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    MAR 20-26, 2006

      News from March 26, 2006

    • Tragic News from Homestead: Driver Paul Dana died after a two-car crash Sunday during the warmup for the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The other driver, Ed Carpenter, was awake and alert at a Miami hospital, IRL officials said. The race will start as scheduled, officials announced. However, Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner Bobby Rahal announced that drivers Danica Patrick and Buddy Rice, teammates of Dana, will not race. "Obviously, this is a very black day for us," Rahal said. "This is a great tragedy." Dana is the first IRL driver killed since Tony Renna died in a crash during testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October 2003, and the third to die in the 10-year history of the series. Scott Brayton perished in a practice crash at Indianapolis in May 1996. The last NASCAR driver killed was Dale Earnhardt in February 2001, and the last driver to die in Formula One was Ayrton Senna in May 1994. It is the third racing death at the Homestead track -- John Nemechek was killed in a NASCAR truck race in February 1997 and Jeff Clinton died in a Grand Am sports car event at the track in March 2002. Dana, 30, a former motorsports journalist with a degree from Northwestern, competed in three IRL races for Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing last year with a best finish of 10th in the race at Homestead.
      Carpenter, the stepson of Indy Racing League founder Tony George, spun his Vision Racing car exiting Turn 2 of the 1.5- mile Homestead-Miami Speedway oval and hugged the outside wall before slowly creeping back onto the racing surface. It was nearly stopped when it was hit in the left-rear corner at nearly full speed by Dana's car. Rahal said that there were no radio communication problems with Dana's car and that he was informed by his spotter of the accident ahead. Dana cannoned into Carpenter's crippled race car approximately six seconds after yellow lights were displayed around the track warning of Carpenter's spin. Dana's car nearly split in half. The chassis flew about 6 feet off the ground and pieces were strewn down the track. It nearly turned over, but landed on its wheels before sliding to a halt. It took track safety workers about 15 minutes to get both drivers out of their cars. The practice session did not resume. Dana and Carpenter both were airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. IRL officials said Dana died shortly before noon. In 2005 for Hemelgarn Racing, he broke his back in a practice crash at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Vision Racing team manager Larry Curry was more optimistic about Carpenter's condition. "I've been told he is awake and alert and is going to be fine," Curry said. "They want to check him out at the hospital, but he should be fine."(

    • Kurt Busch wins at Bristol: #2-Kurt Busch won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, booting #17-Matt Kenseth out of the way with 4 laps to go to win his 1st race of 2006, his first in the #2 Dodge, his 5th at Bristol and 15th career win. It is the first win for the #2 Penske Racing Dodge since Rusty Wallace won at Martinsville in April 2004. #29-Kevin Harvick finished 2nd [his last top 5 was Richmond last May, 30 races ago], followed by #17-Matt Kenseth [the new points leader], #99-Carl Edwards and #43-Bobby Labonte [the first top five for the #43 in Bristol, May 2001 with John Andretti]. Points leader coming in, #48-Jimmie Johnson had a rough day and fell a couple laps down early and finished 30th, 13 laps down, falling to 3rd in the points, 19 laps behind new points leader #17-Matt Kenseth. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 11th. #24-Gordon booted Kenseth, then Kenseth came back and booted Gordon, who spun and ended up 21st, last car on the lead lap. On pit road, Kenseth approached Gordon, Gordon got out of his car without even getting his helmet off and push Kenseth, then race officials got between the drivers.
      Race Results on my Bristol Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Bristol page.
      Race Rundown: see my Bristol Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(3-26-2006)

    • Bristol Race Notes:
      • Kurt Busch won the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, scoring his 15th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 189th career start.
      • Busch’s last victory came at Richmond, 13 races earlier.
      • It was his fifth Bristol victory in 11 races on the Tennessee short-track.
      • Busch scored his eighth top-10 finish in 11 races at Bristol.
      • Busch scored his first top-10 finish this season. His best finish in the first four races of 2006 was 16th twice.
      • Busch moved into 42nd on NASCAR’s all-time winners list, tied with Ernie Irvan.
      • Busch finished 10th in the 2005 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. One year ago after five races he ranked seventh in the point standings.
      • Busch climbed from 27th to 16th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
      • Busch led three times for 33 laps, including the final five laps.
      • This was team owner Roger Penske’s 58th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Penske has scored eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Bristol.
      • Dodge scored its first Bristol victory since Richard Petty won the Volunteer 500 in 1975, 31 years ago.
      Notebook Items
      • Kevin Harvick (second) has finished in the top-five in six of his 11 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He scored his first top-10 finish of the season. The last top-five finish posted by Harvick was at Richmond in May 2005. Harvick climbed from 23rd to 13th in the point standings. One year ago Harvick ranked sixth after five races.
      • Matt Kenseth (third) scored his sixth top-five finish in 13 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He climbed from third to first in the NASCAR NEXTEL cup standings. The last time Kenseth led the point standings was leaving Bristol in March 2004. Kenseth has scored top-10 finishes in eight of his last nine races at Bristol.
      • Carl Edwards (fourth) scored his first top-10 finish in four races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It marked his second top-five finish in 2006.
      • Bobby Labonte (fifth) scored his third top-five finish in 27 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was his first top-10 finish in 2006 and first by the No. 43 when Jeff Green finished seventh at Martinsville in October 2004.
      • Tony Stewart (12th) led the most laps (245) in the 2006 Food City 500. The last time he led the most laps in a race was at Martinsville last October nine races ago where he finished second.
      • Denny Hamlin (14th) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender in the 2006 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
      • All seven of the 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders have competed in all five races in 2006 and at least one has scored a top-15 finish in every race. This was the first race in 2006 that a rookie contender did not finish in the top 10.
      • Joe Nemechek (28th) has been running at the finish in the last 37 races, a streak that began at Bristol last April, the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-26-2006)

