What comes around apparently goes around when it comes to courting drivers.
Car owner Chip Ganassi made no secret last season of his pursuit of Tony Stewart, who had a year left on his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing and ultimately signed a long-term extension to stay there.
Now it appears Gibbs was interested in luring Jamie McMurray away from Ganassi.
But Ganassi put a quick end to any potential deals, exercising an option earlier this week to keep McMurray in the No. 42 Dodge for the 2005 season.
"I got tired of reading all the stories about people talking to Jamie and trying to sign him," Ganassi said Friday. "So I exercised his option and that's the end of the stories."
McMurray has remained silent on the issue.
Ganassi plucked McMurray out of the Busch series in 2002 with a two-year deal that took him through 2004 with options for future seasons. There's been recent speculation that McMurray was both looking for a new deal and talking to other teams about potential rides.
McMurray had never won in either of NASCAR's top two series' before Ganassi hired him in 2002. He had to step in as an emergency replacement for the injured Sterling Marlin that year, and set a NASCAR record by winning in his second Cup start.
His career then took off, and McMurray has since won six Busch series races.
McMurray is considered one of the core drivers in the Dodge camp, and the manufacturer did not want to see him leave for another team, said John Fernandez, Dodge's director of racing operations.
"Where Jamie McMurray wants to go is the same place we want to go -- he wants to win the Nextel Cup championship," Fernandez said. "We're trying to show Jamie our goals. His goals are basically the same. We feel we have the best approach to be able to win him a championship."
Not everyone is thrilled with NASCAR's decision to stage a Busch series race next season in Mexico City.
Car owner James Finch, who fields the No. 1 Dodge, thinks the race is far too expensive for the cash-strapped Busch teams. The race will be held on a road course, which requires a special car. Teams will have to build two of them -- a primary and a backup -- at a cost of about $200,000 each.
"We've got to build new cars, race in California (Feb. 26), drive back to North Carolina to pick up the road-course cars, then drive them all the way to Mexico City," Finch said. "Then we have to bring those cars back to North Carolina, and pick up more cars to take to Las Vegas for the next race.
"It's an awful lot of crisscrossing the country, and that ain't going to be cheap."
NASCAR tried to offset the costs by adding a second road-course race to the schedule, at Watkins Glen in August. Plus, the Mexico City purse is going to be a series-high $2 million.
But, the Busch series race is going to be run on a weekend when the premier Nextel Cup series is off. That means any Cup drivers can participate in the event, and many teams probably will hire road-course specialists for the event.
Car owner Richard Childress, who also fields Busch cars, said Friday that Cup star Kevin Harvick will race in Mexico City.
"Why didn't NASCAR just send Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the rest of the heroes down to Mexico City? They have the weekend off and a bunch of them are going to try to get rides for the race, anyway," Finch said. "That's not good for the Busch series. That's not good for any of us."
A Big Mess
The opening practice for the Brickyard 400 was marred by a bunch of wrecks.
Scott Pruett, driving for James Finch in a one-race deal, crashed early in the practice and was sent to a local hospital for treatment for bruised ribs.
Hermie Sadler then wrecked, and as practice was winding down, Greg Biffle crumpled his No. 16 Ford.
"It just got away from me, I was just way too loose," Biffle said. "That was our first qualifying run of the day and even though that was a good car, they've got another good one in the truck so we'll be all right."
Jason Leffler posted the fastest speed in practice in the No. 60 Chevrolet. Casey Mears, who won the first pole of his career last week at Pocono, was second.
Sterling Marlin was third, points leader Jimmie Johnson fourth and Jamie McMurray fifth.
Three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon was 14th and defending race winner Kevin Harvick 22nd.