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1998 Past News, Rumors, Testing, Paint Schemes

Updated 5-28-1999

  • Ernie OK: During TNN's Inside NASCAR they has an interview with Ernie in which he said he tested recently at Road Atlanta and feels great!(12-22-98)

  • Irvan/Simo Rolex 24: The entry list for the Daytona Rolex 24 Hour Race has Ernie Irvan listed as a driver along with Boris Said, Mark and Brian Simo in one of the GT3 BMWs campaigned by Prototype Technology Group and Yokohama. Car #6.(12-18-98)

  • Irvan/Simo to Cup/BGN? YEP UPDATE 2: I am hearing that in a unique marketing move, Federated Auto Parts will campaign in three NASCAR venues in 1999. The Staunton, Va based sponsor announced today that they will enter 8 Cup, 3 BGN and 6 Craftsman Truck races for next year in addition to sponsoring the truck race at Nashville for the fourth year. Truck driver Boris Said will compete in 3 truck races and 2 Cup races, all road course venues. Ernie Irvan will handle the driving chores in 3 BGN and 3 CTS. The rest of the oval Cup race driver duties will be decided shortly. The big picture here is to get set up for a possible full-time Cup effort in perhaps...2000(Racin' with Russ), this means they will not race a full truck schedule in 1999 and I am not looking to speculate what Irvan's plans are for 2000.(12-16-98) -- Complete story at NASCAR Online: Irvan-Simo Racing branches out. Ok folks, keep this straight -- Ernie Irvan will run three BGN races in a Chevy: Michigan, Dover and Richmond(spring events). Irvan will also run truck races at Martinsville, Richmond and possibly Fontana. Irvan-Simo will run eight Cup events, with Boris Said driving a Ford at Sears Point and Watkins Glen and possibly Texas. The driver for the other five events at Fontana, Indy, NHIS, Charlotte and Homestead is not known at present. Said would also drive the Ford truck at Portland, Heartland Park(KS), Nashville and Fontana. Jerry Baxter will be the crew cheif for the Cup and Truck events, no crew chief named for the BGN effort. Have heard no car or truck #'s mentioned. I assume the #28 or #44 will be used in the trucks. All teams sponsored by Federated Auto Parts(no news on the site about this yet)(12-17-98) -- Irvan will run the three BGN events in a Pontiac supplied by Hensley Motorsports(WC Today)(12-18-98)

  • Ernie Resting: everything I have heard is that Ernie is resting and doing well, gearing up for the 1999 season in the #36 M&M's Pontiac. No thoughts of retiring!! Ernie just got back recently from Disney World with the family(11-30-98)

  • Ernie back in 1999: Winston Cup Today Radio had an interview with Ernie and he fully expects to be back in the #36 MB2 Pontiac for the 1999 season. I have heard NOTHING about retirement and will NOT answer anymore questions on the subject.(11-12/14-98)

  • Ernie OK: From everything I have heard and seen, Ernie is fine. He just didn't feel totally up to racing and with the speeds at Atlanta, he didn't want to risk an accident and further injuries. I have heard nothing more on the herniated disk, but I have heard nothing on any surgery. Ernie has the history of that major head injury and I am proud that he took a stand to protect himself and his family from further suffering. Now he can come out of the gates in 1999 as strong as possible in the #36 M&M's Pontiac.(11-10-98)

    Ryan and the boys 7th! The #31 Lowe's Pit Crew won the Unocal 76/Rockingham World Championship Pit Crew Competition on Saturday. Skittles team crew chief and crew finsihed 7th with a pit stop of 21.331 seconds. The #31 team won with a pit stop of 20.322 seconds to win the $15,100. Congrats to Ryan and the crew! See the results at That's Racin': Pit Crew Challenge results(10-31-98)

    Irvan done for the year? There are strong indications that Irvan will skip the Atlanta race. He skipped Daytona and Phoenix. Irvan, who says he doesn't feel quite right, met with Dr. Erroll Erlandson on Wednesday at St. Joseph's in Ypsilanti, Mich., to discuss his aches and pains.(JournalNow)(10-31-98)

