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    APR 18-24, 2005

      News from April 24, 2005

    • Johnson wins 1st Qtr Driver of the Year: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Speed Channel Driver of the Year first quarter, 2005. The voting saw six drivers earning first place ballots, but Johnson had the most with six. With 93 points beat the Indy Racing League’s Dan Wheldon (at 86), and Nextel Cup runner-up Greg Biffle (74). Four-time series champion and four-time Driver of the Year, Jeff Gordon had three first-place votes he earned 49 points. A total of 17 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting, including fifth place Steve Kinser, with one first-place votes in the World of Outlaws series. Sebastien Bourdais, the defending Champ Car World Series champ was sixth. Noteworthy; Kevin Harvick racing in both the Nextel Cup and Busch series won the fan vote, and Carl Edwards who also drove in both series was second. Gordon was third.. More than 32,000 fans clicked their votes on the website. In its’ 39th year, the Driver of the Year title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists from across the U.S. and a fan vote on determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. Johnson will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch to be presented on Speed TV. President of the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida.(Speed Channel)(4-24-2005)

    • Newman's to visit animial welfare league UPDATE: #12-Ryan Newman and wife Krissie will visit the Arizona Animal Welfare League in Phoenix on Wednesday [Apr 20th]. The Newmans recently founded the Ryan Newman Foundation which focuses on animal welfare, wildlife preservation, and conservation and educational scholarships.(Penske Racing)(4-20-2005)
      UPDATE: Ryan Newman paid a visit to the Arizona Animal Welfare League on April 20 while in town for the Subway Fresh 500 race at Phoenix International Raceway. Newman toured Phoenix's largest and oldest no-kill animal shelter with his wife, Krissie, and executive director of the Ryan Newman Foundation, Rosalie De Fini. The mission of the Arizona Animal Welfare League is to provide excellent care, protection and loving compassion for the life of the animals entrusted to the shelter and to take a leadership role in promoting humane values for the benefit of all animals and people. Newman donated an autographed life-size standee, which the AAWL plans to auction off at their fall fundraiser. While in town, the Newmans are planning the Ryan Newman Foundation Benefit Dinner and Auction, which will be held in Scottsdale on November 11 prior to the Checker Auto Parts 500 race to be held at the Phoenix International Raceway on November 13. For more information about the Arizona Animal Welfare League, visit Dog Communications PR)(4-24-2005)

    • Bill Davis Racing/Dodge Lawsuits: A decision in the DaimlerChrylser/Bill Davis Racing legal battle, now almost two years old, could be on the horizon. Federal district court judge George Steeth is currently scheduled May 9 to hear a motion by DaimlerChrylser for partial summary judgment and a motion by BDR for summary judgment. The case stems from DaimlerChrysler dropping its factory support of BDR's Dodge team in the Cup series. Chrysler sued BDR in Michigan state court May 2003, alleging breach of contract for helping Toyota with development of its NASCAR truck program. After getting the case moved to federal court, BDR counter sued, claiming DC had no basis for unilaterally voiding the contract, which was to have run through the 2006 season according to court documents. Chrysler alleges that BDR helping Toyota, which is not racing in the Cup series, violated a contract clause prohibiting teams from aiding a Dodge racing rival because the clause extends to any NASCAR series. In briefs filed for the upcoming hearing, DC alleges that BDR helped launch Toyota's truck development program in High Point in April 2002 and that employees from BDR's Dodge teams were active in the development work, including a BDR engineer garbed in a Toyota shirt at wind tunnel and track tests. DC also alleges that BDR supplied Toyota with Cup engine information which DC claims was to have been for a possible try at Cup racing in 2005.
      In the filings, BDR claims that the non-compete clause applies only to the open promotion of a Dodge rival, and that BDR employees in Toyota shirts at development tests did not violate the clause because they would not be recognized as being affiliated with a Dodge team by the general public. DC argues that BDR violated the promotion clause by building show trucks for display at an auto show and Daytona International Speedway in February 2003 in conjunction for Toyotas announcement that it was entering the truck series in 2004. BDR alleges building the show trucks was not a violation because there was no general perception that a Dodge affiliated team built the truck. BDR also argues that its fielding Toyotas in the truck series should be disregarded because that came after its Dodge support was withdrawn.(High Point Enterprise)(4-24-2005)

      News from April 23, 2005

    • Busch wins at Phoenix: #97-Kurt Busch won the Subway Fresh 500
      Phoenix International Raceway, holding off #15-Michael Waltrip who got close, but could quite catch Buach and almost wacked the wall, but held on for 2nd. It is Busch's first win of 2005 and his 12th career win. Busch dominated the race from the get-go and led 219 or 312 laps. The rest of the top five was #31-Burton, #8-Earnhardt Jr. and #25-Vickers. #24-Gordon, who started on the pole, only led four laps and finished 12th. #48-Johnson finished 15th and increases his points lead, however his streak of 13 straight races finishing with a top-10 finish. #09-Johnny Sauter gave the James Finch team a lift with a 9th place finish. #92-Stanton Barrett finished a respectible 30th and was the 2nd highest rookie of the race with #77-Kvapil not finishing the race. The race will re-air on Speed Channel, Thursday, April 28th at 2:00pm/et.
      For my race rundown, see my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page for race leaders, DNF's, lucky dogs, some narratives on the race and cautions.
      For race results and links, see Jayski's Phoenix Race Results/Awards page for points standings, see Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page.(4-23-2005)

    • NASCAR named "Best of America" by Reader's Digest: NASCAR has been named "Best of America" by editors of the most widely read magazine in the United States. Reader's Digest has created the "America's 100 Best" award which honors the 100 best people, places, ideas and products this country has to offer. To determine "America's 100 Best" list, the editors of Reader's Digest talked with experts and collected ideas from coast to coast.(NASCAR/Reader's Digest)(4-23-2005)

    • NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway Supports 2005 NASCAR Day: NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway, leaders in providing fans with simulated racing experience, is offering special NASCAR Day discounted packages between now and May 20, as well as a chance to win a Les Paul guitar donated by Gibson Guitars and autographed by Richard Petty, Bobby Labonte, Rusty Wallace and Kasey Kahne. NSMS Racing Centers simulate the motions, sights and sounds of an actual NASCAR Nextel Cup Race. In addition to receiving a collectible lapel pin, NASCAR Day packages include simulator rides where fans will actually feel the centrifugal force of a turn, as well as the acceleration and speed of an actual race. It is as real as it gets! For more info and participating NASCAR Silicon Speedway Locations go to

