Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kvapil To Drive For Front Row; McArdle Returns With Furniture Row

Travis Kvapil told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Wednesday that he will run the full 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for Front Row Motorsports. Steven Lane will serve as crewchief on the car – expected to be the #34 – with a new manufacturer to be announced in the near future. The team ran primarily Chevrolet livery a year ago, with Dodges entered in selected events.

“It will be a full-time, two- car operation next season,” said Kvapil, “but I can’t really say anything more until all the details are finalized. That’s all for the team to announce.”

Sources tell Sirius Speedway that former NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Kevin Conway will fill the seat of the second Front Row Motorsports entry, with sponsorship from Extenze Men's Health Supplement.

Sirius Speedway has also learned that former Richard Petty Motorsports Director of Competition Mark McArdle will resurface as Director of Competition at Furniture Row Racing next season.

McArdle was suspended and subsequently released by RPM after a confrontation with team owner George Gillett at Richmond International Raceway in mid-September, and said he is looking forward to his new position. “It’s good to be working for someone I can really get behind,” said McArdle. “Once Ray Evernham left RPM, things became more and more difficult. But (Furniture Row owner) Barney Visser is in it for all the right reasons, and he’s putting the right people in place to be extremely competitive in 2010. We’re just trying to wrap things up right now, and I expect an official announcement in the next day or two.”

Ryan Coniam will serve as crewchief on Smith's #78 Chevrolet, replacing Jay Guy, who left the team in late November. Coniam worked with rookie Max Papis at Germain Motorsports a year ago. Pete Rondeau, who served as Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s crewchief in 2005, has signed on as carchief.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kentucky Speedway Lawsuit Will Continue

Like a character in a bad horror movie, the Kentucky Speedway lawsuit simply will not die.

Less than a week after former Kentucky Speedway Chairman Jerry Carroll said that he and his fellow former owners would abandon their four-year-old antitrust lawsuit against NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a petition was filed yesterday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati requesting a rehearing.

On December 11, a three-judge appeals panel upheld an earlier ruling by the U.S. District Court, issuing a summary judgement in favor of NASCAR and ISC. In layman's terms, the ruling stated that the speedway’s former owners had not proven that NASCAR and ISC had colluded to deny them a spot on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, and that there were no grounds for the case to continue. Now, however, the group has petitioned for a rehearing in front of the same panel of judges, or the full appeals court. Lawyers for the former owners contend that “the panel’s decision conflicts with established antitrust law in four fundamental respects,” and that the panel made “fundamental legal errors of antitrust analysis.”

Kentucky real estate developer Jerry Carroll has served as spokesman for the group from the beginning, and said after the second court ruling that he was not in favor of continuing the appeals process. Now, reports say that one of the partners has refused to drop the case. Carroll has confirmed as much, while declining to identify the partner by name. The former ownership group consists of Carroll, Churchill Downs board member Richard Duchossois, Cintas Chairman Richard Farmer, Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan and the estate of John Lindahl.

Carroll did not immediately respond to a request to appear on today's edition of Sirius Speedway. Reporter Kevin Kelly of the Cincinnati Enquirer will join us in the opening hour of tomorrow’s show with more on the story.

Sirius Speedway is a production of the Motor Racing Network; a subsidiary of International Speedway Corporation.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Harvick Crewmember Richardson Dies

Richard Childress Racing crewman D.J. Richardson lost his valiant battle with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome on Christmas Day. He was 37 years old.

Richardson fell ill while visiting his home in Massachusetts over the Thanksgiving holiday, and was transported to Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster, Mass., where he was diagnosed with the H1N1 virus. A number of complications ensued, from which he was ultimately unable to recover.

“All of us at RCR are saddened by D.J.’s passing,” said Richard Childress, President and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “D.J. was a gifted tire changer, one of the great team players in our industry and a valued member of the RCR family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

Richardson joined RCR in July 2009 and finished the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as the rear tire changer for Kevin Harvick's No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet. He began his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career with Andy Petree Racing in 1999, and previously worked for Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports and Braun Racing.

A viewing will be held tomorrow (12/29) at Richardson and Son Funeral Home, 106 West Street in Leominster, MA from 4-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held Wednesday (12/30) at 11 AM at St. Marks Church in Leominster. A memorial service is also being organized for his many friends in the Charlotte, NC area, with details to follow. A fund is also being set up to benefit his three children.

Rest In Peace, DJ.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For ESPN's Hoge, NASCAR Ignorance Is Bliss

Just when it appears that stock car racing is finally getting a bit of respect from the "stick and ball" world, someone comes along with a fresh slap in the face.

On Tuesday's Mike & Mike In The Morning on ESPN2 and ESPN Radio, guest hosts Erik Kuselias and former NFL running back Merrill Hoge -- filling in for the vacationing Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg -- discussed Jimmie Johnson's selection as the 2009 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

Kuselias offered some interesting opinions and analysis of the selection, eventually saying that Johnson's dominance of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing made him worthy of being the first auto racer to be honored by the AP.

Hoge begged to differ.

The former Pittsburgh Steeler and Chicago Bear opined that “You don’t have to be an athlete to drive a car,” saying that he would have chosen Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt for the honor. “What did he do this year that makes him a better pick than Jimmie Johnson," asked Kuselias, prompting Hoge to admit that he had no idea.

Told of Johnson’s claim that he could beat virtually any NFL player in a five-mile run, Hoge claimed that he could beat Johnson, despite being “chubby and in terrible shape.” Asked by Kuselias what his finishing time would be, Hoge claimed to have completed a five-mile road race recently in a time of 20:10. For the record, that breaks down to just over four minutes per mile, true Roger Bannister territory.

Kuselias immediately challenged that claim, forcing Hoge to admit that it "may have been five kilometers, not five miles." For the record, five kilometers equates to approximately 3.1 miles, making Hoge considerably less formidable that he might have us believe. Still unwilling to admit defeat, Hoge promosed to call a friend during the commercial break to determine -- once and for all -- just how far he had run.

