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    JULY 24-30, 2006

      News from July 30, 2006

    • Sponsor changes at the #25 and #16? hearing National Guard could end up being the sponsor, either whole or in part, of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy that Casey Mears will drive in 2007. No word if current #25 primary sponsor, GMAC, stays as a co-sponsor or would leave the team. National Guard currently sponsors the #16 Roush Racing Ford of Greg Biffle, supposedly Subway could step up full time or be co-sponsors with Ameriquest [sponsors a slew of Roush Racing Busch cars] or 3M.(7-30-2006)

    • Dale Jr to appear on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart": Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to be the first NASCAR driver to appear as an in-studio guest on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart", the Emmy Award-winning news program. Dale Jr. will appear Thursday, August 10. The show airs at 11:00pm/et and repeats throughout the following day. More info on my Driver Appearances page.(fingerprint, inc. / Budweiser Racing)(7-30-2006)

    • Robby running dirt race at Vegas: UPDATE: Robby Gordon, taking every opportunity to get back to his roots of off-road racing, will participate in this weekend’s SCORE International Desert Series Off-Road Race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) Dirt Track. Held July 27th through 29th while the majority of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series regulars take the weekend off, Gordon will race his #83 Red Bull/Toyo Tires-sponsored Chevy CK1500 Trophy Truck around the 1.5-mile course designed specifically for this uniquely fan-friendly event. With almost 90 percent of the track viewable from the over 12,000-seat grandstand area, Gordon and the other competitors will tangle on the man-made course in front of a packed house. Gordon will be filling in for the #83 Chevy’s driver of record, Andy McMillin, who competes in the truck for the majority of the six-race season. More info at Gordon site)(7-28-2006)
      UPDATE: Robby Gordon made an open weekend on the Nextel Cup schedule a profitable one for himself by running away with the final race in the featured SCORE Trophy-Truck division of the SCORE Las Vegas Terrible’s Cup II Saturday night. A near-capacity crowd of 8,115 turned out for the final night of the closed-course off-road event at the Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway despite the traffic problems created by a closure of the Interstate 15 freeway throughout the afternoon and early evening due to a fire at a propane storage facility. Gordon rewarded their perseverance by dominating both his heat race and the main event and celebrating with victory donuts in his Chevy CK1500 that sent clouds of dust floating into the grandstand. He had finished third and second in his two races Friday night and said, Gordon, 37, won the opening 6-lap heat race by 35 seconds and the 6-lap main event by 23 seconds, the latter effort earning the team the $15,000 winner’s share of the $25,000 purse for the class. Alan Pflueger, who commutes from his home in Hawaii to race in the desert, started fourth and finished second in his Chevy Silverado SCORE Trophy-Truck, with Pete Sohren of Glendale, Ariz., third in a Ford F-150.(Robby Gordon site)(7-30-2006)

    • Bowyer not satisfied with Stewart 'apology': #07-Clint Bowyer said Friday he and #20-Tony Stewart had talked about their incident at Pocono Raceway last weekend, but Bowyer didn't sound like he was satisfied with the discussion. Stewart bumped Bowyer on lap 32 of the Pennsylvania 500 after what Stewart later described was a lack of patience on Bowyer's part. On Monday, Stewart issued an apology to the media, but Bowyer said his talk with Stewart didn't seem like an apology. "I don't know exactly what you'd want to call it," Bowyer said. "I don't know if Tony knows what an apology is. It's probably as close as you're going to get with Tony." Bowyer didn't speak with the media at Pocono, leaving the garage area after also failing to talk with Stewart. But Bowyer did speak his mind to reporters at Gateway. "We drove from 14th to sixth in the first run, in 12 laps," Bowyer said. "It wasn't like we didn't have a fast car. It's a very long race. We over-adjusted a little bit and got the car too loose. I basically was giving spots up. I gave away four before him. I moved over to let him have it, but instead of going to the inside, he went to the outside. I guess he thought I was racing him. That's the biggest thing about the whole thing: I was trying to get out of his way. Somehow, he took it the wrong way and wrecked me for it."(

