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NASCAR Truth & Rumors - April 1

One of the Indy Racing League's longtime team owners is pushing the idea of IRL-NASCAR Nextel Cup combined events. John Barnes, an owner and the general manager of Panther Racing, thinks that even if the IRL event was positioned as a support race, Indy-style racing would benefit. Barnes believes running IRL and Nextel Cup races together would open the door to NASCAR drivers running some Indy car races. -- Tampa Tribune

Unswayed by proponents of the Car of Tomorrow, Kyle Busch insists the problems will continue at today's Goody's 500 in Virginia. "It could be worse this week. At Bristol Motor Speedway, there is steep banking to help us turn. Here, the banking is so slight that it will be much more difficult," Busch said about the paperclip-shaped oval track of Martinsville. -- New York Post

Driver Brian Vickers suffered burns to his backside and feet when an exhaust pipe broke midway through the 500-lap race at Bristol last Sunday. He went for a long bicycle ride on Monday to help his body get rid of the carbon monoxide, but had to do it standing up because his buttocks were burned from the heat in the car. -- Philadelphia Inquirer

Kelly Sutton plans to return to the Craftsman Truck Series at a place that hasn't treated her very well. Sutton will begin a four-race deal to drive the No. 51 truck for Billy Ballew Motorsports with the April 28 race at Kansas Speedway. --

Darlington Raceway might end up getting paved after its Nextel Cup race in May, but that doesn't mean all the abrasiveness of the track surface will be eliminated. That was the word from track president Chris Browning, who addressed the situation Friday at Martinsville Speedway. --

Richard Petty is being treated, fittingly enough, like a king this weekend at Martinsville. Petty, who will turn 70 in July, said he thinks his main contribution to NASCAR these days is to act as a bridge between the sport's history and its future. -- Charlotte Observer

Just before Nextel Cup teams took to the track at Martinsville Speedway for their second race with the Car of Tomorrow, NASCAR officials said they were pleased with how things went in the debut race at Bristol. "It would have to be like an A-minus," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition. -- Charlotte Observer

Bobby Labonte says the Car of Tomorrow is boxier, or more square, than the stock cars that have been used in the series. He added that while the COT is engineered to turn left on ovals, it also has a higher center of gravity. As a result, he said, the car feels top-heavy heading into corners, as if it were not leaning into the curves. There is less weight on the left sides of the cars. -- New York Times

Greg Biffle says he is confident that he will have a sponsor for the 2008 season. Ameriquest has asked to be released from the final two years of its contract with Roush Fenway Racing. The company just became a primary sponsor this year after Biffle and the No. 16 team had spent several years with the National Guard. --