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    SEPTEMBER 25-OCTOBER 1, 2006

      News from October 1, 2006

    • Yates still looking for a sponsor for the #88 in 2007: With an ongoing sponsorship search that's been "tougher than expected," Robert Yates Racing co-owner Doug Yates said it's "time to go" where RYR's #88 team is concerned. Yates hopes to have something locked down within several weeks, but can't begin serious talks with a driver to replace Dale Jarrett until securing a sponsor to replace outgoing UPS. "We all know it's tough; $15 million sponsors aren't just laying around every corner," Yates said Friday at Kansas Speedway. "We see how some teams have to piece things together to get to a full season. That's not our first wish, of course, but we'll see how it goes." While a sponsor will look to the team for input, Yates said the sponsor will have the greatest role in choosing the team's next driver. A veteran would be preferable to pair with David Gilliland but Yates said a younger driver could also work if it goes that way. "We would prefer a veteran because we need that balance," Yates said. " But on the other hand, you look at it and say you need to build on something, too. It's really a tough call. You want to build for your future, but you also want to get your program back to where it needs to be. There's a lot of things up in the air and it's been tough." Gilliland has struggled since replacing Elliott Sadler in the #38 car last month at Michigan. Yates, though, knew patience would be required for a driver with only limited Busch Series experience. "The bright part is he is very fast and qualifies well and you can see the speed. The downside is we don't need to tear up equipment," Yates said. "That's tough. When you wreck cars it's hard to build on it. You kind of know that going in with somebody and we've got a steep learning curve. We knew when we got together and made this that we're going to have our challenges. But the part that keeps me very excited is you see the speed in him and you see the potential there and you look at the other guys that have come before him and where they're at today."(

    • More on Robby to Ford: hearing there will be an announcement by Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) at Lowe's Motor Speedway/Charlotte, NC when NASCAR races there Oct 12-14th, that the #7 RGM team will be switching from Chevy's to Ford's for the 2007 season.(10-1-2006)

    • Tennis accident key to Montoya exit? Juan Pablo Montoya's shock decision to turn his back on Formula One for NASCAR can be traced back to an off-track accident last year, McLaren team boss Ron Dennis said on Sunday. "The accident that damaged his shoulder was very counter-productive, it took that year out of play," he told reporters at the Chinese Grand Prix. "That created some tensions, but not tensions that anyone created other than the circumstances that existed as a result of that." Colombian Montoya missed two races in the early part of last season after fracturing his shoulder, officially while working out with a game of tennis, although there was strong speculation in the paddock that he had fallen off a motocross bike. He returned in pain at the Spanish Grand Prix but the championship was already turning into a straight fight between his Finnish team mate Kimi Raikkonen and Renault's Fernando Alonso. Although Montoya won three races last year, Raikkonen won seven, the same number as Alonso who was then signed as a McLaren driver from 2007 before the start of the new season.(Reuters)(10-1-2006)

    • Labonte Gears Things Up in a Race for BOOKS! Bobby Labonte, driver of the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge, has a reason to be excited heading into this weekend's race in Kansas. His seventh place finish last weekend in Dover means he has already helped CheeriosR Spoonfuls of StoriesR donate more than 26,000 books to kids in need all across the country through nonprofit partner First BookR. The "Race for BOOKS!" kicked off two weeks ago in New Hampshire. Labonte was racing towards the top 10 when he was taken out of contention in a wreck. Labonte, however, rebounded for his fifth top-10 finish of the season last weekend and completed all 400 laps. For every lap Labonte completes the rest of the season, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories will donate 43 books in an effort to call attention to the importance of reading and getting books to children. Depending on how many laps Labonte completes, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories could distribute more than 135,000 books to kids as the result of his efforts As of this fall, Cheerios, through the Spoonfuls of Stories program, will have donated more than $2 million to First Book (, and given more than 25 million books to children free inside boxes of Cheerios cereal. For more information on the Race for Books and Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories, see

    • Changes coming at the #16 team? #16-Greg Biffle knows the changes are coming to Roush Racing. What he doesn't know yet is exactly what they'll entail, and whether crew chief Doug Richert will be part of the personnel shuffle. Jack Roush said at Dover that changes would be made in the operation, but said Friday at Kansas Speedway that he's still in the process of determining what those moves will be. So Biffle and Richert can only wait to see what comes next. "I know that we're making some pretty major changes in our organization throughout," Biffle said. "Kind of reorganizing a lot of stuff and going to try and re-energize what we did in 2005, sharing a lot of information. Not saying we're not now, but trying to focus on that better and find out what works really good and then spread it company wide and then try to get everybody going that way." Biffle said it looks like he'll remain paired with Richert and that he hopes that's the case. Richert has served as Biffle's crew chief since August 2003.(

    • DeLana Harvick honored: DeLana Harvick, wife of Nextel Cup driver #29-Kevin Harvick, was honored by the Hershey Co. on Saturday morning. Harvick was chosen as a “Sensational Woman” by the company for her efforts in helping the first against breast cancer. Today marks the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She was the first of four women to receive the honor from the chocolate company. Harvick, who lost her father to cancer last year, had $5,000 donated in her honor by Hershey. “It’s important that people get behind this all year long,” Harvick said. “It’s more than just a one-month-a-year cause.”(Kansas City Star/GM Racing PR)(10-1-2006)

    • Wedding bells at Kansas: Kansas Speedway played host to its first race-weekend wedding Sunday morning. Terry Erwin and Crystal Collins married at the Fan Walk stage on the infield. “It’s a lifetime experience,” Erwin said. “More than we could have ever imagined would happen.” Erwin, an Indiana resident, ran sprint cars for more than a decade. “We’re both into NASCAR and drag racing,” Erwin said. “If it has an engine and runs, we like it.”(Kansas City Star)(10-1-2006)

    • Stewart 'coasts' to the win at Kansas: #20-Tony Stewart won the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway after running out of gas a few hundred feet from the start finish line, but was able to coast to the start/finish line before #42-Casey Mears, who also was running out of gas. The win is Stewart's 3rd win of 2006 and 27th of his career and only led the 5 final laps. Mears ended up 2nd to tie his career best finished [2006 Daytona 500]. Rounding out the top-10 were #6-Martin, #88-Jarrett [1st top-5 of the season], points leader #31-Burton, #99-Edwards, #5-Busch, #25-Vickers, #07-Bowyer and #8-Earnhardt Jr. Six Chase drivers finished out of the top-10 with #48-Johnson finishing 14th [after getting caught speeding on pit road on the final pitstop with 5 laps to go], #29-Harvick 15th, #11-Hamlin 18th, #17-Kenseth 23rd and #24-Gordon finished 39th after he lost fuel pressure and the crew could not get the engine to re-fire. There were 13 leaders with 20 lead changes and 11 cautions for 45 laps.
      Race Results on my Kansas Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Kansas page
      Race Rundown: see my Kansas Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-1-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Kansas [29 of 36 races]:
      #31-Jeff Burton 5511
      #11-Denny Hamlin 5442 -69
      #6-Mark Martin 5441 -70
      #17-Matt Kenseth 5427 -84
      #29-Kevin Harvick 5415 -96
      #24-Jeff Gordon 5391 -120
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5388 -123
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 5346 -165
      #5-Kyle Busch 5278 -233
      #9-Kasey Kahne 5238 -273
      and fighting for 11th
      #20-Tony Stewart in 11th
      #16-Greg Biffle -270
      #99-Carl Edwards -272
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-1-2006)

    • Unofficial "Classic" Points Standings
      ...the old way, not the Chase after Kansas:
      1) #17-Matt Kenseth 4162
      2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4029 -133
      3) #29-Kevin Harvick 3856 -306
      4) #31-Jeff Burton 3818 -344
      5) #11-Denny Hamlin 3760 -402
      6) #6-Mark Martin 3757 -405
      7) #20-Tony Stewart 3722 -440
      8) #24-Jeff Gordon 3702 -460
      9) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3701 -461
      10) #5-Kyle Busch 3667 -495
      11) #9-Kasey Kahne 3552 -610
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-1-2006)