      News from July 29, 2006

    • Papis to make Cup debut in #78 at Watkins Glen: Open-wheel veteran Max Papis will make his Nextel Cup debut at Watkins Glen for the #78 Furniture Row Motorsports team, driving the #78 Furniture Row Chevy. Kenny Wallace is the regular driver, and Jimmy Spencer has made a few attempts in the car.(Furniture Row Racing site)(7-29-2006)

      News from July 28, 2006

    • Boris Said and No Fear Racing Look to the Brickyard 400: Coming off a Bud Pole win and a highly impressive fourth place finish in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, No Fear Racing now prepares to head into the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, August 6. Race number 21 of the 36-round 2006 Nextel Cup Series, the Brickyard will mark the third start for the Sobe/No Fear Energy Ford Fusion. "The response to the 'sell more cases, do more races' line I stumbled on was overwhelming and phenomenal," offers Said. "NASCAR fans are the most loyal and supportive in all of sports and I think they picked up on the fact that we are a small team doing the best we can with the limited resources we have. I'm amazed at how much attention we received from the press. And from what I am told, Pepsi and SoBe received thousands of E-mails from fans asking how they could buy cases of SoBe/No Fear Energy to help support our team. I'd really like to take this moment and thank the fans and all the press people who have helped us out. It's our goal to become a full-time NASCAR Nextel Cup team and with the support of the fans and press, we just might pull it off in 2007." The SoBe/No Fear Energy Ford Fusion will attempt to qualify for the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard on Saturday, August 5. The car will carry the same red, black, red and yellow paint scheme it did in Daytona. K-Mart will serve as the associate sponsor of the Brickyard effort.(No Fear Racing PR)(7-27-2006)

    • More on the Split Screen for TV: Ramsey Poston, NASCAR's managing director for corporate communications, touched off strong reaction on internet message board with a quote in the Long Island (N.Y.) Press about NASCAR’s opinion of the "side by side" approach ABC/ESPN uses with commercials on Indy Racing League races. "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," Poston told the newspaper. On Friday [July 21st], Poston said he didn't mean for his comment to come off as though he was speaking for the fans. "We are open to it, if there is a better way of presenting it," he said. “But we haven't seen an idea that we think would work both the advertisers and fans." On its IRL broadcasts, ABC/ESPN present commercials with audio on part of the screen while showing an image from the track, with no sound, on another part. The method has produced no appreciable gain in IRL ratings for ABC/ESPN, however. Advertisers pay considerably higher rates for ads on NASCAR telecasts.(Thatsracin)(7-28-2006)

    • Drive for Diversity Program Hits Stride in Third Year: The Drive for Diversity program is enjoying a breakout year in just its third season. Drive for Diversity is an ethnic and gender minority driver and crew member development program run by Access Marketing & Communications. The program, which is NASCAR’s leading on-track diversity initiative, currently has eight drivers competing in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Although the season is only at the midway point, the drivers have combined for eight victories. The eight drivers represent a variety of racing and ethnic backgrounds. Each driver touts an impressive on-track resume that includes several national and track championships. Many of them have already received national attention for historic wins. Chris Bristol’s win at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway last season made him the first African-American driver to win in the track’s 55-year history. Jesus Hernandez followed Bristol’s lead this year becoming the first Hispanic driver to win at the track. Peter Hernandez has visited victory lane twice this year at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, Calif. Allison Duncan made history at that track last season becoming the first female driver to win at the track. It was also the first win for the Drive for Diversity program. Although all eight of the current drivers have experienced success on the track, the most impressive driver of this season has been Marc Davis. Davis, a 16-year-old from Mitchellville, Md., has won five Limited Late Model races at Hickory in just 11 starts. Since turning 16, he has competed in three NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Late Model races, earning two top-10 finishes. He finished second to Jesus Hernandez in his second career NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series start. NASCAR will spotlight teams, tracks, sponsors and partners throughout the year for significant contributions and achievement in diversity. NASCAR will also be highlighting diverse drivers currently competing throughout the different levels of the sport.(NASCAR PR)(7-28-2006)

    • Sad News: not much info - Condolences to the family of James Hudson who passed away recently, James is the father of Bobby Hudson, spotter for #99-Carl Edwards.(7-28-2006)