    Craven to run 2nd MB2 Team? UPDATE Now there is talk that Ricky Craven is talking to MB2 Motorsports about fielding a 2nd team in 1999.(RACEDAY-TNN) During the Phoenix race Dick Berggren mentioned that on Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, Craven would be attending meeting which would hopefully decide his 1999 Cup plans.(TNN)(10-25-98) -- The MB2/Craven deal WILL NOT happen.(10-26-98)

    Ernie has decided to sit out of the Rockingham race due to nagging problems with a herniated disc in his neck suffered in an earlier crash, then aggravated at Talladega. Ricky Craven practiced and qualified the Skittles Pontiac Friday and will continue through the weekend. Ernie will wait until further conversations with his doctors before making a decision on racing at Atlanta.(SCR)(10-31-98)

    Ernie to race? UPDATE Per PRN's Winston Cup Today Radio show on Thursday - Ernie Irvan had been seen/examined in Michigan on Wednesday by Dr. Errol Erlandson, the doctor that treated him after the 1994 Michigan accident. Irvan was told that he was having a "normal" recovery from his Talladega crash. No additional damage to the head, etc. Depending on how Irvan feels on Friday will be the determining factor on if he will race at Rockingham this weekend. -- Ricky Craven will practice and qualify the #36 Skittles Pontiac today at Rockingham, substituting for the injured Ernie Irvan. Irvan is awaiting results of an MRI taken on his neck Thursday in Mooresville, NC. After a review of Irvan's tests and discussion of aches and pains, Erlandson recommended an MRI to examine neck pain that plagued Irvan earlier this year who reported pain in his shoulder and arm in late July. At that time, doctors diagnosed Irvan with a herniated disc between the fifth and six vertebrae.(NASCAR Online) Also see the GoRacing Item and Notes.(10-30-98)

    Ernie Ready? Many readers have reported that during This Week in NASCAR last night(TV), Alan Bestwick mentioned that Ernie Irvan would be meeting with doctors this week to determine if he will race this weekend and that whether or not he will race is still a question. Also from Marty Snider's My Two Cents(MRN): One of the other big story lines of the Phoenix race was the absence of Ernie Irvan from the starting line-up. Irvan is still recuperating from accident at Talladega that left him a little woosy but without any broken bones. Feeling 'unsure of himself' Ernie turned the car over to Ricky Craven in Saturday morning practice and Sunday's race. The question now is, can Ernie drive this weekend? "That's what we're working towards is trying to get me better for Rockingham and at least as good as the car is," said Irvan before the race. Some team members say that the possibility of Ernie sitting out the rest of the year exists. The reasons for Ernie staying out to avoid further injury are easy to come by…only two races remaining, you have a more than capable back up in Ricky Craven, and those two races are tough ones (Rockingham and Atlanta). The reasons to keep Ernie in the car are not so easy to come by…he wants to race. That's not a strong enough argument. Right now it looks like the fear of further injury might win this battle…stay tuned.(MRN)(10-29-98)

    Ernie said on Monday's Winston Cup Today radio show that he feels much better and plans to practice, qualify and run the #36 Skittles Pontiac at Rockingham.(10-27-98) whoops, didn't happen...

    Ernie back at Rockingham: Ernie said in an interview during the rain delay at Phoenix that he didn't feel quite right to race, but felt good duting the race and plans on being in the #36 Skittles car at The Rock. Had a few folks email me saying Ernie was going to retire or leave the team. BOTH ARE TOTALLY FALSE.(10-25-98)

    NASCAR Online had Ernie's Crew Chief, Ryan Pemberton, in chat today, check out the transcript at: Ryan Pemberton Chat Transcript, one thing, the car will carry Wild Berry colors this week at Daytona. Some interesting tidbits there.(10-14-98)