    • Kansas Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
      #7 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 10
      #26 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 11
      #41 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 20
      #37 TE Crewmember(s) over the wall too soon Lap 61
      #38 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 68
      #26 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 130
      #55 OL Speeding exiting pit road Lap 129
      #32 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 132
      #12 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 132
      #37 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 133
      #55 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 133
      #40 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 133
      #17 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 145
      #1 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 146
      #11 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 146
      #10 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 146
      #11 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 146
      #29 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 154
      #25 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 154
      #07 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 172
      #38 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 174
      #12 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 181
      #12 TE Speeding entering pit road Lap 181
      #40 TE Pitting before pit road is open Lap 195
      #06 TE Removing equipment from pit box Lap 197
      #5 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 196
      #01 TE Speeding exiting pit road Lap 196
      #7 PT Speeding entering pit road Lap 264
      #48 PT Speeding exiting pit road Lap 263
      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 Statistical Services)(10-1-2006)

    • Rumblings - Kansas Race Notes: Somebody give that man a pot pie! "Everthing's up to date in Kansas City" after all (my apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein) as we ended up with the top-two finishers today running on the apron and mass confusion as to where anybody finished in the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway. Tony Stewart ran out of fuel on the backstretch but coasted to his 3rd win of the season today (the 27th of his Nextel Cup career) over an out-of-gas Casey Mears (see a pattern here?). Tony's win was worth a healthy $346,361 from the almost $6M in posted awards and moved him into a solo 21st place on the all-time win list. This was win #52 for Joe Gibbs Racing....and it was certainly a sweet one for Zippy and the gang.
      Casey Mears (2nd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Daytona in February.
      Mark Martin (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Atlanta in March.
      Dale Jarrett (4th) had his best finish since he won at Talladega last October. His Top-5 gives us 28 drivers at that level this season....last year we had 30 of 'em.
      Bill Elliott (16th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Michigan in August of 2005.
      Travis Kvapil (19th) had his best finish since he was 19th at Pocono in June.
      Sterling Marlin (20th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Loudon in July.
      David Gilliland (22nd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 27th last week at Dover.
      Todd Kluever (32nd) had his career-best finish today as well. His previous best was 41st at Chicagoland in July.
      STREAKIN....Jeff Burton has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Casey Mears (+31), followed by Dale Jarrett (+28 ), Ken Schrader (+23), Bill Elliott (+23), Carl Edwards (+21), and Tony Stewart (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was J. J. Yeley (-36), followed by Kasey Kahne (-32), Scott Riggs (-32), Elliott Sadler (-31), and Jeff Gordon (-28 ). Mears is now tied with Tony for most Ops this season (4)....and the "Shaft" is sure bottom-heavy with Evernham Dodges this week.
      Jeff Burton stretches his lead in the "Chase" to 69 markers over new second place man Denny Hamlin. Mark Martin makes the big move up to third this week and we can hang our first "Magic Numbers" of the playoffs. Kasey Kahne will be eliminated if Burton runs fifth or better the final seven races. In "Classic" Points this week Tony Stewart (9th to 7th) and Martin Truex Jr (23rd to 21st) made the only multiple postition positive moves in the Top-40, while Jeff Gordon (5th to 8th) fell three spots.(Stock Car Fans)(10-1-2006)

    • Kansas Race Notes:
      • Tony Stewart won the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway, scoring his 27th Nextel Cup victory in his 277th career start.
      • This is Stewart’s third victory in 2006. He also won at Martinsville and Daytona in July.
      • This is Stewart’s first victory in six races at Kansas He has scored five top-10 finishes in six races at Kansas
      • Stewart remained 11th in the point standings. He has a 270-point lead over 12th-place Greg Biffle who finished 12th. This is the first year that Stewart will not finish among the top-10 since 1999, ending a seven-year streak. Stewart missed The Chase by 16 points. Stewart is chasing the $1 million bonus for finishing 11th in the final point standings. Jeff Gordon finished 11th in 2005 and Jamie McMurray finished 11th in 2004.
      • Stewart’s victory is the 18th Chevrolet victory in 29 races in 2006. Chevrolet clinched the 2006 Manufacturers’ Championship at Loudon- the 30th Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet. Chevrolet has won the Manufacturers’ Championship in each of the last four years.
      • Stewart won the race from the 21st-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started at Kansas.
      • Race winner Stewart led the final five laps in the 2006 Banquet 400, the only laps he led during the race.
      • The 13 different lap leaders in the 2006 Banquet 400 set the record for Kansas Speedway.
      • This is team owner Joe Gibb’s 52nd Nextel Cup victory and his first at Kansas. Three of Gibb’s five victories in 2006 have been scored by Stewart while Denny Hamlin has two.
      • Joe Gibbs Racing has won at least one race each season 1993-2006, 14 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Jimmie Johnson led five times for 105 of the 267 laps raced, leading the most laps for the first time since Atlanta in March 2005.
      • Casey Mears (second) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 2006. He tied his career-best finish set in thee 2006 Daytona 500. It marked his second top-10 finish in four races at Kansas Speedway.
      • Mark Martin (third) scored his 13th top-10 finish in 2006 and his third top-10 finish in six races at Kansas. Martin climbed from sixth to third in the point standings and is now just one point behind second-place Denny Hamlin.
      • Mark Martin has been running at the finish in the last 36 races, the longest current streak. Martin’s streak began at Kansas City one year ago.
      • Dale Jarrett (fourth) scored his first top-five finish since he finished first at Talladega last October. It is his second top-10 finish in six races at Kansas Speedway.
      • Jeff Burton (fifth) scored his 18th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his first top-10 finish in six races Kansas Speedway.
      • Clint Bowyer (ninth) was the highest finishing rookie for the seventh time in 2006. Bowyer and Martin Truex (11th) put two rookies in the top-15 for the 18th time in 2006.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 29 races this season.
      • Denny Hamlin (18th) ended a streak of 11 straight top-15 finishes.
      • Matt Kenseth (23rd) ended a streak of six straight top-10 finishes that began at Michigan in August.
      • Jimmie Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 98 consecutive races. Johnson has been running at the finish in all 29 races in 2006. Johnson has gone five straight races without scoring a top-10 finish tying the longest streak of his career. Johnson went five races at the start of his career before scoring a top-10 finish and did so again between Dover and the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in 2003. Johnson remained eighth in the point standings.
      The Chase Drivers
      • Four of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10: Mark Martin, Jeff Burton (fifth), Kyle Busch (seventh) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (10th).
      • Six of the 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Kansas.
      • Jeff Burton remained first in the point standings. He is competing in the Chase for first time.
      • Denny Hamlin climbed from fourth to second in the point standings. He is 18 points behind point leader Burton. Hamlin is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time. He is the first Raybestos rookie contender to compete in The Chase.
      • Mark Martin climbed from sixth to third in the point standings, just one point behind second-place Hamlin. Martin is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. He is one of just three drivers to do so. Martin finished fourth in 2004 and 2005.
      • Matt Kenseth dropped from third to fourth in the point standings. Kenseth is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. He is one of just three drivers to do so. Kenseth finished eighth in 2004 and seventh in 2005.
      • Kevin Harvick remained fifth in the point standings. Harvick is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time. He is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.
      • Jeff Gordon dropped from second to sixth in the point standings. Gordon is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second time in three years. He is one of just two drivers that have competed in two of the three. Gordon finished third in 2004 and 11th in the 2005 final standings.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr., remained seventh in the point standings. Earnhardt Jr. is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the second time in three years. He is one of just two drivers that have competed in two of the three. Earnhardt Jr. finished fifth in 2004 and 19th in the 2005 final standings.
      • Jimmie Johnson remained eighth in the point standings. Johnson is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for the third straight year. Johnson finished second in 2004 and fifth in 2005.
      • Kyle Busch climbed from 10th to ninth in the point standings. Busch is competing in the Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time. He is one of five “first-timers” to compete in The Chase.
      • Kasey Kahne (33rd) dropped from ninth to 10th in the point standings. Kahne is competing in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup for first time.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-1-2006)

