NASCAR » 12 November 2006
Press Snoop: PIR sound bites.
Biffle remains at Roush with Ameriquest in Cup:
Ameriquest is continuing to escalate its NASCAR sponsorship, moving up from Busch to Nextel Cup with GREG BIFFLE, who will race No.16 Ford with Roush Racing for the 2007 season. Biffle took the moment to ensure folks that he is not going to Yates Racing as had been rumored. The Coast Guard program details couldn't be done for next year. Biffle doesn't know the details but is disappointed. Team owner JACK ROUSH echoes the sentiment, thanking the Coast Guard for all it does to protect our country and our economy. No 2007 Crew Chief has been announced yet for Biffle, but Roush said it won't be DOUG RICHERT. Roush said Richert is a card-carrying Crew Chief, who will no doubt find happiness in some other opportunity. In the meantime, it will be a busy off-season. "We're not done with looking within, and there's a long list of people to consider."
Roush doesn't feel there is an unfair advantage in the garage:
JACK ROUSH doesn't feel that the Chevrolet Monte Carlos have an unfair advantage over his Ford Fusions, but is upset that Chevrolet gets a new engine next year, and Ford has to wait until 2008. The Fusion was approved in 2005, and Roush thought the Fusion was better than the Taurus. "Whatever we lacked wasn't due to the body shape of the car."
Chase OK with Roush:
Roush feels The Chase format is fine as is. "Whatever they do we'll be there."
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has a new look for the 2007 NASCAR season - Wrigley Brands gums. Team Owner Ganassi said that next year it will be OK to blow bubbles in team meetings. JUAN PABLO MONTOYA of Colombia will race No.42 Big Red Dodge in three Nextel Cup races as part of his full season run for the Rookie Championship. Big Red will remain with JPM for the remainder of the Cup season as an associate sponsor.
REED SORENSON of Peachtree City GA and DAVID STREMME of South Bend IN will share the first 25 runs in the No.41 Busch Series Dodge featuring rotating graphics for Spearmint, Doublemint, Juicy Fruit and Winterfresh, with Wrigley's as an associate sponsor for the remaining ten Busch races.
There's life after 'Talladega Nights':
KEN CLAPP of Northern California is a retired Senior VP of NASCAR and now is a contract consultant to NASCAR Digital Entertainment, which sends him in several directions. He was involved with the recent comedy hit, "Talladega Nights" which had a NASCAR racing theme. One of his new projects is another movie in which NASCAR will be involved. The movie is in the preliminary stages, and could start filming by late 2007 or early 2008. It won't be a comedy, but other than that Clapp won't divulge. Clapp is also on 'loan' to California Speedway.
California Speedway held a press conference at PIR Friday afternoon with California Speedway President GILLIAN ZUCKER and NASCAR President, MIKE HELTON. Zucker said after this year's Labor Day NASCAR race, the track hired Associated Engineers Inc to conduct a sight line study. This has led to recommendations for what Zucker characterized as "subtle track improvements." Included in the planned changes are removing the first row of RV parking on backstretch which would improve safety conditions by adding fifty feet on the inside retaining wall and the 150-foot skid pad. This will also improve sight lines for the 40,000 lower grandstand seats. This means 157 fewer RV parking spaces. Zucker called each one of those space holders to advise of the loss. For the most part she said they took it well.
Infield RV viewing will be enhanced with two new NEXTEL vision screens with FM band radio audio for the audio from the Public Address system and MRN broadcasts.
Zucker was pleased with the two Nextel Cup races this year, which she said were "remarkably competitive," Between the two, there were 43 green flag lead changes among ten drivers and more than 6,000 total passes (actually 6,430 according to NASCAR) - the most passes on any non-restrictor plate track. Fontana passing was up by 48.4 percent compared to last year, surpassed only by Chicagoland and Atlanta.
When asked about the concerns about reaching the Souvenir Stands, Zucker said that souvenir shoppers not attending the race cause considerable operational difficulties. Therefore, she said, additional opportunities will continue to be provided for them to shop and not impede those who want to attend the race.
Helton said NASCAR applauds the changes. The banking at the track, based on Daytona International Speedway, is set to enhance fans sight lines.
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