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March 2009 News Archives


  • News from March 31, 2009

  • GM Head Steps Down, could it effect NASCAR? George Richard “Rick” Wagoner Jr. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors resigned as Chairman and CEO at General Motors on March 29, 2009, at the request of the White House. During Wagoner’s tenure as CEO of General Motors, the market capitalization of GM has gone down by more than 90%. In 2008 Wagoner came under renewed pressure as GM sought financial support from the U.S. government in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy. Under Wagoner’s leadership, GM suffered more than $73 billion in losses.(AP)
    AND: Despite just ousting General Motors’ chief executive, President Barack Obama Monday insisted “The United States government has no interest in running GM.” However the abrupt dismissal of Rick Wagoner, the well-respected executive (Duke, class of ’75) who has run GM for the past eight years, has shocked not only Detroit but the rest of the car market, including NASCAR’s North Carolina base. Yet during Wagoner’s run, GM stock fell from $60 a share to $1.27 a few weeks ago, and Obama says new leadership at GM is needed. During a 20-minute statement Monday in Washington, Obama laid out his game plan for reviving the American car industry. And it is very clear that Obama has agendas for both GM and Chrysler, the two car makers on the hotseat (Ford and Toyota have avoided the government’s spotlight), and Monday he pushed repeated for “cleaner” cars out of Detroit. That could well make NASCAR men squirm, because these race cars are certainly not visibly cutting edge at all – 358 cubic inch engines with carburetors, five or six mpg. It took NASCAR nearly 30 years even to make the switch to unleaded gasoline. Obama himself raised the word “bankruptcy,” and appeared to be bracing the American people for a GM bankruptcy – by trying to explain what he envisioned it would be: “A tool we can use, even as workers stay on the job building cars.”(much more at mikemulhern.net and more info at the Detroit Free Press), No word how any of this could effect NASCAR, there are rumors that Chevy/General Motors could leave NASCAR.(3-31-2009)

  • McMurray trying to gain access to frozen accounts: #26-Jamie McMurray is trying to gain access to five investment accounts frozen in the multi-billion-dollar fraud investigation of Stanford Financial Group. Some of the funds in the accounts are used to pay expenses associated with his racing team, including employees, according to a filing in Dallas federal court. McMurray’s Chicago-based attorney did not respond to phone and email messages Monday evening. According to a filing in Dallas federal court, NASCAR driver Jamie McMurray will likely not have enough cash to take care of his income taxes by April. McMurray’s motion, filed late Friday, says he did purchase one of the problematic CDs from Stanford International Bank, but it is held independently from his frozen accounts. A total of more than $308,000 was deposited into two of McMurray’s accounts on Feb. 17 and 18. These were “direct cash deposits in connection with McMurray’s employment as a NASCAR driver and are unequivocally not connected with the alleged fraud,” his filing says. A Feb. 16 court order froze Stanford accounts. Since then, most accounts have been unlocked. But the court-appointed receiver is still sorting through accounts with possible links to the CDs. The filing said McMurray will likely have to file an extension on his income taxes because he doesn’t have enough cash available otherwise.(Dallas Morning News)(3-31-2009)

  • Harvick set at RCR Thru 2010: #29-Kevin Harvick says rumors of his imminent free agency are greatly exaggerated. Although mentioned recently as a driver up for grabs after this season, “I have another year on my contract after this year [with Richard Childress Racing], so I’m not in the middle of all that stuff this year,” Harvick said. “So you can go ahead and check my name off that list. We have an extension in my contract that we signed about a year and a half ago. It goes through 2010.”(ESPN Insider)(3-31-2009)

  • Special Scheme for Johnson at Texas: #48-Jimmie Johnson will showcase a special “Tough Tools for Cool Schools” paint scheme for the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway as a result of his assistance with a partnership between Kobalt Tools and SkillsUSA. Lowe’s and Kobalt Tools will help the next generation of skilled trade professionals by donating approximately $300,000 worth of Kobalt tools to more than 500 SkillsUSA building and construction trade classes and labs across the country. There are approximately 1,000 SkillsUSA chapters in Texas public schools and trade/technical schools. Texas SkillsUSA serves nearly 15,500 student and professional members who are enrolled in trade, technical, industrial and health occupation programs.(TMS PR), see an image of the scheme on the #48 Team Schemes page.(3-31-2009)
  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series:
    * Jimmie Johnson won the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
    * Johnson became the fourth different race winner in 2009. Matt Kenseth won the first two races (Daytona and California). Kyle Busch won at Las Vegas and Bristol, and Kurt Busch won at Atlanta.
    * Johnson, who started ninth Sunday, posted his 41st career Cup victory in 261 races. This was his fourth top-10 finish in six races this season. He remained 15th on NASCAR’s all-time win list.
    * Johnson scored his sixth Martinsville victory in 15 races, including five of the past six races. He has scored top-10 finishes in the past 14 races at Martinsville, the longest current streak.
    * Johnson posted his ninth victory in 44 races on the three short tracks (Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond). Six came at Martinsvile and three came at Richmond. He has never won at Bristol. He has scored 25 top-10s in 44 races on short tracks (57%).
    * Johnson climbed from ninth to fourth in the point standings, the second week in 2009 that Johnson has been among the top 12. Johnson began the season ranked 31st after Daytona.
    * Chad Knaus posted his 39th victory in his 282 Cup race as a crew chief. All 39 of his crew chief victories have come with Johnson.
    * This is the 46th win by a Chevrolet in a Cup race at Martinsville.
    * Hendrick Motorsports scored its 18th Martinsville victory, and 176th victory overall.
    * All four Hendrick cars finished in the top 10: Johnson, first; Jeff Gordon, fourth; Mark Martin, seventh; Dale Earnhardt Jr., eighth.
    * Hendrick Motorsports celebrated the 25th anniversary of its first win at Martinsville. Geoffrey Bodine scored Hendrick’s first win at Martinsville in April 1984.
    * Johnson led twice for 42 laps in Sunday’s race, including the final 16 laps. He has led 1,216 of the last 3,510 laps raced in the past seven races at Martinsville (35%). He won five of those seven races.
    * Denny Hamlin (second) scored his second straight top-10 finish. It marked his third top-10 finish in 2009.
    * Tony Stewart (third) scored his best finish in 2009. It was his fourth top-10 in six races in 2009.
    * Johnson teammate Gordon (fourth) has scored top-10 finishes in the past 13 races at Martinsville. Gordon has scored nine straight top-5s at Martinsville, the longest current streak. He has been running at the finish in all 33 of his races at Martinsville.
    * Gordon leads the Cup point standings, by 89 over second-place Clint Bowyer. The four-time champ posted his sixth top-15 finish in 2009, the only driver to do so. He also extended his winless streak to 47 races, since October 2007 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
    * Gordon climbed to fifth all time in laps led at Martinsville with 2,760, trailing leader Cale Yarborough (3,851), Rusty Wallace (3,632), Darrell Waltrip (3,616) and Richard Petty (2,964).
    * Clint Bowyer (fifth) extended a 79-race streak of running at the finish that began at Homestead in November 2006. Bowyer’s last DNF came at Phoenix on Nov. 12, 2006, when he finished 33rd due to oil-pump failure.
    * Joey Logano (32nd) was the highest-finishing rookie contender among the two rookies in the race. Scott Speed finished 39th.
    * The top 10 consisted of seven Chevrolets, one Ford, one Dodge and one Toyota.(ESPN)(3-31-2009)


    News from March 30, 2009

  • Johnson testifies in Castroneves tax trial #48-Jimmie Johnson was the leadoff defense witness Monday in the Helio Castroneves tax evasion trial, testifying that a lawyer who is also charged in the case has a sterling reputation in the motorsports world. Johnson said Michigan lawyer Alan Miller has many clients in NASCAR and the Indy Racing League, a circuit where the Brazilian-born Castroneves is a top driver. Both Castroneves and Johnson have received financial guidance from Miller. “Alan’s reputation is about honesty. His character is second to none,” Johnson testified in a 10-minute appearance. “He’s given me great advice.” Miller, 71, is charged with conspiracy and tax evasion for allegedly helping Castroneves, 33, and the driver’s business manager-sister, 35-year-old Katiucia, avoid U.S. taxes on some $5.5 million from 1999 to 2004. All three face more than six years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors rested their case Monday after four weeks of testimony, much of it focused on Miller’s role in handling financial arrangements when Castroneves was hired by Penske Racing in late 1999. Prosecutors say the deal illegally avoided U.S. taxes on $5 million of the Penske money, which first was earmarked for a Panamanian shell corporation and then wound up in a Dutch deferred compensation account. Johnson, 33, said Miller – a former professional football player and former NFL Players Association lawyer – has represented him for about 12 years and came widely recommended by racing industry leaders. “I needed help to grow in my career. Alan was that guy for me,” said Johnson.(Associated Press)(3-30-2009)

  • Race & Commercial Breakdown of the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500
    Total number of commercials: 127
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 68
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 99
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:43 PM
    Total minutes: 223
    Minutes of race broadcast: 166
    Minutes of commercials: 57
    Number of missed restarts: 1 and two close calls
    Number of beer cans that brought out a caution: 1
    Total race brdcst time 166 Total comm. brdcst time 57
    See more and full report on my 2009 TV Commercials Page.(3-30-2009)

  • MyAutoLoan.com to sponsor Andretti at Texas: myAutoloan.com will be the primary sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports entry driven by John Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race, the Samsung 500. “I look forward to driving the #34 myAutoloan.com Chevrolet Impala at Texas Motor Speedway,” commented driver John Andretti. “The guys in the shop have spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks getting the car ready for the race and branding it for myAutoloan.com this weekend. Texas is a fast track and we have a great car, I’m confident we will put together a superior effort.” For more information about myAutoloan.com please visit myAutoloan.com. “We are grateful for the support of myAutoloan.com for the Texas race,” said Front Row Motorsports team owner Bob Jenkins. “There is no doubt the Sprint Cup Series is as tough as it has ever been, but great partners like myAutoloan.com, make it possible for us to go to the track week after week.”(PR Leap)(3-30-2009)

  • Martinsville Overnight TV Ratings: NASCAR on Fox charted a 4.1/9 on Sunday for the race from Martinsville Speedway. That matches last weekend’s Bristol rating, but it’s down -16% compared to last year’s 4.9/10 for the Martinsville race. Early tune-in, while down -10% (3.8/9 vs. 4.2/10), was a little better than in recent weeks. The race rating grew by +35% from start-to-finish, which is a normal in-race build. The Martinsville race faced formidable competition from both the NCAA Tournament (5.9/13 early, 7.7/15 late) and the Bay Hill Invitational (4.9/10), which was won by Tiger Woods. Season-to-date, NASCAR On FOX is averaging a 5.3/11 in the overnights, -15% off last year’s pace (6.2/12). For each race, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(3-30-2009)

  • Retro Pepsi image at ‘Dega for Gordon UPDATE: The year was 1983 when Darrell Waltrip took to the track in the Pepsi Challenger Chevy. Waltrip had won back-to-back titles and was trying for three in a row when PepsiCo changed the primary sponsor on his car from Mountain Dew to its signature brand before the season. Waltrip failed to win the title that year. At Talladega, Jeff Gordon will go retro with Waltrip’s 1983 paint scheme on his car.(gordonline.com)(3-10-2009)
    UPDATE: #24-Jeff Gordon will drive a special retro “Pepsi Challenger” #24 paint scheme Chevy in Talladega on April 26, 2009. Inspired by Darrell Waltrip’s Pepsi Challenger of the 1980’s this car will feature retro Pepsi logos and a white and yellow scheme.(JeffGordon.com), see images of the scheme on my #24 Team Schemes page.(3-30-2009)

  • Grooved Tires at Martinsville? many readers noticed grooved tires stacked in the garage area of Martiinsville Speedway and asked if NASCAR was thinig of using rain tires, the answer to that is NO. Goodyear provides the teams a special grooved tire [for easy identification] that is used while the cars are moved around when the actual racing tires are not available to them.(ESPN)(3-30-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer has been running at the finish in 79 consecutive races, the longest current streak, only 2 races behind the modern era record of #29-Harvick who had 81 until DNFing at California in Feb 2009, next up is #48-Johnson at 30 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963 [Beam didn’t run all the races, but didn’t DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 81 [he also has the 2nd longest at 58], then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(3-29-2009)

  • Mike Brown named GM at TRG: Mike Brown has been named General Manager of The Racers Group NASCAR program. Brown was GM at Bill Davis Racing [#22 Toyota] for the last 12 years and watched the operation expand from 19 employees with a single Cup operation to a workforce of 300 that also fielded multiple truck teams, including last year’s series champion Johnny Benson. “I feel like my experience with Bill and Gail (Davis) is a good fit for what Kevin (team owner Buckler) and Debra have started. I have the perfect template for helping them grow,” Brown said. TRG currently fields the #71 Chevy with David Gilliland in Sprint Cup and J.R. Fitzgerald in the #7 Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series. Slugger Labbe and Butch Hylton serve as crew chiefs for the teams.(FoxSports)(3-30-2009)

  • No Sponsor for Almirola after Texas: Aric Almirola, who has a commitment from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to field the #8 Chevy through next week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, still needs sponsorship for the April 18 race at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta said he had “nothing new to report” when asked if sponsorship had been secured for Almirola and if Almirola was going to be able to go to Phoenix. Almirola had been scheduled to run the full season at Dale Earnhardt Inc., and after the DEI merger with Chip Ganassi Racing in November, he was named as the driver of the #8 car. But the organization has had to put together sponsorship to keep that team going.(SceneDaily)(3-30-2009)

  • Bristol Officials Reviewing Saturday Night Special: Bristol Motor Speedway vice-president of events Wayne Estes said the process of selecting the legends field dictated that Bristol winners at the Cup or Busch/Nationwide Series level would compete, and none would be “full-time” competitors in either series. “This gave us the opportunity to keep Terry Labonte in the field,” Estes said. “Considering his ties to the two most famous finishes in our history, we wanted Terry in the race.” As is the case with all events at the track, Estes and BMS staff will review options for improving the legends show. “Clearly, we learned a lot that will be applied if we do this again,” Estes said. “The question now is, do the fans want to see it again. Most of them tell us that they do, with some adjustments. “I talked to Cale Yarborough and his comment was, “‘Take the young guys out and let just us old guys race.”‘ That seems to be the prevailing feeling, and open it up beyond Bristol winners so that Buddy Baker and Ricky Rudd can take part.” In retrospect, Estes admitted that the Saturday Night Special could have more been compelling with additional planning and tinkering.(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-30-2009)

News from March 29, 2009

    • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, for his first win of 2009 and the 41st of his career. It his fifth win in the last six Martinsville races and comes on the anniversary of Hendrick Motorsports first win 25 years ago. #11-Hamlin, who led the most laps on the day and was bumped out of the lead by Johnson with 16 laps to go, finished second, followed by #14-Stewart, #24-Gordon, #33-Bowyer, #39-Newman, #5-Martin, #88-Earnhardt, Jr, #44-Allmendinger, and #26-McMurray. There was one change in the top-35 in owner points as #71-Gilliland fell out and #98-Menard moved in. There were 12 cautions for 66 laps and 7 drivers led a lap with 13 lead changes.
      For race results, awards and more on the Martinsville Race Results Page.(3-29-2009)
    • UNOFFICAL Driver Points Standings [after Martinsville race 6 of 36]:
      1) #24-Jeff Gordon 959
      2) #33-Clint Bowyer 870 -89
      3) #2-Kurt Busch 827 -132 [1 win]
      4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 817 [1 win]
      5) #11-Denny Hamlin 811 -148
      6) #18-Kyle Busch 800 -159 [2 wins]
      7) #14-Tony Stewart 798 -161
      8) #99-Carl Edwards 750 -209
      9) #9-Kasey Kahne 745 -214
      10) #29-Kevin Harvick 714 -245
      11) #00-David Reutimann 710 -249
      12) #17-Matt Kenseth 704 -255 [2 wins]
      in running for top 12 – the chase:
      13) #31-Jeff Burton 697 -262
      14) #42-Juan Montoya 673 -286
      15) #44-A.J. Allmendinger 670 -289
      16) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 660 -299
      For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(3-29-2009)
    • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Texas:
      #71-Gilliland falls out of the top-35 by 3 points and #98-Menard moves into a locked in position
      31) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 485, +75
      32) #77-Hornish/Penske: 459, +48
      33) #34-Andretti/Earnhart Ganassi: 455, +44
      34) #20-Logano/Gibbs: 437 +26
      35) #98-Menard/Yates: 414, 3 points ahead of 36th
      these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35: 36) #71-Gilliland/TRG 411, 3 points out of 35th
      37) #8-Almirola/Earnhardt Ganassi: 387, -27
      38) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 386 -28
      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.(3-29-2009)
    • Race Fast Facts – Martinsville Speedway
      Jimmie Johnson won the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500, his 41st victory in 261 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
      This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2009. His last previous victory came at Phoenix in November 2008.
      This is his sixth victory and 14th top-10 finish in 15 races at Martinsville Speedway.
      Johnson now has more NASCAR Sprint Cup wins at Martinsville (six) than any other track. (He has five at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.)
      Denny Hamlin (second) posted his seventh top-10 finish in eight races at Martinsville Speedway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2009.
      Tony Stewart (third) posted his 12th top-10 finish in 21 races at Martinsville Speedway.
      Joey Logano (32nd) was the highest finishing rookie.
      Jeff Gordon leads the point standings by 89 points over Clint Bowyer.(NASCAR Statistics)(3-29-2009)

    • Stewart-Hass still looking for sponsorship for Newman: Q: HOW’S THE SPONSORSHIP SEARCH COMING? Ryan Newman: “I’d say just like many people out there. The door is always open. People at Stewart-Haas Racing are working on other sponsors let’s say for primary as well as associates. The U.S. Army is committed to their amount of races, I think it’s 23. They’ve been great to work with. We have Haas Automation on the car as well but we’re currently looking and working on other things as well.”(Chevy PR)(3-29-2009)

    • Gilly’s Gang on the #71: David Gilliland’s fan club known as Gilly’s Gang has collected money to help TRG Motorsports this weekend. The team has placed the Gilly’s Gang logo on the back deck-lid for their efforts as the team prepares for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville. The group banded together on David’s web site, www.davidgilliland.com, and have raised over $3,000 to help the effort this weekend.(TRG Motorsports PR), see an image of the car on my #71 Team paint schemes page.(3-29-2008)

    • Back problems for Jeff Gordon? Okay, what’s the deal with Jeff Gordon’s back? He’s talked for three weeks now about chronic back pain. And that sounds suspiciously like the type of pain that Ricky Rudd and Mark Martin have endured. Martin himself had major back surgery a few years ago to alleviate his pain. Gordon has made no mention of any possible surgery, but his repeated complaints are raising eyebrows. At the moment he’s been doing some heavy-duty workouts to try to relieve the pain.(mikemulhern.net)(3-29-2009)


      News from March 28, 2009

    • Saturday Practice and Happy Hour Practice at Martinsville Speedway have been cancelled due to rain.(3-28-2009)

    • Bristol Final TV Ratings: Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.5 and a 10 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 18.2% lower than the 5.5 Fox earned for the race last year.(SceneDaily), see TV Rstings on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(3-28-2009)

    • Trial continues for Johnson’s agent: #48-Jimmie Johnson says it’s business as usual with his agent, Alan Miller, even as Miller stands trial as a co-defendant with Helio Castroneves on federal tax evasion charges. “I’ve been in touch with Alan and asked him how things are going,” Johnson said here Friday while the Castroneves trial continued in Miami. “He’s given me some overviews that he feels very good about how things are going, and [he’s] just waiting for everything to come together. His general impression has been positive about how things are going.” #18-Kyle Busch dropped Miller as his agent in 2007, saying Miller’s shopping him to other teams contributed to his being squeezed out at Hendrick Motorsports to make room for Dale Earnhardt Jr. But, “I like Alan Miller as a person,” Busch said Friday. “He was a great guy to meet. His kid was always fun. His wife was great. So it’s unfortunate he’s in a little bit of a bind now.” Busch added, though, that “I am fortunate that I changed representation [he’s now with agent Jeff Dickerson of Motorsports Management Inc.]. It had nothing to do with Alan as a person. It was just his business ethic that I wasn’t quite up on.”(ESPN.com)(3-28-2009)

    • Allmendinger and Speed on USF1’s short list, Busch not: Sources tell AutoRacingSport.com that NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers AJ Allmendinger and Scott Speed are ‘definitely’ on the short list of the newly formed USF1 Formula 1 team that’s set to begin competition in 2010 while IndyCar star Danica Patrick and NASCAR Sprint Cup sensation ‘Kyle Busch are not. Ken and Peter (Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor-USF1 team Principals) are really looking for open wheel experience, and Scott and AJ (Speed and Allmendinger) fit that bill quite well, with AJ being a winner in Champ Car and Scott having F1 experience.’ our source informs us.(AutoRacingSport.com)(3-28-2009)

    • Jamie McMurray rebuffs Montoya apology: #42-Juan Pablo Montoya attempted to apologize Friday morning to Roush Fenway Racing’s #26-Jamie McMurray about an incident last week, but McMurray apparently wasn’t interested in what he had to say. Montoya, who got into the back of McMurray last Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, approached McMurary on Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway, and things apparently got a little heated, according to witnesses in the garage. “I wanted to clarify what happened last weekend because I didn’t want to have any trouble with anybody, but he didn’t want to listen, and at this point it doesn’t really matter,” Montoya said. “He didn’t act the way I thought he should have, and I’m above that.” “I’m not really sure what he was trying to say,” McMurray said. “It’s not that I’m not interested in talking to him, it’s just that I don’t know what there is to talk about.”(Scene Daily)(3-28-2009)

    • Soldier will be a VIP at Martinsville on Sunday: Sgt. Ashley Ayers of the Virginia Army National Guard will be a VIP at Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway. Ayers, of the Carver community, was chosen to represent the local Guard units. Crown Royal Whisky, a sponsor of the #26 Ford driven by Jamie McMurray, will recognize Ayers as a VIP during the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500. She will represent the 1173rd Transportation Co. and the 116th Infantry, both of which are based at the Martinsville Armory. Ayers said she feels honored, but she wishes all local Guard members had been chosen to be VIPs. Choosing a VIP from the National Guard was Crown Royal’s way of honoring Henry County-Martinsville residents in service to their country as hometown heroes, according to Guard Master Sgt. Stephen Gill. The Guard chose Ayers to be the VIP because she is a model soldier, said Gill, a noncommissioned officer in charge of recruiting and retention efforts. On Sunday, Ashley Ayers will get a tour of the speedway’s pit and garage areas, have lunch with Crown Royal representatives and attend driver introductions before watching the race. Although she will be able to watch the race from the pit, Ayers is considering joining some of her friends from the National Guard in the grandstands.(Martinsville Bulletin)(3-28-2009)


      News from March 27, 2009

    • Rain cancels qualifying in Martinsville: Persistent rain at Martinsville has cancelled qualifying for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway and the field was set by the rule book [owners points, past owner win, past champ and race attempts].
      So #24-Jeff Gordon will start from the pole, followed by #2-Busch, #33-Bowyer, #18-Busch, #99-Edwards, #9-Kahne, #14-Stewart, #11-Hamlin, #48-Johnson, and #17-Kenseth.
      Not making the race are: #09-Marlin, #37-Raines, #46-Setzer, and #75-Cope.
      See the full starting lineup on my Martinsville Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/Order Page.(3-27-2009)
    • Qualifying Order for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway 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 #55-Waltrip, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #88-Earnhardt, Jr. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #36-Riggs, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #66-Blaney. See the full qualifying order on the Martinsville Qualifying Page.(3-27-2009)
    • Friday Practice for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway is over, the fastest:
      #11-Hamlin 96.176
      #29-Harvick 96.058
      #24-Gordon 95.985
      #42-Montoya 95.927
      #33-Bowyer 95.825
      slowest: #75-Cope 93.447 & #46-Setzer 93.161
      notes: With the threat of rain this afternoon and tomorrow, most teams are working on race setups. #5-Martin scraped the wall late in the session, but just minor sheet metal damage.
      For the best speeds, ave speeds, laps run and more, see the Martinsville Practice Speeds/News page.(3-27-2009)
    • Rain at Martinsville: looks like rain may get in the way of some activities at Martinsville Speedway, but good chance practices get in before the rain on Friday and may even get Sprint Cup qualifying in [due to run at 3:40pm/et, rain expected around 4-5pm/et]. for weather links see my Martinsville Race Info page – weather section.(3-27-2009)

    • Almirola to ‘Ride the Lightning’ at Martinsville: Coinciding with the launch of Activision Publishing, Inc.’s Guitar Hero Metallica, the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ #8 Chevy, driven by 25-year-old Aric Almirola, will be primarily sponsored by the highly-anticipated video game at Martinsville Speedway. This will be the third race during the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season under the Guitar Hero banner for Almirola and the #8 team. The #8 Chevy powerful design draws it’s inspiration from the intense yet electrifying music of Metallica [a jayski fave]. For more information anout the game, log onto metallica.guitarhero.com.(Earnhardt Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR). See an image of the Metallica scheme, and all the other schemes used by Almirola in 2009 on my #8 Team Schemes page.(3-27-2009)

    • Hendrick wants Martin’s decision by July: Rick Hendrick hopes to know by July whether 50-year-old Mark Martin will drive full-time again in 2010. He also reiterated that he’s convinced there’s no better person than Martin, whose original deal called for him to drive a partial schedule next season, for the #5. “He’s delivered everything I thought and more,” Hendrick said during a Wednesday afternoon conference call. “He’s a huge asset to this company.” Martin told ESPN.com last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway that he would consider driving another full year if Hendrick, sponsors and his team wanted him to. Hendrick said on Sunday and again on Wednesday that it’s “Mark’s call.” Before a decision can be made Hendrick must first settle the sponsorship on Martin’s car. Kellogg’s is up for a renewal, and with the current economic climate there is no guarantee the company will come back.(ESPN)(3-27-2009)
    • Martinsville Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Martinsville this weekend, however the Sprint Cup tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Camping World Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this left-side code (D-4108) is the same one run by these teams at Martinsville last season . . . this right-side code (D-4230) is brand new to the Goodyear tire lineup . . . this right-side features a slight compound change compared to last year to offer cars more grip . . . while this left-side is unique to Martinsville, this right-side will also be run on all four tire positions on Sprint Cup road courses this season . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less n length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Martinsville. The estimated pit window is every 125-135 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see pressures, codes and more on the Martinsville Race Info page.(3-27-2009)

    • Marlin’s daughter plans to race: Sutherlin Marlin, the 19-year-old daughter of Sterling Marlin, this season launches her racing career at Fairgrounds Speedway [Nashville], the historic track where her grandfather Coo Coo won four championships in the 1960s and her dad collected three more in the 1980s. “I attended my first race there when I was two weeks old,” says Sutherlin. “I’ve been around racing all my life and I can’t wait to give it a try.” A student at Columbia State, Sutherlin is bright and vivacious, and inherited her family’s keen sense of humor. “She’s got talent,” says her dad. “When she was 5 or 6 we went to a go-kart track in Panama City and she raced against (big brother) Steadman and a bunch of other boys and beat them. She’s been on to me to get her a race car and finally we cut a deal.” The deal: Sutherlin goes to college and works on her race car. “I’ll help,” Sterling says, “but she’s gotta work, too.” Sutherlin plans to race in the Speedway’s truck series, a white-knuckle division that runs the swift, high banks of the five-eighths-mile track. It would seem breathless for a beginner.(Nashville City Paper)(3-27-2009)

    • In Martinsville? Check out Wood Bros Museum: If you have some extra time this weekend, consider visiting the Wood Brothers Museum at 21 Performance Drive, Stuart Virginia, 24171 – located just 30 miles west of Martinsville off of route 58. Admission is free. The #21, 1971 Wood Brothers Purolator Mercury Cyclone will be on display, along with a host of other Wood Brothers memories. The museum will be open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Friday, March 27, 2009 and Saturday, March 28, 2009. More info at www.woodbrothersracing.com.(WBR PR)(3-27-2009)

    • Todd Bodine looks to make up for Bristol bump in Martinsville: While the gang at Gunselman Motorsports was happy to make the race at Bristol Motor Speedway this past weekend, they returned to their new shop having to bid farewell to a trusted “friend.” After making their second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season, by qualifying a respectable 16th no less, Todd Bodine and team were ready to race. While running in the top-15 on lap 58, Bodine was forced into the outside wall damaging the car beyond race-return repairs. This left them with a crunched up car and 42nd-place finish. Upon further inspection at the shop Crew Chief Doug Richert, owner Larry Gunselman and crew came to a mutual decision. Chassis No. 5 was no longer useful and had to be “retired” from service. This was the same car the team used at Daytona, California, Las Vegas and Atlanta. So, with another car (Chassis No. 15) Bodine, Richert and team head to historic Martinsville Speedway for this weekend’s 500-lap race. In addition to making the race, they’d like to finish it, too. Having a former Coors Light Pole Award at Martinsville helps their qualifying-day efforts even more. The team will be using Car No. 15 for the first time this year; purchased from Bill Davis Racing.(Gunselman Motorsports)(3-27-2009)

    • 25th anniversary of Hendrick’s 1st win: On Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports will mark the 25th anniversary of its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory. Since the organization began competing as All-Star Racing in 1984, it has grown from five employees and 5,000 square feet of rented work space to more than 500 employees and more than 100 acres straddling Cabarrus and Mecklenburg counties in North Carolina. It was the eighth race of the 1984 Cup Series season, and Geoff Bodine lined up sixth at Martinsville Speedway in the #5 Chevy for Rick Hendrick’s fledgling All-Star Racing team. On that day — April 29, 1984 — Bodine led 55 laps en route to capturing the organization’s first win. Reaching Victory Lane wasn’t easy, though. Bodine had to pass then-defending Cup champion Bobby Allison with 48 laps to go to take the lead. Hendrick wasn’t at Martinsville to experience the first of his 17 Cup wins at the .526-mile oval. The car owner was attending church with his wife, Linda, in Greensboro, N.C., during the race. He received a phone call with the news and headed straight for Bodine’s home in Pleasant Garden, N.C., to celebrate. Frank Edwards, 72, was one of the five original employees at Hendrick Motorsports. Initially a setup specialist, Edwards moved from his home in Danville, Va., when Hendrick told him about his plans to start the race team. Edwards has held many roles within the team and currently works in the company’s show-car department as a fabricator and mechanic.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(3-27-2009)
    • More Bristol Schemes added: #5 Carquest/Kelloggs#7 findmespot.com#8 Champion Apparell#19 Best Buy/Insignia#28 Golden Corral#33 BB&T#34 Window World#43 PVA.org,#44 Charter#47 Little Debbie#64 Freds#66 Toyota#71 Capital Window#87 Huckleberry’s BBQ#96 Academy Sports + Outdoors#98 John Mansfield/Menards,


      News from March 26, 2009

    • TBR Hires for Head Engineer, Team Manager for #36 Team: Tommy Baldwin Racing announced that two NASCAR veterans will take leadership positions with the team. Walter Giles, formerly a race engineer for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. (DEI), will serve as TBR’s head engineer. Jennifer Morrell, formally the team manager for TBR/Evernham Motorsports will serve as team manager. Giles, who has a mechanical engineering degree from Western Sydney Institute in Sydney, Australia, brings to TBR over 32 years of engineering knowledge and driving experience to the team. The native of Australia moved to the U.S. over a decade ago after winning more than 200 races and seven championships in various racing series as a driver. Giles began his NASCAR career working for Richard Jackson Motorsports in 1997. He made several stops before landing at DEI in 2005. He was first hired as the race engineer for DEI’s No. 1 car driven by Martin Truex Jr. In 2007, he was promoted to head of race engineering. Over the last year, Giles has been the crew chief for Robby Gordon, Marcus Ambrose and Johnny Sauter.
      Morrell, who has a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management, joins TBR with over nine years of management experience. She worked as a team manager for Baldwin’s team from 2003-2005 before it was sold to Evernham Motorsports. Most recently, she worked for Hay Distribution as a business manager.
      Riggs and the #36 team testing at South Georgia Motorsports Park in Cecil, Ga. in preparation for this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Nexxus Lighting Inc. will be the primary sponsor on the #36 Toyota this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. MarkMartin.com has become the first sponsor to jump on board Tommy Baldwin’s Support Small Businesses of America program.(TBR PRs)(3-26-2009)

    • Labonte and Andretti Discuss Benefits of 2009 Testing Rules: In response to the troubling economy, NASCAR implemented a new policy for the 2009 season that banned testing at NASCAR sanctioned tracks. Although several teams were skeptical of the change when it was first administered, most teams now agree that it has helped make everyone more competitive with their given budget. NASCAR drivers Bobby Labonte and John Andretti discuss the effects of the new policy.
      Bobby Labonte, Driver of the #96 Ask.com Ford and President of Breaking Limits: “I think the new policy that NASCAR implemented this year was the right thing to do. Looking back on it, if they (NASCAR) didn’t do anything and we were testing like normal, it would be disastrous for a lot of teams. I’m sure it’s saving them a lot of money in that area. I’m sure they’re spending it in another. I can’t see the difference at the race track, basically. I’m not sure that you’d want to do this every year, but it’s definitely been good not having some teams waste or spend their money. At this point in time, all the teams are pretty strong because they’ve been able to figure things out pretty fast and they’ve adapted quickly to it.”
      John Andretti, Driver of the #34 Front Row Motorsports Chevrolet: “I think the new testing policy has served its purpose. It’s helped reduce the separation between the ‘haves,’ ‘have-nots’ and even the ‘have-less.’ Some of the more well-funded teams have found ways to test. There are still tracks that you can test at that might help you prepare for an upcoming race, but it’s only a slight advantage. When you arrive for a race weekend, there won’t be a team with a head and shoulders advantage over anyone else. Everyone will begin at nearly the same starting point and that’s because of the testing policy, so it’s definitely helped keep the playing field level in the tough economic times.”(Breaking Limits PR)(3-26-2009)

    • Cope Announces Entry for Martinsville: Derrike Cope, Inc. will enter this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville. FW1/Fast Wax and flipNbags.com will serve as co-primary sponsors for the team’s entry, which will be driven by Cope. “Our team is gaining momentum with every race,” said Cope. “We are planning to compete this season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series’ and we are pleased to be working with such great new sponsors while building a stronger racing program.” Also on the #75 Dodge Charger will be associate sponsor Blu Frog Energy Drink.(Derrike Cope, Inc PR)(3-26-2009)