    • Rumblings - Bristol:
      One good gauge as to how entertaining a race has been is by how many upset drivers we have at the end of the event. Today, we had 42 ticked off and one all accounts, that makes this the best race of the year.
      Kurt Busch put the "bump and run" on former teammate Matt Kenseth on lap 496 today (gee, we've never seen that type of move before at Bristol, huh?) and went on to win the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 5th win at the short-track with the truth in advertising slogan "Racing the way it oughta be"! Career win #15 for Kurt moves him into a tie for 42nd on the all-time win list with Ernie Irvan and was victory #55 for Roger Penske (#58 if you count the three in partnership with Michael Kranefuss).
      Busch, who had to come from two laps down after some early tire troubles (and we had a number of drivers who had those problems), took down $175,858 from the over $5.4M in posted awards and places the #2 car in the last vacant spot on this season's Winners Circle plan.
      Kevin Harvick (2nd) had his best finish since he won when we were here last April.....and you can't bet he's tired of following "Busch's" this weekend.
      Bobby Labonte (5th) got the Petty Enterprises #43 their first Top-5 today since John Andretti was runner-up here in March of 2001.
      Jeff Green (15th) had his best finish since he was 15th at The Brickyard last August.
      Sterling Marlin (17th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Kansas last October.
      Stanton Barrett (39th) had his best finish since he was 34th at Dover last June (only 6 races).
      STREAKIN....Mark Martin has 4 Top-10's in a row. Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10's in a row.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Bobby Labonte (+25), followed by Scott Wimmer (+21). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jamie McMurray (-27), followed by Jimmie Johnson (-25) and Brian Vickers (-20). Bobby goes from the bottom to the top of the "Shaft" in just six short days!
      In that all-important quest to be in the Top-35 in Owner Points to get an exempt spot for qualifying next week, Scott Riggs in the Evernham #10 Dodge holds down position #35.....but his teammate (and two-time Chase combatant) Jeremy Mayfield is only nine points ahead of him. Some of the drivers on the outside looking in (and having to qualify on time next week) are Sterling Marlin in 36th, Kevin Lepage in 37th, and David Stremme in 38th. We've got our first change at the top of the point standings this season as Jimmie Johnson's troubles dropped him from the top-spot to 3rd in the run down. Kurt Busch (27th to 16th) made the best move forward today, while Jamie McMurray (16th to 24th) fell the most spots.(

    • Wood expects to be in #21 car in 2007 UPDATE - no, but a 2nd car: Busch Series regular Jon Wood [#47], third-generation member of NASCAR's Wood Brothers Racing, said Wednesday he is "90 percent sure" he will drive the #21 Ford full time in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007.(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(3-23-2006)
      UPDATE: Jon Wood said Saturday that he expects to be behind the wheel of a Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Nextel Cup car full-time in 2007, but not the #21 currently driven by Ken Schrader. Published reports last week had the driver in the #21 next year. “The plan all along was to have two Nextel Cup Series teams in 2007 if we can find appropriate sponsorship for a two-car operation,” Wood said. “Right now, I plan to compete in as many as seven Cup races this year in preparation for running full time in Cup in 2007 as the second driver on a two-car Cup team.”[#47 Ford](Speed Channel)
      AND - Schrader back in 2007? Jon Wood fully expects to move to a full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup ride next season with his family's Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team. But it won't be in the team's #21 Ford Fusion, as was reported last week by a Texas newspaper. If all goes according to Hoyle, a second full-time sponsor will be lined up, Schrader will stay in the #21 and Wood will campaign a second team car, the number [#47?] of which is to be determined.(Ford Racing)(3-26-2006)

    • Rudd named Virginian of the Year: Ricky Rudd, who retired from NASCAR racing in November after 31 years and a record 788 consecutive starts in stock car racing's premier series, was honored Friday as the Virginian of the Year by the Virginia Press Association. Rudd, a Chesapeake native, received the award during The Associated Press dinner at the VPA/AP Winter Conference, held this year at the Hotel Roanoke. Rudd, who lives near Charlotte, N.C., made his NASCAR debut in 1975 and completed his first full season two years later, winning NASCAR's 1977 rookie of the year.(Richmond Times Dispatch/AP)(3-26-2006)

    • Kyle Busch considering cutting back Busch Series starts? #5-Kyle Busch says he may reconsider his plans to run both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series. Busch has run well in the Cup series, currently sitting eighth in points, but his other effort has been less stellar. He's 18th in the standings in the Busch Series entering today's race [he ended up winning the Busch Series race at Bristol]. Asked if there had been any discussion of cutting back his Busch schedule, the driver said it hasn't been talked about yet - but that such a change would not surprise him.(

      News from March 25, 2006

    • Jarrett plans to retire after 2008 season, stay with Yates: #88-Dale Jarrett said Friday that his tentative plan is to remain with Robert Yates Racing through the end of the 2008 season and then retire. “Things are pretty good that I’ll be where I’m at through that time,” Jarrett said Friday during a rain delay at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I don’t want to overstay my welcome here … trying to extend any longer than that would be taking a chance as far as my competitive spirit and my body holding up.” Jarrett said he was unlikely he would follow the lead of Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte and driver part-time after stepping away from his full-time ride.(Speed Channel)
      AND Dale Jarrett reaffirmed his plan to race through the 2008 season but revealed there's a chance he could finish his NASCAR career outside Robert Yates Racing. "Some of the other offers coming my way have kind of a two-year deal, so that's when I started looking at (2008)," said Jarrett, whose contract is up at the end of the season with Yates, his home since 1995. "I think the high probability is that I'll be right where I'm at." The 1999 champion hopes to settle on his future by the end of May.(USA Today)(3-25-2006)

    • Rusty to help with COT test at Bristol UPDATE 2 no Rusty: Rusty Wallace has been asked by NASCAR officials to help with the development of the new car [COT - Car of Tomorrow]. Wallace is scheduled to drive one at an upcoming Bristol test session scheduled for March 27, the day after the Nextel Cup race. Wallace knows the high-banked track extremely well, having won there nine times.(Yahoo Sports)(3-19-2006)
      UPDATE: Only four teams - Richard Childress Racing (Jeff Burton), Penske Racing South (development driver Billy Wease), Chip Ganassi Racing (Reed Sorenson) and Roush Racing (Carl Edwards) - are expected to bring cars to an open test for the "car of tomorrow" Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway. The test comes a year before the car is expected to make its debut at the track. Manufacturers must submit their specifications for approval by July 1. "This is strictly about tuning the cars, understanding what it will take for springs and shocks and handling of the car," NASCAR Vice President Robin Pemberton said March 18. "We will get some more feedback from the wing and the [front] splitter." Pemberton said having four teams would be good, and NASCAR can't expect every team to come to every test. NASCAR is bring its own.(
      UPDATE 2 - No Rusty; Rules Book close: The first rulebook for the Car of Tomorrow is expected to be in teams' hands next week, said NASCAR's director of cost research Brett Bodine, who's been NASCAR's lead test driver for the project. NASCAR president Mike Helton asked Rusty Wallace, the 1989 Cup Series champion who retired at the end of last season, to test the prototype at Bristol following this weekend's events, the fifth test and the first on a short track this season. "I was asked to do the test, but I'll be at a big production meeting up in Bristol, Conn., with Marty [Reid] and Scott [Goodyear] and the rest of the ESPN guys, so I passed on it," said Wallace, who will not be at Bristol for the first time in 23 years due to his new position as an analyst on the ABC/ESPN broadcasts of the Indy Racing League, which opens this weekend in Homestead, Fla. "But what I am going to do is probably drive the Car of Tomorrow at Martinsville. I do want to drive the car just to feel it. I want to understand what it's all about, and if I can make some comments about how they can make their car better or different, I'd be happy to tell them." Bristol's 2007 spring race is scheduled as the first official event for the Car of Tomorrow. Earlier this season, the Car of Tomorrow was tested twice at the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway and twice on Atlanta Motor Speedway, a 1.54-mile track. A test had been scheduled at Darlington after the Dodge Charger 500 in May, but Bodine said that had been dropped in favor of another 1.5-mile test, at Lowe's Motor Speedway on the Tuesday after the May 28 Coca-Cola 600.(

