- Earnhardt Jr.: ‘We’ll be driving Chevys’ UPDATE 2: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. nearly started laughing Friday and said, ‘Nah,’ when asked if it was really possible he could drive a Ford next season. Dale Earnarhdt Inc., which is in negotiations with Earnhardt Jr. for a contract extension and also must sign a new dale with Chevrolet, has had preliminary talks with other manufacturers and also has talked about a possible merger with Robert Yates Racing. But Earnhardt Jr. couldn’t see himself driving anything but a Chevy. As part of his negotiations with DEI, he wants majority ownership of the team. "We’ll be driving Chevys, I’ll promise you that," Earnhardt Jr. said following qualifying Friday for the Crown Royal/Jim Stewart 400.(SceneDaily.com)(5-5-2007)
UPDATE: The latest on the Dale Earnhardt Jr. saga: The "Robert Yates" NASCAR brand will remain a Ford brand, even in any merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc., according to sources familiar with the Yates-DEI negotiations. However Earnhardt, who has been the heart of DEI, insisted he will be in Chevrolets again next season, no matter what. Those two facts make the DEI-Yates negotiations peculiar, particularly since Earnhardt has been negotiating a new contract with DEI owner Teresa Earnhardt, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. demanding controlling interest in DEI. If DEI officials are negotiating a possible switch to Ford, then Earnhardt would clearly appear to be not involved with those talks. Which would mean if Yates and DEI do come to terms, it would almost certainly be a Yates-DEI merger without Earnhardt in the mix. There has been rampant speculation the past few days that Earnhardt may be moving to either Richard Childress’ Chevy team or Rick Hendrick’s Chevy team.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-7-2007)
UPDATE 2: Before he hit the track for the official test at the Lowes Motor Speedway, #Dale Earnhardt, Jr. told PRN’s Garage Pass there was no news on his contract talks with Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated. As for DEI talking with Robert Yates about a possible merger with him and Ford, Junior had this to say, "I haven’t been asked about it. I haven’t been asked if I would or wouldn’t. I haven’t been part of those discussions with Yates and I don’t even know what those entail or when those happened or what they’re about or what the mechanical parts and pieces are that they’re discussing. But I like Chevys and I’ve got a great relationship and rapport with all the guys over there. Obviously that’s where I’m staying.",
Q: What would it take for your to drive a Ford?
A: "Take a big ‘ol, big ‘ol pile of money! But I don’t think that’s out there."
Q: So, are you saying everyone has his price?
A: "There’s a price on everything but I don’t think that pile of money…I don’t think that kind of money is out there," he joked.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(5-7-2007)
- Evernham close to a partner? Montreal Canadiens owner George N. Gillett is close to a partnership arrangement with Evernham Motorsports [#9, #10, #19]. Gillett, who also is the owner of the Liverpool soccer team in the English Premier League, would be the second major sports team owner to join NASCAR this season, following Red Sox owner John Henry’s buy-in to what is now Roush Fenway Racing.(Sporting News)(5-7-2007)
- Commercial breakdown for the Jim Stewart 400:
Total number of commercials: 159
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 69
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 46
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 7:30 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/05/07: 8:46 PM
Start time to record race/commercial periods 05/06/07: 1:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 05/06/07: 4:33 PM
Total minutes: 289
Minutes of race broadcast: 221
Minutes of commercials: 68
See full reports at CawsnJaws.com.(5-7-2007)
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Day 1 evening: #40A-David Stremme [Dodge] paced all competitors in Monday evening’s test session with a top speed of 187.000mph. He was followed by #36A-Mayfield [Toyota], #15B-Menard [Chevy], #4A-W. Burton [Chevy], and #41A-Sorenson [Dodge]. #7B-R. Gordon was the fastest Ford in 8th.
Slowest driver was #80A-Almirola at 82nd. About 40 minutes into the session #42-Montoya’s Texaco Havoline Dodge began smoking. An oil line had ruptured and it took the safety crew about ten minutes to get the track race ready again. The only accident of the day came just before the session ended when Denny Hamlin lost control of the #11 FedEx Chevy and backed hard into the outside SAFER barrier. The Chesterfield, Va., driver was evaluated and released from the Carolinas HealthCare Infield Care Center. See complete speeds on my 2007 Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Page.(5-7-2007)
- Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Day 1 afternoon: The first day [of two] of testing at Lowe’s Motor Speedway had 82 cars with 49 drivers/teams. #1A-Martin Truex, Jr [Chevy] was fastest in the afternoon session with a speed of 180.596mph followed by #40A-Stremme [Dodge], #12A-Newman [Dodge], #01A-Martin [Chevy], and #36A-Mayfield [Toyota]. #99B-Edward was the fastest Ford in 16th.
