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    AUGUST 28-SEPTEMBER 3, 2006

      News from September 3, 2006

    • Kahne wins at California: #9-Kasey Kahne won the SONY HD 500 at California Speedway for 5th win of 2006 and 6th of his career, Kahne dominated the race, leading 130 of the 250 laps. Kahne also won the Busch Series race at California on Saturday night. Kahne overcame a pit road speeding penalty to win the race. #41-Reed Sorenson was leading with 2 laps to go, trying to stretch the fuel mileage, but ran out of gas and finished 19th. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd, followed by #07-Bowyer [best career finish], #99-Edwards, #24-Gordon, #11-Hamlin, #17-Kenseth, #5-Busch, #20-Stewart and #88-Jarrett. Pole sitter #2-Kurt Busch lead the first 11 laps, fell back, got caught on pit road when a caution flew and finished 27th, down a lap. Kahne is now 30 points behind the 10th place driver, #31-Jeff Burton, who finished 16th. #99-Edwards and #16-Biffle are officially eliminated from the Chase, so it will be 11 drivers for the 10 spots in The Chase, unless there is a tie for 10th, then both drivers would get in. There were 10 leaders with 26 lead changes and 7 cautions for 29 laps.
      Race Results on my California Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after California page
      Race Rundown: see my California Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(9-3-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after California [25 of 36 races]:
      #17-Matt Kenseth 3638 [clinched a spot in the chase]
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 3629 -9 [clinched]
      #29-Kevin Harvick 3296 -342
      #24-Jeff Gordon 3251 -387
      #5-Kyle Busch 3244 -394
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3226 -412
      #11-Denny Hamlin 3225 -413
      #20-Tony Stewart 3194 -444
      #6-Mark Martin 3181 -457
      #31-Jeff Burton 3179 -459
      and fighting for 10th
      out of 10th and the chase
      #9-Kasey Kahne -30
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(9-3-2006)

    • California Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
      7 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 9
      7 Stop & Blend Running the stop & go sign L 9
      7 TELL Excessive speed exiting the pits L 9
      25 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 109
      00 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 111
      9 TELL Excessive speed entering the pits L 156
      38 MCI Lug nut(s) not installed L 157
      38 TELL Pitting before pit road is open
      40 TELL Pitting before pit road is open L 172
      2 TELL Too many crewmember(s) in contact with pit service area L 193
      PT - Pass through
      TELL - Tail end of the longest line
      SG - Stop and Go
      OL - One lap
      ND - NASCAR discretion
      MCI - Must come into pits
      (NASCAR Statisical Services)(9-3-2006)

    • Rumblings - California: How big would the margin of victory have been without the penalty? Kasey Kahne dominated tonight's SONY HD 500 at California Speedway, leading eight times for 130 laps, and pulled away to a 3.4 second victory in the Nextel Cup spite of getting caught for speeding on pit road! Reed Sorenson tried to steal it, but ran out of fuel on the penultimate lap and Kahne cruised by for his 5th win of the season (that's the most of any driver this year) and 6th of his career (he's now solo in 62nd place on the all-time win list). Win #12 for Ray Evernham gives Kasey a sweep of the weekend (he took the Busch event last night as well), and was worth $279,214 from the almost $6M in posted awards. By doing all he could do points wise, Kasey is now just 30 markers out of the "Chase" with one race left.
      Dale Earnhardt Jr (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Richmond in May. Clint Bowyer (3rd) had his career-best finish tonight. His previous best was 4th at The Brickyard in August. Dale Jarrett (10th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Atlanta in March. Casey Mears (14th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Daytona in July. David Gilliland (32nd) tied his career-best finish tonight. He was also 32nd at Infineon in June. STREAKIN....Denny Hamlin has 7 Top-10's in a row. Tony Stewart has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races. This Week's Elevator....UP: The Operator of the Week is tie. Dale Jarrett (+26) and Mark Martin (+26) share the honors followed by Carl Edwards (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Brian Vickers (-39), followed by Kurt Busch (-26) and Ryan Newman (-21). This is BD #3 for Vickers this season.
      Matt Kenseth re-assumes the points lead from Jimmie Johnson tonight for the first time since we left Phoenix in April. Matt's got a 9 point margin. There are a number of scenarios where we could have a tie for the 10th and final qualifier for the "Chase"....we've got only 11 drivers with a chance this year with one race to go. Dale Earnhardt Jr (9th to 6th) made the best move forward in the standings this week, while Jeff Burton (7th to 10th) and Brian Vickers (17th to 20th) fell the most spots. Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, and Jeff Burton will spend most of next week wanting to know where the #9 car is.(Stock Car Fans)(9-3-2006)

    • California Race Notes:
      • Kasey Kahne won the SONY HD 500 at California Speedway, scoring his sixth Nextel Cup victory in his 97th career start.
      • This is his fifth victory in 2006, the most of all drivers. Kahne also won at Atlanta, Texas, Charlotte and Michigan.
      • Kahne is the third driver to score a weekend sweep in 2006 joining Kevin Harvick at Phoenix in April and Matt Kenseth at Bristol one week ago.
      • This is only the second time in NASCAR history that a weekend sweep has occurred on back-to-back weekends.Harry Gant was the first driver to post back-to-back weekend sweeps winning both races at Richmond and Dover (September 1991).
      • This marked the first victory by a Dodge at California Speedway since the track opened in 1997.
      • Kahne became the 10th different race winner in the last 10 races at California Speedway.
      • Kahne scored his first victory in six races at California Speedway and fifth victory in 75 races on a superspeedway.
      • Kahne won the race from the ninth-place starting position.
      • Kahne scored his fourth top-10 finish in six races at California Speedway.
      • Kahne remained 11th in the point standings, now just 30 points behind 10th-place Jeff Burton.
      • Kahne led the most laps for the second time in 2006. Kahne also won and led the most at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
      • Kahne led eight times for 130 laps including the final two laps in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway.
      • This is team owner Ray Evernham’s 12th Nextel Cup victory and first at California Speedway.
      • Evernham Motorsports has won at least one race each season 2001– 2006, six consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (second) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his third top-10 finish in 10 races at California. He climbed from ninth to sixth in the point standings, 77 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
      • Clint Bowyer (third) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 2006. It is his first top-10 finish in two races at California Speedway.
      • Carl Edwards (fourth) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his fifth top-10 finish in five races at California.
      • Jeff Gordon (fifth) scored his 12th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his sixth top-10 finish in 13 races at California, all top-fives. Gordon climbed from fifth to fourth in the point standings, 102 points ahead of 11th place Kasey Kahne.
      • Denny Hamlin (sixth) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006, the most among the rookie contenders. He extended a streak of seven straight top-10 finishes that began at New Hampshire in July.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 25 races this season.
      • Matt Kenseth (seventh) scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006. Kenseth took over the point lead by nine points over Jimmie Johnson. Johnson had held the point lead for the last 16 races since Talladega in May.
      • Jimmie Johnson (11th today) has been ranked among the top 10 for 94 consecutive races. He has been running at the finish in all 25 races in 2006.
      • Kevin Harvick (15th) extended a 37-race streak of running at the finish that began at California last September, the longest current streak. Harvick has posted nine straight top-15 finishes.
      • Jeff Burton (16th) dropped from seventh to 10th in the point standings and is just 30 points ahead of 11th-place Kasey Kahne.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-3-2006)

