- Benson to attempt Richmond with Wyler Racing: Johnny Benson will drive a Wyler Racing Toyota in next weekend’s Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Speedway, Benson said this week. Benson, who drives a Bill Davis Racing Toyota in the Craftsman Truck Series, will be entered in the #46 Camry at Richmond. Wyler Racing fields the #60 Tundra for Jack Sprague in the Craftsman Truck Series. Wyler and Benson tested a car of tomorrow at Richmond earlier this month. "It tested pretty good and we were really happy with it," Benson said. "[Crew chief] Tony Furr and the guys did a tremendous job. It was a pleasure to go there, work with the guys and work with that new car." Benson said there is a possibility Wyler Racing could enter more Nextel Cup events later in the year. "Hopefully the race goes well enough that we get to go do more," Benson said. "That is still a question mark. I don’t know what their plans are; they’d like to race more Cup events. It is so sponsor-driven now. It costs so much money to field a truck, let alone a Cup car. I think that Dave Wyler and his father are doing everything they can to try to run some races this year. Whether I’ll be a part of that, I don’t know. I just know that I’m a part of the Richmond deal for sure and hopefully I’ll be able to run some more races."(SceneDaily.com)(4-29-2007)
- Jeff Gordon wins at Talladega [revised]: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a late race pass then held on during a green-white-checkered finish and another caution to win his 2nd race of the 2007 season and his 77th career win, which moves Gordon past the late Dale Earnhardt [on Dale Sr’s 56th birthday] and is now alone for the 6th spot in all time wins. This is the 11th restrictor plate track win for Gordon, which ties the all-time record held by Earnhardt. Gordon’s win from the pole at Talladega is the first there since April 1998 [Bobby Labonte]. Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won the last four spring races at Talladega [Gordon 3, Johnson 1].
A few idiots didn’t listen to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and still threw cans and debris on the track. After the GWC flew, there was a multi-car wreck with Gordon leading and NASCAR threw the yellow, freezing the field. The rest of the top 10 [revised]: #48-Johnson, #2-Busch, #38-Gilliland, #26-McMurray, #29-Harvick, #8-Earnhardt Jr., #40-Stremme, #12-Newman and #1-Truex Jr. With #31-Jeff Burton, 2nd in points, involved in a wreck and finishing 34th, Gordon increases his points lead over Burton to 203. There were 8 cautions for 28 laps and 20 drivers lead the race with 40 lead changes.
Race Results on my Talladega Race Results/Awards Page.
Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Talladega page
Race Rundown: see my Talladega Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(4-29-2007)
- Unofficial Driver Points Top-12 Standing after Talladega [9 of 36 races]:
#24-Jeff Gordon 1521
#31-Jeff Burton 1318 -203
#17-Matt Kenseth 1292 -229
#48-Jimmie Johnson 1290 -231
#11-Denny Hamlin 1189 -332
#20-Tony Stewart 1078 -443
#26-Jamie McMurray 1059 -462
#5-Kyle Busch 1054 -467
#29-Kevin Harvick 1052 -469
#2-Kurt Busch 1038 -483
#07-Clint Bowyer 1021 -500
#99-Carl Edwards 1004 -517
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. is 13th -10pts from 12th
#42-Juan Montoya is 19th
#9-Kasey Kahne is 31st
For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(4-29-2007)
- Talladega Penalty Report:
Car#, Penalty, Reason, Issued
1 #20 PT Excessive Speed-Entering pits 44
2 #16 TE Excessive speed – Exiting pits 75
3 #36 TE Rolling a tire(s) beyond the center of pit road 126
4 #88 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 131
5 #12 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 162
6 #07 MCI Safety violation 177
7 #00 TE Pitting before Pit Road is Open 186
PT – Pass through
TE – Tail end of the longest line
SG – Stop and Go
OL – One lap
ND – NASCAR discretion
MCI – Must come into pits.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-29-2007)
- Rumblings – Talladega Race Notes: We had a green/white/checker finish today at Talladega Superspeedway….and we didn’t make it a mile into the final five before it was over. Jeff Gordon won the Aaron’s 510 today under caution to give him his second win of the season, his 5th at Talladega, and the 77th of his Nextel Cup career (he’s now solo in 6th on the all-time win list). This was the 155th win for Hendrick Motorsports and the third time they’ve gone 1/2 this season (Jimmie Johnson was second, btw). The victory was worth $355,511 from the $6M in posted awards. Well, we were treated to another contemptible display of trash throwing today. Kinda makes you wish we had more trash talking instead….sure would be a shame to see higher fences to keep the fans out. What’s next? Are we gonna look like some of these soccer games in foreign lands where we see regular army with live weapons and german shepherds patrolling the side lines? Save those for the media center! We lost six cars to engine woes today…..four in the first 38 laps!
