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PAST NEWS JULY 3-9, 2000

  • Benning to Test at Indy: Benning Motorsports will be testing a 2000 Chevy at Indy on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 11 and 12. The car, driven earlier this year by Michael Waltrip, was purchased recently from Ultra Mattei Motorsports for the Brickyard 400. If all goes well with the test, the car will be entered in the Brickyard 400, slated for August 5. Benning has entered one other Winston Cup race this season, the season-opening Daytona 500. Since the ARCA series was also in town, Benning pulled double-duty. His #84 Chevrolet competed in one of the Gatorade Twin 125s, but was unable to record a high enough finish to qualify for the Daytona 500. At Indianapolis, Benning will be focusing exclusively on his Winston Cup effort, hoping to bring a higher level of exposure for sponsor SoBe Healthy Beverages.(Motorsports Fans Report)(7-9-2000)

  • #97 Driver? UPDATE 3: So far it's been nothing but speculation and guessing, but SpeedVision reports Roush may look in house at his CTS drivers, Greg Biffle(unlikely, since he is moving to the #60 BGN car next year) or Kurt Busch(a longshot). Or possibly Kevin Lepage if the #16 sponsor goes away, but also stresses they are far from a choice and John Deere will be part of the choosing process(7-1-2000)
    UPDATE: sources are telling me the driver will be....#99 Exide CTS driver Kurt Busch AND from a NOL story - No driver has been selected to replace Little next season at this time, but Roush said last week the announcement could come as early as the next several weeks. He did, however, say that neither current CTS point leader Greg Biffle nor his sponsor, Grainger, would be part of that equation(7-6-2000)
    UPDATE: but as many readers (and myself) have heard, Benny Parsons of ESPN said he talked to Jack Roush who told Benny that folks 'would think he's crazy' for whatever his future announcements will be. And even though I keep seeing columns/quotes that Biffle will go to BGN and NOT Cup, I keep hearing that Biffle will move up, possibly to either the #16 car or that Roush may actually start up the old #26 team(of course it would not be #26 as Travis Carter uses that #) again with Biffle as the driver. Other rumors have a female Indy Car driver (Sara Fisher?) in the ride, but that seems like a huge stretch. AND from the Las Vegas Sun: Kurt Busch is the leading candidate to replace Chad Little next year as the driver for team owner Jack Roush in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, according to sources in the auto racing industry. Kevin Radvany, a publicist for Roush Racing, said speculation that Busch would replace Little is "premature," and added that Roush first must renew its sponsorship agreement with John Deere. At the time of his hiring by Roush Racing, Busch said he was on a maximum seven-year timetable -- the length of his contract with Roush -- to make it to the Winston Cup Series. See the full story at the Sun: Las Vegas' Busch may make jump to Winston Cup Series by Brian Hilderbrand(7-7-20000)
    UPDATE 2: after Kurt Busch's win at NHIS on Saturday, he was interviewed on RPM 2Night by Reese Davis. Busch, whne asked about the #97 rumors, said there was truth to the rumors, he was in the mix of drivers under consideration and that he felt he was ready for the challenge and there is no better way to learn then being 'thrown into the fire'(7-9-2000)

  • Rain: The 300 was the fourth race this season to be impeded by rain. Las Vegas was shortened by 119 laps. Michigan fell six laps short. Pocono was postponed to the next day, Monday. Sunday's race at New Hampshire only went 273 of 300 laps(SpeedVision)(7-10-2000)

  • Nice Gesture: Tony Stewart offered the use of his private plane to Kenny Irwin's family and the offer accepted and used by the Irwin family(RPM 2Night)(7-9-2000)

  • Chocolate Snake Bit: Danny "Chocolate" Myers, famous gas man for the #3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet, celebrated July 4th with a big bang. Or should that be a big fang? While enjoying a rare off-day from racing, Myers, 51, was working in the back yard of his home building a flower garden for his wife Caron, when he reached down into a weeded area where a small Copperhead bit into his hand. "I pulled my hand back and there were these two marks, fang marks, with blood dripping out of the wounds," Myers recalled. "I didn't think much about it. Just wiped the blood off my hand and kept on working." His frantic wife pleaded with him to go to the local hospital, but Myers, a "strong, pig-headed tough-guy", according to his wife, refused treatment. "That day he got sicker and sicker," said Caron Myers, "and by that evening, he was really sick - vomiting, having bad headaches and his throat was tight and closing." Finally, the following morning, he sought medical attention, visiting the local Lexington hospital. However, after sitting for three hours without being treated, he left. "As I always say, 'Life is a Pitstop', and those people at the hospital were apparently not going fast enough to suit him," Caron said. She insisted he go on to their family physician, which was by all counts a good thing he did. "By the time he got there he was having such a hard time breathing that the doctor wanted to hospitalize him. Of course, Choc said he couldn't be put in the hospital. He'd miss the race this weekend," said Caron, rolling her eyes. Myers, indeed had suffered the ill-effects of Copperhead venom. "He was just lucky he was a big man," said his physician, Terry Arnold. "It'll take him a several days to get this out of his system, but he should be okay." "I guess my 'honey do' list will be shorter from now on," Myers laughed(Lazarus Productions)(7-9-2000)

