NASCAR

Virtual Pit Reporter: Updates on 25 Cup teams

Share This Story

foxsports admin

 
   
 

1) Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: The four-time Watkins Glen winner is trying to find his way back to Victory Lane at the upstate New York road course after finishing 13th there last year. In fact, since his last Watkins Glen win in 2001, Gordon has finished 22nd, 33rd, 21st, 14th and 13th. He won three straight at Watkins Glen from 1997 to '99. He has six top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 14 previous WGI races. "That is why we tested last week," Gordon said. "We tested Road Atlanta for two days. Had fun. It was the first time I had been there. I really enjoyed running laps there. Hopefully it will help us out for The Glen. That road course is so much different than Sonoma that what you learn at VIR, what you learn at Sonoma doesn't necessarily work for you at Watkins Glen. We have lost a little bit of our advantage at Watkins Glen that we had a few years back. I am hoping that we get that back with this new car, with our test. I feel good. I feel like we are going to be strong."
  • Last week: Gordon, the winner of the June race at Pocono Raceway, finished fourth this time.
  • Etc.: Like most new fathers, Gordon admits he enjoys getting some extra sleep on the road but misses seeing his baby daughter, Ella. "I am definitely getting more sleep even though I am working harder during the day," Gordon said. "I can't wait to get home when I am away from her. I can't wait to get home even though I am not getting sleep; it is worth every second of the time that I am there. I am still enjoying the heck out of it."

  • Go back to the top

    2) Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • This week: Hamlin started 10th and finished 10th last year in his only previous Watkins Glen race. "I think Watkins Glen is a little bit less technical that what Sonoma is," Hamlin said. "It is more of a high-speed race track. Sonoma, you really have to be aware of your marks everywhere. At Watkins Glen, you can fudge it a little more. At Watkins Glen you may see some different guys up front, if their car is good. I feel pretty comfortable there. Any road course, I feel pretty good at, but Watkins Glen, in particular, I have run better at than I have at Sonoma."
  • Last week: The two-time Pocono winner finished third Sunday. "We fought brake issues right from the get-go," Hamlin said. "I didn't have a pedal, and we I couldn't enter the corners as hard as what I needed to. We went with a total different brake package than what we had here in the past, and it bit us a little bit. I learned to drive with the old brake package, and now with the new one I couldn't quite get around here. So fought the car for most of the day, tight and loose, back and forth, but for the most part it was just a little bit off."
  • Etc.: With the Chase beginning next month, Hamlin assessed his team's status so far this season: "Our pit stops are getting better, which definitely is what we set out to do when we changed the pit crew. That was the most important thing we had to work on before the Chase, not running better or anything like that. We aren't running as competitive. We are still hanging in there, but we are not running in the top three every week like we were before. But I think a lot of that has to do with us going out on the limb, trying to run these races in a different kind of way. Once we get to the Chase, Mike (Ford, the crew chief) and those guys have told me that they have got everything ready to go for that 10-race stretch. I am confident in that, I know when I show up, I am going to have the confidence that I have the best car."

  • Go back to the top

    3) Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: While Kenseth is one of NASCAR's best drivers, he certainly won't be confused for a top road racer. Watkins Glen is one of only two tracks where Kenseth has yet to record a top-five finish; the other is Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. He has three top-10s in seven starts at The Glen with a best finish of eighth in 2003. "Road courses really aren't my specialty by any stretch of the imagination, but of the two we race on, I like Watkins Glen a lot better than Sonoma," he said. "The Glen is a lot faster and there's more room to pass. There are two or three good passing zones at The Glen where at Sonoma there's really only one. You also don't have the big elevation changes at Watkins Glen like you do at Sonoma, which makes it a little bit easier. We weren't near as bad as where we finished at Sonoma. We had several problems that got us terrible track position, and then we ended up running out of gas coming to the white flag. So I think the car is capable of a good finish."
  • Last week: Kenseth's 14th-place finish in the Pennsylvania 500 kept him in third place in the standings.
  • Etc.: Kenseth will get some extra practice for The Glen by running in Saturday's Busch race. "I think running the Busch car on Saturday will help me on Sunday," Kenseth said. "It's the first time I've raced the Busch car at Watkins Glen in a long time, so I'm hoping it will help me prepare for Sunday's Cup race. Anytime you can get more seat time at a track you struggle at, it can only make you better."

