Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Burton: Martin Won't Step Out

Add Jeff Burton to the growing list of people who think Mark Martin will have trouble climbing out of the U.S. Army Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway in a few weeks. Burton said, “I’d bet almost anybody that Mark Martin runs all 38 races. Matt (Kenseth) and I told him before the Daytona 500 that we both bet that he would run every race. I believed it before the year started, and I believe it even more today.”

Burton said racers like Martin simply don’t walk away from front-running cars, especially while leading the points.

“I know him really well,” said Burton. “I hate to use this analogy, but he’s like a drug addict that can’t get away from it. That’s a horrible analogy, (racing) is an addicting thing, and when you’re having success it’s much, much harder to walk away. Mark Martin isn’t going to have a car owner look him in the eye and say, `Hey, we have a chance to win a championship,’ and have him say, `Well, I’m not riding.’ I know he’s not going to. He can say all he wants, but he’s not scheduled to run (today’s COT test at) Bristol. Who’s doing the Bristol test? Mark Martin.”

The official Bristol test sheet shows Regan Smith at the wheel of both US Army entries, but Martin is indeed turning laps in one of the Ginn Racing machines. He is supposed to surrender the U.S. Army #01 to Smith for 16 races this season, and continues to insist that his schedule has not changed.

COT Testing At Thunder Valley!

Dale Jarrett tests his Car Of Tomorrow Toyota Camry at Bristol Motor Speedway today, in Day One of a two-day session.

NASCAR officials put their new, one-piece body template to work on Juan Pablo Montoya's COT Dodge at Bristol today. (Alex Hayden photos)

Time For Answers In Waltrip Mystery

It’s been two weeks since the discovery of an illegal fuel additive in Michael Waltrip’s NAPA Toyota at Daytona International Speedway, and still no explanation of how it happened.

NASCAR officials discovered the illegal compound in Waltrip’s fuel on February 14, docking the veteran driver 100 driver/owner points, ejecting crewchief David Hyder and Competition Director Bobby Kennedy from the speedway, suspending both men indefinitely, and fining Hyder $100,000.

In an emotional press conference the following day, Waltrip professed his innocence, saying he had no personal involvement in the scandal, and did not know (or approve) of the illegal substance. He blamed the controversy on the unauthorized actions of one of more of his employees, and promised to terminate those involved.

Today – 14 days later -- there have been no terminations, and no explanations.

Michael Waltrip Racing spokesman Ty Norris said earlier this week that the team continues to search for the guilty party. Norris has spoken repeatedly with Hyder – who was suspended with pay by the team following his ejection from the speedway -- offering to guarantee his employment in exchange for a full accounting of what happened.

Despite the auto racing equivalent of immunity from prosecution, however, Hyder insists he knows nothing.

Is it realistic to believe that the crewchief, Director of Competition and team owner were all blissfully ignorant of what was going on in their own shop? Probably not. Something so blatant, so egregious could hardly be done to Waltrip’s racecar without someone in authority knowing about it, or at least being able to find out about it by now. Information travels fast in this business. A man running at full speed cannot make it to the far end of the Nextel Cup garage before the juicy new rumor about him does. It’s foolish to think that something like this can be kept quiet for a day, much less two weeks.

The information is out there. Someone knows what happened, and it’s time to come clean.

As the days continue to tick by, Waltrip is in danger of becoming a sanitized version of O.J. Simpson. Simpson swore he would clear his name by finding the “real killer,” but instead spends his time searching golf course sandtraps around the globe. Waltrip professes his innocence as well, but seems to be making little progress in uncovering the culprit within his own walls.

Mikey hasn’t cut anyone’s throat -- other than perhaps his own – and it is unfair to paint everyone at MWR with the same guilty brush. Perhaps Hyder indeed acted alone. Perhaps Kennedy is to blame. Maybe Waltrip authorized the whole dirty scheme, or perhaps the mysterious, unnamed fourth party who requested a leave of absence at the height of the controversy is to blame.

No one knows, or at least no one’s telling. And the longer this mystery goes unsolved, the more everyone involved begins to appear guilty by association.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Another Public Service From Your Friends At Sirius Speedway

This is an item many of our listeners will absolutely be interested in. Express your love for the "Good Old Days," when Busch Series regulars won every week at exotic venues like Myrtle Beach, South Boston, Hickory and Rougemont Speedways. They also have an "I Love Buschwhackers" version, but why would anyone want one of those? Click HERE for more information, and to order.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sirius Speedway Hits The Road Friday!!

