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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    OCTOBER 16-22, 2006





      News from October 22, 2006

    • #88 RYR team close to a sponsor deal: Doug Yates, the co-owner of Robert Yates Racing, said he's "really close'' to a sponsorship deal for the #88 next season. There have been reports that RYR might field only one car in 2007, but Yates said the plan is to remain a two-car team.(NASCAR.com)(10-22-22006)

    • Ward's plans UPDATE 2: Ward Burton told Sirius Speedway (MRN/Sirius Satellite Radio) Monday that there is still an outside chance that he might team-up with Robert Yates Racing in the future, but he now believes the team is looking elsewhere for a driver. "Teams need economic support to race," he said. "If Robert Yates Racing aligned itself with someone like me -- an older driver -- they could lose an opportunity elsewhere that they don't know about yet. It takes a concerted effort by the driver, the team and its marketing department to make a sponsorship deal happen, and I guess I don't feel like that concerted effort has been made. Nothing against Robert and Doug Yates. They're in a situation that they haven't been in before, and it's foreign to them." Burton said there is a possibility that this weekend's one-off ride with Morgan-McClure Racing could turn into something more long-term, but stressed that talks are still at a very early stage.(Sirius Speedway)(10-17-2006)
      UPDATE: Ward Burton, a five-time Nextel Cup winner who hasn't raced since the fall of 2004 at Phoenix, will return this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Burton will drive the #4 Chevy for Morgan-McClure Motorsports through the end of the season and is a candidate to drive the car full-time next year.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-20-2006)
      UPDATE 2 - Ward NOT signed to run more races with #4, but could be; #4 has sponsor for 2007: Ward Burton hasn't been offered a deal for next season to drive the #4 Chevrolet that he will drive in Sunday's race, but he is the front-runner. "We're looking awfully hard at him,'' said car owner Larry McClure. "From the looks of the tremendous popularity of Ward here, it's hard to discount what he's worth.'' McClure said he's agreed to a sponsorship deal for the #4 next season and is trying to get a deal to start a second team.(NASCAR.com)(10-22-2006)

    • Kenny Wallace plans to run full-time in Cup and Busch in 2007 UPDATE 2: From kennywallace.com: Note to Fans – “Howdy all, I would just like to let you all know that everything with Kenny Wallace is still great.  I will drive the #78 car next year full time in Cup, the #22 next year full time in Busch and still do my normal SpeedTV duties.  I will say the phone has been very busy today with offers of full time BGN [Busch] and Cup ride offers, but I am more then happy with my current teams and am glad I will be running a full season with each.   Everything is good people!   And thanks for everything, you are the best fans in racin.   See you at the track!” AND "Andy O'Hara from PPC called me last night to inform me that AutoZone [Wallace's Busch Series sponsor] will not be returning next year on any race car full time. AutoZone felt that it was best if their advertising budget was best spent on commercial spots instead of on a race car."(kennywallace.com)(8-16-2006)
      UPDATE: Wallace and crew chief Joe Garone announced on SPEED's NASCAR Live that Wallace has signed with the #78 Furniture Row team for two years to run full-time in Nextel Cup starting in 2007.(10-21-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Furniture Row Racing announced that NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace will be driving for Furniture Row Racing’s Nextel Cup program for two consecutive seasons commencing in 2007. Wallace will fulfill his Busch series commitment with ppc Racing at the conclusion of the 2006 season. He will shift his focus to the Furniture Row Cup program to assist with growth and development for the next two years.( businesswire.com)(10-22-2006)

    • Toyota All-Star Showdown this weekend UPDATE 2: For the fourth consecutive year, the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown returns to Irwindale Speedway. The top 15 drivers from the Busch East Series and the AutoZone West Series will compete head-to-head. Tickets for all Irwindale Speedway events including the October 20-21 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown are available for purchase at the Speedway ticket office, by calling (626) 358-1100 and online at www.irwindalespeedway.com. Speed will air qualifying and the races, see my TV Listings page [or the listings on the right side of this page] for air times of qualifying and the race.(10-20-2006)
      UPDATE: Eddy McKean and Ryan Lawler captured NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division qualifying races Friday on opening night of the $500,000 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway, while Brian Ickler and Andrew Myers were victorious in the NASCAR Grand National Division qualifying events. The four Friday night winners will make up the front rows of Saturday night’s feature races. Saturday’s Toyota All-Star Showdown main event begins with the 125-lap AutoZone Elite Division race, followed by the 150-lap Grand National Division feature. The entire program will be telecast live by SPEED, starting at 7:00pm/pt (10:00pm/et)(NASCAR PR).(10-21-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Matt Kobyluck shed the bridesmaid tag in the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown Saturday night, scoring a hard-fought victory in the NASCAR Grand National Division feature event while Tim Schendel scored the win in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division event of the $500,000 “super bowl of short track racing” at Irwindale Speedway. More info and results at nascarregionalracing.com and racingwest.com.(10-22-2006)

    • Johnson wins at Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson won the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 5th win of the 2006 season and 23rd of his career [tied for 21st overall with Ricky Rudd]. Johnson led the most laps with 245. #11-Denny Hamlin finished 2nd, followed by #43-Bobby Labonte, #20-Tony Stewart and #24-Jeff Gordon. Rounding out the top-10 were #42-Mears, #9-Kahne, #66-Green, #29-Harvick and #45-Petty. Points leader coming in to the race, #31-Jeff Burton, lost an engine and finished 42nd, falling to 5th in points. #17-Matt Kenseth finished 11th [the highest finishing Ford driver] and takes over the points lead, 36 points over #29-Harvick. The top-8 drivers in the points standings are separated by 99 points. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a late race run-in with #9-Kasey Kahne spun and finished 22nd, Earnhardt Jr. took blame for the spin. There were 18 cautions for 107 laps and 5 drivers lead the race with 16 lead changes.
      Race Results on my Martinsville Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Martinsville page
      Race Rundown: see my Martinsville Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(10-22-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Martinsville [32 of 36 races]:
      #17-Matt Kenseth 5848
      #29-Kevin Harvick 5812 -36
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 5807 -41
      #11-Denny Hamlin 5801 -47
      #31-Jeff Burton 5800 -48
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5754 -94
      #6-Mark Martin 5752 -96
      #9-Kasey Kahne 5749 -99
      #24-Jeff Gordon 5707 -141
      #5-Kyle Busch 5677 -171
      and fighting for 11th
      #20-Tony Stewart in 11th 4108 points
      #99-Carl Edwards -246 out of 11th
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(10-22-2006)

    • Unofficial "Classic" Points Standings
      ...the old way, not the Chase after Martinsville:
      1) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4583
      2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4490, 93
      3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 4253, 330
      4) #11-Denny Hamlin, 4119, 464
      5) #20-Tony Stewart, 4108, 475
      6) #31-Jeff Burton, 4107, 476
      7) #6-Mark Martin, 4068, 515
      8) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 4067, 516
      9) #5-Kyle Busch, 4066, 517
      10) #9-Kasey Kahne, 4063, 520
      11) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4018, 565
      12) #99-Carl Edwards, 3862, 721
      (10-22-2006)