  • Penske to BGN? NO? How about Newman to CUP? UPDATE 2: Stan Herzog of Herzog Motorsports announced Sunday that primary sponsor ALLTEL has decided to leave his #92 BGN team and driver Jimmie Johnson after the 2000 season. The company was expected to renew its sponsorship this past weekend with a plan to expand into Winston Cup in 2001. The deal fell through on Friday when ALLTEL called Herzog and informed the team of its intentions to switch sponsorship to Team Penske in 2001(St Joseph News-Press(MO)). I hear Ryan Newman will drive the Penske BGN car. He has tested Cup and ARCA cars recently and run in a few ARCA races for Penske
    UPDATE: hmm...hearing now that this will be another Penske Cup team, with Newman driving(7-5-2000)
    UPDATE 2: not sure if this means anything but....Gregory W. Penske has been elected to the ALLTEL board of directors effective immediately. Penske is president of Penske Automotive Group Inc. of El Monte, Calif., which sells more than 39,000 vehicles annually. Penske Automotive is a subsidiary of Penske Corp., which includes Longo Toyota, the world's largest retail dealer. Penske also is a director and senior vice president of International Speedway Corp. of Daytona Beach, Fla., and serves as a board member for a number of civic and industry associations(Yahoo Biz) AND Penske Motorsports is planning on expanding its operation and will field a BGN entry next season with Ryan Newman, an open-wheel racing star, has learned. Newman's team will run a full schedule next season in the BGN with Alltel as sponsor and plans are to move to the Winston Cup series in 2002. John Erickson, general manager of Penske Racing South, said Friday he would not comment on the BGN plans, but did say Newman will drive in four more Automobile Racing Club of America series events this season for the team - Pocono, Talladega, Charlotte and Atlanta. Newman ran in the ARCA race at Michigan for Penske(That's Racin')(7-8-2000)

  • Sad News: Howard M. Hurd, one of the most respected patriarchs in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series garage area, died today at the age of 89. His development of special high-speed air impact guns - the tools crews use to change four tires in less than 20 seconds during pit stops - earned him recognition as the father of today's lightening quick pit stops. Hurd became a prominent figure in NASCAR racing during the early 60's when NASCAR legend Glen Wood's Wood Brothers racing team first tested his modified 405 Ingersoll-Rand air gun at Atlanta International Raceway. The Wood Brother's success in the pits lead other teams to follow suit and the demand for his air guns made Hurd a household name in the NASCAR garage. His highly modified yellow and black air gun set the "norm" for pit stops. In the mid 60's Mr. Hurd also worked with NASCAR official Bill Gazaway to develop a device to check the stock car body's style and height. Together, they designed the original template used to measure the outline of a stockcar. That template is still used today at every NASCAR Winston Cup weekend to ensure a level playing field for Sunday's race. In 1982 Howard Hurd received the Buddy Shuman Memorial Trophy, given each year for "outstanding contributions and loyalty to auto racing". The trophy was presented to Hurd at the NASCAR Winston Cup Awards Banquet in New York City. The Hurd family continues their involvement in racing today. 2000 marks Hurd Pit Tools & Equipment, Inc.'s 41st year in the business. The company's reputation for service and dependability is highlighted by the fact that since 1961 every Winston Cup championship team has relied on Hurd designed impact wrenches during pit stops. Howard's grandson James, 32, runs the day-to-day operations of the company and has followed in his grandfather's footsteps by modifying the airflow of the 405 impact wrench. This newly designed "Thunder Gun" provides increased power, speed, and practicality. The yellow and black Thunder Gun is also on display at the Daytona USA. NASCAR fans can experience the thrill of "the fastest gun around".(PR)(7-8-2000)

  • TV News: Steve Byrnes is one of the top TV racing reporters over the past 15 years and a TNN veteran. He's working the booth at ASA events this season and pit road for TNN's Winston Cup races, including this week's 300. Byrnes may be the anchor for the Fox Network's new one hour pre-race show next season, according to NASCAR sources. Byrnes confirms talking with Fox' Ed Goren and auditioning at Charlotte, but Byrnes, from Charlotte, said he doesn't know what Fox might decide(PitNow)(7-8-2000)

