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PAST NEWS AUG 21-27, 2000

  • Bristol/Richmond changes? hearing that NASCAR may cut back on the Bristol and/or Richmond night-race schedules in 2001. Supposedly they are looking at one round of qualifying instead of two. A morning practice session on Friday, one round of qualifying, then a Happy Hour, followed by the BGN race that night. Then the gates wouldn't open Saturday until around 3:00pm with a 7:30 start. No practice or qualifying at all on Saturday. Supposedly teams are in favor of it(8-27-2000)

  • Bye-Bye Testing? on TNN's Inside NASCAR, Steve Waid reported that NASCAR is looking into ways to eliminate testing, totally, with rookies being the exception. At present, teams (a team being one car, the #6 and #99 are part of the Roush team but for testing is considered one team each) can test seven times, rookies ten at race tracks that hold Winston Cup races. A team can test as often as they want at non-Winston Cup tracks like Greenville-Pickens or Kentucky Speedway. Some team also do Goodyear tire testing and NASCAR has a few mandatory tests, no word if these would be included in the elimination, if it happens(8-27-2000)

  • Eel River Racing Changes? Barry Dodson said he would have to listen to a manufacturer if it courted his #27 Eel River Racing team(driver: Mike Bliss). He’s considering making changes to the team, which has not performed up to his standards. He denied he has approached any drivers -- such as Kenny Wallace -- about moving into the car but said that changes were needed. Dodson could change from Pontiac to Ford next season(Times-Dispatch). NOTE: it was reported last week that Wallace stated that he and sponsor Square-D were signed with the #55 APR team thru 2001 BUT hearing Wallace may still be looking to go to the #27 and is looking into what it will take to break the Square-D contract with APR(8-26-2000)

  • Evernham Hire? UPDATE 2 Hendrick to CTS: hearing #24 Hendrick BGN crew chief, Patrick Donahue, may be bolting to join Evernham's Dodge team(8-23-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing Donahue has left the #24 BGN Hendrick Motorsports team(8-25-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Ken Howes will take over as the interim crew chief for the #24 Hendrick-Gordon Motorsports Busch team replacing Patrick Donahue who is no longer with the organization. Howes has most recently headed up the research and development program at Hendrick Motorsports. He will be working with Ricky Hendrick as the 20-year-old prepares for a full season in the Craftsman Truck Series in 2001(Gordonline)(8-26-2000)

  • Geoffry in the #60: sources tell me that Geoffrey Bodine will drive the #60 Power Team Chevy at Bristol tonight and that brother Todd has already left Bristol. Bodine, Geoffrey that is, will have to fall to the back of the field with #7-Waltrip(backup car), #9-Hillin(sub for Compton), #11-Brett Bodine(backup car), and #25-Nadeau(backup car).(8-26-2000)

  • Why was Todd in for Geoffrey? UPDATE 2: Geoffrey Bodine suffered signs of dizziness during the day’s first practice session. His brother, Todd Bodine, got into the #60 Power Team Chevy for qualifying and posted a speed of 123.277mph on his first of two laps – which was 36th fastest. Bodine’s dizziness is thought to be a recurring injury from his February Truck Series wreck at Daytona. It is not yet known what his status may be for Saturday’s race(Power Team Site) and Geoffrey Bodine ran a couple laps in Friday's practice and then stepped out of his #60 Chevy and allowed his brother, Todd Bodine, to finish the practice session. Todd Bodine also attempted to qualify the car Friday. Geoffrey Bodine, who was seriously injured in the CTS race at Daytona in February, said he didn't "comfortable" in his car and may need to see his doctor. Todd Bodine said his brother was "a little dizzy" when he got out of the car(That's Racin')(8-25-2000)
    UPDATE: Geoffrey Bodine said he will get back in the #60 Chevy this morning in hopes of being able to drive the car in tonight’s race(Gaston Gazette)
    UPDATE 2: from the Geoffrey Bodine Fanclub Site: Geoffrey will practice in the race car and will see how he feels this morning. After practice(11:30am-1:00pm), he will decide if he will attempt to qualify 2nd round(8-26-2000)

  • Green to drive the #94 at Bristol: BGN regular David Green will drive the #94 McDonalds McFlurry Taurus in tonight's 500 at Bristol. Green will substitute for owner/driver Bill Elliott, who is recovering from a broken kneecap he suffered in an accident at his home in Blairsville, GA on Tuesday (Aug. 22) afternoon. The last time Elliott missed Winston Cup race was the MBNA Gold 400 in Dover, DE. on Sept. 20, 1998. He missed that race to attend his father's funeral. The last time injury sidelined Elliott was in the Goody's 500 at Bristol in Aug. 1996. He missed seven races due to a broken left thighbone (femur) he suffered in a racing accident at Talladega on April 29th of that year. Green will start 26th(McDonalds Racing PR)(8-26-2000)

