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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    JULY 3-9, 2006





      News from July 9, 2006

    • Montoya to NASCAR? #42? UPDATE: Another big F1 name which very recently surfaced in regard to a possible American move is former open wheel champion and Indy 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya, who likely is losing his F1 ride with the Mercedes-McLaren team at the end of this season. In the past few weeks, Montoya's name has been linked to his old boss, Chip Ganassi, who last month told Autosport magazine, "I'd love to have Montoya back. I'd take him in a second," a comment which many had interpreted as having the Colombian take a seat in one of Ganassi's IRL cars. However, according to sources close to Montoya, what the 31-year-old former CART champion really is interested in is Ganassi's soon-to-be vacant #42 Nextel Cup car. Despite never having competed in a Cup car, Montoya did spend some time behind the wheel of Jeff Gordon's Monte Carlo in June 2003. Most observers agree that Montoya did a fine job his first time in a stock car, although he did misjudge the braking power of the much-heavier stock car and overshot the first turn. He went on to run six laps at full speed. Last weekend at the U.S. Grand Prix, Montoya was part of a press conference with DaimlerChrysler chairman Dr. Dieter Zetsche [Ask Dr Z], his current boss Ron Dennis and NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham, who helped usher Dodge back into NASCAR. DaimlerChrysler is the manufacturer of both the Dodge and Mercedes Benz brands, and Ganassi, of course, runs Dodges in Nextel Cup. Although staged during the F1 race weekend, the press event was designed to reaffirm DaimlerChrysler's commitment to motorsports and specifically to NASCAR, which it recently has been rumored to be leaving. However, it also provided an excellent opportunity for Montoya to be reintroduced to the American press and linked to NASCAR, as well as to be embraced by DaimlerChrysler's top execs. They see Montoya as a strong link between their company and the Latino audience, especially in regard to a series like Nextel Cup. Should Montoya take up residence with Ganassi's NASCAR team, he would replace another former open wheel racer in Casey Mears, who heads to Hendrick Motorsports next season.(in part from Yahoo Sports)
      MORE: been told that Montoya has been signed by Ganassi to take over the #42 Dodge in 2007 and will run a few Busch Series races this year.
      UPDATE: Juan Pablo Montoya is leaving the elite Formula One series at the end of the season, bringing star power and international appeal to NASCAR. The Colombian driver will reunite with team owner Chip Ganassi, with whom he had considerable success in Indy-style racing before moving up to Formula One in 2001. Montoya joined Ganassi at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday morning, meeting with his new crew members and attending a closed-door meeting with NASCAR president Mike Helton and other series officials. Ganassi said Montoya will drive the #42 car full-time next season, but may enter selected Busch Series this year after he finishes the F1 season with the McLaren-Mercedes team. Montoya, who won a CART series championship in 1999 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2000 with Ganassi, will replace Casey Mears, who will drive for Hendrick Motorsports next season.(Associated Press and Chip Ganassi Racing PR)(7-9-2006)

    • WIth the loss of UPS, what is up with RYR? Leicht? Ward? Tide? UPDATE Tide gone?: [#88 Team Owner Robert] Yates made it clear he has no ill feelings toward the UPS executives who opted to make the move [to Waltrip and leaving RYR]. He placed blame on himself for allowing the team's performance to decline the past few years. Yates, though, is optimistic things will turn around soon and still envisions a scenario in which Robert Yates Racing fields four Cup teams next year. First, though, he must find a driver and sponsor for Jarrett's #88 Ford. A leading candidate on the sponsorship front is CitiFinancial, which sponsors RYR's Busch Series team. Stephen Leicht could move into that seat as well. "We think enough of him and we feel like with enough effort this year and energy put forth, I think he'll be able to drive this Cup car very easily," said Yates, adding that Leicht could make a few Nextel Cup starts later this season. Ward Burton's name has also been linked to RYR and the owner said that's a possibility. If CitiFinancial were to move up to replace UPS, and Burton brought a sponsor with him, that would give Yates at least a three-car program for next year. "We certainly have room. He's talking to some really good sponsors and if they want to jump in and do something, I think that's a good package," Yates said of Burton. "If somebody believes in Ward, and Ward believes in them and he believes in us, I think that that would fill out 25 percent of our deal." While there is still speculation #38-Elliott Sadler [the other Yates driver] could opt to move elsewhere for next year, Yates said his goal is to make the team so attractive that Sadler wouldn't consider leaving.(SceneDaily.com)
      AND Citi Financial, which sponsors Yates's Busch efforts, may be ready for a major role, Doug Yates said. He also noted that Tide, which has backed Cal Wells's team since 2000, will be contractually free after this season and may be available.(Speed Channel)(7-8-2006)
      UPDATE: hearing Tide will NOT being going to RYR as a sponsor and will NOT be back as a full primary sponsor in 2007 on any Nextel Cup team, currently Tide sponsors the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy that Travis Kvapil drives.(7-9-2006)

    • Shepherd back at Loudon: Morgan Shepherd said on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain that he will be making an announcement soon that he has taken a new business partner, will continue to race and plans to race in this coming weekend's Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway.(7-9-2006)

    • New Dodge Car in 2007? Challenger? during the Nextel Cup race at Chicago, TNT's Bill Weber mentioned that Dodge would be submitting a new Dodge car to NASCAR next week to be run in 2007. Last week the new Dodge Challenger was unveiled at Daytona and Dodge said it could be run in NASCAR in the future.(7-9-2006)

    • Thanks: to Speed Channel's Tradin' Paint show for the segment about the Jayski site and seeming to understand how I work and run the site. Tradin' Paint is air at various times on Saturday's from the event location that week, hosted by John Roberts and Nextel Cup driver Michael Waltrip at the SPEED Stage along with a media guest where they discuss different NASCAR topics, like the Chase points system, car or tomorrow, new teams, internet sites, etc. Nate Ryan of USA Today was the media personality this week.(7-9-2006)

