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    JULY 17-23, 2006

      News from July 23, 2006

    • Hamlin Sweeps Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway for his second career win, following up his first win at the track in June. Hamlin dominated the entire race, leading 151 laps and never running far out of the lead. #2-Kurt Busch was 2nd (he was also second to Hamlin in the June Pocono race) followed by #24-Jeff Gordon, #25-Brian Vickers, and #29-Kevin Harvick. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson ran near the front most of the day and finished in sixth. His points lead is now 97 over #17-Matt Kenseth. #20-Tony Stewart overcame an early rough driving penalty to finish in seventh and move back into the top 10 in points. #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was involved in an accident near the midway point of the race and spent several laps behind the wall. He finished in 43rd and fell out of the top ten in points. There were 9 leaders with 13 lead changes and 7 cautions for 29 laps.
      Race Results on my Pocono Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page
      Race Rundown: see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(7-23-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Pocono [20 of 36 races]:
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 2939
      #17-Matt Kenseth 2842 -97
      #31-Jeff Burton 2621 -318
      #5-Kyle Busch 2582 -357
      #29-Kevin Harvick 2563 -376
      #6-Mark Martin 2557 - 382
      #9-Kasey Kahne 2515 -424
      #11-Denny Hamlin 2514 -425
      #24-Jeff Gordon 2512 -427
      #20-Tony Stewart 2477 -462
      and fighting for 10th
      out of 10th and the chase
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. -15
      #16-Greg Biffle -44
      #2-Kurt Busch -166
      #99-Carl Edwards -235
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(7-23-2006)

    • Rumblings - Pocono Race Notes:
      Denny Hamlin's raced at Pocono Raceway twice....and he can't get any better no matter how hard he tries. Two races, two poles, two wins....not bad for a guy who hadn't even seen this joint six weeks ago. Hamlin led early and often today to sweep to the Pennsylvania 500 victory for his second career win....he's now tied for 94th on the all-time win list. Win #51 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth $230,100 from the over $4.8M in posted awards.
      Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer get together and Carl Edwards pays the price....we've seen this story before, haven't we? They just change the names of the players....
      Bobby Labonte (8th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Phoenix in April.
      Martin Truex Jr (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Texas in April.
      Robby Gordon (13th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Darlington in May.
      Joe Nemechek (17th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Darlington in May.
      STREAKIN....Kevin Harick has 4 Top-10's in a row. Jimmie Johnson has 9 Top-10's in the last 10 races.
      Kurt Busch has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is NOBODY! It takes a 20 position move to nab this coveted award....honorable mention goes to Bobby Labonte (+19). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kasey Kahne (-28 ), followed by Clint Bowyer (-27) and Carl Edwards (-23).
      Ken Schrader led today for the first time since he once for 17 laps at Martinsville Speedway last October. He's the 43rd driver to lead a lap this season....last year we had 51 different leaders.
      Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart move back into the "Chase" this week while Dale Earnhardt Jr and Greg Biffle fall out. We've hung up our first "Magic Numbers" of the season this week.....that's the spot where a driver can finish to clinch a spot in the "Chase". In leader Jimmie Johnson's case, that number is 17th. Hamlin sweeps everything this week as he advances the most spots in the standings (12th to 8th) while Dale Earnhardt Jr falls the same number of positions (7th to 11th).(Stock Car Fans)(7-23-2006)

    • Pocono Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
      20 OL Rough driving 34
      07 TE Pitting too soon 35
      99 TE Pitting too soon 35
      5 TE Too fast exiting pit road 35
      45 TE Pitting too soon 66
      07 TE Pitting too soon 67
      99 TE Pitting too soon 67
      99 OL Aggressive driving 67
      07 TE Pitting too soon 77
      07 TE Pitting too soon 89
      9 TE Too fast exiting pit road 151
      07 TE Pitting too soon 151
      12 TE Too fast exiting pit road 151
      26 TE Too fast exiting pit road 151
      43 TE Too fast exiting pit road 151
      4 TE Pitting too soon 180
      45 TE Too fast exiting pit road 181
      55 TE Pitting too soon 181
      44 TE Too fast exiting pit road 181
      PT - Pass through
      TE - Tail end of the longest line
      SG - Stop and Go
      OL - One lap
      ND - NASCAR discretion
      MCI - Must come into pits
      (NASCAR Statisical Services)(7-23-2006)

    • Pocono Race Notes: • Denny Hamlin won the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, scoring his second NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 27th career start.
      • Hamlin also won the June race at Pocono, six races ago, and became the first rookie to sweep both races at a track since Jimmie Johnson won both races at Dover in 2002.
      • Hamlin won both Pocono races from the Bud Pole. The last driver to sweep both races from the Bud Pole in a single season was Jeff Gordon at Martinsville in 2003.
      • Hamlin’s two victories at Pocono in 2006 marked the sixth time that a driver has swept both races at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin joined Jimmie Johnson (2004), Bobby Labonte (1999), Tim Richmond (1986), Bill Elliott (1985), and Bobby Allison (1982).
      • Hamlin scored his eighth top-10 finish in 20 races this season. He has posted top-15 finishes in 14 of the 20 races.
      • Hamlin climbed from 12th to eighth in the point standings, the highest points position of his 27-race career.
      • Hamlin led the most laps for the second time in his career. He also led the most laps at Pocono in June when he scored his career-first victory, leading 83 laps.
      • Hamlin led five times for 151 laps including the final 20 laps in the Pennsylvania 500, a career high.
      • This was team owner Joe Gibb’s 51st NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Gibbs has scored six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Pocono Raceway: Bobby Labonte (three), Denny Hamlin (two) and Tony Stewart (one). It was Gibbs fourth victory in 2006.
      • Joe Gibbs Racing has won at least one race each season 1993-2006, 14 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Kurt Busch (second) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2006 and his sixth top-10 finish in 12 races Pocono Raceway. Busch has finished first, second and second in his last three races at Pocono.
      • Jeff Gordon (third) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 19th top-10 finish in 28 races at Pocono Raceway. He remained ninth in the point standings and is now 50 points ahead of 11th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr.
      • Brian Vickers (fourth) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. This was his third top-10 in six races at Pocono Raceway - all topfives.
      • Kevin Harvick (fifth) scored his 11th top-10 finish 20 races in 2006, including the last four races. It was his fourth top-10 finish in 12 races at Pocono. Harvick extended a 32-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak.
      • Jimmie Johnson (sixth) posted his 16th top-10 finish in 2006, the most of all drivers. He remained first in the point standings, now 97 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth. Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 89 consecutive races. He has scored 10 straight top-15 finishes in 10 races at Pocono Raceway.
      • Jeff Burton (ninth) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 14th straight top-15 finish extending a streak that began at Texas in April. It marked his 13th top-10 finish in 26 races at Pocono Raceway.
      • Kyle Busch (12th) extended a streak of six straight top-15 finishes that began at Michigan in June.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 20 races this season. Hamlin has been the highest finishing rookie in 11 races in 2006.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(7-23-2006)

