Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Waterbury, VT - The 8" tire short track special tire developed by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company with input from Tom Curley and the American-Canadian Tour (ACT), has been selected for use in 2006 by the 14-event Serie National Castrol (Quebec, Canada) and by the Late Model weekly divisions at both Maine's Oxford Plains Speedway and Seekonk Speedway in MA.
"Having two more historic New England tracks and more than 50 additional race teams moving to the Goodyear tire in 2006 is in keeping with the universal rules concept formulated by ACT. The tire transition is the final step in effecting the rules package which will simplify cost efficient weekly and Tour racing across the Northeast United States and eastern Canada. Unifying a state of the art tire with the Late Model community in our region will certainly be a great benefit to both the teams and tracks," ACT President Curley explained. In only two years under ACT's leadership, the inclusion of Quebec's Serie Castrol brings the number of Touring series to two, and the addition of Oxford and Seekonk brings the number of tracks to five, who have chosen to convert exclusively to this Goodyear product.
Vermont's Thunder Road Int'l Speedbowl, along with New Hampshire's White Mountain Motorsports Park and Lee USA Speedway, and the ACT Tour, helped pioneer the Goodyear D2472 and D2682 tire in 2005.
Cris Michaud, who will look for his third consecutive Late Model "King of the Road" title at Thunder Road in 2006 enthusiastically stated, "The Goodyear tires were awesome!" The Williamstown, VT driver continued, "I think they're especially good for weekly racing where there's apt to be more contact. We found that we could rub each other, and Thunder Road's infamous front stretch wall, and not cut down tires - they held up well."
Quinney Welch, a regular competitor at White Mountain in N. Woodstock, NH agreed, "The Goodyears are quite durable, they lasted longer than other tires I've run, plus they showed good repeatability." Welch, who also tested the ACT Tour waters five times in 2005 added, "As a team we found it easier to find set-up problems with our chassis, the tires were so consistent we knew we had to look elsewhere. I know there are other teams from White Mountain who found that true as well," the Lancaster, NH resident concluded.
Steve Reny from Boothbay, ME first put the Goodyear tire on his car in an ACT Tour event at his home track, Oxford Plains Speedway. "I was impressed by the numbering system on the tires - you don't have to measure every tire, which makes race day much easier and allows for more time to work on the car." Reny, who has filed a full season entry with the ACT Tour in '06 continued, "The tires we ran in the ACT 100 lapper at Oxford lasted forever, they're really durable and I picked up quite a bit of time on them. I really liked the tires and so did the other drivers from Oxford who ran that race and the other Tour show later last year."
The ACT Late Model Tour's 12-race season will be highlighted by three $10,000 to win ACTion Super Series events including a return to Quebec's Sanair Super Speedway, July 8-9. The Tour opens at Thunder Road, April 29-30 with the seventh annual Merchants Bank 150.
The CSRA national tour unloaded in Peterborough, ON for a three day event this past weekend. Friday night heats were run under the lights and provided all kinds of excitement.
Team spirit in the Royaldistributing.com hauler was high all week after a clean sweep in the opener at Owen Sound the previous weekend. The HUGE Peterborough Friday night crowd was all the motivation the boys needed as Joey Sagan and Iain Hayden piloted both their stock 440 and Open Mod Factory Recreation Ski-Doo Rev's to 4 out of 4 heat wins. It was a great night for Team Royal, with Joey taking his SEMI-PRO 440, and OPEN MOD heats, and IAIN dominating his PRO 440 and PRO-OPEN Heats in front of a huge crowd. Joey headed straight from the track to bed at the hotel, feeling like he was coming down with something.
On Saturday under bright sunny skies, both Joey and Iain were fighting some sort of flu bug, but soldiered on. Iain fought his way to a 5th in a PRO 440 heat, got some rest and then promptly laid down 3 more 1st's in the remaining PRO 440 and PRO OPEN heats in the afternoon. Joey fought with very hard charging Peter Raymer and his Cat to muscle out a 1st and 3 2nds in his remaining heats on Saturday. The Sunday finals were marred by rainfall and overall bad weather conditions.
Joey Sagan #202 and Peter Raymer had a battle in SEMI-PRO OPEN that saw a few lead changes and on the last lap Joey, still fighting the flu, ran out of steam and crashed hard while under pressure in a tough section trying to stay in the lead. Joey came back to win SEMI PRO 440 to cap off the weekend. Iain toughed out the day and a strong competitor in Carl Kuster to win both the PRO 440 and PRO OPEN classes.
Overall a great weekend for the Royal Pro Xtreme Team as they took home 3 of 4 premier classes. Thanks to Factory Recreation, Ski-Doo, Kimpex, FXR clothing, SPY goggles, IPONE oil, HMK boots, and Stud Boy Traction.
Qualified: 9th / Sprint Race Finish: 12th / Feature Race Finish: 10th / Series standing: 10th (32pts)
A1 Team Canada salvaged a point with tenth place from this afternoon’s Feature race as President Thabo Mbeki joined 22,000 fellow South African’s to witness a lively afternoon of A1 Grand Prix action on the streets of Durban in Round 7 of the ‘World Cup of Motorsport’. Canadian racer Sean McIntosh missed out on back-to-back top-ten finishes for A1 Team Canada as a puncture in the earlier Sprint race left the Feature as the sole opportunity for points. A1 Team Canada remains tenth in the A1GP Nations Standings with 32 points.
Sprint Race (Winner – A1 Team France)
Having qualified ninth on the grid for the 20-lap Sprint race Sean held station for the majority of what was a fairly processional opener on the 3.2km temporary street circuit. Wrestling an ill-handling car since the second lap, the cause of which was later determined to be a slow puncture, McIntosh fought valiantly to keep ahead of Germany directly behind in tenth. Despite briefly dropping out of the top-ten in the latter stages Sean successfully climbed back to sit tenth overall with one lap remaining until the puncture blew his front right tire, demoting him to 12th at the checkered flag and out of the points.
Feature Race (Winner – A1 Team Netherlands)
A1 Team Canada’s decision to take their mandatory pit stop on just the second tour of the 40-lap Feature race looked set to pay dividends for Sean McIntosh as he ran third on track behind Switzerland and Germany of the team’s already pitted. The 20-year-old’s hopes of a second career A1GP podium finish were dashed early on lap nine however as contact with Portugal at Turn1resulted in a second trip to the pits, this time for a new nose cone. Back on track Sean set to work climbing up the order, looking to recover something from what had so far been a luckless weekend. Pushing hard, racing wheel to wheel with his A1 rivals, Sean guided A1 Team Canada’s entry as high as eighth before a broken steering column relegated him to a tenth place classified finish and a solitary point for his efforts.
“An unfortunate series of events really cost us here today because all things considered I think we had a good package. The car had pace and the team worked really well. We had an awesome strategy for the Feature race and it could have paid off if the Portuguese car hadn’t surprised me at the first turn and taken out my front wing. At least we came away with a point! I was sidelined out at Turn4 for the last couple of laps in the Feature but we had done enough to claim tenth. Hopefully we can piece everything together next time out in Indonesia and improve our standing.”
Indonesia hosts Round 8 of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations at the Sentul Circuit, 10-12 February 2006.
Standings: 1st France (120), 2nd Switzerland (92), 3rd Brazil (63), 4th Great Britain (58), 5th New Zealand (54), 10th Canada (32)
Monday, January 30, 2006
The ultimate entertainment centre continues to build for 2006, with a great mix of cars, stars and Guitars. Sauble Speedway President Joe Chisholm is very pleased to announce that the “STEELBACK Canada Day Music Fest” will be held on Friday June 30th, and Saturday July 1st - Canada Day at Steelback Sauble Speedway. This popular music festival is in its 3 year and for the first time will be held at the speedway.
The Steelback Canada Day Music Fest will feature 2 days of blockbuster international music artists. In the near future president and CEO of Steelback Brewery Frank D’Angelo will announce details of this Steelback Canada Day Music Fest.
Also please find enclosed a copy of the Steelback Sauble Speedway Schedule of events for 2006.
Direct Link to 2006 Schedule: http://www.saublespeedway.com/Sauble_Speedwa/Schedule_Steel.html
Durban - The A1 Grand Prix of Nations, Durban, South Africa, attended by President Thabo Mbecki and just over 100,000 people over the course of the weekend provided one of the most spectacular races of the season to date.
As the cars left the starting grid and streamed down to the first corner, it was A1 Team Switzerland who got the best start and led A1 Team France out of the tight hairpin. However, the best start was definitely made by A1 Team Netherlands who were up to XX by from sixteenth on the grid by the end of lap one. The start wasn't without dramas as A1 Team Czech Republic stalled on his fifth position on the grid and so causing the cars behind him to take avoiding action.
The pit stops started early with the leader and second placed A1 Team France coming in at the end of lap two. This pit stop proved the start of an uncharacteristically troublesome race for Series point's leader France as a 53 second pit stop dropped them down the field and this was not helped by the fact that later in the race the team were given a drive through penalty for a pit lane infringement.
Unfortunately the first safety car period was when the race was only three laps old. This was to remove the cars of A1 Teams USA and Australia that had tangled in turn one when the American driver tried what proved to be an unsuccessful overtaking manoeuvre. A1 Team Great Britain didn't have any better luck than France as a slow pit stop was followed by a second one on the next lap because the air gun had become wedged in the back of the car and this obviously had to be removed.
When the safety car came in at the end of lap six it was A1 Team New Zealand leading helped by the fact they had yet to make their compulsory pit stop.
Despite the tightness of the track, there was plenty of overtaking but A1 Team Canada suffered when the racing was a little too close and they lost their front wing in turn one only to run over the debris a lap later before having the opportunity to pit for a new nose which they did at the end of lap 10.
The second safety car period started on lap 12 when A1 Teams India and Indonesia collided. The cars were removed and racing began at the end of lap 15 with Brazil leading at this point although again due to not having pitted. At this point in the race, A1 Team Ireland's hopes of a finish disappeared after lying as high as second on lap two and then spending time in the pits with a problem. On lap 15 Ralph Firman parked the car on the side of the track after developed a severe handling problem caused by a broken anti-roll bar.
The crowds witnessed A1 Team Malaysia overtaking A1 Team South Africa on lap 16 and after the re-start the racing continued with at one point, three cars abreast trying to go into a corner with A1 Team Lebanon being the filling in the sandwich. A1 Team Malaysia were the next culprits to bring out a safety car after spinning and partly blocking the track on lap 26, narrowly being missed by A1 Team New Zealand. This period lasted for three laps with Brazil still leading when the safety car pulled off at the end of lap 29.