    • Rumblings - Martinsville: #48-Jimmie Johnson survived a six lap shootout (and a rear-bumper tatooing from Denny Hamlin) today to take the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway for his 5th win of 2006. Career victory #23 moves Johnson into a tie with Ricky Rudd for 25th on the all-time win list. This was JJ's second victory at Martinsville (we all remember the first just two years ago), and was worth $191,886 from the over $4.8M in posted awards. This was also win #149 for Hendrick Motorsports.
      #11-Denny Hamlin (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Pocono in July.
      #43-Bobby Labonte (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd at New Hampshire in July of 2005. This was the best finish for the #43 car since John Andretti was runner-up at Bristol in March of 2001!
      #45-Kyle Petty (10th) had his best finish since he was 8th at Atlanta in March. This was the first time since Bristol in April of 1999 that both Petty Enterprise cars scored a Top-10 in the same race!
      #4-Ward Burton (26th) had his best finish since he was 19th at Lowe's in October of 2004 (only four races).
      #78-Kenny Wallace (29th) had his best finish since he was 25th at Richmond in May.
      STREAKIN....Bobby Labonte has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Bobby Labonte (+27), followed by Kasey Kahne (+25) and Dale Jarrett (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ken Schrader (-31), followed by Dave Blaney (-27) and Kurt Busch (-26).
      In "Classic" Points today Denny Hamlin (9th to 4th) was the big gainer today, while six drivers in the Top-25 fell two spots. In "Chase" Points it can't get much tighter. Jeff Burton's troubles brought hope to a handful of drivers. Matt Kenseth is the new leader by 36 over Kevin Harvick while the Top-8 are separated by just 99 markers. Jimmie Johnson moved from 7th to 3rd while Burton fell all the way to 5th.(Stockcarfans.com)(10-22-2006)

    • Qualifying Notes - Martinsville:
      • Jimmie Johnson won the 2006 SUBWAY 500 at Martinsville Speedway, scoring his 23rd career Nextel Cup victory in his 179th career start. Johnson climbed from seventh to third in the Championship standings, 41 points behind first-place Matt Kenseth
      • Johnson moved into a tie for 25th on NASCAR’s All-Time win list, tying Ricky Rudd who also won 23 races.
      • This was Johnson’s fifth victory in 2006. He also won races at Daytona, Las Vegas, Talladega and Indianapolis.
      • Johnson became the fourth Chase driver to post a victory in the first six races of the Chase.
      • Johnson scored his second victory in 10 races at Martinsville. Johnson last won at Martinsville in October 2004.
      • Johnson scored his 20th top-10 finish in 2006, the most among all drivers this season. It marked his ninth straight top-10 finish at Martinsville. Johnson finished 35th in his first race at Martinsville, his only DNF and only finish outside the top-10.
      • Johnson has been ranked among the top 10 for 101 consecutive races.
      • Johnson’s victory today was the 20th Chevrolet victory in 32 races in 2006.
      • Johnson won the race from the ninth-place starting position. Both races at Martinsville in 2006 were won from a top 10 starting position.
      • Johnson led the most laps for the second time in 2006 and first time since Kansas, three races ago. Johnson led seven times for 245 of the 500 laps raced.
      • Race winner Johnson led the final 56 laps in the 2006 SUBWAY 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
      • This was team owner Rick Hendrick’s 149th Nextel Cup victory. Hendrick has scored nine victories
      in 2006. Those victories were scored by Jimmie Johnson (five), Jeff Gordon (two), Kyle Busch (one) and Brian Vickers (one).
      • It is Hendrick’s 14th victory at Martinsville, ranking second among all car owners.
      Chase Notes
      • Jeff Burton (42nd) dropped from first to fifth in the point standings marking the first time that the point lead changed in the second-half of the Chase since the program’s inception in 2004.
      • Five of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10.
      • Nine of the 10 of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Martinsville.
      • There have been five changes in the second-place points position in the six races in the Chase.
      • The top five in points are separated by just 48 points.
      • Four of the six races in the Chase have been won by Chase drivers
      • Matt Kenseth is the only driver to score five top-15 finishes in the six Chase races.
      • Jeff Burton is the only Chase driver to score four top-10 finishes in the six races in the Chase.
      • Matt Kenseth, Jeff Burton, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have each led in four of the six races in the Chase.
      • Jimmie Johnson is the only Chase driver to post five top-10 starts in the six races in the Chase.
      Notebook Items
      • Denny Hamlin (second) scored his 16th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his second top-10 finish in three races at Martinsville. He was the highest finishing rookie for the 15th time in 2006.
      • Bobby Labonte (third) scored his fourth top-10 finish in the last five races and his eighth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his 13th top-10 finish in 28 races at Martinsville. Labonte and teammate Kyle Petty (10th) posted the first top-10s in the same race for Petty Enterprises since Phoenix November 1999: Kyle Petty (seventh) and John Andretti (eighth). Labonte scored
      • Tony Stewart (fourth) scored his 17th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his ninth top-10 finish in 16 races at Martinsville. He remained 11th in the point standings. He has a 246-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards.
      • Jeff Gordon (fifth) scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006. It is his eighth straight top-10 finish at Martinsville.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(10-22-2006)


      News from October 21, 2006

    • Congrats: Richmond International Raceway is proud to announce its latest addition to the family. Gavin David Green, son of Keith Green, Director of Public Relations and wife Donna, joined the Richmond International Raceway family Thursday, October 19, 2006 at 8:27 p.m. Gavin weighed in at 7 lbs. 15 oz. and was 21 inches long. Mom, dad and baby are all doing well. Well-wishes can be sent to Richmond International Raceway at 600 E. Laburnum Avenue, Richmond, VA 23222.(RIR PR)(10-21-2006)

    • Nextel Cup going to unleaded fuel in 2007: NASCAR will make the transition to unleaded fuel one year earlier than previously announced as it plans to have all three series run almost the entire 2007 season on unleaded fuel. The lone exception, involving the Nextel Cup Series, will be the season-opening Daytona 500. Crew chiefs said Friday at Martinsville Speedway they were informed of the decision this week, and a NASCAR official confirmed the move.(SceneDaily.com)(10-21-2006)

    • COT to debut at Bud Shootout? UPDATE: 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)
      UPDATE: NASCAR says it won't run the car of tomorrow at Talladega next spring. Some teams had wanted it becuase they will have to build a special car for the track with its new surface. Teams figured might as well make it the car of tomorrow since that car will be used at Talladega in the fall. NASCAR said no. Series officials say they told teams they would run 16 COT races, not 17 and they're keeping to that.(Virginian Pilot)(10-21-2006)