Merrill Hoge is entitled to his opinion, no matter how devoid of facts he may be. The question of whether race car drivers are true athletes has been debated for years, and not many (if any) minds have been changed.

Some have made light of the fact that Hoge was forced to retire from the NFL after suffering a series of severe concussions. You can draw your own conclusions from that, if you like. The bigger question, in my view, is how "The Worldwide Leader In Sports" can offer up Hoge as a qualified sports commentator, when the man admits knowing virtually nothing about one of the country's major professional sports.

If Hoge comes on the air tomorrow and says, “Basketball is a stupid sport, I know nothing about it, and I refuse to watch it,” he will likely not continue as an ESPN guest host. But the same level of willful ignorance is apparently acceptable to the powers that be at ESPN, so long as it's directed at NASCAR.

Merrill Hoge is a football guy, and there's nothing wrong with that. When he sticks to his little corner of the sports world, he does an excellent job. His gridiron knowledge is second-to-none, and he deserves a spot on ESPN’s NFL and College Football roster.

His sports accumen, however, seems strictly limited to football. His criticism of Jimmie Johnson’s Athlete of the Year selection is sad, if only because he readily (even joyfully) admits having no inkling of what he is talking about. ESPN can do better, whether or not they continue as one of NASCAR’s major television partners in years to come.

“The Worldwide Leader In Sports” should confine Merrill Hoge to the pigskin beat from now on, where his ignorance and bias are less visible.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Godfather Takes To The Flagstand At Rockingham's "Polar Bear 150"

ROCKINGHAM, North Carolina - Dave Moody, host of "SIRIUS Speedway" on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio 128 and lead turn announcer for MRN's NASCAR race broadcasts, has been named as the official starter of the Polar Bear 150 at Rockingham Speedway. Moody will wave the green flag at the New Year's Day event, officially starting the first race of 2010.

The 2nd Annual Polar Bear 150, which will be held at noon January 1, will be a chance for race fans to celebrate the beginning of the 2010 racing season with competitive racing by the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals Series. The entry list, which already has 61 registrants, includes a combination of NASCAR drivers and crew members, drivers from the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards, and previous Rockingham winners from the Frank Kimmel Street Stock Nationals Series.

Speedway owner, Andy Hillenburg personally chose Moody to give the green for the second annual running of the race. Moody, who has been a regular on MRN Radio since 1998, is looking forward to performing his official starter duties. "The Polar Bear 150 is grassroots racing at its best, and I'm proud to be a part of it," said Moody. "I just hope I don't drop the flag."

"Dave will make an awesome flag-waver for the Polar Bear 150," said Mike Calinoff, CEO of Activ8 Communications, the agency handling the PR for the event. "His arm should be in great shape from years of moving food from his plate to his mouth. Andy could not have made a better choice."

The 2nd annual Polar Bear 150 kicks off on Thursday, December 31, 2009. Gates open at 8:00 AM and practice sessions take place from 1:00-1:45 PM and 3:00-3:45 PM.

European-style qualifying will be held at 10:00 AM on Friday, January 1, 2010, and the green flag will drop at 12:00 PM. A driver autograph session, which will include the starting lineup as well as Moody, Firestone Indy Lights driver Leilani M√ľnter, and some all-star surprises, will take place at the frontstretch fence between the conclusion of qualifying and driver introductions.

Grandstand admission for Thursday's activities is free, and tickets for Friday are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Kids (12 and under) are $5. Military discounts and public suite options are both available as well. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (910) 205-8800.

Be sure to follow Rockingham Speedway's official Twitter site,, which will be running special contests and ticket giveaways for the duration of 2009. More information about Rockingham Speedway and the Polar Bear 150 can be found by visiting

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Reid Replaces Punch At ESPN's NASCAR Helm

Marty Reid will replace Dr. Jerry Punch alongside booth mates Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree for ESPN’s 2010 NASCAR coverage, calling the action for all 17 of the networks NASCAR Sprint Cup races as well as many of their NASCAR Nationwide Series telecasts. Punch will return to pit road for the network’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series broadcasts next season, after anchoring the network’s broadcasts for the past three years.

ESPN Executive Vice President of Studio and Event Production Norby Williamson explained the move, saying, “We play to the strengths of our announcers, and Marty’s strength is calling the tactical aspects of the race while deferring to the analysts.”

The remainder of the NASCAR on ESPN team will return next season, including analysts Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty, Tim Brewer and Ray Evernham, NASCAR Countdown host Allen Bestwick and pit reporters Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch. Specific assignments and schedules will be announced later.

In addition to his new NASCAR role, Reid will continue as lead booth announcer for ESPN’s five-race IndyCar Series schedule, showcased by the Indianapolis 500.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Kyle Busch Motorsports To Field Two Trucks In 2010; Third Entry For Benson In The Works

Kyle Busch confirmed today that he will field a pair of Camping World Truck Series Toyotas next season under the banner of his new Kyle Busch Motorsports team.

Busch will drive a partial schedule of events in a #18 Tundra sponsored by Miccosukee Resorts, while sophomore driver Tayler Malsam will drive a #56 Toyota with sponsorship from Talking Rain and ActivWater. Former Camping World East and West Series driver Brian Ickler will drive the #18 Miccosukee Toyota in the races that Busch does not run.

KBM will utilize chassis, parts, technology and some personel from Joe Gibbs Racing. The team will operate out of the former Xpress Motorsports building for now, until Busch's new, state-of-the-art facility in Mooresville, NC is completed early next year.

There was no announcement today of a ride for veteran Johnny Benson, but Benson was in attendance at the press conference, and Busch said he hopes to field a third entry for him this season if sponsorship can be found.

"We've had a lot of great discussions with folks, but nothing has progressed tot he point where we could announce it today," said Busch. "It means a lot to have Johnny as part of this team, and we hope to be able to run him in a full championship effort this season."

Sirius Speedway reported earlier this week that talks are underway with Exide Batteries and at least one other sponsor about backing Benson.

