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    JULY 18-24, 2005

      News from July 24, 2005

    • Huffman out of the #12 Truck ride? Hamilton Jr. in? UPDATE: it was reported on Speed Channel's coverage of the Memphis Truck Series race by Ray Dunlap, that Robert Huffman, driver of the #12 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota in the Truck Series, would be replaced for the final ten races of the 2005 season with a Nextel Cup regular with "a clean uniform" but the driver couldn't be named due to contract issues. Word is that Bobby Hamilton Jr. could be the driver, not sure if that means Hamilton Jr. leaves the #32 PPI Racing job or will run double duty...but Chevy in Cup and Toyota in Trucks, both teams factory backed, seems unlikely.(7-23-2005)
      UPDATE: Hamilton Jr. will run the #12 Toyota for DW in all but one or two races. Hamilton Jr. will do double duty, running the #32 car in all but one race as Ron Fellows will run the #32 car at Watkins Glen, so Hamilton will be free to run the #12 Truck at Nashville on the same weekend.(7-24-2005)

    • Kurt Busch wins at Pocono, Roush Sweeps: #97-Kurt Busch won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, leading 131 of 203 laps for his 2nd win of 2005 and 13th of his career. With #99-Carl Edwards win at Pocono in June, Roush Racing swept the two Pocono races in 2005, Rounding out the top-five were #2-Rusty Wallace, #6-Mark Martin, #99-Carl Edwards and #12-Ryan Newman. #0-Mike Bliss had a nice run and finished 9th for his first top 10 of the season. Pole sitter #42-Jamie McMurray never led a lap but was in the top-10 most of the day until finishing 11th. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson got a lap down, got the lucky dog and finished 12th, maintaining the points lead by 66 over #20-Tony Stewart who moved up to 2nd in points after #16-Greg Biffle had a tire go down late in the race. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing 32nd after being unable to get a handle on his car more the early part of the race.
      For the race rundown, cautions, laps led, see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page
      For race results and links, see Jayski's Pennsylvania 500 Race Results Page.
      For points standings see Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page.
      Chase stats updated after Pocono, see Chase Stats after Pocono page.(7-24-2005)

    • Pocono Race Nates:
      • Kurt Busch won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his 13th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 170th career start.
      • Busch’s last victory came at Phoenix, 12 races ago.
      • This is Busch’s second victory in 2005.
      • Busch has scored top-10 finishes in four of his last five races.
      • Busch moved to 45th on NASCAR’s All-time win list tied with Tim Richmond and Dick Rathmann.
      • This marked the ninth victory for Ford in 2005. Chevrolet has 10 and Dodge has one.
      • Busch remained fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL CUP point standings, 262 behind of first-place Jimmie Johnson.
      • Busch scored his first victory in 10 races at Pocono Raceway.
      • This was Busch’s eighth career superspeedway victory in 133 career superspeedway races.
      • Busch led the most laps for the second time in a race this season. He led 131 of the 203 laps raced.
      • Busch led six times including the final 21 laps.
      • Busch has scored 11 top-10 finishes in 20 races this season.
      • Busch scored the second victory for car owner Jack Roush at Pocono Raceway, both in 2005. This was Roush’s 83rd victory as a car owner and ninth in 20 races this season.
      • Jack Roush Racing competed in 34 races at Pocono (since 1988) before scoring car-owner victories in both Pocono races in 2005. (Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch).
      • Three of the top-four finishers were Roush-owned cars: Kurt Busch (first), Mark Martin (third), Carl Edwards (fourth).
      • Rusty Wallace (second) posted his 17th top-10 finish in 44 races at Pocono Raceway. He scored his 11th top-10 finish in 20 races in 2005. Wallace remained fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings now 182 behind first-place Jimmie Johnson.
      • Wallace extended a 33-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last August. He has scored 16 top-15 finishes in 20 races in 2005.
      • Mark Martin (third) posted his 27th top-10 finish in 38 races at Pocono Raceway. Martin has scored 10 top-10 finishes in 2005. Martin remained seventh in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 17 points behind sixth-place Ryan Newman.
      • Carl Edwards (fourth) posted his second top-five finish in two races at Pocono Raceway. It marked his eighth top-10 finish in 2005. Edwards remained 12th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, just 12 points behind 10th-place Dale Jarrett
      • Ryan Newman (fifth) posted his fourth top-five finish in eight races at Pocono Raceway. Newman remained sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 30 points behind fifth-place Kurt Busch.
      • Jimmie Johnson (12th) has ranked in the top-10 of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings for 53 consecutive races, the longest current streak. The streak began at Atlanta in March 2004. Johnson has scored 13 top-10 finishes in 2005, the most of all drivers.
      • Jeff Gordon (13th) remained 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, now 541 points behind point leader Jimmie Johnson and 114 points behind 10th-place Dale Jarrett.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (32nd) dropped from 13th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 537 points behind firstplace Jimmie Johnson and 110 points behind 10th-place Dale Jarrett.
      • Only two of the top-10 positions in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings changed at Pocono Raceway: Tony Stewart moved to second while Greg Biffle dropped to third.
      • Seven drivers remain within 400 points of current point leader Jimmie Johnson with six races remaining before the Chase begins in New Hampshire in September.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-24-2005)

    • Rumblings - Pocono: Kurt Busch kinda "stunk it up" today at Pocono Raceway as he was easily the dominant car in the Pennsylvania 507.5. After leading 110 of the first 121 circuits, and falling back after a poor pit stop, Busch took the lead for the final time on lap 183 to record his second victory of the season (he won at Phoenix in April). This was win #13 for Busch in NEXTEL Cup (he's tied for 45th on the all-time win list with Dick Rathman and Tim Richmond) and was worth $261,275 from the almost $4.8M in posted awards. Till we came here last month Roush Racing had never won on this triangle, now they've got a sweep. This was win #83 for Cactus Jack.
      We did better with tires today, but if you were keeping score at home, I counted 3 Left Fronts, 2 Right Fronts, and 2 Left Rears. Everything is relative, after all.
      Rusty Wallace (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Martinsville in April of 2004.
      Ryan Newman (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Lowe's in May.
      Kevin Harvick (6th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Richmond in May.
      Mike Bliss (9th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Richmond last September. His Top-10 gives us 38 drivers at that level this season....last year we had 39.
      STREAKIN....Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10's in a row.
      Kurt Busch has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      Rusty Wallace has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      The Rookie Report: A new name at the top this week as Mike Garvey (34th) is the highest finishing freshman. He was followed by Travis Kvapil (38th) and Kyle Busch (39th).
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week is Carl Edwards (+37), followed by Mike Bliss (+25), Elliott Sadler (+23), and Casey Mears (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper is a lonely Jeff Burton (-20). These are the first awards for both Edwards and Burton in a quiet "Shaft" this week.
      P. J. Jones led today for the first time since he led a lap here in June of 2004. He's the 45th driver to lead a lap this season.....last year we had 50 of 'em.
      We've got a new second place driver in the points this week as Tony Stewart is now 66 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. The Top-10 are still the only drivers eligible for the "Chase", and we lopped another two drivers off the possible list as everybody from 38th on down is now mathematically eliminated. Joe Nemechek (18th to 16th) and Casey Mears (27th to 25th) were the only drivers to move multiple positions this week (in the Top-40). No driver fell more than a single spot.(Stock Car Fans)(7-24-2005)

