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PAST NEWS APRIL 3-9, 2000


(4-9-2000)
  • Eight Different Winners: Mark Martin is the eighth different Winston Cup winner in the first eight races in 2000. This breaks the NASCAR all time record of seven that happened in 1991 when the first seven winners were Ernie Irvan, Dale Earnhardt, Kyle Petty, Ken Schrader, Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip. Also happened in 1964 when Ned Jarrett, Fireball Roberts, Wendell Scott, Richard Petty, Dan Gurney, Junior Johnson, Bobby Isaac won the first seven races that season. The 2000 winners: Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Ward Burton, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and now Mark Martin(4-9-2000)

  • Gordon Streak is over: Jeff Gordon had gone 12 races without a Top-Five finish, but his 4th place at Martinsville ends that streak(4-9-2000)

  • Elliott #600: #94-Bill Elliott should make his 600th Winston Cup start at Talladega(SpeedVision)(4-9-2000)

  • Fenley-Moore Motorsports: #15-Fenley Moore Motorsports and driver Derrike Cope skipped Martinsville due to a lack of sponsorship. It's the third straight week the team has skipped a race, but it hopes to compete in next Sunday's DieHard 500 at Talladega(Speed Magazine)(4-9-2000)

  • Pardus to skip Talladega: The #65 team and driver Dan Pardus who attempted the Daytona 500 has decided not to attempt qualifying for next Sunday's DieHard 500 at Talladega becasue if of the costs of running a restrictor plate car. Pardus says the team might attempt to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte(Speed Magazine)(4-9-2000)

  • Backup Cars: #16-Kevin Lepage, who wrecked in practice and #13-Robby Gordon who wrecked in 2nd round qualifying will both go to backup cars and fall to the rear of the 43 car field at Martinsville on Sunday. Both took provisionals and will not have to fall too far behind their original starting spots(Gordon was 42nd and Lepage was 39th)(many sources in cluding SpeedVision)(4-9-2000)

  • Petree to quit crew chief? Andy Petree says juggling car owner and crew chief responsibilities is almost too much. He says he's considering stepping down as the crew chief for #33-Joe Nemechek before the season ends(Roanoke Times)(4-9-2000)

  • Skinner and Petree: Andy Petree Racing announced that Cup regular Mike Skinner will take over driving duties of the #15 Albertson's Chevy in the BGN beginning with California on April 29. Following his debut with the team at California, Skinner will race at both Lowe's Motor Speedway events, both Dover events Phoenix on November 4. Derrick Gilchrist will drive the #15 Albertson's Chevy at The Milwaukee Mile on July 2 while Skinner fulfills his Winston Cup duties in Daytona(IMG Motorsports PR) Jack Sprague will no longer drive the car(4-9-2000)


    (4-8-2000)
  • The Winston: been asked this a few times this week, this story from That's Racin' should clear it up too: "Jeremy Mayfield, Ricky Rudd and Bobby Hamilton, who each won their last race in the 1998 season, are on the bubble to make the field for The Winston all-star race next month at Lowe's Motor Speedway. As of this week, all three are in the 22-car field. Should another Winston Cup driver post his first career victory, or a driver who has not already qualified for The Winston post a race win before the May 20 event, all three would be bumped from The Winston field and moved into The Winston Open qualifying race. Should Mayfield, Rudd or Hamilton win before The Winston, that driver would bump the other two from the field." See the rules, who is in, the Winston Open etc at my The Winton 2000 page(4-8-2000)

  • #13 Crew Chief: Fred Graves has left Robby Gordon's #13 team as crew chief. Jerry Baxter has assumed those duties. Baxter has been Graves' assistant for the first seven races of the season(That's Racin') AND Fred Graves had left the team to help Brandon Gaughan's start up Winston West / Cup team. Replacing Graves will be Jerry Baxter, who was already with Gordon's operation. Coming in to handle the general manager role is Richard Buck. Buck is from the CART side of the fence and was most recently employed by Cal Wells in the role of manager of Wells' CART operation. Buck had worked for several weeks with Gordon and finally decided that the Cup garage is a fine place to work(Speedway Scene)(4-8-2000)

