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June 2006 News Archives


  • News from June 30, 2006

  • Said wins pole at Daytona: #60-Boris Said upset the field and won the Budweiser Pole for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway for his 2nd career pole and 1st ever on an oval, with a speed of 186.143mph. Starting 2nd is #20-Tony Stewart, followed by #40-David Stremme, #24-Jeff Grodon and #01-Joe Nemechek. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start deep in the field at 36th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #60-Said [pole], #40-Stremme, #32-Kvapil, #55-Waltrip, #27-Shelmerdine, #00-Sadler and #61-Chaffin. Missing the race were: #4-Wimmer, #34-Blount, #49-Lepage, #78-Wallace and #72-Davis. See the qualifying results on my Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(6-30-2006)
  • Special paint for Kahne and Mayfield at Daytona UPDATE 2 Challenger: #9-Kasey Kahne and #19-Jermey Mayfield will be running another special paint scheme again this weekend, promoting an advertising campaign for Chrysler that will be announced Saturday, July 1st as Kahne will participate in a major press announcement for Chrysler with Richard Petty.(Evernham Motorsports/ClearBlue PR), see an image of the cars on my #9 Team Schemes page and #19 Team Schemes page, “Ask Dr Z” scheme.(6-30-2006)
    UPDATE: Tomorrow [July 1st] it is expected that the Dodge will unveil a new production car as part of its Daytona activities. Fans are invited to attend the event to see Richard Petty and Kasey Kahne showcase the new car.
    AND Chrysler also is expected to unveil details an employee-pricing discount plan for consumers in a campaign that will feature DaimlerChrysler Chairman Dieter Zetsche [Dr Z].
    UPDATE 2: Chrysler is crashing the muscle-car party with plans to build a production version of the Dodge Challenger coupe that debuted as a retro-styled concept car in January at the Detroit auto show. The automaker plans to herald the return of the Challenger at the Pepsi 400 in Daytona, Fla., on Saturday, according to people familiar with the plans. The Challenger concept, a rear-wheel drive coupe, drew raves from enthusiasts for its old-school looks and growling 425-horsepower V-8 engine.(Detroit News)(6-30-2006)
  • Final Infineon TV ratings drop: Infineon Raceway officials say Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 Nextel Cup race earned a 5.1 rating from Nielsen Media Research. The rating is 10.5% lower than the 5.7 the race earned last year, but it was the highest-rated sports event televised last weekend and the second-highest rating in the race’s history.(SceneDaily.com), see season ratings and chart on my 2006 TV ratings Page.(6-30-2006)
  • David Green and Johnny Sauter to Attempt Brickyard 400: David Green and Johnny Sauter [#70] will both enter the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard with their Busch Series teams. Brewco Motorsports will attempt to make its first Cup start of the season, while Sauter’s Haas CNC Racing team ran at Charlotte in May.(NASCAR Scene Print)(6-30-2006)
  • Bank of America Cup? UPDATE – No: When word of the shake-up [Nextel personnel] first broke in April, Sprint executives insisted they were committed to continuing the NASCAR sponsorship, despite reports otherwise that the new powers were less than interested in NASCAR. Now, according to sources familiar with the situation, there are reports that Bank of America executives are interested in acquiring the title sponsorship to the Cup series.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-26-2006)
    UPDATE – No: from a Transcript – NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France: Q) Along with the potential name change with the merger, the rumors continue to pop up about the possible change of the sponsor. Has there been any discussions at all about Nextel/Sprint getting another company to buy out the contract?
    BRIAN FRANCE: None whatsoever. They have got one of the great positions, the greatest position perhaps, in sports. They are obviously going through a change post their merger trying to get their company in a place that takes the most advantage with NASCAR. But they are focused on how to build around the sponsorship that Nextel brought into the merger. So none whatsoever.(NASCAR)(6-30-2006)
  • Stewart wins IROC road race at Daytona: Tony Stewart is one step closer to a Crown Royal IROC championship by taking the win on the road course at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart was dominant taking home the bonus points for most laps led with 17 (of 20) circuits at the head of the field. Road racing expert Max Papis hounded Stewart throughout the last half of the race and finished second. NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Ryan Newman finished third.(IROCRacing.com). Rounding out the top five were Papis, Ryan Newman, Scott Sharp and Scott Hornish.(DIS Site)(6-30-2006)
  • 12 year old girl wins “Design Dale’s Ride” contest – IMAGE: The UPS Store hosted the “Design Dale’s Ride” coloring contest and invited kids to design the special paint scheme for Dale Jarrett’s #88 The UPS Store/Toys for Tots Ford. Jarrett will race the winning design on Sunday, November 5, 2006, at Texas Motor Speedway to kick-off The UPS Store’s holiday season – and its Toys for Tots donation drive. Twelve-year-old Annabelle Huffman from Napa, CA took the “championship cup” in the coloring contest. The contest winner was determined by online voting and a judging panel representing The UPS Store, UPS Racing and Dale Jarrett, Inc.(DaleJarrett.com), see images of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page (6-30-2006)
  • Papis hopes to run races at Watkins Glen; during Speed Channel’s coverage of the IROC race at Daytona, Jeff Hammond mentioned that road racer Max Papis is looking to run the Busch North and Busch Series races at Watkins Glen and could be in the #78 Furniture Row Chevy that Kenny Wallace normally drives, in the Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen in August.(6-30-2006)
  • Sad News – Bill Gazaway: Long-time NASCAR official Bill Gazaway passed away in the Atlanta area on Thursday. “Bill was one of those pioneers who did a lot of good things during his time at NASCAR,” said NASCAR Vice Chairman William C. France. Gazaway was born February 16, 1930, and raised in Atlanta, Ga. He was in the Marine Corps from 1947 to 1951, serving as an instructor in motor maintenance. Gazaway went on to build engines for Delta Airlines and later opened a competition garage in Atlanta. In 1960, Gazaway was a NASCAR team owner with his cars making seven starts; four with Tiny Lund as his driver, two with Joe Caspolich and one by Gazaway himself. This lone venture into the ranks of NASCAR drivers came at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 30, where he started 44th and finished 45th. Gazaway drove his Oldsmobile a total of one lap before the rear end failed. He came to NASCAR as a technical inspector in 1963, maintaining that job until 1967 when he was given the position of Assistant Technical Director under William O. Taylor. Gazaway assumed the role of Competition Director in 1968 after the Taylor’s death; it was a position Gazaway would hold for 10 years. During that time his title changed to National Technical Director and then Winston Cup Grand National Competition Director. In 1979, he was named the Director of Racing Operations & Competition Director. He was promoted to Vice President of Competition in 1984, a position he held until his retirement from NASCAR in 1987. He is survived by his wife Gwen, daughter Alicia and several grandchildren.(NASCAR)(6-30-2006)
  • Jeff Gordon to run for 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona: In a press conference at Daytona International Speedway today, SunTrust Racing car owner/driver Wayne Taylor (and his Surrey Sport LLC company) and SunTrust Racing announced that four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will co-drive the No. 10 SunTrust Racing car with Taylor and his fellow 2005 Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli in the 45th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 27-28, 2007.(grandamerican.com)(6-30-2006)
  • Daytona Qualifying Notes:
    • Boris Said won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Pepsi 400, lapping Daytona International Speedway in 48.350 seconds at 186.143 mph. Bill Elliott holds the track-qualifying record of 42.783 seconds, 210.364 mph, set Feb. 9, 1987 – prior to the advent of restrictor-plate racing. Ken Schrader holds the track restrictor-plate qualifying record with a lap of 46.434 seconds, 198.823 mph – set Feb. 7, 1988.
    • This is Said’s first Bud Pole and second top-10 start in three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Daytona.
    • This is Said’s second career Bud Pole in 23 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • It is Said’s best-ever qualifying effort other than on a road course. His previous best oval-track start was fourth in this race in 2005. He has only one other start better than 26th in 11 oval-track races: 12th at Talladega in May 2005.
    • Tony Stewart posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 48.478 seconds, 185.651 mph – and will join Said on the front row for the Pepsi 400. Stewart posted his 10th top-10 start in 16 races at Daytona.
    • This is the fourth Bud Pole for Ford in 2006. Dodge has eight Bud Poles and Chevrolet also has four. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • David Stremme (third) started 32nd in his only other race at Daytona. This will be his best start in 20 career races.
    • Jeff Gordon (fourth) has posted 17 top-10 starts in 28 races at Daytona, including third in his career-first attempt here. He has three Bud Poles at Daytona – two in this event.
    • Joe Nemechek (fifth) posted five top-10 starts in 25 races at Daytona – all in the July race.
    • Kirk Shelmerdine (27th), who posted his career-best finish of 20th in the 2006 Daytona 500, qualified for his third race of 2006 – all restrictor-plate races.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-30-2006)
  • Ramblings – Daytona Qualifying Notes: Boris Said (that noted oval-tracker) pulled a world class shocker today at Daytona International Speedway as he captured the Bud Pole for tomorrow night’s Pepsi 400. With a speed of 186.143 mph (48.350) he bested Tony Stewart (remember there was a little friction between those two last week) by over a tenth of a second. This is Said’s second career top-spot….his first was at Infineon Raceway in June of 2003. He becomes the 11th different qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout when we return here for Speedweeks 2007.
    Tony Stewart (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Talladega in April.
    David Stremme (3rd) has his career-best starting spot this weekend. His previous best starting position was 4th at Darlington last month.
    Joe Nemechek (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Texas last November.
    Dale Jarrett (7th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 4th at Talladega last April.
    Martin Truex Jr. (8th) equals his career-best starting spot this weekend. He also started 8th at Atlanta last October.
    Travis Kvapil (15th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Martinsville last October.
    Mike Wallace (18th) has his best starting spot since he started 15th at Kansas last October (only six races).
    Michael Waltrip (19th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 19th at California last September.
    Tony Raines (21st) has his best starting spot since he lined up 12th at Martinsville in April.
    STREAKIN….Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stockcarfans.com)(6-30-2006)
  • Daytona Rookie Notes: Denny Hamlin was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the June 25 Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon (Sonoma, Calif.) Raceway. Hamlin finished 12th and took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the ninth time this season. Hamlin stretched his lead in the Raybestos Rookie standings to 31 points (185-154) over Clint Bowyer entering the July 1 Pepsi 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. A Raybestos Rookie has finished in the top-15 in all 16 races this season. Hamlin is 11th in the NEXTEL Cup Series championship standings, nine points behind 10th-place Kevin Harvick. He holds an 11-point advantage over 12th-place Kyle Busch. Travis Kvapil was the Raybestos Rookie of the Race in the 2005 Pepsi 400, scoring a 23rd-place finish. Kvapil was the only first-year driver to finish on the lead lap. Greg Biffle is the only Raybestos Rookie to win the Pepsi 400. Biffle won the race in 2003, scoring his first career win in the Nextel Cup Series. Biffle crossed the finish line 4.102 second ahead of second place finisher Jeff Burton and led only once, covering the final 21 laps. He was the only Raybestos Rookie to score a win during the 2003 season. Since 1975, only three Raybestos Rookies have scored a top-five finish in the Pepsi 400: 1979: Dale Earnhardt, third 1993: Jeff Gordon, fifth 2003: Greg Biffle, first (Raybestos PR) See rookie points, best for each race, rookie history and more on my Rookies Page.(6-30-2006)
  • Daytona Goodyear Tire Notes: Nextel Cup and Busch Series teams will be running different tire codes at Daytona this weekend . . . Cup teams will be running the same tire set-up they ran at Daytona in February. . . Busch Series teams will be running the Talladega tire set-up from this past April . . . the Busch cars run a larger fuel cell than the Cup cars at Daytona and can go farther on a set of tires, therefore Goodyear decided to bring a more wear resistant tire set-up for them … as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams in both series are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Daytona . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 36-38 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes, trie codes and pressures on my Daytona Race Info Page.(6-30-2006)
  • Cheez-It on the #5 at Daytona: Kyle Busch’s #5 Chevy will carry a Cheez-It design in Saturday night’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. The familiar “Tony the Tiger” paint scheme will be replaced with red, blue and yellow flames surrounding the well-known Cheez-It logo.(Hendrick Motor Sports PR), see an image of the car on my #5 Team Schemes page.(6-30-2006)
  • Shamu scheme on the #48 at Daytona: Shamu will be featured in a special paint scheme on the #48 Lowe’s Chevy that Jimmie Johnson drives. The paint scheme is part of SeaWorld’s introduction of its new Shamu show, “Believe,” open now at all three SeaWorld parks. In addition, Lowe’s will offer Build and Grow Kids’ Clinics when the Team Lowe’s Fan Experience visits SeaWorld Orlando Saturday, July 1 and Sunday, July 2 during park hours, and at the more than 1,250 Lowe’s stores nationwide, Saturday, July 8 at 10 a.m. The clinics offer young fans the opportunity to build wooden No. 48 race cars featuring the Shamu paint scheme that Johnson will race in Daytona.(GMR/Team Lowe’s PR), see images of the car on my #48 Team Schemes page(6-30-2006)


    News from June 29, 2006

  • Changes coming in 2007 for the Chase: NASCAR chairman Brian France promised slight changes to the sport’s championship format, hoping to add more drama to the 10-race title hunt. “What I have always said about the Chase was we needed a few years under our belt to see how it evolves, how it changes in strategy, see how the actual formula we have really works,” France said Thursday. “Now in our third year … it’s the ideal time for us make adjustments.” France did not specify what areas will be changed in an offseason facelift that will take effect in 2007. The Chase for the Nextel Cup was devised by France when he took over as chairman in 2004. The format was designed to spice up a stale championship race in which winners were running away with the title and routinely clinching before the season finale. France wanted more excitement and a dramatic playoff system that could compete with the NFL for television ratings. The result was the Chase, which uses the first 26 races of the season as a qualifier to set up the title run. The top 10 drivers in the standings automatically make it in, and any drivers within 400 points of the leader are also eligible. They then compete over the final 10 events to decide the championship.
    “We’ll be looking at nothing new — everything that we’ll be looking at has been brought up by various people the last couple of years,” France said. “Just various things that we think will build what we’re hoping for, which are big moments and a bigger stage for the drivers. That’s what the Chase has always been about. It’s about showcasing their skills.”(ESPN.com/AP)(6-29-2006)
  • Ward Burton looking to make comeback in 2007 UPDATE: Ward Burton will be at Daytona International Speedway on Friday as a part of a ceremony honoring the past 10 winners of the Daytona 500. He hopes his next trip to NASCAR’s crown jewel will be as a driver. The 2002 Daytona 500 winner said Monday he is negotiating with two “established teams” a return to the Nextel Cup Series that he hasn’t been a part of since being fired by owner Gene Haas in 2004. One possibility is the #88 car of Robert Yates Racing that is open in 2007 because of Dale Jarrett’s departure to the new Toyota team of Michael Waltrip Racing. “That would certainly be an opportunity if it came to fruition,” Burton said. “It would pump me up. I’d be just excited as when I first made Cup in ’94, maybe more so.’ Burton would not confirm discussions with RYR, but indicated his talks have been with owners of multi-car organizations which have struggled recently. Burton said there have been no discussions with Toyota, which will field at least six cars under three owners in 2007. “One of the things we’re working on is the sponsor,” said Burton, which makes the #88 car more viable since its deal with UPS is up after this season. “I’m working on a couple of things to try to bring something home.”
    Burton, 44, said there’d been negotiations about putting him in a car this weekend at Daytona that fell through at the last minute. He’d like to enter a couple of races before the end of this season to begin his comeback. Burton has spent much of the past year-and-a-half focusing on family and The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, which has a mission to “conserve America’s land and wildlife through wise stewardship while educating children and adults about the natural resources that will shape America’s future.” Burton tried to mend a few bridges after his split with Haas, but that never happened. “There were phone calls, either hung up on or whatever,” he said. “That’s just the way they handled things.” Burton is confident he can return to the top-10 form he had in 1999 and 2000, when he had a combined 33 top-10s for Bill Davis Racing with Tommy Baldwin Jr. as his crew chief. Baldwin Jr. now is Sadler’s crew chief at RYR, which gives Burton another connection to that organization. “I wish I could tell you more,” Burton said. “I can tell you I am talking to a sponsor as we speak and car owners as well. I’ve got my fingers crossed that one of these exciting deals will come true.”(more at NASCAR.com)(6-27-2006)
    UPDATE: latest fro Lastcowboys.com: It’s been almost two months since I [Lastcowboys.com] dropped the Ward Burton to Robert Yates Racing rumor on all of you, and it continues to swirl around in the rumor mill. Have now been anonymously informed that this is a done deal. As said, this was anonymous, so have no way of substantiating it, unless Ward or someone in his camp would like to confirm or deny it personally. According to this anonymous source (as well as from Ward’s recent satellite radio interview), Ward’s silence or state of limbo is not due to the absence of a deal, but rather because he is waiting on the green light from both sponsor and team before he can make it official to the media and race fans.(LastCowboys.com)(6-29-2006)
  • Pruett not thinking about Nextel Cup: How far have the conversations progressed for Scott Pruett to succeed Casey Mears at Chip Ganassi Racing? “We’ve joked about it a couple times,” said Pruett, 46. Pruett runs for Ganassi’s Grand American Rolex Series team and has filled in at road courses Infineon Raceway and Watkins Glen International for the last four years. Still, Ganassi doesn’t have Pruett on his list: “Not really. We had a talk, and Scott said if he was five years younger, he wouldn’t let me get anybody else. But he just enjoyed his life pretty well as it was and wants to win the Grand Am championship.” Added Pruett: “I’d like to be, but I’m a realist. … (Teams are) looking for the next best young kid. There’s a lot to be said for that. If I come in, I’d be here one or two years. When you’re talking about a 19- or 20-year-old kid, you’re talking (about him staying) 20 years.” The three-car Ganassi Cup team has two rookies — Reed Sorenson and David Stremme — in its stable. Mears, 28, signed two weeks ago to run with Hendrick Motorsports in 2007, leaving a hole to fill. “Right now everybody’s being considered,” Ganassi said. “There are a lot of good drivers out there, good people, and we’re going to give it a shot, pick the best driver and go with it.”(USA Today)(6-29-2006)
  • New sponsorship for Morgan-McClure? UPDATE: hearing that Morgan-McClure Motorsports signed a deal recently with Rockford-Montgomery Labs, Inc. to a 3-year sponsorship of the #4 Chevy. No word if they will co-sponor with Aero Exhaust or go on a 2nd team car that Morgan-McClure Motorsports has been wanting for years. Supposedly the announcement will se soon.(6-27-2006)
    UPDATE: Rockford-Montgomery Labs, Inc., the exclusive distributor of the NASCAR Race Face brand premium sunscreen, has signed-on to the Aero Exhaust #4 Morgan-McClure Nextel Cup Series Chevy as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2006 Nextel Cup Season. Race Face is the only officially licensed sunscreen by NASCAR and comes in 4 licensed variations: Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon and an American Flag label, each carrying the NASCAR brand bar. Race Face is available in SPF 15 and SPF 30 Water Resistant UVA/UVB formulas in 2 fl oz. and 8 fl oz. sizes. “We are very pleased to have Rockford-Montgomery Labs, Inc., partner with us for the rest of the 2006 season. We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with Rockford-Montgomery that will bring success to their business and to this race team. We have won three Daytona 500’s, something no other single car team has accomplished,” said Larry McClure at the Abingdon, VA based race shop on Thursday morning. Bryan Hunsaker, CEO of Aero Exhaust, said, “We are very pleased that we were able to bring together RACE FACE, a NASCAR officially licensed product with Aero Exhaust, an Exclusive NASCAR Performance Partner. The NASCAR mark sets these products apart from their competition and the combined association on the #4 car only enhances that accreditation.”(Market Wire PR)(6-29-2006)
  • Special Air Force scheme on the #21 at Daytona: The United States Air Force is outfitting its #21 race car with a different look when it rolls onto the track at the Pepsi 400 this weekend. The car’s paint scheme synchronizes with the Air Force’s Special Operations Command shield imprinted on the hood of the car. “We honor all of our Airmen when we run the Air Force paint scheme, but since this race falls so close to the 4th of July holiday; we decided to honor our special operations units. They are a group of folks who fly under the radar and rarely get the spotlight,” said Capt. Jonathan Ness, Chief of Event Marketing Branch, Air Force Recruiting Service Strategic Communication Division. “AFSOC has more than 12,000 extremely well-trained and deployable Airmen who are matched and equipped with some highly specialized aircraft. And to top it off, they are always prepared for worldwide deployment,” Captain. Ness said. In addition to honoring the special operations forces with a new paint scheme, Maj. Gen. Donald C. Wurster, AFSOC Vice Commander, plans to conduct a formal induction ceremony for 40 young men and women enlisting into the Air Force on race day. Air Force Special Operations Command which was established May 22, 1990 is a major command and the Air Force component of U.S. Special Operations Command, a unified command located at MacDill Air Force Base, FL.(Wood Brothers Racing site), see an image on my #21 Team Schemes page.(6-29-2006)
  • Marlin to drive Camp Boggy Creek scheme at Daytona: When Sterling Marlin climbs behind the wheel of his #14 Ginn Clubs & Resorts Chevy for this weekend’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona, he’ll be stepping into a piece of art. Three campers from Camp Boggy Creek, a summer camp for seriously ill children, started their creative engines and put their own design to the Ginn Clubs & Resorts car for Saturday night’s race. With only a blank template in hand, the three children let their imaginations race, collaborating to make their vision become a reality with millions of spectators viewing the creation this weekend. Camp Boggy Creek, based in Eustis, Fla., falls under the Hole In The Wall Camps umbrella which is also home to Randleman, N.C.-based The Victory Junction Gang Camp. Tori Tiger (15), Jake Westfield (13) and Zachary Robinson (10) were the three lucky children from Camp Boggy Creek chosen to participate in the creation. Complete with flashy colors, racing stripes, polka dots and stars, the #14 Chevy is sure to stand out when it roars around Daytona International Speedway. The deck lid of this weekend’s #14 Chevy will carry an Easter Seals logo. The nonprofit organization won a spot on the Ginn Clubs & Resorts car in a charity go-cart event earlier this month between Marlin and Bill Elliott. The official unveiling of the car will take place Thursday, June 29 near the infield media center at Daytona International Speedway.(MB2Motorsports PR),see an image of the car on my #14 Team Schemes page.(6-29-2006)
  • FedEx Home Delivery Car at Daytona: For the first time this season, the #11 Chevy of Denny Hamlin will sport a primarily white paint featuring “Spot” the dog on the hood to highlight the residential delivery service. FedEx Home Delivery service connects customers to virtually every residential address in the U.S. What makes this service special is its residential-only delivery network and the flexibility to customize delivery to suit a recipient’s need for delivery within a certain time by choosing from three premium service upgrades.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see an image of the car on my #11 Team Schemes page.(6-29-2006)
  • IROC races tonight in Daytona, on road course: The Crown Royal International Race of Champions returned to track action Wednesday for a four-hour session at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) with driver practice in preparation for the series’ road race at DIS Thursday night, June 29. Drivers getting behind the wheel for the first time were 2005 Truck Series champion Ted Musgrave along with Nextel Cup drivers Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth. Musgrave, who is starting on the pole in the 20-lap, 71.2-mile road race, was grateful to get a few pre- practice tutored runs in a street car by David Donohue before embarking on the course in the IROC cars. Later in the day the Crown Royal IROC Series finally got a chance to test out the wet weather package after a downpour late Wednesday afternoon at DIS. IROC’s road race specialist, David Donohue strapped into the Crown Royal IROC cars, equipped with Goodyear Eagle Radial rain tires, and took to the 3.56-mile road course with headlights on, windshield wipers and defoggers going and all the creature comforts for running in wet weather. Donohue said, The Goodyear rain tires held up great. As far as I was concerned, the feel of the car remained very consistent. It’s a raceable package and it was fun sliding around a little out there. They’ve done a lot with the racetrack in recent years with paving the infield track and the puddles that were there when I first went out receded very quickly. If we wind up running in the rain I’m confident everyone will be pretty comfortable.” Race three is scheduled to start at 10:00pm/et Thursday [June 29th] night, which will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel immediately following the Grand American Brumos 250 at DIS.(IROC PR), see the starting lineup and more info about IROC on my 2006 IROC page.(6-29-2006)


