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PAST NEWS MAY 17-23, 1999

  • #94 Assoc Sponsor trouble? UPDATE 1: Service Merchandise is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It is not known how it will affect sponsorship of the #94 McDonald's Ford team of Bill Elliott(NSSN)(3-27-1999) -- UPDATE 1 Noticed: during the Winston pre-race activities that the Service Merchandise decals were not on the #94 McDonald's Ford driven by Bill Elliott, did see a patch on his uniform(5-23-1999)

  • Marlin/Morgan-McClure: Sterling Marlin, who it has been rumored may return to a second team at Morgan-McClure Motorsports next year along with crew chief Tony Glover, says there is no truth to that rumor for him or Glover(SpeedVision)(5-23-1999)

  • SABCO 3rd Car returns UPDATE 2 Sponsor: Driver Jeff Green and car owner Felix Sabates will be reunited later this year in the Winston Cup series. Sabates has decided to return to a three-car operation and has obtained sponsorship from a 'a major communications company' to run a seven-race schedule this season. And depending on the results, it may translate into a full schedule in 2000. Sabates fielded the #46 Chevys for Green last season. Sabates lost his sponsor, First Union/Money Store, at the end of last season and dissolved the team. The new team will not carry the #46. An official announcement of Sabates' plans is expected this week in Charlotte(That's Racin'/Jim Utter) -- UPDATE 1: Hearing the sponsor may be Florida based Topps Communication, found a little info on this company on the 'net, not much, seems they are based in Miami and deal with Sprint(5-17-1999) -- UPDATE 2: Felix Sabates has secured backing for Green's 1999 effort through TracFone, a prepaid cellular telephone service provider. Jeff Green will be the driver, who plans to continue his full-time job as a driver on the BGN. He will drive a #01 Chevrolet sponsored by TracFone, a product of Topp Teleco, a three-year-old company that is a "national leader in prepaid cellular telephone service." A crew chief for the program has yet to be determined. Sabates said he picked a new number for Green because he was convinced the #46, which Green used in 19 races with Team Sabco last year, was jinxed. The Cup team will run at: Both Lowes/Charlotte, Pocono 500, Brickyard 400, Richmond, Homestead and Atlanta. Sterling Marlin will run three races in the BGN in a #01 TracFone Chevrolet. The crew chief's position will be a collaboration between Greg Irwin and Bob Temple for races at Michigan, Dover Downs(MBNA Gold 200) and Phoenix. But Sabates isn't stopping there. He also plans to enter Dave Steele, an driver from the U.S. Auto Club midget, sprint and Silver Crown ranks who is trying to make this year's Indianapolis 500, in two Automobile Racing Club of America(ARCA) events and three Grand National races later this year. The third Cup team plans to run full time in 2000 but as a separate entity(NOL/Times Dispatch/That's Racin')(5-23-1999)

  • Steele Hurt: former Cup driver and ARCA champion, now running the Truck series, crashed hard at Odessa Saturday and broke a leg and fractured some ribs(Inside NASCAR/Raceday/TNN) Get well Tim(5-23-1999)

  • Kyle and Indy: Kyle Petty was asked during the BGN rain delay today about the Indy 500 rumor. He confirmed two teams called him, and he was interested, but decided against it at this time. His quote, "When I was 21 I would have done it. At 38 I had to think about it." Petty did leave the door open however, saying he'd love to try racing an IRL car some time(ESPN/Matt)(5-23-1999)

