TickCo Premium Seating
Copyright © 2000-2008. All Rights Reserved.
Nextel Cup® and NASCAR® are registered trademarks of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. This web site is not affiliated with, endorsed by, or sponsored by NASCAR®. The official NASCAR® website is "NASCAR® Online" and is located at.. www.NASCAR.com
NASCAR Daily News Headlines * January 13, 2008
Fans Lineup For EarnhardtDale Earnhardt Jr. began signing autographs at the Sprint Sound & Speed festivities at 3 p.m. Saturday. The first person in line for Little E's signature got there at 1:10 p.m. On Friday. Earnhardt just shook his head. He couldn't imagine doing the same thing as the dozens of fans who camped out overnight to get tickets to get his autograph.
"It'd have to be Elvis or somebody like that," he said.
In NASCAR, Earnhardt equals Elvis.
No driver and few athletes anywhere have such a devoted fan base. Even at that, he admitted, "I'll underestimate them at least once a year. They surprise you." He used to have the assumption that a goof on the track automatically lost some fans. He once wrecked at Bristol and, leaving the track, saw a young boy remove his Dale Earnhardt Jr. T-shirt and replace it with a shirt of another driver.
Now Earnhardt has replaced his old driver's suit and driver's seat for that of another team, famously leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. and the No. 8 Budweiser Chevy for Rick Hendrick's team and the still-takes-some-getting-used-to No. 88 National Guard Chevy. Junior said Saturday that the move was critical to his career and that "I never thought, 'Man, what if the fans all get ticked off.' I knew there might be repercussions but I was going to deal with it and let it all roll off my shoulders."
Instead, he said, "It almost seems like it's gained fans."
No question that he was the star of the show Saturday, in this event that brings together stars of country music - Alan Jackson, Taylor Swift and others - with stars of NASCAR, past and present - Earnhardt Jr., Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Ryan Newman and others - to sign autographs, hold a concert and raise funds for the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the camp for seriously ill youngsters built by Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie in honor of their late son.(al.com)
Red Bull Hires Jay FryeRed Bull Racing Team is pleased to announce Jay Frye as General Manager effective January 14, 2008. Jay Frye brings on board 16 years of experience in the NASCAR industry, most recently with a 12-year stint as CEO and GM of Ginn Racing (formerly MB2 Motorsports). “Red Bull along with Toyota has all the necessary tools to compete at a very high level. I’m excited about the opportunity to work with an organization that has unlimited potential,” says Frye. With a long-standing history of industry success, Frye completes Red Bull Racing Team’s search for a GM, since the position was vacated in June 2007. Guenther Steiner, who joined the team in 2006 with extensive Formula One technical expertise, will continue to work as Technical Director and focus fully on delivering advanced engineering performance and technology. Red Bull Racing Team's focus on superior and precision engineering paired with Jay Frye's industry expertise is certain to lead to consistent and successful results in 2008
Wood Bros. and JTG Split OperationsAfter two seasons of cooperatively fielding teams in NASCAR's three national tours, Wood Brothers Racing and JTG Racing have split their competition elements for 2008. The two groups will still work together in several administrative functions, including marketing and the teams' show car programs; as well as their race parts operation, both teams' principals said Saturday.This season, the two organizations will continue to work out of a 120,000-square-foot shop in Harrisburg, N.C., that currently houses pairs of teams in Cup, Nationwide and the Truck Series. Thus, it was almost business-as-usual Friday as the three-day Truck Series Preseason Thunder test session opened at Daytona International Speedway.
Third generation racer Jon Wood, 26, was driving the Woods' No. 21 Ford, which was garaged next to JTG Racing's No. 20 Ford piloted by Scott Lagasse Jr., who will drive the truck for the full schedule. Crew chiefs John Monsam and Gary Cogswell worked on the 21 and 20 trucks, respectively, just as they had in 2007 as teammates. Eddie Wood, Jon's father and co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing, arrived at the track on Saturday, as did Tad Geschickter, the "T" in "JTG" along with wife Jodi.
