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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    JAN. 2-8, 2006





      News from January 8, 2006

    • Foyt to the #50? hearing Larry Foyt will attempt to make the Daytona 500 in the #50 Arnold Motorsports Dodge.(1-8-2006)

    • Said and Lepage take the gold: The near zero temperatures made for a slick track for the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge Saturday at the Verizon Sports Complex. It was an eventful and exciting day at the track as 10 NASCAR drivers competed against each other in two bobsled races which they had prepred for since Thursday afternoon. NASCAR racer Boris Said captured the gold medal in the first race of the day with a combined time of one minute, 44.38 seconds. Said, the son of former Olympic bobsled driver Bob Said, was ironically pushed by his father's former brakeman Phil "Bear" Duprey at the start of all of his runs throughout the day. After sliding the two best qualifying runs on Friday, Todd Bodine came in second place during the first race followed by Stanton Barrett in third. Kevin Lepage and Tim Fedewa rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth places, respectively. NASCAR short-track legend Dick Trickle certainly made his mark on the bobsled track as well. The animated 64-year old had the fastest training time earlier in the day, however he flipped his sled on both runs of the first race. The Trickle Turn, as commentators re-named curve 18 of the track, saw Trickle flip twice as he tried to gain speed and better his time. Trickle, as well as the rest of the NASCAR drivers, remained in high spirits for the second and final race of the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge. The drivers could not thank Geoff Bodine enough for putting this program together and wished the United States bobsled teams well as they prepared themselves to race again.
      Trickle was able to keep his sled on all four runners for both heats of the second race and said, "It's a lot better to stay on your skis than on your side." Lepage placed first in the second race of the day with a combined time of 1:44.14. A hush fell over the crowd as Lepage prepared for his second run, the last sled of the day. Lepage joked, "This ain't the golf course. You guys can talk." After winning the race, he said, "I'm looking forward to next year." Former Hollywood stuntman Stanton Barrett captured second place after his second run at 51.96 seconds broke Todd Bodine's previous track record of 52.01 for best run of the day. During his record-breaking run, Barrett found himself on two runners at times and nearly flipped the sled. Barrett commented, "That was insane. I was thinking 'Oh, here I come, Trickle.'" Third place went to Tim Fedewa, while Todd Bodine and Geoff Bodine took fourth and fifth, respectively.
      Thanking the fans, the U.S. bobsled athletes and coaches, the sled mechanics, and the town of Lake Placid, Geoff Bodine was all smiles at the end of the event. Bodine said, "I knew the drivers were going to love this. They had some doubts, but by the smiles on their faces you could tell how much they liked it." More info at bodynbobsled.com or Lake Placid Olympic Region Site.
      ESPN will televise a one-hour program at 5:00pm/et Jan. 29, while SPEED Channel will provide two hours of coverage on Feb. 4 at 2:00pm/et Feb. 4.(1-8-2006)


      News from January 7, 2006

    • Sporting News - Brian France 5th: NASCAR's Brian France was chosen 5th most powerful in the Sporting News Power 100, behind only: 1. David Stern, commissioner, NBA; 2. George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN and ABC Sports; 3. Paul Tagliabue, commissioner, NFL; 4. Bud Selig, commissioner, MLB. Blurb from the Sporting News reads: As head of a family-run business, NASCAR's Brian France has more freedom than traditional commissioners. And although he didn't do anything as revolutionary in '05 as his implementation of the Chase for the Nextel Cup in '04, he continued expanding NASCAR's presence with a points race in Mexico, changed the rules specifically to clamp down on owner Jack Roush's reach and listened to the pitches of several cities hoping to land the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Other NASCAR folks in the list: Multi-team owner Jack Roush, 26th; NASCAR's George Pyne, 34th; ISC's Lesa France Kennedy, 65; Driver Jeff Gordon, 73; Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO, Speedway Motorsports, 76. See full column and list at the Sporting News.(1-7-2006)