    • Jeff Gordon wins at Chicago: #24-Jeff Gordon won the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, for his 2nd win of the year, 75th of his career [one behind Dale Earnhardt] and his first ever win at Chicago. So Gordon has now won at all the track Cup run at BUT Phoenix, Texas and Homestead. The win is a bit controversial as with two laps to go, Gordon got a run on #17-Kenseth who was leading, Kenseth slowed a bit in the turn and Gordon got into Kenseth, causing Kenseth to spin around. Kenseth finished 21st after running out of fuel anyway and then getting caught up in a wreck at the finish of the race. #31-Jeff Burton, the pole sitter, finished 2nd, followed by #5-Kyle Busch, #29-Kevin Harvick and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. With Kenseth's wreck and finish, #48-Jimmie Johnson maintains the points, up to 48 points over Kenseth. #20-Tony Stewart was running 3rd when he ran out of gas on the final restart. There were 18 lead changes among 10 drivers and 8 cautions for 34 laps.
      Race Results on my Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points page.
      Race Rundown: see my Chicago Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-9-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Chicago [18 of 36 races]:
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 2651
      #17-Matt Kenseth 2600 -51
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2394 -257
      #31-Jeff Burton 2327 -324
      #9-Kasey Kahne 2303 -348
      #6-Mark Martin 2291 -360
      #20-Tony Stewart 2274 -377
      #5-Kyle Busch 2265 -386
      #29-Kevin Harvick 2253 -398
      #24-Jeff Gordon 2219 -432
      and fighting for 10th
      #16-Biffle National 2172 -47 out of 10th and the chase
      #11-Hamlin 2169 -50
      #2-Busch 2087 -132
      #99-Edwards 2026 -193
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(7-9-2006)

    • Robby to add a 2nd team? RYR alliance? Robby Gordon Motorsports will expand in 2007, possibly to a two-car operation in-house or by way of an alliance with an existing team. Among those on the radar: Robert Yates Racing. RGM and RYR executives said Saturday they're discussing the future with "a lot of people," and RGM CEO John Story confirmed that Yates is among the teams with which RGM has discussed a future partnership. Whether or not the union comes to fruition, though, is up in the air. "We've spoken to [Yates]," Story said. "We've talked to them, had some general discussions. But we're not yet ready. We've got to get everything on the table, lay it out and see what's best for us. RGM has a contract offer from General Motors for 2007, and regardless the chosen direction Gordon would maintain an ownership role. Story said RGM would prefer to add a second Nextel Cup Series team, and has ongoing discussions regarding the second program with several potential sponsors. "We have a lot going on as far as having a second car in our program," Story said. "That's the most exciting thing. That was the plan all along." Story said Gordon was not in consideration to drive the No. 88 vacated by 1999 Cup Series champ Dale Jarrett. "Robby will not drive the 88 car," Story said. "Robby will drive that 7 car until the end of his career. That much I know -- unless something changes that none of us are aware of." (in part from NASCAR.com/Marty Smith)(7-9-2006)

    • NASCAR getting tougher: NASCAR President Mike Helton is telling competitors at this weekend’s NASCAR event at Chicagoland Speedway that he is upping the punishment for those who violate the rules. Case in point: A pair of six-week suspensions handed out this week for violations that occurred at Daytona International Speedway. Helton told the Busch teams during their pre-race meeting, and he is expected to do the same with the Nextel Cup teams prior to Sunday’s race.(Ford Racing)(7-9-2006)

    • Osborne back to the #99? Despite an early season shakeup that saw him lose his crew chief to teammate #26-Jamie McMurray, #99-Carl Edwards heads into Sunday's race at Chicagoland Speedway just outside the top 10 in the Nextel Cup standings. And now, team owner Jack Roush might reunite Edwards with crew chief Bob Osborne for the stretch run to NASCAR's version of the playoffs. In an attempt to spark his team's performance, Roush made another of his trademark crew chief swaps in April, moving Osborne from Edwards' #99 team to McMurray's #26. Wally Brown, the lead engineer on Edwards' team, was promoted to become Edwards' new crew chief. But those moves might turn out to be temporary. Edwards said Saturday that Roush made the moves on a 90-day provisional basis, and expects to meet with Roush soon to re-evaluate the changes. "The 90 days is up this week, so I don't know exactly what we're going to do," Edwards said. "I'm sure we'll have a meeting about it. Hopefully I get a say in this one." And if Edwards does have his say, will he ask to have Osborne back or stick with Brown? "I don't know yet," Edwards said. "I just have to sit down and think about it. I've been trying to just go along and work and not worry about it too much. I guess we'll just all sit down and talk as a group - we all know each other really well - and decide what's best for everybody and go on." Roush said reuniting Edwards with Osborne is a possibility. "There is a chance," Roush said. "It's not been on my mind, but there is a chance." Roush said he has been pleased with the results of his changes so far. His main goals were to have Osborne work with McMurray, who joined the team in the offseason, to get him used to driving cars that are built and set up more closely to those of his teammates.(Associated Press)(7-9-2006)

    • Rumblings - Chicago Notes: Controvery reigns and Jeff Gordon's in Victory Lane! Pick your story....Matt Kenseth slowed down, Kenseth got loose, Gordon slammed Kenseth. In any event, Kenseth went for a ride on lap 164 today at Chicagoland Speedway and Jeff Gordon won the USG Sheetrock 405 for his second win of the season, second in three weeks, and the 75th of his NEXTEL Cup career....inching him closer to Dale Earnhardt on the all-time win list. His next victory will bring him into a tie with The Intimidator at 6th on the lifetime list. Win #145 for Hendrick Motorsports was worth $327,761 from the over $6M in posted awards. There are gonna be more than a couple upset drivers today....that little three laps of overtime meant a few cars couldn't make the end on fuel. Kenseth sure went from the penthouse to the junk heap in a couple laps....
      Jeff Burton (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Bristol last August.
      Clint Bowyer (9th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Phoenix in April.
      J. J. Yeley (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th at California in February.
      Dave Blaney (17th) had his best finish since he was 17th at Martinsville in April.
      STREAKIN....Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10's in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 7 Top-10's in the last 8 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Clint Bowyer (+29), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-24), followed by Kasey Kahne (-20). A very slow day in the Shaft.
      Jeff Gordon rides his win into the Top-10 (that all-important "Chase" position). Jimmie Johnson's lead over Matt Kenseth is now at 51 markers. Jeff Burton (7th to 4th), Reed Sorenson (24th to 21st), and Dave Blaney (33rd to 30th) all made the best move forward today. Dale Jarrett (21st to 24th) fell three spots.(Stock Car Fans)(7-9-2006)

