Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona on July 20, 2006 · Page 28
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Arizona Daily Star from Tucson, Arizona · Page 28

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Tucson, Arizona
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Thursday, July 20, 2006
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Page 28
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C6 ARIZONA DAILY STAR Thursday, July 20, 2006 1 II Jn B 111 9.4P ICS II JF Auto racing In Tucson Southwestern International Raceway 11300 S. Houghton Road, 762-9700 Test and Tune, Sports Compact and Street Legals, Saturday, 9 p.m. USA Race Park 4300 E. Los Reales Road, 574-8515 Pro Stocks, Street Stocks, Factory Stocks, Mod Lites, Saturday, 6:45 p.m. Tucson Raceway Park 12500 S.Houghton Road, 762-9200 Reopening scheduled for Aug. 5 Elder Waltrip to race again THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Retired three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip is taking his first Busch Series start in 11 years seriously. Waltrip, who now makes his living working as a color analyst for Cup races in Fox's TV booth, will drive his brother Michael's car in the Goody's 250 on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. It's a one-off drive for Waltrip, who has driven only a handful of truck races since retiring from Cup at the end of the 2000 season. But he said he doesn't take it lightly. "My intentions are to come there, and I'm not going to be so naive as to say I'm going to come there and win, but if I could come there and finish in the top 10, I would be very, very happy," Waltrip said. "I'm coming up there be- Notebook cause I want to race one more time and I wouldn't be doing it if it was just about marketing. I'm doing it because I believe we can be competitive," he added. "I'm going to come in there with the latest and greatest equipment and Michael's bunch is excited, I'm pumped and I think we'll have a lot of fun." Waltrip won't have to worry about qualifying, since other drivers have placed the car he'll drive high enough in owner points that it is guaranteed a starting spot. Minority report NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program had a big weekend at Hickory Speedway in North Carolina. Sixteen-year-old rookie Marc Davis, part of the Joe Gibbs Racing diversity program, earned his fourth career win in the Limited Late Model racing division. Davis returned to the track Sunday night to compete in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Late Model division and finished second to fellow Drive for Diversity driver Jesus Hernandez, who captured his first victory as part of the MB2 Motor-sports diversity program. "Marc continues to impress," said J.D. Gibbs, president of JGR. "He's shown his capabilities all year in the Limited Late Model division and now he's doing the same in the more competitive Late Model division. "We couldn't be more proud of what he's accomplished so far this year." s-mmmmv goes- fit; P . IS (EA )(0)eA )eA P15580R13 P16580R13 P17580R13 P18575R14 P19575R14 P20575R14 P20575R15 P21575R15 P22575R15 VL J - 1 1 T-J ' Ml 1 1 1 T JP 3(B P18565R14 P19570R14 P17570R13 P19560R15-P18560R14 P19560R14 P23575R15 P21570R14 P23570R15 P20565R15 P18570R14 P17565R14 P22560R16 P21570R15 P20570R15 SAVE UP TO WEN YOU BUY 4 SELECT TIRES OR W EELS. Ota &5M6 lo MOT Maim is oStr See 9m to fcofc GOODYEAR (onHnenlalS EihellT GENERAL TIRE . P25570R16 P23585R16 P26570R17 mmmmm In luui lr urn inn IH IHUmS ASBM4IH REGISTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN GREAT PRIZES!" Vktmy Wholc INC. ENTER ONLINE AT tlres.com YOKOHAMA OR TEXT "Victory" to 4S0NY (47669)! ms52 W ;V2 MX Wx8 "76 MfiSC- "X8 '86 Qjf 16" '79 APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE (TIRE) M-F: 8:30-6 SAT.: 8:30-5 5134 E. SPEEDWAY 325-0827 2632 S. SIXTH AVE. (NEAR 36TH SU..791-3907 3960 W' INA RD 572-3871 2830 W. INA (AT SHANNON) , 297-6081 2580 S. KOLB RD. (N.W. CORNER OF GOLF LINKS & KOLB RD.) 519-3008 3701 E. SPEEDWAY (AT DODGE) 323-4653 6616 