    • LAPS Walk at Pocono raises over $30,000: On July 21st, 2006, Ernie Irvan and the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania (BIAPA) earned another victory in the fight to prevent Traumatic Brain Injury at the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA. In a place known for speed and excitement, this victory lap was at a slightly slower pace as a group of over 300 supporters participated in Pocono's first Leadership and Awareness to Promote Safety (LAPS) Walk. Irvan suffered two Traumatic Brain Injuries while racing, the second of which prompted his early retirement and inspired him to start his non-profit organization Race2Safety. LAPS Walk was created as a partnership between Race2Safety and the BIAPA and well achieved its goal at Pocono Raceway by raising over $30,000 for the awareness and prevention of Traumatic Brain Injury. The next LAPS Walk is scheduled to take place at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on Thursday, August 17th, 2006. For more information see my Ernie Irvan site.(7-28-2006)

      News from July 27, 2006

    • 1973 NASCAR Champion Benny Parsons Battling Lung Cancer: Benny Parsons is all about winning. He's the 1973 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion; a Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600 winner; and, in recent years, has emerged as one of NASCAR's leading television and radio commentators.Now, Parsons is calling upon that winning attitude as he battles lung cancer. Parsons, 65, had experienced difficulty breathing and, after consulting with physicians, was informed by his family doctor, Dr. Scott Moss of Charlotte, that he has the disease. His treatment regimen starts immediately. "Needless to say this was a huge shock," said Parsons. "I've got a great deal of faith in all of my physicians, including Dr. Steven Limenpani, who treated NASCAR car owner Rick Hendrick during his battle with leukemia. I'm determined to pull through this and I appreciate everyone's concerns and prayers during this time. The first thing everyone asks me is, 'are you a smoker?' The answer is that I smoked my last cigarette way back in 1978 and since then I've hated being around smoking. I don't even allow anyone in my foursome to smoke on the golf course."
      Parsons is an analyst on NBC and TNT's coverage of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing and hosts "Fast Talk with Benny Parsons" on the Performance Racing Network. He plans to continue his duties with NBC/TNT and PRN throughout his treatment. "Everyone I work with has been gracious and accommodating," said Parsons. "I plan to keep on talking about racing for as long as I can." Friends and fans wishing to send words of encouragement to Parsons can do so by e-mailing him at or on a special message board at Sports/NBC Sports/PRN PR)(7-26-2006)
      NASCAR Statement - CEO Brian France: "NASCAR is saddened to learn about Benny Parsons' battle with cancer. As one who has seen this battle fought head-on in my own family, I am confident that with the support of his family and the entire NASCAR community, Benny will show all of us, once again, why he is a true champion. On behalf of the France family, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Benny."(NASCAR)(7-27-2006)

    • Marlin-Nemechek to stay at MB2 - looking to expand: New MB2 Motorsports owner Bobby Ginn said Wednesday that drivers #14-Sterling Marlin and #01-Joe Nemechek will stay on, and he hopes to give them a pair of teammates next season. "We won't have any major restructuring this year," said Ginn, who purchased the Mooresville, N.C.-based Nextel Cup team from Nelson Bowers, one of the co-founders in 1996 [see full PR and story below]. "Our focus will be on next year, when we will strive to become a four-car team." Ginn said he will add some new equipment this year in preparation for next year's big expansion. He said NASCAR's "Car of Tomorrow," which is scheduled to debut next season, will make all models more alike and level the playing field. Jay Frye, who will remain the team's chief operating officer, said the sale will end speculation about the team's future and make it easier to secure sponsors for next season.(Tennessean)(7-27-2006)

    • Bobby Hamilton Jr. to run at Indy - Cup and Truck: Fastenal and Bobby Hamilton Racing have joined forces and will be pulling double duty,competing at both venues. Bobby Hamilton Jr. will drive the #04 Fastenal Dodge in the NASCAR Nextel Cup event at the Brickyard (The Allstate 400 at the Brickyard) and he will drive the #18 Fastenal Dodge Ram in the Craftsman Truck Series event at Indianapolis Raceway Park (The Power Stroke Diesel 200). In pre-race testing at the Brickyard Hamilton Jr. was the 11th fastest driver posting a time of 50.406 which equates to a 178.550 mile per hour lap around the 2.5 mile oval.(

