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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    APR 24-30, 2006





      News from April 30, 2006

    • Cup Testing at Lowe's - Tues/Wed: testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway was scheduled to start Monday, May 1st thru Wednesday, May 3rd. The drivers will not test Monday of course since the race at Talladega was postponed Sunday until Monday, May 1st, PLUS next weeks race is at Richmond...on Saturday, so this will be quite a short turn-a-round week for the teams, at least testing is close to home for most of the teams and the race in Richmond is not too far away. Any news or updated schedules will be reported when I fear about them.
      UPDATE: This week’s test at Lowe’s Motor Speedway will now be two days instead of three. Cars will hit the newly repaved 1.5-mile speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday from 1:00-9:00pm/et each day.(RacingOne/NASCAR.com)
      UPDATE 2: With rain postponing the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway until Monday, the testing session scheduled for Lowe's Motor Speedway has been cut from three days to two. NEXTEL Cup teams will now test the track's new asphalt on Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the May 20 NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and the May 28 Coca-Cola 600. Lowe's Motor Speedway's frontstretch grandstand will be open free of charge and fans should enter through Gate 5A, located next to the main ticket office.(Lowe's Motor Speedway PR)(4-30-2006)

    • Ernie Irvan Announces LAPS Walk 2006 Schedule: On the heels of last August's successful inaugural walkathon event at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), NASCAR racing legend Ernie Irvan and the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) have today announced the 2006 dates for Irvan's LAPS Walk, and have added the Pocono Raceway in Pocono, PA as an additional location. The event, which allows participants to walk the racetrack alongside Irvan and other current and former NASCAR drivers to raise awareness and funding for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) prevention and treatment, will occur on Friday, July 21 at Pocono (after Cup qualifying,) and Wednesday, August 16 at MIS in Brooklyn, MI. Irvan and the BIAA are also working on additional track locations for LAPS Walk and are expected to announce them soon. For a minimum $100 entry fee, anyone is able to participate and walk side-by-side with Irvan, as well as other current and former NASCAR drivers to raise money for TBI education, awareness and prevention. Registration for each event will begin on Friday, April 21, 2006. Interested individuals can register online at www.lapswalk.org. There are only a limited amount of walker positions available for each event and it is expected that registration will fill very quickly. In February of 2004, Irvan formed a non-profit organization called Race2Safety in order to educate the public about TBI and spearhead development of next-generation transportation head protection safety equipment for adults and children. Race2Safety is now a part of the Brain Injury Association of America, providing Ernie with the ability to spread his message across the country.(Marketwire.com)(4-30-2006)

    • Mayfield expects no changes: Despite a disastrous season to date, #19-Jeremy Mayfield said he foresees no major shakeup to his Evernham Motorsports team, which was reorganized late last year. “I don’t expect any changes other than we might add a few people. Chris (team director Andrews) and I have started to come together,” Mayfield said Saturday. “It hasn’t showed up yet, but it’s better than it was a couple of weeks ago as far as him understanding what I like and me understanding how he does things on the car. It’s just like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Michael Waltrip when they switched up (prior to the start of the 2005 season). You saw what happened on that deal. Dale Jr. couldn’t hit his butt and Michael took off running good. That’s just part of what we’re going through right now.”(Speed Channel)(4-30-2006)

    • No Agressive Driving allowed at Talladega: NASCAR race director David Hoots told drivers before the Aaron's 499 that the entire track - not just the turns - will be monitored for aggressive driving during Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR had extra officials in the turns at the season-opening race at Daytona to watch for aggressive driving after criticism that bump-drafting had escalated to an unacceptable level. "The aggressive driving zone has been expanded," Hoots said during the pre-race drivers meeting. "It will start at the start of the race as soon as you go across the start-finish line and will conclude when you complete the race - for all 2.66 miles around this race track and all 188 laps of the race. It will be considered all the way around the track." Hoots asked the drivers to err on the side of caution. "Remember drivers, it doesn't mean that you're given more latitude on the straightaway," Hoots said. "If you think you're getting ready to be too close to or crossing over that line, you need to throttle back and be on the conservative side and don't place yourself in the position of opening it up to our judgment of aggressive driving."(SceneDaily.com)(4-30-2006)

    • Sunday at Talladega...moves to Monday: cars were on their pace laps at Talladega on Sunday, with one lap to go before green when it started raining, the cars we taken to pit road to wait it out as of 2:11pm/et, then...as of 3:46pm/et the rain is still off and on and the track is still wet, supposedly NASCAR will make a decision by 4:30pm/et on plans as the track takes about two hours to dry and their are no lights at the track. The radar looks bad for another couple hours. Just about 4:00pm/et NASCAR announced the race was postponed until Monday, May 1st at 12:00noon/et [11am local Talladega time] and the race will be covered on TV via FX and some FOX affiliates, plus live on MRN Radio and XM Satellite radio, plus the race can be followed via my Racepage and updates on Jayski's Cingular Alerts. The weather forecast for Monday at Talladega calls for sunshine and 77 degrees.(4-30-2006)

    • WVa Miracle Miner Special Guest at Talladega: Aaron Rents, Inc. announced that West Virginia miner Randal McCloy Jr. and seven members of his family are attending the Aaron's Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway as special guests of Aaron's Sales and Lease Ownership President Ken Butler. Butler extended the invitation to the McCloy family a month earlier when he learned they were NASCAR fans. Aaron's is the entitlement sponsor of this weekend's races, and as such is able to provide Randy and his family with access to events such as the Victory Lane Celebration, the Driver Meeting, Driver Introductions and more. As part of his ongoing recovery process, McCloy's doctors have encouraged him to spend as much time with his family as possible and to enjoy as much rest and relaxation as he can.(Aaron's PR)(4-30-2006)


      News from April 29, 2006

    • Jarrett hopes to make decision for 2007 soon: #88-Dale Jarrett said he has talked to quite a few people about driving for them next season but would not say whether he has signed with Michael Waltrip Racing. Waltrip said Friday that he had talked with the Robert Yates Racing driver but had not signed him to run a second Toyota out of the Michael Waltrip Racing stable in 2007. "People know when the last year of your contract is, so they start talking and seeing what your interests are, especially in my case," Jarrett said Saturday following qualifying for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega. Jarrett said that he probably would make a decision in the next two or three weeks and that sponsor UPS is not necessarily tied to him. "That's Robert's sponsor," said Jarrett, referring to his current owner. "They came here because of what we accomplished at Robert Yates Racing, and that hasn't been a factor in determining what I'm going to do. The offers that I have had from everybody else aren't contingent upon bringing a sponsor."(SceneDaily.com)(4-29-2006)