    • Pardo Wins to become first Mexican Driver to Win a NASCAR Race: Ruben Pardo completed a brilliant rookie season in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series by holding off defending race winner Matt Kobyluck to win Saturday’s Mohegan Sun 200 at Lime Rock Park’s 1.53 mile road course. Mike Olsen’s third place finish made him the series champion for the second time, five years after his first title. Pardo qualified second and trailed Busch Pole winner Kobyluck until the latter pitted after 16 laps. Pardo surrendered the top spot to Olsen after 32 circuits, with Kobyluck cycling back to the front five laps later. The last half of the 82-lap, 200-kilometer race was primarily a three way battle among Kobyluck, Pardo, and Brian Hoar, who finished fourth. Their duel was punctuated when Pardo and Kobyluck tangled in turn one on lap 56. Pardo emerged second and passed Hoar for the lead ten laps later. Sean Caisse, Olsen’s main rival for the title all summer, finished fifth and did not lead a lap for the first time all season. Pardo won $10,496 while clinching the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award for 2006 and winning the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award for exceeding his performance at Dover International Speedway last week by 23 places. The Mexico City native also became the first international driver to win a race in the Busch East Series - and the first Mexican driver to win a NASCAR touring series race.(NASCAR PR)(10-1-2006)

    • Richard Petty Driving Experience Completes Safe Driving Program at Texas A&M University: The Richard Petty Driving Experience completed a successful first day of its Safe Driving Program at Texas A&M University on Thursday with President Robert M. Gates and NASCAR legend Kyle Petty participating in the driving skills. The half-day sessions allowed participating students to receive hands-on training designed to make them more safety conscious when behind the steering wheel. It is the first university-oriented program of its type offered in Texas and the program will conclude tomorrow. "We hold what may be a national record that we wish we didn’t hold – Texas A&M lost 15 students in auto accidents last year,” Gates told the media before the demonstrations. “Having a program like Richard Petty Driving Experience Safe Driving Program, where many of our students can learn safe driving techniques, is a real benefit for us. I want to thank the entire Petty family for sponsoring this very educational program.” The safe-driving program was divided into four areas, each designed to educate students about the dangers associated with motor vehicles. Students participated in behind-the-wheel training through modules that include skid control, braking skills, crash avoidance and a tailgating/following distance exercise. Students participated in the program free of charge, thanks to generous sponsorship support from Dodge, Coca-Cola and General Mills. Richard Petty Driving Experience Safe Driving Program will be offered at Texas A&M again on Nov. 2–3. For more information, call 1-800-BE-PETTY or visit

      News from September 30, 2006

    • Montoya to test at Kentucky Oct 3-4: Chip Ganassi Racing's Juan Pablo Montoya will prepare for his Oct. 6 ARCA RE/MAX Series debut with a two-day test at Kentucky Speedway Oct. 3-4. He will be joined Oct. 3 by new Brewco Motorsports NASCAR Busch Series driver Casey Atwood in the #27 Kleenex Ford and five-time NASCAR Elite Division Kentucky Speedway race winner Jeff Fultz, who will practice in a #72 CJM Racing machine. Fultz also is scheduled to test Oct. 4. Fans will be able to view testing for free from the designated area outside the speedway Fan Center off of Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Rte. 35.(9-30-2006)

    • Vickers not allowed in Hendrick Meetings: #25-Brian Vickers, who is leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season to drive for Toyota's Team Red Bull, no longer takes part in the customary Hendrick race weekend team meetings. Only crew chief Lance McGrew is allowed to attend the at-the-track meetings where strategy and race setups are discussed among crew chiefs and drivers. "We all know there are few secrets in this sport and it's important to keep as many as possible," Vickers' teammate #48-Jimmie Johnson said.(Yahoo! Sports)(9-30-2006)

    • West Virginia-based race team licensed to compete in NASCAR: West Virginia fans of NASCAR racing will have a home-grown reason to cheer in the 2007 race season – a West Virginia-based race team and a chance to be there when it all begins next season. Revelocity Racing, LP, created by four West Virginia natives, was established to provide much needed exposure for the state of West Virginia via competition in the Nextel Cup Series. Revelocity Racing was sanctioned by NASCAR earlier this summer and was assigned #73 for the Nextel Cup Series. The team is currently in negotiations with potential drivers for the 2007 season but has committed to the “Car of Tomorrow” schedule which includes 16 races in 2007. To choose that lucky fellow West Virginian, the team is hosting the “Ultimate Fan Experience” contest for one lucky fan. The prize package will feature Hot Passes and access to the REVELOCITY RACING team and driver for the premiere race at Bristol next year. To sign up, interested participants should attend the final race at Ona Speedway in Milton on Saturday evening beginning at 6:00 p.m. or visit to enter.(MetroNews Radio Network)(9-30-2006)

    • Mopar scheme for Kahne at LMS: #9-Kasey Kahne is scheduled to drive a Mopar scheme at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 14th, see an image of the scheme on the #9 Team Schemes page.(9-30-2006)

    • Montoya tests at Iowa: Juan Pablo Montoya's crew took about 45 minutes to become acclimated at Iowa Speedway on Friday morning. Montoya needed far less time to adapt. Turing laps in a stock car for only the second time since announcing his move to NASCAR, the former Formula One and Indianapolis 500 winner posted impressive speeds during an ARCA Series test on the 0.875-mile track. Montoya ranked third of 18 drivers with a 99.713-mph lap in the morning. After an hourlong break for lunch, he was third fastest in a four-hour afternoon session at 102.727 mph. Former NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace, who retired from the Cup series in 2005, and Blake Bjorklund led the session at 103.294 mph. Montoya, who missed most of the first hour of practice while his team fixed a mechanical problem on the car, was surprised by the pace of his learning curve. He tested Monday at Talladega Superspeedway, a 2.66-mile oval where a driver has much less input on speeds. Wallace, who designed the speedway that sits among cornfields about 40 miles east of Des Moines, was impressed by Montoya and hopes he returns to Iowa Speedway for its ARCA race on Oct. 15. "To come right out of the box and be right up to speed, there's no doubt in my mind that Ganassi made the right decision, and you made the right decision to come to NASCAR," Wallace told Montoya during a break from testing a Rusty Wallace Inc. car as a substitute for his youngest son, Stephen, who was practicing a Busch Series car at Kansas Speedway on Friday. "The fans here really love you, and you have been the buzz around NASCAR. I know it'll be a winning team. There's no concerns in my mind about that." Montoya will make his first start in a stock car in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 6. The treacherous 2.66-mile oval also will mark his first experience with racing in traffic. Brad Parrott, who will serve as Montoya's crew chief for the rest of the season, said the Talladega race would be an important step in Montoya's development. It's expected Montoya will spend as much time as possible in a car through the final two months of the season, racing in the ARCA and Busch series and possibly attempting to qualify for the Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19.(full story at USA Today)(9-30-2006)

    • Hauler malfunction slows Elliott: #37-Bill Elliott starts 39th after ending a bizarre day for his team. The liftgate on the hauler that unloads the cars broke. The team couldn't get its car out until another team [#46 Carl Long's team] backed its hauler to the rear of the hauler with Elliott's car. That allowed the team to roll Elliott's car on the liftgate of the other hauler. That was completed nearly three hours after the garage opened.(Roanoke Times)(9-30-2006)

      News from September 29, 2006

    • New 'Team Director' [crew chief] for Sadler: Chris Andrews, who started the year as the team director of the #19 Evernham Motorsports Dodge, is no longer being referred to as a co-team director. Andrews had been listed with Josh Browne for several weeks as "co-directors" (the Evernham word for crew chief) for the team, but the listing was changed on the Elliott Sadler team roster this week. Andrews has been reassigned to work on special projects at Evernham. Browne was brought in to help with the transition from Jeremy Mayfield to Sadler when Sadler first joined the team at Michigan in mid-August.(

