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PAST NEWS NOV 27-DEC 3, 2000

  • Driver of the Year: Bobby Labonte, who parlayed consistency and four victories into the Winston Cup Championship, added another honor today as he was selected DRIVER OF THE YEAR for all American motorsports. Labonte, 36, driver of the Joe Gibbs/Interstate Batteries Pontiac on the NASCAR/Winston Cup tour, gathered seven votes from a panel of 16 motorsports media to win the most prestigious award in motorsports. A brief field of who's who in American motorsports was strung out behind the Corpus Christi, Texas native. The World of Outlaws Steve Kinser and NHRA Funny Car drag racer John Force each received three first-place nods, while CART's Juan Montoya had two and that sanctioning body champion, Gil de Ferran, had one. Labonte also carried the fan vote, which was featured for the first time on Running a very close second was NHRA's Funny Car Champion John Force. While Labonte didn't win a quarterly vote-those went to Mark Martin, Juan Montoya, Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart-his consistency paid off with the DRIVER OF THE YEAR HONOR. Labonte follows 1999 Winston Cup Champion Dale Jarrett as DRIVER OF THE YEAR. Labonte will be feted at a luncheon at New York's swank Le Cirque on December 9th, then will be formally honored at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductions at Talladega in April.(DOTY PR)(12-3-2000)

  • Vasser Looking? UPDATE No - stays in CART: on Sunday's RPM2Night (ESPN2) it was reported that CART driver Jimmy Vasser, who was considered in the recent past as a possible driver for the #01 Ganassi Racing Dodge in 2001, is now without a CART ride again according to Robin Miller (Indianapolis Star). Pat Patrick supposedly backed out of a deal at the last moment and Mo Nunn who was ready to hire Vassar at one point signed Jimmy's ex-Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Zanardi instead. It had been reported in the past that Vasser was a front runner for the #01 ride but decdied to stay in CART as he had a deal close to finalized, but who knows now(11-27-2000)
    UPDATE: Patrick Racing confirmed that 1996 CART champion Jimmy Vasser will drive a Toyota/Reynard for the team in the 2001 FedEx Championship Series(SpeedVision)(12-3-2000)

  • Dodge in Danger? Just months away from popping the cork on their first Winston Cup race in 16 years, Dodge officials are looking over their shoulders as their parent company restructures its top executives and considers deep budget cuts. After DaimlerChrysler posted a $512 million loss in the third quarter the first quarterly loss in nine years German executives now in charge of the newly merged company began ousting top American managers. Although the company says there are no plans to curtail racing and marketing budgets, some in NASCAR racing circles are wondering if the high-level reorganization is a signal of cutbacks in the Dodge division's fledgeling NASCAR racing program. One encouraging sign is that Jim Julow, vice president of DaimlerChrysler's Dodge Division, and Lou Pataine, the company's racing operations manager, remain in their jobs. Another indication that it's full-speed ahead came when Darlington Raceway announced Tuesday that Dodge will sponsor the track's Spring NASCAR Winston Cup event. See Full story at FoxSports(12-1-2000)

  • Dodge Testing UPDATE 6: hearing that Bill Davis Racing cancelled their Dodge test at Kentucky Speedway for Monday through Wednesday and that Evernham Motorsports will test the week after Thanksgiving(11-18-2000)
    UPDATE: hearing Bill Davis Racing will now test at Kentucky on November 29th and 30th
    UPDATE 2: Evernham Motorsports will test at Talladega on Monday(NASCAR2Day)(11-19-2000)
    UPDATE 3: with the race delay, the test was pushed back to Tuesday(11-22-2000)
    UPDATE 4: The Dodge test team will be testing at Kentucky Speedway from Nov 29th thru Dec 1st(rain date), teams testing: Petty Enterprises, Ganassi Racing and Bill Davis Racing. Also hear former #55 BGN driver Michael Ritch is helping as a Dodge test driver(11-27-2000)
    UPDATE 5: hearing that Ganassi Racing was the only team to show up on Wednesday for the first of a two day Dodge Test at Kentucky Speedway(11-30-2000)
    UPDATE 6: Teams/drivers testing - Bill Davis Racing: Ward Burton, Dave Blaney; Petty Enterprises: Buckshot Jones; Ganassi/SABCO - Sterling Marlin. Testing continues till the end of Friday as they are testing engine durability(12-1-2000)