    • Steve Wallace plans full Busch season in 2007: Steve Wallace said this week that he plans to run the entire NASCAR Busch Series next season, as well as eight more Busch races this year and a handful of ARCA events as well. “I am going to run full time for next year, so (I’m) real excited about that,” Wallace said. The youngster, who drives for this famous father, Rusty, said how he does at the track also sets his mood at home. “Well, when you run bad or when you run good it just all depends,” Steve Wallace said. “Mom is real big on cooking. We have dinner every night. We sit down at the table and talk about stuff. So if I run bad and look like an idiot, he (Rusty) makes me feel like one. But if I run good, I'll kind of the superstar at the house. So it's definitely a real mood-setting-type deal.”(Speed Channel)(7-27-2006)

      News from July 26, 2006

    • Unleaded Fuel debuts at Gateway: NASCAR will take its first major step toward switching to unleaded fuel this weekend when the Busch Series cars will run it at St. Louis. The Busch cars will have unleaded fuel for the next four races. The change has created extra work for the engine builders. "We've had to do a lot of work with the valve-face coating," said Chris Robinson, who overseas the Busch engine program at Roush Yates Racing. "The lead in the leaded fuel worked as a lubricant on the valve train, so we've had to go back and make sure the valve coatings will compensate for the unleaded fuel."(Tampa Tribune)(7-26-2006)

    • Ginn buys into MB2 Motorsports UPDATE 2: 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.(7-20-2006)
      UPDATE 2: MB2 Motorsports to Make Major Announcement Regarding Ownership of Team on Wednesday, July 26th involving the MB2 New Team Owner, Jay Frye, MB2 CEO/GM, #01-Joe Nemechek, MB2 driver and #14-Sterling Marlin, MB2 driver.(7-26-2006)
      MORE: The sale of MB2 Motorsports to real estate and resort developer Bobby Ginn should shore up the Nextel Cup team's short- and long-term future. The deal, which will be announced Wednesday at a news conference at a Ginn Clubs & Resorts property in Orlando, will include a 10-race primary sponsorship this year for Sterling Marlin's #14 Chevrolet, solidifying a car that had lacked full-season funding. "We needed to have a strong identity, something to differentiate ourselves vs. other teams," MB2 general manager Jay Frye said. "This is a huge opportunity to do that. Financially, it puts us in a different posture than what we've been. We have an opportunity to expand, and we're much better positioned for the future." Before Ginn's purchase of the team, Frye was considering a merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc. Frye said that option is off the table now that it seems MB2 has the potential for eventually keeping pace with title-caliber powerhouses such as Hendrick Motorsports and Roush Racing.(USA Today)
      UPDATE 3: MB2 Motorsports, which fields NASCAR Nextel Cup entries for drivers #01-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin, has announced a change of ownership. Real estate developer Bobby Ginn (pronounced GHIN) has purchased all of the shares owned by MB2 majority owner and founding partner Nelson Bowers. The business transaction takes effect immediately. Jay Frye, MB2's general manager and chief executive officer since the formation of the racing organization in 1996, will continue in the same capacity and retain his ownership in the company. Ginn's majority interest and Frye's interest comprise 100% ownership of MB2 Motorsports. Ginn, 57, is president and founder of the Celebration, Fla.-based Ginn Resorts, a privately held resort development and management firm, specializing in exclusive leisure lifestyle and vacation destination communities in the United States. "We recognize the importance and relevance of NASCAR fans and sponsors to the overall success of our brand," said Ginn, a native of Hampton, S.C. "MB2 has outstanding partners in the U.S. Army, Waste Management, CENTRIX Financial, Wiley X Eyewear, Ginn Resorts and Mighty Auto Parts. Also announced today is that Ginn Resorts, which has been an MB2 primary sponsor at selected Cup events in 2006, has added 10 races to its primary-sponsorship package on Marlin's #14 Chevrolet. The sponsorship will be managed through Ginn Sports Entertainment. Regarding the sale of his shares in MB2, Bowers said, "I have thoroughly enjoyed all facets of being a NASCAR team owner for the past 10 years. It's been a memorable and fascinating ride and I wish Bobby, Jay and the entire MB2 organization nothing but success." Along with its Nextel Cup teams, MB2 has a driver development program in place with Kraig Kinser in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and Jesus Hernandez in the Drive for Diversity program. The MB2 team shop is based in Mooresville, N.C.(MB2 Motorsport PR, click here to listen to the teleconference at )(7-26-2006)