Kurt Busch (3rd) had his best finish since he was 3rd here last October.
David Gilliland (4th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 8th at Daytona in February.
David Stremme (8th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 10th at Texas earlier this month.
Kasey Kahne (12th) had his best finish since he was 7th at Daytona in February.
Sterling Marlin (16th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Lowe’s last October.
Kyle Petty (18th) had his best finish since he was 11th at Texas last October.
Jeremy Mayfield (23rd) had his best finish since he was 22nd at Infineon last June.
Regan Smith (24th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 25th at Bristol last month.
STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races.
Jamie McMurray has 4 Top-10’s in the last 5 races.
This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Kevin Harvick (+35), followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr (+29), Martin Truex Jr (+27), Elliott Sadler (+24), Kurt Busch (+23), Jeff Green (+21), and Jamie McMurray (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Casey Mears (-32), followed by Ricky Rudd (-28 ), Kyle Busch (-24), Carl Edwards (-24), Paul Menard (-24), Ward Burton (-21), and Joe Nemechek (-20). This is Op #3 for Harvick….but you sure know where you are when you see the "Shaft" this crowded.
We had 8 drivers lead a lap today for the first time this season. Jamie McMurray, David Stremme, Jeff Green, David Ragan, Regan Smith, Kenny Wallace, Boris Said, and Casey Mears. In the case of Ragan and Smith, it’s the first laps they’ve led in their Cup careers.
Jamie McMurray (12th to 7th) made the best move forward today, while the absent Mark Martin (10th to 17th) fell the most spots. In that race to stay in the Top-35 in Owner Points, nobody moved above the Mendoza line…..but the #10 of Scott Riggs is the new 36th place team and they’re now just 7 points behind Casey Mears.(Stock Car Fans.com)(4-29-2007)
- Talladega Superspeedway: Fast Facts
.. Jeff Gordon won the Aaron’s 499, his 77th victory in 483 Nextel Cup Series races.
.. Gordon moved into sole possession of sixth place on the all-time winners list, breaking a tie with Dale Earnhardt.
.. This is his second victory and eighth top-10 finish in 2007. He remains the point leader for the fifth race, now leading Jeff Burton by 203 points. .. Gordon won his second consecutive race from the Bud Pole. He was also the last driver to do so, winning at Sonoma and Daytona from the Bud Pole in 2004.
.. This is the first win from the Bud Pole at Talladega since Bobby Labonte in the spring race of 1998.
.. This is his fifth victory and 15th top-10 finish in 29 races at Talladega Superspeedway. He moved into a tie with Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the most wins at Talladega among active drivers. Both run second to Dale Earnhardt, who had 10 Talladega wins.
.. Jimmie Johnson finished second, giving car owner Rick Hendrick his third 1-2 finish this season. Johnson finished first and Gordon second at both Las Vegas and Martinsville.
.. Kurt Busch (third) posted his second top-10 finish in 2007 and his second straight third-place finish at Talladega.(NASCAR Statistics)(4-29-2007)
- Wood Brothers miss first race since 2000: When Ken Schrader failed to qualify for Sunday’s race, it knocked the Wood Brothers famed #21 Ford out of the show. It’s the first time since the 2000 race here [Elliott Sadler was the driver] that the car will not be racing. "It ain’t about one race, it’s about the eight before this one," said Fatback McSwain, race director for the Wood Brother. "And we ran like crap in those races to get us in this position." The #21 is outside the top 35 points and not assured a spot in the field. "We’ve dodged bullets the last three weeks, but sooner or later, one of them is going to hit you," car owner Eddie Wood said. "We threw everything we had at it, but it just wasn’t enough."(Anniston Star)(4-29-2007)
- Headbanger Rachtman involved in NASCAR: Riki Rachtman is probably best-known for hosting the heavy metal-themed "Headbangers Ball" on MTV from 1990 to 1995, but now the tattooed California native spends his time around heavy metal of a different kind. Rachtman hosts "Racing Rocks," a radio show heard on more than 100 stations, reports for "NASCAR 24/7" on NASCAR.com and also appears on the TV show "Raceday" on SPEED. Rachtman says he’s enjoying his first trip to Talladega. "I could not wait to experience the Talladega infield, so I went into the infield at about 4 o’clock and stayed there until about 1:30 a.m., and I had the greatest time. I live in Southern California, and everything they say about Southern hospitality is true. The thing that really surprised me was the Alabama police. I walk through and I’ve got greasy hair and tattoos, and an Alabama policeman would come up to me and go, `You’re not from around here, are you?’ And when I’d say, `No,’ he’d say, `Well, let me give you a tour of the place.’" Rachtman planned to return to the storied infield today.(Alabama Live)(4-29-2007)(4-29-2007)
