racing. Richard Childress Racing is third. Since Forbe’s valuations last year, four of the top 15 most valuable teams have disappeared, either through mergers or an exit from the sport, leaving a bigger divide between the haves and have-nots. Forbe’s estimate the average top 10 team fell in value by 6% to $148 million in 2009 from $158 million last year. Partly to blame: Sponsors renewing deals with teams now have more leverage than ever to negotiate a better deal. Hendrick Motorsports is ranked #1, worth $350 million followed by Roush Fenway Racing ($270m), Richard Childress Racing ($167m), Joe Gibbs Racing ($144) and Richard Petty Motorsports ($131). See full story and top 10 list at Forbes.com.(6-5-2009)

  • Special scheme for Sorenson at Pocono IMAGE added: There aren’t many guarantees in racing but this weekend in Pocono, #43 Valvoline Dodge driver Reed Sorenson will carry a guarantee on the hood of his Dodge. Sorenson will drive the “Valvoline Engine Guarantee” Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports. The paint scheme is part of Valvoline’s new engine guarantee program. Anyone can go to Valvoline.com and signup and Valvoline will guarantee the engine for up to 300,000 miles. The guarantee program couldn’t come at a better time. The front stretch at the 2.5-mile triangular shaped track is the longest one of the toughest on engines in the sport.(RPM)(6-3-2009)
    IMAGE see scheme, posted on my #43 Team Schemes page.(6-5-2009)
  • Pocono Tire Notes: This week, teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will run the same right-side tire code (D-4160) that they ran at Pocono last year . . . this right-side has also been run at Bristol for the past two seasons . . . this is a new left-side code (D-4178) to the Goodyear tire lineup . . . this left-side features the same compound as the 2008 Pocono tire, but a different construction . . . this construction is run on several other flat tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit — Phoenix, New Hampshire and Richmond . . . 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 (Sprint Cup). See tire pressures, codes and more on my Pocono Race page – Goodyear section.(6-5-2009)

  • Special scheme for Newman at Pocono: Joining Ryan Newman and the #39 Chevy team as they seek the victory will be sponsor Haas Automation Demo Day. The semi-annual event – held on June 17 this year – takes place at 50 Haas Factory Outlets around the country. Each Haas Factory Outlet will hold a customer appreciation event at their facility to demonstrate Haas machine tools, provide seminars on labor-saving ideas and show off their service capabilities. This year marks the 16th Demo Day, one of which will be held at the Stewart-Haas Racing shop in Kannapolis, N.C. This year’s event will have a special Tony Stewart theme, and on that day, Haas Automation will unveil of the official, limited-edition Tony Stewart VF-2SS Haas machine.(SHR)(6-5-2009)

  • Long loses appeal of penalty UPDATE 3 donations: #46-Carl Long says he has lost his appeal of a 12-race suspension and penalty. The National Stock Car Racing Commission denied Long’s appeal at a hearing Tuesday, the driver said. The commission isolated Long’s suspension to the Sprint Cup Series, meaning he can find work in one of the sport’s lower levels. However, Long’s full-time job is working with the Front Row Motorsports #34 Chevy in the Cup series. The commission also told Long the $200,000 fine levied against crew chief Charles Swing would not fall to Long if Swing can’t pay it. Long was penalized for having an illegal engine at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last month. The 12-race suspension, 200-point penalty and $200,000 fine are NASCAR records. He said he plans to research how to go about appealing the penalty further. “I’m now suspended only from the Cup garage for 12 weeks,” Long told ESPN.com. “At the end of year, though, they’re still sitting there with their hands out. So my crew chief still doesn’t get his 2010 license if it hasn’t been paid. I’m very disappointed in them.”(ESPN/AP)
    MORE: As the realization that the National Stock Car Commission on Tuesday upheld the record 200-point, $200,000 penalty against him sunk in, Carl Long became increasingly frustrated. Frustration turned to anger. In minutes, he was livid. “Big Bill [France, NASCAR founder] and Bill Jr. ruled the sport like a father — at the end of the day they took care of their family,” Long said. “These guys don’t care. They don’t have any heart. Basically, it seems like they don’t care about the sport, they just want to make a dollar. I truly have a sour taste of the management in our sport. They’ve forgotten the roots of how this sport was created, and who are the people buying the tickets, sitting in the stands. The people in the stands are me.” Multiple calls to NASCAR for comment were not immediately returned. When Long had to change engines prior to the Sprint Showdown, NASCAR surveyed the first engine and determined it to be illegal. He was confident entering Tuesday’s appeals hearing. He thought he’d go in, plead his case, and come out with nothing more than a revamped concept of the lucrative engine-building-and-selling business in NASCAR. Not so. More at ESPN.com.(6-2-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Statement from Carl Long [savecarllong.com] Following the Appeal: ” I am very disappointed in NASCAR’s decision. I am not arguing that the size NASCAR measured is big. Ernie Elliott says this happened because of distortion from heat. Allow me the .17 for expansion or show me metallurgy that states how much a block can change at extreme temperatures. Then take this hole in the rules and make engine companies sign the inspection sheet and take responsibility. Fix the rule! Engine builders can argue with NASCAR and their engineers instead of leaving drivers, owners, and crew chiefs to explain properties of cast iron, nickel, and the growth due to heat. We have the option to appeal to the national board in Daytona. I am trying to overcome my emotions versus the facts. After today’s hearing, I have lost all faith in the way the appeal system works.(6-3-2009)
    UPDATE 3: from Carl Long concerning fan donations, including one by driver David Reuitmann: “I would like to thank all of the fans and supporters who have generously donated their hard-earned cash to help pay my fine and get Carl Long Racing back into NASCAR. I am stunned by the enormous forthcoming of support and could not have imagined that I would ever be this privileged. Carl-long.com – donation info there.(6-5-2009)
  • MIS makes fans the VIPs: Michigan International Speedway has officially launched a fan appreciation program. An unofficial fan appreciation program has been under way for a few years, Curtis said, with one-off invitations and promotions on a much smaller scale during race weekends. Staffers have given away trips to the NASCAR driver’s meeting and Victory Lane, or recognized special fans with seat upgrades and garage passes. Last year, the speedway also opened up the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garage for 250 fans. But the staff wanted to formalize its commitment to guests with something official and on a much larger scale. Under the speedway’s fan appreciation program, there will be two rounds of give-aways — Round 1 in advance of the race weekend on June 8; and Round 2 on race weekend, June 12-14. More info on the prizes and VIP deal at mispeedway.com.(6-5-2009)

