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MAY 29-JUNE 4, 2006
News from June 4, 2006
- Kenseth wins at Dover: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway for his 2nd win of 2006 and 12th of his 12th win of his career [ties with Newman for 30th overall]. Kenseth passed teammate #26-Jamie McMurray with 3 laps to go to gain the victory. McMurray held on to 2nd, followed by #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton and #5-Kyle Busch. #48-Jimmie Johnson fell off the lead lap early, spun once causing the 4th caution, but got back on the lead lap later by not pitting and wound up 6th, keeping the points lead by 74 over Kenseth. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran in the top 15 all day and ended up 10th. The win is Roush Racing's 92nd, tying the owner with Holman-Moody for 5th place overall. The win is the third for Ford, Kenseth has two and #16-Biffle has the other one. The pole sitter, #12-Ryan Newman, led 12 laps and finished 14th. There were 23 lead changes among 12 drivers and 9 cautions for 51 laps.
Race Results on my Dover Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Dover page.
Race Rundown: see my Dover Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-4-2006)
- Dover Race News and Notes:
• Matt Kenseth won the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America at Dover International Speedway, scoring his 12th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 233rd career start.
• It is Kenseth’s second victory in 2006. His other victory came at California Speedway, 11 races earlier.
• Kenseth won from a 19th starting position, the first time in the last seven races at Dover that a driver has won from outside a top-10 starting position.
• Kenseth scored his first victory and eighth top-10 finish in 15 career races at Dover
• This is Kenseth’s 10th victory on a superspeedway.
• Kenseth scored his ninth top-10 finish this season. He has finished sixth or better in six of his last seven races.
• Kenseth led seven times for 83 laps including the final four laps in the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America.
• Kenseth has won a race each season 2002-2006, five consecutive years.
• This was team owner Jack Roush’s 92nd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Roush has scored six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Dover.
• Jack Roush Racing has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.
• Jamie McMurray (second) scored his fifth top-10 finish and best finish of the 2006 season. It is also his best finish in seven races at Dover International Speedway.
• Jamie McMurray led 95 laps, leading the most laps for just the second time in his career. He also led the most laps when he scored his career-first victory at Lowe’s in October 2002.
• Kevin Harvick (third) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 13 races in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in the last three races. Harvick climbed from ninth to eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He has scored five top-10 finishes in 11 races at Dover.
• Jeff Burton (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his in ninth top-10 finish in 25 races at Dover International Speedway. Burton has scored top-15 finishes in his last seven races, a streak that began at Texas. Burton climbed from eighth to seventh in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 16th in the standings after 13 races.
• Kyle Busch (fifth) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 13 races in 2006. It was his third top-five finish in three races at Dover. He remained 10th in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 19th after 13 races.
• Jimmie Johnson (sixth) remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, and is now 74 points ahead of secondplace
Matt Kenseth. Johnson lost 35 points of his lead to race winner Kenseth.
• With his eighth-place finish, Greg Biffle is now 85 points behind 10th. Four races ago he was 232 points behind 10th. Biffle has climbed from 23rd to 12th in points in those four races. After 13 races in 2005, he ranked second in the point standings.
• Mark Martin (ninth) has scored top-15 finishes in 12 of the 13 races in 2006.
• Dave Blaney (30th) extended a 31-race streak of running at the finish that began at Pocono last June, which is the longest current streak.
• Rookie contender David Stremme (41st) led for the first time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. He led just one lap.
• At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 13 races this season.
• Jeff Burton has climbed from 21st to 7th in the point standings since Martinsville.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-4-2006)
- Roush Racing crew member dies in accident: Michael Fermaglich, 32, of Mooresville, N.C., was killed Friday night in an automobile accident in Concord, N.C. Fermaglich was an employee of Roush Racing, a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich. based Roush Enterprises, where he worked for the past two years as a fabricator at Roush Racing’s Mooresville, N.C. based operation.
In addition to his weekday role of fabricator, Fermaglich served as the pit boss for Roush Racing’s #17 NASCAR Busch Series team on race day.(Roush Racing)(6-4-2006)
- Rumblings - Dover: Matt Kenseth passed teammate Jamie McMurray with four laps to go today at Dover International Speedway and went on to win the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America for his second win of the season.
This was Matt's 12th career victory (he's tied for 48th on the all-time win list with Ryan Newman) and #92 for Roush Racing. It was worth $323,591 from the over $5.6M in posted awards. Real racey at the end as we had five or six cars with a shot late....
Tony Stewart got the early caution that team wanted, but you can bet they wished it would have been earlier than lap #37. Ricky Rudd's substitute role ended up with a 25th place finish, and I would think they're happy with that.
Jamie McMurray (2nd) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Daytona last July.
Derrike Cope (37th) had his best finish since he was 33rd at Martinsville last October (only four races).
STREAKIN....Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10's in a row.
Matt Kenseth has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races.
Jeff Burton has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races.
Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
The Rookie Report: For the seventh time already this season Denny Hamlin (11th) grabs this award. He was followed by: Clint Bowyer (17th), Reed Sorenson (19th), Martin Truex Jr (22nd), David Stremme (41st), and J. J. Yeley (42nd).
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Jimmie Johnson (+36), followed by Kyle Busch (+25) and Reed Sorenson (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-32), followed by J. J. Yeley (-28 ), Hermie Sadler (-27), Joe Nemechek (-22), and Kevin Lepage (-21).
David Stremme led a lap today for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup career. He's the 40th different driver to lead a lap this season....last year's number was 51.
Matt Kenseth shaved 35 points off Jimmie Johnson's lead today....it now stands at 74. No change in our "Stayin' Alive" line....the spread from 1st to 10th (after penalties) last week was 449, this week it's 439. Jamie McMurray (18th to 15th) and Ryan Newman (22nd to 19th) made the best moves forward today, while J. J. Yeley (24th to 27th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(6-4-2006)
- Dale Jr. limited to races outside of Cup: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. comments why he doesn't do many races outside of Nextel Cup:
Q). Did Budweiser tell you that you can't run any other races"
A) "They done it. I got a deal where I can only run "X" amount of Busch races and blah, blah, blah. That's the sponsor's decision more for continuity with me driving the red car every week. They want consistency for the fans seeing me in a red car. They really don't want to see me in a Taco Bell or KFC car. Bud would rather have me in a red Bud car. That's why I don't really get the opportunity to run more."
Q). Did they do that after your accident?
