Garage Chatter: Daytona II

Vickers/Red Bull make it official: After weeks of media speculation, Brian Vickers and Team Red Bull announced that Vickers will pilot a Toyota Camry for the fledgling team starting in 2007. Vickers announced a few weeks ago that he was leaving...

Vickers/Red Bull make it official: After weeks of media speculation, Brian Vickers and Team Red Bull announced that Vickers will pilot a Toyota Camry for the fledgling team starting in 2007.

Vickers announced a few weeks ago that he was leaving the No. 25 Chevy at Hendrick Motorsports to pursue other opportunities. Casey Mears is set to take over Vickers seat at Hendrick.

The vacated 42 Dodge by Mears has yet to name a new driver.

Truex to lend a hand: Martin Truex, Jr. will drive the No. 88 Chevy in Friday night's Busch race at Daytona subbing for injured driver Mark McFarland. McFarland sustained injuries during a crash at Milwaukee last weekend

Cup teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is the owner of the No. 88 car. Truex has won the last three Busch superspeedway races he has competed in.

Series name change not coming this weekend: Nextel representatives confirmed that they will not be announcing the series name change this weekend at Daytona as previously reported.

Nextel representatives were unsure when they would be able to announce the name change as several items need to come together behind the scenes before they can make anything official. They are hoping to make an announcement before the end of the season.

France gives midseason report: Brian France visited the media center Thursday at Daytona to give a midseason update on how NASCAR feels some of the changes they have made are going.

"Lots of things that we put into play last year are starting to pay off," said France. "The single engine rule, the testing policy, gear rule. I think we have got 10 winners in the last 16 races. It is pretty balanced.I am liking what I am seeing."

France hinted that while NASCAR is happy with the way things are going, that they are not averse to making some changes in the off-season to benefit the series. He stated that NASCAR will look at whether or not 10 drivers is the right amount for the Chase, if the final ten races are the right mix of tracks and if the 400 point spread is enough.

"We will make some adjustments going into 2007," commented France. "We have three years under our belt to judge it and we have a new television partner coming aboard.the ideal time for us to make adjustments is the off- season.not major changes but adjustments."

France also confirmed that the 'car of tomorrow' will be a reality in 2007, and hopes that it will boost competition, "I hope it beings back slingshot racing and more passing.we really believe that is the right thing to do."

"We want to make sure the next generation of fans gets the close finishes we are seeing this year," France also said.

There has been a lot of talk that NASCAR's new television partners were putting pressure on the sanctioning body to tweak the schedule to accommodate more night and Saturday night races. France dispelled that, "We're not getting a lot of pressure from the networks to have more Saturday night races."

France is also excited about ESPN's commitment to the Busch series starting next season, "That division will be treated like it's never been treated before. They think it is a diamond in the rough and I think they are right."

Staten Island track not dead: Despite a Staten Island city councilman saying that the Staten Island racetrack project was "dead" - Brian France assured that NASCAR and International Speedway Motorsports were going to continue to plod along in trying to build a track near the lucrative New York City marketplace.

France guaranteed that despite the "rocky meeting" they will continue to do what needs to be done to try and get a racetrack built in the general New York City metro area.

Busch in Montreal will be a reality: Brian France confirmed that a Busch series race in Montreal will be a reality sometime in the near future.

"We would like to take a live event north of the border and that (Montreal) is the market. It might not be in 2007 but we are working on it."

Busch field full this weekend: There will be a full field of 43 cars for the Busch race this weekend at Daytona International Raceway. Last week at Milwaukee, there were just 41 drivers participating.

Sixteen full time NASCAR Nextel Cup series drivers will compete in the Busch event, including Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Casey Mears , Martin Truex Jr. , Brian Vickers
Teams Hendrick Motorsports