      News from July 23, 2005

    • Ganassi Racing to pick up McMurray's option UPDATE 2 more: from a Q&A at USA Today:
      Q.) Will Chip Ganassi's team let Jamie McMurray out of his contract for next season?
      A:) No. Team co-owner Felix Sabates said Thursday that the team would pick up its option on McMurray's contract for next season and expected him to honor it. "There never was any question on our part," Sabates said. Sabates said McMurray would remain in the No. 42 car with sponsorship from Havoline next year. Ganassi hasn't announced its full driver lineup for next season; Casey Mears' fate is still up in the air, and the team might expand to four cars in an attempt to keep up with the Roush and Hendrick superteams. "We've talked about it, but right now we don't have anything in concrete," Sabates said.(USA Today)(7-22-2005)
      UPDATE: It looks more and more like Mark Martin will be back in the #6-car next season. When car owner Felix Sabatas told USA Today the team would pick up its option on Jamie McMurray's contract for 2006 Mark Martin's reaction was "That's what I would do if I was them. You know Jamie is probably the most sought after driver in the cup garage...we're fortunate enough to have him signed up for '07...that's where we're at...we'll see what happens and if it's '07 then it's '07 and I'll drive the car" in '06.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(7-22-2005)

      UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing has exercised the option in Jamie McMurray's contract that will keep McMurray in the No. 42 Dodge for the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season, a team source said Friday. "The option for Jamie is exercised," said Tyler Epp, Ganassi team manager. "Unless something tragic happens, he will be in the #42 next year driving for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates." Sources close to McMurray said Friday that he is unhappy with the decision, and that McMurray is legally unable to discuss the matter at this time. Mark Martin, whom McMurray will replace in the No. 6 Ford in 2007, isn't ready to completely accept the viability of the team's stance. Are you going to take and say that is concrete, or take that and say that's what they say today?" Martin said. "I've been given indication he'll be at Chip's next year. It's Chip's option. There's been no indication otherwise. That's not new news. That's exactly what Chip said when Jamie told him what he was going to do."(

    • Stremme and Sorenson test Cup car at Gateway UPDATE: Both David Stremme and Reed Sorenson tested the #39 Ganassi Dodge Cup car at Gateway International Raceway outside St. Louis on Tuesday. Stremme in the morning, Sorenson in the afternoon. Not much was said. Sorenson said he didn't know what was going to happen next year, whether he would be in Busch or Cup. He also said he wasn't sure if he would drive a Cup car this season. He said being at Gateway killed two birds with one stone: He was getting seat time in a Cup car and he was getting some laps at Gateway, a track he's never run before.(590 The Fan, KFNS/Brandon W. Mudd)(7-22-2005)
      UPDATE: Tyler Epp, Ganassi team manager, addressed the team's future plans for Busch Series driver Reed Sorenson, whom some have speculated was already signed to drive the #41 Target Dodge in 2006. Epp discounted the notion, and said unequivocally that Sorenson would once again drive the Ganassi Busch Series car next season. "Reed Sorenson will be in the No. 41 [Busch Series] Dodge in 2006," Epp said. "[The Cup speculation] are all rumors. Certainly we're really happy with his development. He's developed really quickly. If we have an opportunity to put him in a Cup car that we think is beneficial that's not going to push him too much and still allow him to run the full Busch schedule, certainly that's something we'll look at at that point. But we don't have that capability right now."(

    • Home Depot announces community initiative: With the physical activity of children on the decline, The Home Depot, sponsor for last weeks Cup race winner, Tony Stewart, and the national nonprofit organization KaBOOM!, announced an unprecedented community initiative to create and refurbish 1,000 playspaces in 1,000 days throughout North America. Over the next three years, The Home Depot will invest $25 million and nearly 1 million volunteer hours in support of this program, which is expected to benefit 1.5 million parents and children. Communities interested in bringing a new playspace to their area can visit for program details.(7-23-2005)

    • McClynn Racing beefing up stable, sponsors on the way: Raynard McGlynn, owner of the #00 Chevy [sometimes Dodge] ran by Carl Long, was in high spirits Friday afternoon, and obviously much happier than six weeks ago at Pocono Raceway. “We think we can get in no problem,” McGlynn said on the eve of today’s qualifying for tomorrow’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Pennsylvania 500. Back in June, hopes for the Hanover Township team [PA] were dashed when driver Carl Long wrecked in practice for the Pocono 500. The team went back to the shop on the Sans Souci Highway to prepare a backup car, but that plan went awry and the team was forced to withdraw before qualifying. “It was a Dodge and the oil pan wouldn’t work in the car,” McGlynn said. “It was either cut the chassis and ruin a car to get back or say enough is enough.”
      Much has changed in six weeks. McGlynn Motorsports has increased its stable of cars to nine with the purchase of four Dodges from Roger Penske and a Chevrolet from Bill Davis, both longtime NASCAR owners. The team also built a Dodge and is having a Chevrolet assembled. Plus, sponsorship deals are coming together. Champion Builders and Sundance Vacations are aboard this weekend. “We have a major deal kicking,” McGlynn said. “As a matter of fact, I have to fly to Atlanta next week. We have some meetings with It’s a deal; I just have to finish up on it a little bit.” Should Long qualify for the Pennsylvania 500, it will be the first time this season the team has made three consecutive races. Thus far, the team has made six of the 12 races it attended. He was 42nd fastest among 47 drivers in the second practice Friday. Long just needs to be faster today than four of the other 11 drivers who need to make tomorrow’s race based on their qualifying speed. The good news is that five of those drivers were slower in the final practice. If Long accomplishes that, McGlynn said the team will continue to grow. “It’s a business, but there’s a lot of luck involved,” McGlynn said. “All you have to do is get tied up with the right people, then the right people will bring more sponsorship. That’s what is happening. It’s starting to snowball now.”(Times Leader), see images of the #00 on my #00 Team Schemes page.(7-23-2005)

    • Earnhardt leads INHOF candidates vote: With Dale Earnhardt leading the way, NASCAR candidates dominated first round voting for the Class of 2006 at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. This was a switch from the previous two years when stockcar legends managed to grab only three of the ten spots available. Following Earnhardt, who had one of the highest vote totals ever, NASCAR-related candidates took the first six spots, eight of the top ten places, and 12 of the 22 total finalists. There were 22 candidates instead of 20 because of a three-way tie for 20th. Earnhardt's NASCAR peers include, in alphabetical order, Red Byron, Jerry Cook, Harry Gant, Ray Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Cotton Owens, Les Richter, Jack Roush, Ralph Seagraves, Humpy Wheeler and Rex White. The non-NASCAR contingent is equally talented, and is likely to grab some spots in the final group of five inductees as well. Other finalists include Indy Car standouts J. C. A-gajanian and Pete DePaolo, Formula 1 star Rene Dreyfus, sports car drivers Gene Felton, Janet Guthrie and Brian Redman, sprint car legends Tommy Hinnershitz and Jan Opperman, drag racing's Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins and motorcycle champion Wayne Rainey. Ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed to the voting panel next week. The announcement of the Class of 2005 will be made on Wednesday, Nov. 2nd.
      The date of the 2006 Induction Ceremony will be Thursday night, April 27th. It will be in the Speed Channel Dome at the Hall of Fame, and will be a black tie affair with a sit-down dinner and receptions both before and after. Tickets are $125 each, or $1,000 for a table of eight. For more information, please call 256/362-5002.(IMHOF PR)(7-23-2005)

    • Martin's special orange/white scheme at Phoenix instead: RacingOne is hearing that #6-Mark Martin will conclude his "Salute to You" tour [should it still be called that?] at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his standard Viagra paint scheme. The special 1981 orange and white paint scheme that Mark was originally slated to run at Homestead will now run at Phoenix Int'l Raceway. This car will resemble the same car he made his first Cup Series start in. The switch was said to be made because of a scheduling change from Martin's sponsor Pfizer.(RacingOne), see the image of the car on my #6 Team Schemes page.(7-23-2005)

