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    MAR 13-19, 2006

      News from March 19, 2006

    • Vote for Most Popular Driver site is open MORE: The Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver of 2006 Award. website in now up and running, fans can vote at
      MORE Internet voting for the NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver begins this weekend at Under the Chex banner for the second year, the Most Popular Driver Award has become the largest fan-based award in motorsports. Since General Mills started sponsoring the award in 2002 more than 13.4 million votes have been cast. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the award the past three years. This year more than 40 Nextel Cup Series drivers are eligible for the esteemed NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Award, which is administered by the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). It has been awarded annually since 1956 and is one of the oldest awards in racing. Fans may vote on the site once each day beginning this weekend. Voting ends at11:59am/ct, Monday, November 20, 2006.
      NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver Key Points
      • Top winners of the award are Bill Elliott with 16 wins and Richard Petty with nine.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s win in 2005 made him the seventh driver in NASCAR history to win the award in consecutive seasons. The other six drivers are Lee Petty, Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Bill Elliott and Darrell Waltrip.
      • More than 14 million votes have been cast since General Mills began sponsoring the award in 2002. Prior to General Mills’ sponsorship of the award, the most votes cast in a single season were 400,000.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. received a record 1,403,544 votes in 2005. Jeff Gordon finished second with 594,434 votes.(Elevation / General Mills PR)(3-19-2006)

    • Tire Problems at Atlanta? The Golden Corral 500 has a chance to be like other Nextel Cup races in Atlanta, where tires aren't a problem the day following a Busch Series event where tires weren't totally dependable. But the race Sunday afternoon also could turn into a debacle as it did in Charlotte last October. Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch suffered tire blowouts in the Busch Series race Saturday at Atlanta, sparking memories of the tire-plagued races in Charlotte last year. NASCAR Vice President Robin Pemberton said the spring Atlanta weekends traditionally have tire issues early in the weekend but they fade as more rubber gets on the track. But there are two differences this year: Teams were not allowed to test at the track in the months leading up to the race and the chance of rain Sunday could rid the track of any old rubber. Goodyear Director for Race Tire Sales and Marketing Greg Stucker said he did not hear of any major problems during Nextel Cup practice Saturday. Pemberton said teams didn't hit 50 laps on a practice run, so it's hard to predict if there will be issues in the event today. Stucker said the tire this weekend is a new tire for Atlanta, the result of a tire test in January conducted by Newman's Penske Racing South teammate Kurt Busch. Greg Biffle, who had problems on his first run in the Busch Series race with his tires wearing down to the cords, said the tire is not the issue. Pemberton said Saturday night that there had been no decision on whether to throw an early competition caution in the race.(

      News from March 18, 2006

    • New Team Plans Texas Debut: H&K Motorsports, a husband and wife owned team based in Denton,, TX has announced plans to make its Nextel Cup Series debut at Texas Motor Speedway. Denton native Eddie Kucharski and wife Bonnie Heimlich plan to enter veteran Trevor Boys in 15 Cup races, beginning with a qualifying attempt April 7 for the Samsung/RadioShack 500 at TMS. The team also plans to compete in the ARCA ReMax Series beginning at Nashville Superspeedway on April 15.(Fort Worth Star Telegram) Boys has 102 Cup starts with two top 10's running races between 1983-1993, his best finish was a 9th at Richmond 1983 in the #48 Chevy.(3-18-2006)

    • Latest on AT&T and Cingular II: Life goes on for Cingular Wireless, even though the brand is mere months from dying away. AT&T, which plans to take full control of the cellphone provider as part of its acquisition of BellSouth, intends to drop the 5-year-old Cingular name. Although Atlanta-based Cingular has spent more than $4 billion advertising itself since the company was born, its services will be renamed with the historic AT&T brand. Cingular's president and chief executive, Stan Sigman, supports the change, saying the company has been at a "competitive disadvantage" in pitting itself against rival Verizon Wireless, which shares the same name as other services offered by Verizon Communications. Cingular, meanwhile, has been distinct from its current corporate parents, AT&T and BellSouth. One thing isn't up for debate: Because the Cingular brand will continue to exist for months, the carrier can't afford to stop spending money on marketing. Thus you'll see plenty of Cingular ads, notably during the NCAA men's basketball tournament — which began this week — and during Fox TV's hugely popular "American Idol." Cingular will come full circle if, as expected, AT&T buys BellSouth for $67 billion in stock, taking full control of Cingular in the process. AT&T's plans to eliminate the BellSouth and Cingular names, and move to the single AT&T name, would save hundreds of millions of dollars on ads.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution), no mention in the column what happens with the #31 team, but would assume it will be rebranded AT&T at some point.(3-18-2006)

    • Lester easily makes the race at Atlanta: Bill Lester became the first African-American driver to qualify for a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race in 20 years, while Kasey Kahne took the pole for Sunday’s Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Lester’s #23 Waste Management Dodge was the fastest among the cars that needed to qualify on time with the 19th fastest lap of 190.502 mph. Lester joins Charlie Scott, Wendell Scott, George Wiltshire, Randy Bethea and Willy T. Ribbs as the only African-Americans to accomplish this feat with Ribbs being the last in 1986. "I'm so excited, I'm relieved, I'm enthused, I can't wait for Sunday's race," said Lester, who is from Atlanta. "My wife knew my heart and soul was in racing and she supported me 110 percent."(RacingOne)(3-18-2006)

    • Jarrett plans to run through 2008: Before the Daytona 500, #88-Dale Jarrett described the 2006 Nextel Cup season as critical to determining how long he would extend his career. After three races of evaluating his team, he has a timetable. "I'm pretty sure now I'm going to drive through 2008," he said Friday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "I feel like if we can stay on pace with what we're trying to do, that would be sufficient time to leave it in a good situation."(USA Today)(3-18-2006)

