July 21, 2009

Riding Shotgun with ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch

ESPN kicks off its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage this weekend with the Allstate Brickyard 400 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We took time out to speak with ESPN’s lap-by-lap announcer, Dr. Jerry Punch

Named ESPN’s lead announcer for NASCAR coverage prior to the start of the 2007 season, Punch has been associated with ESPN since 1984. He has served as sideline reporter and play-by-play man for the network’s college football broadcasts but his primary role has been motor sports. He started as a pit reporter for NASCAR races and has been part of the Emmy Award-winning broadcast crew covering the 1989 Indianapolis 500.

The North Carolina native worked as a mechanic and driver in high school and college, when he was also a walk-on, backup quarterback for North Carolina State. Following several years as a mechanic and driver on the short tracks of the Carolinas, Punch began substituting for the track announcer (Ned Jarrett) in 1975 in Hickory, N.C. He then covered NASCAR races for the Motor Racing Network on radio beginning with the Daytona 500 in 1980. He branched out into television in 1982.

Punch received his medical degree from Wake Forest University in 1979 and became an emergency room physician. Twice in 1988, his two careers dramatically combined. In Bristol, Tenn., in August, Punch revived driver Rusty Wallace, who crashed in practice and was not breathing. Then in November in Atlanta, Punch joined the rescue effort to save Don Marmor who crashed in an ARCA race but survived.

Continue reading "Riding Shotgun with ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch" »

July 20, 2009

Brickyard Week on ESPN Classic Features Four Past Events

Inbox Item: From ESPN.

ESPN Classic will air four consecutive nights of past NASCAR Sprint Cup events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week to help NASCAR fans get ready for the 2009 edition airing Sunday, July 26, at 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The inaugural NASCAR event at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994 is widely credited with helping elevate the popularity and status of NASCAR racing. Highlights of that event, won by Jeff Gordon, air Monday, July 20, at 6 p.m.

Dale Earnhardt, one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history, put his stamp on the Brickyard the next year, and ESPN Classic airs highlights of the 1995 race on Tuesday, July 21, at 6 p.m. The 2000 edition of the race airs Wednesday, July 22, at 6 p.m.

The four-race run on ESPN concludes Thursday, July 23, at 6:30 p.m. with the 2007 race.

July 19, 2009

Pagenaud, de Ferran streak on a Lime Rock

After a rookie season of near-misses, it's starting to look like de Ferran Motorsports can do no wrong. Simon Pagenaud and Gil de Ferran won again in the American Le Mans Series, their third straight on the year, in the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park on Saturday.

Pagenaud crossed the finish line in his Acura ARX-02a 43.776 seconds ahead of David Brabham, who appeared to be on his way to a second straight Lime Rock victory with Patran Highcroft Racing teammate Scott Sharp. A punctured tire with 13 minutes left ended those hopes.

De Ferran and Pagenaud haven't lost since the St. Petersburg street race in early April.

"We started in the middle of last year; not only do we have a steep learning curve in sports cars, but we started a team from scratch," said team owner de Ferran. "We are just over a year old, and we really used these last two months to our advantage. I am quite happy about the evolution of the team. We had a little good fortune today. But it was good. We had a good race."

Courtesy - ALMS

July 16, 2009

ALMS first 'Greeen Park' is complete

The American Le Mans Series officially began Growing a Greener Tomorrow…Faster as Lowe’s Fernandez Racing team owner Adrian Fernandez and co-pilot Luis Diaz as well as BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team driver Bill Auberlen planted sugar maple trees alongside soccer fields in Torrington, Connecticut’s Alvord Park.

In support of the Series’ newest off-track initiative - Green Park - Fernandez, Diaz and Auberlen made a quick pit stop into Torrington to clean up and plant trees for a locally admired area before entering the gates of Lime Rock Park for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix in nearby Lakeville on July 17-18.

In the spirit of camaraderie, help and support came from the Torrington community - Mayor Ryan Bingham, Chamber of Commerce President and CEO JoAnn Ryan, Parks and Recreation Superintendent J. Brett Simmons, Lowe’s Home Improvement General Manger Fred Munk and his employees, and 30 local youth campers.

A commemorative Green Park plaque was also marked the occasion by Lime Rock Park President Skip Barber, who will be remembered as hosting the first American Le Mans Series Green Park site in the country followed soon by Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road America, Mosport International Raceway, Road Atlanta and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to finish out the 2009 American Le Mans Series season.

Courtesy -- ALMS

July 15, 2009

Report: NASCAR says Jeremy Mayfield tests positive for meth, again

Here is the latest from the Associated Press on this story:

NASCAR said Jeremy Mayfield once again tested positive for methamphetamine and asked the federal judge who lifted the driver's drug suspension to reinstate the ban.

The positive result from a July 6 random test was included in a U.S. District Court filing Wednesday that included an affidavit from Mayfield's stepmother, who claimed she personally witnessed the driver using methamphetamine at least 30 times over seven years.

Mayfield once again denied ever using the illegal drug.