    • Robby Gordon Dakar Update - 7th stage: #7-Robby Gordon is racing in the Dakar Rally, the world’s most grueling and logistically challenging auto race, started Dec. 31 in Lison, Portugal and heads approximately 6,500 miles south through Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Morocco. From there, the race turns rugged as the field of more than 500 vehicles makes the incredible journey through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal, ending on Jan. 15th.
      Earlier reports from Africa indicated that Robby Gordon and his Hummer H3 Dakar effort had "crashed heavily" while competing in the seventh stage of the famed Dakar Rally. There was no crash, and communication directly from Gordon and his navigator Darren Skilton indicate, that while the car is down for repairs, it is for a broken radiator and clutch problem. While night has arrived in Mauritania, and repairs are obviously difficult, every effort is being made to return the Hummer to competition when the race resumes Sunday. Saturday is a day off for all competitors. An overall victory is clearly impossible, however, should Gordon and Skilton make the necessary and expected repairs to the vehicle, the tandem will have eight more race days in which to secure stage victories. More information will be provided regarding the status of the repairs as they are made available.RGM site)
      AND Stephane Peterhansel of France won for the second time in the Dakar Rally, taking the seventh stage Friday in the grueling road race. Fellow Frenchman Luc Alphand was second, 4 minutes, 23 seconds behind, and claimed the overall lead with a time of 22 hours, 32 minutes, 41 seconds. He is followed by Peterhansel, 3 minutes,12 seconds behind. Peterhansel, who also won the fifth stage, was timed Friday in 5:52:18.(ESPN.com/AP), no word on where Gordon finished or where he currently stands.
      For more info and to keep up with Gordon, see robbygordon.com or at dakar.com. Look for daily televised reports on OLN [Outdoor Life Network] daily at 4:00pm/et.(RGM PR)(1-7-2006)

    • Todd Bodine put bobsled on the pole: Todd Bodine heads into Saturday's Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge "on the pole" after qualifying runs for the event wrapped up on Friday afternoon at the Verizon Sports Complex. The event is a fundraiser to benefit the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, founded by Geoff Bodine (9th fastest), provides American-made bobsleds to the United States bobsled teams free of charge. The two Bodine brothers, along with eight other NASCAR drivers, including Tim Fedewa (2bd fastest), Kevin Lepage (3rd), Boris Said (4th), Dick Trickle (5th), Brad Noffsinger (6th), Stanton Barrett (7th), Steve Park (8th), and Joel Kauffman (10th), will compete in the challenge on Saturday. All NASCAR racers were in competitive but high spirits when they arrived in Lake Placid for the Challenge, as they joked with each other and signed autographs for adoring fans.
      The Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge got underway on Thursday afternoon when the NASCAR drivers arrived at the Verizon Sports Complex for a lesson in Bobsled 101. The drivers took to the track with U.S. bobsled team athletes for an overview of the sport, followed by a ride down part of the track behind a U.S. team driver. When it came time for the NASCAR drivers to actually drive themselves, they could not get enough of the action and finished the evening with a craving for more speed. The drivers started higher up the track on Friday to complete their final training runs and two qualifying heats. As the temperature dropped, the ¾ mile track became faster and the NASCAR racers got all the speed they wanted as they flew through the 17 curves at speeds of nearly 60 miles an hour.
      Driving the last sled of the day, Todd Bodine came out on top after the second run with a combined time of 1 minute, 47.24 seconds. Bodine was followed by Fedewa and Lepage in second and third, respectively. Bodine credits much of his successful bobsled driving to the U.S. bobsled athletes saying, "It's great to see our young kids as good as they are. And now with the bobsled project giving them good equipment, our future for bobsledding is looking pretty bright. It's a great feeling." All 10 drivers as well as their many eager fans are looking forward to the feature race of the Chevrolet Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge beginning at 10 am on Saturday morning, with an afternoon race set for 1 pm. Country artists Cowboy Crush will open the proceedings with their rendition of the National Anthem. Tickets for the event can be purchased at the main gate of the Verizon Sports Complex. More info at bodynbobsled.com or Lake Placid Olympic Region Site.
      ESPN will televise a one-hour program at 5:00pm/et Jan. 29, while SPEED Channel will provide two hours of coverage on Feb. 4 at 2:00pm/et Feb. 4.(1-7-2006)


