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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    OCTOBER 9-15, 2006





      News from October 15, 2006

    • COT to debut at Bud Shootout? NASCAR has quietly asked teams if they'd be interested in running the Car of Tomorrow in an exhibition race at Daytona next February - possibly the Budweiser Shootout - as a warmup for its October [restrictor plate] debut at Talladega Superspeedway. The COT will be phased in next season, starting with the March race in Bristol. The car was tested at Talladega earlier this week, and NASCAR wouldn't mind another on-track session with restrictor plates before running it in a race that counts. Many crew chiefs support the idea. Although the idea makes sense, many car owners are against it because of the additional costs it would require to prepare two regular plate cars for use in the Daytona 500, and another two COT models for an exhibition race. And, NASCAR isn't convinced it will be ready to run the entire inspection process on the COT by February. Series officials have also ruled out running the COT in Talladega's spring race. That means its first plate race will be during the Chase for the championship - a questionable time for a debut considering at least 10 drivers will be running for a title then. But NASCAR official Brett Bodine shrugged off concerns about the timing of the debut. "Talladega is a no-brainer," he said. "All you do is show up there and run wide-open. Handling isn't even an issue."(FoxSports/AP)(10-15-2006)

    • Commercial Breakdown of the Bank of America 500:
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 7:04pm/et
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 11:09pm/et
      Total minutes: 245
      Minutes of race broadcast: 174
      Minutes of commercials: 71
      (8.7 minutes per 30 total minutes)
      Total number of commercials: 142
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 22
      Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 1
      NBC missed coming back to a restart once, after several races of getting back in time. On the other hand, twice NBC broke into a commercial to take viewers back to the race (once to see one of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s advantageous pit stops, and once when Jeff Gordon's engine blew up). See the full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-15-2006)

    • Small Fuel Cells done at LMS; 17 gallons in 2007?: NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter said after the Bank of America 500 [at Lowe's Motor Speedway] that NASCAR will no longer mandate the 14-gallon fuel cells used in the last two races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in place of the normal 22-gallon cells. The smaller cells are designed to force teams to pit every 35 to 40 laps, which in turn reduces the possibility of right-front tire failure.(SpeedTV.com), supposedly a 17 gallon fuel cell will be used at all races in 2007.(10-15-2006)

    • Stremme rookie of the race at LMS: #40-David Stremme finished15th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the first time this season. A rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 31 races this season. #11-Denny Hamlin UNOFFICIALLY scored a 28th-place finish tonight at Lowe ’s Motor Speedway and is sixth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 137 points behind leader Jeff Burton. #07-Clint Bowyer led tonight’s race twice for three laps and was the only Raybestos Rookie to lead the race, finishing 23rd.(Raybestos PR)(10-15-2006)

    • Terry Labonte inducted in LMS's Walk of Fame: Two-time Nextel Cup Champion and soon-to-be-retired driver Terry Labonte was inducted into the Lowe's Motor Speedway Court of Legends located at the main entrance to the speedway in front of Smith Tower on Friday night. Labonte put his right footprint into a cement square, then placed his handprints and followed with his autograph. H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway, introduced Labonte to a large audience of race fans who turned out for the induction ceremony. "It's pretty interesting when you came up here from Texas back in 1978 to see how you have come," said Wheeler. "All of the wonderful achievements you have had. You have already become a legend."
      "I appreciate that very much," said Labonte. "I feel pretty honored to be one of the group. It's been a great career. It's something you don't think about. To come out here and see some of the other guys that are inducted here is really pretty special. Some of these competitors and guys I have known. I see Cale Yarborough's prints over there and I just admired him so. It's really neat to be part of this group. It is a special group. It's always been a lot of fun to come down here to the Lowe's Motor Speedway and race. It's where I got my very first Busch Series win also. I have got a lot of great memories down here at the speedway. I won the all-star race a couple of times. That was pretty exciting. I just always enjoyed coming down here. Any athlete, I guess, no matter what sport you are in, there comes a day when it's time to say 'so long' and move on. So, I have got one more race after tomorrow night. It will be out in Texas in a couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to that." Wheeler also selected three young boys from the crowd to witness the signing. They were Carson Fritzinger from Hillsboro, N.J., and brothers Jeremy and Robert Swanhaus from Newport News, Va.(LMS Pit Notes)(10-15-2006)

    • HANS Performance Products Wins Award for Great Office Environment: HANS Performance Products, renowned leader in head and neck restraint technologies, recently won an Eagle Innovation Award from the GBS Eagles program of the Goizueta Business School at Emory University. The program identifies and honors exceptional private companies in the Southeast. HANS Performance Products has been awarded their 2006 Office Environment Award. HANS Performance Products was inducted into the GBS Eagles program in 2005 after being recognized as one of the Southeast’s fastest growing private companies. The Eagle Innovation Awards are to recognize Eagle companies for innovative and creative accomplishments over the past year. The office environment award rewards company’s who have created ways to keep employees more productive. Details and information about HANS Performance Products can be seen at www.hansdevice.com.(PR)(10-15-2006)

    • Rusty's son on the pole at Iowa track he designed: ARCA RE/MAX Series rookie Steve Wallace earned his fourth career Pork Pole award Saturday afternoon at Iowa Speedway in the #61 Hantz Group-TransAmerica Idex Mutual Funds Dodge. Wallace nudged out Joey Miller and Juan Pablo Montoya [starts 3rd] for the top spot; as a result, Wallace will sit on the pole for Sunday’s Prairie Meadows 250 ARCA RE/MAX Series race. More at ARCARacing.com, the race will be aired live on SPEED at 2:30pm/et.(10-15-2006)


      News from October 14, 2006

    • Kahne wins at Charlotte: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway for his 6th win of the 2006 season and 7th or his career, leading 134 of 334 laps and getting himself back into The Chase. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 2nd, followed by #31-Jeff Burton, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #43-Bobby Labonte [for his top-5 of the season]. Rounding out the top-10 was #5-Busch, #96-Raines, #99-Edwards, #01-Nemechek and #25-Vickers. Raines and Nemechek scored their first top-10's of the season. Points leader #31-Jeff Burton increased his points lead from 6 points to 45 over Matt Kenseth. #24-Gordon lost an engine late in the race, finished 24th and is now 216 points back with 5 races to go. #6-Martin was involved in a wreck and hit the wall head on, but is ok, finished 30th and fell to 4th in points [-102pts] from 2nd [-6 pts]. #11-Denny Hamlin was involved in a lap 2 wreck, the crew fixed the car allowing Hamlin to gain 13 spots [41st to 28th] in the race with the 14 DNF's. There were 10 cautions for 52 laps and 13 drivers lead the race with 34 lead changes.
      Race Results on my Charlotte Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Charlotte page
      Race Rundown: see my Charlotte Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-14-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Charlotte [31 of 36 races]:
      #31-Jeff Burton 5763
      #17-Matt Kenseth 5718 -45
      #29-Kevin Harvick 5674 -89
      #6-Mark Martin 5661 -102
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5657 -106
      #11-Denny Hamlin 5626 -137
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 5617 -146
      #9-Kasey Kahne 5603 -160
      #5-Kyle Busch 5568 -195
      #24-Jeff Gordon 5547 -216
      and fighting for 11th
      #20-Tony Stewart in 11th 3948 points
      #99-Carl Edwards -213 out of 11th
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-14-2006)

    • see the 'Classic' [Old Way] Drivers/Owners Points page

    • Charlotte Penalty Report, a list of all penalties handed out during the race

    • Rumblings - Charlotte Notes: After an ignominious beginning (we had a 14 car job at the end of lap 1) we settled down tonight to an entertaining event at Lowe's Motor Speedway. When the checkers fell, we had a familiar face in Victory Lane as Kasey Kahne completed the Charlotte sweep tonight by taking the Bank of America 500 in convincing fashion over Jimmie Johnson. This was the 6th win of the season for Kahne, the 7th of his NEXTEL Cup career (he's tied for 58th on the all-time win list), and the 13th for Ray Evernham. It was worth $305,889 from the almost $5.1M in posted awards. After that botched re-start on lap 10 or so with at least three safety vehicles still on the backstretch, it begs the question: Who was running this race? Huey, Dewey, or Louie? Talk about a recipe for a major disaster! Hey, ya notice how they ain't talkin' about the race for that vaunted 11th spot this year?
      Jimmie Johnson (2nd) had his best finish since he won the Brickyard 400 in August.
      Bobby Labonte (5th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Bristol in March.
      Tony Raines (7th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Rockingham in Novemberof 2003!
      Joe Nemechek (9th) had his best finish since he was 4th in this race last year.
      Raines & Nemechek's Top-10's give us 38 drivers at that level this season...last year's number was 43.
      Sterling Marlin (11th) had his best finish since he was 9th at Richmond in May.
      David Stremme (15th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Loudon in July.
      Todd Bodine (19th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Homestead in November of 2003!
      Terry Labonte (21st) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Infineon in June (only six races).
      Kyle Petty (22nd) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Infineon in June.
      STREAKIN....Carl Edwards has 4 Top-10's in a row.
      Jeff Burton has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
      Brian Vickers has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Tony Raines (+32), followed by Terry Labonte (+22), Joe Nemechek (+21), and Carl Edwards (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-31), followed by Reed Sorenson (-27), Mark Maring (-23), and Ken Schrader (-23). This is Raines' first OP of the season.
      Tony Raines led a lap today for the first time since he led once for two laps at Michigan in August of 2005. He's the 47th driver to lead a lap this season....last year we had 51 leaders.(Stockcarfans.com)(10-14-2006)

