Saturday, December 09, 2006

Waltrip hires Borland to head Jarrett's team

Waltrip hires Borland to head Jarrett's team

Team also names Carter, Hyder as team's other crew chiefs
Team News Release
December 8, 2006
02:00 PM EST (19:00 GMT)

CORNELIUS, N.C. -- Michael Waltrip Racing announced Friday that Matt Borland, Larry Carter and David Hyder have been named crew chiefs of the organization for the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season.

Borland has been designated as crew chief of the No. 44 UPS Toyota Camry with former champion Dale Jarrett. Carter will reside as crew chief of the No. 00 Toyota Camry co-sponsored by Burger Kind and Domino's Pizza with driver David Reutimann. Michael Waltrip has assigned Hyder as crew chief of his No. 55 NAPA Toyota Camry.

"We are pleased to announce our crew chiefs today," Waltrip said. "We concentrated on pairing personalities to find the perfect qualified individuals for each position. Matt is a proven winner and we're proud to have him steering the No. 44 UPS Toyota team.

"I've known David for a while and look forward to him leading the NAPA team. I love his enthusiasm and the way he thinks. Obviously, Larry was vitally important in building our teams and I know he will be instrumental in building David Reutimann's future while driving his Toyota co-sponsored by Burger King and Domino's Pizza. We are fortunate to have all three of them under one roof."

Borland led Ryan Newman to 12 wins, 37 poles, 54 top-fives, 83 top-10s in 186 Nextel Cup Series starts. The 35-year-old joined Penske Racing South in November 1999 originally as an engineer. In 2001, Borland was then instrumental in his driver's success as he participated in a combination schedule in the ARCA, Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series.

Borland looked on as Newman amassed eight poles, two wins, five top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes.

In Borland's first full-time season in the Nextel Cup Series as a crew chief, he claimed one win, six pole awards, 14 top-five and 22 top-10s. Borland, also received trophies from winning The Winston and his driver clinched the Raybestos Rookie of the Year title and finished sixth in the championship standings.

After years of success with Penske Racing South, Borland makes the move to Michael Waltrip Racing.

"I'm looking forward to making a new home at Michael Waltrip Racing and working with Dale Jarrett," Borland said. "Dale is a champion and he has a ton of respect in the garage. He's obviously proven himself as a driver. Also, Toyota will be great to work with. I think Toyota is one of the most technologically advanced manufacturers."

Jarrett is equally happy to have Borland on his team.

"There are a lot of smart, innovative individuals in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and I am thrilled that Michael Waltrip Racing was able to secure one of the best in Matt Borland," Jarrett said. "He's obviously had a lot of success in the few years he's been in this position. I think Christmas came a little early for Michael Waltrip Racing and myself. This announcement just adds to my excitement about 2007. I think he'll truly be a valuable asset to this No. 44 UPS Toyota team and will complement Michael Waltrip Racing as a whole."

"Dale expressed his ideal crew chief was someone like Matt Borland," Waltrip added. "We were actually able to deliver Matt Borland. Matt's spirit and determination will permeate throughout our shop."

Carter aligned with Michael Waltrip Racing after a successful stint as Rusty Wallace's crew chief at Penske Racing South. Joining Penske in 2004, Carter led Wallace to his 55th career victory in April of that year at Martinsville Speedway, snapping a 105-race winless streak for Wallace. It was only his 10th race with Wallace. Carter has been an integral part of Michael Waltrip Racing's growth.

"We've set some realistic goals and assembled a solid team," Carter said. "David Reutimann is very talented and we're going to have a lot of fun working with him. He's been fast at all the tests and I think he'll do well next year. Fortunately, we were able to run five races last season with Bill Elliott to help prepare us for 2007."

Reutimann also is optimistic.

"I've known of Larry for years, but I've just recently got to know him," Reutimann said. "I'm real happy to have him in my corner. I needed a veteran crew chief to help me through everything I will experience as a rookie. We get along great and I know we will have success together."

"David's plate will be full this year and Larry's extensive experience and knowledge of the sport will help David in his first year as a Nextel Cup Series competitor," Waltrip added. He will be able to help David's rookie season run smoothly."