June 4, 2009

  • NASCAR Announces “Double-File Restarts – Shootout Style”: NASCAR announced a change to its race format with the addition of “Double-File Restarts – Shootout Style” throughout each race. Beginning with this weekend at Pocono Raceway, the first- and second-place drivers will line up side-by-side as the green flag flies for each restart. “We’ve heard the fans loud and clear: ‘double-file restarts – shootout style’ are coming to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “This addition to the race format is good for competition and good for the fans.”
    NASCAR recently used the “double-file” format for its non-points NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, which produced an unpredictable finish. The format will be adapted for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the near future. Under the previous format, cars on the lead lap would restart in a single-file line while cars that had been lapped would start in a line next to them. Under the new format, the race leader will have the option to restart on the inside or outside lane. The second-place driver would then restart next to the leader. Regardless of where the leader starts, drivers in odd number positions (3rd, 5th, 7th places, etc.) will restart on the inside lane, while drivers in even number positions (4th, 6th, 8th places, etc.) will restart on the outside. All restarts will use the same format regardless of the number of laps remaining in the race.
    The first-place driver will continue to control the timing of restarts in a designated zone on the track. Likewise, cars are to stay in line until they reach the start/finish line. The first eligible car a lap or more down will continue to earn one lap back following a caution, which is known as the “free pass.” However, a new element beginning this week will be that the “free pass” will remain in effect the entire race [before it was all race until 10 or less laps to go, then none was awarded]. Lapped cars choosing to remain on the track will be “waved around” the caution car and will restart the race in respective track position, thus picking up a lap to the leader provided the leader also pits. This will also remove lapped cars from behind the pace car, allowing the leaders to take the green without interference [so the leader will not restart in the middle of the pack].(NASCAR)(6-4-2009)

  • Tire Testing at Indy: UPDATE: Goodyear is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week with several Sprint Cup drivers and teams, conducting a sixth test since last year’s tire meltdown at Indy during the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard. The Allstate 400, seven weeks away on July 26, is NASCAR’s second-biggest event of the year. Only the Daytona 500 ranks higher in terms of prestige and importance. How serious is it? Serious enough that Goodyear invited its biggest critic in the past — Tony Stewart — to make some laps on Monday at Indy. As did #12-David Stremme, who was pleased with the progress Goodyear has made. “They brought a tire that has really even wear,” Stremme said. “We got to a full fuel run [about 30 laps]. Goodyear has done their homework.” Twelve Cup teams will participate in a seventh test later this month. The three-day test this week is closed to the media.(ESPN.com). scheduled to test are #14-Tony Stewart, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #9-Kasey Kahne, #7-Robby Gordon, #36-?, #12-David Stremme, #16-Greg Biffle, #21-Bill Elliott and #31-Jeff Burton. The public can view the testing from the infield grandstands in the South chute.(6-3-2009)
    UPDATE: The process for Goodyear to determine the tire combination for the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race continued this week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With weather and track conditions very near what is expected for the July 26-28 event, more than 1,200 laps of testing was completed with all results indicating they are on target to finalize that recommendation. Goodyear brought nine teams to the Speedway for on-track sessions on Monday and Tuesday, while rain rolled through the area on Wednesday, cancelling the third day of the scheduled test. Drivers and teams that participated were: #16-Greg Biffle, #31-Jeff Burton, #36-Patrick Carpentier, #21-Bill Elliott, #7-Robby Gordon, #9-Kasey Kahne, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya #14-Tony Stewart and #12-David Stremme. Throughout the test,several cars were able to make runs of more than 30 laps, with some even running out of fuel on the track. A fuel stop at the two-and-a-half-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway is estimated at 32 laps. (Goodyear PR)(6-4-2009)

  • Career start 300 for Harvick: #29-Kevin Harvick will make his 300th-career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend at Pocono Raceway. Dating back to February 26, 2001 the Bakersfield, Calif., native has earned 11 wins, five poles, 58 top-five (19.3%) and 122 top-10 finishes (40.8%) in NSCS competition, in addition to one win each in both the Sprint All-Star Race (2007) and the Budweiser Shootout (2009). He has led 2,991 laps and earned close to $53 million in purse money. Over those 299 starts, Harvick has logged a 17.9 starting average and a 15.6 finishing average. The 11-time Sprint Cup Series winner has been running at the finish in 285 of those 299 races and finished on the lead lap 193 times.(RCR)(6-4-2009)
  • Pocono Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 31 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover. Logano scored a 15th-place finish on the lead lap and grabbed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the fourth consecutive event and for the 10th time this season. Logano leads #82-Scott Speed by 16 points (146-130) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 7 Pocono 500 at Pocono. The only Raybestos Rookie to win the Pocono 500 (27 races) is Denny Hamlin. Hamlin won the 2006 race by 1.328 seconds over second-place Kurt Busch He became just the third Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the June race at Pocono. Hamlin also became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps (six times for 83 laps) and is one of just seven rookies to lead a lap in the June race at Pocono (since 1989). Two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions for the June race at Pocono: Kasey Kahne (2004) and Denny Hamlin (2006). Raybestos Rookies Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers made history at Pocono during time trials for the 2004 Pocono 500. Kahne won the pole while Brian Vickers grabbed the second-place starting position. The 2004 race was the first time in the track’s history that TWO Raybestos Rookies started on the front row at Pocono and only the second time in the sport’s modern-era where there was an all-rookie front row.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos) and for Rookie Standings, History and more, see my 2009 Rookies page.(6-4-2009)
  • Chase Stats and Notes: #2-Kurt Busch has led a resurgent Penske Racing over the first 13 races, improving from 21st at this time last year to a strong 4th, with a strong 226-point cushion inside the Top 12. Next comes #39-Ryan Newman, who has improved from 14th to 5th, and is the circuit’s top point-getter over the last five races. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (3rd to 18th), #29-Kevin Harvick (10th to 24th) and #33-Clint Bowyer (8th to 16th) are all 2008 Chasers who will have a tough time making a return to the Top 12. Harvick’s streak of three straight Chase appearances is in serious jeopardy, and this is the lowest he’s stood at the halfway point in six years. Stewart-Haas 2 of 2 (100%), Hendrick 3 of 4 (75%), Gibbs 2 of 3 (66%), Roush 3 of 5 (60%), Penske 1 of 3 (33%), Childress 1 of 4 (25%) are the teams currently in the Top 12. Lots of racing left, but #48-Jimmie Johnson and #17-Matt Kenseth look to be on their way to a sixth straight Chase. See more on my Sprint Cup Chase Stats and Notes page.(6-4-2009)

  • Logano to Pull Double-Duty in Sonoma: #20-Joey Logano will compete in the Bennett Lane Winery 200, presented by Supercuts, NASCAR Camping World West Series race at Infineon Raceway on Saturday, June 20. Logano joins road-race veteran Boris Said as the latest two entries for the Camping World West Series race, which is part of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, June 19-21. Logano will pull double-duty for Joe Gibbs Racing, competing in both events. Logano competed in the West Series event at Infineon Raceway two years ago, but was sidelined by engine trouble.(Infineon Raceway)(6-4-2009)
  • MIS and TNA Wrestling team up: Michigan Speedway and TNA Wrestling Join Forces to Offer Free Tickets to TNA Slammiversary in Detroit on June 21. Race fans heading to Michigan Speedway who buy tickets in a section labeled “Hermie’s Hot Seats” for the Lifelock 400 on June 14 will get also get a free ticket to TNA Wrestling’s “Slammiversary” PPV live from the Palace of Auburn Hills on Sunday June 21. SPEED analyst Hermie Sadler will be joined by TNA Wrestling’s Rhino and Taylor Wilde as they visit with the fans in Hermie’s section prior to the race. For ticket information, call the Michigan Speedway ticket office at 1-800-354-1010.(6-4-2009)

