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PAST NEWS MARCH 13-19, 2000

  • Templates? Dodge? UPDATE: hearing NASCAR has told Ray Evernham to stop building his Dodge prototype until they finalize a common template supposedly based on Ford(3-18-2000)
    UPDATE: Winston Cup series director Gary Nelson attempted to dispel growing talk in the garage area Sunday that NASCAR was close to issuing common templates for each manufacturer. NASCAR officials have been re-examining the issue of common templates since the 2000 season started to help produce cars that are as equal as possible aerodynamically on the race tracks. Despite Nelson's comments, several team officials said Sunday they expected some version of the common template idea to gain NASCAR approval in the near future. One reason for the growing concern Sunday was a rumor which made its way on the Internet that Ray Evernham's new Dodge operation was told to put its car-building plans on hold until NASCAR's common templates were issued. Evernham denied that claim(..full story at: That's Racin')(3-19-2000)

  • Don't forget Geoffrey UPDATE 2 The Winston: Geoffrey Bodine is back in The Winston. Bodine was added to the field Wednesday when NASCAR discovered that he had been mistakenly left off the list of eligible drivers. According to the 2000 NASCAR Winston Cup Media Guide, Sterling Marlin is eligible for The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 20 for his victory at Talladega in 1996. But Geoffrey Bodine won a Winston Cup race (at Watkins Glen in August of that year) after Marlin and should have been listed as a participant. What happened? since Bodine won The Winston on 1994, he received a five-year exemption(meaning he was automatically in the Winston from 95-99). That ended last year, and he was mistakenly not put back in the previous winner's list. Mike Allison, business manager for Bessey Motorsports, who Bodine drives for. said Bodine should be recovered from his injuries sustained in the Daytona CTS wreck in time for The Winston(Total Sports)(3-16-2000)
    UPDATE: However, both Bodine and Sterling Marlin are "on the bubble," so to speak - should a driver not in the Winston already win a races held before The Winston, then both drivers would be knocked out of the field and forced to compete in the Winston Open to have a shot at running in the feature event(goracing)(3-18-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Ward Burton winning the race at Darlington gets him in The 2000 Winston but supposedly knocks out Marlin and Geoffrey Bodine of the All-Star race(see above story link), BUT I think they are still in as the rules state: If 20 drivers are not eligible, winners from previous seasons still active on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series become eligible for The Winston. All active drivers during that season become eligible, even if the field exceeds 20 competitors. With Burton that is 19 drivers, so I think Bodine and Marlin are in unless another driver not already in wins a race(3-19-2000)

  • Bodine Returns UPDATE: hearing Geoffrey Bodine will make his first appearance at a track this weekend at Darlington since he was injured in the Daytona CTS wreck(3-15-2000)
    UPDATE: During the 400 on ESPN, Dr Jerry Punch mentioned that Bodine was not at the track and reported that Bodine was making great progress in getting better and the hope is that Bodine can return to the #60 car in early May(ESPN)(3-19-2000)

  • #15, no sponsor UPDATE 2: hearing that has decided not to continue it's sponsorship of the #15 Fenley-Moore Motorsports team and driver Derrike Cope. The team will be at Darlington but it's schedule after that is unknown(3-17-2000)
    UPDATE: A two-race sponsorship with an Internet company looked as if it would be extended for the entire season. Things were finally looking up for the #15 team. But, the sponsor,, backed out. Its board of executives decided the 4-month-old company was just too young to spend millions promoting itself on a race team. Without financial help, Winston Cup rookie owners Randy and Robert Fenley are now staring at the reality of a limited schedule--perhaps very limited. They ARCA operation for driver Damon Lusk have been suspended indefinitely. Another possible sponsorship is in the works which the owners feel good about and hopes to happen in a few days. Owner Randy Fenley said a new sponsorship deal could be signed early next week and that ''hopefully, the car will be all painted up at Bristol.'' But would cut back on the schedule if not sponsored(GoUpstate)(3-18-2000)
    UPDATE 2: The #15 Fenley/Moore Motorsports team and driver Derrike Cope failed to qualify for a race for the first time this season, and the timing certainly won't help secure a much-needed sponsor. If financial help is not found early this week, the team will not go to the next race at Bristol(GoUpstate)(3-19-2000)

  • Cup Stat UPDATE: #18-Bobby Labonte leads all Cup drivers having finished in the top 10 in the past 14 races and is also the only driver to have finished on the lead lap in each of the past 14 races(That's Racin')(3-18-2000)
    UPDATE: this streak ended at Darlington when Labonte finished a lap down(3-19-2000)

