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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    OCTOBER 2-8, 2006





      News from October 8, 2006

    • WOW! Wild Day at Talladega; Vickers Wins: #25-Brian Vickers won the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on the final lap after pulling out with 'teammate' #48-Jimmie Johnson to pass #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the final lap, got into Johnson, who was along side with Earnhardt Jr, Johnson turned when he got tapped, going into Earnhardt Jr. sending both spinning, with Vickers taking the lead as the caution was thrown and the field frozen. After some time NASCAR released the results with Vickers winning his first ever Nextel Cup race after 107 starts [he won the non-points Nextel Open in the past], #9-Kahne finished 2nd, followed by #2-Busch, #17-Kenseth, #1-Truex Jr., #29-Harvick, #66-Green [1st top 10 of 2006], #6-Martin, #99-Edwards and #43-Labonte. #8-Earnhardt Jr. finished 23rd and #48-Johnson 24th a lap down and with an DNF. Points leader #31-Jeff Burton was running in the top 10 when he lost a right rear tire with 11 laps left, finishing 27th down a lap. Burton maintains the points lead, but only 6 over Kenseth and 10 over Martin. There were 63 lead changes by 23 drivers, and 6 cautions for 22 laps including a semi-big one with 10 cars that took out #24-Jeff Gordon, who finished 36th. For the most part it was a clean race with a ton of lead changes, but still had 13 cars not finishing the race.
      Race Results on my Talladega Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega page
      Race Rundown: see my Talladega Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-8-2006)

    • Driver dies in auto wreck: Up-and-coming Chelsea race car driver Charlie Bradberry died after a Saturday morning automobile accident. Alabama State Trooper spokesman Sgt. Tim Sartain said Bradberry, 24, was driving a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup that went off Shelby County 11 and overturned inside the Chelsea city limits at 7:05am Saturday. Bradberry was transported to UAB Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:30am. The driver of the bright red #78 car in the Super Late Model racing series had a career in high gear since first climbing behind the wheel of a go-cart in 1994 at the age of 12. Bradberry had six wins in 24 races this year, mostly on the Super Late Model circuit. After visiting with friends at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday morning, Bradberry spent the rest of the day tooling with his race car at his Chelsea garage, trying to get it dialed in for upcoming races. He was on his way home Saturday morning when the accident occurred a couple of miles from his garage. Bradberry, the younger brother of former NASCAR Winston Cup driver Gary Bradberry, hoped to earn himself a spot in NASCAR's Busch Series next year, Richard Walton of Walton Motorsports Marketing said. "His career was really taking off. The season was going phenomenally well," Walton said. Bradberry spent early 2004 racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series before shifting to Super Late Models and, at times, the NASCAR Southeast Series and Hooters Pro Cup Series. His wife, Brandi, is expecting the couple's first child this February.(Birmingham News)(10-8-2006)

    • Montoya to Compete in ARCA Event at Iowa Speedway: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today Juan Pablo Montoya will continue his stock car education next weekend in the ARCA RE/MAX Series event at the Rusty Wallace designed and owned Iowa Speedway. Montoya will pilot the #4 Texaco/Havoline Dodge for his second start in a stock car. "Iowa Speedway is a tough track and will be a real test for me," said Montoya. "The hardest thing for me during the test session last week was the braking. I got up to speed pretty quick, but I wasn't racing with anyone else. I'm looking forward to the short track experience, especially at such a great facility. Rusty (Wallace) built a great race track." Montoya made his stock car debut on Friday in the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway. He started on the outside pole before taking the checkered flag in the third position. Montoya and the Texaco/Havoline team also tested at Iowa Speedway last week as part of his preparation to take over the driving duties of the #42 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in 2007. The Prairie Meadows 250 is scheduled to begin at 2:30pm/et on Sunday, October 15 and will air live on Speed Channel.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-8-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Talladega [30 of 36 races]:
      #31-Jeff Burton 5598
      #17-Matt Kenseth 5592 -6
      #6-Mark Martin 5588 -10
      #29-Kevin Harvick 5565 -33
      #11-Denny Hamlin 5547 -51
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5492 -106
      #24-Jeff Gordon 5451 -147
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 5442 -156
      #9-Kasey Kahne 5413 -185
      #5-Kyle Busch 5413 -185
      and fighting for 11th
      #20-Tony Stewart in 11th
      #99-Carl Edwards -236 out of 11th
      #16-Greg Biffle -327
      #2-Kurt Busch -472
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-8-2006)

    • Unofficial "Classic" Points Standings
      ...the old way, not the Chase after Talladega:
      1) #17-Matt Kenseth 4327
      2) #48-Jimmie Johnson 4125 -202
      3) #29-Kevin Harvick 4006 -321
      4) #31-Jeff Burton 3905 -422
      5) #6-Mark Martin 3904 -423
      6) #11-Denny Hamlin 3865 -462
      7) #20-Tony Stewart 3824 -503
      8) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 3805 -522
      9) #5-Kyle Busch 3802 -525
      10) #24-Jeff Gordon 3762 -565
      11) #9-Kasey Kahne 3727 -600
      12) #99-Carl Edwards 3588 -739
      13) #16-Greg Biffle 3497 -830
      (10-8-2006)

    • Talladega Penalty Report:
      Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
      10 PT Too fast entering pits 31
      49 SG Removing equipment from assigned pit area 64
      22 TE Pitting before pit road is open 72
      21 TE Pitting before pit road is open 131
      18 TE Too many crew members in contact with pit service area 131
      99 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      1 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      19 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      29 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      11 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      07 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      26 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      42 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      16 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      24 TE Pitting before pit road is open 138
      45 TE Pitting before pit road is open 139
      96 TE Removing equipment from assigned pit area 139
      21 TE Pitting before pit road is open 143
      11 TE Pitting before pit road is open 149
      45 TE Pitting before pit road is open 149
      11 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
      20 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
      40 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
      15 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
      18 TE Pitting before pit road is open 174
      21 TE Pitting before pit road is open 175
      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)(10-8-2006)

    • Rumblings - Talladega:
      When you have 63 lead changes amongst 23 drivers, an unbelievable finish with a first-time winner emerging, and the "Big One" on lap 139 (this one had 13 cars involved) we can only be at one place....Talladega Superspeedway. Today was everything we love and everything we hate about plate racing, and when the smoke cleared (and I'm not being figurative here) Brian Vickers was declared the winner of the UAW-Ford 500 today. You just knew when we set up for a 10 lap shootout at the end, somebody wasn't gonna make it....you just didn't think it was gonna be teammates (if they still are as of this writing). Brian Vickers hooked Jimmie Johnson as he was trying to pass Dale Earnhardt Jr going into three for the final time, and only Vickers came out. You can pick the story of your choice (we'll have many floated, I'm sure), but you can bet if Mr. Vickers thought he was "persona-non-grata" at Hendrick Motorsports already, he ain't seen nuttin' yet!
      His first career win ties him for 115th on the all-time list, he becomes the 171st driver to win a Cup race (tho not a popular one to say the least, at least judging from the reception he got in Victory Lane from the crowd), and the 148th win for Hendrick Motorsports (but I bet if you look up thedefinition of the term "mixed emotions" in the dictionary you'll see a picture of Rick Hendrick). Oh, it was worth $228,850 from the over $5.2M in posted awards, tho.
      Kurt Busch (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Pocono in July.
      Martin Truex Jr (5th) had his career-best finish today...his previous best was 6th at Dover last month. He's the 29th driver to score a Top-5 this season....last year we had 30 drivers at that level.
      Jeff Green (7th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Martinsville in October of 2004! He's the 36th driver at the Top-10 mark this season...last year that number was 43.
      Michael Waltrip (14th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Atlanta last October.
      David Gilliland (15th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 22nd last week at Kansas.
      Mike Wallace (17th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Richmond in September of 2005.
      Joe Nemechek (18th) had his best finish since he was 17th at Pocono in July.
      Tony Raines (20th) had his best finish since he was 11th at the Brickyard in August.
      STREAKIN....Matt Kenseth has 7 Top-10s in the last 8 races.B This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Jeff Green (+30), followed by Bobby Labonte (+29), Kurt Busch (+26), Kasey Kahne (+23), Mark Martin (+22), Scott Riggs (+22), Robby Gordon (+20),and Tony Raines (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Greg Biffle (-36), followed by Sterling Marlin (-33), Jeff Gordon (-32), Jamie McMurray (-29), J. J. Yeley (-22), Jimmie Johnson (-21), and Kyle Petty (-20).
      Paul Menard led a lap today for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup career. He's the 46th driver to lead a lap this season....last year we had 51 leaders.
      In "Classic" Points, Brian Vickers (18th to 16th) and Martin Truex Jr (21st to 19th) made the only multiple position moves forward, while Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, and Jamie McMurray all fell two spots.(Stock Car Fans)(10-8-2006)

