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May 2009 News Archives


May 31, 2009

  • Competition Caution is schedule to be thrown around lap 30 of the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway, unless a caution comes before lap 30 for. There was rain over night in Dover, DE and washed the runner off the track, so the track is green and there were many tire problems in the Nationwide and Truck Series races on Saturday.(5-31-2009)
  • Many Dover schemes added to the Paint Scheme Gallery: #82 Red Bull Cola, #25 GoDaddy.com, #06-Canics, #7-Richmond Water Heaters, #16 Nexcare, #19 Stanley Tools, #24 DuPont/Police Museum, #33 The Hartford, #34 Taco Bell, #36 Black, #37 Long John Silver’s, #43 Air Force, #44 Auto Value, #75 FlipNbags and #96 Ask.com/Autism. See the Paint Scheme Gallery.
  • GM Prepares for Bankruptcy Protection Announcement: With the clock ticking on a June 1 government deadline to restructure, General Motors Corp. worked feverishly Sunday to shore up its global businesses to clear the way for a speedy reorganization in bankruptcy court. GM, part of American life for more than 100 years and once the country’s largest employer, is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at 8 a.m. EDT Monday, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. They declined to be identified because the plans haven’t been officially announced.(ABC News), no word how or if this will the effect support of many NASCAR teams.(5-31-2009)
  • Johnson wins at Dover: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway, his 2nd win of 2009 and 42nd of his career. #14-Stewart finished 2nd, followed by #16-Biffle, #17-Kenseth, #2-Busch, #9=Kahne, #99-Edwards, #39-Newman, #07-Mears and #5-Martin. Pole sitter, #00-Reutimann finished 18th. #88-Earnhardt Jr, finished 12th with his new crew chief. Only one of the go-or-go-homers finished the race, #78-Smith at 22nd, all the rest did not finish the race. Stewart now leads the points with 1853, 36 pts ahead of #24-Gordon, who finished 26th. There were 25 lead changes among 11 drivers and 10 cautions for 43 laps.
    For race results, awards and more on the Dover Race Results Page.(5-31-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after Dover, race 13 of 36]:
    1) #14-Tony Stewart 1853
    2) #24-Jeff Gordon 1807, -46 [1 win]
    3) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1789, -64 [2 wins]
    4) #2-Kurt Busch 1762, -91 [1 win]
    5) #39-Ryan Newman 1680, -173
    6) #18-Kyle Busch 1634, -219 [3 wins]
    7) #11-Denny Hamlin 1630, -223
    8) #17-Matt Kenseth 1625, -228 [2 wins]
    9) #16-Greg Biffle 1618, -235
    10) #31-Jeff Burton 1587, -266
    11) #99-Carl Edwards 1582, -271
    12) #5-Mark Martin 1567, -286 [2 wins]
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #00-David Reutimann 1536, 31 points out of 12th [1 win]
    14) #9-Kasey Kahne 1501, -66
    15) #42-Juan Pablo Montoya 1475, -92
    16) #33-Clint Bowyer 1449, -118
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(5-31-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Pocono:
    No teams jumped into the top 35, #34-Andretti increases the lead over 36th to 50 points
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1031, +143
    35) #34-Rainesi/Earnhart Ganassi: 938, 50 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 888, 50 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 795, -143
    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.(5-31-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Dover:
    Jimmie Johnson won the Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheese, his 42nd victory in 268 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second victory and eighth top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his fourth victory and 10th top-10 finish in 15 races at Dover International Speedway.
    Tony Stewart (second) posted his 13th top-10 finish in 21 races at Dover International Speedway. It is his ninth top-10 finish in 2009.
    Greg Biffle (third) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 14 races at Dover International Speedway.
    Joey Logano (15th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Tony Stewart leads the point standings by 46 points over Jeff Gordon.
    Stewart is the first driver-owner to lead the point standings since Alan Kulwicki at the end of the 1992 season (Nov. 15, 1992).(NASCAR Statistics)(5-31-2009)
  • Penalty Report – Dover
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #24, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end, backup car
    #34, Pre-Race to the rear, tail end, transmission change
    #37, 45 Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #34, 47 Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #96, 110 Excessive speed ENTERING pits, pass thru
    #17, 116 Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #42, 164 Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #11, 232 Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #34, 272 Excessive speed EXITING the pits, pass thru
    #98, 285 Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #42, 286 Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #77, 333 Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #34, 366 Excessive speed ENTERING pits, tail end
    #6, 366 Lug nut(s) not installed, pit
    #12, 369 Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    (NASCAR Statistics)(5-31-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Dover: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: #37-Raines, 42nd
    Caution 2: none as #37-Raines caused the caution
    Caution 3: #83-Vickers, 25th
    Caution 4: #00-Reutimann, 18th
    Caution 5: #18-Busch, 23rd
    Caution 6: #26-McMurray, 14th
    Caution 7: #33-Bowyer, 11th
    Caution 8: #47-Ambrose, 20th
    Caution 9: #29-Harvick, 17th
    Caution 10: #77-Hornish Jr., 13th
    (5-31-2009)
  • Autisic teen to sing at Dover: Huguenot’s Larry Oliveri has had to overcome several obstacles in his life and has had to cope with difficult challenges, but his God-given gift of song has helped him soar to new heights. Larry, now 17, was diagnosed with autism at age 3. A student at Bishop Patrick V. Ahern High School at the Seton Foundation for Learning in Graniteville, where he’s developing his melodic singing voice — especially in the opera genre — Larry has performed in several school productions. Now his parents, Vivian and Paul, have given us an update on their eldest son. Larry has been tapped to sing “God Bless America” at the Dover International Speedway on Sunday. This race, the “Autism Speaks 400,” is sponsored by the nationally known organization of the same name. In fact, the organization has invited the entire family — including Larry’s brothers, Paul Jr., 15, and Christopher, 8 — to join them in their hospitality suite. In conversation with a neighbor about the upcoming Dover event, Larry said, “Autism never sounded so good!”(Staten Island Live), Larry Oliveri also gave the command to start engines and was the grand marshal.(5-31-2009)
  • Crew chief McGrew takes over for Dale Jr. at Dover: The interim crew chief for #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is taking over for the Sprint Cup race at Dover, a week earlier than originally planned. Lance McGrew was scheduled to work with #25-Brad Keselowski on Sunday, but he failed to qualify, freeing up McGrew to call the shots on Earnhardt’s slumping #88 team. McGrew said after the driver’s meeting that that the decision was made by owner Rick Hendrick and Hendrick competition director Ken Howes on Saturday night. “The powers that be decided to go ahead and give us a week head start,” McGrew said. McGrew had been scheduled to start next week at Pocono Raceway. Team manager Brian Whitesell, who was scheduled to be the crew chief, will assist McGrew. Earnhardt starts 22nd at Dover International Speedway. Former Hendrick driver Kyle Busch took a shot at Earnhardt on Friday about the perception that his poor finishes were never his fault, always the crew chief. Earnhardt left his seat next to McGrew at the driver’s meeting and took one in the front row for a brief chat with Busch. The two spoke for a little more than a minute before Earnhardt returned to his original seat.(ESPN.cpm/AP)(5-31-2009)
  • Tony Eury Sr. Q&A about Eury Jr and Dale Jr by Steve Richards of Performace Racing Network at Dover:
    Q: How is Tony Jr doing?
    A: “Tony Jr will be fine…he’s just beat down…he’s worn out. Everything that happened on that team is magnified four or five times from what any other team is and he’s a guy that races to win and they haven’t been able to do that. It’s just dragged him down…beat him down. They got to trying so much different stuff and everybody’s pullin’ this way and pullin’ that way and I think he just got totally confused and off his game. For the last four or five weeks they’ve been so frustrated trying to get the car to run and knowing that the pressure is on him, and everybody’s lookin’ at him. You can’t turn the TV on…you can’t turn the internet on but everybody’s blasting him. They tried everything in the world to make Dale Jr happy and they haven’t found it. He’ll be fine..it may be a good thing for both of them.”
    Q: How much has he talked to you about his situation?
    A: “We talk every week…if not a couple times a week. I try to help him and he tries to help me, but the guy is really beat down. The media has killed him, the fans have killed him…and I thought he handled it pretty good when it first started, but after a certain time it starts getting to you. I honestly believe things happen for a reason and they’ll be better off apart I think.”
    Q: How does the situation affect you on a personal level?
    A: “Well, you know, I’m kind of in the middle here. I work for the guy (laughs) that he was working for, so I’m kind of in the middle. I love Dale Jr to death…I love Tony Jr to death but I’m telling you this business is a cutthroat business. You’ve gotta stay on your game and if you’re not on top of your game, their gonna make a change. That’s what makes it harder when you are family or are related in a way, so that’s why I say honestly I think they’ll be better off.
    Q: How do you think Tony Jr will take to his new role in Hendrick’s R & D shop?
    A: “Right now I think he’s gonna take it fine because he needs a big breath of air. He does. There’s nobody in that garage that’s worked harder than Tony Jr has. He’s there at 7:30 every morning and if you walk in his house at 10 o’clock at night he’s still running programs and sims and everything else. He just needs a breath of air. I told him you just need to go work in your yard…do your four cup races and do your testing. I think Chad Kanaus has got some stuff for him to do and think he and Chad work good together while they were crew chiefs. I think he’ll probably learn something helping Chad and hopefully Chad will learn something, but I don’t see Tony Jr staying at an R & D team where they just race five, six or seven times a year. He’s a racer and he wants to be at the race track every week and he’s a winner.
    Q: Could you ever see Tony Jr back on the box as Dale Jr’s crew chief again someday?
    A: “No, I don’t think that will ever happen. I don’t think they have any hard feelings between each other…they knew something had to be done, and definitely we knew who it had to be. I just don’t think Tony Jr will ever put himself in that situation again and I don’t think Dale Jr would want him in that situation either. It’s just tough when you work for family. My whole racing career I’ve been involved in this Earnhardt deal and never had to really work anywhere else. It’s a tough deal and family deal and when you’re not running good, it’s hard to fix when it’s blood.”(Performace Racing Network)(5-31-2009)
  • Earnhardt Jr’s crew chief history: Although #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Eury Jr. struggled this year before Eury was replaced Thursday, out of the five crew chiefs Earnhardt has worked with in his Sprint Cup career, he’s put up his second-best average finish with Eury Jr. Besides that, Eury Jr. is the only crew chief besides Tony Eury Sr. who has won with Earnhardt multiple times. Earnhardt won with Eury Jr. twice and had a 16.4 average finish. With Eury Sr., Earnhardt won 15 times and had a 15.7 average finish in 65 races. Check out Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Cup career with Tony Sr. calling the shots:
    Category — Tony Eury Sr. — All others
    Races — 183 — 156
    Wins — 15 — 3
    Top-5s — 52 — 35
    Top-10s — 79 — 61
    Average finish — 15.7 — 17.0
    (ESPN)
    Other Crew Chiefs:
    Pete Rondeau for 12 races [2005 Daytona 500 thru Coke 600 best finish 3rd]
    Steve Hmeil for 13 races [2005 Dover thru Calif 2005 winning at Chicago]
    Tony Gibson for 6 races, Eury Jr was suspended in 2007 [Coke 600 thru NHMS best finish 4th]
    (5-31-2009)
  • Robby Gordon to appeal penalty: #7-Robby Gordon says he will appeal NASCAR penalties levied against his Robby Gordon Motorsports team May 27. Gordon was penalized 50 owner and 50 driver points while crew chief Kirk Almquist was fined $50,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. Officials said the rear axle housing of the #7 Toyota, which was taken following a third-place finish by Gordon in the May 25 Coca-Cola 600, exceeded the maximum specified toe of plus or minus one degree. “The bottom line is we were no more ‘body yawed’ than anybody else,” Gordon said May 30, “even though our rear end had more toe. We … pulled our right-side trailing arm forward and our left-side trailing arm backwards. We fit the template on the right side before the race. So we aren’t doing anything funny there; there was no advantage.”(SceneDaily)(5-31-2009)
  • Richard Petty may do Indy 500 again: Richard Petty might be looking at a repeat trip to the Indianapolis 500. NASCAR’s “King” fielded an Indy 500 entry for the first time in his prolific career when he put John Andretti behind the wheel last Sunday. Petty enjoyed the pageantry of race day, but couldn’t stick around for the finish because of his NASCAR obligations. About an hour after the green flag dropped at Indy, Petty hopped a plane to Charlotte, N.C., for the Coca-Cola 600. Andretti finished 19th and the NASCAR race was rained out. Petty enjoyed his day so much at the IRL spectacle, that he would consider another run next season. “I told John that being that we ran pretty good up there, maybe we can get him in a couple of other races and get him practiced-up so when we get back to Indy he can do a better job,” Petty said on Saturday.(Associated Press)(5-31-2009)
  • 4th Gerneation Earnhardt fails to make Nationwide race: Fourth-generation Earnhardt driver Jeffrey Earnhardt has failed to qualify for what he was hoping would be his debut race in the Nationwide Series. Earnhardt was the lone driver Saturday who did not crack the 43-car field at Dover International Speedway. He’s the grandson of Dale Earnhardt [and great-grandson of Ralph Earnhardt], the nephew of Dale Earnhardt Jr., and son of Kerry. Instead, Jeffrey Earnhardt will run a partial schedule this year in NASCAR’s second-tier series. The 19-year-old Earnhardt drove the #31 Chevy for Rick Ware Racing in his first shot at racing in NASCAR’s second-tier series. Earnhardt will run a progressive schedule from short to intermediate tracks, up to seven races to maintain his rookie status in preparation to race full-time next year.(Associated Press)(5-31-2009)
  • Wheeler to take over Indy? Will legendary NASCAR promoter Humpy Wheeler be asked to take over the reins of legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway? That’s part of the speculation swirling around the 100-year-old track the past few days, following Sunday’s Indy 500, which showed yet another significant TV ratings drop. Wheeler, at Indy over the weekend instead of at Charlotte’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway, which he ran for more than 30 years for Bruton Smith, has been noncommittal about the Indy affair. Tony George, the 49-year-old who has been running the privately owned Indianapolis track for his family, has been equally noncommittal about what lies ahead, except to deny that he has been ousted as Indy boss. George says he’s still the CEO. But there is pressure on George, from family members, to pump up the Indy Racing League, which has struggled to make a go of it. So NASCAR’s France family isn’t the only American racing giant operation under the gun in these turbulent economic times. George and his family, which owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League, is suddenly in the news for an internal squabble over how that family’s racing operations are going. George himself denies reports that his family has asked him to step down as boss of the deal, but the mass confusion over what really has been happening this week behind closed door in Indianapolis has everyone wondering just what’s up.(mikemulhern.net)(5-31-2009)

May 30, 2009

  • Many Dover schemes added to the Paint Scheme Gallery: #06-Canics, #7-Richmond Water Heaters, #16 Nexcare, #19 Stanley Tools, #24 DuPont/Police Museum, #33 The Hartford, #34 Taco Bell, #36 Black, #37 Long John Silver’s, #43 Air Force, #44 Auto Value, #75 FlipNbags and #96 Ask.com/Autism. See the Paint Scheme Gallery.
  • Happy Hour ‘final’ practice for the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway is over, the top five:
    #11-Hamlin 151.286
    #48-Johnson 150.294
    #18-Busch 150.219
    #1-Truex Jr. 150.106
    #07-Mears 149.850
    slowest: #37-Raines 145.056 and #36-Skinner 146.145
    no speed: #66-Blaney
    See fast speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Dover Practice Speeds page.(5-30-2009)
  • First Saturday practice for the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway is over, the top five:
    #18-Busch 153.512
    #9-Kahne 153.139
    #00-Reutimann 152.983
    #17-Kenseth 152.562
    #26-McMurray 152.342
    slowest: #37-Raines 145.891 and #34-Andretti 146.074
    best five lap average – late in SPEED’s coverage
    #00-Reutimann 152.349
    #9-Kahne 152.220
    #18-Busch 151.963
    #17-Kenseth 151.388
    #16-Biffle 151.324
    See fast speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Dover Practice Speeds page.(5-30-2009)

  • Pit Stall Selections – Dover: The selections for pit stalls of the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway have been made. Pole sitter #00-Reutimann chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], while outside pole sitter #9-Kahne took pit stall 10 the next with an opening in front of it and #42-Montoya, who starts 3rd tool stall 17, the next and last stall with an opening in front of it. #48-Johnson, who starts 8th, chose the final pit stall as they tend to do. See the pit selection chart on the Dover Pit Stall Selection chart.(5-30-2009)
  • Eury to oversee road course testing for #48 team next week: Tony Eury Jr. is getting off to a quick start in his new role with Hendrick Motorsports’ research and development group. On Tuesday, Eury will accompany the #48 Chevy team to Carolina MotorSports Park in Kershaw, S.C., to supervise road course testing with three-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. The private two-day session is closed to the public and the media. Eury will lead the effort and refine the #48 team’s setup for the June 21 Sprint Cup event at Infineon Raceway — the first road race of the 2009 season. In addition to his research and development duties, Eury will crew chief Hendrick Motorsports’ #25 GoDaddy.com Chevy Sprint Cup effort with driver Brad Keselowski for the remainder of 2009. “Having someone of Tony’s caliber in this role is an asset,” said Doug Duchardt, vice president of development for Hendrick Motorsports. “He will be partnering with our lead chassis engineer on various projects, and his experience will make him a great fit with Brad. Having that veteran leadership is important for a young driver.” Keselowski and the Eury-led #25 team will next attempt to qualify at Chicagoland Speedway in July.(HMS)(5-30-2009)
  • NASCAR’s Drug Policy: in a PDF form at the Charlotte Observer.
  • No Mayfield car at Dover? UPDATE 2 drug named: The J.J. Yeley site has this posted: “Mayfield Motorsports will not be taking the #41 Toyota to the Dover 400 this weekend. No reason was given at this time.”. Yeley drove the car in the Sprint Showdown and attemopted to make the Coca Cola 600 but didn’t. Yeley replaced Jeremy Mayfield in the #41 after Darlington when Mayfield was suspended for violating NASCAR’s sunstance abuse policy. The entry list still shows the #41 entered.
    AND Racingforthewin.com – Reliable sources says Mayfield Motorsports reportedly sent all their employees home on Tuesday, and told employees they will not compete at the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway.
    AND 2: was told earlier in the week by the team that the #41 would be at Dover and future races.(5-28-2009)
    UPDATE: A judge on Friday denied Jeremy Mayfield’s request for a temporary restraining order that would have lifted the NASCAR driver’s suspension and enabled him to get back in his #41 Sprint Cup car. Judge Forrest Bridges scheduled a hearing in Mecklenburg County Court for Wednesday to determine whether Mayfield, who was suspended May 9 for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy, can compete at Pocono next weekend and until his case is settled. Bridges issued a gag order preventing attorneys for Mayfield and NASCAR from discussing what drug Mayfield tested positive for, which according to arguments by both sides in open court was amphetamines. “It’s like the rain delay on Sunday in Charlotte [the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway], except this one goes to next week,” said Bill Diehl, an attorney for Mayfield. Asked what was gained by Friday’s hearing, Diehl said, “We know what their case is and they know what our case is about.” Mayfield and Diehl filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging the driver’s suspension for what NASCAR said was a failed random drug test.
    In presenting Mayfield’s side, John Buric, an attorney in Diehl’s firm, said Mayfield had taken Claritin-D, an allergy drug, in addition to Adderall, a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit disorder. Buric said, according to NASCAR, Mayfield had tested positive for amphetamines; Adderall is a name-brand amphetamine. It was not immediately clear whether Adderall or its ingredients are on NASCAR’s banned substance list. NASCAR has not identified what Mayfield tested positive for or made its list of banned substances public. Mayfield has contended from the beginning that he did nothing wrong and the positive test was the result of combining a prescription drug with Claritin-D. Dr. David Black, who runs NASCAR’s testing program, has since ruled that out as a possibility.
    Mayfield’s request for an injunction listed seven charges, from breach of character to unjustly preventing Mayfield from participating in any NASCAR function and thus earn a living. Diehl also asked that NASCAR officials stop talking publicly about Mayfield’s drug test, which Bridges granted.(ESPN)(5-29-2009)
    AND see the Charlotte Observer for:
    NASCAR’s Drug Policy (pdf) Mayfield’s lawsuit (pdf)
    (5-30-2009)
  • Truex Jr. discusses future contract plans: from a Team Chevy Driver Press conference transcript with #1-Martin Truex Jr.:
    DOES THE FACT THAT YOU ARE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RUMOR MILL ANNOY YOU? “It is what it is, there is no way to stop it. I don’t get annoyed. I think it is kind of comical sometimes. But we all understand that you all are trying to get the story and you want to get it before the next guy. It is no different than us wanting to beat the next guy. We understand all that. Hopefully, we’ll be able to put all of it to an end shortly.”
    HOW SOON? “Within a few weeks, I would say.”
    DAVID REUTIMANN SAID EARLIER TODAY THAT THE BEST REASON FOR A DRIVER TO CONSIDER COMING TO MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING WAS THAT HE WAS THERE, BEING SERIOUS, IS THERE SOMETHING THERE TO ATTRACT A DRIVER? “That is a good answer (laughs). He did win last week. They seem like a great organization. They have come a long way. I think they have a lot going for them. We will just have to see what happens.”
    DO YOU HAVE A GUT FEELING ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE GOING? “Yes, but I ain’t going to tell you though. I am just not going to tell you anything. The picture is pretty clear for me right now. I am in a good place. I am pretty happy with the way things have gone and I have been having fun at the race track and things are going well right now. I think in the next few weeks, everybody will know what is going on. I have just been concentrating on racing because I the picture is kind of clear so I am not really worried too much about it too much.”
    DOES YOUR BROTHER BEING AT WALTRIP HAVE ANY IMPACT ON YOUR DECISION? “Well I think with my brother being there has a big impact. I have more of an insight on how they do things which has been good.”
    SO IS YOUR NEXT MOVE GOING TO BE MORE LONG-TERM SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS AGAIN ANY TIME SOON? “Yeah, this time around it’s going to have to be.”
    WILLYOUR SPONSOR FOLLOW YOU? “I don’t know. That’s something we’ll have to look at down the road once we figure everything out. We’ll see.”
    HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR YOU TO HAVE SPONSORS THAT IDENTIFY WITH YOU? “I think it’s very important. Obviously you want to be yourself and you want to be true to your fans and real. When you go out and sell something you don’t want to just say hey use this because I do. When you’re promoting somebody’s product you want to be sincere about it. At least I have. That’s why Bass Pro has been such a great fit for me. It’s a no brainer. It would be easy for me to go to their stores and meet their customer because I’m a customer of theirs and I have been. I think it’s important to do that with your fans. To promote the sponsor and put 100 percent into it you need to be connected.”(Chevy Racing)(5-30-2009)
  • Dale Jr. respondes about Busch’s dig: from a Team Chevy Driver Press conference transcript with #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.:
    ARE YOU SURPRISED ABOUT KYLE BUSCH’S COMMENTS EARLIER TODAY ABOUT YOUR CREW CHIEF SITUATION?: “Not really, that doesn’t really surprise me what Kyle (Busch) says. He’s always had a chip on his shoulder for me. I expect anytime he gets an opportunity to throw a jab in there he’s going to do it. That’s just his personality. We’re working toward trying to figure out how we can make our deal work and that has nothing to do with Kyle (Busch). We’ll see how this weekend goes and then move forward next week.”(Chevy Racing)(5-30-2009)

May 29, 2009

  • Reutimann wins pole at Dover: #00-David Reuitmann won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway with a lap of 156.794mph for his 2nd pole of 2009 and 3rd pole of his career. #9-Kahne will start 2nd, followed by #42-Montoya, #43-Sorenson, #16-Biffle, #18-Busch, #44-Allmendinger, #48-Johnson, #83-Vickers and #19-Sadler. So all four Richard Petty Motorsports cars are in the top-10. #24-Gordon slammed the turn 2 wall on his first qualifying lap and will start 42nd and go to a back up car, Gordon was uninjured. #88-Earnhardt Jr., with a new crew chief, will start 22nd.
    The eight go-or-go homers who made the race: #82-Speed, #71-Gilliland, #78-Smith, #36-Skinner, #09-Bliss, #87-Nemechek, #66-Blaney and #37-Raines.
    The four drivers who failed to qualify: #25-Keselowski, #13-Papis, #75-Cope and #06-Starr.
    For qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression, qualifying order, see my Dover Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results/OrderPage.(5-29-2008)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Dover International Speedway
    David Reutimann won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Autism Speaks 400 Presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheese with a lap of 22.960 seconds, 156.794 mph.
    This is his third pole in 76 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second pole and seventh top-10 start in 2009.
    This is his first pole in four races at Dover International Speedway.
    Kasey Kahne (second) posted his seventh top-10 start of 2009 and his third in 11 races at Dover International Speedway.
    Juan Pablo Montoya (third) posted his second top-10 start at Dover International Speedway. It is his fifth in 13 races this season.
    Joey Logano (21st) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistices)(5-29-2009)
  • Qualifying Order for the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International 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 #9-Kahne, the final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #24-Gordon. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #06-Starr with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #37-Raines. See the full qualifying order on the Dover Qualifying Page.(5-29-2009)
  • Friday practice for the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway is over, the top five:
    #00-Reutimann 157.467
    #9-Kahne 157.048
    #24-Gordon 156.952
    #39-Newman 156.883
    #48-Johnson 156.801
    fastest go-or-go-homer: #71-Gilliland at 22nd
    slowest: #06-Starr 148.331 and #75-Cope 149.266
    See fast speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Dover Practice Speeds page.(5-29-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Dover International Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #71-David Gilliland, 22nd fastest
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 31st
    #78-Regan Smith, 33rd
    #09-Mike Bliss, 36th
    #36-Mike Skinner, 37th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 38th
    #25-Brad Keselowski, 39th
    #82-Scott Speed, 41st
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #37-Tony Raines, 42nd
    #13-Max Papis, 45th
    #75-Derrike Cope, 46th
    #06-David Starr, 47th
    See fast speeds, average speeds, laps run on my Dover Practice Speeds page.(5-29-2009)
  • Chase Notes/Stats: 2008 Chase participants Clint Bowyer (36th), Dale Jr. (40th) and Kevin Harvick (41st) all lost important ground at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the Coca Cola 600 as the halfway mark in The Race to The Chase is reached. Harvick, now 279 points out of the Top 12, is in the toughest spot, and is going through one of the toughest streaks he’s had in recent memory. Bowyer is still within one race out of the Top 12 at 109 points out, but this team has lost a dizzying 13 spots in the last five races. Carl Edwards’ tumble in the standings stopped at LMS with a fourth in rain-shortened race. Still, Cousin Carl is only 9 points ahead of 13th place and needs to generate some momentum. We are officially at the halfway point of The Race to The Chase after Dover: 13 down, 13 to go. Special halfway analysis next week. For more see my Chase Stats page.(5-29-2009)
  • Dover Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Dover this week, though the tires for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the tires for the Camping World Truck Series will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this i s the same tire combination that Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams ran at Dover last fall . . . additionally, this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Cup and Truck teams will run at Michigan in two weeks . . . unlike on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length — on which teams do not run inner liners — teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Dover . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 75-80 laps, based on fuel mileage (Cup). See tire pressures, codes and more on my Dover Race Info Page – Goodyear section.(5-29-2009)
  • Court to continue case next week: A judge on Friday denied Jeremy Mayfield’s request for a temporary restraining order that would have lifted the NASCAR driver’s suspension and enabled him to get back in his #41 Sprint Cup car. Judge Forrest Bridges scheduled a hearing in Mecklenburg County Court for Wednesday to determine whether Mayfield, who was suspended May 9 for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy, can compete at Pocono next weekend and until his case is settled. Bridges issued a gag order preventing attorneys for Mayfield and NASCAR from discussing what drug Mayfield tested positive for, which according to arguments by both sides in open court was amphetamines. “It’s like the rain delay on Sunday in Charlotte [the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway], except this one goes to next week,” said Bill Diehl, an attorney for Mayfield. Asked what was gained by Friday’s hearing, Diehl said, “We know what their case is and they know what our case is about.” Mayfield and Diehl filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging the driver’s suspension for what NASCAR said was a failed random drug test.
    In presenting Mayfield’s side, John Buric, an attorney in Diehl’s firm, said Mayfield had taken Claritin-D, an allergy drug, in addition to Adderall, a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit disorder. Buric said, according to NASCAR, Mayfield had tested positive for amphetamines; Adderall is a name-brand amphetamine. It was not immediately clear whether Adderall or its ingredients are on NASCAR’s banned substance list. NASCAR has not identified what Mayfield tested positive for or made its list of banned substances public. Mayfield has contended from the beginning that he did nothing wrong and the positive test was the result of combining a prescription drug with Claritin-D. Dr. David Black, who runs NASCAR’s testing program, has since ruled that out as a possibility.
    Mayfield’s request for an injunction listed seven charges, from breach of character to unjustly preventing Mayfield from participating in any NASCAR function and thus earn a living. Diehl also asked that NASCAR officials stop talking publicly about Mayfield’s drug test, which Bridges granted.(ESPN)(5-29-2009)
  • No Mayfield car at Dover? UPDATE in court Friday: The J.J. Yeley site has this posted: “Mayfield Motorsports will not be taking the #41 Toyota to the Dover 400 this weekend. No reason was given at this time.”. Yeley drove the car in the Sprint Showdown and attemopted to make the Coca Cola 600 but didn’t. Yeley replaced Jeremy Mayfield in the #41 after Darlington when Mayfield was suspended for violating NASCAR’s sunstance abuse policy. The entry list still shows the #41 entered.
    AND Racingforthewin.com – Reliable sources says Mayfield Motorsports reportedly sent all their employees home on Tuesday, and told employees they will not compete at the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway.
    AND 2: was told earlier in the week by the team that the #41 would be at Dover and future races.(5-28-2009)
    UPDATE: Jeremy Mayfield sought a temporary restraining order on Friday in an attempt to lift his suspension and return to his #41 Sprint Cup Toyota until his case is settled. Mayfield and his attorney, Bill Diehl, filed the suit in Mecklenburg County Court on Friday afternoon. Mayfield’s request for an injunction listed seven charges, from breach of character to unjustly preventing Mayfield from participating in any NASCAR function and thus earn a living. Diehl also asked that NASCAR officials stop talking publicly about Mayfield’s drug test. NASCAR’s attorneys, led by Paul Hendrick, sought more time to respond to the complaint, saying there was no way for Mayfield to race this weekend. Hendrick said Mayfield should not not allowed back on the track. “We cannot allow people to drive when we thin that he has issues of drug abuse or a positive test,” he said. NASCAR president Mike Helton was in attendance with spokesman Kerry Tharp, as was Mayfield and his wife Shana, who is the owner of Mayfield’s racing team while he is suspended. Mayfield was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR as a driver and owner on May 9 for violating the substance abuse policy. He has contended from the beginning that he did not do anything wrong, that the positive test was the result of combining a prescription drug with Claritin-D. Mayfield hired Diehl, one of North Carolina’s most prominent attorneys, to challenge the findings. Diehl said it was “pretty compelling that we get” the restraining order. “If [the judge] signs it, it’ll lift the suspension,” he said. Meanwhile, in Dover, the Sprint Cup team owned by Shana Mayfield withdrew its entry for this weekend’s race. Mayfield Motorsports did not bring the #41 to Dover International Speedway and attempt to qualify for Sunday’s race.(ESPN)(5-29-2009)
  • Sour Grapes? Kyle Busch takes dig at Dale Jr.: #18-Kyle Busch said it point-blank: “It’s never Junior; it’s always the crew chief.” Busch fired that opening volley of driver reaction Friday morning to Hendrick Motorsports’ dismissal of Tony Eury Jr. as #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief on Thursday. Asked about Eury’s replacement, Lance McGrew, with whom Busch worked in the Nationwide Series at Hendrick in 2004, Busch expressed pity for McGrew. “He’s got his hands full, I guess, having to deal with what’s going on,” Busch said. “And if Junior doesn’t run well, then he [McGrew] is going to be the ‘problem’ again.” Still, Busch said he understood the move to bolster the driver who replaced him at Hendrick last season, both because of Earnhardt’s star power and Busch’s salary issues. “You’ve got to make the most popular driver in the sport competitive, so you gotta do what you gotta do, I guess,” Busch said.(ESPN)(5-29-2009)
  • G.P.’s Enterprises return to sponsor Nemechek: Joe Nemechek said that G.P.’s Enterprises, which sponsored his #87 Toyota Camry Sprint Cup car in Charlotte last week, will continue the primary sponsorship this weekend at Dover International Speedway. G.P.’s Enterprises is a highway construction company based in Auburn, Ga., specializing in site development, new roads, bridges and road grading. LubePro’s, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary as the pioneer of the fast and professional oil change, will carry a major associate sponsorship on Nemechek’s Cup car. The Cherry Valley, Ill. quick lube company has more than 30 locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Tennessee. Huckleberry’s BBQ and Motorsportcruise.com will also grace the #87 Toyota with an associate sponsorship.(NEMCO) See an image of the scheme on my #87 Team Schemes page.(5-29-2009)
  • Gunselman Motorsports parts ways with Bodine, withdraws from Dover: Gunselman Motorsports and driver Todd Bodine have parted ways so Bodine can concentrate on his championship efforts in the Camping World Truck Series. As a result, team owner Larry Gunselman is searching for a qualified driver who can possibly bring some sponsorship support to the #64 Toyota team’s efforts. He has been talking to several drivers, but no firm terms have been reached with anyone at this time. The team withdrew from the Dover race to concentrate on future events. Doug Richert, a NASCAR Champion crew chief, remains with the team in building, setting up and calling the shots atop the pit box. Larry Gunselman, team owner: “First, I want to thank Todd Bodine for his efforts in what we’ve been trying to do here at Gunselman Motorsports. He is a NASCAR championship driver and brought a lot to the team. Second, I totally appreciate him wanting to concentrate on his Truck Series efforts and hope he gets back up to the top of the points chart. I have all the faith in the world he can do it, too. Having someone like Doug (Richert, crew chief) with the team is a great value to me and whoever comes on board with Gunselman Motorports. We both remain very focused on being a part of this sport for quite awhile. As far as who is going to drive the #64 next; that’s something I’ve been talking to a few drivers about already. Nothing is solid as of this moment, but I know one thing for sure – we are committed to getting back on the track to achieve our goal of becoming a competitive team. Our search for a sponsorship partner is still ongoing and we remain a very affordable alternative to someone wanting to get involved in NASCAR racing.”(Gunselman Motorsports)(5-29-2009)
  • Twelve Different Spring Winners and Counting at Dover: Dover International Speedway’s spring race is a fan favorite for a variety of reasons but one in particular stands out: There’s a very good chance someone’s favorite driver may be headed for Victory Lane. The past 12 editions of the Autism Speaks 400 presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips and Cheese have produced 12 different winners. There hasn’t been a repeat winner in the 21st Century. Jeff Gordon is the only double winner since 1996. Gordon’s most recent Dover spring victory came in 2001. In other words, just about everyone is in the mix when the green flag drops at The Monster Mile. #18-Kyle Busch is the defending spring winner at Dover. Sprint Cup Series champions are well represented among the dozen repeat winners: Gordon; #48-Johnson; #14-Stewart; #17-Kenseth; #96-Labonte; and Dale Jarrett. Manufacturer winners? Doesn’t matter. All four count victories during the 12-race run with General Motors and Ford tied with five wins apiece.(NASCAR PR)(5-29-2009)
  • NASCAR teams in all three series to sport Autism Speaks logo at Dover: Since the title of the Sunday, May 31, 2009 Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway was announced, the NASCAR community has come together to offer their support for a great cause. Drivers and teams in all three of NASCAR’s national series have answered the call to sport the Autism Speaks blue puzzle piece logo on their vehicles as a sign of support for the nation’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. Race fans at the track and watching at home will see a variety of NASCAR cars and trucks with the very recognizable logo on their vehicles. 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams entered in the “Autism Speaks 400, presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips & Cheese” on May 31, six NASCAR Nationwide Series teams entered in the “Heluva Good! 200” on May 30, and nine teams entered in the “AAA Insurance 200” on May 29 have volunteered to carry the logo throughout the race weekend.
    Participating Sprint Cup drivers and teams include: #07-Mears, #9-Kahne, #13-Papis, #14-Stewart, #19-Sadler, #26-McMurray, #29-Harvick, #31-Burton, #33-Bowyer, #39-Newman, #43-Sorenson, #44-Allmendinger, #78-Smith, #96-Labonte and #98-Menard.
    From the Nationwide Series: #15-Annett, #24-McClure, #28-KWallace, #29-Bowyer, #49-Davis, and #89-Shepherd.
    From the Camping World Truck Series: #1-Benson, #9-Papis, #10-Buescher, #11-Bell, #14-Crawford, #16-Scott, #24-Starr, #25-Cook and #30-Bodine.
    Bobby Labonte and David Starr have taken their support to the next level. Both will sport Autism Speaks’ signature puzzle piece logo, “It’s time to listen,” phrase and website address AutismSpeaks.org on their quarter panels. Starr will also feature the same messaging proudly on his hood. Fans wanting to support Autism Speaks and wear the colors of the organization are encouraged to purchase a limited-edition Autism Speaks 400 collectible pin. Pins will be available at Dover International Speedway souvenir locations at the track on race weekend. The pin retails for $7 and a portion of all sales will benefit Autism Speaks. Great seats still remain for the May 29-31, 2009 race weekend at the Monster Mile. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.(Dover International Speedway)(5-29-2009)
  • Pit Road, Frontstretch Wall Improvements Make Debut At The Monster Mile: Pit road at Dover International Speedway historically has been one of the most difficult, not to mention tightest, on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. No longer. During the winter, the track made major improvements to pit road. They include installation of a SAFER barrier supported by a new 1,592-foot concrete wall that wraps from Turn 4 down the frontstretch to near Turn 1. The new pit wall is 432 feet longer than the previous steel boilerplate wall. Also eliminated was the grass strip on the frontstretch. That allowed the wall to be placed closer to the track creating four additional feet of room to the width of passing on pit road. By lengthening the pit wall, the track was able to reconfigure the 43 pit stalls and make them longer in size. The pit boxes are 32 feet long compared with the previous 28-foot measurements. Thanks to the elimination of some grass in the infield of Turn 4, new apron space was created between Turns 3 and 4 to allow more room for cars to slow down as they approach the pit road entrance. This also created a new entrance for track emergency service vehicles to enter the speedway from the infield near the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage.(NASCAR PR)(5-29-2009)
  • Actor Ryan Reynolds to Serve as Grand Marshal for Pocono 500: Ryan Reynolds, star of the upcoming Touchstone Pictures comedy The Proposal, has been named the Grand Marshal for the June 7, 2009 Pocono 500, Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway. As Grand Marshal, Reynolds will participate in a number of pre-race activities, including attending the drivers meeting, participating in driver introductions and giving the most famous command in motorsports, “Gentleman, start your engines.” The Proposal, in theaters on June 19, is a comedy about what happens when a high-powered book editor Margaret (Sandra Bullock) faces deportation to her native Canada. Prior to his starring role in The Proposal, Canadian born Reynolds recently starred in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “Adventureland,” “Definitely-Maybe,” ”Smokin Aces,” “The Amityville Horror” and “Van Wilder.” He is married to actress/model Scarlett Johansson. The June 7th Pocono 500 begins at 2:00PM ET with pre-race activities beginning at 1:00PM. Tickets are still available for the Pocono 500 online at www.poconoraceway.com or by phone at 1-800-RACEWAY.(Pocono Raceway)(5-29-2009)
  • Kentucky-NASCAR hearing set for July 30th: A three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel will hear oral arguments in the Kentucky Speedway founders’ antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. at 9 a.m. July 30 in Cincinnati. Decisions on appeals typically come anywhere from three weeks to six months after the oral arguments in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.(SceneDaily), see past mews about the lawsuit and track on my Kentucky-NASCAR Lawsuit page and Kentucky Track News page.(5-29-2009)
  • Indy to devise management plan: At a regular meeting of the board of directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 26, board members asked Tony George, chief executive officer of the IMS companies, to devise a plan for management of Hulman & Company, the Indy Racing League, Clabber Girl and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that would allow him to focus on the business which requires the greatest attention. This plan is to be presented to the board at a meeting later this year.
    IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George said: “There was a general discussion about the challenges and opportunities facing all of our companies and where most of our energies need to be spent. All of our properties are doing well, given the challenges of the current economy. The Indy Racing League represents our greatest growth opportunity and therefore deserves the most attention at this point.”
    Tony George said: “Contrary to published reports, I continue to serve as CEO of IMS. Our board of directors met yesterday, and we did discuss how to best confront challenges and exploit opportunities facing our businesses. This is nothing new and is something that we continually do as a board. But no changes in leadership or responsibility have been made. We don’t normally comment on board deliberations concerning our family business. However, the widespread, inaccurate reports and rumors caused my mother and me to conclude that it was necessary to set the record straight. If changes are made in the management of the company that are newsworthy, we will announce them when they are made.”(IMS)(5-29-2009)

 


May 28, 2009

 

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. on crew chief change: When Rick Hendrick announced he was replacing his cousin Tony Eury, Jr. as crew chief of the #88-National Guard/AMP Energy Drink Chevy, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was up in Michigan helping to promote the June 14th Sprint Cup Series race at MIS. Measuring his words carefully, Junior was clearly saddened by the split, but also said he understood why the move was made. “It was a very difficult situation. Obviously, when me and Tony Jr. went to work with Rick we expected to have a lot of success and be in a totally different situation than we are now. It’s really disappointing, I guess, that we aren’t making that happen. It’s a situation, it’s a relationship that’s very important to me, the one with Tony Jr. We are family and it was a pretty big risk, I guess, for me and him both to make the move. We really wanted it to work. Unfortunately, we didn’t succeed. Being this is a business, Rick and the guys decided we needed to go in a new direction. I’m supportive and confident in the decisions that they make. They have a lot of great success. Obviously, there is no arguing they know how to run a race team. I want to be in a good position where I run as well as I can. We have a lot of sponsors and a lot of responsibilities to put ourselves in that situation if we want to be able to race every weekend. I’m pretty confident. I still have a good resolve and a good initiative and motivation to get up and get to the race track every weekend and try to see when we’ll turn this thing around. Rick and the guys are positive about the decision that we’ve made to make the change in crew chief. They seem confident about the decision. That kind of makes me feel pretty good about it. It makes the team feel good. At least their aware of situation and they’re willing to make changes and do whatever it takes.”
    Junior also went out of his way to say that Hendrick had shown plenty of patience. “To Rick’s credit, they waited a lot longer to make this change than they probably would’ve considering me and Tony Jr. have a relationship like brothers. They gave us more time than anyone else probably would have gotten to try to make this work. To Tony Jr.’s credit, he tried everything he knew to try to give me what I needed at the race track. He worked and has always worked harder than anybody I know in the sport. The guy has devoted his entire existence to working on race cars. He’s sacrificed extensive amounts to be where he is today. So it’s really, really disappointing that it didn’t work out, because we gave everything we have to be there. I think me and him deserved to have it work out, so it’s really frustrating, but I’ve been through a lot tougher things. Situations like this come and go and you move forward. You’ve got to go out and perform under the circumstances the best we can this weekend. We’ll band together and go do the job the best we can. I feel confident, I told Rick, me and Tony Jr. were aware of how delicate our situations was over the last several weeks. We knew we needed to step up our performance somehow, someway to be able to keep our situation intact. Me and Tony Jr. both told Rick throughout the last six to 10 weeks when they were looking at us closely to make the decisions they needed to make as a company and we would both support them whichever decisions they made. So that’s what’s happening.” Listen to full interview at PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show.(5-28-2009)
  • No Mayfield car at Dover? The J.J. Yeley site has this posted: “Mayfield Motorsports will not be taking the #41 Toyota to the Dover 400 this weekend. No reason was given at this time.”. Yeley drove the car in the Sprint Showdown and attemopted to make the Coca Cola 600 but didn’t. Yeley replaced Jeremy Mayfield in the #41 after Darlington when Mayfield was suspended for violating NASCAR’s sunstance abuse policy. The entry list still shows the #41 entered.
    AND Racingforthewin.com – Reliable sources says Mayfield Motorsports reportedly sent all their employees home on Tuesday, and told employees they will not compete at the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway.
    AND 2: was told earlier in the week by the team that the #41 would be at Dover and future races.(5-28-2009)
  • New crew chief for Dale Jr.: Hendrick Motorsports today named Lance McGrew as interim crew chief of the #88 Sprint Cup Series team of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. beginning with the June 7 event at Pocono Raceway. Team manager Brian Whitesell will lead the team this weekend at Dover. “Our performance hasn’t been where it should be,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “It’s impossible to pin that on any one factor, but a change is the right decision at this point. We have a plan in place, and we’re going to move forward with it.” Whitesell and Rex Stump, Hendrick Motorsports’ lead chassis engineer, have been assigned to support McGrew on a full-time basis. Whitesell, who won two of seven races as Jeff Gordon’s interim crew chief in 1999, will join McGrew and team engineer Tom Stewart on the #88 pit box to assist with race strategy. “We’re going to put our full resources toward improving the situation and winning races,” Hendrick said. “It’s going to be a collective effort that includes all of our drivers, all of our crew chiefs and all of our engineers. Everyone in our company will be involved on some level.” Tony Eury Jr. will move from the crew chief position into a key role with Hendrick Motorsports’ research and development group. Eury posted one victory, one pole position, 19 top-10 finishes and 11 top-fives in 48 races with the #88 team. “I have mixed feelings, and that’s just natural,” Eury said. “But I enjoy working at Hendrick Motorsports, and this is where I want to be. I’ll do whatever I can to help all of our teams and try to be a part of another championship. I think a new challenge will be good.” McGrew, 41, earned the 2003 Nationwide Series championship with driver Brian Vickers. He won the October 2006 Sprint Cup race with Vickers at Talladega, and most recently led Cup rookie #25-Brad Keselowski to a seventh-place finish May 9 at Darlington. As a crew chief, McGrew has posted victories in all three of NASCAR’s major touring series: Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck. He has won races with drivers Vickers, Jeff Gordon, Ricky Hendrick, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin and most recently Tony Stewart Feb. 14 at Daytona Beach.(HMS)(5-28-2009)

