Phoenix International Raceway located in the Desert area had beautiful fall weather Sunday for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Checker Auto Parts 500 Race. The skies were sunny and clear, and there is an autumn nip in the air. Race fans were everywhere.
The big topic this morning is the Busch Brouhaha, referring to the KURT BUSCH run in with the local constabulary - he was picked up for suspected Driving Under Influence when alcohol was smelled on his breath. The breath analyser at the PIR Maricopa County Sheriff Substation 'failed' and without the corroborating evidence, Busch was issued a criminal traffic citation for reckless driving and told to return to Tolleson Court on 22 December 2005.
GEOFF SMITH, VP of Roush Racing, said he started getting calls Saturday night at dinner, at which point it was too late on the East Coast to reach sponsors and necessary people.
Sunday morning at the track the No.97 Irwin Tools Ford, with major sponsorship from Crown Royal, was just sitting in the garage, crew standing around, and war wagon covered up.
At that point, the only activity around the car was a long chat JACK ROUSH was having with DANICA PATRICK and her entourage, which included her parents. Danica thought it might be fun to toy with the media by getting into the car, but it didn't happen.
Smith said a decision would be reached soon and announced as to whether Busch would drive or not, and if not, who would be the replacement driver.
Smith said the driver would have to fit the seat, customised for the slender, slight build of Busch. The name TODD KLUEVER was mentioned, one of the Roush drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck program. He races the No.50 Shell Rotella Ford, and finished fourteenth in Friday night's race, the top Rookie. Kluever is leading the Rookie Championship standings and is tenth overall in the standings, among 90 drivers. Kluever came to Roush Racing as the winner of the Race for Roush programme, which is known as The Gong Show. Next year Kluever will race for Roush in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Midmorning it appeared that the driver in No.97 would be KENNY WALLACE, who was in the car and running around fitting his HANS device. The crew was working on the car and it appeared things were moving forward.
Kenny Wallace is a regular in the Busch Series, and is currently sixth overall in the standings, 799 points out of first place. He started twentieth Saturday afternoon in the Busch Series Arizona 200 Race Presented by I Walk The Line, and finished fourteenth, on the lead lap.