Category:Auto Racing
Posted on: April 14, 2010 3:17 pm

Bliss to drive for Phoenix after leaving Baldwin

Just as quikly as he lost his ride at Tommy Baldwin Racing, Mike Bliss found a ride with Phoenix Racing, replacing Aric Almirola in the 09 car.

"We missed a couple of races, and last week (at Phoenix) obviously didn't go too good," Bliss told Dave Moody on Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway.

"I did a lot of thinking about what I thought was wrong with the car, and honestly I wondered for a while if it was me. I had a meeting with Tommy Baldwin on Monday, and obviously didn't feel very good about the way that meeting went. The ironic thing is that for the third time in my career, James Finch called before I was hardly even out the door to offer me a job."

Phoenix Racing has ostensibly been a start and park team, but may try to run a full race at Talladega where Brad Keselowski pulled off the biggest surprise -- and one of the most watched highlights -- of 2009.

As for TBR's 36 car, Johnny Sauter is scheduled to drive at Texas and Talladega.
Posted on: April 13, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2010 9:55 pm

Kahne headed to Hendrick Motorsports

Kasey Kahne
has signed a deal to drive the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports starting in 2012. READ MORE
Of course that leaves his plans for 2011 somewhat open-ended. Mark Martin is signed to drive the 5 car for Hendrick through 2011. Speculation is that in 2011 Kahne could drive a third car for Stewart Haas, which receives engines and support from Hendrick Motorsports.

And what would that mean for Kevin Harvick , who many believe has one foot out the door at Richard Childress Racing with an eye on a ride with his buddy Stewart. Harvick started the season with four consecutive top 10s, but has finished no better than 11th in the past three races.

You have to wonder how much life is left in Richard Petty Motorsports. Kahne was only there as a result of a merger between Petty and Gillett-Evernham Motorsports. Will the organization be able to lure another top talent like Kahne? A shake of my Magic 8-Ball reveals "Outlook not so good."

-- Brian De Los Santos

Posted on: April 13, 2010 1:32 pm

Bires loses JR Motorsports Nationwide ride

After just one top 10 in five races in JR Motorsports No. 88 Nationwide Series car, Kelly Bires has been released. Jamie McMurray will fill in for at least nine events.

Press release follows:
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April  13, 2010) – JR Motorsports will undergo a driver change to its No. 88 NASCAR Nationwide Series team effective this weekend when the series races at Texas Motor Speedway, general manager and co-owner Kelley Earnhardt announced today.
The organization has released 25-year-old Kelly Bires from his contractual driving duties of the No. 88 Chevrolet.  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/McDonalds Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, has agreed to a deal that puts him in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevy for nine races.  Those races include the six upcoming Nationwide Series events – Texas (April 17), Talladega (April 24), Richmond (April 30), Darlington (May 7), Dover (May 15) and Charlotte (May 30) – plus Chicagoland (July 9), Atlanta (Sept. 4) and the return trip to Charlotte (Oct. 15).  Hellmann’s will be the primary sponsor in all but two of those races, and the Suave Men brand will be featured on the No. 88 at Chicagoland Speedway.
A native of Joplin, Mo., McMurray is the reigning Daytona 500 champion.  He is a seven-time winner in the Nationwide Series with 27 top-fives, 59 top-10s, and three pole awards.  No driver decisions for the No. 88 have been determined beyond McMurray’s nine races.
“We are extremely appreciative of Kelly Bires and wish him the best,” Kelley Earnhardt said.  “Internally, it was evident the chemistry that is imperative for us to succeed in this highly competitive industry was simply not there.  That is the fault of no one person.  We owe it to our fans and sponsors to make necessary adjustments in an effort to put our best product on the track, and we’ll continue evaluating our progress until we are confident that our full potential is being reached.”
Under the direction of crew chief Tony Eury Sr., the No. 88 team has finished third in the Nationwide Series point standings each of the past two seasons, accumulating six total victories.  In six races this season, the team has one top-10 finish (seventh at Auto Club Speedway).  Bires competed in six races for JRM dating back to last November at Homestead-Miami  Speedway.  He raced the No. 88 in five of the six Nationwide Series events this year, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. driving the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
The alteration to the No. 88 team does not change plans for the No. 7 team, which presently is to run the full Nationwide Series schedule with multiple drivers.  Landon Cassill began a part-time stint last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, becoming the third driver this season to get behind the wheel of the No. 7 Chevrolets prepared by crew chief and co-owner Tony Eury Jr.  He will race the car this weekend at Texas.  Danica Patrick has 10 of her scheduled 13 races remaining on the 2010 slate.  Scott Wimmer recently completed a two-race commitment and posted season-best finishes of 10th at Bristol Motor Speedway and seventh at Nashville Superspeedway.  Driving vacancies left on the No. 7 schedule are still to be determined.

