Loudon: News of note, schedule

Pepsi 400 a prime-time TV hit Testing set for Homestead-Miami banking Irwin memorial golf outing at Indy NEWS & NOTES TV Timeout: Chicagoland rules sports weekend ... Sunday's Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway had a final overnight...

Pepsi 400 a prime-time TV hit

Testing set for Homestead-Miami banking

Irwin memorial golf outing at Indy

NEWS & NOTES

TV Timeout: Chicagoland rules sports weekend ...

Sunday's Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway had a final overnight rating of 4.9 on NBC, making the race the weekend's most-watched sporting event on television. (Figures compiled by Nielsen Media Research.)

Homestead banking to get pre-race testing ...

The new banking being installed at Homestead-Miami Speedway will be tested for three days prior to the season-ending Nov. 14-16 weekend featuring NASCAR's three national series. The tentative schedule has NASCAR Craftsman Truck teams testing Monday, Nov. 10; the NASCAR Busch Series is slated for Nov. 11 and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series is set for Nov. 12. All three days, there will be two sessions -- 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.

Charting the NASCAR Top 10: Kenseth-Gordon-Earnhardt Jr. stand 1-2-3 ...

Matt Kenseth has been No. 1 in the NASCAR Top 10 for 15 consecutive weeks (since Atlanta) and has been in the NASCAR Top 10 for 17 of this season's 18 weeks of racing. Kenseth leads second place Jeff Gordon by 165 points, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet) is third, 258 back. ... Fifth-place Michael Waltrip (No. 15 NAPA Chevrolet) and sixth-place Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) are the only drivers who have been in the NASCAR Top 10 all season.

Rudd sets sights on 700 ...

Ricky Rudd (No. 21 Motorcraft Ford), the "Iron Man" of NASCAR Winston Cup racing, is two starts away from reaching yet another milestone in his record consecutive start streak -- 700. Rudd should climb to 700 at Pocono July 27. He began the streak on Jan. 11, 1981 at Riverside International Speedway, and looks to start his 786th NASCAR Winston Cup race -- and 699th straight -- Sunday at New Hampshire. During his career, Rudd has accumulated 23 wins, 189 top fives and 358 top 10s. He has also collected 28 poles and won in excess of $30 million and is one of only 25 drivers to accumulate 500 or more starts in their NASCAR Winston Cup career. Rudd, voted one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers, is fourth all-time in NASCAR Winston Cup starts behind legendary names Richard Petty (1,177), Dave Marcis (882) and Darrell Waltrip (809).

Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation golf outing set ...

The Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation has scheduled the 2nd Annual Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Golf Outing, July 30 at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, in the infield of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The outing will benefit the "Dare To Dream" Children's Camp, a camp for underprivileged and at-risk children. The foundation was created to develop and support programs to honor the memory of the late Irwin, a NASCAR Winston Cup driver from Indianapolis. Reigning NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart is among the NASCAR celebrities who are expected to attend. The goal of the fundraiser is to raise money to bring children to the Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Campground, which is located on 27 acres in New Castle, Ind., and is the site of the "Dare To Dream" Camp. Participation fee for the golf outing, starting at 11:30 a.m., is $175.00 per player. There also are sponsorship opportunities ranging from $250-$2,000. There will be a live and silent auction and raffle prizes including the Grand Prize -- two suite-level tickets to the Brickyard 400. Anyone interested in playing or sponsorship opportunities can contact the Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation, at (877) 987-CAMP. Registrations and sponsorships can be faxed to (765) 987-0187. Money must be received by July 21. Donations are also being accepted for those not being able to attend the golf outing. Donations can be sent to the Kenny Irwin Jr. Memorial Foundation, 75 W. County Road 500 South, New Castle, Indiana 47362.

Winston Leader Bonus reaches $190,000 ...

It's been 49 races since the NASCAR Winston Cup point leader won a race and took home the NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus. If the winner of the New England 300 also is the NASCAR Winston Cup points leader, he'll add another $190,000 to his winnings. Matt Kenseth leads the series points and has the only realistic shot at claiming the bonus this week. In the very unlikely event that Kenseth fails to start the Tropicana 400, Jeff Gordon is the only other driver who could win the bonus. Should someone win the bonus this weekend, it will equal the largest payout in the history of the program. Bobby Labonte (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet) collected $190,000, with a win at Indianapolis in 2000. The $10,000 bonus is available following every NASCAR Winston Cup race. If the point leader does not win the race, the bonus rolls over to the next week.