A podium position for A1 Team Germany looked certain until the car hit a wall on lap 36. However, A1 Team Switzerland looked set to notch up win number two as when Brazil pitted at the end of lap 37 they moved into the lead. Jos Verstappen was in an amazing second place but it was obvious again he was not going to give up the chance of a win until the chequered flag. As the cars were on their last lap, Jos took his opportunity and passed the car with the red and white flag on it which seemed to be slowing although not enough to allow third place A1 Team Portugal to get by.
Race winner Jos Verstappen said 'I'm very happy. I had a fantastic start, and was battling with people all the way through. Both I and Alvaro made mistakes but I managed to get past and stay ahead, then Germany went into the wall and I know Brazil still had to pit.'
Speaking about his courageous overtaking manoeuvre on the last lap of the Feature race, Verstappen said: 'In the Sprint race second position was good, but I tried to overtake and it didn't work out as I wanted. This time I was in the same position, and Neel was running wide. I used my PowerBoost and managed to overtake. I'm really pleased for the guys because they worked very hard and the fans as well. It was quite tough to come here with a new mechanic and a new race engineer, there were quite a few things different, but right from the start when I got in the car, it felt good here and I felt confident.'
A disappointed Neel Jani said: 'It looks like we always have problems in the race, I had no brakes at all in the last few laps. What can I say? For sure I am disappointed; we lost in Dubai through bad strategy and here through brake failure. I'm not too happy. Out of the last six races we could have won 5. When you have made a mistake it is bad enough but when it isn't your fault it is even worse. I probably won't sleep very much tonight.'
Portugal's Alvaro Parente commented: 'I'm very pleased, especially after qualifying. We had really good pace in free practice and qualifying was a disappointment. I attacked the Sprint race and managed to finish eighth, a good position for the start of the Feature race. It was an interesting fight and overtaking is hard on a street track like this. It's great to have so many people watching the race, thanks to the crowd for their support. I'm delighted for the team who have worked really hard. Now we have to work for a win.'
A1 Team South Africa finished fifth which equalled Alex Yoong's record for best finish at a home race. For all their efforts, Brazil gained the bonus point for the fastest lap being the only driver to record a sub 1.19 time of 1.18.178 which obviously is now the official lap record for this circuit at an average speed of 151.2km/h.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Courtesy Bruce F. Mehlenbacher
January 27, 2006, Kenmore, NY – Pro Modified Racing Association (PMRA), www.ProModifiedRacing.com, series champion driver Joe Lilienthal has a lot to prove this year as he goes out to defend his PMRA championship. In 2005, with 22 teams in the series, Joe Lilienthal of Kenmore, NY won the first PMRA title over his Ontario, New York, and Pennsylvania competitors.
"It's always nice to win a championship,” explained Joe Lilienthal, driver of the Lilienthal Racing 526-cubic inch Keith Black-constructed 1968 Jeep. "We were in three finals last year and won one of them.”
Lilienthal won the Luskville Dragway event in the JSL Automotive sponsored entry and took runner-up spots at the second Toronto Motorsports Park race and at the final event of the season at Lancaster Raceway Park.
“Kasey Janzen and I will compete as team-mates this year. That should help improve our program and hopefully we will be able to defend our title,” said Lilienthal. “If it wasn’t for the help from Kasey and Mike Swinarski it would be much more difficult to get out and run with these guys. The PMRA series has a bunch of real stout competitors.”
The Lilienthal Racing entry is powered by an Oddy’s Racing Keith Black power plant, a Littlefield supercharger, an Oddy’s fuel system, all coupled to a Lenco three-speed transmission and clutch.
The PMRA has four events confirmed for the 2006 season, the KC Auto Parts Family Day Celebration at Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga, ON, Saturday, June 24, and the Pro Modified Racing Association is pleased to be running inaugural events at St. Thomas Dragway in Sparta, ON, August 5 and 6, the Eaton PMRA Challenge at Sanair near Montreal scheduled for Saturday, August 19, and at the Grand Bend Motorplex, over the Labor Day weekend.
"It's a huge honor and I'm really proud that they are recognizing my dad and team owner," said David Reutimann, driver of the No. 17 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota. "I think they've both given a lot to the sport. It is really special that they are being inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame together. My dad's still racing at 64 years of age and he's still just as competitive as he ever was. I'm so proud of them."
To be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame, is a special honor for Waltrip and the elder Reutimann.
"It is always flattering when people want to recognize your accomplishments that you worked so hard to earn," said Waltrip, a three-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion with 84 career wins. "I'm thrilled Buzzie and I are both winners together. The Reutimann family is a class act and I am excited about the opportunities that lie before Buzzie's son, David, for the future with my team."
The 64-year-old echoes Waltrip's sentiment.
"I would like to thank the press for telling our stories over the years," said Reutimann. "If it wasn't for them writing the stories, we wouldn't be anywhere. Without them, Buzzie Reutimann wouldn't be Buzzie Reutimann. I wouldn't be receiving an award tomorrow night if it wasn't for them. What they write is what you save in your scrapbooks. It is the memories you have. They write the memories we have and I know DW feels the same."
As Waltrip supposedly competed in his final NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway last October, Reutimann continues to race and win championships at age 64.
"When we started running at East Bay Raceway last year, I didn't think about winning a track championship," said Reutimann. "Right there towards the end, I was leading the points. That's when I thought I had a shot at another championship. We ended up winning the Open Wheel Modified championship. I don't know how many more championships this little body's got left in it. I'm 64 and I'll be 65 in May, but I've got a few years to go."
Reutimann's won so many races and championships in his lifetime that he can't seem to keep up.
"I have a friend that comes down each year and he's sort of our historian," said Reutimann. "He's telling me I've got somewhere around 1,200 feature wins in all types of cars. It goes back to when I started with my old Flathead Ford and then onto whenever I moved to Sportsman. I won like 20 features in a row at one time in Florida. As far as how many championships I have, gosh, I don't know. I've won all over at places like Sunshine Speedway, Golden Gate Speedway, East Bay Raceway and up north at places like Middletown, Nazareth, East Windsor, Syracuse and Fullerton to just name a few. We've won championships in all those places. When you race and pay attention to what you are doing, the championship comes along with it."
As Reutimann accepts his award, he will be also accepting on behalf of Waltrip in his absence.
"I want to thank my dear friend Buzzie Reutimann for filling in for me," said Waltrip. "I am so thankful for this honor, but I do have one concern. Buzzie is a racer and he always has been and always will be. He is like me and he is always racing for the trophy. So, I'm a little concerned that Buzzie is taking two trophies to his house tomorrow tonight and that I will never see mine."
"He'll get his trophy some day," laughed Reutimann. "It may just take me a while to give it to him. I've got an extra special place on my mantle to keep it for him until I see him in person. It's an honor for me to accept this award on his behalf. He's got big shoes to fill. I don't know about the speech he gave me to tell everyone. Here I am going to be in front of a few hundred people and I have to make a speech for him. How do you top Darrell Waltrip?"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Darrell Waltrip Motorsports
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Daytona Beach, FL (January 26, 2006) – The #40 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype is ready to take the start of ultimate American endurance challenge, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, with 70 cars scheduled to take the the green flag. Qualifying safely in the twelfth row for Saturday's noon start of this twenty-four hour racing marathon, the Derhaag Motorsports Pontiac Riley carries primary sponsorship from Preformed Line Products with additional sponsorship logos of Coyote Closures®, Park Place Ltd, KeyBank and McDonald Financial Group.
The driver lineup for the 2006 Rolex24 looks like a veritable "who's who in racing" and joining that esteemed group for the Rolex24 will be Derhaag Motorsports full season drivers, Chris Bingham and Randy Ruhlman, along with top Canadian Chevrolet factory driver Ron Fellows and endurance specialist Justin Bell. All four of the drivers are veteran endurance drivers, as well as experienced drivers in other sprint and endurance series.
Ron Fellows has an overall Daytona24 win to his credit (in 2001), as well as multiple wins at LeMans (in 2001 and 2002). Bell and Bingham have extensive experience at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and Bell is a LeMans winner, as well. Ruhlman, having competed in endurance racing early in his career and most recently concentrating on the Trans-Am Series Championship, will be competing in his first Rolex24 at Daytona.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend got under today Thursday January 26th with both day and night practices and qualifying. Driver and pit crew practices continue on Friday with the race scheduled to start at 12 PM on Saturday, January 28th and run a full 24 hours, ending at noon on Sunday. Television coverage on SPEED is scheduled for Saturday, January 28th from Noon until 6PM, and 8PM until 11PM, with continuing coverage from 8AM until 12:30PM on Sunday. The Rolex24 at Daytona is the premier endurance race in the United States and has been held at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida for the past 44 years.
Many of NASCAR’s drivers shifted gears early this month when they gave up racing stock cars in favor of bobsleds at the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge in Lake Placid. The event, which raised research and development funds for the US Men’s and Women’s Bobsled teams, will be televised on ESPN2 on Jan. 29 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and on the Speed Channel on Feb. 4 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Feb. 9 from noon to 2 p.m.
The event pitted NASCAR drivers Steve Park, Kevin Lepage, Dick Trickle, Todd Bodine, Boris Said, Stanton Barrett, Joel Kauffman, former driver Brad Noffsinger, Busch Series driver Tim Fedewa and the project’s creator, former NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine, against one another in two races at the Verizon Sports Complex in Lake Placid.
The drivers quickly rose to the challenge of driving on ice instead of asphalt as both races produced different winners, though one driver, Trickle, crashed in turn 18 during both heats of the first race. He later managed to successfully navigate that turn in the second race.
Organizer Geoff Bodine began the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, which seeks to build high-quality, American-made bobsleds, after watching Americans finish poorly while driving foreign-made sleds in the 1992 Winter Olympics. The project began showing results at the 2002 Winter Olympics when Americans won a gold medal in the women’s bobsledding competition and silver and bronze medals in the men’s four-man competition.
For more information on winter vacation activities in New York State, visit www.iloveny.com or call, toll-free, 1-800 CALL-NYS. I LOVE NEW YORK, Whelen Engineering and Columbia Sportswear joined Chevrolet in the event’s family of sponsors.
For more information on the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, visit www.bodynbobsled.com.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Courtesy Andrea Goldstein, Director of Communications
TORONTO (January 25, 2006) - Auto racing fans have plenty to look forward to this season as TSN today unveiled its comprehensive 2006 auto racing broadcast schedule with 180 hours of coverage. TSN's schedule features 21 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races - all of which are available in High Definition on TSN HD, all 19 Formula One races, and eight races from the Indy Racing League. (Please see below for broadcast schedules.)
