- Jarrett hopes to make decision for 2007 soon: #88-Dale Jarrett said he has talked to quite a few people about driving for them next season but would not say whether he has signed with Michael Waltrip Racing. Waltrip said Friday that he had talked with the Robert Yates Racing driver but had not signed him to run a second Toyota out of the Michael Waltrip Racing stable in 2007. "People know when the last year of your contract is, so they start talking and seeing what your interests are, especially in my case," Jarrett said Saturday following qualifying for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. Jarrett said that he probably would make a decision in the next two or three weeks and that sponsor UPS is not necessarily tied to him. "That’s Robert’s sponsor," said Jarrett, referring to his current owner. "They came here because of what we accomplished at Robert Yates Racing, and that hasn’t been a factor in determining what I’m going to do. The offers that I have had from everybody else aren’t contingent upon bringing a sponsor."(SceneDaily.com)(4-29-2006)
- Elliott Sadler looking for new gig? UPDATE 2 thru 2008: ….When Sadler arrived at Yates, he said it was a dream job, perhaps a lifetime job. And now? He’s not so sure. Sources say Sadler is talking to other team owners looking for a deal. He’ll be 31 on Sunday, and in a tight market for experienced, winning Cup drivers with plenty of years left, somebody likely will be interested. Sadler has a year remaining on his contract, and he may just be testing the waters in case things don’t improve. Or he may be trying to create a situation like Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray did last year by signing a year in advance and then letting the car owners work out a deal for an early release.(in part from CNNSI column)(4-28-2006)
UPDATE: been told that Sadler is signed thru 2008 with Robert Yates Racing, not just one more year.(4-28-2006)
UPDATE 2: A report states that Jarrett’s teammate, Elliott Sadler, is frustrated and looking to join another team. One destination could be the Red Bull Racing Toyota team. Sadler admits he’s frustrated with how this season has gone _ he’s 14th in points _ but remains committed to Robert Yates Racing. Last June, Sadler signed a contract extension, along with sponsor M&M’s, to remain with the team through the 2008 season. "You just can’t change a team overnight,” Sadler said. "It’s going to be a long process. I’m here to stay at Robert Yates. I can’t see myself going anywhere.”(Roanoke Times)(4-29-2006)
- Waltrip talked to Jarrett…no 2nd driver yet: #55-Michael Waltrip said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway that he has personally offered #88-Dale Jarrett a contract to drive a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Camry Nextel Cup car in 2007. Toyota and Waltrip are also said to be wooing Jarrett’s sponsor, UPS, which is in the final year of its contract with Robert Yates Racing. Waltrip said he hopes to have a driver signed for 2007 in short order. "We want to get the driver lineup as soon as possible," said Waltrip. "We want to hire the best driver we can get, and not be controversial about it. We’re going to try and get the biggest, best guy we can. The list was top guys for a while, then the list was top guys and medium guys and now it’s who do you think we can get? It might be a top guy, it might not be. It’s just a matter of what we can work out. It’s more important to my sponsors who we get than it is to Toyota." Make no mistake about it, Toyota and its race teams are serious about spending money to hire talent: One team principal, speaking on condition of anonymity, said one of his managers received a $100,000 raise when he jumped ship and moved to a Toyota team recently. (Speed Channel)
AND: Waltrip, who has sponsorship from NAPA for his Cup effort next year, did say he has sponsorship settled for two Nextel Cup teams but won’t announce the other sponsor until he settles on a driver. Waltrip said he had talked with recently retired Ricky Rudd but only about possibly doing what Bill Elliott was eventually signed to do – run a partial schedule this year for MWR as it gets ready for the full-time effort. Larry Carter and Bobby Kennedy are building the Chevys for Bill Elliott to run this season with Burger King sponsorship. He said that should help build the team in getting ready for the Toyota debut next season. He also said he has sponsorship for one of his two Busch Series teams. He said he would like David Reutimann, the driver for Darrell Waltrip Motorsports in the trucks, drive one of those Busch cars. He also said that Reutimann’s teammate, Joey Miller, is a possibility for the other Busch car.(SceneDaily.com)
AND II: Michael Waltrip revealed on Friday that Dale Jarrett and Ricky Rudd have been asked about driving a Toyota next season – and he was emphatic about who was doing the wooing. Waltrip, who will field two Camrys in both the Cup and Busch series next season, said his team is handling all negotiations on incoming personnel without any help from the Japanese manufacturer.(USA Today)(4-29-2006)
