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PAST NEWS JULY 10-16, 2000

  • #97 Driver? UPDATE's - signed?: see original news and rumors on the #97 Team News and Links page(7-1-2000)
    UPDATE: 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)
    UPDATE: Hearing Busch may run up to five Cup events later in the season for Roush(7-13-2000)
    another UPDATE - Busch Signed? hearing from sources that Roush #97 CTS driver, Kurt Busch, has already signed with Rosuh to drive the #97 Ford in Cup for the 2001 season(7-16-2000)

  • Rusty News: NASCAR fans made waves Saturday on Lake Norman in Charlotte, NC, at the Rusty Wallace "Splash for Kids," a Polaris watercraft charity ride. Wallace led dozens of participants on the four-hour ride on a Polaris Genesis watercraft custom-painted to look like his #2 Winston Cup Ford. During the event, riders zig-zagged the lake on a "poker run" to win prizes, including a Richard Petty Driving Experience and two pit passes for the October 2000 Winston Cup Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. After the ride, riders mingled with Wallace and placed bids on authentic NASCAR memorabilia, including a Rusty Wallace die cast car, rear ¼ panel and chase jacket. All auction proceeds also benefited Speedway Children's Charities, a nonprofit foundation that distributes funds to charities providing emotional support, medical and social services to children in need(Polaris PR)(7-16-2000)

  • #42 to #01? UPDATE 5 Musgrave?: hearing that SABCO may use the #01 (which was used on a 3rd team part time in 1999) in place of the #42 out of respect to Kenny Irwin Jr, their driver who passed away at NHIS last Friday. Not sure if it will be for Pocono only or for the rest of the 2000 season. Also hear that they may change the paint scheme of the BellSouth Chevy for the same reasons. Some drivers under consideration to run the car at Pocono are Ricky Craven, Rich Bickle and Hut Stricklin
    UPDATE #01: New team(SABCO/Gannassi) manager Andy Graves said Tuesday his squad, which skipped Sunday's New England( 300) 300 at New Hampshire after Irwin was killed in a practice crash at the track, will return to action for the July 23 race at Pocono. Graves said the Chevrolet Monte Carlo will carry the same BellSouth sponsorship but is going with #01(instead of #42) because they think that's best. Graves made the decision in consultation with his boss, Chip Ganassi, who last week completed his purchase of the two-car team from Felix Sabates. Ganassi, who attended Tuesday's test at Indy, said he was prepared to keep Irwin and teammate Sterling Marlin in his cars for the next two years. He signed contract extensions with both drivers last week. Ganassi said he was looking at "three or four guys" to replace Irwin, although he declined to name them Tuesday. (Derrike Cope and Hut Stricklin are mentioned). Graves said it was a short list of candidates by necessity. Most of the league's better drivers were locked into contracts for the rest of the season, and he didn't feel comfortable raiding another team's program and that any driver hired this week would probably be on board only for the short term(in part from a story at SpeedNet)(7-12-2000)
    UPDATE 2: hearing Ted Musgrave and Todd Bodine are being considered also, but Bodine will be racing BGN at Pikes Peak on Saturday
    UPDATE 3: The #01 team plans to run the #01 from now on, no more #42. Also the team plans to get a veteran driver for the next two races (Pocono and Indy) then hire the best available road racer for Watkins Glen(SpeedVision)(7-13-2000)
    UPDATE 4: hearing Ted Musgrave will drive the #01 at Pocono(7-14-2000)
    UPDATE 5: Team SABCO will conduct a two-day test at Gateway International Raceway with Ted Musgrave on Monday and Tuesday of next week to see if he fits the mold for the #01 BellSouth team. If all goes well, Musgrave will probably drive the #01 at Pocono next weekend(RacingOne/Lee Spencer)(7-15-2000)
    UPDATE 6: Musgrave will be testing at the Kentucky Speedway on Monday and Tuesday driving the #01 car for Team Sabco/Ganassi. The team wants to get to know Musgrave and see if the chemistry is there as far as working together, so this is kind of a trial run for everyone involved(Musgave Site)(7-16-2000)

  • #18 Sponsor: missed when this was released but.....Joe Gibbs Racing and Bobby Labonte will be with Interstate Batteries through 2003(with an option year for 2004) as a for a four-year contract was signed recently. The #18 Joe Gibbs team and Interstate Batteries has been together since the team began in 1992(Interstate Batteries Site)(7-15-2000)