  • New sponsor for Ambrose UPDATE: the entry list has RaceSavers.com listed as #47-Marcos Ambrose sponsor for the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway.(5-26-2009)
    UPDATE: During the Autism Speaks 400 weekend at Dover International Speedway Marcos Ambrose’s #47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Toyota will have a new paint scheme and primary sponsor with RaceSavers.com. RaceSavers.com is a website that offers race fans coupons and discounts on their favorite brands of consumer packaged goods and services. It also has a sweepstakes page where fans can enter to win behind the scenes access to races throughout the season.(MWR), see an image of the scheme on my #47 Team Schemes Page.(5-28-2009)
  • #24 car to honor police at Dover: The TV panel on the #24 DuPont Chevy of Jeff Gordon will feature www.PoliceMuseum.org at Dover International Speedway, and visitors to the site are encouraged to donate to the National Law Enforcement Museum that will be built in Washington, D.C. “Dover International Speedway offered special race-day ticket packages for law enforcement officers and their families with a portion of the proceeds donated to the museum,” said Gordon. “And DuPont has done a lot to raise awareness and money for this project. “A very worthwhile project that I’m glad to be a part of.”(HMS)(5-28-2009)
  • Gibbs and Hamlin to make delivery to Salvation Army: Driver #11-Denny Hamlin and team owner Joe Gibbs will visit Washington D.C. on Thursday to deliver a custom designed Disaster Response Unit to the D.C-area Salvation Army. The vehicle, used in disaster situations to provide food and water to as many as 2,500 people per day, is one of 12 that FedEx has donated to cities both inside the U.S. and around the world. FedEx, a long time partner of the Salvation Army, is uniquely qualified to aide in disaster situations delivering goods and services to affected areas.(FedEx Racing)(5-28-2009)
  • NASCAR DVDs head to space: DVD copies of two of the most important races in NASCAR history will soon be making the journey of a lifetime. Doug Hurley is a huge race fan, and he also happens to be an astronaut. He’ll serve as pilot for the STS-127 mission, which is currently slated to launch on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour on June 13. Going along for the ride with Hurley will be copies of the 1979 and 1998 Daytona 500s for possible inclusion in the permanent library on board the International Space Station. Each DVD comes in a specially designed package honoring Hurley’s first spaceflight. The cover features a view of the Earth’s surface, along with the STS-127 logo. The packaging will not be available to the public. A cousin of Greg Zipadelli’s wife Nan, Hurley attended his first NASCAR event at Watkins Glen International in August 2000. Since then, he’s attended 20 or so events, despite being assigned for some of that time to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.(See full story at Stock Car Histoy Online)(5-28-2009)
  • Autism Speaks featured on #96 at Dover: The #96 Ask.com Ford Fusion of Bobby Labonte will sport an Autism Speaks paint scheme this weekend for the Autism Speaks 400. As part of the Askers on the #96 program, Xuhui Ao’s name will be placed on the nose of the #96 Ask.com Ford Fusion for this weekend’s race at Dover International Speedway. Ao leads Ask.com’s ranking team which plays a critical role for the relevancy of Ask’s search results. Ao works closely with the product development and engineering teams to integrate and rank algorithmic search results with Ask’s multiple answers and vertical products. With his great passion, dedication, and ability to work with other teams, Ao helps lead continuous improvements to make Ask.com the best place on the web for answers.(HOF)(5-28-2009)
  • TomTom to sponsor Truex for two races: TomTom Inc. announced that it will become an associate sponsor of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for both the IndyCar Series and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) during the 2009 racing season. TomTom will be the primary sponsor for multiple races of the #1 Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr.in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The #1 car, as well as the driver and crew uniforms, will prominently display the TomTom logo throughout the 2009 race seasons. The TomTom logo and brand colors will also be featured as the primary paint scheme at several races throughout the year. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing driver Aric Almirola first debuted the TomTom paint scheme on the #8 Chevy at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1 of this year. The TomTom paint scheme will return to the track on the #1 Chevy at Pocono on June 7 and New Hampshore on June 28 (NSCS). “This is a great opportunity for me to represent a world-renowned brand such as TomTom,” said Martin Truex Jr. TomTom will feature NASCAR and IndyCar race previews, updates, and features on its blog site, located at www.clubtomtom.com. For a complete selection of TomTom portable navigation devices online, visit www.target.com. For more information on TomTom, go to www.tomtom.com.(EGR)(5-28-2009)
  • Reutimann’s Team Claims Tissot Pit Crew Award at LMS: David Reutimann’s #00 team won the Tissot Pit Crew Precision Award in Monday’s rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup race in Charlotte, NC. It was a double win for the Michael Waltrip Racing team with Reutimann scoring his first career Cup victory. Reutimann’s crew became the 10th different winner of the Tissot competition in the 12 Cup races contested in 2009. Reutimann’s pit crew consists of: Cory Quick (front-tire changer), Josh Houghton (front-tire carrier), Shannon Myers (rear-tire changer), Dwayne Moore (rear-tire carrier), Brian Chase (jackman), Danny Harrington (gasman) and Keith Koppenhal (catch can). The pit crew coach is Greg Miller and the strength coach is Kevin Sharpe. The #00 team will receive $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver. Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew leads in the Tissot standings after 12 races with three victories. There are nine teams tied with one win.(Tissot)(5-28-2009)
  • Childers named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Charlotte: Rodney Childers, crew chief for the #00 Aaron’s Toyota driven by David Reutimann, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Monday’s rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. With rain clouds threatening throughout the already one-day delayed race, Childers made the strategic and race-winning call to keep his driver, who was running outside the top-10 at the time, out of the pits on lap 223 during the event’s final caution for rain. “Obviously their crew chief made an awesome call,” said Reutimann’s team owner Michael Waltrip. Reutimann also added, “It certainly wasn’t the prettiest win but (Rodney) Childers told me stay out and he made a great call.” In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead.(Wypall Wipers)(5-28-2009)
  • Developers announce Denver area race track plans: A group lead by Colorado Springs developer Bill Schuck announced plans Wednesday to build a new race track in northeast Aurora [CO]. The $200 million race track would feature a 1-mile oval speedway, a 4-mile road course and a karting facility. It would seat between 65,000 and 100,000 fans on 1,500 acres on the TransPort property east of Peña Boulevard. The private venture is expected to break ground in 2010 and and will host numerous racing events, such as stock car, open wheel, midget and road racing. The developers said Wednesday the decision to move forward with plans for the track was influenced by the recent passage of Senate Bill 173, the Colorado Tourism Act, which could provide the group access up to $50 million in state sales tax revenue pay off construction bonds over a 30 year period. The bill has not yet been signed by Gov. Bill Ritter. TransPort also said it will ask Ritter and other government officials to help apply for federal discretionary stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Officials for the Florida-based International Speedway Corp. have said for more than two years that they would like to build a track in the metro area, but said any sort of venture would have to be a public-private partnership.(Denver Post)(5-28-2009)
  • Racing at North Wilkesboro? Nobody was more surprised than Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman Bruton Smith when a reporter suggested there would be racing at North Wilkesboro Speedway this weekend [May 29-30]. “You told me something I didn’t know,” Smith said. He paused, then added, “You sure? Anybody going to be there?” If anybody knew the answer it would be Smith, who owns the track that hosted two Sprint Cup races a year until 1996. It has been silent since. “I own the place and it’s for sale, but I did not know there was going to be anything there,” Smith said. “The last time I saw it, it was just slowly returning to the earth.”(ESPN)(5-28-2009)

May 27, 2009

  • More rumors on #88 crew chief change UPDATE 2: a reliable source tells [Sports Illustrated] that Tony Eury Jr. won’t be the crew chief of the #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. as of Dover this weekend. Whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen, but the two weeks in Charlotte made it obvious both driver and team need a change.(Sports Illustrated)(5-26-2009)
    UPDATE: Team owner Rick Hendrick, who has previously said he doesn’t plan to make changes to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 team, wasn’t as definitive on Tuesday. “Could it change?” Hendrick said Tuesday following a meeting with NASCAR officials at the Research and Development Center. “We’re talking about things. We’re going to make decisions as the days go by, but we haven’t made any decisions as it stands now.” Earnhardt Jr. finished 40th in Monday’s rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600. Hendrick did not specifically address breaking up Earnhardt and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. But in the past when discussing changes he made it clear that wasn’t a consideration. He wasn’t so clear on Tuesday with Earnhardt 19th in points, 203 behind Mark Martin for the 12th and final Chase spot. “We’re always concerned when we have a car not run well,” Hendrick said. “We’re always meeting and trying to figure out how to make it better. We’ve got to come up with a plan and we’ve got to work toward that. We thought we had a pretty good plan coming to Charlotte. I was fairly pleased with the All-Star race and thought we would do better Sunday. We weren’t.”(ESPN)(5-26-2009)
    UPDATE 2: this weeks Hendrick Motorsports pre-race press release says: This weekend, the #88 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-526. This chassis ran at……
    curious as every other week, going back to the Daytona 500, this was posted: This weekend, crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and the #88 engineers will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis……..
    No more Eury Jr. mentioned and no quotes in the pre-race press release as usual.(5-27-2009)

  • NASCAR takes #7 rear-end housing UPDATE: During post-race inspection, NASCAR confiscated #7-Robby Gordon’s rear-end housing and took it back to its R&D Center in Concord, N.C., for further evaluation.(SPEEDtv)(5-25-2009)
    UPDATE penalized: NASCAR has issued penalties to the #7 team that competes in the Sprint Cup Series as a result of rules violations committed at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earlier this week. The #7 Toyota, driven and owned by Robby Gordon, was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4I (any determination by NASCAR Officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-10.6H (rear axle housing exceeded the maximum specified toe of plus or minus one degree) of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rule Book. The violation was found during post-race inspection on May 25. As a result, Gordon has been penalized with the loss of 50 championship owner and 50 championship driver points. Crew chief Kirk Almquist has been fined $50,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR PR)(5-27-2009)
  • Coca-Cola 600 TV Ratings: The Coca-Cola 600 was victimized by a rainout on Sunday and multiple rain-delays on Monday that ultimately forced the race to be called after just 227 of the scheduled 400 laps. There were three segments with green flag racing on Monday and the three averaged a 3.3/8 in the metered markets. Comparisons to earlier years are of course invalidated by the rain delays, but for the record last year’s Coke 600 drew a 4.4/9 when run as scheduled on Sunday night (-25%). This year’s Coca-Cola 600 will not be included in FOX’s season average, which therefore remains a 4.6/10, down -13% compared to last year’s 5.3/11. FOX’s rating held up remarkably well during the four Coca-Cola 600 rain delays on Sunday and Monday. The four rain-impacted segments averaged a 2.9/7 over more than five hours of non-race programming. Overall, the non-race segments rated just -12% lower than the race segments (2.9/7 vs. 3.3/8). For season TV Ratings, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(5-27-2009)
  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series Stats
    * David Reutimann won the rain-shortened Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway after a strategic move that resulted in his first series victory. Reutimann was 14th when the rain came, but elected not to pit and took over the lead before the final red flag for rain was displayed. Reutimann posted his first career victory in his 75th series start. He started 21st. Reutimann completed 227 of the 400 laps. The last time the 600 was shortened by rain was in 2003 when Jimmie Johnson won with 276 of 400 laps completed. Reutimann became the eighth different winner in 12 races this season, joining Kyle Busch (3), Mark Martin (2) and Matt Kenseth (2), and Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch with one each. Reutimann led once, for the final five laps, all under caution.
    * Reutimann scored his first victory in five races at Lowe’s. His previous best Lowe’s finish was 10th in this race one year ago. He is the sixth first-time winner of the 600, joining Gordon, David Pearson, Bobby Labonte, Kenseth and Casey Mears.
    * This is the first victory for Michael Waltrip Racing. It is the third team to score its first victory in the Coca-Cola 600, joining Paul McDuffie Racing (Joe Lee Johnson, 1960) and Rahmoc (Neil Bonnett, 1983).
    * Reutimann climbed from 15th to 13th in points, just six points behind 12th-place Mark Martin. Reutimann has ranked among the top 15 all season.
    * This is the first series victory for Toyota at Lowe’s. This is the first time that the #00 has won a NASCAR race. The previous best finish by the #00 was third by Junior Johnson at Martinsville in April 1964.
    * The last postponed series race came at Richmond on Sept. 7, 2008, when the Saturday night race was moved to Sunday.
    * This was the second rain-shortened race in 2009. They ran 152 of 200 laps at Daytona.
    * This was the eighth Coca-Cola 600 run on May 25 — three have been rain-shortened, 1968 (won by Buddy Baker), 1997 (Jeff Gordon) and 2003 (Jimmie Johnson).
    * This was just the 23rd time in 101 races at Lowe’s the race was won from a starting position outside the top 10.
    * Kyle Busch led the most laps (173). He has led over 2,000 laps in NASCAR competition this season.
    * Ryan Newman (finished second) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 2009, all in the last eight races. Newman has scored top-5 finishes in the last four races. He climbed from eighth to seventh in the points standings, his highest points ranking of the season. Newman was 15th before the caution and one of three drivers who elected to stay out, thus advancing his position.
    * Robby Gordon (third) scored his best finish of the season. It was his best finish since he finished second at Watkins Glen in August 2005. Gordon was 24th before the caution and one of three drivers who elected to stay out, thus advancing his position.
    * Carl Edwards (fourth) posted his seventh top-10 finish in nine races at Lowe’s. Edwards scored just his second top-5 finish of the season. He had five top-5 finishes after 12 races one year ago. He climbed from 12th to 11th in points.
    * Brian Vickers (fifth) tied his best finish of the season set at Atlanta. He climbed from 17th to 16th in points.
    * Joey Logano (ninth) was the highest finishing rookie of the three rookies in the race. Logano celebrated his 19th birthday Sunday. This is the fourth time this season that a rookie has scored a top-10 finish. Logano matched his career-best finish of ninth for the third time this season, all in the last four races.
    * Jimmie Johnson (13th) has led in 10 of the 12 races this season including the Coca-Cola 600, more than any other driver. Johnson remained fourth in points.
    * Jeff Burton (25th) ended a nine-race streak of top-15 finishes since Las Vegas.
    * Clint Bowyer (36th) has finished 18th or worse in his last six races. He has dropped from second to 17th in the points during that six-race period.
    * Forty-two of the 43 cars were running at the finish, the most in any race at Lowe’s.(ESPN)(5-27-2009)
  • New Colors for Bowyer at Dover: Clint Bowyer’s #33 Chevy will sport new colors this weekend at Dover International Speedway when the white, blue and maroon paint scheme of The Hartford adorns the #33 for the first of three races in which the Hartford, Conn. corporation will be featured as the primary sponsor. The Hartford is inviting fans to take part in Clint Bowyer’s birthday celebration. Fans can log on to www.TheHartfordRacing.com until Saturday, June 30 at 11:59pm/et and grant Bowyer birthday well wishes. The personalized card will then be given to Bowyer at a special presentation Sunday morning prior to the race.(RCR), see an image of the scheme on my #33 Team Schemes page.(5-27-2009)
  • Tony George Ousted From IMS UPDATE Denied: The controversial, ground-breaking, tumultuous 20-year reign of Tony George at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is over. SPEEDtv.com has learned George was voted out of power in a Tuesday night board meeting in Indianapolis. A source close to the situation confirmed that the 49-year-old grandson of Tony Hulman would no longer be CEO of the Speedway after a vote of the IMS board of directors which includes mother Mari, sisters Josie, Nancy and Kathy, attorney Jack Snyder and George. Calls to Snyder and Fred Nation, IMS vice president of communications, were not returned and George did not respond to an email. George, who started the Indy Racing League in 1996, will continue as CEO of the IndyCar series and is expected to take more of a hands-on role after Tuesday’s developments at the Speedway. It had been rumored for several years that his sisters were concerned with the amount of money George had spent on keeping the IRL afloat and changing the look of the Speedway. He helped orchestrate the unification of open wheel racing with Champ Car’s Kevin Kalkhoven in 2008 but since then has mostly concentrated on trying to improve Vision Racing for stepson Ed Carpenter and Ryan Hunter-Reay.
    It’s assumed Jeff Belskus, the IMS chief financial officer, and Curt Brighton, general counsel for the Speedway, will run the show until a replacement is hired. One name making the rounds has been Humpy Wheeler, the longtime promoter at Charlotte who was at last Sunday’s Indy 500 for the first time since 1970. The heirs to Tony’s throne are Kyle and Jarrod Krisiloff (sons of Josie), Jesika Gunter (daughter of Nancy), Olivia Conforti (daughter of Kathy), Tony Jr. and Lauren (son and daughter of Tony and Laura George). None are on the board as yet but Jarrod Krisiloff currently works in IMS Productions and has spent the past four years learning the ropes of other departments while brother Kyle pursued a driving career in Atlantics and NASCAR before retiring to go to work for the Speedway late last year.(SPEEDtv)(5-27-2009)
    UPDATE: Tony George denied a report today that he has been ousted from his key role at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, saying he still holds all leadership positions associated with the family-owned business. “I am still CEO and still president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, Hulman and Company, and CEO of the Indy Racing League,” George said. According to the report — which came from an online media company, and was picked up by two local news outlets — a decision to dismiss George came at Tuesday night’s board of directors meeting. George, however, described the meeting as “typical,” as did his mother, Mari Hulman George, who is chairman of the board. Hulman George also said there was no call to oust her son, who has held leadership positions at IMS since 1990.(Indianapolis Star)(5-27-2009)
  • It’s a Heluva Good! Race Weekend at Dover International Speedway: The spring race weekend at Dover International Speedway will prove to be a Heluva Good! weekend for racing fans as the “Heluva Good! 200” Nationwide Series race and the “Autism Speaks 400, presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips & Cheese” Sprint Cup Series race will be run at the Monster Mile on Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31 respectively. Heluva Good!, a leading producer of real sour cream dips and naturally aged cheese, teamed up with Dover International Speedway and Autism Speaks for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Dover, now known as the “Autism Speaks 400, presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips & Cheese.” Throughout the race weekend, the trio of partners will work together to educate and increase public awareness of autism. Heluva Good! will also serve as the title sponsor of the second annual “Heluva Good! 200” after announcing their continued sponsorship of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover through 2010. “Heluva Good! is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Autism Speaks 400, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to help generate awareness for this important cause,” said Chris Ross, vice president of marketing for Heluva Good!. “We are excited to expand our track sponsorship and marketing programs with Dover International Speedway and build upon the success of our 2008 initiatives. The Heluva Good! brand is built on bold flavors and personality, which complement the characteristics of NASCAR’s passionate fan base.” As the Official Dip and Cheese of Dover International Speedway, Heluva Good! will distribute samples of its Jalapeño Cheddar Dip, which spices up any tailgate party or summer barbecue, in the track’s FanZone display area all weekend. Fans will also be able to enjoy the “Heluva Good! Monster Burger,” a special menu item featuring Heluva Good! Jalapeño Cheddar Dip and Heluva Good! American Cheese during the course of the weekend at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino’s Garden Café. Heluva Good! also gave away ticket packages to consumers for the race weekend through several consumer promotions. For information on where to buy Heluva Good! products, visit www.HeluvaGood.com.(Dover International Speedway)(5-27-2009)
  • Kid Rock named LifeLock 400 grand marshal: Detroit’s own Kid Rock will serve as Grand Marshal for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, June 14. His current album “Rock ‘N Roll Jesus” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top-200 chart and has sold 5 million copies around the world. The Detroit native recently announced his summer tour, presented by Red Stag by Jim Beam™ Bourbon, which includes a weekend party in his hometown at Comerica Park, July 17th and 18th. “I’m a huge race fan, so being asked to be Grand Marshal for the Michigan race to help kick off my summer tour with Red Stag seemed like a fun way to get the word out,” Kid Rock said. The multi-platinum recording artist will headline pre-race activities, including being recognized during driver introductions, give the famous command for drivers to start their engines and ride in the Grand Marshal car leading the field during the ceremonial parade laps. In addition, Kid Rock will join the #7 Jim Beam driver, Robby Gordon in the speedway’s fan hospitality club, Acceleration. The command for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway is set for 2:07 p.m. Sunday, June 14. The green flag is set to wave at 2:16 p.m. Tickets, camping and Acceleration passes are on sale now. For additional information, call the MIS Ticket Hotline at 800-354-1010 or visit MISpeedway.com.(MIS)(5-27-2009)

 


May 26, 2009

 

  • NASCAR opens floor to drivers, owners: NASCAR officials spent more than four hours in two meetings Tuesday discussing with drivers, owners and team management everything from the sport’s drug testing policy, to how to improve the new car, to the economy. It was a big change from the days when the governing body made decisions and solved problems by talking to one or two drivers in the back of a hauler at the track. All of those involved described the meetings as positive and expected more to follow in the future. “Hopefully, this is the beginning of a new form of communication,” NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said. Chairman Brian France said open lines of communication are needed because “things are more complex.”
    “One-one-one meetings and trying to cover all the issues of the day either at a shop or at the track, that becomes hard to do,” he said. “There are too many complicated issues. It was consistent with where we need to be. And we have a lot of smart people in the industry. We had Roger Penske here. We had a good communication line in the first place. We just want to build on that.” Hunter said a lot of good ideas were broached, some that would have to be considered short term. He did not elaborate, but among those under consideration are double-file restarts with all of the leaders up front.
    One of the biggest complaints coming in was the new car that many drivers and crew chiefs believe has hurt competition. Series director John Darby consistently has said no changes are planned — that changes would create more problems. France said the governing body is more open to changes after Tuesday’s conversations. “We think the car is putting on a good show,” France said, “but clearly if there’s some adjustments without changing the financial [structure], we want to be open to that. We heard some ideas that we’re going to consider. They heard some reasoning why our thinking was staying put on the new car. It was a good exchange.”
    The drug policy that has been scrutinized since Jeremy Mayfield was suspended on May 9 was clarified. Drivers “scared” that a prescription drug could cost them their career left assured that was not the case. “I’m very comfortable now,” Mark Martin said. “I’m also very comfortable with the way they’re handling the list.” NASCAR does not provide its drivers with a full list of substances they are tested for, arguing that leaving it open ended gives them more room to catch offenders. “I feel much better now than I did before the meeting,” Martin said. France said he was quite certain everybody has a clearer understanding of the policy. “We covered that very carefully,” he said. “There were some questions still remaining. Hopefully, we cleared that up.”(see full article at ESPN.com)(5-26-2009)

  • New sponsor for Ambrose: the entry list has RaceSavers.com listed as #47-Marcos Ambrose sponsor for the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway. No idea what RaceSvers.com is and the website racesavers.com is pretty bare. But see an image of the scheme on my #47 Team Schemes Page.(5-26-2009)

  • More rumors on #88 crew chief change UPDATE: a reliable source tells me [Sports Illustrated] that Tony Eury Jr. won’t be the crew chief of the #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. as of Dover this weekend. Whether that actually happens or not remains to be seen, but the two weeks in Charlotte made it obvious both driver and team need a change.(Sports Illustrated)(5-26-2009)
    UPDATE: Team owner Rick Hendrick, who has previously said he doesn’t plan to make changes to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 team, wasn’t as definitive on Tuesday. “Could it change?” Hendrick said Tuesday following a meeting with NASCAR officials at the Research and Development Center. “We’re talking about things. We’re going to make decisions as the days go by, but we haven’t made any decisions as it stands now.” Earnhardt Jr. finished 40th in Monday’s rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600. Hendrick did not specifically address breaking up Earnhardt and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. But in the past when discussing changes he made it clear that wasn’t a consideration. He wasn’t so clear on Tuesday with Earnhardt 19th in points, 203 behind Mark Martin for the 12th and final Chase spot. “We’re always concerned when we have a car not run well,” Hendrick said. “We’re always meeting and trying to figure out how to make it better. We’ve got to come up with a plan and we’ve got to work toward that. We thought we had a pretty good plan coming to Charlotte. I was fairly pleased with the All-Star race and thought we would do better Sunday. We weren’t.”(ESPN)(5-26-2009)

  • Dale Earnhardt Foundation announces scholarship winner: Clemson University’s first Motorsports Innovation Partner, the Dale Earnhardt Foundation, has announced the winner of its annual undergraduate scholarship — Michelle Phillips of Ellisville, MO, a rising junior majoring in mechanical engineering. She is the first woman to receive the scholarship, which was founded in Dale Earnhardt’s honor. Phillips is active on the Clemson Formula SAE team having served as purchasing and logistics manager, head of crash structure design and testing and lead manufacturing assistant. Next year she steps up to team leader. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation funds the annual undergraduate scholarship in honor of Dale Earnhardt for students interested in motorsports and automotive engineering. The Dale Earnhardt Foundation provides a three-year undergraduate scholarship for a student in Clemson’s College of Engineering and Science.(Victory Management Group)(5-26-2009)

  • Riggs-Baldwin parting ways after Coke 600 UPDATE: Scott Riggs is parting ways with #36-Tommy Baldwin Racing following the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the driver said Sunday. Riggs has qualified for eight of the first 12 races with a top finish of 25th in the Daytona 500. Riggs ran only 54 laps at Richmond and 101 laps at Darlington before his day ended because of mechanical issues. Riggs said Sunday he wasn’t optimistic that the #36 Toyota team could continue to compete for the full length of future events without significant sponsorship and that, combined with the team’s performance, made it time for him to leave. He will start the Coca-Cola 600 in the 43rd spot. “I’m a competitor and I’m a racer,” Riggs said. “… It kills my soul to know that we go to the race track and we’re not going to be competitive. Even if the car is competitive, we’re not going to be there around at the end to be competitive. I knew when we first started this deal it was going to be a possibility, I knew it was going to be hard and a struggle to get sponsorship and get it off the ground. … I just know we needed something to change.” Riggs said he and Baldwin talked about the situation this past weekend and the decision was made for him to leave.(SceneDaily)(5-25-2009)
    UPDATE: on Monday’s NASCAR Raceday, it was mentioned Mike Skinner will driver at Dover and races that do not conflict with the Truck Series races, Patrick Carpentier will run the five races that Skinner cannot and Brian Simo will run in the road courses.(5-25-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Mike Skinner, Patrick Carpentier and Brian Simo will share the driving duties of the Tommy Baldwin Racing Toyota for the remainder of the 2009 Sprint Cup Series season. Skinner will drive 17 of the remaining 24 races on the 2009 schedule. Carpentier will be behind the wheel during both Poconos, the June 28 race at New Hampshire, the September 12 race at Richmond and wrap up with the September 27 race at Dover. Brian Simo will navigate the #36 machine during the two road course events.(TBR)(5-26-2009)
  • Congrats: Ken Butler III, driver of the #23 Aaron’s Dream Machine Chevy, and wife, Jaime, welcomed their daughter into the world on Saturday, May 23 at 2:32 p.m. weighing in at 6 lbs, 7 oz. This was the beginning of a big weekend for the Butler’s as Ken Butler, COO of Aaron’s, became a grandparent for the first time and his company went to Victory Lane for the first time in a Sprint Cup Series race with David Reutimann winning the Coca Cola 600 in the #00 Aaron’s Toyota.(5-26-209)
  • Dover and Pepsi extend relationship: Dover International Speedway and Pepsi Bottling Ventures announced a new seven-year agreement that reaffirms Pepsi as the “Official and Exclusive Soft Drink & Bottled Water of Dover International Speedway.” Dover’s relationship with Pepsi Bottling Ventures spans many years, and Pepsi products have become a staple amongst thirsty race fans at the Monster Mile. Pepsi’s involvement blankets the sport of NASCAR, from being on the hood of Jeff Gordon’s #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, to its partnership with Dover, and the two partners regularly work together to offer fans special promotions leading up to the event weekends at the Monster Mile. Fans will be able to purchase Pepsi products – including Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, Aquafina and AMP Energy – at the dozens of concessions stands located around the one-mile, concrete oval. Pepsi products are also served on the property adjacent to the track at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino. Great seats still remain for the May 29-31 NASCAR race weekend at Dover International. For more information, or to purchase race tickets, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.(Dover International Speedway)(5-26-2009)

May 25, 2009

 

  • Reutimann wins Coca-Cola 600: #00-David Reutimann won the Coca Cola 600 [actually 340.5] at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, his first career win in 75 races. Reutimann stayed out and didn’t pit when the final caution for another rain shower which happened on lap 227. Reutimann becomes the 20th driver to win a race in all three national series [Cup, Nationwide, Trucks]. #39-Newman [the pole sitter[ finished 2nd, followed by #7-Robby Gordon [his first top five since Watkins Glen in Aug 2007 and first oval top five since a 5th at Talladega in April 2004], #99-Edwards, #83-Vickers, #18-Busch, #9-Kahne, #42-Montoya, #20-Logano and #17-Kenseth. Points leader #24-Gordon finished 14th and maintains the points lead. There were 14 lead changes among 10 drivers and 6 cautions for 40 laps.
    For race results, awards and more on the Coca Cola 600 Race Results Page.(5-25-2009)
  • #00 is the 102nd car number to win: when David Reutimann won the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Monday, May 25, 2009, it was the first Sprint Cup win ever for a car number 00, being the 102nd different car number [as far as I can calculate] that has won in the Sprint Cup series. It was also David Reutimann’s first Sprint Cup Series win.
    See my Win by Car Number page for the history of car numbers.(5-25-2009)

  • NASCAR takes #7 rear-end housing: During post-race inspection, NASCAR confiscated #7-Robby Gordon’s rear-end housing and took it back to its R&D Center in Concord, N.C., for further evaluation.(SPEEDtv)(5-25-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after Charlotte, race 12 of 36]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 1722 [1 win]
    2) #14-Tony Stewart 1678, -44
    3) #2-Kurt Busch 1607, -115 [1 win]
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1594, -128 [1 win]
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin 1575, -147
    6) #18-Kyle Busch 1540, -182 [3 wins]
    7) #39-Ryan Newman 1538, -184
    8) #31-Jeff Burton 1472, -250
    9) #17-Matt Kenseth 1460, -262 [2 wins]
    10) #16-Greg Biffle 1448, -274
    11) #99-Carl Edwards 1431, -291
    12) #5-Mark Martin 1428, -294 [2 wins]
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #00-David Reutimann 1422, 6 points out of 12th [1 win]
    14) #42-Juan Montoya 1397, -31
    15) #9-Kasey Kahne 1351, -77
    16) #83-Brian Vickers 1348, -80
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(5-25-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte
    David Reutimann won the Coca-Cola 600, his first victory in 75 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in five races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte.
    Ryan Newman (second) posted his sixth top-10 finish in 17 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte. It is his sixth top-10 finish in 2009.
    Robby Gordon (third) posted his first top-10 finish in 18 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte.
    Joey Logano (ninth) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Jeff Gordon leads the point standings by 44 points over Tony Stewart.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-25-2009)
  • Infraction Sheet – Charlotte
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #36, Pre-Race to the rear, Tail End, Engine Change
    #29, 17, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #29, 41, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #39, 43, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #34, 43, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Tail End
    #5, 72, Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road, Tail End
    #7, 74, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #55, 75, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #13, 75, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #29, 77, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #29, 128, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Pass Thru
    #71, 131, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, Pass Thru
    #66, 167, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #29, 167, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #66, 168, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #13, 177, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #47, 223, Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road, Tail End
    (NASCAR Statistics)(5-25-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Charlotte: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver down a lap
    Caution 2: no driver down a lap on the track
    Caution 3: no driver down a lap on the track
    Caution 4: no driver down a lap on the track
    Caution 5: #6-Ragan, 24th
    Caution 6: #47-Ambrose, 26th
    (5-25-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Dover:
    No teams jumped into the top 35, #34-Raines loses points, Gordon increases his lead over 36th
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 1017, +181
    35) #34-Rainesi/Earnhart Ganassi: 882, 46 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 836, 46 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 756, -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.(5-25-2009)
  • Awesome Salute: just before 3:00pm/et, NASCAR Threw the caution flag, will stop the cars on the front stretch, shut the cars off, an observe a moment of silence as requested by President Obama:
    On Memorial Day weekend, President Obama calls on the American people to join him in paying tribute to America’s veterans, servicemen and women – particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice – and their families (whitehouse.gov)
    Crews lined up on pit road, U.S.A. flags were put at half mast and the crowd, for the most part was quiet. What a great tribute..
  • Rain Delay: lasted almost an hour, the red flag was recinded just after 2:00pm/et and the race re-started just after. See weather links for radar/forecast on my Charlotte/Lowe’s Race Info Page – weather section
  • Coca Cola 600 postponed until Monday: rain has caused the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to be postponed until Monday, May 25th at 12:00pm/et. The race will be aired live on FOX.
    AND The 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been postponed due to inclement weather. The race will be held tomorrow and the green flag is scheduled for noon. The speedway’s grandstand gates will open at 9:00am/et. Tickets purchased for this Sunday”s race will be honored Monday. Fans with further questions should contact the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS)(5-24-2009)
  • Caution: if there is no caution flag early for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, NASCAR plans to have a caution around lap 40-45 to allow teams to check tires and adjust the cars.
  • Revised Sched: for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway
    11:53 am/et — Invocation
    11:54 am/et — National Anthem
    12:00 pm/et — Fox goes on the air
    12:01 pm/et — Command to start engines (by Bobby Allison)
    12:09 pm/et — Green Flag

  • 4th team for Penske? hearing Penske Racing could run a 4th team car this season, running the #22 Dodge with Justin Allgaier as the possible driver. Allgaier is currently 10th in the Nationwide Series Points for Penske Racing and won the ARCA championship in 2008.(5-25-2009)

  • Riggs-Baldwin parting ways after Coke 600 UPDATE: Scott Riggs is parting ways with #36-Tommy Baldwin Racing following the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the driver said Sunday. Riggs has qualified for eight of the first 12 races with a top finish of 25th in the Daytona 500. Riggs ran only 54 laps at Richmond and 101 laps at Darlington before his day ended because of mechanical issues. Riggs said Sunday he wasn’t optimistic that the #36 Toyota team could continue to compete for the full length of future events without significant sponsorship and that, combined with the team’s performance, made it time for him to leave. He will start the Coca-Cola 600 in the 43rd spot. “I’m a competitor and I’m a racer,” Riggs said. “… It kills my soul to know that we go to the race track and we’re not going to be competitive. Even if the car is competitive, we’re not going to be there around at the end to be competitive. I knew when we first started this deal it was going to be a possibility, I knew it was going to be hard and a struggle to get sponsorship and get it off the ground. … I just know we needed something to change.” Riggs said he and Baldwin talked about the situation this past weekend and the decision was made for him to leave.(SceneDaily)(5-25-2009)
    UPDATE: on Monday’s NASCAR Raceday, it was mentioned Mike Skinner will driver at Dover and races that do not conflict with the Truck Series races, Patrick Carpentier will run the five races that Skinner cannot and Brian Simo will run in the road courses.(5-25-2009)

  • Long’s team recieves record penalty UPDATE 2 will appeal: NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions and fines to the #46 team [#146] in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions committed during last weekend’s event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-I (any determination by NASCAR Officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-5.4A (engine exceeded the maximum engine size of 358.000 cubic inch displacement) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. As a result, crew chief Charles Swing has been fined $200,000, suspended from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Driver Carl Long and owner Danielle Long have been penalized with the loss of 200 driver and 200 owner points, respectively, suspended from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR)(5-20-2009)
    STATEMENT: Statement from Carl and DeeDee regarding the recent suspension and fines: “First of all I would like to wish Charles Swing, my crew chief, well. Since this incident he was admitted Monday night to a Georgia hospital with heart problems. He is a stay at home dad who loves to go racing. We purchased an engine from a reputable builder at the beginning of the season. We overheated the engine in practice and had to change it. We had the option to withdraw and go home before admitting it to inspection. Trusting that our blown engine wouldn’t have any problems passing NASCAR tech, we submitted it and put our other motor in the car to get ready for the Showdown. As everyone knows it didn’t pass tech. The rules are 358 cubic inches and ours is 358.17 cubic inches. The .17 is as wrong as if it would have been 400 cubic inches. This engine is 50 horsepower less than top teams but it was all that could be afforded. I would have never knowingly went to the race track with a big engine! This suspension has not only stopped me from racing, it has also hurt me with my everyday job. It’s hard to make a living working at the race track when NASCAR will not let you in. I can only hope that the appeal board will see things differently than the ones that came up with this penalty. I don’t consider myself a cheater. I am addicted to the worse drug ever…racing! Every dime we have been able to scrape up, we use to race, because we love the sport. It takes about a half million in equipment to be able to build an engine, so I have to rely on other people and this time it bit me. Thanks for supporting me in wherever this goes! (Carl-long.com)(5-21-2009)
    UPDATE 2: Carl Long says his appeal is scheduled for June 2, the Tuesday after Dover. Long is appealing the NASCAR penalty for the oversized engine in his car last week. NASCAR fined his crew chief $200,000 and suspended Long and his wife (listed as the owner) for 12 events. Long says his engine size was 358.17 cubic inches. The limit is 358.0, although supposedly NASCAR allows up to 358.09 cubic inches.(Virginian Pilot), Long can be at the track and work his ‘everyday job’ with Front Row Motorsports.(5-25-2009)

  • Goodyear to test tires at Indy, June 1-3: Goodyear has two tire tests scheduled next month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the tire manufacturer tries to find a way to avoid last year’s debacle. Nine cars are scheduled to test June 1-3. Those scheduled to test are #14-Tony Stewart, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #9-Kasey Kahne, #7-Robby Gordon, #36-TBA, #12-David Stremme, #16-Greg Biffle, #21-Bill Elliott, and either #07-Casey Mears or #31Jeff Burton. The second test is expected to have at least a dozen teams June 15-17.(Roanoke Times)(5-25-2009)

  • Stock Cars to test at VIR Wednesday: VIRginia International Raceway’s popular open Stock Car test day is coming, Wednesday, May 27. Many stock car racers will be testing and tuning their cars in preparation for the races at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. Crews and drivers alike enjoy the calm atmosphere of testing at VIR. “Bootie” Barker, crew chief for Michael Waltrip this year, says: “It’s a very nice facility, nice accommodations. You have a place to stay (with the Lodge.)” Fans are admitted to the infield, all day, for only $10 in advance or $20 at the gate. Tickets can be bought on the track’s web site, at www.virclub.com/buy-tickets.html. As always this year, fans ages fifteen and under are admitted free with a paid adult guest. Fans are welcome to watch from any of the many scenic spots around the track, with favorites including “NASCAR Bend” – named for the stars who failed to negotiate the turn in a race in the 60s; the approach to Turn Seven and the bridge and the top of the downhill “Rollercoaster.” VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Virginia. VIR hosts a wide range of professional and amateur auto and motorcycle racing and track events, and is well established as “America’s Motorsport Resort. For further information, call 434-822-7700 or visit www.virclub.com.(VIR)(5-25-2009)

  • Logano could make history with win in Coke 600: If #20-Joe Logano wins the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, on his birthday [May 24th], he could join Cale Yarborough [twice] and Kyle Busch as the only drivers to win a Cup race on their birthday. Logano would also break the record for the youngest driver to ever win a Sprint Cup race, current held by Kyle Busch at 20 years and 125 days [for his win at California in Sept 2005], plus he would become the youngest driver ever to win a Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, currently held by Jeff Gordon, who won his first Sprint Cup race ay LMS in the 1994 Coca-Cola 600 at 22 years, 9 months, 25 days.(5-24-2009)
    UPDATE: since the race was postponed a day, Logano won’t join the birthday winners, but could set the other two records, which could happen at any track for the next year.(5-25-2009)
  • Eleven people hurt at race track UPDATE: At least three people were critically injured and eight others were taken to hospitals after two buses crashed into a wall in front of the grandstand at the Columbus Motor Speedway on Saturday night. The crash occurred at about 10:35 p.m. during a Crash-A-Rama event. Witnesses said that it did not seem that the buses were traveling fast at the time of the crash. Firefighters said six of the injured were transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, while three others were sent to Mount Carmel West Hospital. Two others were taken to Grant Medical Center. The occurred a little over a month after a platform collapsed at the speedway, injuring six people. The extent of injuries to those who were critically hurt was not immediately known. See more at wbns10tv.com and Columbus Dispatch.(5-24-2009)
    UPDATE: SPEEDtv’s Ray Dunlap drove the lead bus, before getting rammed by the other driver and is OK with no injuries.
    AND A co-owner of the Columbus Motor Speedway said he is optimistic that the track will reopen for this weekend’s races after a crash injured 12 spectators Saturday night. The wreck left a 5-foot-wide hole in a 4-foot-high concrete restraining wall ringing the speedway. Jeff Nuckles said he hoped a repair crew would fix it this week, in time for the track to host its normal Saturday night stock car races. Two school buses were racing as part of a “Crash-A-Rama” at the speedway in Obetz when one hit the other and both crashed into the wall in front of a grandstand. Flying chunks of the wall hit spectators, although most of the people injured were actually leaning on a fence in front of or at the side of the grandstand, Hamilton Township Fire Chief Jerry Lupfer said. There is a gap of several feet between the wall and the fence. A separate fence rises above the wall to protect spectators from debris flying from the track. Ten of the 12 injured spectators were taken to local hospitals with mostly minor injuries. Six were children. Two people were taken to Grant Medical Center as possible serious trauma cases, but their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Lupfer said. None of the spectators’ names or conditions was available yesterday.(Columbus Dispatch.(5-25-2009)

May 24, 2009

  • Coca Cola 600 postponed until Monday: rain has caused the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to be postponed until Monday, May 25th at 12:00pm/et. The race will be aired live on FOX.
    AND The 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been postponed due to inclement weather. The race will be held tomorrow and the green flag is scheduled for noon. The speedway’s grandstand gates will open at 9:00am/et. Tickets purchased for this Sunday”s race will be honored Monday. Fans with further questions should contact the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS)(5-24-2009)

  • NASCAR drug tests 10 crew members during delay: NASCAR randomly drug-tested 10 crew members from 10 teams during the rain delay at the Coca-Cola 600, an apparent tweak to the first three months of in-season testing. Prior to Sunday night, crew chiefs said NASCAR typically informed them when the garage opened if a team member had been selected to give a sample. The individual had four hours to report to testing. Drivers can be tested on any day of the race weekend. But at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, NASCAR waited until after the scheduled start of the Coca-Cola 600 to inform teams and ordered individuals to report for testing at the end of the race. Because rain delayed the start, crew members were seen entering the infield care center, where the tests were conducted during intermittent showers. NASCAR toughened its testing policy this season, in part because former Truck Series driver Aaron Fike admitted to using heroin, even on days he raced. It led the sanctioning body to implement mandatory preseason testing for all drivers and crews, as well random testing throughout the season. Previously, NASCAR tested only on reasonable suspicion. Now, at least four drivers, 10 crew members 2 NASCAR officials from all three national series are tested at every event.(Associated Press)(5-24-2009)

  • Andretti finishes 19th at Indy: John Andretti finished 19th in the #43 Richard Petty’s car at the Indianspolis 500 on Sunday. Penske Racing’s Helio Castroneves won the race for the third time.(5-24-2009)

  • No lawsuit filed by Mayfield yet UPDATE: Attorney Bill Diehl says it will be next week before he and driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield reveal what action they might take against NASCAR over the sanctioning body’s suspension of Mayfield following a positive drug test taken May 1. “You’ll find out more what [we are] going to do next week – nothing is going to happen today,” Diehl said late Friday afternoon. “Not that we haven’t been working today. … We are going through this methodically, and we’re doing a lot of things, and nothing is going to happen today.”(SceneDaily)(5-23-2009)
    UPDATE: Chairman Brian France says NASCAR has no plans to settle the dispute with suspended Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield out of court if a lawsuit is filed. “We’ll defend the policy,” France said before Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “We’re very confident about the policy.” Mayfield hired Charlotte-based attorney Bill Diehl to challenge his positive test that resulted in an indefinite suspension as a driver and owner for violating the substance abuse policy. Mayfield’s denial has raised many questions among drivers about the policy. France said the mandatory meeting that NASCAR called for drivers and owners on Tuesday at the Research and Development Center in Concord was scheduled before the suspension. “It’s not related to the drug issue or the substance abuse policy, although we’ll take questions on that,” he said.(ESPN)(5-24-2009)

  • Truex Jr. to Waltrip? The word on the street is that #1-Martin Truex to Michael Waltrip’s team in 2010 is a ‘done deal,’ but Truex and Ty Norris, the general manager for Waltrip’s operation, both insist their 2010 deals are still up in the air, for at least another three weeks. “We’ve been hearing the same things,” Norris concedes. “But we’re still in discussions with NAPA and trying to figure out things (sponsorship) for 2010 and beyond. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made before we can even pursue something or get anything done. The biggest issue right now is we’re in negotiations right now with NAPA and Michael, to see what the future looks like. We met a week ago and decided to give ourselves three or four more weeks, and then we’ll make some decisions. So we’re three or four weeks away from making the decision about what Michael and NAPA are going to do. Only after we make that decision can we look at the second decision.” All that would seem to imply that Waltrip himself has to make a good case for sponsorship-driver renewal with NAPA between now and the July Fourth 400 at Daytona.(mikemulhern.net)(5-24-2009)

  • Vickers close to re-upping with Red Bull: Red Bull Racing is close to finalizing a contract extension with #83-Brian Vickers, who is in the final season of a three-year contract. Both sides hold an option on next season that has to be exercised by June 1.(ESPN/AP)(5-24-2009)

  • #36 team gets sponsor for Coke 500: Cooter’s Backyard Bar & Grill will sponsor the hood of the #36 team and Scott Riggs for Sunday night’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Cooter’s is located in Murrellls Inlet, S.C. [near Myrtle Beach], and provides their guests with a wholesome family environment. Menu items include: bbq, burgers, seafood, pasta, chicken, steak, ribs and fried bologna sandwiches. They are also the home of the “world famous atomic buffalo turds.”
    “I am excited for Cooter’s to be on the hood this weekend,” said Tommy Baldwin, owner and crew chief of the No.36 entry. “Edward Williams, owner of Cooter’s, races late model stocks and knows what sponsorship means to the success of a team. I hope we bring home a solid finish for Cooter’s Bar & Grill.”(TBR)(5-24-2009)

  • Nemechek gets sponsor for Coke 600: Joe Nemechek’s #87 Toyota Camry will have primary sponsorship from G.P.’s Enterprises, Inc. in Sunday’s 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. G.P.’s Enterprises, Inc.is a highway construction company based in Auburn, Ga., specializing in site development, new roads, bridges and road grading. Nemechek’s Toyota, owned by NEMCO Motorsports, will also have associate sponsorships from Huckleberry’s BBQ, LubePro’s and Motorsportcruise.com. “We’ve been working hard to secure sponsorships in this tough economy and it is sure gratifying to see results,” said Nemechek. “G.P.’s Enterprises is celebrating it’s 25th year in business and hopefully we can give the company and its president George Flanigan a strong showing.” (NEMCO PR)(5-24-2009)

