Monday, January 14, 2008

Notes From Daytona Testing II

Preseason testing wrapped up for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Daytona International Speedway yesterday, with Roush-Fenway Racing’s Erik Darnell recording the fastest overall speed at 178.547. Scott Lynch, Mike Skinner, Justin Marks and Stacy Compton completed the Top-Five.

Schrader Finds A Ride: BAM Racing will field a Dodge Charger for veteran Ken Schrader in both the Bud Shootout and Daytona 500, with David Hyder as crewchief and engines by Gillett-Evernham Motorsports.

Schrader is in attendance for the second round of Sprint Cup Series testing -- which began this morning at the World Center of Racing -- and confirmed that he will drive for BAM at Daytona, and in tests at California and Las Vegas later this month. Wood Brothers Racing co-owner Eddie Wood told Sirius Speedway last week that Schrader could still drive a limited number of races in the #21 Ford, but that there is currently no sponsorship in place to make those plans a reality.

In a related story, the Wood Brothers and JTG Racing owner Tad Geschickter have stepped back from the full partnership they have enjoyed over the last two seasons. The teams will continue to work together on marketing and technology, with Geschickter overseeing sponsor procurement for both operations. The teams will now have separate operating budgets, however. Wood Brothers Racing will field the #21 Sprint Cup Ford with drivers Bill Elliott, Jon Wood and Marcos Ambrose, along with the #21 NCTS Ford for brothers Jon and Keven Wood. JTG Racing will field a #47 Little Debbie-sponsored Sprint Cup Ford in four races for Ambrose this season -- at Indianapolis, Kansas, Atlanta and Homestead -- full-time Nationwide Series cars for Ambrose and Kelly Bires, and a NCTS entry for Scott Lagasse Jr. The teams will continue to work out of their 120,000-square foot shop in Harrisburg, N.C.

Frye To Red Bull Racing: Red Bull Racing Team has hired former Ginn Racing General Manager Jay Frye to serve as its new GM, effective immediately. Frye has 16 years of experience in the NASCAR industry, most recently as CEO and GM of Ginn Racing and MB2 Motorsports for the last 12 years. He fills a hole left when Marty Gaunt left the team in June of last year.

New Sponsor For Smith: It appears that Principal Financial Services will serve as one of the sponsors for Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s #01 Sprint Cup Chevrolet, driven by Regan Smith. Smith tested the car this morning at Daytona International Speedway in a Principal Financial Services uniform, with the company’s logo on the rear quarterpanel of the car. DEI President Max Seigel said DEI has a letter of intent with Principal Financial for a 2008 sponsorship relationship of some kind, but that details are still being negotiated.

Kentucky Suit Not Over Yet: Lawyers for Kentucky Speedway made it official Friday, notifying the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that they will challenge Judge William O. Bertelsman’s recent decision to dismiss the track’s antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation. Attorney Stan Chesley said Friday, “We’re moving forward. We wanted to move on that appeal as quickly as we could.” The track sued in July of 2005, asking that the court develop “objective factors” to determine where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races; that the France family be forced to relinquish control of either ISC or NASCAR; and that ISC be forced to sell at least eight of the 12 tracks it owns. The speedway also sought more than $200-million in damages

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