    • More on Robby to Ford UPDATE 2 Official, 2nd team #77: hearing there will be an announcement by Robby Gordon Motorsports (RGM) at Lowe's Motor Speedway/Charlotte, NC [hearing Saturday, Oct 14th afternoon] 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.(10-1/10-2006)
      UPDATE: Nothing’s official and won’t be until Saturday afternoon, but it’s almost a virtual certainty that Robby Gordon and his self-owned Nextel Cup team will switch to Ford Fusions after this season. He created Robby Gordon Motorsports with Chevrolets this season [actually in 2005], but without much success. All told, his #7 has 30 starts this year, no poles, no victories, one top-five and two top-10s. Only the most attentive NASCAR fans will remember that Gordon ran his first two stock car races (in February of 1991 at Daytona Beach and Richmond) in #90 Ford cars owned by long-time Ford loyalist Junie Donlavey. Also, Gordon was the first driver in the #28 Texaco Havoline Ford from Robert Yates Racing (at Talladega) after the July, 1993 death of Davey Allison. Gordon also did one 1994 Ford race for Michael Kranefuss before moving exclusively to Chevys when he returned to NASCAR in 1996 [Plus he had his own #13 Ford team back in 2000]. He’s driven Chevys for the late Dale Earnhardt, Felix Sabates, Buz McCall, John Menard, Larry McClure, Richard Childress, Jim Smith and now himself. His career Cup stats: 229 starts, 1 pole (for Sabates), three victories (for Childress), 13 top-fives and 31 top-10s.(Ford Racing)(10-13-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon and Ford Motor Company will be reunited in 2007 with the signing of a manufacturer agreement between Ford Racing and Gordon’s company Robby Gordon Motorsports. “I had a lot of success with Ford early in my career, and I owe a lot to Ford,” Gordon said. “I think our Nextel Cup program is at the point now where we’re ready to take it to the next level, and Ford has pledged its complete support of helping me realize my dream of winning a NASCAR championship as an owner/driver. I believe my best days as a Nextel Cup driver are still in front of me and I also believe we have laid the groundwork for the expansion of our program.” Like all Ford Racing supported programs, RGM will get its horsepower from the Roush/Yates Engine Company. RGM, in its second season of NASCAR Nextel Cup Series competition, will field the #7 Ford Fusions from a brand new facility in Charlotte that will cover more than 125,000 square feet. Site work for the new shop began Monday. “Robby is a racer in the true sense of the word and I couldn’t be happier to see him back behind the wheel of a Ford,” Davis said. “He’s enjoyed success wherever he’s raced, from off-road trucks to sports cars to open-wheel cars, and he’s been competitive in Nextel Cup despite being a one-car team. “The Ford Fusion is a championship-caliber race car and with the technical support we’ll provide, I believe we can build Robby Gordon Motorsports into a championship-level team.” In addition to RGM’s current car—the #7—it will at a minimum run a limited Busch Series schedule in 2007 with hopes of campaigning a car for the Busch Series championship, and will continue efforts to field the #77 Nextel Cup car in 2007. “Ford has a long history of success in Cup racing,” Gordon said. “Obviously they have been very successful recently with both Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing, and Dan and everyone at Ford are committed to helping their teams compete for championships year-in-and-year-out and we hope we’ll be able to give them another program that they’ll be able to count on for that.”(Ford Racing and see a Transcript)(10-14-2006)

    • Biffle to RYR? There’s talk that Roush Racing and Robert Yates Racing might create a new team for Greg Biffle. The team would be Robert Yates’ third and would reduce to four the number of full-schedule Cup teams owned by Jack Roush.(Ford Racing)(10-14-2006)

    • Martin still may race Ford truck in 2007? UPDATE: Even though he is leaving Roush Racing and Ford after 19 years to drive an MB2 Motorsports [Ginn Racing] Chevy part-time next season in the Nextel Cup Series, Mark Martin has asked Ford if he can continue his plans to drive Roush’s #6 Ford F-150 in some Craftsman Truck Series races next year. Martin planned to drive that truck in 2007, at least until the MB2 Chevy deal came up. Ford’s racing boss, Dan Davis, said no decision has been made from Ford’s end so far. “I didn’t give him (Martin) an answer yet and we haven’t actually decided what to do yet,” Davis said Friday. “Maybe we need to get over the initial hurt of this whole thing and try to look at it in hard, cold business terms and that’s what I would really like to do and be unemotional about it. Hopefully, as a team at Ford we’ll sit down and try to figure out what to do.”(SpeedTV.com)(10-14-2006)
      UPDATE: Davis said a slim chance exists that Martin could still drive Roush's NCTS entry in 2007. "He asked me that and I said, 'Mark, man, wow. You've sort of...my life at Ford headquarters is not real good right now because of your little deal here, so you're asking me something that's real hard,'" Davis said. "I didn't give him an answer yet and we haven't actually decided what to do yet. Maybe we need to get over the initial hurt of this whole thing and try to look at it in hard, cold business terms and that's what I would really like to do and be unemotional about it. Hopefully as a team at Ford, we'll sit down and try to figure out what to do."(Ford Racing)(10-14-2006)

    • Good News for Benny: Benny Parsons, who has battled lung cancer this summer, got some great news Wednesday. Doctors say they are confident that recent chest scans show no sign of a tumor. Benny will undergo a follow-up scan in the coming months, however recent chemotherapy and radiation treatments apprently have eradicated the malignant mass.(PRN's Garage Pass radio show)(10-12-2006)


      Benny Parsons named the honorary millionth member of the Team Lowe's Racing Fan Club

      UPDATE: Lowe's named legendary race car driver and NBC broadcaster Benny Parsons the honorary millionth member of the Team Lowe's Racing Fan Club on Friday. With almost a million members, the fan club is one of the largest, if not the largest racing fan club in the world. "Benny symbolizes what is good about the sport of NASCAR and why we think our customers have joined the fan club and made it one of the biggest racing fans clubs around," said Bob Gfeller, senior vice-president at Lowe's. "It's a natural fit to select someone who has given so much to NASCAR as our honorary millionth member." Lowe's Chevrolet driver Jimmie Johnson and Rick Hendrick joined Parsons at the Team Lowe's Racing Fan Experience on Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway where Johnson presented Parsons with a framed cover of a special issue of Track Record - the quarterly fan club magazine. Lowe's also made a $10,000 donation in Parsons' name to the Blumenthal Cancer Center which serves western North Carolina as well as the southeastern United States. The Blumenthal Center has played a key role in helping Parsons in his fight with lung cancer. Parson's Oncologist Steven A. Limentani attended Friday's ceremony and accepted the check on behalf of the Blumenthal Cancer Center. "This is an honor for me," said the 65-year-old Parsons who owns 21 Nextel Cup victories over his 21-year career. "It's hard to believe a fan club in NASCAR could generate a million members and to be the honorary millionth member is gratifying. I certainly appreciate the support racers like Jimmie, fans, and sponsors have shown me over my career and especially in the last few months. Lowe's donation is certainly appreciated and I hope it will do a lot of good for people fighting cancer."
      Parsons said Limentani gave him "the best news ever" this week. "Three months ago my family doctor called me into his office and told me I had lung cancer. So Rick Hendrick told me if I was going to fight cancer you have to get Steve Limentani. He helped Rick through his leukemia ten years ago. So we did. The last three months we have been battling the disease. Then Wednesday I had a scan and he called me Wednesday afternoon with the best news.....the cancer is gone...see ya." To watch a portion of Parsons announcement go to video.google.com.(GMR Marketing/Team Lowe's PR)(10-14-2006)

    • Brand New Ford Cup Team in 2007?Beyond adding Robby Gordon [to be announced today at LMS 3:30pm/et] to the fold, there’s a good chance that there may be another new Ford team in the Nextel Cup Series next season, sources said Friday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Details remain sketchy, but sources said that the team would be an all-new outfit [Riley-D'Hondt?], not an existing team switching manufacturers as Gordon is.(Speed Channel)(10-14-2006)

    • Ford to help out RYR: Ford director of racing technology Dan Davis said Friday that his company will do everything possible to help Robert Yates Racing regain its competitive footing after two woeful seasons that included the defections of drivers Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett. That help will include, he said, finding a sponsor to assure that the #88 Ford will return even though Jarrett took the powerful UPS account with him to Michael Waltrip Racing. "I've told Robert, 'I will do anything in my power to develop whatever you need,' " he said. "It's a struggle for him at the moment." Davis said there was nothing Ford could do about some defections, such as Mark Martin, when owners such as Bobby Ginn are willing to pay an enormous salary for a part-time driver. Martin will contest 20 points races for MB2 Motorsports next year. "It's all about compensation," Davis said. "I'm saying maybe that's happened to one of my friends. Eventually everyone looks at this and says, 'Damn, this is really quite an offer. And you know what? I really have a lot of loyalty and I have a lot of this and I have a lot of friends and I owe my career to somebody and I'm torn on this because of that, but damn. Damn.' And I think we get to that point when you have new manufacturers in the mix. You have new owners in the mix, you have new sponsors in the mix that are willing to upset the norm in terms of compensation." Davis confirmed driver/owner Robby Gordon will switch from Chevrolet to Ford for next season. "He's excited about coming in because he knows the motor program is really good," Davis said. "The chassis are really good, the bodies are really good. He can concentrate on race craft and getting the team working well."(St Petersburg Times)(10-14-2006)

    • Elliott still undecided on 2007 plans: Bill Elliott, who failed to qualify in Team Red Bull's Nextel Cup debut Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, will run two more events for the team that will be part of Toyota's debut in 2007. Elliott is considered one of the candidates for that job. "Right now, we're just doing three races and we're going to figure out where it is going to go from there," Elliott said Thursday following his qualifying attempt but before learning he had missed the race." A full-time schedule for Elliott, who last ran all of the Cup races in 2003, is still an option, he said. "We'll wait and see," Elliott said. "It depends on my options." Elliott has driven four races for Michael Waltrip Racing and has two left with Team Red Bull as well as one with MWR. "Pretty much the same program with different guys," Elliott said about comparing Team Red Bull with MWR. "These guys are probably a little bit greener than Michael's guys because of [crew chief] Larry Carter. All it is is a learning curve."(SceneDaily.com)(10-14-2006)

    • Racing Electronics Welcomes Back "Bean": Racing Electronics [long time Jayski sponsor] is pleased to announce the return of a long time employee to the staff. Richard "Bean" Hankins has rejoined the Racing Electronics staff in the Concord, NC headquarters and has resumed his duties as General Manager. Bean was on an extended medical leave since April of 2004 for a back ailment and after having successful surgery and recuperation he has recently relocated to Concord. "It's wonderful to have Bean return to the company and we are delighted that the surgery resolved his back problem. He is one of the original employees of our company and we are proud to make this announcement", said Bruce Silver, President of Racing Electronics.(PR)(10-14-2006)

    • Charlotte Race Notes:
      • Kasey Kahne won the 2006 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, scoring his seventh career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 103rd career start.
      • This is Kahne’s sixth victory in 2006, the most of all drivers.
      • Kahne scored his second victory in six races at Lowe’s. He swept both races here this season.
      • This is the third straight year that a driver has swept both races at Lowe’s. Jimmie Johnson swept both races here in 2004 and 2005.
      • Kahne’s victory today was the seventh Dodge victory in 31 races in 2006.
      • Kahne won the race from the second-place starting position. The last seven races at Lowe’s have been won from a top-10 starting position.
      • Kahne climbed from ninth to eighth in the Championship standings, now 160 points behind first-place Jeff Burton.
      • Kahne led 134 of the 334 laps, including the final 26 - leading the most laps for the third time in 2006 and first time since second California.
      • This is team owner Ray Evernham’s 13th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory and second at Lowe’s.
      Notebook Items
      • Jimmie Johnson (second) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006, tied with Jeff Burton and Matt Kenseth for the most this season. It is his 10th straight top-10 finish at Lowe’s. He has finished first or second in six of the last seven races here. Johnson climbed from eighth to seventh in the point standings.
      • Jeff Burton (third) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his 12th top-10 finish in 26 races at Lowe’s. Burton added 39 points to his lead, which is now 45 points over of second-place Matt Kenseth. Burton has scored five top-10 finishes in the last six races since Richmond in September.
      • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (fourth) scored his 14th top-10 finish in 2006 and his seventh top-10 finish in 15 races at Lowe’s.
      • Bobby Labonte (fifth) tied his season-best finish and scored his third top-10 finish in the last four races. It is his 17th top-10 finish in 28 races at Lowe’s.
      • Tony Raines (seventh) scored his second career top-10 finish and his first in 2006.
      • Joe Nemechek (ninth) scored his first top-10 finish in 2006 and first since he finished fourth in this race one year ago.
      • Tony Stewart (13th) remained 11th in the point standings. He has a 213-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards who finished eighth.
      • David Stremme (15th) was the highest finishing rookie for the first time in 2006.
      • Mark Martin (30th) ended a 37-race streak of running at the finish that began at Kansas City one year ago.
      • Five of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10.
      • Eight of the 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Lowe’s.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(10-14-2006)

