Monday, July 02, 2007

Notes From The Magic Mile

Roush Signs Sponsor: Roush-Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith said yesterday that the team will announce a new, single-season sponsorship for driver Greg Biffle and the #16 Ford within the next 30 days. The sponsorship will carry Biffle through the final year of his driving contract with the team.

Despite being signed through the 2008 season, Biffle has been the subject of a number of rumors in recent weeks; rumors Smith attempted to put to rest, saying, “He’s definitely in the car next year.”

Biffle said recently that he will not sign a contract extension with Roush-Fenway Racing until the performance of his #16 Ford improves. He finished 31st Sunday n New Hampshire -- three laps behind winner Denny Hamlin -- and currently stands 17th in Nextel Cup championship points.

Sauter,Busch Fail Post Race Tech: The cars of Johnny Sauter and Kyle Busch failed to meet minimum height requirements during post-race inspection yesterday at NHIS; violations similar to the one that cost Brian Vickers his qualifying attempt Friday.

NASCAR has taken both cars back to its Research and Development Center in Concord, NC, for computer scanning, to determine whether the problems resulted from normal raceday wear and tear, or were the result of something done by the teams in an effort to improve handling.

Penalties, if any, are expected to be announced late Tuesday.

Hendrick Can Buy #8, After All: NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said this weekend that contrary to published reports, there is nothing preventing Hendrick Motorsports from buying the #8 from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Poston said that while NASCAR technically owns all the numbers, and issues them to teams on an annual basis, DEI could sell the #8 and have the transfer approved by the sanctioning body.

Wheldon Questions IRL Growth, Eyes NASCAR: Former Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon amped up his longrunning flirtation with NASCAR again this weekend, reaffirming his interest in stock cars and questioning the growth postential of the Indy Racing League.

“You always want to be making yourself better, and you always want to be involved in a series that's getting bigger and better," said the Brit. "I think everybody knows that I certainly would consider NASCAR. I want to look at the IndyCar Series this year and really consider .. is it going to get a lot bigger than this? Are we going to continue to go to races where we fill the grandstands?"

That kind of talk is nothing new for Wheldon, who told Sirius Speedway nearly three years ago that NASCAR was at the top of his eventual career wish list.

"We'll Be Back, After This:" TNT has taken considerable heat in recent weeks for its sometimes spotty coverage of NASCAR Nextel Cup racing, and for its seemingly endless number of commercials. In its season debut at Pocono, TNT aired 54 minutes of commercials, consuming 27% of the total broadcast time. The percentage was 30% at Michigan and 27% last week at Infineon Raceway, before skyrocketing to 32.3% Sunday in New Hampshire.

Sunday's broadcast ran 192 minutes from sign-on to sign-off, with 62 minutes devoted to commercial content. Sunday's Lenox 300 broadcast featured eight more minutes of commercials than Infineon the previous week, despite a 15-minute shorter total run time.

All You Need To Know About NASCAR Sanctions:In an effort to add some clarity to the debate over NASCAR's recent sanctions for violations on the new Car Of Tomorrow, this Technical Bulletin was sent by NASCAR to its teams on March 21, 2007, just after the COT race at Bristol Motor Speedway. It would seem to refute claims by crewchiefs, team owners and others that they were unaware of NASCAR's determination to crack down on COT rule infractions.

The bulletin said, in part: “NASCAR may require competitors to submit a car, car component, engine, engine component, or any other parts or related equipment to NASCAR for certification before being permitted for use in competition. Once a car, car component, engine, engine component, or any other parts or related equipment has passed certification by NASCAR, the above must not be altered, modified, repaired or changed in any manner without notification to NASCAR, at which time NASCAR may require re-certification before reusing the above in further competition.

“If, in the judgement of NASCAR officials, a car, car component, engine, engine component, part or related equipment that has been previously certified by NASCAR has been altered, modified, repaired or changed in any manner; a penalty of a minimum fine of $100,000 and/or disqualification and/or loss of a minimum of 100 Championship Driver and Owner points, and/or loss of opportunity to qualify, and/or loss of a predetermined starting position in the event, and/or loss of a provisional starting position in the vent, and/or suspension of any NASCAR members may be assessed.”

Is it just me, or is that the end of the debate?

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