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  • MORE NEWS/RUMORS
    NOVEMBER 13-19, 2006


      News from November 19, 2006

    • 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Champion - Jimmie Johnson
      • Jimmie Johnson - 31 years old from El Cajon, Calif. – won the 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship. He became the 28th driver to win the championship on NASCAR’s premier series, winning the championship by 56 points over Matt Kenseth.
      • Johnson is the seventh different NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion in the last eight years. Only Tony Stewart (2002 and 2005) has repeated as series champion since 1998.
      • His championship comes in his fifth full season of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition. Johnson’s previous best season finish of second occurred in 2003 and 2004. He has finished in the top five in points in all five of his full-time seasons.
      • Johnson won five races in 2006 (Daytona, Las Vegas, Talladega, Indianapolis and second Martinsville). He has 23 career victories in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.
      • Johnson also recorded one Bud Pole, 13 top-five finishes, 24 top-10 finishes this season.
      • Johnson led the standings a four times for a total of 25 races in 2006, including the final three. Johnson took the lead following Race No. 1 (Daytona) and held the lead for the first four races. He then dropped to third for one race, retaking the point lead after Race 6 (Martinsville) for two races. He was second after Race No. 8 (Phoenix) but came back to take the lead for 16 races the next event. He dropped out of the lead following Race No. 25 (California) but retook the lead following Race no. 34 (Texas).
      • Johnson’s worst points position prior to the Chase was third following Race No. 5 (Bristol). He began the Chase in the second position and dropped to ninth following a 39th-place finish in the first Chase race (New Hampshire). Ranked eighth entering Charlotte, he posted three second-places finishes and one third to move back into the points lead following Race No. 34 (Texas). Another second-place finish at Phoenix and a ninth at Homestead secured his championship.
      • Johnson’s point lead of 124 points over Matt Kenseth following Race No. 22 (Watkins Glen) was the largest by any driver this season.
      • Johnson has ranked in the top-10 in the championship point standings for 105 races, the sixth-longest streak in the top-10 since the point system modification in 1975.
      • Johnson won the season opening Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. The winner of the Daytona 500 has won the championship that season eight times. The winner of the Brickyard 400 has won the championship that season six times, including four consecutive years (1998 through 2001) and the past two seasons.
      • This is Jeff Gordon’s first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship in his fifth season as an owner. Gordon co-owns the Lowe’s Chevrolet with Rick Hendrick, making this the sixth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup owner championship for Hendrick Motorsports.
      • This is the first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title for Chad Knaus in his fifth full season as a crew chief, all with Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports. Knaus is 35 years old and from Rockford, Ill.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(11-19-2006)

    • Biffle wins at Homestead: #16-Greg Biffle won the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for his 3rd straight win at Homestead, 2nd of 2006 and 11th of his career in a green-white-checkered finish [1 extra lap]. #48-Jimmie Johnson finished 9th and won the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Championship, his first ever in his 5th season. #9-Kasey Kahne led the most laps with 90 of 268. #1-Martin Truex Jr finished his career best 2nd, followed by #11-Hamlin, #9-Kahne, #29-Harvick, #17-Kenseth, #10-Riggs, #99-Edwards, #48-Johnson and #07-Bowyer. There were 11 cautions for 43 laps [and a 9 minute red flag during the 10th caution for Montoya's fire] and 10 drivers lead the race with 15 lead changes.
      Race Results on my Homestead Race Results/Awards Page.
      Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Homestead page
      Race Rundown: see my Homestead Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race penalties, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(11-19-2006)

    • Unofficial Driver Chase Points Standing after Homestead [36 of 36 races]:
      #48-Jimmie Johnson 6475
      #17-Matt Kenseth 6419 -56
      #11-Denny Hamlin 6407 -68
      #29-Kevin Harvick 6397 -78
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 6328 -147
      #24-Jeff Gordon 6256 -219
      #31-Jeff Burton 6228 -247
      #9-Kasey Kahne 6183 -292
      #6-Mark Martin 6168 -307
      #5-Kyle Busch 6027 -448
      and fighting for 11th
      #20-Tony Stewart in 11th 4727 points [clinched]
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(11-19-2006)

    • Unofficial 2006 "Classic" Points Standings
      ...the old way, not the Chase after Homestead:
      1) #48-Jimmie Johnson 5158
      2) #17-Matt Kenseth, 5154, -4
      3) #29-Kevin Harvick, 4838, -320
      4) #20-Tony Stewart, 4727, -431
      5) #11-Denny Hamlin, 4725, -433
      6) #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 4641, -517
      7) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4567, -591
      8) #31-Jeff Burton, 4535, -623
      9) #9-Kasey Kahne, 4497, -661
      10) #6-Mark Martin, 4484, -674
      11) #99-Carl Edwards, 4428, -730
      12) #5-Kyle Busch, 4416, -742
      13) #16-Greg Biffle, 4075, -1083
      (11-19-2006)

    • The Top 35 Owners Points set for the first 5 races of 2007 season:
      #14-Marlin is out and Petty is in for 2007
      34) #19-Sadler/Evernham 129 points ahead of 36th
      35) #45-Petty/Petty +74
      these drivers/teams are out of the Top 35 and would need to get in the races via speed only
      36) #14-Marlin/Bobby Ginn 74 points behind 35th
      37) #32-Kvapil/Cal Wells -280 [and the team may not be back in 2007]
      Current owners [NOT drivers points] points are used to determine the top-35 and the other drivers who need to make the race on speed, the points and positions will fluctuate each week and settle as the season progresses.
      For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski's Drivers/Owners Points Page.(11-19-2006)

    • #88 has a 2007 sponsor, could be a Mars brand UPDATE 2 BUT Haas plans to run 2nd team with Sauter: Robert Yates said Friday morning that he's secured sponsorship for his #88 team and that Robert Yates Racing will again field two full-time Nextel Cup Series teams in 2007. A driver for the team has yet to be secured, and the sponsorship agreement hasn't been signed, but Yates said everything is in order. Several sources indicate Mars, which sponsors the #38 via its M&Ms brand, will also sponsor the #88, possibly with another of its brands. David Gilliland will drive the #38 Cup car next year, with Stephen Leicht running the #90 RYR entry full time in the Busch Series. While Doug Yates is listed as the team's co-owner, Yates made it clear there wouldn't be any additional owners outside of the family.(SceneDaily.com)(11-17-2006)
      UPDATE: hearing Johnny Sauter [currently #00 Busch car] could be the driver for the #88 car.(11-18-2006)
      UPDATE 2 BUT: Haas CNC Racing team manager Bill Ingle said Sunday that the team would expand to field two full-time Nextel Cup Series cas next season. Hass currently fields the #66 Chevy with Jeff Green. Next year, the team will field the #70 as well, with Johnny Sauter expected to be the driver. Sauter is rumored to be the first choice of Robert Yates Racing for its #88 car, but Ingle said all his conversations with Sauter lead him to believe the driver is staying. Either way, he said adding a second team is imperative. The plan is for Harold Holly to remain as Green's crew chief, with Robert "Bootie" Barker remaining with Sauter.(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2006)

    • Associate sponsors for Yates: freecreditreport.com and McDonald's, Team Rensi's Busch sponsors, will be on Robert Yates Racing's Nextel Cup #38 and #88 cars as associates sponsors in 2007.(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2006)

    • Negotiations progressing between Roush and Red Sox owner: The negotiations in the sale of a portion of Roush Racing to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry's Fenway Sports Group are progressing well, Roush Racing President Geoff Smith said Saturday. Many of the major points have been agreed upon since the negotiations began in earnest in September. "The big principal points, that's all buttoned up," Smith said. "I think by the first of the year, we'll [know]. We're going along pretty fast. By Daytona for sure." One of those pieces involves what percentage of the racing organization the Fenway Sports Group will own. Jack Roush will not relinquish control of the team. "We have been open to being all the way up to equal [partners], but not more than equal [for them],"(SceneDaily.com)(11-19-2006)

