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THE NEXT Winston Cup RACE
NEWS, STATS and INFO
THE RACE: Aaron's 499
Winston Cup Race #8 of 36 for the 2003 Winston Cup season
Updated: often, leading up to the race
- Race: Sunday, April 6, 2003 in Talladega, AL
- TV: Fox - 1:00pm/et
- Pre-Race Show: Fox - 12:00noon/et - with hosts Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond
- Race Re-Air: April 9th at 8:00pm/et on Speed Channel, April 10th at 1:00am/et and 3:00pm/et on Speed Channel
- Pay Per View/NASCAR In Demand: www.indemand.com
- Announcers: Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds
- Pit Reporters: Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum, Steve Byrnes, Jeanne Zelasko
- Hollywood Hotel: Chris Myers and Jeff Hammond
- NASCAR on TV and Fox Sports
- Purse/Race Awards: $5,082,015 (was $4,347,026 in 2002)
- Entry List: Entry List for the race from NASCAR.com
- 2002 Race Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr, 159.022mph, started 4th
- Track Race Record: Mark Martin, May 1997, 188.354mph
- Track/Race Length: 2.66 mile quad oval, 188 laps, 500.08 miles
- Pit Road Speed: 65mph
- Practice: Friday, April 4th, 12:00 -2:00pm/et; and Saturday, April 5th, 10:15 - 11:00am/et
- Happy Hour Practice: Saturday, April 5th, 12:10 - 12:55pm/et on TV-FX via tape at 1:00pm/et.
- Qualifying Draw: Friday, April 4th, 11:00am/et
- Qualfying Order: ThatsRacin.com and/or NASCAR.com
- First Round Qualifying: 2 laps for positions 1-36, Friday, April 4th at 4:05pm/et, TV-FX via tape at 8:00pm/et [and will NOT be on Speed Channel Live or re-aired], and live via MRN radio/internet (link below) and XM Satellite - NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required)
- NASCAR Online will have live lap-by-lap coverage of Winston Cup qualifying via the web (NOTE: this is a paid subscription service).
- Second-Round Qualifying: there is no longer a 2nd round of qualifying (since the 2001 season)
- Track/Event Qualifying Record(no restrictor plate): Bill Elliott, April 1987, 212.809mph
- Track/Event Qualifying Record(Restrictor Plate): Bill Elliott, May 1990, 199.388(15/16th inch plate)
- April 2002 Pole Sitter: #48-Jimmie Johnson, 186.532, finished 7th.
Superspeedway: 2.66-mile trioval 48 feet wide (12-foot apron)
Turns: Banking: 33 degrees Length: 3,750 feet Radius: 1,100 feet
Trioval: Banking: 18 degrees
Frontstretch: Chute length: 2,150 feet (from turn to middle of trioval) Total length: 4,300 feet Banking: Minimal for drainage only
Backstretch: Length: 4,000 feet Banking: Minimal for drainage only(Talladega Website)
Grandstand Seating: 143,000
- Track Homepage: Talladega Super Speedway
- Restrictor Plate Chart
GOODYEAR TIRE NOTES
NASCAR Winston Cup Series - Race No. 8 - Aaron's 499
NASCAR Busch Series - Race No. 7 - Aaron's 312
IROC - Race. No. 2
Talladega Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval) - Talladega, Ala.
Fast Facts for April 4-6, 2003
Tire: Goodyear Eagle Superspeedway Radials
Number of Tires Required:...... Left............... Right
.... Winston Cup............... ... ... 900................ 900
.... Busch Series.............. ... ... 450................ 450
.... IROC...................... ... ... ... 150................ 150
Tire Numbers:.................. Left............... Right
... ... ............................... D-5612............. D-5614
Tire Circumference:............ Left............... Right
... ... ... ............................... 87.9 in............ 88.5 in.
Technical Inspection Inflation: Left Front - 30 psi Right Front - 55 psi
..... .......................................... Left Rear - 30 psi. Right Rear - 50 psi
Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front - 27 psi Right Front - 50 psi
... ... ... ... ... ... ............................... Left Rear - 27 psi. Right Rear - 45 psi
Estimated Pit Window: Every 32-36 laps, based on fuel mileage.
Notes: This is the same combination of left- and right-side tires Goodyear has brought to Talladega since May 1997, making this the 13th consecutive race . . . that is the longest running track-tire combination in the current Goodyear line . . . this is the only NASCAR track where these tires will be used in 2003 . . . Talladega and Daytona make up the Superspeedway Group in the 2003 Goodyear tire line, though each has its own unique combination . . . both the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series will compete on the same tires this weekend . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at
Talladega . . . the air pressure in the inner liners must be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.
Goodyear Quote -- Mark Keto, Lead Engineer, Stock Car Tire Development:
"This particular tire setup is the longest running in the 2003 Goodyear lineup.. We've obviously had a great deal of success on this setup, with this being the 13th straight race we've used this left-right combination at NASCAR's longest oval track.. There is very little wear or give-up that teams need to worry about, so two-tire stops have come to be expected at Talladega, even before NASCAR made teams run the smaller fuel cell."