A) "No. We've had that contract."(GM PR)(6-4-2006)
- Sad News: Eleanor Bird: Eleanor Bird, 75, mother of Steve Bird (Birdie), four-time NASCAR Busch Series Champion Crew Chief, passed away on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 in Bedford, NH. Calling hours will be held Monday, June 5th from 9-11 am, followed by a memorial service at 11 am at the Douglas & Johnson funeral Home, 214 Main Street, Salem, NH. Burial will follow in Mt.Vernon Cemetery, Boxford, MA.Mrs.(Douglas & Johnson Funeral Home)(6-4-2006)
- Johnson to share pit stall with Wimmer..for a while: Dover International Speedway has only 42 pit stalls, and since #48-Jimmiw Johnson is starting 42nd on the grid after spinning out on his qualifying lap, Johnson must share a pit stall with #4-Scott Wimmer, who is starting 43rd [pit stall 39, see the pit selections at FoxSports]. "We were pretty excited afterwards," Johnson said about the spin where he amazingly kept the car from hitting the wall. "Shortly thereafter, we found out we had to share a pit stall, and the smiles went away." Most tracks have 43 pit stalls, but Dover does not. Once a pit stall opens up from a car that has dropped out of the event, Johnson can choose to move to the open pit stall or tell Wimmer's team to move. If both Johnson and Wimmer are on the lead lap when the caution comes out, the highest positioned driver will get to pit first. "We've just got to make the most of it and stay ahead of the 4 car [of Wimmer]," Johnson said. "I would assume the first chance we have to separate, we will do whatever we can. We'll split up as fast as we can." Usually when teams share a pit stall, it's two teams low in points and does not create a big stir. But with Johnson being the point leader, the issue has been thrown into the spotlight.
"It's tough for me to believe that in today's world of racing, they can't modify pit road and adjust pit road for 43 cars to have their own pit stall," Johnson said. "I just wasn't aware of it. It just doesn't give anybody a fair shot." Wimmer said he hopes the Morgan-McClure team can use the situation as a learning experience. "Just pitting with those guys, we'll learn a lot about pit strategies and things like that," Wimmer said. "It might end up helping us out. But it's going to be interesting the first few stops because there are going to be times where they will want to come in and we will want to come in, too. Unfortunately, that's what happens when you qualify bad." Wimmer said he will be considerate considering Johnson is the point leader, but if he is ahead of Johnson, he plans on coming in with the lead-lap cars and make Johnson pit later. We definitely don't want to ruin his race, but we've got to get ourselves up to the top 35 in points so we don't have to rely on qualifying so much," Wimmer said.(SceneDaily.com)(6-4-2006)
News from June 3, 2006
- DEI executive urges GM to unify its engine program: Richie Gilmore, the general manager at Dale Earnhardt Inc., said that General Motors' racing executives may have to change the way they do business in order to compete against Toyota next season on the Nextel Cup tour. Toyota, a newcomer to the Nextel Cup, will be centralizing many of its key operations. Gilmore said that Chevrolet may have to do likewise, or at least make some major changes in the way that it approaches the sport. Gilmore said that Chevrolet's four independent engine-building operations may have to unify. "I really think that's something GM will have to do," Gilmore said. "We (Chevy teams) all work closely on engines, but it needs to go up another step (in centralization). We each spend a lot of money on engines, dynos and people. We have 78 people (building engines), and Hendrick has 120. I think GM is looking at that and trying to figure out the best thing to do ... because when Toyota comes in the sport, it will be strong."(Winston Salem Journal)(6-3-2006)
- Rudd unsure of future plans: Shortly before stepping into a Nextel Cup car for the first time since last November, veteran driver Ricky Rudd says he won't decide until late this season whether he wants to return to the sport next year, although he appears to be leaning against it. Rudd, who is filling in for the injured Tony Stewart [#20 Powerade/Home Depot Chevy] in practice and qualifying for the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway, told reporters today that he's in no hurray to make a decision.
As to rumors that he's been courted by Toyota team owners, Rudd says that he has had calls - but not just from that manufacturer's teams. Rudd said that he's told all the callers that he doesn't want to hold their plans up and that he remains committed to spending a year away from NASCAR. Rushing his decision, or rushing a team's decision, wouldn't be fair to anyone, he says, nor would having someone wait for him to make the choice about whether or not his future includes racing. By the time he's ready to make that decision, possibly in September or October, Rudd says teams should have already locked up a driver and be getting prepared for 2007.
"Right now, if you ask me am I going to come back and run a 100 percent schedule or will I be back next year, I don't think so," Rudd said. "I'm enjoying retirement right now, I'm enjoying my time off. Seems like the more time I have off, the more I'm enjoying it." In the past few months, Rudd has shifted comfortably into a life without racing. After competing for more than 30 years, he wondered how he would handle being away from the track. Turns out he hasn't really missed it that much. Rudd competed with Wood Brothers Racing through the end of last season, announcing late in the year that he planned to take a year off from full-time competition.
He remains committed to that goal. "Really I'm just really sort of taking some time off to figure out, 'Can I handle this retirement situation?' I hated to use the word retirement and really never did, to see if I could settle into a routine after doing this for 30, 31 years," he said. Rudd says he has really enjoyed the break and having more time to spend with his 13-year-old son, Landon. "I've been out playing with my son just about every day. [I] sort of neglected him over the last several years just because of the nature of the sport, so we've been spending a lot of time together, ride a lot of dirt bikes, ride a lot of go-karts and stay really active," Rudd said. "I was telling somebody the other day, I race more now than I used to race, I just don't get paid to do it. So we've been out chasing each other around."(SceneDaily.com)(6-3-2006)
- MAPEI on hood of #7 at Dover UPDATE: This weekend's Neighborhood Excellence 400 ay Dover will be the first race this season new sponsor MAPEI will be on the hood of the #7 Chevy. MAPEI, a global corporation, has been supplying residential and major commercial projects with total installation solutions for tile and stone, floor covering and decorative concrete as well as concrete restoration for more than 65 years. More info at mapei.com.(RGM PR)(6-1-2006)
UPDATE: MAPEI, the world's leader in manufacturing flooring adhesives and concrete products for the building industry, has partnered with Robby Gordon Motorsports as a co-primary sponsor of the company's #7 Chevys. MAPEI will use the relationship with RGM in an effort to get its branding message to contractors and builders in the construction industry, as well as home owners. Beginning with Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway, MAPEI will share primary sponsorship space, specifically the hood, on nine Menards-sponsored cars. In addition, MAPEI will be integrated throughout the RGM program with associate space on all other #7 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series cars and on all RGM equipment and uniforms.(RGM PR)(6-3-2006)
- Menard to practice for Robby: With Robby Gordon in Ensenada, Mexico, for the Baja 500 off-road race Saturday, Busch Series driver Paul Menard will practice Gordon's #7 Menard's/Mapai Chevy at Dover International Speedway. "I've obviously had an ongoing relationship with Menards Inc., and Paul's done a tremendous job," Gordon said. "[He] actually blew my doors off at Charlotte last weekend." Gordon, a veteran off-road racer, was scheduled to fly to Mexico after Friday's Cup qualifying, start the Baja 500 on Saturday in his Trophy Truck and finish, he hopes, in his Hummer H3 before flying back to Dover for Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400.(SceneDaily.com)(6-3-2006)
- Dover Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . all three NASCAR series -- Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck -- will run the same tire codes this weekend, though the Cup and Busch tires will be branded "Goodyear Eagle," while the Truck tires will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . Cup teams are also scheduled to run these codes at Michigan in two weeks . . . unlike on other NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Dover . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 90-95 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full report with codes and pressures on my Dover Race Info Page.(6-3-2006)
News from June 2, 2006
- Newman is back, wins pole at Dover: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser pole for the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 154.633mph for his 1st pole of 2006 and 36th of his career, but his first in 14 races, which was Texas in November 2005. #19-Mayfield will start on the outside pole, 2nd, for the 2nd race in a row, followed by #24-Jeff Gordon. #2-Kurt Busch and #29-Kevin Harvick. Qualifying was delayed over an hour as heavy rain fell, but the sun came back out and the concrete surface dried quickly. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson came off turn 4 on his first lap, looped the car around a few times, came close but missed hitting the inside or outside walls with no damage to the car. #20-Ricky Rudd qualified Tony Stewart's car 10th [but Stewart will start the car Sunday and have to go to the rear of the field before the start of the race, Rudd will get in under the first caution]. #61-Chad Chaffin wrecked in turn 2 on his first lap and will miss the race, along with #34-Carl Long and #95-Stanton Barrett. #52-Neuenberger never took a lap in practice or qualifying. #00-Hermie Sadler [starting 16th] and #49-Kevin Lepage qualified best of the go-or-go homers [non top-35 in owners points]. #55-Waltrip made the race and will start 33rd. #78-Kenny Wallace wrecked in practice but still got the backup car in the field at 37th. See the qualifying results/starting lineup and more on my Dover Starting Grid/Qualifying Page(6-2-2006)
- Dover Qualifying News and Notes:
• Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America, lapping Dover International Speedway in 23.281 seconds at 154.633 mph. Jeremy Mayfield holds the track-qualifying record of
22.288 seconds, 161.522 mph - set June 4, 2004.
