News And Notes

March 10, 2008 – What a difference six days can make. Last Sunday night, Carl Edwards had won his second race in a row, sitting high and mighty in the points, however all that changed on Tuesday when he was docked 100 points for ‘oil tank lid-gate.’ Now, after winning half of the races but dropping out after dominating at Atlanta early, finishing 42nd, Edwards is now 17th in points, 232 behind Kyle Busch. “I’m not worried a bit about the points,” Edwards insisted. “We’re going out there to haul (butt) every week and let the points take care of themselves.” After his DNF at Atlanta, Edwards was able to joke about the post-race inspection last week in Las Vegas, “I don’t know what happened, but the oil tank lid was on. I just appreciate my fans for sticking with us this week. It’s been a long week with a lot of stuff said, but I think we showed them here today, other than something coming apart in the engine, I believe we had the car that was the class of the field. I’m just really happy to be driving it. It’s too bad we broke. It was so good there at the end, I was really just having a good time. It seems like when they run really well that’s when they break.”

Edwards also spoke about having long-time Matt Kenseth crew-chief Robbie Reiser up on the pit stand calling the shots. “Robbie was alright, except for he keeps calling me Matt. I called him Bob and he said he didn’t like that, so he quit. But they did a great job. We’ve got a lot of depth in the organization and I think we showed it today by being able to go out there and run up to the front.”

Ran interesting side note is Reiser has had only two drivers he’s managed during his NASCAR career as a crew chief. They include the forgettable Tim Bender and his replacement in the old NASCAR Busch Series and eventual ( and last) Winston Cup Champion, Matt Kenseth. Reiser was comfortable calling the shots again, he amused those listening to his radio transmissions, Reiser commented, “I think I called him Matt three times. You can’t work with somebody for 12 years and not call him something.” Reiser was asked how it felt being back up on the pit stand, “I don’t know. I’ve been doing it so long, it’s probably normal. I haven’t been gone that long – a couple of weeks. It’s different working with somebody else. I’ve worked with Matt for so many years that it’s a little different. It’s a little tough coming in on the weekend and just doing this. It’s a tribute to all the guys that work on this 99 car and the group that Bob has put together and the effort they’ve put together because it’s a heck of a race car.”

However, Reiser who is currently Roush-Fenway’s General Manager was warned by owner Jack Roush not to fall in love with his temporary role. “I’ve heard it from everybody else, it’s just that everybody has to understand that I’ve been in racing my whole life. I always went to the race track with my father (John) and my own racing stuff through the Busch years and then the Cup years with Roush. It’s a way different program. I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not an office-type guy and I’ve just got to learn the role.”

Bravo for the National Stock Car commission overturning some of Robby Gordon’s penalty. However the team now has the dubious honor of paying the biggest fine in NASCAR history as his crew chief, Frank Kerr, saw a $100,000 penalty turn into a $150,000 one.

The commission overturned the 100-point penalty on Wednesday. “The points were important to us,” said Gordon, who moved up to 21st in points, 55 points out of 12th place. “I look at it as we’re the highest contributor to NASCAR Foundation. Points are a victory.”

Gordon got more than even he had anticipated by getting all of the points restored. “To get zero [point penalty], I’m ecstatic about,” Gordon said. “We probably wouldn’t have been in this position at all if we had gotten 25, we probably would have taken our licks at 25. “We just felt that 100 was so over the top. That’s what you get for blatant cheating.”

Gordon was penalized for having an illegal nose on the car when he presented the car for inspection prior to opening practice for the Daytona 500 last month. Only a week earlier, Gordon announced a switch from Ford to Dodge. The team was sent a prototype nose from Dodge that has been submitted but not approved by NASCAR. “The biggest thing that I still stand by is we didn’t do anything wrong,” Gordon said. “Somebody made a mistake and delivered us the wrong nose. He added, “We didn’t take a pre-certified part that was already certified and modify it [as other infractions].”

A tale of two teams, veteran Red Bull driver Brian Vickers is currently 9th in points. Vickers who rode his Toyota into the top-ten yesterday is looking extremely good going into Bristol next week. More importantly, Vickers takes the #83 Red Bull team that finished outside the top-35 in points last year into a guarantee starting position going into Martinsville on March 30th. On the other end is A.J. Allmendinger and the #84 Red Bull entry. Veteran Toyota driver, Mike Skinner has temporary replaced Allmendinger who missed the first three races of the year. Sitting outside the top-40 in points, the team will face an uphill battle the rest of the year just to qualify.

Brad Baker was replaced in the #37 Baker-Curb Nationwide Series entry by Sprint Cup driver, Greg Biffle. Quite the upgrade.

Walker Racing announced ‘reluctantly’ that they have been forced to withdraw its attempt to join the IndyCar Series for 2008. The racing partnership of “Team Australia” and the association with Australian businessman Craig Gore, drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud, has also come to an end. Notwithstanding a commitment for 2008, it came down to the lack of funding. A lengthy search for new sponsorship partners drew a blank, so Walker Racing had to close the program officially on Friday. It will be interesting to see if the former partner Gore goes ahead alone with his “Team Australia” money or moves it to an existing team. We should know more in a week or two as time is getting tight with the IndyCar season opener less than three weeks away.

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