    • Rumblings Homestead:
      Greg Biffle pulled off the three-peat and Jimmie Johnson was crowned the Nextel Cup Champion for 2006 at Homestead-Miami Speedway today in the Ford 402. Biffle held off Martin Truex Jr (enduring a green/white/checker in the process) for his second win of the season (he won at Darlington in May) and 11th of his Cup career. He's now solo in 50th on the all-time win list. Win #95 for Roush Racing was worth $323,800 from the over $5.2M in posted awards. In the Championship department, this was #6 for Hendrick Motorsports and the first for Jimmie Johnson. A $6M+ payday is pretty smooth, too.
      Martin Truex Jr (2nd) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 5th at Talladega in October.
      Scott Riggs (7th) had his best finish since he was 4th at Bristol in August.
      David Stremme (11th) tied his career-best finish today. He was also 11th at Loudon in July.
      Scott Wimmer (12th) had his best finish since he was 11th here last year.
      Paul Menard (17th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Lowe's in May (only 5 races).
      STREAKIN....Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10's in a row. Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10's in a row.
      This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Denny Hamlin (+30), followed by Carl Edwards (+23), Greg Biffle (+21), and Tony Raines (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Kyle Busch (-35), followed by Elliott Sadler (-32), David Gilliland (-24), J. J. Yeley (-22), and Mike Bliss (-22).
      How much excitement do you think we'd have had at the end of the race today if we didn't have this contrived "Chase" format? In Classic Points, Johnson would have held on to claim the Championship by only 4 points!!! And they thought 2004 was exciting.....
      In that all-important race for 35th (and the final exempt spot) in Owners Points, Kyle Petty held off Sterling Marlin.....and the 45 bunch'll sleep a lot better all winter knowing they're in the 500 next February.Stock Car Fans.(11-19-2006)

    • Homestead Race Notes:
      • Greg Biffle won the 2006 FORD 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, scoring his 11th career Nextel Cup victory in his 150th career start.
      • Biffle moved into sole possession of 50th on NASCAR’s All-Time win list.
      • This is Biffle’s second victory in 2006. He also won at Darlington in May.
      • Biffle scored his third straight victory at Homestead.
      • Biffle scored his 15th top-10 finish in 2006.
      • Biffle’s victory today was the sixth for Ford in 2006.
      • Biffle won the race from the 22nd-place starting position, the lowest starting position of a race winner in eight races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
      • Kasey Kahne led five times for 90 of the 268 laps raced, leading the most laps for the fourth time in 2006.
      • Race winner Biffle led twice for 47 laps including the final 12 laps in the 2006 FORD 400 at Homestead.
      • This was team owner Jack Roush’s 95th Nextel Cup victory. It was Roush’s fourth Nextel Cup victory at Homestead. • Jack Roush Racing has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.
      Notebook Items
      • Jimmie Johnson (ninth) was eighth in points after the first four races in the Chase (after Talladega), then 156 points behind then point leader Jeff Burton. Six races later, Johnson claimed his first Nextel Cup championship. Johnson gained 212 points during the final six races, the result of five straight finishes of first or second and his ninth–place finish tonight.
      • Five of the 10 Chase drivers finished in the top 10 at Homestead.
      • Four of The Chase drivers changed points positions at Homestead.
      • There were seven changes in the second-place points position in the 10 races during the Chase began at New Hampshire. Five different drivers ranked second during the Chase: Johnson, Hamlin, Gordon, Kenseth and Harvick. Kenseth held the second-place position in the final three races.
      • Four of the Chase drivers led at Homestead earning valuable lap leader bonus points.
      • Five of the 10 races in the Chase were won by Chase drivers
      • Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne each scored two Bud Poles during the Chase, the most among all Chase drivers.
      • Kevin Harvick was the only Chase driver to score two victories during the Chase.
      • Matt Kenseth scored nine top-15 finishes in the 10 races in The Chase, the only driver to do so.
      • Jimmie Johnson scored five top-five finishes in the 10 Chase races, the most among the Chase drivers and scored top-10 finishes in the final six races in the Chase.
      • Denny Hamlin was the only Chase driver to score seven top-10 finishes in the 10 races in the Chase.
      • Jimmie Johnson was the only driver to lead in eight of the 10 races in the Chase.
      • Jimmie Johnson scored 50 lap leader/bonus points in 10 races in the Chase, the most among all drivers.
      • Johnson was the only Chase driver to post seven top-10 starts in the 10 races in the Chase
      • Tony Stewart finished 11th in the Championship standings and missed the Chase by 16 points.. He ended the 2006 season with a 299-point lead over 12th-place Carl Edwards. This is the first year that Stewart did not finish among the top-10 since 1999.
      • Denny Hamlin (third) scored his 20th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in two races at Homestead.
      • Truex Jr was the highest finishing rookie for the 3rd time in 2006.
      • At least one of the 2006 Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders scored a top-15 finish in all 36 races this season.
      • Kasey Kahne (fourth) scored his 19th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in three races at Homestead.
      • Kevin Harvick (fifth) scored his 20th top-10 finish in 2006. It was his fifth top-10 finish in six races at Homestead.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(11-19-2006)

    • IMHofF announced class of 2007: The Board of Directors of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame announced their Class of 2007 in the Hall of Fame next to Talladega Superspeedway. The six member class, comprised of visionaries, is one that no other class has equaled. First, while there is a distinct NASCAR flavor to this class, only one of them has ever won a Nextel Cup race, and that was as a car owner. There are plenty of championships, however, with five in the NASCAR Busch Series, six in NHRA Pro Stocks and five in two separate motorcycle circuits. The Class of 2007 is as follows: Car Owner Junie Donlavey; modified/late model driver Ray Hendrick; Busch Series Pioneer Jack Ingram; NHRA Legend Warren Johnson; Motorcycle lengend Wayne Rainey; and Race Track mogle Bruton Smith. These six men will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame on Thursday night, April 26th, 2007, in a ceremony at the Hall of Fame's Speed Dome. Reservations for tickets may be made now by calling the Hall of Fame office at 256/362-5002. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.(International Motorsports Hall of Fame PR)(11-19-2006)


      News from November 18, 2006

    • #32 Team closed after Homestead? hearing that PPI Motorsports will close up shop after the 2006 season, that the pit crew has been hired by Michael Waltrip Racing and most of the team/crew at the shop has been laid off. Driver Travis Kvapil, as announced, will drive a Roush Racing Truck in 2007. Sponsor Tide is leaving after this season and word is that they will not be back in NASCAR as a sponsor.(11-18-2006)

    • IROC Needs a Sponsor: The International Race of Champions will need a sponsor for 2007 for the series to continue, Crown Royal is not returning and IROC President Jay Signore said Friday he was seeking a new sponsor for the series to embark on its 31st season in 2007. "We need a sponsor to support all of those great drivers," Signore said while in the garage of Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We're on a sponsor search. We're working hard at it. Hopefully we'll get something done by February." The IROC Series invites drivers from various forms of racing in equally prepared cars for four events throughout the year. Tony Stewart won the 2006 IROC title. Signore said he hopes the series will return to Daytona, Texas and Atlanta next year but his tentative schedule does not include the Daytona road course. He would like to have another road course, but the 10 p.m. Thursday slot during the summer race weekend at Daytona was not a good fit. "That Thursday night at 10 o'clock was tough on everybody," Signore said. "We're going to try to get a road course in. We have to look at it. We wanted to keep a spot open for the sponsor that it would like to help support the series."(SceneDaily.com), more on the series at irocracing.com.(11-18-2006)

