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PAST NEWS SEPT 4-10, 2000

  • Restrictor Plates at NHIS? UPDATE 5 it's OFFICIAL: hearing that NASCAR officials will announce Saturday that they will run 1-inch carburetor restrictor plates at next weekend's Duralube 300 Winston Cup race at the New Hampshire. The restrictor plates will cut approximately 250-300 horsepower from the engines, in turn slowing speeds down by 15-20 mph
    UPDATE: NASCAR has decided to use restrictor-plates on Winston Cup cars during next weekend's Dura Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway, several sources confirmed Friday. Restrictor plates have been used since 1988 to slow down Cup and BGN cars at Daytona and Talladega. As a result, pole-winning speeds at the two tracks dropped from the 210-mph range to the 195-mph(more like 185 now) range. But Daytona and Talladega are high-banked tracks, while Loudon is nearly flat(CNN/SI and That's Racin')
    UPDATE 2: Although NASCAR officials deny that any decision has been made on the matter, word throughout the Richmond garage Friday was that the matter is a go, and some teams say they already have gone to work on the engines for next week(SpeedVision)(9-8-2000)
    UPDATE 3: NASCAR is expected to announce today that Winston Cup cars will use restrictor plates when they race next weekend at New Hampshire. Several drivers said NASCAR officials told them that various "soft wall" barriers were tested at the New Hampshire track this week, but that the results were unsatisfactory. Drivers said they were told the problems included debris from foam blocks flying into the grandstands or back across the track in these tests. As news of the change spread Friday morning, teams began scrambling to get ready for restrictor plates at a track where they've never used them before. None of the teams will be allowed to test at New Hampshire - testing is banned at a track for the seven days preceding a race there - so calls were being placed to other tracks to arrange for testing time early next week. Helton said it is possible next weekend's schedule at New Hampshire will be altered to allow more practice time.(That's Racin')
    UPDATE 4: NASCAR officials announced additional safety-related measures for use at the Sept. 16 Busch North Series, NASCAR Touring event and the Sept. 17 NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at NHIS. Teams in all will be required to use one-inch restrictor plates for practice, qualifying and the races. And all will take pre-practice laps behind the pace car to ensure proper brake temperature prior to full-speed practice runs. Teams can expect a reduction of approximately 10 mph at top speed.(in part from NASCAR Online), No idea if they will run more then one qualifying lap (as Daytona and Talladega do), more articles on the NHIS plate at my Story/Article Link Page(9-9-2000)
    UPDATE 5: NASCAR Discusses Plate Issue by Ben Blake of SpeedVision; and What's being said about safety in the garage area by David Poole of That's Racin'(9-10-2000)

  • Wreckers: just an observation - never saw two tow trucks 'tow' a car like they did with Michael Waltrip's car. One going forward, hooked to the back of the #7 and one going backwards, hooked to the front of the car. I understand this is used quite a bit at smaller tracks, but had never seen it during a Cup race before(9-10-2000)

  • Switch Test at Richmond UPDATE: NASCAR also approved a live test of an ignition interrupter system – the so-called "dumb switch" – in this weekend's races at Richmond. The switch, originally devised in CART by chief steward Wally Dallenbach, has been developed for NASCAR applications by Jack Roush. The system provides for an involuntary kill of the engine in cases of a stuck throttle. NASCAR has mandated throttle-linkage stops and auxiliary kill switches on all cars since the death of Kenny Irwin in a crash at New Hampshire July 7. It also has evaluated several other options, including so-called "soft wall" technology, but has not found a fail-safe one(SpeedVision)(9-8-2000)
    UPDATE: my understanding is, the switch was used in practice only and not in the race, results so far are inconclusive AND Jack Roush said Saturday morning that some teams had changed their minds about their plans to use the ignition interrupter system his company has developed in Saturday night's race. A problem with a sensor in the system that had been installed on Bobby Labonte's car apparently caused the decisions to be reconsidered. Six teams were originally scheduled to run the system, which shuts off an engine when sensors detect 850-900 pounds of brake pressure and a throttle at or nearly at fully open at the same time.(That's Racin')(9-10-2000)

  • Tires: NASCAR announced last night it was banning tire-rating machines but would finally let Goodyear engineers provide that data to Winston Cup teams. The $40,000 machines have been proliferating in the garage as spring-rating of tires has become increasingly important to crew chiefs(PitNow)(9-10-2000)