TSN's 21-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup broadcast schedule gets underway on February 11 at 8 p.m. ET with the first race of the season - the Budweiser Shootout from Daytona International Speedway. TSN's coverage also features the highly anticipated Daytona 500, which will air the following weekend (February 19). A SportsCentre correspondent will be on-site from Daytona International Speedway to cover all the action from the day's events and race. Last year, TSN's coverage of the Daytona 500 attracted a national average minute audience of 550,000 viewers*, making it the most-watched motorsport race in TSN's 21-year history. TSN's average audience for NASCAR in 2005 was 294,000 viewers, a 37 per cent increase from 2004.
From Bahrain to Brazil, Formula One fans can take a ride around the globe in 2006 as TSN presents all 19 F-1 races this season, including pre-race and qualifying coverage. The highlight of TSN's F-1 broadcast schedule is the highly anticipated Canadian stop on the circuit - the Canadian Grand Prix from Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (June 24/25). The 2006 F-1 season gets underway Sunday, Mar. 12 at 6 a.m. ET with the Bahrain Grand Prix (Qualifying on March 11 at 6 a.m. ET).
Throughout the season, open wheel racing fans can switch gears from F-1 to the Indy Racing League as TSN has coverage of eight IRL races. The 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 - the crown jewel of auto racing - airs May 28. Last year's Indy 500 attracted a national average audience of 311,000 viewers, a 159 per cent increase from 2004, while TSN's 2005 IRL broadcasts attracted an average audience of 113,000 viewers, a 79 per cent increase from 2004. TSN's IRL coverage gets underway with the first event of the season from Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday, Apr. 2 at 11:30 p.m. ET.
TSN's 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup broadcast schedule:
* February 11 - Budweiser Shootout (Daytona International Speedway)
* February 16 - Gatorade Duel at Daytona (Daytona International Speedway)
* February 19 - Daytona 500 (Daytona International Speedway)
* May 6 - Chevy American Revolution 400 (Richmond International Speedway)
* May 20 - NASCAR Nextel All-Star Challenge (Lowe's Motor Speedway)
* May 28 - Coca-Cola 600 (Lowe's Motor Speedway)
* June 4 - MBNA 400 (Dover International Speedway)
* July 1 - Pepsi 400 (Daytona International Speedway)
* July 9 - USG Sheetrock 400 (Chicagoland Speedway)
* July 16 - New England 300 (New Hampshire International Speedway)
* July 23 - Pennsylvania 600 (Pocono Raceway)
* August 6 - Allstate 400 at the Brickyard (Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
* August 26 - Sharpie 500 (Bristol Motor Speedway)
* September 9 - Chevy Rock & Roll 400 (Richmond International Speedway)
* September 17 - Sylvania 300 (New Hampshire International Speedway)
* October 8 - Talladega 500 (Talladega Superspeedway)
* October 14 - UAW-GM Quality 500 (Lowe's Motor Speedway)
* October 22 - Subway 500 (Martinsville Speedway)
* October 29 - Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 (Atlanta Motor Speedway)
* November 12 - Checker Auto Parts 500 (Phoenix International Speedway)
* November 19 - Ford 400 (Homestead-Miami Speedway)
All NASCAR races in High Definition on TSN HD
TSN's 2006 Formula One broadcast schedule:
* March 12 - Bahrain Grand Prix (Bahrain International Circuit)
* March 19 - Malaysian Grand Prix (Sepang International Circuit)
* April 1 - Australian Grand Prix (Albert Park)
* April 23 - San Marino Grand Prix (Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari)
* May 7 - European Grand Prix (Nürburgring)
* May 14 - Spanish Grand Prix (Circuit de Catalunya)
* May 28 - Monaco Grand Prix (Circuit de Monaco)
* June 11 - British Grand Prix (Silverstone Circuit)
* June 25 - Canadian Grand Prix (Gilles Villeneuve Circuit)
* July 2 - United States Grand Prix (Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
* July 16 - French Grand Prix (Circuit de Nevers Magny Cours)
* July 30 - German Grand Prix (Hockenheimring)
* August 6 - Hungarian Grand Prix (Hungaroring)
* August 27 - Turkish Grand Prix (Istanbul Park)
* September 10 - Italian Grand Prix (Autodromo Nazionale di Monza)
* September 17 - Belgian Grand Prix (Circuit of Spa Francorchamps)
* October 1 - Chinese Grand Prix (Shanghai International Circuit)
* October 8 - Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka International Racing Course)
* October 22 - Brazilian Grand Prix (Autodromo Carlos Pace)
TSN's 2006 IRL broadcast schedule:
* April 2 - Streets of St. Petersburg
* April 22 - Twin Ring Motegi
* May 28 - Indianapolis 500
* June 10 - Texas Motor Speedway
* June 25 - Richmond International Speedway
* July 15 - Nashville Superspeedway
* July 23 - The Milwaukee Mile
* August 27 - Infineon Raceway
Schedules subject to change
Durban, South Africa (January 25, 2006) – The streets of Durban, South Africa have the honor of hosting the first A1 Grand Prix of Nations event of 2006 as the ‘World Cup of Motorsport’ resumes this weekend, 27th-29th January, following a six-week break. A1 Team Canada’s Sean McIntosh is particularly keen to hit the temporary 3.2-km track in Durban having experienced the excitement of street racing earlier in his career in North America.
With the first six rounds of the A1 Grand Prix Series visiting established permanent circuits such as Brands Hatch in England or Sepang in Malaysia, Sunday’s Sprint and Feature races will provide the competing nations a whole new perspective as they tackle the streets of Durban’s spectacular ocean front developments. The track, purpose built for the seventh round of the A1 Grand Prix Series, looks set to test even the most experienced drivers but A1 Team Canada’s Sean McIntosh has already proven himself a winner in street racing.
Victory in the Molson Indy Vancouver Fran-Am 2000 support race back in 2002 proved especially sweet for Sean as it was his first win in the category and he triumphed in front of his home crowd. With additional street starts in Toronto and Denver, the 20-year-old Canadian is hoping to put his experience to good use when he takes to the Durban track for the first time on Friday morning.
Previewing the South African round Sean commented:
“I’m looking forward to getting my first viewing of the track as all I’ve seen so far are pictures. From what I can tell it looks like a pretty interesting configuration and to be racing by the ocean is quite spectacular. I’ve obviously sampled street racing from my time competing in North America and I always enjoyed those races and had some success. Ultimately the principles remain the same but there’s a lot more to take in while learning the circuit, the margin for error is significantly reduced by the confines of the track!
“The South African’s are serious about their racing so I’m expecting a good crowd and a great atmosphere this weekend. Our layoff since we last raced in Dubai was slightly longer than expected with the postponement of the Indonesian round but I’m raring to go and can’t wait to get back into the A1 Team Canada car and build on our tenth place standing in the championship points.”
Last week it was announced that Sean McIntosh will be joined in representing A1 Team Canada by Patrick Carpentier (Joliette, Québec). Carpentier, a five-time Champ Car winner, will race for Canada in Rounds 9 and 10 of the A1GP Series in Mexico and the USA.
To: All Honda/Michelin Challenge Series Competitors, Entrants, Sponsors
From: HONDA/MICHELIN CHALLENGE SERIES Office
Subject: Termination of Series
This is to confirm any rumours you may have heard that the Series has been terminated by
Honda Canada Inc.
Upon reviewing financial requirements for the Series and looking at the return on the investment, Honda has made the decision to no longer support the program. Concern was also expressed about the small field of cars in the first two seasons and the feeling that this would continue with the increased cost of preparing the new model cars for competition.
I want to thank all of you for your support and participation and congratulate you on what I feel
was a very valuable contribution to motorsport in Canada. You provided an extremely
entertaining and crowd-pleasing presentation at every event you raced. The competition was
close and was a delight to watch as you displayed tremendous driving ability at each and every
event. I know the crowds are going to miss you.
To our sponsors, and to the sponsors that partnered with the teams, our sincere thanks for being a key part of the program as your contribution was important and very much appreciated.
Thank you, again, for your support.
Honda/Michelin Challenge Series
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (January 24, 2006) - Michael Waltrip announced today that Michael Waltrip Racing will field multiple Toyota Camry entries in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series when the green flag waves for the 2007 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.
"Toyota is a leader in the automotive industry and has quickly become a consistent winner in the NASCAR Truck Series," Waltrip said. "The logical step is for them to come into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and I am honored to be a part of their entrance into the sport."
Driving the No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry, Waltrip has support from all of his sponsors and he has the resources in place to chase the coveted NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship. In addition to NAPA supporting Waltrip's efforts, Best Western, Klaussner (Sofa Express and More) and Coca-Cola will be heavily involved in his racing endeavors during Toyota's inaugural year in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
"Toyota's standards are high and their approach into the sport is well thought out," said Waltrip. "Michael Waltrip Racing's sponsors have also taken their own methodical steps into the NASCAR industry and I am grateful that they are making this march with me and that they share my eagerness in today's announcement. As my new NASCAR NEXTEL CUP organization is formally born today, it's interesting to note that there is already a strong connection with my new partner. Both Toyota and I have Kentucky roots -- I was born in Owensboro, Kentucky and the Camry is assembled in Toyota's plant in Georgetown, Kentucky."
"We are pleased about being a part of Toyota's entry into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series," said NAPA President Bob Susor. "NAPA shares Toyota's enthusiasm for motor sports and through our sponsorship we want to be one of the first to welcome them into the top level of the sport. This partnership is an excellent match for NAPA. We are equally excited about our new partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing. Michael has been synonymous with the NAPA brand since 2001 and we could not be more pleased to have a person of Michael's qualities representing our brand."
"We are an established leader in providing quality aftermarket automotive parts and service," continued Susor. "NAPA AUTO PARTS has coverage and availability of over 300,000 part numbers to service the North American market needs of both domestic and imported name plate vehicles."
To prepare for the future of Michael Waltrip Racing, Waltrip devised a plan to achieve his goal of becoming a successful owner in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Setting the stage in August of 2005, Waltrip announced his plans to design and create Waltrip Racing World, an interactive high-tech race shop designed for the ultimate fan experience.
"Since 1996, we have operated Michael Waltrip Racing out of our backyard," Michael Waltrip explained. "I have always dreamed of constructing the perfect building for a race team. Waltrip Racing World will be just that. NASCAR is a family sport and this, in our opinion, is the definitive family destination. We see the fans packing up their cars and motorhomes and setting out to experience Waltrip Racing World and the area that surrounds it. The value of letting the fans touch, hear and smell the workings of our NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Toyota teams seven days a week not only benefits the fans, but gives our sponsors and manufacturer more exposure. We believe the fans will come during the week to watch our Toyota teams prepare for the races and on the weekends to watch NASCAR action on one of the giant movie screens as part of the experience."