  • Some Interesting Stats: found some numbers that show some interesting tendencies about the five major auto racing series in the United States. analyzed NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck Series, along with the Indy Racing Northern Light Series and CART FedEx Championship Series. Some of the stats included comparing: % of starters that finish, Caution flags per race, Accidents per race, Cars finishing on lead lap, Cars in accidents per race and more - see the full story and numbers at SpeedVision - 2000 Stats Show Series Differences by Eric Mauk(11-30-2000)

  • Hamilton and the #55 test: Bobby Hamilton and the #55 Andy Petree Racing team is testing Thursday and Friday at Greenville-Pickens (SC) Speedway. The team and its new driver feel that it is important to get a head-start on the new season(That's Racin')(11-30-2000)

  • #60 Closed? hearing that the #60 Joe Bessey Motorsports operation has ceased operations. Had been reported that the team was going to at least attempt the Daytona 500 with or without a sponsor(11-30-2000)

  • Wind Tunnel Testing: hearing a #02 Ford was at the N.A.S.A.'s Langley Research Center located in Hampton, VA today doing wind tunnel testing(11-30-2000)

  • Daytona 500 to move? NO WAY thank goodness: Rumors also were floating around that with Mike Helton at the helm of NASCAR, the 2002 schedule would shift the Daytona 500 from the first race of the season to the season finale or that Daytona International Speedway could lose the Pepsi 400 to another ISC venue. As for the Daytona 500 being moved to the end of the Winston Cup schedule, Speedway spokesman Glyn Johnston flatly denied the rumor(in part from Speed Magazine)(11-30-2000)

  • Get Well: Well wishes go to Jon Sands, who was diagnosed with Extratesticular Germ Cell Lymphoma earlier this month. Sands, who handles marketing for Galaxy Motorsports(#75 Pizza Hut/Wally Dallenach), has begun chemotherapy. The disease is the same that two time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong successfully defeated(Winston Cup Scene)(11-30-2000)

  • Burton all charged up: Jeff Burton driver of the #99 Exide Batteries Ford thru Martinsvilles Fall race, the the #99 CITGO/Superguard Ford(when sponsorship changed), won the Exide Select Batteries All Charged Up Award in 2000. Burton will receive a $50,000 check and a trophy from Exide Technologies at next Friday's Myers Brothers Awards Breakfast in New York City. The Exide Select Batteries All Charged Up Award went each week to the driver (his team had to be part of the Exide Contingency Award Program) who advanced the most number of positions from start to finish in the previous race. The Exide NASCAR Select Battery is the Official Battery of NASCAR's Winston Cup Series(Exide PR). For final results, see my Special Awards Standing page(11-30-2000)

  • Nelson to Stay UPDATE: NASCAR officials adamantly deny widespread rumors and published reports that Winston Cup Director Gary Nelson may be reassigned to a different role next season. Rumors have spread about Nelson for the last few weeks, prompting media reports that he is either planning to step down as Winston Cup director or will be reassigned by NASCAR. Despite denials from both Nelson and NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Helton, the talk about a major shakeup in NASCAR's competition department intensified during the Winston Cup season finale at Atlanta(Winston Cup Scene)(11-23-2000)
    UPDATE: New NASACR President Mike Helton put one rumor to rest at the News Confernce on Tuesday: Gary Nelson, thought to be on shaky ground as Winston Cup director, will remain in that job(Daily Press)(11-29-2000)