    • Dodge's 2007 Plans: With Chevrolet celebrating its 26th manufacturer's championship in the past 35 years, Dodge Motorsports decided to make dramatic changes for 2007. The Dodge Charger will come back with a new front nose that's supposed to give it more downforce in traffic. The car company also will move to the Dodge Avenger for all of the Car of Tomorrow races. The new car will be phased into the sport starting next year. It's taller and wider to enhance competition and safety. Chevrolet decided to use the Monte Carlo at non-Car of Tomorrow races and the Impala at the rest, and Dodge will make a similar switch.(Augusta Chronicle)(11-18-2006)

    • Roush buys out Martin's share of #17 team: Jack Roush has bought Mark Martin's share of the #17 Nextel Cup team that Matt Kenseth drives. Martin is listed as the owner of the car, though it was Roush that sat at the head table with driver Matt Kenseth when the team won the 2003 championship, and it is the Roush Racing umbrella under which the team competes. Martin is leaving Roush after this season as he stops competing full time in NASCAR, at least for next season. Martin plans to share the Bobby Ginn-owned MB2 Motorsports #01 with rookie Regan Smith next season, with Martin driving in 22 races.(SceneDaily.com)(11-18-2006)

    • Final Phoenix ratings drop 6%: NBC's broadcast of last Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway drew a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.7 and a 9 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 6% lower than the 5.0/10 the race drew last year. Overnight ratings for the race from the nation's largest markets had been up 2.5%.(SceneDaily.com), see more on my 2006 TV Ratings page.(11-18-2006)

    • Robby, Menards, Energizer and the Baja Race UPDATES wins!: Menards and Energizer will team up as the primary sponsor of Robby Gordon and his #7 Chevy for the Nextel Cup Series' season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Harrah's, Jim Beam and CarLoan.com will serve as associates. Known as one of motorsports’ true journeyman, Robby Gordon will spend the week leading into NASCAR’s final event of the 2006 season putting that moniker to the test. Crossing over and reaching back to his roots in off-road racing, Gordon will participate in the upcoming 39th running of the legendary Baja 1000, the sixth and final race of the 2006 SCORE Desert Series season. A former two-time winner of the event, Gordon will once again attempt to reclaim one of racing’s most coveted titles. Driving his #83 Red Bull/Toyo Tires-sponsored Chevy CK1500 Trophy Truck, Gordon will make the trek through the Baja peninsula for the majority of the race before turning over the helm to 19-year old phenom, Andy McMillin. The race runs November 15-18, 2006.(RGM PR)
      More: Robby Gordon and Andy McMillin turned in a virtually perfect performance over a nearly 19-and-a-half-hour time span in dominating the 39th Baja 1000 in their Red Bull Chevrolet CK1500.(RGM PR)
      and keep up with Robby and his team in the Baja race at RobbyGordon.com.(11-16/17-2006)
      TV: A one-hour race recap will be shown on NBC Sports Dec. 10 at 2:30pm/et.(11-18-2006)

    • Championship Scenarios: Any driver within 156 points is still mathematically eligible for the Nextel Cup Series championship. So, going into the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the following drivers can still win the title:
      Jimmie Johnson 6332 points
      Matt Kenseth -63
      Kevin Harvick -90
      Denny Hamlin -90
      Dale Earnhardt Jr. -115
      Jimmie Johnson is assured of winning the championship if any of the following occur:
      Finish of 12th or better and leading no laps
      Finish of 13th or better and leading at least one lap
      Finish of 15th or better and leading the most laps
      If Kenseth wins the Ford 400 and both Johnson and Kenseth tie in the point standings, they would also tie at the first tiebreaker with five wins each. The next tiebreaker is second place finishes. The advantage would go to Johnson, who currently has six runner-up finishes, better than the three runner-up finishes by Kenseth.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(11-13-2006)
      AND
      #48-Jimmie Johnson wins if any of the following occur:
    • Finish of 12th or better and leading no laps
    • Finish of 13th or better and leading at least one lap
    • Finish of 15th or better and leading the most laps
      #17-Matt Kenseth wins if all of the following occur:
    • He wins the race and leads the most laps.
    • Jimmie Johnson finishes 13th or worse without leading a lap.
      #29-Kevin Harvick wins if all of the following occur:
    • He wins the race and leads the most laps.
    • Jimmie Johnson finishes 22nd or worse and doesn't lead a lap.
    • Matt Kenseth finishes 4th or worse and doesn't lead a lap.
      #11-Denny Hamlin wins if all of the following occur:
    • He wins the race and leads the most laps.
    • Jimmie Johnson finishes 22nd or worse and doesn't lead a lap.
    • Matt Kenseth finishes 4th or worse and doesn't lead a lap.
      #8-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wins if all of the following occur:
    • He wins the race and leads the most laps.
    • Jimmie Johnson finishes 30th or worse and doesn't lead a lap.
    • Matt Kenseth finishes 10th or worse and doesn't lead a lap.
    • Both Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin both finish fourth or worse and don't lead a lap. (FoxSports)(11-17/18-2006)

    • Only Twice has Leader lost points lead in final race: Only two drivers leading the points race have lost the championship in the final race since NASCAR modernized its point system in 1975. Darrell Waltrip lost a two-point lead in the season-finale in 1979 to Richard Petty; Davey Allison lost a 30-point lead to Alan Kulwicki in 1992.(Augusta Chronicle)


      News from November 17, 2006

    • Three Race Tracks Jeff Gordon has never won at: There are three current race tracks the Nextel Cup Series runs on that #24-Jeff Gordon has not won at [a Nextel Cup race]:
      Texas 0 for 12 with a best of 2nd in 2002
      Phoenix 0 for 16 with a best of 3rd in 2002 and 2004
      Homestead 0 for 8 with a best finish of 3rd 2004
      Gordon has won at 21 [19 active] of 24 tracks he has raced on including two not on the circuit any longer, North Wilkesboro and Rockingham.(11-19-2006)

    • #66 "Wraps Up" Season with Special Paint Design at Homestead: As NASCAR wraps up its 2006 Nextel Cup Series season, the Best Buy Racing team will "Wrap Up the Wow" at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jeff Green's #66 Best Buy Chevy is sporting a special paint design for this weekend's event, featuring a special holiday theme. The car features "snowflakes," along with the tag line, "Wrap Up the Wow." In the center of each "snowflake" is a wrapped gift, with the iconic yellow Best Buy tag attached. Branching out from each snowflake center are artist's renderings of everything from MP3 players to headphones, cameras, TV's, computers and video game controllers, representing just a few of the thousands of great holiday gift ideas Best Buy offers.(Best Buy Racing/GMR Live Marketing PR), see images of the car, go to my Paint Schemes Gallery.(11-17-2006)

    • Hoosier back in NASCAR if Goodyear strike continues? UPDATE: An Oct. 5 system-wide strike by some 15,000 United Steelworkers union members at 16 Goodyear Tire and Rubber manufacturing plants might have provided Lakeville, Indiana-based Hoosier Tire and Rubber a chance to get rolling again in NASCAR's three top racing divisions, sources close to the situation said. [see past news about the strike on my NASCAR Sponsors page]. A meeting between Hoosier and NASCAR occurred last week at the latter's Daytona Beach headquarters to establish a contingency plan that likely will kick into action by the end of November so that NASCAR's Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series will have race tires on which to compete after the sanctioning body's first event of the 2007 season at Daytona International Speedway. Presently, non-striking Goodyear workers -- most of whom normally perform white-collar duties -- are at full-tilt-boogie in producing enough tires to satisfy demand for Daytona Beach's Speed Weeks at NASCAR's 2.5-mile "home" track. But it's Goodyear's inability to meet demand for the rest of the 2007 race schedule that has caused concern at NASCAR. For 2007 Goodyear currently sees itself as producing tires only for Nextel Cups three biggest races held at Daytona, Charlotte and Indianapolis. With roughly a three-month lead time needed for manufacturing lines to ramp-up and complete tire production, such leaves Goodyear needing to settle the dispute with its workers no later than about the end of next week so that tires can be made ready for the February 25, 2007, California Speedway race. "From everything I've heard," said one well-placed Wall Street insider consulted for this story, "Goodyear is looking to outsource the manufacture of its product in the long haul." See full story at Motorsport.com.(11-16-2006)
      UPDATE: Goodyear officials have indicated NASCAR race tire production has not been affected by the strike. 2007 race production is on schedule.(11-17-2006)