"We just had different philosophies about where we wanted to go with our race teams and personnel, so we felt like it was better to file away the good experiences from the past two seasons and move on," Eddie Wood said. "We're excited to be here at Daytona, testing our truck with Jon behind the wheel and we're really looking forward to having our Sprint Cup car down here next week with Bill Elliott."
Geschickter said changes in NASCAR led to the divergence. "Obviously, the competition part of it has changed, with the Car of Tomorrow in Cup and the old car in [Nationwide]; and truck with different rule packages," Geschickter said. "Originally the idea was to have one big competition department to share data, and that became less and less effective and really made us pretty slow to make decisions. So what we've done is just change our business structure, tighten the spans of control in the competition department by series and other than that, we're still all working together."
In addition to its truck, which will be driven by team co-owner Len Wood's son Keven, 23, Wood Brothers Racing will field the family's legendary No. 21 Ford Fusion in the Sprint Cup Series, tuned by crew chief Gene Nead with 1988 Cup champion Elliott behind the wheel during Speedweeks 2008 at Daytona.(nascar.com)
Damion Gardner Wins Chili BowlDamion Gardner picked perhaps the largest dirt track stage in history to shine upon by racing to victory lane in Saturday night's 50-lap championship main event at Tulsa Expo Raceway's 22nd Annual Dodge Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. After winning Friday night's Qualifying feature, "The Demon" raced into the lead on the eleventh lap and led the rest of the way to become the 16th different winner in event history in front of a packed house at Tulsa's QuikTrip Center and before a worldwide television audience on HBO Pay-Per-View courtesy of Lucas Oil.
Piloting Jason Leffler's Pace Electronics/Team ASE No. 71g entry, the winningest driver in USAC/CRA history and the series' 2005 champion bested a record Chili Bowl Nationals field of 274 competitors from 29 different states as well as Canada and Australia as he made his first Chili Bowl main event since finishing tenth in 2003.
"I was just trying to keep the nerves down the whole time, and even during the race at the end it was tough to keep the nerves down and to put in the good laps," Gardner commented afterward.
Dave Darland, who finished a close second, responded that, "I was trying to keep his nerves up there a few times, it didn't work."
Gardner went on to say, "The car was really good when it was pretty tacky all the way across, but it was getting really slick to a curb. And it was right after a yellow, I got in a little too hot and caught the edge of it and spiked it up. I just tried to keep it straight, and when we landed Dave (Darland) was alongside me but he was on the slick and probably gonna get no traction. From then on, I just entered a little lower and tried to put in good smooth laps rather than fast ones."
It was an approach that paid huge dividends in the end for the California native that now resides in Pittsboro, IN.
Saturday's Bass Pro Shops slate of 21 feature events culminated with the 50-lap finale, with Wednesday night's Creek Nation Casino Qualifying Showdown winner Josh Ford on the pole with Friday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts Qualifying event winner Gardner alongside. After Brady Bacon, the lone Oklahoma representative in the main event, was shuffled atop the inside berm in turn one to negate the original start, Ford got the edge on Gardner as the pack raced through the opening pair of corners.
Ford, Gardner and Thursday's Warren CAT Qualifier winner Brad Kuhn led the way in the early stages and began to separate themselves from the rest of the 24-car feature field after a handful of laps. Working his preferred top groove, Gardner began working on Ford for the lead after six laps, only to jump the cushion on the eighth round and lose several car-lengths. Gardner wasted little time reeling Ford back in though, closing to his tail tank by the time they reached lapped traffic on lap ten with the lead trio of Ford, Gardner and Kuhn nearly a straightaway ahead of fourth-running Dave Darland. A lap later, Gardner charged past Ford for the lead with Kuhn following suit by taking second upon the completion of the eleventh round.
