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Thread: NASCAR News 2006

  1. #31
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    NASCAR to Reprimand Biffle's Girlfriend

    AP Motorsports Writer

    CONCORD, N.C. (AP) -- Greg Biffle's girlfriend faces a reprimand from NASCAR about her pit-road confrontation with Kurt Busch's fiance after the two drivers wrecked at Texas Motor Speedway.

    Busch hit the back of Biffle's car early in Sunday's race, causing an accident that ended Biffle's day. Biffle, the defending race winner, had led 49 of the first 82 laps before the crash and wound up 42nd.

    Moments after the wreck, TV cameras caught girlfriend Nicole Lunders slamming a water bottle on Biffle's pit box. She then marched down pit road and climbed halfway up Busch's box and had a heated exchange with Eva Bryan. The brief confrontation created a buzz in NASCAR, and the sanctioning body wants to cool down the emotions.

    "There will be some conversations that will be had with the people that participated, and we'll make sure that this doesn't carry on and into the garage or anywhere else," Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition, said Wednesday. "You've got to remember, most everybody in the garage area is friends, and those two girls in particular have a close relationship. Tempers flare, and we'll look at that and we'll make sure it doesn't carry on any further than that."

    Biffle and Busch spent three seasons as Cup teammates at Roush Racing and had a friendly relationship that often put their girlfriends in the same social settings. Both drivers were testing at Richmond International Raceway on Wednesday and not immediately available for comment.

    NASCAR does not have a steadfast rule against team members entering other pit boxes, but generally frowns upon it if the reason for approaching the area stems from something that happened in race.

    "When altercations and things like that happen, we recommend that you stay in your own area," Pemberton said. "You can go have a conversation, but it can't be heated per se."

    Family members are typically given entrance to the track on a "license" that recognizes them as a team member, meaning their actions can be policed by NASCAR and the sanctioning body reserves the right to revoke their pass at any time.

    Lowe's Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler said wives and girlfriends had a stormy history during NASCAR's early days and many have been thrown out of tracks because of their behavior.

    "That kind of stuff was common back in the old days, everybody was fighting back then, especially the women," Wheeler said. "But there wasn't the TV coverage we have today, so it wasn't that big of a deal."

    I enjoyed this. It reminded me of the good old days.

  2. #32
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Sounds like Daddy needs to teach the boys how to drive again.
    RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- NASCAR driver Kyle Busch was ticketed for reckless driving in a Richmond suburb Wednesday night.

    The misdemeanor charge carries up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine and a driver's license suspension, said Sgt. Don Lambert, with Henrico County police. The charge also calls for a mandatory court appearance; Busch will appear in Henrico County General District Court on May 23.

    Lambert said the incident happened at 10 p.m. near Richmond International Airport, a few minutes outside the city.

    Neither speed nor alcohol was a factor, though Lambert would not provide further details.

    "The officer observed his driving behavior consistent with reckless driving," he told The Associated Press late Thursday night.

    The 20-year-old Busch, who drives for the Hendrick Motorsports, grabbed his first series victory on May 14, 2004 at Richmond International Raceway. He went on to four more victories and completed the year with five poles and five wins, becoming the youngest top rookie in series history at age 19.

    Tuesday, Busch again appeared at the Richmond raceway for the Virginia kickoff of "Focus on Driving," Sprint Nextel's attentive driving education program.

    Busch's older brother and NASCAR star, Kurt, had his own legal problems because of a traffic incident last year.

    Kurt Busch was sat down by Rousch for the final two races last year and authorities ordered him to perform 50 hours of community service after he became belligerent with Phoenix area police during a 2005 traffic stop. He was charged with reckless driving.

    Busch later apologized.

    Henrico County authorities said the younger Busch, who lives in Mooresville, N.C., was cooperative.

  3. #33
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    One of the Manufacturers pulling out of NASCAR?

    This really wouldn't surprise me considering the financial situation of the "Big 3" and the introduction of the Car of Tomorrow.
    From: http://www.autoextremist.com/page3.shtml
    Thinking The Unthinkable.