      News from March 17, 2006

    • Hamilton Taking Time Off from 2006 Season for Health Reasons: 2004 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Bobby Hamilton regretfully is stepping out of his #18 Fastenal Dodge for the 2006 season effective after the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway due to health reasons. Hamilton has been diagnosed with cancer in the right side of his neck and will be replaced for the season by his son Bobby Hamilton Jr. "Nobody wants to go through this and the word cancer is a stout word to hear," Hamilton said. "But I will be starting my treatment right after the race in Atlanta so I have to take care of me for awhile. The hardest thing I've done is stepping out of this truck, but I will be back by Homestead or by Daytona bext year. When I told Dodge and Fastenal that I had to do this, they were right on board with me. It says a lot for companies of this magnitude to stay with our program during such a difficult time. We have a huge family at BHR and their support will enable our program to continue to be a success."(NASCAR PR)(3-17-2006)

    • Busch in a Charger: it was reported on NASCAR Live that Kurt Busch is in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger and his teammate #12-Ryan Newman is still running a Dodge Intrepid as is #43-Bobby Labonte.(Speed Channel's NASCAR Live)(3-17-2006)

    • Michael Waltrip Racing News UPDATE 4 Burger King and Bill Elliott: Toyota is using the same entry philosophy [they used in the Truck Series] as they enter NASCAR’s top series - new teams. Michael Waltrip Racing is working hand in hand with Toyota developing the 2007 Camry. With the quality people we have on board, we will be a key technical partner in all areas of the building process. We are even developing our own 2006 Dodge cars. The reason for this is three fold. First, to run a five-race 2006 schedule, which will be announced Friday afternoon [March 10th] of the Las Vegas race weekend next month. At that time, we will also announce a driver and sponsor combination. Secondly, to assist Toyota in understanding where the cars that are on track today are aerodynamically. And lastly, to help MWR’s employees to stay current with the competition. This group will be much better prepared to race in 2007 because of this plan. Waltrip Racing World is gaining more and more momentum. On February 6, 2006, we finalized zoning approval for the entire 11-acre campus. We plan to begin demolition and renovations by March 1, 2006. Everyone we talk to about our fan friendly, interactive entertainment based concept believes it will be a hit. Race tracks, baseball stadiums –heck, all sports venues have become interactive. Now, the first race shop will be. Our real estate partner, Noah Lazes, has been busy visiting other race shops, Daytona USA, Basketball arenas, etc., making sure our project is the latest and greatest in the world of sports-themed destinations. Bobby Kennedy, MWR’s V.P. of Competition [but still working with DW's Truck Series team], along with Larry Carter, MWR and former Penske Racing [#2] crew chief, have been equally as busy making sure every detail is in order for the team to produce the fastest race cars possible out of our facility. We are blessed that Larry recently helped in the design of Roger Penske’s new Penske Racing shop. His experience and knowledge of the project ensures me our team will need nothing when we move in.(NAPA Site)(2-28-2006)
      UPDATE: been asked what happened to this announcement? no idea....have not seen nor heard a thing, the link has been removed from the articles list, but the old article is still there.(3-14-2006)
      UPDATE 2: been told the announcement could be within the next week or two.(3-15-2006)
      UPDATE 3: look for the announcement to come Friday, March 17th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, hearing Burger King could be a sponsor in some part.(3-16-2006)
      UPDATE 4 - Burger King and Bill Elliott: Beginning this year, Burger King said it will become a primary sponsor of Michael Waltrip Racing's (MWR) #00 Chevy [not Dodge or Ford] driven by Bill Elliott. Elements of the promotion are to include a specially designed #00 paint scheme, in-store activities and driver appearances. The five Nextel Cup races the company is to sponsor this year are at Chicagoland, July 9; New Hampshire, July 16; Indianapolis, Aug. 6; California, Sept. 3; and Homestead, Nov. 9. Waltrip was among the first owners to announce plans to work with Toyota starting in 2007, during its first foray into NASCAR Nextel Cup Series racing.(South Flordia Business Journal)
      MORE: Michael Waltrip Racing announced Friday that it will team with Burger King and NASCAR champion Bill Elliott for a five-race schedule this season. Elliott will pilot the #00 Burger King Chevrolet at Chicago, New Hampshire, Indianapolis, California and Homestead. Waltrip said the team plans to expand to a full-time NEXTEL Cup venture next season, running Toyotas. Waltrip said sponsorship and driver plans for next year were still up in the air. But for now, he's thrilled to have a veteran like Elliott behind the wheel. Burger King also announced donations to both the Speedway Children's Charities and the National Motorsports Press Association. Waltrip quotes of the day: (On fielding Chevrolets for his team despite driving Dodges himself) "I'm like Switzerland, I can drive anything. Chevrolet is the car to beat. They've won two of the first three races. When we were planning this project, in order to lure Mr. Elliott, we wanted to get the best car he could drive. Right now that appears to be Chevrolet. I'll stay in a Dodge, I suppose, but I am going to be in a Toyota truck later this year, and I've got a call in to Ford."(AMS Pit Notes)(3-17-2006)

    • BDR/Lester plan full 2007 season: Bill Lester’s #23 Waste Management Team is scheduled to compete at Atlanta Motor Speedway, at Michigan Speedway in June and at California Speedway in September. More races are expected to be added to the 2006 schedule as additional sponsorship and Lester’s commitments in the Craftsman Truck Series permits, with an eye on the entire NEXTEL Cup schedule in 2007. Atlanta’s Championship Group handles program management and business development, and is expected to announce additional program details over the coming months.(Bill Davis Racing)(3-17-2006)

    • Kahne wins pole at Atlanta: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a lap of 192.553mph for his first pole of 2006 and 7th of his career. #12-Ryan Newman just missed the pole by .002 seconds/.013mph, and missed his 7th straight pole at Atlanta, but will start on the outside pole/2nd. #31-Jeff Burton will start 3rd, followed by #43-Bobby Labonte and #18-J.J. Yeley. The big news was that #23-Bill Lester qualified for the race, the first African-American to make a Cup race since Willy T. Ribbs in June 1986 at Michigan, Lester was the fastest of the drivers not on the top-35 teams in owners points [Desperados?] and will start 19th. #96-Terry Labonte made the race using a past champions provisional [for the 3rd time in 4 races]. #25-Vickers blew an engine after his first lap and will have to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the race. Missing the race were: #32-Kvapil, #13-Sacks, #74-Cope, #34-Chaffin, #37-Skinner, #92-Blount, #51-Garvey, #78-KWallace and #95-Barrett. See the qualifying results/starting lineup on Jayski's Atlanta Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(3-17-2006)

