Garage Chatter: Atlanta

Ouch that's gotta hurt: Former crew chief Billy Wilburn on the No. 2 Penske Dodge was moved to the shop foreman role this season on the No. 77 of Brendan Gaughan. Just three races in he's already been demoted. Wilburn will return to his former...

Ouch that's gotta hurt: Former crew chief Billy Wilburn on the No. 2 Penske Dodge was moved to the shop foreman role this season on the No. 77 of Brendan Gaughan. Just three races in he's already been demoted. Wilburn will return to his former role as front tire changer on Rusty Wallace's Dodge starting this weekend in Atlanta.

"No reason to save test dates now" - that's the truth, after a craptacular performance at Vegas; Dale Earnhardt, Jr. looks to make-up some of the points lost last weekend. Earnhardt, who led series rankings for the first time in his career, dropped from first to seventh after a 35th place finish. The team tested in Kentucky this week and is optimistic that they will be the car to beat at Atlanta.

No profanity in NASCAR not a joke: The NASCAR garage seems like the perfect place to let a few choice four letter words fly - or should I say once was. After a stern warning in Rockingham by NASCAR President Mike Helton to clean it up, NASCAR proved they are serious. Driver Johnny Sauter was fined 10,000, docked 25 Busch series points, and put on probation until December 31st for letting the "S" word fly in a post race interview after the Busch event in Vegas.

In turn: Performance Racing Network (PRN) announced that because of what happened with Johnny Sauter last weekend, this week's broadcast will be on a seven second delay.

Double trouble: Robby Gordon will once again attempt the Memorial Day double running both the Indianapolis 500 and Coca-Cola 600 in one day. Gordon came up short of the 1,100 miles last year, when gear-box troubles sidelined him at Indy. Gordon has five career top-ten finishes at the Indianapolis event.

"As a racer, I love the challenge we'll face in May," Gordon said. "Practice and qualifying at Indy, plus the NASCAR race will make for a very busy month, but we know how to organize and coordinate all the details."

Gordon also attempted to purchase Team Menard in the IRL but lost the bid. Word is he is exploring the possibility of developing an IRL team.

Tony Stewart may also be considering whether or not to run the Memorial Day double. While Stewart denies that he will compete in both events, chatter remains that the 2002 Cup series champion has made inquiries into the feasibility of running the Indy 500 this year. The last time Stewart attempted both races was in 2001.

Evernham flattered by nose curiosity: As reported last week, many competitors were trying to figure out what was going on with the noses on the Evernham Dodge's. Sneaky garage monkeys trolled pit road trying to snap pictures. Ultimately, the noses fit NASCAR's template and while different from the other Dodge teams..completely legal. Didn't prevent people for kicking themselves for not having thought of it before Evernham.

"I'm happy," said Evernham. "People looking at my stuff and taking pictures. I'm still the same guy. I didn't go to sleep. I didn't go away. It's like if you're not winning every week in this business, people forget about you. We've always had some pretty neat stuff. We're going to do everything we can do within the rules and within the templates to make our stuff good. The same things win races, good aerodynamics, good horsepower and good drivers."

Field fillers: Forty-four cars are entered to attempt to qualify for the forty-three car field. Included on the entry list are drivers that are considered to be field fillers, among them the cars of Andy Belmont, Kirk Schlemerdine, Andy Hillenburg, Larry Gunselman and Joe Ruttiman. Hope Ruttiman brought a pit crew with him this time.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Robby Gordon , Andy Belmont , Larry Gunselman , Andy Hillenburg , Johnny Sauter , Brendan Gaughan , Mike Helton