E. TANQUE VERDE (BETWEEN PIMA & KOLB RD.) ..751-9992 8470 E. BROADWAY 3760 N. ORACLE (BETWEEN PRINCE & ROGER) 887-1121 (BETWEEN SARN0FF CAMIN0 SEC0) "m 8125 N. ORACLE (NORTH OF MAGEE) 797-0616 SIERRA VISTA: 3733 E. FRY BLVD. ..459-4940 SPECIAL FINANCING AVAILABLE! "NO P.CSF VCESSW to o r VxltKnyWKW ft W the gwetsaes or tor more Bfi and to ve Pe9mrjka?j&m&$tiMnlwn 0MtfM6lo&3W6 SBrxsr: -Tessafig -aes Krarean'apcv sfieiacenpv loc emrv nay not oe aadie nxr ati stsvce prwdefs or tot a nanoseis Cfcn your servce provoef tor ae&s lit f i 7 , " J 1 i . . ' - " , d ... -i.' - k Vi '",rf'' 1 r i m .rr. JJfw s) i,00 ill (l SCOTT S.HAMRICKMCT Nextel Cup rookie Denny Hamlin celebrates his victory in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway. Hamlin's win tops successful year for rookies By Jim Utter MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS This year's NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie class was touted as possibly one of the best ever. So far, the original seven-member group has been successful, but not spectacular. Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin became the first member of the class to earn a Cup win, taking a victory in June at Pocono Raceway, site of Sunday's Pennsylvania 500. Hamlin also has two Busch Series wins this season. So far, Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr., who won the Busch race at Talladega, Ala., are the only drivers of the class to earn victories in NASCAR's top three series in 2006. It has been a bumpy but memorable season for most. Brent Sherman, who started the year with BAM Racing, did not make it past the season's eighth race. Hamlin, who grew up on the short tracks of Virginia, has been the surprise top performer, while all but David Stremme has at least one top-10 finish. Hamlin also is the only rookie who appears in contention for a spot in the Chase for the Nextel Cup, the 10-race playoff that determines the series champion. Since his win last month at Pocono, he has flirted in and around the top 10 in points, which guarantees participation. "I think it's tough because everyone who's doing that in-and-out thing (of the top 10) every week, they're running the same position every single week. So it's just whoever is going to eliminate bad luck is going to get in there," said Hamlin, 25. "We're trading spots every single week. I think, in years past, there's kind of been a gap of the top-10 guys, then there is everybody else, 11th through 15th. There's going to be a lot of good guys that are not going to make it." The rookies continue to make strides. Two weeks ago at Chi-cagoland, three rookies finished in the top 10 Reed Sorenson (seventh), Clint Bowyer (ninth) and J.J. Yeley (10th) for the first time this season. Richard Childress Racing's Bowyer, 27, and Sorenson, a 20-year-old native of Peachtree City, Ga., who drives for Chip Ganassi Racing, have been close on Hamlin's heels. Bowyer started the year with a sixth-place finish in the Daytona 500 and earned a career-best fifth at Phoenix. He has struggled in qualifying, with seven starts of 30th or worse. "It's been a lot of ups and downs but we're starting to get things smoothed out," Bowyer said. "We've had a rough month-and-a-half where we ran good but just didn't get a good finish. "We've had the speed. It feels good to finally get things turned around in the last couple of weeks." Sorenson and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Stremme, both appeared headed to strong finishes last weekend at New Hampshire utilizing new short-track cars. Sorenson led 31 laps and was running third but ran out of fuel when a late-race caution forced a green-white-checkered overtime finish. Stremme finished 11th his career best. Both drivers say they have faced unexpected circumstances this season. "I think the competition in Nextel Cup is kind of one of the things that is kind of an eye opener for me," Sorenson said. "Each and every week, if your car is not awesome, you're really struggling to get in the top 15 or top 10." Said Stremme: "Probably the biggest thing is how guys show lack of respect on the track, but then they get out of the car and they're like, 'Oh, I'm sorry.' I got wrecked at Martinsville and all of a sudden I'm turning right and I get told, 'I'm sorry.'" Although Yeley has just two top-lOs and a best finish of eighth at California, he has been in contention for several Busch Series wins this season. Truex, a two-time Busch champion, has not been able to capitalize on the success enjoyed this season by teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. Truex's best finish was eighth at Texas. 