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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    NOV 7-13, 2005





      News from November 13, 2005

    • Kyle Busch wins at Phoenix: #5-Kyle Busch won the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway for his 2nd win of 2005 and his career. Busch is the 4th 'Lucky Dog' driver to win a race, he was a lap doen when he had a tire go down early in the race and got the Lucky Dog pass on the next caution. So even with Kurt Busch suspendced and not in the race, he Busch brothers swept the races at Phoenix in 2005, Kurt winning the spring event. #16-Greg Biffle dominated early in the race and led 189 of the 312 laps but came up short and finished 2nd. #24-Jeff Gordon finished 3rd and is still winless at Phoenix. #20-Tony Stewart finished 4th and increased his points lead to 52 over #48-Jimmie Johnson, who finished 7th. #18-Bobby Labonte rounded out the top-5. #7-Robby Gordon put his DEI to good use and finished 8th for his 2nd top-10 of the season and #77-Travis Kvapil finished 10th for his 2nd top 10. #97-Kenny Wallace [that looks weird] subbed for suspended Kurt Busch and finished 16th. #11-Denny Hamlin, the pole sitter, led 23 laps and finished 13th. Four drivers are still eligible for the 2005 Nextel Cup Champion [as long as Stewart runs the race]: #20-Stewart (leader), #48-Johnson (-52), #99-Edwards (-87), #16-Biffle (-102). If Stewart finished 9th of better, nothing any other driver can do to stop Stewart from winning it at Homestead. There were only 9 cautions for 44 laps and 5 drivers led laps with 10 lead changes.
      For my race rundown, laps led, DNF's, caution info, Lucky Dogs and some notes, see my Phoenix Race Info/Rundown Page.
      For race results and awards, and other site links, see my
    • Jayski's Phoenix Race Results/Awards page.(11-13-2005)

    • Busch out of the #97...NOW - Kenny Wallace IN, Busch suspended: been told by sources at the track that Kurt Busch, driver of the #97 Roush Racing Ford may not be driving the car at Phoenix today...no word on who would drive the car, if this is true....see the news about Busch's 'traffic citation' below or on my #97 Team News page.
      Kenny Wallace will drive the #97 Irwin Tools Ford at Phoenix, as he reported himself on Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning. Roush Racing and NASCAR will be making an announcement soon.
      UPDATE: Roush Racing's Geoff Smith said on Speed Channel's NASCAR This Morning that Busch has been suspended from Roush Racing for the final two races at Phoenix and Homestead, Kenny Wallace is in the car at Phoenix, no word on who will drive the car at Homestead.(11-13-2005)
      ROUSH RACING statement: Roush Racing announced that effective immediately it has suspended Kurt Busch for the remainder of the season. "This suspension is made after full review of all the circumstances surrounding Kurt's Friday night altercation with the Arizona police, and after consultation with our primary sponsors, Newell Rubbermaid and Diageo," said Jack Roush, team owner. "All parties are in complete support that the action being taken today is necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.
      "We give our profound apology and support to the arresting officer and the entire Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and thank all of the officers for the great job they do with helping the Phoenix International Raceway bring our event to so many wonderful Arizona race fans," Jack Roush continued.(Roush Racing)
      NASCAR Statement: NASCAR fully supports Jack Roush’s decision to replace Kurt Busch as the driver of the #97 Ford for the remainder of the season. Based on the facts that are known today, no actions by NASCAR are necessary.(NASCAR)(11-13-2005)

    • Kurt Busch Statement: regard his reckless driving citation:
      "I regret the incident that occurred near the Phoenix International Raceway Friday evening where I received a traffic citation. It is important to understand that this citation is not alcohol related. I want to apologize to the Maricopa County Sheriff's department for my actions."(Kurt Busch Inc)(11-13-2005)

    • Kurt Busch charged with reckless driving: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch was detained on suspicion of drunken driving and cited for reckless driving after a confrontation with police near the track where the NASCAR champion is to race Sunday. Busch was stopped Friday night after trying to avoid another car and running a stop sign about 2 miles from Phoenix International Raceway, said Lt. Paul Chagolla "As a result of the roadside investigation the deputy did take Mr. Busch into custody for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol," said Lt. Chagolla. Chagolla said the deputy smelled alcohol on Busch, but the driver refused to perform standard field sobriety tests. Busch did submit to a field breath alcohol test, and the device showed the presence of alcohol. The deputy drove Busch to the raceway, where a sheriff's facility is located, to administer another breath test but the machine there failed. The deputy then decided to cite Busch for reckless driving and he was released, Chagolla said. Busch was spotted driving about 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, Chagolla said. A deputy tried to pull Busch over but there was some delay, Chagolla said. When he did stop, Busch was argumentative and uncooperative, Chagolla said. The deputy then called for a supervisor.
      Busch, the reigning Nextel Cup champion, is in Phoenix to race in Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500. Busch, eighth in points for the season, qualified 17th for the race. His team did not immediately respond to a request for comment. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said: "It's a traffic ticket as far as we know."(ESPN.com/AP)
      AND Defending NASCAR Nextel Cup champ Kurt Busch was issued a criminal traffic citation for reckless driving Friday night by a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office deputy. The stop occurred at 8:20 p.m. near El Mirage and Broadway roads, about three miles from Phoenix International Raceway. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said a motorcycle deputy saw Busch nearly rear-end another vehicle, speed around it to avoid a crash and blast through a stop sign. He was clocked at 60 mph in a 45 zone. The deputy said he tried to stop him, but Busch kept driving. The deputy called for backup and another deputy helped pull Busch over. Arpaio said Busch insulted the deputy by asking what law enforcement agency he was from and saying, "you ought to be directing traffic." Busch reportedly pulled out his driver's license and NASCAR identification and said, "Don't you know who I am?"
      "He can speed on the racetrack but he's not going to speed on the streets of Maricopa County," Arpaio said. MCSO spokesman Lt. Paul Chagolla said the deputy "smelled alcohol" and tried to administer a standard field sobriety test. Busch started the tests but stopped before completing each one. He was then taken into custody under suspicion of driving under the influence and transported to a mobile command post at PIR for a breath-alcohol test, but the machine malfunctioned. Busch, who will drive in the Checker Auto Parts 500, was issued a criminal citation for reckless driving and ordered to appear in Tolleson Justice Court on Dec. 22. "I don't plan to take any action myself," said Jack Roush, Busch's team owner. "I'm not looking down the road with Kurt, based on the fact that he has his release and he will be doing something else. He'll be under new management, and new oversight next year, and I'll just stand aside and watch and see how that works out for him." Busch will drive for Penske Racing South next season.(Arizona Republic)(11-12-2005)
      UPDATE: NASCAR president Mike Helton was seen escorting Busch to a NASCAR hauler for a private meeting [at Phoenix]. Hunter also attended but refused to reveal any details of the meeting.(Roanoke Times)
      AND Saturday morning, after he qualified 17th but before the content of the citation was known, Busch told The Miami Herald: ``This is nothing more than a speeding ticket. And so things get blown out of proportion. . . . Just a meaningless speeding ticket. I'm not that stupid on race weekend.''(11-13-2005)

    • The 2005 Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup-Week No. 9
      • Tony Stewart finished fourth at Phoenix International Raceway and remained the leader in the 2005 Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup. Stewart is 52 points ahead of second-place Jimmie Johnson, 87 ahead of Carl Edwards and 102 ahead of Greg Biffle. One year ago the difference from first to second was 18 points entering the final race at Homestead (Busch over Johnson). The 10 drivers will race one final race at the Homestead-Miami Speedway to determine the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion who is expected to win in excess of $5 million.
      • Four of the 10 Chase drivers can still mathematically overtake Stewart at Homestead. The maximum points that can be gained or lost in a race assuming all drivers start is 156 points. Johnson, Edwards, and Biffle are all within the 156-point window and could mathematically overtake Stewart at Homestead. The top-four drivers are separated by 102 points.
      • If Tony Stewart finishes ninth or better, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, he will become the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion regardless of the performance of any other driver.
      • Four drivers in the Chase changed point’s positions at Phoenix International Raceway.
      • Six of the nine Chase races thus far in 2005 have been won by Chase drivers. Jimmie Johnson (Dover and Charlotte) and Carl Edwards (Atlanta and Texas) are the only drivers with two victories in the Chase.
      • Only one of the 10 Chase drivers led at Phoenix, earning lap leader bonus points: Greg Biffle.
      • Tony Stewart has earned 50 lap leader bonus points in the Chase, five more than Greg Biffle.
      • Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards have each have scored seven top-10 finishes in the first nine races in the 2005 Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.
      • Jeff Gordon (third) climbed from 12th to 11th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He holds the 11th position by 10 points over 12th-place Jamie McMurray.
      • Nine of the 10 drivers competing in the 2005 Chase for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup have scored at least one victory in the 2005 season. Five of the 10 drivers have scored multiple victories led by Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle each with five. Rusty Wallace is the only Chase driver that is winless in 2005.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-13-2005)

    • Driver Points Standing after Phoenix race 9 of 10 in the Chase:
      #20-Tony Stewart, 6415
      #48-Jimmie Johnson, 6363, -52
      #99-Carl Edwards, 6328, -87
      #16-Greg Biffle, 6313, -102
      #6-Mark Martin, 6253, -162
      #12-Ryan Newman, 6208, -207
      #17-Matt Kenseth, 6187, -228
      #2-Rusty Wallace, 6016, -399
      Kurt Busch, 5974, -441 [suspended rest of 2005, 34 races]
      #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 5939, -476
      and the fight for 11th and the $1 million
      #42-Jamie McMurray, 4031
      #24-Jeff Gordon, -10
      #38-Elliott Sadler, -41
      #29-Kevin Harvick -106
      For drivers/owners points, classic points top 15, see my
    • Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Phoenix page.(11-13-2005)

