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    JUNE 19-25, 2006

      News from June 25, 2006

    • Marco Andretti to Cup? not much to report...but on the Fox Sports pre-race show at Sonoma, it was just mentioned in their news of the week, IRL driver Marco Andretti could be headed to Ganassi Racing as the driver of one of the three cars?(6-25-2006)

    • Nextel Announcement soon? UPDATE 3 personnel changes: hearing the Nextel/Sprint name change for 2007 could be announced any day 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)
      UPDATE 2: Sprint/Nextel is expected to make some sort of announcement next week at Daytona about its future plans for the name of the Cup series. Nextel probably will remain part of the title. The Nextel name isn't leaving the merged company, so why would the executives want to eliminate it from its NASCAR sponsorship? However, some type of name change is coming. The question is when. It would take a huge amount of work to change all NASCAR and track logos in time for the 2007 season.(Dallas Morning News)(6-23-2006)
      UPDATE 3 - personnel changes: Sprint Nextel’s NASCAR Marketing Manager Mike Mooney has had his job eliminated by the telecommunications company in a round of job cuts. Mooney, along with Jill Gregory and Michael Robichaud, were the three most visible executives in Nextel’s NASCAR program when it began prior to the 2004 season. But with Gregory and Robichaud already gone and Mooney leaving as of next Friday, the key strategists behind Nextel’s initial foray into NASCAR are all gone.(Speed Channel)(6-25-2006)

    • Gordon engaged: on the Fox Sports pre-race show at Sonoma, Darrell Waltrip said that Jeff Gordon got engaged over the weekend to girlfriend Ingrid Vanderbosch, a model.(6-25-2006)

    • Jeff Gordon wins at Sonoma: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for his first win of 2006 and first in 19 races and 74th of his career [2 behind Dale Earnhardt], Gordon also moves into 8th in Drivers Points and the Chase. #12-Ryan Newman finished 2nd followed by #96-Terry Labonte, his first top-5 in 70 races [Darlington Sept 2003, his last win] and the best ever finish for the first year Hall of Fame Racing finish, 4th was #16-Greg Biffle then #2-Kurt Busch. #99-Carl Edwards finished 6th followed by #31-Jeff Burton, #38-Elliott Sadler, #60-Boris Said and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Two rookies finished in the top 15, #11-Denny Hamlin [12th] and #1-Martin Truex Jr. [15th]. There were 9 lead changes among 8 drivers and 7 cautions for 12 laps.
      Race Results on my Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points page.
      Race Rundown: see my Sonoma Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-25-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Sonoma [16 of 36 races]:
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 2434
      #17-Matt Kenseth 2333 -101
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2126 -308
      #9-Kasey Kahne 2121 -313
      #6-Mark Martin 2116 -318
      #31-Jeff Burton 2034 -400
      #20-Tony Stewart 2009 -425
      #24-Jeff Gordon 1986 -448
      #16-Greg Biffle 1967 -467
      #29-Kevin Harvick 1939 -495
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(6-25-2006)

    • Sonoma Race Notes:
      • Jeff Gordon won the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, scoring his 74th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 453rd career start.
      • Gordon remained seventh on NASCAR’s all-time winners list, two victories shy of Dale Earnhardt who has 76 victories.
      • Gordon scored his first victory in 2006 and became the 10th different race winner in 2006.
      • This is Gordon’s ninth victory on a road course. Gordon is the all-time winner on road courses.
      • Gordon won from the 11th starting position, only the third time in 18 races at Infineon Raceway that a driver has won from outside the top 10.
      • This was Gordon’s fifth victory and 10th top-10 finish in 14 races at Infineon Raceway. Gordon has scored nine finishes in the top three at Infineon.
      • Gordon scored his seventh top-10 finish in 16 races this season and climbed from 11th to eighth in the point standings.
      • Gordon led the most laps for the third time in 2006. He also led the most laps at Talladega and Michigan.
      • Race winner Gordon led two times for 44 laps, including the final 23 laps.
      • This was team owner Rick Hendrick’s 144th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Hendrick has scored five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Infineon, all by Gordon. This is Hendrick’s 14th career road-course victory.
      • Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season 1986-2006, 21 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Ryan Newman (second) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 16 races in 2006. It was his fourth top-10 finish in five races at Infineon Raceway. He remained 17th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
      • Terry Labonte (third) scored his first top-10 finish since fall Richmond in 2005 where he finished ninth. It marked his 27th top- 10 finish in 57 races on a road course. It is his eighth top-10 finish in 18 races at Infineon Raceway.
      • Greg Biffle (fourth) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 16 races in 2006. It was his in first top-10 finish in four races at Infineon Raceway. Eight races ago Biffle was 232 points behind 10th. With his fourth-place finish, Biffle is now ninth. Biffle has climbed from 23rd to ninth in points in the seven races since Talladega. Biffle has scored seven straight top-10 finishes - the longest top-10 streak of his career. After 16 races in 2005, he moved into first in the point standings, 22 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson who struggled at Infineon with a 36th-place finish - the only time that Biffle has led the point standings.
      • Kurt Busch (fifth) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. This was his third top-10 in five races at Infineon Raceway.
      • Jeff Burton (seventh) had moved from 21st to seventh in the point standings from Martinsville to Dover and had remained seventh in the points for last three races. Burton climbed from seventh to sixth in the point standings. He has scored 10 straight top-15s since Martinsville.
      • Jimmie Johnson (10th) remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 101 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth. Johnson has scored top-15 finishes in 15 of the 16 races in 2006.
      • Denny Hamlin finished 12th at Infineon Raceway and extended a streak of seven straight top-15 finishes.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 16 races this season.
      Streaks that Ended at Infineon Raceway
      • Dave Blaney (39th) ended a 33-race streak of running at the finish that began at New Hampshire last July, which was the longest current streak. Kevin Harvick takes over the streak - running at the finish in 28 straight races.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 26th at Infineon Raceway and ended a streak of six straight top-15 finishes.
      • Kasey Kahne finished 31st at Infineon Raceway ending a streak of four straight top-10 finishes.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-25-2006)

