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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    AUGUST 21-27, 2006





      News from August 27, 2006

    • Montoya can get out of F1 contact..if: McLaren boss Ron Dennis says Juan Pablo Montoya can be freed of his contractual obligations to the Woking team – provided he is willing to forego the remainder of his salary. The Colombian abruptly split with McLaren last month, two days after sensationally announcing that he would be leaving Formula 1 for the American NASCAR series in 2007. Since then his future employers, #42-Chip Ganassi Racing and manufacturer Dodge, have made little secret of their desire for Montoya to begin his stock car apprenticeship as soon as possible.(itv.com/f1)(8-27-2006)

    • No 4th DEI team in 2007..but: In July, officials from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. said that not only would they had a third Nextel Cup team next year, they were seriously contemplating a fourth Cup team as well. But Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, DEI Vice President of Motorsports Richie Gilmore said the fourth Cup car won’t happen until 2008. Next year, the team will expand from two cars to three, with #15-Paul Menard joining forces with #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and #1-Martin Truex, Jr. “Right now, we’re focusing on the three (teams) and trying to get the fourth for ’08,” Gilmore said. “We didn’t get the driver and everything put together. We’ve got some sponsor stuff that we’re close on, but right now we want to focus on getting three where they need to be.” Gilmore said a new building for Menard’s team on the DEI campus in Mooresville, NC, will be complete in four weeks.(Speed Channel)(8-27-2006)

    • Leicht not moving to Cup in 2007: [#38/88 Team Owner] Doug Yates says that 19-year-old Stephen Leicht will remain in the Busch series next season. Leicht made his Cup debut for Robert Yates Racing at Pocono, finishing 36th. He failed to qualify at Indianapolis. He's competed in 12 Busch series races with one top-10 finish. "Stephen is not ready for Cup,'' said Yates, RYR's co-owner. "The guy is 19 years old. He needs some time. He's going to be a great driver.'' Leicht's sponsor, CitiFinanical, also will remain, Yates said. Yates says the team hopes to either find a sponsor and driver for next season or merge with an existing team. One option might be Mark Martin, who has expressed an interest to run at least some Cup races next year.(Roanoke Times)(8-27-2006)


      News from August 26, 2006

    • Kenseth wins at Bristol: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway for his 2nd consecutive win in the night race at Bristol [first driver to do so since Dale Earnhardt in 1987-88], his 4th win of 2006 [tied for the lead with Johnson & Kahne] and 14th of his career. #5-Kyle Busch finished 2nd, followed by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #10-Scott Riggs, #24-Jeff Gordon, #11-Denny Hamlin, #99-Carl Edwards, #12-Ryan Newman, #31-Jeff Burton [led the most laps 263] and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Kenseth and Johnson have clinched a spot in The Chase, #2-Kurt Busch, the pole sitter, was involved in a wreck, then had transmission problems and finished 37th down 54 laps and has been eliminated from The Chase. #9-Kasey Kahne finished 12th and is now 90 points out of 10th and The Chase, the only driver with a realistic chance of making it in the top-10. There were 7 leaders with 18 lead changes and ONLY 10 cautions for 62 laps.
      Race Results on my Bristol Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Bristol page
      Race Rundown: see my Bristol Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(8-26-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Bristol [24 of 36 races]:
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 3499 [clinched a spot in the chase]
      #17-Matt Kenseth 3492 -7 [clinched]
      #29-Kevin Harvick 3178 -321
      #5-Kyle Busch 3097 -402
      #24-Jeff Gordon 3091 -408
      #11-Denny Hamlin 3070 -429
      #31-Jeff Burton 3064 -435
      #20-Tony Stewart 3056 -443
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3051 -448
      #6-Mark Martin 3049 -450
      and fighting for 10th
      out of 10th and the chase
      #9-Kasey Kahne -90
      #16-Greg Biffle -251
      #99-Carl Edwards -261
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(8-26-2006)

    • Rumbling - Race Notes - Bristol: #17-Matt Kenseth led the final 51 circuits tonight at Bristol Motor Speedway en route to a victory in the Sharpie 500 over Kyle Busch in what was a relatively (for Bristol anyway) mild short-track race. Hardly any punches considered and just a little jawing post-race. These guys are going soft on us! It's been quite a week for Matt. He won the Nextel Cup event last Sunday at Michigan, the Busch race last night, and the Cup race tonight. He's cashed in to the tune of $609,282 in the last seven days! The win tonight was the fourth of the season for Kenseth, the 14th of his Cup career (he's tied with Dick Hutcherson & LeeRoy Yarbrough for 44th on the all-time win list) and the 94th for Roush Racing (pretty strong week for Cactus Jack when you consider Mark Martin won the Truck race on Wednesday). Going back to back in this event nets Matt $336,516 from the over $6M in posted awards.
      Dale Earnhardt Jr (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Michigan in June.
      Scott Riggs (4th) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Michigan in August of 2005. His Top-5 gives us 26 drivers at that level this year... last year's number was 30.
      Ken Schrader (13th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Daytona in July.
      Dale Jarrett (15th) had his best finish since he was 12th at Talladega in April.
      Michael Waltrip (16th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Atlanta last October.
      Travis Kvapil (20th) had his best finish since he was 19th at Pocono in June.
      Kevin Lepage (21st) had his best finish since he was 21st at Lowe's last October.
      Kenny Wallace (30th) had his best finish since he was 29th at Lowe's last May (only five races).
      STREAKIN....Denny Hamlin has 6 Top-10's in a row.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Dale Earnhardt Jr (+37), followed by Carl Edwards (+32). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kurt Busch (-36), followed by Elliott Sadler (-30), Kyle Petty (-26), Reed Sorenson (-26), and Bobby Labonte (-20). This was Jr's second Op of the season. Still a tight battle in Owner Points for that all-important 35th spot in the standings. 34th to 36th is separated by only 21 markers with Sterling Marlin still on the outside looking in....he trails Kyle Petty by 16 points.
      Jimmie Johnson & Matt Kenseth clinched their spots in the "Chase" tonight. Johnson's lead is down to 7 points over Kenseth (it's gonna be five one way or the other in two weeks anyway). Kevin Harvick is on the verge....his "Magic Number" is 27th the next two races. Kasey Kahne's gotta find a way to make up 90 points in two races, but with the weekly shuffle in positions 4-10 you can bet none of those guys are too comfortable. Kyle Busch (7th to 4th), Ryan Newman (18th to 15th), and Scott Riggs (22nd to 19th) all made the best moves forward this week, while Mark Martin (4th to 10th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(8-26-2006)

