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NASCAR gets top motocross driver
By BRANT JAMES
Published October 13, 2006
CONCORD, N.C. - Ricky Carmichael, one of the most successful motocross racers ever, signed a multiyear deal Thursday with MB2 Motorsports that will put him on the path to a NASCAR career beginning next season.
Carmichael, 26, a 15-time American Motorcyclist Association champion who was born and lived in Clearwater until he was 12 - before moving to Tallahassee - will drive about 15 events in Late Models, ARCA and maybe the NASCAR truck series. And he will race about 16 motocross events, he said.
MB2 general manager Jay Frye called the 144-event winner the "Michael Jordan of motocross" and was confident he will, with patience, be able to join a Nextel Cup roster that includes Lakeland's Joe Nemechek, Sterling Marlin and, beginning part time next season, Mark Martin.
"I think one thing that I do have and that I've learned is I have a lot of patience," Carmichael said. "I think that could be something good, a good character, a good trait that I could bring over. Even though I am used to winning, I have a lot of patience."
Carmichael's grandfather, Hugh, still lives in Largo.
NEXTEL QUALIFYING: Scott Riggs won the pole for Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., with a best lap of 191.169 mph, his third at the track this year.
Evernham's three drivers are starting in the top five: Kasey Kahne second, and Elliott Sadler fifth.
Kurt Busch's third-best qualifying time was disallowed when his No. 2 Dodge failed a postrace inspection because the right-rear shock did not conform to the rules, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said. Busch is starting at the rear of the field.
The past five and six of the past seven races at Charlotte have been won from inside the top 10 starting positions.
Kahne, who enters the race ninth in points, had the fastest practice speed at 187.279 mph over the 1.5-mile track.