    • Sprint remains committed series sponsor: Sprint remains committed to sponsoring NASCAR’s premier series through the duration of its contract that runs through 2013 despite tough economic conditions, director of Sprint entertainment and marketing Steve Gaffney said Wednesday. “Committed more than ever,” Gaffney said. “This sport and what we get from this sport in terms of real business, subscribers and existing subscribers is demonstratively good for our business. “You mention the economic downturn, we need to focus more on areas where we think we’re winning business. And this sponsorship is winning business,” Gaffney said. Sprint, at the time Nextel when the deal was signed, reportedly committed $700 million over 10 years to the series.(ESPN.com)(3-26-2009)

    • Martinsville Rookie Notes: #82-Scott Speed was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March 22 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Speed scored a 28th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the second time this season. #20-Joey Logano leads Speed by one point (53-52) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the March 29 Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. J.J. Yeley is the most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the spring race at Martinsville, leading once for one lap in 2006. Morgan Shepherd is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 (since 1975). Shepherd won the 1981 event, outlasting the late Neil Bonnett to score his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win. Shepherd led the most laps in the race (three times for 203) and remains the most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in the spring race at Martinsville. Two other Raybestos Rookies scored top-10 finishes that same day: Ron Bouchard (ninth) and Mike Alexander (10th). The most Raybestos Rookies to finish in the top-10 in the spring race at Martinsville are FOUR. In 1979, Joe Millikan placed fifth ahead of Harry Gant (sixth), Dale Earnhardt (seventh) and Terry Labonte (ninth). The most recent Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in the spring race at Martinsville is Dick Trickle. Trickle finished third in 1989. Trickle also led the race once for seven laps. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 finish in the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 is Jeff Gordon, who placed eighth in 1993. Tony Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the pole for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 (since 1975). Stewart won his first career pole at Martinsville in 1999.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR), see rookie history, standings, stats, notes on the2009 Rookies page.(3-26-2009)

    • Energizer on the #98 at Martinsville: Energizer will make its debut on the hood of the #98 Energizer / Menards Ford for this weekend’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500.(Yates PR)(3-26-2009)

    • Listen to All-Star Race driver meeting, pre-race conversations:
    • For the first time in its 61-year history, NASCAR fans will be able to listen to pre-race conversations between drivers, crew chiefs and officials participating in the All-Star Race. The one-time audio feed, offered by Sprint, will take place at the 25th running of the historic race on May 16 in Charlotte, N.C. The audio broadcast will be streamed to Sprint wireless devices via NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile, an application that enables race fans to get audio feeds, statistics, live televised races and more. The driver-meeting feed is being offered as a freebie to Sprint’s data customers. Sprint came up with the idea of making these discussions available, on a one-time basis, in honor of the 25th running of the All-Star Race. [print spokeswoman Kimberly] Meester says NASCAR was initially reluctant, but finally agreed.(

USA Today

    • )(3-26-2009)


News from March 25, 2009

  • Wednesday Testing at the Rock: Two Sprint Cup teams tested at the Little Rock 1/2 mile track at Rockingham Speedway on Wednesday, March 25th: #41-Jeremy Mayfield and #09-Sterlin Marlin. They were joined by Johnny Benson and TJ Bell from the Camping World Truck Series.(3-25-2009)

  • Sprint All-Star Race XXV To Feature Exciting 10-Lap Shootout For Final Segment: The 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race will feature a 10-lap shootout as its final segment, reviving memories of some of the event’s most spectacular finishes. NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race XXV, set for Saturday, May 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (SPEED, 7 p.m.), will consist of four segments, concluding with a 10-lap sprint and a $1 million pay-out to the race winner. Tickets for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race start at $25 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
    The 2009 format is as follows:
    * Segment 1: 50 laps with a mandatory green-flag pit stop on Lap 25 at which time teams must pit and take on four tires. Following the end of Segment 1, the caution flag will be displayed for an optional pit stop.
    * Segment 2: 20 laps with the caution flag displayed at the end of Segment 2 for an optional pit stop.
    * Segment 3: 20 laps with a 10-minute break at the end of Segment 3. Teams may make normal adjustments to their cars during this break. The finishing order after the third segment determines the final starting positions for the fourth and final segment.
    * Segment 4: 10-lap shootout with only green-flag laps counting.
    The eligibility standards for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race remain the same: race winners from either the 2008 or 2009 season through May 9 or any past champions of the all-star event or NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (over the previous 10 years) are eligible for the race. In addition, the top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap preliminary race scheduled for 7:30pm/et and the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote, all advance into the all-star race lineup. Kasey Kahne can thank the fans for giving him the opportunity to win the 2008 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, as he made it into the field after being voted in by the fans.(NASCAR PR), more info on the race on my 2009 All-Star Race page.(3-25-2009)

  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Defends Embattled Crew Chief UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has become accustomed to the topic. It’s been one of the primary debates in NASCAR for several years, but the heat has increased this season. Is the often-volatile working relationship between Earnhardt, Jr. and his cousin, Tony Eury, Jr. conducive to winning races? Eury serves as the crew chief on Earnhardt’s #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. The two often engage in animated discussions – even arguments – over the scanner during races. Entering Sunday’s Food City 500, Earnhardt ranks 24th in Sprint Cup points with just one top-10 finish. Many of Earnhardt’s loyal fans blame Eury. Earnhardt addressed his struggles as well as his relationship with his cousin during a wide-ranging press conference Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I have said it a hundred times – and it just doesn’t seem to make a dent – but the guy that I feel bad for is Tony, Jr. because he gets criticized so badly,” Earnhardt said. “Everybody in this room – and some of you have criticized him yourselves – know how smart a guy he is. He is a good mechanic and a solid crew chief.” Clearly, Earnhardt has become frustrated with the attacks on his cousin by fans and media types. “[Eury, Jr.] just wanted to do this for a living, just like I do, but I’ll take the fall,” Earnhardt said. “I would rather be crucified than him. Every time I read in the paper that people are on his case, I feel like I am sending my brother to jail for a crime I committed, you know what I mean. I feel bad for him because he just wants to work and have fun.” As for the free-flowing chats with his crew chief, Earnhardt said it comes with the territory in a hyper-competitive and emotional sport. “There are riffs between every driver and every crew chief, and they work it out or they don’t,” Earnhardt said. “I think me and Tony, Jr. do a pretty good job of working it out. Obviously, through everything we have been through, we still love each other to death and would do anything for each other.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-21-2009)
    UPDATE: Car owner Rick Hendrick says he is fully committed to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and embattled crew chief Tony Eury Jr. The team has been under fire for its slow start this season. Earnhardt last week asked for relief from the constant criticism Eury has faced from fans and media. Hendrick says the driver and crew chief were part of a three-hour meeting Wednesday to figure out what’s wrong with the #88 team. He says the team is under great pressure, but everyone is committed to turning this season around. After five races, Earnhardt has just one top-10 finish and is 19th in the standings.(Associated Press)(3-25-2009)

  • Hamlin on TV Thursday UPDATE: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEX Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, is scheduled to appear on Fox and Friends Wednesday morning [March 25th] at 8:25am on the Fox News Channel to help promote FedEx’s involvement in the March of Dimes.(JGR), will run a March of Dimes scheme at Phoenix in April.(3-25-2009)
    UPDATE: the announcement was: Join me, Denny Hamlin, in the driver?s seat as FedEx and its racing team champion a healthy start for All babies. While you are walking for March of Dimes, I will be racing for the March of Dimes at the Phoenix NASCAR race! You can help FedEx by donating at least $11 today. Your donation will be in support of my #11 car as we dedicate the April 18th Phoenix NASCAR race to March for Babies…the same day you will be walking at the Phoenix March for Babies event! Together we can make a difference for all babies. The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality (FedEx Racing).See the video at Fox News, see images of the car on the #11 Team Scheme page.(3-25-2009)

  • Boy Scouts honor Jeff Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon has something in common with 13 presidents, Charles Lindbergh, Walt Disney, Hank Aaron and Colin Powell. He’s a Silver Buffalo. Or at least he received the Silver Buffalo award, Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor given to volunteers. Gordon got the award Tuesday during the annual BSA Mecklenburg County Council’s Friends of Scouting Leadership Dinner at the Charlotte Convention Center. He was recognized for his work recruiting boys to Cub Scouts and other humanitarian ventures involving children. Gordon, whose stepfather is an Eagle Scout, has been the honorary chairman and spokesman for the “Race Into Cub Scouting,” a national campaign to recruit boys into Cub Scouts. He made PSAs and personal appearances for Cub Scouts. The foundation he started in 1999 has raised million to help children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses. “Jeff has been a great supporter of scouting the last three years; he’s been very instrumental in the successful campaign to recruit kids into Boy Scouts,” Bob Mazzuca, BSA’s chief scout executive, told the Observer before the dinner. “He’s been very generous with his time. Just his stature has been a huge help for us to recruit kids.”(JeffGordon.com)(3-25-2009)

  • Odd race in DC with Kyle Busch: The Smell My Face Beltway Race 2! Elliot of the Elliot In The Morning radio show in Washington DC announced a new EITM promotion, introducing The Smell My Face Beltway Race 2 with Flounder and #18-Kyle Busch. Flounder beat out Hélio Castroneves in the same race 3 years ago. This Thursday morning {March 26th], Flounder defends his title when he takes on NASCAR’s Kyle Busch in a lap around the DC beltway. The first man back to the station wins the coveted Smell My Face Beltway Race trophy.(EITMfans)(3-25-2009)

  • Latest news on #19 crew chief, Buskirk: from a Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript with Robbie Loomis, Vice President of Race Operations, Richard Petty Motorsports:
    Q: Can you give us an update on the health status of Kevin Buskirk (crew chief, #19 Stanley Dodge Charger)?
    A: I spoke with Kevin last night, we’ve been texting each other back and forth; he’s actually getting better and better. Some of the medicine that they’ve been giving him has been making him a little bit dizzy and sleepy. He got some type of ‘bug’ down there (Bristol) in his intestines that were causing some trouble for him. He soldiered through on Friday and Saturday and just did a tremendous job. On Sunday he was like, “Man, I just can’t go.” Mark McArdle made the call to put me on the pit box and things really worked out well. It was quite different for me to be in that role. It was something that I enjoyed at the same time, being there for Elliott Sadler, Best Buy and Stanley as a fill-in.
    Q: Is Kevin Buskirk back for Martinsville?
    A: He’s not back yet. He’s still recovering. I told him that I’m about ready to come over there and start giving him IVs and medical stuff to get him back soon, get him back there in Martinsville. He’s getting better and better and I’m sure he’ll be back with us in Martinsville.(Dodge Motorsports)(3-25-2009)

  • Record for brotherly wins in a row: What brothers currently hold the record for most consecutive wins by brother combinations? It’s been done three times by two different families. Tim, Bob and Fonty flock won four in a row in 1952, as did Herb and Donald Thomas. The Flock brothers, minus Bob, also won four straight in 1955. The Buschs [Kurt & Kyle] could do it again more than 50 years later.(ESPN)(3-25-2009)

  • Special scheme for the #96 at Martinsville: This week in Martinsville, Bobby Labonte fans might be surprised to see Tracy Pan of San Francisco riding alongside him as the #96 Ask.com Ford Fusion aims for Victory Lane. Well, not literally riding alongside him, but her name will adorn the hood of the Hall of Fame Racing machine thanks to her superior work as an Online Marketing Manager for Labonte’s primary sponsor, Ask.com. The ‘Askers on the #96’ program will continue throughout the 2009 NASCAR season to recognize the hard work of Ask.com employees who go above and beyond the call of duty. As the ‘Official Search Engine of NASCAR’ Ask.com continues to reward both fans and employees for their loyalty through offerings like ‘Askers on the #96’ and the Ask.com NASCAR Trivia Challenge, a sweepstakes rewarding fans with $100,000 for downloading the Ask.com NASCAR toolbar for free or answering a new racing question everyday at Ask.com.(Taylor PR)(3-25-2009)

  • Chase Elliott to Make First Late Model Start: Chase Elliott. Bill Elliott’s son, will mark a major career milestone this weekend when he climbs behind the wheel of the #9 Aaron’s Lucky Dog Dream Machine for his first Late Model start at South Georgia Motorsports Park (Cecil, Ga.) in the ASA Late Model South Series on Saturday, March 28. Thirteen-year-old Elliott tested the Aaron’s Lucky Dog Dream Machine last weekend at Lanier National Speedway (Braselton, Ga.) for his first laps in an asphalt Late Model.(Bill Elliott Racing PR)(3-25-2009)
  • School to give tours of Martinsville Speedway: Patrick Henry Community College Students Giving Tours of Martinsville Speedway. Motorsports Association will give tours every hour starting at 9am and ending at 5pm. Tour starts at the speedway and continues to HT Motorsports, Arrington Engines & PHCC Motorsports; returning to the Speedway. Cost $10 for adults; $5 children 10 & under.(PHCC PR)(3-25-2009)
  • Frank Kerr Named Crew Chief of the Race at Bristol: 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 in Sunday’s Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead.(Wypall PR)(3-25-2009)


    News from March 24, 2009

  • Tuesday Testing at the Rock: seven Sprint Cup teams tested at the Little Rock 1/2 mile track at Rockingham Speedway on Tuesday, March 24th: #2-Kurt Busch, #20-Joey Logano, #96-Bobby Labonte, #98-Paul Menard, #12-David Stremme, #77-Sam Horish Jr and Jamie McMurray in an un-numbered Ford.(3-24-2009)
  • Sad News – Lloyd Ruby: Racing legend Lloyd Ruby, a lifelong resident of Wichita Falls, passed away Monday night in Wichita Falls. TX. He was 81. Ruby won seven times on the USAC Championship Car Series in his career and also had endurance racing victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and the United States Grand Prix. But he is best known for the race he didn’t win. Ruby raced in 18 straight Indianapolis 500s from 1960-77, led in five of them and was out front for 126 laps. But he never won open wheel racing’s most prestigious prize. His biography, written by Ted Buss in 2000, was titled: “Lloyd Ruby: The Greatest Driver Never to Win the Indy 500.” Ruby’s best finish at Indianapolis was third in 1964. In 1991, he was inducted into the Indianapolis 500 Hall of Fame.(Times Record News), Ruby also ran one Sprint Cup race, at Riverside in January 1967, finishing 22nd in a Junior Johnson owned car. More info and services info on the Sad News page. (3-24-2009)

  • Front Row Motorsports plans full season, hires crew chief: Front Row Motorsports has hired Steve Lane from Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to be its crew chief and is still focused on running the entire season, team owner Bob Jenkins said. Driver John Andretti is 33rd in driver points and the team is 33rd in owner points for Jenkins, whose team, prior to this year, had qualified for 34 of 135 Cup races it attempted from 2005 through 2008. The team started 2009 locked into the first five races with the points from the Dale Earnhardt Inc. #15 car as part of an alliance with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. That brought Lane and other EGR crewmen over to work with the team, and some have now become permanent employees. “We’ve tried to fly under the radar screen and not create a lot of noise about what we’re doing,” Jenkins said Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I feel like we can stay locked in once we’re there. [EGR] ran Daytona. It was their operation. Since then, we’ve ran it, and John would have made every one of those races on time anyway. I feel good about that. I just don’t want to get to the point where we have to make it on time.” The team bought some cars from EGR but also has raced its own cars this year. It also has been using Pro Motors, except for the races at Daytona and Atlanta, where it used Earnhardt Childress Racing Technologies engines. “When we started this deal, we did a technical alliance with them [at EGR] and shared information both ways,” Jenkins said. “We don’t get full-blown engineering support. We have our own folks to do that. But there has been information-sharing. I think it has helped us and also maybe has helped them. It gives them a chance to test some things at a lower risk [than] if they were doing it on the 1 [of Martin Truex Jr.] or 42 car [of Juan Pablo Montoya].” Knowing that it was in the first five races, Front Row was able to secure sponsorship for four events from Window World. The team is currently unsponsored, but Jenkins hopes to have Window World back on the car. “They won’t do all the races,” Jenkins said. “They could do as many as 10. We don’t know at this point. For sure, they’re going to do Richmond. Beyond that, we’re still working on stuff.” The team’s Cup operation is based in Statesville, N.C., at Travis Carter’s shop. The Nationwide team, with Tony Raines behind the wheel, is in Denver, N.C. Andretti most likely won’t run the full schedule. He plans to compete in the Indianapolis 500 in May and probably will miss two events. Jenkins hasn’t named a driver for those races, but Raines could step into the seat, he said. Raines is competing this weekend at Martinsville in a second Front Row [#37] car because the Nationwide Series is off, but that car likely won’t run much again this year, Jenkins said.(SceneDaily)(3-24-2009)

  • Johnson’s #48 Crew Claims Tissot Pit Road Win in Bristol: Jimmie Johnson’s #48 team took top honors by winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The weekly competition, which recognizes the over-the-wall pit crews, has had different winners in each of the first five Cup races of 2009. 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. For winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, the No. 48 team will receive $5,000. The team with the most pit road wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the driver and over-the-wall crew members.(DMF Communications/Tissot PR)(3-24-2009)
  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series
    * Kyle Busch won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
    * Busch, who started 19th, became the second repeat race winner in 2009. Busch also won at Las Vegas. He joined Matt Kenseth, who won the first two races in 2009 (Daytona and California).
    * Busch posted his 14th career Cup victory in 155 races. He has won five of the 12 NASCAR races in 2009: two Cup, two Truck and one Nationwide.
    * Busch moved to 46th on NASCAR’s all-time wins list with 14 Cup victories, tying Dick Hutcherson, LeeRoy Yarbrough and Greg Biffle.
    * Busch posted his second victory in 25 races on the three short tracks (Bristol, Martinsville and Richmond). Both wins have come at Bristol. This was his second Bristol victory in nine races. It was his sixth top-10 finish in his past seven races at Bristol.
    * Crew chief Steve Addington posted his 10th Cup victory in his 150th Cup race as a crew chief. All 10 of his crew chief victories have come with Busch.
    * This was the first win by a Toyota in a Cup race at Bristol.
    * Joe Gibbs Racing scored its second Bristol victory — the other by Tony Stewart. JGR scored its 70th victory overall, which ranks eighth all time. It was JGR’s sixth 1-2 finish. Denny Hamlin finished second.
    * Busch led five times for 378 laps in Sunday’s race, including the final 59 laps. He led 415 laps in the August 2008 Bristol race. Combined, Busch has led 793 of the 1,003 laps in those two races. JGR has led 1,172 laps in the 1,509 laps of the past three Bristol races.
    * Busch led 156 laps in the Nationwide race Saturday, finishing sixth. He led 534 of the 803 laps raced this weekend (67 percent).
    * The Busch brothers, Kyle and Kurt, have won the past three Cup races.
    * Jeff Gordon leads the Cup points standings by 76 over second-place Kurt Busch. Gordon finished fourth, posting his fifth top-15 finish of 2009. He’s the only driver to finish among the top 15 in all five races so far this season.
    * Gordon extended his winless streak to 46 races since October 2007 at Lowe’s.
    * Jimmie Johnson (third) tied his best finish in 15 races at Bristol. Johnson climbed from 13th to ninth in the standings, the first time in 2009 that Johnson has been among the top 12. Johnson began the season ranked 31st after Daytona.
    * Clint Bowyer (13th) extended a 78-race streak of running at the finish that began at Homestead in November 2006. Bowyer’s last DNF came at Phoenix on Nov. 12, 2006, when he finished 33rd thanks to oil-pump failure.
    * Scott Speed (28th) was the higher-finishing rookie contender among the two rookies in the race. Joey Logano finished 38th.
    * This was the third green-white-checkered finish at Bristol, all in the past three spring races.
    * The top 10 consisted of six Chevys, one Dodge and three Toyotas. The highest-finishing Ford belonged to Carl Edwards (15th).(ESPN)(3-24-2009)

  • Gillette could sell NHL team, could race team be next? There are no indications yet that the financial troubles apparently plaguing George Gillett will force him to sell part or all of his interest in Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM). ESPN.com reported on Monday that the 24-time Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens owned by Gillett could be sold in order for Gillett to divest some of his properties. Gillett also is the majority owner or RPM, the English Premier League soccer team Liverpool as well as several ski and golf clubs. Two people close to RPM and its ownership are not aware of any plans to put the Sprint Cup organization on shopping block. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t change as the economy worsens. Gillett purchased Evernham Motorsports from then-owner Ray Evernham two years ago and renamed it Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Evernham still is a minority owner. Gillett recently purchased Petty Enterprises owned by seven-time Cup champion Richard Petty and renamed it RPM.(ESPN Insider)(3-24-2009)

  • Bowyer on TV show tonight: NASCAR driver #33-Clint Bowyer gives an inspirational pep talk to “The Biggest Loser” contestants when they face one of their toughest challenges yet – each pulling a two-ton car on NBC’s series “The Biggest Loser: Couples.” The show is scheduled to air Tuesday, March 24 (9-11 p.m. ET/PT) on NBC immediately following President Obama’s primetime news conference at 8:00pm/et.(RCR PR)(3-24-2009)


    News from March 23, 2009

  • Bristol Overnight TV Ratings: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race earned a 4.1 overnight rating and a 10 market share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 18% lower than the 5.0 Fox earned for the race in 2008.(SceneDaily)(3-23-2009)

  • Testing at the Rock: six Sprint Cup teams tested at the Little Rock 1/2 mile track at Rockingham Raceway on Monday: #2-Kurt Busch, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #8 Aric Amirola (two cars), #39-Ryan Newman, #07-Casey Mears and Justin Allgaier in the #77 Dodge. Seven ARCA Teams tested the one mile track in prep for the Carolina 200 in April.(3-23-2009)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing teams up with IMG: Joe Gibbs Racing is finalizing a broad-based relationship with IMG that will give the NASCAR team access to the agency’s full range of sponsorship sales, measurement and activation capabilities. The agreement between JGR and IMG will not preclude the race team from working with other agencies and their clients, said JGR President J.D. Gibbs. It simply gives Gibbs Racing the ability to tap into IMG’s resources, most notably the agency’s return-on-investment tools. “You reach a point over the years that you either need to increase what you have in-house and make yourself a lot larger or you need to tap into someone else,” said Gibbs, whose father, Joe founded the race team in 1992. JGR’s front office includes five employees under Dean Noble, the team’s vice president of business, and four under Dave Alpern, the vice president of marketing. Noble and Alpern will be JGR’s day-to-day contacts with IMG. IMG will take a team approach that includes Tom Knox, who runs the motorsports-heavy Charlotte office, newly hired Mark Dyer and Jim Tucker, who previously has sold for NASCAR, the NFL and Gillett Evernham Motorsports. It’s uncertain if IMG will eventually embed a salesperson in the Charlotte-based Gibbs Racing headquarters, as it did with the NHRA and typically does with its college clients. There is not an ownership stake for IMG, and IMG Sports and Entertainment President George Pyne has said ownership is not in IMG’s plans. Neither side revealed details of the arrangement, but typically they involve a retainer fee and a percentage of sales. “This adds a lot of value to JGR,” said Gibbs, who credited a lengthy relationship with Pyne for driving the deal. Pyne formerly was the chief operating officer at NASCAR, where he worked for 11 years. Gibbs said the decision wasn’t driven by the current economic climate, but rather a need for JGR to better assist its sponsors. The more information the team can present to its sponsors, the smoother those renewal discussions typically go, he said.(Sports Business Journal)(3-23-2009)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Food City 500
    Total number of commercials: 127
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 67
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 82
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:10 PM
    Total minutes: 190
    Minutes of race broadcast: 137
    Minutes of commercials: 53
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Animated Digger sightings: 7
    Digger still shots: 28
    See more and a link to the full report on the 2009 TV Commercials Page.(3-23-2009)

  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer has been running at the finish in 78 consecutive races, the longest current streak, only 3 races behind the modern era record of #29-Harvick who had 81 until DNFing at California in Feb 2009, next up is #48-Johnson at 29 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963 [Beam didn’t run all the races, but didn’t DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 81 [he also has the 2nd longest at 58], then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(3-23-2009)
  • 250 top 5’s for Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon made his 550th career start at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Food City 500, with his 4th place finish, Gordon now has 250 top-five finishes, which is 7th best all time. Next up is Cale Yarborough at 255. Richard Petty has the most with 555.(3-23-2009)

  • TRG Motorsports Heads to Martinsville 35th in Owner Points: David Gilliland soldiered through a tough day at Bristol Motor Speedway to finish the #71 Capital Window/TRG Motorsports Chevy in 36th position in the Food City 500. The team leaves Bristol 35th in owner points assuring that they are locked into next weekend’s race at Martinsville.(TRG Motorsports PR)
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(3-23-2009)

News from March 22, 2009

  • Driver wins before age 25: Only 58 of 2,215 NASCAR Sprint Cup races for which the winner’s age is known have been won by drivers under 25, #18-Kyle Busch is only 23 and is one win away from tying Jeff Gordon’s record of 15 wins before the age of 25:
    1. Jeff Gordon, 15
    2. Kyle Busch, 14 [still under 25 until May 2, 2010]
    3. Kurt Busch, 7
    (tie) Richard Petty, 7
    5. Junior Johnson, 5
    Tied with one each: Bob Burdick. Bobby Hillin Jr.; Parnelli Jones; John Kieper; Terry Labonte, Ryan Newman, Bill Rexford; Fireball Roberts; Donald Thomas; Brian Vickers (still under 25)(3-22-2009)
  • Kyle Busch wins at Bristol: #18-Kyle Busch won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, for his 2nd win of 2009, 14th of his career and the first time Busch has won twice at a track in Sprint Cup, he had won his 13 races at different track. The race ran three extra laps on a Green-White-Checkered after a late caution, Busch led 378 of 503 laps. #11-Hamlin finished 2nd, followed by #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon, #9-Kahne, #5-Martin (the pole sitter), #39-Newman, #31-Burton, #42-Montoya and #47-Ambrose. The top-35 in owners points didn’t change much, no drivers / teams fell out. There were 9 cautions for 58 laps and 7 drivers led a lap with 13 lead changes. The race is scheduled to re-air on SPEED, Thursday, March 26th at 12:00pm/et.
    For race results, awards and more on the Bristol Race Results Page.(3-22-2009)
  • UNOFFICAL Driver Points Standings [after Bristol race 5 of 36]:
    1) #24Jeff Gordon 794
    2) #2-Kurt Busch 718 -76 [1 win]
    3) #33-Clint Bowyer 715 -79
    4) #18-Kyle Busch 709 -85 [2 wins]
    5) #99-Carl Edwards 665 -129
    6) #9-Kasey Kahne 639 -155
    7) #14-Tony Stewart 633 -161
    8) #11-Denny Hamlin 631 -163
    9) #48-Jimmie Johnson 627 -167
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth 610 -184 [2 wins]
    11) #00-David Reutimann 607 -187
    12) #29-Kevin Harvick 584 -210
    in running for top 12 – the chase:
    13) #31-Jeff Burton 579 -215
    14) #83-Brian Vickers 553 -241
    15) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya 546 -248
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(3-22-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Bristol Motor Speedway
    Kyle Busch won the FOOD CITY 500, his 14th victory in 155 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second victory and third top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his second victory and sixth top-10 finish in nine races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
    The Busch brothers have won three consecutive races. They won four straight last year – Kyle at Infineon Raceway, Kurt at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Kyle at Daytona International Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway.
    Denny Hamlin (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in seven races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It is his second top-10 finish in 2009.
    Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 15 races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
    Scott Speed (28th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Jeff Gordon leads the point standings by 76 points over Kurt Busch.(NASCAR Statistics)(3-22-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Bristol: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #09-Marlin, 40th
    Caution 2: NONE as the drivers up for it [#34] caused the caution
    Caution 3: #09-Marlin, 40th
    Caution 4: #77-Hornish, 31st
    Caution 5: #96-Labonte, 22nd
    Caution 6: #88-Earnhardt Jr., 14th
    Caution 7: #88-Earnhardt Jr.(2), 14th
    Caution 8: #44-Allmendinger, 16th
    Caution 9: none awarded when 10 or less laps are left in the race
    (3-22-2009)
  • Penalty Report – Bristol Motor Speedway
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #82 28, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #8 60, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #29 62, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End (Too Fast Entering also)
    #7 64, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #8 125, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End, (Too Fast Exiting also)
    #55 312, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #83 320, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #16 321, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End (Also Too Soon)
    #8 321, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #43 325, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #29 444, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End (Too Fast Entering and Exiting)
    #77 445, Car/Truck pitting out of the assigned pit box
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-22-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Martinsville:
    Adrer Bristol, the current (2009) OWNERS points are used to determine the Top-35 in owners points and the guaranteed starting positions. No drivers dropped out or moved in from race standings.
    31) #5-Martin/Hendrick: 441 +106
    32) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 398 +63
    33) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 397 +62
    34) #20-Logano/Gibbs Racing: 370 +35
    35) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 356 21 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull Racing: 335, 21 points out of 35th
    37) #8-Almirola/Earnhardt Ganassi: 335 -21
    38) #98-Menard/Yates Racing: 326 -30
    39) #28-Kvapil/Yates Racing: 323 -33
    40) #66-Blaney/Prism: 230 -126
    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.(3-22-2009)
  • Six Race Tracks Jimmie Johnson has never won a Sprint Cup race at: There are six current race tracks the Sprint Cup Series runs on that #48-Jimmie Johnson has not won at [a Sprint Cup race]:
    Bristol
    Michigan
    Infineon Raceway
    Chicago
    Watkins Glen
    Homestead

  • Bristol could be last race for #28 UPDATE – done: Sources at Yates Racing confirmed that Sunday’s Food City 500 will be the last race in the foreseeable future for the #28 Ford driven by Travis Kvapil. Last year, the team was able to piecemeal enough sponsorship together to last the entire season for the #28, but despite some support from Golden Corral for the first five races of 2009, it wasn’t enough to keep the car going beyond this week.(SPEEDtv)(3-21-2009)
    UPDATE: Yates Racing will suspend operations of the #28 Ford of Travis Kvapil due to lack of sponsorship following Sunday’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The team entered the race 40th in points. A decision on how many employees will be laid off has not been made. Geoff Smith, the president of Roush Fenway Racing that partners with Yates, said most of the #28 team members will be dispersed to other parts of the organization. “It’s difficult to be in a situation when you have to deal with the consequences of the economy,” Smith said. “We’re in a situation where there’s no extra cash to support running an unsponsored car for any period of time. If the economy picks up later in the season maybe we’ll be able to pick up something for that team.” The team suffered a major setback when Kvapil failed to make the third race at Las Vegas. That was compounded a week later when a blown engine left him 42nd at Atlanta. Smith wasn’t optimistic sponsorship for Kvapil will come this season. He’s having enough trouble with selling sponsorship for some of his other programs, such as Aflac on Carl Edwards’ car, that have asked for relief. Roush has sponsors for all of its drivers through at least 2010 except Matt Kenseth, whose deal with DeWalt expires after this year. Smith said he’s working with DeWalt to find a partner for next season. “There’s a lot of pressure internally and externally for sponsors to decrease participation and find a partner or pull back altogether,” Smith said. “There just aren’t enough sponsors on our side of the garage to go around right now.”(ESPN.com)(3-22-2009)

  • Loomis on the pit box for Sadler: An ill Kevin Buskirk left Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night and Richard Petty Motorsports Executive Vice President of Race Operations Robbie Loomis will serve as crew chief for #19-Elliott Sadler in the Food City 500 today. It will be the first time Loomis will be calling the shots for a driver since he worked with Jeff Gordon in 2005. “The big thing is figuring out what’s wrong with [Buskirk] – his wife is getting him checked out [by doctors] today,” Loomis said Sunday morning. “We’ve got a great team over there. Everybody knows their role. Kevin Kidd is their engineer, and I’ll be there for any assistance and leaning on.” Buskirk had been feeling ill all weekend, and Loomis had been paying more attention to the team in case Buskirk had to leave. As part of his new role resulting from the Petty Motorsports-Gillett Evernham Motorsports merger, Loomis oversees all the crew chiefs in the RPM organization. Loomis said the decisions on whether to take tires and fuel on pit stops as well as changes that will be made to the car likely will be done by committee. “We’ll be talking about it as a team, but I’ll be the voice on the radio,” Loomis said. “It will be fun. I’ve always liked Elliott. I’ve never worked with him. I’ll have to get that Virginia slang down pat.”(SceneDaily)(3-22-2009)

  • Marlin wins Saturday Night Special: Sterling Marlin, who will run the Sprint Cup race Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, won the Scotts Saturday Night Special, Rusty Wallace finished 2nd followed by 70-year-old L.D. Ottinger, Terry Labonte and Jimmy Spencer. The race will be re-aired Sunday morning [March 22nd] 10:00am/et on ESPN Classic. Philadelphia [Jayski fave team] Eagles Kicker David Akers and ESPN’s Andy Petree won the celebrity races which set up the starting lineup for the Legends race.(ESPN.com)(3-21-2009)
    AND Sterling Marlin got an assist from teammate Andy Petree and lead from start to finish to capture the Scotts Saturday Night Special at Bristol Motor Speedway. The 51-year-old Marlin started on the pole after Petree finished first in his celebrity heat. The Columbia, Tenn., native was elated in victory lane, where he was awarded the same trophy that will go to Sunday’s Food City 500 winner. “Man, that felt so good,” said Marlin. “It felt so good to get in the car and to run like that. It just felt good to come back and run like that. I just had a great car and Andy got me a really good starting position. I had a great time. I’d like to do this again. I ran this car a couple of times in Nashville. Andy had tested a couple of times and we talked some. Andy’s car was really fast. I had a good car… so we should have won it. Rusty Wallace finished second, followed by L.D. Ottinger, Terry Labonte and Jimmy Spencer. Rounding out the 12-car field was Harry Gant, Phil Parsons, Jack Ingram, Cale Yarborough, David Green, Junior Johnson and Larry Pearson. In the first heat of the afternoon featuring celebrity drivers, Philadelphia Akers place-kicker David Akers outlasted the field to take the win, while former crew chief and current ESPN analyst Petree picked up the win in the second heat. Trailing Akers to the finish line in the first heat was Bill Jordan, followed by Riki Rachtman, Frank Beamer and Mike Compton. Brad Daugherty finished second to Petree in the second heat while Ron Capps came home third and Ray Evernham finished fourth. Doug Herbert and Greg Anderson wrecked their cars in practice and were unable to compete in the second heat.(BMS)(3-22-2009)