    • Martinsville Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the same tire combination that Goodyear brought to Martinsville for the NASCAR Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series races in April and the Busch Series race in July . . . teams in both series will run the same tire codes again this weekend, though the Nextel Cup tires will be branded "Goodyear Eagle" and the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . .this is the only track on which NASCAR teams will run this combination of left- and right-side tires this season . . . however, this right-side code (D-4044) is run on all four tire positions on NASCAR road courses in 2006 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals less than one mile in length, teams will not run liners in their tires at Martinsville. Estimated Pit Window every 145-155 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full notes Martinville Race Info Page.(10-21-2006)

    • Martinsville Rookie Notes: #40-David Stremme was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the October 14 Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Stremme finished 15th and took top rookie honors for the first time this season. #11-Denny Hamlin scored a 28th-place finish at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Hamlin is sixth in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings, 137 points behind leader Jeff Burton. He is 31 behind fifth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. and leads seventh-place Jimmie Johnson by nine points. Hamlin leads #07-Clint Bowyer by 44 points (266-222) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the October 22 Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 31 races this season. See full notes, standings, history on my Rookies Page.(10-21-2006)


      News from October 20, 2006

    • Elliott switches teams for Atlanta; Allmendinger in Red Bull ride: Bill Elliott's plans to run in the Bass Pro Shops 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway next week with a special paint scheme commemorating his 30 years of racing at his home track have been scrapped, but he'll race in front of the home folks anyway. Elliott said the Red Bull team that was set to field his car asked him to step aside so rookie A.J. Allmendinger could drive. Elliott agreed, then struck a deal to drive the #37 Dodge R&J Racing. "But the key is that I'll be racing, and that I don't let down the fans who have already bought tickets," Elliott said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(10-20-2006)

    • New Jarrett/UPS Car Number to be announced UPDATE 2 will be #44, see images: What number will Dale Jarrett’s UPS Toyota Camry carry during the 2007 Nextel Cup Series season? That question will be answered Friday, October 20th at 10:00am/et, on the UPS Racing web site, www.racing.ups.com. The UPS Racing program will have a new home, new manufacturer and new look for the 2007 season. It was announced in July that UPS will join driver Dale Jarrett at Michael Waltrip Racing, adorning the hood of a Nextel Cup Series Toyota Camry beginning at Daytona International Speedway in February. The number of that car, along with the paint scheme, will be unveiled at www.racing.ups.com this Friday.(PR), rumored car numbers are #44 and #50.(10-19-2006)
      UPDATE: the number will be #44 and some images have filtered out. To see images of the scheme, see my 2007 Cup Schemes page.(10-20-2006)
      UPDATE 2: A new team, a new manufacturer and a new car number equate to a fresh new look for UPS Racing in 2007. The upcoming season of competition in the Nextel Cup Series will be the start of a new chapter in the book of UPS Racing and driver Dale Jarrett. The #44 UPS Toyota Camry will debut in the Budweiser Shootout in February. The car will break out with a splash with a new paint scheme designed for the 2007 season and UPS's maiden voyage with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR). The most obvious change is the new number - #44 - adorning Dale Jarrett's UPS ride. In most cases, a new team means a new number. In this case, the management of MWR wished to create symmetry with its three cars, as Jarrett's teammates will compete with double digit numbers as well. Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 NAPA Camry and Nextel Cup Series rookie contender David Reutimann will drive the #00 car sponsored by Domino's and Burger King. Present on the UPS Camry are the everlasting colors of brown, white and gold as well as the now familiar red and orange that have come to be a part of the UPS paint schemes during the course of the last couple NASCAR seasons. The design features lightning bolts that start at the nose of the car, jolt along the passenger and driver sides of the car and continue to the rear quarter panels. The lightning bolts stretch from the inside corner of each headlight sticker and continue beyond the wheel well on both sides of the car. A total of four lightning bolts hug the sides of the UPS Camry - each a different color of gold, red, brown and orange. The #44 is planted at the forefront of the lightning bolts in the same UPS orange color used in the orange lightning bolt. The result is an eye-catching transition of color that creates the illusion of speed. And speed on the track is just what Dale Jarrett hopes to generate in his #44 UPS Toyota Camry in 2007.(UPS Site), to see images of the scheme, see my 2007 Cup Schemes page.(10-20-2006)
    • To the Back: #10-Scott Riggs [was to start 17th] lost and engine just as the first Saturday practice started for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway, then just into Happy Hour/Final practice, #78-Kenny Wallace [was to start 40th] lost an engine and the practice was halted to check and clean the track. Both will change engines and have to fall to the rear of the field on Sunday before the start of the race.(10-21-2006)

    • Kurt Busch wins pole at Martinsville: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser Pole for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway with a speed of 97.568mph for his 6th pole of 2006 and 9th of his career. Starting on the outside pole is #24-Jeff Gordon followed by #11-Denny Hamlin, #12-Ryan Newman, #20-Tony Stewart, #22-Dave Blaney, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #66-Jeff Green, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #21-Ken Schrader. #4-Ward Burton qualified for his first race since 2004 and will start 35th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #45-Petty, #32-Kvapil, #55-Waltrip, #4-Burton, #78-Wallace, #06-Ragan, #34-Lepage and #72-Skinner. Missing the race were: , #49-Bliss, #00-Sadler, #61-Chaffin, #89-Shepherd, #27-Christopher, #74-Cope and #30-Barrett. See the qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression on the Martinsville Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(10-20-2006)

    • Where do the 10 Chasers Start at Martinsville [by current points standings]:
      #31-Jeff Burton starts 28th
      #17-Matt Kenseth 20th
      #29-Kevin Harvick 12th
      #6-Mark Martin 25th
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 7th
      #11-Denny Hamlin 3rd
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 9th
      #9-Kasey Kahne 32nd
      #5-Kyle Busch 15th
      #24-Jeff Gordon 2nd
      (10-20-2006)

    • Qualifying Martinsville - Ramblings: Kurt Busch edged out Jeff Gordon for the pole today at Martinsville Speedway and he'll lead 'em to the green for Sunday's Subway 500....the sixth race of the "Chase" and the only short-track in the mix. Busch toured the half-mile in 19.408 sec (97.568 ) for his sixth Bud Pole of the season and 9th of his Nextel Cup career. He now tops Kasey Kahne in poles this season by one. Maybe he can make his crew chief a loan....
      Dave Blaney (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 5th at Atlanta last October.
      Jeff Green (8th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 4th at Texas in April.
      Tony Raines (11th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at Rockingham (where?) in November of 2003!
      And, Welcome Back Ward Burton (35th). This is his first start since Phoenix in November of 2004 when he qualified 39th and finished 40th.
      STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 4 Top-10 starts in a row.
      We may not have the "big one" here, but there are a few of the "Chasers" who have no love for a shorty like this one. After this week, it's cookie-cutter time.....and you can bet they're looking forward to that.(StockCarFans.com)(10-20-2006)

