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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    JUNE 12-18, 2006





      News from June 18, 2006

    • Kahne wins rain shortened race at MIS: #9-Kasey Kahne won the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway, which was rained delayed, then shortened to 129 [of 200 scheduled laps] when rain fell around 5:00pm/et. The win is Kahne's 4th of the season, he has the most of any other driver this year and 5th of his career. It is also the 4th race Kahne has won from the pole. The race is fourth race at MIS that has been called due to rain [8/2001, 6/2000 and 8/1969, the race was shortened in 6/1974 due to the energy shortage..not rain]. #99-Carl Edwards finished 2nd, followed by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #16-Greg Biffle [back in the top-10 in points] and #41-Reed Sorenson [his first ever top-5 finish]. #48-Jimmie Johnson, who finished 6th, increased his points lead over #17-Matt Kenseth by 74 points over #17-Matt Kenseth [who finished 13th]. #20-Stewart wrecked hard early in the race, but didn't seem to be reinjured and finished 41st. Kahne is the 7th driver to win a race after falling a lap down and getting the lucky dog pass back to the lead lap. There were 17 lead changes among 10 drivers and 9 cautions for 37 laps.
      Race Results on my Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points page.
      Race Rundown: see my Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-18-2006)

    • Gilliland to drive #72 car at Sonoma: David Gilliland, fresh off an upset Busch Series win at Kentucky Speedway [in his 7th race] will step behind the wheel, on a limited basis starting at Infineon Raceway, of the newly formed #72 CJM Racing Dodge in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2006.(David Gilliland site)(6-18-2006)

    • Waltrip to make 2007 sponsor announcement this weekend..Domino's? BK? UPDATE 2: On Speed Channel's Inside Nextel Cup, Michael Waltrip said he would be making a sponsor announcement for the 2007 season for his Toyota team this weekend [at MIS]. Ken Schrader asked why not now [on the show], Waltrip said the paperwork isn't signed yet in which Schrader asked if there was a chance it wouldn't get signed; Waltrip responded: "Domino's Delivers" and then "Have it Your Way" the motto for Burger King,(6-13-2006)
      UPDATE: Michael Waltrip will make an announcement about the future of Michael Waltrip Racing on Sunday morning, June 18th at MIS.(6-17-2006)
      UPDATE 2 - The Announcement: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced Sunday it has formed a unique partnership with two marquee brands – Domino's Pizza and Burger King Corporation to be co-primary sponsors of its second 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team. "When we first approached Burger King and Domino's Pizza, we knew we were thinking outside of the box and didn't know if two food brands would be willing to work together to sponsor the same team," said Michael Waltrip. "We took the risk and are very excited to have two of the world's most recognized brands sponsoring the #00 NASCAR Nextel Cup team."
      "It's not unusual for two or more sponsors to split a sponsorship season," said Ty Norris, General Manager for Michael Waltrip Racing. "However, this is the first time that two companies within the same industry agreed to be sponsors of the same car during the same season. This is another example of the unprecedented approach Michael Waltrip Racing is taking to becoming a multi-car NASCAR Nextel Cup team organization."
      Domino's will kick off the [2007] season at the Daytona 500 and continue as the primary sponsor through the May race in Darlington, SC. A Domino's paint scheme will also adorn the #00 Toyota Camry at the August Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Domino's will deliver its final five races during the Chase for the Nextel Cup Series championship. The #00-Burger King Toyota Camry will hit the track Memorial Day weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC, and cap off the regular season under the lights at Richmond International Raceway. Five Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup races, including the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will feature the Burger King paint scheme. The split-season sponsorship allows Domino's and Burger King to continue their respective relationships with Michael Waltrip Racing, while positioning both companies at the forefront of the changing motorsports industry. The team along with input from both sponsors is in negotiations to secure a driver and will make a separate announcement once a driver has been determined. "I hope we find a driver who likes to eat," said Waltrip. "I've had an opportunity to work with both Domino's Pizza and Burger King in the past and believe we're delivering a race team the fans will love." Domino's, the Official Pizza of NASCAR, partnered with MWR three times in 2005 as the primary sponsor on Waltrip's #99 Busch Series car and will be the primary sponsor of Waltrip's #55 Nextel Cup Series car at the Michigan International Speedway race in August [2006]. Burger King recently announced plans to join MWR for a partial season in 2006, sponsoring the #00 Nextel Cup car for five races beginning in July at Chicagoland Speedway [with Bill Elliott driving](Michael Waltrip Racing PR)
      AND But the driver? It could be Dale Jarrett. Or it could be someone else. The announcement of Burger King and Domino's could open the door for UPS to back a third Michael Waltrip Racing team with Jarrett as driver. "We want three teams," Waltrip said. "That's our goal. Until we define the third sponsor, we're not able to say who's going to drive the third car." Last month, Waltrip announced Jarrett would join his team. UPS is said to be shopping its sponsorship and could follow Jarrett, stay with Robert Yates Racing or go to another team [#9? #16?]. Ty Norris, vice president and general manager of Michael Waltrip Racing, said the team has set a deadline of mid-July on whether it will have three teams.(SceneDaily.com)(6-18-2006)

    • Keith Coleman Racing going Cup racing: Keith Coleman Racing, which has struggled on the Busch Series side, has opted to try to go Nextel Cup racing. Team owner Keith Coleman said June 17 that his target debut for the #94 Nextel Cup car is the New Hampshire race in July. Carl Long is the expected driver, Coleman said, and the team could run as many as 15 races to end the year. The team is still working on sponsorship. Keith Montgomery will be the team's crew chief. The idea would be to run a full Nextel Cup schedule in 2007. The team will remain based in Eddyville, Ky. The team also plans to put Mexico native Eduardo Troconis in a car starting in the #23 [Busch] car later this year, pending on sponsorship. Troconis has driven stock cars in Mexico and also has International Formula 3 experience. He has worked for the team the last couple of months to learn more about the cars.(SceneDaily.com)(6-18-2006)

    • Benson wins Truck race, 17th driver to win in all three series: Johnny Benson won the Truck Series race at Michigan, becoming the 17th driver to have at least one win in each of the National Series - Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Trucks, see the full list on my Misc Stats Page.(6-18-2006)

