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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
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 2nd position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined on the front row by Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS who won the Pole position. Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, who is not in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, won the pole position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. He will be joined by Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS on the front row. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 2nd place Sunday, November 9, 2014 in the final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Gordon just missed out being in the Championship 4 finale next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, speaks to the media after failing to advance to race for the championship in the season finale after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, who is in the Chase, qualified for 7th position Friday, November 7, 2014 for Sunday`s final Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, leads Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, and the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS qualified for second position Friday, October 31, 2014 for Sunday`s Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Gordon, who is in the Chase, leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings . (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS races to a second place finish and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS finished in third place Sunday, October 26, 2014 in the  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Both Gordon and Newman are in the The Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which continues next week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Chevrolet SS, races to his 4th win of the season with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS finishing second Sunday, October 26, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. This was also Earnhardt, Jr.`s first career win at Martinsville. Gordon now leads the standings in the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which continues next week at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS qualified for 13th position Friday, October 24, 2014 for Sunday`s  Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Gordon, who is in the Chase, is 7th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.  (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet, left, talks with crew chief Alan Gustafson in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 24, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finished in 26th position and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Dow Chevrolet SS finished in 13th position Sunday, October 19, 2014 in the final Contender 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama. Gordon, who was in the Chase, advances to the Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase which begins next week at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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