• This is Newman’s 36th career Bud Pole in 165 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
• This is his first Bud Pole and fourth top-10 start in 2006. It is his third front-row start this season.
• Newman posted his eighth top10 start in nine races at Dover. He has finished in the top-10 seven of his eight previous races, including three victories.
• Newman ended a streak of 14 races without a Bud Pole which tied the longest of his career. He posted his career-first Bud Pole in his third career start (qualifying for the Coca- Cola 600 at Charlotte in May 2001) - prior to his official rookie season. He went 14 races
before scoring his second Bud Pole, which occurred at California in April 2002.
• Jeremy Mayfield posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 23.322 seconds, 154.361 mph – and will join Newman on the front row for the Neighborhood Excellence 400. Mayfield posted his 10th top-10 start in 24 races at Dover. He has three Bud Poles here.
Mayfield’s best finish in his 23 previous Dover races was second in September 2003.
• This is the sixth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006, including the past three races. Chevrolet and Ford each have three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol. This is the fourth all-Dodge front row of the season.
• Jeff Gordon (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 2006. Gordon posted his 17th top-10 start in 27 races Dover. Gordon has 16 top-10 finishes, including four victories at Dover.
• Thirty-six of seventy races at Dover have been won from the top-three starting positions.
• Kurt Busch (fourth) has eight top-10 starts in 12 races at Dover. His best finish here was fifth in September 2004.
• Kevin Harvick (fifth) posted his third top-10 start in 2006 and his fourth in 11 Dover races.
• Four drivers failed to qualify for the Neighborhood Excellence 400: Stanton Barrett, Carl Long, Chad Chaffin, and Donnie Neuenberger.
• Ricky Rudd (10th) qualified the Home Depot Chevrolet for Tony Stewart. Stewart is expected to start the race. Rudd posted 19 top-10 starts, including four Bud Poles, in his 55 previous races at Dover and started outside the top-20 just seven times.
• The most recent time a relief driver was used was in June 2005 when Brendan Gaughan relieved Mike Bliss #0 NetZero Chevrolet on lap 30 of the 200-lap event.
• The most recent time a relief driver won a race was in August 1977, when Darrell Waltrip relieved Donnie Allison and won the August race at Talladega.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-2-2006)
- Ramblings - Dover: #12-Ryan Newman took his first Bud Pole of the season today at Dover International Speedway for Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America (say that fast three times!), and for a driver who's got 36 of 'em, it's been awhile. His last pole (of the eight he won last year) was at Texas last November, and he's the 9th qualifier for next February's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
Jeremy Mayfield will start from the outside pole for the second week in a row.
Jeff Gordon (3rd) has his best starting spot since he started from the outside pole at Daytona in February.
Kurt Busch (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at California in February.
Kevin Harvick (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Richmond last September.
Hermie Sadler (16th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 11th at Talladega in October of 2004.
Kevin Lepage (18th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 13th at Atlanta last October.
STREAKIN....Denny Hamlin has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
Ricky Rudd qualified Tony Stewart's car in 10th place today, but Tony will start the car on Sunday (from the back) and I'm sure we'll see a driver switch at first opportunity. This place is not very kind to pain.(Stock Car Fans)(6-2-2006)
- Rudd qualifies the #20 Chevy 10th: Ricky Rudd (10th) qualified the #20- Powerade/Home Depot Chevrolet for Tony Stewart. Stewart is expected to start the race. Rudd posted 19 top-10 starts, including four Bud Poles, in his 55 previous races at Dover and started outside the top-20 just seven times. The most recent time a relief driver was used was in June 2005 when Brendan Gaughan relieved Mike Bliss #0 NetZero Chevrolet on lap 30 of the 200-lap event. The most recent time a relief driver won a race was in August 1977, when Darrell Waltrip relieved Donnie Allison and won the August race at Talladega [Allison got credit for the win].(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-2-2006)
- Two drivers doing triple duty at Dover: two drivers are entered to run all three NASCAR races at Dover:
Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Truck Series:
- Jarrett spotting for Jarrett: been told that Jason Jarrett, son of #88-Dale Jarrett. will spot for Dale this weekend at Dover and possibly for the rest of the season. Jarrett lost his regular spotter Eddie D'Hondt after Darlington when D'Hondt was released by Robert Yates Racing as the Team Manager. Last week at Charlotte, Jarrett and the replacement spotter had a mis-communication which lead in part to Jarrett's lap one wreck with #7-Robby Gordon.(6-2-2006)
- Race #450 for Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to make his 450th consecutive and career NASCAR Nextel Cup Series start at Dover International Speedway. Along the road that leads to this 450th start are mile markers that include: winning the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his 50th start; his first of three Daytona 500 wins and becoming the youngest driver to win NASCAR's most prestigious race in his 125th race; starting from the pole at Richmond for race 200; the second of four Brickyard 400 victories came with start 175; and his third win at California Speedway came in Gordon's 375th start.(Performance PR Plus)(6-2-2006)
- Special Paint for Yeley at Dover; The #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy of J.J. Yeley will be carrying a special paint scheme this weekend, featuring Imitrex (sumatriptan succinate), a prescription medicine for the treatment of migraine headaches. Sunday’s race will be the fourth of 11 events this season in which GlaxoSmithKline will be the primary sponsor of Yeley's Chevy.(JGR PR)(6-2-2006)
News from June 1, 2006
- Champ Car accusing NASCAR of sabotage: Champ Car is accusing NASCAR of trying to sabotage a proposed race in downtown Phoenix next year in an effort to do away with all street racing in this country. And stock car racing's major sanctioning body claims nothing could be further from the truth. Today in the state legislature a bill will be introduced that calls for a decibel level for any future motor sports events in a city or town in Arizona. "NASCAR and ISC have spent the past few weeks trying to undermine our proposed race in Phoenix and it's my understanding that NASCAR has hired 22 lobbyists to beat us up," said Kevin Kalkhoven, who co-owns Champ Car with Gerald Forsythe. "Why are they afraid of our product? Is big, bad NASCAR afraid of open competition?" Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications, responded to those charges by stating: "Neither NASCAR, nor any of its representatives, agents, or employees, has taken a position on Champ Car's proposed event in Phoenix or participated in any conduct that would impede Champ Car's ability to run an event. Nor is it in NASCAR's best interest to do so. "NASCAR understands that in order to keep motorsports healthy and vibrant in North America, it is imperative that race tracks and race fans have a broad "product list" from which to choose."(read more at Robin Miller's Speed Channel column)(6-2-2006)