Slowest driver was #66A-Green at 82nd. No incidents were reported during the session. See complete speeds on my 2007 Lowe’s Motor Speedway Testing Page.(5-7-2007)
- NASCAR Busch Series at Darlington Live in Prime Time on ESPN2: Few race tracks are as steeped in NASCAR tradition as Darlington Raceway, the egg-shaped superspeedway that hosted its first race in 1950. ESPN2 will have live primetime coverage of Friday night’s 200-mile NASCAR Busch Series race from the 1.366-mile South Carolina track beginning at 8 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. The race will start at 8:30 p.m. Dale Jarrett will join Andy Petree in the ESPN booth for analysis during the telecast. Dr. Jerry Punch will handle play-by-play duties for ESPN. Dave Burns, Mike Massaro and Shannon Spake will report the action from the pits. Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN Pit Studio, joined by analyst Brad Daugherty. Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Chevy Cutaway Car. In addition to the telecast on ESPN2, ESPN’s signature broadband service, ESPN360.com, will deliver a live online simulcast of the event, and a Spanish-language version of the race will be televised on ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s domestic Spanish-language network.(ESPN PR)(5-7-2007)
- Raybestos Rookie Notes for Darlington: Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the Circuit City 250 at Richmond. Montoya finished 11th and took top rookie honors for the fourth time this season. David Ragan holds a one-point edge over Juan Pablo Montoya (111-110) in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington. Ragan is eighth in the Busch Series championship standings, best of any Raybestos Rookie. He is three points behind seventh-place Bobby Hamilton Jr. and leads ninth-place Juan Pablo Montoya by 37.(Raybestos PR)(5-7-2007)
- CJM Racing to Make Busch Debut at Darlington: CJM Racing, owned by brothers Tony and Bryan Mullet, has undergone a major revamp since hitting the NASCAR circuit mid-season 2006. The team, under the direction of former championship team owner Greg Pollex, will take to the NASCAR Busch Series with a new driver, new crew and a new at Darlington Raceway. Driver Jason Keller will wheel the #11 Force Protection Chevy on Friday, May 11th. Force Protection, Inc. has become the nation’s leading center for blast technology and counter improvised explosive device research as it designs, manufacturers, tests, delivers and supports blast and mine protected vehicles throughout the world. Darlington will mark the first of several races in 2007 that driver Jason Keller and CJM Racing will run in the NASCAR Busch Series.(CJM Racing PR) NOTE: Although the team is running #11, they are not affiliated with DEI in any way.(5-7-2007)
- Wyler Racing plans 3-5 more Cup races: UPDATE: Focus remains Truck Series Championship: The Wylers [brothers Jeff and David] last year thought, in their long-range plan in racing, that the Car of Tomorrow was something that could usher them toward, if not into the Nextel Cup Series. "We wanted to get our feet wet," Furr said. "But the Wylers want to grow into a Cup team and keep the [#60] Truck team, too, so we have talked about it and probably will run anywhere from three to five more of these [Cup] races." Moving forward, Benson just hopes he’s part of the equation. "I know I’m a part of this deal and it would be great to be a part of some other stuff," [Johnny] Benson said. "They’ve got Jack [Sprague] and the Truck team so I hope we both get to drive it. I’d like to run them all, but these are the guys that work with Jack all the time, so I hope he gets the same opportunity. I’m just helping out.(NASCAR.com)(5-6-2007)
UPDATE: The odds were stacked against Johnny Benson & Wyler Racing but they managed to out-qualify some of the heavily funded teams that do this week in and week out, run a clean race, and get a respectable finish [31st]. The Wyler’s may give Cup racing another try, but for now; "Our main focus is to win Jack Sprague his fourth championship in the Craftsman Truck Series," explained Wyler. "We are going to do everything in our power to do that this year. What we are going to do on the Cup side is take it week by week, race by race, and if we feel we can go and contend and run competitively in the Cup car, we’ll do it. But, we are not going to do it at the expense of the #60 Con-way Freight Toyota."(Wyler Racing PR)(5-7-2007)