Crew Chief Change For Jason Leffler
Braun Racing shook up its oldest Nationwide Series team Tuesday, firing crew chief Scott Zipadelli from the No. 38 car. Trip Bruce will serve as an interim replacement for the next three weeks while owner Todd Braun seeks a permanent hire.
"We felt it was necessary to make some changes on the No. 38 team as performance has struggled this season," Braun said in a statement. "We are looking for a spark to ignite the team and improve their on-track performance. We have been through a lot of good races with Jason, and I feel like this is a better team than results have shown."
Zipadelli joined the team at the start of 2009, leading Leffler to a fourth-place finish in the standings that season on the strength of 20 top-10 finishes. But the team has struggled this year, scoring just one top 10 compared to three DNFs, all for wrecks, which have left them 15th in points, 575 markers behind leader Brad Keselowski.
No comment from Leffler was available at press time. He’s currently splitting time in the No. 38 this season with Cup veteran Kasey Kahne, racing a handful of starts in Braun’s No. 10 to finish off his schedule as he competes for the season championship.
Kentucky Lawsuit Resolved
A Kentucky track lawsuit dragging on nearly five years against the ISC has finally come to a close. Jerry Carroll, one of several former track owners of Kentucky Speedway, has settled on the eve of a trial determining whether he would be capable of continuing the case. According to Carroll, he told several papers on Friday that he’d decided to no longer pursue the matter, refusing to disclose the amount of any financial settlement that has been reached. The trial has officially been canceled, and no longer appears on the docket in federal court.
For years, the lawsuit alleged that ISC had a monopoly on the Sprint Cup schedule, with dates unfairly assigned and kept away from tracks like Kentucky that had proven the basic qualifications needed for a race date. However, federal courts had ruled against Carroll and Co. both in the initial judgment and on appeal, leaving the matter on life support heading into this spring. With the track sold to SMI nearly two years ago, new track owner Bruton Smith had repeatedly called on the former owners to drop the suit, and all of them are due a $7.5 million contingency if the track is awarded a Cup date – something NASCAR said would not happen until the issue was dropped.
With the lawsuit cleared, it’s now widely expected for the track to get that Sprint Cup date in 2011. To do so, Smith is expected to ask for a date switch from one of two races at Atlanta or Loudon, two tracks with multiple Cup dates but whose attendance has fluctuated at times.
Bodine Back With Gunselman Motorsports
After starting-and-parking at Richmond, an interesting pairing returns to the entry list at Darlington, with driver Todd Bodine getting back behind the wheel of the No. 64. The duo had initially partnered in February, 2009 along with brother Geoff, planning to build a full-time Cup team over the long haul. But by Memorial Day, just three starts combined with seven DNQs caused the partnership to run out of money and patience. All parties parted ways, and the Gunselman team only qualified for three more races the rest of the year, finishing none of them.
Now, Bodine is back behind the wheel, although sponsorship has yet to be secured for Saturday night’s race. Should he qualify, it’ll be the 232nd Cup start for the 46-year-old, who has seven top 5s and 21 top 10s at the Cup level.
Have news for Tom and The Frontstretch? Don't hesitate to let us know; email us at ashl...@gmail.com with a promising lead or tip.
It's Frontstretch Podcast Time!!!
Don't forget about Tom
Bowles and Matt Taliaferro's Athlon / Frontstretch Podcast, sponsored
this season by Wrigley's! Check out the archive by clicking here,
and look for the newest edition to head your way sometime later this
week! Of course, if all else fails, you can always listen to us on
iTunes for FREE! Search for our weekly show under "Athlon."
Today's Featured Commentary
A Sneak Peek Into The Hall of Fame
by Mike Neff
Tuesday was Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. I walked through the doors with just one week to go before the gala grand opening, and 19 days before the induction of the very first class of honorees. No question, my first impression was high: the place is looking great. There's a few things still to be worked out, but it is a very cool place to visit. Whether you're a casual fan or an old school stock car racing nut, there is more than enough for everyone to see.
