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Press Snoop: NASCAR in California.

the latest news from around the world, courtesy of press snoop Lynne Huntting


It was bright and beautiful at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma CA for the first day of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend. The weather was, warm, sunny with a breeze - a breeze with attitude. The schedule included NASCAR Nextel Cup and Southwest Series; the Motorock Trans-Am Series, under the umbrella of Champ Car; and Legend cars.

In the morning session, one might have thought the Nextel Cup T&S monitor was broken because it sat there with JEFF GORDON/No.24 Dupont Chevrolet on top almost the entire two-hour session, with a best time of 95.060 mph.

There are 17 each for Chevrolet and Dodge, and ten Fords entered. There are several one-off road racers on track for this, the first of the two road races on the 36-race Nextel Cup schedule. Making his NASCAR debut is KLAUS GRAF of Germany in No.59 SEM/Colour Horizons Dodge, run by the BAM team, the same team for which KEN SCHRADER/No.49 Schwan's Home Service Dodge races. Graf has a long and varied road racing resume. He was nineteenth overall, after running as high as sixteenth. MORGAN SHEPHERD/No.89 Racing With Jesus Dodge was the only driver of the 44 entrants who wasn't on track - when last seen, the crew was still applying decals on the car.

JIM INGLEBRIGHT of nearby Fairfield CA is another of the one-off drivers, racing for RICHARD CHILDRESS in No.30 AOL Chevrolet. Earlier in the week the team was experiencing carburetion problems with the car, but those were resolved and Inglebright was on track for the morning session and was thirty-seventh fastest.

JIMMY SPENCER is sitting out this Cup race, due to lack of sponsorship, not choice.

BORIS SAID of Carlsbad CA is running all three races this weekend. Probably the only reason he's not in a Legends car is that he couldn't fit is 6'4 "+ frame into the small car. He's on pole for the Southwest Series race with a time of 77.853/92.020 mph, not a record. STEVE PETTY still holds the record with a time of 1:11.782/97.746 mph, set on 24 June 2000. He is one of the three drivers not making the cut, as he has no provisionals. He was forty-second of 43 drivers who turned times.

There was no podium conference after the SWS Qualifying session. Said had to get to the Cup garage to get in line for qualifying as he was P29 in the qualifying order, out of 44 cars.

Second through fifth are DAVID GILLILAND/No.88 RaceCarFans.com Pontiac (son of NASCAR veteran BUTCH GILLILAND, one of the original Craftsman Truck drivers), BURNEY LAMAR/No.1 Groeniger/Tri-C Chevrolet, BRYAN GERMONE/No.89 Generations of Sonoma/Golden State Lumber Chevrolet, and KEVIN HARVICK/No.92 Snap-On Tools Chevrolet, who was right behind Said in line for Cup qualifying.

Points leader, CRAIG RAUDMAN/No.2 HPS Mechanical Chevrolet will start nineteenth.

JIM INGLEBRIGHT/No.0 Big O Tires Chevrolet will start ninth in the Southwest race. He is P41 for Cup qualifying.

BEN WALKER/No.16 Camacho's Cantina Chevrolet blew his engine big time in the Esses, which led to a long delay during qualifying for cleanup. He made the field on a Provisional, based on Owner's Points.

Three drivers won't make the field for Saturday's 64-lap race: Petty, CURTIS LANSING/No.15 Little Germany Chevrolet and VINCE LITTLE/No.42 Bad Attitude Apparel Chevrolet.

Those making the field with provisionals of one kind or another (Owner/Driver/Past Champion/Southeast or Time): NICK JOANIDES/No.75 Colorfast Jackson Race Cars Chevrolet (Q39); RICHARD JOHNSON/No.47 Radcap Chevrolet (Q45); DOUG McCOUN/No.34 Rodgers Trucking Chevrolet (Q37); RUDY REVAK/No.86 Symmetry Group Chevrolet (Q38)-local road racers who has run this one race every year for the past ten years; and TODD SOUZA/No.6 Money By Design Chevrolet (43).


Related Pictures

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Jeff Gordon, Hendrick Motorsports 2002. [GM Racing]
Boris Said`s Team Centrix Financial Chevrolet
Jimmy Spencer missed his first Daytona 500 since 1995 after getting involved in an accident during the Gatorade 125s
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for thirteenth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick will be joined by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Truex, Jr. will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, November 20, 2015 for Sunday`s Championship 4, the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon will be joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS to compete for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. Sunday will be Gordon`s last race as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his fourteenth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Truex, Jr. is joined with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, advances to the Championship 4 with his sixth place finish Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway (renamed Jeff Gordon Raceway for the day to honor the four-time champion) in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS  and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS advances to the Champion 4 with his second place finish. Harvick is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase contender Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, November 13, 2015 for Sunday`s final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, speak in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 13, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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