    • Talladega Race Notes:
      • Brian Vickers won the 2006 UAW-FORD 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, scoring his first career Nextel Cup victory in his 107th career start.
      • Vickers became the second first-time winner in 2006 joining Denny Hamlin, who swept both races at Pocono.
      • Vickers has scored three top-10 finishes in six races at Talladega
      • Vickers’ victory today was the 19th Chevrolet victory in 30 races in 2006.
      • Vickers won the race from the ninth-place starting position.
      • Vickers led the final lap in the 2006 UAW-FORD 500 at Talladega. Vickers led five times for 17 laps.
      • This is team owner Rick Hendrick’s 148th Nextel Cup victory. Hendrick has scored eight victories in 2006. It is Hendrick’s eighth victory at Talladega.
      • Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season (1986-2006), 21 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • The 63 lead changes today were the most since there were 68 at Talladega in July 1984. The 63 lead changes ranks sixth all-time for the most in NASCAR history.
      • The 63 lead changes and 23 different lap leaders is the most in a race in 2006.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr., led seven times for 32 laps, leading the most laps for the second time in 2006 and first time since Daytona in February.
      • Kasey Kahne (second) scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006 and his first top-10 finish in six races at Talladega.
      • Kurt Busch (third) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 2006. It marked his ninth top-10 finish in 12 races at Talladega.
      • Matt Kenseth (fourth) scored his 14th top-five finish in 2006 and first in the last six races since he finished first at Bristol in August. It marked his sixth top-10 finish in 14 races at Talladega Superspeedway.
      • Martin Truex Jr. (fifth) scored his career-best finish. It was his first career top-five finish and fourth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in four races at Talladega Superspeedway.
      • Mark Martin (eighth) has been running at the finish in the last 37 races, the longest current streak. Martin’s streak began at Kansas City one year ago.
      • Martin Truex Jr, was the highest finishing rookie for the second time in 2006 - all in the last three races.
      • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 30 races this season.
      • Denny Hamlin (21st) ended a streak of 20 straight top-20 finishes that began at Richmond in May. His previous finish outside the top-20 came at Talladega in May where he finished 22nd.
      • Jimmie Johnson (24th today) has been ranked among the top 10 for 99 consecutive races. Johnson has gone six straight races without scoring a top-10 finish, the longest streak of his career. Johnson remained eighth in the point standings.
      • Tony Stewart (22nd) remained 11th in the point standings. He has a 236-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards who finished ninth. This is the first year that Stewart will not finish among the top-10 since 1999, ending a sevenyear 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, the inaugural year of the Chase.
      • Jeff Burton (27th) ended a streak of four straight top-10 finishes that began at Richmond in September.
      • Race No. 30 at Talladega marked the fourth of the 10 races in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup.
      • Four of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10.
      • Seven of the 10 The Chase drivers changed point positions at Talladega.
      • Jeff Burton remained first in the point standings by just six points over second-place Matt Kenseth and just 10 points ahead of third-place Mark Martin.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-8-2006)

    • Sad News: Race driver Mark Porter died today after he suffered massive injuries in a crash at Mount Panorama on Friday while preparing for the Bathurst 1000. Porter died at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney today after suffering serious head and chest injuries in a 180kph crash with David Clark during a second tier V8 race at the Bathurst 1000 meeting. The Gold Coast based New Zealander leaves behind his wife Adrienne and one-year-old son Flynn. He was 31. V8 Supercars Australia said they would launch a thorough investigation into the crash.(Herald Sun)(10-8-2006)

    • NASCAR issues smaller Restrictor Plates at Talladega MORE: NASCAR will issue restrictor plates with smaller holes for the rest of the UAW-Ford 500 weekend as teams scrambled Saturday morning to get their cars ready for qualifying. The new restrictor plates will have four holes of seven-eighths of an inch in diameter, one-64th of an inch smaller than the ones used in practice Friday when #24-Jeff Gordon reached a speed of 198.689 mph in the opening session at Talladega Superspeedway. The change should slow the speeds by 2-5 mph, according to crew chiefs,. Teams were informed of the change Saturday morning. There are no practice sessions left on the schedule and the cars will be impounded after qualifying. NASCAR officials are expected to address the media concerning the change later this morning. The speeds are higher than they have been at Talladega because of the repaved surface, which is much smoother than the old surface.(SceneDaily.com)(10-7-2006)
      MORE: NASCAR called a 6:30 a.m. crew chief meeting on Saturday to hand out smaller restrictor plates to push the speeds back down before Sunday's race on the freshly paved Talladega oval. The new plates knocked the speeds from Jeff Gordon's top mark of 198.689 mph in practice to David Gilliland's pole-winning mark of 191.712. "We tried to downplay it and we didn't want to make a knee-jerk reaction," NASCAR competition director Robin Pemberton said in explaining the delay in changing the plates. "We were hoping that the speeds would go the other way." When they didn't after Friday's second practice session, NASCAR officials decided to err on the side of caution by slowing the cars. Despite the change, NASCAR did not work a practice session into the schedule so teams could adjust their cars with the new plates.(Associated Press)(10-8-2006)

    • Stewart's 2nd's at Talladega tie a record: #20-Tony Stewart's six second-place finishes without a victory matches the record for current tracks. Bobby Allison never won at Martinsville but finished runner-up six times, and Mark Martin has the same distinction at Pocono.(Gaston Gazette)(10-8-2006)

    • Mike Wallace running all three Talladega events: Hoping that multi-tasking will give him an advantage on the brand new racing surface at Talladega Superspeedway, veteran driver Mike Wallace will run all three races this Oct. 6-8 weekend. Wallace finished sixth in the ARCA RE/MAX Food World 250 and finished 26th in the #15 Chevy for Billy Ballew Motorsports in the inaugural John Deere 250 Craftsman Truck Series race [he finished ]. On Sunday, he’ll be behind the wheel of the #09 Ford Taurus for team owner James Finch and starts 28th. Wallace is the only driver participating in all three races. “I’m the only one who seems to be doing it. I was here, and (team owner) James (Finch) called and said, ‘How about driving it?’ And I went, ‘OK, deal,’” Wallace said.(Speed Channel)