The experience begins with a 12-minute video that gives a foundation to the philosophy of the Hall of Fame. It is presented in what the Hall likes to call 4D, with four different video screens that sometimes work in harmony to display single images while other times showing individual pictures. The entire montage is just enough to get the hair on the back of your neck standing up, your heart pounding as though the green flag is just about to drop at the beginning of a race.
As the video ends, the rear doors to the theater open and you spill out into the grand center of the building that houses the Glory Road. The foyer houses a couple of cars that represent exciting races that took place at Charlotte Motor Speedway, along with the first and last trophies presented in the Nationwide and Truck Series to go with Jimmie Johnson’s four Sprint Cups.
As you proceed up Glory Road, there are cars from the earliest years of NASCAR to the current day, along with representative vehicles from the Trucks, Nationwide, and Whelen Modified Tours. The road banks gradually from zero to 34 degrees, representing the varying degrees of banking on all of the tracks across the NASCAR landscape, both current and past. There are informational signs about the cars and the tracks. Some of the track signs even have samples of the track surface that you can touch and feel.
Once you get to the top of the ramp, you reach the Hall of Honor where the inductees' displays are housed. At the back of the Hall of Honor is a skybox that affords visitors a panoramic view of the entire foyer. Beyond the Hall is the Food Lion Race Week, which offers race fans a chance to learn a multitude of things about making a race car work. Suspension parts, engine inner workings, jacks, gas cans, air guns, everything that it takes to make a car compete on a race weekend is featured. Fans can change a tire, jack a car, simulate filling a car with gas, and theoretically configure a race car to run properly. There is even a full-size hauler that patrons can walk through to see all of the compartments and items that a race team takes along on a race weekend. After touching and viewing all of the inner workings of the race car, fans can cap it off by climbing into a full-size race car themselves and driving a simulator on whatever track is next up on the Cup schedule.
When the driving is done, fans can head up to the fourth floor and visit the Heritage Speedway, viewing small pieces of history that have been gathered from a multitude of sources. There are trophies, flags, programs, helmets, driving suits, and assorted memorabilia that span the full 65 years of NASCAR’s history in that room. Along with all of the artifacts, there are three theaters that highlight the history of automobiles before NASCAR, those people who have passed on who've made a significant contribution to and the greatest finishes in the history of the sport.
The Hall is an amazing display of NASCAR from the earliest of days to the present, and everything in between. The interactive nature of the building runs from beginning to end. Fans are given a “hard card” at the beginning of the experience and utilize it throughout, be it to take quizzes about the history of the sport or to simulate pit stops. At the end of the visit, fans close out their card and take it home with them. They can then log on to a website that allows them to relive their experience as often as they’d like, over and over again.
The only thing that could possibly be better, from my perspective, would be additional historical memorabilia. For those fans who are true junkies for things like race tickets, programs, flags, and driver accoutrements, there should be a greater amount lying around. However, there are without a doubt plenty of rare items from the entire spectrum of stock car racing, and fans will most definitely be treated to things that they will never have seen before.
The Hall opens May 11th, with the induction ceremony for the inaugural class on May 23rd. The Hall encompasses 150,000 square feet, cost $195 million, and is expected to have an annual economic impact to Charlotte of $60 million. There are also 40,000 square feet of interactive exhibits and artifacts on display for everyone who visits. So if you’re going to be anywhere near Charlotte after May 11th, the NASCAR Hall of Fame should be high on your priority list of things to see and do.
Mike Neff is a Senior Writer for Frontstretch.com. He can be reached by e-mail at mike...@frontstretch.com.
FORGET TO PLAY FANTASY THIS YEAR? THERE'S STILL TIME TO JOIN OUR FREE LEAGUE!
What is it they always say about better late than never?
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Think you have what it takes to write for the Frontstretch?
you looking for a fast-growing website that can give you an opportunity
to not only share your thoughts on racing, but have FUN doing it with a
group of laid-back, dedicated personnel? Well, we have the place for
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Follow this link for more information on how you can become a weekly columnist for the site and/or newsletter!