  • Cope? Foyt? UPDATE Mast?: hearing Derrike Cope, presently in the unsponsored #15 Fenley-Moore Ford may move on to the #14 Conseco Pontiac owned by AJ Foyt, if he can get out of his deal with the #15(3-17-2000)
    UPDATE: Ted Musgrave is likely to move into the #14 Pontiac owned by A.J. Foyt within the next few weeks. When Musgrave takes over the Foyt ride, Todd Bodine is likely to drive the #60 until his older brother returns(Gaston Gazette) AND Rick Mast, who drives the #41 Chevy for Larry Hedrick, has been approached about replacing Mike Bliss with A.J. Foyt's #14 team. Mast isn't commenting on the situation(Times-Dispatch)(3-18-2000)

  • Lowes Tire Test: #5-Terry Labonte and #12-Jeremy Mayfield tested more than 15 Goodyeat tire combinations Tuesday and Wednesday night at the 1.5-mile Lowes Motor Speedway. Labonte was unofficially the fastest during the test, posting a speed of 181.818mph and Mayfield ran laps in the 181.208mph range in race trim. The two drivers ran a combined 500 laps and 750 miles of testing(LMS)(3-18-2000)

  • Little E's Problem UPDATE 2: got this from quite a few readers - "....on the scanner today(at Atlanta on Sunday), was listening to the #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr team and it was relayed that the speed sensors that were put on the car to relay telemetry for TV somehow cut or rubbed a hole in the brake line that caused Earnhardt's problem"(3-13-2000)
    UPDATE: ... Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s day ended early when a television(not a camera, but telemetry for Mph, RPM etc) sensor cut a brake line(PitNow)(3-14-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirmed that a wheel sensor placed on his car last week by ABC came off and sheared his brake line early in the race, causing him to hit the wall. Dale Earnhardt, owner of his son's car, said at Atlanta he wasn't going to let TV put that kind of sensor on the car again(Total Sports)(3-18-2000)

  • Restrictor Plates UPDATE: NASCAR officials are considering using a slightly smaller restrictor plate at Talladega in April's race. Teams currently run a plate with four holes 29/32nds of an inch in diameter; the possible new plate holes would be 7/8 -inch. That would cut about 15 horsepower from the 400-horsepower plate motors, or about half a second (2 mph) in speed(PitNow)(3-13-2000)
    UPDATE: NASCAR announced chassis and engine changes for the next restrictor-plate race, the DieHard 500 at Talladega on April 16. The shock rules used in Daytona is a little different, teams must continue to run the specified springs and shocks on the rear ends of their cars but will be allowed to use what they want on the front. And the holes in the manifold restrictor plates will be reduced from 29/32in to 7/8in, as they were four or five years ago(SpeedVision)(3-17-2000)

  • No Sauter: In a story/interview on the TNN site, Ray Evernham says he has not talked to BGN driver Jay Sauter about his 2nd Dodge CUP ride(3-17-2000)

  • Chevy Nose UPDATE: hearing that not all teams used the full additional two inches on the nose of the Monte Carlo allowed by NASCAR, as they found it made the car lose. Which ones? the #3 and #31 along with the #8 and #1, all ran strong and up front(3-15-2000)
    UPDATE: When NASCAR changed the rules for the Chevy, crew chiefs were allowed to lengthen the front valence "up to two inches." That meant there was a lot of area to play around with and some crews guessed better than others how it would affect them at Atlanta. The guys who took the full two inches on the valence found their cars were loose and were sliding around the track. Those with less on the front had more control of their cars, which included: Dale Earnhardt, #3; Mike Skinner, #31; Steve Park, #1; Dale Earnhardt Jr., #8. All led at some point during the race, and the senior Earnhardt took the trophy(Racing Milestones)(3-17-2000)

  • Hendrick and Cicci-Weliver Alliance: Hendrick Motorsports announced a new partnership with Cicci-Welliver Racing(BGN teams #'s 34,36,66) designed to enhance the performance of both organization’s BGN teams. As part of the exclusive agreement, the two organizations will share aerodynamic, chassis and certain technical information as well as participate together in in-house testing sessions and those held at outside facilities. They may also join forces to test during a limited number of Winston Cup races using Cicci-Welliver drivers. Hendrick Motorsports will provide Cicci-Welliver access to chassis and engine dyno testing facilities, key personnel and wind tunnel results throughout the season(David Green Site)(3-17-2000)