    • Kyle and Stewart talk..again: Behind the Hauler Talk with Kyle Busch, #5 Kellogg's Chevy: Atlanta Motor Speedway:
      "I called him this week. We talked a little bit on the phone. It was a good conversation. A civil one. We just both talked about what I aggravated him with last week at Las Vegas and we both decided to elect on moving along and coming here to Atlanta and seeing how we can race out the rest of the year."
      "It's like he said. It wasn't quite 80 laps to go. It was more like 65. But I was holding him up a little bit. I was trying to preserve my race car and my position on the race track for the last pit stop. A lot of these guys say you don't race until after the last pit stop, but you'd rather come into the pits third for the last pit stop and have a chance to get out leading than come in eighth and only be able to get out third. So I was trying to preserve my position a little bit and try to get a better spot for my guys to have an easier job on pit road."
      "Oh, just trying to discuss how to race and how you race the race track. You'll see this weekend that this place definitely won't be anywhere near what Las Vegas was. At this place, you've got so many different grooves. You can run all over this place. The race track is old and aged. You have to race the race track here. It's worse than Darlington almost. It's a pretty bad place where you're not going to see a whole lot of side-by-side and bumper-tagging."
      "He did and he didn't. He had a sense of yeah, okay that makes sense. But still, I don't care. He's in his race car trying to run his race and I'm in my race car trying to run my race. Sometimes, conflicts connect and you have that."
      "There are a bunch of different scenerios. If you look at a 400 lap say at Dover, you're going to let people go for probably 300 laps or so and then in the last 100, you're not because you've got to plan yourself for your last pit stop. And then you've got to get out of the last pit stop and race to the end. It's different situations everywhere you go. I saw his point, but I also saw my point as well."
      "To answer your question in the fullest extent, I didn't do anything wrong. I was just racing my own race; racing my own race car."
      "On the track? Probably not very good. But as far as off the race track, once he takes his helmet off, he's a completely different person. You're able to talk to him and be receptive of him. It's good to be able to have that relationship off the race track, I guess."(in part from the GM Racing PR)(3-17-2006)

    • Lester gets assoc sponsor for 3 races: Valvoline, with its 110-year history of firsts in motorsports, is seeking a new first – a historic partnership in NASCAR Nextel Cup competition with driver Bill Lester. Valvoline will be an associate sponsor on Lester’s #23 Dodge Charger for three races – Atlanta (March), Michigan (June) and California (September). The car will carry Valvoline’s legendary red, white and blue decal on the B-pillar and Lester will sport the colors on his uniform.(Clear!Blue PR)(3-17-2006)

    • Special scheme for Yeley at Atlanta: The Interstate Batteries Chevy will be sporting new colors for the first time this season in Atlanta. Husqvarna will be featured as the primary sponsor of J.J. Yeley's #18 Joe Gibbs Racing #18 Chevy.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image on my #18 Team Schemes page. The scheme is scheduled to run at two more not yet announced races.(3-17-2006)

    • RCR Announcement UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing and #31 driver Jeff Burton have scheduled a press conference Friday, March 17 at Atlanta Motor Speedway to announce a new partnership for the 2006 season.(RCR PR)(3-15-2006)
      UPDATE: Holiday Inn is expected to join a growing list of Atlanta companies that sponsor cars and drivers in NASCAR. Richard Childress Racing and driver Jeff Burton will be backed by Holiday Inn in as many as 10 Busch Series races this season, according to team officials. The team has scheduled a press conference today at Atlanta Motor Speedway to reveal details of its new sponsorship.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-17-2006)

    • Irwin 2006 debut at Atlanta IMAGE: Atlanta will mark #26-Jamie McMurray's first run in the IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford. The weekend will showcase a special IRWIN paint scheme featuring the IRWIN Vise-Grip.(Roush Racing)(3-14-2006)
      IMAGE: added an image on my #26 Team Schemes page.(3-17-2006)

    • Atlanta Goodyear Facts: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the race track . . . all three NASCAR series -- Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck -- will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . Atlanta is the only track at which teams are currently scheduled to run this exact combination this season. Estimated Pit Window: Every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see more notes, codes and facts on my Atlanta Race Info page.(3-17-2006)

    • Atlanta Rookie Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hamlin finished 10th, taking top rookie honors for the first time this season. A different driver has claimed the honor in each of the first three races. Hamlin scored his best finish of the 2006 season. He racked up the fourth top-10 finish of his 10-race NEXTEL Cup Series career. A rookie has finished in the top 10 in all three NEXTEL Cup Series races this season. #07-Clint Bowyer holds a seven-point advantage over Hamlin and #18-J.J. Yeley (35-28) in the rookie standings entering Atlanta.
      Bowyer is the only rookie that ranks in the top 10 in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings. He is currently seventh entering the Atlanta event, 14 behind sixth-place Kyle Busch and 151 behind leader Jimmie Johnson. DID YOU KNOW? Robby Gordon is the most recent rookie to win the pole for the 1997 spring race at Atlanta.(Raybestos PR), see more notes and the rookie standings on my 2006 Rookies page.(3-17-2006)

    • Newman going for a record: #12-Ryan Newman leads all active drivers with six Atlanta Motos Speedway poles, all of them coming in the past six races at the track. Buddy Baker, Newman's mentor and coach, has a record seven AMS poles. In his eight appearances at AMS, Newman has qualified on the front row for seven of them. In October 2002, qualifying was canceled due to rain, placing Newman sixth on the starting grid. The current record for consecutive poles is held by David Pearson, who earned 11 straight pole positions at Charlotte Motor Speedway [now Lowe's Motor Speedway] from 1973-1978. Newman's average AMS start of 1.75 leads all drivers.(Penske Racing)(3-17-2006)

