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UPS might follow Jarrett to ToyotaUPDATE #10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today with the announcement that UPS will follow Jarrett to Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing. See Hot News page for story.
07/06/06 There is a scheduled UPS Racing Announcement on Friday, July 7, 2006 at Chicagoland Speedway.
06/24/06 Roush Racing has not talked with UPS about sponsoring one of its cars next season, a team official said Friday. With UPS still not under contract for 2007, several teams have been mentioned as candidates for the sponsor if it opts not to stay with Robert Yates Racing. Roush Racing and its No. 16 Nextel Cup car with driver Greg Biffle have been rumored as a possible destination for UPS. "I don't know where the rumors are coming from," said Torrey Galida, senior vice president for marketing at Roush Racing, prior to Nextel Cup practice at Infineon Raceway Friday. "We have not spoken." Roush and RYR develop engines together, and Roush-Yates engines power all of the Fords in the garage. "We have a pretty firm understanding with Robert Yates that we would not engage one another's sponsors," Galida said. Galida said Roush Racing has all of its sponsorships solidified for next season except for the National Guard, which is on a year-to-year contract [which is the case with all the military sponsors] on Biffle's car. He said the National Guard is a full-season deal, but the National Guard sells off some of the races to other companies. SceneDaily.com
06/22/06 Car owner Ray Evernham had until last Friday to convince Dodge officials to allow UPS to sponsor Kasey Kahne's Dodge next year, and apparently he couldn't do it. That means UPS will sponsor Greg Biffle's Ford next year. Augusta Chronicle
06/11/06 It appears UPS is still in play as a major sponsor. In the past two years the winner in the sponsor hunt has been Evernham Motorsports. UPS may add itself to the list of Evernham conquests signing as the primary sponsor of the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne. Then again, it is said the Dodge Dealers aren't willing to vacate their position on Kahne's ride. The dealers might be willing to let loose of the #19 driven by Jeremy Mayfield. However, it’s not clear Mayfield would be the driver of choice for UPS. Circletrackplus.com
06/10/06 On the sponsor front, sources in the garage indicate that UPS will be moving from #88 Robert Yates Racing to one of two teams in 2007, either the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne or the #16 Roush Racing Ford driven by Greg Biffle. Speed Channel
05/22/06 RYR is also waiting to hear if #88 team sponsor UPS will remain with RYR next year, move to the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota team with Dale Jarrett or go to another team entirely. If UPS moves to Waltrip’s organization, that may bump the team from two to three cars. Waltrip’s own Toyota will be sponsored by NAPA and a second team car will fly the Burger King colors in 2007, leaving UPS as a possible sponsor for a third MWR car. On the driver front, the Yates crew is said to be hot after Casey Mears, the biggest remaining name free agent. Speed Channel
Who's the lead candidate for the #88 possibly UPS Ford in 2007? One name mentioned more than once is Brian Vickers, driver of the #25 GMAC Chevy owned by Rick Hendrick. CircleTrackPlus.com
05/20/06 Robert Yates Racing hopes to hear in the next two to three weeks whether UPS will return as a sponsor [on the #88 team], team general manager Eddie D'Hondt said Friday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. UPS is trying to decide whether to stay with RYR, move with current RYR driver Dale Jarrett over to Michael Waltrip Racing, where Jarrett will run a Toyota starting in 2007. or go to another team. "We're still talking with them," said D'Hondt, who added that there is no timeline for UPS to decide. "In three weeks time, I think we'll all know what we're all doing." The team is still in the early stages of looking for a replacement. It has two development drivers - Stephen Leicht and Matt McCall - currently running part-time Busch schedules. "There is a chance you may see them in a Cup car to get a race under their belt as the year goes on," D'Hondt said. "That's not written in stone, but it has been talked about. We're not going to rush them beyond what they are capable of. ... A year from now, I think Matt and Stephen will be ready." D'Hondt said eventually RYR would like to have four Nextel Cup teams and two Busch Series teams. "We're setting ourselves for a good future; we just have to live with what we're going through now," D'Hondt said. NASCAR Daily Scene
05/17/06 With sponsor UPS suddenly NASCAR's top free agent, at least two teams' immediate futures appear to hang in the balance. Robert Yates Racing, which loses Jarrett's services at season's end, can't pick a replacement until it learns if UPS will remain. And if UPS opts to follow Jarrett to Michael Waltrip Racing, that operation would field three Toyotas instead of two next season. The one certainty is that Jarrett's move, formally announced May 13, leaves owner Robert Yates facing a scenario he thought was two years off. Expecting Jarrett to finish his career with the team in 2008, RYR began grooming Stephen Leicht and Matt McCall as possible replacements this season.