  • Fans Team: "™" has announced its intention to sponsor a Cup car during the second half of the 2000 season beginning with the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.™ is an internet based fan club specifically designed for NASCAR® team sponsorship and is the creation of America's Team Motorsports based in Richmond, VA.™ has arranged to sponsor the #48 car owned and operated by TriStar Motorsports located in Huntersville, NC. TriStar has contracted Stanton Barrett to drive the™ car for the 2000 season. Mark Smith is the President of TriStar. Barrett and TriStar began the 2000 season at the Daytona 500 in February and had an abbreviated schedule slated for the 2000 season. For more info see their site (3-17-2000)

  • Dodge BGN? UPDATE: hearing there will be a Dodge BGN team but not until 2002. Hearing the #1 Phoenix team, who has built a Dodge could be one team of that Brewco Motorpsorts could be one team(3-15-2000)
    UPDATE: Ray Evernham and Lou Pantane from Dodge met with Caey Atwood, Atwoods BGN team owenr Clarance Brewer and Atwood's Father. Sources indicate that Evernham will put a yound driver in a Dodge BGN team with Brewco Motorsports in the season 2001(Winston Cup Scene Magazine)(3-17-2000)

  • Greg Ray to NASCAR IRL Champ, Greg Ray, is being mentioned concerning Ray Evernham's Dodge start-up team(2nd team) next season. Bill Elliott already will drive one of Evernham's Dodges and Casey Atwood a likely choice to fill the other, Ray has had talks with the Dodge folks and admitted he's highly intrigued by the Winston Cup circuit. See full story by Skip Wood at the Tennessean(3-17-2000)

  • Exide Safe: the withdrawal of Exide as the sponsor of the #99 Roush Racing CTS(truck) team after the 2000 season will not affect the #99 Roush Racing CUP team whose contract with Exide runs thru 2001 and negotiations are underway to extend that deal(Winston Cup Scene Magazine)(3-17-2000)

  • Kodak Re-ups: The #4 Morgan-McClure Motorsports team and primary sponsor Kodak have extended their sponsorship agreement through 2005. The #4 Kodak Chevy is driven by Bobby Hamilton who is signed with the team thru 2001(SpeedVision)(3-16-2000)

  • Hillenburg at Indy? UPDATE: I hear ARCA and part time Cup driver Andy Hillenburg will attempt to make the Indy 500. Hillenburg and Bill Simpson of Simpson safety equipment have teamed up and have purchased two Dallara IRL cars from John Menard. Hillenburg also runs the Fast Track Racing School(3-15-2000)
    UPDATE: Hillenburg actually passed his Indy Racing Northern Light Series orientation three years ago, and ran some laps in Ron Hemelgarn’s car last season at Texas Motor Speedway. Hillenburg has purchased a couple of 1999 Dallara chassis and is finalizing plans to go racing at the Brickyard(SpeedVision)(3-16-2000)

  • Wind Tunnel UPDATE: According to Doug Duchardt, GM Racing NASCAR Group Manager, Chevrolet might have won Sunday's NASCAR Winston Cup race in Atlanta but didn't come out ahead of Ford in Monday's wind tunnel test. NASCAR took Mark Martin's Taurus, Mike Skinner's Monte Carlo and Bobby Labonte's Grand Prix to the wind tunnel for aerodynamic tests following Sunday's race(TachZone)(3-15-2000)
    UPDATE: a few more stories out there on this - Ford, which finished third at Atlanta, had the best wind-tunnel numbers in NASCAR's post-race testing at Lockheed in Marietta, GA.(PitNow) AND Wind Tunnel Says Ford Still Best(Speedway Illustrated)(3-16-2000)

  • Qualifying Changes? According to garage-area gossip, NASCAR is considering widespread changes in the qualifying system and allocation of provisional starting spots. One change that would make time trials more interesting for fans would be an end to the process in which drivers are allowed to "stand" on first-round speeds. One possible change would be to strike out first-round speeds entirely for those who do not secure one of the 25 spots available in the first round. Such a move would force every driver to requalify in the final round. Driver Dave Marcis has been calling for such a change for years, pointing out the unfairness of having to qualify in the second round under weather conditions that sometime make improvement virtually impossible(Gaston Gazette)(3-15-2000)

  • No Cale Return: Cale Yarborough, who closed his (#98)team's shop before the season when a sponsor couldn't be found, says it's doubtful he'll return as a car owner unless someting big comes along. No asle prospects at this time(Roanoke Times)(3-15-2000)