      News from January 6, 2006

    • Kyle gets a 12 race sponsor: gearing that Wells Fargo will move up from an associate sposnor to be the primary sponsor of the #45 Dodge of Kyle Petty for at least 12 races this season, including the season opening Daytona 500. Petty Enterprises is talking with other sponsors as well at this point. They will run the full schedule in 2006, but still have some sponsorship openings available.(1-6-2006)

    • Cup team considering move to Indy? in Darrell Waltrip's latest column at FoxSports: "by the way I was in Indy this past week on some business. There's a rumor going around that some big NASCAR team was thinking about moving to Indianapolis, and I was talking to some folks who may have given me an inside track on who it might be. It's a guy that's got three cars and no crew chiefs, if that helps you any."(FoxSports), no crew chiefs? Evernham Motorsports uses Team Directors...not crew chiefs.(1-6-2006)

    • Martin to be featured in AAA teen driver safety announcements: Jack Roush will join AAA officials in previewing its new 2006 NEXTEL Cup race car sponsorship in Detroit's Cobo Center, at the AAA Motorsports exhibit in Michigan Hall in the lower level on Tuesday, January 10th. AAA has signed a contract with Roush Racing to sponsor the #6 Ford Fusion, driven by Mark Martin, at NEXTEL Cup Series races in 2006. At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the #6 AAA Ford racecar will be on display, as well as a racing simulator for media members to test their driving skills in a virtual experience of roaring around the track at over 200 miles per hour. In addition to announcing the new AAA-Roush sponsorship, AAA officials will discuss the Auto Club's plans to advocate for improved teen driver safety and will preview a series of public service announcements featuring Mark Martin.(GMR PR)(1-6-2006)

    • Larry Foyt Seeks NASCAR Ride for 2006: Larry Foyt, Dave Tomasello and Zekko Racing have ended their business relationship after two months. Foyt cited differences in business philosophy as the underlying reason for the termination of the relationship. Foyt, son of A.J. Foyt, is now looking for a ride in one of the NASCAR-sanctioned series for the 2006 season. "I don't think there is enough time to secure sponsorship for the 2006 season in the NASCAR Busch Series, so I am focusing now on landing a ride," said Foyt, who has driven in NASCAR's NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series. "While I haven't ruled out running my own team, it has been really difficult to secure sponsorship and the time is getting critical to field a car for the opening race at Daytona," said the 28-year-old Texan. "I really want to get back to driving so I'm looking seriously for a ride with an established team. Obviously if one of my sponsorship pitches works out, we'll spare no effort putting a program together that works best for everyone. However, right now my focus is on getting a ride." Foyt, who graduated from Texas Christian University in 2000 with a degree in communications, has competed in NASCAR since his debut there in 2001. He also is a two-time starter in the Indianapolis 500 driving for his father's Indy car team.(A.J. Foyt Racing PR)(1-6-2006)

    • More on Boris Said's 2006 plans: Boris Said is still waiting for his 2006 Nextel Cup plans to be finalized. After running a part-time schedule in 2005 [in the #36 Centrix Chevy for MB2 Motorsports], Said expected to run at least 12 Nextel Cup races this season. But his deal hasn't been completed other than a commitment to run two Busch Series road races for Ray Evernham. "I know I will run at least six to eight Nextel Cup races," Said said. "But I'd hate to miss the Daytona 500 and right now a package for Daytona has not been finalized." Bill Elliott will drive the #36 Chevy at Daytona in Feb.(San Diego Union Tribine)(1-6-2006)


      News from January 5, 2006

    • NASCAR HOF, three cities left: NASCAR announced Thursday that three cities – Atlanta, Charlotte and Daytona Beach – are still under consideration for serving as the host site for the sport’s first-ever officially-sanctioned Hall of Fame. Kansas City and Richmond were the two other cities that had submitted proposals to NASCAR and been involved in the process since the early part of 2005. “NASCAR is extremely appreciative of the time, effort and commitment put forth by the cities of Kansas City and Richmond,” said Mark Dyer, NASCAR vice president for licensing. “Both of their proposals were outstanding and the passion and enthusiasm the people involved showed for the NASCAR Hall of Fame has made a lasting impression on all of us. We’d like to thank Gov. Sebelius of Kansas and Gov. Warner of Virginia, along with all of the other people who put so much work into this project. Both of these cities are extremely important to our sport and should be congratulated for their efforts. As we move forward in this process, we believe it is necessary to focus our attention on the three cities of Atlanta, Charlotte and Daytona Beach. Based upon the proposals that we have reviewed internally for the past several months, we believe these three cities provide us with the best opportunity to build and develop a world-class NASCAR Hall of Fame for our millions of loyal fans.” NASCAR hopes to make a final decision on its Hall of Fame site sometime within the first quarter of 2006.(NASCAR), past news about the NASCAR HOF on my NASCAR HOF page, so much for the 'breaking news' that Kansas was getting it.(1-5-2006)

