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    MAY 8-14, 2006

      News from May 14, 2006

    • UPS? What is up with their plans: UPS was not involved as Michael Waltrip announced to the racing world the signing of Dale Jarrett to drive an as yet un-numbered Toyota Camry in 2007 and 2008. Adding mystery to revelation, Waltrip had to correct himself after first answering questions concerning UPS. "Our teams have sponsorship for our cars in'07 and '08, beyond that anyone in the garage area would be proud to UPS as a sponsor of their car. This isn't about UPS. This is about Michael Waltrip signing Dale Jarrett to drive our cars. We have a sponsor for my car. We have a sponsor for Dale's car." That is where Waltrip stumbled. A misstep he corrected at the first opportunity. "We have sponsorship for my car. We have sponsorship for a second car. I said Dale's car and I didn't mean that," Waltrip explained. Is there a third car in the works or has Waltrip been lucky enough to sign a sponsor who would love to have Jarrett as their driver but is willing to accept another driver should UPS make the decision to sign with Michael Waltrip Racing? Waltrip has entered into a five-race agreement with Burger King and driver Bill Elliott for 2006, which might be a precursor to a full deal with either Jarrett or another drive in '07. Jarrett just might be the next Burger King on the racetrack, or maybe Waltrip is trying to lure Joe Nemechek, the first driver to campaign full time on the NEXTEL circuit for the chain into the Toyota fold. While Toyota has talked of not going beyond the three organizations they've already announced, Bill Davis, Red Bull and Michael Waltrip Racing there has been nothing said that limits the number of cars each organization might run on the track. The only limit is the four-car limit imposed by NASCAR. "NASCAR's pretty much said you need four," interjected Jarrett, when the possibility of a third car was raised. "That's the business model they've created. Obviously, we're smart enough to see that if we had four teams we could operate more efficiently. We've e two teams sponsored. We have two drivers. We might have another. We might not. I don't know. That's the truth and that's as fair as I can say it."(

    • Andretti to tun Indy 500? John Andretti, who drives fulltime in the Busch Series for [#10 Ford] ppc Racing was the first NASCAR driver to "do the double" when he raced in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1994. While preparing for Friday night's Diamond Hill Plywood 200 -Busch race in Darlington] Andretti was asked what circumstances would get him back in a car at Indianapolis. "Right now I keep mulling over some opportunities that are there even for this year," Andretti said with a smile. "I've got to make a decision pretty quick but I got to get through Darlington first." Two Andrettis are already at The Brickyard preparing for the 90th Indy 500 on May 28. Michael Andretti came out of retirement to join his son, Marco, as two of four Andretti Green Racing drivers attempting to qualify. "It's a lot of history going on," John Andretti said Friday. "I think Mario [Andretti, Michael's father and John's uncle] is probably going around looking for a ride, which he could get easily, I'm sure."(

    • Rusty's son wins Kentucky ARCA race: Steve Wallace placed a punctuation mark on a dominating weekend at Kentucky Speedway by racing to victory in the ARCA RE/MAX Series "Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati" 150 tonight. The 18-year-old son of former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace led 63 of 103 race laps in the #61 Nu South Lemonade Dodge en route to taking his first victory of the 2006 season and the second of his series career. Wallace led the race four times for a total of 63 laps before winning a green-white-checkered flag finish 0.229 of second ahead of second-place driver Brad Coleman in the #62 Federated Car Care Ford. Matt McCall finished third in the #55 Citifinancial Ford, Justin Allgaier was fourth in the #16 Hoosier Tire Midwest-Trashman-USAF Chevrolet and Ryan Foster placed fifth in the #47 Frank Kimmel Racing Ford. Brewco Racing development driver Coleman led 21 laps and posted his second top-five finish of the season. McCall, a Robert Yates Racing development driver who brought home his second top-five ARCA Series finish of the season through two starts. Four-time Kentucky Speedway winner and seven-time series champion Frank Kimmel made his second early exit through 12 series starts at the track. He closed out the race in 28th place, his personal worst at the track, after his #46 Pork The Other White Meat Ford spun and hit the Turn 3 wall following a battle for track position with Wallace.Eleven-thousand-six-hundred-and-nineteen fans witnessed the event that saw six caution periods that devoured 46 laps. The race was delayed one hour and 40 minutes due to rain.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(5-14-2006)

      News from May 13, 2006

    • Biffle wins at Darlington: #16-Greg Biffle won the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway, leading 170 of 367 laps, for his first win of 2006 and 10th of his career. Biffle also moved from 20th in drivers points to 14th and is 500 points out of the lead [100 ouf of the chase]. #24-Jeff Gordon came on late and almost caught Biffle, but settled for 2nd, followed by #17-Matt Kesneth, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Johnson increased his points lead over #20-Tony Stewart to 93 points. There were 25 lead changed among 10 drivers and 6 cautions for 24 laps.
      Race Results on my Darlington Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Darlington page.
      Race Rundown: see my Darlington Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(5-13-2006)