    • Waltrip still looking for a driver: Michael Waltrip speculated that while some driver changes for 2007 are done but not announced, he has not solidified who would drive his #00 Burger King/Domino's Toyota next season. Waltrip said Friday that #19-Jeremy Mayfield is still among those high on his list to join himself and Dale Jarrett in the Michael Waltrip Racing stable next season. "I had hoped that we could have something done already, but hopefully when we go to Indy [in two weeks], we'll have something that we can announce one way or another on the driver of the 00 car," Waltrip said. Speculation has Mayfield leaving Evernham Motorsports for MWR, while Elliot Sadler - who has announced he is leaving Robert Yates Racing but not announced his 2007 destination - could replace Mayfield at Evernham. Waltrip had to catch himself to make sure he was saying the right things about Mayfield. "He's somebody that we're definitely interested in and now that he's available," Waltrip said before smiling and saying, "Let me say that again: If he becomes available, then we definitely want to be the ones to have a chance to talk to him." Waltrip said he believes Sadler already knows where he's going although Sadler said he has nothing inked for next year. "I think a lot of the deals probably are already done and people say stuff like that [they're looking] to lead y'all down [another] path," Waltrip said. "For sure, mine is not done. Hopefully soon."(

    • #49 team hopes to team up with another team: #49 BAM Racing driver Kevin Lepage said he expects his team will announce an arrangement with at least one and perhaps several teams for pooling information, sharing test results and comparing notes. It’s not a new idea, but perhaps it’s one that has become better developed. Lepage said he hopes his team, owned by Beth Ann Morgenthau, can put together a workable arrangement where past attempts have fallen shy of expectations.(Gaston Gazette)(7-23-2006)

    • Ware teams up with Barrett for a few races, buys equipment: Ware Racing Enterprises has purchased equipment from #95-Stanton Barrett Motorsports, and Barrett has begun competing on the Nextel Cup level under the Ware banner. Barrett, who failed to qualify for today's Pennsylvania 500, will also attempt to qualify for races at Bristol, Loudon and Phoenix, team owner Rick Ware said Friday. The team also is hoping to add Charlotte, Texas and Homestead as it works on finalizing a sponsor and a program for 2007.. The team ran the #52 at Pocono but would like to run the #30 in races later this year, Ware said. Ware also plans on entering the Dover race in September with driver Donnie Neuenberger.(Scene

      News from July 22, 2006

    • Sadler says he has multiple prospects: #38-Elliott Sadler said Friday his decision to leave Robert Yates Racing at the conclusion of the 2006 season came down to a difference of philosophy with team owner Robert Yates. "They're great, great people, and I've definitely enjoyed driving for those guys, but pretty much we have just come to differences of opinions on which way the sport is going," said Sadler, 20th in Cup points. "I couldn't really make myself buy into the system and which way I think the company is going. So we just decided to split ways and do something different." Sadler said he's entertaining multiple offers at this point. "There are a lot more seats open than there are drivers available, I think. That's what caught me off this week with some of the phone calls I got. I'm not in a hurry to try to make a decision. I have no timelines."(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(7-22-2006)

    • Aero Exhaust gone from the #4? UPDATE: #4-Scott Wimmer says although he hasn't been told anything official, indications are that his Morgan-McClure Nextel Cup team has lost its Aero Exhaust sponsorship.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-21-2006)
      UPDATEL been told the #4 teram has not losy Aero Exhuast as a sponsor. they will appear on the car in select 2006 races, and the team is trying to attract additional sponsors to go with them.(7-22-2006)

    • No Speculations for Martin's 2007 Plans: #6-Mark Martin refuses to answer any questions about where, if anywhere, he could be running a partial Nextel Cup schedule next year. He's a longtime Ford driver. Robert Yates Racing is a longtime Ford team. Yates and Roush Racing, which Martin has driven for in his entire Cup career, work together on motors. Yates needs drivers for next season. So ... could one of those Yates drivers be Martin? Martin said he didn't think so. "A bunch of people need drivers right now, not just Yates," Martin said. "We'll have to see what happens. We probably won't get into that until October or November, probably November most likely. I'm not going to answer any questions. I'm not going to go there. It's not something on my radar screen. I've got more important things to think about than what I am going to do next year right now."(

    • Saturday Practices for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway has been cancelled due to heavy fog, then rain. Most of the drivers doing double duty at Pocono and Martinsville have left the track for Martinsville so they can qualify their Busch cars.(11:00am/et 7-22-2006)

    • Petty would step down as driver in right situation: How far would Kyle Petty go to insure the restoration of Petty Enterprises to the glory years of Richard Petty's seven Winston Cup (now NEXTEL Cup) Championships? Would he surrender the No. 45 Dodge to another driver and hang up his helmet? "Yes, I would retire tomorrow if it would help Bobby Labonte win races and Petty Enterprises contend for the championship," Petty confirmed candidly when asked if he was willing to step out of his ride under the right circumstances. What would be the right circumstances? Petty said he would gladly step aside as a NEXTEL Cup Series driver if the team was able to sign a marquee driver and sponsor capable of furthering the efforts of Bobby Labonte, Todd Parrott, Robbie Loomis and the rest of the team in Randleman, NC. "And," he added, "If I retired from this I would go racing in the Grand Am Series or something like that. But, once I retired from NEXTEL Cup that would be it. If I said, 'I'm done completely then I would be done completely. If I said I would run three or four races then I would only run three or four races.'"(

      News from July 21, 2006

    • Hamlin wins pole at Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Budweiser Pole for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway with a speed of 169.827mpg for his 2nd pole of 2006, 2nd in a row at Pocono and 3rd of his career, Hamlin won the race in June at Pocono from the pole. Starting on the outside pole is #12-Ryan Newman followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #25-Brians Vickers and #24-Jeff Gordon. #44-Terry Labonte qualified 37th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #49-Lepage, #90-Leicht [for his first career start], #44-Labonte, #55-Waltrip, #32-Kvapil, #4-Wimmer [who missed Pocono in June], #40-Stremme and #78-Spencer grabbed the final spot after #61-Chaffin's speed was disallowed for the car being too low. Missing the race were: #74-Cope, #52-Barrett, #34-Sacks and #61-Chaffin. See qualifying speeds, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Starting Grid/Qualifying results page.(7-21-2006)