    • Hornish to run Busch and ARCA Races? UPDATEs Phoenix Busch Race?: Roger Penske said Saturday that he was working on a plan that would allow his IRL driver Sam Hornish Jr. to race in some NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Series races next season. That would be in addition to a full IRL schedule for Hornish, who won the Indianapolis 500 this year. “Sam has talked about running some Busch or ARCA races, and we’re looking at a potential program,’’ Penske said before the Sharpie 500. “We haven’t put all the pieces together.” Although Penske used an ARCA, Busch and Nextel Cup program to develop the driver Ryan Newman before promoting him to the Cup series full-time, Penske said it was too early to say if Hornish would move up to compete in the Cup series by 2008.(New York Times)(8-28-2006)
      UPDATES since posted on #77 Team News and Links page.
      UPDATE - Hornish to race in Nov. Phoenix Busch race? Reports that IRL champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. will make his stock car debut next month at Phoenix in a NASCAR Busch Series car are premature, a Team Penske spokesman said Friday night. A recent story cited unidentified sources as saying the Penske team will enter Hornish in the Busch races at Phoenix and Homestead in November, as well as running him in selected Busch and ARCA events next season before launching a full-time Nextel Cup career in 2008. "Roger Penske has said publicly that we are considering a plan that would allow Sam to race in some Busch and ARCA races next year, for sure, along with his IRL schedule," Chris Schwartz, director of marketing and communications for the Penske team, told The Associated Press. "That's all in motion and it's a goal of ours to get him into a Busch race this year," Schwartz added. "But he hasn't even tested a (stock) car, yet. We hope to get that accomplished soon and we hope to get him in the Phoenix (Busch) race and maybe the Homestead (Busch) race, too. But nothing is done yet."(Associated Press)(10-14-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Hornish could run the Busch Series race at Phoenix next month if he feels he is ready, Penske Racing officials confirmed. Hornish has tested a stock car at North Carolina (Rockingham) Speedway and plans to test at Iowa Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway before deciding whether to run at Phoenix, Penske Raacing South President Don Miller said Saturday. "We're going to let him get the feel of the car," Miller said. "If he decides that he's ready, we could theoretically do that [Phoenix race]." Matt Gimbel, the crew chief for the #39 Penske Racing South Busch Series team, will direct the effort. Hornish is committed to run in the IRL for 2007. "That is his primary deal," Miller said. "We don't want to interfere with the primary program because that wouldn't be good for the team overall."(SceneDaily.com)(10-14-2006)

    • Toyota says they are not overspending: Lee White, senior vice president of Toyota Racing Development, made an appearance at Lowe’s Motor Speedway that served the purpose of quieting the notion that the Japanese manufacturer intends to smother the opposition with money next year. “We’ve done extensive research, and I don’t believe the level of expenditure is any higher than the existing manufacturer,” said White. White dismissed widespread rumors by saying: “This is a convenient way for a lot of existing teams to manipulate their own manufacturers and attempt to increase their own level of funding. “We provide technology. We don’t own these teams. We don’t fund these teams,” he said. “What we are trying to do is use our expertise with what I call ‘tribal knowledge,’ or the traditional method of producing racing engines.” White also said that Toyota would not further boost its expenditures or increase its teams in the Craftsman Truck Series, where Tundras have won 10 of the season’s 20 races to date. “There’s no question that the Truck Series needs focus,” he said. “I just attended a meeting along with the other manufacturers on the subject of what NASCAR, Speed Channel and MRN (Motor Racing Network) are trying to do to draw more attention to the Truck Series.”(Gaston Gazette)(10-14-2006)

    • Charlotte Rookie Notes: #1-Martin Truex Jr. was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 8 UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Truex Jr. finished fifth, his best finish in 39 Nextel Cup Series races and the best by a Raybestos Rookie on a restrictor plate track this season. Truex Jr. scored the fifth top-10 finish of his career at Talladega and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the second time in 2006. #11-Denny Hamlin scored a 21st-place finish at Talladega. He is fifth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 51 points behind leader #31-Jeff Burton. Hamlin is 18 behind fourth-place #29-Kevin Harvick and leads sixth-place #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 55. Hamlin led once for one lap. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 30 races this season. Hamlin leads #07-Clint Bowyer by 45 points (265-220) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 14 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (race No. 12), grabbing a ninth-place finish. He was also the only Raybestos Rookie to lead a lap in the race (three times for 25 laps). Travis Kvapil was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2005 Bank of America 500, posting a 17th-place finish. Kasey Kahne holds the record for most laps led by a Raybestos Rookie in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte (since 1975). Kahne led the 2004 race four times for 207 of the 334 laps. Since 1975, only two Raybestos Rookies have won pole positions for the fall race at Charlotte: Jeff Gordon (1993) and Ward Burton (1994). Since 1975, only two Raybestos Rookies have scored a top-five finish in the fall race at Charlotte: Ron Bouchard (fifth in 1981) and Jeff Gordon (fifth in 1993).(Raybestos PR), see more notes, standings, history, records and more on the 2006 Rookie Page and past notes on the 2006 Past Rookie Notes.(10-14-2006)


      News from October 13, 2006

    • Elliott to run Commemorative paint scheme at Atlanta: When Bill Elliott takes the green flag for the October 29 Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he will reach a milestone and further etch his name in the AMS record books. Elliott will make his 58th career start at AMS, a stretch that started 30 years ago. In recognition of the accomplishment, Team Red Bull has designed a retro paint scheme for Elliott to run in the Bass Pro Shops 500, complete with the #30 [will NOT be their 2nd team car # in 2007] to mark his three-decade career at AMS. The paint scheme is designed after the Dahlonega Ford Sales sponsored car Elliott drove in his first start at AMS in 1976. That very #9 powder blue Ford Torino Elliott drove in his inaugural start will return to the high-banks of AMS when it makes a circuit during the parade lap before the start of the Bass Pro Shops 500. To catch Bill Elliott race at his home track, fans can contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com or an authorized Ticketmaster retail outlet for more information on the Bass Pro Shops 500 NEXTEL Cup race weekend.(AMS PR), see an image of the car on my #83/#30 Team Schemes page.(10-13-2006)

    • Final Talladega TV Rating down; France not worried: NBC's broadcast of last Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 from Talladega Superspeedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.8 and a 10 market share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 9.4% lower than than the 5.3/11 NBC earned for last year's fall Talladega race.(SceneDaily.com)
      AND NASCAR Chairman Brian France said he doesn't envision California Speedway losing a race and isn't too concerned over dips in attendance and TV ratings throughout the Nextel Cup circuit. California Speedway has not sold out both Nextel Cup events in a year since it has added a second race there in 2004. Television ratings are down for virtually all events this year, which France blamed mostly on a lack of promotion from NBC, which is in its last year of its contract. "That's kind of par for the course when you change TV partners and you have a final year in the situation that we're in ... but we'll bounce back with a tremendous partner in ESPN/ABC and TNT in the mid summer of '07, so we're not too concerned about it and frankly expected it," France said.(SceneDaily.com)(10-13-2006)

    • Roush finalizing plans with Villeneuve: Roush Racing appears to be finalizing plans to put former Indy 500 champion and F-1 star Jacques Villeneuve in a Ford for several Busch Series races next year. Although the schedule isn’t set, it’ll almost certainly include the Saturday afternoon, Aug. 4 road race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his hometown of Montreal.(Ford Racing)(10-13-2006)

    • Team Red Bull Close to naming a 2nd driver: Team Red Bull General Manager Marty Gaunt told Sirius Speedway Thursday that there are three drivers remaining on his wish list, and that he hopes to announce a teammate for Brian Vickers within the next few weeks. "There are three guys that we have our eye on," said Gaunt. "We're looking for the best, pure driver we can find. This is not about who brings the most sponsorship to the program. We want a driver." Gaunt admitted that Champ Car World Series star AJ Allmendinger is on that list, saying, "We are obviously interested in AJ Allmendinger. He is a proven winner, and he has been very impressive in his two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races." Gaunt said he initially considered the possibilitty of splitting a ride between a veteran driver like Bill Elliott, and a young, up-and-coming driver. "We talked about it, and ultimately ruled it out," he said. "After giving it some thought, we decided that we want to have the same driver in the car, 100% of the time."(10-13-2006)

    • Charlotte Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time that Goodyear has brought this specific combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . while this right-side code (D-4022) was run at Charlotte in May, this left-side code (D-4074) is brand new . . . this tire set-up was tested recently at Charlotte with Kurt Busch and Joe Nemechek . . . both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will run on the same tire codes this weekend . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Charlotte . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 36-39 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) See full notes, codes, pressures on the Charlotte Race Info / Rundown Page.(10-13-2006)

    • Soap Box Derby Racing at Lowe's Motor Speedway: Children can have their own racing experiences at Lowe's Motor Speedway with the Levi Strauss Signature Fit Pit during the NASCAR race weekend - October 12-14. Boys and girls, ages 7 to 14, have the opportunity to race Soap Box Derby cars on a racetrack outside of the Fit Pit. As the title sponsor of the All-American Soap Box Derby, the Levi Strauss Signature brand has incorporated the ultimate family activity into its nationwide Fit Pit tour. The All-American Soap Box Derby is a youth initiative of NASCAR. The Fit Pit also features technology for families to find their perfect jeans fit. In 14-seconds, Intellifit's award-winning body scanner sizes a fully-clothed person and then produces a personalized recommendation for the perfect pair of Levi Strauss Signature jeans. NASCAR fans can finish their shopping at the provided online kiosks by visiting Target.com and Walmart.com. The Levi Strauss Signature Fit Pit is located in the Fan Zone.(Alan Taylor PR)(10-13-2006)

    • Terry Labonte to be inducted in LMS's Walk of Fame Today: #44-Terry Labonte will be inducted into the Lowe's Motor Speedway Walk of Fame on Friday afternoon. The ceremony will take place at 12:30pm/et at the Avenue of Flags in front of the Smith Tower. Following Saturday night's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Labonte will have one event remaining in his storied career. The two-time NEXTEL Cup champion will officially retire following the Nov. 5 event at Texas Motor Speedway. At Lowe's Motor Speedway, Labonte's #44 GMAC Chevy 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)(10-13-2006)