    Good story about Ernie: One aim of a program sponsored by Skittles candy to let high school journalists interview Winston Cup drivers is to give them real-life lessons in reporting on auto racing. On Friday, 38 high school journalists from Jefferson and Talladega counties interviewed Ernie Irvan, driver of the #36 Skittles Pontiac in Sunday's Winston 500 auto race at Talladega. With his wrap-around shades, rock-star goatee and fast lane job, Irvan cut an impressive figure as he sat down for a mock press conference with the students at Talladega Superspeedway. See the rest of the story at Young reporters get Irvan's racing take before crash by Kathy Kemp.(10-13-98)

    Martin/Craven scuffle?: Heard this from quite a few readers - During the red flag, Mark Martin and Ricky Craven had a finger pointing, pushing match. Martin got out of his car and went right over to Craven. And supposedly after the checkers flew on the cool down lap, Martin hit right rear of the #36. Maybe that is how Craven got the flat tire at the end. No idea what caused this incident.(10-18-98) -- I hear that Martin felt Craven cut him off and took exception to it, some heated words were exchanged but that is it and that should be the end of it.(10-20-98)

    RPM2Nite had the Ernie Irvan/MB2 Press Conference/Barbecue on the show and it's now Official, M&M's will be the sponsor in 1999 thru 2001. The #36 Pontiac is similar to the Vegas car, the differences I could see was that it has M&M's on the front in various areas and the number 36 is more rounded sort of like the Wild Berry car.(RPM2Nite)(10-2-98)

    There will no 2nd team for MB2 Motorsports in 1999

    Check out images from Ernie pitstops at the Brickyard 400 courtesy of Sugar Free Racing: Indy Pits #36.(9-6-98)

    During 7-28's NASCAR Online chat from SpeedPark, Ernie Irvan said that the Wild Berry Skittles Pontiac will debut at Talladega(will also run at Daytona the following week)(7-28-98)

    Ernie will run the Wild Berry Skittles Pontiac at Daytona on October 17th in the Pepsi 400.(7-21-98)

    It's now official, Ernie will be at Phoenix and plans to run the whole weeknd and is feeling better everyday. Ricky Craven will be at Phoenix to stand by for Ernie in case he is needed.(WC Today Radio)(10-21-98){incorrect}

    Boris Said, Ernie's truck driver won at Sears Point. In victory lane Boris indicated that Ernie is all right, and in fact Boris tried calling Ernie while still in the truck, but Irvan didn't have his cell phone with him. ESPN2 announcer Dave Despain added that all the indications they were getting was that Ernie was in good shape "all things considered."(10-11-98)

    Ernie says he feels good and will start the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in the #36 Wild Berry Skittles Pontiac. Ricky Craven will stand by to jump in the car at the first caution as Ernie does not feel it's worth risking the rest of the season and get better. Ernie will have to start from the rear of the field, which is no big deal since the car was scheduled to start 39th anyhow. (many sources)(10-17-98)

    The team has chosen to stand on their first round speed and will take a provisional to start 39th the Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Still no 'Official' word on who will drive the car, but Ricky Craven drove the car at practice today and it's looking more and more like Ernie will sit out the race. It looks like Ricky drove 13 laps and Ernie drove 11 laps in Happy Hour. NASCAR Online mentioned in the Notes that Ernie ran a handfull of laps at the beginning of Happy Hour, either way, Ernie can drive if he wants to and practice should let him see how he feels. The Happy Hour move led to conjecture that Irvan would take the green in the Pepsi 400 Saturday evening and then give way to Craven at the first caution flag.(TNN's

    Hard to say what will happen for the Pepsi 400, looks like a 'game-day' decision: Irvan's continuing headaches cause him to pull out at Daytona; Craven will drive car on Saturday: Ernie Irvan sidelined himself because of continuing headaches after Sunday's hard crash at Talladega. Ricky Craven, who had sidelined himself earlier this year for three months because of post-concussive syndrome, will be driving the (#36)car(JournalNow) and another story on Irvan: Whether he'll drive in Saturday's Pepsi 400, however, remains in question. Not because anybody's said he couldn't or shouldn't, but because Ernie Irvan doesn't trust his own aching body right now - Irvan sits out qualifying(Speed Magazine)(10-16-98)