  • #75 News UPDATE 2: The #75 Ford driven by Wally Dallenbach has lost its general manager, but picked up a new consultant. The change for the team came when Jimmy Johnson stepped out of his role as GM and into the role of consultant. This is just the latest change with the team as only a week before crew chief Wayne Orme was relieved off his duties with the team(Speedway Scene) Also hearing rumors or a driver change?(4-2-2000)
    UPDATE: from Wally Dallenbach on his official site www.wallydallenbach.net(link fixed): "NO truth to the rumor of my losing my seat". So put that rumor to bed(4-6-2000)
    UPDATE: Despite failing to make the field at Darlington, Bristol and Texas with his new team, Wally Dallenbach and owner Darwin Oordt are far from throwing in the towel. The team is operating under a three-way sponsorship agreement with RotoZip, Red Cell batteries and the Turner TV networks, but Dallenbach said he and Oordt are reasonably close to signing a new contract that will carry them through the next three seasons(Gaston Gazette)(4-8-2000)

  • Petty Honored: Look for a number of other cars in Sunday's Goody's 500 to join the seven teams that have already committed to running a sticker honoring the memory of Lee Petty, who died this week. Michael Waltrip, Jeremy Mayfield, Sterling Marlin, Kenny Irwin, Elliott Sadler, Kyle Petty and John Andretti have already agreed to run the Petty blue decal, which simply says, "Lee Petty 1914-2000" with his car #42 on it(That's Racin')(4-8-2000)

  • Measuring Device? Word is that NASCAR is examining a laser system to fix certain dimensions and contours on the cars. Teams reportedly have learned to "bend" the bodies of the cars for aero and handling reasons, the result being that the front end is as much as 2in out of line with the rear. See full story at SpeedVision(4-8-2000)


    (4-7-2000)
  • Sponsor Exposure: Valvoline topped NASCAR in network TV exposure for the seventh straight year in 1999, with Mark Martin's #6 Ford accumulating nearly $49 million in value. According to research by The Sponsors Report, which documents advertising exposure on national sports telecasts, total value for all Winston Cup sponsors topped $1.4 billion, up from $1.2 billion in 1998(That's Racin'/AP)(4-7-2000)

  • Some Qualifying Notes: #42-Kenny Irwin crashed in practice and had to go to a backup car. #32-Scott Pruett has engine problems in practice and changed an engine before qualifying. Geoffrey Bodine is at Martinsville this week, he got the cast off his wrist and plans to test at Richmond Apr 24-25th and race at California on Apr 30th(4-7-2000)

  • Bliss full-time: Dr Jerry Punch mentioned during ESPN2's qualifying coverage that crew chief Barry Dodson of the #27 Viagra Pontiac says that current driver of the car, Mike Bliss, will be in the car for the remainder of the season(4-7-2000)

  • Sadler to run Martinsville: Elliott Sadler plans to go the full 500 laps this Sunday at Martinsville Speedway in the #21 CITGO Ford, a week after suffering cuts on his left shoulder after a crash at Texas. No plans to have a relief driver(Total Sports)(4-7-2000)

  • Rookie Win UPDATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. won in only his 12th Winston Cup start. Ron Bouchard won a Cup race in his 11th start in 1981 at Talladega, Mark Donohue won in his 5th Winston Cup start in 1973 at Riverside, the earliest in the 'modern era' of Winston Cup, he would only make one more Cup start. Others: Morgan Shepherd won in his 15th start (Martinsville) in 1981, but wasn't named Rookie of the Year. Several other drivers won in their first year, but weren't considered ROTY candidates: Dan Gurney at Riverside in 1963 in his third race and Mario Andretti at Daytona Beach in 1967 in his fifth start(Daily Press)(4-4-2000)
    UPDATE: Looks like the 'record' for an earliest win is a rookie who is running a full season, not a one time or part time driver. Seems Bouchard is credited with holding the record. See a nice chart on this at That's Racin': Rookies running to Victory Lane(4-7-2000)