    • Chicago Race Notes:
      • Jeff Gordon won the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, scoring his 75th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 455th career start.
      • Gordon remained seventh on NASCAR’s all-time winners list, but is now just one victory behind sixth-place Dale Earnhardt.
      • This is Gordon’s 51st victory on a superspeedway but first victory on a non-restrictor plate superspeedway since Indianapolis in August 2004. It also is his first victory on a 1.5-mile track since Atlanta in October 2003.
      • Gordon scored his second victory in 2006. He also won at Infineon Raceway.
      • This was Gordon’s first victory and his fourth top-10 finish in six races at Chicagoland - all top fives.
      • Gordon has posted victories at all but three of the current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tracks (Homestead, Phoenix and Texas).
      • Gordon scored his eighth top-10 finish in 18 races this season, including three of the last four races.
      • Gordon climbed from 12th to 10th in the point standings and is now 47 points ahead of 11th-place Greg Biffle.
      • Gordon led four times for 20 laps including the final seven laps.
      • This was team owner Rick Hendrick’s 145th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Hendrick has scored five victories in 2006. It is Hendrick’s first victory at Chicagoland Speedway.
      • Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season 1986-2006, 21 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Matt Kenseth led the most laps for the second time in 2006. He also led the most laps at Las Vegas.
      • Jeff Burton (second) scored his 11th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his 12th straight top-15 finish extending a streak that began at Texas in April. It marked his second top-10 finish in six races at Chicagoland Speedway.
      • Kyle Busch (third) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in two races at Chicagoland. Busch remained eighth in the point standings and is now 93 points ahead of 11th-place Greg Biffle.
      • Kevin Harvick (fourth) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006. This was his fourth top-10 in six races at Chicagoland Speedway. Harvick extended a 30-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fifth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2006 and his third top-10 finish in six races at Chicagoland.
      • Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his 14th top-10 finish in 2006, the most of all drivers. He remained first in the point standings and is now 51 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth. Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 87 consecutive races. Johnson moved into sole possession of eighth in consecutive races in the top-10 since the point system was established in 1975.
      • Reed Sorenson (seventh), Clint Bowyer (ninth) and J.J. Yeley (10th) all posted top-10 finishes, the first time in 2006 that three rookies finished in the top-10.
      • Kurt Busch (eighth) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fifth straight top-10 finish extending a streak that began at Pocono. It marked his fourth top-10 finish in six races at Chicagoland Speedway.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 18 races this season.
      • Ryan Newman finished 36th at Chicagoland Speedway ending a streak of five straight top-15 finishes.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-9-2006)

    • Ricky Bobby and Crew at Chicago: Promoting the Aug. 4 release of the NASCAR-related film "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," several motion-picture stars will be at Chicagoland Speedway today, including funnyman Will Ferrell, the film's star and the grand marshal of the USG Sheetrock 400. Ferrell's co-stars — John C. Reilly, Michael Clarke Duncan and Leslie Bibb — also are expected to be in attendance. Reilly, a member of Brother Rice High School's Hall of Fame, and Duncan, a former Peoples Gas employee, are South Side natives.(Daily Southtown)(7-9-2006)


      News from July 8, 2006

    • Ginn buys into MB2 Motorsports: on Speed Channel's early NASCAR LIVE before coverage of Chicago Happy Hour practice, it was reported by Bob Dilner, that the owner of Ginn Resorts [that would be Edward R. "Bobby" Ginn] has bought into MB2 Motorsports, owned by Nelson Bowers and Jay Frye. Ginn Resorts has also been the primary sponsor on the #14 MB2 Motorsports Chevy that Sterling Marlin drives. #01-Joe Nemechek is the team's other driver.(7-8-2006)

    • Ward Burton...MWR? "Is it a coup for our team? I guess it's fair to say it is," Michael Waltrip said of the new two-year UPS sponsorship, which he said now sets the stage for a three-car, Nextel Cup operation. "We don't have it done yet, but we think we'll be able to announce in the next week or two who the driver will be," Waltrip said of Team Three, which will be jointly sponsored by Burger King and Pizza Hut [actually the sponsor is Domino's Pizza]. And it could very well be Ward Burton, the 2002 Daytona 500 winner, idle this season, Waltrip said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-8-2006)

    • Get Well: Well wishes go out to veteran Atlanta Journal-Constitution NASCAR beat reporter Rick Minter, who was hospitalized earlier this week with what was described as a “minor stroke.”(Ford Racing)(7-8-2006)


      News from July 7, 2006

    • Mike Wallace's daughter to make Late Model debut: This summer, 18-year-old, recent graduate and daughter of Busch and Nextel Cup driver Mike, Chrissy Wallace will continue her move up in the ranks of racing when she will pilot a late model at the famous Hickory Motor Speedway for multiple races. Driving for Performance Center Racing based out of Statesville, NC, Chrissy is scheduled to drive 5 races at HMS.(more on the Mike Wallace site)(7-8-2006)

    • Latest on UPS UPDATE 2 Official to MWR: looks like after all the runors that have been floating with UPS [#9-Kahne, #19-Mayfield, #16-Biffle, #88-RYR] that UPS will announced this weekend in Chicago that is will stay with Dale Jarrett and move to the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Jarrett will drive in 2007 and leave the #88 RYR Ford.(7-4-2006)
      UPDATE: there is a scheduled UPS Racing Announcement on Friday, July 7, 2006 at Chicagoland Speedway.(PR)(7-6-2006)
      UPDATE 2: UPS announced a two-year agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing to sponsor driver Dale Jarrett in a Toyota Camry for the 2007 and 2008 seasons of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. The announcement at the Chicagoland Speedway comes after Jarrett agreed earlier this year to move to the Waltrip organization and race a Camry starting with the 2007 Daytona 500. "Dale Jarrett has been an outstanding ambassador for the UPS brand both on and off the track and we expect more great things to come as we join him at Michael Waltrip Racing as the sponsor of his Toyota Camry," said Patrick Guilbert, vice president of sponsorships for UPS. "Since our relationship with Dale began in 2001, his contributions have helped UPS build a powerful sponsorship program that resonates with our employees, customers and NASCAR fans alike." The decision to join Michael Waltrip Racing places UPS among the first sponsors to adorn a Toyota Camry in 2007, which is the manufacturer's inaugural season in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. "The UPS name also is synonymous with speed and that's what Michael Waltrip Racing intends to deliver to UPS and Dale with the new UPS Toyota Camry," said owner Michael Waltrip. "From a business perspective, the addition of UPS expands our resources, which enables us to build the best teams and in turn grow our organization at a pace that will enhance our ability to win races." UPS will continue its sponsorship of Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates Racing through the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series season.(UPS Site)(7-7-2006)