Your favorite motorsports talkshow hits the road again this Friday, when The Godfather broadcasts live from the 2007 Speedway Expo at the Eastern States Exhibition in West Springfield, Mass.

The Speedway Expo is the brainchild of Dr. Dick Berggren; editor of Speedway Illustrated Magazine, NASCAR on FOX pit reporter, and frequent Sirius Speedway guest. It features race cars and equipment from speedways and sanctioning bodies across the northeastern United States, and guest appearances by reigning NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Todd Bodine, Nextel Cup stars Clint Bowyer and Kenny Wallace, the "First Couple" of NHRA PowerAde Drag Racing; Melanie Troxell and Tommy Johnson, Jr., NASCAR On FOX commentators Jeff Hammond and Mike Joy, and National Speedsport News Editor Emeritus Chris Economaki, among others.

We'll preview the show from 3-5 p.m. ET Friday, and talk to the stars when the doors open at 5 p.m. Our loyal northeast listeners are invited to turn out and say hello! The show runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and you can get more information (and directions) by clicking HERE.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Observations Made While Falling Asleep In The Ontario, California International Airport On A Sunday Evening

Matt Kenseth on an intermediate track is as smooth as the inside of a lamb's ear. But I still think Harvick would have beaten him, if his tire hadn't gone flat under caution.

Chip Ganassi Racing is going to be just fine. Montoya continues to amaze, Stremme was a top-12 car again today if he hadn't pitted a lap before Sterling Marlin's wreck brought out the caution, and Reed Sorenson's luck is bound to change one of these days.

After three days contending with Los Angeles traffic, I understand the high volume of "road rage" shootings in this state. I don't condone, but I understand.

Bobby Ginn's money has done wonderful things to the former MB2 Motorsports. Mark Martin now leads the Nextel Cup point standings, but insisted again after the race that he's sticking to his original, part-time Cup schedule. He didn't even say, "at this time" this time.

I spoke with a fan who spent nearly $250 on Saturday Busch Series tickets, then was told it would cost him and his family an additional $50 a head to walk into the infield. Not the garage, the freakin' INFIELD. Coincidentally, I'm sure, you could once again have fired a howitzer into the California Speedway grandstands this weekend, without harming a soul.

NASCAR is, at best, the fourth most popular spectator sport in California, behind NFL football, NBA basketball and televised, high-speed police chases.

The Academy Awards are being presented tonight, just 60 miles from here in L.A. I thought I saw Britney Spears at the track today, but it turned out to be a bald guy in a Jimmie Johnson T-shirt.

All by itself, the DEI engine department eradicated an ongoing mosquito problem in neighboring Rancho Cucamonga. Paul Menard's Busch engine? Kaboom. Martin Truex's Cup powerplant? Pfffft. And Dale Junior's Cup engine? Ka-blammo. TWICE! I'm no expert, but if you ask me, those "experimental parts" aren't cutting it.

Smoothest marketing move of the weekend? The "Three Races For $99" radio ads Las Vegas Motor Speedway flooded the Greater Los Angeles market with all week.

After watching three days of "aero push" at its absolute worst, I've decided that the Car Of Tomorrow can't arrive a moment too soon. I swear, if he could have gotten to the lead, James Hylton would have driven off to a six-second lead.

I'm glad David Reutimann is okay. That was a nasty lick. And while I'm at it, the fact that Reutimann has been the most successful member of the Michael Waltrip Racing triumvirate so far this season says a lot about him, and maybe something about Mikey and DJ, as well.

Enough of the cold weather already. We've been to Florida and California in the last two weeks, and have yet to shed the parkas. If I wanted to shiver, I'd go home to Vermont!

Talk to you tomorrow, it's time to board...

Does Jack Know About This?????

Check out THIS LINK, paying special attention to the third paragraph. For the record, Red Sox owner John Henry is Jack Roush's new partner at Roush-Fenway Racing. Some things are just too ironic...

