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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    JUNE 5-11, 2006





      News from June 11, 2006

    • UPS to the #9? UPDATE 2: hearing UPS will leave the #88 Robert Yates Racing team and go to the #9 Evernham Dodge with driver Kasey Kahne.(6-8-2006)
      UPDATE: On the sponsor front, sources in the garage indicate that UPS will be moving from #88 Robert Yates Racing to one of two teams in 2007, either the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne or the #16 Roush Racing Ford driven by Greg Biffle.(Speed Channel)(6-10-2006)
      UPDATE 2: It appears UPS is still in play as a major sponsor. In the past two years the winner in the sponsor hunt has been Evernham Motorsports. UPS may add itself to the list of Evernham conquests signing as the primary sponsor of the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne. Then again, it is said the Dodge Dealers aren't willing to vacate their position on Kahne's ride. The dealers might be willing to let loose of the #19 driven by Jeremy Mayfield. However, it’s not clear Mayfield would be the driver of choice for UPS.(Circletrackplus.com)(6-11-2006)

    • Hamlin wins first career race: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway for his first win of his 21 race career. Hamlin led the most laps and early in the race, had a rear tire go down and spun thru the grass, but stayed on the lead lap and the crew fixed the car on multiple pit stops, slowly moving up the order until taking the lead again on lap 177, surviving a late caution and red flag to win. #2-Kurt Busch was 2nd followed by #20-Tony Stewart, #25-Brian Vickers and #17-Matt Kenseth. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson ran mid pack most of the day but was able to soldier on to a 10th place finish, dropping his points lead over #17-Matt Kenseth to 48 points. Hamlin also moved up 2 spots in the Drivers Points and is now in the top-10 and The Chase. #24-Jeff Gordon lost his brakes on lap 190 and slammed into the wall, but walked away ok. BUT Gordon dropped out of the top-10 and is currently out of the Chase. There were 25 lead changes among 13 drivers and 7 cautions for 28 laps.
      Race Results on my Pocono Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page.
      Race Rundown: see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-11-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Pocono [14 of 36 races]:
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 2145
      #17-Matt Kenseth 2097 -48
      #6-Mark Martin 1907 -238
      #20-Tony Stewart 1888 -257
      #9-Kasey Kahne 1866 -279
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1850 -295
      #31-Jeff Burton 1758 -387
      #29-Kevin Harvick 1591 -420
      #11-Denny Hamlin 1682 -463
      #5-Kyle Busch 1669 -476
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono Page.(6-11-2006)

    • Pocono Race Notes:
      • Denny Hamlin won the Pocono 500, scoring his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 21st career start. This was Hamlin’s first race at Pocono.
      • Hamlin became the first rookie to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race since Kyle Busch won at Phoenix in November 2005.
      • Hamlin became the ninth different race winner in 2006. He scored his sixth top-10 finish in 14 races this season. Hamlin has posted five straight top-15 finishes.
      • Hamlin is the 30th first-time race winner since 1994. There has been at least one first-time race winner in 12 of the last 13 years (since 1994). There was no first-time race winner in 2004.
      • This is the third time in 2006 that a race was won from the Bud Pole starting position. Kasey Kahne won two races from the Bud Pole (Texas and Atlanta).
      • This marked the 10th race at Pocono to be won from the Bud Pole.
      • Hamlin led the most laps for the first time in his career.
      • Race winner Hamlin led six times for 83 laps, including the final 24 laps.
      • This was team owner Joe Gibb’s 49th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Gibbs has scored his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Pocono Raceway.
      • Joe Gibbs Racing has won at least one race each season 1993-2006, 14 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • This is the 182nd victory [I have 181 on my Wins by Number Chart] by a #11 car in NASCAR history. The last time the #11 won was with Bill Elliott in the Junior Johnson-owned Ford in September 1994 at Darlington.
      • Kurt Busch (second) scored his third top-10 and second top-five finish in 2006. It is his fifth top-five finish in 11 races at Pocono Raceway.
      • Tony Stewart (third) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 14 races in 2006. It is his first top-10 finish in the last four races. Stewart climbed from fifth to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. Stewart has scored 10 top-10 finishes in 15 races at Pocono Raceway.
      • Brian Vickers (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 finish of 2006 and his second top-10 finish in five races at Pocono.
      • Matt Kenseth (fifth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 14 races in 2006. It is his ninth top-five finish in 2006. Kenseth has scored six top-10 finishes in 13 races at Pocono Raceway. He remained second in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 24th after 14 races.
      • Four races ago Greg Biffle was 232 points behind 10th. With his sixth-place finish, Biffle is now 27 points behind 10th and is just two points behind 11th-place Jeff Gordon. He has climbed from 23rd to 12th in points since Talladega. After 14 races in 2005, he ranked second in the point standings. Biffle has scored five straight top-10 finishes, tying the longest top-10 streak of his career set one year ago between August and September.
      • Jeff Burton (ninth) has climbed from 21st to 7th in the point standings since Martinsville. One year ago he ranked 17th in the standings after 14 races. Burton has scored four straight top-10 finishes, extending a streak that began at Darlington.
      • Jimmie Johnson (10th) remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and is now just 48 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth. Johnson has lost 61 points of his lead in the last two races. Johnson has scored top-15 finishes in 13 of the 14 races in 2006.
      • Mark Martin (17th) failed to score a top-15 finish for just the second time in 2006.
      • At least one Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender has scored a top-15 finish in every race this season.
      • Dave Blaney (27th) extended a 32-race streak of running at the finish - the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-11-2006)

    • Father's Day message for Stewart at MIS: Tony Stewart's #20 Home Depot Chevy will have a special "Father's Day" paint scheme on the hood of his car for Sunday's race at Pocono, and next week's race at Michigan.(CNNSI/AP)(6-11-2006)