    News from June 28, 2006

  • Cingular Giving Fan a Chance to win Burton’s Pay-Day at Daytona: Once the green flag drops at the Daytona Beach stock car race on July 1, Russell Tillson will be in the stands cheering for Jeff Burton and the #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy harder than anyone else. That’s because when Burton wins, he wins. Even if Burton doesn’t win, Tillson still wins. Thanks to a unique promotion by Cingular, Tillson is guaranteed of winning the same amount of money that Burton earns during the race, no matter where he finishes in the 43-car field. Tillson was randomly selected for the opportunity to “Win Jeff Burton’s Pay-Day” from more than one million entries submitted between February and June. The sweepstakes was part of Cingular’s Virtual Crew Chief program that aired during race telecasts on FOX and FX this year, prompting viewers to answer race-specific questions via wireless text messaging or online at foxsports.com, with the results revealed on-air during the race broadcast. Information about the sweepstakes was provided on Cingular31.com. As part of the grand prize, Tillson will get to travel to his first ever Daytona Beach race and root for the bright orange Cingular Chevy at one of motorsports’ most famous tracks. Regardless of how Burton performs, Tillson is guaranteed an attractive payout. During last year’s race, payouts ranged from $368,261 for the winner down to $80,725.(Career Sports & Entertainment/Cingular PR)(6-28-2006)
  • Gordon engaged MORE: on the Fox Sports pre-race show at Sonoma, Darrell Waltrip said that Jeff Gordon got engaged over the weekend to girlfriend Ingrid Vanderbosch, a model.(6-25-2006)
    MORE: When Jeff Gordon broke the news at Sonoma that he and girlfriend Ingrid Vanderboush were engaged to be married the racing media not only was curious how he proposed but also if there was a prenuptial agreement since Gordon was forced to give up millions following his bitter divorce to Brooke Sealy. Asked in a light-hearted way during the Infineon Raceway post race press conference Jeff chuckled and said “I think she knows that I’m a lot smarter the second time around. I guarantee you one thing…she’s got a much better guy this time around and I’ve got an amazing girl this time around to. I can’t say there’s any big story to the engagement. We’ve actually been holding it to ourselves for about a month. Because we didn’t do it the traditional way and get down on one knee and go to some fancy restaurant or Eiffel Tower or something we held onto it for a while until we were ready to tell people.” Gordon chose to break the news to family and friends who live in and around his hometown in California. “As much as we travel you’re not typically in a place where you can get a bunch of people together. We wanted to let our family know first obviously and so it was great to be able to do that.” As far the pre-nup thing? Jeff smiled and said, “You’ll have to ask her.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-28-2006)
  • F-1 Car in Vickers future? Sometime next season, Brian Vickers might get to drive a Formula 1 car owned by Red Bull. And he could easily become the face of the energy drink now that he’s signed to drive the #83 Toyota Camry for Team Red Bull when it enters Nextel Cup competition next year.(SceneDaily,com)(6-28-2006)
  • Cup teams test at Milwaukee UPDATE 2: Up to eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup cars, as Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Evernham Motorsports and Penske Racing South will test at The Milwaukee Mile on Tuesday, June 27 and Wednesday, June 28. On the heels of the June 23rd Truck Series race, and the June 24th Busch Series event, Gordon and company will be getting in some valuable track time, preparing their cars for Nextel Cup race tracks that have similar characteristics to The Milwaukee Mile, including Pocono Raceway, Martinsville Raceway and New Hampshire Int’l Speedway. During the two day Nextel Cup team test, by presenting a Milwaukee Mile NASCAR event ticket stub from either the June 23rd Truck Series or the June 24th Busch Series races, NASCAR fans will gain FREE admission to the Grandstand between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Only those Mile fans with a ticket stub from The Mile’s Truck or Busch series races will be admitted. This is a private team test.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(6-25-2006)
    UPDATE: been told the following teams are at the Milwaukee Mile on Tuesday: #2-Busch; #19-Mayfield; #24-Gordon; #48-Johnson; #25-Vickers; #5-Busch; #42-Mears; #41-Sorenson; #40-unmarked [Stremme?] and a Hendrick Car of Tomorrow with David Green driving.(6-27-2006)
    UPDATE 2: If you’re into numbers and know your NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams, car numbers 2, 5, 24, 25, 48, 40, 41, 42 and 19 were testing Tuesday at The Milwaukee Mile, on the heels of The Mile’s big AT&T 250 Busch Series – Toyota Tundra Milwaukee 200 Truck Series race weekend. In appreciation of our NASCAR supporters, the grandstands are open to this private team test to any Milwaukee Mile NASCAR fan who presents a ticket stub from The Milwaukee Mile’s June 23 or 24 NASCAR events, Wednesday June 28 from 9:00am – 5:00pm. “The reason we test here at Milwaukee is that this track is ‘rubbered-in’ the best it can be. We are limited on tires and race tracks we can test at, and with all the rubber laid down on the track from the weekend, it really saves our tire wear,” said 2004 Nextel Cup Series champion Kurt Busch. So what can point leader Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Brian Vickers learn with their Hendrick Motorsports teams, in addition to Ganassi Racing and their drives David Stremme, Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears, or for that matter, Jeremy Mayfield? “This track is very similar to New Hampshire, Phoenix, some small ideas apply to Indy,” Kurt Busch said. “But The Mile is a sentimental track for me, as I tested here the last three years with my old team just trying to get ready for some of the flat tracks and what it can help you do when you get down to the ‘Chase’ and how you have to gain points. Hendrick Motorsports also practiced with their Car of Tomorrow at America’s Legendary Oval. Most of the teams are expected to return Wednesday. No official times were recorded.(Milwaukee Mile PR)(6-28-2006)
  • Cinnabon featured on the #43 at Daytona: Bobby Labonte will race a specialty-schemed #43 Pillsbury/Cinnabon paint scheme this weekend in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing), see an image of the car on my #43 Team Schemes page.(6-28-2006)
  • Different Look for #66 at Daytona: The #66 Haas CNC Racing Chevy will carry co-primary sponsorship in this weekend’s Nextel Cup Series event at Daytona. The black car will carry decals on the hood promoting Best Buy, as well as Yellow Transportation, the sponsor of the #00 Haas CNC Racing Chevy that Johnny Sauter drives in the Busch Series. Best Buy’s logos will appear on the car’s upper quarter panels, while Microsoft Windows Live One Care will have its logos displayed on the lower quarter panels.(GMR Marketing/Haas CNC Racing PR)(6-28-2006)
  • Garth Brooks and NASCAR and Gordon? Claire B. Lang of XM Satellite NASCAR Radio reports that Country Music star Garth Brooks was at the Speedway Club at Lowe’s Motor Speedway today. He met with execs of the speedway and representitives of Jeff Gordon’s Foundation. He flew into the Concord Airport on a private jet. CBL hears that an “event” is in the works.(6-28-2006)
  • The King to run 1972 Charger at Goodwood Festival of Speed: Richard Petty, the winningest driver in the history of NASCAR’s premier series, will be reunited with his 1972 Dodge Charger race car next month in England in one of the largest and most diverse celebrations in motorsports – the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Held on the grounds of historic Goodwood House in West Sussex and hosted by the Earl of March, the Goodwood Festival of Speed celebration (July 7-9) brings together the greatest competition cars and drivers from all eras of motorsports. Petty will drive his restored 1972 Dodge Charger in the Hillclimb competition on the 1.16-mile course, which is the principal attraction of the Festival of Speed. It’s one of the ’72 Dodge Chargers from Petty Enterprises that carried Petty to his fourth of seven series championships. In 31 starts in the car, Petty had eight wins along with 25 top-five and 28 top-10 finishes. “It’s an honor to represent Dodge at the Goodwood Festival of Speed,” said Petty. “It’s such a prestigious event and one that is popular worldwide. The names that have been a part of this Festival throughout the years are true champions. It’s always special when you’re invited to be a part of something as big as this.” Spectators will not only get to see Petty and his 1972 Dodge Charger in action, but will also see former Formula One driver Jochen Mass pilot a NASCAR Nextel Cup 2006 Dodge Charger up the hill at Goodwood. Petty will be making exhibition runs in the ’72 Dodge Charger all three days during the Festival. For more information on the Goodwood Festival of Speed, visit www.goodwood.co.uk.(Clear!Blue PR)(6-28-2006)
  • Hershey’s scheme for Harvick at Daytona, to make S’Mores: The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate brown will don the #29 RCR Chevy hood of Kevin Harvick this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The Hershey Milk Chocolate bar is one of five special paint schemes The Hershey Company will run throughout the 2006 season. Hershey’s driver Kevin Harvick and members of the Richard Childress Racing Team will light up the infield on Thursday, June 29, at Daytona with a S’mores campfire event. Celebrating this quintessential summertime snack, Hershey’s will distribute more than 2,000 S’mores kits complete with graham crackers, marshmallows and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars to fans staying in the infield to celebrate race week at Daytona International Speedway. Randomly selected kits will contain invitations to join Harvick and the Team for “s’more” fun around the campfire. Local Boy Scout Troops will get the campfire started; while Smoky the Bear looks on to ensure a safe party in the Fan Zone.(RCR PR), see an image of the scheme on my #29 Team Schemes page.(6-28-2006)
  • Johnson’s Team Earns Pit Crew Challenge Win at Infineon: Jimmie Johnson’s team extended its lead in the season-long Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge by winning the award in Sunday’s Dodge/ Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. The victory was the fourth of the season for the #48 Lowe’s pit crew. They also picked up wins at Daytona, California, and Charlotte. Tony Stewart’s, Elliott Sadler’s and Kyle Busch’s crews are tied for second place with two wins each. Johnson’s team will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize. An additional $105,000 will be presented to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Johnson’s over-the-wall crew, which spent only 109.657 seconds on pit road during the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event, includes: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man). The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(6-28-2006)
  • Bires beats Kenseth and Stewart: On a night when 10,000 fans crammed around Madison International Speedway to see two of NASCAR’s biggest names, not only did the stars put on a show but so did a comparative unknown who walked away with the victory Tuesday night at the All-Star Challenge. Kelly Bires, a 21-year-old from Mauston, won the 100-lap feature, fighting off a charge by Cambridge native Matt Kenseth during the final 11 laps. Bires’ fastest lap around the half-mile oval was 18.252 seconds. Kenseth finished second. Bobby Wilberg was third. Tony Stewart, defending Nextel Cup champion, finished eighth but made perhaps the biggest jump in the field. He started 19th.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(6-28-2006)
  • Karter tests Elliott owned Dodge truck: Multi-time national kart champion Alan Rudolph raised a few eyebrows in the world of stock cars as he impressed with a strong two-day test in a Bill Elliott-owned Dodge Craftsman Truck. The test was held at Peach State Speedway outside Jefferson, Ga. Rudolph’s fastest lap of 19.1sec on the one half-mile high-banked oval eclipsed a baseline time run by Elliott earlier during the test, and was several tenths quicker than either of the other drivers in attendance. Rudolph has been coaching Elliott’s son Chase in karting competition this year, in the Colorado state region. The stock car legend was able to see Rudolph in action during a recent race, and after Rudolph’s dominant win, Elliott offered him a test in a Dodge powered Craftsman Truck. “He did real well in the test,” said Elliott. “I was totally surprised. He ran very consistent, even though I didn’t have much time to work with him. I think if we can give him an opportunity he’ll do real well. He’s well spoken and he understands promoting. I hope I can help him with some opportunities.”(Speed Channel)(6-28-2006)


    News from June 27, 2006

  • Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine to sponsor Shelmerdine at Daytona: Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine will again adorn the Kirk Shelmerdine Racing #27 Chevy for Saturday’s Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Positive fan response to the initial partnership between Catdaddy and Shelmerdine was so overwhelming, the additional race was added to the sponsorship agreement. Later this season Catdaddy will be on the car for the Oct. 14 Bank of America 500, also at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Additional races could be added. “It’s great to have Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine back on board for Daytona,” Shelmerdine said. “The reaction to the sponsorship at Charlotte, inside and outside the garage, was very positive, and because of it, there’s a lot of interest in our efforts; the exposure really elevated our race team. We’re headed to Daytona confident we’ll have a solid qualifying effort and a good run in the Pepsi 400.” For more information on Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, please visit catdaddymoonshine.com.(3-G Sports PR)(6-27-2006)
  • Red Target Scheme to run rest of 2006: The Target paint scheme will be switching to a primarily red scheme with a white Bullseye on the hood of Reed Sorenson’s #41 Dodge for the remainder of the season starting with the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. The scheme was first introduced during the night races this past May.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) see images of the scheme on my #41 Team Schemes page.(6-27-2006)
  • Vice President to attend Pepsi 400: Vice President Dick Cheney will attend the 48th annual Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Vice President Cheney will speak to race fans during pre-race ceremonies for the mid-summer classic as well as meet NASCAR drivers, teams and executives during his visit to “The World Center of Racing.”
    “We’re honored that Vice President Cheney will visit Daytona International Speedway and participate in Pepsi 400 pre-race festivities,” Daytona International Speedway President Robin Braig said. “Vice President Cheney continues the tradition of high-profile elected officials that have visited the ‘World Center of Racing’.” In the 1984 Pepsi 400, the late President Ronald Reagan gave the starting command from Air Force One. Reagan, who became the first sitting President to attend a NASCAR race, witnessed Richard Petty earn his 200th NASCAR win. President George H.W. Bush attended the 1992 Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, and current President George W. Bush served as the Grand Marshal for the Pepsi 400 during his 2000 presidential campaign. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld attended last year’s 2005 Pepsi 400.(DIS PR)(6-27-2006)
  • New sponsorship for Morgan-McClure? hearing that Morgan-McClure Motorsports signed a deal recently with Rockford-Montgomery Labs, Inc. to a 3-year sponsorship of the #4 Chevy. No word if they will co-sponor with Aero Exhaust or go on a 2nd team car that Morgan-McClure Motorsports has been wanting for years. Supposedly the announcement will se soon.(6-27-2006)
  • Ward Burton looking to make comeback in 2007: Ward Burton will be at Daytona International Speedway on Friday as a part of a ceremony honoring the past 10 winners of the Daytona 500. He hopes his next trip to NASCAR’s crown jewel will be as a driver. The 2002 Daytona 500 winner said Monday he is negotiating with two “established teams” a return to the Nextel Cup Series that he hasn’t been a part of since being fired by owner Gene Haas in 2004. One possibility is the #88 car of Robert Yates Racing that is open in 2007 because of Dale Jarrett’s departure to the new Toyota team of Michael Waltrip Racing. “That would certainly be an opportunity if it came to fruition,” Burton said. “It would pump me up. I’d be just excited as when I first made Cup in ’94, maybe more so.” Burton would not confirm discussions with RYR, but indicated his talks have been with owners of multi-car organizations which have struggled recently. Burton said there have been no discussions with Toyota, which will field at least six cars under three owners in 2007. “One of the things we’re working on is the sponsor,” said Burton, which makes the #88 car more viable since its deal with UPS is up after this season. “I’m working on a couple of things to try to bring something home.”
    Burton, 44, said there’d been negotiations about putting him in a car this weekend at Daytona that fell through at the last minute. He’d like to enter a couple of races before the end of this season to begin his comeback. Burton has spent much of the past year-and-a-half focusing on family and The Ward Burton Wildlife Foundation, which has a mission to “conserve America’s land and wildlife through wise stewardship while educating children and adults about the natural resources that will shape America’s future.” Burton tried to mend a few bridges after his split with Haas, but that never happened. “There were phone calls, either hung up on or whatever,” he said. “That’s just the way they handled things.” Burton is confident he can return to the top-10 form he had in 1999 and 2000, when he had a combined 33 top-10s for Bill Davis Racing with Tommy Baldwin Jr. as his crew chief. Baldwin Jr. now is Sadler’s crew chief at RYR, which gives Burton another connection to that organization. “I wish I could tell you more,” Burton said. “I can tell you I am talking to a sponsor as we speak and car owners as well. I’ve got my fingers crossed that one of these exciting deals will come true.”(more at NASCAR.com)(6-27-2006)
  • Haas pleads not guilty: NASCAR [#66 Cup, #00 Busch] team owner Gene Haas pleaded not guilty to charges of tax fraud and witness intimidation Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Haas, who owns the Haas CNC Racing team with Nextel Cup driver Jeff Green and Busch Series driver Johnny Sauter, is accused of orchestrating a scheme, through the Haas Automation business he operates, that created approximately $50 million in bogus expenses to avoid paying more than $20 million in income taxes. “We know this is going to be a long fight, but we feel that the government has been overzealous in pursuing this case,” said Haas attorney Kenneth Barish in a statement last Friday when Haas was released on bail. “Mr. Haas looks forward to going home and going back to work running Haas Automation and his other businesses. “But more than anything else he wants to prove that he is innocent.” The company says the tax issues revolve around a former employee and that the charges will not impact Haas’ businesses. The Haas CNC Racing team also plans to continue business as usual.(SceneDaily.com)(6-27-2006)
  • Lopez Wins Crew Chief of the Race Award: Prior to this weekend’s Dodge/Save Mart 350, the #96 DLP HDTV team’s best finish was a 16th place run at Pocono Raceway, but thanks to a crafty pit strategy from crew chief Philippe Lopez, Terry Labonte left Infineon Raceway with a 3rd place finish to boot. Lopez’s day earned him the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race award.(Wypall PR)(6-27-2006)
  • Bourdais wins 2nd Qtr DOTY Award: Sebastien Bourdais’ on-track domination, of the Champ Car Series, was matched by the voting for Second Quarter Driver of the Year. No other driver, at the premier levels of United States motorsports, had a winning percentage of 75% in this period. The driver of the McDonald’s Lola Ford-Cosworth had three wins, in four races, and, also took two poles. In the voting, by an elite panel of print and broadcast journalists, the 27-year-old French-born driver, who resides in Tampa, FL, was not seriously challenged. The only thing that slowed him, slightly, was that his bid for five-straight victories, this year, was cut short with a third place at Portland, Oregon earlier this month. That made him four-for- four podiums during the quarter. Bourdais took 11 out of the 16 first place votes – that were cast – and totaled 115 points. The voting could be considered an upset as Indy 500 winner, Sam Hornish, Jr., ended up second in voting with two first-place votes and totaled 66 points. It was a record 14th win at the Brickyard by his Team Penske Racing. Although Hornish won from the pole that was his only victory in the quarter. NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne’s two Nextel Cup victories earned him three first-place votes and totaled 65 points for third. A total of 17 drivers scored points in the second quarter voting. In its’ 40th year Driver of the Year is unique because it is the oldest award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States. A panel of 17 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. A separate one-driver vote will determine the 2006 Driver of the Year. Bourdais will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix, wristwatch. The trophy presentation is scheduled for Saturday, July 8th at the Molson Grand Prix of Toronto, Cananda.(DOTY PR)(6-27-2006)


    News from June 26, 2006

  • Bank of America Cup? When word of the shake-up [Nextel personnel] first broke in April, Sprint executives insisted they were committed to continuing the NASCAR sponsorship, despite reports otherwise that the new powers were less than interested in NASCAR. Now, according to sources familiar with the situation, there are reports that Bank of America executives are interested in acquiring the title sponsorship to the Cup series.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-26-2006)
  • Overnight Sonoma TV ratings match 2005: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway earned a 4.6 overnight Nielsen Media Research rating and a 10 market share, matching 2005’s numbers, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports.(SceneDaily.com)(6-26-2006)
  • Childress interested in Gilliland: [#07,#29,#31] team owner Richard Childress said Sunday [at Infineon Raceway] that he is among those interested in signing David Gilliland to a contract. Gilliland, currently driving without a contract for a part-time, unsponsored entry in the Busch Series, has seen his stock skyrocket since winning the June 17 Busch race at Kentucky, then getting a weak car into Sunday’s Nextel Cup race at Sonoma. “He’s probably the hottest young commodity out there today,” said Childress, who currently fields three Cup cars and won six Cup championships with the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. “There are several teams here that will be after him, but he’d definitely be a good fit for us.” Childress noted that Gilliland’s good character and family background (his father Butch was also a NASCAR driver) play into the 30-year-old’s favor. Childress didn’t shy away from expressing his interest in Gilliland, but said the driver might be better served to get more time in the Busch Series. Gilliland has just seven career Busch starts and made his Cup debut Sunday. “I think he has all it takes to become a Cup driver, I’ll put it like that,” Childress said. “I think he could win races in the Cup Series. I believe if I was him, I’d run a few more Busch races (first).”(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(6-26-2006)
  • Raines status in the #96 car: #96 Hall of Fame Car owner Roger Staubach said before the race that the team will look at how the team’s regular driver, Tony Raines, performs in the second half of the season to determine if he’ll drive for the team next season.(Roanoke Times)(6-26-2006)
  • Davis back in the #72 at Daytona: The CJM Racing team accomplished their mission this weekend in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway. Driver David Gilliland qualified the #72 Dutch Quality Stone Dodge in the 31st position, the first time the Bryan and Tony Mullet owned entry had qualified for a Nextel Cup event. Gilliland finished in 32nd position, 2 laps down with a tight car. The next race for CJM Racing will be the Pepsi 400 at Daytona with Kertus Davis will be behind the wheel of the #72 entry. And Gilliland is not scheduled to run any more races in the #72.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(6-26-2006)
  • Vickers to drive for Red Bull Racing MORE: it was announced by Brian Vickers on Speed Channel’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain that Vickers has signed with Red Bull Racing to drive one of their two Toyota’s in 2007. Bill Elliott will drive for the team in three races and could run for the team full time in 2007, he will supposedly drive Dodge’s in the three 2006 races.(6-25-2006)
    MORE: As revealed this evening on Speed TV, Team Red Bull formally announces a multi-year agreement with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series driver Brian Vickers, the 2003 NASCAR Busch Series champion, to race the #83 Red Bull Toyota Camry starting with the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. Rumors notwithstanding, more official information on the new team, including the second 2007 driver, will be made available later this year.(Red Bull Racing PR)(6-26-2006)
  • Chevy engine to submit new engine: General Motors officials plan to submit their proposed new Cup engine to NASCAR executives for review in mid-August, ahead of the Sept. 1 deadline. GM hopes for a quick answer from NASCAR so that its teams can get started on the new engine if it’s approved.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-26-2006)

News from June 25, 2006

  • Marco Andretti to Ganassi…in Cup? not much to report…but on the Fox Sports pre-race show at Sonoma, it was just mentioned in their news of the week, IRL driver Marco Andretti could be headed to Ganassi Racing as the driver of one of the three cars?(6-25-2006)
  • Nextel Announcement soon? UPDATE 3 personnel changes: hearing the Nextel/Sprint name change for 2007 could be announced any day now, The Nextel Cup Series could be known as the Sprint Cup Series.(6-15-2006)
    UPDATE: Word is that Sprint will, within a week or so, acknowledge a change in the name of NASCAR’s top series for 2007, mandating Sprint Cup or Sprint/Nextel Cup. Sprint acquired the assets of its walkie-talkie rival last year and promised an eventual name change in order to make use of Nextel’s top sports marketing property.(Speed Channel)(6-17-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Sprint/Nextel is expected to make some sort of announcement next week at Daytona about its future plans for the name of the Cup series. Nextel probably will remain part of the title. The Nextel name isn’t leaving the merged company, so why would the executives want to eliminate it from its NASCAR sponsorship? However, some type of name change is coming. The question is when. It would take a huge amount of work to change all NASCAR and track logos in time for the 2007 season.(Dallas Morning News)(6-23-2006)
    UPDATE 3 – personnel changes: Sprint Nextel’s NASCAR Marketing Manager Mike Mooney has had his job eliminated by the telecommunications company in a round of job cuts. Mooney, along with Jill Gregory and Michael Robichaud, were the three most visible executives in Nextel’s NASCAR program when it began prior to the 2004 season. But with Gregory and Robichaud already gone and Mooney leaving as of next Friday, the key strategists behind Nextel’s initial foray into NASCAR are all gone.(Speed Channel)(6-25-2006)
  • Gordon engaged: on the Fox Sports pre-race show at Sonoma, Darrell Waltrip said that Jeff Gordon got engaged over the weekend to girlfriend Ingrid Vanderbosch, a model.(6-25-2006)
  • Jeff Gordon wins at Sonoma: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for his first win of 2006 and first in 19 races and 74th of his career [2 behind Dale Earnhardt], Gordon also moves into 8th in Drivers Points and the Chase. #12-Ryan Newman finished 2nd followed by #96-Terry Labonte, his first top-5 in 70 races [Darlington Sept 2003, his last win] and the best ever finish for the first year Hall of Fame Racing finish, 4th was #16-Greg Biffle then #2-Kurt Busch. #99-Carl Edwards finished 6th followed by #31-Jeff Burton, #38-Elliott Sadler, #60-Boris Said and #48-Jimmie Johnson. Two rookies finished in the top 15, #11-Denny Hamlin [12th] and #1-Martin Truex Jr. [15th]. There were 9 lead changes among 8 drivers and 7 cautions for 12 laps.
    Race Results on my Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points page.
    Race Rundown: see my Sonoma Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-25-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Sonoma [16 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 2434
    #17-Matt Kenseth 2333 -101
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2126 -308
    #9-Kasey Kahne 2121 -313
    #6-Mark Martin 2116 -318
    #31-Jeff Burton 2034 -400
    #20-Tony Stewart 2009 -425
    #24-Jeff Gordon 1986 -448
    #16-Greg Biffle 1967 -467
    #29-Kevin Harvick 1939 -495
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points Page.(6-25-2006)
  • Sonoma Race Notes:
    • Jeff Gordon won the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway, scoring his 74th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 453rd career start.
    • Gordon remained seventh on NASCAR’s all-time winners list, two victories shy of Dale Earnhardt who has 76 victories.
    • Gordon scored his first victory in 2006 and became the 10th different race winner in 2006.
    • This is Gordon’s ninth victory on a road course. Gordon is the all-time winner on road courses.
    • Gordon won from the 11th starting position, only the third time in 18 races at Infineon Raceway that a driver has won from outside the top 10.
    • This was Gordon’s fifth victory and 10th top-10 finish in 14 races at Infineon Raceway. Gordon has scored nine finishes in the top three at Infineon.
    • Gordon scored his seventh top-10 finish in 16 races this season and climbed from 11th to eighth in the point standings.
    • Gordon led the most laps for the third time in 2006. He also led the most laps at Talladega and Michigan.
    • Race winner Gordon led two times for 44 laps, including the final 23 laps.
    • This was team owner Rick Hendrick’s 144th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Hendrick has scored five NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Infineon, all by Gordon. This is Hendrick’s 14th career road-course victory.
    • Hendrick Motorsports has won at least one race each season 1986-2006, 21 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Ryan Newman (second) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 16 races in 2006. It was his fourth top-10 finish in five races at Infineon Raceway. He remained 17th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings.
    • Terry Labonte (third) scored his first top-10 finish since fall Richmond in 2005 where he finished ninth. It marked his 27th top- 10 finish in 57 races on a road course. It is his eighth top-10 finish in 18 races at Infineon Raceway.
    • Greg Biffle (fourth) scored his ninth top-10 finish in 16 races in 2006. It was his in first top-10 finish in four races at Infineon Raceway. Eight races ago Biffle was 232 points behind 10th. With his fourth-place finish, Biffle is now ninth. Biffle has climbed from 23rd to ninth in points in the seven races since Talladega. Biffle has scored seven straight top-10 finishes – the longest top-10 streak of his career. After 16 races in 2005, he moved into first in the point standings, 22 points ahead of Jimmie Johnson who struggled at Infineon with a 36th-place finish – the only time that Biffle has led the point standings.
    • Kurt Busch (fifth) scored his fifth top-10 finish in 2006. This was his third top-10 in five races at Infineon Raceway.
    • Jeff Burton (seventh) had moved from 21st to seventh in the point standings from Martinsville to Dover and had remained seventh in the points for last three races. Burton climbed from seventh to sixth in the point standings. He has scored 10 straight top-15s since Martinsville.
    • Jimmie Johnson (10th) remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 101 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth. Johnson has scored top-15 finishes in 15 of the 16 races in 2006.
    • Denny Hamlin finished 12th at Infineon Raceway and extended a streak of seven straight top-15 finishes.
    • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 16 races this season.
    Streaks that Ended at Infineon Raceway
    • Dave Blaney (39th) ended a 33-race streak of running at the finish that began at New Hampshire last July, which was the longest current streak. Kevin Harvick takes over the streak – running at the finish in 28 straight races.
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr finished 26th at Infineon Raceway and ended a streak of six straight top-15 finishes.
    • Kasey Kahne finished 31st at Infineon Raceway ending a streak of four straight top-10 finishes.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-25-2006)
  • Rumblings – Infineon Raceway: Jeff Gordon won today’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway for his 9th win on a road course (5th in Sonoma) and 74th Cup win overall. He’s now just two wins behind Dale Earnhardt in 7th on the all-time win list. Gordon led the most laps (44 of ’em) on his way to the 144th win for Hendrick Motorsports, and his first win since Martinsville last October was worth $325,661 from the over $5.4M in posted awards. Gordon is the 10th different winner this season….last year we had 15 different drivers in Victory Lane.
    Ryan Newman (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Loudon last September.
    Terry Labonte (3rd) had his best finish since he won at Darlington in September of 2003. His Top-5 gives us 23 drivers at that mark this season, last year we had 30 drivers with a Top-5.
    Elliott Sadler (8th) had his best finish since he was 6th at Martinsville in April.
    Boris Said (9th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Watkins Glen last August (only three races). He and Terry Labonte’s Top-10’s gives us 33 drivers to score a Top-10 this season….last year we had 43 of ’em.
    Michael Waltrip (23rd) had his best finish since he was 20th at Atlanta in March.
    P. J. Jones (36th) had his best finish since he was 32nd when we were here last June (only four races).
    Brandon Ash (38th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 41st when we were here in June of 2004.
    STREAKIN….Biffle has 7 Top-10’s in a row. Johnson has 6 Top-10’s in a row. Burton has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Terry Labonte (+34), followed by Denny Hamlin (+28 ), Brian Vickers (+28 ), and Martin Truex Jr (+24). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Robby Gordon (-26), followed by Kasey Kahne (-25), Ken Schrader (-23), Kevin Harvick (-21), P. J. Jones (-21), and Ron Fellows (-20). This was Op #1 for Terry and BD #1 for Robby this season.
    Boris Said led a lap today for the first time since he led one lap here in June of 2003. He’s the 42nd different driver to lead a lap this season…. last year we had 51 leaders.
    Jimmie Johnson moved his points lead out to 101 markers today as Denny Hamlin fell below the “Stayin’ Alive” Line. Jeff Gordon replaces Hamlin in the Top-10. Gordon (11th to 8th) and Kyle Petty (33rd to 30th) gained the most spots today, while Dale Jarrett (19th to 23rd) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(6-25-2006)
  • Vickers to run West Series race in special scheme UPDATE 2 wins the race: Along with running Sunday’s NEXTEL Cup event at Infineon Raceway, #25-Brian Vickers will enter Saturday’s NASCAR Grand National West Series race at the 1.99-mile road course. Making his first-ever start in the series, Vickers will drive a #17 GMAC Chevrolet with a paint scheme identical to the Busch Series car driven by the late Ricky Hendrick.(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-23-2006)
    on the Pole: Brian Vickers won the pole position for today’s West Series race at Infienoen Raceway, had a best speed of 90.872 mph in a Chevrolet. Eric Holmes was second and Brian Ickler will start in the third spot.(San Francisco Chronicle)(6-24-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Brian Vickers held off Boris Said to win the Blue Lizard Australian Suncream 200 NASCAR AutoZone West Series race Saturday afternoon at Infineon Raceway. Running the race to gain more road-course experience, Vickers sat on the pole and led 61 of the 64 laps. Said had to start from the back because of an engine change and worked his way to second. NASCAR West rookie Brian Ickler finished third and was the best series regular. Ken Schrader also competed in the race but was penalized for being too fast on pit road and finished 18th.(SceneDaily.com)(6-25-2006)
  • #21 belts and steering wheel confiscated: Ken Schrader’s #21 Wood Brothers Ford had their entire set of seat belts confiscated by NASCAR at Infineon Raceway. Belts are not allowed in use two years after date of manufacture and these were clearly marked May 2004 and on Saturday the #21 team had the steering wheel confiscated by NASCAR. NASCAR mandates that the Steering Wheel spoke must be solid and Schrader’s had a total of nine cutouts.(Insider Racing News)(6-25-2006)
  • Brandon Ash and Team Acheiving Goals: In what was seemingly turning into an Achilles Heel for Brandon Ash, became another achievement in the long list of goals for the Ash Racing Team. Ash qualified the #02 Sprinter Trucking Dodge Friday for the Dodge/Save Mart 350. After several attempts and one previous qualification at Sonoma, Ash once again makes the show casting a shadow over what was previously his personal nemesis. Each time Ash goes to Sonoma he is reminded of his run in what was the Winston West Series, now the Grand National Series, when he was running in the first position looking to win only to come in second to Kevin Harvick after running out of gas so close to taking the checkered flag. Ash will start 43rd in today’s race but hopes to make gains and finish strong. In Happy Hour practice yesterday, the #02 Dodge was running 17th fastest with a speed of 91.600 and a lap time of 78.210. Ash may be starting at the back of the field for today’s race but he is still going to do his best to move up in the field. His main goal is to stay out of trouble and gain respect from fellow Nextel Cup drivers. Since qualifying for the Subway 500 in Phoenix back in April and the Dodge/Save Mart 350 this weekend, the Ash Racing Team hopes to ride this wave of progress and continue to grow as a team; possibly adding races in the future. Tentatively the next race on the schedule for the Ash Racing Team is Richmond in the fall.(Ash Racing Team PR)(6-25-2006)