  • Go back to the top

    4) Jeff Burton, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
  • This week: Burton still is looking for his first Watkins Glen victory. He has two top-five and three top-10 finishes in 13 starts there, and his best finish was second in 2001. "I really enjoy road-course racing, and I have a good time doing it," Burton said. "Watkins Glen is a place where we've had pretty good race cars over the past few years, although we don't have the finishes to indicate that. It's a big challenge and completely different than running at Sonoma. Watkins Glen is much more like a superspeedway of road courses, if there is such a thing. It's definitely a fast race track."
  • Last week: Burton finished 11th at Pocono.
  • Etc.: Two members of the team hail from the state of New York. Mechanic and pit support Kevin Nervenga calls Suffern, N.Y., his hometown, while spotter Rocky Ryan is from Smithtown, N.Y. Team engineer Jeff Curtis attended Cornell University, located in Ithaca, N.Y., where he graduated with an engineering degree.

  • Go back to the top

    5) Tony Stewart, No. 20 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • This week: Stewart is one of the best road racers in the Cup series. He has three wins at Watkins Glen and finished second there last year. Stewart has four top-five and six top-10 finishes in eight previous starts at Watkins Glen. "The big thing is to just get as many wins as you can get before the Chase starts to get those bonus points," Stewart said. "Whether you're first or 12th doesn't matter. It's how many races you can win in the meantime and get those 10 extra bonus points right now."
  • Last week: Stewart's two-race winning streak ended, but he was a solid sixth at Pocono. "Considering we started 24th and ended up sixth, I don't think is too bad a run," Stewart said. "We should've started better than that, obviously, but a decent finish nonetheless. We couldn't roll the center of the corners as good as we would've liked, and that just kept costing us time all day. The front of the car kept hitting the ground into (turn) one, and that really slowed us down in the center of (turns) one and two, and that's where guys were beating us at the beginning of a run. After five laps we were good; we just couldn't take off like those guys could."
  • Etc.: Fuel runner Jim Williams was born in Lackawanna, N.Y., and grew up in Adams Center, N.Y. Williams joined JGR following the 2000 season and has served as motorcoach driver for crew chief Greg Zipadelli and as a fuel runner on race day since joining the team. Before coming to JGR, he worked in civil service employment in Adams Center as an inspector. This is his first job in racing.

  • Go back to the top

    6) Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: Edwards finished fifth in his second Watkins Glen start in 2006. That was an improvement from 19th place as a rookie in 2005. "It's a really fun track to drive and I feel really good about the car we're bringing," Edwards said of chassis No. RK-482, which led 11 laps in Sonoma in June, before Edwards ran out of fuel and finished 18th. "... I think it's a good car that's capable of winning."
  • Last week: Edwards was 21st at Pocono.
  • Etc.: Despite a 30th-place finish at Montreal on Saturday, caused by a truck arm mount that broke off and took eight laps to repair, Edwards continues to have a commanding 787-point lead over David Reutimann in the Busch Series title race. "We had such a fast race car, it's a shame our day ended early," he said.