    • Toyota to Submit car to NASCAR, test at Atlanta on Tuesday: The 2007 Toyota Camry that will be used in 20 of the 36 Nextel Cup Series races next season will be submitted to NASCAR on Monday morning, Lee White, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) USA's senior vice president and general manager, said Saturday. White was at Michigan International Speedway in conjunction with Toyota's Craftsman Truck Series program and said the 2007 Camry, complete with the latest generation nose, would be delivered to the NASCAR research and development center in Concord, N.C. NASCAR will take the car to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga., for testing on Monday evening, he said. The car, which was constructed at TRD's engineering facility in High Point, N.C., by the group led by engineer Todd Holbert, is scheduled to test for NASCAR on Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, driven by Toyota Truck Series driver Johnny Benson.(NASCAR.com)(6-18-2006)

    • COT 95% Done UPDATE toyota hopes to test at MIS: NASCAR's "car of tomorrow," which is scheduled for a limited debut next season [see schedule/news/images on my COT page], is about 95% ready to go, NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton said. Although the car won't be used at Michigan until 2008, teams will test it at the track after the Aug. 20 race. As for development, the chassis is "locked in," Pemberton said, and the sanctioning body is working with Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota on bodies that will allow some semblance of manufacturer identity.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(6-17-2006)
      UPDATE: Toyota plans to submit its most recent Cup chassis design to NASCAR early next week. According to Toyota Racing Development vice president Lee White, the company hopes to have at least one Camry ready to participate in NASCAR's next Car of Tomorrow test, scheduled for Aug. 21 at Michigan.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-18-2006)

    • Dale Jr. - DEI agree on name trademark rights: #8-Dale Earnhardt told NASCAR.COM on Saturday that he and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. had agreed to terms Friday evening that awarded him sole ownership of the trademark rights to his lucrative name. Amazingly, it won't affect the earning potential of an asset estimated at some $5 million annually. Earnhardt said the current agreements between he and DEI won't change.(NASCAR,com)(6-18-2006)

    • Michigan Race News and Notes:
      • Kasey Kahne won the 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-It Picture Paper at Michigan International Speedway, scoring his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 87th career start.
      • Kahne scored his fourth victory in 2006, the most of all drivers. Kahne also won at Atlanta, Texas and Charlotte.
      • Four of Kahne’s five victories have come from the Bud Pole. The only race that he did not win from the Bud Pole was at Lowe’s in May where he started ninth.
      • This was the fourth time a race in 2006 that a race was won from the Bud Pole. Kahne has won three and Denny Hamlin one.
      • This was Kahne’s first victory and third top-five finish in five races at Michigan.
      • Kahne scored his 10th top-10 finish in 15 races this season. He has posted four straight top-10 finishes, extending a streak that began with his victory at Lowe’s.
      • Kahne climbed from fifth to third in the point standings.
      • Jeff Gordon led the most laps for the second time in 2006. Gordon also led the most laps at Talladega.
      • Race winner Kahne led four times for 19 laps including the final 13 laps in the 2006 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-It Picture Paper at Michigan International Speedway.
      • This is team owner Ray Evernham’s 11th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory and second at Michigan International Speedway. His first Michigan victory was scored by Jeremy Mayfield last August.
      • Evernham Motorsports has won at least one race each season 2001– 2006, six consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Carl Edwards (second) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 15 races in 2006 and fifth top-five of the 2006 season. It was his fourth top-10 finish in four races at Michigan.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 15 races in 2006. It is his third top-10 finish in 14 races at Michigan International Speedway. He climbed from sixth to fourth in the point standings.
      • Greg Biffle (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 15 races in 2006. It was his in fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Michigan International Speedway. Seven races ago Greg Biffle was 232 points behind 10th (after Talladega). With his fourth-place finish, Biffle is now 10th. Biffle has climbed from 23rd to 10th in points in the six races since Talladega. After 15 races in 2005, he ranked second in the point standings. Biffle is just two points behind ninthplace Denny Hamlin. Biffle has scored six straight top-10 finishes, the longest top-10 streak of his career. His previous best was when he scored five straight top-10 finishes between August and September 2005.
      • Reed Sorenson (fifth) scored his first top-five finish in his 17-race career. It was his third top-10 finish in 2006. This was his first race at Michigan.
      • Jimmie Johnson (sixth) remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 74 points ahead of secondplace Matt Kenseth. Johnson has scored top-15 finishes in 14 of the 15 races in 2006.
      • Mark Martin (27th) failed to score a top-15 finish for just the third time in 2006.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 15 races this season.
      • Dave Blaney (30th) extended a 33-race streak of running at the finish that began at New Hampshire last July, which is the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-18-2006)

    • Rumblings - Michigan:
      Kasey Kahne won the 3M Performance 258 presented by Post-It Picture Paper this afternoon at a rainy Michigan International Speedway for his 4th win of 2006 (no one has more). After about an hour's delay getting started (and multiple yellows for precipitation) the race was called after 129 laps and Kasey had his 5th career win (he's tied for 62nd on the all-time win list). This was the 11th win for car owner Ray Evernham and was worth $205,364 from the over $5.5M in posted awards. When Kasey's pit crew got him out about 18 inches ahead of Carl Edwards on their last pit stop, little did we know.....
      Carl Edwards (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Texas last October.
      Reed Sorenson (5th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 10th on two occasions....at Atlanta in March and at Lowe's in May.
      Casey Mears (7th) had his best finish since he was 7th at California in February.
      David Stremme (19th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Chicagoland last July.
      Bill Lester (32nd) had his career-best finish today. He was 38th in his only other start at Atlanta in March.
      STREAKIN....Greg Biffle has 6 Top-10's in a row.
      Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10's in a row.
      Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10's in a row.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Casey Mears (+30), followed by Carl Edwards (+29), Ryan Newman (+27), Reed Sorenson (+20), and Dale Jarrett (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Clint Bowyer (-30), followed by J. J. Yeley (-26), Tony Stewart (-24), Bobby Labonte (-23), and Ken Schrader (-20). Lotsa action in the "Shaft" for a shortened event.
      Reed Sorenson led today (once for three laps) for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup career. He's the 41st different driver to lead a lap this season....last year we had 51 different leaders.
      Greg Biffle moves above the "Stayin' Alive" line this week as he replaces Kyle Busch in the Top-10. Jimmie Johnson lengthens his lead over Matt Kenseth to 74 markers.
      We're able to post our first "Mathematically Eliminated" line of the season (and we expect that line to move rapidly) after today's race. Every driver from 47th on back can now state "Wait'll next year!".
      Reed Sorenson (24th to 20th) made the best advance in the standings today, while six drivers fell two spots.(Stock Car Fans)(6-18-2006)