  • Stewart donates to help injured Shih Tzu: #14-Tony Stewart’s charitable foundation has donated an undisclosed amount of money to pay surgery costs for an injured stray Shih Tzu dog. Around midnight on St. Patrick’s Day, the three-year-old male was taken to the Humane Society for Hamilton County with a broken back, and he needed immediate surgery. Joni Thompson, executive director of the Indianapolis-based Tony Stewart Foundation, found out and told the driver, whose Shih Tzu, Buddy, died in 2007. The foundation made a gift to the Humane Society specifically covering the costs of the surgery and the dog’s special “wheelchair” to make up for losing the use of his hind legs. Stewart’s past philanthropic work earned him NASCAR Illustrated’s “Person of the Year” honors last year.(Florida Today/AP)(3-22-2009)
  • Kahne and Setzer test at Motor Mile: Two Sprint Cup teams participated in a test this past Tuesday (March 17th) at Motor Mile Speedway. The track in Radford, VA was because of the similarities it shared with the paper-clip Martinsville Speedway short track in Henry County. Banked 15 degrees in the turns, MMS has a steeper banking than Martinsville by a mere three degrees. Certain similarities are the reason many teams throughout the NASCAR spectrum choose Motor Mile Speedway as their proving ground for waging a competitive campaign at weekend short tracks. In attendance on this particular Tuesday were Kasey Kahne, driver of Richard Petty Motorsports’ #9 Budweiser Dodge, and the #46 Romeo Guest sponsored Dodge, owned by Carl Long and driven by Dennis Setzer. It was Kahne’s first outing at the .416-mile oval. For veteran driver Dennis Setzer, the asphalt corners of MMS have become as familiar as the finish line at Martinsville. For crew chief Kenny Francis, the Radford short track could serve as a solution for more speed at the Sunday short tracks looming on the Sprint Cup schedule. “This is a pretty good track and pretty close to home. It’s got good grip and is pretty consistent, so you can learn here; you don’t have to chase the tires all day,” explains Francis. Carl Long and Setzer have partnered up in order to attempt the 500-lap event at Martinsville later this month. By the end of the test session the #46 team was a half-second off the pace set by Kahne’s #9 Dodge, with a top time of only 16.5.(MMS site)(3-22-2009)
  • A little old, but congrats: Kevin Haynes (a Lead Test Technician at Windshear Windtunnel in Concord, NC) and his wife Rosanne welcomed triplet girls to the family over the holidays on December 12, 2008. Abigail, Cecilia, and Madeline all spent 6-8 weeks in the NICU at Northeast Medical Center. They were 3lb 1oz, 2lbs 10oz and 2lbs 4oz respectively. All are home now and doing well.(3-22-2009)


    News from March 21, 2009

  • Marlin wins Saturday Night Special: Sterling Marlin, who will run the Sprint Cup race Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, won the Scotts Saturday Night Special, Rusty Wallace finished 2nd followed by 70-year-old L.D. Ottinger, Terry Labonte and Jimmy Spencer. The race will be re-aired Sunday morning [March 22nd] 10:00am/et on ESPN Classic. Philadelphia [Jayski fave team] Eagles Kicker David Akers and ESPN’s Andy Petree won the celebrity races which set up the starting lineup for the Legends race.(ESPN.com)(3-21-2009)
  • Saturday first practice for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
    #88-Earnhardt Jr. 123.372
    #00-Reutimann 123.229
    #6-Ragan 123.047
    #48-Johnson 122.835
    #18-Busch 122.835
    slowest: #99-Edwards 119.753 and #87-Nemechek 119.828
    incidents: #96-Labonte hit the wall, but supposedly not much damage.
    For the best speeds, ave speeds, laps run and more, see the Bristol Practice Speeds/News page.(3-21-2009)
  • Pit Stall Selections – Bristol: The selections for pit stalls of the Food City at Bristol Motor Speedway have been made. Pole sitter #5-Martin chose pit stall 1, while outside pole sitter #39-Ryan Newman took pit stall 23, the first on the back stretch pits. Bristol Motor Speedway operates under a plan where one-pit road will be used during pit stops under caution. Currently, Bristol remains the only track in Sprint Cup that utilizes two pit roads. Teams that pit on the backstretch used to be at a competitive disadvantage. Since the spring 2002 race at Bristol, teams will enter pit road in Turn 2 (the current backstretch pit entrance) drive around down the backstretch and around Turns 3 and 4 and exit in Turn 1. Under green-flag conditions teams will enter and exit pit road under the current two-pit-road scheme. How are pit stall’s chosen? by qualifying speeds, the fastest choose their stall and so on. See the pit selction chart on the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway Pit Stall Selection page.(3-21-2009)

  • RPM adds races to Allmendinger’s sched: #44-AJ Allmendinger is confident that he not only will be rewarded next week with not having to worry about qualifying, he also will be awarded in future weeks with additional races to his original nine-race schedule for Richard Petty Motorsports. Originally Allmendinger was going to run the first eight events through Phoenix next month, but the team has added the four following points races – Talladega, Richmond, Darlington and Lowe’s Motor Speedway – in addition to NASCAR’s Sprint All-Star Race. The other race, which already was on his schedule, is the July race at Daytona. Having pieced together sponsorship this year from Air Force, Valvoline, Charter, Harrah’s and LifeLock, the team has enough funds to keep Allmendinger in the seat at least through late May. Allmendinger has qualified for 10 consecutive events dating back to last season. At 20th in owner points, Allmendinger is all but assured he will remain in the top 35 heading into Martinsville next week, as he qualified at Bristol for his fifth consecutive race on speed – the only driver to do so in the first five races except for Tony Stewart, who had a past champion’s provisional if he needed it.(SceneDaily)(3-21-2009)

  • Kurt Busch victory lap gets name: #2-Kurt Busch had a contest to name the victory lap he ran at Atlanta in reverse. Winning entry, The Unwind Lap.(Virginian-Pilot)(3-21-2009)

  • Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Defends Embattled Crew Chief: #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has become accustomed to the topic. It’s been one of the primary debates in NASCAR for several years, but the heat has increased this season. Is the often-volatile working relationship between Earnhardt, Jr. and his cousin, Tony Eury, Jr. conducive to winning races? Eury serves as the crew chief on Earnhardt’s #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. The two often engage in animated discussions – even arguments – over the scanner during races. Entering Sunday’s Food City 500, Earnhardt ranks 24th in Sprint Cup points with just one top-10 finish. Many of Earnhardt’s loyal fans blame Eury. Earnhardt addressed his struggles as well as his relationship with his cousin during a wide-ranging press conference Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I have said it a hundred times – and it just doesn’t seem to make a dent – but the guy that I feel bad for is Tony, Jr. because he gets criticized so badly,” Earnhardt said. “Everybody in this room – and some of you have criticized him yourselves – know how smart a guy he is. He is a good mechanic and a solid crew chief.” Clearly, Earnhardt has become frustrated with the attacks on his cousin by fans and media types. “[Eury, Jr.] just wanted to do this for a living, just like I do, but I’ll take the fall,” Earnhardt said. “I would rather be crucified than him. Every time I read in the paper that people are on his case, I feel like I am sending my brother to jail for a crime I committed, you know what I mean. I feel bad for him because he just wants to work and have fun.” As for the free-flowing chats with his crew chief, Earnhardt said it comes with the territory in a hyper-competitive and emotional sport. “There are riffs between every driver and every crew chief, and they work it out or they don’t,” Earnhardt said. “I think me and Tony, Jr. do a pretty good job of working it out. Obviously, through everything we have been through, we still love each other to death and would do anything for each other.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-21-2009)

  • Bristol could be last race for #28: Sources at Yates Racing confirmed that Sunday’s Food City 500 will be the last race in the foreseeable future for the #28 Ford driven by Travis Kvapil. Last year, the team was able to piecemeal enough sponsorship together to last the entire season for the #28, but despite some support from Golden Corral for the first five races of 2009, it wasn’t enough to keep the car going beyond this week.(SPEEDtv)(3-21-2009)

  • Why The King is not Racing at Bristol: Asked why seven-time champion Richard “The King” Petty isn’t participating in Saturday’s legends race at Bristol Motor Speedway, long-time crew chief Dale Inman said, “He knew better than to ask his wife.” Inman wasn’t the only person in the Sprint Cup garage at Bristol Motor Speedway who said Lynda Petty was the reason NASCAR?s all-time race winner isn’t competing against the likes of Cale Yarborough, Harry Hyde and Junior Johnson. “He knew Lynda wouldn’t let him,” one source close to the situation said with a laugh. “But if you ask Richard he’ll deny it.” Petty isn’t the only old-timer who declined to participate. David Pearson is out with a bad back and many, according to rumors, couldn’t get the insurance necessary to compete in the 6 p.m. event.(ESPN Insider)(3-21-2009)

  • NASCAR’s missing video history: Dale Earnhardt’s 1979 Bristol victory: It’s the 30th anniversary of that first NASCAR tour breakthrough victory by the late Dale Earnhardt, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., just four years old at the time, has never seen that video footage….if it even exists. That 1979 Winston Cup tour win was the first of Earnhardt’s 76 victories, but it came two years before NASCAR’s full Cup tour events were routinely telecast in their entirety. But the third generation Earnhardt did watch his father here, while growing up. The elder Earnhardt made a lot of Bristol history. “The ‘Earnhardt Moment’ for me here was when he ran like 450 laps and won the race and had no power steering,” Earnhardt Jr. says. “I think that was in ’87 or ’86, or something like that. I have run like 20 laps at California with no power steering, and it was difficult — it was hard to drive the car where you wanted it to go. The whole handle of the car, the whole feel of the car changed. I just can’t imagine running like that here. I was having a hard time running (at California) any kind of competitive time on new tires; on old tires I was okay without the power steering, but on new tires it was just really hard to run as fast as everybody else was running. For him to have been able to do that here — a place like this, on the blacktop — for basically the entire race and win, that was pretty cool. I was here for that and I was pretty proud of him for that kind of effort.”(mikemulhern.net)(3-21-2009)

  • Martin wants to run full time in 2010 UPDATE: Although he hasn’t discussed it with team owner Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin would like to drive at least one more full season in the #5 after this year. When the 50-year-old driver signed a two-year deal with HMS midway through last season, the plan was to run a full schedule in 2009 and perhaps split the 2010 season with Brad Keselowski or another driver. “A lot of things have changed since May and June of ’08,” Martin said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “When it all comes down to it, it’s not about contracts. It’s all about what we all want.” What Martin wants, despite a tough start that has him 35th in owner points, is to continue at his current pace.(ESPN.com)(3-20-2009)
    UPDATE: Mark Martin says he loves being a full-time driver but he’s not ready to decide if he wants to convince team owner Rick Hendrick that he wants to drive the #5 car full time in 2010. After completing the pole-winning lap Friday for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Martin said he has a part-time contract with Hendrick Motorsports for 2010 and he’s not ready to talk about trying to change that. “I love what I’m doing and I don’t want to quit racing, but I have not had a conversation with my wife, with Hendrick Motorsports, with anybody about that,” Martin said. “It’s way too premature to talk about that. I have a [part-time] contract for next year. … I don’t want to talk about next year.” Last summer when Martin announced his signing with Hendrick Motorsports, he and Hendrick announced that Martin would drive a full season in 2009 with a part-time role in 2010. The other driver was not announced, although Brad Keselowski and Landon Cassill were considered the top candidates to share the ride with Martin.(SceneDaily)(3-21-2009)


    News from March 20, 2009

  • Martin on pole at Bristol: #5-Mark Martin won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a lap of 125.773mph for his 2nd pole in as many races and 43nd career pole. It was the first tine on 634 races that Martin had won back to back pole, last time in April 1989 at Darlington then Bristol. #39-Newman will start 2nd followed by #48-Johnson, #16-Biffle, #9-Kahne, #00-Reutimann, #43-Sorenson, #66-Blaney, #26-McMurray, and #24-Gordon. #88-Earnhardt Jr. will start 35th.
    The Go-or-go homers that made the race: #66-Blaney, #71-Gilliland, #14-Stewart, #64-Bodine, #28-Kvapil, #44-Allmendiner, #87-Nemechek, and #09-Marlin.
    Missing the race: #36-Riggs and #41-Mayfield.
    See qualifying results/starting lineup on my Bristol Starting Lineup Qualifying Page.(3-20-2009)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Bristol Motor Speeedway:
    Mark Martin won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Food City 500 with a lap of 15.256 seconds, 125.773 mph.
    This is his 43rd pole in 727 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second pole and fourth top-10 start in 2009.
    This is his eighth pole in 41 races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
    This is the second time Martin has won poles in consecutive races. The last time was in 1989 (Darlington Raceway, this Bristol race). He won two straight poles in 1981 but they were not in consecutive races (Nashville Speedway and Richmond International Raceway).
    Martin, at 50 years, 2 months and 11 days, becomes the oldest driver to win multiple poles in a season (Geoff Bodine was the previous oldest – 48 years, 6 months and 29 days when he won two poles in 1997).
    Ryan Newman (second) posted his second top-10 start of 2009 and his 10th in 15 races at Bristol Motor Speedway.
    This marks Ryan Newman’s best start since winning the pole at Phoenix International Raceway last April.
    Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his fifth top-10 start at Bristol Motor Speedway. It is his fifth in five races this season.
    Scott Speed (11th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(3-20-2009)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Chevy: #5-Martin, 125.773, starts 1st
    Ford: #16-Biffle, 125.289, starts 4th
    Dodge: #9-Kahne, 124.954, starts 5th
    Toyota: #00-Reutimann, 124.808, starts 6th

  • Martin wants to run full time in 2010: Although he hasn’t discussed it with team owner Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin would like to drive at least one more full season in the #5 after this year. When the 50-year-old driver signed a two-year deal with HMS midway through last season, the plan was to run a full schedule in 2009 and perhaps split the 2010 season with Brad Keselowski or another driver. “A lot of things have changed since May and June of ’08,” Martin said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “When it all comes down to it, it’s not about contracts. It’s all about what we all want.” What Martin wants, despite a tough start that has him 35th in owner points, is to continue at his current pace.(ESPN.com)(3-20-2009)

  • Biffle out of Nationwide race because of injured ribs: Greg Biffle has pulled out of the Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway because he bruised his ribs. Biffle says he was hurt while boating with friends. He says he jumped from the dock to the boat, and his foot slipped on a wet spot on the dock. He says he banged his right side on the side of the boat. Matt Kenseth will replace his Roush Fenway Racing teammate in Saturday’s race. He is still on schedule to drive in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol. (Associated Press)(3-20-2009)
    MORE: Greg Biffle is walking around the Bristol Motor Speedway garage with sore ribs. The #16-3M Ford Fusion driver slipped and struck his right side on the edge of the boat while helping friends dock the boat Tuesday evening near his home north of Charlotte. “It was one of those freak, stupid accidents were you take a fall and you have no way to stop it or brace it or grab because I was over top of water. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, I mean; everybody’s jumped onto a boat before, so, just lost my footing.” Biffle tested his ribs Thursday at the shop when he climbed into his Martinsville car and says he feels better in that seat than sitting on anything. Biffle added; “Its hard foam and it’s molded so it doesn’t create any pressure points.” As for how he feels, Biffle says, “I can not believe how much better I feel in three days. I was really hurting Tuesday night and Wednesday I felt a fair amount better and then yesterday (Thursday) I was up doing all kinds of stuff so I feel pretty good now.” As a precaution Biffle will not compete in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race as Matt Kenseth will drive the #16 CitiFinancial Ford.(PRNs Garage Pass)(3-20-2009)

  • Snickers scheme returns for Kyle Busch: Kyle Busch and the Snickers team are hoping that the Snickers colors adorning the #18 Toyota for the first time in 2009 bring as much good luck as they did in 2008. Busch drove his #18 Snickers Toyota to victory at Atlanta in March 2008, beginning an incredible string of eight wins in the season’s first 22 races. The Food City 500 will be the first of two Snickers paint schemes for the #18 Toyota in 2009, with the second race coming in July’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While the Food City 500 will mark its first start of 2009, chassis #193 shined brightly for the #18 team in 2008. Busch never started farther back than 11th or finished worse than 13th with this car last season. And in its inaugural start, Busch drove it to victory in at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 2008. Snickers Brand recently introduced a new language, called “Snacklish,” that uses its iconic logo and brand essence to communicate the right thing, in the right time and place, to the right people. Beginning this month, the Snacklish language will attempt to reach the American public through a unique advertising campaign called “Snickers Speak.” Ads currently running feature visual dramatizations of euphemisms, including legendary music icon Master P inviting viewers to “Get Some Bling With Master P-Nut,” and basketball legend Patrick Ewing explaining how to ”Get Dunked on by Patrick Chewing.”(JGR/True Speed Communications PR), see an image of the car on the #18 Team Schemes page.(3-20-2009)

  • Stewart trains with U.S. Army: #14-Tony Stewart stopped by Fort Knox on Thursday, March 19, 2009 to train with the troops. Stewart’s NASCAR Sprint Cup team [#39-Ryan Newman] is sponsored by the U.S. Army. Stewart and NHRA driver Tony Schumacher spent a few hours with soldiers, getting a taste of Army life that hardly resembled the battles Stewart would wage with green plastic Army men in his parent’s garden growing up.(ESPN.com/AP). See images at the Orlando Sentinel.(3-20-2009)
  • Daugherty Plans Tribute To Wendell Scott: Many NASCAR fans will realize a dream at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend when a cast of legendary drivers returns for the Saturday Night Special. For Brad Daugherty, the 15-lap celebrity event before the legends race will have special meaning. Daugherty will pay tribute to the first African-American driver to compete full-time in NASCAR’s premier series. Daugherty’s Late Model car will feature the #34, the former number of Wendell Scott. “Wendell is one of my heroes, and I wanted to honor him,” Daugherty said. A life-long race fan who grew up in rural North Carolina, Daugherty said he wishes more fans had a deeper appreciation for the contributions of Scott. “I don’t think people appreciate the tenacity that the guy had,’’ Daugherty said. “Wendell was treated almost sub-human at times, but he persevered and did what he wanted to do no matter the obstacle.”(Bristol Herald Courier)(3-20-2009)
  • Bristol Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be running the same combination of left- and right-side tires at Bristol this weekend . . . this will be the first time Goodyear has brought this combination to the track in 2009, though this is the same tire set-up that NASCAR teams ran at both Bristol (both series) and Pocono (Sprint Cup only) in 2008 . . . Bristol is unique in that teams will be required to run inner liners in only their right-side tires this weekend . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 130-140 laps, based on fuel mileage (Sprint Cup).(Goodyear PR). see full report on the Bristol Racing Info page.(3-20-2009)

  • The art of NASCAR: Some of the biggest moments in NASCAR are over in seconds. The speed of the sport doesn’t give fans much time remember the moment, much less see it. That’s why the work of Garry Hill hangs on the walls of collectors and fans. He creates on canvas a moment, a memory on the track. Chip Carter sat down with Garry at his home in North Carolina and found an artist whose work is so good, drivers add their signature to his.(more at My Fox Tampa Bay)(3-20-2009)

  • Edwards in NYC to race cars with Howard Stern’s wife: #99-Carl Edwards spent about 15 quality minutes racing remote controlled cars with Beth Stern, radio host Howard Stern’s model wife, who interviewed Edwards for the TV show “Extra.” “It’s really kind of fun,” Edwards said after racing Stern. “We try to get all of this stuff out of the way. That’s good.” This stuff, for Edwards, was some media appearances and filming a commercial for sponsor Claritin in New York, before flying his own jet to Bristol, Tenn., for Sunday’s race.(New York Daily News)(3-20-2009)

  • Mayfield Featured in Music Video: Jeremy Mayfield depicts a small town racing hero in Saving Abel’s music video for the single “Drowning Face Down”. The video, shot today at Mayfield Motorsports in Harrisburg, N.C., was produced and directed by Camp Riley and Shaun Silva, respectively. The single was released last week, with the video debut scheduled for mid April. “It was really cool to be a part of this video,” said Mayfield. “I’ve done this sort of thing in the past, but this one really hits home because it’s a story that’s a lot like my own.” The video offers a portrayal of one man’s quest for greatness in the world of NASCAR, prompting fan support for his underdog racing organization – a state of affairs Mayfield knows well. “Considering we just started this team 52 days ago, I think it’s safe to say we know what it’s like to be an underdog in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” added Mayfield. While the video primarily features Mayfield as the hard working driver, there are special cameos by fellow drivers Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards and Brian Vickers. Mayfield’s race shop offered the perfect setting for the video’s depiction of a small town garage in contrast to the typical big-team facilities. While Mayfield’s efforts represent the heart of every small racer across the country, the hopeful hero depicted in “Drowning” will strike a chord with race fans and the general public alike.(Co-Pilott PR)(3-20-2009)

  • Tire Tests planned at Indy and AMS: Goodyear is planning additional tests this year at the two tracks where its tires encountered the most criticism last year, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tests are planned for April and June at Indy, the site of one of the most frustrating events in recent NASCAR and Goodyear history last year, when NASCAR had to throw the caution every 12 or 13 laps because the tires wouldn’t last. Four teams will go to the test April 20-21 and then 12 to 15 teams will go in mid-June, Goodyear director of race tire sales Greg Stucker said Wednesday during a test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Goodyear also plans to test again at Atlanta after not being satisfied with the performance there earlier this month. Goodyear is also set with its tire choice for upcoming events at Dover, Pocono, Michigan and Infineon. It has tests planned for New Hampshire and Chicagoland coming up. It also will conduct a test at Iowa Speedway with Camping World Truck Series teams as the Trucks and Nationwide series debut at the track later this year.(SceneDaily)(3-20-2009)

  • Kurt Busch to be on Cribs: “Cribs,” the reality television program on MTV (and now CMT) that features tours of the houses of celebrities, spent more than 15 hours last Tuesday and Wednesday (March 10-11) shooting with Kurt & Eva Busch at their home and their office complex. “It was really cool and we can’t wait to see what they are able to produce with all the footage they shot,” Kurt said. “I think the crew was a little bit surprised to see that we have a pretty elaborate wine cellar downstairs. It didn’t come as any surprise to them that we had some Miller Lite taps to enjoy in our ‘mans-land’ (party/recreation room) in our basement. I’m pretty sure they’ll end the piece with some footage that’ll certainly make our friends at Dodge very happy. It was a lot of fun doing the shoot and we’re anxiously waiting to hear back from them as to when the episode will be shown.”(Tom Roberts PR)(3-20-2009)

  • Gunselman Motorsports ready for Bristol: The #64 unsponsored Toyota of Gunselman Motorsports went through some major tweaking and wrench turning during the off-week of the Sprint Cup Series schedule. The car was taken to a chassis dyno before team owner Larry Gunselman, crew chief Doug Richert and gang used some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease to make more improvements. And, in the mix of everything, they also moved from their borrowed space at Nitro Manufacturing by the Mooresville Dragstrip to some shared shop space at Rensi Motorsports in Lakeside Business Park; also in Mooresville. The team will be using Car #8, the same one they used in their attempts to make the Daytona 500, California and Atlanta races but made the race in Las Vegas. The team still has openings for unique sponsorship opportunities for anyone who wants to get involved in NASCAR racing.(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(3-20-2009)

  • Celebrity/Pro Driver Teams Announced: The field of professional drivers has been set and so has the lineup of celebrities. Today, Bristol Motor Speedway officials announced the pairings for the Scotts Saturday Night Special, March 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Nine-time Bristol winner Rusty Wallace and ESPN analyst Ray Evernham announced nearly two weeks ago their intentions of an alliance. Now the other 11 teams have come together as well; some with history and a relationship, some meeting for the first time.
    Junior Johnson, a 21-time winner at Bristol Motor Speedway as a car owner, is paired with ESPN analyst and former NBA No.-1 pick Brad Daugherty while Jimmy Spencer and TV/Radio personality Riki Rachtman will join forces.
    Riki Rachtman has been showing up on television quite a bit lately but Saturday night Rachtman will live out a lifelong dream by strapping in to a race car and taking on the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway. Living in Hollywood one would not think Rachtman as a NASCAR fan but that’s not the case. “I have always had a passion for stock car racing. If you looked back on past episodes of my show Headbangers Ball you would see me wearing a Richard Petty shirt or Dale Earnhardt hat. 6 years ago Rachtman started a radio show Racing Rocks. Every week he would give his own twist on NASCAR news and include exclusive driver interviews. Racing Rocks is beginning its 6th year and is now heard on over 120 stations across America. This past winter Rachtman was a dean on VH1’s highly rated series “Charm School”. Rachtman also served as host for the reunion of both seasons of “Rock of Love”, a role he will return to mid April. April 26th on VH1. This weekend however Rachtman will attempt to sift through the field of drivers as he competes in Scotts Saturday Night Special, March 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Rachtman’s charity will be the ASPCA. (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
    Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and Cale Yarborough, both multi-time champions in their respective fields, will partner as will ESPN analyst and former title-winning crew chief Andy Petree and Sterling Marlin. Hunting buddies Terry Labonte and Bill Jordan of Realtree Outdoors are teamed as are long-time friends David Green and three-time NHRA Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson. Philadelphia Eagles place-kicker David Akers and Harry Gant will partner as will Jack Ingram and NHRA Funny Car driver Ron Capps and L.D. Ottinger and Terry Bowden, head coach at the University of North Alabama. Larry Pearson, a two-time Nationwide champ and two-time Bristol winner, who this week took the place of his injured dad, David, teams with NHRA Top-Fuel dragster driver Doug Herbert. And Phil Parsons, winner of the first Nationwide Series race at BMS in 1982, and former NFL star Mike Compton round out the teams. Akers, Beamer, Bowden, Compton, Jordan and Rachtman will run the first 15-lap heat to determine the order of the inside starting row of the 35-lap pro event. Anderson, Capps, Daugherty, Evernham, Herbert and Petree will run the second 15-lap heat to set the outside starting row of the main event. The winning “team” is guaranteed $25,000 for their charities and a total of $10,000 will go to the charity or charities of the second-place duo. Every other team will get $5,000, $2,500 per driver, for their charities. The Scotts Saturday Night Special is part of a three-race ticket March 21. Tickets, which start at $45 and include the Scotts Turf Builder 300 and the 100-lap UARA event, may be purchased at www.bristoltix.com or by calling the BMS ticket office at (423) 989-6900. The Scotts Saturday Night Special will be televised on ESPN 2 at 6:00pm/et.(BMS PR)(3-19-2009)

  • “Lysol Clean” women’s bathrooms at some races: Lysol announced that it will educate families at NASCAR races around the country about the importance of disinfection to help protect themselves from germs and the illnesses they cause. Lysol will activate its sponsorship through comprehensive marketing programs on several levels throughout the year, including customer hospitality, product promotions and at-track marketing. Fans will have the opportunity to visit five “Lysol Clean” women’s bathrooms on-site at nine race events in 2009, each cleaned and maintained by Lysol Brand ambassadors: Bristol (2 races), Charlotte (2 races, All-Star and Oct), Atlanta (Sept), New Hampshire (Sept), Infineon, Texas (2 races). Other elements of the sponsorship include exit samplers at the bathrooms, the distribution of Lysol coupons, Sprint Vision ads, bathroom signage and the Lysol logo on fan guide track maps to help identify “Lysol Clean” bathrooms. Lysol is in its eighth year as part of the racing program of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates as an associate sponsor. The partnership includes deck lid logo placement all season long on Juan Pablo Montoya’s #42 Target Chevy and a Lysol primary paint scheme for the October 17 race in Charlotte at Lowes Motor Speedway.(PR)(3-20-2009)


    News from March 19, 2009

  • Bechtel Becomes Co-Owner of Tommy Baldwin Racing: Former NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series owner, Gary Bechtel [remember the #29 Cartoon Netwrok car?] joins forces with Tommy Baldwin to become a co-owner of Tommy Baldwin Racing. “This is an incredible opportunity that allows me to get back into racing,” Bechtel said. “I am very impressed with what Tommy (Baldwin) has been able to accomplish in just three months. I love his passion and his desire to be successful on the race track. I hope to bring the last piece of the puzzle that can make TBR one of the teams to watch each week.” Bechtel knows a thing or two about running a successful NASCAR race team. In 1990, Bechtel debuted onto the NASCAR scene when he formed Diamond Ridge Motorsports. Bobby Hamilton was slated as the first driver for Bechtel’s race team. His first race was in the 1990 Coca-Cola 600. Bechtel’s success on the race track didn’t come until he started his NASCAR Nationwide Series program in 1995. Steve Grissom was tabbed as Bechtel’s first Nationwide Series driver. In only 15 races, he notched two wins, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Bechtel continued to have success in the Nationwide Series over the next five years. All told, he earned 10 wins, 30 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes in 174 Nationwide Series starts. At the end of the 1999 season, Bechtel sold his entire operation to Joe Gibbs and left Charlotte for California to live 70 miles outside San Francisco on a family ranch near Morgan Hill, Calif. “I learned a lot from my past experiences,” Bechtel said. “I know Tommy has the knowledge, background and technical capabilities to be successful this year and for years to come. I look forward to being an integral part of growing this team into a contender.” Baldwin is obviously pleased with the coming addition of Bechtel to his race team. “Gary Bechtel has proven to be successful on and off the race track,” Baldwin said. “He brings a track record of success to an organization that is trying to make it to the next level. This partnership shows that we are a serious race team and that we are here to stay. Gary brings instant credibility to our race team with his past successes as a business man. He also brings a passion for racing and I am very proud and excited to have him as a key partner of our team.” TBR is still seeking sponsorship.(Everest-Marketing Group/TBR PR)(3-19-2009)

  • New sponsor for Robby at Bristol: SPOT LLC (www.findmespot.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc.a leader in personal satellite messaging and emergency communications, today announced it is sponsoring Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) at this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. SPOT is the primary sponsor of Robby Gordon’s #7 Toyota Camry, which will be branded in SPOT’s familiar black and orange colors for the Food City 500’s racing action at Bristol Motor Speedway. SPOT is the world’s first Satellite GPS Messenger. The personal handheld satellite-based messaging, safety and tracking device sends the user’s GPS location coordinates and select messages over a global satellite network to friends, family, co-workers or in case of an emergency, a rescue coordination center. Because SPOT uses satellite technology, it works regardless of cellular service availability from virtually anywhere around the world. Robby Gordon was an early adopter of the SPOT Satellite Messenger(tm), using its satellite and GPS technology to stay connected with his support team and his friends and family while practicing and racing off-road, often times in extreme remote areas. SPOT enables Robby to send his GPS location and selected message to his contacts so they know he is OK. SPOT also allows others to track his GPS position, updated automatically in real-time on Google Maps(tm). For a limited time fans of Robby Gordon and NASCAR can take advantage of a special promotional offer on the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. Visit www.findmespot.com/robby for complete details. Offer valid for U.S. residents only.(CNN Money), see an image of the car on the #7 Team Schemes page.(3-19-2009)

  • JR Motorsports headed to Cup? On the surface the announcement that Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and Scott Wimmer would share a 21-race schedule for JR Mortorsports in the Nationwide Series was all about luring sponsorship. Not really. JR Motorsports announced on January 16th that Fastenal would be the primary sponsor for the No. 5 for 14 races before the driver lineup was nailed down. But having five drivers with 91 career Nationwide victories and a pair of titles doesn’t hurt during tough economic times when sponsorship, particularly outside of NASCAR’s primary series, is hard to find. It’s also good for the series, which needs top Sprint Cup drivers to attract fans. Success in the series also could fast-forward JR Motorsports transitioning to a Cup team. Earnhardt said last season that with costs the way they are it makes sense to consider such a move if he can find the right sponsor and drive combination. He’s said little about it since, and for now he’s focused on the Nationwide program. “This #5 team carries a strong tradition and a lot of expectations and we are fortunate to attract such quality talent to help carry on that tradition,” Earnhardt said. “We had a similar setup with this team last year and we were able to go to Victory Lane twice. Obviously with this driver lineup there’s no reason we can’t exceed last year’s win total.”(ESPN.com)(3-19-2009)

  • Wider tire couple years away: A Goodyear official said that the new wider, taller tire that should be better suited for the Car of Tomorrow and help with the handling of those cars is now “at least” 2 years away from being used in a race. Greg Stucker made the comment Wednesday during a tire test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Stucker told me in January that he was hopeful that the new tire could be used in a race in 2010, but the timeline has since changed. Stucker said that Goodyear met with NASCAR officials on Tuesday to update series officials on the progress of the new tire. “We feel like we’ve still got some work to do,” Stucker said. “We’re certainly seeing some performance advantages, which was one of the goals. There are a few things we’re not comfortable with yet as far as the overall footprint shape, the way the tire interacts. We think we’ve got some thing to improve before we put it on the race track. I’d say there’s an outside chance we could be on a race track by the end of this year (for testing) but I’d say it’s a litlte more long term than that. There are still a lot of things that have to happen before you put it in the race. We’re a couple of years out before we do that. It’s going to be some fairly significant changes we think.” The new tire is 17 inches in diameter. The current tire is 15 inches in diameter. The new tire is 1.5 inches wider. What Goodyear likes about the new tire: “We’re able to have a litlte bit more durable package. The tire is going to be wider and with it being taller actaully elongates the footprint, makes it longer. By having a wider footprint that means more cornering power that translates, basically into more grip.(Virginian Pilot)(3-19-2009)