    • Kahne to run the Longest Yard scheme: In this spring's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, Kasey Kahne will sport some additional firepower on his #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger - that of Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds, stars of the new Paramount Pictures comedy "The Longest Yard," which opens nationally on Memorial Day Weekend. Kahne, a fan of Sandler classics such as "Happy Gilmore" and "The Wedding Singer," will carry the star's latest movie on the hood of his Dodge Charger to promote the comedy, which will be released nationally on Memorial Day. The #9 Dodge will feature a distinctive black and yellow paint scheme with footballs and prison cell bars. Sandler also will serve as the grand marshal of the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Diecast models of the #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW "Longest Yard" Dodge Charger will be available late this summer.(ClearBlue), see an image of the scheme on my #9 Team Schemes page.(4-23-2005)

    • Pizza Hut on the #44: Pizza Hut will be on the #44 Chevy that Terry Labonte drives at the Nextel All-Star Challenge in May at Lowe;s Motor Speedway and will also carry the Pizza Hut colors at Pocono in June and Chicago in July. See an image of the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(4-21-2005)
      UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports announced a program that will feature Pizza Hut as a primary sponsor of Chevy driven by Terry Labonte and Brian Vickers this season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series. Labonte will showcase a Pizza Hut paint scheme on his #44 Chevys in three upcoming NEXTEL Cup events: May 21 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, June 12 at Pocono Raceway and July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway.
      In the Busch Series, Vickers' #57 Pizza Hut Chevys will appear May 6 at Darlington Raceway during the track's inaugural weekend of night racing and Sept. 24 at Dover International Speedway. Those hungry for more information can go to the official Pizza Hut Web site at Motorsports)(4-23-2005)

    • Penske buying out Rusty and Miller? UPDATE: Roger Penske is buying out the 48% share of Penske South that is owned by Rusty Wallace and his long-time business manager Don Miller.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2005)
      UPDATE: Wallace, driving his final full season in Nextel Cup, said Penske has offered to buy out his share of the team, as well as his longtime friend Miller's share. But Wallace said the ongoing fuss with Newman will not play a part in that decision, when he makes it. "Again, I want to stress I haven't made that decision,'' Wallace said. "I've got an offer to do that. I lay awake at nights wondering if that's what I should do.''(

    • Rusty-Ryan Update: It's no secret that teammates #2-Rusty Wallace and #12-Ryan Newman have not been best of friends since their cars collided last fall during a race at Martinsville Speedway. Because Wallace is a co-owner of the team, along with Roger Penske and Don Miller, there was considerable speculation Wallace would make an effort to patch up their differences during the offseason. Instead, the relationship has grown, if anything, colder. At least part of the problem is their differing racing philosophies. The 48-year-old Wallace is an old-style, seat-of-the-pants racer, while 27-year-old Newman is a graduate engineer who likes to depend on technology and information from his engineers to set up his cars. "It's really two separate teams, totally,'' Travis Kvapil, the third member of the Penske team, races the #77 Dodge. "The 77 and 2 share, every tire pressure, every shock, every piece,'' Wallace said. "The 12 car is totally off limits. It's totally a separate team. They're at one end of the shop, and it's unfortunate. I'm resigned to the fact. I'm tired of wearing myself out trying to fix it. I'm just going to do my deal and drive my guts out and give it everything I've got. ... I've beat this 12 thing to death forever, and they've got a whole different train of thought and that's fine.''(

    • Dale Jr. still leads Popular Vote: With more than 1 million votes cast, Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds the lead in the yearlong Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver Award. Actual numbers were not announced, but Earnhardt, who has won the award each of the past two years, is followed in the balloting at by Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Michael Waltrip, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin and series points leader Jimmie Johnson. The voting continues until Nov. 21, the day after the season-ending race at Homestead.(

    • Atlanta Dyno Results: Results of NASCAR's most recent chassis dyno testing, at Atlanta, shows a few surprises. Jamie McMurray, who finished 11th, had the strongest engine (Elliott's), with 769 peak horsepower, winner Carl Edwards showed 754 horsepower. Runner-up Jimmie Johnson showed 759 horsepower. Others tested: Elliott Sadler, 764 horsepower; Ryan Newman, 763; Kasey Kahne, 758; Mark Martin, 756; Michael Waltrip, 752; Dave Blaney, 745 and Ken Schrader, 733.(Winston Salem Journal)(4-23-2005)

    • Phoenix Race News and Notes:
      * Kurt Busch won the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, scoring his 12th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 158th career start. His last victory came in New Hampshire International Speedway in September 2004, 17 races ago.
      * Busch became sixth different winner in eight races in 2005.
      * Busch climbed from fourth to second in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings. Busch has ranked in the top 10 in the point standings since Rockingham last February, 43 straight races.
      * It marked Busch's first victory in six races at Phoenix and his fourth straight top-10 finish at the Arizona superspeedway.
      * Busch begins the 2005 season with five top-10 finishes in eight races.
      * Busch scored the fifth victory for car owner Jack Roush at Phoenix International Raceway. Thos five victories have been posted by four different drivers : Jeff Burton (two) along with Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth and Busch (one each) . This was Roush's 78th victory as a car owner and fourth this season.
      Notebook Items
      * Michael Waltrip (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in 17 races at Phoenix International Raceway. It was his first top-five finish since he finished fourth at Infineon Raceway last June. It is his best finish at Phoenix. Waltrip has scored three top-10 finishes in eight races this season. He climbed from 24th to 18th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
      * Jeff Burton (third) posted his sixth top-10 finish in 11 races at Phoenix International Raceway. Burton scored his best finish since he finished second at Daytona in July 2003 and his first top-10 finish in 2005.
      * Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) scored his fourth straight top-five finish in six races at Phoenix International Raceway. This is his fourth top-10 finish in 2005. He climbed from 15th to 12th in the point standings. He ranked 27th after Las Vegas, five races ago.
      * Brian Vickers (fifth) his first top-10 finish in three races at Phoenix International Raceway and his career-best finish in 49 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
      * Bobby Labonte (sixth) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 13 races at Phoenix. Labonte scored his first top-10 finish in 2005.
      * Kyle Busch (eighth) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender for the fifth time in 2005. It was the second top-10 finish of his 14-race career.
      * Johnny Sauter (ninth) posted his first top-10 finish in 24 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races.
      * Jimmie Johnson (15th) ended a 13-race top-10 streak that began at Charlotte last fall. He remained first in the point standings with a 173-point lead over second-place Kurt Busch, the largest point lead of the 2005 season.
      * Mark Martin (16th) has been running at the finish in 30 consecutive races , the longest current streak.
      * Tony Stewart (33rd) dropped from 11th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings, his lowest points position since he was 14th after Pocono in July 2003.
      * Nine of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Phoenix.
      * Looking ahead to the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, only 18 drivers remain within 400 points of current point leader Jimmie Johnson.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(4-23-2005)