  • Talladega Testing on Thursday. #27-Mike Bliss, #3-Dale Earnhardt, #18-Bobby Labonte, #1-Steve Park and #31-Mike Skinner spent Thursday preparing for the April 16 DieHard 500. Also Loy Allen tested the Morgan-McClure Motorsports Chevy(Talladega Site)(4-7-2000)


    (4-6-2000)
  • Sad News: NASCAR Legend Lee Petty passed away this morning. Condolences and thoughts out to the Petty family. AP story at the WRAL site also a story at SpeedVision. A private graveside service for family members only has been scheduled this week. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Level Cross United Methodist Church Building Fund, 10142 U.S. Highway Bus. #220 North, Randleman, N.C. 27317.(Williams Company)(4-5-2000)
    UPDATE: see a nice tribute at the Official Petty Racing Site. Some stat pages at Total Sports: Lee Petty's career stats and Winston Cup's 50-win club. And from a Keystone Marketing PR: Statement by W.C. "Junie" Donlavey RE: Lee Petty - "Lee Petty was one of the finest drivers that ever sat in a race car, and he was one of the true pioneers of the sport. He taught the drivers what it meant to really devote your time and effort to racing because he was very successful at it. He was just a fine fellow and very tough competitor. It was an honor to have known him and to have been a part of the series when he raced in it because it brings back a lot of memories. He was one the first ones to really make racing a career. When he started, he really went at it and made it a full time deal when others were just playing. I always admired him for really putting an effort in it to make the sport what it is today. He was one of the ones that devoted lots and lots of time to making it a true profession."(4-6-2000)

  • Made in the USA: A Monroe, N.C., apparel company is fighting foreign competition by appealing to customers where they live - at the track. Encore Textiles has launched a billboard campaign aimed at getting NASCAR fans to think twice about buying foreign-made T-shirts and other apparel from trackside vendors at speedways around the Winston Cup circuit. See full story at the Charlotte Observer: `Made in U.S.A.' goes trackside(4-6-2000)

  • Sad News: Dover Downs Founder Passes Away. John W. Rollins Sr., the trucking magnate who became a behind-the-scenes force in American politics, died Tuesday while napping at his office. He was 83. See stories at the Delaware News site: Void is left in 'Big John's' wake and Self-made man earned it the old-fashioned way and the NOL story(4-6-2000)


    (4-5-2000)
  • Good News: Bill France celebrated his 67th birthday Tuesday buoyed by good news about his health. France, diagnosed with cancer in December, has made significant progress with treatments to defeat the life-threatening disease. He stopped short of saying he was completely cured. See full story at Speed Magazine(4-5-2000)

  • Bliss News/Foyt Driver UPDATE Bliss in Fuller Out: SpeedVision reports that Dick Trickle apparently will drive AJ Foyt's #14 Conseco Pontiac at Texas. The team is looking at candidates for the ride. Looks like Mike Bliss, who started the year in the Foyt cars, will not return. Meanwhile, talk bubbled that Bliss could end up in the #27 Eel River Racing Viagra Pontiac if rookie Jeff Fuller's fortunes do not improve. Bliss and team manager Barry Dodson worked well together in CTS and Bliss drove the car late in 1999 and was to be their 2000 driver when he opted for the Foyt ride before Ell River found a sponsor(3-27-2000)
  • UPDATE: Eel River Racing Team owner Jack Birmingham announced that Mike Bliss will drive the team's #27 Pontiac at Martinsville(Keystone Marketing) no idea if this is long term or just at Martinsville(4-5-2000)

  • Martin Paint: Mark Martin will again carry the colors of MaxLife in this Sunday's Goody's Body Pain 500 at Martinsville, VA on the #6 Valvoline Ford. MaxLife is a new motor oil from The Valvoline Co. intended for high-mileage vehicles(Valvoline Newsletter)(4-5-2000)