      News from October 7, 2006

    • Sponsor change on the #29? UPDATE 4 Shell/Pennzoil to be sponsor: hearing that GM Goodwrench will not return as the primary sponsor of Kevin Harvick's #29 RCR Chevy in 2007, supposedly Reese's/Hershey's will return as a co-sponsor and a gasoline and lubricant supplier would be the other co-primary.(9-16-2006)
      UPDATE: During the PRN's "Fast Talk with Benny Parsons" radio show Monday night car owner Richard Childress commented briefly on rumors that GM Goodwrench would not be back to sponsor Kevin Harvick's Chevy in 2007. "There's always rumors out there swinging around. We're talking about 'em right now...we're looking at what we're going to do next year and right now our plans are Goodwrench and Hershey for next year but who knows what can happen in the sport...things change."(PRN's "Fast Talk with Benny Parsons" radio show)(9-19-2006)
      UPDATE 2: hearing the new co-primary sponsor for the #29 RCR Chevy will be Shell Oil, no idea how many races. Hershey's/Reese's will return in 2007, supposedly in a simliar number of races as 2006.(10-5-2006)
      UPDATE 3: RCR is scheduled to make some sort of annoucement at Talladega regarding some 2007 plans, not sure if the Shell announcement will be made. Also the Shell site has a link to a shell announcement webcast.(10-6-2006)
      UPDATE 4: it was announced on Saturday, Oct 7th at Talladega Superspeedway that Shell/Pennzoil will sponsor the #29 RCR Chevy in 2007 for a unspecified number of races, Hershey's will still sponsor some races and GM Goodwrench will be aboard as a sponsor for a couple of races. The 2007 car was unveiled using the Car of Tomorrow painted in Shell/Pennzoil colors, mostly yellow with a white roof, the word Pennzoil and the Shell logo on the hood, Shell and the Shell logo on the quarter panels.
      PRESS RELEASE: Shell Oil Company announced the brand's return to NASCAR today through a multi-year primary sponsorship of Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Through the sponsorship both Shell and Pennzoil brands will be featured on the #29 Chevy to be driven by Kevin Harvick in the 2007 Nextel Cup series. Shell will also be the associate sponsor on other RCR cars including the #31 Cup car driven by Jeff Burton and the #07 Cup car driven by Clint Bowyer. "We're proud to have Shell come on-board as the primary sponsor of RCR's #29 team with Kevin Harvick," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "Shell has a long history in motorsports throughout the world and we look forward to adding to that winning tradition. We're fortunate to once again have a sponsor for the #29 team that is committed to supporting its racing program in a lot of exciting ways. We're also proud to be continuing our relationship with GM Goodwrench and the winning tradition we've had together for more than two decades."
      The company's technological leadership and its innovative products have helped position Shell as the "preferred partner" both on and off the track for some of the auto industry's top companies including General Motors (GM), Ferrari and Audi. The new alliance with Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick bring together the market share leader in fuels and lubricants with a #1 team, which makes a formidable combination. "Our plan with RCR and Kevin Harvick is pretty simple; have fun with our employees, wholesalers, retailers, distributors and customers through a sport we all love," said John Hofmeister, president, Shell Oil Company. "It's also about aligning the leading fuels and lubricants brands with a winner on the track so we can create innovative marketing platforms and products that drive business. NASCAR fans and Shell customers are one in the same, and rejoining Shell with the NASCAR family is the next logical step in our global motorsports platform."
      Shell lubricant brands, Pennzoil, Quaker State and ROTELLA T, have all been collectively active in NASCAR for several decades. Additionally, Pennzoil has maintained a variety of sponsorships and technical partnerships with DEI and Roush Racing, while Quaker State has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 1995. This season, ROTELLA T and Morgan Dollar Racing with Dennis Setzer are partners in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. GM Goodwrench, currently the primary sponsor of Harvick's #29 car, will also continue to support RCR racing and Kevin Harvick as an associate sponsor. "We're pleased that GM Goodwrench will continue to have a presence on the car," added Hofmeister. "To be associated with a sponsor with a strong history in motorsports is really the icing on the cake. This new relationship on the track will complement the many programs we have with General Motors off the track. We're working together to make hydrogen available to consumers through a local Shell station in Washington, D.C; in Chicago we have a joint test pilot to gauge consumer interest in E85, and we provide supply for some of GM's lubricants needs." While no immediate plans were shared with regard to the company's marketing efforts in NASCAR, Shell officials said more news will be forthcoming on activations plans surrounding Richard Childress Racing and the #29 Shell car. For more information about Shell, visit www.shell.com.(RCR PR)
      IMAGES: see a couple images of the scheme on my 2007 #29 Team Schemes page.(10-7-2006)

    • Congrats: Derek and Kristi Jones welcome Lauren Nicole Jones, born Sept. 25th at 7:01 p.m. Kristi is the Licensing/Marketing Director for Robert Yates Racing and Derek is the Team Engineer for the #38 M&M'S team driven by David Gilliland.(10-7-2006)

    • More Villeneuve Rumors...Roush discussions, Yates? Rumors have been circulating for weeks that Jacques Villeneuve, a former F1 champion is ready to give stock cars a try. The Villeneuve story heated up with news that the Canadian driver has been in contact with Roush Racing. Asked if the 35-year-old Villeneuve could be in a Roush entry in 2007, team owner Jack Roush said, "That's a possibility. I know we're in discussions. He came to see us in Detroit and he's been in Charlotte and had discussions around our program and what he can do and the rate of which he could get up to speed, if he's got the stomach for it, and if we can find the sponsorship for it, that's certainly a possibility." Efforts to reach Villeneuve and his agent, Craig Pollock, for comment were not successful. The Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport reported earlier this week that Villeneuve already has signed a deal with Roush Racing and will move back to Canada from his current base in Europe. When contacted by ESPN, Roush Racing said the story is not true and that Villeneuve has not signed with them. There were reports Friday that Villeneuve has also been in contact with Robert Yates Racing about the opening in the #88 Ford. Dale Jarrett will leave Yates at the end of the season for a ride with Michael Waltrip's new Toyota team. But Yates officials were not available for comment.(ESPN.com/AP), see the initial rumors and more on the Drivers Looking/Rumored page.(10-7-2006)

    • Goodyear workers on strike; UPDATE 2 won't effect racing: United Steelworkers of America, which represents about 13,000 hourly Goodyear employees, says that because it sees no progress in the talks [negotiating on a new labor contract] taking place in Cincinnati, it will end a day-to-day contract extension as of 1 p.m. Thursday. Meanwhile, the Akron tire maker and the union say they will continue talking. Sticking points include Goodyear wanting the ability to close what it calls costly, less productive U.S. plants, while the USW has been insisting that union plants remain open and that the company protect pensions and retiree health care.(see more at Ohio.com)(10-4-2006)
      UPDATE: The United Steelworkers of America went on strike at 1:00pm [Thursday] against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., saying the company is not offering a fair and equitable contract. The union, which represents about 13,000 hourly workers at 12 Goodyear plants in the U.S., last went on strike against the Akron tire maker for 19 days in 1997. The union also staged a four-hour walkout in 1994. Also affected are an estimated 2,000 workers at four Goodyear plants in Canada. Pickets were being set up in front of Goodyear's corporate headquarters.(see more at Ohio.com), no word on how or if this would effect Goodyear's Racing tire operations with NASCAR.(10-6-2006)
      UPDATE 2: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company's supply of racing tires -- including tires for NASCAR's three main series -- is unaffected by the recently announced strike by the United Steelworkers. “There is no issue whatsoever with our supply of tires to NASCAR, NHRA, and for the SCCA Runoffs,” said Stu Grant, general manager of global race tires. On Thursday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m., the United Steelworkers declared a strike against Goodyear. It involves production at 12 U.S. plants, including the Akron Technical Center Manufacturing facility, where all of Goodyear’s Eagle race tires are produced. However, with current inventories and contingency production plans in place, race tire supply will not be impacted as the race season winds down.(Goodyear PR)(10-7-2006)

    • NASCAR Wants Toyota to Open Up: It may be impossible to buy a Toyota racing engine or parts to build one. NASCAR is looking for a way to open up Toyota's engine program so that it's open to the independent motor builders. The big three, Chevrolet, Ford and Dodge have open programs so that anyone wishing to build one of those engines, can buy the parts and construct one. But Toyota's program is closed and doesn't allow the independent builders to buy the parts. It's not available to anyone not a part of the Toyota Racing family.(Insider Racing News)(10-7-2006)

    • Gilliland wins pole at Talladega: #38-David Gilliland won the Budweiser Pole for the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 191.7212mph for his 1st career pole in nine starts. Starting on the outside pole is #88-Jarrett, #48-Johnson, #24-Gordon and #16-Biffle are the top-5, rounding out the top-10 are #5-Busch, #14-Marlin, #26-McMurray, #25-Vickers and #18-Yeley. #8-Earnhardt Jr. qualified 33rd. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #45-Petty, #49-Bliss, #55-Waltrip, #15-Menard, #78-Wallace, #04-McClure, #09-MWallace and #74-Cope. Missing the race were: #32-Kvapil, #61-Chaffin, #4-Bodine, #34-Lepage, #00-Sadler and #27-Shelmerdine. See the qualifying results, starting lineup and more on the Talladega Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(10-7-2006)

    • Where do the Chasers start at Kansas [order of points standings]:
      #31-Burton starts 34th
      #11-Hamlin 12th
      #6-Martin 30th
      #17-Kenseth 19th
      #29-Harvick 14th
      #24-Gordon 4th
      #8-Earnhardt Jr. 33rd
      #48-Johnson 3rd
      #5-Busch 6th
      #9-Kahne 25th

    • Ramblings - Talladega Qualifying Notes: #38-David Gilliland takes his first ever Nextel Cup Bud Pole today at Talladega Superspeedway for tomorrow's UAW-Ford 500 in only his 9th race. Blasting away his previous best (15th at New Hampshire last month), he becomes the 14th qualifier for next February's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. Ironically, he's the second entry in that event to come from the #38 M&M's Ford. A bunch of "best sinces" this week.... Dale Jarrett (2nd) gives us an all-RYR front row. This is his best starting spot since he had the outside pole when we were here last October.
      Greg Biffle (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Richmond in May
      Kyle Busch (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Loudon in July
      Sterling Marlin (7th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 6th at Martinsville in April
      Jamie McMurray (8th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Infineon in June
      Welcome back Mike Bliss (20th). His last Cup race was last November at Homestead when he started 19th and finished 12th
      Michael Waltrip (21st) has his best starting spot since he lined up 19th at Daytona in July
      Paul Menard (24th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 22nd at Atlanta in March (only four races)
      And, welcome back Eric McClure (27th). His last Cup effort was at Las Vegas in March of 2005 when he qualified 41st and finished 32nd.
      STREAKIN....Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-5 starts in the last 5 races. Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
      We've got our first non-chaser on the pole, fresh asphalt, a choke plate with smaller holes, and graduated banking on the frontstretch. But it's still the same old Talladega and nobody'll feel comfortable till the checkers fall.....especially those Top-5 guys in the Chase.(Stock Car Fans)(10-7-2006)