    • "Classic" Points Standings - Top 15...the old way, not the Chase after Phoenix, race 35 of 36:
      1) #20-Tony Stewart, 5081 [would have clinched weeks ago]
      2) #16-Greg Biffle, 4799, -282
      3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4728, -353
      4) #6-Mark Martin, 4501, -580
      5) #2-Rusty Wallace, 4388, -693
      6) #99-Carl Edwards, 4327, -754
      7) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4286, -795
      8) #12-Ryan Newman, 4258, -823
      9) Kurt Busch, 4248, -833
      10) #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 4147, -934
      11) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4031, -1050
      12) #42-Jamie McMurray, 4021, -1060
      13) #38-Elliott Sadler, 3990, -1091
      14) #29-Kevin Harvick, 3925, -1156
      15) #01-Joe Nemechek, 3857, -1224
      (11-13-2005)

    • Where did the Chasers start/finish at Phoenix?
      #20-Tony Stewart, started 9th, finished 4th
      #48-Jimmie Johnson, 2nd, 7th
      #99-Carl Edwards, 3rd, 6th
      #16-Greg Biffle, 4th, 2nd
      #6-Mark Martin, 29th, 14th
      #17-Matt Kenseth, 16th, 32nd
      #12-Ryan Newman, 11th, 12th
      #97-Kurt Busch is OUT of the car, Kenny Wallace is IN, scheduled 17th, finished 16th
      #2-Rusty Wallace, 26th, 29th
      #19-Jeremy Mayfield, 39th, 24th.(11-13-2005)

    • Race Notes - Phoenix:
      • Kyle Busch won the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by TECHRON at Phoenix International Raceway, scoring his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 41st career start.
      • His career-first victory came at California, 10 races ago.
      • Busch became the 16th different race winner in 19 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
      • It was Busch’s first Phoenix victory in two races there. He finished eighth in April.
      • Busch has scored 13 top-10 finishes in 35 races in 2005.
      • Busch climbed from 20th to 19th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. • Busch led three times for 63 laps including the final 28 laps.
      • Busch scored the second victory for car owner Rick Hendrick at Phoenix International Raceway. This was Hendrick’s 140th victory as a car owner and 10th in 35 races this season (Johnson-4, Gordon-4 and Kyle Busch-2).
      • This is the 17th victory by a Chevrolet in 2005. Ford has 16 and Dodge has three.
      • Greg Biffle led 189 laps, leading the most laps in a race for the fourth time this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-13-2005)

    • Rumblings - Phoenix
      This time is was Kyle Busch, getting by Greg Biffle and leading the final 38 laps today at Phoenix International Raceway to capture the Checker Auto Parts 500 for his second win of the season/career. Win #140 for Hendrick Motorsports (and the 10th of 2005) moves Busch into a tie for 92nd on the all-time win list and was worth $199,225 from the over $4.8M in posted awards.
      Robby Gordon (8th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Watkins Glen in August.
      Travis Kvapil (10th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Bristol in April.
      Kenny Wallace (16th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Martinsville in October of 2003 (only 13 races).
      Mike Skinner (37th) had his best finish since he was 29th at the Brickyard in August (only 4 races).
      STREAKIN....Carl Edwards has 7 Top-10's in the last 8 races.
      Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races.
      Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is a lonely Travis Kvapil (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Bobby Hamilton Jr (-28 ), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (-21) and Brian Vickers (-20).
      As we head to the final round of the "Chase" we've got some interesting scenarios at hand. Tony Stewart lengthened his margin over Jimmie Johnson to 52 markers today, and his "Magic Number" is 9th. If Tony finishes in that position (and Jimmie Johnson won and led the most laps....maxed out on points at 190) then they'd be in a flat-footed tie. They'd both have 5 wins, and Tony would get the Championship with the second tie-breaker....he's have six runner-up finishes compared to two for Jimmie. The "Magic Number" is similar with Greg Biffle....if it were 25th and Biffle maxed out then Biffle would win the tie-breaker by virtue of a 6-5 margin in wins. Hence, the "Magic Number" is 24. Mark Martin will be eliminated when Tony throws the switch.
      In "Classic" Points, no driver in the Top-40 advanced more than one spot. On the negative side, Kurt Busch (7th to 9th) and Dale Earnhardt Jr (18th to 20th) were the only multi-position movers.(Stock Car Fans)(11-13-2005)


      News from November 12, 2005

    • Yeley to the #18 UPDATE It's OFFICIAL: been told that Joe Gibbs Racing's Busch Driver, J.J. Yeley will be named the driver of the #18 Chevy at a press conference in Phoenix.(11-9-2005)
      UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announced today that JJ Yeley will drive the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet in 2006. He will continue to run in the Busch Series in 2006 with JGR; the amount of races in the Busch Series will be between 22 to the full season. Attending today's press conference was JD Gibbs (President), Jimmy Makar (President of Racing Operations) and JJ Yeley (Driver).
      JD GIBBS: "We're excited. We obviously had a great relationship with Bobby Labonte for many years. We like doing things for a long, long time. That worked out. Obviously Bobby made his announcement for, as well as I could imagine, with a hard situation. For us to have JJ sitting here ready to go was obviously a big reason why we were able to make that decision with Bobby. JJ can go forward and win races and challenge for championships. We're excited about that. Jimmy is the technical one and he's been to a lot more testing than I have."
      JIMMY MAKAR: "Yeah, I'll tell you, we're really excited about JJ. We've got a lot going on at JGR right now and from a technical standpoint, it's been a pleasure to work with JJ and see him and his ability to work with the car and understand the car and converse with the crew chiefs and the guys that work on the car. I think that's a big plus for him-to be able to understand that and to be able to converse with his crew chief and let's everybody know what the car needs. His driving talents are excellent and those abilities are something that's going to make him stand out for others as well. We're really excited to move forward and long relationship with him. Like JD said, win some races and challenge for a championship."
      JJ YELEY: "I'm very excited to get the opportunity to drive the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet out there. I've got some big shoes to fill out there with Bobby Labonte, past champion and a guy that's won 20 races. I'm just very proud to be a part of JGR. JD and Mr. Makar have given me an opportunity and obviously the equipment is there, Tony leading the points and Denny Hamlin doing very well here lately. So, I'm just very excited for the opportunity they've given me and proud that they have the confidence in me. I want to thank a lot of people-Vigaro and Home Depot have been with me in the Busch Series to get me to this point. My parents have obviously sacrificed a lot to get me to this point. There's a lot of people that have helped me get to this point and hopefully I can go out there for them and make them very proud."(More at the Joe Gibbs Racing site)(11-12-2005)

    • Press Conference with Brian France and Mike Helton about Team Limits..rules a few highlights and a link to the entire tramscript:
      MIKE HELTON: What is first certain, what we announced is that beginning in '06, there's a cap, understanding that that cap, if we institute it cleanly in '06, would put a couple of teams in a bad position, and we don't want to do that. So we're going to grandfather Roush in, and then Hendricks. For example, he had a two year deal with Terry Labonte in the 44 car. We know going into '06 that Rick Hendricks is going to have five cars on the racetrack at least ten times next year. Once we get through all of the details of working that out with those two organizations for '06, then it's a matter of reaching that cap of four in a reasonable period of time in the future.
      Once we reach that cap, and as it applies to everybody else beginning in '06, there will still be a feature that will allow a four car team to run a fifth car in a program that is getting a rookie ready for the following season with limited number of races attached to it. So it would be possible for someone to have five teams at one time, but that would be under a limitation as to who the driver could be, and the number of races you could put that car out there.
      HELTON on Tire Leasing: tire leasing is nothing new to motorsports. But what will happen in '06 in our national series is Goodyear will show up at the racetrack with all of the race tires that will be used at the event. And when the event is over, Goodyear will leave with every tire that was used at the racetrack for the event. If it coincides with our new test program, Goodyear will be at tests to provide tires for testing, but no team will leave with those tires after the test is over with, and that's how the leasing program will work.
      See the full transcript on my Brian France/Mike Helton 11-11-05 Transcript page.
      and from ThatsRacin.com: Q&A: NASCAR's four-team ownership limit in Nextel Cup by David Poole.(11-12-2005)

    • #43 Crew Chief? As for a crew chief for #43-Bobby Labonte next year, Robbie Loomis said the team is looking at a number of people, adding, “God willing, it won’t be me.”(Speed Channel)(11-12-2005)

    • #97 to #28? UPDATE #26?: Lee Spencer reports on Fox Sports Net's Around the Track that the #97 Roush Tea, with new driver Jamie McMurray is expected to switch to the #28 in 2006. Around the Track runs on Fox Sports South [TV] at 10:30pm/et on Sunday's.(10-30-2005)
      UPDATE: hearing the new number could be #26, which Roush Racing used years ago with Johnny Benson and the Cheerios car.(11-12-2005)