    I am getting conflicting reports: Some sources tell me that Ernie will drive in the Pepsi 400 and others tell me he won't. So our best bet is to wait until Ernie makes his decision and take it from there.(10-16-98)

    Now I am bummed out: Sources now tell me Ernie has decided not to race in the Pepsi 400 and Ricky Craven will drive the car Saturday night. Bill Weber of RPM2Nite reports that Ernie still hopes to race Saturday night, I hope Bill is right. But...Our biggest concern of course is that Ernie get's better soon. We should all thank Ricky Craven for helping out the team and running an unfamiliar car and helping Ernie.(10-15-98)

    Despite the fact that Ernie Irvan has been medically cleared to race this weekend at Daytona International Speedway, the MB2 Motorsports driver has decided that he is not ready to get in the car. Ricky Craven has been chosen to practice and qualify the #36 Skittles Wild Berry Pontiac at the 2.5-mile superspeedway this evening while Irvan's status will be evaluated on a day-by-day basis. "I came to the decision this morning that I'm not ready to get in the car," Irvan said in a prepared release. "The doctors gave me clearance, but I just don't feel 100 percent yet. I feel like I owe it to my team and my fellow competitors to put Ricky in the car until I feel 100 percent. We'll take it day by day." Irvan is recovering from an accident during last weekend's Winston 500 that put him in a Birmingham, Ala. hospital overnight.(GoRacing)(10-15-98)

    A decision was expected no later than today on whether Ernie Irvan will drive in Saturday night's Pepsi 400, but indications were that he would compete. "We haven't really decided about this weekend yet and we probably won't until tomorrow morning," team spokeswoman Andrea Spruell said Tuesday. Irvan was held for observation for about 24 hours at Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham after being knocked out in an 11-car crash during the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. "I saw him Sunday night at the hospital and he was doing fine then, hanging out, picking on me, saying stuff like, 'When I'm going to get outta here?'" Spruell said. "He was feeling okay then and just looking for the truck race on TV." Irvan was in meetings with his truck sponsor Tuesday, she said. He was battered and bruised in the wreck, but otherwise uninjured. But he was knocked out and did not begin to remember things again until he was being airlifted to Birmingham. Because of his near-fatal head injury in 1994, doctors ordered the precautionary overnight stay. Still, a driver with a head injury can seem almost normal and not be well enough to drive. Jimmy Spencer walked to the ambulance after his crash at Indy. He started the race the next weekend at Watkins Glen. Then he sat out two straight races. "It's a very tough decision," Spencer said Tuesday on the weekly Winston Cup teleconference. "I think Ernie is faced with that right now. But I didn't feel good. I didn't see too good. I didn't want to handicap my race team. And I had to think of my family and my two kids. I want to live for a long time."(Bob Zeller/News and Record)(10-14-98)

    Ernie Irvan will be involved in a special program with his sponsor this weekend. Skittles Wild Berry and Smokey Bear will team up together and put a one-two punch on the effort to stamp out forest fires. The M&M/Mars division, through the Skittles brand candies will donate $50.00 per lap Ernie Irvan completes in Saturday's Pepsi 400 to the Florida Division of Forestry. In addition to the lap incentive, the company will donate $1,000 if Irvan should win the pole and an additional $1,000 if Irvan should win the race. A $5,000 check, minimum, will be presented to the Florida Division of Forestry regardless of Irvan's results. "This is a way for the SKITTLES(r) Wild Berry Brand to help the people of Florida that were affected by the wildfires and do everything that we can to make sure they're prevented in the future," stated Pat D'Amato, M&M/Mars spokesperson. "With October being Fire Prevention Month, we hope others will join in this effort so that we can make a bigger impact throughout the state." The program is in direct response to the local area that was ravaged by wildfires back in July, the same fires that forced the postponement of the Pepsi 400 from its scheduled July 4th date to this weekend.(GoRacing)(10-14-98)