  • Kahne to run new Dodge engine at Dover: #9-Kasey Kahne will break in Dodge’s new engine for Richard Petty Motorsports next weekend at Dover International Speedway. RPM has been slow in introducing the new R6P8 engine that the other Dodge organization, Penske Racing, has used all season. Vice president of racing operations Robbie Loomis said last month that the engine would be used at Dover, but he wasn’t sure which of RPM’s four drivers would use it. Kahne was selected because officials are confident in the engine’s durability and believe the added horsepower will help propel the driver into the Chase. Kahne is 16th in points, 66 out of the top 12 that make the Chase, heading into Sunday’s 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600. “We feel where we’re at he has a good chance at the Chase,” Loomis said. “More than anything we want the performance.” #44-A.J. Allmendinger and #19-Elliott Sadler are 25th and 26th, respectively, in points. #43-Reed Sorenson is 23rd.(ESPN)(5-24-2009)

  • NASCAR calls mandatory driver meeting UPDATE 2: NASCAR has called a mandatory meeting for all Sprint Cup drivers for Tuesday [May 26th] morning at the Research and Development Center in Concord. Officials would not reveal the nature of the meeting. Speculation in the garage was that it is to clear up the confusion created by Jeremy Mayfield’s indefinite suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy.(ESPN)(5-21-2009)
    UPDATE: The shape of Tuesday’s big meeting between NASCAR officials and Sprint Cup teams is slowly becoming clearer: And it is now sizing up as a day-long series of small meetings, rather than any full townhall scene. Each of NASCAR’s top Cup operations will have its own individual face-to-face with NASCAR executives, to discuss ideas and raise suggestions about what NASCAR could do to make Cup racing more compelling – for better TV ratings and for better ticket sales. All Cup team owners and their drivers are expected to attend the sessions at NASCAR’s nearby R&D center. No specific agenda items have been listed, but one hot topic is expected to be the car-of-tomorrow, which has become an expensive engineering problem for crews, particularly small teams without the hefty engineering and computer. The Carl Edwards-Brad Keselowski-Ryan Newman crash at Talladega could be another issue. NASCAR has said little about what it might want to do to deal with that issue of flying race cars, though Newman himself has said several times it is a major issue that needs to be attacked.(mikemulhern.net)(5-24-2009)
    UPDATE 2: France said the mandatory meeting that NASCAR called for drivers and owners on Tuesday at the Research and Development Center in Concord was scheduled before the [Mayfield] suspension. “It’s not related to the drug issue or the substance abuse policy, although we’ll take questions on that,” he said. France said the meeting will be a town hall atmosphere where a variety of issues will be discussed. “Including what the economy has done, the sponsorship component, what’s happening with the manufacturers, the new car on the track … a lot of different things,” he said. France said the goal is to improve the overall quality of the sport. Under consideration will be double-file restarts by the leaders as used in the All-Star race but a part of point races. “There’s many things we’re going to look at, that being one of them, and see if we can make the sport better,” France said. “It’s to open up our communication lines with team owners and drivers. “It’s just something we’ve wanted to do for a while.”(ESPN)(5-24-2009)

  • Daytona International Speedway deals with flooding IMAGES: The more than 17 inches of rainfall that has fallen in Daytona Beach, Fla., since Sunday has left portions of Daytona International Speedway under water. Pictures show water levels halfway up the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers in some portions of the track. The Turn 1 tunnel that haulers use to enter the track is filled with about 10 feet of water. Track spokesman Andrew Booth said there is no apparent damage and the track will be ready for the July 4 Sprint Cup race. “It’s a significant amount of water, but all it is, is water,'” Booth said. “We have people living around the speedway and in Flagler County with water in their homes. We believe that is more pressing than water in our tunnel. What happened will not affect what happens in July.'” NASCAR officials have seen photos of the track and are not concerned about damage. They said no special test will be scheduled to help rubber in the surface. But until the water level has dropped, Booth said there is no way to know for sure there is no damage. “The pictures are very dramatic,” he said. “It’s not a sight you usually see. We’ll be good to go in July.'”(ESPN)(5-22-2009)
    IMAGE: see some images of the flood at the speedway on my Daytona Track news page.(5-24-2009)

  • Eleven people hurt at race track: At least three people were critically injured and eight others were taken to hospitals after two buses crashed into a wall in front of the grandstand at the Columbus Motor Speedway on Saturday night. The crash occurred at about 10:35 p.m. during a Crash-A-Rama event. Witnesses said that it did not seem that the buses were traveling fast at the time of the crash. Firefighters said six of the injured were transported to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, while three others were sent to Mount Carmel West Hospital. Two others were taken to Grant Medical Center. The occurred a little over a month after a platform collapsed at the speedway, injuring six people. The extent of injuries to those who were critically hurt was not immediately known. See more at wbns10tv.com and Columbus Dispatch.(5-24-2009)
  • Appeal keeping Kentucky from date: The chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., Bruton Smith, said Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that the former track owners of Kentucky Speedway, won’t drop an antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR. The governing body has said that has to happen before it will move a Sprint Cup race there. “I’ve tried every way in the world, talking to them, talking to them, to get them to drop that appeal,” Smith said. “NASCAR doesn’t want to sanction an event there until that appeal has gone away. I have tried everything in order to get that done. I tried to actually shame them into it. “They have a moral obligation, I believe, because the state of Kentucky spent $96 million on putting that speedway there.” If NASCAR waits Smith said he would move one of his existing dates from another track to Kentucky. It has been speculated that date will be Atlanta, which has struggled to sell out its two Cup dates for several years.(ESPN)(5-24-2009)

 


May 23, 2009

  • First Saturday practice for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over, the top-five:
    #11-Hamlin 184.338
    #16-Biffle 184.143
    #07-Mears 184.112
    #18-Busch 184.068
    #83-Vickers 183.961
    slowest: #34-Raines 178.642 and #71-Gilliland 179.122
    incident: #26-McMurray and #43-Sorenson made contact, Sorenson smacked the wall and pancaked the right side, the #26 has some damage to the right side of the car.
    See average speeds, best speeds, laps run on my Coca Cola 600 Practice Speeds page.(5-23-2009)
  • Pit Stall Selections – Coca Cola 600: The selections for pit stalls of the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway have been made. Pole sitter #39-Newman chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], while outside pole sitter #18-Busch took pit stall 15 the next with an opening in front of it and #24-Gordon, who starts 3rd tool stall 22, the 3rd with an opening. #48-Johnson, who starts 5th, chose the final pit stall. See the pit selection chart on the Charlotte Pit Stall Selection chart.(5-23-2009)

  • “The King” and “King of Beers” Drive Home Responsible Drinking Message: “The King” and the “King of Beers” hope adult race fans cheering on their favorite NASCAR drivers will make responsible choices before the green flag waves. Richard Petty, the most decorated driver in the history of NASCAR, and Anheuser-Busch announced today they are teaming up on a new Budweiser responsibility campaign aimed at reminding fans to use a designated driver. The new campaign is being launched nationwide this week in time for Sunday’s NASCAR race in Charlotte. “Racing is about winning, and we think it’s important to remind fans that everyone wins by choosing a designated driver,” said Petty. “We’re very excited to work with Anheuser-Busch to help make sure everyone gets home safely on race day and anytime their activities include alcohol.” The campaign materials read, “Designated Drivers…Preferred By Kings Everywhere,” and include the text, “The King of the Road and the King of Beers remind you to choose a designated driver. Two out of three American adults have been or used a designated driver. Thanks for making sure everyone gets home safely.”
    “It’s truly an honor for us to partner with Richard on this important message to race fans,” stated Carol Clark, Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Choosing a designated driver is a sure route to victory lane.”(Elevation Group)(5-23-2009)

  • Danica will consider NASCAR: Even as Danica Patrick answered questions about her chances in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, Indy Car’s most famous driver said Thursday that she remained open to a future in NASCAR. Patrick, who will start 10th Sunday, said she will listen to offers from any NASCAR teams interested in signing her, but reiterated, “this is my home” referring to the Indy Car Series. Her contract with Andretti Green Racing (AGR) is up at the end of the season and speculation has put her everywhere from NASCAR to Formula One to returning to the championship AGR organization. “It’s a contract year and I’m going to look at everything,” Patrick said. “I will look at NASCAR.” Patrick, 27, said she can’t begin negotiations until June. And when asked during Thursday’s annual Indy 500 Media Day at the Speedway if she was courting offers, Patrick smiled and said, “I’m not bringing it up, I’m not slipping it into conversations. .. I’m purely answering questions that people are asking me.”(FanHouse)(5-23-2009)

  • No lawsuit filed by Mayfield yet: Attorney Bill Diehl says it will be next week before he and driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield reveal what action they might take against NASCAR over the sanctioning body’s suspension of Mayfield following a positive drug test taken May 1. “You’ll find out more what [we are] going to do next week – nothing is going to happen today,” Diehl said late Friday afternoon. “Not that we haven’t been working today. … We are going through this methodically, and we’re doing a lot of things, and nothing is going to happen today.”(SceneDaily)(5-23-2009)
  • Ernie Saxton to be honored: Nationally-recognized public relations, motorsports marketing and promotions specialist Ernie Saxton has been named recipient of the 2009 Leonard J. Sammons Jr. Memorial Award which recognizes outstanding contributions to auto racing. Saxton will be honored when the 18th annual Northeast Modified Hall of Fame driver inductions and special award ceremonies take place Sunday, May 24 on the Cayuga County Fairgrounds in conjunction with the annual Memorial Day Weekend holiday show at the adjacent speedway. When it was first announced that Saxton was to receive the Sammons Award, being surprised was just one of the emotions that he felt. “I am humbled to have been selected for this award,” said the 67-year-old publisher of the highly-regarded Motorsports Sponsorship Marketing News upon being told of this honor. “After writing so many columns and articles and working for so many speedways and organizations, I still enjoy what I do. And as long as my health holds out, I plan to continue doing this, although I might phase a few things out in the years to come. But I am really looking forward to the activities at Weedsport.” A columnist with Area Auto Racing News for some 28 years, Saxton has written or still writes for such varied publications as the Bucks County Courier Times, Inside Track Motorsports News, Stock Car Racing, NASCAR Magazine, Speedway Illustrated and National Dragster. The director of public relations and communications at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa., for 43 years, Saxton also served in that capacity at New Jersey’s Bridgeport and Trenton International Speedways, and he was the press liaison for six years at Pennsylvania’s Pocono International Raceway. As an announcer, he has worked at 174 tracks across the country. He has been behind the microphone at Grandview for 41 years and also called the racing action at such unique locations as the old Ascot Park in California, New York City’s Madison Square Garden, the old John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia, and the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia. At the upcoming ceremonies later this month you can be sure that Ernie Saxton will acknowledge the help that his wife Marilyn has given him over the years. And their relationship in this light is well-known throughout the racing community. But so is his leadership in motorsports and he is well-deserving of this singular recognition.(NASCAR PR)(5-23-2009)

  • Medal of Honor Recipients honored at LMS: On Friday night, the Speedway Club at Lowe’s Motor Speedway was host to a very special gathering of America’s military heroes on the eve of Memorial Day weekend — honoring nine Medal of Honor recipients whose bravery and valor earned them the military’s highest award. There are just 97 living recipients of the Medal of Honor today. Winston Kelley, Executive Director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame recognized the Medal of Honor recipients and presented them with their commemorative brick for the military tribute at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The recipients:
    — Colonel Charles P. Murray, Jr., United States Army (Retired)
    — Private Hector A. Cafferata, Jr., United States Marine Corps (Retired)
    — Corporate Rodolfo P. Hernandez, United States Army (Retired)
    — Colonel Walter J. Marm, Jr., United States Army (Retired)
    — Master Sergeant John F. Baker, Jr., United States Army (Retired)
    — Sergeant Leonard B. Keller, United States Army (Retired)
    — Sergeant Robert Patterson, United States Army (Retired)
    — CSM Gary L. Littrell, United States Army (Retired)
    — Colonel Robert L. Howard, United States Army (Retired) was unable to attend.(5-23-2009)

  • ‘PRN Up To Speed’ Rapidly becoming the most popular at-track fan event in NASCAR, “PRN Up To SPEED” will feature one of the best driver lineups to date for the free fan forums taking place at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Coca-Cola 600 Week. On Sunday, May 24, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer and three-time Coca-Cola 600 champion Jimmie Johnson will join personalities from the Performance Racing Network on the SPEED stage, located at the speedway’s main entrance, between 1-2 p.m., prior to the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600. Track President Marcus Smith will welcome the crowd at the beginning of each session.(5-23-2009)

  • NASCAR sponsors may face boycott over Confederate flag: The Miami-Dade branch of the NAACP has set its sights on NASCAR, Homestead’s major national attraction, in its fight against the Confederate flag. The civil rights organization will first reach out to officials with NASCAR, seeking to enlist their help in efforts to ban the controversial symbol from city-sponsored events. If that does not work, however, NAACP officials say they will consider a boycott and protest march at the NASCAR events slated for Nov. 20-22 at the Homestead-Miami Motor Speedway. NAACP officials on Wednesday said they are drafting a letter to NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, who has publicly spoken out against the Confederate flag in recent years. If the civil rights organization does not get the racing league’s cooperation and support, officials there said they are prepared to begin contacting NASCAR’s sponsors, and to stage protests during the races.(South Florida Times)(5-23-2009)
  • Gold Walls at LMS: The retaining walls at Lowe’s Motor Speedway will be gold this year in honor of the speedway’s 50 years of racing. A crew of eight painted the walls using 800 gallons of paint and a process called “fogging” to do the job. More than 190 man hours went into making sure the walls were gold before cars got on track.(www.coke600.com)(5-23-2009)
  • 50th Coca-Cola 600 Pre-Race Festivities to Feature Military Salute: During the pre-race show for the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials will salute the U.S. Armed Forces with a military demonstration, special awards, military band performances and a special presentation with Medal of Honor recipients. The pre-race festivities will also include a parade lap by Bobby Allison, an inspirational message from Franklin Graham and appearances on stage by Miss USA Kristen Dalton and “Dancing with the Stars” winner and Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson. Gates will open at 11 a.m. Below is an approximate timeline of the events:
    2:15 p.m.
    Coca-Cola 600 Grand Marshal Bobby Allison will take a ceremonial parade lap around the speedway in the No. 12 Coca-Cola-sponsored 1969 Mercury Cyclone he drove to victory in the 1971 Coca-Cola 600.
    2:27 p.m. 
    Nine Medal of Honor recipients will be honored on the pre-race stage. Honorees include World War II veteran, Charles Murray Jr.; Korean War veterans Hector Cafferata Jr. and Rudolfo Hernandez; and Vietnam War veterans John Baker Jr., Robert Howard, Leonard Keller, Gary Littrell, Walter Marm and Robert Patterson.
    2:30 p.m. 
    World-renowned evangelist and North Carolina-native Franklin Graham will deliver a 30-minute inspirational message to fans from the pre-race stage located at the superspeedway’s start-finish line, and it will be broadcast on the speedway’s public address system. Graham will deliver the invocation before the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and he will also assist with Motor Racing Outreach’s Sunday service to the drivers and team members in the garage.
    3:00 p.m. 
    Fans will be entertained by the Marine Marching Band, Navy Rock Band, U.S. Air Force Tops in Blue and the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus.
    4:40 p.m. 
    The U.S. Army will conduct a military demonstration on the frontstretch involving Blackhawk helicopters, military vehicles, a Howitzer demonstration and more than 2,000 troops. The forces will secure the frontstretch ballfield and a Chinook helicopter will make a special delivery that will include a U.S. flag that was flown over the headquarters of the Multi-National Corps-Iraq.
    5:09 p.m.
    A host of VIPs will grace the pre-race stage prior to driver introductions, including Miss USA Kristen Dalton, Honorary Race Official Shawn Johnson and Grand Marshal Bobby Allison.
    5:35 p.m.
    Following driver introductions, the Black Daggers, the official U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team, will perform a jump over the speedway.
    Additionally, the Presentation of Colors and “21-Gun Salute” will be performed by soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg. “Taps” will be performed by the 82nd Airborne Division Bugler from Fort Bragg. During the national anthem, 100 family members of service men and women will unfurl a large American flag that’s shaped like the United States on the frontstretch grass. The Air Force Tops in Blue band will perform the national anthem. The pre-race flyover will feature four F-15s from the 122nd Fighter Squadron and 159th Fighter Wing of the Louisiana Air National Guard.
    Tickets for all Coca-Cola 600 Week events are available at the gates on event days or by calling the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket services department at 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS)(5-23-2009)

 


May 22, 2009

 

  • Daytona International Speedway deals with flooding: The more than 17 inches of rainfall that has fallen in Daytona Beach, Fla., since Sunday has left portions of Daytona International Speedway under water. Pictures show water levels halfway up the SAFER (Steel and Foam Energy Reduction) barriers in some portions of the track. The Turn 1 tunnel that haulers use to enter the track is filled with about 10 feet of water. Track spokesman Andrew Booth said there is no apparent damage and the track will be ready for the July 4 Sprint Cup race. “It’s a significant amount of water, but all it is, is water,'” Booth said. “We have people living around the speedway and in Flagler County with water in their homes. We believe that is more pressing than water in our tunnel. What happened will not affect what happens in July.'” NASCAR officials have seen photos of the track and are not concerned about damage. They said no special test will be scheduled to help rubber in the surface. But until the water level has dropped, Booth said there is no way to know for sure there is no damage. “The pictures are very dramatic,” he said. “It’s not a sight you usually see. We’ll be good to go in July.'”(ESPN), see images of the speedway at mikemulhern.net.(5-22-2009)

  • Boris Said to skip race at Infineon Raceway? The road racer is always a threat to win out West, but he won’t be there unless some last-minute funding comes through. RCM Motorsports is moving forward with plans to put Boris Said in 10 to 12 races this season. But in securing sponsorship for races like Watkins Glen in August, the team has run into issues where their sponsors won’t be ready to fund them until the second half — leaving Sonoma out in the cold. “This is the best time of my career in the sport, because we’re on the cutting edge,” said owner Rick Clark, optimistic despite the hardships. “All we can do is hope a significant sponsor will realize the marketing upside for Sonoma. Of the sponsors that we are talking to, they’re trying to do their best to reposition in time … but we could use the additional help.” Clark is excited, however, about some of the other opportunities that are in place for selected races in the summer and Fall. “The Ford people have been in contact with us weekly and are really excited about the team. We’re looking at a Hispanic network and programming opportunities to feature our team, as well as a possible cartoon in the works. We are going to make an announcement about partnering with a major viral TV network that has 35-45 million homes and counting. So, someone is recognizing the value we bring to the table, and before long we will be a major team to be reckoned with.”(Sports Illustrated)(5-22-2009)

  • NASCAR..going green? With President Obama making the strong case this week for more fuel-efficient cars out of Detroit, and with the heads of all the car makers there at the White House, what’s the take in the NASCAR garage on what this sport should be doing to be more green? NASCAR’s John Darby, head of the Sprint Cup series, says it’s nice to look at racing more fuel-efficient engines, or using more fuel-efficient fuels, and all that, but he says NASCAR’s main point right now is this: “We have been, for the last five years, looking at green – at alternative fuels, at new engine designs. But we feel we can have a huge effect on being environmentally friendly by attacking the biggest group we deal with – our fan base and our competitors in the garage. For example, you have a choice when you rent a car, so rent a hybrid. Or put four people in a car; you don’t need four cars. Those kinds of things. Our great initiative right now is in the two new office buildings going up, the Hall of Fame here, and one in Daytona. Both of those are going to be green-certified. We are doing a lot of things internally. Do the race cars matter? Yes. And will some day they come into that loop, yes. But right now we can make more progress and be more effective, in the grand scheme of things, and we can make more progress by working on the big picture and the things around us first.….knowing that, yes, there will be a fuel that’s ‘right,’ that there will be fuel-injection, a lot of changes. Unfortunately they take longer to work through than the simpler things.” E-85? That’s a highly touted mix of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent farm-based ethanol. “This is my personal opinion, that that’s not the best plan,” Darby says. “You don’t want to make changes just to make changes. There are better fuels, more practical fuels. You can argue that the (corn-based) alcohol (fuel) program is at the expense of making fuel for cars over the food we eat. Now I don’t necessarily support that. But there are better many opportunities for better fuels.”(Mikemulhern.net)(5-22-2009)

  • Wrenchman Award created to honor crew members: Craftsman, the Official Tools of NASCAR, and NASCAR have announced the newest NASCAR season-ending award — the NASCAR Craftsman Wrenchman Award, to recognize a team member from each of the three national NASCAR touring series who best showcases core Craftsman attributes of trust, quality, knowledge and innovation when performing their job with the race team. The Wrenchman Award is open to all crew members, whether they work at the track or race shop. Teams will nominate one team member with a selection committee choosing the finalists. A fan voting will decide the winner on the Sprint Cup Series side, while the selection committee will choose the winners from the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. The accomplishments and profiles of each of the 12 Cup Series finalists, showcasing how they embody the core Craftsman attributes, will be featured on www.craftsman.com, giving fans a unique opportunity to get a glimpse behind-the-scenes at what it takes to field a NASCAR team and vote for their favorites. In addition, one lucky fan will win a trip to Champions Week in Las Vegas to make the presentation to the winning crew member. Overall, the program is expected to award approximately $170,000 in cash and Craftsman tools to the winners. Crew member nominations by participating Cup, Nationwide and Truck series teams will take place this summer. A selection committee will narrow the Cup Series finalists in August. Fan voting will commence in the fall, leading up to the announcement of the Wrenchman Award winners on Nov. 22 at Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(NASCAR)(5-22-2009)

  • TRG Motorsports Signs Charter Air Transport on #71: TRG Motorsports has signed Charter Air Transport as an associate sponsor on the #71 TRG Motorsports Chevy starting this weekend at the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Charter Air Transport will help the team get the next races at Dover, Pocono and Michigan. The Cleveland, Ohio based Charter Air Transport operates a fleet of fuel efficient Embraer 120 Brasilia turboprop planes as well as Citation private jet air craft, offering an affordable solution to team transport. Charter Air Transport familiarized themselves with the team through David Gilliland’s web site. More in about Charter Air Transport at www.charterairtransport.com.(TRG Motorsports)(5-22-2009)

  • Kenseth’s expecting: #17-Matt Kenseth and his wife, Katie, are due to have a baby soon, Kenseth said Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The child will be the first for the couple, though Kenseth has a son from a previous relationship. Matt Kenseth said the baby is due in about a month and a half. “It’s been an exciting time in our life,” Kenseth said. “Obviously, it’s going to be an exciting time in our life. It’s going to be a lot different. [Son] Ross is going to be 16 on Monday, and we’ll have a baby in about a month and a half, so that’s going to be interesting.” Kenseth said he didn’t know if the child would be a boy or a girl.(SceneDaily)(5-22-2009)
  • Gold-Medal Gymnast Shawn Johnson named Coca-Cola 600 race official: World champion gymnast, celebrity dancer and honor roll student, Shawn Johnson has been named an Honorary Race Official for the Coca-Cola 600. Johnson will be on hand to help celebrate the historic 50th running of NASCAR’s longest race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 24. The 17-year-old Johnson won four medals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, then came home and won America’s heart as the youngest-ever winner of the popular ABC television show “Dancing with the Stars.” As an Honorary Race Official for the Coca-Cola 600, Johnson will take part in a number of activities, including interacting with fans, attending the driver’s meeting and greeting all of the drivers during pre-race introductions. During weekend events, Johnson will get a true NASCAR experience when she climbs into an actual race car for a 160 mph ride-along with fan favorite and Coca-Cola Racing Family member Kyle Petty. She’ll also tour the garage at Lowe’s Motor Speedway where she’ll try her hand at typical pit crew jobs such as jacking a car, working an air wrench and changing tires.(Coca-Cola)(5-22-2009)

May 21, 2009

  • Newman wins pole for Coca-Cola 600: #39-Ryan Newman won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a lap of 188.475mph for his 1st pole of 2009 and for Stewart-Haas Racing, 8th at Lowe’s and 44th of his career. #18-Busch will start 2nd followed by: #24-Gordon, #5-Martin, #48-Johnson, #9-Kahne, #09-Bliss, #83-Vickers, #42-Montoya and #21-Elliott.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #09-Bliss, #21-Elliott, #87-Nemechek, #82-Speed, #66-Blaney, #71-Gilliland, #13-Papis and #36-Riggs
    The four drivers who failed to qualify: #41-Yeley, #73-Garvey, #64-TBodine and #06-Starr.
    See pole progression, qualifying order, qualifying results, starting lineup on my Coca Cola 600 Starting Lineup/Qualifying Results page.(5-21-2009)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Coca Cola 600:
    Ryan Newman won the Coors Light Pole Award for the COCA-COLA 600 with a lap of 28.651 seconds, 188.475 mph.
    This is his 44th pole in 272 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. His first pole in the series came at the 2001 COCA-COLA 600
    This is his first pole and fifth top-10 start in 2009.
    This is his eighth pole in 17 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte.
    Kyle Busch (second) posted his eighth top-10 start of 2009 and his third in 11 races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte.
    Jeff Gordon (third) posted his 22nd top-10 start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte. It is his ninth in 12 races this season.
    Joey Logano (14th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-21-2009)
  • Qualifying Order for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s 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 #83-Vickers, the final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #42-Montoya. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #41-Yeley with the final driver scheduled to qualify being #71-Gilliland. See the full qualifying order on the Charlotte Qualifying Page.(5-21-2009)
  • Thursday practice for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over, the top five fastest:
    #5-Martin 185.217
    #48-Johnson 185.128
    #11-Hamlin 184.533
    #42-Montoya 184.470
    #83-Vickers 184.401
    slowest: #06-Starr 175.387 and #73-Garvey 178.885
    See average speeds, best speeds, laps run on my Coca Cola 600 Practice Speeds page.(5-21-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice at Lowe’s Motor Speedway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 17th fastest
    #13-Max Papis, 24th
    #82-Scott Speed, 25th
    #66-Dave Blaney, 31st
    #21-Bill Elliott [PC1], 33rd
    #09-Mike Bliss, 35th
    #64-Todd Bodine, 38th
    #71-David Gilliland, 39th
    these drivers would miss the race if the order stayed the same:
    #36-Scott Riggs, 41st
    #41-J.J. Yeley, 43rd
    #73-Mike Garvey, 46th
    #06-David Starr, 47th
    See average speeds, best speeds, laps run on my Coca Cola 600 Practice Speeds page.(5-21-2009)

  • NASCAR calls mandatory driver meeting: NASCAR has called a mandatory meeting for all Sprint Cup drivers for Tuesday [May 26th] morning at the Research and Development Center in Concord. Officials would not reveal the nature of the meeting. Speculation in the garage was that it is to clear up the confusion created by Jeremy Mayfield’s indefinite suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy.(ESPN)(5-21-2009)

  • Mayfield meets with NASCAR; legal action possible: The attorney for Jeremy Mayfield hinted Thursday he’ll take legal action to have Mayfield’s NASCAR suspension lifted. Mayfield and attorney Bill Diehl met for more than an hour with NASCAR officials. Although Diehl said the meeting was cordial, it did not get them any closer to resolving the issue. Mayfield was suspended May 9 for failing a random drug test. “Jeremy doesn’t believe that he’s done anything that supports his suspension for the use of drugs,” Diehl said. NASCAR has not revealed what banned substance Mayfield used, and Diehl also refused to identify the substance. Diehl did not say what his next move will be, but strongly hinted at taking legal action Friday that will challenge the suspension and the validity of the drug test. He said he received copies of two toxicology reports this week from NASCAR. “We’re contesting everything that happened,” Diehl said. “We hope that it’s a mistake.” Joining Mayfield and Diehl at the meeting were four other Diehl associates. Representing NASCAR was general counsel Gary Crotty, assistant general counsel Karen Leetzow, Dr. David Black, administrator of NASCAR’s drug testing program, and Steve O’Donnell, vice president of racing operations. “I would agree it was cordial. We laid out the process,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “They want to get Jeremy back in the car, and there is a very well-defined program to do that. Jeremy needs to meet with Dr. Black and work that out, and if he is successful in that, he can get back in the car.” Mayfield was dropped off and picked up by his wife in a white Cadillac Escalade. When she returned to get him, a cameraman emerged from the back seat to film the scene. Mayfield, wearing black slacks and a long sleeve dress shirt, smiled and exchanged pleasantries, but Diehl would not allow him to comment.(Associated Press)(5-21-2009)

  • Double File Restarts coming? NASCAR officials are looking at whether the double-wide restarts used in the All-Star race with all the leaders up front should be used for regular Sprint Cup races. “We’ve been talking about it for a year,” series director John Darby said on Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Every time we have an All-Star race the frequency of those talks gets much louder. It’s obviously something the fans like a lot. Their interest is our interest. We’re looking at it.” While most procedural changes are made during the offseason, Darby didn’t rule out that a change could be made during the season if the governing body thought it made for better racing. “We use it in modified and Camping World East/West events,” he said. “The only thing it hasn’t applied to is the national series. What we have to look at is the downside. We try to apply every scenario that could create more problems. That’s what we’re working through.” Races currently are started double-filed until 20 laps remain with lapped cars on the inside lane. That means a 15th-place car actually could be starting in the 30th position. All restarts 20 laps in are single file.(ESPN)(5-21-2009)

  • American Red Cross Joins 3M and Greg Biffle: For the second year in a row, the American Red Cross is encouraging loyal NASCAR fans to donate blood through the Red Cross by joining Red Cross Racing. Red Cross Racing is a program designed to increase the number of blood donors and the number of times they donate. Participants of this program can get points for a variety of activities including giving blood and/or platelets, and recruiting other blood donors. #16-Greg Biffle has signed on again as a Red Cross spokesperson this racing season to raise awareness about the ongoing need for blood donations. Biffle, a Red Cross blood donor and member of its National Celebrity Cabinet, will help get the word out to the NASCAR fans across the country about the importance of blood donation. Thanks to a generous donation from 3M, Biffle will wear the Red Cross fire suit and drive the #16 Ford Fusion with the full Red Cross paint scheme at the Sprint Cup Series races in Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend and in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend. This year, the program offers participants new and exciting rewards for blood donation activities. Registrants have the chance to get points and exchange them for NASCAR-themed prizes, such as limited edition die-cast cars. Fans can join the program by visiting redcrossracing.com, and can begin accruing points after registering.(PR Newswire)(5-21-2009)

  • NASCAR Kids Dolls: NASCAR and Original Appalachian Artworks have joined forces with leading toymaker JAKKS Pacific to produce NASCAR ‘Kids, a crop of distinctly designed Cabbage Patch Kids in likenesses celebrating NASCAR’s top drivers. The first NASCAR ‘Kid to speed to the checkered flag will be Dale Earnhardt Jr. NASCAR’s most popular driver is scheduled to debut his ‘Kid counterpart on QVC Friday, May 22 during QVC’s For Race Fans Only broadcast at 8:00pm/et. The next NASCAR ‘Kid to hit the road will be Jeff Gordon, who is scheduled to make his appearance in Fall 2009. NASCAR ‘Kids, will have the signature birthmark of Xavier Roberts and an authentic birth certificate showing the driver’s actual birth date. The Adoption Fee (SRP) is $45.12.(CNN Money)(5-21-2009)

  • Long’s team recieves record penalty STATEMENT will appeal: NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions and fines to the #46 team [#146] in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions committed during last weekend’s event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-I (any determination by NASCAR Officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-5.4A (engine exceeded the maximum engine size of 358.000 cubic inch displacement) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. As a result, crew chief Charles Swing has been fined $200,000, suspended from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Driver Carl Long and owner Danielle Long have been penalized with the loss of 200 driver and 200 owner points, respectively, suspended from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR)(5-20-2009)
    STATEMENT: Statement from Carl and DeeDee regarding the recent suspension and fines: “First of all I would like to wish Charles Swing, my crew chief, well. Since this incident he was admitted Monday night to a Georgia hospital with heart problems. He is a stay at home dad who loves to go racing. We purchased an engine from a reputable builder at the beginning of the season. We overheated the engine in practice and had to change it. We had the option to withdraw and go home before admitting it to inspection. Trusting that our blown engine wouldn’t have any problems passing NASCAR tech, we submitted it and put our other motor in the car to get ready for the Showdown. As everyone knows it didn’t pass tech. The rules are 358 cubic inches and ours is 358.17 cubic inches. The .17 is as wrong as if it would have been 400 cubic inches. This engine is 50 horsepower less than top teams but it was all that could be afforded. I would have never knowingly went to the race track with a big engine! This suspension has not only stopped me from racing, it has also hurt me with my everyday job. It’s hard to make a living working at the race track when NASCAR will not let you in. I can only hope that the appeal board will see things differently than the ones that came up with this penalty. I don’t consider myself a cheater. I am addicted to the worse drug ever…racing! Every dime we have been able to scrape up, we use to race, because we love the sport. It takes about a half million in equipment to be able to build an engine, so I have to rely on other people and this time it bit me. Thanks for supporting me in wherever this goes! (Carl-long.com)(5-21-2009)

  • Race for Television Exposure Goes Gordon’s Way: With seven top-10 finishes and a win to his credit through the first 10 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Jeff Gordon is easily winning the battle for television exposure on behalf of his corporate sponsors. Gordon’s brands have appeared for 12.5 hours during TV coverage devoted to the races, nearly 1.5 hours more than sponsors received from the second-most exposure prolific driver, Jimmy Johnson. According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. — which specializes in measuring the scope of sponsorships across all forms of media — 70 brands appearing on locations such as Gordon’s car, uniform and support crew’s uniforms have appeared clear and in-focus for a total of 12 hours, 27 minutes, 10 seconds (12:27:10) during television coverage of NASCAR’s first 10 official points races. Additionally, those sponsors have been mentioned by Gordon or the announcers 103 times. In comparison, 54 brands have been monitored with Johnson thus far in 2009, amassing a cumulative on-screen time of 10:42:03, while also being mentioned verbally on 100 occasions.
    Other exposure findings from the first 10 race telecasts:
    Most exposure for Series sponsor Sprint from a driver: 00:15:08 (Gordon)
    Most verbal mentions for a primary team sponsor: 35 (Home Depot-J. Logano)
    Most exposure for tire provider Goodyear from a driver: 00:12:24 (Johnson)
    Most exposure for an auto manufacturer from a driver: 01:17:37 (Chevrolet-Gordon)
    Most exposure from identity on a hood: 02:01:43 (Lowe’s-Johnson)
    Top Exposure Producing Drivers (After 10 Races):
    Driver, Points Standing, Total Brands, Exposure Time, Verbal Mentions
    1) Gordon, J., 1, 70, 12:27:10, 103
    2) Johnson, J., 6, 54, 10:42:03, 34
    3) Busch, Ky., 5, 69, 10:01:00, 100
    4) Kenseth, M., 12, 56, 08:22:09, 50
    5) Busch, Ku., 2, 33, 07:53:00, 56
    6) Earnhardt, D. Jr., 18, 45, 07:35:44, 32
    7) Edwards, C., 9, 57, 07:24:10, 61
    8) Stewart, T., 3, 46, 06:30:11, 58
    9) Martin, M., 15, 56, 06:20:56, 34
    10) Hamlin, D., 4, 46, 05:26:05, 58
    (Joyce Julius & Assoc)(5-21-2009)

  • Race #800 for Elliott: #21-Bill Elliott, driving the Motorcraft Ford for Wood Brothers Racing, will make his 800th career start Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Elliott is currenty 7th in the all-time Sprint Cup start list behind Richard Petty (1184 starts), Ricky Rudd (906), Dave Marcis (883), Terry Labonte (883) and Kyle Petty (829). The best of the top 10 are all active drivers: Sterling Marlin (744), Michael Waltrip (736) and Mark Martin (733). Only four of the top-10 have won a championship.(5-21-2009)

  • Decorated Green Beret to be guest of Newman: Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Goodloe, a Green Beret and decorated war hero, will be a guest of Ryan Newman and the #39 U.S. Army/Stewart-Haas Racing team for Sunday’s Memorial Day weekend classic — Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway near Charlotte. The Special Operations Soldier, who is a 1989 graduate from South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, served in seven separate tours of duty between Afghanistan and Iraq. He was awarded four Bronze Stars and one Bronze Star with Valor. Goodloe’s seven tours of duty included four different deployments in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and three different deployments in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He currently serves as an instructor at the U.S. Army Sniper School at Fort Bragg, N.C. When Newman visited Fort Bragg in January, Goodloe was his instructor at the Special Forces Sniper Weapons Range where Newman fired numerous rounds with the M107 50-caliber long-range sniper rifle.(U.S. Army Racing)(5-21-2009)
  • Sad News – Larry Rice: Former USAC Champ and Infy 500 rookie of the year, Larry Rice, died Wednesday in Brownsburg, IN of cancer at age 63, Rice won the 1973 USAC midget title, be a two-time USAC Silver Crown champion (1977, 1981) and win 23 times (15 midgets, 5 dirt, 3 sprint) during his career. See article by Robin Miller at SPEEDtv.com.(5-21-2009)

  • Stewart looking to be the first owner-driver winner since Rudd: #14-Tony Stewart’s win in the All-Star Race doesn’t go down as an official win for Stewart-Haas Racing, so the team will still be looking for its first points win Sunday night. Stewart will also look to do something that hasn’t been done in this millennium: win as an owner-driver. No owner-driver has won a points race since Ricky Rudd in the Tide Ride back in 1998. The last to do it before him was Geoffrey Bodine in 1996, when the upstate New York driver fittingly won at Watkins Glen. Bodine was also the only other owner-driver to win the All-Star race.
    Most wins as owner-driver since 1990
    Driver — Wins — Last Win
    Ricky Rudd — 6 — 1998
    Darrell Waltrip — 5 — 1992
    Geoffrey Bodine — 4 — 1996
    Alan Kulwicki — 4 — 1992
    (ESPN)(5-21-2009)

  • Keselowski and JR Motorsports to move up? The buzz around the garage last weekend was JR Motorsports is setting the stage to move from the Nationwide to Sprint Cup series to field a team for Brad Keselowski. Keselowski said he is negotiating exclusively with Hendrick Motorsports for a fulltime Cup ride in 2010. HMS does not have an opening, but Rick Hendrick does have ownership in JR Motorsports with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Although Hendrick would have to sell his interest in the company to make this happen, that would be a formality. Also, Earnhardt has said it’s just as economical, maybe more, to run a Cup program than Nationwide under today’s economic climate. Sponsors, such as GoDaddy.com that is on Keselowski’s #88 Nationwide car, gain more exposure in Cup. Should JR Motorsports not move to Cup the only other way to remain associated with HMS would be to put Keselowski in a third car at Stewart-Haas Racing. Of course, that would squelch the rumor that Martin Truex Jr. will leave Earnhardt Ganassi Racing to join that team.(ESPN Insider)(5-21-2009)

  • Mayfield’s lawyer talks to Sirius Speedway: Wednesday on “Sirius Speedway” on Sirius NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with Bill Diehl, the attorney for suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield.
    Host, Dave Moody: “Has there been at this point and will there be a lawsuit filed in this matter?”
    Bill Diehl: “First question, no lawsuit has been filed. Will there be a lawsuit? That will depend on what happens between Jeremy and NASCAR which ought to be known in the next couple of days.”
    Moody: “What kind of conversations are being had between Jeremy and yourself and NASCAR and their representatives right now to try and settle this?”
    Diehl: “The conversations I’m having with Jeremy I’m not going to tell you about. The conversations I’m having with the NASCAR lawyer with whom I’ve been dealing I’m not going to talk about. But they’re obviously focused on whether or not Jeremy was suspended properly. Is what happened to him legitimate and should he stay suspended? Should he have to go through some type of rehabilitation, if you will, that they’ve asked for? So those issues are what we’re talking about. Should that happen? Or, the alternative is, has he been mistreated and have they improperly deprived him of a way to make a living? There are some side issues. They’ve said a lot of unpleasant things about him that Jeremy doesn’t believe are true. There’s a separate remedy for that kind of behavior.”
    Moody: “Specifically what has been said about him?”
    Diehl: “I haven’t heard it directly so what I’m telling you is what’s been published. I read a report where Mr. France gratuitously announced that the serious recreational drug use by Mr. Mayfield was very difficult, very bad and they weren’t going to tolerate it. Accusing somebody that’s driving a race car a couple hundred miles an hour of serious recreational drug use, that’s probably not too good thing to say about him. Especially if it’s not true.”
    Moody: “Can you tell us what specific substance has NASCAR accused Jeremy of having in his system?”
    Diehl: “I could tell you. I’m not. But we do have two reports that they furnished me yesterday and then they just sent me one a couple hours ago that they hadn’t furnished. So we’ve got two reports but I’m not going to talk about them yet. If we get in a situation where we’ve got to talk about them then we’ll talk about them. But I’m not going to talk about them today.”
    Moody: “Do the two reports come to the same conclusion? Do they name the same chemical substance?”
    Diehl: “I’m not going to talk about what the reports say except to tell you I have them. And then you’ve already been told or I’ve read lots of stuff that indicate what the NASCAR reps have said and what this guy, [drug test administrator Dr. David] Black, has said. The game about what is in the report is probably just that at this point. It’s a game but I’m not going to participate in that game currently beyond saying that they finally furnished us two reports which they probably should have given to Mr. Mayfield long before this week.”
    Moody: “Jeremy has said from the start of this that this all boils down to a prescription medication that’s been prescribed by a doctor for his allergies combined with a couple of Claritin D tablets that he took on the day in question in Richmond. Can you tell me what the prescription medicine that he is taking was?”
    Diehl: “No, I won’t reveal that yet but again that’s something that he’s told NASCAR. They know what it was and they’ve gotten the information from the doctor. They’re dealing with everything Jeremy could have furnished them about anything that he’d taken, according to Jeremy. He did take a prescription drug and he does have a medical doctor who prescribed it and they have that data and they had the information about the Claritin D.”
    Moody: “What would it take at this point to avoid taking this to the court system? What would have to happen here in the next few days to avoid a lawsuit?”
    Diehl: “Some type of acknowledgement that what happened was a mistake on the part of somebody in connection with what they did and how they did it. We’re exploring that with them. We can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again. They’ve said it. They’ve suspended him. We know there are a couple of reports because we now see them. Somebody is going to have to come forward and acknowledge that, well, we thought we did what we were supposed to do, maybe we made a mistake, let’s try it again.”
    Moody: “What’s Jeremy’s frame of mind and attitude right now?”
    Diehl: “I think he’s very upset and he’s insulted. He’s had a 17 year career, had some successes. He’s just getting started with his own team, and this sort of takes you out at the knees if you’re suddenly accused of being a recreational drug user and you’re suspended from doing what you get paid to do. So, he’s upset. He’s trying to keep a handle on it, I think. Hopefully he’s listening to what I tell him to do. He wants everybody to know that he’s not guilty of what he’s accused of.”
    Show personality, Suzie Armstrong: “How soon did he contact you after he was notified by NASCAR about this?”
    Diehl: “I don’t remember the date. When I knew about it I think I was watching the race from Darlington on television and it came on that he’d been suspended. And that occurred, if my memory was right – I’m not looking at a calendar – May the 9th, a Saturday. And then he called me the next week when I got back in town.”
    Moody: “Is there any unofficial timeline at this point for you to decide whether or not this takes the next step into the legal system?”
    Diehl: “Yes, there is but I’m not going to tell you what it is.”
    “Sirius Speedway” airs every weekday (3-7 pm ET) exclusively on Sirius NASCAR Radio.(Sirius XM Radio)(5-21-2009)
  • Kurt Busch Foundation Takes Inaugural King’s Cup: The inaugural King’s Cup Karting for a Cause provided a great way to kickoff the racing action in the Charlotte area. In the end the Kurt Busch Foundation team held off the Denny Hamlin Foundation team by 18 seconds in an event that lasted three hours and 40 minutes. The event, which benefited the Paralyzed Veterans of America, raised over $60,000 for the organization through sponsorships, general admission ticket sales and a silent auction that featured 75 pieces from all across the NASCAR world. The Finishing Order:
    1. Kurt Busch Foundation
    2. Denny Hamlin Foundation
    3. Stanley Tools Racing
    4. Kasey Kahne Foundation
    5. Dale Jr. Foundation
    6. Sun Trust Racing
    7. Martin Truex, Jr. Motorsports
    8. Hunt Brothers Racing
    9. Sprint
    10. Richard Petty Motorsports
    11. Penske Racing
    12. Jimmie Johnson Foundation
    13. NASCAR
    14. Brad Keselowski Racing
    15. Budweiser
    16. Best Buy Racing
    (MCG Sports)(5-21-2009)
  • Coca-Cola 600 Rookies Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 9 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Logano scored a ninth-place finish, his second top-10 of the 2009 season. He equaled his best effort in 14 Sprint Cup Series races and captured top Raybestos Rookie honors for the eighth time this season. Logano led once for 19 laps at Darlington and became the first Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap at Darlington since Kasey Kahne led three times for 24 laps in the 2004 spring race. Logano has led four times in three races for 24 laps this season. Logano leads #82-Scott Speed by 12 points (122-110) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Kenseth is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in 49 previous Coca-Cola 600 races. Kenseth captured the 2000 race by .573-seconds over Bobby Labonte. Jimmie Johnson is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the pole position in 49 previous Coca-Cola 600 races. Johnson took the top starting spot for the 2002 race.(Raybestos), see rookie standings, history, news and more on my 2009 Rookies page.(5-21-2009)
  • Packed Scheduled for 50th Coca-Cola 600: As Lowe’s Motor Speedway celebrates 50 years of racing with the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600, speedway officials have a number of events scheduled to honor past and present champions and race fans this weekend.
    Fans to Participate in Windstream Pole Night
    Tomorrow night Lowe’s Motor Speedway officials will randomly select fans in attendance for Winstream Pole Night to wave the green flag during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying. A total of 47 Sprint Cup cars are entered and will attempt to make the 43-car field for the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600. Qualifying is scheduled for 7:10pm/et.
    International Crowd to Attend Coca-Cola 600 Week
    Race fans from all 50 states and 10 foreign countries have purchased tickets to attend race festivities at Lowe’s Motor Speedway during Coca-Cola 600 Week. Ticket holders will travel from all across the United States, as well as, Australia, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom to see Windstream Pole Night on Thursday, the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Showdown on Friday, CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 on Saturday and the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.
    NASCAR Legends to Meet Fans
    Race fans will have the opportunity to meet past and present NASCAR personalities at the track throughout the Coca-Cola 600 Weekend. On Thursday and Saturday, past Coca-Cola 600 champions Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison and Marvin Panch and the official artist of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Sam Bass, will sign autographs in the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office at 3:00pm/et. Allison, Panch, Donnie Allison, Kyle Petty, Clint Bowyer, Bobby Labonte, Bass and Food Network star Tyler Florence will participate in the Coca-Cola Quarter-Mile Cookout from 12:00 to 2:00pm/et on Friday. Prior to the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, Panch and both Allison brothers will sign autographs outside of Smith Tower at 11am/et.
    Special Cars on Display at LMS
    Fans will be able to check out several special cars that are a part of Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s history while at the track this weekend, including: Bobby Allison’s #12 Coca-Cola 1969 Mercury Cyclone that he drove to victory in the 1971 Coca-Cola 600 for Holman Moody; the 1971 Wood Brothers Racing #21 Mercury that David Pearson raced at Lowe’s Motor Speedway during the 1970s when he scored 11 straight pole awards at the 1.5-mile speedway; the #3 Atlanta Olympics Chevrolet that Dale Earnhardt Sr. drove in the 1996 All-Star Race in honor of the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic Games; and the #3 GM Goodwrench/Wrangler Chevrolet Earnhardt Sr. drove in the 1999 All-Star Race.
    Going on 50 Years
    Several Lowe’s Motor Speedway event-time staffers will hit their 50 year mark with the speedway this month. Dave Suddreth has worked security in the infield since 1960. He’s manned pit road and Victory Circle. Earl Springs has sold event programs at Lowe’s Motor Speedway since the first race as well. Both will be on duty for the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.
    Commemorative Posters Now on Sale
    Posters of the commemorative prints designed by Sam Bass, the official artist of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 event programs are now on sale in the Lowe’s Motor Speedway gift shop, located on the second floor of Smith Tower, across from the ticket office. Bass’ latest posters “Silver Knights!” and “Gold Rush!” are available along with copies of the commemorative souvenir programs. He will also be on hand throughout the weekend for autographs.
    Biffle, Bowyer and Johnson Join ‘PRN Up To SPEED’ on Sunday
    “PRN Up To SPEED” will feature one of the best driver lineups to date for the free fan forums taking place at Lowe’s Motor Speedway during Coca-Cola 600 Week. Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer and three-time Coca-Cola 600 champion Jimmie Johnson will join personalities from the Performance Racing Network on the SPEED stage, located at the speedway’s main entrance, between 1 to 2pm/et, prior to the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600. Past Coca-Cola 600 champions Marvin Panch, Donnie Allison and Bobby Allison will also join the PRN crew from 12:40 to 1:00pm/et for a special segment of the fan forum. Track President Marcus Smith will welcome the crowd.
    Tickets are still on sale for Thursday’s Windstream Pole Night, Saturday’s CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 and Sunday’s historic 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600. Fans can purchase tickets at the gates on event days or by calling the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket services department at 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS)(5-21-2009)
  • Buy a Ticket for June race at NHMS, get a ride: New Hampshire Motor Speedway is offering fans the unique opportunity to experience NASCAR racing for approximately 13 cents a lap with their MegaTicket package and LENOX Speed Zone during the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 weekend from Thursday, June 25 to Sunday, June 28. The LENOX Speed Zone is a special seating section that offers a $39 ticket for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on Sunday, June 28. Fans will have the chance to see Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; Jeff Gordon; Jimmie Johnson; Tony Stewart; Kyle Busch; and all the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The $99 MegaTicket package includes reserved seating for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 in the MegaZones located in special sections of the Concord and Laconia grandstands. This amazing combination ticket, a $150 value if purchased separately, also includes general admission seating for all of the events on Friday and Saturday. The schedule for these two days includes Heluva Good! Pole qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the NASCAR Camping World Series East Heluva Good! 125, Heluva Good! Pole qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New England 100, and the NASCAR Nationwide Series Camping World 200 presented by RVs.com.To purchase the New Hampshire Motor Speedway MegaTicket package or tickets in the LENOX Speed Zone, please call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931 or visit the speedway online at www.nhms.com.(NHMS)(5-21-2009)