    • Rumblings - Pocono: Denny Hamlin did a NASCAR version of a spin and win today and captured his first ever NEXTEL Cup victory at Pocono Raceway in the Pocono 500. Hamlin led all but one lap of the first 51 when he lost a left rear tire going into the tunnel turn. After managing to keep it off both walls, his crew did yeoman's work both keeping that car on the lead lap and keeping it fast and that was all he needed as he went on to register a dominant victory. Denny led 6 times for 83 laps and posted a 1.328 margin of victory. It was the third win this season from the pole (Kasey Kahne's done it twice), the 9th different winner of the season, and the 170th different driver to capture a win in NASCAR's top division. Win #49 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth $220,100 from the over $4.8M in posted awards. All kindsa pit problems today.....speeding penalties, cars falling off jacks. A sharp contrast from the FedEx Crew.....
      Kurt Busch (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Bristol in March.
      Tony Stewart (3rd) wins the "guttin' it out award" this weekend.
      Tony Raines (16th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Homestead in November of 2003! (only 21 races)
      STREAKIN....Greg Biffle has 5 Top-10's in a row.
      Matt Kenseth has 8 Top-10's in the last 9 races.
      Jeff Burton has 8 Top-10's in the last 9 races.
      Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Clint Bowyer (+21) followed by Matt Kenseth (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Gordon (-28 ), followed by Sterling Marlin (-26), and Casey Mears (-21). A rather slow day in the "Shaft"
      Jimmie Johnson's lead is now down to 48 markers after today. Jeff Gordon falls below the "Stayin' Alive" line as winner Denny Hamlin moves into the select company of the "Chase". Scott Riggs (25th to 21st) and Brian Vickers (26th to 22nd) made the best advances today, while Jeff Green (22nd to 26th) went in the opposite direction.(Stock Car Fans)(6-11-2006)

    • Patrick and NASCAR? Danica Patrick doesn't want to go to NASCAR. Too many races, too much to learn, too many demands, etc. But in the end, it's all about the money. And Patrick knows all too well that NASCAR has most of it. "Obviously, one of the big draws with NASCAR is money," Patrick said. "You can make a lot of money. It's a much bigger schedule, but again, they make that much more money. At some point in time, you have to think about that." Despite the lack of stock car experience, half a dozen NASCAR teams would hire her today if she opted to head in that direction. Patrick + Cup car = $$$$. Patrick's biggest problem with Nextel Cup is the grueling 38-race schedule. The series has three open weekends from February until the end of November.(in part from the Dallas Morning News)(6-11-2006)

    • Waltrip discusses Busch plans and new shop: Michael Waltrip Racing officials state the team is not severing its partnership with FitzBradshaw Racing, according to a news release distributed Saturday. Published reports questioned the continuation of that relationship, but team owner Waltrip said that is not true. "I think a lot of people got confused when we took the opportunity to move our Nextel Cup operation down the road to Jimmy Spencer's old shop," Waltrip said in the release. Waltrip added that his Busch Series program remains at the FitzBradshaw shop in Mooresville. He plans to remain with the group through the completion of this season, which was the original contract.(NASCAR Scene)
      AND "I think a lot of people got confused when we took the opportunity to move our NEXTEL Cup operation down the road to Jimmy Spencer's old shop," said Waltrip. "We saw an opportunity to give Larry Carter and his team working on the Burger King Chevrolets, a location that allows them to stay totally focused on preparing for our upcoming five Cup races with Bill Elliott in 2006. Our Busch Series program, along with our Marketing, Licensing and Business Affairs departments remain at Fitz-Bradshaw in Mooresville, NC. Last Fall we partnered with Armando Fitz for the entire 2006 season and that won't change." While everything is status-quo with Waltrip's 2006 programs, there is eager anticipation for 2007. In just a few weeks, the first phase of Waltrip Racing World will open for Toyota's entry into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Waltrip Racing World, scheduled to open to the public mid 2007, is a fan destination complete with entertainment and interactive experiences. It will also house all of Michael Waltrip Racing's Toyota backed teams. "Phase One of Waltrip Racing World is essentially our fabrication and manufacturing facility," Waltrip said. "In some ways it could be viewed as the heart and soul of our entire campus. Our first Toyota Camry was completed last week and we will build many more at the new location. This building is exclusively dedicated to the preparation, testing, development and eventually racing of our 2007 Camry's."(MWR PR)(6-11-2006)


      News from June 10, 2006

    • Vickers looking to get out of contract? UPDATE 3 teammate with Elliott?: Hearing that Brian Vickers, driver of the #25 GMAC Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports is now looking to get out of his contract with Hendrick after the 2006 season.(6-7-2006)
      UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports has given driver Brian Vickers permission to seek a ride elsewhere in racing. Hendrick spokesman Jesse Essex said Thursday that the driver of the team's #25 GMAC Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series had asked team officials for permission to pursue "employment opportunities outside our operation." Essex said "multiple years" remain on Vickers' contract at Hendrick.
      AND rumors have Vickers going to the #88 Robert Yates Racing ride or one of the Red Bull Racing rides.(6-8-2006)
      UPDATE 2: There's been speculation that Vickers might drive a Toyota for Team Red Bull next season. Team Red Bull general manager Marty Gaunt indicated in an e-mail that there's no deal yet with any driver. "Frankly, it is flattering to have this much interest in our new program, but the reality is that the driver search is still very open right now," Gaunt said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-9-2006)
      UPDATE 3:When Brian Vickers got permission from Hendrick Motorsports to look for a new job this week, it started a chain reaction that might include the return of former series champion Bill Elliott. Vickers will drive for Red Bull Racing next year, becoming the third full-time driver listed for Toyota's venture into stock car racing. Casey Mears told car owner Chip Ganassi on Thursday he won't return next year in the #42 Dodge, and on Friday he suggested he will replace Vickers at Hendrick. At the same time, Elliott apparently is mulling a full-time return to the sport - presumably as Vickers' teammate at Red Bull. During a local Atlanta cable television interview Wednesday, Elliott said he hadn't decided whether to make a comeback. He said he's busy with his son's go-cart racing career and a new grandchild, but he wasn't ready to rule out any return. Elliott will drive three races later this year for Red Bull as it gathers information to debut its Camry next year. He also will drive five races for Michael Waltrip Racing, which will field two Toyota teams next year.(Augusta Chronicle)(6-10-2006)

    • CitiFinancial to move up to Cup #88? Robert Yates Racing will replace UPS with CitiFinancial [on the #88], its current Busch Series sponsor, sources said. A more pressing issue is who will drive his cars, as Dale Jarrett is going to Toyota and #38-Elliott Sadler has an exit option in his contract.(Speed Channel)(6-10-2006)

    • Martin non-commitial about crew changes: Roush Racing’s #6-Mark Martin was noncommittal about the possibilities of any changes in his pit crew. They have made costly mistakes in several races this season, including last week at Dover, when a dropped lug nut cost Martin a chance to win. He finished ninth instead. “I don’t know,” Martin said of the possibility of crew changes. “We’ve had some disappointments on pit road, but I don’t know.” (Ford Racing)(6-10-2006)