    • Talladega Qualifying Notes:
      • David Gilliland won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the UAW-Ford 500, lapping Talladega Superspeedway in 49.950 seconds at 191.712 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 44.998 seconds, 212.809 mph, set April 30, 1987 – prior to the advent of restrictor-plate racing. Elliott also holds the Talladega restrictor-plate record of 48.128 seconds, 199.388 mph, set May 4, 1990.
      • This is Gilliland’s first career Bud Pole in just nine Nextel Cup Series races, making him the ninth-quickest Bud Pole winner (with reference to number of races) since 1972. He became the first first-time Bud Pole winner this season, extending the streak of seasons with at least one first-time Bud Pole winner to 20 (1987-2006)
      • Gilliland became the 14th different Bud Pole winner in 2006.
      • This is Gilliland’s first start better than 15th in his short career.
      • Gilliland is competing in his career-first NASCAR restrictor-plate race.
      • Gilliland became the 31st different Bud Pole winner at Talladega Superspeedway and the eighth in the past 11 races.
      • Dale Jarrett posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 50.001 seconds, 191.516 mph – and will join Gilliland on the front row for the UAW-Ford 500. He and Gilliland were the only drivers to break the 191-mph mark. Jarrett has posted 18 top-10 starts in 40 races at Talladega. His best qualifying effort has been second, which he has done three times.
      • The last 1-2 qualifying for Robert Yates Racing was in this race last season when Elliott Sadler started first in the #38 and Jarrett also started second in the #88. This is the third consecutive Bud Pole at Talladega for the #38 team.
      • This is the fifth Bud Pole for Ford in 2006 – including three of the four restrictor-plate races. Dodge has 13 Bud Poles and Chevrolet has 11. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Jimmie Johnson (third) has posted eight top-10 starts in 10 races at Talladega. He started on the Bud Pole in his career-first start here in April 2002 and started first again in October of that year when qualifying was canceled.
      • Jeff Gordon (fourth) has started from the top-10 in 15 of his 28 Talladega races.
      • Greg Biffle (fifth) has posted three top-10 starts in eight races at Talladega – all in the past three races here. He has 20 top-10 starts this season – one shy of Series leader Kurt Busch, who qualified 29th today.
      • Only two of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Johnson and Gordon.
      • Kyle Petty (18th) was the fastest of the drivers required to qualify on time.(NASCAR Statistical Sevices)(10-7-2006)

    • Wood Bros sign developmental driver: The Wood Brothers have signed Kelly Bires as a development driver, co-owner Eddie Wood said. Bires, 22, drove in Friday's ARCA race. He's from Mauston, Wis. Also, Wood said a couple more sponsorship deals are close to being set that will define how many races #21-Ken Schrader and Jon Wood will drive next season. They'll share the No. 21 car. Wood is expected to drive in 10-12 Cup races next season. (Roanoke Times)(10-7-2006)

    • Montoya finishes 3rd in Stock Car debut at Talladega: Juan Pablo Montoya put on a show in his first stock-car race, leading the first nine laps, making a sterling save to avoid a spin and rallying from 36th in the final 40 laps to finish third. Frank Kimmel triumphed in a race shortened 13 laps by darkness, but Montoya scored a valuable and successful lesson in the first major test of his much-anticipated transition from Formula One to NASCAR. The Colombian will start racing in the Nextel Cup Series full time next season for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates [#42 Texaco Dodge], and the Daytona 500 will mark his next start in a restrictor-plate race akin to those at Talladega. "I think what I learned today is nice," Montoya said. "It's definitely necessary to come here. You've got to live it and experience it. All the Cup guys are here, and they can see this. It's all about getting experience and playing smart. If you don't bring the car home, it doesn't matter. You have to be at the right place at the right time." The 31-year-old acquitted himself well in the 2.66-mile superspeedway's finicky draft, where choosing the wrong lane or making a rash move can result in the loss of several positions. He swung past polesitter Bobby Gerhart and into the lead out of Turn 2 on the first lap and fended off several challenges in the opening laps.(USA Today, also see more on the ARCAracing.com site)(10-7-2006)

    • Chevy Engine Approved: NASCAR has finally approved a new Chevrolet engine for the 2007 Cup season, for the first time in eight years. Chevy's venerable SB2 engine is the oldest model on the stock-car tour. Toyota will have a new engine for its 2007 Nextel Cup debut, though it still hasn't been approved. Dodge and Ford were both given opportunities to submit new Nextel Cup engines for 2007, but both withdrew their submissions six weeks ago, for some still questioned reasons.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-7-2006)

    • Final Kansas TV Ratings Down: NBC's broadcast of last Sunday's Banquet 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race from Kansas Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.0 and a 9 market share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 11.1% lower than the 4.5/9 the Kansas race earned last year.(SceneDaily.com), see more news on TV Ratings and the 2006 Chart on my TV Rankings page.(10-7-2006)





      News from October 6, 2006

    • Benny back in the booth; Wally's World: NASCAR on NBC/TNT analyst Benny Parsons was been absent last week at Kansas from the broadcast booth while undergoing treatment for lung cancer. Parsons is returning to the air this week at Talladega and says he wouldn't want to miss it: "This is Talladega – any race fan in the world wants to be at Talldega. It's special, and not to mention dangerous. If you're a driver, that's 43 of your friends that you watch going around the track at 190 mph." This week on "Wally's World," Dallenbach goes long with NBC's "Football Night in America" analyst Sterling Sharpe, a five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver with the Green Bay Packers and NASCAR fan.(NBC PR)(10-6-2006)

    • MB2 Announces Martin/Smith to #01; Nemechek to #13: MB2 Motorsports announced Friday that Mark Martin and rookie Regan Smith will co-drive the team's #01 U.S. Army Chevy during the 2007 Nextel Cup season. Joe Nemechek, the current driver of the Army Chevy, will pilot a third MB2 entry in 2007 that will carry the #13; the sponsorship will be announced at a later date. Sterling Marlin will continue to drive the #14 MB2 Chevrolet. Martin, who will be leaving his longtime ride with Roush Racing after the 2006 season, signed a multiyear contract with MB2. The agreement calls for Martin to drive the #01 Army car in 20 Nextel Cup races in 2007 plus the Bud Shootout (Daytona, Feb. 10) and the Nextel All Star Challenge (Charlotte, May 19). Martin’s first points race will be the Daytona 500, Feb. 18. Smith will drive the Army car in the remaining 16 Cup point races and will also drive an MB2 car in the NASCAR Busch Series. Along with driving in 22 races in 2007, Martin's extended role with MB2 will be a mentor to the 23-year-old Smith and to MB2’s development drivers. "Our goal at MB2 is to reach a new level, and with Mark joining our organization it not only elevates our presence, but his knowledge and credibility will also be a viable asset to all of our race teams," said team owner Bobby Ginn (pronounced GHIN). "While Mark brings a wealth of experience to MB2, we are also thrilled with the acquisition of Regan,” Ginn added. “He’s eager, talented and will be groomed by one of NASCAR's greatest drivers of all time." Martin, who is currently third in the Chase for the Nextel Cup championship points battle, feels his new role with MB2 offers him an excellent opportunity for doing what he enjoys most and that is to compete as a driver and serve as a mentor. "Joining MB2 is a win-win situation for me," said Martin, a native of Batesville, Ark. "I not only get to drive, but I also get to teach and I love doing both. I have had a great 19 years with Roush Racing. It was a difficult decision to move on. But right now I welcome the opportunity to drive the U.S. Army car and represent our brave soldiers who are fighting the global war on terrorism." Smith, who grew up in Cato, N.Y.-- 25 miles west of Syracuse -- has been preparing for this opportunity since he started to drive a go-kart at age 4. "This is an exciting time for me," said Smith. "Driving an Army-sponsored car in Nextel Cup competition with Mark Martin as your coach is an incredible opportunity. I'm going to listen well and take advantage of what has been presented to me. I am ready to give it all I have in both Cup and Busch." Smith has been competing in the Busch Series this season, driving the #35 car for Team Rensi Motorsports. In his new MB2 Busch ride for 2007, Smith is expected to compete full time in the series. "Mark Martin is one of NASCAR's greatest competitors and having him come on board will greatly enhance and accelerate our development," said Jay Frye, MB2's CEO and general manager. "This is definitely a red-letter day in MB2's 10-year history. We have the best of both worlds with Mark and Regan -- a Hall of Famer, who will work closely with a talented and aggressive young driver." Frye also said that Ryan Pemberton will continue as crew chief for the Army car in 2007. It was also announced today that Kraig Kinser and Jesus Hernandez will continue with their MB2 developmental programs in 2007. Kinser’s schedule will include NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and Cup races. Hernandez will continue to run the late model series as well as selected ARCA and Truck races.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(10-6-2006)