  • Hillin to drive the #9 for Compton: Melling Racing announced Saturday afternoon that BGN driver Bobby Hillin will drive the #9 Ford in Saturday night's race at Bristol in place of regular driver Stacy Compton. Compton had broken his right collarbone while playing raquetball last Monday, but had practiced and qualified the car on Friday. Since Hillin did not qualify the car, he will have to move to the rear of the field to start the race(That's Racin'). Compton will be in the car next week at Darlington Raceway(NOL)(8-26-2000)

  • Atwood Cup Announcment: Casey Atwood and Ray Evernham plan to announce today the Motorola sponsorship of Atwood’s car for the Sept. 9 race at Richmond(Times-Dispatch). NOTE: this was shown on RPM 2Night mid-week, see story on the #19 Team News and Links page, also have an image in the Paint Schemes Gallery(8-26-2000)

  • Ganassi looking at a rookie? UPDATE: besides hearing Bobby Hamilton as a rumored driver for the #01 BellSouth/Ganassi Racing Dodge driver in 2001, hearing that BGN rookie of the year candidate Jimmie Johnson may be a candidate for the job. Johnson currently drivers the #92 ALLTEL Chevy in the BGN(8-13-2000)
    UPDATE: Jimmie Johnson says he’s staying put with Herzog Motorsports for the 2001 BGN season and has no plans to race Winston Cup with another team next year. Johnson is rumored to be on the short list for the #01 Winston Cup car. Johnson’s name has been mentioned in numerous rumors after ALLTEL, his primary Busch Series sponsor, announced it was leaving Herzog at the end of the year. Herzog Motorsports has yet to secure a Busch sponsor for 2001, which has also helped fuel the speculation. However, Johnson is under contract with Herzog through 2001 and co-owner Stan Herzog is confident the contract will be fulfilled(St. Joseph News-Press(MO))(8-25-2000)

  • Dodge News: Kyle Petty says Dodge teams expect NASCAR to approve the Dodge Intrepid within two weeks. Once the car is approved, Dodge teams can begin building cars for next season.The Dodge engine has more work to be done to it before it is taken to NASCAR for approval. Dodge is not expected to present an engine for more than a month(Roanoke Times/Williams Company)(8-25-2000)

  • Marcis Part time in 2001 UPDATE: this weeks Winston Cup Scene mentions that Dave Marcis says this could be his last season he runs the Cup circuit full time and that he may go to a limited schedule in 2001(7-27-2000)
    UPDATE: Dave Marcis, driver of the #71 Realtree Chevy, said Thursday he plans to run only about 10 races in 2001. A sponsorship deal for next year has not been finalized, and instead of attempting to stretch his limited resources throughout an entire season, Marcis said he plans to focus on a handful of tracks next year where he thinks he can muster some good finishes. As for his plans after he gets out of the driver’s seat, Marcis says they’re still up in the air. He’s not ready to stop driving yet. Marcis has competed in 871 races, which is the most of all active drivers and second overall behind Richard Petty’s 1,177(Kingsport Times News)(8-25-2000)

  • TV Ratings? NASCAR officials have blamed declining TV ratings --- in part --- on incomplete coverage by "lame-duck" networks that won't be televising Winston Cup in 2001. ESPN made NASCAR's accusation look completely valid by cutting away from Michigan after Rusty Wallace crossed the finish line. ESPN opted to skip live coverage from the winner's circle to take viewers to the X-Games(Atlanta Journal Constitution)(8-25-2000)

