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PAST NEWS MARCH 15-21, 1999


(3-21-1999)
  • No New Monte Carlo in 1999? ...the Monte Carlo is now suddenly dead for any 1999 introduction on the Winston Cup tour. See the story at PitNow - Monte Carlo's debut in doubt this season and Yesterday, several Chevrolet owners in the garage said the as-yet unapproved 2000 Monte Carlo will not make its debut until the 2000 season instead of in the Brickyard 400(Times-Dispatch)(3-21-1999)

  • Wind Tunnel Results? UPDATE According to men familiar with the tests, Jeff Gordon's Monte Carlo came out with numbers clearly better than the other five cars, 30 drag-horsepower better than the Fords according to one source, and 20 drag-horsepower better than the rival Chevrolet of Mike Skinner. According to one man close to the situation, Gordon's car not only showed better drag-horsepower numbers (meaning a more efficient shape) but also had more downforce. NASCAR officials declined to release any specific figures themselves, and GM and Ford officials say they are not supposed to provide any figures to the media either. The second best car in the Lockheed wind tunnel was Bobby Labonte's #18 Grand Prix, by some 17 drag-horsepower over the best Ford, according to sources. The car with the most drag was Ward Burton's #22 Pontiac(PitNow) and Although teams are reluctant to discuss test numbers, owners say that Gordon’s car had 27 less drag-horsepower than Martin’s, 20 less than Skinner and 17 less than Labonte. That means that it takes Gordon less horsepower to go the same speed as the other drivers. Combined with the increased downforce, the numbers mean Gordon’s team has found significantly more speed in the corners and more speed on the straightaway than anyone else without violating any rules. Burton’s car fared the worst, but crew chief Tom Baldwin disputed the numbers(Times-Dispatch) UPDATE: As Speedwords reported here earlier this week the wind tunnel testing done by NASCAR following the Atlanta race revealed nothing unusual. A source at Ford was glad to see a "good" #24 car go to the tunnel but admits there was nothing extraordinary found in the testing(Speedwords)(3-21-1999)

  • Marcis Upset: Dave Marcis went home in a huff after missing Sunday's race, angered mainly at the rule that allows teams that don't qualify on the first day to stand on their speeds. See the rest of the That's Racin' article at Marcis says qualifying deck stacked against him(3-21-1999)


    (3-20-1999)
  • DJ/Yates/2003: Dale Jarrett will continue as driver for Robert Yates Racing through the 2003 season, the Fayetteville(N.C.) Observer-Times learned Friday. A few years ago, Jarrett seriously considered starting his own Winston Cup team and having Yates supply the motors. The team is still a possibility, Jarrett said, but the 42-year-old native of Newton, N.C., added that he would like to finish his driving career with Yates(Fayetteville Observer-Times)(3-20-1999)

  • DW/Ingle: Despite widespread rumors to the contrary, Travis Carter said there had been no contact between him and Ingle. Carter is looking for a crew chief to run Darrell Waltrip's #66 operation, a team Carter co-owns with Carl Haas. Donnie Disharoon left that team after the Las Vegas race on March 7, and Joe Snyder lasted less than a week as Disharoon's successor(SpeedNet/Monte Dutton)(3-20-1999)


    (3-19-1999)
  • Sad News: #98 Engine Builder, Bob Fisher's mother passed away. Condolences to Bob and his family(3-19-1999)

  • Bobby Labonte Injured UPDATE: Bobby Labonte's #18 BGN MBNA Pontiac hit the wall during practice at Darlington Raceway Friday. Labonte was taken to a local hospital for treatment, but no information on his condition was available. UPDATE: Labonte hit a patch of oil on the track and hit the back stretch wall. Labonte was taken to the infield care center and diagnosed with a broken left shoulder blade. He was transported to a local hospital in Florence, SC, for further treatment. Labonte was unable to return in time for Friday's first Winston Cup practice session. BGN driver Matt Kenseth drove Labonte's car in the practice session, but no announcement has been made regarding a possible replacement for Sunday's race. The extent of Labonte's injury and how long he may be out of his car remain unknown(That's Racin'), NOL has a story too, calls it a lower right tip scapula fracture, see article: Labonte injured in morning practice. His BGN entry has been withdrawn and Kenseth will qualify the Cup #18 today during Bud Pole Qualifying. Some positive news from an AP story: Labonte injury was at the tip of the scapula and he was initially in pain but later joked with nurses at the hospital(WRAL/AP)(3-19-1999)

