Do I think Carmichael is ready for a full-time Truck ride? No. But Harvick and KHI seem to think he is. And given Harvick’s record as an owner, I am concerned for Carmichael and his career development should he get that promotion. Carmichael, given how green he still is not just in the ranks of NASCAR, but in racing stock cars period, is a rookie that is going to require a lot of patience, even more than with most. Patient is not something Harvick has ever been as an owner.
Q: Matt, can you or someone tell the true story of what happened to Joey Clanton and Jack Roush in the Truck Series? If I remember correctly, Joey was a co-driver for some team in 2007. Joey came from Georgia, as well as his sponsor Zaxby’s Chicken. He and Zaxby’s teamed with Roush for 2008… but after the Daytona race, Joey left, and the official statement was he had family interests to pursue. Joey was a good up and coming driver, having won an ASA title a few years ago. It appears Roush used him to get the Zaxby’s sponsor and then booted Joey for someone else. Maybe Joey can make a comeback next year?
The bright yellow color scheme of Penske Trucking replaced the familiar blue and white Mobil 1 logo on the No. 77 Dodge in Atlanta. Yet, despite the vibrant appearance of the car, nobody seemed to notice Sam Hornish Jr. on Sunday; which, considering his previous two outings, was nothing but a good thing.
If the rookies are looking for reasons to explain their poor performance in Fontana, this past weekend has offered plenty of them, talk about baptism by fire. With Mother Nature wreaking havoc on the Auto Club 500 festivities, these freshman drivers faced very limited practice time, unusual track conditions and a race that had multiple interruptions and took almost 24 hours to complete; conditions these men have probably never seen and hopefully will never have to see again. This nightmare we tried to call a NASCAR race provided plenty of explanation for the pitiful performances turned in by the newbies and perhaps even grants them a “free pass” from criticism. It’s been a slow start of most of these guys however, and I expect much better runs next week.
Montoya has enjoyed a good amount of his non-road course success on quad ovals this year, and at one point in time, it appeared this weekend’s race at Texas would be no different. The Colombian started the event from the inside of row 2 and by lap 7, he had his Texaco/Havoline Dodge comfortably in the lead. Although the top spot was relinquished to Jeff Gordon during pit stops on lap 16, the rookie would still make his presence felt in the top 10 for the majority of the race’s first quarter.
News came down this week that Bobby Labonte would be taking over driving duties for Kevin Harvick Inc.’s No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet for the remaining companion events of the 2006 Busch Series season. This means that rookie driver Burney Lamar will have only one more run in the car in the Busch Series standalone event at Memphis. The reason given for the change involves the performance of the car or rather the lack thereof. It seems the team has not seen the progress or improvement they were hoping for and are putting a veteran behind the wheel to evaluate the program in an effort to see where they might need to make improvements for next season. Although he hasn’t technically been completely relieved of his driving duties, Lamar is basically the next rookie being sidelined.
Passing leader Matt Kenseth on lap 179, Clint Bowyer held on over the final 25 laps to take his first win of 2006 in overtime at Dover. Bowyer sailed out to a safe lead after getting by Kenseth, but for a while it looked like he might come up short again when he got tied up in lapped traffic, allowing Kenseth to climb right back up on his back bumper. It was actually a late caution for Martin Truex Jr. with four laps remaining to set up the green-white-checkered finish that actually worked to Bowyer’s advantage and sealed the win for him. With nothing but clean racetrack in front of him on the restart, Bowyer was once again able to dash off from Kenseth and take the win. Teammate Kevin Harvick finished third, followed by Jamie McMurray and Jason Leffler to round out the top five.