    • Atlanta Qualifying Notes:
      • Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Golden Corral 500, lapping Atlanta Motor Speedway in 28.792 seconds at 192.553 mph. Geoffrey Bodine holds track-qualifying record of 28.074 seconds, 197.478 mph, set Nov. 15, 1997, in the first qualifying session on the current track configuration. Bodine’s lap remains the fastest qualifying lap on a non-restrictor-plate track in NASCAR history.
      • This is Kahne’s seventh career Bud Pole in 76 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
      • This is his first Bud Pole and second top-10 start in 2006.
      • This is Kahne’s first Bud Pole and third top-10 start in five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway – all in the past three races. He has three top five finishes here.
      • Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 28.794 seconds, 192.540 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the Golden Corral 500. It is his ninth top-10 start in as many races at Atlanta – including eight front-row starts. Newman had scored six straight Bud Poles at Atlanta (March 2003 through October 2005). It is his first top-10 starting position since he started second at Homestead last fall.
      • Kahne and Newman were the only drivers to break the 192 mph-mark.
      • This is the second Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet and Ford each have one Bud Pole this season.
      • Jeff Burton (third) posted his fourth top-10 start of 2006, the only driver to do so. It is only his second top-10 start in 24 races at Atlanta. His previous best start here was 10th in this race in 1998. It was his best qualifying effort since he started second at Bristol in August 2005.
      • Bobby Labonte (fourth) posted his 10th top-10 start in 27 races at Atlanta – but his first since he started 10th in this race in 2004. It is Labonte’s second top-10 start this season but his best start since he qualified fifth at Phoenix last November.
      • J.J. Yeley (fifth) posted his second top-10 qualifying effort of 2006 – both top fives. He started 36th in his one previous race at Atlanta.
      • Kevin Harvick (sixth) posted his first start better than 15th this season and his best since he started sixth at Pocono last July.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-17-2006)

    • Stock Car Fans - Ramblings - Atlanta:
      Well, whatcha know! Somebody other than #12-Ryan Newman can take a Bud Pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway. #9-Kasey Kahne grabbed the top-spot tonight at AMS for Sunday's Golden Corral 500 by all of .002 over the aforementioned Mr. Newman for his first pole since Richmond in May of last year and the 7th of his NEXTEL Cup career. We've had four different Bud Pole winners in four races....can we go for a field of 36 next February? [at the Bud Shootout].
      #43-Bobby Labonte (4th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Phoenix last April. #29-Kevin Harvick (6th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Richmond last September. #41-Reed Sorenson (15th....and back with his homies this week) tied his career- best starting spot today. He also started 15th at Homestead last November.
      #07-Clint Bowyer (16th) has his career-best starting spot for Sunday. His previous best was 20th last week at Las Vegas.
      Welcome Bill Lester (19th). He makes his first NEXTEL Cup start on Sunday.
      #15-Paul Menard (22nd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend as well. His previous best was 42nd at Watkins Glen last August.
      #55-Michael Waltrip (24th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 19th at California last September.
      STREAKIN....Jeff Burton has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
      Greg Biffle has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
      If you've been away from TV or the computer today you may have missed the announcement from former Cup driver (and current Truck Series driver) Bobby Hamilton. He'll be stepping out of his ride after tonight for treatment of cancer in his neck and will be replaced by his son. We all wish Bobby the best and please remember to keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he undergoes treatment.(

      News from March 16, 2006

    • #61 gets sponsors from AMP and Ingles: The #61 Peak Performance Motorsports Ford entry will be sponsored by Mountain Dew's AMP Energy Drink and Ingles Markets for the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta. Kevin Lepage will receive a boost from that great Mountain Dew citrus taste in the new 16oz. Tall Boy serving. With Maltodextrin, Ginseng, Taurine, B Vitamins, and Guarana, AMP and AMP Tall Boy are the next generation of invigoration. AMP Energy Drinks is proud to continue Pepsi's partnership with NASCAR, a relationship that spans more than five decades. For more information, visit: Performance Motorsports), see an image on my #61 Team Schemes page.(3-16-2006)

    • Cope & #74 McGlynn Racing to run at Atlanta & Bristol: McGlynn Racing announced Thursday that Derrike Cope and the #74 Dodge will compete in the Golden Corral 500 this weekend in Atlanta as well as the Food City 500 at Bristol the following week. The team had a serious mechanical problem with its hauler while enroute to Las Vegas for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 and was unable to compete for a starting spot. "We are still growing as a team and anyone that hopes to make it at this level is going to experience setbacks along the way. We have a great group of sponsors behind us and we want to ensure we represent them well on the track and we intend to do just that, " said Ray McGlynn, owner of McGlynn Racing. "With the backing of our current sponsors and others in the works, we look forward to each and every race. Our thanks go out to My Guardian 911, Sundance Vacations, Royal Administration and all our team sponsors and our fans for standing behind us.(McGlynn Racing PR)(3-16-2006)

    • #78 gets help from the Benchwarmers: The Benchwarmers, the new comedy from Adam Sandler and Jack Giarraputo’s Happy Madison Productions and Revolution Studios, will serve as an associate sponsor of the #78 Furniture Row Chevy and driver Kenny Wallace at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which will feature the title of the film on the car’s hood. The Benchwarmers, which will be released nationwide by Columbia Pictures on April 7, tells the story of three underdogs (Rob Schneider, David Spade and Jon Heder), once benchwarmers themselves, who form a three-man baseball team to challenge a full squad of elementary school baseball bullies. Their success leads to a high-stakes, winner-take-all game with the best kids in the state where, if they win, they will become an inspiration for every kid who has ever been a benchwarmer. Kenny Wallace will have to speed his way into the Golden Corral 500 by being one of the fastest cars during Friday night’s Qualifying. Expressing the reasoning behind the sponsorship, producer Jack Giarraputo said, “It would be easy to come in and pick one of the top teams to advertise our movie, but that would go against everything the movie’s about. We wanted to show support for one of the underdogs.” The three stars of The Benchwarmers, Rob Schneider, David Spade and Jon Heder, will be on hand to lend their moral support to #78 to overcome the odds, as they will also serve as Grand Marshals of the Golden Corral 500.(Furniture Row Racing PR)(3-16-2006)