    • #61 car being looked at UPDATE disqualified: NASCAR is looking at the #61 Front Row Motorsports Dodge as it supposedly failed the height sticks and is too low, no decision on if their qualifying time will be disallowed by NASCAR. If so, #78-Jimmy Spencer could end up in the race as both are out of the top-35 in owners points and Chaffin would go to the slowest qualifier and miss the race.
      UPDATE: the #61 team's qualifying speed was disqualified and the team will not race, so #78-Jimmy Spencer gets into the race as the #78 Chevy was next to make the race, Spencer will start 43rd, Chaffin was to start 38th.(7-21-2006)

    • Ramblings - Qualifying Notes - Pocono: Denny Hamlin returned to Pocono Raceway today and it was like he never left. When we were here six weeks ago, Hamlin won the pole and won the race....well, he's halfway home again. He took the Bud Pole today for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 with a time 52.995 (169.827 mph) over Ryan Newman as he attempts to duplicate his June feat. This was the second top-spot of the season for the Virginia driver....and third of his brief NEXTEL Cup career.
      Scott Riggs (9th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.
      Carl Edwards (16th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Darlington in May.
      Welcome Stephen Leicht (36th). He'll make his first-ever NEXTEL Cup start on Sunday for Robert Yates....and you might say this is step one in his audition for one of those open RYR seats at the top-level of NASCAR.
      STREAKIN....Brian Vickers has 3 Top-5 starts in a row. Jeff Burton has 3 Top-10 starts in a row.
      The Trouble Train had some changes today. Derrike Cope, Stanton Barrett, Greg Sacks and Chad Chaffin were the cars missing the race, but it's not as straightforward as it seems. Chaffin was origially qualifed for the event in 38th spot, but the car flunked post-qualifying inspection (too low) and he was replaced in the lineup by Jimmy Spencer.(Stock Car Fans)(7-21-2006)

    • Pocono Qualifying Notes:
      • Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Pennsylvania 500, lapping Pocono Raceway in 52.995 seconds at 169.827 mph. Kasey Kahne holds the track-qualifying record of 52.164 seconds, 172.533 mph - set June 11, 2004.
      • This is Hamlin’s third career Bud Pole in 27 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. His most recent Bud Pole came at Pocono in June, six races ago. Hamlin posted his 12th top-10 start in 2006, including three of the last four races. This was his second qualifying attempt at Pocono.
      • Hamlin became the first Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender to sweep both Bud Poles at a track in a single season since Davey Allison did so at Rockingham in 1987.
      • Hamlin became the sixth driver to score multiple Bud Poles this season.
      • Hamlin became the first repeat Bud Pole winner at Pocono in the last 21 races at Pocono. Qualifying was canceled in June 2002 due to weather.
      • A Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender has won a Bud Pole in each of the past 11 seasons (1996-2006). Hamlin actually posted his first Bud Pole last season, before his official rookie year.
      • Ryan Newman posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 53.123 seconds, 169.418 mph – and will join Hamlin on the front row for the Pennsylvania 500. This is Newman’s eighth top-10 start this season and the only time this season that he has had back-to-back front row starts. Newman won the Bud Pole last week at New Hampshire. It is his fifth top-10 start in 10 races at Pocono.
      • This is the sixth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has nine Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Kasey Kahne (third) posted his 12th top-10 start in 2006 and his third in six races at Pocono. Kahne also started third here in June.
      • Brian Vickers (fourth) has posted a top-10 start in all six of his appearances at Pocono. It is his eighth top-10 start this season. Vickers also started fourth here in June.
      • Jeff Gordon (fifth) posted his ninth top-10 start of 2006. It is his 16th top-10 start in 28 races at Pocono. Gordon started sixth here in June.
      • Four drivers failed to qualify for the Pennsylvania 500: Chad Chaffin, Derrike Cope, Stanton Barrett, and Greg Sacks. Chad Chaffin’s time was disallowed following post time trial inspection.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(7-21-2006)

    • Latest on Bobby Hamilton: Truck Series driver/owner Bobby Hamilton says he's feeling good as tries to recover from radiation treatment for cancer in his neck. Hamilton, 49, has lost 38 pounds and some of his hair, but told WSMV-4 in an interview Thursday that he is coming back. "I'm having to learn how to eat again and things like that," he said. "It just takes time." He began treatment at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in March shortly after being diagnosed. "I think I can tell a decent story now and have the proof to tell it," Hamilton said.(Tennessean/AP)(7-21-2006)

    • Rusty practices Busch car...not un-retiring: Rusty Wallace was back in a stock car Thursday for the first time since last year, but he won't be running Saturday's Goody's 250 Busch series race at Martinsville Speedway. Or any other NASCAR race. Wallace attended Thursday's test session to help son Steve, who has never competed at this track. Rusty Wallace drove some laps, which he said were his first in a stock car since last year's Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Wallace also said that he's been contacted about returning to the Cup series next season. There will be at least seven new rides next season, creating questions on if there are enough talented and experienced drivers for all the available Cup rides. Bill Elliott, who last drove fulltime in 2003, could be headed to Team Red Bull. Ward Burton, who last raced full time in 2004, also is looking for a ride. So, why not Wallace? "There's a lot of offers for big money to come back," Wallace said. "I made my decision, and I'm sticking to it. My six-year contract with ABC Sports forbids me from driving."(Roanoke Times)(7-21-2006)

    • Congrats: The LTN Hour, a syndicated NASCAR-themed radio program out of Milwaukee, will celebrate its 1,000th show with a live broadcast at 10 a.m. Sunday from Paulie's Pub and Eatery, 8031 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(7-21-2006)

