Saturday, September 10, 2005
Loomis rethinking priorities
Auto Racing stories
- Crash doesn't rattle NASCAR rookie
- NASCAR notebook: Lawsuit is considered after wreck injures fans
- Johnson wins 1 for his crew chief
- Johnson steals Daytona thunder
- Auto racing archive
RICHMOND -- Robbie Loomis admits he "probably'' won't be back as Jeff Gordon's crew chief next season as he prioritizes his personal life.
Loomis stressed Friday at Richmond International Raceway that he had not made a decision on his future and that his focus remains on helping Gordon qualify for the chase tonight.
Loomis' status has been in question as Gordon struggled this season. If Gordon fails to make the chase, this will be the first time since his rookie year in 1993 that he's placed outside the top 10 in points. He was 14th that year. Loomis left Petty Enterprises to be Gordon's crew chief in 2000. He helped Gordon win the 2001 title.
Loomis, who says his contract at Hendrick Motorsports expires after this season, said events in his life have made him rethink his future.
"Through what I went through with my mom last year,'' Loomis said of his mother's illness, "it helped me refocus my life. Personally, I grew more last year through my mom and the [Hendrick plane crash] in October.
"In life, for years, I had racing, God and then family. I'm trying to get it God, family and racing. To do that I've got a lot of things to work through.''
Richie Gilmore, vice president of motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc., hinted Friday that Dale Earnhardt Jr. and crew chief Tony Eury Jr. could be reunited as soon as next week at New Hampshire International Speedway.
"If me and Tony Jr. are going to work together next year, that'd be a good idea to begin working on that relationship,'' Earnhardt said.
Gilmore said the team announced all its changes for next year to its employees but is waiting to make those decisions public.
"We don't really feel like we need to take away from anybody in the chase,'' Gilmore said. "Maybe at Loudon, we'll go there and we'll announce our plans there.''
Gilmore said the team plans to use the last 10 races preparing for next season.
"I feel we can go to Daytona and run great again with our plate program, but I want to focus on ... California and Las Vegas,'' Gilmore said of the second and third race next season. "Coming out of the box those have never been great race tracks for us and we can work on that the rest of the year. Looking at the season as one big test.''
On the pole
Kevin Harvick won his second pole of the season with a lap of 128.425 mph Friday night. He won his other pole this season at Talladega.
Greg Biffle starts second at 128.309 mph. Travis Kvapil, Mark Martin and Kurt Busch complete the top five. Busch clinches a spot in the chase by starting his car tonight.
Among the drivers trying to race their way into the chase: Ryan Newman starts eighth, Dale Jarrett ninth, Jeremy Mayfield 10th, Joe Nemechek 11th, Matt Kenseth 13th, Carl Edwards 18th, Elliott Sadler 19th and Jamie McMurray 32nd. Newman is in a backup car after wrecking his primary car in practice Friday afternoon.
Ryan Newman said he and Dale Jarrett talked last week about their Bristol incident. Jarrett wrecked Newman in retaliation for a bump by Newman earlier in the race that spun Jarrett. NASCAR penalized Jarrett two laps during the race.
The two met in the NASCAR hauler.
"We walked out arguing about who was going to open the door for each other,'' Newman said. "So, I think we should be all right.''
Evernham Motorsports announced Friday that it will field a fulltime Busch team for female driver Erin Crocker next season. Crocker made her Busch debut Friday night at Richmond.
The National Stock Car Racing Commission denied the appeal from BAM Racing. Ken Schrader and the team were penalized 25 points each and crew chief Larry Hyder was fined $25,000 after the car failed the minimum height requirement at Michigan last month. ... Speed Channel's show "The Chase is On'' debuts at 8 p.m. Thursday. The show will focus on the title chase.