    • Bristol Race Notes:
      • Matt Kenseth won the 2006 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway, scoring his 14th Nextel Cup victory in his 244th career start. • This was his fourth victory in 2006 joining Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne who also have four victories in 2006. Kenseth won at California, Dover and Michigan one race ago.
      • Kenseth is the first driver to post back-to-back victories in 2006.
      • Kenseth became the first driver to post back-to-back Bristol night race victories since Dale Earnhardt in 1987-1988.
      • Kenseth became the third driver to score weekend sweeps at Bristol joining Dale Earnhardt Jr. (August 2004) and Kevin Harvick (April 2005).
      • Kenseth moved into 44th on NASCAR’s all-time winners list tied with LeeRoy Yarbrough and Dick Hutcherson.
      • Kenseth scored his second victory in 14 races at Bristol and third victory in 40 races on a short track.
      • Kenseth won the race from the fourth-place starting position.
      • Kenseth scored his 13th top-five finish in 24 races this season, the most of all drivers.
      • Kenseth remained second in the point standings, now just seven points behind first-place Jimmie Johnson.
      • Jeff Burton led the most laps for the second time in 2006. Burton also led the most at Indianapolis.
      • Race winner Kenseth led four times for 117 laps including the final 51 laps in the 2006 Sharpie 500 at Bristol
      • This was team owner Jack Roush’s 94th Nextel Cup victory. Roush has scored eight Nextel Cup victories at Bristol.
      • Jack Roush Racing has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth have each clinched a spot in the 2006 Chase.
      • Kyle Busch (second) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his second top-10 finish in four races at Bristol. Busch climbed from seventh to fourth in the point standings, 138 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) scored his 11th top-10 finish in 2006. It marked his seventh top-10 finish in 14 races at Bristol. Earnhardt Jr. climbed from 10th to ninth in the point standings, 92 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
      • Scott Riggs (fourth) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-five finish in six races at Bristol and first top-five finish since he finished second at Michigan in August 2005.
      • Jeff Gordon (fifth) scored his 11th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 17th top-10 finish in 28 races at Bristol Motor Speedway. Gordon climbed from sixth to fifth in the point standings, 132 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
      • Denny Hamlin (sixth) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006, the most among the rookie contenders. He extended a streak of six straight top-10 finishes that began at New Hampshire in July.
      • Point leader Jimmie Johnson (10th today) has been ranked among the top 10 for 93 consecutive races.
      • Jeff Burton (ninth) posted his 17th top-15 finish in the last 18 races dating to Texas in April. Burton climbed from ninth to seventh in the point standings and is just 105 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.
      • Kevin Harvick (11th) extended a 36-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak. Harvick has posted eight straight top-15 finishes.
      • Tony Stewart (22nd) ended a streak of four straight top-10 finishes. He dropped from fifth to eighth in the point standings now just 97 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
      • Brian Vickers (33rd) ended a streak of 10 straight top-20 finishes that began at Pocono in June.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 24 races this season.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(8-26-2006)

    • Bristol PENALTY REPORT:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
      #45 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 62
      #96 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 63
      #45 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 62
      #6 One Lap Pitting out of the assigned box Lap 64
      #34 One Lap/TE Passing pace car/Pitting before pit road is open Lap 90
      #32 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 90
      #78 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 91
      #45 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 90
      #34 PT Speeding exiting pit road Lap 93
      #38 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 114
      #14 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 116
      #45 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 116
      #34 PT Speeding exiting and entering pit road Lap 160
      #29 TE Pitting before pit road is open/Speeding entering pit road Lap 203
      #29 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 203
      #25 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 211
      #14 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 212
      #41 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 227
      #01 SG Removing equipment from pit box Lap 228
      #34 PT Speeding entering pit road Lap 266
      #7 PT Speeding entering pit road Lap 321
      #40 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 324
      #2 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 326
      #19 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 326
      #41 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 326
      #2 TE Commitment line violation Lap 329
      #18 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 381
      #18 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 383
      #26 TE Pitting outside the assigned box Lap 384
      #25 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 445
      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)(8-26-2006)

    • Evernham to a four car team...in the future: on Speed Channel's NASCAR Raceday, Nextel Cup team owner Ray Evernham said he hope to expand to a four-car team in the future. NASCAR.com has an interview with Evernham by Marty Smith, one quote reports "Do you have plans to add a fourth team? Evernham: Yeah, we're trying to do that. We can't do it next year. We're not going to make next year, but we've got some things that I'm in the middle of putting together right now. The plan really was to go to four teams and we just couldn't get everything together fast enough."(8-26-2006)

    • NASCAR Approves Toyota Camry; BDR to test at Homestead: The Toyota Camry for the current version car has been approved for 2007, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said Friday. The engine likely will be approved in the coming weeks, Pemberton said. Bill Davis Racing Competition Director Tommy Baldwin said his team plans to test a current Camry and a "car of tomorrow" Camry at the Homestead test session Oct. 16-17. He then plans on having new driver Jeremy Mayfield testing the cars weekly until February.(SceenDaily.com)(8-26-2006)

    • Martin talks more about 2007; to the #60: #6-Mark Martin said Friday that he has absolutely no worries about the 2007 racing season, but did not rule out the possibility of driving a Nextel Cup car for someone other than Jack Roush next year, at least on a partial schedule. Martin, who has been with Roush since 1988, expects to field a Craftsman Truck Series Ford for the team next season, but he could also drive a part-time Cup schedule for a different team. “I’m going to kind of wait and see what materializes here, see what looks exciting, I guess,” Martin said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Asked point blank if he could drive in the Cup series for someone other than Roush next season, Martin said, “There’s certain scenarios that might bring that around. I’m interested in a limited schedule, and obviously I’d love to do that with Jack, but that would kind of mess up the #6 car. I wish they didn’t have a limitation on teams.” The #6 car, of course, is the Roush Racing Ford Fusion that Martin will be vacating after the 2006 season. Martin and Roush have enjoyed phenomenal success together, with the driver earning all 35 of his Cup victories behind the wheel of Roush Fords. He has finished second in Cup points four times. Martin is an enviable position, as he has enjoyed great success with Roush’s trucks this season, winning four races in just eight starts, including Wednesday night’s tilt at Bristol Motor Speedway. “That truck’s an awful lot of fun,” Martin said Friday. But the shortage of talent in the Cup series and a wave of start-up teams makes him highly sought after. “I’m not worried about it,” Martin said of next season. “I really got a Chase to try to make, and once we do that I’ve got to focus … I’ve got it the best in the world. I have nothing to worry about in 2007. Nothing.”(Speed Channel)
      MORE: One tantalizing—and unconfirmed—rumor making the rounds in the garage was that Martin’s part-time Cup ride could be with Boris Said’s #60 Ford team.(Ford Racing)(8-26-2006)

    • Robby looking to field 2nd team in 2007; RYR 'merger' looks doubtful: #7-Robby Gordon said Friday he still hasn’t finalized his 2007 plans, but SPEEDTV.com has learned that his one-car team is leaning towards adding a second car, rather than joining forces with Robert Yates Racing or another existing Cup team. Robby Gordon Motorsports has identified a driver and a sponsor for a second car, but has not put together a deal yet for next season, sources told SPEEDTV.com. Nor has a decision been made about whether the team will stick with Chevrolets or switch to Fords next year. Expect details about next season to be finalized within the next two weeks, sources close to the team said. One possible obstacle: Sponsors are concerned about committing millions of dollars to new cars next year, when most races will have 50-55 entries competing for 43 spots in the field, 35 of which are guaranteed based on owner’s points.(Speed Channel)
      AND A possible Robby Gordon and Robert Yates merger, which Ford Motor Company may be helping bankroll. Gordon, long a Chevrolet man, is also trying to find a second similar second-tier team to join his own camp next season, in part to get a good engine deal. John Story, Gordon's general manager, confirms talks with Ford's Jack Roush about providing engines in 2007, and Roush said he's willing to do that. But Story said there are other irons in the fire, too. "We're not buying Robert Yates Racing, though that's what the rumors have been," Story said. "We're still talking a couple of different manufacturers, Ford being one; we haven't made a decision on that, but we should make a decision within two weeks. We've talked to a number of people, but at some point as the year gets later and later if we can't put together an alliance, we'll have to keep doing what we're doing."(Winston Salem Journal)(8-26-2006)