NASCAR/ISC Win Major Round In Kentucky Speedway Antitrust Suit

The latest – and possibly final -- round in a federal antitrust lawsuit filed by the former owners of Kentucky Speedway has gone in favor of NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation.

Earlier, a federal appeals court rejected claims by former Kentucky owner Jerry Carroll and his associates that NASCAR violated antitrust laws by denying it a spot on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. The United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the speedway failed to prove NASCAR and ISC colluded to keep Kentucky off the schedule; echoing an earlier ruling by a lower court.

Today’s verdict could bring an end to a case that was originally filed in 2005, and has cost both sides millions of dollars to argue. Carroll and company do have an option for additional appeal, however, and based on their previous unwillingness to take "no" for an answer, the case could indeed live on.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston commented on the ruling today, saying, "NASCAR is pleased with the court’s ruling, which supports our case, that like other sports such as the NFL, MLB and the NBA, NASCAR can host its events where it decides is best for the sport and its fans.

"NASCAR has a great racing tradition at Kentucky Speedway featuring races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and we look forward to racing there in 2010. The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule is set, and we anticipate no changes. However, we are happy to discuss alternatives with the track owners for 2011 and beyond, as they relate to NASCAR’s realignment plans.”

Spokespersons for Kentucky Speedway declined to comment on the ruling, preferring to wait until a decision is made by the track's former owners on possible further appeals.

Attempts to contact Carroll for comment have not yet been successful.

International Speedway Corporation is the parent company of MRN Radio, which produces Sirius Speedway.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Musgrave Hunting Sponsors For Ballew #51; Sources Say Benson Set For KBM Ride

Ted Musgrave told Sirius Speedway Wednesday that he has an opportunity to replace Kyle Busch in the driver’s seat of the #51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Camping World Truck Series Toyota next season, if adequate sponsorship can be found.

“I have some proposals out there, and a couple of them have progressed as far as the CFO stage, so I’m hopeful that something will come together,” said Musgrave. “Right now, I don’t even need a full season sponsor. If we can just get started, I think we could make everything come together. We don’t necessarily need $2-3-million from a single sponsor.”

Asked about the status of Ballew’s longtime sponsor, Miccosukee Gaming and Resorts, Musgrave said, “They’ll be on the side of Kyle Busch’s new truck next season. When Kyle left, he took the sponsor with him. Billy (Ballew) took a hard hit on that one.”

Musgrave said neither he nor Ballew is interested in anything left than a full-bore effort. “Racing for Top-10s is not my style,” he said. “I’ve always gone all out, and Billy’s the same way Different companies have different financial plans. I’m not sure when we’ll hear something on these sponsorship proposals, but it’s definitely `the sooner the better.’” But like I said, even something to get us started would be nice.”

Busch is expected to announce details of his new Kyle Busch Motorsports team on Friday, and sources tell Sirius Speedway that another former Truck Series champion, Johnny Benson, will be featured prominently in that announcement. Officials of KBM reportedly met with representatives of Exide Batteries last week about sponsoring one of three planned Toyota Tundras to be fielded by the team.

Labonte Prepping For Rolex 24 Bid

Bobby Labonte took part in yesterday's Grand-Am Rolex Series test at Daytona International Speedway, driving a Porsche for his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team TRG Motorsports.

The 2000 Cup champion said he plans to compete for the team in the Rolex 24 at Daytona; his fourth career start in the legendary sportscar event. "Kevin (Buckler) really didn't have to talk me into it," said Labonte yesterday. "I've always been a big fan of the Rolex 24 since I started racing, and I raced a go-kart on the same track when I was 15. He didn't have to twist my arm."

Labonte will team with co-drivers Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly and Tim George Jr. at the wheel of the defending GT-class winning #67 TRG Porsche GT3.

Wallace Still Searching: Despite statements to the contrary, it appears that Kenny Wallace may not be as well-off in terms of 2010 sponsorship as initially believed.

Wallace told Sirius Speedway recently that he will run full-time for the Jay Robinson Racing #28 NASCAR Nationwide Series team again next season, that negotiations were progressing for the US Border Patrol to return as a major sponsor, and that a new "high end" backer was set to be announced for an additional eight races.

Today, the team released a statement saying that they do not have a deal for 2010, and that there are no contracts signed. The statement said, “We would love to have Kenny back for the full schedule. However, this will not happen unless sponsorship can be found. At this point, we believe at least eight races could be possible. Beyond that, all options are open."

In other Wallace news, Chrissy Wallace said this week that she hopes to run at least the first five races of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, and is working on sponsorship to make that happen.

Wallace also said there is a chance that she could run a pair of Nationwide events, as well, pending sponsorship. She was slated to run the full Truck schedule a year ago, but a planned sponsor withdrew just before the season, forcing her to the sidelines for all but a couple of races.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's Official: Patrick To NASCAR In 2010

After months of flirtation, Danica Patrick is finally ready commit – on a limited basis – to NASCAR. The IndyCar Series star announced today in Phoenix that she will run a limited schedule of NASCAR Nationwide Series and ARCA races next season for JR Motorsports, ending months of speculation about her future.

Her exact 2010 stock car schedule was not announced today; only that she will take her first laps in a full-fendered racer in a three-day ARCA test at Daytona International Speedway December 18-20. Assuming that NASCAR officials like what they see in that test, Patrick would then be approved for competition in the 2010 ARCA opener during SpeedWeek, and presumably for the NASCAR Nationwide Series lid-lifter on February 13.

The remainder of Patrick’s stock car slate will be arranged with an eye toward the IndyCar Series schedule, which remain her top priority. Patrick recently sign a new, two-year contract with the Andretti Autosport IndyCar team, with an option for a third.

Both Patrick’s NASCAR and Indy efforts will be sponsored by, which will also back Mark Martin’s Hendrick Motorsports Sprint Cup entry on a limited basis next season. Sources at JR Motorsports say a pair of ARCA-legal Chevrolets are near completion in the team’s Mooresville, NC shop, with crewchief Tony Eury, Jr., overseeing the operation. Co-owner Dale Earnhardt, Jr., said last week that he hopes to field two full-time Nationwide Series entries next year, but that sponsorship for both cars is lacking. Kelly Bires’ #88 Chevrolet currently is sponsored for only half the races in 2010, with the #5 – renumbered #7 for Patrick to match her IndyCar livery – has only four sponsored races beyond Patrick’s limited schedule.