    • Sad News - Kenneth Campbell Sr.: Former Richmond International Raceway Vice President of Public Relations Robert "Kenneth" Campbell Sr., who helped promote racing for nearly 60 years in Richmond, passed away late last night. He was 83 and resided in Chesterfield County, Virginia at the time of his passing. Known as "Kenneth" to his friends and co-workers, Mr. Campbell helped promote races in Richmond starting in 1948 when Nelson Royall built the facility that is now know as Southside Speedway. Fourteen years later, he joined former Richmond International Raceway owner Paul Sawyer as a partner to help promote races at the ½-mile dirt track known at the Virginia State Fairgrounds. That track, of course, was later reconfigured into a ¾-mile paved oval and today is known as Richmond International Raceway. Before retiring in 2001, Mr. Campbell was known for being a tireless and innovative promoter. Decades ago, he organized a group of fans, government officials and civic leaders from Richmond to take a train to Darlington to help them understand how big NASCAR was becoming in other cities throughout the south. The plan worked, as the fares were sold out and fans were left at the platform.
      He also helped start the big business of sponsorships in NASCAR. Before decals on cars were commonplace, he once brokered a deal to put a logo from a Richmond car dealer on Richard Petty's car. Long before NASCAR was a mainstream sport, he helped bring ABC's "Wide World of Sports" to Richmond to tape a race segment. Mr. Campbell also drove the NASCAR pace car at most major tracks throughout the country and he worked for CBS at NASCAR races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lois Gronlund Campbell; daughter, Deborah "Dodie" Campbell Ortland; son, Robert Kenneth Campbell, Jr.; sister Wanda Campbell Brinkley and brother Garland Campbell. He was preceded in death by his parents John Harding Campbell and Era Atkins Campbell. The family will hold a private burial. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in his name to the Victory Junction Gang Camp at 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317. Upon Mr. Campbell's retirement, the Richmond International Raceway media center was named after him. A memorial service will be held at the Kenneth Campbell Media Center located in the Richmond International Raceway infield on Friday, March 31 at 5:00pm/et.(RIR)(3-25-2006)

    • Harvick not to own Cup team; leaning toward RCR? Roush? While rumored to be the top choice of Toyota when that auto maker ventures into NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition in 2007, driver #29-Kevin Harvick says none of the future moves he makes will entail the role of owner/driver. In fact, Harvick's comments Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway sounded more like the five-year Cup veteran would rather remain with current car owner Richard Childress than either exit to start his own Cup program - he already fields Busch and Truck entries through Kevin Harvick Inc. - or leave to drive for another owner. Harvick is in the final year of his contract with Richard Childress Racing, although there are contract options available to Childress to re-sign the driver. And while the two have mutually agreed to discuss their future later this year, Harvick said Friday that there was no specific date set to have any issues resolved. The talk of Toyota, he said, is speculation. "... As far as [Toyota] courting me, I don't know what would fall into that category. Everything up to this point is speculation of what's happening. Right now, there's nothing done or nothing happening anywhere from any manufacturer or anything."(
      AND There was also a new report, from usually reliable sources, that Harvick is also entertaining a job offer from a current rival team on the tour, possibly Ford's Jack Roush, although Roush wasn't here to discuss that.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-25-2006)

    • FAA now embroiled in Hendrick plane crash lawsuits: Hendrick Motorsports, facing three negligence lawsuits resulting from an Oct. 24, 2004, plane crash near Martinsville (Va.) Airport, contends in court documents that its liability, if any, should be transferred to air traffic controllers. Dianne Dorton, widow of Hendrick engine builder Randy Dorton, and Tracy Lathram, widow of Tony Stewart pilot Scott Lathram, filed separate lawsuits in December in North Carolina Superior Court against Hendrick Motorsports. Linda Turner, widow of former Hendrick Motorsports general manager Jeff Turner, filed a lawsuit earlier this month in North Carolina against the team. Linda Turner also has filed a federal lawsuit in Greensboro, N.C., against the Federal Aviation Administration over the actions of air traffic controllers. All of the lawsuits ask for an unspecified amount of damages. While denying their claims of negligence in the Dorton and Lathram cases, Hendrick Motorsports uses many similar arguments as Turner's complaint against the FAA. Hendrick Motorsports' complaint names air traffic controllers Brian Park, William Thomson Jr. and Jerry Wilson. Hendrick Motorsports alleges that the air traffic controllers failed to properly monitor the aircraft and respond when they should have known the plane was in danger of missing the approach at Martinsville Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board has blamed errors of the pilots as the probable cause of the crash, which killed both pilots and eight others, including four family members of team owner Rick Hendrick. The NTSB report on the crash states that once the plane was cleared for approach and was approved to change its radio frequency away from the controllers' frequency that the "controller no longer had responsibility for the flight." Hendrick's filing also states that Dorton's complaint should be handled as a workers compensation claim.(

      News from March 24, 2006

    • CARS to premiere at LMS in May: Disney.Pixar's exciting new computer-animated feature "CARS" will stage its World Premiere on Friday, May 26th at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC in one of the most unique and elaborate movie events of all-time, it was announced today by Dick Cook, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. Paul Newman, Owen Wilson, Bonnie Hunt, Larry the Cable Guy, NASCAR legends Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip, and others from the voice cast of the film will be joined by a host of stars from the racing world and 30,000 guests that are expected to attend the "CARS" World Premiere, taking place at the same location as that weekend's famous Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race. The screening of the film represents the first multi-screen digital cinema premiere ever, with Texas Instruments and its DLP CinemaR technology serving as Disney's event technology partner in providing the digital cinema projectors. A series of four giant custom-built outdoor movie screens (115-feet wide and 50-feet tall) will be constructed at Lowe's Motor Speedway at Turn #2 of the track. Each screen will have three DLP Cinema 2K digital projectors dedicated to it. A state-of-the-art sound system is also being created and installed for the event. Tickets for the premiere will be made available for purchase by the general public starting today. Proceeds will benefit Speedway Children's Charities, and Association of Hole in the Wall Gang Camps. For tickets, call 1-800-455-FANS, visit the Lowe's Motor Speedway box office, or order online here.
      To cap off the weekend, the #96 DLP HDTV car will be wrapped as the film's lead character "Lightning McQueen" for the NEXTEL Cup series race in Charlotte the same weekend [see image on my #96 Team Schemes page].
      Lightning McQueen (voice of OWEN WILSON), a hotshot rookie race car driven to succeed, discovers that life is about the journey, not the finish line, when he finds himself unexpectedly detoured in the sleepy Route 66 town of Radiator Springs. On route across the country to the big Piston Cup Championship in California to compete against two seasoned pros, McQueen gets to know the town's offbeat characters -including Doc Hudson (a 1951 Hudson Hornet with a mysterious past, voiced by PAUL NEWMAN), Sally (a snazzy 2002 Porsche voiced by BONNIE HUNT), and Mater (a rusty but trusty tow truck voiced by LARRY THE CABLE GUY) - who help him realize that there are more important things than trophies, fame and sponsorship.
      The all-star vocal cast also includes free-wheeling performances by Tony Shalhoub, Michael Keaton, Cheech Marin, George Carlin, Katherine Helmond, and John Ratzenberger. Delivering more fun and authenticity to the cast for "CARS" are vocal performances from some of the all-time greatest names from the racing world including the legendary Richard Petty, plus "drive-on" roles by Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Darrell Waltrip (who holds the record for five-wins at the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600), and Michael Schumacher, the ace German Formula 1 racing legend, who is a seven-times world champion, and is widely considered to be the best Grand Prix racing driver of all-time.(LMS PR)(3-24-2006)