  • TV Ratings: The DirecTV 500 at Texas ratings on Sunday were a solid 6.0 overnight with a 15 share for the CBS Sports telecast. According to Nielsen Media Research, that rating represented an 11-percent increase over last yearís 5.4 with a 14 share(SpeedVision)(4-5-2000)

  • Bodine on Montel: #60-Power Teamís Geoffrey Bodine will be in New York City on Wednesday to appear as a guest on an upcoming episode of the Montel Williams Show. The nationally televised talk show is hosted by Montel Williams, the 1996 Emmy winner for "Outstanding Talk Show Host". Bodine will be on the show to talk about his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series wreck at Daytona. Bodine suffered multiple injuries in the wreck and is currently undergoing physical therapy. He is expected to return to the driverís seat of the Power Team Chevrolet within the next month. One of the major topics of discussion during the show will be the safety of the cars and trucks used in NASCAR competition. A show truck will be on hand at the taping to allow Bodine to explain in detail the safety features of a race vehicle. The episode of the show that Bodine will appear in has not been assigned an airdate as of yet. However, it is expected to be aired within the next two to three weeks. Please consult your local listings for more details(PowerTeam Page)(4-5-2000)

  • Burton Honored: Ward Burton, whose Wildlife Foundation supports and encourages the preservation of the natural habitat on both private and state-owned land throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the first quarter nominee for the NASCAR True Value Man of the Year Award. True Value, the Official Hardware Store of NASCAR, is once again sponsoring the NASCAR True Value Man of the Year. The award is designed to honor a driver not only for their accomplishments on the track but for their community service contributions and charitable efforts(Ward Burton Site)(4-5-2000)


    (4-4-2000)
  • 2nd Morgan McClure car: Loy Allen is testing for the Morgan McClure team(#4 Kodak Chevy) at Greenville-Pickens(SC) with regular driver Bobby Hamilton in preparation for the upcoming Martinsville and Talladega races. The way things look right now, they might run a second car at Talladega with Loy Allen as the driver(Morgan McClure PR)(4-4-2000)

  • Musgrave Info correction: The Ted Musgrave site is reporting that they- "are hoping for an announcement within the next two weeks" on Musgraves plans for the future. Also of note, Musgrave has not worked with the #32 PPI Racing team and driver Scott Pruett since he spotted for them at Daytona(4-4-2000)

  • Shav Honored: Shav Glick, motorsports writer for the Los Angeles Times, was honored at the Times' annual anniversary celebration, see full story at NOL(4-4-2000)

  • Did ya Know? Three drivers collected their first Winston Cup starts at Martinsville: Dale Jarrett (4/29/84 - started 24th and finished 14th), Mike Skinner (4/27/86 - started 27th and finished 22nd) and Stacy Compton (4/21/86 - started ninth and finished 33rd). And....Lee Petty holds the record for the driver that started the farthest back at Martinsville to win a race. He started 24th in the 1959 Virginia 500(Speed Magazine)(4-4-2000)

  • Get Well: Walter Ballard, who was the 1971 NASCAR Grand National (Now Winston Cup) Rookie of the Year was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident near his home in Charlotte on March 24, 2000. He is still in intensive care at Carolina's Medical Center in Charlotte. He was the owner of one of the first "CUP" cars that Dale Earnhardt drove(4-4-2000)


    (4-3-2000)
  • Tire Rules UPDATE: Starting next week at Martinsville teams will be penalized for leaving tires from the middle of the pitbox out during a pitstop. The first penalty will be a stop and go and if it happens again there will be harsher penalties(NASCAR2Day on ESPN2)(4-2-2000)
    UPDATE: See two stories that cover this as well: Teams must remove right-side tires from pits from That's Racin' and Notes: NASCAR orders tire corral from Total Sports and also a story at ESPN last week by Ray Dunlap: I'm 'tired' of all the loose rubber in the pits(4-3-2000)

