:::::: Rumor Mill ::::::

GOINGS AND GOINGS

The rumor mill continues to churn out tales quicker than they can be verified. One such one features a top ten finishing Pro Stock Motorcycle team. Word has it that one of the riders has been relieved of his duties while the second entity within the same operation could branch out on their own with a two-bike team.

NEW SPONSOR FOR JOLIET RACE?

Sources indicate the NHRA will soon announce a new title rights sponsor for the Joliet event. From what we are hearing, Evan Knoll's Knoll Gas & Energy will be signing on the dotted line for its second event sponsorship.

DENSHAM - PART OF A MULTI-CAR TEAM?

This may be one of the most refreshing rumors we've heard in a long time. Gary Densham, who ran the last two seasons as an independent nitro racer, is said to have some big bucks behind him once again. A source indicates that Densham will once again be part of a multi-car team in 2007. Densham had made the statement during the 2006 season that he planned to run 2007 until the money runs out. We hear that might be difficult to do in 2007.

DUPUY AND CRUZ PEDREGON

A source has confirmed that a union between Cruz Pedregon and tuner Wayne Dupuy is likely to be announced soon. Dupuy recently tuned Frank Pedregon at the final two NHRA events of 2006.

IS THE HOTTEST NHRA TOP FUEL DRIVER AVAILABLE?

We’re hearing some serious talk that an-almost rookie driver who had a
remarkably successful Top Fuel season, including a  Top 5 points finish with
POWERade Series event victories, could be  available.  Despite the
appearance of a major sponsorship on the car  he's driving, the other rumor
we’ve heard is that there’s more flash than substance to that corporate
backing.  The driver in question is  an exceptional car handler and superior
leaver, which probably means when word of his potential availability gets
around, he won&rsquo

ANOTHER BRACKETEER TURNED TOP FUEL?

A source close to Rockingham Dragway confirmed that top-running bracket racer Jeff O'Neill made licensing runs at the track last weekend behind the wheel of Bruce Litton's dragster. O'Neill reportedly made runs that were on pace by incrementals to land in the 4.7-second range. The word is the former junior dragster racer (since 11) has enough sponsorship in place to run a minimum of six national events.

SECOND O'BANNON CAR

Sources have confirmed that five-time Top Alcohol Dragster championship team owner Jack O'Bannon will be announcing an expansion to include a second car. Joining Sean O'Bannon will be a Top Alcohol Funny Car by a female driver sponsored by Paul Mitchell Hair Care products, a Tequila company and Torco. The car will reportedly be tuned by Randy Anderson.

Don't be surprised if this ride is a stepping stone into the fuel ranks. 

DON SCHUMACHER'S DECISION

Expect a decision within the next ten days from Don Schumacher as to whether he will keep Jack Beckman in his record-setting Funny Car or move him to Top Fuel. Sources indicate that Schumacher is seriously torn as to which direction to go. We are hearing the largest sticking point is that Schumacher is not keen on taking Beckman away from a crew that is performing really well, not to mention the fact the team just set the world record.

THREE'S COMPANY IN TOYOTA CAMP?

The popular word is that a third Toyota flopper could join Scott
Kalitta and soon-to-be-announced Jerry Toliver in the research and
development group. If this story pans out, it could mean that at least
one single-car Funny Car operation could have some partners to battle
against the multi-car Ford, Mopar and GM efforts.

WHERE IS MIKE ASHLEY GOING?

Multiple sources have indicated that NHRA Funny Car driver Mike Ashley
will make his long-awaited announcement regarding his future in the
class during the first day of qualifying in Pomona. The announcement is
expected to detail his departure from Don Schumacher Racing, who has
managed the team since July. The popular rumor is that Ashley will
field his own team with backing from Evan Knoll and Knoll will dissolve
his ownership of the Funny Car team.

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