  • Grissom/SABCO? UPDATE 3: I hear Steve Grissom tested a SABCO Winston Cup Chevy Wednesday at Atlanta. No idea which team the test is for, if Grissom is a possible replacement for a current driver or a candidate for the 'rumored' third SABCO team(5-19-1999) -- UPDATE 1: Grissom was just testing the 3rd car for the team, Jeff Green is slated as the driver, but was not available to test. Also got a Media Advisory today: "Find out which Busch driver is heading back to Winston Cup and which Winston Cup driver is going to spend more time in the Busch Series when Team SABCO owner Felix Sabates announces a limited race partnership for the remainder of the 1999 season. When: 4:30pm/et, Saturday, May 22, 1999 Where: Infield Media Center, Lowe’s Motor Speedway, Charlotte, N.C. Photo Opportunity: The NASCAR Winston Cup entry will be unveiled outside the media center following the announcement(SABCO) (5-20-1999) -- UPDATE 2: Sabates will begin fielding his own BGN. Sabates will enter Marlin in at least three races the remainder of the season. Sabates is also expanding his Winston Cup operation to three teams, adding BGN driver Jeff Green and running a limited schedule with him this season(That's Racin')(5-21-1999) -- UPDATE 3: I hear the car of the third team will be #01 (5-22-1999)

  • McReynolds Team: Larry McReynolds has set a drop dead date of June 15th to have a sponsor in place for his new Cup team. He says he has a driver picked out, but won't comment. If he has no sponsor by the date, he plans on staying with the #31 Lowes team(WC Scene)(5-22-1999)

  • Ford Testing: Work has already begun on the 2000 Taurus, with Jack Roush and Robert Yates working on the downforce model and the Roger Penske-Rusty Wallace team working on the Daytona-Talladega version(PitNow)(5-22-1999)

  • Earnhardt NO Retirement: Dale Earnhardt and team owner Richard Childress already has begun discussions about keeping the team together, including primary sponsor GM Goodwrench Service, through the 2003 Winston Cup season, their current contract expires after next season(2000), see the full AP/WRAL article at Earnhardt, 48, Says Retirement Not a Consideration(5-22-1999)

  • Windshields: A host of Winston Cup cars were forced to replace windshield mounting bolts prior to Winston practice Friday morning. Seems NASCAR technical inspectors, sensitive to the recent incident at Lowe's Motor Speedway in which three fans perished when hit by debris off an Indy Racing League car, mandated the heavier hardware in an effort to better secure the windshields to the racers. The new configuration utilizes larger bolts, backed by washers, mounted through the windshield and the body where they were secured by lock-washers and nuts. Previously, the mounting hardware, which more resembled small rivets, just screwed into the body's windshield frame. According to NASCAR inspectors, the new mounting will better keep the windshield affixed to the car in crash situations(TNN Motorsports)(5-22-1999)

  • Andrews hired: that didn't take long - Dale Earnhardt Inc. announced Friday the hiring of veteran crew chief Paul Andrews to serve as the crew chief on the #1 Pennzoil Monte Carlo driven by Steve Park. Andrews begins his new duties on Friday as the team prepares for Saturday's Winston Open in Charlotte. Andrews replaces Philippe Lopez, who resigned on May 11(and has been hired by the #66 team). Steve Hmiel filled the crew chief role at Richmond last week, but will now resume his duties as DEI's technical director(Pennzoil PR)(5-21-1999)

  • Gibbs/BGN?? UPDATE: On RPM2Nite, John Kernan interviewed Sprint Car star Jason Leffler. It was mentioned that Leffler has an offer from Joe Gibbs, it wasn't really announced but more implied that it would be a BGN ride(5-20-1999) -- UPDATE 1: I hear that WRTV Channel 13 in Indy reported that Jason Leffler will be named to drive a Busch Series car owned by Joe Gibbs(5-21-1999)

  • Stewart Crashes: Tony Stewart made contact with the wall in turn three during Indy 500 practice on Thursday. Stewart is OK and the car is repairable(RacingPress)(5-21-1999)

  • Pardus OK: Rookie Dan Pardus, driver of the #50 Midwest Transit Chevy, is coming off hernia surgery, but is OK and will run in the No Bull 25 qualifying races in Friday, the the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series event on Friday night and the Winston Open Saturday(and with luck, The Winston)(Midwest PR)(5-21-1999)

  • Schrader vs LaJoie? When Ken Schrader came home from Richmond, he was surprised to see a bunch of sheet metal on the front lawn of his home. "Nobody" knows who put it there, but it had Bob Evans decals all over it(RPM2Nite)(5-21-1999)