Thanks to the Hartford (CT) Courant for the article.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Another Sponsor Snit For RCR

Richard Childress continues to hope for an agreement to maintain the sponsorship on his Jeff Burton-driven #31 Nextel Cup Chevrolet, after current sponsor Cingular Wireless is rebranded as AT&T later this season. Now, Childress has a second sponsor conflict to deal with; this one pitting Shell Oil Company – new co-sponsors of Kevin Harvick’s Daytona 500-winning Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet – against Sunoco, the Official Fuel Supplier of NASCAR.

During SpeedWeeks at Daytona International Speedway, Sunoco officials complained bitterly about the Shell-Pennzoil branding on Harvick's uniform and helmet, saying their status as the Official Fuel of NASCAR precludes involvement by other fuel suppliers. Shell-Pennzoil sidestepped that restriction by agreeing to promote only their automotive lubricants – instead of gasoline – on Harvick’s car, but Sunoco officials contended that the distinction was murky, at best. After a number of complaints following Harvick’s NASCAR Busch Series win on Saturday – a win that saw him appear in Victory Lane wearing his Shell-Pennzoil firesuit when an AutoZone-logoed suit could not be finished in time -- NASCAR reportedly asked Harvick to wear a jacket over his uniform during driver introductions leading up to the Daytona 500,

He agreed, but in-car footage during the race included a number of the Shell logos prominently displayed in the car, and on Harvick’s helmet and uniform. It should be noted, however, that directly below the main logo on Harvick’s helmet were the words “Super Duty;” a direct reference to Shell’s line of heavy duty lubricants. Despite that distinction, Sunoco officials were less than pleased when newspapers across the country featured Victory Lane photos of Harvick, complete with prominent Shell branding.

Sources now say that changes will be made in time for this weekend’s race at California Speedway. Harvick’s helmet will reportedly be repainted and his driving uniform reworked to include smaller, less-conspicuous Shell logos.

Sunoco is in the fifth year of a 10-year contract to serve as official fuel supplier for NASCAR’s Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series, an agreement spokesman Ramsey Poston said the sanctioning body takes seriously. "In exchange for providing a quality product for all three series, Sunoco was granted exclusivity in the fuel category at the track," said Poston said this week. "We're always trying to work with our sponsors and teams to navigate through any challenges, especially in the automotive lubricant category, which is closely aligned with fuel."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Turf War At Daytona!

Clint Bowyer's crew had a little yard work to do after his "inverted finish" in Sunday's Daytona 500.

Robin Miller To The Rescue!

There’s been a lot of NASCAR bashing in the air lately, after a contentious week of tech-line violations at Daytona International Speedway, and a controversial (to some) green-flag finish in Sunday’s Daytona 500. Midway through a Tuesday afternoon filled with black-helicopter conspiracies and allegations of race officials on the take, it occurred to me that in today’s unfortunate “Scandal of the Day” society, NASCAR doesn’t get much credit for the many things it does right.

I vowed to do a little research, comparing NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Series to the other major motorsports series in this country, to see just how incompetent the Boys in Daytona Beach really are. Amazingly, before I had unearthed a single factoid, Robin Miller did the job for me.

Miller, a regular contributor to and Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, has assembled a series of statistics that say everything I had hoped to say, and more. For the record, Miller is no NASCAR apologist. In fact, he makes his living covering Open Wheel racing, a form of motorsport that he loves above all others. He has been a frequent critic of NASCAR in the past, and almost certainly will be again in the near future. But this time around, he hits it right between the eyes.

Among his more interesting points of comparison, Miller points out that the 2007 Daytona 500 paid more prize money than the entire Champ Car World Series, Indy Pro Series, Champ Car Atlantic, USAC, American Lemans and Grand American Rolex seasons combined. Again, for emphasis, NASCAR paid out more money in one day than six of North America’s top racing series will pay, all season long.

Pretty incredible. But it doesn’t end there.

Miller points out that Jimmie Johnson earned $15,770,125 en route to the 2006 Nextel Cup championship. IRL champion Sam Hornish Jr. collected $3,835,205 for his title, while Champ Car king Sebastien Bourdais grossed just under $1.3 million for his third-consecutive title, a figure that includes a $500,000 champion’s bonus. Kenny Wallace made more than Bourdais, for finishing 43rd in the Nextel Cup standings. Granted, Ole’ Herm ran 36 races to make that money, compared to just 14 starts for Hornish and Bourdais. But even if you triple the payday for IRL and Champ Car’s top drivers, they still fall well short of what an average Nextel Cup driver can expect to pull down.