    • Baldwin leaving Evernham? UPDATE 6: hearing that #9 crew chief, Tommy Baldwin could be leaving Evernham Motorsports and driver Kasey Kahne.
      UPDATE: hearing Baldwin could end up at the #38 M&M's/Robert Yates Racing team as Elliott Sadler's crew chief.(9-19-2005)
      UPDATE 2: Baldwin recently signed a contract with Evernham Motorsports that runs thru 2010. "The only way I would leave, I guess is if Ray [Evernham] threw me out," say Baldwin. "We're not talking with him," Yates Team Manager Eddie D'Hondt said. "He's got a pretty strong contract where he is and he's happy where he is." [Evernham and #9 Kahne](NASCAR Scene Magazine)(10-1-2005)
      UPDATE 3 - it's back... hearing once again that #9 Crew Chief, Tommy Baldwin will be parting ways with Evernham Motorsports, could be after Atlanta or at the end of the season, no word this time, where he would end up.(10-29-2005)
      UPDATE 4: There were rumors Tommy Baldwin, crew chief for Mayfield's teammate #9-Kasey Kahne, wanted out [of Evernham Motorsports]. Baldwin said he's not going anywhere.(Sporting News)(10-31-2005)
      UPDATE 5: #9-Kasey Kahne could have a new crew chief next season, with Chris Andrews taking over for Tommy Baldwin, according to team sources. Where Baldwin might wind up is unclear. At the moment Andrews said he expects to be working with Scott Riggs, the newest addition to Ray Evernham's lineup.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-11-2005)
      UPDATE 6: #9 Crew chief Tommy Baldwin was noncommittal yesterday about his future plans, despite increasing speculation he wouldn't be back with car owner Ray Evernham as head of Kasey Kahne's team. Evernham released crew chief Richard 'Slugger' Labbe three weeks ago.(Winston Salem Journal), rumors have Badwin going to wither Robert Yates Racing team or Petty Enterprises.(11-12-2005)

    • Newman Comments on New teammate: #12-Ryan Newman is thrilled he's getting a new teammate next year in Kurt Busch. Much of that has to do with the fact he doesn't get along with his current teammate, #2-Rusty Wallace. "I think any change is definitely a good change, and I think Kurt is a better change than that," Newman said. "I've always heard good things about him as far as being a teammate." Newman and Wallace have barely spoken since they argued last year at Martinsville, and throughout the year they've taken subtle shots at each other through the media. Wallace has been the most outspoken on the subject. Busch will be taking over for Wallace, who is retiring after next week's finale at Homestead. Penske Racing South also fields the #77 Dodge, driven by Travis Kvapil. "We've operated for four years now as a one-car team and supported a lot of things the other two teams were doing and got nothing in return," Newman said. "It'll be nice to see the tables turned as far as some of the help coming back our way."(Tampa Tribune)(11-12-2005)

    • All Five Cities still in the race for the HOF: NASCAR Chairman Brian France scuttled rumors yesterday that the Hall of Fame search had entered a cutdown period and said a decision probably won't be made this year. France said negotiations to choose a winning city probably would begin "after the holidays," ruling out the possibility the selection would be announced during the season-ending awards ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria on Dec. 2.(Richmond Times Dispatch)(11-12-2005)

    • Chef on CBS Sunday: a profile of Super Chef Mario Batali will air this Sunday on CBS News Sunday Morning. Batali has cooked for drivers at Dover and Pocono Raceway and CBS tagged along when he attended the Aug. race at Bristol. NASCAR will release Mario Batali's official NASCAR tailgating cookbook in 2006.(11-12-2005)

    • RCR Signs Driver for NASCAR West Ride with BMR: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) has signed 2005 NASCAR Weekly Series (NDWS) National Champion Peyton Sellers to a multi-year contract and next season will have him driving the #16 Chevrolet for Bill McAnally Racing (BMR) in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. Sellers, a 22-year-old native of Danville, Va., claimed this year's NDWS Division I championship racing primarily at South Boston Speedway, where he also earned the track championship. BMR's #16 team finished second in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series point standings this season with driver Steve Portenga. In 12 starts, the team earned three victories, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.(RCR PR), no word on plans for Sarah Fisher [West Series] or Allison Duncan [Late Models at Stockton Speedway, CA] both who run for RCR in 2005.(11-12-2005)

    • 4th Qtr Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award Nominations Announced With the checkered flag ready to wave on the 2005 racing season Speed Channel's Driver of the Year Award Award presented by Gillette M3 Power Nitro fourth quarter nominations were announced. While some champions were crowned before their season ending events the NASCAR Nextel Cup championship battle is turning intense. As a result four stock car drivers dominate in the fan vote. Tony Stewart, whose white-hot third quarter performance earned him the earned him the coveted SCDOTY award and put him on top of the NASCAR Nextel Cup standings, was still leading with two races remaining. Close on his heels were Jimmie Johnson and mister back flip, Carl Edwards. Mark Martin refusing to give up on his title hopes also clinched the IROC series title in this quarter proving his versatility.
      Nominated drivers also include Sebastien Bourdais (Champ Car), Steve Kinser (World of Outlaws), Tony Schumacher (NHRA) and Dan Wheldon (IRL). In its 39th year, the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award award for this quarter will be determined by an independent vote of the 18-member panel of blue ribbon auto racing journalists and broadcasters and one vote based on the cumulative tally of fans' voting at www.speedtv.com. The voting process is unique in the world of auto racing and provides fans a method of sharing their opinion in awarding the honor. At the end of the year a special, separate, vote will be held for the SPEED Channel 2005 Driver of the Year Award presented by Gillette M3 Power Nitro. The panelists will have their quarterly vote in the next two weeks and the fan vote will close at that time.(DOTY PR)(11-12-2005)

    • Hamlin wins pole at Phoenix: #11-Denny Hamlin won the pole for the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, for his first career pole in his 6th race. The pole puts Hamilin in the Budweiser Shjootout and he is the 17th pole winner of 2005. 2nd in points, #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 2nd, followed by #99-Carl Edwards, #16-Greg Biffle and #18-Bobby Labonte. Points leader #20-Tony Stewart starts 9th and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 19th. Fastest in Happy Hour, #12-Ryan Newman, who was wrecked late in that practrice session, qualified 11th. #32-Bobby Hamilton Jr. is the highest non top-35 team, starting 7th. #78-Jerry Robertson makes his first Nextel Cup race. Seven drivers failed to make the race: #4-Mike Wallace, #51-Brian Reffner, #00-Derrike Cope, #92-PJ Jones, #66-Kevin Lepage, #02-Brandon Ash and #89-Morgan Shepherd.
      For qualifying speeds, starting lineup, lineup links, practice speeds, qualifying order and more, see my Jayski's Phoenix Qualifying/Practice/Starting Grid Page.(11-12-2005)

    • Ramblings - Phoenix:
      A year ago, he didn't have a regular ride in any of the top-three divisions of NASCAR. Six weeks ago, he'd never been in a Cup car. Now, he's had three Top-10 finishes to his credit and today Denny Hamlin captured his first Bud Pole at Phoenix International Raceway for tomorrow's Checker Auto Parts 500. To say he's a quick learner would probably be the understatement of the year! Denny becomes the 17th different Pole Winner this season....last year we only had 12 different drivers to wear that Bud cap.
      Jimmie Johnson (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Watkins Glen in August....but qualifying was rained out that day and we lined up on points for that road course race. This is his best starting spot on time since he had the pole at Chicagoland in July.
      Greg Biffle (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Richmond in September.
      Brian Vickers (6th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 5th at the Brickyard in August.
      Bobby Hamilton Jr (7th) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the outside pole at Atlanta in March.
      Kevin Harvick (8th) has his best starting spot since he claimed the pole at Richmond in September.
      Robby Gordon (12th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 12th at Chicagoland in July.
      Jimmy Spencer (23rd) has his best qualifying effort since he lined up 17th at Lowe's in May.
      Chad Chaffin (35th) makes his first Cup start since Martinsville in October of 2004. He started 37th and finished 39th that day.....course we said all this at Atlanta a couple weeks ago and he relinquished his spot to Bobby Hamilton Jr that day.
      Jerry Robertson (43rd) makes his first ever NEXTEL Cup start tomorrow.
      STREAKIN....Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.(Stock Car Fans)(11-12-2005)

    • Qualifying Notes - Phoenix:
      • Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Techron, lapping Phoenix International Raceway in 26.831 seconds at 134.173 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 26.499 seconds, 135.854 mph, set Nov. 5, 2004.
      • Hamlin posted his first career Bud Pole and his fourth top-10 start in just six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races. He tied Loy Allen Jr., for the third quickest career-first Bud Pole in the modern era. Mark Martin, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne all posted their first Bud Pole in their third race while Johnny Benson and Jimmie Johnson each posted theirs in their fourth race. Hamlin and Newman (2001) both posted their career-first Bud Pole prior to their official rookie season.
      • Hamlin qualified second for the NASCAR Busch Series race later today.
      • Jimmie Johnson posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 26.965 seconds, 133.506 mph – and will join Hamlin on the front row for the Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Techron. He posted his 21st top-10 start this season and his second top-10 start in five races at Phoenix.
      • This is the 14th Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2005. Dodge has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has eight. Qualifying was canceled at Dover in June and Watkins Glen.
      • Carl Edwards (third) posted his first top-10 start in three races at Phoenix. This is his 10th top-10 start of 2005.
      • Greg Biffle (fourth) posted his 21st top-10 start in 2005. He has posted top-10 starts in two of his four Phoenix races.
      • Bobby Labonte (fifth) posted his ninth top-10 start in 2005 and his sixth in 14 races at Phoenix.
      • Bobby Hamilton Jr. (seventh), posted just his fourth top-10 start of 2005 and his best since he started second at Atlanta in March. It is his first start better than 19th in four Phoenix races.
      • Ryan Newman, who has clinched the annual Bud Pole Award for the fourth straight year and started the season with 13 consecutive top-10 starts, will start outside the top-10 for just the seventh time in 2005.
      • Only four of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Johnson, Edwards, Biffle and Tony Stewart (9th).
      • Jerry Robertson (43rd) became the 11th driver to qualify for his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race in 2005.
      (NASCAR Statisical Services)(11-12-2005)


