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Thomas Bowles · Thursday May 25, 2006
News and notes from around the track Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway:
SADLER SOLIDLY BEHIND YATES:
The recent changes at RYR may have resulted in the ousting of Eddie D’Hondt and the reorganization of several key personnel, but Elliott Sadler insists there won’t be a change in the driver’s seat.
“I plan to come back,” Sadler said about his status as driver of the No. 38 Ford, which had come into question with all the recent changes. “I have not gotten any offers from anybody. I can look at every one of you with a straight face and tell you that.”
With a contract that runs through 2008, Sadler is instead looking to get his team turned around after one of the roughest stretches of his recent career.
“We feel our backs are to the wall,” said Sadler about the team’s struggles. “We need to run good. If it takes where we’ve got to cut a car up and work on it all night long and burn the midnight oil, then that’s something we’ve got to do.”
NO TIRE GREEN FLAG STOPS? FUEL MILEAGE?
Goodyear is so confident in the wear of the tire over the Lowe’s race weekend, representative Stu Grant expected teams to keep them on for more than one stop with the smaller fuel cells.
“What I’d do is just a gas and go,” said Grant. “The only significant wear we’ve seen is on the left front.”
“I think what you’re going to see more than anything is a lot of different pit strategies,” Jeremy Mayfield claimed. “Fuel mileage has got to be an issue before the end of the night.”
Depending on how the caution flags fall with the smaller fuel cells, there could be as many as a dozen green flag pit stops on Sunday.
TOUCHING THE WALL…AGAIN, AND AGAIN, AND AGAIN:
The outside wall at Lowe’s served as a familar place for NASCAR Nextel Cup Series cars Thursday. J.J. Yeley and Tony Raines crashed in practice, while Tony Stewart spun out on the backstretch and didn’t hit anything. Then, during qualifying Kirk Shelmerdine smacked the wall.
Shelmerdine was unhurt, but failed to qualify for the event. Meanwhile, Yeley took out the backup Interstate Batteries Chevrolet and qualified in the Top 5.
HENDRICK SAYS CONTRACT EXTENSION IMMINENT FOR KNAUS:
After Chad Knaus’ public acknowledgement that his contract expired after 2007, Rick Hendrick was quick to put that story to bed.
“I don’t know how all that got on the street that we weren’t reupping Chad,” said Hendrick. “Usually with crew chiefs about a year in advance is enough. We’re happy with Chad. I think Chad is happy (at Hendrick).”
Negotiations apparently began this week on a new contract, something Hendrick looks to finish sometime soon.
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