    • Rumblings - Infineon Raceway: Jeff Gordon won today's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for his 9th win on a road course (5th in Sonoma) and 74th Cup win overall. He's now just two wins behind Dale Earnhardt in 7th on the all-time win list. Gordon led the most laps (44 of 'em) on his way to the 144th win for Hendrick Motorsports, and his first win since Martinsville last October was worth $325,661 from the over $5.4M in posted awards. Gordon is the 10th different winner this season....last year we had 15 different drivers in Victory Lane.
      Ryan Newman (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Loudon last September.
      Terry Labonte (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Darlington in September of 2003. His Top-5 gives us 23 drivers at that mark this season, last year we had 30 drivers with a Top-5.
      Elliott Sadler (8th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Martinsville in April.
      Boris Said (9th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Watkins Glen last August (only three races). He and Terry Labonte's Top-10's gives us 33 drivers to score a Top-10 this season....last year we had 43 of 'em.
      Michael Waltrip (23rd) had his best finish since he was 20th at Atlanta in March.
      P. J. Jones (36th) had his best finish since he was 32nd when we were here last June (only four races).
      Brandon Ash (38th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 41st when we were here in June of 2004.
      STREAKIN....Biffle has 7 Top-10's in a row. Johnson has 6 Top-10's in a row. Burton has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Terry Labonte (+34), followed by Denny Hamlin (+28 ), Brian Vickers (+28 ), and Martin Truex Jr (+24). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Robby Gordon (-26), followed by Kasey Kahne (-25), Ken Schrader (-23), Kevin Harvick (-21), P. J. Jones (-21), and Ron Fellows (-20). This was Op #1 for Terry and BD #1 for Robby this season.
      Boris Said led a lap today for the first time since he led one lap here in June of 2003. He's the 42nd different driver to lead a lap this season.... last year we had 51 leaders.
      Jimmie Johnson moved his points lead out to 101 markers today as Denny Hamlin fell below the "Stayin' Alive" Line. Jeff Gordon replaces Hamlin in the Top-10. Gordon (11th to 8th) and Kyle Petty (33rd to 30th) gained the most spots today, while Dale Jarrett (19th to 23rd) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(6-25-2006)

    • Vickers to run West Series race in special scheme UPDATE 2 wins the race: Along with running Sunday's NEXTEL Cup event at Infineon Raceway, #25-Brian Vickers will enter Saturday's NASCAR Grand National West Series race at the 1.99-mile road course. Making his first-ever start in the series, Vickers will drive a #17 GMAC Chevrolet with a paint scheme identical to the Busch Series car driven by the late Ricky Hendrick.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-23-2006)
      on the Pole: Brian Vickers won the pole position for today's West Series race at Infienoen Raceway, had a best speed of 90.872 mph in a Chevrolet. Eric Holmes was second and Brian Ickler will start in the third spot.(San Francisco Chronicle)(6-24-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Brian Vickers held off Boris Said to win the Blue Lizard Australian Suncream 200 NASCAR AutoZone West Series race Saturday afternoon at Infineon Raceway. Running the race to gain more road-course experience, Vickers sat on the pole and led 61 of the 64 laps. Said had to start from the back because of an engine change and worked his way to second. NASCAR West rookie Brian Ickler finished third and was the best series regular. Ken Schrader also competed in the race but was penalized for being too fast on pit road and finished 18th.(

    • #21 belts and steering wheel confiscated: Ken Schrader's #21 Wood Brothers Ford had their entire set of seat belts confiscated by NASCAR at Infineon Raceway. Belts are not allowed in use two years after date of manufacture and these were clearly marked May 2004 and on Saturday the #21 team had the steering wheel confiscated by NASCAR. NASCAR mandates that the Steering Wheel spoke must be solid and Schrader's had a total of nine cutouts.(Insider Racing News)(6-25-2006)

    • Brandon Ash and Team Acheiving Goals: In what was seemingly turning into an Achilles Heel for Brandon Ash, became another achievement in the long list of goals for the Ash Racing Team. Ash qualified the #02 Sprinter Trucking Dodge Friday for the Dodge/Save Mart 350. After several attempts and one previous qualification at Sonoma, Ash once again makes the show casting a shadow over what was previously his personal nemesis. Each time Ash goes to Sonoma he is reminded of his run in what was the Winston West Series, now the Grand National Series, when he was running in the first position looking to win only to come in second to Kevin Harvick after running out of gas so close to taking the checkered flag. Ash will start 43rd in today's race but hopes to make gains and finish strong. In Happy Hour practice yesterday, the #02 Dodge was running 17th fastest with a speed of 91.600 and a lap time of 78.210. Ash may be starting at the back of the field for today's race but he is still going to do his best to move up in the field. His main goal is to stay out of trouble and gain respect from fellow Nextel Cup drivers. Since qualifying for the Subway 500 in Phoenix back in April and the Dodge/Save Mart 350 this weekend, the Ash Racing Team hopes to ride this wave of progress and continue to grow as a team; possibly adding races in the future. Tentatively the next race on the schedule for the Ash Racing Team is Richmond in the fall.(Ash Racing Team PR)(6-25-2006)

      News from June 24, 2006

    • COT design about finalized: Owner [#07,#29,#31] Richard Childress said recent test sessions and developments have brought a final design configuration for the so-called NASCAR “Car of Tomorrow” much closer to reality. The new design is to be used in 16 of the 36 Cup races next year. Based on his discussions with NASCAR officials, Childress said, “I think they’re just about ready to push the button” on the design. He said the length of the car and chassis configuration have been finalized and that, based on that information, he and other owners could now begin the production process.(Gaston Gazette)(6-24-2006)

    • Gilliland full time in Cup or Busch in 2007: After scoring what many believe to be the biggest upset in Busch Series history last week at the Kentucky Speedway, David Gilliland's stock has shot through the roof. The 30-year-old California driver has spent a lot of time this week listening to offers for 2007. "We have received three or four really good phones calls from some of the top teams in both Busch and Nextel Cup. It's really exciting, it's really a great accomplishment and achievement for me. We've dedicated our whole life to racing. For it to finally to be paying off and getting some opportunities to go and show what we got on a higher scale and higher level it's been really good." There's talk Gilliland may wind up with a deal to run all the Cup races. When asked about that he said, "I feel confident we'll be full-time next year. Whether it's Cup or Busch we will be full-time next year. That's something I just can't stop smiling about. It's a dream come true no matter what happens. We're one step closer and we're enjoying every minute of it."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-24-2006)

    • Kluever to Run Full Cup/Busch Schedule in 2007?: In 2007, Kluever will take over the #6 Ford that's currently driven by Mark Martin. Like many of his peers, the Roush Racing driver also will compete full time in the Busch Series next season. Team owner Jack Roush has told Kluever he has no issue with using a substitute on non-companion weekends when it's tough with travel. Kluever will have his hands full as a rookie in the Nextel Cup Series next season, but he also wants to devote as much time as possible to his Busch campaign.(Capital Times)(6-24-2006)

