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Sunday, July 27, 2008
Teams pursuing Newman dwindling as JGR says it is out

ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Strike Joe Gibbs Racing from the list of potential employers for Ryan Newman.

Newman's name has been most prominently mentioned to land with Stewart-Haas Racing next season. Sources close to the situation said he also has had discussions with JGR, Richard Childress Racing and Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

An RCR official said Friday that he expected Newman to go to Stewart, and JGR president J.D. Gibbs said Sunday it was unlikely the driver of Penske Racing's No. 12 would join his Toyota team.

"It would be hard," Gibbs said before the Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Another time, another day, maybe. He's a great individual. You would love to have him on your team. It's just all those ducks aren't in a row."

Gibbs did say he was getting closer to naming a driver to replace Tony Stewart in the No. 20 next season. Joey Logano, the 18-year-old sensation in the Nationwide Series, remains the front-runner for that spot.

Gibbs also said JGR likely wouldn't expand to four teams in 2009.

"Next year would be hard," Gibbs said.

-- David Newton

Where are my horses?

Gibbs had the line of the day as he stood outside the police tape surrounding the NASCAR dining area.

"Don't mind me," he told officials. "I'm just over here looking for my horsepower."

JGR won its 14th Nationwide Series race of the season Saturday night when Kyle Busch drove the No. 18 to Victory Lane at O'Reilly Raceway Park. It was the first race since the governing body took horsepower from the Toyota engines in an attempt to even the playing field.

Gibbs met with NASCAR president Mike Helton on Sunday morning to again discuss his displeasure with the decision, which he says will affect his team once it heads to other tracks. He plans to meet with other officials in the next few days.

"When we hit Michigan and those other tracks, we're going to feel it pretty hard," Gibbs said. "We just kind of sat down and laid down our thoughts on it. Obviously we're discouraged from our guys' standpoint. If you look at the history of the sport, there always have been variances in motor packages.

"The reality is, how do you adjust that? Do you handicap somebody? Or do you say, 'Here's how these guys can work to gain it back'? It's obviously discouraging for our guys."

-- David Newton

Waltrip, Menard tangle early

The first caution wasn't for tires but for a Lap 4 accident involving Michael Waltrip and Paul Menard. Waltrip, in the No. 55 Toyota, spun in Turn 2, brushing Sam Hornish Jr. and then getting together with Menard's No. 15 Chevrolet.

Waltrip sustained heavy damage, eventually returning but still finishing last. Menard finished 41st.

"It wasn't a track issue, just racing," Waltrip said. "The 77 [Hornish] got wide and I dove under him and he came down. I have to control my car -- it's not his fault. I got sideways and had my car saved, felt pretty good about it. Then the 15 just ran me over."

-- John Schwarb

Petty out at Pocono

Kyle Petty

Petty

Kyle Petty is expected to skip his second straight race next week at Pocono since the end of his deal with TNT, team officials said.

"We're still working through a few things," said Robbie Loomis, the vice president of racing operations at Petty Enterprises.

The most likely candidate to fill in is Chad McCumbee, who attempted to qualify the car at Texas earlier this year. Terry Labonte, who replaced Petty on Sunday to guarantee the car would get into the field, already has agreed to drive for Gillett Evernham Motorsports next week in place of Patrick Carpentier. Carpentier is racing in the Nationwide Series in Montreal on Saturday and won't pull double duty.

Loomis declined to speculate on whether Petty, who before Indianapolis took six races off to serve as an analyst for TNT and another to attend his daughter's wedding, will drive the No. 45 car next season.

-- David Newton

Riggs moves into top 35

Scott Riggs

Riggs

Haas CNC Racing hasn't had a lot to celebrate on the track this season, but Scott Riggs' 25th-place run at the Brickyard was cause for celebration.

With the finish, Riggs' No. 66 Chevrolet moved into the top 35 in owners' points, assuring him a spot in the field next week at Pocono, Pa. Riggs' good fortune was Michael McDowell's disappointment, as the Michael Waltrip Racing rookie dropped to 36th in the owners' standings with a 34th-place run in his first Allstate 400. McDowell finished 42nd and 43rd in two of three races prior to Indy in the No. 00 Toyota, leaving little room for error this weekend.

McDowell will have to qualify on speed next week, but if he gets in, he could race off the bubble, trailing Riggs by just 14 points.

-- John Schwarb

Standings

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