  • Wheaties Returns? I hear that the #26 Cheerios Ford will run a Wheaties scheme, possibly in the Pepsi 400 at Daytona(5-20-1999)

  • Irvan good for 2000+: In this weeks Winston Cup Scene an article reports a comment from Jay Frye, GM of the MB2 Motorsports team: that the Winston Cup team with Ernie Irvan and M&M's would continue intact next season and "We have a multi-year commitment with Ernie and are very pleased with him. And we hope this is Ernie's last ride of his career. We want him here as long as he wants to continue driving"(WC Scene)(5-20-1999)

  • MB2 BGN Team: The Winston Cup Scene reports that MB2 Motorsports hopes to start a BGN team in 2000. The plan is to get a sponsor and driver, run the team for 2-3 years and move the team up to Winston Cup as a 2nd team to the #36. They have not talked to any current BGN drivers but IRL and Truck drivers so far(5-20-1999)

  • The King Returns? Burger King that is, I hear BK will return to NASCAR as a primary sponsor on a BGN team fielded by a current Winston Cup multi-team(5-20-1999)

  • Lopez and DW? UPDATE 2 - YEP: Speedwords is hearing that Philippe Lopez, who resigned from the crew chief position at Dale Earnhardt Inc. (Steve Park) may turn up in a similar position on the Travis Carter Winston Cup team driven by Darrell Waltrip. DW and Lopez seemed to hit it off when DW drove the #1 Monte Carlo during Steve Park's recuperation and may be looking to team up again. Speedwords hears Lopez could be in the pits as a consultant as early as this Saturday night at Richmond(Speedwords)(5-14-1999) -- UPDATE 1: Philippe, who resigned as Steve Park's crew chief last week, is talking with car owner Travis Carter about joining his team to work with Darrell Waltrip(PitNow)(5-17-1999) -- UPDATE 2: Ok - some sources tell me Lopez will not go to the #66 and others say he will, I guess we wait...(5-19-1999) -- UPDATE 2: Carl Haas and Travis Carter, co-owners of Haas-Carter Motorsports, LLC, announced today that Philippe Lopez has been named crew chief on the Big Kmart/Route 66 Ford Taurus driven in NASCAR Winston Cup competition by three-time series champion Darrell Waltrip(PR)(5-20-1999)

  • Another Crew Chief Change UPDATE 2: Veteran Peter Sospenzo will head the competition side of Penske-Kranefuss Racing(#12 Mobil One Ford and driver Jeremy Mayfield) starting with The Winston this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The announcement was made this morning by team co-owner Michael Kranefuss. A veteran crew chief, Sospenzo, 42, joined Penske-Kranefuss Racing in December, 1997. He has been serving as Car Chief. He replaces Paul Andrews, who has served as crew chief since December, 1997(The Williams Company)(5-19-1999) -- UPDATE 1: Dale Earnhardt has been searching for a new crew chief to work with Steve Park, and Steve Hmiel is filling in until Earnhardt can find the man he's looking for. Andrews, low key and well-respected, might be that man. If Earnhardt and his Chevrolet team land Andrews, it would be a significant plus for Chevy -- Andrews has been a Ford man for years. But at least three other teams have been making offers to Andrews, according to sources close to the situation(PitNow) and UPDATE 2 from That's Racin': Andrews said he was told the team's performance was the reason for the decision. Mayfield is 13th in the current Winston Cup standings. Andrews said he learned after being fired that the decision to do so had been made at a meeting among the team's key members on Sunday, the day after Mayfield finished 24th at Richmond(5-20-1999)

  • The 2000 Taurus: see it and read about it at: Ford releases first view of NASCAR 'Taurus 2k' at NOL; Ford says new Taurus evolution, not revolution from That's Racin' and at the Ford Racing Site(5-20-1999)