    News from June 24, 2006

  • COT design about finalized: Owner [#07,#29,#31] Richard Childress said recent test sessions and developments have brought a final design configuration for the so-called NASCAR “Car of Tomorrow” much closer to reality. The new design is to be used in 16 of the 36 Cup races next year. Based on his discussions with NASCAR officials, Childress said, “I think they’re just about ready to push the button” on the design. He said the length of the car and chassis configuration have been finalized and that, based on that information, he and other owners could now begin the production process.(Gaston Gazette)(6-24-2006)
  • Gilliland full time in Cup or Busch in 2007: After scoring what many believe to be the biggest upset in Busch Series history last week at the Kentucky Speedway, David Gilliland’s stock has shot through the roof. The 30-year-old California driver has spent a lot of time this week listening to offers for 2007. “We have received three or four really good phones calls from some of the top teams in both Busch and Nextel Cup. It’s really exciting, it’s really a great accomplishment and achievement for me. We’ve dedicated our whole life to racing. For it to finally to be paying off and getting some opportunities to go and show what we got on a higher scale and higher level it’s been really good.” There’s talk Gilliland may wind up with a deal to run all the Cup races. When asked about that he said, “I feel confident we’ll be full-time next year. Whether it’s Cup or Busch we will be full-time next year. That’s something I just can’t stop smiling about. It’s a dream come true no matter what happens. We’re one step closer and we’re enjoying every minute of it.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-24-2006)
  • Kluever to Run Full Cup/Busch Schedule in 2007?: In 2007, Kluever will take over the #6 Ford that’s currently driven by Mark Martin. Like many of his peers, the Roush Racing driver also will compete full time in the Busch Series next season. Team owner Jack Roush has told Kluever he has no issue with using a substitute on non-companion weekends when it’s tough with travel. Kluever will have his hands full as a rookie in the Nextel Cup Series next season, but he also wants to devote as much time as possible to his Busch campaign.(Capital Times)(6-24-2006)
  • Pedigree to sponsor Biffle Foundation’s 2007 Calander: The Greg Biffle Foundation launched its 2007 NASCAR Pet Calendar featuring 12 top NASCAR drivers and the most spoiled family members – their pets. Pedigree, the Official Pet Care Product of NASCAR, signed on as a sponsor for the 2007 calendar. Dogs, cats, horses, and even bunnies grace the pages of the 2007 calendar. In its second year, the 2006 NASCAR Pet Calendar was very popular with fans, making it the No.1 best-selling item on www.nascar.com. This year’s calendar has some returning veteran pet calendar models such as Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Tony Stewart. The new faces of the 2007 calendar are Jeff Burton, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray, Kyle Petty, Reed Sorenson, Martin Truex Jr., and Kenny Wallace. Pedigree, the Official Pet Care Product of NASCAR, is the first-ever sponsor of the calendar. Pedigree, like The Greg Biffle Foundation, is known for its dedication to animal welfare and is an advocate for pet adoption. This year’s calendar has some additional touches provided by Pedigree. Each month the calendar features a “Pedigree Tip of the Month” that provides valuable, helpful hints to keep fans’ pets safe and happy. The 2007 NASCAR Pet Calendars will be sold at major retailers such as: www.gregbifflefoundation.com, www.NASCAR.com, PetSmart, PETCO, Myers, Kmart (in select markets), Books-a-Million, Calendar Club (mall kiosks) and Pet Supplies Plus. The calendars will be in some retailers beginning in early July. Other retailers will begin carrying the calendar in the fall.(NASCAR PR)(6-24-2006)
  • Elliott could be back full-time in 2007..if the money is right: Bill Elliott, long one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers, said Friday that he is “weighing his options” for 2006, which include a possible full-time return to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Elliott, who has spent the last three seasons running only part time, has been courted by at least one of the new Toyota teams for 2007. Asked if he would consider a full-time return to the Cup series, Elliott said, “If the money’s right I would.”(Speed Channel)(6-24-2006)
  • Dodge’s Fernandez to Ganassi? UPDATE: Hearing that Dodge Motorsports Director, John Fernandez, will assume the General Managers position at Chip Ganassi Racing on July 1st. Fernandez would replace Andy Graves, who stepped down a few months ago.(6-19-2006)
    UPDATE: Dodge’s motorsports czar, John Fernandez, rumored to be headed to Chip Ganassi’s team to replace deposed team manager Andy Graves, is apparently still with Dodge — for the moment, anyway. A Dodge representative said Fernandez was still at his office in Michigan, while Ganassi’s people declined comment on whether Fernandez was going to work for the team.(Speed Channel)(6-24-2006)
  • The UPS Saga…up-in-the-air UPDATE 7 – denied to Roush: hearing UPS will leave the #88 Robert Yates Racing team and go to the #9 Evernham Dodge with driver Kasey Kahne.(6-8-2006)
    UPDATE: On the sponsor front, sources in the garage indicate that UPS will be moving from #88 Robert Yates Racing to one of two teams in 2007, either the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne or the #16 Roush Racing Ford driven by Greg Biffle.(Speed Channel)(6-10-2006)
    UPDATE 2: It appears UPS is still in play as a major sponsor. In the past two years the winner in the sponsor hunt has been Evernham Motorsports. UPS may add itself to the list of Evernham conquests signing as the primary sponsor of the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne. Then again, it is said the Dodge Dealers aren’t willing to vacate their position on Kahne’s ride. The dealers might be willing to let loose of the #19 driven by Jeremy Mayfield. However, it’s not clear Mayfield would be the driver of choice for UPS.(Circletrackplus.com)(6-11-2006)
    UPDATE 3 – to #16? hearing that UPS is going to be on the #16 Roush Racing Ford with driver Greg Biffle in 2007.(6-20-2006)
    UPDATE 4: hearing the announcement of where the UPS sponsorship will go, could be as soon as Friday, June 23rd or at sometime this weekend in Sonoma.(6-21-2006)
    UPDATE 5: folks at Roush Racing have denied that UPS will sponsor any of their teams in 2007.(6-21-2006)
    ANOTHER UPDATE: Car owner Ray Evernham had until last Friday to convince Dodge officials to allow UPS to sponsor Kasey Kahne’s Dodge next year, and apparently he couldn’t do it. That means UPS will sponsor Greg Biffle’s Ford next year.(Augusta Chronicle)(6-22-2006)

    UPDATE 7 More on UPS: Roush denies again: Roush Racing has not talked with UPS about sponsoring one of its cars next season, a team official said Friday. With UPS still not under contract for 2007, several teams have been mentioned as candidates for the sponsor if it opts not to stay with Robert Yates Racing. Roush Racing and its No. 16 Nextel Cup car with driver Greg Biffle have been rumored as a possible destination for UPS. “I don’t know where the rumors are coming from,” said Torrey Galida, senior vice president for marketing at Roush Racing, prior to Nextel Cup practice at Infineon Raceway Friday. “We have not spoken.” Roush and RYR develop engines together, and Roush-Yates engines power all of the Fords in the garage. “We have a pretty firm understanding with Robert Yates that we would not engage one another’s sponsors,” Galida said. Galida said Roush Racing has all of its sponsorships solidified for next season except for the National Guard, which is on a year-to-year contract [which is the case with all the military sponsors] on Biffle’s car. He said the National Guard is a full-season deal, but the National Guard sells off some of the races to other companies. (SceneDaily.com)(6-24-2006)

  • Riggs injured, Elliott to stand by at Sonoma UPDATE: Monday, while on vacation with his family in Myrtle Beach [SC, #10-Scott Riggs injured both feet while unloading his jet ski in an oyster bed. The wounds required 12 stitches in the ball of left foot and eight stitches in the right big toe. The injury to Riggs has caused Valvoline Evernham Racing to make back-up plans for this weekend’s NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race in Sonoma. Ray Evernham and Valvoline Designated Team Owner Jim Rocco have retained former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott to stand by this weekend should Riggs not be able to practice, qualify or race the Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge Charger. As things stand today, Riggs will be racing Sunday, according to the team. “Jim and I huddled today with Scott, Bill Elliott, Team Director Rodney Childers and Competition Director Sammy Johns and we are going to Sonoma with the intention of Scott running the full weekend,” Evernham said. “But Bill will be ready for any scenario.”
    “I’m going to Sonoma to race,” Riggs said Wednesday. “It was a freak incident at Myrtle Beach. There was no warning about an oyster bed where we unloaded. We’ll see what happens when I get in the race car. I’m going to do what’s best for the team this weekend.” Valvoline Evernham Racing will have updates at Infineon Raceway for the media.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(6-22-2006)
    UPDATE: Riggs says injuries to his feet suffered while vacationing in Myrtle Beach, SC, earlier this week won’t keep him from competing in Sunday’s race at Infineon Raceway. The team had former full-time driver Bill Elliott on standby at Infineon, but after Friday’s first practice and a qualifying effort that left Riggs 25th for Sunday’s race, Riggs said he felt Elliott’s services would not be needed. He wore a larger shoe, borrowed from teammate Jeremy Mayfield, that was fitted with a plastic piece designed to help keep pressure off the stitches during Friday’s practice and qualifying sessions.(SceneDaily.com)(6-24-2006)
  • Final Michigan TV ratings fall: Fox’s broadcast of last Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 4.5 and an 11 market share, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is down 6.3% from the 4.8/12 the race earned in 2005.(SceneDaily.com)(6-24-2006)
  • #66 Carries Special SanDisk Paint Design at Sonoma: Jeff Green’s #66 Chevy is carrying a special red, yellow and white paint design this weekend at Infineon Raceway, featuring the logo of SanDisk Corporation on the hood of the Haas CNC Racing entry. Headquartered about 80 miles from Sonoma in Milpitas, CA SanDisk, the world’s largest supplier of flash memory data storage products, is an associate sponsor of the #66 Chevy this season. At the beginning of the 2006 season, SanDisk joined Best Buy, the consumer electronics, home-office products, entertainment software, appliances and related services retail chain, as a sponsor of the Haas CNC Racing entry. Best Buy, which offers many SanDisk products, is the primary sponsor of the #66 Haas CNC Racing team in a select number of races this season. The Best Buy logo will be featured on the car’s rear quarter panel in Sunday’s event. More information on SanDisk and its product line can be found by visiting sandisk.com.(GMR PR)(6-24-2006)
  • Harvick & Bowyer skipping Happy Hour: #29-Kevin Harvick and #07-Clint Bowyer will skip Saturday morning’s final 45-minute Nextel Cup practice session at Infineon Raceway to give them a little extra time to get to The Milwaukee Mile for the Busch Series race that night. The first practice for NASCAR’s Cup teams ends at 10:15 a.m. Pacific – 12:15 p.m. in Milwaukee – and Harvick and Bowyer will leave after that. Four other drivers doing the double – #11-Denny Hamlin, #99-Carl Edwards, #18-J.J. Yeley and #5-Kyle Busch – all plan to stay for the final 45-minute session, which ends at 1:55pm/ct. All of the drivers have substitutes ready to practice and qualify: Harvick has Randy LaJoie, Bowyer has Brandon Miller, Hamlin has Aric Almirola, Yeley has Casey Atwood, Edwards has Hank Parker Jr. and Busch has Dennis Setzer.(SceneDaily.com)(6-24-2006)
  • Chex Most Popular Driver Award Hits One Millionth Vote: The NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award received its 1 millionth vote this week. Race fans are encouraged to make their vote count and get their driver in the running by logging on to the Chex Most Popular Driver Website at www.MostPopularDriver.com . Voting will continue throughout the season; ending Monday, November 20, 2006. Fans may vote once each day at the site. The 2005 NASCAR NMPA Chex Most Popular Driver award winner was Dale Earnhardt Jr., and this year he has proven to be the fan favorite so far as he currently leads the voting [there was no top 10 or other drivers mentioned in this years vote]. Earnhardt Jr. has three consecutive wins in the voting competition.(Elevation / General Mills)(6-24-2006)


    News from June 23, 2006

  • Congrats: #38 crew chief Tommy Baldwin and wife Beth welcomed Lucas Graham Baldwin this morning at 8:30am/et, 8 lbs, 2.8 ounces. Both Mom and Baby are healthy and doing fine.(Robert Yates Racing)(6-23-2006)
  • Speed signs Roberts, Dillner and Venturini; Jenkins out: Chris Long, SPEED VP of Studio Production, today announced SPEED has signed popular NASCAR RaceDay host John Roberts through 2009. In related moves, SPEED re-signed veteran motor sports reporters Bob Dillner and Wendy Venturini to two-year deals.(Speed Channel PR), also hearing the veteran broadcaster, Bob Jenkins was not retained by Speed Channel and is looking for a new job.(6-23-2006)
  • NASCAR wins Trophy lawsuit: A U.S. appellate court has affirmed NASCAR’s victory in a lawsuit against an artist who requested payment and credit for designing the Nextel Cup trophy. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Wednesday in favor of NASCAR and against artist Matthew Scharle. Scharle, who worked as an independent contractor for the Franklin Mint in helping design the trophy in 2002 and 2003, had demanded rights to the design or $2 million for alleged business loss from the misattribution. In response to that demand, NASCAR filed suit against him to keep him from interfering with NASCAR’s use of the trophy at the 2004 awards banquet. NASCAR credits then-Franklin Mint President Bruce Newman with the trophy’s design.(SceneDaily.com)(6-23-2006)
  • Stewart: last question about injury: His broken right shoulder blade is getting to be a sore subject for Tony Stewart. “This is the last time we’re going to answer this,” he said Thursday when the topic came up as he talked with reporters at Infineon Raceway in advance of Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350. “It’s 100 percent.”(Associated Press)(6-23-2006)
  • Kurt Busch wins pole at Sonoma: #2-Kurt Busch won the Budweiser pole for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway with a speed of 93.055mph for his 2nd pole of 2006 and 5th of his career, both of his poles won in the state of California. #26-Jamie McMurray [with Busch’s old team] will start 2nd, followed by #29-Kevin Harvick, #12-Ryan Newman and #60-Boris Said. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson will start 16th, and pole favorites #24-Jeff Gordon, got slightly off course on his run and will start 11th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #32-Fellows, #55-Waltrip, #40-Pruett, #02-Ash, #27-Hubert, #4-Jones and #72-Gilliland. Missing the race were: #78-Kvapil, #61-Simo, #49-Cook, #95-Barrett and #34-Miller. Sonoma Qualifying/Starting Grid Page.(6-23-2006)
  • Sonoma Qualifying Notes: • Kurt Busch won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Dodge/SaveMart 350, lapping Infineon Raceway in 76.987 seconds at 93.055 mph. Jeff Gordon holds the track qualifying record of 75.950 seconds, 94.325 mph – set June 24, 2005.
    • This is Kurt Busch’s fifth career Bud Pole in 200 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • This is his second Bud Pole and series-leading 12th top-10 start in 2006.
    • This is Busch’s first Bud Pole and fifth top-10, including four top-fives, in six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway.
    • Busch became the 10th different Bud Pole winner at Infineon.
    • Jamie McMurray posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 77.075 seconds, 92.948 mph – and will join Kurt Busch on the front row for the Dodge/SaveMart 350. McMurray posted his first start better than 11th in his fourth qualifying effort at Infineon. It is his career-best road-course start. He also started 11th at Watkins Glen in 2005 when qualifying was canceled.
    • This is the eighth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has four Bud Poles and Ford has three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • Kevin Harvick (third) posted his third top-10 start in six Infineon races and his career-best road course start.
    • Ryan Newman (fourth) posted his first top-10 start in five races at Infineon Raceway. His previous career-best road-course start was fifth at Watkins Glen in 2002.
    • The top-four qualifiers all posted their career-best, road-course starts.
    • Boris Said (fifth) posted his fourth top-10 start in seven races at Infineon Raceway. He won the Bud Pole here in 2003.
    • Kasey Kahne (sixth) posted his first start better than 26th in three races at Infineon.
    • Greg Biffle (seventh) has posted two top-10 starts in four races at Infineon Raceway – but his other two starts were 32nd and 41st.
    • Jeff Gordon (11th) has now gone 36 races since his last Bud Pole, which came at Infineon in May 2005 – extending his career-longest streak without a Bud Pole. Gordon went 30 races between Bud Poles from Charlotte in May 1997 through California in May 1998 – his longest streak before this.
    • Said, P.J. Jones (15th), Ron Fellows (17th), Tom Hubert (30th) and David Gilliland (31st) brought the total number of drivers that have competed this season to 63. This will be the first career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start for Gilliland.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-23-2006)
  • Ramblings – Infineon Raceway: Kurt Busch grabbed the Bud Pole today (in his Miller Lite Dodge) for Sunday’s Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway by almost a tenth of a second over Jamie McMurray. This is top-spot #2 of the season for Busch (he led ’em to the green at Fontana in February) and #5 in his NEXTEL Cup career. We won’t hear the word “ringer” much this weekend, will we?
    Jamie McMurray (2nd) has his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Martinsville in April.
    Kevin Harvick (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the Pole at Richmond last September.
    Boris Said (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Daytona last July (only 5 races).
    Robby Gordon (14th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 12th at Phoenix last November.
    P. J. Jones (15th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 14th at Watkins Glen in August of 2002 (only 11 races).
    Ron Fellows (17th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 3rd when we were here in 2003 (only 5 races).
    Ken Schrader (18th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 7th at Bristol last August.
    Tom Hubert (30th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 16th at Watkins Glen in August of 2000 (only 5 races).B Pretty good week for David Gilliland (31st). Last week at this time he was just happy to be in the Busch race at Nashville. Now, he’s the most recent Busch Grand National race winner and he makes his first-ever NEXTEL Cup start to boot. Betcha his feet haven’t touched the ground in awhile!
    STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 14 Top-10 starts in the last 15 races.
    Kasey Kahne has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.(Stock Car Fans)(6-23-2006)


    News from June 22, 2006

  • Rusty to host new TV show: Rusty Wallace will host “NASCAR Angels,” a reality TV show that will begin airing this fall, according to Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily. The show, which will feature top NASCAR competitors showing deserving families a look behind the scenes of NASCAR, is scheduled to debut Sept. 12 on various networks, including ABC.(SceneDaily.com)(6-22-2006)
  • Sadler to run special Pedigree scheme at Sonoma: Instead of the trusty M&M’S Characters riding along on Elliott Sadler’s #38 Ford, this weekend he has some new friends, man’s best friend that is on his Ford Fusion to spotlight The Pedigree Adoption Drive. This is the second annual drive that Pedigree has spearheaded, a multi-million dollar, cause-related campaign that rallies dog lovers to help the millions of homeless dogs in shelters and breeds rescue organizations throughout the United States. In fact, Pedigree has a goal to raise $1 million to donate to shelters and breed rescue organizations around the country. For every Pedigree Brand product purchased, Pedigree will donate a portion of sales to the cause.(Elevation Group PR)(6-22-2006)
  • Trouble for #66 Cup/#00 Busch Team Owner UPDATE Wind Tunnel plans stay: The owner of an Oxnard [CA]-based company that’s donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local colleges is under arrest for allegedly trying to bilk the government out of millions in taxes. Haas Automation owner and founder Gene Haas was arrested Monday on suspicion of conspiracy, filing false tax returns and witness intimidation. Federal prosecutors say Haas orchestrated a plan to list $50 million in bogus expenses that it could write off as business costs. The aim was to save the company $20 million in taxes. Haas Automation general manager Robert Murray says the charges are bogus. The company is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of omputerized cutting machines.(CBS2.com/AP)
    AND Gene F. Haas, 54, of Camarillo, Calif., the owner of Haas Automation and other companies, was accused in a 52-page indictment of running a bogus invoicing scheme to create fake tax deductions. Mr. Haas was held without bail after his arraignment in Federal District Court in Los Angeles. In court papers asking that Mr. Haas be held until his trial, the Justice Department said that he could flee the country in his Cessna jet and head for China, where he has business interests. The Justice Department said China did not have a treaty allowing extradition of accused tax cheats. It called him a flight risk, saying he has few ties to the community, is single, has no children and faces about 20 years in prison if convicted. Haas Automation, in a statement, said that Mr. Haas was not guilty and that the tax issues “revolve around” the company’s former chief financial officer, John Phillips. It said the indictment would have no effect on the business. Last month, Haas Automation won, by default, a lawsuit filed in Ventura County Superior Court accusing Mr. Phillips of cheating the company out of $27.5 million. The indictment also described two other invoicing schemes. One involved a NASCAR race team sponsored by Haas Automotive and the other a land title company. The indictment gave few details other than stating that all the money paid in those two schemes was funneled back to Mr. Haas, suggesting that he may have operated them without confederates.(New York Times)(6-20-2006)
    UPDATE – The Wind Tunnel: The arrest this week in California of Gene Haas, owner of Haas Automation, will not affect plans to build a $40 million wind tunnel in Concord or stop the race shop’s move to Kannapolis, said a company spokesman. Joe Custer, general manager of the Harrisburg race team Haas CNC Racing, said the company’s assets have not been frozen or affected by the arrest. He also said Haas CNC and the company for the wind tunnel, Wind Shear, are actually separate entities from Haas Automation. “We’re not implicated in the indictments and we are not being investigated,” Custer said. “We’re not financially in trouble, never have been and don’t plan to be.” Custer said regardless of the investigation and Haas’ legal troubles there won’t be any impact on any of the Cabarrus County projects. Haas announced in May that he will construct a $40 million wind tunnel in Concord. John Cox, CEO of the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, talked Wednesday during a motor sports symposium held at Lowe’s Motor Speedway “We have called the Haas folks to show our support,” Cox said. “Our prayers are that Mr. Haas will be exonerated.” Cabarrus County provided a three-year tax incentive grant for the project and the City of Concord offered to provide electrical infrastructure at the site. The city, which planned to build a $4 million electrical substation near the Concord Regional Airport, said they will move up that project to accommodate the wind tunnel’s construction schedule.(more at the Kannapolis Idependent Tribune)(6-22-2006)
  • Start #200 for Kurt Busch: #2- iller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch will be making his 200th career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup start this weekend in the Dodge/Save Mart 350. The historic occasion could not come at a more appropriate location than at Infineon Raceway. After all, one might say that Busch’s big-league racing career was launched at the winding road course located at the southern tip of the Sonoma Valley.(See full story at TRPR.com)(6-22-2006)
  • TV Times for 2007, no earlier then 2pm: The 2007 racing schedule hasn’t been released but one significant change is expected: All races will start no earlier than 2pm. The later starting times come at the demand of television networks Fox, FX, ABC, TNT and ESPN. They pushed NASCAR to start most races at 4pm to better capture West Coast viewers and create a link to prime-time shows, but they settled for a mix. None of the times, however, will be any earlier than 2pm.(Augusta Chronicle)(6-22-2006)
  • Dale Jr on TV Guide Cover: As NASCAR approaches the midpoint of its 2006 Nextel Cup season, TV Guide magazine roars into newsstands with the annual mid-season special issue, featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr., (June 26 issue, on sale June 22). In an exclusive interview with TV Guide’s resident NASCAR expert Robert Edelstein, Earnhardt speaks candidly about his reemergence at the head of the pack–after enduring his worst season ever last year, finishing 19th-and how adopting a new attitude has made all the difference. Also on Friday night there will be a Dale Jr webcast at budweiser.com[over 21].(6-22-2006)
  • Stremme running #41 Dodge in Milwaukee Busch race: Reed Sorenson’s Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) teammate David Stremme, primary driver of the #40 Coors Light and Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge in the Nextel Cup Series, will step in to drive the #41 Discount Tire Dodge in this weekend’s Busch Series event at The Milwaukee Mile. Instead of splitting his time between the NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series competitions, Sorenson will stay out west all weekend to run the #41 Target Dodge at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Chip Ganassi Racing road-course ace Scott Pruett will be driving the #40 Coors Light Dodge at Infineon, allowing Stremme to compete at Milwaukee. Both Stremme and Sorenson will resume driving duties in the #40 Dodge and #41 Busch Series entry next week at Daytona International Speedway. Stremme has three Busch Series starts at the Milwaukee Mile, and in those three starts he has totaled one pole, two top-five starts, and three top-five finishes.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-22-2006)
  • Interush to sponsor Barrett at Sonoma: Stanton Barrett Motorsports will have Interush as the primary sponsor on the #95 Chevy for this weekend for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. Interush is an affiliate driven Internet Advertising and Marketing company which takes U.S. based technology to the Asian markets. Interush, already featured as an associate sponsor in previous NASCAR Nextel Cup races this season, will be on the #95 throughout the second half of the season, running as primary and associate sponsors for Barrett.(Stanton Barrett Motorsports PR) (6-22-2006)


    News from June 21, 2006

  • #21 to Honor Fallen Servicemen at Sonoma: Ten years ago this coming Sunday marks a solemn date in U.S. Military Service history. On June 25, 1996, the Khobar Towers Housing Complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia was bombed by extremists, ending the lives of 19 servicemen. To mark the occasion, the #21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion, driven by Ken Schrader, will carry a special decal honoring the men on the lower rear quarter panels and B-Post location during the race weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The idea to run the memorial decals was presented to the Wood Brothers/JTG Race Team by George Beekman, who lost his stepson, Joshua E. Woody, in the tragedy. The Wood Brothers appealed to the U.S. Air Force as an associate sponsor on the car to donate the necessary space on the race car. Air Force Captain Jonathan Ness assisted in the process. “We were genuinely moved by the appeal from Mr. [George] Beekman, and are happy to represent those servicemen killed in the line of duty that day on this solemn anniversary of the tragedy,” he stated. The Air Force will have b-post sized decals to hand out to all of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup teams, as well. George Beekman designed the memorial decal that will adorn the race car. In addition, the decal will be featured in two separate memorial services this weekend. The first, at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Florida is scheduled for Friday, June 23rd. Twelve of the nineteen servicemen killed in the blast were from Eglin AFB. The second memorial, to be held Sunday at noon, will be a service at Arlington National Cemetery in which the logo will adorn the centerpiece of the wreath laid in remembrance of the fallen heroes.(Woodbrothersracing.com)(6-21-2006)
  • Crew Chief change at the #14 team: MB2 Motorsports announced today that Scott Eggleston will take over the crew chief duties on Sterling Marlin’s #14 Chevy, replacing Doug Randolph, who will be reassigned to a new position. Eggleston’s first race as Marlin’s crew chief will be this weekend at the Nextel Cup road course event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. The reassignment of Randolph along with additional team changes will be announced in a couple of weeks according to Jay Frye, MB2 Motorsports CEO and general manager. “We’re going through a restructuring, and once completed, we strongly feel it will be beneficial for the entire MB2 Motorsports organization,” said Frye. “We welcome Scott, who has worked with Sterling in the past. The working chemistry that Scott and Sterling have established will be a strong asset for the #14. Regarding Doug, he will continue to play an integral role in our organization.” Eggleston, of Springfield, VA, was Marlin’s crew chief at SABCO Racing for 22 races in 1999 and for the full season in 2000. His best finish as Marlin’s crew chief was second at the 2000 road race at Infineon. “Hopefully, we can duplicate the performance or even finish one better on Sunday,” said Marlin. “I look forward to being reunited with Scott.”
    “Sterling and I have been close friends ever since we worked together at SABCO,” said Eggleston, who joined MB2 in May as a research and development advisor. “I feel this team has potential and look forward to working with Sterling and the crew. Our goal is to be a challenger week in and week out.” Eggleston, 43, started working as a mechanic for Petty Enterprises in 1989 and eventually worked into a crew chief role at SABCO in 1998 with Joe Nemechek’s car. Eggleston was also the crew chief for Michael Waltrip when he won the 2001 Daytona 500 for DEI Motorsports. Along with his crew chief duties at SABCO and DEI, Eggleston also was a crew chief for Morgan-McClure Motorsports for part of 2001 and the full season in 2002. Before joining MB2, his most recent position was competition director at FitzBradshaw Racing.(MB2 Motorsports)(6-21-2006)
  • Hubert to run the #27: #22-Caterpillar Racing team member Tom Hubert hopes to spend Saturday afternoon racing in the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series event at Infineon Raceway. Additionally, for the third consecutive year, Hubert will attempt to qualify Kirk Shelmerdine’s #27 ride for Sunday’s Cup race at the track. Hubert has made 10 Nextel Cup Series starts and has competed at Infineon Raceway in the Cup Series on five occasions, finishing as high as 28th. Chris Beeson, who works for Bill Davis Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series, will be standing by to take over Hubert’s rear tire changing duties on the #22 Caterpillar Dodge that Dave Blaney drives.(BDR PR)(6-21-2006)
  • Gilliland Rides Wave into Infineon: David Gilliland will make his Nextel Cup debut this weekend in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at the Infineon Raceway. The Riverside, CA native will pilot the #72 Dutch Quality Stone Dodge for CJM Racing. Gilliland hopes to bring the momentum of his monumental win in the NASCAR Busch Series to the Napa Valley road course. He became the first non-NEXTEL Cup regular to win in 18 straight Busch Series races when he took the checkered flag in the Meijer 300 at the Kentucky Speedway. Gilliland has a successful history at the Infineon Raceway. He won a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series event at the track in 2004. The Gilliland name has legions of fans on the West Coast due to the achievements of David and his father, Butch Gilliland. Father and son teamed up as driver/crew chief and captured the NASCAR Winston West championship in 1997. As a result David became the youngest to ever win the Crew Chief of the Year Award for that series. The younger Gilliland has over 70 wins, in various series, on the west coast. Team owners Bryan and Tony Mullet are getting their feet wet in the Nextel Cup Series. In 2005 they acquired interest in the former operation of Morgan Shepherd. Recently they bought the team outright and are in the process of building new cars and a new shop. “We are going there to make the race and get a solid finish. We tested at Virginia International Raceway two weeks ago and were really pleased. The motors are strong and Doug George (crew chief) and I are working well together. I think it would be foolish to expect a repeat finish from Kentucky, but a solid top-20 is not out of the question,” Gilliland said who will be a guest of the California legislature on Thursday morning at the State Capitol in Sacramento. He will be a part of the proclamation of “NASCAR Weekend” in Sonoma, will be a part of the Raybestos Rookie press conference on Friday morning and be a guest of the Speed Channel show “Trackside Live” on Friday evening.(Moore Consulting Group PR)(6-21-2006)
  • Cook to drive the #49 at Infineon: Chris Cook, a veteran racer and driving instructor, will drive the #49 DSI Dodge Charger for BAM Racing this weekend in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway. The 34-year-old Cook, who owns the Shift Into Gear driving school, has tutored numerous NASCAR teams and drivers including Robert Yates Racing and Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart. As a driving instructor, he was the youngest chief instructor in the history of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Phoenix, AZ. Cook’s prior NASCAR Nextel Cup Series start came at Infineon Raceway in 2005 behind the wheel of the #87 Chevy owned by Joe Nemechek. He qualified for, and ultimately finished the race, in the 28th position.(BAM Racing PR)(6-21-2006)
  • Simo and Miller to drive Front Row entries at Sonoma: Front Row Motorsports announced Johnny Miller will pilot the #34 Oak Gloves Chevy and Brian Simo will drive the #61 Chevy this weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. Miller is a veteran of a number of professional racing series, accumulating over a 100 career victories and numerous poles. He will be making his fourth career NASCAR start and second for Front Row Motorsports. Last year Johnny drove the #92 Front Row car at Watkins Glen. After having to start 40th because qualifying was rained out he finished 29th. He got as high as 3rd in the race, but struggled with carburetor problems through out the day, which cost him valuable track positions on restarts.
    Simo will be driving the same car [was a RCR #33 chevy] he drove last year at Infineon. He qualified 22nd, had a great day and was able to finish in the top 10.(Front Row Motorsports PR)(6-21-2006)
  • Vickers’ Team Captures Pit Crew Win In Michigan: Brian Vickers’ pit crew claimed the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win in Sunday’s rain-shortened 3M Performance 400, becoming the 10th Nextel Cup team of the season to capture the weekly competition. The victory was the result of Vickers’ #25 Chevy spending the least amount of time on Michigan International Speedway’s pit road – 337.524 seconds. “It was a solid performance by the GMAC Racing team on pit road at Michigan,” said Hendrick Motorsports pit crew coach Mark Mauldin. “We had all of our regulars on the crew back in place and it showed. We expect to be able to win this award a couple of mores times before the season is finished.” Vickers’ over-the-wall crew includes: Mike Moore (jackman), Jake Brzozowski (front-tire carrier), Tony Hamm (front-tire changer), Matt Myers (rear-tire carrier), Jeff Fabian (rear-tire changer), Chris Fasulka (gasman), Chris Hamilton (catch can) and Jim Jenkins (windshield). Crew chief for the #25 team is Lance McGrew. The program awards $10,500 per week to the pit crew of the car spending the least amount of time on pit road. In addition, a bonus of $105,000 will be awarded to the pit crew with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Jimmie Johnson’s crew leads the season standings with three Checkers/Rally’s Drive-Thru Challenge wins. Tony Stewart’s, Elliott Sadler’s and Kyle Busch’s crews are tied for second with two wins each. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(6-21-2006)