  • Elliott Injured? UPDATE 3: hearing that Bill Elliott, driver of the #94 McDonalds Ford, injured his left knee/leg in an accident at home, no word on how or if it will affect his status for the race at Bristol and still waiting to confirm the situation. Also hearing that Ray Evernham said on the radio this morning that Elliott broke his kneecap in a farming accident and had to have surgery last night and that he may miss the Bristol race. From what I hear now, is that Elliott 'shattered' his knee cap and is having surgery today, Bristol is pretty much out of the picture for him, NO idea of a sub yet
    UPDATE: Elliott underwent successful surgery Tuesday night to repair a fractured left kneecap and will likely miss Saturday's race at Bristol. Elliott reportedly tripped and fell at his Blairsville, GA, home. Elliott is expected to be released from the hospital sometime Thursday. A final decision on whether Elliott will drive this weekend, use a relief or replacement driver will be made once Elliott has met again with his doctor(That's Racin')
    UPDATE 2: A decision on whether Elliott will drive in this weekend's Winston Cup race at Bristol will be determined over the next few days. Bill Elliott Racing has secured the services of BGN regular David Green as the substitute driver during Friday's practice and qualifying sessions. If Elliott is not ready to return to action, Green will also drive the #94 McDonald's Ford car in the race(McDonald's Racing PR)(8-23-2000)
    UPDATE 3 and McFlurry: Bill Elliott, who fractured his left kneecap in a home accident in Blairsville, Ga. Tuesday afternoon, was discharged today (8-24) from HEALTHSOUTH Medical Center in Birmingham where he had surgery Tuesday evening. No decision has been made on whether Elliott will drive the #94 McDonald's Ford in this weekend's (Aug. 26) Winston Cup race at Bristol. ALSO: The McDonald's #94 Ford Taurus will have a different look at this weekend's race. The blue, red, yellow and white paint scheme on the McDonald's car will showcase McDonald's popular dessert item - the McFlurry. The creamy treat features McDonald's soft serve ice cream mixed with a customer's choice of four core toppings -- crushed M&Ms, Nestle Crunch, Oreo and Butterfinger. The McFlurry Ford Taurus will also run at Dover in Sept(McDonald's Racing PR) see an image of the car on my Paint Schemes Gallery(8-24-2000)

  • Compton Hurt may need relief UPDATE: Veteran NASCAR driver, Bobby Hillin, has agreed to stand-by for Stacy Compton in preparation for this weekend's Cup race at Bristol. Compton, driver of the #9 Kodiak/Melling Racing Ford Taurus, sustained a broken right collar bone this week while playing racquetball as part of his regular aerobic workout routine(Melling PR)(8-23-2000)
    UPDATE: Compton said Thursday he is going to attempt to race this weekend at Bristol despite fracturing his collarbone while playing racquetball Monday night. Compton said his doctor believes he already had suffered a stress fracture in the area from an accident while testing at Indy last month. When Compton hit the same area while playing racquetball, his collarbone fractured in two separate places. Compton said he and his team have worked with the seat placement in his #9 Ford to help him remain comfortable in the car. He will try to practice and qualify the car Friday and drive in Saturday night's race at Bristol(That's Racin')(8-24-2000)

  • Wind Tunnels Tests: NASCAR plans to run wind-tunnel tests soon on three Winston Cup cars in a continuing effort to identify new ways to deal with speed and competition problems at its biggest speedways(Daytona abd Talladega). The cars of Jeff Gordon (Chevrolet), Ricky Rudd (Ford) and Tony Stewart (Pontiac) will be tested. The date for the wind-tunnel experimentation has not been set. It will not be held before Aug. 28(Greenville News)(8-24-2000)

  • #7 at Wind Tunnel: the #7 Ultra Motorsports team has two cars being tested at the N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center, operated by Old Dominion University, located in Hampton, VA today. Testing in preparation for Talladega(8-24-2000)

  • Atwood's Cup Debut UPDATE 3: Casey Atwood will attempt to make his Winston Cup debut on Sept 9th at Richmond. Atwood who will drive Ray Evernham's #19 Dodge in 2001 will drive a Elliott Ford as the Dodges will not run until 2001(Tennessean)(7-25-2000)
    UPDATE: there are tentative plans for Atwood to drive a Cup car at Martinsville on Oct.1 and at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov.12.(Roanoke Times)(7-26-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Casey Atwood, who will drive a Dodge owned by Ray Evernham in the 2001 Winston Cup season, will try to get a head start on that by driving three races this year in Fords owned by his future teammate, Bill Elliott. Atwood will attempt to make the races at Richmond, Martinsville and Homestead(That's Racin')(8-21-2000)
    UPDATE: it was announced on RPM 2Night that Atwood's sponsor for the three races will be Motarola. See an image of the paint scheme for the #19 Ford on my Paint Scheme Gallery. And in part from a PR: Motorola, the "Official Communications Company of NASCAR," announced it will be the primary sponsor of Evernham Motorsports with driver Casey Atwood in three Cup races this year, marking the simultaneous debuts of Ray Evernham as a team owner and Atwood as a NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver. The #19 Motorola Evernham Motorsports Ford will compete at Richmond, Martinsville and Homestead-Miami. Atwood, who will turn 20 on Friday, will pilot a Ford Taurus establishing the groundwork for the 2001 Dodge team, since the Dodge chassis will not begin its re-entry into NASCAR competition until the Daytona 500 in February 2001. Atwood will test the Motorola car at Richmond Aug. 28-29 in preparation for the Race at Richmond. Earlier this year, Motorola announced its long-term sponsorship of NASCAR as "Official Communications Company" including status as official cellular phone, pager, two-way radio and cable modem of NASCAR(Cotter Group PR) AND see a transcript of the announcement on RPM 2Night at Desiree's Ray Evernham Page(8-23-2000)

