Exodus stopped in tracks

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FONTANA, Calif. --- The great IndyCar exodus has reached a dead end in the Sprint Cup.

With Jacques Villeneuve getting fired after one race and Dario Franchitti 's team getting shut down two months ago, the problems continued this week with Patrick Carpentier apparently getting forced out at Gillett Evernham Motorsports and AJ Allmendinger not knowing what his future holds at Red Bull Racing.

Reed Sorenson announced this week he's leaving Chip Ganassi Racing -- the same team that closed the doors on Franchitti's Sprint Cup ride -- to replace Carpentier.

"I knew that was a possibility," Carpentier said. "For sure, it's a shock to learn someone else is taking your spot. I'm not mad. I kind of expected it. I still hope they find sponsorship. They really want to find it. With the economy and the way things are, Reed just fits the bill better. That's fine, too."

Carpentier will start today's Pepsi 500 from the fifth spot. Allmendinger is second.

BURTON ROASTED: Jeff Burton will be making his 500th career Sprint Cup start today, and other drivers marked the occasion by roasting him on Saturday.

Clint Bowyer laughed at Bur-ton's longevity.

"First of all, I'm too stupid to get 500 starts," Bowyer said. "When he came on board we all thought, 'Man is this guy a dead horse or what?' "

Kevin Harvick talked about a practical joke that almost pushed Burton over the edge.

"We took his shoes one day, I took them. We made up a fake eBay auction. We put them on eBay. He was pretty mad that someone had stolen his shoes, out of his locker and he was headhunting for the person that stole his shoes and wanted them pretty much fired, I think is a polite way to put it.

"We stole his shoes and took them over the (Matt) Kenseth's motor home. Matt put them on and we took pictures of them and then put this thing up on eBay. We had control of it the whole time. Little did he know that we were the ones that stole his shoes."

Bowyer said the shoes were so small they'd have to be listed in the children's section.


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