- More on additional Toyota teams in Cup for 2007: Toyota might have more than three teams in its debut year in NASCAR's Nextel Cup series after all. Jim Aust, vice president of Toyota Motorsports and president and CEO of Toyota Racing Development, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that two of its current teams in the Craftsman Truck Series are hoping to run some races in 2007 with the new Car of Tomorrow that NASCAR plans to launch at Bristol next spring. Germain Racing, which fields trucks for Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave, and Wyler Racing, which has Jack Sprague as its truck driver, have told Aust they are looking for sponsorship to run a limited Car of Tomorrow schedule next season. The Car of Tomorrow is a bigger, boxier vehicle with a front-end splitter that NASCAR has designed to eventually replace the slick aerodynamic models that manufacturers spent the past 10 years developing. The Car of Tomorrow is scheduled to run in 15 races next season in a phase-in process that will be complete by 2009. Aust said it was something of a surprise when the Germain and Wyler teams approached him about competing in Cup next year. "We had planned on only running three teams and six cars next year, but these guys came forward and said they'd like to look into running some races with the Car of Tomorrow to test the water," Aust said. "This just came up in the last couple of weeks. "Both teams have said they would like to eventually come up into the (Cup) series sometime in the next couple of years and this could be a good test for them." Aust said the teams are uncertain at this time how many races they would run in Cup in 2007 but that their schedules would definitely not include any races with the current cars.(Associated Press) see past news about both these teams and Toyota on my Past Toyota News page.(6-1-2006)
- Fellows in the #32 at Infineon Raceway, and Watkins Glen UPDATE: A brand new NASCAR Nextel Cup chassis built by world famous racing engineering firm Pratt and Miller should provide Ron Fellows with renewed hope to earn his first victory in stock car's top series next month in California. Fellows tested the much heralded chassis -- one he will use in his attempt to win the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway June 25 in the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy -- at Virginia International Raceway yesterday. Fellows has a long and hugely successful history with Pratt and Miller who have prepared his winning #3 Corvettes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours at Daytona and for his three American Le Mans Series GT1 championships. Even though it was his first time in the new car yesterday, Fellows already was confident it will fare much better than the car he had in 2005 at Infineon when he earned a top-10 finish. A big part of Fellows' hopes for the #32 Chevrolet this time around is that Pratt and Miller purpose built the car with him in mind. But it was on the track where Fellows saw a huge improvement over many of his previous Cup cars. Nextel Cup points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson -- who Pratt and Miller also built a road course chassis for -- was at VIR yesterday with Fellows. "We compared very favourably with Jimmie's speeds," Fellows said. "That's really good to have that kind of benchmark." Fellows said the car still has some handling issues but he is confident the team will work them out before the Infineon race. "At Infineon you need a car that is really good in the turns," he said. "We are sure we will be able to get this car to unload near perfect next month." He said he was sharing information with the #48 team and in return was able to gauge his progress off of another Hendrick Motorsports team -- the #25 Chevrolet of Brian Vickers -- who was running an in-house chassis. Fellows hopes to get on another round of tests for team owner Cal Wells after the Infineon race to prepare for Nextel Cup's second road course event in August at Watkins Glen.(Toronto Sun), Travis Kavpil is the regular driver of the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy. but the team is mired outside the top-35 in owners points.(5-17-2006)
UPDATE: PPI Motorsports (PPIM) announced today that road course expert Ron Fellows will once again drive the #32 Tide/Downy Chevy in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 25. As for the team’s full-time driver Travis Kvapil, he will take over the reigns of the #78 Furniture Row Chevy for Kenny Wallace who has a Busch Series commitment. Both drivers will be racing identically prepared chassis built by Pratt and Miller Engineering and Fabrication … the same company responsible for the highly successful Corvette Racing program and its domination of the American Le Mans Series for which Fellows is a driver. So far, Kvapil and Fellows have participated in three days of testing at Virginia International Raceway (May 16, 30 & 31) with another test scheduled with Kvapil going solo since Fellows is in France participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans festivities and race.(PPI Motorsports Site)(6-1-2006)
- Newman tests at SC road course: #12-Ryan Newman skipped the second day of “Car of Tomorrow” testing at Lowes Motor Speedway as he and the Alltel Dodge team spent Wednesday shaking down their road course cars at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-1-2006)
- Rudd gets medical clearance to run at Dover; Ricky Rudd spent part of Wednesday getting medical clearance so he can stand by for Tony Stewart this weekend at Dover and part of the day practicing with the Home Depot Chevrolet crew getting in and out of the race car. Rudd said “We practiced driver changes...my part of it because I’m sure Tony’s still resting. Everyone’s seat belts and shoulder harnesses and seats are a little different so I’ve been working and trying to come up with something that is easy to make and quick enough to make on a pit stop without giving up a lot of time.” His super sub role will apparently be decided on a week to week basis. “I think a lot of it is going to be let’s see how it works this weekend” said Rudd. “When you have an alternate game plan like Tony Stewart and these guys are having to take right now I think you leave everything as open as you can and you’ve gotta be real flexible. We don’t really know. Tony might be able to stay in the car the whole race. There are a lot of unknowns here so we’re just kind of winging it as we go.”(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-1-2006)
- #48 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Charlotte: Jimmie Johnson's over-the-wall crew took the lead in the season-long Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge by tallying its third win of the season in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Johnson's crew spent 558.658 seconds on pit road during the NASCAR® NEXTEL Cup event, helping boost its driver to a second-place finish in the circuit's longest race of the season. Johnson's over-the-wall crew, part of the Hendrick Motorsports family, consists of: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man). The #48 team, guided by crew chief Chad Knaus, also picked up pit crew challenge wins at Daytona International Speedway and California Speedway in February. Johnson's crew, which will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize, is vying for the $105,000 bonus that will be presented by Checkers/Rally's to the team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule.
Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(6-1-2006)
- Rusty Wallace Kia now open: Rusty Wallace Kia, formerly known as Harry Lane Kia, is now open for business in Alcoa, TN, just five minutes south of Knoxville. Rusty Wallace Kia joins five other automotive dealerships throughout Eastern Tennessee in comprising the Rusty Wallace Family of Dealerships. Among those dealerships are Rusty Wallace Toyota and Rusty Wallace Honda. Rusty Wallace Kia is located at 4612 Alcoa Highway, in Alcoa, TN, on the way to the Maryville/Alcoa Motor Mile. More info on my Retired Drivers page.(6-1-2006)
- Toyota hopes to get approvals early: Toyota hopes to have its Camrys for next year submitted to NASCAR in the next week or two as it tries to get a jump on the approval process. The deadline for submissions is July 1, but Toyota's NASCAR program Manager, Pat Wall, said Tuesday that he would like to have a Toyota "car of today" in NASCAR's hand in the next two or three weeks and is making arrangements for NASCAR to take the car to the wind tunnel for testing. NASCAR will have four submissions of cars of tomorrow, four new trucks (all manufacturers are making changes to the trucks) and Toyota's Cup car and a Toyota Busch car to approve for next season, Wall said. Toyota also has a new cylinder head for its engine that it is trying to get approved and will submit a revised engine block soon as well.(SceneDaily.com)(6-1-2006)
News from May 31, 2006
- Kyle Busch Fined, Placed on Probation by NASCAR; Mayfield Penalized: NASCAR announced that Kyle Busch, driver of the #5 Kellogg's Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, has been fined, penalized points and placed on probation because of a rule infraction this past Sunday during the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Busch was in violation of Section 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the NASCAR Rule Book. He disobeyed a directive from a NASCAR official, entered the racing surface without authorization and threw an object at another competitor’s car during the event. He has been fined $50,000, penalized 25 Driver Championship points and placed on probation until Dec. 31. The infraction also resulted in car owner Rick Hendrick being penalized 25 Owner Championship points.
In addition, the #19 Dodge team was found to be in violation of Section 12-4-A, 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) and Section 20-12.8.1A (roof height too low in post-race inspection). That infraction resulted in crew chief Chris Andrews being fined $35,000, driver Jeremy Mayfield losing 25 driver points and car owner Ray Evernham losing 25 owner points.
Also, Don Richardson, crew member on the #5 Chevrolet team, has been fined $5,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31. He violated 12-4-A, because of improper use of a NASCAR credential.(NASCAR PR), the lost 25 points drops Busch to 10th in the Drivers points and moved #29-Harvick up to 9th.(5-31-2006)
- Dale Jr to run special scheme on Father's Day: Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Budweiser will honor three generations of racing success with a commemorative Father’s Day paint scheme for the #8 Budweiser car that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will race at Michigan International Raceway on Father’s Day, June 18. The paint scheme is based upon the #8 cars driven by Ralph Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt during their NASCAR careers. The predominantly cream-colored car will feature vintage Budweiser bow-tie logos which were introduced in 1956 – the same year Ralph Earnhardt won the NASCAR National Sportsman title, a series that eventually became the modern-day NASCAR Busch Series. The car is the second DEI paint scheme this season to honor the legacy of a member of the Earnhardt family. Previously, Dale Jr. raced a black and silver #8 Budweiser car at Talladega on April 30 to celebrate his father’s induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. While Dale Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR champ, is most famous for driving the black No. 3 car with Richard Childress Racing, he raced much of his early career with the #8 on his cars. Earnhardt raced the #8 during his 1974 debut season in a NASCAR series, the same year Dale Jr. was born. Driving a cream-colored #8 car, Ralph Earnhardt finished in the top 10 of the NASCAR National Sportsman point standings six times, won more than 350 NASCAR races, and was selected as one NASCAR’s Top-50 all-time best drivers in 1999. He passed away in 1973.(fingerprint inc/Bud/DEI PR), image of the scheme added to my Paint Scheme Gallery.(5-31-2006)
- Long in the #34 at Dover: Carl Long will be driving the #34 Oak Gloves/PEO Pros.com Chevy for Front Row Motorsports this weekend at Dover International Speedway for the running of the Neighborhood Excellence 400 Nextel Cup Series race.(Carl Long site)(5-31-2006)
- COT testing Wednesday: On Wednesday the second and final day of “Car of Tomorrow” testing at Lowes Motor Speedway showers delayed seven drivers from taking to the track. When they were able to test around lunchtime Dale Earnhardt Jr. pan caked his Chevy against the wall between turns three and four.” It got tight turning the wheel and it didn’t turn”; said Junior. “We were out there goofing around and the thing doesn’t handle that great so we hit the fence...it’ll be alright. I like the car. I don’t mind it too much. That’ll be normal to us one of these days.” The Car of Tomorrow does get mostly good reviews from Earnhardt Jr. “One of the things I like about it is in the cockpit, how they made the greenhouse bigger you can actually see out of the car better. I think they’re going in a good direction with the down force. I think the wing is a good thing as long as we don’t flip upside down when we spin out.” As far as the look of the car, it doesn’t bother Dale. “I don’t care what it looks like as long as it drives good.” Meanwhile, Dale Jr. was spotted taking laps in the #31 Richard Childress Racing Car of Tomorrow getting in some extra seat time. Jeff Burton tested for RCR. Other drivers turning laps included Joe Nemechek, Scott Riggs, Denny Hamlin, Casey Mears, and Brian Vickers.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-31-2006)
- Coke 600 Overnight TV Ratings Down: Fox's broadcast of Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7 and a 10 share, down 7.8% from 5.1/10 last year, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The NASCAR race ratings trailed the 5.2/13 ABC earned for its coverage of the Indy Racing League's Indianapolis 500. Those ratings were down 18.8% from a 6.4/17 last year, the Daily reports.(SceneDaily.com)(5-31-2006)
- Pruett to run #40 Dodge at Infineon, Stremme to sit: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today that the team's road-racing veteran driver Scott Pruett will make the switch from Daytona Prototypes to stock cars to compete in the first Nextel Cup Series road course race of the season at Infineon Raceway on June 25th. Pruett, the California native who currently leads the Rolex Sports Car Series championship for CGRFS, will pilot the #40 Coors Light Dodge entry for the Cup race around the 1.99-mile track in Sonoma, CA. CGRFS regular David Stremme will resume driving duties of the #40 Dodge July 1st at Daytona International Speedway. "I have been very pleased with the strides that David and the 40 car have made over the last several weeks and David is an important part of the future of Chip Ganassi Racing," said team owner Chip Ganassi. "But in Scott Pruett we have one of the best road course drivers in all of racing and once again have the luxury of being able to utilize that expertise." Pruett is no stranger to Nextel Cup racing with 37 career starts under his belt. He has had six starts over the past five seasons for CGRFS, producing three top-five and four top-10 finishes. Two of those starts came at Infineon Raceway, with a best showing of third in 2004. With the commitment to the Infineon NASCAR weekend, Pruett will pull double-duty, commuting back and forth from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course where he'll look to defend his Rolex Series points lead Saturday afternoon in Grand American's EMCO Gears Classic.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(5-31-2006)