RACE BONUS INFO
- The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus is $80,000 at Talladega for leading the points and winning the race (Sterling Marlin last won the award, $20,000 at Darlington on March 17, 2002). The $360,000 annual award is paid at $10,000 per race to the point leader at the end of each event if the driver is also the winner. The award increases by $10,000 each week the it goes unclaimed. If the point leader is not the race winner at the end of the year, the balance of the award is distributed among the top-10 finishers in the drivers point standings(3-30-2003)
- MBNA Mid-Race Leader Bonus: is $20,000 at Talladega. The MBNA Mid-Race Leader Award is $10,000 to the Winston Cup driver who leads the race at midway. If the driver wins the race they receive a $5,000 bonus. If the MBNA Mid-Race Leader fails to win the race the $5,000 bonus rolls into the next week (Bobby Labonte last won the bonus, $15,000 + $10,000 at Atlanta on Mar 9, 2003). No word on if a driver gets the award if the halfway is under yellow at the time or if the award is given out if the leader is not participating in the program and if it would go to the next place car at the time. The 2003 MBNA Mid-Race Leader Winners:
Daytona: Michael Waltrip, $15,000*
Rockingham: Rusty Wallace, $10,000
Las Vegas: Dale Earnhardt Jr., $10,000
Atlanta: Bobby Labonte, $25,000*
Darlington: Mark Martin, $10,000
Bristol: Jimmy Spencer, $10,000
Texas: Matt Kenseth, #10,000
(* won race and bonus)(3-30-2003)
- How did Johnson end up ahead of Wallace? been asked this quite a bit today, after #48-Jimmie Johnson got together with #23-Kenny Wallace towards the end of the race, Johnson spun and lost the lead draft and Wallace continued on, BUT Wallace ran out of fuel a few hundred feet after the incident with Johnson and finished 17th, Johnson finished 15th.(Speed Channel's Inside Winston Cup - Kenny Wallace, also the #77 crew chief, Bootie Barker is the hot seat guest this week)(4-7-2003)
- The Earnhardt Jr Pass: Illegal or Not: blurbs from a few sites:
Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s pass below the out-of-bounds line with four laps to go at Talladega might have drawn a penalty some other day. After all, judgment calls differ from week to week. But on this day, it was the “safe” call. Had a black flag prevented Junior from winning his fourth consecutive Winston Cup race at Talladega, there might have been a riot. Junior has fans everywhere but none more vocal than at Talladega. Give him credit -- he started at the rear, overcame a damaged front end and didn't have teammate Michael Waltrip for drafting help at the end. Junior's car was solid, but his driving talent won the race. Thirty-eighth in points after two races, he now stands second just six races later.(Sporting News)
Kevin Harvick's crew chief, Todd Berrier, did. He went to the NASCAR hauler and reviewed the tape with NASCAR officials. "I guarantee if Kevin was an inch below the yellow line they would park him," Berrier said before looking at the replay. "The rule is you can't go below the yellow line period. It's that simple." Berrier was somewhat mollified after seeing the tape, saying the move was "probably too close to call" and that "I think the right decision was probably made." Kenseth had no opinion on the yellow-line pass Earnhardt Jr. made, but wondered why Harvick chose to go with the eventual winner in the final push. "He was pushing me really good and we had a run on the outside of the 8," Kenseth said. "He (Harvick) kind of faked right like he was going to go with me and then he went behind the 8. ...Everybody makes his own decisions. I couldn't win without somebody pushing me ... but if you line up behind the 8 it's hard to beat him."(ThatsRacin.com)
Crossing the yellow line considered out of bounds by NASCAR, Earnhardt outdueled Matt Kenseth in the Aaron's 499 with a pivotal move that triggered another controversy in NASCAR's Winston Cup Series. "It's unfortunate that that's going to get all the publicity and not the four in a row," Earnhardt said. Replays indicated Earnhardt and Kenseth appeared to be side by side as Earnhardt's car moved well below the line in Turn 3, but Earnhardt claimed he already had cleared Kenseth's Ford. "I ran [below the line] to keep from running into him," Earnhardt said. "By that time, I was already past him." Johnson, who led a race-high 65 laps, begged to differ. "He was clearly below the yellow line," Johnson said. "I didn't think it was a legal pass." Runner-up Kevin Harvick and third-place finisher Elliott Sadler both claimed not to have seen the pass. But when asked if he would have been penalized for making the same move, Harvick offered a guarded response. "That's a good question," Harvick said. "I'll plead the fifth on that one." Others were less diplomatic. "It looks like they gave it to the '8' car," pole-sitter Jeremy Mayfield said. "He can do what he wants to do." In the prerace drivers meeting, race director David Hoots said NASCAR would black-flag cars that improved their position by crossing the yellow line that circles the bottom of the 2.66-mile track. Steve Park was black-flagged for passing Joe Nemechek below the line midway through yesterday's race, but NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Earnhardt wasn't penalized because his pass didn't improve his position.(Richmond Times Dispatch)
Jim Hunter, NASCAR vp/communications, offered this explanation: "This was a judgment call, very obviously," he said. "In our opinion, there is no question he went below the yellow line. Where the judgemnt call comes into effect [was that he] did not go below the yellow line to improve his position. He had already passed the 17 car when he went below the yellow line. We based our opinion on reviews of the tapes both in the tower at the time and after the race." Many saw the matter differently, with NASCAR having used the black flag earlier in the race, without apparent review or reservation, against Earnhardt teammate Steve Park. The rule also has been invoked in similar cases in the past, notably with Tony Stewart at Daytona in 2001. NASCAR's non-ruling, and yet another victory by Junior at the big track, did nothing to diminish suspicions that NASCAR somehow favors Earnhardt Jr., suspicions Hunter flatly denied.(Speed Channel)
from a GM Press Release - GM Racing notes - Post-race, Talladega: EARNHARDT, JR. (Would You Like To See The Yellow Line Removed?) ....."Another thing - I'll be reading on Jayski (jayski.com) all these articles and for any of you suns of guns that are wanting to talk (expletive) about me - you know where you can go."(SpeedwayMedia.com)
AND from ThatsRacin.com: Earnhardt Jr. talks about 'The Pass'
See my Article/Story/Columns Links page for a Plethora of columns/article on the matter.(4-7-2003)
- Rumblings - Talladega: About the only thing different about today's Talladega Winston Cup event was we had the "Big One" early on (lap 4 to be precise)....but it still got wild (as usual) at the end. Dale Earnhardt Jr got his four-peat today (no one else has graced Victory Lane since Bobby Hamilton won her in April of 2001), but it was not without a struggle. Engine change (to the back), damage in the "Big One" (sheet metal flapping in the breeze), a controversial pass late under Matt Kenseth .....just another typical Talladega race.