  • Go back to the top

    7) Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Johnson has two top-five finishes in five starts at Watkins Glen, but those are the only times he has been in the top 10 there. He did win the pole in 2004, and his best finish is fourth in 2003. "I love road-course racing," Johnson said. "I have been working hard to get better and better. One of my goals is to get a win on a road course. There's history everywhere at Watkins Glen. The race will be tough, as it always is. The number one goal is to stay on track. Any off-track trip here and your day is just about ruined. The technical difference between Watkins Glen and (Infineon) is the aero platform you are trying to run in the car. At The Glen you have a lot higher speeds and the track is less abrasive, so it seems to have more grip. You can get away with a lot stronger rear springs and keep a better aero platform in the car and help the splitter stay down on the ground and performing. At (Infineon), the corner speed is so slow and you have to accelerate so hard that you have to run a much softer rear spring package and you don't have as good of an aero platform. It's more mechanical grip. I think the key this weekend will be the guys that save their brakes for the shootout at the end are the ones who are going to do well. I'm going to try to manage my brakes the first half of the race and avoid running out of brakes at the end."
  • Last week: Johnson's fifth-place finish ended his recent slump and solidified his position in the point standings. In his previous two races, he had crashed at Chicagoland and Indianapolis.
  • Etc.: Even though he has faltered recently, Johnson's four Cup wins this season will be a big boost under the new scoring system that will determine the order at the start of The Chase. "The Chase format certainly is forgiving," Johnson said. "I've been on both sides of it now where I've had a nice points lead and hated the fact that the Chase was coming, and then now being in the situation that if it worked to my advantage, I'd be right back in the middle of it. So it's an interesting range of emotions to go through. But the rules are the rules, and we're going to do everything we can to try to be the champion come the end of the season."

  • Go back to the top

    8) Kyle Busch, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Busch will make his 100th Cup start this weekend. He was only 18 when he made his first start with Hendrick Motorsports on March 7, 2004 at Las Vegas. Since then, the 22-year-old Las Vegas native has racked up four wins, 24 top-fives and 42 top-10 finishes. Busch also has won two poles in his three-year career. "I wish I had more wins for the amount of races I've won, but it's gone really fast for me," Busch said. "I'm lucky to be this young and to have such a successful career." Busch finished ninth at Watkins Glen last year and 33rd there in 2005. "It's a very challenging track," he said. "There are a lot of high speed turns at The Glen. At Infineon, because of the different elevations, we were able to shut the car off and roll down the hills to save on fuel. At Watkins Glen the course is pretty flat, and we will have 17.5-gallon fuel cells this time around. Last year we had 22 gallons and we were able to make it on two stops; this year we might need to go for three stops. Most of the course is uphill. The biggest thing about Watkins Glen is to handle well. There are some fast corners and you have to handle down the straightaways. It's fast and it's a right-hand road course, so you have to get through the few left-handers to get some decent lap times." Busch's eighth-place finish at Infineon in June was his best road-course finish in a Cup event. He has not finished worse than 11th in a Cup road-course event since 2005.
  • Last week: Busch's 12th-place finish was minor news compared to his choice of Joe Gibbs Racing as his race team in 2008.
  • Etc.: Busch's team got some help recently from a true road racer, Max Papis, during preparations for Watkins Glen. "It was a fine-tuning of sorts," Busch said. "I think the information we had from Infineon and the testing that's been done at Hendrick Motorsports will help us get the edge we need."

  • Go back to the top

    9) Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
  • This week: Harvick won last year's race at Watkins Glen, and another victory this year would be a big boost to his fortunes heading into the Chase. He has two top-five and four top-10 finishes in six starts there. "Winning at Watkins Glen was a major accomplishment in my career," Harvick admitted. "We'd been able to win on all the different types of race tracks as we've gone through the years, but the road-course thing, we always had this little cloud over us. We have been in contention to win and always had things happen here and there. To finally (win) was pretty satisfying. It's almost a sense of relief because you get so frustrated at places you know you're capable of winning and haven't been able to. However, this year it's going to be a new challenge since we are going to race the COT car. We ran well at Sonoma and had a pretty good test at (Virginia), so I think we have a pretty good chance to repeat at Watkins Glen. We have been able to run in the top 10 and top five at Watkins Glen and Sonoma. I am fine that my name doesn't get brought up when it comes to road-course experts. It kind of gives me a chance to fly under the radar a little. Hopefully we can just keep piling up top-five finishes and maybe they will talk about me 20 years from now."
  • Last week: Harvick finished 17th at Pocono.
  • Etc.: Harvick is another Cup regular who will test his road-racing skills in Saturday's Busch race.

