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Published: Saturday, 8/13/2005

Tracy won't drive in Cup race at MIS

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Richard Childress Racing will not enter open-wheel star Paul Tracy in the Aug. 20 Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

Tracy, who drives in the Champ Car World Series, tested an ARCA car at Lowe's Motor Speedway on Aug. 2, then tested a Childress Chevrolet on Michigan's 2-mile oval Monday and Tuesday with the idea he would make his NASCAR debut there later this month.

"I'm very impressed with Paul's ability in a race car, whether it's a Cup car or a Champ Car, but it was just too short a time to put the right program together," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of RCR. "Paul's a champion and he had a very good test but we want to do this right and be fully prepared to give him a maximum effort."

Tracy said it was a mutual decision, and he's now focused on winning the Champ Car title.

"I have the greatest respect for the guys that drive Cup cars week in and week out," Tracy said. "It takes a lot of preparation to be ready for a highly competitive event like the Nextel Cup Series and we just didn't have the time to do the job right. I want to thank Richard for giving me this opportunity and the crew guys at the test for all of their effort."

Liefer's practice in a stock car didn't slow him down any when he climbed back into his Champ Car.

Tracy set a track record in the preliminary round of the Grand Prix of Denver yesterday, edging Forsythe teammate Mario Dominguez on the temporary street course to earn a spot on the front row for tomorrow's race.

Tracy made it through the 1.657-mile course in 59.759 seconds (99.821 mph), winding through the outskirts of downtown Denver to beat defending champion Sebastien Bourdais' track record by 0.18 seconds. The second round of qualifying is today.

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Nextel Cup champion Kurt Busch will be back to fulfill the final year of his contract with Roush Racing because his car owner will not let him go early.

Jack Roush said Busch sought a release for 2006 after telling him earlier this week that he had a deal for 2007 with Roger Penske.

"He said, 'I don't want to negotiate with you for 2007,'●" Roush recalled yesterday. "I said OK, and he said, 'I want to be released for 2006.' I said not OK."

Busch said he understood Roush's reasons and is focused on winning another title or two before moving to Penske.

He's hoping something still can be worked out that will permit him to move into the No. 2 Dodge next season, but didn't sound optimistic.

"It's Jack's decision," he said. "We'll see what happens."

t●Jimmie Johnson who crashed hard last week at Indianapolis during the closing laps of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, was evaluated Thursday and ran 12 laps in practice yesterday on the road course at Watkins Glen. He was declared ready to race this weekend.

t●Chip Ganassi Racing made it official that Busch series ace Reed Sorenson will move up to the Nextel Cup circuit, giving the team four cars.

Car owner Ganassi also said mortgage company Home123 will become a primary sponsor next season for Casey Mears. Busch racer David Stremme is set to drive another Ganassi Dodge.

t●The second practice sessions and qualifying for both the Nextel Cup and Busch series drivers was washed out by an afternoon thunderstorm.

Busch qualifying will start at 9 a.m. today, and the Nextel Cup qualifying will begin at 11:10.

t●Sterling Marlin returned to Tennessee to be with his ailing father, former NASCAR driver Coo Coo Marlin.



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