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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    MAY 1-7, 2006





      News from May 7, 2006

    • National Guard off #16 end of 2006? UPDATE: it was reported towards the end of Richmond Nextel Cup qualifying by Speed Channel's Bob Dilner, that National Guard, the sponsor of the #16 Ford that Greg Biffle drives [and is on the Richmond pole with], could be off the car after the 2006 season. Something to do with NASCAR's rule that a team can only have four cars. No word on what would happen with the #16 car. team, Biffle or if National Guard would stay in the sport on a different team.(5-5-2006)
      UPDATE: Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, says he last talked to NASCAR officials about a month ago on complying with NASCAR's four-team limit. NASCAR announced last year that they would limit organizations to four teams. Roush fields five teams. Roush officials say contracts with sponsors and drivers go through the 2009 season. Smith says he's hopeful the organization can fulfill those contracts before downsizing. "They've made it pretty clear that they don't want an indefinite window,'' Smith said about NASCAR. "Philosophically, it seems like we're on the same page. I expect ... we're going to do this on a year-to-year basis with the view that if we can get it done before then we will.'' Smith also said that the team is in talks with the National Guard about returning as a sponsor. The National Guard is scheduled to be the primary sponsor in 22 races for Greg Biffle this season.(Roanoke Times)(5-7-2006)


      News from May 6, 2006

    • Earnhardt Jr. wins at Richmond: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead with 43 laps to go and held on to win the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway, for his first win of 2006, 1st in 28 races [last year at Chicago in July] and 17th of his career. #11-Denny Hamlin finished 2nd for his career best finish, followed by #29-Kevin Harvick [who led the most laps], #16-Greg Biffle and #5-Kyle Busch. The rest of top-10 were #20-Tony Stewart, #99-Carl Edwards, #12-Ryan Newman, #14-Sterling Marlin and #07-Clint Bowyer. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson fell a lap down, got the lucky dog pass and finished 12th to maintain the points lead by 55 over Stewart. #17-Matt Kenseth, who came into the race 2nd in points, had a brake rotor break and ruptured the oil tank, Kenseth finished 38th. #24-Jeff Gordon had an engine problem, made up some laps and finished out of the race in 40th. There were 11 cautions for 61 laps and 6 leaders with 12 lead changes.
      Race Results on my Richmond Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Richmond page.
      Race Rundown: see my Richmond Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(5-6-2006)

    • Richmond News and Notes:
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the 2006 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway, scoring his 17th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 229th career start. Earnhardt’s last victory came at Chicagoland Speedway in July 2005, 28 races ago.
      • Four of Earnhardt’s 17 victories have come on a short track, including three at Richmond. Earnhardt’s first shorttrack victory came at Richmond in his rookie season (2000).
      • Earnhardt became the seventh different race winner in 2006.
      • Earnhardt became the first repeat race winner in the 10 races at Richmond since September 2001.
      • Earnhardt scored his fourth top-10 finish in 10 races this season.
      • He climbed from eighth to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. After 10 races in 2005, he ranked ninth in the point standings.
      • Earnhardt moved to 38th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list tied with Jeff Burton, Marvin Panch, and Curtis Turner.
      • Earnhardt led three times for 47 laps, including the final 45 laps, in the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond.
      • Earnhardt has won a race each season 2000-2006, seven consecutive years.
      • This was team owner Teresa Earnhardt’s (DEI) 23rd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. DEI has scored three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Richmond.
      • DEI has won at least one race each season 2000-06, seven consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Kevin Harvick led the most laps for the only the sixth time in his career. Harvick led 272 laps, the most laps that he has led in a race in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career.
      • The last time Harvick led the most laps in a race was at Dover in September 2003, when he led 133 of the 400-lap race. Harvick has won only one of the six races in which he led the most laps: Chicagoland (July 2001).
      • Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender Denny Hamlin (second) posted his career-best finish. It is his third top-10 finish in 2006. This was his first race at Richmond International Raceway.
      • Kevin Harvick (third) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006, all in the last six races. It was his fifth top-10 finish in 11 races at Richmond. Harvick climbed from seventh to fifth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
      • Greg Biffle (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 finish in eight races at Richmond International Raceway, all in his last four races here. He climbed from 23rd to 20th in the point standings. One year ago he ranked third after 10 races.
      • Kyle Busch (fifth) scored his third top-five finish in three races at Richmond. It was his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. He climbed from ninth to eighth in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 27th after 10 races.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in every race this season.
      • Dave Blaney (20th) extended a 28-race streak of running at the finish that began at Pocono last June and is the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-6-2006)

    • Rumblings - Richmond:
      Some questionable pit strategy by the dominant car (Kevin Harvick) led to a four car battle in the closing laps and Dale Earnhardt Jr emerged victorious tonight at Richmond International Raceway. He captured the Crown Royal 400 by a little over half a second over Denny Hamlin as Harvick's team tried to stretch his tires just a little too far and passed up the opportunity to pit with the rest of the field with about 90 laps to go. It burned him just about 30 laps later and he was never able to recover that lost track position. For Little E, this was his first win since he captured Chicagoland last July, his 3rd at RIR, and the 17th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He's now tied for 38th on the all-time win list with Jeff Burton, Marvin Panch, and Curtis Turner. Win #23 for Dale Earnhardt Inc was worth $239,166 from the over $4.9M in posted awards.
      Denny Hamlin (2nd) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 4th at Texas last month....and he was doin' it hurt tonight, too!
      Greg Biffle (4th) had his best finish since he won at Homestead last November.
      Sterling Marlin (9th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Talladega last October. His Top-10 finish gives us 31 drivers at that mark this season.....last year we had 43 of 'em.
      STREAKIN....Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10's in a row.
      Kevin Harvick has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Elliott Sadler (+24), followed by Sterling Marlin (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-33), followed by Kasey Kahne (-28 ), Matt Kenseth (-27), and Jeff Gordon (-24). Both Elliott and Brian are first-timers in the "Shaft" this season.
      No change at the top of the Point Standings this week, but Jimmie Johnson's lead over new #2 driver (Tony Stewart) is now 55 points. The "Stayin' Alive" line is unchanged this week. Sterling Marlin (34th to 30th) advanced the most spots in the Top-35 this week, while Brian Vickers (14th to 19th) and Martin Truex Jr (20th to 25th) were the biggest movers on the down side.(Stock Car Fans)(5-6-206)

    • Fuel Cell Update; 17 gallons in 2007: Drivers say that they don't need the smaller, 14-gallon fuel cell for the races later this month at Lowe's Motor Speedway. NASCAR mandated the smaller fuel cell instead of the regular 22-gallon cell because of concerns about tires on the new surface. A smaller fuel cell will lead to more pit stops and more chances to change tires. This week's test showed the tires are durable enough that they should last what would be a regular fuel run with the larger fuel cell. John Darby, Nextel Cup series director, said more information is needed before deciding to change back to the larger fuel cell. "Until you go through that 600 miles, you don't know what's going to happen," Darby said. Darby said that next year, the fuel cells will be 17 gallons.(Roanoke Times)(5-6-2006)

    • Elliott tests Toyota engine at Lowe's: Bill Elliott tested one of Waltrip's #00 Chevy Cup cars with a Toyota engine earlier this week at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and there are plans for more tests as the foreign manufacturer seeks approval from NASCAR.(NASCAR.com)(5-6-2006)

    • Mears looking? 88? Garage insiders say that Casey Mears is the frontrunner for the #88 Ford ride and that UPS would stay on as a sponsor at Yates if the company hires a young gun that could compete with the marketing image of Denny Hamlin and Fed Ex. It is speculated, however, that Mears may have a letter of intent to run a fourth car at another organization already [RCR was rumored last week].(Motorsports.com)
      BUT: Casey Mears’ contract ends after this season, but he says he’s talked to car owner Chip Ganassi about an extension.(Virgina Pilot)(5-6-2006)