- Petty needs sponsor for 6-8 races: #45-Kyle Petty is looking for a sponsor for six to eight races to complete the sponsorship program for the #45 Petty Enterprises Dodge he drives in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Petty said Friday that a company he had a signed contract with fell through, but he would not name the company. He said he would still drive his car in the unsponsored races. "Whether we have a sponsor or not, we’re going to go to the race track," Petty said. "We have to do that, obviously. But at the same time, it puts you in a little bit different position than what we thought we were in January and where we thought we were last week." Petty said not having sponsorship for six to eight races would be "a burden," but he feels confident he can fill the gap. Petty has sponsorship from Wells Fargo, Schwan’s, Tire Kingdom and Coca-Cola for various races throughout the season. He said losing the sponsor had nothing to do with performance.(SceneDaily.com)(4-29-2006)
- Talladega Nights on sale at Talladega: NASCAR and Sony Pictures will begin selling merchandise this week online and at-track for one of the most anticipated comedies of the year – "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby." While "Talladega Nights", starring television and movie star Will Ferrell, hits theatres August 4, merchandise for the movie goes on sale this Thursday. In addition to being available online at NASCAR.com, NASCAR-licensed film merchandise will be available at track for the first time at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Ferrell, who will be playing NASCAR driver Ricky Bobby, will be the grand marshal for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499. Close to 10 different licensees will be selling movie merchandise either on NASCAR.com and/or in a "Talladega Nights"-specific hauler, with Motorsports Authentics, J.H. Design Group, Checkered Flag Sports and Gametime LLC leading the way with several different lines of shirts, jackets, watches and more. As part of this weekend’s merchandise launch, Motorsports Authentics will be running a promotion awarding fans with an opportunity to meet Ferrell and get their movie merchandise signed by the former "Saturday Night Live" star turned mega-movie star and NASCAR fan. All fans purchasing movie merchandise at-track between Thursday and Saturday at 1 p.m. will be entered into a drawing that will ultimately reward 50 lucky fans with a Sunday autograph session with Ferrell.(NASCAR PR)(4-29-2006)
- Yeley to run ACT scheme at Talladega: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will display a unique paint scheme on the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet to be driven by rookie J.J. Yeley during the April 30 Aaron’s 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The sponsorship aims to help raise awareness about the need for improved asthma control and motivate patients with asthma to take the Asthma Control TestT (ACT), and share the results with their doctor. The ACT consists of five simple questions that help patients understand how their asthma affects them. GlaxoSmithKline also will bring its AsthmaControl.com mobile exhibit to the Talladega Superspeedway on April 30 to allow race fans with asthma to take the ACT, learn their asthma scores on site and receive racing souvenirs.(Joe Gibbs Racing PR)(4-27-2006)
IMAGE: see an image of the car on my #18 Team Schemes page.(4-29-2006)
- Sadler wins pole at Talladega: #38-Elliott Sadler won the Budweiser pole for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a lap of 188.511mph, for his 2nd straight pole at Talladega, 1st of 2006 and 7th of his career. #20-Stewart will start 2nd, followed by #99-Carl Edwards, #88-Dale Jarrett and #2-Kurt Busch. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 27th in the black Chevy, points leader, #17-Matt Kenseth starts 12th. #40-David Stremme was the fastest of the non top-35 drivers and will start 17th, #55-Michael Waltrip, also no longer in the top-35 in owners points, had to race in and did so, starting 21st. #27-Kirk Shelmerdine made the race and #4-Scott Wimmer gets the final starting spot. Missing the race were: #78-Wallace, #95-Barrett, #49-Sherman, #92-Blount, #09-MWallace and #89-Shepherd. For qualifying speeds, starting lineup, pole progression, non top-35 qualifiers on my Talladega Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(4-29-2006)
- Talladega Qualifying Notes:
– Elliott Sadler won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Aaron’s 499, lapping Talladega Superspeedway in 50.798 seconds at 188.511 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 44.998 seconds, 212.809 mph, set April 30, 1987 – prior to the advent of restrictor-plate racing. Elliott also holds the Talladega restrictor-plate record of 48.128 seconds, 199.388 mph, set May 4, 1990.
– This is Sadler’s seventh career Bud Pole in 258 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
– This is his first Bud Pole and third top-10 start in 2006. He became the seventh different Bud Pole winner this season.
– This is Sadler’s third Bud Pole and sixth top-10 start in 14 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, all in the past seven races here.