Now, while I [Henry] feel the pass was legal, I've gotta question NASCAR's call. It appears (as usual) that the only thing consistent in NASCAR is their inconsistency. Last week (in the BGN race at Texas) they said that Brian Vickers had to be penalized because he was "in the act of passing" when, in NASCAR's opinion, he jumped the start. Today, when Little E had two tires under the yellow "out of bounds" line, NASCAR said he was "in the act of passing". So, which is it?
Jr is now tied with Kyle Petty for 50th on the all-time win list (with 8), and DEI has won 8 of the last 10 plate races.
16 different leaders today....that's the most since we were here in April of 2001 when we had 26.
#29-Kevin Harvick (2nd) had his best finish since he won at Chicagoland last July.
#38-Elliott Sadler (3rd) had his best finish since he was runner-up at Darlington in March of 2002.
#5-Terry Labonte (5th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Infineon Raceway last June.
#22-Ward Burton (7th) had his best finish since he was 5th at Martinsville last October.
#45-Kyle Petty (11th) had his best finish since he was 10th here last April.
#43-John Andretti (14th) had his best finish since he was 14th at Phoenix last November.
#74-Tony Raines (16th) had his career-best finish today. His previous best was 24th twice....the last of which was at Atlanta last month.
STREAKIN.....Matt Kenseth has 7 Top-10's in a row. Dale Earnhardt Jr has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races. Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10's in the last 5 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the Week is Tony Raines (+27), followed by John Andretti (+26), and Terry Labonte (+23). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-31), followed by Casey Mears (-30), and Johnny Benson (-24). With that 27 car melee that started as far up as it did you would have expected more activity in this category, eh?(NOTE: this is Official Starting positions, not if a driver falls to the rear of the field for an engine/driver/car change)
Terry Labonte led one lap today...it's the first time he's led since he was on the point twice for 11 laps at Martinsville Speedway in April of '02. Ward Burton led three times for 5 laps today....it's the first time he's led since he was up front at Atlanta las October for 4 laps. 32 different drivers have now led (not too shabby when you consider we've only had 48 different drivers compete this season).(Henry Dubret from StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(4-7-2003)
- Dale Jr wins his 4th straight race at Talladega: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr fought back from an engine change, being involved in the BIG Wreck on lap 4, and a controversal pass below the yellow line towards the end of the race [NASCAR ruled it a clean pass] and won his 4th straight race at Talladega Superspeedway, breaking the record he held with Buddy Baker(3). #29-Kevin Harvick was able to grab 2nd place. It was the 9th straight win at the track by a Chevy. Earnhardt Jr is the 8th different winner in 8 races in 2003. The unofficial Top Ten finishers:
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr (34 laps led)
#29-Kevin Harvick (12 laps led)
#38-Elliott Sadler (1 lap led)
#5-Terry Labonte (1 lap led)
#40-Sterling Marlin (2 laps led)
#22-Ward Burton (5 laps led)
#24-Jeff Gordon (24 laps led)
#17-Matt Kenseth (9 laps led)
11th = #45-Kyle Petty
2002 Champ, #20-Stewart was 25th 32 laps down
Pole Sitter, #19-Mayfield was 18th 1 lap down
Laps Leaders (16): #19-Mayfield(19 laps led); #29-Harvick(12); #15-Waltrip(10); #1-Park(1); #40-Marlin(2); #48-Johnson(65 most laps led); #5-Labonte(1); #9-Elliott(1); #97-Busch(1); #38-Sadler(1); #17-Kenseth(9); #8-Earnhardt Jr.(34); #43-Andretti(1); #22-Burton(5); #88-Jarrett(2); #24-Gordon(24);
Cars on the lead lap: 17 (of 43 starters)
Off track/out of race (10): #12-Newman (out-accident); #21-Rudd (out-accident); #02-Sadler (out-accident); #10-Benson (out-accident); #41-Mears (out-accident); #7-Spencer (out-accident); #2-Wallace (out-accident); #01-Nadeau (out-accident); #09-Wallace (out-electricl); #25-Nemechek (out-engine);
back on after the BIG WRECK: #42-McMurray (around lap 35); #6-Marin (lap 40); #54-Bodine (lap 38); #01-Nadeau (on lap 21 and back off a few laps later and then back in the race); #7-Spencer (lap 43) but running too slow and back off track; #18-Labonte (lap 51); #2-Wallace (lap 60 and back off a few laps later); #4-Skinner (lap 63 and back off); #30-Green (lap 64); #49-Schrader (lap 73); #99-Burton (lap 82); #0-Sprague (lap 82);
Cautions: 6 for 32 laps (approx)
Caution 6: lap 133-137: debris in turn 2.
Caution 5: lap 91-94: #97-Busch and #16-Biffle got together, Busch hitting and pushing #20-Stewart into the wall.
Caution 4: lap 84-89: #15-Waltrip spins and slaps the wall hard after getting loose and making contact with the #09-Wallace car, Waltrip also bounced off the #38-Sadler and #19-Mayfield had a bit of contact with Waltrip.
Caution 3: lap 64-67: debris on the tri-oval off either #1-Park or #8-Earnhardt Jr's cars.
Caution 2: lap 36-40: debris on the backstretch.