    • Terry Labonte's 2006 #44 Schedule: Hendrick Motorsports unveiled the 2006 schedule of two-time champion Terry Labonte, who will appear in 10 races with the organization during his final year of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition. The team will again campaign its #44 Chevrolets with primary sponsorship from Kellogg Company, GMAC and CARQUEST Auto Parts. Kellogg's will continue its 12-year relationship with Labonte as primary sponsor in half of the planned events. "This is an opportunity for me to have a little more fun," said Labonte, 49, who has 22 career Cup victories and two series championships (1984 and 1996) to his credit. "I've been fortunate to do this for nearly three decades and I'm excited to go back to some of the places that have meant so much to me, my team and my family over the years." Labonte, who began racing at the Cup level in 1978, will appear at six different venues during his 2006 Hendrick Motorsports "Shifting Gears - Lone Star Style" schedule, including multiple races at Texas Motor Speedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway. A Corpus Christi, Texas, native, Labonte will compete April 9 at Texas Motor Speedway, followed by dates at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Lowe's Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway. The July 23 event at Pocono will open the second half of the 10-race slate, prior to dates at California Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway. The final race of Labonte's storied career will come Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR). Labonte will also drive the #96 Hall of Fame Racing/DLP Chevy in the first five races of the 2006 season.(1-5-2006)

    • Tracy to test for R. Gordon at Daytona: Paul Tracy is scheduled to test for Robby Gordon’s Nextel Cup team to Daytona on Jan. 16th. According to this week’s Autosport magazine, Tracy will handle the beginning of next week’s sessions while Gordon travels back from the Dakar rally, which doesn’t end until January 15. "It helps me out and it helps him out, it's a win-win situation for both of us. It lets him work around NASCAR when he's not testing his Champ Car,” Gordon revealed. "He'll get some more superspeedway experience. He can learn from my engineers, but at the same time it helps me because I need a driver who can drive and test as well." Gordon, who currently lies 44th overall in his Hummer H3 at the Dakar, intends to test in the final two days of activity at Daytona [see story below]. Last year, Tracy tested for Richard Childress Racing at Michigan but ended up not making his NASCAR race debut as originally planned.(Speed Channel)
      Tracy also plans to run some Busch Series races, orignally for for Biagi Bros. Racing [#4-Mark Green] but that deal fell thru so it will be a different team.(Busch Site).(1-5-2006)

    • IROC adds road course...Daytona: The International Race of Champions [IROC] series will be on the road again in 2006, holding a road-course event as part of its four-race schedule for the first time in 14 years.The IROC series, sponsored by Crown Royal, will hold its third race this season on Thursday, June 29, on the road course at Daytona International Speedway. The last road-course event in IROC was at Watkins Glen International in New York in 1991, with Rusty Wallace winning. As part of its 30th anniversary season, IROC will also race Feb. 17 on the 2.5-mile oval at Daytona, on April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway and on Oct. 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "We've missed the road racing element of the series over the years and I can't tell you how thrilled we are to add a road course back into the mix," said Jay Signore, IROC president and general manager. "This will be the first time the Crown Royal IROC Series will race on the Daytona road course since our inaugural season." IROC's test drivers began making laps Thursday on the 3.56-mile Daytona road course in conjunction with testing for the Rolex 24 of Daytona endurance race. The 12-driver field for this year's event is scheduled to be announced Jan. 17 in Daytona at a news conference during NASCAR's "Preseason Thunder," two weeks of testing that begins Monday.(ThatsRacin.com), the Daytona road course race takes the place of Richmond, which ran in Sept.(1-5-2006)

