KELLER OUT, WALLACE IN Veteran Busch Series driver Jason Keller has been released from his driving duties for Phoenix Racing that is owned by James Finch. In 2006 Keller competed in all eight races with his best finish at Daytona where he finished eleventh. In sixteen seasons of driving in the Busch Series Keller collected ten wins, his most win at Milwaukee in 2003. Veteran driver Mike Wallace has been hired as the interim driving while Phoenix Racing decides on a regular driver. In sixteen years of racing with two hundred thirty-seven starts, he has four victories to his credit.
WIMMER RELEASED FROM COLEMAN RACING Chris Wimmer, younger brother of Nextel Series driver Scott Wimmer, who made eighteen Craftsman Truck Series starts in 2005 and made his Busch Series debut at Phoenix in the Busch Series in 2003 has been released from Keith Coleman Racing. In three starts in 2006 in the Busch Series Wimmer finished no better than thirty-seventh. As of right now the team has not made a decision on who will be the next driver for the team.
NEW CREW CHIEF FOR STREMME Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates have announced that Steven Lane, who had been the car chief for the number forty-one car, will be the new crew chief for the number forty car. Jeff Vandermoss has been named car chief of the forty-one. Lane will be calling his first Nextel Cup Series this weekend at Phoenix. Prior to joining Ganassi Racing, Lane worked for Penske Racing as car chief for Jeremy Mayfield's Nextel Cup car from 1997 through 2001. Vandermoss previously worked for Roush Racing for seven years and four of those as car chief for Matt Kenseth.
FIRST LADY OF RACING LOUISE SMITH PASSES Most race fans of the old general remember the name Louise Smith, because she was the first woman to be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. On Saturday Ms Smith has passed on to meet the big race in the sky. Louis Smith was the first woman to race in the NASCAR modified series back when Bill France went on a search to get fans to attend a young racing series and many people mentioned her name who had been known to outrun the law at the time. She accepted the offer from France and drove from 1945 through 1956 where she won thirty-eight modified wins. She said in an interview with Associated Press in 1998 about her racing, "It was hard on me, them men were not liking it to start with and they wouldn't give you an inch.” Smith raced in the Northeast and even Canada and her first race, never even saw a race before she finished third at the Greenville-Pickens Speedway. She was laid to rest on Monday after a long battle with cancer, even while in hospice care she remained fiercely independent, according to one of her nieces Dora E. Owens. Louise Smith is survived by three nieces, two grandnieces and two grand nephews and will be remembered by many race fans.
TEAM MANGER GRAVES RESIGNS Andy Graves, the team manager for Ganassi Racing has resigned as team manager to pursue another position in the organization. Graves was one of the first people Ganassi hired back when he got into racing and won the Indianapolis 500 in 1990. Graves said, "It's been a privilege to work with Chip, Felix and the whole team over the past seven seasons, these years with the team have been a part of my life that I will never forget and for than I am truly grateful. I am now just looking forward to the next chapter of my career here at Chip Ganassi.” In the interim the duties of team manager will be handled by the current management staff.
BUSCH SERIES TWO IN A ROW FOR HARVICK Kevin Harvick on Friday night made it two in a row at Phoenix International Raceway when he won the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 where he had to overcome many late race cautions. With the win Harvick not only retains the lead in points over teammate Clint Bowyer by two hundred eighty-nine, but also kept the Nextel Cup boys undefeated this year in the Busch Series, the Triple "A” of NASCAR. In the last twenty-seven laps of the race they had four caution flags with the final one brining out an overtime finish where Harvick was able to hold off Reed Sorenson and Jamie McMurray who really never game him a challenge.
Kurt Busch followed McMurray for fourth place and Mark Martin finished fifth. Harvick said after the race, "It's a lot easier to lose points than it is to gain points, this Busch Series is tough and there will be somebody who will make a run at me sooner or later.” Reed Sorenson, who finished second, said, "I was trying hard to win that one, Kevin had a really good car. I think if we didn't have so many yellows, maybe we would have had a better shot.” David Green, the only Busch Series regular, finished an impressive eighth. Harvick's teammate Clint Bowyer had a great car for most of the race, unfortunately finished twenty-first at the end.
BUSCH SERIES TOP TEN FINISHERS 1. Kevin Harvick 2. Reed Sorenson 3. Carl Edwards 4. Kurt Busch 5. Mark Martin 6. Greg Biffle 7. Matt Kenseth 8. Casey Mears 9. David Green 10. Jamie McMurray
TOP TEN IN POINTS 1. Kevin Harvick – 1469 2. Clint Bowyer – 1180 3. Denny Hamlin – 1174 4. J. J. Yeley – 1155 5. Carl Edwards – 1128 6. Paul Menard – 1074 7. Jon Wood – 1037 8. Kyle Busch – 1035 9. Burney Lamar – 1006 10. Greg Biffle – 995
NEXTEL CUP SERIES SWEEP FOR HARVICK AT PHOENIX Kevin Harvick on Saturday night made a sweep of the races at Phoenix International Raceway by winning the Subway Fresh 500. After a thirty-eight winless drought Harvick is definitely on a surgence winning two Busch Series races and one Nextel Cup race in the past two weeks. Maybe with these three wins car owner Richard Childress will re-sign the thirty year old Harvick for a new contract in which Harvick hopes for but at the moment it hasn't been decided with his contract ending at
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