    • To the Back: #4-Scott Wimmer and #21-Ken Schrader both had engine failures during Saturday's practices and the teams had to make engine changes, so Wimmer [was to start 17th] and Schrader [was to start 29th] will both have to fall to the rear of the field before the start of the SONY HD 500 at California Speedway on Sunday.(9-3-2006)

    • Toyota Camry and Avalon? There are reports that Toyota might like to promote not only its Camry but also its Avalon through NASCAR racing.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-3-2006)

    • Great News for Bobby Hamliton: There's more good news for Bobby Hamilton - he came of Thursday's biopsy operation in Nashville with a clean bill of health - no trace of cancer in his lymph nodes. Hamilton has been fighting cancer with a rigorous regime of chemotherapy and radiation since the disease was diagnosed in February.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-3-2006)

    • Goodyear tire test at Talladega Sept 18-19: Five teams will participate in a Goodyear tire test Sept. 18-19 at the newly repaved Talladega Superspeedway, Goodyear officials confirmed Saturday. None of the five drivers is in Chase contention, so no title contender will have an advantage when the Nextel Cup Series competes at the track Oct. 8. The five drivers who will participate will be #1-Martin Truex Jr., #12-Ryan Newman, #25-Brian Vickers, #32-Travis Kvapil and #40-David Stremme.(

    • Hornish to run Busch and ARCA Races UPDATE 2 testing..#77?: Roger Penske said Saturday that he was working on a plan that would allow his IRL driver Sam Hornish Jr. to race in some NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Series races next season. That would be in addition to a full IRL schedule for Hornish, who won the Indianapolis 500 this year. “Sam has talked about running some Busch or ARCA races, and we’re looking at a potential program,’’ Penske said before the Sharpie 500. “We haven’t put all the pieces together.” Although Penske used an ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup program to develop the driver Ryan Newman before promoting him to the Cup series full-time, Penske said it was too early to say if Hornish would move up to compete in the Cup series by 2008.(New York Times)(8-28-2006)
      UPDATE: Reports that Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr. would be running races in the NASCAR Busch and ARCA Series next year in addition to his Indy Racing League schedule are premature. "There's no confirmation," Team Penske director of marketing and communications Chris Schwartz said. "They're considering a plan that would allow Sam to run some Busch and ARCA events next year. The details of that plan are tentative. Some people are thinking that this is something more than it really is."(Fort Worth Star Telegram)(8-31-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Sam Hornish Jr. could begin testing a Penske Racing South Dodge sometime this fall in preparation for what could be a limited Busch Series and ARCA schedule in 2007, team president Don Miller said Saturday. "They're just looking at that possibility [for next season]," Miller said. "He'll probably do some testing a little bit later on." Whether Hornish begins testing this year or not until next season will depend, in part, on how Penske Racing South's preparations are going for next season. The team has struggled with its intermediate-track program this year and is also busy working to gear up for the introduction of the "car of tomorrow" next season. Hornish, who will run the full IRL schedule next year, would ease into stock cars. If Hornish were to make the move to NASCAR full time in 2008 or beyond, it would likely mean Penske Racing South would resurrect the #77 team it shut down after last season.(

    • Chase Clinching Scenarios Following Sunday's Sony HD 500:
      •Only 48 points separate positions four through 10 in the current Nextel Cup Series standings. Only 138 points separate positions four through 11. A driver can gain a maximum of 156 points over another competitor in each event.
      •The 11th-place driver, Kasey Kahne, can move as high as fourth in the standings following Sunday’s Sony HD 500 at California Speedway.
      •Any driver in positions four through 10 can fall from the top 10 following Sunday’s event.
      •Drivers in positions four through 10 can clinch a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup following Sunday’s event.
      •No top-10 driver will be mathematically eliminated from the Chase even if he finishes 43rd (last) at California.
      •Kevin Harvick will clinch a Chase berth with a finish of third or better in Sunday’s event, no matter where another competitor finishes. Harvick also can clinch if he finishes lower than third, as long as his advantage over 11th place is 191 points or greater after the Sony HD 500.
      •Harvick can fall as low as 10th in the standings following Sunday’s event.
      •Also important: Top-10 drivers are racing for the highest finish in the standings before the Chase begins. Although the point separation to start the Chase is a mere five points per position, the 2004 series title was decided by eight points. The 2005 title margin was 35 points.
      •The sports statistics experts at STATS LLC have calculated 574,560 different possibilities for the order of the top 11 drivers following Sunday’s event.
      •Any driver with a lead of 191 points or more over 11th place following Sunday’s event will clinch a spot in the Chase. (Note: The clinching method used by NASCAR does not assume that a driver will be able to start all of the remaining races, although that is likely.)(NASCAR PR)(8-31-2006)
      STATS: see more on the Chase Stats after Bristol Page.(9-1/3-2006)

    • Fatback stays home UPDATE: Ernie Cope will serve as #21-Ken Schrader's crew chief this weekend, as his regular crew chief, Michael McSwain, remained at the Wood Brothers shop to complete other work.(Roanoke Times)(9-2-2006)
      UPDATE: Ken Schrader’s regular crew chief Michael Fatback McSwain is not with the team this weekend for the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway as he tends to business at the team’s shop in North Carolina, according to team co-owner Eddie Wood. “This weekend, Fatback stayed back to get ready for Richmond and Loudon and help our short track stuff,” Wood said. “Ernie Cope is the crew chief this weekend, so we’re just going on with business as usual.” Wood was asked if this might be an indicator of what teams might do if they were eliminated from The Chase to get a head start on the next season’s preparation. “Yes, in a roundabout way,” Wood said. “It wasn’t something we really planned in advance, but it just kind of worked out that way. Ernie has been helping Fatback since he came back and since Fatback had some stuff to do, it’s a no-brainer to have Ernie fill in. Ernie is an experienced crew chief in his own right, so it’s business as usual.” Schrader qualified 29th Friday in the U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion but blew an engine in Saturday’s early afternoon practice and did not participate in Happy Hour. He will have to start Sunday’s race at the back of the grid because of the engine change.(Ford Racing)(9-3-2006)