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Two New Exciting Racing Series to Edmonton this Summer
Edmonton – Two new, exciting crowd-pleasing series were announced today that will be hitting the Grand Prix of Edmonton this summer. They are CASCAR Super Series Championship and a Drift Alliance demo. 2006 promises more power, more adrenaline and more excitement with the addition of these two spectacular series into the weekend lineup.
“We are very excited about what these two new series mean to racing fans! Our fans dedication and passion made 2005 such a success and enabled us to bring these two great additions this year,” exclaimed Greg Macdonald, President and General Manager for Grand Prix of Edmonton.
CASCAR has been around since 1981 with over 150 race teams and includes some of Canada’s top stock car drivers. The series is renowned for its fierce level of competition, with over 30 cars on the track fighting for first place. “CASCAR means more entertainment to the fans,” commented Richard Buck, Director of Racing Development for NASCAR, CASCAR’s marketing and management partner. “Edmonton has a long history with CASCAR and we are very proud to be bringing it back to this city.” Local CASCAR drivers like Kevin Dowler are excited to be able to race in their hometown and are sure to bring many loyal fans to the track this summer.
Drift Alliance will be hitting the Alberta racing scene for the first time this summer. Its origin comes from the mountain switchback roads in Japan and has recently been popularized in North American by a group of passionate drivers. A drift is a controlled slide through corners while speeding to the finish line and drivers must maneuver modified cars through corners at speeds and angles that exceed the vehicle’s grip. Drifting repeatedly astounds spectators with a dramatic combination of style, precision and speed. “This demo will give fans a show like they have never seen before,” stated Tony Angelo, driver with Drift Alliance.
Drift Alliance is a great addition to the Grand Prix of Edmonton and will compliment this year’s new Tuner Zone. Tuner fans will now have a chance to see what the cars can really do on a safe track and check out 30 of the hottest examples of car modification and how to do it on their own!
“Our message to race fans is: If you thought 2005 was amazing, just wait till you see the Grand Prix of Edmonton in 2006!” stated Macdonald.
David Brabham will join Scott Maxwell in the No. 50 Panoz Esperante from Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz for the full 10-race schedule.
Sebring, Fla. - Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz announced today that long-time Panoz pilot David Brabham will join the team for the entire 2006 American Le Mans Series season. Brabham will join Scott Maxwell in the team's No. 50 Panoz Esperante GTLM during the 10-race schedule, starting at the 54th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 18.
The team also confirmed that it will compete on Pirelli rubber for this season, continuing a two-year relationship that began in 2004 with Panoz Motor Sports. Using Pirelli last season, the Esperante won in GT2 at the Grand Prix of Atlanta, helping Pirelli finish second in the 2005 class tire manufacturers championship.
Multimatic Motorsports and Pirelli also have a long history together, highlighted by an LMP2 class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000. Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz and Pirelli each are on hand this week at Sebring International Raceway for the American Le Mans Series Winter Test.
"This already has been a terrific week for us," said Larry Holt, Multimatic vice president and team technical director. "We are pleased with how the car has performed over the first two days, thanks in large part to the support we are getting from Pirelli, who we're thrilled to be working with again for 2006.
Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz will field two Panoz Esperantes in the 2006 American Le Mans Series.
"Then adding a driver as talented as David gives us even more reason to be thoroughly optimistic for this season," Holt added. "He has a long history of success with the Panoz LMP1 projects, and he's no stranger to Multimatic and Scott, either."
Brabham is one of the American Le Mans Series' most successful drivers with 11 career victories. He has made 52 career starts (good for fifth in Series history), has 29 podiums, 40 top fives and 49 top 10s. Most of his success came with the Panoz factory team in the early days of the Series with its LMP1 offerings.
"It's fantastic to be back in a Panoz car as some of my fondest racing memories are from the time I spent in the LMP car," Brabham said.
Pirelli and Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz are renewing a relationship that saw them post an LMP2 victory at Le Mans in 2000.
"Having the cars run by Multimatic also is great as it is a world class team and I won a Rolex watch with them in 2003. I'll be partnered with Scott again, who has become a good friend over the years. It should be a competitive and enjoyable year."
Brabham also has driven for Prodrive in the American Le Mans Series on two different occasions. In 2003, he drove Prodrive's Ferrari 550 in seven events and won three times. Last year he was the lead driver in Aston Martin's return to sports car racing with its DBR9. Brabham was part of the winning team in GT1 at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, and he also competed at Petit Le Mans and the Monterey Sports Car Championships to close the 2005 season.
"I always have taken great pleasure in competing in the American Le Mans Series," Brabham said. "Returning full-time has been a goal of mine for a couple of years, and to do it with Multimatic Motorsports Team Panoz is a great feeling."
Multimatic also plans to finalize its driver lineup for the full season and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring by the end of this week.
Courtesy Mark Fries
Owen Sound, Ontario, The Royal Distributing / Factory Recreation Pro Xtreme Team descended on Owen Sound this past weekend with maximum momentum from a number of solid showings in the USA recently.
This weekend the real work began, to chase the PRO and SEMI-PRO titles. Super-Wrench Wayne Legge had the Factory Rec REV's tuned perfectly and Iain and Joey had been training hard and testing even harder leading up to the weekend. The only thing that could slow Iain down now was the GMC truck he careened into while chasing Wayne and the Royal hauler on foot accross the parking lot Friday morning. Luckily, he was no worse for wear and only his ego was slightly bruised! After many laughs, it was time to get to work...
In the Round-Robin heat races on Saturday, Joey Sagan was a near perfect 3 for 4 in SEMI-PRO with 3 firsts and a second place in the SEMI-PRO Open and SEMI-PRO Stock heats. Joey also elected to run PRO 440 for the weekend and won both his PRO 440 heats on Saturday. On Sunday, Joey won both the SEMI-PRO 440 and SEMI-PRO Open heats in the morning to prepare for the final. After a SEMI-PRO 440 heat win on Sunday morning, Joey had to return to the starting line immediately to line-up for PRO 440, all he did was go out and run a solid second in PRO, looking only at Iain Haydens taillight, but thats all anyone did all weekend...
The #93 Iain Hayden REV's rolled off the truck like a juggernaut Saturday and promptly swept all the PRO Open and PRO 440 heats they entered. Sunday morning was no different, as Iain won heat after heat on his way to the Finals Sunday afternoon.Sunday afternoon the black and yellow Royal Ski-Doo REV's led lap after lap, with #202 Joey Sagan winning the SEMI-PRO 440 final in an exciting race, with lots of action just behind Joey.
Immediately following, Joey again lined up for the PRO 440 final, and the #93 of Hayden launched out front early, in the third corner alot of contenders got caught up in a melee that took out the #202 of Sagan, Iain never looked back and cruised to the PRO440 final win. In the high flying Open finals, Joey again led start to finish and won the SEMI-PRO open final in style. In the main event of the day, crowd favourite #93 Hayden didn't dissapoint with lap after lap of high flying triples on his way to a dominating win to cap a sweep of the entire weekend.
All in all, the four feature classes were swept away and the trophies were packed away into the Royaldistributing.com Hauler as the sun set on Owen Sound.
Thanks to Ski-Doo, Kimpex, FXR clothing, Ipone Oil, Studboy Traction, HMK boots, Spy Eyewear, and CKX helmets.
Courtesy Bruce F. Mehlenbacher
January 20, 2006, St. Catharines, ON – Pro Modified Racing Association (PMRA), www.ProModifiedRacing.com, driver Kasey Janzen and KC Motorsports has been involved with blown door slammers for more than 15 years, including involvement in racing the team’s Stroupe-built Lumina to sponsoring race events through his KC Auto Parts company.
“The plan for 2006 is to step up and be prominent in the PMRA season,” said Janzen, who is based in St. Catharines, ON, and placed third in the 2005 PMRA season. “The Lumina is getting a once-over, with the engine receiving upgrades from Oddy's Racing. Together with our team mate Joe Lilienthal, the KC Motorsports team will be a force to be reckoned with this season.”
The racecar is a 1993 Chevrolet Lumina Z34 built by Wally Stroupe Race Cars. The car utilizes a blown Keith Black engine serviced by blower guru Jim Oddy, producing more than 2200-horsepower. This ground-stomping power gets to the ground via an air-shifted three-speed Lenco transmission mated with a Boninfante clutch.
Driver and team owner Kasey Janzen has experienced great success in his racing career. Some of the team’s highlights include numerous wins in IHRA Top Sportsman Quick 8 shootouts, along with wins in UDRA races. The team’s greatest success was taking the championship in the now-defunct CDRS series.
“KC Motorsports has been very fortunate to be associated with great companies through the years,” explained Janzen. “We have enjoyed long-term support from Moen Faucets, Valvoline, Wix Filters, Raybestos Friction, and Dayco Belts and Hoses.” The team’s greatest support comes from KC Auto Parts, an automotive jobber store supplying the needs of local garages and do-it-yourself mechanics.
The PMRA has four events confirmed for the 2006 season, the KC Auto Parts Family Day Celebration at Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga, ON, Saturday, June 24, and the Pro Modified racing Association is pleased to be running inaugural events at St. Thomas Dragway in Sparta, ON, August 5 and 6, the Eaton PMRA Challenge at Sanair near Montreal scheduled for Saturday, August 19, and at the Grand Bend Motorplex, over the Labor Day weekend.
PMRA officials are in negotiations with several tracks at present for 2006, both eighth and quarter-mile tracks in Michigan, New York, and Ohio with the plan of presenting a six-event drag racing series in 2006.
Jan. 19, 2006 - Jamie Holtom will drive the Georgian Bay Motorsports SCADAPack Chevrolet Cobalt SS Supercharged in a bid for the 2006 Grand-Am Cup Sport Tuner class Driver Championship, and help Chevrolet earn the series Manufacturer Championship.
Partnering Jamie will be two-time Grand-Am Cup veteran Eric Curran of Chicopee, Mass.
Their 10-event season of 2 1/2 –hour races will be held on America’s finest road racing circuits. The season opens Jan. 26-27 at Daytona International Speedway.
“After taking two wins, a pole, and some fastest race laps last year, I think we have to be looking at the championship”, said Jamie. “A few mistakes took us out of the hunt in our rookie year, but we’ve got the cars completely sorted out and I have the best team and car in the paddock.”