    • Sad News: Fred Brownfield: Fred Brownfield, president of the National Sprint Tour, died after being struck by a modified stock car at Grays Harbor Speedway on Wednesday night. According to a statement released by Grays Harbor Raceway, Brownfield was struck while lining up cars before the start of the D Main race and was taken by medical personnel to Mark Reed Hospital in McCleary. Brownfield is survived by his wife, Debbie; three daughters, Carrie, Jessica and Shelby; and two sons, Ty and Luke. The NST's scheduled race at Tri-City Speedway Sunday night has been postponed. Fred's memorial celebration will be held on Monday, June 26, 2006, at 2:00 in the afternoon at Grays Harbor Raceway.(RacingOne)(6-18-2006)

    • Sad News: A Minnesota man died during a Nostalgia Night exhibition sprint-car race late Friday at Knoxville Raceway, police and track officials said. Courtney Roger Schuur , 61, of Fridley, Minn., was pronounced dead at Knoxville Hospital after sustaining injuries during a wreck shortly after 10 p.m., officials said. The caged sprint-car race was part of a once-a-year "old-timers" event - not one of the usual driving circuits at the racetrack. Dwayne Robuck of the Marion County Fair Board said the accident happened "going down the front chute, into turn one." Robuck was on the other side of the track at the time, but said officials with his group said a tangle with another car led to the crash.(Des Moines Register)(6-18-2006)


      News from June 17, 2006

    • Nextel Announcement? UPDATE: hearing the Nextel/Sprint name change for 2007 could be announced anyday now, The Nextel Cup Series could be known as the Sprint Cup Series.(6-15-2006)
      UPDATE: Word is that Sprint will, within a week or so, acknowledge a change in the name of NASCAR's top series for 2007, mandating Sprint Cup or Sprint/Nextel Cup. Sprint acquired the assets of its walkie-talkie rival last year and promised an eventual name change in order to make use of Nextel's top sports marketing property.(Speed Channel)(6-17-2006)

    • Gordon brake failure still being investigated; 64G's: Jeff Gordon said Friday his Hendrick Motorsports team still doesn't know exactly what caused a right-front brake rotor to disintegrate, sending Gordon's #24 DuPont Chevy slamming into the Turn 1 wall at Pocono Raceway June 11. "A lot of us have seen issues with brakes - and our hub issue at Charlotte," Gordon said. "A lot of it has to do with where we're at with our cars and the speed and the setups that we're running that are just putting a lot more stress on parts of the race car that we're not used to seeing. We don't have a definite answer yet." Gordon did say the team has sent what was left of the rotor to be analyzed. The #24 had the same brake package as teammates #5-Kyle Busch and #25-Brian Vickers, neither of who had trouble. The #48 of Jimmie Johnson had a slightly different package, and Gordon said his team would probably use that setup when it returns to Pocono next month. Gordon added that the crash registered 64 Gs, and after an initial consultation in the infield care center, medical officials kept him longer. "I was ready to walk out of the infield care center, and they came in with the telemetry numbers and said, 'Wait a minute. We think you might want to stay a little bit longer,'" Gordon said.(SceneDaily.com)(6-17-2006)

    • Schrader looking for 2007 ride? #21-Kenny Schrader says he has nothing lined up for next year. "If you hear of anything, call me," said Schrader, rushing off to grab a bite to eat before his qualifying session at Michigan. Schrader said two years ago that when his Nextel Cup career came to a close, he would concentrate on the Craftsman Truck series and run his "Late Model" cars at the short tracks around the country.(Insider Racing News)(6-17-2006)

    • New full-time car chief for Jarrett: At Michigan International Speedway for Sunday's 3M Performance 400, Labbe and his driver, #88-Dale Jarrett, will have a new full-time car chief; while Labbe has an official right-hand man with the promotion of former car chief and fill-in crew chief, Jason Burdett, to assistant crew chief. "Jason's really smart," Labbe said. "When I got suspended, we moved Brian Dantinne up to car chief, so we're going to leave that the same and Jason's just going to help me, you know, be the assistant crew chief and be in my back pocket -- because he deserves that."(NASCAR.com)(6-17-2006)

    • Stremme wins ARCA race at MIS: David Stremme, handily won the Hantz Group 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Michigan International Speedway. Stremme lapped the entire field, and was the only driver to complete all 100 laps of the 200-mile event. Bill Wease finished second, followed by Blake Bjorklund, Erin Crocker and Brad Coleman.(more at ARCARacing.com)(6-17-2006)

    • Kahne wrecks in Happy Hour: #9-Kasey Kahne, who will start on the pole for Sunday's 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway, spun and hit the Turn 2 wall during final practice Saturday. Kahne was not injured, and damage to the Evernham Motorsports #9 Dodge was not severe enough to require the team to use its backup entry.(SceneDaily.com)(6-17-2006)

    • Busch TV Crew for Kentucky: Phil Parsons, Hermie Sadler and Hank Parker Jr will handle duties in the broadcast booth for the FX coverage Saturday night [7:30pm/et] of the Kentucky Busch Series race with Mark Garrow [a natural play-by-play man] and Glenn Jarrett will handles the pits.(6-17-2006)





      News from June 16, 2006

    • Highlights from Rick Hendrick's teleconference: [#5, #24, #25, #44, #48] Car owner Rick Hendrick says his entire organization is excited about having Casey Mears on board beginning next season. Mears will take over the #25 GMAC Chevy for Brian Vickers who has decided to seek a fresh start [in 2007]. Vickers’ decision to move on has been especially emotional for Hendrick saying “It’s both the car and the driver that’s been a real emotional deal for me. This was my Dad’s team and he and Ricky decided to joint venture this car and the Busch Series car. Brian was Ricky’s pick and Brian has been like a part of our family...and I think that’s been good and bad for both Brian and I. I think it’s created a feeling that something’s missing for Brian that Ricky’s not here and I think it’s made it hard for me in trying to talk to Brian and treat Brian like just another driver. But at the same time I want what’s best for Brian...Brian and Ricky were close but Ricky and Casey were close so this deal is almost like one of my children is going on to do something else and I’m getting one of my other children back in the car. So, that way I think it’s been a little bit easier for me. I want the best for Brian whatever that is and I want him to be comfortable and have every opportunity to do everything in the sport he wants to do.” As far as the on-track run-ins between Casey Mears and Kyle Busch, Hendrick said both drivers have addressed their problems. Hendrick said “I think that deal has already been put to bed. I think there were a lot of things that have happened that the two guys just never got a chance to sit down and talk. That’s already happened now...that’s history and I don’t think there will be any problem at all.” If neither driver makes the Chase for the Championship Hendrick has no immediate plan to try and put Mears in the 25 car before the end of the season, but he also said never say never. “I think a lot of things have to fall into place said Hendrick. We want to do what’s best for our sponsor and look after our team and right now we’re focused on running the 25 with Brian Vickers. Chip Ganassi and Felix (Sabates)...I don’t know what their plans are...there could be a time in the future where we could all sit down and talk and it might make sense to do something different...but...we’re just keeping all of our options open. Right now we’re just going to focus on Brian and the 25.”(PRN's Garagepass Radio Show)(6-16-2006)