    • Martinsville Qualifying Notes:
      • Kurt Busch won the Nextel Cup Series Bud Pole for the Subway 500, lapping Martinsville Speedway in 19.408 seconds at 97.568 mph. Tony Stewart holds the track-qualifying record of 19.306 seconds/98.083 mph, set Oct. 21, 2005.
      • This is Busch’s ninth career Bud Pole in 216 Nextel Cup Series races.
      • This is his sixth Bud Pole and 22nd top-10 start in 2006 – both Series highs.
      • This is Busch’s first Bud Pole and fifth top-10 start in 13 Nextel Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. He is the 53rd different Bud Pole winner at Martinsville.
      • Busch became the sixth different Bud Pole winner in the last six races at Martinsville Speedway.
      • Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 19.446 seconds/97.377 mph – and will join Busch on the front row for the Subway 500. Gordon has 19 top-10 starts in 28 races at Martinsville.
      • This is the 15th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has 11 Bud Poles and Ford has five. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
      • Denny Hamlin (third) started fifth at Martinsville for this race in 2005 and 41st this past April, his only races here. • Ryan Newman (fourth) has started in the top-10 in all 10 of his races at Martinsville.
      • Tony Stewart (fifth) has nine top-10 starts in 16 Martinsville races.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(10-20-2006)

    • Charlotte Final TV ratings drop 17.3% NBC's broadcast of last Saturday night's Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.2 and an 8 market share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 17.3% lower than the fall Charlotte race earned in 2005.(SceneDaily.com), see past TV Ratings news and the chart for the season on the TV Ratings Page.(10-20-2006)

    • Brewco to attempt Homestead with Atwood: Brewco Motorsports, in cooperation with Stanton Barrett Motorsports, will attempt to field a #95 Ford for Casey Atwood in the Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway next month. "Every year we've said we're going to run 10 races," Brewco Motorsports President Todd Wilkerson said Thursday. "With all these Cup drivers getting the extra practice, we felt it was a good time [to enter]." Wilkerson said the team is working on putting together a sponsorship package for 10 races next season and has had very preliminary discussions with Barrett about trying to team up to field a car throughout the entire 2007 season. The team, which will enter a Ford, will have sponsorship from one of Kleenex's brands for the Homestead race. Atwood, who replaced David Green in the #27 Busch Series Ford last month, will drive the remainder of the Busch races this season and the Cup race at Homestead, Wilkerson said. "We haven't made a 100% decision on next year," Wilkerson said. "We don't have to decide right now, so we're not going to." Atwood tested at Homestead earlier this week and ran well. Shawn Parker will oversee the program, but Busch Series crew chiefs Newt Moore and Stewart Cooper also will play pivotal roles in the setup and on race day, Wilkerson said.(SceneDaily.com)(10-20-2006)

    • SPEED reporter suspended; apologizes for remarks: SPEED officials have confirmed that reporter Ray Dunlap has been suspended one race for inappropriate on-air remarks. Dunlap has been a pit reporter for Craftsman Truck Series races at the network since 2004. Dunlap will not appear on during Saturday's broadcast of the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. The remarks were made during a taping of the network's show "Trading Paint." It was reported that Dunlap made disparaging remarks toward Hispanics when he and Cup driver Michael Waltrip were talking about minority interest in the sport during the show, which was taped. "As a guest on 'Trading Paint,' you try to be edgy, controversial and entertaining," Dunlap said in an e-mail statement. "In a failed attempt at humor, I obviously crossed the line between funny and insensitive. For that, I am deeply sorry. "I am a huge supporter of NASCAR's diversity initiative and am very proud to work in today's more progressive garage area. I look forward to seeing the fans at the race in Atlanta." SPEED did not comment on the nature or content of Dunlap's remarks in an e-mail statement from SPEED spokesman Erik Arneson. "Ray Dunlap has been suspended for one race (Martinsville) for making comments on-air that the company found inappropriate," the statement read.(SceneDaily.com)(10-20-2006)


      News from October 19, 2006

    • Homestead-Miami Speedway Testing Day 3: 23 cars took to the track in the afternoon session and 16 in the evening sessions of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, no more COT's and onlu one 2007 Toyota [#50-Reutimann - could be Jarrett's new car# in 2007?]. In the first session, #33-Scott Wimmer [RCR car] was fastest at 172.364mph. in the evening session the fastest was #66-Green at 174.639mph. See speeds on my Homestead Testing Page.(10-19-2006)

    • Career Start #700 for Schrader: #21-Ken Schrader is expected to make his 700th Nextel Cup start at Martinsville Speedway – 12th alltime.Richard Petty leads all drivers with 1,185 starts.[See list on my MISC Stats page](10-19-2006)

    • #2 Team Penalized for shock infraction, suspension, $ and points UPDATE: NASCAR announced today that penalties have been issued to the Nextel Cup Series #2 Dodge team as a result of rule violations last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Crew chief Roy McCauley has been fined $25,000 and suspended from all NASCAR events until Nov. 1, 2006. McCauley has also been placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2006. Driver Kurt Busch was penalized with the loss of 50 driver championship points and car owner Roger Penske was penalized 50 owner championship points. The penalties resulted from violations of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment that do not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20-12.3M (right rear shock absorber would not compress) of the 2006 NASCAR Rule Book. The infraction was discovered during post-qualifying inspection on Oct. 12.(NASCAR PR)(10-18-2006)
      UPDATE - no appeal: Penske Racing South officials say that Matt Gimbel will fill in as interim crew chief this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Penske Performance Inc. President Tim Cindric released a statement that said the team will not appeal. "While we respect the fact that the shock in question did not move the required amount after Kurt's qualifying run, under the rules we are unable to open the shock to determine the reason until the appeal period ends," Cindric said in the statement. "After discussing the situation with our team, I'm convinced that the problem we had with our shock was not an intentional attempt by any member of our team to circumvent NASCAR's rules. We do not plan to appeal the decision, but we look forward to opening the shock with NASCAR to determine what caused us to fail post-qualifying inspection."(SceneDaily.com)(10-19-2006)

    • President Bush visits Victory Junction Gang Camp: President Bush paid a very special visit to the Victory Junction Gang Camp today. The President's visit was prompted by his interest in the great humanitarian work that takes place at Victory Junction. Upon the Presidents' arrival he was greeted by Victory Junction co-founders, Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie, as well as Richard "The King" Petty. "This visit enabled the President to see how the camp provides a life changing experience to the children and their families free of charge. I can't thank the President enough for taking the time to come visit Victory Junction. I hope this makes every child and parent that has visited the camp very proud," said Pattie Petty, CEO of the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The Presidential visit consisted of a tour of Victory Junction and participated in some of the camps program areas. Fishing took place at the Bass Pro Shop, Catch Kiss & Release Marina where the President was met by Victory Junction campers Maddie Lee, and Hank Grissom. "Pattie and I are honored to have President Bush come visit the camp.This is exciting for all of us and we are truly humbled. So many NASCAR drivers, officials and fans have poured their hearts and souls into helping the camp grow," said Kyle Petty. "President Bush visiting the camp is a great reward for everyone's dedication and an incredible opportunity for him to bring awareness to the plight of a chronically ill child." The second stop was Adams Race Shop, a 9,000 square foot building that looks like a race car. Inside Adams Race Shop President Bush was greeted by Victory Junction campers Paul Rader, Will "Cheese" Kwapil, Morgan Sagerman as well as NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip, and Jimmie Johnson. The campers challenged the President to test his skills on one of the NASCAR simulators. The final stop was at the Fuel Stop (dining hall) where the President greeted and took a photo with the entire staff and also took a photo with the staff. For more information, visit www.victoryjunction.org.(10-19-2006)