May 20, 2009

  • Mayfield hires lawyer, has toxicology report: NASCAR driver/owner #41-Jeremy Mayfield, suspended indefinitely from the sport for violating its substance-abuse policy, has retained legal counsel in the effort to clear his name. Bill Diehl, the same attorney who represented Elliott Sadler last winter in a dispute with Richard Petty Motorsports, confirmed Wednesday he is working with Mayfield, but that no suit has yet been filed. “Yes, we’re working hard for Jeremy,” Diehl said. “Either we’ll work it out or the court will. We have not filed yet, but we’re working hard. That’s all I can tell you.” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed that Diehl had been in contact with the organization. “I can confirm that Mr. Diehl has been in touch with NASCAR, and we’ve provided him with relevant information pertaining to Jeremy’s suspension, including the toxicology report,” Poston said. Mayfield was not immediately available for comment.(ESPN)(5-20-2009)
  • Long’s team penalized heavily, 12 race suspension & points: NASCAR has issued penalties, suspensions and fines to the #46 team [#146] in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, as a result of rules infractions committed during last weekend’s event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-I (any determination by NASCAR Officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-5.4A (engine exceeded the maximum engine size of 358.000 cubic inch displacement) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. As a result, crew chief Charles Swing has been fined $200,000, suspended from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Driver Carl Long and owner Danielle Long have been penalized with the loss of 200 driver and 200 owner points, respectively, suspended from the next 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship events, suspended from NASCAR until Aug. 18 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR)
  • Shea Trucking an Associate Sponsor on #36 at Charlotte and Dover: Shea Trucking, a Long Island, N.Y., based trucking company has signed a two-race associate sponsorship deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing. Shea Trucking will be the associate sponsor of the #36 Toyota driven by Scott Riggs at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway. The Shea Trucking logo will be featured on the C-post and the TV panel of the #36 machine.(Everest-Marketing Group/TBR PR)(5-20-2009)
  • After back procedure, Gordon ready to go 600 miles: For #24-Jeff Gordon, the 600- mile race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway provides a test for his back after a recent procedure to ease pain. Gordon, who has experienced progressively worse back pain over the past few years, had treatment on Monday. The driver of the #24 DuPont Chevy hopes the procedure will alleviate much – if not all – of the pain. “I had a facet block procedure done on my back on Monday and it went well,” said Gordon. “I was a little sore after the procedure, but I’ll definitely take that brief bit of soreness if it stops the recurring back pain I’ve had. “I hope that will end the back issues I’ve been having, but it’s too early to tell if that fixed the problem.” Never mind 600 miles on Sunday, Gordon may have a better understanding of the results of the procedure by midweek. He is scheduled to participate in “Ultimate Speed” on Wednesday – a karting event that will raise money for the Jeff Gordon Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Concord.(Performance Plus)(5-19-2009)
    UPDATE: Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon underwent a facet block procedure on his back on Monday that he hopes will alleviate the pain that has gotten progressively worse. A facet block injection is performed to confirm that a facet joint is the source of pain and decrease the pain and inflammation in a facet joint or joints. The injection is typically recommended for those who fail to respond to other conservative treatments. In some cases the next step if the problem is not corrected surgery may be necessary.(ESPN.com)(5-20-2009)
  • NASCAR Media Group prepping for NASCAR Network? The NASCAR Media Group is not even two years old, but nowhere is the sanctioning body spending more money or more carefully plotting its future. Over the next few months, the media group will start moving out of its cozy, well-worn offices just south of downtown Charlotte. Its new $45 million home – $30 million in state-of-the-art equipment, $15 million in construction – will be adjoining the sparkling NASCAR Hall of Fame building in the heart of downtown, where it will occupy floors two through five of the 19-story office tower. Inside, the group will have everything it needs to start its own network, from multiple studios and control rooms, to full graphics and high-definition capability. Even though the hall of fame won’t open for another year, the office space adjoining the attraction will be ready for occupancy in June. It will give NASCAR nearly limitless options when it enters the next round of media talks – its current deals for TV, radio, mobile and the Internet expire in 2014. And the idea of joining Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL and NFL in starting its own network will be part of the discussion.(Sports Business Journal)(5-20-2009)
  • CompUSA on the #71 at Lowe’s; team still looking for sponsorship: David Gilliland and TRG Motorsports are ready to tackle 600 miles of racing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600. The team was able to take away a lot data from last weekend to apply to race this Sunday. The key component will be a different # 71 CompUSA/TRG Motorsports Chevy than the team ran in the Open. Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal, is forging ahead with limited resources to keep this team going on the track. “The Coca-Cola 600 is one of the biggest races on the schedule and I wanted to make sure we put our best stuff on the track,” Buckler said. “The car we ran in the Open we didn’t think was going to do we needed in the 600 so we brought a different one. We have very limited resources with this team so we are picking our battles very carefully and trying to perform at a very level on selected stages. We still need to land that sponsor/partner that can help us take this great little team forward into the future.”(TRG Motorsports PR)(5-20-2009)
  • R+L Carriers on the #17: The #17 Ford will carry the green and gold colors of R+L carriers this weekend for the Coke 600. It will be the first of four races this season with R+L Carriers as the primary on the #17 Ford. Kenseth has carried the R+L Carriers paint scheme 10 times since 2006.(Roush Feneway PR), see an image of the car on my #17 Team Schemes Page.(5-20-2009)
  • National Wild Turkey Federation logo back on the #1: The National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) “Flying Turkey” logo will again appear on the #1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. for the Coca-Cola 600. The NWTF car made its debut last week for the Sprint All-Star Weekend festivities. The Bass Pro Shops partnership with NWTF is part of the Conservation Fund’s “Racing for America’s Wildlife” program. The program is designed to engage the NASCAR community in conserving America’s hunting and fishing heritage through habitat protection, restoration, education, and outreach.(Earnhardt Ganassi PR)(5-20-2009)
  • Mark Martin: 23000+ miles at Lowes and counting: Martin has logged more miles — 23,205 total — at Lowe’s Motor Speedway than any other track on the Sprint Cup circuit. If Martin circled the globe on the equator in his #5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevy, he would be just 1,795 miles shy of completing his mission. Martin almost could make up the remaining distance with just one round-trip from his home in Batesville, Ark., to the Hendrick Motorsports complex in Concord, N.C.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-20-2009)
  • Air Force sponsoring Sorenson at Lowes: #43 Air Force Dodge driver Reed Sorenson has scored the 13th most points over the last four races and climbed seven positions since Texas. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver hope to keep that string going this weekend when he races in the 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte.(Richard Petty Motorsports PR), see an image of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page.(5-20-2009)
  • Dover’s pit road wall renovation project is done: A long winter’s work has finally reached completion as construction crews at Dover International Speedway recently bolted the SAFER barrier into place to complete the renovation of the new pit wall. With the steel tubing secured and the foam blocks installed, the new, longer and safer pit wall is ready for action when NASCAR returns to the Monster Mile on May 29-31, 2009. The new improvements are expected to impact the competition on the track and pit road, and add another exciting element that will keep drivers guessing and fans cheering.
    The SAFER barrier (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) is supported by a new 1,592 ft. concrete wall that wraps from Turn 4 down the frontstretch to near Turn 1. The new pit wall is 432 ft. longer than the previous steel boilerplate wall. The SAFER barrier consists of rectangular steel tubing backed by foam blocks, and reduces the force of the initial impact of a crash. SAFER barriers are currently in place in all four turns at the track and on the inside retaining walls of the one-mile, concrete oval.
    Since the project began in December 2008, much has changed to the original landscape of pit road. Crews first removed the existing 1,160 ft. steel boilerplate wall, working backwards from Turn 1 to Turn 4. After digging a trench the length of pit road, drainage was installed, and concrete was poured to create a foundation for the new concrete wall to stabilize the additional 40 in. of concrete that stands vertically above the ground.
    Also by eliminating the grass strip on the frontstretch, crews were able to place the new wall closer to the apron of the track which created four additional feet of room to the width of the passing lane on pit road. With the additional length of the pit wall, track officials were able to reconfigure the 43 pit stalls and make them longer in size allowing more room for cars to enter and exit their stalls. They are now 32 ft. long, compared to 28 ft. The new space also reduces the likelihood of cars getting boxed in by cars while pitting, which should improve the race off pit road and on-track competition. Seven stalls now sit directly in front of grandstand sections 116-126 in Turn 4, and feature a concrete inside retaining wall from behind which crews will work.
    By eliminating some of the grass in the infield of Turn 4, new apron space was created between Turns 3 and 4 to allow more room for the cars to slow down as they approach the entrance to pit road. This also created a new entrance for track emergency service vehicles to enter the Speedway from the infield near the NASCAR Nationwide Series garage. Great seats are still available for NASCAR’s return to the Monster Mile on May 29-31. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.(5-20-2009)
  • Legendary Raiders QB Stabler, Grand Marshal at Sonoma: Legendary Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler has been named Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, June 19-21, at Infineon Raceway. Stabler, who guided the Raiders to their first Super Bowl victory in 1977, will be honored at the Children’s Champions Grand Marshal’s Banquet on Friday, June 19, at beautiful Cline Cellars in Sonoma. The gala is a fundraiser for the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. He will also take part in pre-race activities on race day, June 21 (Father’s Day), including participating in the official command of, “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.”
    “I’m very honored to serve as the Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at Infineon Raceway. It will be great fun to be back in Northern California with good friends and great fans,” said Stabler, an avid NASCAR fan who resides in Alabama. “Ken Stabler is one of the Bay Area’s all-time sports heroes, not just for his achievements on the field, but also as one of the defining personalities on a legendary football team,” said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway. “He’ll give a terrific spark to our NASCAR festivities and we look forward to having him join us for the weekend.” Stabler will also be an interested spectator for the Bennett Lane Winery 200, presented by Supercuts, NASCAR Camping World West Series race on Saturday, June 20. DenBeste Motorsports & Biagi Brothers will enter the Silver & Black car, dedicated to Stabler’s legendary Raider career. It is fitting that this year the Oakland Raiders celebrate their 50th anniversary in professional football. “Were very excited to be participating in the Bennett Lane Winery 200 on Saturday,” Stabler said. “I have been a huge race fan my entire life and especially to be here as Grand Marshal at Infineon and have a car competing in the race on Saturday is going to be a real thrill and I’m looking forward to a big weekend of fun.” In his 10 years with the Raiders, the left-handed Stabler’s honors include: 1974 NFL MVP; Super Bowl XI Champion; four-time Pro Bowler (1973, 1974, 1976, 1977); the NFL 1970’s All-Decade Team; and 1976 Bert Bell Award for NFL Player of the Year. Tickets are available for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, June 19-21. Call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway)(5-20-2009)

 


May 19, 2009

  • All-Star Race TV Ratings: SPEED scored a Nielsen Household Rating of 3.68 (2,691,000 households), down just 2% from last year’s 3.74 (2,701,000 households) for Saturday’s live broadcast of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race XXV. Race coverage peaked at 4.69 (3,426,000 households) and was the highest-rated program on cable in its time slot. The SPEED post-race show, NASCAR Victory Lane with John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace, scored a record Nielsen mark of 1.47 (1,074,000 households) — its highest rating ever on SPEED. The All-Star race replay on SPEED was up 11% from a .36 in 2008 to a .40.(SPEEDtv), see more about TV Ratings on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(5-19-2009)
  • After back procedure, Gordon ready to go 600 miles: For #24-Jeff Gordon, the 600- mile race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway provides a test for his back after a recent procedure to ease pain. Gordon, who has experienced progressively worse back pain over the past few years, had treatment on Monday. The driver of the #24 DuPont Chevy hopes the procedure will alleviate much – if not all – of the pain. “I had a facet block procedure done on my back on Monday and it went well,” said Gordon. “I was a little sore after the procedure, but I’ll definitely take that brief bit of soreness if it stops the recurring back pain I’ve had. “I hope that will end the back issues I’ve been having, but it’s too early to tell if that fixed the problem.” Never mind 600 miles on Sunday, Gordon may have a better understanding of the results of the procedure by midweek. He is scheduled to participate in “Ultimate Speed” on Wednesday – a karting event that will raise money for the Jeff Gordon Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital in Concord.(Performance Plus)(5-19-2009)
  • Racing Resources Says …Sprint Cup Series
    * Tony Stewart won The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, winning $1,058,656. It was Stewart’s first All-Star Race win in his 11th try.
    * Stewart Haas Racing scored its first win.
    * Stewart led only once for the final two laps.
    * Stewart is the seventh driver to win more than a million dollars in the All-Star Race. He finished ninth in the first segment, eighth in the second segment, and sixth in the third segment.
    * Stewart joined Geoff Bodine (1994) as the only owner-drivers to win the All-Star Race.
    * It was the 14th win for Chevrolet in the All-Star Race, most of all manufacturers.
    * The driver who wins the All-Star Race has gone on to win the Coca-Cola 600 six times.
    * Segment One Winner: Jimmie Johnson — $25,000.
    * Segment Two Winner: Kyle Busch — $25,000.
    * Segment Three Winner: Jeff Gordon — $125,000.(ESPN)(5-19-2009)
  • Doctor: Substance revealed to Mayfield: The administrator of NASCAR’s drug-testing program said Monday he personally told Jeremy Mayfield what banned substance was found in his positive test. Dr. David Black, CEO of Aegis Sciences Corp., which runs the testing program, said he specifically identified the drug in several conversations with the Sprint Cup driver over a three-day period after NASCAR suspended him. “I spoke with him about his positive test result on the day he was suspended, and I spoke to him directly about the test result,” Black told The Associated Press. “Yes, by name of what he tested positive for.” On Saturday, Mayfield said he was never told what drug caused the positive test and has yet to receive a copy of the results. Black said he was not sure if Mayfield has seen the test results because a copy would be issued by NASCAR, not Aegis. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said he was not aware of any request by Mayfield to obtain the results. “We’d be happy to provide one if he wants it,” Poston said. “We’ve done this in the past upon request for those who tested positive.” Mayfield maintains the use of a prescription drug with over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin-D led to his positive result. Black has repeatedly rejected that explanation.(Associated Press)(5-19-2009)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2009 Sprint All Star Race: Total number of commercials: 87
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 49
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 18
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:15 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:05 PM
    Total minutes: 230
    Minutes of race broadcast: 178
    Minutes of commercials: 52
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (debris not shown): 0
    Number of replays of D.W.’s burnout from the All Star Burnout Challenge: 1
    Number of respected team owners to give the Invocation: 1 Joe Gibbs
    Number of Digger mentions by D.W.: 1
    Number of Digger still shots: 1
    Number of times the ‘Digger cam’ camera shots were used, but not identified as ‘Digger cam’: 15
    Total race brdcst time 178 Total comm. brdcst time 52
    See more and a link to full report on my 2009 Commercials page.(5-19-2009)
  • Walk of Fame to Open in Mooresville: The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame (“NCARHOF”) is offering race fans yet another reason to visit Mooresville, NC also known as “Race City USA”. Historic Downtown Mooresville will be the home of the new attraction known as the North Carolina Auto Racing Walk of Fame. Comparable to Hollywood’s famous Boulevard of Stars, the sidewalks of Mooresville will feature markers honoring each of the past thirteen inductees into the NCARHOF. Each year, the new NCARHOF inductee will have their marker added to the Walk of Fame.
    The Walk of Fame is made possible through funding generously provided by the Mooresville Convention and Visitors Bureau. A vision shared by the Bureau’s Chairman, Ron Johnson, and NASCAR Technical Institute’s John Dodson, who also serves on the Board of Directors for the Hall of Fame led to the creation and installation of the historic walkway.
    The Walk of Fame ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, May 20th, 2:30 pm at the Charles Mack Citizen Center in downtown Mooresville. Many of the Inductees are slated to attend the event which includes Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett, Cale Yarborough, David Pearson, Darrell Waltrip, and Buddy Baker as well as family members of the late Dale Earnhardt, Tim Flock, and Benny Parsons. “Having all of these great drivers come together for this event is going to be historic in itself. What a great opportunity for fans to come out and meet the legends that made all of this possible” said Don Miller, Chairman of the NCARHOF.
    Richard Petty was the Halls inaugural inductee in 1997; he also offered valuable input in creating the Walk of Fame. “Preserving the rich history of auto racing and creating something that honors the pioneers in this sport is something that means a lot to me. That I’m included as an honoree in this exhibit is really something special.” The North Carolina Auto Racing Walk of Fame located on the sidewalks of Mooresville will be open to the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dedicated to all types of racing—from drag racing to stock cars, the museum houses more than 35 cars that represent and help relive some of racing’s greatest moments. Numerous racing displays and showcases are continually rotated in an effort to promote North Carolina’s motorsports heritage. The North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization recognized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Proceeds from the NCARHOF support Stop Child Abuse Now and the annual Stocks for Tots fundraiser.(NCARHOF)(5-19-2009)
  • Windstream to Host Soldiers & Military Families for Windstream Pole Night: On Thursday, May 21, when the best drivers in the world battle for the pole at the 50th running of the Coca Cola 600, Windstream, a high-speed Internet, phone and digital TV provider, will proudly be hosting 2,500 soldiers and military families from Fort Bragg and the XVIII Airborne Corps. This marks the second consecutive year the company has donated tickets to military members for the Windstream Pole Night qualifier for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS). The year’s 50th anniversary of the famous Memorial Day weekend race will kick off with Junior Johnson getting behind the wheel of Windstream’s signature Green Truck and driving the lead Pole Night parade lap, energizing the fans and race qualifying field. The Green Truck Tour is designed to give back to the local communities that Windstream serves and educate the public about landline safety. The tour, which promotes Windstream’s reliable phone, high-speed Internet and digital TV products and services, runs through November with stops in 14 states. Windstream also is donating $200,000 to eight schools in the company’s service area through its Classroom Connections program. For additional information about the Green Truck Tour and its scheduled stops, visit www.greentrucktour.com.(5-19-2009)
  • Former Kentucky Speedway owners not giving up lawsuit: One of the former owners of Kentucky Motor Speedway says he won’t be bullied into dropping an antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR by new track owner Bruton Smith. Richard Duchossios said Thursday he’s not sure why Smith has decided to go public with claims that the former owners have a “moral obligation” to race fans in Kentucky to drop the four-year-old lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. Duchossios and his fellow owners sold the track to Smith last year and gave Smith the option of purchasing the lawsuit. Smith declined and the case remains on appeal. Smith has asked NASCAR to give the 1.5-mile tri-oval in northern Kentucky a date on the 2010 Sprint Cup schedule, but believes the track will not receive a Cup race as long as the antitrust case remains active.(Associated Press)(5-19-2009)

 


May 18, 2009

  • The Entry List for the Coca Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is posted, 46 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
    #34-Tony Raines in for John Andretti who is running the Indy 500
    Not in top 35 of 2009 owners points:
    #06-David Star (53 in owners points/2 attempts)
    #09-Mike Bliss (2009 Race Winner as owner)(40/11)
    #13-Max Papis (47/4)
    #21-Bill Elliott (Past Champ 1988)(49/3)
    #36-Scott Riggs (41/11)
    #41-J.J. Yeley (44/11)
    #64-Todd Bodine (48/9)
    #66-Dave Blaney (43/11)
    #71-David Gilliland (37/11)
    #82-Scott Speed (36/11)
    #87-Joe Nemechek (39/11)
    In the event qualifying is rained out or cancelled:
    the eight who would make it [8]: #’s 09,21,82,71,87,36,66,41
    missing the race would be [3]: #’s 64,13, 06
    See the full entry list at my Jayski’s Charlotte Entry List.(5-18-2009)
  • Hendrick to appear on Oprah: Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, will make an appearance on the Tuesday, May 19 edition of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The episode is entitled “Heroes in Hard Times.”
    “The Oprah Winfrey Show” is produced in Chicago by Harpo Productions Inc. and syndicated to 214 domestic stations by CBS Television Distribution Group and to 143 countries by CBS Paramount International Television. It has been the No. 1-rated talk show for 22 consecutive seasons. Visit www.oprah.com for local listings.(HMS)(5-18-2009)
  • Chase Notes: #5-Mark Martin’s second win in the last four races lifted him from 15th all the way to 11th in the standings. Lots of races left, but the #5 team under Alan Gustafson looks strong. Another podium finish for #14-Tony Stewart (3rd at Darlington) gets him to second in the standings. Another strong run by #39-Ryan Newman (4th) makes it a happy place at Stewart-Haas these days. #33-Clint Bowyer’s 37th at Darlington tumbled him out of the Top 12. Over the last five, Bowyer has gone from 2nd to 13th, and has managed only 394 points during that period (Stewart has scored 774). See more on my Chase Stats after Darlington page.(5-18-2009)
  • Kyle Busch first visiting Cup driver to win at Iowa: Kyle Busch accomplished on Sunday what previous visiting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers could not do – win the NASCAR Camping World Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway. While Kevin Harvick had to settle for second place in 2007 and Kasey Kahne came away as the runner-up in 2008, Busch took the first-place trophy in the Long John Silver’s 200. Busch, fresh from competing in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte Saturday night, made the most of a Sunday morning practice session at Iowa to fine tune the set up of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. He went on to capture the Coors Light Pole Award and dominate the race – leading 168 of the 200 laps. With Sunday’s victory, Busch locked up a secure starting spot in the postseason NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. While Busch was heading to victory, defending race winner Brian Ickler and David Mayhew waged a fierce door-to-door battle in the closing laps. Ickler prevailed to take second place, with Mayhew finishing a close third. Jeffrey Earnhardt passed Paulie Harraka in the closing laps to grab fourth.(NASCAR Local)(5-18-2009)
  • Andretti bumps way into Indy 500: Bump Day drama can even affect an Indy 500 veteran like John Andretti. But the Indy native shook off any nerves Sunday in last-ditch qualifying effort to make his tenth Indianapolis 500 field. Driving his #43 Richard Petty Window World Honda Dallara, Andretti had not been fast enough to make the 33-driver field in his first two qualifying attempts Sunday with a best of 220.2 miles per hour with twenty minutes remaining in time trials. But a quick change by the Window World crew helped the NASCAR regular make the field in his third and final attempt. With six minutes left in Bump Day, Andretti posted laps of 221.571, 221.393, 221.201 and 221.098 for a four-lap of 221.316 m.p.h. and claim the 28th spot in next Sunday’s starting grid. Andretti’s start will be his third consecutive at Indy after taking a 13-year hiatus to drive on the NASCAR circuit. In fact, Tony Stewart even texted Dreyer & Reinbold Racing competition director Larry Curry [who Stewart drove for in the IRL] for advise for Andretti during the afternoon qualifying excitement. The text said, “If he is uneasy about opening the entry, ask him to let it have its head on the exit. He is a full car width off the wall on the exit binding it up.”(see more at petty-andretti.com)(5-18-2009)
  • Team Lowe’s Honors Military, Lowe’s Employees w/Patriotic Scheme: Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, along with six Lowe’s employees with more than 30 years of military duty, unveiled the #48 Lowe’s Chevy that Johnson will run in the Memorial Day weekend Sprint Cup event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “We typically don’t have a lot of special paint schemes throughout the year,” said Johnson, who will be trying for this fourth win in the Memorial Day weekend race. “This event is usually an exception though. It means a lot to honor our country and all the people in the military. Both my grandfathers served so I understand the importance of showing our support.” The car’s design carries the names of 12,548 Lowe’s employees who are military veterans or reservists. The names are showcased on the car’s hood and decklid. The remaining paint scheme was inspired partly by Knaus who worked with Lowe’s to create the patriotic-themed car to help honor the military. “For some reason those patriotic schemes we used to run back home have always stuck in my mind,” said Knaus. “They were special and meant something to us. Last year a serviceman approached me at Pocono and told me how much the paint schemes Lowe’s has during Memorial Day weekend meant to those that serve. So I really wanted to work with Lowe’s and the team to create an extra-special one this year.” Knaus, who got his start in racing by working with his father’s team in Rockford, Ill., used images of the red, white and blue schemes his father drove to help develop the concept for the Memorial Day weekend car. In support of the Memorial Day holiday, Lowe’s will offer a 10% discount to all active, reserve, honorably discharged, and retired military personnel and their immediate families. In addition, a special page has been set up on LowesRacing.com giving fans the opportunity to thank the military members who mean the most to them by posting photographs and stories of themselves, friends or family members on the site. Lowe’s employees also may visit the site to locate the placement of their name on the car.(Lowe’s Racing), see images of the scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(5-18-2009)
  • Franklin Graham to Deliver Invocation at 50th Coca-Cola 600: World-renowned evangelist and North Carolina-native Franklin Graham will deliver a 30-minute inspirational message and the invocation during pre-race festivities at the 50th running the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Graham will address the crowd at 2:30pm/et from the stage located at the superspeedway’s start-finish line and his message will be broadcast on the speedway’s public address system. At approximately 5:45pm, just prior to the green flag, Graham will deliver the invocation before the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner.” In addition to Graham’s message and invocation during pre-race, he will also assist with Motor Racing Outreach’s Sunday service to the drivers and team members in the garage. As an evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, he has led festivals around the world. Lowe’s Motor Speedway is the home of NASCAR’s biggest back-to-back weekends with the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and 50th Coca-Cola 600. Ticket packages for both events are available through the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(5-18-2009)
  • Daytona to celebrate Petty’s 200th win: This year’s Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola on July 2-4 marks the 25th anniversary of Richard Petty’s historic 200th NASCAR win and Daytona International Speedway will put on a celebration fit for a King and honor one of the landmark moments in the history of NASCAR. On July 4, 1984, Petty, nicknamed “The King,” captured his 200th career NASCAR victory in the Independence Day holiday classic at Daytona International Speedway with President Ronald Reagan in attendance. It was the first time a sitting President of the United States attended a NASCAR race and it was the final time Petty won a NASCAR race. During the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend on July 2-4, race fans will be able to relive the moment as Daytona International Speedway and Daytona 500 Experience motorsports attraction pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of Petty’s 200th win with a number of special activities that include:
    * Petty pacing the 43-car field of the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola prior to the waving of the green flag in a replica 200th-winning #43 car
    * Appearances by Petty throughout the weekend in the Sprint FANZONE, Coke Zero Club and Daytona 500 Experience
    * Displays inside the Sprint FANZONE, Daytona 500 Experience and Coke Zero Club of race-winning Petty cars on loan from the Petty Museum in Randleman, N.C. The exhibit inside Daytona 500 Experience will remain on display through the end of the year
    * A special $43 Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola ticket offer for the Oldfield and Lockhart Grandstands
    * Exclusive ticket package that will put race fans in suite on the Frontstretch with Richard Petty for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola
    For tickets to the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola, call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS PR)(5-18-2009)

May 17, 2009

  • Harvick wins Pennzoil Victory Challenge: Shell-Pennzoil’s own #29-Kevin Harvick emerged victorious in the second annual Pennzoil Victory Challenge held on the front stretch of Lowe’s Motor Speedway prior to Saturday’s All-Star events. Harvick claimed the $10,000 prize which will be donated to his charity of choice, the Victory Junction Gang Camp. A competition that pits some of NASCAR’s top drivers against one another, the Pennzoil Victory Challenge was created to showcase each driver’s best celebratory skills. This year’s format allowed the drivers a longer freestyle demonstration without a specific course to run. Each driver took their turn in identically prepared Jeff Gordon Racing School stock cars and had 30 seconds to complete their respective runs. An all-star line-up that included Shell-Pennzoil driver Kevin Harvick, defending Pennzoil Victory Challenge champion Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon and former Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip, the Pennzoil Victory Challenge proved once again to be exciting and a fan favorite. A new facet to the 2009 Challenge included a panel of celebrity judges featuring 16-time World Wrestling Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, NFL All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss, SPEED’s own Jimmy Spencer, NASCAR spokesperson Kevin Costner plus Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of the award-winning country music group – Montgomery Gentry. Harvick was the second driver to take to the course and earned 58 out of a total of 60 possible points claiming this year’s trophy. Kasey Kahne claimed the second position with Clint Bowyer coming in third. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon finished fourth with last year’s winner Gregg Biffle rounding out the top-five. Kyle Busch and Darrell Waltrip were both disqualified after Waltrip went off course and Busch knocked down the Pennzoil pillars along the course, much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd.(Pennzoil)(5-17-2009)
  • Carl Edwards to guest star on TV show: #99-Carl Edwards will be a guest star on one of cable television’s most popular situation comedies, The Bill Engvall Show, on TBS this summer. In an episode entitled The Way We Were, Edwards will co-star as what the network describes as “the smug, hip manager of a 20-something nightclub.” He gets into a run-in with the stars of the show, Engvall’s character and his character’s wife, Susan, when they attempt to get past the velvet rope and bouncer to get into the club.(NASCAR.com)(5-17-2009)
  • Oct race at LMS renamed: The Bank of America 500 will have a new name and a new focus when drivers and fans show up this fall for the Sprint Cup Series race on October 17 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Beginning this year, the only night-time race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be called the NASCAR Banking 500 only from Bank of America. The name change is part of a strategic marketing effort to bring greater visibility and awareness to Bank of America’s popular line of My Expression NASCAR Banking products. NASCAR Banking is the only nationwide suite of NASCAR and driver-branded personal banking products – including check cards, checks and credit cards – specifically designed for race fans. Infomation on additional ways for Fans to Experience the NASCAR Banking 500 can be found at www.bankofamerica.com/RacePoints or at NASCAR-sanctioned events and race tracks.(Bank of America)(5-17-2009)
  • Tix Prices For Coke Zero 400 rolled Back To $40: A limited number of tickets in the Oldfield and Lockhart Grandstands will be rolled back from $55 to $40 for the 51st annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 4, Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig announced. The $40 tickets for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola is the lowest ticket price for the Independence Day holiday classic since 1998. Tickets and great camping packages for the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola on July 2-4, which includes the Daytona 250 Nationwide Series race on Friday night and the Brumos Porsche 250 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series event on Saturday, can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(DIS PR)(5-17-2009)

 


May 16, 2009

 

  • Tony Stewart wins the All-Star Race: #14-Tony Stewart won the All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, passing #17-Matt Kenseth with 2 laps to go, to capture his first All-Star race victory, becoming only the 2nd owner/driver to ever win the All-Star Race [Geoff Bodine was the other in 1994]. Kenseth held on to 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #11-Hamlin, #99-Edwards, #5-Martin, #18-Busch, #20-Logano [vote winner], #26-McMurray and #88-Earnhardt Jr. pole sitter 348-Johnson finished 13th after getting involved in a wreck. Just after the green flag for segment 4, #48-Johnson got loose, #11-Hamlin got into the rear of the #48-Johnson, who slid but didn’t hit anything, made a pit stop and started at the ear of the field. Since segment 4 only green flag laps count, the segment restarted. Three laps into the segment #24-Gordon [inside], #18-Busch [middle] and #39-Newman [outside] were going for the lead, Gordon slid up into Busch and got turned around a after sliding thru the grass, nosed into the wall and is done for the evening. The field reverts to the order of the last completed lap, so Busch led.
    See the race and segment results on my Sprint All-Star Race Results page.(5-16-2009)
  • Jeff Gordon wins segment 3: #24-Jeff Gordon led the final 10 laps of the 20 lap segment 3 of the All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to win it. #17-Kenseth finished 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #18-Busch [who led the first 10 laps, then faded a bit] and #48-Johnson. #31-Burton went to the garage with engine problems and is out of the race. The first real caution of the race came on lap 2 of 20 of the 3rd segment as #77-Hornish got loose and slid into #16-Biffle, sending Biffle into the wall doing damage to the rear of the car, Biffle goes to the garage and is done for the night. Hornish pancaked the right side. Just before the caution, both Biffle and #48-Johnson slapped the wall.(5-16-2009)
  • Kyle Busch wins segment 2: #18-Kyle Busch led all 20 laps in segment 2 of the All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with #17-Kenseth 2nd, followed by #48-Johnson, #5-Martin and #24-Gordon. All 21 cars are still on the lead lap.(5-16-2009)
  • Johnson wins segment 1: #48-Jimmie Johnson led all the laps in the 1st segment of the All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with #2-Busch 2nd, followed by #24-Gordon, #5-Martin and #18-Busch. During the mandatory pit stop on lap 25, #16-Biffle was sent to the rear of the field for speeding on pit road. Towards the end of the segment, #39-Newman got lapped as he has a broken suspension part but got the lucky dog pass [lap back]. After the optional pitstop the top five will start segment 2 as #19=Busch, #17-Kenseth, #26-McMurray, #77-Hornish Jr. and #48-Johnson.(5-16-2009)
  • Johnson chooses outside pole: #48-Jimmie Johnson, the pole sitter for the Sprint All Star Race, has chosen to start the race on the outside pole position. The pole sitter of any Sprint Cup race can elect to start inside or outside. #2-Busch will start on the inside pole.(SPEED coverage of the All Star race)(5-16-2009)
  • Hornish Jr. wins Sprint Showdown, McMurray 2nd: #77-Sam Hornish Jr. won the Sprint Showdown at Lowe’s Motor Speedway to transfer in to the Sprint All-Star Race. #26-Jamie McMurray finished 2nd and will also transfer into the race. #12-David Stremme finished 3rd, followed by #00-Reutimann and #20-Logano. Heard the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote is #20-Joey Logano.
    See the results on my Sprint All-Star Race Results page.(5-16-2009)
  • Mayfield could pursue legal action:
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield denied on Saturday that he took a substance that violated NASCAR’s substance abuse policy and plans to do whatever he has to, even if that means legal action, to override his indefinite suspension. Mayfield, talking publicly for the first time since the governing body announced the suspension last Saturday at Darlington, denied he took an illegal drug and maintained that his positive test came from combining two over-the-counter Claritin D 24 hours with a prescription drug. “I’m going to move as quickly as I can,” Mayfield said from the Lowe’s Motor Speedway infield before Saturday night’s All-Star race. “Yeah, I’m denying it. Illegal drugs? Yeah, definitely.” The 39-year-old driver said he has no plans to go through the rehabilitation process that NASCAR says is necessary for reinstatement into the sport. “Why would I?” Mayfield said. Mayfield under the terms of the suspension was not allowed into the Cup garage. He attended the race as a spectator atop the National Guard hospitality hauler in the infield. “No suspended driver or crew member is permitted in any area of the track where NASCAR business or responsibilities are conducted,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “This includes, but is not limited to, the garage, spotters stand, pit road, driver/owner lot, and hospitality areas. There seems to have been a misunderstanding on Jeremy’s part. NASCAR officials spoke with him and he understands the rules of suspension and agreed to comply.”
    Mayfield said Cup series director John Darby did not give him a reason for the suspension. He said Dr. Black told him the Claritin could have triggered the result. Black has vehemently denied that is a possibility. “Now it’s not triggering it because I think they’re a sponsor,” Mayfield said of Claritin, one of the sponsors for Carl Edwards’ #99 team. “I never got anything saying what it was, no result ever,” Mayfield said. “I’ve not received any information. They told me I was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR. If I want to be reinstated see Dr. Black.” Poston denied that.(ESPN)
    “All NASCAR members who violate the policy, including Jeremy, are notified of the substance that caused the failure,” league spokesman Ramsey Poston said [at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Saturday night]. “Jeremy was verbally informed of the substance on three ocassions last week by NASCAR’s medical review officer. NASCAR stands by the reputable physicians and the nationally reknown lab that handles our substance abuse program.”(ESPN)(5-16-2009)
  • NASCAR Closing in on getting 2010 Schedule done: Comments made by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France from NASCAR Transcript;
    Q. There’s been a couple of extensions or talk about extensions in next year’s schedule, possible race date moves. Has that process or time period concluded now or is it still under consideration?
    BRIAN FRANCE: There are no formal requests under consideration. We’re closing in on getting the 2010 schedule behind us in terms of where things are going to be. That’s not completed yet. But we’re certainly way down the road at trying to figure out if there’s going to be any changes. I’m sure you’re referring to any realignment requests that have been made. We’re past the deadline on that, that particular issue. But we’re working with everybody as we would to figure out if realignment is an option for one of the track companies. That goes hand-in-hand with our sanction process, which is, as I said, getting far down the road.(NASCAR)(5-16-2009)
  • Almirola closing in on deal: #8-Aric Almirola hasn’t given up on returning to the Sprint Cup series this season. The driver of Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing’s #8 car lost his ride seven races into the season due to lack of sponsorship. He said on Friday that recent talks with sponsors have gone well and that there are discussions about a deal for the second half of the season. “Now it’s about getting them to sign the deal,” Almirola said. Almirola said losing the ride has been challenging for him, that he’s spending a lot of time playing video games and doing yard work waiting for something to break. “I just want to race,” he said. “I’ll race Nationwide, Cup, whatever. I don’t do this because it’s a job. I do it because I love it.”(ESPN Insider)(5-16-2009)
  • Truex Jr. hopes to make decision soon: #1-Martin Truex Jr. said Friday a decision on his future with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will be made “sooner rather than later.’’ But Truex isn’t revealing the options he is weighing. Truex is in the final year of his contract with the team, which came together this year following a merger between his former team, Dale Earnhardt Inc., and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. It has been a difficult transition at times and Truex, who made the playoff Chase in 2007, is 19th in points through the first 11 races this year. Teams take a break from the regular schedule this week for the All-Star Race on Saturday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “To be honest, I think we started the season probably a little farther behind than I thought we were gonna be with all that went on through the winter,’’ Truex said on Friday after signing autographs at Dale Earnhardt Inc. fan day. “The Ganassi bunch has really helped us a lot with our cars. We’ve gotten all of our cars on the same page as far as chassis and what we’re running. Ever since we’ve done that, it’s just been real easy for us. It was really just a bunch of hardware. We pretty much welded their front clip on there and we went to running fast. So that’s been pretty neat.’’(Charlotte NASCAR Examiner)(5-16-2009)
  • Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Charlotte, though the tires for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while those for the Camping World Truck Series will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . this is the first time teams will be running either of these two tire codes at Charlotte . . . this left-side tire code (D-4248) is brand new to the Goodyear tire lineup . . . it has a softer compound than the left-side run at Charlotte last year and will give the cars/trucks more grip . . . this right-side tire code (D-4234) was run with great success earlier this season by Sprint Cup and Nationwide cars at Las Vegas . . . this tire set-up was tested at Charlotte on March 17-18 . . . participating in that test were Jimmie Johnson (Chevrolet), Kasey Kahne (Dodge), Marcos Ambrose (Toyota) and Paul Menard (Ford) . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Charlotte . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window for the Sprint Cup cars is every 50-55 laps, based on fuel mileage.)(Goodyear)(5-16-2009)
  • Pro Motors wins 2009 MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown UPDATE: Darrell Hoffman and Dennis Borem of Pro Motors beat out Mike Kash and Jim Snyder of Roush-Yates for a 3rd straight victory in the 10th MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown Wednesday afternoon. Roush-Yates looked like they were going to win it but they no sooner fired their engine and they had something come lose and gas spilled everywhere. They stopped the competition to clean up the gas and after they restarted it Pro Motors fired their engine up within about 4 seconds. Roush-Yates started their engine but it kept stopping (3 times total). Pro’s never stopped. Pro Motor’s time was 19.27 and Roush-Yates was 19.44 (they stopped the clock then but again their engine never ran a full minute). Pro Motor’s time was the best of the competition. They also announced during the competition that this years winners won’t be able to compete in next years competition. The organization itself that can compete but whichever team won those two builders will not be allowed.(5-15-2009)
    UPDATE: Dennis Borem and Darrell Hoffman from Pro Motor Engines made history Wednesday, capturing their record third straight MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown in the closest finish in the 10-year history of the competition. In a fierce neck-and-neck battle, the Pro Motor Engines team built a complete Chevrolet R07 race engine and successfully ran it for one minute in an incredible 19 minutes, 27 seconds, edging the Roush Yates Engines team of Mike Kasch and Jim Snyder by a mere 17 seconds (19 minutes, 44 seconds). In what was a rematch of the 2008 final, the Roush Yates team seemed to be on their way to victory, completing the build and firing their engine first. However, while it was running during the mandatory one minute, a fuel line disconnected and the engine became silent. Meanwhile, Pro Motor Engines started their engine just as Roush Yates Engines were having their issue. Roush Yates reconnected the fuel line and re-fired their engine, but it was too late. A total of eight teams competed. Joining Pro Motor Engines and Roush Yates Engines were: Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing Engines, Richard Petty Motorsports, and Triad Racing Technologies. As 2009 MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown champions, Borem and Hoffman took home a cash prize for their efforts and will have their name again engraved on the prestigious Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy.(MAHLE Clevite/Pro Sports Management)(5-16-2009)
  • Lowe’s Motor Speedway to honor Poole’s memory: On Thursday, Lowe Motor Speedway will dedicate the deadline room in its infield media center in honor of David Poole, the Charlotte Observer and ThatsRacin.com writer who died April 28. In addition to his work with the newspaper and its racing site, Poole was an author of numerous books about racing and the sport’s personalities. He was a respected authority on stock car racing and his opinions were often sought by others in the media and officials of more than one racing brand. A frequent guest commentator on TV and radio, Poole also co-anchored a popular XM-Sirius program. His wife, Katy, is scheduled to be on hand to receive a special donation to one of the writer and broadcaster’s favorite charities.(Charlotte Observer)(5-16-2009)
  • Sad News – Tony Marcis: Anthony “Tony” Marcis Jr., 92, Wausau, died Wednesday, May 13, 2009, at Saint Clare’s Hospital, Weston. Tony owned and operated an auto mechanic shop. Later, he worked at Wausau Papers, Brokaw, until retirement. He enjoyed fishing walleye and trout streams, dancing polkas, hunting, sports and racing. He also enjoyed building race car engines for his sons and grandsons. Survivors include two sons, Donald (Carol) Marcis, Wausau, [Former NASCAR Cup Driver/Owner] Dave (Helen) Marcis, Skyland, N.C.; one daughter, Toni (Paul) Seccomb, Butte, Mont.; six grandchildren, Shawn (Sam) Beam, Arden, N.C., Richard (Koloma) Marcis, Detroit, Mich., William Marcis, Wausau, Robert Marcis, Lexington, N.C., Dylan (Ann) Shaw, Alabama, and Morgan (T.J.) McKenzie, California, nine great-grandchildren, two brothers and three sisters. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, and two sisters. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 16, 2009, at Peterson/Kraemer Funeral Home, 1302 Sixth St., Wausau. The Rev. Dr. James Engel will officiate. Entombment will be in the Garden of Eternal Rest Mausoleum at Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Wausau. Friends may call from 11 a.m. Saturday until the time of services all at the Sixth Street funeral home.(Wausau Daily Herald)(5-16-2009)
  • Jesse James to sing National Anthem at All-Star race: Mercury recording artist Jessie James will sing “The Star Spangled Banner” for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Kenny Lattimore, a Verve recording artist, will sing “God Bless America” before the start of the Sprint Showdown, the last-chance qualifier for the main event.”(LMS)(5-16-2009)
  • Daytona 500 tickets to go on sale: Tickets for the 52nd annual Daytona 500 will go on sale this Saturday at 9:00am/et. Prior to Saturday, May 16, only renewals and deposits for seat assignments for the 52nd annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race were taken by the ticket office at Daytona International Speedway. Tickets for the Daytona 500 will start at $55 and for the first time since 1982, there have been no ticket price increases for any seat locations for the prestigious race that will kick off the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Sunday, Feb. 14. Race fans that purchase Daytona 500 tickets on Saturday, May 16 will be eligible for a special one-day offer where they can take advantage of Daytona’s monthly payment plan. With the plan, they will be able to get tickets to the Daytona 500 for as low as $10 per month. In addition, parking at Daytona International Speedway is always free, race fans can continue to bring their coolers with food and beverages and area hotels are continuing to make their rooms even more affordable. Ticket information for the 2010 Daytona 500, 2009 Coke Zero 400 and other races can be found at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS)(5-14/16-2009)
  • September RIR Sprint Cup Series Tix on sale: Tickets for the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, scheduled for Saturday, September 12, will go on sale to the general public this Saturday, May 16 at 8:00am. Guests can purchase tickets—which start at $40—by clicking here, calling the ticket office at 866-455-RACE (7223) (Monday-Friday, 8:00am to 9:00pm and on weekends from 9:00am to 9:00pm), or stopping by the ticket office at 600 E. Laburnum Ave., Richmond, VA 23222, which will be open this Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm.(RIR)(5-16-2009)