    News from June 20, 2006

  • Petty to be honored: Kyle Petty will be honored next week at the Stewart-Marchman Foundation’s Annual Dinner and Auction. The June 28 dinner at the Daytona 500 Club begins at 7 p.m. with a social hour starting at 6 p.m. Some individual tickets are still available for $200 each. A limited number of corporate packages are also available. The prices vary. The eighth annual event is the main fundraiser for the foundation, an organization that supports clients and programs of the Stewart-Marchman Center, which provides substance-abuse treatment. Petty will be joined by his wife, Pattie , and his parents, Richard and Lynda Petty; Benny Parsons, the master of ceremonies; and other NASCAR drivers. Honorees from previous years include Mark Martin, Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, the Rev. Hal Marchman and Michael Waltrip. Last year’s event, raised $130,000. More info at stewartmarchman.org.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(6-20-2006)
  • Trouble for #66 Cup/#00 Busch Team Owner: The owner of an Oxnard [CA]-based company that’s donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local colleges is under arrest for allegedly trying to bilk the government out of millions in taxes. Haas Automation owner and founder Gene Haas was arrested Monday on suspicion of conspiracy, filing false tax returns and witness intimidation. Federal prosecutors say Haas orchestrated a plan to list $50 million in bogus expenses that it could write off as business costs. The aim was to save the company $20 million in taxes. Haas Automation general manager Robert Murray says the charges are bogus. The company is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of omputerized cutting machines.(CBS2.com/AP)
    AND Gene F. Haas, 54, of Camarillo, Calif., the owner of Haas Automation and other companies, was accused in a 52-page indictment of running a bogus invoicing scheme to create fake tax deductions. Mr. Haas was held without bail after his arraignment in Federal District Court in Los Angeles. In court papers asking that Mr. Haas be held until his trial, the Justice Department said that he could flee the country in his Cessna jet and head for China, where he has business interests. The Justice Department said China did not have a treaty allowing extradition of accused tax cheats. It called him a flight risk, saying he has few ties to the community, is single, has no children and faces about 20 years in prison if convicted. Haas Automation, in a statement, said that Mr. Haas was not guilty and that the tax issues “revolve around” the company’s former chief financial officer, John Phillips. It said the indictment would have no effect on the business. Last month, Haas Automation won, by default, a lawsuit filed in Ventura County Superior Court accusing Mr. Phillips of cheating the company out of $27.5 million. The indictment also described two other invoicing schemes. One involved a NASCAR race team sponsored by Haas Automotive and the other a land title company. The indictment gave few details other than stating that all the money paid in those two schemes was funneled back to Mr. Haas, suggesting that he may have operated them without confederates.(New York Times)(6-20-2006)
  • SRT Paint Schemes for #9 and #19 at Sonoma: Evernham Motorsports teammates #19-Jeremy Mayfield and #9-Kasey Kahne will run special SRT paint schemes on their Dodge Chargers at Infineon Raceway. Dodge SRT vehicles offer the boldest, most powerful performance for the Dodge lineup. Every SRT vehicle showcases five key aspects: Exterior styling that resonates with the brand image; race-inspired interiors; top-notch ride and handling characteristics across a dynamic range; benchmark braking; and standout powertrain. Kahne’s #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge SRT Charger will carry their signature bold red Dodge color, in addition to white on the rear quarter panels and black striping along the sides. SRT lettering is on the sides and hood of Kahne’s Dodge Charger. Mayfield’s #19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge SRT Charger will take a more bold tact with bright yellow on the hood and the sides, eventually blending to black on the rear quarter panels and back of the car. It will be a distinctive look for the #19 Dodge Charger. Like the #9, red SRT lettering will be on the hood and quarter panels. Another notable change in the schemes is the Dodge Charger’s rear panel, which displays Dodge’s website with information regarding the SRT program and encourages viewers to visit Dodge’s SRT website, www.driveSRT.com.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR), see images on the #9 Team Schemes and #19 Team Schemes pages.(6-20-2006)
  • Cup to run unleaded fuel in 2007 UPDATE: Nextel Cup cars will be mandated to run unleaded fuel beginning with next season’s Daytona 500. NASCAR’s Busch Series cars will switch to unleaded fuel on a temporary basis starting with the July 29 race at Gateway International Raceway, before running the brand full-time in 2007 along with the Cup and Craftsman Truck Series. “The plans are for Sunoco to evaluate what they learned for three or four races in the Busch Series beginning at Gateway, then come back later and finish out the [2006] season in the Busch and Truck Series running unleaded fuel,” NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-19-2006)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced today a timeline to phase unleaded fuel into its three national series beginning next month. The unleaded fuel will first be used for the NASCAR Busch Series race at Gateway International Raceway on July 29. The plan is to evaluate the use of unleaded fuel over several NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series events this season before making a decision on when it will be mandated for all three national series. Unleaded fuel will be used for four weeks before undergoing an evaluation period. After the race weekend at Gateway, the fuel will be used at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis on Aug. 4 and 5 for the NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series; at Watkins Glen for the NASCAR Busch Series and Nashville Superspeedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Aug. 12; and at Michigan International Speedway for the NASCAR Busch Series on Aug. 19.
    Following those events, competitors will return to their regular fuel for four weeks while NASCAR, Sunoco and team engine builders evaluate the effects of the new fuel. On Sept. 23 the NASCAR Busch Series (Dover International Speedway) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) will resume using unleaded fuel for the remainder of the season.
    In addition, NASCAR, Sunoco and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series engine builders plan to work with the ARCA Re/Max Series at Talladega Superspeedway to study the use of unleaded fuel in engines with restrictor plates. Following the season, a decision will be made on the future of unleaded fuel. NASCAR had previously announced a switch to unleaded fuel by 2008. The current goal is to have all three national series using unleaded fuel fulltime by Speedweeks of 2007.(NASCAR PR)(6-20-2006)
  • Congrats: Haley Munksgard, wife of MB2 Motorsports pit crew coach Lance Munksgard, gave birth to the couple’s first child, Colton Lance, Thursday, June 15 at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, N.C. Colton Lance weighed 10 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 21 inches long. Mother and son are doing great.(6-20-2006)


    News from June 19, 2006

  • Elliott tests for MWR at Milwaukee and Kentucky: This week, Bill Elliott is testing the #00 Burger King NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series entry at the Milwaukee Mile and Kentucky Speedway in preparation for the five races he will compete in this season for Michael Waltrip Racing. “Today, we were just shaking down the Burger King car at the Milwaukee Mile so that we can be well prepared for the race at Loudon (New Hampshire International Speedway) in a few weeks,” Elliott stated. “We’ll be at Kentucky Speedway tomorrow to work on the car for our first race of the season at Chicagoland Speedway. We”ll test at the track for two days. I think Chicagoland will be one of the most challenging tracks for us.” Crew Chief Larry Carter added. “We’re close to being ready for our first race at Chicagoland Speedway. Our test today went well. We are plugging away at making the car rotate better because it was tight today. Overall, the car is really sound and we are pleased with our progress.” The first race for Bill Elliott and the #00 Burger King Michael Waltrip Racing team will take place on July 9th at Chicagoland Speedway.(MWR PR)(6-19-2006)
  • Overnight Michigan TV ratings match 2005: Overnight Nielsen Media Research numbers show that Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup race matched the 2005 event, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. This year’s race earned a 4.0 rating and a 9 share, while the 2005 event earned a 4.0 overnight rating and a 10 share.(SceneDaily.com)(6-19-2006)
  • Final Pocono TV ratings down: Fox’s broadcast of the June 11 Pocono 500 NASCAR Nextel Cup race earned a final Nielsen Media Research rating of 5.2 and a 12 market share, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 7.1% lower than the 5.6/14 the race earned in 2005.(SceneDaily.com)(6-19-2006)
  • Dodge’s Fernandez to Ganassi? Hearing that Dodge Motorsports Director, John Fernandez, will assume the General Managers position at Chip Ganassi Racing on July 1st. Fernandez replaces Andy Graves, who stepped down a few months ago.(6-19-2006)
  • Sadler looking to leave RYR? UPDATE Denied: Elliott Sadler has let it be known he isn’t happy in the team’s [Robert Yates Racing] #38 car and appears to be looking for a way out, especially after teammate #88-Dale Jarrett accepted a Toyota pension for 2007, with Michael Waltrip. Where exactly Sadler would go is a question, although everyone who is anyone is churning in Toyota’s rumor mill right now.(Speed Channel)(6-17-2006)
    UPDATE: Car owner Robert Yates denied Internet reports that Elliott Sadler is unhappy and wants out of his contract to drive the #38 Ford that runs through 2008. “That’s not what he’s telling me,” Yates said. “That’s all I can really say. I guess the grandstand can start speculating anything. So far, he hasn’t communicated that with me yet.”(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-19-2006)
  • Special UPS scheme at Richmond: The #88 UPS Ford Fusion will showcase UPS Freight services during the running of the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 9, 2006. The UPS Freight car will take on the gray and brown colors of UPS Freight tractors and trailers, while maintaining accents from the design of the standard #88 UPS Ford paint scheme. Instead of white, gray is used as the base for the UPS Freight car. A bit more brown than usually appears on the #88 Ford has been added to the roof and deck lid. Gold and red accent stripes, along with gold #88’s complete the design. With a reflective finish, the #88 UPS Freight car is sure to shine under the lights at Richmond. With UPS Freight, moving heavy goods throughout North America is as easy as shipping a package across town. To learn more about UPS Freight services, visit www.upsfreight.com.(UPS Site), see an image of the scheme on my #88 Team Schemes page.(6-19-2006)

News from June 18, 2006

  • Kahne wins rain shortened race at MIS: #9-Kasey Kahne won the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway, which was rained delayed, then shortened to 129 [of 200 scheduled laps] when rain fell around 5:00pm/et. The win is Kahne’s 4th of the season, he has the most of any other driver this year and 5th of his career. It is also the 4th race Kahne has won from the pole. The race is fourth race at MIS that has been called due to rain [8/2001, 6/2000 and 8/1969, the race was shortened in 6/1974 due to the energy shortage..not rain]. #99-Carl Edwards finished 2nd, followed by #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #16-Greg Biffle [back in the top-10 in points] and #41-Reed Sorenson [his first ever top-5 finish]. #48-Jimmie Johnson, who finished 6th, increased his points lead over #17-Matt Kenseth by 74 points over #17-Matt Kenseth [who finished 13th]. #20-Stewart wrecked hard early in the race, but didn’t seem to be reinjured and finished 41st. Kahne is the 7th driver to win a race after falling a lap down and getting the lucky dog pass back to the lead lap. There were 17 lead changes among 10 drivers and 9 cautions for 37 laps.
    Race Results on my Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points page.
    Race Rundown: see my Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-18-2006)
  • Gilliland to drive #72 car at Sonoma: David Gilliland, fresh off an upset Busch Series win at Kentucky Speedway [in his 7th race] will step behind the wheel, on a limited basis starting at Infineon Raceway, of the newly formed #72 CJM Racing Dodge in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2006.(David Gilliland site)(6-18-2006)
  • Waltrip to make 2007 sponsor announcement this weekend..Domino’s? BK? UPDATE 2: On Speed Channel’s Inside Nextel Cup, Michael Waltrip said he would be making a sponsor announcement for the 2007 season for his Toyota team this weekend [at MIS]. Ken Schrader asked why not now [on the show], Waltrip said the paperwork isn’t signed yet in which Schrader asked if there was a chance it wouldn’t get signed; Waltrip responded: “Domino’s Delivers” and then “Have it Your Way” the motto for Burger King,(6-13-2006)
    UPDATE: Michael Waltrip will make an announcement about the future of Michael Waltrip Racing on Sunday morning, June 18th at MIS.(6-17-2006)
    UPDATE 2 – The Announcement: Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced Sunday it has formed a unique partnership with two marquee brands – Domino’s Pizza and Burger King Corporation to be co-primary sponsors of its second 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series team. “When we first approached Burger King and Domino’s Pizza, we knew we were thinking outside of the box and didn’t know if two food brands would be willing to work together to sponsor the same team,” said Michael Waltrip. “We took the risk and are very excited to have two of the world’s most recognized brands sponsoring the #00 NASCAR Nextel Cup team.”
    “It’s not unusual for two or more sponsors to split a sponsorship season,” said Ty Norris, General Manager for Michael Waltrip Racing. “However, this is the first time that two companies within the same industry agreed to be sponsors of the same car during the same season. This is another example of the unprecedented approach Michael Waltrip Racing is taking to becoming a multi-car NASCAR Nextel Cup team organization.”
    Domino’s will kick off the [2007] season at the Daytona 500 and continue as the primary sponsor through the May race in Darlington, SC. A Domino’s paint scheme will also adorn the #00 Toyota Camry at the August Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Domino’s will deliver its final five races during the Chase for the Nextel Cup Series championship. The #00-Burger King Toyota Camry will hit the track Memorial Day weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC, and cap off the regular season under the lights at Richmond International Raceway. Five Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup races, including the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, will feature the Burger King paint scheme. The split-season sponsorship allows Domino’s and Burger King to continue their respective relationships with Michael Waltrip Racing, while positioning both companies at the forefront of the changing motorsports industry. The team along with input from both sponsors is in negotiations to secure a driver and will make a separate announcement once a driver has been determined. “I hope we find a driver who likes to eat,” said Waltrip. “I’ve had an opportunity to work with both Domino’s Pizza and Burger King in the past and believe we’re delivering a race team the fans will love.” Domino’s, the Official Pizza of NASCAR, partnered with MWR three times in 2005 as the primary sponsor on Waltrip’s #99 Busch Series car and will be the primary sponsor of Waltrip’s #55 Nextel Cup Series car at the Michigan International Speedway race in August [2006]. Burger King recently announced plans to join MWR for a partial season in 2006, sponsoring the #00 Nextel Cup car for five races beginning in July at Chicagoland Speedway [with Bill Elliott driving](Michael Waltrip Racing PR)
    AND But the driver? It could be Dale Jarrett. Or it could be someone else. The announcement of Burger King and Domino’s could open the door for UPS to back a third Michael Waltrip Racing team with Jarrett as driver. “We want three teams,” Waltrip said. “That’s our goal. Until we define the third sponsor, we’re not able to say who’s going to drive the third car.” Last month, Waltrip announced Jarrett would join his team. UPS is said to be shopping its sponsorship and could follow Jarrett, stay with Robert Yates Racing or go to another team [#9? #16?]. Ty Norris, vice president and general manager of Michael Waltrip Racing, said the team has set a deadline of mid-July on whether it will have three teams.(SceneDaily.com)(6-18-2006)
  • Keith Coleman Racing going Cup racing: Keith Coleman Racing, which has struggled on the Busch Series side, has opted to try to go Nextel Cup racing. Team owner Keith Coleman said June 17 that his target debut for the #94 Nextel Cup car is the New Hampshire race in July. Carl Long is the expected driver, Coleman said, and the team could run as many as 15 races to end the year. The team is still working on sponsorship. Keith Montgomery will be the team’s crew chief. The idea would be to run a full Nextel Cup schedule in 2007. The team will remain based in Eddyville, Ky. The team also plans to put Mexico native Eduardo Troconis in a car starting in the #23 [Busch] car later this year, pending on sponsorship. Troconis has driven stock cars in Mexico and also has International Formula 3 experience. He has worked for the team the last couple of months to learn more about the cars.(SceneDaily.com)(6-18-2006)
  • Benson wins Truck race, 17th driver to win in all three series: Johnny Benson won the Truck Series race at Michigan, becoming the 17th driver to have at least one win in each of the National Series – Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Trucks, see the full list on my Misc Stats Page.(6-18-2006)
  • Toyota to Submit car to NASCAR, test at Atlanta on Tuesday: The 2007 Toyota Camry that will be used in 20 of the 36 Nextel Cup Series races next season will be submitted to NASCAR on Monday morning, Lee White, TRD (Toyota Racing Development) USA’s senior vice president and general manager, said Saturday. White was at Michigan International Speedway in conjunction with Toyota’s Craftsman Truck Series program and said the 2007 Camry, complete with the latest generation nose, would be delivered to the NASCAR research and development center in Concord, N.C. NASCAR will take the car to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga., for testing on Monday evening, he said. The car, which was constructed at TRD’s engineering facility in High Point, N.C., by the group led by engineer Todd Holbert, is scheduled to test for NASCAR on Tuesday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, driven by Toyota Truck Series driver Johnny Benson.(NASCAR.com)(6-18-2006)
  • COT 95% Done UPDATE toyota hopes to test at MIS: NASCAR’s “car of tomorrow,” which is scheduled for a limited debut next season [see schedule/news/images on my COT page], is about 95% ready to go, NASCAR vice president Robin Pemberton said. Although the car won’t be used at Michigan until 2008, teams will test it at the track after the Aug. 20 race. As for development, the chassis is “locked in,” Pemberton said, and the sanctioning body is working with Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford and Toyota on bodies that will allow some semblance of manufacturer identity.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)(6-17-2006)
    UPDATE: Toyota plans to submit its most recent Cup chassis design to NASCAR early next week. According to Toyota Racing Development vice president Lee White, the company hopes to have at least one Camry ready to participate in NASCAR’s next Car of Tomorrow test, scheduled for Aug. 21 at Michigan.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-18-2006)
  • Dale Jr. – DEI agree on name trademark rights: #8-Dale Earnhardt told NASCAR.COM on Saturday that he and Dale Earnhardt, Inc. had agreed to terms Friday evening that awarded him sole ownership of the trademark rights to his lucrative name. Amazingly, it won’t affect the earning potential of an asset estimated at some $5 million annually. Earnhardt said the current agreements between he and DEI won’t change.(NASCAR,com)(6-18-2006)
  • Michigan Race News and Notes:
    • Kasey Kahne won the 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-It Picture Paper at Michigan International Speedway, scoring his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 87th career start.
    • Kahne scored his fourth victory in 2006, the most of all drivers. Kahne also won at Atlanta, Texas and Charlotte.
    • Four of Kahne’s five victories have come from the Bud Pole. The only race that he did not win from the Bud Pole was at Lowe’s in May where he started ninth.
    • This was the fourth time a race in 2006 that a race was won from the Bud Pole. Kahne has won three and Denny Hamlin one.
    • This was Kahne’s first victory and third top-five finish in five races at Michigan.
    • Kahne scored his 10th top-10 finish in 15 races this season. He has posted four straight top-10 finishes, extending a streak that began with his victory at Lowe’s.
    • Kahne climbed from fifth to third in the point standings.
    • Jeff Gordon led the most laps for the second time in 2006. Gordon also led the most laps at Talladega.
    • Race winner Kahne led four times for 19 laps including the final 13 laps in the 2006 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-It Picture Paper at Michigan International Speedway.
    • This is team owner Ray Evernham’s 11th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory and second at Michigan International Speedway. His first Michigan victory was scored by Jeremy Mayfield last August.
    • Evernham Motorsports has won at least one race each season 2001– 2006, six consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Carl Edwards (second) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 15 races in 2006 and fifth top-five of the 2006 season. It was his fourth top-10 finish in four races at Michigan.
    • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 15 races in 2006. It is his third top-10 finish in 14 races at Michigan International Speedway. He climbed from sixth to fourth in the point standings.
    • Greg Biffle (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 15 races in 2006. It was his in fifth top-10 finish in seven races at Michigan International Speedway. Seven races ago Greg Biffle was 232 points behind 10th (after Talladega). With his fourth-place finish, Biffle is now 10th. Biffle has climbed from 23rd to 10th in points in the six races since Talladega. After 15 races in 2005, he ranked second in the point standings. Biffle is just two points behind ninthplace Denny Hamlin. Biffle has scored six straight top-10 finishes, the longest top-10 streak of his career. His previous best was when he scored five straight top-10 finishes between August and September 2005.
    • Reed Sorenson (fifth) scored his first top-five finish in his 17-race career. It was his third top-10 finish in 2006. This was his first race at Michigan.
    • Jimmie Johnson (sixth) remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, 74 points ahead of secondplace Matt Kenseth. Johnson has scored top-15 finishes in 14 of the 15 races in 2006.
    • Mark Martin (27th) failed to score a top-15 finish for just the third time in 2006.
    • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 15 races this season.
    • Dave Blaney (30th) extended a 33-race streak of running at the finish that began at New Hampshire last July, which is the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-18-2006)
  • Rumblings – Michigan:
    Kasey Kahne won the 3M Performance 258 presented by Post-It Picture Paper this afternoon at a rainy Michigan International Speedway for his 4th win of 2006 (no one has more). After about an hour’s delay getting started (and multiple yellows for precipitation) the race was called after 129 laps and Kasey had his 5th career win (he’s tied for 62nd on the all-time win list). This was the 11th win for car owner Ray Evernham and was worth $205,364 from the over $5.5M in posted awards. When Kasey’s pit crew got him out about 18 inches ahead of Carl Edwards on their last pit stop, little did we know…..
    Carl Edwards (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Texas last October.
    Reed Sorenson (5th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 10th on two occasions….at Atlanta in March and at Lowe’s in May.
    Casey Mears (7th) had his best finish since he was 7th at California in February.
    David Stremme (19th) had his best finish since he was 16th at Chicagoland last July.
    Bill Lester (32nd) had his career-best finish today. He was 38th in his only other start at Atlanta in March.
    STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 6 Top-10’s in a row.
    Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
    Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Casey Mears (+30), followed by Carl Edwards (+29), Ryan Newman (+27), Reed Sorenson (+20), and Dale Jarrett (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Clint Bowyer (-30), followed by J. J. Yeley (-26), Tony Stewart (-24), Bobby Labonte (-23), and Ken Schrader (-20). Lotsa action in the “Shaft” for a shortened event.
    Reed Sorenson led today (once for three laps) for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup career. He’s the 41st different driver to lead a lap this season….last year we had 51 different leaders.
    Greg Biffle moves above the “Stayin’ Alive” line this week as he replaces Kyle Busch in the Top-10. Jimmie Johnson lengthens his lead over Matt Kenseth to 74 markers.
    We’re able to post our first “Mathematically Eliminated” line of the season (and we expect that line to move rapidly) after today’s race. Every driver from 47th on back can now state “Wait’ll next year!”.
    Reed Sorenson (24th to 20th) made the best advance in the standings today, while six drivers fell two spots.(Stock Car Fans)(6-18-2006)
  • Sad News: Fred Brownfield: Fred Brownfield, president of the National Sprint Tour, died after being struck by a modified stock car at Grays Harbor Speedway on Wednesday night. According to a statement released by Grays Harbor Raceway, Brownfield was struck while lining up cars before the start of the D Main race and was taken by medical personnel to Mark Reed Hospital in McCleary. Brownfield is survived by his wife, Debbie; three daughters, Carrie, Jessica and Shelby; and two sons, Ty and Luke. The NST’s scheduled race at Tri-City Speedway Sunday night has been postponed. Fred’s memorial celebration will be held on Monday, June 26, 2006, at 2:00 in the afternoon at Grays Harbor Raceway.(RacingOne)(6-18-2006)
  • Sad News: A Minnesota man died during a Nostalgia Night exhibition sprint-car race late Friday at Knoxville Raceway, police and track officials said. Courtney Roger Schuur , 61, of Fridley, Minn., was pronounced dead at Knoxville Hospital after sustaining injuries during a wreck shortly after 10 p.m., officials said. The caged sprint-car race was part of a once-a-year “old-timers” event – not one of the usual driving circuits at the racetrack. Dwayne Robuck of the Marion County Fair Board said the accident happened “going down the front chute, into turn one.” Robuck was on the other side of the track at the time, but said officials with his group said a tangle with another car led to the crash.(Des Moines Register)(6-18-2006)


    News from June 17, 2006

  • Nextel Announcement? UPDATE: hearing the Nextel/Sprint name change for 2007 could be announced anyday now, The Nextel Cup Series could be known as the Sprint Cup Series.(6-15-2006)
    UPDATE: Word is that Sprint will, within a week or so, acknowledge a change in the name of NASCAR’s top series for 2007, mandating Sprint Cup or Sprint/Nextel Cup. Sprint acquired the assets of its walkie-talkie rival last year and promised an eventual name change in order to make use of Nextel’s top sports marketing property.(Speed Channel)(6-17-2006)
  • Gordon brake failure still being investigated; 64G’s: Jeff Gordon said Friday his Hendrick Motorsports team still doesn’t know exactly what caused a right-front brake rotor to disintegrate, sending Gordon’s #24 DuPont Chevy slamming into the Turn 1 wall at Pocono Raceway June 11. “A lot of us have seen issues with brakes – and our hub issue at Charlotte,” Gordon said. “A lot of it has to do with where we’re at with our cars and the speed and the setups that we’re running that are just putting a lot more stress on parts of the race car that we’re not used to seeing. We don’t have a definite answer yet.” Gordon did say the team has sent what was left of the rotor to be analyzed. The #24 had the same brake package as teammates #5-Kyle Busch and #25-Brian Vickers, neither of who had trouble. The #48 of Jimmie Johnson had a slightly different package, and Gordon said his team would probably use that setup when it returns to Pocono next month. Gordon added that the crash registered 64 Gs, and after an initial consultation in the infield care center, medical officials kept him longer. “I was ready to walk out of the infield care center, and they came in with the telemetry numbers and said, ‘Wait a minute. We think you might want to stay a little bit longer,'” Gordon said.(SceneDaily.com)(6-17-2006)
  • Schrader looking for 2007 ride? #21-Kenny Schrader says he has nothing lined up for next year. “If you hear of anything, call me,” said Schrader, rushing off to grab a bite to eat before his qualifying session at Michigan. Schrader said two years ago that when his Nextel Cup career came to a close, he would concentrate on the Craftsman Truck series and run his “Late Model” cars at the short tracks around the country.(Insider Racing News)(6-17-2006)
  • New full-time car chief for Jarrett: At Michigan International Speedway for Sunday’s 3M Performance 400, Labbe and his driver, #88-Dale Jarrett, will have a new full-time car chief; while Labbe has an official right-hand man with the promotion of former car chief and fill-in crew chief, Jason Burdett, to assistant crew chief. “Jason’s really smart,” Labbe said. “When I got suspended, we moved Brian Dantinne up to car chief, so we’re going to leave that the same and Jason’s just going to help me, you know, be the assistant crew chief and be in my back pocket — because he deserves that.”(NASCAR.com)(6-17-2006)
  • Stremme wins ARCA race at MIS: David Stremme, handily won the Hantz Group 200 ARCA RE/MAX Series event at Michigan International Speedway. Stremme lapped the entire field, and was the only driver to complete all 100 laps of the 200-mile event. Bill Wease finished second, followed by Blake Bjorklund, Erin Crocker and Brad Coleman.(more at ARCARacing.com)(6-17-2006)
  • Kahne wrecks in Happy Hour: #9-Kasey Kahne, who will start on the pole for Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway, spun and hit the Turn 2 wall during final practice Saturday. Kahne was not injured, and damage to the Evernham Motorsports #9 Dodge was not severe enough to require the team to use its backup entry.(SceneDaily.com)(6-17-2006)
  • Busch TV Crew for Kentucky: Phil Parsons, Hermie Sadler and Hank Parker Jr will handle duties in the broadcast booth for the FX coverage Saturday night [7:30pm/et] of the Kentucky Busch Series race with Mark Garrow [a natural play-by-play man] and Glenn Jarrett will handles the pits.(6-17-2006)