      For the second week in a row we had the Roush Racing version of total domination....this time it was Kurt Busch presiding. Busch led six times for 219 laps tonight at Phoenix International Raceway and took the victory in the Subway Fresh 500 by 2.315 seconds. This was career win #12 for Busch (he's now solo in 47th on the all-time list) and #78 for Cactus Jack and Company. The defending Cup Champion's first win since Loudon last September was worth $264,000 from the almost $4.8M in posted awards.
      Since we seem to have such a controversy over the new pit-road timing system, maybe somebody should remind NASCAR why we have a pit-road speed limit at all. It was put into place after we lost Mike Rich at Atlanta years ago to protect the over-the-wall I just don't see the need to time the space between the last pit and wherever the arbitrary line that they choose to use is. I can understand using it upon pit-entry (a safety issue for the pit crews for sure), but it sure looks like NASCAR could adjust the pit-out and eliminate a lot of the problems.
      Michael Waltrip (2nd) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Lowe's Motor Speedway last May.
      Jeff Burton (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Daytona last July.
      Brian Vickers (5th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 6th at Atlanta in March. The Top-5's by Waltrip, Burton, and Vickers give us 22 drivers to score a T-5 this season.....last year's number was 31.
      Bobby Labonte (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Pocono last June.
      Johnny Sauter (9th) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 14th Rockingham in February of 2004 and at Talladega in April of 2004. The Top-10's by Burton, Labonte, and Sauter give us 31 drivers to register a T-10 this season.....last year's number was 39.
      Stanton Barrett (30th) tied his career-best finish tonight. He was also 30th at Las Vegas in March of 1999!
      STREAKIN....Dale Earnhardt Jr has 3 Top-10's in the last 4 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Michael Waltrip (+26), followed by Elliott Sadler (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Greg Biffle (-38), followed by Tony Stewart (-27), Rusty Wallace (-27), and Matt Kenseth (-25). This is the Mikey's second Op of the season.
      Scott Riggs led a lap tonight for the first time since he led one lap at Talladega last October. We've had 36 different drivers lead a lap this year vs 50 last year.
      Kurt Busch's victory coupled with Greg Biffle's troubles moved Busch into the second spot in the point standings this week....he's 173 markers behind Jimmie Johnson. Every position from 2nd to 15th changed hands this week. We also picked up one driver above the "Stayin' Alive" line as Waltrip's fine run moved him into the "Chase" by 6 points.
      Michael Waltrip (24th to 18th) made the best move forward tonight, while Casey Mears (17th to 26th) fell nine spots in the points. Mike Wallace's time on the "exempt" list was short-lived....he's out of the Top-35 in Owner Points this week by two points. Bobby Labonte now moves into his spot.(

      News from April 22, 2005

    • Batman Returns: #6-Mark Martin will run a 'Batman Begins' scheme at the June Michigan race. See the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page.(4-22-2005)

    • Iron Man Returns: Terry Labonte is scheduled to drive the #44 Iron Man Chevy at the Texas Motor Speedway in November.. See the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(4-22-2005)

    • Chicagoland VP/GM Lands Radio Gig: Matthew Alexander, vice president and general manager of Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, will join John Jurkovic in co-hosting "Motorsports Weekly," a new Saturday morning motorsports talk show in Chicago on ESPN Radio 1000. Jurkovic ("Jurko"), a former NFL player and motorsports fan, is also a member of Chicago's top-rated afternoon sports talk show on ESPN Radio 1000, "Mac, Jurko and Harry." This past February, Alexander joined Jurko during a one-hour NASCAR Preview show from Daytona International Speedway prior to the Daytona 500. The response from ESPN Radio's listeners inspired a weekly motorsports show.
      The one-hour motorsports talk show will be broadcast on Chicago's ESPN Radio 1000, Saturday mornings from 9:00 am ... 10:00 am (CDT). The first show will air Saturday, April 23, 2005.
      "Motorsports Weekly" will cover all the latest news and information regarding the nation's top racing series, including NASCAR, IRL and NHRA. The show will also include interviews with top drivers and team owners in those racing circuits. For more information about ESPN Radio 1000 or Chicagoland Speedway/Route 66 Raceway, visit or Speedway)(4-22-2005)

    • Mears waiting on Ganassi about 2006 contract: #41-Casey Mears is waiting to see if car owner Chip Ganassi wants to pick up the option on his contract for the 2006 season. Mears says “right now all indications are we’re going to run next year [with Ganassi]. All the feedback that I get is they’re happy with what I’m doing and happy with the improvements that we’ve got. I don’t think about that stuff a whole lot, I just want to go out and do the best job I can and if the team I’m with doesn’t want me at the end of the year I’ll do something else…if they do want me then great because I’m happy here."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show/Sporting News)(4-22-2005)

    • Final Texas TV Ratings mixed: Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500 from Texas Motor Speedway drew a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.7 and a 15 share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating figure is down 5% from the 6.0 the Texas race drew last year, when it was contested on the first Sunday of April, but up 5.6% from the 5.4 rating that the Martinsville race drew for the comparable weekend in 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-22-2005)

    • Busch feeling better this week: Nextel Cup Series Champ #97-Kurt Busch says he’s feeling great heading into Saturday night’s race at Phoenix. Busch, who has recently taken a series of hard hits…the latest being at Texas during the IROC race…spent time resting and rehabbing this week. “I was sitting in the hot tub, going to a physical trainer getting stretched out. I even stopped by Dr. Jerry Petty’s office that does a lot back x-rays and spinal work for the NASCAR series and everything was 100% so we’re gonna be alright.”(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show/Sporting News)(4-22-2005)