Randolph To TRG: Doug Randolph will replace Slugger Labbe as crewchief for Bobby Labonte and the #71 Sprint Cup Series team at TRG Motorsports.

Randolph most recently served as crewchief for the #07 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, and will rejoin Labonte, who he crewchiefed for at Petty Enterprises in 2007. Labbe parted company with TRG late last week to accept a new position with the newly merged Richard Petty Motorsports/Yates Racing operation as crewchief for Paul Menard. He began work there yesterday, but the team has still not officially announced his hiring.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sources: Danica Announcement Will Not Include NASCAR Plans

IndyCar star Danica Patrick says she has an announcement to make tomorrow during an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America." However, sources tell Sirius Speedway that Patrick's announcement will focus entirely on her IRL career, and not on her much-discussed 2010 dalliance with NASCAR.

Patrick bypassed her own public relations department Saturday, announcing her GMA appearance on Twitter. "I am heading off to New York for an announcement about next years plans," tweeted Patrick. "I will be on GMA Monday morning!"

She gave no specifics on what will be discussed, but sources say her comments will concern a new, multi-year deal with Michael Andretti's newly named Andretti Autosport IndyCar team. Andretti recently completed a restructuring of Andretti Green Racing, after buying out former partners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree. He will field a trio of IndyCar entries for Patrick, Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti next season, with a fourth car for Ryan Hunter-Reay also a possibility.

No announcement is expected on Patrick's much-discussed -- though still not finalized -- part-time schedule of ARCA and NASCAR Nationwide Series races with JR Motorsports. Those plans are still progressing, however. Randy LaJoie's The Joie of Seating recently constructed a NASCAR seat for Patrick, and Sirius Speedway has learned that Patrick will drive a JR Motorsports Chevrolet in a clandestine test session at Daytona International Speedway within the next two weeks.

Nobody associated with Patrick, JR Motorsports or Hendrick Motorsports will comment officially on the test, but anonymous sources within the Hendrick organization say that it will take place.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

2010 Silly Season Already In Full Swing

Two races still remain in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, but much of the talk in the Cup garage already centers on 2010.

Former series champion Bobby Labonte confirmed this weekend that he has signed a one-year deal to drive the TRG Motorsports #71 next season, with a 12-race sponsorship from Labonte and TRG owner Kevin Buckler continue to seek backing for the remaining 24 events, and Buckler said he is also close to a decision on manufacturer affiliation for 2010.

"We're talking to several manufacturers right now,” said Buckler. “We're in the middle of some strong negotiations with them, and… we have to do what's best for the team. I tend to be very, very loyal about stuff -- maybe too much so -- but I've got a lot of partners and other people to consider here. Our final decision needs to be based on what's best for TRG Motorsports."

TRG has campaigned Chevrolets in each of the last two seasons, primarily because their cars were purchased in Impala livery from Richard Childress Racing. The team receives sheetmetal and some technological support from General Motors, but has reportedly received a competitive offer to jump to the Toyota camp next season.

Buckler revealed that he will field a second car in the season-opening Daytona 500 with a yet-unnamed driver, and would like to make the second entry permanent, if sponsorship can be found.

There are changes afoot at Roush-Fenway Racing, as well. Sources tell Sirius Speedway that Donnie Wingo will replace veteran Jimmy Fennig as crewchief of the #6 UPS Ford and driver David Ragan. Long recognized as one of the top nurturers of young NASCAR talent, Fennig is in his 13th season as a crewchief with Roush-Fenway, and has hinted that he is ready to cut back on travel in favor of a management position.

Sources say he will soon be named the team’s new head of Research and Development, and while there has been no official confirmation of the move, Ragan said Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway that he does not expect Fennig to return to his pit box next season. "He's been a teacher and crewchief and mentor, and really taught me a lot the last couple of years," said Ragan. "Ninety percent of what I know today, I learned from Jimmy Fennig.”

The U.S. Army announced last week that it will return as sponsor of Ryan Newman’s #39 Stewart-Haas Chevrolet in 15 races next season. Stewart-Haas also announced a two-year sponsorship agreement with Ruiz Foods that will make its Tornados brand -- meat, cheese and tomato sauce rolled in a seasoned crust -– a major sponsor for five Sprint Cup races in each of the next two seasons. Tornados will make its primary sponsorship debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, and will serve as an associate sponsor for both Newman and Tony Stewart in the other 31 events.

The sponsor news is not as good for Robby Gordon, who learned recently that Jim Beam will not return as his team’s major backer in 2010. Gordon currently has sponsorship for only eight races next season, and said, “I'm looking at a lot of weekends off.”

Gordon said that while sponsorship is difficult to find in these tough economic times, the situation has been exacerbated by some of the sport’s mega-teams, who he claims are cutting deals for far less than it costs to field a car. He called the trend, “sponsorship suicide,'' saying he expects to see more start-and-park teams next season. He pledged that he will not be one of them, however, vowing, “We're going to continue to work hard to sell races through March of next year. After that, I'm looking at a lot of weekends off."

Monday, November 02, 2009

Commentary: Stop Yelling And Start Talking

It’s as predictable as sunrise.

Twice each season, in the aftermath of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Talladega Superspeedway, the hue and cry begins to “fix the racing” at NASCAR’s largest track.

If only it were that easy.

Superspeedway racing is safer today than it has even been. It is not, however, safe enough to prevent NASCAR Nation from holding its collective breath while safety crews cut the roof off Ryan Newman’s decimated Chevrolet yesterday; the latest in a too-long series of savage crashes that has plagued the Alabama track and its sister speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Everyone agrees that it has to stop. No one wants to think of what could happen in a worst-case Talladega scenario. But nobody seems to have a sure-fire solution, either.