  • Different look for Labonte at Bristol: The #96 Hall of Fame Racing Ford of Bobby Labonte will make its debut this weekend with an Academy Sports + Outdoors paint scheme; the first of five races with one of the nation’s largest sporting goods retailers as primary sponsor.(HOF Racing PR), see image of scheme on the #96 Team Schemes page.(3-19-2009)
  • Bristol Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March 8 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Logano scored a 30th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the third consecutive race. Logano leads #82-Scott Speed by two points (43-41) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering Bristol Motor Speedway. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at Bristol is Kevin Harvick. Harvick led three times for 137 laps in the 2000 Food City 500 (more than any other driver), a span of 10 races. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the Food City 500 came in 1979 when Dale Earnhardt scored his first career win. Tony Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole at Bristol in his rookie season. Stewart took the top spot in the 1999 Sharpie 500 (August race). He also holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie, holding the top spot once for 225 laps. Two or more Raybestos Rookies have finished in the top-10 in both races at Bristol just once since 1975. In 1981, Morgan Shepherd (fourth) and Tim Richmond (10th) logged top-10 finished in the Food City 500 while Ron Bouchard (fifth) and Richmond (eighth) placed inside the top-10 in the Sharpie 500. The most recent Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series race is Juan Pablo Montoya in the 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway (59 races). The most recent Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Patrick Carpentier in the 2008 Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (24 races).(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR) or see the 2009 Rookies page.(3-19-2009)
  • Motorsports Authentics streamlines: Motorsports Authentics, a joint merchandising venture by the country’s two largest speedway owners, laid off 40 employees Wednesday, said Joe Mattes, the company’s new interim president. The cuts represent about 15% of the Charlotte-based company’s workforce, and between 250 and 300 employees remain, Mattes said. Named interim president last week, Mattes said he and senior managers spent recent days analyzing the company’s workforce and processes before cutting the 40 positions – 33 of them full-time. “It was from the manager level to the customer service level,” he said of the layoffs. “Every facet of the organization was reviewed.” Motorsports Authentics laid off several other employees earlier this year, but Mattes said he didn’t know how many employees were let go before Wednesday. Mattes also wouldn’t say how much money would be saved with the layoffs, saying only that “it’s significant.” While the sour economy was one factor, Mattes said the layoffs were mostly intended to improve efficiency at Motorsports Authentics, which is owned by Concord-based Speedway Motorsports and International Speedway Corp. of Daytona Beach. Speedway Motorsports Inc. is the company headed by Bruton Smith. International Speedway Corp. is the sister company of the France family’s NASCAR. “We think strongly these changes will have positive effects. They’re going to increase sales and make things happen,” Mattes said. “By doing this, we’re in a position to be a stronger company.”(Charlotte Observer)(3-19-2009)
  • Budweiser to leave NASCAR? #9 car? UPDATE Denied: Now comes word that one of NASCAR’s longest running sponsors and one many fans consider synonymous with the sport is pulling out. Budweiser had already dropped their official status in 2008 after 9 years. Anheuser-Busch was also a longtime sponsor of the sports most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Junior having sponsored the driver from his debut in 1999 until his defection to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. It was in 2008 that Bud moved their sponsorship to Gillette-Evernham Motorsports and driver #9-Kasey Kahne [supposedly thru 2010]. Belgian company Inbev purchased Anheuser-Busch [Budweiser] in July of last year, a controversial and unpopular move. Since then the company has been trimming staff and divisions. In December last year the company laid off some 1000 workers or about 6% of its total workforce. And there is talk that when done the layoffs could total up to 15 percent of the total workforce. The company is also rumored to be seeking a buyer for its theme parks, which include Sea World and Busch Garden properties and significantly scaling back their presences in sports. In motorsports Anheuser-Busch recently announced that they would be ending a 30-year partnership with the NHRA’s Kenny Bernstein. First as a driver and more recently as a team owner, Bernstein has won six championships under the Bud colors. A source confirmed that Budweiser’s decisions concerning the NHRA and going forward would be made to redirect dollars to a non-sports-enthusiast audience. Add to that the fact that over the winter, the Gillette-Evernham team merged with Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Racing. The Petty family has always been staunchly against sponsorship from any type of alcoholic beverage maker to the point of refusing to display contingency stickers when one of their teams won a ‘Bud Pole” award. Combined with the economy, the new Anheuser-Busch corporate philosophy and the Petty family legacy 2009 will most likely be the last one for Budweiser.(NASCAR Examiner)(3-18-2009)
    UPDATE: #9-Kasey Kahne says Anheuser-Busch appears committed to him and the Sprint Cup series even though the beer company on Monday ended its sponsorship with the NHRA and Kenny Bernstein Racing. “We have another year with Budweiser,” Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge, said during a Wednesday tire test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “They’ve been great to work with. They’ve been my favorite sponsor I’ve ever had. I hope we do things to keep them happy and keep impressing them and keep working with them for a long time.”
    Dan McHugh, vice president of media, sponsorship and activation for Anheuser-Busch, said in a statement: “Budweiser remains committed to its presence in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, including sponsorship of Kasey Kahne and the #9 Budweiser Dodge, as well as the Budweiser Shootout.” The St. Louis-based division of Anheuser-Busch ended a 30-year relationship with Bernstein’s NHRA team. The brewery said the relationship was the longest in motorsports history, topping STP’s 28-year relationship with Richard Petty. “I’m disappointed to see the Bernsteins without a sponsor,” Kahne said. Budweiser has been a longtime partner of NASCAR, with its most visible years under Dale Earnhardt Jr. before he left Dale Earnhardt Inc. for Hendrick Motorsports two years ago.(ESPN)(3-19-2009)
  • Robby places 2nd San Felipe 250 UPDATE 2 appeal dropped: Second-generation veteran Las Vegas desert racer Brian Collins roared through the rugged trails and washes of Mexico’s Baja California desert Saturday, earning his second straight overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck victory in the #12 Collins Motorsports Mopar Dodge Ram1500 at the 23rd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race. NASCAR’s Robby Gordon finished 2nd in the SCORE Trophy-Truck class.(dirtnewz.com)(3-15-2009)
    UPDATE: On Saturday, March 14th at the 2009 Baja 250, several top racing teams filed a formal complaint against Robby Gordon for illegally shortcutting the course approximately 4 miles in order to pass Trophy Truck competitor Ed Herbst who has signed an appeal having witnessed the action. In the most remote part of the course at race mile marker 132.5 Gordon veered off course and drove down a cliff to bypass a difficult section and pass Herbst. He was discovered by a pit crew known as the Baja Fools who had set up a pit stop in that section of the course. They had thought that Gordon was broken down on an earlier section until the radio confirmed that Gordon had finished in second place. On investigation, two sets of Toyo tire tracks were found re-entering the course at ~ mile 136. Gordon had clearly premeditated the deviation and had practiced the maneuver once before. Appeals were filed with the SCORE International race officials and they are currently investigating. Gordon may be facing possible probation.(dirtnewz.com)(3-17-2009)
    UPDATE 2: on Saturday evening, a protest was heard by Score & CRB against 2nd place score trophy truck finisher Robby Gordon and a decision was rendered in favor of Robby Gordon. An appeal of this decision was submitted by a trophy truck competitor on Sunday morning and the appeal was accepted by Score. This appeal has been formally withdrawn by the competitor. As a result, the initial decision in favor of Robby Gordon will stand and the score trophy truck results are now official.score-international.com.(3-19-2009)
  • Goodyear Tire Test Concludes at Lowe’s Motor Speedway: Goodyear concluded a two-day tire test Wednesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway as the tire manufacturer prepared for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600. Assisting Goodyear in gathering data for the test was a driver from each manufacturer represented in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series-Marcos Ambrose in the #47 Toyota, Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Chevy, Kasey Kahne in the #9 Dodge, and Paul Menard in the #98 Ford. Each of the drivers expressed their approval of the tire compound that Goodyear brought to the famous 1.5-mile quad-oval, the same tire first introduced in competition at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in early March.
    “I’m very encouraged by this tire and talking with (Goodyear’s) engineers, they plan to run this tire a lot more and start working it in,” said Johnson, a three-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600. “It (the tire) was new in Las Vegas but hopefully this is a tire we can use at a lot of places to bring some stability back. There’s a lot of speed out there right now and with comfort comes speed. That’s really what it boils down to.”
    “Goodyear has done a great job over the past six months to a year in developing a tire you can race side-by-side on,” said Kahne, two-time winner and defending champion of the Coca-Cola 600. “This car threw some different things at them at first, but I think Las Vegas was a huge improvement and I think that same tire will be good here.”
    Each driver also participated in question-and-answer fan forums during the lunch hour from pit road. Ticket holders for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in May at Lowe’s Motor Speedway were allowed to watch today’s test session and participate in the fan forums from a special infield viewing area. Tickets for the NASCAR race events at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, including the May 16 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24, are on sale now and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com. Convenient payment plan options and affordable multi-day ticket packages are available.(LMS PR)3-19-2009)


    News from March 18, 2009

  • Budweiser to leave NASCAR? #9 car? Now comes word that one of NASCAR’s longest running sponsors and one many fans consider synonymous with the sport is pulling out. Budweiser had already dropped their official status in 2008 after 9 years. Anheuser-Busch was also a longtime sponsor of the sports most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Junior having sponsored the driver from his debut in 1999 until his defection to Hendrick Motorsports in 2008. It was in 2008 that Bud moved their sponsorship to Gillette-Evernham Motorsports and driver #9-Kasey Kahne [supposedly thru 2010]. Belgian company Inbev purchased Anheuser-Busch [Budweiser] in July of last year, a controversial and unpopular move. Since then the company has been trimming staff and divisions. In December last year the company laid off some 1000 workers or about 6% of its total workforce. And there is talk that when done the layoffs could total up to 15 percent of the total workforce. The company is also rumored to be seeking a buyer for its theme parks, which include Sea World and Busch Garden properties and significantly scaling back their presences in sports. In motorsports Anheuser-Busch recently announced that they would be ending a 30-year partnership with the NHRA’s Kenny Bernstein. First as a driver and more recently as a team owner, Bernstein has won six championships under the Bud colors. A source confirmed that Budweiser’s decisions concerning the NHRA and going forward would be made to redirect dollars to a non-sports-enthusiast audience. Add to that the fact that over the winter, the Gillette-Evernham team merged with Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Racing. The Petty family has always been staunchly against sponsorship from any type of alcoholic beverage maker to the point of refusing to display contingency stickers when one of their teams won a ‘Bud Pole” award. Combined with the economy, the new Anheuser-Busch corporate philosophy and the Petty family legacy 2009 will most likely be the last one for Budweiser.(NASCAR Examiner)
    Kahne hopes to keep Bud: Kasey Kahne says Anheuser-Busch appears committed to him and the Sprint Cup series even though the beer company on Monday ended its sponsorship with the NHRA and Kenny Bernstein Racing. “We have another year with Budweiser,” Kahne, driver of the #9 Budweiser Dodge, said during a Wednesday tire test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “They’ve been great to work with. They’ve been my favorite sponsor I’ve ever had. I hope we do things to keep them happy and keep impressing them and keep working with them for a long time.” Anheuser-Busch officials could not be immediately reached.(ESPN)(3-18-2009)

  • Goodyear Tire test at LMS March 17-18 UPDATE: Goodyear is scheduled to hold a tire test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams representing each of the series manufacturers next week in preparation for the track’s May races, including the 25th NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16, and the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. Drivers scheduled to test at #9-Kasey Kahne (Dodge), #48-Jimmie Johnson (Chevy), #47-Marcos Ambrose (Toyota) and #98-Paul Menard. During both days of the Goodyear tire test, Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s frontstretch grandstand will be open free of charge from 9am – 5pm and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office. Additionally, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 ticket holders will have access to an infield grandstand on Wednesday, March 18, from 10am to 5pm, and can participate in a special fan forum featuring all four drivers from 12 – 1pm. Ticket holders for Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s May Cup races will need to check in at the speedway’s ticket office to receive verification of their ticket purchase before entering the infield at Gate 26.(LMS PR)(3-13/17-2008)
    UPDATE: The tire compound Goodyear brought to Las Vegas Motor Speedway last month got favorable reviews from drivers conducting testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday, increasing the likelihood that the Vegas tire will be used going forward at mile and a half tracks like Lowe’s. Goodyear officials said the right-side tires in particular will be the new “control” tire at most intermediate tracks. Goodyear officials said the only reason the Vegas tire wasn’t used at Atlanta was that the tire for Atlanta had already been approved before the Vegas race.(3-18-2009)

  • Sponsor troubles for Mayfield? UPDATE denied by co-owner/sponsor: sources have told Frontstretch that thanks #41-Jeremy Mayfield to missing races at both Las Vegas and Atlanta, and being outside the top-35 in owners points, funding from All Sport and Big Red, Inc. could be in jeopardy as soon as following this weeks race at Bristol. Clearly, this weekend could be a make or break deal regarding their partnership for the 2009 campaign. Representatives of Mayfield Motorsports, when contacted, offered no comment on this report.(Frontstretch)
    UPDATE:response from All Sports Gary Smith: “All Sport remains dedicated to Mayfield Motorsports and driver Jeremy Mayfield,” said Gary Smith, Chairman and CEO of Big Red, Inc. and co-owner of Mayfield Motorsports. “As a company, All Sport made a long term partnership commitment and we are prepared to endure the highs and lows of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. In the event that another sponsor comes on board with Mayfield Motorsports, All Sport will remain involved as a partner.”(All Sport PR)(3-18-2009)

  • Testing at “Little Rock” Getting ready for the next two weeks of short track racing at Bristol and Martinsville, no less than eight Sprint Cup teams tested this week at “Little Rock”. That’s the nickname of the half-mile oval with concrete turns that was built adjacent to the Rockingham Speedway. The drivers turn laps there were #6-David Ragan, #17-Matt Kenseth, #07-Casey Mears, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #33-Clint Bowyer, #12-David Stremme and #88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
    AND Testing (today) Wednesday [March 18th] at “Little Rock” were #1-Martin Truex, Jr., #19-Elliott Sadler, #43-Reed Sorenson, #44-A.J. Allmendinger and #26-Jamie McMurray.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-18-2009)
  • F1 champion to be determined by race wins, NASCAR?: Formula One’s championship will be decided by the number of race wins and not accumulated points. Governing body FIA decided Tuesday that the current points system will remain in effect only to determine the driver’s title in the case of a tie, with points also determining the order of finish behind the overall champion. Under the new scoring system, Ferrari’s Felipe Massa would have won the 2008 championship ahead of Lewis Hamilton of McLaren. The Brazilian driver won six grand prix races to Hamilton’s five, but the British racer took the title by one point, 98-97, after finishing fifth in the season-ending Brazilian GP.(Associated Press)
    so…NASCAR? If NASCAR would have had this system since 2000, how would the champs look for those season?
    Year: Most Wins, Actual Champ
    2008: Edwards [9 wins], Johnson [7]
    2007: Johnson [10], Johnson
    2006: Kahne [6], Johnson [5]
    2005: Biffle [6], Stewart [5]
    2004: Johnson [8], Kurt Busch [3]
    (2004-2008 have used the Chase format)
    2003: Newman [8], Kenseth [1]
    2002: Kenseth [5], Stewart [3]
    2001: Gordon [6], Gordon
    2000: Stewart [6], Bobby Labonte [2]
    (stats from ESPN.com/Ed Hinton)(3-18-2009)
  • Hamlin Can Build On Car Number History at Bristol: Ned Jarrett drove the #11 car to a third-place finish in the first race at Bristol in July 1961. He also drove the car to its first victory at Bristol in July 1965. Since then, the #11 car has been synonymous with Victory Lane at the track. In 86 NASCAR Sprint Cup races since Jarrett’s victory, the #11 car has won the race 17 times. Credit team owner Junior Johnson, who fielded the #11 car for those 17 victories. Three-time champion Cale Yarborough drove for Johnson in the 1970s and made Bristol his personal playground, winning nine of 16 races from 1973-1980. Two that he lost were won by a flashy young driver named Darrell Waltrip. “The 11 number and Bristol certainly go together,” said Darrell Waltrip, who leads all drivers with 12 wins at the track. “With all of the wins Junior has been a car owner for, that makes that number special when you go to Bristol.” When Yarborough decided to scale back his career after the 1980 season, Waltrip gladly moved over to take the ride. “When I got out of the 88 and into the 11, I had my credentials and I was prepared, at the top of my game, and then they gave me that race car to drive … I couldn’t lose,” Waltrip said.(NASCAR PR)(3-18-2009)
  • ESPN2 to Have Live Coverage as NASCAR Legends Return to Action at Bristol: ESPN2 will have live coverage as some of the greatest names in the history of NASCAR return to action for a special charity race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 21, at 6:00pm/et. And just as many great drivers will be racing again, Ned Jarrett, a mainstay of ESPN’s coverage of NASCAR from 1986-2000, returns to the air to join his son, ESPN lead NASCAR analyst Dale Jarrett, and lap-by-lap announcer Dr. Jerry Punch in calling the action in the Scotts Saturday Night Special. Cale Yarborough, Junior Johnson, David Pearson, Harry Gant and ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace are among the 12 legends of NASCAR who will compete for 35 laps in late model stock cars. The winning driver will earn a $25,000 donation for the charity of his choice. The race airs following ESPN on ABC’s live coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series Scotts Turf Builder 300 event at Bristol that day at 2:00pm/et. Others in the race, all former winners in NASCAR competition at Bristol, include Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Jimmy Spencer, Phil Parsons, L.D. Ottinger and former NASCAR Nationwide Series champions Jack “Iron Man” Ingram and David Green. Wallace will be ESPN’s “In-Race Reporter” and will talk via radio with Dale Jarrett during the telecast. Allen Bestwick will host the telecast and pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch.(ESPN PR)(3-18-2009)
  • Legends test at Bristol: One look at Junior Johnson strapped into his #11 race car with old-fashioned goggles wrapped around his helmet, and it was like taking a step back in time. Johnson was one of several former Bristol Motor Speedway winners testing Tuesday at the .533-mile oval in preparation for this weekend’s Scotts Saturday Night Special. Also taking to the track was Harry Gant, Jimmy Spencer, Jack Ingram, Rusty Wallace, L.D. Ottinger, and Phil Parsons. The last time Johnson, who won the 1965 Southeastern 500 at BMS, raced at BMS the track was asphalt – and it was much different. “When it was first built, you run off in the first and second turn like you went down a hill,” said the 77-year-old Johnson. “Now, it is so much smoother. I haven’t been on it since the last time they redid it, but I can tell it is a lot smoother. The pavement was kind of humpy and bumpy, so it’s got to be better (than it was). Jack Ingram, who earned 31 victories and two championships in what was then the Busch Series, now the Nationwide Series, won the second race in that series ever held at BMS, in 1982. Now 72, Ingram didn’t seem intimidated by anyone on the track. Harry Gant, 69, winner of 18 Sprint Cup victories and 21 in the Nationwide Series, was the 1992 Budweiser 250 winner at BMS. Other drivers expected to compete in the Saturday Night Special are David Green, Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Phil Parsons and Larry Pearson. Former BMS winner Larry Pearson will be subbing for his father, David, who was scheduled to be in the race. Track officials learned earlier this week that reoccurring issues with the elder Pearson’s back will prevent him from taking part in the event.
    Among the celebrities testing Wednesday will be Ray Everham, Andy Petree, Brad Daugherty, and former NFL star Brad Compton. Other competing in the race are Frank Beamer, Terry Bowden, David Akers, Bill Jordan, Riki Rachtman, Doug Herbert, Ron Capps and Greg Anderson. The celebrities will run 15-lap or 10-minute heats to help determine the starting spots of their pro driver teammates, who then will run 35 laps. The Saturday Night Special will take place after the completion of the Scotts Turf Builder 300 Nationwide Series race and will be followed by a 100-lap UARA late model event.(BMS PR)
    AND: GDSI Racing with driver Sterling Marlin are preparing for Bristol Motor Speedway on March 21st. Marlin will compete in a 50 lap late model celebrity race where celebrities will be paired up with drivers. Andy Petree will drive the first 15 laps and Sterling Marlin will drive the final 35 laps in the Legend brands Chevy Monte Carlo. The winning team will win $25,000 for the charity and Sterling Marlin and GDSI Racing have selected The Epilepsy Foundation of Middle and West TN, second place will receive $10,000 and the rest of the starters will receive $5,000. The race is slated as the first “Saturday Night Special”.(GDSI Racing PR)(3-18-2009)
  • Newman’s Pit Road Pets crew to photograph fans with their pets: NASCAR’s pet loving fans will have an opportunity to join their favorite drivers in the upcoming book Pit Road Pets: NASCAR Stars and Their Pets, the Second Lap. The Pit Road Pets crew will be photographing fans with their pets during the upcoming Bristol, TN race weekend. Following the success of the Ryan Newman Foundation’s first charity book, Pit Road Pets: NASCAR Stars and Their Pets, the foundation will be producing a second edition that will not only feature NASCAR’s biggest stars with their furry family members, but also NASCAR’s biggest fans with their own pets. One hundred percent of the net proceeds will be donated to humane efforts nationwide. Photographer Karen Will Rogers will be taking pictures of NASCAR fans with their pets at the Pit Road Pets tent in the Earnhardt Campground at the Bristol Motor Speedway from 9am to 2pm on Saturday, March 21 and from 9am to 2pm on Sunday, March 22. Fans are encouraged to stop by the booth with their pets to have their family photos taken. The first edition of the Pit Road Pets book will be on sale at the Pit Road Pets booth from Noon to 4 PM on Friday, March 20 for a special discounted price of $18, which is a savings of $7. Everyone who purchases a book at the tent will receive a complimentary Pit Road Pets tee-shirt. Books can also be purchased at Newman’s track-side merchandise trailer or ordered online at www.ryannewman.org.(Ryan Newman Foundation PR)(3-18-2009)
  • Congrats: Two members of the #29 Shell-Pennzoil RCR team of Kevin Harvick have recently welcomed new additions to their respective families. Shock specialist Chris Chase is the proud parent of twin girls, Hayden and Addison, born on Feb. 27. Engine tuner John Goodwin is the father of a baby girl, Ella Grace, born on March 12.(RCR PR)(3-18-2009)
  • Sad News – Hal Marchman: “Shalom and amen.” With that trademark ending to prayers he offered before every Daytona 500 for 46 years, the Rev. Hal Marchman endeared himself to race car drivers and hundreds of thousands of their fans. It was the Baptist preacher’s way of being inclusive, the same way he lived his life, whether he was counseling an alcoholic or persuading community leaders to take on some civic project. Marchman, 89, the retired pastor of Central Baptist Church, died unexpectedly at Indigo Palms Memory Care Facility on Sunday. After years of fighting dementia and memory loss, a sudden bout of illness ended his life, said his daughter Anne Marchman-Jones. “We feel like we got our fair share of time with him, but it’s hard because we didn’t expect (his death) to be so sudden,” Marchman-Jones said Sunday. Not only did Marchman pray with the drivers and fans before the race, he spent the rest of the day in the hospital area at the track to be available for drivers’ families if anyone was hurt. “Hal was a servant and a shepherd,” said NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip, adding that Marchman always “took good care of his flock.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-16-2009)
    SERVICES: see full notice and info about services at the Daytona Beach News Journal.(3-18-2009)


    News from March 17, 2009

  • Bowyer to appear on Biggest Loser: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevy for Richard Childress Racing, will appear on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” on Tuesday, March 24 (9-11pm/et/pt, following President Obama’s speech). During an intense challenge, Bowyer will witness just how strong the show contestants are. “Being involved with ‘The Biggest Loser’ was a real eye-opener,” said Bowyer, who is the first NASCAR driver to appear on the show. “The show is all about winning. It was amazing to see how hard everyone works and the sacrifices they make. The trainers really get the contestants to believe in themselves and commit to improving their lives for years to come. I can’t wait to see the show on Tuesday night.”(RCR PR)(3-17-2009)

  • Bobby Ginn says DEI owes Hendrick: Former team owner Bobby Ginn contends that he owes only 20% of the $1.5 million that Hendrick Motorsports is seeking from Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. because of the termination of Ginn’s engine contract with Hendrick in 2007, according to court documents. Hendrick Motorsports is suing DEI and Ginn in North Carolina Superior Court over the termination fee resulting from the merger of DEI and Ginn in July 2007. DEI claims Ginn Racing and Ginn are responsible for a $1.5 million fee that was due Nov. 15, 2008. Ginn states in a recent filing that because a new entity was created that was 80% owned by DEI and 20% owned by Ginn, that DEI is responsible for 80% of the fee due Hendrick. In filing his response to Hendrick’s and DEI’s claims, Ginn states that it had been agreed that the $1.5 million fee would be paid from operating revenues of the new entity, which was named “DEI/Ginn – Team #01.” If there were not sufficient revenues to pay the fee, then the responsibility for payment would be split 80/20, Ginn contends. Although not broken down in the suit, 80% of $1.5 million would be $1.2 million, with $300,000 left for Ginn to pay. The $1.5 million fee was the second of two termination fees. The first payment of $1.754 million was paid by Ginn, with a portion of the proceeds received “as part of the merger and acquisition transaction,” according to Ginn’s filing.(SceneDaily)(3-17-2009)

  • Dale Jr Foundation scheme: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run a special Dale Earnhardt Jr Foundation scheme in the Sprint All-Star race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 16th. See an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(3-17-2009)

  • New look for Mayfield: #41-Jeremy Mayfield will sport a new paint scheme at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Fodd City 500, brighter and more neon look. See the image of the scheme and Mayfield’s hauler on the #41 Team Schemes page.(3-17-2009)

  • Robby places 2nd San Felipe 250 UPDATE invesigation: Second-generation veteran Las Vegas desert racer Brian Collins roared through the rugged trails and washes of Mexico’s Baja California desert Saturday, earning his second straight overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck victory in the #12 Collins Motorsports Mopar Dodge Ram1500 at the 23rd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race. NASCAR’s Robby Gordon finished 2nd in the SCORE Trophy-Truck class.(dirtnewz.com)(3-15-2009)
    UPDATE: On Saturday, March 14th at the 2009 Baja 250, several top racing teams filed a formal complaint against Robby Gordon for illegally shortcutting the course approximately 4 miles in order to pass Trophy Truck competitor Ed Herbst who has signed an appeal having witnessed the action. In the most remote part of the course at race mile marker 132.5 Gordon veered off course and drove down a cliff to bypass a difficult section and pass Herbst. He was discovered by a pit crew known as the Baja Fools who had set up a pit stop in that section of the course. They had thought that Gordon was broken down on an earlier section until the radio confirmed that Gordon had finished in second place. On investigation, two sets of Toyo tire tracks were found re-entering the course at ~ mile 136. Gordon had clearly premeditated the deviation and had practiced the maneuver once before. Appeals were filed with the SCORE International race officials and they are currently investigating. Gordon may be facing possible probation.(dirtnewz.com)(3-17-2009)

  • U.S. Army returns on the #39 Chevy: If there were a time to exemplify Army Strong this would be it for Ryan Newman and the #39 Stewart-Haas Racing team as they prepare for the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The race will mark the return of the U.S. Army primary paint scheme for Newman’s Chevy, which last ran in full Army colors at the Feb. 15 season-opening Daytona 500. “So far, it’s been a challenging time,” said Newman, who is 32nd in points after the first four races. “To be honest we’ve had fast cars. We know where we’re at performance wise and it’s a lot better than what our finishing results show. We’ve just had too many hiccups and unforced problems that have stalled our momentum. I am looking forward to getting back in the Army Chevy. Driving the Soldiers’ car is an added inspiration.” It’s been feast or famine for Newman in 14 career starts at Bristol. He has produced top-10 results in half of the races, but has also finished in the 30s six times and once in the 20s. His best Bristol result was runner-up to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 2004 summer race. Newman has two poles and nine top-10 qualifying efforts at Bristol. His two poles came in the spring races of 2003 and 2004.(U.S. Army Racing PR)(3-17-2009)

  • Dale Jr. leads BMS pts last 10 races: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. has scored the most points in the past 10 Sprint Cup races at Bristol Motor Speedway (1,468), 50 more than his closest competitor Kevin Harvick. He has posted seven top-10 finishes, including one victory, in the 10-race span.(3-17-2009)

  • Bobby Labonte to be Inducted to Texas Motorsports Hall Of Fame: Corpus Christi’s [TX] own #96-Bobby Labonte will soon be part of the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame. He’ll be inducted April 1 at Texas Motor Speedway. Still going strong on NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Circuit, Labonte has notched 21 career victories and nearly 200 top ten finishes, to go with the series championship he won in 2000. He currently sits 23rd in points after four races. His best finish this year was fifth at the Shelby 427 in Las Vegas.(kristv.com)
    The Flowserve Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame ceremony benefits Happy Hill Farm Academy in association with Speedway Children’s Charities. The 500-acre working farm located just south of Granbury, Texas, provides specialized services for children who need another start in life. Happy Hill Farm Academy serves children with a broad range of behavioral and academic issues sometimes a result of abuse and neglect. The environment provided at Happy Hill Farm Academy allows residents to flourish in a non-traditional setting. Tables for this year’s gala range from $1,500 to $10,000. To reserve your table, call (254) 897-4822.(TMS)(3-17-2009)

  • Victory Junction Bear heads to space: A black and white checkered bear from the Victory Junction Gang Camp of Randleman, North Carolina is making the trip tucked inside the space shuttle Discovery’s lockers on the latest misson, STS-119. The bear will not be alone. Also riding Discovery aloft will be a purple stuffed duck from Saitama, Japan. Organizations that don’t have mascots going up are also heavily represented on the flight. Flags and T-shirts from schools such as Florida’s Melbourne High and Brookwood Elementary in Alabama, are making their presence known in space. At least one item will gain a major audience on Earth after it returns from space. Astronaut Tony Antonelli arranged to fly a green flag from the Andretti Green Flag Racing team. When STS-119 wraps up, Antonelli is expected to be an official starter at an IndyCar race.(NASA.gov)(3-17-2009)

  • Toyota sticking with NASCAR and Motorsports: Toyota announced it plans to continue engaging in motor sports this year, despite being financially restricted by severe business conditions. TMC plans to focus on these top-class racing series: the FIA Formula One World Championship (F1), Japanese Super GT, Formula Nippon and NASCAR. This will mark TMC’s eighth year in F1 competition. In Japan, TMC will participate using the Lexus brand this year and will aim to recapture the Super GT GT500 title using the Lexus SC430. In the United States, TMC will again participate in NASCAR’s pinnacle Sprint Cup Series with the Toyota Camry, which totaled 10 wins last year. TMC is also aiming to win the Nationwide Series, NASCAR’s second most-popular series, also with the Camry. And TMC will continue to race the Toyota Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series, after having won both the manufacturer’s and driver’s titles last year.(Toyota PR)(3-17-2009)

  • Burton General Hospital Apperance Scheduled for March 18th: #31-Jeff Burton drives into Port Charles and the daytime drama “General Hospital” in an episode that airs Wednesday, March 18. In the storyline, Burton visits neighborhood tavern Jake’s where he has a conversation with bartender Coleman (Blake Gibbons) when Dr. Patrick Drake (Jason Thompson) arrives and despite being a race car enthusiast, the neurosurgeon does not recognize the driver of Richard Childress Racing’s #31 Caterpillar Chevy and a comedic beat ensues. “General Hospital” celebrates 46 years of broadcasting on April 1, 2009, and is the longest-running dramatic serial on the ABC Television Network, having aired over 11,000 episodes. A winner of a record ten Emmys for Best Daytime Drama, “General Hospital” consistently rates as one of the top daytime programs with Women 18-49 and Women 18-34. “General Hospital” airs Monday-Friday (3:00-4:00pm/et, 2:00-3:00pm/pt) on the ABC Television Network. Episodes of “General Hospital” are available on ABC.com the day after airing on the network for users to watch online.(RCR PR)(3-17-2009)

  • Goodyear Tire test at LMS March 17-18: Goodyear is scheduled to hold a tire test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams representing each of the series manufacturers next week in preparation for the track’s May races, including the 25th NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16, and the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. Drivers scheduled to test at #9-Kasey Kahne (Dodge), #48-Jimmie Johnson (Chevy), #47-Marcos Ambrose (Toyota) and #98-Paul Menard. During both days of the Goodyear tire test, Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s frontstretch grandstand will be open free of charge from 9am – 5pm and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office. Additionally, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 ticket holders will have access to an infield grandstand on Wednesday, March 18, from 10am to 5pm, and can participate in a special fan forum featuring all four drivers from 12 – 1pm. Ticket holders for Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s May Cup races will need to check in at the speedway’s ticket office to receive verification of their ticket purchase before entering the infield at Gate 26.(LMS PR)(3-13/17-2008)
  • Celebrities set to run Saturday Night Special at Bristol: Football coaches, football players, TV/radio personalities and more have signed on to run the celebrity heat races as part of the Scotts Saturday Night Special, March 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer, who also will serve as grand marshal of the Food City 500, will climb behind the wheel of a race car for the first time as will Terry Bowden. Bowden returns to the college coaching ranks this year after 10 years in the broadcast booth, taking over the Division II powerhouse University of North Alabama. Coaches are not the only ones suiting up. David Akers, Pro-Bowl kicker for the Philadelphia Eagles [Jayski Fave] will participate. Also racing for charity will be local hero Mike Compton, current head football coach at Patrick Henry High School (Glade Spring, Va.) and two-time Super Bowl winner with the Patriots of New England. Rounding out the first heat will be: Bill Jordan, owner/founder of Realtree Camouflage and host of two of his own television shows, Bill Jordan’s Realtree Outdoors and ESPN’s “Driven to Hunt,” and TV/radio personality Riki Rachtman of MTV’s “Charm School” and “Daisy of Love.”
    Taking the wheel in the second heat will be a field of more experienced drivers. Former car owners and two of the top crew chiefs of all time, Andy Petree and Ray Evernham, now ESPN race analysts, as well as Brad Daugherty, a former No. 1pick in the NBA draft and retired all-star player with the Cleveland Cavaliers will be part of the festivities. Taking advantage of a weekend off on the National Hot Rod Association schedule are Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Doug Herbert (Top Fuel Dragster) who will fill out the field. The celebrities will run 15-lap or 10-minute heats to help determine the starting spots of their pro driver teammates, who then will run 35 laps. That field includes Junior Johnson, Harry Gant, Cale Yarborough and Jack Ingram. The winning “team” is guaranteed $25,000 for their charities and a total of $10,000 will go to the charity or charities of the second-place duo. Every other team will get $5,000 for their charities. Team pairings will be announced at a later time. Tickets still are available for the Scotts Turf Builder 300 (Starting at $45) and Food City 500 (starting at $93). Tickets for Ford Fan Friday, March 20, are just $5 and fans with specially marked Pepsi cans will be admitted free. Tickets may be purchased at www.bristoltix.com or by calling the BMS ticket office at (423) 989-6900.(BMS PR)(3-17-2009)
  • Sad News – Patricia Fielden: Patricia Henry Fielden, 84, died Sunday, March 15, 2009 at her residence. Mrs. Fielden was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, October 8, 1924 and is a daughter of the late William and Maebell Henry. Survivors include a son, Longtime NASCAR historian/writer Greg Fielden, [see Amazon for his books]; and a granddaughter, Patricia Ann Fielden. Services will be private.(Myrtle Beach Sun Times)(3-17-2009)