    • McMurray wins pole at Pocono: #42-Jamie McMurray celebrated his option pickup by owner Chip Ganassi by winning the pole for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. The pole is McMurray's first of 2005 and 2nd of his career and puts him in the 2006 Budweiser Shootout [in either the #42 or the #6]. McMurray's last [and only] pole came at Homestead in November 2003, 55 races ago, he finished 9th. The rest of the top 5 are: #97-Kurt Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #12-Ryan Newman and #21-Ricky Rudd. #20-Tony Stewart has the highest starting Chevy at 6th. Points leader, #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 9th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts in the back, 38th. #99-Bobby Gerhart qualified the car for Carl Edwards 41st, so Edwards won't have to fall back to far on Sunday. #27-Kirk Shelmerdine makes his first race of the year. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. was the best of the non top-35 teams and will start 27th. Missing the race are: #89-Morgan Shepherd, #92-Hermie Sadler, #00-Carl Long and #52-Derrike Cope. Looks like only two drivers were faster on their 2nd laps: #92-Sadler [up a tad, #9-Kahne [up 3.6mph]. #52-Cope spun and hit the turn 2 wall on first lap, then drove on and then hit the turn 3 wall hard, Cope walked away ok. #15-Waltrip scrubbed the wall in turn 2, but still turned in a good lap. #00-Long got loose, spun and smacked the wall in turn 1 on his first lap and drove it to the garage. #41-Mears spun off turn 3 on his first qualifying lap but didn't hit anything and took the car to the garage.
      For practice speeds, pole progresson, qualifying speeds, starting lineup and links, see Jayski's Pocono Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(7-23-2005)

    • Qualifying Nugget:There have been 18 different Bud Pole winners in the last 19 races at Pocono Raceway counting this weeks race with McMurray winning the pole. Qualifying was rained out in the 2002 Pocono 500.(7-23-2005)

    • Pocono Qualifying Notes:
      • Jamie McMurray won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Pennsylvania 500, lapping Pocono Raceway in 53.330 seconds at 168.761 mph. Kasey Kahne holds the track-qualifying record of 52.164 seconds, 172.533 mph, set June 11, 2004.
      • There have been 18 different Bud Pole winners in the 19 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Pocono since June 1996. Qualifying was canceled in June 2002.
      • This is McMurray’s second career Bud Pole in 98 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. It is his third top-10 start this season. His previous best start this season was fourth here at Pocono in June. This is the third top-10 start in six races at Pocono for McMurray.
      • McMurray became the 13th different Bud Pole winner this season.
      • Kurt Busch posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 53.402 seconds, 168.533 mph – and will join McMurray on the front row for the Pennsylvania 500. This is fifth top-10 start, including three straight top-threes, in 10 Pocono races for Busch. It is his 10th top-10 start this season.
      • This is the eighth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2005 and breaks a streak of four consecutive Chevrolet Bud Poles this season. Four of the last five Pocono Bud Poles have been won by Dodge, each with a different driver. Chevrolet has nine Bud Poles and Ford has two this season. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June.
      • Mark Martin (third) has posted 28 top-10 starts in his 38 races at Pocono. It is only his second top-10 start this season.
      • Ryan Newman (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 start in his eight races at Pocono, but this is his first since 2003. It is his 17th top-10 start this season
      • Ricky Rudd (fifth) posted his 26th top-10 start in 53 races at Pocono, but his first since 2002. This is his fourth top-10 start this season.
      • Only six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Pocono have ever been won from a starting position worse than 15th, most recently by Carl Edwards who won this year’s Pocono 500 from 29th, the farthest back that a race winner at Pocono has started.
      • In 23 years of twice-a-year NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Pocono since 1982, a sweep has occurred only five times: Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1985), Tim Richmond (1986), Bobby Labonte (1999) and Jimmie Johnson (2004).(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-23-2005)

    • Ramblings - Pocono:
      Jamie McMurray took the Bud Pole today at Pocono Raceway for tomorrow's Pennsylvania 500 with a time of 53.330 (168.761 mph) in what can only be considered an upset. With Rocket Ryan Newman being the quickest in both practices yesterday, for him to fall to fourth was a bit of a shocker. Getting loose in turn three'll do that, tho. This is McMurray's second career pole (he won his first at Homestead in November of 2003), and he becomes the 13th different pole winner of the season.
      All kindsa action today. Casey Mears spun it off three (but kept it off the wall) so they'll change an engine. Carl Long put it in the wall in turn one and Derrike Cope hit hard in turn three. No racing for those two this weekend as they were on the "go or go home" list.
      Kurt Busch will start on the outside of the front row....the same place he started when we were here last month.
      Ricky Rudd (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Texas last April.
      Ken Schrader (12th) has his best starting spot since he started 11th at Martinsville in April.
      Mike Wallace (31st) has his best starting spot since he timed in 30th at Richmond in May.
      Mike Garvey (32nd) has his career-best starting position this week....he started 33rd last week at Loudon.
      Kirk Shelmerdine (43rd) makes his first start of the season this week after 9 dnq's). His last Cup race was at Darlington last November.
      STREAKIN....Kevin Harvick has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
      Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races..(Stock Car Fans)(7-23-2005)

      News from July 22, 2005

    • Arnold sells truck team interest to Germain, back to Cup: Saying he's sold his interest in the Germain-Arnold Racing Craftsman Truck Series [#9, #30] team, Don Arnold confirmed he's once again focusing on going Nextel Cup Series racing [#50 team]. "I just wanted to concentrate on Cup," Arnold said from his new 40,000 square-foot shop located in Mooresville, N.C. "I hope within the next week to announce a Cup sponsorship deal for the rest of the 2005 season and all of 2006." Arnold said veteran driver Jimmy Spencer would remain at the wheel of the #50 Arnold Motorsports machine. He added that the new sponsor officially would be unveiled the first week of August at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — just in time for the team's qualifying effort for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Spencer was among those testing at Indianapolis on July 5 in the Arnold Motorsports Dodge. But he crashed in Turn 1 in the afternoon, causing heavy rear-end damage to the only car the team had taken to the speedway. "We were good, but we crashed," Arnold said. "We're in the process of building three new cars right now." Spencer has driven the #50 car in only three Nextel Cup Series races so far in 2005. He qualified 22nd and finished 29th in the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta. The next week at Bristol, he qualified 29th for the Food City 500 and finished 21st. In the Coca-Cola 600 at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte on May 29, Spencer had a notable 17th-place spot on the starting grid, only to finish 42nd after getting tangled up in a three-car accident and retiring to the garage after 98 official laps. Spencer, who drives full-time in the Craftsman Truck Series and also appears regularly on SPEED Channel racing programs [NASCAR This Morning and Victory Lane]. Arnold ran his first full season in the Cup series in 2004, with Derrike Cope at the wheel the first 12 races. Before the year was out, Mike Wallace, P.J. Jones and Todd Bodine all got shots in the driver's seat. With Arnold now set up in the larger Mooresville facility, the truck team continues to lease the shop located in Concord.(Naples Daily News)(7-22-2005)