May 15, 2009

  • Johnson on pole for All-Star Challenge: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the pole for the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway with a time of 121.43 seconds. #2-Busch will start 2nd followed by #17-Kenseth, #88-Earnhardt Jr., #5-Martin, #24-Gordon, #96-Labonte, #9-Kahne and #09-Keselowski. The final eight drivers had problems, starting 11th will be #16-Biffle [5 second penalty for 1 loose lug nut] then #39-Newman [pit stop problems], #18-Busch [5 seconds, 1 loose lug], #99-Edwards [15 seconds, 3 loose lugs], #14-Stewart [left his pit after two tires were changed, had to back up for the left side], #31-Burton [20 seconds for speeding], #33-Bowyer [20 seconds for speeding] and #11-Hamlin [broke a drive shaft leaving the pit stall].
    See qualifying results and starting lineup on my Qualifying Order/Results page.(5-15-2008)
  • Qualifying for the Sprint Showdown cancelled: due to rain/weather, so the field was set by the rules on the entry blank, by the qualifying draw [just for this race, not for points races]. #27-Shelmerdine will start first, but will go to the the rear of the field as he wrecked in practice and never got the fixed car presented for inspection. So #12-David Stremme moves up from 3rd to the pole position. #46-Carl Long was to start 2nd but had to change engines and fall to the rear, so #66-Blaney moves up to 2nd.
    See the lineup for the Sprint Shootout on my Qualifying Order/Results page.(5-15-2008)
  • Pit Stall Selections – All-Star Challenge: The selections for pit stalls of the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe’s Motor Speedway have been made. The pits stall were chosen by the team that won the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Thursday night, #31-Burton, who chose stall #2, the first one available. The stalls used are skipped, starting with the use of #2, the #4, etc. Since there will only be 21 used and there are 43 stalls, there is plenty of room. The final three stalls will be used by the three drivers who advance from the Sprint Showdown, the winner, 2nd place and the fan vote winner. The pit stalls for the Sprint Showdown have not been posted yet. See the pit selection chart on the All Star Race Pit Stall Selection chart.(5-15-2009)
  • What happens if All-Star race qualifying is cancelled? with the Truck Series qualifying getting rained out this afternoon, rain in the area and in the forecast and delaying Sprint All-Star race qualifying……how would the Sprint Showdown and All-Star Race lineups be set if canceled? SPEED interviewed NASCAR’s John Darby who said, if qualifying is cancelled, each race would lineup by Qualifying Order. So #27-Kirk Shelmerdine would start 1st in the Sprint Shootout and #24-Jeff Gordon would start 1st in the Sprint All-Star Challenge and #18-Kyle Busch would start 18th. For more on the weather, see Weather Info/Links on my All-Star Race page. See my Qualifying Order/Results page for the order the races would line up.(5-15-2009)
  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Sprint Showdown at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is scheduled for Friday, May 15, 2009 at 5:10pm/et with Sprint All-Star Race qualifying to follow.
    TV: SPEED at 5:00pm/et
    Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Jayski.com: Jayski’s Semi-Live Qualifying Page.
    Qualifying Re-Air: on SPEED at 11:30pm/et
  • Qualifying Order for the All-Star Race and Sprint Showdown at Lowe’s Motor Speedway are posted. 35 cars/drivers are listed for the Sprint Showdown and 18 for the Sprint All-Star Race. The first driver scheduled to qualify for the Showdown is #27-Shelmerdine, but he wrecked in practice, so he may go out later or withdraw, 2nd due out is #46-Long, the final driver scheduled out is #34-Rains. For the All-Star race, the first driver scheduled out is #24-Gordon and the final/18th is #18-Busch. The Showdown qualifying is 2 laps as normal, the All-Star race is 3 laps and a pit stop with the driver with the least amount of time on the run winning the pole.. See the full qualifying order on the All-Star Race/Sprint Rundown Qualifying Page.(5-15-2009)
  • Sprint All-Star Challenge practice [the only practice] at Lowe’s Motor Speedway is over, the top five:
    #48-Johnson 183.393
    #18-Busch 182.192
    #5-Martin 181.123
    #31-Burton 180.626
    #24-Gordon 180.481
    slowest of 18: #09-Keselowski 176.419 and #33-Bowyer 177.784
    rain delayed the practice about 20 minutes in for about 10 minutes.
    See the speeds, average speeds, laps run on my All-Star Practice Speeds page.(5-15-2009)
  • Sprint Showdown practice is being over at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the top five:
    #44-Allmendinger 182.223
    #1-Truex Jr. 182.063
    #07-Mears 181.928
    #87-Nemechek 181.220
    #19-Sadler 181.026
    slowest: #57-Benning 156.585 and #27-Shelmerdine 161.435 [wrecked]
    incident: #27-Shelmerdine slid up the track and slapped the wall; #43-Sorenson did the same thing with less of an impact
    See the speeds, average speeds, laps run on my All-Star Practice Speeds page.(5-15-2009)
  • NASCAR drivers would like list of banned drugs UPDATE NASCAR declines : #39-Ryan Newman wants to know what drug Jeremy Mayfield has been indefinitely suspended for and a list of all drugs that he could be tested for in the future. So do #83-Brian Vickers and #2-Kurt Busch. “I think everyone wants a list right now,'” Newman said Thursday night before the Pit Crew Challenge at Time Warner Cable Arena. Newman said he plans to discuss the situation with NASCAR. He believes there are enough drivers that want a list of drugs that are being tested for that they can present unified front and force the governing body to provide it moving forward. He is concerned because Mayfield said his positive test was the result of combining a prescription drug with an over-the-counter drug, a claim the doctor that evaluated the test denied. Newman said NASCAR has an obligations to the other 42 drivers on the track and “more importantly the fans” to clarify what happened. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the policies of not having a list of banned drugs and not revealing what drug was taken could be reevaluated if enough drivers request it. Chairman Brian France is expected to address the policy on Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “The whole system would be fixed if they just told us what Jeremy did,” Newman said.(ESPN)
    UPDATE: NASCAR chairman Brian France called Jeremy Mayfield’s positive drug test “a serious violation” of the sport’s toughened new drug policy. France said Friday he considers performance-enhancers and recreational drugs to be serious violations. But a person familiar with Mayfield’s test results told The Associated Press that Mayfield did not test positive for a performance-enhancing drug. That means Mayfield tested positive for a narcotic or a controlled substance, such as cocaine, marijuana or methamphetamine. France would not reveal what Mayfield was caught using, despite a call from several drivers to disclose the drug. “We had a serious violation of our test, our substance-abuse policy, which gets you an automatic and indefinite suspension and that is where we stand with Jeremy,” France said. “We’ve said it’s serious.” France tried to reassure the drivers, explaining proper use of over-the-counter medication and prescriptions won’t lead to NASCAR punishment. “If you should test positive for over-the-counter medications or a prescribed medication that you are on with your doctor, that doesn’t result in NASCAR suspending you,” France said. “You will … be asked to explain why you have a certain substance that was identified in a test. That’s happened a lot, and it doesn’t get you a suspension.”(ESPN/AP)(5-15-2009)
  • Reddin quits as RPM’s CEO: Tom Reddin has resigned as chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports, multiple team sources told ESPN.com on Friday. Foster Gillet, son of team owner George Gillet, will oversee day-to-day operations, effective immediately, team sources confirmed. Reddin joined RPM just prior to the start of the 2008 season, overseeing the organization’s four Sprint Cup Series teams. The team’s management had come under fire of late in the wake of poor performance and the residual frustration from its driving corps. Reddin wasn’t immediately available for comment. Reddin came to RPM from LendingTree, where he was also CEO.(ESPN.com)(5-15-2009)
  • Jury clears Hendrick pilots of willful and reckless negligence in crash: Hendrick Motorsports pilots Richard Tracy and Elizabeth Morrison were not willfully and recklessly negligent in the October 2004 crash near Martinsville, Va., that killed 10 people, a federal jury has decided in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, N.C. The decision, filed May 5 and entered into the court docket Thursday, ended the first phase of the trials surrounding the crash, which killed four members of the Hendrick family, two Hendrick employees, two others and both pilots. The verdict, which followed a 10-day trial, ended the first of two trials associated with the crash. The second phase will be a bench trial, which will begin July 7. The jury trial centered around a claim from widow Dianne Dorton, wife of HMS engine builder Randy Dorton, on whether the pilots’ estates could be held liable for the actions of the pilots. The jury decided that the actions of the pilots did not meet the negligence requirements for their estates to be held liable. The bench trial will cover five cases involving widows Dorton; Linda Turner, wife of HMS general manager Jeff Turner; and Tracy Lathram, wife of Tony Stewart pilot Scott Lathram, a passenger on the plane; HMS Holdings, parent company of Hendrick Motorsports; and the United States.(SceneDaily)(5-15-2009)
  • Victory Junction Celebrates its Ceremonial Groundbreaking in Kansas: Victory Junction celebrated its ceremonial ground breaking on Wednesday, with over 500 guests in attendance, at their new location in Kansas City, Kansas. The year-round, medical camp for children with chronic medical conditions and serious illnesses will be located on a 71-acre campus at 8205 Riverview Road, Kansas City, Kansas. Today’s “Feel the Magic” celebration ceremony included Victory Junction campers, Victory Junction Founders, Kyle and Pattie Petty, Victory Junction President, Mike Lepore, President and CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, The Reverend Franklin Graham and Kansas City Mayor, Joe Reardon. The camp will operate solely on the donations from corporations, organizations and individuals, allowing campers to attend at no cost to their families. The second Victory Junction – Midwest facility is expected to open in some capacity in 2011. Also in attendance and led by NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, were more than 200 motorcycle riders participating in the 15th Anniversary Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America. Included in the group were retired NFL player Herschel Walker, PGA Golfer Davis Love III, NASCAR Drivers Matt Kenseth and Steve Park, Former NASCAR Driver Harry Gant and the Reverend Franklin Graham. The group stopped on their 3,500-mile cross-country trek to celebrate this special day. Petty’s Charity Ride has been the camp’s largest donor, and has contributed more than $12 million to children’s charities since its inception in 1995. “Our new Victory Junction – Midwest location will help us expand our reach to change the lives of deserving children,” said Kyle Petty. “It’s through the help of our riders, local Dream Teams, Chick-fil-A and our numerous sponsors that this second camp is possible.” For more info about Victory Junction, see www.victoryjunction.org.(5-15-2009)
  • Burton’s crew wins NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge: The #31 Caterpillar Chevy team led by crew chief Scott Miller and pit crew coach Matt Clark won the fifth annual NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman with a time of 22.115 seconds, a new event record, and a $70,675 payout. “It’s a total team effort,” said Clark. “These guys have been unbelievable with their diligence in pushing the car and had some horsepower tonight.” The #43 United States Air Force Dodge finished the event second with a time of 23.839 seconds, approximately 1.7 seconds behind the event winner. The individual championship crowned six new winners and one return winner, of which five individual winners originated from the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team and two members from the #18 M&Ms Toyota team.The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman is a fan-friendly event that featured competition between the series’ top-24 pit crews and is the only indoor event sanctioned by NASCAR.
    Burton’s over-the-wall crew of gas man Curt Bowman, catch-can man Andrew Childers, front-tire changer Daniel Blizzard, front-tire carrier Jon Wallace, rear-tire changer Terry Spalding, rear-tire carrier Chris Martin and jackman Adam North completed their respective skills and the 40-yard car push in 22.115 seconds, an event record, to defeat the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge team of driver Reed Sorenson in the finals. “I’m really proud of them,” said Burton, who attended the event in support of his crew and his wife Kim, who steered the car during the push. “They put so much effort into the pit stops, and they take this very seriously. They truly are athletes, and they work very hard at it.” The 31 team, led by crew chief Scott Miller, won the event with a rear tire changer (Spalding) who had just joined the team, after a stint with Michael Waltrip Racing. “Terry literally started for us yesterday,” said pit crew coach Matt Clark. “Yesterday was his first practice. We did two practice runs with him… We were having performance problems, and Terry became available. We liked what we saw, and we definitely liked what we saw tonight.”
    Individual Champions
    Front-Tire Changer – Dennis Terry, #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet (14.855 seconds)
    Front-Tire Carrier – Shannon Keys, #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet (14.855 seconds)
    Rear-Tire Changer – Jake Seminara, #18 M&M’s Toyota (14.900 seconds)
    Rear-Tire Carrier – Kenny Barber, #18 M&M’s Toyota (14.900 seconds)
    Gas Man – Preston Cordell, #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet (10.072 seconds)
    Catch-Can Man – Eric Hoyle, #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet (10.072 seconds)
    Jack Man – Jeff Kerr, #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet (5.666 seconds)
    (NASCAR)(5-15-2009)
  • Pro Motors wins 2009 MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown: Darrell Hoffman and Dennis Borem of Pro Motors beat out Mike Kash and Jim Snyder of Roush-Yates for a 3rd straight victory in the 10th MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown Wednesday afternoon. Roush-Yates looked like they were going to win it but they no sooner fired their engine and they had something come lose and gas spilled everywhere. They stopped the competition to clean up the gas and after they restarted it Pro Motors fired their engine up within about 4 seconds. Roush-Yates started their engine but it kept stopping (3 times total). Pro’s never stopped. Pro Motor’s time was 19.27 and Roush-Yates was 19.44 (they stopped the clock then but again their engine never ran a full minute). Pro Motor’s time was the best of the competition. They also announced during the competition that this years winners won’t be able to compete in next years competition. The organization itself that can compete but whichever team won those two builders will not be allowed.(5-15-2009)
  • TRG’s Eight Cars A Truck and 36-Hours: TRG Motorsports and TRG will be running eight cars and a truck in four races on two coasts in 36-hours. David Gilliland will be going for the weekend Hat-Trick at Lowe’s Motor Speedway starting Friday, May 15th with his appearance in the #7 TRG Motorsports Chevy in the Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 race. Gilliland will then transition to the #71 team Sprint Cup car for the Sprint All-Star Open race and then, hopefully, the All-Star race and then come back for the Coca-Cola 600 in 10-days. On the West Coast, running the Verizon Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, TRG and the sports car crew will be running five Porsche 997 GT cars and two Porsche KONI Challenge cars. The TRG team of Spencer Pumpelly and Ted Ballou lead the Grand-Am Rolex Series GT driver’s points championship. The team is also coming off of a win with Duncan Ende and Pumpelly in the KONI Challenge Series two weeks ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park. TRG will deploy an army of over 125 people at two different tracks and four different races this weekend.(TRG Motorsports)(5-15-2009)
  • “NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race 2008” Autographed by Kahne For the twenty-second year, motorsports artist Garry Hill has commemorated the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race with an original painting and fine art limited edition prints. The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race prints are autographed (Hand signed) by 2008 race winner Kasey Kahne. Kasey Kahne, and the Gillett Evernham Motorsports team (Now Richard Petty Motorsports) will receive, compliments of Sprint, lithograph prints from the original painting to document their achievement for winning the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in 2008. The artwork features Kasey Kahne in the Budweiser Dodge Charger making a daring pass on Denny Hamlin for the lead and eventual victory. The original painting, commissioned by Sprint, will be unveiled on the SPEED Raceday set live by Miss Sprint Cup and Garry Hill on Saturday May, 16th. Hill has been the official artist of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race since 1987. 300 fine art prints and 30 artist’s proof prints have been published to document the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. A limited number of prints and artist’s proof prints are available to collectors. More info at garryhill.com.(5-15-2009)
  • HBO Show “Entourage” visits Auto Club Speedway: The HBO hit comedy series Entourage recently made a two-day stop at Southern California’s premier motorsports facility – Auto Club Speedway. Auto Club Speedway got a taste of international flair on track as cast members Kevin Connolly (Eric), Adrian Grenier (Vince), Kevin Dillon (Drama), Jerry Ferrara (Turtle), shot an episode which included the new Ferrari California – the latest edition to the new generation of Ferraris. The episode is scheduled to air in July.(Auto Club Speedway)(5-15-2009)
  • Sad News – Frank Mundy: Frank Mundy, a former NASCAR and AAA competitor in the late 1940 and early ’50s, has died in Atlanta. Mundy, born Francisco Eduardo Menendez, was 91 and is survived by his wife, Mae. Also known by the nickname “Rebel”, which he sometimes signed as a middle name, Mundy competed in more than 50 NASCAR events from 1949 to 1956, earning three wins – at Columbia, S.C., Martinsville, Va., and Mobile, Ala. He also won four poles and recorded 24 top-10 finishes. He was the 1955 champion in the American Automobile Association. Mundy is often remembered for driving a Studebaker, but the Georgia driver was also associated with the powerful Chryslers organization of Mercury Marine owner Carl Kiekhaefer, widely regarded as NASCAR’s first big-spending, mega-team owner. Mundy and Indianapolis 500 figure Tony Bettenhausen drove Keikhaefer’s cars in American Automobile Association races before the multimillionaire turned his attention to NASCAR in the mid-1950s. Mundy, Tim Flock, and Buck Baker were among his drivers in the growing stock car racing series.(Charlotte Observer)(5-15-2009)
  • Sad News: Wayne Patterson: Jimmie Wayne Patterson, 60, of Jetersville, VA was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Nottoway County early Thursday. At 12:42 a.m., Virginia State Police Trooper J.D. Moses was called to the scene at the intersection of Rt. 360 and Rt. 615. Mr. Patterson was driving his 2000 Chevrolet Silverado, traveling westbound on Rt. 360 when it ran off the left side of the road. Mr. Patterson overcorrected, which caused the vehicle to overturn. Mr. Patterson was not wearing a safety belt and was thrown from the pickup truck. He died at the scene. Mr. Patterson was once a driver in the Nationwide (Busch at the time of his racing) Racing Series. During his racing career he ran in a total of 39 races over a span of eight years, from 1982-1990. Mr. Patterson finished in the top five once, and in the top 10 on seven occasions during this time. In his racing career, he received a total of $27,195 earnings and raced at several tracks including Daytona, Richmond, North Wilkesboro, Rockingham, Martinsville and Dover. He also raced in weekly racing series at Southside Speedway and South Boston.(Amelia Bulletin Monitor), Patterson’s car owner during much of his career was Bill Grubb, father of Wayne and Kevin Grubb.(5-14-2009)
  • New Amenities and Happenings at LMS for All-Star Race: May Race Weeks have arrived and Lowe’s Motor Speedway is gearing up for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race with new fan amenities as well as special events.
    The Nationwide Insurance Fan Pit Stop:
    Nationwide is partnering with Lowe’s Motor Speedway to help race fans have the best possible experience by hosting The Nationwide Insurance Fan Pit Stop. The massive tents Located across from Gate 7 and in the souvenir lot at the intersection of Hwy. 29 and Bruton Smith Blvd. In the morning, fans can get a breakfast biscuit and coffee for just $2 and for lunch a sandwich and beverage will be available for the same low price. The tent will open at 7:00 a.m. on the morning of the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 and close at the start of the race. On all other event days the Nationwide tent will open one hour prior to the gates and serve food through the start of each race including the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
    Lowe’s Motor Speedway’s Fans First Welcome Center presented by Nationwide Race fans visiting Lowe’s Motor Speedway during May Race Weeks will be able to stop by the Fans First Welcome Center presented by Nationwide and get all their race related questions answered by LMS employees. The Welcome Center will provide fans with maps, schedules, refreshments and the opportunity to rent the NASCAR Sprint FanView. This is a great place for first time fans to learn about the speedway and its many amenities. The Welcome Center will open three hours prior to the gates on race days and close at the start of each race.
    Lowe’s Motor Speedway Fan Appreciation Crew
    The Lowe’s Motor Speedway Fan Appreciation Crew will be cruising the campgrounds in a Toyota Tundra Pace Truck passing out apparel and souvenirs to the campers on speedway property Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 24.
    Going Gold
    The retaining walls at Lowe’s Motor Speedway will be gold this year in honor of the speedway’s 50 years of racing. A crew of eight painted the walls this week using 800 gallons of paint and a process called “fogging” to do the job. More than 190 man hours will be put in to help ensure the walls are gold before cars go on track Friday.
    Pass Time
    Pass Time is the ultimate drag racing game show. It will host NASCAR drivers, owners, crew chiefs and regional racers for two days of taping at zMAX Dragway, May 19-20. The event will give race fans the chance to watch NASCAR drivers compete at the “Bellagio” of drag strips. Gates open at 3 p.m. and tickets are just $10 for adults with children 12 and under admitted for free.
    Lowe’s Motor Speedway is the home of NASCAR’s biggest back-to-back weekends with the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the 50th Coca-Cola 600. Ticket packages for both events are available through the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS)(5-15-2009)
  • Recycling Effort Expanded at LMS: Coca-Cola Recycling and Anheuser-Busch Recycling have joined forces to help race fans support the environment by recycling while attending the Coca-Cola 600 Month of May races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The joint recycling effort is an expansion of the program Anheuser-Busch launched at the speedway last May. Almost 5,000 pounds of aluminum and plastic beverage containers were collected on speedway property during the 10-day span of events that month. An increased effort in October for the fall NASCAR races netted more than 4,000 pounds of recyclables in a four-day period. Anheuser-Busch also supplied bins to the Lowe’s Motor Speedway offices for the staff to recycle year round. This year Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch have partnered to provide more than 400 recycling barrels that will be placed around the speedway’s display areas, hospitality areas, concourse, infield and suites during the May race weeks to collect plastic and aluminum beverage containers. The recycling program will be in place May 15 – 24 at the 1.5-mile superspeedway. For the Coca-Cola 600 weekend, the Coca-Cola Recycling Education Vehicle will also be at the speedway. The 40-foot trailer features videos, games and prizes, all designed to inform and educate fans about the value of recycling in a fun and interactive setting. The recycling efforts of fans at Lowe’s Motor Speedway during the May races will be rewarded with donations made to Speedway Children’s Charities and the NASCAR Foundation. Ticket packages and payment plan options for all events are available through the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(5-15-2009)

 


May 14, 2009

 

  • 8th Annual Dale Earnhardt Day Set for Friday May 15: Jeff Steiner, executive vice president and general manager of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced plans for the company’s eighth annual Dale Earnhardt Day, celebrating the life of seven-time NASCAR Champion Dale Earnhardt, for fans and friends. The celebration will be a day-long fan celebration on Friday, May 15, 2009 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the day before the Sprint All Star Race at Lowes Motor Speedway. Festivities will be held at the company’s headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. Follow plans on Twitter at www.twitter.com/daleday09. A complete schedule of events and additional information is available at: daleearnhardtinc.com.(DEI PR)(4-14/5-14-2009)
  • added schemes: #29 Pennzoil – All-Star#2 Miller Lite Taste Protector and #99 Aflac black and silver
  • Mayfield allowed to drive after positive result: A day after learning #41-Jeremy Mayfield failed a drug test for something other than a performance-enhancer, NASCAR allowed him to drive a race car at Darlington Raceway at speeds up to 173 mph. A person familiar with the test results told The Associated Press on Thursday that Mayfield’s positive test was not for a performance-enhancing drug. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because NASCAR won’t reveal what banned substance was found in the random test, which ultimately resulted in Mayfield’s indefinite suspension. Because Mayfield challenged the initial positive finding, as allowed under NASCAR’s drug policy, the series did not take disciplinary action until his backup “B” sample also tested positive. That’s why Mayfield wasn’t barred from participating in two practice sessions and a qualifying session May 8 at Darlington. See the full Associated Press article at ESPN.com.(5-14-2009)
  • Earnhardt’s Black #3 Chevy Unveiled at NC Sports Hall of Fame: The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame is now home to a black #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevy made famous by the legendary Dale Earnhardt. RCR President and CEO, Richard Childress, with whom Earnhardt won six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships from 1986 to 1994, was on-hand for the May 13 celebration in downtown Raleigh, N.C. The 2000 #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo was unveiled next to a 1963 #3 Chevrolet Impala made famous by pioneer NASCAR driver and car owner Junior Johnson. The race cars are on display in the lobby of the North Carolina Museum of History in the Sports Hall of Fame. “To be able to put one of Dale’s cars into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame after everything he accomplished as a lifelong resident of North Carolina is a great honor,” said Childress. “Dale was inducted into the hall of fame years ago so we felt it was important to have one of RCR’s famous black #3 GM Goodwrench Chevys on display there, too.” Earnhardt was inducted into the hall of fame in 1994 and went on that season to win his seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Childress was honored with his own induction last May. The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame began as a two-year exhibit in the North Carolina Museum of History in February 1982. The grand opening of the 4,000-square-foot exhibit took place in April 1994.(RCR PR)(5-14-2009)
  • New emergency texting available to race patrons: International Speedway Corporation (ISC) has partnered with InStadiumSolutions to implement a text-message based communication system at all of its 12 motorsports facilities. The service was introduced last weekend during the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at Darlington Raceway. The system allows fans to communicate with the racetrack’s command post if assistance is needed inside the facility. The technology was tested at Homestead-Miami Speedway last November during the final weekend of the NASCAR season. Instructions will be posted throughout each racetrack and will be broadcast through audio and video public announcements. Besides Darlington and Homestead-Miami, ISC owns and/or operates Daytona, Talladega, Michigan, Richmond, Auto Club Speedway, Kansas, Phoenix, Chicago, Martinsville and Watkins Glen. The Fan Text Messaging Service is also being used by several professional and college teams, as well as at events such as the Super Bowl, BCS National Championship and World Baseball Classic.(Associated Press)(5-14-2009)
  • Special “Taste Protector” Paint Scheme for #2 Miller Lite Dodge: #2-Kurt Busch and his Pat Tryson-led Penske Racing Team plan on going all out in their bid to win Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. They are even rolling out a special color scheme along the way. “It will be all-out serious fun for our Miller Lite Dodge Team in this weekend’s All-Star battle,” said Busch, who will be making his eighth career All-Star race start on Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “That may sound like an oxymoron to some, but the fact is that we’re taking this race very serious, but because there are no points involved, we know we’re going to have a lot of fun this weekend. First of all, we’re coming in there with an absolutely knock-out paint scheme on our Miller Lite Dodge,” said Busch, whose runner-up finish in the 2003 edition rates as his best to date in All-Star race competition. “We’re calling it our ‘taste protector’ ride and once you see it, you’ll immediately know why. If there has ever been a rolling billboard, this one is it. “Our friends at Miller Lite have gone the extra mile in the detail work that went into this unique color scheme,” Busch added. “Our goal was to promote the new ‘taste protector’ feature found on Miller Lite cans and bottles that locks in Miller Lite’s great pilsner taste. This car does a real phenomenal job of doing that.(Tom Roberts PR), see images of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page.(5-14-2009)
  • Special scheme for Edwards in All-Star race: #99-Carl Edwards will carry a special silver and black Aflac paint scheme Saturday night in honor of the All-Star race. The #99 Aflac crew will be unloading chassis RK-639 for this weekend’s events. Edwards raced this Ford Fusion at Texas in April of this year. He started 13th, led 40 laps and finished 10th. Aflac will auctionoff the fire suit worn by Edwards in this weekend’s All-Star Race. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the Aflac Cancer Center.(RFR), see an image of the car on my #99 Team Schemes page.(5-14-2009)
  • Pennzoil colors for Harvick: Kevin Harvick’s #29 Chevy will sport a different look for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The 2007 All-Star race winner will transform his bright yellow and red Shell-Pennzoil Chevy into a special yellow Pennzoil Chevy. Pennzoil has been a sponsor in virtually every form of motorsports since the brand appeared as a sponsor of Russell Snowberger’s Indianapolis 500 race entry in the 1930’s.(RCR), see an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page(5-14-2009)
  • All-Star Rookie Notes: Sam Hornish Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hornish Jr. scored a seventh-place finish in the special event and was the only Raybestos Rookie to compete in the race. He scored a second-place finish in the Sprint Showdown to qualify for the main event. No Raybestos Rookie points will be awarded in the NASCAR Sprint Showdown or Sprint All-Star Race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000) and Ryan Newman (2002) are the only Raybestos Rookies to win the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Tony Stewart was the first Raybestos Rookie to claim a top-five finish in the Sprint All-Star Race. Stewart placed second behind race winner Terry Labonte in 1999. Jeff Burton was the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Burton finished sixth in 1994 driving the Raybestos-sponsored Ford for Stavola Brothers Racing. Three Rookies have won the pole for the Sprint Showdown: Brett Bodine (1987), Jeff Gordon (1993), and Joe Nemechek (1994). Only once in the history of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race have TWO Raybestos Rookies finished in the top five. In 2002, Ryan Newman won the race while Jimmie Johnson finished fifth. The first Raybestos Rookie to compete in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race was Davey Allison in 1987. Allison started third and finished 12th, completing 134 of 135 laps. The best start by a Raybestos Rookie in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is second by Denny Hamlin in 2006. At least one Raybestos Rookie has qualified for 10 of the 24 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Races.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR), see rookie standings, history and more on my 2009 Rookies Page.(5-14-2009)
  • Kenwood partners up with Penske: Kenwood USA Corporation has once again partnered with Penske Racing to sponsor two NASCAR drivers for the 2009 Sprint Cup season. The Kenwood logo appears on the #12 Dodge driven by David Stremme and the #77 Dodge driven by Sam Hornish, Jr. Kenwood is an associate sponsor of the #12 and #77 cars for all 38 Sprint Cup Series races in 2009.(Penske Racing PR)(5-14-2009)
  • Bill Elliott to attempt to topple NASCAR speed record UPDATE wrecks: The current NASCAR top speed record sits at 212.809 and was set by Bill Elliot at Talladega Superspeedway in a 1987 Ford Thunderbird. Brent Hajek apparently figures it’s about time that 22-year-old record is topped. Next Wednesday, May 13th, Hajek will once again put Bill Elliot behind the wheel of a Ford at the famed Talladega oval in Alabama, only this time, the vehicle in question will be a Mustang FR500C modified to run on E85. This particular Mustang Cobra Jet has already managed to clock a 252 mile per hour top speed at the Salt Flats in Bonneville. On Wednesday, May 13, Hajek Motorsports will embark on its next challenge, with technical support from Ford Racing, when they attempt to break the 22-year-old NASCAR speed record held by Bill Elliott. Elliott himself will pilot Hajek’s E-85 Mustang FR500C, which has been reconfigured to NASCAR specs, at Talladega in an attempt to break his 212.809 mph qualifying lap from 1987 at the same track. FIA officials will be on site to verify the attempt and to validate the record. The Hajek Motorsports E-85 Mustang is currently at Bill Elliott’s race shop in Dawsonville, Georgia, going through final preparations. Early next week, the team will scrub tires and do initial testing, in anticipation of breaking the record on Wednesday afternoon.( autobloggreen.com)(5-9-2009)
    UPDATE: The last thing Bill Elliott expected to be riding in on Wednesday at Talladega Superspeedway was an ambulance. Elliott was at the track — where he set the NASCAR qualifying record in 1987 of 212.809 mph — in an attempt to break that mark. He was driving a Ford FR500C Mustang, a production racing model modified by Brent Hajek of Hajek Motorsports. The same car reached 252 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats last year. On hand for the occasion were Len and Eddie Wood of the Wood Brothers racing team and legendary NASCAR team owner Bud Moore. But it rained most of the day and by the time the sun came out and the track dried enough there was just time left for a couple shakedown runs to check the car out before taking a shot at the speed mark on Thursday. Elliott was on the second lap of the second run when the right front tire blew, sending him hard into the wall on the backstretch. “That’s not what I was looking for,” Elliott said of the ride back to the garage in an ambulance. “Only hurt my feelings.” Hajek was disappointed his shot at the speed mark was cut short but said he might give it another shot on another day. “We’ll have to determine what happened and see if we can fix it,” he said.(see images at Alabama Live)(5-14-2009)
  • ‘Knights’ in Firesuits? Deep-fried Twinkies, jars of moonshine and kegerators set up in the backs of recreational vehicles at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway. To one scholar, these aren’t just the trappings of a modern-day Nascar race weekend — they’re evidence of a hidden past. “It’s almost a direct carryover from the Middle Ages,” says Karyn Rybacki, a professor of communication studies and public relations at Northern Michigan University. Ms. Rybacki, who studies stock-car racing, says the cultural elements of NASCAR races — where fans travel many miles to attend, wear the colors of their favorite teams and virtually knight popular drivers — may be directly descended from medieval times, when people came in droves to make merry before another fast and dangerous form of competition, the joust. To read the Wall Street article see the link on my Article Links page.(5-14-2009)
  • Starr to attempt races at Lowe’s: Camping World Truck Series driver David Starr will be driving the #06 Boys will be Boys Racing Dodge Charger the next two weekends at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in the Sprint Showdown and Coca Cola 600. Team owner Theresa Boys has announced Starr will attempt to qualify for the Sprint Showdown this All Star weekend and for the Coca Cola 600 next weekend. Boys will be Boys Racing is currently seeking sponsorship for these two events and for the remainder of the season.(Boys will be Boys Racing PR)(5-14-2009)
  • Daytona 500 tickets to go on sale May 16th: Tickets for the 52nd annual Daytona 500 will go on sale this Saturday at 9:00am/et. Prior to Saturday, May 16, only renewals and deposits for seat assignments for the 52nd annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race were taken by the ticket office at Daytona International Speedway. Tickets for the Daytona 500 will start at $55 and for the first time since 1982, there have been no ticket price increases for any seat locations for the prestigious race that will kick off the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Sunday, Feb. 14. Race fans that purchase Daytona 500 tickets on Saturday, May 16 will be eligible for a special one-day offer where they can take advantage of Daytona’s monthly payment plan. With the plan, they will be able to get tickets to the Daytona 500 for as low as $10 per month. In addition, parking at Daytona International Speedway is always free, race fans can continue to bring their coolers with food and beverages and area hotels are continuing to make their rooms even more affordable. Ticket information for the 2010 Daytona 500, 2009 Coke Zero 400 and other races can be found at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS)(5-14-2009)
  • Coca-Cola Drops Green Flag on Summer with ‘Quarter-Mile Cookout’ at LMS: Coca-Cola will ignite the summer barbecue season Memorial Day weekend by firing up the nation’s longest grill at the site of NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Requiring more than 7,000 pounds of Kingsford Charcoal, the monster-sized ring of fire will measure an astonishing 1,320 feet – spanning more than four football fields in length if stretched end to end. The colossal grill will be used to cook up a feast for fans attending the “Coca-Cola Quarter-Mile Cookout” on Friday, May 22. The oval-shaped quarter-mile grill – assembled on part of the racetrack’s frontstretch and pit road – will be manned by celebrity chef and Food Network star Tyler Florence, host of “Tyler’s Ultimate” and author of “Dinner at My Place” and “Stirring the Pot.” Joining Chef Florence will be some of NASCAR’s most popular drivers, including Clint Bowyer, Bobby Labonte, Kyle Petty, and racing legend Bobby Allison, all of whom will trade their fire suits for “track aprons” as they help grill up lunch for thousands of fans. The event is free and open to all ticket and annual credential holders for the historic 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600. The action will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the racetrack near the Speedway’s start/finish line. The menu will feature hamburgers and hotdogs, along with Betty Crocker Suddenly Salad pasta salads and Betty Crocker Original Supreme brownies. Tickets for the Coca-Cola 600 are available online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR)(5-14-2009)

May 13, 2009

 

  • Biffle comments on Drug Issue: #16-Greg Biffle was as surprised as anyone when #41-Jeremy Mayfield was found in violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. Mayfield contends the positive result was due to a mixture of taking a prescrition drug and an over-the-counter allergy medication. Just prior to the race at Bristol in March, Biffle made the decision not to mix a prescription with an over-the-counter pain reliever after injuring his ribs while attempting to dock his boat. Biffle said, “I was trying to get a clarification on a prescription that they (doctors) wanted to give me. They gave me a prescription, but I never took it because I didn’t really get a clear answer on it…it was for the pain in my ribs. I just ended up taking Ibuprofen instead of anything else. It’s a difficult spot especially with a rib injury like I had on what to do or what not to do. I did what I thought was right which was to weigh on the side of safety and that was not take it…take Ibuprofen and just tough it out. If you’ve gotta weigh on the side of something, weigh on the side of safety in my opinion”.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-13-2009)
  • 2009 MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown Final Set: Team Roush-Yates Engines will get a chance to redeem themselves in the Final Round of the historic 10th MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown Wednesday afternoon. In what will be a rematch of last year’s championship round, Mike Kasch and Jim Snyder will face off against the team they finished runner-up to in 2008 – Dennis Borem and Darrell Hoffman of Pro Motor Engines. In fact, Borem and Hoffman will be going for an unprecedented third consecutive title. The final of the MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown will be held at 5:30pm/et Wednesday as a part of “NASCAR Rev’d Up,” a kick off event for NASCAR All-Star race week. It will be held on the side stage between 3rd and Mint Streets in Uptown Charlotte. Former crew chiefs Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds will host the final of the MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown, which is a tiered, three-round competition designed to recognize the knowledge, skill and speed of professional engine builders who assemble special performance engines for NASCAR teams.
    In Tuesday’s second round in which teams had to build a complete Chevrolet R07 race engine in the fastest time and successfully run it for one minute, Pro Motor Engines (21 minutes, 37 seconds) defeated the Richard Petty Motorsports team by a mere four seconds to advance while Roush-Yates (22 minutes, seven seconds) topped the Hendrick Motorsports team by more than one minute.
    “The MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown is always an exceptional event to watch,” said Bill McKnight, Team Leader – Training for MAHLE Clevite. “And this year it will be interesting to see if the Pro Motor Engine team will win for the third consecutive year, or if Kasch and Snyder will strip them of the title and become the 2009 MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown champion, win the cash prize, and have their names engraved on the Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy.”(Pro Sports Management)(5-13-2009)
  • Top-10 Vote Getters leading Fan Vote: Sprint announced the names of the top 10 drivers leading the Sprint Fan Vote, a voting competition driven by fans awarding one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team a position in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday, May 16. The top 10 drivers in the Sprint Fan Vote as of May 12 (in alphabetical order) are AJ Allmendinger, Bill Elliott, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Ragan, David Reutimann, Elliott Sadler, Martin Truex Jr. and Michael Waltrip. The top eight in the standings are separated by less than 20,000 votes and the top two are separated by less than 4,000 votes. Votes placed on Sprint phones count double, which could cut the margin in half. The Sprint Fan Vote closes at 7:30pm/et on May 16.(SPEEDtv)(5-13-2009)
  • Hendrick set to return from illness: Sidelined the past several weeks by a fast-spreading sinus infection, NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick plans to return to the track this weekend after a five-race absence. Hendrick has not been to the track since Jimmie Johnson helped his boss celebrate his 25th anniversary in NASCAR with a March 29th victory at Martinsville Speedway. He skipped the next two events, races in Texas and Phoenix, for personal and business reasons. Then he was stricken with a sinus infection that spread to both his chest and ears, keeping him away from the track another three races. He needed tubes inserted in both ears to fight the infection. “They say the tubes are for kids, so I guess I’m a 59-year-old kid with ear infections,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve got a weak immune system, and this infection just jumped on me. I was a sick puppy there for about three weeks. But I am much better, feeling more like myself.” Hendrick’s immune system was weakened by a long, but successful, fight with leukemia 12 years ago. “If I am not careful, I get knocked on my butt,” said Hendrick, who spent more than four hours with employees Tuesday passing out the championship rings from Johnson’s third title. The illness kept Hendrick away from wins by Jeff Gordon at Texas, and Mark Martin in Phoenix and Darlington, S.C. Hendrick watched all the races he missed on TV, admittedly screaming at his set and often second-guessing strategy through text messages to team vice president Doug Duchardt. He then called his drivers in Victory Lane, a scene often caught on live television that drew attention to his absence. Hendrick said he’ll ease back into at-track activities with the All-Star race this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where he traditionally celebrates Charlotte Speedweeks by treating employees from both his motorsports and automotive programs to weekends at the track.(ESPN/AP)
    AND: The Hendrick Motorsports Museum and Team Store has updated its exhibits and extended its hours for fans visiting during the upcoming race weeks. More info at hendrickmotorsports.com.(5-13-2009)
  • Hendrick hits 700th Top 5: #5-Mark Martin posted the 700th top-5 finish for Hendrick Motorsports at Darlington Raceway, second all time behind Petty Enterprises, which scored 890 top-5s. #48-Jimmie Johnson (second) and #24-Jeff Gordon (fifth) also finished in the top five, giving Hendrick 702 top-5s leaving Darlington.(ESPN/Racing Resources)(5-13-2009)
  • NASCAR Looking into decline in TV Ratings: A double-digit decline in ratings for NASCAR on Fox has officials researching why the audience is shrinking and what, if anything, can be done to reverse the trend. Through the season’s first 10 races, Nielsen ratings on Fox are down 11.5 percent and viewership is down 10.8 percent from 2008 numbers, which don’t include a 2008 rainout. Ratings for each of the last seven Sprint Cup races going into last week’s event at Darlington were down by double digits. Fox’s average rating for the season was a 5.4 with 8.9 million viewers prior to Sunday’s race at Darlington, compared with averages of 6.1 and 10 million for 2008. “As you look at the current snapshot, it’s been a challenging year,” said Paul Brooks, president of NASCAR Media Group. “That being said, we’re still the No. 1 sport on television six of the last nine weeks. Our position in the sports and entertainment landscape is strong. The biggest impact is with our TV partners and their commercial sales. We’re mindful of that. The flip side is that we hear great things, that it’s not a NASCAR issue. It’s a broader economy and advertising issue.” Brooks said NASCAR and Fox are looking at every angle, from the lack of compelling story lines on the track to the spacing and timing of commercial breaks. Broadcasters have traditionally gone to commercial during pit stops, but Brooks said that NASCAR fans want to see the pit stops.(see full article at the Sports Business Journal)(5-13-2009)
  • If Sorenson gets voted in, he will donate: Reed Sorenson will donate his winnings to charity if fans vote him into Saturday night’s All-Star Challenge. The #43 McDonald’s McCafe Dodge driver plans to transfer into the All-Star Challenge by finishing first or second in the Showdown. But if he doesn’t, Sorenson will give his portion of the winnings to Ronald McDonald House Charities if he transfers into the race through the fan vote. Sorenson: “The fan vote is pretty important as Kasey proved last year. If I’m fortunate enough to transfer in through the fan vote then I’ll gladly give my prize money to char­ity. The Ronald McDonald House Charities do some great work with kids and families. I’m fortunate to do what I love in life and I think giving back is important. If the fans give me a way into the All-Star race then I don’t have a problem giving that money to people doing a lot of good in the world.”(RPM)(5-13-2009)
  • #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy to Pay Tribute to National Wild Turkey Federation: The National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) flying turkey logo will appear on the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing #1, Bass Pro Shops Chevy driven by Martin Truex Jr. on Saturday, May 16. Truex will be competing for a win in the NASCAR Sprint Showdown in order to earn his way into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race later that night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC. Truex is among the Top 10 finalists for the All-Star Race Fan Vote. Bass Pro Shops salute to the NWTF is a part of the Conservation Fund’s “Racing for America’s Wildlife” program. The program is designed to engage the NASCAR community in conserving America’s hunting and fishing heritage through habitat protection, restoration, education, and outreach.(Bass Pro Shops), see an imgae of the scheme on my #1 Team Schemes page.(5-13-2009)
  • Jim Beam to donate to Operation Homefront: In honor of Memorial Day, Jim Beam will salute the troops by donating $25,000 to Operation Homefront, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing emergency assistance and morale to U.S. Troops and their families. Additionally the #7 Jim Beam Toyota of Robby Gordon will sport a special red, silver and blue paint scheme featuring Operation Homefront during the race weeks at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.(Jim Beam)(5-13-2009)

May 12, 2009

 