June 3, 2009

  • Persistent Rain Postpones Fifth Annual Prelude to the Dream: Persistent rain has forced officials at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, to postpone the fifth annual Prelude to the Dream. The all-star dirt late model race has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 9. A decision regarding the broadcast of the event will be made at a later date. The wet weather made it impossible to run the event that was slated to benefit four military-themed charities – Wounded Warrior Project, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Operation Homefront and Fisher House. “We worked really hard to make sure everything was right for the drivers, fans and viewers at home on HBO Pay-Per-View, but the weather was the one element we couldn’t control,” said Tony Stewart, two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and owner of Eldora Speedway. Those who have already purchased the Prelude to the Dream on HBO Pay-Per-View will be refunded. Those who purchased a ticket to the event can apply the value of their Prelude to the Dream ticket toward any remaining event on the 2009 Eldora Speedway schedule. To view the schedule, please visit www.EldoraSpeedway.com or call the track office (937) 338-3815. More info on my Racing Charities page – Prelude to the Dream section.(6-3-2009)

  • Crew Chief Changes for Germain Racing: Germain Racing has added veteran NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief Peter Sospenzo to lead the efforts of the #13 GEICO Camry and driver Max Papis. This move allows general manager Mike Hillman Sr. to work with the #15 Pilot Travel Centers/HYPE Energy Drinks Camry team and driver Michael Annett in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series. “When we started our season, we knew it would be a learning experience running rookie drivers in each of NASCAR’s top two series. Germain Racing is a very competitive organization. We expect a lot of ourselves and after watching both of our Camry programs at Dover, we saw some opportunities to strengthen each of those teams. Peter Sospenzo is taking over as crew chief for Max Papis and the GEICO Camry, and I’m going to head to Nashville this weekend with Michael Annett and the #15 Camry crew to see if there is more we can bring to the track for Michael,” said Hillman. Peter Sospenzo has been with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR), which is the engineering partner for Germain Racing’s GEICO Camry program. Mike Hillman Sr. has served as crew chief for Germain Racing in each of NASCAR’s top three divisions. He holds two NASCAR championship titles. Hillman will call the shots for Annett and the #15 Pilot Travel Centers/HYPE Energy Drinks Camry on Saturday at Nashville.(Germain Racing/GEICO Racing.(6-3-2009)

  • Mayfield Motorsports mulling sponsorship options: The #41 Mayfield Motorsports car did not pull out of Dover because of sponsorship issues, Mayfield Motorsports’ team manager Bobby Wooten said. But it sounds like things are a bit in flux, as you’d expect. Wooten said that they withdrew from the race to give themselves time to organize and catch their breaths a little bit. He said the team would like to get J.J. Yeley back in the car, but very vaguely said that’s in the works. “Everything’s on hold,” Wooten said. Of course, Mayfield has filed suit against NASCAR to lift his suspension [see story below on the lawsuit] at least until the conclusion of a court case. If he succeeds, he can get back in the car. Asked about sponsorship, Wooten said the team is still trying to figure out options. He wouldn’t give any names of companies the team is involved with and said previous sponsors “may or may not be” associated with the team in the future. This season Mayfield Motorsports has been sponsored by All Sport, Big Red Soda and Smallsponsor.com.(Orlando Sentinel). also hearing that the team has been looking for partners or to sell the team, one team being contacted was the #51 team of Dexter Bean.(6-3-2009)

  • Tire Testing at Indy: Goodyear is back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week with several Sprint Cup drivers and teams, conducting a sixth test since last year’s tire meltdown at Indy during the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard. The Allstate 400, seven weeks away on July 26, is NASCAR’s second-biggest event of the year. Only the Daytona 500 ranks higher in terms of prestige and importance. How serious is it? Serious enough that Goodyear invited its biggest critic in the past — Tony Stewart — to make some laps on Monday at Indy. As did #12-David Stremme, who was pleased with the progress Goodyear has made. “They brought a tire that has really even wear,” Stremme said. “We got to a full fuel run [about 30 laps]. Goodyear has done their homework.” Twelve Cup teams will participate in a seventh test later this month. The three-day test this week is closed to the media.(ESPN.com). scheduled to test are #14-Tony Stewart, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #9-Kasey Kahne, #7-Robby Gordon, #36-?, #12-David Stremme, #16-Greg Biffle, #21-Bill Elliott and #31-Jeff Burton. The public can view the testing from the infield grandstands in the South chute.(6-3-2009)

  • Special scheme for Sorenson at Pocono: There aren’t many guarantees in racing but this weekend in Pocono, #43 Valvoline Dodge driver Reed Sorenson will carry a guarantee on the hood of his Dodge. Sorenson will drive the “Valvoline Engine Guarantee” Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports. The paint scheme is part of Valvoline’s new engine guarantee program. Anyone can go to Valvoline.com and signup and Valvoline will guarantee the engine for up to 300,000 miles. The guarantee program couldn’t come at a better time. The front stretch at the 2.5-mile triangular shaped track is the longest one of the toughest on engines in the sport. Sunday marks TNT’s first race telecast of the 2009 season.(RPM)(6-3-2009)

  • Martin looks for his first win at Pocono: In 44 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono Raceway, #5-Mark Martin has scored 19 top-five finishes, 31 top-10s and three pole positions, but has yet to win a Sprint Cup Series race there. Pocono is one of only six active tracks where Martin has yet to visit Victory Lane. Martin has finished in the runner-up position at Pocono six times — a stat that ties his personal best at Dover and Darlington [tracks where he also has wins]. Martin’s 31 top-10 finishes and 36 lead-lap finishes at Pocono are the most for the NASCAR veteran at any active racetrack. Meanwhile, his 19 top-fives rank second for Martin, just behind the 21 he has recorded at Dover. His average start of 8.6 and average finish of 10.7 at the Long Pond, Pa., triangle make Pocono the only non-road course track where both stats are in the top 10.(HMS)(6-3-2009)
  • Six CURRENT Race Tracks Martin has never won race at: There are six current race tracks the Sprint Cup Series runs on that #5-Mark Martin has not won at [a Sprint Cup race], plus Martin ran five races at Nashville and four races at Riverside and didn’t win:
    Pocono: 0 for 44 with six finishes of 2nd, last in 8/2004
    New Hampshire: 0 for 24 with three finishes of 2nd, last in 8/1998
    Daytona: 0 for 48 with a best finish of 2nd in 2/2007
    Chicago: 0 for 8 with a best finish of 6th in 7/2001
    Indianapolis: 0 for 15 with a best finish of 2nd in 8/1998
    Homestead: 0 for 9 with a best finish of 2nd in 11/2005
    (6-3-2009)