    • Mayfield plans on staying at Evernham: #19-Jeremy Mayfield, one of the veterans in the garage, said he’s unfazed by all the Silly Season chatter, even rumors about his status with Evernham Motorsports. “If I was a younger driver and had never been through it, it would be pretty tough, but I’ve been through it before,” he said. “I don’t really pay attention to it anymore. I just do what’s best and do what’s right. I stay focused and do the best we can as a team and get better every week. Whatever happens then happens, and I know I’ve done all I can do. Right now I’ve got a contract with Ray (Evernham) through this year and next year and hopefully two more years after that. That’s what my intentions are, to finish this deal out and do the best we can. I know a lot of stuff is going on right now in the rumors about different drivers but hopefully we’re not one of them.”(Speed Channel)
      AND Jeremy Mayfield clarified his contract status, pointing out that he has no plans to move on since he is signed with Evernham Motorsports through 2007. Mayfield, dogged by rumors that he's in the mix for several open NASCAR Nextel Cup rides, has repeatedly stated that he's planning to continue building his team this season. But it wasn't until Friday that he outlined the contract that he plans to honor.(SceneDaily.com)(6-10-2006)

    • Jamie McMurray Foundation Formed to Assist Autism Society: Jamie McMurray has formed the Jamie McMurray Foundation (JMF) to promote awareness of and raise funding for, research, education, and support for individuals and families affected with autism. McMurray, who drives for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, is sponsored by Newell-Rubbermaid (Irwin Industrial Tools, Lenox Industrial Tools and Sharpie) and Diageo (Crown Royal and Smirnoff Ice). The JMF is dedicated to joining the financial backing and support of the NASCAR community with the passion and commitment of the autism community to promote better understanding of this challenging disability. The Jamie McMurray Foundation will also support other charitable organizations providing opportunities to disadvantaged youth. McMurray has been a viable advocate for the Autism Society of America (ASA), with a "Driving Autism Awareness Pledge" campaign in 2005, and has participated in many golf tournaments, auctions for charitable contributions and benefits throughout the year. The JMF board will consist of McMurray as President; with mother, Melanie Sue McMurray, Treasurer and sister, Trisha Montez as Vice President.(Roush Racing PR)(6-10-2006)

    • Mega M&M's on the #38 at Pocono: Elliott Sadler is running a special scheme this weekend on his #38 Ford Fusion sporting a special Mega M&M'S paint scheme. Mega M&M'S, a new version of the iconic color-coated candies, are on average 55 percent bigger in size than original M&M'S® and come in six new hues that appeal to adults: maroon, teal, blue-gray, beige, gold and brown. With new Mega M&M'S, chocolate lovers now get more of what they love — more chocolate and more peanut in every bite.(M&M's Racing Site), see my #38 Team Schemes page for an image.(6-10-2006)

    • Jarrett missing Saturday practice at Pocono: #88- Dale Jarrett is heading home for his daughter's graduation and will not be at Pocono Raceway Saturday. Robert Yates Racing teammate #38-Elliott Sadler is scheduled to practice his own car then, practice Jarrett's car for a few laps. Natalee Jarrett is graduating from Hickory High School Saturday.(SceneDaily.com)(6-10-2006)

    • Stremme to run Pocono ARCA race UPDATE on the pole: Nextel Cup Series rookie David Stremme will drive the #40 Coors Light Dodge in the ARCA/ReMax event on Saturday, June 10 at Pocono Raceway. "I am looking forward to running the ARCA Race in Pocono," Stremme said. "This will be my first time at Pocono and so the more seat time the better. I am excited that Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates are giving me the chance to race the ARCA race and get familiar with the track. It is great to see Coors Light on the car, they have been a great sponsor for me this season on the Cup car and I appreciate all the support they have given me in my rookie season." The ARCA 200 is scheduled to start at 1:00pm/et and will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED Channel.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-6-2006)
      UPDATE: on the pole: Stremme won the pole for today's ARCA Pocono 200, posting a lap of 163.660 mph, and it's a good thing in that he's driving one of his Nextel Cup cars, just with a different spoiler and different tires, while everyone else is driving lesser equipment. ''If I don't win, I'll probably be in big trouble,'' said Stremme, who's competing in the ARCA race simply to get seat time at Pocono where he's never raced before. ''Taking nothing away from the guys that run the ARCA Series, but this is actually one of my Cup cars.''(Allentown Morning Call)(6-10-2006)


      News from June 9, 2006

    • FOX Producer back to ESPN? UPDATE: hearing that Neil Goldberg is leaving as FOX Producer and going back to ESPN. Pocono is supposedly his last race.
      UPDATE: been told that Goldberg going back to ESPN isn't a done deal nor does he have a contract already signed with ESPN. Apparently, Goldberg and FOX are taking the next three weeks to look at all options.(6-9-2006)

    • Martin and Yates? UPDATE denied: hearing Mark Martin, driver of the #6 AAA Ford for Roush Racing may buy or buy into Robert Yates Racing in some form, would it be a Roush satellite operation? Would it get around NASCAR's new ownership rules? Martin is already listed as the owner of the #17 Roush Racing Ford that Matt Kenseth drives and has been quoted that he has no interest in owing a Cup team.(6-5-2006)
      UPDATE: Mark Martin says he knows nothing about a recent Internet report that has him possibly buying Robert Yates Racing or buying into the organization. "I don't know where that came from," Martin said Friday at Pocono Raceway. "There hasn't been any discussions about it." Martin, who is running his last full-time season in Nextel Cup, says he currently has no interest in owning a Cup team outright. Martin owns an interest in the #17 Roush Racing team of Matt Kenseth. "I learned last year to never say 'never,' and I have said never would I own one of these teams," he said. "At the same time, would I think about it? I don't know. I can tell you this much, there has been no discussion and no thought from me at all. That is not on my radar screen. I'm really focused on the AAA car and trying to make this Chase and make a run for the championship and do a good job and meet all my obligations and have some fun with the fans. I'm not really worried about all that other stuff."(SceneDaily.com)(6-9-2006)