  • Atwood Five Race Cup Deal? UPDATE - NO: Speedway Scene has learned that rising star Casey Atwood will announce a five race Cup deal for later this year. No details were available at the time of this posting on which five races will be included in the package, but expect an announcement soon, possibly this weekend(Speedway Scene) Jayski Note: I had reported a while back that Atwood signed a deal with Bill Eliiott, may have been just a testing deal, but possibly something related??(3-18-1999) -- BGN driver Casey Atwood announced today he is not planning to enter any NASCAR Winston Cup Series events during the 1999 season. His current BGN team may look into running some Cup races in 2000, but nothing has been decided(Keystone Marketing)(3-19-1999)

  • Jarrett/Pearson: Dale Jarrett has a chance to tie David Pearson's record of three straight spring Darlington wins(1972-74) if he can win at Darlington this Sunday(SpeedNet)(3-19-1999)

  • Buckshot News: Todd Bodine will be standing by as a relief driver for Buckshot Jones, who is battling a nasty case of flu, has been on antibiotics this week. He had to leave the race early last week, suffering from fluid in the lungs and a case of carbon monoxide poisoning(Times-Dispatch)(3-19-1999)

  • #90 UPDATE 4: Willy T. Ribbs, who ran three Winston Cup races in 1986, is back in the garage and searching for a ride. Ribbs, one of only a handful of black drivers to compete on the Winston Cup circuit, has been talking with owners for the past several months about making a comeback this season. Ribbs isn't attempting to start a new team. He said he wants to drive for an established outfit(Times-Dispatch) -- sources tell me Ribbs could be in the #90 Junie Donlavey Ford at Darlington(3-14-1999) -- Donlavey will bring one of three drivers to Darlington: Morgan Shepherd, Stanton Barrett or Ed Berrier(current driver of the #77 BGN Ford). Ribbs remains a longterm possibility(NASCAR Today Radio)(3-16-1999) -- Sources tell me that Berrier will be in the #90 Ford and has brought sponsorship with him, no idea who(3-17-1999) -- BGN regular Ed Berrier, will pull a double shift this weekend at Darlington. In addition to driving his #77 Lear BGN Ford, Berrier will be driving the #90 Junie Donlavey Ford. Berrier is Donlavey’s fourth driver in the five races this season(Times-Dispatch)(3-19-1999)

  • Skinner Disqualified UPDATE 5 Reinstated: From TNN's Raceday - Mike Skinner who won the BGN race in Atlanta Saturday in the #19 Team Yellow Chevy, has been disqualified for unapproved cylinder head modifications and Dave Blaney in the #93 Amoco Pontiac has been declared the winner --- Skinner and the #19 Team Yellow team have appealed the decision and all points and award money are frozen pending the outcome of the appeal, which may not be resolved until Monday. See the story at That's Racin': Skinner disqualified; Busch victory taken away(3-14-1999) -- I hear the appeal hearing is in Charlotte on Wednesday at 10:30am/et between the #19 team and the NASCAR Appeal Board. Also check out a few Press Releases from Team Yellow: T and L Motors Press Release and TEAM YELLOW RACING LOGS POST-RACE APPEAL(3-16-1999) -- I hear the cylinder head infraction in question has been reviewed now by nearly everyone involved in the technical side or BGN racing and has been deemed to be legal, but...sources tell me NASCAR will uphold it's decision, I guess we'll see(3-17-1999) -- NASCAR Reinstated Mike Skinners and Team Yellows win at the Atlanta BGN race. The team gets the win and the points but they lose the winners share of the purse which was approx $19,000. So a late congratulations to Mike Skinner...(RPM2Nite). also see an UPI story at icFlorida: Skinner's win is restored(3-18-1999) -- Some info on the ruling from Speedwords: NASCAR released a statement explaining more about the infraction they discovered on the cylinder heads on Mike skinner's Busch car in Atlanta. In short, they say there were changes to the shape of the port that created a vein (fin?) that helped direct the airflow to the combustion chamber. Engine builders have long tried to find ways of changing the floor of port runners to get air to flow better as it enters the cylinder to maximize volume and reduce unwanted turbulence. So, did T&L intentionally do something illegal? That would be virtually impossible to say with conviction. Apparently they didn't add anything to the ports but rather carved the port floor out to create the vein with existing material, but in NASCAR´s opinion, changed the shape of the port significantly. This is one of those famous "gray areas" so many racers at all levels have run into. The rules say you can remove material, but in this case NASCAR decided it represented an unfair advantage over the rest of the cars(Speedwords) Don't forget to check Tom's Conspiracy News(3-19-1999)