    • Fabrizio, Poole Named Finalists in Writing Competition: Veteran NASCAR beat writers Tony Fabrizio of the Tampa Tribune and David Poole of the Charlotte Observer know have been named among the 10 finalists in the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) National Writing Contest’s “Game Story” category, in the 100,000-250,000 circulation division. Both are in the final top 10 via outstanding stories on Tony Stewart’s 2005 victory in the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard. The final top five and honorable mention selections will be announced by the APSE in early April.(NASCAR PR)(3-24-2006)

    • Rusty Honored: Rusty Wallace's name is already written all over the Bristol Motor Speedway record books, and as of Thursday his name is now written on the side of the speedway grandstands. The tower, which tops the Kulwicki grandstand, was dedicated Thursday in honor of nine-time BMS Cup race winner Wallace, as well as a plaque on a pedestal in Legends Plaza in front of the Bruton Smith Building bearing an engraving of Wallace's likeness and a short narrative on Wallace's career. Joining Wallace for the ceremony was his family including wife Patty, son Steve, brother Kenny, and his parents Russ and Judy. Also in attendance were BMS President Jeff Byrd and Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Bruton Smith. Wallace's plaque and monument dedicated Thursday in Legends Plaza joins those of other racing legends honored at BMS in the past, including the Allison family, Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Alan Kulwicki, David Pearson, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip. Wallace's nine wins at BMS are tied for second all time with Earnhardt and Yarborough. Waltrip has the most with 12.(Kingsport Times-News)(3-24-2006)

    • Five Purple Heart Recipients to Attend Bristol Race: The #16 National Guard team will have the privilege of being accompanied this Sunday by five Purple Heart recipients from the Tennessee National Guard. SPC Wesley Bullington, SGT Tony Anderson, SPC Jamey Smith, SGT Christopher Cartwright and SPC Anthony Lambert have all received a Purple Heart for the sacrifices they made while in the line of duty. These soldiers all come from the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment is the only enhanced Armored Cavalry Regiment within the National Guard, and one of only two Armored Cavalry Regiments in the United States Army. It is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, with units throughout the East and Central Tennessee Area. The Purple Heart is a U.S. military decoration awarded in the name of the President of the United States to those who have been wounded or killed while serving in or with the U.S. military after April 5, 1917. The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration in the world in present use and the first American award made available to the common soldier.(Roush Racing PR)(3-24-2006)

    • Buy a Cookie and Help Out: After raising $2,000 selling cookies from her front yard for last year’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life, 8-year-old Nora Gilmer of Piney Flats is taking her cookie business to the NASCAR races at Bristol this weekend. Beginning today at noon, Nora and her friends from Piney Flats United Methodist Church and fellow third-graders at Avoca Elementary School, Bristol, will be manning two cookie booths just outside the track. Race fans can look for her “Cookies for Cancer” stands across from Lady Equipment Co. near Bristol Motor Speedway’s southern entrance and the other just down Volunteer Parkway at the school. Her cookies also will be available throughout the weekend at the Austin Springs Spa and Salon at Johnson City’s Carnegie Hotel.(Johnson City Press)(3-24-2006)

    • #61 Gets Sponsor: The Enthusiast Network is partnering with the #61 Ford Fusion, driven by Kevin LePage, for the 2006 season of NASCAR Nextel Cup. The TEN Magazine logo and the logos will make their debut on the #61 Ford Fusion at the Food City 500 at Bristol. In addition to the sponsorship, TEN will conducting a host of giveaways including the opportunity to win special VIP garage passes to a future race. For all the news from TEN Magazines, please visit

    • Subway Colors at Bristol for Biffle: This weekend the #16 National Guard team and driver Greg Biffle will again run the 2006 Subway paint scheme. This paint scheme will run a total of 11 times this season.(Roush Racing), see image on my #16 Team Schemes Page.(3-24-2006)

    • Bristol Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the second time in three races that NASCAR Nextel Cup teams will run this specific combination of left- and right-side tires . . . teams ran this tire set-up earlier this month at Las Vegas . . . both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run the same tire codes this weekend . . . while Las Vegas and Bristol are the only two tracks at which teams are scheduled to run this tire combination, Nextel Cup teams will also run this left-side code (D-4028) with a different right-side code (D-4030) at Pocono. Estimated Pit Window: Every 150-160 laps, based on fuel mileage. Full notes on the Bristol Race Info/Rundown Page.(3-24-2006)

    • #37 Needs Sponsor or may close: Two Toccoa [GA] businessmen, John Carter and Roger Craven, did the near-impossible last year when they took their shoestring budget team to Daytona and finished ninth in the Daytona 500, earning more than $300,000. But this year, Carter and Craven are on the verge of dropping off the circuit. With Mike Skinner at the wheel of their #37 Dodge, the R and J Racing team has failed to qualify for an event this year, and the team has no primary sponsor to help foot the bills. "We're still trying to get on our feet, and we're too good a team to just quit," Carter said. "It's a shame that a Georgia-based team can't get a Georgia-based company to help us just a little bit."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-24-2006)

    • Footballers start Race Team: Football hall of famer Gale Sayers and World Champion MVP Ray Lewis, along with entrepreneur Mark Bloomquist, have formed The Milestone Company. The operation will run both cars and trucks under its new name: S&L Racing. The team will be headquartered in North Carolina. S&L Racing's mission is to develop a winning race team that provides opportunities for minorities and women in the sport. To achieve their objective, S&L Racing will start from scratch, working their way up to the Nextel Cup Series. The team plans to start racing this season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The Milestone Company will work with NASCAR, other racing teams and organizations, and corporations to assist in providing opportunities for those looking to make a career out of racing. For more information on S&L Racing, contact the team at 336-389-1700.(FoxSports/Newswire/S&L Racing)(3-24-2006)