    • Ramblings - Homestead: Kasey Kahne took the Bud Pole today at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Sunday's Ford 400, his sixth top-spot of the season and 12th of his career. Kahne's time of 30.293 (178.259 mph) was less than 1/100th of a second quicker than Scott Riggs who'll start on the outside pole. Kahne finishes the season tied with Kurt Busch for most poles, but Kahne had two outside poles this year while Busch had just one.
      Kyle Busch (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Phoenix in April
      Mike Bliss (17th) has his best starting spot since he quailified 6th at Texas in October of 2005.
      Welcome Juan Pablo Montoya (let the hoopla begin!). He'll make his first Nextel Cup start in 29th place.
      STREAKIN....Brian Vickers has 3 Top-10 starts in a row.
      Our main combatants in the Chase are back a little ways in the field, but as we've seen on numerous occasion, that matters little. Jimmie Johnson will start 15th while Matt Kenseth is two rows back in 19th. Kevin Harvick (7th), Denny Hamlin (33rd), and Dale Earnhardt Jr (14th) are the only other drivers with a chance (tho slim for some) at the Championship. Jeff Gordon will be eliminated when they take the green.(Stock Car Fans)(11-17-2006)

    • Homestead Qualifying Notes:
      • Kasey Kahne won the Bud Pole for the Ford 400, lapping Homestead-Miami Speedway in 30.293 seconds at 178.259 mph. Jamie McMurray holds the track-qualifying record of 29.816 seconds, 181.111 mph - set Nov. 14, 2003.
      • This is Kahne’s 12th career Bud Pole in 108 Nextel Cup Series races.
      • This is his sixth Bud Pole and 20th top-10 start in 2006. He tied Kurt Busch for the most Bud Poles this season. Kahne will win the yearly Bud Pole Award based on the tie-breaker of two second-place starts as to Busch’s one.
      • This is Kahne’s first Bud Pole and third top-10 start in three races at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His starts have all been third or better.
      • Kahne became the seventh different Bud Pole winner in eight races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
      • Scott Riggs posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 30.300 seconds, 178.218 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the Ford 400. He posted his first start better than 25th in three Homestead races.
      • This is the 16th Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has 13 Bud Poles and Ford has five. Qualifying was canceled for the first race at Bristol and the second at Atlanta.
      • Kyle Busch (third) has started fourth in his only other appearance at Homestead (2005). This is his best start since he won the Bud Pole at Phoenix in April.
      • Elliott Sadler (fourth) has posted his first start better than 15th in eight Homestead races.
      • Jeff Burton (fifth) has started from the top 10 just one other time in his eight races at Homestead.
      • Four of the 10 Chase drivers qualified in the top 10: Kahne, Busch, Burton and Kevin Harvick (seventh). Jeff Gordon (12th), Dale Earnhardt (14th), Jimmie Johnson (15th), Matt Kenseth (19th), Mark Martin (26th) and Denny Hamlin (33rd) are the Chase drivers starting outside the top 10.
      • Juan Pablo Montoya (29th) qualified for his career-first Nextel Cup race.
      • Bill Elliott used a past champion’s provisional to make the field.
      • The 56 drivers that entered the Ford 400 is the largest entry number of drivers to attempt to make a race since Daytona in February (58). Morgan Shepherd withdrew prior to qualifying.(NASCAR Statisitcal Services)(11-17-2006)

    • Goody's out, Tylenol in..with NASCAR: Goody's Headache Powders, a staple in NASCAR since 1977, will be replaced by Tylenol next season as the sport's official pain reliever. It's yet another break the stock car racing series is making from its longtime, but regional, partners. Goody's plans to stay involved with Petty Enterprises and continue its relationship with Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where Goody's sponsored a Busch Series race this season. The agreement also provides promotional opportunities around all the NASCAR tracks and gives Tylenol exclusive-rights deals with the International Speedway Corporation and Dover International Speedway.(Associated Press)(11-17-2006)

    • ESPN adds more auto racing to their coverage: ESPN has further bolstered its motorsports lineup with the announcement of a new, multi-year agreement that will mark the return of the Champ Car World Series in 2007. At least 11 events of the international open-wheel racing series will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC in 2007, with the networks exclusively airing the series in 2008. With the addition of Champ Car to its motorsports lineup, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC will televise races in 2007 featuring the four major North American auto racing sanctioning bodies: NASCAR, NHRA, Champ Car and IndyCar. ESPN2 will have more than 500 hours of motorsports programming in 2007. The new arrangement also provides for coverage of races of Champ Car’s feeder series, the Champ Car Atlantic Series, which will be aired primarily on ESPN2.(ESPN PR)(11-17-2006)

    • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 35 races, two drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart and #31-Burton. #14-Marlin, #88-Jarrett, #01-Nemechek is the leader with 10 lucky dog passes used. In 2006, two drivers have benefitted from a Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol and #9-Kasey Kahne at Michigan. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #6-Martin [3rd at Kansas], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte], #43-Labonte [3rd at Martinsville], #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond and 5th at Dover in Sept] are the drivers this year to get a top five after using the pass. Since the Lucky Dog Pass came to be at Dover in September 2003, six drivers have won seven races after getting the pass. For more, who got the passes for each race and totals along with some tidbits, see my Lucky Dog page.(11-17-2006)

    • McClure to run most 2007 Busch races & two Cup races planned: Eric McClure announced that he has secured sponsorship from the Hefty brand to compete in a majority of Busch Series events, as well as a pair of Nextel Cup events, during the 2007 season. The Hefty brand, which joined McClure for a limited Busch and Nextel Cup Series schedule in 2006, will serve as primary sponsor for for 32 Busch Series events in the #0 Johnny Davis Motorsports Chevy. Additionally, The Hefty brand will support McClure in a pair of Nextel Cup series events, including the season-opening Daytona 500. The effort is tentatively scheduled to be in partnership with Morgan-McClure Motorsports, and the second event will be determined at a later date. Additional sponsorship activities and details will be made available at a later date.(Team McClure PR)(11-17-2006)

    • Homestead Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same tire codes this weekend, though the Nextel Cup and Busch Series tires will be branded "Goodyear Eagle" and the Craftsman Truck tires will be branded "Goodyear Wrangler" . . .this is the only track at which teams will run this specific combination of left- and right-side tires in 2006 . . . however, major NASCAR teams have run this left-side code (D-4008) at California, Kansas and Texas; and this right-side code (D-4064) at Chicagoland earlier this season. . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Homestead . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 60-65 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR) For the full notes, pressures, codes, see the Homestead Race Info / Rundown Page.(11-17-2006)

    • Shepherd to attempt Homestead: #89-Morgan Shepherd and the Faith Motorsports team pulled out and headed south Thursday afternoon, just in time to pull through the gates at the Homestead-Miami Speedway at daybreak Friday morning. The team's efforts will be supported by minor sponsorships from Gulf Coast Filters of Gulfport, MS, RaceZingMania of Crested Butte, CO, and Amtek Signs of Indiana. Shepherd said an additional $6,000 to $10,000 needs to be raised just to cover expenses for the weekend trip. (Morgan Shepherd site)(11-17-2006)