    • #92 Team Done? #92 Crew Chief Teddy Brown informed us [Front Row Motorsports Fanz] that they will stop running the #92 car, just to focus on two cars. The #92 team only made one of nine races [attempted 8 of 9]. The engine costs for that team so far are around $300k. With Jeff Stec's #61 team now with Front Row Motorsports, they will concentrate on getting both #61-Kevin Lepage and #34-Chad Chaffin's cars ready for Richmond.(Front Row Motorsports Fanz)(5-6-2006)

    • Nemechek Joins Checkers to Supports the Troops: Checkers Drive-In Restaurants that it has teamed with U.S. Army driver #01-Joe Nemechek in its continuing support of Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that prepares and sends care packages to U.S. Troops deployed overseas. To help kick off the Patriotic Drive, an initiative for which Checkers/Rally’s joined forces with Operation Gratitude and America Supports You to send care packages to the troops, the double drive-thru chain will donate $100,000 to Operation Gratitude if Nemechek wins Saturday night's NEXTEL Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. Nemechek, who will serve as a spokesperson for the Patriotic Drive, won the Richmond Cup race in May, 2003. If Nemechek takes first place at Richmond, he will personally award Operation Gratitude with a $100,000 check from Checkers/Rally’s during the post-race ceremonies. A Patriotic Drive will take place from May 8 to June 14, 2006. Gifts for military care packages can be donated at participating Checkers/Rally’s locations nationwide. All items collected will be used by Operation Gratitude to prepare and send individual care packages to military men and women deployed overseas. The items most requested by the troops include: mini battery-operated fans; bandana cool ties; CDs and DVDs; high-tech gear such as computer flash drives, hand-held video games and disposable cameras; small snack foods; and personal letters of support. For more information about Operation Gratitude see opgratitude.com.(DMF Comminciations/MB2 Motorsports)(5-6-2006)

    • Barrett goes to school: #95-Stanton Barrett will visit Infineon Raceway on Monday, May 8, for a day of on-track instruction with the Jim Russell Racing Schools, which is based at the raceway. Barrett has not competed in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup feature race at Infineon Raceway and is hopeful the day of instruction will help his qualifying effort during the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend (June 23-25). Barrett, a stuntman by trade from Hollywood, has earned a best finish of 33rd in four starts this year.(Infineon Raceway PR)(5-6-2006)


      News from May 5, 2006

    • Harvick/Childress close to a deal UPDATE 3 official Harvick signs: Richard Childress and #29-Kevin Harvick are close to a deal that would keep the driver with Richard Childress Racing well beyond the 2006 season. "I think (a deal) is real likely," Childress said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. "We hope to get it done in the next couple of weeks." Harvick, in the final year of his contract with RCR, was considered a major target for Toyota, which is entering NASCAR's Nextel Cup series in 2007, especially after he voiced concerns late last season that his current team was not capable of winning a championship. Childress said he met with Harvick earlier this week and got most of the deal worked out.(Associated Press)(4-29-2006)
      UPDATE: look for an announcement soon that Harvick has signed to stay with RCR thru 2009.(4-30-2006)
      UPDATE 2: announcement could come as soon as Friday as RCR has a press conference scheduled at Richmond.
      AND As Kevin Harvick and car owner Richard Childress continue their contract talks, teammate Jeff Burton hopes Harvick will stay at RCR. "I want Kevin to stay. Kevin is valuable to our effort. Obviously his talent speaks for itself. Kevin to me has proven to be a good teammate and I don't want Kevin to go anywhere." Burton says he hasn't been the middle of the discussions because "It's about what they want to do, it has nothing to do with what I want to do. I think Kevin's only hang up is...can we do as a company what we need to do to be successful and to compete for championships. It's nothing personal, it's all just about performance. Kevin is talented enough and good enough he deserves to have a chance at the very best equipment he can get his hands on because if he has it he can be highly successful. I can speak from experience...he won't go somewhere else and see a whole lot more than what he can see right here."(PRN's Garage Pas Radio Show)(5-3-2006)
      UPDATE 3 RCR, Harvick Agree to Contract Extension: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Kevin Harvick have agreed to terms on a contract extension that will see Harvick as an RCR driver through the 2009 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season. Harvick drives RCR's #29 GM Goodwrench/Reese's Chevy in the NEXTEL Cup Series and RCR's #21 Coast Guard Chevy in the Busch Series. Harvick's career statistics include six victories and 70 top-10 finishes in the NEXTEL Cup Series and 19 victories and 98 top-10 finishes in the Busch Series. "Kevin is an important part of the RCR organization and we're happy that will continue," said Richard Childress, President and CEO of RCR. "He has done a great job in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series and we look for that to continue over the next several seasons." Harvick is currently seventh in the 2006 NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with one win and four top-10 finishes. He leads the Busch Series standings by 274 points, ahead of RCR teammate Clint Bowyer in second place, with two wins and nine top-10 finishes. "I'm looking forward to the next three years at RCR," said Kevin Harvick. "We've made a lot of changes over the past year that have really helped point the organization in the right direction. The chemistry feels right between the drivers, the crew chiefs and the teams. Above all else, there is a long relationship at RCR that Richard and I have. I feel like it would take time to recreate what we've built over the last seven years."(RCR PR)(5-5-2006)

    • Changes at the #49 team? UPDATE Wallace at RIR UPDATE 2 Sherman gone?: rookie driver Brent Sherman, who drives the #49 BAM Racing Dodge, tested the car Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but Kevin Lepage, who usually driver the #61 Ford [which was not on the speed charts Tuesday], tested the #49 in the evening session. Supposedly there could be another driver in the #49 as soon as Richmond, may be a part-time thing.
      UPDATE: Mike Wallace is now listed as the driver of the #49 Dodge at Richmond per nascar.com's entry list.(5-3-2006)
      UPDATE 2: supposedly Sherman has left the team after testing the first session at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Tuesday. No word on his plans, if Serta will stay as a sponsor, but this week the #49 Dodge has Fire Dex as the sponsor of the car Mike Wallace will race at Richmond.(5-5-2006)

    • Toyota...no plans to expand past three teams in 2007: Toyota has no plans to expand its team lineup beyond the three -- Michael Waltrip Racing #00, #55), Red Bull Racing (#83, #80) and Bill Davis Racing (#22, #23) -- it announced in January. Robby Gordon's [#7] team, whose contract with Chevrolet ends following this season, is not under consideration.(CNNSI)(5-5-2006)

    • Custom Motorcycles for Edwards and Kahne: 357 Customs is building new custom choppers for Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards, the first two Cup drivers that 357 is building custom bikes for. Both drivers are doing multiple bikes. Each of these first two bikes are very simple in paint schemes. In addition, bewley released diecast collectibles are available of Kahne and Edwards first choppers. 357 Customs does a lot with different celebrity personalities, and are very proud to have begun to work with NASCAR drivers! More at www.357customs.com.(5-5-2006)

    • NASCAR to name race after fan: NASCAR races have been sponsored by companies that make popcorn, sandwiches and soft drinks, but never before have they been sponsored by fans. That will change next year as one lucky fan will have his or her name on the Nextel Cup Series race at the Richmond International Raceway in Richmond. Sources have told ESPN.com that Diageo, producers of the Crown Royal whiskey brand, will announce Friday that one lucky consumer will win that right by entering the company's sweepstakes. The race will tentatively called the "The Your Name Here 400 presented by Crown Royal" until the Daytona 500, when a grand prize winner will be chosen from a pool of 10 finalists. The fan's name will be recognized by NASCAR and on television as the race's official name. The sweepstakes winner is also expected to present a trophy to the race winner in Victory Lane. The last time anything like this happened was in Boston when FleetCenter owner Delaware North auctioned off single-day naming rights to the venue where the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins play. The company sold naming rights to the highest bidder 30 different times last winter. As part of the NASCAR promotion, Crown Royal will make a donation for every submission received -- up to $50,000 -- to RADD (Recording Artists, Actors & Athletes Against Drunk Driving). The brand is the primary sponsor of Jamie McMurray's #26 car. This year's Crown Royal 400 will take place Saturday night.(ESPN.com)(5-5-2006)