    • Pedigree to sponsor Biffle Foundation's 2007 Calander: The Greg Biffle Foundation launched its 2007 NASCAR Pet Calendar featuring 12 top NASCAR drivers and the most spoiled family members – their pets. Pedigree, the Official Pet Care Product of NASCAR, signed on as a sponsor for the 2007 calendar. Dogs, cats, horses, and even bunnies grace the pages of the 2007 calendar. In its second year, the 2006 NASCAR Pet Calendar was very popular with fans, making it the No.1 best-selling item on This year’s calendar has some returning veteran pet calendar models such as Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Tony Stewart. The new faces of the 2007 calendar are Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Petty, Reed Sorenson, Martin Truex Jr., and Kenny Wallace. Pedigree, the Official Pet Care Product of NASCAR, is the first-ever sponsor of the calendar. Pedigree, like The Greg Biffle Foundation, is known for its dedication to animal welfare and is an advocate for pet adoption. This year’s calendar has some additional touches provided by Pedigree. Each month the calendar features a “Pedigree Tip of the Month” that provides valuable, helpful hints to keep fans’ pets safe and happy. The 2007 NASCAR Pet Calendars will be sold at major retailers such as:,, PetSmart, PETCO, Myers, Kmart (in select markets), Books-a-Million, Calendar Club (mall kiosks) and Pet Supplies Plus. The calendars will be in some retailers beginning in early July. Other retailers will begin carrying the calendar in the fall.(NASCAR PR)(6-24-2006)

    • Elliott could be back full-time in 2007..if the money is right: Bill Elliott, long one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers, said Friday that he is “weighing his options” for 2006, which include a possible full-time return to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Elliott, who has spent the last three seasons running only part time, has been courted by at least one of the new Toyota teams for 2007. Asked if he would consider a full-time return to the Cup series, Elliott said, “If the money’s right I would.”(Speed Channel)(6-24-2006)

    • Dodge's Fernandez to Ganassi? UPDATE: Hearing that Dodge Motorsports Director, John Fernandez, will assume the General Managers position at Chip Ganassi Racing on July 1st. Fernandez would replace Andy Graves, who stepped down a few months ago.(6-19-2006)
      UPDATE: Dodge’s motorsports czar, John Fernandez, rumored to be headed to Chip Ganassi’s team to replace deposed team manager Andy Graves, is apparently still with Dodge — for the moment, anyway. A Dodge representative said Fernandez was still at his office in Michigan, while Ganassi’s people declined comment on whether Fernandez was going to work for the team.(Speed Channel)(6-24-2006)

    • The UPS Saga...up-in-the-air UPDATE 7 - denied to Roush: 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.(
      UPDATE 3 - to #16? hearing that UPS is going to be on the #16 Roush Racing Ford with driver Greg Biffle in 2007.(6-20-2006)
      UPDATE 4: hearing the announcement of where the UPS sponsorship will go, could be as soon as Friday, June 23rd or at sometime this weekend in Sonoma.(6-21-2006)
      UPDATE 5: folks at Roush Racing have denied that UPS will sponsor any of their teams in 2007.(6-21-2006)
      ANOTHER UPDATE: Car owner Ray Evernham had until last Friday to convince Dodge officials to allow UPS to sponsor Kasey Kahne's Dodge next year, and apparently he couldn't do it. That means UPS will sponsor Greg Biffle's Ford next year.(Augusta Chronicle)(6-22-2006)

      UPDATE 7 More on UPS: Roush denies again: Roush Racing has not talked with UPS about sponsoring one of its cars next season, a team official said Friday. With UPS still not under contract for 2007, several teams have been mentioned as candidates for the sponsor if it opts not to stay with Robert Yates Racing. Roush Racing and its No. 16 Nextel Cup car with driver Greg Biffle have been rumored as a possible destination for UPS. "I don't know where the rumors are coming from," said Torrey Galida, senior vice president for marketing at Roush Racing, prior to Nextel Cup practice at Infineon Raceway Friday. "We have not spoken." Roush and RYR develop engines together, and Roush-Yates engines power all of the Fords in the garage. "We have a pretty firm understanding with Robert Yates that we would not engage one another's sponsors," Galida said. Galida said Roush Racing has all of its sponsorships solidified for next season except for the National Guard, which is on a year-to-year contract [which is the case with all the military sponsors] on Biffle's car. He said the National Guard is a full-season deal, but the National Guard sells off some of the races to other companies. (

    • Riggs injured, Elliott to stand by at Sonoma UPDATE: Monday, while on vacation with his family in Myrtle Beach [SC, #10-Scott Riggs injured both feet while unloading his jet ski in an oyster bed. The wounds required 12 stitches in the ball of left foot and eight stitches in the right big toe. The injury to Riggs has caused Valvoline Evernham Racing to make back-up plans for this weekend’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race in Sonoma. Ray Evernham and Valvoline Designated Team Owner Jim Rocco have retained former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott to stand by this weekend should Riggs not be able to practice, qualify or race the Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Charger. As things stand today, Riggs will be racing Sunday, according to the team. “Jim and I huddled today with Scott, Bill Elliott, Team Director Rodney Childers and Competition Director Sammy Johns and we are going to Sonoma with the intention of Scott running the full weekend,” Evernham said. “But Bill will be ready for any scenario.”
      “I’m going to Sonoma to race,” Riggs said Wednesday. “It was a freak incident at Myrtle Beach. There was no warning about an oyster bed where we unloaded. We’ll see what happens when I get in the race car. I’m going to do what’s best for the team this weekend.” Valvoline Evernham Racing will have updates at Infineon Raceway for the media.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(6-22-2006)
      UPDATE: Riggs says injuries to his feet suffered while vacationing in Myrtle Beach, SC, earlier this week won't keep him from competing in Sunday's race at Infineon Raceway. The team had former full-time driver Bill Elliott on standby at Infineon, but after Friday's first practice and a qualifying effort that left Riggs 25th for Sunday's race, Riggs said he felt Elliott's services would not be needed. He wore a larger shoe, borrowed from teammate Jeremy Mayfield, that was fitted with a plastic piece designed to help keep pressure off the stitches during Friday's practice and qualifying sessions.(

    • Final Michigan TV ratings fall: Fox's broadcast of last Sunday's 3M Performance 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.5 and an 11 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is down 6.3% from the 4.8/12 the race earned in 2005.(