    • Kyle Busch inducted into Walk of Fame: #5-Kyle Busch, the defending champion of the Sony HD 500, took his place on the California Speedway Walk of Fame on Saturday, and he did it in his own unique way. The walkway includes the footprints of previous race winners. Busch went barefoot. "Pretty cool," he said. Busch, 21, became the Nextel Cup's youngest winner when he took the checkered flag at Fontana a year ago. At the time, he said he didn't realize he set the milestone when he won at the age of 20 years, 4 months and 2 days. "We made it by three days," he said."I've got taken out of races here, but I've won races here, for me it's something cool to come out here. I like racing on the West Coast anyway. It's a fun place to race."(Press Enterprise)(9-3-2006)

    • SPEED Trophy named after Mario Andretti: SPEED [Channel] will pass on the legacy of Champ Car and Formula 1 champion Mario Andretti by awarding the Mario Andretti Trophy to its Performer of the Year. The trophy, which was created by renowned sculptor Elie Hazak and was given to the top vote-getter for the Champ Car All-Star team from 1999-2001, depicts many of the highlights of Andretti’s career including his 1967 Daytona 500 win, his 1978 F1 title and his four Champ Car titles. The trophy also symbolizes Andretti’s emigration from Italy to Nazareth, Pa., with a globe and an olive tree with roots going to both locales. The original trophy, which stands 38 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds, will be on display at various SPEED trackside locations throughout the rest of the season leading to the inaugural award ceremony.(Speed Channel PR)(9-2-2006)

    • Founder of America Supports You Program to Join Speedway Fans at California: Allison Barber, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and the architect of the America Supports You program will join NASCAR fans at the California Speedway Sept. 3, 2006. America Supports You is an outreach program launched by the Department of Defense to recognize citizens’ support for military men and women and to communicate that support to members of the Armed Forces and their families.
      • 86 NASCAR race cars including pace cars will carry the America Supports You decal during the Busch Series Race on Saturday, Sept 2, and the NEXTEL Cup Series on Sunday Sept 3. In addition, America Supports You logo will be stenciled in color on the grass along the front straightaway of the Speedway.
      • In conjunction with the California Speedway, America Supports You will provide race fans an opportunity to text their vote of support for our military men and women in uniform. Text messaging is an interactive component of the America Supports You program designed to give all Americans a way to show the volume of their support, and it provides a strong message to members of the military. Barber and sports announcers will invite spectators to actively show their support by texting “Thanks” to T-X-A-S-Y (89279) from their cell phones.
      • Shout outs from the troops stationed overseas to NASCAR fans will play on California Speedway jumbotrons, and America Supports You public service announcements will be broadcast in-stadium for on-site fans.
      In addition, Barber will be interviewed on Sunday afternoon during pre-race ceremonies from the California Speedway along with four military members recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, including SPC Robby R. Case, SSgt Paula Denise Newman and Sergeant Patrick Bauschke.(NASCAR PR)(9-3-2006)

      News from September 2, 2006

    • Reutimann/Kvapil finalists for #00 MWR team: David Reutimann and Travis Kvapil are the finalists to drive Michael Waltrip Racing's #00 Toyota in 2007, but a decision may be several weeks away. Waltrip wouldn't name the second finalist, but a source familiar with the process said that Kvapil, who currently drives for PPI Motorsports, is the other driver under consideration by sponsors Burger King and Domino's Pizza. Waltrip hoped the choice would be made by now, but things haven't gone as quickly as planned when it comes to coordinating meetings with the team's co-sponsors. "It's more of a deal now where we just need to all reconvene," Waltrip said Friday. "We presented all the options to 'em and I told Ty [Norris, the team's vice president and general manager] we would be proud to have either one of [our choices] and we'll see what happens." Kvapil wouldn't name the two teams he's talking with besides PPI Motorsports, which is still working to nail down its sponsorship for next season [supposedly Tide will not return]. "I told Cal [Wells, PPI's owner] six weeks ago that we were going to try to figure out which way we were going at the end of August," Kvapil said. "I think a couple of other teams I've been talking to are going to make decisions here shortly, too. It's kind of a wait and see as to how it all shakes out. I like some of the things Cal's trying to do for the future of his team. I think he realizes the days of a single-car team are probably limited, so he's trying to either expand himself or form an alliance or do something to help his team in the future produce on the track." Reutimann met with executives from Domino's Pizza on Aug. 29, but a meeting with Burger King executives in Florida didn't materialize as a tropical storm was bearing down on the state. Reutimann returned to North Carolina unsure of where things stand, though he felt the meeting went well.(

    • Paul Tracy to Run for Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports in limited 2007 schedule: Having announced the formation of Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports less than a month ago, co-owners Bill Riley and Eddie D'Hondt are proud to announce that Sport Clips has agreed to be the primary sponsor of one of their new teams in the 2007 Busch Series. Fielded out of their new shops located in Mooresville, NC, Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports will run a yet-to-be-determined limited schedule with champion open-wheel driver Paul Tracy in the driver's seat. Sport Clips has spent the last three seasons in the Busch Series where they have experienced great success. In 2004, Sport Clips was in Victory Lane at Daytona with driver, Mike Wallace. In February 2005, they sat on the Pole at Daytona with driver, Joe Nemechek, and, most recently, they are the primary sponsor of Champ Car star Paul Tracy in his 2006 Busch Series effort. Adding to an already impressive motorsports resume, Sport Clips was the primary sponsor of Max Papis' Indianapolis 500 entry on May 28, 2006, and also was the primary sponsor for Max Papis' debut in the Busch Series on August 12, 2006.(Riley-D'Hondt Motorsports PR)(9-2-2006)

    • Dale Jr. - rebuild Calif Speedway if: Some view NASCAR races at the California Speedway as boring because there isn't enough passing, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. offered a blunt solution Friday: Start over in Fontana. "Dig it up and rebuild it," he said when asked how to generate closer racing on the two-mile, D-shaped oval. "They do it at other places, so I don't see why we couldn't do it here. It's a little too flat, The banking is flat in Turns 1 and 2 and it's not conducive to good racing." All four corners have 14-degree banking. "We're going 196 [mph] down the front straightaway into a flat corner," Earnhardt said. "How are you supposed to race around that? You do your best just to get around it uneventfully, you know, much less try to pass somebody." The track's banking is flatter than some Nextel Cup tracks, but others have even less banking in the corners, including the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Los Angeles Times)(9-2-2006)