  • MB2 Motorsports to Move: MB2 Motorsports of Mooresville plans to relocate to the Concord Regional Airport business park where it bought 3.64 acres from the city. Jay Fry, general manager of MB2, said the race team is in its fourth year of operations at the Winston Cup level. He said Concord driver Kenny Schrader is a partner in the project. The building will be 40,000 square feet and will fit two Winston Cup teams. The race shop is in the final design process and construction is expected to begin in a month(Independent Times one day link). Schrader is the driver of the #36 M&M's Pontiac owned my MB2 Motorsports. Also it has been rumored that MB2 Motosports will buy the #10 Tyler Jet Motorsports team(7-15-2000)

  • #10 Sponsor? Racin' Network is hearing that the #10 Tyler Jet Motorsports team is close to signing a new sponsor, who in fact, it is one of the main competitors of their former sponsor Lycos. If this deal falls through, expect the team to be sold to MB2 Motorsports before the Brickyard 400(7-14-2000)

  • Elliott to Dodge? Ernie that is. Engine builder Ernie Elliott, Bill's brother, who builds Ford engines for the #'s 94, 11 and 9 teams, will supposedly build Dodge engines in 2001 for the Ganassi Cup team (#01(was 42) and #40) and possibly the #92(is now #9) Melling team. Supposedly Elliott is building a new shop in the Charlotte area but will kewp the current Georgia shop. No word on if Elliott will still build Ford engines for the #11 Brett Bodine team. Bill Elliott will be driving for Ray Evernham in 2001 who has his own Dodge engine dept(7-14-2000)

  • #81 News: The #55 Davis & Weight Motorsports BGN team plans to move Michael Ritch to Winston Cup in 2001, IF a sponsor can be found. In that event, Ritch would be in the #81 Cup Ford and they would hire another driver for the #55 BGN car(DW Motorsports PR via StockCarFans Newsletter)(7-14-2000)

  • Hamilton to stay UPDATE 3 new crew chief: Bobby Hamilton says he expects to stay with car owner Larry McClure next season. He has been rumored to be in the running for a job as Sterling Marlin's teammate with Chip Ganassi(PitNow)(7-10-2000)
    UPDATE new crew chief: #4 Kodak driver Bobby Hamilton, rumored to be leaving the Morgan-McClure Motorsports team at the end of the season, is expected to remain in his #4 Chevy next year provided some changes occur with the team. One of those changes will be a new crew chief for the team, has learned. An official announcement of the crew chief change will be made by Friday. Robert Larkins has served as the team's crew chief since December 1999(That's Racin')(7-11-2000)
    UPDATE 2: hearing that Hamilton's CTS crew chief for the #4 Truck Team, Tim Fowlkes, will become the crew chief of the #4 Cup team(7-13-2000)
    UPDATE 3: the new crew chief comes from Hamilton's CTS team but not the #4 team but the #18 Joe Ruttman team, Danny Gill will take over crew chief duties for the #4 Kodak MAX Film Monte Carlo at Morgan-McClure Motorsports. The change, effective Monday, July 10, moves former crew chief Robert Larkins into the Shop Foreman position. Larkins will also remain the jackman on race day. Gill moves into the crew chief position from the same duty held with Bobby Hamilton Racing for the #18 DANA Dodge driven by Joe Ruttman in Lebanon, Tenn. Gill had been with Bobby Hamilton Racing's Craftsman Truck Series team since its inception in 1999(Morgan McClure PR). Fred Wanke, former #43 CTS crew chief takes over Gills spot on the #18(NOL)(7-14-2000)

  • Dodge Engine: Dodge continues full-speed-ahead with its blueprint engine as it prepares to enter Winston Cup racing in 2001. Dodge ran a second version of the new pieces during its three-day test this week at Kentucky Speedway -- what it is calling the "second phase" engine, and it is not at all considering the engine it uses in Craftsman Trucks, as NASCAR occasionally has suggested. Gary Nelson, NASCAR technical director, hinted last month at Dover that he'd rather Dodge refine its wedge Truck engine than to present a new piece. Ted Flack, head of engine development for Dodge Motorsports, said Friday that the Truck engine was never considered. The next test for car and engine will be in two weeks, either at Kentucky or at Greenville-Pickens(SC). See full story and quotes at SpeedVision(7-14-2000)