  • MWR welcomes new Vice President Sales and Service: Michael Waltrip Racing announced Chris Marciani will serve as Vice President Sales and Service for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series operation. “The future is very bright for MWR and the company is enjoying a tremendous amount of momentum right now,” Marciani said. “The race teams are competitive on the track and the company is anchored by great partners like NAPA, Aaron’s, Best Western and Toyota. MWR has a great piece of inventory left to sell for 2010 and beyond, the second half of the #00 with David Reutimann. Since he has become the ‘Franchise’ I look forward to talking to corporate partners about his remarkable run for ‘The Chase’ and the value he brings to partners. MWR has a championship-caliber Nationwide Series team with a lot of inventory left, so it’s going to be exciting to sell national programs with real value.” Marciani joins the company following his two-year tenure as Vice President of Partnership Marketing at Bobcats Sports and Entertainment. While with the NBA Charlotte Bobcats, he managed the team’s existing corporate partnership base and new business development. Ty Norris, Vice President and General Manager, was instrumental in Marciani making his next career move.(MWR)(5-12-2009)
  • 2009 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge: The 2009 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman will feature the top-24 NASCAR Sprint Cup SeriesTM pit crews in a head-to-head competition at 7:00pm/et Thursday, May 14 at the Time Warner Cable Arena [in Charlotte, NC]. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online at www.pitcrewchallenge.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 495-2295. SPEED’s broadcast of the event begins at 9pm/et.
    Eligibility for the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge presented by Craftsman is determined by teams qualified for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, which includes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners from 2008 and 2009, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners of the past 10 years and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions of the past 10 years who are active drivers and have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event during the 2008 or 2009 season. Also, the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge winner is eligible to compete. For more info and the entry list, see my 2009 Pit Crew News page.(5-12-2009)
  • Truex’s Team Wins Tissot Pit Crew Award in Darlington: Martin Truex Jr.’s crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway. Truex’s crew, out of the Earnhardt Ganassi Racing stable, became the season’s ninth different winner of the Tissot pit road competition. The win came as a result of Truex’s Chevy spending the least amount of time on pit road – 411.199 seconds. The #1 pit crew’s performance lifted Truex to a sixth-place finish at Darlington’s daunting 1.366-mile track. Truex’s pit crew consists of: Dennis Terry (front-tire changer), Shannon Keys (front tire carrier), Coleman Dollarhide (rear-tire changer), Mark Kennerly (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Kerr (jackman), Preston Cordell (gasman) and Eric “Pee Wee” Hoyle (catch can). The pit crew coach is Walt Smith. Truex’s crew will receive $5,000 for the pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver. Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew leads in the Tissot standings after 11 races with three victories. There are eight teams tied with one win.(Tissot)(5-12-2009)
  • Gustafson named Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Darlington: Alan Gustafson, crew chief for the #5 Cheez It/Carquest Chevrolet driven by Mark Martin, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Saturday’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Martin, who qualified 12th, ran into some trouble early in the race when some lug nuts fell off, sending him to the back of the field. But with the help of successful pit and track strategy from his team, Martin charged his way back up towards the front of the pack. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead.(Wypall Wipers PR)(5-12-2009)
  • Yeley to sub for Mayfield, No? Yes? UPDATE 3: J.J. Yeley will drive the #41 Toyota for Mayfield Motorsports starting this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Yeley replaces Jeremy Mayfield, who was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR on Saturday after violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy [see story below]. “We believe in J.J.’s talent,” said crew chief Tony Furr. “He’s available for every race. So we won’t be changing drivers. J.J. has something to prove just like we all do. We want someone that’s hungry just like us. Everybody on this team has at one time or another worked for a larger organization. We’re all racers who are all hungry, who all want to make the most of second chances and J.J. sort of fits that mold.” The team is expected to name an owner of record shortly.(FoxSports – link gone)
    UPDATE: Who will replace the suspended Jeremy Mayfield? That’s the question on everybody’s mind after Tony Furr, crew chief of the #41 Jeremy Mayfield Motorsports entry, rescinded earlier comments to FOXSports.com that J.J. Yeley was tabbed for the position. Speaking on behalf of the team, Shana Mayfield said no decision has been made but Yeley is on the short list. Mayfield was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR on Saturday after violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. The team is expected to name an owner of record shortly, as Mayfield is not allowed to be owner of record during his suspension.(FoxSports)(5-11-2009)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing that Todd Bodine and Mike Wallace are other candidates to drive the #41 Toyota.(5-11-2009)
    UPDATE 3: Mayfield Motorsports will field a #41 Toyota for J.J. Yeley in this weekend’s Sprint Showdown, the 40-lap qualifying race for the Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, with Shana Mayfield the owner of record following last weekend’s indefinite suspension of her husband, owner/driver Jeremy Mayfield, for a violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. The Mayfields plan to file her owner’s paperwork with NASCAR Competition on Tuesday morning, followed by the driver change. Crew chief Tony Furr and team manager Bobby Wooten along with their crew members compiled a “short list” of candidates Monday morning and when the Mayfields arrived, they met with the team and then, Yeley, before making their final decision. The new owner said Yeley also would drive the car in the following weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s — where Yeley finished a career-best second in 2007 — and for what she and her husband hope will be a brief interlude as they resolve Jeremy Mayfield’s positive drug test. “We didn’t want to be switching drivers every week,” Shana Mayfield said. “The thing about J.J. that we really liked is he lives close to the shop and he came over [Monday] while we were there. He told the guys it wasn’t about money — he just wanted to race, he wanted another chance like Jeremy did when he started the team.” Shana Mayfield said her team is intact since Mayfield got the news of a positive result for “a drug of concern” in a random test given on Friday of the Richmond race weekend, followed by his “B sample,” on Mayfield’s request, also testing positive. Mayfield issued a statement this past Saturday at Darlington saying he believed the positive result came from a combination of a prescription drug and an over-the-counter allergy medication.(NASCAR.com)(5-12-2009)
  • NASCAR: New evidence that Dodge, Chevy maybe forced to cut back: Much has been made of the extent to which Chrysler and General Motors’ financial problems might impact their NASCAR participation. With Chrysler filing for bankruptcy, and General Motors expected to follow suit within the next 10 days, there is cause for concern. Dodge executives have said all the right things regarding the company’s participation in NASCAR — that, despite the bankruptcy, no changes were planned. Now, there is evidence that it may be beyond their control. According to Automotive News, Chrysler wanted to spend $134 million in advertising over the nine weeks it is expected to be in bankruptcy, but the U.S. Treasury’s auto industry task force gave it half that. “So if General Motors, which is wrestling with the possibility of a Chapter 11 filing itself, is wondering how much influence the task force will have over marketing, the answer is plenty,” the publication said. “Transcripts from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, which is hearing the Chrysler case, showed that the task force at least understands that advertising is a necessary expense — even if it doesn’t think Chrysler needs $134 million for nine weeks of car ads.” Meaning what? Meaning that, under bankruptcy — and remaining in business primarily using government money — the government is not hesitating to tell the manufacturers how much money they can spend on marketing, which is where the lion’s share of motorsports funding comes from. Very little — less than ever — comes from research and development. In the government is willing to cut Chrysler’s marketing allocation in half — and that’s half of what Chrysler was asking for, not half of what it is used to spending — then it may be a tough sell to convince the feds that taxpayer dollars should go towards supporting Dodge, which has won just one race this year, Kurt Busch’s victory at Atlanta.(Orlando Sentinel)(5-12-2009)
  • Kevin Costner and Modern West to Perform at the Sprint All-Star Race: Actor and musician Kevin Costner and Modern West will perform a pre-race concert for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Academy Award winner Costner and his band will perform a 45-minute afternoon concert prior to the Montgomery Gentry show presented by Jim Beam in the infield between Turns 1 and 2. Admission to the concert is free with the purchase of a ticket to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
    In addition to the concert Costner will be invited to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers meeting and will serve as a celebrity judge in the Pennzoil Victory Challenge, the annual burnout contest, prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race. Costner has been a regular presence in the NASCAR community of late as part of his year- long partnership with the sport. Amongst many NASCAR related endeavors, Costner is serving as the 2009 NASCAR Day spokesperson, which will be celebrated this year on May 15th. As part of his role, he is helping The NASCAR Foundation to raise funds for its Family of Charities in an effort to help thousands of children live better lives.
    Tickets for the 25th running of the May 16th NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race start at just $25 and can be purchased online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR)(5-12-2009)
  • Tix on sale for Nationwide Series Race at Nashville: For the 14th-consecutive year, Federated Auto Parts will sponsor the Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The 2009 race will be held June 6 at the Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn. and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race will be held Saturday evening, June 6. Tickets are on sale today by calling toll-free 1-866-RACE-TIX or online at www.nashvillesuperspeedway.com.(5-12-2009)

May 11, 2009

 

  • Yeley to sub for Mayfield, No UPDATE 2?: J.J. Yeley will drive the #41 Toyota for Mayfield Motorsports starting this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Yeley replaces Jeremy Mayfield, who was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR on Saturday after violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy [see story below]. “We believe in J.J.’s talent,” said crew chief Tony Furr. “He’s available for every race. So we won’t be changing drivers. J.J. has something to prove just like we all do. We want someone that’s hungry just like us. Everybody on this team has at one time or another worked for a larger organization. We’re all racers who are all hungry, who all want to make the most of second chances and J.J. sort of fits that mold.” The team is expected to name an owner of record shortly.(FoxSports – link gone)
    UPDATE: Who will replace the suspended Jeremy Mayfield? That’s the question on everybody’s mind after Tony Furr, crew chief of the #41 Jeremy Mayfield Motorsports entry, rescinded earlier comments to FOXSports.com that J.J. Yeley was tabbed for the position. Speaking on behalf of the team, Shana Mayfield said no decision has been made but Yeley is on the short list. Mayfield was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR on Saturday after violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. The team is expected to name an owner of record shortly, as Mayfield is not allowed to be owner of record during his suspension.(FoxSports)(5-11-2009)
    UPDATE 2: also hearing that Todd Bodine and Mike Wallace are other candidates to drive the #41 Toyota.(5-11-2009)
  • Changes at the #19 team? UPDATE: hearing from sources that their could be changed made on the #19 Richard Petty Motorsports team. One is that driver Elliott Sadler could be parked, with sponsorship going to the #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger. A rumored crew chief change, to Todd Parrott, never that happened.(5-11-2009)
    UPDATE: been told by folks with the team, no changes are planned and Sadler is dafe as the drivers.(5-11-2009)
  • Experts says NASCAR drug list should be public: A prominent authority on drug testing says the indefinite suspension of Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield further enhances his belief that the sport needs to provide a public list of banned substances to protect itself legally. Mayfield on Saturday became the first Sprint Cup driver suspended for violating the substance abuse policy. Sources close to the situation said Mayfield claims he took Claritin D, an over-the-counter allergy drug that contains pseudoephedrine, a substance banned by most sports. Mayfield said in a prepared statement that the positive test was the result of combining a prescribed and over-the-counter drug, a possiblity the doctor who runs NASCAR’s drug testing policy denied was plausible. “A combination of an over-the-counter drug taken with a prescription drug could not cause the positive that we took action on,” Dr. David Black of the Tennessee-based Aegis Labs said. But what concerns Dr. Charles Yesalis, a Penn State professor who has testified before Congress on performance-enhancing drugs and spent 25 years researching drug testing, is that drivers are not provided a list of banned substances. The NFL, NBA, MLB PGA Tour and NCAA each make available public lists in their drug testing policies. “That alone to me is ludicrous,” Yesalis said Monday. “That just kind of violates your sense of fair play. It never would fly in MLB or the NFL because they have a union. “The drivers don’t have a union, but if somebody did that to me I’d go get myself a nasty lawyer. What if somebody in management or ownership doesn’t like you? They can use that as a weapon against you.” Black said the lack of a list makes the program stronger because it gives the governing body more flexibility. Yesalis doesn’t disagree that the findings of the test are legitimate. He, too, never has come across a positive test caused by the use of Claritin D, although “if somebody doubled or tripled the dose I wouldn’t want to be next to them at 190 miles per hour going into the first turn at Darlington.” But for legal reasons he believes NASCAR needs to be more up front with what they are looking for. Because his is not considered an appealable offense, legal action could be Mayfield’s only recourse if he chooses to fight the suspension. Sources close to the situation said that hasn’t been determined yet.(ESPN)(5-11-2009)
  • Darlington Overnight TV Ratings: NASCAR on Fox delivered a 3.6/7 Saturday night for Primetime racing from Darlington Raceway. Saturday’s 3.6/7 is down -16% compared to last year’s 4.3/8 for the same race. That -16% skid nearly matches FOX’s overall -15% decline for the NASCAR season (4.6/10 vs. 5.4/11). All eleven of FOX’s Sprint Cup points races have been down double digits compared to last year in the metered markets. It’s too early to call a definitive winner in the Saturday night Primetime battle. FOX’s race averaged a 3.5/7 from 8-11pm, which ranked third among major broadcasters behind ABC’s 3.9/8 and CBS’s 3.8/7. See race-by-race chart and more on my 2009 TV Ratings page.(5-11-2009)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2009 Southern 500
    Total number of commercials: 148
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 73
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 66
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:20 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:48 PM
    Total minutes: 268
    Minutes of race broadcast: 202
    Minutes of commercials: 66
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of mystery cautions (debris not shown): 0
    Digger sightings:
    Animated Digger shots: 8
    Still Digger shots: 15
    Text ‘Digger’ to 7555 mentions: 2
    Get Digger theme at itunes.com mentions: 2
    Digger.Ask.com mentions – 2
    Total: 29
    Total race brdcst time 202 Total comm. brdcst time 66
    See more info, drivers focused on, link to full report on my 2009 TV Commercials page.(5-11-2009)
  • NASCAR disputes Mayfield’s ‘allergy’ claim: #41-Jeremy Mayfield’s assertion that use of two allergy medicines led him to run afoul of the series’ drug policy is not plausible, the person charged with running the program told USA TODAY. “What we have is a clear violation of policy,” said David Black, whose Tennessee-based Aegis Labs conducts NASCAR’s random testing program. “In my many years of experience, I have never seen a violation like this due to the combination of over-the-counter or prescription products.” Black, citing NASCAR policy, declined to specify what caused Mayfield to test positive, saying it was “a drug of concern.” NASCAR announced before Saturday’s race at Darlington Raceway that Mayfield [see story below] — the first driver tagged under the series’ first-year mandatory testing program — had been suspended indefinitely. Mayfield couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday. His agent, Bobby Wooten, said Mayfield was taking allergy medicine when the urine samples were collected at Richmond International Raceway a week ago. The series doesn’t have a set list of banned substances, although drivers were warned before the start of the season that they would be screened for steroids, amphetamines and recreational drugs. Black said “there’s no way a driver would be in violation” for using common cold and allergy medications as directed. “It’s very unfortunate for the sport, for Jeremy, for everybody, because it definitely puts a black eye on (the sport),” four-time Cup champ Jeff Gordon said. Mayfield must complete a treatment program before he’s allowed to return to racing. “If that program is successfully completed, then the competitor may attempt to seek reinstatement,” NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said in an e-mail. One of Mayfield’s crewmembers, Paul Chodora, was the first violator of NASCAR’s testing program in February. Mayfield said in a statement at the time that his team endorsed NASCAR’s “policing efforts as it makes the sport stronger overall.” Wooten said Chodora is no longer with the team.(USA Today)(5-11-2009)
  • Sprint to Deliver Fans Live Access to Sprint Cup Series Driver Meeting: Sprint announced exclusive access to a typically-private race weekend tradition, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver/crew chief meeting. It is the first time in NASCAR’s 61-year history race fans have been invited to listen live to the top-secret pre-race meeting between NASCAR officials, drivers and crew chiefs. This one-time opportunity will be available to fans prior to the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race May 16. The audio broadcast will be streamed exclusively on Sprint phones via NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile for customers away from the track and on NASCAR Sprint FanView for race fans at the track. All drivers and crew chiefs attend the meeting each week. NASCAR penalizes any driver or crew chief who misses or is late to the meeting by requiring that team to start at the back of the race, regardless of qualifying position. In addition to this content, Sprint customers also will be treated to SPEED’s television broadcast of NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race XXV in its entirety on Sprint wireless phones via NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile. NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile, an exclusive wireless phone application from Sprint, also will offer video highlights of the popular NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge May 14. These special All-Star related offerings are available in addition to an already robust set of features including: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series news; driver stats; in-car audio; radio broadcasts; and post-race press conferences. NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile is available with data plans at no additional charge. To download the application text NASCAR to 7777 on Sprint phones (standard rates apply) or visit www.sprint.com/speed for more information. Tickets for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., start at $25 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-455-FANS or at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(Sprint)(5-11-2009)
  • Bad day for Andretti at Indy: It was a rough day for John Andretti [driver of the #34 Chevy in the Sprint Cup Series] trying to put Richard Petty’s #43 entry into the field for the Indianapolis 500 during the second day of qualifying on Sunday. Andretti got into the wall during a practice run and wiped out the car. “We really wanted to get into the race today so we could work on our race set-up this coming week,” he said. “We didn’t want to battle to get into the race next weekend. We didn’t get a quality run in qualifying, and we knew we would probably have to make another run today. It was frustrating. We worked on the chassis setup this afternoon to get a better balance. But, in practice, the car was a little too loose and we were making adjustments. I was going pretty hot into Turn One, which is always a tough corner, and I lost the back end.”(Alabama Live)(5-11-2009)
  • SHR fab guy wins race: Bobby Measmer Jr., a fabricator at Stewart Haas Racing won the Pro Late Model feature at Concord [NC] Speedway this past weekend, and is currently leading the points. Car is owned by Kevin Hughes, Team Services Manager at Racing Electronics and is sponsored in part by Bob Dillner of SPEED.(5-11-2009)

May 10, 2009

  • Another Elliott in the winners circle: Chase Elliott, the 13-year-old son of NASCAR driver Bill Elliott, collected his first career Late Model victory by winning Saturday night’s Georgia Asphalt Series 100 at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga. Elliott, who started second, passed teammate Casey Roderick for the lead on the .375-mile paved oval with three laps remaining. Bill Elliott was in attendance for the event.(5-10-2009)
  • Haas was released from prison: #14/#39 Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas was released from prison Friday after serving about 16 months for tax fraud and has received permission from a U.S. District Court judge to attend NASCAR races while on supervised release. Haas’ projected release was Sunday, but the federal Bureau of Prisons’ Web site indicated that Haas was released Friday. Haas was sentenced to two years in prison in November 2007 and entered a Lompoc, Calif., federal correctional facility Jan. 14, 2008. He has asked the court, and received permission, to attend NASCAR races while on supervised release. The first race mentioned in the motion is the upcoming Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Haas’ race team, Haas CNC Racing, eventually became Stewart-Haas Racing when driver Tony Stewart was given a 50% interest in the team.(SceneDaily)(5-10-2009)
  • Busch, Ard visit at Darlington: #18-Kyle Busch got to visit with a fellow Nationwide Series record holder Saturday at Darlington Raceway. And Jo Ard finally got to tell the NASCAR star how much he’s meant to her husband of 48 years, former Natiowide driver Sam Ard. “Thank you so much,” Jo said, hugging Busch when the Ards met him by his motorhome before the Southern 500. After Busch tied Ard’s 1983 series mark with 10 victories in a season last November, the 24-year-old Sprint Cup driver donated $100,000 to help the struggling Ard and his family. The 69-year-old Ard has Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. He sat quietly in his wheelchair for most of the 15-minute visit. “Hospital bills were eating us up. You can’t believe how much he’s helped us,” said Jo, standing alongside her husbands’ wheelchair. She said the family was able to make their bathroom handicap accessible for Sam. Busch, who had only met Ard briefly, was pleased to share some a few more moments with a pioneer of NASCAR’s second-tier series. “He’s been great for the sport, done a lot for the sport winning races and championships and stuff,” Busch said. “It was nice to meet him and talk him a little bit. Of course, he’s not so talkative, but that’s to be understood.” Other racers have stepped forward to help Ard, who did not race after suffering severe head trauma in a 1984 accident at North Carolina Speedway. Kevin Harvick donated a 2007 Chevrolet van to Ard’s family last fall after Jo’s car died earlier in 2008. Then the NASCAR Foundation and Motor Racing Outreach teamed for an online auction to benefit the Sam Ard Fund. Busch invited the Ards to the Southern 500 drivers’ meeting where he received applause from the NASCAR racers.(Associated Press)(5-10-2009)

 


May 9, 2009

 

  • Mark Martin wins at Darlington: #5-Mark Martin won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway for his 2nd win of 2009 and the 37th of his career. Martin wins his 2nd race after turning 50 years old, only the 2nd driver ever to have more then one win after turning 50 years of age. Harry Gant won 8 times after the age of 50 including at Darlington [age 51], so Martin is not the oldest driver to win a race at Darlington. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd, after starting 42nd in a backup car with no laps on it. #14-Tony Stewart finished 3rd, for his best ever finish at Darlington, followed by #39-Newman, #24-Gordon, #1-Truex Jr., #25-Keselowski, #16-Biffle, #20-Logano and #17-Kenseth [the pole sitter]. #33-Bowyer wrecked and his Did Not Finish streak of 83 falls one short of the all-time record that Harold Beam holds at 84. Stewart and #19-Sadler have the longest current consecutive DNF at 34 races. #78-Regan Smith is at 47 but has not run all the races and have never had a DNF. There were 17 cautions (a new track record) for 73 laps and 23 lead changes among 13 leaders.
    For race results, awards and more on the Darlington Race Results Page.(5-9-2009)
  • UNOFFICIAL Driver Points Standings [after Darlington, race 11 of 36]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 1601 [1 win]
    2) #14-Tony Stewart 1572, -29
    3) #2-Kurt Busch 1546, -55 [1 win]
    4) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1465, -136 [1 win]
    5) #11-Denny Hamlin 1445, -156
    6) #31-Jeff Burton 1384, -217
    7) #18-Kyle Busch 1380, -221 [3 wins]
    8) #39-Ryan Newman 1363, -238
    9) #16-Greg Biffle 1345, -256
    10) #17-Matt Kenseth 1326, -275 [2 wins]
    11) #5-Mark Martin 1316, -285 [2 wins]
    12) #99-Carl Edwards 1271, -330
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #33-Clint Bowyer 1264, 7 points out of 12th
    14) #42-Juan Montoya 1255, -16
    15) #00-David Reutimann 1232, -39
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(5-9-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Darlington Raceway
    Mark Martin won the Southern 500, his 37th victory in 733 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second victory and sixth top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his second victory and 26th top-10 finish in 43 races at Darlington Raceway.
    Jimmie Johnson (second) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 11 races at Darlington Raceway. It is his seventh top-10 finish in 2009.
    Tony Stewart (third) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 17 races at Darlington Raceway.
    Joey Logano (ninth) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Jeff Gordon leads the point standings by 29 points over Tony Stewart.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-9-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Charlotte [Coke 600]:
    No teams jumped into the top 35, #34-Raines and #7-Gordon increased their leads over 36th
    34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 847, +120
    35) #34-Raines/Earnhardt Ganassi: 831, 104 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 727, 104 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 674, -157
    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.(5-9-2009)
  • Penalty Report – Darlington
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #48, Pre-Race, to the rear, Tail End, Back Up
    #43, Pre-Race, to the rear, Tail End, Engine Change
    #87, Pre-Race, to the rear, Tail End, Drivers Change to Scott Speed
    #7, 23, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #99, 31, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #47, 31, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #07, 31, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #44, 32, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #7, 32, Pitting before pit road is open/Too Many Men over the wall, Tail End
    #55, 76, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #11, 81, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #77, 120, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #11, 161, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #13, 161, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #7, 162, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #34, 163, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #7, 186, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #6, 197, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #47, 197, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #7, 198, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #12, 199, Safety violation / Passing Safety vehicles at an unsafe speed, 1 Lap
    #34, 199, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #07, 215, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #9, 216, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #7, 217, Too many crewmember(s) in contact with pit service area, Tail End
    #9, 223, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #87, 223, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #88, 223, Outside half of the pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tires, Tail End
    #00, 250, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #87, 270, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #00, 277, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #44, 277, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #9, 277, Pitting before pit road is open, Tail End
    #26, 279, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    #31, 297, Lug nut(s) not installed, Must Come In
    #00, 298, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, Tail End
    (NASCAR Statistics)(5-9-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Darlington: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver down a lap
    Caution 2: no driver down a lap that is on the track
    Caution 3: #55-Waltrip, 40th DNF
    Caution 4: #98-Menard, 15th
    Caution 5: #48-Johnson, 2nd
    Caution 6: #19-Sadler, 14th
    Caution 7: #83-Vickers, 31st
    Caution 8: #12-Stremme, 24th
    Caution 9: #24-Gordon, 5th
    Caution 10: #12-Stremme(2), 24th
    Caution 11: #77-Hornish Jr., 30th
    Caution 12: #11-Hamlin, 13th
    Caution 13: #98-Menard(2), 15th
    Caution 14: #31-Burton, 12th
    Caution 15: #96-Labonte, 18th
    Caution 16: #44-Allmendinger, 17th
    Caution 17: #9-Kahne, 23rd
    (5-9-2009)
  • Pit Stall Selections – Darlington: The selections for pit stalls of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway have been made. Pole sitter #17-Kenseth chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], while outside pole sitter #24-Gordon took pit stall 7, and first stall with an opening behind it. #7-Gordon, who starts 28th, chose the final pit stall. See the pit selection chart on the Darlington Pit Stall Selection chart.(5-9-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer HAD been running at the finish in 83 consecutive races, which is a modern era record but fell ONE short of the all-time record. #14-Stewart and #19-Sadler have the longest current streak of finishing races at 34. #78-Regan Smith is at 47 but has not run all the races. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963 [Beam didn’t run all the races, but didn’t DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Clint Bowyer holds the modern day (1972-present) at 83, next is Kevin Harvick at 81 and 58, then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53.(5-9-2009)
  • Top-5’s, Top-10’s: #24-Jeff Gordon leads all drivers after 11 races in 2009 with 6 Top-5 finishes, #14-Stewart and #48-Johnson are next with 5. #24-Gordon also has the most Top-10’s after 11 races with 8 as does #14-Stewart, followed by #48-Johnson with 7.
    Three drivers have run all 11 races in 2009 and have not scored a top-10 finish: #12-Stremme, #98-Menard and #7-Gordon. Twelve drivers have not scored a Top-5 and ran all 11 races: #7-Gordon, #98-Menard, #12-Stremme, #07-Mears, #42-Montoya, #1-Truex Jr., #43-Sorenson, #55-Waltrip, #26-McMurray, #6-Ragan, #77-Hornish Jr., and #20-Logano.(5-9-2009)
  • Mayfield, others suspended after violating substance abuse policy: Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the #41 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Tony Martin, a licensed crew member with the #34 team in the Sprint Cup Series and Ben Williams, a licensed crew member with the #16 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, have been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. All three were found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 7-5 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book.[was not alcohol due to SPEED](NASCAR PR)
    AND NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield has been suspended indefinitely after failing a random drug test. The result stems from a test last weekend at Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter will not reveal what banned drug Mayfield used. Hunter said it was not an alcohol-related offense. Mayfield failed to qualify for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at Darlington Speedway. He is driving this season in a car he owns himself. Although he raced it into the season-opening Daytona 500, he has failed to qualify for six of the 11 other Sprint Cup events this season. Mayfield is the first driver suspended under NASCAR’s improved substance abuse policy, which went into effect this season.(Associated Press)(5-9-2009)
  • Speed to run #87 for Nemechek: Scott Speed will drive Nemco Motorsports’ #87 Toyota tonight in the Southern 500, a Red Bull Racing spokeswoman confirmed Saturday afternoon. Speed failed to qualify his #82 Toyota for the Sprint Cup race on Friday at Darlington after crashing in practice and going to a backup car. Red Bull worked out an arrangement with Nemco to have Speed replace driver Joe Nemechek. Speed already seemed to rebound well from not qualifying for the Sprint Cup race, as he finished 13th in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Nationwide Series race Friday night at Darlington. Speed is driving a part-time schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing in that series. By putting Speed in the car, which will keep its regular logos, Red Bull will get the rookie valuable experience and Speed will earn the driver points. Team owner Joe Nemechek will get to keep the owners points. Depending on the financial arrangement, Nemechek also likely got some money for his unsponsored team to continue to go to races.(SceneDaily)(5-9-2009)
  • added a bunch of schemes from Darlington: #43 Valvoline Crew Chief Tribute#11 Farm Bureau Insurance#88 Mountain Dew#99 Aflac ‘Up’ the movie#44 Best Buy#7 Quaker Stater
  • Gordon to have treatment on his back: #24-Jeff Gordon said that he will have some treatment on his back on May 18, two days after the all-star race. Here’s what he said about his back and how it’s impacted him.
    “(The treatment) is nothing invasive. it’s just some injections that are going to do deal with the pain. They say it’s sort of like an arthritis and it’s excessive because of some of the trauma that my back has gone through, maybe through some wrecks or something. So that’s what we’re going to do. That’s the plan.”
    Q: What is the back pain you’ve been feeling?
    GORDON: “I can’t stand up for long periods of time. I can’t sit. It’s not like an excruciating pain. People have disc problems. I’m not one of those people. Mine is more nerves and muscular that when I’m in the car and really pulling Gs and using the steering wheel a lot and using the brake pedal a lot, it just really aggrevates the muscle. There are a couple of tracks, like Martinsville and Bristol that have been really tough. I was actually pretty good last week. So far it’s been good here this week. It’s there but the things that I’m doing, the training, the massage, the stretching, those things right now are starting to pay off for me and right now I’m not having as much issues as I had at Bristol.
    Q: With your treatment is this still something you’re going to have to live with for the rest of your life or will the treatment eliminate it?
    GORDON: “They say sometimes it eliminates it and sometimes it lasts six months. Everybody is different, so I won’t really know.
    Q: How long have you been feeling this pain?
    GORDON: “I think I ignored it over the last couple of years. It’s been building and getting worse. Last year, it really started aggravating me and I just didn’t get on it soon enough. I tried differnet things but they just weren’t working. It needed a whole routine, a whole different lifestyle for me. So I started to go to work on that over the offseason because I felt it was affecting me in the car late in the season and I didn’t want to have any excuses, so I went to work on it. I was surprised over the offseason not doing any driving how bad it was just starting the season off at Daytona. That’s when I really knew that I’ve got to get something done.”(Virginia Pilot)(5-9-2009)
  • Changes coming for Daytona/Talladega? NASCAR officials, in response to #99-Carl Edwards’ flip at Daytona, are now studying that slight aerodynamic rear spoiler [wing] change suggested by Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, according to one top Sprint Cup team manager privy to the technical debate. In fact that change might have been tested at Daytona within the past few days, during the 10-team Goodyear tire test for the tour’s next restrictor plate race, at Daytona July 4th. Despite the high publicity surrounding the Talladega issue, crews here [Darlington] this week have so far been reluctant to discuss any possible NASCAR changes at the tour’s two restrictor plate tracks. Goodyear officials said the Daytona tire testing was to improve stability in the draft.(mikemulhern.net)(5-9-2009)
  • Bill Elliott to attempt to topple NASCAR speed record: The current NASCAR top speed record sits at 212.089 and was set by Bill Elliot at Talladega Superspeedway in a 1987 Ford Thunderbird. Brent Hajek apparently figures it’s about time that 22-year-old record is topped. Next Wednesday, May 13th, Hajek will once again put Bill Elliot behind the wheel of a Ford at the famed Talladega oval in Alabama, only this time, the vehicle in question will be a Mustang FR500C modified to run on E85. This particular Mustang Cobra Jet has already managed to clock a 252 mile per hour top speed at the Salt Flats in Bonneville. On Wednesday, May 13, Hajek Motorsports will embark on its next challenge, with technical support from Ford Racing, when they attempt to break the 22-year-old NASCAR speed record held by Bill Elliott. Elliott himself will pilot Hajek’s E-85 Mustang FR500C, which has been reconfigured to NASCAR specs, at Talladega in an attempt to break his 212.089 mph qualifying lap from 1987 at the same track. FIA officials will be on site to verify the attempt and to validate the record. The Hajek Motorsports E-85 Mustang is currently at Bill Elliott’s race shop in Dawsonville, Georgia, going through final preparations. Early next week, the team will scrub tires and do initial testing, in anticipation of breaking the record on Wednesday afternoon.( autobloggreen.com)(5-9-2009)
  • Montoya to Sport Helmet Design in Support of Target House: Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver #42-Juan Pablo Montoya through the Target partnership will sport a new helmet design this weekend at Darlington Raceway in support of Target House’s 10th Anniversary. Funded by Target and its vendor and celebrity partners, Target House is a unique long-term housing facility, a home away from home, for families with children receiving lifesaving treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Montoya had the opportunity to select a helmet designed by St. Jude patients who reside at Target House. Montoya: “I couldn’t be more honored to have a paint scheme that represents both Target House and St. Jude. This will definitely add to the race this weekend because it pushes you that much harder when you’re driving for these children, and a special cause such as this.”(EGR PR)(5-9-2009)
  • Goodyear tests at Daytona: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company continued its summer testing program with a visit to Daytona International Speedway this past week. The tire manufacturer was at the famed speedway with 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup teams on Monday and Tuesday, testing several tire combinations that will help the cars drive with more stability while jockeying around in the draft. Participating in this week’s two-day tests were Chrevrolet drivers Aric Almirola. Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer; Dodge driver A.J. Allmendinger and Sam Hornish; Ford drivers Jamie McMurray and Paul Menard; and Toyota drivers Marcos Ambrose, Joey Logano and Scott Speed. “We tested at Daytona this week because we’re continually trying to improve the tire package there,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s Director of Race Tire Sales. “Even though its a superspeedway of two-and-a-half miles, it requires a good handling package. Now that we have more of a history with the COT at Daytona, we felt like we could give the drivers some more grip and enhance the cars’ stability in the multi-car packs. The test went very well, and we accomplished a lot over the two days. The teams worked through all the tire combinations we brought, and I believe we’ve got some good options to review in determining the final tire set-up for July.” Goodyear will finalize it’s tire recommendation this coming week for Daytona’s Coke Zero 400 scheduled for July 3-4.(Goodyear PR)(5-9-2009)
  • Smith calls on former track owners to drop lawsuit: The owner of Kentucky Motor Speedway called on the track’s founding group to drop the antitrust lawsuit that’s preventing him from adding the facility to next year’s Sprint Cup Series schedule. “They have a moral obligation to their state to get out of the way,” Bruton Smith said Friday. “NASCAR understands that I will bring them an event from another speedway, but these people need to get out of the way. They have an obligation to Kentucky to do that.” Speedway Motorsports Inc. recently asked NASCAR to consider Kentucky for the 2010 Cup schedule, but the sanctioning body will not consider any proposals until the former owners drop their antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp., its sister company. The 2005 suit stemmed from the group’s unsuccessful bid to bring a coveted Cup race to Kentucky. The suit was dismissed in early 2008, but the case is on appeal. Smith traveled to the Kentucky Derby last weekend to urge the group to drop the appeal, but said “nothing much was accomplished” because there are two staunch holdouts. Smith identified the two holdouts as Richard Duchossios and Richard Farmer, two of the five listed principals in the original ownership group. Duchossios is the chairman at Arlington Park, a horse racing track near Chicago, while Farmer is the chairman of Cintas Corp. Because the original ownership group sold the Sparta track to Smith last year for $78.3 million, it stands to gain nothing if the track finally does get on the Cup schedule. The group spent $152 million to build the facility, which opened in 2000 and hosts an annual second-tier NASCAR Nationwide Series event. At seating for 68,000 fans, it’s currently the largest venue that hosts a Nationwide race but doesn’t have a Cup date. Smith said he has roughly two to three weeks to resolve the lawsuit conflict and give NASCAR a 2010 proposal for Kentucky. NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said earlier this week the sanctioning body has an approaching deadline in mind for beginning next year’s scheduling process.(Associated Press)(5-9-2009)

May 8, 2009

 

  • added a bunch of schemes from Darlington: #43 Valvoline Crew Chief Tribute#11 Farm Bureau Insurance#88 Mountain Dew#99 Aflac ‘Up’ the movie#44 Best Buy#7 Quaker Stater
  • Kenseth on pole at Darlington: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway with a Track Record lap of 179.514mph for his 1st pole of 2009 and 4th of his career and first in 125 races, last pole was at Kansas in Oct 2005. The pole is the first for Ford of 2009. #24-Gordon will start 2nd, followed by #39-Newman, #77-Hornish Jr., #20-Logano, #31-Burton, #9-Kahne, #2-Busch, #99-Edwards and #47-Ambrose. #48-Jimmie Johnson wrecked on his first lap, will start 42nd [ties his worst starting spot, three other times] and have to run a backup car with no practice.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #13-Papis, #78-Smith, #71-Gilliland, #25-Keselowski, #36-Riggs and #09-Marlin.
    The two drivers who failed to qualify: #41-Mayfield and #82-Speed.
    See qualifying results, pole progression and starting lineup on my Darlington Starting Lineup/Qulaifying Results page.(5-8-2009)
  • Qualifying Order for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway is posted. 45 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #26-McMurray, the final top-35 driver scheduled to go out is #96-Labonte. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #36-Riggs and the final driver scheduled to qualify is #78-Smith. See the full qualifying order on the Darlington Qualifying Page.(5-8-2009)
  • Happy Hour practice for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway is over, the top five:
    #24-Gordon 177.633
    #31-Burton 177.608
    #48-Johnson 177.441
    #11-Hamlin 177.371
    #5-Martin 177.319
    slowest: #43-Sorenson 170.342 and #55-Waltrip 170.543
    incidents: #77-Hornish Jr. spun off turn 4, no damage. #33-Bowyer, #11-Hamlin, #13-Papis, #16-Biffle, #44-Allmendinger, #47-Ambrose, #96-Labonte are among the drivers to scrape the wall. #12-Stremme and slapped the wall and will go to a backup car. #43-Sorenson’s team is changing engines. #47-Ambrose slapped the wall but will not go to a backup car.
    See best speeds, average speeds, laps run, see my Darlington Practice Speeds page.(5-8-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice in the final session at Darlington Raceway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #71-David Gilliland, 20th fastest overall
    #78-Regan Smith, 23rd
    #36-Scott Riggs, 25th
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 29th
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 30th
    #25-Brad Keselowski, 33rd
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 37th
    #13-Max Papis, 38th
    these drivers would miss the race if theings stayed the same:
    #66-Dave Blaney, 40th
    #82-Scott Speed, 43rd
    See best speeds, average speeds, laps run, see my Darlington Practice Speeds page.(5-8-2009)
  • Friday’s first practice for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway is over, the top 5:
    #83-Vickers 174.167
    #16-Biffle 174.117
    #71-Gilliland 174.037
    #99-Edwards 173.264
    #12-Stremme 173.216
    slowest: #13-Papis 168.949 and #55-Waltrip 169.007
    no speed: #66-Blaney
    incidents: there has been a bunch. Just into practice, #2-Busch lost it off a turn and clipped the wall with the right rear and spun around. #14-Stewart, #77-Hornish Jr., #55-Waltrip, #25-Keselowski, #12-Stremme, #9-Kahne and #41-Mayfield were among the drivers who slid up in a turn and pancaked the sides of their cars.
    #82-Speed wrecked and backed into the fence and the team will go to a backup car and also put a Darlington stripe on the backup car. #00-Reutimann spun and hit the inside wall near the entrace of pit road and will go to a backup. #66-Blaney spun off turn 4 on his first lap on the track.
    Happy Hour practice comes up from 1:30-3:00pm/et and qualifying is scheduled for 5:10pm/et.
    See best speeds, average speeds, laps run, see my Darlington Practice Speeds page.(5-8-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice in the first session at Darlington Raceway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #71-David Gilliland, 3rd fastest overall
    #87-Joe Nemechek, 7th
    #78-Regan Smith, 8th
    #36-Scott Riggs, 10th
    #09-Sterling Marlin, 22nd
    #25-Brad Keselowski, 32nd
    #82-Scott Speed, 40th [to a backup]
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 41st
    these drivers would miss the race if theings stayed the same:
    #13-Max Papis, 44th
    #66-Dave Blaney, no speed
    See best speeds, average speeds, laps run, see my Darlington Practice Speeds page.(5-8-2009)
  • Penske may make bid for Saturn: [NASCAR team owner] Roger Penske says he is contemplating a bid for the Saturn automotive brand that General Motors Corp. plans to sell or shut down. While Penske has not yet made an offer, he said Friday a decision would have to come soon and that a number of unidentified details need to be worked out. Penske has a vested interest in the automotive industry. He owns the second-largest U.S. automobile retail chain in terms of sales, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Penske Automotive Group Inc. He also owns heavy-duty engine manufacturer Detroit Diesel and has race teams in the IndyCar, NASCAR and Grand-Am series. But Penske denied that he has made a deal and said published reports are ahead of the process.(ESPN.com/Associated Press)(5-8-2009)
  • Quaker State to sponsor Robby at Darlington: Robby Gordon Motorsports heads south to Darlington Raceway for the legendary Southern 500. Gordon will pilot his #7 Quaker State Toyota around the 1.366-mile track, which is notorious for its “too tough to tame” characteristics.(RGM), see an image of the Quaker State scheme on my #7 Team Schemes page.(5-8-2009)
  • Labonte’s Birthday Gift Inspired by Fans: Ask.com, the primary sponsor of Bobby Labonte’s #96 Ford in the Sprint Cup Series, today presented him with a special birthday gift. Hundreds of fans submitted their ideas to Ask.com to be considered as the gift the Official Search Engine of NASCAR presented to Labonte on his 45th birthday. The suggestion from Hilary Mathis of Danville, Ill., inspired the gift – a commemorative racing helmet that includes the names of each fan that sent their supportive wishes and gift ideas over the past week. Mathis has been a Labonte fan since 1997 and lists him and Brian Vickers as her top-two favorite NASCAR drivers. Labonte’s “positive and determined attitude and his passion for racing” are characteristics Mathis noted for reasons she’s a fan.(Taylor/Ask.com PR)(5-8-2009)
  • Farm Bureau Insurance to sponsor Hamlin at Darlington: For the first time since the 2005 Daytona 500 there will not be a FedEx car entered in this weekend’s Sprint Cup race. Farm Bureau Insurance takes over the FedEx as the primary sponsor of the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing entry this weekend at Darlington. FedEx will be represented on the C-post of the #11, as well as on Hamlin’s firesuit, this weekend and will be back on the car when the teams take to the track in Charlotte next week for the All Star Race.(FedEx Racing), see images of the scheme on my #11 Team Schemes page. Hamlin recently announced that the Short Track Showdown held on April 30, 2009 raised $100,000 for the Denny Hamlin Foundation. Proceeds from the event will be split between the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and St. Jude’s Hospital. The 175 lap race drew over 5,000 spectators to the track where Hamlin started his Late Model career. It featured Hamlin’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Joey Logano, former teammate Tony Stewart, and spotter Curtis Markham.(5-8-2009)
  • Dale Jr. Foundation Unveils All-Star Suite Fundraiser Event: The Dale Jr. Foundation, in recognition of its special primary paint scheme that will be featured on the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy during the Sprint All-Star race [see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page], announced it will host an All-Star suite fundraiser to benefit several area charities. With the purchase of a Dale Jr. All-Star suite ticket, race fans can experience a variety of VIP activities surrounding the race, including an appearance by both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Richard Petty. The money raised will benefit The Dale Jr. Foundation and Speedway Children’s Charities. Fans that purchase an All-Star suite ticket get a reserved seat in a luxury box overlooking the 1.5-mile Superspeedway, complete with complimentary food and drink throughout the race. Also included are a cash bar, souvenir gift bag and eligibility for raffle prizes. Prior to the start of the 100-lap race, tickets holders will receive a pre-race pit tour and an appearance from Earnhardt Jr. himself, and NASCAR Legend Richard Petty, in the VIP suite. Dale Jr.’s All-Star suite tickets are still available for $288 a piece. Visit dalejr.com and click on the All-Star banner to purchase. To learn more about how you can help Dale Jr. make a difference, go to thedalejrfoundation.org.(JR Motorsports)(5-8-2009)
  • Darlington Rookie Notes: #20-Joey Logano was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 2 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Logano scored a 19th-place finish and claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the seventh time this season. Logano leads Speed by nine points (109-100) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 9 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Since 2001, two Raybestoso Rookies have won pole positions at Darlington Raceway: Kurt Busch (2001) and Kasey Kahne (2004). The most recent Rookie to win a Sprint Cup Series race is Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya captured the 2007 Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, 65 races ago.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR), see rookie histoy, wins, standings and more on my 2009 Rookies Page.(5-8-2009)
  • Goodyear Tire Notes for Darlington: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes at Darlington this week . . . this will be the same right-side code (D-4130) that teams in these two series ran at Darlington last season, but it is paired with a different left-side code (D-4152) . . . this year’s left-side has a softer compound than the one run at Darlington last year and will give the cars more grip . . . this set-up came out of a Goodyear tire test at Darlington on March 10-11 . . . participating in that test were Denny Hamlin (Toyota), Kevin Harvick (Chevrolet), Bobby Labonte (Ford) and Elliott Sadler (Dodge) . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Darlington . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. The estimated pit window is every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see tire pressures, codes and more on my Darlington Race Info Page.(5-8-2009)
  • Special scheme for Sadler in 2 races: #19-Elliott Sadler is scheduled to run the lime green colored Insignia scheme at Chicago in July and Richmond in September. See an image of the scheme on the #19 Team Schemes page.(5-8-2009)
  • Darlington has about 5,000 tickets left: It could take nice weather and motivated NASCAR fans to continue a string of sellouts at Darlington. Darlington Raceway spokesman Jake Harris said in an e-mail Thursday there were fewer than 5,000 seats available for Saturday night’s Southern 500. Darlington leaders are hopeful they can sell out their fifth straight Mother’s Day weekend race. Darlington seats about 62,000. The track had gone several races without selling out until 2005, when it first began holding a Saturday race under its newly installed lights. Darlington has sold out each season since. In January, Darlington officials cut prices on some tickets by $10. The track also recently announced price cuts at concessions for the upcoming race.(Associated Press). Tickets to the Southern 500 and Nationwide Series race can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com.(5-8-2009)
  • AMS sues Pep Boys over sponsorship: Atlanta Motor Speedway is suing Pep Boys over a payment dispute on a contract that called for the auto parts chain to pay $3 million for a two-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race sponsorship, according to court documents. Pep Boys has allegedly stopped making payments for the 2009 race, according to the lawsuit filed April 30 in Georgia Superior Court in Henry County, Ga. The suit says the deal was worth $1.4 million for the track’s 2008 fall race and $1.6 million for the 2009 fall race. According to the complaint, Pep Boys did not make the $800,000 payment due March 1, 2009, and the track is owed $1.6 million for the 2009 race. Although the contract states that the sponsorship is for “a fall NSCS Event,” SMI says in its complaint that Pep Boys did not object to the 2009 race being moved to Labor Day weekend before it was announced. According to the complaint, Pep Boys sent a letter saying it could terminate the contract because the track breached the agreement since the 2009 fall race is now “during the summer.” Atlanta Motor Speedway alleges that the wording in the contract prevents it from being terminated on those grounds.(SceneDaily)(5-8-2009)