    • Martin to MB2 Motorsports in 2007..in a Chevy UPDATE 3 Official: hearing that Mark Martin will announced his 2007 plans on Friday morning [Oct 6th] at Talladega....however, hearing part of his 2007 plans include running some 2007 Nextel Cup races in the #01 Chevy [MB2 is NOT changing to Fords] with MB2 Motorsports....the sponsor would NOT be the U.S. Army. Supposedly current #01 driver, Joe Nemechek would move to a different car number for MB2 Motorsports.
      From Two Weeks Ago: hearing that Regan Smith, currently driving the #35 McDonald's Ford for Team Rensi in the Busch Series, will go to Ginn Motorsports [#01-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin] in 2007 to run a Cup/Busch schedule.(9-19-2006)
      UPDATE: nascar.com has something posted on this: Mark Martin will drive the #01 Chevrolet part time for the 2007 Nextel Cup season, multiple sources close to MB2 Motorsports told NASCAR.COM on Thursday. It is believed that Martin will run 22 races for the team. Busch Series driver Regan Smith will drive the remaining 14 Cup races, the sources said.(10-5-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Team owner Jack Roush, who has fielded a Ford for Martin in NASCAR's top series since 1988, is expected to make the announcement Friday at 10:30am/et at Talladega Superspeedway. MB2 general manager Jay Frye has scheduled a news conference for later Friday morning at the Talladega track. Martin reportedly will share the ride in the #01 Chevrolet with rookie Regan Smith, a 23-year-old regular in the Busch Series, a source told The Associated Press. Joe Nemechek, currently racing in the #01, will remain with MB2, but will move to a third team entry, while Sterling Marlin will stay in the team's #14 Chevy. Roush team president Geoff Smith said several weeks ago that the team would definitely not field a Cup car for Martin in 2007 and that it was close to completing a deal with Martin to drive a Roush truck. But that deal apparently fell apart after the MB2 ride became available. The source said it was unclear if Martin might also drive in the truck series in 2007, along with the MB2 ride.(ESPN.com)(10-6-2006)
      OFFICIAL: Mark Martin announced today that he will continue in the Nextel Cup Series next season, driving the #01 MB2 Motorsports Chevy on a limited basis in 2007. “I consider Mark Martin a personal friend and over the last 20 years we have had a fantastic relationship professionally and personally,” Roush said. “Mark will always hold a special place in my heart and a special place in Roush Racing, and I truly wish him all the best in his future plans.”
      “Jack Roush and I have enjoyed a very special relationship for the past 20 years,” said Martin. “Jack afforded me the opportunity to chase my dreams, and there is no way to put in words what he has meant to me, my life and my career. The deal to come back with Roush in the #6 with AAA really worked out great and gave me one of the best and most rewarding years of my career, AAA has been great to work with and it’s really been awesome to work on such important issues. I’m really glad I was able to come back a year and help those guys and Jack out, and we are going to do everything we can to keep chasing after that Nextel Cup for the next seven races.”
      "When Mark finally reconciled his somewhat conflicting desires, he settled on staying in Cup and running a 20-race schedule. We had no way of accommodating that desire since all of our Cup programs were previously committed," said Roush Racing president Geoff Smith. And, NASCAR team limits prevented Roush Racing from putting together an additional team for Mark, so in the end Mark had to move on - in order to stay in the Cup series. He's meant a great deal to this organization and we certainly wish him the best in whatever he chooses to do down the road." Martin reiterated that his focus over the next seven races will remain on the “Chase” for the Nextel Cup Championship. “Our focus is on winning this championship,” Martin said. “I’ve been fighting this fight in the #6 car for 19 years now, and we aren’t about to give up anytime soon. It’s the complete focus of our attention, and we’ll fight down to the very end for it.”(Roush Racing Site/PR)
      #17 Ownership no idea how this effects the 'ownership' of the #17 Ford. Mark Martin is listed as the owner, but supposedly only in name only, would assume Jack Roush will be listed as the owner in 2007, until hear different...no idea.(10-6-2006)

    • Sauter to Cup with Haas? Johnny Sauter said Haas CNC Racing sponsor Yellow Transporation will decide whether he remains in the Busch Series or moves to Nextel Cup to team up with #66-Jeff Green. The decision should be made by Oct. 1. [nothing announced yet](NASCAR Scene Print), Sauter has attempted a couple of races in Cup with the Haas team in the #70 Chevy.(10-6-2006)

    • #72 CJM Racing to run last six races with Skinner: Mike Skinner, has signed a deal to take the seat of the #72 CJM Racing for the final six races of 2006 starting at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte on October 14th. "I really look forward to the opportunity to race for CJM Racing starting in Charlotte", says Skinner, "I was very impressed with the fact they were buying some of Joe Gibbs Racing equipment and felt like our chances are good to be competitive." Co-owner Tony Mullet adds," We are confident having Mike Skinner behind the wheel, that we are getting the most out of our #72 Chevrolet. We couldn't ask for a more experienced driver with his talent." Skinner and the team have been testing in Kentucky in preparation for the upcoming Charlotte night race. CJM Racing has spent the last two months away while revamping their motorsports program. Along with the addition of Mike Skinner, they've made the switch from Dodge to Chevy, added more engine power and new shop equipment in an effort to support their long term goals. Mullet says, "We believe we have made the necessary changes to finish strong this season, but more importantly to show the NASCAR world what we also anticipate for 2007 and beyond. It is important for us to make a statement to NASCAR, the fans, and our future sponsors." The team has been meeting with sponsors and hopes to announce partnerships in the upcoming months.(CJM Racing PR)(10-6-2006)

    • Talladega Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . because the track surface at Talladega has been repaved since the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series last visit to the track in April, Goodyear needed to change its tire recommendation from that race. . . this tire set-up was tested with six drivers at Talladega last month . . . teams in both NASCAR series will run the same tire codes at Talladega this weekend, though the Nextel Cup tires will be branded "Goodyear Eagle" and the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Talladega . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 34-36 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear Tires PR), see the full tire notes, codes and more on the Talladega Race Info Page.(10-6-2006)

    • Villeneuve to Roush Racing? UPDATE 3 DENIED: [note: the verbage is odd as it was translated thru google.com] First Juan Pablo Montoya, now also Jacques Villeneuve. NASCAR 2007 receives to open arms the former-pilots of F.1. Of the Columbian already one knew, inasmuch as after the liberatoria of the McLaren a Dodge of the Ganassi team has already tried the slid week, while the news that regards the Canadian is recent. Villeneuve has defined in fact an agreement with the structure of Jack Rousch [should be Roush], one of largest and competitive of the series, for the next season. The team, that it represents the official square of Ford, has conquered the title it NASCAR with Matt Kenseth in the 2003 and Kurt Busch in 2004. And at the moment it lines up 5 cars very, than they will be reduced to four in 2007 [actually not until 2009/2010 range]. One will be for the formerones of F.1. With annexed and connected of marketing: the series in fact from the next year will land also in Canada, just to Montreal where Jacques would go to living with the moglie and the son in arrival.(the verbage is odd as it was translated thru google.com from La Gazzetta dello Sport, Italian to English)(10-3-2006)
      UPDATE: nothing new, just more in English: According to reports in the Italian press, Jacques Villeneuve has already signed a deal with Jack Roush to race for the Roush Racing outfit in NASCAR next season. Even before his departure from F1 this summer, the French/Canadian had made clear his interest in the series.(Planet-F1.com) and According to websites, grandprix.com and planet-f1.com, Villeneuve has signed on with Roush Racing and will compete on the Busch circuit next season.(sportsnet.ca)
      UPDATE 2 - Denied: Another Formula One driver is reportedly making the leap to NASCAR next year. Jacques Villeneuve has signed a deal with Roush Racing and will move back to Canada from his current base in Europe, according to a report in the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport. When contacted by ESPN, Roush Racing said the story is not true and that Villeneuve has not signed with them. However, according to a report on TSN of Canada's Web site, reporters for La Presse spotted Villeneuve and his wife Tuesday in Montreal. When asked about the Italian report, Villeneuve smiled and said, "I'm retired." Villeneuve also said "they're only rumors" when asked if he was moving to Montreal but didn't deny the report. If Villeneuve were to sign with Roush Racing, he would likely take the opening left by Mark Martin, who is scheduled to retire at the end of the season. Roush also has six cars in the Busch Series, but Villeneuve has said that if he were to run in NASCAR, it would likely be at the Nextel Cup level.(ESPN.com)(10-4-2006)
      UPDATE 3: Craig Pollock says a published report that Jacques Villeneuve has signed a deal to race NASCAR next year is completely false. "You're the only one from around the world to contact me to confirm or deny this story," Pollock, Villeneuve's long-time manager and close friend, said Wednesday when contacted by the Montreal Gazette. "What I can say is that what's been said is totally unfounded." Italian Sports daily Gazetta dello Sport reported earlier Wednesday that the 1997 Formula One world champion had signed to return to racing in 2007 with Roush Racing, one of the leading Ford teams in NASCAR's Nextel Cup series.(Canada.com)(10-6-2006)