Tweet 'N' Greet
by Jay Pennell
Note: With the NASCAR Twitter community expanding by leaps and bounds
this year, it's become a place for instantaneous news, reactions, and a
whole lot of inside jokes. We understand if you don't want to join the
Twitter community - but as a fan, it's important to know the news and
info you're missing out on! That's why, every week, Jay Pennell will
sort through the thousands of messages and give us a little taste of
what's going on each Wednesday.
So, without further ado, here's a look at what those in NASCAR were thinking over the past seven days...
My @miraclewhip ride for Charlotte! http://twitpic.com/1kywzj
This one's for @kylepetty & friends. Best sign ever! http://yfrog.com/0bj3haj
Thoughts and prayers to those dealing with flood waters in Tennessee. #nascar #sprintcup #fb
Random thoughts pop into my head at the most random times
Not much happening this week... and I am looking forward to it.
One last thing on this subject!..I drive for a team..I don't own it..I can't afford tires...6 sets at $1,800 =$10,800 A RACE!..R U SERIOUS
I was told, "They twisted what I said." I was reminded of what my mother once said, "There's nothing to twist if you keep your mouth shut!"
Just read that Roger Waters is touring The Wall this fall. FACT: I will be there.
Dogs are slowly passing the humans in the race for dominant species. We now follow dogs around, carrying their poop in pretty little bags.
I hope u are not doggin' Joe!! He's kind of a hero of mine! RT @mw55: If Joe Dirt can make a movie, couldn't we all?
Me n @MartinTruexJr56 both in top 10. Together, we can win! Then he can win. And I win, too. Win win! U heard of it. Now vote for it. Love, MW
About to head in the gym. It's international chest day so I think I might do legs. Who's ready for Darlington?
I just had a great call. It looks like I will be driving the #46 Cup car starting at Darlington this weekend.
[Maybe] it's just me, but it's weird to be sitting next to a guy in biz suit waiting for a pedi.
I love a BLT. The B is definitely the star of the show. L and T should be very thankful for B. W/o B they are just salad.
Strapping back in the dirt late model for a test for the Prelude to the Dream this week. Love sliding those cars around.
I mean, really, how many autographs can you pile on 1 table... http://twitpic.com/1koywv
What a great win for #18 team and Dave Rogers for his first Cup win! Had a great day just hanging w/ friends. Thanks for all the birthday wishes!
Come work out with @pitfittraining in Mooresville at The Pit May 19th and 26th. More info at www.pitfittraining.com.
Wow!!! That's why the Camping World trucks are the best racing in NASCAR, I hope you can see it, unbelievable
Holy s**t! how awesome was that??? Uh but from an owner's perspective, SCARY!
How awesome is Ron Hornaday! I miss racing with him, and really glad I learned how to re-start from him.
Frontstretch had a nice article about us: http://www.frontstretch.com/bkeith/29231
Not sure what happened last night... car was really good at the start and then just went away? Maybe a bumpstop failure?
O and for all of u wonderin' for kb's bday present I set it up so that he gets to go get drifting lessons from a pro! He's gonna have a blast!!
Fun night .... Knowing u can beat these guys straight up is awesome. MW's lil engine that could - IS!
What a frustrating day...car was just not up to our standards. We will figure it out first thing Monday.
I think we could fall in a barrel of $100 bills & come out holding a penny! #nascar
Victory lane, baby!!!!!!!! http://tweetphoto.com/20746194
Jay Pennell is a Website Contributor to Frontstretch.com. He can be reached via e-mail at jaywp...@yahoo.com, and you can also check out his work at allleftturns.com or jaywpennell.blogspot.com.
Blue Smoke And Burnt Rubber - Now For Sale!
Did you miss S.D. Grady’s racing mystery “Blue Smoke and Burnt Rubber” last year? Not to worry! The entire story is now available in print at Lulu.com.
Lady Luck keeps haunting the teams of Van Lytton Racing.