May 7, 2009

  • Geoff Bodine Memorabilia Sale and Auction: 19 Sprint Cup Race Winner and 1986 Daytona 500 winner Geoff Bodine has announced plans for a Memorabilia Sale and Auction at his shop, located at 18605 Northline Dr, Cornelius, NC 28031, for the week of May 18th – 22nd [the week between the All-Star race and Coke 600 at LMS]. Items available include trophies, clocks, plaques, photos, posters and numerous mementos from his illustrious racing career. The sale will be open from 9:00am – 6:00pm, Monday May 18th through Friday May 22nd. On Friday evening, beginning at 7 pm, an auction of special items is planned. There is no list of items being offered. More info at geoffbodinefanclub.com. Bodine is also racing in the ASA-Sanctioned ISCARS Dash Touring Series season-opener at Lonesome Pine Raceway, Coeburn, VA, on Saturday, May 9th.
    AND two new additions among many at Memory Lane Auto Museum in Mooresville NC is what is left of the #15 Truck that Bodine wrecked in a vicious crash during the Truck Series race at Daytona in February of 2000 and the museum also has one of Bodine’s Bo-Dyn Bobsleds on display.(5-7-2009)
  • Former NASCAR Driver Kevin Grubb found dead: Suspended Nationwide Series driver Kevin Grubb was found dead on Wednesday in a Richmond, Va., area hotel. He was 31. Henrico Co. Lt. Richard Cosby said Grubb was discovered at the Alpine Motel just outside of Richmond at 11:30 a.m. The cause of death has not been released pending the notification of next to kin, but Cosby said no foul play was suspected. Grubb was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR on Sept. 11, 2006 after his second violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. Grubb, the younger brother of former NASCAR driver Wayne Grubb, began his Nationwide career in 1997 with four starts for Grubb Motorsports. He ran in 16 Nationwide events for his father’s team in 1998 with a top finish of second at Dover. Grubb drove for Brewco Motorsports from 1999 through 2001, collecting 18 top 10s. After several failed seasons with two other teams he was scheduled to drive for Team Reno Motorsports in 2004, but failed a substance abuse test in March and was suspended. The suspension in 2006 came after Grubb refused to take a drug test following a second-lap crash at Richmond. Failure to take the tests is considered an automatic failed test. The next day Grubb claimed that he declined the test because of a concussion suffered during the accident and offered to take a test at that time. He reportedly claimed no memory of the refusal due to the head injury. Grubb was a native of Mechanicsville, Va., a suburb of Richmond.(ESPN)
    UPDATE: A medical examiner investigating the death of former NASCAR driver Kevin Grubb says Grubb died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Investigators are expected to release more information on his death in the day ahead.(NBC12 News)(5-7-2009)
  • Some Chase Notes: Driver Tony Stewart ‘s strong second place at Richmond moved him up to third in the standings, comfortably for now at +246 over 13th place. Owner Stewart saw his second car piloted by #39-Ryan Newman come in fourth and crack the Top 12 for the first time this season. Newman, who has been second only to Stewart in points scored over the last five races, has risen an impressive 17 spots in the standings over that period. #31-Jeff Burton placed a strong third at RIR, but #33-Clint Bowyer continued his recent slide with an 18th, now only 56 points ahead of 13th, and #29-Kevin Harvick’s nightmarish season continued with a mishap and 34th at Richmond. Plenty of time left to do it, but Harvick now stands 11 spots and 208 points out of the Top 12. Mark Martin carded a fifth at RIR and his relentless march to the Top 12 continued at RIR. Now just 61 points out of Kenseth, few are betting against the #5 getting into the Chase, who will he unseat?. Did you know? after 10 races, Matt Kenseth was 24th in points and 204 pts out of 12th and in 2005, Kenseth was 24th and 240 points out of 10th [they took 10 drivers 2004-2006] and rallied both years to make the Chase, the deepest any driver has come from to make the Chase in it’s five year history. For more Chase Stats after Richmond, see my Chase Stats after Richmond page.(5-7-2009)
  • Danica Patrick to NASCAR … Again? Speculation that Danica Patrick could be headed to NASCAR is heating up once again because she is in the final year of her contract with Andretti Green Racing of the IRL. In a recent story published in the New York Times, Patrick didn’t deny there could be an interest in the Sprint Cup Series. “I’m very flattered everyone is curious,” Patrick was quoted. “It’s interesting to me as well. Do I stay where I am? Do I try to change? It’s all about evaluating options, and I think that’s something any good business person does. One of the things I think of is the exposure level that you get in NASCAR with the ratings and viewership. Their numbers are so much larger than ours and with that comes a bigger following, comes more popularity, comes more demand for you to endorse other products. So I think it would be an exponential sort of growth.” Patrick said these things before when her last contract was up in 2006. Some would argue she used NASCAR as leverage for a better deal in the IRL, that she had no real intention of leaving, and that she is doing so again. Patrick does have ties with several of NASCAR’s top organizations. She drove in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Casey Mears for Richard Childress Racing. Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush extended her an open invitation to join his organization the last time she explored options. To make the jump to NASCAR’s top series most agree Patrick would need at least a full schedule in the Nationwide Series, which she may consider a step backward. If she did transition to NASCAR, she likely would demand a top ride, and most of the top organizations don’t have an opening. But at the age of 27, this may be Patrick’s last legitimate shot to make the jump and have time to hone her skills in stock cars. Until she signs somewhere her name will remain a hot topic.(ESPN Insider)(5-7-2009)
  • MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown: The 10th Annual MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown hosted by NASCAR FOX/Speed television analysts Jeff Hammond and Larry McReynolds will be held in Charlotte, N.C. on Wednesday, May 13 at 5:30pm/et. The event will take place during “NASCAR Rev’d Up,” a kick-off event for Sprint Cup All-Star Race Week, on the side stage between 3rd and Mint Streets in uptown Charlotte. The MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown is a tiered, three-round competition designed to recognize the knowledge, skills and speed of professional engine builders who assemble special performance engines for NASCAR teams. Former NASCAR crew chiefs Hammond and McReynolds will be right at home calling the action as both have extensive engine building knowledge. For the past nine years, NASCAR’s top engine builders have participated to build a Sprint Cup 357-cubic inch Ford racing engine. This year, for the first time since the MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown’s inception, engine builders will race against the clock to build a complete Chevrolet R07 race engine in the fastest time and successfully run it for one minute. The first two elimination rounds will take place at Hendrick Motorsports on Monday and Tuesday, May 11-12. The two fastest teams participate in a face-off at “NASCAR Rev’d Up” Wednesday to win the Showdown’s grand prize – the prestigious Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy and a cash award.
    Last year, Dennis Borem and Darrell Hoffman of Pro Motor Engines broke the all-time Showdown record for a second year in a row with an engine-build time of 15 minutes and 59 seconds. The two-time winners defeated runners-up Mike Kasch and Jim Snyder of Roush Yates Racing. This year, the 2009 MAHLE Engine Builder Showdown will share the spotlight with “NASCAR Rev’d Up,” a kick-off event to NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Week. The six-hour event beginning on Wednesday, May 13 from 4 – 10 p.m. in uptown Charlotte features driver appearances, NASCAR show cars and interactive displays, and a free admission concert by recording group O.A.R.(MAHLE Clevite PR), no word on TV Coverage.(5-7-2009)
  • National Guard scheme returns on the #24: This weekend at Darlington Raceway, the National Guard’s ESGR program will be showcased on the hood of the #24 DuPont/National Guard Chevy that Jeff Gordon drives. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is a Department of Defense initiative that seeks to develop and promote a culture in which all American employers support and value the military service of their employees. It does so by recognizing outstanding employer support, increasing awareness of the law, and resolving conflicts through mediation. For more information on the ESGR program, please visit nationalguard.com. In addition to this weekend at Darlington, Gordon will partner with the National Guard at five other venues: Michigan in June, Chicago in July, Richmond in Sept., New Hampshire in Sept. 20, and Martinsville in Oct.(HMS PR) see images of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page.(5-7-2009)
  • Congrats to Justin “Tweek” Hines of the #6 UPS Roush Racing team and wife Carrie as they welcomed Isabelle Marie Hines into the world on April 21, 2009.(5-7-2009)
  • Sorenson Completes Test at Infineon Raceway: #43-Reed Sorenson visited Infineon Raceway on Wednesday to hone his skills on the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course. Sorenson came to the track for the one-day test session in preparation for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series weekend, June 19-21 (Father’s Day). Sorenson has competed twice on the challenging road course (2006, 2007), with a best finish of 29th in 2006. He was joined by his crew chief, Mike Shiplett, at the test. “This is my favorite of the two road courses we visit because it’s more technical. We don’t run as fast, but it’s fun to race here,” said Sorenson. “There are a few places where we can get better on the track. I have to learn not to go too fast.” Sorenson, driver of the #43 Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports, piloted a late model stock car supplied by Pioneer Motorsports out of Lake Oroville. He was coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook and completed approximately 90 laps in the full-day test. “Reed’s only 23 years old, but I consider him a veteran. It doesn’t surprise me that he picks things up really well. We’re just trying to practice the track as perfectly as we possibly can,” said Cook, who has also worked with NASCAR drivers David Reutimann, Johnny Sauter, Paul Menard and AJ Allmendinger.(Infineon Raceway)(5-7-2009)
  • National Tailgating League hosts inaugural event at Coke 600: The National Tailgating League (The NTL), a newly formed organization created to sanction and execute organized tailgating games including Cornhole, Ladder Golf and Washer Toss competitions, announced today details for the first officially sanctioned event during Memorial Day weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. In conjunction with the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600, the inaugural NTL doubles cornhole tournaments will take place on May 23 and May 24 in the campgrounds of LMS. By holding its inaugural event during Memorial Day weekend at one of the largest tailgating parties in the world, the NTL cornhole tournaments will provide fans, gamers and everyone in between with the opportunity to experience firsthand what the league is all about – bringing fans together for good times and great games while also trying to find and identify the “Cornhole King of the Campgrounds.” The inaugural NTL doubles cornhole tournaments, which will take place in the campgrounds of LMS on the corner of Highway 29 and Morehead Road in Concord, NC, will consist of a morning and afternoon doubles tournament on both Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24. Cornhole gamers and race enthusiasts will be playing for a host of prizes including $500 cash and race-related experiences such as tickets, suite passes and other unique experiential packages. Interested race fans and gamers that want to participate in one of the inaugural NTL doubles cornhole tournaments can reserve a spot by signing up today at www.TheNTL.com or can visit the tournament site starting as early as Thursday, May 21 prior to the Windstream Pole Night. Each of the four weekend tournaments will hold 50 teams of two and sign-ups are on a first come, first serve basis.(NTL PR)(5-7-2009)
  • June Dover race gets title name: Dover International Speedway, Autism Speaks and Heluva Good! have teamed up for the upcoming May 31, 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the Monster Mile, now known as the “Autism Speaks 400, presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips & Cheese.” Throughout the race weekend, the trio of partners will work together to educate and increase public awareness of autism. Dover, FOX Sports and the NASCAR community will again embrace the message of Autism Speaks by featuring the organization’s puzzle piece logo on the track’s retaining walls, limited-edition souvenir merchandise, and during the broadcast of the Autism Speaks 400, presented by Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips & Cheese. Fans at the track on race weekend can donate to Autism Speaks by purchasing a limited-edition souvenir event pin. The pin retails for $7 and will be available at track souvenir stands throughout the May 29-31, 2009 race weekend. Great seats still remain for the May 29-31, 2009 race weekend at Dover International Speedway. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 800-441-RACE or visit DoverSpeedway.com.(Dover International Speedway)(5-7-2009)
  • Yarborough and Waltrip added to Darlington Legends Walk: Fans attending the Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com this weekend will be able to take a trip down memory lane at Darlington Raceway. Monuments honoring the careers of Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip have been added to the Darlington Legends Walk behind the Tyler tower grandstand behind the frontstretch. Each marker is made of granite and marble, resembles a Goodyear racing tire and old style pit board and weighs nearly 2,300 pounds. “Adding Cale and Darrell to the Darlington Legends Walk is the perfect way to honor their respective careers at Darlington Raceway,” said track president Chris Browning. “We hope fans enjoy reading about Cale and Darrell’s careers at Darlington Raceway and reminiscing about their place in history at Darlington.” Tickets to the Southern 500 and Nationwide Series race can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com.(Darlington Raceway PR)(5-7-2009)

 


May 6, 2009

  • MtnDew scheme for Dale Jr. at Darlington: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a special #88 Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevy this weekend at Darlington Raceway. The #88 machine will display on its hood the new Mountain Dew logo unveiled earlier this year. The car will be painted in a metallic silver, black and “Mountain Dew” green. Mountain Dew has been a part of the sport since 1981, when Darrell Waltrip won his first of two championships in the Dew car. Last year’s paint scheme had an “old school” retro feel, and this weekend’s car will have a “new school” look. AND Later this month, Earnhardt’s #88 machine will have a different look at the May 16 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The 34-year-old driver chose white as the primary color for his Chevy, which will sport a paint scheme showcasing the Dale Jr. Foundation that weekend. Hendrick Motorsports’ next top-five finish will be the organization’s 700th in Sprint Cup competition. Since 1984, Hendrick drivers have scored 178 wins, 699 top-five finishes and 1,154 top-10s.(HMS PR), see images of the schemes on my #88 Team Schemes page.(5-6-2009)
  • added some specical schemes: #43 Reynold’s Wrap#18 Halloween M&M’s#88 National Guard ACU Camo#2 Miller Lite Taste Protector Lid#33 BB&T#07 DiecrTV.(5-6-2009)
  • Martin to run full Sprint Cup season in 2010: Mark Martin will return to drive the #5 Chevy of Hendrick Motorsports for the entire 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in 2010. It will be the 22nd full-time Cup campaign of Martin’s career and his second with car owner Rick Hendrick. Last July, Martin signed a two-year contract with Hendrick Motorsports covering one full Sprint Cup season in 2009 and one part-time schedule of 26 events in 2010. The revised agreement was signed this week. “Week in and week out, Mark continues to be one of the best race car drivers in the world,” Hendrick said. “He’s already made an incredible contribution to Hendrick Motorsports, and our entire company is excited about running another full season and winning races with him in 2010.” With his April 18 victory at Phoenix, Martin became just the fourth driver to record 400 top-10 finishes in Sprint Cup competition. It was his 36th career win in NASCAR’s top series. “It means a lot to drive the #5 Chevy for Rick and for Hendrick Motorsports,” said Martin, 50, of Batesville, Ark. “I’m in the best condition of my life, I’m recharged, and I’m motivated. Going to the racetrack every weekend is still really fun, and that’s the key. There’s more gas in my tank.” Martin will continue to work alongside crew chief Alan Gustafson in 2010. Gustafson has led the #5 team since 2005, recording five wins and two berths in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. The #5 team’s sponsorship lineup for 2010 has not been determined.(HMS PR)(5-6-2009)
  • Valvoline to Pay Tribute to Inman, Crew Chiefs at Darlington: Valvoline will pay tribute to legendary crew chief Dale Inman, and all crew chiefs, with a special paint scheme on the Richard Petty Motorsports #43 Dodge Charger for Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway. The Valvoline Dodge, piloted by Reed Sorenson, will feature the names of Valvoline crew chiefs from both NASCAR and NHRA, and a crew chief-tribute logo on the hood. The decklid will feature Inman, who was a crew chief for eight NASCAR Cup championships — seven with Richard “The King” Petty and one with Terry Labonte. Inman, 72, who continues to be involved at Richard Petty Motorsports, said he was proud of the crew chief recognition on the famed #43 car. “I am biased, but in my opinion crew chiefs are the backbone of a racing operation and I salute Valvoline for not only being a great technological partner but also for this special tribute,” said Inman. Valvoline captured 60 professional victories with its sponsored NASCAR and NHRA teams in 2008, and has already notched 13 wins in 2009, including Matt Kenseth’s Daytona 500 victory. Valvoline is used by about one-third of the Sprint Cup field. In addition to the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43, some of the other teams include the rest of the Richard Petty Motorsports stable, Roush Fenway Racing and Robby Gordon Motorsports.(DMF Communications PR), see an image of the scheme on my #43 Team Schemes page.(5-6-2009)
  • Star Trek scheme back at Darlington: The #12 Dodge Charger of David Stremme will have a new look for the Saturday night race in Darlington. For the second consecutive week, the #12 Dodge Charger will sport a special paint scheme to help promote the theatrical release of “Star Trek.” The movie hit theaters nationwide yesterday. The #12 Penske Racing Star Trek Dodge team will use chassis PRS-610 during Saturday night’s 500-mile race at the famed Darlington Raceway. PRS-610 is a new car to the #12 Penske Dodge Charger team.(Penske Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #12 Team Schemes page.(5-6-2009)
  • Smith close to signing for 2010 ride? UPDATE: Reigning Sprint Cup rookie of the year #78-Regan Smith appears close to signing a deal for a fulltime ride in 2010. Smith lost his ride at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing before the start of this season due to lack of sponsorship. He has competed in five events for Furniture Row Racing, with a season-best 15th at Talladega two weeks ago. Smith finished all 34 races he qualified for last season in the #01 at Dale Earnhardt Inc., which has since merged with Ganassi Racing.(ESPN Insider)(5-5-2009)
    UPDATE: Smith and Furniture Row Racing have been discussing an arrangement for 2010. The number of races has not been determined at this time — the ultimate is to have Smith run a full schedule in the #78. Furniture Row Racing is currently working on sponsorship opportunities and is optimistic about 2010.(Furniture Row Racing PR)(5-6-2009)
  • Sorenson to test at Infineon TODAY: #43-Reed Sorenson will come to Infineon Raceway on Wednesday, May 6, for a one-day test session. Sorenson has a best finish of 29th (2006) in two starts on the Sonoma Valley road course. Sorenson is expected to test the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in late-model stock cars provided by a Northern California-based race team. He will be coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook, who has also worked with NASCAR drivers David Reutimann, Johnny Sauter and Los Gatos’ AJ Allmendinger in Sonoma. Sorenson will return for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR weekend, June 19-21 (Father’s Day weekend), at Infineon Raceway. For tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR), also hearing other drivers will also test including: #20-Joey Logano, #47-Marcos Amrbose and #00-David Reutimann.(5-5-2009)
    UPDATE: Sorenson is the only scheduled Sprint Cup driver for Wednesday’s test, the others are expected to test at Infineon Raceway on June 9th and 10th.(5-6-2009)
  • Tire testing at Daytona UPDATE: Goodyear has scheduled a tire test at Daytona International Speedway for Monday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 5, 9am/et. Drivwers scheduled to test: #5-Mark Martin, #47-Marcos Ambrose, #77-Sam Hornish Jr., #82-Scott Speed, #98-Paul Menard, #33-Clint Bowyer, #?-Aric Almirola [Earnhardt Ganassi Racing], #20-Joey Logano, #26-Jamie McMurray and #44-A.J. Allmendinger.(5-1-2009)
    UPDATE: With the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola on July 2-4 two months away, 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers participated in a two-day Goodyear tire test on Monday and Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway. Among the drivers participating in the test includes #5-Mark Martin, #47-Marcos Ambrose, #77-Sam Hornish Jr., #82-Scott Speed, #98-Paul Menard, #33-Clint Bowyer, Aric Almirola, #20-Joey Logano, #26-Jamie McMurray and #44-A.J. Allmendinger. “When you get here, they let you get your stuff sorted out and get your car handling good and then they start throwing tires at you and getting your input on which one you think is best,” said Bowyer on Monday after the first day of testing. “We were able to get out there and draft a little bit and just try to get the speeds up as much as possible and go through the motions of the different tires and which we think is best.” Having such a big group of drivers here for the two-day test on the 2.5-mile tri-oval has helped Goodyear engineers gather a significant amount of information. “Just having three or four cars out there drafting, you don’t get the effect, you don’t get the sensation of the speed, what the cars go through in the draft, so we needed a few more cars here then just two or three cars out there drafting for a tire test,” said Bowyer, who drives for Richard Childress Racing. “The tire doesn’t get the abuse that it does when you are under the loads of drafting with 40 cars out there. I think they got a good amount of cars here, the right amount.”
    Said McMurray, a 2007 Coke Zero 400 champion, after the first day of testing: “We did 15-lap runs, maybe we did 10 of them, different compounds, different construction. I think they are trying to eliminate heat in the tire and also get your feedback on how the car drives – better or worse.” McMurray, who drives for Roush Fenway Racing, nipped Kyle Busch in the 2007 mid-summer classic by .005 seconds, the second closest finish in NASCAR history. He says he frequently looks back on that triumph. “Pretty much every day I think about that,” McMurray said. “It’s so cool to get to win at Daytona. Every kid growing up, if you want to make it in NASCAR, the Daytona race is what you think about.”
    For Marcos Ambrose, this was his second Goodyear tire test and the Tasmania native was thrilled to get more laps around DIS. “I’ve had a few laps around Daytona now, but you never get sick of driving around here,” Ambrose said on Monday. “The bumps, the car moving around, just the feel of the place is spectacular and it’s great to be down here running. We just done the simple stuff, single-car runs and a little bit of drafting this afternoon trying to get use to the way the car moves around here in the heat. It’s definitely different than what it’s here for the 500. The track is a lot slicker and there’s less grip to use. It’s fun and it’s a learning experience for me.”(DIS PR)(5-5-2009)
  • Help Lowe’s Thank the Military: In honor of Memorial Day, Lowe’s wants to offer fans the opportunity to thank the military members who mean the most to them and show their pride for Team 48 and the red, white and blue. Fans can send their photographs and stories of friends or family members who are serving our country and showing their Team 48 pride where they are stationed. Visit lowesracing.com to submit photos and stories (150 words maximum) and check back to see your posting.(Lowe’s Racing PR)(5-6-2009)
  • Jeff Gordon’s Team Wins Tissot Pit Crew Award in Richmond: Jeff Gordon’s #24 crew claimed the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Saturday night’s (May 2) Sprint Cup race at Richmond. It was the third win in the last five races for the #24 crew, which has a solid lead in the season-long Tissot pit road competition. After 10 of 36 Sprint Cup races, Gordon’s team has three pit crew wins while seven other teams each have one. The pit crew win at the .75-mile Richmond track was a result of Gordon’s DuPont Chevrolet Impala SS spending the least amount of time on pit road – 279.607 seconds. The quick effort helped lift Gordon to an eighth-place finish and a return to first place in the Sprint Cup driver point standings. Gordon’s pit crew consists of: Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Mike Houston (front tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Cook (jackman), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Andy Kruep (eighth man). The pit crew coach is Greg Morin. Gordon’s crew will receive $5,000 for the Richmond pit road win. The team with the most Tissot Pit Road Precision Award victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule will earn a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver.(Tissot PR)(5-6-2009)
  • Tony Gibson Named Crew Chief of the Race at Richmond: Tony Gibson, crew chief for te #39 U.S. Army Chevy driven by Ryan Newman, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Saturday’s Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway. The #39 team finished a respectable 4th place in Saturday’s race after qualifying 10th. The team, led by Gibson, was strong early in the race, putting Newman in the lead four times (for a total of 45 laps) by lap 313. After being involved in a wreck on lap 314, Newman lost valuable track position, putting him back in 15th following the pit stop on lap 316. Determined to get back up front with the lead pack, Gibson continued to coach his driver as he worked his way through the field. With Gibson’s guidance, Newman was back up to 4th with 44 laps remaining. In addition to the $1,000 check, the winning crew chief will receive signage to announce the win on their pit box the following week. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and will be presented a $20,000 check at the season finale in Homestead.(Wypall Wipers PR)(5-6-2009)
  • State Water Heaters alters approach to stay in NASCAR: State Water Heaters, a NASCAR team sponsor since 2006, went into this season wanting to maintain the benefits of its marketing and hospitality program while trimming expenses. After visiting just about every NASCAR team as a free agent, State went in a markedly different direction. It decided to sponsor no one at all. Instead of spending the $5 million to $7 million a year for a low-level, often noncompetitive car, as it had done before, State opted for a unique program conceived by North Carolina-based 919 Marketing with former driver Ward Burton. It’s a plan that has allowed State to keep its vibrant hospitality program at the track despite axing the costly sponsorship. Burton, a five-time winner and one of the sport’s elite drivers from 1999 to 2002, essentially serves as State’s NASCAR ambassador for anywhere from 30 to 100 of the company’s guests on race day at a Sprint Cup event. He guides them on pit and garage tours, explains the race to guests in a suite and even talks sales on State’s behalf. Until this year, State Water Heaters was known in NASCAR circles as a loyal sponsor of teams such as [#4 Chevy] Morgan-McClure Motorsports and [#66 Chevy] Haas CNC Racing. Burton enables State to deliver that race-day experience at the track with a noted driver, even though State’s white, blue and orange car no longer competes. State wouldn’t say how much State will save this year, but the company is not writing a hefty sponsorship check and it will be entertaining at about 10 races this year instead of 36, so the savings will be in the millions. In addition to the race-day activities, State puts on driving and ride-along excursions. During one such event on April 18 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Burton took State guests on trips around the track at 160 mph, using cars from the Richard Petty Driving Experience.(Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)
    UPDATE: As a part of their marketing strategy, State decided that a portion of their marketing dollars would be better spent sponsoring a quality NASCAR Nationwide Series team and is asponsor of the #27 Baker Curb Racing team in the Nationwide Series with Jason Keller (State Water Heaters Racing).(5-6-2009)(5-5-2009)
  • Darlington hoping for another sellout: Several times a day, Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning walks over to the track’s ticket office to get a progress report on sales. Recently, he’s liked what he’s seen. Even so, a fifth consecutive sellout for the historic facility is far from certain as Darlington gears up for Saturday night’s revival of the Southern 500. “We’re slightly behind where we were this point last year. If we sell it out, it’s going to come down to the wire,” Browning said Monday. “We’re still optimistic we’ve got a shot at it. We had a great week last week. About the last probably two and half, three weeks, our daily sales have beaten the daily sales of the previous year. That’s all positive.” Darlington has sold out four consecutive races since its lone event was moved to the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend prior to the 2005 season. This year the track is bringing back a Southern 500 race name that was a fixture at the South Carolina facility from its founding in 1950 until 2004, when it was phased out. With a seating capacity of roughly 62,000, Darlington is one of the smaller facilities on the Cup Series tour. Yet the track is bidding to become only the third venue this season — along with Daytona and Bristol — to announce a sellout. In past years, Darlington sold out a week or more in advance. That was before the current economic recession, which has made it very difficult for many tracks to sell tickets. “We have a shot at it, but everything’s going to have to line up perfectly for us to do it. But we still do have a shot at it,” Browning said. “I know that if we sell it out, it will probably end up being on race day.”(NASCAR.com)(5-6-2009)
  • Darlington welcomes Car Hauler Parade: The Darlington Car Hauler Parade and Festival will be 4 to 7:30pm Thursday, May 7th at the Florence [SC] Civic Center with entertainment and live music performed by Southern rock and country band Southern Blue. NASCAR transporters and take pictures next to your favorite team’s haulers. Meet the hauler drivers and get autographs plus free give-a-ways from vendors. Kids can enjoy the multiple inflatable rides and games throughout the fun-filled festival. Fans, join in on the exciting Silent Auction full of great NASCAR items and more to benefit the American Red Cross. At 7pm the parade of Sprint Cup Series haulers begins to make its way along the 12-mile route to Darlington Square, where the anticipating crowd celebrates with added live entertainment and the fireworks of Race Fest. Florence welcomes NASCAR to the Darlington Race track that’s “Too Tough to Tame” for the Mother’s Day weekend races.(Florence Civic Center)(5-6-2009)

 


May 5, 2009

  • Racing Resources Says …
    * Kyle Busch won the Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway. It was his 15th victory in his 160th Cup series start and his third win in 2009; he also scored victories at Las Vegas and Bristol.
    * Busch scored his first victory in nine races at Richmond. He had finished second at Bristol three previous times. He became the 46th different winner in 106 Cup races at Richmond.
    * Busch, who started 14th, scored his third career short-track victory in 27 such races.
    * Busch, 24, became just the second driver in Cup series history to win on his birthday. Cale Yarborough, whose birthday is March 27, did so twice. Busch is the youngest driver in NASCAR history to score 15 wins. He also is the youngest to win a Cup race at Richmond. Jeff Gordon was 24 years, 6 months, 28 days old when he won at Richmond on March 3, 1996.
    * Busch became the third driver to score a weekend sweep at Richmond, joining Harry Gant (Sept. 6-7, 1991) and Kevin Harvick (Sept. 8-9, 2006). Busch won a benefit race put together by fellow racer Denny Hamlin at Southside Speedway in Virginia on Thursday night, the Nationwide race at Richmond on Friday night and the Cup race.
    * Busch tied Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson and Greg Biffle with 50 combined NASCAR wins — 11th all time.
    * This was the 22nd of 106 races at Richmond to be won from a starting position outside the top 10 (21 percent).
    * Busch’s victory is the 71st Cup win by Joe Gibbs Racing, which ranks seventh all time. Gibbs scored its fourth victory at Richmond, where Stewart has won three times and Busch has won once.
    * Busch led three times for 53 laps Saturday night, including the final 49.
    * Hamlin led the most laps (148). He has led laps in all seven of his races at Richmond. The driver leading the most laps has failed to win the past seven races at Richmond. For the sixth time in his career and his second time at Richmond, Hamlin led the most laps of a race yet didn’t win.
    * The driver leading at the midpoint of the race has failed to win the past eight races at Richmond. Hamlin led 381 laps at Richmond one year ago and finished 24th.
    * Tony Stewart (second) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 2009. It marked his fifth straight top-10 at Richmond. He climbed from fourth to third in points. He has ranked eighth or better in the standings all season.
    * This was the third victory for Toyota in 2009. Chevrolet has four, Ford has two and Dodge has one.
    * Jeff Burton (third) tied his best finish in 2009 set at Las Vegas. Burton has scored eight straight top-15 finishes.
    * Ryan Newman (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in 2009, all in the past six races. He climbed from 13th to 10th in the points standings, making his first appearance among the top 12 since he ranked 11th after the Richmond race in May one year ago. For the first time, Stewart-Haas Racing drivers (Stewart and Newman) scored top-5 finishes in the same race.
    * Jeff Gordon (eighth) took over as the leader of the Cup standings, by 10 points over Kurt Busch, who finished 12th. Gordon has finished 13th or better in eight of the 10 races this season.
    * Casey Mears (ninth) posted his best finish of the season.
    * David Reutimann (28th) posted his third finish outside the top 20 in 2009. He dropped from 11th to 13th in the points standings. He ranked 13th after Daytona and had ranked among the top 12 in the past eight races.
    * Bobby Labonte (31st) has been running at the finish in the past 21 races at Richmond, the longest current streak.
    * The 15 caution periods tied the record at Richmond.
    * The top 10 consisted of seven Chevrolets, one Toyota, one Dodge and one Ford.(ESPN)(5-5-2009)
  • RPM plans to use new Dodge engine: Richard Petty Motorsports plans to switch to the new Dodge engine in time for the May 31 race at Dover, vice president of race operations Robbie Loomis said Tuesday. Loomis said only one of the organization’s four drivers likely will use the R6P8 that the other Dodge organization, Penske Racing, has used all season. A decision on which driver will use it will be made in the upcoming weeks. #9-Kasey Kahne could get the nod if the organization believes the engine will help get him back into the top 12 to qualify for the Chase. RPM’s marquee driver is 17th in points after Saturday night’s 29th-place finish at Richmond. If not Kahne, then #44-A.J. Allmendinger (28th), #19-Elliott Sadler (29th) or #43-Reed Sorenson (22nd) will get the engine. “We talked about using it for the All-Star race or maybe the [Coca-Cola 600],” Loomis said of the upcoming races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “It’s just risk versus reward. We were not comfortable bringing it out in the 600.” Loomis said RPM is about a month behind the planned schedule to introduce the engine. He said the process was slowed when the organization committed to Allmendinger beyond the first five races, noting that engineers who might have spent time on the R6P8 had to build engines for an additional car. Loomis said the lack of horsepower with the old engine has been obvious, particularly at Talladega Superspeedway, where RPM’s top driver qualified 35th.(ESPN.com)(5-5-2009)
  • Junior Johnson’s son wins first race: In his first race of his young career, Robert Johnson, the son of NASCAR legend Junior Johnson and wife Lisa started sixth in the Sportsman division race at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro NC and won the race by a half a car length. Johnson is sponsored by Carolina Carports and Junior Johnson‘s country ham.(Robert/Jr. Johnson PR)(5-5-2009)
  • Smith close to signing for 2010 ride? Reigning Sprint Cup rookie of the year #78-Regan Smith appears close to signing a deal for a fulltime ride in 2010. Smith lost his ride at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing before the start of this season due to lack of sponsorship. He has competed in five events for Furniture Row Racing, with a season-best 15th at Talladega two weeks ago. Smith finished all 34 races he qualified for last season in the #01 at Dale Earnhardt Inc., which has since merged with Ganassi Racing.(ESPN Insider)(5-5-2009)
  • Special scheme for #99 at Darlington: The #99 Aflac Ford of Carl Edwards will take on a different look at Darlington Raceway. The #99 Ford will sport a special paint scheme in support of Disney Pixar’s upcoming release, “Up”. “Up” is a comedy adventure about 78 year old balloon salesman Carl Fredrickson and his lifelong dream of taking a fantastic adventure.(Roush Racing PR)(5-5-2009)
  • Sorenson to test at Infineon: #43-Reed Sorenson will come to Infineon Raceway on Wednesday, May 6, for a one-day test session. Sorenson has a best finish of 29th (2006) in two starts on the Sonoma Valley road course. Sorenson is expected to test the challenging 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in late-model stock cars provided by a Northern California-based race team. He will be coached by road-course veteran Chris Cook, who has also worked with NASCAR drivers David Reutimann, Johnny Sauter and Los Gatos’ AJ Allmendinger in Sonoma. Sorenson will return for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR weekend, June 19-21 (Father’s Day weekend), at Infineon Raceway. For tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR), also hearing other drivers will also test including: #20-Joey Logano, #47-Marcos Amrbose and #00-David Reutimann.(5-5-2009)
  • NMPA, Home Depot team up for award: Home Depot announced it is partnering with the National Motorsports Press Association to present a humanitarian award. This year’s winner will be named during the NMPA Myers Brother Awards in Las Vegas. The award recognizes an individual in the NASCAR community who has shown a dedication to to helping others and improving communities through service and giving. Home Depot will award the winner a $100,000 donation for a charity of the recipeint’s choice. “Giving back is a fundamental value of the Home Depot,” said Frank Bifulco, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Home Depot.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-5-2009)
  • Mayfield featured in Music Video: NASCAR Media Group and Virgin Records rock quartet Saving Abel announced that the music video for the band’s third single from their gold certified self-titled debut album debuted exclusively on Yahoo! on Thursday, April 30th. The NASCAR-themed video for “Drowning (Face Down)” stars Sprint Cup Series driver Jeremy Mayfield as an aspiring racer who makes great sacrifices for a chance to compete at the highest level. The driver has no sponsor and no endorsement deals, but pushes forward through all obstacles in pursuit of his racing dreams. “It was awesome and I can’t wait until it comes out,” said Jeremy Mayfield. “Just being a part of that was just cool for me. Those guys are great guys and I’m glad to see them coming up. I didn’t really know them that well until we did the video and they have a lot of fun. It’s funny how our story kind of fit their song and worked perfect for their video.” A five-time Sprint Cup race winner, Mayfield hasn’t had a full-time ride in more than two years and decided to start his own team a month before the 2009 season began. Mirroring the music video’s theme, Mayfield has started three races this year, including racing his way into the Daytona 500, and is trying to recapture some of his past successes. “We had a blast shooting the ‘Drowning (Face Down)’ video with Jeremy Mayfield and the other NASCAR drivers as we’re all big NASCAR fans, said Saving Abel frontman Jared Weeks. We especially love how Jeremy’s real life story mirrors the character he plays in the video.” Parts of the music video were shot at Bristol Motor Speedway, as well as Mayfield Motorsports in Harrisburg, N.C., and it features cameos by drivers Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr., Brian Vickers and Clint Bowyer.(Mayfield Motorsports PR), see the video at new.music.yahoo.com.(5-5-2009)
  • Lowe’s Foods partners with MWR: Lowes Foods and Michael Waltrip Racing have teamed up to race for the checkered flag in three races this season at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. Lowes Foods is proud to be an associate sponsor of the #00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota and #55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota as David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip compete in the NASCAR Sprint Showdown for a spot in the All-Star Race on Saturday, May 16th. Lowes Foods associate sponsorship will continue with the two Michael Waltrip Racing entries for the 600-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event on Sunday, May 24th. Lowes Foods also announces their primary sponsorship of the #99 Toyota Camry driven by David Reutimann in the Nationwide Series race on Friday, October 16th. As part of this partnership, Lowes Foods customers will receive one free entry to Michael Waltrip Racing’s Raceworld USA when a valid Lowes Foods receipt over $25 is presented at the entrance during the month of October. Additionally, Lowes Foods will hold a sweepstakes where two customers will have the opportunity to win a grand prize fantasy trip to the Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on October 17, 2009, a second place prize, a shopping cart race with David Reutimann worth $500 of free groceries or a third place prize, a $250 Lowes Foods gift card and a Michael Waltrip Racing prize pack. More info at www.lowesfoods.com.(MWR PR)(5-5-2009)

 


May 4, 2009

  • The Entry List for the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway is posted, 46 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including:
    Not in top 35 of 2009 owners points:
    #09-Sterling Marlin (2009 Race Winner as owner)(38/10)
    #13-Max Papis (48/3)
    #25-Brad Keselowski (2009 Race Winner as driver)(49/2)
    #36-Scott Riggs (42/10)
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield (43/10)
    #64-Todd Bodine (46/9)
    #66-Dave Blaney (44/10)
    #71-David Gilliland (37/10)
    #78-Regan Smith (40/5)
    #82-Scott Speed (36/10)
    #87-Joe Nemechek (39/10)
    In the event qualifying is rained out or cancelled:
    the eight who would make it [8]: #’s 09,25,82,71,87,36,41,66
    missing the race would be [3]: #’s 64,37,13
    See the full entry list at my Jayski’s Darlington Entry List.(5-4-2009)
  • Richmond overnight TV Ratings: NASCAR on Fox posted a 3.7/7 for primetime racing from Richmond, off -12% from last year’s 4.2/8. FOX’s 3.6/7 primetime average was just good enough to win the night, edging out second-place NBC’s 3.5/6, CBS’ 3.4/6, and ABC’s 2.5/5. For the season-to-date, NASCAR On FOX is averaging a 4.7/10, down -15% from last year’s 5.5/11. For season and race TV Ratings, see my 2009 TV Ratings page.(5-4-2009)
  • Driver wins before age 25: Only 59 of 2,220 Sprint Cup races for which the winner’s age is known have been won by drivers under 25:
    1. Jeff Gordon, 15
    1. Kyle Busch, 15 [still under 25 until May 2, 2010]
    3. Kurt Busch, 7
    (tie) Richard Petty, 7
    5. Junior Johnson, 5
    Tied with one each: Bob Burdick. Bobby Hillin Jr.; Parnelli Jones; John Kieper; Terry Labonte, Ryan Newman, Bill Rexford; Fireball Roberts; Donald Thomas; Brian Vickers.(5-4-2009)
  • Sponsor asks fans what to get Labonte: Ask.com is asking fans for help in finding the perfect birthday present for Bobby Labonte, driver of the #96 Ask.com Ford, Labonte’s birthday is Friday, May 8 and Ask.com wants ideas about what to get him. Ask.com plans to choose one gift idea and present it to Labonte on behalf of that fan. For more information visit ask.com.(5-4-2009)
  • Raines expects to replace Andretti in #34 during Indy 500 conflicts: Tony Raines said Saturday that he would be surprised if he is not in the #34 NASCAR Sprint Cup car for Front Row Motorsports next week at Darlington Raceway while John Andretti attempts to qualify for the Indianapolis 500. Team owner Bob Jenkins has said that Raines would likely fill that seat for the events at Darlington and Lowe’s Motor Speedway while Andretti is in Indianapolis. Raines competes for the team in the Nationwide Series and has run in select Cup races for the team this year.(Scene Daily)(5-4-2009)
  • Busch wants 200 wins: With his Nationwide Series win at Richmond thrown into the tally, #18-Kyle Busch has 50 wins across NASCAR’s top three divisions including the Cup and Truck series. When he was reeling off victories at a record pace last season, Busch said that 200 in his career was his goal. But even he knows despite flying high now that might be a lofty expectation. “It could if I can keep this pace up,” he smiled. “But I know the older I get I’ll start slowing down some way. You know, hopefully I can achieve that goal. It would be sure nice to get that. I know it’s not 200 Cup victories like Richard Petty has. It will still be a phenomenal mark for me. I don’t know how long I’ll be in the Truck Series or Nationwide Series, but hopefully for as long as [owner] Joe [Gibbs] will let me in the Truck Series, and as long as there’s a Nationwide car at Joe Gibbs that we can run, I’ll be there running races and fulfilling some duties and deals there.”(CBS Sports)(5-4-2009)
  • Did Not Finish Streak and stats: #33-Bowyer has been running at the finish in 83 consecutive races, the longest current streak and the new modern era record, next up is #78-Regan Smith at 46 [but has not run all the races]. The all-time record for the longest streak of NOT having an DNF is 84 races held by Herman Beam from April 30, 1961 thru March 10, 1963 [Beam didn’t run all the races, but didn’t DNF in 84 straight consecutive races that he ran]. Kevin Harvick held the modern era (1972-present) record at 81 [he also has the 3rd longest at 58], then Jeff Gordon at 56 and Dale Earnhardt at 53 [Indy in 1996 thru Martinsville in the spring of 1998.(5-4-2009)
  • SMI willing to move one of its races to Kentucky: Speedway Motorsports Inc. officials say they have made an official request with NASCAR to add Kentucky to the 2010 Sprint Cup Series schedule. SMI is willing to give up a date at one of its seven other race tracks to get Kentucky on the schedule. SMI chairman Bruton Smith agreed to pay $78.3 million last year for the Sparta track. Kentucky’s former ownership group filed a 2005 antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. over Kentucky’s failure to land a Sprint Cup date. The suit was dismissed in early 2008, but the case is on appeal. NASCAR has said it will not consider Kentucky for a race until the suit is dropped. Smith says he has so far been unsuccessful in trying to persuade the group to drop the appeal.(Associated Press)(5-4-2009)
  • Darlington lowers concession prices: In an effort to reduce costs for fans attending the 2009 Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com Darlington Raceway and Americrown, the track’s concessionaire, have reduced prices on some food and beverage items and added value meals to the menu. Highlights of the new menu include:
    · Reduced price on regular all-beef hot dog to $3, a 25% savings
    · Hot dog and fry combo meal for $5 – a $2 savings
    · Cheeseburger and fry combo meal for $7 – a $2 savings
    · Kids Value Meal with peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cookie, fruit roll-up and half pint of milk for $4
    · Reduced price on Dasani bottled water to $3, a 25% savings
    In addition to the reduced prices fans will also notice two new signature Darlington items on the menu, the Darlington Super Slaw Dog and the Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich with Coleslaw. Priced at $5, the Darlington Super Slaw Dog is 1/3 pound, all beef hot dog served with coleslaw and other hot dog condiments. Also new for 2009 in the Carolina pulled pork BBQ sandwich with coleslaw served on a Kaiser roll with a choice of mustard style BBQ, vinegar style BBQ or Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ and is priced at $6.
    Be a part of history when Darlington Raceway celebrates 60 years of racing in 2009. Tickets to the 2009 Southern 500 presented by GoDaddy.com, as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series Diamond Hill Plywood 200 are on-sale now. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Darlington Raceway ticket office at 866-459-RACE or online at darlingtonraceway.com.(Darlington Raceway PR)(5-4-2009)

 


