Garage Chatter: Talladega II

Martin to run for MB2 in 2007: Mark Martin has put off his retirement from NASCAR yet again. Martin will share a NASCAR Nextel Cup series ride with Regan Smith next year for MB2 Motorsports. Martin and Regan will share the No. 01 Chevrolet but the...

Martin to run for MB2 in 2007: Mark Martin has put off his retirement from NASCAR yet again. Martin will share a NASCAR Nextel Cup series ride with Regan Smith next year for MB2 Motorsports. Martin and Regan will share the No. 01 Chevrolet but the US Army will not be returning as primary sponsor of that car. Its current driver Joe Nemechek will move to a third team within that organization and Sterling Marlin will remain in the No. 14 car for MB2.

"I thought at the age that I am right now I wouldn't be able to compete against these young guys how I did in the past," said Martin. "But when you can compete like I have the last couple of's hard to stop.its hard to walk away when you still have an opportunity to win races."

Martin's departure is another hard hit for Ford who has lost several high profile drivers in recent years.

"I know people are going to ask about Ford losing another marquee driver to a competitor," said Dan Davis, Director of Ford Racing Technology. "All I can say is that every situation is different. We feel we support our teams as well as any other manufacturer and that our business model has worked as far as winning championships and being competitive. We don't like it when driver's leave, especially when they're the quality of Mark, but the climate of NASCAR is changing and we've unfortunately felt the brunt of it this season."

Ambrose to Busch series: Australian Marcos Ambrose has signed a deal to run the full Busch series schedule in 2007 for Woods Brothers Racing in the No. 59 Ford.

"Everyone at Wood Brothers/JTG Racing has been fantastic in my first season of NASCAR competition and I look forward to taking the next step of my career in the #59 Kingsford® Charcoal Ford in 2007," said Ambrose.

"I guess if there is one thing Australians know how to do, its BBQ, and when you look at all the sponsors associated with my car for next season then we could have one terrific cook out.

"The support of Len and Eddie Wood, co-owners Jodi and Tad Geschickter and the whole Wood Brothers/JTG Racing operation has been fantastic and I look forward to a long and successful relationship with the team. The NASCAR family has also made me feel very welcome.

"It is great to be continuing my relationship with Ford and I look forward to building on a strong 2006 in what will be yet another rookie season."

Wimmer out: Scott Wimmer has been relieved of his driving duties for the No. 4 Chevrolet. Todd Bodine will pilot the car for the next two races. "We are sorry to lose Scott, but at the same time we all have to do what is best for each of us," team owner Larry McClure said. ""He is one of the nicest young men I've had the opportunity to work with and we enjoyed having him with us this year and getting to know him and his family. "I knew he was going to have to make a decision soon about his future in the sport and we wish him nothing but the best in his next endeavor." Wimmer is currently pursuing other opportunities for the 2007 season.

Bodine has eight Cup starts at Talladega earning three top-five finishes

Bliss to finish season in No. 49 Dodge: Mike Bliss has been hired to finish the season for the No. 49 Dodge BAM Racing team. Bliss will attempt to make his first Cup start of the season this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity with BAM Racing and to return to racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series,"" Bliss said. "This team is making great strides in preparing for the 2007 season, and I am happy to be part of the process.

As one of the few single-car teams, the challenges we face are greater than those of multi-car teams but so are the rewards. I look forward to being a part of the team that is being assembled by BAM Racing."

Darnell to drive No. 99 truck for Roush: Roush Racing announced Friday that Eric Darnell will drive the remaining five races of the Truck season in the N. 99 Ford and for the 2007 season. He will debut in the No. 99 Ford this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

"I'm truly looking forward to hitting the track with Northern Tool & Equipment," said Darnell. "We've got a great looking paint scheme on this truck and I plan on putting it up front often over the next few seasons. We had a great run at Daytona in February, and we're looking to back that up here at Talladega. It would mean a lot to all of us if we could kick off this new relationship with a good, strong finish on Sunday."

Roush denies Cup ride for Villeneuve: Roush Racing denied Friday that they have signed F1 driver Jacques Villeneuve to drive for their Cup series program. While there was no mention of Villeneuve perhaps running in one of NASCAR's other series for Roush team representative Geoff Smith stated that their Cup program was full.

Schrader/Wood to split No. 21 Ford in 2007: Wood Brothers/JTG Racing announced that they will field one Nextel Cup team [in 2007], two Busch Series teams, and two Craftsman Truck teams.

"We are very pleased to have Ken Schrader behind the wheel of the Little Debbie Ford Fusion for the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series," said Chris McKee. "Little Debbie fans and NASCAR fans relate well to Ken Schrader and we're looking forward to a winning season."

Jon Wood will share driving duties with Ken Schrader in the #21 Ford Fusion.

"It's time for Jon to get started in the Cup Series. He will also compete full time in the NASCAR Busch series in the #47 Clorox/Armor All/American Red Cross Ford Fusion. We look forward to getting Jon plenty of seat time by combining this limited Cup schedule with his duties in the #47 Busch car," said team co-owner Tad Geschickter.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Todd Bodine , Ken Schrader , Jacques Villeneuve , Joe Nemechek , Sterling Marlin , Jon Wood , Marcos Ambrose , Scott Wimmer , Mike Bliss , Regan Smith , Mark Martin