Opinions differ on how to keep cars on the ground and out of the catch fence. Some have suggested tearing down the banking at Daytona and Talladega. Speeds would almost certainly plummet without those awesome, 31-degree highbanks, but that option is economically unfeasible. Estimates for such a makeover top $50-60 million -- unthinkable in these difficult economic times -– and reworking two of NASCAR's most storied tracks would rob the sport of much of its history.

Others advocate removing the restrictor plates, in an effort to spread out the pack and make crashes less likely. That solution ignores history, wrongly assuming that Talladega’s infamous “Big One” is the evil spawn of the restrictor plate era.

In fact, NASCAR turned to restrictor plates only after Bobby Allison’s car nearly landed in the Talladega grandstands during the 1987 running of the Winston 500. Just days before, Bill Elliott had qualified his Ford Thunderbird on the pole with a now-unthinkable speed of 212.809 mph, and even then, there was a long and terrifying tradition of airborne racecars at Talladega and Daytona. Both Phil Parsons and Ricky Craven have nearly left the ballpark in memorable Talladega crashes. Others – Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace, Randy LaJoie – survived similarly hideous flyers at Daytona. A few were driving restrictor plate-equipped cars. Most were not.

NASCAR continues to mandate restrictors plates simply because no better way has been found to slow the cars down. But even a smaller, 59/64ths plate did not keep the cars grounded Sunday. In the aftermath of two scary late-race incidents, fans and drivers are justifiably calling for action, demanding that something be done to prevent such incidents in the future. Unfortunately, even the men with the most to lose seem divided on what that solution might be.

Carl Edwards praised NASCAR for making Sunday’s race safer, saying, “I would not have guessed it, but I think NASCAR (is) headed in the right direction. They just need to say, `You can't push anybody anywhere on the race track.’”

Newman, meanwhile, climbed out of his demolished racer and said, "I wish NASCAR would do something. (The wreck was) a product of this racing, and what NASCAR has put us into with this box and these restrictor plates with these types of cars. The more rules, the more NASCAR is telling us how to drive the race cars, the less we can race and the less we can put on a show for the fans.”

Shouting at NASCAR is a time-honored tradition, and while demanding that the sanctioning body do something may make us all feel better, primal scream therapy is no substitute for actual action.

Clearly, neither of Sunday’s major crashes can be blamed on bump drafting. Both were the result of drivers attempting to protect their position by blocking on the straightaways. Despite complaints from some drivers that NASCAR tied their hands Sunday, the partial ban on bump drafting had no discernable impact on competition. There were long stretches of three and four-wide racing, and no shortage of passing throughout the pack.

Clearly, they can race -– and race well -– without bump drafting.

So what now?

All parties agree on two goals; intense competition and safety for drivers and fans. Newman -– who has a degree in engineering -- invited NASCAR to pick his brain on possible ways to achieve both those goals, and the sanctioning body should take him up on that offer. Nobody understands a car better than the person who races it every week, and there are a lot of smart people in the Sprint Cup Series garage.

NASCAR cannot be too proud to ask for help.

Further, it’s time for both sides to put aside the adversarial “us against them” mentality that has punctuated restrictor plate racing over the years.

NASCAR has no desire to endanger its brightest stars, and the drivers are not interested in staging single-file, follow-the-leader races. Both sides share the common goal of making NASCAR’s superspeedway events better and safer for everyone.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I know it’s out there.

It’s time to stop yelling and start talking.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

FIRST LOOK! The New 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Cars!

Penske Racing's #12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Challenger.

The 2010 Toyota Nationwide Series Camry.

Richard Childress Racing's #29 Holiday Inn Select Chevrolet Impala.

Roush Fenway Racing's #16 Conway Freight Ford Mustang.

Dodge Challenger nose detail. Sweeeeeet!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Addington Out, Rogers In After Talladega

Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that Dave Rogers will replace Steve Addington as crewchief on Kyle Busch’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team for the final three races of this season.

Rogers currently serves as a Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide Series crewchief, working primarily with Joey Logano. Addington will remain atop the pit box for this weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, after team management determined that there was not enough time for Rogers to take over before then.

Busch failed to qualify for this year’s Chase despite winning four races, and has just one victory in his last 21 starts, to go with nine finishes of 20th or worse. He finished fourth Sunday at Martinsville.

Sadler A Ford Man At Dega: Richard Petty Motorsports has confirmed what Sirius Speedway first told you last month; that the team will field a Ford Fusion for the first time this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

Elliott Sadler will wheel a #19 Stanley-sponsored Ford at Talladega Sunday, as RPM takes the next step in its planned transition to Ford power for 2010. Sadler commented on the move today, saying, "Since this is the final restrictor plate race of the season, we made the decision to run a Ford to get some work done in advance. This will be our first time to practice and work on a Fusion under real race conditions. It should help us get ready to make a strong showing at Daytona and put us in the best position to start next season.”

The Emporia, VA driver will be back in a Dodge for the final three races of the season at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead, and will join us on today's show to talk about the move.

Andretti Backs Late Caution: John Andretti says NASCAR was right to delay throwing the yellow flag when he spun on the frontstretch on the final lap Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

"It wasn't a bad call. I wasn't in a great position, but I wasn't in an overly dangerous position,” he said. “NASCAR focuses on the race itself, and they want to see the winner come across the finish line. It's probably the call I would've made. I would've gotten out of the way if I could've, but I had a couple of issues. The car was too damaged."

Post The #66: Steve Wallace faces possible sanctions from NASCAR after running into Matt Kenseth’s car on pit road after Saturday’s race at Memphis Motorsports Park. Wallace spun after contact with Kenseth late in the race, then drove down pit road and into the side of Kenseth’s car. He was summoed to the NASCAR hauler after the race, and penalties – if any – will likely be announced later today.

Tags To Texas: Canadian driver Alex Tagliani will run the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on November 7. Tagliani announced on his blog Monday that he will drive the same Dodge he ran at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in August, fielded by MacDonald Motorsports. The race will mark his first career TMS start.