Pit-crew competition won by Michael Waltrip's crew ...

The weekly McDonald's/POWERade Drive-Thru Pit Championship was won by Michael Waltrip's crew at the Tropicana 400. Waltrip's fifth top-five finish of the season was aided by the 190.368 seconds he spent in the pits -- the least amount of pit time among teams competing in the program. Waltrip's crew also leads the overall point standings with 681 points. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew is second with 608 points while Bobby Labonte's crew ranks third with 582 points.

Stewart, Schrader in charity race ...

M&M'S will partner with Ken Schrader (No. 49 1-800-CALL AT&T Dodge) for the second annual "M&M'S Night of Stars" event on July 30 at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. Last year's event -- a 10-lap shootout with NASCAR drivers racing in Dirt Modifieds -- raised $114,626 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. All proceeds from this year's M&M'S Night of Stars again will go to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty. Fans will make contributions via M&M'S Night of Stars ticket sales, T-shirt sales and a raffle for a Dirt Works Modified roller chassis. Schrader will be joined in the match race by Tony Stewart, Petty (No. 45 Georgia Pacific/Brawny Dodge), Kenny Wallace (No. 23 Stacker2/YJ Stinger Dodge), NASCAR Busch Series driver Jason Keller and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Rick Crawford.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Dale Jarrett (No. 88 UPS Ford) has 10 top-10 finishes in his last 11 races at New Hampshire. ... Bobby Labonte has six top-10 finishes in his last seven races at New Hampshire. ... Last season, Ryan Newman (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge) was the only driver with top-five finishes in both races at New Hampshire. ... Jeff Gordon has led 912 laps in 16 races at New Hampshire, almost twice as many as closest competitor Jeff Burton (No. 99 CITGO Ford) who has led 595.

QUOTEBOOK

"I don't know where we are in the points (11th) but I can promise you we're not going to finish 11th in the points standings. We're going to be in the top 10 and if the last half of the season works out like it typically does, there's no reason we can't get in the top five, still."

-- Tony Stewart, who came into the Chicago event 11th in points but left in eighth, after a second-place finish.

"I don't get home quite as often as I'd like, and I look forward to seeing everyone there. This is one of two events I single out each year, and there's always extra incentive and excitement [when I come to New Hampshire]."

-- Newburgh, Me., native Ricky Craven (No. 32 Tide Pontiac) on racing at New Hampshire, his "home" track.

"I'm a big fan of flat tracks. It brings diversity into our schedule. From flat tracks to the road courses to the superspeedways, you always have to be able to adjust."

-- Kevin Harvick (No. 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet) on racing at New Hampshire, and racing in general.

"Now we've got Loudon to look forward to. I won my first Winston Cup race up there [last fall]. They went and changed the track on me so we'll have to see what we have for them."

-- Ryan Newman, winner of last week's Tropicana 400 on looking toward New Hampshire.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Ernie Irvan won 15 NASCAR Winston Cup races during his mercurial, injury-hampered career. Win No. 13 came at New Hampshire in the 1996 Jiffy Lube 300. He started sixth in the No. 28 Texaco Havoline Ford owned by Robert Yates and averaged 98.930 mph. That was the fourth NASCAR Winston Cup race held at New Hampshire International Speedway.

FAST FACTS

What: New England 300.
Where: New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, N.H.
When: 2 p.m. ET, Sunday, July 20.

TV: TNT, 1:30 p.m. ET.
Radio: MRN/XM Satellite.

Race length: 317.4 miles/300 laps.
Track layout: 1.058-mile paved oval.

Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday--Practice, 11:20 a.m.-1:20 p.m. Qualifying--3:05 p.m. Saturday--Practice, 9:30-10:15 a.m. and 11:10-11:55 a.m.

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Darrell Waltrip , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Jason Keller , Ken Schrader , Kevin Harvick , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Ricky Craven , Rick Crawford , Dave Marcis , Richard Petty , Robert Yates