    • Darlington Race Notes/Facts:
      • Greg Biffle won the 2006 Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway, scoring his 10th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 125th career start. Biffle’s last victory came at Homestead in November 2005, 11 races ago.
      • All 10 of Biffle’s victories have come on a superspeedway, including two at Darlington.
      • Biffle’s first superspeedway victory came at Daytona in July 2003.
      • Biffle became the eighth different race winner in 2006.
      • Two races ago Biffle was 232 points behind 10th. With his victory, Biffle climbed from 20th to 14th in points gaining six positions and is just 106 behind 10th-place Jeff Burton. After 11 races in 2005, he ranked second in the point standings.
      • Biffle won this race one year ago. This was the 17th time by 13 different drivers that back-to-back victories have been scored at Darlington.
      • Biffle scored his fourth top-10 finish in 11 races this season.
      • Biffle moved to 50th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list tied with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin.
      • Biffle led seven times for 170 laps including the final 49 laps.
      • This is the fourth time in 2006 and the 10th time in his career that Biffle led the most laps in a race. He won the first five races in which he led the most laps. Biffle led the most laps at California, Atlanta and Phoenix this year and finished 15th or worse in all three races.
      • Biffle has won a race each season 2003-2006, four consecutive years.
      • This was team owner Jack Roush’s 91st NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Roush has scored five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Darlington Raceway.
      • Jack Roush Racing has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Jeff Gordon (second) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 17th top-10 finish in 26 races at Darlington Raceway. Gordon climbed from ninth to sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
      • Matt Kenseth (third) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2006. It was his best finish and fourth top-10 finish in 12 races at Darlington. Kenseth remained third in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, just one point behind second-place Tony Stewart.
      • Jimmie Johnson (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his in seventh top-10 finish in eight races at Darlington Raceway. He remained first in the point standings. One year ago he ranked first after 11 races.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fifth) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fifth top-10 in 12 races at Darlington Raceway. He climbed from sixth to fifth in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 11th after 11 races.
      • Three 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders finished in the top-10 (Hamlin-10th, Sorensen-11th and Truex-14th). This marked the third time this season that three rookies have finished in the top 10.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 11 races this season.
      • Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender Denny Hamlin (10th) posted his fourth top-10 finish in 2006.
      • Dave Blaney (27th) extended a 29-race streak of running at the finish that began at Pocono last June, which is the longest current streak.
      • Tony Stewart (12th) ended a streak of top-10 finishes in the last five races.
      • Carl Edwards (39th) ended a streak of three straight top-10 finishes.
      • Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson have each scored top-15 finishes in 10 of the 11 races in 2006.
      • Kevin Harvick (37th) dropped from fifth to ninth in the point standings.
      • Jeff Burton has climbed from 21st to 10th in the point standings since Martinsville.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-13-2006)

    • Rumblings [Notes] - Darlington: Greg Biffle finally broke through tonight at Darlington Raceway as he held off a charging Jeff Gordon to take the Dodge Charger 500. Biffle led the most laps (7 times for 170 circuits) and takes his second straight victory at this hallowed oval.....his first win of the season and the 10th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He's now tied for 50th on the all-time win list with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin. This was win #91 for Roush Racing, and was worth $290,175 from the over $5.4M in posted awards.
      Ryan Newman (6th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Daytona in February.
      Ken Schrader (15th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Daytona in February.
      STREAKIN....Matt Kenseth has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      Jeff Burton has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Matt Kenseth (+28 ), followed by Martin Truex Jr (+25), Kyle Busch (+22), Kyle Petty (+22), Tony Raines (+22), Jimmie Johnson (+21), and Joe Nemechek (+20). The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-33), followed by Carl Edwards (-32), Jamie McMurray (-27), Elliott Sadler (-23), Kevin Harvick (-23), David Stremme (-21), Kasey Kahne (-20), and Clint Bowyer (-20). That's two in a row for Vickers in one of the most active "Shafts" we've seen in awhile (almost 35% of the field in play).
      Jimmie Johnson stretches his points lead out to 93 tonight. We've now got our "Stayin' Alive" line up to the Top-10 only.....last year at this time we had 15 drivers still eligible for the "Chase". We've got something we don't see often.....a 3-way tie for 23rd. Greg Biffle's victory moved him up six spots in the standings (20th to 14th), while Kevin Harvick (5th to 9th) and Carl Edwards (13th to 17th) fell the most spots.(more at Stock Car

    • DeHart splits with Harvick: Gene DeHart, former Fabrication Manager/Director with Kevin Harvick Inc., has parted ways. He is currently in the final stages of re-establishing DeHart, Inc., which formerly was DeHart Racing Inc., where his expertise was hanging bodies and building Chassis for various Nextel Cup, Busch and Truck Teams.(5-13-2006)

    • Jarrett announcement this weekend? OFFICAL Jarrett to Waltrip/Toyota: hearing that #88-Dale Jarrett could make his announcement going to Toyota/Michael Waltrip Racing as soon as this weekend at Darlington Raceway. Waltrip is scheduled to make a live announcement on Speed Channel's NASCAR Live, Saturday, May 13th at 12:30pm/et...maybe....(5-12-2006)
      OFFICIAL: it was announced on Speed Channel's NASCAR Live at 12:32pm/et that Dale Jarrett, current driver of the #88 UPS Ford for Robert Yates Racing will drive a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2007, no word on sponsor, car number, etc. AND see a transcript of the announcement at SPEED Q&A: Waltrip's Toyota team signs Jarrett to two-year deal
      UPDATE: Michael Waltrip, owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, Incorporated, announced today that former NASCAR champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner, Dale Jarrett, is joining the organization to drive the team's second Toyota entry in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series beginning in 2007. "When we began building Michael Waltrip Racing, I knew the key to success was bringing in quality people," Waltrip explained. "Ty Norris has been instrumental on the business side, just as Larry Carter and Bobby Kennedy have been on the competition side. By hiring Dale, we have yet another example of the importance we are placing on securing first-rate individuals for our program."
      "Dale's resume speaks for itself," continued Waltrip. "To have a NASCAR champion on our team is another significant piece of the puzzle that pulls together our vision. I know his knowledge and experience will be invaluable for a start-up team with a new manufacturer and will allow our organization to grow and succeed at a faster pace." Jarrett is a well-known veteran of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. He established himself as a perennial championship contender in the mid-90s, finishing in the top-10 in championship points for seven consecutive seasons and winning the series title in 1999. Jarrett has 32 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series victories, including the aforementioned three Daytona 500 wins and two in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His resume also includes being named to NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers list.
      "My tenure at Robert Yates Racing has been extremely important to me, my family and my career," Jarrett said. "We accomplished a lot together during the past 12 years and I am thankful to Robert and everyone at RYR and Ford Motor Company for the opportunities they afforded me and the success we have all shared. This was a very difficult decision. I feel this is a great opportunity for me to take on a new challenge and what they are building at Michael Waltrip Racing fits my plans for the future."
      "My decision to join Michael Waltrip Racing is based solely on a competitor's perspective," Jarrett continued. "What Michael has pulled together is impressive and I want to be a part of it. The Daytona 500 might seem far away, but for a race team it is right around the corner. Michael's team is building cars now, their core management team is in place, the competition department is established and sponsors are locked up. From that perspective, it doesn't feel like I am going to a brand new team."
      "Toyota's strategic entry into NASCAR has been equally impressive," said Jarrett. "The mark they have made in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the last three years is reason enough to want to be part of their entrance into the Cup Series." Waltrip is the first of the three Toyota team owners to solidify their 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers.(MWR PR)(5-13-2006)