Logano, Busch Pump Up For WWE Monday Night RAW

Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Joey Logano and Kyle Busch give WWE superstars Chris Jericho and "The Big Show" their marching orders during last night's broadcast of WWE Monday Night RAW at the RBC Center in Buffalo, NY. Busch played the heel's role, drawing the crowd's ire by mocking their beloved Buffalo Bills. Logano proved more popular, calling Big Show "weak" and matching him against fan-favorite Triple H in the night's main event.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How Do You Miss A Mouth That Big?

"Tradin' Paint" co-host Chocolate Myers is known to enjoy an occasional snack during the four-hour run of the show. Apparently, however, a large percentage of that Easy Cheez ends up missing the mark and hitting the chair. Amazingly, this is Choc's SECOND chair in the last two years. Apparently, the first one had to be thrown away because of a giantic, crotch-shaped grease stain. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Mike "The Great Pumpkin" Bagley and Pistol Pete; coming soon to a Talladega Superspeedway turn position near you! (Dave Condit Photo)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hey Joey! Wrestle This One!

WWE Diva Kelly Kelly is primed and ready to take on all comers on next week's edition of WWE Monday Night RAW, hosted by Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. Put her in a headlock, Joey!

NASCAR Mourns Brutal Raikkonen Snub

NASCAR Nation plunged into a state of collective despair today, after 2007 Formula One World Champion Kimi Raikkonen said that he can race in NASCAR next season if he wants to, but is not a fan of stock car racing.

Raikkonen is being dropped by Ferrari at the end of this season in favor of rival Fernando Alonso, and said this week he has no concrete plans for the 2010 season. Asked if he might follow the lead of former F1 stars Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve into NASCAR, Raikkonen said, "I could race there if I wanted, but I'm not one of the biggest fans of NASCAR. I have no plans, I do what I want with my life.”

NASCAR fans across the country responded with a collective yawn, before failing to select Raikkonen out of a photo lineup.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Junior Struggling To Cope With Poor Performance

Dale Earnhardt, Jr., finally vented the frustration of a long and trying season last week, saying he is upset with his team’s poor performance and has no idea what to do about it.

Earnhardt's Hendrick Motorsports teammates -- Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon – currently fill the top three positions in Sprint Cup championship points, while Earnhardt languishes a distant 22nd in the championship chase. The 48, 5 and 24 teams have combined for 11 Sprint Cup victories this season, while Earnhardt’s winless streak is now more than a year long.

"I'm about to the end of my rope," admitted NASCAR's most popular driver. “I feel like I don't have any control, you know? (Rick Hendrick) put me in a great position, but I haven't made the most of it. For whatever reason, we're just not getting it done.”

Earnhardt said he is puzzled by his team’s inconsistency, admitting, “I don't know what to do. We were top-15 in practice (at Lowes Motor Speedway) and we go out to qualify and we were one of the worst cars here. It's really encouraging one day and the next day it's equally discouraging. That gets really old. I'm about to the end of my rope on it."

Asked whether he will team with crewchief Lance McGrew again in 2010, Earnhardt said, "I don't have the credentials to make the call. If I told you that I wanted to be with Lance next year, I wouldn't be telling you that out of my knowledge of expertise and talent. I'd be telling because it's fun hanging out with him. Hell, (I) don't even know if Lance wants to do it. I wouldn't want it. It's a tough job."

Team owner Rick Hendrick indicated that he is leaning toward returning McGrew to the pit box next season, saying he prefers to fine-tune, rather than rebuild.

For his part, Earnhardt said he needs a “dictator” like Tony Eury Sr. atop his pit box, immediately stressing that he is not ruling out McGrew. Eury, Sr., however, has repeatedly stated that he is not interested in returning to the Sprint Cup Series, and is happy in his current position as crewchief for the #88 JR Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series team.

Earnhardt's frustration is genuine and deep-seated. It's nothing a win or two won't cure, but at his present clip, Junior does not appear headed for Victory Lane anytime soon.

Johnson On Track For Four: While Earnhardt struggled, Jimmie Johnson took a major step toward an unprecedented fourth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship Saturday night at Lowes Motor Speedway, winning the NASCAR Banking 500 (his second straight win and his third in the last four starts) and triggering another round of complaints from observers tired of seeing the same championship trophy go home in the same set of hands.

Johnson’s win combined with poor performances by many of his closest championship pursuers to bust a razor-close title chase wide open. Johnson and crewchief Chad Knaus now enjoy a healthy, 90-point advantage in the championship standings; the biggest lead any team has enjoyed at the halfway mark of a Chase. A year ago, Johnson was 69 points ahead of Jeff Burton after five Chase starts, and Jeff Gordon led Johnson by 68 at this juncture in 2007.

The anti-Johnson contingent is divided into two distinct groups; those who resent his success, and those tired of seeing their favorite driver come up short by comparison.

The first camp contains at least a handful of his fellow drivers and team owners. Jack Roush continues to carp about the preferential treatment he fears Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates receive from NASCAR. The Roush Fenway Racing owner is still waiting to see how NASCAR will address rumors of discrepancies with Johnson’s car; rumors that Roush refuses to discount despite three consecutive weeks of white-glove inspections by NASCAR at their Concord, NC, Research and Development Center.

Greg Biffle complained bitterly about Johnson’s inclusion in a late-season Goodyear tire test at Dover, saying that test gave the Lowes Chevrolet team a decided advantage in Round Two of the Chase. Those complaints ignore the fact that one of Biffle’s own teammates, David Ragan, also took part in the test, giving Roush Fenway Racing access to the same information enjoyed by Johnson and Knaus.

Simply put, Jimmie Johnson and the Lowes Chevrolet team are the class of the field again in 2009, and their chances for a four-peat grow stronger with every passing week. While those around him stumble, Johnson simply grows stronger, beating the competition at its own game.

Resent him if you like. Hate him for beating your favorite driver if you must.