  • Alabama Paint Scheme for the #32: the #32 Tide Ford of Scott Pruett will carry a special University of Alabama crimson color scheme for the upcoming Winston 500 at Talladega(Shoals Times Daily)(8-23-2000)

  • Testing UPDATE 2: Bobby Labonte is scheduled to test at Richmond International Raceway on Tuesday and Wednesday(Aug 22-23)(Roanoke Times)(8-19-2000)
    UPDATE: #18-Bobby Labonte was the fastest during testing at Richmond on Tuesday: Unofficial speeds were - #18-Labonte 123.119mph, #93-Blaney 120.859, and #71-Marcis 116.782. Also testing were BGN drivers #20-Hubert, #6-Joe Bessey, ASAA Driver Scott Wimmer in a Bil Davis Pontiac, #68-Jay Fogleman and #15-Elliott Sadler(will run the APR BGN car at RIR). Tests continue on Wednesday, with Labonte, Blaney and Marcis returning in Winston Cup, and Bessey Sadler and Fogleman in BGN(SpeedVision) - see images of the test at The Paddock(8-23-2000)

  • Sadler to test at RIR: Elliott Sadler and the Wood Brothers #21 CITGO Race Team have scheduled a two-day test at Richmond International Raceway on August 29th and 30th. The test will allow the team to prepare for the upcoming September race where the team will run a special Virginia Tech paint scheme(see the images of the car at the Paint Schemes Gallery). One of the cars to be used in the test is the second car produced by the recently formed Roush Alliance. The alliance allows the Wood Brothers team to utilize chassis, bodies and motors from a central source. The alliance debuted in Daytona with a 10th place qualifying effort and an 18th place finish(Cox Marketing Group)(8-23-2000)

  • Jasper to Scale Down UPDATE 2 NO: Doug Bawel, CEO of Jasper Engines and Transmissions and an owner of the #77 Ford driven by Robert Pressley, says that Jasper Engines will not be the team's major sponsor next season. Bawel said the company's board of directors made the decision Friday. Jasper plans to stay as a major associate sponsor(Roanoke Times)
    UPDATE: This is NOT true. The remarks by team owner Doug Bawel have been taken out of context in the quotes written in the Roanoke Times. Jasper Motorsports will be issuing a statement later today regarding their committment to remain in this sport for the future(Jasper Motorsports PR)(8-21-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Valvoline is the second company to have part-ownership in a Cup team. The other is Jasper Engines and Transmissions, which sponsors and owns part of Robert Pressley's #77 Ford team. Doug Bawel, CEO of Jasper and a majority owner in the team, says such a situation can work in certain circumstances. "I think there's more benefits for people that are automotive-related," said Bawel, whose team is looking for additional sponsorship for next season. "If you're not automotive related, i.e. a bubble gum company, I don't know if owning a Winston Cup team would help them. But if you're automotive related and you want to use that platform to take you in other areas, I think it makes a lot of sense."(Roanoke Times). Actually Valvoline is the first "major consumer products company" to own a Winston Cup team.(8-23-2000)

  • Darlington Testing: hearing that the #99-Burton, #6-Martin, #28-Rudd and #20-Stewart cars are testing at Darlington Raceway as well as Martins #60 BGN car(8-22-2000)

  • #2 in Wind Tunnel: Penske South racing is testing two #2 Fords at the wind tunnel at N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today. One is supposedly the car that Rusty Wallace just ran and won in at Michigan(8-22-2000)

  • Not NASCAR but interesting: A Goodyear blimp was blown into and snagged on a mooring pole and tore its skin while landing at Northeast Philadelphia Airport Saturday. The cockpit skidded along the ground as the airship deflated, but a pilot and six passengers aboard escaped injury. The blimp, one of several in the Goodyear fleet, was declared a total loss. The blimp had filmed the Eagles' game(they Won!) on Friday night(posted since they sometimes cover the races and supply tires to the series - at a cost)(Philadelphia Daily News)(8-22-2000)