1 This week's Chip race PENNSYLVANIA 500 I Where: Pocono Raceway, a 2.5-mile trianqular-shaped paved flat track located in Long Pond, Pa. I When: Sunday at 11:10 a.m. TV: TNT t Qualifying: 12:40 p.m. Friday I Purse: $4,936,658 Last year's winner Kurt Busch I Worth mentioning: Brian Vickers has five straight top-10 starts at Pocono, the longest current streak. Jeff Gordon has competed in 27 races at Pocono and led 841 laps in those races, the most of all drivers. Poll position THIS WEEK'S QUESTION Who do you think is the best driver of this season's Nextel Cup rookie class? Cast your vote at: i www.azstarnetcomthatsracin LAST WEEK'S QUESTION Danica Patrick's future - whether it's with NASCAR or not - has been in the headlines a lot. If it were your call, which way would you help steer her career? Total number of votes: 5,848 She has a lot to prove 2,493 42 percent Stay in open wheel 1,157 20 percent NASCAR all the way 1,101 19 percent Doesn't matter 1,031 18 percent She could join an Fl team 66 1 percent Who's hot Matt Kenseth: Second in points. A year ago, he was 16th. Now that's progress. Kyle Busch: May still have some growing up to do, but should be considered a serious championship contender. Jeff Burton: Has done everything but win this season, and that should come soon. Who's not Tony Stewart Those who thought some drivers were "locks" for the Chase need only look here. Jamie McMurray: Is this really one of the Roush Racing teams? Joe Nemechek: Even when he runs well this season, he finishes poorly. By the numbers Nextel Cup points leaders toWdriw Poinb lankdmtr Points Uimmie Johnson 2789 21. Scott Riggs 1,905 2. Matt Kenseth 2721 22.Reed Sorenson 1,897 3. Jeff Burton 2,478 23. Martin Truex Jr. 1,883 4. Kyle Busch 2,465 24. Date Jarrett 1,8V 5. Mark Martin 2.451 25. Bobby Labonte 1,775 6. KaseyKahne 2,445 26. Jeff Green 1,738 7. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2,428 27. J.J. Yeley 1,736 8. Kevin Harvick 2.408 28. Robby Gordon 1,709 9. Jeff Gordon 2,342 29. Dave Blaney 1,621 9. Greg Biffle 2,342 30. Joe Nemechek 1.614 11. Tony Stewart 2,331 31. Kyle Petty 1,571 12. Denny Hamlin 2,324 32. Sterling Marlin 1,556 13. Carl Edwards 2,196 33. Jeremy Mayfield 1,555 14. Kurt Busch 2,136 34. Ken Schrader 1,506 15. Casey Mears 2,091 35. David Stremme 1,420 16. Clint Bowyer 2,024 36. Michael Waltrip 1,366 17. Jamie McMurray 1,985 37. Travis Kvapil 1,252 18. Brian Vickers 1,974 38. Scott Wimmer 1,129 19. Ryan Newman 1,966 39. Tony Raines 1,123 20. Elliott Sadler 1,963 40. Terry Labonte 891 Busch Series points leaders Ukltrm hah UkUtim fwits 1. Kevin Harvick 3,092 11. Jason Leffler 2.075 2. Carl Edwards 2,784 12 John Andretti 2,042 3. Clint Bowyer 2,705 13. Jon Wood 1,975 4. Denny Hamlin 2,667 14. Ashton Lewis 1,965 5. J J. Yeley 2.636 15. Todd Kluever 1,951 6. Greg Biffle 2,398 16. Reed Sorenson 1,918 7. Paul Menard 2,373 17. David Green 1,908 8. Kyle Busch 2,311 18. Stacy Compton 1,858 9. Johnny Sauter 2,220 19. Burney Lamar 1,851 10. Kenny Wallace 2,140 20. Danny 0'Ouinn Jr. 1,828 NEXT RACE: Saturday, Goody's 250, Martinsville, Va. Truck Series points leaders Urhw 1. Todd Bodine 2,161 2. David Reutimann 2.044 3. Johnny Benson 1,9' 4. Rick Crawford 1,930 5. Ted Musgrave 1,913 6. Ron Hornaday 1,905 7. Jack Spraque 1,898 8. David Starr 1,872 9. Terry Cook 1,864 10. Dennis Setzer 1,835 NEXT RACE: Aug. 4, Power Stroke Diesel 200, Indianapolis NIGHT CRAWLER. Cool looks at hot night spots-Thursdays in Caliente. Arizona TJailij Star www.azsfamet.com

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