  • Wild Rumor UPDATE 1: from SpeedNet: "The rumor of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty coming to Indianapolis in an attempt to make the 500 apparently has merit. Petty called Mike Guglielmucci of Bell Helmet last weekend saying he was "80 percent sure" he had a deal, presumably with either Ron Hemelgarn or John Menard. "His helmet is in the paint shop as we speak, and there's a white one in my office waiting for him," Guglielmucci said. Petty has never run an Indy car."(SpeedNet thanks Fred) I find this hard to believe as Petty never took the rookie test as of yet, he would have to practice before Speedway officials would let him qualify, I guess we'll see. Maybe it's for John Andretti??(5-19-1999) -- UPDATE 1: see some more info on this situation at Racing Press - Indy Rumors (5-20-1999)

  • Roush Approval: Roush Racing won a battle Tuesday night against a group of more than 200 residents fighting the company's plan to move its headquarters to Concord. Roush hurdled the first step to building its $75 million facility -- a recommendation from the Concord Planning and Zoning Commission to rezone the property to allow the headquarters on U.S. 29, south of Roberta Church Road. See the rest of the story at: Roush Racing's plans in Concord backed by panel(Charlotte Observer)(5-20-1999)

  • Fastest at Indy: Tony Stewart was the fastest in Indy 500 practice on Wednesday with a speed of 226.683mph(SpeedNet)(5-20-1999)

  • Old, yet new News, UPDATE 1: Mark Thompson's Phoenix Air ARCA looks like they will do as many as five Cup races in 1999. Two road courses with David Murray and Talladega(both), Pepsi 400 with Bob Stait and at Indy with an unknown driver(Midway Phoenix Race Team(2-2-1999) -- UPDATE 1: David Murray recently tested the Mark Thompson Ford at Road Atlanta in preparation for the teams debut at Sears Point in June. The team plans to run Pocono(July), Indy, Watkins Glen and Homestead and step it up to full time in 2000(RPM2Nite). Murray recently won a race at Road Atlanta on May 1st. The car # is 61 and sponsors will be Midway Island(5-20-1999)

  • Mock Crew News: Crew member, Michael Shiplett, mechanic and front tire carrier for the #75 Remington Arms Ford team was involved in a motorcycle accident on his way home from testing at Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina on May 10th. Michael had surgery last week for torn ligaments in his knee. He is expected to make a full recovery within 3 to 6 weeks. Michael just celebrated his birthday. Jeff Silver will take over the duties as front tire carrier for the next two weeks in Charlotte while Michael recuperates. Jeff is the tire specialist and normally is the rear tire carrier for Butch Mock Motorsports. David Doyle will take over the duties as rear tire carrier for Jeff. David is a mechanic for the #75 team(Ted Musgrave Website)(5-20-1999)

  • From NASCAR: As the excitement of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series turns its attention towards the Lowe's Motor Speedway for the next two weekends of racing, no one can deny the fact that through the first 11 races of the season, the competition seen on the track has been more exhilarating than ever. With one third of the NASCAR Winston Cup season complete, seven drivers have earned a spot in the 2000 Bud Shootout by winning a Bud Pole Award and eight different drivers have made the trip to victory lane. In addition to those facts, between the green flags flying and the checkered flags falling, there have been 229 lead changes among 34 different drivers. Probably the biggest change is 1999 has been the resurgence of the Pontiac Grand Prix as a force to be reckoned with each week. Through eleven races in 1999, Pontiac has accumulated 12 top-5's and 29 top-10's. See the Competition Chart on my Archive Page (NASCAR)(5-19-1999)

  • Labonte Rumors: Interesting rumor floating around that Terry Labonte will move to either a Joe Gibbs third team or a Robert Yates second or third team next season. This has to be taken with a grain of salt as Labonte's contract runs through 2000, but then we know about "iron clad" contracts(Inside Motorsports) and from PitNow: Ford executives are again heavily seeking drivers, and there ar strong indications that the company would like to steal Terry Labonte away from Chevrolet. Labonte, who won earlier this season at Texas, is under contract with GM's Rick Hendrick. Jayski Note: Robert Yates has repeated over and over the he has NO plans to start a third team and like reported above Labonte and Kelloggs are signed thru 2000 with Hendrick(5-19-1999)