    • Labbe offered to resign from RYR: #88-Dale Jarrett’s crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe this week offered to resign over penalties handed down by NASCAR following last weekend’s race at Richmond. However, car owner Robert Yates rejected the offer. Yates is appealing a $25,000 fine, the loss of 25 driver and owner points as well as a four races suspension of Labbe for the way the rear sway bar was mounted. Labbe said; “It wasn’t that we tried to hide anything…it was out in the open and it’s not something we did after inspection. We went through inspection with it…qualified with it and all of a sudden they didn’t like it. It was on there all day long the day prior and nothing was said so it's tough. I don’t think we were singled out, I think it just caught his (NASCAR inspector) eye and he didn’t like the way it was.” Back in February, in response to the suspension of Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief Chad Kanaus after an illegal part was discovered on the #48 car [Jimmie Johnson] after qualifying, Yates said he would fire any of his crew caught cheating. Labbe told reporters at Darlington; “The first thing I told Robert is I can make it easy for you…I can resign if you want me to…and he’s like…I fully support you 100% and what you did was a grey area of the rulebook.” Labbe went on to say; “I felt bad for Robert because he’s been around this garage for a while and to label someone on his team a cheater really bothers me and I know it bothers him too. So, I feel strongly in saying I’m not a cheater…we pushed the rules like any other team in the garage area and it just got singled out.” Many of his crew members knew what Labbe was doing with that particular part according to Labbe. “I had them (His team) read the rule book and understand my thoughts. Trust me; I just didn’t put it on the car hoping they (NASCAR officials) don’t see it. We talked about it. We worked hard on it and felt comfortable putting it on the car because it was not clearly defined in the rulebook. If they (NASCAR) don’t like it… it’s their game you know…we breathe their air.” The appeal will be heard Wednesday by the National Stock Car Racing Commission.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-13-2006)

    • Sad News - Brasington: Harold Brasington Jr., the son of Darlington Raceway's founder, has died. The 63-year-old Brasington passed away Saturday, one week before the facility's Nextel Cup event. His survivors include four children, among them daughter Annie Brasington of Charleston. Brasington's father built the track in 1950, the same year it hosted NASCAR's first 500-mile event and first race on a paved track. Brasington Jr. spoke with the media in early April, when the facility's new grandstand was named in honor of his father, and said he would like to see the elder Brasington inducted into NASCAR's upcoming Hall of Fame. "I would, if they see fit," he said. "Because what he did here, he put his whole livelihood and effort into this thing. And he never really profited from it. I think he deserves that. Yes. The answer is yes."(Charleston Post and Courier)(5-13-2006)

      News from May 12, 2006

    • Ward to Yates? UPDATE denied...but... from ... couple of little birdies have told me in the last couple of weeks that Ward Burton is off the market in terms of driver availability. And while it is claimed that this information comes from people we would all consider ‘official’ type people, these ‘official’ type people are being coy in regards to whom or what has taken him off the market. One rumor that has gained momentum has Ward taking over the #88 UPS Ford owned by Robert Yates Racing when Dale Jarrett bolts for Toyota. Again, Jarrett hasn’t officially said that he is going to Toyota, but he hasn’t exactly denied it either. Another little nugget of information floating around out there states that if Jarrett bolts, UPS will stay with Yates, but they don’t want the next ‘potential’ Cup star. They want a proven competitor, not just some cat with little or no experience.(
      UPDATE: While there is no truth to the rumor driver Ward Burton and car owner Robert Yates have struck a deal to drive the #88 UPS Ford if Dale Jarrett leaves for Toyota, Burton says he would like to talk with Yates and other teams looking for an experienced pilot. “I’ve definitely been ready” said the former Daytona 500 and Southern 500 champion. “I have a strong desire to be competitive on the race track and I don’t think I’ve lost anything that I’ve always had. I’m looking for a good opportunity so I can get back out there.” Burton added that it wouldn’t take him much to get back up to speed.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-12-2006)