    • Cope to attempt Bristol; gets sponsorship: even thou not on any entry lists as of 1am/et on 3/24/2006, reports: Derrike gave us an update before qualifying. "We will be attempting to qualify at Bristol this weekend. The team has really worked hard to finish a car that was purchased from Penske racing. It is a more updated car from last year. So we are hopeful that we can have a good performance tomorrow in qualifying. I have had good success at Bristol and am really looking forward to tomorrow."(Derrike Cope site)
      AND Sundance Vacations reached a full season agreement with McGlynn Racing to sponsor the Derrike Cope driven NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge for the remaining races of the 2006 race season. The Sundance Vacations’ marketing campaign is centered on the company’s Ultimate Sports Giveaway. The winner of the sweepstakes will receive 6 tickets to the sports event of their choice including the Daytona 500. Sundance Vacations joins My Guardian 911 and Royal Administration on the #74 Dodge. Although, My Guardian 911 is the primary sponsor for most races, the national wholesale travel company will take the primary sponsor position for the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America at Dover International Speedway, the Pocono 500 at Pocono International Speedway and the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.(McGlynn Racing PR)(3-24-2006)

      News from March 23, 2006

    • Penalties/Fines/Suspensions from Atlanta Infractions: NASCAR announced today that penalties have been issued to two NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams, as a result of rule violations this past weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
      Rodney Childers, crew chief for the #10 Valvoline Dodge driven by Scott Riggs, has been fined $10,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-W (improperly attached weight) of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rule book. The violation was discovered during practice.
      Larry Hyder, crew chief for the #21 Little Debbie's Ford driven by Ken Schrader, has been fined $1,000 for violating Sections 12-4-A; 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-3.2.3A (unapproved side window). The violation was discovered during pre-qualifying inspection.
      Additionally, Thomas Harris, a member of the #66 Best Buy race team, has been fined $5,000 and indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing/unauthorized duplication of a NASCAR Annual Credential). (NASCAR PR)(3-23-2006)

    • Food City to help sponsor #4 car at Bristol: Morgan-McClure Motorsports announced that Food City will again partner with the Abingdon, VA-based team for this weekend's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The associate sponsorship marks the fifth consecutive event at Bristol in which the supermarket chain has adorned the sides of #4 Aero Exhaust Chevy driven by Scott Wimmer. Steve Smith, President and CEO of Food City, Quotes: "Food City is excited to again partner with our friends and neighbors at Morgan-McClure Motorsports. We look forward to seeing the Food City colors flying around Bristol Motor Speedway and nothing would make us happier than to have Scott Wimmer join us in Victory Lane." Larry McClure, President of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Quotes: "We're very excited to have Food City partner with our race team for the Food City 500. Food City has contributed a great deal to the racing community over the years and with Morgan-McClure and Food City both being local companies; it is a privilege for us to include them in our racing program."(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(2-23-2006)

    • Rookie News and Notes: Reed Sorenson was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the March 20 Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Sorenson finished 10th, his first top-10 finish in six NEXTEL Cup Series starts and took top rookie honors for the first time this season. The finish was the best effort of Sorenson's NEXTEL Cup career. His previous best effort came February 26 at California Speedway where he logged a 21st-place finish. A different driver has claimed the honor in each of the first four NEXTEL Cup Series races in 2006. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 10 in all four NEXTEL Cup Series races this season. Clint Bowyer holds a five-point advantage over J.J. Yeley (43-38) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the March 26 Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Bowyer is the only Raybestos Rookie that ranks in the top 10 in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings. He is currently 10th entering the Bristol event, 19 behind ninth-place Dale Jarrett. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-10 in three of the last four Food City 500 races at Bristol: Kvapil, Greg Biffle (fifth in 2003) and Jimmie Johnson (seventh in 2002). The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the Food City 500 came in 1979 when Dale Earnhardt scored his first career win.(Raybestos PR), see more notes, standings on my ROTY Page.(3-23-2006)

    • Menards/Energizer on the #7 Hood: This is the first time this season that Menards/Energizer will be primary sponsors of the #7 Chevy of Robby Gordon. Menards, dedicated to service and quality, is a steadily growing home super center currently adding locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Jim Beam, Harrah's and will act as associate sponsors this weekend.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR)(3-23-2006)

    • Sharpie Scheme back UPDATE: This weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway marks the first of five races for Jamie McMurray behind the wheel of the black and red #26 Sharpie Ford Fusion.(Roush Racing PR)(3-22-2006)
      UPDATE: Sharpie welcomes Jamie McMurray to the family this Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway. McMurray will take the wheel of the #26 Sharpie 'MINI' Ford Fusion for the first time on Sunday, March 26 during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race, the Food City 500. McMurray will drive the special Sharpie MINI paint scheme that will be featured at five races in 2006 [both Bristol's, Chicago, New Hampshire in July and ]. Emblazoned with new Sharpie MINI marker, the look highlights a 16-color, "pint-sized" marker series with a clip. In tribute to its latest innovation, Sharpie also renamed its spring NASCAR Busch Series event at BMS the Sharpie MINI 300. The Sharpie MINI 300, slated for Saturday, March 25, now includes 50 additional laps of Bristol action. The race was formerly known as the Sharpie Professional 250. Sharpie MINI markers are available in 16-colors: black, red, blue, green, orange, berry, lime, aqua, purple, plum, navy, burgundy, turquoise, tangerine, magenta and lilac. The suggested retail price for 4-, 8-, and 12-packs is $5.93, $11.73, and $17.78, respectively. Single Sharpie Minis are also available with a lanyard option for the suggested retail price of $1.99. Sharpie markers are available at office supply stores and other retailers nationwide. For more information, go to PR)(3-23-2006)

    • Mears Tested at Caraway: #42-Casey Mears, crew chief Donnie Wingo and the Texaco/Havoline team tested at Caraway Speedway last week and on Wednesday in preparation for the Food City 500 at Bristol and next week's race at Martinsville.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(3-23-2006)