Caution 1: lap 4-12: THE BIG ONE - #12-Ryan Newman had a left rear tire get cut down, 27 cars is the unofficial count. 17 were off, others involved not going to the garage included #8-Earnhardt Jr; #16-Biffle; #20-Stewart; #43-Andretti; #77-Blaney; #17-Kenseth; all are still on the lead lap as of lap 15. NO injuries reported. Was in the garage and came back: #01-Nadeau (lap 21 or so, then went back to the garage). Also, one of Newman's tires flew over the fence and landed in an unoccupied area outside the wall and has already been retrieved by NASCAR.
NOTES: On lap 187, #48-Johnson came across and was tapped by #23-Wallace and spun out, no caution thrown, and he continued on to finish 15th. On lap 178, #25-Nemechek fell off the lead draft with an engine problem. On lap 158 the RCR and Hendrick teams came in to pit together, along with the #40. On lap 152, #16-Biffle broke a ball joint, but made it into the pits ok. During the caution 6 pit stops, cars from position 8 on back came into pit, #31-Gordon left his pit with the gas can attached, which he drug along for a few hundred feet before it fell off, he had to come in for a stop-and-go penalty. #20-Stewart came back on the track around lap 123 after getting repairs from the Caution 5 accident. Green flag pit stops occurred laps 123-128 range. #1-Park was blackflagged on lap 100 for passing under the yellow line, he was 2 laps down at the time. During the caution 5, many of the leaders came into the pit. As of lap 64, #97-Busch's engine is running hot, came in to pit and took some tape off. #01-Nadeau came back out, then back to the garage, then back off as his spoiler was not on correctly and NASCAR black flagged him; #1-Park's spoiler was loose and close to falling off, came in on Caution 2 to fix it and lost 2 laps; #8-Earnhardt Jr came in during Caution 2 to do some repairs to the left front; #16-Biffle is overheating in traffic as of lap 35.
Race Re-air: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, Apr 9th, 8:00pm/et (enhanced) and Thurs, Apr 10th, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
Results Links at: Jayski 2003 Winston Cup Race Results page, ThatsRacin.com,
- Talladega/Aaron's 499 Qualifying Results/Race Lineup at:
Jayski's Talladega Aaron's 499 Qualifying page
- Dale Jr goes for 4 in a row, would set record: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr is tied with Buddy Baker as the only driver to ever win three straight races at Talladega Superspeedway, he could break that record by winning on Sunday, he starts 13th.(4-5-2003)
- To the Back - Little E and Green, plus B Labonte and Skinner: #30-Jeff Green lost an engine during happy hour and will have to go to the rear of the field before the green flag for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega on Sunday. Green was to start 30th.(4-5-2003)
UPDATE: #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr's team didn't like some things they saw in the engine after Happy Hour practice and have changed the engine, so Dale jr will have to fall to the rear of the field before the green flag, he was to start 13th.(Fox Sports Net's NASCAR This Morning)
UPDATE 2: add #4-Mike Skinner and #18-Bobby Labonte, who's teams also changed engines and have to fall to the rear of the field.(Fox Pre-Race coverage)(4-6-2003)
- Happy Hour practice at Talladega Superspeedway for the Aaron's 499 is over. The fastest was #74-Tony Raines at 194.322, followed by #54-Todd Bodine at 194.007 and #9-Bill Elliott at 193.995. Slowest were #30-Jeff Green at 187.654 and #0-Jack Sprague at 187.938.
For speeds see ThatsRacin - Happy Hour speeds.(4-5-2003)
- Green's and Foyt's runs disallowed, Green is now out of the lineup, Mike Wallace is in: #60-David Green, driving a Hendrick Motorsports-owned Chevrolet, ran 185.924 mph and would have started sixth on Sunday. But NASCAR disallowed the time after the car's rear end was found to be too low after the lap. That knocked Green entirely out of the field and allowed Mike Wallace, who otherwise would have gone home, to get the 36th spot - the last one available based on speed. Larry Foyt's #14 Dodge was also ruled too low..(ThatsRacin.com), see my Jayski's Talladega Aaron's 499 Qualifying page for lineup, notes and links.(4-4-2003)
- Mayfield wins the pole at Talladega for the Aaron's 499 REVISED: #19-Jeremy Mayfield won the pole for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway with a lap of 186.489, his first Bud Pole of 2002 and his first since October 2000 at Rockingham. It is Mayfield's 7th career Bud Pole and puts him into the 2004 Budweiser Shootout. #29-Kevin Harvick is on the outside pole (2nd) after running a lap of 186.166mph. The highest starting Rookie of the Year candidate is #41-Casey Mears, who starts 10th. Missing the race were #11-Brett Bodine, #14-Larry Foyt and #60-David Green. #45-Kyle Petty qualified 21st and plans to run the race on Sunday, Christian Fittipaldi will be on hand in case Petty needs relief. #02-Hermie Sadler made the field and will start 32nd. See my Jayski's Talladega Aaron's 499 Qualifying page for the speeds, lineup and lineup links, who missed, who used provisionals, practice speeds, rank, provisional rank, and more.
REVISED: #60-David Green's 6th place run was disallowed and, have revised the Jayski's Talladega Aaron's 499 Qualifying page, #09-Mike Wallace now starts 36th.(4-4-2003)
- RAIN at Talladega cancels AM practice, pushes Happy Hour back The AM practice for Cup has been canceled at Talladega Superspeedway and Happy Hour/final Cup practice has been pushed back to 1:00pm/et, just before the Busch Seires race. FX is scheduled to air the coverage of practice. Radar on the Weather Channel looking much clearer now, looks better now for the Busch race.(4-5-2003 - 12:30pm/et)
- Ramblings - Talladega: It's been a looong time between poles for Jeremy Mayfield, but today he took his 7th career Bud Pole at Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday's Aaron's 499 (where'd that other mile go?). It was the 3rd pole at 'Dega for Mayfield as he became the 6th different pole winner of the season. Jeremy's last pole was at Rockingham in October of 2000 (he had 4 of 'em that year).