    • Elliott Sadler looking for new gig? UPDATE 2 thru 2008: ....When Sadler arrived at Yates, he said it was a dream job, perhaps a lifetime job. And now? He's not so sure. Sources say Sadler is talking to other team owners looking for a deal. He'll be 31 on Sunday, and in a tight market for experienced, winning Cup drivers with plenty of years left, somebody likely will be interested. Sadler has a year remaining on his contract, and he may just be testing the waters in case things don't improve. Or he may be trying to create a situation like Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray did last year by signing a year in advance and then letting the car owners work out a deal for an early release.(in part from CNNSI column)(4-28-2006)
      UPDATE: been told that Sadler is signed thru 2008 with Robert Yates Racing, not just one more year.(4-28-2006)
      UPDATE 2: A report states that Jarrett’s teammate, Elliott Sadler, is frustrated and looking to join another team. One destination could be the Red Bull Racing Toyota team. Sadler admits he’s frustrated with how this season has gone _ he’s 14th in points _ but remains committed to Robert Yates Racing. Last June, Sadler signed a contract extension, along with sponsor M&M’s, to remain with the team through the 2008 season. “You just can’t change a team overnight,’’ Sadler said. “It’s going to be a long process. I’m here to stay at Robert Yates. I can’t see myself going anywhere.’’(Roanoke Times)(4-29-2006)

    • Waltrip talked to Jarrett...no 2nd driver yet: #55-Michael Waltrip said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway that he has personally offered #88-Dale Jarrett a contract to drive a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Camry Nextel Cup car in 2007. Toyota and Waltrip are also said to be wooing Jarrett’s sponsor, UPS, which is in the final year of its contract with Robert Yates Racing. Waltrip said he hopes to have a driver signed for 2007 in short order. “We want to get the driver lineup as soon as possible,” said Waltrip. “We want to hire the best driver we can get, and not be controversial about it. We’re going to try and get the biggest, best guy we can. The list was top guys for a while, then the list was top guys and medium guys and now it’s who do you think we can get? It might be a top guy, it might not be. It’s just a matter of what we can work out. It’s more important to my sponsors who we get than it is to Toyota.” Make no mistake about it, Toyota and its race teams are serious about spending money to hire talent: One team principal, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one of his managers received a $100,000 raise when he jumped ship and moved to a Toyota team recently. (Speed Channel)
      AND: Waltrip, who has sponsorship from NAPA for his Cup effort next year, did say he has sponsorship settled for two Nextel Cup teams but won't announce the other sponsor until he settles on a driver. Waltrip said he had talked with recently retired Ricky Rudd but only about possibly doing what Bill Elliott was eventually signed to do - run a partial schedule this year for MWR as it gets ready for the full-time effort. Larry Carter and Bobby Kennedy are building the Chevys for Bill Elliott to run this season with Burger King sponsorship. He said that should help build the team in getting ready for the Toyota debut next season. He also said he has sponsorship for one of his two Busch Series teams. He said he would like David Reutimann, the driver for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports in the trucks, drive one of those Busch cars. He also said that Reutimann's teammate, Joey Miller, is a possibility for the other Busch car.(SceneDaily.com)
      AND II: Michael Waltrip revealed on Friday that Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd have been asked about driving a Toyota next season — and he was emphatic about who was doing the wooing. Waltrip, who will field two Camrys in both the Cup and Busch series next season, said his team is handling all negotiations on incoming personnel without any help from the Japanese manufacturer.(USA Today)(4-29-2006)

    • Petty needs sponsor for 6-8 races: #45-Kyle Petty is looking for a sponsor for six to eight races to complete the sponsorship program for the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge he drives in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Petty said Friday that a company he had a signed contract with fell through, but he would not name the company. He said he would still drive his car in the unsponsored races. "Whether we have a sponsor or not, we're going to go to the race track," Petty said. "We have to do that, obviously. But at the same time, it puts you in a little bit different position than what we thought we were in January and where we thought we were last week." Petty said not having sponsorship for six to eight races would be "a burden," but he feels confident he can fill the gap. Petty has sponsorship from Wells Fargo, Schwan's, Tire Kingdom and Coca-Cola for various races throughout the season. He said losing the sponsor had nothing to do with performance.(SceneDaily.com)(4-29-2006)

    • Talladega Nights on sale at Talladega: NASCAR and Sony Pictures will begin selling merchandise this week online and at-track for one of the most anticipated comedies of the year – “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” While “Talladega Nights”, starring television and movie star Will Ferrell, hits theatres August 4, merchandise for the movie goes on sale this Thursday. In addition to being available online at NASCAR.com, NASCAR-licensed film merchandise will be available at track for the first time at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Ferrell, who will be playing NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby, will be the grand marshal for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499. Close to 10 different licensees will be selling movie merchandise either on NASCAR.com and/or in a “Talladega Nights”-specific hauler, with Motorsports Authentics, J.H. Design Group, Checkered Flag Sports and Gametime LLC leading the way with several different lines of shirts, jackets, watches and more. As part of this weekend’s merchandise launch, Motorsports Authentics will be running a promotion awarding fans with an opportunity to meet Ferrell and get their movie merchandise signed by the former “Saturday Night Live” star turned mega-movie star and NASCAR fan. All fans purchasing movie merchandise at-track between Thursday and Saturday at 1 p.m. will be entered into a drawing that will ultimately reward 50 lucky fans with a Sunday autograph session with Ferrell.(NASCAR PR)(4-29-2006)

    • Yeley to run ACT scheme at Talladega: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will display a unique paint scheme on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet to be driven by rookie J.J. Yeley during the April 30 Aaron's 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The sponsorship aims to help raise awareness about the need for improved asthma control and motivate patients with asthma to take the Asthma Control TestT (ACT), and share the results with their doctor. The ACT consists of five simple questions that help patients understand how their asthma affects them. GlaxoSmithKline also will bring its AsthmaControl.com mobile exhibit to the Talladega Superspeedway on April 30 to allow race fans with asthma to take the ACT, learn their asthma scores on site and receive racing souvenirs.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(4-27-2006)
      IMAGE: see an image of the car on my #18 Team Schemes page.(4-29-2006)

    • Sadler wins pole at Talladega: #38-Elliott Sadler won the Budweiser pole for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a lap of 188.511mph, for his 2nd straight pole at Talladega, 1st of 2006 and 7th of his career. #20-Stewart will start 2nd, followed by #99-Carl Edwards, #88-Dale Jarrett and #2-Kurt Busch. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 27th in the black Chevy, points leader, #17-Matt Kenseth starts 12th. #40-David Stremme was the fastest of the non top-35 drivers and will start 17th, #55-Michael Waltrip, also no longer in the top-35 in owners points, had to race in and did so, starting 21st. #27-Kirk Shelmerdine made the race and #4-Scott Wimmer gets the final starting spot. Missing the race were: #78-Wallace, #95-Barrett, #49-Sherman, #92-Blount, #09-MWallace and #89-Shepherd. For qualifying speeds, starting lineup, pole progression, non top-35 qualifiers on my Talladega Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(4-29-2006)