  • Go back to the top

    10) Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing
  • This week: Bowyer started 14th and finished 14th last year in his only previous Cup race at Watkins Glen. However, he did finish fourth in this season's first road race at Infineon. "I don't think they'll be calling me Jacques Bouvier anytime soon, but, nonetheless, a fourth-place finish at Infineon was a good effort and a testament to how good my team is," Bowyer said. "They brought a fairly inexperienced road racer and finished fourth with him. Watkins Glen is going to be a struggle. That's a race that is definitely weighing on me. That's a track where I've struggled in the past. I'm not necessarily a big fan of Watkins Glen, but you have to go to places like that with a goal in mind and just try to get better. Of course, when you go to tracks where you're good, you can't wait to get there. But good drivers anticipate going to their worst track and try to improve upon what they've done in the past."
  • Last week: Bowyer's eighth-place Pocono finish kept him solidly in the top 10.
  • Etc.: Bowyer has been running at the finish of all 21 Cup races this season. Bowyer, teammate Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are the only three drivers in the top 10 in points to have no DNFs (Did Not Finish) in 2007.

  • Go back to the top

    11) Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Chevrolet, DEI
  • This week: Truex finished 28th in his first Nextel Cup start at Watkins Glen, but he did have two top-10 finishes in his two Busch Series races at the road course. He said that makes him feel like he knows how to drive the course, but his focus is on the point standings now that his lead over 13th place is only 45 points. "There are only five races left before the Chase starts, so we really need to prove what kind of road racer we are this weekend," he said.
  • Last week: Damage to the front end of his Chevrolet, caused when Truex tried to pass teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. early in the second half of the race, ended any thoughts Truex had of a top-15 finish at Pocono. He was forced to make two extra pit stops during an ensuing caution to repair the damage and returned to the race more than 30 seconds back of the lead pack. "It was just a bad day for us," said Truex, who finished 22nd.
  • Etc.: Truex believes his success during his "karting days" will help him this weekend. "That knowledge (about road racing) comes back to me when I get into the car," said Truex. "It's all about finding the right places to pass and knowing where you can brake late and where you can't."

  • Go back to the top

    12) Kurt Busch, No. 2 Dodge, Penske Racing
  • This week: Busch has only one top-10 finish in six starts at Watkins Glen, but last year he won the pole and led 38 of the first 54 laps before being penalized for pitting too soon. He had to go to the rear of the field and ended up 19th after being involved in a last-lap accident. "With us running the new COT Dodge Avenger this weekend, it'll be a big challenge to equal the strength we had with last year's car," said Busch. "That's why we spent all day Monday down at Road Atlanta. I think it was time well spent and will definitely help us out this weekend."
  • Last week: Busch dominated the Pocono race as he led a record 175 laps in winning the 200-lap event and moving into 12th place in the Nextel Cup standings. The victory was his first of the season and second for Dodge. Busch holds a seven-point edge in the battle for the last spot in this championship chase, and he is only 38 points out of 11th place.
  • Etc.: "We have another five races to run before the Chase clicks in, and there's so much that can happen during that period," said crew chief Pat Tryson. "This is definitely not the right time to get in any serious defensive mode. When you're riding that momentum (from the Pocono win), you better be looking ahead and not wasting any energy looking in that rear-view mirror. It's best to ride it for all it's worth, and that's exactly what we're hoping to do."

  • Go back to the top

    13) Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 8 Chevrolet, DEI
  • This week: Earnhardt has three top-10 finishes in the last four races at Watkins Glen, and he also won a Busch Series race at the road course in 1999. "Some people still insist I can't drive on a road course, and I say they're not paying attention," said Earnhardt, who knows he needs another top-10 run this weekend to stay in the hunt for the Chase. "But the only way to dispel that misconception is to go out and win this weekend."
  • Last week: A left-front shock change just moments after Earnhardt spun to bring out the fourth caution flag turned what looked like a bad day at Pocono into a good one for Earnhardt. "I'm thrilled," Earnhardt said after rallying to place second, his best finish of the season. "The car was bouncing all over the place. It was terrible. But once we made the change, we were great."
  • Etc.: Earnhardt said he is "confident we'll be good this weekend -- just like I'm confident we're going to be good every weekend the rest of the season. I feel like we're performing at a high level, and I am confident I will be standing on the stage after the Richmond race when they take the picture of the 12 drivers that will be in the Chase."

