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

The weather is beautiful at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Dodge/Save Mart 350 race. There is a breeze, which is normal for this time of year. And a good thing too, because of the heat.

Four drivers will drop to the back of the grid for the start of Sunday's race. MATT KENSETH/No.17 Dewalt Ford, (qualified fifth) for going to a backup car; MICHAEL WALTRIP/No.15 NAPA Chevrolet (40) and JEREMY MAYFIELD/No.19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge (21); and Rookie SCOTT RIGGS/No.10 Valvoline Chevrolet (41) for
missing the Driver Introductions.

There will be no Lucky Dog Rule in effect at this weekend's race. The pit lane speed is 35 mph and the Pace Car speed is 45 mph.

It must take the expertise of a skilled tactician to schedule the movements for BORIS SAID this weekend at Infineon Raceway for all his three races. He has a different crew and team and car for each of the three featured races - NASCAR Nextel Cup-MB2 Motorsports; NASCAR Southwest Series-Ken Schrader Federated Auto Parts; and Motorock Trans-Am Series-Mike Davis Racing-ACS Express Racing. For the Southwest race, his crew chief was DONNY RICHARDSON, who will be 'calling the shots' for the Nextel Cup race, along with help from RYAN PEMBERTON, who is the crew chief for JOE NEMECHEK/No.01 US Army Chevrolet, one of the two regular MB2 drivers.

Some housekeeping here, to clarify things that folks have asked. TOM HUBERT of CA qualified the No.72 Freddie B's Ford (not Chevrolet) and will start the race. At the first pit stop - at a time to be determined - Hubert will get out and owner/driver KIRK SHELMERDINE will get in and finish the race. Hubert will go back to his 'day job' as tire changer for the Bill Davis Racing team, which runs Rookie SCOTT WIMMER/No.22 Caterpillar Dodge.

LARRY GUNSELMAN/No.98 Lucas Oil/Gibson Products is running a Dodge this weekend. His early entry said Ford, but the team didn't have a road race car, and an associate had a Dodge, so....

Preliminary snooping around determines that seven NASCAR Cup drivers of 45 wear a Hutchens device. The rest wear the HANS device. The six are: Hubert and Shelmerdine; TONY STEWART/No.20 Home Depot Chevrolet; and all three of the Penske drivers - BRENDAN GAUGHAN/No.77 Kodak/Jasper Dodge, RYAN NEWMAN/No.12 ALLTEL Dodge, and RUSTY WALLACE/No.2 Miller Lite Dodge.

DALE EARNHARDT Jr/No.8 Budweiser Chevrolet started wearing a HANS device this year. He will be racing the factory Corvette at the American Le Mans race here at Infineon Raceway in July. All those GM drivers wear the HANS device.

MORGAN SHEPHERD/No.89 Racing With Jesus Dodge will start wearing on in July, according to MIKE ZIZZO, NASCAR Senior Manager of Communications.

NASCAR President, MIKE HELTON, said, in answer to my question this morning on NASCAR's consideration of ever having a Medical/Safety Crew travelling with the series: "We believe in our existing program with the enhancements of the Medical Liaison."

This weekend the Medical Liaison is DEBBIE KING. She works just for the Cup races, and there is a Medical Liaison for each of the three top tier series, and they all attend, even when the series run together. The Liaison interfaces with the local track personnel, the local hospitals, and is familiar with the whole NASCAR process. The Liaison keeps track of the driver's Medical histories. For example, if a driver has a history of concussion and crashes again, that information is known.

The Smother's Brothers, DICK and TOMMY, gave the command for 'Gentlemen, Start Your Engines'.


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