    • Sad News - Helen Rae Daley Smith: Helen Rae Daley Smith, 83, died unexpectedly Thursday, March 9, in her home at the Biltmore Estates in Phoenix, AZ. A beloved mother, daughter, sister, aunt, grandmother and friend to many, she was born Sept. 27, 1922, in Ames. Helen was married for more than 40 years to Clyde B. Smith. This partnership yielded one of the most successful grocery chains in Arizona history, Smitty's Big Town. She later was married to a retired military officer, Earl Morgan, of Las Vegas. She was the first "lady" NASCAR race team owner. Contributions, in lieu of flowers, can be made to the Geisinger Medical Foundation, 100 N. Academy Avenue, Danville, PA, 17822.(, drivers included Morgan Shepherd, Ed Sanger, Sterling Marlin and Phil Barkdoll for 11 races in 1985.(3-16-2006)

    • Riley Technologies leaves Indy for NC: Indianapolis lost one of its major motor sports entities Wednesday when Riley Technologies and its subsidiaries announced plans to move to stock car country in September. Since 1990, the company has built Indy cars, championship-winning sports cars and U.S. Auto Club cars in a facility located a block south of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It has 35 employees, most of whom are expected to move to a new 40,000 square foot facility in Mooresville, NC. Bill Riley, president of Riley Motorsports, said the move is based on a surge in the company's NASCAR business. Mooresville is home to a large percentage of the Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series teams and suppliers. "We want to strengthen our ties to NASCAR," said Riley, who leads the company with his father, Bob. "We're excited for what lies ahead." Riley Technologies, over which Bob Riley presides, has a road-course testing project with Robert Yates Racing, a NASCAR team. Being in the Charlotte area should afford the company more opportunities in stock car racing, Bill Riley said. Riley Motorsports won the Grand American Daytona Prototype championship last year with drivers Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli. It will continue to work with two Grand Am teams based in Indianapolis (Ganassi and Fernandez). Meanwhile, Bill Riley said a change in the landscape of open-wheel racing has meant less business for the company. "With the IRL and Champ Car becoming more spec series, none of the teams really need our services," he said. "I grew up in Detroit going to the Indianapolis 500 with my dad, so it does kind of hurt (to leave)."(Indianapolis Star)(3-16-2006)

    • Blount to the #92: look like Chad Blount has taken over the driving duties for the #92/64 Front Row Motorsports Chevy/Dodge. Blount was supposedly going to run a full-schedule then a partial schedule in the #37 RJ Racing Dodge. Blount is now listed as the #92 driver on the Front Row Motorsports website.(3-16-2006)

      News from March 15, 2006

    • History of African-American Drivers in the NEXTEL Cup Series:
      Charlie Scott: Scott made his NASCAR debut in 1956. … Competed in the 1956 beach/road race in Daytona Beach driving for the famed Kiekhaefer Chrysler team. … Was a successful driver in Georgia during the late 1940s and 1950s. … No relation to Wendell Scott.
      Wendell Scott: Scott made 495 starts in NASCAR’s premier series, winning over $180,000 in his 12-year career. … Was the 1959 Virginia State NASCAR Sportsman Division champion. Also won track championship at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Va. in 1959. … Made debut in NASCAR’s premier series in 1961. … Won at Jacksonville (Fla.) Speedway Park on Dec. 1, 1963, making him the only African-American driver to win a race in one of NASCAR’s national divisions. … Finished his career with 147 top 10s. … Inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999.
      George Wiltshire: Wiltshire competed in two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events. … Made debut in 1971 at Islip (N.Y.) Speedway. … Also competed at Pocono International Raceway in 1975. … Raced in the NASCAR Sportsman Division in upstate New York in the 1970s.
      Randy Bethea: Bethea competed in one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1975. … Was a popular driver on tracks around the Nashville, Tenn. area in the 1970s. … Competed in the NASCAR Sportsman Division, finishing 16th in points in the state of Tennessee in 1972.
      Willy T. Ribbs: Ribbs competed in three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events in 1986 for the famed DiGard team. … Made debut at North Wilkesboro Speedway. … Won several Trans-Am events for Jack Roush in the mid-1980s. … Competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2001. Finished 16th in the series standings, winning more than $235,000.(NASCAR Media)(3-15-2006)

    • Darrell "D.W." Waltrip's Dream Comes True: Aaron Rents announced that for the first time ever, Darrell Waltrip will take the wheel from younger brother Michael Waltrip to race the #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine at the upcoming Busch Series race at Martinsville Speedway on the evening of July 22, 2006. NASCAR fans familiar with the Waltrip brothers and their long-standing relationship with Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership know that for years, Michael Waltrip has famously and repeatedly turned down older brother Darrell’s requests to drive the Aaron’s Dream Machine. However, in a surprise announcement made during the final moments of a Darrell Waltrip Roast benefiting the Boys’ and Girls’ Club of Tennessee, Darrell’s wife Stevie dramatically handed the three-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion one of Michael’s racing helmets along with her permission to drive the #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine during the Martinsville race. Despite the fact that Darrell Waltrip completed what he called his “One and Done” race this past October in the #12 Toyota Tundra at Martinsville, the driver jumped to his feet to accept the helmet and express his thanks at the opportunity that had eluded him until this point. “I can’t believe it,” said Darrell Waltrip. “The Aaron’s ad campaign has been a lot of fun for me over the years, but I seriously thought I would never get to race that car. I really appreciate Michael and Aaron’s and, of course, my wonderful and supportive wife Stevie, for giving me this opportunity. Like they say, Dreams Come True at Aaron’s!” President of Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership Ken Butler stated, “When we let the fans vote on whether or not to let D.W. race the #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine, the response was definitely in favor of letting him drive it. Now we can bring this very successful campaign and very important partnership with the Waltrip family full circle for Aaron’s. I have a great respect for Darrell Waltrip and what he has accomplished in his career, including his 13 previous Busch series wins. We are honored to have him represent Aaron’s behind the wheel in Martinsville.”(more at