    • Jeff Gordon wins pole at Phoenix: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Budweiser Pole for the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway with a lap of 133.675mph, his first ever pole at Phoenix and 53rd of his career - 7th most overall. #12-Ryan Newman went out last to qualify and was 7th on his first lap and going for the pole and got a bit sideway's and missed out on his 4th straight pole at Phoenix and will start 7th. The rest of the top-five are #97-Kurt Busch, #16-Greg Biffle, #18-Bobby Labonte and #25-Brian Vickers. #4-Mike Wallace went out on his lap and had no brakes and aborted his run, since the team is now in the top 35 in owners points, Wallace was assured to get in. Missing the race were #66-Hermie Sadler, #34-Steve Portenga and #02-Brandon Ash. #7-Robby Gordon got the final [43rd] spot. #33-Clint Bowyer will make his Nextel Cup debut, starting 25th.
      For qualifying results, starting lineup, other lineup links, pole progresssion, see my:
      Jayski's Phoenix Starting Lineup/Qualifying/Practice Page.(4-22-2005)

    • Home123 to Donate $10,000 to McMurray's Initiative: Home123 Corporation, a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation and the primary sponsor on Jamie McMurray's #42 Dodge this weekend in Phoenix, will donate $42 for every lap McMurray leads to the Autism Society of America (ASA)and along with ChevronTexaco, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and McMurray, Home123 will present McMurray with a check for $10,000 to the ASA before the race at Phoenix International Raceway this upcoming Saturday. Last season, McMurray, ChevronTexaco and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates raised more than $28,000 to benefit the ASA during the 2004 "Drive for a Cure." Home123 is committed to assist McMurray in surpassing last year's contribution.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(4-22-2005)

      News from April 21, 2005

    • Stewart gets saucy: Tony Stewart introduced his owen brand of Bar-B-Que sauce this past weekend while in Texas. "SMOKE" Bar-B-Que Sauce more info at

    • Cingular rolls out the COWs at Phoenix: As the stock car Series heads West again for the first of two races in Phoenix, Cingular Wireless has again taken the lead in meeting the enhanced communications needs of customers attending this weekend's big race and spreading the excitement of stock car racing to its fans at Cingular stores. Cingular Wireless announced the activation of two "Cell sites On Wheels," known as "COWs", in the Phoenix market. Cingular is raising the bar in network quality by anticipating the sheer volume of calls from fans at the race. COWs are self-contained portable cell sites that can quickly and easily be brought to a specific location to boost network capacity or restore communications following an emergency situation. Cingular has several COWs available for use at special events where large crowds can put unusual strain on existing wireless facilities or for use in emergency service situations. Leading up to the race on April 23, the Richard Childress Racing #31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet driven by NASCAR driver Jeff Burton is embarking upon a six-store tour between April 20 and 22 at Cingular retail locations in the greater Phoenix area. The show car tour is highlighted by a gift-with-purchase promotion offering service activation incentives, such as a free DVD player or MP3 player (two-year service agreement required).(Career Sports & Entertainment)(4-21-2005)
      AND Nextel has been bringing COWs to every event since we began as title sponsor of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. "NasCOWs: Nextel brings to every NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event NasCOWS and SuperCOWS, the unique cell-on-wheels technology used to enhance cellular coverage at track each week. Equivalent to 15 cell towers, the NasCOWS enabled Nextel customers to use Nextel voice and data services more than 50 million times at track in 2004.(Nextel Communications)(4-21-2005)

    • Kahne Fastest Again at Infineon testing: #9-Kasey Kahne (Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) posted the fastest time during a two-day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Kahne, one of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars at the session, toured the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in 1 minute, 16.32 seconds [93.868mph] on Wednesday. #99-Carl Edwards (Office Depot Ford) was second at 1:17.10 [92.918], with Travis Kvapil (Kodak EasyShare Dodge) third at 1:20.00 [89.550]. Kvapil tested the road course in a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series stock car. He will compete in both the Blue Lizard Australian Suncream Southwest Series 200, as well as the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event when NASCAR visits the Sonoma Valley, June 24-26. Infineon Raceway will host a second NASCAR test session, June 7-8, in advance of the Dodge/Save Mart 350. Great tickets are still available for the race weekend by calling 800-870-RACE or visiting Raceway)(4-21-2005)

    • Tires at Phoenix: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . this is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Phoenix . . . this is one of three tracks at which Nextel Cup teams will run this specific tire set-up this season, with the others being Richmond and New Hamsphire . . . Busch and Truck Series teams will also run this combination at Milwaukee, Pikes Peak, Gateway, Indianapolis (Raceway Park) and Memphis in 2005 . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Phoenix.(Goodyear PR) more on the Tire Notes on my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page.(4-21-2005)

    • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking Jimmie Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the Radio Shack / Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 17th, Patricia K. of East Bangor, PA was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. Patricia picked Johnson as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun by going to and entering before the weekly deadline. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Johnson. This is the fourth time this season a donation has been made to the NPCC on behalf of Johnson. In last year's Checker Auto Parts 500 [Nov 2004] at Phoenix, all six members of the Gillette Young Guns finished in the top-ten, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. taking the checkered flag followed closely by fellow Young Gun Ryan Newman.(Alan Taylor Communications)(4-21-2005)

    • New Colors at Phoenix for Riggs: The primary sponsorship on Scott Riggs’ #10 Chevy in Phoenix will be the blue, white and gold colors of CENTRIX Financial. Valvoline, Riggs’ major sponsor for 34 of the 36 point races, will take on an associate role during this weekend’s Nextel Cup competition.(MB2/MBV Motorsports)(4-21-2005)