    • #66 Carries Special SanDisk Paint Design at Sonoma: Jeff Green's #66 Chevy is carrying a special red, yellow and white paint design this weekend at Infineon Raceway, featuring the logo of SanDisk Corporation on the hood of the Haas CNC Racing entry. Headquartered about 80 miles from Sonoma in Milpitas, CA SanDisk, the world's largest supplier of flash memory data storage products, is an associate sponsor of the #66 Chevy this season. At the beginning of the 2006 season, SanDisk joined Best Buy, the consumer electronics, home-office products, entertainment software, appliances and related services retail chain, as a sponsor of the Haas CNC Racing entry. Best Buy, which offers many SanDisk products, is the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing team in a select number of races this season. The Best Buy logo will be featured on the car's rear quarter panel in Sunday's event. More information on SanDisk and its product line can be found by visiting PR)(6-24-2006)

    • Harvick & Bowyer skipping Happy Hour: #29-Kevin Harvick and #07-Clint Bowyer will skip Saturday morning's final 45-minute Nextel Cup practice session at Infineon Raceway to give them a little extra time to get to The Milwaukee Mile for the Busch Series race that night. The first practice for NASCAR's Cup teams ends at 10:15 a.m. Pacific - 12:15 p.m. in Milwaukee - and Harvick and Bowyer will leave after that. Four other drivers doing the double - #11-Denny Hamlin, #99-Carl Edwards, #18-J.J. Yeley and #5-Kyle Busch - all plan to stay for the final 45-minute session, which ends at 1:55pm/ct. All of the drivers have substitutes ready to practice and qualify: Harvick has Randy LaJoie, Bowyer has Brandon Miller, Hamlin has Aric Almirola, Yeley has Casey Atwood, Edwards has Hank Parker Jr. and Busch has Dennis Setzer.(

    • Chex Most Popular Driver Award Hits One Millionth Vote: The NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award received its 1 millionth vote this week. Race fans are encouraged to make their vote count and get their driver in the running by logging on to the Chex Most Popular Driver Website at . Voting will continue throughout the season; ending Monday, November 20, 2006. Fans may vote once each day at the site. The 2005 NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award winner was Dale Earnhardt Jr., and this year he has proven to be the fan favorite so far as he currently leads the voting [there was no top 10 or other drivers mentioned in this years vote]. Earnhardt Jr. has three consecutive wins in the voting competition.(Elevation / General Mills)(6-24-2006)

      News from June 23, 2006

    • Congrats: #38 crew chief Tommy Baldwin and wife Beth welcomed Lucas Graham Baldwin this morning at 8:30am/et, 8 lbs, 2.8 ounces. Both Mom and Baby are healthy and doing fine.(Robert Yates Racing)(6-23-2006)

    • Speed signs Roberts, Dillner and Venturini; Jenkins out: Chris Long, SPEED VP of Studio Production, today announced SPEED has signed popular NASCAR RaceDay host John Roberts through 2009. In related moves, SPEED re-signed veteran motor sports reporters Bob Dillner and Wendy Venturini to two-year deals.(Speed Channel PR), also hearing the veteran broadcaster, Bob Jenkins was not retained by Speed Channel and is looking for a new job.(6-23-2006)

    • NASCAR wins Trophy lawsuit: A U.S. appellate court has affirmed NASCAR's victory in a lawsuit against an artist who requested payment and credit for designing the Nextel Cup trophy. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Wednesday in favor of NASCAR and against artist Matthew Scharle. Scharle, who worked as an independent contractor for the Franklin Mint in helping design the trophy in 2002 and 2003, had demanded rights to the design or $2 million for alleged business loss from the misattribution. In response to that demand, NASCAR filed suit against him to keep him from interfering with NASCAR's use of the trophy at the 2004 awards banquet. NASCAR credits then-Franklin Mint President Bruce Newman with the trophy's design.(

    • Stewart: last question about injury: His broken right shoulder blade is getting to be a sore subject for Tony Stewart. "This is the last time we're going to answer this," he said Thursday when the topic came up as he talked with reporters at Infineon Raceway in advance of Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350. "It's 100 percent."(Associated Press)(6-23-2006)

    • Kurt Busch wins pole at Sonoma: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser pole for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway with a speed of 93.055mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 5th of his career, both of his poles won in the state of California. #26-Jamie McMurray [with Busch's old team] will start 2nd, followed by #29-Kevin Harvick, #12-Ryan Newman and #60-Boris Said. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 16th, and pole favorites #24-Jeff Gordon, got slightly off course on his run and will start 11th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #32-Fellows, #55-Waltrip, #40-Pruett, #02-Ash, #27-Hubert, #4-Jones and #72-Gilliland. Missing the race were: #78-Kvapil, #61-Simo, #49-Cook, #95-Barrett and #34-Miller. Sonoma Qualifying/Starting Grid Page.(6-23-2006)

    • Sonoma Qualifying Notes: • Kurt Busch won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Dodge/SaveMart 350, lapping Infineon Raceway in 76.987 seconds at 93.055 mph. Jeff Gordon holds the track qualifying record of 75.950 seconds, 94.325 mph - set June 24, 2005.
      • This is Kurt Busch’s fifth career Bud Pole in 200 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
      • This is his second Bud Pole and series-leading 12th top-10 start in 2006.
      • This is Busch’s first Bud Pole and fifth top-10, including four top-fives, in six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway.
      • Busch became the 10th different Bud Pole winner at Infineon.
      • Jamie McMurray posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 77.075 seconds, 92.948 mph – and will join Kurt Busch on the front row for the Dodge/SaveMart 350. McMurray posted his first start better than 11th in his fourth qualifying effort at Infineon. It is his career-best road-course start. He also started 11th at Watkins Glen in 2005 when qualifying was canceled.
      • This is the eighth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has four Bud Poles and Ford has three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Kevin Harvick (third) posted his third top-10 start in six Infineon races and his career-best road course start.
      • Ryan Newman (fourth) posted his first top-10 start in five races at Infineon Raceway. His previous career-best road-course start was fifth at Watkins Glen in 2002.
      • The top-four qualifiers all posted their career-best, road-course starts.
      • Boris Said (fifth) posted his fourth top-10 start in seven races at Infineon Raceway. He won the Bud Pole here in 2003.
      • Kasey Kahne (sixth) posted his first start better than 26th in three races at Infineon.
      • Greg Biffle (seventh) has posted two top-10 starts in four races at Infineon Raceway – but his other two starts were 32nd and 41st.
      • Jeff Gordon (11th) has now gone 36 races since his last Bud Pole, which came at Infineon in May 2005 - extending his career-longest streak without a Bud Pole. Gordon went 30 races between Bud Poles from Charlotte in May 1997 through California in May 1998 – his longest streak before this.
      • Said, P.J. Jones (15th), Ron Fellows (17th), Tom Hubert (30th) and David Gilliland (31st) brought the total number of drivers that have competed this season to 63. This will be the first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start for Gilliland.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-23-2006)