    • Fifty-One Nextel Cup Drivers to Test at Indy July 10-12: Testing for the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will take place Monday, July 10, Tuesday, July 11 and Wednesday, July 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. A total of 51 Nextel Cup Series drivers are scheduled to test on those days. Teams can only test a maximum of two out of the three available days. The hours of testing are 9:00am - 6:00pm/et each day. This is the only test session scheduled before the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 6. Fans are welcome to view the testing for free from the South Terrace grandstands, located inside the track between Turns 1 and 2.
      Testong Roster (Subject to Change):
      #01-Joe Nemechek, #07-Clint Bowyer, #1-Martin Truex Jr., #2-Kurt Busch, #4-Scott Wimmer, #5-Kyle Busch, #6-Mark Martin, #7-Robby Gordon, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #9-Kasey Kahne, #10-Scott Riggs, #11-Denny Hamlin, #12-Ryan Newman, #14-Sterling Marlin, #15-Paul Menard, #16-Greg Biffle, #17-Matt Kenseth, #18-J.J. Yeley, #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #20-Tony Stewart, #21-Ken Schrader, #22-Dave Blaney, #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, #26-Jamie McMurray, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #32-Travis Kvapil, #37-John Andretti, #38-Elliott Sadler, #40-David Stremme, #41-Reed Sorenson, #42-Casey Mears, #43-Bobby Labonte, #45-Kyle Petty, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #49-Kevin Lepage, #55-Michael Waltrip, #61-Chad Chaffin, #66-Jeff Green, #72-Kertus Davis, #88-Dale Jarrett, #96-Tony Raines, #99-Carl Edwards, #00-Bill Elliott, #04-Bobby Hamilton Jr., #47-Jon Wood, #51-Mike Garvey, #60-Boris Said; #70-Johnny Sauter, #78-Kenny Wallace.(IMS PR)(7-7/8-2006)

    • Nadeau preparing for a possible comeback: Jerry Nadeau simply can't get racing out of his system. More than three years after a crash [May 2003] at Richmond nearly ended his life, he's looking to test an ARCA car. If that goes well, he'd like to enter a race either late this year or in 2007. Then again, Nadeau, 36, knows that might not be the best idea. The left side of his body will always be numb after suffering a severe head injury in his 2003 crash, and the next hard hit might be his last. He's trying to find his place in the sport, but left a role coaching David Gilliland to focus on his next step. Nadeau plans to test with MB2 Motorsports.(NASCAR Scene)(7-7-2006)

    • Burton wins pole at Chicago: #31-Jeff Burton won the Budweiser Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway with a speed of 181.647mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 4th of his career. #25-Brian Vickers will start 2nd, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #29-Kevin Harvick and #48-Jimmie Johnson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 25th. #06-Todd Kleuver will make his Nextel Cup debut, starting 35th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #40-Stremme, #00-Elliott, #44-Labonte, #4-Wimmer, #06-Kleuver, #55-Waltrip, #78-Wallace and #32-Kvapil. Missing the race were: #15-Menard, #61-Blount, #51-Garvey, #04-Sherman, #34-Long, #49-Lepage and #74-Cope. See the qualifying results, starting linweup, pole progression on my Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(7-7-2006)

    • Ramblings - Chicago - Notes: Jeff Burton takes the Bud Pole this afternoon at Chicagoland Speedway for Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400 and it's his second top-spot of the season. Burton led us to the green at Daytona for the 500 in February, and this will be the 4th time in his NEXTEL Cup career he's paced the field to the start.
      Brian Vickers will start alongside. This is his best starting spot since he had the pole at New Hampshire last July.
      Dave Blaney (15th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 14th at Martinsville in April.
      Scott Wimmer (28th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 27th at Homestead last November.
      Welcome to Todd Kluever. The heir apparent to Mark Martin's ride for the 2007 season starts his first ever Cup event 28th.
      STREAKIN....Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
      Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans)(7-7-2006)

    • Chicago Qualifying Notes:
      • Jeff Burton won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the USG Sheetrock 400, lapping Chicagoland Speedway in 29.728 seconds at 181.647 mph. Jimmie Johnson holds the track-qualifying record of 28.701 seconds, 188.147 mph - set July 8, 2005. • This is Burton’s fourth career Bud Pole in 421 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
      • This is his second Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in 2006. This is the first year that Burton has had more than one Bud Pole in a season in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career
      • This is Burton’s first Bud Pole and second top-10 start in six race at Chicagoland Speedway.
      • Burton became the fourth repeat Bud Pole winner in 2006. Kasey Kahne (four), Greg Biffle (two) and Kurt Busch (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
      • Burton became the sixth different Bud Pole winner in six races at Chicagoland Speedway, joining Todd Bodine (2001), Ryan Newman (2002), Tony Stewart (2003), Jeff Gordon (2004) and Jimmie Johnson (2005).
      • Brian Vickers posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 29.782 seconds, 181.318 mph – and will join Burton on the front row for the USG Sheetrock 400. This is his sixth top-10 start of 2006. Vickers has posted three top-10 starts in three races at Chicago. – all top-fives.
      • This is the fifth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has eight Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Kasey Kahne (third) posted his second top-10 start in three races at Chicago – both topfives. This is his 11th top-10 start in 2006.
      • Kevin Harvick (fourth) has started from the top-10 in three of his six races at Chicago. This is Harvick’s fifth top-10 start of the 2006 season.
      • Jimmie Johnson (fifth) posted his fourth top-10 start in five races at Chicago. This is Johnson’s 12th top-10 start of 2006.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-7-2006)

    • Budweiser to Feature Dale Jr on 12-Ounce Cans, Aluminum Bottles and Packaging: Though Dale Jr.'s image has appeared on Budweiser plastic and shrink wrapped bottles, and 16-ounce cans in the past, the move to Budweiser's primary package and the aluminum bottle will be a first for NASCAR's most popular driver. The metallic red Budweiser aluminum bottle will feature a white #8 logo, racing and checkered-flag silhouettes, and Dale Jr.'s signature, wrapped in a unique red four-pack carrier or 15-pack loose box featuring the #8 Budweiser car. The Budweiser-Dale Jr. aluminum bottles will roll out nationally on July 24. Dale Jr.'s image, car and red #8 will grace the main panel of Budweiser's 12-ounce cans and will be distributed only in race markets within 30 days of the final 16 races of the Nextel Cup season. The program begins July 10 in Indianapolis in advance of the Allstate 400 on Aug. 6.(fingerprint inc./Budweiser PR)(7-7-2006)

    • Rusty joins Reality Racing: Reality Racing, Inc. has announced that Rusty Wallace has joined its group of racing legends who will be participating in the Reality Racing, The Rookie Challenge television series. Wallace will serve as a consultant to the Reality Racing project. Racing legends Bobby and Donnie Allison, Cale Yarborough, NedJarrett, Buddy Baker, Junior Johnson and Geoff Bodine were recently announced as judges for the Series that will give everyday people who love stock car racing the opportunity to become a stock car driver. Information on Reality Racing: The Rookie Challenge can be obtained by visiting the Reality Racing web site at realityracingtv.com.(PR)(7-7-2006)