    • Tragic News: Former Robert Yates Racing employee, Jay Thompson and his wife Carrie were killed Wednesday night near Davidson, NC. Robert Alexander Morrison, 19, of Cabarrus County, was in critical condition in the burn unit at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill after the Charlotte area's deadliest crash in recent months. Highway Patrol investigators said the accident occurred on Wednesday just before midnight, about two miles east of Davidson. While driving north on Shiloh Church Road just north of Kingsview Lane, Morrison tried to pass a motorcycle in a no-passing zone with a double yellow line, according to the investigators. Morrison's white Ford truck crashed head-on into a southbound red Chevrolet Blazer, investigators said. The motorcycle then plowed into the truck, which caught fire. "All I saw was a light and that was it," said Leonard Troutman, a passenger in the Blazer's front seat. The crash killed Shirley Ann Jones, 38, of Charlotte, who was driving her Blazer toward Charlotte. Motorcycle riders Jay Edward Thompson, 38, and his wife, Carrie Ann Thompson, 36, of Mooresville, also died. Jones' daughter, Christine Massey, who was in the Blazer's back seat, was released from NorthEast Medical Center in Concord Thursday. Troutman, a family friend, was in good condition. Carrie Thompson had two children, Amber, 17, and Austin, 14, said her ex-husband, George Ard of Lexington, NC. Ard said Jay Thompson was a trained welder and fabricator who used to work for Dale Jarrett's NASCAR racing team. Morrison was airlifted to UNC Hospitals and was in critical condition Thursday evening. Investigators were still trying to determine how fast the vehicles were traveling and whether alcohol was involved, a Highway Patrol spokesman said. N.C. Department of Transportation traffic engineer David Naylor said a crew will investigate the accident scene. On Thursday, a DOT maintenance crew was clearing vegetation from the shoulder where the crash occurred.(Charlotte Observer)(7-21-2006)

    • Pocono Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to the track this season . . . when NASCAR Nextel Cup Series teams visited Pocono Raceway last month, they ran on this right-side code (D-4032) with a slightly different left-side code (D-4028) . . . teams also ran the D-4028/D-4032 combination at Las Vegas and Bristol earlier this year . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Pocono . .. air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 36-38 laps, based on fuel mileage(Goodyear PR), see pressures, codes and more on my Pocono Race Info/Ruwndown page.(7-21-2006)

    • Bully Hill Vineyards interested in sponsor Montoya in Busch race at Watkins Glen UPDATE 2: Watkins Glen International has partnered with Bully Hill Vineyards to work on a potential sponsorship opportunity for Chip Ganassi Racing driver Juan Pablo Montoya for the upcoming Zippo 200 NASCAR Busch Series race on August 12. "When the announcement was made regarding Montoya's involvement with NASCAR we thought; what better place for him to race, than right here at The Glen," stated Craig Rust, President of Watkins Glen International. "We hope Juan Pablo makes his NASCAR debut here in 2006 and is able to take advantage of Bully Hill's generous offer."
      "Juan Pablo Montoya is an iconic figure, and his entry into NASCAR will undoubtedly have a tremendous impact on the sport," comments Lillian Taylor, owner of Bully Hill Vineyards. "We would be proud to have him represent our winery at The Glen." Although an announcement regarding Montoya's NASCAR debut has not been made, Watkins Glen International has been contacted by members of the Columbian press for media credentials anticipating a possible track debut at The Glen. Montoya's history at The Soul of American Road Racing includes a 6th place finish in the open-wheel cockpit of a Barber SAAB Pro Series race in 1994. During the 15 lap Skip Barber support race, he reached speeds of 103.751 mph driving for Nectar/Autoniza/Avianca Airline.(Watkins Glen International PR)(7-19-2006)
      UPDATE: From Ganassi Racing: "Nothing has changed for us. As far as Juan Pablo, we don't know what the timeline is for his debut in a stock car. We hope that over the next few weeks the dust will settle and we will have a much clearer picture as to how this will all play out. The one thing that I can tell you for sure is that Juan Pablo Montoya will be in the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in 2007."
      AND Being a Champ Car, Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix champion isn't enough to ensure Juan Pablo Montoya of a Nextel Cup license, NASCAR officials hinted this Wednesday. Speaking to NASCAR's official website, the sanctioning body's VP of competition, Robin Pemberton, recommended that the 30-year old Colombian, recently signed to drive Chip Ganassi's #42 Dodge next year, start out in the Busch Series before dipping his toes in Cup waters - at least as far as ovals are concerned. "We would recommend that [Montoya and Ganassi get a couple of Busch races under their belt and get the dynamics of full-body, side-by-side racing and the problems that may arise on pit road at different places," he said. Ganassi himself isn't bothered by the demand, as that was his plan for the Colombian anyway.(
      UPDATE 2: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates confirmed that Juan Pablo Montoya will not be driving a Dodge festooned in Bully Hill Vineyards colors at Watkins Glen Inter-national, but it isn't out of the question for the international star driver's Nextel Cup Series debut to happen at The Glen. “(Ganassi) said he's already set up with his sponsor commitments, but he didn't say anything about (Montoya) debuting here,” said Eiron Smith, WGI's press liaison. “He appreciated it, but wasn't interested.” Officials from WGI released a statement Tuesday that revealed a pitch made to Ganassi's Nextel Cup operation from Bully Hill Vineyards owner Lillian Taylor. Taylor expressed interest in sponsoring a car driven by Montoya if the Colombian driving star made his stock car debut at The Glen. However, Ganassi has contracts with companies Chevron Corp., Dayton Hudson Corp. and Molson Coors Brewing Co. - to name a few - and told the WGI marketing staff “thanks, but no thanks.”
      “She would have love to be on the hood of (Montoya's) car,” Smith said of Taylor. “She had high hopes, and we were working as liaison, but it didn't happen. Its disappointing we couldn't confirm (Montoya) would be in a car, but he could still race, (Ganassi) still hasn't released where or when Juan Pablo would make his debut, but I hope its here. It would be awesome.”(The Corning Leader)(7-21-2006)

      News from July 20, 2006

    • Splitscreen option? No says NASCAR: Fans hoping that NASCAR’s move to ABC/ESPN next year would improve their viewing experience may be in for a rude awakening. Although the networks employ a “Side-By-Side” split-screen feature for its Indy Racing League coverage that allows viewers to continue watching the action while commercials play, NASCAR has forbidden ABC/ESPN or any of its other TV partners from marketing that kind of advertising. “We’ve looked at a lot of options to enhance the fan/viewer experience but feel that a split-screen presentation of ads and racing serves neither the fan nor advertiser,” says Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director of corporate communications. “Our TV partners do an excellent job of immediately returning to significant track action when it happens during commercials. With replays and other technology, the networks make sure NASCAR fans get the best, most comprehensive race coverage anywhere.” But according to George McNeilly, senior director of communications for ESPN/ABC Sports, the networks would be interested in exploring the split-screen option. “We are engaging focus groups and other research in an effort to quantify the positive feedback we’ve received from people who’ve enjoyed the viewing experience,” McNeilly says. “[Allowing the split screen] would be a NASCAR decision. We’re in discussions about that and many other things.”(Long Island Press)(7-20-2006)