    • Ramblings - Infineon Raceway: Kurt Busch grabbed the Bud Pole today (in his Miller Lite Dodge) for Sunday's Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway by almost a tenth of a second over Jamie McMurray. This is top-spot #2 of the season for Busch (he led 'em to the green at Fontana in February) and #5 in his NEXTEL Cup career. We won't hear the word "ringer" much this weekend, will we?
      Jamie McMurray (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Martinsville in April.
      Kevin Harvick (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the Pole at Richmond last September.
      Boris Said (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Daytona last July (only 5 races).
      Robby Gordon (14th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 12th at Phoenix last November.
      P. J. Jones (15th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 14th at Watkins Glen in August of 2002 (only 11 races).
      Ron Fellows (17th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd when we were here in 2003 (only 5 races).
      Ken Schrader (18th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Bristol last August.
      Tom Hubert (30th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 16th at Watkins Glen in August of 2000 (only 5 races).B Pretty good week for David Gilliland (31st). Last week at this time he was just happy to be in the Busch race at Nashville. Now, he's the most recent Busch Grand National race winner and he makes his first-ever NEXTEL Cup start to boot. Betcha his feet haven't touched the ground in awhile!
      STREAKIN....Greg Biffle has 14 Top-10 starts in the last 15 races.
      Kasey Kahne has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.(Stock Car Fans)(6-23-2006)

      News from June 22, 2006

    • Rusty to host new TV show: Rusty Wallace will host "NASCAR Angels," a reality TV show that will begin airing this fall, according to Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily. The show, which will feature top NASCAR competitors showing deserving families a look behind the scenes of NASCAR, is scheduled to debut Sept. 12 on various networks, including ABC.(

    • Sadler to run special Pedigree scheme at Sonoma: Instead of the trusty M&M’S Characters riding along on Elliott Sadler’s #38 Ford, this weekend he has some new friends, man’s best friend that is on his Ford Fusion to spotlight The Pedigree Adoption Drive. This is the second annual drive that Pedigree has spearheaded, a multi-million dollar, cause-related campaign that rallies dog lovers to help the millions of homeless dogs in shelters and breeds rescue organizations throughout the United States. In fact, Pedigree has a goal to raise $1 million to donate to shelters and breed rescue organizations around the country. For every Pedigree Brand product purchased, Pedigree will donate a portion of sales to the cause.(Elevation Group PR)(6-22-2006)

    • Trouble for #66 Cup/#00 Busch Team Owner UPDATE Wind Tunnel plans stay: The owner of an Oxnard [CA]-based company that's donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local colleges is under arrest for allegedly trying to bilk the government out of millions in taxes. Haas Automation owner and founder Gene Haas was arrested Monday on suspicion of conspiracy, filing false tax returns and witness intimidation. Federal prosecutors say Haas orchestrated a plan to list $50 million in bogus expenses that it could write off as business costs. The aim was to save the company $20 million in taxes. Haas Automation general manager Robert Murray says the charges are bogus. The company is one of the world's largest manufacturers of omputerized cutting machines.(
      AND Gene F. Haas, 54, of Camarillo, Calif., the owner of Haas Automation and other companies, was accused in a 52-page indictment of running a bogus invoicing scheme to create fake tax deductions. Mr. Haas was held without bail after his arraignment in Federal District Court in Los Angeles. In court papers asking that Mr. Haas be held until his trial, the Justice Department said that he could flee the country in his Cessna jet and head for China, where he has business interests. The Justice Department said China did not have a treaty allowing extradition of accused tax cheats. It called him a flight risk, saying he has few ties to the community, is single, has no children and faces about 20 years in prison if convicted. Haas Automation, in a statement, said that Mr. Haas was not guilty and that the tax issues "revolve around" the company's former chief financial officer, John Phillips. It said the indictment would have no effect on the business. Last month, Haas Automation won, by default, a lawsuit filed in Ventura County Superior Court accusing Mr. Phillips of cheating the company out of $27.5 million. The indictment also described two other invoicing schemes. One involved a NASCAR race team sponsored by Haas Automotive and the other a land title company. The indictment gave few details other than stating that all the money paid in those two schemes was funneled back to Mr. Haas, suggesting that he may have operated them without confederates.(New York Times)(6-20-2006)
      UPDATE - The Wind Tunnel: The arrest this week in California of Gene Haas, owner of Haas Automation, will not affect plans to build a $40 million wind tunnel in Concord or stop the race shop's move to Kannapolis, said a company spokesman. Joe Custer, general manager of the Harrisburg race team Haas CNC Racing, said the company's assets have not been frozen or affected by the arrest. He also said Haas CNC and the company for the wind tunnel, Wind Shear, are actually separate entities from Haas Automation. "We're not implicated in the indictments and we are not being investigated," Custer said. "We're not financially in trouble, never have been and don't plan to be." Custer said regardless of the investigation and Haas' legal troubles there won't be any impact on any of the Cabarrus County projects. Haas announced in May that he will construct a $40 million wind tunnel in Concord. John Cox, CEO of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, talked Wednesday during a motor sports symposium held at Lowe's Motor Speedway "We have called the Haas folks to show our support," Cox said. "Our prayers are that Mr. Haas will be exonerated." Cabarrus County provided a three-year tax incentive grant for the project and the City of Concord offered to provide electrical infrastructure at the site. The city, which planned to build a $4 million electrical substation near the Concord Regional Airport, said they will move up that project to accommodate the wind tunnel's construction schedule.(more at the Kannapolis Idependent Tribune)(6-22-2006)

    • Start #200 for Kurt Busch: #2- iller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be making his 200th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start this weekend in the Dodge/Save Mart 350. The historic occasion could not come at a more appropriate location than at Infineon Raceway. After all, one might say that Busch’s big-league racing career was launched at the winding road course located at the southern tip of the Sonoma Valley.(See full story at

    • TV Times for 2007, no earlier then 2pm: The 2007 racing schedule hasn't been released but one significant change is expected: All races will start no earlier than 2pm. The later starting times come at the demand of television networks Fox, FX, ABC, TNT and ESPN. They pushed NASCAR to start most races at 4pm to better capture West Coast viewers and create a link to prime-time shows, but they settled for a mix. None of the times, however, will be any earlier than 2pm.(Augusta Chronicle)(6-22-2006)