"I don't trust anything NASCAR does, anything (program administrator) Dr. David Black does, never have, never will," Mayfield told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Lisa Mayfield said she first saw the driver use meth in 1998 at a race shop in Mooresville, N.C. She said Mayfield cooked his own drugs until the ingredient pseudoephedrine was taken off the shelves and it became too difficult for Mayfield to obtain the ingredients. She said her stepson then began to purchase meth from others.

Continue reading "Report: NASCAR says Jeremy Mayfield tests positive for meth, again" »

Voices of Lime Rock: Joey Hand

If there’s every a team that is in need of some home-track luck, it’s BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team. Lime Rock Park, site of this weekend’s American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, is only a couple of hours from BMW North America’s corporate headquarters. Joey Hand is hoping that’s enough to turn around the team’s luck in its first year with BMW’s new M3 racer for GT2.

“I love any track that anybody calls a BMW track because we need and I personally need all the luck I can get,” said the personable Californian who will team with Bill Auberlen. “And so we’re going to be looking for some of that BMW luck there. Lime Rock is a place where I’ve had some great success and I’m going in with a teammate who I think has won every race he’s been there! Bill…I don’t know what it is about that place, but he goes good. They’ve changed it, and I haven’t raced there either since they’ve changed it. But I like that course. It’s dicey; it’s kind of like a street track where you gotta be up on the wheel the whole time. There is not a lot of time to breathe.”

JHand0715-1-up.jpg Courtesy - ALMS
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn, is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 18. The race will air live on SPEED.

Courtesy - ALMS

July 14, 2009

NASCAR Notes: Chase bubble tightens after Chicagoland

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The top-12 cut-off bubble — which will decide who earns a spot in the 12-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup — is must-see stuff this time of the year.

After each race, there’s something new — and unexpected. Two races ago, after the night race at Daytona International Speedway, ninth-place Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) was a comfortable 114 points ahead of 13th-place Mark Martin (No. 5 Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet).

Pretty safe, right? Wrong.

Just a week later, a dominating win at Chicagoland Speedway by Martin and an uncharacteristic 31st-place finish by Biffle led to a major shuffle around the all-important top-12 bubble.

Currently, only 13 points separate 10th-place Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) and 13th-place Biffle.

Continue reading "NASCAR Notes: Chase bubble tightens after Chicagoland" »

Voices of Lime Rock: Luis Diaz

Luis Diaz enters Lime Rock Park and the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix unbeaten in LMP2 with Lowe’s Fernandez Racing teammate Adrian Fernandez. The pairing was a perfect 4-for-4 in the first half of the 2009 American Le Mans Series behind the wheel of their Acura ARX-01b.

To make it five straight and extend their P2 championship lead, the two will have to win at track that hasn’t exactly been kind to them. They did place fourth in P2 last season but retired early in 2007. As has been the case in each of the five previous visits to Lime Rock for the Series, successfully overtaking traffic will be paramount.

“It’ll be tougher than last year,” said Diaz, P2 pole-winner at St. Petersburg and Utah. “This year for us has been even tougher than last year because we have more weight in the car. It’s not as easy to pass the GTs this year. Actually, some of the GTs sometimes can brake even deeper than us, so it’s going to be a big challenge. But we’ve got to be smart about it and hopefully we won’t make mistakes.”


Luis Diaz in action, courtesy, ALMS

The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn, is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. EDT on Saturday, July 18. The race will air live on SPEED.

Courtesy -- ALMS

Corvette to debut two cars in American Le Mans Series

The Acura Sports Car Challenge will officially mark the start of a new era in Corvette Racing with two new Corvette C6.R entries set to debut in the American Le Mans Series’ annual visit to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Wearing the familiar Nos. 3 and 4, cellulosic E85-fueled, V8-powered Corvettes will go head-to-head with Ferrari, Porsche, Panoz, BMW, Ford and Dodge among others throughout the second half of the 2009 season.

Johnny O’Connell and Jan Magnussen will drive one Corvette C6.R at Mid-Ohio with Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin in the other. The team is transitioning to GT2 from GT1 where Magnussen, O’Connell and Antonio Garcia won in class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and gave Corvette Racing its sixth victory in the world’s greatest race since 2001.

“For several years now, the competition in GT2 has been the closest and most competitive among all our classes,” said Scott Atherton, American Le Mans Series President and CEO. “With the news of Corvette Racing’s official entry into the category at Mid-Ohio, the class quite possibly becomes the most diverse and competitive ever. It also serves as another example of the continued growth and success of the American Le Mans Series. Corvette never truly left, but it’s safe to say that they were missed by the countless participants at our Corvette Corrals and fans worldwide. We would like to be the first to officially say, ‘Welcome back!’”

Corvette Racing owns more Series victories (70) than any other entrant. It won eight consecutive GT1 championships (2001-08) against the likes of Ferrari, Saleen, Aston Martin and many other of the world’s top supercars.

Courtesy -- AMLS

July 13, 2009

Ron Hornaday Jr. in this week's NASCAR CAM Video Teleconference

Ron Hornaday Jr. driver of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series No. 33 Chevrolet, will be in this week's NASCAR CAM Video Teleconference, on Tuesday, July 14, 3 p.m. ET.

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