    • Ginn buys into MB2 Motorsports UPDATE: 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)
      UPDATE: been told that that the owner of Ginn Resorts has bought out MB2 Motorsports majority owner, Nelson Bowers 80% stake in the team. Expect a formal announcement at Indy during the week of the Brickyard 400. Also looks like the DEI deal rumored a few weeks ago will not happen. The #14 is scheduled to have a Ginn Resorts paint scheme at Pocono this weekend.(7-20-2006)

    • Sadler to the #19? Mayfield to Toyota? UPDATE 6 Official - Sadler to leave: Elliott Sadler has until Saturday to tell Robert Yates whether he plans to drive the #38 M&M's Ford next year. With Dale Jarrett leaving at the end of the year, Yates might have to fill two seats. Two drivers reportedly on Yates' short list are Ward Burton and Stephen Leicht.(Orlando Sentinel)
      UPDATE 1: hearing Elliott Sadler, current driver of the #38 M&M's Ford for RYR, will go to he #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge with current driver there, Jeremy Mayfield going to one of the three Toyota Teams, most likely Michael Waltrip Racing and the #00 car.
      AND Speed Channel's Bob Dillner on NASCAR Live, that rumor has Sadler going to the #19 and COULD be taking the M&M's sponsorship with him.
      UPDATEs 2 -3 : see my #38 Team News and Links page for the full progression
      UPDATE 4: Though he denies any contact with Ray Evernham, Elliott Sadler will drive the #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge in 2007, multiple sources close to Robert Yates Racing have confirmed. Contrary to recent speculation, M&Ms, Sadler's current primary sponsor at Yates, will not accompany him to Evernham, those same sources say.(
      UPDATE 5: hearing Sadler let RYR know on Tuesday he would be leaving after the 2006 season, supposedly their is some talk of putting another driver [??] in the #38 M&M's soon as this weekend at Pocono although that seems unlikely.(7-19-2006)
      OFFICIAL - UPDATE 6: Robert Yates Racing (RYR) announced today that driver Elliott Sadler has requested and been granted a release from his contract to take effect at the conclusion of the 2006 season. Yates has started searching for a driver to take over the No. 38 Ford Fusion for 2007. "We would like to thank Elliott for his commitment to our organization over the past four seasons and for all the success we've enjoyed together", said Robert Yates. "We are excited about the opportunity to find a new driver who will continue the successful run of the #38 Ford as we maintain our focus on the future of our organization."
      "Our objective this year is to finish the season on a strong note," said Doug Yates. "It is our goal to continue to build this team so we will be better positioned next season to contend for the championship."(RYR PR)(7-20-2006)

    • Pocono Rookie News and Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the July 16 Lenox Industrial Tools 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. Hamlin finished sixth, scoring his seventh top-10 of the season and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 10th time in 19 races. Hamlin led the New Hampshire race once for one lap, the seventh race he has led in 2006. Hamlin enjoys a 34-point lead over Clint Bowyer in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the July 23 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin scored his first Nextel Cup Series win in the June 11 Pocono 500. Hamlin won by 1.328 seconds over Kurt Busch. He became the first Raybestos Rookie to win in 57 races at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin has led more laps (186) and more miles (349.108) than any other Raybestos Rookie in 2006. Hamlin is 12th in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 18 points behind 10th-place Greg Biffle. Hamlin leads 13th-place Carl Edwards by 128 points and 14th-place Kurt Busch by 188. David Stremme posted an 11th-place finish at New Hampshire, his best in 22 career Nextel Cup Series starts. Reed Sorenson led the New Hampshire race once for 31 laps, the most laps that he's led in a race this season. Sorenson has led at least one lap in each of the last three consecutive events. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-15 in all 19 races this season. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the Pennsylvania 500 is second by Ward Burton in 1994. The 1994 Pennsylvania 500 had Three Raybestos Rookies place inside the top-five, the best performance by a rookie class in 57 previous Nextel Cup races at Pocono. Three rookies finished in the top-five: Burton, Joe Nemechek (third) and Jeff Burton (fourth).(Raybestos PR), for the full standings, more Pocono stats, history of the award, see my Rookies Page.(7-20-2006)

    • The Speed Report replaces Speed News: SPEED will replace SPEED News on Sunday evenings with a new show, The SPEED Report, beginning Aug. 6 at 8:00pm/et. In addition to the weekly 60-minute show, The SPEED Report will be the network umbrella covering everything from motor sports and automotive press conferences to a daily news ticker, updating viewers on the day's events. For the debut show on Aug. 6, SPEED will have reporters on-site at The Brickyard 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race, the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events at nearby Indianapolis Raceway Park, the Formula One race in Hungary and the AMA Superbike race at Mid-Ohio. Drew Johnson and newcomer Nicole Manske will anchor The SPEED Report desk, with veteran Ralph Sheheen reporting on-site from race venues. A state-of-the-art set is under construction at SPEED headquarters in Charlotte, NC.(Speed Channel PR), no word on what happened to Connie LeGrand and what her plans are.(7-20-2006)

    • DW and Wadell to be honored by NC Auto Racing HOF in Oct: Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip and legendary engine builder Waddell Wilson will be honored by the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame at its annual induction ceremonies on Oct. 11 at Mooresville's Charles Mack Citizens Center. Waltrip, winner of 84 races and 59 poles, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Wilson, who began building winning engines in the 1960s with the legendary Holman and Moody and then became one of the circuit's top crew chief and engine builders in the 1980s, will receive the coveted Snap-On Golden Wrench Award for his outstanding contributions to the sport. "Both of these men brought something different to the sport," said Don Miller, co-founder and chairman of the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame. "Darrell was the stock car driver who led the competitors into corporate America's board rooms and showed they could be valuable in a firm's marketing plans with their on-track performances. He was often criticized for being brash, but he always backed up his statements, much as New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath did in the NFL. He also was an owner/driver during a portion of his career, gaining a different perspective on the sport that now serves him well in his broadcasting career with Fox Sports. Wilson was an extremely talented engine builder before becoming a crew chief. He came from the North Carolina mountains to rise to NASCAR stardom with the powerful engines he built."
      Located in Mooresville, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame celebrates the rich heritage of motorsports and its cultural contributions to society. It opened its doors in 1994 and now welcomes more than 300,000 visitors annually. More than 30,000 fans visited the Hall of Fame during Charlotte race weeks in May 2006. A non-profit museum, the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame is dedicated to all forms of motorsports - from drag racing to stock cars. It houses more than 35 cars as well as numerous displays and showcases. For more information about the museum and the 10th annual induction ceremony, log on to