  • Long loses appeal of penalty UPDATE 2: NASCAR driver #46-Carl Long says he has lost his appeal of a 12-race suspension and penalty. The National Stock Car Racing Commission denied Long’s appeal at a hearing Tuesday, the driver said. The commission isolated Long’s suspension to the Sprint Cup Series, meaning he can find work in one of the sport’s lower levels. However, Long’s full-time job is working with the Front Row Motorsports #34 Chevy in the Cup series. The commission also told Long the $200,000 fine levied against crew chief Charles Swing would not fall to Long if Swing can’t pay it. Long was penalized for having an illegal engine at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last month. The 12-race suspension, 200-point penalty and $200,000 fine are NASCAR records. He said he plans to research how to go about appealing the penalty further. “I’m now suspended only from the Cup garage for 12 weeks,” Long told ESPN.com. “At the end of year, though, they’re still sitting there with their hands out. So my crew chief still doesn’t get his 2010 license if it hasn’t been paid. I’m very disappointed in them.”(ESPN/AP)
    MORE: As the realization that the National Stock Car Commission on Tuesday upheld the record 200-point, $200,000 penalty against him sunk in, Carl Long became increasingly frustrated. Frustration turned to anger. In minutes, he was livid. “Big Bill [France, NASCAR founder] and Bill Jr. ruled the sport like a father — at the end of the day they took care of their family,” Long said. “These guys don’t care. They don’t have any heart. Basically, it seems like they don’t care about the sport, they just want to make a dollar. I truly have a sour taste of the management in our sport. They’ve forgotten the roots of how this sport was created, and who are the people buying the tickets, sitting in the stands. The people in the stands are me.” Multiple calls to NASCAR for comment were not immediately returned. When Long had to change engines prior to the Sprint Showdown, NASCAR surveyed the first engine and determined it to be illegal. He was confident entering Tuesday’s appeals hearing. He thought he’d go in, plead his case, and come out with nothing more than a revamped concept of the lucrative engine-building-and-selling business in NASCAR. Not so. More at ESPN.com.(6-2-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Statement from Carl Following the Appeal: ” I am very disappointed in NASCAR’s decision. I am not arguing that the size NASCAR measured is big. Ernie Elliott says this happened because of distortion from heat. Allow me the .17 for expansion or show me metallurgy that states how much a block can change at extreme temperatures. Then take this hole in the rules and make engine companies sign the inspection sheet and take responsibility. Fix the rule! Engine builders can argue with NASCAR and their engineers instead of leaving drivers, owners, and crew chiefs to explain properties of cast iron, nickel, and the growth due to heat. We have the option to appeal to the national board in Daytona. I am trying to overcome my emotions versus the facts. After today’s hearing, I have lost all faith in the way the appeal system works.(Carl-long.com)
  • Interesting Stewart Stat: #14-Tony Stewart overtook #24-Jeff Gordon (26th) in the Cup standings. For the first time, Stewart-Haas Racing holds the points lead. The last time Stewart led the standings was after the Homestead race in 2005 — his last championship season. In every season Stewart has led the standings, he has gone on to win the championship (2002 and 2005).(NASCAR)(6-3-2009)
  • Biffle’s Team Grabs Tissot Pit Crew Award in Dover: Greg Biffle’s #16 crew captured the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway. It was the second Tissot win of the season for Biffle’s crew, which also won the award at the March Cup race in Las Vegas. By claiming its second pit road win of the season, the #16 crew takes over sole possession of second place in the Tissot standings. Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew leads with three victories while eight teams are tied for third with one win. Biffle’s crew won the award in Dover as a result of the team’s #16 Ford Fusion spending the least amount of time on pit road – 320.935 seconds. The quick work by the crew helped lift Biffle to a third place finish in the 400-mile race. The #16 over-the-wall crew consists 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), Ryan Dextraze (catch can) and Chris Elliott (windshield). The team’s crew chief is Greg Erwin and the pit crew coach is Andy Ward. The #16 team will receive $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver.(Tissot)(6-3-2009)
  • Knaus Named Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Dover: Chad Knaus, crew chief for the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. Johnson climbed from eighth to first by lap 49 of the 400-lap race, eventually leading a total of nine times for 298 laps. Knaus and crew worked effortlessly to help guide their driver to yet another victory at the famed “Monster Mile”. Atop the leaderboard, Knaus summoned his driver to pit road with 36 laps to go for a four-tire change. Unfortunately a faulty exchange by the crew slowed him down, dropping him back in ninth place. Luckily, Knaus was able to calmly coach Johnson back to the front of the pack, passing Tony Stewart for the lead with just two laps to go. 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 Wipers PR)
  • Papis to Headline NASCAR Day in Sacramento on June 6: #13-Max Papis will headline the festivities on Saturday, June 6, as the 5th annual NASCAR Day in Sacramento returns to the State Capitol. In just four years, this has developed into one of the biggest celebrations leading up to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series weekend at Infineon Raceway, June 19-21. Papis will be on hand for a Q&A with race fans, as well as to sign autographs. The day will also include a drive of NASCAR stock cars around the streets of Sacramento under a full escort. The event will also feature music, interactive displays, special ticket offers for the big race weekend, face painting and a bounce house for children. The day spans from 11am-2pm and is FREE to the public. For more information about this event, be sure to visit www.infineonraceway.com or call 800-870-RACE.(Infineon Raceway)(6-3-2009)
  • Race park planned for Metrolina in Charlotte: An investment group wants to revitalize the race track at the Metrolina Tradeshow Expo in northern Charlotte and make it the centerpiece of a $50 million amateur sports and tourism destination. Speedway Investment Group, based in Mooresville, NC., said Monday that the Metrolina Speed and Sport Center could generate 150 jobs in the Derita community. Simon Weber, president, said the group plans to buy 40 of Metrolina’s 146 acres and complete the initial phase by April 2010, to coincide with the opening of NASCAR Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte. The initial phase would include a 40,000-square-foot building with retail and a rooftop skateboard park. The property also would include a progressively banked asphalt track, a karting facility and a “drifting” course on which drivers oversteer to cause cars to lose traction and skid. Weber said the sports complex would accommodate racing configurations from go-karts to late-model stock cars. It would include outdoor and indoor radio-controlled car tracks, grandstands and 4,000 parking spaces. Tim Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said the project could complement the NASCAR hall by “celebrating parts of racing that are difficult to celebrate now.” Weber said Monday that he is using institutional funding to help finance the development, which he says would celebrate Metrolina’s history, embrace green technology and attract national and international sports competitions. The deal is contingent on a rezoning by the Charlotte City Council. A public hearing and vote is planned for June 15. In the 1960s, Metrolina operated as Speedworld and was also known as the Charlotte Fairgrounds Speedway. The 0.6-mile clay track was paved briefly in the 1970s and ran NASCAR-sponsored races promoted by Ned Jarrett. It was returned to dirt and operated off and on until the mid-1990s.(Charlotte Observer)(6-3-2009)

June 2, 2009

  • NASCAR moves Mayfield case to federal court: NASCAR on Tuesday moved Jeremy Mayfield’s challenge of his indefinite suspension to federal court, a move that could keep the driver out of his car another week. The notification came a day before a North Carolina Superior Court was scheduled to hear arguments pertaining to Mayfield’s suspension for failing a random drug test. NASCAR’s action automatically stayed that proceeding. Mayfield had hoped a judge would reinstate him in time to compete this weekend at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. His attorneys will now have to either fight the suspension in federal court, or petition the case be moved back to the state level. “Administration of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy extends to every state in which it races, which is why the logical forum is federal court,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. NASCAR has not revealed what substance Mayfield tested positive for, but his attorneys said in court he tested positive for amphetamines. Bridges warned both sides not to discuss Mayfield’s test results.(Associated Press), see past news on my #41 Team News and Links page and Drug Policy page.(6-2-2009)
  • NASCAR’s Drug Policy: in a PDF form at the Charlotte Observer.