      News from September 1, 2006

    • Robby DID try to buy into RYR: from PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show:
      #7 car owner-driver Robby Gordon says he came close on two occasions to a 50-50 partnership with Robert Yates Racing. "I was going to buy Yates. Yes we were. We had funding and sponsorship in place for the 88 car.We have our car funded for the seven car. I wanted to buy half of his two cars. That was the deal that was proposed, so whatever you hear on the other side of the street, I wasn't going to do it unless I could own half of those two cars."
      So is any deal with RYR dead in the water? "Before Indianapolis it was dead and then after Indianapolis it was alive and today it's dead so who knows where that is or what's going to happen. It's unfortunate that it's dead because I think I could have been a good coach for the two younger drivers they're going to have in their cars because to date I don't know what they're going to have for experience showing up at the Daytona 500."
      What killed the deal? "I don't know.We agreed on everything and the day it was supposed to be done it just didn't happen. I got a call from Robert's attorney that we're (Robert Yates Racing) isn't going to do the deal tomorrow. So it was like, huh? Okay."
      It's also unclear as to which manufacturer Gordon will partner with in 2007. "I have had a great relationshp with Chevrolet...obviously I've had past relationships with Ford. Chevrolet has done a great job. They have the best teams in the sport. I can say from a business side right now that with a little bit of luck and to say if we improve as much in 2007 as much as we did in 2006. I could become the second Ford team pretty easy. For me to become the second Chevrolet team we have a lot of work to do. It's really going to come down to who is willing to give us the most amount of resources. We have enough money to race right now...we need more technical support."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show), see the past rumors about this on my #7 Team News and Links page.(9-1-2006)

    • Michigan and Bristol TV Ratings Down: TNT got a 3.6 national rating for its broadcast of the Sharpie 500 from Bristol Motor Speedway last Saturday night, down from a 3.9 in 2005 but up slightly from a 3.4 in 2004. TNT's numbers were also down slightly for the Michigan race, with a 4.1 this year compared with a 4.5 rating in 2005.(Thatsracin)(9-1-2006)

    • Kurt Busch sweeps poles at California: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Pole for the SONY HD 500 at California Speedway with a speed of 184.540mph for his 2nd pole at California this season, 5th pole of 2006 and 8th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #25-Brian Vickers; #07-Clint Bowyer, #10-Scott Riggs, #1-Martin Truex Jr. are the top-5, rounding out the top-10 are #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #31-Jeff Burton, #11-Denny Hamlin, #9-Kasey Kahne and #5-Kyle Busch. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #4-Wimmer, #00-Elliott, #44-Labonte, #14-Marlin, #55-Waltrip, #49-Lepage, #78-Wallace and #32-Kvapil. Missing the race were: #06-Kluever, #34-Davis, #61-Chaffin and #23-Lester. #23-Lester spun the car on the frontstretch coming to the white flag, turned it around to redo the first lap and get momentum for the 2nd lap BUT after recording the 1st lap of 38.108mph, he shut the car down in turn 2 as the handling was gone with the flat spotted tires. See the qualifying results/starting lineup on the California Starting Grid/Qualifying Results page.(9-1-2006)

    • Ramblings - Qualifying Notes - California: Kurt Busch kept his qualifying success rolling today at California Speedway as he took the Bud Pole for the SONY HD 500 with a time of 39.016 sec (184.540 mph). This is the third top-spot for Busch in the last four races, his 5th of the season (he leads in that category now) and the 8th of his Nextel Cup career. Brian Vickers will join Busch on the front-row for the Sunday twilight affair.
      Scott Riggs (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May.
      Martin Truex Jr. (5th) has his career-best starting spot this week. His previous best has been 8th (three times)....the most recent at New Hampshire in July.
      Dale Earnhardt Jr (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 6th at Michigan in June.
      Scott Wimmer (17th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 14th at Lowe's Motor Speedway last October.
      David Gilliland (20th) has his career (albeit short) best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 26th at Michigan two weeks ago.
      Bill Elliott (23rd) has his best starting spot since he timed in 9th at Texas last October (only six races).
      STREAKIN....Jeff Burton has 7 Top-10 starts in the last 8 races.
      ...Kurt Busch has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
      ...Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
      Once again this weekend the race within the race will involve where the 5, 24, 11, 31, 20, 8, 6, and 9 car are. Expect lots of point updates (since we're just about down to the nitty-gritty) with Kasey Kahne the only logical contender to make the "Chase" (he's 90 points in arrears).(

    • California Qualifying Notes:
      • Kurt Busch won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the SONY HD 500, lapping California Speedway in 39.016 seconds at 184.540 mph. Kyle Busch holds the track-qualifying record of 38.248 seconds at 188.245 mp -, set Feb. 26, 2005.
      • This is Kurt Busch’s eighth career Bud Pole in 209 Nextel Cup Series races.
      • This is his fifth Bud Pole and 18th top-10 start in 2006 – both more than any other driver. He became the first driver to win five Bud Poles in 2006. 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 second Bud Pole at California. He has started from the top-10 five times in nine races at California – all fourth or better.
      • Kurt Busch became the first repeat Bud Pole winner in 13 races at California Speedway. Qualifying was canceled in 1997 due to weather.
      • Brian Vickers posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 39.120 seconds, 184.049 mph – and will join Kurt Busch on the front row for the SONY HD 500. Vickers has posted five top-10 starts in his six California races. This is his third front row start here.
      • This is the 12th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has eight Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Clint Bowyer (third) posted his first top-10 start in two races at California. He started 32nd and finished 14th here in February.
      • Scott Riggs (fourth) has started from the top 10 in four of his six races at California and has not started worse than 14th here.
      • Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) posted his career-best qualifying effort, bettering his previous best of eighth, which he posted at Atlanta in October 2005. His fifth top-10 start this season is his best of 2006.
      • Denny Hamlin (eighth) posted his second top-10 start in as many races at California Speedway. He started fifth and finished 12th here earlier this season.
      • Kyle Busch, the qualifying record holder at California, qualified 10th. He has started from the top 10 in three of his five races here. He won his career-first Bud Pole in qualifying for the 2005 Auto Club 500 and posted his career-first victory in the 2005 SONY HD 500 – both at California Speedway.
      • This is the 11th time in 2006 that two or more rookies have started in the top 10.
      • Scott Wimmer (17th) was the highest qualifier of the drivers that had to make the field on time.
      • Five of the 13 drivers still vying for the Chase to the Nextel Cup qualified in the top 10 and four others are in the top 20. Mark Martin (38th) posted the worst starting position of the drivers still eligible for the final 10-race Chase.
      • Ford did not post a top-10 start for the fourth time this season – all in the past six races. A Ford driver has won two of those six races and finished second in two others.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(9-1-2006)

    • Villeneuve and NASCAR...more: Jacques Villeneuve is edging closer to a deal with a NASCAR team, according to an Italian sports newspaper. La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting this week that the French Canadian, whose BMW Sauber tenure and Formula One career abruptly ended after the German Grand Prix last month, is now in talks with a team in the highly-popular American stock car series.(, see past news on this on my Misc Drivers page.(9-1-2006)

    • Walk of Fame for Kyle Busch: #5-Kyle Busch will be inducted into the Walk of Fame at California Speedway for his record-breaking win [youngest driver ever to win a Cup race] in the September 2005 NEXTEL Cup race there. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 12 p.m. local time at Gate 12.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-1-2006)