May 3, 2009

  • Phoenix Racing plans car for Keselowski in all-star race: Phoenix Racing plans to field a car for Brad Keselowski in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in two weeks, crew chief Marc Reno said Saturday at Richmond International Raceway. Keselowski became eligible for the main event when he won the Aaron’s 499 last week at Talladega Superspeedway. Although he won in a Phoenix Racing car, Keselowski indicated Friday that he wasn’t sure who would enter a car for him in the all-star event. But Hendrick Motorsports Vice President Doug Duchardt said Saturday that Hendrick would not field a fifth car in the event for Keselowski. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said that the team could have a fifth car since it was a non-points event and it would not count against Keselowski’s seven races for the team as a development driver. Phoenix Racing had hoped to buy a car from Hendrick Motorsports for the race, but the re-certification process would take too long, Reno said. Instead, Phoenix will use the car that it had planned to use for Keselowski at Richmond. Keselowski’s Nationwide team wanted him to concentrate on that series because it was a one-day show Friday, so Mike Bliss competed in the Cup event Saturday.(Scene Daily)(5-3-2009)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Crown Royal presents the Russ Friedman 400:
    Total race brdcst time 170 Total comm. brdcst time 53
    Total number of commercials: 116
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 63
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 6 min. 35 sec.
    Total minutes: 223
    Minutes of race broadcast: 170
    Minutes of commercials: 53
    Number of missed restarts: 1 and 3 close calls
    Number of mystery cautions (debris not shown): 0
    Total Digger sightings: 26
    Animated Digger shots: 9
    Still Digger shots: 12
    Text ‘Digger’ to 7555 mentions: 1
    Text ‘Marbles’ to 7555 mentions: 1
    Get Digger theme at itunes.com mentions: 2
    Digger.Ask.com mentions – 1
    See more and selected driver focus and link to full report on my 2009 TV Commercials page.(5-3-2009)
  • Chrysler (Dodge) to file for bankruptcy UPDATE 3: Chrysler will file for bankruptcy after talks with a small group of creditors crumbled just a day before a government deadline for the automaker to come up with a restructuring plan, two administration officials said Thursday. The Obama administration had long hoped to stave off bankruptcy for Chrysler LLC, but it became clear that a holdout group wouldn’t budge on proposals to reduce Chrysler’s $6.9 billion in secured debt, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the filing plans are not public. Clearing those debts was a needed step for Chrysler restructure by the Thursday night deadline. Bankruptcy doesn’t mean the nation’s third largest automaker will shut down. And the privately-held Chrysler is expected to sign a partnership agreement with the Italian company Fiat as early as Thursday as part of its restructuring plan. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing would allow a judge to decide how much the company’s creditors would get.(ABC News), NO word how or if this will effect Dodge’s involvement in NASCAR.(4-30-2009)
    UPDATE: Chrysler remains committed to the Sprint Cup series despite Thursday’s announcement it will file for bankruptcy protection and form a partnership with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. “The partnership not only will transform Chrysler into a new, stronger car company with many strategic advantages, it will enable the company to better serve our customers with a broader and more comprehensive lineup of vehicles,” said Mike Accavitti, Chrysler’s director of brand marketing and strategy for Dodge Motorsports. “NASCAR is a strategic part of our marketing plan and the Dodge brand. We plan to continue our Dodge sponsorship and relationship into the foreseeable future.” The bankruptcy filing was the first step in wiping Chrysler’s balance sheet clean and beginning the automaker’s rebuilding process. The White House forced the move after talks between the company’s creditors and the Treasury Department failed to reach an agreement.(ESPN)(4-30-2009)
    UPDATE 2: At first blush, it doesn’t look like Chrysler’s filing for bankruptcy protection on Thursday will have any immediate effect on the seven Sprint Cup teams backed by Dodge. Chrysler was quick to issue a statement on Thursday reaffirming their commitment to NASCAR. But how long, exactly, is the foreseeable future? Several people I [Lars Anderson] talked to involved with NASCAR on Friday morning, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, strongly believed that Chrysler would pull its NASCAR funding in 2010. (The company already slashed its motor sports budget by 30 percent this year.) Then the question would become this: What would happen to the seven teams that Dodge supports? That is the great unknown.(Sports Illustrated)(5-2-2009)
    UPDATE 3: Roger Penske denied on Saturday a report that Chrysler will pull its support from NASCAR after this season. The Sports Illustrated report came on Friday after Chrysler announced it would file for bankruptcy protection and form a partnership with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. “Chrysler guys contacted us and said they were going to continue to support NASCAR,” said Penske, the owner of Penske Racing and several Chrysler dealerships. “Hopefully, they can do that based on what the government allows them to do. We’re cautiously optimistic right now.'” Penske is a close friend of Chrysler chairman Robert Nardelli, who reportedly will step down after the bankruptcy process is complete. Although the manufacturer has cut some financial support, he has been given no indication that it will pull out of the sport.(ESPN.com)(5-3-2009)
  • Army Official says sponsorships worth money: The U.S. Army will pay Stewart-Haas Racing $11.6 million to sponsor Ryan Newman’s #39 car for 23 races this season, and the Army official who oversees it says the money is worth it. Army and National Guard (#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.) were the only branches of the military that served as primary sponsors for cars in Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Lt. Gen. Benjamim Freakley said the Army looks at different ways to determine if the sponsorship is worthwhile but admits it comes down to one thing. “At the end of the day, for the Army, it’s does someone join the Army or not,” Freakley said. He said 41 people agreed Saturday at the Army’s booth at the track to be interviewed by an Army recruiter. “That’s powerful,” Freakley said. Army sponsorship is a year-to-year agreement. Because Congress controls the money that goes to the military, the budget can fluctuate from year to year. That, Freakley says, makes it challenging to do multi-year deals. He said he won’t know his budget until this summer. He said he and his group have started to assess the sponsorship and what they want to do for 2010 but no decisions have been made. (Hampton Roads)(5-3-2009)
  • John Andretti goes skydiving: Despite having competed in NASCAR, IndyCar and NHRA, John Andretti experienced a new type of speed this week. The driver of the #34 Window World Chevy performed a tandem skydive with the elite Golden Knights Parachute Team. For Andretti, it was a thrilling way to kickoff a month that promises even more excitement. Andretti and Window World CEO Todd Whitworth were invited to be guests of the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team. Each individual was paired with an instructor and experienced the thrill of skydiving from 13,500 feet. Andretti still has more to look forward to. After competing in this weekend’s Crown Royal 400, Andretti turns his focus to open-wheel racing. Andretti will drive the #43 Window World/Richard Petty Motorsports/Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Honda-Dallara in the Indy 500.(Breaking Limits PR)(5-3-2009)
  • Kahne, Keselowksi, and Flair selling tickets Monday at Lowe’s: Race weeks at Lowe’s Motor Speedway are only days away and to help drop the green flag on the exciting month of motorsports at the home of stock car racing, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, and 16-time World Heavyweight Champion, the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, will sell tickets at the speedway ticket office Monday beginning at 5 p.m. Fans that come to the ticket office Monday and purchase tickets for the 25th NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race or the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 will receive the popular “All-Star Slugfest” poster that features several drivers’ heads on wrestlers’ bodies and meet the drivers and the “Nature Boy.” Flair will staff the ticket office from 5-7 p.m., while Kahne will be there from 5-6 p.m. and Keselowski from 6-7 p.m. At 7 p.m. PRN’s “Fast Talk,” the popular nationally syndicated radio program, will broadcast live from the front of the ticket office with host Doug Rice and special co-host, the most recent qualifier for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Keselowski. Fans are invited to attend the live broadcast and participate in the program which will include a special guest appearance by pro-wrestling legend, Flair, and phone-in interviews from NASCAR’s top stars. Ticket packages for both events are available through the Lowe’s Motor Speedway ticket office by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(5-3-2009)

May 2, 2009

  • Kyle Busch wins at Richmond: #18-Kyle Busch won the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway for his 3rd win of 2009 and the 15th of his career. With the win on his 24th birthday, he is the youngest driver ever to reach 15 Cup wins. He also won the Nationwide Series race Friday night, making it is his second weekend sweep (he did it last year in Chicago). #14-Tony Stewart finished second, followed by #31-Burton, #39-Newman, #5-Martin, #77-Hornish, #26-McMurray, #24-Gordon, #07-Mears, and #42-Montoya. #88-Earnhard Jr. finished 27th. #48-Johnson battled brake problems all night and finished 36th. There were 15 cautions (which ties the record at Richmond) for 79 laps and 21 lead changes among 8 leaders.
    For race results, awards and more on the Richmond Race Results Page.(5-2-2009)
  • UNOFFICAL Driver Points Standings [after Richmond, race 10 of 36]:
    1) #24-Jeff Gordon 1441 [1 win]
    2) #2-Kurt Busch 1431 -10 [1 win]
    3) #14-Tony Stewart 1402 -39
    4) #11-Denny Hamlin 1321 -120
    5) #18-Kyle Busch 1314 -127 [3 wins]
    6) #48-Jimmie Johnson 1290 -151 [1 win]
    7) #31-Jeff Burton 1257 -184
    8) #33-Clint Bowyer 1212 -229
    9) #99-Carl Edwards 1204 -237
    10) #39-Ryan Newman 1198 -243
    11) #16-Greg Biffle 1193 -248
    12) #17-Matt Kenseth 1187 -254 [2 wins]
    Contenders for the top-12/chase:
    13) #00-David Reutimann 1156, 31 points out of 12th
    14) #42-Juan Montoya 1152, -35
    15) #5-Mark Martin 1126, -61
    16) #83-Brian Vickers 1118, -69
    17) #9-Kasey Kahne 1106, -81
    18) #88-Dale Earnhardt 1100, -87
    For drivers and owners points standings, see the Drivers/Owners Points Standings.(5-2-2009)
  • Race Fast Facts – Richmond:
    Kyle Busch won the CROWN ROYAL Presents The Russ Friedman 400, his 15th victory in 160 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his third victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2009.
    This is his first victory and seventh top-10 finish in nine races at Richmond International Raceway.
    Tony Stewart (second) posted his 15th top-10 finish in 21 races at Richmond International Raceway. It is his seventh top-10 finish in 2009.
    Jeff Burton (third) posted his 14th top-10 finish in 30 races at Richmond International Raceway.
    Joey Logano (19th) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Jeff Gordon leads the point standings by 10 points over Kurt Busch.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-2-2009)
  • Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Darlington:
    33) #98-Menard/Yates: 839, +140
    35) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 768, +69
    34) #34-Andretti/Earnhart Ganassi: 743, 44 points ahead of 36th
    these teams/ drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
    36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 699, 44 points out of 35th
    37) #71-Gilliland/TRG: 640, -103
    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.(5-2-2009)
  • Penalty Report – Richmond
    Car#, Lap, Reason, Penalty
    #66, 9, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #41, 115, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #48, 116, Excessive speed ENTERING pits, tail end
    #00, 116, Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road, tail end
    #41, 171, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #26, 171, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #48, 192, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #98, 194, Outside half of the pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tires, tail end
    #48, 196, Disobeying a NASCAR request, pass thru
    #12, 274, Removing equipment from assigned pit area, pit
    #83, 287, Outside half of the pit box tire violation/Team member not in contact with the outside tires, tail end
    #29, 291, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #29, 309, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    #1, 327, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #9, 327, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #09, 329, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #41, 329, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #96, 346, Pitting before pit road is open, tail end
    #96, 346, Excessive speed EXITING the pits, tail end
    (NASCAR Statistics)(5-2-2009)
  • Lucky Dogs – Who got a lap back on each caution at Richmond: (and their finish)
    Caution 1: no driver down a lap, race started under green/yellow
    Caution 2: no driver down a lap
    Caution 3: #42-Montoya, 10th
    Caution 4: #26-McMurray, 7th
    Caution 5: #16-Biffle, 17th
    Caution 6: #7-Gordon, 16th
    Caution 7: #07-Mears, 9th
    Caution 8: #17-Kenseth, 13th
    Caution 9: #26-McMurray (2), 7th
    Caution 10: #99-Edwards, 26th
    Caution 11: #6-Ragan, 23rd
    Caution 12: #55-Waltrip, 24th
    Caution 13: #19-Sadler, 25th
    Caution 14: #83-Vickers, 15th
    Caution 15: #44-Allmendinger, 21st
    (5-2-2009)
  • Congrats – Marty Smith: ESPN’s Marty Smith, lovely wife Lainie and big brother Cambron welcomed Amelia Joy Smith to the world at 7:56pm/et on April 30th. “Mia” weighed in at 7 lbs 13 oz and is 21 inches long.(5-2-2009)
  • Last time winning driver didn’t race the following race? With the last race winner, #09-Brad Keselowski, not running this weeks race at Richmond, who was the last driver to win and not run the next race? That would be Jamie McMurray, who won at Lowe;s Motor Speedway in Oct 2002 and didn’t race the following race at Martinsville Speedway. So who ran the #40 at Martinsville back in Oct 2002 in place of McMurray? Mike Bliss……the same driver who is racing the #09 car this week at Richmond in place of Keselowski.(5-2-2009)
  • added images from Richmond: #06 Rockingham#6 UPS Frieght#7 Energizer#12 Star Trek Movie#18 Combos#26 Crown Royal#31 Prilosec OTC#41 SmallSponsor.com#43 McCafe#44 PVA.org/Kings Cup#47 Bushs Baked Beans#55 NAPA Adaptive One Brake Pads#88 National Guard “Drive the Guard”#98 Menards/Nibco to the Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-2-2009)
  • Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400: This weekend Russ Friedman will roll into Richmond International Raceway as an everyday race fan – and leave a hero. As the grand-prize winner of the Crown Royal “Your Name Here” contest, Friedman was awarded naming rights to the Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, May 2. The race is officially titled “Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400.” However, when he accepted the prize during an elaborate ceremony earlier this year at Daytona International Speedway, the former Marine made it clear it would only be right if his fellow soldiers went along for the ride. In response, the makers of Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, along with the Jamie McMurray Foundation have been working to ensure Friedman’s race honors all the brave soldiers who serve our country. Throughout the last few weeks, The Crown Royal Company and McMurray – with Friedman’s input – have provided military personnel around the country with tickets to races, selected soldiers to serve as honorary pit crew members and made available giant “Thank you” cards for fans to sign and show their support for members of the military. One hundred NASCAR Day pins have been purchased for soldiers, the proceeds of which benefit the NASCAR Foundation and its associated charities. In addition, The Crown Royal Company and McMurray have created a replica racecar hood with the official Crown Royal The Russ Friedman 400 race logo for all the Cup Series drivers to sign prior to the race this weekend. After the race in Richmond, the cards, hood and pins will be sent to soldiers serving overseas on behalf of a grateful NASCAR nation. Friedman, a Huntington Station, N.Y., native was selected from a pool of nearly 5,000 entrants in the Crown Royal “Your Name Here” contest. His winning entry referenced his experience in Iraq receiving two Purple Hearts. Friedman enlisted in the Marines in 2001 and served two tours in Iraq, in 2003 and then again in 2004 when he was injured. In honor of Russ Friedman and in celebration of the race in Richmond, Governor Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia has issued a proclamation declaring the month of May 2009 Crown Royal 400 Month, urging all citizens to keep our soldiers in their prayers and thank them for their service to our country. Friedman will receive the royal treatment throughout the weekend. His name will be incorporated into the race broadcast and has been included on all the race tickets and merchandise. Some of his duties include serving as Grand Marshal, participating in pace-car laps, watching the race from the #26 pit box and delivering the trophy – emblazoned with his name – to the race winner in Victory Lane. Friedman will be joined by his fiancée April Willmott and several other close friends and family members.(Crown Royal PR)(5-2-2009)
  • Why no Keselowski in RIR Cup race? Brad Keselowski, met with media. Some highlights from the transcript:
    IS IT FRUSTRATING SITTING HERE KNOWING AFTER YOU WON LAST WEEK YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE RUNNING IN THE CUP RACE ON SATURDAY? “Frustrating as far as not running, it really hasn’t soaked in that I won. It’s hard to get frustrated when you don’t even picture yourself as a winner yet. I feel like I can run over there right now and be competitive but the opportunity isn’t there and until the opportunity is there it is what it is. There’s a lot of talent over there and you can’t take that away from those drivers that run over there every weekend. I’d love to be running over there. I’ve raced against 15 or 20 of the same guys over here on the Nationwide side so it’s very similar and I think I could run competitively but the opportunity is not there so I’m not really thinking about it. I’m thinking about the Nationwide car.“
    I UNDERSTAND NOW YOU ARE GOING TO BE RUNNING THE ALL-STAR RACE WHICH CAR ARE YOU GOING TO DRIVE? “At this time we haven’t got the All-Star situation figured out as far as what I’m driving and so forth. At this point I haven’t figured out which car I’m driving or how that situation is going to work. I shouldn’t say that I haven’t figured it out I should said that the two teams that I drive for on the Cup side haven’t figured it out.
    WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR, HAS IT CHANGED AT ALL? “You know that schedule was changing every week before I won so it’s still changing every week. Originally we were going to run here at Richmond and that didn’t work out. A couple of weeks ago that actually got cancelled. As far as knowing locked in what all the rest of my races are I do not know. There’s a couple that I would like to run that we just haven’t figured out how to run them. I’m trying to run Watkins Glen but we don’t have that figured out. So there’s a couple of races like that we just don’t have figured out but I’m trying to run them.”
    WOULD YOU FORGO YOUR ROOKIE STATUS FOR NEXT YEAR IF THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY CAME ALONG? “I think I already have or I’m intending to. I haven’t because I haven’t ran enough races but the way we’re trying to schedule it out we’re going through that process. When it comes to the rookie situation, I knew at the start of the year we were going to run somewhere around 16 races and the maximum I think is seven or eight, I can’t remember specifically. I didn’t file for rookie of the year because the last thing I wanted to see was my name at the bottom of that list knowing that you probably couldn’t win it unless you ran the whole deal.”(GM Racing)(5-2-2009)
  • Chase Notes and Stats: #39-Ryan Newman ‘s podium finish with a wrecked race car at Talladega catapulted him four more spots in The Race to the Chase, to within 30 points of 12th. Newman has gained 19 spots over the last five races. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s strong second also moved him up four spots and now he’s risen nine notches in the standings over the last five. Dale Jr. now sits only 45 points out of the Top 12, with Junior-friendly Richmond awaiting Saturday night. #29-Kevin Harvick was caught up in a wreck at ‘Dega and dropped four spots further back outside the Top 12. Now mired in 20th, Harvick is still only 145 points away from the Top 12. Through nine races, the #29 team is 14 spots off last year’s pace. See more on my Chase Stats Page.(5-2-2009)
  • added images from Talladega: #4 Hefty-Walmart#24 Pepsi Challenger#34 Taco Bell#39 Prelude to the Dream#41 Big Red#42 Tums#43 Air Force#77 Penske Trucking #78 National Day of Prayer#87 Maui#96 Ask.com – black#99 Claritin, to the Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-2-2009)
  • Keselowski negotiating with Hendrick: Brad Keselowski is exclusively negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports on a long-term contract. NASCAR’s newest Sprint Cup Series winner has no ride lined up for next season. Rick Hendrick has considered him as an eventual replacement for #5-Mark Martin, but it’s not clear when Martin will stop driving. Keselowski’s surprise victory at Talladega Superspeedway last week has increased interest in the 25-year-old driver. Keselowski drives full-time in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, and has a developmental deal with Hendrick. He’s slated to run seven Cup races for Hendrick this year, but the 2010 season has not been determined. Keselowski’s win last weekend was in a car owned by James Finch.(Associated Press/ESPN)
    UPDATE: From a press conference Friday at Richmond:
    Q: WHAT ARE YOUR POSSIBILITIES FOR A CUP RIDE NEXT YEAR, AND WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’LL END UP?
    A: “Well, I’d like to be in Cup full time next year. I sat out this year because I didn’t think that the timing was right and I didn’t think I was ready for a full schedule. And I wanted to do this right as far as the Cup level goes. I wanted to come into it as someone who could run competitively and I kind of even shocked myself on how competitive I could run. The other ways of doing it last year was not the situation, so I didn’t take them. I know that to make that next step, I need to run full time. I need to have a full time ride at the Cup level to be a guy who can run for the Chase or take wins. So it’s a matter of making that line up. Opportunities or situations to make that work? I don’t think you guys have time to hear them all. I’ve put some thought into it, but not a lot. The basics of it are that we still have a few months to work some other things out. Specifically I’m working with Hendrick Motorsports and owe it to them to see what they can work out. I think the key part about this whole situation of where I’m at with contracts and next year is that you stick with what got you to where you’re at. Having competitive cars and having support from HMS and being able to look at their data and talk to their drivers is what got me into victory lane on Sunday. It’s hard to run from that, you know. But at the same time, at this point and at this time, there isn’t a clear opportunity there. So we’ll have to see how that plays out.” (Chevy PR)
    AND: In order to drive for Hendrick, Keselowski initially might have to drive for a team with Hendrick support. One possibility is having JR Motorsports — the Nationwide Series team co-owned by Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. that Keselowski drives for — move up to Cup. Earnhardt has mentioned on several occasions the possibility of making the jump. Another possibility might be Stewart-Haas Racing, which has Hendrick support.(ESPN.com)(5-2-2009)
  • Chrysler (Dodge) to file for bankruptcy UPDATE 2: Chrysler will file for bankruptcy after talks with a small group of creditors crumbled just a day before a government deadline for the automaker to come up with a restructuring plan, two administration officials said Thursday. The Obama administration had long hoped to stave off bankruptcy for Chrysler LLC, but it became clear that a holdout group wouldn’t budge on proposals to reduce Chrysler’s $6.9 billion in secured debt, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the filing plans are not public. Clearing those debts was a needed step for Chrysler restructure by the Thursday night deadline. Bankruptcy doesn’t mean the nation’s third largest automaker will shut down. And the privately-held Chrysler is expected to sign a partnership agreement with the Italian company Fiat as early as Thursday as part of its restructuring plan. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing would allow a judge to decide how much the company’s creditors would get.(ABC News), NO word how or if this will effect Dodge’s involvement in NASCAR.(4-30-2009)
    UPDATE: Chrysler remains committed to the Sprint Cup series despite Thursday’s announcement it will file for bankruptcy protection and form a partnership with Italian automaker Fiat SpA. “The partnership not only will transform Chrysler into a new, stronger car company with many strategic advantages, it will enable the company to better serve our customers with a broader and more comprehensive lineup of vehicles,” said Mike Accavitti, Chrysler’s director of brand marketing and strategy for Dodge Motorsports. “NASCAR is a strategic part of our marketing plan and the Dodge brand. We plan to continue our Dodge sponsorship and relationship into the foreseeable future.” The bankruptcy filing was the first step in wiping Chrysler’s balance sheet clean and beginning the automaker’s rebuilding process. The White House forced the move after talks between the company’s creditors and the Treasury Department failed to reach an agreement.(ESPN)(4-30-2009)
    UPDATE 2: At first blush, it doesn’t look like Chrysler’s filing for bankruptcy protection on Thursday will have any immediate effect on the seven Sprint Cup teams backed by Dodge. Chrysler was quick to issue a statement on Thursday reaffirming their commitment to NASCAR. But how long, exactly, is the foreseeable future? Several people I [Lars Anderson] talked to involved with NASCAR on Friday morning, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, strongly believed that Chrysler would pull its NASCAR funding in 2010. (The company already slashed its motor sports budget by 30 percent this year.) Then the question would become this: What would happen to the seven teams that Dodge supports? That is the great unknown.(Sports Illustrated)(5-2-2009)
  • Edwards meets with NASCAR about Talladega accident: #99-Carl Edwards and team owner Jack Roush have met with NASCAR officials in Daytona Beach, Fla., to discuss how to prevent another incident such as the one that sent Edwards’ car flying into the catch fence at Talladega Superspeedway. “I’m not an engineer so I didn’t tell them, ‘This is how it has to be,’ ” Edwards said on Friday at Richmond International Raceway. “But the bottom line is unless you take the banking out of that racetrack or we don’t go race there you’ve got this big problem trying to keep the cars apart, keep them slow, and that’s the battle.” Edwards hopes the Thursday meeting leads to a solution, although NASCAR and track officials have said they have no plans to reconfigure the track. “They said they would talk to some other drivers, which, that would be really good,” Edwards said.(ESPN.com)(5-2-2009)
  • Gordon’s back still hurtin’: from a GM Racing Jeff Gordon Press Conference Transcript:
    LAST WEEK YOU WEREN’T FEELING THAT GREAT AND YOUR BACK WAS HURTING YOU, IS IT BETTER NOW? “There are certainly tracks that are definitely harder on my back and Phoenix is one of them. Richmond coming up will be another one. Martinsville, Bristol and road courses. The pain has not subsided any, the way that the muscle reacts and spasms is not getting any better but I’m getting stronger and I don’t expect it to happen overnight and go away. It’s going to take time. Last week my back wasn’t what was preventing us from being more competitive, I think it was a combination of things. I was sick. I didn’t feel like I gave good feedback to the team throughout the whole weekend. We qualified good and we picked the number two pit stall and it didn’t seem to work out as good for us as it had. We had some trouble there. All the way around it seemed like we under-performed and it’s a good wake-up call for us. I mean this is a totally different type of race this weekend but I expect us to be strong and have fun this weekend especially with the Pepsi throw back paint scheme. We’re looking forward to going to Richmond next weekend and getting our short-track program where it can be.”(GM Racing PR)(4-25-2009)
    UPDATE: from Friday’s press conference: “”I had another MRI, one that was more detailed this week and I’ve got some information that I’m just not ready to release yet or admit to yeah we found some things and have a better diagnosis of it. When I know how I’m going to treat it I’ll let you guys know. I don’t believe it’s anything serious. It’s just something that’s causing the pain. There’s a little bit of arthritis which is not totally unnatural but there’s also some other things that come from what they can understand from trauma or a crash or maybe just years of beating it up. Heck I don’t know I might have picked up my luggage or something and then tore something up in there. So I don’t know, but we have a better diagnosis of it and I’ve got some experts that are giving me all the best scenarios.”(GM Racing PR)(5-2-2009)
  • Poole receives NMPA Spirit Award: David Poole is the first quarter recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association Spirit Award for his efforts to help a family burdened by medical bills. The award comes three days after Poole died of a heart attack. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is determined by a vote of the NMPA membership. The 2009 overall winner will be announced during the NMPA’s annual convention and awards ceremony in January 2010. Also receiving votes were Denny Hamlin and Bristol Motor Speedway. Poole, who wrote for The Charlotte Observer, started the foundation called Pennies for Wessa after writing a story about Wessa Miller in February 2008. Miller, who suffers from spina bifida, gave Dale Earnhardt a penny that he attached to the car’s dashboard before he won the 1998 Daytona 500. After the story, Poole kept in contact with the family, saw their struggles and sought to help them. The program and family gained more attention in March at Bristol when Miller and her family were invited to the track. The NASCAR Foundation held an online auction with proceeds going to Pennies for Wessa. Along with contributions from those in the sport, more than $10,000 was raised.(NMPA PR)(5-2-2009)
  • Pocono offers ticket package with Sprint FanView or DVD:
    Did you ever hear the expression “you can have your cake and eat it too?” Well Pocono Raceway announced not one, but two ticket offers, where race fans can do just that. Fans attending the June 7th Pocono 500 or August 2nd Pennsylvania 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends can experience the live excitement and drama of the race PLUS view the race as a NASCAR insider or relive all the exciting race action anytime they wish. The NASCAR Sprint FanView Ticket Package includes specially priced Pocono 500 or Pennsylvania 500 Terrace or Concourse Grandstand seat tickets and a VIP Card redeemable for a weekend rental of a NASCAR Sprint FanView, the ultimate race day companion. Produced and developed by Sprint, NASCAR and Kangaroo.TV, NASCAR Sprint FanView® bridges the live excitement of races with real-time data and visuals. The DVD/Ticket Combo Package allows race fans to purchase two specially priced Terrace or Concourse seat tickets to either the Pocono 500 or the Pennsylvania 500 and receive a free DVD containing the full broadcast of the race that you attended PLUS bonus material including downloadable Wallpapers and Screensavers as well as a special 5″ x 7″ print by Official NASCAR artist Stephen Balck. The NASCAR Sprint FanView Discount Package and the DVD/Ticket Combo Package are available by going to:
    www.poconoraceway.com and clicking on Get Tickets Fast. For additional information call 1-800-RACEWAY.(Pocono Raceway PR)(5-2-2009)

MAY 1, 2009

  • Pit Stall Selections – Richmond: The selections for pit stalls of the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 have been made. Pole sitter #83-Vickers chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters], while outside pole sitter #24-Gordon took pit stall 17, the next stall with an opening in front of it. #44-Allmendinger, who starts 31st, chose the final pit stall. See the pit selection chart on the Richmond Pit Stall Selection chart.(5-1-2009)
  • Vickers on pole at Richmond: #83-Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway with a lap of 127.131mph for his 2nd pole of the year and 7th pole of his career. #24-Jeff Gordon was 2nd fastest followed by #11-Hamlin, #1-Truex, Jr., #31-Burton, #09-Bliss, #5-Martin, #82-Speed, #00-Reutimann, and #39-Newman.
    The non Top-35 drivers who made the race: #09-Bliss, #82-Speed, #87-Nemechek, #66-Blaney, #71-Gilliand, #41-Mayfield, #36-Riggs, and #37-Raines
    The two drivers who failed to qualify: #64-Bodine, #06-Boys.
    See qualifying results, order, pole progression and starting lineup on my Richmond Qualifying/Starting Lineup page.(5-1-2009)
  • Richmond Qualifying Fast Facts:
    Brian Vickers won the Coors Light Pole Award for the CROWN ROYAL Presents The Russ Friedman 400 with a lap of 21.238 seconds, 127.131 mph.
    This is his seventh pole in 182 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second pole and fourth top-10 start in 2009.
    This is his second pole in ten races at Richmond International Raceway.
    Jeff Gordon (second) posted his seventh top-10 start of 2009 and his 25th in 33 races at Richmond International Raceway.
    Denny Hamlin (third) posted his sixth top-10 start at Richmond International Raceway. It is his fourth in ten races this season.
    Scott Speed (eighth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statsistics)(5-1-2009)
  • Fastest Qualifier by Manufacturer::
    Toyota: #83-Vickers, 127.131, starts 1st
    Chevy: #24-Gordon, 126.844, starts 2nd
    Dodge: #09-Bliss, 126.286, starts 6th
    Ford: #16-Biffle, 1125.535, starts 20th
    (5-1-2009)
  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway is scheduled for Friday, May 1, 2009 at 5:40pm/et.
    TV: SPEED – 5:30pm/et
    Radio: MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio
    Qualifying Re-Air: 12:00am/et on SPEED
  • Qualifying Order for the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway is posted. 45 cars/drivers are listed. Go-or-go homers will qualify at the end of the session, once the top-35 drivers are done. The first of the top-35 drivers scheduled to go out is #77-Hornish, the final top-35 driver scheduled is #44-Allmendinger. The first go-or-go homer scheduled to qualify [36th] is #66-Dave Blaney and the final driver scheduled to qualify is #64-Todd Bodine. See the full qualifying order on the Richmond Qualifying Page.(5-1-2009)
  • Happy Hour/Final Practice for the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway is over, the fastest:
    #48-Johnson 124.636
    #24-Gordon 124.619
    #83-Vickers 124.619
    #00-Reutimann 124.567
    #2-Busch 124.481
    Slowest: #64-Bodine 120.224 & #06-Boys 115.409
    #12-Stremme scraped the wall coming off turn four, only minor damage
    See speeds, ave speed. laps run and more on my Richmond Practice Speeds Page.(5-1-2009)
  • Where did the non top-35 drivers practice in Happy Hour at Richmond International Raceway:
    if things stay the same, these eight drivers would make the race:
    #82-Scott Speed, 20th
    #09-Mike Bliss, 21st
    #66-Dave Blaney, 32nd
    #41-Jeremy Mayfield, 37th
    #36-Scott Riggs, 38th
    #71-Gilliland, 39th
    #37-Tony Raines, 41st
    #87-Joe Nemechek,42nd
    these drivers would miss the race if things stayed the same:
    #64-Todd Bodine, 44th
    #06-Trevor Boys, 45th
    (5-1-2009)
  • The First Practice: for the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond International Raceway is over, the fastest:
    #1-Truex, Jr. 123.046
    #39-Newman 122.968
    #99-Reutimann 122.438
    #18-Busch 122.393
    #66-Blaney 122.012
    Slowest: #37-Raines 118.869 & #06-Boys 114.577
    There were 2 incidents within the first 5 minutes of the session. #42-Montoya and #88-Earnhardt, Jr made contact with each other entering turn 1 at the start of the session, Earnhardt Jr’s tire was cut down and he spun around, suffering just cosmetic damage. Minutes later #16-Biffle spun coming up turn 4 and slid into the infield.
    See speeds, ave speed. laps run and more on my Richmond Practice Speeds Page.(5-1-2009)
  • Special McDonald’s scheme for the #43 at RIR: This week, when Reed Sorenson takes to the track at Richmond, the #43 McDonald’s Dodge will sport a new look to promote the national roll out of the McCafé menu of made to order drinks. McCafé features a range of five indulgent drinks that satisfy both your sweet tooth and your coffee fix at an affordable McDonald’s price. The car design, which will appear this weekend at Richmond International Raceway and again at the Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte, prominently features the McCafé logo on the hood, sides and rear of the car. The driver’s side features a chocolaty Iced Mocha topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup, while the passenger’s side features a frothy Cappuccino.(McDonald’s PR)(5-1-2009)
  • Fan to ride with Harvick in Pennzoil Victory Challenge UPDATE: Pennzoil is taking the excitement around the 2009 Pennzoil Victory Challenge to an even higher level by allowing one lucky fan the chance of a lifetime to ride shotgun with Kevin Harvick in the 2009 Pennzoil Victory Challenge. The second annual event is set for May 16, 2009 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS) as part of the Sprint All-Star Race pre-event festivities. The Pennzoil Victory Challenge is NASCAR’s version of a “slam dunk contest” however this contest features the sport’s top talent showing off their abilities in post-race-win celebrations in classic NASCAR smoking donut style. The driver lineup has been expanded from five drivers to seven, and like in 2008, each driver will compete in identically prepared stock cars. However, this year the new format allows each driver a longer freestyle demonstration and the panel of judges will score their creativity. The driver with the highest score from the panel will be declared the winner, with $10,000 awarded to their designated charity and a reserved spot in the 2010 Pennzoil Victory Challenge. Joining the first driver announced, #29-Kevin Harvick, will be #16-Greg Biffle (winner of the 2008 Pennzoil Victory Challenge), #24-Jeff Gordon, #33-Clint Bowyer, #18-Kyle Busch and #9-Kasey Kahne. The Pennzoil Victory Challenge will be televised live during SPEED’s pre-race coverage on Saturday, May 16th prior to the NASCAR Sprint Showdown and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. For more info on this contest and many other racing contests, see my Racing Contest page.(4-25-2009)
    UPDATE: Three-time NASCAR Champion and former Pennzoil driver Darrell Waltrip has accepted the invitation to become the seventh and final competitor for the 2009 Pennzoil Victory Challenge on May 16 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Waltrip was officially invited to compete by Shell-Pennzoil driver Kevin Harvick Friday night during SPEED’s Trackside Live from Talladega, Ala. In classic Waltrip fashion, D.W. gladly accepted and will enter this unique on-track competition scheduled as a part of the pre-race festivities for the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Waltrip won the inaugural All-Star race in 1985. “Pennzoil has always been special to the Waltrip family,” commented Darrell Waltrip. “Michael and I both got to drive the Pennzoil car. The No. 1 Pennzoil car revitalized my career when I really needed it. It will be fun to burn up the track again in the Pennzoil Victory Challenge.” A new facet to the 2009 Challenge includes a panel of celebrity judges featuring 16-time World Wrestling Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, NFL All-Pro wide receiver Randy Moss, SPEED’s own Jimmy Spencer, plus Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of the award-winning country music group – Montgomery Gentry.(Pennzoil PR)(5-1-2009)
  • Tire testing at Daytona: Goodyear has scheduled a tire test at Daytona International Speedway for Monday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 5, 9am/et. Drivwers scheduled to test: #5-Mark Martin, #47-Marcos Ambrose, #77-Sam Hornish Jr., #82-Scott Speed, #98-Paul Menard, #33-Clint Bowyer, #?-Aric Almirola [Earnhardt Ganassi Racing], #20-Joey Logano, #26-Jamie McMurray and #44-A.J. Allmendinger. As far as I know, the test is closed to the media and public.(5-1-2009)
  • Goodyear Completes Another Tire Test at Indy: Goodyear returned to Indianapolis Motor Speedway Wednesday for a continuation test to gather data in preparation for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track July 24-26. Testing this week were #9-Kasey Kahne (Dodge), #17-Matt Kenseth (Ford), #39-Ryan Newman (Chevy) and #83-Brian Vickers (Toyota). Once again, due to rain in the Indianapolis area, Goodyear and the teams were confronted with a ‘green’ race track and a delayed start to their day. After working to get the track rubbered in, teams got down to testing the various tire set-ups Goodyear brought. “We were able to make significant progress laying rubber down on the track surface at Indy during our test with just four cars this week. Having said that, we still have some work to do and some things we’d like to try to enhance overall performance and come up with the optimum tire set-up for the Brickyard 400,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s Director of Race Tire Sales. “With the limited amount of track time we’ve been able to squeeze in over the last two weeks because of rain, we will likely go back to IMS right after the Indianapolis 500 in May in preparation for our multi-car test in mid-June.” The dates for the initial test in June are yet to be determined, while a 12-car test is scheduled to be run at the Speedway June 15-16.(Goodyear PR)
    AND Ryan Newman described Wednesday’s tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a “small gain” in regards to the number of laps he could run on one set of Goodyears. “The tires [used for racing at Indianapolis] are still not ideal,” he said before Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup practice at Richmond International Raceway. The test was the fourth since last year’s fiasco in which NASCAR had to call a competition caution about every dozen laps in the Brickyard 400 because tires were wearing so fast. Newman said he got a maximum of 18 laps on a set of tires during Wednesday’s test. “Last week it was 10 laps,” Newman said. “So it was a gain in number of laps.” Newman said Goodyear may have to consider bringing one set of tires to put rubber on the track during practice for the July race and another to actually race on.(ESPN.com)(5-1-2009)
  • Keselowski negotiating with Hendrick: Brad Keselowski is exclusively negotiating with Hendrick Motorsports on a long-term contract. NASCAR’s newest Sprint Cup Series winner has no ride lined up for next season. Rick Hendrick has considered him as an eventual replacement for #5-Mark Martin, but it’s not clear when Martin will stop driving. Keselowski’s surprise victory at Talladega Superspeedway last week has increased interest in the 25-year-old driver. Keselowski drives full-time in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports, and has a developmental deal with Hendrick. He’s slated to run seven Cup races for Hendrick this year, but the 2010 season has not been determined. Keselowski’s win last weekend was in a car owned by James Finch.(Associated Press/ESPN)
  • Energizer on the #7 for Robby: After a disappointing finish last weekend, the Robby Gordon Motorsports team is looking forward to the short-track racing action this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The #7 Toyota Camry will debut the Energizer colors this weekend at the ¾-mile D-shaped oval.(RGM PR)(5-1-2009)
  • Teams carrying decal honoring Poole: Several NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are carrying logos honoring the late David Poole this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. The four Hendrick Motosports cars are carrying a logo that has “DCP” for David Carl Poole and is in Carolina blue in honor of his alma mater, the University of North Carolina, in remembrance of the reporter who covered NASCAR for The Charlotte Observer and also hosted a program on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Stewart-Haas Racing’s cars are also carrying a decal honoring the writer. The logo on the Stewart-Haas cars reads, “In Memory of David Poole 1959-2009” and includes images of a fountain pen and a microphone. Cars for Roush Fenway Racing, Penske Racing and Richard Childress Racing are among others also carrying decals.(Scene Daily)(5-1-2009)
  • Kyle Busch wins Hamlin charity event: Denny Hamlin spent much of last night chasing after Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch at Southside Speedway. Busch, assuming the lead on Lap 11 when pole-sitter Chris Dodson suffered mechanical failure, led the final 165 laps to win this charity event for the second year in a row. And while Hamlin couldn’t pull ahead of Busch, his foundation may have finished ahead of expectations during his Short Track Showdown, which benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation. “It was a great night, and we doubled what we did last year,” Hamlin said. “It shows what great fans there are here.” Hamlin may have exceeded his goal of raising $100,000 — twice as much as the foundation earned in the inaugural showdown last year. The foundation received 100 percent of the gate receipts. Hamlin highlighted an all-star charity event that included JGR Sprint Cup rookie Joey Logano, two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart and 1983 Cup champion Bobby Allison, who served as grand marshal. (Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-1-2009)
  • Combos colors for the #18 at RIR: The Combos colors will adorn the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Kyle Busch this weekend ay Richmond for the first and only time in 2009. The orange Combo’s scheme turned out to be good luck in its only appearance for Busch in 2008, where he won the June event at Dover. Combos is giving guys the chance to upgrade their favorite manly hangouts with the Combos “Ultimate Man Zone Sweepstakes.” The Combo’s Man Zone will be on hand in the fan midway this weekend at Richmond.(JGR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #18 Team Schemes page.(5-1-2009)
  • Cheez-It scheme returns for Martin: Cheez-It again will adorn the hood of the #5 Chevy of Mark Martin this weekend. Cheez-It was also on the hood at Texas Motor Speedway in April where the the #5 Chevy finished sixth. Cheez-It has two more races with the #5 team this year: Darlington in May and Pocono in August.(HMS PR), see images of the scheme on my #5 Team Schemes page.(5-1-2009)
  • Edwards joins up ro help fight hunger: #99-Carl Edwards is scheduled to announce four GroGood edible gardens planted at the Richmond International Raceway. The gardens, a part of the GroGood Campaign, created in partnership with The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Plant a Row for the Hungry and Feeding America, will provide fresh produce to those at risk for hunger in the Richmond area. Fans can also take the GroGood pledge during race weekend at the ScottsMiracle-Gro display adjacent to the hospitality pavilion to “grow a garden for the greater good.” Each person who takes the pledge will receive a reusable GroGood grocery bag (while supplies last). To launch the GroGood pledge campaign, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company will donate 1 million pounds of produce to Feeding America and call on Americans to help double that donation by pledging to grow and donate an additional 1 million pounds of fresh produce to help feed those at risk for hunger. For more information or to take the pledge, please visit www.GroGood.com.(PR)(5-1-2009)
  • Andretti and Front Row Motorsports Head to Richmond: “Richmond is a favorite of a lot of guys. It’s a short track, but it’s a ‘bigger’ short track too. It’s unique in a lot of ways. It will wear your neck out more than Bristol will. You never stop turning at Richmond. The whole straightaway is a turn. The only rest you get is about the two seconds you go down the back. I like the fact that it’s a ‘racers’ track. I think a lot of guys agree. You can race down at the bottom, run the middle or run the top. You never know where the race is going to be won. It’s been won from all three. It’s a great little track. There is ‘rooting’ and ‘gouging’, but this isn’t Martinsville. We can put on a great show and usually always do. I’m sure after Talladega, a bunch of us are looking forward to it. Our team, Front Row Motorsports with Window World support this weekend, has overachieved in some areas and underachieved in others. We’re looking at the areas that we can get better and trying to capitalize on that. We’re still a new race team. People have spoken about the new teams that have come in this season, but this is a whole new team too. Sure, Front Row Motorsports has been around for while, but this is a whole new team. We have a new location (Statesville, N.C.), new people, new parts, different equipment and a lot of good things going on. The only thing that is the same is the team name, Front Row Motorsports and Bob Jenkins (team owner). We’re getting our legs underneath us. We’re a July, August team. I don’t mean we’re going to be chasing down Hendrick Motorsports at that time, but we’re certainly going to be making strides forward at that point. Right now, it’s one race at a time. The next race is in Richmond. Our hope is to have another good night and continue to build with this team.” This is the last race before Andretti takes a hiatus from Front Row Motorsports to concentrate on the Indianapolis 500 in May. Front Row Motorsports will continue to race at Darlington and Lowe’s with a driver to be announced.(Breaking Limits PR)(5-1-2009)
  • Richmond Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will run the same tire codes at Richmond this week . . . this is the same exact combination of left- and right-side tires that teams in these two series ran at Phoenix two weeks ago . . . this tire set-up was tested by A.J. Allmendinger (Dodge), Joey Logano (Toyota), Jamie McMurray (Ford) and Martin Truex Jr. (Chevrolet) at Phoenix back in January . . . this left-side tire (D-4240) is slightly different than the one run at Richmond last season, featuring a compound change to offer more grip . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Richmond. The estimated pit window id every 100-110 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR). For tire pressures, codes and more, see my Richmond Race Info page.(5-1-2009)
  • Richmond Rookie Notes: #82-Scott Speed was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 26 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Speed scored a fifth-place finish, his best in 13 Sprint Cup Series starts. He claimed Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the third time this season. #20-Joey Logano grabbed a ninth-place finish at Talladega, his best effort in 12 Sprint Cup Series starts and his first top-10. Max Papis (18th) also scored his best finish in five Sprint Cup Series races. Logano leads Speed by eight points (98-90) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 2 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Brian Vickers (2004) and Morgan Shepherd (1981) are the only Raybestos Rookies to win a pole for the spring race at Richmond (since 1975). Since 1975, only one Raybestos Rookie has won the spring race at Richmond: Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2000. Earnhardt Jr. led once covering the final 31 laps and scored his second Sprint Cup Series win by .159 second over Terry Labonte. Only once since 1975 have TWO or more Raybestos Rookies finished in the top-10 in the spring race at Richmond. In 1979, Joe Millikan finished sixth followed by Terry Labonte, who claimed an eighth place finish.(Camp & Assoc./Raybestos PR), see Rookie history, standings and more on my 2009 Rookies page.(5-1-2009)
  • #88 Team Grabs Tissot Pit Crew Win in Talladega: It’s the 4th Pit Road Win for Hendrick Motorsports Team in Last 5 Races Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s #88 pit crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. It was the fourth pit road win in the last five races for a Hendrick Motorsports team. The other recent Hendrick winning teams were: Jimmie Johnson’s crew (at Bristol) and Jeff Gordon’s crew (at Martinsville and Texas). The quick work on pit road by the #88 crew in Talladega helped Earnhardt Jr. to a second-place finish at the 2.66-mile oval. The team’s Chevrolet Impala SS spent the least amount of time on pit road – 255.440 seconds. Earnhardt’s pit crew consists of: Kip Wolfmeier (front-tire changer), Ben Fischbeck (front-tire carrier), Greg Burkhart (rear-tire changer), Matt Myers (rear-tire carrier), Mark Jacobs (jackman), Chris Fasulka (gasman), Jason Dalrymple (catch can). The team’s pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin. The #88 team will receive $5,000 for winning the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award. After nine of 36 Sprint Cup races Gordon’s #24 crew leads in the Tissot standings and the chase for the $100,000 season bonus which will go to the team with the most pit road wins. Along with prize money, members of the season pit crew championship crew and driver will receive a Tissot watch.(Tissot PR)(5-1-2009)
  • Pre-Race Ceremonies announced for Richmond: The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at Richmond International Raceway is sure to feature plenty of on-track excitement and emotion, but it will all be preceded by spectacular pre-race ceremonies both Friday and Saturday nights. Prior to the Lipton Tea 250 Nationwide Series race, fans will want to check out the midway concert by The Charlie Daniels Band, scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at the Lipton display, near the flagpole. Things get started when the crowd is introduced to several VIPs from Lipton Tea. Michael Olsen, Assistant Director of the United States Border Patrol, will lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the presentation of colors by the 217th Military Police Detachment of Fort Lee. Then, it will be Charlie Daniels who delivers the National Anthem, culminating with Altus Air Force Base performing a flyover with a KC-135 aircraft. On Saturday night, the star of the show will make his way to the pre-race stage, as Russ Friedman is showcased, moments before the Crown Royal Presents The Russ Friedman 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. We’ll meet the Chief Administrative Officer of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Jeff Painter, before Olsen again leads us for the Pledge of Allegiance. The colors will again be presented by Fort Lee on Saturday night, along with an unfurling of a large American flag. For the third consecutive year, “The Commandant’s Own” Marine Drum and Bugle Corps will play the National Anthem, delivering one of the best renditions you’ll ever hear. The U.S. Coast Guard will fly their C-130J from Elizabeth City, NC for the flyover. Friedman will prepare us for Racing Perfection and deliver the most famous words in racing: “Gentlemen, start your engines!”(RIR PR)(5-1-2009)
  • Race Fans Caution – Swine flu, Richmond safe: The swine flu outbreak has caused Henrico County Health Department officials to advise race fans to take precautions when attending events this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. “There is no reason for fans not to attend and enjoy the events this weekend,” said acting Health Director Dr. Robert B. Stroube. “However, as with any large public event, there is a risk of spreading viruses, but there are very simple yet effective precautions you can take to avoid exposure.” People who are sick, experiencing flu-like symptoms or have a fever should stay home. Other precautions include frequent hand washing and covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing. There are no confirmed cases of swine flu reported in the state, according to the Virginia Department of Health.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(5-1-2009)
  • Colorado House OKs incentives for NASCAR track: Colorado took a big step closer to being able to attract a NASCAR racetrack when the House approved a legislative proposal Wednesday that would allow the first-ever state-funded package of incentives geared toward attracting major tourism projects. Senate Bill 173 won final approval on a 46-19 vote one day after extensive floor debate over whether it was an economic-development tool or corporate welfare. Twenty-three Republicans and 23 Democrats backed the measure, while 15 Democrats and four Republicans opposed it. A main goal of bill backers is bringing a NASCAR track to the Aurora area, but the enterprise zones also could be used to build everything from Winter Olympics facilities to museums that might draw visitors across state borders.(Denver Business Journal)(5-1-2009)