Garage Chatter: Bristol 1

Rain ... Rain ... Snow! For the third time this year a NASCAR Nextel Cup weekend has been greeted with a chilly, soggy rain. It started spitting an icy mix of snow and rain in the early morning hours Friday in Bristol, Tennessee. As the cars went...

Rain ... Rain ... Snow! For the third time this year a NASCAR Nextel Cup weekend has been greeted with a chilly, soggy rain. It started spitting an icy mix of snow and rain in the early morning hours Friday in Bristol, Tennessee. As the cars went through tech inspection it had turned over to a wet, steady rain.

There is little hope on weather radar of getting much track time in Friday. Sadly, Saturday's forecast does not look much better. Sunday, however, is supposed to be sunny with highs in the 40's.

Collins leaves RYR: Engineer Kevin Collins has left Robert Yates Racing effective immediately. Collins has been at Yates since 2004 and has nearly a decade of experience in the Cup series. He worked for Tommy Baldwin, Jr. before Yates GM Eddie D'Hondt hand-picked him to help turn around the No. 38 Ford of Elliott Sadler.

Two other shop employees also tendered their resignations this week - the No. 38 of Sadler hasn't qualified well and has three finishes of 14th or worse. Sadler was on point to grab a top-five in Atlanta next weekend, but debris bent Sadler's spoiler ruining the handle on his Ford.

Sadler is sitting 13th in championship standings.

The No. 88 Ford of Dale Jarrett has had a little better luck; the team is ninth in points despite having just one top-10 result this year.

Harvick/Childress announcement will be 'April-ish': Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress have set a mid-April deadline as to whether the two will continue their driver/car owner relationship.

"There's only probably about two or three more contracts that I will have in my career," said Harvick. "I am flattered by what everyone is assuming.there is really no criteria, I just want to be happy.it is not about money.I could quit tomorrow and never work another day in my life..I want to win races."

Harvick denied that any decision has been made regarding his future plans or continued relationship at RCR but the garage is a buzz that Harvick is the superstar driver slated to head Team Red Bull's Toyota Cup team in 2007.

Name change for Cingular, not necessarily their death in Cup series: AT&T announced this week that when it takes control of wireless provider Cingular after their acquisition of Bell South, they will phase out the Cingular name and return to AT&T Wireless brand. Does that mean that the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car of Jeff Burton would lose their sponsorship?

According to Nextel representatives the original NASCAR/Nextel contract, states that only Alltel and Cingular's brand names are grandfathered into the series. Any name change for either company would mean according to the original deal, those sponsorships would be void.

However, NASCAR has the final verdict regarding all things within the Cup series. Cingular representatives are confident that their sponsorship would continue even if the name changed from Cingular to AT&T Wireless.

Knaus back and ready to race: Chad Knaus forced vacation is over. After a month long suspension for infractions at Speedweeks, crew chief of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is back and ready to race.

"Nothing in the world means more to me than this race team," said Knaus. "Watching them go out there without me was very painful."

Knaus was ejected from participating in the Daytona 500 (which the No. 48 team won) and has missed Fontana, Vegas and Atlanta. Jimmie Johnson finished second, first and sixth respectively in those events under engineer Darien Grubb's watch; who filled in for Knaus during his absence.

Car of Tomorrow testing at Bristol on Monday: NASCAR will host Car of Tomorrow testing Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Among those set to participate are Jeff Burton for Richard Childress Racing, Carl Edwards for Roush Racing, Reed Sorenson for Ganassi Racing, Billy Wease a development driver for Penske Racing South and Rusty Wallace piloting NASCAR's car.

With a 40% chance of rain for Saturday's Busch event, testing plans may change if the Busch race is rained out and rescheduled for Monday.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Dale Jarrett , Rusty Wallace , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Carl Edwards , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler , Reed Sorenson , Billy Wease , Chad Knaus , Eddie M , Tommy Baldwin
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Hendrick Motorsports , Yates Racing