Last season, the Georgian Bay Motorsports team won three ST class races, most notably a perfect weekend at Ontario’s Mosport International Raceway, which saw Jamie, who that weekend shared the driving with his father, pass Mazda driver Sylvain Tremblay on the last lap to take his first win.
Simultaneously, Jamie, then a 17-year old, became the youngest race winner in the history of the Grand American Road Racing Assn. The duo also became Grand Am’s first father-son race winners.
Jim Holtom had teamed with two-time Rolex Series champion Andy Lally at Watkins Glen in June, where Jamie was not allowed to drive because of his age. Three races after the Mosport win, Jamie and Lally paired in the Cobalt to win at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Jamie spent a lot of time in the gym this off-season, starting as soon as he got home from the final race of 2005.
“My regular regimen of running, biking and rowing, each three times a week, along with lots of balance and hand-eye work has me in my best shape ever. I wanted to be sure I could perform in any condition,” he said.
Jamie is backed by longtime sponsor Control Microsystems, SCADAPack and BK Designs Speedpaint.
Jamie Holtom Fast Facts:
Jamie is an 18-year old racer from Ottawa, Canada. He is the youngest winner in Grand Am history. In his rookie season sedan racing Jamie won two Grand-Am Cup ST class races. In 2004, Jamie was third in the Bridgestone FF2000 series with two wins, two seconds and two thirds. He was also inducted into Sunoco’s Ultra 94 Driver Development team by Ron Fellows and won the Gordon Michael Dewar Memorial Trophy for up-and-coming drivers. In 2003, Jamie raced go karts and became Champion of the SKUSA Florida Winter Tour (RotaxMax), Champion of the OKRA Canadian Grand Nationals (RotaxMax), and finished 4th in the Sunoco Ron Fellows Karting Championship (RotaxMax). Previously, Jamie was Champion of the NCKC Junior Heavy championship, and finished second three times in RotaxMax Jr., Junior Heavy, and Junior Light.
The 14-race tour will visit: Flamboro, Kawartha, Barrie, Mosport, Sunset, Sauble and Peterborough.
The eighth annual Biederman Memorial takes place Sept. 2 at Peterborough Speedway
“There has been quite a bit of discussion on this over the past few months since I initially made it known that mufflers would be mandatory on sprints at all Ohsweken shows in 2006” exclaimed Pelkie. “I really didn’t want to dictate such a rule as I had hoped that the sanctioning bodies would have taken some sort of action themselves to follow the lead of the major sanctions in the U.S. however, this was not the case universally so I made the move” Pelkie went on. “In this day and age, it no longer is an option to ignore the environment”.
Following the inaugural running of the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals last September, Ohsweken owners received notice that something had to be done to curb the noise at the race track. “This was the first time that an event such as this had ever been staged at the speedway and needless to say, Ohsweken Speedway needed to take steps to show that they could and would make an effort to reduce the level of noise emitted. “As everyone knows, environmental issues can be very delicate and it is in our best interest to make this concession. I hope that everyone will understand and comply willingly” stated Pelkie.
Initially announced that the Schoenfeld part# 112535 mufflers would be the only muffler allowed in 2006, the speedway has relaxed the rule slightly. “Any muffler will be allowed in 2006 but the Schoenfeld #112535 will be the only one acceptable in 2007” Pelkie went on. “Ohsweken Speedway tech officials will make initial inspection of all cars however, it is expected that sanctioning series officials will enforce compliance as well”. No grace period will be given and any cars not equipped will not be allowed to compete.
“This is one of the things that Glenn told me I would not like doing when I accepted the GM position” Pelkie concluded. “I believe that most people already have mufflers and by relaxing the timing on the compulsory Schoenfeld part, it will give everyone time to use-up their old equipment”.
Friday, January 20, 2006
FULLERTON, Calif. -- (Jan. 19, 2006) - After a successful 2005 racing season, which included a 24 Hours of LeMans Class victory, Yokohama Tire Corporation's long-running motorsports program will compete in six 2006 racing series.
Leading the '06 charge for Yokohama Motorsports will be its sports car effort in the multi- class American LeMans Series (ALMS). Yokohama will partner with two GT2 teams to participate in races such as the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Yokohama will be back in action for its 18th consecutive season in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama (formerly Toyota Atlantic). Atlantics, a development series that has sent drivers to Formula One, Champ Car, IRL and sports car racing, uses Yokohama ADVAN A005.
Yokohama also competes in the precision driving of Formula Drift, as well as the off-road events of the SCORE International series and Ivan Stewart's Pro Truck Series.
* ALMS: In '05, Yokohama triumphed at the 24 Hours of LeMans and scored several podium finishes in GT2 with Porsche and the BAM! team, For '06, Yokohama will partner with the newly reorganized BAM! Team, now known as Farnbacher Loles Racing. In the same GT2 ranks, one of the most successful sports car partnerships is back on track as the BMW PTG team will compete with M3s on ADVAN racing slicks. BMWNA, absent in recent years from the series, was the winner of the first ALMS race, the 1999 12 Hours of Sebring, on Yokohama tires.
* Off-road racing: Yokohama's Geolandar line will compete again in the SCORE Trophy Truck class with driver Cameron Steele and Ivan "Iron Man" Stewart's Protruck Racing Organization, where all competitors use the same Geolandar MT+.
* Formula Drift: Tire choice is key in the growing sport of drifting, where competitors push their cars and tires to the limit while performing controlled slides and achieving required competition elements. Following its back-to-back Formula D championships, Yokohama will race with defending champ Rhys Millen (Pontiac GTO). Yokohama also competes in the D1 professional drift Grand Prix series.
* Champ Car Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama: This venerable begins its 32nd year of competition. Graham Rahal, son of 1986 Indy 500 winner Bobby Rahal, will enter the fray after winning a 2005 SCCA National Championship in Formula Atlantic on Yokohama tires. He will join a multitude of young drivers, including Katherine Legge, who captured three '05 Atlantic races, including a victory at Long Beach, to become the first woman to win a professional open wheel race in North America.
* SCCA Formula Russell Championship Presented by Yokohama: With all competitors driving equally prepared open wheel race cars shod with Yokohama slicks, this development series rewards the talent and skill of the driver. The 15-year Jim Russell Racing School-Yokohama partnership has helped advance many racing careers, including Scott Speed, who this season will become the first American in Formula One since Michael Andretti in 1992.
* International Automobile Federation (FIA): The sanctioning body has selected Yokohama to supply the official tire for the 2006 FIA World Touring Car Championship and the first FIA European Touring Car Cup. This series races in all corners of the world and in 2005 included two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi winning his first race after losing his legs in a 2001 race at Lausitzring, Germany.
"As the 2006 motorsports season approaches, we look to build on our successes we earned last season," said Robert Dole, Yokohama Product Promotion Manager. "We've worked diligently in the off-season to ensure continuation of our upward movement in all avenues of motorsports participation, whether it's with specialized race products or high performance consumer products. From pavement to dirt, whether it's a street course, Le Mans or the Baja Peninsula, Yokohama Motorsports will be there in 2006 competing for the top spot."
Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based Yokohama Rubber Company, a global producer and distributor of premium tires since 1917. Servicing a network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S., Yokohama Tire Corporation offers a complete line of tires, including high-performance, light truck, passenger car, commercial truck and bus, as well as off-the-road mining and construction applications. For more information on Yokohama's extensive product line, visit www.yokohamatire.com.
Yokohama is a strong supporter of the tire care and safety guidelines established by the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration. Details can be found at the "Taking Care of Your Tires" section at www.yokohamatire.com.
Contact: Michael F. Hollander, PCGCampbell // firstname.lastname@example.org
Story and Photos by Paul Pedicelli
Montreal, QC – A1GP Team Canada representatives were on hand in Montreal on Jan. 19, 2006 to announce that Quebec-born driver Patrick Carpentier will race for the team in the upcoming North American rounds of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations, billed as the World Cup of Motorsport. Carpentier will represent Canada in Rounds 9 and 10 to be staged at Fundidora Park, Monterrey, Mexico (Feb. 24-26) and at Laguna Seca, CA (Mar. 10-12) respectively.
Present with him to make the announcement were current A1 Team Canada driver Sean McIntosh of Maple Ridge, BC and legendary motorcycle and F1 World Champion John Surtees. Surtees serves as a consultant for A1 Team Canada all the while heading the group leading Great Britain’s charge in the inaugural A1 Grand Prix Series. A1 Team Canada Franchise holder, Wade Cherwayko, was unable to attend but had previously expressed his pleasure in being able to secure the services of an experienced racer such as Carpentier for the series’ two stops on this side of the Atlantic.
Carpentier was a natural choice for the A1 Series’ Canadian entry as he already has previous experience on both of the North American circuits. “I’m really excited to be representing Canada in the A1 Grand Prix Series,” he stated. “I’ve raced at Fundidora Park a couple of times already and won my last race at Laguna Seca in 2004 driving Champ Cars – I love the track.” He also noted that several other former Champ Car drivers will be representing their respective countries at said events, notably Dario Franchitti, Tony Kanaan and Brian Herta. “It’s going to be a lot of fun!” he added.
It is this previous knowledge of the circuits that will be fundamental in A1 Team Canada’s pursuit of podium finishes. There is no testing prior to any of the events in the Series and minimal track time during race weekends leading to the main events. As such, Carpentier will have the advantage of not having to worry about learning the circuit as he dials in his A1 GP car.
Coupled with this will be McIntosh’s presence and ability to share his experience with the A1 chassis. “I can help Patrick with settings to quickly attain a proper setup for each circuit,” he said. “At the same time, Patrick’s immense racing experience can be helpful in providing feedback to me.”
This last statement is what the A1 Grand Prix Series is all about. As Surtees himself stated, “This Series is about working together as a team, not about the drivers themselves.” It is the team/car that scores points at the finish, not the driver. As such, national pride comes to the fore in a Series where all chassis are equal and the best team effort is rewarded.
A1 Team Canada is currently in 10th place overall after the first six rounds. McIntosh will continue representing Canada in rounds 7 and 8 at South Africa (Jan. 27-29) and Indonesia (Feb. 10-12), after which Carpentier will take over for North America’s two events. McIntosh will subsequently round out the season in the final race at Shanghai, China (Mar. 31-Apr. 2).
Last word goes to Carpentier. What are his expectations going into the two events? “I don’t know. I don’t have real expectations for results as I haven’t even driven the car yet. I’m happy to go back to Laguna Seca,” he continued, “but I hope at the very least to bring a positive experience and result back to the team.”
When prompted on a prediction as to who would end up on top between himself and Herta, he replied, “I don’t know who will win, but I do know it won’t be Herta!” Don’t have to read between the lines on that one… we wish him the best of luck.
