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    OCT 10-16, 2005

      News from October 16, 2005

    • Johnson wins at Charlotte: #48-Jimmie Johnson didn't lead until the last 13 laps, but pulled off the win in the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, for his 4th win at LMS in a row, 5th in the last 6 races there, 4th of the season and 18th win of his career. Johnson is the first driver to sweep the races at a track in 2005, winning both Cup races at LMS this season. It was a wild race with a ton of tire problems with most of the problems with the right front, three drivers were leading when they lost a right front, #5-Busch, #20-Stewart and #9-Kahne. The win vaults Johnson into a tie for the points lead with Stewart, although Stewart is the leader with 5 wins over Johnson's 4. The top-10 Chasers are now within 142 points. #97-Kurt Busch finished 2nd, followed by #16-Greg Biffle, #01-Joe Nemechek and #6-Mark Martin. #11-Denny Hamlin, only in his 2nd race, finished 8th and was running in the top-5 until a few laps to go. The race started a little late as NASCAR waited for NBC to finish up with the USC-Notre Dame college football game which lasted until 7:43pm/et, the race was scheduled to start at 7:20pm/et. Due to the tire problems NASCAR mandated a minimum tire pressure for the tires that Goodyear posts in its tire notes and PRN radio said that NASCAR said that teams caught not maintaining the minimum air pressure will lose points. There was an event record 15 cautions for 83 laps and 17 drivers led a lap with 35 lead changes.
      For my race rundown, laps led, DNF's, caution info, Lucky Dogs and some notes, see my Charlotte/LMS Race Info/Rundown Page.
      For race results and awards, and other site links, see my
    • Jayski's Charlotte Race Results/Awards page.(10-16-2005)

    • McMurray may get release from Ganassi....if UPDATE: Chip Ganassi has softened his stance regarding driver #42-Jamie McMurray, who wants out of his contract so he can drive for Roush Racing. McMurray signed a contract in July to drive for Roush beginning in 2007 [supposedly the #6, but now the #97], hoping that the early announcement would force Ganassi to let him leave at the end of this year. Ganassi steadfastly refused to even negotiate an early release. But on Friday, Ganassi sounded a little bit more flexible about finding a solution.
      "There are no talks at this time, but there could be if someone came to me with a solution," Ganassi said. "I need a solution, not a pile of money. I need a driver to replace Jamie." The McMurray situation got complicated when Kurt Busch said he was leaving Roush to drive for Penske Racing in 2007. Penske has an opening next season in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge because Rusty Wallace is retiring and would like to put Busch in the car right away. But Roush will not let Busch leave because it would give him two holes to fill: Busch's ride, plus the seat McMurray was supposed to fill upon Mark Martin's retirement. It was believed Roush and Penske were trying to work out a deal, but any solutions would likely have to include Ganassi giving McMurray an early release. "Look, I am not going to be Jack Roush or Roger Penske's whipping boy," Ganassi said. "I'm the end of the line on this thing and I'm trying to put together my team, too." If nothing changes, Martin has indicated he will postpone retirement and drive one more season for Roush in the #6 Ford. If that happens, Roush said he'd likely put McMurray in Busch's seat (assuming Busch stays through 2006) and move Todd Kluever up to Martin's ride in 2007.(
      UPDATE: Penske South officials remain optimistic that Kurt Busch will replace Rusty Wallace in 2006, but they say it will not happen unless Jamie McMurray is released to join Roush Racing. That would open the door for a three-way deal in which Penske would get Busch, Roush would get McMurray and Chip Ganassi Racing would get a driver to replace McMurray. “Jamie has to get free first,” said Penske Race president Don Miller before Saturday night’s Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “That’s the only way it’s going to work.” Roush president Geoff Smith agreed. “For us, that’s step one,” he said of McMurray, who is signed for the 2007 season to drive Busch’s No. 97 car. “They know what our criteria are. I believe there are discussions with Chip from Penske.” Ganassi, who has insisted for months that he would not release McMurray, softened his stance this weekend, saying he would be willing to listen. “I need a solution, not a pile of money,” he told reporters. “I need a driver to replace Jamie.” Because of tampering rules, most of the talks are between Busch’s attorneys and the attorneys at Penske and Roush Racing. Smith said he has made sure Busch’s lawyers have a list of available drivers that might interest Ganassi. But Smith and team owner Jack Roush said that driver will not come from Roush Racing. “I am not in negotiations for, nor do I have any personal preference to having him driving my car in 2006,” Roush said of McMurray, who originally was signed to replace Mark Martin in the No. 6 before Busch announced his deal with Penske for 2007. “I want him in my car in 2007. If things develop so he’s available, then there will be something (done) about that. I’m not going to offer up a junior driver and two choices in the future.”(The State)(10-16-2005)

    • Benny finds out in newspaper..NBC drops out: Benny Parsons, NBC’s analyst, said he knew nothing about the network’s decision to bow out of NASCAR coverage until he read it in the newspaper. Parsons then called his bosses, who confirmed that the network had pulled out of the bidding process for the contract that begins in 2007. “They just weren’t prepared to pay the kind of money NASCAR wanted,” said Parsons, a former champion driver. “I’ll be 65 when this contract ends in 14 months,” he added. “I don’t think it’s as important for me as it is for some of the younger guys on our broadcasts. They’ll be scrambling.”(Gaston Gazette)(10-16-2005)

    • plans to run Tracy: Richard Childress Racing gave Champ Car driver Paul Tracy a two-day test at Michigan in August and said he would let him race at that track if the session went well. The two ultimately decided not to enter the race. Now Childress says there have been no further discussions. "Paul and I haven't talked in about a month," Childress said. "We're just trying to get our in-house program put together for next year."(

    • Roush states his case with five-page document: Roush Racing issued a five-page statement on the value of multi-car teams Saturday, combating NASCAR's challenge of limiting ownership. NASCAR chairman Brian France and NASCAR president Mike Helton both said last week that series officials are putting together regulations to limit how many teams one car owner can have. Series officials have talked of dropping that number to four and, possibly, three later. Roush Racing has five teams, while Hendrick Motorsports has four. The Roush paper, written by team president Geoff Smith, contends that "potential team restrictions represent a certain significant loss to every owner.''(Roanoke Times)(10-16-2005)

    • Menard sells engine company to...Honda? Word from England is that billionaire home improvement magnate John Menard, whose engine company has been building racing engines for Robby Gordon's #7 team, has sold his racing and engine-building shop to Honda. Does that mean Gordon will have to start looking for another engine supplier?(Yahoo Sports)(10-16-2005)

    • Congrats: Danielle Donnelly, daughter of Dan Donnelly, transport driver of the #4 Morgan-McClure Lucas Oil team in the Nextel Cup series, won the crown of Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2006 recently. Danielle currently works for the Social Security Administration. When not working, Danielle gives back to her community as a volunteer and President of a spinal cord injury support group called, "Unlimited Possibilities." She has also volunteered in the special education department of Abingdon high and middle schools.(10-16-2005)

    • Special on neurology of NASCAR TV Special AIR's TONIGHT: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, an Atlanta neurosurgeon and the network's senior medical correspondent, was in Concord, NC this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway filming an hourlong CNN medical special show scheduled for Sept. 25 about motor sports from a medical perspective. Among the topics: whether great racers are born that way or learn through training; staying hydrated on race day; and the survivability of crashes. "People are fascinated by the physics of a crash," says Gupta, who interviewed driver Carl Edwards in a Huntersville park for a segment on drivers as athletes. "I feel safer in my race car than on the street," Edwards told him. Oncoming traffic and variables beyond a driver's control are potentially deadly hazards, he said. Dedicated to a regimen of exercise and health, Edwards is emblematic of the new breed of drivers, a generation beyond the mythology of beer-swilling, pot-bellied racers, Gupta says. Gupta joined CNN in 2001. He has risen to be one of the network's most recognizable correspondents, known for knowledgeable reporting on medical trends, his weekend show, "House Call" (8:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays), and occasional specials on topics that have ranged from presidential health to memory.(Charlotte Observer)(6-26-2005)
      AIR DATE: scheduled to air on Sunday, October 16th at 10:00pm/et on CNN, more info at