    • Talladega Qualifying Notes:
      • Elliott Sadler won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Aaron’s 499, lapping Talladega Superspeedway in 50.798 seconds at 188.511 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 44.998 seconds, 212.809 mph, set April 30, 1987 – prior to the advent of restrictor-plate racing. Elliott also holds the Talladega restrictor-plate record of 48.128 seconds, 199.388 mph, set May 4, 1990.
      • This is Sadler’s seventh career Bud Pole in 258 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
      • This is his first Bud Pole and third top-10 start in 2006. He became the seventh different Bud Pole winner this season.
      • This is Sadler’s third Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in 14 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, all in the past seven races here.
      • Tony Stewart posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 51.029 seconds, 187.658 mph – and will join Sadler on the front row for the Aaron’s 499. It is his fifth top-10 start in 2006, all third or better. Stewart’s career-best Talladega start is his seventh top-10 start in 15 races here.
      • This is the second Bud Pole for Ford in 2006. Chevrolet and Dodge each have three Bud Poles this season. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Carl Edwards (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 2006 – all top-fives. He has qualified in the top-10 in two of his four Talladega races.
      • Dale Jarrett (fourth) posted his first start better than 15th this season. Jarrett scored his 17th top-10 start in 39 races at Talladega, including five of the past six.
      • Kurt Busch (fifth) posted his eighth straight top-10 start of 2006. His only non-top 10 start came in the Daytona 500, when he started 13th. Busch posted his third top- 10 start in 11 races at Talladega.
      • Kirk Shelmerdine (22nd), who posted his career-best finish in the Daytona 500 this past February, posted his career-best start. His best start in his previous 24 races was 32nd in his career-first start set at Texas World Speedway in June 1981.
      • Hermie Sadler (24th) posted his best start since he started 21st in the 2005 Pepsi 500 at Daytona. This will be his 55th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(4-29-2006)

    • Ramblings - Talladega:
      In a sport where qualifying is separated by mere thousandths of a second, Elliott Sadler blew 'em away today at Talladega Superspeedway Sadler took the Bud Pole for tomorrow's Aaron's 499 with a time of 50.798 seconds (188.511 mph). His margin over outside pole man Tony Stewart was over 2/10th of a second! To put that in perspective, 2nd thru 9th is separated by that same margin. Somebody check to see if he got a tow! This is Elliot's 7th career pole (tho his first since Lowe's last October), and he becomes the 7th different qualifier for next February's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
      Teammate Dale Jarrett (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole when we were here last October.
      Joe Nemechek (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Texas last November.
      David Stremme (17th) has his career best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 22nd at Homestead last November.
      Robby Gordon (19th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Phoenix last November.
      Michael Waltrip (21st) has his best starting spot since he qualified 19th at California last September.....all it takes is a little pressure, eh Mikey?
      Kirk Shelmerdine (22nd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 32nd at Texas World Speedway in June of 1981! We dig however deep it takes.....
      Hermie Sadler (24th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 21st at Daytona last July (only 7 races).
      Travis Kvapil (26th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 12th at Martinsville last October.
      STREAKIN....Kurt Busch has 8 Top-10 starts in a row.
      Greg Biffle has 8 Top-10 starts in a row.
      Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans)(4-29-2006)

    • Waltrip says he must race Sunday: Michael Waltrip, who will have to qualify his #55 NAPA Dodge on speed for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, will celebrate his 43rd birthday on Sunday and hopes to have more cause to celebrate with a starting spot: "If we have a problem getting in I'll probably have to nose around to find another ride to race on Sunday. It's my birthday and I can't miss the race."(Talladega Superspeey Pit Notes)(4-29-2006)


      News from April 28, 2006

    • Fifth Annual Dale Earnhardt Day Celebration April 29th: Organizers at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. have confirmed that celebrations honoring the life and legacy of Dale Earnhardt will take place at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., on Saturday, April 29, 2006 from 9:00am - 4:00pm. Dale Earnhardt will be honored and inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on April 27 in Talladega, Ala. The Busch Series race will be held on Dale's birthday, April 29th. In honor of both events, this year's theme will highlight Dale's incredible track record at Talladega International Speedway. Dale Earnhardt is the winningest driver at Talladega with 10 trips to Victory Lane during his illustrious career. His 76th, and final, victory occurred at the 2.66-mile superspeedway on October 15, 2000 when he roared from 17th to first in the final laps.
      Fans attending the Dale Earnhardt Day festivities at Dale Earnhardt, Inc. on Saturday, April 29 are in for a special day. Aside from all the functions and activities that surround the birthday of our co-founder and seven-time NASCAR champion, they will also get to hear from a major network news anchor. Brian Williams, lead anchor of NBC Nightly News, will be the Grand Marshall. A fan of NASCAR and friend of Dale Earnhardt, Williams will preside over the 3:00pm/et ceremony to officially mark Dale's birthday. He will share stories of his relationship with Dale and assist the Dale Earnhardt Foundation in recognizing achievements from the past year. He will join Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of DEI, at the 3:00pm/et. ceremony, as well. They will sign a special Dale Earnhardt Day flag which will be auctioned during the day. Later in the afternoon, Williams will be honored during a VIP guest reception. And, just like last year, there will be some autographed sheet metal and other exclusive items up for auction throughout the day. The first silent auction is from 9:00am - 12:00pm/et and the second one will run from 1:00 - 3:00pm/et. The main silent auction will begin at 9:00pm/et and end at 3:00pm/et featuring 10 items of very exclusive nature. For more information of times and events, activities, places to stay and things to do while in town for Dale Earnhardt Day, check out www.DaleEarnhardtInc.com under the Legacy Section..(4-24/28-2006)

    • #09 Now a Ford: it was noted on the Talladega Qualifying Order that the #09 Miccosukee Resort Dodge was changed to the Miccosukee Resort Ford, no word if this is permanent or just for Talladega. Speed Channel Happy Hour practice reported the #09 Ford Taurus was purchased from RYR and has a leased Roush-Yates engine.(4-28-2006)

    • Final TV ratings down for Phoenix: Final Nielsen Media Research ratings for last Saturday night's Subway Fresh 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway were down 5.8 percent from last year's race, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. This year's race earned a 4.8 rating and a 9 market share, down from 5.1/10 last year, but it was still the weekend's highest rated sports event.(SceneDaily.com), see my TV Ratings page for the 206 Ratings Chart.(4-28-2006)

    • Talladega Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . both Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run the same tire set-up this weekend . . . while this combination is part of the superspeedway group for 2006, Talladega is the only track at which teams will run these codes . . . this set-up is slightly different than the one run at NASCAR's other restrictor plate track at Daytona . . . as on all ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Talladega . . . the inflation of the inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 34-36 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see more on my Talladega Race Info/Rundown Page.(4-28-2006)