    • Goodyear Cites Strong Performance at Lowe's Test: Comments by Greg Stucker, Goodyear director of race tire sales and marketing: "We saw exactly what we expected from our Goodyear Eagle tires on the first day of NASCAR's open test for Nextel Cup cars at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and we are very pleased with the results. Our choice of tire for this NASCAR-sanctioned open test is the tire picked during our recent tire tests at Lowe's and, based on data and driver input, it also will be used during the two weekends of racing later in May at the newly paved track. Comments by some people at the open test indicate concern that our tire recommendation is conservative. They're right! We were very conservative in our choice and that was intentional. Lowe's is a very fast track with new pavement that will generate a lot of grip and a lot of heat. We felt we had to select a very conservative tire to accommodate that. Lap times, however, are on par with those of last year. On the first day of testing, Jeff Burton, for example, made a 35-lap run and his fastest lap was the 34th. We are very pleased with tire appearance and treadwear. All indications are that going a full gas stop with either the traditional full-size fuel tank, like the Busch cars will use, or the smaller mandated tank for the Coca-Cola 600 would be no problem. Yes, the tire is different and may require adjustment by teams and drivers from what they've run at Lowe's in the most recent past. We came with a completely redesigned right side tire. It utilizes a new mold shape to address the tremendous loads that we measured at our test last fall. This, combined with the harder tread compound, gives the conservative setup. It reduces grip, but it resists heat and treadwear. It is absolutely the right choice."(Goodyear PR), see speeds of the test on my LMS Testing Page.(5-5-2006)

    • Johnson helps with Soap Box Derby Workshop: #48-Jimmie Johnson introduced an American tradition to boys and girls of the Greater Washington, D.C. area as the Levi Strauss Signature brand hosted a Soap Box Derby car-building workshop in the nation's capital. Youths ages 10 to 17 constructed gravity-powered cars with the help of the Daytona 500 champion and adult volunteers from the Greater Washington Soap Box Derby (GWSBD) chapter. Johnson, the national spokesperson for the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD), assisted in the assembly and construction of the cars and offered his racing knowledge to the children who will now have an opportunity to race in the 65th GWSBD championship race on June 17. Local winners across the nation will advance to the 69th AASBD World Championship scheduled to take place on July 22, 2006, with Levi Strauss Signature awarding college scholarships to the winners. For more information on how to become involved with the All-American Soap Box Derby, an official youth initiative of NASCAR, visit www.aasbd.com.(5-5-2006)

    • Rookie News and Notes: #11-J.J. Yeley was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 1 Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Yeley finished 11th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time this season. He was also the top freshman driver in the Auto Club 500 at California Speedway. The Aaron's 499 is the third consecutive race where TWO or more Raybestos Rookie drivers have led a lap.
      Clint Bowyer holds a four-point lead (91-87) over Denny Hamlin in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the May 6 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Bowyer has led the standings in eight of the nine races this season. Since 1975, only one Raybestos Rookie has won the spring race at Richmond: Earharhardt Jr. in 2000. He led the race just once covering the final 31 laps and officially scored his second career win by .159 second over Terry Labonte. Only once since 1975 have TWO or more Raybestos Rookies finished in the top-10 in the Crown Royal 400. In 1979, Joe Millikan finished sixth followed by Terry Labonte, who claimed an eighth place finish.(Raybestos PR), more on my Rookie Page.(5-5-2006)

    • Goodyear Tire Notes - Richmond: Both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run the same tire set-up this weekend . . . this is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Richmond, though Cup and Busch teams did run this set-up two weeks ago at Phoenix . . . in addition to those two tracks, teams will run this same combination at New Hampshire in 2006 . . . as on most ovals less than one mile in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Richmond. Estimated Pit Window: Every 110-120 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, codes, tire pressues on my Richmond Race Info / Rundown Page.(5-5-2006)

    • Biffle wins pole at Richmond: #16-Greg Biffle went out late and beat teammate #6-Mark Martin for the Bud Pole for the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway with a speed of 127.395mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 3rd of his career. #6-Martin held on for 2nd, the #42-Casey Mears, #25-Brian Vickers and #48-Jimmie Johnson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 10th. Four drivers missed the race: #00-Sadler, #34-Chaffin, #89-Kertus Davis and #95-Barrett. For qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression, see my Richmond Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(5-5-2006)

    • Richmond Qulaifying Notes:
      • Greg Biffle won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Crown Royal 400, lapping Richmond International Raceway in 21.194 seconds at 127.395 mph. Brian Vickers holds the track-qualifying record of 20.772 seconds, 129.983 mph, set May 14, 2004.
      • This is Biffle’s third career Bud Pole in 124 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
      • Biffle posted his second Bud Pole and ninth top-10 start of the season, more than any other driver.
      • This is Biffle’s first Bud Pole at Richmond, It is his sixth consecutive top-10 start at Richmond, after qualifying 37th and 15th in his first two attempts here.
      • Biffle becomes the 13th different Bud Pole winner in the past 13 races at Richmond.
      • Mark Martin posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 21.255 seconds, 127.029 mph – and will join Biffle on the front row for the Crown Royal 400.
      • Martin posted his sixth top-10 start of the 2006 season. It is his 22nd top-10 start in 41 Richmond races. This is his first top-10 start in the spring race here since he won the Bud Pole in May 2001.
      • This is the third Bud Pole for Ford in 2006. Chevrolet and Dodge also have three each. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • This is the first 1-2 sweep of qualifying for Ford since Kansas City last fall.
      • Casey Mears (third) posted his second top-10 start in seven races at Richmond. This is his second top-10 start in 2006 and his season-best.
      • Brian Vickers (fourth) posted his second top-10 start in five Richmond races. This is his first start better than 22nd since he won the Bud Pole in his first race here in May 2004. This is his second top-10 start of 2006. • Jimmie Johnson (fifth) posted his seventh top-10 start of the 2006 season. It is his fifth top-10 start in nine races at Richmond.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-5-2006)

    • Ramblings - Richmond: No more than 10 minutes after qualifying tonight at Richmond International Raceway, the sprinkles started. But not till Greg Biffle had won the Bud Pole (his second of the season and third of his NEXTEL Cup career) for tomorrow night's Crown Royal 400 with a time of 21.194 sec (127.395 mph). Mark Martin (2nd) will join his teammate on the front row....this is his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at California last September.
      Casey Mears (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Chicagoland last July.
      Brian Vickers (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at New Hampshire last July.
      Kevin Harvick stayin' put.....Dale Jarrett probably movin' on. Remember when "Silly Season" didn't start till after Labor Day?
      STREAKIN....Greg Biffle has 9 Top-10 starts in a row.
      (see more at Stock Car Fans)(5-5-2006)


      News from May 4, 2006

    • Petty to run MyCokeRewards scheme at Coke 600 - IMAGE: Not only will Kyle Petty run a special MyCokeRewards-themed car in the Coca-Cola 600, but some lucky fans will have a chance earn pieces of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge, and a piece of Coca-Cola 600 history, as part of the $50 million MyCokeRewards prize package. By collecting MyCokeRewards points, fans of the Coca-Cola 600 will have the chance to obtain hundreds of unique NASCAR-themed prizes, including the hood, deck lid and side panels from Petty's #45 MyCokeRewards Dodge. Other rewards include Petty's helmet, driver's uniform, shoes, and gloves, as well race-worn crew uniforms and other NASCAR-themed collectibles. Go to www.mycokerewards.com for more info.(Petty Racing PR), see an image on my #45 Team Scheme page.(5-4-2006)