      News from October 12, 2006

    • ESPN announces NASCAR broadcast crews/plans: NASCAR will return to ESPN and ABC in 2007 led by host Brent Musburger, an accomplished and prominent sports commentator; Rusty Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR champion who made his debut as an analyst in 2006; and play-by-play announcer Jerry Punch, a veteran of ESPN's previous NASCAR coverage. Television newcomer Andy Petree, a former team owner and the 1993-94 championship-winning crew chief for the late Dale Earnhardt, will join Punch and Wallace as an analyst for a booth with nearly 90 years experience in motorsports. The trio will team with veteran pit reporters with a combined 45 additional years of motorsports experience - Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro. ESPN also is planning for a comprehensive, up-to-the-minute NASCAR Countdown show to immediately precede all Nextel Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Musburger will serve as NASCAR Countdown host for all races airing on ABC, including the Chase for the Nextel Cup and select ESPN races including Daytona and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. NASCAR Countdown will be telecast from a new, state-of-the-art mobile pit studio that also will be an integral part of race telecasts. All telecasts will be in high-definition. ESPN also announced that 1999 NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett will join Punch and Petree in the booth for select NASCAR Busch Series races on ESPN2 and ABC. And to get fans prepared for the new season, NASCAR Now will debut on ESPN2 on Feb. 5, 2007, marking the network's first-ever daily program solely dedicated to NASCAR. NASCAR Now will deliver the most up-to-date news and information each Monday through Friday evening.
      ESPN's comprehensive coverage also will extend to its new media platforms, with extensive coverage on ESPN.com - the leading online sports destination that reaches as many as 20 million fans per month. Among the many features will be a weekly Monday Rundown, Wallace's weekly Rusty Nails It column and regularly updated Nextel Cup Power Rankings. In addition, ESPN.com will continue to collaborate with the popular Jayski's Silly Season Site that features news, rumors and commentary on the happenings in NASCAR. Additionally, ESPN Motion, ESPN360 and the ESPN PodCenter will deliver comprehensive multimedia race coverage including select live video, on-demand online video and podcasts.(ESPN PR), for the full PR, plans, other shows and commnets, along with Talent/Production Briefs, see my TV/Media News Page.(10-12-2006)

    • ESPN broadcast crew announced UPDATE 3 Daugherty, Petree, Rusty: hearing that the 2007 ESPN/ABC broadcast crew will be announced this week, supposedly Dr. Jerry Punch, former Cup champ Rusty Wallace and former Truck Series owner/NBA Basketball player Brad Daugherty will be in the booth.
      UPDATE: been told the announcement will come Thursday, Oct 12th at Lowe's Motor Speedway and the lineup I hear above is NOT correct....(10-9-2006)
      UPDATE 2: For years, Brad Daugherty has worked with NASCAR behind the scenes on diversity issues, trying to increase minority interest and representation in what remains a very white sport. Now the Asheville [NC] resident will be front and center as an African-American voice on stock car racing, hosting a television show on ESPN. NASCAR officials have scheduled a press conference today in Charlotte to announce the television crew for ESPN’s 2007 coverage, a group that will include the Black Mountain native and former NBA star on the NASCAR Pit Studio Show. Daugherty has owned race teams in the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series and has served on NASCAR’s ultra-secret Rules and Competition Committee that doles out fines and punishments to drivers, but said he believes he can be a more visible minority voice on television. The Pit Studio Show will provide pre- and post-race coverage and will include segments during races. Daugherty said another racer with WNC ties will be involved with ESPN’s NASCAR coverage. Andy Petree, who operated the APR team out of Flat Rock [NC] that once fielded two Nextel Cup cars, will serve as a race analyst.(Asheville Citizen Times)(10-12-2006)
      OFFICIAL: NASCAR will return to ESPN and ABC in 2007 with a powerful and experienced team of television and NASCAR championship veterans, led by host Brent Musburger, an accomplished and prominent sports commentator; Rusty Wallace, the 1989 NASCAR champion who made his debut as an analyst in 2006; and play-by-play announcer Jerry Punch, a veteran of ESPN's previous NASCAR coverage. Television newcomer Andy Petree, a former team owner and the 1993-94 championship-winning crew chief for the late Dale Earnhardt, will join Punch and Wallace as an analyst for a booth with nearly 90 years experience in motorsports. The trio will team with veteran pit reporters with a combined 45 additional years of motorsports experience - Allen Bestwick, Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Mike Massaro.
      ESPN also is planning for a comprehensive, up-to-the-minute NASCAR Countdown show to immediately precede all Nextel Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series races televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Musburger will serve as NASCAR Countdown host for all races airing on ABC, including the Chase for the Nextel Cup and select ESPN races including Daytona and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. NASCAR Countdown will be telecast from a new, state-of-the-art mobile pit studio that also will be an integral part of race telecasts.
      All telecasts will be in high-definition under the leadership of ESPN Executive Vice President, Studio and Remote Production Norby Williamson, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer Jed Drake, Senior Coordinating Producer Rich Feinberg, who led ESPN's NASCAR efforts in the 1990s, and Senior Motorsports Producer Neil Goldberg, who returns to ESPN after producing FOX's NASCAR races the past six years. Feinberg and Goldberg have won numerous Sports Emmy Awards and were part of the team behind ESPN's motorsports series Speedworld, which won 17 Sports Emmys in the 1990s. Richie Basile, who has served as FOX's NASCAR technical director, will direct.
      At a news conference at Lowe's Motor Speedway Thursday, ESPN also announced that 1999 NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett will join Punch and Petree in the booth for select NASCAR Busch Series races on ESPN2 and ABC.
      "When NASCAR returns 'home' to ABC and ESPN, fans will instantly recognize the passion and expertise that distinguished our coverage for 30 years, but now applied with an unprecedented, multimedia commitment," said ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer. "The extent of our coverage and our talent and production team will set a new standard for service to NASCAR fans." ESPN's return to NASCAR kicks off with coverage of the NASCAR Busch Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, Feb. 17, 2007 on ESPN2.
      "We are proud to once again call ABC/ESPN our partner," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "The team has already shown a remarkable enthusiasm for NASCAR in its preparation for its entry in 2007. Sports fans will be the big winners as ESPN will provide terrific NASCAR content on its television broadcasts and beyond including each of its media platforms." Drake added, "As we reunite NASCAR with ESPN, we have assembled a deep and knowledgeable commentator team with varied motorsports backgrounds. Our group will bring the excitement of NASCAR to the audience with the same enthusiasm that NASCAR fans have for their sport."
      And to get fans prepared for the new season, NASCAR Now will debut on ESPN2 on Feb. 5, 2007, marking the network's first-ever daily program solely dedicated to NASCAR. NASCAR Now will deliver the most up-to-date news and information each Monday through Friday evening and will feature NASCAR reporters and analysts including five-time NBA All-Star and former winning NASCAR team owner Brad Daugherty, former NASCAR crew chief Frank Stoddard, a 14-race winner with Jeff Burton, and veteran racing TV reporter Shannon Spake among others to be named. Musburger, Daugherty, Stoddard and others will work from the pit studio during the NASCAR Countdown shows and during the race telecasts.
      ESPN2 is planning special editions of NASCAR Now to air on the day of all Nextel Cup races, starting with the Daytona 500. A race preview show will air at 11am/et on race day, with a post-race edition to run on ESPN2 in the evening following the event. NASCAR Now and NASCAR Countdown will be produced under the leadership of ESPN Senior Vice President/Managing Editor of Studio Production Mark Gross, Vice President of Studio Production Mike McQuade and Senior Coordinating Producer Jack Obringer.
      ESPN's comprehensive coverage also will extend to its new media platforms, with extensive coverage on ESPN.com - the leading online sports destination that reaches as many as 20 million fans per month. Among the many features will be a weekly Monday Rundown, Wallace's weekly Rusty Nails It column and regularly updated Nextel Cup Power Rankings. In addition, ESPN.com will continue to collaborate with the popular Jayski's Silly Season Site that features news, rumors and commentary on the happenings in NASCAR. Additionally, ESPN Motion, ESPN360 and the ESPN PodCenter will deliver comprehensive multimedia race coverage including select live video, on-demand online video and podcasts.
      Also in 2007, ESPN Deportes will become the Spanish-language home of NASCAR, highlighted by a special onsite presentation of the NASCAR Busch Series race from Mexico City in March. ESPN Deportes' NASCAR commentator team will feature Andrés Agulla (play-by-play) and Alex Pombo (analysis). ESPN and ABC will have comprehensive, multi-platform coverage featuring telecasts of the final 17 Nextel Cup races including the 10-race "Chase for the Nextel Cup" championship on ABC. Additionally, ESPN2 will be the home of the NASCAR Busch Series all season. ESPN aired 262 NASCAR Cup Races over a 20-year period starting in 1981. The network's award-winning, live flag-to-flag coverage on ESPN was honored with 17 Sports Emmy Awards, as well as many industry honors. It is widely credited for helping to popularize the sport nationwide. ESPN2 is seen in 91.7 million homes, virtually equal to ESPN's 92.3. NASCAR races have appeared on ABC for decades, beginning with broadcasts on the award-winning Wide World of Sports program in the 1960s.(ESPN PR), see Talent/Production Briefs on my TV/Media News Page.(10-12-2006)

    • Busch's time disallowed: Kurt Busch qualified third [at Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500], but his #2 Dodge was later disqualified because his right rear shock did not meet NASCAR specifications. He will now start 42nd.(Associated Press)(10-12-2006)
      UPDATE: A NASCAR spokesperson confirmed Friday that the sanctioning body has taken possession of the right rear shock from the #2 Dodge driven by Kurt Busch on Thursday night. Busch qualified in the second spot, but NASCAR's post-qualifying inspection found that the right rear shock would not bounce back. Because of that, NASCAR officials ruled that the car did not meet specifications, disqualified the time and forced the team to take a provisional. Busch will start 42nd Saturday. Roy McCauley, crew chief for the No. 2, said Friday that he believes the problem was a simple mechanical breakdown. "NASCAR is right, there was a problem with it," McCauley said. "Right now, I believe it was an equipment malfunction or failure. We got loose in qualifying and we were expecting to be tight, so I think that at some point during the run the shock must have failed. I don't fault NASCAR one bit (for taking the shock). It wasn't right, but obviously we wouldn't put it on the car like that. We've just got to move past it and move on." NASCAR officials remained skeptical, however, and a spokesperson indicated that penalties could be forthcoming.(Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)(10-14-2006)