    News from March 16, 2009

  • Nexxus Lighting Set to Sponsor TBR at Bristol: Nexxus Lighting announced that it will sponsor Tommy Baldwin Racing’s #36 Toyota and driver Scott Riggs in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway as the kick off to TBR’s small business initiative. Nexxus Lighting is a Charlotte-based company that is bringing its new patent pending LED lighting technology into the NASCAR world. Array Lighting is a new brand of commercial grade LED replacement lamps that utilize patent pending technology to offer a truly green alternative to conventional incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Array lamps are light weight, dimmable, reduce CO2 emissions and, unlike compact fluorescent light bulbs, do not contain mercury or create a hazardous waste disposal issue. Additionally, Array lamps offer tremendous cost and energy saving which can amount to over 80% energy savings versus incandescent bulbs. More savings can be gained in avoiding lamp replacement costs due to the bulb’s 50,000 hour lamp life, as compared to only 1000-2000 hours for typical incandescent bulbs. Array bulbs can last over 10 years while being burned 12 hours a day.
    AND MarkMartin.com has become the first sponsor to jump on board Tommy Baldwin’s Support Small Businesses of America program. The www.MarkMartin.com logo will adorn the c-post of the #36 machine this weekend during the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Additionally, NASCAR fans can visit tommybaldwinracing.net and receive Mark Martin’s 5th Annual Fan appreciation t-shirt for $7.50 which is half price for a limited time, only available on the TBR site. The 27-year Sprint Cup Series veteran will hold his 5th Annual Fan Appreciation Day April 9-10 at Mark Martin Ford Mercury dealership in Batesville, Ark. Martin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and championship car owner Rick Hendrick will be on hand during the event to sign autographs and to participate in a Q&A session. Additionally, Sirius Satellite Radio and ESPN’s NASCAR Now will do live hits from the event.(Everest-Marketing Group/TBR PR), see image of the car on my #36 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2009)

  • Reporter Roundtable on Monday’s NASCAR Now: NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion airing Monday, March 16, at 5pm/et on ESPN2 will include three members of the media who cover NASCAR racing in a “Reporter Roundtable.” Host Nicole Manske will be joined by Nate Ryan of USA Today, Michael Vega of the Boston Globe and ESPN NASCAR Insider Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News as they discuss the latest NASCAR news.
    NASCAR Now Nation: Have something to say about a story on this week’s ESPN2’s NASCAR Now? Get out your videocam and tell ESPN what you think. Your video may be seen on an upcoming NASCAR Now. Choose a video file on your hard drive, then click the upload button. More info at ESPN.com.
  • Furniture Row Racing Announces Revised Cup Schedule: #78-Furniture Row Racing announced today a revision of its 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. The Colorado-based team has added one race to its original 12-race Cup schedule and has revised three of its upcoming race locations. The April 5th race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is the recent addition, bringing the current team’s schedule to 13 events. The team is dropping the two road races — at Sonoma, Calif (June 21) and Watkins Glen (Aug. 9) plus the May 31st race at Dover. Those three races are being replaced with Darlington (May 9), Pocono (June 7) and Indianapolis (July 26). The #78 Furniture Row team with driver Regan Smith entered two of the first four Cup races with Smith finishing 21st in the Daytona 500 and 20th in Las Vegas. The team’s next race will be at Texas. “We all sat down and re-evaluated our schedule to see what suits our racing program the best,” said Joe Garone, Furniture Row Racing’s general manager. “Since we’re a sponsor-owned team we have the flexibility to move in and move out of race markets. We will most likely make additional changes as the season progresses. We’re happy about adding the race in Texas and hope that we will continue to make more additions, but that is dependent on the economic climate and attaining additional sponsorship. We’re looking for a partner and feel that we have plenty to offer a company from a marketing standpoint with Furniture Row’s more than 330 store locations in 31 states.” To prepare for the Texas race next month, the #78 team has scheduled a two-day test session on Wednesday and Thursday of this week at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Fountain, CO.(DMF/Furniture Row Racing PR)(3-16-2009)
  • Sad News – Hal Marchman: “Shalom and amen.” With that trademark ending to prayers he offered before every Daytona 500 for 46 years, the Rev. Hal Marchman endeared himself to race car drivers and hundreds of thousands of their fans. It was the Baptist preacher’s way of being inclusive, the same way he lived his life, whether he was counseling an alcoholic or persuading community leaders to take on some civic project. Marchman, 89, the retired pastor of Central Baptist Church, died unexpectedly at Indigo Palms Memory Care Facility on Sunday. After years of fighting dementia and memory loss, a sudden bout of illness ended his life, said his daughter Anne Marchman-Jones. “We feel like we got our fair share of time with him, but it’s hard because we didn’t expect (his death) to be so sudden,” Marchman-Jones said Sunday. Not only did Marchman pray with the drivers and fans before the race, he spent the rest of the day in the hospital area at the track to be available for drivers’ families if anyone was hurt. “Hal was a servant and a shepherd,” said NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip, adding that Marchman always “took good care of his flock.”(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-16-2009)

  • Sorenson to run PVA.org scheme at Bristol: #43-Reed Sorenson is scheduled to be run a Paralyzed Veterans of American scheme in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. A PVA PR had the scheme being run at Daytona in July and Texas in November. Sorenson commented: “You know everyone wants to do well out here. But I can’t think of a sponsor I have ever had where you felt like you wanted to do something extra special on the track. PVA helps a group of people who’ve probably given as much for this country as anyone has given.” Richard Petty said, “You know, I want to tell anyone serving in our military thank you. Thank you for doing what you are doing over there so all of us can do what we are doing over here. This country needs a strong defense and everyone serving in our military deserves our thanks. We’ve had a chance to hang out with the Air Force people who’ve come to the races this season and we really mean it when we say we are honored that they think enough of us to support us like they have and do what they are doing for this country.”(RPM PR), see an image of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2009)

  • Special Hall of Fame TV Show: SPEED will air a special edition of This Week in NASCAR on Monday at 8:00pm/et. The one-hour special, hosted by Steve Byrnes, will focus on the upcoming opening of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Joining Byrnes will be NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelly, who will give viewers a construction update and talk about exhibits, artifacts and interactive displays going into the Hall of Fame. In addition, Kelly will provide an update on the NASCAR Plaza/office tower, the NASCAR Hall of Fame brick program, as well as explaining the criteria for gaining induction to the Hall and introducing the panel members who will choose the class each year. SPEED personalities Dave Despain and Mike Joy, as well as longtime Associated Press motor sports writer Mike Harris are set to participate and debate the possible candidates for the inaugural class.(SPEED)(3-16-2009)

News from March 15, 2009

  • Robby places 2nd San Felipe 250: Second-generation veteran Las Vegas desert racer Brian Collins roared through the rugged trails and washes of Mexico’s Baja California desert Saturday, earning his second straight overall and SCORE Trophy-Truck victory in the #12 Collins Motorsports Mopar Dodge Ram1500 at the 23rd Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250 desert race. NASCAR’s Robby Gordon finished 2nd in the SCORE Trophy-Truck class.(dirtnewz.com)(3-15-2009)

  • Blickensderfer makes surprise appearance to support Dad: Macon Meridian coach Jack Blickensderfer wishes he hadn’t been so hard on his son, Drew, growing up. Drew Blickensderfer wouldn’t have had it any other way. “He never let me win at anything,” the younger Blickensderfer said. “I can remember playing basketball against him on the driveway as a kid, and he would block every one of my shots. He was hardcore when I was on the baseball diamond and he was hardcore when I wrestled. He was just trying to instill that competitive desire in me.” That competitive desire has paid off for Drew Blickensderfer three times in the last three months. In mid-December, he was named crew chief for #17-Matt Kenseth’s NASCAR Sprint Cup team. And in February, he won his debut race with Kenseth — the Daytona 500. A week later, in California, Kenseth won again. Father and son shared another special moment Friday. Drew Blickensderfer surprised his dad by flying in from Charlotte, N.C., to watch Meridian’s 51-47 Class 1A state semifinal victory over Annawan. Joining the younger Blickensderfer were his brother Matt, who drove in from Cincinnati, and two aunts who traveled from Texas and Ohio.(see full story at the Peoria Journal Star), on Saturday night Macon Meridian won the Class 1A boys basketball state title.(3-15-2009)
  • Nadeau still hopes to race: No doubt about it, former NASCAR driver Jerry Nadeau would jump at the opportunity to return to stock-car racing. “I’m still trying to figure out what’s next for me,” Nadeau said. “I’m just a racer, I love to race and if I can come back in some capacity, I’ll do that.” Sidelined since 2003 due to injuries suffered in a horrific crash in practice at Richmond International Raceway, the 38-year-old Danbury, Conn., native attended a fundraiser for former NASCAR crew chief Jake “Suitcase” Elder at Memory Lane Motorsports and Automotive Museum on Saturday. Nadeau, who made a 177 starts during his seven year Cup career, still experiences numbness on the left side of his body resulting from the crash, but said he is cleared medically to race. “I’ve kind of come accustomed to it. It’s just something that I have to life with,” Nadeau said. “But I’m fine. I can race and I still do my simulator all the time.”(SceneDaily)(3-15-2009)

  • Edler honored at benefit in Mooresville: Despite a cold rain that washed out some activities outside the museum, the third annual Legends Helping Legends of Racing event on Saturday at the
    Memory Lane Motorsports & Automotive Museum in Mooresville was a rousing success. Hundreds of race fans found room indoors to meet and talk with dozens of former drivers and mechanics who turned out to honor one of their own. That would be Jake Elder, a longtime crew chief known in racing circles as “Suitcase Jake” because of the many stops he had along the path in his racing career. Elder won championships with David Pearson and Dale Earnhardt [along with Doug Richert in 1980, Edler left the team in May], but there’s more to him that just what you can list in record books. Elder had next to no formal education and those who know him will tell you he never wrote anything down. That does not mean that he was not also a great teacher who passed on some of his knowledge about racing and race cars to the generation who followed. Elder sat Saturday in a room lined with tables full of people he’d once raced with and against. It would have been wonderful if Elder could have a told a story about each person willing to tell a story on him, but Elder’s health no longer allows that. This was Elder’s first trip in a year or so outside the assisted-care facility in Statesville [NC] where he now lives. Elder’s friends came to raise money to help the family deal with the financial burden of his long-term care.(in part from the Charlotte Observer)
    AND: Saturday’s wet weather likely hurt the day’s attendance, but didn’t dull the excitement of the crowd. Well before the scheduled 10 a.m. opening, the line of fans had already begun to snake around three walls inside the building, back through the museum and out into the gift shop. They had arrived with a little bit of everything – from die-cast cars and trading cards to racing helmets and thick scrapbooks. Some arrived with nothing more than memories of days gone by and races already run. The people they came to see were no less pleased to lend their time to such a worthy cause. And the group ran the gamut, from championship-winning drivers to noted engine builders and crew chiefs. An all-star lineup that included Richard Petty, Bobby and Donnie Allison. Little Bud Moore and Neil “Soapy” Castles. Travis Carter, Ned Jarrett and Jimmy Hensley. Famed engine builders Wilson and Lou LaRosa. Former crew chiefs Dale Inman, Hammond, Tim Brewer and Mike Beam.(SceneDaily)(3-15-2009)

  • Two NASCAR moguls off the Billionaire’s List: NASCAR Team Owner, Roger Penske and Bruton Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. have both fallen off the Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires. Other NASCAR related still on the list include: Roush Fenway Racing co-owner John Henry, John Menard who sponsors the #98 Ford of son Paul and Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz. See the full story/list at forbes.com.(3-15-2009)


    News from March 14, 2009

  • Different format for All-Star race: The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race will have a different format in 2009, Lowe’s Motor Speedway President Marcus Smith confirmed Friday, but he declined to elaborate. Following a news conference to promote the second annual burnout contest and announce that retired wrestler Ric Flair would be the honorary all-star race director, Smith talked in vague terms about how this year’s format will be different. During the news conference, it was just referred to as a 100-lap event. Last year, the event was split into four 25-lap segments. “We are working on some changes that will be forthcoming – some neat things that we’re going to be changing up,” Smith said. “They’ll be exciting for the fans.” A NASCAR spokesman also declined to comment on potential changes to the non-points event. “We’re talking about some different things that we’ll be able to announce in a few weeks,” Smith said. “The all-star race has a tradition of making changes. … We’ve had great conversations and experience with the folks at Sprint, and [television partner] Speed and NASCAR. We’ll be able to talk about that in a couple of weeks.” This year’s event will be the 25th running of the all-star event, and it will include a Montgomery Gentry concert.(SceneDaily)(3-14-2009)

  • How you start the season, important to make the Chase: People have caught on to how important a good start is in the Chase format, but right here is where you first read about that. We noticed it two years ago and the trends have not changed. Of the 54 drivers who’ve made the Chase in its first five years, 50 have been in the top 20 after four races. Forty-four have been in the top 15. And 72%, 39 of 54, were in Chase position after four races (the top 10 in 2004-06 or the top 12 the past two years). The four drivers in five years who have come from outside the top 20 after four races to make the Chase were Matt Kenseth and Jeremy Mayfield in 2005, Kevin Harvick in 2006 and Martin Truex Jr. in 2007. A lot was expected out of #5-Mark Martin. If he does turn things around and somehow comes from 34th in the driver standings to make the Chase, it would be historic. Kenseth had 339 points after four races in 2005 and still came back to make the top 10. No driver has made the Chase with a lower four-race points tally. Martin has just 286 points so far this year.(Charlotte Observer). A few drivers outside the top 20 expected to compete for the Chase: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (24th), #39-Ryan Newman (32nd) and #5-Mark Martin (34th).(3-14-2009)

  • Sprint Pit Crew Challenge takes place May 14th: The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsmen will take place on May 14 at the Time Warner Cable Arena at 7:00pm and will be aired at 9:00pm that evening on SPEED. The event is celebrating its fifth year and was just recognized as the Best Public Event under 20,000 by the International Special Events Society. The competition is the only indoor event sanctioned by NASCAR and leads into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Saturday, May 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The finishing order of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman will determine the order of pit selection for the race that each competing team is eligible for (The Sprint Showdown or The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race).
    The current eligible teams are as follows: #96 Ask.com; #99 Aflac; #07 Jack Daniels; #33 General Mills; #88 Amp/National Guard; #12 Penske Racing; #11 FedEx; #16 3M; #31 Caterpillar; #24 DuPont; #48 Lowe’s; #20 Home Depot; #9 Budweiser; #29 Shell; #2 Miller Lite; #18 Mars; #5 Kellogg’s/Carquest; #17 DeWalt; #39 Army; #14 Office Depot/Old Spice/Burger King.
    Tickets for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman, featuring over the wall, head to head competition between the top 24 pit crews in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are on sale now. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online at www.pitcrewchallenge.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 495-2295.(Jay Howard Events PR)(3-14-2009)

  • Kvapil done with Yates Racing? Next week’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway may be #28-Travis Kvapil’s last for Yates Racing this season. Sources close to the organization say Kvapil’s crew has been told they will not run the next two Sprint Cup events at Martinsville and Texas, and that unless sponsorship comes along they won’t run the rest of the year. The team pieced together sponsorship for the first five races hoping Kvapil would do well enough to garner more attention. Things were looking up after he finished second in the second race at California. Then he failed to qualify for the Las Vegas race and a failed engine last week at Atlanta left him 42nd with a car capable of finishing in the top 20. He’s 39th in owner points with little chance of being in the top 35 guaranteed a spot in the field after Bristol. On anther front, Roush Fenway Racing has not replaced the entire crew of David Ragan’s team as another driver suggested last week. Ragan has had a rough start, ranked 22nd in points, but the team is confident in crew chief Jimmy Fennig.(ESPN Insider)(3-14-2009)

  • Realtree’s Bill Jordan to Drive in Celebrity/Legends Race at Bristol: Realtree Founder and President Bill Jordan will drive a Team Realtree car, furnished by Richard Childress Racing, in the first annual Scotts Saturday Night Special Celebrity/Legends Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Jordan’s role in the race is to run the first 15 laps against other celebrities to determine the starting positions for the legendary NASCAR drivers, who will complete the remaining 35 laps of the 50-lap event. Jordan’s NASCAR legends teammate will be Terry Labonte. Jordan and Labonte’s honorary pit crew will be comprised of current NASCAR drivers, many of whom hunt with Jordan and appear on the Driven to Hunt television show on ESPN2. These pit crew members will include Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, and Martin Truex, Jr. RCR president and CEO Richard Childress will serve as Jordan’s spotter during the race. The First Annual Scotts Saturday Night Special Celebrity/Legends Race will air live on March 21 on ESPN2 following the completion of the Scotts Turf Builder 300 Nationwide Series race and will be followed by a 100-lap UARA late model event. Drivers will compete in late-model stock cars and $25,000 will be donated to the winning team’s charity of choice. The second-place team will have $10,000 given to the charity of its choice and $5,000 will go to the designated charity of the other entrants. Tickets, which include all three races, start at $45 and are available by calling the BMS ticket office at 423-989-6900 or by visiting www.bristoltix.com.(RCR PR)(3-14-2009)
  • Legends gather to honor Elder TODAY: Legendary crew chief Jake Elder Elder, who carried the nickname “Suitcase Jake” because he worked for so many teams, will be the honoree Saturday at the third annual Legends Helping Legends of Racing fundraiser at Memory Lane Motorsports and Automotive Museum in Mooresville, N.C. Elder lives in the Autumn Care Assisted Living Center in Statesville. More info on my Racing Charity page.(3-13-2009)


    News from March 13, 2009

  • NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Weekend Announcements UPDATE: on Friday, March 13th, Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials, with the help of SPEED, 2007 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Racechampion Kevin Harvick and one very special guest, will make several announcements at the Time Warner Media Center, Lowe’s Motor Speedway infield regarding the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16.(LMS PR)(3-12-2009)
    UPDATE: Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials announced that Ric Flair, 16-time World Wrestling Heavyweight Champion, will serve as Honorary Race Director for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16. As Honorary Race Director, Flair will attend the drivers’ meeting, assist SPEED personalities with driver introductions for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and serve on the panel of judges for the second annual Pennzoil Victory Challenge during the pre-race entertainment. In addition to Flair’s role on race day, the Charlottean will be voicing the speedway’s radio and television advertising campaign for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race that will begin airing within the next 10 days. Tickets for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16 start at only $25 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com. Convenient payment plan options and multi-day ticket packages are also available.(LMS PR)(3-13-2009)

  • Atlanta TV Ratings down 14%: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on Fox earned a 5.5/12 (8.9 million viewers) on Sunday for the Kobalt 500 from Atlanta. NASCAR ranked as the highest-rated and most-watched sports event of the weekend for the fourth consecutive week. Although Sunday’s rating is down -14% compared to last year’s 6.4/15 (10.6 mill), it’s up +6% over 2007’s 5.2/12. A huge factor in the year-to-year decline was competition from the Duke-North Carolina college basketball game on CBS (2.9/6, 4.6 mill.). The Duke-UNC rating more than tripled the weak 1.1/2 delivered in the same window last year by Purdue-Michigan, and combined viewing of pro and college basketball opposite NASCAR was up by roughly two and a half million viewers. Fox got a lucky break when the final national rating for the Atlanta race came in a tenth of a point higher than the preliminary rating released on Tuesday, a rare occurrence. Men 18-34 continue to be a trouble spot for NASCAR. Ratings in that demo were down -27% (2.4 vs. 3.3) for the Atlanta race, nearly doubling the overall Household decline. One month into the season, NASCAR racing is being impacted by two disappointing trends on the track: lead changes per race are at an all-time low, while caution flags per race are near an all-time high. The season’s first four points races have averaged just 14 lead changes per race. The same races a year ago averaged 30 lead changes. Through four races, NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX is averaging a 6.7/13 (11.3 million viewers), down -11% from last year’s 7.5/14 (12.9 mill.). NASCAR’s year-to-year comparison continues to be skewed by rainouts in this year’s highly-rated Daytona race and last year’s lower-rated Fontana race. While it’s easy to focus on the -11% year-to-year skid, it’s also important to note that this season’s 6.7/13 average is still more than double the rating of the NBA On ABC (2.8/6) and is greater than the combined ratings of the NBA on ABC, NCAA Basketball on CBS, and PGA Golf on all broadcasters (5.8/13 combined).(Fox). For more on TV Ratings for 2009, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(3-13-2009)

  • Testing at the Rock: many teams have been testing at Rockingham Speedway, have not heard much on which teams, but: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. and #12-David Stremme tested Thursday [3/12] at Rockingham Speedway in preparation for the NASCAR Sprint Cup event in Martinsville, Va. on March 29.(Richmond County Daily Journal)(3-13-2009)

  • Goodyear Tire test at LMS March 17-18: Goodyear is scheduled to hold a tire test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams representing each of the series manufacturers next week in preparation for the track’s May races, including the 25th NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16, and the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. Drivers scheduled to test at #9-Kasey Kahne (Dodge), #48-Jimmie Johnson (Chevy), #47-Marcos Ambrose (Toyota) and #98-Paul Menard. During both days of the Goodyear tire test, Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s frontstretch grandstand will be open free of charge from 9am – 5pm and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office. Additionally, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 ticket holders will have access to an infield grandstand on Wednesday, March 18, from 10am to 5pm, and can participate in a special fan forum featuring all four drivers from 12 – 1pm. Ticket holders for Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s May Cup races will need to check in at the speedway’s ticket office to receive verification of their ticket purchase before entering the infield at Gate 26.(LMS PR)(3-13-2008)

  • ISC issues smaller bonuses to top two execs: International Speedway Corp. issued smaller bonuses to its two top executives in 2008 than it did in 2007. According to its 2009 proxy statement filed Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, ISC Chairman Jim France’s total compensation was $1.04 million in 2008 – $48,000 less than what he made in 2007 with his bonus about $28,000 less than a year ago. ISC President Lesa France Kennedy’s bonus was more than $25,000 less than a year ago, and her total compensation was $768,454, down from $814,159 in 2007. Executive Vice President John Saunders and Senior Vice President Roger VanDerSnick did receive higher bonuses and overall compensation. Saunders’ total compensation was $639,450 in 2008 compared with $632,944 in 2007, while VanDerSnick made $507,345 in 2008 compared with $457,002 in 207. As of March 9, the France Family Group owned 68.91 percent of the voting stock in the company. Jim France, brother of the late Bill France Jr., is listed as owning 46.23 percent of the voting stock, while Betty Jane France, Bill France Jr.’s widow, owns 20.57 percent. Lesa France Kennedy, Bill France Jr.’s daughter, owns 2.66 percent, and Brian France, Bill France Jr.’s son, owns 0.23 percent. All are members of the France Family Group, which also includes their children.(Scene Daily)(3-13-2009)

  • Earnhardt Ganassi still searching for #8 sponsorship: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing has sponsorship for Aric Almirola for the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Bristol and Martinsville and will definitely enter him April 5 at Texas, but his schedule beyond Texas is still pending sponsorship, EGR President Steve Lauletta says. Dale Earnhardt Inc. had intended to run Almirola the full 2009 season, but after the partnership with Chip Ganaasi Racing was formed last November, Almirola’s situation has been cloudy with no full-time sponsor. Almirola has 22 career Cup starts, and the #8 team currently is 36th in the owner points. Lauletta confirmed that Almirola will have Champion on the car for Bristol and then Guitar Hero: Metallica for Martinsville, but he wouldn’t elaborate on those companies’ plans for future events. He said the team still needs sponsorship to get past Texas.(Scene Daily)(3-13-2009)

  • Michael Waltrip tapes episode of My Name is Earl: What does a Sprint Cup driver do on an off weekend? If he’s Michael Waltrip, driver of the #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, he’s headed to Hollywood! The two-time Daytona 500 champion, who is known for his comedic personality, is appearing in an episode of the NBC sitcom, My Name Is Earl. Waltrip’s opportunity to be on the show came shortly after the airing of an Auto Club Speedway commercial he appeared in with actor Greg Germann. The speedway’s President Gillian Zucker, who has many connections in the entertainment industry, recommended using Waltrip to her friend, Greg Garcia, the creator and executive producer of My Name is Earl. “This experience is going to be a lot of fun for me,” Waltrip continued. “I play myself and I help Earl and his brother Randy get out of a big jam.” Waltrip will be in California through Saturday. The episode featuring Waltrip is scheduled to air on Thursday, April 30 at 8 p.m. ET – which happens to be Waltrip’s 46th birthday. (Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(3-13-2009)


    News from March 12, 2009

  • Goodyear Tire Test at Darlington Raceway UPDATE:: #11-Denny Hamlin (Toyota), #29-Kevin Harvick (Chevy), #96-Bobby Labonte (Ford) and #19-Elliott Sadler (Dodge) are scheduled to be at Darlington Raceway participating in a Goodyear tire test on Wednesday, March 11 in preparation for the Southern 500 on May 9th (Darlington Raceway PR). The testing is NOT open to the public.(3-9-2009)
    UPDATE:Darlington Raceway was the site of the latest Goodyear tire test today with four teams, one from each manufacturer that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, taking to the track. #96-Bobby Labonte, #29-Kevin Harvick, #19-Elliott Sadler and #11-Denny Hamlin began testing Tuesday afternoon with Goodyear engineers on the two-year old surface at Darlington. All four drivers gave the track good reviews and talked about the importance of winning at Darlington Raceway.
    “Well obviously this is a very historic race track that we go to,” said Kevin Harvick. “It still has a lot of the characteristics that it’s had for a number of years so to come here and race as a driver in NASCAR, I think that’s something special to everyone in the garage. This is an exciting place for us to race at and to win would be really cool. We’ve been close a couple of times and it would be nice to finally win one.”
    “This is a place I got to come to as a kid and watch races because it is not far from where I grew up so to come here and have a chance to win this race is a dream come true,” said Elliott Sadler. “I love that we race here, I’m glad it’s a night race, it’s a great event for us and since we only come here once a year we put a lot of effort into running well here because Darlington is still a huge cornerstone in our sport and represents where we’ve been and how far we’ve come.”
    “They repaved the track last year and you hated to see it in one way but they did a great job and it’s still the same Darlington,” said 2000 Southern 500 winner Bobby Labonte. “Speeds have picked up, the surface is smoother but the racing is still great and it still means the same thing to win here.”
    “Darlington is a great racetrack for me, I always run well here,” said Denny Hamlin who has won twice at Darlington in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. “It’s a great race track, I love running here and it’s got so much history. You hated to see it get paved but they did a great job doing it and it still promotes great racing. It’s a great track with great history and you love to win here no matter what car you are in.”
    Darlington Raceway or the track “Too Tough to Tame” as it is known to many, is where the purest of NASCAR competition meets true southern hospitality. A NASCAR staple since 1950, Darlington Raceway has seen some of motorsports most talented drivers thunder to Victory Lane. In 2009 a NASCAR tradition, the Southern 500, will return as Darlington Raceway celebrates 60 Seasons of Racing. Be a part of history when Darlington Raceway celebrates 60 years of racing in 2009. Tickets to the 2009 Southern 500, as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 are on-sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com/tickets/.(Darlington Raceway PR)(3-12-2009)

  • More on the “Start and Park”: How closely will NASCAR watch for “start and park” teams in this time of less than fully funded fields in Cup races? And how harshly will NASCAR deal with them? That depends on who you talk to within NASCAR. Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton largely confirms what scenedaily.com began reporting Friday: that NASCAR is watching closely. But two officials with higher seniority are taking a more benign posture.
    Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s veteran vice president for corporate communications, wonders how and why NASCAR could enforce start and park. And NASCAR president Mike Helton doesn’t even like to use the term “start and park” anyway. Could NASCAR actually prove a driver has parked, not for mechanical reasons stated, but to save money and still collect the minimum prize to start? “Sure we can,” Pemberton said Sunday. “If somebody says the motor was sputtering due to a fuel-pump problem, we can take it apart and look at it.” Bottom line, “We’re encouraging people to come in and race,” Pemberton said.
    But, said Hunter, “It’s not an issue that’s paramount to the success or failure of an event, so why is it an issue [at all].” Said Helton, “I don’t look at them as start and parks. I look at them as teams and drivers that are trying to figure out how to get into the sport, and that’s a good thing. People talk about start and park as a negative thing, so I don?t like to use that term. “I think of it more as people who have an opportunity,” Helton said. “Maybe they’re not up to speed yet. Maybe they’re not quite capable of doing things that they want to do one day. And this is the way they get started.” Helton agrees that “What Robin was referring to, we’re watching to be sure that that [getting started] is the intent of these owners.”
    “If you were going to label somebody a start-and-parker, you would have to understand his financial situation,” Hunter says. “Does the guy who might do it this week and not do it next week? Does he have the money to buy tires to really race?” It’s race by race, case by case, so that there are so many factors that I don’t think it’s an issue,” Hunter said.(ESPN Insider)(3-12-2009)

  • Robby heads to Mexico to race dirt: #7-Robby Gordon will spend his week off from pavement racing by returning to his desert racing roots as one of 10 overall winners from the last 13 years entered in this week’s 23rd Annual Tecate SCORE San Felipe 250. Round 2 of the 2009 SCORE Desert Series will be held Friday through Sunday in Mexico’s quaint and picturesque fishing village of San Felipe, located on the East side of the Baja California peninsula along the azure waters of the tranquil Sea of Cortez. Gordon, who won this race in 1996 and whose only attempt here since then was a did-not-finish in 2004, will drive the #77 Team Gordon Chevy CK1500 SCORE Trophy-Truck that won January’s 2009 SCORE season-opener in Laughlin, NV. “Usually when I run a SCORE Baja race I have to commute and pull double-duty so this week will be a real treat for me as I can focus on just the desert and not the desert and all the things connected to NASCAR racing as well,” said Gordon, who has two career class wins in his limited time in San Felipe. “We came out in Laughlin in January planning to run the entire 2009 SCORE season and after winning that race we are even more enthusiastic about running the entire five-race series this year. With all of our other racing commitments, this will be the first time we have run the entire SCORE series since we won the SCORE Trophy-Truck season point championship in 1996.”(off-road.com)(3-12-2009)

  • NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Weekend Announcements: on Friday, March 13th, Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials, with the help of SPEED, 2007 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race champion Kevin Harvick and one very special guest, will make several announcements at the Time Warner Media Center, Lowe’s Motor Speedway infield regarding the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16.(LMS PR)(3-12-2009)

  • Kurt Busch looking for help to name his celebration lap: #2-Kurt Busch says he has been “just blown away” by the attention he has received from his special celebratory “Victory Lap” after winning last Sunday’s Kobalt 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After dominating the race and picking up his first victory of the 2009 NASCAR season, Busch celebrated the win by stopping at the finish line, grabbing the checkered flag, throwing his Miller Lite Dodge Charger in reverse and backing around the entire track to show his appreciation to all the fans. “It has been unbelievable – I’ve been just blown away by it all,” Busch said of the response from his post-race antics after recording his 19th career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory. “It’s amazing to see the attention it (the celebration lap) has gotten. We’ve done hundreds of media interviews since Sunday and every time it’s inevitable that they’ll get around to wanting to discuss our unusual victory lap. We were doing Eli’s radio show on Tuesday night when we decided we were going to ask the fans to help us put an official name on our lap,” Busch said of his appearance on “NASCAR LIVE,” the MRN Radio program hosted by Eli Gold. “Doug Rice and I were already talking about doing something special with it when I called in to ‘Fast Talk’ on PRN on Monday night. So we’ve decided to ask the fans to log on to our site (www.kurtbusch.com), follow the story to the link, click on it and give us your suggestions,” said Busch. “After discussing the situation with my staff, we’ve actually decided to make a nice little contest out of it. We’re urging the fans to participate and I can’t wait to review their suggested names for the lap. We’ll send the winner a nice gift basket and that one lucky fan will always have the bragging rights for naming the lap,” said Busch. “We’ll announce the winning entry on Friday at Bristol (March 20).”(Tom Roberts PR)(3-12-2009)

  • NC Racing Academy Opens: The North Carolina Racing Academy (NCRA) – a comprehensive one-stop resource for racers aspiring to hone their driving skills and raise their stock in the sport – is now open. The NCRA is currently accepting contacts from interested candidates for academies at North Carolina pavement short tracks as early as this spring. Racers of all levels of experience are eligible for any one of four different academy packages offered by the NCRA. The academies will utilize top-quality 2009 race-ready stock cars that are legal to compete in NASCAR late model, Camping World East, Nationwide and ARCA RE/MAX series. In addition to on-track coaching and evaluation from several of NASCAR racing’s top team members, applicants will have the option to add chassis setup and/or marketing/media seminars presented by those areas’ top industry professionals. More info at northcarolinaracingacademy.com.(NCRA PR)(3-12-2009)


    News from March 11, 2009

  • Sad News – Stub Fadden: NASCAR North legend Stanley “Stub” Fadden has passed away, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Fadden, a veteran of both NASCAR North and the Busch North Series, is a 1980 recipient of the Don MacTavish Award, and received the NASCAR North Tour Sportsman Award in three different decades, being honored in 1968, 1981, and 1990. He was inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2003. Fadden Racing began as a small operation in 1961 to support the career of Stanley “Stub” Fadden, known affectionately as “Pop” around the small town of North Haverhill, New Hampshire. In 1987, Stub began competing in the NASCAR North Series (now titled the Camping World Series East) and competed there on a full-time basis for the next 11 years with Frank Stoddard as crew chief [which included his last win in 1994 at Lee USA Speedway]. Stub’s career was highlighted by seven top-10 year-end finishes at a time when nearly 100 competitors were vying for starting positions every week. In 1989, Fadden Racing opened their doors to a second team – that of his grandson Mike Olsen, who went on to win two NASCAR Camping World Series East championships. Olsen now manages Fadden Racing as they mentor and prepare young drivers for a career in racing. Stub was awarded the Bunk Sampson Memorial Award at the NASCAR Camping World Series East Champions Banquet last December. Due to his health issues, Stub was unable to attend the ceremony, Mike accepted the award on Stub’s behalf. Stub’s long career included a dozen NASCAR Nationwide races, including a top ten at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 1991.
    The family asks that cards be sent to: Charlotte Fadden, P.O. Box 427, North Haverhill, NH 03774.(neracing.com)(3-11-2009)
    Arrangements: Complete obituary and arrangements can be found at the Ricker Fineral Home site.(3-12-2009)