    From NASCAR Online: As of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, a team spokesperson said that a decision had not yet been made as to whether Ernie would race in Saturday's Pepsi 400 at Daytona. Irvan's Skittles Wild Berry Pontiac was destroyed in the accident on Sunday, the crew was working feverishly to prepare a car for this Saturday's historic race at Daytona -- the first series race ever to be held under the lights at DIS.(NASCAR Online), of course all of my sources say Ernie will race Saturday.(10-13-98)

    Per RPM2Nite: Ernie was released around 5:30pm/et from the Carraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, AL and is fine. He plans to run at Daytona this weekend and WILL run the hard to see #36 Wild Berry Pontiac there.(10-12-98)

    Sources tell me that Ernie is ok and plans to race at Daytona in the Pepsi 400 Saturday night. No idea if it will be the Wild Berry or regular Skittles car. I am working on those details.(10-12-98)

    From the JournalNow's Mike Mulhern: Ernie Irvan was awake and alert yesterday afternoon when he was airlifted to Caraway Hospital in Birmingham after taking several hard hits in a now-typical Talladega melee -- the always-anxiously anticipated 'big one' that has become a hallmark of NASCAR's restrictor-plate events. "I don't know any more than they said he was talking," crew chief Ryan Pemberton said as he watched NASCAR officials covering Irvan's mangled Winston 500 Pontiac with blue canvas for a trip back to NASCAR's headquarters for further examination. Irvan was kept overnight in the intensive care unit for observation. He was stable, awake and alert. A CAT scan was negative, and X-rays showed no broken bones. But there is a possibility that the team will have to go with a relief driver at Daytona.(10-12-98)

    Also in the same story: (Sterling) Marlin said that Irvan cut down on him. "My spotter is beside his," Marlin said, "and his spotter told him it was clear and he just hooked a left (into Marlin), and it turned him around."(JournalNow)(10-12-98)

    Per ESPN's SportsCenter and the great Kenny Mayne(really miss him on RPM2Nite): Ernie is being held over night, the CAT Scan is negative, and Ernie has no broken bones.(10-12-98)

    For the 2nd straight week Ernie has won the Goody's Headache Award which goes to the driver who the media had the worse luck or break of the race.(10-11-98)

    Latest AP Story on Ernie's wreck: Ernie Irvan was airlifted to a hospital following an 11-car crash in Sunday's Winston 500. Ryan Pemberton, Irvan's crew chief, said track officials told him the 39-year-old driver was talking and recognized his wife before he was transported by helicopter to Caraway Methodist Medical Center in Birmingham, about 40 miles away. Irvan was coming out of Turn 1 on lap 136 when Sterling Marlin tapped the rear of his Pontiac. Irvan spun out, hit the wall, then was broadsided on the passenger side of his car by Dick Trickle. Several other cars tangled as they tried to avoid Irvan's car. Mark Martin, second in the Winston Cup points standings, wasn't able to clear through the wreckage and hit Irvan as he slid down the race track.(An AP Story from WRAL)(10-11-98)

    Thought this was interesting: L&R Motorsports crew chief Troy Selberg padlocked a ball and chain onto Sean Irvan, cousin of Ernie Irvan and mechanic on the No. 90 NHL Dodge driven by Lance Norick , after 'Happy Hour' practice Saturday afternoon. Irvan will be married to Stacey Lundy at the Monte Carlo Resort in four weeks when the trucks visit Las Vegas. The ball was actually a bowling ball with a heavy-duty bolt.(NASCAR Online)(10-11-98)

    Mark Simo, co-owner of the #44 Federated Ford(with Ernie) raced by Boris Said, drove this weekend in the Premiere Petit LeMans sports car race at Road Atlanta. He was leading in the GT3 class when something broke on his BMW and Simo crashed hard into the tire wall, shortening the car considerably and destroying the tire wall. The race was televised live and seen in the media center just before Said, Hubert and third-fastest qualifier Tony Raines were brought to the center for post-Bud Pole Qualifying interviews. Said later spoke with Simo, who is all right, but will be very sore tomorrow while watching his driver and truck race on ESPN2.(NASCAR Online)(10-11-98)