- Horish: No plans to run NASCAR..for now: Sam Hornish Jr. has always had a stock answer when asked about moving from open-wheel cars to the more popular and lucrative NASCAR series. He wanted to win the Indianapolis 500 first. So what about now? "I'm never going to tell you that I won't do that," Hornish said Tuesday, two days after winning the second-closest Indianapolis 500 ever. "But there's still a lot that I want to do as far as Indy cars go. I'd love to win another championship." Hornish won two season titles in three years in the yellow Pennzoil car for Panther Racing. At age 22 in 2001, he was the youngest driver to win a major open-wheel championship in America, and switched to Penske after the 2003 season. Penske also has NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch teams, but there are no current plans for Hornish to race stock cars. "Obviously being with Roger, it gives me a lot of opportunity to be able to do that," Hornish said. "Roger hired me to drive an Indy car. If we ever come to a mutual discussion where we feel that's something we may want to do, we'll weigh our pros and cons."(Associated Press)(5-31-2006)
- Pennsylvania NASCAR Day at the Capitol: #40-David Stremme is scheduled to attend the first-ever 'Pennsylvania NASCAR Day at the Capitol,' according to Pennsylvania State Representative John Payne (R-Dauphin), Chairman of the State House's Motorsports Caucus and organizer of the June 7 event. Stremme joins Bobby Labonte and Elliott Sadler on the roster of NASCAR stars scheduled to appear at the legislative salute to NASCAR, which will be held at the State Capitol on the Wednesday prior to the Nextel Cup circuit's first stop of the season at Pocono Raceway. More than a dozen show cars representing various Nextel Cup racing teams also will be on display at the event, which is free and open to the public. Payne and his staff continue to work with team sponsors and Pocono Raceway officials to get attendance commitments from other top NASCAR drivers. Featured guests will be formally honored in the chambers of the House and Senate, beginning at 10:00a,/et, and will have the opportunity to meet Gov. Ed Rendell. From 11am to 1pm on Commonwealth Avenue outside the East Wing of the Capitol, drivers will sign autographs for fans and cars will be on display to the public. Everyone in attendance will receive one free ticket to the Saturday, June 10 ARCA race at Poco#Also, a raffle will be held for two luxury skybox tickets to the June 11 Pocono 500 race. Joseph Mattioli, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Pocono Raceway, will be one of the featured guests and honorees at Pennsylvania NASCAR Day at the Capitol. Pennsylvania NASCAR Day at the Capitol is being sponsored by Sunoco, Goodyear, Pepsi, and Hershey's Ice Cream. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Offical NASCAR Members Club will be assisting and distributing applications to those who are interested. The Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) will provide live coverage of the event.(PR)(5-31-2006)
- Mayfield's car failed post-race inspection at LMS: Jeremy Mayfield's #19 Dodge failed post-race inspection following the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The roof was one-eighth of an inch too low. There is a quarter-inch tolerance given for settling during the race, but the Evernham Motorsports car was an eighth of an inch below that tolerance, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said Tuesday. Penalties likely will be announced Wednesday. Being too low typically is a 25-point penalty accompanied by a $25,000-$35,000 fine. "The way we run these cars now, these [front] springs settle and you never know how much," team owner Ray Evernham said. "They were low, no doubt about it." Evernham said there would be no appeal of a penalty. His team members told him that the car was in the "red" - the color on the height sticks that signifies the car is too low - in post-race inspection. "The bottom line: It was low," Evernham said. "We know why it was low. The front springs gave up. The thing settled too much. There's no appeal - you're either right or you're wrong, and there was red showing."(SceneDaily.com)(5-31-2006)
- Microsoft to sponsor #66 IMAGEs: on Sunday, there will be a Best Buy Racing / Microsoft Sponsorship Announcement at Lowe's Motor Speedway to detail Microsoft car sponsorship, in association with Best Buy Racing and the unveiling of the #66 Windows Live OneCare Chevy.(Best Buy Racing PR)(5-26-2006)
UPDATE/IMAGE: UPDATE: For the first time, computer giant Microsoft will be the primary sponsor of a NASCAR Nextel Cup car. At next Sunday’s Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover, Del., Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare will be the primary sponsor of the Haas CNC Racing #66 driven by Jeff Green. The deal is for one-race only, but does mark a significant first for Microsoft.(Speed Channel), see a couple of images of the scheme on my #66 Team Schemes page.(5-29/31-2006)
- COT tests at LMS: For the first time in its developmental stages, NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow ran in groups of 6-8 cars with the aerodynamic wing attached to the rear, as the first of a two-day test session got underway Tuesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The feedback NASCAR received from the drivers was positive and all indications are that the aero push in the group runs should make for some compelling racing. Teams from Hendrick Motorsports (Brian Vickers), Richard Childress Racing (Jeff Burton), DEI (Martin Truex, Jr.), Penske Racing South (Ryan Newman), Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs), Joe Gibbs Racing (Denny Hamlin), Chip Ganassi (Casey Mears), and MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek) participated in Tuesday’s test.
“We received some excellent feedback from the teams and drivers today,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR Vice President for Competition. “They were able to run in a pack today for the first time with the wing and for the most part, everyone liked what they saw out there. We’ll take this information, discuss it as a group, and come back Wednesday and test again. We’re optimistic about running this car with the wing and the type of aero push it is able to give us.”
Following a series of single car runs in the morning, the teams met following a lunch break and then went through a pair of 20-lap group runs. The purpose of the morning session was to allow each driver to get comfortable driving the car, while the afternoon segment was designed to determine how the cars would run side-by-side and in groups. Ryan Newman, driver of the #12 Alltel Dodge, said that while this was his first time driving the Penske Racing South’s Car of Tomorrow model, he was encouraged with the performance. “This was our first Car of Tomorrow test and we have something to work from now, that’s for sure,” said Newman. “Our car was a little tight, but it really felt like it was easier to pass than in the regular (NASCAR NEXTEL) Cup cars. The aero push was pretty good. I think we took some pretty big steps out there today.”