    • Home Depot wants customers to climb too: In wheeling his #20 Home Depot Chevrolet to three wins in the last four races, Tony Stewart has taken The Home Depot's do-it-yourself mantra to new heights. The 2002 series champion is chasing a second title, and his front-running ways have allowed him to climb from 10th to third in the championship point standings. But Stewart isn't just figuratively climbing, he's doing it literally.
      And while there isn't a ladder with a red flag hanging from the trunk of his Home Depot Chevrolet, there could be for consumers who read USA Today, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, the New Hampshire Union Leader or the Pocono (Pa.) Record. Ladders and all sorts of fences are 10 percent off Thursday through Sunday, only at The Home Depot. Just clip the coupon from the ads featured in the aforementioned publications and present it at purchase. Be sure to thank Stewart.
      The 22-time Nextel Cup race winner started climbing fences with a dominating victory earlier this month at Daytona (Fla.), where after leading all but nine of the race's 160 laps, he scaled the fencing along the track's front straightaway to retrieve the checkered flag. And when Stewart won again last Sunday at New Hampshire, he parked his Home Depot Chevrolet at the start/finish line, pointed to the flag stand and climbed the fencing as if it were a cargo net.
      That prompted Stewart's longtime sponsor - The Home Depot - to run a series of print ads featuring its driver's climbing prowess to proclaim, "Hey Tony, we have ladders," and offer its 10 percent discount. "I'm not sure if my contract has any sales incentives in it," said Stewart, "but if climbing some fences sells more ladders and fences at Home Depot, they better stock up, because I plan on climbing a bunch more before the season is over."(Joe Gibbs Racing/True Speed)(7-22-2005)

    • Dave in? Alan Out? UPDATE: hearing that long time Inside Nextel Cup host [Speed Channel. Monday's at 8:00pm/et] Allen Bestwick will leave the show sometime within the next month and Wind Tunnel's Dave Despain will assume host duties of the new look show. And as reported on June 28th, hearing Kevin Harvick will become a expert panelist on the show.(7-11-2005)
      UPDATE: from an interview with Speed Channel's at the The Spin Out Zone (SOZ):
      SOZ: Fans who watch SPEED Channel's "Inside NEXTEL Cup" will soon see a host change. Allen Bestwick mentioned on Monday's show that he would be leaving the program. Could you tell us why the change, who will host the "Inside NEXTEL Cup" program and should fans expect changes to the expert driver panel?
      SC: A lot of thought went into changing the longest running NASCAR show on the network. There is a certain audience comfort level with the current cast and many viewers feel like they are just hanging out with friends when they watch INC. The changes being made are aimed at taking a little more control of the show and giving the viewers a true “inside” look at the weekend’s race. Dave [Despain] will replace Allen for the Chase and Johnny will be replaced by a driver currently racing in Cup. Mikey and Kenny both stay on. The feeling with switching hosts was to get a personality that could keep the show a little more focused on the purpose at hand without letting it ramble off too far from the point. There has been some “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comments, but we thought we could give the viewer a little more than they were getting. NASCAR fans are notorious for being against change of any kind, so we’ll have to wait and see if they hang in there with the new lineup … my bet is most will like it.
      SOZ: Same assessment for "Wind Tunnel." The change in the format took place at the beginning of the racing season. It went from a Monday-Thursday program in 2004 to an extended version aired only on Sunday nights in 2005.
      SC: Ratings have been about the same, but I think we are expecting a lot of the race fans to start their day at 11 a.m. with NASCAR this Morning, watch the races, watch Victory Lane, watch Speed News and still have energy or time left for Dave … Wind Tunnel, more than any show, defines the network and the addition of a weekday edition of the Tunnel is not out of the question.(The Spin Out Zone (SOZ))(7-22-2005)

    • Robby partners with Perfect Water: Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) has announced a business partnership with Electric Aquagenics Unlimited, Inc.. As part of the relationship, EAU, producer of Perfect Empowered Drinking Water (Perfect water), will become the exclusive provider of bottled water for the Robby Gordon Motorsports team throughout the 2005 NASCAR Nextel Cup Season. Because of the healthy infusion of Aquagen, EAU’s proprietary formula that molecularly binds oxygen with sodium molecules and suspends it in distilled water, and Perfect water’s unique process, EAU believes that Perfect water has the ability to hydrate more thoroughly and oxygenate the body like no other water available. Perfect water is currently selling at Harmon’s grocery stores, the largest, fully independent grocery chain in the Rocky Mountain Area, and will soon be available for purchase at other premier health and grocery stores throughout the United States. In the meantime, Perfect water is available for purchase online by visiting In addition to drinking Perfect water, RGM will carry Perfect water logos on its coolers and team transporter, and include Perfect water as a team partner on its website. For more information or to order Perfect water, visit Electric Aquagenics Unlimited (EAU) is a supplier of technologies with numerous applications targeting a wide array of industries. For more information, visit

    • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: By picking Kurt Busch as the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun in the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway on July 17, Dale S. of Wilson, NC was the winner of the weekly Gillette Young Guns $5,000 Challenge. James picked Kurt Busch 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 Kurt Busch. This is the fifth time this year that a donation in Busch's name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor PR)(7-22-2005)

    • Award for McMurray: #42-Jamie McMurray received an achievement award from the Autism Society of America recognizing his commitment to raising autism awareness. The award was presented to him at the Autism Society of America’s 36th Annual National Conference and Exposition on July 14th in Nashville, Tenn.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(7-22-2005)

      News from July 21, 2005

    • Waltrip to the #11? before end of the season? is reporting: Speculation has arisen that Michael Waltrip may vacate his seat in the #15 DEI Chevy prior to the end of the 2005 season. Rumors are swirling around the garage that Waltrip has been offered to drive the No. 11 Chevy at Joe Gibbs Racing for the last ten races of the season and next year. Both teams have denied the report.(

    • 2006 Monte Carlo: images of the street version of the 2006 Chevy Monte Carlo and going from the headlight decals, looks like the #8 2006 Monte Carlo nose, see more on my Chevy News page.(7-21-2005)

    • Former Crew Chief third in fishing tourney: Former NASCAR crew chief Mike Hill was part of a scoring team last weekend in the Midlands Striper Club/Hydro Glow Fish Lights Tournament on Lake Murray. Hill, who lives in Ronda and works at Evernham Motorsports in Statesville, teamed with his brother, Allen, to place third with 341/4 pounds in the night tournament. The Hills had the event's largest single striper, which weighed 15 pounds, 15 ounces. Tournament proceeds help the S.C. Department of Natural Resources' striper stocking program.(Charlotte Observer/Tom Higgins)(7-21-2005)

    • Johnson to a back up, not a tire: #48-Jimmie Johnson quotes regarding Friday practice accident at Pocono Raceway, Johnson crashed in Turn 1 during Friday's first practice session.
      Well, I just got loose into Turn 1, spun out and tore up the race car. If there's a time to have it happen, now is the time. There's a long break before the second practice. We'll take it from there. Just trying hard and got loose. One of those deals.
      Everybody's asked. It was a really soft impact from my spot, so I guess everything crushed around me like it needed to. Everything's fine.
      No. I knew when I turned off into the corner that I was loose and as I started cycling through the bumps it just kept coming around. At that point you just kind of drop your head and hold on.(GM Racing PR)(7-22-2005)