Posted on: April 13, 2010 12:45 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2010 12:46 pm

Almirola parts ways with Phoenix Racing

Scene Daily reports that Aric Almirola and Phoenix Racing have mutually agreed to part ways.

Aric Almirola, who qualified for four of the first seven Sprint Cup races for Phoenix Racing, said Monday he has mutually agreed to part ways with the team and will focus on competing for the Camping World Truck Series title with Billy Ballew Motorsports.

Phoenix Racing lost its sponsorship from Miccosukee Resort & Gaming prior to the start of the season and has dropped out of the four races with Almirola within 60 laps.

"We both agreed it was time to do something different," Almirola said in a phone interview. "I am going to focus a lot more on my truck program, which is really important to me and Billy Ballew Motorsports and all the guys over there."

The 26-year-old Almirola is second in the truck standings, just 82 points behind leader Timothy Peters. Almirola has three top-10s in four truck events this year. Read the full story at

Posted on: April 13, 2010 12:23 pm

Keyed-Up reducing schedule

From Keyed-Up Motorsports press release:

Mooresville, NC—Keyed-Up Motorsports announced that it will be reducing its schedule for the remainder of the 2010 season.

The team has scaled back on crew members and those who remain will be prepping cars for the limited schedule. The team will continue its efforts in securing a sponsor and will not start and park for funding. “I set out with this team to race, not start and park,” said Key. “However, a reduced schedule will allow us to continue operations and focus our time on specific aspects of racing to make us stronger when we return to the track.”

Doug Richert remains at the helm as crew chief and will continue to lead operations.
“Doug has been a very pivotal part of this organization,” added Key. “Doug’s insight to this sport has helped me get a better understanding of the racing business.”

There is no set schedule for the remainder of the season, as some potential sponsors could change.  What is tentative for the team, however, is that the No. 90 car will not be participating at Texas next week.

Keyed-Up has made the field for just two of the season's first seven races (Casey Mears 30th at Bristol and Scott Riggs 28th at Phoenix).
Category: Auto Racing
Posted on: February 26, 2010 8:23 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2010 8:35 pm

Graham Rahal looking for NASCAR ride?

According to , it's looking like Graham Rahal could be the next open-wheeler to try to make the move to NASCAR. But for Rahal the switch is more out of necessity than a passion for stock cars.

Rahal, 21, son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, joined the free agent market late in the offseason after parting with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing when McDonald's withdrew its sponsorship to focus on the Olympics.

"It's a shame, but that's the way it is," he said. "Imagine trying to find a sponsor (on short notice). Can anyone say 'impossible'? Quite simply, you can't do it."


In his second season, Rahal finished seventh in the IndyCar Series standings last year. He has one career victory.

What's the IndyCar Series coming to when a Rahal can't find a ride? You'd think he'd at least draw some interest from sponsors. It'll be interesting to see if a NASCAR team takes a flyer on him. Could an Andretti be far behind?

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Graham Rahal
Posted on: February 17, 2010 5:24 pm

Todd Parrott takes over as Kenseth's crew chief

Just one race into the season, Roush Fenway Racing has decided to replace Drew Blickensderfer as Matt Kenseth's crew chief. Effective immediately, veteran crew chief Todd Parrott will take over the calls for the No. 17 car.

Parrott helped Dale Jarrett caputure the Cup championship in 1999 for Robert Yates Racing, with whom he has spent a majority of his career.