  • Go back to the top

    14) Ryan Newman, No. 12 Dodge, Penske Racing
  • This week: Newman finished eighth last year at Watkins Glen for his third top-10 finish in five starts at the road course. Newman, who needs another top-10 run this weekend to boost his chances of qualifying for the Chase, will be driving the same car he used at Infineon. Newman spent Monday and Tuesday participating in a Goodyear tire test at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
  • Last week: Newman finished seventh at Pocono for his nine top-10 finish of the season. But with teammate Kurt Busch running away with the race, Newman noted, "It was a good run. It should have been a great run. We should have done better than that. Congratulations to Kurt." Newman is 72 points back in the race to qualify for the Chase.
  • Etc.: Last weekend, Krissie Newman, Ryan's wife, and friends helped raise funds for the Ryan Newman Foundation by waiting tables at Moyer's Country Kitchen in Pocono Lake, Pa. The RNF raised $600 from the women's tips, which was matched by Krissie's parents, Jim and JoAnn Boyle.

  • Go back to the top

    15) Mark Martin, No. 01 Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Inc.
  • This week: Martin will take the weekend off, and rookie Regan Smith will take over the driving duties of the 01 car. For Smith, racing at Watkins Glen will carry a "special feeling" since he was raised in Cato, N.Y., approximately 75 miles north of the track. Smith finished 30th at Infineon in the first road-course race of the year.
  • Last week: For the second consecutive week and the ninth time this season, Martin finished in the top 10 as he ended up ninth at Pocono to move up two spots in the standings. "This was just another solid effort by our U.S. Army team," said Martin. "We had about a 15th-place car in practice yesterday (Saturday), and were able to improve on that with another top-10."
  • Etc.: Watkins Glen will be the sixth career Cup start for Smith, who has shared the 01 ride with Martin this season. But because of the recent merger of Ginn Racing and DEI, Smith's future with the team is uncertain. Aric Almirola will be splitting driving duties with Martin in 2008.

  • Go back to the top

    16) Greg Biffle, No. 21 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: Biffle has four Cup starts at Watkins Glen, and four times he has finished 30th or worse. But he did win a truck race at the road course, and he also has two top-five finishes in three Busch Series races there. "Our luck on the Cup side has been horrible," said Biffle. "But we ran real well at Sonoma (where he finished fifth), so we feel good about this weekend."
  • Last week: Biffle battled an "extremely tight" race car all day as he finished a disappointing 23rd at Pocono. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed today," said Biffle. "We just couldn't get the handling figured out. The guys worked hard in the pits today, but I don't think it was something we could correct on pit road. We'll just try to learn from today and try to use it in the future so we don't make the same mistakes."
  • Etc.: Biffle knows time is running out in his bid to qualify for the Chase. He is 216 points out of 12th place with only five races left to determine the 12 drivers who will make up this year's championship chase. "We can't afford any more races like Pocono," said Biffle.

  • Go back to the top

    17) Jamie McMurray, No. 26 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: McMurray finished third a year ago at Watkins Glen. He was running second in June at Sonoma, the other road-course race on the circuit, when he ran out of gas with less than two laps remaining. "After the run we had in Sonoma, I'm expecting another good run this weekend," said McMurray. "We are taking the same car that we ran in Sonoma, which I felt really good about."
  • Last week: McMurray summed up his day at Pocono when he said, "This was just a really tough day for the whole team." Two solo spins in the first 64 laps, caused by a "really loose" race car, ended any hopes McMurray had of a top-20 finish. And to make the day even longer, he was caught up in a late-race accident that left him 40th.
  • Etc.: McMurray is 252 points out of 12th place with only five races left until the Chase begins. As he said, "If we are going to make the Chase, we certainly need to run a lot better than we have recently."