  • Long loses appeal of penalty: NASCAR driver #46-Carl Long says he has lost his appeal of a 12-race suspension and penalty. The National Stock Car Racing Commission denied Long’s appeal at a hearing Tuesday, the driver said. The commission isolated Long’s suspension to the Sprint Cup Series, meaning he can find work in one of the sport’s lower levels. However, Long’s full-time job is working with the Front Row Motorsports #34 Chevy in the Cup series. The commission also told Long the $200,000 fine levied against crew chief Charles Swing would not fall to Long if Swing can’t pay it. Long was penalized for having an illegal engine at Lowe’s Motor Speedway last month. The 12-race suspension, 200-point penalty and $200,000 fine are NASCAR records. He said he plans to research how to go about appealing the penalty further. “I’m now suspended only from the Cup garage for 12 weeks,” Long told ESPN.com. “At the end of year, though, they’re still sitting there with their hands out. So my crew chief still doesn’t get his 2010 license if it hasn’t been paid. I’m very disappointed in them.”(ESPN/AP)
    MORE: As the realization that the National Stock Car Commission on Tuesday upheld the record 200-point, $200,000 penalty against him sunk in, Carl Long became increasingly frustrated. Frustration turned to anger. In minutes, he was livid. “Big Bill [France, NASCAR founder] and Bill Jr. ruled the sport like a father — at the end of the day they took care of their family,” Long said. “These guys don’t care. They don’t have any heart. Basically, it seems like they don’t care about the sport, they just want to make a dollar. I truly have a sour taste of the management in our sport. They’ve forgotten the roots of how this sport was created, and who are the people buying the tickets, sitting in the stands. The people in the stands are me.” Multiple calls to NASCAR for comment were not immediately returned. When Long had to change engines prior to the Sprint Showdown, NASCAR surveyed the first engine and determined it to be illegal. He was confident entering Tuesday’s appeals hearing. He thought he’d go in, plead his case, and come out with nothing more than a revamped concept of the lucrative engine-building-and-selling business in NASCAR. Not so. More at ESPN.com.(6-2-2009)
  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series
    * Jimmie Johnson won the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Heluva Good! at Dover International Speedway.
    * Johnson became the fourth repeat race winner in 13 races this season, joining Kyle Busch (three), Mark Martin (two) and Matt Kenseth (two). Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch and David Reutimann have one Cup win each this season. Johnson previously won at Martinsville this season.
    * Johnson scored his 42nd career win in his 268th start. He started the race in the eighth position.
    * Johnson scored his fourth victory in 15 races at Dover. His previous Dover win came in September 2005. Johnson has scored 10 top-10 finishes in 15 Dover races, including in each of the past three.
    * Hendrick Motorsports earned its 11th victory at Dover on Sunday, the most by any car owner. Five drivers have won races for Hendrick Motorsports at Dover: Jeff Gordon (four), Jimmie Johnson (four), and Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader and Geoffrey Bodine (one each). Hendrick Motorsports scored its 180th series victory.
    * Johnson climbed from fourth to third in the standings and is 64 points behind first-place Tony Stewart. He has ranked among the top 12 in the past nine races.
    * Johnson led nine times for 298 laps, including the final three laps. He led the most laps he has led in a race this season. It also was his largest total since Martinsville in October 2008, when he led 339, the most in a single race in his career. Sunday marked the fourth time Johnson has led more than 250 laps in his 268-race career.
    * Johnson was just the second driver to lead the most laps and win in the past eight races at Dover. He has led in 11 of the 13 races this season, more than any other driver.
    * Stewart (second) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2009. Stewart has scored top-5 finishes in six of his past eight races. This was his third second-place finish in 13 races in 2009.
    * Stewart overtook Jeff Gordon (26th) in the Cup standings. For the first time, Stewart-Haas Racing holds the points lead. The last time Stewart led the standings was after the Homestead race in 2005 — his last championship season. In every season Stewart has led the standings, he has gone on to win the championship (2002 and 2005).
    * Greg Biffle (third) tied his best finish of the season.
    * Matt Kenseth (fourth) posted his third straight top-10 finish in as many weeks. He climbed from ninth to eighth in points.
    * Kurt Busch (fifth) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 13 races.
    * Joey Logano (15th) was the higher-finishing rookie of the two rookies in the race.
    * Clint Bowyer (11th) scored his best finish in his past seven races.(ESPN)(6-2-2009)

  • General Motors to stay in auto racing: For now, bankruptcy won’t park General Motor Corp.’s long and successful involvement in auto racing. As the Detroit carmaker began retooling after filing for bankruptcy protection, a company spokesman said Monday he did not expect further cuts to GM Racing’s budget, which supports NASCAR, NHRA, ALMS and short-track racing activities around the country and adheres to the “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” mantra. “Racing equals good ROI (return on investment),” said Steve Janisse, group manager for Chevrolet Communications. “There are no expected budget cuts right now.”(Detroit Free Press)(6-2-2009)

  • TNT returns at Pocono; Daytona: TNT announced the start of its 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage. TNT covers Sprint Cup action for six weeks, from June 7, at Pocono, until July 11, at Chicago. Jeff Behnke, the executive producer/senior vice president of Turner Sports, discussed the features of the programming. “At Daytona this year, we will be back with Wide Open Coverage for the third straight year. In our last two years of our Wide Open Coverage, we’ve only missed a total of 12 laps of green-flag racing. That’s something that we are very, very proud of,” Behnke said. TNT’s pre-race segments will include “NASCAR on TNT Live!,” “Wally’s World,” and “Pride of NASCAR,” and will feature the “Countdown to Green.” TNT will also bring back TNT RaceBuddy on NASCAR.com. Kyle Petty, an analyst for TNT’s coverage, will also return, joining Wally Dallenbach and Weber in the booth. Larry McReynolds will also return for the 2009 coverage as an analyst. “I’m excited about this year, I really am,” Petty said. “For me to be at TNT this year, it’s really cool for me. In the past, I’ve come out of the race car to do these races, and this year I’ve been watching the races.”(LMS Pit Notes)(6-2-2009)