    Final Tuesday speeds from the 2nd and last day of testing at Daytona: #3-Dale Earnhardt 189.514mph; #36-Ernie Irvan 189.268; #7-Geoff Bodine 188.758; #30-Derrike Cope 188.758; #3a-Mike Dillon 188.285mph; #89-Dennis Setzer 187.970(in an Elliott owned car); #13-Ted Misgrave 187.931; #41-Rick Wilson 187.032; #11-Brett Bodine 185.567. Ernie had the fastest overall speed at 189.713mph.(SpeedNetRPM2Nite)(10-6/7-98)

    UPDATE: Ernie will be one of six NASCAR Winston Cup teams that will particiate in a two-day test session Monday and Tuesday(10-5/6-98) at Daytona International Speedway in preperation for the inaugural nighttime running of the 10/17/98 Pepsi 400. The test is scheduled for 3 - 10pm/et. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand will be open for the two-day test at no charge with access through DAYTONA USA. Tickets for Bud Pole Qualifying for the Pepsi 400 are still available through the Speedway ticket office at 904-253-7223(StockCarFans Newletter) -- Some speeds from the testing today: #36-Ernie Irvan 188.403mph; #3-Mike Dillon(in DE's car) 188.363; #7-Geoff Bodine 185.759; #30-Derrike Cope 185.300; and #41-Rick Wilson 182.482.(RPM2Nite)(10-5-98)

  • Why did Ernie have a Georgia Bulldog on the side of the car? Because MB2 owners Nelson Bowers, Tom Beard and Read Morton all went to the University of Georgia and and were honoring the then #12 rated Georgia football team upsetting, the then #6 LSU 28-27(10-4-98)

    I hear the new M&M's #36 Pontiac design is supposedly complete and approved. I hear that there will be a press conference on Friday, October 2nd to announce the 1999 change from Skittles to M&M's in Charlotte .(8-30-98) -- TNN's Raceday reports that this announcement will happen as I hear, oh yeah I hear the announcement will take place at Ernie's ranch in the late afternoon.(9-27-98/10-2-98)

    THE BIG News: The new M&M's #36 Pontiac design is supposedly complete and approved. I hear that there will be a press conference on Friday, October 2nd to announce the 1999 change from Skittles to M&M's in Charlotte.(8-30-98)

    The #36 MB2 Team will switch from Skittles to M&M's in 1999. The paint scheme will be similar to the one used at Vegas but not the same.(8-26-98)

    Saw this on That's Racin': With nine races left, Ernie Irvan has climbed from 16th in Winston Cup points to 12th -- 119 points out of 10th. His climb has been fueled by four top-10 finishes in the past seven races, producing his highest ranking since the second race of the season at Rockingham. "Obviously, we have improved as a team," said Irvan. "Experience and communication are big parts of that. (Crew chief) Ryan (Pemberton) and I are getting to where we know what each other is thinking. The other day, I started to tell him something about the transmission, and he completed my sentence. That's how it needs to be."(David Poole-That's Racin')(9-12-98)

    Excellent....Ernie qualified his #28 Federated Auto Parts Ford truck 8th with a speed of 120.870mph and slowly worked his way up to the front and lead 48 laps before eventual winner Jack Sprague passed him on lap 177 to capture the lead. But Ernie held on to his second straight 2nd place finish in the truck series. He collected $22,200 and ran all 200 laps. I hope this is a good pre-cursor for Saturday night's race.(9-11-98)

    Ernie tested at Charlotte with about 15 other teams this past week. The test is being held in the evening as qualfying for the fall race at Charlotte will be at night. Ernie has a fast speed of 177.049mph. Kenny Irwin has the fastest at just ober 183mph.(9-10-98)

    "Ernie Irvan has watched himself make the transformation from a Ford to a Pontiac pilot, struggling with the newness of a team that has a "born on date" so new the ink isn't dry yet. A crew chief that has the family name of Pemberton, known throughout the garage area, but not the experience to back it up. Together, they with others in that organization are already showing a strong, consistent heartbeat with top ten runs and amazing finishes. His star has yet to become it's brightest and things can only get better." Cindy Bailey, RaceComm.(9-10-98)