  • Bodine Subs: Brett Bodine, who went out midway in the race at Richmond, relieved Chad Little, driver of the #97 John Deere Ford as Little suffered from exhaustion when the cooling system in his car failed(That's Racin')(9-10-2000)

  • Long News: #85-Carl Long, did not go to Richmond because his motor was not ready. Long had been on the Entry List. Long plans to make a run at Dover on Sept 24th(9-9-2000)

  • Sad News: A volunteer usher at Richmond International Raceway died from a heart attack during Thursday night's race. Coleman E. Potteiger, 62, of Glen Allen, VA was at the race with his son. He was planning on working as a volunteer usher at last night's Autolite 250. Potteiger is survived by his wide, Gloria, and son Coleman E. Potteiger II(Times Dispatch)(9-9-2000)

  • Dodge Engines: NASCAR supposedly has decided not to limit the bore size of the new Dodge engine, according to NASCAR sources, and that means the new engine could be this sport's first 10,000RPM motor. The design of the new Dodge has worried both Ford and GM engineers, who have politicked NASCAR to put some limits on the design(PitNow) AND see a story at That's Racin': Evernham says engine work `coming along'(9-9-2000)

  • #99 Crew: Jeff Burton's #99 Exide team will use two new over-the-wall pit crew members at Richmond. Burton's car chief, Pierre Kuettel, will serve as the team's front-tire changer this week, while Fred Martin, who works for Jason Keller's #57 BGN team, will serve as front-tire carrier. The positions are week to week(That's Racin')(9-9-2000)

  • #7 to Dodge?? UPDATE 3 maybe? here is a wild one, hearing the Ultra Motorsports #2 CTS team will become a two truck team in 2001 with Dennis Setzer driving the 2nd truck and having Mopar as the sponsor. Supposedly, both CTS teams will switch to Dodge and...get this....the #7 Ultra Motorsports Winston Cup team, with driver Michael Waltrip, may switch to Dodge. Interesting as they are presently switching to Ford from Chevy starting at Talladega for the rest of 2000 and are buying Fords for, the thought was that ten Winston Cup cars/teams were Dodges goal for 2001 and they have reached that(8-28-2000)
    UPDATE: The Ultra Motorsports Truck team will switch to Dodge in 2001, Dennis Setzer is supposedly going to drive the truck unless he moves up to BGN or Cup. The #2 Ultra Motorsports CTS team will switch from Fords to Dodges. Mopar will be the sponsor of Setzers team and Setzer's crew cheif, Howard Comstock is expected to switch to Ultra Motorsports. Mopar, Setzer and Comstock all were with KMotorsports the last two years. Ok, as for the Cup team? Ultra Motorsports owner, Jim Smith, says that the move to Dodge trucks will not affect his Winston Cup program, which is converting from Chevy to Ford at present and will start running Fords at Talladega in Oct 2000(Winston Cup Scene Print Version)(8-31-2000)
    UPDATE: Dodge Motorsports and Ultra Motorsports announced Thursday they have formed an alliance whose goal is the 2001 CTS championship. Ultra Motorsports, which currently fields the #2 Team ASE Ford for Mike Wallace in the CTS and #7 NationsRent Chevy for Michael Waltrip in the Cup, will field a two-truck Dodge factory-supported team from its race shop in Mooresville, NC. Team ASE will remain as primary sponsor on the #2 truck while Mopar sponsorship and the number "1" will move to the other truck(NOL). No mention of the Cup team changing(9-7-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Jim Smith, owner of Ultra Motorsports, Thursday announced plans to expand to a two-team operation in Craftsman Trucks and to change over from Ford to Dodge. He also indicated his Winston Cup team, the #7 with Michael Waltrip, could expand and join Dodge as well. The announcement said only that Ultra will have the #1 and #2 Trucks next season. Dennis Setzer drives the #1 this season for the Keselowski team, and it appears that Ultra and/or Dodge somehow will take over the Keselowski's assets. Smith said the idea is to continue with Wallace and Setzer in Trucks, but that nothing is assured yet. The complication, he hinted, is his Winston Cup effort. This summer, Smith bought the #7 from Jim Mattei and converted the cars to Fords. Smith has indicated he may run Wallace in a second Cup car next year, which could skew the picture in Trucks. Waltrip is said to be solid(actually signed thru 2001). How about Dodges in Cup? "There's a good chance we could go with the Intrepid," Smith said. Dodge officials have said 10 teams is the maximum the "factory" effort will support, and Dodge already has a roster of 10 for its 2001 Cup debut. Dodge officials say all teams are welcome to run the car(in part from SpeedVision)(9-8-2000)