    • Rookie News and Notes: Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the April 22 Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Bowyer finished fifth, his first top-five in nine career NEXTEL Cup Series starts. He led for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup Series career, holding the top spot three times for 21 laps. Bowyer took top rookie honors for the second time this season. Bowyer qualified eighth at Phoenix, the best qualifying effort of his NEXTEL Cup career. Bowyer took the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings over Denny Hamlin at Phoenix. He enjoys an eight-point lead (85-77) over Hamlin entering the April 30 Aaron's 499 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, The Subway Fresh 500 is the second consecutive race where TWO or more Raybestos Rookies led at least one lap: Bowyer and J.J. Yeley, who led once for one lap. The 2002 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway is most recent NEXTEL Cup Series race where TWO Raybestos Rookies finished inside the top five. Jimmie Johnson finished fourth ahead of Ryan Newman, who placed fifth. The late Davey Allison is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Aaron's 499 at Talladega. He won the 1987 event by .78 second over Terry Labonte. Allison also led the most laps in the race, holding the top spot six times for 108 of the 178 laps (the event was shortened by 10 laps due to darkness). Allison remains the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in the Aaron's 499 and holds the record for most laps led by a rookie in the spring race at Talladega. Since Allison's win in 1987, a Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-five in the Aaron's 499 just twice: Tony Stewart (fifth in 1999) and Kurt Busch (third in 2001). Only one Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position in 35 previous Aaron's 499 races at Talladega Superspeedway: Jimmie Johnson (2002).(Raybestos PR), for many more notes, standings and more, see my Rookie Page.(4-28-2006)

    • #61 gets Talladega sponsor: Front Row Motorsports announced that State Water Heaters will be the Primary Sponsor on the #61 Ford for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. State has an impressive heritage and market leading products.State Industries was founded in 1946, as a small entrepreneurial company in Nashville, TN. In the years that followed, State expanded and became a leader in the water heating industry, through steadfast commitments to providing water heater solutions for years of dependable service.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(4-28-2006)

    • Penske News: #2 crew chief back; Window Net problem looked at: #2-Kurt Busch crew chief Roy McCauley was back on the job at Penske Racing South early Monday after missing the race weekend at Phoenix. McCauley missed the Nextel Cup race after undergoing a minor heart procedure during the week. He is already at Talladega Superspeedway with his NASCAR team for this weekend's Aaron's 499. "I told them that I'd take it easy over the weekend last week, and I did just that," McCauley said. "But I also told them that at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, we were going back to my normal schedule."(SceneDaily.com)
      AND: Penske Racing South crew members are intent on making sure that a window net problem never costs one of their drivers points again. At Phoenix, #2-Kurt Busch's window net came loose, and he lost laps pitting to fix it. NASCAR requires window nets be secure anytime a driver is on the track.(SceneDaily.com)(4-28-2006)

    • #74 appeals NASCAR fine and penalties UPDATE: #74-McGlynn Racing announced today that the have formally requested a hearing with the National Stock Car Racing Commission for the [25 point] penalties issued to owner, Raynard McGlynn, driver Derrike Cope as well as the $50,000 fine issued to crew chief, Domenic Turse.(McGlynn Racing PR)(4-23-2006)
      UPDATE: Derrike Cope says McGlynn Motorsports' appeal of a $50,000 fine and 25 points for an illegal intake manifold at Texas is scheduled for next Tuesday. Cope, the driver of the team's #74 Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, said the team was using a new intake manifold, and when a NASCAR official saw them putting it on the car, they were told it was probably illegal. The car never actually went through inspection with the illegal manifold. "We're going to go through the appeal ... and see if there is some type of situation that could reduce the fine," Cope said. The team sat out the Phoenix race and will sit out the Talladega race with hopes of returning at Richmond.(SceneDaily.com)(4-28-2006)

    • NCMA Appoints Andy Papathanassiou Executive Director: The board of the North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) today named Andy Papathanassiou as the executive director of the organization. He will also serve as the executive director of the North Carolina Motorsports Foundation, the educational and charitable arm of the industry in the state. The NCMA is the voice of the motorsports' industry in North Carolina representing businesses in the state that support more than 26,000 jobs. In addition to his role with NCMA, Papathanassiou began his career in the motorsports' industry in 1992. As a crew member and pit-crew coach, he won four championships (1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001) with the #24 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team of driver Jeff Gordon before assuming his current role in which he oversees crew training and employee development. Papathanassiou will continue the work of retiring NCMA and NCMF executive director Ed McLean. For information on the NCMA go to ncmotorsportsassociation.org.(4-28-2006)


      News from April 27, 2006

    • Toyota looking at Rudd? Ricky Rudd confirmed Wednesday that Toyota is courting him. He's honored, but to date has politely declined. This retirement thing ain't so bad. "I've had a few conversations with different folks, and that's one group," Rudd said. "It's a two-way conversation. I'm not ready to come back right now, but there has been conversation. They've got to move on with their program, and their timeline and mine are not the same. I wanted to take a year off." That's not to say he's ruled it out completely, however. Rudd has pinpointed a September commitment time regarding his racing future. Might he come back? "I enjoy race day a lot, but not the grind of the schedule," Rudd said. "I'm liable to get bored and restless, though, but haven't yet."(NASCAR.com)(4-27-2006)

    • 4th RCR team,,,with Mears? denied: RCR team sources tell [Marty Smith - NASCAR.com] the organization would like to add a fourth team with [Casey] Mears [current driver of Ganassi's #42 Dodge] as driver, but RCR spokesman David Hart discounted the speculation Wednesday. "No decisions have been made to add a fourth team with Casey Mears or any other driver," Hart said.(NASCAR.com)(4-27-2006)

    • Manufacturers title up for grabs: While NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers battle each other on the track and in the series standings, the automotive manufacturers they represent are locked in a season-long title hunt all their own. Three manufacturers - Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford - vie each year for the Manufacturers' Championship, and those standings are tightly locked through eight of 36 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup events. Heading into Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, Chevrolet leads with 56 points and four wins. Dodge is second with 49 points and three wins. Ford is third with 47 points and one win. While second-place Dodge trails Chevrolet by only five points, the margin is even tighter between Dodge and Ford – only two points prevent a tie for second place [highest gets 9 points, then next 6, then 4, next year with Toyota, 4th place gets 3]. Dodge has held the runner-up spot for the last four races. Dodge seeks its first Talladega win since August 1976, when Dave Marcis won the Talladega 500.(NASCAR PR), see my Manufacturers Championship page for the standings, which drive was highest at each race, which driver have scored the most points, manufacturers all time wins, and more.(4-27-2006)

    • #61 Team Sold? UPDATE: hearing that #61 team owner, Jeff Stec has sold the #61 Peak Fitness Motorsports team that Kevin Lepage drivers for the Furniture Row Motorsports, the team that #78-Kenny Wallace drives for. Unclear if it will become a two-car team or merged into the current one car operation. The #61 runs Fords while the #78 runs Chevy's.
      UPDATE: looks like my sources were a little confused as to what team, it is Front Row Motorsports [not Furniture Row Motorsports].......Front Row Motor Sports owner Bob Jenkins, and Jeff Stec have formed a limited partnership to campaign the #61 Ford Fusion for the remainder of the 2006 NASCAR season. Greg Conner and the balance of the #61 team members will be integrated into the Front Row Motorsports organization beginning this week with the running of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. Kevin Lepage will continue to drive the #61 car. “The #61 team has gotten off to a good start this year by making 6 of the first 8 races. By combining resources and sharing knowledge, we are confident that we can improve each of our teams,” states Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins. “We are looking to upgrade both our qualifying and race day efforts. We are excited about the opportunities this presents our team and the advantages we can gain by working together.”(Front Row Motorsports PR)(4-27-2006)