But take a moment along the way to appreciate something that has never been seen before in the near-60 year history of this sport.

Jimmie Johnson is just that good.

RCR Could Drop To Three Cars: Richard Childress said Saturday that major changes are coming for his race team, and that Richard Childress Racing could be a three-car operation in 2010. Sirius Speedway reported Friday that Todd Berrier will be announced as the new crewchief of Jeff Burton’s #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet later this week, and Childress confirmed that additional personnel announcements are expected.

"We are making a lot of changes," he said. "We'll probably be announcing more changes next week, (and) using these last races to get prepared for 2010. We know we have to be better.”

Childress said he sees improvement in his team’s performance in recent weeks, but that the future of Casey Mears and the #07 Chevrolet is unknown. No full-time sponsor has been signed to replace the departing Jack Daniel’s next season, and Childress said the team will not continue without one.

"Right now, we're meeting with companies,” he said. “We've had several meetings. As you know, the economic times are tough right now for sponsorship. We're wanting to run (the #07, but) we can't turn it into a park and start. I don't want to do that.”

Friday, October 16, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: RCR To Announce Berrier As Burton's New Crewchief

Sirius Speedway has learned that a press conference will be held early next week to announce personnel changes on Jeff Burton’s #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team, including the signing of crewchief Todd Berrier. Berrier will replace Scott Miller, who was recently promoted to Director of Competition at RCR.

Berrier has been a crewchief in the RCR organization since 2002, most recently working with drivers Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears. He has eight career Sprint Cup Series wins, including the 2007 Daytona 500 with Harvick. Sources close to the team say a meeting was held this week between Childress, Miller and Berrier to implement a transition plan, and to decide which members of Burton’s over-the-wall and race day crews will be retained. Sources say some personnel changes will be implemented as soon as next week, with an official announcement expected on Tuesday.

Burton told reporters yesterday that the team is close to finding a new crewchief, and that a reorganized RCR will be stronger and better-prepared in 2010. "We're real close," he said. “I don't have a definite date, but we're real close to having all that figured out. We're really optimistic that we have that put to bed and we'll be able to talk about that fairly soon."

Burton also said that Childress is not solely to blame for the recent downturn at Richard Childress Racing, saying the ban on off-season testing and an unwillingness to try new things led to the team’s poor performance.

“We didn't change quick enough, and we're all guilty of that,” he said. “That's not Richard's fault. Richard relies on the people that work for him to provide him with the insight.”

In a related story, Burton said he does not expect teammate Kevin Harvick to remain with RCR beyond the end of his current contract in 2010. Harvick said in a pre-race interview with ESPN’s Marty Smith Sunday that he doesn't plan to compete for RCR beyond next season, and Burton said he believes the time may have come for a parting of the ways.

"Sometimes you are just better off going to the dentist and getting it over with," he said. "I think everybody is behaving in a very professional manner. Everybody is understanding that Kevin has a year left on his contract, and he's going to do everything in his power to do the best job for RCR."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

TRG's Buckler Courting Dodge, Mulling Expansion

TRG Motorsports owner Kevin Buckler is actively investigating the possibility of converting his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team from Chevrolet to Dodge next season, and mulling a full, 36-race assault with former series champion Bobby Labonte.

TRG has been a Chevrolet team from its initial foray into NASCAR, but only because Buckler purchased his cars and engines from Richard Childress Racing. He told Autoweek magazine this week that he receives very little support from General Motors, and needs additional help to become a frontrunner in the Sprint Cup Series.

Buckler said he is “very much interested in talking to (Dodge),” and has spoken with fellow team-owner Roger Penske about the possibility of changing manufacturers. "I think it would be a great fit," he said. "You look at how much we've done this season with so little, and I think it shows we have a lot to offer."

A Dodge spokesman said the automaker would "absolutely" be interested in speaking with Buckler, adding, "I think we'd be crazy not to consider what he could bring to the party, especially if he could bring Bobby Labonte for the full season."

With Richard Petty Motorsports poised to jump to the Ford camp next season, Dodge would be left with only a three-car stable in 2010; all fielded by Penske Racing.

TRG is currently 37th in owners' points, just two positions away from a guaranteed starting spot in the first five races of 2010. Labonte would also bring a Past Champion’s Provisional to a team that has failed to qualify just once in 30 races this season, despite limited sponsorship and a revolving-door driver roster than has included Labonte, David Gilliland and Mike Bliss.

Buckler also restated his desire to expand to two cars next season, if sponsorship can be found.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Look At The New Nationwide Series Mustang!

Colin Braun will drive this #16 ConWay Freight Ford Mustang in four events on the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series. SHARP!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Godfather Physically Attacked At Kansas Speedway!

In a shocking development, Sirius Speedway host Dave "The Godfather" Moody was savagely attacked by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers David Reutimann and Elliott Sadler Friday at Kansas Speedway. The unprovoked daytime attack left Moody with serious injuries that required the popular Sirius NASCAR Radio host to seek medical attention.

Unconfirmed reports have Moody obtaining the services of high-profile attorney Mark Geragos to file a civil lawsuit against both Reutimann and Sadler, requesting $12.5 million for pain, suffering and emotional distress.

"Fortunately," said Moody, "my good friend, award-winning motorsports photographer Dave Condit, was able to document the attack. It might have been nice if had had put down the camera and come to my assistance, but barring that, at least we had concrete evidence of this vicious, unprovoked assault."

In the first photo of the series, a menacing Reutimann threatens Moody with physical violence.

Almost immediately, Moody is jumped from behind by co-conspirator Elliott Sadler.

With the Godfather's arms pinned behind him, Reutimann administers a savage beating.

The shocking aftermath of the assault.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Another New Partner At Richard Petty Motorsports?

A sports management firm owned by a Saudi Arabian Prince has signed a memorandum of understanding with Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner George Gillett that will lead to a commercial partnership involving both the Liverpool Football Club and Richard Petty Motorsports.