    • Vickers going green at California: Brian Vickers' #25 Chevy will sport a different look this weekend at California Speedway. Garnier, the popular unisex haircare brand, will be featured on the hood of the bold bright-green design. The scheme will adorn the car in one more NextelL Cup Series event this season -- Kansas Speedway in October.(Hendrick Motorsports PR), see an image of the scheme on my #25 Team Schemes page.(9-1-2006)

    • California Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that Goodyear brought to California Speedway earlier this season . . . this is the only track at which teams will run this specific tire set-up in 2006 . . . however, this left-side tire code (D-4008) will be run with a different right-side code at both Texas, Kansas and Homestead this year . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at California . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 48-52 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) See the California Race Info/Rundown Page for more notes, codes, pressures.(9-1-2006)

    • Terry Labonte returns to the track: Driving a #44 GMAC Chevrolet, two-time Nextel Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will make his 12th start at California Speedway on Sunday. It will mark the final California race of his storied career. Labonte will next race at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 1, followed by his final trip to Lowe's Motor Speedway on Oct. 14. The last race of his career will come Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway. Labonte will return to his native Corpus Christi, Texas, on Wednesday, Sept. 6 to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Whataburger Field prior to Game 2 of the Texas League Division Series. Labonte will be pulling for his hometown Corpus Christi Hooks, owned by baseball great and fellow Texas legend Nolan Ryan.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-1-2006)

    • California Rookie Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the August 26 Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Hamlin took the honor for the 13th time this season and was the only first-year driver to finish inside the top-10. He leads Clint Bowyer by 53 points (244-191) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the September 3 Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. Hamlin is sixth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings. He trails fifth-place Jeff Gordon by 21 points and leads seventh-place Jeff Burton by six. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 24 races this season. Hamlin has led 24 times in eight races for a total of 337 laps, 726.608 miles, best among the Raybestos Rookie class. J.J. Yeley was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in February’s Auto Club 500 at California Speedway, claiming an eighth-place finish. Kyle Busch became the first Raybestos Rookie to win a race at California Speedway when he captured the 2005 Sony HD 500 [NOT TRUE: guess Raybestos forgot about Jimmie Johnson in 2002 when he won as a Rookie]. A Raybestos Rookie has won the pole position in 3 of the last 5 races at California Speedway.(Goodyear PR). See more notes, standings, history on the 2006 Rookies Page.(9-1-2006)

    • Lester to attempt to makes 3rd Cup start at Calif: Craftsman Truck Series driver Bill Lester is looking forward to attempting his third Nextel Cup start in this weekend's SONY HD 500 at California Speedway. Piloting the #23 Waste Management Dodge Nextel Cup entry for Bill Davis Racing, Lester became the first black driver to compete in a Nextel Cup race in 20 years when he qualified for the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March in his first appearance behind the wheel of a Nextel Cup racecar. This weekend, along with the pressure of qualifying and racing in the Nextel Cup series, and the numerous demands for media interviews and appearances, Lester will have the additional attention of a large contingent of family and friends following his every move. Bester was raised on California, got his first laps in a race car on Northern California tracks, graduated from UC Berkley, and many of his immediate family members reside in California.(LM Motorsports Marketing PR)(9-1-2006)

      News from August 31, 2006

    • Kahne's event raises $144k; Stewart ok after wreck: #9-Kasey Kahne's year-old charity, the Kasey Kahne Foundation, which raises money to aid disadvantaged and critically ill children, raised $144,000 from Race night at Skagit Speedway [WA]. Fans clamored to see him and fellow NASCAR driver Tony Stewart take part in the sold-out event. They came early and stayed late. They proffered everything from hats and glossies to model cars and T-shirts for autographs. Some just wanted to be near him, as evidenced by the squealing teenage girl who got close enough to take a picture on her cell phone before running off with a hugest of grins. It even took a little sting out of what could have been a bad break. Stewart, the defending Nextel Cup champion and currently eighth in the standings, flipped his car going around the third turn on the first lap of his qualifying heat. His car, which was later auctioned off, was badly damaged and Stewart appeared to have suffered a minor concussion. He was deemed fine enough to skip a hospital visit. Stewart returned later in street clothes, joking around in the pits with Kahne. Even the crash couldn't dampen the night's good vibes. "I love dirt track racing," Stewart told the crowd. "I was looking forward more to racing Kasey and being here than racing in (Sunday's Nextel Cup race at) Fontana (Calif.) this weekend. I love this kid like a little brother and I'm glad I could be here."(Seattle Post-Intelligencer)(8-31-2006)

    • Benny not at California; “The Bus” Goes for a Ride in “Wally’s World”: NASCAR returns to NBC this weekend in primetime at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., with Nextel Cup Racing from California on Sunday. Coverage begins at 7:00pm/et with the "Bank of America Countdown to Green" pre-race show, hosted by Bill Weber. Weber and analyst Wally Dallenbach will call the race action live at 8:00pm/et – analyst Benny Parsons, currently undergoing treatment for lung cancer, will not make the trip to California, but plans on being in the booth for TNT at Richmond International Raceway the following week.
      NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show analyst Jerome "The Bus" Bettis goes around and around this week as Dallenbach takes him for a ride on "Wally's World."
      COMMENTATORS: Bill Weber, pre-race host and play-by-play Wally Dallenbach, analyst
      Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, pit reporters.(NBC PR)(8-31-2006)

    • Elliott's plans for 2007? still unknown: Bill Elliott will attempt to make his fourth start for #00 Michael Waltrip Racing this weekend in the Sony HD 500 Nextel Cup race at California Speedway but says he still isn't sure what he will do next season. The semi-retired Elliott still has one more race for MWR and then three for Team Red Bull this year. He said he was undecided on his 2007 plans. "I honestly don't know. I'm trying to sort through some stuff right now and try to figure out where I'm going to land," Elliott said.(

    • Jeff Gordon's Team Captures Pit Crew Win in Bristol: Jeff Gordon's #24 pit crew claimed its second win of the season in the weekly Checkers / Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge competition, helping boost the Hendrick Motorsports driver to a fifth-place finish in Saturday night's (Aug. 26) Nextel Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. "The DuPont crew did an amazing job on Saturday night," said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the DuPont Chevrolet. "They've been phenomenal all year, and I'm glad they are starting to get the recognition they deserve." Gordon's over-the-wall team edged out other participating crews by spending the least amount of time on pit road during the Sharpie 500. The #24 machine spent 313.006 seconds on pit lane. Gordon's over-the-wall crew, which will receive the weekly $10,500 reward from Checkers/Rally's, consists of: 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 twelve races remaining in the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule, the over-the-wall crews of Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson are tied for first place in the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge standings with four 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)(8-31-2006)

    • Cat Salutes the Troops Caterpillar is one of several sponsors this weekend that has worked with California Speedway on its Salute to the Troops project. Caterpillar has purchased 100 tickets to Sunday’s event that the track will distribute to active duty service people.(Bill Davis Racing)(8-31-2006)