    • Shepherd to run Daytona: #89-Morgan Shepherd will test for the Daytona 500 in the 2nd session [Jan 16-18] and plans attempt to make the race in the #89 Dodge. Shepherd recently hired Doug George as the crew chief.(Morgan Shepherd site), Shepherd also has a NC appearance, see my Drivers Appearance page for more.(1-5-2006)

    • Robby sticks with DEI? UPDATE: hearing that Robby Gordon will start the 2006 Nextel Cup season with DEI [Dale Earnhardt Inc.] engines after running well in the final two races. Once Menards engines are ready, he will then go back to those engines.(12-7-2005)
      UPDATE: While Robby Gordon and his off-road racing team navigate their Jim Beam/Toyo Tires Hummer H3 through Northern Africa’s Sahara Desert, his NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team is preparing for its second season of competition from its shop in Charlotte, N.C. Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM), which was originally scheduled to participate in Daytona testing Jan. 9-11, will now test at Daytona Jan. 16-18 due to Gordon’s participation in the Dakar Rally through Jan. 15. While Gordon will use the first day of the test as a travel day back from Dakar, the team will employ a replacement driver on the first of the three days, with Gordon back in the seat for the session’s final two days. The test will be the first outing for the team with its new DEI engine package that it will campaign the entire 2006 NASCAR season. With the prowess of DEI engines on all types of tracks, particularly at NASCAR’s two restrictor-plate tracks – Daytona and Talladega – better results from the second-year program are expected. “Last year was a frustrating season for everyone here, but we would like to believe those days are behind us,” said John Story, general manager of RGM. “Not only did we have a completely new group of people working together for the first time and a new engine program, but we also came into the Nextel Cup Series in a year where the rules were amended to protect those teams that have shown loyalty to the sport. Given our bad start, we fought the new “top-35” rule all season and were never able to get ourselves into the position we hoped. At some point early this season we will benefit from the same rule we fought all season. While we’re still outside the top 35, we have so much going for us that we didn’t have last season. Chief among them is our team. With the exception of one person, the entire team that spent the last half of the season together is back again for 2006, and we have added a number of people to the staff to improve what was already a good team. We also have a fleet of cars that are all but complete and ready for the race track. At this time last year we didn’t have a single car on the ground. We now have as many as 11 cars all but ready to go. “The final, and perhaps biggest key to RGM having a successful 2006 season is the fact that we will again have sponsorship from Menards, Jim Beam, Harrah’s and CarLoan.com in addition to a long list of associate sponsors. I believe our sponsors see where we’re headed as a team and are also anxious to see how far we can improve this year.” Following three days of testing at Daytona, RGM will take part in NASCAR’s second test Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before returning to Daytona International Speedway for the Feb. 19 Daytona 500 with Jim Beam as the primary sponsor.(RGM PR)(1-5-2006)

    • Mike Wallace back in the #09 for at least 7 races: Mike Wallace confirmed with Motorsports Lounge that he will attempt to qualify and race the #09 Miccosukee Gaming & Resorts Dodge owned by James Finch in the 2006 Daytona 500, and run six other races in the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Season, and possibly more if the team can pick up additional sponsorship. "I am excited about going to Daytona with James Finch, Marc Reno and the team," said Team ML driver Mike Wallace. "We do have to qualify to get into the race, but once in, we are going for the win". Wallace and the team are not strangers as he has driven the #09 Dodge many times in the past. Wallace has had multiple top 12 finishes with the team, and came close to winning the Daytona 500 in 2003. Wallace also drove for Marc Reno in his first NASCAR Busch Series race and his first ARCA Series race. "Marc and I have a good working history, and we are confident we will have a good run in Daytona in the #09 Miccosukee Dodge." The team will be taking three cars (one old and two new) to Daytona for testing on January 16th, 17th and 18th [2nd session]. Currently, Mike Wallace and the team are looking to race seven races in 2006, which includes the two Daytona and two Talladega restrictor plate races, Richmond in Sept., night, Bristol in August and Homestead. However, the team is looking to race more events if they acquire additional sponsorship. Interested parties can contact James Finch of Phoenix Racing for details and sponsorship opportunities.(Motorsports Lounge PR)(1-5-2006)