      News from April 20, 2005

    • NFL, NBC and NASCAR AND: been getting a lot of questions about this, so figured I'd answer what I know and some common sense here: NBC has signed to broadcast the Sunday night NFL Football games starting in 2006, so the 2005 schedule stays the same. As for 2006, without seeing the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Schedule, there is no way to tell how it will change the way NBC Broadcasts NASCAR Nextel Cup. But using the 2005 Schedule, it wouldn't effect any of the races currently run in September thru the end of the season. Richmond has been televised on TNT since NBC/TNT took over the 2nd half of the season and it is on a Saturday night anyhow, the and the Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway is also on Saturday night. In 2006 the NBC NFL Pre-game show starts at 7:00pm/et [with the kickoff at 8:15pm/et].
      Three last three races in 2005 are at Texas [3:00pm/et start], Phoenix [3:00pm/et start] and Homestead [4:00pm/et start] and all scheduled to be televised on NBC Live. This past week, the race at Texas was just under 4 hours long, the Phoenix last year was just over 3 hours and the 2004 Homestead race under 4 hours. So in 2006 look for starting times of those races to be set a little earlier or since all three tracks have lights, the races could be moved to Saturday night races. But this is all speculation and until the 2006 schedule comes out, no idea.(4-19-2005)
      AND On the heels of securing a lucrative, Sunday night broadcast package with the National Football League, NBC says broadcasting NASCAR is very much in its future plans. "We love our relationship with NASCAR," said Mike McCarley, vice president for sports communications at NBC. "We feel like we have a very strong relationship with NASCAR and we certainly want to keep that relationship going." NBC, TNT and FOX ponied up a total of $2.8 billion dollars in 2000 for the rights to broadcast Cup and Busch Series races beginning in 2001. NBC's portion of the deal ends at the end of the 2006 season, but McCarley hopes that isn't where their partnership with NASCAR ends. "We'll sit down with our partners and hopefully figure out a way to make it work," he said. ESPN, who has been mentioned as a returning player in the upcoming fight for NASCAR's broadcast rights, will reportedly pay the NFL $1.1 billion per year over the next eight years for the rights to broadcast "Monday Night Football," also beginning with the 2006 season.(

    • New Petty Book: A large, diverse collection of Richard Petty photographs has been released. Richard Petty: Images of the King ($29.95, MBI Publishing) is a 256-page work compiled by Ben Blake and Dick Conway. Blake wrote the text and Conway supplied most of the more than 250 photographs, many of which are rare and have never been published. ''Sorting through all my Petty stuff brought back a lot of memories,'' said Conway, whose photos have appeared in numerous racing books and publications. ''One of my favorite shots is of some of Richard's old junked race cars that I found sitting out in the woods behind his house. There, rusting away in the weeds and bushes, were some of the most famous race cars in the world. For some reason that image really appealed to me.'' The book is available through bookstores.(Tennessean)(4-20-2005)

    • Elliott to run at Nashville: One of the most popular drivers in the history of NASCAR racing and 1988 NEXTEL Cup champion, Bill Elliott, will compete under the lights in the upcoming Federated Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series event at the Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, June 11. Elliott will run in the Rusty Wallace Inc.-owned #64 Dodge and will be making his first appearance at a Nashville venue since the late 1980s at the old Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. This will be Elliott's first appearance at the 1.33-mile concrete oval. For tickets please go to or call 1-866-RACE-TIX.(Nashville Superspeedway)(4-20-2005)

    • Rusty Snap-On at Infineon: This June, Snap-on will recognize racing legend Rusty Wallace's "Last Call" with a special paint scheme salute on his #2 Dodge Charger. The paint scheme will be unveiled in the June 26 NEXTEL Cup Series Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The scheme prominently features the familiar Snap-on red logo on the hood with the Miller Lite logo and a special Snap-on 85th anniversary logo on the rear quarter panels. The recognition, in collaboration with Penske Racing South and primary sponsor Miller Brewing Company, continues Snap-on Tools Company's sponsorship of Rusty Wallace's #2 Dodge, a relationship that began in 2000. "Rusty's 'Last Call' represents the end of a racing era. During the last 24 years, Rusty has developed a skill for racing and a fan base unlike any other in NASCAR," said Carl Johanson, Snap-on Tools motorsports marketing manager. "Celebrating together with Penske Racing South, Snap-on couldn't be happier to commemorate Rusty's storied career alongside Miller Brewing Company." Beyond the special paint scheme, Snap-on Tools will feature special promotions and products throughout 2005 honoring Wallace's successful career on and off the track. (Ogilvy PR Worldwide), see an image of the scheme on my #2 Team Schemes page.(4-20-2005)

    • #66 Crew Chief Fined: NASCAR announced Wednesday that Greg Conner, crew chief for the #66 Peak Fitness Ford driven by Hermie Sadler, has been fined for rule violations during opening day inspection at Texas Motor Speedway on April 15. A fine of $5,000 resulted from violations of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book, due to an unapproved deck lid.(NASCAR PR)(4-20-2005)

    • Mexican-born Driver Looks to Make History at Infineon: Jose Luis Ramirez will attempt to make history at Infineon Raceway during the Dodge/Save Mart 350, June 24-26, by becoming only the second Mexican-born driver in history to compete in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event. Ramirez, who is participating in a two-day NASCAR test session at Infineon Raceway Tuesday-Wednesday, is currently a full-time competitor in the NASCAR Grand National West Series and finished 10th in points in 2004. He's had two West Series starts in 2005 and is currently 16th in points. Ramirez also competed in the Telcel MOTOROLA 200 NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City this year, starting 33rd and finishing 31st.
      The Dodge/Save Mart 350 will mark Ramirez's first-ever NEXTEL Cup event, if he qualifies, and he feels the weight of an entire country (Mexico) on his shoulders. "It's a lot of pressure but I've been dreaming of this moment all my life," Ramirez said in his first visit to the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in the Sonoma Valley. "I've always wanted to drive a Cup car and to also represent my country is an honor." The car Ramirez will drive in Sonoma is sponsored by, a Northern California-based mortgage bank/software technologies company. The team, #52 Ware Enterprises Racing is running a five-race schedule in 2005. Ramirez would become the 18th foreign-born driver to compete in a NEXTEL Cup Series event. Pedro Rodriguez became the first Mexican-born NEXTEL Cup driver after competing in six events between 1959-1971. Infineon Raceway has also hosted the series' first Japanese-born driver, Hideo Fukuyama, as well as Klaus Graff, who was born in Germany. Great tickets are still available for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 by calling 800-870-RACE or visiting Raceway)(4-20-2005)

    • Different look for McMurray at Phoenix: The #42 Dodge of Jamie McMurray will carry the blue and white colors of Home123, a subsidiary of New Century Financial Corporation, and one of America's largest providers of home mortgage loans, this weekend in Phoenix. This is the first of six events that Home123 will serve as the primary sponsor on the car in 2005.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), see an image of the scheme on my #42 Team Schemes page.(4-20-2005)

