The weather was cloudy and overcast for the start of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Nextel Cup race, but it soon started to clear. Typical summer weather for Northern California.

Saturday night in Milwaukee, CARL EDWARDS finished fourteenth after starting tenth in the SBC 250 NASCAR Busch Series Race, one lap down in the rain shortened race. STANTON BARRETT started thirteenth and finished twenty-first, two laps down. The race was shortened from 250 to 200 laps after heavy rains fell during the race.

Edwards flew in a private plane back and forth between Infineon Raceway where he's racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup race and the Busch race in Wisconsin. Barrett flew commercial from Northern California to Milwaukee on a one-way ticket after failing to qualify for the Nextel Cup race.

KEVIN HARVICK dropped to the back for the start due to an engine change. He had qualified twenty-first. CASEY MEARS, who qualified thirty-sixth, will also start from the back due to a pit stop prior to the start.

PJ JONES will drop back due to the driver change. He qualified the car in fortieth place. Jones said earlier that up until Tuesday he was to drive a second car for ROBBY GORDON. That fell through but Jones stayed, and had two practice sessions Saturday in the Impact car. MIKE WALLACE, the driver being supplanted this weekend at the last minute, wasn't too happy about it, but appeared to be having good dialogue with Jones on the car and track.

MICHAEL WALTRIP has been having difficulty manoeuvring some of the corners. The lead flagger at turn three noticed that, in his opinion as a flagger and racer, Waltrip was braking too late. He was all over the corner and short-cutting the course. When discussed with DEI team manager, TONY EURY Sr, Eury said Waltrip had been having that problem in other places also. Waltrip followed his DEI team-mate, DALE EARNHARDT Jr, around the course and Junior cautioned Waltrip not to try so hard...pull back a bit. Waltrip qualified thirty-fourth.

JAMIE McMURRAY will be taking the extra step for safety this weekend, wearing Oakley O-CarbonX undergarments. For the past year the young Dodge driver has been sort of a beta tester for Oakley, wearing its new base-layer clothing. The special fire retardant undergarments are made by Oakley with a proprietary blend of CarbonX, originated by Chapman Innovations. Chapman had been working with the military and fire fighters. Oakley started with footwear and gloves and moved to the clothing drivers wear under their fire-retardant driver suits.

Oakley contends that its new items will protect the driver longer and safer and provided a demonstration where another material-possibly Nomex, burned and deformed when lit, while the O-CarbonX burned, but did not come apart or change in character.

The new fabric has been approved by both SFI in America and FIA overseas. NASCAR drivers will be the first ones to wear the new garments. Oakley is launching the apparel next month in Seattle and then it will be available to all drivers. The long sleeve top and the long johns will cost $125 each, while the balaclava will cost $50. Oakley also plans on making boxer shorts. The footwear was designed in late 2003 and launched in August 2004. Oakley says it is the only company using CarbonX in footwear.

In Formula One, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA wears footwear with CarbonX. It is made by Oakley, but has no branding.

National Hot Rod Association has contacted Oakley regarding the apparel for its drag racers.

McMurray said he likes the underwear for several reasons, one being that it fits so well. The clothing was designed by a driver, so it wouldn't bunch. It has no seams or elastic, uses heat-transfer labels so there's no skin irritation, eliminates excess bulk, and is anatomically designed with new patterns to fit snugly, especially in the wrist area where the drivers have three layers counting their gloves. That bulk is what causes some drivers to wear short sleeve shirts.

KASEY KAHNE, who wears a brand other than Oakley, said that he is going to be switching to long sleeve shirts after seeing DALE EARNHARDT Jr suffering from his burns after he crashed a Corvette last summer in an American Le Mans sportscar race at Infineon. Junior told Kahne he wouldn't drive again without the protective underwear, which is not required by NASCAR.

Oakley says its apparel is lighter and cooler because it can breathe. As safety underwear is only recommended in NASCAR, not required, some drivers opt not to wear it because it is cooler without it. NASCAR may be the last major racing series which does not require fire retardant under garments.

In addition to applications in clothing and apparel for drivers, the O-CarbonX could be used inside cars. An Oakley spokesman said that the company sent representatives to the Mercedes Formula One plant last December and O-CarbonX usage was discussed regarding the Formula One car as well as the road cars.

A pale replica of Herbie, the Volkswagen race car, was at the track Sunday, to promote the new Disney movie Herbie Fully Loaded, staring LINDSAY LOHAN as a female driver breaking into NASCAR. So pale was the comparison, the only identifiable mark on the beige VW was the number 53. It was thirty years ago this October that the original Herbie movie was being filmed at what was then known as Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey. Some of the original extras in the movie, the San Francisco Region Sports Car Club of America race workers, are still hard at it volunteering as race officials this weekend at Infineon Raceway.