    • da Matta has "rounded the corner": In racing speak, Cristiano da Matta has "rounded the corner" according to Dr. Chris Pinderski, medical director of Champ Car. "Cristiano is doing great. He's communicating in two languages, Portugese and English," said Pinderski, who was visting the 32-year-old Brazilian driver Wednesday at the Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wis. "He's still pretty confused but he calls his girlfriend by her name and recognizes his mother and father and brother. He's made excellent progress." The 2002 CART champion suffered a near-fatal head injury after being struck by a deer on Aug. 3 during a test at Elkhart Lake, Wis. Quick response by the Champ Car safety team and Pinderski, coupled with neuro surgery within two hours of the accident, gave da Matta a chance to survive. Since then, the popular driver known as "Shorty" has come out of his coma and made steady progress, which really acclerated the past week. "I asked Cristiano which team he drove for and he immediately began talking and engineers and wings," said Pinderski. "So he's thinking in auto racing terms, even if he isn't quite sure what he's saying yet. He's also walking around and, hopefully, next week we'll get him into a rehabilitation hospital." Pinderski has remained cautiously positive during the past two weeks but clearly likes what he's seeing now. "Cristiano still has a long way to go but I think he's turned the corner."(Speed Channel)(8-31-2006)

    • #2 crewman injured, will miss Calif: Andy Brown, rear tire carrier for Kurt Busch’s #2 Miller Lite Dodge team, was injured during a Lap 238 pit stop under the seventh caution period of last Saturday night’s Bristol race. “I felt something pop and the next thing I knew, I was down on the ground,” offered Brown, a 23-year-old Lander, Pa., native. He was taped up and returned to action for two additional stops. “Getting back out there Saturday night might not have been a good idea,” Brown offered on Tuesday. “I’ve been in to have my knee drained and they’re doing tests to see if I’ve done any ACL damage.” Brown is not expected to make the trip out to California this weekend. “Looks like we’ll have Larry Robinette filling in for me this weekend,” Brown said of the 39-year-old Garland, Texas, veteran mechanic who has been working on the #39 Penske Busch Series team this season.(

    • Gary Crotty Named to NASCAR Board of Directors: W. Garrett “Gary” Crotty, Secretary and General Counsel for the NASCAR, has been named to NASCAR’s Board of Directors. Crotty, 43, is a native of Daytona Beach. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1985 and his law degree from the University of Florida in 1988. Upon graduating from Florida he entered private practice specializing in general and commercial law. From 1990-91 he attended New York University, receiving a Master’s Degree in taxation law. Crotty joined NASCAR as Secretary and General Counsel in 1996. He oversees the company’s legal department located in the corporate headquarters in Daytona Beach, as well as extended offices in Charlotte, N.C., Concord, N.C. and New York, N.Y. He joins the current five-person NASCAR Board of Directors: Chairman/CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Bill France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice President Lesa Kennedy; and President Mike Helton. Crotty is the son of the late E. William “Bill” Crotty, an attorney and civic leader in Daytona Beach and a long-time advisor to Bill France, NASCAR’s former Chairman and current Vice Chairman. Bill Crotty was named an ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean during the Clinton administration and also served as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee Board of Directors.(NASCAR PR)(8-31-2006)

    • Foamy mess at Hendrick hanger: Maintenance workers at Hendrick Motorsports have a foamy mess to clean up at the company’s airline hanger after the building's fire extinguishing system activated. The foam covered Hendrick aircraft inside the hanger at Concord Regional Airport and workers used fans, shovels and cardboard boxes to push the foam out. The building holds about 1,200 gallons of the foam and firefighters estimated that 500 to 700 gallons of the foam discharged. The foam does not pose any environmental impact and can be dissipated with water, firefighters said. Firefighters have not determined how the system was tripped. The aircrafts were not damaged.(

    • Kluever set for 3rd Cup start at Calif: Todd Kluever will be attempting his third Nextel Cup Series start this weekend in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway. Kluever will compete in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races in his #06 Post-it/3M Ford Fusion. Kluever’s two previous starts came at Chicagoland in July and Michigan in August. After problems entering pit road during green-flag pit stops at Chicago, a NASCAR penalty cost Kluever two laps which resulted in a 41st-place finish. At Michigan, he was the victim of an early accident while running three-wide between Bobby Labonte and David Stremme and finished 43rd. Frank Stoddard will serve as Kluever's crew chief.(Roush Racing PR)(8-31-2006)

      News from August 30, 2006

    • some stats for fun: #29-Kevin Harvick has outscored all drivers in the last 10 races earning 1,463 points. He outscored current point leader #48-Jimmie Johnson by 109 points during the 10-race period. Johnson ranks sixth in points earned in the last 10 races (1,354 points). #24-Jeff Gordon currently fifth in points, ranks second in points earned in the last 10 races (1,447). #99-Carl Edwards and #2-Kurt Busch, 13th and 14th in Championship points, respectively, rank eighth and 10th in points earned in the last 10 races. Jeff Gordon leads all drivers scoring 100 lap leader bonus points, 55 more than point leader Jimmie Johnson who has 45. Gordon is the only driver to lead in 17 of the 24 races this season.(NASCAR Statiscal Servcies), see more nuggets on my California Race Info/Rundown page.(8-30-2006)

    • #66 team featuring 'According to Jim' scheme IMAGE: Hollywood and NASCAR will cross paths this weekend at California Speedway, as the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy will sport a special paint design promoting the syndication launch of "According to Jim," in Sunday's Sony HD 500 Nextel Cup Series race. The goal of this unique one-race sponsorship is to help publicize that this breakout family comedy, starring multi-talented film, television and stage actor Jim Belushi, will launch into national syndication five days a week on Monday, September 18. Jim Belushi will attend Sunday's race as both a performer and a spectator. He and his band, "Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts" will play for fans at the California Speedway Midway prior to the race. Belushi then plans to attend the driver's meeting and talk to media members before the race gets underway. In addition, Jim will also serve as the Honorary Race Official. Consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy, which has been the primary sponsor of the Haas entry at a number of events this season, will also have a presence on the #66 car on Sunday. The Best Buy logo and the tag line "HD Done Right" will be displayed on the car's lower quarter panels, promoting Best Buy's expertise in the area of high definition TVs. Fans attending Sunday's race can pick up a free copy of a promotional "According to Jim" DVD at various points around the speedway, and at the Best Buy "Fun Zone" interactive display on the Midway.(GMR Marketing/Haas CNS Racing PR)(8-29-2006)
      IMAGE: see an image on the #66 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2006)