    • Hamlin Tripped Up After Lowe's Testing UPDATE 2 is OK: Frontstretch.com is reporting: Through two days of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, there were several wrecks but no major injuries…on the track. Off the track, it was a different story as teams packed up to head home Wednesday night. The #11 FedEx team with driver Denny Hamlin found themselves goofing around and doing a little personal testing of their own after on-track activities were completed at 9:00pm/et. Members of the crew found themselves being timed as they ran laps around the team’s hauler. Unfortunately, the horseplay led to a minor mishap, as driver Denny Hamlin tripped and was injured during all the fun. Hamlin was loaded into an ambulance and taken from the track as a precaution. The nature of his injuries are unclear at this time.(Frontstretch.com)
      UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin injured his left hand in an off-track accident last night following the conclusion of testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. The driver of the #20 Rockwell Automation Chevy in the Busch Series and the #11 FedEx Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series cut his left hand between his pinkie and his wrist. He was taken from the track via ambulance and was treated at a local hospital where he received stitches. Hamlin is expected to participate in all of this weekend's racing activities at Richmond based upon the evaluations of Joe Gibbs Racing's team physicians. The following is a statement from Hamlin regarding the accident: The guys were having races around the hauler after the test. I thought I'd try for the best lap of the night, and as I was running around the front of the truck, I caught my hand on a sharp piece of chrome. I got all stitched up and I'll be fine to race this weekend. By the way, I did finish first. Hopefully Coach Gibbs will be impressed that I can play 'hurt'."(Joe Gibbs Racing/True Speed Cummunications PR)(5-4-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Before heading for Richmond Denny Hamlin’s injured left hand was given a final check by a doctor Thursday morning in Charlotte. It took 19 stitches to close the gash caused when he caught the hand on a piece of chrome on the front of the Fedex hauler following testing Wednesday night at Lowes Motor Speedway. Despite the injury Hamlin plans on running both the Busch and Cup races this weekend.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-4-2006)

    • Sadler to run Pirate scheme: This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series comes ashore at the Richmond International Raceway with Virginia native Elliott Sadler at the helm of the #38 White Chocolate M&M'S® Ford. Looking for his first win at his home track, Sadler and his trusty hands hope that "M" marks the spot and the treasure awaiting will be a trip to victory lane. The special paint scheme on the #38 Ford Fusion is part of a promotion in conjunction with the July 7th release of the new Walt Disney Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer Film's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," as well as the introduction of the M&M'S® White Chocolate Pirates Pearls. This marks the first time M&M'S has released a white chocolate candy in the United States, which will be available nationwide for a limited time. Joining Sadler on his #38 Ford Fusion are three of his biggest supporters in the M&M'S Characters - Red, Yellow and Green. Each character will be featured in their favorite pirate costume against a tropical background with the new White Chocolate M&M'S Pirate Pearls featured on the hood. In addition, Pirate Red will be at the track for the racing action on Saturday.(M&M Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on my #38 Team Schemes page.(5-4-2006)

    • Waltrip discusses Jarrett: Michael Waltrip says he and several other teams have talked with Dale Jarrett about his future plans; however Waltrip downplays a report Jarrett was offered a two year, $10-million contract [see below] to join his Toyota team. “I haven’t made him any offer monetarily and I think I’m pretty sure I can tell you no one has offered him that (10-million) but it makes for pretty good print.” Waltrip said he’s more interested in Jarrett’s services than sponsor UPS. “We have our second car pretty much agreed upon with the sponsor and we’ve got a list of drivers that would be approved by the sponsor and he’s on that list. Anybody would hire Dale Jarrett, former cup champion and his sponsor UPS. We just want to hire Dale because we think he can win races and because that being our focus and the reason our drive for hiring him then I think he appreciates that."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-4-2006)

    • Sadler hopes Jarrett stays at RYR: Elliott Sadler hopes Dale Jarrett will stay at Robert Yates Racing however he told Jarrett not to reveal to him too many of his future plans. Sadler joked, “I just told him to keep me out of it. I don’t want to know about it. I want to find out when everybody else does that way I won’t get into trouble." Sadler added, "If he stays that great, I would love to keep him as a teammate and love to keep him at Robert Yates Racing. If he goes I’d hate to lose him as a teammate but still I’m going to keep him as one of my best friends. I want to be there as a friend first, but if he decides to stay I definitely want to be his teammate again."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-4-2006)

    • No COT for RYR yet: The next Car of Tomorrow [COT] test is scheduled for May 30 and 31 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. NASCAR said it hopes to have at least eight cars on the track and as many as 12. One team that won't be there is Robert Yates Racing [#38 and #88 Fords]. Yates has yet to start working on the Car of Tomorrow and doesn't plan to until NASCAR sets its rules. Car owner Jack Roush said he's built and rebuilt the Car of Tomorrow a couple of times. Every time he gets one done, NASCAR makes changes. He said he spent more than $300,000 on the car before it ever hit the track.(Augusta Chronicle)(5-4-2006)

    • COT to the Wind Tunnel UPDATE: NASCAR plans to take its car of tomorrow [COT] to a wind tunnel this week and test different nose pieces.(Roanoke Times)(5-1-2006)
      UPDATE: Representatives of Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge and Toyota joined NASCAR officials for a wind-tunnel session Tuesday in Marietta, Ga., in which each manufacturer's proposed nose for the "car of tomorrow" was tested. One person present for the test said the results left the manufacturers encouraged they could get more room to give each nose more features that distinguish between models without creating competitive disparity.(ThatsRacin)(5-4-2006)

    • #38 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Talladega: Elliott Sadler's #38 team took top honors in the Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition at Talladega Superspeedway. The M&M's pit crew, which spent 276.495 seconds on pit road in Monday's rain-delayed Aaron's 499, also won the competition at Martinsville Speedway on April 2. The victory moved Sadler's pit crew into a three-way tie for first place in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings. The pit crews for Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart have also scored two wins with a quarter of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season completed (nine races). Sadler's over-the-wall crew consists of: Rodney Fetters (jackman), Ryan McCray (front-tire carrier), Mike Lingerfelt (front-tire changer), Lance Hanna (rear-tire carrier), Dave Smith (rear-tire changer), Brian Dunaway (gasman), Frankie Good (catch can) and Toby Mellott (windshield). The team's crew chief is Tommy Baldwin, Jr. The #38 crew, part of the Robert Yates Racing stable, will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. The Nextel Cup pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule will receive a $105,000 bonus. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(5-4-2006)

    • Speed Channel Driver of the Year - 1st Qtr: Melanie Troxel became the first woman, in the 40-year history of the Driver of the Year award, to win the quarterly title in voting by a panel of leading journalists and broadcasters. The 33-year-old driver of the Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster impressed the voters as well as her rivals as she made all-five final-round appearances in the quarter and took victories in Pomona and Las Vegas in her first full season. Troxel took six first-place votes and tallied 82 points. Second in the voting was the effervescent "Spiderman", Helio Castroneves, who notched two victories in the IndyCar Series. Castroneves got one first-place tally and totaled 68 points. Jimmie Johnson, who won both the prestigious Daytona 500 and Las Vegas races in the NASCAR Nextel Cup series, was third in the vote with a total of 51 points and one first-place vote. NASCAR's, Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart, Driver of the Year 2005, also garnered first-place ballots. A total of 14 drivers scored points in the first quarter voting. In its' 40th year Driver of the Year is unique because it is the oldest award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. A separate one-driver vote will determine the 2006 Driver of the Year. Troxel will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix wristwatch. The trophy presentation is set for Sunday May 7th at the Summit Nationals in Atlanta, GA.(DOTY PR)(5-4-2006)