      News from November 11, 2005

    • Bobby Labonte to the #43? UPDATE 3 It's Official: Bobby Labonte to the #43 Petty Enterprises ride Jeff Green would vacate [for the #0 Chevy].(Sporting News)(10-17-2005)
      UPDATE 1 Announedment Sched: Petty Enterprises is scheduled to make an announcement on Friday, Nov. 11th at Phoenix International Raceway..........Bobby Labonte driver?(11-10-2005)
      UPDATE 2: On Friday, November 10th at Phoenix International Raceway, Petty Enterprises will announce that Nextel Cup champion, Bobby Labonte, will drive the #43 Cheerios / Betty Crocker Dodge in 2006. Labonte won the NEXTEL Cup championship in 2000 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, has 21 career NEXTEL Cup victories and claimed the NASCAR Busch Series Championship in 1991. Labonte started racing quarter midgets at the age of five in his hometown of Corpus Christi, TX. His brother is NASCAR champion Terry Labonte.(11-10-2005)
      OFFICIAL: Bobby Labonte, 2000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion, will drive the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge beginning with the 2006 season, it was announced this morning by Robbie Loomis, Executive Vice President of Operations, Petty Enterprises. Labonte, 41, joins Petty Enterprises from Joe Gibbs Racing where he won 21 Cup races and the 2000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship during his 10-year stretch with the team. He will be a teammate to Kyle Petty, and will also work first-hand with Loomis, who is rejoining the organization after a successful championship-winning stint at Hendrick Motorsports.
      "Winning in our sport is a learned process," said Loomis. "The heritage of Petty Enterprises, coupled with a talented, successful driver like Bobby Labonte, will lead to some great things. There's a lot of work to be done, but we have some tremendous tools here and we're excited about the future."
      "We're bringing some serious firepower to the #43 Cheerios Dodge next year and I am excited about having Bobby Labonte as a teammate," Kyle Petty said. "Bobby knows how to win races and how to win championships, as does Robbie Loomis."
      "I'm really pleased to be part of Petty Enterprises," Labonte said. "When I first came into this sport, my heroes were Terry Labonte and Richard Petty. To have the opportunity to drive Richard Petty's #43 car is something I could not have imagined growing up. The #43 knows its way to victory lane, and we'll get it back there. I am looking forward to working with Robbie, Kyle, The King and the entire Petty team. And, I'm excited about working with households names like Cheerios and Betty Crocker, along with the entire General Mills team. I had a great run at Joe Gibbs Racing, and have the utmost respect for that organization and appreciate all they did for me. I am fortunate to be going to another high quality organization in Petty Enterprises," Labonte said.
      "Just like Cheerios and Betty Crocker, Bobby Labonte is committed to winning, to family and to community," added General Mills Vice President Laurie Greeno. "We at General Mills are thrilled to have Bobby join the #43 team."(Williams Company)(11-11-2005)

    • Sorenson in the #09 at Homestead: Reed Sorenson is going to get a badly needed Nextel Cup start next week at Homestead thanks to an old friend who has helped his career in the past. Sorenson will drive the #09 Dodge for James Finch, the same car owner who provided the Busch car that Sorenson drove in his second start in that series last year, at Memphis, and recorded his first top-10 finish. Sorenson is set to move to the Cup circuit next year, but unlike most rookies who run the NASCAR maximum of seven races the year before, he has just one start, at Atlanta. Finch said he's glad to help Sorenson advance his career by offering the car to drive at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(11-11-2005)

    • Get Well: Bart Creasman, spotter for #40 Sterling Marlin at Chip Ganassi Racing, was injured on Tuesday near his Ashville, NC home in a motorcycle accident. Creasman is in good condition and resting at home. Mike Calinoff will substitute this weekend in Phoenix. Calinoff was #17-Matt Kenseth's spooter until recently when Califnoff went to Ganassi where he will spot for David Stremme in 2006, Stremme takes over the #40 car then.(11-11-2005)

    • Derrike Cope takes over the #00 for McGlynn Racing: McGlynn Racing has signed former Daytona 500 winner, Derrike Cope, as primary driver for the 2006 season. The driver change will take place beginning with this week's race in Phoenix. Cope will remain behind the wheel for the final race at Homestead as well. McGlynn Racing has reluctantly parted ways with veteran driver Carl Long. The move was a business decision and was deemed necessary for the team to continue growing. Long has been with the team for over a year and is a big reason for the team's success in breaking into the very competitive NEXTEL Cup Series. Derrike Cope will run a full schedule in 2006 for McGlynn Racing. Sponsorship for the #00 team will be announced soon.(McGlynn MotorSports PR)(11-11-2005)

    • NASCAR Announces some 2006 Rules; Multi-car teams, testing addressed: NASCAR announced today it is taking several steps to ensure the continued growth and popularity of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, including a program that will cap the number of cars under one ownership group; institute a new testing policy; and adopt a new tire leasing program [not included in the PR].
      Car Ownership: The four-car ownership cap program starts in 2006 and NASCAR will work with groups that control more than four cars to establish a reasonable timeline for compliance. The four-car limit will extend to owners and any affiliate group, which includes situations where one or more of the car owners is entitled to receive, or actually receives, any financial consideration based upon the performance of the cars entered by the other car owners, or has any revenue sharing or ownership stake in the team.
      Testing: Also new for 2006 is a track testing policy that sets a schedule for when and where NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tests are to be conducted. The scheduled tests will be the only opportunities teams will have to test at Nextel Cup tracks. Teams will be able to schedule tests at facilities that do not host NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events [such as Kentucky, Nashville, Greenville-Pickens, Rockingham, etc]. There will be six test locations that include Lowe's Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Testing in Daytona will be conducted January 9-11 (even-numbered cars) and January 16-18 (odd-numbered cars). The Las Vegas tests will be January 30-February 1. All other dates will be announced at a later time.(NASCAR PR, see quotes from some owners on my NASCAR News Page)(11-10-2005)
      ANd what happens to Roush Racing? Roush officials were told in a recent private meeting with NASCAR that a "grandfather clause" would be included to allow them to keep their five teams at least through the 2009 season. All of their current contracts with sponsors and drivers at least run through then, but what happens when those deals expire remains somewhat murky.(ESPN.com/AP)(11-11-2005)

    • Robby gets DEI engines? UPDATE: hearing #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports will be using DEI motors for the remainder of the 2005 season [2 races]. No word on 2006 engine plans. Gordon had been using Menard engines all season. Menard also is a primary sponsor for the team in about 25% of the races.(11-8-2005)
      UPDATE: Robby Gordon, after failing to qualify at Texas, Atlanta and Kansas City, and blowing engines at Dover, Charlotte and Martinsville, is rethinking his whole operation. He's bringing in a new engineer to help crew chief Greg Erwin and a new team manager to help John Story. And Gordon will have new engines here and at Homestead, from the Dale Earnhardt Inc. shop. "John Menard (who currently provides Gordon's engines) decided it would be better this way," Gordon said. "And we'll sit down at the end of the season and evaluate.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-11-2005)

    • Schrader wins #15 at Phoenix: NASCAR veteran #49-Ken Schrader, the all-time, all-division leader in victories at Phoenix International Raceway, won the Southwest Series Arizona Lottery 125 Thursday night for his 15th checkered flag at the track. Said Schrader: "I'd trade them all for one Cup win. . . . Nah, I wouldn't."(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(11-11-2005)

    • Auto Racing All-America Team Selected: A 17-member Auto Racing All-America Team, the largest ever selected, has been chosen by voting members of the motorsports press. The champions of NASCAR Nextel Cup, IndyCar, Champ Car, NHRA Top Fuel and the World of Outlaws were among the top vote-getters. One of them will be announced as the winner of the Jerry Titus Award -- an auto racing equivalent of the Heisman Trophy -- at the annual banquet of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association [AARWBA] Dec. 3 in Indianapolis. The voters elect two drivers to the First Team in each of seven categories -- Open Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Short Track, Touring Series and At Large. Last year AARWBA decided that endurance racing co-drivers with virtually identical records would be on the ballot as one, and three such pairs were elected this year to create the 17-driver team. Drivers placing third and fourth in the vote comprise the Second Team, while all others receiving at least a 5 percent vote earn Honorable Mention.
      From NASCAR, Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson lead the Stock Car category with Carl Edwards and Mark Martin making the 2nd team; Martin Truex Jr. led the Touring Series section with Clint Bowyer and Ted Musgrave on the second team. NASCAR drivers earning Honorable Mentions were Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Dennis Setzer. For the full-list of drivers see my Awards Page.(AARWBA PR)(11-11-2005)

    • Gillette Young Guns - Weekly Update: As the highest finishing Gillette Young Gun at Texas Motor Speedway, a $1,000 donation was made to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition (NPCC) on behalf of Matt Kenseth. This is the eighth time this year that a donation in Kenseth's name has been made to the NPCC.(Alan Taylor Communications)(11-11-2005)

    • Ellen rides along the Petty Driving Experience: Talk Show Host Ellen DeGeneres took to the speedway in southern California to quell her need for speed and to see what NASCAR is all about. DeGeneres, host of the popular daytime TV talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show", was a recent guest of Richard Petty Driving Experience at California Speedway and had the opportunity to ride in and drive an actual NASCAR style stock car. "It was thrilling! I haven't been on a roller-coaster or anything like this for years," said DeGeneres. "So with this kind of excitement, I was like a kid in there. I think we have the traffic problem in Los Angeles solved, though. I had clear sailing all day and only saw one other car out there the whole time." Her visit to the speedway came as a surprise to the other guests there on Friday. Other participants were told of an impending guest but voted to have it kept a secret until the last second. "We were really excited to see her come through the door," said Brent Swain, a first-timer from Coronado, CA. "She had us cracking up the whole time and made the day truly memorable. It's not everyday you get to live out your own dream and do it alongside a celebrity like Ellen."
      "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" is nationally syndicated throughout the country and the episode featuring Ellen at Richard Petty Driving Experience will air on Monday, November 14, 2006. Check local listings for exact times or visit www.ellentv.com for additional tune-in information.
      Richard Petty Driving Experience, headquartered Concord, N.C., will operate more than 1,200 track days at 25 locations nationwide in 2005, including permanent locations at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Walt Disney World Speedway?, Lowe's Motor Speedway and Gateway International Raceway. For more information, call 1-800-BE-PETTY or visit their website at www.1800bepetty.com.(Williams Company PR)(11-11-2005)