Lap thirteen proved to be unlucky for Kuhn when the lapped car of Terry McCarl got loose in turns one and two and collected the two-time National Midget Driver of the Year. Ford made contact in the melee as well, but somehow managed to squeeze by to reclaim second as the caution flew. Gardner quickly opened up a half straightaway lead over Ford on the restart, with Darland another half straightaway back in third, only to have the pace interrupted after 16 laps when Kasey Kahne come to a stop in turn three. With smoke billowing from the NASCAR Sprint Cup star's machine over the previous two laps, Kahne retired to the infield.
At the same time, Kuhn reported to the work area and was unable to rejoin the chase, settling for a 22nd place finish in his third career Chili Bowl championship main event. Ensuing cautions included one after 19 laps for Cole Whitt, who spun in turn four, and then one after 22 laps for a four-car tangle in turn four that included McCarl, Bobby Michnowicz, Nathan High and Billy Wease. Michnowicz and Wease, both making their first career Chili Bowl main event start, were done for the night.
Two laps later, McCarl spun to a stop on the backstretch to bring out another caution. At the same time, Ford jumped the turn two cushion and bicycled before coming to a stop and surrendering the second position. Darland and fellow Indiana shoe Shane Cottle closed in on Gardner's rear nerf bar on the restart, but Gardner was once again able to open up an advantage of a half dozen car-lengths.
Gardner survived two more cautions over the duration of the race, including the final one after 42 laps when 2007 USAC Midget champion and National Midget Driver of the Year Jerry Coons, Jr., got upside down in a turn four tangle that also involved Whitt and Levi Jones, who had come to an earlier stop on lap 34. Darland and Cottle gave chase over the final eight-lap charge to Roger Slack's checkered flag, but despite one Gardner bobble in turn four with the white flag in sight, no one was up to the task of overtaking "The Demon" on this night.
Gardner flashed across the finish line to lay claim to the Golden Driller trophy. "Jason (Leffler) is really excited, three weeks ago we weren't even going to do this and hopefully we can take this momentum and continue on through the year. He got his first car owner trophy, so not too bad."
Darland settled for second in Steve Lewis' Ed Pink Toyota-powered Team ASE/Performance Racing Industry No. 9x Spike. Cottle claimed the show position in Daryl Saucier's Chevy-powered DSR Fuel Systems No. 1st Beast, giving Saucier two cars among the top three finishers as Saucier also wrenched Gardner's winning mount. After starting twelfth, Bryan Clauson outdueled Jon Stanbrough over the final rounds to claim fourth in the Keith Kunz Motorsports Esslinger-powered No. 67 Bullet. Stanbrough rounded out the top five in the Loyet Motorsports Esslinger Ford-powered Loyet Landscape Maintenance No. 05s Spike.
Two-time and defending race winner Tony Stewart crossed the stripe eighth after starting 13th, with TSR teammate and 2005 race winner Tracy Hines advancing from 16th to ninth. Nathan High, the 2007 AMRA champion, charged from 24th to tenth in his first career Chili Bowl championship main event...MORE...(chilibowl.com)
Morgan-Dollar Signs Erin CrockerDavid Dollar, owner of Morgan-Dollar Motorsports (MDM), announced today that Erin Crocker has been tapped to pilot the No. 46 MDM Silverado in the first two events of the 2008 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) season. Crocker, who in 2007 became the first female in history to capture the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) Superspeedway Challenge Championship, will return to NCTS competition in the series' opening event at Daytona International Speedway followed immediately by round two at California Speedway.
MDM, a full-time competitor in the NCTS since 1997, has been a perennial race-winning and championship contender that includes 13 NCTS victories; three runner-up finishes in the season-ending standings and guest appearances by the sport's biggest stars in a special All-Star driver program that included Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and numerous others.
"We are very excited to have Erin on board for Daytona and California," said Dollar. "She is a very talented young driver and has proven her abilities in a race car and race truck. She brings a lot to our team and we are looking forward to having great results in both races. On the personal side, I have two daughters at home who love racing. My 14 year-old, Bailey and her 11 year-old sister Bekah, are both excited about having Erin in our truck. Erin is blazing a trail for not only my girls, but other young women as well, who aspire to build a successful career as a race driver."