    • May testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway...and repaving: Nextel Cup drivers are scheduled to test on May 1-2 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Since the May events at Charlotte will be held at night, testing will be held until 9:00pm/et each evening. Fans can watch the Charlotte test session free of charge from the track's main grandstand.(Paraphrased from Gordonline.com), also hearing that the track will be repaved with a scheduled start of Jan 16th thru March.(1-5-2006)

    • Evernham tests at Kentucky: #10-Scott Riggs and Erin Crocker in an R&D Dodge, testing for Evernham Motorsports at Kentucky Speedway on Wednesday, Jan 4th. Also of note The Richard Petty Driving Experience will award four lucky fans a Rookie Experience package on Saturday, Jan. 7 when 2006 Kentucky Speedway single-event race tickets go on sale at 9:00am. More info at Kentuckyspeedway.com.(1-5-2006)

    • Robby Gordon Dakar Update - 6th stage: #7-Robby Gordon is racing in the Dakar Rally, the world’s most grueling and logistically challenging auto race, started Dec. 31 in Lison, Portugal and heads approximately 6,500 miles south through Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Morocco. From there, the race turns rugged as the field of more than 500 vehicles makes the incredible journey through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal, ending on Jan. 15th.
      Frenchman Thierry Magnaldi won the sixth stage of the Dakar Rally as the cars crossed from Morocco into this desert nation Thursday. Magnaldi, driving a Schles-Ford-Raid, won the 275-mile stage that began in Tan-Tan, Morocco, in 3 hours, 22 minutes, 54 seconds. Jean-Louis Schlesser, also of France, was 2 minutes, 55 seconds behind. Giniel de Villiers was 51 seconds farther back in third, but the South African jumped from fifth place to take the overall lead. Carlos Sainz of Spain was another 22 seconds and gave up the overall lead.(ESPN.com/AP)
      AND An 11th place finish in the sixth stage of the 15 stage Dakar Rally has once again vaulted Team Dakar USA up in the overall classification. Gordon, who was as high as eight in the overall standings after stage three, dropped to 69th after suffering a transmission problem in stage four. Since then the duo of Gordon and Skilton have logged two stong stages and are working their way back to the top-10. Beginning the day, Gordon was in the 45th position. After today the #335 Hummer H3 is now four hours and 28 minutes back of the lead car of Giniel De Villiers.(RGM site)
      For more info and to keep up with Gordon, see robbygordon.com or at dakar.com. Look for daily televised reports on OLN [Outdoor Life Network] daily at 4:00pm/et.(RGM PR)(1-5-2006)

    • Stewart..Hockey Coach: Tony Stewart will add another accomplishment Jan. 6 to his impressive career resume – hockey coach. Stewart, a native and resident of Columbus, Ind., will serve as “Honorary Assistant Coach” of the Indiana Ice against the Sioux Falls Stampede on Friday, Jan. 6 at the Pepsi Coliseum, located at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Game time is 7:00pm. The Ice will announce “lucky rows” throughout the game, and fans seated in those rows will have the opportunity to meet reigning NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Stewart and get an autograph. The Tony Stewart Foundation, which supports numerous local and national youth-focused charitable causes, will benefit from the game as the Ice will pledge $2 from every ticket sold to the Foundation. In addition, the Ice will raffle two collectible jerseys during the game, and the winners will meet Stewart and get an autograph. A silent auction also will take place, with proceeds going to the Tony Stewart Foundation. “I’ve been a big fan of hockey since I attended a Dallas Stars game in Texas several years ago, but having the opportunity to support my hometown team and sit right on the ice will be a very cool experience,” Stewart said. “I’m looking forward to greeting the fans and the Ice players, and my thanks go to the whole organization for supporting the Tony Stewart Foundation.” J.D. Byrider, a longtime Stewart backer, is sponsoring the night. More info at indianaice.com.(PR)(1-5-2006)