  • NASCAR scrutinizing start and park team reasons UPDATE: NASCAR won’t create a hard-line rule prohibiting Sprint Cup teams from starting a race and then parking their car a few laps later, but NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Friday there is an increased emphasis on making sure that the reason a team gives for falling out of the race is legitimate. Although there are only 36 cars that have the funding to run the entire season, several teams are trying to make races each week. In past years, when there haven’t been 43 fully funded cars, some drivers started the race, parked in the opening laps and pocketed the last-place money. “We owe it to the garage area [to make sure] that everybody is on the up-and-up,” Pemberton said in the Atlanta Motor Speedway garage Friday. “When they call [they’re] out, we will continue to look at what put those cars at. What we’re going to encourage at this level here is that people participate and do what they can do to race. What we want to prevent is someone legitimately trying to do a race setup and getting bumped out by somebody that may have gone above and beyond what the spirit of the rules are.” Pemberton said NASCAR doesn’t expect every team to be able to run up front, but those that make the final 43 need to be on the track racing someone. “There’s people that aren’t top-10 cars but they compete against other people that are 25th through 35th,” Pemberton said. “We need to encourage those guys to race each other.” As far as the Nationwide and Truck events, where there have traditionally been start-and-park racers over the last few years, Pemberton said there could be a little more leniency. “There’s more at stake with the purses and whatever else that goes on [in Cup], but we are going to encourage the level of competition throughout the ranks the best that we can,” Pemberton said.(SceneDaily)(3-6-2009)
    UPDATE: That panic attack – combined with the weakness implied by having a less than full field – forced NASCAR to do whatever it could simply to bring teams to the race track. At Atlanta, an anonymous Truck Series driver also told Frontstretch that NASCAR had contacted them personally about running a Fontana start and park – a choice they decided not to make after NASCAR figured out they’d have enough trucks without them making an unscheduled trip to California. “NASCAR came to me and said they wanted more cars, they wanted to park,” said the owner/driver. “[So] we were going to go out there [Fontana] and do a start and park…for NASCAR.”(Frontstretch)(3-11-2009)

  • Bowyer’s Crew Claims Tissot Pit Road Win in Atlanta: The #33 crew for Clint Bowyer won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, becoming the fourth different team in as many races to capture top honors for pit road achievement. Bowyer’s crew captured the Tissot pit road win as a result of the team’s #33 BB&T Chevrolet Impala SS spending the least amount of time on pit road (364.400 seconds) during the Kobalt Tools 500. The quick pit stops helped lift Bowyer to a sixth-place finish as the Richard Childress Racing driver remained second in the driver point standings. Bowyer’s over-the-wall crew consists of: Clint Pittman (front-tire changer), Shane Stevenson (front-tire carrier), Daniel Rankin (rear-tire changer), Michael Hodges (rear-tire carrier), Bill Ferguson Jr. (jackman), Bryan Smith (gasman), Chad Haney (catch can) and Scott Brewer (eighth man). The team’s crew chief is Shane Wilson, pit crew coach is Matt Clark and the strength/conditioning coach is Ray Wright. For winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, the #33 team will receive $5,000. The team with the most pit road wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the driver and over-the-wall crew members. (DMF Communications/Tissot PR)(3-11-2009)
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame hires operations manager: The NASCAR Hall of Fame has named Steve Burrell as operations manager. In this role, Burrell will be responsible for all daily operating functions for the Hall of Fame, including developing policies, procedures and a work environment that ensures exceptional customer service. He will plan, direct and supervise daily operations including guest services, event management, volunteer coordination, emergency procedures and security. Burrell has more than 14 years experience in the entertainment and tourism industry with Carowinds where he served as the loss prevention manager, paladium and campground manager in addition to operations manager. He also sat on the North Carolina Amusement Advisory Committee as well as the Education Committee for the American Industry for Maintenance and Safety. Burrell also has experience as the corporate safety and chief ethics officer for a government contractor with sites throughout the United States.(NASCAR PR)(3-11-2009)
  • Motorsports Authentics names new Interim President: Motorsports Authentics named Joe Mattes as interim President of the motorsports merchandising company. A 14-year veteran within the NASCAR industry, Mattes brings a strong track record of licensing and merchandising success to Motorsports Authentics. In his previous roles as President of Sports Image, Co-Founder and President of Chase Racewear, and Vice President of the NASCAR.com Superstore, Mattes demonstrated experienced leadership in the development and promotion of numerous merchandising platforms involving multiple drivers, teams and sponsors in the sport. During that time, he was successful in maximizing returns and expanding value and demand for all entities involved. Mattes will continue in his current role as Vice President of Licensing for JR Motorsports. Motorsports Authentics board member Don Hawk, who has been serving as interim President for Motorsports Authentics, will maintain an ongoing active role in the company’s operations while retaining his position as Vice President of Business Affairs for Speedway Motorsports, Inc.(Motorsports Authentics PR)(3-11-2009)
  • Pat Tryson Named Crew Chief of the Race in Atlanta: Pat Tryson, crew chief for the #2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Kurt Busch has been named the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After a dominant day, Tryson made the perfect call on lap 323 of the scheduled 325-lap event when a caution came out, setting up a two-lap dash for victory with a green-white-checkered finish. Summoning his driver to pit road, Tryson instructed his crew to replace all four tires. 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)(3-11-2009)


    News from March 10, 2009

  • Retro Pepsi image at ‘Dega for Gordon: The year was 1983 when Darrell Waltrip took to the track in the Pepsi Challenger Chevy. Waltrip had won back-to-back titles and was trying for three in a row when PepsiCo changed the primary sponsor on his car from Mountain Dew to its signature brand before the season. Waltrip failed to win the title that year. At Talladega, Jeff Gordon will go retro with Waltrip’s 1983 paint scheme on his car.(gordonline.com), see an image there or on my #24 Team Schemes page.(3-10-2009)
  • Crew Member Jimmy Watts Suspended Four Races UPDATE: Jimmy Watts, a crew member [gasman] for the #47 Marcos Ambrose team, was suspended for the remainder of the race after he ran onto the infield grass — a prohibited area — to retrieve a loose tire on [caused] the third caution of the race.(ESPN/AP), the caution would had been called anyway, due to the tire in the infield and it was still slowly moving towards the track.
    AND A quiet and remorseful Jimmy Watts stood outside the NASCAR hauler during the Kobalt Tools 500 to meet with NASCAR officials after he had been suspended for the remainder of the event for running onto the frontstretch grass with the race under green-flag conditions to retrieve a tire from the JTG Daugherty Racing car on lap 67. Watts, a gas man who also works for the Charlotte Fire Department, said he has been in the sport for more than seven years and just made a mistake. NASCAR threw the caution as he chased the tire. The tire had rolled on to the frontstretch grass when it got loose from the JTG Daugherty team of driver Marcos Ambrose and was knocked away by the Yates Racing team. “I saw the tire going away and it was a reaction – the wrong one,” Watts said. Watts said he “certainly did not” think that the tire would roll that far across the grass and by the time he was in the middle of it, he realized he was in a bad position. Watts said he hoped to be back next week but was waiting to talk to NASCAR officials to see if any additional penalties would be issued.(SceneDaily)(3-9-2009)
    UPDATE: Jimmy Watts, a crew member for the #47 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been suspended from the next four Sprint Cup Series events (until April 22) for rule violations during last Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Watts was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 9-15-U (crew members must not go on the race track for any reason while the cars are racing or while the cars are running under the yellow flag or the red flag, unless otherwise directed to do so by a NASCAR official). Watts has also been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. In addition, Frank Kerr, crew chief for the #47, has been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31 for violating Sections 12-1 and 9-4-A (crew chief assumes responsibility for the actions of the team).(NASCAR PR)(3-10-2009)
  • Ragan To Make Modified Debut: While some of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are taking this weekend off to rest and relax, David Ragan is going to keep racing. Ragan, driver of the #6 UPS Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, has entered to run the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour season opener Sunday, March 15 at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. Ragan will drive for Darrel Krentz’s No. 15 in the Spring Classic 150.(localracing.nascar.com )(3-10-2009)

  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series
    * Kurt Busch won the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after starting second. Busch posted his 19th career series victory in 296 races. His last victory came at Loudon on June 29, 2008, 23 races ago. This was his third top-10 finish in four races this season. Busch moved to 33rd on NASCAR’s all-time win list, tying Davey Allison, Buddy Baker and Fonty Flock.
    * Busch posted his third victory in 79 races on 1.5-mile tracks. Busch has scored 28 top-10 finishes in 79 races on 1.5-mile tracks (35 percent).
    * This is just the second win by a Dodge at Atlanta since Richard Petty won here in March 1977. Kasey Kahne won in a Dodge in this race in 2006.
    * This was Busch’s second Atlanta victory in 17 races. Crew chief Pat Tryson posted his seventh Cup career victory in 377 races. Four of his crew-chief victories have come with Busch.
    * Busch led six times for 234 laps, including the final two laps. This is the most laps that he has led in a Cup race.
    * This is the second victory for Penske Racing at Atlanta. Penske’s other Atlanta win came in November 1993, with Rusty Wallace.
    * Jeff Gordon leads the series points standings by 43 over second-place Clint Bowyer. Race-winner Busch is third in points, just three points behind Bowyer. Gordon finished second, posting his fourth top-15 finish in 2009, the only driver to do so. Gordon extended his winless streak to 45 races, since October 2007 at Lowe’s.
    * Carl Edwards (finished third) posted his 125th lead-lap finish in his 161 career races (78 percent).
    * Brian Vickers (fifth) scored his third straight top-10 finish. He finished 10th at California and eighth at Las Vegas. This marks just the third time in his career that he has scored three straight top-10 finishes.
    * Clint Bowyer (sixth) extended a 77-race streak of running at the finish that began at Homestead in November 2006. Bowyer’s last DNF came at Phoenix on Nov. 12, 2006, when he finished 33rd due to an oil-pump failure
    * Jimmie Johnson finished ninth at Atlanta and was running at the finish. His crew chief, Chad Knaus, marked his 250th career race of running at the finish in 280 career races (89 percent).
    * #20 Joey Logano (30th) was the highest-finishing rookie contender among the two rookies in the race. Scott Speed finished 35th.
    * David Reutimann (32nd) ended a streak of three top-15 finishes.
    * The top 10 consisted of six Chevys, two Dodges, one Ford and one Toyota.(ESPN)(3-10-2009)

  • Cale added to Bristols Saturday Night Special race; DW withdraws: Cale Yarborough, one of the most successful drivers in the history of Bristol Motor Speedway, has been added to the lineup of stars for the Scotts “Saturday Night Special” at Bristol Motor Speedway, March 21. Darrell Waltrip, Bristol’s all-time winner with 12, has had to pull out of the race because of a scheduling issue that has arisen. “It seems crazy, but I am busier now than I was when I was a driver,” Waltrip said. “I have some commitments to Fox Sports that have come up since we began talking with the folks at Bristol about this race. I was looking forward to getting out there with some of those guys again; and some of them for the first time. After years with Junior Johnson as my boss, I was excited about rubbing fenders with him. But, sometimes things are unavoidable.”
    A $100,000 purse to be paid to the charity of choice by each driver will be up for grabs. Competing in late model stock cars, $25,000 will be donated to the charity of choice of the winning team as well as taking home that big Bristol trophy. The second-place team will have $10,000 given to the charity of its choice and $5,000 will go to the designated charity of the other entrants. Other drivers expected to compete are Harry Gant, David Green, Jack Ingram, Junior Johnson, Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, L.D. Ottinger, Phil Parsons, David Pearson, Jimmy Spencer and Rusty Wallace. The Saturday Night Special will take place after the completion of the Scotts Turf Builder 300 Nationwide Series race and will be followed by a 100-lap UARA late model event. Tickets, which include all three races, start at $45 and are available by calling the BMS ticket office at 423-989-6900 or by visiting bristoltix.com.(BMS PR)(3-10-2009)


    News from March 9, 2009

  • Overnight Atlanta TV Ratings down: NASCAR on Fox notched a 4.7/10 yesterday for the Kobalt Tools 500 from Atlanta, easily the top sports rating of the weekend. Thanks in part to much tougher college basketball competition from CBS, yesterday’s 4.7/10 is down -16% compared to last year’s 5.6/12. This year’s Atlanta race rating matches 2007’s 4.7/10, but note that the 2007 rating came against second-round NCAA Tournament games on CBS. Metered market ratings have been a relatively weak indicator of NASCAR’s national ratings this season. Through last weekend’s Las Vegas race, FOX’s national ratings have been an average of +6% better year-to-year than the overnight ratings comparisons. Every FOX race to date has compared more favorably to last year in the nationals than in the overnights. Through four points races, NASCAR On FOX is down -13% for the year in the metered markets (5.9/11 vs. 6.8/13). For more on TV Ratings for 2009, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(3-9-2009)

  • NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, holds its weekly roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news and events in a one-hour episode airing Tuesday, March 10, at 1:00am/et (late Monday night/early Tuesday morning). Host Allen Bestwick will be joined by NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Mike Wallace and ESPN NASCAR analysts Ray Evernham and Ricky Craven.
    NASCAR Now Nation: Have something to say about a story on this week’s ESPN2’s NASCAR Now? Get out your videocam and tell ESPN what you think. Your video may be seen on an upcoming NASCAR Now. Choose a video file on your hard drive, then click the upload button. More info at ESPN.com.

  • Goodyear Tire Test at Darlington Raceway: #11-Denny Hamlin (Toyota), #29-Kevin Harvick (Chevy), #96-Bobby Labonte (Ford) and #19-Elliott Sadler (Dodge) are scheduled to be at Darlington Raceway participating in a Goodyear tire test on Wednesday, March 11 in preparation for the Southern 500 on May 9th in which tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com (Darlington Raceway PR). The testing is NOT open to the public.(3-9-2009)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Kobalt Tools 500:
    Total number of commercials: 131
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 73
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 92
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:18 PM
    Total minutes: 258
    Minutes of race broadcast: 202
    Minutes of commercials: 56
    Number of missed restarts: 1
    Total race brdcst time 202 Total comm. brdcst time 56
    See more on my 2009 TV Commercials page.(3-9-2009)

  • Brother’s Back-to-back wins: The Busch brothers sure know how to share. Kurt Busch followed up brother Kyle’s win at Las Vegas last weekend with a Cup victory of his own Sunday. The Busch brothers have now won back-to-back races four times, the most by any brother duo in NASCAR history:
    Back-To-Back Victories
    Kurt, Kyle Busch – 4
    Tim, Fonty Flock – 3
    Bobby, Donnie Allison – 2
    Tim and Bob Flock – 2
    Bobby, Terry Labonte – 2
    Brett, Geoff Bodine – 1
    Bob, Fonty Flock – 1
    Donald, Herb Thomas – 1
    (ESPN.com)(3-9-2009)

  • Brothers with the most wins [each has had to win a Sprint Cup race]
    94 – Allison: Bobby (84), Donnie (10)
    88 – Waltrip: Darrell (84), Michael (4)* [both Daytona 500 Champs]
    62 – Flock: Tim (39), Fonty (19) Bob (4)
    49 – Thomas: Herb (48), Donald (1)
    43 – Labonte: Terry (22)*, Bobby (21)* [both Series Champs]
    32 – Busch: Kurt (19)*, Kyle (13)*
    26 – Burton: Jeff (21)*, Ward (5)
    22 – Parsons: Benny (21), Phil (1)
    19 – Bodine: Geoff (18)*, Brett (1)
    * active.(3-9-2009)

  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer has been running at the finish in 77 consecutive races, the longest current streak, only 4 races behind the modern era record of #29-Harvick who had 81 until DNFing at California in Feb 2009, next up is #48-Johnson at 28 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 81 [he also has the 2nd longest at 58], then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(3-9-2009)

  • Loop Data: Busch Perfect at Atlanta: #2-Kurt Busch dominated the Kobalt Tools Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, scoring a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0. This is Busch’s fourth perfect Driver Rating since the inception of the Loop Data statistic in 2005. He is the only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to post more than one perfect Driver Rating. During Sunday’s Atlanta race, Busch had race-best stats in Laps Led (234), Average Running Position (1.5) and Fastest Laps Run (81). He was also one of two drivers who ran all 330 Laps in the Top 15 (Kasey Kahne was the other). Busch also scored perfect Driver Ratings in his Pocono Raceway wins in 2005 and 2007 and at Phoenix International Raceway in 2005. This is the eighth perfect Driver Rating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2005:
    Perfect Driver Ratings
    Driver, Date, Track
    Kurt Busch, 4/23/2005, Phoenix
    Kurt Busch (2), 7/24/2005, Pocono
    Tony Stewart, 8/14/2005, Watkins Glen
    Kevin Harvick, 11/12/2006, Phoenix
    Kurt Busch (3), 8/5/2007, Pocono
    Clint Bowyer, 9/16/2007, New Hampshire
    Jimmie Johnson, 8/31/2008, Auto Club
    Kurt Busch (4), 3/8/2009, Atlanta
    Driver Rating is a Loop Data statistic which is based on several statistical components.(NASCAR PR)(3-9-2009)

  • Newman slowed by faulty engine: #39-Ryan Newman ran solidly in the top-15 for most of Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., but engine issues during the final 100 laps of the event slowed down his #39 Haas Automation Chevy and thwarted his team’s march to a top-10 result. Newman was relegated to a 22nd-place finish in his 15th career Sprint Cup start at AMS. “Our Haas Automation Chevy was pretty good today,” said Newman after the race. “We had some handling issues, but Tony Gibson (crew chief) and the guys adjusted on the car and gave me a really competitive machine. At the end, I think we maybe had a top-10 car, but we lost a cylinder and that put us behind. We were right in cycle to be the next guy for the ‘lucky dog’ and we just lost that cylinder and that set the tone for the rest of our day.” At lap 225, Newman radioed his crew that he had an engine problem, as his V-8 powerplant had missed several times as he drove down the backstretch, ultimately dropping a cylinder. Newman was able to nurse the engine and maintain a spot in the top-20 until the final caution flag of the day waved at lap 321. Under the caution, Newman reported that the motor had lost yet another cylinder. On the final restart, he couldn’t get his car up to speed quickly enough and lost four more spots, whereupon he finished 22nd, three laps down.(SHR/True Speed Communication PR)(3-9-2009)

  • Kenseth battles ill-handling car: #17-Matt Kenseth battled and ill-handling race car for the majority of Sundays 325-lap Kobalt Tools 500, but managed a 12th-place finish in the fourth race of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Despite never finding adequate grip on the long run, and having to battle their way back onto the lead lap, Kenseth and the #17 DeWalt Ford Team were poised for a top-10 finish before running short on fuel with five laps to go in the race.(RFR PR)(3-9-2009)

  • Crewman suspended for rest of race for going after tire: Jimmy Watts, a crew member [gasman] for the #47 Marcos Ambrose team, was suspended for the remainder of the race after he ran onto the infield grass — a prohibited area — to retrieve a loose tire on [caused] the third caution of the race.(ESPN/AP), the caution would had been called anyway, due to the tire in the infield and it was still slowly moving towards the track.
    AND A quiet and remorseful Jimmy Watts stood outside the NASCAR hauler during the Kobalt Tools 500 to meet with NASCAR officials after he had been suspended for the remainder of the event for running onto the frontstretch grass with the race under green-flag conditions to retrieve a tire from the JTG Daugherty Racing car on lap 67. Watts, a gas man who also works for the Charlotte Fire Department, said he has been in the sport for more than seven years and just made a mistake. NASCAR threw the caution as he chased the tire. The tire had rolled on to the frontstretch grass when it got loose from the JTG Daugherty team of driver Marcos Ambrose and was knocked away by the Yates Racing team. “I saw the tire going away and it was a reaction – the wrong one,” Watts said. Watts said he “certainly did not” think that the tire would roll that far across the grass and by the time he was in the middle of it, he realized he was in a bad position. Watts said he hoped to be back next week but was waiting to talk to NASCAR officials to see if any additional penalties would be issued.(SceneDaily)(3-9-2009)

  • #28 Team needs sponsor to continue on: Travis Kvapil still needs sponsorship to keep racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beyond the upcoming race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Yates Racing co-owner Max Jones said Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kvapil, who finished 23rd in the points in 2008, was left without a full-time ride when Hall of Fame Racing brought Bobby Labonte and sponsor Ask.com to Yates and Paul Menard brought his family sponsorship (Menards) to the team. Points swaps among the group left Kvapil without a locked-in position in races this season. Yates Racing had pledged to run at least five races with Kvapil and then reevaluate. “Right now it’s still five,” Jones said. “We’re still talking to people. Hopefully it can be more, but we don’t have any firm commitments for more than five right now.” The team has had Golden Corral as a sponsor the last two races. “They’re very interested and they’re looking at it,” Jones said. “If we can go out here and run really well today, that would surely help. … We threw that [team] together in the last minute, and I think they’ve run really well.” Kvapil’s team is 38th in owners points, 29 points out of the top 35. Obviously getting in the top 35 in owners points would help because Kvapil would not have to worry about missing the race. One thing that gives Kvapil optimism that he might race beyond Martinsville is that the team has plans to test the new Martinsville-style track next to Rockingham Speedway.(SceneDaily)(3-9-2009)

  • Drivers fret about automakers in tough economy: As General Motors continues to be battered by grim economic news, those who drive for the struggling manufacturer can’t help but wonder what impact it will have on their NASCAR programs. On Thursday, GM said in its annual report that auditors raised serious doubt about the automaker’s ability to continue operating. The company has received $13.4 billion in federal loans and is seeking an additional $16.6 billion from the government. Tony Stewart, who has a long relationship with GM, said he believes the company is doing what it can to recover. “The biggest thing is we’ve got to get people to not be afraid to spend money again,” he said. “GM is doing their part. The Chevy brand is building cars that are affordable and economic and efficient. From a manufacturer’s side, that’s all you can ask for. I think they’ve really responded and done a good job in that respect.” Stewart said the fallout would be “tremendous” if any of the major American automakers went out of business. “I think it’s at the stage now where we can’t rely on the government to do it all for us,” he said. “We have to take an active role ourselves. I’m not saying as drivers or NASCAR. I’m saying our country together. We’ve got to get off our wallets and go back being Americans again and living life the way we used to.”
    Atlanta Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith called on the federal government to do whatever it takes to keep the Big Three from going under. “It’s an abomination,” he said. “This country owes them.” He pointed to the role Detroit played during World War II, when the car companies quickly shifted their focus from automobiles to producing the machinery of battle. “They saved this country during World War II,” Smith said. “What if we get in another major, major war? Who’s going to build things? We need to do whatever we can to save those companies.”(Associated Press/ESPN)(3-8-2009)

  • Roush Fenway looking for sponsors: Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith should only be negotiating to renew the one NASCAR Sprint Cup sponsorship he has open – the #17 Ford and DeWalt – for 2010. But Smith’s organization is working on helping nearly all of its Cup sponsors (#26-Crown Royal, #16-3M and #99-Aflac) find other companies willing to pony up the money to buy some races for 2010 and beyond even though they have contracts obligating them for the entire season. Smith said the companies have requested help, and it’s imperative in these economic times that the organization find more sponsors willing to share some of the costs. DeWalt, whose contract is up after the 2009 season, has also indicated it wants a partner. The only sponsor that has not requested a partner is UPS [for #6 David Ragan]. A new sponsor could be on one of those cars by the end of 2009 if there is a commitment for future years, Smith said.
    Even though Roush Fenway can have only four Cup teams next year, it also is responsible for sponsorship for Yates Racing, so it is continuing to court companies to sponsor Cup teams. On an initial call, Smith said the organization will offer anything open in its portfolio. The one thing his company won’t do is to stagger sponsorships on a car because the organization has to commit to a salary for the driver and needs the sponsorship to back it up. Smith said that car owners must realize that they need to spend money on sales. He said he has “a whole team” making cold calls about sponsorship.(SceneDaily)(3-9-2009)

News from March 8, 2009

  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot:
    With a race to go before the 2009 Owners Points lock the top 35 in for Martinsville [still using 2008 owners points thru Bristol] a few teams who were guaranteed in the first five races are outside with a race to go
    30) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 336 +59
    31) #77-Hornish/Penske Racing: 328 +51
    32) #39-Newman/Stewart Haas: 324 +47
    33) #20-Logano/Gibbs Racing: 321 +44
    34) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 301 +24 [new team]
    35) #5-Martin/Hendrick: 286 +11
    these teams/ drivers are looking to get back in the top 35 after Bristol or they must qualify by speed:
    36) #8-Almirola/Earnhardt Ganassi: 277, 11 out of 35th
    37) #82-Speed/Red Bull Racing: 256 -30
    38) #98-Menard/Yates Racing: 238 -48
    39) #28-Kvapil/Yates Racing: 214 -72
    40) #78-Smith/Furniture Row: 206 -80 [only 2 attempts]
    For the owner points standings, see my Drivers/Owners Points Standings page.(3-8-2009)
  • Kurt Busch wins at Atlanta: #2-Kurt Busch won the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2009 and 19th career win. Busch dominated the race leading 234 of 330 laps and passing #99-Edwards on during the green-white-checkered finish. Busch has now won at least one race every year for eight consecutive seasons and Penske has won at least a race a year for 19 consecutive seasons. #24-Jeff Gordon finished 2nd followed by #99-Edwards, #29-Harvick, #83-Vickers, #33-Bowyer, #9-Kahne, #14-Stewart, #48-Johnson and #1-Truex Jr. Pole sitter #5-Martin wrecked midway thru the race and finished 31st. There were 13 lead changes among 8 drivers and 11 caution flags for 54 laps.
    See race results, awards, laps led, cautions, attendence and more on my Atlanta Race Results page.(3-8-2009)
  • UNOFFICAL Driver Points Standings [after Atlanta race 4 of 36]:
    1) #24Jeff Gordon 634
    2) #33-Clint Bowyer 591 -43
    3) #2-Kurt Busch 588 -46 [1 win]
    4) #99-Carl Edwards 547 -87
    5) #17-Matt Kenseth 546 -88 [2 wins]
    6) #14-Tony Stewart 521 -113
    7) #18-Kyle Busch 514 -120 [1 win]
    8) #29-Kevin Harvick 511 -123
    9) #9-Kasey Kahne 484 -150
    10) #16-Greg Biffle 480 -154
    11) #83-Brian Vickers 477 -157
    12) #00-David Reutimann 475 -159
    in running for top 12 – the chase:
    13) #48-Jimmie Johnson 457 -177
    14) #11-Denny Hamlin 456 -178
    See drivers and owners points standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Atlanta page.(3-8-2009)
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway Fast Facts
    . Kurt Busch won the Kobalt Tools 500, his 19th victory in 296 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    . This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2009 – all in the past three races.
    . This is his second victory and sixth top-10 finish in 17 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
    . Jeff Gordon (second) posted his 22nd top-10 finish in 34 races at Atlanta. It is his third top-10 finish in 2009. Gordon’s winless streak is now at 45 races – the longest of his career. He has finished in the top five 17 times in that span, including four runner-up finishes. Two of his second-place finishes have come this season.
    . Kurt and Kyle Busch posted back-to-back victories for the third time. Fontana and Richmond (2005) and Infineon and New Hampshire -2008) are the other times.
    . Carl Edwards (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 10 races at Atlanta. This is his best finish thus far in 2009.
    . Joey Logano (30th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    . Gordon leads the point standings by 43 points over Clint Bowyer.(NASCAR Statistics)(3-8-2009)
  • Infraction Report – Atlanta Speedway
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #43, 2, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #47, 65, Outside half of the pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tires, tail end
    #83, 104, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, tail end
    #7, 105, Removing equipment from assigned pit area, stop and go
    #18, 105, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #00, 158, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #47, 159, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #47, 184, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #77, 204, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #21, 204, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #77, 204, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, tail end
    #5, 216, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #16, 218, Car/Truck pitting out of the assigned pit box, 1 lap
    #48, 261, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #43, 262, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #55, 267, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #7, 268, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #12, 268, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #98, 271, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #55, 272, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, tail end
    #7, 322, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #17, 322, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-8-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Atlanta: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver down a lap
    Caution 2: no driver down a lap that is on the track
    Caution 3: #11-Hamlin, 13th
    Caution 4: #88-Earnhardt Jr., 11th
    Caution 5: #88-Earnhardt Jr.(2), 11th
    Caution 6: #9-Kahne, 7th
    Caution 7: #17-Kenseth, 12th
    Caution 8: #29-Harvick, 4th
    Caution 9: #14-Stewart, 8th
    Caution 10: #31-Burton, 14th
    Caution 11: none when there are 10 or less laps left in the race
    (3-8-2009)
  • Race #100: This is Atlanta Motor Speedway’s 100th NASCAR Sprint Cup race, dating back to 1960, the track’s first year and the only year it held three races. There have been two every year since.

  • NASCAR Trainee in the #48 Pits: from SceneDaily’s Bob Pockrass: Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus informed his crew that the #48 team [Jimmie Johnson, in the final pit] has an official plus a trainee in their pit stall today. He asked his crew to be aware of the trainee in case the trainee might be in the way, not knowing where to be while the team is attempting to pit the Jimmie Johnson car. He warned his crew to watch their hoses and to be aware of the second official.(3-8-2009)
  • 13 wins by Kyle Busch, 13 tracks: #18-Kyle Busch has 13 Sprint Cup Series wins, an interesting stat, he has won each race at a different race track, winng at: Atlanta, Bristol, Auto Club, Chicago, Darlington, Daytona, Dover, Las Vegas, New Hampshire, Phoenix, Infineon, Talladega and Watkins Glen. The nine tracks he has yet to win a CUP race: Homestead, Indy, Kansas, Lowe’s, Martinsville, Michigan, Pocono, Richmond and Texas.(3-2-2009)
    Only one other driver has ever done this, Lee Petty from 1949 thru 1954 when he won for the 2nd time at Rochester; The track Petty wion at [quite different then Busch]: Pittsburgh, Hillsboro, Rochester, Morristown, Macon, Langhorne, W. Palm Beach, Richmond, Martinsville, Shreveport, Spartanburg, Daytona Beach and Sharon.(Fox Coverage / Aflac Question)(3-8-2009)

  • Truex taken to hospital due to stomach pain UPDATE 2: Despite finishing in the top 15 in both of Saturday’s practice sessions at Atlanta Motor Speedway, #1-Martin Truex Jr. left the garage shortly after practice ended complaining of pain in his side. “I think it’s kidney stones,” said the driver of the #1 Bass Pro Shop Chevy. Truex was seen in the infield care center at Atlanta Motor Speedway and transported to a local hospital. He is slated to start 23rd in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500.(FoxSports)
    UPDATE: Truex Jr. has a small kidney stone but is not expected to miss the Kobalt Tools 500 on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a team spokesman said Saturday afternoon. Truex likely will pass the stone tonight but even if he doesn’t, he should be cleared to drive. It would be a matter of pain tolerance because he cannot take strong pain medication and race or he could be in violation of NASCAR’s substance-abuse policy. Truex completed both practice sessions Saturday before going to Spalding Regional Medical Center in Griffin, Ga., because of the pain.(SceneDaily)(3-7-2009)
    UPDATE 2: After suffering from sporadic bouts of intense pain during the final Sprint Cup practice session, #1-Martin Truex Jr. was taken by ambulance to Spalding Regional Medical Center in Griffin Saturday afternoon and diagnosed with kidney stones. He passed the offending stone at about 10pm/et and is ready to go racing today. Truex was examined and administered fluids while at Spalding Regional, then released shortly after 5pm/et. He passed the stone a few hours later. Driver spokesperson Amanda Jones said Truex was doing great Sunday morning and was eager to hit the track. Truex Jr. has been officially released by NASCAR to race in today’s Kobalt Tools 500.(AMS Pit Notes)(3-8-2009)

  • Greener Paint for Penske: PPG Automotive Refinish announced they are assisting Penske Racing in converting their state-of-the-art, racecar painting facility in Mooresville, NC to the environmentally-friendly PPG Envirobase High Performance waterborne coatings system. The conversion began with the painting of the #2 Miller Lite and #77 Mobil 1 Penske Racing Dodge, which made their debut this weekend at the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The #2 Miller Lite Dodge features the PPG Automotive Refinish logo on the deck lid for today’s race. To address the environment, NASCAR, the sport’s sanctioning body, is developing an industry-wide green initiative led by Dr. Mike Lynch. The initiative will address environmental issues including reducing air emissions, lubricants recycling, building efficiencies and land preservation. It will include the sport’s various stakeholders and will seek to mobilize the NASCAR fan base in this important issue.(Penske Racing PR)(3-8-2009)

  • Winningest drivers in the COT: Sixteen drivers have won races in the Car Formerly of Tomorrow since they were partially implemented in 2007. The big winners are #48-Jimmie Johnson, who has won 12 races in the new car; #99-Carl Edwards (11); and #18-Kyle Busch (3). No one else has won more than three (Jeff Gordon), and seven other drivers – Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth – have each won two. The single-race winners are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Juan Montoya have each won one. Notably winless in the new car are Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin.(NASCAR This Week)(3-8-2009)
  • added some schemes from Atlanta: #43 Super 8#34 White Window World#21 Motorcraft and one diecast image #09 Miccosukee.(3-8-2009)

  • Elliott’s son hitches a ride: Chase Elliott might already be a racer in his own right, but he had never been around Atlanta Motor Speedway’s high banks in a full-size race car … until Saturday. After filming a TV segment to promote Atlanta’s Labor Day night racing event, Bill Elliott had the opportunity to take son Chase, 13, on a ride around the 1.54-mile quad-oval. The younger Elliott tried to play it cool as he exited the car, but his beaming grin – and his mother – belied his casual manner. “He was trying to play it cool, but he was so excited,” Cindy Elliott said. And being an Elliott, it should come as no surprise that Elliott’s first remarks about the ride centered on the driving line. “You get back on the gas so fast,” Chase Elliott said. “It’s so big, and the corners are so sweeping.”(AMS Pit Notes)(3-8-2009)