    • Riggs wins pole at Charlotte: #10-Scott Riggs won the Budweiser Pole for the Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway with a speed of 191.469mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 3rd of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #9-Kahne, followed by #42-Mears, #19-Sadler, #29-Harvick, #31-Burton, #6-Martin, #07-Bowyer, #41-Sorenson and #48-Johnson. #24-Gordon had a bad night qualifying and was just slow, will start 41st. #8-Earnhardt Jr. qualified 16th. #2-Kurt Busch’s time was disallowed after post-qualifying inspection, he has qualified 3rd [189.713mph]
      The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #4-Bodine, #49-Bliss, #55-Waltrip, #72-Skinner, #45-Petty, #06-Kluever, #32-Kvapil and #44-Terry Labonte [using a past champions provisional]. Missing the race were: #83-Bill Elliott [couldn't use past champions provisional as Labonte used it and wasn't fast enough], #34-Lepage, #74-Cope, #61-Chaffin, #00-Sadler, #27-Shelmerdine, #89-Shepherd [didn't take a lap], #78-Wallace [wrecked on 1st lap] and #46-Long [wrecked on 1st lap]. See starting lineup, qualifying results, pole progression on the Charlotte Starting Lineup/Qualifying Page.(10-12-2006)

    • Where do the Chasers start at Charlotte [order of current points standings]:
      #31-Burton starts 6th
      #17-Kenseth 11th
      #6-Martin 7th
      #29-Harvick 5th
      #11-Hamlin 22nd
      #8-Earnhardt Jr. 16th
      #24-Gordon 41st
      #48-Johnson 10th
      #9-Kahne 2nd
      #5-Busch 18th

    • Ramblings - Charlotte Qualifying Notes: Scott Riggs took the Bud Pole tonight at Lowe's Motor Speedway for Saturday's Bank of America 500....and it's a sweeper for the driver of the #10 Stanley Tools/Valvoline Dodge. His other pole this season came here in May, and this is the third top-spot of his NEXTEL Cup career. Teammate Kasey Kahne will join him on the front row.
      Casey Mears (4th - 3rd after Busch's DQ) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd at Richmond in May.
      Welcome Back Todd Bodine (14th). This is his first start of the season and his best starting spot since he timed in 7th at Atlanta in October of 2003.
      The Trouble Train included Bill Elliott) Kevin Lepage, Derrike Cope, Chad Chaffin, Hermie Sadler, Kirk Shelmerdine, Carl Long (crashed), Kenny Wallace (crashed), and Morgan Shepherd (dns).
      With a tight "Chase", we've got four Chasers in the Top-6 and six in the Top-12. If last week can be a guage, NBC should rename their "Through the Field" to "Through the Chase"....the one time they tried all they covered were the Chasers. Ah, those other guys just get in the way anyway!(Stock Car Fans)(10-12-2006)

    • Charlotte Qualifying Notes:
      • Scott Riggs won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Bank of America 500, lapping Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 28.203 seconds at 191.469 mph. Elliott Sadler holds the track-qualifying record of 27.948 seconds, 193.216 mph - set Oct. 13, 2005.
      • This is Riggs’ third career Bud Pole in 101 Nextel Cup Series races.
      • This is his second Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in 2006. He became the seventh repeat Bud Pole winner in 2006. Kurt Busch (five), Kasey Kahne (five), Jeff Burton (four), Denny Hamlin (three), Greg Biffle (two) and Ryan Newman (two) are the other multiple Bud Pole winners this season.
      • This is Riggs’ first Bud Pole and third top-10 start in six Nextel Cup Series races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, including both Bud Poles this season. He also won the pole for the NEXTEL Open here in May.
      • Riggs became the first drive to sweep both Bud Poles in a season at Lowe’s Motor Speedway since Ryan Newman (2003).
      • Kasey Kahne posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 28.392 seconds, 190.194 mph – and will join Riggs on the front row for the Bank of America 500 and joined Riggs in an all-Evernham Motorsports front row. Kahne has started from the top-10 in four of his six races at Charlotte.
      • This is the 14th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has five. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Casey Mears (third) has started from the top-10 in three of his eight races at Lowe’s.
      • Elliott Sadler (fourth) has nine top-10 starts in his 17 races at Lowe’s, including eight of the past 10 races.
      • Kevin Harvick (third) has started from the top-10 in three of his eight races at Lowe’s.
      • Five of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Kahne, Harvick (fifth), Jeff Burton (sixth), Mark Martin (seventh) and Jimmie Johnson (10th). Matt Kenseth (11th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (16th), Kyle Busch (18th), Denny Hamlin (22nd) and Jeff Gordon (41st) are the other Chase drivers. This is Gordon’s career-worst starting position.
      • Todd Bodine (14th) was the fastest of the drivers required to make the field on time.
      • Mike Skinner (29th) qualified for his third Nextel Cup race this season – all for a different owner. He put the #72 in the race for the owner Bryan Mullet’s second Nextel Cup race. David Gilliland finished 32nd in the car at Sonoma. Skinner has also raced for Brad Jenkins in the #34 (Michigan) and for John Carter (Indianapolis) in the #37 this season.
      • Kurt Busch’s time was disallowed after post-qualifying inspection. Busch will start 42nd in the Bank of America 500.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(10-12-2006)

    • Fuel Cells at LMS smaller: Nextel Cup teams again will use the 13.8-gallon fuel cell this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The cells, which hold about eight gallons less than normal fuel cells, were used there in May because of tire concerns with the repaved track. A smaller fuel cell means fewer laps between pit stops and more chances to change tires.(Roanoke Times)(10-12-2006)

    • M&M's teams up with Sam's Club on the #38 at LMS: The M&M’S #38 Ford Fusion will sport a special paint scheme this weekend promoting its partnership with Sam's Club, one of the nation’s largest warehouse chains, in Saturday’s Bank of America 400. Joining Sam's Club in its Nextel Cup Series debut is M&M’S driver David Gilliland, who will make his first career start at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “Saturday’s race marks our first involvement in NASCAR and we are very proud to be partnered with the M&M’S Team,” said Mark Goodman, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Membership and E-commerce for Sam's Club. “We all look forward to watching the M&M’S/Sam's Club Ford under the lights in Charlotte as well as having David visit our Kannapolis, N.C. Club to meet our members as we get ready for a great weekend of racing.”(Elevation Group PR)(10-12-2006)

    • MB2 Signs Motocross Champion Carmichael: Ricky Carmichael, considered the greatest motocross racer of all time, is moving to NASCAR. He will join the Bobby Ginn-owned MB2 Motorsports operation, which fields [#01,#13, #14] Nextel Cup teams for Joe Nemechek and Sterling Marlin. Carmichael, a 15-time American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) national champion and holder of a record 144 career wins in Supercross and motocross, agreed to a multi-year contract with MB2, starting with the 2007 season. Jay Frye, CEO and general manager of MB2, said that Carmichael will compete in a developmental program next year that will include a combination of approximately 15 events in late model stock cars, ARCA and possibly the Craftsman Truck Series. Frye added that Carmichael's MB2 program will be accelerated in 2008. "There were other teams showing interest in Ricky and we are thrilled that he decided to join MB2," said Ginn, who purchased majority interest in MB2 in July. "He brings to MB2 many intangible qualities which have made him one of the great champions in all of motorsports.” “What’s even more remarkable is that he achieved a legendary record and is still in the prime of his racing career,” Ginn added. “He has both the physical and mental skills to make a successful transition from two wheels to four wheels." Carmichael, 26, is also planning to run an abbreviated Supercross and motocross schedule next year with Team Makita Suzuki Racing. "To race in NASCAR has always been a dream of mine," said Carmichael. "This is a new challenge and I have no illusions that the transition will be easy. I truly understand the difficulties that are ahead. But I am committed to do whatever it takes to eventually make it to the Cup series." Carmichael, who was born in Clearwater, Fla. and currently resides in Tallahassee, Fla., announced earlier in the year that 2006 would be his final full-time season competing in Supercross and motocross. "I am excited about joining MB2," Carmichael added. "After talking to Bobby (Ginn) it was evident to me that this is an organization with a strong commitment to compete at an elite level. It's a good fit and I can't wait to get started." Since joining the AMA Motocross circuit full time in 1997, Carmichael has never lost an outdoor championship. He won three straight 125cc championships followed by seven consecutive 250cc titles. His record also includes five indoor AMA Supercross championships. The 2006 season was the fifth time that Carmichael captured the double -- winning both the AMA Supercross and Motocross championships in the same year. Next closest to Carmichael’s 144 career victories is Jeremy McGrath’s 89 overall wins. Regarding his exit from full-time AMA competition, Carmichael said, "I plan to always ride some events in Supercross and motocross. The sport has been very good to me over the years." Carmichael is competing in this weekend’s Supercross event in Las Vegas – the Rock Star Energy Drink U.S. Open.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(10-12-2006)

    • Spencer and 'the Shy One' return to SPEED in 2007: NASCAR veterans Jimmy Spencer and Kenny Wallace will continue sharing their wit and wisdom with SPEED viewers, signing new multi-year deals to continue their roles on the popular NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane. "It's great to be able to keep the team together," said Chris Long, SPEED VP of Studio Production. "With the signing of John (Roberts) and Wendy (Venturini) earlier this summer, we've taken measures to ensure our viewers will continue to be the most well-informed NASCAR fans in the country. These guys have a lot of fun together and their chemistry is magical -- something every network hopes to capture." The new pre- and post-race formats continue to be a hit with fans, as NASCAR RaceDay ratings are up 17 percent from last year, and NASCAR Victory Lane ratings are up six percent.
      "This show has really been adapted to fit the fans," Spencer said. "We really try hard to cut through all of the stories that come out in press releases and tell the fans the real stories behind what's going on in NASCAR. I'm happy to be staying with SPEED and I'm excited about being a part of the growth of this show ... it doesn't get better than working with John, Kenny, Wendy and Bobby Dillner."
      "I've had so much fun doing NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane that I could not pass up the opportunity given to me by SPEED," Wallace said. "SPEED has become a part of who I am and what I am known for over the last three years. I am very thankful for the opportunity that has been given to me and I hope that the fans continue to have fun and support all of the wonderful SPEED shows." This week's NASCAR RaceDay from Charlotte will feature a "Real Deal" interview with NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick.(Speedtv.com)(10-12-2006)

    • Happy 100th: Kitty Allison, mother of former NASCAR drivers Bobby and Donnie Allison and grandmother of former late Cup driver Davey Allison, turns 100 years old today.(10-12-2006)

    • Nextel's Donahue to retire: Sprint Nextel announced that executive chairman Tim Donahue will retire at the end of the year. Donahue played a key role in Nextel becoming the series sponsor.(Roanoke Times)(10-12-2006)

    • Nadeau to Instruct at Charlotte Endurance Karting Event: On Nov. 10, former NASCAR Cup Series driver Jerry Nadeau will instruct in Endurance Kartings Race School at Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord. Nadeau made 177 starts in NASCARs premier series, capturing one win, nine top-five finishes and 19 top-10 finishes. He drove for some of NASCAR's top teams including Petty Enterprises and Hendrick Motorsports. Before his NASCAR Cup Series career began in 1997, Nadeau excelled in other racing series. The Danbury, Conn., driver began racing go-karts at age four and finished second in a kart race on ice at St. Petersburg, Russia in 1992. He was the World Karting Association Gold Cup Champion for three years (1988 to 1990), and he captured the WKA Grand National title in 1991. Nadeaus other accolades include Skip Barber Eastern Series Rookie of the Year (1991) and the highest-finishing American (sixth) in the 1996 Formula Opel European Series circuit. "We are thrilled to have Jerry instruct for us at Charlotte," said Endurance Karting President Johan Schwartz. "He had a wealth of racing experience, so learning from someone with his talent will be a great experience for our students, and something they wont forget. Registration for the Race School begins at 7:30 a.m., Nov. 10. Nadeau and the other talented Endurance Karting instructors will teach students both in the classroom and on the track in an exciting learning environment. Only a few openings remain in the Race School, so interested drivers should register as soon as possible. To register for or learn more about the events in Charlotte or West Palm, call Endurance Karting toll-free at 1-866-RACE-NOW or visit www.EnduranceKarting.com.(PR)(10-12-2006)