  • #17 Spotter: After substituting as Matt Kenseth's Winston Cup spotter in Atlanta, Mike Calinoff (racecomm) has accepted the position as full-time spotter for the Roush/Mark Martin DeWalt team effective at Darlington. Calinoff amicably resigned from Midwest Transit Racing with driver Ricky Craven. He will continue to spot for Craven's limited Busch Series schedule(3-15-2000)

  • The Military Cars UPDATE 2: For the first time, all five branches of the Armed Forces came together to target NASCAR fans in support of their recruiting efforts, through a special program with a Tribute to Freedom in the Millennium theme. Action Performance Companies Inc, Jay Howard Events Inc., five NASCAR Winston Cup drivers and their respective sponsors developed the program, which features race cars spectacularly painted with military service branch themes. The cars were unveiled today at the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, during a pre-race entertainment extravaganza including a skydiving exhibition by the U.S. Army Silver Wings Parachute Team, musical performances by the Band of the Air Force Reserve and fly-by aircraft demonstrations. Gen.(ret.) Colin Powell, Grand Marshal of the race, was among high-ranking military VIPs who gathered at the start/finish line to shake the hands of drivers Mike Skinner, Bobby Hamilton, Ricky Rudd, Dale Jarrett and Jerry Nadeau, as each brought their military-themed cars on-track for the very first time. All five Tribute to Freedom in the Millennium cars will make their race debuts on Memorial Day weekend at the Coca-Cola 600. #31-Mike Skinner will drive the Army scheme, #4-Bobby Hamilton the Navy, #28-Ricky Rudd the Marines, #88-Dale Jarrett the Air Force, and #25-Jerry Nadeau the Coast Guard(Business Wire)(3-12-2000)
    UPDATE: see some diecast images at Racing Angels. also of note: while military cars were run in the 1991 Daytona 500, it was a tribute by NASCAR for Desert Storm and out troops, not a recruiting effort by the services(3-14-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Racing Angels also sent me a few images of the real cars from the announcement at Atlanta on Sunday. Also an image from the new and quite improved Ricky Rudd site of the #28 and some other good images of the cars. See the images in the Paint Scheme Gallery and a story and some nice images at TachZone(3-15-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Found a picture of the 1991 Armed Forces cars ran in the Daytona 500, check it out at my Paint Scheme Gallery(3-15-2000)

  • Little E's Problem UPDATE: got this from quite a few readers - "....on the scanner today(at Atlanta on Sunday), was listening to the #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr team and it was relayed that the speed sensors that were put on the car to relay telemetry for TV somehow cut or rubbed a hole in the brake line that caused Earnhardt's problem"(3-13-2000)
    UPDATE: ... Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s day ended early when a television(not a camera, but telemetry for Mph, RPM etc) sensor cut a brake line(PitNow)(3-14-2000)

  • Stewart OK: Tony Stewart, who hit the wall hard and then was hit again on the track, was released from the Atlanta Infield car center just after the race, he has a slight concussion(many sources)(3-14-2000)

  • Wheaties returns...UPDATE 2: hearing John Andretti will run a Wheaties paint scheme at The Winston with the #43 Pontiac. Wheaties is of course made by General Mills, a primary sponsor for the team(3-4-2000)
    UPDATE On Tuesday, March 14th, Wheaties will unveil a series of limited-edition packages commemorating the careers of four NASCAR legends: Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons. Wheaties also will unveil the #43 Wheaties Pontiac that John Andretti will race in The Winston. The unveiling will be held at the Charlotte Coliseum at 10am/et on Tuesday, March 14(NOL)(3-10-2000)
    UPDATE 2: General Mills announced a series of limited-edition packages commemorating the careers of Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons, four champions of NASCAR. Each package features a photograph of the driver at a significant event in his career. Richard Petty and his driver, John Andretti, unveiled the special Wheaties paint job to be carried by the #43 Petty Enterprises Pontiac at this year's The Winston on May 20(SpeedVision and Williams Company) See an image of the car at the Petty Racing Page(3-14-2000)