However, it’s not the kind of luck that lands you in Victory Lane.
When somebody is caught tampering with the fuel during a race, it
becomes clear Lady Luck is having more than a little help. Chris
Weaver, a lowly RV driver for Van Lytton Racing, takes us from track to
track on the Grand Stock Car Association circuit while the FBI helps to
unravel this deadly mystery.
Click here to buy the book today! Or, visit Lulu.com for details.
TODAY ON THE FRONTSTRETCH:
Q. Ward Burton has had an up and down relationship with Darlington Raceway over the years. Burton finished fourth in the Southern 500 in 1995 in only his second start for Bill Davis Racing, moved up to second behind brother Jeff in the rain-shortened 1999 Southern 500, and then eventually won two races outright.
However, in the 1996 Mountain Dew Southern 500, the weekend didn't go all that well. In the race, Burton wrecked early and was credited with a 40th-place finish. That was the second car he'd had to use that weekend. What happened to the first one?
Check back Thursday for the answer, here in the Frontstretch newsletter.
Q. In 1992, Davey Allison had a chance to win the Winston Million, where the million dollar bonus was paid to one driver if they were able to win three of the four biggest races in the sport (Daytona 500, Winston 500, Coca-Cola 600, and the Mountain Dew Southern 500). Allison ran very well at Darlington, leading 72 laps. However, an error cost him a chance at the million bucks. How did this happen?
A. On Lap 278, the caution flew for rain while Davey Allison was running in the top 5. At the time, teams used to send a representative to NASCAR's hauler in order to view a radar screen. Today, most of the teams have that available on their pit boxes.
On this particular occasion, Robert Yates Racing sent a crew member that was not well versed in reading a radar screen. He saw a bunch of green on there and thought that the race was going to restart. As a result, Allison pitted for tires. After spending 20 laps under caution, NASCAR finally red-flagged the race and eventually declared it complete. Darrell Waltrip was declared the winner, while Allison had to settle for fifth.
Frontstretch Trivia Guarantee: If we mess up, you get the shirt off our backs! If we've provided an incorrect answer to the Frontstretch Trivia question, be the first to email the corrected trivia answer to tri...@frontstretch.com and we'll send you a Frontstretch T-Shirt ... FREE!
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has negotiated a special price for its readers on all paints and
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location. Tell your sales associate to use account number TA000553 to let them know that you are a Frontstretch reader, and you are entitled to a 15% discount off the WHOLESALE price on any stocked item. Not valid at dealer locations.
Coming tomorrow in the Frontstretch Newsletter:
-- Top News from Phil Allaway
-- What's Vexing Vito by Vito Pugliese
-- Links to your favorite Frontstretch articles, and more!
Tomorrow on the Frontstretch:
MPM2Nite by Matt McLaughlin
McLaughlin Mouths Off has now become MPM2Nite. This week, Matt breaks ranks from the usual NASCAR news and notes to give us his take on what's bound to be an incredible month of May at the mecca of auto racing: Indianapolis.
Dialing It In by Jay Pennell
This week, Jay takes a look at how Silly Season may have calmed down for a bit right now, but a long list of expiring contracts will have every team dealing with dominoes falling sometime between now and the end of the 2011 season.
Fanning The Flames by Summer Dreyer
With Matt out for the week on vacation, Summer's filling in for our weekly Q & A column. Do you have something you'd like to
ask her? Don't sit on the sidelines! Send it to summer...@live.com
, and you just may see your question in print!
Fantasy Insider: Southern 500 by Mike Ravesi
Our fantasy racing expert will make sure you're keeping your team away from those Darlington stripes, packed with the perfect roster to lead you to victory at the Lady in Black.
Speed Reads by Becca Gladden
Becca has an engaging review of one of the top NASCAR books being sold today!
------------------------------Talk back to the Frontstretch Newsletter!
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as easy as replying directly to this message or sending an email to edi...@frontstretch.com
. We'll take the best comments and publish them here!