    • Sunoco wins Pocono award: Sunoco, Inc. one of the leading manufacturers and marketers of petroleum and petrochemical products has been named the 2006 recipient of Pocono Raceway's Bill France Award of Excellence. The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence has been presented annually to the person, corporation or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the sport of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Racing. This prestigious award, first presented in 1977, is dedicated to the inspiration of Bill France Sr., founder of NASCAR. Sunoco, the world's largest manufacturer of premium racing gasoline, became the "Official Fuel of NASCAR" in 2004. Under a 10 year agreement, Sunoco provides racing gasoline for NASCAR's three national series - the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as well as NASCAR's Dodge Weekly Series. With over 4,800 retail locations, Sunoco provides NASCAR with the opportunity for numerous marketing and cross-promotions. Sunoco's product quality and proven distribution network combined with the rich Sunoco racing heritage "made the grade" when NASCAR selected Sunoco as the fuel of choice. Sunoco is the best in class in the race fuel industry. Even before their sponsorship agreement with NASCAR, Sunoco distributed racing gasoline to more than 400 racetracks and over 40 other race sanctioning associations in the United States. "Because NASCAR literally runs on fuel, Sunoco has become a vital partner in NASCAR's recent success," stated Pocono Raceway C.E.O Dr. Joseph Mattioli. "We are proud to announce that Sunoco, a Pennsylvania corporation, has been named the recipient of Pocono Raceway's 2006 Bill France Award of Excellence," concluded Dr. Mattioli. "On behalf of Sunoco employees, dealers and distributors, I am pleased to accept this prestigious award," stated Bob Owens, Sunoco's Senior Vice President. "We are all honored to be recognized by our home state's premier track. As you know, our involvement in NASCAR has been a source of great pride for the whole Sunoco team." The Pocono Raceway Bill France Award of Excellence, a beautifully sculptured and highly polished piece of anthracite coal mined in Pennsylvania, will be presented to Sunoco at an award ceremony on Saturday, June 10, 2006. This ceremony is part of the festivities leading up to the June 11, 2006 Pocono 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway.(Pocono Raceway PR)(4-27-2006)

    • Earnhardt, Gant, Guthrie, Roush and Wheeler to be inducted in IMHOF UPDATE 2 TV: While most everyone expected Dale Earnhardt to be among the five individuals that will be honored next April with induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, very few would have anticipated the overall strength of the Class of 2006 being what it is. "This is one heck of a class for 2006," declared IMHOF Executive Director Jim Freeman. "We are pleased to announce that we will induct Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, Janet Guthrie, Jack Roush and Humpy Wheeler next April 27th." Earnhardt, of course, is the seven-time Winston Cup champion and Gant is one of the all-time greats in both Cup and Busch racing. Guthrie is the first female to race in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. Roush's race teams have won titles in drag racing, sports cars, Craftsman trucks, Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series. Wheeler is the long-time innovative promoter at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. While the quintet has a definite NASCAR flavor, three of the future inductees also have made names for themselves outside of the stock car world. Guthrie, and Wheeler have been involved in sports cars and Indy cars during their careers, while Roush has been successful in several different racing series.
      Tickets will go on sale on November 7th for the 16th annual induction ceremony that will take place on the Thursday evening of the first race weekend of 2006 at Talladega. The induction will be held in the Speed Channel Dome at the Hall of Fame. In addition to the five inductees, the 2005 Driver of the Year will also be honored that evening.(IMHOF PR)(11-3-2005/4-24-2006)
      UPDATE SPEED will air a one-hour special from the 16th Annual International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on May 1 at 10:00pm/et from the SPEED Dome in Talladega. This year's inductees include Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, Janet Guthrie, Jack Roush and Humpy Wheeler. The special will re-air at May 6 at 1:00pm/et.(Speed Channel)(4-25-2006)
      UPDATE 2: hearing Darrell Waltrip will be inducting Janet Guthrie, no word on the others.(4-27-2006)


      News from April 26, 2006

    • Tragic News UPDATE new track rule: Talladega County Coroner Jerry Castleberry says two men were killed today after being electrocuted at the Talladega Superspeedway. Castleberry says 39-year-old Keith Stell of Birmingham and 42-year-old Ronny Wright of Remlap died instantly. The men were camping at the speedway and were electrocuted after the flagpole they were trying to erect fell into some power lines. Castleberry said witnesses at the scene said gusts of wind caused the flagpole to fall. He said the men had still been holding on to the pole when it touched the power lines and they --quote-- "didn't have a chance."(wtvm.com/AP)(4-24-2006)
      UPDATE Track Director of Public Relations Kristi King told Claire B. Lang XM Satellite NASCAR Radio that Talladega Superspeedway will implement a new rule this weekend following the tragic death of two campers there..."What our new policy is that we put in place today...no metal flag poles of any kind will be allowed on speedway property. That does include the infield and all of the overnight parks beginning this weekend and that goes for all future talladega superspeedway events."(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(4-26-2006)

    • Event in Mooresville: TNA Wrestling has a live event scheduled for Friday, May 26 at Lake Norman High School in Mooresville, NC during race week at Lowes Motor Speedway. For information on the event, as well as information on how to purchase the DVD of the Martinsville TNA show held April 1st. featuring NASCAR personalities Darrell Waltrip, Michael Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Scott Riggs, Jeff Hammond, and others, visit www.uwfusa.com.(4-26-2006)

    • What is up with Casey Atwood? former #19 Evernham Motorsports driver Casey Atwood, 25, is sitting home, out of sport, without a ride. Atwood has been unavailable for comment on his future, but last week his father Terry said "as far as I know nothing is happening. The last time I talked to Casey he said he hadn't found anything." After leaving the Nextel Cup Series Atwood hoped to start over in the second-tier Busch Series, but so far that hasn't happened. "Part of the problem is that so many Cup drivers are running Busch now that it cuts down on opportunities for young drivers," Terry Atwood said. Atwood signed with Ray Evernham in 2000 and made his first Cup start that September at Richmond, Va. He ran his first full season in 2001, winning a pole at Phoenix and finishing third at Homestead. Despite that strong rookie season, the next year Evernham made a major shakeup. He put Jeremy Mayfield in Atwood's Dodge and moved Atwood into a [#7] car co-owned by Jim Smith. Evernham at the time was spearheading Dodge's return to NASCAR and explained that he wanted a more experienced driver in his primary car. Atwood's new car was not competitive. After struggling through a disappointing season, he and Evernham parted company. Atwood at one time was considered to have Jeff Gordon-type potential. Now his career may be over. Atwood has said he is "disappointed" by the turn of events but refused to blame Evernham. "Ray did what he thought he needed to do for the sake of his team," Atwood said. "I don't have any hard feelings toward him." "Ray gave up too quick on Casey," Terry Atwood said. "I don't know if he was feeling pressure from the Dodge people or what. Casey had some good races and everybody thought he was progressing well. Then one day it was all over. To my knowledge Ray has never given anybody an explanation about what happened. All I know is that it was a big setback for Casey and he has yet to recover from it." (in part from the Tennessean)(4-26-2006)