Blickensderfer actually won his first two races as Kenseth's crew chief -- the Daytona 500 and the Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway -- to start the 2009 season, but Kenseth would earn just 12 tops, his fewest since 2001, and missed the Chase for the first time in his career.

Kenseth finish eighth in Sunday's Daytona 500, but wasn't exactly pleased with his performance.

“I’m happy with the result, but wasn’t very happy with our weekend overall," Kenseth said. "We started the day way, way off and it was just a battle the whole time.  We got lucky.” 

“We ran about 25th or 30th all day, so all of those green-white-checkers helped us and gave us an opportunity to make some moves there at the end and kind of go crazy.  I just got a run down the back and was able to get three or four-wide up against the wall, and I got some help.  I got my momentum up there and got lucky to get a few spots.  We didn’t race our way to eighth and didn’t really deserve eighth.  I just got lucky.”

“I’m happy with the result, but wasn’t very happy with our weekend overall," Kenseth said. "We started the day way, way off and it was just a battle the whole time.  We got lucky.” 

“We ran about 25th or 30th all day, so all of those green-white-checkers helped us and gave us an opportunity to make some moves there at the end and kind of go crazy.  I just got a run down the back and was able to get three or four-wide up against the wall, and I got some help.  I got my momentum up there and got lucky to get a few spots.  We didn’t race our way to eighth and didn’t really deserve eighth.  I just got lucky.”

Robbie Reiser had served as Kenseth's crew chief for his entire career through 2007, when he was promoted to a general manager's role at Roush Fenway Racing.

Chip Bolin worked as Kenseth's crew chief in 2008, but Kenseth's performance tapered off greatly from the Reiser era as he went winless for the first time since 2001.

Category: Auto Racing
Tags: Matt Kenseth
Posted on: February 8, 2010 8:09 am

Patrick will make Nationwide debut at Daytona

Following a sixth-place finish in her ARCA stock-car debut Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, Danica Patrick has moved up her Nationwide Series debut and will race Feb. 13 in the Nationwide Series opener at Daytona.

Press release follows:
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 8, 2010) – Danica Patrick will make her NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in the No. 7 Chevrolet this Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, JR Motorsports general manager Kelley Earnhardt announced today.

Patrick, Earnhardt, and team officials convened Sunday following the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) event at
Daytona, in which Patrick raced to a sixth-place finish in her stock-car debut.  The decision for Patrick to compete in the Daytona Nationwide Series event is supported by sponsor and JRM co-owners Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Eury Jr., and Rick Hendrick.

“To be the one driving that Go Daddy car at Daytona means a lot to me,” Patrick said.  “Racing in the Nationwide Series race was my goal during this entire two-month preparation process, but we wanted to make sure it was the right thing to do.  The ARCA race was a blast, and I’m not ready for my first Daytona Speedweeks to end just yet.  I want more racing.”

Patrick’s entry in the Drive4COPD 300 puts her in a JR Motorsports tandem with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will drive the No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet.  Patrick will continue her Nationwide Series schedule on Feb. 20 at Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Calif.) and Feb. 27 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.  Patrick is guaranteed starting positions in all three races based off JRM’s acquisition of points from CJM Racing’s No. 11 team, which finished 15th in the 2009 Nationwide Series owners point standings.

“I think Danica proved to everyone that she can compete in stock cars at a high level, and right now seat time is extremely important,” Kelley Earnhardt said.  “She has worked extremely hard during the past two months for this opportunity.  Her dedication and work ethic is infectious.” will be the primary sponsor for 11 of Patrick’s 13 Nationwide Series races in 2010.  The world’s largest domain name registrar also served as primary sponsor for Patrick’s ARCA debut last week.  She started 12th in the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 and finished sixth, including a late rally from 23rd position all the way to the front pack in just under 20 laps.

“Danica’s got what it takes, and it’s obvious from the ARCA race NASCAR is right up her alley,” said Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons.  “She’s ready to drive the No. 7 Chevy in Daytona and is sure to give the fans an exciting show just like she did in the ARCA race.”

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