    Detroit. It has come to our attention that serious discussions are taking place for the first time in the conference rooms of one domestic manufacturer in particular on a subject heretofore unthinkable in Detroit. The subject? Pulling out of NASCAR. Yes, it has been mentioned before, and I have predicted it for months now - ever since the announcement was made that Toyota would be buying its way into the France family circus - but we have confirmation that not only are the discussions taking place, they're so far down the road that a timetable for a pullout has been created, taking into account the end dates of existing contracts with individual racing teams currently aligned with this particular manufacturer.

    The fact that it has finally come to this is no real surprise. Several years ago, we pieced together evidence that each of the Detroit-based car companies were spending in the neighborhood of $140 million each, annually, on their NASCAR endeavors. That figure accounts for engineering and wind-tunnel work, direct payments to the teams, personal services contracts with the drivers, promotional programs, race sponsorships, advertising, etc., etc. In the Big Picture of things, when multinational companies are spending double that amount for the "privilege" of competing in Formula 1, that would seem like no big deal, but taking into account the factors that matter most to the Detroit car companies right now, that dollar figure is a very big deal.

    And what are those factors? Beyond the obvious pressures being generated by Detroit's dire financial straits, one thing in particular is driving these "pulling out of NASCAR" discussions to critical levels - and that is NASCAR's full-on push and investment in its much-hyped "Car of Tomorrow." The COT is NASCAR's new "spec" car, and it takes NASCAR's template philosophy to its logical conclusions. The COT could easily be called a "NASCAR Special" or whatever the marketing name that the hype-masters in Daytona Beach will want to call it, because any connection to what the manufacturers are producing has been well and truly broken. I contend, of course, that the connection was broken long ago, but the Detroit manufacturers have been clinging to a shred of a connection and amusing themselves with the annual massaging of their various models' grille openings, nose shapes and headlight decals.

    Until now, anyway.

    Now, the realization has finally sunk in for one manufacturer, apparently, and taking everything into account and putting everything on the table, there's no longer the blind allegiance to NASCAR at this company, which is a seismic shift if you know anything about this town's slavish devotion to all things NASCAR on and off for the last 50 years.

    NASCAR has been living large off the Detroit car companies' cash trough for so long now that they don't even care anymore, as all sense of reality left the NASCAR offices in Daytona Beach and New York long ago. The NASCAR attitude goes something like this: If a Detroit manufacturer drops out, it's "whatever" - because Toyota is stepping up to the plate. And if another manufacturer drops out, no worries, because eventually we'll just market our own NASCAR "Specials" and then we won't have to pay any manufacturer rights fees ever again.

    But for one particular Detroit manufacturer it's no longer "whatever" - and messing with the sanctity of the NASCAR budget is no longer unthinkable - it's very real, very calculated and very imminent.

    This Detroit manufacturer has decided that if it competes in motorsports in the future, it will only compete in three basic areas: 1. In production-based racing series that by rule and specification retain more than a passing resemblance to the cars they sell and the competitors they compete against in showrooms. 2. "Technical" efforts, in other words, engine programs for open-wheel and prototype racing series, but stopping short of Formula 1. And 3. Developing an effort to compete for the overall victory at Le Mans. Any other efforts, grass-roots racing, drag racing, etc., would be covered as the need and budget allow.

    This particular manufacturer has finally come to the stark realization that their NASCAR involvement has done more for NASCAR than anything else. NASCAR exists for its benefit and profitability first and foremost - everything else is secondary to that fundamental premise. The relentless hype of NASCAR and its sponsors by NASCAR itself and its enablers at the TV networks has resulted in dramatically diminished returns for the participating manufacturers - and pretending that NASCAR's popularity has done wonders for these car companies in the showrooms amounts to the Big Lie. The fact of the matter is that the increase in the popularity of NASCAR over the last ten years has seen a corresponding decrease in the participating domestic manufacturers sales fortunes. And there's not one NASCAR-sponsored survey that can possibly suggest otherwise, no matter how hard they try to "cook" the numbers.

    Immersed in a battle for the hearts and minds of American consumers, this manufacturer has finally taken the blinders off and decided that the blind devotion to all things NASCAR has run its course and now must come to a stop.