    • Kingsport mayor to give Martin key to the city: Kingsport Mayor Dennis Phillips will present the key to the Model City to NASCAR driver Mark Martin today - officially proclaimed "Mark Martin Day" by the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen earlier this week. The key to the city presentation will come during a larger ceremony this afternoon as Food City honors Martin, driver of Roush Racing's #6 Ford Fusion, sponsored by AAA. It marks the first time Kingsport has given a key to the city to a NASCAR driver, said Kingsport Community Relations Officer Dave Light. Key to the city presentations are not common in Kingsport, he said. Allison David, marketing events coordinator for Food City, said the practice has been a yearly event for Family Race Night events in Bristol each August. "Both Bristol, Tennessee, and Bristol, Virginia, have done it every year for whomever we honor," David said. "We're excited that Kingsport is participating and that Mayor Phillips himself is going to make the presentation." Food City suggested Martin for the honor because he is retiring this year, David said. Light said the keys given out by Kingsport are ordered special made by the city, and they are basically 6-inch metal skeleton keys with the city seal on them. "It makes a nice keepsake and memento," Light said. "They're normally given to non-residents who through their activities and contributions - philanthropic or business or political or whatever - have benefited the city and its citizens. Mark Martin races very cleanly and represents very good principles of good sportsmanship and good citizenship. He is well-liked and can serve as a good role model for the young people of our region."(Kingsport Times-News)(3-23-2006)

    • American Idol star visits DEI: "American Idol" Bo Bice and his band, Sugarland Money, paid a visit to Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on Tuesday afternoon to check out where their favorite race team builds the cars for their favorite drivers. They were en route to a gig in Spartanburg, SC on Wednesday night. Having just left Columbia, SC earlier in the day with Charlotte radio interviews on tap for Wednesday morning, Bice and his band realized DEI in Mooresville was a doable stop on the way. They pulled up in their tour bus and took a behind-the-scenes view of our facility. Joining in the tour was Taylor Earnhardt, herself. She and Bice had their picture taken by a #8 car with a large photo of her dad, Dale, in the background. She offered interesting insights about the buildings and different aspects of DEI. During his tour, Bice was easily recognized by most of the employees. He gladly stopped, talked to everyone, posed for pictures and signed autographs. Even some fans who were outside the large glass doors of the Interior Showroom recognized Bice and got his attention. During his tour, Bice and the band stopped into the #8 Budweiser shop. There, Brian Cram (Shop Foreman) talked to them in more depth about race cars, how much they weigh and how many cars the team works on at one time. He even put Bice in the primary car for the upcoming Martinsville Speedway.(DEI PR)(3-23-2006)

      News from March 22, 2006

    • Latest on AT&T and Cingular UPDATE #31 news - NASCAR says NO: 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)
      UPDATE: NASCAR officials say they have informed Richard Childress Racing that if Cingular Wireless changes its name to AT&T, as expected after a recent merger, AT&T would not be allowed on Jeff Burton's #31 car. NASCAR made the ruling based on its interpretation of its contract with series sponsor Nextel. Cingular and Alltel, as well as Samsung/Radio Shack with Texas Motor Speedway, were grandfathered in as existing sponsors when the Nextel Series sponsorship contract was signed in 2003. "It's pretty clear that they can't transfer a name due to a sale," NASCAR Vice President for Corporate Communications Jim Hunter said March 17. Executives from Cingular would not comment March 16 when asked about what would happen to the company's sponsorship. "Right now, Cingular is in it and is in it for the long haul," team owner Richard Childress said March 19. "That's about all I can say." Hunter said that Cingular could negotiate with Nextel to try to transfer the name and keep the sponsorship. But Michael Robichaud, vice president for sports marketing for Sprint Nextel, said there are no plans to negotiate. One option could be for Cingular to move to the Busch Series, where any cellular company can provide sponsorship.(

    • Parsons moving 'home', starting a winery..NOT retiring: Like most people who left Wilkes for auto factory jobs and other work in Detroit in the 1940s and 1950s, Benny Parsons has returned to his native county. The Motor Racing Sports Hall of Fame driver and 1973 Winston Cup champion still has homes in Concord and Florida, but he’s building a house overlooking the North Prong of Lewis Fork Creek Valley in Parsonsville [NC] and surrounding mountains. The hilltop house is on land that’s been in his family for generations. On 10 adjoining acres where his forebears had an orchard, Parsons is planting rows of Chardonnay Merlot and Syrah grapes for a vineyard and winery. Parsons, 64, married and with two grown sons, has been in Wilkes a lot lately due to his new house and vineyard near where he was raised in Parsonsville. The motorsports radio show host and NASCAR TV analyst drew a big crowd when he was volunteer guest speaker at the Wilkes United Way Campaign Finale on Feb. 28. Parsons’ two brothers, Phil Parsons and Steve Parsons were born in Detroit and stayed with their parents. Steve still lives there and Phil lives in Denver.(In part from the Wilkes Journal-Patriot), also Parsons and wife Terri are building a vineyard on his old home place where he was born in Wilkes County N.C. The name of the vineyard is Rendezvous Ridge. Parsons has no plans to retire from broadcasting and hopes to be part of the ESPN or/and TNT TV package in 2007, NBC is in the final year of their NASCAR TV deal. Plans are to bottle and sell the wines under the label Benny Parsons Rendezvous Ridge.(3-22-2006)

    • Hotel tax hike OK'd to help NASCAR hall: In an 8-1 vote, Mecklenburg commissioners agreed to raise the county's hotel tax by 2 percentage points, from 6 to 8 percent. The money to be raised by the increase was a financial cornerstone of Charlotte's bid to host the motorsports shrine. Commissioners held a public hearing on the increase, the public's only chance to weigh in since the deal was announced. But no one came to object. Instead, half a dozen speakers -- sporting buttons from the campaign to win the hall -- stood up to praise it, saying the Hall of Fame will draw hundreds of thousands of tourists, and solidify the region's status as home to the booming racing industry and the accompanying jobs. Mohammed Jenatian, president of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance, said the tourism industry was involved in the decision to increase the tax, and believes the project is worth it.(Charlotte Observer)(3-22-2006)

    • USG Scheme for #17 at Bristol: For the first of three times in 2006, Matt Kenseth will pilot the #17 USG Sheetrock Ford Fusion. USG Sheetrock will also be the primary sponsor for the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway in July and the November race at Phoenix International Raceway.(Roush Racing PR)(3-22-2006)

    • Stewart's Pit Crew Takes Top Honors in Atlanta: Tony Stewart's pit crew captured the Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition in Monday's rain-delayed NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The program awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road (322.141 seconds) during Monday's 500-mile race. The winning performance by the #20 crew lifted Stewart to a fifth-place finish. Stewart's over-the-wall crew consists of: Jason Lee (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Jody Fortson (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff Patterson (gasman), Brian Larson (catch can) and Scott Geerts (windshield). The team's crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa. The #20 crew, part of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable, snapped a three-race win streak by Hendrick Motorsports teams. The first two Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge wins of the season went to Jimmie Johnson's #48 crew. The round-three winner was the #5 crew for Kyle Busch. Daytona (2/19) Jimmie Johnson Team; California (2/26) Jimmie Johnson Team; Las Vegas (3/12) Kyle Busch Team; Atlanta (3/20) Tony Stewart Team.(DMF Communications PR), more at

