Charlotte Media Tour: Day two

The NASCAR/Lowe's Motor Speedway media tour kicked off this morning at Robert Yates Racing, where Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett both seem rejuvenated by new crew chiefs. Tommy Baldwin, Jr. will lead the No. 38 Ford while Slugger Labbe grabs the...

The NASCAR/Lowe's Motor Speedway media tour kicked off this morning at Robert Yates Racing, where Elliott Sadler and Dale Jarrett both seem rejuvenated by new crew chiefs. Tommy Baldwin, Jr. will lead the No. 38 Ford while Slugger Labbe grabs the reigns of the No. 88.

"You look at Daytona, and I guess I'll compare it since the new golf deal is being compared to the NASCAR playoffs I'll compare a little bit and say that Daytona is one of our majors," said Jarrett. "So you look at those opportunities knowing that whatever there are two, three more of these, yeah, it's big. The off season gives you that time to evaluate things and look at the 500, and when you come here and see the things that are happening, it's easy to get excited.

"When you go to the race track and try new things like we did at Daytona and you get a lot of good feedback and a good positive feel for the car you get excited about that."

Sadler, who will also share the seat of the No. 90 Ford in the Busch series with Matt McCall and Stephen Leicht, is also eager to get down to business. Sadler posted one of the quickest times during Daytona testing and is a favorite to have a career defining Speedweeks.

"We're very excited," commented Sadler. "Our whole team and race shop is energized. We cannot wait to get to Daytona."

After Yates we were off the MB2 Motorsports to check out their new shop. The teams moved from an 8,000 square feet facility to a space three times that. Drivers Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek also are quite optimistic about their chances.

Nemechek had a fairly decent 2005 but luck was not on his side and he went winless, "I'm looking forward to 2006 and having Sterling Marlin onboard. I think that is going to help both of our teams. Last year was a good year but disappointing. We had good cars we just didn't get the finishes."

The somewhat sleepy media core was fed at Joe Gibbs Racing and met rookie of the year contenders JJ Yeley and Denny Hamlin.

"The biggest thing for all the rookies is to finish the race and make laps," explained Yeley. "It is by far going to be the toughest rookie class in over a decade."

Reigning Nextel Cup series champion Tony Stewart and car owner JD Gibbs were unable to attend the media event, as the No. 20 Chevy team was at the White House being congratulated on their championship by President George Bush.

From there, we headed to Lowe's Motor Speedway to here the tracks plans for resurfacing the racetrack before the All-Star race in May. Track paving wasn't the real entertainment on the plate, however, as Bruton Smith, Chairman of Speedway Motorsports, took over the press conference and executed his own form of stand up.

Smith, who has long been a critic of NASCAR, joked that he was applying for George Pyne's job. Pyne recently resigned as COO of NASCAR to take a job as President of IMG.

Smith went on to tout how this country needs national healthcare and that General Motors has no money because they are paying for all of their retirees Viagra prescriptions.

In between bits, Humpy Wheeler did let us know that the process will cost about $3 million dollars and should solve the problems levigating the track created last season.

After a little breather to write, it's back on the busses for cocktails courtesy of Robby Gordon Motorsports and then on to a Toyota dinner.

Next up, Hendrick, Ganassi and Penske on Wednesday.

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Tony Stewart , Joe Nemechek , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler , Denny Hamlin , Stephen Leicht , Matt McCall , Tommy Baldwin
Teams Joe Gibbs Racing , Robby Gordon Motorsports , Yates Racing