    • Tragic News: In the wake of the death of Lake County Sheriff Chris Daniels, this weekend's slate of racing at New Smyrna Speedway has been canceled. "We are doing this in honor of his memory and out of respect for the family," speedway general manager Terry Roberts said Wednesday afternoon. He said the decision was made Monday. Daniels died Saturday night during the 5th annual Battle of the Badges charity race at the speedway. His bus was clipped by another bus driven by Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger, causing it to spin, investigators said. A preliminary accident report from the Florida Highway Patrol said the spin threw Daniels from his bus, which then ran over him. He was also hit by Eslinger's bus. In a press release announcing the cancellation, track officials said they were "saddened" and their hearts go out to the Daniels family. Racing will continue Oct. 28.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(10-19-2006)

    • Nemechek visits Guantanamo Bay Troops: With the Bank of America 500 race finishing near midnight at the Concord, N.C. track, Nemechek caught a few hours of sleep before embarking early Sunday morning (Oct. 15) on a one-day, 2,100-mile round-trip journey to visit troops at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Joining Nemechek was his mother -- Martha Nemechek (decked in Army fatigues) and Ashton Lewis Jr., driver of the Team Marines entry in the Busch series. The trip was arranged by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. "Not too many people get to land their airplanes in Cuba . this is very cool," said Nemechek as he deplaned from his private jet at the GTMO airport. Though the weather was anything but cool -- a welcoming sign posted the temperature at 99 degrees -- Nemechek found the trip to be both rewarding and educational. Located in the southeastern end of Cuba, Guantanamo Bay is the only U.S. base in operation in a communist led country. "The facts and history of Guantanamo Bay are very interesting," offered Nemechek. "It was pretty neat to stand next to the fence that separates Guantanamo from the communist territory of Cuba." Nemechek added, "We were very well received by the military branches stationed in Guantanamo. There are plenty of NASCAR fans on the base. They wanted to discuss the race in Charlotte the night before. I'm glad that I had a pretty good run to talk about." The six-hour tour included autograph and photo sessions at different points of the base, including one for non-military personnel in the downtown area. "Every time I visit our troops it's a special feeling,. added Nemechek. .These people are making a sacrifice to protect our freedom and the freedom for future generations. It's difficult not to get overwhelmed by what you see and what you hear. It was an honor to make the visit."(MB2Motorsports PR)(10-19-2006)

    • NASCAR's Official Members Club News: Stoneacre, Inc., the operator of the Official NASCAR Members Club and NASCAR RacePoints sm under exclusive license from NASCAR (http://www.nascar.com), announced new online social networking capabilities for the Official NASCAR Members Club that will enhance the Club's current offline VIP benefits. The new service provides an exclusive place for NASCAR fans to network, socialize and share their passion for NASCAR. This new capability, which is currently available to fans through the Official NASCAR Members Club, enables fans to publish individual blogs, customize the NASCAR news they want to receive, and communicate with like-minded NASCAR fans who share similar interests, in addition to receiving exclusive VIP benefits. The new social networking tools will accelerate the viral growth of NASCAR's Official Club. The tools enable NASCAR fans to easily publish individual blogs, and create a personal profile to search and connect with other fans in the community. Through RSS technology already available on the ONMC home page, fans can also customize the NASCAR news alerts they wish to receive at their desktop, and instantly learn about exclusive ONMC VIP benefits such as advanced sales of exclusive race ticket packages, opportunities to attend NASCAR Driver events, and invitations to local NASCAR activities organized by Local Chapters of the Club. For more information on joining the ONMC, go to www.nascar.com, and click on the "Members Club" tab at the top right of the screen.(PR)(10-19-2006)


      News from October 18, 2006

    • TNT looking at no commercial breaks in 2007? Sports Business Journal reports that TNT is floating a package to potential advertisers that would allow advertising during the race broadcast and eliminate commercial breaks. The advertising would take place on the screen during the broadcast and allow continuous race coverage. TNT will broadcast six Nextel Cup races next summer. The story reports that officials from Turner and NASCAR would not comment. The story also reported that TNT's Cup ratings are down 8.3% from last season.(Roanoke Times)(10-18-2006)

    • Ragan to run four more races in #06 this season: Roush Racing announced that they will field David Ragan in four of the final five Nextel Cup Series races in 2006. Ragan will pilot the #06 Ford Fusion in an effort to get a head start on the 2007 season, when he will become the driver of the #6 AAA Ford Fusion. Ragan is entered for this weekend's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway. In addition, Ragan will also be behind the wheel of the #06 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 29, Texas Motor Speedway on November 5, and the season-ending Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17. "I'm looking forward to making the most of this opportunity to race in the Nextel Cup Series this year," said Ragan. "This will be a great chance for me to gain some additional seat time and experience before coming over here full-time in 2007. We had a great test in Homestead earlier this week, and I think any additional time I can get behind the wheel of these cars is just going to be that much more of a help to me. It's going to take some time to get familiar with the feel of these cars, and getting the opportunity to do it now is going to be a big benefit for next year." Ragan made his Nextel Cup debut in September at Dover International Speedway, finishing 42nd after being involved in an accident. Ragan will perform double duty for the balance of 2006, as he will continue to compete in the Craftsman Truck series. To date, Ragan has made 15 truck starts in the 2006 season. He has scored one top-five and six top-10 finishes, and one pole at O'Reilly Raceway Park. Ragan has also made three starts for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Busch Series this season, recording finishes of 41st at California Speedway, 23rd at Dover and 36th at Lowe's Motor Speedway.(Roush Racing PR), no sponsor mnetioned, Todd Kluever was supposed to run at Texas and Phoenix, looks like Texas is out with Ragan in the car, no work on Phoenix.(10-18-2006)

    • Kyle Busch and #5 team featured in Dub: Kyle Busch and his #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet team are featured in the October 2006 issue of DUB magazine, on newsstands now. DUB is a leading automotive lifestyle publication.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(10-18-2006)

    • Dale Jr. and 60 minutes video: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now featured on the new Yahoo News/60 Minutes site. You can see more than 15 video segments from Junior's interviews with the legendary Mike Wallace, including some new footage not included in the original segment. You can see a series of new photos and vote on "Why is Junior So Popular?" The original story ran in September 2004, with the interviews taking place in Daytona and Mooresville, NC. The Mooresville segments were taped soon after Junior's fiery Corvette crash and immediately before he went to Bristol for a weekend clean sweep, winning the Busch and Cup races on successive nights.(fingerspintonline.com)(10-18-2006)

    • GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program Concludes: The GM Racing Development Driver Evaluation Program concluded on Tuesday, Oct.11, 2006 at Nashville Superspeedway (NSS). Chevrolet NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS), Busch Series (NBS) and Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) teams observed the invited drivers go through the paces on the1.333-mile concrete track at the two-day final stage of the three-stage program. The drivers invited to showcase their talent in the Richard Childress Racing (RCR) prepared NBS cars at NSS were Landon Cassill, Jeremy Clements, Marc Davis, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Drew Herring, Woody Howard, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Joey Logano, Tim McCreadie and Jason Sarvis. 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. A total of 16 drivers were invited to stages one and two. The first was September 12-13, 2006 at Caraway Speedway, Asheboro NC and showcased the drivers in RCR NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) cars. Stage two was held September 19-20, at Dale McDowell Dirt School located at North Georgia Speedway, Chatsworth, GA in three different dirt track late model cars. Offering this unique opportunity to Chevy NASCAR teams is critical to the continued growth and success of the Chevrolet nameplate on the track.(GM Racing PR)(10-18-2006)

    • Homestead-Miami Speedway Testing Day 2: 75 cars took to the track in the afternoon session and 59 in the evening sessions of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, still with quite a mix of cars, most were 2006 cars, with a few Car-of-Tomorrow's [#99-Edwards, #22-Blaney, #72-Benson, #1-Truex, #26-McMurray] and 2007 Toyota's [#83-Skinner, #23-Mayfield, #50-Reutimann - could be Jarrett's new car# in 2007?]. In the first session, #5-Busch was fastest at 175.382mph. in the evening session the fastest was #24-Gordon at 175.553mph. The fastest COT was #99-Edwards in the first session at 167.773 which was 68th of 75 cars, see speeds on my Homestead Testing Page.(10-18-2006)

    • Kenseth to help unviel Homestead Pace Vehicles for Ford Champ weekend UPDATE: #17-Matt Kenseth will join Ford and Homestead Miami Speedway officials in hosting the official unveiling of the 2006 Ford Championship Weekend pace vehicles on Tuesday, Oct 17th. This year's pace car fleet includes a 2007 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500, a 2007 Ford Edge and a 2007 Ford F-150 FX2 Sport.(Ford PR)(10-17-2006)
      UPDATE: Earlier Tuesday, Ford Motor Company unveiled the Ford cars that will pace NASCAR’s season-ending races at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Matt Kenseth helped Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology, and Curtis Gray, president of the Homestead-Miami Speedway, unveil the new pace vehicles, a 2007 Ford Edge, a 2007 Ford Shelby GT500, and a 2007 Ford F-150 FX2 Sport.(Ford Racing PR)(10-18-2006)


      News from October 17, 2006

    • Ward to run the #4 at Martinsville UPDATE 2: Ward Burton will return to the Nextel Cup Series for the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway, attempting to make his first series start in almost two years. He will be driving the #4 Lucas Oil Chevy for Morgan McClure Racing out of Abingdon, VA. "He's expressed a lot of interest in driving," said Chris Carrier, crew chief for the Morgan-McClure team. "He's a Virginia driver and we're a Virginia team. That makes for a great combination at Martinsville." One of Burton's seven NEXTEL Cup poles came at Martinsville (1997) as did one of his four Busch Series victories (1993). Burton and the team hope to test at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford this week to help prepare for the SUBWAY 500. Ticket prices for the SUBWAY 500 range from $42 to $77. Tickets for the Kroger 200 are $35 in advance and $40 the day of the event. Kroger 200 tickets for children ages 6 to 12 are $5.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(10-15-2006)
      UPDATE: Virginia is the name of the game at Morgan-McClure Motorsports as the announcement of Ward Burton as the driver for Martinsville this weekend was made official at noon today. Burton last competed at the Nextel Cup level at Phoenix in 2004 in the NetZero car fielded by Gene Haas. In his 356 race Cup career, Burton has accumulated five wins, 24 top fives, 82 top tens and seven poles with an average start of 20th and average finish of 21.8. Morgan-McClure President and Team Manager Larry McClure is excited to have the Virginia native in the car at one of the three tracks the Virginia-based team calls "home". "We have been talking with Ward (Burton) about driving for us and it just so happened that we got everything worked out for him to drive at Martinsville. We are searching for options for the 2007 season and Ward is certainly a consideration. We plan to test with him this week and then head to Martinsville. His seat was completed this weekend and we have been installing it today with his help. I've known Ward for a long time and we are happy to have him in our car for some of the remaining races."
      Burton too is excited about returning to the sport, "I've been gone long enough and now I'm ready to get back behind the wheel and race. I know there have been some changes since I last drove with the tires used and different set-ups but that just means I have to step up and get used to those changes faster and be ready to race this weekend. I'm anxious to get back in the car and be on track again and get back out there with our fans. I appreciate the opportunity from Larry and Morgan-McClure to get back in the car and I'm looking forward to having a good time with them at Martinsville. " Morgan-McClure Motorsports sits 39th in Nextel Cup owner's points so Burton will be required to qualify on time at Martinsville.(Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR)(10-17-2006)

    • Montoya to Make Busch Debut at Memphis: Juan Pablo Montoya will make his NASCAR debut on October 28 in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park. Montoya will pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge in his third stock car race since joining the organization. Montoya tested a Nextel Cup car at the Memphis track last week, and is currently participating in his first official NASCAR sanctioned test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(CGRFS PR)(10-17-2006)

    • Harvick to skip Memphis Busch Race? There may be a slim chance newly crowned Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick will skip the October 28th race at Memphis. Harvick and the US Coast Guard Chevy team locked up the title this past weekend at Charlotte. "I haven't even looked at the schedule yet" said Harvick during a break at the Homestead-Miami Speedway test. "I don't foresee that happening. We didn't plan to do anything but racing there at the beginning of the year anyway. We'll sit down and look at it for sure after Martinsville and go from there."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)(10-17-2006)

    • President Bush to visit Victory Junction: The Victory Junction Gang Camp is proud to announce that President Bush will be coming to the camp on Wednesday October 18th for a tour of the facilities and to meet some of the VJGC campers. “Pattie and I are honored to have President Bush come visit the camp. This is exciting for all of us and we are truly humbled. So many NASCAR drivers, officials and fans have poured their hearts and souls into helping the camp grow,” said Kyle Petty, Co-founder of Victory Junction Gang Camp. “President Bush visiting the camp is a great reward for everyone’s dedication and an incredible opportunity for him to bring awareness to the plight of a chronically ill child. This visit will enable the President to see how the camp provides a life changing experience to the children and their families free of charge. I can’t thank the President enough for taking time to come. I hope this makes every kid and parent that has visited the camp very proud.” The Victory Junction Gang Camp is a member of the Association of Hole in the Wall Gang Camps and is free to children and their families. The camp operates solely on the generous donations of individuals, corporations and foundation. For more information, visit www.victoryjunction.org. Also many of Jayski's readers/friends/family have helped raise most of the $75,000 goal for the computer lab. Thanks.(10-17-2006)