  • Grand Marshall: Retired NASCAR champion Ned Jarrett, now a TV commentator, will serve as grand marshal for the Oct. 11 Mark Collie Celebrity Race for Diabetes Cure at Nashville Speedway(Tennessean)(9-8-2000)

  • Driver Strike?? UPDATE 4: from Ed Hinton of the Chicago Tribune/Orlando Sentinel - "Rumblings of the first NASCAR drivers strike in 31 years began at Darlington Raceway Saturday--not regarding Sunday's Southern 500, but the Sept. 17 race at New Hampshire International Speedway, the site of fatal crashes by Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin earlier this year. Meanwhile, a management shakeup is imminent in NASCAR, according to well-placed sources, which would put Jim France, younger brother of cancer-stricken NASCAR President Bill France Jr., firmly and visibly in charge of the organization, which has experienced a difficult season on several fronts." See full story at the Chicago Tribune: NASCAR Drivers Hint Boycott(9-3-2000)
    UPDATE: Bobby Labonte and other drivers indicated Sunday that they will compete at New Hampshire on Sept. 17 whether changes are made at the track or not, but they won`t be happy about it. Clearly, drivers intend to keep up the pressure on both NASCAR and New Hampshire officials to put up "soft walls" in the sharp turns at the one-mile track(Ed Hinton/Orlando Sentinel) AND see RacingOne's story: Cup Drivers Revolt by Lee Spencer(9-4-2000)
    UPDATE 2: Being interviewed by satellite from the High Point, NC studios of WGHP, Bobby Labonte was asked during Jeanne Zelasko's interview on Tuesday's "National Sports Report" on Fox Sports Net: "How realistic is this boycott?", see the MotorsportsTV site for the answers, pretty interesting(9-6-2000)
    UPDATE 3 a followup: Drivers undergo attitude adjustment by Ed Hinton(Orlando Sentinel) AND a story and thoughts at the Speedway Illustrated site: Winston Cup Drivers Boycott at Loudon?(9-7-2000)
    UPDATE 4 boycott/strike: Drivers: There hasn't been talk of a boycott by Al Pearce(Daily Press) PLUS more columns/articles about safety on the Story/Article Links page(9-7-2000)

  • Elliott to Race at RIR: After missing the last two Cup races due to a fractured left kneecap, Bill Elliott will practice on Friday in hopes of attempting to qualify for this weekend's Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond. Elliott suffered a multi-fracture of his left kneecap in a home accident, Aug. 22, in Blairsville, Ga. He had surgery the same day at HEALTHSOUTH Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala. The 90-minute surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews, who inserted three steel pins and a steel wire to repair the fractured kneecap. The injury forced Elliott to miss Bristol and Darlington. David Green drove the McDonald's #94 Ford in Elliott's absence(McDonalds PR)(9-7-2000)

  • Marcis Speaks: Dave Marcis, when he's asked about last weekend's race at Darlington Raceway, where he was involved in at least two wrecks, he won't duck the issue. About the incident with leader Jeremy Mayfield, Marcis claims innocence. "I was not a lapped car," Marcis said. "I was going to be if he got me, but I wasn't yet. I had a good car. You can't tell me any of those guys haven't raced just as hard to try to stay on the lead lap at one time or another. That's what racing is all about." See more at Total Sports(9-7-2000)

  • #55 Like Lightning: The #55 Square-D/Cooper Lighting/Halo Chevy, driven by Kenny Wallace, will have a different look this week at Richmond. It'll have lightning bolts in the paint scheme. See a few images of the car in the shop on my Paint Schemes Gallery(9-7-2000)