    • Driver Points Standing after Charlotte race 5 of 10 in the Chase:
      #20-Tony Stewart, 5777
      #48-Jimmie Johnson, 5777, -0
      #16-Greg Biffle, 5766, -11
      #12-Ryan Newman, 5760, -17
      #6-Mark Martin, 5726, -51
      #99-Carl Edwards, 5723, -54
      #2-Rusty Wallace, 5685, -92
      #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 5662, -115
      #17-Matt Kenseth, 5653, -124
      #97-Kurt Busch, 5635, -142
      and the fight for 11th and the $1 million
      #38-Elliott Sadler, 3507
      #29-Kevin Harvick -11
      #01-Joe Nemechek -17
      #42-Jamie McMurray, -21
      For drivers/owners points, classic points top 15, see my
    • Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Charlotte page.(10-16-2005)

    • "Classic" Unofficial Points Standings - Top 15
      ...the 'old way', not the Chase after Charlotte, race 31 of 36:
      1) #20-Tony Stewart, 4443
      2) #16-Greg Biffle, 4252, -191
      3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4142, -301
      4) #2-Rusty Wallace, 4057, -386
      5) #6-Mark Martin, 3974, -469
      6) #97-Kurt Busch, 3909, -534
      7) #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 3870, -573
      8) #99-Carl Edwards, 3822, -621
      9) #12-Ryan Newman, 3810, -633
      10) #17-Matt Kenseth, 3752, -691
      11) #38-Elliott Sadler, 3507, -936
      12) #29-Kevin Harvick, 3496, -947
      13) #01-Joe Nemechek, 3490, -953
      14) #42-Jamie McMurray, 3486, -957
      15) #25-Brian Vickers, 3444, -999

    • Where do the Chasers start/finish for the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway:
      #20-Stewart 4th, 25th
      #12-Newman 2nd, 7th
      #16-Biffle 21st, 3rd
      #2-Wallace 27th, 24th
      #48-Johnson 3rd [engine the rear], WON
      #99-Edwards 8th, 10th
      #6-Martin 6th, 5th
      #17-Kenseth 18th, 26th
      #19-Mayfield 37th, 11th
      #97-Busch 7th, 2nd.(10-16-2005)

      News from October 15, 2005

    • NBC Out after 2006? ABC/ESPN In? UPDATE: NBC won't extend its contract with NASCAR beyond the 2006 season, a person involved in the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday. ABC/ESPN are expected to replace NBC as one of NASCAR's television partners, according to a television executive who declined to be identified because the deal wasn't complete. NBC currently splits half of NASCAR's 36-race schedule with Fox as part of a six-year, $2.8 billion deal that began in 2001. The contract expires at the end of next season and NBC informed NASCAR last week that it didn't want to extend the relationship because the value the network put on the package was far less than the asking price. Alana Russo, a spokesperson for NBC Sports, said the network had no comment. Fox Sports is negotiating to retain its rights to the first half of the season, and ABC/ESPN are also in contract talks. TNT, which airs a portion of races during NBC's share of the schedule, also wants to remain involved.
      "We are in the middle of contract negotiations right now and we have nothing to announce at this time," NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said. "But it is no secret that ABC/ESPN has expressed a strong interest in being a part of the television negotiations and we are continuing those talks." NASCAR's current television package was a landmark deal for the stock-car series. Before reaching the agreement with NBC and Fox in late 1999, NASCAR had received just $3 million for the TV rights to 28 races. ABC/ESPN and CBS were left out of the last deal after decades of being the lone networks to broadcast any NASCAR events. CBS televised the Daytona 500 from 1979 until 2000, while ESPN broadcast many races and magazine-style shows.(
      UPDATE: ESPN and ABC Sports are expected to announce soon that they have acquired the July-to-November package of Nascar races that has been carried by NBC and TNT since 2001, said executives involved in the talks who insisted on anonymity because the contract had not been completed. The six-year ESPN-ABC deal is worth an estimated $280 million annually and will last through 2012, the executives said. At $280 million annually, the ESPN-ABC pairing will pay 40 percent more than the $200 million a year that the NBC-TNT joint venture has paid since 2001 and will pay through next season.(New York Times)(10-15-2005)

    • Get Well: Chris "Sunshine" Heroy, a race engineer with the #5 Hendrick Motorsports team, recovering from an emergency appendectomy a couple of days ago.(10-15-2005)

    • Blaney out? Bowyer in? UPDATE 2 OFFICIAL Jack Daniel's extends: Richard Childress Racing has a press conference scheduled this Friday afternoon at Lowe's Motor Speedway and speculation is the team will announce current Busch Series driver Clint Bowyer as the new pilot for the team's Jack Daniels #07 NEXTEL Cup ride next year. Bowyer would replace current driver Dave Blaney in a move that could possibly include another full-time Busch season in the team's AC Delco #2 in addition to the NEXTEL Cup slate.(RacingOne)
      NOTE: the LMS press confernence sched has the RCR press conference being on Saturday, Oct 15th not Friday.(10-12-2005)
      UPDATE: Dave Blaney is looking for a new job now that Busch Series driver Clint Bowyer is taking his seat at Richard Childress Racing. The Bowyer announcement is scheduled for Saturday, but Blaney is already working the garage looking for new work. "I don't know where I'm going to be at next year. That's all I know," Blaney said. "There's still a lot things that could happen with other things going on, obviously with Penske and Roush and Ganassi and all that. So, who knows? Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we'll know."(
      UPDATE 2 - OFFICIAL: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and the Jack Daniel Distillery announced today that Jack Daniel's has extended its primary sponsorship of RCR's #07 Chevy through 2009. At the same time, both organizations announced that Clint Bowyer, a native of Emporia, Kansas, will drive the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy for the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series campaign. Bowyer, currently second in the NASCAR Busch Series championship chase, will be accompanied by crew chief Gil Martin as the proven duo pursue the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award. Bowyer will also race for the 2006 NASCAR Busch Series title returning to the seat of RCR's #2 ACDelco Chevy.
      "RCR is very pleased to take our partnership with Jack Daniel's to the next level," commented Richard Childress, President and CEO of RCR. "Clint Bowyer has done an exceptional job driving the #2 ACDelco Chevy in the Busch Series and has certainly proven himself worthy of this opportunity. I have no doubt he's ready to take the next step and move to the NEXTEL Cup Series. Clint and Gil (Martin) have great chemistry and have demonstrated they are a winning combination. We have very high expectations for this program and are confident that both Clint and Gil will be excellent representatives for Jack Daniel's both on and off the track."
      "I would also like to thank Dave Blaney for everything he's done, not only for RCR but for all he's done for Jack Daniel's as well," added Childress. "Dave is a first class driver and I'm proud to say he drove for RCR. We were lucky to have him and wish him nothing but the best."
      Bowyer, 26, made his NEXTEL Cup Series debut earlier this season at Phoenix International Raceway, posting a 22nd-place finish driving the #33 Sylvania Chevy. A veteran of 48 NASCAR Busch Series starts, Bowyer scored his first career Busch Series win earlier this season at Nashville Superspeedway. The Emporia, Kan., driver also owns 14 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes in a scorecard that reads like that of a NASCAR journeyman.
      "It's a dream come true for me," explained Bowyer. "This is exactly what I've worked my whole life for - trying to get a shot. Fortunately, I'm getting a shot with one of the best car owners in the business and one of the newest and coolest sponsors in the series. I'm really excited to be a part of it. At the same time I'm excited about what Gil and I have built on the Busch side with the ACDelco team. Hopefully we can continue that success and take it to the next level in the NEXTEL Cup Series."
      "We can't thank Richard Childress and his team enough for everything they've done to make our entry into NASCAR racing so special," said John Hayes, Vice President Americas Brand Director for Jack Daniel's. "We couldn't have chosen a better partner than RCR, and we are excited to extend this relationship and continue to build excitement around the Jack Daniel's racing team, the 07 Chevy and our 'Pace Yourself. Drink Responsibly.' message. Richard Childress is a winner. Clint Bowyer is a winner. And we're confident it won't be long until the Jack Daniel's Chevy pulls into Victory Lane." Bowyer will make his debut in the #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy at the Daytona 500 Sunday, February 19, 2006 at Daytona International Speedway.(RCR PR)(10-15-2005)