Dollar concluded by saying: "A marketing partnership for Erin's two-race effort will be announced prior to the start of SPEEDWEEKS at Daytona. But equally as exciting for MDM in 2008, are the other programs we are putting the final touches on for the season. We will be full steam ahead with the No. 46 at all 25-races this season. Again, we will be making those announcements as the details are finalized. If all the puzzle pieces fall in place as they are currently proposed, we could have a second truck at a number of races as well, and we are hoping that Erin is a part of those plans going forward.
"This is going to a great start to our season having Erin in the truck. We are looking forward to showcasing her talent in great Silverado trucks when we unload for Daytona."
Crocker is no stranger to the series with 27 previous starts, including running the full season in 2006. Her extensive racing resume includes success in World of Outlaws sprint cars, ARCA and several starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
"To drive for David and his team is a tremendous opportunity for me," said Crocker. "Morgan-Dollar has proven consistently through the years they field exceptional trucks and are contenders for wins and championships every time they unload at a track.
"Racing at Daytona is a dream that every race driver aspires to fulfill. I am excited to be with Eric (Phillips) and the guys for these first two races. With three days of testing at Daytona, we will have the ability to develop a good level of communication. That is so critical to be successful in the NCTS because it is so competitive." This gives us the ability to hit the ground running when we get here for SPEEDWEEKS."
Practice for the Chevy Silverado 250 at Daytona is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, February 13, 2008. The race will kick off the 2008 NCTS season on Friday, February 15 starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Wreck Wipes Out Roush TrucksRookies and veterans appeared equally culpable -- and equally ready to point fingers -- after two accidents in the last 45 minutes of Friday's opening Craftsman Truck Series Preseason Thunder test session at Daytona International Speedway sent at least two teams home and damaged no less than six trucks. At about 4:19 p.m. ET, the session was halted when the Roush Fenway Racing Fords of rookie Colin Braun and sophomore teammate Joey Clanton crashed exiting the tri-oval while involved in a draft with five-to-six trucks, including the No. 51 Billy Ballew Motorsports Toyota of Kyle Busch.
Kyle Busch's No. 51 team poking fun at Roush Fenway's Joey Clanton. It was a tragedy for Roush Fenway, as each of its three teams had only one superspeedway truck at the test, which was attended by 32 teams; but those three were atop the morning, single-truck speed chart with third-year driver Erik Darnell the best with a lap of 50.727 seconds (177.420 mph). Braun's No. 6 Ford was second at 50.908 seconds (176.790) and Clanton's No. 09 third with a lap of 50.989 seconds (176.509), tied with Andy Lally's No. 7 TRG Chevrolet.
Both Ford drivers, who drove their vehicles back to the garage before packing them up, pointed the finger at Busch, who was in a truck at Daytona for the first time testing for Ballew. But Busch gave a precise explanation of how aerodynamics was the culprit.
"There were about five or six of us, and we were pretty spread out," Busch said. "There were three of them that went by me, and I pulled in line, with two of them coming up behind me in Turns 1 and 2. We made it all the way around to the tri-oval. "[Braun] was leading it, and [Clanton] was going to pass him on the outside and was doing a side-draft on him, and he got within the 'vee,' the venturi basically of the air that comes off the front of the nose and it looked like it pulled [Clanton] in, further, to [Braun], and when they touched, they both steered up towards the wall."
Busch, whose crew within minutes of his returning to the garage had placed a large yellow "X" in duct tape on his unmarked right rear quarter panel with "Stay Off Clanton" written on it in Sharpie, explained side drafting and how it can catch rookies unaware.
"Clanton was blaming it on me, [saying] that I hit [Braun]," Busch said, "when I was behind Clanton watching this whole deal happen. I saw what happened and I wasn't even close to hitting anybody.
You can contact us at.. Insider Racing News
illnesses through research and treatment