    • Budweiser / Earnhardt Legacy Ad Debuts Sunday: Budweiser honors the Earnhardt family’s three generations of NASCAR success this Father’s Day with a “NASCAR History” ad showcasing imagery representing more than 50 years of the family’s racing legacy and Budweiser’s long-time support for auto racing. The 60-second ad will debut Friday on Budweiser.com, and will premiere on national television during Sunday’s broadcast of the 3M Performance 400 from Michigan International Speedway at 1pm/et on FOX. The spot melds black and white images of six-time NASCAR Sportsman Series champion Ralph Earnhardt racing a cream-colored 1955 Chevrolet, followed by the contrasting black #3 Goodwrench car of “The Intimidator,” Dale Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR series champion. Finally, the ad brings into the fold the #8 Budweiser car driven by NASCAR’s only third generation champion, Dale Earnhardt Jr., seamlessly relating how the Earnhardts, NASCAR and Budweiser have come a long way together over the past 50 years. In addition to the legacy ad, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Dale Jr. and Budweiser will honor Ralph and Dale with a commemorative Father’s Day paint scheme for the #8 Budweiser car. The predominantly cream-colored paint scheme is based upon the #8 cars driven by Ralph and Dale during their NASCAR careers, while the Budweiser bow-tie logos are vintage 1974 marks commemorating Dale’s NASCAR debut and the year Dale Jr. was born. 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 late father’s induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.(Budweiser/fingerprint inc PR)(6-16-2006)

    • Kahne wins pole at Michigan: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 185.644mph for his 4th pole of 2006 and 10th of his career [now tied with Foyt, Stewart and Yarbrough for 34th all-time]. #24-Jeff Gordon went out 47th and last and almost took the pole, but settled for 2nd with a speed of 185.543mph, followed by #25-Brian Vickers, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #43-Bobby Labonte. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 6th. #12-Newman spun on his first lap and took no time/speed and will start 42nd. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #32-Kvapil,, #55-Waltrip, #40-Stremme, #34-Skinner, #49-Lepage, #4-Wimmer and #74-Cope. Missing the race were: #78-Spencer, #61-Chaffin, #51-Garvey and #37-Long. See qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(6-16-2006)

    • Michigan Qualifying News and Notes:
      • Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it Picture Paper, lapping Michigan International Speedway in 38.784 seconds at 185.644 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 37.069 seconds, 194.232 mph - set June 17, 2005.
      • This is Kahne’s 10th career Bud Pole in 87 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
      • Kahne posted his fourth Bud Pole and ninth top-10 start of 2006. It is his first Bud Pole and third top-10 start in five races at Michigan – all fourth or better.
      • Kahne became the eighth different Bud Pole winner in the past 10 races at Michigan. Bobby Labonte, who swept both Bud Poles here in 2003, is the only repeat Bud Pole winner since the fall race of 2001. Qualifying was canceled in August 2004.
      • Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 38.805 seconds, 185.543 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the 3M Performance 400. Gordon posted his 18th top-10 start in 27 Michigan races. He has started on the front row in four of the last five races here (one Bud Pole and three second-place starts).
      • This is the seventh Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has four Bud Poles and Ford has three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Brian Vickers (third) posted his fifth top-10 start this season. This is his fourth top-10 start in five races at Michigan.
      • Jimmie Johnson (fourth) posted his 10th top-10 start of the 2006 season. It is his fourth top-10 start in nine Michigan races.
      • Bobby Labonte (fifth) posted his fifth top-10 start in 2006 and his 15th in 28 races at Michigan.
      • Bill Lester (34th) qualified for his second career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. Lester started 19th and finished 38th at Atlanta earlier this year and became the first African-American driver to compete on NASCAR’s premier series since Willie T. Ribbs in this race in 1986.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-16-2006)

    • Ramblings - Michigan: Kasey Kahne nabbed his fourth Bud Pole of the season today (and 10th of his NEXTEL Cup career) at Michigan International Speedway for Sunday's 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-It Picture Paper....but he had to wait till the end to start celebrating. Jeff Gordon went out last and settled for the outside pole as Kasey's time was a little over 2/100th's of a second quicker. This will be Gordon's best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Daytona in February.
      Brian Vickers (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Loudon last July.
      Dale Earnhardt Jr (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Dover last September (this one surprised me).
      Ken Schrader (22nd) has his best starting spot since he timed in 19th at Martinsville in April.
      Welcome Back Mike Skinner (43rd).....he makes his first start of '06.
      STREAKIN....Greg Biffle has 13 Top-10 starts in the last 14 races.
      Kasey Kahne has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.(Stock Car Fans)(6-16-2006)

    • Jack Roush Honored by Ford: Jack Roush received the highest honor Ford Motor Company can bestow on anyone in racing when he was presented with the Spirit of Ford Award in front of approximately 450 employees at Ford World Headquarters Thursday. Edsel B. Ford II made the presentation during a pep rally involving many of Ford's NASCAR drivers who will be competing in the Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series races at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Roush was hired as an engineer at Ford in 1964, but got the racing bug when he joined a group called 'The Fastbacks' two years later. The group was made up of Ford employees who competed in drag racing on weekends. Since then, Roush has won championships in all three of NASCAR's top divisions, including back-to-back Nextel Cup titles in 2003 and 2004. In addition, he has three Pro Stock drag racing championships, 24 road racing titles and 10 consecutive victories in the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The Spirit of Ford Award goes to a person who has made significant contributions on and off the track to the sport of auto racing. Other stock car recipients of the Spirit of Ford Award include: Bud Moore, the Wood Brothers, Junie Donlavey, Bill Elliott, Richard Petty, the France family, and Ned Jarrett.(Ford Racing)(6-16-2006)