    • Stanley to sponsor Riggs for 10 races in 2006, IMAGES: as previously announced, Scott Riggs will drive the #10 Evernham Motorsports Dodge in 2006, announced at Lowe' Motor Speedway today, Valvoline will be the primary sponsor for 26 of the 26 races and Stanley Tools will be the sponsor for the other 10 races with a black and yellow scheme similar to what has run on Evernham's #91 Dodge with Bill Elliott driving.(RacingOne), see images of the cars on my 2006 #10 Team Schemes page.
      The Press part: The Stanley Works, one of the world’s best known brands of tools, hardware and security products, is adding a powerful new tool to its toolbox -- the co-primary sponsorship of the #10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge Charger and driver Scott Riggs. Stanley will sponsor the #10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge Charger for 10 races in 2006, including Las Vegas, Texas (A), Talladega (A), Darlington, Michigan (A), Daytona (B), Indianapolis, New Hampshire (B), Charlotte (B) and Phoenix (B).[with 'B' being the 2nd race of the season at that track] The #10 Stanley Tools/ Valvoline Dodge Charger will carry the signature yellow and black colors of the Stanley brand. Stanley Tools also will be the featured co-primary sponsor on the #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Charger in 21 races throughout the season. In addition to the primary sponsorship, Stanley will continue its involvement as an associate sponsor on the race cars of Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield, as well as on the uniform of Erin Crocker. The Stanley Works, Evernham Motorsports and Dodge marketing partnership will include new product launches for many of its businesses, key customer outreach efforts, retail marketing and promotions. All Stanley brands will be involved in the program, including Bostitch, Proto, Vidmar, Best, and Blackhawk by Proto.(Evernham Racing/Clear!Blue PR)(10-15-205)

    • “uni-template” demoed to some teams a recent test: NASCAR demonstrated its interlocking “uni-template” to at least some of the Nextel Cup teams recently, according to a source who was present at the test. The uni-template is a series of about 20 slotted individual templates that interlock on top of the car’s body to form an exoskeleton. The idea is that with the unit-template in place, NASCAR will be able to check every dimensional and aerodynamic measurement in one fell swoop. According to the source who was present at the test, when the uni-template was put on the car, there was “up to half an inch of wiggle room in some of the individual templates.” The bottom line, the source said, was “the uni-template actually gives NASCAR less control” over aerodynamic fudging than the system they have now, since some of the templates can be moved around so much. Presumably, NASCAR will get around to fixing that prior to the uni-template going into service late next year or early in 2007.(Speed Channel)(10-15-2005)

    • Victory Motorsports Racing joins forces with Morgan-McClure UPDATE: Terance Mathis, former NFL All-Pro Wide Receiver, and NASCAR's newest minority owner, has formed an alliance with Morgan-McClure Motorsports to unveil Victory Motorsports Racing, LLC. "I am very excited about the new venture between teams. Morgan-McClure has experienced great success in the NASCAR arena, and they bring years of experience to the table. This new venture will allow Victory Motorsports Racing, an opportunity to be a competitive team in the 2006 Nextel Cup Race season," says Terance Mathis, Majority Partner of Victory Motorsports Racing. The mission of Victory Motorsports Racing is simple, WIN. Victory Motorsports Racing is a new breed of racing, which will bring excitement, entertainment and fun to NASCAR. One major goal is to bring the minority community to NASCAR, and in turn bring NASCAR to the minority community. Not only will Victory Motorsports Racing be standing in the Winner's Circle, but they will also stand there with integrity, equality and respect. Morgan-McClure Motorsports, based in Abington, Virginia, is a 14-time winner in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series, including three victories in the prestigious Daytona 500 event in 1991, 1994 and 1995.(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR), more info on Victory Motorsports, see
      UPDATE: Morgan-McClure Motorsports is partnering with former NFL wide receiver Terance Mathis to form Victory Motorsports Racing, L.L.C. The new team, with Mathis as the majority owner, will move into the Abingdon, Va., shop of Morgan-McClure. "We want to have a second team and we can share information," Morgan-McClure owner McClure said. "It will make things better. Plus, we want to attract the minority population and have them support our race team." Morgan-McClure still will run its #4 Chevy, which currently is driven by Mike Wallace. McClure said the new group hopes to run its second team full time next season but said it's not a done deal. "That's our plan. We're already behind the 8-ball, but we have to do it some time," McClure said. "This opportunity came up, and if the sponsorship comes together in the next two weeks, then we'll be able to go."(Richmond Times DIspatch)(10-15-2005)

    • Menard to run seven 2006 races in #15: Dale Earnhardt, Inc.’s #15 Cup team will campaign a seven-race schedule in 2006, with Paul Menard driving and sponsorship from Menard’s, the hardware chain owned by the driver’s father. If all goes well, Menard and the team will do the full Cup schedule with DEI in ’07. Menard’s first race will be the 2006 Daytona 500, DEI Vice President of Motorsports Richie Gilmore said Saturday night. “We’ll kind of see how it goes from Daytona, but it looks like it’ll be the big races: Daytona, Indy. We’ll run Watkins Glen again, which Paul ran this year and then move him up the next year.” Next year, Menard will also run the full Busch Series schedule in a DEI Chevy, Gilmore said. “It’ll be a lot better for Paul to keep him down there and running him for a championship like we did with Martin (Truex, Jr.). That’s where we really feel comfortable.” Gilmore said DEI mulled a third full-time Cup team next year, but instead will run full-time cars for only Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Truex in ‘06. “We had a couple options that we looked at, but for us we’re better off trying to regroup the two teams we have now,” Gilmore said.(Speed Channel)(10-15-2005)

    • Lowe's Motor Speedway Notes:
      • Jimmie Johnson won the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, scoring his 18th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 142nd career start.
      • Johnson climbed from third to second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He is tied with Tony Stewart, each with 5,777 points. Stewart gets the first-place position because of his five victories opposed to Johnson’s four.
      • Johnson scored his fourth victory in 2005. His last victory came at Dover in September 20, three races ago. Johnson has scored 19 top-10 finishes in 31 races in 2005.
      • Johnson moved into a tie with Geoffrey Bodine, Neil Bonnett and Harry Gant for 34th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list.
      • Johnson has won four straight races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The last driver to win four straight at a track was Dale Earnhardt Jr., at Talladega.
      • This is Johnson’s fifth win and eighth top-10 in nine races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
      • This is the sixth straight win by a Chevrolet at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
      • The 17 leaders in the UAW-GM Quality 500 tied the record for the most leaders in the fall race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway set in October 1987.
      • The 15 cautions is an record for the fall event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The 22 cautions here in May is the track record.
      • Johnson scored the 13th victory for car owner Rick Hendrick at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, the most of any owner. This was Hendrick’s 138th victory as a car owner and eighth in 31 races this season (Jimmie Johnson -four, Jeff Gordon - three and Kyle Busch - one).
      • This is the 15th victory by a Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has 13 and Dodge has three.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-16-2005)

    • Rumblings - Lowe's Motor Speedway:
      Maybe it _is_ his house! Jimmie Johnson won the UAW-GM Quality 504 tonight at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but we certainly couldn't call it a race. We had so many tires poppin' out there it sounded like duck season on da' bayou. There'll be a couple of teams who need to check their Powerball tickets cause that's the only way they'll be able to cover their tire bills! There was plenty of blame and lots of shame to go around tonight, and we've got more people to point at than we've got fingers. How do you make up rules during an event....and how do you police something like tire pressure? I realize these were difficult times, but if we can penalize and fine drivers, crew chiefs, and team owners for actions detrimental to the sport....why not track operators, sanctioning bodies, and tire manufacturers?
      BTW, we delayed the start of tonight's column so that we can watch a quarterback sneak from 20 different camera angles.....
      This was the fourth win of 2005 for Johnson, his fourth in a row at Lowe's, and the 18th of his Cup career. He's now tied for 34th on the all-time win list with Geoffrey Bodine, Neil Bonnett, and Harry Gant. This was also win #138 for Hendrick Motorsports.
      Joe Nemechek (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Pocono in June.
      Casey Mears (6th) had his best finish since he was 6th at The Brickyard in August.
      Denny Hamlin (8th) had his career-best finish tonight...albeit only two races. He was 32nd at Kansas last week. He becomes the 43rd driver this season to record a Top-10 finish....last year we had 39 of 'em.
      Dave Blaney (13th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Atlanta in March.
      Johnny Sauter (16th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Talladega in April (only five races).
      Kevin Lepage (21st) had his best finish since he finished 12th when we were here in May.
      STREAKIN.....Carl Edwards has 4 Top-10's in a row.
      Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      Mark Martin has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      Ryan Newman has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Denny Hamlin (+31), followed by Johnny Sauter (+27), Jeremy Mayfield (+26), Travis Kvapil (+25), Ricky Rudd (+22), and Jeff Green (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Gordon (-28 ), followed by Elliott Sadler (-26), Kyle Busch (-26), Mike Bliss (-24), and Tony Stewart (-21).
      Denny Hamlin led a lap tonight for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup career. He's the 50th different driver to lead a lap this season...the same number as last year.
      We've got a dead-heat at the top of the "Chase" standings. Jimmie Johnson moves into a tie with Tony Stewart....Tony's got the tie-breaker with five wins to four. It got tight at the top as the first six drivers are separated by only 52 points, and the Top-4 by only 17 markers.
      In "Classic" points, the battle for that all-important 11th spot has changed hands again. Elliott Sadler is now up by 11 points over Kevin Harvick with Joe Nemechek entering the fray just another 6 markers back. Jeff Burton (21st to 18th) made the best move forward tonight while Jeff Gordon (14th to 17th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(10-15-2005)

