Racingone Pitnotes: Charlotte

Weekend Statistics: Driver Averages | Driver Ratings | Qualifying Results | Starting Lineup | Practice Speeds: First | Second | Final

    CONCORD, N.C. - A look at all the news, notes and photos from Lowe's Motor Speedway as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series gets ready to run Saturday night's Bank of America 500.

    Riggs Sweeps Lowe's Poles, Busch Fails Inspection
    Scott Riggs made it a clean sweep of NEXTEL Cup Series poles at Lowe's Motor Speedway in 2006 by taking the top spot Thursday night for the Bank of America 500.

    Riggs drove his Evernham Motorsports Dodge to his third career pole late in the session with a lap of 191.469 mph.

    The pole winner led an impressive performance by the Dodge camp, which swept four of the first five positions in qualifying.

    Kurt Busch was third in qualifying but had his time disallowed after the No. 2 Dodge’s right rear shock did not conform to the NASCAR rule book in post qualifying inspection. He will now start 42nd. Additional penalties may be assessed next week. Full Story

    Earnhardt Jr. Paces Happy Hour
    Driving a car that has captured five consecutive top 10s in 2006, Dale Earnhardt Jr. paced "Happy Hour" with a lap of 183.943 mph in a session that saw him run 34 laps. Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson rounded out the top five.

    Ryan Newman wrecked his primary car in practice and was forced to go to a backup car. He was 11th quickest in final practice with the backup. Happy Hour Speeds

    Gordon Reunites with Ford
    Robby Gordon announced today that he will reunite with the Ford Motor Company to drive and field Ford Fusions starting in 2007. Full Story

    Johnson Talks with Vickers
    Jimmie Johnson told the media on Friday that he has talked to Brian Vickers after their incident at Talladega. Johnson said, "Everything is fine."

    Carmichael to MB2
    Ricky Carmichael, considered the greatest motocross racer of all time, is moving to NASCAR. He will join the Bobby Ginn-owned MB2 Motorsports operation, which fields Nextel Cup teams for Joe Nemechek and Sterling Marlin. Full Story

    Wallace Back with Geico
    Phoenix Racing and driver Mike Wallace announced today that they will field the No. 7 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Busch Series for the next three seasons. GEICO, which sponsored Wallace from 2002-2004, will return as the primary sponsor. Full Story

    Hornish Looking to Make NASCAR Debut
    IRL IndyCar champion Sam Hornish Jr. has been testing a Busch car for Penske Racing and is looking to make his debut at Phoenix International Raceway if he feels he's ready.

    Labonte Inducted Into Cout of Legends
    Terry Labonte was inducted into the Lowe's Motor Speedway Court of Legends at the main enterance to the track on Friday.

    Labonte was inducted by placing his right footprint, handprints and autograph into cement.

    Nemechek's Patriotic Post-Race Plans
    Unlike his racing buddies, Joe Nemechek’s weekend duties will not end with Saturday night's Nextel Cup event at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte.

    Early Sunday morning, Nemechek and a small entourage - including his mother Martha Nemechek - will jet to Guantanamo Bay to visit troops on behalf of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.

    Since Nemechek knows firsthand how enthusiastic the troops are about NASCAR racing, he would like nothing better than to arrive in Guantanamo Bay with a strong result from Saturday night's race.

    "One thing I learned driving the Army car is that the troops - no matter where they're stationed - they follow NASCAR," said Nemechek. "In many countries, they're up in the middle of the night watching the race. I am sure the NASCAR excitement will be the same in Guantanamo Bay.”

    "It's always more upbeat to meet the troops following a strong performance," Nemechek added. "I am looking forward to the trip and receiving another good dose of what dedication and spirit are all about."

    Notes from the Pressbox
    What drivers are saying this weekend at Lowe's

  • "I don't know what to think. We appreciate the offer. We passed on that. It's unfortunate. I feel like if they were really concerned, they would have called me personally. I haven't gotten a call or anything and neither has Hendrick Motorsports. If I would have done it, I would have handled it another way besides putting out a press release." -Brian Vickers on the extra security offered by Lowe's Motor Speedway earlier this week.

  • "As good as the car felt in practice today, we felt it should be capable of winning the pole, especially with the draw going out so late. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure I didn’t make a mistake. The car did exactly what I wanted it to do and it was an awesome feeling lap, but I’d definitely trade this pole for a win. We want to have one night where we don’t make mistakes, and we think we can get to the front and win." -Scott Riggs about his pole winning run

  • "I was just thrilled to be considered for the ride, and then when Jack and Geoff Smith called and said it was going to be me, the first few seconds we, 'Hey, this is cool. This is exciting and I'm going to have a great time next year.' The next few seconds after that were, 'Hey, I've got my work cut out for me over the off-season.' We've got a lot of hard work to do, myself and the crew chiefs that prepare my stuff, to go out and contend for wins and top-fives and top-10s next year." -David Ragan's thoughts about driving the No. 6 AAA Ford starting next season.

  • "I think you are insinuating that as Mark retires, I am soon to be crowned the most pessimistic person in motorsports. (LAUGHS) I reluctantly take that banner." -Jeff Burton on Mark Martin's impending retirement.

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