    • Kurt Busch's Team Scores Pit Crew Challenge Win in Pocono: By spending the least amount of time on pit road during Sunday's NEXTEL Cup event at Pocono Raceway, Kurt Busch's team earned its first Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season. The #2 Miller Lite crew spent 193.228 seconds on pit lane, helping to advance Busch to a runner-up finish in the Pocono 500. Busch's over-the-wall crew includes: Ray Gallahan (jackman), Dave Littau (front-tire carrier), Jay Hackney (front-tire changer), Andy Brown (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Hebert (rear-tire changer), Chris Williams (gasman), Steve Williams (catch can) and Dustin Coonfield (windshield). After 14 of 36 races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, nine teams have won the weekly Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge, each earning $10,500 per win. In the season standings, Jimmie Johnson's crew leads with three wins while Tony Stewart's, Elliott Sadler's and Kyle Busch's crews are tied for second with two wins. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. A bonus of $105,000 will be presented to the team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule.(DMF Communications PR)(6-16-2006)


      News from June 15, 2006

    • Sunday Special Edition of Wind Tunnel: SPEED will bring viewers a special edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on June 18 at 9:00pm/et entitled Economaki - Eyewitness to American Racing History. The one-hour special will be a wide-ranging conversation with Chris Economaki, a motor sports journalist for more than 70 years. Economaki, the Editor and Publisher Emeritus of National Speed Sport News, began his career at age 13, hawking the publication at tracks in his native New Jersey. The face and voice of American motor sports for more than 33 years with ABC and CBS, Economaki literally has 'seen it all,' and at age 85, still writes a weekly notebook column for NSSN. "Economaki is unique because of the duration of his career," Despain said. "No one has covered racing longer ... and touched more people with that coverage. He is a fascinating storyteller. USAC President and CEO Rollie Helmling put it best: 'Everyone who has any interest in racing owes something to Chris Economaki.' "(Speed Channel)(6-15-2006)

    • Victory Motorsports Acquires #37 Team: Victory Motorsports Racing, owned by former NFL All-Pro Wide Receiver, Terance Mathis, has acquired R&J Racing, car #37. This will be an addition to the #67 car [?] that is already owned by Victory Motorsports Racing. The car will be driven by Carl Long, a veteran driver that has been in the NASCAR circuit for a number of years. The new Victory Motorsports Racing car will attempt to qualify at the 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it Picture Paper, at the Michigan International Speedway, on the weekend of June 16, 2006. "I believe this will be an excellent opportunity for Victory Motorsports Racing to become a more competitive team. I have such a huge vision for this team, and this new acquisition doesn't do anything, but make that vision a reality. With having the skill and experience that accompanies such a veteran drive such as Carl Long, I'm ecstatic, having some like this on our team screams what we're all about - long time success," states Terance Mathis, Victory Motorsports Racing Team Owner. No sponsors for this team have yet been determined. For more information on Victory Motorsports Racing at victorymotorsportsllc.com.(Origins PR), no word if Victory Motorsports Racing is still aligned with the #4 Morgan McClure Motorsports team, which was announced last October.(6-15-2006)

    • More testing at VIR for road course prep: A number of Nextel Cup teams visited VIRginia International Raceway this week to work on their road-course set-ups for the upcoming races at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. On Tuesday, Joe Gibbs Racing (#20-Tony Stewart; #18-J.J. Yeley; #11-Denny Hamlin), Evernham Motorsports (#9-Kasey Kahne; #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #10-Scott Riggs), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (#1-Martin Truex Jr.), Petty Enterprises (#43-Bobby Labonte; #45-Kyle Petty), Richard Childress Racing (#07-Clint Bowyer) and PPI Racing (#32-Travis Kvapil) were scheduled to spend the day working on the 2.25-mile VIR North Course. Road-racing ace Boris Said was also on hand as a coach. No times were reported. On Wednesday, the three Evernham Motorsports cars were to be joined by Dale Earnhardt Jr., replacing Truex in the #1 DEI Chevy, and MB2 Motorsports (#01, Joe Nemechek). Unfortunately, heavy rain resulting from the remains of Tropical Storm Alberto caused the day to be a wash-out.(VIRginia International Raceway PR)(6-15-2006)

    • New Record for Female Driver at Texas: Leilani Münter finished fourth in the USRA Super Late Model Series' Konica Minolta 100 last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Chris Davidson from Pearland, Texas, dominated the race and fended off pole-sitter Greg Davidson -- his father -- until he had problems late in the race. Matt Merrell, Thad Felton, Munter and Kent Baltzell rounded out the top five. A correspondent for NASCAR.com, Münter's finish was the highest by a female driver in the history of the speedway.(Leilani Münter.com/AP/NASCAR.com)(6-15-2006)

    • MIS Rookie Notes:Raybestos Rookie Denny Hamlin scored his first NEXTEL Cup Series victory June 11 in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. The win came in his 21st career start. Hamlin's previous best finish was second at Richmond (race number 10). He took Raybestos Rookie of the race honors for the fifth consecutive race and for the eighth time in 14 races this season. Hamlin holds a 26-point edge (164-138) over Clint Bowyer in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 18 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin became the first Raybestos Rookie to win in 57 races at Pocono Raceway. At least one Raybestos Rookie has scored a top-15 finish in all 14 races this season. Hamlin is the first Raybestos Rookie to win from the pole since Jimmie Johnson in the September 2002 at Dover International Speedway. Since 1975, only FOUR Raybestos Rookies have scored a top-five finish in the June race at Michigan.(Raybestos PR), see much more notes on my Rookies Page.(6-15-2006)

    • MIS Tire Notes: This is the second time this season that Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track, with teams having run these codes recently at Dover . . . Craftsman Truck teams will be running a different set of codes this weekend at Michigan . . . as on all ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 48-52 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see tire pressures, codes and more on the Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page.(6-15-2006)