    • Waltrip hopes to name 3rd driver soon; UPDATE 2 Reutimann: Michael Waltrip said Friday he is close to signing a driver to fill his third car [#00 Toyota], which will be sponsored by Domino's Pizza and Burger King. Waltrip and Dale Jarrett [#33? #44?] already are signed to drive Toyotas for Michael Waltrip Racing next year, and Waltrip needs to fill that remaining seat. "I'd really like to get a kid or somebody that is young and try to work with them and see if they're the deal or not," Waltrip said. "You can't ever tell who is. We have a plan to get the guy that we want still, and hopefully in the next week we can do it." Waltrip already has a "youngster" in the not-so-young 36-year-old David Reutimann who will run the rest of the Busch Series events this year and will drive the entire Busch season next year. "Certainly he's somebody that we've considered running both," Waltrip said. "He's always hauled the mail in everything he's gotten in, so he is a possibility. If you will, we have to appreciate and think about every option that is available because it is getting late and the sponsors are getting nervous and they want us to show them who their guy is going to be." Waltrip said he checked with Mark Martin to see if he had any interest in the ride and Martin left the door open. But Waltrip said he would like someone to run a full schedule and only would run a combination of drivers if no other drivers he wants are available. "I saw Terry Labonte said that he would race if it paid enough," Waltrip said.(SceneDaily.com)(8-19-2006)
      UPDATE: XM Radio NASCAR Channel's Claire B. Lang reports that David Reutimann is the front runner for Michael Waltrip Racing #00 Toyota for 2007 pending approval of the sponsors Burger King/Domino's Pizza in a meeting next Tuesday [Aug 29th].(8-25-2006)
      UPDATE 2: While David Reutimann is Michael Waltrip's top choice to drive his #00 Toyota in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007, Reutimann knows that doesn't necessarily equate to a done deal. Waltrip said the decision will be made in conjunction with sponsors Burger King and Domino's Pizza. And that's why Reutimann thinks he's "kind of a longshot." Waltrip said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway that while he's talking to several other drivers, one of whom is Travis Kvapil, Reutimann is whom he prefers at this point. Waltrip hopes to finalize things on Aug. 29, when meetings are set with both sponsors. Reutimann knows those meetings will likely determine whether he runs both the full Cup and Busch Series schedules next year, or just the full Busch schedule. "I think companies want somebody that maybe they've heard a lot about. And I can't fault them at all for that," Reutimann said. "At the same time, a year or so ago, nobody really knew about Carl Edwards or Denny Hamlin, either." Reutimann, already slated to drive a Busch Series car for Michael Waltrip Racing next year, has the backing of both Waltrip and would-be teammate Dale Jarrett according to Waltrip. Waltrip said he loves Reutimann's heart and desire and would like for him to be in the car. "But also, I'm in a position where there's a couple of other guys that I think have the desire and the potential and the heart, too," Waltrip said. "We're to a point where we're liking the drivers choosing from and we would like to run 'em past our sponsors on one last, personal meeting and then we'll [make an announcement]." Reutimann certainly hopes he's the man standing by Waltrip's side when the driver of the #00 is announced. He's looking forward to meeting with the sponsors.(SceneDaily.com)(8-26-2006)

    • Ford withdraws 2007 engine plans: Ford has withdrawn proposed 2007 engine plans, in an odd twist. Toyota, Chevrolet, Dodge and Ford all submitted new engine designs for next season's Nextel Cup tour. Rivals suspect that Ford's withdrawal may be to pressure NASCAR to rethink the other manufacturers' designs. But NASCAR's John Darby, the Nextel Cup tour director, insisted that Ford's move won't affect NASCAR's thinking about the other three engine designs. "Toyota had to build an engine because it currently doesn't have an engine that's acceptable in Cup," Darby said. "Chevrolet and Dodge are just updating their architecture; I don't think that has anything to do with Toyota. Ford has withdrawn, feeling it wants a little longer to get it right before putting it onto the playing field. Ford is fairly confident its parts and pieces won't put it at a disadvantage in 2007."(Winston Salem Journal)(8-26-2006)

    • #72 promotes White to Director of Team Operations: Derek joined the #72 CJM Race Team in July after prior stints as lead mechanic at Penske Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, and most recently with the team at Toyota Racing Development. Originally brought on board as the shop foreman, Derek's talents and relationships were recognized and it was decided he would better benefit the team in the role of Director of Team Operations. "We are excited about this team and the direction we are headed, Derek is going to be a big part of that," stated car owner Bryan Mullet. CJM Racing is continuing to make progress behind the scenes. "We are looking forward to an exciting finish to the 06' season, and a great start in 07'."(CJM Racing PR), the team is also selling off some of their cars, see CJMRacing.com for contact info.(8-26-2006)


      News from August 25, 2006

    • Bill Davis Racing to announce Cup drivers at Bristol UPDATE 2 OFFICIAL - Images: on Speed Channel's NASCAR Live Friday, Bob Dillner reported that Bill Davis Racing will make his driver announcements for 2007 at Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend, as reported Dave Blaney will return to the Caterpillar car in 2007, it has been rumored that Jeremy Mayfield will drive the 2nd Toyota, no word on a sponsor and no word on Bill Lester's plans as he was rumored as having a shot at the 2nd BDR Cup ride in 2007.(Speed Channel's NASCAR Live)(8-19-2006)
      UPDATE - Mayfield signs with BDR: Jeremy Mayfield has signed a 3-year contract with options with Bill Davis Racing. BDR will make the formal announcement during a press conference Friday [at Bristol] when the organization will map out it's plans for 2007 and beyond. Team General Manager Mike Brown says Mayfield "Is everything we've been looking for. He's the kind of driver that was available that was marketable. Obviously he's had success the last couple of years winning races and being in the chase. It's exactly what we needed to facilitate a multi-year deal with a new and exciting sponsor." Brown likes the Mayfield-Tommy Baldwin driver/crew chief combo saying "Tommy's spent a couple of years with him at Evernham so he knows what he likes in cars. From that standpoint we've got a bonus there." Mayfield may not race competitively the rest of this season however he is expected to test beginning next week at Kentucky and Nashville.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-20-2006)
      UPDATE 2: it was announced Friday morning that Jeremy Mayfield will join Bill Davis Racing (BDR) the #36 Toyota Camry the team will field in 2007 Nextel Cup Series competition and Dave Blaney will remain in the #22 Caterpillar car for the 2007 season. 360 OTC joins Bill Davis Racing to serve as the primary sponsor of the #36 Toyota beginning in 2007. See the full PR at Bill Davis Racing site or/and the PR images of the scheme on my #36 Team News and Links page.(8-24/25-2006)

    • NASCAR RaceDay continues growth: Scoring an average Nielsen Household Rating of 1.08 (727,000 Households) last weekend at Michigan, NASCAR RaceDay continues to demonstrate tremendous growth as the definitive NASCAR pre-race show. The Michigan show peaked at 1.34 (899,000 HH) and year-to-date, NASCAR RaceDay is up 25 percent over last year's pre-race show on SPEED, with much of the growth coming in younger demographics. Fourteen of the year's 24 episodes of NASCAR RaceDay have enjoyed double-digit ratings growth, including five of the last seven. Ratings among Men 18-34 are up 43 percent from a year ago.(Speed Channel)(8-25-2006)

    • Group wants NASCAR to sever ties with Kentucky Speedway: Union organizers crisscrossed the state line Thursday getting signatures on a petition that seeks to keep the status quo with regard to the assignment of NASCAR race dates. The group wants NASCAR to sever its ties with Kentucky Speedway and uniform company Cintas. Volunteers told fans who turned out along Bristol’s State Street for Family Race Night that a lawsuit filed by Kentucky Speedway against NASCAR could force the race-sanctioning body to take race dates away from smaller tracks. The Kentucky track, owned in part by Cintas Chairman Richard Farmer, accuses NASCAR of antitrust violations because of the way the organization assigns race dates to tracks. The speedway in Sparta, Ky., opened in 2000 but has been unable to secure a Nextel Cup race date. If the lawsuit succeeds, tracks would have to compete for race dates, and the highest bidders would get the races, petition organizers said. The volunteers working the crowd didn’t tell those who signed the petition that the textile and hotel workers’ union Unite-Here! backed the petition drive. The union has a long-running dispute with Cintas over efforts to unionize Cintas’s work force. The union accuses Cintas of using intimidation to quash any moves toward unionization. Chris Rook, the organizer of the petition volunteers, said Unite-Here! would be interested in Kentucky Speedway’s lawsuit even if the track weren’t connected to Cintas. The union has collected 25,000 signatures at tracks across the country, and volunteers seemed to have little trouble attracting interest on State Street.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-25-2006)

    • Happy Birthday Jack scheme at Bristol: Mr. Jack . Bowyer's Jack Daniel's Chevy will sport a commemorative "Happy Birthday Jack" paint scheme this weekend at Bristol. Jasper Newton 'Jack' Daniel would have turned 156 in September.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(8-24/25-2006)