    • Montoya Scheduled to Test Nextel Cup Car in Homestead: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today it plans to have Juan Pablo Montoya test one of the team's Nextel Cup Series Dodge Chargers at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) on Oct. 17-18. The HMS test is the final session of the NASCAR-determined testing schedule for 2006. Montoya's CGRFS teammates #42-Casey Mears (Oct. 16-17), #41-Reed Sorenson (Oct. 16-17) and #40-David Stremme (Oct. 17-18) will also be testing at the 1.5-mile speedway in preparation for the NEXTEL Cup Series season finale on Nov. 19. "I'm excited to get some more laps in the NEXTEL Cup car," said Montoya. "All of my testing so far has been extremely beneficial, but obviously this will be one of the most important as we prepare to compete full time in the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in 2007. This will be my first test with all my teammates present and I look forward to their assistance and feedback."(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-12-2006)

    • Different colors for Nemechek at LMS; heads to Guantanamo Bay on Sunday: Unlike his racing buddies, Joe Nemechek's weekend duties will not end with Saturday night's Nextel Cup event at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte. While Nemechek will be decked out in different colors for the Bank of America 500, driving the #01 CENTRIX Financial Chevy for MB2 Motorsports, it won't take him long to return to military mode as the driver of the U.S Army NASCAR entry. Early Sunday morning, Nemechek and a small entourage -- including his mother Martha Nemechek -- will jet to Guantanamo Bay to visit troops on behalf of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.(MB2 Motorsports PR)(10-12-2006)

    • #66 Best Buy "HD Done Right" Chevy at LMS: The #66 entry is displaying a different paint design this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Best Buy, which has been the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet in a number of events this season, is promoting its expertise in the area of high-definition (HD) televisions and home theaters with the pledge, "HD Done Right." The pledge, along with the yellow Best Buy tag logo, will appear on the hood of the #66 entry this weekend.(GMR Marketing PR), see am image of the scheme on the #66 Team Schemes page.(10-12-2006)

    • Lepage to finish season with Frontrow Motorsports: Kevin Lepage will be finishing the 2006 Nextel Cup season in the #34 Chevy for Front Row Motorsports. Lepage joined Front Row Motorsports last week and is looking forward to driving the rest of the season with his new team.(Integrated Marketing Solutions PR)(10-12-2006)


      News from October 11, 2006

    • PRN Radio Coverage Returns at LMS: The Performance Racing Network [PRN] is gearing up their coverage of the Chase for the Nextel Cup by adding additional on-air talent to cover the upcoming Nextel Cup events at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. "Race fans rely on PRN for the ultimate in racing action," said PRN president Doug Rice. "We don't want them to miss a minute of the on-track excitement, so we are adding a fourth pit reporter at all of the Chase races PRN broadcasts to make sure race fans hear the complete story. The addition of a fourth pit reporter will allow PRN to dedicate one person to cover the garage area and infield medical center while keeping our full complement of reporters on pit road. The story of who's out of the race is often times the biggest story of the moment and sometimes the entire race." Joining the PRN crew on select events will be John Roberts of SpeedTV, Sean Pragano of FSN and Brad Gillie of Texas Motor Speedway Total Access.
      The next PRN broadcasts will originate from Lowe's Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500 weekend:
      Thursday October 12: Nextel Cup Qualifying at 7:00pm/et
      Friday October 13: Dollar General 300 NBS at 7:15pm/et
      Saturday October 14: Bank of America 500 at 6:00pm/et
      Describing all the action from Lowe's Motor Speedway will be co-anchors Doug Rice and Mark Garrow, pit reporters, Steve Richards, Brad Gillie, Brett McMillan, and Pat Patterson plus turn announcers Chuck Carland and Rob Albright. The broadcast director is Alicia Lingerfeldt and the technical director is Harrill Hamrick. The flagship station in Charlotte for all the action from Lowe's Motor Speedway is WSOC-FM 103.7. PRN Nextel Cup broadcasts are heard on over 465 stations nationwide, XM Satellite Radio and NASCAR.com.(Performance Racing Network), PRN will also cover races at Atlanta and Texas.(10-11-2006)

    • Ragan named to drive the #6 AAA Ford in 2007: Roush Racing today announced that David Ragan will be the full-time driver of the team's flagship #6 AAA Ford Fusion in 2007. The #6 has been the foundation of the Roush Racing stable, dating back to Jack Roush's beginning into NASCAR's premier series in 1988. "We are very pleased to have David Ragan going into the #6 AAA Ford Fusion next season," said Jack Roush. "David is a driver with outstanding talent and as a result of his actions he is the young man I selected to fill the seat. The #6 is obviously a special car to me personally and this organization and we are confident in David's ability to step up and get the job done." Ragan currently shares the #6 Scotts Ford with Mark Martin [in the Truck Series] and also pilots the #50 Roush Racing Ford [in the Truck Series]. Ragan started his first career Nextel Cup race at Dover three weeks ago. He is set to make four more starts in the Nextel Cup Series in 2006 and will make his first start in the #6 AAA Ford in next season's famed Daytona 500. "This is a tremendous opportunity and I look forward to racing on behalf of AAA's millions of loyal members in 2007. Obviously, I've got big shoes to fill and quite a legacy to follow, but I look forward to the challenge and the next chapter of the #6 race team," said Ragan. "AAA has great confidence in Jack Roush and his entire organization, including their selection of David Ragan as the promising new driver of the #6 AAA car," said Kristin Warfield, director AAA Motorsports. We look forward to cheering David on as he competes in Nextel Cup racing for the first time, and to introducing him to our members and other race fans at tracks and special appearances throughout the coming year." Ragan has one pole and six top-10 finishes in 15 starts in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2006. He will make his next Cup start at Martinsville Speedway on October 22nd.(Roush Racing PR)(10-11-2006)

    • #31 Pit Crew to be honored: The #31 Team Cingular pit crew will be awarded Mechanix Wear's third quarter 'Most Valuable Pit Crew Award' during the Bank of America 500 pre-race ceremonies. The award was voted on by the NASCAR Cup Series crew chiefs. An outstanding pit crew is selected each quarter of the season and one of the quarterly winners will be chosen as the Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew at season end and awarded $75,000.(RCR PR)(10-11-2006)

    • RCR Cars to carry special sticker: Each of the three RCR Cup Series entries [#07, #29, #31] will carry a Down Syndrome Awareness Month decal this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway to promote acceptance and inclusion of individuals born with this genetic condition. The Down syndrome community has been celebrating Down Syndrome Awareness Month each October since 1981.(RCR PR)(10-11-2006)

    • DW and Wilson to be honored tonight: Three-time Cup Champion, Darrell Waltrip and engine-builder and crew chief Waddell Wilson [Golden Wrench Award] will be honored by the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame at the Charles Mack Center in Mooresville, NC on Wednesday, October 11th.(10-11-2006)

    • Vickers' Team Earns Pit Crew Win at Talladega: It was a double victory for Brian Vickers' #25 team Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Not only did the Hendrick Motorsports driver capture his first career Nextel Cup victory, the #25 over-the-wall crew also claimed its second win of the season in the weekly Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge. Vickers' GMAC Chevrolet spent the least amount of time on pit road (247.112 seconds) to take top honors during the 188-lap, 500-mile race. "Having good pit stops at superspeedways are important because you always try to maintain contact with those cars you pit with in order to have a drafting partner when you leave," said crew chief Lance McGrew. "I'm really proud of the guys on the GMAC Racing team for their efforts on Sunday. Over the past several weeks, they've turned it up a notch which has helped us get some good finishes." The #25 pit crew will be awarded with the weekly $10,500 prize. In addition, Checkers/Rally's will also present the crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule with a $100,500 bonus.
      Vickers' over-the-wall crew is made up of: Mike Moore (jackman), Jake Brzozowski (front-tire carrier), Tony Hamm (front-tire changer), Matt Myers (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Fabian (rear-tire changer), Chris Fasulka (gasman), Chris Hamilton (catch can) and Jim Jenkins (windshield). The pit crew coach is Mark Mauldin. With six races remaining on the Nextel Cup Schedule, the pit crews of Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart lead the standings with four wins each. To date, Checkers/Rally's has paid out $315,000 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)(10-11-2006)

    • Bugles and Books for the #43 at LMS: This weekend, Bobby Labonte, will be running the #43 Bugles Dodge at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Labonte has not finished worse than 17th at Lowe's Motor Speedway since 1999. Labonte continues the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories "Race for Books!" this weekend. Labonte has earned over 45,000 books so far this season. For every lap that Labonte completes the rest of the season, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories will donate 43 books to children in need through nonprofit partner First Book. You can log onto www.firstbook.org to see the Bookometer updated weekly.(Petty Racing PR)(10-11-2006)

    • #41 to carry Lysol decals at LMS: The Lysol logo will adorn the upper-rear quarter panels of the red and white #41 Target Dodge that Reed Sorenson this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Lysol Brand surface and air sanitizer products are manufactured and distributed by Reckitt Benckiser, No. 1 in household cleaning.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(10-11-2006)

    • Kahne to run blue scheme at LMS: Kasey Kahne will be running a special paint scheme this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway on his #9 Dodge Charger which will be painted with Blue Camouflage and Mopar’s signature “M” on the hood.(Clear!Blue PR), see an image on the #9 Team Schemes page.(10-11-2006)

    • Carhartt colors for the #17 at LMS: Matt Kenseth and the #17 team will be flying the Carhartt colors this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway for the third and final time in 2006.(Roush Racing PR), see an image on the #17 Team Schemes page.(10-11-2006)

    • Dale Jr. and Gordon featured in Wind Tunnel: SPEED expects the phones to light up on Sunday, Oct.22 as four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon co-hosts Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain at 9:00pm/et. Despain and Gordon's featured interview will be with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.(10-11-2006)