    • Changes at Front Row Motorsports: Chad Blount will drive the #61 Oak Gloves Dodge and Carl Long will drive the #34 Chevrolet for Front Row Motorsports this weekend at Chicagoland. Front Row Motorsports driver Chad Chaffin is still in the fold at FRM, but has taken a full time ride in the #59 Harris Trucking Motorsports Truck in the Craftsman Truck Series. Due to scheduling conflicts he will be forced to miss three Nextel Cup starts for FRM. “We were able to reach an agreement with Chad that allows him the freedom to pursue this opportunity in the Craftsman Truck Series while only missing three races for us,” commented FRM owner Bob Jenkins. “This is an excellent opportunity for Chad that we didn’t want to stand in the way off. It also gives us the opportunity to give more seat time to some other drivers and further allow us to evaluate our program.”(Front Row Motorsports PR)(7-7-2006)


      News from July 6, 2006

    • Final Daytona TV ratings off: Final Nielsen Media Research numbers show that Fox's broadcast of last Saturday night's Pepsi 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway earned a 5.1 rating and an 11 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating was 7.3% lower than the 5.5/13 NBC recorded when it aired the race last year.(SceneDaily.com), for Ratings chart and past races, see my TV Ratings page.(7-6-2006)

    • Wood Brothers Racing: One, Two or No Teams? UPDATE: Eddie Wood isn’t being flippant when he says, “We might have one car, two cars or no cars next year. Heck, we might all be gone from here. Who knows? Right now, I don’t.” The co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing expects to have at least one Ford next year, either for his son, Jon, or current driver #21-Ken Schrader. “Jon’s not under contract, so I’ll let him go if he gets a good offer somewhere else,” Wood said minutes before the Pepsi 400. “The deal with us is, our sponsorships are year-to-year. Little Debbie is pleased and the Air Force is pleased, and we think MotorCraft is pleased. We’d really like to have all three of them back. We can’t make a lot of plans until we get all those deals in place. Ideally, we’d like a Fusion for Jon and another for Ken. We’d like to get the Clorox people to come aboard on a car for Jon. But, honestly—right now—I can’t begin to say what we’re gonna do next year. But, yeah, I think we’ll have something out here.”(Ford Racing)(7-3-2006)
      UPDATE: Eddie Wood's family has been in the racing business on the NASCAR circuit since 1953. Team owner Eddie Wood said he's not sure it will last beyond this season. Wood said he doesn't have sponsorship lined up yet for next season and without it, the family operation might have to close. The team hopes to have two full-time Nextel Cup Series cars next year - one for Ken Schrader and a second for Wood's son, Jon. "We can't make a lot of plans until we get all those (sponsorship) deals in place," Wood said. "Ideally, we'd like a Fusion for Jon and another for Ken. Honestly, right now I can't begin to say what we're going to do next year, but I think we'll have something out there."(Augusta Chronicle)(7-6-2006)

    • Will Ferrell joins Wally's World in Chicago: The second half of the NASCAR season revs up on TNT on Sat., July 8 with Busch Series Racing from Chicago at 4:00pm/et. TNT NASCAR coverage continues on Sun., July 9 with the Bank of America Countdown to Green pre-race show at 3:00pm/et, featuring Talladega Nights star Will Ferrell taking a spin with TNT's Wally Dallenbach in this season's first edition of Wally's World. Following at 3:30pm/et is Nextel Cup Series Racing from Chicago. The TNT NASCAR announcing stable will include Bill Weber (pre-race host and play-by-play), Benny Parsons (analyst), Wally Dallenbach (analyst), Allen Bestwick (pit reporter), Dave Burns (pit reporter), Marty Snider (pit reporter) and Matt Yocum (pit reporter).(TNT PR)(7-6-2006)

    • Chicago Goodyear Tire Notes: Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will be the same tire codes at Chicagoland this weekend . . . this is the first time that Goodyear has brought this exact combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . however, teams have run this left-side code (D-4060) earlier this season at Dover (both series) and Michigan (Cup only) . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams in both series are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Chicagoland . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, pressures and more on my Chicago Race Info/Rundown Page.(7-7-2006)

    • AFN to end radio play-by-play sports: Troops apparently would rather watch their sports than listen to them, so American Forces Network plans to pull the plug on all play-by-play sports radio later this summer. The Sept. 9 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway will be the last AFN radio sports play-by-play broadcast, the Defense Department announced Wednesday. AFN Radio already has stopped broadcasting most sports events, but the network will complete contracts with Motor Racing Network and the Indy Racing League. AFN cited surveys that showed service members prefer to watch sports on television rather than listen to them on radio. “When radio sports coverage comes on, most listeners tune out,” said Robert Matheson, director of broadcasting at the AFN Broadcast Center in Riverside, Calif. “Our mission is better served when the largest possible audience tunes in to non-sports programming and spends more time listening.” AFN television used to carry only one or two games a week, he said, but now has 80 events a week over a variety of networks..(Air Force Times)(7-6-2006)

    • Winston Kelley to run NASCAR HOF: A Duke Power vice president and long-time racing broadcaster will be named executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame today. Winston Kelley, whose family has close ties to racing, was part of the team of city boosters that won the hall of fame over Atlanta, Kansas City and NASCAR's home city of Daytona Beach, among other cities. Kelley's connections to both the local community and the racing world are invaluable, said people involved with the hall effort. Kelley is a pit reporter for the Motor Racing Network, lending his voice and racing expertise to radio broadcasts. He's been involved in broadcasting races since the 1980s. Kelley also served as emcee for several events related to wooing the hall of fame in Charlotte, including the announcement by NASCAR Chairman Brian France in March that Charlotte had won the right to build the hall. The project will cost $155 million, the bulk of which will be paid for with a hike in Mecklenburg County's hotel tax. Kelley and an exhibit designer will be the first employees hired for the hall, which is expected to begin construction next spring.(Charlotte Observer)(7-6-2006)

    • Yates and Rensi Form Alliance: Robert and Doug Yates announced today the formation of a Busch Series strategic alliance with Team Rensi Motorsports, a leading Busch Series racing team [#25, #35]. The strategic alliance will allow these two Ford supported NASCAR organizations to work together to enhance their Busch Series operations as well as partner on sponsorship and marketing for both organizations.(Team Rensi PR)(7-6-2006)