    • Kurt Busch wins pole at Bristol: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Pole for the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 124.906mph for his 4th pole of 2006 and 7th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #31-Jeff Burton, #43-Bobby Labonte, #17-Matt Kenseth, #20-Tony Stewart are the top-5, rounding out the top-10 are #11-Denny Hamlin, #29-Kevin Harvick, #45-Kyle Petty, #19-Elliott Sadler and #41-Reed Sorenson. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified 44th fastest and will start 40th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #49-Lepage, #14-Marlin, #78-Wallace, #32-Kvapil, #55-Waltrip, #34-Long, #74-Cope and #4-Wimmer. Missing the race were: #61-Chaffin, #00-Sadler, #09-Wallace and #37-Skinner. #30-Barrett and #89-Shepherd withdrew before qualifying. Qualifying is scheduled to re-air at 12:00am/et on Speed Channel. For the Qualifying Results and starting grid, see my Bristol Qualifying/Grid Page.(8-25-2006)

    • Ramblings - Qualifying Tidbits: Kurt Busch sped around Bristol Motor Speedway in 15.362 seconds (124.906 mph) to grab his 4th top-spot of the season and 7th of his NEXTEL Cup career. He's now in a three-way tie with Jeff Burton and Kasey Kahne for most Bud Poles this year. Burton will start alongside and they'll pace 'em to the green tomorrow night for the Sharpie 500, a race that even the most jaded of NASCAR fans look forward to.
      Bobby Labonte (3rd) has his best starting spot since he grabbed the pole at Texas in April of 2004!
      Kyle Petty (8th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 8th at Richmond in May of 2003! Could this be a Petty Dodge week?
      Kevin Lepage (12th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Kansas last October.
      Jeff Green (16th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 12th at Dover in June.
      Welcome Back Carl Long (30th). This is his first start since he qualified 20th and finished 32nd at Atlanta last October.
      Derrike Cope (33rd) has his best starting spot since he timed in 33rd at Darlington in May (only four races).
      STREAKIN....Kevin Harvick has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
      Jeff Burton has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
      Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
      With just three races left til the "Chase", all eyes will be on the race between 6th and 11th. About the only guys who can breathe easy are Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick. Everybody else in the Top-10 will be asking "Where's the #9 Car"?(Stock Car Fans)(8-25-2006)

    • Bristol Qualifying News/Notes:
      • Kurt Busch won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Sharpie 500, lapping Bristol Motor Speedway in 15.362 seconds at 124.906 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 14.908 seconds, 128.709 mph - set March 21, 2003.
      • This is Kurt Busch’s seventh career Bud Pole in 208 Nextel Cup Series races.
      • This is his fourth Bud Pole and 17 top-10 start in 2006. He is tied for the most Bud Poles and leads all other drivers in top-10 starts this season. Kasey Kahne (four), Jeff Burton (four), Greg Biffle (two), Denny Hamlin (two) and Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
      • This is Kurt Busch’s first Bud Pole in 12 Nextel Cup Series race at Bristoly. He has posted top-10 starts in five of those 12 races. • Kurt Busch became the fifth different Bud Pole winner in the past six races at Bristol. Qualifying was canceled in March.
      • Jeff Burton posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 15.374 seconds, 124.808 mph – and will join Kurt Busch on the front row for the Sharpie 500. His career-best Bristol start is just his third top-10 in 26 races here.
      • This is the 11th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has eight Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol in March.
      • Bobby Labonte (third) posted his 10th top-10 star tin 28 races at Bristol, but his first since March 2000.
      • Matt Kenseth (fourth) posted his sixth top-10 start in 14 races at Bristol and his 10th this season.
      • Tony Stewart (fifth), who won the Bud Pole in just his second Bristol race (August 1999), posted his seventh top-10 start in 16 races at Bristol.
      • Kyle Petty (eighth) posted his best qualifying effort since he started eighth at Richmond in May 2003. This is the first time since Talladega in October 2001 that two Petty Enterprises cars have started in the top 10.
      • Five of the current top-10 drivers in the point standings qualified in the top 10: Burton, Kenseth, Stewart, Denny Hamlin (sixth) and Kevin Harvick (seventh).
      • Reed Sorenson (10th) will join Hamlin in making this the 10th time this season that at least two rookies have started from the top 10.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(8-25-2006)

    • Bristol Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the second time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to Bristol . . . in addition to running this tire set-up at Bristol earlier this season, Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams ran these tire codes at Las Vegas in March . . . unlike on other NASCAR ovals less than one mile in length -- where teams do not run inner liners in their tires -- teams are required to run liners in their two right-sides at Bristol . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 155-165 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see pressures, codes and more on my Bristol Race Info / Rundown Page.(8-25-2006)


      News from August 24, 2006

    • Nextel Cup Series 2007 Schedule Announced: The 2007 Nextel Cup Series schedule was announced today [8/24], a 36-race slate starting with the 49th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway. On Sunday, Nov. 18, Homestead-Miami Speedway will again host the season finale.
      Other key dates:
      On Sunday, July 1, New Hampshire International Speedway will host the first event in the “Race to the Chase,” the 10-race prelude to the “Chase for the Nextel Cup.”
      On Sunday, July 29, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
      On the evening of Saturday, Sept. 8, Richmond International Raceway will be the final event in the “Race to the Chase.”
      The week after Richmond, on Sunday, Sept. 16, New Hampshire again will have the kick-off event in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, which covers the season’s last 10 races and determines the series champion.
      In addition to the 36-race regular schedule, the series’ two traditional “non-points” events are again slated, both for Saturday nights. The 29th annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will be held on Feb. 10, while the Nextel All-Star Challenge is set for May 19 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
      There are no changes from the 2006 schedule, in terms of sites. There are, however, several adjustments to the schedule’s order.
      In July, the schedule will go from New Hampshire (July 1), to Daytona (July 7) and then Chicagoland Speedway (July 15). Previously, the order was Daytona-Chicago-New Hampshire. Also, Indianapolis’ event will close out July (July 29), followed the next week (Aug. 5) by Pocono Raceway. Previously, Pocono preceded Indianapolis. Those two races will follow the season’s final open week.(NASCAR PR), no word on when the Busch or Truck Series sched will be announced. See more on my 2007 Nextel/Sprint Cup Schedule page.(8-24-2006)

    • "The King" and Stewart join ‘speedy tags’ program: NASCAR racers Richard Petty Tony Stewart are putting their likeness on dog tags, with the proceeds of these “Speedy Tags” benefiting the Paralyzed Veterans of America. “I feel very strongly that we must support our brave men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan injured,” Petty said. “That’s why I urge all NASCAR fans to get their Speedy Tags … This is one small way fans can join me in supporting our paralyzed vets.” Speedy Tags are imprinted with the names, signatures and in some cases, pictures of some of the biggest names in racing. About 75,000 will be distributed at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 26 for free. To get a Speedy Tag, log on to www.SpeedyTags.org. Those who purchase the tag will recieve a $5 discount on racing merchandise and will be eligible to win a trip to the season-ending Ford 400 championship race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Paralyzed veterans’ spokesman Carl Blake said the not-for-profit organization provides veterans with spinal cord injury or disease benefits, employment, education, accommodations and sport activities.(Bristol Herald Courier)(8-24-2006)

    • Chase Stats - after Michigan: There are currently eight Chevy drivers and two Ford drivers in the top-10 points, Kahne is the only Dodge that has a realistic shot at making in in The Chase. Four drivers have a shot at being in the Chase all three years of its existence: #48-Johnson; #17-Kenseth, #6-Martin and #20-Stewart. See the Chase Stats after Michigan page for more tidbits.(8-24-2006)

