Beating Around the Busch: Chapter six, Talladega
By: Thomas Chemris
Teams came into Alabama after receiving a solid helping of Texas justice. Last weeks race winner Joe Nemechek and his NEMCO Motorsports team received stiff fines from NASCAR for a spring violation discovered in a post race inspection.
NEMCO Motorsports owner Andrea Nemechek was fined $25,000 and crew chief Eric Phillips received a two-race suspension and a $5,000 fine the infraction was related to un-even spacing between spring coils.
Also receiving fines from Texas was driver Chad Blount who was penalized twenty-five driver points. Car owner Todd Braun who was assessed twenty-five owner points; and crew chief Patrick Donahue who was fined $5,000 and suspended from the next two NASCAR Busch Series events the number nineteen enters and competes in.
The team was penalized for modifying wheel hubs in an attempt to reduce vehicle weight and improve performance.
Hermie Sadler has a new associate sponsor on his Toys R Us Chevrolet
"Zapf Creation joins our marketing program this year," said Rick Goodwin, owner of the Bristol Motor Sport. "Zapf Creation is poised for a boom in sales and long-term consumer loyalty through its sponsorship of the Fifty Four Busch Series Chevrolet."
Kevin Grubb, who has been splitting seat time with Lance Norick in the Carroll/Dr Pepper Dodge, will run Nashville with #43 Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team. The Curb-Agajanian team has been running a partial season with driver Johnny Sauter on weekends that Kevin Harvick is behind the wheel of Sauter primary ride, the RCR Payday Chevy.
Johnny Sauter has just launched a new website www.johnnysauter.com.
Tina Gordon, fresh off a top ten at Talladega leads the Rookie Of the Year candidates in the craftsman Truck Series.
Teams will head over the next two weeks for three separate testing sessions at The Richmond International Raceway. Coy Gibbs, Johnny Sauter, Ron Hornaday, Stacy Compton, Chad Blount, and Lyndon Amik will all prepare for the May Event.
Also testing will be New Jerseys Martin Truex Jr, who will make his debut in the number Eight S2 Motorsports entry at the Virginia Bullring.
Shane Hmiel, coming off two consecutive top five finishes, continues to look for a primary sponsor, and is week to week in continuing with the series.
"We've made up some major ground in the points, and we got some momentum working on our side. We need to continue it, and hopefully a sponsor will come on board soon", said Hmeil.
Team owner George DeBidart on sponsorship: "We have a super group of guys at the race shop and on this team, and they are fully capable of running for the Busch Championship and winning races. But to give them that opportunity, we desperately need a sponsor."
Stanton Barrett saw his day at Talladega end early as he got caught up in the chaotic wreck early on. Barrett, who is having a run of bad luck, saw his qualifying efforts hampered as he damaged the cars front end before by hitting a rabbit that hopped onto the track.
"I feel bad for my sponsor OdoBan, and the guys on the team," said Barrett. "We had a Top 5 car. The guys did a good job repairing the rabbit damage and we were set for a strong run. I should have gone back out on the track after qualifying and found that rabbit's foot."
With or without the rabbit's foot, Barrett's bad luck continued and he finished the Talladega event in fortieth place.
Coy Gibbs scored his second top ten finishes. Gibbs finished ninth and was the Rookie of The Race. Gibbs finds plate racing less stressful than other tracks. "You are not going to go out there and pick up two-tenths on your own, said Gibbs. There's no pressure in qualifying, just kind of hang out all the time and just go out there and run the race and try to miss the big one. We did and it worked out good for us." They are some ugly top-10s but the crew is excited about them. They are top-10s so we'll take them. A couple of months from now no one will see what they were."
Scott Riggs looks to make it three in a row at Nashville. Riggs, driver of the number Ten Nesquick Ford. Riggs claimed victory in 2001 in his Craftsman Truck Entry, and 2002 in his first Busch start at the facility. Potentially Riggs can make it three wins in three years at the Tennessee facility. "To win twice at the same track gives me a boost of confidence," said Riggs." To win in the truck and the Busch car, well, that is just a different level." Said the 2002 Rookie Of the Year.
Ford Motor Credit will promote Race For The Cure next week at Nashville Super speedway. Race Fans for a Cure, a charitable initiative started in 2000 and comprised of Ford Credit, Dale and Kelley Jarrett, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The Foundation has distributed tens of thousands of informational shower cards and has raised more than $270,000, often a dollar at a time, for the Komen Foundation. The organizations trailer will be at Nashville Super speedway from 12-7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 11, and from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 12.
Dale Jr promoted the upcoming Dale Earnhardt tribute concert with a special paint scheme that adorned his Monte Carlo. The all-star fundraising event will take place June 28 at the legendary Daytona International Speedway. The All-Star lineups of artists that will perform during the concert are Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Sheryl Crow, the Goo Goo Dolls and Hootie and the Blowfish. Proceeds from concert ticket sales will benefit the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. Established by Teresa Earnhardt to support the causes her late husband championed during his lifetime, including programs for children, education and wildlife preservation.