  • Benning to run BGN/BGNN: ARCA and part time Cup driver Norm Benning has announced he will be making a foray into the Busch Series this fall. Benning tested the #68 Busch Grand National North car at NHIS. Benning, of Level Green, PA near Pittsburgh, will drive the car in the 125-lap BGNN on September 16th. The team then plans to enter a handful of BGN races with Benning driving with Dover Downs as a possibility, but looks like Rockingham will be Bennings BGN debut. Benning has never raced in the BGN or BGNN series. Benning has competed in Winston Cup races, and is a regular on the ARCA circuit(currently 8th in ARCA points). Bennings team bought a Monte Carlo from Jimmy Spencer’s BGN team(Motorsports Fans Report)(9-7-2000)

  • DW Help: CTS driver/owner, Jeff Spraker will be working with Darrell Waltrip this weekend at Richmond as a chassis consultant. Spraker worked with Waltrip earlier this year (in July for three races - Pocono, NHIS and Indy). Spraker has a vast amount of experience in racing, as he started his career in 1979 running Modifieds on asphalt tracks back east and experience in BGN, the CTS and operates his own shop(9-7-2000)

  • Kyle and Cup in 2000? UPDATE yep: saw in a testing story at the Martinesville Speedway site that Kyle Petty would be testing the #45 car at the track on Sept 19th and 20th. Hearing that Petty will run two Cup races for Sprint in the #45 Chevy/Pontiac this season, looks like Martinsville will be one of the two(9-6-2000)
  • Andrews Fined: Paul Andrews, crew chief for the #1 Pennzoil Chevy driven by Steve Park, has been fined $7,000 by NASCAR for improperly attached weight found on Park's car in prerace inspection at Bristol(That's Racin')(9-6-2000)

  • Double/Triple Duty at RIR: Many drivers will run in two of the three Richmond NASCAR events this weekend. Attempting double duty are:
    Bobby Hamilton - #4 Kodak Chevy(Cup) and #4 Dana Dodge(CTS);
    Ken Schrader - #36 M&M's Pontiac(Cup) and #52 Federated Auto Parts Chevy(CTS);
    Mark Martin - #6 Valvoline Ford(Cup) and #60 Winn Dixie Ford(BGN);
    Steve Grissom - #44 Hot Wheels Pontiac(Cup) and #43 Dodge Dodge(CTS);
    Sterling Marlin - #40 Coors Light Chevy(Cup) and #01 BellSouth Chevy(BGN);
    Michael Waltrip - #7 Nations Rent Chevy(Cup) and #7 Band Aid Chevy(BGN);
    Ted Musgrave - #01 BellSouth Chevy(Cup) and #82 ChannelLock Chevy(BGN);
    Dave Blaney - #93-Amoco Pontiac(Cup) and #20 AT&T Pontiac(BGN);
    Jeff Burton - #99-Exide Ford(Cup) and #9 Ford(BGN);
    Jimmy Spencer - #26 Kmart Ford(Cup) and #12 Zippo Chevy(BGN);
    Kenny Wallace - #55 Square-D/Cooper Lighting Chevy(Cup) and #25 Lance Snacks Chevy(BGN);
    Steve Park - #1 Pennzoil Chevy(Cup) and #31 Whelen Chevy(BGN); Kevin Lepage - #16 Ford(Cup) and #71 Redman Ford(BGN); Casey Atwood - #27 Castrol Chevy(BGN) and #19 Motorola Ford(Cup);
    Matt Kenseth - #17 DeWalt Ford(Cup) and #17 Visine Chevy(BGN), will NOT race in the CTS;
    Hermie Sadler - #6 Chevy(BGN) and #29 Dodge(CTS);
    Mike Wallace - #2 Ultra Wheels Ford(CTS) and #77 Lear Ford(BGN);
    David Green? - #34-AFG Chevy(BGN) and if Elliott can't go - #94 McDonalds Ford;
    And one driver, Elliott Sadler, will try to run in all three events: #21 CITGO/VA Tech Ford(Cup), #15 Hot Tamales Chevy(BGN), and #84 Ford(CTS)(9-5/6-2000)

  • Man of the Year: Jeff Gordon is the third-quarter nominee for NASCAR's Man of the Year award, which recognizes a driver for his contributions to the community off the race track. Ward Burton was the first-quarter nominee and Jeff Burton was the second-quarter selection. The winner of the year's award gets $100,000 to be split between the winner and his designated charity(That's Racin')(9-6-2000)

  • Marcis Part time in 2001 UPDATE 2: 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)
    UPDATE 2: Dave Marcis says that he plans to drive in only 10 events next year and that Kerry Earnhardt, son of Dale Earnhardt, could drive in some of the other races. Kerry Earnhardt drove Marcis' car at Michigan last month(Roanoke Times)(9-6-2000)