      News from January 4, 2006

    • Bill Elliott to run Daytona 500...in a Chevy UPDATE: Longtime Dodge [and longer time Ford] driver Elliott has Chevy ride for Daytona Bill Elliott will get another chance to add to his Daytona win total next month, and the longtime Ford and Dodge driver also will have a chance to size up a Chevy. Elliott, who has four wins at Daytona International Speedway, including two in the prestigious Daytona 500, said Tuesday that he'll be driving the #36 Chevy for MB2 Motorsports in the sport's showcase event. "I wanted to run the 500 again, one more time at least," said Elliott, who has run a part-time schedule for the past two seasons after ending a full-time career that saw him win a Nextel Cup championship, 44 races and 55 poles. "I've always enjoyed running Daytona." It'll mark one of his rare starts in a General Motors car, although he did run Chevys and an Oldsmobile in the late 1970s. "The General Motors stuff has been awfully good on superspeedways," he said. "We'll see what they're all about." He still plans to run some races in a [#91] Dodge for his regular car owner, Ray Evernham, but those starts will come later in the season. Elliott said it's best for Evernham to focus on getting his third full-time team --- the #10 Valvoline Dodge driven by Scott Riggs --- up to speed at the start of the season. "I want Ray to put all his effort into that right now," he said. Elliott's first ride in the #36 will come next week when Daytona holds the first round of preseason test sessions.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
      NOTE: Boris Said usually drives the #36 car for MB2 Motorsports, making 9 starts in 12 2005 attempts. Supposedly Said will again run a limited schedule in 2006, not sure if this move changes that. Elliott also has a past champions provisional available to use unless Terry Labonte needs it [goes to the most recent past champ not making the top 42 spots] for the #96 Hall of Fame Racing team.(1-4-2006)
      UPDATE: MB2 Motorsports announced that its #36 entry for the Daytona 500 (Feb. 19) will be driven by Bill Elliott, a two-time winner of NASCAR's biggest race. Elliott will also drive the MB2-built #36 Chevrolet in the Feb. 11th Budweiser Shootout at Daytona, an invitational race for 2005 pole winners and former Shootout champions. Elliott earned his automatic berth as a result of winning the Shootout in 1987. Frank Stoddard will serve as Elliott's crew chief for both races and also oversee Elliott's Daytona test session next week (Jan. 9-11). "MB2 has a top-notch superspeedway program and I am looking forward to being part of it," said Elliott, who will team with MB2's full-time drivers #14-Sterling Marlin and #01-Joe Nemechek at Daytona. "Both Sterling and Joe are good on the big tracks and having them as teammates gives us added potential." Elliott, the 1988 NASCAR Cup champion, has run a limited schedule the past two years. His last Daytona 500 appearance was in 2003. "We're thrilled that Bill will be joining us, he brings a wealth of superspeedway experience to our MB2 Daytona 500 lineup," said Jay Frye, MB2's CEO and general manager. Frye also said that a sponsor for the #36 Chevy during Daytona Speedweeks will be announced at a later date.(MB2 Motorsports PR)
      NOTE II: been told that MB2 Motorsports is currently working on a package to have Boris Said run a limited schedule in the #36 this season.(1-4-2006)

    • Toyota Announcement coming? NASCAR President Mike Helton said Tuesday on MRN's NASCAR Live with Eli Gold that NASCAR hopes to make some sort of announcement about Toyota's future involvement within the next few weeks.(1-4-2006)

    • #34 Team Done: looks like the #34 Mach 1 Nextel Cup team is no more as there wil be an auction to sell the remaining assets of the #34 Nextel Cup team on Tuesday Jan 17th. More info on my #34 Team News and Links page.(1-4-2006)

    • Knaus leaving Hendrick? UPDATE 3 staying..but changes: hearing that #48 Hendrick Motorsports crew chief, Chad Knaus may leave the team and driver Jimmie Johnson and go back to Evernham Motorsports [was one of Evernham's first hires, until moving to #92 Melling team in 2001], then Hendrick Motorsports in 2002 to crew chief Johnson.
      UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports says Knaus has no plans to leave Hendrick Motorsports and has multiple years remaining on his contract.(12-2-2005)
      UPDATE 2: hearing some crew members from the #48 Lowe's Hendrick Motorsports team have left and gone to Evernham Motorsports recently and that one of the Evernham's engineers could be headed over to be the crew chief on the #48.(12-19-2005)
      UPDATE 3: Chad Knaus is not leaving Hendrick Motorsports. It seemed inevitable at the end of the 2005 season, and the rumor is still hot, but Knaus told [Marty Smith] late last week he is working with HMS officials on a new long-term contract that will keep him atop the #48 pit box for the foreseeable future, and he was in the wind tunnel with the #48 team last week. Many key HMS crewmembers, however, have departed the #24/#48 shop during the offseason. No less than four crewmembers are gone from the #48 team, one to Robert Yates Racing, another to Richard Childress Racing, another to Evernham Motorsports and another to Bill Davis Racing. Sources close to HMS said the #24 team lost roughly the same number of crewmen, and to the same teams.(NASCAR.com/Marty Smith)(1-4-2006)