  • NASCAR and Soapbox Derby: Marketing the All-American Soap Box Derby has hit the fast lane with the announcement yesterday that NASCAR is coming to Derby Downs. Goodyear, this year's national title sponsor for the 63rd annual downhill race, is using its longtime relationship with the stock-car racing organization to boost the derby's national presence. During Race Week, which begins Monday, Goodyear will bring its Rolling Thunder tractor-trailer rig to Derby Downs. The trailer carries two NASCAR stock cars and will be used for the ``Pit Crew Challenge'' during Race Day, July 22. Adults who preregister will be able to change tires or change oil on the racing cars as a NASCAR pit crew would. Racing legend Bobby Allison will be grand marshal of the All-American Soap Box Derby Parade on Race Day and will flag the first races. Gary Nelson, director of NASCAR's Winston Cup Racing, will visit Derby Downs on Tuesday. See the full story at the Akron Beacon Journal(7-13-2000)

  • Murry at Watkins Glen? Having gotten a taste of NASCAR Winston Cup racing last year at Watkins Glen, road racing veteran David Murry is hoping that experience will sway some Winston Cup teams to consider utilizing his talents at The Glen next month. "I've made some calls to some teams already asking whether they might want my services," said the Atlanta resident. "Some of them have expressed interest, but I haven't had a firm commitment as yet. I'm hopeful that will happen. I'd like to go back there and get somebody in the The Show." Last year, Murry drove for a Cartersville, GA-based ARCA team, Phoenix Air Racing(#61 Ford). He qualified 31st and ran as high as eighth in the race, before an oil line problem surfaced. He eventually finished 36th. "I enjoyed myself last year," added Murry. "I really want to race up there again. I gained so much experience, you can't imagine. Like a lot of drivers, I'd love to eventually go Winston Cup racing full-time. Perhaps, running the road courses might help that cause." Murry, who this year is competing in the American Le Mans Series with a Porsche 911 GT3-R team, said he is so intent on getting a ride at Watkins Glen this year that he will take the trip north at his own expense and "work" the garage when he gets there, if necessary. "You know, maybe there will be a team which doesn't do so hot in first round qualifying that might give me a shot in second-round qualifying. There might be a team which is out of provisionals or doesn't want to use one which may look to me to try to get them in the race. Maybe, their full-time driver is not real comfortable with the road courses, who knows? "Certainly, if a team is interested in seeing what I've done over the years before they call, my web site is I welcome all calls, needless to say."(Kermish-Geylin Public Relations)(7-13-2000)

  • Final Day of Dodge Testing: The Dodge Report: A Regular Update from the Dodge Garage. A few comments from Ray Evernham, team owner of Evernham Motorsports and lead developer of the Dodge Intrepid R/T NASCAR Winston Cup racecar, following three days of testing at Kentucky Speedway. The Dodge team logged more than 500 miles with two cars during the test session. One was set up to test the current aerodynamic package and the other was testing the second phase Dodge Winston Cup engine. See the full PR at Dodge Test - 3rd Day, along with some images of the test from another source(7-13-2000)

  • Good News for Bodine: Ralph’s Supermarkets has renewed a contract to continue its sponsorship of Brett Bodine’s #11 Cup team in 2001(Gaston Gazette)(7-13-2000)

  • Indy GM Testing Speeds: In the second and final day of pre-Brickyard 400 testing for Chevy and Pontiac drivers, Joe Nemechek surpassed the track record by almost 2 mph as his Oakwood Homes Chevrolet ran a lap of 181.206mph at Indy(Brickyard 400 Site) AND The overall top 10 in speeds from the two day testing, the top 10: 1) #33-Nemechek 181.206mph; 2) #3-Earnhardt 180.253; 3) #31-Skinner 179.698; 4) #36-Schrader 179.634; 5) #10-Benson 179.481; 6) #1-Park 178.934; 7) #27-Bliss 178.928; 8) #60-Bodine 178.913; 9) #8-Earnhardt Jr. 178.849; and 10) #55-Wallace 178.738(SpeedNet) AND See the top 25 speeds from Tuesday at the Brickyard 400 Site - Tuesday Speeds. Ford drivers will test at Indy on July 17-18th(7-13-2000)