    • 30 Years for Marlin in Cup: When #14-Sterling Marlin takes the green flag for Saturday night's Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway it will be two days shy of the 30-year anniversary of his first NASCAR Cup start. Marlin made his NASCAR Cup debut on May 8, 1976 at Nashville Speedway, substituting for his father, Clifton “Coo Coo” Marlin, who sustained a shoulder injury during an ARCA qualifying session at Talladega Superspeedway the week before. When it became evident that the elder Marlin wouldn’t enter the Nashville race, he made a deal with his son, “If you can fix it, you can race it.” Sterling took his father up on the offer and climbed behind the wheel of the #14 Cunningham-Kelley Chevy soon after. Though the 18-year-old Marlin posted an uneventful, but respectable finish of 29th in his maiden ride, it was the beginning of a high-profiled journey for the Columbia, TN native. Saturday's race in the #14 Waste Management Chevy will mark Marlin’s 685th start in the Cup series. To date, his career statistics include 10 wins, 83 top fives, 215 top 10s, 11 pole positions and earnings of more than $37 million.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(5-4-2006)

    • Kurt Busch attends Race Fever: #2-Kurt Busch took time out during his schedule last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway to attend the "Race Night Fever" fundraiser for the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and it was a huge hit all the way around. "We grossed over $200,000 and it was the most successful event in our 21 years of doing this," AIDB's Cary Nolen said on Tuesday. "Having a top-level driver like Kurt Busch attend our function was the highlight of the evening and we're so thankful for his time and generosity. You could tell that he was the favorite driver there with all the kids. He made many new fans at Talladega last Friday night."
      "They asked me if I'd attend and I said, 'Heck, yes.especially if it'll help those kids out.' We donated a hood off one of our Miller Lite Dodge Chargers for them to auction off and we went over there and had a great time meeting all the kids and signing autographs. I'm glad that it was such a huge success."(Tom Roberts PR)(5-4-2006)

    • NASCAR Autocare by Ecolab Features DW in TV Commercial: NASCAR Autocare by Ecolab has launched a new television commercial introducing its full line of auto appearance products. Featuring NASCAR personality and Fox Sports Broadcast Analyst Darrell Waltrip, the commercial which has appeared on ESPN, ESPN-2, OLN and SPEED, early April. Using the theme “The quickest way to a great finish!” the commercial highlights NASCAR Autocare by Ecolab’s full line of car care products. As a Chevrolet Corvette speeds to a stop on pit road, a pit crew of seven specialist wash and wax the car, shine the tires and clean the windows, all to “crew chief” Darrell Waltrip’s approval – “14 (seconds) flat – not bad!” See more at ecolabathome.com.(5-4-2006)


      News from May 3, 2006

    • Lowe's Motor Speedway testing - over: so far today, #41-Reed Sorenson wrecked, backing into the wall hard and #12-Ryan Newman spun, but didn't hit anything. #9-Kasey Kahne received medical clearance Wednesday morning and is testing his #9 Dodge Dealers UAW-Dodge at Lowes Motor Speedway. "I feel great" said Kahne. "Obviously my hips and my shoulders are a little sore from getting hit in the side but they wanted to do some scans and just check me out and make sure everything was good and all the results were clear so we're good to go."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)
      Afternoon Speeds: 71 cars took to the track in the afternoon session, with #38-Sadler the fastest at 181.622mph, followed by #20-Stewart 181.385, #18-Yeley 181.202, #42-Mears 181.087 and #31-Burton 180.832. Some notes: Johnny Sauter is testing a #70 Dodge for Haas CNC [not sure why not a Chevy like teammate #66-Green], Bill Elliott is testing a #00 Dodge, Terry Labonte is testing the #44 Chevy, Kevin Lepage is back testing the #49 Dodge...looks like the #61 team skipped testing, Carl Long is testing the #37 R.J. Racing Dodge [was the slowest of the session].
      Evening Speeds: 65 cars took to the track Wednesday evening, speeds jumped up quite a bit with #40x-David Stremme leading the way at 186.929mph, almost 2mph over the next driver, #70-Johnny Sauter [now listed in a Chevy] at 185.179, then #21b-Ken Schrader 185.058, #32a-Travis Kvapil 183.874 and #11-Denny Hamlin 183.237. Michael Waltrip drove the #00 Dodge Bill Elliott had tested earlier; Carl Long and Kerry Earnhardt shared duties in the #37b Dodge. #37-Carl Long and #34-Chad Chaffin wrecked in the evening session.
      See all the speeds from day 1 and 2 as well as and cumulative [best speed by driver overall with session listed] on my Lowe's Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-3-2006)

    • Changes at the #49 team? UPDATE Wallace at RIR: rookie driver Brent Sherman, who drives the #49 BAM Racing Dodge, tested the car Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but Kevin Lepage, who usually driver the #61 Ford [which was not on the speed charts Tuesday], tested the #49 in the evening session. Supposedly there could be another driver in the #49 as soon as Richmond, may be a part-time thing.
      UPDATE: Mike Wallace is now listed as the driver of the #49 Dodge at Richmond per nascar.com's entry list.(5-3-2006)

    • #74 Penalty Upheld: On May 2, 2006, the National Stock Car Racing Commission [Terry Eames, Humpy Wheeler, George Silbermann, Chairman] heard and considered the Appeal of McGlynn Motorsports. The appeal concerned three penalties issued by NASCAR following inspection on April 7, 2006 for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules; and Section 20-5.9G(1) “External modifications to the intake manifold will not be permitted unless approved by the Series Director.” The penalties assessed were:
      • Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Car Owner Points for owner Raynard McGlynn.
      • Loss of 25 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Driver Points for driver Derrike Cope.
      • $50,000.00 fine for crew chief Domenick Turse.
      The Appellants acknowledged that the intake modifications violated the rules, but appealed the severity of the penalties. The Commission found that the penalties assessed are consistent with penalties for similar infractions of an overt nature in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to uphold the original penalties assessed by NASCAR. The Appellants have the right under Section 15 of the Rule Book to appeal this decision to the National Stock Car Racing Commissioner.(NASCAR)(5-3-2006)

    • Jarrett/Toyota offer..$20 million? UPDATE done deal? Toyota - The Japanese automaker has pumped in tens of millions of dollars into its teams to launch a Nextel Cup program in 2007. Car owner Michael Waltrip is rumored to be dangling a two-year, $20 million contract in front of Dale Jarrett to get him into a Toyota.(Speed Channel)
      UPDATE: #99-Dale Jarrett, the 1999 NASCAR Cup champion, is expected to help head up the company's [Toyota] 2007 entry into the series, agreeing to join Michael Waltrip Racing next season. Several sources have confirmed that Jarrett, 49, informed Robert Yates Racing officials of his decision April 26. UPS, the primary sponsor of the No. 88 Ford, is also in the final year of its contract with the team. And sources have indicated that the overnight delivery service provider would like to remain with RYR, provided the team can sign a competitive driver rather than someone just embarking on a Cup career. If the latter is the case, it's likely that UPS will make the move with Jarrett to Waltrip's organization. RYR typically attempts to sign sponsors for the length of its drivers' contracts. Because of that, those sponsors have some leverage in driver selection. Possible driver candidates that have been mentioned in the Toyota mix have included Richard Childress Racing's Kevin Harvick and owner/driver Robby Gordon. However, car owner Richard Childress said April 29 that he is close to signing Harvick to an extension. Gordon, who has fielded his own team since 2005, has an existing relationship with Red Bull through his off-road racing efforts.(in part from SceneDaily.com)(5-3-2006)

    • Davis to run #89 for Shepherd: #0 Busch Series driver, Kertus Davis announced that he will attempt to make his first Nextel Cup start this weekend in Richmond for the Crown Royal 400. Davis recieved the call to drive the #89 Dodge, normally driven by Morgan Shepherd. "We're really excited about this opportunity, and hope that we can put on a good show for everyone," Kertus said. Davis is also entered to run the NASCAR Busch Series race in the #0 RaceGirl Chevy that he normally pilots.(kertusdavis.com)(5-3-2006)

    • Inside Nextel Cup...with an audience? hearing Speed Channel is looking into testing their Inside Nextel Cupshow [Monday's at 7:00pm/et] in front of a live studio audience at some point this summer.(5-3-2006)