    • Robby Gordon Running Special Paint Scheme at California: In conjunction with Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the #7 Chevy will be adorned with the World Series of Poker scheme for the first time in the 2006 season. The #7 will have the WSOP brand in two more races this year. In addition to the Sony HD 500, Harrah’s will display the World Series of Poker scheme at Kansas and Talladega.(RGM PR)(8-29-2006)
      IMAGE: see an image on the #7 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2006)

    • Sony on the #12 at Calif: Ryan Newman and his #12 Dodge Charger will carry the Sony colors for the season's second race at California Speedway.(Penske Racing) see an image on the #12 Team Schemes page.(8-30-2006)

    • Start #700 for Marlin: #14-Sterling Marlin is scheduled to make his 700th career NASCAR Cup start in Sunday's Sony HD 500 race at California Speedway. But before Sunday rolls along, Marlin must qualify his #14 Ginn Clubs & Resorts Chevrolet during Friday's time trials [the #14 is outside the top-35 in owners points]. "I didn't even realize I was approaching 700 starts," said Marlin. "That's a pretty neat thing to achieve. When I got behind the wheel for the first time 30 years ago, I would've never imagined I'd still be doing it today. I feel very fortunate to have been able to something I love for all these years." Marlin will become the 11th driver in NASCAR Cup history to reach the 700-start milestone. Other drivers with 700 starts include Richard Petty (1,185), Dave Marcis (883), Ricky Rudd (875), Terry Labonte (844), Darrell Waltrip (809), Kyle Petty (773), Bill Elliott (751), Bobby Allison (719), Rusty Wallace (706) and Buddy Baker (701).(MB2 Motorsports PR), #21-Ken Schrader is at 692 starts, see the list with more drivers on my MISC Stats page.(8-30-2006)

    • Testing at Milwaukee UPDATE 2: The Milwaukee Mile will play a key role in the performance of select Nextel Cup Series teams this coming Monday, August 28 and Tuesday, August 29. Richard Childress Racing’s three ‘Cup drivers, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton and #07-Clint Bowyer will be testing over the two days, in preparation for similar ovals ahead on the Nextel Cup Series schedule, including Martinsville, Va, Richmond, VA, and Phoenix, AZ. Potentially all three Evernham Motorsports teams are expected, and there may be others. “In a show of appreciation to our fans, we welcome all to come out and watch these Nextel Cup teams conduct valuable test sessions from our all-aluminum grandstands free of charge,” commented Milwaukee Mile president & CEO Andy Randall. “We are pleased the teams allow us this opportunity for our fans to watch.” The grandstands will be open from 9:00am until 5:00pm both days. There will be no infield access to view the test sessions. Limited concessions will be available.(Milwaukee Mile site), also hearing Joe Gibbs Racing may also attend the test.(8-24/28-2006)
      UPDATE: been told that rain cut testing at Milwaukee to 2-3 hours, some drivers testing were #9-Kahne, #19-Sadler, #10-Riggs, #31-Burton, #1-Truex Jr., #29-Harvick & #20-Stewart and possibly #07-Bowyer. No speeds reported.(8-29-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Over two scheduled days, The Milwaukee Mile played host to seven Nextel Cup teams, fine-tuning their flat track set-ups for tracks primarily in Loudon, NH and Martinsville, VA. Set to hit the track Monday morning were #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #9-Kasey Kahne, #10-Scott Riggs, #19-Elliott Sadler, #1-Martin Truex, Jr. and #20-Tony Stewart. The #07 team car was driven by RCR development driver Peyton Sellars on Monday only. Rain mid-morning on Monday, August 28, followed by steady drizzle stopped testing in earnest for the day. Kahne left mid-morning due to a Tuesday commitment. The other two Evernham teams elected to stay Tuesday after initially intending on a one-day session. During persistent drizzle, RCR development driver Peyton Sellars drove the #07 car at his second Nextel Cup test session at about 35mph, assisting Todd Berrier and the RCR team to calculate fuel mileage on caution laps, depending on the gear ratio. Sellars and the rain were the show for the afternoon. The fans who streamed in early morning to watch practice for free in the grandstands saw a full day of activity on Tuesday, with just a 30-minute lunch interrupting a full day of testing with all but Kahne returning. Tuesday morning was overcast, then turned partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-70's. The teams had hustled and took to the track right at 9:00am, testing in earnest. Truex and Stewart hopped between two test cars each, while the other 'Cup drivers tested just one car each. According to Scott Riggs, Kahne got in about 30 laps before the rain came Monday, noting the set-ups between the #9 and #10 have been very similar, allowing vital information gathered by Riggs' team Tuesday to benefit Kahne in his quest to be in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Of note, Burton tested at The Milwaukee Mile in September, 2000 the week of the fall Loudon, NH NEXTEL Cup race and went on to lead all 300 laps.(Milwaukee Mile PR/site with images)(8-30-2006)

    • Morgan-McClure Motorsports and Lucas Oil Reunite at Calif: Morgan-McClure President Larry McClure announced that the #4 Chevy that Scott Wimmer drive, will be sporting the familiar red LUCAS decal on the hood for the third time this season in the Sony HD 500 at California Speedway this weekend. Wimmer has an average finish of 27th at California and is looking to improve on that this weekend. Wimmer will have to qualify the Lucas Oil Chevy on time and expressed confidence in returning to California. Lucas Oil served as the primary sponsor for the Morgan-McClure #4 Chevy for the full season in 2005 as well as Indy and Michigan in 2006 and has long been involved in the American racing industry through multiple vehicle sponsorships and racing event promotions, at all levels.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-30-2006)

      News from August 29, 2006

    • Tire Test at LMS on Tuesday [not Monday]: #01-Joe Nemechek and #2-Kurt Busch will participate in a one-day tire test Aug. 29 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, NASCAR and Goodyear officials confirmed Saturday. With new pavement put down prior to the May race at the track, Goodyear is still trying to find the best compound to use on the 1.5-mile oval.(
      UPDATE: Kurt Busch and Joe Nemechek tested tires for Goodyear Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway in preparation for the Oct. 14 Bank of America 500 and both believe the tire company has resolved an issue drivers and teams fought during the track's May events. "The right-side tires are going to stay the same and they brought three different compounds for the left side," Busch explained after climbing from the #2 Dodge. "They are trying to get more grip for the drivers and not go too far which means popping tires or blistering tires." For the May races at Lowe's Motor Speedway, NASCAR required teams to use 13-gallon fuel cells, nine gallons smaller than those used at most tracks. NASCAR has not announced which fuel cell will be required for the Bank of America 500, but both teams tested using the smaller 13-gallon cell. "I see that being the fuel cell we'll use when we race here," Busch predicted. "That means more time on pit road which keeps things interesting and 'Humpy' (Wheeler, president of Lowe's Motor Speedway) likes that."(LMS PR)(8-29-2006)