    • Lester to make Cup debut at Atlanta UPDATE 2: Bill Lester is expected to announce at a Tuesday news conference that he'll attempt to make the Cup race next weekend at Atlanta in a Bill Davis Racing car [#23?]. If Lester makes the race, he would become the first African-American to compete in a Cup race since Willy T. Ribbs in 1986.(Roanoke Times)(3-12-2006)
      UPDATE: Lester will attempt to qualify for Sunday's Nextel Cup Golden Corral 500 in a Bill Davis Racing car sponsored by Waste Management. At stake is a chance to become the first African-American in NASCAR's premier series since Willy T. Ribbs finished 37th at Michigan International Speedway on June 15, 1986. Despite huge growth in attendance and TV ratings the last two decades, NASCAR has lagged in attracting minority fans and competitors. Waste Management will sponsor him in Cup races at Michigan on June 18 and at California Speedway on Sept. 3. Lester said there's an option for more races. He will be one of an expected 17 drivers vying for eight unprotected spots in the 43-car field at Atlanta.(USA Today)(3-14-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Truck Series driver Bill Lester will make history this weekend, piloting the #23 Waste Management NASCAR entry for Bill Davis Racing in the Golden Corral 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.(AMS Site)
      Lester would become the sixth black driver to compete in NASCAR's top series since the sport's inception in 1949. The late Wendell Scott drove in 495 races from 1961-73 with one victory at Jacksonville (Fla.) Speedway in 1963. No other African-American has competed in more than three races. Willy T. Ribbs was the last African-American to race in the Cup series, competing in three races in 1986.(Roanoke Times), see an image on the #23 Team Schemes page.(3-15-2006)

    • Ranier Racing Museum Grand Opening: The Prestonsburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and The City of Prestonsburg, KY announce thed Grand Opening of the Ranier Racing Museum. The Museum will open Tuesday, March 21st and will be open from 2pm until 7pm with a dedication ceremony taking place at 5:30pm. The Museum will be located in downtown Prestonsburg at the tourism building also known as the old post office at the corner of Court and South Central Avenue. Hors d'oeuvres and refreshments will be served and entertainment will be provided. Many prominent racing icons will be in attendance, including Buddy Baker, former Ranier driver and current NASCAR announcer, and Waddell Wilson, former crew chief and famed engine builder. The complete collection of racing memorbilla from Ranier Racing Team will be on permanent display including the 1983 Daytona 500 Championship Trophy. Certain former NASCAR collection cars will be on display for public viewing. Any parties interested in donating or showcasing their Ranier Racing collection may contact the museum directly. Normal operating hours will be weekdays, Monday thru Friday, 9:00am until 4:00pm and certain weekends. Please call 606-886-1341 for more information and group visits. The public is invited to attend the Grand Opening Ceremony and celebrate the history and family of the Ranier Racing Team.(3-15-2005)

    • Testing at Kentucky: The ongoing evaluation of the Dodge Intrepid versus Charger NEXTEL Cup Series race platforms continued at Kentucky Speedway Tuesday with Penske Racing South driver Kurt Busch the #2 Miller Lite car. Busch visited the 1.5-mile tri-oval to work with spring packages and further explore techniques for enhancing the performance of the 2006 Charger template. "We come here to test because this is the closest track that we can run that gives us information for other racetracks. This place is definitely is the caliber of a Cup facility. Northern Kentucky, the Cincinnati area, everybody wants a Cup race here. We're studying the way the rear and front springs come down to the racetrack. You don't want the car to hit the racetrack, you just want to make sure you get the car as low as you can. This place is flat and smooth. We're trying to get things right for our next race. We had it right at Daytona, but we've struggled in the last two races so we're just coming back and touching up on things," Busch said. Ryan Newman also participated in the test.(Kentucky Speedway PR), #9Kasey Kahne of Evernham Motorsports is testing today.(3-15-2006)

    • Brian France sells most of his ISC Stock: NASCAR Chairman Brian France has sold most of his stock in International Speedway Corp., the publicly traded track operating company controlled by his family, but an ISC spokesman said March 9 there is nothing unusual about the action. France didn't own much of the stock, relatively speaking, in the first place. According to its annual filing of stockholders to the Securities and Exchange Commission, ISC reported March 6 that Brian France had 8,930 shares of Class A stock and 8,033 of Class B stock (.03% of the total voting power). In last year's report, he had 237,078 shares of Class A and 235,181 of Class B (0.78% voting power). The stock sales happened sometime before Jan. 31.
      His sister, ISC President Lesa France Kennedy, also has given up some of her stock. She had 417,404 shares of Class A and 391,718 shares of Class B (1.34% of the total). At the end of last year, she owned 888,812 of Class A and 867,407 shares of Class B (2.9% in voting power).
      None of the sales were to anyone outside of the France Family Group (made up of 35 members), which collectively owns 62.95% of the ISC stock and votes as one entity. Members of the France family own stock as part of the France Family Group and also can own shares outside of it. There are transfers all of the time between entities because they're trying to do estate planning and other things," ISC Investor Relations Director Wes Harris said. "There's been no direct sales of the France Family Group stock."(

    • Fujifilm scheme for #41 at Atlanta: The #41 Dodge will boast a different look in the Golden Coral 500 for driver Reed Sorenson. Fujifilm will serve as the primary sponsor for the event. To coincide with the paint scheme, a Reed Sorenson photo diary will be posted on, commemorating his homecoming and the week's events. Additionally, Fujifilm is encouraging fans planning to attend the AMS race to wear Fujifilm green, white and red, or other apparel, in support of Sorenson. Brand ambassadors are set to scour AMS this coming weekend in search of the three most enthusiastic and colorful Reed Sorenson fans, and those chosen will receive a complementary prize package from Fujifilm that includes a FinePix V10 digital camera - the same model used by Sorenson to record his photo diary -- a 1GB xD Picture Card and a specially-fitted FinePix V10 camera case.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR), see an image of the car on my #41 Team Schemes page.(3-15-2006)

    • Final Las Vegas TV Ratings down: Fox says its broadcast of Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler earned a 6.2 national rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 12 share, drawing 10.3 million viewers. Fox says final Nielsen figures are expected to show that the race was the weekend's top-rated sports program, easily topping CBS's NCAA basketball tournament selection show, which earned national figures of 4.6/9. The 6.2/12 for this year's race, however, is 3.1% lower than last year's 6.4/14 for the race.(