– Tony Stewart posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 51.029 seconds, 187.658 mph – and will join Sadler on the front row for the Aaron’s 499. It is his fifth top-10 start in 2006, all third or better. Stewart’s career-best Talladega start is his seventh top-10 start in 15 races here.
– This is the second Bud Pole for Ford in 2006. Chevrolet and Dodge each have three Bud Poles this season. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
– Carl Edwards (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 2006 – all top-fives. He has qualified in the top-10 in two of his four Talladega races.
– Dale Jarrett (fourth) posted his first start better than 15th this season. Jarrett scored his 17th top-10 start in 39 races at Talladega, including five of the past six.
– Kurt Busch (fifth) posted his eighth straight top-10 start of 2006. His only non-top 10 start came in the Daytona 500, when he started 13th. Busch posted his third top- 10 start in 11 races at Talladega.
– Kirk Shelmerdine (22nd), who posted his career-best finish in the Daytona 500 this past February, posted his career-best start. His best start in his previous 24 races was 32nd in his career-first start set at Texas World Speedway in June 1981.
– Hermie Sadler (24th) posted his best start since he started 21st in the 2005 Pepsi 500 at Daytona. This will be his 55th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race.(NASCAR Statisical Services)(4-29-2006)
- Ramblings – Talladega:
In a sport where qualifying is separated by mere thousandths of a second, Elliott Sadler blew ’em away today at Talladega Superspeedway Sadler took the Bud Pole for tomorrow’s Aaron’s 499 with a time of 50.798 seconds (188.511 mph). His margin over outside pole man Tony Stewart was over 2/10th of a second! To put that in perspective, 2nd thru 9th is separated by that same margin. Somebody check to see if he got a tow! This is Elliot’s 7th career pole (tho his first since Lowe’s last October), and he becomes the 7th different qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
Teammate Dale Jarrett (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole when we were here last October.
Joe Nemechek (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Texas last November.
David Stremme (17th) has his career best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 22nd at Homestead last November.
Robby Gordon (19th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Phoenix last November.
Michael Waltrip (21st) has his best starting spot since he qualified 19th at California last September…..all it takes is a little pressure, eh Mikey?
Kirk Shelmerdine (22nd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best was 32nd at Texas World Speedway in June of 1981! We dig however deep it takes…..
Hermie Sadler (24th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 21st at Daytona last July (only 7 races).
Travis Kvapil (26th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 12th at Martinsville last October.
STREAKIN….Kurt Busch has 8 Top-10 starts in a row.
Greg Biffle has 8 Top-10 starts in a row.
Tony Stewart has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans)(4-29-2006)
- Waltrip says he must race Sunday: Michael Waltrip, who will have to qualify his #55 NAPA Dodge on speed for the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, will celebrate his 43rd birthday on Sunday and hopes to have more cause to celebrate with a starting spot: "If we have a problem getting in I’ll probably have to nose around to find another ride to race on Sunday. It’s my birthday and I can’t miss the race."(Talladega Superspeey Pit Notes)(4-29-2006)
- Harvick Fails Post-Race Inspection: The left-rear quarterpanel of Busch Series point leader Kevin Harvick’s #21 Chevy was found to be too low in post-race inspection following Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 at Talladega. Busch Series director Joe Balash said penalties are expected and should be announced Tuesday, but Harvick would be allowed to keep his second-place finish. Harvick leads the Busch Series standings by 299 points over Richard Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer.(NASCAR Scene)(4-29-2006)
- Starting Line Up – due to rain, field set by points for the Dodge Ram Tough 200(Top five)
1) #6 David Ragan
2) #9 Ted Musgrave
3) #30 Todd Bodine
4) #17 David Reuitmann
5) #11 David Starr
Did not make the field: #63 JR Patton, #91 JC Stout, #31 Nick Tucker
For complete starting lineup: nascar.com or truckseries.com(4-29-2006)
- Final Practice for the Dodge Ram Tough 200(Top Five)
1) #60 Jack Sprague, 133.116
2) #17 David Reutimann, 132.751
3) #14 Rick Crawford, 132.318
4) #30 Todd Bodine, 132.271
5) #9 Ted Musgrave, 132.271
1st Dodge 9th-#18 Bobby Hamilton Jr. 131.748
1st Chevy 12th-#88 Matt Crafton 131.540
For complete practice results: truckseries.com(4-29-2006)