Jeff Burton, driver of the #31 Cingular Chevrolet, has participated in three of the four Car of Tomorrow tests this year, and continues to be impressed by the way the car handles on the track. “I really like how our car drove out there today,” said Burton. “Simply put, it drives like a race car. I think you will continue to see some subtle changes in the body of the car, but for the most part, we’re locked in with the center part of the chasis. I think this is the fourth Car of Tomorrow we’ve built and we’ve been able to accumulate a great deal of track time and gather a lot of information. To NASCAR’s credit, they’ve really moved this project along.” The teams are scheduled to test again Wednesday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, beginning at 9:00am/et [hearing it is open to the public](NASCAR PR), for past news see my COT page and for images from LMS and past tests, see my COT Image page.(5-31-2006)
- Busch/Mayfield Penalties to be announced Wed? NASCAR typically issues penalties on Tuesday, but today they delayed action on possible sanctions for both Kyle Busch and the Evernham Motorsports #19 Dodge driven by Jeremy Mayfield. #5-Busch, who drew NASCAR’s ire earlier this year at Phoenix for ramming #42-Casey Mears’ car during a red flag, threw his HANS device at Mears after the two collided Sunday night in the Coca-Cola 600. Mayfield’s car failed the postrace inspection in the same race when it came up one-eighth of an inch too low in the roof height measurement test.(Speed Channel)(5-31-2006)
News from May 30, 2006
- Stewart Sustains Fracture of Right Scapula UPDATE Stewart will start race, then Ricky Rudd to take over: #20-Tony Stewart sustained a fracture of his right scapula in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup Series race when a flat right front tire sent his #20 Home Depot Chevy into the SAFER barrier on the outside retaining wall of turn one. Stewart was running in the 25th position when the accident happened on lap 33 of the 400-lap race. According to doctors at the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC, a CT scan revealed a minimally displaced fracture at the tip of the right scapula. Stewart is scheduled to meet with Joe Gibbs Racing's team physicians on Tuesday for further evaluation. An update on Stewart's condition will be provided following that evaluation.(True Speed Communication PR)(5-28-2006)
UPDATE: Tony Stewart will start Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway, Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said Tuesday afternoon. Gibbs said during a break of the test of the "car of tomorrow" that the team would release an official statement later in the day updating the condition of Stewart, who broke his shoulder blade in a crash during the Coca-Cola 600 last Sunday. "He's definitely sore, no doubt about it," Gibbs said. "We'll know more here in a little bit." JGR Senior Vice President Jimmy Makar said the team is looking at its options and has a short list of drivers available if needed to spell Stewart this weekend. Mike Bliss, a former JGR driver, is on that list. Bliss was at the track Sunday in case Stewart had to get out of the car from beings sore as a result of a Busch Series accident. "Usually an injury like that comes from the seat, and the design of the area of the seat, we're looking at that to see if there is anything we can do or something that needs to be given some attention," Makar said. "Bobby [Labonte] sustained an injury at Darlington years ago, a lot worse than Tony's. We think we know what it is, and we're going to address that area to see if we can get some more support under the shoulder." The accident, coming on the heels of a hard accident the day before in the Busch Series event, was the result of a bead melting in the tire. The outside of the tire was fine as far as temperature, Makar said. "That's something we see on occasion at short tracks - we use a lot of brakes and get a lot of brake heat," Makar said. "For a speedway like this, that's a really odd thing to see. Tony said he wasn't using an excessive amount of brake compared to what he has done here in the past. We're kind of shaking our heads a little bit about why that happened, where that heat came from."(SceneDaily.com) and hearing reports that Ricky Rudd is being considered as an option to drive the #20 Powerade Chevy at Dover.
UPDATE 2: Tony Stewart will not require surgery for the fractured right scapula he sustained in an accident during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. Stewart's #20 Chevy suffered a right front tire failure on lap 33 of the 400-lap race, sending the #20 machine into the SAFER barrier on the outside retaining wall of turn one. Stewart was running in the 25th position when the accident happened. "Tony sustained a non-displaced fracture at the tip of his right scapula," said Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon who has consulted with many NASCAR drivers. "It is a non-surgical injury that only time and rest can heal." While Stewart's fractured right scapula won't require surgery, it will limit his participation in this weekend's Nextel Cup event at Dover.
Veteran NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd has been secured by Joe Gibbs Racing to serve as the relief driver for the #20 team this weekend at Dover. Rudd, a winner of 23 Nextel Cup races - four of which came at Dover - will practice and qualify the #20 Chevrolet while Stewart will start the 400-lap race. Rudd will be on standby in the pit area to relieve Stewart at any point during the event. By starting at Dover, Stewart will receive all points toward the Nextel Cup driver's championship. "Tony's injury is unfortunate, and we are going to do everything we can to get him healed up quickly," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "Tony is as tough as they come, but we aren't going to take any chances on making his situation worse. We're very appreciative of Ricky Rudd for being able to drive the #20 car at Dover. He's a proven winner who will allow us to stay in contention for the championship." Stewart is currently fourth in the championship point standings, 231 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson.
"Tony's our driver and we'd love to have him in the car, but we want him to be 100%, not just for one race but for the rest of the season," said Greg Zipadelli, crew chief for the #20 team. "We'll do what we have to do until he heals up. This is a strong race team that's no stranger to adversity, so I know we'll make the best of this situation at Dover and in the weeks to come." Al Shuford, a certified athletic trainer formerly with the NFL's Carolina Panthers, will work with Stewart to get him ready for his limited participation at Dover and what is expected to be his full participation during the Nextel Cup race weekend at Pocono June 9-11. Shuford joined Joe Gibbs Racing in
October 2000. "Basically, we're just going to work with Tony to make him comfortable," said Shuford. "As Dr. Petty said, Tony's injury is something that only time and rest can heal. But we can help speed up that timetable with a rehabilitation program specific to his injury and his profession."(JGR/True Speed Communication)(5-30-2006)
- Laps/Miles Stats: 39 drivers have lead at least one lap in a race in 12 Nextel Cup races so far this season.
• #20-Tony Stewart has led the most laps with 801, with #16-Greg Biffle right behind at 799, followed by #17-Matt Kenseth at 441.
• Biffle has led the most miles, just over 1099, with Stewart at 729 and Kensth at 607.
• #48-Jimmie Johnson has run 4037 of 4050 laps run so far in 2006, followed by #22-Dave Blaney with 4022 and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 4011. Johnson has also ran the most miles, running 5151.9 of 5158.902 miles races so far this season.
• #16-Biffle has led at least one lap in 10 of the 12 races run, #20-Stewart and #17-Kenseth have done so in 9 races.
• #16-Biffle has led 37 times in the 12 races, followed by Stewart with 31 and Kenseth with 29.
• Bonus Points: Biffle 70; Stewart 60; Kenseth 50
• In three races, the driver leading the most laps has won the race: #20-Stewart at Martinsville, #16-Biffle at Darlington and #9-Kahne at Charlotte.
• Biffle has lead the most laps in 4 of 12 races, the most of any driver.