    • Gerhart wins ARCA Pole; Montoya on outside pole: Driving a car he had never raced before, Bobby Gerhart turned in a qualifying lap of 189.485 mph Thursday, giving him the pole position for Friday's running of the Food World 250 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Gerhart also sat on the pole at Talladega in 2001, and he went on to win that race. Joining Gerhart on the front row will be Formula One star #4-Juan Montoya, who turned in a fast lap of 189.451 mph. Matt Hagans qualified third at 189.204, followed by ARCA points leader Frank Kimmel (188.252), A.J. Henriksen (188.097), Billy Venturini (187.875), Mike Wallace (187.783), Kelly Bires (187.544), Brett Rowe (187.298) and Justin South (187.013). The race starts at 5:30pm/et and will be televised on SPEED at 8:00pm/et.(TSS Site)(10-6-2006)


      News from October 5, 2006

    • Microsoft Windows Live featured on #66 Entry at Talladega: The #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet will sport a special paint design this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The Microsoft Windows Live logo will appear on the hood and quarter panels of the #66 entry, driven by Jeff Green, in Sunday's Nextel Cup Series race. Earlier this year, Microsoft became an associate sponsor of the Haas team, and Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare product was featured on the #66 entry in the Neighborhood Excellence 400 race at Dover International Speedway in June. The Microsoft Windows Live logo has appeared on the lower rear quarter panels of the #66 car in select races since that time. Best Buy, who is the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet in a number of events this season, is a featured retailer of Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare service, an all-in-one PC care service available to consumers nationwide. As an added convenience for customers, Geek Squad Agents are available 24/7 to install Windows Live OneCare in-home or at Geek Squad Precincts in Best Buy Stores. Including the June race at Dover International Speedway, this weekend marks just the second time in Microsoft's history the company has been the primary sponsor of a Nextel Cup Series car.(Best Buy Racing PR), see images of the scheme on my #66 Team Schemes page.(10-5-2006)

    • Kyle Busch testing at Caraway: Kyle Busch and his #5 Kellogg's Racing team will test at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., this week to prepare for the Oct. 22 Nextel Cup event at Martinsville Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(10-5-2006)

    • DirecTV back on the #07 at Talladega: For the fourth and final time this season, Clint Bowyer's #07 Chevy will sport a DIRECTV paint scheme. DIRECTV is the nation's leading digital television service provider. DIRECTV is also the official satellite television service provider of NASCAR. The team's customary primary sponsor, Jack Daniel's, will be featured on the car's lower-rear quarter panels and deck lid.(RCR PR), see images of the scheme on my #07 Team Schemes page.(10-5-2006)

    • Talladega Rookie Notes: #07-Clint Bowyer was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 1 Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway. Bowyer finished ninth, his ninth top-10 of the 2006 season and second consecutive. He took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the seventh time in 2006. Bowyer led the Kansas race three times for 43 laps and was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the race. Denny Hamlin finished 18th at Kansas and is second in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 69 behind leader Jeff Burton. Hamlin leads third-place Mark Martin by one point and fourth-place Matt Kenseth by 15. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15in all 29 races this season. Hamlin leads Bowyer by 45 points (264-219) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 8 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. The only Raybestos Rookie to win the fall race at Talladega is Ron Bouchard. Bouchard won the 1981 Talladega 500 over Darrell Waltrip and Terry Labonte in a photo finish.(Raybestos PR), see the rookie standings, full notes and history on my 2006 Rookies Page.(10-5-2006)

    • "The King" to Serve as Spokesperson for Leading Garden Brands: Central Garden & Pet Company announced that it has entered into a marketing alliance with Petty Marketing Company, LLC; the marketing arm of Petty Enterprises and racing legend Richard Petty. "The King" Richard Petty will initially serve as the spokesman for three of Central's leading lawn & garden brands: AMDRO Fire Ant Bait, Rebel Grass Seed and recently acquiredIRONITE mineral supplement. Petty will appear in TV and radio commercials beginning this fall and in 2007 supporting these premium brands. Petty will also be making personal appearances on behalf of Central Garden & Pet at key trade shows and at NASCAR events nationwide. The partnership with Petty Marketing will also include access to the popular Richard Petty Driving Experience, which Central plans to use in consumer and trade promotions to drive retail sales and build consumer awareness of its lawn and garden brands. More info at centralgardenandpet.com.Central Garden & Pet PR)(10-5-2006)


      News from October 4, 2006

    • Schrader/Wood to split time in 2007? UPDATE: hearing Ken Schrader, driver of the #21 Little Debbie's/Motorcraft/Air Force Ford, and Jon Wood, who is running the full Busch Series with the #47 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team this year will share the #21 Ford in 2007, witrh Wood running seven races and Schrader the other races.(8-19-2006)
      UPDATE: Wood Brothers/JTG Racing will again field one Nextel Cup team [in 2007], two Busch Series teams, and two Craftsman Truck teams. The team also expects to field a second Nextel Cup car for select Cup races. Driver and sponsor relationships for 2007 are quickly coming into focus. Ford Racing Technology will again be supporting all divisions with the Ford Fusion in the Nextel Cup and Busch Series events and the Ford F-150 Truck in the Craftsman Truck Series. Little Debbie Snack Cakes will continue to be primary sponsor of the famed #21 Nextel Cup Ford for 18 races in 2007 with Ken Schrader in the driver's seat. Chris McKee states, "We are very pleased to have Ken Schrader behind the wheel of the Little Debbie Ford Fusion for the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series. Little Debbie fans and NASCAR fans relate well to Ken Schrader and we're looking forward to a winning season." Third generation driver Jon Wood will share driving duties with Ken Schrader in the #21 Nextel Cup ride. Ore-Ida Extra Crispy French Fries and Delimex Delicious Mexican Cuisine are proud to join Wood Brothers/JTG Racing as primary sponsors of the #21 Ford Fusion for a limited schedule as well as being a major associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. Tad Geschickter, team co-owner stated "It's time for Jon to get started in the Cup Series. He will also compete full time in the NASCAR Busch series in the #47 Clorox/Armor All/American Red Cross Ford Fusion. We look forward to getting Jon plenty of seat time by combining this limited Cup schedule with his duties in the #47 Busch car." Also Marcos Ambrose will move to the Busch Series #59 Kingsford Charcoal Ford after a year in the Craftsman Truck Series, with Stacy Compton, moving from the #59 Busch ride, back to the Truck Series for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing.(woodbrothersracing.com)(10-4-2006)

    • Camo for Stremme at Talladega: Coors Light and Coors have partnered in 2006 to target their hunting consumers by leveraging Bill Jordan's Advantage Max-1 and Advantage Max-4patterns on product packaging and point of sale items. Look for these items to feature the patterns in a store near you: Coors Light 6-pack 16 oz. cans, Coors Light Big 18, and Coors 6-pack 16 oz cans. To further leverage the unique camouflage can, Coors Light will take the packaging to the track! The Coors Light #40 Dodge of David Stremme will be wrapped in the same pattern as the can for this weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR). See the possible scheme on the #40 Team Schemes page for the image.(10-4-2006)

    • 'Alien' scheme on the #10 at Charlotte: The #10 Stanley Tools Dodge will run a special 'Alien' scheme at Lowe's Motor Speedway in the Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race on Oct. 14th. The 'Alien' is from a Stanley Tools commercial featuring their Stanley MaxLife 369 Tripod LED flashlight. See the #10 Team Schemes page for the image.(10-4-2006)

    • Wimmer to RCR? hearing that Scott Wimmer, who parted ways with Morgan-McClure Motorsports on Tuesday, will have a ride with a Richard Childress Racing Busch Series team in 2007.(10-4-2006)