  • Dodge support “on hold” Team owner Richard Petty says the Chrysler bankruptcy has put cash flow from the manufacturer to the Richard Petty Motorsports organization he co-owns with George Gillett “in a holding pattern.” From the point of view of the Dodge Motorsports program, however, the commitment to racing is undiminished. “They’ve stopped everything,” Petty said in the garage at Dover International Speedway this past weekend. “They went into bankruptcy, and they’re sort of in a floating stage right now. They’re trying to see where they come out of this at. If they’ve got new people running the show, are they still going to continue to back everything exactly like they are, or whatever? They’re in a holding pattern right now. I think GM’s that way — I don’t know about Ford — and I know Chrysler’s that way. The rest of them I don’t know. I don’t deal with them.” Walter Czarnecki, vice chairman of Penske Racing, which has three Dodge teams, said the legal proceedings also have held up payments to his organization. “In the legal procedure, you have to file what’s called a ‘Cure Letter’ that lists all the things that you are owed. And when it’s submitted and approved, they’ll pay. We have money that was due April 30 that has not been received yet and probably won’t be received for several weeks.” Mike Accavitti, director of brand marketing and strategy for Chrysler, acknowledged the reorganization has affected the flow of cash from Chrysler but affirmed the company remains committed to Cup racing and that at-track services provided to the teams continue to be available.(NASCAR.com/Sporting News)(6-2-2009)

  • Gunselman Motorsports taps Mike Wallace for Pocono: Gunselman Motorsports has called upon veteran driver Mike Wallace to drive the #64 Toyota for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. Wallace has gone to victory lane three times at the 2.5-mile track in ARCA competition. Being without a full-time ride right now, the St. Louis-native is making his second Sprint Cup points-race attempt of the year. The underfunded team has gone to a reduced schedule to concentrate on making races and returning to full-time competition. Larry Gunselman, team owner: “I am glad Mike Wallace was able to come on board the No. 64 Toyota team this week for Pocono. He’s been around long enough to know what it takes to make these races. Doug (Richert, crew chief) and the guys are looking forward to working with someone of his knowledge and experience. “If he can help us get better and return to our goals of becoming a full-time team, then all the better. It helps he’s been to victory lane at Pocono a few times in ARCA cars and has a pretty good record in Cup cars, too. Todd and Geoff Bodine have both been very helpful to this point and I hope we can build on what they started with Mike this week.”
    Mike Wallace, driver: “Larry and the rest of the Gunselman Motorsports group are a young team trying to find a foundation to build on. They’ve showed up and attempted most of the races, but like a lot of teams starting out they’ve had some rough times. As far as I’m concerned, that just makes them hungrier and more determined to make races. I like that in a team. I’m fortunate they’ve given me this opportunity to work with them and looking forward to seeing how we can both help each other out.”(Gunselman Motorsports)(6-2-2009)

  • Patrick eyeing NASCAR…the latest: A Hulman-George family feud may provide IndyCar star Danica Patrick with the nudge she needs to jump to NASCAR. Patrick was asked about that scenario by SI.com at the Milwaukee Mile on Saturday and said stability of the racing series will factor into her decision. She is in the final year of her contract with Andretti Green Racing and has said she will look at any and all options, including a jump to NASCAR. That option didn’t diminish last week as reports of strife within the Hulman-George family surfaced. Never mind that Tony George’s position as Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO seems safe for now; the turmoil raised some concerns. “That’s kind of an interesting question,” Patrick said. “What you want in a league is stability and upward momentum. I have no idea what that is right now. There seems to be conflicting answers and ideas on what is really happening.” Patrick has hired IMG [many NASCAR connections there] to represent her as she negotiates her next contract.(Sports Illustrated), of interest, the NASCAR.com store now carries a few Danica Patrick items.(6-2-2009)
  • Sad News – Dave Roberts: David W. Roberts, 65, passed away Sunday, May 31, 2009 in Hilliard, FL. David was heavily involved in NASCAR and was Chief Chassis Builder for Rusty Wallace. Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Sherry H. Roberts, two sons, David Roberts and Don Roberts (Marie), one brother, Kenneth Roberts (Judy), and two sisters, Carolyn Boss’e and Gloria Ward (Joe). Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 3, 2009 in the Chapel of Hardage-Giddens Town and Country Funeral Home, 7242 Normandy Blvd in Jacksonville FL. (904)781-9262. Interment will be at Riverside Memorial Park. The family will receive friends, this evening Tuesday, June 2, 2009 from 6-8 p.m. at the funeral home.(Sign the Guestbook at the Florida Times Union)(6-2-2009)
  • NASCAR Diversity Internship program enters 10th year: Thirteen students from across the United States have been selected to participate in the 2009 NASCAR Diversity Internship Program that starts today and gives minority college students the opportunity to complete 10-week, paid summer internships within the NASCAR industry. More than 200 students have participated in the program since its inception in 2000. More info and the full list of 13 students on my Driver Development News page.(6-2-2009)
  • First Annual Pocono Raceway Festival Coming to Downtown Stroudsburg June 6th: The Sherman Theater will host the first ever Pocono Raceway Festival in downtown Stroudsburg on June 6th, celebrating racing in the Pocono Mountains with a variety of food, games, show cars and live music. Pocono Raceway Festival is designed to showcase all the great retail, food and other attractions downtown Stroudsburg has to offer. The event will augment and support the festivities and events taking place as NASCAR, ARCA and other racers come back to the Pocono Mountains. The festival will feature numerous NASCAR vehicles on display including Best Buy, Coors Light and Geico and the official Pocono Raceway Pace Car to name a few.
    This event has something for everyone, whether you like quarter midgets, full blown NASCAR or anything in between, the only place you will see more cars is at the Track. If you don’t like race cars, no problem, with nearly 200 different vendors and store fronts with sidewalk sales and specials, you can get some great deals while strolling our Historic Borough. Try your luck at the Best Buy racing Simulators or the Stock Car Racing Experience’s tire changing games. Check out the hottest Harley Davidsons with Schoch’s Harley, or race a mini NASCAR on our scaled down Tricky triangle, provided by Hobby Town USA.
    Come on out as the community Honors NASCAR and its Drivers on this special day. NASCAR president Mike Helton will be on hand with other invited guests to accept the award. No event is complete without great food. Visit one of the 20 different vendors and restaurants who will showcase food from sushi to steak and from burgers to handmade Ice Cream. Downtown Stroudsburg has it all. The music will run throughout the day on numerous stages around the town with some of the best music in the region. If that’s not enough, stick around as your community theater presents, for the first time ever, a free concert on Main Street featuring The Marshall Tucker Band! The entire day is free and is the culmination of a full weekend of events starting with the Dark Star Orchestra Concert inside the Sherman on Thursday. Join the party with the only band capable of “recreating a Grateful Dead Experience”
    The Pocono Raceway Festival takes place on June 6th and starts at 12 pm until 8:30 pm. Admission to the festival is free. For more information, call the Sherman Theater at 570-420-2808 or visit the Sherman Theater online at www.shermantheater.com.(6-2-2009)
  • Open Casting Call to be the First New Hampshire Motor Speedway Mascot: New Hampshire Motor Speedway is searching for the next great talent to be the first mascot for the largest sports and entertainment complex in New England. The lucky winner will perform in front of over 105,000 NASCAR fans twice a year, represent the speedway at numerous civic functions, and be a part of the world of major league mascots. “There is a star out there waiting to be discovered, and we are going to find that person,” said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manger of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “There will be no ‘textgate’ at this casting call! Our judging panel will make the right choice, guaranteed!” This casting call is open to anyone age 18 and over and will be held Friday, June 5th. More info at nhms.com.(6-2-2009)
  • Prelude to the Dream Sold Out Once Again: For the fifth consecutive year, the Prelude to the Dream (preview video) at Eldora Speedway is a sellout. The only way left to see such racing icons as Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Robby Gordon and Kasey Kahne competing in dirt Late Models to raise money for injured and fallen heroes is via HBO Pay-Per-View. The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 7:00pm/et (4:00pm/pt), followed by an immediate replay. HBO Pay-Per-View’s racing telecast has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and is available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming in the pay-per-view industry. Ordering information and up-to-the minute racing information is available at www.hbo.com. “Despite the tough economic times, we knew how loyal the Eldora fans would be,” said Stewart, owner of Eldora Speedway. “We’ve got some of the best fans in the country, and once again, tickets went fast for this year’s race. We’ll put on a great show for the fans and they’ll help us raise money for injured and fallen heroes in the process. Even though the race is sold out, everyone can watch it at home thanks to our great friends and partners at HBO Pay-Per-View. This is our third year with them and it’s been a tremendous relationship, which gives the entire country a chance to see the Prelude to the Dream.”
    After the first four events collectively raised more than $2 million in contributions to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, this year’s Prelude to the Dream benefits four entities that cater to severely injured military personnel and fallen soldiers and their families – Wounded Warrior Project, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Operation Homefront and Fisher House. Each has a mission that outlines assistance to the courageous men and women who serve their country and need additional support both during and after their time of service. More info on my Racing Charities page – Prelude to the Dream section.(6-2-2009)