    • Changes coming to the COT: NASCAR’s “Car of Tomorrow” is still not finished, according to multiple sources in the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage. Within the next two weeks, General Motors will be wind-tunnel testing a new version of the COT, with different sides and new tail section. Some manufacturers had complained that the radical design does not look enough like existing production cars, which may be responsible for the change. Sources said the COT’S chassis specs will not be changed, just the body. But that likely will mean substantial additional testing is needed prior to the design being finalized. The ongoing development work on the car means that NASCAR will push back its submission date for the car, sources told SPEEDTV.com. Typically, the final design date for any new car is July 1, so teams ordinarily would have to submit their 2007 Nextel Cup cars by July 1, 2006. But since the COT is not completed, the sign-off date will be at some point beyond July 1, sources said. And that is a double-edged sword: It gives teams more time to work on the car, but it also pushes back when they can begin the cars, since the specs are not final.(Speed Channel)(6-9-2006)

    • Vickers Interview: Brian Vickers was in Somerset making an appearance for the Somerset Patriots minor league baseball team, Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat asked Vickers some questions:
      About Toyota coming into the sport: "I think it's great. The more support we have from the more manufacturers, the better. It's irrelevant who it is. With NASCAR, I guess one of the rules is they have to produce the cars they race in Cup in America, which Toyota does. Those are the requirements, that they make most of their cars in America. You've got Chevy, Ford, Dodge and now Toyota, and it's only going to bring more attention to the sport. If more want to come, I think it'll be even better."
      About backlash from the NASCAR fanbase about Toyota's foreign roots: "There's no way to predict that, but I don't think so. You look in the parking lot at a race or anywhere else, and there's cars from every manufacturer. There's always been a lot of support in NASCAR from the big three manufacturers, and everybody's always going to respect that. But the fact is, Toyota employs a lot of people here, and if they want to be here, they deserve to be here."
      About Red Bull and Yates Rumors: "Who we've talked to is private. We're in the process right now...the only thing that's going on is Hendrick Motorsports and I are trying to figure out what we're going to do, and right now it looks like we're both going to look at other options next year for the betterment of both of us."
      About a hot commodity: "It could potentially be a good position. Right now, we're focused on handling this thing the best we can with Hendrick Motorsports and we're looking at other options. What we decide to do is going to be held private until the time is right, and then we'll announce it."(Hunterdon County Democrat/Mike Ashmore)(6-9-2006)

    • Toyota at the Wind Tunnel: hearing that Toyota was testing Thursday, June 8th in some fashion [Cup/Trucks] at the NASA wind tunnel in Hampton, VA / Langley AFB.(6-9-2006)

    • Bruton, Gordon: Inductees into Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame: #24-Jeff Gordon and Speedway Motorsports Chairman and CEO O. Bruton Smith will share center stage during the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend as both will be inducted into Infineon Raceway's Wall of Fame. Gordon and Smith will join NASCAR drivers Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin, who were the first inductees when construction of the Wall of Fame was announced at the 2005 Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend. Other inductees include Warren Johnson from the NHRA, and Miguel Duhamel and Rich Oliver from the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). The ceremony will take place on Friday, June 23, at 11:20am/pt in the Wine Country Winner's Circle, which is adjacent to the main grandstand in the paddock. Race fans are invited to the ceremony honoring both men. The Wall of Fame is located behind the main grandstand and will be open to the public during race weekend. Smith purchased then-Sears Point Raceway in 1996 and, thanks to a comprehensive $70 million modernization project, has transformed the facility into one of the premier motor sports and entertainment venues in the country, and certainly the top road-racing venue in the country. Gordon, a native of nearby Vallejo, has simply owned the Sonoma Valley road course during his career. He holds the record for career NASCAR Cup wins at Infineon Raceway with four, including three consecutive from 1998-2000, and he has finished no worse than third in eight of his 13 starts in Sonoma, dating back to 1993. For his career, Gordon is also a four-time NASCAR Cup champion (1995, 1997-98, 2001) and a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 (1997, 1999, 2005).(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-9-2006)

    • Hamlin wins pole at Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Budweiser Pole for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway with a speed of 169.638mph for his 1st pole of 2006 and 2nd of his career [last November at Phoenix]. Starting on the outside pole is #2-Kurt Busch, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #25-Brians Vickers and #31-Jeff Burton. #44-Terry Labonte qualified 39th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #40-Stremme, #78-Spencer, #55-Waltrip, #61-Chaffin, #32-Kvapil, #44-Labonte, #49-Lepage and #51-Garvey. Missing the race were: #4-Wimmer, #34-Sacks, #95-Barrett, #74-Cope and #72-Sherman. See the qualifying results on my Pocono Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(6-9-2006)

    • Pocono Qualifying Notes:
      • Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Pocono 500, lapping Pocono Raceway in 53.054 seconds at 169.638 mph. Kasey Kahne holds the track-qualifying record of 52.164 seconds, 172.533 mph - set June 11, 2004.
      • This is Hamlin’s second career Bud Pole in 21 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. His other Bud Pole came at Phoenix in November 2005. Hamlin posted his ninth top-10 start in 2006, including each of the last five races. It is his first qualifying attempt at Pocono.
      • Hamlin became the 10th different Bud Pole winner this season.
      • Hamlin also became the 19th different Bud Pole winner in the past 20 races at Pocono. Qualifying was canceled in June 2002 due to weather.
      • A Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender has won a Bud Pole in each of the past 11 seasons (1996-2006). Hamlin actually posted his first Bud Pole last season, before his official rookie year.
      • Kurt Busch posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 53.102 seconds, 169.485 mph – and will join Hamlin on the front row for the Pocono 500. This is Busch’s 11th top-10 start this season and his best since he won the Bud Pole at California in the second race of 2006. It is his sixth top-10 start and his third consecutive second-place start in 11 races at Pocono.
      • This is the fourth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has six Bud Poles and Ford has three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Kasey Kahne (third) posted his eighth top-10 start in 2006 and his second in five races at Pocono. It is his first top-10 start here since he won the Bud Pole in June 2004.
      • Brian Vickers (fourth) has posted a top-10 start in all five of his appearances at Pocono. It is his fourth top-10 start this season.
      • Jeff Burton (fifth) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2006 but his first since Atlanta (Race No. 4). It is his seventh top-10 start in 25 races at Pocono and his first since he started eighth in three straight races from July 1999 through July 2001.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-9-2006)

    • Ramblings - Pocono: It was Denny Hamlin today at Pocono Raceway as he took his first Bud Pole of the season for Sunday's Pocono 500. It was Hamlin's second career top-spot (he captured the pole at Phoenix last November) and makes him the 10th qualifier for next February's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona (course he was in already as defending Champion of that event). Kurt Busch will join Hamlin on the front-row. This is his best starting spot since he had the pole at California in February.
      Jeff Burton (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Atlanta in March.
      Welcome Back Jimmy Spencer (34th). Jimmy will make his first Cup start of the season this week in the #78 car.
      STREAKIN....Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
      Greg Biffle has 12 Top-10 starts in the last 13 races.
      Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans)(6-9-2006)