For more information on the A1 Grand Prix of Nations or A1 Team Canada, log onto www.a1gp.com or www.a1teamcan.com.
From Andrea Goldstein // TSN
Daytona Beach, Fla. (January 20, 2006) - After over a year of speculation as
to whether or not Paul Tracy would make his way into NASCAR, it is official.
He has inked a 5-race deal that will see him behind the wheel of a stock car
in the NASCAR Busch Series. Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly will be
fielding the #34 Chevrolet Monte Carlo for Tracy's 5-race NASCAR debut.
Tracy will make his debut at Daytona and then follow up with appearances in
Mexico City on March 5th, Las Vegas on March 11th, Indianapolis on August
5th, and Fontana on September 2nd. Sport Clips (All*Star Haircuts for Men &
Boys) will be the primary sponsor at Daytona International Speedway,
Indianapolis Raceway Park, and California Speedway, with American Crew
(Quality Grooming Products for Men) taking over as a co-primary sponsor with
Sport Clips at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
American Crew will appear as an associate sponsor on all of Tracy's races. Frank Cicci's #34 car does not have a sponsor for Mexico City, but with former Mexico City Champ Car winner
Paul Tracy in the car, it should make the sponsorship search considerably
"I'm very excited about my first opportunity to race in NASCAR, especially
in the biggest race of the year at Daytona. Then moving on to race at Las
Vegas, which is my former home, and then on to Mexico City, where I am a
former winner in the Champ Car Series," Tracy said. "I am thankful to Sport
Clips and American Crew for believing in me and making this work. I also
want to thank Frank Cicci and Jim Kelly for putting me in quality equipment
and supporting me. I would especially like to thank Doug Barnette for
finding the sponsors and bringing the parties together and making this
Sport Clips CEO and Founder, Gordon Logan, was equally excited about the
relationship: "We are extremely pleased and excited about partnering with
Paul Tracy for his NASCAR debut in the Busch Series. Paul brings an
excitement and passion to the sport that will greatly expand the fan base
for the Busch Series, resulting in an increased awareness of Sport Clips in
all of our markets. Our sponsorship with Paul gives us great geographical
coverage with races in Daytona, Las Vegas, Indianapolis and Southern
California. Sport Clips is now in 28 states, with an almost-perfect overlay
with the NASCAR Busch Series races." He continued, "We are particularly
pleased that American Crew is coming on board with us on Paul's car. We have
a great relationship with American Crew, a leading edge product line
specifically formulated for men and boys - our clients!"
American Crew Vice-President of Sales, John Mulgrew, stated, "American Crew
is extremely excited to have the opportunity to work with an American
institution like NASCAR, combined with the ability to have a respected and
recognized driver like Paul Tracy at the helm of our car. This takes the
recognition of our brand and the recognition that Paul creates for us to an
exciting new level."
Sport Clips, Inc. is a Georgetown, TX-based enterprise that currently has
315 stores in 28 states. Targeting men and boys, Sport Clips provides
high-quality haircuts in a fun sports environment, complete with TVs at
every Stylist's station tuned to sports. Every Sport Clips has "guy smart"
Stylists who focus on providing the highest level of service to every
client. Sport Clips is the Official Haircutter of the Veterans of Foreign
Wars (VFW), whose logo will be prominently featured on Tracy's car. For a
location near you or for franchise information, please visit:
American Crew continues to lead the way in the men's grooming business. With
a passionate commitment to men's grooming, their purpose is to bring men
into salons, provide them with a great new experience and show them new ways
of incorporating style into their everyday lives. American Crew recognizes
the growing number of men that are concerned with their appearance and who
want to look their very best. This trend of image-conscious men spans all
ages and backgrounds. American Crew has all of their grooming interests in
mind. For more information on American Crew, please visit
He will be sponsored by a hair-cutting chain.
Terry Bradshaw's team is sponsored by a hair-cutting chain.
Mental note. If you want to get sponsored by a hair-cutting chain.... shave your head.
More to follow....
Thursday, January 19, 2006
As part of Winterfest 2006 celebrations, Brighton Speedway Park has been watering down it’s 1/3 mile, traditionally clay oval, and looking for it to freeze, to better host the Annual Ice Races. This event, scheduled for January 28th, 2006 will provide amateur snowmobile and 4-wheeler drivers, both youth and adult, a day of friendly competition. Added to the line-up this year is a 50 lap Endurance Race for cars.
The only hindering factor may be Mother Nature and her friend Jack Frost. Crews are working around the clock to try and make ice despite the uncooperative weather. Putting to use the “water bus”, donated by Montgomery Transit and modified by Workman Auto Repair and Brighton Speedway, they are now capable of making ice in -20 degree weather without freezing. The bus was designed after numerous problems were incurred the past 2 years with the traditional water truck and our usual Canadian winter weather.
Mark Rinaldi, Brighton Speedway Operations Manager believes that “With a little cold we will have the conditions we need to provide a great day of family fun and entertainment. We are hoping that the weather will reach seasonal norms so everyone can bear witness to this great show.” Local sponsors, including Sam’s Auto Repair, Maestro’s Painting,Trenton Glass and Window, Workman’s Auto Repair, Cornerstone Builder, JC Fuels, Dan’s Suzuki, Stevenson Pumps and Centreton Farm and Sports Supplies, are hoping that spectators and snow sport enthusiasts will enjoy a spectacule of speed and sportsmanship.
The gates are scheduled to open at 8:00, practice at 9:30am. The greeen flag drops at 10:00am. Competitors are encouraged to preregister and can do so by contacting Brighton Speedway Park at (613)475-1102. To stay on top of track conditions be sure to visit the website at http://www.brightonspeedway.com/.
This week’s Raceline Radio Show officially signals our 14th “season” on the air, and proud to say we’re still Canada’s only nationally syndicated motor sport voice. 17 stations strong, with more growth around the bend.
14 years ago, while working on Raceline Motorsport TV, John Massingberd asked me what a motorsport magazine radio show would sound like if we produced one. I knew immediately. I had heard lots of local shows in the States. I thought too many of them were dull, slow and too colloquial. If we were going to handle major league motorsport, NASCAR, F-1, ChampCar, etc., I believed our show had to SOUND major league.
Alan Davis, program director at CJCL Radio Toronto liked the concept and the sport. More importantly, Alan agreed with our major league theory. In fact, he insisted that if Raceline Radio was going to work, it had to sound as big and pro as their Maple Leaf and Blue Jay broadcasts. We were on the same page.
Raceline Radio had to be fast-paced, like the sport. It had to be highly produced with good music, flow and pace, and it had to have the biggest stars as regular guests. Raceline Radio went on the air on CJCL shortly before it became The FAN. TV racing pioneer Ken Squier was our first guest, and never one to blow smoke, Ken said our concept was, “On the Nickel!” Over the 14 years, we’ve been fortunate enough to consistently win international broadcast awards against the best in North America. Our theory is sound.
Of course without our sponsors, affiliate stations, operators and fans who love this sport as much as we do, none of this would have fired up when we turned the key! It’s been a great ride, and we still have a full tank of gas!
Keep those E-Mails coming for The Raceline E-Mail Bag! email@example.com . And don't forget to sign up for our FREE weekly Newsletter!
Until next week, talk to ya on Raceline Radio! ET
COMING UP: SHOW 4
January 22, 2006: 2nd generation star Graham Rahal, Sean McIntosh and Patrick Carpentier on their new A-1 GP pairing, plus The Raceline E-Mail Bag.
BRANTFORD, ON – There is no question that Mark Nielsen's 2000 Chevrolet Camaro is certainly one of Canada's most high-tech Pro Modified Racing Association (PMRA), www.ProModifiedRacing.com, drag race cars. The chassis, designed and built by Pro Modified standout Al Billes, is a chopped, narrowed, and stretched supercharged 2,600-pound machine.
“Our plan for 2006 is to run as many PMRA events as possible and some IHRA National events,” explained Mark Nielsen. “The car will be powered by a new personalized Brad Anderson HEMI built and dyno tested by Carl Spiering and his Jordan Station based business ERD (Engine Research and Development). G-Force Race Cars will be making updates to the car and we should be in real good shape for this season.”
The Nielsen Motorsports Camaro produces an estimated 2,400 horsepower. Nielsen's car utilizes a Kobelco Superman 14-71 Hi-Helix supercharger, an ERD fuel system, and a JBR carbon fiber injector, all coupled to a Lenco three-speed transmission and clutch.
Driver and team owner Mark Nielsen has been active on Eastern Canada's drag racing circuit for almost 20 years. He raced a 1968 Camaro in Super Pro, and a 1987 Corvette in Pro Comp and Outlaw Pro Stock. He first switched to blown door slammers in 1998 when he purchased the supercharged Chevrolet Lumina, formally campaigned by Bruce Boland, which he dubbed "Quick Fix" and moved into IHRA Top Sportsman and regional Pro Modified action. His first full pass produced a stunning 6.62 seconds at 213 mph in the Lumina. After acquiring the Camaro, Nielsen advanced into IHRA National Event Pro Modified and Super Chevy Nitro Coupe competition.
Career racing highlights include a runner-up finish in Top Sportsman Quick 8 Shootout competition during the IHRA National Event at Maryland International Raceway in 1999, and qualifying for Pro Modified competitions at numerous other National Events. He won honors for Best Reaction Time in Pro Competition at the 2004 Norwalk World Finals and has a number of event wins in Outlaw Pro Stock and Outlaw Pro Modified to his credit. Nielsen finished the 2005 Pro Modified Racing Association (PMRA) in ninth place.
The PMRA has four events confirmed for the 2006 season, the KC Auto Parts Family Day Celebration at Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga, ON Saturday, June 24, and the Pro Modified Racing Association is pleased to be running inaugural events at St. Thomas Dragway in Sparta, ON August 5 and 6, the Eaton PMRA Challenge at Sanair near Montreal scheduled for Saturday, August 19 and at the Grand Bend Motorplex, over the Labor Day weekend.
PMRA officials are in negotiations with several tracks at present for 2006, both eighth and quarter-mile tracks in Michigan, New York, and Ohio with the plan of presenting a six -event drag racing series in 2006.
Started late in 2004 and entering its second year of operation, the PMRA ran five events in 2005 at four Ontario, Quebec, and New York locations, with a different winner at each track. The PMRA provides drag race fans the opportunity to see and hear popular Pro Modified racing in the class known as “the world’s fastest door slammers.”
The PMRA is a self-governing organization with its own set of technical and safety rules based on the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Pro Modified division. Cars in the PMRA capture the true spirit of hot rodding, and the class offers a widely diverse group of racecars with different types of 2000-horsepower engines propelling the cars down the quarter-mile in the 6.20-second range at 230 mph.