  • Go back to the top

    18) Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Dodge, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
  • This week: Montoya has raced only once at Watkins Glen, and that was in 1994 in a Barber Saab. Despite this lack of experience, he is expected to contend for the victory Sunday after capturing the road-course event at Sonoma in June. "I think driving the Busch race (on Saturday) is going to be a big help to get much more track time before the Cup race, and hopefully we can get really good results," said Montoya.
  • Last week: After running in the top 10 for the first half of the race at Pocono, Montoya didn't fare as well in the second half as he ended up 16th. "The car was OK," he said. "We're struggling needing a little bit of horsepower. We just need to make it better over the next few races."
  • Etc.: Montoya said his biggest challenge this year in his first season of Nextel Cup racing is "first of all getting used to the cars and getting to know the people that I have to work with and understand how the roles work, how everybody races, learn to overtake people. It's so different from open-wheel racing, so it makes it pretty tough."

  • Go back to the top

    19) Casey Mears, No. 25 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports
  • This week: Mears finished fourth in 2004 at Watkins Glen for his lone top-10 finish in four starts at the road course. Mears tested at Road Atlanta last week with the car he will race this weekend. "Road Atlanta was a good way for us to test general road-race tuning and helped us work on our setup," said crew chief Darian Grubb. "Watkins Glen is a tough place to find the right handling balance."
  • Last week: Mears was all smiles after finishing 10th at Pocono for his sixth top-10 finish of the season. "I'm just really proud of the guys on our No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet team for putting together such a great race car this weekend, especially after we had to go to a backup (after crashing his primary car on Friday)," said Mears.
  • Etc.: Mears said the new COT is a "lot more difficult to drive. The way the car is built and designed does not cater to a road course. It's a top-heavy car and doesn't brake or change direction as well (as the road course cars they have run in the past)."

  • Go back to the top

    20) Bobby Labonte, No. 43 Dodge, Petty Enterprises
  • This week: Labonte hasn't fared too well at Watkins Glen in recent years. After six top-10 finishes in nine races, Labonte has not finished better than 11th in the last five events at the road course. But he believes a recent test at Road Atlanta will boost his chances of returning to the top 10. "We learned some things, and hopefully that will help this weekend," said Labonte.
  • Last week: Labonte fought an ill-handling race car all afternoon as he finished 30th at Pocono. "We have been fighting the car the past few races," said Labonte. "We just never were able to get it where we wanted today."
  • Etc.: Labonte notes "road courses are tricky races. A good car helps, but it's going to come down to pit strategy. It usually always does. It's a fuel-mileage race, and it's a track-position race. We're going into a chess match played with these new (COT) cars." Labonte will be seeking his second top-10 finish of the season this weekend.

  • Go back to the top

    21) J.J. Yeley, No. 18 Chevrolet, Joe Gibbs Racing
  • This week: Yeley seemed headed for a top-five finish at Watkins Glen last year, but a flat left front tire ended his day on the last lap and he finished 33rd. "I'm excited about going back to Watkins Glen because I think it's a fun road course," said Yeley. "There are a lot more places that you can pass (than the road course at Sonoma), and you can carry a lot more speed and it's not as technical. It's just a little bit more fun."
  • Last week: "It was a long and frustrating day that we'll need to put behind us," said Yeley after finishing 35th at Pocono. "We started off the race really loose on entry and exit. The guys tried to make major changes to tighten the car up, and it finally got to a point where it was tight on throttle but it was still free on entry (into the corners)."
  • Etc.: Amid reports that Kyle Busch will replace him at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008, Yeley knows he needs to run well to help him in his bid to land a top ride next year. Yeley is rumored to be in line for a spot with the Wood Brothers in '08.

  • Go back to the top

    22) David Ragan, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing
  • This week: Ragan has never competed in a Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen. And the rookie driver knows that the road courses at the Glen and Montreal are nothing alike, but he hopes his 19th-place finish at Montreal last weekend will help him at The Glen. "From my point of view, getting in the mindset of hard braking and managing your transmission, something I'm not accustomed to, will make me a little more comfortable at Watkins Glen," he said.
  • Last week: It was a long weekend for the rookie driver. First, he wrecked his primary car during practice Friday. Then early in the Pennsylvania 500, he suffered a cut tire to drop off the lead lap. A second flat tire with 41 laps to go resulted in a 33rd-place finish for Ragan.
  • Etc.: Ragan finished 29th in the first road-course race this year at Sonoma. "It (this weekend) is going to be another deal like Sonoma -- just get out there and make all the laps I can in practice," said Ragan. "It's going to help a lot to run the Busch car (on Saturday)."