    • MB2 hires Slugger Labbe: MB2 Motorsports announced that crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe has joined the NASCAR racing organization and will play a key role in the company's expansion for 2007. Labbe's specific position with MB2 will be announced at a later date. His immediate role is to work with the organization's Nextel Cup teams -- the #01 Chevy driven by Joe Nemechek and the #14 Chevy driven by Sterling Marlin. Labbe, who previously worked as a [#38] crew chief for Robert Yates Racing, Evernham Motorsports #19] and DEI [#15], will join the MB2 teams at this weekend's Nextel Cup race in Bristol. "The hiring of Slugger is the first phase of our expansion program for 2007," said MB2's CEO and general manager Jay Frye. "Slugger is a talented crew chief and when the opportunity became available to hire him we jumped on it. We recently shored up our organization when Bobby Ginn purchased majority interest in MB2, Bobby is committed to growing our program and making our teams better."
      Labbe, a 38-year-old native of Saco, Maine, said, "I am excited to join MB2 Motorsports. The company has a good vision on what's going to happen in the coming years. I hope my knowledge in the Nextel Cup field will help the organization. This is a great opportunity and I am looking forward to getting started." One of Labbe's biggest wins as a crew chief was the 2003 Daytona 500 with driver Michael Waltrip.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(8-24-2006)

    • #61 picks up sponsor for Bristol: Front Row Motorsports announced local East Tennessee company Thompson Metal Services will sponsor the #61 Front Row Motorsports Chevy driven by Chad Chaffin this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Sharpie 500. This will mark the fourth Bristol race that Thompson Metal Services has adorned a Front Row Motorsports entry. They were on the car for both races at the track last year and the spring race this season. Thompson Metal Services is an industrial scrap metal recycler that is a privately owned company that has been in business for over 25 years.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(8-24-2006)

    • Bristol Rookie Notes: #41-Reed Sorenson was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 20 GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Sorenson finished eighth and took top rookie honors for the fifth time this season. He scored his fifth top-10 finish of the season at Michigan and first since he placed seventh at Chicagoland. #11-Denny Hamlin placed ninth at Michigan, his 11th top-10 finish of the 2006 season. Hamlin leads #07-Clint Bowyer by 47 points (237-190) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the August 26 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin is eighth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, two points behind seventh-place Kyle Busch. He is four points ahead of ninth-place Jeff Burton and 39 in front of 10th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 23 races this season. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol is second by Kevin Harvick in 2001. Since 1975, only one Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position for the August race at Bristol: Tony Stewart. Stewart grabbed the top starting spot for the 1999 Sharpie 500.(Raybestos PR), see full report, standings, history and more on my 2006 Rookies Page.(8-24-2006)


      News from August 23, 2006

    • Mayfield to race this weekend at...Hickory [#36]: Jeremy Mayfield, former #19 Evernham Motorsports driver [and probable Bill Davis Racing driver soon] headlines several key players that will compete in the "Over the Mountain 150" on Sunday. Mayfield, a native of Owensboro, KY, and former ARCA Series Rookie of the Year, has competed in the Nextel Cup Series since 1993. "I just want to race," said Mayfield. "I'll be at Bristol (Motor Speedway) on Friday to appear on Trackside Live on SPEED Channel and make an announcement about my Cup career. Then, I'm heading over to Hickory Motor Speedway to have some fun and hopefully run real well in the PASS South Super Late Model race on Sunday. The Whorffs are giving me a great car and I'm even going to have my brand new Nextel Cup Series number [#36] on it for this weekend. I'm just real excited because Super Late Models are what I grew up with." Mayfield will compete in a car furnished by Whorff Motorsports and Bill and Jeremie Whorff, the father and son combination that finished one-two in this year's running of the prestigious Oxford 250 at Oxford-Plains Speedway (ME). Jeremie will now make the long trip down from Maine to race at Hickory on Sunday. Hickory-native Andy Houston will also make his PASS South debut during the "Over the Mountain 150." Houston is a veteran of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he scored three career wins. Houston, the son of legendary Busch Driver Tommy Houston, was the Hickory Motor Speedway Late Model track champion in 1994 and has spent time in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series. Speed Channel's Bob Dillner will also return to the driver's seat, but not behind the wheel of a PASS South Super Late Model. Instead, Dillner will pilot a car in the Redneck Racing Series. Dillner will race the #51 in the Chris James Foundation 25. Dillner was battling for the lead in the inaugural event in April before his engine erupted in flames.(Pass South Site)(8-23-2006)

    • Kurt Busch tests at Memphis: #2-Kurt Busch and his Penske Racing teammates were at Memphis Motorsports Park on Tuesday testing, focusing on set-ups to make his #2 Dodge cut around Richmond International Raceway quicker. "It's a matter of getting that power down and off the corners, that's what we're here doing: to challenge ourselves to get a little bit better at Richmond," Busch said. "It's a comparable track. Everything we've needed to test has worked out so far." Some teams went to Milwaukee this week to try to gather info for Richmond, but Busch said MMP offered more of what his team was looking for. We've already been to Milwaukee this year," Busch said. "We got a lot of work done there and we felt like we needed to go to a little bit smaller of a track to work on the power coming out of the corner."(Memphis Commercial Appeal)(8-23-2006)

    • Raines back in #96 in 2007 UPDATE: Tony Raines is expected to be back behind the wheel of the Hall of Fame Motorsports #96 Chevy next season.(Speed Channel)(8-5-2006)
      UPDATE: Tony Raines will return to Hall of Fame Racing and the #96 DLP HDTV Chevrolet for the 2007 season, Hall of Fame Racing officials announced Aug. 23. Raines will compete in every event on the 2007 Nextel Cup Series schedule. Raines has shared driving duties with Labonte this season, posting a best finish of 11th on August 6 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. Labonte drove the first five races of the season and the two road course events at Sonoma [finished 3rd] and Watkins Glen. Raines has competed in 16 races and will drive the remaining events on the 2006 schedule. "I'm happy to be coming back," Raines said. "I think we've made progress and we're learning, but we are a long way from being as good as I know we will be. I'm looking forward to finishing 2006 in a strong way and having a great season in 2007 in the DLP HDTV Chevy." In 16 starts in 2006, Raines has scored 10 top-25 finishes and helped the team to 27th in Nextel Cup owner points.(Hall of Fame/True Speed Communications PR)(8-23-2006)

    • Wally to stay with TNT; Wally's World this week: TNT announced that it has agreed to a multi-year contract agreement with TNT/NBC NASCAR analyst Wally Dallenbach to continue his role exclusively with TNT beginning in 2007 for the network’s Nextel Cup coverage. Dallenbach, a TNT analyst since 2001, will join play-by-play announcer Bill Weber in the booth as TNT kicks off its new seven-year NASCAR package next June with six consecutive Nextel Cup Series races, a first in Turner’s 24 years of NASCAR coverage, including marquee races at Daytona, California (Sonoma) and Chicago. In addition to his role as an analyst, Dallenbach has established a popular pre-race show segment titled Wally’s World, where he has described how to drive the different tracks and has driven celebrities such as Will Ferrell, Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Foxx, Lisa Marie Presley and Ben Affleck around the racetrack and exposed them to the excitement and intensity of NASCAR. In 2007 Dallenbach will also provide exclusive content to NASCAR.com, operated by Turner Sports New Media. “I’m looking forward to continuing my role as an analyst for TNT. As the sport of NASCAR continues to grow, it is wonderful to be a part of a team that is committed to bringing viewers the best coverage in the business," said Dallenbach.
      Wally's Wolrd: During the Countdown to Green pre-race show, TNT analyst Wally Dallenbach is scheduled to take Omari Hardwick, co-star of TNT's SAVED, for a spin around the track in the latest edition of Wally's World [no idea what happened last week with the Chef](TNT PR's)(8-23-2006)

    • Bowyer testing at Nashville: On Wednesday, August 23, #7-Clint Bowyer and the Jack Daniel's Racing Team will test at Nashville Superspeedway to evaluate and prepare for the remaining races at intermediate tracks on the 2006 schedule. The test will help Bowyer and company get ready for the upcoming races at California, Kansas, Charlotte, Texas and Homestead.(RCR PR)(8-23-2006)

