Garage Chatter: Sonoma

2007 Series name TBD: Nextel Communications announced Thursday that the company name will officially change to Sprint. The title the Nextel Cup series will remain unchanged in 2006 and the name is to be determined for 2007. Insiders say,...

2007 Series name TBD: Nextel Communications announced Thursday that the company name will officially change to Sprint. The title the Nextel Cup series will remain unchanged in 2006 and the name is to be determined for 2007.

Insiders say, however, that more than likely the series title will be renamed the Sprint Cup series in 2007 with the announcement coming during Speedweeks of 2006.

38 wins Pit Crew for Michigan: For the third time this season the No. 38 Robert Yates Racing pit crew for Elliott Sadler won the Checker's/Rally's Double Drive Thru Pit Crew Challenge Award for their performance at Michigan.

Gordon fastest at Infineon: Jeff Gordon turned the fastest lap during initial practice for Cup teams at Sonoma. Gordon's lap of 94.068 mph put him on top of the speed chart.

Boris Said, Robby Gordon, Greg Biffle and point leader Jimmie Johnson complete the top five.

Jeff Gordon looks to turn his luck around this weekend after a miserable few weeks; he leads the list with eight road-course wins. He has four at Infineon and four at Watkins Glen.

"The biggest challenge is the downshifting," Gordon said. "When you drive in hard into the corners and you're braking very, very deep, and then you start downshifting the car, first to get the car slowed down a little bit more and also to get into the proper gear to come up off the next corner. It can be very challenging."

Gordon is defending pole-sitter and winner of this event.

Hmiel out until at least 2007: Shane Hmiel will be out of NASCAR racing until at least 2007. Hmiel was suspended after failing a random drug test between the Charlotte and Dover races this year. It was Hmiel's second offense.

Hmiel will be required to participate in some sort of counseling and drug rehabilitation program before being allowed back into any of NASCAR's series in 2007.

Road course experts on deck this weekend: Boris Said was the only "road- course expert" to run a top ten -time during Cup practice at Sonoma. Ron Fellows manning the No. 32 Chevy this weekend was 18th.

Scott Pruett 22nd, Brandon Ash 37th, Brian Simo 38th, Chris Cook 39th and Tom Hubert 46th.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Boris Said , Greg Biffle , Robby Gordon , Scott Pruett , Brian Simo , Jimmie Johnson , Tom Hubert , Shane Hmiel , Robert Yates , Elliott Sadler , Brandon Ash , Chris Cook
Teams Yates Racing