This Week in NASCAR News and Rumors

Mason DunnCorrespondent IMay 16, 2009

CONCORD, NC - MAY 15: Jimmie Johnson (R), driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, and crew chief Chad Knaus (L) celebrate taking the pole position following qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 15, 2009 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Camping World Trucks Series

David Gilliland will make his third career Camping World Truck series start tonight at Lowe's in the TRG Motorsports No. 7 entry and plans to run all companion races for the rest of the season.

This will, of course, further limit the schedule of rookie driver J.R. Fitzpatrick, whom last drove the No. 7 to a 21st place finish at Martinsville.

Due to rain washing out qualifying four teams got sent home after the field was set by owner points. Heading home was the No. 28 of Wayne Edwards, No. 09 of John Wes Townley, No. 02 of Andy Ponstein and the No. 89 of Nick Tucker.

Two truck series regulars will be pulling the double this weekend by attempting to race into Saturday night's Sprint All-Star event through the Sprint Showdown.

Todd Bodine will be in the No. 64 Gunselman Motorsports entry and David Starr will be driving the No. 06 of Boys will be Boys Racing owned by Canadian driver Trevor Boys.

Speaking of Trevor Boys, he is slated to return to his IMCA Modified roots when he competes in this weekend's Rolling Thunder Modified series event at Shenandoah Speedway in Shenandoah, Va.

One year will be the mark this weekend for Premier Racing and their No. 17 Toyota driven by Timothy Peters.

Team owner Phillip Hudgins was qouted saying, "We came to Charlotte last year with a team that was put together in a matter of days, and now we are close to capturing our first win."

Mike Bliss and Key Motorsports will be returning to the track tonight for the first time since announcing that the team's truck schedule would be scaled back to become part-time.


Nationwide Series

The Nationwide Series may be taking the week off but that doesn't mean a lack of news coming out of NASCAR's number two division.

SK Motorsports announced that Patrick Carpentier will continue his current stint as the team's replacement driver for David Green next Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway after his 17th place finish at Darlington.

KHI driver Cale Gale announced that he will be driving much of the 2009 Canadian Tire Series this season in the No. 13 Rheem Chevy for Farwell Racing Inc.

Cale will miss the season opener at Delaware Speedway on June 6 since he is already committed to drive the KHI No. 33 at Nashville.

Marc Davis Motorsports has announced that Jeff Spraker is the new crew cheif for their No. 36 entry in the Nationwide Series starting at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 23.


Sprint Cup Series

After the wash out of qualifying for the Sprint Showdown the field was set by a draw placing the part-time teams of Kirk Shelmerdine and Carl Long on the front row. The first five positions consist of three Toyotas and two Dodges (Shelmerdine, Long, David Stremme, Dave Blaney and Scott Riggs).

Unfortunately, Shelmerdine will not be starting from the pole due to his wreck in practice, yielding the pole over to Long and bumping Stremme up to outside of the front row.

Richard Petty Motorsports driver A.J. Allmendinger, whom has been doing some heavy campaigning for the Sprint Fan Vote, was the fastest in Showdown practice by .026 seconds over Martin Truex Jr.

Other notables in practice include Joe Nemechek in fourth, Brian Vickers (a previous Showdown winner) in eighth and David Gilliland in ninth.

Jimmie Johnson and his crew put the No. 48 Lowe's Chevy on the pole for the All-Star race after an impressive time of 121.43 seconds. Why is a two-minute time impressive in qualifying? Because that's running a lap then pitting and driving around the track one final time.

Despite recent criticism of the No. 88 pit crew it did not seem to phase them during All-Star qualifying when they incurred no penalties and teamed up with driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. to place that No. 88 in fourth with a time of 123.27 seconds.

A few drivers had hard luck in qualifying:

No. 16 Greg Biffle: 5 second penalty for 1 loose lug nut. Starting 11th.

No. 39 Ryan Newman: Pit stop problems. Starting 12th.

No. 18 Kyle Busch: 5 second penalty for 1 loose lug nut. Starting 13th.

No. 99 Carl Edwards: 15 second penalty for 3 loose lug nuts. Starting 14th.

No. 14 Tony Stewart: Left stall after changing only 2 tires, had to back up for left sides. Starting 15th.

No. 31 Jeff Burton: 20 seconds for speeding. Starting 16th.

No. 33 Clint Bowyer: 20 seconds for speeding. Starting 17th.

No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Broke a drive shaft while leaving his pit stall. Starting 18th.

Tom Reddin has resigned as chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports and according to Foster Gillet, son of team owner George Gillet, will oversee day-to-day operations of the organization's four Sprint Cup Series teams.

Congratulations are in order after last night's Sprint Pit Crew Challenge at Time Warner Arena in Charlotte.

The No. 31 Caterpillar team of Jeff Burton took home the overall championship with a record-setting time in the final round against Reed Sorenson's No. 43 Air Force team.

Driving the No. 31 for the night was Jeff's wife Kim Burton; guess she's got bragging rights around the house for a while.

Individual champions were split between the No. 1 and No. 18 teams with the No. 1 team from Earnhardt Ganassi taking five of seven individual awards:

Front-Tire Changer - Dennis Terry, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy (14.855 seconds)

Front-Tire Carrier - Shannon Keys, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy (14.855 seconds)

Rear-Tire Changer - Jake Seminara, No. 18 M&M's Toyota (14.900 seconds)

Rear-Tire Carrier - Kenny Barber, No. 18 M&M's Toyota (14.900 seconds)

Gas Man - Preston Cordell, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy (10.072 seconds)

Catch-Can Man - Eric Hoyle, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy (10.072 seconds)

Jack Man - Jeff Kerr, No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevy (5.666 seconds)


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