    • Bully Hill Vineyards to Adorn Hood of #4 Chevy at Bristol: Morgan McClure Motorsports President and Team Manager Larry McClure announced today, "I am proud to announce that Bully Hill Vineyards has been signed as primary sponsor of the # 4 Morgan McClure Chevy for the upcoming Bristol Sharpie 500 Race. We met with Ms. Taylor and some of her family recently while in Watkins Glen and immediately knew we could do business together. The family history behind the success of her vineyard parallels in many ways with the history of our race team. We share a love for racing that brought us to this one-race sponsorship." Founded in 1967 by maverick winemaker Walter S. Taylor, Bully Hill Vineyards has grown to become the largest selling family owned winery in the Finger Lakes. Located in Hammondsport, NY the Bully Hill has developed a reputation for both innovative winemaking and marketing, as evidenced by the winery's unique products and long involvement with motorsports. Bully Hill Vineyards has been actively involved in motorsports since 1996, and the companies wines are currently distributed in 32 states.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-23-2006)

    • Nemechek's Pit Crew Takes Top Honors in Michigan: Joe Nemechek's pit crew claimed its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition by spending the least amount of time on pit road in Sunday's NEXTEL Cup event at Michigan International Speedway. "I'm very proud of all the guys on the U.S. Army pit crew," said Nemechek. "They've had unbelievable pit stops all year but haven't always gotten the credit they've deserved. Without a doubt, this is one of the strongest over-the-wall teams on pit road and I'm thrilled they're being recognized for their hard work. This is also a special win since Checkers/Rally's is an associate sponsor on the Army Chevrolet." Checkers/Rally's will award the #01 team with the weekly $10,500 prize. In addition, a $105,000 bonus will be presented to the team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. "Our guys work hard week in and week out to be the best they can be on pit road," offered Lance Munksgard, pit stop coordinator for MB2 Motorsports. "It's great that their hard work is being highlighted and that they are being recognized for the efforts they contribute to the team each week." Nemechek's over-the-wall team, which spent 230.171 seconds on pit road, includes: Scott King (jackman), Josh Houghton (front-tire carrier), Charlie Brock (front-tire changer), Dwayne Moore (rear-tire carrier), Dave Woodhead (rear-tire changer), Danny Harrington (gasman), Mark Bieberich (catch can) and J.D. Hilton (windshield). The team's crew chief is Ryan Pemberton. The crews of Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson continue to lead the season-long competition with four wins each. Tony Stewart's team is in second place with three wins. 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 checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(8-23-2006)

    • Kansas Race to be aired in Cleveland area: WKYC Channel 3 [Cleveland, Ohio]recently felt the wrath of stock-car fans when it aired an Indians game over a NASCAR race - and the NBC affiliate clearly has no interest in having more tire tracks on its rear. Terry Moir, director of programming at Channel 3, says the station has changed plans to air the Oct. 1 Indians-Tampa Bay game so it can carry NBC's Banquet 400 NASCAR telecast. Moir said the Oct. 1 Indians game instead will air on SportsTime Ohio, the team's cable network. "I can assure you we're going to be showing the NASCAR race on Oct. 1," Moir said with a laugh. Last week, Channel 3 was flooded with irate phone calls and e-mail from viewers when it televised the Indians' blowout win over Kansas City instead of NASCAR's Watkins Glen race, causing fans to miss most of the latter, won by Kevin Harvick.(Cleveland Plain Dealer)(8-23-2006)

    • Sharpie scheme for #26 at Bristol: Entering this weekend's Sharpie 500, NASCAR star Jamie McMurray knows the good luck that a Sharpie paint scheme can bring to a team. In the last five years the Sharpie team has won four times at the famed Bristol Motor Speedway. This weekend, for the second time in 2006, McMurray will be piloting the #26 Sharpie Ford Fusion. Prior to taking the green flag on Saturday evening, McMurray will participate in the Sharpie "MINI" 500, where he will go head-to-head racing remote-controlled cars with NASCAR drivers' children. The event will support Sharpie's "Autographs for Education" program. The annual program challenges individuals to collect one million autographs in exchange for $1 million in funds and supplies for schools nationwide. "It's really cool to be a part of Sharpie's 'Autographs for Education.' Sharpie is helping students cross their own finish line and get a good start towards the best education possible. This is going to be a great weekend for the entire Sharpie team, I am really looking forward to it," said McMurray. For more information, go to sharpie.com.(Sanford PR)(8-23-2006)


      News from August 22, 2006

    • Ward Burton signs with Toyota team? UPDATE Denied by Ward: Ward Burton supposedly has signed with one of the new Toyota teams which will be running full-time in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007, the three are Bill Davis Racing (very doubtful), Red Bull Racing (one spot open) and Michael Waltrip Racing (one spot open) are the three teams. Burton and the team supposedly plan to make their debut this season. The news site that had the story posted has pulled the story and requested it be removed, but I don't do that as folks have already seen it. So it was re-writen here and may or may not be true...as Ward has said he back in July he at that point had not had any discussions with Toyota.(8-22-2006)
      UPDATE: Ward Burton told PRN's Garage Pass there is no truth to the story he's got a deal done with any of the Toyota operations or any other Nextel Cup, Busch or Craftsman Truck Series team. Burton says he feels he can still get the job done on the track and is confident he'd do a great job for any sponsor.(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(8-22-2006)

    • Toyota submits engine: Toyota has submitted its proposed Nextel Cup engine to NASCAR but is still awaiting a response, Lee White, Toyota Racing Development senior vice president, said Monday. The Toyota teams at the "car of tomorrow" test at Michigan were using truck motors with Cup-approved carburetors. "The engine that we're using here is essentially a hot-rodded truck engine," White said. "It's a truck engine brought up to Cup power specifications. It's not the engine that we will be racing in February in Daytona." White said he presented the block and cylinder head to NASCAR two weeks ago. "It's really a matter of them getting all of the right people in one place ... to look at the parts and talk about what the engineers are seeing and make sure they agree with the box that they've described," White said. "Once that's done, I would expect that we would have final approval. At this point, there's no indication that there is any issue."(SceneDaily.com)(8-22-2006)

    • #43 to run Hamburger Helper scheme at Bristol: Bobby Labonte and the #43 Hamburger Helper Dodge head to Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday night's Sharpie 500. Labonte will be racing the Hamburger Helper scheme for the only time this season. Labonte will be part of a press conference Friday afternoon at the Bristol Motor Speedway media center to announce a special promotion involving Hamburger Helper. The press conference is scheduled to begin at 2:30pm/et.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(8-22-2006)

    • Biffle tests at Memphis for RIR; Kurt Busch also: #16-Greg Biffle tested at the Memphis Motorsports Park oval on Monday to get some information about the track at Richmond, Va. -- a track similar to the MMP oval. "We look for racetracks that have similar corners and a track that we are familiar with. Sometimes we go to Milwaukee, but it's a lot further out of the way for us." said Biffle, who was on his way from Michigan to California for his next race. "We felt like if we could get some information and data here, some of our other teammates -- Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards -- might come back here to collect some data." The Richmond race is the final one before the cutoff for the season ending Chase. NASCAR rules state that teams can't test at Richmond, so any data collected at a similar track is invaluable. Biffle's crew chief, Doug Richert, said each second is vital during their afternoon at a test facility. "When we came here we baselined our whole Richmond setup, where we raced there last time with the same car," he said. "We have our thoughts with different combinations, so we're able to get two of those completed before we got into this little rain delay. When you do these changes, they're big changes and lengthy changes." Today, #2-Kurt Busch will test on Tuesday [8/22] at the track. Fans can watch testing from Grandstand G at no charge. The garage and infield are not open to the public, and no concessions are available. Schedules are subject to change.(Memphis Commercial Appeal)(8-22-2006)


