Roush states his case with five-page document
CONCORD, N.C. -- Feeling singled out by NASCAR's proposed cap on teams, Roush Racing distributed a 10-point argument Saturday outlining the benefits of multicar ownership.
NASCAR chairman Brian France said last weekend he was looking at placing a limit on the number of teams a car owner will be able to field in the Nextel Cup series. Any limits would be phased in over the next few seasons.
Car owner Jack Roush -- who owns five teams and all five qualified for NASCAR's Chase for the championship -- was told of the plans second-hand, and his management group spent a large part of this week preparing the five-page document they placed around the garage area at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"We were taken by complete surprise by their remarks last weekend," said Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing and the author of the document. "We felt like we wanted to make it an intellectual issue if we were allowed to."
The document argues that multicar teams have improved the level of competition in the sport; have given new drivers an opportunity to break into the sport; and made it easier for new teams to enter NASCAR competition.
It also maintains that potential team restrictions represent a significant loss to every owner, while arguing that Roush's five-car team and Rick Hendrick's four-car operation are not even the largest in NASCAR.
The Roush camp alleges that Toyota's Craftsman Truck Series operation is the biggest team owner because the car maker provides all chassis and engines to eight different teams.
All of NASCAR's top teams are multicar operations, and France said their success is viewed as an obstacle to people contemplating coming into the sport.
Roush, who has won the past two championships, is having a hard time believing the cap isn't directed at his organization.
"Is it a coincidence? We don't know," Smith said. "It's just hard to believe that it is."
Bowyer's big move
Busch Series driver Clint Bowyer got his big promotion on Saturday when Richard Childress Racing promoted him to the Nextel Cup Series to drive the No. 07 Chevrolet.
The 26-year-old Bowyer will take over for Dave Blaney at the start of next season and will attempt to complete both a full Cup and Busch schedule. The busy schedule might not be his biggest challenge, though. Bowyer will have to have a strong relationship with RCR driver Kevin Harvick to ensure his rookie Cup season will be a success.
"It's tough, Kevin's a determined individual and he liked being The Man," Bowyer said. "But the thing I have working for me is I am the closest in age to him as any teammate he's ever had and we are good friends. I think the key will be for us to just keep trying to help each other."
The two had an on-track altercation during Friday night's Busch Series race, when Bowyer ran into Harvick 50 laps into the event to end his evening. It cost him big in the points standings -- he entered the race in second place, 74 points behind leader Martin Truex Jr. and now trails by 120.
"I don't know what happened," Bowyer said. "But I took a lick in the standings and hit the wall pretty hard."
Bowyer's new Cup car is sponsored by Jack Daniel's, which extended its deal with Childress through 2009.
Dragging for diversity
Drag racing star Frank Pedregon is among the car owners in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity Program, becoming the first Hispanic to be affiliated with the program.
"I've always been a circle track fan and always wanted to pursue it in some way," he said. "But I ended up with my family in drag racing, although my heart remained with circle tracks."
Pedregon will be among the new and returning diversity program owners attending a combine next week in South Boston, Va., to evaluate talent. Nineteen ethnic and gender minority drivers were selected from a pool of 300 to attend the combine and will be competing against each other for spots in the program.
Pedregon isn't the only new participant -- Joe Gibbs Racing and Jeff Spraker have also joined the program and intend to field teams next season.
If Champ Car driver Paul Tracy gets a shot in NASCAR, it doesn't look like it will be with Richard Childress Racing.
Childress gave Tracy a two-day test at Michigan in August and said he would let him race at that track if the session went well. The two ultimately decided not to enter the race. Now Childress says there have been no further discussions.
"Paul and I haven't talked in about a month," Childress said. "We're just trying to get our in-house program put together for next year."
Childress doesn't have a single car in the Chase for the championship, and Kevin Harvick, who is battling for 11th place in the final series standings, is his best driver right now.
Car owner Ray Evernham has sponsorship for his third car all but locked up, signing Stanley Tools to a 10-race deal for next season.
What's interesting about the deal is that for a secondary sponsor, Stanley landed some of the biggest races on the schedule. The toolmaker will be featured at Daytona in July, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis, and three of the 10 races in the Chase for the championship.
The new entry will be piloted by Scott Riggs next season and it is partly owned by Valvoline, which will sponsor 24 events. Evernham says he has financial backing for the remaining two races on the schedule and will announce the deal before the season is out.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press