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Posted by claireblang in Breaking News, Teams.
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In a news conference at 11:00 a.m. EST this morning the word became official that Petty Enterprises is moving it’s operation to Charlotte. Although expected (it’s hard to keep secrets in the NASCAR community) it signals the end of an era and a major move for the Petty’s

Richard Petty announced in a teleconference a few minutes ago that in effort to garner continued wins and championships, he and Kyle have agreed to move Petty Enterprises closer to the center of NASCAR activities in the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area.
They have reached a multi-year lease agreement for shop space located in the city of Mooresville. The space was formerly occupied by Robert Yates Racing and its two-car Nextel Cup operation.

“Level Cross will always be the home of the wins and championships that the Petty family built,” said team owner Richard Petty. “It is where Petty Enterprises was founded and where the team has won and built a legacy in NASCAR. Petty Enterprises and Level Cross are the same as Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers, Yankee Stadium and the New York Yankees and Boston Garden and the Boston Celtics. ”

“At the same time this is a very exciting time for Petty Enterprises and our partners,” continued Petty. “We are going to continue the heart and soul that is in Level Cross to what now has become the center of the NASCAR world. This was a tough and emotional decision for our family. We care deeply about our roots and this community. We will always call Level Cross our home as we never forget where we came from. We are looking forward to continuing our legacy at this new location.”

The move, to begin in December and completed by end of the year, includes the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge driven by Bobby Labonte and the #45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil/Wells Fargo/Tire Kingdom Dodge driven by Kyle Petty. It’s another move in the forward direction since 2006 when Robbie Loomis was named Vice President of Race Operations and 2000 Nextel Cup champion Bobby Labonte was announced as driver of the famed 43 Dodge. It has not yet been determined how the current location of Petty Enterprises will be used in 2008.


Posted by claireblang in Items of Interest, Show Items.

Old School Racers Race Again – In a 2008 Race Tour!

Yesterday, on “Dialed In” on XM, I had Gene Weaver from the Old School Racing Champion’s Tour on – with breaking news about a race tour for 2008 that will feature past racers who will now have the opportunity to race again in venues near tracks on dates that are adjacent to NEXTEL Cup dates. I had a tidbit emailed to me from a listener who caught wind of this and when I dug into it was an interesting breaking story.

I have had so much email from listeners asking for the web site for the project and so here it is: http://www.osrct.com.

When I called Weaver yesterday he had told me that manufacturer support was coming and he was about to break the story on air when he said he had not had final confirmation. Later in the show, after he got off air with me, he emailed me that he had gotten the confirmation to release to me that Toyota Motor Sales had approved the contract and has come aboard as a Title Sponsor of Two OSRCT races in 2008. The news release will probably go out Monday on that breaking news.

Drivers who have said they will participate include: Johnny Rumley, Harry Gant, Andy Hillenburg, Jack Ingram, David Pearson, Dave Marcis, Larry Pearson, Geoffrey Bodine, Phil Parsons, Joe Ruttman, Tracy Leslie and more (see the osrct site for full list).

Race dates include tracks near the following 2008 Cup race locations on adjacent dates: Cup All-Star Race, Cup Lowe’s, Prelude to the Dream, Cup Michigan, Cup Daytona, Cup Weekend Off, Cup Michigan, Cup Richmond, Cup Lowes, Cup Martinsville and Cup Daytona in February of 09.

In the OSRCT, each driver will be competing for a charity of their choice as well as for themselves. Each driver will have the logo of the charity they are competing for on the side of their race car. This will bring attention to the charity as well as a donation on behalf of the driver. There will also be a limited access autograph session before each race and all proceeds will go toward charity. OSRCT has preliminary drawn up a system very similar to other popular racing series.

Drivers are only eligible to compete in 6 of the 10 races. OSRCT will take the best five of a drivers six races and that would be their points total for the year. After the 10 regular season races, OSRCT would take the top 10 in driver points and they would advance to the Championship Race.

Points positions 11-30 will compete in the Last Chance Race the night before the Championship Race. The top ten in the Last Chance Race will be placed with the 10 drivers already in the Championship Race, for a one race Championship “shoot-out”. And we’re thinking “Winner-take-All”. What a heck of a race that will be!

The vehicle will be a fully adjustable complete race vehicle, meeting the current safety standards approved by an outside third party. The vehicles will be equally prepared, maintained, transported and provided to the drivers by OSRCT. I hear it will be a Busch North Type Car.

For more information you can check the web site for the OSRCT. I have had a lot of email from fans who are excited to see the likes of Harry Gant and David Pearson racing again.

I’ll keep you posted.

BREAKING NEWS – NASCAR has tire specialists sign form today – “No altered lug nuts” November 4, 2007

Posted by claireblang in Breaking News, Teams.

Hi all- my normal visit up and down pit road with the team guys this Sunday morning netted some interesting information that I thought you’d like me to post immediately.