    • New colors for Bowyer at Richmond: Clint Bowyer's #07 Chevy will feature a new look this weekend to highlight Prilosec OTC's sponsorship of RCR. Bowyer's mainstay sponsor Jack Daniel's will be featured on the car's lower-rear quarter panel and on the deck lid.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(5-3-2006)

    • Harvick/Childress close to a deal UPDATE: Richard Childress and #29-Kevin Harvick are close to a deal that would keep the driver with Richard Childress Racing well beyond the 2006 season. "I think (a deal) is real likely," Childress said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. "We hope to get it done in the next couple of weeks." Harvick, in the final year of his contract with RCR, was considered a major target for Toyota, which is entering NASCAR's Nextel Cup series in 2007, especially after he voiced concerns late last season that his current team was not capable of winning a championship. Childress said he met with Harvick earlier this week and got most of the deal worked out.(Associated Press)(4-29-2006)
      UPDATE: look for an announcement soon that Harvick has signed to stay with RCR thru 2009.(also see more at NASCAR.com(4-30-2006)
      UPDATE 2: announcement could come as soon as Friday as RCR has a press conference scheduled at Richmond.
      AND As Kevin Harvick and car owner Richard Childress continue their contract talks, teammate Jeff Burton hopes Harvick will stay at RCR. "I want Kevin to stay. Kevin is valuable to our effort. Obviously his talent speaks for itself. Kevin to me has proven to be a good teammate and I don't want Kevin to go anywhere." Burton says he hasn't been the middle of the discussions because "It's about what they want to do, it has nothing to do with what I want to do. I think Kevin's only hang up is...can we do as a company what we need to do to be successful and to compete for championships. It's nothing personal, it's all just about performance. Kevin is talented enough and good enough he deserves to have a chance at the very best equipment he can get his hands on because if he has it he can be highly successful. I can speak from experience...he won't go somewhere else and see a whole lot more than what he can see right here."(PRN's Garage Pas Radio Show)(5-3-2006)

    • #09 to skip Richmond; Wallace tests #52 at LMS: James Finch's #09 Phoenix Racing Team has decided to not compete in this weekend's Nextel Cup Series race at Richmond [they tested there] so they can pool all their efforts towards their #1 Miccosukee Gaming Dodge entry in the Busch Series race the day before at the same track. Mike Wallace will continue as the driver of the #1 car this weekend. Also, today Wallace tested the #52 car for Rick Ware at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Wallace will drive the #52 in the Nextel Open race later this month [May 20].(motorsportslounge.com)(5-3-2006)

    • DNF's - Blaney at 27: #22-Dave Blaney has been running at the finish in 27 consecutive races, the longest current streak. Next is #29-Kevin Harvick at 21 races.(5-3-2006)

    • NASCAR on Fox wins 3 Emmys: Fox Sports officials announced that the network has won three Emmy awards for its NASCAR coverage. "NASCAR on Fox" won Emmys for Outstanding Technical Team Remote, Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound and Outstanding Live Sports Series. This is the second time NASCAR on Fox has been recognized for an outstanding live sports series and raises the series' Emmy total to nine in five years of coverage.(SceneDaily.com)(5-3-2006)

    • Childress Vineyards Set to Release Racing Collection: Childress Vineyards is set to release its first collection of race-related wine sets celebrating the championship style of RCR Racing, one of NASCAR’s most winning franchises owned by Richard Childress. The Collector’s Edition sets will feature “Champion’s Blend” Meritage Red Wine individually boxed with two etched crystal Childress Vineyards logo wine glasses. Each of RCR’s car numbers, #29, #31, #21, and #2, will have its own label while a special bottling, called “Legendary,” is planned for the #3. The “Legendary” Limited Collector’s Edition will come in a boxed set along with two etched crystal wine glasses, featuring the number 3. Members of Childress Vineyards Fast Track Wine Club will have the first opportunity to order the Collector’s Edition boxed sets until April 30. Remaining supplies will go on sale to the general public on Monday, May 15 with a limit of 3 per person. The sets will be sold exclusively at the winery in Lexington, N.C. Each will retail for $99.99. Wine club members will receive a discount of 15%.(RCR)(5-3-2006)

    • Testing at LMS - Day 1, spins. wrecks, some speeds SPEED page: Nextel Cup Series teams are turning laps today at Lowes Motor Speedway testing the newly repaved surface. Several drivers have already had problems including Paul Menard who spun in turn four and flattened the right side of the #15 Menards Chevy. "Something broke in the front end, probably a tie rod is what we're thinking. Something broke and then she went straight." Joe Nemechek also spun in turn four and backed the #01 US Army Chevy into the wall. Neither driver was injured. Brian Vickers spun his #25 GMAC Chevy in turn two but didn't hit anything. #99-Carl Edwards was very impressed with the surface saying "The most noticeable thing is it's glass smooth. There's a couple little-bitty bumps but overall it's very smooth, and they don't have any lines painted on it. It's wild, it's so dark, you know black and there's no lines, no nothing, it's hard to get perspective a little bit but it's gonna be fun."
      More crashes and spinners prior to the dinner break. #2-Kurt Busch hit in the inside of the turn two wall and crunched the right front of the Miller Lite Dodge. #49-Brent Sherman spun between turns three and four and flattened the side of his car. #11-Denny Hamlin spun in turn two but didn't hit anything. #22-Dave Blaney got too close to the turn four wall and lightly damaged his machine. In the evening session, #1-Martin Truex Jr. wrecked and #25-Vickers spun, no one was injured.(PRN's Garage Pas Radio Show)
      AND Among the drivers testing at the track outside Charlotte are Bill Elliott in the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing Dodge in preparation of his five-race schedule, which will begin July 9 at Chicagoland. Johnny Sauter is testing a #70 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet for possible future races, including the Coca-Cola 600 at LMS.(SceneDaily.com), no speeds reported yet.
      AND II Kyle Petty and the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge team were the sixth fastest at the end of the afternoon session. Petty ran a lap of 30.015 seconds at a speed of 179.910mph. Bobby Labonte and the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge team were the 41st fastest after the afternoon session. Labonte had a fast lap of 30.408 seconds/179.585mph.(Petty Racing/Moore Consulting Group PR)(5-2-2006)
      SPEEDS: Sixty-Five cars took to the track in the afternoon session of testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Fastest was #29a-Harvick with a speed of 180.620mph, followed by #20b-Stewart 180.481, #48-Johnson 180.439, #31b-Burton 180.391 and #6b-Martin 180.066. Slowest were #15b-Menard 173.617 and #49-Sherman 174.205
      In the Evening session: fastest of 66 cars were #07a-Bowyer at 183.892mph, followed by #11-Hamlin 183.799, #20b-Stewart 183.717, #99b-Edwards 183.705 and #21b-Schrader 183.667. Slowest were #32b-Kvapil 178.147 and #40a-Stremme 178.424. Looks like Kevin Lepage took over the #49 Dodge for the evening session.
      See all the speeds from day 1 on my Lowe's Motor Speedway Testing page.(5-3-2006)


      News from May 2, 2006

    • Changes at the #55 team: #55-Michael Waltrip heads into Richmond International Raceway this weekend looking for a little magic to get the #55 NAPA Dodge back into the top-35 in NASCAR owner's points. This obviously isn't where we had hoped to be coming into the 10th race of 2006," said Waltrip. "In an effort to address the situation, we decided to make some changes." Waltrip has brought in NASCAR veterans Bobby Kennedy, Larry Carter and Jason Oversteet to work on the car and call the race. Derrick Finley will reassume his role as Bill Davis Racing team engineer. "It is extremely important that we use all of the resources we have at both Bill Davis Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing to get our program where it needs to be," said Waltrip. "Bobby, Larry and Jason have been working on getting our Burger King cars built that we will run with Bill Elliott this year. Getting those guys to the track and working with our NAPA car will not only help us now, but it will also allow them to gather 'at-track' data for that effort as well."(Michael Waltrip Racing)(5-2-2006)