    • Texas Terry back in the seat: Driving a #44 Kellogg's Chevy this weekend, two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will run his first of two Pocono Raceway events in 2006. Labonte, who is running a limited schedule this season, will make his 51st career start Sunday at the unique 2.5-mile track.(Hendrick Motorsports)(6-9-2006)

    • Goodyear Tire Notes/Facts Pocono: This is the third time this season that Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . this tire set-up was previously run by teams at both Las Vegas and Bristol in March . . . as on all ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Pocono . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 34-38 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes, with pressures and codes on my Pocono Race Info / Rundown Page.(6-9-2006)

    • Carquest scheme on #5 at Pocono:: Kyle Busch's # Chevy will carry the colors of Carquest Auto Parts this weekend at Pocono Raceway. It will mark the second outing of 2006 for the Carquest paint scheme, which will appear later this season at Chicagoland Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports), see image on my #5 Team Schemes page,(6-9-2006)

    • Husqvarna on the #18 at pocono: The #18 Chevy of J.J. Yeley will be carrying special colors this weekend, featuring a blue and white Husqvarna paint scheme. Sunday’s race will be the second of three events this season in which Yeley will be sponsored by Husqvarna, the Official Lawn and Garden Equipment of NASCAR. The company’s final race of the year will be the Aug. 20 GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see images of the car on my #18 Team Schemes page.(6-9-2006)

    • #74 gets assoc sponsor for Pocono races: McGlynn Racing and driver Derrike Cope announced Fendler and Associates, a personal injury law firm, as an associate sponsor of the team at Pocono. Fendler and Associates has sponsored the McGlynn team in past Pocono efforts and will be on the #74 for both Pocono races this year.(McGlynn Racing PR)(6-9-2006)


      News from June 8, 2006

    • Mears to Yates? or is it Hendrick? hearing that Casey Mears, current driver fo the #42 Texaco Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing could leave and go to Robert Yates Racing to drive the #88 Ford in 2007....no word yet on sponsor.
      MORE: but hearing now that Mears is more likely headed to the #25 Hendrick Chevy that Vickers is leaving....(6-8-2006)

    • DirecTV back on the #07 at Pocono: For the second time this season, Clint Bowyer's #07 Chevy will sport a DIRECTV paint scheme. DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital television service provider. DIRECTV is also the official satellite television service provider of NASCAR. The team's customary primary sponsor, Jack Daniel's, will be featured on the car's lower-rear quarter panel and deck lid.(RCR PR), the scheme also raced at Martinsville in April and is scheduled to race at Talladega in October 8, see images on my #07 Team Schemes page.(6-8-2006)

    • Cup Drivers Complete Test at Infineon Raceway: Four Nextel Cup drivers completed a two-day test session on Wednesday at Infineon Raceway in advance of the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend, June 23-25. #99-Carl Edwards, #5-Kyle Busch), #41-Reed Sorenson and #07-Clint Bowyer traversed the twisting 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in a variety of stock cars. Edwards toured the circuit over the two-day test in his Busch Series car, clocking a top time of 1 minute, 17.60 seconds. Edwards received coaching during the test from road-race specialist Boris Said, who will also compete in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in his #60 No Fear Ford. The Busch car features about 100 horsepower less than a Cup car, accounting for the time. It was the first trip to Infineon Raceway for Bowyer, who piloted a Grand National Division AutoZone West Series car during the test. He posted a top time of 1:19.90 on Wednesday - West Series cars have even less horsepower than Busch cars. It was the first time on the road course for Sorenson, as well, as he posted a 1:18.40 in a Busch Series car. Busch did not report a time. For ticket information on the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend, which will also feature the Blue Lizard Suncream 200 Grand National Division AutoZone West Series and the SPEED World Challenge, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR)
      AND Next week, June 14-15, Bowyer will return to Infineon Raceway where he will participate in the Jim Russell Racing School.(RCR PR)(6-8-2006)

    • Ryan Newman Day in Michigan; June 6 was the first Ryan Newman Day in the state of Michigan, and the four-time MIS winner wants to make sure it wasn't his last. With his first MIS appearance of 2006 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup 3M Performance 400 just a week and a half away, Newman took the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing by storm on Tuesday. Along with Governor Jennifer Granholm's proclamation of June 6, 2006 as NASCAR Day, Senator Mark Schauer and Representative Leslie Mortimer delivered a resolution to announce the day as Ryan Newman Day in the state. Granholm, Schauer, Mortimer and several other key state legislators applauded Newman not only for his on-track success but for his off-track endeavors as well. Newman was on hand to promote several important causes throughout his day at the Capitol, the first of which was the recently-approved $18.5 million allocation for highway improvement in the area surrounding MIS. Newman applauded the government leaders for their devotion to the loyal Michigan fan base. Along with the discussion on local highway improvement, Newman also promoted his Ryan Newman Foundation and the book Pit Road Pets, which features several top NASCAR drivers and their beloved animals. Newman and his wife, Krissie, have joined with local humane societies in many areas for the cause of animal preservation, and he continued to promote this cause during his day in Lansing. Before leaving the Capitol in the afternoon, Newman got the chance to be introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives. As the legislators representing the MIS area explained their district alignments to Newman, he maintained that there was really only one locale that concerned him. Tickets for both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, the June 18 3M Performance 400 and the August 20 GFS Marketplace 400, are currently on sale at MIS's official website, http://www.mispeedway.com or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.(MIS PR)(6-8-2006)

    • Get Well: Barry "Hillbilly" Sheppard, transporter driver for Richard Childress Racing's #07 Jack Daniel's team, is resting comfortably at his home in Stuart, Va., after falling ill May 4 at Dover International Speedway. Tests at Kent General Hospital in Dover ruled out a cardiac episode as originally suspected though an exact cause of his illness is yet to be determined. He is expected to make a full recovery but will be off the road until he receives full medical clearance. Jeff Price will fill in for the Jack Daniel's team until Sheppard's return.(RCR PR)(6-8-2006)