June 1, 2009

  • Logano to run ARCA race at Pocono: Since 1983 the ARCA RE/MAX Series has served as the show-opener for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on both Pocono Raceway race weekends. As a result, the RE/MAX Series at Pocono has become a key environment for Sprint Cup Series drivers to perfect their skills on the tricky 2.5-mile, high-speed, triangular-shaped track just in time for the next-day Cup 500-miler. The latest in search of Pocono seat-time is Sprint Cup Series rookie Joey Logano, who has yet to turn a competitive lap on the Long Pond, PA speedplant – which is why the Middletown, Connecticut driver is entered in the Venturini Motorsports-prepared Home Depot Toyota for the Pocono ARCA 200 coming Saturday, June 6. With NASCAR’s ban on testing in place and no Nationwide and/or Camping World Truck Series races scheduled on the renowned triangle, the need for the likes of Logano to familiarize oneself with the unique Pocono layout could be even more pressing. Tickets for the Pocono ARCA 200, the SPRINT Cup Series event and the entire 2009 Pocono Raceway season are available by contacting the Pocono Raceway Ticket Office at 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929), or through poconoraceway.com.(ARCAracing.com)(6-1-2009)

  • Dover Overnight TV Ratings: A challenging season of NASCAR on Fox came to an end yesterday with a 3.6/9 overnight rating for racing from Dover. Yesterday’s 3.6/9 was the weekend’s highest sports rating on a broadcast network, but also marked a -14% decline compared to last year’s 4.2/10 for the same race. For the complete season, NASCAR on Fox averaged a 4.6/10 in the metered markets, excluding the rescheduled Coca-Cola 600. That’s down -12% compared to last year’s 5.2/11.
    Fox’s NASCAR season suffered from a trio of negative on-track trends: more cautions, fewer lead changes, and lower average speeds. 649 laps were run under caution on FOX this season, a +15% increase over last year. Put another way, there was one caution flag for every 40 miles of racing this season. Last year it was one every 45 miles, in FOX’s first NASCAR season (2001) it was one every 63 miles. Ten years ago it was one every 72 miles. Lead changes were down this year, with one coming every 20 miles compared to last year’s once every 17 miles. Average speed, which is obviously tied to number of cautions, was also down this year. This year’s average speed during FOX races was 118mph. Last year it was 124mph. In 2001 it was 128mph, and in 1999 it was 130mph.
    A frequent complaint this year was that race start times were “inconsistent” but the fact is that this year’s schedule closely mirrored last year’s. Excluding the rained out Coca-Cola 600, 9 of FOX’s 12 races this year started within four minutes of last year’s start time. Those races were down an average of -14% in the overnights. The other three races were down an average of -15%. It’s hard to establish a link between the start times and the ratings decline when the schedule was equally consistent or inconsistent last year. The value of consistent start times is debatable. FOX aired a stretch of four races from Atlanta to Texas that all started within a few minutes of 2:15pm/et. Those races were down an average of -15%, compared to the season total of -12%.
    See season to date, race-to-race TV Ratings on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(6-1-2009)

  • General Motors files for bankruptcy: General Motors has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the country’s second automaker after Chrysler to go under in just over a month. GM president and CEO Fritz Henderson said in a statement issued by the company this morning that the nation’s largest automaker now has an opportunity to “reinvent” its business. “Today marks a defining moment in the reinvention of GM as a leaner, more customer-focused, and more cost-competitive company that, above all, can quickly generate winning bottom line results,” he said. The Obama administration has agreed to provide GM an additional $30.1 billion in federal assistance to support the company’s restructuring. The administration announced the funding on Sunday night, on the eve of a 60-day period that the Obama administration gave GM to come up with a successful viability plan. The administration said yesterday that it had accepted GM’s viability plan, which includes entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. GM is expected to emerge as a new company in 60 to 90 days. Under GM’s restructuring plan, the U.S. government will receive $8.8 billion in debt and preferred stock in the new company and nearly 60% equity in return for its $30 billion in funding. In addition, the government will have the right to appoint initial directors to GM’s board except for two members, one to be appointed by the Canadian government and the other selected by the trustees of the United Auto Workers union retiree health care fund.(more at ABC News)(6-1-2009)
  • Hendrick responds to GM Announcement: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, today responded to the announcement by General Motors that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection: “The products General Motors offers are the highest quality and most fuel efficient in its history, and I have an unwavering faith in the company’s leadership team and our government’s commitment to support this reorganization. After all of the efforts of the past several months, it’s unfortunate that bankruptcy has become the only option, but we at Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports are certain that GM will emerge from this stronger and better equipped to compete than ever before. Hendrick Automotive Group can say with confidence that the customers of our 27 General Motors franchises can expect the same high level of care and service that our dealerships have always provided, and that the full range of warranties and parts will be available. From a racing perspective, our heritage is with General Motors. In 25 years together, Hendrick Motorsports has won eight Sprint Cup Series titles with Chevrolet, which has more NASCAR championships and wins than any other auto manufacturer. Since I was a kid, Chevy has represented the highest level of performance. I’ve never wanted to race anything else, and I have every confidence that we will continue to celebrate victories together for many more seasons to come. Speaking for the more than 6,000 teammates at Hendrick Automotive Group and Hendrick Motorsports, it has been a great privilege to be a small part of GM’s rich history, and we are looking forward to an even brighter future together.”(HMS PR)(6-1-2009)