  • Good News: Haley McGee, injured in the IRL incident at Lowes a few weeks ago has been upgraded to Fair Condition and spent her first full day in rehabilitation Tuesday, see full story at: Girl hurt at speedway begins rehabilitation, likely a long process(That's Racin')(5-19-1999)

  • Bud Moore News: "Without final word on a sponsorship deal with AMVETS, the Bud Moore Engineering team has scrapped plans to run in the Coca-Cola 600 on May 30 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The team missed this week's testing session at the suburban Charlotte track, and has elected to stay home instead of going in an un-sponsored car. Moore, whose No. 15 Ford hasn't been on the track since failing to qualify for this year's Daytona 500, will await a sponsorship deal before attempting to qualify again. Word from AMVETS -- a Maryland-based not-for-profit group -- on the deal now may not come until mid-June." See the complete story at: Sponsor-less Moore will miss Charlotte(Herald-Journal/GoUpstate)(5-18-1999)

  • UPDATE on Tires at Richmond: Follow up information from Tony Freund, lead engineer for stock car tire development on May 17, 1999: A number of Winston Cup cars experienced right front tire tread blistering during the Richmond race on Saturday night. We suspect it was heat and chassis setup related, since many of the cars running up front experienced no problems. Goodyear has brought the same tire recommendation to Richmond for four years and it has performed as it should in the past. Normally, at the first pit stop we can see wear of 2/32” to 3/32”, as the tires are working to dissipate heat correctly and avoid blistering. A number of things such as aerodynamics, a variation in the sealer content or application (such as thickness, etc), certain driver styles or some aggressive chassis setups could have contributed to the Richmond situation. Since cars having the trouble all had heat concentration on the inside right front of the tires, our Goodyear engineers were proactive during the race telling teams about some options. One was to work with air pressure, and actually lower it some to work the tire harder and enlarge the footprint. Another was to make a chassis adjustment to loosen the car to work the right rear tire harder and the right front less. Also, since the tires had no giveup, it was suggested they could take a right rear tire with 30-40 laps on it and mount it on the right front. Because it would have a good scuff on it, it could have enabled the cars to double their number of laps. Our engineering group will be working with the teams to evaluate all the input in order to make any needed tire adjustments prior to our return to Richmond this fall(Goodyear PR)(5-18-1999)

  • Morgan-McClure 2nd team rumors: Larry McClure has been playing it close to the vest when questioned about his long-proposed second Winston Cup team. Sources close to the situation say that Microsoft is interested in McClure's proposal, if he can line up a Daytona winning combination . . . hence the speculation that he might like to bring back Marlin and Glover, who worked well together(PitNow), Jayski Note: I continue to hear Microsoft will not be the sponsor, not sure what Marlin's contract situation is with SABCO(5-18-1999)

  • Craven and BGN: from his NOL chat - Craven is planning on running five BGN races in the 2nd half of the season including Bristol, Charlotte and Homestead(5-18-1999)

  • Tires: The tire situation at RIR on Saturday evening is being studied by Goodyear and NASCAR officials. But the general consensus is, that improper caster adjustment, and/or improper air pressure were the main culprit for the blowouts. Several teams had the tires go down, but overall, most of the teams didn't have any problem. Lowering the tire pressure, and changing the caster, which is the angle of the tire in relation to the track, was done in order to create more pressure on the tires for making the turns. This is suspected as the main cause of the blistering. Teams were initially pointing fingers at a combination of the tracks new sealer, the rain, and the falling tempertures as the cause(Victory Lane Online)(5-18-1999)