Kevin Harvick will start outside the front row on Sunday.....his best starting spot since he had the outside pole at Michigan last August.
Casey Mears (10th) grabbed his career-best starting spot today. His previous best was 16th at Rockingham in February.
Steve Park (12th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 10th at Dover last September.
Jack Sprague (20th) will enjoy his career-best staring position on Sunday. His previous best was 23rd at Kansas last September.
STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 6 Top-10 starts in a row. Jeff Gordon has 4 Top-10 starts in a row. Elliott Sadler has 4 Top-5 starts in the last 5 races. Bill Elliott has 4 Top-10 starts in the last 5 races.
David Green looked like he had a 6th place starting spot lined up for Sunday....but the car was too low. He and Larry Foyt flunked post-qualifying inspection, but in Foyt's case it was of little significance. Those two teams were joined by Brett Bodine on the I-20E Trouble Train.(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter)(4-5-2002)
- Friday Practice is over for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega. The fastest [surprise] was #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr at 187.060 [slower then the Busch pole], followed by #48-Jimmie Johnson at 186.681 and #25-Joe Nemechek at 186.638. Slowest were #14-Larry Foyt at 180.672 and #11-Brett Bodine at 181.991. Christian Fittipaldi was listed in the #45 Dodge, not Kyle Petty. Per an XM Satellite- NASCAR Radio (Subscription Required) report, the #30-Jeff Green car failed inspection and didn't get passed until 1:00pm/et and missed the first hour of practice. #02-Hermie Sadler and #77-Dave Blaney also got out late.(NASCAR.com's Trackpass)
For speeds see ThatsRacin.com.(4-4-2003)
- Qualifying Order is up for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega. 46 cars/drivers are listed. #83-Kerry Earnhardt is not listed on the qualifying order as he was on the Entry List. Christian Fittipaldi is listed in the #45 car, not Kyle Petty on the NASCAR.com qualifying order, but Petty is listed on ThatsRacin.com. First due out is #12-Ryan Newman, last scheduled out is #77-Dave Blaney. See the links above.(4-4-2003)
- Entry list for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway is up. 47 drivers/cars/teans are listed. The 42 full time teams along with: #02-Hermie Sadler; #09-Mike Wallace; #11-Brett Bodine; #60-David Green; and #83-Kerry Earnhardt. See above for the link.(4-1-2003)
- How to break a tie during qualifying?(same speed/time) When drivers are tied for a starting spot during qualifying, it is broken by owners points standings(not drivers). For provisionals standings see the Jayski's Provisional Status page
- Links: Practice speeds, qualifying and results can be found at these
sites: NASCAR Online and That's Racin'
- Inspection Slow at Talladega: The big news of the day, besides Jeremy Mayfield winning the pole for Sunday’s Talladega 500, was the pre-practice inspection process. The NASCAR men laid-out several teams during the seemingly endless process, but the aggressiveness of the sanctioning body might have backfired. The lengthy process of car inspection resulted in several cars missing most of the morning practice session. At the half-hour mark only 30 cars had posted times, 39 at the hour mark with the full compliment of 46 joining by the end of the session. Things were so tense www.teamfordracing.com saw one crew chief waving his finger in the face of NASCAR inspectors. Many of the cars were run at Daytona International Speedway and weren’t touched between the time they arrived back in the shops following that race and when they were loaded for this event. Therefore plenty of bodywork was required. Some of the cars just needed a dab of Bondo here or there, while others needed some pretty serious reconstruction to get through the NASCAR hoops. One car that needed considerable work was Jeff Burton’s. Work was required to the A pillars as well as the C pillars of the #99 Ford. But the majority of the work needed to legalize the car dealt with the rear decklid.(Ford Racing)(4-5-2003)
- NFL Great Jim Kelly Grand Marshal of the Aaron's 499: Talladega Superspeedway officials on Wednesday have named former National Football quarterback standout and recent NFL Hall of Fame inductee Jim Kelly as its Grand Marshal for Sunday afternoon's Aaron's 499 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. Kelly, a part owner of a new NASCAR Busch Series race team with veteran NASCAR car owner Frank Cicci that makes its debut on Saturday at Talladega in the Aaron's Rents 312, played his entire NFL career (11 seasons) with the Buffalo Bills. He guided the Bills to four Super Bowls before retiring after the 1996 campaign. During his brilliant professional football career, Kelly completed 2,874 of 4,779 passes for a completion percentage of 60% and 35,467 yards. He tossed 237 touchdowns. Prior to his rookie season in the NFL in 1986, Kelly played two years in the old United States Football League (USFL) for the Houston Gamblers. He was named the league's Player of the Year in 1984. At the University of Miami, the Pennsylvania native gained fame and national recognition during a brilliant collegiate career in which he was a Heisman Trophy candidate as a senior. In his four seasons piloting the Hurricanes, Kelly completed 406 of 646 passes for a lusty 62.8%, 5,233 yards and 32 touchdowns. He was the first in a long line of touted quarterbacks at Miami that helped dub the school "Quarterback U". "I am both honored and thrilled by being named Grand Marshal for a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race on one of its most exciting and competitive race tracks," Kelly said after being notified of the honor. "I was coming to Talladega to help our new race team make its debut on Saturday with Mike McLaughlin in the car, so being asked to hang around for another day to help start Sunday's race made it easy to say yes and thank you", Kelly added. Kelly and his wife, Jill, have a 6-year-old son, Hunter, who is afflicted with the terminal illness Krabbe disease, a leukodystrophy. One of Kelly's objectives with getting involved with NASCAR is to help raise awareness for the disease and to raise funds for the Hunter's Hope Foundation. The organization founded by the Kelly's is named for their son and raises funds to help the families of individuals stricken with Krabbe.(Frank Cicci Racing with Jim Kelly PR)(4-3-2003)
- DW Grand Marshal of the Aaron's 312 Busch race: hearing Darrell Waltrip will be the Grand Marshal of the Aaron's 213 Busch Series race this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.(4-3-2003)
- Quite a Patriotic Theme at Talladega this weekend: Moments before the start of the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 6, fans in the Allison Grandstand will have a special opportunity to show their support for U.S. troops. At the same time, everyone at the Alabama track will be asked to sing “God Bless America” as the U.S. Army Band provides the musical backdrop. More than 23,000 hand-held cards will be used to spell out the message “God Bless Our Troops” in the full Allison Grandstand as part of a patriotic pre-race show. Jacob Davis Productions, of Orlando, Fla., will help pull off the special message presented by Aaron’s and RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. and its Winston brand. A yellow ribbon already hangs over the North Tunnel entry into the infield in honor of those troops at war and American flags now wave from every flag pole leading down the main entrance to the track off Speedway Blvd.