      News from November 10, 2005

    • Blaney hopes to sign 2006 deal soon: Dave Blaney is still in search of a full-time ride. He's been rumored to be a leading candidate with more than one team, including former associate Bill Davis Racing. Blaney confirmed Tuesday that he expects to seal a deal for a full-time ride perhaps as soon as next week. He's in negotiations with more than one team. Once a contract is completed, the owner could have an announcement shortly thereafter. "Hopefully, we have a contract done enough where they can announce it when they want," Blaney said. "All I can say is that I think we're close."Tribune Chronicle)(11-10-2005)

    • Sad News - Services: Dick Hutcherson, who won 14 races in 103 starts in NASCAR's top series in the 1960s, died Sunday at age 73. Hutcherson was traveling back to North Carolina from Florida when he suffered a fatal heart attack near Columbia. Funeral arrangements have still not been announced. Hutcherson was born in Keokuk, Iowa, and raced late models in the Midwest for nearly a decade before coming to NASCAR in 1964. He finished second in his second career start, at Occoneechee Speedway, and the next season joined the powerhouse Holman-Moody team that was based in Charlotte. He ran 52 races in 1965, winning for the first time at Greenville-Pickens Speedway and adding eight more victories that year on his way to a second-place finish in the points standings. He won three more races for Holman-Moody the next year and two more in cars owned by Bondy Long in 1967. Hutcherson served as crew chief for David Pearson in Pearson's championship seasons in 1968 and 1969, then became general manager for Holman-Moody. In late 1971, he and Eddie Pagan formed Hutcherson-Pagan and started building race cars used by such drivers as Darrell Waltrip and A.J. Foyt. Hutcherson-Pagan still supplies parts to race teams with a truck that serves as a rolling warehouse at the track each weekend.(ThatsRacin.com)(11-8-2005)
      UPDATE: Dick Hutcherson Memorial Services: There will be open visitation all day Wednesday, November 9, at Raymer Funeral Home located at 16901 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, NC. The family will be receiving friends from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 10, also at Raymer Funeral Home. A graveside burial will be held at 2:00 pm Sunday, November 13, in Elk Creek Virginia. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Comers Rock Cemetery, Elk Creek Virginia. Hutcherson-Pagan will be closed Thursday, November 10 and will reopen Friday, November 11.(11-9-2005)
      see a full obit with a guest book at the Charlotte Observer.(11-10-2005)

    • Centrix on the #01 at Phoenix: Joe Nemechek will be driving the #01 Centrix Financial Chevy this weekend with the U.S. Army as an associate sponsor.(MB2 Motorsports)(11-10-2005)

    • Get Well: Four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser was resting and expected to make a full recovery after doctors in Colorado removed a tumor from his liver Wednesday. Unser also made 5 NASCAR Cup starts in 1968, 1969, 1986, with a best finish of 4th. The surgery was performed at University of Colorado Hospital in Denver. Unser was hospitalized in his hometown of Albuquerque last month for treatment of pancreatitis and gallstones, but the liver operation became necessary after a biopsy disclosed the tumor. Unser has a genetic condition called hemochromatosis, his wife said, causing him to retain excess iron. It apparently caused the 2-centimeter tumor to develop. Doctors removed half of Unser's liver as well as his gall bladder during the Colorado procedure. Gall bladder surgery initially had been scheduled for last month in New Mexico. The 66-year-old Unser is expected to remain hospitalized for about two weeks.(ESPN.com/AP)(11-10-2005)

    • Hamilton Jr. tests at Gateway: #32 PPI Motorsports and driver Bobby Hamilton Jr., tested the #32 Tide Chevy at Gateway International Raceway on Tuesday, November 8 in preparations for this weekend’s event at PIR.(PPI Motorsports)(11-10-2005)

    • Kirby out, Reffner in the #51: hearing Stuart Kirby and the #51 Competitive Edge Motorsports team have parted ways and the Phoenix Entry List now shows Bryan Reffner driving the car.(11-10-2005)

    • Southern Sports Awards Nominates NASCAR tracks/teams/drivers...what? no lugnut [LMS Mascot]?: The Daytona 500 and August night race at Bristol Motor Speedway have been nominated in the "Best Sports Experience" category in the inaugural Southern Sports Awards which recognizes and honors the athletes, fans and the traditions that "set the South above the rest in the sports world."(DIS PR)
      Talladega The Talladega Superspeedway Infield is among select nominees for the first ever Southern Sports Awards (SSA), a two-hour special awards show that will recognize and honor the athletes, fans and traditions that "set the South above the rest in the sports world." Talladega Superspeedway's nomination is to the "Best Place To Tailgate" category.(TSS PR)
      Roush Racing: Roush Racing [#'s 6,16,17,97,99] have been nominated for Best Management.
      Dale Jr. vs Jeff? Dale Earnhardt Jr. vs. Jeff Gordon have been nominated for the Biggest Rivalry category.
      Coach of the Year: among the nomiee's are Chad Knaus, #48 Crew Chief for Jimmie Johnson and Greg Zippadelli,(#20 Crew Chief for Tony Stewart.
      Fan Favorite nominee's include Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #11, #18, #20 team owner Joe Gibbs, not for racing but for being the headcoach of the NFL's Washington Redskins.
      Newcomer of the Year: surprise! Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Ford [4 wins] is nominated along with #5-Kyle Busch, winner at California as a rookie.
      AND finally for the The "Style" Award...nominated from NASCAR are Kyle Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
      Fans can vote to determine the winner by logging on to www.southernsportsawards.com until Nov 23rd and completing the 13-category ballot. The awards will be presented Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2005 at The Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA.(11-10-2005)

    • Pepsi reups with Hendrick: Pepsi and Hendrick Motorsports have extended one of NASCAR's most enduring relationships, today announcing an agreement that secures the New York-based beverage maker as a major associate sponsor and "Official Soft Drink" of Jeff Gordon's #24 DuPont Chevrolets through the 2010 NEXTEL Cup Series season. As part of the pact, Gordon in 2006 will drive Pepsi-branded race cars April 30 at Talladega, Ala., and July 1 in the company's signature event, the Pepsi 400, at Daytona Beach. NASCAR's 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001 Cup Series champion, Gordon has been associated with Pepsi since 1997 and remains its most longstanding spokesperson.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(11-10-2005)

    • Some road course fun for the #01 team: hearing that Joe Nemechek and the #01 Army team are coming out to Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving Racing on Thursday for a little friendly competition with each other before heading out to Phoenix International for this weekends race. They will be using the Bondurant C5 Corvette on the autocross then moving to the Briggs and Straton Karting complex for a Pro Kart Grand Prix.(11-10-2005)


      News from November 9, 2005

    • Labonte to run Madagascar scheme at Phoenix: #18-Bobby Labonte will run the Interstate Batteries/Madagascar scheme on the #18 Chevy at Phoenix International Raceway's Cup race on Sunday.(Joe Gibbs Racing), Labonte was to drive this scheme the Coca-Cola 600 in May right after the movie premiered, but when the #11 FedEx car failed to make the race, FedEx moved to the #18 and the Madagascar scheme then ran in the June Pocono race. The movie is now being released on DVD, hence the promotional scheme, see an image of the scheme on my #18 Team Schemes page.(11-9-2005)

    • Craven may sit out 2006 season: Ricky Craven said he is prepared to sit out next season if he doesn't get the opportunity he desires. He currently is finishing up his year with Roush Racing [#99] in the Truck Series. "I've had some opportunities in the Busch and Truck series but I've made it clear I want to get back to the Nextel Cup Series next year and I want it to be a quality opportunity," said the 39-year-old Craven on Tuesday. He won't be a noncompetitive field filler in Nextel Cup, he insisted. "My odds have diminished in the last few weeks because the opportunities are starting to fill up. We live in a world of statistics and numbers don't lie. The youth movement has gained so much momentum," said Craven. "[Twenty-four-year-old] Denny Hamlin is going to drive the 11 car next year [for Joe Gibbs Racing]. He clearly has talent and deserves the opportunity. He has done a very good job. That type of opportunity simply didn't exist when I was a rookie in 1995," Craven added. "You had to race a minimum number of years in Busch to get considered for a Cup ride. Drivers under 30 years of age who got top 10 Cup rides were few and far between. Young drivers short on experience are getting those rides now. That's how the sport has changed," said Craven, the 1995 Cup Rookie of the Year. There are two races left in the truck series and Craven, currently 11th in points, said he hopes to make a decision on his future in the Nextel Cup Series within the next two weeks. Retirement isn't an option, he said. Nor is seeking another job within the NASCAR garage (i.e. crew chief). If he doesn't land a Nextel Cup ride, he said he will "re-evaluate" his future. He said he may eventually decide to seek a ride in the truck or Busch series but only if the team can challenge for the points championship.(Bangor Daily News)(11-9-2005)

    • Texas Final TV Ratings: NBC's coverage of the inaugural fall NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday earned a 5.1 national rating/10 share, a 4% increase from the comparable race last year (4.9/10 in Phoenix). With only two races left in the "Chase for the Nextel Cup," the eight "Chase" races are averaging a 4.5 rating on NBC & TNT, up 5% from 2004 (4.3) and up 10% for the comparable eight races in 2003 (4.1). Season to date, NASCAR on NBC & TNT is rating a 4.7, up 8% from 2004 (4.4).(NBC PR)(11-9-2005)