    • Bliss out of #0 ride? UPDATE 3: Sources close to the #0 NEXTEL Cup team have indicated that driver Mike Bliss will be released from his duties by the end of the season. Another Cup driver is expected to fill the seat. Options for next year are wide open for Bliss and a return to the Busch or Truck series aren't out of the question.(
      UPDATE: Bliss said during an interview on PRN Radio qualifying show that he would not be back in the #0 car in 2006 and is looking for a ride.
      UPDATE 2: Hearing Jeff Green and Bobby Hamilton Jr. are in the mix.(, KYle Petty has said repeatedly that Green would be back in the #43 Dodge in 2006)
      and hearing Bliss could be headed back to the #16 Truck for the rest of 2005 and maybe 2006.(10-14-2005)
      UPDATE 3: Mike Bliss said Saturday night that two weeks ago he reached an verbal agreement on a contract extension to return as driver for the #0 NetZero/Bestbuy Chevy. On Tuesday, the former Truck Series Champion was shocked to learn he was being let go. “Two weeks ago it was a done deal,” Bliss said. “I was going to run the Cup car, and it was a handshake and another contract.” Bliss said he still doesn’t know why he was let go, but likely will return to the truck series, where he took the title three seasons ago. “I feel like I can do this over here. You hate leaving, but it’s not my decision, of course. I don’t want to leave here like I’ve failed, because I’ve always won in everything I’ve ever been in, and I feel like we’re so close here.”(Speed Channel)(10-15-2005)

    • NTN Makes Cup Debut with Reutimann: NTN Bearing Corporation of America announced today that their company logo will be present on the #00 State Fair Corn Dogs Michael Waltrip Racing entry as David Reutimann makes his first NASCAR Nextel Cup Series career start at Lowe's Motor Speedway Saturday night. Reutimann qualified 26th for the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. NTN is Reutimann's Truck Series primary sponsor on the #17 Darrell Waltrip Motorsports Toyota.(DW Motorsports PR)(10-15-2005)

      News from October 14, 2005

    • NASCAR's Helton comments about Team Owner Cap: NASCAR President Mike Helton said Thursday that despite appearances to the contrary, the sanctioning body¹s decision to limit team size is not a personal attack on Jack Roush.
      Other points Helton made in an interview with included:
      • Team owners have known the cap was under discussion for the last 12-18 months.
      • The cap will be phased in to allow existing sponsor agreements to be exhausted.
      • The sanctioning body will have to come up with strict definitions to police the teams from creating alliances that defeat the hard-cap concept.
      • There will not be any franchising in NASCAR in the foreseeable future.
      • NASCAR will not use the current Nextel Cup cars in the Busch Series once the ³Car of Tomorrow² is phased in starting in late 2006 or early ¹07.
      Helton said many details remain to be worked out, but the buzz in the garage is that teams will be capped to three cars starting no later than 2010, with a limit of four placed sometime between now and then.(see full interview at Speed Channel)(10-14-2005)

    • Nicorette to sponsor Jeff Gordon in 2006, assoc and 2 races: Jeff Gordon will be sponsored by Nicorette gum as primary sponsor on the #24 Chevy for two events in 2006. DuPont will sponsor Gordon for 32 races, while Pepsi is on board as lead sponsor for two events [usually May Talladega and Daytina in July]. The stop-smoking gum product also will be an associate sponsor all year for Gordon's team. The white and green Nicorette logo adorned Casey Mears' #41 car in limited events during 2005. "NASCAR has done great things for us, and we're trying to take it to the next level," said Steve Kapur, of GlaxoSmithKline. "The more people the program is visible to and the more people we have talking about it, the better connection we'll have with NASCAR fans." GSK has a "Winners' Circle" display at NASCAR tracks where counselors talk with race fans about quitting smoking. "Our goal going in was to talk to 2,000 people per weekend," Kapur said. "Actually, we're getting more than 4,000 a week asking us for advice on how to quit or on how to help somebody they care about quit." The company also plans to set up stop-smoking programs with with Hendrick Motorsports.(, see images of the car on my 2006 #24 Team Schemes page.(10-14-2005)

    • Final Kansas TV ratings up 7.1%: NBC's broadcast of last Sunday's Banquet 400 Nextel Cup race earned a 4.5 rating and a 9 share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The final rating is up 7.1 percent from last year's 4.2 rating and 25 percent from the 3.6 overnight figure from this year.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-14-2005)

    • DEI pays tribute to the loss of an employee: On Thursday, October 13, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. lost a friend and co-worker. Angie M. Safrit, 33, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. She started with the company in 1994. This weekend, her teammates will pay tribute to her life by placing a memorial decal on their race cars. The decal will be displayed on the "C" posts of the #8 Budweiser and #15 NAPA Chevys in the Nextel Cup Series. They will also be on the #8 Bass Pro Shops, #11 Menards and #81 Menards Chevy in the Busch Series race. The flags in front of DEI's corporate headquarters are flying at half mast in Angie's honor, as well. "Angie was an integral part of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. for the last decade," said Judy Queen, Vice President of Operations. "She started out in the brick building with Dale and Teresa and was a major part of DEI's growth." Angie is survived by her husband, Scott Safrit, and a three-year old daughter, Rachel. She is also survived by her parents, Jimmy and Phyllis Miller of Kannapolis and grandmother, Clara Kidd.(DEI)(10-14-2005)

    • Rudd to retire? Andretti or Schrader to the #21 for 2006? UPDATE 4? one scenerio I am hearing is that Ricky Rudd, driver of the #21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford, could retire at the end of 2005 with no fanfare. John Andretti would drive the #21 for a year, with Jon Wood staying in the #47 Busch Series Ford and moving up to Cup in 2007.(10-9-2005)
      UPDATE: now hearing Ken Schrader, driver of the #49 Schwan's Home Service, could replace Rudd in the #21, 'if' Rudd does retire, and possibly may bring the sponsor along with him. BAM Racing and Schrader have said in the past that they expected to be together in 2006 and Schrader said it was his last full-time season in 2006.(10-11-2005)
      UPDATE 2; RacingOne reports: Ken Schrader will run one more full NEXTEL Cup season in 2006 for BAM Motorsports. Schrader will shift to the Craftsman Truck Series in 2007 joining Mark Martin as two more former NEXTEL Cup regulars finding homes on the truck circuit.(RacingOne)(10-12-2005)
      UPDATE 3: been told that Andretti in not a candidate for the #21 ride.(10-13-2005)
      UPDATE 4: Ricky Rudd says he's made a decision about his future and the #21 Ford. He's just not prepared to share the information. "I know, I'm just not ready to discuss plans yet," Rudd said. Team co-owner Len Wood was evasive when asked if he knew Rudd's future but said the team has plans in place for any situation. If Rudd decides to return next year, he will drive the #21 and a second car will be added for selected races for Jon Wood. If Rudd retires or signs a deal with another team, either Wood or another driver will drive the 21 full-time. Wood, if he's not in the 21, will drive a second car for up to seven races.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(10-14-2005)

    • Martin part-time in 2006? from a Larry McReynolds column at FoxSports - it appears that Martin will run a good portion of the 2006 Nextel Cup schedule, but not the full schedule. He may share the ride and mentor Todd Kluever in some races in the #6 car; don't see Jack Roush throwing Kluever in that car and running the full schedule with him next year. That's the reason that you're looking at Martin possibly running a good portion of the schedule and phasing Kluever into some races.(FoxSports)(10-14-2005)

