the latest news from around the world courtesy of Press Snoop Lynne Huntting...
STEWART BUYS ELDORA o MEARS AND REUTIMANN ON POLE AT HMS o NO 2005 MOLSON INDY VANCOUVER o ROBBY GORDON LEADING BAJA 1000? o SILICON vs. SILICONE
TONY STEWART took his own sweet time, but two or so years after owner EARL BALTES made the announcement, Stewart has purchased Eldora Speedway, the famed half-mile dirt short track. Stewart plans only safety and minor cosmetic changes, and he is having "the two Larrys" on to run the track - LARRY KEMP hired as the promoter and general manager, with LARRY BOOS to stay as the facility and race day operations director.
Meanwhile, back at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the NASCAR Busch Series pole position went to CASEY MEARS/#1 Miccosukee Gaming Dodge at 177.936 mph; and DARREL WALTRIP's driver, DAVID REUTIMANN/#17 NTN Bearings Toyota has the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole, the only driver to beat the 171 mph mark - 171.255 mph. He is on his way to becoming the 2004 Raybestos Rookie of the Year. The race will be shown live at 3pm ET Friday on SPEED TV.
Thirty-six drivers will run the Ford 200 Truck race, with points leader BOBBY HAMILTON/#4 Square D Dodge starting ninth. Ten did not qualify including open wheel racer, SHIGE HATTORI of Japan. Hattori came from the Indy Lights Series with two wins in 1998; Rookie season in CART in 1999, finishing last of 36 drivers; and Indy Racing League starting in 2000 (17th), 2001 (13th); 2002 (27th) and 2003, where he finished 26th overall for the season. He didn't race American open wheelers this season.
The other Truck drivers were DANNY BAGWELL, TODD BODINE, DERRIKE COPE, JEFF JEFFERSON, ERIC JONES, BRAD KESELOWSKI, SCOTT LYNCH, SAMMY SANDERS and KEN WEAVER.
Forty-three drivers will run the Ford 300 race, and ten drivers won't, including DION CICCARELLI, KERTUS DAVIS, JEFF FULLER, MARK GREEN, TINA GORDON, JIMMY KITCHENS, KEVIN LEPAGE, BLAKE MALLORY, ERIC McCLURE, and GUS WASSON.
NASCAR gets one last opportunity this weekend to "raise awareness" for its Drive for Diversity programme. HERMIE SADLER/#2 SCORE Motorsports Chevrolet will run the season's finale NASCAR Nextel Cup race, with special graphics on the deck lid painted by artist SAUL BASS. His driver's suit is provided by Simpson Racing Products and it will be auctioned off later on NASCAR.com, with the proceeds to benefit the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia.
Also at the races this weekend will be this year's Diversity Drivers and Crew Members. The drivers, from the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series, are MONTY BUCKLES/Belnavis Racing; BRUCE DRIVER/SCORE Motorsports; ALLISON DUNCAN/BH Motorsports; JOE HENDERSON/Bobby Hamilton Racing; and REGGIE PRIMUS/Innovative Motorsports. The Crew Members, from the Craftsman Trucks and Busch Series, are: DAVID CROPPS/Innovative Motorsports; CALVIN GRAVELY/HT Motorsports; AMAR JOHNSON/BHR-2; ROBERT JOHNSON/Roush Racing; TOMMY LANE/SCORE Motorsports and CESAR VILLANUEVA/Morgan-Dollar Motorsports.
No matter who says what on the matter, the bottom line is that there will be no Molson Indy Vancouver in 2005, which is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The Canadian press is reporting that the race promoter couldn't gain enough corporate support for the race, after fifteen years. JO-ANN McARTHUR, president of Molson Sports and Entertainment, said: "The decision to end the Molson Indy in Vancouver after 15 fabulous years of racing was extremely difficult for all involved. We have worked very hard with the Vancouver business community over the past few months to make every effort to continue racing prior to construction of the Olympic Village."
JOE CHRNELICH, Champ Car executive vice president-Development, Government Affairs and Planning, said: "There were a variety of factors that contributed to the ultimate decision not to add the event to our 2005 calendar. Many elements must be considered when determining the long-term viability of a new or established event and the economics must work for all parties involved. Clearly, planning for the Olympics has had an impact on our situation, but we certainly understand as the Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a city."
KEVIN KALKHOVEN, one of the three principals in Open Wheel Racing Series which owns Champ Car, said Thursday night on Wind Tunnel that Molson had said there was no Olympic construction for two years and it wasn't Champ Car which called the whole thing off. Champ Car would love to race in Vancouver.
Little known fact about Kalkhoven - he is a closet racer. He races a 2002 Radical CSR (C Sports Racer) in the San Francisco Region of the Sports Car Club of America.
The SCORE website is down, so there are no up to date progress reports on the Baja 1000 which started this morning. The only news I have is that last year's winner, RYAN ARCIERO got into the Trophy Truck Thursday afternoon in second place. His co-driver, MARK MILLER, started the race and was 30-seconds behind leader ROBBY GORDON, who has handed off to his co-driver, STEVEN BARLOW. Gordon has flown back to HMS for the Busch and Nextel Cup races. DAVID GILLILAND qualified Gordon's #55 Fruit of the Loom Chevrolet in eighth place Thursday, but Gordon will have to start last. Gordon sits twentieth in the Busch standings. Nextel Cup Qualifying is on Friday.
Thanks to my many sharp-eyed readers, I stand corrected on the Champ Car Grand Prix street race in San Jose. While California may be the Silicone capital of the world, the Champ Car race will be the Silicon Valley Grand Prix. The two words refer to completely different products. Silicone is the ingredient in breast implants, while Silicon is the stuff of which computer chips are made.