    • Dale Jr on TV Guide Cover: As NASCAR approaches the midpoint of its 2006 Nextel Cup season, TV Guide magazine roars into newsstands with the annual mid-season special issue, featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr., (June 26 issue, on sale June 22). In an exclusive interview with TV Guide's resident NASCAR expert Robert Edelstein, Earnhardt speaks candidly about his reemergence at the head of the pack--after enduring his worst season ever last year, finishing 19th-and how adopting a new attitude has made all the difference. Also on Friday night there will be a Dale Jr webcast at[over 21].(6-22-2006)

    • Stremme running #41 Dodge in Milwaukee Busch race: Reed Sorenson's Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) teammate David Stremme, primary driver of the #40 Coors Light and Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, will step in to drive the #41 Discount Tire Dodge in this weekend's Busch Series event at The Milwaukee Mile. Instead of splitting his time between the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series competitions, Sorenson will stay out west all weekend to run the #41 Target Dodge at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Chip Ganassi Racing road-course ace Scott Pruett will be driving the #40 Coors Light Dodge at Infineon, allowing Stremme to compete at Milwaukee. Both Stremme and Sorenson will resume driving duties in the #40 Dodge and #41 Busch Series entry next week at Daytona International Speedway. Stremme has three Busch Series starts at the Milwaukee Mile, and in those three starts he has totaled one pole, two top-five starts, and three top-five finishes.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-22-2006)

    • Interush to sponsor Barrett at Sonoma: Stanton Barrett Motorsports will have Interush as the primary sponsor on the #95 Chevy for this weekend for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Interush is an affiliate driven Internet Advertising and Marketing company which takes U.S. based technology to the Asian markets. Interush, already featured as an associate sponsor in previous NASCAR Nextel Cup races this season, will be on the #95 throughout the second half of the season, running as primary and associate sponsors for Barrett.(Stanton Barrett Motorsports PR) (6-22-2006)

      News from June 21, 2006

    • #21 to Honor Fallen Servicemen at Sonoma: Ten years ago this coming Sunday marks a solemn date in U.S. Military Service history. On June 25, 1996, the Khobar Towers Housing Complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia was bombed by extremists, ending the lives of 19 servicemen. To mark the occasion, the #21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion, driven by Ken Schrader, will carry a special decal honoring the men on the lower rear quarter panels and B-Post location during the race weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The idea to run the memorial decals was presented to the Wood Brothers/JTG Race Team by George Beekman, who lost his stepson, Joshua E. Woody, in the tragedy. The Wood Brothers appealed to the U.S. Air Force as an associate sponsor on the car to donate the necessary space on the race car. Air Force Captain Jonathan Ness assisted in the process. "We were genuinely moved by the appeal from Mr. [George] Beekman, and are happy to represent those servicemen killed in the line of duty that day on this solemn anniversary of the tragedy," he stated. The Air Force will have b-post sized decals to hand out to all of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams, as well. George Beekman designed the memorial decal that will adorn the race car. In addition, the decal will be featured in two separate memorial services this weekend. The first, at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida is scheduled for Friday, June 23rd. Twelve of the nineteen servicemen killed in the blast were from Eglin AFB. The second memorial, to be held Sunday at noon, will be a service at Arlington National Cemetery in which the logo will adorn the centerpiece of the wreath laid in remembrance of the fallen heroes.(

    • Crew Chief change at the #14 team: MB2 Motorsports announced today that Scott Eggleston will take over the crew chief duties on Sterling Marlin's #14 Chevy, replacing Doug Randolph, who will be reassigned to a new position. Eggleston's first race as Marlin's crew chief will be this weekend at the Nextel Cup road course event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. The reassignment of Randolph along with additional team changes will be announced in a couple of weeks according to Jay Frye, MB2 Motorsports CEO and general manager. "We're going through a restructuring, and once completed, we strongly feel it will be beneficial for the entire MB2 Motorsports organization," said Frye. "We welcome Scott, who has worked with Sterling in the past. The working chemistry that Scott and Sterling have established will be a strong asset for the #14. Regarding Doug, he will continue to play an integral role in our organization." Eggleston, of Springfield, VA, was Marlin's crew chief at SABCO Racing for 22 races in 1999 and for the full season in 2000. His best finish as Marlin's crew chief was second at the 2000 road race at Infineon. "Hopefully, we can duplicate the performance or even finish one better on Sunday," said Marlin. "I look forward to being reunited with Scott."
      "Sterling and I have been close friends ever since we worked together at SABCO," said Eggleston, who joined MB2 in May as a research and development advisor. "I feel this team has potential and look forward to working with Sterling and the crew. Our goal is to be a challenger week in and week out." Eggleston, 43, started working as a mechanic for Petty Enterprises in 1989 and eventually worked into a crew chief role at SABCO in 1998 with Joe Nemechek's car. Eggleston was also the crew chief for Michael Waltrip when he won the 2001 Daytona 500 for DEI Motorsports. Along with his crew chief duties at SABCO and DEI, Eggleston also was a crew chief for Morgan-McClure Motorsports for part of 2001 and the full season in 2002. Before joining MB2, his most recent position was competition director at FitzBradshaw Racing.(MB2 Motorsports)(6-21-2006)

    • Hubert to run the #27: #22-Caterpillar Racing team member Tom Hubert hopes to spend Saturday afternoon racing in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series event at Infineon Raceway. Additionally, for the third consecutive year, Hubert will attempt to qualify Kirk Shelmerdine's #27 ride for Sunday's Cup race at the track. Hubert has made 10 Nextel Cup Series starts and has competed at Infineon Raceway in the Cup Series on five occasions, finishing as high as 28th. Chris Beeson, who works for Bill Davis Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series, will be standing by to take over Hubert's rear tire changing duties on the #22 Caterpillar Dodge that Dave Blaney drives.(BDR PR)(6-21-2006)