    • Bowyer to make Cup debut at Phoenix: Clint Bowyer will make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series debut driving the #33 Sylvania Chevrolet Monte Carlo. RCR also runs the #33 with Kerry Earnhardt under the Bass Pro Shops banner. The #2 ACDelco Busch Series pit crew that will jump over the pit wall for Friday’s NASCAR Busch Series race will perform the same duties Saturday night. Gil Martin, crew chief of the #2 team, will call the shots Saturday night, as well.(RCR) see images of the car on my #33 Team Schemes page.(4-20-2005)

    • #150 for Harvick: #29-Kevin will make his 150th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start on Saturday night at Phoenix International Speedway.(RCR)(4-20-2005)

    • Leffler to run special St. Jude scheme at Darlington: FedEx is expanding its support for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to the world of NASCAR. The company unveiled a specially-designed racecar with a “Birdies for St. Jude” theme during an event at the hospital. “Birdies for St. Jude” is an annual pledge-drive program held in conjunction with the FedEx St. Jude Classic PGA TOUR event. The tournament has raised more than $14 million for St. Jude since FedEx became title sponsor in 1986. Jason Leffler, driver of the FedEx #11 car, joined representatives of FedEx and St. Jude, as well as St. Jude patients for the unveiling of the #11 “Birdies for St. Jude” racecar, which will run on May 7 in the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway.(JGR)(4-20-2005)

    • Kulwicki Movie Openings AND: Dare To Dream opened in Texas on April 14th in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and three of the people involved were at the track, Texas Motor Speedway for the weekend promoting the movie, signing autographs and doing interviews: David Orgas (Writer/Director), Brad Weber (Alan Kulwicki) and Bryan Madson (Executive Producer/2nd Lead Actor). The movie will be opening in the Phoenix area at the end of this week and also through out the middle and western half of Wisconsin (Madison, La Crosse, Wausau, Rhinelander, Shawano, etc). Brad Weber and Bryan Madson will both be at the Phoenix track from Thursday through Saturday promoting and talking to fans. The movie will then open in the Talladega region the following week [Apr 29th] and Charlotte at the time of the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 [mid to end of May]. New on the DVD release will come later in the year.(4-19-2005)
      this Thursday and Friday after the 7:00pm show at the Harkins theater in Avondale, AZ, Brad Weber (Alan Kulwicki), Bryan Madson (Lead Actor/Executive Producer) and Tom Loppnow (Sound and Score Engineer) will be present for a Q&A with the viewers. Also autograph and promotion sessions on Thursday the 20th at the Tempe AZ Hooters and Friday the 21st at the Phoenix Hooters.(4-20-2005)

    • NASCAR HOF would make money in Daytona: A proposed NASCAR hall of fame would be a money-maker in Daytona Beach, drawing more than 400,000 people a year -- but it would need state dollars and Speedway land to be feasible, according to an economic study. Local officials who commissioned the study hailed it as proof the project could thrive in Daytona Beach, which is competing with five other areas to be home to the hall of fame. Daytona Beach officials propose building an 80,000-square-foot facility that would cost $70 million., The overall cost of the project, with interest, would be $86 million. The study anticipates paying a $1 a year to lease a site for the building on Daytona International Speedway property.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(4-20-2005)

    • Hotel Tax to help foot NASCAR HOF in Charlotte: Higher taxes on Charlotte hotel rooms would pay to build a NASCAR Hall of Fame, organizers announced Monday. The potential tax increase, from 6% to 8% countywide [Mecklenburg], has the crucial backing of leaders in the hotel-motel industry. It must be approved by the state legislature. The new tax would pay for $63.5 million of the estimated $137.5 million cost of putting the NASCAR Hall of Fame uptown, as well as building a new convention center ballroom. About $35 million would come from a combination of state funding and private contributions. The remaining $37.5 million would come from the existing convention center expansion budget, funded by the existing tax on restaurant meals. Monday's announcement marks the latest step in the city's fast-moving drive to land what organizers call a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Just last week, they announced the preferred site -- just east of the convention center -- and hired the well-known architectural firm headed by I.M. Pei. To meet NASCAR's May 31 deadline for proposals, Charlotte must keep moving quickly. Next Monday, the City Council will consider designating the city-owned site. Charlotte's bid would compete with bids from Atlanta, Daytona Beach, Fla., Kansas City, Kan., Richmond, Va., and the state of Michigan. Organizers expect NASCAR to pick a site by the end of 2005. But the NASCAR project would not be the only use of the higher hotel-motel tax. The proposal calls for half the increase to occur regardless of whether Charlotte gets the hall of fame. The money would be used by the city or the visitors' authority to lure conventions and sporting events, such as basketball tournaments. The city and county often use property tax money to pay for those items now.(Charlotte Observer and another column: N.C. legislators: Not so fast on NASCAR hall funds)(4-20-2005)

    • Kahne Fastest During First Day at Infineon Raceway: #9-Kasey Kahne (Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) posted the fastest time on Tuesday during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Kahne, who placed 31st in his first visit to Infineon Raceway in 2004, turned the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in 1 minute, 17.25 seconds [92.738mph]. Jeff Gordon (DuPont Chevrolet) holds the track qualifying record of 1:15.968 [94.303], set in 2004. The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will visit the Sonoma Valley, June 24-26, for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend. Kahne was one of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers testing the course on Tuesday. #99-Carl Edwards (Office Depot Ford) was second-fast at 1:17.50 [92.439], with #52-Jose Luis Ramirez ( third at 1:20.54 [88.950]. #77-Travis Kvapil (Kodak EasyShare Dodge) is scheduled to test on Wednesday and Todd Souza also tested, no speeds announounced. Ramirez was involved in a single-car accident late in the day at Turn 4 on the raceway and was transported to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for precautionary reasons, according to a family member. Testing resumes on Wednesday with a full day scheduled from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (PDT). Great tickets are still available for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 by calling 800-870-RACE or visiting Raceway)(4-20-2005)
      UPDATE: Jose Luis Ramirez was released from John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek on Wednesday, one day after being involved in a late-day accident during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Ramirez said he sustained minor injuries to his right foot, right eye and back. He was held overnight on Tuesday at John Muir Medical Center for observation. The #52 car Ramirez was driving impacted the foam barriers at Turn 4 on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in a single-car accident late in the day. "I'm a little sore but I'll be OK," Ramirez said. "It could have been worse but the fire safety team did a great job. I'm hoping they will clear me to race on Thursday." Ramirez is scheduled to compete on Thursday in a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race, at Phoenix International Raceway.(Infineon Raceway)(4-20-2005)

