Rumble Strips

In Rumble Strips, Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR team breaks down the latest news, notes and rumors running through the NASCAR garage.

July 25, 2005
McMurray and the No. 6 car

McMurray


McMurray

Despite recent comments and reports, it appears that Jack Roush himself believes Mark Martin won't be racing a Nextel Cup car next season. In the postrace press conference at Pocono, where his driver Kurt Busch won the race, Roush was talking about watching Martin and Rusty Wallace racing each other and said, "So as interesting and as emotional as it is for me to watch those two guys duking it out for what I believe is the last year in these cars, I'm sure that it is tugging their hearts as well."

At the same press conference, Martin was asked about next season. He said that he is still planning on racing in the Craftsman Truck Series next year.

"We're still building trucks and I'm planning on testing them, that's all I know," said Martin, who says he's operating on the assumption that he'll be in the trucks next year until he hears/decides otherwise.

As for Jamie McMurray, his option for next season was reportedly picked up by Chip Ganassi Racing, but there still is talk that a deal could be reached to release McMurray from that contract and that picking up the option is just a tactic on Ganassi's part to up the ante on McMurray. McMurray's teammate Casey Mears, meanwhile, told Yahoo! Sports that Ganassi has told him he hopes to bring him back next season and that he can expect a decision either way by Aug. 1.

July 25, 2005
Toyota to run the Camry

If anybody asks, the model of car that Toyota will be racing next season in the Busch Series is the Camry, and it has been described as looking a lot like the older version of the Taurus Cup car.

And yes, it DOES exist, according to very reliable sources in the NASCAR garage.

July 25, 2005
Waltrip and Toyota

We hear Michael Waltrip's exit from DEI won't leave him unemployed for very long. Look for him to be driving a Toyota Camry for the '07 Cup season – but not for a team owned by brother Darrell, who currently owns a Craftsman Truck team.

As for next season, Michael could be part of a one-year deal with a Cup team that appreciates speed and his personality.

July 23, 2005
Marlin not going to the 07 Chevy

Marlin


Marlin

Contrary to the belief held by many, Sterling Marlin will not replace Dave Blaney in the Richard Childress Racing-owned No. 07 Chevrolet in 2006. On the surface, that move made sense, as the sponsor of the No. 07 is Tennessee-based Jack Daniels Whiskey, and Marlin is one of Tennessee's favorite sons.

But it's not happening. We originally heard Marlin was heading No. 0 Chevy to replace Mike Bliss, but banter now has Marlin going to Petty Enterprises and the No. 43 to replace Jeff Green, as Marlin and his father Coo Coo have been longtime friends of the Petty family. Green isn't necessarily happy at Petty, anyway, as that team isn't giving him a car good enough to show off his talents.

As for the 07 in '06, Blaney's not going anywhere – he's a lock to stay in the car for next season, providing a good buffer to teammates Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton. It doesn't hurt that Blaney is one of team owner Richard Childress' favorite people in racing.

July 23, 2005
Harvick on his own?

Even though Harvick has strongly expressed the desire to someday run his own Nextel Cup team, it appears he's happy remaining under the RCR banner for the foreseeable future. Plus, Harvick already is a team owner with a strong Busch Series effort.

Being just 29, Harvick can afford to put his Cup ownership dreams on hold for a few more years. But don't be surprised to see Harvick announce – possibly before the end of the season – a partnership with Childress that will bring their two organizations closer together over the years, much the same way Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick have structured their relationship.

July 23, 2005
Labonte not going anywhere

Labonte


Labonte

Last week brought up one of the most surprising rumors of all, that Bobby Labonte may leave Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the season. Why would Labonte leave? Could it be that teammate Tony Stewart always seems to have the better equipment? Could it be that Labonte has not been the same kind of driver ever since crew chief Michael "Fatback" McSwain was forced out midway through last season?

Where might Labonte go if indeed he does leave? How about replacing Rusty Wallace in the No. 2 Dodge? Jamie McMurray was supposedly headed to the No. 2 before he struck a deal with Jack Roush. Now with the driver seat in the No. 2 wide open next season, why not Labonte?

But Labonte spoiled it all by saying that "there is no truth to the rumor(s)." He also put some blame on the media for perpetuating the rumor, saying that media coverage is good for the driver and team 90 percent of the time, but that other 10 percent ...

July 23, 2005
Riggs ready to bolt?

After it was announced that primary sponsor Valvoline was leaving the No. 10 Chevy at the end of this season, it would appear Scott Riggs may be left on the outside looking in unless MB2 Motorsports can find him another primary sponsor for 2006.

The team wants to keep Riggs at MB2, but Riggs certainly has other opportunities he can pursue. He could easily follow the Valvoline sponsorship to Ray Evernham's third car.