      News from August 21, 2006


      Michael Waltrip tests a Toyota Camry during Car of Tomorrow testing at Michigan International Speedway on Monday. (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images for NASCAR)
      (see more images on my COT Image page
    • NASCAR to hand out the COT 'wings'? All the attention on NASCAR's new Car of Tommorrow, set to see action in 2007, centers around the new rear wing which replaces the current spoiler. CircleTrackPlus.com has learned today the new wing used in competition will be distributed by NASCAR as part of the inspection process, in the same manner NASCAR distributes restrictor plates at Daytona and Talladega and that teams have been the final common templates for the new COT. Manufacturer specific templates will be issued at a later date once NASCAR has approved those shapes. The process for the new wing will be simple. Teams will practice with a wing that they own. NASCAR will issue wings under their control as part of the qualifying and pre-race inspection process. The new Car of Tomorrow will also change the inspection procedure as it applies to the templates. "You won't see a reduction in the number of templates, but you will see template sets used to measure shapes of the body," said one NASCAR official. "The new car will have a zero offset tolerance from the centerline." The Michigan test was also the first public test for Toyota's new Car of Tomorrow.(CircleTrackPlus.com - see some images there)(8-21-2006)

    • Wimmer/Kvapil not signed for 2007 UPDATE 2 Wimmer to MWR? NO?: #32-Travis Kvapil and #4-Scott Wimmer - two experienced drivers who have had to qualify on speed all season and have done just that most of time - have talked to other Nextel Cup teams then the ones they currently drive for, but whether they will end up eelsewhere in 2007 remains to be seen. Kvapil said he has agreed with PPI Motorsports owner Cal Wells that he would try to have a decision by the end of August. There are three main rides open - Michael Waltrip Racing [#00], Team Red Bull [unknown #] and Robert Yates Racing [#88]. "It's not really that hard to figure out [who I'm talking to]," Kvapil said. "There are only a couple of seats left to shake out. I've had conversations but that really doesn't mean anything [is certain]. I just want to make sure whatever I do is best for me and my future. Last year and this year, I haven't really had the performance, I'm afraid. Another year or two of that, my days might be limited in this garage. Basically where it's at, I told him I wanted a month to see how everything shakes out," Kvapil said. "I had been contacted by a few other teams and there were conversations. I didn't feel I was comfortable to make a commitment and then a couple of weeks down the road regret that decision."
      Wimmer, who made his Nextel Cup debut in 2000, has qualified for 18 of the 21 races this year. He said the Morgan-McClure Motorsports team does not have a sponsor for next season. Wimmer said he could end up in the Busch Series next year. Sponsorship could determine the drivers.(SceneDaily.com)
      UPDATE: on Speed Channel's SPEED Report, Bob Dillner reported that Scott Wimmer could be announced this week as the driver of Michael Waltrip Racing's #00 Burger King/Domino's Pizza Toyota in 2007.(8-20-2003)
      UPDATE 2: been told that Wimmer will NOT be the driver for the #00 MWR team, no word yet who that could be.(8-21-2006)

    • COT testing at Michigan UPDATE 2: the Car of Tomorrow [COT] will be tested at Michigan International Speedway on Monday, August 21st, including #17-Matt Kenseth [Ford], #2-Kurt Busch [Dodge], #24-Jeff Gordon [Chevy] and #55-Michael Waltrip, with Waltrip testing a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, Bill Davis Racing and Red Bull Racing [the three full time Toyota teams in 2007], see past news on the COT and images on my COT News page and COT Images page.(8-16-2006)
      UPDATE: Two Toyota teams and eight other organizations tentatively plan on attending NASCAR's test of the "car of tomorrow" on Monday at Michigan International Speedway. Bill Elliott will test a Camry for Team Red Bull, and Michael Waltrip and Dave Blaney will share test duties on a car built by Michael Waltrip Racing and Bill Davis Racing. In addition to the two Toyota cars, eight other organizations tentatively planned to attend: Hendrick Motorsports (Jeff Gordon), Chip Ganassi Racing (David Stremme), Joe Gibbs Racing (J.J. Yeley), MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek), Haas CNC Racing (Jeff Green), Penske Racing South (Kurt Busch/Billy Wease), Roush Racing (Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray) and Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs).(SceneDaily.com)(8-17/21-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Tomorrow came today at Michigan International Speedway. In preparation for its 16-race 2007 debut and the gradual, three-year inception of its Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR stayed at MIS for a day after the GFS Marketplace 400 weekend to test the cutting-edge vehicle on the two-mile oval. The Car of Tomorrow is being designed by NASCAR in order to increase safety and reduce costs while maintaining the circuit's high level of competition. 14 current Nextel Cup drivers, including GFS Marketplace 400 winner Matt Kenseth of Roush Racing and teammates Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray, and four-time Nextel Cup champion Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports, were on hand at MIS to test the vehicles for their respective teams and manufacturers. The first scheduled race for the Car of Tomorrow is at Bristol next spring. See the full PR and driver quotes on my COT News page.(MIS PR), A fifth test is scheduled for Talladega Superspeedway in October.(USA Today)(8-21-2006)

    • Long & Cupp Motorsports to attempt New Hampshire: Cupp Motor Sports #46 team plans to make their Nextel Cup debut at New Hampshire International Speedway in September with Carl Long driving the #46 Dodge sposnored by Millstar Tools. The team is owned by Don Cupp, of Michigan and plans to run several of the remaining races in 2006.(Carl Long site)(8-21-2006)

    • Benny skips MIS: TNT [and NBC] commentator Benny Parsons didn't participate in the network's broadcast of the GFS Marketplace 400 because of illness. A former NASCAR champion [1973], Parsons, 65, learned he had lung cancer last month. This was the second local appearance that Parsons missed this week for health-related reasons. On Wednesday, he was scheduled to be honored in Detroit for his 2005 induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Parsons didn't attend the actual induction last year because of his father's death, and was forced to skip a belated ceremony this year because of his lung cancer treatment.(Detroit Free Press)(8-21-2006)

    • Da Matta moved out of intensive care unit: Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta has been transferred out of intensive care in Neenah, Wis., according to a news release from his RuSport racing team. Da Matta's condition has improved, but he is still not completely conscious, responsive or able to speak. Da Matta, 32, was injured after colliding with a deer that ran onto the track at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., during a Champ Car test Aug. 3. "Cristiano is still making daily progress while recovering from injury two weeks ago," Champ Car medical director Chris Pinderski said in the release. "(Saturday), he was transferred out of the intensive care unit to an intermediate care unit at Theda Clark Medical Center. We will now begin the process of planning for longer term rehabilitation, which is necessary after significant head injuries."(Indianapolis Star)(8-21-2006)

    • CertainTeed to sponsor of #66 of Green at Bristol: CertainTeed Corporation, one of North America's leading building products manufacturers, is announced a one-race, primary sponsorship of the Haas CNC Racing #66 Chevy and driver Jeff Green for the August 26 Sharpie 500 Nextel Cup race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The 2006 race marks the second consecutive year CertainTeed has been the primary sponsor for the Haas CNC Racing entry at the Sharpie 500. Last year the Haas CNC car sponsored by CertainTeed, and driven by Mike Bliss, finished seventh, the team's best finish of the season. As a primary one-race sponsor CertainTeed will be prominently featured in a special paint scheme on the car that has been designed exclusively for the event. Green will also wear a CertainTeed-branded fire suit. "This is one of the highest television-rated races of the season and one of the hardest tickets to obtain," says Dachowski. "The excitement generated by this event and our participation in it will provide a tremendous boost to our brand visibility." The company's logo will also be featured on all Haas CNC racing uniforms, merchandise, pit row equipment and the car hauler. In addition, Green will appear and sign autographs at the CertainTeed pre-race hospitality event at the track Saturday afternoon.(GMR Marketing/CertainTeed PR)(8-21-2006)