    Interesting Ernie news bite in this weeks Winston Cup Scene: Before leaving California to pursue his race car driving career in North Carolina, Ernie was a Volkswagen Mechanic. When the new VW 'Bug' came out earlier this year, Ernie bought a black 1998 Volkswagen Beetle.(9-5-98)

    Ernie was selected as Driver of the Week in the August 27, 1998 issue of the Winston Cup Scene. For his performance in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway. Ernie was of course the pole leader and lead the most laps and finished sixth!(9-3-98)

    NASCAR Has announced 28 drivers who will go to Japan: See the list and the story at NASCAR teams set for Coca-Cola 500K.(NASCAR Online) Thank Goodness Ernie is not one of them, rather see the team and Ernie concentrate on that 1999 Winston Cup championship in the M&M's Pontiac!(9-2-98)

    Roush Racing deployed a Busch Series hauler driver Larry Morris from Liberty, NC to Mooresville, NC yesterday afternoon. His orders were to pick up an extra #99 Roush Ford and a #36 MB2 Motorsports Pontiac to be standing by for drivers Jeff Burton and Ernie Irvan....just in case. The cars arrived at New Hampshire International Speedway this morning at 11:00am/et and all concerned are hoping that they will not be needed. Burton and Irvan wrecked their primary cars during Friday's first practice session and were forced to qualify their back up rides.(GoRacing)(8-29-98)

    Jerry Baxter has replaced Jay Smith as the crew chief at Irvan-Simo Racing and the #44 Federated Auto Parts Ford truck driven by Boris Said.(WC Scene)(8-8-98)

    Ernie did pretty good in the Truck Race in California. Started 20th and finished 2nd in the #28 Federated Auto Parts Ford. Another lap and he would have had Jack Sprague who won the race. Regular Irvan-Simo driver, Boris Said finished 8th in the #44 Federated Auto Parts Ford. Ernie won $28,775 for his 2nd place effort.(7-18-98)

    Ernie ended up with the 5th overall speed at Indy Tetsing this week. On Wednesday he ran a lap of 176.074mph. This could be a good sign as Ernie does well at Indy.(7-17-98)

    This comes from The Union Leader (Manchester, NH) dated 7-13-98
    : Ernie Irvan didn't depart New Hamphire with a victory, but the Irvan family did take home a puppy. "Ziggy," a West Highland terrier, was purchased at Concord's Steeplegate Mall by wife Kim on Saturday.(thanks Dan for the heads up)

    Ernie threw out the first pitch at the San Francisco Giants-Oakland A's games on Thursday afternoon(6-25-98). No idea how he did, anyone go or get a picture?

    ...and check out some of the comments Ernie makes on the MB2 Motorsports team, Elliott Sadler and RYR at The JournalNow(the story starts in the middle of the page), one quote: But Irvan said he is still bitter about the way last season with Yates wound down. Does he still look over at the 28 car, that famous black-and-red machine he won so many races in, and reminisce? "You know, I did look over at it last weekend," Irvan said. "And it wasn't there. I couldn't find it."(5-31-98)

    A group of about 35 Charlotte-Mecklenburg County (N.C.) High School students interested in the media and journalism as a career got a taste of what it's like to interact with a celebrity in a real-life setting Wednesday morning in the CMS press box. The first Skittles Racing Team High School Media Tour is the first of four scheduled events this year. Wednesday, the students got a chance to act as reporters, while watching reporters at work, and they got a chance to interview Ernie Irvan, driver of the No. 36 Skittles Pontiac.(NASCAR Online)(5-20-98) - Irvan, saying he hoped experience could be the best teacher, met the students in the press box at Charlotte Motor Speedway and fielded questions from them, both in group and one-on-one settings. "Everybody knows that there are some things that you just can't learn in the classroom," Irvan said. "Just like being a race car driver, you can test all you want, but the only way you can learn to race is to get out on the track with 42 other cars and do it."(AP)(5-21-98)

    Donna and John tell me a few things about the team when they visited the MB2 shop and Ernie Irvan Fan Club(located at Irvan/Simo Racing):

    How long it takes to paint the Skittles Pontiac? Approx eight hours not counting drying time for each car because of all the different colors.