NASCAR Asks Cup Tire Specialists To Confirm…….NO ALTERED LUGS
Budweiser #8 Tire Specialist Says Altered Lug Nuts Were Not on Car in Atlanta

Early this morning here at Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR officials took example lug nuts with threads altered that were on the Hendrick and JR Motorsports Busch cars yesterday and showed them to all of the tire specialists up and down pit road and in the NEXTEL Cup garage.

One tire specialist from each team was then asked to sign a NASCAR form confirming that they had seen the altered lugs and understood that if they used such lug nuts in the race today they would be penalized. I was told they understood that, among other penalties, their hard card access would be taken away if they used such lug nuts today.

Further penalties are expected from NASCAR for the Hendrick and JR Motorsports Busch teams, the No. 88 team with driver Brad Keselowski and the No. 24 team with driver Casey Mears. The two teams had to replace all of the lug nuts on the tires on the car as well as the on the tires in the pits after NASCAR had an issue with them having been altered. Some of the lug nuts had a thread turned out of them to make the pit stops faster.

I spoke with tire specialists from a half-dozen teams today who confirmed to me that utilizing lug nuts with less threads would make changing tires, especially in the Busch series (where the studs are longer) quicker. The tire specialists asked not to be identified but told me that lugs with altered threads is a common practice for teams in the pit crew competitions because it makes pit stops faster. Several specialists indicated using lugs with less threads would be a safety issue.

Naturally, the assumption by some in the garage is that altered lug nuts also could have been the reason that Dale Jr’s wheel came off last Sunday, causing a serious accident, during the race at Atlanta.

Ray Osian Tire Specialist for the Dale Earnhardt Incorporated Budweiser #8 car, told me such altered lug nuts were not the issue with the tire situation at Atlanta. “No, no, not at all,” Osian said this morning here in the garage at Texas Motor Speedway. ” Safety is probably one of the biggest things we’ve got…..Safety on this team is really, really important. I’s our first priority and that’s an area that we really don’t mess with. We didn’t have a problem our lug nuts (at Atlanta) we didn’t set it up different.”

Osian added,” I saw the lug nut (from the Busch race yesterday). The NASCAR officials actually went around the Cup garage with an example of one of the lug nuts where it had been worked on. All the tire specialists had to sign a paper saying that they saw it and you were caught today, Sunday, here in Texas if you were caught today with them – you were going to be penalized, but no we weren’t part of that program.

I asked Osian point blank if there was no altering the lug nuts on the #8 car at Atlanta.
“No, no. I can see where that the situations go back to back with each other and that kind of thing but no it wasn’t the same thing,” he answered.

What was the problem that caused Dale Earnhardt Jr’s car to loose a wheel? Osian told me that it was not a wheel problem. He said that he went to NASCAR during the test at Atlanta and asked for NASCAR to return the wheel which they did. He confirmed that it was not a problem with the wheel.

“The wheel was loose. We’ve got a guy – our guys that change tires they do a really good job. I mean when things go bad its always easy to – pick a guy out but that’s not the case in this. The guy is really good and we never have a problem with him and we win and loose as a team and that’s pretty much as simple as it gets.”

Osian’s statement, although not pinpointing one guy, indicated that the left rear tire changer did not sufficiently tighten all the lug nuts on the #8 car when the car was sent back onto the track at Atlanta. On lap 327 of the Pep Boys 500, the left-rear wheel came off of the Bud car while running in third position and Dale Jr crashed very hard in turn one.


Speedway Motorsports, Inc has agreed to purchase New Hampshire International Speedway November 2, 2007

Posted by claireblang in Breaking News, Tracks.

It’s official now:

Speedway Motorsports, Inc has agreed to purchase New Hampshire International Speedway from Bob and Gary Bahre for $340 million in cash. The agreement was announced today here in the auditorium in the Media Center at Texas Motor Speedway by O. Bruton Smith, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008. Smith told us the track will be renamed New Hampshire Motor Speedway following completion of the acquisition. Smith was

NASCAR’S Chairman and CEO Brian France issued a statement immediately after the announcement was made that said, in part, “While we don’t have any details about SMI’s plans for NHIS, all sanctions for 2008 have been signed and finalized. As a result, there will be no location changes to the 2008 schedule that was released last month. This is important to the fans, competitors, broadcast partners and sponsors who have already made plans for the 2008 races. Looking beyond 2008, NASCAR will continue to consider requests by any track operator, including SMI, to relocate race dates. Under NASCAR’s “realignment” plan, we have worked with track owners to relocate race dates to meet the needs of our growing national fan base. Ultimately, any change must meet NASCAR’s objectives and serve our fans.”

Stay tuned for more details. Smith was his classic clever, humorous self as reporters lobbed questions at him regarding his plans and Smith, on his game, and obviously enjoying it, lobbed back answers that contained no specific details of what he planned to do with the track’s dates. With each followup and attempt to pin him down he lobbed back humorous come backs that at times sent the packed room of reporters in to loud gales of laughter.

One thing is for certain the 80-year old Smith does not plan to stop developing or buying tracks any time soon and he made that clear today.