Joel Page, Associated Press
NASCAR driver Jeff Burton, left, chats with NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer during practice on Friday in Loudon, N.H.

LOUDON, N.H. — You can forget those rumors about Clint Bowyer leaving Richard Childress Racing.

"I've signed up with RCR for three more years," Bowyer said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where he earned the first of his two Cup victories last September.

Ironically, as far as Bowyer is concerned, that breakthrough victory last year has added to the pressure as he heads into Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301.

"You've got to live up to what you did last time, and there is a little bit more pressure," he said. "But it is what it is."

Bowyer, who was a surprise contender for the Cup championship last year, finishing third, goes into this week's race 10th in the standings. But it hasn't been a particularly consistent season.

After starting the year with three straight finishes of 19th or worse, Bowyer ran off seven top-10s in a row. Then came a 15th-place finish, followed by four straight finishes of 25th or lower before he turned things around last week at Sonoma with a fourth-place effort.

"We just had four bad races," Bowyer said. "We went into Richmond on (six) top-10s in a row, won Richmond, then the bottom fell out."

NO MODIFIED FOR YOU: Kyle Busch has been racing just about anything he could get his hands so far this season, but Joe Gibbs Racing president let his young driver know that racing in Friday's modified race at New Hampshire was a no-no.

"The modified race, J.D. didn't like the idea of that from what happened a couple of years ago with (Tony) Stewart getting into it with a couple guys and what not," Busch said Friday. "It just wasn't a good idea and we decided not to run it," coming off his fifth victory of the season last Sunday on the road course at Sonoma, was supposed to drive the modified owned by Kevin "Bono" Manion, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver Martin Truex.

"I feel bad for Bono because he had to really scratch through and try to find somebody to put in that car, so I hated it for him," Busch said.

NEW FORD BOSS: Dan Davis, who has been in charge of Ford's racing programs for the past 11 years, will retire Aug. 1. He will be replaced as director of Ford Racing Technology by longtime Ford employee Brian Wolfe.

Davis, who has been with the company for 32 years, helped guide Ford to three NASCAR Cup driver's title and four manufacturers' championships. He also aided with the formation of Roush-Yates Engines, the main engine supplier to Ford NASCAR, sports car and USAC racing programs.

In NHRA, the company captured eight consecutive Funny Car championships, and Davis led development of the new Ford BOSS 500 nitro engine, the first new nitro engine in drag racing the past 40 years. He also was a major player in safety initiatives in both Champ Car racing and NHRA, where use of Ford Blue Box data recorders is now mandatory. In his most recent job, the 47-year-old Wolfe had global responsibility for all powertrain computer control software applications and powertrain calibration, including drivability and emissions.

NEW RESPONSIBILITIES: Toyota announced Friday that Lee White will become president and general manager of Toyota Racing Development, U.S.A on July 1. The company's motorsports activities will be consolidated under Ed Laukes, corporate manager of marketing for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. White and Laukes will replace Jim Aust, who previously announced his plans to retire on June 30 as vice president of motorsports at TMS and president at TRD.

White, who has been senior vice president of TRD, will be responsible for all TRD activities in the U.S., including engine development, manufacturing, chassis design/development, team/manufacturer relationships, manufacturer/sanctioning body relations and engineering support for Toyota teams participating in NASCAR, USAC, NHRA, Grand-Am and Off-Road competition.

Laukes has served as corporate manager of motorsports marketing since last year and will be responsible for all TMS motorsports activities, including public relations and marketing operations, which encompass strategy, research, sponsorship, advertising and merchandising activation.

CARPENTER GRABS POLE: Rookie Patrick Carpentier grabbed his first NASCAR Sprint Cup pole Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The Canadian driver, whose last pole came in a Champ Car in 2004 on the road course in Laguna Seca, Calif., was among the drivers who had to wait out a nearly two-hour rain delay before getting a shot at qualifying for Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301. "It's amazing," said Carpentier, who took his first pole on an oval track with a fast lap was 129.776 mph. "The car was great and rotated beautifully through the middle of the corner. It was just stuck on the track. I'm real happy."