    • Carmichael offer from Gibbs? As Ricky Carmichael soldiers on through his last full season on the AMA Motocross circuit, pieces are starting to fall in place as to what exactly his plans are for 2007 and beyond. Besides rumors circulating of Carmichael signing a three-year deal to drive in the ARCA Series for the Joe Gibbs race team starting in 2007, Carmichael is starting to leave hints as to which outdoor nationals he plans on racing next year.(

      News from July 19, 2006

    • Sad News - Anne Smith: Anne Ford Smith, 57, died Tuesday, July 18, 2006, at her home in Martinsville. Anne's husband, Mike Smith is the Director, Public Relations at Martinsville Speedway. Surviving are her husband, Mike Smith of the home; two daughters, Julie Metz Arnold of Martinsville and Megan Smith Bowen of Lynchburg; a son, Todd Metz of Roanoke; and one brother, William A. Ford Jr. of Abingdon, Md. The funeral will be held at noon Friday at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church with the Revs. John Monroe and Larry House officiating. Burial will be in Oakwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at McKee-Stone Funeral Services and other times at the home. Memorials may be made to Hospice of Memorial Hospital, P.O. Box 4788, Martinsville, Va. 24115.(Martinsville Bulletin), thoughts and prayers go out to Mike, family and friends.(7-19-2006)

    • Crew Chief Changes at the #21: With sponsorship and driver lineup announcements for 2007 expected by Labor Day, Wood Brothers/JTG racing will make several personnel moves effective this weekend. Michael "Fatback" McSwain will assume the duties of crew chief for Ken Schrader's #21 Nextel Cup car. David Hyder will take over Crew Chief duties for Jon Wood's #47 Busch Series car, as the third generation driver prepares for his anticipated entry into Nextel Cup next season. Ernie Cope will move from his duties as Crew Chief for Stacy Compton's Busch Series car to assist Michael "Fatback" McSwain. Jay Guy, Jon Wood's Busch Series Crew Chief will move to teammate Stacy Compton's #59 Busch Series car. Team co-owner Eddie Wood explained the transition. "Our goal is to improve our performance this year, while giving our drivers and crew chiefs an opportunity to work together in preparation for next year. We have made a lot of changes this season, including the merger with ST Motorsports' Busch Series teams and the expansion of a driver development program in the Truck Series. We have been playing catch up and wanted to get a jump on next year to see how everyone progresses with these management moves."(Wood Brothers Racing)(7-19-2006)

    • Drivers list for Irvan's L.A.P.S Walk at Pocono: Ernie Irvan has set the initial field of participating drivers for the first of his track walk events this summer to raise awareness for traumatic brain injury - the Leadership and Awareness to Promote Safety (LAPS) Walk, set to take place on Friday, July 21 after Cup qualifying at the Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. Drivers Casey Mears, Brian Vickers, Kyle Petty, Jeremy Mayfield, Martin Truex, Jr., Ken Schrader, Jeff Burton, and Jeff Green along with NASCAR President Mike Helton will join Irvan and the hundreds of supporters who have registered to walk alongside them on the Pocono track. More are expected to support Irvan in his efforts, and these drivers, along with drivers participating in LAPS Walk at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on August 16, 2006, will be announced on his website as they commit. For a minimum pledge, fans can walk the track alongside the drivers and get autographs in order to raise awareness and needed funds in Ernie's fight against the silent epidemic of traumatic brain injury in America. Created as a partnership between the Brain Injury Association of America and Irvan's non-profit organization, Race2Safety, the LAPS Walk aims to raise money for and awareness of brain injury and to bring brain injury to the forefront of consciousness in the minds of Americans. Irvan suffered two traumatic brain injuries at MIS during his racing career, the second of which prompted his early retirement. On site registration will take place at Pocono on Friday, July 21 from 3:00pm to 5:30pm, with the actual walk scheduled to start at approximately 6pm.There is a minimum contribution of $100 per person or $250 per family, and there is a $10 admission fee to the Grand Stand the evening of the walk that allows participants to experience two hours of qualifying racing before the LAPS Walk event.(PR)(7-19-2006)

    • Edwards not expecting another crew chief change: In a national teleconference Tuesday morning, #99-Carl Edwards said the team had just had a meeting and that it appeared that crew chief Bob Osborne would remain with Edwards' teammate #26-Jamie McMurray and Wally Brown would stay with Edwards. Edwards started the season with Osborne and McMurray with Jimmy Fennig, but an early-season switch moved Fennig into another role, Osborne to McMurray and Brown to Edwards. At the time, the team said it would revisit the changes in 90 days to see if Osborne and Edwards would be reunited. "The thinking of that is that either guy would be great, but right now, change for either of us may set us back farther than any long-term benefits to the change," said Edwards, who is 13th in points and trying to move into the top 10 and Chase-For-The-Nextel-Cup contention. Asked if he wanted to switch back, Edwards admitted he didn't want to make the first change. "Honestly, I did not want to switch when we first did it just for the simple reasoning that, hey, we were running well and Bob and I had had great success together, and I didn't want to change anything," Edwards said. "And [team owner] Jack Roush decided that he thought it would be a decent change to make, and it could help Roush Racing as a whole. I agreed with it just like everybody else, and we've worked hard, and Wally has not made many - Wally hasn't made any mistakes. He's done a great job, and it just doesn't seem like changing back just to change back is the right thing to do right now."(

    • Testing at Kentucky: Evernham Motorsports and Robby Gordon Motorsports highlight the weekly test schedule at Kentucky Speedway. #7-Robby Gordon and #10-Scott Riggs will test on Wednesday July 19th, with Riggs tentatively scheduled to test July 20 as well. On Tuesday, Billy Wease tested a Penske R&R car. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(7-19-2006)