  • SABCO Changes? UPDATE 1: Hearing Tony Glover may leave the SABCO team? (Team-Sabco page-unofficial)(5-17-1999) -- UPDATE 1: Corrie Stott, crew chief for the #40 Coors Light Chevrolet, and Team SABCO have parted ways, it was announced this morning. The decision was mutual for both parties. Stott was named crew chief in April of last year. His first event with the Coors Light team was the Goody’s 500 at the Martinsville, Va., Speedway. During that time, Marlin posted seven top-10 and 19 top-15 finishes in NASCAR Winston Cup Competition. Team Manager Tony Glover will serve as interim crew chief until a suitable replacement has been named(The William Company), Hmm...I guess the rumor about Glover leaving was incorrect(5-17-1999)

  • Newt leaves: Jasper Motorsports crew chief Newt Moore has resigned his post effective Monday, May 17th. Citing personal reasons, Moore has decided to move on. Jasper Motorsports team owners announced that Bob Gulbranson has been named as the interim crew chief. Bob Gulbranson had previously held the position of shop foreman at Jasper Motorsports and is a member of the JASPER Motorsports Leadership Team for the past 10 months. Before Gulbranson teamed up with Jasper, he served as Hermie Sadler¹s 1998 crew chief in the Busch Grand National Series at the Diamond Ridge Motorsports shop. He has also previously worked a short stint as Robert Pressley¹s crew chief when Pressley drove for the Diamond Ridge in the Winston Cup series in 1997. The team also announced that Charley Pressley, Robert¹s brother, will remain on with Jasper Motorsports as a team advisor. Charley was initially with Morgan-McClure Motorsports and the Kodak Chevrolet team of Bobby Hamilton. "This came as a surprise, but I intend to do the best job I can. With Charley and myself, our goal is to get Robert Pressley up in the top-ten and top-fives so we can move up in the points standings," said Gulbranson(Jasper PR)(5-17-1999)

  • Ave Age: Average Driver Age Differs In Series Across The World, NASCAR Oldest, F1 Youngest. F-1= 28.9 Ave Driver Age; CART=30.1; IRL 34.1; WINSTON CUP=38.4(Pennzoil PR)(5-17-1999)

  • Gibbs 3rd Team: Joe Gibbs is considering a third Winston Cup team next season, according to sources close to the situation, with MBNA as sponsor. The bankcard company has been sponsoring Gibbs' Busch team(PitNow), Jayski Note: rumors were flying on a few message bords a few weeks ago about Terry Labonte going to a third Gibbs team, but Labonte is signed with Hendrick and Kelloggs thru 2000(5-17-1999)

  • Yates Sell, No: Robert Yates says he isn't considering selling his famous #28 Texaco team, though he confirms he has had offers(PitNow)(5-17-1999)

  • Moore? McDonald's? Greg Moore, one of the newest Indy-car stars(CART not IRL), may be McDonald's new NASCAR marketing star. According to sources familiar with Moore's stock-car racing plans, he is under strong consideration to drive for Cal Wells' planned McDonald's-backed NASCAR team. Wells will be running Fords, and Moore is considered by some as potentially the next Indy-car crossover talent.(PitNow)(5-17-1999)

  • Hubs? Three Winston Cup teams, including the #12 Fords of Jeremy Mayfield, were asked by NASCAR technical officials over the weekend to discontinue use of rear-end wheel hubs that are typically used in the BGN series. The hubs - legal parts that have been approved for use in either series - are being studied by NASCAR because of repeated problems with them on BGN series cars, according to sources. In an effort to prevent any future problems, NASCAR officials have decided to ask teams to refrain from using them in the Winston Cup series until their review of the parts are complete. The wheel hubs were discovered during Friday's inspections were not confiscated by NASCAR. Each of the teams agreed to change the wheel hubs on the cars to a design other than that used in the BGN series(That's Racin') and The hubs are the same as those being used in the Busch Grand National series. Teams are allowed to run with them, but NASCAR officials recently began studying them to see whether they are safe on the higher-horsepower and heavier Cup cars. Because of uncertainty about whether the hubs could create a safety issue, the teams were asked to replace them and run other Cup-approved parts(Times-Dispatch), also, Speedwords has a image and story on the 'Hub' subject at NASCAR looking at Suspension Rules(5-17-1999)

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