    • Kyle Petty To Be Honored: Kyle Petty, driver of the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge and Co-Founder of the Victory Junction Gang Camp will be one of three sports professionals honored during the 17th annual CATCH Night of Champions dinner Wednesday night, October 18 in Dearborn, Michigan. CATCH is a children's charity that was founded in 1987 by then Detroit Tigers Manager Sparky Anderson. CATCH raises funds to provide a current and future source of revenue to help improve the quality of life for sick, injured and at-risk pediatric patients who receive care from Children's Hospital of Michigan and Henry Ford Hospital. Included is the CATCH Pediatric Mobile Health Programs that provide basic health services for Detroit children who experience barriers to accessing health care. Petty, along with Detroit Red Wing Chris Chelios and former Detroit Lion and businessman Robert Porcher will be recognized for their achievements in their respective sports, but more importantly for their success in helping needy children. "This is an honor to be a part of this night," said Petty. "CATCH is a great organization that helps children in need. Sparky (Anderson, founder of CATCH) has the heart of a champion. We may come from all different sports backgrounds, but we all share the same goal. I feel blessed to be a part of this event." Petty is an eight-time winner in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series and in 2004 opened the doors to the Victory Junction Gang Camp for chronically and terminal-ill children.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(10-17-2006)

    • Marlin's Team Tallies Pit Crew Win at Charlotte: Sterling Marlin's #14 over-the-wall crew picked up its first win of the season in the weekly Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge by spending the least amount of time on pit road during Saturday night's (Oct. 14) Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "The guys on this #14 MB2 Motorsports team have been solid in the pits all year," said Marlin. "They don't always get the recognition they deserve because we haven't been in position to capitalize on the great job they do. It's nice that Checkers/Rally's is putting a spotlight on them for a job well done." Marlin's Ginn Clubs & Resorts pit crew, which spent 443.597 seconds on pit lane, will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize by Checkers/Rally's. The #14 over-the-wall crew consists of: Ike Sneed (jackman), Aaron Schields (front-tire carrier), Adam Davis (front-tire changer), Kevin McDowell (rear-tire carrier), Mick Grove (rear-tire changer), Les Huntley (gasman), Steve Gleason (catch can) and Doug Morgan (windshield). The pit crew coach is Lance Munksgard. With five 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. Checkers/Rally's will present the crew with the most victories at the completion of the 36-race schedule with a $100,500 bonus. To date, Checkers/Rally's has paid out $325,500 in NEXTEL Cup Series prize money during this season. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(10-17-2006)

    • Drive for Diversity Gets on Track at South Boston: Nineteen aspiring NASCAR drivers put their best foot forward Monday [Oct 16, 2006] at South Boston Speedway, as the Drive for Diversity testing and evaluation combine got underway. Drivers were evaluated during an all-day test session at the famous short track, in hopes of securing an opportunity to race with the ethnic and gender minority driver development program in 2007. The drivers each spent 30 minutes on the track, in NASCAR Grand National Division cars prepared by veteran driver and team owner Jeff Spraker. The program, now entering its fourth year, will pair eight drivers with car owners and sponsors in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series and the NASCAR Grand National Division next season. The future for many of these drivers began Monday at South Boston. Each driver received coaching during their on-track session from Spraker and his crew members, along with inaugural Drive for Diversity participant Morty Buckles and former South Boston Speedway track champion Frank Deiny Jr. Paul Harraka, of Fairlawn, N.J., and Mike Gallegos, of Wheat Ridge, Colo., posted two of the day’s fastest lap times. Harraka circled the 4/10-mile oval in 15.868 seconds (90.74 mph) while Gallegos’ fastest lap of the day was 16.005 seconds (89.97 mph). To put these speeds in perspective, the South Boston Speedway track qualifying record for NASCAR Busch Series cars, which are similar to the NASCAR Grand National Division cars used Monday, is 15.245 seconds (94.457 mph) set by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1998.
      Other drivers included: Brianne Cronrath, of Pennsylvania, Jesus Hernandez, of California, Tracey Chambers, of Timberlake, N.C, Ashley Parlett, of Maryland, Chris Bristol, of Columbus, Ohio, Michael Cherry, of Valrico, Fla., Bryan Driver, of Pennington, N.J., Katie Hagar, of Nobleboro, Maine, Destiney Hays, of View Lane, Calif., Jessica Helberg, of Petaluma, Calif., Peter Hernandez, of Blue Island, Ill., Lloyd Mack, of Los Angeles, Calif., Danny Martin Jr., of Sarasota, Fla., Candace Muzny, of Oklahoma City, Okla., Alison Quick, of Redding, Iowa, Molly Rhoads, of Hastings, Minn. and Jonathan Smith, of Beacon Falls, Conn. Weather permitting, the drivers will return to South Boston Speedway for another round of tests on Tuesday. More info at drivefordiversity.com.(NASCAR PR)(10-17-2006)

    • Homestead-Miami Speedway Testing Day 1: Fifty-Eight cars took to the track in each session of testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with quite a mix of cars, most were 2006 cars, with a few Car-of-Tomorrow's [#83-Skinner, #72-Benson, #1-Truex, #26-McMurray, #99-Edwards] and some Toyota's listed [#23-Mayfield, #72-Benson(COT), #83-Skinner, #22-Blaney]. The fastest in the first session [afternoon] was #41-Sorenson at 171.652mph. In the second [evening] session, #42-Mears was the fastest. The fastest Toyota was #23-Mayfield at 172.232, 9th fastest and the fastest COT was #99-Edwards at 169.662mph which was 48th fastest.
      AND I: There was one minor mishap Monday involving Greg Biffle during the early session of testing at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. "Right before lunch we got in a hurry and it was go-go-go" said Biffle. "The front skirt (on the National Guard Ford) was way too long and I went down into turn one and the thing went straight cause it drug the ground...tires weren't even touching the ground so... scraped the right side of it up. Car number two is really good and that was my fastest car. We're not doing too bad."(PRN's Garage Pass Radio Show)
      AND II: A three-day test began Monday afternoon featuring 40 teams with 63 cars. Additional teams are expected to join the test on Tuesday. Under NASCAR rules, teams can only test for two of the three days. The session also mixes in cars competing in the 2006 Nextel Cup Series, along with several 2007 cars and at least five examples of the Car of Tomorrow. Toyota is represented by at least five teams, including two Cars of Tomorrow. Con-Way has one COT, driven by Johnny Benson, while Bill Davis Racing has a #22 COT for Dave Blaney and Jeremy Mayfield. Also testing a Toyota is Red Bull Racing, with Mike Skinner. Blaney and Mayfield are also sharing time in the #55 NAPA Dodge fielded by Michael Waltrip Racing, giving both drivers time in a current car, the 2007 Camry plus the Camry Car of Tomorrow. Additional Cars of Tomorrow are a pair from Roush Racing, the #26 and #99, and the #1 from Dale Earnhardt Inc., driven by Martin Truex Jr. and Kerry Earnhardt. Each day is divided into two sessions, in the afternoon from 1-5 p.m. and under the lights from 6-9 p.m. Spectators are invited to view the activities free of charge from the Speedway Club on the fourth floor of the main office building.(HMS Site), see speeds on my Homestead Testing Page.(10-17-2006)