In 13 seasons of Champ Car excellence, Paul Tracy has racked up $12.3 million in earnings; roughly one-fifth of the $60 million Jeff Gordon accrued in the same, 13-year span. Again, there’s no comparison.

In total, NASCAR's Nextel Cup Series paid over $219 million in purse money last season. The Indy Racing League paid $24 million; $10 million of which came from a single race, the Indy 500. Champ Car paid a paltry $6.5 million in purse money for its 14 events, and just $1.5 million in point fund money.

There’s more, if you’re still not convinced.

Miller points out that the Grand American Rolex Series “Rolex 24 at Daytona” pays just $100,000 to win. The rest of the races pay a measly $25,000 to the winner. Second place in the "Rolex 24" is worth $35,000, and fifth pays a laughable $10,000. Chip Ganassi Racing won the GARS Daytona Prototype championship last year, and made just $150,000 in purse money; less than half of what Tony Stewart made for finishing dead-last in Sunday's Daytona 500. Grand Am drivers champion Jorg Bergmeister received a Rolex watch and a discount pass to Daytona USA.

On the rival American Le Mans Series, the "Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring" pays $24,000 to win, and under ALMS rules, full factory teams are not eligible for prize money. Inn short, most teams are racing for free.

In USAC, where a competitive midget engine can cost as much as $45,000, the winner receives approximately $1,500 at the end of the night.

On the corporate front, Nextel, FOX, NBC, ABC, TNT, SPEED and ESPN spend hundreds of millions of dollars to be involved with NASCAR Nextel Cup racing. Neither the Indy Racing League nor Champ Car have title sponsorship, and both series are on national television only because they buy the time.

No matter what the incessant army of naysayers and nitpickers would have you believe, it’s clear that in addition to their regular schedule of screwing Mark Martin and ensuring Rick Hendrick gets a free pass in the tech line, Brian France and the boys from Daytona Beach have found a bit of spare time to make their series’ something special.

Is NASCAR Nextel Cup racing perfect? Heck no. Nobody would argue that. But it’s head and shoulders above the rest of the motorsports pack, and it’s a far cry from the ineptitude and corruption we hear alleged elsewhere. That’s something we need to remind ourselves of from time to time.

Thanks, Robin, for doing exactly that.

You can read Robin's full commentary by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hyder Put On Paid Leave By MWR

Crewchief David Hyder has been put on an indefinite leave of absence by Michael Waltrip Racing.

Hyder was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR last week, after an unidentified substance was found in the intake manifold of Waltrip’s NAPA Toyota. Team General Manager Ty Norris said Hyder will not be allowed back into the shop until his role in the controversy is determined, though he will continue to be paid.

There are published reports today that Hyder will be fired, but Norris said the team wants to know what happened before placing any blame. "We have to get to the bottom of it, and he's a huge part of it," said Norris. "I talked to him Saturday night for an hour. We went through the step-by-step process, trying to figure out anytime where something might have gotten in the fuel."

Norris said Vice President of Competition Bobby Kennedy will remain active with the organization, despite his own indefinite suspension by NASCAR. Another unidentified member of Waltip’s traveling team has also been given a leave of absence. Norris and Waltrip addressed the entire organization yesterday to emphasize a zero-tolerance policy on cheating, and said the team continues to cooperate with NASCAR’s investigation.

NASCAR officials have declined to name the mystery substance, with Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton calling it, "nobody's business." Norris said he knows what the substance does, and said it was likely introduced in the fuel.

Eury Backs Junior In Contract Talks: If Dale Earnhardt, Jr. decides to leave Dale Earnhardt, Inc. at the end of this season, his crewchief says he will go with him.

Tony Eury Jr. -- Earnhardt's crewchief and cousin – said Sunday that if Junior leaves, he will be right behind him. "When I decided to stay there and sign a long-term contract, I made it very specific that if 2007 comes and Dale Jr. decides to do something else, I'd like to have my options open," said Eury.

Eury said he hopes Earnhardt will remain with the team, adding he believes that to be the best decision for all parties. Earnhardt said recently that he wants majority ownership of DEI, a stance Eury supports.