• Three drivers have run all 12 races and not lead a lap #21-Schrader, #41-Sorenson and #40-Stremme.(5-30-2006)
- Win #44 for the #9: with Kasey Kahne win in he Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, it was the 44th [not 43rd] time a car with the #9 won a race, 15th best overall [this is unofficial of course], the #43 has the most with 198 [Petty didn't win all his races in the famed #43] followed by #11 with 180 then #3, #21 and #6.
Some #9 history: Bill Elliott won 38 races in the #9 and 6 in the #11; Herb Thomas won 1 race in the #9, Donald Thomas 1 race in the #9 and a car with the #9 didn't win again until Elliott in 1983. And Kahne has 4 wins in the #9. See the full list of number wins, who won first and last in each car number, what car number Richard Petty won in, on my Wins by Car Number page.(5-30-2006)
- Who's Hot - Dover:
• Three races ago Greg Biffle was 232 points behind 10th. After his seventh-place finish at Lowe’s he is now 86 points behind 10th, a gain of 146 points on 10th in three races. Biffle has scored top-10 finishes in his last three races.
• Greg Biffle has posted 11 straight top-10 starts, a streak that began at California Speedway.
• Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson have each won three races in 2006, the most of all drivers.
• Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth are the only drivers to score seven top-five finishes in the 12 races this season.
• Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to score nine top-10 finishes in the first 12 races of 2006.
• Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson have each scored top-15 finishes in 11 of the 12 races of 2006.
• Greg Biffle is the only driver to lead at least one lap in 10 of the 12 races this season.
• Matt Kenseth ranks second in the point standings after Lowe’s. After 12 races one year ago, he ranked 23rd.
• Jeff Burton has climbed from 21st to 8th in the point standings since Martinsville. In those six races he scored five top-10 finishes and all six were top-15s. One year ago he ranked 17th.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(5-30-2006)
- Roush COT's not testing at LMS: Car owner Jack Roush said that his teams won’t take part in NASCAR’s test of the car of tomorrow this week [Tues May 30th and Wed May 31st] at Lowe’s Motor Speedway because the car has changed. Roush said he wasn’t at a meeting last week that discussed the car, which will be used in select races next season, but said his understanding is that NASCAR will shorten the car as much as six inches because of an aerodynamic imbalance between the car’s front and rear. “My point was that the car that we’ve got doesn’t have the front end exactly right and it doesn’t have the back end exactly right … and for us to go out and try to do front splitter development and rear wing development would be a waste of time,’’ Roush said. “So, it’s morphing into something that I hope will do what we need for it to do, but it’s definitely a work in progress.’’ NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said series officials are considering shortening the car but have not decided to make the change. “We’re taking a look at the body of the car,’’ Tharp said. “The [rear] wing gives us some aerodynamic things we didn’t know. There is a possibility that we could shorten the car on the [rear] bumper. The chassis of it is set. With the wings we found some things in the wind tunnel. We’re going to take a look at it out here.’’ Tharp said that the next test for the car is scheduled for August at Michigan International Speedway. The car is scheduled to return to the wind tunnel June 22. Five Chevrolet and three Dodge teams are expected to test this week at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Ford and Toyota are not expected to have a car at the test. The Chevrolet teams will be Dale Earnhardt Inc., Richard Childress Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, MB2 Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing. The Dodge teams scheduled to test are Evernham Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing and Penske Racing South. Among the drivers expected to participate in at least part of the test are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Jeff Burton and Brian Vickers.(Roanoke Times)
NOTE: been told the test is OPEN to the public.(5-30-2006)
- Haas to Locate Wind Tunnel Project in Concord: Gene Haas, owner of Haas CNC Racing, formally announced that he will locate a new $40 million wind tunnel project in Concord, N.C. Speaking at a press conference at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord on
Sunday, Haas confirmed the tunnel will be constructed on a five-acre parcel of land off of Ivy Cline Road, adjacent to the Concord Regional Airport in Cabarrus County. Cabarrus County recently provided a three-year economic incentive grant for the project, and the city of Concord intends to provide a significant investment in the form of electrical infrastructure at the site. The city already had plans in place to build an electrical substation at Ivy Cline Road, but the timeline for that project will be moved up to accommodate the wind tunnel's construction schedule. Haas CNC Racing General Manager, Joe Custer, shared details of the wind tunnel and its unique rolling road system. "What makes this project so special is that there will be no other wind tunnel like this in the United States," Custer said. "It features a Single Belt FlatTrac Rolling Road system, manufactured by a company called MTS. The system uses a continuous steel belt running under the vehicle to simulate the road beneath a race car traveling on a speedway. It's the most accurate aerodynamic road simulation possible in the industry today. The system also offers repeatability, which is key to gathering valid, usable data. This will be the only wind tunnel in the world to feature this single belt rolling road system that will be available for teams and manufacturers to rent."
Custer said the company constructing the wind tunnel, Jacobs Sverdrup, plans to break ground at the Ivy Cline Road site in January, 2007. Construction of the project is scheduled to be completed in late 2007.(GMR Live PR)(5-30-2006)
- MWR Names New VP: Michael Waltrip Racing announced that Robert B. Brannan III (Bob) will be the Vice President of Licensing for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series multi-team operation, which will field Toyota Camrys in 2007. Brannan brings a wealth of financial and licensing expertise to Michael Waltrip Racing. He has a long list of credits and most recently was the President of Cabarrus Bank & Trust in Concord, N.C.(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(5-30-2006)
News from May 29, 2006
- Kellogg's, Carquest Extend with Hendrick as Co-Primary sponsors MORE: Kellogg Co. and CARQUEST Auto Parts today announced a unique three-year agreement with Hendrick Motorsports that secures the two companies as co-primary sponsors of the #5 Chevys driven by Kyle Busch in the Nextel Cup Series. Financial terms were not disclosed. Kicking off in 2007, the co-primary platform is a unique approach to NASCAR team branding. Aside from rotating Kellogg and CARQUEST logo placements on the vehicle's hood and quarter-panels, the base blue, yellow and red paint scheme of the #5 Chevys will remain unchanged throughout the racing season, allowing sponsor-partners to build broader equity in the team itself. Different from a "paint-out," where teams circulate various brand-specific car designs on a limited-event basis, the co-primary strategy allots premium logo locations to a pair of brands while providing the NASCAR audience a consistent visual identity. "This 'co-primary' approach delivers extra value to each sponsor because both are represented in a significant way at each race," said Patrick Perkins, Hendrick Motorsports' director of marketing. "By maintaining a standard design throughout the entire season, fans can more easily follow and connect with the team." For more information, visit Kellogg's web site at kelloggcompany.com and for CARQUEST Auto Parts, visit www.CARQUEST.com.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(5-26-2006)
UPDATE/IMAGE: In announcing sponsorship for the #5 Nextel Cup car by Carquest and Kellogg's through 2009, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said he also is hoping to lock up driver Kyle Busch for even longer. Busch is under contract through 2008 after the team acted on a two-year option.(SceneDaily.com), and see an image of the schemes on my #5 Team Schemes page.(5-29-2006)