    • Testing at Talladega: Richard Childress Racing drivers Kerry Earnhardt and Brandon Miller, Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly driver Randy LaJoie and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. driver Paul Menard shared track time at Talladega Superspeedway on Tuesday, and each took time to provide their thoughts on the day’s test as well as their anticipation of the upcoming Aaron’s Dream Weekend April 28 – May 1 at Talladega Superspeedway.(Talladega Superspeedway), no speeds were reported. Evernham Motorsports #91-Bill Elliott and #23-Tom Hubert [testing for Mike Skinner who will run the race] and Busch Series driver #56-Tim Sauter will test today, Wednesday, April 20th.(4-20-2005)

      News from April 19, 2005

    • 'Reverse' scheme for Martin: For the first time of the "Salute Tour," #6-Mark Martin and the Viagra* Team will run the special 'reverse' night scheme this weekend at Phoenix, in this year's first night race of the season.(Roush Racing)(4-19-2005)

    • Testing at Infineon: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will visit Infineon Raceway for a two-day test session, April 19-20, on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile Sonoma Valley road course. This test allows NEXTEL Cup drivers to prepare for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, June 24-26, which is one of only two road courses on the 36-race 2005 schedule. Drivers schedule to participate in the test are #9-Kasey Kahne ; #99-Carl Edwards; and #77-Travis Kvapil. Gates open at 8 a.m., with cars scheduled to take the track from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. This will be the first of two test sessions planned at Infineon Raceway in advance of the Dodge/Save Mart 350. The other test will take place June 7-8. On Wednesday, April 20, Infineon Raceway will make an announcement regarding the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series weekend.(Infineon Raceway PR)(4-19-2005)

      News from April 18, 2005

    • Truex Jr. Comments about rumors: There have been reports that Martin Truex Jr. might leave DEI, however at Texas he tried to clear up those rumors telling PRN's Garagepass..."I don't know where these people come up with these things. You know we're in negotiations trying to get our contract signed for the next three years and I guess somebody knows about it and thinks we're out there looking for a ride...I think it's pretty stupid." When asked if he could imagine leaving DEI and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Truex said..."No I never even thought about it to be honest with's just people talking."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(4-18-2005)

    • Texas Overnight TV Ratings Lag: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500 from Texas Motor Speedway earned a 5.0 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and an 11 market share, today's Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. While the race was the weekend's highest-rated sports event, the rating was down from the overnight 5.6/13 (with the Albuquerque, N.M., market missing) earned by the Texas race last year, when the event was run on the first weekend in April, and the 5.8/13 in 2003.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-18-2005)

    • Richert Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Based on his performance in the Samsung Radio Shack 500, no one would have suspected that Greg Biffle wasn't driving his primary car. Following a crash in Saturday morning's practice session, the #16 team was forced unload their backup car, the same car that Biffle drove to a win in California. Along with crew chief Doug Richert, the team brought the car back to victory Lane in dominant fashion. Richert's day made him the easy choice for the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. For going to his backup car, Biffle was forced to sacrifice his fifth place qualifying position and start the race in forty-first place. Biffle wheeled the Post-It/National Guard Ford into the lead in on lap 88, remaining up front for 219 laps, until cruising to his fifth career Nextel Cup victory. "We went to a backup car and Doug (Richert) and I talked about it until probably 10 o'clock last night - things we ran in California, things that we had in the other car," said Biffle. "This is the car I won with at California and we like to keep it for a flatter race track. It doesn't have as much clearance underneath it for this kind of a banked race track. That's why I brought the Atlanta car, so it's just a fantastic day. Pit stops were unbelievable. I just couldn't have asked for a better racecar and people working on it. It was phenomenal." The panel of voters selecting the Crew Chief of the Race; including David Wellham of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a Wypall Wipers representative and Tony Eury, Sr; unanimously agreed Richert deserved top honors. With his second Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award, Richert assumes first place in the Crew Chief of the Year standings. Robbie Loomis, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Alan Gustafson and Pete Rondeau are tied for second place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will win $20,000 and be crowned the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. For more information, visit PR)(4-18-2005)

    • Biffle denies talk of him to the #2 MORE: Reports say that Greg Biffle, driver of Roush Racing's #16, may again be in play, although Biffle says he hopes to stay with Roush if terms can be made satisfactory. Biffle, rumored to be a top choice to replace Wallace, told reporters that an extension with Roush was "in final discussions. I haven't talked to anybody, and I don't plan to untl I have exhausted every possible resource [for] staying at Roush Racing."(Speed Channel)(4-17-2005)
      AND Greg Biffle, reported to be a top candidate for Penske Racing's No. 2 car when Rusty Wallace retires end of this year, insisted he will remain with Roush Racing. Biffle, two-time winner this season and fully competitive at most other stops, said, in the presence of owner Jack Roush, said that his contract-renewal negotiations with Roush are more a matter of timing. "There isn't a question about it, and there hasn't been this year," Biffle said.(Speed Channel)(4-18-2005)

    • Robby's Engine's more power coming?: a highly placed source close to Robby Gordon's #7 team has admitted that John Menard's engine shop in England, which supplies engines to Gordon's Cup and Busch efforts, has "found something" which definitely will allow their engines to produce more horsepower and turn people's heads – especially those at Hendrick Motorsports, whose Chevy engines are currently best in class. FYI: Menard's engine works is a former F1 engine manufacturer that was used to build race engines capable of running more than 17,000 rpm and producing 1,200 horsepower. Was there any question they would get a Cup motor right? Now we know why Gordon has been so adamant about hanging in there with Menard.(Yahoo Sports)(4-18-2005)

    • Marcis praises Bourdais: Dave Marcis, the veteran stock car driver who now is the key setup driver for IROC, was quoted as saying that "[Sebastien] Bourdais is the best I've ever seen in an IROC car. The best."(Yahoo Sports)(4-18-2005)

    • Huh? [from Yahoo in a rumors story] Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon to Toyota? This one sounds good because Rick Hendrick is one of the largest Toyota dealers in the country, but it won't happen. Unless, of course, Toyota buys GM in the next couple of years.(Yahoo Sports)(4-18-2005)