    News from June 16, 2006

  • Highlights from Rick Hendrick’s teleconference: [#5, #24, #25, #44, #48] Car owner Rick Hendrick says his entire organization is excited about having Casey Mears on board beginning next season. Mears will take over the #25 GMAC Chevy for Brian Vickers who has decided to seek a fresh start [in 2007]. Vickers’ decision to move on has been especially emotional for Hendrick saying “It’s both the car and the driver that’s been a real emotional deal for me. This was my Dad’s team and he and Ricky decided to joint venture this car and the Busch Series car. Brian was Ricky’s pick and Brian has been like a part of our family…and I think that’s been good and bad for both Brian and I. I think it’s created a feeling that something’s missing for Brian that Ricky’s not here and I think it’s made it hard for me in trying to talk to Brian and treat Brian like just another driver. But at the same time I want what’s best for Brian…Brian and Ricky were close but Ricky and Casey were close so this deal is almost like one of my children is going on to do something else and I’m getting one of my other children back in the car. So, that way I think it’s been a little bit easier for me. I want the best for Brian whatever that is and I want him to be comfortable and have every opportunity to do everything in the sport he wants to do.” As far as the on-track run-ins between Casey Mears and Kyle Busch, Hendrick said both drivers have addressed their problems. Hendrick said “I think that deal has already been put to bed. I think there were a lot of things that have happened that the two guys just never got a chance to sit down and talk. That’s already happened now…that’s history and I don’t think there will be any problem at all.” If neither driver makes the Chase for the Championship Hendrick has no immediate plan to try and put Mears in the 25 car before the end of the season, but he also said never say never. “I think a lot of things have to fall into place said Hendrick. We want to do what’s best for our sponsor and look after our team and right now we’re focused on running the 25 with Brian Vickers. Chip Ganassi and Felix (Sabates)…I don’t know what their plans are…there could be a time in the future where we could all sit down and talk and it might make sense to do something different…but…we’re just keeping all of our options open. Right now we’re just going to focus on Brian and the 25.”(PRN’s Garagepass Radio Show)(6-16-2006)
  • Budweiser / Earnhardt Legacy Ad Debuts Sunday: Budweiser honors the Earnhardt family’s three generations of NASCAR success this Father’s Day with a “NASCAR History” ad showcasing imagery representing more than 50 years of the family’s racing legacy and Budweiser’s long-time support for auto racing. The 60-second ad will debut Friday on Budweiser.com, and will premiere on national television during Sunday’s broadcast of the 3M Performance 400 from Michigan International Speedway at 1pm/et on FOX. The spot melds black and white images of six-time NASCAR Sportsman Series champion Ralph Earnhardt racing a cream-colored 1955 Chevrolet, followed by the contrasting black #3 Goodwrench car of “The Intimidator,” Dale Earnhardt, a seven-time NASCAR series champion. Finally, the ad brings into the fold the #8 Budweiser car driven by NASCAR’s only third generation champion, Dale Earnhardt Jr., seamlessly relating how the Earnhardts, NASCAR and Budweiser have come a long way together over the past 50 years. In addition to the legacy ad, Dale Earnhardt Inc., Dale Jr. and Budweiser will honor Ralph and Dale with a commemorative Father’s Day paint scheme for the #8 Budweiser car. The predominantly cream-colored paint scheme is based upon the #8 cars driven by Ralph and Dale during their NASCAR careers, while the Budweiser bow-tie logos are vintage 1974 marks commemorating Dale’s NASCAR debut and the year Dale Jr. was born. The car is the second DEI paint scheme this season to honor the legacy of a member of the Earnhardt family. Previously, Dale Jr. raced a black and silver #8 Budweiser car at Talladega on April 30 to celebrate his late father’s induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.(Budweiser/fingerprint inc PR)(6-16-2006)
  • Kahne wins pole at Michigan: #9-Kasey Kahne won the Budweiser Pole for the 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway with a speed of 185.644mph for his 4th pole of 2006 and 10th of his career [now tied with Foyt, Stewart and Yarbrough for 34th all-time]. #24-Jeff Gordon went out 47th and last and almost took the pole, but settled for 2nd with a speed of 185.543mph, followed by #25-Brian Vickers, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #43-Bobby Labonte. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 6th. #12-Newman spun on his first lap and took no time/speed and will start 42nd. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #32-Kvapil,, #55-Waltrip, #40-Stremme, #34-Skinner, #49-Lepage, #4-Wimmer and #74-Cope. Missing the race were: #78-Spencer, #61-Chaffin, #51-Garvey and #37-Long. See qualifying results, starting lineup, pole progression and more on my Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(6-16-2006)
  • Michigan Qualifying News and Notes:
    • Kasey Kahne won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it Picture Paper, lapping Michigan International Speedway in 38.784 seconds at 185.644 mph. Ryan Newman holds the track-qualifying record of 37.069 seconds, 194.232 mph – set June 17, 2005.
    • This is Kahne’s 10th career Bud Pole in 87 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • Kahne posted his fourth Bud Pole and ninth top-10 start of 2006. It is his first Bud Pole and third top-10 start in five races at Michigan – all fourth or better.
    • Kahne became the eighth different Bud Pole winner in the past 10 races at Michigan. Bobby Labonte, who swept both Bud Poles here in 2003, is the only repeat Bud Pole winner since the fall race of 2001. Qualifying was canceled in August 2004.
    • Jeff Gordon posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 38.805 seconds, 185.543 mph – and will join Kahne on the front row for the 3M Performance 400. Gordon posted his 18th top-10 start in 27 Michigan races. He has started on the front row in four of the last five races here (one Bud Pole and three second-place starts).
    • This is the seventh Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006. Chevrolet has four Bud Poles and Ford has three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • Brian Vickers (third) posted his fifth top-10 start this season. This is his fourth top-10 start in five races at Michigan.
    • Jimmie Johnson (fourth) posted his 10th top-10 start of the 2006 season. It is his fourth top-10 start in nine Michigan races.
    • Bobby Labonte (fifth) posted his fifth top-10 start in 2006 and his 15th in 28 races at Michigan.
    • Bill Lester (34th) qualified for his second career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race. Lester started 19th and finished 38th at Atlanta earlier this year and became the first African-American driver to compete on NASCAR’s premier series since Willie T. Ribbs in this race in 1986.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-16-2006)
  • Ramblings – Michigan: Kasey Kahne nabbed his fourth Bud Pole of the season today (and 10th of his NEXTEL Cup career) at Michigan International Speedway for Sunday’s 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-It Picture Paper….but he had to wait till the end to start celebrating. Jeff Gordon went out last and settled for the outside pole as Kasey’s time was a little over 2/100th’s of a second quicker. This will be Gordon’s best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Daytona in February.
    Brian Vickers (3rd) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Loudon last July.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Dover last September (this one surprised me).
    Ken Schrader (22nd) has his best starting spot since he timed in 19th at Martinsville in April.
    Welcome Back Mike Skinner (43rd)…..he makes his first start of ’06.
    STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 13 Top-10 starts in the last 14 races.
    Kasey Kahne has 5 Top-10 starts in the last 6 races.(Stock Car Fans)(6-16-2006)
  • Jack Roush Honored by Ford: Jack Roush received the highest honor Ford Motor Company can bestow on anyone in racing when he was presented with the Spirit of Ford Award in front of approximately 450 employees at Ford World Headquarters Thursday. Edsel B. Ford II made the presentation during a pep rally involving many of Ford’s NASCAR drivers who will be competing in the Nextel Cup and Craftsman Truck Series races at Michigan International Speedway this weekend. Roush was hired as an engineer at Ford in 1964, but got the racing bug when he joined a group called ‘The Fastbacks’ two years later. The group was made up of Ford employees who competed in drag racing on weekends. Since then, Roush has won championships in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions, including back-to-back Nextel Cup titles in 2003 and 2004. In addition, he has three Pro Stock drag racing championships, 24 road racing titles and 10 consecutive victories in the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. The Spirit of Ford Award goes to a person who has made significant contributions on and off the track to the sport of auto racing. Other stock car recipients of the Spirit of Ford Award include: Bud Moore, the Wood Brothers, Junie Donlavey, Bill Elliott, Richard Petty, the France family, and Ned Jarrett.(Ford Racing)(6-16-2006)
  • Kurt Busch’s Team Scores Pit Crew Challenge Win in Pocono: By spending the least amount of time on pit road during Sunday’s NEXTEL Cup event at Pocono Raceway, Kurt Busch’s team earned its first Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge win of the season. The #2 Miller Lite crew spent 193.228 seconds on pit lane, helping to advance Busch to a runner-up finish in the Pocono 500. Busch’s over-the-wall crew includes: Ray Gallahan (jackman), Dave Littau (front-tire carrier), Jay Hackney (front-tire changer), Andy Brown (rear-tire carrier), Kevin Hebert (rear-tire changer), Chris Williams (gasman), Steve Williams (catch can) and Dustin Coonfield (windshield). After 14 of 36 races in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, nine teams have won the weekly Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge, each earning $10,500 per win. In the season standings, Jimmie Johnson’s crew leads with three wins while Tony Stewart’s, Elliott Sadler’s and Kyle Busch’s crews are tied for second with two wins. The Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge is in its second season with the Nextel Cup Series. A bonus of $105,000 will be presented to the team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule.(DMF Communications PR)(6-16-2006)


    News from June 15, 2006

  • Sunday Special Edition of Wind Tunnel: SPEED will bring viewers a special edition of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on June 18 at 9:00pm/et entitled Economaki – Eyewitness to American Racing History. The one-hour special will be a wide-ranging conversation with Chris Economaki, a motor sports journalist for more than 70 years. Economaki, the Editor and Publisher Emeritus of National Speed Sport News, began his career at age 13, hawking the publication at tracks in his native New Jersey. The face and voice of American motor sports for more than 33 years with ABC and CBS, Economaki literally has ‘seen it all,’ and at age 85, still writes a weekly notebook column for NSSN. “Economaki is unique because of the duration of his career,” Despain said. “No one has covered racing longer … and touched more people with that coverage. He is a fascinating storyteller. USAC President and CEO Rollie Helmling put it best: ‘Everyone who has any interest in racing owes something to Chris Economaki.’ “(Speed Channel)(6-15-2006)
  • Victory Motorsports Acquires #37 Team: Victory Motorsports Racing, owned by former NFL All-Pro Wide Receiver, Terance Mathis, has acquired R&J Racing, car #37. This will be an addition to the #67 car [?] that is already owned by Victory Motorsports Racing. The car will be driven by Carl Long, a veteran driver that has been in the NASCAR circuit for a number of years. The new Victory Motorsports Racing car will attempt to qualify at the 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it Picture Paper, at the Michigan International Speedway, on the weekend of June 16, 2006. “I believe this will be an excellent opportunity for Victory Motorsports Racing to become a more competitive team. I have such a huge vision for this team, and this new acquisition doesn’t do anything, but make that vision a reality. With having the skill and experience that accompanies such a veteran drive such as Carl Long, I’m ecstatic, having some like this on our team screams what we’re all about – long time success,” states Terance Mathis, Victory Motorsports Racing Team Owner. No sponsors for this team have yet been determined. For more information on Victory Motorsports Racing at victorymotorsportsllc.com.(Origins PR), no word if Victory Motorsports Racing is still aligned with the #4 Morgan McClure Motorsports team, which was announced last October.(6-15-2006)
  • More testing at VIR for road course prep: A number of Nextel Cup teams visited VIRginia International Raceway this week to work on their road-course set-ups for the upcoming races at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., and Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. On Tuesday, Joe Gibbs Racing (#20-Tony Stewart; #18-J.J. Yeley; #11-Denny Hamlin), Evernham Motorsports (#9-Kasey Kahne; #19-Jeremy Mayfield, #10-Scott Riggs), Dale Earnhardt Inc. (#1-Martin Truex Jr.), Petty Enterprises (#43-Bobby Labonte; #45-Kyle Petty), Richard Childress Racing (#07-Clint Bowyer) and PPI Racing (#32-Travis Kvapil) were scheduled to spend the day working on the 2.25-mile VIR North Course. Road-racing ace Boris Said was also on hand as a coach. No times were reported. On Wednesday, the three Evernham Motorsports cars were to be joined by Dale Earnhardt Jr., replacing Truex in the #1 DEI Chevy, and MB2 Motorsports (#01, Joe Nemechek). Unfortunately, heavy rain resulting from the remains of Tropical Storm Alberto caused the day to be a wash-out.(VIRginia International Raceway PR)(6-15-2006)
  • New Record for Female Driver at Texas: Leilani Münter finished fourth in the USRA Super Late Model Series’ Konica Minolta 100 last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. Chris Davidson from Pearland, Texas, dominated the race and fended off pole-sitter Greg Davidson — his father — until he had problems late in the race. Matt Merrell, Thad Felton, Munter and Kent Baltzell rounded out the top five. A correspondent for NASCAR.com, Münter’s finish was the highest by a female driver in the history of the speedway.(Leilani Münter.com/AP/NASCAR.com)(6-15-2006)
  • MIS Rookie Notes:Raybestos Rookie Denny Hamlin scored his first NEXTEL Cup Series victory June 11 in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. The win came in his 21st career start. Hamlin’s previous best finish was second at Richmond (race number 10). He took Raybestos Rookie of the race honors for the fifth consecutive race and for the eighth time in 14 races this season. Hamlin holds a 26-point edge (164-138) over Clint Bowyer in the Raybestos Rookie standings entering the June 18 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin became the first Raybestos Rookie to win in 57 races at Pocono Raceway. At least one Raybestos Rookie has scored a top-15 finish in all 14 races this season. Hamlin is the first Raybestos Rookie to win from the pole since Jimmie Johnson in the September 2002 at Dover International Speedway. Since 1975, only FOUR Raybestos Rookies have scored a top-five finish in the June race at Michigan.(Raybestos PR), see much more notes on my Rookies Page.(6-15-2006)
  • MIS Tire Notes: This is the second time this season that Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track, with teams having run these codes recently at Dover . . . Craftsman Truck teams will be running a different set of codes this weekend at Michigan . . . as on all ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Michigan . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 48-52 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see tire pressures, codes and more on the Michigan Race Info/Rundown Page.(6-15-2006)


    News from June 14, 2006

  • OFFICIAL – Mears to Hendrick #25 team in 2007: Car owner Rick Hendrick today announced the signing of driver Casey Mears to pilot Hendrick Motorsports’ #25 Chevys in the Nextel Cup Series beginning in 2007. Financial terms were not disclosed. Mears, 28, inked a multi-year agreement that will keep him with the team through at least the 2009 racing season. He will replace Brian Vickers, who is slated to complete the current schedule after being granted a release from contractual obligations to Hendrick Motorsports beyond 2006. “Casey is a talented driver and a high-character person who is going to be a great fit with our organization,” Hendrick said. “He has the ability to win races and ultimately contend for championships, so we’re thrilled to welcome him to Hendrick Motorsports.” In the midst of his fourth full season, Mears has posted two pole positions, five top-five finishes and 21 top-10s on the NEXTEL Cup circuit. The Bakersfield, Calif., native kicked off the 2006 campaign with a career-best second-place performance in the Feb. 19 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, where on Jan. 29 he became the first full-time NASCAR driver to be part of a winning Grand American Rolex 24 team. “I’m committed to winning races and going after championships with the #25 team,” said Mears, the son of legendary off-road racer Roger Mears and nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Rick Mears. “This is an opportunity for me to work with close friends and start fresh with one of the top organizations in all of sports. It’s an exciting situation for me, both personally and professionally.”(Hendrick Motorsports PR)(6-14-2006)
  • What is up with Ward?: on Sunday’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain [Speed Channel, Sunday’s 9:00pm/et], Ward Burton was interviewed from South Boston Speedway. Burton said he is activity pursuing a ride in 2007, preferring a Nextel Cup ride. Burton said he has talked to a few teams [including some Toyota teams] and sponsors [hearing one he talked to is Under Armor] but has nothing signed and plans to come back if the opportunity presents itself. Burton also gave Dave odds that his return is 50/50.(6-14-2006)
  • #12 to honor fan at MIS: On April 5, NASCAR driver Ryan Newman surprised Albuquerque resident, Cindy Bachicha at an Alltel retail store in Albuquerque as part of Alltel’s “Go Racing with Ryan” promotion. As a prize, Bachicha received a trip to this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway and her name will be included on the #12 Alltel Dodge paint scheme.(PR)(6-14-2006)
  • Ford to be Honored by Boy Scouts: Ford Motor Company will be honored as the Motorsports Company of the Year by the Boy Scouts of America’s Cascade Pacific Council during the 17th annual Motorsports Breakfast on Thursday, June 15 in Portland, Ore. The breakfast takes place during festivities surrounding the Grand Prix of Portland, an annual stop for the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The Boy Scouts Motorsports Breakfast is the Cascade Pacific Council’s second largest annual fundraiser, raising more than $30,000 each year. Since the inception of the breakfast seventeen years ago, more than 700,000 inner-city and at-risk youth have been given the opportunity to participate in the Scouting program, an opportunity they otherwise could not afford.(Ford PR)(6-14-2006)
  • Gibbs not stopping Stewart’s other races, but not happy with it: [#11,#18,#20] Car owner Joe Gibbs says he won’t keep #20-Tony Stewart from running in races other than Nextel Cup events, but Gibbs is not fond of the practice as his driver recovers from a broken shoulder blade. Stewart’s injury was discovered after he crashed in last month’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The incident happened a night after Stewart wrecked in the Busch race. A doctor cleared Stewart after the Busch incident, but Stewart favored his right shoulder before the Cup race. Gibbs is sensitive to his Cup drivers competing in other events. Bobby Labonte broke his shoulder blade in a Busch crash at Darlington in 1999. Labonte didn’t return to that series the rest of the year. Gibbs says he’s talked to Stewart about the driver’s racing schedule. “I think for younger guys that have a chance maybe to up their careers and want laps and all that, that’s one set of circumstances,” said Gibbs, who has Cup rookies Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley, both driving full time in the Busch series. “For Tony, it’s different. He can drive anything. He doesn’t need laps. I know he loves it. We did limit a lot of things he’s done. He’s worked with us on that. He’s got a lot to lose. He’s got contracts that pay him a lot of money.” Stewart, fourth in the Cup standings, has competed in five Busch races for Kevin Harvick’s team. He’s scheduled to drive five more Busch races for Harvick, beginning at Daytona next month. Gibbs says that once drivers begin competing for a Cup title that’s where he wants his drivers spending less time in other series.(Roanoke Times)(6-14-2006)
  • Petty still looking for sponsors: Petty Enterprises continues to look for sponsorship of Kyle Petty’s #45-car for races at Chicago, New Hampshire, Phoenix and Homestead.(Roanoke Times)(6-14-2006)
  • Truex Jr. Ready For Double Duty At Michigan: #1-Martin Truex, Jr. will be competing in both the Craftsman Truck Series event on Saturday, as well Sunday’s NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. Truex’s weekend starts with Saturday’s Con-way Freight 200. The two-time defending Busch Series champion will be competing in the Billy Ballew Motorsports #51 Chevy truck.(DEI PR)(6-14-2006)
  • Wheldon to Ganassi Cup team? UPDATE 2: ESPN’s Mike Massaro reported on ESPNEWS Monday Night NASCAR the time could be right for Dan Wheldon, Ganassi’s IRL Driver, to move to a Chip Ganassi Racing Cup team in 2007, since the team will have an open seat with Casey Mears leaving the #42 team.(6-13-2006)

    UPDATE: According to an official at Chip Ganassi racing :”There is no truth to the Wheldon story.”(CupSceneDaily.com)(6-13-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Dan Wheldon wouldn’t comment directly about reports he would be switching to NASCAR next season, but did say he would consider driving stock cars sometime in the future. Wheldon, the 2005 Indianapolis 500 champion, spoke to reporters Tuesday during IndyCar testing at Kanasas Speedway. “It’s certainly something that intrigues me,” said Wheldon. “Everybody knows I went to some of the races last year to look and to see what it was all about. The one thing that does appeal to me is the schedule. I don’t have a family or other commitments. All I love to do is be in the race car. Would I be good? Yes, but it would take awhile.” Wheldon said it would have to be an owner who knows his ability and would be willing to give him the proper time to perform.(Racinboys.com – Sports Radio 810 WHB)
    AND Car owner Chip Ganassi, who has an unexpected hole to fill on his NASCAR team, said Tuesday that IRL driver Dan Wheldon is not a candidate to replace Casey Mears. “There is no story here,” Ganassi said. “Dan has a commitment to Target right now to drive an Indy car and that’s where he’ll stay.”(AP)(6-14-2006)

  • Gordon OK after scary wreck at Pocono UPDATE cleared: #24-Jeff Gordon put a scare in the crowd — and offered a testimony to safety advances — by crashing near the end of the Pocono 500. Gordon’s Chevrolet suffered the most nightmarish of Pocono Raceway fates. The brakes failed suddenly at the end of the front straight — the longest in NASCAR — with Gordon speeding along at over 200 mph. With little other choice, Gordon skidded into the grass, scrubbing off some speed before his car slammed savagely into the SAFER barriers. The grass and mud from the infield excursion coated the trailing car of Tony Raines [and of #07-Clint Bowyer], running perhaps 150 yards behind him. Miraculously, Gordon was unhurt. “I don’t know how,” said Gordon. “That’s one of the hardest hits I’ve ever taken. We broke a right-front (brake) rotor going into turn one, and that’s about as bad a thing as can happen to you at Pocono.” The impact damaged the barriers and left a considerable amount of debris to be cleaned up. The race was interrupted for 13 minutes, 9 seconds. The red flag was unfurled at the end of 193 (out of 200) laps, and racing resumed with five remaining.(Gaston Gazette)(6-12-2006)
    UPDATE: Jeff Gordon was checked out by doctors Sunday and was cleared to race in this weekend’s 3M Performance 400 at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp confirmed Tuesday.(SceneDaily.com)(6-14-2006)
  • Lester to make second Cup attempt in Michigan: Bill Lester will attempt to make the second start of his Nextel Cup career this weekend at Michigan, driving the #23 Waste Management car for Bill David Racing. Lester became the first African-American to qualify for a Cup race since Willy T. Ribbs did so at MIS in 1986. Lester qualified 19th at Atlanta in March. In doing so, he was just the sixth African-American in Cup history to qualify for a race.(BillLester.com)(6-14-3006)
  • Speed Cancel’s 24/7 show: “NBS 24/7,” the weekly show on Speed that has chronicled the Busch Series rookies this year, will have its final episode June 19. The show has been a staple of the Speed channel’s lineup since the start of the 2004 season, with the first two years chronicling various drivers and teams. The show had run its course and ratings were not strong enough to support the continuation of the show, Speed spokesman Erik Arneson said June 11.(SceneDaily.com)(6-14-2006)


    News from June 13, 2006

  • Labonte to drive #4 Truck at Michigan: Dodge Motorsports announced that Nextel Cup Driver Bobby Labonte will drive the #4 Dodge Motorsports Dodge in the Con-Way Freight 200 this Saturday at Michigan. It will be Labonte’s first Truck Series start since Atlanta last October, and will also mark the first time he has competed in a Dodge Ram.(Bobby Hamilton Racing PR)(6-13-2006)
  • Kahne to carry special paint scheme at MIS: At this weekend’s 3M Performance 400 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, Kasey Kahne will sport a special paint scheme on his #9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger – that of Adam Sandler’s [Grand Marshal of the race] new film, Columbia Pictures/Revolution Studios’ Click, debuting in theaters on June 23. Kahne, a fan of Sandler classics such as Happy Gilmore and The Wedding Singer, will carry the star’s latest movie on the hood of his Dodge Charger to promote the comedy, which opens nationally on June 23. The #9 Dodge will feature a bold blue and yellow scheme featuring the authentic Click remote control used by Sandler in the movie.(Evernham Motorsports/Clear!Blue PR)(6-13-2006)
  • Jayski ‘transcipt’ from ESPNEWS 4Qtr’s with David Lloyd – from Monday June 12th: most Monday’s I do a 2-3 minute segment on ESPNEWS 4Qtrs show [7-8pm/et], this week I discussed Vickers, Mears and UPS and the rumors swirling among them…since they broke here first last week, here is what I reported:

    Vickers: Mid week last week, Brian Vickers, who drives the #25 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, asked for and got permission to look for another ride, this after, supposedly signing a contract extention earlier this year with Hendrick that was thru the 2009 season. Rumor has it, that Vickers, winless in 91 Nextel Cup points races, will end up witth the new Red Bull Racing Toyota team with a slight chance he could end up in the #88 Yates Racing Ford to replace Dale Jarrett who is leaving at the end of 2006 for Mikey Waltrips Toyota team, but that seems unlikely. Would imagine he’d have a large buyout with Hendrick to get out of his contract. I think most fans were surprised by Vickers move who was handpicked by Rick Hendrick’s late son Ricky to run in the Busch Series back in 2003 and won the series championship before stepping up to Cup in 2004.

    Mears: The day after Vickers droped his bombshell on Hendrick, Casey Mears, who drive the #42 Texaco-Havoline Dodge for Chip Ganassi, told Ganassi that he will not return to the team after this season. Supposedly Mears, who had been rumored to the #88 Ford for next year, was close to re-signing with Ganassi until the #25 Hendrick seat opened up and all indications are that Mears will take over the #25 Chevy when Vicker vacates the ride. Have heard some rumblings that Vickers could be out of the #25 as soon as Daytona in July with Mears going in, but both have alot tied up with current sponsor commitments this season and it seems unlikley that would happen.