    • Endangered Beetle Changes Busch's Wedding Plans: Something else has been bugging #2-Kurt Busch beyond the fact he's stalled outside of the Chase for the Nextel Cup in 14th place. The tiger beetle! "Those are the insects I guess that have their natural habitat on the Chesapeake Bay in the area we were looking to get married," Busch said in a conference call Tuesday. "Their mating season is the months of June and July. With this being July, the environmentalists said, 'Whoa. Whoa. We can't have a bunch of guys out there building a pier and dock for this wedding because it's going to disrupt the environment.' " Actually, it was the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "In terms of being environmentalist, we are part of the federal government and charged with protecting the public's natural resources, including endangered species," said Karen Mayne, field supervisor for the agency's office in Gloucester, Va. Mayne said the temporary pier Busch wanted constructed on land owned by developer Dan Hoffler on Virginia's Eastern Shore could have harmed the tiger beetles, which are listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The wedding of Busch and Eva Bryan will go ahead next weekend — on the porch of Hoffler's house.(USA Today)(7-19-2006)

    • 2006 West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame Banquet: The 5th Annual West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony and Banquet will be held on Friday, July 21, 2006 in Monrovia, CA. This is the 5th Annual event to honor the 2006 West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame Inductees: the 2006 inductee: 1946-1969, Beryl Jackson, Johnny Kieper, Jim Rush, Walt Faulkner, Jim Cook, Don Noel. 1970 to Present, Ray Clairidge, Mike Curb, Ivan Baldwin, Gary Nelson. This is also the same weekend of the NASCAR Grand National, West division race at Irwindale Speedway July 22, 2006. More info at

    • Allstate's "Good Hands" Drivers Raise Funds for Inner-City Youth: Allstate recently awarded the Urban Youth Racing School a check for $12,000 on behalf of the insurance company's "Good Hands" Driver award. As part of its overall support for NASCAR diversity initiatives, Allstate developed the Allstate "Good Hands" Driver award to one NASCAR Nextel Cup driver throughout a 12-week period. Each week, the Allstate "Good Hands" Driver of the race had $1,000 donated to the UYRS in his name. Denise Owens, Allstate's recruiting and agency development director, presented the check during a test session for this year's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, taking place August 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Hill & Knowlton Chicago PR)(7-19-2006)

      News from July 18, 2006

    • DW racing Busch Series at Martinsville: After last year's "One and Done" in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, former three-time Cup champion Darrell Waltrip will return for yet another comeback this weekend, as the current FOX commentator will drive for his brother Michael Waltrip's #99 Aaron's Dream team in the Busch Series race at Martinsville. Waltrip will begin testing this Tuesday at Caraway Speedway "from 10 a.m. until I get happy, which might be until 6 p.m. Friday," he quipped. After today's test, "we'll go back to the shop, tune on the car a little bit, put the race motor in and then be in Martinsville on Thursday for open practice." DW's biggest concern for his Busch comeback is the Martinsville heat, as temperatures have been scorching in the area this week.(Speed Channel)(7-18-2006)

    • Former team owner looking to get back in the sport: Not much info on this, but hearing that Wayne Burdette and a business partner are looking at coming back into Nextel Cup racing either on their own or partnering with a current team. They are currently working with several sponsors and hope to announce something soon. Burdette partnered with Cale Yarborough in 1998 and part if 1999 with Rick Mast as the driver.(7-18-2006)

    • Kyle Busch's Crew Takes Top Honors in New Hampshire : Kyle Busch's over-the-wall crew had two reasons to celebrate when they left New Hampshire International Speedway Sunday. Not only did Busch win the NEXTEL Cup event, but his No. 5 Kellogg's pit crew also took top honors in the weekly Checkers®/Rally's® Double Drive-Thru Challenge. "The Kellogg's guys worked their tails off in New Hampshire," said Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 5 team. "They had flawless pit stops and never lost focus all day long. It was one of the hottest days we've had on pit road and they just went out there and did their job. The No. 5 team deserves respect because they are a great pit crew. I'm proud of how hard they work and they deserve this reward." This is the third Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season for Busch's team, which is now tied with Tony Stewart's crew for second place in the season-long competition. Jimmie Johnson's crew leads with four victories. "My guys did it for me in New Hampshire," said Busch. "They were on the money every stop. Alan (Gustafson) made great calls and I just can't say enough because it was a total team effort, right down to the guys who build the cars and motors back at Hendrick Motorsports." Busch's over-the-wall team, out of the Hendrick Motorsports stable, spent 133.356 seconds on pit road to claim the win. The group includes: Rick Pigeon (jackman), Jeremy "JD" Holcomb (front-tire carrier), DJ Richardson (front-tire changer), Jason Jones (rear-tire carrier), Josh Kirk (rear-tire changer), Brad Pickens (gasman), Jason Dalrymple (catch can), and Whit Satterwhite (eighth-man). The pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin. Busch's crew collected $10,500 for the win. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season of rewarding pit crews, the unsung heroes in the Nextel Cup Series. The competition awards $10,500 per week to the top pit crew. In addition, the pit crew with the most wins will be awarded a $105,000 bonus at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at Communications PR)(7-18-2006)

    • 3 Children From Victory Junction Gang Camp To Serve As Grand Marshals at Martinsville Busch race: Goody's Headache Powders has announced that three children from the Victory Junction Gang Camp will serve as Grand Marshals for the Goody's 250 Busch Series race set for Saturday, July 22 at 3:30pm/et. They include Nick of Clemmons, NC age 13; Will "Cheese" of Greensboro, NC age12; and Danielle of Martinsville, VA age 12. Race festivities kick off on Thursday, July 20th, when the Grand Marshals will visit Martinsville Speedway to tour the track, participate in pace car rides and visit several drivers at their haulers for autographs and photos. On Saturday, July 22 prior to the running of the NASCAR Busch Series Goody's 250, the three Victory Junction Gang Camp Grand Marshals will attend the drivers meeting, participate in driver introductions, then jointly give the command "Gentlemen, Start your Engines" to start the Goody's 250. Tickets to the NASCAR Busch Series Goody's 250 race on Saturday, July 22 at Martinsville Speedway are now on sale. To order tickets to the Goody's 250 or for more information, call 877-RACE-TIX (722-3849) or log on to Junction Gang Camp PR)(7-18-2006)