    • Edwards to run at Pocono and Pikes Peak..with help from Kimmel [now Gerhart] and Parker UPDATE: It was just six short weeks ago that #99-Carl Edwards brought home his second career win in the series at Pocono Raceway. It was Edwards' first trip to the 2.5-mile track. Not only did Edwards pick up Jack Roush's first victory as a car owner at the track, his 29th starting position marked the furthest back anyone had started and won a race there. Edwards was also only the second driver to win at the tri-oval in his first career start at the track. The first was Richard Petty in 1974 when he won the inaugural Cup event there. Similar to the Pocono race earlier this year, Edwards will fly between two states in order to make both the Busch and Cup races. Edwards will spend Friday in Pocono practicing the #99 Office Depot Ford then he will depart for Colorado Springs, CO where he will start the #60 Charter Ford in the Busch race on Saturday at Pikes Peak International Raceway. For Saturday's Cup qualifying session, six-time ARCA Champion Frank Kimmel will substitute for Edwards. Kimmel has 50 career victories to his name and has starts in the Cup, Busch and Truck Series. Kimmel will attempt to qualify the #99 Office Depot Ford per NASCAR's rules but Edwards will return to start Sunday's 500-mile race. Because of the driver switch, Edwards will have to start at the back of the field but Kimmel's qualifying position is important as it determines where the team will pick their pit stall for Sunday's race. Hank Parker, Jr. will practice and qualify the #60-Busch Series car for Edwards on Friday, who will have to be in Pocono, Penn. tending to his #99 Office Depot Cup car. Parker has been on hand to help the #60 Charter team already this season, when rain at Nashville postponed the Saturday race until Sunday, forcing Edwards to hop on a plane for the first NEXTEL Cup race in Pocono. Parker filled his seat, and brought the Charter Communications Ford home with a solid 20th-place finish while Edwards drove to his second-career NEXTEL Cup win in Pennsylvania.(Roush Racing)(7-20-2005)
      UPDATE: Speed Channel's NASCAR Live reports that ARCA driver Bobby Gerhart will qualifying the #99 Ford in Saturday's qualifying at Pocono.(Speed Channel's NASCAR Live) Defending and six-time ARCA RE/MAX Series champion Frank Kimmel was originally scheduled to relieve Edwards of his qualifying duties, but will be unable to do so since he did not fit into Edwards’ custom-fitted driver’s seat.(ARCA Racing site)(7-22-2005)

    • Reese's and Harvick at Bristol: #29-Kevin Harvick will run a Reese's Big Cup / GM Goodwrench scheme in the SHaroies 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. See an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes pages.(7-21-2005)

    • Ford Fusion ready to test: NASCAR and Team Ford Racing will get their first on-track look at the new Fusion in two weeks in a team effort. Wood Brothers Racing [#21] will run a prototype with former Nextel Cup champion #88-Dale Jarrett of Robert Yates Racing testing at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Aug. 2. The 1.5-mile track south of Atlanta is available despite almost $40 million in property damage from a recent tornado. “As of right now [the Sunday morning of the recent New England 300 at Loudon, N. H.], we’re still planning to test the new Ford and the new Chevrolet that day,” said Robin Pemberton, a former crew chief and Ford Racing official, and now NASCAR’s vice-president for competition. “They were hit pretty hard, but they’re cleaning up and making progress.” With small variations, it will go something like this: The Chevy and Ford haulers will arrive at AMS early in the morning. The team that tests first—that hasn’t been determined—will wait for the other team to leave the premises before unloading and testing. Once its test is done, NASCAR officials will accompany the car to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta. The second car won’t be unloaded and tested until the other car is off the premises. Once its on-track test is completed, officials will accompany the second car to the wind tunnel at Marietta [GA]. “Mainly, we want to compare the cars’ performances to each other on the track and in the wind tunnel,” Pemberton said. “We have target numbers for what downforce and drag numbers we expect in the tunnel, and what speeds we expect on the track. But there’s no reason to think either car won’t be approved. Everybody’s so tuned into what it takes for approval. The teams and engineers know the aerodynamic numbers, so the tests are to cover our bases. They’re just to verify that the cars are what we expect. It’ll be a neat and orderly process. The teams will get the go-ahead within a few weeks to start building new cars.”(Ford Racing)(7-21-2005)

    • Update on the injured #31 Jackman: It's been difficult for Josh Yost to find his place at the racetrack following a pit road accident May 1 at Talladega Superspeedway. A man who's comfortable being inches away from speeding cars and teammates working at a frantic, yet precise, pace now feels awkward as he inches along with a bulky cast following reconstructive surgery on his ankle. Yost was struck by Rusty Wallace's #2 car during the race at what most drivers feel is the widest, safest pit road in all of NASCAR. It will take a year of rehabilitation before Yost can return to his work as #31-Jeff Burton's jackman, but for now, all he can do is sit around and offer moral support to his teammates - sometimes by simply being in the way. "It's a matter of inches every time you're out there," Yost said. "It's amazing it doesn't happen more often." Yost said fans don't know about most of the problems for the over-the-wall crewmen because they often continue their work after being knocked down. Despite a serious injury that will take a year to heal, Yost said he plans to be back on the jack next year. "It broke my fibia, kind of crushed it. The side skirt cut through the back of my heel, through all the tendons and ligaments and joint capsule and came out through the front of my foot," he said. "It basically looked like you de-boned a ham." During his rehabilitation, Yost only comes to the racetrack when NASCAR is close to his home near Welcome, N.C. "I'll be back," he said. "I'm not worried, I'm not scared. I like being close to the action."(Augusta Chronicle)(7-21-2005)

    • Rusty talks about the future: Brandon Mudd of 590 the Fan KFNS in St. Louis spoke to Rusty Wallace who was at Gateway International Raceway testing his #64 Busch Series car Tuesday in preparation for the Wallace Family Tribute 250 on July 30th. When asked who was taking his place in his #2 Cup car, he said there have been a lot of applicants, but not too many worth looking at. "We don't have a clue as to who's going in that 2 car next year. We've got a lot of guys wanting to, but Mr. Penske hasn't made a decision yet. The guys that are wanting to aren't really guys who have won races and there are a lot of guys who really want to get in a good car, but haven't had the experience yet. You have to weigh if you're willing to put a guy in the car who doesn't have the talent you need to have right now and teach him and waste two or three years. I'm afraid the Miller Brewing Company is not in the mood for that. I think they want a guy who's going to get in it and roll right now, someone who can win. That's who Roger's looking for." Rusty also said his son, Stephen, will race a limited schedule in the RWI Racing #64 Dodge in the Busch Series next season and will race under the RWI Racing banner at Michigan in the ARCA series later this season.(590 The Fan,

    • New TV Gig for Burton: Each Saturday for the remainder of the 2005 season, #31-Jeff Burton will join host Steve Byrnes from the track on NASCAR Live! as they conduct interviews, profile the competition and handicap the weekend. Direct from each week's Nextel Cup venue, the SPEED Channel stage truck is powered up for informative and lively pre and post-race coverage of the weekend's activities. For additional information on the program or to find the location of the SPEED stage at the track, visit PR)(7-21-2005)

      News from July 20, 2005

    • Marlin to the #0? MORE and Mikey? now hearing Sterling Marlin's new gig in 2006 could be the the #0 Haas CNC Racing team. No Mikey?
      AND hearing Haas CNC Racing, who is moving soon to a much larger building in Kannapolis, NC, may expand to a two-car team, with Waltrip driving the #00 Chevy and NAPA as the sponsor.(7-20-2005)

    • Congrats: Hayden Philip Wimmer was born July 19th at 5:52pm to #22 driver Scott Wimmer and wife Jody. Baby and Jody are doing fine. Hayden was 8lbs, 6oz and 21 inches long.(7-20-2005)

    • Congats: [alot of baby announcements] Audra Lucille Nottestad was born July 12th to Justin Nottestad, wife Julie and Big Brother Sam. She was 6lbs 2oz and very beautiful. All are doing great. Justin is the Front tire changer and shop foreman of the #17.(7-20-2005)