    • Kahne wins pole at Kansas: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway with a speed of 178.377mph for his 5th pole of 2006 and 11th of his career. The rest of the top-10 starters are #10-Scott Riggs, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #25-Brian Vickers, #18-J.J. Yeley, #07-Clint Bowyer, #2-Kurt Busch, #17-Matt Kenseth, #19-Elliott Sadler and #31-Jeff Burton.
      The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #06-Kluever, #45-Petty, #44-Labonte, #61-Chaffin, #55-Waltrip, #32-Kvapil, #37-Elliott and #78-Wallace. Missing the race were: #4-Wimmer, #49-Lepage, #92-Blount and #46-Long who wrecked on his first lap. See the qualifying results on my Kansas Qualifying/Grid Page.(9-29-2006)

    • Where do the Chasers start at Kansas [order of points standings]:
      #31-Burton starts 10th
      #24-Gordon 11th
      #17-Kenseth 8th
      #11-Hamlin 25th
      #29-Harvick 14th
      #6-Martin 19th
      #8-Earnhardt Jr. 12th
      #48-Johnson 3rd
      #9-Kahne 1st
      #5-Busch 13th

    • Ramblings - Kansas Qualifying Notes: #9-Kasey Kahne takes his fifth Bud Pole of the season today at Kansas Speedway and for the third race in a row we've got a Chaser on the pole. Kasey's time of 30.273 (178.377 mph) was good enough for his 11th career top-spot and he'll lead 'em to the green for Sunday's Banquet 400 with team-mate Scott Riggs alongside for an all-Evernham front row. Kasey is now tied with Kurt Busch for most poles this season.
      Jimmie Johnson (3rd) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Lowe's in May.
      J. J. Yeley (5th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at Lowe's in May.
      Todd Kluever (22nd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 3th at Chicagoland in July.
      STREAKIN....Kurt Busch has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.
      The "Chasers" may be talking about this weekend, but you know none of them will feel comfortable till we get next weekend out of the way. With Talladega lurking in the distance, so much for "playing 'em one at a time".(Stock Car Fans)(9-29-2006)

    • Kansas Qualifying Notes: • Kasey Kahne won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Banquet 400, lapping Kansas Speedway in 30.273 seconds at 178.377 mph. Matt Kenseth holds the track-qualifying record of 29.858 seconds, 180.856 mph - set Oct. 8, 2005.
      • This is Kahne’s 11th career Bud Pole in 101 Nextel Cup Series races.
      • This is Kahne’s fifth Bud Pole in 2006. He joins Kurt Busch in the lead for the season Bud Pole Award. Jeff Burton (four), Denny Hamlin (three), Greg Biffle (two) and Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
      • This is Kahne’s first Bud Pole at Kansas Speedway. Kahne has started from the top 10 in two of his three races at Kansas – both from the front row. His other start was 42nd. He has posted 16 top-10 starts this season.
      • Kahne became the sixth different Bud Pole winner in six races at Kansas Speedway.
      • Scott Riggs posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 30.348 seconds, 177.936 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the Banquet 400.
      • This is the second 1-2 sweep of qualifying for Evernham Motorsports in 2006. Kahne won the Bud Pole at Charlotte in May and Jeremy Mayfield started on the outside of the front row. Dodge last swept the front row at Dover in June (Ryan Newman – first and Mayfield – second).
      • This is the 13th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Jimmie Johnson (third) has posted four top-10 starts in five races at Kansas – all top fives and two from the front row. Johnson has 18 top-10 starts in 2006.
      • Brian Vickers (fourth) has posted his first start better than 17th in three Kansas races. He has just 10 top-10 starts this season.
      • J.J. Yeley (fifth) is making his first Nextel Cup start at Kansas. This is his seventh top-10 start in 2006. Clint Bowyer (sixth) is also making his first Nextel Cup start at Kansas. This is the 14th time this season for multiple rookies in the top 10.
      • Kurt Busch (seventh) posted his second top-10 start in six races at Kansas – both in the past two races. He has started from the top 10 in 21 races this season – more than any other driver.
      • Four of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Kahne, Johnson, Matt Kenseth (eighth) and Jeff Burton (10th). Denny Hamlin (25th) will start further back in the field than any other Chase driver.
      • Todd Kluever (22nd) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time. He qualified for his third career Nextel Cup race and posted the best start of his three races.
      • The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Kansas was 19th by Mark Martin in 2005.
      • Twenty-four of 50 top-10 finishers at Kansas Speedway also started from the top 10.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(9-29-2006)

    • 1000th 'start' for Labonte: In a career spanning four decades, Terry Labonte has reached a multitude of milestones. Sunday's event at Kansas Speedway will mark yet another, as he makes his 1,000th career start in NASCAR- and IROC-sanctioned competition combined. Labonte has appeared in 999 events since 1978, the majority coming in his 845-race NEXTEL Cup Series career. He has also participated in the Busch Series (124 races), the Craftsman Truck Series (3) and IROC (27). With 999 races under his belt, Labonte has won two NEXTEL Cup championships, one IROC title, 11 Busch Series races and one Craftsman Truck Series event. He also clinched the 1993 IROC championship for the late Davey Allison with his substitute effort at Michigan that year. Labonte was the first driver to record a win in all three of NASCAR's major touring series and "retired" from his three-race Truck Series career after winning from the pole position at Richmond, Va., in 1995. His average Truck Series finish: second. At Kansas, Labonte's #44 GMAC Chevrolet will carry a red, white and blue paint scheme inspired by the #44 Piedmont Airlines car he drove to the 1984 Cup Series championship.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-29-2006)

    • Bliss sues Haas Racing: Mike Bliss is hoping to claim $1.15 million in salary, and possibly more in damages, in a dispute with Haas CNC Racing scheduled for trial Oct. 2 in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte, according to a story in NASCAR Scene. In his complaint, Bliss said he thought in August 2005 he was going to continue to drive the Haas CNC Racing Nextel Cup car in 2006, so he didn't pursue a possible opportunity to drive for another team. Team general manager Joe Custer told him in October that he wouldn't be back for the next year. Bliss has filed suit and wants his salary for 2006 ($500,000) and 2007 ($650,000) and more in damages. In its court filings, the team claims that it invoked a clause in the contract that allowed Bliss to be terminated at the end of any season without the team having to pay the remainder of the deal. In court documents, Custer said he never "unequivocally told Bliss he was Haas' driver for 2006." The contract is part of the court file. The original three-year deal had Bliss getting paid $400,000 base in 2005 plus 40 percent of race purse and 30 percent of souvenir royalties. According to documents in the court file, Bliss had been approached by Hall of Fame Racing [#96 Chevy] during 2005 but did not pursue the deal because he believed he did not have to fear for his job. Bliss has driven mostly for [#16] Xpress Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series this year. One part of Bliss' complaint already has been decided. A claim against Haas for breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act was dismissed by the court in August. Custer declined comment Sept. 23.(

    • Kansas Rookie Notes: Martin Truex Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the September 24 Dover 400 at Dover International Speedway. Truex Jr. scored a sixth-place finish and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season. The finish was the best for Truex Jr. in 37 Nextel Cup Series starts. He scored his first top-10 since the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway (race No. 20) and has racked up three top-10 finishes this season. Clint Bowyer scored an eighth-place finish at Dover, his eighth top-10 this season. Bowyer has claimed two top-10 finishes in his last four races. Denny Hamlin finished ninth at Dover, his 15th top-10 of the season. Hamlin is fourth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 18 points leader Jeff Burton and 12 behind second-place Jeff Gordon. He leads fifth-place Kevin Harvick by 36. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 28 races this season. Hamlin leads Bowyer by 49 points (263-214) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 1 Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway. The best finish by a Raybestos Rookie in five previous Nextel Cup races at Kansas is second by Ryan Newman in 2002. Newman is the only Raybestos Rookie to finish inside the top-five at Kansas Speedway. He finished second, .618 seconds behind race winner Jeff Gordon. Jason Leffler is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in five races at Kansas Speedway. Leffler took the top starting spot in the inaugural Banquet 400 in 2001.(Raybestos PR), see the full notes, standings, history and more on the 2006 Rookie of the Year page.