From: Bruce F. Mehlenbacher mehlenbacher@ProModifiedRacing.com
Carpentier (34), from Joliette, Québec is undoubtedly one of Canada’s most accomplished active motorsport talents with a professional career spanning eight seasons in the Champ Car World Series, where he scored five victories from 22 podium finishes and the 1997 Jim Trueman ‘Rookie of the Year’ honors, and a full season in the Indy Racing League in 2005 where he finished on the podium twice and led the League in laps completed.
“I’m really excited to be representing Canada in the A1 Grand Prix Series,” stated Carpentier. “I’m grateful to Wade Cherwayko for the offer to join the Canadian team and to Mecachrome for allowing me to compete in Mexico and the USA. I won my last race at Laguna Seca in Champ Cars in 2004, I love the track and I know some of the other quick guys from the IRL are going to be representing their countries that weekend – it’s going to be a lot of fun!
“I’ve raced a couple of times at Fundidora Park in Mexico as well so again I know the track and can take the time to get used to the A1GP car. I have to say the A1 Team Canada car looks amazing and I can’t wait to start racing it next month.”
A1 Team Canada Franchise holder, Wade Cherwayko, is equally pleased to have Carpentier represent Canada when the A1 Grand Prix of Nations crosses the Atlantic for the first time next month.
“My objective from the very start for A1 Team Canada was to bring together both the present and the future of Canadian motorsport. Patrick represents the present and I’m delighted that he shares our vision for the team along with Sean McIntosh, one of Canada’s leading young talents,” said Cherwayko.
“Patrick brings an exceptional amount of talent and experience to our driver line-up, he’s a proven winner at the top level of open-wheel competition and more importantly he’s a great ambassador for Canada having competed internationally against some of the world’s finest drivers. Participating in the A1 Grand Prix of Nations gives Canada the opportunity to put its stamp firmly on the world motorsport map and to follow on from the reputation established by the likes of Gilles and Jacques Villeneuve in Formula One.
He continued, “Our involvement in the series also represents a major business opportunity for Canadian companies looking for a global vehicle to promote themselves. With 25 different nations competing and the series visiting five different continents during the season, Canadian businesses can actively promote themselves globally while utilizing the universal appeal of the first ever ‘World Cup of Motorsport.”
France currently leads the A1GP Nations Standings courtesy of nine wins, with Brazil and Switzerland the only other countries to have celebrated on the top step of the podium to-date. Other nations competing in the ‘World Cup of Motorsport’ include the USA, Mexico, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa, China, Japan, Germany and India.
A1 Team Canada currently sits tenth overall following the first six rounds of competition hosted in the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal, Australia, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
With Vancouver’s Sean McIntosh (20) driving for A1 Team Canada, the team has collected a total of seven top-ten starts and seven top-ten finishes, McIntosh’s podium finish in October’s second round Feature race a notable highlight along with a pair of top-six finishes from Round 6 in Dubai in December.
McIntosh will continue to represent Canada in Rounds 7 and 8 in South Africa (27-29 January) and Indonesia (10-12 February) respectively before the A1 Grand Prix of Nations crosses the Atlantic and Patrick Carpentier takes over behind the wheel of A1 Team Canada’s charger in Mexico and the United States.
ENDS – www.a1teamcan.com
Notes to Editors:
The A1 Grand Prix of Nations is the brainchild of Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, whose aim was to create a unique racing series combining the best elements of true world sporting events such as the Olympic Games with the technology and adrenaline charge of top-flight racing. The result is the A1GP ‘World Cup of Motorsport’, in which all 25 competing nations use identical open-wheel A1 Grand Prix cars to battle for pre-eminence.
The inaugural 11 round series, held between September 2005 and April 2006 on some of the world’s most challenging tracks, is being contested by the following nations: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA.
For additional information about the A1 Grand Prix of Nations please visit the media relations area of www.a1gp.com.
FROM: A1 Team Canada Media Relations: Stuart Morrison – PR Manager
The AutoZone West Series, which last visited a road course in 2001, will be the featured event on Saturday of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend (June 23-25), replacing the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Southwest Series. The race will be called the Blue Lizard Suncream 200 — this marks the series’ first visit to Infineon Raceway since 1998.
“Returning to the challenges of road-course racing at Infineon Raceway is a fantastic opportunity for the AutoZone West Series,” said NASCAR Director of Regional Racing Development Don Hawk. “The NASCAR Grand National Division, including the AutoZone West Series, is the training ground for the NASCAR stars of the future, and it’s important that these up-and-coming teams and drivers gain as much experience as they can – on all types of race tracks. For the fans, they will have an opportunity to witness a great race featuring the top regional racing stars on the West Coast.”
The West Series has a long history at Infineon Raceway, including annual visits from 1978-1989 — its first race in Sonoma came in 1978, with Jim Insolo taking the checkered flag. The West Series served as a support race to the NASCAR Cup Series from 1989-1997 in Sonoma, and ran alongside the Craftsman Truck Series from 1995-1998.
Current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Kevin Harvick won the last West Series event at Infineon Raceway en route to winning the 1998 series championship. Other current and former Cup drivers who have earned their stripes in the West Series include Brendan Gaughan, Ken Schrader, Ron Hornaday Jr. and Derrick Cope.
“The West Series has a long legacy at this track and has been a breeding ground for some of the top talent in our sport,” said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway. “This will be a terrific addition to the NASCAR weekend.”
The West Series enters its 53rd season in 2006, making it the West Coast’s oldest stock car racing circuit. The West Series historically competes in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.
The race at Infineon Raceway will span 64 laps and feature drivers like two-time series champion Mike Duncan, 2005 championship runner-up Steve Portenga, Austin Cameron, Jim Inglebright, Mike David, and Peyton Sellers, who recently signed a development contract with Richard Childress Racing. It’s expected a number of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars may compete in the race as the two cars (West and Cup) are very similar. The weekend is presented by Snap-on Tools.
Tickets are now available for the 2006 season at Infineon Raceway, including the Dodge/Save Mart 350. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Considering he's confirmed his participation in Champ Car for '06, the Busch series deal most certainly will be a handful of races that his schedule allows.
Check back for more information!
Daytona Int'l Speedway // Pre-Season Testing
KURT BUSCH (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger)
HOW DOES IT FEEL BEING WITH A NEW TEAM? “I was at Atlanta last week, and that was the first time getting back on track. I felt a little rusty. Everybody looked at me funny. Yeah, it means two different things, getting back into the seat and of course wearing the Miller Lite suit. It’s been fun. Yesterday to see all the fans in the garage area, and fan walk and fan deck, everybody is waving and saying hello. I’m saying, ‘guys, it’s me, not Rusty.’ Then they come up to the window and say, ‘man, we’re happy you’re in the car.’ It’s been different already from that aspect of it. Answering questions to Roger (Penske), Roger calls me three or four times a week, and I have that relationship open up. There are so many new things, things that I look forward to. One comfortable thing I got done this offseason, I brought my spotter with me – Jeremy Brickhouse. He’s a nephew of Richard Brickhouse, the guy I think that won the first Talladega race. Having him in the spotter’s stand is a sense of comfort and gives me a familiar voice when we head out on the track. Everything on the track has been about the same, sitting in the cockpit and driving the car, but everything around has been different, so it’s been a good start to things.”
COMMENT ON SWITCHING FROM FORD TO DODGE “That’s been a unique element. I think the biggest difference obviously is the Dodge didn’t have the success it want to last year, whether it was the lack of rear downforce or too much front downforce, so going to Atlanta doing a tire test for Goodyear was very beneficial for our team. I went to Lakeland and tested our short track car, and the difference between the short track cars is more the difference between the car owners and how they build cars. I guess you could say the difference between Roush and Penske, and everything was positive there. Things were positive at Atlanta. I was cording the right rear tires. Normally you cord the right front tire and blow those tires out. The Dodge was a little looser. It was cording the right rear tire. We’ll make adjustments for that and do what we think we need to do for a full 500-mile race. At Daytona, I believe the Charger is going to be the car to beat when we show up for race time at Speedweeks. The Chevrolets might be fast in practice and they might sit on the front row, but I believe the Chargers, the way the Penske cars have been racing on the plate tracks, as well as Ganassi, it looks like Mears, the veteran guy over there for Chip Ganassi is going to be pretty tough as well.”
COMMENT ON YOUR BROTHER KYLE’S SUCCESS “To see Kyle come up through the ranks so quick and be able to jump from one series to the next and act as he’s belonged there all along… The ability to have that racecar feel, and I think he does a great job relaying the information back to the crew chief on how the car’s handling and what it was like in the pack. To see him come up through the Busch Series and have the success he had there, to jump into Nextel Cup, and I think he sat on the pole at California in his fifth attempt to get a pole and he got it. That showed right away that he was going to be a strong force in his rookie season. To win two races, I think they were given the right credit. He won the night race in California and he won at Phoenix. I think that was motivation that he felt family wise. That was a true testament with what he’s been able to do with racecars and his emotions. One thing Kyle and I always try to do is give good information back to the crew chief, and that stems from working with our father, Tom. We wanted to make his job easier when we were racing cars, so we told him everything the car was doing so we could work on it together. I knew from the beginning that he could be a strong racer and a force to be reckoned with and he’s getting more and more comfortable. I expect great things from him this year. I used to see him in my rearview mirror. Now I’m looking at him through my windshield. There’s a big difference, but it’s fun.”
YOU SEEM TO BE REALLY HAPPY. ARE THINGS THAT GOOD FOR YOU? “I am very happy. It’s obviously very new and things are so different. When things are new it’s easy to get caught up in the newness of it. You just bounce from one thing to the next whether it’s racecar setup or whether it’s different things with the sponsor. Going to Milwaukee so many times already, those guys have instilled some great qualities in me. You’re exactly right. It’s following the Penske MO of how the drivers are. It’s not any type of confidence. It’s not any type of I’ve got a chip on my shoulder. It’s fun to smile and walk around with a Miller Lite suit on knowing the guy in charge is Roger Penske. It goes back to the conversation I had with him during the offseason. I don’t want to do any appearances the morning of the Coca-Cola 600. He looked at me funny and was like ‘kid, what are you talking about?’ I go, “I want to go to Indy with you, dude.’ So I’m going to go to Indy this May and hang out for the beginning of the 500 and then fly back to Charlotte so I can do the race that night. Just opening up the door with him and having that rapport, it’s been great. I feel comfortable with it, but yet there’s so much to learn. People like Deb (Williams) and TR (Tom Roberts) have helped me understand you don’t have to be so up tight and loosen up.”