    • Sacks to attempt Atlanta: The 2006 season begins at Atlanta Speedway for the #13 Ford race team and driver/owner Greg Sacks. The #13 will be using Robert Yates Engines in 2006.(Greg Sacks site), hearing the sponsor will be Who's Your Daddy energy drink.(3-12-2006)
      UPDATE: Who's Your Daddy announced it has entered into a sponsorship agreement to be the exclusive primary sponsor of Sacks Motorsports for the 2006 Nextel Cup Season. Greg Sacks will drive the Who's Your Daddy #13 Ford, debuting at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Golden Coral 500, this Sunday, March 19, 2006.(Greg Sacks site/BusinessWire)(3-15-2006)

    • 150 starts - Jeff Gordon vs. Jimmie Johnson:
      #24-Jeff Gordon, stats after 150 careers starts, Dover in Sept 1997
      Wins: 29
      Top fives: 71
      Top tens: 92
      Poles: 16
      Championship 1995, 2nd in 1996
      #48-Jimmie Johnson, stats after 150 career starts, Las Vegas in March 2006
      Wins: 20
      Top Fives: 56
      Top Tens: 89
      Poles: 9
      2nd drivers points in 2003 and 2004.(3-15-2006)

      News from March 14, 2006

    • Menard to run at Atlanta: Dale Earnhardt Inc. will enter a [#15] car for Busch Series driver Paul Menard in this weekend's Golden Corral 500 Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Menard was scheduled to drive in seven Cup races in 2006 but failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 after blowing a tire in his Gatorade Duel event. If Menard makes the field, it will be his first oval race in Nextel Cup. Menard's previous two Cup races were at Watkins Glen. Menard is 17th in the Busch Series points standings [8th if you take out the Buschwackers].(

    • Evernham Motorsports joins effort to find missing woman: Evernham Motorsports president and CEO Ray Evernham announced that the decklid of Jeremy Mayfield’s #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger will feature a photograph of 24-year-old Jennifer Kesse, missing from the Orlando, Fla., area since Jan. 24, during Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kesse was reported missing when she failed to show up for work on Jan. 24. NASCAR team owner Evernham attended high school with Kesse’s mother Joyce, and felt compelled to help when he heard of the disappearance. Since the search for Kesse began, the Orlando Police Department has received more than 1,000 leads, but officers are still hopeful that someone out there has additional information that can lead to a break in the case. For more information about Jennifer Kesse, please visit Anyone with information concerning her disappearance, please call 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).(3-14-2006)

    • NASCAR HOF name won’t be for sale: Buried deep in the 63rd page of a contract between NASCAR and the city of Charlotte is the phrase: “Neither party shall sell any naming rights or presenting sponsorship for the HOF without the other party’s prior approval.” OK, we know. That doesn’t exactly eliminate the possibility. NASCAR doesn’t want a bunch of corporate names getting in the way of the clearly stated “NASCAR Hall of Fame.”
      “We think that would probably go beyond the bounds of good taste,” said Mark Dyer, NASCAR’s vice president of licensing. “We didn’t want to have a particular corporate name on it, because we wanted the purity of the NASCAR name,” said Tim Newman, who heads the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which will own and operate the Hall of Fame.(Kansas City Star)(3-14-2006)

    • Wiley X Eyewear donates to USO: In commemorating its first primary sponsorship in NASCAR when they sponsored #14-Sterling Marlin in the MB2 Motorsports Chevy at Las Vegas, Wiley X Eyewear donated 500 pairs of its revolutionary High Velocity Protection tactical goggles along with a check for $5,000 to the United Service Organizations (USO) to support the American men and women in uniform serving overseas. Making the presentation prior to Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was Myles Freeman Jr., vice president and co-owner Wiley X Eyewear, Sterling Marlin, MB2 driver and Myles Freeman, president and owner of Wiley X Eyewear.(MB2Motorsports PR)(3-14-2006)

    • Stewart on Whips:· Wednesday, March 15 - Unique Whips … Speed Channel's popular celebrity car customizing show, Unique Whips, takes on NASCAR as Will Castro and his team get a pair of special projects from NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champ Tony Stewart - including a Cadillac hearse, airs Wednesday, March 15 at 10:00pm/et.(SC), see TV Listing page for other air dates/times.(3-14-2006)

      News from March 13, 2006

    • Some Book News: The Lawrence Group publishes the officially licensed NASCAR 2006 Road Atlas. It includes Locations of all NASCAR Sanctioned Tracks, Maps of all 50 States, Major City Insets, Maps of Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, NASCAR Information, Cup Location Insets, Fun NASCAR Facts, Perfect for corporate giveaways, premiums and incentives!
      AND Big John's Speedway Grill: Fascinating interviews and behind-the-pit grilling stories with celebrity drivers including Kyle Petty, Sterling Marlin, and others. No-nonsense grilling recipes, including rib-tickling appetizers, entrées, sides, and desserts, each illustrated with full-color photos guaranteed to make mouths water. An insider’s guide to the NASCAR racetrack—chock-full of track lore related by a man with years of experience in the NASCAR pits. Organized by geographical regions—Big John’s authentic voice enlivens each region’s personality, folding in his favorite restaurants and hot spots, racetrack stories, and regionally styled recipes loaded with fresh, local ingredients. Big John’s most successful grilling hints and tips, including super shortcuts and flavor boosters.
      AND Checkered Flag Cooking: An Insider’s Guide to Tailgating at the Races: From NASCAR to your local dirt track, Kent "The Deck Chef" Whitaker has combined his love for great cooking with his passion for motor sports to bring you this complete insider’s guide to tailgating, grilling, race day cookouts and more.
      BOOK SIGNING #5-Kyle Busch is scheduled to sign copies of the book Pit Road Pets in Atlanta.
      For more info on these books, other books, the Busch signing......see my Racing Bookstore page.(3-13-2006)