    • MWR announcement Tuesday? UPDATE Reutimann named #00 Driver: hearing that David Reutimann will be announced on Tuesday as the driver of the #00 Burger King/Dominos Pizza Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota for the 2007 season.(10-9-2006)
      UPDATE: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced today that current Truck Series driver [#17] David Reutimann completes the 2007 Nextel Cup Series lineup for the organization. Reutimann will become the full-time driver of the #00 Toyota Camry co-sponsored by Burger King Corporation and Domino’s Pizza in 2007. “David’s competitive spirit, proven on track performance and verve for racing made David our top choice for the #00 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Toyota,” said car owner Michael Waltrip. “Dale Jarrett and I both feel strongly that David is the ideal candidate to cap off our driver line up. Like my and Dale’s backgrounds, David appreciates coming from a deep-rooted and well respected racing heritage. It is my privilege to welcome him into the top NASCAR series. I know everyone at Domino’s and Burger King Corporation will be pleased with what David can do on and off the race track.” To become a Nextel Cup Series competitor always has been a dream of the Zephyrhills-Fla., native, whose family has a deep-rooted racing history and ironically has a last name synonymous with the “00” number. “In my wildest dreams I couldn’t come up with a scenario that would have put me driving a ‘00’ car especially with great sponsors like Burger King Corporation and Domino’s in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series,” Reutimann said. “I always thought how cool it would be to drive a car with my family number in the top series in the world, but what are the chances that would happen. It’s right here in front of me. My grandfather, my father, my uncle and my cousins have all raced a car with the ‘00’ number. It’s our family number and if you’re a Reutimann that’s the number you race. I can’t describe it. It’s just such a great feeling. It’s surreal and a thrill not only for me, but for my entire family.”
      Reutimann and Domino’s Pizza will kick off the 2007 season at Daytona International Speedway. Following the Daytona 500, Domino’s will continue as the primary sponsor of the #00 Toyota Camry through the May race at Darlington Raceway. A Domino’s paint scheme will also be carried on the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing entry in the August Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Domino’s will deliver its final five races during the Chase for the Nextel Cup Series championship. Domino’s welcomes Reutimann as he competes for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. "We're thrilled to welcome David into the Domino's family and to be a part of the team that is bringing him into the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series," said David Brandon, CEO of Domino's Pizza. "His unbridled passion, strong work ethic, and dedication to delivering his best performance each and every week reflects the core values of Domino's franchisees and our team members. We're looking forward to our mutual success in 2007."
      Reutimann and the #00 Burger King Toyota Camry will take to the track Memorial Day weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Concord, NC, and cap off the regular season under the lights at Richmond International Raceway. Five Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races, including the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will feature the Burger King paint scheme. Burger King Corporation is looking forward to having the rookie don their colors in Victory Lane. In addition to running full-time in the Nextel Cup Series, Reutimann will also pilot the #99 Aaron’s Dream Machine in the Busch Series and race the entire schedule.(Michael Waltrip Racing PR)(10-10-2006)

    • Final stage of the GM Racing Development at Nashville: The final stage of the three-stage GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, October 10-11, 2006 at Nashville Superspeedway (NSS). The 10 drivers invited to participate will be driving Richard Childress Racing (RCR) NASCAR Busch Series cars. The GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation program was designed to provide opportunities for both the drivers and the teams to connect if an opening exists in someone's driver roster. All Chevrolet teams have been invited to attend and observe the drivers throughout the three stages. GM Racing engineers along with Pratt-Miller staff members have been charged with accurately gathering data for review by Chevy team representatives. Of the 16 original drivers invited to Stages I and II, Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Lagano, Tim McCreadie and Jason Sarvis will be showcasing their talent before representatives of Chevy NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series teams.(GM Racing PR)(10-11-2006)


      News from October 10, 2006

    • Overnight Talladega TV ratings fall 6.5%: NBC's broadcast of Sunday's UAW-Ford 500 Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway drew an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.3 and a 9 market share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating was 6.5% lower than the 4.6/9 NBC earned overnight last year, when the Talladega race was run a week earlier, prior to the Kansas race.(SceneDaily.com), see past TV Ratings and news on my 2006 TV Ratings Page.(10-10-2006)

    • Why did Dale Jr. and Johnson finish where they did at Talladega? The field is frozen so the drivers won't race back to the flag. If you're involved in an accident and cannot maintain the speed of the field, then you will be passed, lapped and lose positions. You've got to be able to maintain speed. You can be involved in the wreck, but as long as you're maintaining pace-lap speed, you can hold your place. Earnhardt and Johnson could not maintain that speed. Even if they had picked up their speed after getting spun out, the cars that passed them would have been scored ahead of them.(Jeff Hammond/FoxSports)
      AND Although Earnhardt was still the leader when the caution flew, NASCAR made the right call and the finishing order stands, Kerry Tharpe, NASCAR's director of communications for competition, said Monday after conferring with NASCAR officials in Daytona. Tharp was at Talladega Monday for a testing session for NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow. Tharp said the caution flag flew "instantaneously" when the wreck began and the field was frozen at that point, but NASCAR rules require drivers to complete the lap to be credited with the lap. Earnhardt did that, he explained, but NASCAR rules also say that the driver must complete the lap "at a reasonable speed" and NASCAR officials had made a judgment call that Earnhardt had not done that.(Alabama Live)(10-10-2006)

    • Thomas named new crew chief for Hall of Fame Racing: Brandon Thomas will serve as crew chief of the #96 DLP HDTV Chevy driven by Tony Raines beginning with the Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway officials from Hall of Fame Racing announced today. Philippe Lopez, who has served as crew chief for the first 30 races of the season, will now concentrate full-time on his duties as competition director for Hall of Fame Racing. "We've had this plan in place since the beginning of the season," said Bill Saunders, managing partner of Hall of Fame Racing. "At some point in the near future we want to expand to two cars, move into a bigger shop and continue to put together an elite Nextel Cup team. Philippe was doing a fantastic job, not only serving as crew chief, but also as competition director. We're excited to bring Brandon in so that he can concentrate fully on being a crew chief and Philippe can concentrate solely on being competition director to further Hall of Fame Racing's growth." Thomas comes to Hall of Fame Racing from Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) where he's been employed since 2003. JGR supplies cars, engines and technical support to Hall of Fame Racing, which is owned by Hall of Fame NFL quarterbacks Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, as well as Saunders. Raines and Thomas will work together for the final six races of the 2006 season before gearing up for the 2007 season.(Hall of Fame Racing/True Speed Communication PR)(10-10-2006)

    • Rudd to run 16 races for Wyler in 2007? UPDATE: Ricky Rudd is on the verge of running a part-time schedule next season. David Wyler, president of Wyler Racing, told me [Dustin Long] Saturday at Talladega that provided the team can find sponsorship -- which he is confident they will -- Rudd will drive in 16 races for the Toyota team. Efforts to reach Rudd on Saturday were unsuccessful. Those 16 races would be events with NASCAR's car of tomorrow, a boxier car that is supposed to provide more driver safety and balance the competition by making the cars similar (think IROC). The car will race at such tracks as Richmond, Martinsville, Dover, Watkins Glen and Infineon -- places Rudd has won often in his career. Rudd is scheduled to drive for the team in a car of tomorrow test Monday at Talladega and also drive the car in a test at Homestead Oct. 16-18. Wyler says Rudd is ready to return based on a few visits to the team’s race shop.(HamptonRoads.com/Roanoke Times)(10-8-2006)
      UPDATE: Ricky Rudd might have had enough time out of a race car that he could get back into it for a partial schedule in 2007. Rudd tested a "car of tomorrow" Monday for [#46] Wyler Racing at Talladega Superspeedway. He could run the 16-race COT schedule for the team next season. "David [Wyler] wants to run a lot of the car-of-tomorrow events next year, and I guess Toyota is supporting them pretty good on the engineering side," Rudd said before the test session. "It sounds like something I would be interested in. I've got a lot of things that I'm thinking of and don't really know what I'm going to do next year. He's going to go racing if he can make it happen. "I said, 'Get everything put together and run it by me when you get the financial support to do it, and we'll go from there.'" Until he gets that, the 50-year-old Rudd says he isn't committed to the ride. He said he would like to have things done in the next few weeks. The car of tomorrow intrigues Rudd, as does the possibility of working with veteran crew chief Tony Furr. Rudd said working with the new car, Toyota and limited schedule is what makes the Wyler offer attractive. As far as other offers go, Rudd said he doesn't want to do a full schedule. He said he has not talked with his former employer, Robert Yates Racing, about driving the #88 car next season. "They've called me. I've called them back, and we missed each other," Rudd said. "[It was] about 30 days ago. We actually have never had a conversation. ... It's really confusing. I'm trying to figure out what I want to do really. The longer I've been away from it ..., I'm sort of detoxing a little bit."(SceneDaily.com)(10-10-2006)

    • Dale Earnhardt inducted into Automotive Hall of Fame: Black ties, gowns and some of the biggest names in the automotive business recently gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Detroit for a very special reason. Seven people were inducted into this year's Automotive Hall of Fame; and Dale Earnhardt was one of them. Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR Cup champion, was honored for his contributions to the automotive business on and off the race track. With 76 Cup victories to his credit, Earnhardt was also recognized for the work he did for Chevrolet and Ford. In addition to garnering wins and notoriety behind the wheel of the #3 Chevrolet, he also contributed to the automotive business by owning a Chevrolet dealership in Newton, NC. Also honored were Bill France, Jr., NASCAR, Wayne Huizenga, founder of AutoNation; Nuccio Bertone, Italian designer; Shojiro Ishibashi, founder of Bridgestone Corporation; Arjay Miller, Ford Motor Co. and Bruno Sacco, Mercedes-Benz designer. Teresa Earnhardt, President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., accepted the award on Dale's behalf. "Dale didn't just race cars, he loved everything about cars - from their raw steel cage, to their performance," Ms Earnhardt said. "His need for speed, and championship drive, was a winning combination with American manufacturers Chevrolet and Ford. He was so very proud to wear the Chevy Bowtie emblem for all seven of his NASCAR Cup championships. He was also proud of the relationships he built with many of the people in the automotive business. Dale's legendary achievements continue to inspire the sport's new competitors and fans alike. Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the company we founded, continues his championship drive." In 2002, Ms. Earnhardt announced the Dale Earnhardt Foundation to continue the ideals and beliefs Dale carried with him during his lifetime.(DEI PR)(10-10-2006)

    • Bruton Smith Assigns Extra Security to Assist Brian Vickers during Bank of America 500 Week: In the aftermath of the controversial finish Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, Lowe's Motor Speedway Chairman Bruton Smith has assigned extra security for driver Brian Vickers during this week's Bank of America 500 activities at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Monday, the speedway ticket office was inundated with calls from race fans [idiots?] angry about the finish in which Vickers initiated a wreck that took out race leader Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and second-place Jimmie Johnson on the final lap. "We want to make sure Brian has an uninterrupted weekend here and that he is able focus on his driving duties," Smith said. "We will offer security escorts in and out of the speedway and anywhere he feels he needs our assistance. We've done this in the past as well, I think the last time was for Rusty (Wallace) when he knocked Darrell (Waltrip) out of the way to win the all-star race back in 1989. We added security at his house and track the week of the Coca-Cola 600." Tickets are still available for all events and can be purchased by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.(LMS PR)(10-10-2006)