"Junior should be running the company," he said. "That's what Dale Sr. built the company for, for those kids to have something later on in life."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dateline Daytona: Gilliland Races To 500 Pole

After suffering through a troubled 2006 campaign, Robert Yates Racing cars dominated Bud Pole Qualifying at Daytona International Speedway Sunday afternoon, with youngster David Gilliland claiming the Daytona 500 pole with a lap at 186.320 mph. Gilliland was the only driver to break the 186 mph barrier. Teammate Ricky Rudd was second, followed by Chip Ganassi Racing teammates David Stremme and Juan Pable Montoya. Rookie David Ragan, Boris Said, Jeff Gordon, Sterling Marlin, Johnny Sauter and Jimmie Johnson completed the Top-10.

Team owner Robert Yates said yesterday that he will turn over the reins of his two-car Nextel Cup team to his son, Doug, at the end of the season. "Hopefully, I can quit and get in the rocking chair and watch Doug do what he's going to do for the next 20 years," said Yates. In a related story, Yates said Jack Roush’s soon-to-be-announced sale of 50% of his team to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry’s Fenway Sports Group will strengthen the Roush/Yates engine alliance. Yates will continue to own 50% of the program, with Roush and FSG splitting the other half evenly.
Smoke Takes Bud Shootout: Tony Stewart served fair notice last night that he is back with a vengeance in 2007, winning his third career Budweiser Shootout at Daytona International Speedway. The two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion passed leader Kyle Busch with an aggressive turn-two move with just eight laps to go, then held off upset-minded David Gilliland for the win as a number of cars crashed on their way to the checkered flag. Kurt Busch was third, followed by Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick.

The final-lap crash came when Dale Earnhardt Jr. got into the back of Elliott Sadler’s Dodge, knocking Sadler into defending Bud Shootout champion Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne.

Lukewarm Start For Toyota: Saturday night’s Nextel Cup lid lifter did not provide much encouragement for Toyota fans. Polesitter Dale Jarrett dropped through the pack almost immediately, spending the entire event battling an ill-handling racecar en route to a 17th place finish. Fellow Toyota pilot Brian Vickers fared better, running near the front of the pack for a time, before eventually finishing eighth.

Those struggles continued what has already been a tough SpeedWeek in the Camry Camp. Bill Davis Racing teammates Dave Blaney and Mike Skinner have both been forced to pull engines from their mounts after experiencing problems, and during pre-qualifying inspection,NASCAR officials confiscated the intake manifold from Michael Waltrip’s NAPA Toyota. Sources say the offending part was immediately bagged and sent to NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Charlotte, NC, for further examination.

Waltrip qualified 25th in the 61-car field, while Jarrett was 50th. Rookie David Reutimann paced the MWR effort, time-trailing 15th fastest.

Crocker Luckless: Erin Crocker just can’t buy a break. The Evernham Motorsports driver became the first women in 17 years to qualify on the pole for the Daytona ARCA 200 earlier this week, but was once again the victim of someone else’s mistake in the race itself. Crocker ran strongly in the early going, but got spun from behind when the car in front of her either spun its tires or missed a shift on a mid-race restart. The incident cost her a lap, and she finished 20th, one lap down.

Outside polesitter Bobby Gerhart led 54 of 80 laps en route to a record fifth ARCA 200 triumph; his third in a row here at Daytona.

Broadcasting Live: Sirius Speedway will be broadcasting live from the NEXTEL Fanzone here at Daytona International Speedway on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, as we continue the countdown to the 2007 Daytona 500. Dave, Suzy Q., and Ryan will broadcast from the top of the Turn Four Nextel Cup garage from 3-7 p.m. ET (weather permitting), and fans of the show are invited to come on out and say hello.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

UPDATE: Ard, Others Speak On Lack Of NASCAR Pension Plan

Sam Ard and his wife, Jo, have been the topic of considerable discussion on some of the internet message boards lately. As you may recall, Ard was the 1983 and 1984 NASCAR Busch Series champion. He began his Busch Series career in 1982 -- at the relatively ripe age of 42 -- and in a short, three-year career, won 22 times in 92 starts, with an incredible 67 top-five finishes.

His career ended when a crash at Rockingham left him with short-term memory loss and issues that impacted his balance and speech. He overcame many of those deficits, only to be diagnosed last year with Alzheimer’s Disease. Ard now lives in a mobile home on land owned by his sister in South Carolina. He and Jo live off Social Security, as well as the meager wages she earns by cleaning houses. She has lost much of the vision in her right eye, and could lose her vision entirely.