    • Little Debbie commercials to feature Schrader: Wood Brothers Racing's #21-Ken Schrader is being featured in a new advertising campaign for team sponsor Little Debbie. The commercials will be broadcast nationally, beginning with NBC's coverage of the Aug. 6 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the 30-second spot, Schrader appears in a convenience store with a mouthful of the company's donuts. It's the first time the driver has been featured in an ad for the company that signed with the Wood Brothers in October 2005. The company is in negotiations with Wood Brothers concerning sponsorship in 2007.(

    • Gordon's Team Claims Pit Crew Win at Pocono: Jeff Gordon's DuPont pit crew claimed its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition, helping boost the Hendrick Motorsports driver to a third-place finish in Sunday's (July 23) NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race at Pocono Raceway. "I'm glad this over-the-wall crew is getting the recognition it deserves," said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet. "They've been great all year long, especially during difficult days when the car wasn't handling well." Gordon's over-the-wall team edged out other crews by spending the least amount of time in the pits during the Pennsylvania 500. Gordon's 324 Chevrolet spent 228.349 seconds on pit lane. His pit crew will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. The #24 over-the-wall team includes: Jeff Cook (jackman), Mike "Tiny" Houston (front-tire carrier), Clay Robinson (front-tire changer), Jeff Knight (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Gilman (rear-tire changer), Caleb Hurd (gasman), Jamie Frady (catch can) and Jason "Penske" Seitzinger (eighth-man). The pit crew coach is Matt Clark. With four wins in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge, Jimmie Johnson's team leads the season-long competition. Tony Stewart's and Kyle Busch's pit crews are tied for second place with three victories each. 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)(7-26-2006)

      News from July 25, 2006

    • Statement from Tony Stewart Regarding Lap 32 Incident at Pocono: The following is a statement from Nextel Cup Series driver Tony Stewart regarding the lap 32 incident in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 that involved Stewart, Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards. "I'm taking 100 percent responsibility for the final incident that occurred on lap 32 between myself, the 07 (Bowyer) and the 99 (Edwards). It was totally my fault. At the same time, there were circumstances that led up to that wreck, and after talking with Clint this morning, we both have a better understanding as to what happened. He was trying to get out of my way and didn't realize that I had gone to the outside. He thought I was to his inside, and when he tried to give me some room, he slid into us and it put us into the outside wall. I reacted, causing the wreck that I take responsibility for and regret." On lap 32, Stewart was racing on the outside of Bowyer through turn three of Pocono's 2.5-mile triangle when Bowyer's car pushed out toward the wall. Stewart gave as much ground as he could until scraping the wall with the right side of his #20 Chevrolet. As he came off the wall, Stewart made contact with Bowyer, sending Bowyer's #07 Chevrolet into Edwards' #99 Ford. NASCAR penalized Stewart one lap for aggressive driving, putting the two-time and reigning Nextel Cup champion 41st in the 43-car field. Stewart regained his lead lap status on lap 41 by passing then leader #12-Ryan Newman. Stewart went on to finish seventh in the 200-lap race.(True Speed Communication PR)(7-25-2006)

    • Sad News - David McGehee: David Wayne 'Rawhide' McGehee, 46, of the Silver Valley Community, died Saturday, July 15, 2006, at his residence after a period of declining health. Born Jan. 4, 1960, in San Diego, Calif., he worked at Labonte Racing and operated 109 Custom Exhaust south of Thomasville until his health began to decline. Memorials may be directed to David Wayne McGehee Memorial Fund, 102 Christopher Lane, Thomasville, N.C. 27360 or to Hospice of the Piedmont, 1801 Westchester Drive, High Point, N.C.. 27262.(in part from Thomasville Times.(7-25-2006)