    • Boris and Stoddard to Roush? UPDATE 2 No Fear Racing: hearing #36 MB2 Motorsports crew chief, Frank Stoddard has left MC2 Motorsports and gone back to Roush Racing [where is was the crew chief of the #99 and Jeff Burton for years] and that driver Boris Said also signed with Roush Racing. Not sure of the details or specifics yet but hearing the races planned are Infineon Raceway, Pepsi 400 at Daytona, Brickyard 400 and Watkins Glen. Could be in the #06 the Todd Kleuver is supposed to run 6 races in later this year as these four races are not on Kleuver's Cup schedule. Stoddard mentioned this on the radio show, The Morning Buzz, which Stoddard calls in to give NASCAR reports on Tuesday mornings.(4-4-2006)
      UPDATE: Boris Said and veteran crew chief Frank Stoddard have formed their own Nextel Cup team, Yahoo! Sports has learned. They are partnering with long-time Said associate and former driver and team owner Mark Simo. The team, which is slated to run four or five races this season, will work with Roush Racing, which has offered to supply the team with cars, engines and technical expertise. Stoddard recently left MB2 Motorsports and speculation was that he was set to rejoin Roush. But Stoddard, who used to be crew chief for Roush's #99 car when Jeff Burton was behind the wheel, instead has been working with Roush officials on forming the new team. Said has been frustrated with his inability to find a regular Cup ride this season after running nine races with MB2 in 2005 with Stoddard as his crew chief. After Simo's No Fear clothing company purchased a building adjacent to Roush Racing headquarters in Concord, N.C., for a planned East Coast distribution center, Said, who has been working as a consultant for Roush's teams, began talking with Roush about possibly starting a team. The current plan is for the new team to run the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway road course in June, the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in July, the Brickyard in August and the Watkins Glen road course, also in August. The team has secured sponsorship for at least four races, with an announcement regarding sponsorship details to come.(Yahoo Sports)(4-5-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Action sports lifestyle brand No Fear, based in Carlsbad, California, has announced its plans to contest four races in the 2006 Nextel Cup schedule. Dubbed “No Fear Racing”, the new effort will run as a satellite operation of Roush Racing, and will be headquartered at the brand's new east coast corporate headquarters in Concord, NC. Road racing ace and NASCAR veteran Boris Said will drive NFR's #60 Ford Fusion, with primary sponsorship coming from the SoBe No Fear energy drink. Said will also co-own the team, alongside No Fear CEO Mark Simo and crew chief Frank Stoddard. NFR will debut at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway the weekend of June 24-25. It will then compete in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard on August 6 and at Watkins Glen a week later.(Speed Channel)(5-2-2006)

    • Rowdy Signs with Cingular: Rowdy, the daily racing radio show you get on your cell phone, announced today that they have signed a deal with Cingular, the nation's largest wireless company. The deal will allow Cingular customers exclusive access the Rowdy program on their phone for $4.99/month. Every day listeners get the unique Rowdy news feed, featuring Mark Garrow's report from the garage, along with driver interviews and exclusive expert commentary from regulars like former Cup driver Rick Mast, championship-winning crew chief Barry Dodson, Jayski of jayski.com, and top veteran journalists, David Poole of the Charlotte Observer, Steve Waid of NASCAR Scene, and of course Garrow. Additional regular features include daily racing trivia, a points review with Dr. Marlon Fescue, stories from the old days with Sonny Callahan, and exclusive race previews and wrap-ups. Most important, Rowdy lets fans talk back and make their voices part of the show too. To sign up for Rowdy, Cingular customers can dial #500 or dial *8 on their phone and say "Rowdy." For more info visit www.rowdy.com.(5-2-2006)

    • #21 Crew Chief penalized: NASCAR announced that David Hyder, crew chief for the #21 Nextel Cup Series team, has been fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006 for a rule violation at Phoenix International Raceway. Hyder violated Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and 20-10.8.4I (unapproved tire warming by using a portable heater) of the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Rule Book. The rule violation was discovered during the running of the Subway Fresh 500 on April 22.(NASCAR)(5-1-2006)

    • Donnie & Bobby Allison join TV Project: NASCAR driving legend Donnie Allison has joined his brother Bobby as a commentator on the new Reality Racing - The Rookie Challenge network television series. The Reality Racing - The Rookie Challenge combines two of the most prevalent on-air entertainment concepts - stock car racing and reality television - to create a unique, action-packed, 13-week series scheduled to air on a major network later this year. The Series will pit contestants with absolutely no racing backgrounds and from all walks of life against each other in a stock car racing competition format. Helping to judge the competitors will be a panel of select, former stock car racing stars headed by the Allisons. Additional information on Reality Racing, Inc. and the new series can be obtained at www.realityracingtv.com.(PR)(5-2-2006)

    • Kahne needs clearance to test at Lowe's UPDATE: NASCAR officials say Evernham Motorsports driver #9-Kasey Kahne will have to get medical clearance before he's allowed to test Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Kahne talked with Dr. Jerry Petty, a Charlotte, N.C., neurosurgeon, on Monday and has a Tuesday morning appointment with Petty to get clearance. Kahne crashed early in the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway Monday afternoon, and NASCAR officials did not allow him to return to the Nextel Cup race. "The medical people didn't think it would be good for him to get back in the car again," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said, adding that the driver of the #9 Dodge was too "shaken up" to return. Kahne went to the infield care center after the accident and walked to his hauler in the Nextel Cup garage. "I just got checked out, and everything is fine," Kahne said. Hermie Sadler, also involved in the lap 9 crash, got behind the wheel of Kahne's No. 9 when it returned on lap 85. By NASCAR rules, Kahne will get the driver points for the team's finish in the race.(SceneDaily.com)(5-1-2006)
      UPDATE: #9-Kasey Kahne will not test Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway after a hard crash Monday during the race at Talladega Superspeedway. Kahne said he plans to get approval Wednesday to test on the second day of the two-day test in Charlotte. He said he will not go to see Dr. Jerry Petty, a Charlotte, N.C., neurosurgeon, until Wednesday morning. No one filled in for Kahne in Evernham Motorsports's #9 Dodge as the test on the repaved Lowe's Motor Speedway track got under way Tuesday morning. The #9 hauler did arrive at the track to get the cars set up.(SceneDaily.com)(5-2-2006)

    • Knaus Wins WypAll Wipers Crew Chief of the Race at Talladega: In typical Talladega fashion, the Aaron's 499 played out like a 200 mph game of chess. In the end, it was Chad Knaus' decision to bring the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet in for service on the last round of pit stops which proved to be the game winning strategy. Jimmie Johnson's fresh tires were exactly what he needed to climb through the pack and capture the win. Knaus' triumphant tactics earned him the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race. With 22 laps to go, Knaus was left with the difficult choice of whether to have his driver pit or stay on the track. Knaus elected to have Johnson reload with fresh tires for the final run. The decision put Johnson in 15th place for the restart, but Johnson had little difficulty storming to the front. A panel of voters; including a member of the local media, Tony Eury Sr. and a Wypall Wipers representative; agreed that Knaus' strategy earned him Crew Chief of the Race honors. For winning the Crew Chief of the Race award, Wypall Wipers presented Knaus $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 Knaus' first Crew Chief of the Race award in 2006, which ties him with Darian Grubb, Todd Berrier 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)(5-2-2006)

    • Foyt to run Indy 500: former Cup driver, Larry Foyt will enter his third straight Indianapolis 500 driving for his famous father A.J. Foyt. The 29-year-old Houstonian will drive the #41 Honda-powered Panoz. Since Foyt has not driven an Indy car since last year's 500, he'll take a refresher test this Monday, May 8 during the Rookie Orientation Program (ROP). Once he's completed the test, which is the final two phases of the ROP speed test, he will continue practicing for the remainder of the day. Last year Foyt was involved in an accident on lap 15. He sustained a lower back injury which sidelined him for six weeks. He has completely recovered.(A.J. Foyt Racing)(5-2-2006)