    • Food City to partner up with Morgan-McClure at Bristol: Food City, Morgan-McClure Motorsports and driver Scott Wimmer announced a one-race co-sponsorship on the #4 Chevy at the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Morgan-McClure Motorsports #4 Food City/Forward Air Chevy will hit the track during qualifying for the Sharpie 500 on Friday, August 25th, just prior to the Food City 250. "We are happy for the second time this year to be associated with Food City and the Smith family," said Larry McClure, President and Team Manager of the Abingdon, VA based Morgan-McClure Motorsports. "We have had a lasting relationship with our Food City neighbors and are excited about the opportunity to once again support a co-sponsorship of the # 4 Morgan-McClure Chevrolet Monte Carlo." Food City is the second longest race sponsor in NASCAR, second only to Coca-Cola. Headquartered in Abingdon, Virginia, K-VA-T Food Stores operates 98 retail food outlets throughout the tri-state regions of Southeast Kentucky, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-21-2006)

    • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 23 races, three drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers and #31-Burton. #5-Kyle Busch is the leader with 8 lucky dog passes used. #96/44-Labonte [13 of 23 races run], #14-Marlin, Jeremy Mayfield [21 races/no current ride] are next with 7 each. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte] and #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(8-21-2006)

    • Dodge names new Senior Mgr: Dodge introduced Mike Delahanty Sunday [8/20] as its new Senior Manager of Motorsports Programs, partially filling the holes left by the retirements of John Fernandez and Bob Wildberger. Fernandez, the former director of motorsports, has joined Chip Ganassi Racing, while Wildberger, the former program manager, is still exploring his next move. Delahanty and Dodge director of SRT and Motorsports Marketing Mike Accavitti will spearhead the manufacturer's racing program. Delahanty doesn't directly replace Fernandez, as Delahanty will also oversee marketing efforts in addition to his racing-related duties. Delahanty served as the company's senior manager for competitive analysis for five years, studying Dodge rival's vehicles. That knowledge, Accavitti said, could help Dodge catch up to NASCAR rival Chevrolet, which has won 14 times to Dodge's five in 2006.(SceneDaily.com)(8-21-2006)

    • Dodge working on Montoya's release: Dodge Director of SRT and Motorsports Marketing Mike Accavitti said today that the manufacturer is still trying to free up Juan Pablo Montoya from his contract with the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team so Montoya can begin driving stock cars. The F1 season ends October 22, and even though McLaren replaced Montoya soon after he announced he would join Chip Ganassi Racing in 2007, Montoya, who will replace Casey Mears in the #42 car, is still prohibited to drive stock cars.(SceneDaily.com)(8-21-2006)

    • COT testing at Michigan UPDATE 2: the Car of Tomorrow [COT] will be tested at Michigan International Speedway on Monday, August 21st, including #17-Matt Kenseth [Ford], #2-Kurt Busch [Dodge], #24-Jeff Gordon [Chevy] and #55-Michael Waltrip, with Waltrip testing a Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, Bill Davis Racing and Red Bull Racing [the three full time Toyota teams in 2007], see past news on the COT and images on my COT News page and COT Images page.(8-16-2006)
      UPDATE: Two Toyota teams and eight other organizations tentatively plan on attending NASCAR's test of the "car of tomorrow" on Monday at Michigan International Speedway. Bill Elliott will test a Camry for Team Red Bull, and Michael Waltrip and Dave Blaney will share test duties on a car built by Michael Waltrip Racing and Bill Davis Racing. In addition to the two Toyota cars, eight other organizations tentatively planned to attend: Hendrick Motorsports (Jeff Gordon), Chip Ganassi Racing (David Stremme), Joe Gibbs Racing (J.J. Yeley), MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek), Haas CNC Racing (Jeff Green), Penske Racing South (Kurt Busch/Billy Wease), Roush Racing (Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Jamie McMurray) and Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs).(SceneDaily.com)(8-17/21-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Tomorrow came today at Michigan International Speedway. In preparation for its 16-race 2007 debut and the gradual, three-year inception of its Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR stayed at MIS for a day after the GFS Marketplace 400 weekend to test the cutting-edge vehicle on the two-mile oval. The Car of Tomorrow is being designed by NASCAR in order to increase safety and reduce costs while maintaining the circuit's high level of competition. 14 current Nextel Cup drivers, including GFS Marketplace 400 winner Matt Kenseth of Roush Racing and teammates Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray, and four-time Nextel Cup champion Jeff Gordon of Hendrick Motorsports, were on hand at MIS to test the vehicles for their respective teams and manufacturers. The first scheduled race for the Car of Tomorrow is at Bristol next spring.
      The testing event also marked the on-track testing debut for Toyota's Nextel Cup program, set to roll off at the beginning of the 2007 season. Present for Toyota were Michael Waltrip of Michael Waltrip Racing, Dave Blaney of Bill Davis Racing, and Bill Elliott, testing for Team Red Bull. As the clock struck noon and cars were allowed to take the track, Elliott drove the Camry painted with the letters TRB (for Team Red Bull) around the oval to mark the foreign manufacturer's first stock car foray onto a NASCAR track. "I'm just proud to be a part of it," said Waltrip of Toyota's inauguration. "I know what we've done to get here, and that feels good."
      "They're a new team, and they've got a lot of work ahead of them," said Dodge driver Kurt Busch. "They're going to change the game of our sport. They're going to bring in extra money from the manufacturer, and they might step up the level of competition from the auto manufacturers' side." In addition to the new Toyotas, all of the COT prototypes feature many safety enhancements. Among them is a larger driver compartment, which allows competitors easier entry into and exit from their vehicles. The enlarged cockpit will also be more centralized within the car, which will better protect drivers from driver-side impact. Waltrip, at 6'5" one of the tallest drivers in NASCAR history, couldn't be happier. "I was driving down the back straightaway, lookin' around, and saying, 'Damn, look at all this room I got!' That's just a wonderful feeling, knowing that you're not all crunched down in there," Waltrip said. "I'm real sensitive to the space that we have because of my size and it's just really neat to have that feeling."
      Not everyone is convinced about the increased safety, however. "Well, I don't see that there's that much more room other than headroom," said Gordon after a test run for Hendrick. "I still have my reservations and concerns. My seat's moved further inside the car to the right, but I'm closer to the door bars than I was before. To me, there's not really any big gain there. For me, headroom's not an issue in the current car we have so that was never an issue that we focused on, but I'm happy that it's going to work out for those (larger) guys." The newly-designed vehicles will feature a more upright windshield and a boxier, thicker front bumper. Both changes will increase drag and reduce speed, thus placing more of an emphasis on driver performance. No longer will on-track debris create overheating problems. The front air intake of the new vehicles will be obscured by the front bumper. Adjustable aerodynamic components, like a rear wing and a front splitter, will be available for teams to modify setups in attempts to create advantages.
      "It makes it real stable in the back," said Busch, who tested a car for Penske Racing South as teammate Ryan Newman looked on from the garage in casual clothing before entering the car during the late session. "It makes it tighter to get the car to turn. You've got to get that front-end splitter on the ground and free it up somewhere else." Unfortunately, just making changes to the vehicles doesn't necessarily make them competition-ready. Each team and manufacturer still needs to assess the cars' performances in heavy traffic. Though the Car of Tomorrow program has tested at Daytona, Charlotte, and Bristol, among a wide array of other tracks, even the drivers themselves know that the Car of Tomorrow is not totally ready to take the green flag. "By itself, the car drives pretty good," said Gordon. "My whole thoughts and concerns have always been what it's going to do in a pack of cars and that's, you know, what we're going to find out here, a little bit later on."
      Data from the test will be primarily used in the submission of nose designs for the Car of Tomorrow, which are due to NASCAR on August 28, just a week away. Though MIS is not on the Car of Tomorrow's initial schedule of use in 2007, the speedway's two Nextel Cup races in 2008 will feature the progressive machine. After being entered in 26 events in 2008, the Car of Tomorrow will be used in each of the 36 races on the 2009 Nextel Cup schedule. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (David Stremme), Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs), Joe Gibbs Racing (J.J. Yeley and Denny Hamlin), MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek), and Haas CNC Racing (Jeff Green) were all represented at MIS as well.(MIS PR)(8-21-2006)



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