    • Wally wins at Pike's Peak: In preparation for his "Wally's World" debut in Chicago this coming week, as well as his NASCAR on NBC duties, Wally Dallenbach wheeled his Vortex Valve/Bass Pro-sponsored open wheel racer to a class win at the 84th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (www.ppihc.com), the second oldest race in the United States. Brother Paul came in second in class, a mere two seconds behind Wally. Japan's Nubohiro Tajima and Leonard Vahsholtz were deemed overall co-champions of the "Race to the Clouds". Dallenbach owns the television rights to the Hill Climb, which will air on The Outdoor Channel on Saturday, September 23.(Wally Dallenbach PR)(7-6-2006)

    • Turner and NASCAR.com re-up: Turner Sports New Media has finalized a deal under which it will continue to operate Nascar.com, the official site of Nascar. The deal also includes new opportunities for Turner's TNT to distribute race telecast highlights across Time Warner's family of properties.(MediaWeek)(7-6-2006)

    • Chicago Rookie Notes: #07-Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 1 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Bowyer finished 10th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the third time this season. He scored his fourth top-10 finish of the 2006 season. Bowyer became the first Raybestos Rookie to score a top-10 in the Pepsi 400 since Brian Vickers finished ninth in 2004. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-15 in all 17 races this season. Denny Hamlin leads the Raybestos Rookie standings by 28 points (194-166) over Bowyer entering the July 9 USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Hamlin is 10th in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings, 40 points behind ninth-place Kyle Busch. He holds a six-point advantage over 11th-place Greg Biffle. Kyle Busch was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2005 USG Sheetrock 400, grabbing a 14th-place finish. Kevin Harvick is the only Raybestos Rookie to win in five NEXTEL Cup races at Chicagoland Speedway. He won the 2001 Tropicana 400 by .649 seconds over Robert Pressley. Harvick is also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the most laps in the four races at Chicagoland, holding the top spot five times for 113 laps. Ryan Newman is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole position in five races at Chicagoland Speedway, taking the top starting spot in the 2002 USG Sheetrock 400.See more notes, standings, history on my Rookie of the Year Page.(Raybestos PR)(7-6-2006)

    • Daytona Overnight TV Ratings Down: Fox's broadcast of Saturday night's Pepsi 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7 and a 10 share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 4.1% lower than the 4.9/12 overnight figures NBC earned when it carried the race under the rotation system used in 2005.(SceneDaily.com)(7-6-2006)

    • Dr. Z back on the #19 Dodge at Chicago: #19-Jeremy Mayfield will run Dodge’s special “Ask Dr. Z” paint scheme that debuted in Daytona again in Chicago.(Clear!Blue PR), see image of the scheme on my #19 Team Schemes page.(7-6-2006)

    • Stewart honored at Indy: #20-Tony Stewart received more accolades and one-of-a-kind awards for winning the 2005 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard during a public ceremony and media event July 5 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Stewart accepted his race winner’s ring from IMS President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood. Stewart will try to earn a repeat victory in the 13th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Sunday, Aug. 6. Two-time NASCAR champion Stewart also helped unveil a piece of artwork by noted motorsports artist Sam Bass that Bass has donated to the Hall of Fame Museum. The artwork on display at the museum is a one-of-a-kind color reproduction of an original painting that The Home Depot commissioned Bass to create for Stewart. The art commemorates post-race events from Stewart’s long-sought, emotional victory at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard: Stewart kissing the famous “Yard of Bricks,” climbing the Speedway’s catch fence, his No. 20 The Home Depot Chevrolet crossing the finish line and a headshot of Stewart. Stewart also officially opened an exhibit at the Hall of Fame Museum featuring five cars, scheduled to be on display until June 2007, which played a significant role in Stewart’s rise from Indiana short-track racer to motorsports superstar.(IMS Site)(7-6-2006)

    • JumpFly to be featured on the #74 hood at Chicago: The JumpFly Sundance Vacations #74 Dodge will reach out to millions of fans nationwide on July 9th at Chicagoland Speedway's USG Sheetrock 400. JumpFly's logo will be featured on the hood of McGlynn Racing's #74 Dodge, driven by Derrike Cope. This sponsorship will significantly increase JumpFly exposure and awareness. In addition to sponsoring McGlynn Racing, JumpFly also professionally manages the Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter advertising accounts for their official website at www.McGlynnRacing.com. For additional information, please visit www.JumpFly.com.(McGlynn Racing PR) and McGlynn Racing and Cope are planning on going to every race excluding Talladega and Watkins Glen.(Derrike Cope site)(7-6-2006)


      News from July 5, 2006

    • Sad News - Susan Kathleen Irvan Lewis: Mrs. Lewis, 51, of Cornelius, NC died Sunday, July 2, 2006 at her residence. She was born on August 25, 1954 to Vic Irvan and Jo Ann Graves Irvan in Carmel, CA. She loved designing and painting her own works of art. Her pleasures in life were boating on the lake, traveling, auto racing and spending time with children and grandchildren. She was a 1972 graduate of Salinas High School (California) and attended Monterey Penninsula College. She was a beloved and devoted wife, mother, grandmother, daughter and sister.
      Survivors include her husband, Jack Lewis; son, Chad Dotseth of Concord; daughter, Staci Graulich of Concord; brother, Ernie Irvan and wife Kim of Mooresville; sisters, Sheryl Bradford and husband Jerry of Monterey, CA Tracy Smith and husband Kevin of Concord; grandchildren, Kenslie Dotseth, Zachary and Ella Kae Hagler and five nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her brother, David Irvan.
      Memorials may be made to Hospice of Lake Norman, 705 Griffith Street, Suite 203, Davidson, NC 28036.(Charlotte Observer)(7-5-2006)

    • Most Popular scheme on #43 at Chicago: This weekend, Bobby Labonte and the #43 ChexMostPopularDriver.com Dodge team head to the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, located in Joliet, Illinois for Sunday's USG Sheetrock 400. Labonte will be racing the "What's Your Mix" Dodge this weekend to help promote the Chex Most Popular Driver website. Labonte and General Mills will be making an announcement this Sunday morning at Chicagoland Speedway(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(7-5-2006)

    • Special CAT scheme at Indy: The gleaming silver and black #22 CAT Financial Dodge driven by Dave Blaney plans to make its mark in the 2006 Brickyard 400 at Indy. See an image of the scheme on my #22 Team Schemes page.(7-5-2006)