    • Special Edition of Wind Tunnel Sunday morning: SPEED will air a special edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday at 10:00am/et. The special "State of NASCAR" program will discuss the direction of the sport, covering everything from the Car of Tomorrow to caps on team ownership to the future of manufacturer involvement. Joining Despain will be an expert panel including drivers Mark Martin, Greg Biffle, Joe Gibbs Racing team president J.D. Gibbs, DEI Vice President Richie Gilmore, NASCAR journalists Dick Berggren and Godwin Kelly and others. In addition, Wind Tunnel will air its season finale in its regular time slot Sunday night at 9:00am/et with guests Bob Varsha, Mike Joy and Robin Miller.(SpeedTV.com)(11-17-2006)


      News from November 16, 2006

    • Kahne wins pole at Homestead: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a speed of 178.259mph for his 6th pole of 2006 and 12th of his career. The rest of the top-10 are #29-Harvick, #25-Vickers, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #01-Nemechek, #16-Biffle, #12-Newman, #2-Busch, #5-Busch and #17-Kenseth. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #49-Bliss, #14-Marlin, #33-Wimmer, #15-Menard, #30-Montoya, #09-Mayfield, #32-Kvapil and #37-Elliott [using a past champions provisional]. #7-Gordon blew an engine on his 2nd lap and will have to go to the rear of the field after qualifying 35th. See the qualifying results/starting lineup. pole progression on the Homestead Starting Grid/Qualifying Page .(11-17-2006)

    • 13 Do not qualify for Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Ford 400: #4-Burton, #72-Whitt, #95-Atwood, #78-KWallace, #06-Kluever, #60-Ragan, #55-Waltrip, #27-Skinner, #74-Cope, #61-Lepage, #46-Long, #34-Chaffin and #89-Shepherd [withdrew].(11-17-2006)

    • Where do the Chasers start at Homestead:
      #48-Jimmie Johnson starts 15th
      #17-Matt Kenseth 19th
      #29-Kevin Harvick 7th
      #11-Denny Hamlin 33rd
      #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 14th
      below are eliminated from the championship
      #24-Jeff Gordon 12th
      #31-Jeff Burton 5th
      #6-Mark Martin 26th
      #9-Kasey Kahne 1st
      #5-Kyle Busch 3rd

    • Elliott to run Xbox/Burger King scheme at Homestead UPDATE: On Sunday, Nov. 19 at Homestead the #00-Burger King Dodge [entry list has the car listed as a Chevy] will hit the track with an all-new car design featuring the BK Xbox Games.(Bill Elliott site), see a small image at the #00 Team Schemes page(11-15-2006)
      UPDATE: The #00 Burger King car will have a royal look at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. For the first time in the company’s history, the King will be part of a special paint scheme to kick-off the holiday season at Burger King restaurants. The promotion starts on race day, November 19 and features three exclusive Xbox/Xbox 360 video games; “Pocketbike Racer”, “Big Bumpin” and “Sneak King.”
      “The special paint scheme for the Burger King Xbox promotion is fit for royalty,” commented team owner Michael Waltrip. “It is the first time that Burger King has put a graphic of the King on the race car and the team is proud to be running it at Homestead. Race day is the first day that the Xbox games will be available at restaurants so we hope to have a good run in the #00 Burger King car.” The games will be available for a limited time only while supplies last at Burger King restaurants for a recommended price of $3.99 per game with the purchase of a Value Meal. Price and participation may vary.(MWR PR)(11-16-2006)

    • Montoya's Cup debut at Homestead? UPDATE 5...yes...but?: Speculation is rampant that Juan Pablo Montoya [who will drive the #42 Dodge in Cup for Ganassi in 2007] may announce today that he'll make his Nextel Cup debut in next Sunday's NASCAR tour finale at Homestead, Fla., down the road from Montoya's Miami home.(Winston Salem Journal)(11-12-2006)
      UPDATE: from a Clear!Blue PR asking Ganassi: - WILL MONTOYA ATTEMPT TO QUALIFY FOR NEXT WEEK'S CUP RACE? "We'll see. We're making the decision this week. We'll have our post-race review from this weekend and go from there. If we so decide there is a car entered there."(Clear!Blue PR)(11-12-2006)
      UPDATE 2: Car owner Chip Ganassi has entered a Nextel Cup car for Juan Pablo Montoya in next week’s season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but remains undecided as to whether or not Montoya will actually race. Ganassi said Sunday he likes what he’s seen so far of the Colombian in his first venture into NASCAR’s Busch Series.(SpeedTV.com)(11-13-2006)
      UPDATE 3: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will enter Juan Pablo Montoya in the Ford 400 qualifying field in the #30 Texaco/Havoline Dodge. It will be his first attempt at making a Nextel Cup starting grid. Montoya will attempt to make his Nextel Cup Series debut by qualifying on Friday for the Ford 400, scheduled for Sunday. Last July,Montoya announced his plans to switch to NASCAR where he will pilot the #42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger in 2007 while running for the Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year title, along with an assortment of NASCAR Busch Series races. In doing so, Montoya will become the first Formula 1 regular to ever join the Nextel Cup ranks full time.(HMS PR)(11-14-2006)
      UPDATE 4: Chip Ganassi Racing has moved Juan Montoya to the #42 Texaco Dodge for the Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. Montoya, who will be making his Cup debut, is now guaranteed a spot in the field based on owner points. Casey Mears will try to qualify Ganassi's #30 Dodge. Mears is leaving the team after the race to join Hendrick Motorsports as driver of the #25 Chevrolet.(NASCAR.com)
      HOWEVER: PR folks at Ganassi sent out a Mears #42 Pre-Homestead press release and when asked, confirmed Mears would be in the #42 at Homestead and NOT the #30.(11-15-2006)
      UPDATE 5: Juan Pablo Montoya will make his Nextel Cup debut in the #30 Texaco/Havoline Dodge this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Montoya, a Miami resident, will compete in both the Busch Series and Nextel Cup races this weekend. Steve Boyer will crew chief the #30 Dodge Charger for Montoya in the Cup Series, while Brad Parrott will continue his role as his Busch Series crew chief. RaceWatch is the fan's resource for the latest news on what's going on within NASCAR. Distributed free to all fans upon entering each and every Nextel Cup Series event, RaceWatch provides added value to their race-day experience. In its commemorative season-ending issue at Homestead-Miami Speedway, included in RaceWatch will be a miniature #42 Texaco / Havoline Montoya hero card. There will be 42 lucky readers who will find their hero card signed by Montoya. Montoya and his wife Connie will be participating in the NASCAR Foundation Track Walk on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway at 8:30am/et.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(11-16-2006)

    • Nemechek to Pull Triple Duty for First Time in Career: For the first time in his racing career Joe Nemechek will compete in NASCAR's three professional divisions in the same weekend at the same track. The triple-header weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway kicks off Friday evening for Nemechek, who will pilot the #46 Chevy for Morgan-Dollar Motorsports in the Craftsman Truck Series. It will be his third race of the season in the #46 entry. The second part of the weekend schedule for Nemechek will be his return to the Busch Series where he has claimed 16 career victories. His only other Busch race of the season was the February opener at Daytona International Speedway. Nemechek, who must qualify on time for Saturday night’s Busch event, will drive his #87 NEMCO Motorsports Chevy with sponsorship from Ginn Clubs & Resorts. The weekend culminates Sunday for Nemechek, who will drive the #01 U.S. Army Chevy in the final Nextel Cup race of the season – the Ford 400.(MB2Motorsports PR)(11-16-2006)

    • Spencer to the #73 team? NASCAR.com's Ryan Smithson reports "am hearing that Jimmy Spencer is back part-time in the Nextel Cup Series next year with a new team called Revelocity Racing. It was formed by a group of four businessmen from West Virginia, and they plan on running all the Car of Tomorrow races in 2007." Smithson also heard the team also talked to Ward Burton, but eventually went with Spencer.(NASCAR.com), more info on the Revelocity Racing team on my #73 Team News and Links page, they supposedly are teaming up with PPI Motorsports.(11-16-2006)