    In other words, the $140 million that was previously earmarked for NASCAR, will be put to very good use.

    Stay tuned, because we'll have more on this story in the coming weeks.

  4. #34
    Swinging in the hammock Ilikai's Avatar
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    Wow!!! I was wondering if any make was going to drop out after hearing about this Nascar car thing. I expect all three to go when contracts are up. it will just be toyota and nascar brands then. This could spell the end of big time nascar fandom. And even the Good Ol' Boys from the South might leave in droves with just two types of cars.
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  5. #35
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    There'a always ARCA.

  6. #36
    I remember when Oldsmoblie and Buick both pulled out and what that did with teams scambling to learn new cars....Now Toyota will be coming in with what they need to pass off as a street/race car model. but this generic COT is really going to be the downfall of Nascar racing. the fans aren't that ignorant and blind to what B.S. they will be forced fed.

  7. #37
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Jarrett Goes To Toyota with Michael Waltrip Racing

    Toyota lands big name with Jarrett signing for 2007
    By JENNA FRYER, AP Motorsports Writer

    May 13, 2006

    DARLINGTON, S.C. (P) -- Dale Jarrett became Toyota's first big-name driver Saturday, agreeing to drive a Camry next season when the Japanese automaker makes its NASCAR debut.

    Jarrett, a former series champion, will drive one of Michael Waltrip's two cars. Waltrip will drive the other and has not ruled out fielding a third entry.

    ``When Michael called me, I thought about it quite a while and I saw a new challenge there,'' Jarrett said. ``To help build something new is pretty exciting to me.''

    American automakers have been bracing for Toyota's arrival, which is expected to bring an influx of cash into the sport in an effort to win quickly and lure top talent. But aside from Waltrip, who will be one of the three inaugural car owners, Toyota has yet to secure a lineup.

    Kevin Harvick spurned an offer from Toyota by agreeing last week to stay with General Motors and Richard Childress Racing into 2009. So Jarrett, who is in his 12th year driving a Ford for Robert Yates Racing, becomes the first major defection.

    Jarrett scored all but three of his 32-career victories in a Ford, including three Daytona 500s and the 1999 championship.

    ``We're obviously not happy Dale is leaving Robert Yates Racing because he's been a champion and a great ambassador for Ford fans,'' said Dan Davis, director of Ford Racing Technology. ``Toyota is going to have its work cut out for them competing in Nextel Cup, no matter how much they plan on spending. Our plan is to keep winning races and championships.''

    Ford and RYR wanted to keep the 49-year-old Jarrett, who plans to retire following the 2008 season. Only they couldn't compete with the offer Waltrip and Toyota put together.

    He ``told us that he really wanted to stay here and really loved our race team and what we've built together,'' Doug Yates said. ``A little time later, though, he came back and said they made him an offer that he couldn't refuse.''

    Yates, son of team founder Robert Yates, said they weren't surprised.

    ``Toyota's history and background is throwing a lot of money around, and here is one of those examples,'' he said.

    Jarrett insisted financial gain was not the lure.

    ``The biggest thing is this opportunity to help Michael and his people and Toyota start something new. ... I wasn't going to have opportunity to do that again cause I'm getting that toward end of my career,'' he said.

    The decision wasn't popular with Jarrett loyalists.

    ``I pulled for him for a long time, I hope he changes his mind,'' said race fan Eddie Lambert of Anderson.

    Jarrett was prepared for that reaction.

    ``There comes time when you have to make a decision for yourself,'' he said. ``And this is a decision we made.''

    It's not clear what will happen with sponsor UPS, which has been on Jarrett's No. 88 Ford since 2001. The shipping company has spent considerable advertising money to align itself with the driver, and could go with him to Waltrip's team. Waltrip has made initial inquiries with UPS, which is in the final year of its contract with Yates.

    Doug Yates, who needs to find a new driver in a thin talent pool, didn't seem overly concerned with the possibility of finding a new sponsor.