    • Interview with Toyota's Jim Aust: Jim Aust -- Vice President of Motorsports for Toyota U.S.A./President and CEO of Toyota Racing Development -- spoke on Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) Thursday, fielding a number of questions from host Dave Moody about Toyota's move to NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series racing in 2007. Some include: COT, test track in Charlotte, more then the 3 named teams? Gibbs? See the full interview on my Toyota News and Links page.(5-12-2006)

    • Sherman's Plans; ARCA and Cup: Brent Sherman's first lap around the NASCAR Nextel Cup circuit has been a bumpy ride. Sherman said that he has left BAM Racing's Nextel Cup team to form his own team, Sherman Racing. Sherman's team will spend the rest of the 2006 season on the ARCA RE/MAX Series circuit, with plans to try to qualify for Nextel Cup races July 9 in suburban Chicago and Nov. 12 near Phoenix. He hopes his new team can run a full Nextel Cup season in 2007. "We're going to do whatever we have the money to do," Sherman said. Sherman said he was told by a BAM Racing official last Tuesday that he would not be the driver for the team in Richmond and Darlington. "I told them that was unacceptable," Sherman said. His response was a letter to BAM Racing informing the team that he no longer would be its driver. "We still haven't heard anything from them," Sherman said. "They haven't called." BAM Racing officials did not return phone messages seeking comment Wednesday. Sherman took the team's biggest sponsor, Serta, with him. Bob Sherman, Brent's father, is president of Serta. Brent Sherman said Serta will be the primary sponsor for his team. Sherman said he will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the team, but "I'll run everything past my dad." Sherman plans to start running on ARCA at the May 21 race in Toledo, Ohio.(St. Paul Pioneer Press)(5-12-2006)

    • Childress to Receive Honorary Degree: NASCAR Team Owner Richard Childress will be awarded an honorary degree from the board of trustees of Davidson County Community College (DCCC) during tonight's commencement ceremony on the school's campus in Lexington, NC. Childress' wife, Judy, will accept the award as he will be busy directing his NASCAR Busch Series teams' efforts in tonight's Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway. "I'm honored to receive this recognition from Davidson County Community College and I'm sorry I won't be there to accept it in person," said Childress, President and CEO of Richard Childress Racing (RCR). "Davidson County Community College provides its students with a great opportunity to continue their education and prepare for better jobs in the future. It's also an honor to be rewarded at the same time as my friend Bob Timberlake." Childress and Timberlake, a world renowned artist, are only the fourth and fifth community leaders to receive such recognition from DCCC.(Richard Childress Racing)(5-12-2006)

    • Tracy re-signs with Champ Car team, still plans limited NASCAR sched: Champ Car star Paul Tracy made some news off the track in the opening day of practice for this weekend’s Grand Prix of Houston street race, by announcing that he had signed a new contract with Forsythe Racing that will keep him in Champ Cars for another five years.(Speed Channel)
      AND Champ Car driver Paul Tracy plans to continue to compete in NASCAR events despite announcing a five-year extension of his contract with Forsythe Racing today to continue in the open-wheel series. Tracy is expected to compete in 10 NASCAR races, most likely Busch Series events, in 2007, said Doug Barnette of Player Management International.(

    • Herme Sadler to have Ace & TJ Show Scheme at LMS: MBA Motorsports and #00-Hermie Sadler Team with The Ace & TJ Show and Kiss 95.1 for The Nextel All Star Challenge and Coca Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway. The Ace & TJ Show, the #1 rated morning show in Charlotte has teamed with MBA Motorsports and Hermie Sadler for the NASCAR Nextel Open and Coca Cola 600 at Lowes Motor Speedway. Sadler's Ford Fusion will carry the colors of the Ace & TJ Show as well as Kiss 95.1 for this promotion and the show will be giving away tickets and unprecedented access for lucky listeners over the next two weeks. Ace and TJ will also be involved in the promoting of the TNA Wrestling event that will be held Friday May 26 at Lake Norman High School in Mooresville, NC. The Ace & TJ Show is now heard in Charlotte NC, Birmingham AL, Chattanooga TN, Myrtle Beach SC, State College PA, Union City TN and Paris TN. They have been with their flagship station, WNKS in Charlotte, for just over 8 years. WNKS is a CBS Radio station. For more information on how to listen and win tickets to the Coca Cola 600 and TNA Wrestling, visit or For information on TNA Wrestling events in Mooresville and Greensboro, visit

    • Kahne wins pole at Darlington: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway with a speed of 169.013mph for his 3rd pole of 2006 and 9th of his career, Kahne won the races he won the poles for this year [Atlanta, Texas]. #12-Ryan Newman will start 2nd, followed by #07-Clint Bowyer [career best], #40-David Stremme [best career] and #11-Denny Hamlin. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were #40-Stremme, #32-Kvapil, #74-Cope, #95-Barrett, #55-Waltrip, #4-Wimmer and #49-Lepage. #44-Labonte used a past champions provisional to make the race. Missing the race were: #78-Wallace, #61-Chaffin, #34-Blount and #37-Long. See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progession, qualifying order on my Darlington Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(5-12-2006)