    • Daytona Hall and License Plates: Two of Florida's most-powerful lawmakers support creating a NASCAR license tag during a special legislative session in December, potentially boosting Daytona Beach's bid for a stock-car hall of fame. House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City, and House Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, back a plan to sell specialty tags to help finance the hall of fame. Daytona Beach is trying to outbid four other cities for the project, which economic-development officials say would be a boon to tourism. But it remained unclear whether Senate leaders also would back the idea. Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said he will consider adding the issue to the special session, but said hall-of-fame supporters should have met legally mandated criteria to get the tag approved. Those criteria include paying a $60,000 fee and doing a survey to ensure enough motorists would buy the tag. Volusia County lawmakers tried to create the license tag during this spring's regular session, but it died along with other proposals to help finance sports facilities. The idea resurfaced, however, as it became apparent that lawmakers would hold a special session.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-9-2005)

    • Jeff Gordon to Compete in France: #24-Jeff Gordon, and five-time X-Games gold medalist and rally driver, Travis Pastrana, will represent Team USA in the 18th Race of Champions - Nations Cup, Dec. 3 at the 70,000 seat Stade de France in Paris. Three years ago, Team USA - Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Colin Edwards - won the event. Approximately 10 countries with drivers from many racing disciplines, including NASCAR, Formula One and World Rally Championship, will take part in the prestigious international competition.(GM Racing PR)(11-9-2005)


      News from November 8, 2005

    • Robby gets DEI engines? hearing #7 Robby Gordon Motorsports will be using DEI motors for the remainder of the 2005 season [2 races]. No word on 2006 engine plans. Gordon had been using Menard engines all season. Menard also is a primary sponsor for the team in about 25% of the races.(11-8-2005)

    • Martin to run final throw-back scheme of 2005 at Phoenix: Mark Martin will run a Retro-1981 paint scheme this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The Retro ‘81 scheme is the fourth and final retro-scheme that Martin will run during the 2005 “Salute To You” season. The Retro ‘81 design is the scheme that Martin ran on his first Winston Cup race car in 1981. “It’s really been a long time since I’ve seen that car,” said Martin. “I know just like the other cars it will bring back a lot of memories of those early days. It was a really cool looking car back then, so I think everyone will enjoy seeing it again this weekend. It’s been really neat running all of the retro schemes this season. These cars really span the majority of my career and they bring back a whole lot of memories,” added Martin. “We’ve had a lot of success and been through a lot of battles over the years and it has been a lot of fun to revisit that with these paint schemes this year. We were able to get the win in the Retro ’93 car in the All-Star at Charlotte and we had a really good run in the Retro ’90 car at Indy, so hopefully we can keep that going and close it out strong with this car at Phoenix.” Martin ran the Retro ’81 scheme in his Winston Cup debut at North Wilkesboro Speedway on April 5, 1981 where he stared fifth and finished 27th. The car went on to win two poles and earn Martin’s first career top 10 and top-five finishes in Cup racing. The car will still be sponsored by Viagra*, but will feature the Retro ‘81 scheme.
      Races – 5; Highlights – Martin’s first ever Winston Cup paint scheme…Won the poles (Martin’s career first) at both Nashville (6/11/81) and Richmond (9/13/81)…Scored Martin’s first career top-10 with a seventh-place finish at Richmond on Sept. 13, 1981 and his first top-five with a third-place run at Martinsville on Sept. 7, 1981.(Roush Racing), seee an image of the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page.(11-8-2005)

    • Ricky Rudd 'taking a break': from the Rickyrudd.com site:
      “With the announcement yesterday that Kurt Busch will be driving the #2 Penske Dodge next year, I would like to take this opportunity to clarify my plans for the future. First, let me say that discussions between me and the Penske organization about driving the #2 car next year came up very recently and after I already had decided to take a break from racing for a time. As I have told many of you before, I have not taken a vacation or sick day in nearly 30 years of racing, and with my contract with the Wood Brothers expiring at the end of this race season, it seemed like the perfect time to step back and take a break, but I did not want my plans to become a distraction to the Team. We have been running very well. The Wood Brothers and the Team deserved an opportunity to maximize the results for the remainder of the season. Eddie Wood and I talked some time ago, and he was comfortable with this approach.
      “As I said, the opportunity to possibly drive the #2 car in 2006 came up only recently. I had previously turned down several other opportunities to drive for teams and owners I respect, but the Penske opportunity was unique, and maybe the only offer that would have made me consider changing my plans to step back for a time. The thing that made the offer unique was not often does the opportunity come along to step into a Championship contending car with just a one year driving obligation. In my view, however, the way this has worked out is to everyone’s benefit. I get to take the break I was planning to take and the #2 team gets to do what is best for them and their sponsors long term. I am happy that I was able to provide them with a good alternative in case Kurt was not able to drive the #2 car next year, but quite frankly - for me and my family - the way it has turned out is a much better result.
      “I really enjoy racing for the Wood Brothers -- they are great people. Since Michael McSwain has come on board as crew chief our cars have been extremely competitive -- we have not always had very good racing luck, but the cars are very capable of winning races and with a little bit of racing luck, I really think we could have been solidly in the top 10 this year. I still have the desire and ability to win races, but a little burn out is beginning to set in. I may drive a few races next year if someone needs a substitute driver, but its time to “freshen up” and do some things with my family that I have put off for a lot of years. I still have the ability to drive a race car and be competitive—I think we can win a race before this year ends. However, if I were to decide never to drive again, I have had a great career.
      “....most of all, I want to thank my family, whose support and patience carried me when things were not quite as comfortable as they are today. I am especially grateful to my father, who passed away a few months ago, for his unconditional support and encouragement not only early on, but, throughout my career. His passing has been a very sad event in our lives, and I think it has contributed to my desire to take a little time off. Finally, I want to thank Linda, my wife, and Landon, my son. I am looking forward to a little private time with both of them. I hope this clarifies things. I am not going far. I will be around.” See Rudd's full statement at Rickrudd.com site.
      OF NOTE: no where does Rudd say he is RETIRING as some other reports have indicated.(11-8-2005)

    • TV Crew Changes? hearing Speed Channel pit reporter Wendy Venturini will move from the Truck Series coverage to Speeds ARCA coverage in 2006 with Krista Voda doing pit reporting for Speed in the Truck Series.(11-8-2005)

    • Diageo to be Primary sponsor of McMurray in 2006: Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, announced that it will take over primary sponsorship of Jamie McMurray's Roush Racing Ford beginning in the 2006 season. The company's Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE brands will own the primary paint scheme on the Roush Racing Ford for 21 races next season, with Newell-Rubbermaid retaining the remaining 15 races. In 2004, Crown Royal became the first spirits brand to enter the sport after NASCAR announced that spirits companies would be allowed to participate as team sponsors. "I am excited about the opportunity to start a new era in my career with Crown Royal and Roush Racing," McMurray said. "I know that with this new partnership comes greater responsibility, as I will be counted on to help Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE reach millions of fans with messages related to the importance of responsible drinking." The sponsorship will be built around Diageo's existing relationship with Roush Racing, which began in 2003 with a primary sponsorship of Matt Kenseth and the #17 car for Diageo's flavored malt beverage Smirnoff ICE. That sponsorship continued for part of 2004, before switching to the #97 car late in the season. Throughout the 2005 season, Diageo has utilized its association with NASCAR to promote responsible drinking to millions of NASCAR's adult fans as the #97 drove in the Crown Royal and Smirnoff ICE colors during 10 Cup races. On September 10, 2005 at Richmond International Speedway, Crown Royal became the first-ever spirit brand to win a NEXTEL Cup race when the #97 drove to victory during the Chevy Rock and Roll 400. Crown Royal's integrated motorsports marketing plan will include primary sponsorship at 18 races during the 2006 season, including the Daytona 500. Smirnoff ICE will have primary sponsorship for three races. Crown Royal will continue to capitalize on its sponsorship on several additional levels throughout the season, including consumer promotions and retail events, dedicated print and broadcast advertising to promote responsible drinking, licensing, online consumer promotions, public relations and hospitality.
      Crown Royal also continues to engage race fans across the country with its title sponsorship of the Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) series. For more information on Crown Royal, visit www.crownroyal.com. For more information on Smirnoff ICE, visit www.smirnoffice.com.(Alan Taylor Communications PR), look for a car number change announcement in the near future.(11-8-2005)

    • Irwin/Sharpie to sponsor McMurray for 15 races in 2006: Jamie McMurray announced that he will drive the IRWIN Industrial Tools/Sharpie Ford for Roush Racing in 2006. The announcement ends the speculation of when one of the most coveted driver's seats in racing would be filled. "The addition of Jamie McMurray as driver of the IRWIN/Sharpie Ford is a development that's exciting to our employees, customers and fans," said Eric Pinkham, director of motorsports for Newell Rubbermaid. "There's no question that Jamie now has the right tools to achieve even greater NASCAR success and make a permanent mark on racing history." IRWIN and Sharpie racing will compete in 15 races throughout the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series next year, including special Sharpie paint schemes at each event at Bristol Motor Speedway. The brands' sponsorship will feature interactive marketing at tracks, retail appearances, advertising and consumer and customer promotions.(Sharpie/Sanford PR)(11-8-2005)

    • Texas Overnight TV Ratings: NBC's broadcast of Sunday's Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.4 and an 8 share in the nation's largest markets, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The Texas race is new to the schedule, but the rating is 2.3% higher than the 4.3 overnight rating NBC drew for last year's 34th Nextel Cup race, the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-8-2005)