      News from June 7, 2006

    • Stewart plans to run full race at Pocono: from TonyStewart.com: Since you're still nursing a fractured right scapula, what are your expectations for Pocono?
      Tony Stewart: "I plan to make it through the whole weekend. Every day my muscles feel like they're getting stronger, and I don't think it's a bone issue as much as it's a muscle issue. I got fitted for a new ButlerBuilt seat and we'll have it in the car for this weekend. We think it's a better design - a newer version of what I had been running. It was time to put something new in there. Brian Butler and his staff did an awesome job of accommodating me and getting a seat pumped out in a short amount of time so we would have it for Pocono, so we really appreciate their effort. I fully believe that with the new seat and another week of rest that we'll be ready to go."
      TonyStewart.com: Will you have a relief driver on standby?
      Tony Stewart: "We'll make that decision closer to the end of the week. But I really don't anticipate needing a relief driver. I appreciate what Ricky (Rudd) did for us last week at Dover, but he's on vacation with his family this week and I want him to enjoy his vacation. I'm confident that by the end of the week I'll be strong enough to go do the whole race at Pocono by myself."(TonyStewart.com)(6-7-2006)

    • Hendrick Motorsports duo wins Builder Showdown: The final round of the 2006 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown was held May 23 at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC. Mike Maiwald and Shane Parsnow of Hendrick Motorsports, in their third final-round appearance, built against Dennis Borem and Darrell Hoffman of Pro Motor Engineering. Borem and Hoffman fired their engine 2 seconds ahead of Maiwald and Parsnow, but it cut out after running just a few seconds. Borem and Hoffman fired their engine again, but it was too late. When the noise stopped, Maiwald and Parsnow finally captured the prize that had eluded them the past two years – the Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy. The teams assembled 357 cubic inch Ford engines — similar in design to those used by NASCAR’s Ford race teams. Borem and Hoffman received a cash award of $5,000 and runner-up trophies. Champions Maiwald and Parsnow received a cash award of $20,000 and will take their rightful place alongside past Showdown Champions on the Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy. (SceneDaily.com)(6-7-2006)

    • Dover TV Ratings down from 2005: The Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway, whcih aired on FX Sunday, June 4, 2006 had a Ratings of 3.7, down from last years 4.9, no share was reported. The race garnered 5,969,000 viewers and was the 7th most watch show on cable with The Sopranos leading the way and five NBA Playoff games.(AP/Zap2It.com), see my TV Ratings page for past ratings and the race-by-race chart.(6-7-2006)

    • Two Cup drivers to test West Series cars at Infineon UPDATE make it 4: Infineon Raceway will host a test for the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series. A few NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars, #99-Carl Edwards and #41-Reed Sorenson will participate in the West Series test session in advance of the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend, June 23-25. The West Series drivers will take part in the Blue Lizard Suncream 200, scheduled for Saturday, June 24, of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend. Testing will run on Tuesday, June 6 and Wednesday, June 7. Both NEXTEL Cup regulars will test in West Series cars, as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series does not allow a formal test session at Infineon Raceway. No word if the test is open to the public.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-6-2006)
      UPDATE: Four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers participated in a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway on Tuesday. The drivers tested the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in advance of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend, set for June 23-25 in the Sonoma Valley. #99-Carl Edwards, who placed 38th in his only other visit to Infineon Raceway in 2005, tested his Busch Series car with coaching from road-race specialist Boris Said. Said will also compete in the Sonoma NASCAR weekend as part of a four-race deal behind the wheel of his #60 No Fear Ford. His other races are in Daytona, Indianapolis and Watkins Glen. Edwards wasn't in race trim and his car featured substantially less horsepower than his NEXTEL Cup car, as he clocked a top lap of 1 minute, 18 seconds. #07-Clint Bowyer, #41-Reed Sorenson and #5-Kyle Busch also took part in the test, which concludes on Wednesday. Sorenson posted a 1:19.79, also in a Busch Series car, while Bowyer clocked a 1:21.3 in a Grand National Division AutoZone West Series car, which features even less horsepower than a Busch Series car. Busch did not report a time.(Infineon Raceway)(6-7-2006)

    • Burton's Team Grabs Pit Crew Challenge Win In Dover; Jeff Burton's pit crew took home the $10,500 first-place check for winning the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge in Sunday's Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway. The #31 crew, which assisted its veteran driver to a fourth-place finish in the 400-lap, 400-mile Nextel Cup race, spent the least amount of time on pit road -- 395.590 seconds. Burton's over-the-wall crew includes: Josh Yost (jackman), Kevin Nervegna (front-tire carrier), Joe Zielinski (front-tire changer), Jason Fowler (rear-tire carrier), Aaron Smith (rear-tire changer), Larry Hartle (gasman), Rich Burgess (catch can) and Wes Adams (windshield). The pit crew coordinator is Corrine Mauldin. The #31 team became the eighth pit crew of the season to win the weekly Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge. A bonus of $105,000 will be presented 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)(6-7-2006)

    • Kvapil and Team to Appear on Guiding Light: 2006 Emmy Award-winner Kim Zimmer and the CBS soap Guiding Light hit the track today with NASCAR driver Travis Kvapil and the Tide Racing Team when the show taped on location at the Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, NC. The soap also plans to tape tomorrow at the team’s race shop which is also located in Hickory. The storyline revolves around Zimmer’s character, the strong-willed Reva Shayne Lewis and her battle with breast cancer. Thanks to the encouragement from her doctor Colin McCabe (played by Paul Fitzgerald) and Kvapil, Reva gets the chance to take the wheel of the infamous Tide Ride in an attempt to prove that her diagnosis will not stop her from living out her dreams. The scenes shot at the Speedway and the race shop will air on Wednesday, June 28.(PPI Motorsports)(6-7-2006)


      News from June 6, 2006

    • Hermie in the booth at Nashville and Kentucky, Garrow/Jarrett in the pits: #00-Hermie Sadler will return to the broadcast booth for the next two weekends as he joins Phil Parsons and Rick Allen as an analyst for the Busch Series races this Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee and June 17th at Kentucky. PRN's Mark Garrow; and Glenn Jarrett will handle pit road duties. Both races will be live on FX at 7:30pm/et.(6-6-2006)

    • Kahne and McDonald's at Chicago: Kasey Kahne is scheduled to drive a McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" paint scheme in the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 9. Bill Elliott was the last Evernham Motorsports driver to carry the "Golden Arches" in a NEXTEL Cup Series race when he drove the #91 at California Speedway last September. Ironically, Elliott will making his debut in the #00 Burger King sponsored car for Michael Waltrip at Chicago. McDonald's corporate headquarters are located nearby Chicagoland Speedway in Oak Brook, Illinois.(RacingOne), see image of the scheme on my #9 Team Scehemes page.(6-6-2006)