  • Fellows to Test at the Glen: Ron Fellows will be participating as the test driver for the new Corvette C5-R prototype, doing Goodyear Tire Tests on Tuesday, July 11th. Fellows is also scheduled to be testing his NEMCO Motorsports #87 Bully Hill Vineyards Chevrolet, a car NEMCO plans on entering in the August 13th Global Crossing @ The Glen NASCAR Winston Cup Series event(Watkins Glen PR)(7-7-2000)

  • Buckshot to CUP? hearing that Buckshot Jones has a sponsor that will allow him to return to Winston Cup. Supposedly they will not run their own team but look to hook up with an existing team. Some rumors have Jones father talking to Yates Racing and Hendrick Motorsports(7-7-2000)

  • 'nice to hear' news UPDATE: Bobby and Judy Allison have remarried. They were married by a justice of the peace in Bessemer on Monday. See full story at the Alabama Live site: Allisons re-tie the knot after Petty's death by Clyde Bolton(7-6-2000)
    UPDATE: see the story at SpeedVision - Bobby and Judy Allison Have Some Advice for Kyle and Patti, talk to each other and to listen to each other(7-7-2000)

  • #44 Crew Chief? UPDATE: hearing Fred Graves will become the crew chief for the #44 Hot Wheels team and Kyle Petty. Graves started the year as the crew chief for the #13 Robby Gordon team(7-4-2000)
    UPDATE: Championship crew chief Fred Graves has been named to head the Hot Wheels Racing Pontiac team of NASCAR Winston Cup driver Kyle Petty. The announcement was made today. Graves had been working with Petty Enterprises as a consultant with the #43 Dodge by Petty driven by Steve Grissom, and will continue that role at New Hampshire this weekend. Sunday's 300 will mark Graves' first stint as the team's crew chief. Graves, 53, is a native of Oswego, NY, where he became a legend with his chassis in Super Modified racing in the Northeastern and Midwestern United States. He moved to North Carolina in 1989, and has established himself as one of the most respected chief mechanics in all of NASCAR. In a variety of divisions, Graves has worked with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. and Hendrick Motorsports. With Earnhardt, he won a national Truck championship with driver Ron Hornaday in 1998. At Hendrick, he worked closely with champion driver Terry Labonte. Founder of his own company, Graves Racing and Consulting, Graves has spent this year working with Robbie Gordon's Winston Cup team early in the season, Petty Enterprises' truck team and part-time truck series driver Brendan Gaughan. Graves will fulfill his obligations, while working full-time with the Hot Wheels Racing Pontiac. Doug Hewitt, who heads Petty Enterprises' research and development program, will fill in at times for Graves(Williams Company)(7-7-2000)

  • GM Cutbacks? General Motors officials have been talking about perhaps cutting a considerable amount of their NASCAR support if NASCAR officials push ahead with their plans for common-body templates(PitNow)(7-7-2000)

  • Hotel Alone: A couple was charged with neglect after they left their two young children at a hotel while they attended the Pepsi 400. Harold Hadnott, 47, and Sara Hadnott, 31, of Greensboro, N.C., were arrested early Sunday when they returned to their hotel room at the Georgian Inn in Ormond Beach. The children, ages 8 and 5, were playing on the pool deck at the hotel Saturday when a bystander asked them where their parents were. The children said their parents had gone to the races at Daytona International Speedway at about 2:00pm/et and had told them to play at the pool until 6:00pm/et, then return to their room, police said. The bystander called police, who arrived and found the children alone in the family's room. Police took the children into custody and turned them over to the Division of Children and Family Services. The Hadnotts have been released on bond(Infobeat/AP)(7-7-2000)

  • Wind Tunnel News: hearing Sabco has one each of the #40 and #42 Chevy's testing today at the wind tunnel of N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA(7-5-2000)

  • Celebrity Deathmatch Results: Just in case you missed it, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon were paired up in Thursday night’s episode of MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch, in which Claymation® caricatures of famous people are pitted against each other in what are normally very gory wrestling matches(SpeedVision)(7-7-2000)