    • MotorSports Initiative at Chattanooga State: In response to exciting job opportunities and widespread interest in racing, Chattanooga State Technical Community College introduced a "MotorSports Initiative" into a number of the college¹s career programs beginning Fall 2005 featuring local NASCAR enthusiasts Nelson Bowers and Herb Adcox. Taking the lead in the MotorSports Initiative are Chattanooga State¹s advanced technology degree programs in engineering technology, information systems and management. In addition, diploma programs in automotive, welding and motorcycle& marine engine technologies, through the Tennessee Technology Center, are also part of the MotorSports Initiative. 12 credit-hours of advanced placement toward an A.A.S. degree in MotorSports Engineering Technology is available to TTC graduates with concentrations in Basic Engine Performance, Engine Machining, Advanced Engine Performance and MotorSports Weleding. A general overview of the MotorSports Initiative is available at

    • Blount gets a sponsor for Kansas: Kansas City company FOX Collision Center will sponsor the #92 Front Row Motorsports Chevy [entered as the #34 which will get the owners points] driven by Chad Blount at Kansas Speedway, for the Banquet 400. “I look forward to driving the FOX Collision Center car at Kansas,” commented driver Chad Blount. “The guys have been working real hard to get the cars ready each week. I’m confident we will have a strong showing this weekend.” Owned and operated by Kansas native and industry veteran Todd Fox, Fox Collision Center, Inc., Fox Collision has 15 locations in five markets [including 6 in Kansas]. For more information about Fox Collision please visit Row Motorsports PR)(9-29-2006)

      News from September 28, 2006

    • New 'Busch' Series Sponsor in 2008? UPDATE Monster?: The NASCAR Busch Series is expected to have a new title sponsor in 2008, multiple sources close to ongoing negotiations told NASCAR.COM on Saturday at Dover. Potential replacement candidates were not disclosed. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter confirmed that 2007 is the final year of the existing contract between Anheuser-Busch and NASCAR, while stressing that discussions about the future are ongoing. "All I can tell you is we're working on 2007, and Busch is certainly a part of that," Hunter said. "We're in discussions about the future." The sources, each of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, all agreed that Anheuser-Busch is re-evaluating the Busch brand's status as title sponsor of NASCAR's second-highest series, and where it fits in the company's overall marketing strategy. Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch vice president of global media and sports marketing, said nothing of the sort. "We haven't even begun negotiations," Ponturo said Saturday. "Renewal negotiations begin next spring."(
      UPDATE: Hearing the Monster Energy drink, which is distributed [not owned] by Anheuser-Busch, will be the new sponsor of the 'Busch' Series. So the Monster Series or the Monster Energy Drink Series?.(9-28-2006)

    • Kansas Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the only track at which NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run this exact combination of left- and right-side tires in 2006 . . .these tire codes have been run at other tracks this season, however . . . this left-side code (D-4008) has been run at California, Texas, Kentucky (Busch Series only) and Homestead, while this right-side code (D-4062) has been run at Dover and Michigan . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Kansas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full tire notes. codes, pressures on my Kansas Race Info / Rundown Page.(9-28-2006)

    • Montoya to make stock car debut in Talladega ARCA race: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced Juan Pablo Montoya will drive the #4 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in the ARCA/REMAX Series event on Friday, October 6 at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya and the CGRFS team tested at Talladega earlier this week in preparation for the ARCA event, as well as his first start in a stock car. In July CGRFS announced that Montoya would be piloting the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger in the Nextel Cup Series in 2007. The 31-year-old Colombia, South America native will become the first Formula One driver in the 58-year history of NASCAR to compete on the circuit full time. He returns to the CGRFS organization with 137 starts competing in CART, IndyCar and Formula One, where he's tallied 18 wins, 26 poles, 60 top-five and 79 top-10 finishes. Over his five complete seasons in Formula One, Montoya has finished sixth or better in the standings. Montoya previously worked with team owner Chip Ganassi in the CART Series in 1999 and 2000. He captured the CART Championship and Rookie of the Year honors in 1999 while visiting Victory Lane 11 times in those two years, including a win at the prestigious Indianapolis 500 in 2000. The Food World 250 is scheduled to start at 4:30pm and will be broadcast at 8 p.m. on Speed Channel.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(9-28-2006)

    • Hornish may run some NASCAR races in 2007: IRL champion Sam Hornish says there is a possibility he will compete in some NASCAR races in 2007. While testing his IRL car at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday, Hornish said that running in NASCAR is something that's going to happen eventually. Hornish, who drives for Roger Penske in the IRL, would drive for Penske if he did compete in the NASCAR ranks. "The first thing you have to do is go through all the preliminaries, doing the tests, getting that first little bit of seat time," he said. "I'm not going to hop right in there and go to a race. People will know it's happening before I just show up one day and here I am [at a race]. It's something we're looking to." Hornish said that because the IRL season is more condensed the opportunity exists for him to also race in select Cup events. "Roger needs to find a good use for me to get the most out of his money," he said. "I want to try it out and see if I'm capable of doing that. We have to wait and see when the right time is. I'm not sure yet."(

    • More COT testing at Milwaukee UPDATE: Ganassi Racing wrapped up a day and a half of COT testing at The Milwaukee Mile with Kevin Hamlin driving. Penske Racing is scheduled to be testing their COT with Kurt Busch today [Wednesday Sept. 27 at The The Milwaukee Mile.(9-27-2006)
      UPDATE: #2-Kurt Busch tested his Penske Engineering "Car of Tomorrow" at The Milwaukee Mile Wednesday. NASCAR is introducing a new-design race car that will be phased in beginning in March of 2007 in the Nextel Cup Series, and Busch's team is one of several NASCAR teams in recent weeks to test their race cars at The Mile. Nextel Cup teams are allowed to test as often as they wish at non-Nextel Cup tracks. According to Busch, The Milwaukee Mile is an ideal place to test, and offers some key benefits to his team with their development of the car that will be raced in 16 races at 10 different speedways next season. In recent weeks, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing have also logged laps with their Car of Tomorrow race cars at The Milwaukee Mile.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(9-26-2006)

    • Montoya to test Friday at Iowa: Former Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya of Chip Ganassi Racing will test a stock car Friday at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Heather Kincel, a public relations contact with Ganassi's organization, confirmed today. Montoya, who signed with Ganassi to drive in NASCAR next season, tested Monday at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya, who won the 2000 Indianapolis 500 driving for Ganassi, could run ARCA RE/MAX Series, NASCAR Busch and Nextel Cup Series races before the end of this season, according to an Associated Press article. "I'm 100 percent committed to this," Montoya said in the article. ARCA's season finale is Oct. 15 at Iowa Speedway and will be broadcast live on Speed Channel.(Des Moines Register)(9-27-2006)

      News from September 27, 2006

    • Hershey Honoring Delana Harvick at Kansas: The Hershey Company and Young Survival Coalition will be honoring DeLana Harvick, this Saturday at 11:00am at the Sprint Fan Walk Stage. DeLana will be recognized as one of four “Sensational Women” on behalf of The Hershey’s Company and YSC. YSC is the only international, non-profit network of breast cancer survivors and supporters dedicated to the concerns and issues that are unique to young women and breast cancer. Limited edition pinkYork peppermint patties, Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Nuggets will hit the shelves this Fall to raise breast cancer awareness across the country. The Hershey Company is also supporting the campaign by contributing $250,000 to the Young Survival Coalition (YSC), the only non-profit network of breast cancer survivors and supporters dedicated to addressing the concerns and issues unique to young women and breast cancer. The donation doubles Hershey’s 2005 financial contribution and will be supported by the York peppermint pattie, Hershey’s Kisses and Hershey’s Nuggets brands.(RCR PR)(9-27-2006)