    • Ferrell NASCAR Movie at LMS: Will Ferrell is in the middle of a 12-day run at Lowe’s Motor Speedway filming his NASCAR movie. Track officials privately are miffed that the “Saturday Night Live” star and the movie production company refused to do any track publicity. Ferrell was offered the post of grand marshal for Saturday’s Cup race and turned it down. One other movie tidbit: The walls of Lowe’s Motor Speedway have been painted at various times with the logos of Atlanta and Texas motor speedways, so the movie crew could film at one track and make it appear to be three different speedways. The three tracks are all owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc. and have similar designs and layouts.(Speed Channel)(10-14-2005)

    • Delphi in trouble: Last Saturday’s bankruptcy filing by Delphi Corp., the nation’s largest auto supplier, may well have ripple effects in the Nextel Cup garage. Delphi, a major associate sponsor for Hendrick Motorsports, is seeking wage and pension reductions from its union employees. In large bankruptcy filings such as Delphi’s, a committee of creditors works with a federal judge to decide how assets are distributed during the reorganization. Non-essential expenses — such as race-team sponsorships — typically don’t survive the bankruptcy process. A Hendrick representative said Thursday she did not know how the Delphi bankruptcy might affect the team.(Speed Channel)(10-14-2005)

    • #77 Team Donates to American Cancer Society: The Kodak Racing team along with its associate sponsor, Jasper Engines and Transmissions, are stepping up to the plate to practice what they preach with a donation totaling $20,400 to the American Cancer Society. The contribution from Travis Kvapil, JET and the Penske-Jasper Racing pit crew will benefit a program that helps women with little or no insurance obtain screening for breast cancer. Prior to last Sunday's Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway when Kvapil raced a Kodak Mammography Products-themed Dodge Charger, the 29-year old Janesville, Wis., native decided to make a donation to show his support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which runs through October. Doug Bawel, co-owner of the #77 Penske-Jasper Racing team and president of Jasper Engines and Transmissions, informed Kodak that JET would also make a donation. This week, pit crew members announced they would join their driver and associate sponsor in making a donation. Each over-the-wall crew member is giving $1,100 from his bonus program for a total of $7,700.(Penske Racing)(10-14-2005)

    • Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the second time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to Charlotte . . . both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . while this left-side tire code (D-6852) has been run at many major NASCAR tracks this season -- California, Chicago, Kansas, Michigan and Kentucky (no Cup) -- this right-side code (D-6876) is unique to Charlotte . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Charlotte . . . inflation on those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear) see the full notes and info on the Charlotte/LMS Race Info/Rundown Page.(10-14-2005)

    • Crocker to the Trucks and part-time Busch in 2006: Car owner Ray Evernham has changed the schedule Erin Crocker will run next season, pulling her out of a planned attempt to run a full Busch Series schedule. Crocker will instead compete in the Craftsman Truck Series and run a handful of Busch and ARCA races next season. Evernham said the decision was made to give Crocker more time to develop. "Erin not having raced on pavement a lot and not having raced traffic and things like that, we felt this would be a better way to get more experience racing without having all the pressure," Evernham said. "In fairness to her, I want her to learn without people running all over her all of the time." Crocker has competed in two Busch races this season, at Richmond, Va., and Dover, Del., and finished 39th and 35th. She was in accidents in both events, and suffered a cracked rib in the Dover wreck. Crocker said she's looking forward to running in more than 40 races next season, but admits she is disappointed it won't be in the Busch Series. "I am not going to lie, I was a little disappointed when we first talked about it because I am a competitive person and we had plans," she said. "But in the long run, this is better for me."(

    • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: The Chase for the coveted NASCAR NEXTEL Cup continues, and so does your chance to win big. Fans who pick the correct finishing order of the Gillette Young Guns - Kurt Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, and Matt Kenseth - by going to the first six races of the "Chase" will have the chance to win $1 Million and a trip to the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20. Each week provides fans with a new opportunity to win. As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun at Kansas Speedway, a $1,000 donation will be made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Matt Kenseth. This is the seventh time this year that a donation in Kenseth's name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Comm. PR)(10-14-2005)

      News from October 13, 2005

    • Sadler wins pole with new track record at LMS: #38-Elliott Sadler won the Budweiser Pole for the UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a Track Record lap of 193.216mph for his 4th pole of 2005 and 6th of his career. The rest of the top five are: #12-Ryan Newman [also ran faster the the track record], #48-Jimmie Johnson, #20-Tony Stewart and #18-Bobby Labonte. #00-David Reutimann will make his first career start, 26th. #66-Kevin Lepage was the highest non top-35 team, starting 17th. Five drivers failed to make the race: #36-Boris Said, #80-Carl Long, #50-Jimmy Spencer, #37-Mike Garvey, #92-P.J. Jones [lost engine] and #95-Stanton Barrett [who withdrew].
      Starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression on Jayski's LMS Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(10-13-2005)

    • NBC TV Coverage this week: The "Chase for the Nextel Cup" goes primetime on NBC Saturday live in High Definition with NASCAR Nextel Cup Racing from Lowe's Motor Speedway presented by the Principal Financial Group. Coverage is scheduled to begin following USC vs. Notre Dame football at 7:00pm/et with an abbreviated "Bank of America Countdown to Green" pre-race show, followed by green flag racing. This week on "Wally's World," Lake Bell, star of NBC's new hit series "Surface," takes a spin with NASCAR on NBC & TNT analyst Wally Dallenbach. On Saturday, Oct. 15: - "Bank of America Countdown to Green" pre-race show, 7:00pm/et on NBC - NASCAR Nextel Cup racing from Charlotte presented by the Principal Financial Group, 7:10pm/et on NBC.(NBC)(10-13-2005)

    • #43 to run Fan Fest scheme at Lowe's: This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge head to the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway, located in Concord, N.C., for Saturday night's Charlotte 500. Green, who will be sporting a Petty Fan Fest paint scheme this weekend, finished 11th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's earlier this season.(Williams Company), not really sure what the Fan Fest thing is about.(10-11-2005)
      UPDATE: what the scheme is about, #43 sponsor, Cheerios/General Mills held a contest and the are 43 pictures of winners on the #43 Dodge and 45 more on the #45 Dodge that Kyle Petty drives. Have no images...yet.(10-13-2005)

    • Ward NOT going to HOF Racing but.... been told that Ward Burton is definitely NOT going to Hall of Fame Racing BUT is supposedly working with a sponsor that might bring him back to Nextel Cup fulltime in 2006 or 2007. Burton has been contacted by several Truck Series teams, but he still considers himself a Cup driver and that's what he wants to do, however, the right Truck Series team with the right sponsor presented itself, he would give it serious thought, but for right now, he's happy with working with the Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation and spending time with his family.(10-13-2005)

    • Reeses to take larger role on #29 in 2006? hearing Reeses/Hershey will take a larger sponsorship role on the #29 GM Goodwrench Chevy that Kevin Harvick drivers for Richard Childress Racing in 2006. This is not seen on the 2006 Paint Scheme Votew winner at, where the Black & Silver paint scheme won the vote with 61% favoring, over 53,000 votes were tallied.(10-13-2005)