    • #32 Crew Chief fined for New Hampshire Infraction: NASCAR announced today that Danny Gill, crew chief for the No. 32 Chevrolet driven by Bobby Hamilton Jr., in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, has been fined $1,000 for an infraction discovered during opening day inspection at New Hampshire International Speedway last weekend. Gill was fined for a seat belt with an expired manufacturer’s date, a violation of Section 12-4-1 (Actions detrimental to stock car racing) and Section 17-2-C (seat belts) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(7-20-2005)

    • New Nose 'Lip' for 2007: NASCAR officials are telling crew chiefs that there will be a new nose-lip for all Nextel Cup cars in 2007, perhaps earlier, a new nose valence that would be similar to Trans-Am noses and truck noses - with a lower aerodynamic lip, designed to force teams to limit the wheel-travel of race cars. The new rule would come in response to the radical wheel-travel that teams are using this season to drop the nose of the car and increase speed by literally dragging the nose on the pavement. Wheel-travel is believed to be one reason for the rash of tire problems, with tires taking a fearsome beating. "I think it's a good rule, and they might do it next year," #01 crew chief Ryan Pemberton said. "But it will (make) obsolete all the hundreds of thousands of dollars of expensive special springs each team now has. I've spent more on springs in the past year than I have in my entire career. We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars of springs."(Winston Salem Journal)(7-20-2005)

    • So..who is in the #15 in 2006? with Michael Waltrip and DEI spliting, and NAPA's status with DEI or Waltrip up in the air, who, if anyone will be in the #15 Chevy? Does it go the way of the #1 team, as a part time team or a full-time gig? Been told that the plans are for DEI's #11 Chevy Busch Series driver, Paul Menard, to run one more full season in the Busch Series and run up to 7 Cup races, it could be in the #15 or a 4th DEI team if the #15 runs full time as DEI plan to do.(7-20-2005)

    • Newman wrecks at Bristol: What was supposed to be a routine practice session at Bristol Motor Speedway instead nearly turned into a catastrophe for NASCAR driver Ryan Newman arrived at Bristol Motor Speedway Tuesday hoping to get in some practice with his #39 Busch car, but his day came to an abrupt end. Only a few laps into the session, Newman hit the wall outside of turn four. Emergency personnel and Newman's team were on hand almost immediately to assess the damage. The right front fender and the right front tire were worse for wear. Newman got out of the car under his own power, but was obviously concerned with what went wrong. 6 Sports tried to talk to Newman after the crash but he refused our questions. He did say that he was all right.(6 Sports - images of the car there)(7-20-2005)

    • Newman goes Mobil: Sunday's race at Pocono will be the third time this season the #12 Dodge will have Mobil 1 as its primary sponsor. Mobil 1 was the primary at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where driver Ryan Newman earned his first pole of the season. Mobil 1 also sponsored the #12 NNCS Cup team and the #39 NASCAR Busch Series team at Chicagoland Speedway earlier this month.(Penske Racing), images of the car on my #12 Team Schemes page.(7-20-2005)

    • NFL Great Tim Brown to be team owner UPDATE: during his retirement announcement today on ESPNews, NFL receiving great, Tim Brown announced he will become a NASCAR team owner, didn't say what series, but that he is working with Roush Racing, who will supply engines and chassis.(7-18-2005)
      UPDATE: Monday morning, a few miles west at the Oakland Airport Hilton and a couple of deep post patterns from Raiders headquarters, Brown announced he is retiring in part to become the [actually one of the] first African American owner of a NASCAR racing team, in addition to joining new NFL weekend shows on Fox Sports Net television and possibly Sirius Satellite Radio. Brown said he has accepted an offer to create Tim Brown Racing from Roush Racing, an enterprise that has won NASCAR's last two Winston Cup/Nextel Cup championships. Brown's team will use Roush chassis and technology for cars that will begin NASCAR competition in 2006. "See, I even know what chassis are," Brown joked. "If NASCAR is going to truly be America's sport, everyone (from all races) has to be involved," he said, adding he will be involved in promotions and securing sponsorships for his new team. Brown also will continue to be the national spokesman for a Long Beach-based children's educational program, 9-1-1 for Kids. (Sacramento Bee), wonder if it will be #81?.(7-19-2005)
      AND there have been other African American owner's, some sucessful, Wendell Scott, owned his own team, drove and won a race? Washington / Irving in the #50 Dr. Pepper Busch car and Sam Belnavis was part owner of the #54 National Guard car that Todd Bodine drove a few years ago [won a pole at Chicago], Belnavis is now with Roush Racing and would imagine he has something to to with Brown being with Roush. Just a few examples.(7-20-2005)

    • Cool stuff in Philly: The Franklin Institute [went there many times as a kid, since I was from South NJ], home to the world famous walk-through human heart [so cool], will offer visitors a glimpse into a heart-pounding sport tomorrow [July 21] when Racecar Day takes the green flag at the museum at 222 N. 20th St. in Center City. In partnership with Comcast SportsNet, the Franklin Institute has lined up a number of special attractions in addition to its usual blend of interactive science exhibits. The first 200 visitors will receive goody bags, one fan will win a VIP trip for four to Pocono Raceway this weekend, and there will be giveaways from other Philadelphia-area tracks and a tire-changing competition for novice pit-crew members. Minority involvement in motorsports will be examined through a presentation by the Philadelphia-based Urban Youth Racing School, with a special appearance by Bill Lester, the only African American driver competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, in the #22 Toyota Tundra. Robby Gordon, driver and team owner of the 7 Chevrolet on the Nextel Cup circuit, is also scheduled to be on hand tomorrow for a special presentation. In conjunction with the "drink smart" campaign of its sponsor, Jim Beam, Robby Gordon Motorsports will donate $10,000 to fund alcohol education programs at Temple University. The Franklin Institute opens at 9:30 a.m. Racecar Day festivities will run from noon to 5 p.m. The regular admission price to the Institute is $13.75 for adults and $11 for children 4 through 11. There is no additional charge for the Raceday activities.(Philadelphia Inquirer)(7-20-2005)

    • Hamiltons 1-2 in final Indy test session: It was a family affair atop the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing speed charts July 19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as the father-son tandem of Bobby Hamilton and Bobby Hamilton Jr. posted the top laps, respectively. NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regular [and 2004 Truck Series Champ] Bobby Hamilton topped the NEXTEL Cup Series regulars on the final day of testing for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7 with a lap of 183.905mph in the #04 Bobby Hamilton Racing Dodge. It was the fastest lap overall over six days of testing the last three weeks at the historic 2.5-mile oval. Bobby Hamilton Jr. was second fastest today at 182.576 in the #32 Tide Chevrolet, which he drives full time in the NEXTEL Cup Series. “We were actually up doing some chassis stuff for my truck and ended up running good,” Bobby Hamilton said. “Obviously, if everything goes right we’ve got time to paint the car and all. It’s an in-house car. We built it ourselves; we bought the chassis from PPI (Motorsports) and then put on our front and rear clips." The top four today were faster than the previous fastest lap of the month, 181.963, by #16-Greg Biffle on July 11.
      Unofficial Speeds, Tuesday, July 19
      Rank) Car#-Driver, Speed (mph), Total Laps
      1.) #04-Bobby Hamilton, 183.905, 53
      2.) #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., 182.576, 33
      3.) #91-Bill Elliott, 182.562, 60
      4.) #5-Kyle Busch, 182.450, 73
      5.) #1-Martin Truex Jr., 181.668, 73
      6.) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 181.494, 67
      7.) #6-Mark Martin, 180.760, 78
      8.) #23-Mike Skinner, 180.396, 30
      9.) #24-Jeff Gordon, 180.303, 65
      10.) #40-Sterling Marlin180.083, 84
      11.) #9-Kasey Kahne, 179.601, 107
      12.) #51-Stuart Kirby, 179.293, 15
      13.) #43-Jeff Green, 179.225, 33
      14.) #44-Terry Labonte, 178.683, 61
      15.) #20-Tony Stewart, 178.385, 82
      16.) #88-Dale Jarrett, 178.177, 101
      17.) #92-Tony Raines, 178.115, 18
      18.) #25-Brian Vickers, 177.502, 90
      Tickets: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard activities get underway at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, Aug. 5. with Chevy Day at the Brickyard, a family-friendly event sponsored by Chevrolet, from 9 a.m.-noon (local time) in the east lot of the Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield. Admission is included in the price of admission to the IMS grounds for the day’s Allstate 400 at the Brickyard activities, which is $10 per person and free for children ages 5 and younger. Activities will include appearances by Chevrolet-sponsored NASCAR drivers, interactive games, racing simulators, NASCAR race cars and live music. To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to PR)(7-20-2005)