    • Elledge Extends Contract with Ganassi: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge has signed a multi-year contract extension with the organization. Elledge is currently the crew chief for NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rookie Reed Sorenson and the #41 Target team. "Jimmy has been instrumental in the development of our young drivers," said Team Owner Chip Ganassi. "He has incredible patience and leadership skills which are an asset to any organization. I'm pleased to have him as part of the present and future at Chip Ganassi Racing."
      "I'm excited about extending my relationship with Chip and Felix (Sabates)," said Elledge. "There are a lot of good people here committed to seeing this team succeed, and if we continue to keep building and working together as one team we'll get there. I'm very pleased with the direction this organization is heading and I'm looking forward to being a part of it. Also, the relationship between Reed and I, and everyone on this team is developing at a rapid pace. We're right on the verge of something very special." Over the past three seasons Elledge worked with CGRFS driver Casey Mears who piloted the red and white Dodge from 2003 to 2005. Elledge led Mears to consecutive pole positions in 2004 at Pocono and Indianapolis, and to five top-10 finishes over the final nine races of 2005.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(4-26-2006)

    • #07 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Phoenix: Clint Bowyer's pit crew captured the Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition in Saturday night's race at Phoenix International Raceway, helping propel its rookie driver to a Nextel Cup career-high fifth-place finish. The program awards $10,500 per week to the [eligible] pit crew of the car spending the least amount of time on pit road. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. "The guys did a good job on pit road," said Gil Martin, crew chief of Bowyer's #07 Chevrolet. "They stayed in sync pretty well and Clint did a good job getting on and off pit road. The guys were consistent and we did what we needed to do. They beat everybody off of pit road towards the end of the race, so that shows how well they kept their composure. All-in-all, it was a very good night." Bowyer's Jack Daniel's machine spent 266.258 seconds on pit road during the 312-lap race. Bowyer's over-the-wall crew consists of: Carey Wimbish (jackman), Dail Long (front-tire carrier), Shane Westerberg (front-tire changer), Dustin Stanley (rear-tire carrier), Tommy Wallace (rear-tire changer), Ron Liddell (gasman), Clint Almquist (catch can) and Troy Welty (windshield). The team's pit stop coordinator is Corinne Mauldin. Bowyer's crew, part of the Richard Childress Racing stable, becomes the sixth different team to win the Checkers/Rally's weekly competition. Pit crews for Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart, Elliott Sadler, and Denny Hamlin have also scored wins. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series.
      Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.
      2006 Nextel Cup Winners
      Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge
      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
      Bristol (3/26) Tony Stewart Team
      Martinsville (4/2) Elliott Sadler Team
      Texas (4/9) Denny Hamlin Team
      Phoenix (4/22) Clint Bowyer Team
      (DMF Communications PR)(4-26-2006)

    • Berrier Wins WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race: Team owner Richard Childress may have been the one on a hunting trip this weekend, but it was his driver Kevin Harvick who came home with the trophies. Harvick won both the Busch Series and Nextel Cup Series races at Phoenix International Raceway, bringing each of his crew chiefs, Shane Wilson and Todd Berrier, the WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award. Following each race, a panel of voters; including Tony Eury Sr., Robbie Reiser, a member of the local media and a WypAll Wipers representative; cast their vote for the crew chief they thought made the biggest impact on his team. Wilson and Berrier were voted the WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race for their solid runs. In the Subway Fresh 500 on Saturday, it wasn't until lap 304 that Harvick cruised into the lead, putting him at the point for the final nine laps. For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, WypAll Wipers gave Berrier $1,000. At the end of the season, the Nextel Cup crew chief with the most weekly wins will receive $20,000 and be crowned the WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Year. This was Berrier's first Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him with Darian Grubb and Roy McCauley for second-place in the standings. Robbie Reiser and Kenny Francis are tied for the lead, each with two wins.(Wypall PR)(4-26-2006)

    • Kenny Wallace to Drive National Day of Prayer Car Talladega: Kenny Wallace is scheduled to drive the National Day of Prayer car #78 sponsored by Furniture Row for the Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. The National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States of America when the Continental Congress issued a proclamation setting aside a day of prayer in 1775. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and, in 1988, that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May. For more information visit www.nationaldayofprayer.org. In commemoration of the day, which falls on Thursday, May 4th, the #78 Furniture Row Chevy Monte Carlo CUP car will feature a new red, white and blue paint scheme showcasing the National Day of Prayer logo for Talladega on April 30. For more information on the team, please visit furniturerowracing.com or for Wallace, see Kennywallace.com.(PR), see an image of the scheme on my #78 Team Schemes page.(4-26-2006)

    • New spotter for Bowyer: Fedawa: Busch Series veteran driver Tim Fedewa has joined Richard Childress Racing (RCR) as the spotter for Clint Bowyer's #07 Jack Daniel's Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series and the #2 ACDelco Chevy in the Busch Series. "It's pretty exciting to be part of a championship organization like RCR," said Fedewa. "Up until just a few weeks ago, I was spotting some Busch races on Saturday's but I knew I wanted to work on Sunday's too. (Mike) Dillon saw me on the spotter's stand and asked me who I was spotting for and I told him who it was, but that it was only on a temporary basis. He asked me if would consider spotting for Clint on both days. It was too good of an offer to turn down. We've got a couple races under our belts already and it seems to be working out pretty well."(RCR PR)(4-26-2006)

    • Shelmerdine back at Talladgea: #27 Kirk Shelmerdine is back on the track! After an impressive 20th place finish in the 2006 Daytona 500, Shelmerdine plans to compete in Talladega's upcoming race on April 30, 2006: The Aaron's 499. Shelmerdine retreated from the spotlight after Daytona to work on the #27 and scout potential sponsors. KSR continues to offer unique sponsorship opportunities that cater to the needs and budget of each and every potential sponsor. Contact info and team/driver info at www.kirkshelmerdine.com.(MLF Sports PR)(4-26-2006)

    • #31 jackman returns to Talladega: #31 Team Cingular jackman Josh Yost will return to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the first time since he was hit on pit road during last season’s Aaron’s 499, severely injuring his right foot and ankle. Following multiple surgeries to repair damage to the tendons in his ankle, Yost started walking in mid-July, began physical therapy in August, returned to work in the shop at RCR in November and then resumed his role as Team Cingular jackman in the 2006 season opening Daytona 500.(RCR PR)(4-26-2006)

    • STP back on #43 at Talladega: This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 STP Dodge team head to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday's Aaron's 499. The #43 Dodge will carry a retro STP paint scheme designed to pay tribute to one of the longest sponsorships in history of motorsports. It will be the first time in six years that STP has been the primary sponsor. They will commemorate the event by donating $43 for each lap completed to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.(Petty Racing PR), see image of the #43 STP car on my #43 Team Schemes page.(4-26-2006)