    • Martin Voted Busch Series' Greatest Driver: Mark Martin has been ranked #1 among the "25 Greatest NASCAR Busch Series Drivers" in internet polls on NASCAR.COM and NASCARMedia.com in conjunction with the season-long celebration of the 25th anniversary of the NASCAR Busch Series and its association with series sponsor Anheuser-Busch. Martin, the all-time series leader in wins (47) and Busch Poles (30) despite never having run a full season throughout his 220 starts, received the most votes in both polls, which allowed fans and media to rank their top 25 selections from a list of 41 nominees. The series' first two-time champion, Sam Ard, finished second in the NASCARMedia.com poll; followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in third, another multiple champion; Jack Ingram, the first series champion in 1982 (he won again in '85) in fourth and Dale Earnhardt, who won the first NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona in 1982, in fifth.(NASCAR PR)(11-16-2006)

    • Homestead Rookie Notes: #11-Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the November 12 Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Hamlin finished third, his seventh top-five and 19th top-10 finish of the 2006 season. He took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the 17th time in 35 races. Hamlin is fourth in the Nextel Cup Series championship standings, 90 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson. He is 27 behind second-place Matt Kenseth and leads fifth-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 25. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top 15 in all 35 races this season. Hamlin and Jeff Gordon are the only Chase drivers to score six top-10 finishes in the nine races in the Chase. Hamlin leads Clint Bowyer by 60 points (294-234) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Nov. 19 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Tony Stewart is the only Raybestos Rookie to win a Nextel Cup Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He won the inaugural Ford 400 in 1999 by 5.289 seconds over Bobby Labonte. Stewart led the race four times for 44 laps. The only other Raybestos Rookie to score a top-five finish in six previous races at Homestead is Casey Atwood, who finished third in 2001 and led the most laps (52). The only Raybestos Rookie to win a pole in six Nextel Cup races at Homestead is Jamie McMurray in 2003. Tony Stewart owns the best points finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the sport’s modern era (post 1971), placing fourth in the championship standings in 1999. James Hylton holds the best points finish by a Raybestos Rookie in the sport’s history, a second-place effort in 1966.(Raybestos PR), for the full notes, history, standings and more, see the 2006 Rookies Page.(11-16-2006)

    • Find the Perfect Jeans at Homestead-Miami Speedway: Imagine finding the perfect jeans faster than a NASCAR pit stop! Now you can with the Levi Strauss Signature "Fit Pit" Tour as it makes its final stop at Homestead-Miami Speedway during the NASCAR Championship race weekend. The Fit Pit features Intellifit technology that in 10 seconds scans a fully-clothed person and produces a print out recommendation of sizes and styles of Levi Strauss Signature jeans which can be purchased at Target and Wal-Mart locations.(Alan Taylor Communications PR)(11-16-2006)

    • Hendrick Honored: Rick Hendrick, chairman and CEO of Hendrick Motorsports, has been named as the winner of the 2006 Jeffrey Mark Harris Achievement Award by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). This exemplary individual demonstrated his commitment and support to the NMDP's mission by establishing the Hendrick Marrow Program to heighten awareness of the NMDP and it's partner, The Marrow Foundation. Over nearly a decade, the work of the Program has resulted in more than 75,000 new potential donors joining the NMDP Registry and the generation of millions of dollars for donor awareness, recruitment and retention, patient assistance and research.(PR)(11-16-2006)


      News from November 15, 2006

    • SPEED adds Homestead programming: SPEED will open its coverage of the Nextel Cup Series finale Nov. 16 at 2:00pm/et with live coverage of the Chase for the Nextel Cup championship press conference from the famed Doral Golf Resort in Miami. The show will kick off nearly 30 hours of coverage from the Homestead-Miami area as titles are decided in the Craftsman Truck Series and the Nextel Cup Series. The Chase is On, with Steve Byrnes and NASCAR driver Carl Edwards will report beachside Nov. 16 at 9:00pm/et, to introduce the weekend's top stories Highlighting the four-day coverage will be live coverage of the Craftsman Truck Series finale Nov. 17 at 7:30pm/et. Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip will join Rick Allen and former driver Phil Parsons in the booth, while Ray Dunlap, Krista Voda and NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler report from the pits. Special editions of The SPEED Report (Nov. 17, 10:30pm/et; Nov. 18, 10:00pm/et and Nov. 19, 8:00pm/et) will wrap up the seasons for all three major NASCAR series, with Dave Despain taking his Wind Tunnel team to Homestead to discuss the state of the sport for a Sunday morning special (10:00am/et).
      On Nov. 19, SPEED will open the day with a special Breakfast at Homestead program at 9:00am/et with Byrnes, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler. The NASCAR RaceDay team of John Roberts, Jimmy Spencer, Kenny Wallace, Wendy Venturini, Bob Dillner and Rutledge Wood will take over at 11:00am.et and deliver a three-hour pre-race show, returning after the race for NASCAR Victory Lane.(SpeedTV.com)(11-15-2006)

    • Final start in the #88 for Jarrett; then surgery next week: Dale Jarrett will be making his final start for Robert Yates Racing in the #88 UPS Ford this Sunday at Homestead. Jarrett’s best finish at Homestead is a fifth-place finish – scored during his championship winning season of 1999. Only seven Nextel Cup Series events have been run at Homestead and Jarrett has been running at the conclusion of all seven races. He has completed 1,856 of the 1,873 laps run at Homestead for a lap completion rate of 99%. Following the season finale in Homestead, Jarrett will travel to Baltimore, Md., where he is scheduled to have surgery on his left hand on Tuesday, November 21. Jarrett suffered a slight fracture in his left hand as a result of the accident he was in at Infineon Raceway in June. His hand has never healed correctly and he will be having corrective surgery next week.(RYR PR)(11-15-2006)

    • Sad News: J.J. Weaver, born on August 13, 2005, went to heaven to be with Jesus on Saturday, November 11, 2006. J.J. died in peace in his daddy's arms after a difficult and courageous battle with cancer. Funeral services will be conducted 2:00 p.m. Wednesday November 15, 2006 at the First Baptist Church of Huntersville with Rev. Doug Danner officiating. Burial will follow in the Church cemetery. The family will receive friends Tuesday evening from 4:00 to 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home. Survivors are his parents, John [of Ganassi Racing] and Teri Weaver; paternal grandfather, John M. Weaver of Flushing, MI; maternal grandparents, Frank J. Miller of Herminie, PA, and Judith and Clifford Bateson of Greensburg, PA; and several aunts, uncles and cousins. J.J. was preceded in death by his paternal grandmother, Marilyn F. Weaver. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The JJ Weaver Fund, P. O. Box 652, Cornelius, N.C. 28031. Arrangements by Raymer Funeral Home, Huntersville, NC.(Charlotte Observer)(11-15-2006)

    • Atwood to run #95 at Homestead: Casy Atwood will attempt to make the Ford 400 Nextel Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the #95 Scott Shop Towels Ford for Brewco Motorsports in cooperation with Stanton Barrett Jr. This weekend’s Ford 400 marks the first time Kimberly-Clark will sponsor a NASCAR Nextel Cup entry. The company, which has been a sponsor in the Busch Series for 13 years, features all of its brands on the NBS #27 Brewco Motorsports Kleenex Ford. In three Cup starts at Homestead, Atwood has two top-10 finishes. Over those three races, his average starting position is sixth place. Atwood has 75 starts in Nextel Cup competition. The Associate Sponsor on the #95 Ford is Sam’s Club, the nation's largest warehouse club with more than 49 million members nationwide. Atwood’s top finish at Homestead came in only his second Nextel Cup start at the speedway in the 2001 race, where he started second and finished third, leading 52 laps along the way. “I’m also excited to be the first person to drive a Cup car for Kimberly-Clark. They’ve been such a great sponsor in the Busch Series for so long. We appreciate their support there and now here in the Cup race, so we’ll do everything we can to get the #95 Scott Shop Towels Ford in victory lane this Sunday.”(Brewco Motorsports PR)(11-15-2006)

