Evernham: Carpentier candidate to replace Riggs in No. 10


TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Patrick Carpentier could be the next open-wheel driver to make the move to the Nextel Cup Series.

Ray Evernham, the minority owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, said the Canadian-born Carpentier is a candidate to replace Scott Riggs in the No. 10 car next season.


Want to see the favorite show cars and bikes of many of NASCAR's stars? Go to the Cabarrus Arena in Concord, N.C., on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ray Evernham and Racing for a Reason are hosting a custom bike and auto show to raise money for cancer research and education efforts.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Richard Petty, Tony Stewart and Roger Penske are among the celebrities who will have their favorite vehicles displayed, with many making personal appearances.

"Everybody does golf tournaments, fishing tournaments," Evernham said. "I tried to come up with something the fans would be interested in. And a lot of the guys in the garage area, besides the owners and drivers, have cars they're proud of.

"I thought it would be a great way to get fans to come and see what the crew members have, what they drive, what they're proud of."

Evernham plans to bring one of the Vipers he received after winning three championships with Jeff Gordon.

"If you want, I'll take you for a ride at 200 so you can verify that and write a story about it -- as we're going to jail," Evernham jokingly told reporters.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.

"That's going to be up to [George] Gillett," Evernham said of GEM's majority owner. "I know he's one of the people being considered. They'll make that decision."

Gillett has said Carpentier, who replaced Riggs at the Watkins Glen road course earlier this year, could drive in at least one Cup race during the championship chase.

If that turns into a full-time ride, Carpentier will join Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti and Jacques Villeneuve as open-wheel drivers making the jump to NASCAR's premier series.

Carpentier has definite marketing value for Gillett, who owns the Montreal Canadiens hockey team. The seat at GEM opened for Carpentier when Riggs announced earlier in the week that he will drive for Haas GNC next season.

"They were being fair with Scott and letting him know what was going on," Evernham said.

Evernham added that he will have three full-time Cup teams and possibly two full-time Busch teams in 2008, and that his goal of becoming a four-car team likely won't happen until 2009.


Richie Gilmore, the director of motorsports at Dale Earnhardt Inc., returned to his North Carolina home after being hospitalized in Birmingham, Ala., with an aneurysm discovered Thursday at Talladega.

Max Siegel, the president of global operations at DEI, said Gilmore is resting comfortably and will undergo more tests Monday in Charlotte.

"He apparently was having bad migraines," Siegel said. "He went to the infield care center, and they took him to the hospital in Birmingham for tests. He did not have a stroke."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who qualified 26th for DEI, sent his best wishes to Gilmore.

"Hopefully, that qualifying lap didn't give him another one," he said with a laugh. "He's going to be just fine. He's getting up there [in age,] and he needs to watch his health and take care of himself as good as he can."


The speeds of Kurt Busch and David Ragan were disallowed after their cars failed the post-qualifying height inspection.

Busch will start 41st and Ragan 42nd on Sunday.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.