    • Reese's back on the #29: The #29 Reese’s Chevy that Kevin Harvick will drive is sporting Reese’s Caramel Cups once again this weekend in Talladega. Last time Reese’s Caramel Cups were on the #29 Chevy, Reese’s Caramel Cups is one of six special paint schemes Reese’s will run throughout the 2006 season. Harvick teamed up with 2004 IRL Champion and Hershey’s driver Tony Kanaan to film a commercial promoting the new Reese’s Caramel Cups. Race fans can see what is going on with the #29 Reese’s Racing team at www.reesesracing.com.(RCR PR)(4-26-2006)

    • Home Depot Store Represented at Talladega: Home Depot store #6901, located in East Brunswick, N.J., will be represented on the lower rear quarterpanel of the #20 Home Depot Chevy that Tony Stewart will drive during the Aaron's 499. Store #6901 was judged to be the outstanding store of the past week, thereby earning its place on the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing machine.[wich is done each week](True Speed Communications PR)(4-26-2006)

    • NASCAR Art at Hickory Museum of Art: NASCAR Inspired will engage and surprise with its variety and complexity of art forms at the Hickory Museum of Art in Hickory, NC, showing viewers that there is more depth, fore-thought and spirit behind this sport than just Sunday Racin'! This exhibition, organized and curated in-house features over 100 artists from across the country, including England. Not often is racing and art combined in such a way to provide viewers with a connection between the two. Through film, paintings, sculpture, folk art and a variety of media, the artists in this show define a new way of interpreting this genre and will challenge the viewer to look at NASCAR in a completely different way. The exhibit runs from April 29 - September 17, 2006.
      and....Through a collaboration between Hickory Museum of Art and the Piedmont Council of the Boy Scouts of America, an ART CAR exhibition and competition will be installed in the Coe Gallery as part of the NASCAR Inspired exhibition. With a focus on creativity and imagination, Cub Scouts will begin with a small pine box generally used for Pinewood Derby Racing, to create ART CARS with categories such as: most colorful, strangest shape, funniest, most NASCAR Inspired and many more! The installation will run from May 16 to August 1st, 2006. The awards ceremony will be May 20, at 2 PM concluding our NASCAR Inspired Art Fest. All ART CAR winners will receive awards graciously donated by Dale Jarrett, Inc. More info at hickorymuseumofart.org.(4-26-2006)


      News from April 25, 2006

    • Dale Jr. scheme at Talladega? UPDATE OFFICIAL, IMAGES #1 also: hearing Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive a black #8 Budweiser Chevy at Talladega in the Aaron's 499 in honor of Dale Earnhardt's induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame this week.(4-23-2006)
      UPDATE: ESPN's Mike Massaro reported on ESPNEWS 4Qtrs tonight that DEI is expected to make an announcement later this week that Dale Jr. will run a black #8 Budweiser Chevy in honor of his father, 10 time Talladega winner, Dale Earnhardt. There is also a rumor that Dale Jr. would run the #3 also, but have not heard that and the image clearly shows the #8.(4-24-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is expected to announce that he will pilot a black Budweiser Chevy during the "three days" of on track action this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway in honor of his father's induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. More details of this special paint scheme that will resemble the famous #3 could come in Tuesday's NASCAR NEXTEL Teleconference where Earnhardt Jr. will be the guest. Earnhardt Jr. is also scheduled to appear live on QVC’s For Race Fans Only from Talladega on Friday at 8:00pm/et. This could be the first time we see a die-cast version of the car.(RacingOne)(4-25-2006)
      UPDATE 3: In a unified effort, the primary sponsors of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. will pay tribute to Dale Earnhardt with special paint schemes at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. The schemes will salute Dale Earnhardt Day (April 29th), his induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame and his accomplishments at Talladega. Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR champion is the winningest driver at Talladega with 10 trips to Victory Lane. Fittingly, his 76th Nextel Cup victory occurred at the track in October of 2000. And, he did it in Earnhardt fashion by coming from 17th to first in the closing laps. The #1 Bass Pro Shops, #8 Budweiser and #11 Menards Chevys will carry paint schemes reminiscent of the familiar black theme Dale Earnhardt ran while driving for DEI in the Busch Series. Additionally, Bass Pro Shops will sponsor Martin Truex, Jr. in Saturday's Busch Series race. Truex, a two-time Busch Series champion and two-time winner of the NBS race at Talladega, will drive the #8 black Bass Pro Shops Chevy.
      "I think this is a great tribute to Dale on such a special weekend," said Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. "To have all of our sponsors come together with this tribute and want to be a part of it says a lot about the respect they have for Dale's accomplishments." In addition to the black paint schemes, Dale Earnhardt Day and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction, all Busch Series teams are being asked to carry a Dale Earnhardt Legacy Logo on their cars. Fans are asked to participate from the grandstands, or wherever they are watching the race, by raising three fingers in the air on Lap 3 of Saturday's Busch Series race.(DEI PR / fingerprintinc PR), see images on the #8 Team Schemes page and the #1 Team Schemes page and see the two Busch cars on my 2006 Busch Series Schemes page.(4-25-2006)

    • Fennig to Ganassi? Denied: hearing former #26/97/6 Rosuh Racing crew chief, Jimmy Fennig is the new team manager at Chip Ganassi Racing.
      UPDATE: been to by folks at Ganassi that the hiring of Jimmy Fennig is not true.(4-25-2006)

    • NASCAR Looking at Kyle Busch - Mears incident UPDATE no penalties: #5-Kyle Busch didn't have much to say and #42-Casey Mears probably didn't feel there was much to say about Busch's running into Mears under the red flag following their accident on lap 100 of the Nextel Cup race Saturday. Busch was mad at Mears over the accident in the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway and showed his displeasure with the light tap. Busch was about 45 laps down when he returned to the race and NASCAR held him five laps for rough driving, but Busch would have finished in the same position with or without the five-lap penalty. NASCAR will revisit the issue this week to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted. After meeting with NASCAR officials in the hauler following the race, Busch left the track without commenting to reporters, and Mears, frustrated with his car even before the Busch tap, was atypically terse. "I'm not really worried about Kyle," Mears said. When asked if he was surprised Busch hit him during the red flag, Mears replied: "I'm not surprised with anything he does."(SceneDaily.com)(4-24-2006)
      UPDATE: NASCAR has decided it will neither fine nor take points away from #5-Kyle Busch for running into the back of #42-Casey Mears during the red flag period of last Saturday's Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, according to NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp. NASCAR officials met with Busch following the race and Tharp indicated on Tuesday that NASCAR now considers the issue closed. After leaving the hauler, Alan Gustafson, Busch's crew chief, said he hoped the team would not get a penalty. "[NASCAR said] just that we need to respect the red flag, and I agree with them," Busch's crew chief, Alan Gustafson, said after leaving the hauler. "he No. 1 priority in that situation is the safety of other people and that's what we've got to worry about."(SceneDaily.com)(4-25-2006)

    • GM looking for Penske to lead? on Sunday's Wind Tunnel [Speed Channel on Sunday's at 9:00pm/et], Robin Miller said he heard from someone a little bit connected in Detroit [home of Chevy/Ford] that General Motors is thinking about pursuing Roger Penske to take over General Motors [Chevy]. Not much more to it and have to wonder since Dodge is signed with Penske Racing in NASCAR thru at least 2007.(4-25-2006)