    • Congrats: Congratulations to Brent and Kathleen Sherman who welcomed their son, Brent Cooper Sherman, on March 21, 2006. Baby Cooper weighs eight pounds, five ounces and is 20.5 inches long. Both mom and baby are doing well.(3-22-2006)

    • DirecTV to sponsor RCR? UPDATE 2: looks like DirecTV will be an associate sponsor on the #07 Jack Daniel's RCR Chevy Clint Bowyer will drive in 2006. See the schemes on my #07 Team Schemes page.(1-31-2006)
      UPDATE: NASCAR partner DIRECTV has announced an official partnership with Richard Childress Racing (RCR), one of NASCAR’s premier racing teams. Through the partnership, DIRECTV will be an associate sponsor of the #07 Jack Daniel’s Chevy and its driver, Clint Bowyer, during the 2006 Nextel Cup Series season. The association with RCR aligns DIRECTV with one of the sport’s most well-respected racing programs and one of the sport’s most exciting young drivers. DIRECTV also will be primary sponsor of the #07 Chevy at three Nextel Cup Series races this season at Martinsville (April 2), Pocono (June 11) and Talladega (October 8).
      As the nation’s leading digital TV service, DIRECTV has a long history with NASCAR, though this announcement marks the company’s first official sponsorship of a Nextel Cup team. The service has become an integral part of the sport by providing millions of fans the opportunity for the most enhanced, unique NASCAR viewing experience at home and trackside. DIRECTV has also become a critical piece of racing equipment for crew chiefs, as teams up and down pit road rely on the digital picture and sound to aid spotters and monitor car performance throughout the entire race. The partnership with RCR and Clint Bowyer will enable DIRECTV to create consumer marketing and retail promotions targeting NASCAR's loyal fan base. In addition, the relationship will provide DIRECTV the opportunity to increase awareness of its new DIRECTV Plus ® DVR among race fans and emphasize current and future features that will enhance their race viewing experience.(RCR Site)(2-10-2006)
      UPDATE 2: RCR, along with DIRECTV, will unveil a new look for the #07 Chevy Friday, March 24 at 10a.m. in Victory Lane at Bristol Motor Speedway. The #07 DIRECTV Chevrolet will make its debut the following weekend in the DIRECTV 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Driver Clint Bowyer, crew chief Gil Martin and senior vice president of advertising and public relations, Jon Gieselman, from DIRECTV will be on hand for the unveiling.(RCR PR)(3-22-2006)

      News from March 21, 2006

    • Yeley to Drive scheme at Bristol: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will display a unique paint scheme on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy driven by rookie J.J. Yeley during the March 26 Food City 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The sponsorship aims to help raise awareness about the need for improved asthma control, and to motivate patients with asthma to take the Asthma Control Test (ACT) and share the results with their doctors. The ACT consists of five simple questions that help patients understand how their asthma affects them. It can be found at GlaxoSmithKline will also bring its mobile exhibit to Bristol Motor Speedway on March 26 to allow race fans with asthma to take the ACT, learn their asthma scores on-site and receive racing souvenirs. For company information, visit GSK on the World Wide Web at & Assoc)(3-21-2006)

    • Only Chargers after Texas: Don Miller, the president of Penske Racing South, said that corporate headquarters informed his organization that the Intrepid can't be used after the April 9 Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway. At least one of Penske Racing's two drivers -- #12-Ryan Newman and #2-Kurt Busch -- has used the Intrepid since the Daytona 500. There were plans to use the car on most 1.5- mile and 2-mile tracks the remainder of the season. The Charger has only four wins since being introduced last season. Kahne's win was the first on a 1.5-mile track where the blunt nose of the car has created aerodynamic problems. The problems have created a split among Dodge teams that have considered going to NASCAR to ask for help. Ray Evernham, the owner of Kahne's car, said that no longer is a consideration.(

    • Tough Day for Crew Members at Atlanta: As #41-Reed Sorenson exited the pits after a stop during a caution period on lap 190, his #41 Dodge struck John Slusher, the catch-can holder for Robby Gordon's #7 crew. Slusher lay on his back on pit road while being treated. He was taken by ambulance to the track's care center, where he was evaluated, treated and released, according to NASCAR officials. Joe Kruschek, the rear tire changer on Jamie McMurray's #26 Ford, also was injured on a pit stop and taken to Spalding Regional Medical Center. He suffered a broken left thumb and required stitches in his right forefinger.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(3-21-2006)

    • Francis Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award: The only person that Kasey Kahne couldn't outrun this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway was Mother Nature. Sunday afternoon's rain showers forced NASCAR to postpone the Golden Corral 500 until the following day, but Kahne had no problem leaving the field in his #9 Dodge Charger's wake once the race went green. Kahne's day earned his crew chief, Kenny Francis, the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. A panel of voters; including Tony Eury Sr., a member of the local media and a Wypall Wipers representative; all agreed that Francis deserved Crew Chief of the Race honors for putting Kahne in position to collect the win. For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, Francis was presented $1,000. At the end of the season the crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. This was Francis' first Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him with Darian Grubb for second-place in the standings. Robbie Reiser is in the lead with two wins.(Wypall PR)(3-21-2006)

    • TNA Wrestling to sponsor Hermie Sadler at Martinsville: TNA Wrestling, the new face in professional wrestling, will partner with Aarons Sales and Lease Ownership for Less in sponsoring #00 MBA Motorsports and driver Hermie Sadler in the Virginia 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race on April 2nd at Martinsville Speedway. The car will feature a special paint scheme that will promote the kick off of Autism Awareness month. Sadler has a daughter with Autism. TNA joins Aarons on the "Dream Machine" for Martinsville as they move their weekly show , "IMPACT" to Thursday nights on Spike TV beginning April 13. Spike is calling its new Thursday night lineup "Full Contact Thursday." In addition to IMPACT, TNA also does monthly live Pay-Per-View events. The TNA roster includes stars such as Sting, Jeff Jarrett, Christian Cage, Team 3-D and many others. For more information on TNA Wrestling, visit Sadler has been driving the Aarons Dream Maching this season in partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing, and looks forward to this partnership at Martinsville. "I appreciate Aarons and TNA Wrestling coming together to make Martinsville a special weekend for everyone. Autism Awareness is very important to us, and we look forward to sending that message at Martinsville." Aarons is also partnering with TNA Wrestling off the track at Martinsville, as they are sponsoring a live TNA event Saturday night, April 1, at the Old Lowes building just across from the speedway. The event will feature the stars of TNA Wrestling, as well as NASCAR personalities Elliott Sadler, Hermie Sadler, Kyle Petty, Scott Riggs, Michael Waltrip, and others. TNA is offering a $5.00 discount at the door for anyone that has a Martinsville Speedway ticket stub from Pole day or the truck series race, or a NASCAR license. For more information on the event and tickets, visit