    • #43 to sport Chex Most Popular Driver colors at Homestead: #43-Bobby Labonte will be behind the seat of the Chex Most Popular Driver Dodge for this weekend's event at Homestead-Miami Speedway to promote the Chex NMPA NASCAR Most Popular Driver of 2006 Award. Fans can vote at mostpopulardriver.com. ends at 11:59am/ct on November 20, 2006. Voting limited to one vote per person per email address per day. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has won the award the last three years.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR)(11-15-2006)

    • DEI not purchasing RYR: Dale Earnhardt Inc. Vice President Richie Gilmore disputed reports that his company could be buying all or part of Robert Yates Racing. During the race weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, DEI Technical Director Steve Hmiel confirmed that the company was in discussions concerning a purchase of at least part of RYR. He said the company could purchase RYR's shop and equipment, but that it could also acquire the #88 team and its owner points. The owner points could be transferred to the third DEI team of Paul Menard. On Tuesday, though, Gilmore said that the story had grown out of proportion. "Stories definitely grow in the sport and maybe it's a slow time of the year with the Chase not being quite as tight as it should be," Gilmore said. "It's one of them stories that grew. I told [DEI team owner] Teresa [Earnhardt], maybe if Teresa was going to go get a cup of coffee at 8 o'clock in the morning, by noontime around here she's going to buy a Starbucks. So I think the story kind of grew that way. It grew legs for sure. When asked if there was anything to the reports that DEI could be considering purchasing all or part of the team, Gilmore's answer was succinct. "No," he said. At Phoenix, when asked about the situation, team owner Robert Yates didn't deny he was in talks with DEI and said he planned to tell the #88 team its fate before this weekend's race at Homestead. The #88 has no driver and no sponsor for 2007 since Dale Jarrett and UPS are moving over to the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota team.(SceneDaily.com)(11-15-2006)

    • Nashville Ballet's Nutcracker features Darrell Waltrip as "Mother Ginger": Darrell Waltrip is racing to Nashville Ballet's holiday favorite this year as "Mother Ginger" in Nutcracker. This scene-stealing role accelerates quickly and will leave folks begging for more! Darrell will don a LARGER-than-LIFE dress and prepare to maneuver across the stage at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center on Friday December 15, 2006 at 7:00 pm. Once onstage, eight children magically appear from his voluminous skirts, dancing for joy and "Mother Ginger" will move with speed of light to capture these children in less than 10 laps! Nashville Ballet invites you to enjoy the thrill of victory in this win-win production of ballet & driver. Nashville Ballet's 22 company dancers and apprentices will perform four series during the 21st Season. Still remaining are: Nutcracker, Dec. 15-17 and Dec. 22-23, 2006; Bluebird Café at the Ballet 2, Feb. 16 - 18, 2007; and Swan Lake, April 27 - 29, 2007. See more at FoxSports.com.(11-15-2006)

    • SPEED to get inside look at Ganassi Racing: SPEED will deliver an inside look into the business of racing with a pair of one-hour Racing Incorporated specials focusing on the motor sports operations of multi-team owner Chip Ganassi. Given unprecedented access to race shops and meetings for about three weeks in August, the specials will air Nov. 15 and 16 at 8:00pm/et/pt.(SpeedTV PR)(11-4/15-2006)

    • Pit Crew Win Gives Harvick's Team Double Victory in Phoenix: Kevin Harvick's over-the-wall crew picked up the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday's NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway. The winning effort by the #29 pit crew helped Harvick capture the victory at the one-mile oval. It was the third pit crew win of the season for Harvick's crew. The team's other pit crew victories were at the May race in Richmond, Va. and the July race in Joliet, Ill. Harvick's over-the-wall crew, which will receive $10,500 for the win from Checkers/Rally's, consists of: Nick Terry (jackman), Josh Mick (front-tire carrier), Jason Pulver (front-tire changer), Matt Krueter (rear-tire carrier), Clint Pittman (rear-tire changer), Brian Englehart (gasman), Scott Naset (catch can), Rick Tulbert (2nd gas can) and John Goodwin (eighth-man). The team is led by crew chief Todd Berrier. Heading into Sunday's (Nov. 19) final Nextel Cup event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the over-the-wall crews for Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart are tied for first in the season-long competition with five wins each. If the competition is still tied after Sunday's Cup finale, the Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge championship and the $105,000 bonus will be awarded to Johnson's No. 48 crew since the tie-breaker is decided on driver point standings. Johnson, who leads in the Chase standings, cannot be passed by any team still in contention for the pit crew title. To date, Checkers/Rally's has paid out $367,500 in NEXTEL Cup Series prize money during this season. Checkers/Rally's is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com. The Checkers/Rally's Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series.(DMF Communications PR)(11-15-2006)

    • Whitt to drive the #72 at Homestead: Brandon Whitt will make his second Nextel Cup appearance this weekend in Miami for #72 CJM Racing. "We are very pleased with Brandon's efforts this past weekend in Phoenix," states co-owner Bryan Mullet. "Brandon showed great poise the entire weekend; unfortunately we ran into some mechanical problems on Sunday which cut his Cup debut short. Brandon has shown this team that he has what it takes to compete at this level. We are looking forward to putting together a very solid weekend heading into this off-season." CJM Racing will announce 2007 plans in the upcoming weeks.(CJM Racing PR)(11-15-2006)

    • Florida Governor Jeb Bush proclaims Nextel Cup Championship Week: With the silver Nextel Cup Series trophy to his left and a signed proclamation before him, Florida Governor Jeb Bush officially declared Nov. 14-20, "NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Championship Week in the State of Florida," on Tuesday. The proclamation, which precedes Sunday's season-finale event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, was issued during the governor's weekly Cabinet Meeting at the state capitol. In attendance were Lesa Kennedy, President, International Speedway Corporation; Steve O'Donnell, Vice President of Racing Operations, NASCAR; Robin Braig, President of Daytona International Speedway, Rusty Wallace, the 1989 Nextel Cup champion, and Kasey Kahne (#9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), one of the 10 drivers in the 2006 Chase for the Nextel Cup and the series leader with six victories this season.(NASCAR PR)(11-15-2006)

    • NASCAR is going to be holding an official Ford 400 Viewing Party in N.Y. The Viewing Party is being held on Sunday, November 19 at the ESPN Zone at 2 p.m. The ESPN Zone is located at 1472 Broadway on the corner of 42nd and Broadway in Times Square. The party will be hosted by Q104.3 FM, ESPN Zone and NASCAR. Promotions for the viewing party include a Lap Leader Ballot and Trivia Contests. The Lap Leader Ballot will be distributed to guests prior to the start of the race. Viewers will guess the correct lap leader after laps 100, 150, 200 and 267 (race winner) to be entered to win VIP passes to the Champions Week activities at the ESPN Zone during Victory Lap. A total of 4 pairs of VIP tickets will be given away. Winners of the trivia contests will receive Nextel Cup Series t-shirts, NASCAR hats, and Anheuser Busch/Dale Jr. Premiums.


