Garage Chatter: Atlanta II

Labbe out at No. 19 Dodge: Evernham Motorsports announced Thursday that Slugger Labbe has been relieved of his crew chief duties on the No. 19 Dodge of Jeremy Mayfield. "We have decided to make a change on the leadership team for the No....

Labbe out at No. 19 Dodge: Evernham Motorsports announced Thursday that Slugger Labbe has been relieved of his crew chief duties on the No. 19 Dodge of Jeremy Mayfield.

"We have decided to make a change on the leadership team for the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger driven by Jeremy Mayfield," said Ray Evernham. "The team, led by Team Director Kenny Francis for the past three years, has shown great promise and potential. We've qualified for the Chase for the Championship for the second year in a row. But, we have high expectations for this team, both for the remainder of the 2005 season and for next year.

"We still have four races to run this season, all of which are on tracks where we've been successful. We're confident that we can re-energize this team to bring home solid finishes in these last four races and move up in the Chase for the Championship. We are already planning for next year, and we recognize that we need to make several changes to regain the momentum this team had earlier in the year and to ensure we have the right people in the right places to win races and a championship.

"As part of this change, Richard "Slugger" Labbe will no longer serve as crew chief for the team. Kenny Francis will continue to lead the team as he has the last three years, and Mike Shiplett, currently the car chief for the team, will share Labbe's duties with Francis. Slugger Labbe made good contributions to this team this year, and we wish him well as he pursues other opportunities."

It is rumored that Labbe has been offered a position at Robert Yates Racing as crew chief of one of their two cars.

Marlin joins MB2: MB2 Motorsports announced earlier this week that Sterling Marlin has signed a multi-year contract to drive the No. 14 Chevy beginning in 2006. The No. 14 will replace the No. 10 in the MB2 stable next season. The No. 14 is the same number that Marlin's father 'Coo-Coo', who passed away recently, drove in the 1960's and 1970's.

"You look at MB2 and see a racing organization that is on the upswing," said Marlin. "The Army team and Joe Nemechek have proved that. This is a great opportunity to land with a first-class operation that has the necessary resources to be competitive. I still have some unfinished business as a driver and that's why I am really excited about joining MB2 Motorsports, Marlin added. "And to drive a car with the same number that my father drove makes the move even more special."

Triple A signs onto 6 car: AAA will be the primary sponsor on Mark Martin's No. 6 Ford next season as he completes year two of his 'Salute to You' tour. With Jamie McMurray moving to the No. 97 Ford once Kurt Busch vacates that ride, Martin was forced to postpone his retirement one year while Roush Racing readies Todd Kluever too take over the reigns of the 6 car in 2007.

"It's great to be partnered up with AAA," said Martin. "They have a fantastic organization and a great reputation. My wife and I are both AAA members. I'm excited about the services they provide to many of our fans and I am looking forward to working with AAA." Martin has finished second in the Nextel Cup standings on four occasions and is in the hunt this season for a run at the championship, currently sitting in seventh position as one of the 10 drivers eligible to win the chase. "Mark Martin has built a solid reputation as gentleman and winner on and off the racetrack," said Darbelnet. "He is someone in whom AAA has confidence when speaking about the advantages of membership and AAA's extensive highway safety activities."

Wimmer/BDR announce split: Bill Davis Racing announced this week that at the conclusion of the 2005 season Scott Wimmer will be out of the seat of the No. 22 Dodge. Wimmer took over the ride from Ward Burton near the end of the 2003 season but the team never found much success.

"We are still working to find a replacement, which has not been designated at this time," Davis said. "There are some very talented drivers out there right now without full-time rides for next year. Hopefully, we can get someone locked in very soon."

Mike Skinner and Bill Lester have been mentioned as possible contenders to split that ride.

Wimmer is upset with how his dismissal was handled. Wimmer arrived home Wednesday evening to find a certified letter containing his 'pink slip', "I'm really upset with how it all went down. Getting a letter that late in the season. A lot of rides were open a month ago, now most of those doors have closed."

ISC says Homestead will be ready to race: Despite extensive damage to the Homestead-Miami Speedway from Hurricane Wilma; International Speedway Corporation says they have the time and the resources to make the necessary repairs for the season ending race the second week of November.

Many hotels in the Keys have sustained heavy damage leaving race fans and the NASCAR faithful scrambling for other accommodations.

The track will also be open for testing sessions beginning next week. Those tests, however, will be closed to the public due to track repairs.

Foyt back to Cup? Insiders say that Larry Foyt may take over the No. 49 Dodge at BAM Motorsports next season. Ken Schrader may be in contention for a ride at Woods Brothers Racing depending on what Ricky Rudd decided to do for next season.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ward Burton , Jeremy Mayfield , Mike Skinner , Ken Schrader , Joe Nemechek , Kurt Busch , Larry Foyt , Jamie McMurray , Scott Wimmer , Bill Lester , Robert Yates , Todd Kluever , Mark Martin
Teams Bill Davis Racing , Yates Racing