  • #60 Driver at Martinsville? UPDATE 3: hearing that CTS driver Jimmy Hensley will drive the #60 Power Team Chevy at Martinsville next week(3-31-2000)
    UPDATE: #60 owner Joe Bessey said a decision will be made Monday on who will drive the car at Martinsville. Bessey says he's considering a few drivers, including Jimmy Hensley and Rich Bickle and he is considering driving the car himself(Roanoke Times)(4-2-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Being told that the driver won't be Jimmy Hensley
    UPDATE 3: Rich Bickle will drive the #60 at Martinsville(Winston Cup Today Radio - real audio)(4-3-2000)

  • NASCAR Interns: Companies have joined NASCAR in an eight-week Diversity Summer Internship Program for 21 college students. The multi-ethnic coed program is for students in good standing who have completed at least their junior year studies. Interns will be paid by the 19 participating companies. Each company has designed its own program that will involve immersing the intern in some aspect of the motorsport industry. See the full story at SpeedVision: NASCAR Summer Internships(4-3-2000)

  • Rusty's 500th: Rusty Wallace, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Taurus, will be making the 500th start of his Winston Cup career this weekend in the Goody's Body Pain 500 at Martinsville Speedway(Ford PR)(4-3-2000)

  • France Better UPDATE: According to Mike Helton, chief operation officer of NASCAR, Bill France has rounded the corner in regards to his recent cancer diagnosis. France, age 67, had been undergoing treatments for some time for an undisclosed form of cancer but learned he was "clear" this past Monday(Speedway Scene)(4-1-2000)
    UPDATE: See another story on France's condition at Roanoke Times - Racing Notes(4-3-2000)

  • Little E gets his first CUP win UPDATE: In his 12th start, rookie Dale Earnhardt Jr won his first Winston Cup race at Texas in the DirecTV 500, the same place he won his first BGN race. It's the first time a father and son have won a CUP race in the same season since 1988 when Bobby and Davey Allison won. Another note mentioned by the CBS crew during the race, Both Dale Sr and Jr won their first CUP race on April Fools weekend, Dale Sr in 1979. Also it's the first time a father and son have won their first CUP race in their rookie season. It's the first win for Dale Earnhardt Inc(DEI), plus Dale Jr had the flu. Results of the DirecTV 500 at NOL(4-2-2000)
    UPDATE: Earnhardt Jr won in his 12th start, besting his Dad who won in the 16th start in 1979, Davey Allison who won in his 14th start in 1987 and Tony Stewart last year who won in his 25th start. Also the win makes Earnhardt Jr only the 2nd rookie to win his way into The Winston, Davey Allison also did it in 1987. Tony Stewart had to win the Winston Open to get into the field last year. Also it is Budweisers first win since Bill Elliott won in 1994 while driving Junior Johnson's #11 Bud Ford(4-3-2000)

  • Texas Penalties: #17-Matt Kenseth was penalized a lap for pitting outside his pit stall Sunday. #20-Tony Stewart was penalized after his team let a tire get away during a stop. #3-Dale Earnhardt, #93-Dave Blaney, #97-Chad Little and #14 Rick Mast each were penalized for pit-road speed violations(Roanoke Times)(4-3-2000)

  • Dyno Testing: NASCAR officials tested the cars of #18-Bobby Labonte, #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #99-Jeff Burton on the chassis dyno following the DirecTV 500(Times-Dispatch)(4-3-2000)

  • Little/Lepage Situation: since this was somewhat confusing to folks, thought I'd post this info and link, well explained by David Poole: At one point during Sunday's race at Texas it appeared that #16-Kevin Lepage and #97-Chad Little were the only two cars on the lead lap. That actually was true, but the sometimes confusing rule that stacks up cars on the tail end of the lead lap then came into play. Here's what happened, see this story: Lepage, Little nearly had field a lap down(That's Racin')(4-3-2000)


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