Garage Chatter: December 2004

Weber to move to lead role: Bill Weber will assume Allen Bestwick's job in the broadcast booth next season on NBC, while Bestwick will take over Weber's pit reporting duties. Sprint buys NEXTEL: Sprint Wireless and NEXTEL communications ...

Weber to move to lead role: Bill Weber will assume Allen Bestwick's job in the broadcast booth next season on NBC, while Bestwick will take over Weber's pit reporting duties.

Sprint buys NEXTEL: Sprint Wireless and NEXTEL communications announced that Sprint would purchase the sponsor of the Cup series for $35 billion. The new name for the company will supposedly be Sprint NEXTEL although some insiders suggest that the name Spextel may be utilized.

At this time it was not known to NASCAR what impact the merger would have on the sport. Representatives did state that the possibility of a merger was well thought out before signing the 10-year deal with the wireless server provider.

Labbe to crew chief No. 19: Slugger Labbe will move from Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Racing to crew chief the No. 19 Dodge of Jeremy Mayfield at Evernham Motorsports next season.

Previously, Labbe served as crew chief for the No. 15 Chevy of Michael Waltrip.

Haas-Carter make Bliss official: Mike Bliss will pilot the No. 0 Chevy in the Cup series next season for Haas-Carter Racing. Bliss signed a three- year deal with the team.

Ward Burton was fired late in the 2004 season as primary driver of that ride.

Kvapil announcement made: As expected, Penske-Jasper Racing announced that Travis Kvapil will replace Brendan Gaughan in the No. 77 Dodge next season in the Cup series.

The 2003 Truck Series champion was impressive in his first three Cup starts this season as a development driver for Penske.

"Travis showed solid potential and demonstrated the skill and determination it takes to be a winner and we look forward to building on this foundation with our sponsor partners Kodak and Jasper." Roger Penske said.

$100 million deal: International Speedway Corporation has shelled out $100 million to buy land in Staten Island, where it plans to build a New York City track.

The company plans to build a $600 million facility on an old industrial waste site. Staten Island sits about 45 minutes from Manhattan, a market NASCAR is desperate to conquer.

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