    • Johnson's 3 race run historical: #48-Jimmie Johnson has two wins and a second-place finish in the first three races of the season - the best start in NASCAR history. In the process, he became the 16th driver to win two of the first three races to start the season. The only reason he doesn't have a big lead in the Nextel Cup Series standings is Matt Kenseth's success. He's got a win, a second and a 15th. Johnson leads Kenseth by 52 points heading into Sunday's Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A year ago, seven of the top 10 drivers in the standings after the Las Vegas race went onto qualify for the Chase for the Championship. Five drivers - Ryan Newman (18th), Tony Stewart (19th), Kurt Busch (22nd), Carl Edwards (23rd) and Greg Biffle (25th) - were in last year's Chase and find themselves playing catch-up. Johnson joins Marshall Teague (1952), Herb Thomas (1954, 3 of 1st 4), Lee Petty (1955, 3 of 1st 5), Marvin Panch (1957), Bob Welborn (1959), Jim Paschal (1963), Richard Petty (1969, 1972 and 1973),
      David Pearson (1976. 2 wins & 29th),
      Cale Yarborough (1977, 2 wins & 2nd),
      Darrell Waltrip (1980, 2 wins & 40th and 1989, 2 wins & 29th),
      Dale Earnhardt (1987, 5th & 2 wins),
      Neil Bonnett (1988, 4th & 2 wins),
      Bill Elliott (1992 27th & 2 wins & 4 of 5 and after 5 races he DIDn't lead the points),
      Jeff Gordon (1997, 2 wins & 4th) and
      Matt Kenseth (2004, 9th & 2 wins) as drivers who've won two of the first three races of the season.(Augusta Chronicle)(3-13-2006)

    • Dodge to lobby NASCAR for help: Dodge plans to lobby NASCAR officials for help with its cars by the Texas race in April, said John Fernandez, director of Dodge Motorsports Operations. The Dodge Charger has struggled since its 2005 debut. Teams and drivers complain that it doesn't handle well in traffic and prevents them from getting to the front. NASCAR rejected Dodge's request for a rule change last season to help the Charger. Fernandez said Sunday morning before the race that Las Vegas was a critical test for his teams. He says that he and other Dodge officials are trying to figure which front end is better, the Charger or the Intrepid. The key area is between where the headlights would be. "Inherently, the [Charger] is what we thought it was,'' Fernandez said. "The question is we've got a little aerodynamic imbalance ... in traffic in the Cup conditions. We've come a long way. If we got a little bit of help from NASCAR, I think we'd get over the hump on that.'' Fernandez said that he could lobby NASCAR for a rule change to help the Dodge before the Texas race if officials know what they want to request. Fernandez also said that Dodge is not planning to have a test with its teams. Dodge had a test scheduled a few weeks ago at Kentucky Speedway but that was canceled by snow. There was talk of a test after Las Vegas, but Fernandez said that race conditions offer the best test opportunity. Fernandez admits he's "nervous'' about NASCAR's car of the future. The car is scheduled to make its debut at Bristol in March 2007, but series officials have yet to tell teams and manufacturers the exact specifications of the car. Fernandez said that he thinks NASCAR is settling on a rear wing for that car. "I'm a little bit nervous,'' Fernandez said of NASCAR's delay. "I think that we've got a long way to go to perfect that car and make sure it's a good, safe product. We still have some development to do with the car, there's no doubt about that. We've had some teething problems with it, there's no doubt about that.''(Roanoke Times)(3-13-2006)

    • GWC factoid: There have been 15 green-white-checkered [GWC] finishes in NASCAR [Nextel Cup] history, and only four times has the leader lost the lead on those final two laps.
      #17-Matt Kenseth led 146 laps at Las Vegas in 2006, #48-Jimmie Johnson passed him at the line and won by 1/2 a car length, only leading 1 lap to win.
      #17-Matt Kenseth led at Talladega in Oct 2005, Dale Jarrett passed
      #16-Greg Biffle won at Darlington after #12-Ryan Newman led heading into the green-white-checkered in May 2005
      Biffle won the final race of 2004 when #20-Tony Stewart had fuel problems at Homestead.(3-12-2006)

    • Cup team considering move to Indy? UPDATE Evernham Denies: in a Darrell Waltrip 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)
      UPDATE Evernham denies: Team owner Ray Evernham said Sunday morning that there was absolutely no truth to the rumors that he was considering relocating his team from Statesville, N.C., to the Indianapolis area. The state of Indiana has been trying to lure teams to the Hoosier state, but Evernham said he wouldn’t even consider leaving his current location, which abuts an airport and houses the rapidly growing Evernham Motorsports operation. “I have not talked to anybody at Indy,” Evernham said Sunday morning. “We have no intention of moving Evernham Motorsports. We’re more than happy where we’re at. And actually, it’s been distracting to the team because I had a lot of people coming up and asking me about it. I have no idea where that even came from.”(Speed Channel)(3-13-2006)

    • HOF Racing not to appeal ruling: Bill Saunders, co-owner and general partner of the #96 Hall of Fame Racing team, said Sunday the team will not use its final appeal to try to overturn penalties imposed by NASCAR for a technical violation in Daytona 500 qualifying. NASCAR inspectors found an unapproved carburetor modification was used in the #96 DLP Chevy. A three-member panel from the National Stock Car Racing Commission last week unanimously upheld the NASCAR ruling, including a $25,000 fine to crew chief Philippe Lopez and loss of 25 points by both driver Terry Labonte and Saunders, listed as owner of the car and a co-owner of the new team with former NFL quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. The team could have appealed that ruling to NASCAR commissioner Charles D. Strang.(

    • Tire War coming? Another Goodyear-Hoosier tire war may be brewing behind the scenes, with reports that Hoosier engineers are testing new tires with Nextel Cup teams and trying to baseline those tires on some specific compounds and designs, to mimic the Goodyears. One test was reported to have been held in the past week or so at Kentucky Motor Speedway, and the next test is reported to be scheduled for Nashville, both apparently with Dodge drivers. It is unclear which NASCAR Cup teams might be running the tests with Hoosier, and Hoosier's Bob Newton could not be reached for comment.(more at the Winston-Salem Journal)(3-13-2006)

    • Overnight ratings for Las Vegas slip: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.4 and a 10 share, 6.9% lower than the 5.8/12 for 2005 race, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports.(

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