Garage Chatter: Darlington

Bigger was better: With the installation of the new SAFER walls at Darlington, 26-inches of racing groove has been lost. Fears that the racing surface would suffer seemed validated in initial practice sessions for both Busch and Cup...

Bigger was better: With the installation of the new SAFER walls at Darlington, 26-inches of racing groove has been lost. Fears that the racing surface would suffer seemed validated in initial practice sessions for both Busch and Cup teams.

During Busch morning practice, Damon Lusk and Justin Ashburn both cracked- up their primary cars. Seven other cars scrubbed the wall, including Jeff Burton, Martin Truex, Jr., Mike Bliss and Mike Wallace.

Cup teams did not fare much better their first time out on the track. Ward Burton, Michael Waltrip, Scott Wimmer, and Mark Martin all added a Darlington stripe to their vehicles.

That's a lot of rubber - Goodyear brought 6,000 tires to Darlington at $415 each, that's $2,490,000. Teams got an extra set for Friday practice.

You might be a redneck if: NASCAR told driver Derrike Cope and sponsor Redneckjunk.com that they felt Redneckjunk did not portray the image of NASCAR and the sponsorship had to be killed.

If NASCAR doesn't want to be redneck then they need to do a security sweep of the infield at Talladega and collect the entire dirge confederate flags.

Redneckjunk.com has offered to change their name to Rjunk.com in compromise. Man they must really want garage passes.

Cussing 101: What's in a cuss word? I honestly don't know. They can say the "S" word on NYPD Blue and CSI: Miami but in NASCAR it was a $10,000 fine for Johnny Sauter. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. said DAMN on TV Sunday and he didn't get a fine. NASCAR needs to make a list of which cuss words are no-no's and which are OK. It is going to smack of favoritism if they don't.

Back-to-back snoozers not good for TV: Ratings were down for the Atlanta 500 - I wonder why? It was the second race in a row that was lackluster. I don't know if it's the new rules package or what, but the racing has not been compelling this year. Concerns continue to mount that with the SAFER walls Darlington may be a sleeper. I certainly hope not, Bristol can't come soon enough.

Silly season in full swing: Team changes are already afoot and it's just the fifth race of the season. Last week it was changes at Penske, this week Paul Andrews is out as the crew chief of the No. 99 Roush Ford piloted by Jeff Burton and Bob Osborne is in. As teams struggle to make it into the top-10 in points before the end of the 26th race, looks like personnel changes will be made often and early this season.

Jr. stepping out on NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will share a Corvette with Boris Said for the Infineon Grand Prix of Sonoma American Le Mans Series on July 18th. The car will carry the No. 8.

40 races, say it ain't so: Word is that team owner Cal Wells is floating a proposed 40-race schedule for next year, which includes two dates in Texas and Las Vegas. What he is thinking no one knows.it is not a popular proposal in the Nextel Cup garage. Most teams think the schedule is already too heavy. Although the Wells proposal was contingent on Cup teams being at the track on only Saturday and Sunday, and losing the Thursday, Friday qualifying component.

Vegas facelift? After taking a beating in the press about how boring the Vegas Cup event was, track officials are supposedly considering adding 12 degrees of variable banking to the track.

Bouncing back: Ty Norris, former DEI General Manager, is set to announce this week that he has secured new employment with Bruton Smith/Speedway Motorsports.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Derrike Cope , Michael Waltrip , Boris Said , Mike Wallace , Johnny Sauter , Damon Lusk , Scott Wimmer , Mike Bliss , Martin Truex Jr. , Justin Ashburn , Mark Martin