    UPS, the longime sponsor of the #88 Ford that Dale Jarrett drives but will exit at the end of the season, has been in play since Jarrett announced weeks ago he was leaving for Waltrip’s Toyota team. Some expected UPS to go with Jarrett to Toyota, maybe even taking the number 88, but garage scuttlebutt has UPS wanting to go up with a that has a young driver to rival the #11 Fedex team and driver [and winner at Pocono I may add] Denny Hamlin. I heard late last week that UPS is seriously talking to Evernham Motorsports to sponsor the #9 Dodge that three-time 2006 race winner Kasey Kahne drives. Over the weekend, saw a few reporting linking UPS to Roush Racing’s #16 Ford that Greg Biffle drives as they MAY be losing National Guard as a sponsor OR still will Evernham Motorsports and the #19 Dodge that Jeremy Mayfield drives, as maybe Dodge doesn’t want to give up the sponsorship of the red-hot Kahne. OR UPS could still opt out and go with Jarrett and Toyota.(6-13-2006)


  • Jones to run the #4 at Infineon: #4 team owner Larry McClure along with crew chief Chris Carrier, looking at the top priorities for the team, qualifying for the race and competing well in the race, have made the call to put P. J. Jones in the car for Infineon Raceway, replacing regular driver Scott Wimmer for the road course race. Jones is glad to have the opportunity to race again for Morgan-McClure, “I’m excited about being able to go back to Infineon Raceway with the Morgan-McClure bunch. I got to race there last year with them and also at Watkins Glen and I always enjoy driving for Larry [McClure] and Tim [Morgan]. I think we will have a lot better opportunity this year by getting started earlier and having two weeks to prepare for the race rather than two hours.” Larry McClure is looking for ways to get his team back up in the top 35 in owner’s points so he and Wimmer can go race the way they both know how. “After talking with Scott [Wimmer] and looking at what the other teams we are competing against each week for a spot in the race are doing as far as putting a road course specialist in the seat for the weekend, we decided as a team to put P.J. Jones in the # 4 Aero Exhaust Chevrolet at Infineon Raceway. We had to look at this as a business decision and try to find the solution that would work best for all of us. Scott felt that it would be better for P.J. to drive the car in hopes of getting a good finish and a boost in the points. P.J. drove for us at both the road courses last year and was headed to a good finish at both tracks until we ran out of gas at Infineon and had a brake failure at Watkins Glen.”(Morgan McClure Motorsports PR)(6-13-2006)
  • NASCAR News Service: At the Pepsi 400 weekend in Daytona, NASCAR will debut its own newswire service, which it has created in conjunction with The Sporting News.(Ford Racing)(6-13-2006)
  • Smith to ESPN/ABC?: NASCAR.com’s Marty Smith is rumored to be one of the commentators for ESPN’s live race coverage when the cable network resumes live NASCAR broadcasts next year.(Ford Racing)(6-13-2006)
  • Gibbs teams up with Arena Racing: Arena Racing USA, which has been sanctioning indoor stock car races in Virginia since 2003 at the Hampton Coliseum and the Norfolk Scope, has partnered with Joe Gibbs Racing to expand arena racing to Charlotte, and eventually, cities across America. Arena Racing USA features half-scale stock cars capable of 100 mph, but are confined to a 1/10th mile banked, indoor race track. The track is portable and fits inside the confines of a hockey rink. Arena Racing USA’s Charlotte home will be the Cricket Arena on Independence Blvd [NC 74]. Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing and head coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, and Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, are backing Arena Racing USA’s Charlotte effort, along with Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and J.J. Yeley.(more info at Joe Gibbs Racing site/True Speed Communications PR)(6-13-2006)
  • Get the pole, get a watch: Winning the Budweiser Pole Award at a NASCAR Nextel Cup event is based upon a very simple theory: complete a lap in less time than any other driver. To emphasize the essence of time, Anheuser-Busch will award a Tissot PRS 516 Valjoux NASCAR limited-edition watch to each driver who wins a Bud Pole Award in 2006. This unique timepiece is limited to 500 pieces worldwide. The watch features a Valjoux chronograph movement, stainless steel case, carbon dial, black leather strap and an engraved NASCAR logo on the open case back. Bud Pole Award winners will continue to receive a $5,200 bonus from Anheuser-Busch and secure a spot in the season-opening 2007 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. The driver who wins the most Bud Pole Awards during the 2006 season will also receive a check for $100,000 from Anheuser-Busch at the season-ending Nextel Cup banquet in New York.(finger print inc/Budweiser PR)(6-13-2006)
  • Stremme to run MIS ARCA race: #40-David Stremme will compete for the second straight weekend in both the NASCAR Nextel Cup and ARCA Series races. Stremme, who drives the #40 Coors Light/Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon Dodge in Nextel Cup will also drive Rusty Wallace Inc’s [RWI] Racing’s #61 Hantz Group – Nu South Lemonade Dodge in the ARCA race at Michigan International Speedway. “Racing is racing,” Stremme said during an ARCA test at MIS. “I am a racer and anytime I can get behind the wheel and compete I’m all for it. Rusty (Wallace, car owner) has great equipment and I am excited to get the chance to race for fun. I’m looking forward to hopefully pulling off a win in Michigan.” Steven Wallace usually drives the #61 Dodge, however scheduling conflicts made a fill-in driver necessary as Wallace will be racing for RWI in the Kentucky Busch Series race.(RWI Racing PR)(6-13-2006)
  • Lucky Dog Pass Stats: so far in 2006, after 14 races, three drivers have made all the races and not used a Lucky Dog/Lap Back pass: #20-Stewart, #25-Vickers and #31-Burton. #96/44-Labonte, #14-Marlin, #45-Petty, #88-Jarrett and #99-Edwards have used the most at five [Labonte has only run 9 races]. In 2006, one driver has benefitted from the Lucky Dog pass and won the race: #2-Kurt Busch at Bristol. #26-McMurray [2nd at Dover], #8-Earnhardt Jr. [3rd at Atlanta], #99-Edwards [3rd at Charllotte] and #16-Biffle [4th at Richmond] 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, five drivers have won six 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.(6-13-2006)
  • Laps/Miles Stats: 40 drivers have lead at least one lap in a race in 14 Nextel Cup races so far this season.
    • #16-Greg Biffle has led the most laps with 835, followed by #20-Tony Stewart at 807 and #17-Matt Kenseth at 527.
    • Biffle has led the most miles, just over 1186, with Stewart at 744 and Kensth at 697.
    • #48-Jimmie Johnson has run 4637 of 4650 laps run so far in 2006, followed by #22-Dave Blaney with 4619 and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 4611. Johnson has also ran the most miles, running 6051.973 of 6058.902 miles races so far this season.
    • #16-Biffle has led at least one lap in 12 of the 14 races run, #17-Kenseth has done so in 11 races.
    • #16-Biffle has led 40 times in the 14 races, followed by Kenseth with 38 and Stewart with 32.
    • Bonus Points: Biffle 80; Stewart 65; Kenseth 60
    • In four races, the driver leading the most laps has won the race: #20-Stewart at Martinsville, #16-Biffle at Darlington, #9-Kahne at Charlotte, #11-Hamlin at Pocono.
    • Biffle has lead the most laps in 4 of 14 races, the most of any driver.
    • Two drivers have run all 14 races and not lead a lap #21-Schrader and #41-Sorenson.(6-13-2006)


    News from June 12, 2006

  • Pocono overnight TV ratings drop: Fox’s broadcast of Sunday’s Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earned 4.6 overnight rating and an 11 market share from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports. The rating is 9.8% lower than the 5.1/12 Fox drew overnight for the June Pocono race last year.(SceneDaily.com), see TV Ratings for each race, and the Rating chart on my 2006 TV Ratings page.(6-12-2006)
  • Sad News: Bettie Gong Panch: Bettie Gong Panch, beloved wife of NASCAR legend Marvin Panch, passed away unexpectedly Friday morning (June 9, 2006) at the Haywood Regional Medical Center in Waynesville, NC. Bettie was preceded in death by her son, Marvin Richard Panch. She is survived by her husband of 53 years, Marvin; her daughter, Marvette Panch Bagwell; son-in-law, Kevin Bagwell; siblings Lilley Pon, Edward Gong, May Lee, Howard Gong and his wife Elizabeth, Wallace Gong and his wife Pearl, Bill Gong and his wife Maryan, Jane Chan and her husband Ron, Priscilla Gong; and numerous nieces and nephews. Memorial donations may be made to either the Haywood Habitat for Humanity, PO Box 283, Waynesville, NC 28786 or the Living Legends of Auto Racing, PO Box 290854, Port Orange, FL, 32129-0854. More at the marvinpanch.com site. More info on three Celebration of Life Ceremonies for Bettie Panch at marvinpanch.com.(6-12-2006)
  • New Team for d’Hondt: Eddie d’Hondt, recently released as general manager at Robert Yates Racing, has landed at Petty Enterprisers, where he is working as a spotter for #43-Bobby Labonte.(Speed Channel)(6-12-2006)

News from June 11, 2006

  • UPS to the #9? UPDATE 2: hearing UPS will leave the #88 Robert Yates Racing team and go to the #9 Evernham Dodge with driver Kasey Kahne.(6-8-2006)
    UPDATE: On the sponsor front, sources in the garage indicate that UPS will be moving from #88 Robert Yates Racing to one of two teams in 2007, either the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne or the #16 Roush Racing Ford driven by Greg Biffle.(Speed Channel)(6-10-2006)
    UPDATE 2: It appears UPS is still in play as a major sponsor. In the past two years the winner in the sponsor hunt has been Evernham Motorsports. UPS may add itself to the list of Evernham conquests signing as the primary sponsor of the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne. Then again, it is said the Dodge Dealers aren’t willing to vacate their position on Kahne’s ride. The dealers might be willing to let loose of the #19 driven by Jeremy Mayfield. However, it’s not clear Mayfield would be the driver of choice for UPS.(Circletrackplus.com)(6-11-2006)
  • Hamlin wins first career race: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway for his first win of his 21 race career. Hamlin led the most laps and early in the race, had a rear tire go down and spun thru the grass, but stayed on the lead lap and the crew fixed the car on multiple pit stops, slowly moving up the order until taking the lead again on lap 177, surviving a late caution and red flag to win. #2-Kurt Busch was 2nd followed by #20-Tony Stewart, #25-Brian Vickers and #17-Matt Kenseth. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson ran mid pack most of the day but was able to soldier on to a 10th place finish, dropping his points lead over #17-Matt Kenseth to 48 points. Hamlin also moved up 2 spots in the Drivers Points and is now in the top-10 and The Chase. #24-Jeff Gordon lost his brakes on lap 190 and slammed into the wall, but walked away ok. BUT Gordon dropped out of the top-10 and is currently out of the Chase. There were 25 lead changes among 13 drivers and 7 cautions for 28 laps.
    Race Results on my Pocono Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono page.
    Race Rundown: see my Pocono Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-11-2006)
  • Unofficial Driver Points Standing after Pocono [14 of 36 races]:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson 2145
    #17-Matt Kenseth 2097 -48
    #6-Mark Martin 1907 -238
    #20-Tony Stewart 1888 -257
    #9-Kasey Kahne 1866 -279
    #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1850 -295
    #31-Jeff Burton 1758 -387
    #29-Kevin Harvick 1591 -420
    #11-Denny Hamlin 1682 -463
    #5-Kyle Busch 1669 -476
    For drivers/owners points, see my Jayski’s Drivers/Owners Points after Pocono Page.(6-11-2006)
  • Pocono Race Notes:
    • Denny Hamlin won the Pocono 500, scoring his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 21st career start. This was Hamlin’s first race at Pocono.
    • Hamlin became the first rookie to win a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race since Kyle Busch won at Phoenix in November 2005.
    • Hamlin became the ninth different race winner in 2006. He scored his sixth top-10 finish in 14 races this season. Hamlin has posted five straight top-15 finishes.
    • Hamlin is the 30th first-time race winner since 1994. There has been at least one first-time race winner in 12 of the last 13 years (since 1994). There was no first-time race winner in 2004.
    • This is the third time in 2006 that a race was won from the Bud Pole starting position. Kasey Kahne won two races from the Bud Pole (Texas and Atlanta).
    • This marked the 10th race at Pocono to be won from the Bud Pole.
    • Hamlin led the most laps for the first time in his career.
    • Race winner Hamlin led six times for 83 laps, including the final 24 laps.
    • This was team owner Joe Gibb’s 49th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Gibbs has scored his fifth NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Pocono Raceway.
    • Joe Gibbs Racing has won at least one race each season 1993-2006, 14 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • This is the 182nd victory [I have 181 on my Wins by Number Chart] by a #11 car in NASCAR history. The last time the #11 won was with Bill Elliott in the Junior Johnson-owned Ford in September 1994 at Darlington.
    • Kurt Busch (second) scored his third top-10 and second top-five finish in 2006. It is his fifth top-five finish in 11 races at Pocono Raceway.
    • Tony Stewart (third) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 14 races in 2006. It is his first top-10 finish in the last four races. Stewart climbed from fifth to fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. Stewart has scored 10 top-10 finishes in 15 races at Pocono Raceway.
    • Brian Vickers (fourth) scored his fourth top-10 finish of 2006 and his second top-10 finish in five races at Pocono.
    • Matt Kenseth (fifth) scored his 10th top-10 finish in 14 races in 2006. It is his ninth top-five finish in 2006. Kenseth has scored six top-10 finishes in 13 races at Pocono Raceway. He remained second in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 24th after 14 races.
    • Four races ago Greg Biffle was 232 points behind 10th. With his sixth-place finish, Biffle is now 27 points behind 10th and is just two points behind 11th-place Jeff Gordon. He has climbed from 23rd to 12th in points since Talladega. After 14 races in 2005, he ranked second in the point standings. Biffle has scored five straight top-10 finishes, tying the longest top-10 streak of his career set one year ago between August and September.
    • Jeff Burton (ninth) has climbed from 21st to 7th in the point standings since Martinsville. One year ago he ranked 17th in the standings after 14 races. Burton has scored four straight top-10 finishes, extending a streak that began at Darlington.
    • Jimmie Johnson (10th) remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings and is now just 48 points ahead of second-place Matt Kenseth. Johnson has lost 61 points of his lead in the last two races. Johnson has scored top-15 finishes in 13 of the 14 races in 2006.
    • Mark Martin (17th) failed to score a top-15 finish for just the second time in 2006.
    • At least one Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contender has scored a top-15 finish in every race this season.
    • Dave Blaney (27th) extended a 32-race streak of running at the finish – the longest current streak.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-11-2006)
  • Father’s Day message for Stewart at MIS: Tony Stewart’s #20 Home Depot Chevy will have a special “Father’s Day” paint scheme on the hood of his car for Sunday’s race at Pocono, and next week’s race at Michigan.(CNNSI/AP)(6-11-2006)
  • Rumblings – Pocono: Denny Hamlin did a NASCAR version of a spin and win today and captured his first ever NEXTEL Cup victory at Pocono Raceway in the Pocono 500. Hamlin led all but one lap of the first 51 when he lost a left rear tire going into the tunnel turn. After managing to keep it off both walls, his crew did yeoman’s work both keeping that car on the lead lap and keeping it fast and that was all he needed as he went on to register a dominant victory. Denny led 6 times for 83 laps and posted a 1.328 margin of victory. It was the third win this season from the pole (Kasey Kahne’s done it twice), the 9th different winner of the season, and the 170th different driver to capture a win in NASCAR’s top division. Win #49 for Joe Gibbs Racing was worth $220,100 from the over $4.8M in posted awards. All kindsa pit problems today…..speeding penalties, cars falling off jacks. A sharp contrast from the FedEx Crew…..
    Kurt Busch (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Bristol in March.
    Tony Stewart (3rd) wins the “guttin’ it out award” this weekend.
    Tony Raines (16th) had his best finish since he was 13th at Homestead in November of 2003! (only 21 races)
    STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 5 Top-10’s in a row.
    Matt Kenseth has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races.
    Jeff Burton has 8 Top-10’s in the last 9 races.
    Jimmie Johnson has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Clint Bowyer (+21) followed by Matt Kenseth (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Jeff Gordon (-28 ), followed by Sterling Marlin (-26), and Casey Mears (-21). A rather slow day in the “Shaft”
    Jimmie Johnson’s lead is now down to 48 markers after today. Jeff Gordon falls below the “Stayin’ Alive” line as winner Denny Hamlin moves into the select company of the “Chase”. Scott Riggs (25th to 21st) and Brian Vickers (26th to 22nd) made the best advances today, while Jeff Green (22nd to 26th) went in the opposite direction.(Stock Car Fans)(6-11-2006)
  • Patrick and NASCAR? Danica Patrick doesn’t want to go to NASCAR. Too many races, too much to learn, too many demands, etc. But in the end, it’s all about the money. And Patrick knows all too well that NASCAR has most of it. “Obviously, one of the big draws with NASCAR is money,” Patrick said. “You can make a lot of money. It’s a much bigger schedule, but again, they make that much more money. At some point in time, you have to think about that.” Despite the lack of stock car experience, half a dozen NASCAR teams would hire her today if she opted to head in that direction. Patrick + Cup car = $$$$. Patrick’s biggest problem with Nextel Cup is the grueling 38-race schedule. The series has three open weekends from February until the end of November.(in part from the Dallas Morning News)(6-11-2006)
  • Waltrip discusses Busch plans and new shop: Michael Waltrip Racing officials state the team is not severing its partnership with FitzBradshaw Racing, according to a news release distributed Saturday. Published reports questioned the continuation of that relationship, but team owner Waltrip said that is not true. “I think a lot of people got confused when we took the opportunity to move our Nextel Cup operation down the road to Jimmy Spencer’s old shop,” Waltrip said in the release. Waltrip added that his Busch Series program remains at the FitzBradshaw shop in Mooresville. He plans to remain with the group through the completion of this season, which was the original contract.(NASCAR Scene)
    AND “I think a lot of people got confused when we took the opportunity to move our NEXTEL Cup operation down the road to Jimmy Spencer’s old shop,” said Waltrip. “We saw an opportunity to give Larry Carter and his team working on the Burger King Chevrolets, a location that allows them to stay totally focused on preparing for our upcoming five Cup races with Bill Elliott in 2006. Our Busch Series program, along with our Marketing, Licensing and Business Affairs departments remain at Fitz-Bradshaw in Mooresville, NC. Last Fall we partnered with Armando Fitz for the entire 2006 season and that won’t change.” While everything is status-quo with Waltrip’s 2006 programs, there is eager anticipation for 2007. In just a few weeks, the first phase of Waltrip Racing World will open for Toyota’s entry into the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Waltrip Racing World, scheduled to open to the public mid 2007, is a fan destination complete with entertainment and interactive experiences. It will also house all of Michael Waltrip Racing’s Toyota backed teams. “Phase One of Waltrip Racing World is essentially our fabrication and manufacturing facility,” Waltrip said. “In some ways it could be viewed as the heart and soul of our entire campus. Our first Toyota Camry was completed last week and we will build many more at the new location. This building is exclusively dedicated to the preparation, testing, development and eventually racing of our 2007 Camry’s.”(MWR PR)(6-11-2006)


    News from June 10, 2006

  • Vickers looking to get out of contract? UPDATE 3 teammate with Elliott?: Hearing that Brian Vickers, driver of the #25 GMAC Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports is now looking to get out of his contract with Hendrick after the 2006 season.(6-7-2006)
    UPDATE: Hendrick Motorsports has given driver Brian Vickers permission to seek a ride elsewhere in racing. Hendrick spokesman Jesse Essex said Thursday that the driver of the team’s #25 GMAC Chevy in the Nextel Cup Series had asked team officials for permission to pursue “employment opportunities outside our operation.” Essex said “multiple years” remain on Vickers’ contract at Hendrick.
    AND rumors have Vickers going to the #88 Robert Yates Racing ride or one of the Red Bull Racing rides.(6-8-2006)
    UPDATE 2: There’s been speculation that Vickers might drive a Toyota for Team Red Bull next season. Team Red Bull general manager Marty Gaunt indicated in an e-mail that there’s no deal yet with any driver. “Frankly, it is flattering to have this much interest in our new program, but the reality is that the driver search is still very open right now,” Gaunt said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)(6-9-2006)
    UPDATE 3:When Brian Vickers got permission from Hendrick Motorsports to look for a new job this week, it started a chain reaction that might include the return of former series champion Bill Elliott. Vickers will drive for Red Bull Racing next year, becoming the third full-time driver listed for Toyota’s venture into stock car racing. Casey Mears told car owner Chip Ganassi on Thursday he won’t return next year in the #42 Dodge, and on Friday he suggested he will replace Vickers at Hendrick. At the same time, Elliott apparently is mulling a full-time return to the sport – presumably as Vickers’ teammate at Red Bull. During a local Atlanta cable television interview Wednesday, Elliott said he hadn’t decided whether to make a comeback. He said he’s busy with his son’s go-cart racing career and a new grandchild, but he wasn’t ready to rule out any return. Elliott will drive three races later this year for Red Bull as it gathers information to debut its Camry next year. He also will drive five races for Michael Waltrip Racing, which will field two Toyota teams next year.(Augusta Chronicle)(6-10-2006)
  • CitiFinancial to move up to Cup #88? Robert Yates Racing will replace UPS with CitiFinancial [on the #88], its current Busch Series sponsor, sources said. A more pressing issue is who will drive his cars, as Dale Jarrett is going to Toyota and #38-Elliott Sadler has an exit option in his contract.(Speed Channel)(6-10-2006)
  • Martin non-commitial about crew changes: Roush Racing’s #6-Mark Martin was noncommittal about the possibilities of any changes in his pit crew. They have made costly mistakes in several races this season, including last week at Dover, when a dropped lug nut cost Martin a chance to win. He finished ninth instead. “I don’t know,” Martin said of the possibility of crew changes. “We’ve had some disappointments on pit road, but I don’t know.” (Ford Racing)(6-10-2006)
  • Mayfield plans on staying at Evernham: #19-Jeremy Mayfield, one of the veterans in the garage, said he’s unfazed by all the Silly Season chatter, even rumors about his status with Evernham Motorsports. “If I was a younger driver and had never been through it, it would be pretty tough, but I’ve been through it before,” he said. “I don’t really pay attention to it anymore. I just do what’s best and do what’s right. I stay focused and do the best we can as a team and get better every week. Whatever happens then happens, and I know I’ve done all I can do. Right now I’ve got a contract with Ray (Evernham) through this year and next year and hopefully two more years after that. That’s what my intentions are, to finish this deal out and do the best we can. I know a lot of stuff is going on right now in the rumors about different drivers but hopefully we’re not one of them.”(Speed Channel)
    AND Jeremy Mayfield clarified his contract status, pointing out that he has no plans to move on since he is signed with Evernham Motorsports through 2007. Mayfield, dogged by rumors that he’s in the mix for several open NASCAR Nextel Cup rides, has repeatedly stated that he’s planning to continue building his team this season. But it wasn’t until Friday that he outlined the contract that he plans to honor.(SceneDaily.com)(6-10-2006)
  • Jamie McMurray Foundation Formed to Assist Autism Society: Jamie McMurray has formed the Jamie McMurray Foundation (JMF) to promote awareness of and raise funding for, research, education, and support for individuals and families affected with autism. McMurray, who drives for Roush Racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, is sponsored by Newell-Rubbermaid (Irwin Industrial Tools, Lenox Industrial Tools and Sharpie) and Diageo (Crown Royal and Smirnoff Ice). The JMF is dedicated to joining the financial backing and support of the NASCAR community with the passion and commitment of the autism community to promote better understanding of this challenging disability. The Jamie McMurray Foundation will also support other charitable organizations providing opportunities to disadvantaged youth. McMurray has been a viable advocate for the Autism Society of America (ASA), with a “Driving Autism Awareness Pledge” campaign in 2005, and has participated in many golf tournaments, auctions for charitable contributions and benefits throughout the year. The JMF board will consist of McMurray as President; with mother, Melanie Sue McMurray, Treasurer and sister, Trisha Montez as Vice President.(Roush Racing PR)(6-10-2006)
  • Mega M&M’s on the #38 at Pocono: Elliott Sadler is running a special scheme this weekend on his #38 Ford Fusion sporting a special Mega M&M’S paint scheme. Mega M&M’S, a new version of the iconic color-coated candies, are on average 55 percent bigger in size than original M&M’S® and come in six new hues that appeal to adults: maroon, teal, blue-gray, beige, gold and brown. With new Mega M&M’S, chocolate lovers now get more of what they love — more chocolate and more peanut in every bite.(M&M’s Racing Site), see my #38 Team Schemes page for an image.(6-10-2006)
  • Jarrett missing Saturday practice at Pocono: #88- Dale Jarrett is heading home for his daughter’s graduation and will not be at Pocono Raceway Saturday. Robert Yates Racing teammate #38-Elliott Sadler is scheduled to practice his own car then, practice Jarrett’s car for a few laps. Natalee Jarrett is graduating from Hickory High School Saturday.(SceneDaily.com)(6-10-2006)
  • Stremme to run Pocono ARCA race UPDATE on the pole: Nextel Cup Series rookie David Stremme will drive the #40 Coors Light Dodge in the ARCA/ReMax event on Saturday, June 10 at Pocono Raceway. “I am looking forward to running the ARCA Race in Pocono,” Stremme said. “This will be my first time at Pocono and so the more seat time the better. I am excited that Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates are giving me the chance to race the ARCA race and get familiar with the track. It is great to see Coors Light on the car, they have been a great sponsor for me this season on the Cup car and I appreciate all the support they have given me in my rookie season.” The ARCA 200 is scheduled to start at 1:00pm/et and will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED Channel.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-6-2006)
    UPDATE: on the pole: Stremme won the pole for today’s ARCA Pocono 200, posting a lap of 163.660 mph, and it’s a good thing in that he’s driving one of his Nextel Cup cars, just with a different spoiler and different tires, while everyone else is driving lesser equipment. ”If I don’t win, I’ll probably be in big trouble,” said Stremme, who’s competing in the ARCA race simply to get seat time at Pocono where he’s never raced before. ”Taking nothing away from the guys that run the ARCA Series, but this is actually one of my Cup cars.”(Allentown Morning Call)(6-10-2006)


    News from June 9, 2006

  • FOX Producer back to ESPN? UPDATE: hearing that Neil Goldberg is leaving as FOX Producer and going back to ESPN. Pocono is supposedly his last race.
    UPDATE: been told that Goldberg going back to ESPN isn’t a done deal nor does he have a contract already signed with ESPN. Apparently, Goldberg and FOX are taking the next three weeks to look at all options.(6-9-2006)
  • Martin and Yates? UPDATE denied: hearing Mark Martin, driver of the #6 AAA Ford for Roush Racing may buy or buy into Robert Yates Racing in some form, would it be a Roush satellite operation? Would it get around NASCAR’s new ownership rules? Martin is already listed as the owner of the #17 Roush Racing Ford that Matt Kenseth drives and has been quoted that he has no interest in owing a Cup team.(6-5-2006)
    UPDATE: Mark Martin says he knows nothing about a recent Internet report that has him possibly buying Robert Yates Racing or buying into the organization. “I don’t know where that came from,” Martin said Friday at Pocono Raceway. “There hasn’t been any discussions about it.” Martin, who is running his last full-time season in Nextel Cup, says he currently has no interest in owning a Cup team outright. Martin owns an interest in the #17 Roush Racing team of Matt Kenseth. “I learned last year to never say ‘never,’ and I have said never would I own one of these teams,” he said. “At the same time, would I think about it? I don’t know. I can tell you this much, there has been no discussion and no thought from me at all. That is not on my radar screen. I’m really focused on the AAA car and trying to make this Chase and make a run for the championship and do a good job and meet all my obligations and have some fun with the fans. I’m not really worried about all that other stuff.”(SceneDaily.com)(6-9-2006)
  • Changes coming to the COT: NASCAR’s “Car of Tomorrow” is still not finished, according to multiple sources in the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage. Within the next two weeks, General Motors will be wind-tunnel testing a new version of the COT, with different sides and new tail section. Some manufacturers had complained that the radical design does not look enough like existing production cars, which may be responsible for the change. Sources said the COT’S chassis specs will not be changed, just the body. But that likely will mean substantial additional testing is needed prior to the design being finalized. The ongoing development work on the car means that NASCAR will push back its submission date for the car, sources told SPEEDTV.com. Typically, the final design date for any new car is July 1, so teams ordinarily would have to submit their 2007 Nextel Cup cars by July 1, 2006. But since the COT is not completed, the sign-off date will be at some point beyond July 1, sources said. And that is a double-edged sword: It gives teams more time to work on the car, but it also pushes back when they can begin the cars, since the specs are not final.(Speed Channel)(6-9-2006)
  • Vickers Interview: Brian Vickers was in Somerset making an appearance for the Somerset Patriots minor league baseball team, Mike Ashmore of the Hunterdon County Democrat asked Vickers some questions:
    About Toyota coming into the sport: “I think it’s great. The more support we have from the more manufacturers, the better. It’s irrelevant who it is. With NASCAR, I guess one of the rules is they have to produce the cars they race in Cup in America, which Toyota does. Those are the requirements, that they make most of their cars in America. You’ve got Chevy, Ford, Dodge and now Toyota, and it’s only going to bring more attention to the sport. If more want to come, I think it’ll be even better.”
    About backlash from the NASCAR fanbase about Toyota’s foreign roots: “There’s no way to predict that, but I don’t think so. You look in the parking lot at a race or anywhere else, and there’s cars from every manufacturer. There’s always been a lot of support in NASCAR from the big three manufacturers, and everybody’s always going to respect that. But the fact is, Toyota employs a lot of people here, and if they want to be here, they deserve to be here.”
    About Red Bull and Yates Rumors: “Who we’ve talked to is private. We’re in the process right now…the only thing that’s going on is Hendrick Motorsports and I are trying to figure out what we’re going to do, and right now it looks like we’re both going to look at other options next year for the betterment of both of us.”
    About a hot commodity: “It could potentially be a good position. Right now, we’re focused on handling this thing the best we can with Hendrick Motorsports and we’re looking at other options. What we decide to do is going to be held private until the time is right, and then we’ll announce it.”(Hunterdon County Democrat/Mike Ashmore)(6-9-2006)
  • Toyota at the Wind Tunnel: hearing that Toyota was testing Thursday, June 8th in some fashion [Cup/Trucks] at the NASA wind tunnel in Hampton, VA / Langley AFB.(6-9-2006)
  • Bruton, Gordon: Inductees into Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame: #24-Jeff Gordon and Speedway Motorsports Chairman and CEO O. Bruton Smith will share center stage during the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend as both will be inducted into Infineon Raceway’s Wall of Fame. Gordon and Smith will join NASCAR drivers Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin, who were the first inductees when construction of the Wall of Fame was announced at the 2005 Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend. Other inductees include Warren Johnson from the NHRA, and Miguel Duhamel and Rich Oliver from the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). The ceremony will take place on Friday, June 23, at 11:20am/pt in the Wine Country Winner’s Circle, which is adjacent to the main grandstand in the paddock. Race fans are invited to the ceremony honoring both men. The Wall of Fame is located behind the main grandstand and will be open to the public during race weekend. Smith purchased then-Sears Point Raceway in 1996 and, thanks to a comprehensive $70 million modernization project, has transformed the facility into one of the premier motor sports and entertainment venues in the country, and certainly the top road-racing venue in the country. Gordon, a native of nearby Vallejo, has simply owned the Sonoma Valley road course during his career. He holds the record for career NASCAR Cup wins at Infineon Raceway with four, including three consecutive from 1998-2000, and he has finished no worse than third in eight of his 13 starts in Sonoma, dating back to 1993. For his career, Gordon is also a four-time NASCAR Cup champion (1995, 1997-98, 2001) and a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 (1997, 1999, 2005).(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-9-2006)
  • Hamlin wins pole at Pocono: #11-Denny Hamlin won the Budweiser Pole for the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway with a speed of 169.638mph for his 1st pole of 2006 and 2nd of his career [last November at Phoenix]. Starting on the outside pole is #2-Kurt Busch, followed by #9-Kasey Kahne, #25-Brians Vickers and #31-Jeff Burton. #44-Terry Labonte qualified 39th. The non-top 35 teams that made the race were: #40-Stremme, #78-Spencer, #55-Waltrip, #61-Chaffin, #32-Kvapil, #44-Labonte, #49-Lepage and #51-Garvey. Missing the race were: #4-Wimmer, #34-Sacks, #95-Barrett, #74-Cope and #72-Sherman. See the qualifying results on my Pocono Starting Grid/Qualifying Page.(6-9-2006)
  • Pocono Qualifying Notes:
    • Denny Hamlin won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Pocono 500, lapping Pocono Raceway in 53.054 seconds at 169.638 mph. Kasey Kahne holds the track-qualifying record of 52.164 seconds, 172.533 mph – set June 11, 2004.
    • This is Hamlin’s second career Bud Pole in 21 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. His other Bud Pole came at Phoenix in November 2005. Hamlin posted his ninth top-10 start in 2006, including each of the last five races. It is his first qualifying attempt at Pocono.
    • Hamlin became the 10th different Bud Pole winner this season.
    • Hamlin also became the 19th different Bud Pole winner in the past 20 races at Pocono. Qualifying was canceled in June 2002 due to weather.
    • A Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender has won a Bud Pole in each of the past 11 seasons (1996-2006). Hamlin actually posted his first Bud Pole last season, before his official rookie year.
    • Kurt Busch posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 53.102 seconds, 169.485 mph – and will join Hamlin on the front row for the Pocono 500. This is Busch’s 11th top-10 start this season and his best since he won the Bud Pole at California in the second race of 2006. It is his sixth top-10 start and his third consecutive second-place start in 11 races at Pocono.
    • This is the fourth Bud Pole for Chevrolet in 2006. Dodge has six Bud Poles and Ford has three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol.
    • Kasey Kahne (third) posted his eighth top-10 start in 2006 and his second in five races at Pocono. It is his first top-10 start here since he won the Bud Pole in June 2004.
    • Brian Vickers (fourth) has posted a top-10 start in all five of his appearances at Pocono. It is his fourth top-10 start this season.
    • Jeff Burton (fifth) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2006 but his first since Atlanta (Race No. 4). It is his seventh top-10 start in 25 races at Pocono and his first since he started eighth in three straight races from July 1999 through July 2001.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-9-2006)
  • Ramblings – Pocono: It was Denny Hamlin today at Pocono Raceway as he took his first Bud Pole of the season for Sunday’s Pocono 500. It was Hamlin’s second career top-spot (he captured the pole at Phoenix last November) and makes him the 10th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona (course he was in already as defending Champion of that event). Kurt Busch will join Hamlin on the front-row. This is his best starting spot since he had the pole at California in February.
    Jeff Burton (5th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 3rd at Atlanta in March.
    Welcome Back Jimmy Spencer (34th). Jimmy will make his first Cup start of the season this week in the #78 car.
    STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.
    Greg Biffle has 12 Top-10 starts in the last 13 races.
    Kasey Kahne has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.(Stock Car Fans)(6-9-2006)
  • Texas Terry back in the seat: Driving a #44 Kellogg’s Chevy this weekend, two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Terry Labonte will run his first of two Pocono Raceway events in 2006. Labonte, who is running a limited schedule this season, will make his 51st career start Sunday at the unique 2.5-mile track.(Hendrick Motorsports)(6-9-2006)
  • Goodyear Tire Notes/Facts Pocono: This is the third time this season that Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . this tire set-up was previously run by teams at both Las Vegas and Bristol in March . . . as on all ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Pocono . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window: Every 34-38 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see the full notes, with pressures and codes on my Pocono Race Info / Rundown Page.(6-9-2006)
  • Carquest scheme on #5 at Pocono:: Kyle Busch’s # Chevy will carry the colors of Carquest Auto Parts this weekend at Pocono Raceway. It will mark the second outing of 2006 for the Carquest paint scheme, which will appear later this season at Chicagoland Speedway, Pocono Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.(Hendrick Motorsports), see image on my #5 Team Schemes page,(6-9-2006)
  • Husqvarna on the #18 at pocono: The #18 Chevy of J.J. Yeley will be carrying special colors this weekend, featuring a blue and white Husqvarna paint scheme. Sunday’s race will be the second of three events this season in which Yeley will be sponsored by Husqvarna, the Official Lawn and Garden Equipment of NASCAR. The company’s final race of the year will be the Aug. 20 GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway.(Joe Gibbs Racing), see images of the car on my #18 Team Schemes page.(6-9-2006)
  • #74 gets assoc sponsor for Pocono races: McGlynn Racing and driver Derrike Cope announced Fendler and Associates, a personal injury law firm, as an associate sponsor of the team at Pocono. Fendler and Associates has sponsored the McGlynn team in past Pocono efforts and will be on the #74 for both Pocono races this year.(McGlynn Racing PR)(6-9-2006)