    (3-18-1999)
  • Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship TODAY LAST DAY: Not much time but....Deadline to apply for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte's Alan Kulwicki Memorial Scholarship is March 31, 1999. The winner will receive a four year scholarship worth $1500 per school year to attend UNC-Charlotte. The selection of the scholarship is based on an affiliation with NASCAR, financial need, and academic achievement. Dr. Silvia Middleton, assistant dean of engineering at UNC-Charlotte said the school is seeking someone with "genuine ties with and love for the racing industry." Ryan Zeck, the inaugural winner, is currently seeking a BGN driving opportunity. Ryan is a Late Model Stock Car driver and graduates in May, see his website at www.coe.uncc.edu/~rwzeck. For more information or to receive an application, call the UNC-Charlotte College of Engineering at (704) 547-2301(Thanks Ryan)(3-18-1999)

  • Pardus team changes UPDATE: Crew Chief of the #50 Midwest Transit Team and ROTY Candidate, Dan Pardus, John McQueen, has left the team to pursue other racing opportunities. Driver Danny Pardus will stay aboard as primary driver(Speed Magazine (3-17-1999) -- The team will skip Darlington and hopes to file an entry for the Primestar 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on March 28. Their 34 race Cup schedule has been pared down to 12-14 races for 1999(Midwest PR)(3-18-1999)


    (3-17-1999)
  • Ingle/DW? Hearing rumors that the #66 team has contacted Bill Ingle, former crew chief of the #10 Tide Ford and Ricky Rudd, about the crew chief job there(3-17-1999)

  • More Provisional Info: In part from the Tennessean - "Darrell Waltrip has used up his allotted four past champion's provisional in the season's first four races, but because he's in the top 25 in points (23rd) he is eligible for a provisional this week at Darlington." Now here is the kicker...."NASCAR public relations director Tim Sullivan yesterday explained that if Waltrip fails to make the race on his qualifying speed he may receive one of six provisional spots. That's assuming that all six of those available provisionals are not taken by drivers ahead of Waltrip in the standings. That's an extremely remote chance. Still, not having any more automatic past champion's provisionals until the April 18 race at Martinsville, Va., keeps the pressure on Waltrip to squeeze out top 25 finishes to earn points. He started 43rd at Atlanta last Sunday and "finessed" his way to a 20th-place finish." Nice explanation by Larry Woody of the Tennessean. Pretty much sounds like the rules I have on the Provisional Page(3-17-1999)

  • Wind Tunnel Results: Well, don't hold your breath. NASCAR doesn't release that kind of data anyway so all you will see are guesses and estimates. SPEEDWORDS has been told that the tests are complete and that nothing big was found. Don't look for major rules changes based on this round of wind tunnel tests. The major use of the data will be to insure the new Monte Carlo comes to the track as evenly matched to existing models as possible. If the new round of wind tunnel data show all available makes, including the Monte Carlo are equal, expect approval of the new body style shortly, perhaps early next week(Speedwords)(3-17-1999)

  • Ingle Gone UPDATE 2: Bill Ingle, crew chief, and Ricky Rudd, owner/driver of the #10 Tide Ford, have parted ways. No successor to Ingle has been named(NASCAR Today Radio)(3-15-1999) -- RPM2Nite reports that Dan Stillman will handle the crew chief chores at Darlington this weekend(3-16-1999) -- For this weekend´s TranSouth 400, Rudd, lead mechanic Dave Anthony, engineer Hoyt Overbaugh, mechanics Doug McGill, and Dan Stillman will jointly guide the Tide Team(www.rickyrudd.com)(3-17-1999)

  • BGN and Cope UPDATE: I hear Derrike Cope will not return to the #61 BGN IWX Freight Pontiac. Tony Roper will driver the car at Darlington(per www.derrikecope.com) and for the rest of the season. The initial plan was for Cope to drive 20 races and Roper the rest -- The Official Press Release in part: Tony Roper will drive the #61 IWX Motor Freight Pontiac in Saturday's Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway. It will mark his first (BGN) start, which originally was scheduled to happen later this season. The team feels he needs to get healthy(banged up) after his two hard wrecks in Atlanta last weekend so he can concentrate on his Winston Cup program. Roper, 33, a native of Fair Grove, Mo., has competed in the last two seasons in the (CTS). In those two seasons, he has had 11 top-10 finishes and his series' best second-place finish at Indianapolis Raceway Park last season. He has finished in the top-20 in points in both seasons. Roper has been a general mechanic on the Xpress team since the first of the year(IMX PR)(3-17-1999)