    ``People are going to realize that the 88 is a good seat with a good car number, good sponsor and good history,'' Yates said. ``We wish more than anything that UPS will stay with us. Whether they're here or not, we're committed to the future of Robert Yates Racing and making it strong.''
    That wasn't a very well kept secret.

  8. #38
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Busch fined $50,000 for throwing device at Mears

    By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Kyle Busch felt the sting of his angry toss in his wallet Wednesday, when NASCAR fined him $50,000 for throwing a safety device at Casey Mears' passing car.

    Busch was also docked 25 driver points and placed on probation until the end of the year, and car owner Rick Hendrick was docked 25 championship points.

    The monetary fine ties several others for second-highest in NASCAR history, behind only the $60,000 that Ray Evernham was fined in 1995.

    It signifies that NASCAR is running out of a patience with the 21-year-old Busch, who overreacted when Mears accidentally wrecked him late in Sunday's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The two were running with the leaders when Mears bobbled, hit the wall, and bounced into Busch's car.

    As a pair of NASCAR officials tried to help Busch take the mandatory ride to the care center, Busch tried to break free from them to get at Mears' car. He then feebly threw a safety device, which missed its target, before being pulled off the track surface.

    In penalizing him, NASCAR said Busch ``disobeyed a directive from a NASCAR official, entered the racing surface without authorization and threw an object at another competitor's car during the event.''

    Busch was contrite Wednesday.

    ``I lost my composure and disrespected NASCAR, especially its officials, and put my own team in a difficult position,'' he said. ``The bottom line is I made a mistake that's a poor reflection on everyone I care about and there isn't anything that justifies it.''

    Busch is having a rocky second season in NASCAR, with a pair of run-ins with two-time champion Tony Stewart and a previous incident with Mears.

    This latest one has convinced Mears that Busch needs to grow up.

    ``Kyle got caught up in a mess that really wasn't his fault,'' Mears said. ``I can understand that he would be upset, but he definitely way overreacted.''

    Mears, who like Busch was contending for the victory, damaged his car and wound up 23rd. The two had an earlier altercation at Phoenix in April when Busch retaliated for previous contact by hitting Mears' car under a red flag.

    ``It's kind of the same thing over and over again with him overreacting -- at some point he has to learn how to carry himself a little better, grow up a little bit and not act react like that,'' Mears said.

    Meanwhile, NASCAR also penalized Jeremy Mayfield's team for failing inspection after the race.

    Mayfield's car was too low, resulting in a $35,000 fine for crew chief Ted Andrews and the loss of 25 driver points for Mayfield and 25 championship points for car owner Evernham.

    Also, Don Richardson, a crew member on Busch's team, was fined $5,000 and placed on probation for the rest of the year for improper use of a NASCAR credential.

    AP-NY-05-31-06 1732CDT<
    Maybe the Busch boys could a group discount at an anger management course.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Unklescott View Post

    Maybe the Busch boys could a group discount at an anger management course.

    well said Unk. I was thinking about the same thing....they sat Kyle down hard, not letting him get out of hand like Kurt got.

  10. #40
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Better keep your eyes open for this boy heading Cup racing.
    Teen Uses Video Games to Become Racer

    AP Sports Writer

    GLADEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Playing video games is the only way most people live out their pro sports dreams. For Brad Coleman, all those hours locked away in his bedroom helped turn his hopes into reality.

    Two weeks after graduating from high school, Coleman debuted in NASCAR's Busch Series. He's had a documentary crew filming him for nearly a year for a possible cable television series, and perhaps the only question is how soon he jumps to NASCAR's Nextel Cup.

    Not bad for someone who didn't race on four wheels until he was 13.

    "If people call me video game boy, I'm fine with that because it's gotten me to where I am right now in my career. Video games are definitely an essential to success in racing, I think," Coleman said.

    Games offered the only exposure Coleman had to racing growing up in Houston. His father owned a marketing company, and his grandfather, Don, was a Hall of Fame high school basketball coach.

    Sure, he impressed babysitters as a toddler racing a battery-powered car at the mall, and his parents thought he might be a racer when he fell asleep at the age of 4 in his battery-powered Jeep with his foot pressed on the accelerator - and kept turning circles in the driveway.