    • 2007+ TV Deal to be completed by end of 2005: Negotiations for a new Nextel Cup television contract could be completed before the end of the season, NASCAR chairman Brian France said. The current $2.6 billion, six-year contract, with Fox and NBC splitting the season, expires at the end of the 2006 season. "We're getting down to the wire," France said Saturday at Kansas Speedway. "Looks to be in the next four to six weeks or sooner there will be some firm announcements of where we'll land."
      France would not comment on which networks are part of the negotiations, but speculation has centered on ESPN and ABC, its parent company, joining Fox and NBC, each of the entities taking one-third of the season. FOX would get the Daytona 500 and the first third of the season, ESPN and ABC would divvy up the middle third, including the Brickyard race, and NBC would televise the 10-race Chase for the championship. "It's competitive," France said of the bargaining. "But the last three, four weeks we've been very surprised at all the interest in network to cable. The package may change and look a little different, but we're very convinced we'll get proper value. We're more concerned about getting the right partners. We've got great ones now, but we want to make sure whatever happens we get partners who treat us like our current partners do."
      He also noted that the Busch Series, with its viewership up nearly 30% this year, is also in line for a new TV deal. "The Busch Series is quietly doing NBA or regular season baseball numbers," France said. "It's wearing out other sports. Busch will never be the Cup Series, but we would like the new agreement for that to be a franchise of its own, treated with promotion and announcers that differentiate that series a little better as we go down the road."(
      UPDATE: RacingOne has learned that ABC/ESPN is in negotiations to acquire a significant portion of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series TV package beginning with the 2007 season. The network would join current partners FOX and NBC rather than replace either. A new "Race to the Chase" portion of the season is being considered, giving ABC/ESPN a mid-summer run of ten events, beginning with the Independence Day weekend Pepsi 400 at Daytona and ending with the September race at Richmond, the final event for drivers to qualify for the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup." That would keep the first portion of the season, beginning with the Daytona 500 and ending at Infineon Raceway at the end of June, on FOX. NBC/TNT's portion of the schedule would then focus entirely on the ten race "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" championship season. NBC begins its new "Sunday Night Football" NFL package in 2007 and the pairing of NASCAR's championship season Sunday afternoons, leading into the prime-time NFL kick-off, could provide the network with a stellar ratings doubleheader.(RacingOne)(10-13-2005)

    • Charlotte Qualifying Notes:
      • Elliott Sadler won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the UAW-GM Quality 500, lapping Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 27.948 seconds at 193.216 mph. He broke Ryan Newman’s the track-qualifying record of 27.981 seconds, 192.988 mph, set May 26, 2005.
      • Lowe’s Motor Speedway remains the sixth-quickest track with regards to qualifying records. This is the fastest Bud Pole since Ryan Newman qualified at 194.232 mph at Michigan in June and the third fastest of the season behind Michigan and Texas (Newman – 194.690 mph).
      • This is Sadler’s sixth career Bud Pole in 244 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
      • This is his fourth Bud Pole and 17th top-10 start in 2005. Sadler trails only Ryan Newman (six) in Bud Pole Awards this season.
      • This is Sadler’s first Bud Pole and eighth top-10 start in 15 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, including each of the past six races.
      • Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 27.961 seconds, 193.126 mph – and will join Sadler on the front row for the UAW-GM Quality 500. Only Sadler and Newman broke the previous track qualifying record. Newman has never started worse than fourth in 10 races at Lowe’s. This is his series-leading 25th top-10 start this season and his 11th on the front row.
      • This is the eight Bud Pole for Ford in 2005 – including the past three races. Chevrolet has 12 Bud Poles and Dodge has nine. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June and Watkins Glen.
      • Jimmie Johnson (third) has posted seven top-10 starts in nine races at Charlotte. This is his 19th top-10 start this season.
      • Tony Stewart (fourth) has 10 top-10 starts in his 14 races at Charlotte. He has 17 top-10 starts in 2005.
      • Bobby Labonte (fifth) has 13 top-10 starts in 26 races at Charlotte, including three Bud Poles, but this is just his second in the past eight races here.
      • Six of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Newman, Johnson, Stewart, Mark Martin (sixth) Kurt Busch (seventh) and Carl Edwards (eighth).
      • David Reutimann (26th) qualified for his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, becoming the ninth first-time starter this season.
      • There have been only four different Bud Pole winners in the 10 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Charlotte since 2000. Ryan Newman (five) and Jimmie Johnson (three) have dominated Bud Pole qualifying at Lowe’s. Sadler and Jimmy Spencer (one each) have the other Bud Poles in the 10-race period and qualifying was canceled once.
      • The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been won 13 times each from the pole and the second starting position. Third has produced 12 winners, fourth seven and fifth eight for a total of 57 percent of the victories races from the top-five starting positions (53 of 93).
      • Six of the last 17 races at Charlotte have been won from the front row, but six of the last 12 have been won from a starting position of 13th or worse.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(10-13-2005)

    • Ramblings - Lowe's Motor Speedway:
      Everybody expected Ryan Newman to beat his track record....but not many expected Elliott Sadler to better Ryan Newman. Sadler toured the Lowe's Motor Speedway in 27.948 (193.216 mph) to take the Bud Pole for Saturday Night's UAW-GM Quality 500....his 4th pole of '05 and the 6th of his NEXTEL Cup career. And we still don't know if he had it matted!
      Jimmie Johnson (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up on the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August....but qualifying was rained out for that event. This is his best qualifying effort on time since he had the pole at Chicagoland in July.
      Bobby Labonte (5th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 4th at Phoenix in April.
      Casey Mears (9th) had his best qualifying run since he lined up 3rd at Chicagoland in July.
      Kyle Petty (16th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 10th at Richmond in September of 2003! (This one was hard to believe!)
      STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
      Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
      (Stock Car Fans)(10-13-2005)

    • Martin wins WIX Award: Drivers Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr. won the WIX Filters Lap Leader Awards during the Oct. 8-9, 2005 NASCAR racing weekend. Martin's WIX Filters Lap Leader Award win in racing at Kansas Speedway was his first award of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. For his performance at Kansas, Truex Jr. took home the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award for the 13th time in the Busch Series this year. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series did not compete this weekend. The WIX Filters Lap Leader Award is presented to the driver who leads the most laps during each race in NASCAR's NEXTEL Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck racing series. The award includes a cash prize presented to the winning driver during a ceremony before the next race and an end-of-year payout and trophy for the driver who earns the most WIX Filters Lap Leader awards over the course of the entire season. Cash awards for the end-of-year honor are: $75,000 for the NEXTEL Cup Series; $20,000 for the Busch Series; and, $10,000 for the Craftsman Truck Series.
      In order to be eligible for the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award for a single event, drivers and teams in each series must run the WIX Filters decal on the front fender and use WIX oil or air filters in their vehicles. Additionally, for any year-end payout, teams must run the decal on the front fender for every race they participate in, with an allowance for one race, and they must always use WIX oil or air filters.
      New for 2005, WIX has introduced the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award contest, enabling fans to be a part of the action. The online contest encourages fans to pit their knowledge against one another and against celebrity prognosticator John Roberts, host of NASCAR This Morning and NASCAR Victory Lane, in a weekly competition to predict which drivers will win the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award in each race. Fans who participate in the online contest will compete for prizes including an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas Speedway for the 2006 NEXTEL Cup race. Fans can sign up for the contest, make picks and try to beat Roberts by visiting Detailed contest rules and prize information are provided on the Web site.WIX Filters' Internet address is

      News from October 12, 2005

    • Jon Wood's 2007 Plans: from a Ford Racing PR: WHAT ARE YOUR [Jon Wood, #47 Bisch driver] RACING PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR?
      “As they stand today, I will do a minimum of seven Cup races. The 21 thing, that’s still up in the air, and I want to do it like Carl’s (Edwards) doing and that’s whenever that opportunity would come, which would be in ’07 with the worst-case scenario, being able to run the Busch car and the Cup car. Running both series at the same time would be ideal because at the Cup level you’re racing against Tony Stewart and those guys have been racing these cars forever, so any additional track time you can get is a plus. If the trucks were in companion with the Busch cars every week, I would be campaigning to have a truck. I think with the new testing rules going into place next year that I need to be on the track before my main focus, the series that puts the bread on the table.”(Ford Racing)(10-12-205)

    • Scruggs To Be Honored In Memorial Fund-raiser At Martinsville: Bobby Scruggs spent 38 years working with drivers as a NASCAR officials. On Friday, Oct. 21, some of those drivers will return the favor by participating in a fund-raiser in Scruggs' memory at Martinsville Speedway. For more info, see my Racing Charities or goto

    • Rusty Induction at Lowe's Walk fo Fame: #2-Miller Lite Dodge driver Rusty Wallace will be inducted into the Lowe's Motor Speedway "Walk of Fame" on Friday at 11:30 a.m. The W.O.F. is located on the Avenue of Flags that lead up to Smith Tower behind the frontstretch grandstand at L.M.S.(Tom Roberts PR)(10-12-2005)