    • Wimmer Stuff at the Track: For the first time this year trackside merchandise is being offered featuring Scott Wimmer with Aero Exhaust, driver and sponsor of the #4 Morgan-McClure team, Coyote Ugly Saloon and Chrome Shop Mafia as well as Race Face and Wide Open Performance Energy Drink. Both Coyote Ugly Saloon and Chrome Shop Mafia have reality shows on CMT – The Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search and Trick My Truck respectively. Coyote Ugly Saloon and an associate sponsor for the team.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR), Wimmer will appear at the trailer at Chicagoland Speedway, more info on my Driver Appearances page.(7-5-2006)


      News from July 4, 2006

    • Checkers could sponsor Lester or another team in 2007: If #23-Bill Lester lands a Nextel Cup ride in the future - he has only two starts, both this year, but drives for Bill Davis Racing, which has two open seats for its Toyota program in 2007 - he may already have met his sponsor: Tampa-based Checkers/Rally's. Lester, who has a partial sponsorship deal with the official drive-through of NASCAR for his BDR Truck series program, is well-liked within the company. This season he became just the sixth African-American to qualify for a race in NASCAR's top series. "He helped us secure the deal (to become a NASCAR sponsor in 2005)," said Checkers vice president of marketing Rich Turer. "Bill participated in our final meeting with our franchise advisory council two years ago at Homestead-Miami (Speedway). Bill was our invited guest and NASCAR brought him in specifically to talk about this match. We have 800 restaurants, and some of them are very urban and are more minority-driven in the customer base, and we had some franchisees that were concerned about our investment against that. Bill was able to come in and talk to them and have dinner and spent a lot of time. He's great. We're not a huge sponsor of Bill - we sponsor a few races for him a year - but he remains near and dear to my heart because he really helped make secure some of the important franchise votes we needed to get the deal done." Turer said the company is in discussions with two teams about a full-season Nextel Cup sponsorship for 2007. Turer did not name teams, but noted the company's right to use race-winners' images in its advertising reduces the pressure to sign a high-profile driver.(St Petersburg Times)(7-4-2006)

    • More on Carpentier to NASCAR: Two NASCAR teams have contacted Montreal's Patrick Carpentier about a future in the stock car series. A refugee of the Champ Car and Indy Racing League, Carpentier has had offers to join a NASCAR Busch Series team and a Craftsman Truck series team this season as a prelude to a full season deal in 2007. It is believed Carpentier will race a couple of ARCA events this season to show NASCAR teams his prowess on ovals in the big sedans.(Toronto Sun)(7-4-2006)

    • Kluever to debut at Chicago: Todd Kluever will be making his NEXTEL Cup debut this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. He will be driving the #06 Post-it Ford Fusion for Roush Racing. This is a car previously raced by Mark Martin. Kluever tested this car at Kentucky Speedway a few weeks ago and was pleased with the results. The race at Chicagoland will be the first of seven Nextel Cup races scheduled for Kluever this season in preparation for him to take over Mark Martin’s famed #6 Ford in 2007. Kluever’s other Nextel Cup races will be at Michigan, California, Kansas, Lowe’s, Texas and Phoenix. This weekend the #06 Ford will sport a special Post-it/3M paint scheme for both the Busch and Cup events.(Roush Racing PR)(7-4-2006)

    • USG Colors for Kenseth at Chicago: Kenseth’s #17 Ford Fusion will carry the USG Sheetrock colors this weekend in the USG Sheetrock 400. It marks the second of three times this season Kenseth will pilot the USG Sheetrock Ford; the first was at Bristol in March (finished third) and the last will be at Phoenix in November.(Roush Racing PR), see image of the scheme on my #17 Team Schemes page.(7-4-2006)

    • Stewart's Crew Wins Pit Crew Challenge at Daytona: Tony Stewart's over-the-wall crew picked up the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, helping lift the team to its second consecutive victory in the summer classic at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. This is the third pit crew challenge win of the season for the No. 20 team, which now owns second place in the season-long standings. They also took the honors at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway in March. Jimmie Johnson's crew is in the lead with four victories. "I've never worked with a group of guys that were more dedicated to what they do and why they do it," said Stewart. "That's what makes nights like this that much more impressive. This is not a race where a driver can go out and just win it. You have to have a fast car -- one that's prepared well -- and you have to have a crew that gets you in and out of the pits consistently fast all night. We had it all working for us tonight. It was a total team effort." The #20 over-the-wall crew consists of: Jason Lee (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Jody Fortson (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff Patterson (gasman), Brian Larson (catch can) and Scott Geerts (windshield). The team's crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa. Stewart's Home Depot Chevrolet spent 205.081 seconds on pit road. The crew will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize and an additional $105,000 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. 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 checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(7-4-2006)

    • Cope's Niece's hired by McGlynn Racing? hearing that McGlynn Racing has hired the Cope twins, Amber and Angela, who are Derrike Cope's nieces. Derrile driver the #74 McGlynn Racing in a limited number of Nextel Cup races this season. The twins will supposedly work their way up through the lower divisions up to ACA and Busch Series later this year and 2007. More info on the Twins at twinmotorsportsracing.com.(7-4-2006)


      News from July 3, 2006

    • Dodge partners its F-1, NASCAR teams: DaimlerChrysler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche attended Saturday night's Nextel Cup race at Daytona, where his likeness appeared on the hoods of the [#9 and #19 Ask Dr Z] Dodges driven by Evernham Motorsports' Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield. Then Zetsche flew to Indianapolis to be with McLaren-Mercedes for what turned out to be a short day for the team in Sunday's U.S. Grand Prix. At a news conference Sunday morning at the convention center, where he was joined by McLaren team principal Ron Dennis and NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham, among others, Zetsche said a joint NASCAR/F-1 program isn't as farfetched as it might seem. "The technology is very different, but the principles are the same," he said. "There is much to share. NASCAR has something to tell as far as the show is concerned. I saw Daytona and it's quite something." Zetsche said DaimlerChrysler is committed long term to both programs. "It's our history and will be our future as well," he said. "NASCAR is as American as it can get. We are there to stay." Dennis and Evernham agreed they are in the initial stages of developing their partnership, but both expect it to be fruitful. "It takes time because they're two very different types of motor sports," Dennis said. "It's a learning curve for both of us. But we are blown away by their marketing machine." Evernham acknowledged he has thought about one day being part of a U.S. team effort in F-1 but not until his NASCAR program has produced a championship or two. He is counting on the union with McLaren and Mercedes to help him do that. "It's not just the technology. Take what they're doing with their strategy and their software," he said. "It's great to have a big brother like McLaren. This is what we've been waiting for."(Indianapolis Star)(7-3-2006)