  • Roush Protest: Concord City (Cabarrus County, NC) residents convinced city leaders to delay approval of county tax-incentive grants of $1.9 million to Roush Racing, for it's proposed construction to move their racing facilities to Concord. Well over 100 residents are concerned over the potential noise from a test track included in the plans. The planned "test track" is less than 1/2 mile from a large residential area that already can hear single cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway several miles away. After listening to the involved parties the city commissioners voted unanimously to defer action until the rezoning issue is settled. The residents also questioned the validity of granting tax incentives when rezoning of the area has yet to be approved by the city. There was also speculation that the Roush facility would simply move existing employees from their other operations and not create new jobs, something the tax incentive plan includes(Speedwords)(3-17-1999)

  • Cope Colors: The revolving Paint Scheme team, #30 Bahari Racing, will have the Bryan colors on their Pontiac for Darlington(RaceWire)(3-17-1999)

  • Single Car Teams: Ward Burton is one of the few single-car drivers faring well this season, Burton is 10th in the points. Ernie Irvan, who is eighth, is the highest in the points among single-car drivers(News and Record)(3-17-1999)

  • Sad News: A weekend jaunt to a Georgia car race ended in tragedy yesterday when the pilot of a private plane crashed in Dravosburg, killing himself and a passenger and leaving two other passengers seriously injured. The four men had traveled to Georgia to see a NASCAR race, the Cracker Barrel 500, which was held on Sunday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. See the complete story at 2 killed as plane crashes near county airport, Thoughts and prayers out to the families of the deceased and injured(3-17-1999)


    (3-16-1999)
  • DW/Kmart/Carter: Hearing tensions are high in #66 BigKmart camp. Joe Snyder who was to be the interim crew chief/consultant left last Friday, leaving owner Travis Carter to the crew chief duties. I hear Kmart is happy with sales and race performance but supposedly will not tolerate not making a race, one reason DW was chosen for the ride was for the past champions provisionals. And now there is no definitive answer from NASCAR on whether the teams has any provisionals, my interpretation of the rules says they do have both regular and champ provisionals available since they are now 23rd in owners points, but I could be wrong. RPM2Nite on Sunday reported that NASCAR will release a decision on the Provisionals by the end of the week(3-16-1999)

  • Grissom Not Renewed UPDATE 2/Trickle Named and new paint: #91 LJ Racing's owner, Joe Falk, announced today that he will not extend his four race deal with Winston Cup Driver Steve Grissom. Falk didn't feel the team had the chemistry needed. The team still has two races left with Textilease as the sponsor and continue to hunt a full time primary sponsor. No replacement named at this time(LJ Racing Press Release) -- I hear Dick Trickle will be driving the car at Darlington(3-15-1999) -- From Victory Lane Online: ".....I withheld making any comments about this on Saturday, but Steve Grissom has been released by Joe Falk's #91 team. Joe's brother Freddie was working on his race car Saturday when I called him with the news that the #91 car failed to qualify. Freddie told me right then that there would be another driver in the car by Darlington. Since Falk still has two races left on a 3 race deal with Textilease, they will find another driver for Darlington, which at this point in time appears to be Dick Trickle. I was told that Joe has been considering Trickle for a couple of weeks now, and that among the plus's is the fact that Trickle is a good Chassis man, and can be quite helpful in getting the car setup." -- Veteran Winston Cup Driver Dick Trickle has been signed to drive Joe Falk’s #91 Chevrolet Monte Carlo at Darlington. LJ Racing’s #91 Chevrolet Monte Carlo will sport a new look at Darlington as well. The car will be white and teal to tie in the corporate colors of sponsor TEXTILEASE(LJ Racing Site/PR)(3-16-1999)

  • Buckshot UPDATE: What happened to Buckshot Jones at Atlanta? Many readers asked that question, so I thought I'd address it. When he brought the car in to the garage area and called it quits for the day, ABC's Bob Jenkins mentioned that Buckshot had the flu, in the Pontiac Race notes, Jones said he felt bad and got more congested as the race went on and had trouble breathing. Officially the reason out was listed as Driver Fatigue. Why no relief driver? apparently they couldn't find a driver short enough to fit in the car(3-15-1999) -- Besides being sick with a bad case of the flu and slight puenomonia, Jones had contracted carbon monoxide poisoning due to poor fresh air flow - his levels were high enough that he could have passed out on the race track, get well Buckshot(Buckshot Jones Site/Scoop)(3-16-1999)

  • iRACE becomes SpeedVision: The Motorsports website, iRACE owned by The Sporting News, and Speedvision announce partnership. Plus the site has a new look to it. Check it out at www.irace.com or www.speedvision.com (3-16-1999)