The Ards face some major financial issues, and there have been a handful of charity events held for them. NASCAR, despite having no benevolent fund for former racers, has helped pay some of their medical bills, as well. But there are those who wonder if NASCAR should do more.

It’s a complicated question, for many reasons.

NASCAR is not the only sport without a benevolent fund for its former athletes. In fact, very few professional sports leagues have anything of that kind. Legally, NASCAR is not obligated to assist former drivers who fall onto hard times, since they did not employ those drivers. Morally, the debate becomes more clouded.

Ard commented today ont he discussion, saying, "You can drive for NASCAR, but when it's over, it's over. You get nothing. When you fall out of racing, or something happens to you, it seems like NASCAR just forgets about you. It's your friends and the people around the race track who have to remember you and keep you going."

Other sports do have pensions for former athletes, though some are overseen by players’ unions, not by the leagues themselves.

In Major League Baseball, 10-year veterans receive a six-figure annual payout, beginning at age 62. The PGA Tour has a deferred-compensation plan, which puts money away for golfers based on their past performance. After six years in the league, an NFL player receives approximately $2,500 per month beginning at age 55. The NBA has a plan very much like the NFL's, with payments to qualified former players. The National Hockey League contributes about $45,000 per year to retirement accounts for its veterans. The ATP and WTA tennis tours contribute $7,500 to $9,500 per year to player retirement accounts.

NASCAR has resisted the implementation of such a program, correctly stating that drivers are "independent contractors," and not employees of the sanctioning body. As such, NASCAR believes racers are resp[onsible for their own health care, insurance, and retirement monies.

Jeff Gordon, who ranks as NASCAR’s all-time money leader, says it is overly simplistic to say that NASCAR should look after its former drivers. “We don't want to make NASCAR go broke like some other companies out there with pension plans have done," he said. "We all need to be responsible for our actions. You've got to plan.”

Jeff Burton said he also believes it is up to individual drivers to plan for their futures, saying, "You really have to plan for things you don't think are going to happen. You have to paint a worst-case scenario.”

1985 Busch Series champion Jack Ingram, a contemporary of Ard’s, disagreed, saying he is convinced hat NASCAR can – and should – do more.

"It would almost cost nothing," said Ingram. "It wouldn't be many people that's not wealthy that contributed a lot to this sport, but they're ... destitute. (Ard's) a NASCAR champion, and he's living in a trailer. It shouldn't be that way."

Two-time Series champion Tony Stewart says he would gladly contribute to any program NASCAR sets up to assist former drivers. In fact, he has frequently given money to racers who fell on hard times in the past, saying he feels he owes it to the sport. "There are no health benefits,” he said. “If you get hurt, you're done. A $5,000 hospital bill for one of these guys, it could take (them) three weeks to make that. To me, it's just doing what's right. When somebody needs help, it's nice…to be able to give something back. It kind of helps complete the circle."

Perhaps the best answer is for the fans who enjoyed Ard in his heyday to step forward and help him now, in his time of need. Contributions to Sam and Jo Ard may be sent to The Sam Ard Care Fund, c/o Wachovia Bank, PO Box 1089, Lake City, South Carolina, 29560

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Millikan, Three Others Hurt In Roush Transporter Crash

Two Roush Racing employees, including former NASCAR Winston Cup driver Joe Millikan, were among four people injured in a multi-vehicle accident 85 miles east of El Paso, Texas Wednesday morning.

Justin Grebe, the driver of the No. 6 Roush Racing NEXTEL Cup transporter, was treated and released from Thomason Hospital. Millikan, his driving partner, is currently listed in stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit, with unspecified injuries.

The two were returning to Roush Racing's headquarters in Concord, N.C. after taking part in a two-day NASCAR Nextel Cup Series test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Monday and Tuesday, when their 18-wheel transporter reportedly slammed into the back of a motorhome, triggering a crash that ultimately involved two other big rigs. Local news reports said two other people also suffered non life-threatening injuries. The cause of the crash has not been determined.

Millikan ran in 80 Cup races from 1974 to 1986, with 10 top-fives and one career pole. His best season came in 1979, when he finished sixth in points and was second in the rookie standings to the late Dale Earnhardt.

Roush Racing has had no comment on the crash, other than an acknowledgement Wednesday afternoon that the wreck had occurred.