    News from June 8, 2006

  • Mears to Yates? or is it Hendrick? hearing that Casey Mears, current driver fo the #42 Texaco Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing could leave and go to Robert Yates Racing to drive the #88 Ford in 2007….no word yet on sponsor.
    MORE: but hearing now that Mears is more likely headed to the #25 Hendrick Chevy that Vickers is leaving….(6-8-2006)
  • DirecTV back on the #07 at Pocono: For the second time this season, Clint Bowyer’s #07 Chevy will sport a DIRECTV paint scheme. DIRECTV is the nation’s leading digital television service provider. DIRECTV is also the official satellite television service provider of NASCAR. The team’s customary primary sponsor, Jack Daniel’s, will be featured on the car’s lower-rear quarter panel and deck lid.(RCR PR), the scheme also raced at Martinsville in April and is scheduled to race at Talladega in October 8, see images on my #07 Team Schemes page.(6-8-2006)
  • Cup Drivers Complete Test at Infineon Raceway: Four Nextel Cup drivers completed a two-day test session on Wednesday at Infineon Raceway in advance of the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend, June 23-25. #99-Carl Edwards, #5-Kyle Busch), #41-Reed Sorenson and #07-Clint Bowyer traversed the twisting 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in a variety of stock cars. Edwards toured the circuit over the two-day test in his Busch Series car, clocking a top time of 1 minute, 17.60 seconds. Edwards received coaching during the test from road-race specialist Boris Said, who will also compete in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in his #60 No Fear Ford. The Busch car features about 100 horsepower less than a Cup car, accounting for the time. It was the first trip to Infineon Raceway for Bowyer, who piloted a Grand National Division AutoZone West Series car during the test. He posted a top time of 1:19.90 on Wednesday – West Series cars have even less horsepower than Busch cars. It was the first time on the road course for Sorenson, as well, as he posted a 1:18.40 in a Busch Series car. Busch did not report a time. For ticket information on the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend, which will also feature the Blue Lizard Suncream 200 Grand National Division AutoZone West Series and the SPEED World Challenge, call 800-870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.(Infineon Raceway PR)
    AND Next week, June 14-15, Bowyer will return to Infineon Raceway where he will participate in the Jim Russell Racing School.(RCR PR)(6-8-2006)
  • Ryan Newman Day in Michigan; June 6 was the first Ryan Newman Day in the state of Michigan, and the four-time MIS winner wants to make sure it wasn’t his last. With his first MIS appearance of 2006 in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup 3M Performance 400 just a week and a half away, Newman took the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing by storm on Tuesday. Along with Governor Jennifer Granholm’s proclamation of June 6, 2006 as NASCAR Day, Senator Mark Schauer and Representative Leslie Mortimer delivered a resolution to announce the day as Ryan Newman Day in the state. Granholm, Schauer, Mortimer and several other key state legislators applauded Newman not only for his on-track success but for his off-track endeavors as well. Newman was on hand to promote several important causes throughout his day at the Capitol, the first of which was the recently-approved $18.5 million allocation for highway improvement in the area surrounding MIS. Newman applauded the government leaders for their devotion to the loyal Michigan fan base. Along with the discussion on local highway improvement, Newman also promoted his Ryan Newman Foundation and the book Pit Road Pets, which features several top NASCAR drivers and their beloved animals. Newman and his wife, Krissie, have joined with local humane societies in many areas for the cause of animal preservation, and he continued to promote this cause during his day in Lansing. Before leaving the Capitol in the afternoon, Newman got the chance to be introduced on the floor of the House of Representatives. As the legislators representing the MIS area explained their district alignments to Newman, he maintained that there was really only one locale that concerned him. Tickets for both NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races, the June 18 3M Performance 400 and the August 20 GFS Marketplace 400, are currently on sale at MIS’s official website, http://www.mispeedway.com or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010.(MIS PR)(6-8-2006)
  • Get Well: Barry “Hillbilly” Sheppard, transporter driver for Richard Childress Racing’s #07 Jack Daniel’s team, is resting comfortably at his home in Stuart, Va., after falling ill May 4 at Dover International Speedway. Tests at Kent General Hospital in Dover ruled out a cardiac episode as originally suspected though an exact cause of his illness is yet to be determined. He is expected to make a full recovery but will be off the road until he receives full medical clearance. Jeff Price will fill in for the Jack Daniel’s team until Sheppard’s return.(RCR PR)(6-8-2006)


    News from June 7, 2006

  • Stewart plans to run full race at Pocono: from TonyStewart.com: Since you’re still nursing a fractured right scapula, what are your expectations for Pocono?
    Tony Stewart: “I plan to make it through the whole weekend. Every day my muscles feel like they’re getting stronger, and I don’t think it’s a bone issue as much as it’s a muscle issue. I got fitted for a new ButlerBuilt seat and we’ll have it in the car for this weekend. We think it’s a better design – a newer version of what I had been running. It was time to put something new in there. Brian Butler and his staff did an awesome job of accommodating me and getting a seat pumped out in a short amount of time so we would have it for Pocono, so we really appreciate their effort. I fully believe that with the new seat and another week of rest that we’ll be ready to go.”
    TonyStewart.com: Will you have a relief driver on standby?
    Tony Stewart: “We’ll make that decision closer to the end of the week. But I really don’t anticipate needing a relief driver. I appreciate what Ricky (Rudd) did for us last week at Dover, but he’s on vacation with his family this week and I want him to enjoy his vacation. I’m confident that by the end of the week I’ll be strong enough to go do the whole race at Pocono by myself.”(TonyStewart.com)(6-7-2006)
  • Hendrick Motorsports duo wins Builder Showdown: The final round of the 2006 Clevite Engine Builder Showdown was held May 23 at the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC. Mike Maiwald and Shane Parsnow of Hendrick Motorsports, in their third final-round appearance, built against Dennis Borem and Darrell Hoffman of Pro Motor Engineering. Borem and Hoffman fired their engine 2 seconds ahead of Maiwald and Parsnow, but it cut out after running just a few seconds. Borem and Hoffman fired their engine again, but it was too late. When the noise stopped, Maiwald and Parsnow finally captured the prize that had eluded them the past two years – the Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy. The teams assembled 357 cubic inch Ford engines — similar in design to those used by NASCAR’s Ford race teams. Borem and Hoffman received a cash award of $5,000 and runner-up trophies. Champions Maiwald and Parsnow received a cash award of $20,000 and will take their rightful place alongside past Showdown Champions on the Randy Dorton Memorial Trophy. (SceneDaily.com)(6-7-2006)
  • Dover TV Ratings down from 2005: The Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway, whcih aired on FX Sunday, June 4, 2006 had a Ratings of 3.7, down from last years 4.9, no share was reported. The race garnered 5,969,000 viewers and was the 7th most watch show on cable with The Sopranos leading the way and five NBA Playoff games.(AP/Zap2It.com), see my TV Ratings page for past ratings and the race-by-race chart.(6-7-2006)
  • Two Cup drivers to test West Series cars at Infineon UPDATE make it 4: Infineon Raceway will host a test for the NASCAR Grand National Division, AutoZone West Series. A few NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars, #99-Carl Edwards and #41-Reed Sorenson will participate in the West Series test session in advance of the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend, June 23-25. The West Series drivers will take part in the Blue Lizard Suncream 200, scheduled for Saturday, June 24, of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend. Testing will run on Tuesday, June 6 and Wednesday, June 7. Both NEXTEL Cup regulars will test in West Series cars, as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series does not allow a formal test session at Infineon Raceway. No word if the test is open to the public.(Infineon Raceway PR)(6-6-2006)
    UPDATE: Four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers participated in a two-day test session at Infineon Raceway on Tuesday. The drivers tested the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in advance of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend, set for June 23-25 in the Sonoma Valley. #99-Carl Edwards, who placed 38th in his only other visit to Infineon Raceway in 2005, tested his Busch Series car with coaching from road-race specialist Boris Said. Said will also compete in the Sonoma NASCAR weekend as part of a four-race deal behind the wheel of his #60 No Fear Ford. His other races are in Daytona, Indianapolis and Watkins Glen. Edwards wasn’t in race trim and his car featured substantially less horsepower than his NEXTEL Cup car, as he clocked a top lap of 1 minute, 18 seconds. #07-Clint Bowyer, #41-Reed Sorenson and #5-Kyle Busch also took part in the test, which concludes on Wednesday. Sorenson posted a 1:19.79, also in a Busch Series car, while Bowyer clocked a 1:21.3 in a Grand National Division AutoZone West Series car, which features even less horsepower than a Busch Series car. Busch did not report a time.(Infineon Raceway)(6-7-2006)
  • Burton’s Team Grabs Pit Crew Challenge Win In Dover; Jeff Burton’s pit crew took home the $10,500 first-place check for winning the Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge in Sunday’s Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway. The #31 crew, which assisted its veteran driver to a fourth-place finish in the 400-lap, 400-mile Nextel Cup race, spent the least amount of time on pit road — 395.590 seconds. Burton’s over-the-wall crew includes: Josh Yost (jackman), Kevin Nervegna (front-tire carrier), Joe Zielinski (front-tire changer), Jason Fowler (rear-tire carrier), Aaron Smith (rear-tire changer), Larry Hartle (gasman), Rich Burgess (catch can) and Wes Adams (windshield). The pit crew coordinator is Corrine Mauldin. The #31 team became the eighth pit crew of the season to win the weekly Checkers/Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge. A bonus of $105,000 will be presented to the team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule. Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(6-7-2006)
  • Kvapil and Team to Appear on Guiding Light: 2006 Emmy Award-winner Kim Zimmer and the CBS soap Guiding Light hit the track today with NASCAR driver Travis Kvapil and the Tide Racing Team when the show taped on location at the Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, NC. The soap also plans to tape tomorrow at the team’s race shop which is also located in Hickory. The storyline revolves around Zimmer’s character, the strong-willed Reva Shayne Lewis and her battle with breast cancer. Thanks to the encouragement from her doctor Colin McCabe (played by Paul Fitzgerald) and Kvapil, Reva gets the chance to take the wheel of the infamous Tide Ride in an attempt to prove that her diagnosis will not stop her from living out her dreams. The scenes shot at the Speedway and the race shop will air on Wednesday, June 28.(PPI Motorsports)(6-7-2006)


    News from June 6, 2006

  • Hermie in the booth at Nashville and Kentucky, Garrow/Jarrett in the pits: #00-Hermie Sadler will return to the broadcast booth for the next two weekends as he joins Phil Parsons and Rick Allen as an analyst for the Busch Series races this Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee and June 17th at Kentucky. PRN’s Mark Garrow; and Glenn Jarrett will handle pit road duties. Both races will be live on FX at 7:30pm/et.(6-6-2006)
  • Kahne and McDonald’s at Chicago: Kasey Kahne is scheduled to drive a McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” paint scheme in the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 9. Bill Elliott was the last Evernham Motorsports driver to carry the “Golden Arches” in a NEXTEL Cup Series race when he drove the #91 at California Speedway last September. Ironically, Elliott will making his debut in the #00 Burger King sponsored car for Michael Waltrip at Chicago. McDonald’s corporate headquarters are located nearby Chicagoland Speedway in Oak Brook, Illinois.(RacingOne), see image of the scheme on my #9 Team Scehemes page.(6-6-2006)
  • Stremme to run Pocono ARCA race: Nextel Cup Series rookie David Stremme will drive the #40 Coors Light Dodge in the ARCA/ReMax event on Saturday, June 10 at Pocono Raceway. “I am looking forward to running the ARCA Race in Pocono,” Stremme said. “This will be my first time at Pocono and so the more seat time the better. I am excited that Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates are giving me the chance to race the ARCA race and get familiar with the track. It is great to see Coors Light on the car, they have been a great sponsor for me this season on the Cup car and I appreciate all the support they have given me in my rookie season.” The ARCA 200 is scheduled to start at 1:00pm/et and will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED Channel.(Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR)(6-6-2006)
  • Blaney and Schrader test at Kentucky: #21-Ken Schrader and #22-Dave Blaney are testing at Kentucky Speedway today, along with Brad Coleman for Brewco Motorsports in an ARCA car. Fans can watch from the Turn 3 Fan Center at no charge. Schedule subject to change daily. Test times vary.(Kentucky Speedway.com)(6-6-2006)
  • Laps/Miles Stats: 40 drivers have lead at least one lap in a race in 13 Nextel Cup races so far this season.
    • #20-Tony Stewart and #16-Greg Biffle hav led the most laps with 801, followed by #17-Matt Kenseth at 524.
    • Biffle has led the most miles, just over 1101, with Stewart at 729 and Kensth at 690.
    • #48-Jimmie Johnson has run 4437 of 4450 laps run so far in 2006, followed by #22-Dave Blaney with 4420 and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 4411. Johnson has also ran the most miles, running 5551.9 of 5558.902 miles races so far this season.
    • #16-Biffle has led at least one lap in 11 of the 13 races run, #17-Kenseth has done so in 10 races. • #16-Biffle has led 38 times in the 13 races, followed by Kenseth with 36 and Stewart with 31.
    • Bonus Points: Biffle 75; Stewart 60; Kenseth 55
    • In three races, the driver leading the most laps has won the race: #20-Stewart at Martinsville, #16-Biffle at Darlington and #9-Kahne at Charlotte.
    • Biffle has lead the most laps in 4 of 13 races, the most of any driver.
    • Two drivers have run all 13 races and not lead a lap #21-Schrader and #41-Sorenson.(6-5-2006)
  • Cup drivers testing at VIR: hearing seven drivers tested at the Virginia International Raceway road course in preparattion for the road couse races at Infineon Raceway [Sonoma, CA] and Watkins Glen. Teams testing included: #07-Clint Boyer, #22-Dave Blaney, #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton, #40-David Stremme/Scott Pruett, #41-Reed Sorenson and #42-Casey Mears.(6-6-2006)
  • NTB colors for Petty at Pocono: #45-Kyle Petty will be carrying the colors of National Tire and Battery for the second time this season. The first race with National Tire and Battery as a sponsor Petty finished eighth at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.(Moore Consulting Group/Petty Racing PR), see an image of the car on my #45 Team Schemes page.(6-6-2006)


    News from June 5, 2006

  • Coke 600 final TV Ratings down from 2005 but beats Indy 500: Final Nielsen Media Research ratings show that Fox’s broadcast of the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 Nextel Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway drew a higher television rating than ABC attracted for the same day’s Indianapolis 500. Fox earned a 5.1 rating and an 11 share, down 16.4% from 6.1/13 in 2005, but the Indy ratings dropped even more. Ratings for the Indy Racing League event fell 23.1%, from 6.5/18 in 2005 to 5.0/14 this year.(SceneDaily.com)(6-5-2006)
  • Elliott to drive for Red Bull UPDATE: Red Bull Racing is planning to announce that former Nextel Cup champion [1988] Bill Elliott will drive for the team for three races this season as the team prepares a full-time entry into Cup racing with Toyota in 2007, a source close to the situation has confirmed. The car Elliott will drive will not be a Toyota, but the make of car has not been determined. He will attempt to qualify for the races at Charlotte and Atlanta in October and Texas in November. He also is running select races this year for MB2 Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing. The Red Bull team will use the races to help get its crew ready for the Daytona 500 in 2007. Drivers and crew chiefs for 2007 have not been announced.(SceneDaily.com), Elliott is also scheduled to run five races for Michael Waltrip Racing in the #00 Burger King Chevy at Chicago, New Hampshire [July], Indy, California Homestead.(6-5-2006)
    UPDATE: Originally scheduled to debut in 2007, Team Red Bull today announces a short schedule of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races it plans to enter in the fall of 2006 with veteran driver Bill Elliott, a two-time Daytona 500 winner, behind the wheel. “The organization and its competitive spirit are what attracted me to Team Red Bull,” says Elliott, who won the NASCAR Winston Cup driver’s title in 1988. “My job is simple . put the car in the show, drive it toward the front, and provide valuable input so that Team Red Bull is fully prepared by the Daytona 500. It’s really a great role at this stage of my racing career.” Leading the preparation of the non-Toyota equipped car are two recent race staff additions, Competition Director Elton Sawyer, a stock car racing veteran, and Technical Director John Probst, one of the racing industry’s top vehicle dynamics engineers. Sawyer and Probst join Gaunt and another appointee, Guenther Steiner, who came over to Team Red Bull from the Red Bull Racing F1 operation in a technical advisor role, as the team’s racing leadership operating out of the race shop in Mooresville, NC. The 60,000 sq. ft. facility recently underwent a Red Bull make-over since the energy drink company acquired the property from Penske Racing South prior to the team’s January 24 announcement by Toyota. Gaunt says the driver agreement with Elliott spans over three NEXTEL Cup races this fall – Charlotte, NC (Oct. 14), Atlanta, GA (Oct. 29), and Ft. Worth, TX (Nov. 5). Starting with the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season, Team Red Bull will field two, full-time Toyota Camry entries. Rumors notwithstanding, more “official” information on the new team—including 2007 drivers and crew chiefs—will be made available later this year.(Red Bull Racing PR/Newsletter)(6-5-2006)
  • DEI and MB2? UPDATE 3 merge denied: There’s speculation that Teresa Earnhardt [who own’s DEI, #1,#8,#15] is planning to buy MB2 Motorsports, with drivers #01-Joe Nemechek and #14-Sterling Marlin, in addition to the ongoing speculation that she may be planning to sell DEI to John Menard, a home-improvements czar who has long been involved in racing. Marlin, who drives for the Jay Frye-run MB2 Chevy operation, said he has heard the sale talk, but that he doesn’t know what’s going on. Ryan Pemberton, the crew chief for Nemechek, said he has talked with Frye about it, but he’s not sure, either, what might be going on behind the scenes. Earnhardt doesn’t grant interviews, and Frye isn’t due here until today. So yesterday it was up to Richie Gilmore, the general manager at DEI, to try to explain the situation. “We’re not selling out,” Gilmore said. “Our plans right now are to go to a three-car operation next year with Paul Menard (John’s son). John is a great sponsor for us, and we do a lot with Menard’s, engines, and he’s at our company a lot, and I guess people speculate when they see him around.”(Winston Salem Journal)(6-3-2006)
    UPDATE: According to sources in the NASCAR garage MB2 Motorsports could merge with, or be sold to Dale Earnhardt Inc. MB2 still has unsold sponsorship inventory available for Sterling Marlin’s #14 car, and the team’s other driver, #01-Joe Nemechek, is said to be on Toyota’s short list for 2007.(Ford Racing)(6-4-2006)
    UPDATE 2: Jay Frye, the general manager and part-owner of the MB2 team, said that much of the speculation about a DEI-MB2 merger is just that, speculation. “Everyone’s got this four-team program idea, but we’re like two and they’re like two…. so how do we both do things more efficiently together,” Frye said. “That’s how this all got started. Our buildings are four minutes apart. So we’re trying to work together on this car of tomorrow. It’s not about engines; it’s about car-building. Everything beyond that is purely speculation.”(Winston Salem Journal)(6-5-2006)
    UPDATE 3: MB2 Motorsports officials say the team isn’t for sale, but minority owner Jay Frye has had discussions with Dale Earnhardt Inc. about working together on the competition side. “Becoming more efficient is what we’ve talked about going into next year,” Frye said Sunday. “… There’s lots of different programs that are starting next year with the ‘car of tomorrow’ and things like that. We’ve talked to them about how maybe, as a group, we can do things [like build transmissions, gears or even cars] more efficiently together. It’s all just ideas at this point. Nothing [concrete]. It’s, ‘How can we work together to make things more efficient.’ Everything else has just blown out from that.” Frye said the team, controlled by majority owner Nelson Bowers, is not for sale. But the fact that Frye has been to DEI’s shop and Richie Gilmore, DEI’s vice president of competition, has been to MB2 has sparked talk that DEI would buy MB2, with John Menard then buying DEI. Gilmore agreed that nothing is for sale. DEI has previously said that it would field a third full-time team for Paul Menard (John Menard’s son) starting in 2007. DEI would like to expand, but Gilmore said there are no plans to purchase MB2. Frye said talks are still exploratory, sparked by the car of tomorrow. Teams will not only have to build versions of their current cars for 2007, but the newer car as well. Frye said the two organizations would need to form an alliance within the next two months to get a start on next season.(SceneDaily.com)(6-5-2006)
  • Sherman to race at Pocono: from Brent Sherman diary at the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
    “I got a phone call Wednesday from a Nextel Cup team [Jayski: hearing it is the #72 CMJ Racing team] interested in me possibly driving for them in the Pocono race next weekend. I flew to Charlotte on Thursday to meet with the team and see if we can put some kind of deal together. It’s a team that has been very realistic about its goals — and very honest and upfront in its discussions with me. They’re trying out some different drivers to find a good fit. It’s a team running a limited schedule the rest of the year with plans to run a full schedule next year. I don’t know if it’s going to lead to anything, but I know this: I’m never far from my cell phone because I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to possibly hook up with a team and a good situation. I’m going to be in Pocono next weekend anyway, to run the ARCA RE/MAX Series race with my Sherman Racing team. It would be a good, fun experience for me to maybe drive in two races in the same weekend. The ARCA race, the Pocono 200, is on Saturday, and the Nextel Cup race, the Pocono 500, is on Sunday. Qualifying for both races is on Friday, so that day could be interesting. Our Sherman Racing team is still planning on trying to qualify for the July 9 race in Chicago. I’ve applied for a number with NASCAR for the Chicago race. Getting a number is a pretty involved process. In NASCAR, you own your number; they don’t just give you a number for a weekend. I’ve applied for the #04. That’s my number for ARCA races. I should hear in the next couple of weeks whether I get the number for Nextel Cup, too. It would be nice to have that as my number wherever I race.(St. Paul Pioneer Press)(6-3-2006)
    UPDATE: Sherman is listed in the #72 on the Pocono Entry List page.(6-5-2006)
  • Martin and Yates? hearing Mark Martin, driver of the #6 AAA Ford for Roush Racing may buy or buy into Robert Yates Racing in some form, would it be a Roush satellite operation? Would it get around NASCAR’s new ownership rules? Martin is already listed as the owner of the #17 Roush Racing Ford that Matt Kenseth drives and has been quoted that he has no interest in owing a Cup team.(6-5-2006)
  • New Rules to limit owners? In a little-known codicil [supplement or appendix] to the 2006 rules book, NASCAR executives are trying to limit car owners to four teams by precisely pinning down business relationships between various stock-car teams – like the joint engine operation run by Robert Yates and Jack Roush, the engine-and-engineering support provided by Rick Hendrick to MB2 Motorsports and Haas Racing, the engine-and-engineering support provided by Joe Gibbs to new team owners Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. The sport’s Daytona bosses are also trying to pin down the roles that carmakers – GM, Ford, Dodge and Toyota – are allowed, in advance of Toyota’s step up to Nextel Cup next season. And it appears that NASCAR may want to demand access to tax records to pin down just who owns what and who pays whom how much. The surprising new rules – apparently out since February but not in wide distribution until this week – are generating a lot of head-scratching among the few who are familiar with them. A number of key figures expressed astonishment yesterday when asked about the rules.(full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(6-5-2006)
  • “Dianetics”/Scientology to run a NASCAR team: “Dianetics,” the book written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, is sponsoring a racing team — dubbed “Ignite Your Potential” — that will tour the NASCAR circuit. A Dianetics Racing Web site is being set up for fans. Driver Kenton Gray credits Hubbard’s work with making him a good driver.(MSNBC)
    AND Unveiled on May 19th at the Book Expo America (BEA) in Washington, D.C., is the new “Ignite Your Potential” Dianetics Racing Team, headed by Kenton Gray, founder of Freedom Motorsports Group, Inc., and a top performing Southern California racecar driver. A racer since the age of 10, Gray is not only a standout behind the wheel—placing first in five races over the past year and top-five in dozens of others—he is also an instructor at the LA Racing Experience on one of the best short tracks in America, Irwindale Speedway in Southern California.(PR), nothing says what level of NASCAR racing the team will run, there is a picture of the car, it looks like a #27 Ford Taurus [the #27 is taken by teams in both Cup and Busch series], but Freedom Motorsports Group runs a car for Gray in the Dodge Weekly Series at Irwindale Speedway.(6-5-2006)