      News from July 19, 2005

    • Kahne's attorneys ask judge to throw out Ford's suit: Attorneys for #9-Kasey Kahne asked a federal judge to throw out Ford's breach-of-contract lawsuit against the NASCAR driver, one of his lawyers said Tuesday. U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland in Detroit was to hear arguments on the request Wednesday, attorney David Baum said from New York. Ford sued Kahne in Wayne County Circuit Court in July 2004, the county where the Michigan automaker is headquartered. The company claimed he signed a contract that obligated him to drive Fords for Robert Yates Racing and appear in promotional activities. But in October 2003, the suit alleged, Kahne bolted Ford and joined a Dodge team owned by Ray Evernham. The lawsuit was transferred to federal court shortly after it was filed because the parties are from different states, Baum said. Kahne lives in Huntersville, N.C. Ford has called the suit "unfortunate," and said it believes in honoring contracts. NASCAR views its teams as independents and drivers as contracted workers hired by each team. Disputes are worked out among each other, with NASCAR having no influence in the results.(

    • Claification of Labonte/Gibbs Racing rumors: See all the rumors [a bunch] on my #18 Team News and Links page. Some updates to claify some of those rumors:
      1. Joe Gibbs Racing is not planning a sports car team for 2006 and while Bobby Labonte enjoys the Rolex races, he is still a full-time Cup driver and is signed with JGR through 2008.
      2. Interstate Batteries will be back on the #18 Chevy in 2006, as they have been since 1992, one of the longest running primary sponsors/team relationships in NASCAR.
      3. And, as pointed out through various articles and in Bobby Labonte's comments. The rumors are untrue and that's about all that can be said.(JGR team spokesman)(7-19-2005)

    • Kasey doing some more ads: Kasey Kahne, the driver of Evernham Motorsports' #9 Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, will be featured in two ad campaigns that the Allstate insurance company is preparing to launch, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. The first ad is scheduled to air on TNT during Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, and the second will start running during NBC's airing of the Aug. 7 Allstate 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Allstate isn't disclosing how much the campaigns cost or how much is being spent on placement of the ads, the story says.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-19-2005)

    • NASCAR hires former NFL marketing executive: NASCAR has announced the hiring of former NFL executive Scott Phelps as its vice president of corporate marketing. Phelps, 42, will succeed Brett Yormark, who left to become chief executive officer of the New Jersey Nets. Phelps, who was vice president of corporate sponsorship at the NFL before leaving 13 months ago, is scheduled to start his new position in NASCAR's New York office on Aug. 8. NASCAR also announced the promotion of Roger VanDerSnick from director of brand and consumer marketing to vice president, marketing.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-19-2005)

    • Mears to stay at Ganassi? UPDATE Sorenson in? #41-Casey Mears appears to be safe in Chip Ganassi's Dodges for another season, according to sources familiar with the situation. Mears has been anxiously awaiting official word from Ganassi about his future. Word that rival team owner Roger Penske is interested in Mears as #2-Rusty Wallace's replacement may be spurring Ganassi to exercise his option to keep Mears. Ganassi could expand to a four-car operation next season, with sponsorship available, although it's unclear who Ganassi might have at the wheel.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-16-2005)
      UPDATE: Word is that Busch rookie sensation Reed Sorenson will get the nod for the #41 Dodge in 2006. Possibilities mentioned for Mears include the #2 at Penske Racing and the #10 at Evernham. There also has been the suggestion that he'll drive Sorenson's Busch car.(Sporting News)(7-19-2005)

    • Skinner paces week 3, day 1 of testing at Indy: Mike Skinner put his #23 History Channel AutoManiac Dodge atop the speed charts in private NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing July 18 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a lap of 180.692 mph. Bobby Hamilton Jr. was second fastest in the #32 Tide Chevrolet at 179.565, and Martin Truex Jr. was third in the #1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet at 179.460. This is the third consecutive, and final, week of testing at Indianapolis in preparation for the 12th annual Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Aug. 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. did not practice in the morning but turned 27 laps in the afternoon, turning a fast lap of 176.470 in the #8 Budweiser Chevrolet. Earnhardt said the team plans to complete a full day of testing on July 19, the final day of pre-Allstate 400 at the Brickyard private testing.
      The drivers who tested Monday are scheduled to be joined by four-time race winner Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, a resident of Columbus, Ind., and winner of three of the last four NEXTEL Cup Series events.
      Fans are welcome to watch testing July 19 from the South Terrace grandstands, located in the infield between Turns 1 and 2. Admission is free.
      Unofficial Speeds, Monday, July 18
      Rank) Car#-Driver, Speed (mph), Total Laps
      1.) #23-Mike Skinner, 180.692, 57
      2.) #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr., 179.565, 40
      3.) #1-Martin Truex Jr., 179.460, 90
      4.) #5-Kyle Busch, 178.874, 59
      5.) #04-Bobby Hamilton, 178.690, 25 [no word on what team this is]
      6.) #6-Mark Martin, 178.580, 137
      7.) #9-Kasey Kahne, 178.537, 113
      8.) #40-Sterling Marlin, 178.495, 76
      9.) #44-Terry Labonte, 178.341, 53
      10.) #91-Bill Elliott, 178.304, 76
      11.) #43-Jeff Green, 178.054, 51
      12.) #88-Dale Jarrett, 177.703, 101
      13.) #51-Stuart Kirby, 177.527, 59
      14.) #25-Brian Vickers, 177.384, 65
      15.) #22-Scott Wimmer, 176.918, 75
      16.) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 176.470, 27
      17.) #92-Tony Raines, 174.518, 30
      Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to PR)(7-19-2005)

    • Driver killed at Arkansas track: A modified auto racer was killed when the driveshaft of his car came through the vehicle and struck him, the county coroner said Monday. Tim Phillips, 35 of Fayetteville, died Friday night following the crash at the North Central Arkansas Speedway. Marion County Coroner Dan Duren said Phillips' death appeared to be an accident. Phillips was driving in the preliminary modified feature and was in fifth place at the time of the wreck. Spokeswoman Mary Jane Erwin, who owns the track with family members, said Phillips sustained head injuries in what she called a "freak accident."
      "We were ready to cancel ... not have it all," Erwin said of Saturday night's finals. "But I talked with the Phillips family, and they said they wanted the race to go on. So we changed the name of the race to the Tim Phillips Memorial in honor of him and his family." The fatality was the first for the North Central Arkansas Speedway, which opened in 1989. It was also the first Arkansas racetrack death since 1995 when a spectator was killed after being struck by a tire in the pits at the I-30 Speedway in Little Rock.(