  • Judge OKs Sale of Most Chrysler Assets to Fiat: A federal bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of most of Chrysler’s assets to Fiat, clearing the way for the American automaker to exit court protection shortly. Judge Arthur Gonzalez said in a court filing Sunday that he approved the sale, the major piece of a plan orchestrated by a federal auto task force. The plan gives a 55% stake of the new company to a union-run trust for retirees, a 20% stake to Fiat that can ultimately grow to 35% and smaller stakes to the U.S. and Canadian governments. Chrysler LLC was forced into court protection on April 30. The sale to Fiat means Chrysler could be out of bankruptcy within the government’s original timeframe of 30 to 60 days.(ABC News)(6-1-2009)

  • Hendrick doesn’t expect GM Bankruptcy to effect racing: Rick Hendrick met with members of the media at the conclusion of the race at Dover, on item discussed:
    CAN YOU DISCUSS GENERAL MOTORS AND WHAT IS EXPECTED TO COME DOWN TOMORROW, JUNE 1ST, AS YOU UNDERSTAND IT?
    “From what I’ve heard, and I don’t know a lot more than what you read in the media, but if they do file for Bankruptcy tomorrow, which all indications are that they will, it’s kind of a planned get-in, get-out situation. I’ve got a lot of faith in GM and especially Chevrolet. I’ve been with them for a long, long time. Our business is good; the products are good. And this economic downturn we’ve had has hurt everybody. It’s hurt every manufacturer; Toyota and everybody else. But I think some people, maybe their pockets were deeper than others. But I feel like we’re going to be good and we’re going to be okay. They’ve got great products right now so I’m hoping that if it happens, that they’ll get in and get out in a hurry and we’ll just take it a day at a time.”
    DO YOU EXPECT IT TO AFFECT THEIR RACING? “I don’t think so. No, I don’t think so because you see Ford and Toyota and everybody; Chrysler is here. But you just never know. We just have to do the best we can. They’ve been a big asset to this sport and when you look at their competition, the people they’re heads-up with, are here, so I’ve had no indication that they’re going to cut back or do anything.”
    IF THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD SAY YOU’VE GOT TO STOP PROMOTING THROUGH RACING IF WE GIVE YOU MONEY. IF CHEVROLET WERE TO SAY THEY CAN’T GIVE YOU ANOTHER CENT FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE, WOULD YOU CONTINUE TO RACE CHEVROLETS ON YOUR OWN? OR DO YOU HAVE A PLAN “B”? “My Plan A is Chevrolet and my Plan B is Chevrolet and my Plan C is Chevrolet (laughter).”(GM Racing)(6-1-2009)

  • Double-File restarts at Pocono? NASCAR distributed proposals to crew chiefs regarding possible procedures for double-file restarts which could be introduced as early as Pocono Raceway next week. The proposal states all starts will be double file. The race leader will have his choice of which lane to use for the restart. The third-place car will always start in the inside lane. There will be no changes in the free pass or “lucky dog,” and cars that are one lap down can choose not to pit, therefore regaining a lap during a caution. The new rule appears to be a work in progress but Pocono is a 2.5-miler with plenty of space and opportunity to figure it out.(FoxSports)(6-1-2009)

  • Edwards wins Budweiser Celebrity Billiards Shootout: Hundreds of race fans gathered on race weekend inside of the Rollins Center at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino to be a part of the “Budweiser Celebrity Billiards Shootout,” a nine-ball billiards contest won by #99-Carl Edwards. Edwards topped NASCAR on ESPN pit reporter Shannon Spake to win the $10,000 prize for his charity of choice, Speedway Children’s Charities. After sinking the clinching shot, Edwards wowed the crowd in attendance by performing his trademark back flip off of the pool table. The Friday, May 29 tournament featured some of the biggest names in the sport, including defending champion Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman and Brad Keselowski and other familiar names such as NASCAR on ESPN pit reporter Jamie Little, NFL legend Herschel Walker, SPEED reporter Hermie Sadler and American Builder host Brian Gurry. The Budweiser Celebrity Billiards Shootout is expected to return as part of the Sept. 25-27, 2009 Dover race weekend. More details will be posted on DoverSpeedway.com.(6-1-2009)

  • Said to Compete in West Series Race in Sonoma: Road-race veteran Boris Said has confirmed that he will compete in the Bennett Lane Winery 200, presented by Supercuts, NASCAR Camping World West Series race at Infineon Raceway on Saturday, June 20. Said will drive the #57 entry for DenBeste Motorsports & Biagi Brothers, which is dedicated to the career of legendary Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler. The car features a special silver-and-black paint scheme, with hints of snake-skin colors throughout. Stabler was recently named the Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Infineon Raceway, June 19-21. Said is no stranger to Infineon Raceway and should be one of the favorites when the green flag drops on the Bennett Lane Winery 200. He finished second in the West Series event in Sonoma in 2006 and third in 2007. Moreover, Said won the 1998 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event in Sonoma, and he has also reached the Wine Country Winner’s Circle in a variety of other disciplines. He has four top-10 efforts in nine NASCAR Sprint Cup starts in Sonoma.(Infineon Raceway)(6-1-2009)

  • Moffitt breaks Logano’s record: Brett Moffitt already broke one of Joey Logano’s NASCAR Camping World Series records. It didn’t take him long to take care of another. Moffitt became the youngest winner in NASCAR Camping World Series history Saturday night with his win in the South Boston 150 at South Boston Speedway. His #44 brettmoffitt.com Chevy led 81 laps – including the last 67 – and outpaced a pair of fellow teenagers in runner-up Ryan Gifford and third-place Ryan Truex.
    Moffitt doesn’t turn 17 until August 7. Joey Logano, now driving the #20 Home Depot Toyota in the Sprint Cup Series, was 1 month, 5 days of turning 17 when he scored his first win in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, and he set the NASCAR Camping World Series East mark 11 days later with his win at Greenville Pickens Speedway. In the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series East opener, Moffitt broke Logano’s record as the series’ youngest Coors Light Pole Award winner. With Saturday’s win, Moffitt also secured a starting spot in the postseason NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.(NASCAR)(6-1-2009)
  • Commemorative Darlington 60th Season DVD available: Darlington Raceway has worked with NASCAR Media Group to produce a special commemorative DVD of the 2009 Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com. Each DVD includes:
    · Full broadcast length version of the 60th running of the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com
    · Downloadable screen savers for PC or MAC users
    · Free 5X7 print from Officially licensed artist Stephen Balok
    · Coupon from NASCAR.com
    DVD’s can be purchased by visiting the track’s website, DarlingtonRaceway.com, for only $9.99 plus tax and shipping and handling.(Darlington Raceway)(6-1-2009)