    A M&M Mars rep talked at least 30 minutes to a group of fans during the visit. He said M&M Mars are very seriously considering making the car M&M's instead of Skittles in 1999. M&M Mars love having Ernie as their driver, and that "our driver wants to win as much as we do." He said they get along fantastically well.

    The Skittles team is considering moving somewhere else because they have run out of room where they are now but no definite decisions have been made on that yet.

    What about a second team? They are not thinking about it seriously yet, maybe in 2000.

    The truck Irvan/Simo Racing ran at Watkins Glen was the first one they have built from the ground up at the truck shop.

    Thanks Donna and John!(May 1998)

    I hear M&M Mars may switch from Skittles to M&M's in 1999. I am checking further into this.(5-13-98) other rumors have Ernie having a teammate in 1999 with both Skittles and M&M's as the sponsors. These are just rumors at this point and I cannot get any confirmation or denial on this matter from my sources.(5-17-98)

    Ernie Irvan had one of his better runs of the year on Monday at Martinsville.
    "Track position was the key, and we had great pit stops," Irvan said. "At the beginning, we had a top-five car and it showed. After that, we had a top-10 or top-12 car. We kept adjusting and finally went too far. You can't win races running like it was at the end."(Mike Mulhern of the JournalNow)(4-21-98)

    How about this: Marc Reno, Ernie's crew chief on the #28 Texaco Ford in 1997 and one of his best friends was let go by Robert Yates Wednesday. I hear Texaco had a lot to do with it. Anyhow rumors have surfaced that Reno will take over for Ryan Pemberton, the present crew chief for the Skittles Pontiac. I doubt this will happen as Pemberton is highly thought of in NASCAR circles, but you never know(3-6-98) - Where crew chief Marc Reno might land has been the subject of considerable talk. Reno could end up back with Ernie Irvan, according to one report. But Jay Frye, team manager of Irvan's team, discounts that report.(JournalNow)(3-9-98)

    Ernie Irvan tagged the wall early in the Las Vegas race(lap 61) causing him to make an unscheduled pitstop and putting a lap down. This was missed during ABC's broadcast. All we heard was that Irvan made an unscheduled pitstop(3-2-98)

    Five NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers were guests Thursday when the NASCAR Cafe announced its newest location, at the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Speaking during the press conference were Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Labonte, Ernie Irvan and Chad Little. NASCAR President Bill France and Brian France, the organization’s Vice President for Marketing and Corporate Communications, also participated, along with NASCAR Cafe’s Mark Dyer and William G. Bennett, owner of the Sahara Hotel and Casino. The complex, to be sited at Sahara and Las Vegas boulevard, will feature a 400-seat upstairs seating area and dual track ride where guests ride in simulated NASCAR Winston Cup cars on a roller coaster track through the cafe. The Sahara’s current, 35,000-square foot amusement venue called SpeedWorld will be converted to the NASCAR Cafe them, featuring virtual reality racing simulators which will offer guests an authentic riding experience(2-28-98)

    Ernie will drive a M&M's paint scheme on his #36 Pontiac at Las Vegas this weekend. Have not seen the car yet. M&M Mars who makes Skittles also makes M&M's. Ernie will be on RPM2Nite on Wednesday, Feb 25th(2-24-98)

    NASCAR is honoring its past and present by naming its 50 greatest drivers, and how about this, Ernie Irvan was named to the list(he's #1 in my book). I made a list here: NASCAR'S 50 GREATEST DRIVERS, there is also a link from the page to a NASCAR Online story(2-13-98)

    Congratulations to Ernie and his wife Kim on the birth of their second child and first son, Jared Lawrence Irvan, 6lbs, 7oz, was born at 7:56pm(et) on 2/9/98 at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, NC. Ernie left Daytona after Monday morning's practice to fly home to Charlotte, and was on hand when Kim gave birth. Kim and Ernie also have 5-year-old daughter, Jordan Leah(Skittles Site)(2-11-98)

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