  • Melling to the Wind Tunnel: Melling Racing will not test with the other Dodge teams at Kentucky Speedway on Wed and Thurs but plans to take three cars to the Lockheed wind tunnel in Marietta, Ga., Friday, according to a team spokesman. The team next plans to test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan 6-7(NOL)(11-29-2000)

  • Major NASCAR Announcement - UPDATE - Helton now President: Questions about a possible shakeup in NASCAR's hierarchy could be answered Tuesday in a national teleconference scheduled to feature Bill France Jr., the president of stock-car racing's sanctioning body. France, whose day-to-day role with the organization his father founded in 1949 has been reduced this year because of his treatment for cancer, is scheduled to participate with other NASCAR executives in a national teleconference Tuesday at 2:00pm/et to make "a major news announcement."(That's Racin' and Kingsport Times News)
    UPDATE: Bill France, who assumed the president's role at NASCAR in January 1972, becoming only the second president of the sanctioning body, today announced that Mike Helton, who has served as senior vice president and chief operating officer since 1999, will assume the role of president for NASCAR effective immediately. France will serve as chairman of a newly formed five-member board of directors for NASCAR that will oversee the following executive management structure:
    * Board of Directors: A board of directors that will consist of Bill France, Jim France, Brian France, Lesa Kennedy and Mike Helton has been formed and will be responsible for developing policy and vision for the sport.
    * President: Mike Helton, who joined the sanctioning body in 1994 as vice president of competition before assuming the COO position, will assume the title of president. He will be charged with executing the policies and visions developed by the board and will have day-to-day responsibilities for all aspects of the sanctioning body.
    * Executive Vice Presidents: Jim France will continue to serve as executive vice president and secretary for the sanctioning body with Brian France, who has served as senior vice president, also assuming the title of executive vice president.
    * Senior Vice President: George Pyne, who has been directing the sanctioning body's marketing and licensing efforts while working out of NASCAR's Charlotte office will be relocating to Daytona Beach to assume his new duties as senior vice president. Pyne will have day-to-day operational responsibilities for each of NASCAR's departments and he will report to and execute Helton's direction.
    Enhancing its depth, NASCAR also has a team of vice presidents whose roles are very specific and specialized. They include, Ed Bennett, recently promoted to vice president of corporate administration and who is based out of NASCAR's Daytona Beach headquarters; Steve Boguski, recently named vice president of strategic marketing with responsibility of directing the Charlotte office; Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting who has relocated to Southern California to direct NASCAR's newly opened Los Angeles office; Tom Deery, who is based in Daytona Beach and as vice president is responsible for NASCAR's weekly and touring racing series; and Brett Yormark, who directs NASCAR's New York office and recently assumed the title of vice president of corporate marketing.(NASCAR PR/NOL and listen to the broadcast at NOL and a story at That's Racin')(11-28-2000)

  • No More Rainbow on the #24? UPDATE 3 More images: Following this season, the paint scheme that Jeff Gordon has taken to 51 victories and three Winston Cup championships will not be seen on the racetrack again. Gordon's #24 Chevy will feature a new DuPont paint scheme next season(Gordonline)(8-28-2000)
    UPDATE - an image: have posted the supposedly new 2001 DuPont Paint scheme for Jeff Gordon and DuPont on the Paint Scheme Gallery. Not sure where it came from or originated but I had six(now 10) readers email it to me(11-24-2000)
    UPDATE 2: have confirmed that the car in the image is the new scheme of 2001, the car along with the #25 and #5(which can be partially seen on the image) were introduced to Hendrick Motorsports employees this past week in front of the HMS Museum. Also added a bunch of images including the #5 Frosted Flakes, #88 UPS, #15 Napa diecast images(11-25-2000)
    UPDATE 3: got two more images of the 2001 #24 DuPont Chevy and two real images of the #5 Kelloggs/Tony the Tiger Chevy to the Paint Scheme Gallery and found who took the picture of the original image(11-27-2000)

