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Nascar continues flexing it muscle


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If this keeps up, no driver worth wearing a nomex suit will be driving in that series!

Carpentier signs with Gillett Evernham Motorsports

By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer

October 10, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Former Champ Car star Patrick Carpentier signed with Gillett Evernham Motorsports on Wednesday to drive the No. 10 Dodge.

``We are excited to add Patrick Carpentier to our organization for 2008,'' co-owner George Gillett said. ``Patrick has shown tremendous talent in every series he has driven throughout his career and has a bright future in NASCAR.

``We are committed to giving Patrick the best resources and opportunities available to make this transition and we look forward to a great deal of success together both on and off the track.''

Carpentier is replacing Scott Riggs, who is leaving to drive for Haas CNC Racing next season. He'll step into a team that was founded by Ray Evernham, who turned over majority ownership to the Gillett family this summer.

The Gillett's also own the Montreal Canadiens, and are co-owners of the English Premier League club Liverpool.

Carpentier, a Quebec native, is a perfect fit for the Gillett's, who hope the driver will attract Canadian businesses to NASCAR. The team is currently looking for a primary sponsor for the No. 10.

Carpentier becomes the latest open-wheel driver to jump to NASCAR, and will join a Dodge camp that already has Juan Pablo Montoya and Dario Franchitti in Avengers for next season. Former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve will drive a Toyota next season, and Scott Speed will race a Toyota in the ARCA Series.

Carpentier has driven in only one Nextel Cup race and two Busch Series events, all on road courses.

He made his Nextel Cup debut in August driving the No. 10 for Riggs at Watkins Glen, where he led seven laps and finished 22nd. He also raced in the Busch Series event in Montreal, where he won the pole, led 14 laps and finished second.

In his career, Carpentier has won two Champ Car races, three CART wins and a Toyota Atlantic Championship.

He'll be stepping into a car that is currently outside the top 35 in owner points and has had difficulty making races -- Riggs has failed to qualify for seven events, including Sunday's race at Talladega.

It creates a tricky situation for Carpentier because if the car isn't locked into the field and misses races, Carpentier won't get the experience he'd need to race it inside the top 35 in points.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The flexing continues...

Hornish changes course from Indy-cars to stock cars

November 8, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS, United States (AFP) - Three-time Indy Racing League season champion Sam Hornish of the United States has confirmed that he will leave in 2008 for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR).

Autoweek and the Indianapolis Star reported on their websites that the 28-year-old veteran, who won an IRL-record 19 races in eight seasons, has confirmed he will drive a Dodge for Penske Racing in the closed-cockpit series.

Hornish, who won last year's Indianapolis 500, joins Scotland's Dario Franchitti, Canadian Jacques Villeneuve and Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya as former Indy 500 winners who have jumped to NASCAR in the past year.

Penske Racing is expected to unveil Hornish as his newest NASCAR racer on Saturday in Scottsdale, Arizona. Hornish has been driving stock cars since the Indy-car season concluded in September. Hornish was fifth in the points chase.

Hornish had been an Indy-car Penske teammate of Brazil's Helio Castroneves, a two-time Indy 500 winner. His departure and that of 2007 Indy 500 and IndyCar season champion Franchitti robs the series of two of its star drivers.

New Zealand's Scott Dixon, Brazil's Tony Kanaan, England's Dan Wheldon, Castroneves and American Danica Patrick are the top finishers in the season standings who are set to return next season.

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