      News from March 20, 2006

    • Harvick's price tag too high for GM? #29-Kevin Harvick has set too high a price tag in his contract renegotiations with General Motors, and it now seems unlikely that car owner Richard Childress will renew the deal, according to sources. The two have set an early April deadline. Harvick drives Nextel Cup [and Busch] cars for Childress, and also fields a Truck for Ron Hornaday and two Busch cars, for Burney Lamar, Ron Fellows, Tony Stewart and himself, all under Kevin Harvick Inc. Toyota would likely be willing to support Harvick with a full Nextel Cup-Busch-Truck package, but it is unclear if GM is willing to match that. And it's unclear if Harvick would back down on his price in order to stay with Chevrolet. That is all raising speculation about who Childress might hire to replace Harvick if Harvick does move on.(Winston Salem Journal); Harvick has been rumored to the Red Bull Toyota team and to Michael Waltrip Racing's 2nd team.(3-20-2006)

    • Kahne wins at Atlanta: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Las Vegas Motor Speedway, dominating the final 80 laps for his 2nd win of his career [other was Richmond last May] and 1st of the year. It is the first Dodge to win at Atlanta since Richard Petty won there in March 1977. Kahne is the first driver to win the spring race from the pole since Buddy Baker in 1979. #6-Mark Martin was 2nd, followed by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #24-Jeff Gordon and #20-Tony Stewart. Points leader, #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 6th and now leads the points by 50 over Kahne. #45-Kyle Petty came home 8th, his best finish since an 8th at Dover last Sept. #41-Reed Sorenson was the highest rookie of the year candidate with a 10th place finish. Johnson is now the only driver to score a top-10 finish in all four races of the 2006 season. #23-Bill Lester ran the whole race, but fell 6 laps down and finished 38th. There were 8 cautions for 43 laps and 27 lead changes with 12 leaders.
      Race Results on my Atlanta Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Atlanta page.
      Race Rundown: see my Atlanta Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(3-20-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Atlanta [4 of 36 races]:
      #48-Johnson, 690
      #9-Kahne, 640, -50
      #17-Kenseth, 612, -78
      #6-Martin, 600, -90
      #42-Mears, 554, -136
      #24-Gordon, 539, -151
      #8-Earnhardt Jr., 534, -156
      #5-Busch, 530, -160
      #88-Jarrett, 490, -200
      #07-Bowyer, 471, -219
      For drivers/owners points, see my
    • Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Atlanta page.(3-20-2006)

    • Atlanta Race Notes:
      • Kasey Kahne won the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, scoring his second career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 76th career start. Kahne won from the Bud Pole.
      • Kahne’s last victory came at Richmond, 29 races ago. He also won that race from the Bud Pole.
      • It was his first victory and fourth top-five finish in five Atlanta races.
      • Kahne scored his third top-five finish in four races this season. All four of his finishes in 2006 have been top 15s.
      • Kahne moved into second in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, the highest ranking of his career.
      • Kahne led four times, including the final 80 laps. He did not lead the most laps
      • Dodge scored its first Atlanta victory since Richard Petty won this race at Atlanta in 1977 – 29 years ago.
      • The last victory from the Bud Pole at Atlanta came in the fall of 1996 by Bobby Labonte.
      • Eight of the last nine race winners at Atlanta have won from a top-10 starting position.
      • This was team owner Ray Evernham’s eighth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory and first at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
      • Evernham Motorsports has won at least one race each season 2001– 2006, six consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • The last time a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race was won from the Bud Pole was by Matt Kenseth at Bristol in August 2005.
      • The best start to a season (after four races) was done twice. Herb Thomas (1954) and Bill Elliott (1992) each scored three victories in the first four races.
      • Mark Martin (second) has finished in the top-five in the last four races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He has scored four straight top-15 finishes to start the season. Martin climbed from fifth to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. One year ago Martin ranked fifth.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) scored his sixth top-five finish in 14 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He climbed from 11th to seventh in the NASCAR NEXTEL cup standings.
      • Jeff Gordon (fourth) scored his 12th top-five finish in 28 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It marked his second topfive finish in 2006, both in the last two races.
      • Tony Stewart (fifth) scored his fifth top-five finish in 15 races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was his second top-five finish in 2006. The defending NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Champion climbed from 19th to 12th in the point standings.
      • Jimmie Johnson (sixth) has finished four top-10 finishes, including two victories, in the first four races in 2006. He is the only driver to start the 2006 season with four top-10 finishes. He remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. Johnson has ranked among the top-10 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings for 73 straight races, a streak that began after race No. 4 at Atlanta in March 2004.
      • Paul Menard (seventh) scored his career best NASCAR NEXTEL Cup finish.
      • Reed Sorenson (10th) was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender in the 2006 Golden Corral 500. It marked the first top-10 finish of his short career.
      • Greg Biffle (16th) led the most laps (128) in the Golden Corral 500. The last time he led the most laps in a race was at California two races ago where he finished 42nd.
      • All seven of the 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders have competed in all four races in 2006 and two scored top-15 finishes in today’s race.
      • Joe Nemechek (17th) has been running at the finish in the last 36 races, a streak that began at Bristol last April and is the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(3-20-2006)

    • Rumblings - Atlanta: a day late but Kasey Kahne certainly wasn't a dollar short today at Atlanta Motor Speedway as he captured the Golden Corral 500 by daylight. Kasey's win from the pole (he's the first driver to do that since Matt Kenseth accomplished that feat at Bristol last August) was the second of his NEXTEL Cup career (he's tied for 92nd on the all-time win list) and the 8th for Ray Evernham. This victory was worth $203,664 from the over $4.8M in posted awards and puts the #9 Dodge on the Winners Circle Plan this season. Most of the action today came on pit road. We had loose lug nuts, accidents, a crew member run over, and the seemingly ever-present tire problems.
      Dale Earnhardt Jr (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Chicagoland last July.
      Paul Menard (7th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 27th at Watkins Glen last August.
      Kyle Petty (8th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Dover last September.
      Reed Sorenson (10th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 21st at California last month.
      Scott Riggs (11th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Michigan last August.
      STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races.
      Mark Martin has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Kyle Petty (+24), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (+23), Dale Jarrett (+22), Terry Labonte (+21), and Jamie McMurray (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Bobby Labonte (-39), followed by Kevin Harvick (-33), Kurt Busch (-28 ), Denny Hamlin (-24), Jeff Burton (-22), Carl Edwards (-22), and Jeremy Mayfield (-21). Petty Enterprises captures both ends of a very busy "Shaft" today.
      Jimmie Johnson retains the points lead after today....but new second place man Kasey Kahne is just 50 markers in arrears. Kyle Petty (33rd to 24th) made the best move forward this week, while Carl Edwards (23rd to 30th) went seven spots in the wrong direction.(

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