News from June 4, 2006

  • Kenseth wins at Dover: #17-Matt Kenseth won the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway for his 2nd win of 2006 and 12th of his 12th win of his career [ties with Newman for 30th overall]. Kenseth passed teammate #26-Jamie McMurray with 3 laps to go to gain the victory. McMurray held on to 2nd, followed by #29-Kevin Harvick, #31-Jeff Burton and #5-Kyle Busch. #48-Jimmie Johnson fell off the lead lap early, spun once causing the 4th caution, but got back on the lead lap later by not pitting and wound up 6th, keeping the points lead by 74 over Kenseth. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran in the top 15 all day and ended up 10th. The win is Roush Racing’s 92nd, tying the owner with Holman-Moody for 5th place overall. The win is the third for Ford, Kenseth has two and #16-Biffle has the other one. The pole sitter, #12-Ryan Newman, led 12 laps and finished 14th. There were 23 lead changes among 12 drivers and 9 cautions for 51 laps.
    Race Results on my Dover Race Results/Awards Page.
    Points Standings on my Drivers/Owners Points after Dover page.
    Race Rundown: see my Dover Race Info/Rundown Page for my race rundown page, laps led, top 10, race notes, lucky dogs and more.(6-4-2006)
  • Dover Race News and Notes:
    • Matt Kenseth won the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America at Dover International Speedway, scoring his 12th NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory in his 233rd career start.
    • It is Kenseth’s second victory in 2006. His other victory came at California Speedway, 11 races earlier.
    • Kenseth won from a 19th starting position, the first time in the last seven races at Dover that a driver has won from outside a top-10 starting position.
    • Kenseth scored his first victory and eighth top-10 finish in 15 career races at Dover
    • This is Kenseth’s 10th victory on a superspeedway.
    • Kenseth scored his ninth top-10 finish this season. He has finished sixth or better in six of his last seven races.
    • Kenseth led seven times for 83 laps including the final four laps in the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America.
    • Kenseth has won a race each season 2002-2006, five consecutive years.
    • This was team owner Jack Roush’s 92nd NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. Roush has scored six NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victories at Dover.
    • Jack Roush Racing has won at least one race each season 1997-2006, 10 consecutive years.
    Notebook Items
    • Jamie McMurray (second) scored his fifth top-10 finish and best finish of the 2006 season. It is also his best finish in seven races at Dover International Speedway.
    • Jamie McMurray led 95 laps, leading the most laps for just the second time in his career. He also led the most laps when he scored his career-first victory at Lowe’s in October 2002.
    • Kevin Harvick (third) scored his sixth top-10 finish in 13 races in 2006. It was his first top-10 finish in the last three races. Harvick climbed from ninth to eighth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings. He has scored five top-10 finishes in 11 races at Dover.
    • Jeff Burton (fourth) scored his eighth top-10 finish in 2006. It was his in ninth top-10 finish in 25 races at Dover International Speedway. Burton has scored top-15 finishes in his last seven races, a streak that began at Texas. Burton climbed from eighth to seventh in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 16th in the standings after 13 races.
    • Kyle Busch (fifth) scored his seventh top-10 finish in 13 races in 2006. It was his third top-five finish in three races at Dover. He remained 10th in the point standings. One year ago he ranked 19th after 13 races.
    • Jimmie Johnson (sixth) remained first in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup point standings, and is now 74 points ahead of secondplace Matt Kenseth. Johnson lost 35 points of his lead to race winner Kenseth.
    • With his eighth-place finish, Greg Biffle is now 85 points behind 10th. Four races ago he was 232 points behind 10th. Biffle has climbed from 23rd to 12th in points in those four races. After 13 races in 2005, he ranked second in the point standings.
    • Mark Martin (ninth) has scored top-15 finishes in 12 of the 13 races in 2006.
    • Dave Blaney (30th) extended a 31-race streak of running at the finish that began at Pocono last June, which is the longest current streak.
    • Rookie contender David Stremme (41st) led for the first time in his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup career. He led just one lap.
    • At least one of the Raybestos Rookie-of-the Year contenders has scored a top-15 finish in all 13 races this season.
    • Jeff Burton has climbed from 21st to 7th in the point standings since Martinsville.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-4-2006)
  • Roush Racing crew member dies in accident: Michael Fermaglich, 32, of Mooresville, N.C., was killed Friday night in an automobile accident in Concord, N.C. Fermaglich was an employee of Roush Racing, a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich. based Roush Enterprises, where he worked for the past two years as a fabricator at Roush Racing’s Mooresville, N.C. based operation. In addition to his weekday role of fabricator, Fermaglich served as the pit boss for Roush Racing’s #17 NASCAR Busch Series team on race day.(Roush Racing)(6-4-2006)
  • Rumblings – Dover: Matt Kenseth passed teammate Jamie McMurray with four laps to go today at Dover International Speedway and went on to win the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America for his second win of the season. This was Matt’s 12th career victory (he’s tied for 48th on the all-time win list with Ryan Newman) and #92 for Roush Racing. It was worth $323,591 from the over $5.6M in posted awards. Real racey at the end as we had five or six cars with a shot late….
    Tony Stewart got the early caution that team wanted, but you can bet they wished it would have been earlier than lap #37. Ricky Rudd’s substitute role ended up with a 25th place finish, and I would think they’re happy with that.
    Jamie McMurray (2nd) had his best finish since he was the runner-up at Daytona last July.
    Derrike Cope (37th) had his best finish since he was 33rd at Martinsville last October (only four races).
    STREAKIN….Greg Biffle has 4 Top-10’s in a row.
    Matt Kenseth has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
    Jeff Burton has 6 Top-10’s in the last 7 races.
    Jimmie Johnson has 5 Top-10’s in the last 6 races.
    The Rookie Report: For the seventh time already this season Denny Hamlin (11th) grabs this award. He was followed by: Clint Bowyer (17th), Reed Sorenson (19th), Martin Truex Jr (22nd), David Stremme (41st), and J. J. Yeley (42nd).
    This Week’s Elevator….UP: Operator of the Week is Jimmie Johnson (+36), followed by Kyle Busch (+25) and Reed Sorenson (+20). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Elliott Sadler (-32), followed by J. J. Yeley (-28 ), Hermie Sadler (-27), Joe Nemechek (-22), and Kevin Lepage (-21).
    David Stremme led a lap today for the first time in his NEXTEL Cup career. He’s the 40th different driver to lead a lap this season….last year’s number was 51.
    Matt Kenseth shaved 35 points off Jimmie Johnson’s lead today….it now stands at 74. No change in our “Stayin’ Alive” line….the spread from 1st to 10th (after penalties) last week was 449, this week it’s 439. Jamie McMurray (18th to 15th) and Ryan Newman (22nd to 19th) made the best moves forward today, while J. J. Yeley (24th to 27th) fell the most spots.(Stock Car Fans)(6-4-2006)
  • Dale Jr. limited to races outside of Cup: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. comments why he doesn’t do many races outside of Nextel Cup:
    Q). Did Budweiser tell you that you can’t run any other races”
    A) “They done it. I got a deal where I can only run “X” amount of Busch races and blah, blah, blah. That’s the sponsor’s decision more for continuity with me driving the red car every week. They want consistency for the fans seeing me in a red car. They really don’t want to see me in a Taco Bell or KFC car. Bud would rather have me in a red Bud car. That’s why I don’t really get the opportunity to run more.”
    Q). Did they do that after your accident?
    A) “No. We’ve had that contract.”(GM PR)(6-4-2006)
  • Sad News: Eleanor Bird: Eleanor Bird, 75, mother of Steve Bird (Birdie), four-time NASCAR Busch Series Champion Crew Chief, passed away on Tuesday, May 30, 2006 in Bedford, NH. Calling hours will be held Monday, June 5th from 9-11 am, followed by a memorial service at 11 am at the Douglas & Johnson funeral Home, 214 Main Street, Salem, NH. Burial will follow in Mt.Vernon Cemetery, Boxford, MA.Mrs.(Douglas & Johnson Funeral Home)(6-4-2006)
  • Johnson to share pit stall with Wimmer..for a while: Dover International Speedway has only 42 pit stalls, and since #48-Jimmiw Johnson is starting 42nd on the grid after spinning out on his qualifying lap, Johnson must share a pit stall with #4-Scott Wimmer, who is starting 43rd [pit stall 39, see the pit selections at FoxSports]. “We were pretty excited afterwards,” Johnson said about the spin where he amazingly kept the car from hitting the wall. “Shortly thereafter, we found out we had to share a pit stall, and the smiles went away.” Most tracks have 43 pit stalls, but Dover does not. Once a pit stall opens up from a car that has dropped out of the event, Johnson can choose to move to the open pit stall or tell Wimmer’s team to move. If both Johnson and Wimmer are on the lead lap when the caution comes out, the highest positioned driver will get to pit first. “We’ve just got to make the most of it and stay ahead of the 4 car [of Wimmer],” Johnson said. “I would assume the first chance we have to separate, we will do whatever we can. We’ll split up as fast as we can.” Usually when teams share a pit stall, it’s two teams low in points and does not create a big stir. But with Johnson being the point leader, the issue has been thrown into the spotlight. “It’s tough for me to believe that in today’s world of racing, they can’t modify pit road and adjust pit road for 43 cars to have their own pit stall,” Johnson said. “I just wasn’t aware of it. It just doesn’t give anybody a fair shot.” Wimmer said he hopes the Morgan-McClure team can use the situation as a learning experience. “Just pitting with those guys, we’ll learn a lot about pit strategies and things like that,” Wimmer said. “It might end up helping us out. But it’s going to be interesting the first few stops because there are going to be times where they will want to come in and we will want to come in, too. Unfortunately, that’s what happens when you qualify bad.” Wimmer said he will be considerate considering Johnson is the point leader, but if he is ahead of Johnson, he plans on coming in with the lead-lap cars and make Johnson pit later. We definitely don’t want to ruin his race, but we’ve got to get ourselves up to the top 35 in points so we don’t have to rely on qualifying so much,” Wimmer said.(SceneDaily.com)(6-4-2006)


    News from June 3, 2006

  • DEI executive urges GM to unify its engine program: Richie Gilmore, the general manager at Dale Earnhardt Inc., said that General Motors’ racing executives may have to change the way they do business in order to compete against Toyota next season on the Nextel Cup tour. Toyota, a newcomer to the Nextel Cup, will be centralizing many of its key operations. Gilmore said that Chevrolet may have to do likewise, or at least make some major changes in the way that it approaches the sport. Gilmore said that Chevrolet’s four independent engine-building operations may have to unify. “I really think that’s something GM will have to do,” Gilmore said. “We (Chevy teams) all work closely on engines, but it needs to go up another step (in centralization). We each spend a lot of money on engines, dynos and people. We have 78 people (building engines), and Hendrick has 120. I think GM is looking at that and trying to figure out the best thing to do … because when Toyota comes in the sport, it will be strong.”(Winston Salem Journal)(6-3-2006)
  • Rudd unsure of future plans: Shortly before stepping into a Nextel Cup car for the first time since last November, veteran driver Ricky Rudd says he won’t decide until late this season whether he wants to return to the sport next year, although he appears to be leaning against it. Rudd, who is filling in for the injured Tony Stewart [#20 Powerade/Home Depot Chevy] in practice and qualifying for the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway, told reporters today that he’s in no hurray to make a decision. As to rumors that he’s been courted by Toyota team owners, Rudd says that he has had calls – but not just from that manufacturer’s teams. Rudd said that he’s told all the callers that he doesn’t want to hold their plans up and that he remains committed to spending a year away from NASCAR. Rushing his decision, or rushing a team’s decision, wouldn’t be fair to anyone, he says, nor would having someone wait for him to make the choice about whether or not his future includes racing. By the time he’s ready to make that decision, possibly in September or October, Rudd says teams should have already locked up a driver and be getting prepared for 2007. “Right now, if you ask me am I going to come back and run a 100 percent schedule or will I be back next year, I don’t think so,” Rudd said. “I’m enjoying retirement right now, I’m enjoying my time off. Seems like the more time I have off, the more I’m enjoying it.” In the past few months, Rudd has shifted comfortably into a life without racing. After competing for more than 30 years, he wondered how he would handle being away from the track. Turns out he hasn’t really missed it that much. Rudd competed with Wood Brothers Racing through the end of last season, announcing late in the year that he planned to take a year off from full-time competition. He remains committed to that goal. “Really I’m just really sort of taking some time off to figure out, ‘Can I handle this retirement situation?’ I hated to use the word retirement and really never did, to see if I could settle into a routine after doing this for 30, 31 years,” he said. Rudd says he has really enjoyed the break and having more time to spend with his 13-year-old son, Landon. “I’ve been out playing with my son just about every day. [I] sort of neglected him over the last several years just because of the nature of the sport, so we’ve been spending a lot of time together, ride a lot of dirt bikes, ride a lot of go-karts and stay really active,” Rudd said. “I was telling somebody the other day, I race more now than I used to race, I just don’t get paid to do it. So we’ve been out chasing each other around.”(SceneDaily.com)(6-3-2006)
  • MAPEI on hood of #7 at Dover UPDATE: This weekend’s Neighborhood Excellence 400 ay Dover will be the first race this season new sponsor MAPEI will be on the hood of the #7 Chevy. MAPEI, a global corporation, has been supplying residential and major commercial projects with total installation solutions for tile and stone, floor covering and decorative concrete as well as concrete restoration for more than 65 years. More info at mapei.com.(RGM PR)(6-1-2006)
    UPDATE: MAPEI, the world’s leader in manufacturing flooring adhesives and concrete products for the building industry, has partnered with Robby Gordon Motorsports as a co-primary sponsor of the company’s #7 Chevys. MAPEI will use the relationship with RGM in an effort to get its branding message to contractors and builders in the construction industry, as well as home owners. Beginning with Sunday’s Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway, MAPEI will share primary sponsorship space, specifically the hood, on nine Menards-sponsored cars. In addition, MAPEI will be integrated throughout the RGM program with associate space on all other #7 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series cars and on all RGM equipment and uniforms.(RGM PR)(6-3-2006)
  • Menard to practice for Robby: With Robby Gordon in Ensenada, Mexico, for the Baja 500 off-road race Saturday, Busch Series driver Paul Menard will practice Gordon’s #7 Menard’s/Mapai Chevy at Dover International Speedway. “I’ve obviously had an ongoing relationship with Menards Inc., and Paul’s done a tremendous job,” Gordon said. “[He] actually blew my doors off at Charlotte last weekend.” Gordon, a veteran off-road racer, was scheduled to fly to Mexico after Friday’s Cup qualifying, start the Baja 500 on Saturday in his Trophy Truck and finish, he hopes, in his Hummer H3 before flying back to Dover for Sunday’s Neighborhood Excellence 400.(SceneDaily.com)(6-3-2006)
  • Dover Goodyear Tire Notes: This is the first time Goodyear has brought this combination of left- and right-side tires to the track . . . all three NASCAR series — Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck — will run the same tire codes this weekend, though the Cup and Busch tires will be branded “Goodyear Eagle,” while the Truck tires will be branded “Goodyear Wrangler” . . . Cup teams are also scheduled to run these codes at Michigan in two weeks . . . unlike on other NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Dover . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Estimated Pit Window is every 90-95 laps, based on fuel mileage.(Goodyear PR), see full report with codes and pressures on my Dover Race Info Page.(6-3-2006)


    News from June 2, 2006

  • Newman is back, wins pole at Dover: #12-Ryan Newman won the Budweiser pole for the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway with a speed of 154.633mph for his 1st pole of 2006 and 36th of his career, but his first in 14 races, which was Texas in November 2005. #19-Mayfield will start on the outside pole, 2nd, for the 2nd race in a row, followed by #24-Jeff Gordon. #2-Kurt Busch and #29-Kevin Harvick. Qualifying was delayed over an hour as heavy rain fell, but the sun came back out and the concrete surface dried quickly. Points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson came off turn 4 on his first lap, looped the car around a few times, came close but missed hitting the inside or outside walls with no damage to the car. #20-Ricky Rudd qualified Tony Stewart’s car 10th [but Stewart will start the car Sunday and have to go to the rear of the field before the start of the race, Rudd will get in under the first caution]. #61-Chad Chaffin wrecked in turn 2 on his first lap and will miss the race, along with #34-Carl Long and #95-Stanton Barrett. #52-Neuenberger never took a lap in practice or qualifying. #00-Hermie Sadler [starting 16th] and #49-Kevin Lepage qualified best of the go-or-go homers [non top-35 in owners points]. #55-Waltrip made the race and will start 33rd. #78-Kenny Wallace wrecked in practice but still got the backup car in the field at 37th. See the qualifying results/starting lineup and more on my Dover Starting Grid/Qualifying Page(6-2-2006)
  • Dover Qualifying News and Notes:
    • Ryan Newman won the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Bud Pole for the Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America, lapping Dover International Speedway in 23.281 seconds at 154.633 mph. Jeremy Mayfield holds the track-qualifying record of 22.288 seconds, 161.522 mph – set June 4, 2004.
    • This is Newman’s 36th career Bud Pole in 165 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races.
    • This is his first Bud Pole and fourth top-10 start in 2006. It is his third front-row start this season.
    • Newman posted his eighth top10 start in nine races at Dover. He has finished in the top-10 seven of his eight previous races, including three victories.
    • Newman ended a streak of 14 races without a Bud Pole which tied the longest of his career. He posted his career-first Bud Pole in his third career start (qualifying for the Coca- Cola 600 at Charlotte in May 2001) – prior to his official rookie season. He went 14 races before scoring his second Bud Pole, which occurred at California in April 2002.
    • Jeremy Mayfield posted the second-quickest qualifying lap of 23.322 seconds, 154.361 mph – and will join Newman on the front row for the Neighborhood Excellence 400. Mayfield posted his 10th top-10 start in 24 races at Dover. He has three Bud Poles here. Mayfield’s best finish in his 23 previous Dover races was second in September 2003.
    • This is the sixth Bud Pole for Dodge in 2006, including the past three races. Chevrolet and Ford each have three. Qualifying was canceled at Bristol. This is the fourth all-Dodge front row of the season.
    • Jeff Gordon (third) posted his fourth top-10 start in 2006. Gordon posted his 17th top-10 start in 27 races Dover. Gordon has 16 top-10 finishes, including four victories at Dover.
    • Thirty-six of seventy races at Dover have been won from the top-three starting positions.
    • Kurt Busch (fourth) has eight top-10 starts in 12 races at Dover. His best finish here was fifth in September 2004.
    • Kevin Harvick (fifth) posted his third top-10 start in 2006 and his fourth in 11 Dover races.
    • Four drivers failed to qualify for the Neighborhood Excellence 400: Stanton Barrett, Carl Long, Chad Chaffin, and Donnie Neuenberger.
    • Ricky Rudd (10th) qualified the Home Depot Chevrolet for Tony Stewart. Stewart is expected to start the race. Rudd posted 19 top-10 starts, including four Bud Poles, in his 55 previous races at Dover and started outside the top-20 just seven times.
    • The most recent time a relief driver was used was in June 2005 when Brendan Gaughan relieved Mike Bliss #0 NetZero Chevrolet on lap 30 of the 200-lap event.
    • The most recent time a relief driver won a race was in August 1977, when Darrell Waltrip relieved Donnie Allison and won the August race at Talladega.(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-2-2006)
  • Ramblings – Dover: #12-Ryan Newman took his first Bud Pole of the season today at Dover International Speedway for Sunday’s Neighborhood Excellence 400 presented by Bank of America (say that fast three times!), and for a driver who’s got 36 of ’em, it’s been awhile. His last pole (of the eight he won last year) was at Texas last November, and he’s the 9th qualifier for next February’s Budweiser Shootout at Daytona.
    Jeremy Mayfield will start from the outside pole for the second week in a row.
    Jeff Gordon (3rd) has his best starting spot since he started from the outside pole at Daytona in February.
    Kurt Busch (4th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at California in February.
    Kevin Harvick (5th) has his best starting spot since he had the pole at Richmond last September.
    Hermie Sadler (16th) has his best starting spot since he qualified 11th at Talladega in October of 2004.
    Kevin Lepage (18th) has his best starting spot since he timed in 13th at Atlanta last October.
    STREAKIN….Denny Hamlin has 6 Top-10 starts in the last 7 races.
    Ricky Rudd qualified Tony Stewart’s car in 10th place today, but Tony will start the car on Sunday (from the back) and I’m sure we’ll see a driver switch at first opportunity. This place is not very kind to pain.(Stock Car Fans)(6-2-2006)
  • Rudd qualifies the #20 Chevy 10th: Ricky Rudd (10th) qualified the #20- Powerade/Home Depot Chevrolet for Tony Stewart. Stewart is expected to start the race. Rudd posted 19 top-10 starts, including four Bud Poles, in his 55 previous races at Dover and started outside the top-20 just seven times. The most recent time a relief driver was used was in June 2005 when Brendan Gaughan relieved Mike Bliss #0 NetZero Chevrolet on lap 30 of the 200-lap event. The most recent time a relief driver won a race was in August 1977, when Darrell Waltrip relieved Donnie Allison and won the August race at Talladega [Allison got credit for the win].(NASCAR Statistical Services)(6-2-2006)
  • Two drivers doing triple duty at Dover: two drivers are entered to run all three NASCAR races at Dover:
    Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Truck Series:
    #5/5/51-Kyle Busch
    #99/60/50-Carl Edwards.(6-2-2006)
  • Jarrett spotting for Jarrett: been told that Jason Jarrett, son of #88-Dale Jarrett. will spot for Dale this weekend at Dover and possibly for the rest of the season. Jarrett lost his regular spotter Eddie D’Hondt after Darlington when D’Hondt was released by Robert Yates Racing as the Team Manager. Last week at Charlotte, Jarrett and the replacement spotter had a mis-communication which lead in part to Jarrett’s lap one wreck with #7-Robby Gordon.(6-2-2006)
  • Race #450 for Gordon: #24-Jeff Gordon is scheduled to make his 450th consecutive and career NASCAR Nextel Cup Series start at Dover International Speedway. Along the road that leads to this 450th start are mile markers that include: winning the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his 50th start; his first of three Daytona 500 wins and becoming the youngest driver to win NASCAR’s most prestigious race in his 125th race; starting from the pole at Richmond for race 200; the second of four Brickyard 400 victories came with start 175; and his third win at California Speedway came in Gordon’s 375th start.(Performance PR Plus)(6-2-2006)
  • Special Paint for Yeley at Dover; The #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy of J.J. Yeley will be carrying a special paint scheme this weekend, featuring Imitrex (sumatriptan succinate), a prescription medicine for the treatment of migraine headaches. Sunday’s race will be the fourth of 11 events this season in which GlaxoSmithKline will be the primary sponsor of Yeley’s Chevy.(JGR PR)(6-2-2006)


    News from June 1, 2006

  • Champ Car accusing NASCAR of sabotage: Champ Car is accusing NASCAR of trying to sabotage a proposed race in downtown Phoenix next year in an effort to do away with all street racing in this country. And stock car racing’s major sanctioning body claims nothing could be further from the truth. Today in the state legislature a bill will be introduced that calls for a decibel level for any future motor sports events in a city or town in Arizona. “NASCAR and ISC have spent the past few weeks trying to undermine our proposed race in Phoenix and it’s my understanding that NASCAR has hired 22 lobbyists to beat us up,” said Kevin Kalkhoven, who co-owns Champ Car with Gerald Forsythe. “Why are they afraid of our product? Is big, bad NASCAR afraid of open competition?” Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications, responded to those charges by stating: “Neither NASCAR, nor any of its representatives, agents, or employees, has taken a position on Champ Car’s proposed event in Phoenix or participated in any conduct that would impede Champ Car’s ability to run an event. Nor is it in NASCAR’s best interest to do so. “NASCAR understands that in order to keep motorsports healthy and vibrant in North America, it is imperative that race tracks and race fans have a broad “product list” from which to choose.”(read more at Robin Miller’s Speed Channel column)(6-2-2006)
  • More on additional Toyota teams in Cup for 2007: Toyota might have more than three teams in its debut year in NASCAR’s Nextel Cup series after all. Jim Aust, vice president of Toyota Motorsports and president and CEO of Toyota Racing Development, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that two of its current teams in the Craftsman Truck Series are hoping to run some races in 2007 with the new Car of Tomorrow that NASCAR plans to launch at Bristol next spring. Germain Racing, which fields trucks for Todd Bodine and Ted Musgrave, and Wyler Racing, which has Jack Sprague as its truck driver, have told Aust they are looking for sponsorship to run a limited Car of Tomorrow schedule next season. The Car of Tomorrow is a bigger, boxier vehicle with a front-end splitter that NASCAR has designed to eventually replace the slick aerodynamic models that manufacturers spent the past 10 years developing. The Car of Tomorrow is scheduled to run in 15 races next season in a phase-in process that will be complete by 2009. Aust said it was something of a surprise when the Germain and Wyler teams approached him about competing in Cup next year. “We had planned on only running three teams and six cars next year, but these guys came forward and said they’d like to look into running some races with the Car of Tomorrow to test the water,” Aust said. “This just came up in the last couple of weeks. “Both teams have said they would like to eventually come up into the (Cup) series sometime in the next couple of years and this could be a good test for them.” Aust said the teams are uncertain at this time how many races they would run in Cup in 2007 but that their schedules would definitely not include any races with the current cars.(Associated Press) see past news about both these teams and Toyota on my Past Toyota News page.(6-1-2006)
  • Fellows in the #32 at Infineon Raceway, and Watkins Glen UPDATE: A brand new NASCAR Nextel Cup chassis built by world famous racing engineering firm Pratt and Miller should provide Ron Fellows with renewed hope to earn his first victory in stock car’s top series next month in California. Fellows tested the much heralded chassis — one he will use in his attempt to win the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway June 25 in the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy — at Virginia International Raceway yesterday. Fellows has a long and hugely successful history with Pratt and Miller who have prepared his winning #3 Corvettes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours at Daytona and for his three American Le Mans Series GT1 championships. Even though it was his first time in the new car yesterday, Fellows already was confident it will fare much better than the car he had in 2005 at Infineon when he earned a top-10 finish. A big part of Fellows’ hopes for the #32 Chevrolet this time around is that Pratt and Miller purpose built the car with him in mind. But it was on the track where Fellows saw a huge improvement over many of his previous Cup cars. Nextel Cup points leader #48-Jimmie Johnson — who Pratt and Miller also built a road course chassis for — was at VIR yesterday with Fellows. “We compared very favourably with Jimmie’s speeds,” Fellows said. “That’s really good to have that kind of benchmark.” Fellows said the car still has some handling issues but he is confident the team will work them out before the Infineon race. “At Infineon you need a car that is really good in the turns,” he said. “We are sure we will be able to get this car to unload near perfect next month.” He said he was sharing information with the #48 team and in return was able to gauge his progress off of another Hendrick Motorsports team — the #25 Chevrolet of Brian Vickers — who was running an in-house chassis. Fellows hopes to get on another round of tests for team owner Cal Wells after the Infineon race to prepare for Nextel Cup’s second road course event in August at Watkins Glen.(Toronto Sun), Travis Kavpil is the regular driver of the #32 PPI Motorsports Chevy. but the team is mired outside the top-35 in owners points.(5-17-2006)
    UPDATE: PPI Motorsports (PPIM) announced today that road course expert Ron Fellows will once again drive the #32 Tide/Downy Chevy in the Dodge/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway on June 25. As for the team’s full-time driver Travis Kvapil, he will take over the reigns of the #78 Furniture Row Chevy for Kenny Wallace who has a Busch Series commitment. Both drivers will be racing identically prepared chassis built by Pratt and Miller Engineering and Fabrication … the same company responsible for the highly successful Corvette Racing program and its domination of the American Le Mans Series for which Fellows is a driver. So far, Kvapil and Fellows have participated in three days of testing at Virginia International Raceway (May 16, 30 & 31) with another test scheduled with Kvapil going solo since Fellows is in France participating in the 24 Hours of Le Mans festivities and race.(PPI Motorsports Site)(6-1-2006)
  • Newman tests at SC road course: #12-Ryan Newman skipped the second day of “Car of Tomorrow” testing at Lowes Motor Speedway as he and the Alltel Dodge team spent Wednesday shaking down their road course cars at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, South Carolina.(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-1-2006)
  • Rudd gets medical clearance to run at Dover; Ricky Rudd spent part of Wednesday getting medical clearance so he can stand by for Tony Stewart this weekend at Dover and part of the day practicing with the Home Depot Chevrolet crew getting in and out of the race car. Rudd said “We practiced driver changes…my part of it because I’m sure Tony’s still resting. Everyone’s seat belts and shoulder harnesses and seats are a little different so I’ve been working and trying to come up with something that is easy to make and quick enough to make on a pit stop without giving up a lot of time.” His super sub role will apparently be decided on a week to week basis. “I think a lot of it is going to be let’s see how it works this weekend” said Rudd. “When you have an alternate game plan like Tony Stewart and these guys are having to take right now I think you leave everything as open as you can and you’ve gotta be real flexible. We don’t really know. Tony might be able to stay in the car the whole race. There are a lot of unknowns here so we’re just kind of winging it as we go.”(PRN’s Garage Pass Radio Show)(6-1-2006)
  • #48 Team Takes PIt Crew Honors at Charlotte: Jimmie Johnson’s over-the-wall crew took the lead in the season-long Checkers / Rally’s Double Drive-Thru Challenge by tallying its third win of the season in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Johnson’s crew spent 558.658 seconds on pit road during the NASCAR® NEXTEL Cup event, helping boost its driver to a second-place finish in the circuit’s longest race of the season. Johnson’s over-the-wall crew, part of the Hendrick Motorsports family, consists of: Chris Anderson (jackman), Art Simmons (front-tire carrier), Mike Trower (front-tire changer), Ron Malec (rear-tire carrier), Tim Ladyga (rear-tire changer), Rich Gutierrez (gasman), Mike Knauer (catch can) and Sean Kerlin (eighth-man). The #48 team, guided by crew chief Chad Knaus, also picked up pit crew challenge wins at Daytona International Speedway and California Speedway in February. Johnson’s crew, which will be awarded the weekly $10,500 prize, is vying for the $105,000 bonus that will be presented by Checkers/Rally’s to the team with the most wins at the completion of the 36-race schedule.
    Checkers/Rally’s is the Official Burger and Drive-Thru Restaurant of NASCAR, more info at checkers.com.(DMF Communications PR)(6-1-2006)
  • Rusty Wallace Kia now open: Rusty Wallace Kia, formerly known as Harry Lane Kia, is now open for business in Alcoa, TN, just five minutes south of Knoxville. Rusty Wallace Kia joins five other automotive dealerships throughout Eastern Tennessee in comprising the Rusty Wallace Family of Dealerships. Among those dealerships are Rusty Wallace Toyota and Rusty Wallace Honda. Rusty Wallace Kia is located at 4612 Alcoa Highway, in Alcoa, TN, on the way to the Maryville/Alcoa Motor Mile. More info on my Retired Drivers page.(6-1-2006)
  • Toyota hopes to get approvals early: Toyota hopes to have its Camrys for next year submitted to NASCAR in the next week or two as it tries to get a jump on the approval process. The deadline for submissions is July 1, but Toyota’s NASCAR program Manager, Pat Wall, said Tuesday that he would like to have a Toyota “car of today” in NASCAR’s hand in the next two or three weeks and is making arrangements for NASCAR to take the car to the wind tunnel for testing. NASCAR will have four submissions of cars of tomorrow, four new trucks (all manufacturers are making changes to the trucks) and Toyota’s Cup car and a Toyota Busch car to approve for next season, Wall said. Toyota also has a new cylinder head for its engine that it is trying to get approved and will submit a revised engine block soon as well.(SceneDaily.com)(6-1-2006)