    • Gilliland Rides Wave into Infineon: David Gilliland will make his Nextel Cup debut this weekend in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway. The Riverside, CA native will pilot the #72 Dutch Quality Stone Dodge for CJM Racing. Gilliland hopes to bring the momentum of his monumental win in the NASCAR Busch Series to the Napa Valley road course. He became the first non-NEXTEL Cup regular to win in 18 straight Busch Series races when he took the checkered flag in the Meijer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway. Gilliland has a successful history at the Infineon Raceway. He won a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series event at the track in 2004. The Gilliland name has legions of fans on the West Coast due to the achievements of David and his father, Butch Gilliland. Father and son teamed up as driver/crew chief and captured the NASCAR Winston West championship in 1997. As a result David became the youngest to ever win the Crew Chief of the Year Award for that series. The younger Gilliland has over 70 wins, in various series, on the west coast. Team owners Bryan and Tony Mullet are getting their feet wet in the Nextel Cup Series. In 2005 they acquired interest in the former operation of Morgan Shepherd. Recently they bought the team outright and are in the process of building new cars and a new shop. "We are going there to make the race and get a solid finish. We tested at Virginia International Raceway two weeks ago and were really pleased. The motors are strong and Doug George (crew chief) and I are working well together. I think it would be foolish to expect a repeat finish from Kentucky, but a solid top-20 is not out of the question," Gilliland said who will be a guest of the California legislature on Thursday morning at the State Capitol in Sacramento. He will be a part of the proclamation of "NASCAR Weekend" in Sonoma, will be a part of the Raybestos Rookie press conference on Friday morning and be a guest of the Speed Channel show "Trackside Live" on Friday evening.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(6-21-2006)

    • Cook to drive the #49 at Infineon: Chris Cook, a veteran racer and driving instructor, will drive the #49 DSI Dodge Charger for BAM Racing this weekend in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. The 34-year-old Cook, who owns the Shift Into Gear driving school, has tutored numerous NASCAR teams and drivers including Robert Yates Racing and Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart. As a driving instructor, he was the youngest chief instructor in the history of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix, AZ. Cook's prior NASCAR Nextel Cup Series start came at Infineon Raceway in 2005 behind the wheel of the #87 Chevy owned by Joe Nemechek. He qualified for, and ultimately finished the race, in the 28th position.(BAM Racing PR)(6-21-2006)

    • Simo and Miller to drive Front Row entries at Sonoma: Front Row Motorsports announced Johnny Miller will pilot the #34 Oak Gloves Chevy and Brian Simo will drive the #61 Chevy this weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Miller is a veteran of a number of professional racing series, accumulating over a 100 career victories and numerous poles. He will be making his fourth career NASCAR start and second for Front Row Motorsports. Last year Johnny drove the #92 Front Row car at Watkins Glen. After having to start 40th because qualifying was rained out he finished 29th. He got as high as 3rd in the race, but struggled with carburetor problems through out the day, which cost him valuable track positions on restarts.
      Simo will be driving the same car [was a RCR #33 chevy] he drove last year at Infineon. He qualified 22nd, had a great day and was able to finish in the top 10.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(6-21-2006)

    • Vickers' Team Captures Pit Crew Win In Michigan: Brian Vickers' pit crew claimed the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday's rain-shortened 3M Performance 400, becoming the 10th Nextel Cup team of the season to capture the weekly competition. The victory was the result of Vickers' #25 Chevy spending the least amount of time on Michigan International Speedway's pit road - 337.524 seconds. "It was a solid performance by the GMAC Racing team on pit road at Michigan," said Hendrick Motorsports pit crew coach Mark Mauldin. "We had all of our regulars on the crew back in place and it showed. We expect to be able to win this award a couple of mores times before the season is finished." Vickers' over-the-wall crew includes: Mike Moore (jackman), Jake Brzozowski (front-tire carrier), Tony Hamm (front-tire changer), Matt Myers (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Fabian (rear-tire changer), Chris Fasulka (gasman), Chris Hamilton (catch can) and Jim Jenkins (windshield). Crew chief for the #25 team is Lance McGrew. The program awards $10,500 per week to the pit crew of the car spending the least amount of time on pit road. In addition, a bonus of $105,000 will be awarded to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Jimmie Johnson's crew leads the season standings with three Checkers/Rally's Drive-Thru Challenge wins. Tony Stewart's, Elliott Sadler's and Kyle Busch's crews are tied for second with two wins each. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at Communications PR)(6-21-2006)

      News from June 20, 2006

    • Petty to be honored: Kyle Petty will be honored next week at the Stewart-Marchman Foundation's Annual Dinner and Auction. The June 28 dinner at the Daytona 500 Club begins at 7 p.m. with a social hour starting at 6 p.m. Some individual tickets are still available for $200 each. A limited number of corporate packages are also available. The prices vary. The eighth annual event is the main fundraiser for the foundation, an organization that supports clients and programs of the Stewart-Marchman Center, which provides substance-abuse treatment. Petty will be joined by his wife, Pattie , and his parents, Richard and Lynda Petty; Benny Parsons, the master of ceremonies; and other NASCAR drivers. Honorees from previous years include Mark Martin, Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, the Rev. Hal Marchman and Michael Waltrip. Last year's event, raised $130,000. More info at Beach News Journal)(6-20-2006)

    • Trouble for #66 Cup/#00 Busch Team Owner: The owner of an Oxnard [CA]-based company that's donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local colleges is under arrest for allegedly trying to bilk the government out of millions in taxes. Haas Automation owner and founder Gene Haas was arrested Monday on suspicion of conspiracy, filing false tax returns and witness intimidation. Federal prosecutors say Haas orchestrated a plan to list $50 million in bogus expenses that it could write off as business costs. The aim was to save the company $20 million in taxes. Haas Automation general manager Robert Murray says the charges are bogus. The company is one of the world's largest manufacturers of omputerized cutting machines.(
      AND Gene F. Haas, 54, of Camarillo, Calif., the owner of Haas Automation and other companies, was accused in a 52-page indictment of running a bogus invoicing scheme to create fake tax deductions. Mr. Haas was held without bail after his arraignment in Federal District Court in Los Angeles. In court papers asking that Mr. Haas be held until his trial, the Justice Department said that he could flee the country in his Cessna jet and head for China, where he has business interests. The Justice Department said China did not have a treaty allowing extradition of accused tax cheats. It called him a flight risk, saying he has few ties to the community, is single, has no children and faces about 20 years in prison if convicted. Haas Automation, in a statement, said that Mr. Haas was not guilty and that the tax issues "revolve around" the company's former chief financial officer, John Phillips. It said the indictment would have no effect on the business. Last month, Haas Automation won, by default, a lawsuit filed in Ventura County Superior Court accusing Mr. Phillips of cheating the company out of $27.5 million. The indictment also described two other invoicing schemes. One involved a NASCAR race team sponsored by Haas Automotive and the other a land title company. The indictment gave few details other than stating that all the money paid in those two schemes was funneled back to Mr. Haas, suggesting that he may have operated them without confederates.(New York Times)(6-20-2006)

