Vintage Ramo Stott Superbird now owned by Doug Schellinger of Milwaukee, WI. [Mark Theisen Photo]
Weekend At The Brickyard
by Paul Gohde
• Besides having a three race "Super Weekend" next year at the Brickyard 400 to create more interest, some have suggested that the 400 be moved to fall at some point and become part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
• Danica Patrick to Stewart-Haas for part-time Sprint Cup duty in 2012? Danica back with JR Motorsports for the full-time Nationwide series? Danica asks too much $$ and stays in Indy Car? Carl Edwards signs with Joe Gibbs in the Home Depot car? Jack Roush bids to keep Edwards from leaving? Many of these deals were supposed to be resolved this week, but money and sponsorship (or the lack of them) will keep these and several other agreements from being made any time soon. Among one of the many deals still up in the air is the dilemma of what it will say on the 2012 Matt Kenseth/Roush-Fenway Ford? Some insiders tell us that nothing solid has come the team's way yet, and if Edwards leaves the fold, the Roush group could shrink to three teams with sponsorships moved around among the three that remain. Others say that it might end up that Roush-Fenway, once a five-car stable, could resort to picking up what sponsors they can land on a race-to-race basis. Signs of the times it would seem.
• Veteran Grand Am Rolex driver Scott Pruett predicted today that several Sprint Cup and Indy Car stars might compete in next year's Grand Am Rolex series event here at the Indianapolis Speedway to help stimulate spectator interest during the three-race Brickyard Super Weekend. In a Q-A with the media prior to today's Brickyard 400, Pruett also noted that the Grand Am event would be a 3-hour run beginning at 6:00pm on Friday. "We (Our Ganassi Team) may have three cars. I can see our guys, McMurray and Montoya, and I can see Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Stewart in it. I can see a lot of guys wanting to do it. This will be a sprint race without question. We will practice and qualify, and race at 6:00pm. We will race at dusk and the headlights will come on. Anybody who is anybody will want to come in here and race." The late starting time could make it difficult for the Speedway's staff to change the track from a road course to an oval in about twelve hours. Cars representing the three series made a lap prior to today's race to publicize the 2012 Super Weekend.
• With 48 Sprint Cup cars in the garage for the Brickyard 400, five had to go home. Those five included David Stremme, Travis Kvapil, Erik Darnell, J. J. Yeley and Scott Wimmer. Stremme was faster in qualifying than three cars that made the 400, but due to Owners Points and Past Champions provisionals (Robby Gordon, J.J.Yeley and Terry Labonte), Stremme was left out. Why can't the fastest 43 start the race with no provisionals?
• Crown Royal previously announced that they would not be back to sponsor Matt Kenseth's Roush entry in 2012. The "Crown Royal presents "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard will be the first title sponsorship for the Brickyard 400 since Allstate left after the 2009 event.
• Among the many things fans can do and see on this Brickyard weekend is a display of vintage stock cars and hot rods, customs and muscle cars presented by Goodguys Rod & Custom Association. Displayed inside turn four, the show includes a large gathering of winged Dodge Chargers and Plymouth Superbirds, including a vintage Ramo Stott Superbird now owned by Doug Schellinger of Milwaukee, WI. "Ramo won the ARCA 300 at Daytona in this car- the first race win for any Superbird. Winning that race earned him an automatic spot in the Daytona 500 where he finished eighth. Ramo kept the car intact in a pole barn in Keokuk, IA after the car was retired. He sold it to a Mopar collector in '98, and I bought it two years ago," said Schellinger who is the third owner.
• 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Ned Jarrett served as Grand Marshal of this year's Brickyard 400. Jarrett, a two-time NASCAR champion and winner of 50 Cup races in his career, is the father of two-time Brickyard 400 winner Dale Jarrett.
• ESPN vice president of motorsports production Rich Feinberg announced that his network will continue to present a full slate of NASCAR Nationwide Series races and 17 Sprint Cup telecasts through the 2014 season. The Fox network and TNT present the remainder of the Cup schedule.
• Motorsports artist Sam Bass visited the track Sunday. Bass had custom-painted guitars that were played during a pre-race concert by country group Rascal Flatts. Those instruments will be signed and then auctioned on e-bay to benefit Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville, TN.
• What do Juan Pablo Montoya, Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti have in common? They are the only four drivers to have led both the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400.