  • Labonte's Crash UPDATE 4: #5-Terry Labonte was taken to Halifax Medical Center for precautionary x-rays. The two-time Winston Cup champion briefly lost consciousness after hitting the concrete wall near the start-finish line(Gaston Gazette)
    UPDATE: Terry Labonte was taken to the hospital for a CAT scan which was negative, and then released(Infobeat/AP)(7-2-2000)
    Labonte Hurt? UPDATE 2: getting many questions about Terry Labonte's 'injuries' from his wreck at Daytona. From a PR I got: .....Unfortunately, that streak came to a halt just past the halfway point of the Pepsi 400(at Daytona) when Labonte spun out and hit the wall, damaging the #5 Kellogg's Chevrolet beyond repair. With the July 9 New England 300 fast approaching, Labonte - not seriously injured in the mishap - is eager to start another streak of finishing performances(Summit Marketing Group) from what I hear banged up and bruised, CAT Scan was negative(7-6-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Labonte has a slight fracture, right leg, below the kneecap; no cast, but he will be on crutches for a period of time. Labonte will start the race on Sunday, no word on a if a relief driver will be used
    UPDATE 4: Terry Labonte was knocked unconscious briefly after slamming into the wall on the driver side. A CAT scan was given and came back negative, Labonte has been cleared by doctors and will race Sunday in the Jiffy Lube 300(now called the Labonte did suffer a fractured Tibia (bone below the knee) and bruised ribs. Crutches and a little pain will not keep “The Iron Man” from his 653rd consecutive start. Although Labonte is planning on completing the entire race, fellow Hendrick Motorsports driver Jack Sprague(#24 CTS) will be on hand for precautionary reasons(Hendrick Motorsports Site)(7-6-2000)

  • Stewart OK in plane incident: Tony Stewart's plane made an emergency landing in Asheville, NC around 6:00pm/et Wednesday. The twin-engine plane took off from Concord on the way to Evansville, IN for an appearance at a Home Depot. The pilot noted irregular readings on the fuel controller and made an emergency landing at Asheville's Executive Airport. No one was injured in the incident. Stewart was scheduled to take another plane to Indianapolis around 9:30pm/et, and the Home Depot appearance was rescheduled for Thursday night(NBC 6 Charlotte)(7-6-2000)

  • Schrader double duty at NHIS UPDATE: Ken Schrader will be making only his second appearance in the CTS this season at the New Hampshire. Schrader will drive his #52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet Silverado in the CTS race on on Saturday. Schrader will, of course, run the #36 M&M's Pontiac in the Cup race(NHIS PR)(7-5-2000)
    UPDATE: Add Bobby Hamilton and Steve Grissom to the list of drivers who will run both the Cup and CTS race at NHIS(7-6-2000)

  • Wind Tunnel News: hearing the #8 Bud Chevy is at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA testing it's Brickyard 400 cars. Testing for the GM car is next week(7-5-2000)

  • Gordon skips round 1 UPDATE 2: #13-Robby Gordon didn't make a first round attempt at Daytona for the Pepsi 400, as he was very slow and the team is regrouping for a 2nd round run at 6:30pm/et on Friday. Gordon also said he was waiting on a gearbox(transmission?) to arrive. Heard that Gordon was unhappy with the Yates engines he got for qualifying, voiced his opinion, so Yates pulled ther motor, if so, that could be the reason no attempt was made, no motor
    UPDATE: Gordon has made a deal with Penske Racing's Larry Wallace and installed a Penske engine in preparation for the second (and final) round on Friday(SpeedVision)(6-30-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Robby Gordon failed to qualify for the Pepsi 400 at Daytona, his third DNQ of the year and it lit a fuse. Gordon, who started the year with Pro Motor as his engine supplier before switching to Yates, went to Robert Yates at Daytona and asked for the engine that won the pole in Dale Jarrett's car or the engine that won the outside pole in Ricky Rudd's car. Yates, who insiders consistently tell us provides his customers with engines as good as and sometimes better than those provided to his own drivers, declined. Gordon returned all of the Yates equipment in his possession, borrowed an engine from Rusty Wallace, and failed to qualify anyhow(Speedway Illustrated) AND some notes to clarify: The #13 team couldn't get up to speed in Thursday's practice. The team decided not to qualify for the first round based on a number of things but not because they didn't have a mote as the original Yates engine was in the car contrary to what was reported earlier. The Penske engine didn't go in the #13 until Friday morning. The #13 team asked Yates for the #28 qualifying motor and was told 'no', then asked if they could put another Yates motor in for comparison and was told that it would not be a good idea. #75-Dallenbach used the Yates engine the #28 qualified with in first round, for his 2nd round attempt(7-4-2000)