    • Stewart's Hearse Makeover to be featured on Unique Whips: Tony Stewart and his now famous 1984 Cadillac Brougham hearse will be the main subject of an upcoming Unique Whips mini marathon Aug. 2, starting at 8:00pm/et on Speed Channel. This Unique Whips mini marathon will focus on New York-based Unique Autosports' build and unveiling of the Indiana resident's unusual ride. The three one-hour shows begin with a reprise of the original delivery to Unique Autosports owner Will Castro, as he attended Stewart's dramatic victory during last year's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Two new episodes will then journey SPEED viewers through the tricking out and presentation of Stewart's well-publicized custom whip. "We had never done a build like this," Castro said. "We're always taking cars that are worth $100 thousand and up - making them unique. This was the first time we'd taken a $1.99 'hoopty' and turned it into a $100 thousand whip." Stewart was pleased with the results. "Will (Castro) and the crew did a great job with my hearse," Stewart said. "Both Will and I knew it was going to be quite a project, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out. As usual, Will assembled a great crew to work on the car and it's why I've always trusted Unique Autosports to complete builds like this. I hope the fans enjoy the makeover as much as I enjoy the car.(Speed Channel PR)(7-25-2006)

    • Danica to stay in IRL...with Andretti team? UPDATE: 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.(
      UPDATE: Danica Patrick signed with Andretti Green Racing on Tuesday, deciding to stay in the Indy Racing League instead of switching to NASCAR. Patrick will start driving for her new team in 2007. Her current contract with Rahal Letterman expires at the end of the season. Though she toyed with joining NASCAR, Patrick said last week she was leaning toward saying in the IndyCar series.(Associated Press)(7-25-2006)

    • Tire Air Pressure Tricks? A number of stock-car crews have been playing with tire tricks the past year, trying to prevent excessive air pressure build-up and improve handling over long runs. Two of the tricks have been installing illegal air-pressure bleeders in the valve stems, and the drilling of very tiny holes in the sidewalls, which is not specifically illegal. So when NASCAR officials confiscated Clint Bowyer's left-front tire at Martinsville after Saturday's Busch race, there were a lot of questions in the Nextel Cup garage at Pocono Speedway. But Mike Dillon, the director of team operations for Bowyer's car owner, Richard Childress, said that it was much ado about nothing. "Our left-front was leaking," Dillon said. "It was a valve stem leaking, but it was leaking at the rim, a bad seal or just not tight. A lot of people have been experimenting with bleeders, and I know there are guys drilling holes in sidewalls, too, to control the air. But if you wanted to use a bleeder at Martinsville, you'd want your left-rear to bleed.I don't think anything will come from it. We've talked with our crew chiefs, and they assured us there wasn't anything going on." Crew chiefs say that some tires have such naturally thin sidewalls that, even without doctoring, if they were submerged in a big vat of water, air would bubble out from a number of areas. "I had a tire at Michigan that actually lost seven pounds of air during a tire run, instead of having an air pressure build-up," one team manager said.(Winston Salem Journal)(7-25-2006)

    • RYR Looking to put Leicht in Cup in 2007: Robert Yates Racing is trying to put 19-year-old Stephen Leicht in a Nextel Cup car in 2007, team co-owner Doug Yates confirmed Monday. Yates said that if CitiFinancial agrees to sponsor the team's #88 Nextel Cup car next season, Leicht will be the driver. If the company decides to remain in the Busch Series, Leicht would drive that car and he also would be a candidate to drive the Cup car, depending on the sponsor. Yates also said if Leicht doesn't run Cup in 2007, then he would in 2008.(

      News from July 24, 2006

    • Carmichael offer from Gibbs? UPDATE: 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.(
      UPDATE: If Motocross racer Ricky Carmichael wants to give NASCAR a try, Joe Gibbs Racing will find a seat for him. J.D. Gibbs said Sunday the team has had preliminary discussions with Carmichael, who many consider the greatest motocross racer of all time. "We're just talking to him, like a "Hey, if it ever comes up and you are interested in doing something, let's brainstorm,' " Gibbs said. Carmichael is expected to make the 2007 season his final one in Motocross, and Gibbs said he didn't think it would take him long to adjust to stock-cars if Carmichael wanted to give them a try.(FoxSports/AP)(7-24-2006)