Gillett and his Liverpool Football Club co-owner, Tom Hicks, confirmed recently that they had begun looking for outside investors, but told the BBC as recently as this week that the search was “at an early stage," and that there was “no agreement with any party." Those statements came just a day after Prince Faisal bin Fahad bin Abdullah Al Saud told reporters that he was negotiating to purchase half of the club for between 200 and 350 million British pounds. Gillett and Hicks purchased he team for 174 million pounds 2007.

Gillett recently announced plans to sell the Montreal Canadiens hockey club and their home arena, Montreal’s Molson Centre.

While it is not currently known how (or if) the deal will impact the day-to-day operations of Richard Petty Motorsports, the NASCAR Examiner website reports that today’s agreement is the first step in Gillett selling his stake in the team to Prince Faisal. The report states that the “due diligence” process is already underway, and could result in Gillett being entirely bought-out by the end of the 2009 calendar year. A press release announcing the partnership mentions no such sale; only the possibility of developing NASCAR-style racing circuit and Richard Petty racing schools in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Richard Petty Motorsports recently announced plans to merge with Yates Racing in time for the 2010 season, and the team declined to have a representative speak with Sirius Speedway today about this latest deal.

Monday, September 28, 2009

COMMENTARY: A Word Of Praise For DEI-Ganassi Racing

While most of the championship attention continues to focus on Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin, Juan Pablo Montoya and DEI-Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates have inserted themselves solidly into the title debate, authoring a Cinderella story that few could have predicted even a few short months ago.

Coming into the 2009 season opener at Daytona, DEI-Ganassi was fresh off a corporate merger that many observers characterized as a reshuffling of deck chairs on the Titanic. Chip Ganassi is a perennial title contender in the IRL IndyCar ranks, but his sole bid for the Sprint Cup title came more than a decade ago with Sterling Marlin at the wheel. DEI, meanwhile, was best known as the team that let Dale Earnhardt, Jr., get away; a move that prompted former series champion Tony Stewart to predict that the team would be “a museum” within 24 months. For his part, Montoya was coming off a 2008 season highlighted by an unremarkable 25th-place finish in points, inciting debate over whether the former open wheel star would ever fully adapt to stock car competition, and whether there was any future at all for DEI-Ganassi.

The nay-sayers could not have been more wrong.

After a halting start that saw them finish 14th, 11th, 31st and 27th in the first four races of the season, Montoya’s Target Chevrolet team slowly began to right the ship. By the time NASCAR rolled into Charlotte for its annual midseason All-Star festivities, the former Indianapolis 500 champion had climbed all the way to 14th in points and begun to be included on the list of possible Chase contenders.

In the last 15 races – dating back to Pocono in June – Montoya went from “possible Chase contender” to “legitimate championship aspirant,” ripping off 10 Top-10 finishes with only one result outside the Top-20. His average finish in that span is 9.5; enough to place him third in points heading to Round Three of the Chase this weekend at Kansas Speedway.

Montoya faced criticism in some circles for “points racing” during the final few races of the regular season; eschewing his usual aggressive style in favor of a big-picture-friendly approach that stressed Top-10 finishes over wins.

Now, however, the reins have clearly come off.

Asked if he would continue preaching patience and consistency yesterday at Dover, crewchief Brian Pattie snapped, “We stopped points racing three races ago. We’re here to win.” Montoya sang a similar tune, saying, “We accomplished our goal when we made the Chase. Everything from now on is a bonus, and we’re going for it.”

This has already been a coming-of-age season for both Montoya and his team. There is still work to be done at DEI-Ganassi Racing, but JPM's unexpected title bid has given them a solid foundation to build upon.

Martin Truex, Jr., will still jump ship at season’s end for a new ride at Michael Waltrip Racing, leaving the team’s #1 Chevrolet vacant. Jamie McMurray is rumored to be waiting in the wings to fill that seat, but the deal (like most others these days) is contingent on the acquisition of a sponsor.

Young Jeffrey Earnhardt -- grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt and nephew of Dale, Jr. -– is being touted for a full season of Sprint Cup competition as soon as 2011, but is currently an unproven commodity whose resume is highlighted only by a partial season of Camping World Series East racing two years ago.

But the future is just that, the future.

For now, DEI-Ganassi Racing can take pride in proving the doubters wrong. They have not only survived, they have thrived; arguably outperforming more traditional NASCAR juggernauts like Richard Childress and Roush-Fenway Racing.

That’s something to be celebrated, and it’s not over yet.

Ricky Bobby Joins The Geek Squad

With those horrible white shades, the logo on the firesuit says it all!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sources: Allmendinger Could Drive RPM Ford At Talladega

Richard Petty Motorsports’ Executive Director of Race Operations Robbie Loomis says the team could field a Ford Fusion before the end of the 2009 season.

Loomis told’s Lee Spencer, “I don't want to talk about things that are pure speculation, but I don't think it would surprise anybody if we did.” A spokesperson for RPM told Sirius Speedway today that there are no plans to field a Ford before 2010, but off the record, sources inside RPM say that the team has already built at least one Ford Fusion, installing a Ford powerplant in an existing RPM chassis.

Initial plans were to have AJ Allmendinger debut the car at Kansas Speedway next week, but that timetable was pushed back when Roush-Fenway Racing's Jack Roush expressed reservations about the quick ramp-up. Now, tentative plans call for Allmendinger to drive a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford at Talladega Superspeedway on November 1, with additional outings possible -– though not certain –- at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami Speedways.

Calls to Richard Petty Motorsports seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Loomis also confirmed today that Reed Sorenson is not the first RPM driver to race for free, saying that Allmendinger also waived his paycheck for a time, in order to remain on the racetrack.

"AJ and all the employees at Richard Petty Motorsports made sacrifices in order to continue being a four-car team," he said. "When those guys stepped up, it really said a lot to me about the character of Reed Sorenson, AJ Allmendinger and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BUSTED: Newman Abuses The Godfather

In addition to visiting our wounded military men and women at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC, Ryan "Rotten Egg" Newman took a few minutes off to bust the Godfather's stones in a Thursday phone interview. Thanks, Newman!