    • DEI to Open Doors in honor of Earnhardt: Dale Earnhardt Inc. will open the doors of its Mooresville, N.C. shop to fans on April 29, which would have marked the 54th birthday of founder Dale Earnhardt. The team's showroom will have a display on the 25-year history of DEI. A Jumbotron on the front lawn will show highlights of Earnhardt's career and coverage of Friday qualifying at Talladega.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(4-18-2005)

    • Benson to test Toyota [Solara?] Busch car? Toyota is getting closer to a Nextel Cup effort, according to sources, who say taht it's only a matter of time before Toyota executives finally pull the plug on their $98-million-a-year Indy Racing League operation and begin moving that cash to NASCAR, first for a Busch effort in 2006. Johnny Benson is reported to be set to test a Toyota Busch [Solara?] car at Michigan soon and at an unnamed short track.(Winston Salem Journal)
      AND Garage sources say Toyota has two Busch cars built and will be ready for competition in 2006. Bill Davis Racing, which has been without factory support in Cup for nearly two years, is expected to field teams, as is Chip Ganassi Racing. The other manufacturers have personal services contracts with most drivers; Toyota, though, is expected to hold the drivers' contracts, rather than the car owners, to maintain control over the program.(Sporting News/FoxSports)(4-18-2005)

    • Truex looking elsewhere? Yates? Denied by Yates and Evernham UPDATE: Martin Truex Jr., 2004 Busch Series Champ, is reported to be working the marketplace, and one report has Dodge's Ray Evernham and Ford's Robert Yates both interested in Truex. But Yates denies he's looking at Truex. "We're set for next year (with Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett)," Yates said. "Now if we were going to do a third, we'd be looking around. That might be on our wish list, but it's not done yet, and I don't know that we're going to do that. And I have not talked with Martin. But I am impressed with him. Now that you mention it, that's a great idea."(Winston Salem Journal)(4-16-2005)
      UPDATE: Truex, who drives Busch cars for Dale Earnhardt Inc., is reported to be without a contract for 2006. Truex has been mentioned for rides with Dodge's Evernham, Ford's Robert Yates and Chevrolet's Rick Hendrick. Dodge car owner Ray Evernham says he is indeed trying to set up a full-time third team operation but denies that Truex might be replacing Mayfield. Truex? "I hear Robert [Yates] is after him real hard, but I don't know," Evernham said. "I'd love to talk to Martin about that (third team), but I have not. I understand he's under contract with DEI and I'm not going to get involved in another contract dispute."(Winston Salem Journal)
      However: been told that Truex Jr. is signed thru at least 2006 and is [as it was announced in Oct 2004] moving up to Cup in 2006 with Bass Pro Shops, supposedly to the #1 DEI Chevy, but could be the #15 if NAPA doesn't return and Michael Waltrip leaves [supposedly needs to make the Chase to keep the ride](4-18-2005)

    • HOF Racing - Aikman/Staubach still looking for a sponsor: The Hall of Fame Racing Team, led by former Cowboys quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, still is struggling to get sponsorship for a team to race next season. Aikman, who was co-grand marshal Sunday, said the expense of racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, is staggering. "There are some contracts that got put in place with NASCAR that have been prohibitive for us and others that are trying to get sponsorship," Aikman said. "But we're continuing to go forward, and we're very hopeful that something will happen real soon." He suggested controlling spending. "It's a competitive business, and that's one of the real concerns for NASCAR right now," Aikman said. "I know in the NFL they have salary caps, and I think something should be addressed when it comes to sponsorship for NASCAR teams."(Dallas Morning News)(4-18-2005)

    • Two Team - Polar Opposites at Texas:
      Chip Ganassi Racing: three teams: #42-McMurray finished 2nd, #41-Mears 4th, #40-Marlin 5th
      Joe Gibbs Racing: three teams: #20-Stewart finished 31st [DNF engine], #11-Leffler 36th [accident but finished], #18-Labonte had more tough luck and was an early DNF, plus the stomach flu, finished 38th.(4-18-2005)

    • Bridgestone to join Toyota? There is a new twist to the Toyota-NASCAR game plan: according to sources Toyota is already testing NASCAR-style tires for Bridgestone-Firestone, with the implication that when Toyota does step up to the Nextel Cup series, it plans to do so with Bridgestone-Firestone. Since Goodyear has an exclusive contract with NASCAR, the questions are obvious - are Toyota and Bridgestone going to challenge that exclusivity, or is NASCAR going to open up the Cup tour to competition between the two tire giants?(Winston Salem Journal)(4-18-2005)

    • Gossage featured in Kulwicki film: Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage plays a role in the new movie Dare to Dream – The Alan Kulwicki Story. Gossage reenacts a phone conversation he had with Kulwicki when the Wisconsin native was in the middle of a rags-to-riches climb that resulted in him becoming the 1992 Winston Cup Series champion. Kulwicki died in a 1993 plane crash.(Dallas Morning News)(4-18-2005)

    • Stewart Burned but OK: Sidelined with a blown motor that erupted in flames on lap 297. Mike Arning, PR spokesman for Tony Stewart released this: "Tony has some first degree burns. There is a small burn on the lower back of his right thigh that's about the size of a fist. The other area is on his right elbow. It's about half the size of the one on his thigh, and it's more like a bad sunburn. Both are minor burns which he'll treat on his own in the coming days."(GM PR)(4-17-2005)
      AND After leading twice for 45 laps and making his presence in the top-10 known during much of Sunday's Samsung/RadioShack 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, Tony Stewart's day ended in a blaze, sans the glory. On lap 297 while in eighth, the engine in Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevrolet grenaded, sending flames up through the shifter boot and into the cockpit. Stewart maintained control and brought his smoldering ride to the backstretch apron of the 1.5-mile oval as quickly as possible, extricating himself once the car came to a stop. Track safety crews were immediately on the scene, helping Stewart from his car before transporting him to the HCA Infield Medical Center. There, Stewart was treated for first-degree burns on the lower back of his right thigh and right elbow. The area on his thigh was about the size of a fist, and the area on his elbow was about half that size and akin to a severe sunburn. Stewart was treated and released from the care center in good condition. "It just let go without any warning," said Stewart after leaving the care center. "There wasn't a vibration or anything. It just went."(JGR/True Speed)(4-18-2005)

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