      News from May 1, 2006

    • Graphics Company Sells: Motorsports Designs Holding, Inc. of High Point, North Carolina, which supplies more than 60% of NASCAR teams with their racing graphics, has been acquired by an affiliate of Vomela Specialty Company of St. Paul, Minnesota.(PR)(5-1-2006)

    • COT to the Wind Tunnel: NASCAR plans to take its car of tomorrow [COT] to a wind tunnel this week and test different nose pieces.(Roanoke Times)(5-1-2006)

    • Time chooses Brian France as influential: Brian France, chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR -- has a new title to his name today courtesy of TIME Magazine. France, 43, is one of the world's 100 most influential people, according to an edition of the magazine that hits newsstands today. He was selected in the "Builders and Titans" category, one of five that also include heroes and pioneers; leaders and revolutionaries; scientists and thinkers and artists and entertainers. This is the third year TIME has published such a list, with other famous people invited to write profiles of those who are selected as the most influential people in the world. Darrell Waltrip, a three-time NASCAR driving champion and race analyst for Fox Sports, wrote about France.(Daytona Beach News Journal and see the story at TIME.com)(5-1-2006)

    • Johnson wins at Talladega: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the rain-delayed Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, leading the final lap, drafting by #25-Brian Vickers on the last lap, bring #20-Tony Stewart with him. The win is Johnson's 3rd of 2006 and 21st of his career plus his 2nd straight restrictor plate race win. Stewart finished 2nd, followed by Vickers, #31-Jeff Burton and #26-Jamie McMurray. #24-Gordon was leading with 2 laps to go and got shuffled back and finished 15th. Pole sitter, #38-Elliott Sadler finished 16th. Johnson retakes the points lead and wins the $60,000 NASCAR Nextel Cup Leader Bonus for leading the points and winning the race. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. lost an engine on lap 151 and finished 31st. There were 8 cautions for 34 laps and 22 leaders with 56 lead changes. The stands at Talladega were pretty full even after the race was postponed a day due to rain on Sunday.
      Race Results on my Talladega Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega page.
      Race Rundown: see my Talladega Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(5-1-2006)

    • Talladega Race Notes:
      • Jimmie Johnson won the 2006 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, scoring his 21st NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 156th career start. Johnson’s last victory came at Las Vegas in March, six races ago.
      • Johnson also won the $60,000 NASCAR NEXTEL Leader Bonus for winning the race and leading the points. This is the second time this season that Johnson has won the bonus claiming all $90,000 in the first nine races.
      • Twenty of Johnson’s 21 victories have come on a superspeedway.
      • This is Johnson’s second victory in a restrictor plate race. His first came in this year’s Daytona 500.
      • Johnson has scored three victories in nine races in 2006, the most of all drivers.
      • Johnson became the 34th different race winner in 74 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races at Talladega.
      • Johnson scored his seventh top-10 finish in nine races this season, the most among all drivers.
      • Johnson climbed from second to first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. After nine races in 2005, he also ranked first in the point standings.
      • Johnson led only two times for three laps including the final lap in the Aaron’s 499.
      • This is team owner Rick Hendrick’s 143rd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Hendrick has scored seven NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Talladega, second only to Richard Childress who has nine.
      • Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season 1986-2006, 21 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Jeff Gordon led the most laps for the first time in 2006. Gordon led 62 laps in today’s race. The last time Gordon led the most laps in a race occurred one year ago in this race when he led 139 of the 194 lap race.
      • Tony Stewart (second) posted his 10th top-10 finish in 15 races at Talladega Superspeedway. Stewart has finished second in six races at Talladega including the last three, but has yet to score a Talladega NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. He scored his sixth top-10 finish of the season, all top-fives and climbed from fifth to third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. One year ago Stewart ranked sixth after nine races.
      • Brian Vickers (third) scored his second top-10 finish in five races at Talladega Superspeedway and climbed from 19th to 14th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. It is his third top 10 finish this season.
      • Jeff Burton (fourth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 25 races at Talladega and his second-best best finish here. He finished third here in October 2001. It was his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. He climbed from 13th to 12th in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 18th after nine races.
      • Jamie McMurray (fifth) scored his third top-10 finish in eight races at Talladega. It was his third top-10 finish in 2006. He climbed from 20th to 17th in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 10th after nine races
      • J.J. Yeley finished 11th Talladega and was the highest finishing Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender.
      • At least one Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in every race this season.
      • Raybestos Rookie contenders Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex who were ranked in the top-15 in points coming into this race both were involved in the lap-9 accident and dropped to 18th and 20th respectively.
      • Mark Martin (35th) ended a streak of 12 straight top-15 finishes since Atlanta last October.
      • Joe Nemechek (27th) ended a 40-race streak of running at the finish that began at Bristol last April, which was the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-1-2006)

    • Rumblings - Talladega: We had an early melee (a 13 car job on Lap 10), green flag pit stop mishaps (missing lugs.....catch can making laps), 56 lead changes and 22 different leaders. That can only mean one thing.....we're at Talladega Superspeedway. Jimmie Johnson survived a wild 9-lap shootout to the finish today (one day late) to take the Aaron's 499 over Tony Stewart. The lead only changed hands 5 times in that last green flag run....but don't think it calmed down any. It was your typical wild plate race with four and five wide most of the day (and these guys just haven't figured out that don't work too often).
      JJ's win was his third of the season (he's taken both plate events) and the 21st of his NEXTEL Cup career (he's now tied for 27th on the all-time win list with Benny Parsons, Jack Smith, and Bobby Labonte). Win #143 for Hendrick Motorsports was worth $326,061 from the over $5.9M in posted awards.
      Brian Vickers (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at California last September.
      Jeff Burton (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Bristol last August.
      Jamie McMurray (5th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Daytona last July.
      Robby Gordon (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Phoenix last November. Robby's Top-10 gives us 30 drivers at that mark this season.... last year we had 43 of 'em.
      Jeremy Mayfield (13th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Homestead last November.
      Jeff Green (14th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Lowe's last May.
      Travis Kvapil (19th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Phoenix last November.
      Chad Chaffin (30th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 36th at Martinsville last month.
      STREAKIN....Tony Stewart has 5 Top-5's in the last 6 races.
      Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week (for the second time this season) was Jeff Burton (+36), followed by Brian Vickers (+30), Jeff Green (+25), Scott Riggs (+23), Jeremy Mayfield (+23), and Scott Wimmer (+22). DOWN: The Big Dropper (for the third time this season....and that tells you how his year has gone) was Greg Biffle (-31), followed by Sterling Marlin (-28 ), Mark Martin (-25), Clint Bowyer (-25), and Joe Nemechek (-21). It was a typical Talladega day in the "Shaft" as well.
      We had five drivers lead a lap today for the first time this season (with 22 different leaders today that was real unexpected, huh?). Robby Gordon led for the first time since he led one lap at New Hampshire last September, Jeremy Mayfield led for the first time since he led one lap at Lowe's last October, Casey Mears led for the first time since he led twice for 75 laps at Homestead last November, Scott Wimmer led for the first time since he led once for 15 circuits at Phoenix last November, and Joe Nemechek led for the first time since he led once for two laps at Homestead last November. That gives us 38 different leaders this season....last year we had 51 different drivers to lead a lap.
      Jimmie Johnson regains the points lead as the "Stayin' Alive" line moves all the way up to 12th! They can talk all they want about the close points race, but last year at this time we had 18 drivers still above the mark of insignificance.... Three drivers moved forward four spots today (Brian Vickers, J. J. Yeley, and Scott Riggs) while Clint Bowyer & Kenny Schrader both fell six spots.(Stock Car Fans)(5-1-2006)



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