The weekend will begin with a Blue Star Mothers of America presentation by the U.S. Marine Corps and the American Legion during pre-race festivities of the Aaron’s 312 Busch Series race. The presentation will be made to the mother of an Alabama soldier currently serving in the war against Iraq. On Sunday, before the start of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Aaron’s 499, fans will be a part of something new at the Alabama track but will also recognize a familiar part of the Talladega Tradition. During pre-race festivities that morning, the U.S. Army Golden Knights will parachute into the track’s 212-acre infield for the first time. Moments later, during the singing of the national anthem, John Ray, a local businessman and longtime friend of Talladega Superspeedway, will bring his familiar semi-truck through the tri-oval proudly flying a huge American flag on a custom-made. On Sunday, Air Force Staff Sargeant Derrick Percival of the 42nd Contracting Squad at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., will sing the national anthem. Great seats still remain for the entire
Aaron’s Dream Weekend. Fans can call the track’s ticket office (256) 362-RACE Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat urday and Sunday.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(4-2-2003)
- Talladega Purse Increases: When the NASCAR Winston Cup Series drivers take the green flag in the Aaron’s 499 on Sunday, April 6, a Talladega Superspeedway-record purse of $5,082,015 will be there for the taking. The NASCAR Winston Cup Leader Bonus is now worth an a dditional $80,000 for the Aaron’s 499, should the winner of Sunday’s race also be the series points leader. That’s just the Sunday Winston Cup event. The NASCAR Busch Series Aaron’s 312 purse is a track-record $1,118,799 for a total of $6.2 million on the line this weekend. The International Race of Champions has a purse of $1,065,000, which will be handed out at the end of the four-race series. Fans can call (256) 362-RACE to purchase tickets for all events. Great seats still remain for the entire Aaron’s Dream Weekend. Children 11 and under are admitted free into the general admission grandstands with a paying adult Thursday through Saturday.(Talladega Superspeedway PR)(4-2-2003)
- Talladega: Tickets for April and Fall race; No Golf Carts; and With the Aaron’s Dream Weekend less than a month away at Talladega Superspeedway, there is still time to purchase tickets to Super Saturday at 2002 prices. Fans can save $5 a ticket by purchasing seats for Saturday's events before Monday, March 17. Combine the $5 savings on each ticket with free admission to children 11 and under, and Super Saturday on April 5 at Talladega Superspeedway becomes a real treat for the entire family. Children 11 and under are admitted into the general admission grandstan ds at no charge. A ticket to Saturday's events at Talladega Superspeedway allows fans to watch two NASCAR Winston Cup Series practice sessions, the NASCAR Busch Series Aaron's 312 and the 27th running of the International Race of Champions. Fans who purchase Saturday tickets before March 17 will pay 2002 prices – $35 for general admission and $45 for reserved tower seats. On March 17, general admission and tower seat ticket prices will increase $5 each. Fans can purchase tickets to the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 3-6, by calling the ticket office at (256) 362-RACE or visiting the track’s official website, talladegasuperspeedway.com. Plenty of great seats remain for the entire Aaron’s Dream Weekend, including select tower seats for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Aaron’s 499 on April 6. Fans can get a 3D Virtual Tour of the grandstands on the track’s official website.
AND Now that fans have had the chance to renew their seats or make upgrade requests from last year’s second weekend of racing at Talladega Superspeedway, tickets for the EA SPORTS 500 Weekend are now available simply by calling the track’s ticket office at (256) 362-RACE. The EA SPORTS 500 Weekend is one week earlier this year, falling in the last week of September. Fans can watch both the Food World 300 and the EA SPORTS 500 for one $60 ticket. The Allison Grandstand, located out of Turn 2, is a two-day $60 ticket and offers a bird’s-eye view of Turns 1 and 2 and all the passing that takes place heading down the longest backstretch on the NASCAR circuit.