    • 20 Finalists for Intl Motorsports Hall of Fame's Class of 2007: Cotton Owens, the highly successful race driver and car owner, and Jack Ingram, the five-time champion of what is now NASCAR'S Busch Series, head the list of the Top 20 Finalists for the International Motorsports Hall of Fame's Class of 2007. Owens won over 400 Modified and Late Model Sportsman races, then captured 40 more as a car owner. Ingram won three Grand National titles in a row, then won the newly-named Busch Series in its first year in 1982 and then again in 1985. The duo heads a group of ten candidates that are affiliated with NASCAR. Others include former Champions Red Byron, Rex White, Jerry Cook, and Ray Hendrick, car owner Junie Donlavey, engine builder and crew chief Maurice Petty, promotional guru Ralph Seagraves and track owner Bruton Smith. Grumpy Jenkins, who won six NHRA titles as a car owner, and Warren Johnson, NHRA'S all-time winner in Pro Stock with 98 victories, represent drag racing. Sports car legends Oliver Gendebein and Brian Redman, Grand Prix driver Rene Dreyfus, car owner and promoter J. C. Agajanian, and Jan Opperman, who won big in both midgets and sprint cars, carry the banner of open-wheel racing. Others on the list of 20 finalists are three-time World Land Speed record holder Art Arfons, two-time AMA Superbike champion Wayne Rainey and record-setting test pilot Chuck Yeager. Final voting will be held over the next two months, and the five-man Class of 2007 will be announced in early November. See more on the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at

    • ISC Helps Staten Island Little League: NASCAR is riding to the rescue of the Staten Island Little League, after venerable Hy Turkin Field was torn up from home plate to the outfield in a sickening episode of vehicular vandalism earlier this week. Michael Printup of International Speedway Corp., which seeks to build an 80,000-seat racetrack in Bloomfield, arranged a corporate donation of 500 square feet of sod and some 18 cubic yards of clean fill to make the Dongan Hills field playable again. The work will be done today and tomorrow [July 14-14]. Printup, who coaches in the South Shore Little League, said he wanted to help as soon as he read the distressing details in Wednesday's Advance. "For something that was so horrible in nature, I knew we [ISC] had to do something," he said. "This is something for the kids, so they can get back out there and play." Pete Sclafani expressed gratitude on behalf of the SILL board of directors. "It's good to see people from the community kicking in," Sclafani said.(Staten Island Advance)(7-18-2006)

    • Stewart, Wallace Win Fan Voting To Be Inducted Into Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame: Fan voting closed this past weekend for 2006 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame honorees, and on Saturday, Oct. 7 during Talladega Superspeedway's upcoming UAW-Ford 500 weekend, two new names will be added to this prestigious list: Tony Stewart and Rusty Wallace. The Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame in downtown Talladega is both a focal point saluting NASCAR's greatest names and a tribute to one of racing's brightest stars - the late Davey Allison. Developed in 1994, the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame has inducted one active driver and up to two inactive drivers since 1995 based on the fans' vote chosen from a ballot of nominees selected by strict guidelines. Fan voting for the 2006 Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame began on April 3. In addition to Stewart, driver nominees this year included Michael Waltrip, Jeff Burton, Morgan Shepherd, Kurt Busch, Robby Gordon, Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Sterling Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield, Joe Nemechek, Ryan Newman, Elliott Sadler, Ken Schrader and Carl Edwards. In addition to Wallace, inactive driver nominees for 2006 included Jim Paschal, Bill Rexford, Jack Smith, Rex White and Speedy Thompson. In the park, Davey Allison is remembered with a large marble monument, while drivers inducted into the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame have bronze plaques placed around the park, accessible by walkways that form the shape of Talladega Superspeedway. More info at the Talladega-Texaco Walk of Fame site.(TSS PR)(7-18-2006)

      News from July 17, 2006

    • Danica to stay in IRL...with Andretti team? It appears Danica Patrick will be on the move in 2007, but not to NASCAR. Instead, it appears she will move over to a rival Indy Racing League team. Indianapolis TV station WXIN reports Andretti-Green Racing has made a serious overture for Patrick, whose contract with Rahal-Letterman Racing runs out at the end of this year. The network cited unnamed sources but neither Andretti-Green or Rahal-Letterman would comment on the report. Andretti-Green co-owner Michael Andretti indicated late last week that he would be interested in signing Patrick, who was being touted for a possible move to the Nextel Cup series next year. AGR currently fields cars for Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Dario Franchitti and Bryan Herta. Franchitti and Herta's contract with the team are set to expire at the end of this season.(

    • Toyota close to approval: John Darby, Nextel Cup series director, says officials are in the final stage of approving the Toyota Camry for next season. Also, Dodge submitted a car for next season with a new hood and rear. Darby said the car is scheduled to be taken to a wind tunnel Tuesday.(Roanoke Times)(7-17-2006)

    • Labonte denies RYR rumor: #43-Bobby Labonte said quite emphatically to scratch reports he may be on car owner Robert Yates' list of drivers to try to sign for 2007. Labonte called the Yates' report "a stupid rumor." Yates is in the market for a high-profile driver to run for his two-car team, with Dale Jarrett leaving and with major questions about Elliott Sadler possibly leaving too. Yates will be testing newcomer Stephen Leicht, from Asheville, at Pocono and Indy, though it's unclear if Leight, 19, will even be able to make the field. Leicht is a promising racer, but with little NASCAR experience. However, there is speculation that Yates may go with Leicht in a full Nextel Cup ride next season.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-17-2006)

    • #44 UPS Toyota in 2007? The UPS-sponsored Toyota Camry that Dale Jarrett will drive in 2007 for Michael Waltrip Racing might be the #44. NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter confirmed Sunday that Waltrip has expressed interest in acquiring the number. Terry Labonte has run the #44 on a limited basis this season for Hendrick Motorsports. But Petty Enterprises, the last team to the run the number on a full-time basis, still has a say in where it goes. "I know Michael is wanting it," said Robbie Loomis, Petty Enterprises' executive vice president of race operations. "It will really be up to Kyle and Richard [Petty]. If it's something that they feel warranted that we might need for the future, then I'm sure we'll keep it. Otherwise, they see the big picture of the sport. And if it's good for Michael and good for the other people involved, then we'll probably end up turning it over." Waltrip also has inquired about the #33. But car owner Richard Childress indicated he is unwilling to part with the number he campaigned in three races last season with Kerry Earnhardt behind the wheel.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)...and the #33 could be used if Childress expands to a 4-car team as had been rumored.(7-17-2006)

    • Rudd to 4th Gibbs team? car owner Joe Gibbs is possibly interested in expanding to a fourth Nextel Cup team - with Ricky Rudd, if Rudd is amenable. Rudd drove Dover for Gibbs last month while #20-Tony Stewart was recuperating, and the Gibbs team was pleased with how easy Rudd was to work with, and with how competitive Rudd still is. Red Bull has also talked with Rudd about a ride next year.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-17-2006)

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