    • Darlington Qualifying Notes:
      • Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Dodge Charger 500, lapping Darlington Raceway in 29.096 seconds at 169.013 mph. Ward Burton holds the track-qualifying record of 28.295 seconds, 173.797 mph - set March 22, 1996.
      • Kahne is now three-for-three in qualifying at Darlington, winning the Bud Pole in all three of his qualifying session here. He started 13th in 2004 when qualifying was canceled.
      • This is Kahne’s ninth career Bud Pole in 83 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
      • This is his third Bud Pole and seventh top-10 start in 2006.
      • Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 29.238 seconds, 168.192 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the Dodge Charger 500. This is Newman’s fourth top-10 start in 2006 and ties Atlanta for his season-best. This is his seventh top-10 start in eight Darlington races. It is his third second-place start here. He also has one Bud Pole and one third-place start in those eight races.
      • This is the fourth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet and Ford each have three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • The last all-Dodge front-row was Atlanta this past March, was also Kahne (first) and Newman (second).
      • Clint Bowyer (third) posted his career-best start and is competing in his career-first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Darlington. This is his second top-10 start this season – both in the past four races.
      • David Stremme (fourth) also posted his career-first top-10 start. It is his first start better than 17th in his 15 career races.
      • Denny Hamlin (fifth) became the third rookie candidate to post a top-10 start. It is his sixth top-10 start this season and comes in his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Darlington.
      • This is the second time this season that three rookies qualified in the top-10. Texas had J.J. Yeley (second), Hamlin (eighth) and Martin Truex Jr. (ninth).
      • Terry Labonte (43rd) used a past champion’s provisional to make the race for the third time this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-12-2006)

    • Ramblings - Darlington: Kasey Kahne took the Bud Pole today at Darlington Raceway and by doing so stamped himself as the instant favorite for Saturday Night's Dodge Charger 500. Seeing as how all three of Kasey's career wins have come after starting from the's a natural. Kasey's 3rd pole of the season (and 9th of his career) came with a speed of 29.096 (169.013 mph) around this venerable egg-shaped oval. Ryan Newman will start alongside tomorrow night.
      Clint Bowyer (3rd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 8th at Phoenix last month.
      David Stremme (4th) has his career-best starting spot this weekend as well. His previous best was 17th at Talladega last month.
      Travis Kvapil (18th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Martinsville last October.
      Derrike Cope (33rd) has his best starting spot since he qualified 31st at Texas in April of 2004 (only 15 races).
      STREAKIN....Greg Biffle has 10 Top-10 starts in a row.
      Kurt Busch has 9 Top-10 starts in the last 10 races.
      Carl Edwards has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.(Stock Car Fans)(5-12-2006)

    • Darlington Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to Darlington . . . both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run the same tire set-up this weekend . . . this is the only track at which Nextel Cup teams will run this tire set-up in 2006 . . . Busch teams have run this tire once before -- at Nashville last month . . . as on all ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Darlington . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 55-60 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) For full tire notes, codes and more, see my Darlington Race Info/Rundown Page.(5-12-2006)

      News from May 11, 2006

    • #49 gets sponsor for Darlington, Lepage in for LMS races also: Kevin Lepage will drive the #49 Bam Racing Dodge with sponsorship from Freightliner for Saturday's Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington Raceway, according to a team spokesman. Lepage will be the fourth driver this season for the team, which has struggled this year with Brent Sherman behind the wheel for most races. Lepage will also drive for BAM in the Nextel Open and the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte later this month.(

    • Mears still talking to Ganassi about extension: #42-Casey Mears says he has yet to sign a new contract extension with car owner Chip Ganassi; however talks have stepped up in recent weeks and have been positive. “We’ve been talking a lot in trying to work things out” said Mears during a break in Busch Series testing at Lowes Motor Speedway. If his phone has been ringing more often concerning possible rides Mears isn’t biting. “Anybody’s that’s had an open ride has had interest but I haven’t really pursued any of it, said Mears. I’m just focused on what I’m doing right now and talking to Chip. We’ve got our best run going that I’ve ever had in cup so far and we’re really focused on trying to make that chase. Chip and I haven’t finalized anything yet but neither one of us are really panicked about it.”(PRN's Garagepass Radio Show)(5-11-2006)

    • Craven back to the Truck Series? former Cup drivers/winner Ricky Craven said he may return to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this month. He is currently mulling an attractive offer and expects to make a decision soon. Craven, who has 278 Nextel Cup races under his belt, including two wins, raced full time in the truck series for the first time a year ago for Roush Racing. His victory at Martinsville Speedway made him just the 15th [now up to 16] driver in history to win in all three major NASCAR series. He passed up his second and final year on his contract with Roush so he would be available to return to Nextel Cup racing if the right full-time offer came his way with a competitive multi-car team. It hasn't. "I have an opportunity in the truck series that has my interest. We've had preliminary discussions and now it's a matter of seeing how serious it is in the next couple of weeks," said Craven. ""The bottom line is I need to either get in the game or out of it. I'm the type of person who has to be all in or all out. I'm pushing myself to make a decision. At this point, the truck series makes the most sense for me," added Craven, who wouldn't divulge the team but indicated it is a quality team that would supply him an opportunity to compete for wins. "The trucks are fun to drive and the series has its own identity. I miss racing." Over the past year, Craven indicated he has had several truck offers and some Cup offers with single-car teams. "I can't keep saying 'No.' People will stop calling," said Craven who finished 14th in points last season.(Bangor News)(5-11-2006)

    • Sad News: Alson Lemuel "Al" Basnight, 61, passed away at his home April 27, 2006, unexpectedly. Basnight was formerly employed by Petty Enterprises as general manager; NASCAR official of the Winston Cup Series and director of development of NASCAR Australia. In lieu of flowers, please make memorials to Gideon’s Memorial Bible, c/o Dobson Camp, P.O. Box 791, Dobson, NC 27017. Condolences to family and friends.(more at the Virginian Pilot)(5-11-2006)

    • Ginn Clubs back on the #14 for Darlington: Ginn Clubs & Resorts returns to the #14 MB2 Motorsports Chevy that Sterling Marlin drives at Darlington Raceway. Ginn was the sponsor on the car at Martinsville and is scheduled to be on the car as the primary sponsor for Daytona in July and Lowe's in October.(MB2Motorsports PR), see an image of the scheme on my #14 Team Schemes page.(5-11-2006)

