NASCAR » 9 June 2004
Press Snoop: US news round-up.
Rusty Wallace was fastest at the NASCAR test at Infineon Raceway's newly paved 1.99-mile NASCAR road course, setting the pace with a lap of 1min 15.5secs, which is unofficially faster than the track record set last year by Boris Said.
The open test is in preparation for the upcoming Dodge/Save Mart 350 Nextel Cup race on 27 June.
Perhaps contributing to Wallace's quick lap was his being in qualifying trim, while the four other drivers - Robby Gordon, Terry Labonte, Jim Inglebright and rookie Brian Vickers - were in race trim.
Inglebright is a one-off driver for the Richard Childress Chevrolet, as he is a local Left Coast driver with Infineon track experience from the West and Southwest Tour series. The usual AOL driver is Johnny Sauter, but he will have two races off, ostensibly due to conflicts with the Busch Series schedule, where he is thirteenth in the BGN standings.
On Monday, Sauter finished tenth in the rain-delayed Busch race and, this weekend, is racing in the Nashville Busch race, while Dave Blaney replaces him at Pocono. In the Cup standings, Sauter is 28th. This past weekend, Blaney filled in for Shelby Howard in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, and finished sixth in #23 Toyota Tundra in his first Truck race.
The Grand Marshals for the Infineon race will be the Smothers Brothers, Dick and Tommy. Both comedians, Tommy owns a couple of wineries, and Dick used to race in Northern California in the Sixties, including two races at what was then Golden State Raceway before it became Sears Point Raceway.
Racing at Infineon with the Nextel Cup and Southwest Tour will be the Motorock Trans-Am Series. Last year, Johnny Miller raced in both Trans-Am and as a road specialist in a Cup car. So far, however, there has been no mention of Miller being at the race in either series. But he has just announced that he will run two Trans-Am races this season - at Road America and on the Denver street track. Miller will run #64 Eaton Electrical Chevrolet Corvette for Derhaag Motorsports, and plans a full 2005 season.
For the first time to my knowledge, NASCAR has penalised a PR representative. James Caldwell, who works for Kevin Harvick, was suspended until 21 July, fined $2,500 and placed on probation for the rest of the year for violating Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Busch Series Rule Book, concerning actions detrimental to stock car racing, after becoming involved in an altercation on pit-road after the conclusion of the race.
Also penalised were Harvick's coach driver, James Smith, and Busch racer Brad Teague, who were each fined $2,500 and placed on probation for the rest of the year.
The incident occurred after the Busch Series Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway on 29 May. Teague complained about getting the one-fingered salute one too many times from Harvick and threatened to do something if it didn't stop. There was a tussle, Teague landed on the ground and came up swinging. NASCAR officials had to separate them all.
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