    • Villeneuve eyes NASCAR: Jacques Villeneuve has mentioned that NASCAR might be an option for him if he finds himself out of a ride on the Formula One circuit next season. Speaking to the paddock publication Red Bulletin, which is distributed by Red Bull, Villeneuve says he is determined to stay in F1 but is open to other options. "Going to NASCAR might not be such a bad career move, because it's the most exciting race series in the US and it's a very different discipline to F1," says the former world champion. "I would not consider it a step down. Villeneuve adds he likely wouldn't make the return trip stateside to join either the Champ Car series or the Indy Racing League in its current form. "As it stands now, CART and the IRL are looking tired. I would not consider a switch from F1 to either series a good career move. You only do that if you have no other choice, unless you do what Nigel Mansell did - win the F1 title, quit, and then take the Indy championship in your rookie year. That was amazing." Villeneuve says he would also have to take into considering his family when considering a move to NASCAR as that would mean moving back to the United States full time.(tsn.ca)(7-3-2006)

    • GM, Renault and Nissan to team Up? Nissan Motor Co. on Monday approved opening talks with General Motors Corp. over a possible alliance, the Japanese automaker said. Nissan's board of directors met earlier in the day and decided the company "should proceed with exploratory discussions concerning a potential alliance with General Motors," Nissan said in a statement. The talks will be conditional on GM endorsing a proposal by its major shareholder, Tracinda Corp., that GM join the alliance between Nissan and its partner, Renault SA, the statement said. The announcement came ahead of a Renault board meeting where executives were expected to discuss the purchase of a significant stake in General Motors with Nissan. Local media reports have said Renault and Nissan could buy up to 20% of outstanding shares in GM. Details of the possible investment plan surfaced after billionaire investor and major GM shareholder Kirk Kerkorian proposed on Friday that the troubled American carmaker join the Nissan-Renault alliance.(Associated Press), no word how or if this would effect Auto Racing/NASCAR, too early to know.(7-3-2006)

    • Wood Brothers Racing: One, Two or No Teams? Eddie Wood isn’t being flippant when he says, “We might have one car, two cars or no cars next year. Heck, we might all be gone from here. Who knows? Right now, I don’t.” The co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing expects to have at least one Ford next year, either for his son, Jon, or current driver #21-Ken Schrader. “Jon’s not under contract, so I’ll let him go if he gets a good offer somewhere else,” Wood said minutes before the Pepsi 400. “The deal with us is, our sponsorships are year-to-year. Little Debbie is pleased and the Air Force is pleased, and we think MotorCraft is pleased. We’d really like to have all three of them back. We can’t make a lot of plans until we get all those deals in place. Ideally, we’d like a Fusion for Jon and another for Ken. We’d like to get the Clorox people to come aboard on a car for Jon. But, honestly—right now—I can’t begin to say what we’re gonna do next year. But, yeah, I think we’ll have something out here.”(Ford Racing)(7-3-2006)

    • Dodge Not Leaving NASCAR:
      The chairman of DaimlerChrysler denied a widespread rumor that Dodge is pulling out of NASCAR, and pledged his commitment to America's top racing series. Dr. Dieter Zetsche [the Dr Z. that was featured on the #9 and #19 Dodges at Daytona], attending his first race of the season Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, said NASCAR is a successful platform for DaimlerChrysler and he has no plans to pull Dodge out. "I don't know who is creating those rumors, we have no reason whatsoever (to leave)," he said before the start of the Pepsi 400. "We are very happy with NASCAR, it is a great platform, and Dodge is the right brand to race NASCAR." Dodge has been unable to shake a season-long rumor that it was leaving the sport after five years. Many speculated that poor auto sales -- DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group said last month that sales were down nearly 11 percent -- would drive the manufacturer out. But the German-based Zetsche said he's still seeing a return on investment. "It's certainly not, 'Win race Sunday and sell Monday,' but it is brand-building," he said, "and part of the excitement which we have created around Dodge the last five years is certainly due to NASCAR racing." Earlier Saturday, Chrysler announced that the Dodge Challenger, a prominent member of its stable of high-performance "pony cars" of the early 1970s, is coming back in 2008. The new Challenger will feature the long hood, short deck, wide stance and two-door coupe body style shared by the first generation of Challengers, which were produced from 1970-74. About 188,600 Challengers were sold during that time. Zetsche didn't rule out using the Challenger in NASCAR. "For the time being it is definitely the Charger," he said. "When the Challenger comes into production we will reconsider it, but there is no decision to be made right now."(ESPN.com/AP)(7-3-2006)

    • Yeley to Drive VESIcare Scheme at Chicago: To bring attention to the condition of overactive bladder (OAB), Astellas Pharma US, Inc. (Astellas) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are working together with driver J.J. Yeley, who will be driving #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy at Chicagoland Speedway. The sponsorship is part of an ongoing promotional campaign to help raise awareness about OAB and VESIcare tablets, a treatment for OAB marketed by Astellas and GSK. The campaign goal for VESIcare is to help make sufferers aware that their condition may be treatable and to encourage a dialogue between patients and health care professionals. The logo for VESIcare will be displayed on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy driven by Yeley. For complete prescribing information for VESIcare, go to www.vesicare.com.(True Speed Communication/JGR PR)(7-3-2006)

    • Front Row Motorsports and Race El Paso to team up at Indy: Race El Paso, the race team based out of El Paso, Texas owned by Gregg and Ryan Jackson plan to attempt the Brickyard 400 at Indy this August. The Jacksons nearly made it in 2004, when Geoff Bodine drove the team's car [was #34 then], the Border Bandit, to a qualifying run that put it one slot from earning its way into the Brickyard race. This year, the team is in a partnership with two race teams: Gary Trout Autosports and Front Row Motorsports. Those teams are helping to put together the pit crew and have been storing Race El Paso's cars. The team also has more than one car and more than one engine, which is being built by Ernie Elliott, the brother of longtime NASCAR driver and semi-retired Bill Elliott. The car also will have a capable driver. The team already has NASCAR Craftsman Trucks series driver Chad Chaffin lined up, but it also still is negotiating with NASCAR veteran Mike Skinner. Still, the Jacksons know it won't be easy to get a car into a Nextel Cup race. "Our primary goal is to qualify," Ryan said. "Our second goal is to finish the race." More info at suncityracing.com.(El Paso Times/kvia.com)(7-3-2006)



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