    • Gilliland to Yates? UPDATEs: David Gilliland, who has won one Busch Series race, said yesterday he has been contacted by several teams for next year. The Charlotte Observer reported that one of those teams was Robert Yates Racing, reporting that Yates had extended Gilliland an offer to replace Emporia native Elliott Sadler in the #38. Gilliland wrecked out of the Goody's 250 on Lap 163. Shortly after Gilliland emerged from the team's hauler, Jack Roush pulled him aside for a short conversation. Gilliland didn't mention specifics yesterday but said his goal hasn't changed. "We've got a lot of options. I got a lot of phone calls," Gilliland said. "I want to race full time next year."(Richmond Times Dispatch)(7-23-2006)
      UPDATE: Forgive David Gilliland if he's a bit overwhelmed by the sudden rush of calls to his cell phone from top NASCAR team owners like Richard Childress, Robert Yates and Jack Roush. "We've got some pretty good opportunities and we're going to take our time in trying to make the right decision," Gilliland said yesterday of his unexpected headline status in the stock- car rumor mill. "I've talked to probably 10 teams, and we're just weighing our options. It's hard to pass up an opportunity because you might not get another one. I've talked with Richard Childress a lot, and his operation is on top of the game right now, and it's hard to pass up a deal like that. But I haven't signed anything with anyone." Mike Dillon, Childress' director of team operations, said his team wants to sign Gilliland to a Busch-Nextel Cup package that would include all the Busch events in 2007, plus a couple of Nextel Cup events. "He has to make a decision on his future, and we've got to make decisions, too," Dillion said. Yates is apparently offering an even bigger deal - a full Nextel Cup ride. Gilliland said he's bounced his options off his father, Butch Gilliland, a veteran Winston West racer, for advice. "And I just talked with Kenny Wallace, and he gave me some really good advice. He's been around the sport a long time and seen people move up too fast or not fast enough. I'm not 20, so we might not get another opportunity. But at the same time you don't want to move too fast. How do you know if you're ready until you try it?"(Winston Salem Journal)
      UPDATE 2: David Gilliland, who shocked the NASCAR world when he won a Busch Series race at Kentucky Speedway last month in an unsponsored, part-time car, has emerged as one of the leading candidates to replace Elliott Sadler in the #38 Robert Yates Racing Ford next year. Gilliland was at Pocono Raceway Sunday where he reportedly met with representatives from sponsor M&M Mars. While he did not confirm he would drive for the team next year, Gilliland showed up for an interview on SPEED while eating a bag of M&Ms and proclaiming that they were his favorite candy.(Speed Channel)(7-24-2006)

    • Third team for RYR? [Robert] Yates said there's a "realistic" chance that RYR could go to three Cup teams next season if 44-year-old Ward Burton, who has been out of Cup the past two seasons, comes up with a sponsor. Citifinancial and M&M's, according to team officials, are looking for younger drivers such as Leicht, 19, and Gilliland, 30. "If Ward walked in with a sponsor today we'd say, 'Ward, you've got the ride,'" Yates said.(
      AND: The Yates crew is interested in Gilliland, sources tell Team Ford Racing, with veterans Ricky Rudd and Ward Burton as the team’s fallback position if they are unable to sign a young up-and-comer, Gilliland or someone else.(Speed Channel)(7-24-2006)

    • FRM Owner Comments on Pocono Disqualification: Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins, whose car was found to be a quarter-inch too low following qualifying Friday, said Sunday his team did not intentionally attempt to skirt the rules for the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. The #61 Dodge of Chad Chaffin was found to be too low in post-qualifying inspection and the team's qualifying time was disallowed. Because the team wasn't in the top 35 and locked in, it was one of the four teams to go home. The team said NASCAR's disallowing its time and thus knocking it out of the race cost the team at least $70,000 in purse winnings. Typically, a team does not lose as much money for being too low after qualifying because it still gets in the race by being locked in the top 35. "Our team is extremely disappointed in the series of events that took place at the track this weekend," Jenkins said in a statement. "I want to assure our fans and sponsors that we are committed to working within NASCAR's guidelines to maintain the integrity of our race efforts. At no time this weekend did anyone from our organization purposely attempt to circumvent those guidelines. We are unclear why NASCAR chose the course of action that they did. The penalty levied against our team does not seem to be consistent with previous penalties issued for similar offenses. This has left our team with a number of unanswered questions."(

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