    But talented enough to go from his first go-kart race to his Busch debut in the span of five years? Yes, and part of the credit goes to Coleman's natural ability honed by years of pretending to be doing his homework when he actually was racing cars on his Sega Genesis, then PlayStation, his computer and then Xbox.

    "It all started out on the NASCAR video games," Coleman said. "When I was a little kid, I knew all the NASCAR tracks like the back of my hand. That helps me now."

    His father thought it was a phase when his son told him in middle school he wouldn't play basketball again because he wanted to race in NASCAR. Not even attending the 2001 Daytona 500, where Dale Earnhardt died in a final-lap crash, deterred Coleman.

    So his father, Brandon Coleman, took him to a new indoor kart center in Houston. He had been driving only five minutes when CART driver Price Cobb, in town for a race, took notice. He asked Brandon Coleman if his son competed.

    "Who competes in go-karts? What? You go to Wal-Mart, buy one and challenge your neighbors?" Brandon Coleman recalled. "He said, `It's a huge sport.' I said, `A huge sport? Come on.' He said, `Oh no, hundreds of thousands of people race go-karts."

    Over breakfast the next day, Cobb invited Brad Coleman to spend the summer with his team. Coleman calls it probably the best move he's made.

    "I went to the race shop every single day, and I traveled to all the races in the summer. Went out to the track at 5 a.m., slept in the race car. They actually had to get me out to go on the track. I learned a lot," he said.

    When he returned to Houston, Coleman went into kart racing and won 64 races in three different types of karts around the country. That led him to earn his professional racing license at 14. He was named rookie of the year in the Fran-Am Pro Formula Series with 10 top-fives in 13 races.

    His success prompted an invitation from Cobb to live with his family in Virginia and train at Virginia International Raceway, the type of move common for hockey juniors in Canada but rare for would-be racers. The teenager loved virtually living at the track.

    "How could I not be happy?" he said.

    His quick progression continued because he found the video games, and eventually a full-size simulator helped him learn how adjustments affect a car. By the time he visited a track in person, he'd already raced it repeatedly in his games.

    "The only difference is you can't really feel the force of the turns like getting thrown to the side of the car. And you can't feel when you wreck, which is a good thing. You can wreck a lot, hit the reset button and go again," Coleman said of his games.

    He finished seventh with his team in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2005 and moved from Danville, Va., to Martinsville, Va., to finish high school while wrapping up a rookie points title in the NASCAR weekly series with 20 top 10s in 21 races.

    Coleman spent almost as much time learning to handle sponsors and the media with his father's help, and he grew up quickly as a frequent flyer to drive on tracks such as Atlanta, Laguna Seca and Sonoma.

    "There's nothing teenage about him on the track," his father said. "Off the track, he's got the iPod and playing the video games, doing the kid stuff."

    Coleman also pitched himself to team owners at tracks. That's how Clarence Brewer Jr. first met him, and Brewco Motorsports signed him to a development deal of testing, 10 ARCA races and two Busch races to start.

    He was the fastest at Nashville Superspeedway in testing his ARCA car. He qualified third and finished second in his ARCA debut in April at Nashville. He won the pole in his second race and led the first 25 laps, while impressing Brewer with his dedication since moving to Kentucky to be near the race shop.

    "It looks like Brad is the real deal," Brewer said.

    Coleman's Busch debut came at Nashville last weekend, where he qualified 27th and finished 29th. More success may prompt Brewer to add up to seven races that will allow Coleman to run for rookie honors in 2007. Brewer would like Coleman to spend a couple of years in the Busch Series before either joining Robert Yates, Jack Roush or maybe even Brewco's own Nextel Cup team.

    "That's the kind of program we're hoping to put together where we keep our connection and don't hold him back from the next step," Brewer said.

    The 18-year-old Coleman knows there are people who think he's risen too high, too fast. Running safely and competitively is his only worry, and he can't imagine doing anything else.

    And just who did the boy who grew up cheering for Jeff Gordon actually race as in those video games?

    "I actually created my own character," Coleman said. "I drive as myself."

    On the Net:
    Brad Coleman: http://www.bradcoleman.us

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