  • Announcement The Winston UPDATE 2: NOL has this in the Friday notes section: R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Lowe's Motor Speedway, along with the defending champion of The Winston, Terry Labonte, will make a major announcement regarding the Winston during the weekly Cup Series teleconference Tuesday(March 14th) at 11am/et on NASCAR Online(NOL)(3-10-2000)
    UPDATE: here are some details from Jim Utter of That's Racin': R.J. Reynolds Co. will increase the purse of The Winston to in excess of $2 million. RJR officials are expected to announce the purse increase as well as some "cosmetic" changes to the format of The Winston. Among the changes to the race format will be an alternation to the "inversion" format used following the first 30-lap segment. Right now a maximum of 12 and a minimum of three cars are inverted prior to the start of the second 30-lap segment. At the end of the second segment, pit road will be opened, but the pace car will remain on the track and teams will have the option to pit, or stay on the track to maintain track position(That's Racin')(3-11-2000)
    UPDATE 2: RJR/Winston upped the minimum purse of the Winston to $2million with $500,000 going to the winner of the final 10-lap segment. The race will also see the format changed slightly for the 16th running of the event. The Winston itself will remain two 30-lap dashes, followed by a 10-lap sprint with the $500K going to the winner of that segment. In the past the field has been inverted, using different methods, between the 30-lap segments. This year, the organizers have decided that either the first 12 drivers will be inverted – or none will be. The decision will be made on race night, in front of the fans, but just what process will be used to determine whether or not to invert the field has not been decided yet. Also new this year is the addition of a second qualifying race for those that do not earn automatic entry to the Winston. The Winston Open qualifying race will be shortened from 50 to 30 laps, with only the winner moving on to the feature race. The rest of the field from the open will then contest a 16-lap No Bull Sprint, with the winner of that race also moving on to the all-star race. Qualifying will also be altered this year in the name of pit-road safety. Instead of a mid-run pit stop the cars will start from pit road, roll into the box where the team will conduct a four-tire change, and then the driver will run three qualifying laps. A pair of Friday night 25-lap races will determine the starting positions for the Winston Open(SpeedVision) To see who is eligible for The Winson and the Winston Open, see my The Winston page(3-14-2000)

  • #91 News: Todd Bodine had a strong run and another top ten finish at Atlanta in the #91 LJ Racing Chevy. The 7th place finish was the second career top ten for owner Joe Falk, the last one being at Atlanta in 1998 with Bodine also driving. Unless the team attracts some sponsorship, the team will skip the next few races. Their next planned event (without sponsorship) will be Texas, with Bodine driving duties. Supposedly, owner Falk honored an agreement to carry KMC Telecom Sunday after failing to make the Daytona 500(Victory Lane Online)(3-14-2000)

  • Morgan Back: Morgan Shepherd will drive the #19 Kobalt Tools Chevy in the BGN race at Darlington for Team Yellow. Why no Skinners? Mike Skinner had "minor corrective eye surgery" Monday and will drive in the CUP race(NOL)(3-14-2000)

  • NASCAR Racers: The ratings for NASCAR Racers, the animated series that debuted Feb. 5 on Fox Kids Network (Fox Kids), are off to a roaring start and ranks as the highest-rated launch for a Fox Kids animated program since September 1997. Throughout February, NASCAR Racers placed in the Top 10 for Saturday morning broadcast children's programming, averaging a 4.7 rating/17 share with Kids 6-11 and a 7.5 rating/24 share with Boys 6-11 for the "sweeps" period (Feb. 3 - March 1).(RaceWire)(3-14-2000)

  • Bristol Testing: #32 Scott Pruett, rookie of the year candidate in the Cup series tested at Bristol on Monday and will again on Tuesday(Bristol Herald Courier) AND #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #99-Jeff Burton, #2-Rusty Wallace, #32-Scott Pruett and BGN drivers, #97-Anthony Lazzaro and #18-Jason Leffler are testing at the speedway (Bristol Motor Speedway Site)(3-14-2000)

  • Martin Auction: Mark Martin and Valvoline have announced the Valvoline Online Racing Auction will be hosted by for three weeks, from April 28-May 20. Combining resources from Martin, Valvoline, Roush Racing and others, fans will have the opportunity to bid on a large selection of racing memorabilia ranging from autographed photos to travel packages. Some items, including the chance to be an honorary Martin pit crew member and dinner with five-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Joe Amato, can be previewed now at the web site. Auction proceeds will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of America's school-based mentoring program, which aims to develop a strong mentor-child relationship within the school context(Valvoline PR)(3-13-2000)

  • Restrictor Plates: NASCAR officials are considering using a slightly smaller restrictor plate at Talladega in April's race. Teams currently run a plate with four holes 29/32nds of an inch in diameter; the possible new plate holes would be 7/8 -inch. That would cut about 15 horsepower from the 400-horsepower plate motors, or about half a second (2 mph) in speed(PitNow)(3-13-2000)

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