    • Stremme to run Pocono ARCA race: Nextel Cup Series rookie David Stremme will drive the #40 Coors Light Dodge in the ARCA/ReMax event on Saturday, June 10 at Pocono Raceway. "I am looking forward to running the ARCA Race in Pocono," Stremme said. "This will be my first time at Pocono and so the more seat time the better. I am excited that Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates are giving me the chance to race the ARCA race and get familiar with the track. It is great to see Coors Light on the car, they have been a great sponsor for me this season on the Cup car and I appreciate all the support they have given me in my rookie season." The ARCA 200 is scheduled to start at 1:00pm/et and will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED Channel.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-6-2006)

    • Blaney and Schrader test at Kentucky: #21-Ken Schrader and #22-Dave Blaney are testing at Kentucky Speedway today, along with Brad Coleman for Brewco Motorsports in an ARCA car. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway.com)(6-6-2006)

    • Laps/Miles Stats: 40 drivers have lead at least one lap in a race in 13 Nextel Cup races so far this season.
      • #20-Tony Stewart and #16-Greg Biffle hav led the most laps with 801, followed by #17-Matt Kenseth at 524.
      • Biffle has led the most miles, just over 1101, with Stewart at 729 and Kensth at 690.
      • #48-Jimmie Johnson has run 4437 of 4450 laps run so far in 2006, followed by #22-Dave Blaney with 4420 and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 4411. Johnson has also ran the most miles, running 5551.9 of 5558.902 miles races so far this season.
      • #16-Biffle has led at least one lap in 11 of the 13 races run, #17-Kenseth has done so in 10 races. • #16-Biffle has led 38 times in the 13 races, followed by Kenseth with 36 and Stewart with 31.
      • Bonus Points: Biffle 75; Stewart 60; Kenseth 55
      • 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 13 races, the most of any driver.
      • Two drivers have run all 13 races and not lead a lap #21-Schrader and #41-Sorenson.(6-5-2006)

    • Cup drivers testing at VIR: hearing seven drivers tested at the Virginia International Raceway road course in preparattion for the road couse races at Infineon Raceway [Sonoma, CA] and Watkins Glen. Teams testing included: #07-Clint Boyer, #22-Dave Blaney, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #40-David Stremme/Scott Pruett, #41-Reed Sorenson and #42-Casey Mears.(6-6-2006)

    • NTB colors for Petty at Pocono: #45-Kyle Petty will be carrying the colors of National Tire and Battery for the second time this season. The first race with National Tire and Battery as a sponsor Petty finished eighth at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(6-6-2006)


      News from June 5, 2006

    • Coke 600 final TV Ratings down from 2005 but beats Indy 500: Final Nielsen Media Research ratings show that Fox's broadcast of the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway drew a higher television rating than ABC attracted for the same day's Indianapolis 500. Fox earned a 5.1 rating and an 11 share, down 16.4% from 6.1/13 in 2005, but the Indy ratings dropped even more. Ratings for the Indy Racing League event fell 23.1%, from 6.5/18 in 2005 to 5.0/14 this year.(SceneDaily.com)(6-5-2006)

    • Elliott to drive for Red Bull UPDATE: Red Bull Racing is planning to announce that former Nextel Cup champion [1988] Bill Elliott will drive for the team for three races this season as the team prepares a full-time entry into Cup racing with Toyota in 2007, a source close to the situation has confirmed. The car Elliott will drive will not be a Toyota, but the make of car has not been determined. He will attempt to qualify for the races at Charlotte and Atlanta in October and Texas in November. He also is running select races this year for MB2 Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing. The Red Bull team will use the races to help get its crew ready for the Daytona 500 in 2007. Drivers and crew chiefs for 2007 have not been announced.(SceneDaily.com), Elliott is also scheduled to run five races for Michael Waltrip Racing in the #00 Burger King Chevy at Chicago, New Hampshire [July], Indy, California Homestead.(6-5-2006)
      UPDATE: Originally scheduled to debut in 2007, Team Red Bull today announces a short schedule of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races it plans to enter in the fall of 2006 with veteran driver Bill Elliott, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, behind the wheel. “The organization and its competitive spirit are what attracted me to Team Red Bull,” says Elliott, who won the NASCAR Winston Cup driver’s title in 1988. “My job is simple . put the car in the show, drive it toward the front, and provide valuable input so that Team Red Bull is fully prepared by the Daytona 500. It’s really a great role at this stage of my racing career.” Leading the preparation of the non-Toyota equipped car are two recent race staff additions, Competition Director Elton Sawyer, a stock car racing veteran, and Technical Director John Probst, one of the racing industry’s top vehicle dynamics engineers. Sawyer and Probst join Gaunt and another appointee, Guenther Steiner, who came over to Team Red Bull from the Red Bull Racing F1 operation in a technical advisor role, as the team’s racing leadership operating out of the race shop in Mooresville, NC. The 60,000 sq. ft. facility recently underwent a Red Bull make-over since the energy drink company acquired the property from Penske Racing South prior to the team’s January 24 announcement by Toyota. Gaunt says the driver agreement with Elliott spans over three NEXTEL Cup races this fall – Charlotte, NC (Oct. 14), Atlanta, GA (Oct. 29), and Ft. Worth, TX (Nov. 5). Starting with the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, Team Red Bull will field two, full-time Toyota Camry entries. Rumors notwithstanding, more “official” information on the new team—including 2007 drivers and crew chiefs—will be made available later this year.(Red Bull Racing PR/Newsletter)(6-5-2006)