  • Dodge Testing - Day two: from RPM 2Night on Wednesday. The two test drivers, Casey Atwood and Steve Grissom tested two Dodge Intrepids. One with a Dodge CTS (truck) engine to test set the car up aerodynamically and the other to test the experimental phase II Dodge Cup engine. Ray Evernham expects to have the body package ready to submit to NASCAR by the first week in August and the engine package to submit sometime in the next four weeks(RPM 2Night)(7-13-2000)

  • Another #21 Paint Scheme? UPDATE 2: Negotiations are ongoing for the Wood Brothers to run a special Virginia Tech paint scheme on Elliott Sadler 's #21 CITGO Ford for a race this season. An announcement is expected July 11 and the paint scheme would appear on a car in the fall race at Richmond(Roanoke Times)(6-28-2000)
    UPDATE: Elliott Sadler and the #21 CITGO Ford are teaming up with Virginia Tech at Richmond in September. The press conference and official unveiling of the "Hokie car" will take place at noon on July 11, 2000 at the University Bookstore on the Virginia Tech Campus. Elliott Sadler, the Wood Brothers, Doug Fritz - President of Richmond International Raceway and other university dignitaries will be available after the press conference for photo opportunities and to answer questions(Cox Marketing)(7-6-2000)
    UPDATE 2: see an image of the car on my Paint Scheme Gallery and also a batch of images at the Cox Marketing site(7-12-2000)

  • Indy Testing UPDATE: Winston Cup teams will head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this month for the two mandatory manufacturer testing sessions. The General Motors test for Chevrolet and Pontiac teams is July 11 and 12, with July 13 as a rain date. Ford's two-day test is scheduled for July 17 and 18, with July 19 as the rain date(That's Racin')(7-2-2000)
    UPDATE Benson Fastest at Indy Testing: #10-Johnny Benson, in an unsponsord Tyler Jet Motorsports Pontiac, was the fastest in Tureday's testing at Indy for the Brickyard 400, to be run August 5th. Benson ran 179.481mph, just under the track record(for Cup cars) of 179.612mph, set in last years qualifying by Jeff Gordon. #33-Joe Nemechek ran 179.345mph and was the 2nd fastest.
    The rest of the top ten: 3) #36-Schrader 178.914; 4) #60-Bodine 178.913; 5) #3-Earnhardt 178.869; 6) #25-Nadeau 178.713; 7) #22-Burton 178.484; 8) #14-Mast 178.311; 9) #10-Benson(in a 2nd car) 178.051; and 10) #55-Wallace 177.903. Other speeds #24-Jeff Gordon 177.491 and #18-Labonte 176.127. See the full rundown of speeds at: Top 25 Drivers From General Motors Testing (July 11, 2000). Testing concludes Wednesday(today)(Brickyard 400 Site)(7-12-2000)

  • Joyner-Kersee-Roehrig Motorsports? UPDATE: haven't heard much on this Cup team since they withdrew the #34 Sunoco Pontiac from the Daytona 500. I am being told that the team is working hard to find a sponsor for the 2001 team and may run a race or two late in the season(6-3-2000)
    UPDATE: Joyner-Kersee Racing has raced once this season. David Green drove for the team in the Bud Shootout at Daytona in February. Green made one qualifying attempt for the Daytona 500 before the team withdrew. Joyner-Kersee Racing has not competed since. The team, based in Roehrig's High Point, NC, shop, continues to search for a sponsor so it can race. Roehrig said the team is focused on next season, although it could run a few Cup or BGN races later this season if sponsorship is found. The team has four Cup cars. Roehrig said the team is trying to find three companies to be the primary sponsor for 12 races each next year. With the Kersees searching for sponsorship and the Joe Washington/Julius Erving BGN team skipping several races as it attempts to reorganize, NASCAR is without a black car owner in its top two series(Roanoke Times)(7-12-2000)

  • Wind Tunnel Testing: hearing the #77 Jasper Engines Ford is at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today(7-11-2000)