    • SRT Paint Schemes for #9 and #19 at Sonoma: Evernham Motorsports teammates #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #9-Kasey Kahne will run special SRT paint schemes on their Dodge Chargers at Infineon Raceway. Dodge SRT vehicles offer the boldest, most powerful performance for the Dodge lineup. Every SRT vehicle showcases five key aspects: Exterior styling that resonates with the brand image; race-inspired interiors; top-notch ride and handling characteristics across a dynamic range; benchmark braking; and standout powertrain. Kahne’s #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge SRT Charger will carry their signature bold red Dodge color, in addition to white on the rear quarter panels and black striping along the sides. SRT lettering is on the sides and hood of Kahne’s Dodge Charger. Mayfield’s #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge SRT Charger will take a more bold tact with bright yellow on the hood and the sides, eventually blending to black on the rear quarter panels and back of the car. It will be a distinctive look for the #19 Dodge Charger. Like the #9, red SRT lettering will be on the hood and quarter panels. Another notable change in the schemes is the Dodge Charger’s rear panel, which displays Dodge’s website with information regarding the SRT program and encourages viewers to visit Dodge’s SRT website, Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR), see images on the #9 Team Schemes and #19 Team Schemes pages.(6-20-2006)

    • Cup to run unleaded fuel in 2007 UPDATE: Nextel Cup cars will be mandated to run unleaded fuel beginning with next season's Daytona 500. NASCAR's Busch Series cars will switch to unleaded fuel on a temporary basis starting with the July 29 race at Gateway International Raceway, before running the brand full-time in 2007 along with the Cup and Craftsman Truck Series. "The plans are for Sunoco to evaluate what they learned for three or four races in the Busch Series beginning at Gateway, then come back later and finish out the [2006] season in the Busch and Truck Series running unleaded fuel," NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-19-2006)
      UPDATE: NASCAR announced today a timeline to phase unleaded fuel into its three national series beginning next month. The unleaded fuel will first be used for the NASCAR Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway on July 29. The plan is to evaluate the use of unleaded fuel over several NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events this season before making a decision on when it will be mandated for all three national series. Unleaded fuel will be used for four weeks before undergoing an evaluation period. After the race weekend at Gateway, the fuel will be used at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis on Aug. 4 and 5 for the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; at Watkins Glen for the NASCAR Busch Series and Nashville Superspeedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Aug. 12; and at Michigan International Speedway for the NASCAR Busch Series on Aug. 19.
      Following those events, competitors will return to their regular fuel for four weeks while NASCAR, Sunoco and team engine builders evaluate the effects of the new fuel. On Sept. 23 the NASCAR Busch Series (Dover International Speedway) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) will resume using unleaded fuel for the remainder of the season.
      In addition, NASCAR, Sunoco and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series engine builders plan to work with the ARCA Re/Max Series at Talladega Superspeedway to study the use of unleaded fuel in engines with restrictor plates. Following the season, a decision will be made on the future of unleaded fuel. NASCAR had previously announced a switch to unleaded fuel by 2008. The current goal is to have all three national series using unleaded fuel fulltime by Speedweeks of 2007.(NASCAR PR)(6-20-2006)

    • Congrats: Haley Munksgard, wife of MB2 Motorsports pit crew coach Lance Munksgard, gave birth to the couple's first child, Colton Lance, Thursday, June 15 at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, N.C. Colton Lance weighed 10 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 21 inches long. Mother and son are doing great.(6-20-2006)

      News from June 19, 2006

    • Elliott tests for MWR at Milwaukee and Kentucky: This week, Bill Elliott is testing the #00 Burger King NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series entry at the Milwaukee Mile and Kentucky Speedway in preparation for the five races he will compete in this season for Michael Waltrip Racing. "Today, we were just shaking down the Burger King car at the Milwaukee Mile so that we can be well prepared for the race at Loudon (New Hampshire International Speedway) in a few weeks," Elliott stated. "We'll be at Kentucky Speedway tomorrow to work on the car for our first race of the season at Chicagoland Speedway. We"ll test at the track for two days. I think Chicagoland will be one of the most challenging tracks for us." Crew Chief Larry Carter added. "We're close to being ready for our first race at Chicagoland Speedway. Our test today went well. We are plugging away at making the car rotate better because it was tight today. Overall, the car is really sound and we are pleased with our progress." The first race for Bill Elliott and the #00 Burger King Michael Waltrip Racing team will take place on July 9th at Chicagoland Speedway.(MWR PR)(6-19-2006)

    • Overnight Michigan TV ratings match 2005: Overnight Nielsen Media Research numbers show that Fox's broadcast of Sunday's 3M Performance 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race matched the 2005 event, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. This year's race earned a 4.0 rating and a 9 share, while the 2005 event earned a 4.0 overnight rating and a 10 share.(

    • Final Pocono TV ratings down: Fox's broadcast of the June 11 Pocono 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.2 and a 12 market share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 7.1% lower than the 5.6/14 the race earned in 2005.(

    • Dodge's Fernandez to Ganassi? Hearing that Dodge Motorsports Director, John Fernandez, will assume the General Managers position at Chip Ganassi Racing on July 1st. Fernandez replaces Andy Graves, who stepped down a few months ago.(6-19-2006)

    • Sadler looking to leave RYR? UPDATE Denied: Elliott Sadler has let it be known he isn't happy in the team's [Robert Yates Racing] #38 car and appears to be looking for a way out, especially after teammate #88-Dale Jarrett accepted a Toyota pension for 2007, with Michael Waltrip. Where exactly Sadler would go is a question, although everyone who is anyone is churning in Toyota's rumor mill right now.(Speed Channel)(6-17-2006)
      UPDATE: Car owner Robert Yates denied Internet reports that Elliott Sadler is unhappy and wants out of his contract to drive the #38 Ford that runs through 2008. "That's not what he's telling me," Yates said. "That's all I can really say. I guess the grandstand can start speculating anything. So far, he hasn't communicated that with me yet."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-19-2006)

    • Special UPS scheme at Richmond: The #88 UPS Ford Fusion will showcase UPS Freight services during the running of the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 9, 2006. The UPS Freight car will take on the gray and brown colors of UPS Freight tractors and trailers, while maintaining accents from the design of the standard #88 UPS Ford paint scheme. Instead of white, gray is used as the base for the UPS Freight car. A bit more brown than usually appears on the #88 Ford has been added to the roof and deck lid. Gold and red accent stripes, along with gold #88's complete the design. With a reflective finish, the #88 UPS Freight car is sure to shine under the lights at Richmond. With UPS Freight, moving heavy goods throughout North America is as easy as shipping a package across town. To learn more about UPS Freight services, visit Site), see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(6-19-2006)

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