Hyder brings a different aspect to Michael Waltrip Racing with having nearly 20 years of experience as a Late Model driver with close to 100 victories. In 1999, he stopped driving and building his own cars and joined Petty Enterprises as a mechanic. Almost three years later, he became a car chief for the Petty's in the Nextel Cup Series. At the end of the 2004 season, he transitioned from being a car chief at Petty Enterprises to becoming a crew chief at BAM Racing with driver Ken Schrader. In 2006, Hyder was named crew chief of the No. 21 Nextel Cup Series entry at Wood Brothers. Midseason, Hyder returned to BAM Racing. Waltrip approached Hyder not long after.

"Michael has the same mentality as other drivers I've worked with," Hyder said. "Michael approached me at the end of the 2006 season and asked me what I was going to do the next season. He gauged my interest in being his crew chief. I got really excited about everything he has planned for his race team and I accepted."

"David was someone that I was interested in from the beginning because he speaks my language," Waltrip said. "He's someone that has built and raced cars his whole life. He has a respect and knowledge for engineering, which coupled with Borland's engineering background, we hope to continue our creation of a strong team atmosphere."

The Allen Iverson Era Is All but Over

The Allen Iverson Era Is All but Over

By DAN GELSTON, AP Sports Writer
2 hours ago

PHILADELPHIA - Allen Iverson is no longer Philadelphia's headache. Then again, maybe it's the other way around. Either way, this much is sure: One of the great players in franchise history has likely played his last game for the 76ers. Iverson wants out and Philadelphia will grant his wish.

"It's just time for him to go his way and for us to go our way," Sixers chairman Ed Snider said Friday night.

During a bizarre day, Iverson was first banished by the club for two games and then Snider said the Sixers would trade their disgruntled franchise player after he asked to be dealt. It would end Iverson's 11-year stint with the team that made him the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft.

The A.I. era is all but over.

"As hard as it is to admit, a change may be the best thing for everyone," Iverson said. "I hate admitting that because I love the guys on the team and the city of Philadelphia. I truly wanted to retire a 76er."

Team president Billy King and coach Maurice Cheeks said Iverson was sent home before Friday night's 113-98 loss to the Washington Wizards because he didn't practice a day earlier and left Wednesday's blowout loss at Chicago with back spasms. King said the move was not a suspension and Iverson's future would be re-evaluated after Saturday night's game at Orlando.

"Allen was not able to practice (Thursday) because of the back and today Mo made a decision not to play him tonight or tomorrow," King said. "We told him to just take the night off and tomorrow."

Snider confirmed that Iverson did ask this week to be dealt.

"We're going to trade him," Snider said. "At a certain point, you have to come to grips with the fact that it's not working. He wants out and we're ready to accommodate him."

Snider said Iverson has "probably" played his last game with the Sixers, ending a career that placed him with Julius Erving, Charles Barkley and Wilt Chamberlain among the team's greats.

"I really didn't see it coming because Allen says all the right things, and I thought that he really was behind Mo and what we were trying to accomplish," Snider said. "Obviously, he's not."

Iverson, whose off-court behavior and coaching clashes often overshadowed his gritty, highlight-reel play, released a statement through agent Leon Rose stating that he told the Sixers he was healthy enough to play.

Iverson said he was told not to participate in shootaround and instead watched from the sideline. He joined the Sixers in the huddle, then was told by Cheeks not to come to the Wachovia Center.

"In my entire career, even the doctors haven't been able to tell me not to play," Iverson said. "I've played through injury and illness. I think everyone knows how much I love being out on the court, competing and winning. That's why it was so disheartening to be told that I couldn't play, knowing that I was ready. It hurt even more to be told not to come at all."

Iverson, who is second in the NBA in scoring at 31.2 points per game, left Wednesday night's 121-94 loss at Chicago in the second half, complaining of back spasms, and didn't practice Thursday. The Sixers are 5-13 and have lost six straight and 13 of 15 overall.

"This season has been very frustrating for everyone," Iverson said. "I have expressed my frustration to my teammates, however, I have continued to give 100 percent night in and night out. Apparently, it hasn't been enough to help our team win."

Even with the Sixers sinking toward another lottery-bound season, Snider said Cheeks' and King's jobs were safe.

The losses and Iverson's petulance also have led to a splintered relationship with Cheeks. Iverson left a practice last week reportedly after a disagreement with Cheeks and skipped a team bowling function for season-ticket holders later that night. He apologized and was fined by the organization.