  • NASCAR Legend Donates Memorabilia: Raymond Parks was racing before NASCAR existed. A Georgia native, Parks was the car owner of the first NASCAR race winner. He is a two-time NASCAR champion and swept every race run on Daytona Beach. To say he was instrumental in building the foundation of NASCAR racing is probably a vast understatement. And Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Parks and his wife Violet announced that he would be donating has vast collection of trophies and race memorabilia to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which is expected to open in 2010 in Charlotte, NC. “I think I was 11 years old when we run our first Cup race in ’49, and Mr. Parks had already been there a couple of years,” seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Richard Petty said. “He was the class of the field; he kind of set the standard. When racing first started, it was pretty rough. Mr. Parks brought class. It took people like Mr. Parks to lay the foundation we’re still working off of.” Now 94 years old, Parks did not speak during the 20-minute press conference, but he and his wife posed for photos with the commemorative brick they were presented by Hall of Fame executive director Winston Kelley. The brick will be placed outside the new Hall of Fame in tribute to Parks’ many contributions to racing.“Raymond doesn’t have any living children, so to preserve this collection, we needed to put it somewhere it was going to be taken care of,” Violet Parks said Saturday. “It’s important to have it in the museum. This memorabilia has always been very important to Raymond.” In fact, the collection survived a fire on the couple’s property in 2002. It includes 29 trophies from the earliest days of NASCAR racing.(AMS Pit Notes)(3-8-2009)

  • Drivers a tad concerned about the tires at Atlanta: While none of the drivers for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500 seem particularly satisfied with the tire they’ll be racing, none of them seem eager to point the finger at Goodyear, either. And some of them are really looking for the challenge. “We have our hands full,” Gordon said Friday. “It’s gonna be a white-knuckle survival kind of race. I’m actually kind of excited about it.” That’s probably because Gordon remembers how much fun it was to race last weekend at Las Vegas, where slipping and sliding through the corners was commonplace. Polesitter Mark Martin said the track layout at Atlanta will only exaggerate that feeling. “This thing is so big and so sweeping that when you’re sliding for life from turn 4 to turn 1, you’re sliding for life for a long time,” Martin said. Three-time Atlanta winner Carl Edwards was practical about situation, noting that all 43 drivers were facing the same challenge. “It doesn’t matter to me what the tires were like as long as we all have the same tires,” said Edwards, who was second fastest in the final practice session. “It’s easy to have a positive attitude when you’re fast. We got the car driving pretty well, but it’s still a pretty slippery race track. It’s gonna be pretty fun and a good race.”
    Tony Stewart was extremely outspoken last March at Atlanta Motor Speedway in his criticism of the tire Goodyear brought to the race. Three tire tests (and one race) later, all reports are that this weekend’s tire will wear much better and should provide more grip. But not everyone is convinced. “They did these tire tests here in (January) when the track temp was 50 degrees; it’s 90 out here today,” Gordon said. “There’s not much grip at all. It’s not wearing crazy or anything, but we’ve only been making one lap at a time. Thank goodness, that’s about all I can handle.” Gordon wasn’t pointing fingers; in fact, he praised Goodyear for doing its best in what he considers a no-win situation. “I believe this track, and this car, especially with these temperatures, could possibly be the most difficult track in the world to build a tire for; it’s almost beyond what they can do,” Gordon said. “We have our hands full; it’s gonna be a white-knuckle survival kind of race. I’m actually kind of excited about it.” Gordon said the track’s speed and abrasiveness wears so excessively on the tires that it’s hard for the manufacturer to balance wear with grip. Even Stewart was in agreement that this year’s tire was a much better – albeit not perfect – compound. “We don’t have a ton of grip,” Stewart said. “In race trim I think it’ll be better, but we don’t have quite as much grip as we’ve had in past.”(AMS Pit Notes)(3-8-2009)


    News from March 7, 2009

  • Happy Hour practice for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
    #99-Edwards 179.522
    #9-Kahne 178.793
    #11-Hamlin 178.700
    #2-Busch 178.660
    #26-McMurray 178.459
    slowest: #21-Elliott 173.603 and #71-Gilliland 173.706
    no speed: #09-Bliss
    incidents: none
    For the best speeds, ave speeds, laps run and more, see the Atlanta Practice Speeds/News page.(3-7-2009)
  • Saturday first practice for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway is over, the top 5:
    #16-Biffle 184.609
    #99-Edwards 183.509
    #12-Stremme 183.055
    #11-Hamlin 182.537
    #17-Kenseth 182.027
    slowest: #34-Andretti 172.974 and #09-Bliss 174.521
    practice started 35 minutes late due to fog delaying Truck Series qualifying about 45 minutes so the first practice will only run about 20 minutes
    For the best speeds, ave speeds, laps run and more, see the Atlanta Practice Speeds/News page.(3-7-2009)
  • NASCAR creates formula for setting restart zone: NASCAR has established a formula for determining the length of the restart zone on the track. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, said Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway that officials will take the pit-road speed limit, double that figure and then set that as the distance in feet of the restart zone. At the start of this season, NASCAR created a zone where the leader must restart the race instead of giving the leader discretion from a certain area coming out of Turn 4 up to the starting line to restart the race. The rule is designed to create a more consistent restart at each track. Pit-road speeds typically range from 30 to 55 mph, depending on the length of the track. That means the restart zone will vary from 60-110 feet, depending on the track. “It will be twice the pit-road speed,” Pemberton said. “It’s a means to get variable lengths in there for the race track itself. It’s something the garage area asked us to do. Is it perfect; maybe, maybe not. But, it’s a start.”(NASCAR Official Release)(3-7-2009)

  • Jeff Gordon to Receive Boy Scouting’s Highest Award: #24-Jeff Gordon has been selected to receive Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) highest honor for his efforts in Scouting’s national recruiting program as well as his personal humanitarian work. The commendation, known as the Silver Buffalo award, will be presented at the annual Boy Scout Leadership Dinner at the Charlotte Convention Center, March 24, 2009. Gordon is being recognized for his work as honorary chairman and spokesperson for the “Race into Cub Scouting” national recruiting program. He will also be honored for his personal humanitarian efforts, including the work of The Jeff Gordon Foundation that he formed in 1999. Since its inception, the foundation has raised more than $7 million for children’s charities. The award will be presented by dignitaries including Rick Cronk, retired president, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream and volunteer past president, BSA; and Robert Mazzuca, current chief Scout executive of BSA. Duke Energy’s group executive and chief legal officer Marc E. Manly is serving as the dinner’s chairman. The featured speaker will be Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group. The Silver Buffalo award, Scouting’s highest commendation, recognizes the invaluable contributions that outstanding American men and women render to youth on a national level. Past recipients of the award include Charles Lindbergh, Walt Disney, Hank Aaron, General Colin Powell, and 13 Presidents of the United States.(prnewswire.com)(3-7-2009)

  • Fairgrounds Speedway at Nashville offers NASCAR testing: Fairgrounds Speedway at Nashville is extending a helping hand to NASCAR race teams by making the famed 5/8ths-mile track available as a testing facility. According to the track’s new promoter, Nashville businessman Danny Denson, plans to make the facility available as a testing site for NASCAR’s top three divisions, the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, have been met with a great amount of enthusiasm by NASCAR teams. Once the site of two Cup races per year, NASCAR’s last Cup race was held at the track in 1984. The track hosted a Busch event and Craftsman Truck race each year until 2000 when the leaseholder, Dover Motorsports moved the events to their new facility, Nashville Superspeedway, located near Lebanon, Tennessee. Since then, the track has continued to host a popular weekly racing series topped by Late Model, SuperTruck and Sportsman divisions.(Middle Tennessee Racing News)(3-7-2009)

  • Philanthropists support the Childress Institute: News of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma and its needs has touched the hearts of many generous donors who have recently made significant contributions. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has announced a $1 million commitment from John L. Morris, founder and chief executive officer of Bass Pro Shops, to the Childress Institute. An additional $1 million pledge has been made by an anonymous private family foundation. Another recent gift was made by the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Foundation, established by Eddie Smith, owner and CEO of Grady-White Boats Inc., of Greenville, N.C. The Smith Foundation made a $250,000 commitment to the Institute for research and expansion of programs in pediatric trauma care. To date, contributors have given nearly $2 million to the Childress Institute, and pledges total almost $8.5 million. On July 30, 2008, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and the Richard Childress family announced the formation of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. The Childress Institute’s mission is to significantly improve survival rates of children nationwide who suffer serious injuries and reduce the lifelong impact of traumatic injuries in children. Richard Childress and his family have provided $5 million to the Medical Center to initiate the project. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and the Childress family are working with corporations and individuals to raise awareness and an additional $20 million to establish the Institute’s endowment fund. For more information on the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma visit www.childresspediatrictrauma.org.(RCR PR)(3-7-2009)
  • Sad News – Jack McDonald: McDonald, Jack Edward, 72, of Richmond, passed away February 28, 2009. He was a devoted NASCAR enthusiast. He was a crewmember with Junie Donlavey #90 and Ken Schrader Racing. He maintained J.L. Minter Electrical Co. fleet of trucks and equipment for more than a quarter century, and ran his own auto service business. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Frances Varner McDonald; his son, Jack Edward McDonald Jr.; his granddaughter, Michelle Elizabeth McDonald Walls and husband, Steven Eric; and many others. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society or a charity of your choice. Online condolences may be made at legacy.com.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(3-7-2009)


    News from March 6, 2009

  • Martin on pole at Atlanta: #5-Mark Martin won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a lap of 187.045mph for his 1st pole since Richmond in May 2001 [257 races ago] and 42nd career pole. Martin is the 2nd oldest pole winner ever [Harry Gant was is the oldest at 54 years, 7 months]. #2-Busch will start 2nd followed by #26-McMurray, #42-Montoya, #16-Biffle, #11-Hamlin, #48-Johnson, #87-Nemechek, #18-Busch and #29-Harvick. Points leader, #24-Gordon will start 16th and #88-Earnhardt Jr. will start 20th.
    The Go-or-go homers that made the race: #87-Nemechek, #14-Stewart, #28-Kvapil, #66-Blaney, #71-Gilliland, #21-Elliott, #44-Allmendinger and #09-Bliss
    Missing the race: #35-Todd Bodine, #36-Riggs, #41-Mayfield and #64-Geoff Bodine.
    See qualifying results/starting lineup on my Atlanta Starting Lineup Qualifying Page.(3-6-2009)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Atlanta Motor Speedway
    Mark Martin won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Kobalt Tool 500 with a lap of 29.640 seconds, 187.045 mph. He joined Harry Gant as the only drivers to post a pole at over 50 years of age in NASCAR premier series. Gant had three poles after turning 50. Martin’s 50th birthday was Jan 9, 2009.
    This is his 42nd pole in 726 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Martin’s last pole was at Richmond on May 5, 2001, 281 races ago. Martin competed in 256 of those races.
    This is his first pole and third top-10 start in 2009. Martin posted six second-place starts in 2008 and has one already this season (Daytona).
    This is his second pole in 47 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Martin has multiple top-10 starts in all three national series at Atlanta.
    Kurt Busch (second) posted his third top-10 start of 2009 and his sixth in 17 races at Atlanta. Busch posted his second runner-up start in as many races. He has started second four times now since his most recent pole which came at Auto Club Speedway in September 2007.
    Jamie McMurray (third) posted his second top-10 start at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It is his second in four races this season.
    Joe Nemechek (eighth) qualified for his third race of the season and posted his best start since he was seventh at Talladega last October.
    Scott Speed (26th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(3-7-2009)
  • Qualifying Order for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway 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 #18-Busch, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #11-Hamlin. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #36-Riggs, the final driver scheduled to qualify is #28-Kvapil. See the full qualifying order on the Atlanta Qualifying Page.(3-6-2009)
  • Friday Practice for the Kobalt Tools at Atlanta Motor Speedway is over, the top 5:
    #5-Martin 183.698
    #29-Harvick 183.255
    #83-Vickers 183.218
    #12-Stremme 182.832
    #42-Montoya 182.711
    slowest: #64-GBodine 176.162 and #41-Mayfield 176.420
    For the best speeds, ave speeds, laps run and more, see the Atlanta Practice Speeds/News page.(3-6-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #44-A.J. Allmendinger, 10th
    #36-Scott Riggs, 24th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 26th
    #71-David Gilliland, 30th
    #28-Travis Kvapil, 31st
    #14-Tony Stewart [PC1], 34th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 38th
    #21-Bill Elliott [PC2], 43rd
    these drivers would miss the race if theings stayed the same:
    #09-Mike Bliss, 44th
    #35-Todd Bodine, 45th
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 46th
    #64-Geoff Bodine, 47th

  • NASCAR scrutinizing start and park team reasons: NASCAR won’t create a hard-line rule prohibiting Sprint Cup teams from starting a race and then parking their car a few laps later, but NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Friday there is an increased emphasis on making sure that the reason a team gives for falling out of the race is legitimate. Although there are only 36 cars that have the funding to run the entire season, several teams are trying to make races each week. In past years, when there haven’t been 43 fully funded cars, some drivers started the race, parked in the opening laps and pocketed the last-place money. “We owe it to the garage area [to make sure] that everybody is on the up-and-up,” Pemberton said in the Atlanta Motor Speedway garage Friday. “When they call [they’re] out, we will continue to look at what put those cars at. What we’re going to encourage at this level here is that people participate and do what they can do to race. What we want to prevent is someone legitimately trying to do a race setup and getting bumped out by somebody that may have gone above and beyond what the spirit of the rules are.” Pemberton said NASCAR doesn’t expect every team to be able to run up front, but those that make the final 43 need to be on the track racing someone. “There’s people that aren’t top-10 cars but they compete against other people that are 25th through 35th,” Pemberton said. “We need to encourage those guys to race each other.” As far as the Nationwide and Truck events, where there have traditionally been start-and-park racers over the last few years, Pemberton said there could be a little more leniency. “There’s more at stake with the purses and whatever else that goes on [in Cup], but we are going to encourage the level of competition throughout the ranks the best that we can,” Pemberton said.(SceneDaily)(3-6-2009)

  • TBR Develops Small Businesses Partner Program: With the recession affecting many Americans and small businesses throughout the United States, Tommy Baldwin Racing has developed a creative way where small businesses and Americans can show their support for one another. For a nominal fee of $8,000, small businesses throughout the United States will get the opportunity to place their company logo on the c-post of the #36 Red Bank Outfitters Toyota. Along with the sponsorship, the company will receive two VIP credentials that will grant them access into the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage and pit road during practice and the race. Additionally, a link from www.tommybaldwinracing.net will give businesses the chance to place coupons on the website that offer struggling Americans discounts on services, goods and other common needs. The monetary values of the coupons are intended to steer consumers to participating small businesses that provide quality merchandise and services to hard-working Americans. “This program shows how small business can support one another during some tough economic times,” said Baldwin, owner of Tommy Baldwin Racing. “With a small investment these businesses can show their support of TBR and give Americans some relief with discounts on services and merchandise while driving traffic to their businesses.”(Everest Marketing Group/TBR PR)(3-6-2009)

  • RCM / No Fear Pushes Back Debut, Plans to run Infineon: This weekend was supposed to be the debut of Sprint Cup’s newest team, the #60 Ford for RCM / No Fear Racing driven by Boris Said. But a change in philosophy has pushed back the debut of the organization until Infineon in June. “I learned an important lesson in this sport that I should have known as a new owner,” said RCM / No Fear CEO Rick Clark. “My enthusiasm to debut the team is a lesson in patience that I should have learned playing college football and in the NFL. I would much rather make mistakes before we get to the track as opposed to on the track, and I don’t want to put Boris in a situation that we were not ready for. So, the decision was made, as much as I was eager, to debut the team at a track where we’re capable of contending for the win. I know there will be speculation as to why we didn’t run, but rather than burn up money I’d rather burn up rubber when the time is right. I’ve been waiting for five years, and I sure as heck can wait three more months to take a chance at Victory Lane.“ Clark said announcements on specific sponsors and programs will be forthcoming for the June event. Said has attempted only one race in 2009 to date, failing to qualify for the Daytona 500 after wrecking out of his Gatorade Duel. Following Infineon, the team still plans to run a limited schedule of races in 2009 before plans to move up to full-time competition in 2010.(Frontstretch)(3-6-2009)
  • Atlanta Tire Notes: This will be the first time that NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will be running this particular set-up of left- and right-side tires . . . this set-up came out of a tire test with Greg Biffle, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish and Scott Speed at Atlanta in January . . . compared to the tire recommendation at Atlanta last fall, Goodyear has made construction changes on both sides of the car for improved handling . . . the other change is to the left-side compound, which is softer for improved grip . . . the right-side compound is the same one used last fall, after already having been softened after the spring race at Atlanta . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Atlanta . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR). for more, tire pressures, codes, number of tires, see the Atlanta Race Info Page.(3-6-2009)

  • Marine to visit Labonte’s Pit at Atlanta: #96-Bobby Labonte will have a special guest this Sunday during the Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Labonte will host Sergeant Justin Hussey of the United States Marine Corps. Hussey, currently stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station in New River, NC, has already made two tours overseas for both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Hussey will meet Labonte on the starting grid prior to Sunday’s event. “You never want to take our military for granted,” said Labonte. “If there is a way to recognize the people who are sacrificing for our country, I think it’s important to help. If we’re making a special day for Justin, that’s pretty cool. He has already done a lot for me.”(Breaking Limits PR)(3-6-2009)

  • AMS Offering Free Cancer Screenings This Weekend: The Georgia Chapter of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance will be conducting free cancer screenings this weekend from 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday [March 7] in the vendor area of Atlanta Motor Speedway. Lori Hamilton, widow of the late driver Bobby Hamilton, has urged fans to take advantage of the free screenings. Hamilton passed away of head and neck cancer complications in January 2007. “It is my honor to continue this effort in his name because we’ve made so much progress with past years’ screenings,” said Mrs. Hamilton. “Bobby would want us to press forward to reach more people with our message. The screening is quick, painless and free, so we are encouraging everyone to take advantage of this opportunity that could save your life.” People interested in more details about the free screening can contact Edie R. Hapner, PhD CCC-SLP, at (404) 686-7798.(3-6-2009)


    News from March 5, 2009

  • No blown engine for Harvick UPDATE: Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines employees discovered a punctured oil filter on the engine of Kevin Harvick’s #29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevy after hard contact with the outside wall of Auto Club Speedway on lap 208. The filter was replaced and the engine restarted but the damage done to the car prevented the team from returning to the race and ending Harvick’s DNF streak at 81 [3 short of the all-time record].(RCR PR)
    UPDATE: Kevin Harvick’s modern era streak of completing 81 races in a row ended at California, but Harvick tells PRN’s Garagepass it didn’t have to happen. Harvick said, “The bad thing about the DNF streak is that the car was actually functional to go back on the racetrack. I thought the motor had blown up…I hit the fence and the oil was running across the racetrack and the oil streak all the way up to the wall…I thought the car had blown up. So, I left and the spotter left and they called and said hey we’re ready to go back out with about 15 laps to go…and (chuckles) I wasn’t there…that’s the way it ended. The DNF streak is great but in the end it would be nice to have a win streak.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(3-5-2009)
  • Lincoln Electric And NASCAR Extend Relationship: Lincoln Electric and NASCAR announced a five-year extension of their agreement in which Lincoln Electric remains an exclusive automotive partner under the NASCAR Performance brand and retains its competition contingency sponsorship which includes the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2009. Lincoln Electric became the exclusive NASCAR Performance sponsor of welders and welding helmets in 2000 and held contingency award programs in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. In 2009, Lincoln Electric will add contingency sponsorships in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with weekly prize money provided to eligible teams based on finish position. Lincoln Electric will also continue their programs in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. In addition, a year-end award of $5,000 and a Lincoln Welder will be presented to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion car owner during the season ending banquet.(NASCAR PR)(3-5-2009)

  • Toyota to go back to old oil pump on engines: Toyota Racing Development has reverted to the oil pump used on last year’s engine and will continue the modifications used in last Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas when its teams compete this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Michael Waltrip Racing [#00,#47,#55], Red Bull Racing [#82,#83] and Robby Gordon [#7] Motorsports use TRD engines. In the last two weeks, TRD has had to replace six engines during the race weekend – two at Auto Club Speedway in southern California and four at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The problem was a lifter or camshaft issue. TRD President Lee White said in a phone interview Wednesday that he believes the problems occur when there is no oil pressure as drivers are entering and exiting the garages during practice. White said the oil pump used last year is better for those situations. The new engine pieces Toyota were using at California and Las Vegas were introduced at Texas last November with no problems for intermediate tracks last year. They consist of a very aggressive camshaft that uses a very lightweight lubricant. They are now using a different lubricant, White said. The data that helped the team locate the potential low-RPM issue came from a test session last year.(SceneDaily)(3-5-2009)

  • DW signed as spokesperson: Joe McDonnell, chief executive officer of For Life Products (FLP), announced the signing of three-time NASCAR Champion and FOX Lead Sports Analyst Darrell Waltrip to a multi-year deal as official spokesman for FLP’s Rejuvenate Auto product line. The home and auto surface-care products manufacturer and marketer will feature Waltrip in a new national $20 million advertising campaign with Waltrip’s endorsements in its new television commercial, new product packaging and point-of-sale displays. FLP’s Rejuvenate brand, the leader in consumer-based, commercial-grade solutions for cleaning, restoring and protecting flooring, cabinets and other home surfaces, has the No. 1 selling floor-care product at the nation’s largest do-it-yourself retailer. FLP is expanding Rejuvenate to include its eight auto-care products under the “Rejuvenate Auto” umbrella. Foremost is Rejuvenate Auto 15- Minute Wash & Wax Renewer, which is endorsed by the National Corvette Owners Association (NCOA) and provides showroom-quality auto detailing.(For Life Products PR)(3-5-2009)

  • Robby helps out a solider: A couple of fans visited Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend hoping to get #7-Robby Gordon to sign a poster so they could send it to a solider they know who’s in Iraq. Gordon not only signed it, he took the poster inside the track and had more than two dozen other drivers sign it and got it back to the fans so they could send it to the soldier.(Charlotte Observer)(3-5-2009)

  • #24 to spotlight National Guard program at Atlanta: This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon will trade in the bold orange, yellow and black hues that have adorned the hood of his #24 Chevy so far this season for the opportunity to spotlight one of the National Guard’s community programs. Gordon will bring awareness to the National Guard’s community-related initiatives this season during eight Sprint Cup Series races, starting with Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 500. This weekend, the hood of his #24 DuPont/National Guard Chevy will feature the National Guard Youth Challenge program. The voluntary, 17-month program, which is funded by federal and state partnerships, is available at no cost to participants who are at-risk teens between the ages of 16-18. The program provides them with job training, life skills and the confidence to tackle life successfully, as well as a glimpse into the life of National Guard soldier. Visit ngyouthfoundation.org for more information. In addition to this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series event at Atlanta, Gordon will partner with the National Guard in seven other races this season and help bring awareness to some of its special programs and benefits. These races include Texas on April 5; Darlington on May 9; Michigan on June 14; Chicagoland on July 11; Richmond Raceway on Sept. 12; New Hampshire on Sept. 20; and Martinsville on Oct. 25. “I’m really excited about having the National Guard on board this season,” Gordon said. “They’ve been a great addition to Hendrick Motorsports, having them on the No. 88 team and seeing what they’ve done there. Obviously, we’ve gotten an introduction. The people are great to work with. I think it really ties to our fans. Obviously, (Dale Earnhardt) Jr. has a different fan base than I have, but I think both of us really have a connection with our fans and that connection can transfer over to the National Guard and be fantastic. With our sport being as patriotic as it is and all-American, I think it makes perfect sense.”(HMS PR), see an image of the National Guard scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page [not sure if this will be the one run at Atlanta].(3-5-2009)

  • Goodyear Tire Outlook for Kobalt Tools 500: After experiencing tire issues during the 2008 Kobalt Tools 500, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company will return to Atlanta Motor Speedway with a much-improved tire design for the 2009 edition. Goodyear conducted two tire tests in Atlanta preceding the fall’s Pep Boys Auto 500 and tested once more in January to ensure a better tire for the Kobalt Tools 500. Compared to the tires from last fall provided by Goodyear, the left side tire for the Kobalt Tools 500 will feature a new compound to improve grip. Additionally, construction changes to both the left-side and right-side tires should improve handling during the Kobalt Tools 500. “I am extremely happy with the tire that Goodyear has brought here to test,” said Biffle following the January tire test. “They have a new left-side compound that puts a lot of driveability into the car. The old tire [in March of 2008] lost grip running on the bottom after five to eight laps. But this tire really hooks up to the bottom of the track for an extend run and you’re not sliding all over the place. It’s more like the old Atlanta that all of [the drivers] like.”(AMS PR)(3-5-2009)

  • School visits by Labonte and Johnson: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to visit Hampton’s Lovejoy High School to donate a set of Kobalt Tools as part of the Tough Tools for Cool Schools program on Friday at 10:00am/et. Lowe’s, Kobalt Tools and SkillsUSA have partnered to provide approximately $300,000 worth of Kobalt Tools to more than 500 SkillsUSA Building and Construction Trade Classes and Labs across the county. Johnson’s #48 Chevy will also showcase a Tough Tools for Cool Schools paint scheme, which he will race on April 5 at Texas Motor Speedway. See an image of it on the #48 Team Schemes page.
    AND Prior to qualifying at for the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bobby Labonte will give a deserving fifth grader a ride to school before presenting Cotton Indian Elementary in Stockbridge with a computer donation on behalf of Ask.com and the Safe Search School program. The Safe Search School presentation featuring Bobby Labonte will take place on Friday, March 6 at 7:30am/et. Launched in the Atlanta area last month as a partnership between Ask.com, Web Wise Kids and NASCAR, the Safe Search School Program promotes internet safety education and awareness. Local Atlanta teachers and students participated in the program by visiting www.safesearchschools.com, conducting Internet safety lessons and submitting their own ideas for how teach fellow students to be safe online. Cotton Indian Elementary was selected from nearly 200 entries by a Blue Ribbon Panel, comprised of Jim Safka, chief executive officer of Ask.com; Mike Helton, president of NASCAR; Judi Westberg Warren, president of Web Wise Kids; and Bobby Labonte.(AMS PR)(3-5-2009)

  • Cub Cadet to sponsor #8 at Atlanta: Cub Cadet will come on board to partner with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver Aric Almirola and the #8 Chevy this weekend in Atlanta. The opportunity was presented through the strong relationship that Earnhardt Ganassi Racing has with partner BASS Pro Shops, one of Cub Cadet’s largest customers. Cub Cadet is a brand of MTD Products, a manufacturer of premier outdoor power equipment. This includes utility vehicles, home owner and professional lawn & garden products, compact tractors, riding mowers, walk behind mowers and hand held power equipment. MTD was founded in 1932 and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. Cub Cadet’s products are sold through a network of independent dealers including BASS Pro Shops. Cub Cadet is the Official Lawn & Garden Equipment of NASCAR. For more information on Cub Cadet, please visit www.cubcadet.com.(EGR PR)(3-5-2009)

  • Kingsford colors return for Ambrose: This weekend Kingsford Charcoal is the primary sponsor of Marcos Ambrose’s #47 Toyota fielded by JTG-Daugherty Racing. Ambrose first drove the scheme last week at Las Vegas.(MWR). See images of the scheme on the #47 Team Schemes page.(3-5-2009)

  • BB&T colors for Bowyer this week: Clint Bowyer’s Chevy will sport new colors this weekend when the burgundy, white and gold paint scheme of BB&T adorn the #33 for the first of 11 races [see the #33 Team News page for the BB&T race list] where the Winston-Salem, N.C. corporation will be featured as the primary sponsor (RCR PR). See images of the scheme on the #33 Team Schemes page.(3-5-2009)

  • Edwards to run Claritin scheme: Schering-Plough SGP, maker of the top-selling allergy medicine, Claritin, announced its second Sprint Cup racing season as a sponsor of NASCAR star and long-time allergy sufferer Carl Edwards. Edwards, who takes non-drowsy Claritin to treat his allergy symptoms, will drive the #99 Claritin Ford during the April Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.(MSN Money)(3-5-2009)
  • Atlanta Rookie Notes and News: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March 1 Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Logano scored a 13th-place finish and took top rookie honors for the second time this season and for the second consecutive race. Logano leads Scott Speed by one point (32-31) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the March 8 Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has scored top-10 finishes in two of the last three spring races at Atlanta. Kevin Harvick scored a memorable win as a Raybestos Rookie in the 2001 Kobalt Tools 500. Harvick beat Jeff Gordon by just .006 seconds to capture his first Sprint Cup Series victory in just his third career start. Raybestos Rookies Robby Gordon (1997) and Johnny Benson (1996) scored their first career poles in back-to-back spring race at Atlanta. Gordon captured his first pole in his 11th career start while Benson took the top spot in just his fourth career start. The late Kenny Irwin holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the spring race at Atlanta. In 1998, Irwin led five times for 112 laps. The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series race is Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya captured the 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway (58 races ago). The most recent Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in the Sprint Cup Series is Patrick Carpentier at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (23 races). The most recent Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish is David Ragan at Richmond (49 races).(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR)(3-5-2009)

  • “Along for the Ride” on the #11 car: The #11 FedEx Ground Toyota of Denny Hamlin will feature “QNEG” on the wing caps this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. QNEG is the code for the FedEx Home Delivery – New England Region and the group is being recognized for leading all FedEx Ground regions in customer service scores.(FedEx Racing PR)(3-5-2009)
  • Scott Speed…the DJ? With his ear on the Winter Music Conference later this month in Miami, Scott Speed is taking DJ lessons on Thursday in midtown Atlanta. He’ll hook up with DJ TD — short for music mixer Tim DeGroot — for the first of several scratch sessions that Speed has planned before the March 23-25 Winter Music Conference. “He’s going to spend some time working with me to teach me the basics of DJ’ing,” said Speed, whose favorite artists include DJ Tiesto, Timbaland, Lupe Fiasco, Kanye West and Placebo. “I’ve already been working on some stuff on my own with DJ equipment in my basement, so I’m hoping DJ TD will have some good stuff to add to what I’m learning. “I just like doing as much as I can. Life’s short — I want to do all of it.” The WMC is a weeklong electronic music event held every March since the mid- 1980s in south Florida. The event moved to Miami Beach in 1991 and was considered a major catalyst in the establishment of the South Beach club scene. WMC draws more than 3,500 music industry participants and 62,000 event participants from 70 countries.(Red Bull Racing)(3-5-2009)


    News from March 4, 2009

  • Pettys’ Kansas Victory Junction camp gets a big gift: KBS Constructors of Topeka announced today it will build a $1.5 million state-of-the-art medical facility free of charge at the Victory Junction camp scheduled to open in Kansas City, Kan., in 2011. KBS Constructors president Dan Foltz made the donation at a news conference at Kansas Speedway. The 7,800 square-foot medical facility — called The Body Shop — will provide medical support and will house the medically advanced equipment for the children and families who attend Victory Junction, a year-round, nonprofit camp for children with chronic medical conditions. The original Victory Junction camp was founded in Randleman, N.C., by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty and his wife, Pattie, in honor of their son, Adam, who died in a racing accident in 2000. The camp in North Carolina opened in 2004, and the demand from families across the country has exceeded the room there, and the Pettys decided to build a $35 million facility on 71 acres in Wyandotte County. “Victory Junction needs a medical clinic built, and KBS has the giving heart to make that happen,” Foltz said. “We are confident that our specialized experience in critical and sensitive environments makes KBS the right fit to build The Body Shop. We are excited to make this dream come true for the Pettys, Victory Junction and the thousands of children they will serve.”(Kansas City Star)(3-4-2009)

  • Changes in gears rules for Vegas in 2010? NASCAR is considering an adjustment on the gear rule for Las Vegas next season to prevent the engine failures that plagued numerous Sprint Cup teams last weekend. Roush Fenway Racing lost three engines on Sunday, equaling the number of engines the team lost all of last season. Doug Yates, who oversees the Roush-Yates engine program, said the situation could have been avoided had there been a more conservative gear ratio that would have reduced rpms that were much higher than expected with the new tire and improved horsepower. He said weather conditions — only 15% humidity — also may have contributed to the failures. “With all that stacked against us, we just weren’t ready for what we expected,” Yates said. “I talked to the NASCAR guys after the race and they said they probably will go back and evaluate the gear ratios. That particular race we were a lot above where we want these engines to be running.” Yates said several of the Roush and Yates cars reached 9,800 rpms on the front stretch — about 400 more than where he and NASCAR would like the reading to be. “NASCAR is addressing that,” he said. “They don’t want us to, especially in these times, spend more money to make engines turn 10,000 rpms. That’s not the intention of the gear rule.” Yates agreed with Lee White, the president of Toyota Racing Development, that the engine failures that Ford experienced in the race were different than what Toyota faced in practice and qualifying. Those problems were fixed by using thicker lubricants and making a small mechanical adjustment. But he agreed all teams are pushing limits on the engines, and that these problems likely would have occurred had there not been a ban on testing. “I’m not going to blame not testing or NASCAR,” he said. “At the end of the day if we run in those type of conditions again it’s our job to make the engines stronger and more durable. I didn’t anticipate those type of things.” Yates doesn’t expect the high rpm rate to be a factor this week at Atlanta because the tires will fall off faster and keep speeds slower. That doesn’t mean he’s not a bit worried.(ESPN)(3-4-2009)

  • Former NASCAR driver charged with making moonshine: Charges were filed late this morning in connection with a large liquor still found near the North Wilkesboro Speedway on Speedway Road and blown up by authorities Thursday night. Carl Dean Combs 57, of Speedway Road, North Wilkesboro [NC], was charged with manufacturing non-tax paid liquor, as well as one count each of possessing, possessing ingredients to manufacture and possessing equipment to manufacture non-tax paid liquor, said N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) Agent Shon Tally. Tally said Combs was at his nearby residence when he and other ALE agents found the still in the back of a gray shop building behind a go-cart track, near the North Wilkesboro Speedway (Wilkes Journal Patriot). Combs made 24 Sprint Cup [then WInston Cup] starts from 1981-1984 with a best finish of 8th at Atlanta in Nov 1983. He also was a five-time champion in NASCAR’s now-defunct Goody’s Dash Series and was a crew chief for car owner Junior Johnson.(3-4-2009)

  • Why no new Dodge engine for RPM teams: Each of the Richard Petty Motorsports [#9-Kahne, #19-Sadler, #43-Sorenson, #44-Allmendinger] drivers will race the R5 Dodge engine for the foreseeable future say team officials. Mark McArdle, vice president and director of competition for RPM about the use of the current engine: “We are using the R5P7 right now while the R6P8 engine is still in development with us. We look at it as a risk/reward issue and right now, we think it is a little bit risky considering the situation we are in with our teams. We like what we have right now. We are making decent performance numbers with the new engine and trying to develop a level of reliability in to it that we have in the R5. It’s our position that in the first third of this racing season we can’t afford the risk of giving away any points so we are going to be very conservative in what we do. We are keeping our options open with regard to our utilization of the R6P8. When we deem it wise to race it, we will. It’s likely you will see us compete with it at some point this season, but to what level of commitment we haven’t decided.” The #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger will carry the Charter Communications paint scheme this weekend.(RPM PR), Penske Racing continues to integrate the new Dodge R6P8 Cup engine at non-restrictor plate tracks including this weekend’s Kobalt Tools 500.(3-4-2009)