      News from July 18, 2005

    • Holly leaves #32 team UPDATE 3 sabbatical over, Holly to #44 Busch team: hearing that #32 PPI Motorsports crew chief, Harold Holly has left the Tide team and driver Bobby Hamilton Jr., been told Danny Gill will assume crew chief duties at Chicagoland Speedway.(7-5-2005)
      UPDATE: two Nashville, TN TV stations [NBC affiliate WSMV-TV and CBS affiliate WTVF-TV] reported and interviewed driver Bobby Hamilton Jr. and he confirmed that Harold Holly has left the #32 car as crew chief. It was a mutual decision between Holly and #32 car owner Cal Wells. Holly wants to get back to Busch for less hectic schedule and it was time for a change. The new crew chief will be Danny Gill (Hamilton drove ARCA car with him as crew chief).(7-6-2005)
      UPDATE 2: Contrary to published reports, Harold Holly remains under contract with PPI Motorsports and is currently taking a sabbatical leave for several weeks. Filling in for Holly is Danny Gill.(PPI Motorsports)(7-6-2005)
      AND Call Wells told Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio this morning that Harold Holly is still working for him but is on a several week sabbatical. "What's Harold's doing is he's on a short sabbatical. He's reviewing our performance challenges. He's reviewing where we're coming up short, what we need to evolve and to change," Wells told CBL. Wells said they've hired Danny Gill to come in and straighten out the shop because the prouduct they have been delivering to the crew chief has not been of the quality that Wells said he's been proud of in the past. Wells further said that Bobby Hamilton Sr. assisted in the hiring of Danny Gill to help square away things in the shop. Gill will cover things for the next couple of weeks as Harold delves into, "where our challenges are." Wells says " Harold's going to come up with some thoughts and ideas and direction that is going to make us better." Wells told CBL that he wanted to clairify that, "Harold Holly is still with PPI, that rumors to the contrary are inaccurate and that Harold is a good friend a confidant a supporter and I am a supporter of him."(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(7-6-2005)
      UPDATE 3: Labonte/Haas Racing announced today the appointment of Harold Holly as crew chief of the #44 U.S. Coast Guard Shield of Freedom Chevrolet beginning this weekend at the NASCAR Busch Series event at Pikes Peak International Raceway. See more on my Busch Series site.(7-18-2005)

    • Stewart catching Johnson: Over the past five races, #20-Tony Stewart has gained 295 points on #48-Jimmie Johnson, outscoring the points leader 905-610.(Gaston Gazette)(7-18-2005)

    • Fennig Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at NHIS: After Kurt Busch made an early spin in Sunday's New England 300, nearly everyone considered the defending race champ out of contention. Despite the setback, Busch, with guidance from crew chief Jimmy Fennig, stormed back to finish the race in second place. Busch's clutch performance marked his fifth top-10 finish in nine races at New Hampshire International Speedway, including four top-fives. For engineering his driver's comeback, Fennig was voted the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
      Busch qualified his #97 Irwin Industrial Tools Taurus in 5th place, but his track position took a turn for the worse after he spun out in the first forty laps of the event. The incident dropped Busch to the tail-end of the field. To make things worse, Busch overshot his pit stall on the following yellow flag. Once again Busch fell back in the pack, but good pit stops and a strong handling car gave Busch the ammunition he needed to charge through the field.
      The panel of voters; including Chuck Givler of the Easton Express-Times, a Wypall Wipers representative and Robbie Reiser; all agreed that Fennig was the crew chief who made the biggest difference in the race.
      Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson and Robbie Loomis are tied for second place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Bob Osborne, Fatback McSwain, Greg Zipadelli, Steve Hmiel, Jimmy Fennig and Pete Rondeau are in a tie for third place, each with one win. At the end of the season, the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000. Fans can also vote for their choice at 500)(7-18-2005)

    • Gibbs back to 2 teams? Gibbs to four teams? Not looking at Sorenson: Jimmy Spencer stated on Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning that he expects Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Fed-Ex team to go away, Gibbs teams to go back to a 2 car team with Fed-Ex going to the #18 Bobby Labonte team as it is not well funded with Interstate Batteries.(Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning)(7-17-2005)
      OR Joe Gibbs Racing [#11, #18, #20] is contemplating an expansion to a four-car effort next season, according to team sources. However, J. D. Gibbs, who runs the team for his NFL coaching father, insists the company isn't looking at hiring Busch hotshot Reed Sorensen, despite reports.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-18-2005)

    • Cope at Pocono in the #52: Cope said: "As for the Cup car, I really felt good about getting the Dodge in the race, but unfortunately we just missed making the race. I just could not get the car to turn in the middle of the corner the way I needed to in order to get back on the gas. But it was a good first effort for us as a team. The guys did a really good job getting a number of changes done on the car to find the speed that we did. We learned a lot about this car and I think we will be better the next time out. We will be going to Pocono to try again. Hopefully we will have more success."(

    • Week 3 of Testing at Indy: The final tune-up for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard is taking place July 18-19 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as 20 drivers – including three past event champions – are scheduled to test on the historic 2.5-mile oval. Testing will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (local time) each day, with a lunch break from noon-1 p.m. Fans are welcome to watch testing for free in the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2. All drivers are testing in preparation for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 7 at the Speedway.
      Every driver will aim to top the fastest speed posted in four days of testing so far this month, 181.963 mph July 11 by NEXTEL Cup contender Greg Biffle.
      Drivers NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Testing:
      #1-Martin Truex Jr. #5-Kyle Busch #6-Mark Martin #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. #9-Kasey Kahne #13-Greg Sacks #20-Tony Stewart (July 19th)
      #22-Scott Wimmer
      #23-Mike Skinner
      #24-Jeff Gordon (July 19th)
      #25-Brian Vickers #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr.
      #40-Sterling Marlin
      #43-Jeff Green #44-Terry Labonte #51-Stuart Kirby #88-Dale Jarrett #91-Bill Elliott
      #00-Kenny Wallace
      #92-Tony Raines
      Tickets: To purchase tickets, camping or parking for the 12th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, contact the IMS ticket office at (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, (317) 492-6700 locally or log on to PR)(7-18-2005)

    • Sad News: Benson's mother in law Phyllis Jean Crowley, lovingly passed into the arms of her Lord on Thursday, July 14. She was preceded in death by her oldest son, David. She dedicated her life to the caring and nurturing of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She will be greatly missed by her husband of 59 years. Francis Charles Crowley; her children, Douglas and Peggy Crowley, Janice Scott, Judy and James Bender, D.P.M., Jeffrey Crowley and Ricky Buford, Debbie and Johnny Benson; Her grandchildren, Tami, Marcy, Aaron, Andrew, Adam, Brad, Christie, Katelyn and Mikayla; great grandchildren, Joey Lynn and Jackson; her brothers and sister, Harvey and Ann Dougherty, Frances and William Tuttle; sister-in-law, Ilene Chapman; many nieces and nephews.
      Phyllis was a member of Second Congregational U.C.C. for over 50 years, where she was active in the Friendship Club. Funeral and committal services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday at the Reyers North Valley, with Rev. Bonita Zobeck officiating. Interment in Blythefield Memory Gardens. Relatives and friends may meet her family at the chapel from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday. For those who wish, memorials may be made to Second Congregational U.C.C. If you would like to leave a lasting tribute or fond memory of Phyllis, please go online to Benson site)(7-18-2005)

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