    (3-15-1999)
  • Lopez and Waltrip II? NOPE/UPDATE Darrell Waltrip and Travis Carter(#66 BigKmart Ford) are looking at Philippe Lopez as a possible crew chief, according to sources. Lopez works for Dale Earnhardt and driver Steve Park. When Park was injured last year, Waltrip filled in for three months and had some strong runs with Lopez(PitNow) in the #1 Pennzoil Chevy -- Just heard from a source that "Philippe Lopez's moving to the #66 is not going to happen."(3-15-1999)

  • Benson rumor squashed: Rumors had surfaced that Johnny Benson's position with the #26 Cheerios Roush team is unstable. Benson says they are happy with each other, just not the results and owner Jack Roush says Benson is not on the outs and declined further comment(That's Racin')(3-15-1999)

  • Martin Car Owner? UPDATE Mark Martin could become a Winston Cup car owner as soon as next year. With Dale Earnhardt setting the precedent (driving for one team, owning a rival team with another driver), Martin could emerge in 2000 as owner of a Cup team for Matt Kenseth, possibly with DeWalt sponsorship. Martin’s personal interest in rising star Kenseth, a 26-year-old from Wisconsin, gave the youngster’s career a boost during an exciting rookie campaign in the Busch Series last year. Kenseth’s Busch team is owned by Robbie Reiser. It receives no cars or engines from Roush Racing, but it receives guidance and sponsorship support from the Roush group. Under the Roush plan, Kenseth faces several career options, all apparently favorable. He could be graduated to one of Roush’s Cup cars, or the Reiser team could become a companion team to the Roush-supported Wood Brothers outfit. At Atlanta, however, Roush suggested a third option with Mark Martin as an owner(This info from the Racer Magazine Site/Ben Blake, thanks to Team Roush Fans Site for the heads up)(3-15-1999)

  • Cope OK: Derrike Cope says he is OK after his two hard crashes over the weekend in the BGN and Cup events. Just bruised up(RaceWire)(3-15-1999)

  • Did ya know? Dale Earnhardt's early crash left him with his first DNF (did not finish) at Atlanta Motor Speedway since 1983. Earnhardt's eight Atlanta victories are the most of any driver(Tennessean/Larry Woody) Jayski Note: Earnhardt's crew got the car fixed up so he could go out and pick up a few more spots and Earnhardt retired the car when it was impossible to pick up any more spots(3-15-1999)

  • Mayfield Announcement UPDATE 2: Jeremy Mayfield and Penske-Kranefuss Racing have scheduled a news conference for 1:15pm/et on March 12 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The announcement will include the unveiling of a special themed-car that Mayfield will drive in a 1999 Cup Race. Also available at the press conference will be officials from Mobil Oil Corp., Action Performance Cos. and Churchill Downs Inc(Yahoo Biz via Gordonline), this must be the Kentucky Derby Scheme I reported a few weeks back (3-2-1999) -- Jeremy Mayfield's #12 Mobil 1 Ford will sport a one-time paint scheme at California on May 2nd. It was announced Friday that Mayfield will drive a Kentucky Derby-themed car to honor the 125th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby(NASCAR Online)(3-12-1999) -- See a story on this at Logo deal splashes Derby 125 images on race car(Business First Louisville)(3-15-1999)

  • Gordon Feature: ABC's Joan London spent yesterday's race in Jeff Gordon's pit area. She is preparing an upcoming feature on the defending NASCAR champion(Tennessean/Larry Woody)(3-15-1999)

  • Million Dollar Bill - Again: Bill Elliott is a new kind of million-dollar man. By finishing 15th and earning $38,165 in the Cracker Barrel 500 yesterday, he surpassed the million-dollar winning mark at Atlanta Motor Speedway -- a feat accomplished only by Dale Earnhardt(Times-Dispatch)(3-15-1999)

  • No F-1 for Gordon: Jeff Gordon finds the never-ending story of his alleged interest in Formula One amusing. He said after the Cracker Barrel 500 in Atlanta that he is NOT going to race Formula One. See article at Read his lips: No F1 racing for Gordon by Monte Dutton(SpeedNet)(3-15-1999)

  • Childress Third Team? Now that Richard Childress has locked up Lowe's and Mike Skinner for another three years, he can start work on that long-rumored third Winston Cup team. One possible driver is Casey Atwood, but is the 18-year-old sensation rough and tough enough for Childress? Another possibility is Mike Dillon. Certainly Childress should have no trouble finding a promising young driver interested in the job, if he is indeed interested in a third team(PitNow)(3-15-1999)


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