    • All-Star Challenge could be changed: The annual All-Star race is also being examined by series officials for tweaks to its format, The Associated Press has learned. Lowe's Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler confirmed Tuesday that talks are under way to make changes to the Nextel All-Star Challenge. The race has been run at the suburban Charlotte track 20 of its 21 years. "We're getting together in the next few weeks with NASCAR and Nextel to discuss some ways to tweak this thing," Wheeler said. "The bottom line is we are trying to find a way to put together 2 1/2 hours of absolutely great racing." The All-Star race currently is a 90-lap invitational, non-points race for Nextel Cup drivers. The winner gets a $1 million payout. The field is currently determined by drivers who have won races in the current and preceding year, past All-Star race winners and Cup champions from the last 10 years. The winner of the Nextel Open - the race held before the main event for all drivers not otherwise eligible - advances, and a fan vote was recently added to get another driver in. Now NASCAR is considering tying in the race with its Pit Crew Challenge, but is undecided on what to award. One idea being discussed is giving the pole position to the winner of the Pit Crew competition. Wheeler would like to see the field widened. He'd like more than one driver to advance out of the Open, and said he might push to get the top drivers from the Busch Series and Truck Series into the event. The format is also being examined and will likely change from its current three-segment form. The race currently starts with a 40-lap segment, followed by a 10-minute break in which teams are allowed to work on their cars. That's followed by a 30-lap run, a yellow-flag pit stop, and a final 20-lap dash for the cash. "We might end up shortening the segments some," Wheeler said. "We like that final 20-lap dash, the racing has always been very good over that final 20. But we're looking at a way to get rid of all the lulls in the action." LMS is always rumored to be in danger of losing the race, as NASCAR seeks to rotate it between venues. Teams and drivers are adamantly against that, because most are based in the area and treat the event as a "home race" that gives them a break from the 36-race schedule. With NASCAR's Hall of Fame now coming to Charlotte, the event is likely safe at LMS and will eventually be tied into induction ceremonies and other Hall events.(Associated Press)(9-27-2006)

    • Congratulations to #2 Miller Lite Dodge team's regular front-tire changer Jay Hackney and wife, Krista, on the birth of their twins, Tyler Reed and Taylor Reese, born at Lake Norman Regional Hospital on Sunday. Tyler, born at 4:12pm/et, weighed in at 3 lbs., 12 oz., while Taylor was born at 4:37pm/et and weighed 4 lbs. 6 oz. They are the first children for the Hackneys.(Tom Roberts PR)(9-27-2006)

    • Congratulations to # 5 Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Alan Gustafson and wife Shannon who celebrated the birth of son Austin Alan on Monday, September 25, 2006.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(9-27-2006)

    • Cope to drive for #40 Key Motorsports Truck at Talladega: In an effort to remain in contention for top 30 status in team owner points for the 2006 Craftsman Truck Series season, #40 Key Motorsports has hired veteran Derrike Cope to drive its entry in the initial Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway next weekend. “We’re in the hunt for that top 30 position in points, and we will do everything we can to achieve that goal,” Key exclaimed. “We’ll look predominantly at veteran drivers to carry us through the remaining races and hope that Derrike (Cope) will start the ball rolling in our favor at Talladega,” added Key, who is expected to have several different drivers in the seat of his #40 Chevrolet Silverado trucks in the final six races this season.(Key Motorsports PR)(9-27-2006)

    • Kurt Busch's Team Captures Pit Crew Challenge Win in Dover: Kurt Busch's #2 over-the-wall crew tallied its second Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season by spending the least amount of time on pit road in Sunday's NEXTEL Cup event at Dover International Speedway. Spending just 405.936 seconds on pit road, the Miller Lite crew helped lift its driver to a fourth-place finish in the Dover 400. Checkers/Rally's will award the team with the weekly $10,500 prize. In addition, a $105,000 bonus will be given to the pit crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Busch's over-the-wall crew consists of: Ray Gallahan (jackman), Dave Littau (front-tire carrier), Dustin Coonfield (front-tire changer), Larry Robinette (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Hebert (rear-tire changer), Chris Williams (gasman), Steve Williams (catch can) and Brian Wilson (windshield). The #2 crew captured the win despite missing two full-time members. Front-tire changer Jay Hackney was at home in Mooresville, N.C. where he and his wife, Krista, were awaiting birth of their first child. And Andy Brown, rear-tire carrier, has been out with an injury since the August Bristol race. With eight races remaining on the NEXTEL Cup schedule, the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge championship is still for the taking with the pit crews of Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch leading the standings with four wins. Clint Bowyer's and Tony Stewart's teams are tied for second with three wins each. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. To date, Checkers/Rally's has paid out $294,000 in prize money during this season. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at Communications PR)(9-27-2006)

    • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 28 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 9 lucky dog passes used. 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], #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond and 5th at Dover in Sept] 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.(9-27-2006)

    • Kluever to attempt Kansas in the #06: Todd Kluever will be attempting his third Nextel Cup start this weekend at Kansas. He will be driving the #06 3M Ford Fusion for Roush Racing. Kluever drove this car at California, although it did not qualify for the race. Kluever will be competing in both the Nextel Cup and Busch Series races at Kansas this weekend.(Roush Racing PR)(9-27-2006)

    • GM Racing Driver Development Program completes stages 1&2: GM Racing is in the process of hosting a three-stage Development Driver Evaluation Program. The purpose is to place a group of select young drivers in a controlled environment to give Chevy Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series racing teams the opportunity to meet the drivers and observe their on-track skills. All Chevrolet teams have been invited to attend and observe the drivers. GM Racing engineers along with Pratt-Miller staff members are in attendance at all three stages to accurately gather data for review by Chevy team representatives.
      A total of 16 drivers with a wide variety of racing backgrounds were invited to participate in the first two stages of the program: Chase Austin, Colin Braun, Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Jay Gerst, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Lagano, Tim McCreadie, Chad McCumbee, Josh Richards, Jason Sarvis and Kody Swanson.
      "We are excited to offer this unique opportunity to our NASCAR teams," said Pat Suhy, NASCAR program manger for GM Racing. "Continuing to build our NASCAR racing future with our Chevy team partners is critical to the continued growth and success of the Chevrolet nameplate on the track. Unlike other programs of this nature, there are no winners or losers. Our program provides opportunities for both the drivers and the teams to connect if an opening exists in someone's driver roster.
      The first stage was held September 12-13, 2006 at Caraway Speedway, Asheboro NC and showcased the drivers in NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) cars. The cars were prepared and the trackside crew furnished by Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Two-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday, Jr. set the baseline of the cars and remained available throughout the day's activities to answer questions and coach the drivers. Each driver was given a 20-minute test and tune session to work on the setup and get more comfortable in the car. After the crew did a final check of the car, the driver competed a 40-lap run of timed laps. The cars were equipped with data acquisition equipment to assist in evaluation of driver's performance. Approximately 1,400 laps were run with just four minor spins and no damage sustained to any of the cars; a strong testament to the talent of the drivers participating in the evaluation program.
      Stage II of the program was held September 19-20, at Dale McDowell Dirt School located at North Georgia Speedway, Chatsworth, GA. Three different dirt track cars - crate-motor dirt late model stock car (approximately 450 hp); a spec-motor dirt late model stock car (approximately 550 hp) and an open-motor dirt late model stock car (approximately 800 hp) -were setup and a baseline established by veteran dirt late model champion Dale McDowell. Again, with over 1,000 laps completed, there were no significant incidents on-track despite the wide variety of dirt track experience, ranging from none to full-time competitor.
      The final stage is scheduled for October 10-11, 2006 at Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville TN. Drivers will again be showing their skills in RCR-prepared Busch Series cars.(GM Racing PR)(9-27-2006)