    • Long/McGlynn Part Ways, Long looking for a ride: It was announced Monday that Carl Long and #00-McGlynn Racing have parted ways, effective immediately. The part was on good terms, and was done for the better of both parties involved. Carl Long would like to thank McGlynn Racing for allowing him to drive for their team throughout the 2005 season. "The McGlynn's were like a second family to me," Long stated. "I know Ray [McGlynn] had to do what was in the best interest for him and his team, and I can respect that he had to make changes to fit; we're still good buds." Due to the last-minute nature of this departure, Carl Long is looking for a NEXTEL Cup team to drive for at Phoenix this weekend. With just two races remaining on the schedule, Long hopes to keep himself in the top 50 of the 2005 NEXTEL Cup Series driver points. This would allow Carl Long to compete in the 2006 NEXTEL Open. Long made the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Phoenix race held in the Spring of this year. Teams interested in having Carl Long drive for them this weekend are asked to call Carl directly or e-mail his website manager. For the season finale race held at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20th, Carl Long will be piloting the #80 Dodge for Stan Hover, owner of Hover Motorsports.(Carl Long site)(11-8-2005)

    • Cope in the #00: Derrike Cope will be driving for McGlynn Motorsports once again, this time driving the #00 Dodge in Phoenix this weekend and again the following week at Homestead. The sponsor will be Buyers Choice/Royal Administration with Joey Arrington engines.(Derrike Cope site)(11-8-2005)

    • Childers goes to Evernham; Randolph back as #10 crew chief UPDATE 2: hearing that current #10 MB2 Motorsports team crew chief for Scott Riggs, Rodney Childers, will leave after the race at Texas so start working at Evernham, gettting ready of the new #10 Valvoline Dodge that Riggs will drive in 2006. Hearing former #10 MB2 crew chief, Doug Randolph will finish out the season with Riggs and supposedly will be Sterling Marlin's crew chief on the #14 MB2 team in 2006.(11-4-2005)
      UPDATE: Sterling Marlin will have Doug Randolph as crew chief next season in the #14 at MB2 Motorsports. The team's current crew chief, Rodney Childers, will join Scott Riggs at Evernham Motorsports.(Sporting News)(11-7-2005)
      UPDATE 2: MB2 Motorsports announced that Doug Randolph will be the crew chief for the team's #14 Chevrolet, which will be driven by Sterling Marlin in 2006. MB2 also announced that Randolph will replace Rodney Childers as crew chief of Scott Riggs' #10 Valvoline team for the remaining two races of 2005. MB2's #10 will change to #14 next season. Randolph joined MB2 following the 2003 season as crew chief for Riggs' Chevrolet. He held that post until June of this year when he was named race coordinator and driver development manager. As MB2's driver development manager, Randolph worked closely with 20-year-old Kraig Kinser and directed the sprint car racer to a pair of strong performances in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(11-8-2005)

    • Ruling says Atlanta NASCAR HOF bid can't be secret: A Fulton County [GA] Superior Court judge has ruled that Atlanta's bids for the NASCAR hall of fame and 2009 Super Bowl must be open to the public. Judge Michael Johnson's ruling was a setback for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and Central Atlanta Progress. The two leading Atlanta business groups argued in court that they are private organizations, and that releasing the bids would hamper the metro area's ability to win big-ticket spectacles like Super Bowls and Final Fours — prizes that mean millions to the local economy. At an all-day hearing Thursday, court testimony revealed that Fulton County and Georgia's Department of Economic Development, among other public bodies, helped pay to compile the NASCAR hall of fame bid. The bid cost $500,000 to prepare, with $300,000 coming from public sources, the business groups' witnesses testified. A witness also described meetings where NASCAR bid documents were handed out and then confiscated to keep the information out of public hands. Monday's decision was the latest round in a months-long dispute between The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the business groups over the Super Bowl and NASCAR hall of fame bids. Atlanta lost its bid for the 2009 Super Bowl, but the city is still competing with four other communities — Richmond, Charlotte, Kansas City, Kan., and Daytona Beach, Fla. — for NASCAR's hall of fame. NASCAR officials are expected to pick a hall of fame site by the end of the year.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), more info on all the NASCAR HOF bids, links and sites, see my NASCAR HOF Page.(11-8-2005)

    • Final Atlanta TV Ratings up: NBC's broadcast of the Oct. 30 Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500 Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway earned a final rating of 4.7 from Nielsen Media Research and a 10 share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 2.2% higher than the 4.6 rating NBC drew for the race in 2004.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-8-2005)


      News from November 7, 2005

    • OFFICIAL - Busch to Join Penske Racing in 2006: Penske Racing South announced today that Kurt Busch will drive the Miller Lite Dodge commencing with the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Busch, the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup champion, has reached an agreement with Roush Racing to be released from his driver responsibilities for the 2006 season. Busch will join Penske Racing South at the conclusion of the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. "We are pleased that Kurt and Roush Racing were able to reach an agreement on Kurt's release and appreciate the professionalism that it has taken to arrive at this result," said Roger Penske, chairman. "Kurt's joining us for 2006 will provide a smooth transition for the team and our sponsors." Busch had recently signed a multi-year agreement with Penske Racing South that was to take effect in 2007.(Penske Racing)(11-7-2005)

    • OFFICIAL - Busch released from Roush Racing Contract, McMurray in: Roush Racing has announced that Kurt Busch has been released from his Roush Racing contract obligations effective at the end of the 2005 year and that Jamie McMurray has signed to drive for Roush Racing commencing in the 2006 season. Newell-Rubbermaid and Diageo [Crown Royal/Smirnoff] will continue as primary sponsors of the McMurray driven entry in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series.(Roush Racing)(11-7-2005)

    • Mears to the #42; McMurray released; Ganassi staying at three cars UPDATE 4 OFFICIAL: now hearing that Ganassi is going to remain at three teams with one of the four Cup sponsors they have may change their sponosrship around and appear on more of the Ganassi cars [#40,#41,#42 and #30?]. WIth...McMurray moving to Roush Racing and Kurt Busch to Penske Racing.(11-6-2005)
      UPDATE: hearing Mears to the #42, with Texaco staying as the primary sponsor and Home 123 as a major assocciate and being hte primary in a few races as they were this year on the #42. Expect an announcement early this week and could be as soon as Monday.(11-6-2005)
      UPDATE 2: There is speculation that if Ganassi can't get a top-name driver for the McMurray-Texaco ride, he is willing to promote Casey Mears.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-7-2005)
      UPDATE 3: been told the deal is done, Ganassi stays a 3-car team, #40-David Stremme, #41-Reed Sorenson and #42-Casey Mears with Texaco.(11-7-2005)
      UPDATE 4: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) and its sponsor Chevron Products Company announced today that they have selected Casey Mears to pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge starting in 2006. In addition, CGRFS has agreed to release Jamie McMurray from his contract to drive for the organization through the '06 NEXTEL Cup Series season. "We've been working hard to find a driver solution for Texaco/Havoline and we are fortunate that we could offer them Casey," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "Some recent positive developments have allowed us to make this move and we couldn't be happier with how things are shaping up for the 2006 season. Casey is a driver and a person that we think a lot of and have a lot of faith in."
      Mears has been with CGRFS since being selected by the organization to drive its #41 NEXTEL Cup Series entry in 2003. He has competed in 106 races and recorded two poles, three top-five finishes and 17 top-10 finishes.
      "I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to drive the Texaco/Havoline Dodge next season," said Mears. "Texaco/Havoline has been a sponsor in this sport for a long time and they've had an impressive list of drivers compete and win in their cars. I look forward to joining that group and taking them and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates back to Victory Lane." In 2006, Texaco/Havoline will embark on its 19th season as a NASCAR sponsor.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-7-2005)

    • Bobby Labonte to the #43? UPDATE 3 Labonte parts ways with JGR: Bobby Labonte to the #43 Petty Enterprises ride Jeff Green would vacate [for the #0 Chevy].(Sporting News)(10-17-2005)
      UPDATE: Speed Channel's Bob Dillner reported on Saturday's Speed News that he is hearing Bobby Labonte will go to Petty Enterprises and drive the famed #43 Dodge....while I WAS hearing he would go to Ganassi Racing in the #42, it seems that deal broke down and ALSO hearing Labonte could end up in the #22 Caterpillar Dodge....looks like the Dodge part is a lock.(11-6-2005)
      UPDATE 2 - Yeley to the #18? #18-Bobby Labonte has refused for several months to talk about his future plans, and he has become increasingly testy when pressed on the issue. Labonte is being actively wooed by both Bill Davis and Kyle Petty for 2006, and Joe Gibbs, Labonte's current car owner, has been told that Labonte won't be back, according to sources. Gibbs has tentatively set a press conference for next week at Phoenix to announce J. J. Yeley as Labonte's replacement, regardless of which direction Labonte takes.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-7-2005)
      UPDATE 3: Bobby Labonte and Joe Gibbs Racing will conclude an 11-year relationship at the end of the 2005 NEXTEL Cup Series season, Labonte and officials from JGR announced Nov. 7. Labonte’s future plans, as well as a replacement driver for the #18 Interstate Batteries Chevrolet, will be announced at a later date. “I regret to say that this is the final year that I will be at Joe Gibbs Racing,” Labonte said. “One of the things that made this decision so difficult was thinking of all the fans that have supported me at JGR throughout the past 11 years. This relationship has lasted a long time, and I hate that it has to end. Joe Gibbs and his family gave me the opportunity of a lifetime, and I want to thank them, and all the employees at JGR, for 11 years of hard work. I will always cherish the times at JGR, and the only thing that I regret is that we didn’t win more races and or championships. I wish everyone at JGR continued success in the future and I want to thank J.D. (Gibbs, president of JGR) for giving me the chance to be released from my contract early and letting me pursue other opportunities.”(Joe Gibbs Racing)(11-7-2005)