    • Busch to run "Vise-Grip GrooveLock" Pliers Scheme at LMS: #97-Kurt Busch and the Irwin Industrial Tools Racing Team will introduce a new, larger than life paint scheme on the #97 Irwin Ford featuring the new revolutionary Vise-GripGrooveLock pliers. This weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the car will be easy to find on the track as fans will be able to see the enormous GrooveLock plier's graphic on the rear quarter panels of the blue and yellow Irwin Ford Taurus. GrooveLock pliers are new groove-joint pliers that adjust quickly with the push of a Press-N-Slide button and have an all-purpose jaw to fit workpieces and fasteners of nearly any shape. Busch, who currently sits 10th in the championship hunt, has taken Irwin Industrial Tools paint-schemed cars to two victories this year - at Phoenix and at Pocono. His best career finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway came in last year's fall classic when he wound up fourth. New Irwin Vise-Grip GrooveLock pliers are available at home centers, I/C distribution centers and other tool retailers in 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch sizes. The suggested retail price for the 10-inch size is $20-24. For more information about Irwin's line of hand tools and power tool accessories, call 1-800-GO Irwin or visit or at, see images on my #97 Team Scheme Page.(10-12-2005)

    • Busch not happy with Kenseth UPDATE Kenseth changes mind: #97-Kurt Busch wasn't happy with his teammate, #17-Matt Kenseth, early in Sunday's race because he wouldn't let him lead a single lap - and gain five bonus points in the championship race. Kenseth said there are no company orders to help teammates, especially when that teammate is a competitor in the playoffs. "When you get in the Chase you've got to get all the points you can," Kenseth said. "You can't give points away. I'm sure (Busch) is mad at me." Jack Roush said he doesn't want his drivers to play favorites. "I don't expect them to do that," he said. "In fact, I'd be disappointed if they did that."(Augusta Chronicle)(10-10-2005)
      UPDATE: Matt Kenseth admits he should have allowed teammate Kurt Busch to pass him for the lead early in Sunday's race at Kansas so Busch could gain the five bonus points for leading a lap. Kenseth didn't do that and defended his actions over his team's radio. "When it gets to the chase, we're all racing each other for the championship, and I'm not going to get beat by four points at the end of the year because I gave away a free five (points) somewhere," Kenseth said during the race. Tuesday, Kenseth changed his tune after talking with Busch and Busch's crew chief, Jimmy Fennig. "I think what I probably did wrong is when he was all over me, I probably should have let him lead a lap just because we were both abusing our cars. He ended up blowing a tire, and I ended up losing some track position because I was running so hard and my car didn't handle the way I thought it would and it ended up getting real tight. Things happen when you're in the car and the racer comes out in you, and that's what it's about is racing. I was looking behind me and I saw five (championship) chase cars behind me and I certainly didn't want everybody to get up there and get a bunch of points that they didn't have to."(Greensboro News and Record)(10-12-2005)

    • Daytona HOF Bid tied in with License Plates: With motorists sporting dozens of different license tags, Florida lawmakers last year passed a law aimed at making it harder to get new tags approved. But now, that move to clamp down on the proliferation of license plates could turn into a roadblock for supporters of bringing a NASCAR hall of fame to Daytona Beach. Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, will meet next week with Daytona Beach area officials about the possibility of creating a NASCAR license tag to help finance the hall of fame -- an idea that supporters would like to see considered during a possible special session this fall. But Lee wants hall of fame supporters to go through the legally required process for getting a tag approved. That process, which includes doing a scientific survey to gauge demand from motorists, could cause a fatal delay in approving the tag. Kathy Mears, a Lee spokeswoman, said Tuesday that Lee is willing to listen to the NASCAR proposal but that he intends "to uphold the current law as it pertains to license plates." She said Lee is "not interested in short-cutting those requirements."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(10-12-2005)

    • Johnson to narrate Soap Box Derby special: The All-American Soap Box Derby returns to television courtesy of the SPEED channel in a one-hour documentary titled "Derby Dreams: Stories from the 68th All-American Soap Box Derby." Produced by NASCAR Images and narrated by NEXTEL Cup Series Driver Jimmie Johnson, the special will debut on the SPEED Channel on Saturday, October 22, in at 8:00pm/et / 5:00pm/pt. Derby Dreams showcases the next generation of young racers and provides a glimpse into potential future NASCAR stars. The late entertainer Johnny Carson, actor Frankie Muniz (Malcolm in the Middle), three-time NASCAR champion Cale Yarborough, current NASCAR President Mike Helton and Heisman Trophy winners Paul Hornung and Pete Dawkins were all among the hundreds of thousands who have experienced the thrill of the "Greatest Amateur Racing Event in the World." Derby Dreams is a one-hour special which provides viewers with behind-the-scenes drama of five competitors and their families as they experience the highs and lows of derby competition at the 68th AASBD World Championship presented by Levi Strauss Signature, which took place July 30 at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. (Alan Taylor Communications)(10-7/12-2005)

    • Sad News: Gary Vercauteren, director of the Mid-American Stock Car Series, died Friday from a heart attack. Vercauteren, 55, of Baileys Harbor, Wis., created the Mid-American Stock Car Series in 1992. It now includes the Mid-Am cars and trucks, ASL, MARS and Stock Car Classics, which race at tracks throughout the Midwest including Rockford Speedway. He is survived by his wife, Kay and by three children. More info at

    • Mike Garvey, R&J Racing team up at Charlotte: Mike Garvey will drive the #37 Dodge for R&J Racing in this Saturday night’s UAW-GM 500 at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway, team owner Roger Craven said. Garvey, from McDonough, Ga., will complete the all-Georgia team. R&J Racing owners John Carter and Roger Craven live in Toccoa, Ga. While the race shop is in Concord, N.C., the team’s business office is in Georgia. Garvey replaces Tony Raines, who’s taking a two-week leave of absence from the team. Raines will skip this Saturday’s race and the Subway 500 at the Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 23. Raines has commitments with his Busch Series program that prompted his decision. While he doesn’t know what the future may bring, Garvey said every race is a chance to audition. “Every race is a chance for you to show what you can do,” he said. “You never know what might come out of a race. A good run can open some doors. That’s what makes an opportunity like this so exciting.”(R&J Racing PR)(10-12-2005)

      News from October 11, 2005

    • PRN Plans Comprehensive Coverage during Race Week in Charlotte: Highlighted by live coverage of the UAW-GM Quality 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Saturday night, Oct. 15, at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Performance Racing Network has a comprehensive schedule of radio programming slated to air during race week in Charlotte.
      Coverage begins Monday night, Oct. 10, with Fast Talk with Benny Parsons and is followed by a special edition of Fast Talk Live on Wednesday night, Oct. 12, which will be broadcast from Birkdale Village in Huntersville, N.C.
      Thursday night, Oct. 13, PRN will present live coverage of Bojangles' Pole Night featuring qualifying for the UAW-GM Quality 500. Comprehensive coverage of the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Busch Series race is on tap Friday night, Oct. 14, and coverage of the UAW-GM Quality 500, round five of the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, begins with a pre-race show at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday night, Oct. 15. The Crown Royal Post-Race Talk Show airs immediately following the 500-mile race and PRN's Sunday Drive on Sunday, Oct. 16, wraps up the network's coverage.
      PRN programming can be heard on more than 700 affiliate stations across the country, including WSOC 103.7 in Charlotte. It is also available on XM Satellite Radio and Additional information about PRN and its broadcast lineup can be obtained by visiting
      PRN Broadcast Schedule:
      (October 10-16)
      Saturday, Oct. 15; UAW-GM Quality 500, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series; 6:30 p.m.
      Saturday, Oct. 15; Crown Royal Post-Race Talk Show; Following Race
      Sunday, Oct. 16; PRN's Sunday Drive; 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.(LMS)(10-11-2005)

    • Early Kansas TV Ratings off 11%: NBC's broadcast of Sunday's Banquet 400 Nextel Cup race from Kansas Speedway earned a 3.6 overnight rating and a 7 share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The preliminary rating from the nation's largest television markets is down 11.1% from the 4.0/8 overnight in 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-11-2005)

    • Raines and #37 team part ways? hearing #37 RJ Motorsports has parted ways with driver Tony Raines. No word on Raines plans [he is a HOF Racing candidate] or who will drive the car this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
      UPDATE: been told that Raines and the team have not 'parted ways', but Raines will not drive the #37 at Lowe's Motor Speedway this week or at Martinsville the following week, no driver named as of yet.(10-11-2005)