    • Talladega COT test UPDATE 2, IMAGES: October 9th at Talladega Superspeedway, so far scheduled drivers are #10-Riggs, #66-Green, Ricky Rudd for Wyler Racing, #16-Biffle, #99-Edwards, #01-Nemechek, #42-Juan Montoya, #07-Bowyer, #48-Johnson, Mike Skinner for Red Bull Racing, Kerry Earnhardt for DEI and NASCAR's Brett Bodine. Supposedly 12/14 teams/drivers will test the COT [Car of Tomorrow].(10-4/6-2006)
      UPDATE: NASCAR plans to bring eight sets of restrictor plates, and some could have holes as big as 1-inch in diameter (the current holes are 57/64-inch in diameter), when teams test the "car of tomorrow" Monday [Oct 9th] at Talladega Superspeedway. By instituting a gear rule for restrictor-plate engines (there is no current gear rule) and utilizing the car of tomorrow's increased drag, NASCAR could allow more air to flow through the engines. The first restrictor-plate car of tomorrow race is scheduled for October 2007 at Talladega. "Because it is different than our downforce tests which we've done, we're going to go [and ask teams] to put this plate on with this gear," NASCAR Director of Cost Research Brett Bodine said. "We're going to be able to zero in pretty quick on the package." Ten teams plan on attending the test at Talladega: Richard Childress Racing (Clint Bowyer), Roush Racing (Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray), Hendrick Motorsports (Jimmie Johnson), Evernham Motorsports (Scott Riggs), MB2 Motorsports (Joe Nemechek), Haas CNC Racing (Jeff Green), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (Kerry Earnhardt), Team Red Bull (Mike Skinner), Wyler Racing (Ricky Rudd) and Chip Ganassi Racing (Juan Pablo Montoya). Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing South, Robert Yates Racing and Petty Enterprises are among the teams planning on skipping the test.(SceneDaily.com)(10-7-2006)
      UPDATE: Impressions of the COT:
      Greg Biffle: "I thought it would drive different or feel different. It looks different. It looks like you could still get in and out of the car with the window net up. It has a big opening that kind of messes with you a little bit. There are not frills about it. It's really the same as yesterday, or really feels like it. It started out really slow. They've obviously put a bigger and bigger restrictor plate on it. They've done a few things to make a little bit of speed. But that's about it, especially by ourselves. We might learn a little bit more when we get out there with a group, what they drive like around each other. I have driven the trucks and I am sure it is just going to be a lot like that."
      Jamie McMurray: "The racetrack with the repaving job has so much grip, I don't know that we had to put tires on. Today these cars would drive better even if the racetrack was slick because they have such bigger fenders and with the splitter on the front, they are going to have more downforce. I am like Greg, they are pretty slow. My first lap out on the track today was five seconds a lap slower than what we ran yesterday. They have had to give us bigger plates and it is getting better but they are still pretty slow. So hopefully they'll give us some more speed where it is a little more fun to drive."(TSS PR)
      AND Thirteen teams worked on "cars of tomorrow" Monday morning as they began a test session at Talladega Superspeedway. Using restrictor plates with holes of 15/16ths of an inch in diameter (1/16th bigger than what was used in the Nextel Cup race Sunday at Talladega), drivers took to the track for their first restrictor-plate test of the new cars since Daytona in January. Those testing were Jimme Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports), Ricky Rudd (#46-Wyler Racing), Dave Blaney/Michael Waltrip (Michael Waltrip Racing), Jeff Green (Haas CNC Racing), Mike Skinner (Team Red Bull), Joe Nemechek (MB2 Motorsports), Juan Pablo Montoya (Chip Ganassi Racing), Scott Riggs (Evernham Motorsports), Kerry Earnhardt (Dale Earnhardt Inc.), Clint Bowyer (Richard Childress Racing), Carl Edwards (Roush Racing), Greg Biffle (Roush) and Jamie McMurray (Roush).(SceneDaily.com)(10-9-2006)
      UPDATE 2: NASCAR searched for the right combination of restrictor plates and gear ratios during the one-day "car of tomorrow" (COT) test Monday at Talladega Superspeedway as they went from a plate with holes of 15/16ths of an inch in diameter to 1-inch versions. Teams raced with a seventh-eighths inch plate Sunday at Talladega. Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby said the engines are much more like an engine used at Lowe's Motor Speedway rather than a highly specialized restrictor-plate engine currently used at a restrictor-plate track such as Talladega. There had been no gear rule for restrictor-plate engines, but there will be one with the car of tomorrow. Darby confirmed the rear wings will be made by Crawford Composites and distributed by NASCAR. The front splitter, an adjustable shelf that sits underneath the front of the car, had been made of wood during earlier tests, but NASCAR has settled on a durable composite fiber that won't splinter as much as wood or carbon fiber if it drags the ground. Thirteen cars took to the track for the test, which included single-car runs in the morning and early afternoons before heading into a drafting session. Teams also worked with bump stops, a rubber bumper on the shocks, which was outlawed years ago. McMurray said it will be cheaper and easier for teams to use different bump stops than the various expensive coil-binding spring packages used to manage handling.(SceneDaily.com)
      IMAGES: see some images of the COT on my COT Image Page and mire images at RacingOne.(10-10-2006)


      News from October 9, 2006

    • Red Bull to debut at LMS UPDATE: Team Red Bull will make its racing debut next weekend with Bill Elliott at the wheel and its research and development manager Randy Cox serving as crew chief at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Cox, who most recently was a crew chief at ppc Racing and has previously worked with Chip Ganassi Racing, will serve as crew chief for the three races that Elliott will drive this year, said TRB General Manager Marty Gaunt while at Talladega Superspeedway. The car will be a Dodge as the team begins a three-race schedule to get ready for its Toyota debut in 2007. Brian Vickers will drive the #83 car next year with his teammate still to be announced. Gaunt said he hopes to have the second driver named within 30 days. "Everybody right now is in the candidate pool," Gaunt said. "We haven't found a second driver. We are still looking at everybody who is available out there who we can put in it. We haven't ruled anybody out as of yet."(SceneDaily.com)(10-7-2006)
      UPDATE: There's a new car on the track and NASCAR legend Bill Elliott is behind the wheel. Elliott will be driving the Victory Junction Gang #83 Dodge at the Bank of America 500 at Lowes Motor Speedway from October 12-14. Running the #83 entry is Team Red Bull, which is entering its first of three 2006 Nextel Cup races in preparation for the 2007 season. In addition to Elliott's on-track driving duties, he'll serve as the Grand Marshall at this year's Ride to Victory IV, which takes place on Sunday, October 15. "There's no better way to raise awareness and funds for the Victory Junction Gang than through two of my passions - racing and riding," said Elliott, who will be make his 754th start. Team Red Bull, together with Elliott, plans to donate the team's Charlotte race winnings and the #83 car and Elliott's driver suit for auction. The auction will take place in November and Information can be found at www.nascar.com/foundation. On Sunday, October 15, the day following the Charlotte night race, Elliott leads the fourth annual Ride to Victory charity motorcycle ride that also benefits the Victory Junction Gang. The ride originates in Gastonia, NC, makes a pit stop in Mooresville for a tour of Team Red Bull race shop, then crosses the finish line at Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, NC. The ride will cover just over 100 miles and the event is $85 per person. All proceeds will benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp. Fans that will be coming in for the weekend are invited and encouraged to bring their bikes and join the Ride to Victory IV. Registration for the ride can be done online at www.kylepettycharityride.com(VJGC PR)(10-9-2006)

    • MB2 to Ford? Martin part owner? UPDATE denied The LTN Radio Network reported today [Oct 8th] that Mark Martin's long-term plans with MB2 Motorsports will include at least part ownership of the team. This ownership, combined with Martin's long-term relationship with Ford, means the 3-car team will change to the "blue-oval" before Daytona 2007. The team will also include 2 Busch cars and 2 late models for a driver development program.(LTN Radio Network)(10-8-2006)
      UPDATE: Bobby Ginn, Principal Owner of MB2 Motorsports talked with the media:
      ON THE JAYSKI RUMOR ABOUT MOVING TO FORD:[um, wasn't a Jayski rumor..but]
      "No, I don't think so. I have this theory that if you haven't heard a good rumor by noon, just start one. And around here, it's pretty easy to do something. Somebody says something and somebody gets it started and it's pretty easy to spread. But we're a Chevrolet team."
      DO YOU HAVE A SPONSOR FOR YOUR THIRD CAR OR IS THAT GOING TO BE YOUR COMPANY?
      "If we don't have a full sponsors, it'll be the company."
      HAVE YOU DECIDED ON A TEAM NAME YET? "It's going to be Ginn Racing next year. When we did it, NASCAR asked us not to change the name in mid-season, and that was fine. We're going to market it under the brand we market our real estate and hospitality operations under."
      WHAT'S THE STATUS OF THE #14 NEXT YEAR?
      "I think Waste Management is back. And we've got a couple of others that are close."
      IS THERE ANY TRUTH TO THE REPORT THAT YOU GUYS ARE LOOKING AT, OR HAVE ALREADY SIGNED A DEAL TO GO TO FORD NEXT YEAR AND THAT MARK MARTIN IS BUYING INTO PART OF THIS TEAM? "No."
      IS MARK MARTIN GOING TO HAVE ANY OWNERSHIP IN THE COMPANY?"#Mark wants to drive race cars. You go talk to him and he'll tell you. He doesn't want to worry about sponsors or endorsements or merchandise. He wants to drive race cars and help us build a race car team. That was the way we were able to accommodate him. He's going to be a very important part of it - along with Sterling and Joe. We've got veteran drivers that have won a lot of races and have been around the track for a long time. We're going to use those guys to help us build the organization."(GM Racing PR)(10-9-2006)

    • Commercial breakdown for the UAW-Ford 500: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown from the race on Sunday afternoon:
      Total number of commercials: 151
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 75
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 17
      Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 2:20 P.M.
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:55 P.M.
      Total minutes: 215
      Minutes of race broadcast: 150
      Minutes of commercials: 65
      see full report at CawsnJaws.com.(10-9-2006)

    • Reiser on the move at Roush? Robbie Reiser, who has been #17-Matt Kenseth's crew chief since his debut in 1999, laughed over talk that he could become a general manager at Roush Racing. Not that he wouldn't want the job, but he knows that decision belongs to Jack Roush. "That's Matt Kenseth-Greg Biffle talking in the media program," Reiser said Oct. 8. "I've been hired to be a crew chief and that's what I do. That's a question you need to ask Jack. I can't answer that." Reiser won the Cup title in 2003 with Kenseth.(SceneDaily.com)
      AND Robbie Reiser could have a new role at Roush Racing in 2007, according to several drivers within the organization. It has been discussed that Reiser, who has been the crew chief for 2003 Nextel Cup champion Matt Kenseth since 1998, take on general manager position over all the teams. Reiser said that was a question for team owner Jack Roush, but admitted he is interested in such a position. Roush declined to comment.(NASCAR.com)(10-9-2006)



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