    • Evernham expanding in 2007: Evernham Motorsports has won a race in each of its six seasons and qualified for all three editions of the Chase for the Nextel Cup. But success has come with a price. Once able to field cars with $10 million apiece annually and about 60 crewmembers, Evernham has a staff of 330 and says he needs $20 million a car to be competitive. Next year, the team will add a part-time fourth Charger while spending more on the Car of Tomorrow. Evernham estimates his budget will need to grow by $8 million for software, technology and personnel.(USA Today - in part), the team currently fields three Cup teams, one part time Busch team and a Truck Series team.(10-4-2006)

    • Officer Shot at Kansas Speedway UPDATE 2: Police said they took two people into custody after an attempted armed robbery and a female off-duty officer was shot at Kansas Speedway on Sunday night. Police said the victim was shot multiple times and is a 25 year veteran. A helicopter flew the officer to an area hospital around 8:30 p.m. Police said the off-duty officer was shot when she tried to intervene in the attempted armed robbery. Police said the Speedway often employees off-duty officers to do security.(myfoxkc.com/FOX 4)(10-2-2006)
      UPDATE - good news: Doctors upgraded an off-duty police officer to fair condition after someone shot her several times after she tried to break up a robbery at the Kansas Speedway. Paramedics airlifted the 25-year veteran officer to the hospital in critical condition on Sunday night. Police said three people walked into the area where she was working and tried to rob the place. The robbery happened long after the race had ended, and Speedway workers were preparing to close down the facility. Witnesses reported hearing up to seven gunshots. One man said he heard the whole thing over the police radio. "I heard this lady screaming. We heard that she was shot several times," Dennis Lyons, witness, said. Police chased and arrested two of the robbery suspects, and will question them again on Monday. According to witnesses, there were three people involved, but police haven't found a third suspect. If you know who the third suspect could be, or if you have any information, call the TIPS hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.(myfoxkc.com/FOX 4)(10-2-2006)
      UPDATE 2: The Wyandotte County district attorney filed attempted capital murder charges this afternoon against Fredrick Douglas and Nolden Garner, alleging they shot a detective during an attempted robbery of Kansas Speedway. According to the charges, the two men fired multiple gunshots at Kansas City, Kan., Police Detective Susan Brown, even while she was on the ground. The charges allege the two men intended to kill her and to rob her. Douglas and Garner also were charged with aggravated battery in the shooting of a track employee. District Attorney Jerome A. Gorman said the employee suffered minor injuries. He was hit either directly or by shrapnel. Douglas and Garner also face charges of aggravated robbery for allegedly taking Brown’s handgun, aggravated burglary and attempted aggravated robbery. Garner was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.(Kansas City Star), no more details on the detective's condition.(10-4-2006)

    • Stewart's Pit Crew Takes Top Honors in Kansas: By claiming the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway, Tony Stewart's over-the-wall crew moved into a three-way tie for first place in the season-long competition. It was the fourth win of the season for Stewart's crew, equaling the number of victories scored by Jimmie Johnson's and Kyle Busch's teams. Along with paying the winning pit crew $10,500 at each race, Checkers/Rally's will also award a $105,000 bonus to the crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule. The weekly pit crew winner is determined by the team which spends the lowest cumulative time on pit road and finishes on the lead lap. Stewart, who drove his #20 Chevrolet to Victory Lane in Kansas, praised his crew for an outstanding effort during the 267-lap, 400-mile event. "I'm really proud of the guys on this Home Depot team," said Stewart. "They work so hard and had an awesome day at Kansas. We never lost a position on pit lane all day. We at least maintained or gained positions on each stop. It was the best day the guys have had on pit road all season." Stewart's over-the-wall crew is comprised of: Jason Lee (jackman), Tom Dean (front-tire carrier), Ira-Jo Hussey (front-tire changer), Jody Fortson (rear-tire carrier), Todd Foster (rear-tire changer), Jeff Patterson (gasman), Brian Larson (catch can) and Scott Geerts (windshield). The team's crew chief is Greg Zipadelli and the pit stop coordinator is Paul Alepa. "The Home Depot crew really picked it up and kept us in contention by being consistent," added Stewart, "That's what the Double Drive-Thru Challenge is all about. It proves that consistency means more than one quick stop." To date, Checkers/Rally's has paid out $304,500 in NEXTEL Cup Series prize money during this season. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(10-4-2006)

    • Mikey cutting some grass: On Wednesday, October 4th, #55-Michael Waltrip will be trading in his fire suit for a lawn pro suit as he mows the lawn of avid drag racer and NASCAR fan Janice Sipes. Ms. Sipes won the opportunity to have Waltrip and a team of lawn care professionals manicure her family's lawn as part of the Yard-Man "Honey, Is that Michael Waltrip Mowing our Lawn?" sweepstakes. Not only will Ms. Sipes have her lawn mowed, but she and her family and friends will have the opportunity to meet the NASCAR veteran in a private meet and greet as well as test their driving skills against him on NASCAR simulators. In addition to a finely manicured lawn - and neighborhood bragging rights - the Sipes family will receive a full garage of lawn, garden and power equipment courtesy of the Yard-Man #66 racing team.(PR)(10-4-2006)


      News from October 3, 2006

    • Gordon has shot to be first to hit $80 million: Six years after his final victory, Dale Earnhardt's record of 11 restrictor-plate victories can be tied this weekend in the UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. If that record is matched, Jeff Gordon has also tied "The Intimidator's" career total of 76 wins in the Nextel Cup Series - and eclipsed the $80 million mark for career race winnings [which includes point funds, championships, etc].(Performance PR Plus), Gordon is currently at $79,882,400, needing $117,000.(10-4-2006)

    • Wimmer and Morgan-McClure part ways, Todd Bodine in #4 at Talladega: #4-Morgan-McClure President, Larry McClure announced today the mutually agreed upon release of Scott Wimmer as their full-time driver for the remainder of the 2006 season. Wimmer and McClure have agreed to part ways now, allowing the team to possibly utilize some veteran experience to diagnose the existing cars as well as try some potential drivers for 2007. Wimmer remains available to assist the team at any of the remaining events for 2006. "We are sorry to lose Scott, but at the same time we all have to do what is best for each of us. He is one of the nicest young men I've had the opportunity to work with and we enjoyed having him with us this year and getting to know him and his family. I knew he was going to have to make a decision soon about his future in the sport and we wish him nothing but the best in his next endeavor," said McClure early Tuesday morning from his Abingdon, VA based facility. "We just decided to go different ways in '07. We were working real hard to put sponsorship together and get things going in the right direction and it just never seemed to materialize. I think we had a successful season, we ran real well at times, especially with losing our sponsor so early and having to go through all that. Unfortunately, we just couldn't find the consistency we needed and missed a few races. But I think we ran real good at other ones and definitely were building something. We just never could get decent funding or the sponsorship we needed, so we decided to go different ways in '07," said Wimmer of his departure. Wimmer continued, "I really enjoyed the time that I was there. I think that they are great car owners and great people and definitely deserve to have success in this sport like they used to. I wish them the best and hope they can find what they had back in the 90's and be successful like they were there."
      There were several options McClure considered before naming Todd Bodine as the driver for the next two races. "Todd got in our car last year at Homestead and really went out and showed us what we were capable of, so he was a good choice for us. We are looking forward to getting to Talladega and working with Todd again."(Morgan-McClure PR)(10-3-2006)

    • Eric McClure to attempt Talladega: Eric McClure will be attempting his first 2006 Nextel Cup race at Talladega in the #04 Hefty Brand Chevy for Morgan-McClure Motorsports with associate sponsorship from 77 Sports.com, Forward Air, Morgan-McClure Chevrolet and Duke Yontz Auctions. Calling the shots for the Chilhowie, VA native will be a collaborated effort between Larry McClure, Steve Gray (car chief of the #4 team), and longtime MMM employee Robert Larkins. McClure will be competing with MMM chassis #80 which was last used in Nextel Cup Series competition during the 2003 Daytona 500. The UAW-Ford 500 marks the second of three events for Hefty Brand and Eric McClure during the 2006 Nextel Cup and Busch Series season. Their final event of the year will come at the Busch Series Dollar General 300 on October 13, at Lowe's Motor Speedway. McClure is attempting to qualify for his third (3) career NASCAR Nextel Cup event, and first of the 2006 season at the Talladega. The UAW-Ford 500 will mark McClure's second time competing at the famed 2.66-mile speedway. His first appearance came in his Nextel Cup Series debut in April 2004, where he started 35th and finished 26th. In addition to McClure's efforts, Hefty Brand will serve as Co-primary sponsor on the MMM #4 entry during the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 14, 2006.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(10-3-2006)