      News from September 26, 2006

    • Bill Elliott to attempt Kansas in #37 UPDATE Melling sponsoring the #37 - IMAGES: #37 R&J Racing announced that 1988 Cup Champ Bill Elliott will be in the #37 Dodge at Kansas Speedway next weekend. "We are extremely excited to announce that after a few weeks off to restructure our program, we have signed Bill to drive the #37 car. We feel that after joining forces with Ernie Elliott, we finally have achieved the success with our program that our team deserves." R&J Racing also has signed a deal with Vision Motorsports Marketing out of Atlanta to handle sponsorship and PR for them. "We feel that the #37 team has made huge strides towards developing their program and we believe with the right marketing partner they would be a force to challenge for the win each weekend." said Vision Motorsports Marketing Vice President Adam Loser. R&J Racing and Vision Motorsports Marketing are working on their sponsorship program with opportunities still available for the Kansas race.(Vision Motorsports Marketing PR)(9-19-2006)
      UPDATE: Twenty-Five years after they first became one of the most dominating duos in Nascar history, Bill Elliott and the Melling family reunite in the Nextel Cup Series Banquet 400 presented by ConAgra Foods October 1, 2006 at the Kansas Speedway. Mark Melling, now CEO of the Melling Family business, made the announcement today about the two getting back together with Melling providing a one race sponsorship of the #37 R&J Racing Dodge. The car will feature a retro red and white paint scheme from Bills first year driving with Melling funding in 1982. Over a span of a decade with Melling backing(1982-1991) Bill racked up 39 poles, 34 victories, the 1985 Winston Million Dollar Bonus, and the 1988 Championship. Because of this success, Mark Mellings late father Harry Melling was named one of the 40 most important people in Nascar history in 1997. Mark Melling noted he is thrilled to associate with the #37 team and sponsor their entry at the Kansas Race for the 25th anniversary season of Mellings original relationship with Bill Elliott. Melling Engine Parts is a world-class designer, manufacturer, and distributor of oil pumps and internal engine parts to the automotive aftermarket, performance, and original Equipment industries. Our catalog contains oil pumps, camshafts, timing components, valve train, and cylinder sleeves. More info at Engine Parts/Fast Life Marketing PR)(9-25-2006)
      IMAGES: see a images the car/scheme on my #37 Team Schemes page.(9-26-2006)

    • #31 back in the winners circle: Jeff Burton is only the 2nd person to ever win a Cup race running the #31 after winning at Dover on Sept 24, 2006. Robby Gordon [also for RCR] was the last winner in the #31, at Watkins Glen in August 2003 and was the first winner ever in the #31 at New Hampshire in November 2001, the #31 has now won four times, see more about wins by car numbers on my Wins by Car# page.(9-26-2006)

    • No Montoya in Kansas Busch race: Hopes that Juan Pablo Montoya would begin his stock-car racing career at Kansas Speedway have apparently ended. There just wasn’t enough time to get Montoya, who has been driving Formula One cars since leaving the CART series in 2001, ready for the coming weekend of racing at Kansas. Montoya spent Monday testing ARCA cars for team owner Chip Ganassi at Talladega Superspeedway. He will also practice in ARCA cars Friday at the new Iowa Speedway, which means he will not be able to participate in Busch series practice at Kansas that day.(Kansas City Star)(9-26-2006)

    • Montoya ready to test Cup cars? UPDATE 3 Tests at Talladega; what's next?: A deal has been struck that will allow Juan Pablo Montoya to begin testing with Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates' NASCAR operation, possibly as soon as next week, Yahoo! Sports has learned. Montoya has been unable to practice in a stock car due to a contractual issue with his soon-to-be former employer McLaren-Mercedes F1. An agreement releasing Montoya from his contractual obligations to his F1 team is necessary before he can begin testing with Ganassi. That agreement has been reached, according to a source within the Ganassi organization. Details of the agreement have not been disclosed, though an announcement is expected soon. Ganassi/Sabates officials want the former F1 and Indy 500 winner behind the wheel of one of their cars as soon as possible in order to prepare for his entrance into Nextel Cup next season. Tentative plans have Montoya running at least four races and as many as nine before the end of the season, including the Busch Series races at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami and the Cup finale at Homestead – all markets with large Latino populations. Montoya also might run the ARCA race at Talladega in October, which would give the Colombian experience on a restrictor plate superspeedway.(Yahoo Sports)(9-22-2006)
      UPDATE: Juan Montoya will get his first taste of stock car racing Monday at Talladega, Ala. and Chip Ganassi plans to run his open-wheel star in a few races before the 2006 season is over. “Yes, Juan has been set free,” said Ganassi on Saturday night when asked if the 1999 CART champion had worked out his contract issues with Team McLaren. “And we’re going to get with a pretty heavy testing schedule real quick starting with an ARCA car on Monday at Talladega.” Asked if the 30-year-old Colombian would do any racing, Ganassi replied, “Absolutely, A-B-C.” That reference was to ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup – Ganassi fields teams in all three series. Montoya, who shocked the racing world July by announcing he was leaving Formula 1 for NASCAR, was being blocked from changing careers until he settled his contract with McLaren, which was paying him through December.(Speed Channel)(9-24-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Montoya could be in a NASCAR event as soon as next weekend's Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. Montoya, who was released from his Formula One contract earlier this week, will test an ARCA car for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates on Monday at Talladega. He also will test an ARCA car in Iowa on Thursday. Ganassi plans to get Montoya into an ARCA or Busch Series race as soon as possible, and hopefully at least one Cup race before the end of the season.(
      UPDATE 3: The process of transforming Juan Pablo Montoya from a top-flight Formula One driver into a NASCAR regular began Monday as the South American driver participated in an ARCA test session at Talladega Superspeedway. Montoya ran laps in a Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge Charger as Ganassi, crew chief Donnie Wingo and much of the Ganassi hierarchy looked on. Although official speeds were not released [see speeds link at end of this post], team members said Montoya ran laps in the 187-mile-per-hour range. "I went out on the track for the first time, and it was like, 'Oh, my God,'" Montoya said. "I went into [Turn] 3 and 4 and started to lift, but I said, 'Oh, let's just try it.' I went into 1 pretty fast. They told me running flat [full speed around the track] here was easy. I did it, and it felt pretty quick. The car moves around a lot more than I'm used to, but I'm getting there. It will take some time." Unless Ganassi's plans change, Montoya will make his stock-car-racing debut in the Food World 250 ARCA race here Oct. 6. He is scheduled to run the full Nextel Cup series next season. Monday's laps were Montoya's first in a full-bodied NASCAR-style stock car, although he raced 12 years ago in Trans-Am-type cars in his native Colombia.(
      AND Montoya made his first test run as a stock car racer Monday at Talladega, beginning his transition from open wheel racing star to NASCAR neophyte. Montoya ran the Superspeedway in an ARCA Car for Chip Ganassi Racing, with whom he won the 2000 Indy 500 in his first try. Ganassi said he plans for Montoya to log as many miles as possible this season. He has also said he wants Montoya to run in ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup races by the end of the season, but said Monday he didn't know yet where his first race would be. The Talladega ARCA race is Oct. 6.(Associated Press) and see the ARCA Speeds run by 31 drivers Monday at RacingOne, Mark Mitchell was the fastest at 187.768mph, Steve Wallace was 5th and Juan Pablo Montoya was 6th at 186.667mph.(9-26-2006)

    • Dale Jr's "Back in the Day" show to return in 2007: SPEED is bringing back Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Back in the Day for another season, signing a deal with the Nextel Cup Series star's production company, Hammerhead Entertainment, for another 13 episodes of the 30-minute homage to NASCAR races of the 1960s and '70s. New shows will debut during Daytona Speedweeks in 2007. "I think it's important to show our history of the sport and to have a platform like Back in the Day to share them with everybody is cool," Earnhardt Jr., said. "We're going through the library of shows for another season and will add a few surprises along the way. I'm looking forward to get it started." Season One DVDs of Back in the Day, a modern adaptation of the vintage race program Car and Track with Bud Lindemann, will be available in November. "We've had a lot of fun with this show," said Hunter Nickell, SPEED EVP & General Manager. "It's cool to work on a project with one of the most popular and talented drivers in motor sports. Dale really knows the history of the sport ... he literally grew up surrounded by the legends of NASCAR. So, teaming for a second season of Back in the Day is great news for Earnhardt fans and SPEED viewers."(