WHAT IMPACT HAS PENSKE HAD ON YOU WITH THE WAY YOU INTERACT WITH PUBLIC AND MEDIA? “The biggest difference I’ve noticed already, I’ve got a Nextel phone and I had probably 180 numbers saved in there and during this offseason that number has jumped up to 230 and it’s because people come up to me and it’s opened doors for relationships. Talking with Don Miller, we’re getting a couple of street rods put together, and I have to call him up to find out some of his parts suppliers. Ryan Newman, I called him up for some fishing tidbits because I was out on the shore of Virginia having some fun. The opportunity with Roger, he called me Christmas Day and said Merry Christmas. I was blown away. He says he needs me to go to the Super Bowl with him. ‘Can you make it?’ I said let me think about it – OK, we’re there. That’s opened another door to talk with both of his sons – Greg and Roger Jr. I’ve talked with them. I bought Eva a car through Greg. I think that was under Roger’s direction. He said talk to Greg about cars. Roger is great. Don Miller and working with Tim Cindric, the guy from the open wheel team. He’s now the General Manager at Penske Racing South. All the time I’m meeting the people and developing relationships with them whereas before it was just race the car, get in the car, make sure the sponsor is happy and go to the next race. Now I’m realizing there’s more to it than just going around in circles and going fast.”
COMMENT ON THE SOUTHWEST SERIES “I’ve got a great story that goes along with that. I’ll try not to make it too long. It’s tough to see the realignment of the regional Southwest tour cars, the Southwest Series. Late Models used to be a division where you could afford to race ‘em, slap on a set of fresh tires and race ‘em for a couple of weekends. Those days are long gone. The price has just elevated itself beyond a reasonable value of what you could race a Late Model for, but the Southwest Series was traveling around, going from Colorado to Northern California, Southern California, Arizona into Nevada. There were great racetracks that taught racers many different qualities. We would race on the speedway in Phoenix and the mile and a half in Vegas all the way to the road course in Sears Point. All those were Cup tracks. The Midwest Series wouldn’t race on those tracks or the Southeast Series, they might have a chance to get on Kentucky Speedway, so the Southwest Series was very versatile. Back when I used to run three or four races a year were on TV. Those were big TV races and everybody showed up for ‘em. The series just above that, the Grand National West Division, is now going to be pumped. I believe those cars are going to a composite body instead of a steel body. Because when you have a steel body car it takes too many crew guys to fix it every week and maintain. I think that’s the reasoning why. I don’t know for sure.
“The story I wanted to tell, Mike Wallace was racing Winston West and I was racing Southwest Tour. He won a race at Pikes Peak and now he’s racing at the same racetrack I’m racing on. I go up to Mike, he’s a big Nextel Cup guy and I want to go up and talk to him. I asked him how he won the race at Pikes Peak. His carburetor fell off or something. He came from two laps down and won the race. I just wanted to pat him on the back. He told me the whole story, and I told him that was cool. I told him I was a driver in the Southwest Series trying to move up. I asked him what he thought of the Winston West. I said, ‘do you think it’s a softer series?’ As soon as I said that I knew I’d just kicked him in the rear end. Telling him he did a great job winning at Pikes Peak and then told him the series was soft in my next sentence. He said. ‘who are you some arrogant punk? What number are you running tonight?’ I told him I was running the 4 car. He asked where I qualified, and I qualified third. I asked him where he qualified and he qualified 22nd, but he said, ‘I’m going to come and tear your door off.’ Early on I learned I was phrasing things the wrong way. I was trying to find out if the Grand National West Series was the next step I needed to take and try to find a ride in that series or if I should throw my life on the line and go for a truck series ride. After the race Mike came over to me and said ‘find yourself a truck series ride and we’ll see what you’ve got.’ At the end of that year is when I got called by Roush to race the truck at Daytona and I finished second to Mike Wallace in my first race. It was kinda fun.”
HOW HAS IT BEEN WORKING WITH RYAN AND HOW CLOSELY TO YOU EXPECT THE 2 AND 12 TO WORK THIS SEASON? “I think it will take some time, but already I’ve seen movement out of some of the meetings. Matt Borland actually scheduled a meeting with Roy McCauley and Ryan Newman and myself and two engineers. The six of us had a little pow wow. I stayed quiet the whole time. I just listened and tried to absorb what the problem was, which was obviously Newman is a new school guy and Rusty is an old school guy. The two just clashed a little bit. When Newman would have good information and new things found by his team, Rusty was available to that, but Rusty didn’t quite keep it in house, and I think that’s the main reason the two didn’t quite get along. Rusty has grown up in the Cup garage, and he’s got friends like Mark Martin. He’s got friends like Darrell Waltrip. He’s got friends all over the place where they would just chit chat about setup. That’s changed recently, and that’s where the two I thing were somewhat imbalanced. My new crew chief and his engineering frame of mind, it’s the new school way of doing things. Ryan and I have talked about that. It’ll take some time to develop, but I’ve already seen some of the actions take place. They came back from their test here at Daytona last week and told my crew chief what they learned, what they saw and what they didn’t get a chance to run. Here we are this week helping out with some of his setups and what he thought would work that they didn’t have time to get to. We’ll go to Vegas in a couple of weeks and just keep rolling from there. I don’t see Ryan as a problem at all to work with. It’s just a matter of blending into the program. Now with Penske restructuring and having an engineering-based group, I’ve got to step up to that program because I’m used to the old school with Jimmy Fennig, where he was the veteran and had things his way. It’s going to be a great challenge for me to step up, too. Overall I think it will be better for the program once the two of us run parallel with one another. I don’t see a problem at all.”
LAST YEAR, WERE YOU SURPRISED HOW UGLY EVERYTHING GOT? “I was very surprised that it got that personal. With the way everything came about, maybe I could have done it a different way, but I thought the best approach was to notify him early on so they could get their sponsors lined up and do the things they had to do. I was a bit disappointed that Mark Martin had to stick around for another year when he said he
was going to retire. I don’t know how that came about, but I thought Mark set a precedence to have his salute to you and what he had done for the fans over the years. I really thought it was a great way to go out and now he’s back. It just kinda gets weird over there every now and then. I just look forward to driving the Miller Lite Dodge. I’ve got a trip to Milwaukee next week to learn more things about the brewery and their direction. That’s where it will change over, and I’ll be known as the Penske guy and move on from there.”
COMMENT ON DENNY HAMLIN “With Denny Hamlin I was very surprised. He got a pole last year in the five or six starts he made. Just the maturity he showed, I didn’t know him all that well from the Busch Series. Then he jumps into Cup and runs as competitive as he was running. It’s a quality car, obviously, and it’s got great people around it, but the kid’s got to drive it and he did great. I would say going into this year that since my brother is not a rookie I’m bias toward Denny Hamlin for rookie of the year.”
HOW NEW SCHOOL ARE YOU? “I think I’m new school enough. I grew up with a Ninetendo. I’ve got one of those laying around. Having the background I’ve had with computers, I took a little typing course in the eighth grade. My mom is a secretary and she made me. I took a word processing class to help create my resume for college in the ninth grade. I think I know computers. The programs I’ve seen created to help racecars and technology I’ve kept up with. I’ve got ‘em downloaded on my laptop so that I can tinker with them and understand and try to throw in equations, but I am behind with the times with the way Penske operates. I’m always looking for challenges to expand my mind for one thing and to obviously get up to the level of Roy McCauley who has had success on the Busch Series level. Now it’s time to see what we can do on the Cup level. It’ll be a challenge. We’ll see what we can do.”
DID YOU TAKE IT PERSONALLY WHEN THEY CHANGED THE 97 TO THE 26? “I actually took it the opposite way. I thought it was an honor to have them retire that number or move it off to the side. I took it over from Chad Little. They kept asking me what number I wanted. I didn’t really know, so we kept the 97 and took it from a non-race winner to a contender and then to a winner and then on to a championship level. I always looked at that little banner that Jeff Gordon had when I was growing up watching races of his checklist with Ray Evernham -- an upstart to a contender to a winner to a championship to a dynasty. So the number got retired quickly after the championship so it’ll be a dynasty for a long time.”
TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S GOING TO BE LIKE NOT HEARING JIMMY FENNIG ON THE RADIO “I’m trying to come up with a nickname for Roy because he’s switched on. That’s what we call him. He’s bouncing here. He’s bouncing there, but he’s got a direction. He has purpose to all of his calls. He is 180 degrees different from Jimmy Fennig. It’s cute. When I first got over to the Penske shops, everything is wide open. The shop is huge and everybody’s got their big desks and big glass windows. You could look in the windows and see what’s going on except Roy’s engineering room. I went in there and there were all kind of gadgets in there that looked like they belonged in NASA and the windows are frosted. I’m like, ‘what did you do Roy?’ He said, ‘Yeah, Roger was about to rip me for that..’ I’m like, ‘so he doesn’t like it?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘I’m going to call you frosty then.’ He’s kind of a big guy and he looks like a snowman a little bit and he’s frosting windows. He’s like a cannon ball really. He can bounce around and get things done pretty quick. He leaves a lot of damage behind but we learn a lot as we go. I think Roy is a great guy, and I look up to him and his experience level. With his voice on the radio already we’ve got a plan and things sound good. I just can’t have him stretching me on fuel and tires like he did in the Busch Series in the Cup Series. I have to help with some of the experience level I have to balance him out and make him a better all-around crew chief.”
DID YOU THINK YOU NEEDED TO MAKE A CHANGE TO BE PART OF A SMALLER ORGANIZATION? “I looked at the opportunity to drive for Roger in many different ways. The pros on his side and the pros on Roush’s side, the cons and the cons. The balance of everything came together when Roush decided to do this consolidation. What that means is I used to have a guy who worked his way up through the food chain to hang bodies on a racecar, to have his own surface plate. That means a lot when you spend 12-15 years of your life working your way up through the ranks of a race team. He was my plate guy. He’d build me speedway cars and short track cars. He would build everything for me and then they said they were going to consolidate everything. He said, ‘well, what am I in charge of?’ He’s in charge of right front fenders for all five cars. It takes away the identity of what that guy was trying to put forth into that team. My biggest lesson I learned from Jimmy was to be a team player. Even when I was on my way out over there I was helping Mark Martin. If you want to lead a lap, go ahead and grab your five points. I was trying to help them make their cars better because we were all in The Chase. It’d be great to see one of our cars win. A few things added up here and there and of course the relationships with the people could be different I thought, and they’re turning out to be. It’s definitely an eye opener to know you can have a relationship with the team as well as race competitively.”