"It happens," Cheeks said. "Sometimes coaches and players disagree."

The foundering Sixers missed the playoffs last season for the second time in three seasons, leaving King to proclaim at the NBA draft lottery it was time to "change the culture." It has changed, but arguably for the worse.

Iverson reportedly was nearly dealt last offseason to Boston, and complained the trade talk took a toll on him and his family. A late July visit from King finally assured Iverson he wasn't going anywhere, and Iverson repeated a familiar pledge in training camp that he wanted to end his career with the Sixers.

"I always wanted to stay here because of the loyalty, but it's all I know," he said then.

Iverson, the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft and a seven-time All-Star, has won four scoring titles, two All-Star game MVPs and the league MVP award in 2001 after taking the Sixers to the NBA finals.

"He's one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he has incredible talent, he's done a lot of great things for this organization and we wish him well," Snider said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Ex-Giants Shortstop Uribe Dies in Crash

Ex-Giants Shortstop Uribe Dies in Crash

By JONATHAN M. KATZ, Associated Press Writer
4 hours ago

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Former San Francisco Giants shortstop Jose Uribe was killed early Friday in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic.

The Dominican National Police said the 47-year-old Uribe's sport utility vehicle crashed about 3 a.m. on a highway about 30 miles west of the capital, Santo Domingo. Police said the cause of the crash was under investigation.

Uribe owned a hardware store and other businesses in his hometown of Juan Baron in recent years, and ran unsuccessfully for mayor earlier this year.

Police said he was driving to his hometown, in San Cristobal province, at the time of the crash.

Uribe played in the major leagues from 1984-93, mostly with the Giants. He began his career with one season in St. Louis, when he was known as Jose Gonzalez Uribe, and ended it with one in Houston.

He had a career batting average of .241 and a fielding percentage of .969.

"I was very saddened to hear the news of Jose's passing this morning," Giants owner Peter Magowan said. "He meant so much to the Giants during his playing days. He was such an important part of the team's success in the late 1980s.

"When you saw Jose on the field, he exuded happiness and pure joy for the game and life. Personally, I was really looking forward to catching up with him this season during the 20th reunion of the 1987 NL West championship team. On behalf of the Giants family, I want to pass along our condolences," he said.

Sgt. Major Juan Quezada de los Santos of the National Police said Uribe, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, died at the scene of the crash on a mountainous road along the country's southern coast. Quezada said a passenger in the SUV was uninjured.

Uribe's death was confirmed by Glovis Reyes, a longtime friend of the ballplayer and a former member of the Dominican Congress.

"Uribe was a very loved person in Juan Baron. He was like the lord of the town," Reyes said.

Uribe is survived by his second wife, Wendy Guerrero, with whom he had four children. He had at least 14 children in all, Reyes said.

A funeral in Juan Baron was planned for Saturday.


Associated Press Writer Dionisio Soldevila contributed to this report.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Schrader to drive 18 for Bobby Hamilton Racing

Schrader to drive 18 for Bobby Hamilton Racing

Team Release
December 7, 2006
04:26 PM EST (21:26 GMT)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ken Schrader has been tabbed to drive the No. 18 Fastenal Dodge for Bobby Hamilton Racing during the 2007 Craftsman Truck Series season.

Schrader will drive the BHR entry in the majority of NCTS events with a to-be-determined driver filling in when Schrader has Nextel Cup responsibilities that prevent him from competing in NCTS races.

Schrader and 2004 Craftsman Truck Series champion Bobby Hamilton have been both friends and competitors throughout their NASCAR careers and now they have joined forces to help re-establish BHR as a championship caliber NCTS team.

"I am thrilled to get the opportunity to drive the Fastenal Dodge," Schrader said. "Bobby Hamilton and I have been friends for a long time, so to get the chance to work with him is just an ideal situation for me. BHR has always had some of the most competitive equipment in the series and I look forward to climbing into the seat and racing hard.

"Fastenal is a great company, I don't think there is a race team out there that doesn't use most of their products in some form or fashion and I can't wait to represent them proudly next year."

Schrader has four Nextel Cup wins, two Busch Series wins and one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win to his credit. He has logged an amazing 283,398 miles in Cup, Busch and Truck series events that is equal to racing around the world 12 times or from New York to Los Angeles 94 times. In other words, Schrader has raced enough miles to go the moon and is now almost a fourth of the way back.