    • #43 to run Fan Fest scheme at Lowe's: This weekend, Jeff Green and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge head to the 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway, located in Concord, N.C., for Saturday night's Charlotte 500. Green, who will be sporting a Fan Fest paint scheme this weekend, finished 11th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's earlier this season.(Williams Company), not really sure what the Fan Fest thing is about.(10-11-2005)

    • Tim Flock to be inducted into Alabama Sports HOF: NASCAR Legend, the late Tim Flock, will be inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame ballots for the Class of 2006. The newly elected eight inductees now bring the total of all inductees since 1969 to 257. The 2006 induction banquet will take place in the Birmingham Ballroom, at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, Sunday, May 21, 2006.(, more info about Tim Flock at

    • NASCAR to limit number of teams that can be owned UPDATE - 3 teams?: NASCAR plans to limit the number of teams a car owner will be able to field in the Nextel Cup Series, chairman Brian France said Saturday. "We're going to make some adjustments in policy to balance the playing field a little better and really go after new ownership in the industry, really benefit and help the teams like the Wood Brothers, the Pettys, Cal Wells, independent teams that are finding themselves in ever increasing difficulties to compete," France said. He said the limit would be phased in over the next few seasons.
      "It won't happen tomorrow," France said. "But it would phase down from five to four to some other number." All of the top teams currently in NASCAR are multicar teams, with Roush Racing and Hendrick Motorsports leading the way with five and four cars, respectively. The benefits of running more than one car are clear: additional tests under current testing limits, information sharing among the teams, multiple sponsorships that provide great resources and, sometimes, on-track cooperation among teammates. But France said the success of the big teams is also viewed as an obstacle to people contemplating starting a new Cup team. For example, Jack Roush's team has won the last two Cup titles and all five of his cars are in NASCAR's 10-race Chase for the championship. "We don't like the fact that the independent teams, or in particular a new owner looking at coming in the door, have a daunting task to compete, and the concept of having to have five teams, three teams … that's why you haven't seen a lot of new ownership like a Ray Evernham come into the sport," France said. "That means the opportunities aren't there for young drivers. It means opportunities aren't there to create the next Rick Hendrick and have the success. It ultimately means that we don't field as many competitive cars as we'd like to field. We're going to have to address that."(
      UPDATE: NASCAR last week unveiled plans for setting a cap on the number of teams--early indications are that it would be three--that one owner can operate in a series.(Sporting News)(10-11-2005)

      News from October 10, 2005

    • Tryson Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Kansas: Pat Tryson's decision to service the No. 6 Viagra Ford with two tires during the early stages of the Banquet 400 paid dividends. His strategy put Mark Martin up front long enough to lead more than half of the event before he beat teammate Greg Biffle to the checkered flag. Not only did Tryson bring his team a win, but his efforts earned him the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. After starting in 19th place, Tryson improved Martin's track position with a two-tire stop on an early round of pit stops. The move catapulted Martin to the front of the pack, where he stayed for the rest of the day. "It was early enough in the race for us to take two tires and see how they did," said Tryson. "We didn't have a lot of laps on our left-sides and it was a good opportunity for us to do it. I'm surprised more teams didn't try the same thing, but I'm glad they didn't." The panel of voters, including Randy Covitz of the Kansas City Star, a Wypall Wipers representative and Tony Eury Sr., all voted for Tryson as the crew chief that did the best job.
      Doug Richert leads the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. Alan Gustafson and Greg Zipadelli are tied for second-place with three wins. Bob Osborne, Jimmy Fennig, Robbie Reiser and Robbie Loomis are tied for third-place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Greg Erwin, Slugger Labbe, Chad Knaus, Pat Tryson and Pete Rondeau are tied for fourth 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)(10-10-2005)

    • Martinsville Testing: At least a dozen drivers are expected to test this week at Martinsville, including Sterling Marlin, Jamie McMurray, Elliott Sadler, Bobby Labonte and Chasers Edwards, Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson.(Sporting News)
      MORE: a list of teams testing the next two days at Martinsville Speedway.
      October 11: #40-Sterling Marlin, #42-Jamie McMurray, #38-Elliott Sadler, #48-Jimmy Johnson, #16-Greg Biffle, #99-Carl Edwards, #12-Darrell Waltrip (truck), #7-Robby Gordon, #2-Jimmy Spencer (truck), #8-Deborah Renshaw (truck), #43-Jeff Green, #18-Bobby Labonte, #77-Travis Kvapil, #52-Ken Schrader (truck), #4-Timothy Peters (truck), #10-Terry Cook (truck), Tam Topham (truck).
      October 12: #16-Greg Biffle, #43-Jeff Green, #12-Darrell Waltrip (truck), #7-Robby Gordon, #?-Chad Chaffin (truck), #15-Kyle Busch (truck).(Martinsville Speedway)(10-10-2005)

    • Hermie Sadler back in the #66 at Martinsville: Hermie Sadler, who started the season in the #66 Peak Performance Motorsports Ford, will return to the team for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The team will be sponsored by Virginians for Jerry Kilgore. Kilgore is the Republican Gubernatorial Candidate for Virginia. The election is November 8. "I am excited about getting back in the 66 car at Martinsville," said Sadler. "The team has showed a great deal of improvement throughout the season. Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks, so I look forward to a solid run. It is important that we run well because we want to get the message out that Jerry Kilgore is the right man to govern Virginia." Sadler qualified and raced the #66 in the spring event at Martinsville. "Peak Performance is happy to help Hermie at Martinsville," said team owner Jeff Stec. "We had a good relationship, and we know how important it is for him to race at what he considers his home track. I'm hopeful it will be a great weekend for Hermie and the rest of the team."(PSE-3 / Peak Performance PR)(10-10-2005)

    • #12 jackman Injury Update: Mitch Lash, the jackman for the #12 Alltel Dodge driven by Ryan Newman, was injured during a lap 95 pit stop on Sunday at Kansas Speedway. Lash received multiple injuries to the muscle tissue in his right foot, including a severe sprain to his right ankle. Lash will begin physical therapy in the Charlotte area this week. Britt Goodrich, former jackman for the team, will take over jacking duties until Lash can return.(Penske Racing)(10-10-2005)

    • Double duty for Robby at LMS: Robby Gordon will be participating in two races this weekend starting on Friday night in the Busch Series Dollar General 300 driving the #55 Jim Beam Chevrolet and racing the following evening in the Nextel Cup UAW-GM Quality 500 in the #7 Jim Beam Chevrolet.(Ketchum Sports Network)(10-10-2005)

    • Rusty could race some in 2006: Rusty Wallace made his 700th start in NASCAR's top series on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, and hinted that he might not stop at #706 at the end of the season. Wallace has maintained all year that his decision to retire after the season is final. But at a fan forum before the Banquet 400, he appeared to hedge a bit. "I did say 'full-time,'" he said. "I don't want to box myself out." The real tests of his resolve, Wallace said, will come after the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20, and when the 2006 season opens at Daytona in February. "I'm hoping I'm content after Homestead and get through the Daytona 500," he said. "But if I just can't stand it, then I'm maybe going to pop in for a couple." As a retirement present, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius presented Wallace with a set of golf clubs at the drivers' meeting before Sunday's race. "You guys are probably getting sick of seeing me get all this stuff," Wallace told his fellow drivers. "But I'm enjoying it, even if you aren't."(

    • Busch not happy with Kenseth: #97-Kurt Busch wasn't happy with his teammate, #17-Matt Kenseth, early in Sunday's race because he wouldn't let him lead a single lap - and gain five bonus points in the championship race. Kenseth said there are no company orders to help teammates, especially when that teammate is a competitor in the playoffs. "When you get in the Chase you've got to get all the points you can," Kenseth said. "You can't give points away. I'm sure (Busch) is mad at me." Jack Roush said he doesn't want his drivers to play favorites. "I don't expect them to do that," he said. "In fact, I'd be disappointed if they did that."(Augusta Chronicle)(10-10-2005)

    • Tony Stewart Concert does well: Tony Stewart held his 2nd annual Tony Stewart Foundation Benefit Concert on Wed. Oct. 5th. In attendance on this special night were drivers Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip, and Kyle Petty, and NBS driver Martin Truex Jr. Entertainment on hand were country music stars Phil Vasser and Super duo Montgomery - Gentry with special guest Kid Rock. All artists put on outstanding performances. Greg Hultman of Hultman Inc. (event director) presented Tony with a check for $363,106.00 dollars, topping last years amount by more than $80,000.(10-10-2005)

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