      News from June 14, 2006

    • OFFICIAL - Mears to Hendrick #25 team in 2007: Car owner Rick Hendrick today announced the signing of driver Casey Mears to pilot Hendrick Motorsports' #25 Chevys in the Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2007. Financial terms were not disclosed. Mears, 28, inked a multi-year agreement that will keep him with the team through at least the 2009 racing season. He will replace Brian Vickers, who is slated to complete the current schedule after being granted a release from contractual obligations to Hendrick Motorsports beyond 2006. "Casey is a talented driver and a high-character person who is going to be a great fit with our organization," Hendrick said. "He has the ability to win races and ultimately contend for championships, so we're thrilled to welcome him to Hendrick Motorsports." In the midst of his fourth full season, Mears has posted two pole positions, five top-five finishes and 21 top-10s on the NEXTEL Cup circuit. The Bakersfield, Calif., native kicked off the 2006 campaign with a career-best second-place performance in the Feb. 19 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, where on Jan. 29 he became the first full-time NASCAR driver to be part of a winning Grand American Rolex 24 team. "I'm committed to winning races and going after championships with the #25 team," said Mears, the son of legendary off-road racer Roger Mears and nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears. "This is an opportunity for me to work with close friends and start fresh with one of the top organizations in all of sports. It's an exciting situation for me, both personally and professionally."(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-14-2006)

    • What is up with Ward?: on Sunday's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [Speed Channel, Sunday's 9:00pm/et], Ward Burton was interviewed from South Boston Speedway. Burton said he is activity pursuing a ride in 2007, preferring a Nextel Cup ride. Burton said he has talked to a few teams [including some Toyota teams] and sponsors [hearing one he talked to is Under Armor] but has nothing signed and plans to come back if the opportunity presents itself. Burton also gave Dave odds that his return is 50/50.(6-14-2006)

    • #12 to honor fan at MIS: On April 5, NASCAR driver Ryan Newman surprised Albuquerque resident, Cindy Bachicha at an Alltel retail store in Albuquerque as part of Alltel's "Go Racing with Ryan" promotion. As a prize, Bachicha received a trip to this weekend's race at Michigan International Speedway and her name will be included on the #12 Alltel Dodge paint scheme.(PR)(6-14-2006)

    • Ford to be Honored by Boy Scouts: Ford Motor Company will be honored as the Motorsports Company of the Year by the Boy Scouts of America's Cascade Pacific Council during the 17th annual Motorsports Breakfast on Thursday, June 15 in Portland, Ore. The breakfast takes place during festivities surrounding the Grand Prix of Portland, an annual stop for the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The Boy Scouts Motorsports Breakfast is the Cascade Pacific Council's second largest annual fundraiser, raising more than $30,000 each year. Since the inception of the breakfast seventeen years ago, more than 700,000 inner-city and at-risk youth have been given the opportunity to participate in the Scouting program, an opportunity they otherwise could not afford.(Ford PR)(6-14-2006)

    • Gibbs not stopping Stewart's other races, but not happy with it: [#11,#18,#20] Car owner Joe Gibbs says he won't keep #20-Tony Stewart from running in races other than Nextel Cup events, but Gibbs is not fond of the practice as his driver recovers from a broken shoulder blade. Stewart's injury was discovered after he crashed in last month's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The incident happened a night after Stewart wrecked in the Busch race. A doctor cleared Stewart after the Busch incident, but Stewart favored his right shoulder before the Cup race. Gibbs is sensitive to his Cup drivers competing in other events. Bobby Labonte broke his shoulder blade in a Busch crash at Darlington in 1999. Labonte didn't return to that series the rest of the year. Gibbs says he's talked to Stewart about the driver's racing schedule. "I think for younger guys that have a chance maybe to up their careers and want laps and all that, that's one set of circumstances,'' said Gibbs, who has Cup rookies Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley, both driving full time in the Busch series. "For Tony, it's different. He can drive anything. He doesn't need laps. I know he loves it. We did limit a lot of things he's done. He's worked with us on that. He's got a lot to lose. He's got contracts that pay him a lot of money.'' Stewart, fourth in the Cup standings, has competed in five Busch races for Kevin Harvick's team. He's scheduled to drive five more Busch races for Harvick, beginning at Daytona next month. Gibbs says that once drivers begin competing for a Cup title that's where he wants his drivers spending less time in other series.(Roanoke Times)(6-14-2006)

    • Petty still looking for sponsors: Petty Enterprises continues to look for sponsorship of Kyle Petty's #45-car for races at Chicago, New Hampshire, Phoenix and Homestead.(Roanoke Times)(6-14-2006)

    • Truex Jr. Ready For Double Duty At Michigan: #1-Martin Truex, Jr. will be competing in both the Craftsman Truck Series event on Saturday, as well Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Truex's weekend starts with Saturday's Con-way Freight 200. The two-time defending Busch Series champion will be competing in the Billy Ballew Motorsports #51 Chevy truck.(DEI PR)(6-14-2006)

    • Wheldon to Ganassi Cup team? UPDATE 2: ESPN's Mike Massaro reported on ESPNEWS Monday Night NASCAR the time could be right for Dan Wheldon, Ganassi's IRL Driver, to move to a Chip Ganassi Racing Cup team in 2007, since the team will have an open seat with Casey Mears leaving the #42 team.(6-13-2006)

      UPDATE: According to an official at Chip Ganassi racing :”There is no truth to the Wheldon story.”(CupSceneDaily.com)(6-13-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Dan Wheldon wouldn't comment directly about reports he would be switching to NASCAR next season, but did say he would consider driving stock cars sometime in the future. Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 champion, spoke to reporters Tuesday during IndyCar testing at Kanasas Speedway. "It's certainly something that intrigues me," said Wheldon. "Everybody knows I went to some of the races last year to look and to see what it was all about. The one thing that does appeal to me is the schedule. I don't have a family or other commitments. All I love to do is be in the race car. Would I be good? Yes, but it would take awhile." Wheldon said it would have to be an owner who knows his ability and would be willing to give him the proper time to perform.(Racinboys.com - Sports Radio 810 WHB)
      AND Car owner Chip Ganassi, who has an unexpected hole to fill on his NASCAR team, said Tuesday that IRL driver Dan Wheldon is not a candidate to replace Casey Mears. "There is no story here," Ganassi said. "Dan has a commitment to Target right now to drive an Indy car and that's where he'll stay."(AP)(6-14-2006)