  • former Exide PR: Who says NASCAR's silly season is confined to drivers, crew chiefs and the like? Even PR people get caught up in it. Former Exide Racing PR rep Chris Dirato and the company he works for, New York City-based Kermish-Geylin Public Relations, are still without a "ride" for the 2001 season. Although discussions with a handful of teams from NASCAR's three main series have taken place to date, nothing is set as yet. Hence, Dirato & Co. continue to cast their line out. Interested parties may contact Dirato at 201-750-3533 or at

  • 4th Quarter Driver: Tony Stewart, driver of the #20 Home Depot Pontiac, easily cruised to fourth quarter DRIVER OF THE YEAR Honors today. For Stewart, 29, winner of three races during the quarter, it was de ja vu, since he repeated the honor he won last year with a like number of wins. In winning quarterly honors for the most prestigious award in motorsports, Stewart gathered nine first place votes and 109 points in a vote of a 16-member motorsports panel and viewers of ESPN. That out-distanced second-place Bobby Labonte, Stewart's teammate and new NASCAR/Winston Cup champion. Labonte had four first-place votes and 86 points after winning two races in his #18 Interstate Batteries Pontiac. Third place in the final quarter voting went to CART Champion Gil de Ferran, who scored 49 points. Quarterly voting for the DRIVER OF THE YEAR awards points on a basis of 9-6-4-3-2-1 for the top six drivers. Later this month a secret ballot will be taken to determine the overall DRIVER OF THE YEAR, who will be feted at a luncheon at the Le Cirque restaurant following the Winston Cup Awards. Dale Jarrett is the defending DRIVER OF THE YEAR, while Mark Martin(1st), Juan Montoya(2nd) and Rusty Wallace(3rd) won previous quarterly votes this season. The DRIVER OF THE YEAR will be formally honored during the International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductions at Talladega in April. NHRA Top Fuel drag racer Gary Scelzi finished fourth with one first-place vote and 40 points, while NHRA Funny Car competitor John Force, the 1996 DRIVER OF THE YEAR, gained two first-place nods and 36 points. World of Outlaws Steve Kinser rounded out the top six, getting the other first place vote and 23 points(PR)(11-27-2000)

  • Nadeau to own a USAC team: Jerry Nadeau, driver of the #25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, announced he will team with Charlotte area businessman Tom Cotter in ownership of a USAC sprint car operation to be piloted by driver Tony Hunt in 2001. "We want Tom & Jerry Racing to be a stepping stone for young drivers looking for opportunities to move into NASCAR," said Nadeau, whose victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway earlier this month was the first of his NASCAR career. The venture is just the latest stemming from a long-standing relationship between Nadeau and Cotter, chairman of SFX/Cotter Group -- a relationship that began nearly seven years ago when Cotter got a tip from a friend about a young Connecticut driver that appeared to have what it takes to win races. Hunt finished second in points in the USAC Western Sprint Car Series with three victories and 10 top-ten finishes in just 15 starts this season. More info on Hunt at (Cotter Group)(11-27-2000)

  • Kulwicki Memorial: The final event in USAR ProCup racing will be the Alan Kulwicki Memorial 300 at 8:00pm/et, Saturday(11-25) night at USA International Speedway(Lakeland Ledger)(11-23-2000)
    UPDATE: winner was #0-Steve Christian in the Lucas Oil Products-Chevrolet(Hooters Pro Cup Site) and see story at the Lakeland Ledger(11-27-2000)

  • ISC News: Vertical Alliance was recently engaged by International Speedway Corporation - ISC in conjunction with Hydrogen Media, to integrate 18 web site communities into one fully integrated customer relationship management solution for the International Speedway Corporation (ISC). Customers can now log on at one site, and be recognized across the entire family of ISC sites(11-27-2000)

    see the Nov 20-26, 2000 Archived News

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