- Teams after Biffle for 2008: By disclosing that Roush Fenway Racing is re-negotiating its contract with #16-Greg Biffle, team president Geoff Smith may have indirectly increased the driver’s value. Biffle told ESPN.com Friday that Smith’s comment has produced intrigue in the Nextel Cup garage regarding the driver’s contract status. He is an elite driving talent. Teams are calling. "The biggest thing that’s been a bit of a deterrent for me is that Geoff Smith put in the paper that we’re negotiating – Roush and Greg Biffle – an extension," Biffle said. "And in my eyes there was no reason for that. I’m under contract." Biffle is under contract with Roush Fenway through the end of the 2008 season. But when the sponsor of the #16 Ford, AmeriQuest, told Roush it would like to terminate its contract at the end of the year, and that Roush should seek alternative sponsorship, it created a bit of an issue for the team. Biffle described the difficulty in getting a three-year sponsor commitment based on a driver that has just one year left on his deal as all but impossible. Roush Fenway Racing wants to lock Biffle up to a longer-term contract, to ensure potential sponsors he’ll be there for the duration of the relationship. Biffle said that lead executives from some other teams to believe his contract was up at the end of the current season, rather than next year’s. "So now I’ve got all these teams that are looking to add a team or a driver calling me," Biffle said. "Not every team, but there’s been a few because of that quote." Biffle said he wants to remain at Roush Fenway, and echoed Smith’s sentiment that the team has its pick of potential sponsors.(ESPN.com)(4-29-2007)
- Restrictor Plate Streak Ends: Thru Daytona in Feb 2007, three drivers had competed in all 77 restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega, plus all three ran the one-off restrictor plate race at New Hampshire [but that was not a drafting/aero track]: #01-Mark Martin (2 Talladega, 0 Daytona wins); #21-Ken Schrader (1, 0); #55-Michael Waltrip (1, 3). Martin did not run at Talladega as he is running a part time scheduled in 2007. Schrader and Waltrip were both with teams outside the top-35 in owners points and were not fast enough to make the race, so now, no drivers have run all 78 restrictor plate races.(4-29-2007)
- NASCAR to slow down the cars at Talladega? Doubtful UPDATE no change: NASCAR officials are monitoring the situation to determine if changes are needed this weekend after the Nextel Cup drivers posted speeds approaching 200 mph in both practice sessions Friday. #9-Kasey Kahne turned a lap at 198.685 mph in the first practice. #7-Robby Gordon had the best lap in the second practice at 197.423 mph in the heat of the afternoon. "Right now we don’t think it’s a problem," said NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter. "With the draft and the rate of closure so much better here, we feel the real speed is around 195. But we’ll keep looking at it and see what happens in qualifying [Saturday]." NASCAR officials could decide to make the holes in the restrictor plates smaller to further limit air intake and reduce horsepower. NASCAR did that for the Busch cars Friday, making the plate opening 1/32nd of an inch smaller after Mike Wallace posted a lap at more than 197 mph on Thursday.(ESPN.com)(4-28-2007)
UPDATE: NASCAR decided not to change the size of the restrictor plate for the Cup cars after speeds exceeded 198 mph in practice. Speeds dropped enough to make Cup officials more comfortable with the speeds.(Roanoke Times)(4-29-2007)
- Kenny Wallace to run special scheme at Talladgea: Kenny Wallace is scheduled to drive the National Day of Prayer car #78 sponsored by Furniture Row for the Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Wallace qualified 6th for the race. The 56th Annual National Day of Prayer will take place Thursday, May 3, 2007. The theme for this year is "America, Unite in Prayer" The National Day of Prayer tradition predates the founding of the United States of America when the Continental Congress issued a proclamation setting aside a day of prayer in 1775. In 1952, Congress established an annual day of prayer and, in 1988, that law was amended, designating the National Day of Prayer as the first Thursday in May. For more information visit www.nationaldayofprayer.org In commemoration of the day, the #78 Furniture Row Chevy Monte Carlo will once again feature a red, white and blue paint scheme [same scheme as used in 2006], created by Sam Bass Design. This design showcases the National Day of Prayer logo predominately displayed on the hood, side and back of the car. Fans and enthusiasts alike overloaded the National Day of Prayer website, in 2006, with thousands of emails of support when the car debuted last year at Talladega.(Kenny Wallace site)(4-29-2007)
- SMARTBOX Sponsoring Hanniford in Busch Debut at Richmond: SMARTBOX, a portable storage and moving firm that is growing rapidly throughout the country, announced it is moving into the fast lane of another sort by sponsoring the #56 car of Dange Hanniford in Friday’s Busch Series Circuit City 250 at Richmond. Hanniford raced in the Hooters Pro Cup Championship in 2006 and is making his Busch Series debut in Richmond for the #56-Mac Hill Motorsports team.(SMARTHOME PR)(4-29-2007)