  • Petty's final Cup start of 2000: Kyle Petty, planning on making his final 2000 Winston Cup start at Bristol before handing the duties over to Steve Grissom for the rest of 2000, will hold an Interview Session/Press Conference on Thursday in the Bristol area. Petty plans to run the rest of the 2000 season in his late son's BGN car, the #45 Sprint Chevy in the BGN series(8-21-2000)

  • Donlavey Hires Crew Chief: Winston Cup driver Hut Stricklin said last week that he and Junie Donlavey wanted to take the time to find a crew chief that would complement the Hills Bros Coffee Team instead of rushing to fill the position. That complementary piece of the puzzle turned out to be Craig Huartson, as Donlavey named Huartson as crew chief of his #90 Fords. Huartson, a native of Bellingham, Wash., previously worked with Stricklin on the #61 IWX Busch Series team. Donlavey and Stricklin had been sharing crew chief responsibilities(Keystone Marketing)(8-21-2000)

  • Wind Tunnel News: The #27 Eel River Racing team will be at the NRC (National Research Council) wind tunnel in Ottawa, Canada on Monday 8/21. Testing two #27 Pontiacs, one speedway car and one down force car(8-21-2000)

  • Gordon looking for Sponsors: #13-Robby Gordon, a former open-wheel racer who is trying to make a permanent home in Winston Cup racing, said his future is uncertain because of sponsorship issues. Gordon will skip five of the final 12 races because of the team's limited budget. The team had its best finish of the season at Watkins Glen a week ago, finishing fourth. "We're not sure (about the future)," Gordon said. "We would like to have this race team. We're looking for sponsors. We're crossing our fingers and hopefully we'll find something. We have a decent amount of associate (sponsors) for next year, but we're looking for that primary (sponsor)."(Detroit News)(8-21-2000)

  • Kelloggs to Re-up with Hendrick/Labonte UPDATE 3: Kelloggs will announce at Michigan that they are returning to the #5 Hendrick Motorsports chevy for another three years. The current deal ends at the end of this season. Kellogg's will also present driver Terry Labonte with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle with the No. 655 displayed on the side in honor Labontes record of Winston Cup 655 consecutive starts(That's Racin')(8-12-2000)
    UPDATE: not sure if the announcement will still be made as Labonte is taking another week off as he does not feel he is ready to come back from his Daytona injuries(8-15-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Labonte will be at the track this weekend and a pre-race presentation planned by the sponsor of Labonte's team, Kellogg's, will continue as scheduled. Kellogg's will present Labonte with a Harley-Davidson motorcycle bearing the number "655," in honor of his Winston Cup record 655 consecutive starts. An official announcement of a three-year contract extension by Kellogg's to sponsor the team will also be made(That's Racin')(8-16/19-2000)
    UPDATE 3: Kellogg's officially announced a three-year extension of its sponsorship agreement with Hendrick Motorsports and the #5 team for driver Terry Labonte before Sunday's race(That's Racin')(8-21-2000)

  • Jim France Conversation: Jim France, president of International Speedway Corporation and executive secretary of NASCAR, is younger brother of NASCAR president Bill France Jr. Widely seen as his brother's equal in authority and ability, he has worked largely out of the eye of the general public, occupied as he is more with ISC than with NASCAR issues. Lately, however, Jim has taken a much more visible role at the races, appearing at the past four events as a hands-on participant, raising speculation that Jim may be stepping into Bill's shoes during Bill's battle with cancer. Jim France agreed to talk with SpeedVision's Ben Blake on Sunday morning, before the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway. Read the interview at SpeedVision(8-21-2000)

  • Testing Limits? There is growing support among Winston Cup crews for a major NASCAR cutback in testing. NASCAR allows teams seven tests(ten for rookies) a season at Cup tracks and unlimited testing on other tracks. One proposal is for NASCAR to expand that testing limit to include all NASCAR-sanctioned tracks, including non-Cup venues like Kentucky Speedway. Another proposal is to eliminate testing at Winston Cup tour tracks entirely, except for rookies(PitNow)(8-21-2000)

  • Biffle to two years? While appearing in-studio on "Victory Lane", a weekly racing show on CLTV in Chicago on Tuesday nights, Roush #50 CTS driver, Greg Biffle said that he and Jack Roush will have an announcement about his future plans when the trucks visit Chicago this coming weekend. Biffle stated that the plan is to run BGN for two years and then to move to Winston Cup. A sponsor will also be announced next week. It could be that Grainger is going with them, as they are headquartered in the Chicago area(MotorsportsTV). Supposedly, Biffle will take over the #60 Roush BGN ride as Mark Martin is 'retiring' from the BGN series, it was made know in February that Biffle was leaving for the BGN(8-21-2000)

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