      News from January 3, 2006

    • Rusty to be inducted into Missouri HOF: Rusty Wallace, who just retired from drivng the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, will be named a Missouri Sports Legend during the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies Feb. 12. Becoming the 14th Hall of Fame member to receive the Missouri Sports Legend award, Wallace will attend the enshrinement reception and bronze bust unveiling ceremony at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame from 12noon-2pm on Feb. 12. He also will be recognized that evening during the enshrinement banquet. Among the Hall inductees is St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa.(Cup Scene Daily)(1-3-2006)

    • R+L Carriers to sponsor Kenseth in 3 races: #17-Matt Kenseth is scheduled to pilot the R+L Carriers Ford at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May, the July race at Daytona and and Martinsville Speedway in Oct.(RacingOne), see an image there or on my #17 Team Schemes page.(1-3-2006)


      News from January 2, 2006

    • Goodyear Testing in January at Atlanta & Texas: Goodyear will get a head start on its track tire development when it tests January 10-11 with Carl Edwards at Atlanta Motor Speedway and January 24-25 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte at Texas Motor Speedway. Neither track has changed dramatically, but Goodyear engineers want to gather feedback on new compounds, tire designs and mold shapes.(Sporting News)(1-2-2006)

    • Robby Gordon Dakar Update - 2nd stage: #7-Robby Gordon is racing in the Dakar Rally, the world’s most grueling and logistically challenging auto race, started Dec. 31 in Lison, Portugal and heads approximately 6,500 miles south through Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar and into Morocco. From there, the race turns rugged as the field of more than 500 vehicles makes the incredible journey through Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal.
      The car special was again made for WRC specialists: hilly tracks, slippery curves where pure driving skills were requested to grab victory. Carlos Sainz clinched his second success in a row. This time it took the Spaniard 1h34’28” to cover the 115km, beating Luc Alphand by only 25”. A good performance from the Frenchman who finished runner-up of last year’s event. Third position went to Nasser Al Attiyah, another WRC specialist (winner of the Pan- Asian championship) who seemed to have forgotten his disappointing 13th spot yesterday. The following three spots were for the Mitsubishi drivers with Masuoka fourth at 1’01”, Roma fifth at 1’02” and Peterhansel sixth at 2’25”. The title holder who again was forced to stop because of a puncture. Local hero, Carlos Sousa this time had to settle for an 8th position, over 3’ off the winning pace. Robby Gordon's time of 01:38:18 left him 3'50" off the best time of the day and gave him a 13th position in the special. Overall Gordon retained his 14th place classification and is 8'29" off the best mark set by Sainz.
      Gordon's quotes: “I’m on a ferry crossing over from Europe to Africa. All systems with the H3 are good. The truck is performing flawlessly. The roads on the stage today were tight and narrow. The smaller vehicles definitely have had an advantage. Stage one and two have been more like a World Rally race but that’s going to change when we get to the full throttle terrain in Africa. We came to Dakar knowing this race is neither won or lost in Europe. We are gauging our performance off Stephane Peterhansel who has won this event the past two years. Right now we are a minute and forty two seconds back of him and by no means out of this race. As long as we are in touch with the leaders we are going to have a shot. Right now we are just plugging along with no real dramas.”
      PLUS it is Robby's birthday today....
      For more info and to keep up with Gordon, see robbygordon.com or at dakar.com. Look for daily televised reports on OLN [Outdoor Life Network] daily at 4:00pm/et.(1-2-2006)



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