  • Go back to the top

    23) Elliott Sadler, No. 19 Dodge, Gillett Evernham Motorsports
  • This week: Sadler finished seventh a year ago at Watkins Glen for his first top-10 finish in eight starts at the road course. He will be driving the same car that he raced to a 14th-place finish at Sonoma in June. "We had a really good Avenger in Sonoma and expect to be fast again at Watkins Glen," said Sadler.
  • Last week: Sadler continued to struggle as he finished 32nd at Pocono. "We just couldn't get the car hooked up with the track," said Sadler. "We took advantage of every stop to make adjustments but never got the car hooked up with the track the way we were able to do during practice on Saturday."
  • Etc.: It's official -- George N. Gillett Jr. has purchased the majority ownership of the team, and the new name of the organization is Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Ray Evernham and Gillett have been talking since the first of the year. "This will allow me to focus on our racing operations and team performance, while the Gillett family will focus on our business operations," said Evernham, who will retain the title of chief executive officer.

  • Go back to the top

    24) Reed Sorenson, No. 41 Dodge, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
  • This week: Sorenson finished 12th in his first start at Watkins Glen last year. He would be delighted with another top-15 finish this weekend after finishing 40th in the first road race of the season at Infineon. Sorenson admits road racing is something he still has a "lot to learn about."
  • Last week: Good pit strategy allowed Sorenson to lead five laps at Pocono, but he ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was clipped by Carl Edwards as part of a multi-car accident with only 19 laps to go. "Something happened with three or four of them up in front of us," said Sorenson. "I slowed and got him from behind." As a result, Sorenson ended up 28th.
  • Etc.: Sorenson said his goals for the rest of the season are simple -- "run consistent, gain spots in the points. We're 24th in the points right now and we'd like to be somewhere around 15th or so by the time the season is over." He is 156 points out of the top 20.

  • Go back to the top

    25) David Stremme, No. 40 Dodge, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
  • This week: Stremme finished 17th in his first Nextel Cup race at Watkins Glen. In June, he finished 32nd in the road-course race at Infineon. Stremme believes two of his teammates at Ganassi Racing -- Scott Pruett and Juan Pablo Montoya -- are two of the best road-racing drivers in the world, and he hopes "some of that rubs off on me."
  • Last week: Stremme rallied from a flat left-front tire to finish 25th at Pocono. "Looking back on all that we went through here, I'll take a top-25," said Stremme. "The day started out way too tight, then the car just swung the other way and got too loose. Anytime you come out finishing better than you thought you would, that's a pretty good day."
  • Etc.: Stremme admits the entire Ganassi organization has struggled with the COT. "We weren't as prepared as we should have been," said Stremme, who has fallen to 25th in the standings after beginning in the year in the top 10.

  • Go back to the top

    Tagged: Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Reed Sorenson, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, Casey Mears, Elliott Sadler, Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, Bobby Labonte, Martin Truex Jr., David Reutimann, David Ragan, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, David Stremme, Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola, Mark Martin, Scott Pruett, Jamie McMurray, Regan Smith, Max Papis

    More Stories From foxsports admin



    More Than Sports on MSN

    Fox Sports Store

      itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
      Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Danica_Patrick/browse/featuredproduct/974547/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_974000/ff_974547_xl.jpg&w=100 26.95 Chase Authentics Danica Patrick Big Rig Tri-Blend T-Shirt - Charcoal
      Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Kyle_Busch/browse/featuredproduct/1011659/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1011000/ff_1011659_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Kyle Busch One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
      Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Matt_Kenseth/browse/featuredproduct/1011661/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1011000/ff_1011661_xl.jpg&w=100 9.99 Matt Kenseth One Spot Gauge T-Shirt - Black
      Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Carl_Edwards/browse/featuredproduct/1041164/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1041000/ff_1041164_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Chase Authentics Carl Edwards 2013 Driver Schedule T-Shirt - Ash