Notebook: Truex Car Impounded

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - NASCAR impounded Martin Truex Jr's No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet during the first Sprint Cup Series practice for the Coke Zero 400 Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Truex's primary car failed to meet roof template specs, and NASCAR confiscated it, forcing the No. 1 Bass Pro Shops team to pull out its backup car for the remainder of the weekend.

The final practice session for the Cup Series was rained out, meaning Truex never had the opportunity to get on track.

Franchitti Ponders Future
Dario Franchitti was consipicuous with his absence from Daytona International Speedway Thursday. Earlier this week, team owner Chip Ganassi announced that he was shutting down the No. 40 Dodge team due to lack of sponsorship.

Franchitti isn't sure of his future plans, but told the Associated Press this week that he hoped to stay in NASCAR.

"This is not a decision Chip made lightly, and it shows how bad the economy is," Franchitti said. "I know for certain Chip struggled with that. I'll sit down with Chip next week and decide where we're going forward with this."

Franchitti, who left the IndyCar Series after winning the championship in 2007 to make the move to NASCAR, said he would perhaps consider driving the No. 40 Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.

Not on Speaking Terms
When asked Thursday if he had spoken with Juan Pablo Montoya this week, Kyle Busch answered with a resounding, "No. Did not."

Montoya's No. 42 Texaco-Havoline Dodge ran into the back fender of Busch's No. 18 M&M's Toyota during a caution in the latter portion of last Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In the process, Montoya wrecked himself.

Busch went on to say that the matter was "over with." NASCAR assessed Montoya a two-lap penalty at New Hampshire, but did not fine him this week for his actions.

Martin to No. 5?
While no official announcement has been made, tongues were wagging Thursday at Daytona International Speedway about Mark Martin's supposed move to Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet full time in 2009.

Some drivers don't blame Martin for wanting to come back and drive in the Sprint Cup Series full time, especially with an organization like Hendrick Motorsports.

"I think it has a lot to do with how competitive Mark has been this year," Denny Hamlin said. "He's had a couple of shots to win races, and I think that kind of fuels him. So, I understand where he's coming from there."

Kyle Busch agrees.

"When you're away from it, I guess it just eats at you a little bit and you want to get back to it," Busch said. "Mark finished fifth or sixth a few weeks ago at Pocono, or something like that, but the guy's still really good. I think he'll be fine."

Hendrick Motorsports is expected to make an announcement on its driver for 2009 on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. It was announced last week that Casey Mears wouldn't return as the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet.

Harvick Not "Happy"
The fact that he's in 12th place in the Sprint Cup Series standings with nine races remaining before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup doesn't sit well with Kevin Harvick.

Harvick enters this weekend's Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola a mere 15 points ahead of 13th-place Matt Kenseth and only 71 points ahead of 14th-place Martin Truex Jr. Harvick hasn't won a race in 2008.

"Some of the things that we've done are self-induced," the driver of the No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet said. "We're in the failing part of the report card at this point."

Bowyer an RCR Man
Despite the fact that he's a hot commodity around the NASCAR circles these days, Clint Bowyer never had any doubt in his mind that he would re-sign with Richard Childress Racing during recent contract negotiations.

"Richard took a chance on me when no one else would, and you've got to show some loyalty there," the driver of the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet said. "I did have some other people call me and offer me rides, but we've had a lot of success with Richard. He's responsible for the great livelihood that I enjoy right now."

Stewart Paint Scheme
Tony Stewart's on-track reputation precedes him, so it's unlikely that he'll be able to sneak up on anyone during race. That may be especially true in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan, where his No. 20 Old Spice Toyota will sport a most unusual paint scheme.

The car will be covered in a kaleidoscope of colors, and a bunny on the hood, reflecting a paint scheme designed by 14-year-old Emily Marsala, a former Give Kids The World Wish Child in 2004. Give Kids The World, a charitable organization based in Orlando, Fla., will partner with Old Spice, Joe Gibbs Racing and the Tony Stewart Foundation for the Michigan race.

"This is a car that a lot of people wouldn't expect me to drive, so it might give me a competitive advantage," Stewart said. "It will certainly give me some good camoflage during the race. No one will know that it's me getting ready to pass them."

Practice Speeds
Kurt Busch, who posted the fastest speed in the first Sprint Cup Series practice Thursday at 189.633 mph, hit the wall during the first practice session and damaged the right side of his No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, forcing the team to go to a backup car.

Clint Bowyer, who leads the Nationwide Series standings by 182 points over David Reutimann, posted the top speed in the weekend's first practice Thursday, 184.691 mph. David Stremme was second, followed by Jason Leffler, Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards.

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