      News from November 14, 2006

    • Kvapil back to the Truck Series? UPDATE 2: on Speed Channel's SPEED Report, Ray Dunlap reported that 2003 Truck Series Champ could be headed back to the Craftsman Truck Series full time in 2007, possibly driving the #6 for Roush Racing. No word if Kvapil would still drive full time in Nextel Cup and stay with Cal Wells and the #32 Chevy.(11-6-2006)
      UPDATE: Travis Kvapil will announce later this week that he will return to the Craftsman Truck Series next season, driving the #6 Ford for Roush Racing. Kvapil has two races remaining on his one-year contract with PPI Motorsports, but team owner Cal Wells has been unable to land a sponsor to replace longtime backer Tide, prompting Kvapil to explore his options elsewhere. Appearing at a charity event last night in his native Winsconsin, Kvapil said, "Something should be happening within a couple days. All I can say right now is that this is the opportunity I've been hoping for my whole career. It's a chance to drive for a team that has a solid foundation." In addition to steering the #6 Ford Truck, Kvapil may also drive a limited schedule of events in Nextel Cup and/or Busch Series action next season.(Motorsports Soapbox)
      UPDATE 2: With the departure of Mark Martin, Roush Racing was presented with the question of who would fill his shoes in the #6 Roush Racing Ford in the Craftsman Truck Series. That question was answered this week when Roush signed former Truck Series champion Travis Kvapil to pilot the Ford that Martin drove to five victories in 13 attempts this season. “It’s a great opportunity to join an organization that constantly demonstrates its ability to compete successfully in all areas of competition,” said Kvapil. “I’m looking forward to reestablishing a record of excellent competitive results in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and hope that I can continue competing successfully for a long time with Roush Racing.” At this point the #6 Roush Racing Ford is without a sponsor but Roush Racing president Geoff Smith believes that now that a driver has been chosen for the truck, a sponsor announcement will likely follow.(Roush Racing PR)(11-14-2006)

    • Skinner to qualify the #27 at Homestead: Mike Skinner will be driving the #27 Chevy for Kirk Shelmerdine Racing for Homestead, doesn't say if he will drive the #27 in the race.(KSR Site)(11-14-2006)

    • Special AAA scheme for Martin at Homestead: The #6 AAA Ford Fusion will run a special paint scheme this weekend to commemorate the final run of Martin behind the wheel of the car he has driven since 1988. The AAA car will be colored in a predominately black scheme when it takes to the track this Friday for what will be Martin's last Nextel Cup weekend in the car.(Roush Racing PR)(11-14-2006)

    • Kluever entered at Homestead..up to 55: Todd Kluever will be attempting his fifth Nextel Cup start this weekend at Homestead. He will be driving the #06 3M/Sharp AQUOS Ford Fusion for Roush Racing. Kluever will be competing in both the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series races at Homestead this weekend. "This race was not originally on my schedule of races to run this season, but since we missed Phoenix we wanted to run another one for 3M," said Kluever.(Roush Racing PR), the Homestead Entry List is now up to 55 teams/cars.(11-14-2006)

    • Petty scheme at Homestead UPDATE: #45-Kyle Petty will run a petty blue Dodge with many of his 2006 sponsors featured
      UPDATE: In appreciation of all primary sponsorships partners on the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge this season the car will feature primary sponsorship logos of Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil, Wells Fargo, Tire Kingdom and Schwan's at Homestead.(Petty Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(11-14-2006)

    • Double-Duty For Dale Jr.: The Nextel Cup season finale at Homestead will mark Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 255th career start - and his 255th points race with Budweiser sponsorship. The day prior, however, will be Junior's first start with Budweiser colors in the Busch Series. Dale Jr., a two-time champion with 22 career victories in only 90 Busch Series starts, will race the familiar red #8 Budweiser paint scheme for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the Ford 300 race. Dale Jr. has two victories this season in four Busch Series starts for DEI.(fingerprintinc/Bud PR)(11-14-2006)

    • Villeneuve interested in #88 ride: Sources tell [MRN] Sirius Speedway that Jacques Villeneuve’s representatives have also been burning up the telephone lines to Robert Yates Racing, which has yet to name a driver for its #88 Ford next season. However, speculation in the Nextel Cup garage says Yates may actually be negotiating to sell the #88 half of his operation to Dale Earnhardt, Inc.(Motorsports Soapbox)(11-14-2006)

    • Mikey to run Truck race at Homestead: Darrell Waltrip Motorsports organization plans to field a second truck with Michael Waltrip and the #12 Jani-King Toyota Tundra at Homestead. ALSO Michael Waltrip Racing, Inc. has announced that Josh Wise, who was crowned the 2006 USAC National Sprint Car Series champion on Saturday night, will drive in a variety of series for the organization in 2007. Josh will run in a variety of venues for Michael Waltrip Racing including the Craftsman Truck Series and ARCA as well as the short track racing.(MWR PR)(11-14-2006)

    • New Chevy single season win record: #29-Kevin Harvick's convincing victory at Phoenix gave Chevy 23 wins thus far in 2006 and set a new Modern Era single-season win record for the Bowtie brand. It is 596th all-time NNCS win for Chevrolet and the 472nd in the Modern Era.(GM Racing), Chevy's all-time NASCAR Cup record is 25 wins in 1958, Buick holds the modern era record with 25 in 1982 and the alltime record is held by Ford with 48 in 1965.(11-14-2006)

    • PTG Studios to sponsor #34 at Homestead: PTG Studios will be the primary sponsor of the #34 Front Row Motorsports Chevy driven by Chad Chaffin at Homestead-Miami Motorsports Complex on Sunday November 19th, for the Ford 400. PTG Studios, founded in 1997, is an independent media production company that specializes in educational programming for national and international markets. It is headquartered in Deerfield Beach, FL. For more information about PTG Studios, please visit www.ptgstudios.com.(FRM PR)(11-14-2006)

    • Harvick Victory at Phoenix Awards 29 Lucky Race Fans an All-New 2007 Chevy Avalanche: #29-GM Goodwrench driver Kevin Harvick powered to victory in the Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway to complete the #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge and award 29 lucky Expertise Challenge grand prize winners with an all-new 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche. With the win at Phoenix and a victory at Richmond International Raceway in September, Harvick and the GM Goodwrench team successfully completed the #29 Goodwrench Expertise Challenge, a unique promotion designed by GM Service and Parts Operations (GMSPO) to award a total of 29 lucky fans with an all-new 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche, a $1,000 GM vehicle maintenance certificate from Goodwrench and a trunk full of Reese's products, if Harvick won 2 of 12 selected Nextel Cup races. As part of the Expertise Challenge promotion, GM Goodwrench also will establish a $200,000 scholarship fund to provide tuition assistance to AYES high school students who choose to continue their automotive technical education by attending GM ASEP colleges. Beginning in May, the Expertise Challenge promotion offered GM customers and race fans the chance to win a variety of prizes, including an all-new 2007 Avalanche, by visiting a Chevrolet dealership or a Chevy display at select NASCAR events to obtain a ticket with an official promotion code. They also could visit goodwrench.com/expert to obtain a promotion code and complete the registration process.(GMSPO PR)(11-14-2006)


      News from November 13, 2006

    • Phoenix Overnight TV Ratings up: NBC's broadcast of Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway earned an overnight Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.1 and an 8 market share, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 2.5% higher than the 4.0 NBC earned overnight for the 2005 Phoenix race.(SceneDaily.com), see past TV Ratings News and Chart on my 2006 TV Ratings Page.(11-13-2006)

    • Commercial breakdown for the Checkers 500:
      Total number of commercials: 149
      Total number of companies or entities advertised: 78
      Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 32
      Restarts missed due to being away at commercial: 0
      Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:20pm/et
      End time to record race/commercial periods: 7:01pm/et
      Total minutes: 221
      Minutes of race broadcast: 150
      Minutes of commercials: 71
      See full report at www.cawsnjaws.com.(11-13-2006)

    • Latest on Red Sox owner buying into Roush: Geoff Smith, the head of Roush Racing, said that the proposed merger with Red Sox owner John Henry's Fenway Sports Group is proceeding nicely, and if the deal is completed it should be by early February. Jack Roush and Smith are negotiating a sale of as much as 50% of Roush Racing to Henry and his company. "It's still progressing, and progressing positively toward closing," Smith said of the negotiations. "It's pretty straightforward on how it's proceeding. Lawyers are looking at documents, accountants are working on plans for operational adjustments that need to take place. All those practical things are in motion. People are out in the garage verifying how certain things work. I would expect by the time we show up in February at Daytona there will either be a deal in place or there won't be a deal at all."(Winston Salem Journal)(11-13-2006)



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