Inside the Numbers
Ken Schrader's NCTS stats
Starts 68
Wins 1
Top-5s 6
Top-10s 25
Poles 1
Avg. Start 14.5
Avg. Finish 16.9

"We are really happy to be able to get a driver the caliber of Ken Schrader for the Fastenal Dodge," Hamilton said. 'We looked at a number of different drivers as a possibility for this job but Kenny was just a perfect fit for both BHR and Fastenal. He is a proven winner both on the track and off and he will provide us with great feedback that will help us win races and compete for championships in the future."

In 2007 the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will run 25 races on 22 separate racetracks across the United States. All of the NCTS events will be broadcast live nationally on the SPEED Channel.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Plans scrapped for Staten Island track

Plans scrapped for Staten Island track

By Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press
December 5, 2006
09:58 AM EST (14:58 GMT)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- International Speedway Corp. has scrapped plans to build a track on Staten Island, stalling NASCAR's dream to bring a race to the New York area.

"While we are disappointed that we could not complete the speedway development on Staten Island, our enthusiasm for the metropolitan New York market is in no way dampened," ISC president Lesa France Kennedy said Monday. "We continue to view the region as a prime location for a major motorsports facility."

France Kennedy heads ISC, the publicly traded sister company of NASCAR -- which was founded by her grandfather and currently chaired by her brother, Brian France

Both companies badly want to expand NASCAR into the New York metropolitan area, and moved toward that goal in 2004 when a subsidiary of ISC paid about $100 million for a 440-acre former oil tank farm on Staten Island. The company later bought another 236 acres to gain the necessary land for a race track.

The goal was to build a 0.8-mile state-of-the-art track that would have accommodated 80,000 fans and had the New York City skyline as its backdrop.

But the proposal has been met by severe resistance, including a a hotly contested April public meeting in which tempers reached dangerous levels -- forcing police to end the meeting over safety concerns.

Residents complained of traffic tie-ups and argued that the two major roads leading into the property would likely need major renovations to handle the increased loads.

Environmental concerns were also cited by opponents of the plan.

ISC's decision to call off the plan was immediately trumpeted as a "monumental victory for the people of Staten Island," by New York City Council Minority Leader James S. Oddo.

"After all was said and done, NASCAR was simply an inappropriate fit," he said.

ISC cited an "inability to secure the critical local political support that is necessary to secure the required land-use change approvals" in ending the Staten Island project. In all, the company said it spent about $150 million on the project.

ISC said it may now sell the land, which it believes will be worth more than $100 million and is described as the largest undeveloped acreage in the five boroughs of New York City.

France Kennedy expressed disappointment over not getting a chance to present the entire proposal to residents.

"We clearly believe that if we had been able to proceed through the full public process, the significant benefits this project represents would have generated a more positive reaction," she said.

NASCAR and ISC have long targeted both the New York and Pacific Northwest as areas where it would like to expand. The New York project is now uncertain, with ISC forced to find new land and an accepting public if it plans to continue.

France Kennedy said ISC, which owns 11 major tracks and hosts more than 100 annual events, would move forward.

"We remain committed to the pursuit of a motorsports entertainment facility development in the nation's number one media market," she said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Bill's Comment: To me, it was a bad idea from the get-go. MASCAR desperately wants to have a race in the New York metropolitan area. Teh only time NASCAR comes to this area is primarily at Watkins Glen, NY; however, that is closer to Canada than the Gotham City. The only other options for New York NASCAR fans would either be Pocono, Loudon, NH, or even Dover, DE, from a driving distance standpoint. As far as the Staten Island deal goes, I would not be surprised if the unions prevented this from coming to fruition.

It is a shame that the casino lobby from Atlantic City, NJ did not back up an idea to build a racetrack just outside of Atlantic City. They said that they would lose money. HELLO! NASCAR has two races in the Las Vegas area, and it is a win-win situation there. They just opened a casino up near Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. It would give the fans something else to do while they are spending the weekend at the track.

In conclusion, as NASCAR expands, both national and international, they will find another location which will benefit both them and the community in which will host them. It would be a definite economic winner for the locals. If only the arrogant, self-absorbed politicians in New Jersey would entertain the thought.