  • Stewart to race Hav-A-Tampa UPDATE: Tony Stewart plans to battle the nation’s top dirt late model drivers when the Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series invades The Dirt Track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway Sunday and Monday(July 2nd and 3rd) for One Cool Cookout. Stewart owns a dirt late model stock car and makes sporadic appearances in the full-bodied machine when his schedule permits. However, the One Cool Cookout will mark the first time this season the Columbus, Ind., native has gone fender-to-fender with such dirt late model stars as Wendell Wallace, Scott Bloomquist, Billy Moyer, Steve Francis and Rick Eckert. Stewart drove a 600 Racing Thunder Roadster in an exhibition race during the Pennzoil World of Outlaws program that opened the $9 million facility at Lowes in May(Lowes Motor Speedway PR)(6-28-2000)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart had a tough night as he blew an engine in his primary car while leading his heat race. He then took over his team car normally driven by Steve Barnett and was involved in a race-ending skirmish while charging through the pack in the first last-chance event. "Something in the engine broke," Stewart said about his primary machine. "I'm really disappointed because the car was awesome and I love this race track." Track officials later added Stewart to the rear of the feature field as a provisional starter, but he was out after only 10 laps due to suspension damage caused by contact with another car. Scott Bloomquist won the main event(Lowes Motor Speedway)(7-4-2000)

  • Herta to NASCAR? Petty? Since his full-time CART ride for this season evaporated, Bryan Herta has openly stated that he would be open to other racing opportunities. In addition, the 7th Gear site hears that Herta has been spending some time in Charlotte over the past month or two and has even tested a Winston West car. Apparently, he may be working on a deal to get a Busch ride next year with Petty Racing, with hopes of joining John Andretti in the Winston Cup ranks in 2002(7th Gear CART site) AND in part from the Columbus Dispatch: The down time also gave Herta time to lay groundwork for other opportunities. For example, he would not be averse to driving in NASCAR's Winston Cup circuit. A trip to the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend was, Herta said, "an eye- opening experience."(7-4-2000)

  • Kyle to skip New Hampshire? UPDATE 2 YES: Kyle Petty has not decided whether he will go to New Hampshire for next weekend's Cup race, he said Thursday. The event would be the first time the Winston Cup Series has been at the track since Kyle's son, Adam, died in a crash there in practice May 12. Next Sunday's race comes a day before Adam Petty would have turned 20. Kyle Petty said he tries to take things one day at a time. He said he would have to discuss with his wife, Pattie, and their children, Austin and Montgomery Lee, whether to race in New Hampshire(Roanoke Times)(6-30-2000)
    UPDATE: Kyle Petty remains unsure whether he will drive his #44 Hot Wheels Pontiac in next weekend's race at New Hampshire, where his 19-year-old son, Adam Petty, was killed in a practice session crash in May. NASCAR's Truck series also runs at New Hampshire next weekend and Petty Enterprises' driver in that series, Steve Grissom, would be available to drive Petty's car should he decide not to come to the race(That's Racin') AND TNN's Raceday says Petty may miss Septembers Cup race at NHIS also(7-2-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Steve Grissom will drive the #44 Hot Wheels Pontiac for Kyle Petty at NHIS. Petty will not travel to New Hampshire for the races(NOL)(7-3-2000)

  • Midwest Transit sponsor? UPDATE 2: hearing the #50 Midwest Transit team is close to a deal with a sponsor for the Brickyard 400, Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol and if all goes well, possibly 2001(6-30-2000)
    UPDATE: The Hal Hicks-owned team picks up a sponsor beginning with the race at Indianapolis. The team signed a four-race contract with an Internet company(Times Dispatch)(hopefully NOT Lycos)(7-2-2000)
    UPDATE 3 Craven to Run NHIS: Ricky Craven and his Hal Hicks-owned Midwest Transit Racing team will compete in Sunday's New England 300 at New Hampshire, Craven's home track. The team, running without a primary sponsor, has only competed in races this season it believes it can qualify for and run well in. The team will skip the July Pocono race and return for the Brickyard 400 in August, where it will begin a four-race run with an Internet company as sponsor. Good performances may lead to a full-season deal for 2001(That's Racin')(7-3-2000)

  • #7 to Ford: Michael Waltrip's car owner, Jim Smith, has decided to change his Chevrolets over to Fords, and he's been talking with Ford officials about support. Smith runs a Ford on NASCAR's Truck tour. Smith expects Waltrip to be in a Ford by October's Talladega race(PitNow)(7-3-2000)

  • Sad News: not NASCAR - Five-time motorcycle world champion Joey Dunlop, honored by Buckingham Palace for his humanitarian work, was killed in a road race Sunday when his bike skidded in heavy rain and hit a tree(Star Telegram)(7-3-2000)

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