    • ESPN: In NASCAR, attention to detail is a must. Details like analyzing every aspect of a pit stop. And washing every inch of the hauler. As the 2005 season rolls to an end, E-ticket spent a week with Tony Stewart's Home Dept team, unveiling the 20/20 foresight it takes to bring home the Nextel Cup, see more at ESPN.com - 20/20 : The End is the Beginning

    • Sherman to the #49? UPDATE: hearing Busch Series driver Brent Sherman could be headed to the #49 BAM Racing Dodge with Serta as the sponsor.(11-4-2005)
      UPDATE: Brent Sherman is expected to take over as driver of BAM Racing's #49 with Schwann's and Serta sharing sponsorship. Sherman, 31, currently drives the #10 Ford for ppc Racing in the Busch Series and has 25 career Busch starts. His best finish was ninth in the spring at Talladega.(Sporting News)(11-7-2005)

    • Andretti to the Busch Series? UPDATE: hearing John Andretti could run a full Busch Series schedule for ppc Racing in the #10 Ford.(11-5-2005)
      UPDATE: John Andretti will replace Brent Sherman in the #10 Ford for ppc Racing in the Busch Series. Freedom Roads RV will be the sponsor.(Sporting News)(11-7-2005)

    • Ganassi/Home 123 part ways: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today that CGRFS and Home123 have mutually chosen to terminate their sponsorship relationship. "We have enjoyed working with Home123," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "This was a good decision for us both and our separation was amicable. We wish them well in their future endeavors."
      "While we have enjoyed working with the Ganassi organization and have seen benefit in the team sponsorship, we will be refocusing our 2006 dollars in other areas," said Pat Flanagan, Chief Executive Officer of Home123 Corporation. "We are committed to having marketing programs that strategically position the Home123 brand among our target audiences. We will continue to support the racing sport as the official mortgage company of NASCAR. In addition, we continue to be excited about announcing the winner of the Home123 "Pay Off Your Mortgage Sweepstakes."(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates)(11-7-2005)

    • Osborne Wins Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race Award at Texas: Bob Osborne, crew chief of the #99 Office Depot Ford, and Carl Edwards teamed up to capture their second win in a row this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Much like his win in Atlanta, Edwards only got stronger as the race went on. He led five times for 82 laps, most importantly, the final two. For bringing Edwards his fourth win of the season, Osborne was voted the WypallWipers Crew Chief of the Race. Edwards had the car to beat in the final stages of the Dickies 500, but an untimely caution with 15 laps left in the event forced him to work twice as hard for the victory. Osborne called Edwards into the pits under the yellow for a two-tire stop, which moved the #99 Taurus from first-place to sixth. With only 11 green flag laps in the event, Edwards gunned down the five drivers ahead of him and captured his first-ever win at Texas Motor Speedway.
      The panel of voters, including Dave Wellham of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a WypallWipers representative and Tony Eury Sr., all voted for Osborne as the crew chief that did the best job. Doug Richert leads the WypallWipers Crew Chief of the Year standings with five wins. This weekend marked Osborne's fourth win, which moved him to second-place. Alan Gustafson and Greg Zipadelli are tied for third-place with three wins. Jimmy Fennig, Robbie Reiser, Chad Knaus, Steve Addington and Robbie Loomis are tied for foruth-place with two wins. Tommy Baldwin, Scott Miller, Fatback McSwain, Steve Hmiel, Greg Erwin, Slugger Labbe, Pat Tryson and Pete Rondeau are tied for fifth-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 wypall.com.(SMC 500)(11-7-2005)

    • Jim Beam Rebate? RacingOne is hearing that sponsor Jim Beam is asking #7-Robby Gordon for a "rebate," after 13 DNF's this season.(RacingOne)(11-7-2005)

    • NBC back in the TV picture? or MORE TNT? hearing that NBC/TNT may be back in the bidding for the Nextel Cup TV Package which was expected to go to ABC/ESPN TNT wants a 8-9 race package, but ESPN doesn't want to give up four or five races from their half and still pay the amount NASCAR wants, so rumor is NASCAR has gone back to NBC to reopen talks.(11-5-2005)
      UPDATE: NBC might be interested in selling the final year of its NASCAR Nextel Cup contract (2006) to TV partner Turner (TNT), according to television sources. That could be seen as a blow to the sport. NBC's new National Football League contract kicks off next season, and NBC wants its Sunday night coverage to start a 7 p.m., which conflicts with some of NASCAR's weekend time-window desires. However, according to other reports, Brian France could be prepared to announce a new TV contract for 2007 through 2112 for as much as $4 billion. France said in late September he would probably make a TV announcement within four to six weeks. Turner officials say they want "as many (Cup) races as we can get." Turner currently splits the second half of the NASCAR season with NBC, though NBC carries the year's final eight events.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-7-2005)

    • Engine Dyno's at Texas: NASCAR's engine-chassis dyno was busy last night after the race [at Texas], with officials checking the rear-wheel horsepower of the cars of winner #99-Carl Edwards, #41-Casey Mears (fourth), #48-Jimmie Johnson (fifth), #38-Elliott Sadler (ninth), #2-Rusty Wallace (22nd) and #20-Tony Stewart (sixth). And #29-Kevin Harvick (16th) volunteered to have his engine checked.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-7-2005)

    • Tin Brown Team Update: Former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown said Sunday morning that he should know soon whether the NASCAR program he’s starting with help from Jack Roush will make it to the track next year or in 2007. Brown said he could run a Nextel Cup team next year, Cup and Busch series cars next year, or, if delayed until ’07, he could campaign a Craftsman Truck entry in addition to the Cup and Busch cars. “We think we’ll be there (in 2006), but when you’re talking this kind of (sponsorship) money, you never know what’s going to happen. But hopefully the next couple of weeks one way or another whether we’ll be on track or not.” Brown said he and the Roush organization are talking with sponsors “who are looking at doing both” the Cup and Busch cars next year. “I understand we’re running out of time, and everybody has to make a decision here.” The former football star added that he initially planned the team for ’07, but “we just got a little greedy and little aggressive and decided to try to make something happen for ’06. We’re close. We think we can still get it done.”(Speed Channel)(11-7-2005)

    • Latest on Busch-McMurray deal UPDATE: Expect to see #97-Kurt Busch and #42-Jamie McMurray be released from their respective contracts with Jack Roush and Chip Ganassi in short order. That’s the word from Roush, who said Friday he figures the deal to send McMurray to Roush’s #97 and Busch to Roger Penske’s #2 Dodge to be completed very soon. “I think that if Jamie and Kurt are going to be mutually released — and I would put it in that order — then I think it’s very close to the time that’s going to happen,” Roush said. None of the remaining Silly Season dominos, most notably who will replace McMurray in Ganassi’s #42 Dodge next season, were resolved on Friday, but could be before the weekend is out.(Speed Channel)
      AND Jack Roush said yesterday afternoon that an agreement still hadn't been reached in the three-way negotiations to move Jamie McMurray to Roush Racing and Kurt Busch to Penske in 2006. The deal, which also would send an unnamed driver to Chip Ganassi Racing to replace McMurray, has been in the works for weeks and was reported done by ESPN on Monday.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
      AND II Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray still don't know if they will be driving for new teams next year. The anticipated swap of drivers involving three teams isn't done. If a deal is done, the changes are these: Busch will leave Roush Racing and drive the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge next season, replacing Rusty Wallace. McMurray will replace Busch for Jack Roush. And someone – possibly Bobby Labonte or Ricky Rudd – will replace McMurray in the #42 Havoline Dodge. "Ultimately it's Jack's decision if we want to separate and move on," Busch said. "If we can work out all the details, great." Jack Roush said he isn't sure everything will get resolved. "I don't have a drop-dead date," he said. "Geoff Smith [team president] is handling those negotiations, and he said it needs to be done quickly." Roush was asked if he and Busch had spoken recently. "I haven't had a conversation with Kurt of any consequence since he told me he wanted to be released from his contract for 2006. I'm immune to frustration when it comes to Kurt Busch."(Dallas Morning News)....yikes!(11-5-2005)
      UPDATE: On Wind Tunnel (Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on SPEED), host Dave Despain and SPEED's NASCAR reporter Bob Dillner Kurt Busch's impounding release from Roush Racing:
      Dave Despain: Kurt Busch tells me there will be a news release (Monday). Do you know what it's going to say? Is he going to be released to go to the 2?
      Bob Dillner: He is going to be released to go to the 2 car. He'll replace Rusty Wallace over there at Penske Racing. There were a lot of meetings (Sunday) in Texas. And what I was told from my inside sources (is) that about 10 out of the 12 things that need to happen for Jamie McMurray to go over to the Roush side next year are complete. But those last two, which I'm sure involve a lot of money in Chip Ganassi's pocket, have to be completed yet. But I think what we're going to see is — by the end of this week — I'm pretty sure that all these pieces of the puzzle are actually going to happen. We're going to see Kurt Busch go over there to the 2 car. We're going to see Jamie McMurray finally get what he wants — out of the 42 car and over there into the 97.
      Dave Despain: So who goes in the 42? I'm reading in the paper that (Ricky) Rudd said very clearly on Friday he will not drive that car. Are you hearing something different?
      Bob Dillner: You know, I've heard that they want him really bad in that car for next year. And the problem is the whole hang-up on this situation Dave seems to be who to put in that car because there's not a lot of veteran quality drivers to really go around right now. But Rudd's got a decision to make. He's either going to go in that 42 car, or he's going to retire.(FoxSports.com)(11-7-2005)



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