      News from May 10, 2006

    • #88 Team facing penalty? UPDATE penalties/suspension..Appeal: The situation surrounding #88-Dale Jarrett Saturday night was murky [supposedly the rear away bar was taken], but NASCAR said it might issue penalties this week. Jarrett's crew apparently made some pre-race chassis adjustments that NASCAR didn't like, so NASCAR forced Jarrett to start from the rear of the field.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-8-2006)
      UPDATE - Penalties/Suspension: NASCAR issued penalties Tuesday to the #88 Nextel Cup Series team for a rule violation committed last weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Richard “Slugger” Labbe, crew chief for the #88 Ford driven by Dale Jarrett, was fined $25,000 and suspended from NASCAR until June 7, 2006 [thru race at Dover], for violating Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.2D (unapproved rear sway bar mounting for use other than anti-roll) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book. The violation was discovered during pre-race inspection on May 6. Also, Jarrett has been penalized 25 driver championship points, while team owner Robert Yates has been penalized 25 owner championship points as a result of the violation.(NASCAR PR), the penalty drops Jarrett from 11th in Drivers Points to 12th, #31-Burton moves up to 11th, Jarrett had been just 2 points out of 10th.(5-9-2006)
      APPEAL: "Obviously, in this case, we interpreted the rules differently from NASCAR,'' Robert Yates, who vowed to appeal the punishments, stated. "But because of the lack of a clear-cut understanding on our part, we believe we have grounds for appeal and have started that process.'' Since the appeal won't be heard before next week, Labbe will be present at the upcoming Darlington race this weekend. "If our interpretation is wrong, we did wrong," Yates added. "Like most, we're pressing the envelope to the highest degree to get the best performance. We pushed reading the rules to the edge." In the wake of the Chad Knaus' ejection from the Daytona 500 in February, Yates was quoted as saying he would have fired a crew chief that cheated deliberately like in the case of the illegal rear window found Jimmie Johnson's #48 Hendrick Chevy. The veteran team owner declined to comment on Labbe's future with RYR in case the #88's appeal is denied.(Speed Channel)
      UPDATE 2: the appeal is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday, May 17th, if held up, Labbe would miss Pocono instead of this weeks race in Darlington.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-10-2006)

    • Richmond TV Ratings: FX's official debut of regularly scheduled NASCAR NEXTEL CUP RACING earned a 3.5/7 (5.633 million viewers) for the Richmond 400 this past Saturday. That is up +3% over last year's 3.4/7 and ranks as FX's highest rating for the Richmond race ever. These are national figures that will not change.(FOX/FX), see past TV Ratings and a 2006 Chart on my TV Ratings page.(5-10-2006)

    • #29 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Richmond: Kevin Harvick's race team scored its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition by spending the least amount of time on pit road in Saturday night's Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. The GM Goodwrench crew, which spent 164.225 seconds on pit road during the Crown Royal 400, helped propel its driver to a third-place finish in the event. Harvick also led the most laps, 272 of 400. "It was a great race for our entire GM Goodwrench crew," said Todd Berrier, crew chief for the No. 29 Chevrolet. "Our guys did an excellent job on pit road. We had good, clean, fast pit stops all night that helped keep Kevin up front." Harvick's over-the-wall crew consists of: Nick Terry (jackman), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Jason Pulver (front-tire changer), Matt Krueter (rear-tire carrier), Clint Pittman (rear-tire changer), Brian Englehart (gasman), Scott Naset (catch can), Rick Tulbert (2nd gas can) and John Goodwin (eighth-man). The team's pit crew coach is Corrine Mauldin. The #29 Richard Childress Racing crew will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. A bonus of $105,000 will be presented by Checkers/Rally's to the team with the most pit crew challenge wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. After 10 Nextel Cup races, the pit crews for Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Elliott Sadler are tied for first place in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with two wins each. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at Communications PR)(5-10-2006)

    • Labonte's final Darlington start: Terry Labonte, driver of the #44 Kellogg's Chevy, will make his 54th and final Darlington Raceway start Saturday evening. Racing a limited schedule in his last NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Labonte will enter eight more events for Hendrick Motorsports in 2006, including the last of his career in November at Texas Motor Speedway. Darlington Raceway president Chris Browning will present Labonte with a one-of-a-kind memento during pre-race driver introductions Saturday evening. The piece includes souvenir program covers from significant Darlington races throughout Labonte's career, including his first start, first win, most recent win and final start. Although Labonte has 53 career starts at Darlington, Saturday night's race will mark his first under the lights at the South Carolina track. Labonte, whose career now spans 29 seasons, did not compete there in 2005 while running a part-time schedule for Hendrick Motorsports. Following Darlington, Labonte will next race for Hendrick Motorsports at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 28.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-10-2006)

    • Menards & Moen on the #7 this week: #7-Robby Gordon will again be sponsored by Menards this weekend during the 103rd race at Darlington Raceway while Moen takes center stage on the #7 Chevrolet hood. Moen Incorporated is the No. 1 brand of faucet in North America. In addition to stylish and affordable faucets, Moen also offers residential and commercial sinks and a full range of tub and showering packages. Jim Beam, Harrah's and will serve as associate.(Robby Gordon Motorsports PR)(5-10-2006)