  • Problem with the #6? #5? UPDATE Fines: Hours after the race, NASCAR officials announced they had discovered "an issue" with Mark Martin’s #6 Valvoline Ford but would not discuss what, if anything, had failed to pass post-race inspection. Indications are that "the issue" would not change the final finishing order, apparently meaning that Martin’s team may face some sort of fine or other punishment(Gaston Gazette) AND Two Winston Cup teams face penalties from NASCAR on Monday after irregularities were found with their cars during the inspection process on Sunday. NASCAR inspectors discovered one or more rule violations with the #5 Chevy driven by Terry Labonte during inspections prior to Sunday's 300 at New Hampshire. During the post-race inspections, inspectors found one or more rule violations with the #6 Ford of Mark Martin. Winston Cup director Gary Nelson said Sunday night both teams would face fines, but would not lose driver or owner points or have their finishing position changed in Sunday's race. Nelson said NASCAR expected to announce the fines sometime Monday(That's Racin')(7-10-2000)
    UPDATE Fines: Jimmy Fennig, crew chief for Mark Martin, was fined $25,000 Monday after Martin's #6 Ford was found to be lower than the minimum height requirement in postrace inspection following Sunday's New England 300. Gary DeHart, crew chief for Terry Labonte, was also fined $7,000 for an improperly attached weight on the #5 Chevrolet. NASCAR inspectors found that violation in their prerace inspection on Sunday(That's Racin')(7-11-2000)

  • Benson News: Johnny Benson isn’t sitting idle during this off weekend. The driver is racing crew chief James Ince‘s dirt car at Selaia, Mo., on Friday. He’ll be competing at Ken Schrader‘s track Saturday as well. Benson is awaiting word on the future of his team. Owner Tim Beverley still is negotiating to sell his team. The transaction is expected to be completed in the next two weeks. MB2 Motorsports is the likely buyer(Times Dispatch and That's Racin')(7-11-2000)

  • Interesting: Is Winston Cup stock-car racing dangerous? Twenty-seven drivers have died since the series began in 1949 --- which includes all testing sessions, practices, time trials and races. "If you just took one lap at each of the 188 tracks that Winston Cup has raced at over 52 years and make it one piece of highway," said NASCAR historian Bob Latford, "I doubt there's one equal section of highway in the country that has had that few fatalities over the same amount of time." Adding the length of 188 tracks --- 2.5 miles for Daytona, 1.54 for Atlanta Motor Speedway, etc. --- comes to a total of 135.1 miles.(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(7-10-2000)

  • More Restrictor Testing: NASCAR officials have invited one Jack Roush's teams and another team (presumably a General Motors group) to participate in further tests aimed at finding ways to open up the engines at the restricted tracks. Roush and Chevrolet owner Richard Childress took part in a test after the April Talladega race at which certain aerodynamic impediments were tried in attempts to find ways around the hated restrictor plates used at Daytona and Talladega(SpeedVision)(7-10-2000)

  • Lepage and Busch: Geoff Smith, the manager of Roush Racing, says that Kevin Lepage will be back as driver next season, but the (#16)team may be shaken up. Smith also said that Kurt Busch's truck victory Saturday gives him 50-50 odds of being picked to run a Roush Winston Cup car next season(PitNow)(7-10-2000)

  • Drivers OK: Three drivers involved in hard hitting accidents at NHIS are OK. On Lap 7, #5-Terry Labonte and #97-Chad Little collided in Turn 4, wrecking both cars. Labonte, who is already nursing a fracture in his right leg, was uninjured. Little complained of neck pain and was taken to Concord Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a bruised collarbone, treated and released. #26-Jimmy Spencer hit the Turn 2 wall hard on Lap 98, and had to be helped from his car. Spencer was treated for a bruised left kneecap at the infield care center and released(That's Racin')(7-10-2000)

  • Get Well: Tom Beard, one of the three Georgia owners of MB2 Motorsports(#36 M&M's Pontiac, Kwn Schrader driving), canceled his plans to be at Sunday's race because of emergency gall-bladder surgery. Beard began feeling stomach pains on July 4, and checked himself into Northside General(GA). After undergoing an operation last Thursday, he still thought he could recover in time for the race. However, he stayed at his Atlanta-area home and watched it on TV(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(7-10-2000)

  • Some Facts from Henry: Joe Nemechek (2nd) had his best finish since his victory at NHIS last September. Jerry Nadeau (4th) had his career best finish today. His previous high- water mark was 5th at Watkins Glen last August. Rick Mast (12th) had his best finish since he was 9th here last September. Ricky Craven (17th) had his best finish since he was 13th here last July. Brett Bodine (20th) had his best finish since Atlanta in March when he was 16th. STREAKIN....Dale Jarrett has 9 Top-10's in a row. Dale Earnhardt has 8 Top-10's in a row. Tony Stewart has 6 Top-10's in a row(Rumblings/Henry Dubret)(7-10-2000)

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