While the sponsor, be it UPS, Busch Series sponsor CitiFinancial or another entity, will play a role in selecting Jarrett's replacement, Yates says a veteran could figure in the mix. The question is whether the veteran would drive the full year or split time with one or two younger drivers as Yates works toward a permanent replacement. Team Manager Eddie D'Hondt said Bill Elliott could be the veteran if that plan is followed. Waltrip said he has sponsorship secured for two cars and has talked with UPS. If the company comes aboard, he'd gladly field three teams next year. In a statement, Laura Kouns, motorsports marketing manager for UPS, said the company "is excited about its continuing role in NASCAR," but that its policy is not to comment about "our future plans or sponsorships." NASCAR Daily Scene
05/14/06 UPS was not involved as Michael Waltrip announced to the racing world the signing of Dale Jarrett to drive an as yet un-numbered Toyota Camry in 2007 and 2008. Adding mystery to revelation, Waltrip had to correct himself after first answering questions concerning UPS. "Our teams have sponsorship for our cars in '07 and '08, beyond that anyone in the garage area would be proud to UPS as a sponsor of their car. This isn't about UPS. This is about Michael Waltrip signing Dale Jarrett to drive our cars. We have a sponsor for my car. We have a sponsor for Dale's car." That is where Waltrip stumbled. A misstep he corrected at the first opportunity.
"We have sponsorship for my car. We have sponsorship for a second car. I said Dale's car and I didn't mean that," Waltrip explained. Is there a third car in the works or has Waltrip been lucky enough to sign a sponsor who would love to have Jarrett as their driver but is willing to accept another driver should UPS make the decision to sign with Michael Waltrip Racing?
Waltrip has entered into a five-race agreement with Burger King and driver Bill Elliott for 2006, which might be a precursor to a full deal with either Jarrett or another drive in '07. Jarrett just might be the next Burger King on the racetrack, or maybe Waltrip is trying to lure Joe Nemechek, the first driver to campaign full time on the NEXTEL circuit for the chain into the Toyota fold. While Toyota has talked of not going beyond the three organizations they've already announced, Bill Davis, Red Bull and Michael Waltrip Racing there has been nothing said that limits the number of cars each organization might run on the track. The only limit is the four-car limit imposed by NASCAR.
"NASCAR's pretty much said you need four," interjected Jarrett, when the possibility of a third car was raised. "That's the business model they've created. Obviously, we're smart enough to see that if we had four teams we could operate more efficiently. We've got two teams sponsored. We have two drivers. We might have another. We might not. I don't know. That's the truth and that's as fair as I can say it." CircleTrackPlus.com
05/13/06 Doug Yates admits that, with Dale Jarrett leaving Robert Yates Racing at the end of the season, it's unclear what the future status of sponsor UPS is. Some in the paddock speculate that UPS has an investment in Jarrett and will follow him to Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota.
"As of today, UPS has to make a decision," Yates said Saturday afternoon at Darlington Raceway. "We wish more than anything that UPS will stay with us. We've had a great six-year history together and feel like we can carry that on in the future and bring along the next star to drive the truck, but that's their decision.
"That's a business decision for them and we'll know in the near future where they're going to be. Whether they're here or not, we're committed to the future of Robert Yates Racing and making it strong. We're going to race two cars next year and I think there will be a lot of people out there that would like to be on that [No.] 88 Ford Fusion."
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