    • Bobby Labonte to Assist KHI's #77 Busch Team: Kevin Harvick Inc. announced that Bobby Labonte will assume driving duties of the #77 Dollar General Stores Chevy at the remaining companion events for the 2006 season. “KHI and Dollar General had high expectations for the #77 when the season started,” said Kevin Harvick. “Both Dollar General and KHI have been very patient throughout the season. This is a performance-based business and unfortunately we have not seen the level of improvement or the results we had hoped for. In an effort to evaluate the performance of the #77 team and get a jump start on the 2007 season, a change had to be made." Burney Lamar will be back in the #77 Dollar General Stores Chevy in the Sam's Town 250 at Memphis.(KHI PR)(9-26-2006)

    • Trickle to Receive Bobby Isaac Memorial Award Prior LMS Busch Race: Short-track racing legend Dick Trickle will receive the Bobby Isaac Memorial Award during pre-race ceremonies for the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Busch Series race Friday night, Oct. 13, at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Bobby Isaac Memorial Award is presented annually by Lowe’s Motor Speedway to an individual or group in recognition of outstanding contribution to short-track racing. Isaac, one of the sport’s outstanding racers, was well known for his short-track exploits and commitment, and it is in his honor the award is named. While detailed records were not kept, some estimates put Trickle’s career win total at nearly 1,200. The native of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., was a dominant force in late model stock car racing throughout the Midwest for decades. His amazing résumé also includes American Speed Association championships in 1984 and 1985, a period many consider to have been the most competitive in the touring late model series’ long history. After having made sporadic starts in the Nextel Cup Series beginning in 1970, Trickle became a series regular in 1989 and earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors at age 48. He continued to race in NASCAR’s premier division until 2002, recording 36 top-10 finishes in 303 races. Today, at age 65, Trickle still competes in an occasional short-track race and remains a fan favorite. Previous winners of the Bobby Isaac Memorial Award include journalists Chris Economaki and Tom Higgins; promoters Hugh Deery, Henry Furr and John Moose; drivers Jack Ingram and Harry Gant; motorsports equipment manufacturer Brian Butler; and American Sprint Car Series founder Emmett Hahn. Tickets for the Dollar General 300 NASCAR Busch Series race on Friday night, Oct. 13, start at just $17 and can be obtained online at or by calling 1-800-455-FANS.(LMS PR)(9-26-2006)

    • Pressley's son wins Bobby Isaac Memorial race at Hickory: Coleman Pressley, son of former Nextel Cup [and Busch and Truck] took the lead on Lap 178 of the Bobby Isaac Memorial 200 and drove his way to victory in the completion of the race that was started on Labor Day. In doing so, the 18-year-old driver was able to tell his dad Robert Pressley (who was in Las Vegas with the Craftsman Truck Series) on the telephone from victory lane that he had just won the Bobby Isaac Memorial. In winning the event, which was the 30th annual Pressley, takes home the $4000 prize along with a beautiful crystal trophy. "My grandpa won this race and my dad ran it over and over, so I'm glad I can now be listed in the history of Hickory Motor Speedway," said a happy Pressley in victory lane. The race which is run in memory of the late Bobby Isaac who passed away in August 1977 after participating in a Late Model Sportsman event at Hickory. Isaac got ill during the race and was taken to Catawba Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released. He then collapsed in the lobby of the hospital and died of a fatal heart attack. Isaac was the 1970 Nascar Grand National Division [now Nextel Cup] Champion.(Hickory Record)(9-26-2006)

      News from September 25, 2006

    • 2007 Nextel Cup Test Dates Set: NASCAR has set its 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing schedule that includes seven different venues that will provide the teams an opportunity to prepare for the various track layouts and surfaces that they will face over the course of the season. NASCAR determined the test schedule with the input and cooperation of each of the teams’ crew chiefs.
      The testing sessions begin at Daytona International Speedway with the NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder at Daytona, beginning Monday, Jan. 8 running through Wednesday, Jan. 10 for approximately half the teams. Thursday, Jan. 11 is the rain date, if necessary. Test sessions will resume Monday, Jan. 15 through Wednesday, Jan. 17, with Thursday, Jan. 18 as the rain date for the remaining teams. Test sessions at Daytona are scheduled for 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., weather permitting, with an hour lunch break from noon until 1 p.m.
      The remaining six tracks that will host test sessions are:
      * Las Vegas Motor Speedway – Jan. 29-30 (rain date is Jan. 31)
      * Bristol Motor Speedway – Feb. 28-March 1 (rain date is March 2)
      * Richmond International Raceway – April 3-4 (rain date is April 5)
      * Lowe’s Motor Speedway – May 7-8 (rain date is May 9)
      * Dover International Speedway – May 14-15 (rain date is May 16)
      * Talladega Superspeedway – Sept. 10-11 (rain date is Sept. 12)
      NASCAR instituted a new track testing policy in 2006 that pre-sets a schedule for when and where NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series tests are to be conducted. The scheduled tests are the only opportunities teams will have to test at NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tracks. The policy was implemented to serve as an aid to maintain better overall competitive balance for the teams and contain costs. “NASCAR received input and recommendations from each of the crew chiefs that was valuable to our decision making process,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president for competition. “The seven tracks that were selected provide the teams with a wide variety of layouts, surfaces, and track characteristics that should provide them with an opportunity to have success in 2007.”(NASCAR PR)(9-25-2006)

    • Dover 400 Race and Commercial Breakdown of 09-24-06:
      Total number of commercials: 146
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 75
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast)

      Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos: 15
      Total amount of time these brief promos took during broadcast: app. 1 min. 40 sec.
      Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 12:55 P.M.
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 4:46 P.M.
      Total minutes: 231 minutes
      Minutes of race broadcast: 157
      Minutes of commercials: 74
      (works out to 9.6 minutes in 30 minute period)
      See the full report at

    • Robby drops Chevy, looking at Manufacturer Options UPDATE denied: After failing to strike a deal to buy Robert Yates Racing – twice – #7-Robby Gordon began making known his desire to be the No. 2 team with Ford (behind Roush Racing) instead of his current status as, at best, the No. 5 Chevy team. Officially, Gordon says "as of now, we have no manufacturer deal for 2007," but RGM [Robby Gordon Motorsports] has chosen not to renew its association with Chevrolet after this season. That leaves Gordon looking at Ford, Dodge and Toyota. And while Gordon has a past relationship with Toyota, his team doesn't fit into Toyota's immediate NASCAR plans. A source with a manufacturer says Gordon is most closely looking at Ford, which is in line with Gordon's recent comments on the subject. Ford officials have declined to comment as to the status of their relationship with Gordon, although they have acknowledged having a dialog with the owner/driver. In the meantime, Gordon's team has moved ahead with plans to expand its operation by building a new facility and expanding to two cars in 2007. Speculation centers on Motorola being one of the primary sponsors for the second car.(Yahoo Sports)(9-23-2006)
      UPDATE: #7-Robby Gordon, a longtime Chevy driver, denies a report that he has decided to abandon Chevrolet and switch to a Ford in 2007, and he insisted he's still debating his situation as an owner-driver. "That's just not true, that I'm not going to be back with Chevrolet," Gordon said. "We're doing the Dakar Rally with Chevrolet, and we have an off-road (Baja) deal with them (GM's Hummer division). When we get down to brass tacks (for a Cup deal), we'll see where we end up. I have not said I will not be back with Chevrolet. We're working methodically on it, and we want to make sure we make the right decision ... based solely on performance opportunities. We'll probably have a decision by Charlotte (Oct. 14)." But Gordon repeated his position that at the moment he's fifth on the Chevrolet totem pole, behind the Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs and Dale Earnhardt Inc. teams, and that if he switched to Ford he would be at least third, behind Jack Roush and Robert Yates.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-25-2006)

    • Johnson to race in Paris again: Jimmie Johnson is expected to return to Paris for the Race of Champions Dec. 16, and Formula One stars David Coulthard and Jenson Button are also expected. Promoters are hoping to get Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso in the race, too.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-25-2006)

    • Stewart buys into Paducah: Recently, provisions were made to welcome Stewart as a fourth partner in Paducah International Raceway along with Ken Schrader, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Bob Sargent. This expansion will only benefit the track, local community and dirt racing industry and we look forward to having Tony onboard. We are all committed to building upon the successes of this inaugural year and optimistic about the 2007 racing season.( PR)(9-25-2006)

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