      News from May 9, 2006

    • Driver Changes UPDATE: Chad Chaffin goes from #34 to #61 [both Front Row Motorsports cars]; Kevin Lepage moved from #61 [Front Row Motorsports/Peak Performance] to #49 BAM Racing Dodge; Chad Blount replaces Chaffin in #34 Front Row Motorsports car, Blount had been on the team's #92 entry, which ceased operations. See the updated entry list at Jayski's Darlington Entry List Page.(5-9-2006)
      UPDATE: Kevin Lepage and crew cheif Greg Conner have left Front Row Motorsports #61 team and are now with #49 BAM Racing. Chad Chaffin will now be in the #61 Ford with Craig Osbourne as crew chief and Chad Blount will take over the #34 Chevy's. Mike Steurer and Teddy Kennedy are now working on the #34 team.(PR-FRMF)(5-9-2006)

    • Sad News - Scott Geoffrion: Scott Geoffrion, a two-time former Pro Stock world championship runner-up and nine-time national event winner, died May 8 of an apparent heart attack in Southern California. He was 40. According to his family, wakes will be held Thursday in California and Monday, May 15, at the Vander Plaat Funeral Home, 257 Godwin Ave., Wyckoff, N.J. His funeral will be Tuesday, May 16, at Immaculate Conception Church, 900 Darlington Ave., Mahwah, N.J., at 10 a.m. The services are open to the public. Geoffrion is survived by his children, Kyle and Alexa; brother, Rick; sister, Michele; and parents, Richard and Jeanne. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Drag Racing Association of Women, Channel)(5-9-2006)

    • Special AAA scheme: AAA, 2006 sponsor of Roush Racing's #6 Ford driven by Nextel Cup veteran Mark Martin, announced it will introduce a special paint scheme highlighting AAA's insurance products the weekend of the "Neighborhood Excellence 400" at the Dover International Speedway in June. Weekend events also include the "AAA Insurance 200" NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event. The special AAA design also may be used selectively at other NEXTEL Cup events throughout the 2006 season. It features a dominant, dark blue background and chrome lettering while maintaining key elements of the traditional AAA #6 paint scheme.(AAA), see an image of the scheme on my #6 Team Schemes page, supposedly it will run at Indy also.(5-9-2006)

    • Nadeau talks to Speed: Former NASCAR Nextel Cup Series driver Jerry Nadeau, whose career came to an abrupt end when he crashed during a practice session for a race in Richmond in [May] 2003, suffering head, lung, shoulder and rib injuries, talked with Wendy Venturini for [last] Saturday's edition of NASCAR RaceDay on SPEED about his long recovery and his future: See questions, answers and quotes on my Jerry Nadeau News page.(5-9-2006)

    • Yeley to Drive Boniva Scheme at Darlington: Mother's Day is a time for everyone to salute their mom with gifts and good wishes. But perhaps the best gift a mother can receive is to ensure she has helpful information on how to achieve and maintain good health, including bone health. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Roche are presenting this message to moms all across America this weekend with a special delivery from NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley and the Joe Gibbs Racing team. A unique paint scheme will be displayed on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy, which will be driven by Yeley during the Dodge Charger 500 Nextel Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 13th. The sponsorship aims to help raise awareness about postmenopausal osteoporosis and once-monthly BonivaR (ibandronate sodium) tablets. It encourages women to take steps to protect themselves against fractures. Information about postmenopausal osteoporosis and Boniva can be found at & Associates/Joe Gibbs Racing)(5-9-2006)

    • Rookie News and Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 6 Crown Royal 400 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Hamlin finished second, his best effort in 17 career NEXTEL Cup Series races. He took top rookie honors for the fourth time this season, more than any other driver. Hamlin has racked up two top-five finishes this season, more than any other freshman driver. For the second time this season, Hamlin grabbed the lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings. He holds a five-point edge over #07-Clint Bowyer (107-102) entering the May 13 Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Two Raybestos Rookies rank among the top-20 in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings: Bowyer (15th) and Hamlin (16th). Since 2001, Two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions at Darlington Raceway: Kurt Busch (2001) and Kasey Kahne (2004). The way to the NASCAR NEXTEL championship is to win Raybestos Rookie of the Year. Since 1979, SIX Raybestos Rookie of the Year drivers have gone on to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup title: Dale Earnhardt (1979), Rusty Wallace (1984), Alan Kulwicki (1986), Jeff Gordon (1993), Tony Stewart (1999, 2005) and Kenseth (2000).(Raybestos PR) For standings, rookie of each race, current and past notes, rookie stripes info and rookie history, see my 2006 Rookies Page.(5-9-2006)

    • Vote for Kyle Campaign: Behind the wheel of a special MyCokeRewards racecar, Kyle Petty will continue his hard-driving campaign for the health and well-being of chronically ill youth. Launched today in downtown Charlotte, the "Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction" campaign is a grassroots effort fueled by Coca-Cola and other Petty Enterprises sponsors to reward the man who has given so much of his time and effort to charity with a spot in the Nextel All-Star Challenge on May 20, 2006 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. For the upcoming Coca-Cola 600, the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge will feature a special MyCokeRewards primary sponsorship paint scheme. Petty also will carry the scheme in the Nextel All-Star Challenge on May 20 if voted into the race or if he wins the Nextel Open qualifying race. With the support of Petty's friends, family, sponsors, NASCAR fans and members of the NASCAR community, the "Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction" campaign is geared towards creating a unique opportunity to continue Kyle's tireless efforts to give back to kids. Should Petty make the race through the fan vote, Coca-Cola -- along with Petty Enterprises sponsors Wells Fargo, Schwan's and Tire Kingdom - are donating a minimum of $250,000 to support the ongoing efforts of the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Additionally, Kyle and Petty Enterprises also will donate any purse money won in the Nextel All-Star Challenge to Victory Junction. If Kyle wins the race that's an additional $1,000,000 to Victory Junction. Michael Waltrip was announced as Kyle's campaign manager at today's rally launching the "Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction" initiative. Speakers at the event included 7-time Nextel Cup champion Richard Petty, business executives and Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory. Also present at the rally, where race fans got a sneak peek at the MyCokeRewards racecar Petty will drive in the Coca-Cola 600 and the Nextel Open, were families and campers from Victory Junction. Voting for the Nextel All-Star Challenge is currently open and fans are invited to cast a vote to help get their favorite driver into the event by voting online at Voting will run through May 20 with the winner announced the day of the race. Race fans interested in more information about the "Vote Kyle, Reward Victory Junction" campaign have been asked to go to a special Web site, Racing PR), more info about the Nextel All-Star Challenge and Open on my 2006 All-Star Race page.(5-9-2006)