    • Bliss in the #49, Lepage out..starting at Talladega: BAM Racing announced that former Truck Series Champion Mike Bliss as driver of the #49 Dodge for the remainder of the 2006 season beginning this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway [replacing Kevin Lepage]. Bliss joins BAM Racing in light of the recent restructuring efforts of the team. Recently, David Hyder returned to the team as crew chief and WhatsOnline.com joined BAM Racing as a repeat primary sponsor for 2006 and 2007. “I’m excited to have this opportunity with BAM Racing and to return to racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,” commented Bliss. “This team is making great strides in preparing for the 2007 season and I am happy to be part of the process. As one of the few single-car teams, the challenges we face are greater than those of multi-car teams but so are the rewards. I look forward to being a part of the team that is being assembled by BAM Racing.” Bliss will be making his first Nextel Cup Series start of the 2006 season this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. He has four starts at the track with an average starting position of 28.0 and average finish of 25.2 at the 2.66-mile tri-oval with one top-10 finish. “We are pleased to have Mike Bliss behind the wheel of the BAM Racing Dodge,” said team co-owner Beth Ann Morgenthau. “Our team has been in a restructuring period for weeks now. As we look to the future, we feel that Mike has the determination and enthusiasm it takes to be successful. The final races of this season are important building blocks for us and Mike will be an integral part of our continued reorganization.”(BAM Racing site), nothing heard about Kevin Lepage's plans.(10-3-2006)

    • Lucky Dog Pass Stats after Kansas: so far in 2006, after 29 races, two drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart 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], #6-Martin [3rd at Kansas], #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.(10-3-2006)

    • Kenseth to make 250th Cup start: When #17-Matt Kenseth takes the green flag in this Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway, he will be making the 250th Nextel Cup Series start of his nine-year career. Kenseth, the 2003 Cup Champion, will become the 76th driver in NASCAR history to reach the milestone. Kenseth broke into the Cup Series in 1998 at Dover International Speedway, where he drove to a sixth-place finish while filling in for #94-Bill Elliott. Together with crew chief and fellow Wisconsin native, Robbie Reiser, and car sponsor DEWALT, Kenseth made the leap into full-time competition in NASCAR's Cup division in 2000. That year, Kenseth became the only rookie ever to win the Coca-Cola 600, a victory that helped propel him to Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. In 2003, Kenseth brought car owner Jack Roush his first Cup Championship by claiming the final championship of the Winston Cup era. Since then, Kenseth has won the 2004 IROC Championship, won the 2004 Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway and is one of only three drivers to have made NASCAR's Chase for the Nextel Cup all three seasons.(Roush Racing PR)(10-3-2006)

    • Nemechek to run #46 Truck at Talladega: Joe Nemechek will pilot the #46 Chevy Silverado fielded by Morgan-Dollar Motorsports in Saturday's John Deere 250 at Talladega Superspeedway. It will be the first time Nemechek has competed in the Truck Series since January 1998. The U.S. Army, Nemechek's full-time sponsor on his MB2-fielded Chevy Monte Carlo SS in the Nextel Cup Series, will support his Truck Series effort at the 2.66-mile track. Giving Nemechek an added edge atop the pit box will be Eric Phillips, who is also his brother-in-law. Phillips, a Canton, IL native, has six career wins in the Truck Series, including four wins in 2005 with MDM #85 E85 FlexFuel driver, Dennis Setzer.(Morgan Dollar Motorsports PR)(10-3-2006)

    • Johnson DID serve penalty: #48-Jimmie Johnson DID serve the pass-thru penalty after getting caught speeding on his final pit stop at Kansas Speedway [on the final lap as the checkered flag fell]. On Speed's Victory Lane it was mentioned Johnson had not served the penalty, no place else was it reported, it was reported on MRN coverage that Johnson did serve the penalty, Larry McRaynolds explains this at FoxSports.com: "There's no question that he served the penalty. It's the reason he finished 14th. The #48 car had a pretty good lead when he attempted to make his green-flag stop. Most of the cars running near the front — Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Carl Edwards — made pit stops as well. Those guys ended up finishing in front of Johnson because they did have to serve a pass-through penalty. As he [Johnson] approached pit road to make his green-flag stop, the #9 car spun out coming to pit road. Making a great move back on the track, Johnson anticipated that a caution was going to come out. If the caution had been thrown, a ton of cars would have gone a lap down, and he would have been in pretty good shape. Johnson probably would have come to pit road and taken four fresh tires, which would have put him in position to win the race. Unfortunately for Johnson, the caution did not wave. When he finally came back around to make a green-flag stop, he knew that he had given up a lot of time slowing down to come to pit road and then getting back up to speed on the last lap. There's a chance that he went over the speed limit to make up ground. If pit road speed at Kansas was 45 mph, Johnson was going in excess of 50 in at least one of the eight to 10 sections of pit road measured by loops. He only had to be speeding in one of those sections to get penalized. The penalty under green is called a pass-through. The driver has to come back to pit road. He doesn't have to stop in his pits, but he must maintain pit road speed. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kyle Busch, was caught speeding under caution at lap 196, and the penalty under caution is starting at the tailend of the longest line."(10-3-2006)

    • Newton-Everett Biotech to Sponsor #74 and Cope: Newton-Everett Biotech, the world renowned maker of premium supplements and nutraceuticals will #74-Derrike Cope in the Nextel Cup Series. Newton-Everett Biotech will market Vialafil, a natural male enhancement supplement on the #74 Dodge beginning at UAW-Ford 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Vialafil.com will also be the co-primary sponsor at the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 12th. Vialafil is sold worldwide as is available exclusively through www.Vialafil.com. "We are proud to break ground with this exciting new sponsorship opportunity and offer NASCAR fans a chance to discover Vialafil, a product for male sexual enhancement that has sold at over 2 million doses worldwide!" says Stefan Russell, President of Newton-Everett Biotech.(McGlynn Racing PR)(10-3-2006)


      News from October 2, 2006

    • Kansas overnight TV ratings down: NBC's coverage of Sunday's Banquet 400 Nextel Cup race at Kansas Speedway earned a 3.4 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research and a 7 share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 5.5% lower than the 3.6/7 overnight figures last year, and 15% below the 4.0/8 in 2004.(SceneDaily.com)(10-2-2006)

    • Car Number swaps? sells? There is talk in the garage about the possibility of car number sales, or at least swaps within teams, so as to accommodate as many drivers as possible in the first five races of next season. Several new teams, including the Toyota fleet, will join the battle next year with no guarantee of a starting spot at Daytona. Through the first five races of each year, the top 35 in owner points from the previous year are assured starting positions. After five races, the assurance reverts to same-year points. Next year, there certainly will be more than 35 well-sponsored teams. Some think Robert Yates might profit by selling or loaning one of his car numbers. The 88 and the 38 both are safely in the top 35 as of now. Others consider that unlikely, as the gain for Yates would be negligible and the cost for a buyer likely too high.(SpeedTV.com)(10-2-2006)

    • Commercial breakdown for the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway:
      Total number of commercials: 141
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 68
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 20
      Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:04 P.M.
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:40 P.M.
      Total minutes: 216
      Minutes of race broadcast: 150
      Minutes of commercials: 66
      See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-2-2006)

    • Reutimann hopes he gets #00 ride UPDATE: David Reutimann doesn't have a Nextel Cup contract just yet, but he's thinking that he might be a little closer to getting the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing ride for next season. Reutimann is the leading candidate and has met with officials from sponsors Domino's Pizza and Burger King. "Michael talked to me [Thursday] some about it - he said they have a couple of final things to hammer out, but he's really encouraged by it," Reutimann said Friday night after Busch Series practice at Kansas Speedway. "He hasn't said it's a done deal, but it is the first time that he has said we're in a pretty good position."
      "It looks like it will probably be a week to 10 days," said Michael Waltrip Racing General Manager Ty Norris. "There's some internal things going on with both corporations. It's a pretty lengthy process when you're dealing with so many franchisees. A lot of communication has to happen before we're ready to decide."(SceneDaily.com)(10-1-2006)
      UPDATE: David Reutimann feels better about his chances to be named the driver of Michael Waltrip Racing's #00 Toyota Nextel Cup entry for 2007, but admits waiting is difficult. Reutimann, 36, a full-time truck series driver, said Waltrip and team general manager Ty Norris have been increasingly encouraging as they continue to pitch him to co-sponsors Burger King and Domino's Pizza. "I think there are still some hurdles we have to overcome there, but I'm feeling like in the next couple weeks we'll be to the point where we at least make some kind of decision so everybody knows, including me, because it's tough not knowing," Reutimann said. "You want it to happen, but sometimes you want to know no matter (what) the outcome is so you can just move on." Reutimann is already signed to drive a Busch Series car for Waltrip in 2007.(St Petersburg Times)(10-2-2006)



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