    • Gordon OK after scary wreck at Pocono UPDATE cleared: #24-Jeff Gordon put a scare in the crowd — and offered a testimony to safety advances — by crashing near the end of the Pocono 500. Gordon’s Chevrolet suffered the most nightmarish of Pocono Raceway fates. The brakes failed suddenly at the end of the front straight — the longest in NASCAR — with Gordon speeding along at over 200 mph. With little other choice, Gordon skidded into the grass, scrubbing off some speed before his car slammed savagely into the SAFER barriers. The grass and mud from the infield excursion coated the trailing car of Tony Raines [and of #07-Clint Bowyer], running perhaps 150 yards behind him. Miraculously, Gordon was unhurt. “I don’t know how,” said Gordon. “That’s one of the hardest hits I’ve ever taken. We broke a right-front (brake) rotor going into turn one, and that’s about as bad a thing as can happen to you at Pocono.” The impact damaged the barriers and left a considerable amount of debris to be cleaned up. The race was interrupted for 13 minutes, 9 seconds. The red flag was unfurled at the end of 193 (out of 200) laps, and racing resumed with five remaining.(Gaston Gazette)(6-12-2006)
      UPDATE: Jeff Gordon was checked out by doctors Sunday and was cleared to race in this weekend's 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp confirmed Tuesday.(SceneDaily.com)(6-14-2006)

    • Lester to make second Cup attempt in Michigan: Bill Lester will attempt to make the second start of his Nextel Cup career this weekend at Michigan, driving the #23 Waste Management car for Bill David Racing. Lester became the first African-American to qualify for a Cup race since Willy T. Ribbs did so at MIS in 1986. Lester qualified 19th at Atlanta in March. In doing so, he was just the sixth African-American in Cup history to qualify for a race.(BillLester.com)(6-14-3006)

    • Speed Cancel's 24/7 show: "NBS 24/7," the weekly show on Speed that has chronicled the Busch Series rookies this year, will have its final episode June 19. The show has been a staple of the Speed channel's lineup since the start of the 2004 season, with the first two years chronicling various drivers and teams. The show had run its course and ratings were not strong enough to support the continuation of the show, Speed spokesman Erik Arneson said June 11.(SceneDaily.com)(6-14-2006)


      News from June 13, 2006

    • Labonte to drive #4 Truck at Michigan: Dodge Motorsports announced that Nextel Cup Driver Bobby Labonte will drive the #4 Dodge Motorsports Dodge in the Con-Way Freight 200 this Saturday at Michigan. It will be Labonte's first Truck Series start since Atlanta last October, and will also mark the first time he has competed in a Dodge Ram.(Bobby Hamilton Racing PR)(6-13-2006)

    • Kahne to carry special paint scheme at MIS: At this weekend’s 3M Performance 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, Kasey Kahne will sport a special paint scheme on his #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger – that of Adam Sandler’s [Grand Marshal of the race] new film, Columbia Pictures/Revolution Studios’ Click, debuting in theaters on June 23. Kahne, a fan of Sandler classics such as Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer, will carry the star’s latest movie on the hood of his Dodge Charger to promote the comedy, which opens nationally on June 23. The #9 Dodge will feature a bold blue and yellow scheme featuring the authentic Click remote control used by Sandler in the movie.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(6-13-2006)

    • Jayski 'transcipt' from ESPNEWS 4Qtr's with David Lloyd - from Monday June 12th: most Monday's I do a 2-3 minute segment on ESPNEWS 4Qtrs show [7-8pm/et], this week I discussed Vickers, Mears and UPS and the rumors swirling among them...since they broke here first last week, here is what I reported:

      Vickers: Mid week last week, Brian Vickers, who drives the #25 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, asked for and got permission to look for another ride, this after, supposedly signing a contract extention earlier this year with Hendrick that was thru the 2009 season. Rumor has it, that Vickers, winless in 91 Nextel Cup points races, will end up witth the new Red Bull Racing Toyota team with a slight chance he could end up in the #88 Yates Racing Ford to replace Dale Jarrett who is leaving at the end of 2006 for Mikey Waltrips Toyota team, but that seems unlikely. Would imagine he'd have a large buyout with Hendrick to get out of his contract. I think most fans were surprised by Vickers move who was handpicked by Rick Hendrick's late son Ricky to run in the Busch Series back in 2003 and won the series championship before stepping up to Cup in 2004.

      Mears: The day after Vickers droped his bombshell on Hendrick, Casey Mears, who drive the #42 Texaco-Havoline Dodge for Chip Ganassi, told Ganassi that he will not return to the team after this season. Supposedly Mears, who had been rumored to the #88 Ford for next year, was close to re-signing with Ganassi until the #25 Hendrick seat opened up and all indications are that Mears will take over the #25 Chevy when Vicker vacates the ride. Have heard some rumblings that Vickers could be out of the #25 as soon as Daytona in July with Mears going in, but both have alot tied up with current sponsor commitments this season and it seems unlikley that would happen.

      UPS, the longime sponsor of the #88 Ford that Dale Jarrett drives but will exit at the end of the season, has been in play since Jarrett announced weeks ago he was leaving for Waltrip's Toyota team. Some expected UPS to go with Jarrett to Toyota, maybe even taking the number 88, but garage scuttlebutt has UPS wanting to go up with a that has a young driver to rival the #11 Fedex team and driver [and winner at Pocono I may add] Denny Hamlin. I heard late last week that UPS is seriously talking to Evernham Motorsports to sponsor the #9 Dodge that three-time 2006 race winner Kasey Kahne drives. Over the weekend, saw a few reporting linking UPS to Roush Racing's #16 Ford that Greg Biffle drives as they MAY be losing National Guard as a sponsor OR still will Evernham Motorsports and the #19 Dodge that Jeremy Mayfield drives, as maybe Dodge doesn't want to give up the sponsorship of the red-hot Kahne. OR UPS could still opt out and go with Jarrett and Toyota.(6-13-2006)


    • Jones to run the #4 at Infineon: #4 team owner Larry McClure along with crew chief Chris Carrier, looking at the top priorities for the team, qualifying for the race and competing well in the race, have made the call to put P. J. Jones in the car for Infineon Raceway, replacing regular driver Scott Wimmer for the road course race. Jones is glad to have the opportunity to race again for Morgan-McClure, "I'm excited about being able to go back to Infineon Raceway with the Morgan-McClure bunch. I got to race there last year with them and also at Watkins Glen and I always enjoy driving for Larry [McClure] and Tim [Morgan]. I think we will have a lot better opportunity this year by getting started earlier and having two weeks to prepare for the race rather than two hours." Larry McClure is looking for ways to get his team back up in the top 35 in owner's points so he and Wimmer can go race the way they both know how. "After talking with Scott [Wimmer] and looking at what the other teams we are competing against each week for a spot in the race are doing as far as putting a road course specialist in the seat for the weekend, we decided as a team to put P.J. Jones in the # 4 Aero Exhaust Chevrolet at Infineon Raceway. We had to look at this as a business decision and try to find the solution that would work best for all of us. Scott felt that it would be better for P.J. to drive the car in hopes of getting a good finish and a boost in the points. P.J. drove for us at both the road courses last year and was headed to a good finish at both tracks until we ran out of gas at Infineon and had a brake failure at Watkins Glen."(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR)(6-13-2006)