      News from May 8, 2006

    • Sad News - Brewster: Army Sgt. Bryan Allen Brewster, 24-year-old son of Inland Valley Daily Bulletin sports editor Louis Brewster, was killed Friday along with nine others of the 10th Aviation Brigade Mountain Division in helicopter crash in a remote area of the Afghan mountains on Friday. They were not hit by enemy fire, military officials said. The aircraft went down along the Pakistan border as troops scoured a remote area of the Afghan mountains in search of al-Qaida and Taliban militants, a U.S. military official told the Associated Press. Rescuers located the wreckage in an inaccessible ravine, officials said. It is being called one of the deadliest for U.S. forces in Afghanistan in a year. A military investigation into the incident is planned. All 10 soldiers onboard, including Brewster, were based at Fort Drum in New York. Of the roughly 18,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan, about half are from the 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, according to the Associated Press. Brewster is survived by wife Kati, parents Louis and Linda, brother Scott, grandparents Louis and Sara Brewster.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(5-8-2006)

    • Why didn't Harvick pit at Richmond late in race? Kevin Harvick's #29 Chevy was so good out front during the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway that crew chief Todd Berrier didn't want him to pit on lap 289 with Harvick leading the Nextel Cup race. While Harvick stayed out, the rest of the field pitted. Running on older tires, Harvick eventually lost the lead and was sixth when everyone pitted again under caution with about 50 laps remaining. Harvick, who led 272 laps of the race, wound up third. Berrier figured if Harvick pitted on lap 289, other drivers would stay out. "When you're leading the race, they're going to do the opposite of what you're going to do," Berrier said after the race. "That's kind of the way it works. ... I didn't want to come back and be 10th on the race track." If there were no cautions after the pit stops on lap 289, only Harvick would have had to pit. But Berrier was confident that everyone would pit again. "I knew everybody would [pit again]," Harvick said. "Not that they had to. I knew they would. And they did." Harvick's car got tighter over the final 100 laps. "We weren't aggressive enough [with changes]," Berrier said. "It's awful easy to play it a little bit different when you're chasing somebody instead of getting chased. It's just a bad position to be in." The crew chief obviously was disappointed. "We had a good car, but at the end of the day we didn't win the race," Berrier said. "It hurts."(

    • Penske Not Happy with Busch article, Busch encounters troubles at RIR:: An angry Roger Penske met with USA Today reporters before Saturday night's race to express his displeasure with that newspaper's Thursday article on driver Kurt Busch [actually it was about light sentences athletes get..not just Busch, but he was pictured and featured: Athletes lightly punished after their day in court]. Busch and Penske have been trying to wipe the slate clean on all the controversies that have dogged Busch the last few years. But each time they think they're getting over the hump, something new crops up. Saturday night's race offered no respite. Busch was looking good early, running as high as third, but he was called for pitting outside his pit box and issued a pass-through penalty. When he returned to pit road, he was hit by NASCAR with a second penalty for speeding. By the time the three-hour race was over, Busch was a frustrated 29th.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-8-2006)

    • Orange County Choppers helping Petty camp: Sunoco has teamed with Orange County Choppers to create and donate a custom motorcycle to be raffled in a Victory Junction Gang Camp fundraiser. Sunoco representatives unveiled the bike prior to the Crown Royal 400 Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in a news conference involving the Petty family, founders of the camp for chronically ill children. The bike, which resembles a vintage board-track racer, is a first for OCC. The motorcycle reflects Sunoco's checkered royal blue and yellow colors, as well as other key references to its motorsports history. The motorcycle can be seen by fans along the route of the Petty Charity ride when it crosses the country July 22-30. The episode showing the building of the bike air on the Discovery Channel's "American Chopper" June 19 and 26 at 10pm/et. To learn more about winning the motorcycle, visit and click on the bike logo.(

    • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 10 races, five drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers, #31-Burton, #41-Sorenson, #43-Labonte. #96/44-Terry Labonte and #14-Sterling Markin have used the most at five [Labonte has only run 6 races] with #11-Hamlin and #88-Jarrett each using four. In 2006, one driver has benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta] and #16-Greg Bifle [4th at Richmond] are the only other drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, five drivers have won six races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(5-8-2006)

    • NASCAR Fatheads: Made for HUGE sports fans, Fathead makes high definition, larger-than-life vinyl wall graphics of officially licensed pro athletes, and will be launching NASCAR cars and drivers this week-- joining NFL and NBA Fathead lines. The kiss-cut player graphic sticks to the wall so you can hang out with "your team" everyday, and the thick, high-grade vinyl resists rips, tears and fading. The low tack backing allows sports fans to peel, place and move their Fathead without losing adhesion or damaging walls. More at

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