    • Morris Crowned 2006 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Champ: Philip Morris, of Ruckersville, Va., won the 2006 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship by recording his 13th win of the season at Caraway Speedway, a track where he hadn't raced at all before. Morris spent most of the 2006 season at the track he's called home for several years, Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va. At Motor Mile, Morris recorded nine wins and 14 top-five finishes to claim the 2006 Late Model track championship - his seventh - along with the $25,000 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Division I title. Morris needed one more victory to have a mathematical chance of winning the national title over veteran Dirt Late Model driver Joe Kosiski, of Omaha, Neb., who held the national points lead before Morris' final, fateful race at Caraway. With his dramatic last-chance victory, Morris reached a NASCAR point total of 1,112, based on his best 16 finishes of the season. Morris edged Kosiski, who won the NDWS Division II championship, by just two points (1,114-1,112) for the national championship. Morris will receive an additional $50,000 bonus for winning the national championship and he'll be honored at the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series awards banquet, Nov. 11 in Las Vegas. Morris is the third Virginia driver to win the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series national championship in the past four years. Mark McFarland, of Winchester, Va., brought the national title to the Commonwealth for the first time in 2003. Peyton Sellers, of Danville, Va., won it in 2005 and Morris keeps it on Virginia soil for the second consecutive year. The 2006 national championship is the second major NASCAR title for Morris, who won the NDWS Blue Ridge Regional championship in 2001. In addition to his seven track titles at Motor Mile, Morris was the 2003 track champion at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. Morris has also raced in the NASCAR Busch Series, making 12 starts during the 1998-2001 seasons. He recorded a career-best finish of fifth place at Rockingham, N.C. in 1998.(NASCAR PR)(10-17-2006)


      News from October 16, 2006

      Charlotte Overnight TV ratings drop 14.6% NBC's broadcast of Saturday night's Bank of America 500 Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.1 and a 7 market share, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is down 14.6% from the 4.8/8 that NBC drew overnight for the race last year.(SceneDaily.com), see past TV Ratings News and chart on the 2006 TV Ratings page.(10-16-2006)

    • Bootie out at the #66? to help Sauter move to Cup? UPDATE swap jobs: hearing Robert 'Bootie' Barker has been replaced as crew chief of the #66 Haas CNC Chevy that Jeff Green drives with Harold Holly. Supposedly Barker will work with Johnny Sauter to ready him and the 2nd Haas CNC team for Nextel Cup in 2007.(10-15/16-2006)
      UPDATE: Haas CNC Racing has announced changes in crew chief roles for the #66 Best Buy Chevy driven by Jeff Green in the Nextel Cup Series and the #00 Yellow Transportation Chevy driven by Johnny Sauter in the Busch Series. Harold Holly, who previously served as crew chief for Sauter, takes over duties as crew chief for Green effective immediately. Robert “Bootie” Barker, who previously served as crew chief for Green, in turn takes over crew chief duties for Sauter.
      “Haas CNC Racing is grounded in technology, but we realize our most valuable resource is our people,” said Joe Custer, General Manager of Haas CNC Racing. “In looking at our situation, we have a driver and a crew chief in Jeff and Harold who have won a championship together and we feel there are opportunities to capitalize based on their history. In like, Bootie has had tremendous success with young drivers and we feel he’ll be a valuable resource for Johnny and our Busch Series team during the stretch run. Our goal is to have a multi-car NASCAR Nextel Cup effort and we feel that by instituting these changes we’ll improve our program for the future. Both series are more competitive than ever and you have to continue to evolve if you want to contend for championships. e’re very excited about what lies ahead for Haas CNC Racing and look to both Bootie and Harold to carry our team into the future.”
      Barker will take advantage of the NASCAR Busch Series’ week off to align himself with his team’s effort while Holly will head up this week’s Nextel Cup test at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(NASCAR PR)(10-16-2006)

    • Hornish testing at Kentucky: Penske IRL driver Sam Hornish is on Kentucky Speedway's test schedule for today, testing a Penske Racing R&D Car. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary. Tickets are on sale for all 2007 events at kentuckyspeedway.com.(Kentucky Speedway site)(10-16-2006)

    • Newman tested a Toyota? UPDATE: Toyota's 2007 Cup lineup so far: two Davis teams, three Waltrip teams, and two Red Bull teams, and two part-time teams. "I won't deny we've had conversations with existing teams, from every manufacturer," White said, leaving the answers up in the air. "It's not something we're actively pursuing. Teams have approached us; we have not approached them." One of those teams, sources say, could be Roger Penske's two-car Dodge operation. According to one source, Penske's Ryan Newman has just tested a Camry.(Winston Salem Journal)(10-15-2006)
      UPDATE: being told Penske tested Toyota at Rockingham...sources told me they did it because supposedly "they wanted to see what the other guys had".(10-16-2006)

    • Wallace wins ARCA race at Iowa; Montoya 24th; Steve Wallace recovered from an early race close call and withstood late race pressure from Kraig Kinser to win the inaugural Prairie Meadows 250 ARCA RE/MAX Series race at Iowa Speedway Sunday afternoon. In all, the 19-year-old driver led 177 of 250 laps in his #61 Hantz Group-TransAmerica Idex Mutual Funds Dodge en route to his third victory of 2006 and fourth overall. Bloomington, Indiana’s Kinser, making his first ARCA RE/MAX Series appearance since 2005, crossed the checkers .208 seconds behind to settle for second. Wallace, whose father Rusty designed the newly designed 7/8-mile speedway, escaped a very close call during the opening laps of the race when he was battling for position with #4-Juan Pablo Montoya. Wallace took the high line and made contact with Montoya, who glided up the track from the low groove in the #4 Texaco-Havoline Dodge, causing the two to make contact. Montoya went for a spin but was able to return to the track to post a 24th place finish, 42 laps down. Frank Kimmel brought his #46 Pork The Other White Meat Ford into the garage area on lap 122 with motor problems, relegating him to a 32nd place finish. On Saturday, the veteran driver clinched the 2006 national points championship, marking his seventh consecutive championship and eighth overall. In addition to the win, Wallace earned the Pork Pole award on Saturday, allowing him to clinch the ARCA RE/MAX Series Pork Pole Award title for 2006 for earning the most poles for the season. More at the Iowa Speedway site.(10-16-2006)



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