  • Reese’s colors for Harvick at Atlanta: Reese’s, a major associate sponsor of RCR’s #29 Chevy, kicks into high gear this weekend in Atlanta as Kevin Harvick and the #29 team transform their bright yellow-and-red Shell-Pennzoil Chevy into a bright orange Reese’s racing machine for the Kobalt Tools 500. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are peanut butter-filled chocolate cups. AMS was the site of Harvick’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win. He claimed the win by .006 second over Jeff Gordon, the third-closest margin of victory at Atlanta, on March 11, 2001. Reese’s is conducting a contest to find the “Perfect Fan” for more info see the Racing Contest page. To see an image of the scheme see the #29 Team Schemes page.(RCR PR)(3-4-2009)

  • Geoff Bodine goes from catch can to cockpit for Atlanta race: Geoff Bodine did such a good job last week in Las Vegas being the catch can man for brother Todd; he got a promotion. This week, the 59-year young Bodine will go from catching gas to standing on it in the #64 Toyota for Gunselman Motorsports. On a normal team, that would be a huge move going from crew member to driver. But, when you’re doing business the way the Gunselman Gang is this year in Sprint Cup Series competition; it’s just another day at the track. It also helps when you’re a Daytona 500 champion, winner of 18 Sprint Cup races and one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers like Bodine. Being a three-time pole winner and qualifying record holder at the 1.5-mile trioval is an added bonus. After making their first race of 2009 last weekend, the Gunselman Gang was running 28th when a broken valve spring ended their race 28 laps show of the finish. The pit crew consisted of Bodine as the catch can, owner Larry Gunselman as the jackman and crew chief Doug Richert as the front tire changer. Bodine was already the announced co-driver when the season started, but when he insisted on helping out in way possible, Gunselman took him up on the offer. So, Bodine donned the firesuit and safety gear to catch gas on pit stops last week. The week, he’ll be back behind the wheel of the unsponsored #64 Toyota attempting to make his 38th career AMS start. “Well, I guess I’ll have to look for a catch can man when we make the race this week,” said Gunselman.(Gunselman Motorsports PR)(3-4-2009)

  • Mears car blue at Atlanta: Casey Mears’ #07 Chevy will feature a blue and white DIRECTV paint scheme this weekend in Atlanta. DIRECTV, the nation’s leading satellite television service provider, presents the finest television experience available to more than 17.3 million customers in the United States and is leading the HD revolution with more than 130 HD channels. Jack Daniel’s, the team’s customary primary sponsor, will be featured on the car’s lower-rear quarter panels and deck lid.(RCR PR)(3-4-2009)
  • Wilson Named Crew Chief of the Race in Las Vegas: Shane Wilson, crew chief of the #33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevy driven by Clint Bowyer has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday’s Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead, FL.(Wypall PR)(3-4-2009)


    News from March 3, 2009

  • Las Vegas Final TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX once again dominated weekend sports coverage. Sunday’s (3/1) race from Las Vegas Motor Speedway scored as the most-watched and highest-rated weekend sports event giving NASCAR on FOX that distinction for the third consecutive week. Sunday’s victory by hometown favorite Kyle Busch averaged 11.1 million viewers (6.5/12 national rating/share) towering over the next closest event, ABC’s Lakers/Suns broadcast, which recorded 4.7 million viewers (3.1/6). According to Nielsen Media Research, FOX’s 11.1 million viewers on Sunday is up 5% over the 10.6 million viewers Sprint Cup Racing at LVMS has averaged from 2001 to 2008 on FOX. Sunday’s 6.5/12 equals the average household rating over the same eight-year span [down from 2008 which was 7.1/13 and 12.1 million viewers].(Fox PR) See past ratings on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(3-3-2009)

  • #96 Hall of Fame Racing goes green: JuicedHybrid.com, a sponsor in the Sprint Cup Series with Hall of Fame Racing’s #96 car, is joining together with Hall of Fame to further the team’s green initiative. In an effort to offset the #96 team’s carbon footprint, a green associate sponsorship partnership was developed among Hall of Fame Racing, Ask.com, primary sponsor on the #96 car, and JuicedHybrid.com, the leading supplier of auto accessories for hybrid cars and trucks, for the first 18 races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.The program will measure and offset carbon emissions for the #96 Sprint Cup entry during each practice session, qualifying session, and the race. It will also offset the carbon emissions for the #96 Ask.com transporter and Bobby Labonte’s travel to and from each NASCAR race. Carbon offset is a certificate representing the reduction of one metric ton (2,205 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions, the principal cause of global warming. The amount of the emissions created during standard racing activities of the #96 Ford Fusion will be offset through investments made by Ask.com and Juicedhybrid.com in clean energy projects such as solar energy and wind farms by purchasing credits though TerraPass. These projects result in verified reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. In support of additional efforts to address the environment, NASCAR, the sport’s sanctioning body, is developing an industry-wide green initiative led by Dr. Mike Lynch. The initiative will include the sport’s various stakeholders and will seek to mobilize the NASCAR fan base in this important issue.(Volume PR)(3-3-2009)

  • Biffle’s Crew Wins Tissot Pit Road Award in Vegas: Greg Biffle’s #16 team claimed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award at Sunday’s Shelby 427 Sprint Cup event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Biffle’s Ford Fusion spent the least amount of time on pit road — 252.400 seconds — during the 285-lap, 427-mile race. The speedy #16 pit crew has helped lift Biffle to fourth place in the driver point standings. 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. For winning the weekly Tissot Pit Road Precision Award, the #16 team will receive $5,000. The payout for the season-championship pit road team will be $100,000 and a Tissot watch for the driver and members of the over-the-wall crew.(DMF Communications/Tissot PR)(3-3-2009)
  • NASCAR Now Nation: Have something to say about a story on this week’s ESPN2’s NASCAR Now? Get out your videocam and tell ESPN what you think. Your video may be seen on an upcoming NASCAR Now. Choose a video file on your hard drive, then click the upload button. More info at ESPN.com.
  • Las Vegas schemes added:
    #5 Pop Tarts, #7 Jim Beam w/Hard Rock on wing cap, #8 TomTom, #13 Geico, #17 USG, #25 GoDaddy.com, #28 White/Golden Corral, #34 Window World, #36 Red Bank Outfitters, #37 Yellow Long John Silver’s, #42 Energizer, #43 Valvoline, #44 Harrah’s, #47 Kingsford, #51 LiveWire, #64 Curtis Steel/Core, #66 Plain, #71 TRG, #73 Qualifty Concrete, #98 Menards/Johna Mansville to the Paint Scheme Gallery.

  • Special scheme for Dale Jr at Richmond: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to drive a special scheme at Richmond in May, the National Guard “Drive the Guard” Scheme. See an image on my #88 Team Schemes page.(3-3-2009)

  • Newman Looks to Speed Into AMS Record Book: Having won the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway seven times previously, #39-Ryan Newman will attempt to make history on Friday, March 6 during Georgia Power Qualifying Night when he looks to become the all-time leader in pole wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Accustomed to leading the field to the green flag in Atlanta, Newman, known as the “Rocket Man” for his qualifying prowess, will not only be chasing history, but also his mentor with whom he is tied in pole wins, Buddy Baker. “Atlanta has always been a place where I like to qualify, and it would be an honor to get the all-time pole record there,” said Newman.It would be an honor to beat Buddy Baker in all-time poles at Atlanta Motor Speedway,” Newman continued. “Atlanta is a place where I enjoy qualifying and I have a great record there. I am really looking forward to trying to claim the all-time qualifying record.” Newman owes much of his qualifying success in Atlanta to Baker. “Buddy and I always drove the tracks backwards because it gives you a different perspective of entry and exit points,” Newman said. “It lets you know how to approach those points when you are going the right way. Its something we did at Atlanta when he was teaching me about the track and I have always qualified well there.”(AMS PR)(3-3-2009)

  • Engine problems had different causes: The president of Toyota Racing Development says the engine failures incurred by the three Roush Fenway Racing teams during Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway were unrelated to the problems five Toyota teams experienced on Saturday. “Not in any way related,” Lee White said on Monday. “We’re going to take 100% responsibility for maybe not having all of our ducks in a row with durability testing when we got to the racetrack to be ready for the decisions the teams put the engines through to get ready for qualifying.” Four teams supplied engines by TRD — #00-David Reutimann and #47-Marcos Ambrose of Michael Waltrip Racing and #83-Brian Vickers and #82-Scott Speed of Red Bull Racing — had to switch engines and start at the rear of the field. Pole-sitter and eventual race winner #18-Kyle Busch also started at the back of the field after switching engines, but his was built by Joe Gibbs Racing. White said all seven teams supplied engines by TRD likely will go to Atlanta this week with the same new generation engine but with the conservative package — a thicker lubricant and small mechanical change that determines how much oil stays around the camshaft — that reduced horsepower by three to four at Vegas. He blamed the Toyota failures on teams trying to get more horsepower out of the engine for qualifying and practice. Instead of returning to Charlotte, N.C., on Monday he flew to TRD headquarters in California to make sure the issue wasn’t a factor moving forward.
    Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush on Sunday speculated that the new tire Goodyear introduced led to blown engines by #17-Matt Kenseth, #6-David Ragan and #99-Carl Edwards. Doug Yates, who runs the Roush Yates engine program, wanted to wait until the engines were fully examined before commenting. “I think we misjudged how fast this tire was going to be, and the engine turned more,” he said. “It’s the same spec on the engine that we had all of last year. It wasn’t something new or experimental. I had great confidence in it.” White said he is comfortable moving forward after Sunday in which three Toyotas finished in the top eight — including two with the more conservative TRD engine — and eight were in the top 22.(ESPN.com)(3-3-2009)

  • “Earnhardt and Elvis” show car unveiled in Las Vegas: Two of the greatest icons in American sport and music were celebrated Friday when a #3 race car was unveiled bearing the images of NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt and the King of rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis Presley. Meant to continue the legacies of both men, the “Earnhardt and Elvis” car paired these icons together as part of the “Enduring Legends” series that recently saw the Intimidator share the hood of his famous #3 Chevy with country music great Johnny Cash and cowboy film icon John Wayne.(NASCAR.com)(3-3-2009)


    News from March 2, 2009

  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Las Vegas native Kyle Busch won the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch was the pole winner but dropped to the rear, under penalty, for an engine change prior to the start. He is the first pole winner to win at Las Vegas.
    * Busch posted his 13th career Sprint Cup victory in 153 races. All 13 wins have come at different tracks. Busch’s last victory came at Watkins Glen in August 2008, 17 races ago.
    * Busch scored his first Las Vegas victory in six races there. He became the eighth different race winner in 12 Las Vegas races.
    * The 14 cautions set a track record; the old track record of 11 was set in 2008. The number of caution laps was also a new track record [66].
    * Crew chief Steve Addington posted his ninth career Cup victory in 148 races. All nine of his crew chief victories have come with Busch.
    * This is the first victory for Joe Gibbs Racing at Las Vegas. Roush Fenway Racing leads all teams with six wins at Las Vegas. Hendrick Motorsports has four.
    * Jeff Gordon leads the Cup standings for the first time since Atlanta on Oct. 28, 2007 (42 races ago). He leads second-place Clint Bowyer by 18 points.
    * Bowyer (second) extended a 76-race streak of running at the finish that began at Homestead in November 2006. Bowyer’s last DNF came at Phoenix on Nov. 12, 2006, when he finished 33rd due to oil pump failure.
    * David Reutimann, who finished fourth, scored his first career top-5 finish.
    * Bobby Labonte, who finished fifth, posted his first top-5 since finishing third at Martinsville in 2006 (78 races between).
    * Joey Logano (13th) was the highest-finishing rookie contender among the three rookies in the race.
    * Roush Fenway had three engine failures in the race: Matt Kenseth, David Ragan and Carl Edwards, tying most engine DNFs for Roush in a race (set at Atlanta in March 2003 and Talladega in April 1998).
    * The top 10 consisted of three Fords, four Chevrolets and three Toyotas. Kasey Kahne, who finished 11th, was the highest-finishing Dodge.(ESPN.com)(3-2-2009)
  • NASCAR Now Monday Roundtable: The Monday, March 2, edition of NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information show, at 5pm/et will feature host Nicole Manske leading a roundtable discussion of the latest NASCAR news and races. Panel members will include ESPN NASCAR analysts Ray Evernham, Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie.
    NASCAR Now Nation: Have something to say about a story on this week’s ESPN2’s NASCAR Now? Get out your videocam and tell ESPN what you think. Your video may be seen on an upcoming NASCAR Now. Choose a video file on your hard drive, then click the upload button. More info at ESPN.com.
  • Las Vegas schemes added:
    #5 Pop Tarts, #7 Jim Beam w/Hard Rock on wing cap, #8 TomTom, #13 Geico, #17 USG, #25 GoDaddy.com, #28 White/Golden Corral, #34 Window World, #36 Red Bank Outfitters, #37 Yellow Long John Silver’s, #42 Energizer, #43 Valvoline, #44 Harrah’s, #47 Kingsford, #51 LiveWire, #64 Curtis Steel/Core, #66 Plain, #71 TRG, #73 Qualifty Concrete, #98 Menards/Johna Mansville to the Paint Scheme Gallery.

  • Las Vegas Overnight TV Ratings: NASCAR on Fox earned a 5.5/10 yesterday evening for racing from Las Vegas. Sunday’s 5.5/10 is the top sports rating of the weekend by a wide margin, +45% better than ABC’s 3.8/8 for Lakers-Suns yesterday afternoon. Compared to last year’s overnight rating, FOX’s 5.5/10 is down -11% versus a 6.2/12. However, note that in each of FOX’s NASCAR races this season the rating has compared better to last year in the nationals than in the overnights. See past ratings on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(3-2-2009)

  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Shelby 427:
    Total number of commercials: 117
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 66
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 94
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 4:30pm
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 8:21pm
    Total minutes: 231
    Minutes of race broadcast: 179
    Minutes of commercials: 52
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of Viagra commercials last race: 1
    Number of Viagra commercials this race: 2
    Number of animated Digger sightings: 16 last week: 18
    Number of non-animated Digger sightings: 22 last week: 28
    Number of Total Digger sightings: 38 last week: 46
    Total race brdcst time 179 Total comm. brdcst time 52
    See more on my 2009 TV Commercials Page.(3-2-2009)

  • Jeff Gordon goes over 20,000 laps led: #24-Jeff Gordon hit another milestone at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – 20,006 career laps led – when he led 17 laps in the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and is 7th on the all time list. Gordon is well shy of Richard Petty’s total of 52,194 but is 3,125 laps behind 6th all-time, Darrell Waltrip, who led 23,131 laps. See the top 30 lap leaders on my MISC Stats page.(3-2-2009)
  • 13 wins by Kyle Busch, 13 tracks: #18-Kyle Busch has 13 Sprint Cup Series wins, an interesting stat, he has won each race at a different race track, winng at: Atlanta, Bristol, Auto Club, Chicago, Darlington, Daytona, Dover, Las Vegas, New Hampshire, Phoenix, Infineon, Talladega and Watkins Glen. The nine tracks he has yet to win a CUP race: Homestead, Indy, Kansas, Lowe’s, Martinsville, Michigan, Pocono, Richmond and Texas.(3-2-2009)
  • Driver wins before age 25: Only 57 of 2,213 Cup races for which the winner’s age is known have been won by drivers under 25:
    1. Jeff Gordon, 15
    2. Kyle Busch, 13 [still under 25 until May 2, 2010]
    3. Kurt Busch, 7
    (tie) Richard Petty, 7
    5. Junior Johnson, 5
    Tied with one each: Bob Burdick. Bobby Hillin Jr.; Parnelli Jones; John Kieper; Terry Labonte, Ryan Newman, Bill Rexford; Fireball Roberts; Donald Thomas; Brian Vickers (still under 25).(Charlotte Observer/David Poole, then added as needed)(3-1-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer has been running at the finish in 76 consecutive races, the longest current streak, only 5 races behind the modern era record of #29-Harvick who had 81 until DNFing at California in Feb 2009, next up is #48-Johnson at 27 consecutive races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963. Kevin Harvick holds the modern era (1972-present) record at 81 [he also has the 2nd longest at 58], then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(3-1-2009)
  • Sorenson and Mom to talk teen driving with Atlanta high school students: Car crashes are the No. 1 cause of fatality among teenagers in America. Nearly 5,000 teens die every year and about 375,000 more are injured as a result of careless driving. To help stop this epidemic, Richard Petty Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne and Reed Sorenson have partnered with Allstate this spring to visit high schools in NASCAR Sprint Cup race markets and encourage communication between parents and teens on this important issue. Leading into the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 8, Sorenson, who hails from Peachtree City, Ga., and his mother, Becky, will headline the Allstate Teen Safe Driving Pit Stop at Campbell High School in Smyrna, Ga., on Wednesday [March 4th] to talk to students and parents about the risks facing teens on the road. According to a recent study, the Atlanta area ranks eighth among the nation’s 10 deadliest metro areas for fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Campbell students will be encouraged to visit www.allstate.com/teen with their parents to complete Allstate’s interactive Parent-Teen Driving Contract, which helps parents establish safe driving guidelines for their teen driver in a variety of categories to help minimize distractions behind the wheel. During the race weekend, Reed and his pit crew will wear a specially designed wrist band with the message “GA-198” to honor the 198 teenagers in Georgia who lost their lives in car crashes in 2007.(3-2-2009)

News from March 1, 2009

  • Kyle Busch wins at Las Vegas: #18-Kyle Busch won the Shelby 427 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his 1st win of 2009 and 13th career win. Busch officially won from the pole, but started in the back before the green flag due to an engine change, but record books will show his starting position as 1st. Busch is the youngest driver to wein at Las Vegas, 23 years, 9 months, 29 days. #33-Bowyer finished 2nd followed by #31-Burton, #00-Reutimann [best career finish], #96-Labonte [first top 5 since Martinsville in Oct 2006], #24-Gordon [with a tire torn left front fender], #16-Biffle, #83-Vickers, #26-McMurray and #88-Earnhardt Jr. #17-Kenseth, who won the first two race to start the season, did not win a third in a row, blew an engine early finshed 43rd. #99-Edwards was 4th with 2 laps to go and lost the engine [the third Roush engine] and finished 17th. There were 16 lead changes among 12 drivers and 14 record caution flags for 66 record laps.
    See race results, awards, laps led, cautions, attendence and more on my Las Vegas Race Results page.(3-1-2009)
  • UNOFFICAL Driver Points Standings [after Las Vegas race 3 of 36]:
    1) Jeff Gordon 459
    2) Clint Bowyer 441 -18
    3) Matt Kenseth 419 -40 [2 wins]
    4) Greg Biffle 419 -40
    5) David Reutimann 408 -51
    6) #18-Kyle Busch 405 -54 [1 win]
    7) #2-Kurt Busch 393 -66
    8) #14-Tony Stewart 379 -80
    9) #99-Carl Edwards 377 -82
    10) #96-Bobby Labonte 360 -99
    11) #29-Kevin Harvick 351 -113
    12) Michael Waltrip 346 -113
    in running for top 12 – the chase:
    13) #9-Kasey Kahne 338 -121
    14) #11-Denny Hamlin 332 -127 See drivers and owners points standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Las Vegas page.(3-1-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
    Kyle Busch won the Shelby 427, his 13th victory in 153 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in six races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Kyle Busch is the first driver to win the Shelby 427 from the pole.
    His last win came on Aug. 10, 2008 at Watkins Glen International.
    This marks the fifth consecutive season that Kyle Busch has won races in all three of NASCAR’s national series. He swept NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck races at Auto Club Speedway on Feb. 21.
    This is the first NASCAR Sprint Cup win for Joe Gibbs Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Clint Bowyer (second) posted his first top-10 finish in four races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is his second top-10 finish in 2009.
    Jeff Burton (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 12 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Jeff Gordon leads the point standings by 18 points over Clint Bowyer.
    Jeff Gordon led his 20,000th lap to rank seventh in NASCAR Sprint Cup history. Gordon now has led 20,006 laps.
    Fourteen caution periods sets a record for the Shelby 427. Sixty six caution laps also is a race record.
    Joey Logano (13th) was the highest finishing rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(3-1-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Las Vegas: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver down a lap who is on the track
    Caution 2: #25-Kesolowski
    Caution 3: #39-Newman,
    Caution 4: #33-Bowyer,
    Caution 5: #88-Earnhardt Jr.,
    Caution 6: #1-Truex Jr.,
    Caution 7: #7-Gordon,
    Caution 8: #82-Speed,
    Caution 9: #71-Gilliland,
    Caution 10: #34-Andretti,
    Caution 11: #71-Gilliland (2),
    Caution 12: #77-Hornish,
    Caution 13: #29-Harvick.
    Caution 14: none awarded with 10 or less laps to go
    (3-1-2009)
  • Infraction Report – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
    #25, 2, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #17, 3, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #19, 7, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #07, 47, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Pass Thru
    #88, 50, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Pass Thru
    #87, 51, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #78, 54, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Pass Thru
    #19, 61, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #19, 75, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #00, 78, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #12, 95, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #96, 124, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #2, 124, Too many crewmember(s) in contact with pit service area, Tail End
    #2, 124, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Tail End
    #64, 125, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #43, 138, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #19, 139, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #9, 144, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #55, 164, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #19, 165, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #11, 172, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #29, 220, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Tail End
    #14, 220, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Tail End
    #24, 220, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Tail End
    #24, 221, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #99, 222, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #1, 260, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #48, 280, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-1-2009)

  • Teams monitoring North Carolina weather: Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing have opted not to attempt to fly back into what is expected to be a snowy North Carolina tonight and other race teams are monitoring the weather. RCR had two charter regional jets that it planned to leave with approximately 100 employees after the Shelby 427 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The planes likely would have landed in Winston-Salem, N.C., sometime between 1am and 4am Monday. Depending on the plane and the wind, it could take three to five hours to get from Las Vegas to the Charlotte area. Winston-Salem is expected to get between three and seven inches of snow overnight, while the National Weather Service predicts up to eight inches in Charlotte and Statesville, NC., and nine in Concord, NC. The snow is expected to end in the morning, melt and then possibly turn to ice later Monday. RCR has scheduled its planes to leave Las Vegas at 8am. Just an hour before race time, Joe Gibbs Racing crew members were calling home to tell family they would be staying the night. They had planned to get home between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Monday but now had to plan for sometime Monday afternoon. The team flies into Concord, N.C., and had no plans to change where it would land. Hendrick Motorsports has three turboprop planes to carry more than 100 employees back to the shop and as of 2pm/et, they still planned on leaving, said Ken Howes, Hendrick vice president of competition. Roush Fenway Racing, which bases its fleet at the Charlotte airport, also plans on flying back tonight, team president Geoff Smith said. Richard Petty Motorsports has all but seven employees on commercial flights, said Keith Barnwell, who coordinates that team’s travel. Some commercial flights out of Las Vegas to the East Coast already have been canceled, but the red eye tonight to Charlotte that some of the RPM employees are on has not been canceled.(SceneDaily)(3-1-2009)

  • Kenseth goes for a record NO GO: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway of Southern California. He became just the fourth driver to win the Daytona 500 AND then the next race of the season:
    Richard Petty, (1973) Daytona & Richmond, 23rd at Rockingham in 3rd race
    Cale Yarborough, (1977) Daytona & Richmond, 6th at Rockingham
    Jeff Gordon (1997), Daytona & Rockingham, 4th at Richmond
    Also Kenseth is the fifth driver to win the first two races of the season
    Marvin Panch (1957), Lancaster & Concord, 3rd at Titusville
    Bob Welborn (1959), Fayetteville & Daytona Qual Race [points race then], 41st Daytona 500, started from pole
    David Pearson (1976), Riverside & Daytona 500, 29th at Rockingham
    Jeff Gordon (1997), Daytona & Rockingham, 4th at Richmond
    no driver has won the first three races of the season and no driver has won the next two races after the Daytona 500. The last driver to win three races in a row was Jimmie Johnson in 2007 when he won four in a row at Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix late in the season and during the Chase.
    SPONSORS? and no driver has won three straight races at all in the modern ear [1972-present, many teams didn’t have sponsors like they do now before then] with three DIFFERENT sponsors: DeWalt at Daytona, Carhartt at Auto Club and USG at Las Vegas. See the list of drivers who have won 3 or more races in a row on my All-Time/Active Wins page.(2-26/28-2009)
    UPDATE: #17-Kenseth lost an engine early in the race and finished 43rd at Las vegas.(3-1-2009)

  • Kyle Busch – Best Man: Kyle Busch, the hometown boy, was a hero to a happy couple when he volunteered for an unusual extra assignment Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NASCAR fans Damon and Heather Landry were getting married on one side of Victory Lane as Busch walked into the other side after winning the pole for the Shelby 427. Someone involved in the wedding told Busch that the couple didn’t have a best man. “I’ll be the best man,” Busch said. Damon and Heather were thrilled. Busch, wearing his fire suit and cap, stood next to Damon during the ceremony, delaying the pole award presentation. Busch removed his hat and bowed, with his hands folded in front of him, when the chaplain started a prayer. When the ceremony ended, Busch saw that the newlyweds didn’t have a wedding cake. So Busch gave the couple several bags of M&Ms (his sponsor) to nibble on during the celebration.(ESPN)(3-1-2009)
  • Sad News – H. Lewis Compton: H. Lewis Compton, 80, who was known as the “Mouth of the South” for announcing every race at Martinsville Speedway for 44 years, died Friday at Memorial Hospital in Martinsville. Since 1962 he had been known as “The Mouth of the South,” a moniker bestowed upon him by Elmo Langley, one of NASCAR’s early drivers, car owner and longtime pace car driver. Compton announced every race at Martinsville Speedway from 1955 until 1999, worked in radio for 52 years until he retired from WHEE Radio and was a licensed auctioneer for 36 years. Surviving are his wife of 60 years, Lois Newman Compton of the home; two sons, John David Compton and Richard Dean Compton, both of Martinsville; five sisters, Doris Faye Clifton of Ridgeway, Carol Martin of Collinsville, Marie Hatchett of Penhook, Linda Hodges of Arkansas and Sheryl Epperly of Mechanicsville; one brother, Larry W. Compton of Smith Mountain Lake; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Monday at Collins-McKee-Stone, Martinsville Chapel, with the Rev. David Adkins officiating. Burial will be in the Oakwood Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Starling Avenue Baptist Church, 932 Starling Ave., Martinsville, Va. 24112.(see story at the Martinsville Bulletin)(3-1-2009)
  • NASCAR Now Nation: Have something to say about a story on this week’s ESPN2’s NASCAR Now? Get out your videocam and tell ESPN what you think. Your video may be seen on an upcoming NASCAR Now. Choose a video file on your hard drive, then click the upload button. More info at ESPN.com.(3-1-2009)

  • #64 team signs two sponsors for Vegas UPDATE more, images: #64-Gunselman Motorsports has signed two companies to a one-race deal. Curtis Steel Co., of Las Vegas, has signed on to support the team’s qualifying and race efforts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. Curtis Steel provides quality carbon and alloy steels, aluminum, stainless, welding supplies and ornamental iron supplies. They have provided those services for multiple high-profile projects in Las Vegas. Also taking part in the sponsorship is Core Construction. They are also in Las Vegas with offices in Ariz, Fla, Ill and Texas, as well. One of their most recent projects of significance was the building of Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Their forte is the building of learning institutions, hotels, resorts and government buildings. Todd Bodine is behind the wheel of the #64 Toyota this weekend as the team strives to make it’s first Sprint Cup Series race of the season. They missed out last week by one position.(Gunselman Motorsports PR), see images of the scheem on my #64 Team Schemes page.(2-27-2009)
    UPDATE: Gunselman Motorsports has enjoyed the benefits of making their first race of 2009 in several ways. And, the enjoyment keeps coming, even hours before the Shelby 427 green flag at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Already gaining two sponsors before qualifying on Friday in Core Construction and Curtiss Steel, the team has now signed on two more for the race. The #64 Toyota with Todd Bodine behind the wheel will now also carry NY Bagel Deli and Communication Electronic Systems. NYC Bagel Deli is out of Chicago, Ill and specializes in kettle-boiled bagels. Principal owner Corey Kaplan, a longtime friend of co-driver Geoff Bodine, was so excited about his involvement he became a licensed team member during the weekend.Communication Electronic Systems is a low-voltage subcontractor in the Las Vegas area. Brian Thomas and Dave Ellis are the principals involved with the sponsorship.(Gunselman Motorsports PR), see images of the scheem on my #64 Team Schemes page.(3-1-2009)
  • Gordon feels SAFER at Vegas: #24-Jeff Gordon feels secure on the track at Las Vegas a year after one of the worst wrecks of his career. Gordon spun coming out of Turn 2 in last year’s race and slammed into the inside retaining wall. The hit, at a portion of the track where energy-absorbing barriers had not been installed, was so hard it knocked the radiator out of his car. Gordon was extremely critical of the track after the accident, and speedway officials responded by installing SAFER barriers around the 1.5-mile facility. “I’m confident in Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and in the comments that were made last year and the conversations I had with them last year and this year of what their plans were,” he said. “I feel good about what they’ve done and seeing it at a slower pace without hitting it.” Gordon said he’s never seen footage of the accident.(Associated Press)(3-1-2009)
  • Drivers to Conduct Fan Forums at Speedway Motorsports Races: NASCAR drivers and Speedway Motorsports are teaming up to bring fans closer to their favorite drivers than ever before. The new “PRN Up To SPEED” program will bring NASCAR’s top names out for fan forums at the SPEED Stage during each of the 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends at Speedway Motorsports’ seven speedways across the country. The Performance Racing Network’s on-air personalities will emcee question-and-answer sessions with some of the sport’s biggest personalities at the SPEED Stage leading up to SPEED’s regularly scheduled weekend programming.
    “PRN Up To SPEED” will kick off Sunday at 9:30am/et, at the SPEED Stage located in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway midway. The stellar lineup will include Las Vegas-native Kyle Busch, legendary NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. Each Speedway Motorsports track [Atlanta, Bristol, Infineon, Las Vegas, Lowe’s, New Hampshire, Texas] that hosts a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will hold “PRN Up To SPEED” sessions during their respective race weekend. The location of the SPEED Stage may vary from track to track, but at all Speedway Motorsports facilities, the stage is always located in an area where access is free of charge for fans.(SMI PR)(3-1-2009)
  • Three Race Tracks Tony Stewart has never won a Sprint Cup race at: There are three current race tracks the Cup Series runs on that #20-Tony Stewart has not won at [a Cup race]:
    California 0 for 16 with a best finish of 4th in 1999 & 2001
    Las Vegas 0 for 10 with a best finish of 2nd in 2000
    Darlington 0 for 16 with a best finish of 4th in 2001 & 2002
    Stewart has won at 19 of 23 tracks he has raced on, didn’t win at Rockingham which is no longer active for Cup racing.(3-1-2009)
  • McMurray under the weather: #26-Jamie McMurray had the fastest Ford in Saturday’s final practice session, but a bout with the flu prevented him from feeling good about his chances at a win. McMurray, seventh fastest overall, headed to the infield care center after practice to ask for new medication. “The medicine that I’ve got right now is not really working,” said McMurray, who fell ill Tuesday night. “You think you’d be better by now and I’m not, so I’m going to see if they’ll give me something else to help with my chest. My eyeballs are the biggest issue right now. There’s a lot of pressure on them and when the car loads up in the corner it really hurts my eyes.” McMurray was also ill the week of the season-opening Daytona 500, as were several other drivers.(Associated Press)(3-1-2009)
  • He did WHAT with a Vise-Grip? Irwin Industrial Tools, a Newell Rubbermaid company and maker of the most reliable and versatile locking tools, the Irwin Vise-Grip, announced today that Dr. Bryan Fox of Chesapeake, Va., was selected as the winner of the “Tell Us Your Irwin Vise-Grip Story” promotion. Dr. Fox, an orthaepedic surgeon for the United States Navy, was honored for using an Irwin Vise-Grip to perform spinal surgery during Operation Iraqi Freedom. As a result, Dr. Fox will be awarded a VIP Experience this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he will meet Sprint Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray and the #26 Irwin Industrial Tools Vise-Grip Ford team. In Sunday’s third event of the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season, McMurray will be sporting the Irwin Industrial Tools paint scheme, the first of eleven this season Fox also is receiving an Irwin Vise-Grip custom-branded chopper valued at $25,000 built by East Coast Custom Cycles. A member of the U.S. Navy for more than 25 years, Dr. Fox found a unique use for his Vise-Grip as a spine surgeon on the battlefield in the Middle East. In the heat of battle, Dr. Fox needed to perform emergency spinal surgery on a soldier who had a combination of screws and rods that had been implanted into his infected spine. Complicating the medical challenges at hand, Dr. Fox did not have access to the specialized tools necessary to deal with the soldier’s different spine implants. Dr. Fox did, however, have access to a pair of Vise-Grips. He sterilized his Vise-Grip tools and used them to remove the rods and screws from the soldier’s infected spine, effectively saving his life.(see full story and images at Irwin Industrial Tools site)(3-1-2009)
  • Arnett, Speed win Rookie Cooking Challenge: Michael Annett and Scott Speed teamed to win the Fourth Annual Raybestos Rookie Cooking Challenge Thursday afternoon at ESPN Zone Las Vegas. Annett and Speed prepared a tasty dish of elbow macaroni with meat sauce, garlic onion and mozzarella cheese. Other drivers competing in the event were Max Papis, Scott Lagasse Jr., John Wes Townley and Justin Allgaier. The event was judged by members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas. All drivers who participated in the cooking competition were assisted by members of the ESPN Zone Culinary Team, led by chef Chris Gagen. Once the meals were prepared, each child from the Boys and Girls Clubs sampled the dishes and their applause determined the overall winner. Following the contest, drivers and kids played games in ESPN Zone’s interactive Sports Arena.(Raybestos PR)(3-1-2009)