AND Fans heading to Talladega Superspeedway for either of the two race weekends in 2003 should note the new golf cart policy
put in place by International Speedway Corporation. Golf carts used on track property are permitted for business purposes only. No personal
use of a golf cart is allowed for any reason. Physically impaired, disabled or handicapped persons are permitted to use commercially-manufactured, single-person electric convenience vehicles (ECVs). These vehicles will not require insurance certification or a
registration credential. This policy was put into place due to the risks golf carts pose to both the occupants of the golf cart as well as other patrons on property. This new policy will be strictly enforced. Violation of these regulations will result in the golf cart being impounded for the remainder of the event weekend. Any approved business-use golf carts or other vehicles must be registered with Talladega Superspeedway and must display either the yearly ISC or official event registration credential on the golf cart at all times. Any request to register a golf cart must also include a provision of insurance. Permitted golf carts must be driven by a licensed person over the age of 19. No one under the influence of alcohol may operate a golf cart. No consumption of alcohol is permitted in the cart. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in any powered vehicle, except for outside commercial delivery purposes only. As has been the rule in t he past, ATVs, dirt bikes, scooters and dune buggies are not allowed on track property, either.(Talladega Superspeedway PR's)(3-11-2003)
- IROC back at 'Dega in 2003: The International Race of Champions [IROC] will return to Talladega Superspeedway next season, track officials announced Monday. The IROC race, which will be held during the speedway's April Winston Cup race weekend, returns after a one-year absence. Next season will mark the 13th IROC event at the track since 1984. "We're thrilled with the return of the IROC series at Talladega," said Grant Lynch, the track's president. "Talladega Superspeedway's knack for delivering competitive races is a perfect fit for the IROC series and its group of world-class drivers. We are also thrilled for our fans who will get to watch one of the most action-packed hours in auto racing." IROC is a four-race series composed of 12 drivers from various forms of motorsports. Winston Cup driver Kevin Harvick won the 2002 IROC championship. In 2002, IROC races were held at Daytona, California, Chicagoland and Indianapolis.(ThatsRacin.com)(10-29-2002)
- How to Calculate Track Speeds: use the formula Speed = Distance divided by Time. Distance is Track Length, and Lap Time into Hours. Once hour is 3600 seconds, so the calculation for a 48 second lap at Daytona(2.5 miles) would be: Speed = 2.5 x (3600/48), = 2.5 x 75 = 187.500mph. For a 19 second lap at Bristol(.533 miles): Speed = .533 x (3600/19), = .533 x 189.474 = a speed of 100.990mph
- Past track news: posted in the past at Jayski's Past Track News/Rumors - Talladega Superspeedway
- Wallace Paying Tribute To Fallen American Hero: When Rusty Wallace sports his United Association hat during Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 pre-race activities at Talladega Superspeedway, he will be paying a special personal tribute to a fallen hero. He will be wearing the hat to honor Marine Reserve Sgt. Bradley Korthaus, who died on March 24 while participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Korthaus, 28, of Davenport, Iowa, was a UA member out of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 25 in Rock Island, Ill. “Brad lost his life in the line of duty and he is an American hero,” said Wallace. “His story is certainly an inspiration. He pursued his lifetime dream of becoming a U.S. Marine and joined the military right out of school."(Tom Roberts PR)(4-3-2003)
- Hermie back at Talladega UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler will make his return to the Cup Series on April 6, 2003 when he pilots the #02 Autism Awareness Pontiac sponsored by NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in the AARON' S 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. In honor of Autism Awareness Month and the thousands of people affected daily by this disease, the car will feature the Autism "puzzle ribbon" on the hood along with 1-800-3-AUTISM, the phone number for the Autism Society of America. Sadler, whose daughter Halie Dru was diagnosed with Autism in February 2001, carried the ribbon in the Spring Bristol race last year and was amazed at the response. "The number of people we reached through this exposure was unbelievable. It was just the tool we needed-the Autism Society of America received literally thousands of phone calls following the race. This is the perfect way for us to kick off Autism Awareness month for 2003," stated Sadler. NWA-TNA Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett is pleased to participate in this event. "Hermie has been such a huge supporter of NWA-TNA, and it is a pleasure to return the favor. I'm looking forward to the race and helping increase the awareness of Autism." Also participating in the promotion are FOX Sports, FX, www.goteamva.com, and Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated. Fox Sports is providing an in-car camera to help promote awareness for autism and Dale Earnhardt, Incorporated is providing engines and technical support to Sadler's team for this event. "I am honored and grateful to everyone who is involved with this program," Sadler said. "We not only have the chance to run a great race; we have the chance to make a difference for kids and families all over the world affected by autism." NWA-TNA Total Nonstop Action Wrestling is the first-ever weekly Pay-Per-View wrestling series that airs every Wednesday at 8:00pm/et on iN DEMAND and DIRECT-TV. With its unique blend of traditional wrestling and the high-flying cutting edge moves of the X-Division, it is the definitive alternative for the wrestling enthusiast. For more information on NWA-TNA: Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, go to www.nwatna.com.(PR)(3-26-2003)
UPDATE: Look for Hermie Sadler to drive a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car at Talladega. DEI is donating the car to promote autism awareness. Sadler's daughter, Halie Dru, was diagnosed with autism in February 2001.(Sporting News)(3-31-2003)
UPDATE 2: Hermie Sadler suffered a fractured bone in his right foot and bruised ligaments in his ankle from the crash. Sadler still plans to enter both the Busch Series and Winston Cup races this weekend.(Sadler Fanclub Site)(4-1-2003)
- See the 2003 Team Chart which has links to past news for each team and info on each team.