    • Phoenix overnight TV Ratings down: Fox's broadcast of Saturday night's Subway Fresh 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway earned a 4.1 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 7 market share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 8.9% lower than the 4.5/8 Fox earned overnight in 2005, but the race still recorded the highest figures of any weekend sports event. ABC's broadcast of Sunday's NBA playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns was second with a 4.0 overnight rating.(SceneDaily.com)(4-25-2006)

    • Stewart to the back...tire change UPDATE why?: #20-Stewart's team changed tires on his car, if you qualify in the top-10, you MUST start the race on the tires you qualified with, so Stewart goes to the back of the field before the start of the race at Phoenix.[MRN Radio](4-22-2006)
      UPDATE: Stewart qualified his #20 Home Depot Chevrolet third, but due to a miscommunication amongst the team, the tires with which Stewart posted that third-place qualifying time were taken to Goodyear and destroyed. Those tires needed to be on the car when Stewart began Saturday night's 312-lap affair, as NASCAR mandates that the top-10 qualifiers start the race on the tires with which they qualified. Since those tires weren't available to Stewart, NASCAR had no choice but to send Stewart to last-place in the 43-car field. Why were the tires destroyed? Due to the new-for-2006 tire leasing policy implemented by NASCAR and Goodyear, used tires from practice must be turned back into Goodyear. Those tires are then destroyed and later recycled so that teams can't stockpile used tires for future testing purposes. Stewart's qualifying tires were confused for a set of Stewart's practice tires, hence the reason his qualifying tires were unavailable and the subsequent penalty by NASCAR. "It was a fair judgment because we didn't start on the stuff that we qualified," said Stewart. "So we just didn't think about it much. We had to start 43rd and just be patient." Stewart finished 2nd at Phoenix.(JGR/True Speed Communication PR)(4-25-2006)

    • Robby donates to college: Robby Gordon Motorsports donated $20,000 to Arizona State University to fund The Century Council's Alcohol 101 Plus program, which encourages responsible drinking. Gordon, team owner and driver of the #7 Jim Beam Chevy, presented a check to school officials prior to the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. The grant is part of a larger donation given to RGM by Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc. and its Jim Beam bourbon brand in support of the company's drink smart responsibility platform to educate consumers on how to make responsible decisions about alcohol.(Business Journal of Phoenix)(4-25-2006)

    • Special Irwin scheme for #26 at three races: #26-Jamie McMurray is scheduled to drive a white Lennox Industrial Tools paint scheme at Chicagoland, New Hampshire [doesn't say which NHIS] and Kansas City.(RacingOne) see image on my #26 Team Schemes page.(4-25-2006)

    • Tire Testing at Indy Monday & Tuesday UPDATE: Sources in the NASCAR garage said that Goodyear would use #20-Tony Stewart, #9-Kasey Kahne and #38-Elliott Sadler to test tires at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Monday and Tuesday. It is the fourth such test for Goodyear this season. The tire manufacturer also had closed tests at Atlanta, Texas and Charlotte. Being picked for tire tests is becoming increasingly competitive, as NASCAR rules limit testing to just six tracks.(more at NASCAR.com)(4-22-2006)
      UPDATE: NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler took part in a private Goodyear test April 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, helping the tire company prepare for the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Each driver was picked to represent the three manufacturers in NEXTEL Cup: Chevrolet (Stewart), Dodge (Kahne) and Ford (Sadler). The trio will test again April 25. The drivers focused on assisting Goodyear in finding the right combination of tires to bring back for the race on Sunday, Aug. 6. “We just tested like we always do every week,” Stewart said. “It’s no different than anywhere we go every week, you’ve just got to go do work. It’s awesome to be here in the spring and not be sweating like crazy, and be able to do a tire test before it gets busy in the month of May here.” Asked if the test gives him an advantage toward defending his Allstate 400 victory, Stewart said: “We spent all day running sets of tires that they wanted us (Goodyear) to run. We didn’t really get a chance to work on the car like the open test session (in July) would be. We just go out and do consistent 10-lap runs, give them feedback.”
      Kahne said the test is crucial for his Evernham Motorsports team. “We can get a lot (of information),” he said. “We don’t know which tire we’ll choose (at the race) so we’re not sure there, but we have a new team and to throw different setups at it in the morning, use it through out the day, it’s been a good test for us.”
      Sadler, who has frequently expressed his love of IMS and desire to win the race over the years, was excited about the possibilities for the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. “We had a good time today,” Sadler said. “I think Goodyear has brought us a lot of good possibilities to come back with, something fun to race with. We tried a lot of different constructions, a lot of different compounds. All in all, we saw great tire wear. Goodyear was happy what they saw, and we’re happy what we saw. It was a great day at Indy. Indy is such a big race for us. Other than the Daytona 500, it’s the biggest race for the drivers, and everybody wants to kiss the bricks. It’s a big race for our sponsors, and we have so many fans here and so much heritage here – we’re concentrating on this race a lot. To be able to bring a car that we’re probably going to race here, a couple months early get some laps, take it home and fine-tune it and test it again, I think it’s kind of an advantage for the three teams here today.”(IMS PR)(4-25-2006)


      News from April 24, 2006

    • Why Truex Jr. 22nd and not 12th? been asked why...here is the answer: Truex given 22nd place instead of 12th after last lap, pit-road speeding penalty. When the Nextel Cup race ended at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday night, it appeared Martin Truex, Jr. and the #1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy team finished 12th. NASCAR, however, ruled that Truex sped coming down pit road after running out of fuel with two laps remaining. Thus, they assessed a penalty that relegated him to 22nd place as the last car one lap down.(DEI PR)(4-24-2006)

    • More on the possible Busch Series car change: The Busch Series eventually will have a new car, but not before NASCAR debuts the Nextel Cup "car of tomorrow." The car of tomorrow debuts next season with a 16-race schedule. Full implementation at all track is scheduled for 2009. Any plans for the Busch Series to have a new car won't be decided on until NASCAR evaluates the Cup car. "The main thing is that we take things we've learned from this car of tomorrow project, safety and things like that, and continue to integrate that into the other series," NASCAR Vice President for Pemberton%22">Competition Robin Pemberton said April 20. "But as far as a total tearup of chassis and bodies, we haven't come to a timeline on any of that." There has been talk about the Busch Series using totally different cars, such as Mustangs. "It's in the talking stages right now," Pemberton said April 21. "A couple of the manufacturers have come to us and expressed a desire to look at running maybe different makes in the Busch Series versus the Cup series. I think that's a pretty good idea and we're looking at it."(SceneDaily.com), past news about this on the Busch Series site.(4-24-2006)

    • Horseshoe works for Edwards: #99-Carl Edwards’ fourth-place finish gave him a boost, as did his fan club. “My fan club gave us a horseshoe,” he said, “and we mounted it on the tool box. I think that really helped a lot.”(Gaston Gazette)(4-24-2006)



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