    • DEI and MB2? UPDATE 3 merge denied: There's speculation that Teresa Earnhardt [who own's DEI, #1,#8,#15] is planning to buy MB2 Motorsports, with drivers #01-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin, in addition to the ongoing speculation that she may be planning to sell DEI to John Menard, a home-improvements czar who has long been involved in racing. Marlin, who drives for the Jay Frye-run MB2 Chevy operation, said he has heard the sale talk, but that he doesn't know what's going on. Ryan Pemberton, the crew chief for Nemechek, said he has talked with Frye about it, but he's not sure, either, what might be going on behind the scenes. Earnhardt doesn't grant interviews, and Frye isn't due here until today. So yesterday it was up to Richie Gilmore, the general manager at DEI, to try to explain the situation. "We're not selling out," Gilmore said. "Our plans right now are to go to a three-car operation next year with Paul Menard (John's son). John is a great sponsor for us, and we do a lot with Menard's, engines, and he's at our company a lot, and I guess people speculate when they see him around."(Winston Salem Journal)(6-3-2006)
      UPDATE: According to sources in the NASCAR garage MB2 Motorsports could merge with, or be sold to Dale Earnhardt Inc. MB2 still has unsold sponsorship inventory available for Sterling Marlin's #14 car, and the team's other driver, #01-Joe Nemechek, is said to be on Toyota's short list for 2007.(Ford Racing)(6-4-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Jay Frye, the general manager and part-owner of the MB2 team, said that much of the speculation about a DEI-MB2 merger is just that, speculation. "Everyone's got this four-team program idea, but we're like two and they're like two.... so how do we both do things more efficiently together," Frye said. "That's how this all got started. Our buildings are four minutes apart. So we're trying to work together on this car of tomorrow. It's not about engines; it's about car-building. Everything beyond that is purely speculation."(Winston Salem Journal)(6-5-2006)
      UPDATE 3: MB2 Motorsports officials say the team isn't for sale, but minority owner Jay Frye has had discussions with Dale Earnhardt Inc. about working together on the competition side. "Becoming more efficient is what we've talked about going into next year," Frye said Sunday. "... There's lots of different programs that are starting next year with the 'car of tomorrow' and things like that. We've talked to them about how maybe, as a group, we can do things [like build transmissions, gears or even cars] more efficiently together. It's all just ideas at this point. Nothing [concrete]. It's, 'How can we work together to make things more efficient.' Everything else has just blown out from that." Frye said the team, controlled by majority owner Nelson Bowers, is not for sale. But the fact that Frye has been to DEI's shop and Richie Gilmore, DEI's vice president of competition, has been to MB2 has sparked talk that DEI would buy MB2, with John Menard then buying DEI. Gilmore agreed that nothing is for sale. DEI has previously said that it would field a third full-time team for Paul Menard (John Menard's son) starting in 2007. DEI would like to expand, but Gilmore said there are no plans to purchase MB2. Frye said talks are still exploratory, sparked by the car of tomorrow. Teams will not only have to build versions of their current cars for 2007, but the newer car as well. Frye said the two organizations would need to form an alliance within the next two months to get a start on next season.(SceneDaily.com)(6-5-2006)

    • Sherman to race at Pocono: from Brent Sherman diary at the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
      "I got a phone call Wednesday from a Nextel Cup team [Jayski: hearing it is the #72 CMJ Racing team] interested in me possibly driving for them in the Pocono race next weekend. I flew to Charlotte on Thursday to meet with the team and see if we can put some kind of deal together. It's a team that has been very realistic about its goals — and very honest and upfront in its discussions with me. They're trying out some different drivers to find a good fit. It's a team running a limited schedule the rest of the year with plans to run a full schedule next year. I don't know if it's going to lead to anything, but I know this: I'm never far from my cell phone because I don't want to miss out on an opportunity to possibly hook up with a team and a good situation. I'm going to be in Pocono next weekend anyway, to run the ARCA RE/MAX Series race with my Sherman Racing team. It would be a good, fun experience for me to maybe drive in two races in the same weekend. The ARCA race, the Pocono 200, is on Saturday, and the Nextel Cup race, the Pocono 500, is on Sunday. Qualifying for both races is on Friday, so that day could be interesting. Our Sherman Racing team is still planning on trying to qualify for the July 9 race in Chicago. I've applied for a number with NASCAR for the Chicago race. Getting a number is a pretty involved process. In NASCAR, you own your number; they don't just give you a number for a weekend. I've applied for the #04. That's my number for ARCA races. I should hear in the next couple of weeks whether I get the number for Nextel Cup, too. It would be nice to have that as my number wherever I race.(St. Paul Pioneer Press)(6-3-2006)
      UPDATE: Sherman is listed in the #72 on the Pocono Entry List page.(6-5-2006)

    • Martin and Yates? hearing Mark Martin, driver of the #6 AAA Ford for Roush Racing may buy or buy into Robert Yates Racing in some form, would it be a Roush satellite operation? Would it get around NASCAR's new ownership rules? Martin is already listed as the owner of the #17 Roush Racing Ford that Matt Kenseth drives and has been quoted that he has no interest in owing a Cup team.(6-5-2006)

    • New Rules to limit owners? In a little-known codicil [supplement or appendix] to the 2006 rules book, NASCAR executives are trying to limit car owners to four teams by precisely pinning down business relationships between various stock-car teams - like the joint engine operation run by Robert Yates and Jack Roush, the engine-and-engineering support provided by Rick Hendrick to MB2 Motorsports and Haas Racing, the engine-and-engineering support provided by Joe Gibbs to new team owners Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. The sport's Daytona bosses are also trying to pin down the roles that carmakers - GM, Ford, Dodge and Toyota - are allowed, in advance of Toyota's step up to Nextel Cup next season. And it appears that NASCAR may want to demand access to tax records to pin down just who owns what and who pays whom how much. The surprising new rules - apparently out since February but not in wide distribution until this week - are generating a lot of head-scratching among the few who are familiar with them. A number of key figures expressed astonishment yesterday when asked about the rules.(full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(6-5-2006)

    • “Dianetics”/Scientology to run a NASCAR team: “Dianetics,” the book written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, is sponsoring a racing team — dubbed “Ignite Your Potential” — that will tour the NASCAR circuit. A Dianetics Racing Web site is being set up for fans. Driver Kenton Gray credits Hubbard’s work with making him a good driver.(MSNBC)
      AND Unveiled on May 19th at the Book Expo America (BEA) in Washington, D.C., is the new "Ignite Your Potential" Dianetics Racing Team, headed by Kenton Gray, founder of Freedom Motorsports Group, Inc., and a top performing Southern California racecar driver. A racer since the age of 10, Gray is not only a standout behind the wheel—placing first in five races over the past year and top-five in dozens of others—he is also an instructor at the LA Racing Experience on one of the best short tracks in America, Irwindale Speedway in Southern California.(PR), nothing says what level of NASCAR racing the team will run, there is a picture of the car, it looks like a #27 Ford Taurus [the #27 is taken by teams in both Cup and Busch series], but Freedom Motorsports Group runs a car for Gray in the Dodge Weekly Series at Irwindale Speedway.(6-5-2006)



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