  • Martinsville Testing UPDATE: the #01-BellSouth Chevy and driver Ted Musgrave will test at Martinsville Speedway on Tues Sept 5th and Wed Sept 6th(Martinsville Speedway PR)(9-5-2000)
    UPDATE: see an updated story at the Martinsville Speedway Site(9-6-2000)

  • Whatever happened to... Dave Despain? I get asked this often too. Despain was the first host of ESPN2's NASCAR 2Day a few years ago. He now covers motorcycle racing for SpeedVision and even writes a column there. Bad news is, that he recently got in an accident, good news is, he is going to be ok. Read about it in his latest SpeedVision column: Devil Inside(9-6-2000)

  • Hamilton to Stay at the #4: Bobby Hamilton and the Morgan-McClure Motorsports team may not be enjoying the success they hoped for this year, but team owner Larry McClure said that there are no plans to make a driver change in the #4 Kodak Film Chevy as Hamilton is signed through 2001 and they have no intentions of making a driver change. Hamilton's name has come up in recent weeks as a possible driver for several teams, including the #01 BellSouth Chevy fielded by Chip Ganassi(Kingsport Times News)(9-5-2000)

  • Atwood's Cup Debut REPOST: 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 #19 Elliott Ford as the Dodges will not run until 2001(Tennessean) Sponsor will be Motorola(7-25/9-5-2000)
  • Hunter and NASCAR? Jim Hunter, a veteran NASCAR official, after several years at Darlington, is being pressed into a much more high-profile role, lately as head of the France family's Darlington, Rockingham and Richmond tracks, next perhaps as new head of the NASCAR's public-relations operation(PitNow)(9-5-2000)

  • 2nd Ultra Motorsports at RIR? REPOST UPDATE: #7 Ultra Motorsports owner Jim Smith said he will run a second Cup car for Wallace at Richmond on Sept. 9 and may enter Wallace in a Chevrolet at Charlotte, Phoenix or Homestead in the final weeks of the season. Plans to move Wallace over to a full-time second Winston Cup team, however, would depend on finding sponsorship(That's Racin')(7-26/9-5-2000), Wallace is not listed on NOL's Entry List

  • TV Show: on The Learning Channel - Crunch: Sports Collisions and Recoveries Crash and Smash(9:00pm). The description: Travel the long road to recovery with injured athletes. An Australia Rules Football sensation snaps his leg bones; a skydiver collides mid-air with a teammate; a NASCAR driver wrecks at 200 mph.; an NHL hockey player shreds his knee ligaments. The description sounds a tad morbid, but I understand it is actually more about the player's recovery process, I hear the NASCAR accident is about Ernie Irvan's Michigan wreck(The Learning Channel Site)(9-5-2000)

  • #21 Sponsor: look for the #21 Wood Brothers team and driver Elliott Sadler to announce their new primary sponsor at Charlotte in October. Quality Care/Ford Credit(or some sort of Ford sponsorship), who is rumored to be leaving the #88 RYR team, will supposedly be named the new sponsor(RPM 2Day on Sunday)(9-4-2000)

  • Labonte and a Ford Part: Bobby Labonte will have a part prepared by a Ford team installed on his Pontiac before the race at New Hampshire in two weeks. Labonte, who wrecked his primary car in practice on Friday when the throttle stuck, plans to use an electronic device developed by Roush Racing. Using sensors on the brakes and in the intake manifold, the device automatically shuts off the engine when it is running wide open and the driver is pushing the brake pedal extremely hard. Jeff Burton plans to run one too, as soon as it is ready(AJC)(9-4-2000)

  • #01 2001 Driver: Ted Musgrave, who will finish the season in the BellSouth-sponsored car driven earlier this year by Irwin(when it was #42), is reportedly one of the finalist to drive the car full-time in 2001. Other drivers mentioned as potential pilots of the #01 Chevrolet include Bobby Hamilton and Chad Little(AJC)(9-4-2000)

  • Jarrett's Streak Continues: #88-Dale Jarrett extended his streak of fifteen straight top-10 finishes (20th top-10 finish of 2000) at Darlington, finishing 5th. The streak goes back to the race at California(9-4-2000)

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