    • NASCAR News Service: At the Pepsi 400 weekend in Daytona, NASCAR will debut its own newswire service, which it has created in conjunction with The Sporting News.(Ford Racing)(6-13-2006)

    • Smith to ESPN/ABC?: NASCAR.com's Marty Smith is rumored to be one of the commentators for ESPN's live race coverage when the cable network resumes live NASCAR broadcasts next year.(Ford Racing)(6-13-2006)

    • Gibbs teams up with Arena Racing: Arena Racing USA, which has been sanctioning indoor stock car races in Virginia since 2003 at the Hampton Coliseum and the Norfolk Scope, has partnered with Joe Gibbs Racing to expand arena racing to Charlotte, and eventually, cities across America. Arena Racing USA features half-scale stock cars capable of 100 mph, but are confined to a 1/10th mile banked, indoor race track. The track is portable and fits inside the confines of a hockey rink. Arena Racing USA's Charlotte home will be the Cricket Arena on Independence Blvd [NC 74]. Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing and head coach of the NFL's Washington Redskins, and Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, are backing Arena Racing USA's Charlotte effort, along with Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley.(more info at Joe Gibbs Racing site/True Speed Communications PR)(6-13-2006)

    • Get the pole, get a watch: Winning the Budweiser Pole Award at a NASCAR Nextel Cup event is based upon a very simple theory: complete a lap in less time than any other driver. To emphasize the essence of time, Anheuser-Busch will award a Tissot PRS 516 Valjoux NASCAR limited-edition watch to each driver who wins a Bud Pole Award in 2006. This unique timepiece is limited to 500 pieces worldwide. The watch features a Valjoux chronograph movement, stainless steel case, carbon dial, black leather strap and an engraved NASCAR logo on the open case back. Bud Pole Award winners will continue to receive a $5,200 bonus from Anheuser-Busch and secure a spot in the season-opening 2007 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. The driver who wins the most Bud Pole Awards during the 2006 season will also receive a check for $100,000 from Anheuser-Busch at the season-ending Nextel Cup banquet in New York.(finger print inc/Budweiser PR)(6-13-2006)

    • Stremme to run MIS ARCA race: #40-David Stremme will compete for the second straight weekend in both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and ARCA Series races. Stremme, who drives the #40 Coors Light/Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge in Nextel Cup will also drive Rusty Wallace Inc's [RWI] Racing’s #61 Hantz Group – Nu South Lemonade Dodge in the ARCA race at Michigan International Speedway. “Racing is racing,” Stremme said during an ARCA test at MIS. “I am a racer and anytime I can get behind the wheel and compete I’m all for it. Rusty (Wallace, car owner) has great equipment and I am excited to get the chance to race for fun. I’m looking forward to hopefully pulling off a win in Michigan.” Steven Wallace usually drives the #61 Dodge, however scheduling conflicts made a fill-in driver necessary as Wallace will be racing for RWI in the Kentucky Busch Series race.(RWI Racing PR)(6-13-2006)

    • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 14 races, three drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers and #31-Burton. #96/44-Labonte, #14-Marlin, #45-Petty, #88-Jarrett and #99-Edwards have used the most at five [Labonte has only run 9 races]. In 2006, one driver has benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte] and #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, five drivers have won six races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(6-13-2006)

    • Laps/Miles Stats: 40 drivers have lead at least one lap in a race in 14 Nextel Cup races so far this season.
      • #16-Greg Biffle has led the most laps with 835, followed by #20-Tony Stewart at 807 and #17-Matt Kenseth at 527.
      • Biffle has led the most miles, just over 1186, with Stewart at 744 and Kensth at 697.
      • #48-Jimmie Johnson has run 4637 of 4650 laps run so far in 2006, followed by #22-Dave Blaney with 4619 and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 4611. Johnson has also ran the most miles, running 6051.973 of 6058.902 miles races so far this season.
      • #16-Biffle has led at least one lap in 12 of the 14 races run, #17-Kenseth has done so in 11 races.
      • #16-Biffle has led 40 times in the 14 races, followed by Kenseth with 38 and Stewart with 32.
      • Bonus Points: Biffle 80; Stewart 65; Kenseth 60
      • In four races, the driver leading the most laps has won the race: #20-Stewart at Martinsville, #16-Biffle at Darlington, #9-Kahne at Charlotte, #11-Hamlin at Pocono.
      • Biffle has lead the most laps in 4 of 14 races, the most of any driver.
      • Two drivers have run all 14 races and not lead a lap #21-Schrader and #41-Sorenson.(6-13-2006)


      News from June 12, 2006

    • Pocono overnight TV ratings drop: Fox's broadcast of Sunday's Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earned 4.6 overnight rating and an 11 market share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 9.8% lower than the 5.1/12 Fox drew overnight for the June Pocono race last year.(SceneDaily.com), see TV Ratings for each race, and the Rating chart on my 2006 TV Ratings page.(6-12-2006)

    • Sad News: Bettie Gong Panch: Bettie Gong Panch, beloved wife of NASCAR legend Marvin Panch, passed away unexpectedly Friday morning (June 9, 2006) at the Haywood Regional Medical Center in Waynesville, NC. Bettie was preceded in death by her son, Marvin Richard Panch. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Marvin; her daughter, Marvette Panch Bagwell; son-in-law, Kevin Bagwell; siblings Lilley Pon, Edward Gong, May Lee, Howard Gong and his wife Elizabeth, Wallace Gong and his wife Pearl, Bill Gong and his wife Maryan, Jane Chan and her husband Ron, Priscilla Gong; and numerous nieces and nephews. Memorial donations may be made to either the Haywood Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 283, Waynesville, NC 28786 or the Living Legends of Auto Racing, PO Box 290854, Port Orange, FL, 32129-0854. More at the marvinpanch.com site. More info on three Celebration of Life Ceremonies for Bettie Panch at marvinpanch.com.(6-12-2006)

    • New Team for d’Hondt: Eddie d’Hondt, recently released as general manager at Robert Yates Racing, has landed at Petty Enterprisers, where he is working as a spotter for #43-Bobby Labonte.(Speed Channel)(6-12-2006)



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