    • Rusty Wallace Involved in Auto Accident; Not Injured: Late Monday evening, former NASCAR champion and ESPN/ABC Sports lead auto racing analyst, Rusty Wallace and his wife, Patti, were involved in a major auto accident while returning from the weekend’s IndyCar Series event and a taping of the “NASCAR Angels” television show in California. The 2006 Dodge Durango Wallace was driving was hit directly in the driver’s door by another motorist who ran a stop sign. Miraculously, all parties involved survived unscathed and did not require medical treatment. When all was said and done, Wallace credited one thing with the ability of himself and his wife to survive: the safety of the 2006 Dodge Durango. Said Wallace, “You hear car companies talk about safety a lot, but I can tell you that Patti and I are both really thankful for the research and development that Dodge puts into the safety of their vehicles.” Wallace joked, “That felt like a crash at Talladega, but thankfully, everyone was able to walk away.”(RWI PR)(8-29-2006)

    • Sponsoring BAM: joins the BAM Racing family of sponsors this weekend as the primary sponsor on the #49 Dodge for the Sony HD 500. connects consumers to a network of lenders nationwide competing for their loan.(BAM PR)(8-29-2006)

    • Several Teams Testing at Kentucky in September: Kentucky Speedway’s post Labor Day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series test slate is scheduled to feature Hendrick Motorsports Sept. 6-7, Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin Sept. 11 and the new Toyota Team Red Bull Sept. 14-15. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway PR)(8-29-2006)

    • Wimmer has nothing locked down for 2007 UPDATE #4 team will be back in 2007: Scott Wimmer barely knows week by week whether he's going to drive in the Nextel Cup Series, much less what 2007 has in store for him. Wimmer and the #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports team must qualify on speed for each race, and that hasn't always been easy. Though he started last in Saturday night's race, Wimmer has failed to qualify for five of 23 races this year, and that doesn't create a lot of job security. "I really don't have anything locked down for next year," he said. "As a driver you always worry about when everybody else has a ride locked up and you're kind of without anything. Team owner Larry McClure also isn't sure about next year, especially because the team doesn't have a sponsor yet.(Augusta Chronicle)(8-28-2006)
      UPDATE: In light of recent rumors regarding the status of his operation, Larry McClure, President and Team Manager of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, Inc. announced Monday that his familiar #4 team will compete full time in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007. "We currently have an agreement in place for our #4 car for next season and an announcement is forthcoming," said McClure. "Additionally, we are in negotiations with a prospective partner for a long-awaited second team. We have a viable team here with the necessary components for success, including our driver Scott Wimmer, and it is our intention to have Scott in one of our cars next year. The 2007 season will mark our 25th year in NASCAR's top series and we're excited about what's in store for Morgan-McClure Motorsports."(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(8-29-2006)

    • Seaberg Soars in Bristol; Scores Perfect in Truck Challenge: Jeff Seaberg, transport driver for Evernham Motorsports' #10 Valvoline team, has jumped into contention in the 2006 Pilot Truck Driver Challenge. Seaberg won the third and final Chicane Course for this year's challenge completing his run with a perfect score. The Pilot Truck Driver Challenge, with a main focus on safe and responsible truck driving, pits transport drivers from the Nextel Cup garage against each other. The winner of the challenge will earn the title of the safest driver in the NASCAR garage and will take home $50,000. During the course at the Bristol Mall on August 24, drivers were required to navigate through various obstacles. Dumping their trailers and driving tractors only, the competitors were asked to back into a dock, reverse through tight obstacles and choose a path between various obstructions. Each course is designed to test various aspects of truck driving that these champion drivers encounter in their profession. Seaberg achieved the only perfect score in the competition with a narrow victory over competition leader Peter Jellen. With his second victory in the driving portion in the challenge, Seaberg has closed the gap on leaders Peter Jellen, Joe Gibbs Racing's #18 Interstate Batteries team and Bill Lewis, Penske Racing's, #2 Miller Lite team. The competitors have only one category remaining, a safety quiz, until the winner's announcement in October at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. More at 500 PR)(8-29-2006)

    • Rusty new spokesman for Earth Biofuels: Earth Biofuels announced that Rusty Wallace has joined the company's Advisory Board and will also act as a spokesperson for the company. Wallace joins fellow advisory board member Julia Roberts and Board of Directors members country music legend Willie Nelson and actor Morgan Freeman in promoting the use of renewable fuels such as Earth Biofuels’ biodiesel and ethanol.(RWI PR)(8-29-2006)

      News from August 28, 2006

    • Hornish to run Busch and ARCA Races: Roger Penske said Saturday that he was working on a plan that would allow his IRL driver Sam Hornish Jr. to race in some NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Series races next season. That would be in addition to a full IRL schedule for Hornish, who won the Indianapolis 500 this year. “Sam has talked about running some Busch or ARCA races, and we’re looking at a potential program,’’ Penske said before the Sharpie 500. “We haven’t put all the pieces together.” Although Penske used an ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup program to develop the driver Ryan Newman before promoting him to the Cup series full-time, Penske said it was too early to say if Hornish would move up to compete in the Cup series by 2008.(New York Times)(8-28-2006)

    • 4th RCR team in 2007? Richard Childress is considering a fourth car, probably with Holiday Inn as a sponsor.(Ford Racing)(8-28-2006)

    • ESPN Daily Show: hearing the ESPN 'Daily NASCAR/Racing Show' will be called "NASCAR Now". No word who will host the shows, but told that John Kernan will not and will not be part of the ESPN NASCAR TV Crew at the track in 2007. Kernan was the host of the Bass Master Fishing Show on ESPN until it was recently cancelled and the host of the late great RPM2Nite show on ESPN until 2001, no word on his plans but hear he is looking for a gig.(8-28-2006)

    • Dodge nose approved for 2007: Dodge teams will get the new nose they wanted in 2007. They'll only be able to use the new nose in the 20 races that don't incorporate the "car of tomorrow." but it will be a welcome change to the struggles with the Dodge Charger. No Dodge team is in the top 10 in points.(

    • Sponsor changes at the #25 and #16? UPDATE 3: 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)
      UPDATE: been told that Ameriquest has signed a multi-year deal with Roush Racing to sponsor the 16 Ford and Greg Biffle. As for the #25, GMAC will back in some form in 2006.(8-10-006)
      UPDATE 2: been told the National Guard will move to the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and will team up to co-sponsor the team with GMAC.(8-19-2006)
      UPDATE 3 - Roush still waiting on National Guard: Roush Racing is still awaiting word on whether the National Guard will return as primary sponsor on the #16 Ford driven by Greg Biffle next year. "We don't have an indication on what they are going to do for next year," Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Saturday. "That is being more closely maintained by them. Sometimes it's typically later in the year when they have all of their options decided." Even if the team loses that sponsorship, there are other sponsors to fill in the gaps. That car has had several sponsors, such as Subway, which have been the primary sponsor for select races in the past couple of years. "We're covered," Smith said. "It's only a question of how the car is going to be allocated among those sponsors."(

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