PAINT SCHEME NEWS
- Cingular Wireless and Robby Gordon race on behalf of Special Olympics athletes at Talladega: Sporting a Special Olympics Team USA paint scheme on his race car, Robby Gordon will drive Richard Childress Racing's (RCR) #31 Cingular Wireless Chevy for a good cause on April 6 at Talladega Superspeedway. To launch Cingular's fourth year of supporting Special Olympics, Cingular will donate $100 to the organization for every lap completed, and an additional $1,000 for each lap that Gordon leads in the Aaron's 499. If Gordon wins the race, Cingular will donate $100,000 to Special Olympics. The promotion will help to support Special Olympics Team USA athletes who will compete at the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland, June 21-29. The games will showcase the athletic skills, courage and dignity of 7,500 athletes with mental retardation from more than 150 countries around the world. Five Special Olympics Alabama athletes will be the VIP guests of Cingular Wireless and Gordon at Talladega. Gordon has invited them to pit row to cheer him on from the sidelines in his specially painted No. 31 race car with a Special Olympics Team USA logo splashed across the car. Special Olympics athletes attending are: Elizabeth Bronold, Dothan, Ala.; Michael Crunkelton, Huntsville, Ala.; Brandi Deese, Dothan, Ala.; Joseph Gann, Prattville, Ala. and Dossie King, Montgomery, Ala. Cingular Wireless, an official partner of Special Olympics USA and an official sponsor of Special Olympics Team USA, has raised more than $28.1 million for the organization over the past three years. Cingular's fundraising effort is the largest partnership in Special Olympics history. "This is one of Cingular's many initiatives for Special Olympics. As an athlete, Robby knows all too well how much training, hard work and determination goes into competition," said Marc Lefar, Cingular's chief marketing officer. "Cingular is confident Robby will end up in Victory Lane, allowing us to successfully launch our 2003 Special Olympics fundraising efforts, and to help Special Olympics Team USA athletes train and participate in the 2003 World Games."
"Cingular and I both believe in the mission of Special Olympics," said Gordon. "Realizing that my success at the Talledega Superspeedway next week can have a direct impact on the organization and can benefit Special Olympics athletes gives me more incentive than ever to win." Visit Special Olympics online at www.specialolympics.org.(RCR)(3-31-2003)
from the Robby Gordon site
- Gordon and Pepsi back at Talladega: looks like Jeff Gordon will run a Pepsi scheme once again at Talladega in April, see the diecast image of the car on my 2003 Cup page.(12-7-2002)
- More Paint Scheme news can be found on Paint Schemes Gallery, choose current news
SOME NOTES and NEWS
- Parts Confiscated: NASCAR inspectors confiscated several parts in pre-qualifying inspections Friday and placed them on display in the hauler. Among the items taken: unapproved springs from the cars of Jerry Nadeau and Ken Schrader; a false in-car camera mount from the car of Todd Bodine's; and improperly mounted oil coolers on driver Sterling Marlin's car.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-5-2003)
- Best Ave: not that it means much, but 21 drivers have ran the past six races at Talladega, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr (with 3 stright wins) has the best finishing average, the 21 drivers and their averages (only of those who ran the past six races):
1) 8-Earnhardt Jr.,11.2 past winner(3)
2) 99-Burton, 12.3
3) 24-Gordon, 14.2 past winner(2)
4) 88-Jarrett, 15.0 past winner
5) 6-Martin, 15.5 past winner
6) 5-Labonte, 15.7 past winner(2)
7) 21-Rudd, 15.8
8) 17-Kenseth, 15.8
9) 20-Stewart, 16.0
10) 2-Wallace, 16.5
11) 22-Burton, 18.5
12) 18-Labonte, 21.0 past winner
13) 9-Elliott, 21.5 past winner(2)
14) 32-Craven, 21.8
15) 15-Waltrip, 23.3
16) 01-Nadeau, 24.7
17) 10-Benson, 25.8
18) 43-Andretti, 26.3
19) 7-Spencer, 26.7 past winner
20) 77-Blaney, 27.8
21) 49-Schrader, 34.8 past winner
- Eight in a row: Chevy havs won the last eight races at Talladega. Last non-Chevy is Dale Jarrett in the fall of 1998. The eight Chevy wins were by Dale Earnhardt(3), Dale Earnhardt Jr(3), Jeff Gordon and Bobby Hamilton.(4-6-2003)
- Did ya know? Entering last year's Aaron's 499, #15-Michael Waltrip stood 27th in the Winston Cup standings. This season, he comes in fourth, the biggest improvement of any Winston Cup driver.(Alabama Live)(4-6-2003)
- All 61: Seven drivers have competed in all 61 restrictor-plate races at Daytona and Talladega: Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte, Mark Martin, Ricky Rudd, Ken Schrader, Rusty Wallace and Michael Waltrip.(4-3-2003)
- Talladega Rules: The aerodynamic rules package that was used for the Daytona 500 remains in place for Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, the season's second restrictor-plate race. Those rules (for 2003 model cars): rear spoilers must by 6¼ inches tall and 57 inches wide; rear spoiler angles must be minimum of 55 degrees and maximum of 65 degrees; restrictor plate openings must be 7/8 inch. There is one slight modification: rear spoilers must have a minimum thickness of 3/16 inch. Also, the approximate 13.5-gallon fuel cell will again be used.(NASCAR PR)(4-2-2003)
- Contingency Plans for travel and TV in case of war: With the country on the verge of war, NASCAR teams and officials are considering contingency plans for travel to Fort Worth, Talladega and Los Angeles in the coming weeks. "I know that became a concern when we went to Dover last year, and I'm sure at some of these tracks there will be different restrictions that come up," Robbie Loomis, Jeff Gordon's crew chief, said. "It's a pretty stressful time on all the folks in the military and their families right now." Fox is expected to put Winston Cup races on its FX cable if or when war begins.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-14-2003)
UPDATE: Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of communications, also an Army veteran, addressed the topic of war and racing on Friday. "I have always felt that one of Bill France's quotes was right on target on this subject," Hunter said. "I can remember people asking 'Bill, who are your fans?' And he would say, 'I'll tell you who our fans are. They are the kind of people that win wars for you.' And never has that been more true than today." Hunter said NASCAR has monitored the expected showdown with Iraq for the last several months and has worked through several scenarios which includes postponing an event if necessary. "I don't really want to speculate but certainly that would be an option and we've done it before," Hunter said. "Just to arbitrarily do that, no. It depends on the circumstances, and what is best under those circumstances, not only what is best for the racing community but what is best for the country."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-16-2003)
STATS and STUFF